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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

How To Prepare for a Storm

7/10/2019 (Permalink)

Prepare for a storm in Mercer Island, WA

How To Prepare for a Storm

A flood is the most frequent natural disaster in America, and flood water can cause severe disruption and damage to buildings. Floods have a variety of causes, including:

  1. Rain
  2. Coastal storms
  3. Storm surges
  4. Dam overflows
  5. Snow

While flash floods can appear without warning, other times you will have noticed that a major storm is coming. There are steps you can take to prepare your Mercer Island,WA, home in advance.

Protect Your Residence

To mitigate any damage to your property during a deluge, consider installing check valves or buying a battery-powered sump pump. You should also place any valuables in the highest floors of your home so they will be protected.

Plan Ahead

If a storm is coming, you need to be ready to leave your home at any time. You should thus gather any necessary supplies, including medications and phone chargers, in advance.
Most importantly, make sure that you and your family know what to do once the threatening weather arrives. Set up an evacuation route and determine the location of a safe shelter. Also, remind your loved ones that they should not swim, drive or walk through flood water.
In addition, you need to have a plan in case you are trapped in your car or a flooded building. If your vehicle is stuck, you should stay inside unless water starts to come through the doors. You should then seek refuge on the roof. Similarly, if your home starts to flood while you are still inside, seek shelter on its highest floor. Avoid closed attics and stay away from the roof if possible.

The Aftermath

Once the storm is over, don’t return to your home until authorities say it is safe to do so. Repairing your house on your own can also be dangerous, so consider professional emergency restoration services.
Flood water can cause severe water damage to your home and your belongings. That is why it is important to prepare yourself and your loved ones for a storm.

Treating Burns in the Workplace

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

It's important to have a first aid kid in the workplace to treat minor and major burns.

As an employer, the safety of your employees is a high priority, but no matter what type of business you run, accidents happen. While you may already have business insurance for fire damage, you also need to think about your workers. Every year, hundreds of people are taken to emergency rooms in Seattle, WA, and around the United States for treatment of burns. According to the American Burn Association, between 2005 and 2014, 8% of those were occupational. In order to minimize burn injuries on the job and maximize the health and safety of your employees, you may want to implement safety procedures and train your workers in the basics of first aid for burns. The following are treatments to use in the case of minor and major burns.

Treatments for Minor and Major Burns in the Workplace


Minor Burns

Minor burns can result in redness, pain and blisters and are usually considered first-degree or second-degree injuries. First aid for minor burns includes the following:

• Place the area of the burn under cool, running water.
• If there is blistering, DO NOT break the blister. If the blister breaks on its own, wash the area gently and apply an antibiotic ointment.
• Apply aloe vera or a moisturizing lotion on the wound for relief.
• If needed, bandage the area loosely with sterile gauze.

Major Burns

While fire damage to your business can take some time to assess, major burns to flesh are serious and require quick emergency care. This type of injury is usually categorized as third-degree or fourth-degree trauma. The burned area will be deep and could be blackened and charred. Dial 911 immediately and give the following burn first aid:

• Make sure any evidence of fire on the person is put out.
• Remove clothing around the area of the burn. DO NOT pull clothing off if it is stuck to the injury.
• Cover the burn lightly with gauze or a clean cloth.
• Watch the individual for signs of shock.

Your personnel and their work environment are of great importance to you. Contact a biohazard cleanup and restoration specialist to help not only with fire damage but also chemical and electrical accidents.

Understanding and Dealing with Category Two Water Damage

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

Gray water has chemical and biological contaminants

While it may come as a surprise for many commercial property owners, there are several types of water damage. Also, a failed water pipe repair may lead to different categorizations of water damage. For instance, the broken pipe may be from a clean source, but when left to sit, the water becomes contaminated by other components. While it is beneficial to learn of the different water categories, the focus of this article is on type two.

Category Two Water Loss

Many refer to category two water as gray water because of its color. However, flooded areas may change the color tone, so color alone cannot describe the water category and classification. While it has not reached the level of class three, often polluted with raw sewage, gray water has similar characteristics.

• Chemical and biological contaminants

• Microorganisms

• Nutrients of microorganisms

Causes

While a failed water pipe repair can lead to category two water loss, there are other causes. For instance, though sewage is not the main component of gray water, a toilet backup or a sump pump failure can also lead to this category developing. However, more commonly, a pipe break on a multilevel property causes flooding on an upper level that then seeps through building materials to the lower levels. The water that reaches these lower levels can become gray water, or category two water.

Solutions

While you can clean up category one water damage because it is clean water, you are better off contacting a water removal specialist in the Des Moines,WA, area to remove category two water. Category two water loss requires certain protections that professionals know of and prepare for. Therefore, it is better and likely safer to hire a cleanup company.

Although water pipe repair is likely in a commercial property flood, it is not the only cause of water loss. Also, while there may be an urge to remove the water immediately from your property, you are likely better off outsourcing the work to a company equipped for the variety of water categories that may be present.

4 Ways To Minimize the Risk of Secondary Water Damage

6/13/2019 (Permalink)

Employ an air purifier

4 Ways To Minimize the Risk of Secondary Water Damage

A significant water leak or burst pipe can occur inside any home in Seahurst, WA, potentially causing substantial damage. If not properly addressed, water infiltration can also result in extensive black mold growth. Fortunately, there are several steps every homeowner can take to minimize the risk of secondary damage mandating mold remediation.

1. Routinely Seal Grout

Tile is a popular flooring option. Because the grout that holds tile in place tends to be porous, tiled floors in your home may be susceptible to water seepage. To prevent damage and mold growth under the structure, it's important to routinely apply grout sealant. Completing this proactive maintenance procedure can help you avoid costly repairs in the event of a flood.

2. Remove Saturated Building Materials

Carpets, drywall and insulation are examples of other porous building materials that black mold can infiltrate and contaminate. Because of this, it’s imperative that you remove saturated carpeting and walls during the water damage cleanup and restoration process. To be efficient and thorough, you should complete a flood cut at least 12 inches above the highest water level.

3. Dry Affected Area

Because moisture is a key ingredient in mold growth, promptly drying the affected area is crucial. To expedite the process, utilize fans and a dehumidifier to reduce high humidity levels. You should also wait to replace drywall and flooring until the space is completely dry.

4. Employ an Air Purifier

Mold is present throughout the environment, which may complicate containment efforts. To address this dilemma, you can employ an air purifier that utilizes a HEPA filter. This filter is an efficient choice because it purifies the air and traps mold spores, further reducing opportunities for proliferation.
Recovering from water damage can be a daunting experience. Enduring substantial black mold growth can cause additional destruction, further compromising the integrity of your home. Diligent cleanup efforts can, however, spare you from costly secondary damage.

How to Remove Mold Damage From Paintings

5/29/2019 (Permalink)

Steps to Remove Mold from Art Work

If you have mold growing in your Harbor Island,WA house, the mold damage may not be contained to the building. In some cases, the fungus finds a home on your belongings. When this happens to be a priceless photograph or piece of art, it can be upsetting; however, you may not need to say goodbye to this object after all. Using the following steps, mold can be removed from artwork and other porous items.

1. Dry the Item

Because mold grows most easily in moist environments, the first step in mold cleaning is to dry the damaged item. Reducing the moisture keeps the mold from spreading further and allows it to be removed from the object. There are several techniques that can be used depending on the extent of the damage, including thermal drying, freeze drying and simple air drying.

2. Remove the Mold

Once the item is dry, the mold can be removed. In some cases, mold cleaning will be simple, and the mold will turn into a powder that can be easily brushed away. Depending on the severity of the damage, more aggressive techniques may be required.

3. Clean and Sanitize

After the visible mold has been removed, the item will likely need to be sanitized to get rid of any lingering mold spores that could cause the growth to return. Gamma irradiation is one way to do this. This mold cleaning process will not damage your items but will eliminate mold spores as well as other bacteria and contaminants that may be present.

If your belongings have been damaged by mold, you don’t need to despair. A mold remediation service can often save many affected items with their thorough cleaning process. Some objects may have lingering signs of damage, but for those where the mold growth was less severe, a professional service will be able to return them to you in their previous condition.

Common Causes of Home Fires

5/22/2019 (Permalink)

Keep space heaters away from flammable items.

Frequent Causes of Residential Fires

A home fire can devastate a family, and a multitude of residential fires in Mercer Island,WA, share common causes. It’s often helpful for homeowners to learn about frequent causes of residential fires

1. Misuse of Cooking Equipment

Grease fires and other fires that begin in a home’s kitchen can result in damage throughout a home. It’s often helpful to know how to properly handle any type of cooking equipment before you begin to cook. Additionally, it’s useful to know what methods should be used to extinguish different types of fires in the kitchen. When homeowners put water on a grease fire or use other improper extinguishing methods, the fire can actually spread more rapidly and cause more damage.

2. Faulty or Mishandled Heaters

During the winter, space heaters are commonly used to keep homes warm. However, space heater fires are incredibly common. As a result, extensive fire cleaning by fire damage restoration experts is often necessary. In order to prevent a space heater from causing a home fire, it’s often wise to keep space heaters away from flammable items, and if you suspect your heater is no longer working well, it’s generally best to replace it rather than risk the chance of a fire.

3. Misused Electrical Equipment

Electrical items often cause fires in homes. A fire is more likely to spark if electrical items have frayed wires. Additionally, plugging in several power strips simultaneously and plugging in an item in each slot makes a fire more likely to occur. Though these types of fires cannot always be prevented, it can be useful to unplug items that aren’t needed prior to going to sleep. Replacing items with frayed wires can also help to reduce the chance of a fire starting in your home.

Knowing common causes of residential fires can help you take steps to prevent a home fire. Misusing cooking equipment, old or mishandled heaters and misused electrical equipment are all common fire causes.

Effective Ways to Clean up a Roof Leak

5/11/2019 (Permalink)

Missing shingles allow a trickle of water to penetrate the wood underneath

If you recently noticed water dripping from the ceiling of your Seattle,WA, office or moisture on the ground on walls at work, the culprit could be a roof leak. This is a common issue in older facilities, but problems could arise anytime, anywhere. The faster you call a team of professionals to address this problem, the less likely you are to experience severe flooding and loss of productivity.

Initial Response

If you suspect a leaky roof is the reason for your water issues at work, look for certain signs to confirm your hunch. You can do the following to get started:

  • Look for missing shingles on the roof.
  • Inspect the area and observe other damages.
  • Consider the age of the roof and building.
  • Call a professional restoration company.

Toss It Out

After evaluating the water damage and the actual roof leak, the restoration specialists will start by throwing out wet materials from the roof. The team will also dispose of other items that may have water damage to prevent mold growth.

Dry and Clean

Before the cleanup crew can repair the problem, it will first thoroughly dry the affected area to ensure bacteria won’t develop. Next, the company will use potent, high-quality chemicals to sanitize any wet areas on and around the roof.

Replace and Restore

Once the team has removed wet materials, it will board up and tarp exposed areas in preparation for the final step: fixing and restoring the damaged roof. Whether this is a big job or a smaller task, the team will have the right tools and experience to handle it in a timely manner so you can resume your business to its fullest capacity.

A roof leak can start small but quickly grow to introduce a significant amount of water into the workplace. The best restoration companies will transform the damage into a new roof.

What is the fastest way to dry out an attic after rain damage?

4/25/2019 (Permalink)

Roof damage can lead to rain damage in an attic.

What is the fastest way to dry out an attic after rain damage?

If you have water damage in your property it is important to make sure that you contact SERVPRO of South/West Seattle immediately to expedite the drying process in your home or business. SERVPRO of South/West Seattle has the manpower and equipment to handle any size loss in Seattle.

Once on site, a team member from SERVPRO of South/West Seattle will carefully assess the situation to make sure that everything is taken care of from start to finish. We have the equipment to possibly see water damage in your attic that might be unseen to the human eye. Finding every bit of water is important to prevent secondary damages from occurring.

Once the sources have been found, SERVPRO of South/West Seattle will begin the drying process. We have various types of techniques to quickly and efficiently dry your property.Every job is uniquely different, so it is important to make sure SERVPRO of South/West Seattle can carefully assess the best way to handle your property.

If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us at anytime day or night. We are always here to help!

What is the best way to keep mold from growing after a lot of rain damage?

4/24/2019 (Permalink)

What is the best way to keep mold from growing after a lot of rain damage

After a heavy rain, you could experience some water damage from above in your home or business. Sometimes the water can get trapped and you might not see the damage, until some form of secondary damage begins.

SERVPRO of South/West Seattle is here to help if you suspect that you have any type of damage from rain or other storms in the Seattle area. Our team will carefully assess your property inch by inch. Once all of the water damage is spotted, our team will carefully remove all standing water. Upon removal of the water, SERVPRO of South/West Seattle can then place plenty of drying equipment to make sure the drying process happens quickly and efficiently. This will prevent secondary damage from occurring.

Throughout the process, SERVPRO of South/West Seattle is sure to take detailed and accurate notes. There will also be plenty of photos and documentation as well. This can be critical if needed by your insurance company.

If you have any questions, contact our office at anytime. We are always here to help, 24/7, 365 days a year.

Who is the best restoration company for cleaning up after heavy rain?

4/24/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of South/West Seattle is by far the best choice when it comes to choosing a restoration company in Seattle. Our team has the experience and manpower to help with any size or type of loss. Timing is extremely important with any type of storm event, and SERVPRO of South/West Seattle is committed to get on site quickly.

Once on site a member of our team will begin extracting all standing water. This is important to prevent mold and other types of microbial growth from occurring. Once all of the water is removed, SERVPRO of South/West Seattle can begin to place their signature green drying equipment.

After a few days of drying and monitoring, SERVPRO of South/West Seattle will remove all of the equipment and help with any necessary repairs. This can be a simple process from start to finish if the right company like SERVPRO is hired. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us at anytime. We are always here to help!

4 Steps To Repair a Storm-Damaged Roof

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has a specialized team in storm damage who are ready to restore your home

Four Steps That Will Guide You To Repair A Storm-Damaged Roof 

Hail, high winds and other adverse weather conditions can cause costly damage to the roof of a residence in Seahurst,WA. Here are four steps you can take to address roof damage.


1. Document the Damage

Extensive photographic or video evidence of hail, wind or other storm damage will be necessary if you plan to file an insurance claim for a damaged roof. It may also be necessary to demonstrate a history of regular inspections and maintenance to avoid liability on the basis of negligence.

2. Cover Any Breaches

Any damaged roofing materials or missing shingles may result in leaks that affect the attic, insulation and ceilings of a structure. As soon as signs of roof damage become apparent, you should make arrangements for mitigation. An all-in-one restoration service or roofing company can tarp over the damaged portions of the roof to protect against wind damage and leaks.

3. Arrange for Repair

Mitigation is only a temporary protective measure until repairs are possible. You should schedule roof repair as soon as possible to reduce the risk of further exterior and interior damage.

4. Restore Interior Damage

Water that leaks through a roof can damage building materials and the contents in a structure. This water is generally considered contaminated Category Two gray water. Cleanup should involve disinfection, tearing out saturated porous materials and thoroughly drying the affected area prior to reinstalling materials such as drywall or insulation.

These four steps will guide you through the quickest and most effective ways to fix a damaged roof after adverse weather. It is a good idea to check for roof damage after every severe storm. Regular professional inspections and maintenance can also reduce the risk of a leak or collapse due to cumulative damage. A restoration company that specializes in storm damage can quickly cleanup, restore and rebuild a residence located in Seahurst,WA.

What to do after flooding in Seattle?

4/19/2019 (Permalink)

  • What to do after flooding in Seattle?

If you experience flooding in Seattle, it is critical to get the fine men and women of SERVPRO of South/West Seattle on site immediately. Once on site the team can begin to extract the water to mitigate damages. If the water sits for too long it can begin to cause secondary damages, like mold and other forms of microbial growth.

Once the water has been extracted, SERVPRO of South/West Seattle can begin to place drying equipment throughout your property. Each day a member of SERVPRO of South/West Seattle’s team will be on site to monitor the progress. It is important to make sure accurate and we defined notes are being taken each day. If you have any questions on these days, it is a good time to ask. Our team always wants to be available to help.

After the drying is complete, SERVPRO of South/West Seattle can help with all repairs to complete the restoration process. It is nice to have a company that can help from start to finish.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to our team at anytime day or night. We have water damage professionals standing by at all hours of the day.

How to cleanup water damage after heavy rains

4/19/2019 (Permalink)

How to cleanup water damage after heavy rains

If you have water damage in your home after heavy Seattle rains, it is important to get a restoration company like SERVPRO of South/West Seattle on site immediately. Our team is quick to respond and begin all emergency service processes.

Once on site our team will look at all the angles to make sure that all of the water is extracted, SERVPRO of South/West Seattle will begin placing air movers and dehumidifiers. This equipment will be strategically placed to get the home dry as soon as possible. SERVPRO has invested a lot of resources in understanding the true science of drying to make sure your home gets back to pre loss condition as soon as possible.

After the home is dry, any and all repairs can be completed. SERVPRO of South/West Seattle has the capabilities of helping you from start to finish. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us at anytime. We are always here to help.

Reasons To Secure Your Damaged Property

4/18/2019 (Permalink)

To prevent further issues, it is smart to make sure your property is secure by blocking holes in the structure.

Fires typically cause extensive damage to the structures where they occur. Not only does a fire in your commercial property in Seattle, WA, often render the building unsafe, it can also leave it vulnerable to further problems. Once firefighters and other emergency personnel have cleared the scene, your building once again becomes your responsibility. To prevent further issues, it is smart to make sure your property is secure by installing a security fence and blocking holes in the structure.


Protection From Other People


There are several things that may occur in your unsecured building after a fire:

• Theft
• Vandalism
• Unauthorized occupation


While you might like to believe that no one would take advantage of a property owner who has clearly already had his or her share of bad luck, the fact is that others may see your damaged property as an opportunity for their own gain.

Securing your Building after a Fire

4/17/2019 (Permalink)

Additional security measures are often necessary to prevent further issues.

A security fence is barrier against further damage. It can help ensure that no one can get into your building when it is vulnerable and help protect what is left until repairs can be finished.

Additional security measures are often necessary to prevent further issues. After a fire, your building probably has extensive soot and water damage that may need to be mitigated by professional remediation specialists. To prevent extra damage from rain or debris, it can be necessary to place boards or shutters on any broken windows or significant holes in the outside surface of your structure. Guard against additional problems by protecting your building from the outside elements.



Coverage From Insurance Company


If you neglect to protect your building from other people or further damage, it is unlikely that your insurance company will cover the cost of those additional repairs. Depending on the extent of the secondary damage, you could face significant out-of-pocket expenses. Following suggested security protocols can save you money.

A commercial building fire loss can be significant enough by itself, but the problem can get even bigger without protections such as shutters or a temporary security fence. Save yourself extra time and costs by guarding your property against intruders and inclement weather.

What Causes Fire Sprinklers to Activate

4/16/2019 (Permalink)

Sprinklers undergo tests to prevent unintended activation. It is important to allow a sprinkler company to inspect every part of the sprinkler and review environmental conditions at the time of the activation. This can help to prevent the problem from recurring in the future.

There are several likely causes of Fire Sprinkler activation.

Fire sprinklers may turn on due to:

• Corrosion
• Damage
• Defects
• Freezing
• Fires


Clean Up and Restoration after the Fire Suppression Systems Activates.


Depending on how many sprinklers activated, extensive water damage may be present. SERVPRO of South/West Seattle will start with:

• Remove standing water
• Promote drying
• Restore or replace damaged materials

The sprinkler company should replace any sprinklers that didn’t work properly. If environmental conditions were the cause, it is crucial to prevent activation from happening again. Have sprinklers regularly inspected and maintained to reduce the likelihood of another malfunction.

If the sprinklers in a building activate, it is important to find out why. This can prevent future false alarms and reduce the risk of damage. If a sprinkler system or any other source causes flooding, rely on a mitigation and restoration firm in Seattle, WA.

How Do Experts Handle Commercial Water Damage?

4/16/2019 (Permalink)

If a broken pipe results in water damage it must be fixed by a plumber before damage can be mitigated.

Damage mitigation and restoration professionals have extensive experience with most types of water damage. Whether a broken pipe, leaky roof, sewer backup or flood causes damage at a building in Mercer Island,WA, experts can recommend the best water repair methods. Here are effective mitigation and restoration techniques for the most common causes of commercial water damage.

Damaged Pipes

A property owner must take several steps to fix a pipe break. More than one expert may be necessary to address the problem. The experts can include:

  • Plumbers
  • Mitigation specialists
  • Restoration professionals

A broken pipe can introduce a lot of water into a structure in a short amount of time. A plumber must fix the pipe before damage can be mitigated. Mitigation experts can then extract clean water from a supply line break and dry the affected area.

Fire Sprinkler Issues

A fire sprinkler system can cause water damage due to accidental activation or in response to fire. Water from a malfunction can be removed, and the area can be dried. If water mixes with soot, the affected area should be cleaned.

Roof Leaks

Water from a roof leak can damage a variety of building materials. Mitigation and restoration professionals can check the condition of the following components:

  • Ceilings
  • Drywall
  • Insulation

It may be necessary to tear out and replace porous materials saturated with contaminated water. The area must be completely dry before restoration.

Sewer Backups

A sewer backup or flooded toilet can release highly contaminated water. A plumber can clear the clog and cleanup professionals should immediately mitigate damage. This type of flooding can be extracted, and damaged materials should be torn out prior to disinfection.

If a broken pipe or any other incident results in water damage at a building in Mercer Island,WA, the owner or manager should arrange for water repair. Mitigation and restoration professionals can arrive on site within hours to assess the damage.

What To Do If Fire Sprinklers Accidentally Activate

4/15/2019 (Permalink)

Fire sprinkler systems are designed and extensively tested for reliability. A fire safety system may still accidentally activate and cause flooding in a commercial building in Seattle, WA. A property owner or facility manager can take measures to limit damage, identify the cause of activation, and ensure that the system will function in the event of a real fire.


The best ways to immediately minimize damage include:


• Turning off the water supply
• Removing as much water as possible
• Contacting a mitigation company

Depending on the severity of flooding, it may be advisable to contact the property insurance provider and initiate a claim. SERVPRO of South/West Seattle can provide an estimate.

Storm Damage

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti very hard and now is making its way to Florida, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. The governors in these areas have declared states of emergency and demanded everyone in evacuation zones leave at once before the deadly storm strikes. The extreme winds of a major hurricanes and storms can do a lot of damage. Hurricane Matthew’s winds are 140mph and destroying anything in its path.

Storm damage is not a joke. In the PNW we don’t see a lot of major storms; but when we do SERVPRO of  South & West Seattle is right there to help you. When dealing with storm damage immediate action is very crucial for your home or building. SERVPRO of  South & West Seattle is part of a national network of over 1,650 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teamsset in place throughout the country in times of large scale disasters.

What to do to be prepared

Here are some tips on what you can do:

Pre-storm:

  • Look for potential hazards on your property
  • Trees
  • Branches leaning over 45 degrees over your roof
  • Anything close to utility lines
  • Check your gutters, remove debris to prevent water damage

During the storm:

  • Follow all guidelines for evacuations
  • Don’t hesitate to get help
  • Stock up on non-perishable foods, drinks (water and drinks with electrolytes), gas, batteries, etc.
  • Prepare in advance

After the storm:

  • Stay clear from all utility lines, trees, hanging branches, unsecure areas
  • Evaluate what you can and can’t handle for cleanup
  • Call SERVPRO of South/ West Seattle for cleanup and emergency services

Let us be faster than any disaster and call SERVPRO of  South & West Seattle when catastrophe strikes.

When Fire Strikes

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

A few years back, a couple of college students were attempting to make pasta for a quick and easy dinner before a long night of studying. They put the boiling water on the stove but quickly realized they would need to go to the store for pasta sauce, garlic bread, and Parmesan cheese - the essentials for any pasta dinner. Without even thinking, the pair left their apartment and headed across the small college town to get to the store. What did they forget to do? Turn off the stove before leaving. By the time they got back merely twenty minutes later, their kitchen was in flames and the fire department was already on scene. After the two were cleared to enter, they found their kitchen was in black, smoky shambles, and the rest of their apartment had a gray residue staining the walls and ceiling.

Unfortunately, fire damage is much more common than most would hope. Simple tasks like remembering to turn off the stove or blow out a candle can be quickly forgotten in the haste to get somewhere. In the case of those two college students, they were relatively lucky. A few years ago in Pullman, WA, a similar instance happened; however, that couple wasn’t so lucky. The fire caught two other apartment buildings, and ended up destroying three in total.

What to do when Fire strikes.

Now, how does one come back from something like this? Smoke residue can be a pain to get off walls and ceilings. Smoke will seep into the smallest cracks in dressers, closets, and shelves so that even when everything is clean and back to normal, clothes, shoes, and furniture will still smell of smoke.

The easiest way to take care of this is to call SERVPRO of South & West Seattle to handle all of the cleaning - from walls to teddy bears. Not only do we have a large team of trained technicians who can come out and clean the walls and ceilings, but we will also pack up any belongings and bring them back to our facility to be cleaned and deodorized; leaving you with nothing but peace of mind that your items will be taken care of by our skilled employees.

There are also very simple things homeowners can to do help prevent smoke and fire damage. These may seem like no-brainers, but even the smallest slip of the mind can have devastating consequences:

  • Never burn candles on shelving or near a window.
    • The heat from the candle can catch the shelving on fire, and the air from outside could possibly fuel the small flame.
  • Make sure you have everything you need BEFORE you start cooking.
    • One of the most common ways to start a kitchen fire is from forgetting to turn off the oven or stove top.
  • Have windows open and a fan running when cooking
    • This will decrease the chances of a grease fire happening.

Now, what happens if a fire does start? If it’s small enough, there are a few ways to keep it from spreading:

  • Coil stove-top: if a small fire (a flame no bigger than your pinky nail) happens, turn off the stove and pour salt over the fire. NEVER use water. This could cause a bigger electrical fire.
  • Grease fire: Smother the pan with a lid and immediately put the pan in the oven. DO NOT turn on the hood fan, as that will draw the flames to a condensed area and could cause a larger fire.
  • Fire in the oven: the best way to put this out is with a fire extinguisher.
    • Note: Avoid any grease build-up in your oven by regularly cleaning

If a fire starts in your home and cannot be controlled by smothering, leave the house immediately and call 9-1-1. Smoke inhalation is just as dangerous as a fire itself, so do not linger if the fire is out of control.

Once the fire is out and the damage has been assessed, call SERVPRO of South & West Seattle at 425-225-2227 to schedule a cost-free estimate and start getting your life back to normal.

Flooded Basement

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

Harold and Jenny decided to go on vacation for a couple weeks. They did everything they thought they were supposed to: lock the doors, have someone watch their cats and water their plants, and make sure their heat was set to low so they weren’t charged for using it while they weren’t in town. However, one day the boy who was watching their cats and watering their plants noticed a small puddle of water in the basement. Of course, he thought nothing of it. He contacted Harold and Jenny, told them about the water, and went on his way. Fast forward to five days later the couple returned. Harold went to the basement to check out the “small” puddle of water. Turns out a pipe had cracked while they were on vacation, and now they were dealing with a flooded basement. That small puddle of water Jimmy had mentioned had turned into a small lake in the basement.

Some may say this situation is exaggerated, but this happens more often than people think. As the weather gets colder and many start taking vacations in warmer climates, the plumbing is often the first aspect of a house to suffer. When pipes aren’t run regularly, the small amounts of water left over in the pipes will collect in areas of the lines. If the temperature gets low enough, that water can freeze, which will cause the pipes to shrink and crack.

What to do if my Basement Floods

Now, some may think: “Well, what am I supposed to do when that happens?”

There are a few answers:

  • Turn off the water
    • This will stop the immediate problem of leaking water.
  • Call a plumber
    • Get that leak fixed so it doesn’t become a future problem
  • Call SERVPRO of South/ West Seattle

This is probably the last thing someone wants to think about right after coming back from a relaxing vacation, so there are also a few steps to take prior to leaving that can save a call to a plumber:

  • Keep the heat above 55 degrees in the house
    • This is something a lot of apartment complexes recommend for people who leave during winter breaks (usually college students), but this also applies to homeowners. This will reduce the likelihood of your pipes freezing.
  • Let the kitchen sink drip
    • If it’s an older home or older plumbing this will keep water from standing in one place
  • Make sure that parts of the home that may not be as well insulated (garage, basement, attic, etc) are well-heated.
    • Space heaters are a simple way to heat large rooms.
    • Note: This will probably increase your heating bill, but that is drop in the bucket compared to the price of a plumber and mitigation team. Not only will you be paying for the repairs, mitigation, and dry-out, but your family may also be displaced for a while, depending on the amount of damage.
    • Especially with colder nights coming, pipes in the garage, basement, or attic are sometimes the first to freeze up.

Remember that mold spores can start growing into colonies about 72 hours: waiting to call if there is water damage can only make the problem worse!

If you do have water damage in your home, please call SERVPRO of South & West Seattle for a cost-free estimate at (206) 932-9033 today! We can have a team out to your home to assess and mitigate the problem immediately.

SERVPRO of South/ West Seattle can help with Hoarding situation.

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

Hoarding Situation of a Residential home before cleanup.

Hoarding is actually categorized as a disorder of behavior where a person has the inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that end up eventually covering up all areas of their home or living space.

Hoarding is categorized as a biohazard due to the substances that might be found in your home, apartment, or commercial building. During hoarding situations there could be a wide range of things you could find from house supplies and magazines to hazardous materials and animal waste or remains. SERVPRO of South/ West Seattle trains our technicians to specialize in hoarding cleanup and restoration. Hoarding cleanup includes not just removal of items but also recovery and restoration of useful and valuable objects.

Following the cleanup and restoration process, our technicians will deodorize the scene so eliminate any and all existing odors that could have come from a number of sources. If more cleanup is necessary like, carpet cleaning, mold removal, or water damage; SERVPRO of South/ West Seattle will handle everything and continue to communicate with you throughout the process.

Beating Mold Growth With Quick Remediation

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

If mold is found, SERVPRO has the training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

Water damage can occur in a matter of moments. A pipe bursts, and you suddenly have a flood in your building. Your roof leaks, and you can begin to see ceiling tiles drip. From the minute excess moisture is present, you have a small window of time, usually within 24-48 hours, to fix the damage and dry the area before mold can start to grow. Here is a step-by-step rundown of how quickly you want to respond.

Call the Experts

Your best line of defense to prevent mold growth is to call water restoration experts as soon as you know you have water issues. They can arrive within hours to provide an assessment:

     • Location of the problem
     • Scope of the damage
     • Tasks involved in restoration
     • Cost estimate for job

As soon as you give them permission to do so, they can start the process of fixing your building.

Dry the Area

Mold loves moisture, so the first thing the technicians in Seattle,WA, are likely to do is to deprive it of a damp place to grow. They extract water so that the water damage doesn't spread. They take out all the saturated, unsalvageable material. Then they make sure every surface is dry before they start to rebuild.

Reinforce the Protection

Before they leave, experts will probably want to reinforce your building so that you are protected from future problems like the one that caused the damage. They may recommend mold prevention measures such as mold-resistant drywall or paint. It is also appropriate to ask technicians for tips on how you can provide a better seal to your building so that moisture stays outside and doesn't put you at risk for a mold problem.

If you have water damage in your commercial property, the best way to prevent secondary damage such as mold is to have the problem repaired as soon as you can. Stop mold growth before it has a chance to start.

24 hour response

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage can be devastating for your commercial building. Getting back into your company after it has been damaged by water is our first priority.

Flooding in your commercial building doesn’t have to be as disastrous as it may seem. Using the services of SERVPRO of South/West Seattle for flood damage cleanup. If your company suffers a broken pipe or if the fire suppression system malfunctions you will need our expert cleaning and extractions crews. Call us day or night because we are available 24 hours a day.

Getting back into your company after it has been damaged by water is our first priority. We rely on your business as much as you rely on ours. Let SERVPRO of South/West Seattle be there for you in your time of need. We extract the water and place drying equipment quickly, even if it’s in the middle of the night. We respond to all calls at all hours of the day.

3 Benefits of Electronic Claims Services for Insurance Agents

3/24/2019 (Permalink)

Benefits of Electronics Claim Services

As an insurance agent, you may find yourself handling multiple claims when a natural disaster, such as flooding, hits Seahurst,WA. Creating and processing each insurance claim and servicing your commercial clients in the most efficient way can be a challenge, especially in an area where you are the only representative available. Connecting with an electronic claims service via a storm damage and restoration service can help you handle an influx of claims, no matter their number.

1. Instant Access to Information

Having direct access to claim information, no matter where you are, can help you keep multiple files in order and improve the way you organize them. Most information centers offer mobile access as well, so you can view individual claim results when meeting with a client or an on-site insurance adjuster. This could help you be more productive, even when you are not in the office.

2. View Claim Changes at a Glance

Some disasters, such as flooding, can cause a variety of damages that might change or modify an insurance claim over time. When restoration agents create a repair estimate, they will upload these changes so they can be viewed instantly. These updates may allow you to serve your clients in a more efficient manner, which can be valuable when you are assisting more than one business owner in the area.

3. Compare Response Times for Clients

If an insurance client wants you to help him or her find a storm damage and restoration company, such as SERVPRO, you can use the electronic claims center’s dashboard to compare response times and other data with similar services to discover the best local or regional results. This can help you feel confident about the information you offer a commercial client who is looking for restoration services in the wake of a flood.

Electronic claims services can offer you a variety of benefits as an insurance representative working in Seahurst,WA. From helping a client file an insurance claim to finding suitable restoration services for a small business owner, a digital claims information center can help you handle any job with efficiency and confidence.

How To Handle Water-Damaged Building Materials

3/14/2019 (Permalink)

Swelling subfloor after water damage in an Harbor Island, WA home

Three Key Tips for Handling Swelling Wood After Water Damage

One of the most difficult wet materials to handle is wood. Because of its porosity, wood tends to absorb a lot of water and become distorted. Read on for three key tips for handling swelling wood after extensive water damage.

1) Know the Different Types of Wood Damage

At first glance, it may seem like the damage to your home’s wooden materials is irreversible, but depending on their location, they may be salvageable. The way you would handle damaged wood in your cabinets or your subfloor, for example, differs from the way you would handle drywall and real wood. Your cabinets and subfloor would most likely need to be replaced, but fortunately, drywall and real wood can be dried and saved.

2) Stop It at the Source

A common cause of flooding in homes is water pipe damage. Your pipes, also known as your home’s supply line, carry water or gas from behind your walls to your fixtures and appliances.
Damage to these crucial pipes can come about from clogging, corrosion, or freezing, as just a few examples. Unfortunately, pipe failure often leads to substantial flooding and building material damage. If you encounter swelling wood or similar damage, it’s important to fix the structural issue rather than treating the symptoms of it. This will save you money and time in the long run.

3) Get Help!

With the proper equipment, water damage repair specialists in Harbor Island,WA, can accurately assess the extent of the damage to your home. From there, they can decide on the appropriate next steps to take, such as water extraction, dehumidification, and water pipe repair. Water damage is tricky for non-professionals to deal with, so it’s safer and more cost-effective in the long-term to enlist professionals with the right tools and experience.

Wet building materials are an all-too-common occurrence that can arise from a number of situations. An especially difficult part of dealing with water damage in your home is figuring out how to repair swelling wood. With some patience and help, though, you’ll get your home back to its dry, normal state before you know it.

How To Prevent Mold Spores From Spreading in Your Home

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Regularly wipe away moisture to keep mold from growing around the windows

If you find mold hiding in one of the corners of your home in Mercer Island,WA, it’s time to act quickly. Mold spores are notorious for spreading far and wide in dark, damp areas of your home in as little as 48 hours. Once you discover the mold contamination, your first step is to call your local mold remediation services. While waiting for the professionals to come, here are a few ideas that can help you minimize damage in the long run.

Control the Moisture

The best thing you can do to prevent mold from spreading is to identify where the fungi’s stemming from. Undesirable water leaks or puddles are often the culprits. Common sources of moisture include the following:

  • Roof leaks
  • Humid basements
  • Condensation
  • Steam from bathrooms
  • Improper ventilation

Once you’ve identified the source, you can eliminate the moisture by fixing leaks, wiping up puddles, and opening the windows. Getting rid of the humid, damp atmosphere can stop the mold contamination from spreading. However, don’t turn on the HVAC. Airflow within the house can increase the risk of spores spreading.

Eliminate Contaminated Items

After purging the root of the problem, it’s time to get rid of the aftermath. While it’s important not to disturb the fungi and spread airborne spores, you can throw away any items that are contaminated and likely to spread the mold. Porous items such as carpet or clothing can be thrown away immediately. If you have items of significance such as family pictures or important documents, freeze them to keep the mold inactive. A restoration professional can help you clean and sanitize your valuables later.

Containing the mold as much as possible can make the remediation process easier. To prevent mold contamination even further, turn the temperature of your house down and keep an eye on the humidity levels. Avoid disturbing the mold spores and wait for a professional to come restore your home.

For Large Losses, SERVPRO Is on the Case

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

Fire loss in a Seattle, WA home

At some point, most Seattle,WA, homeowners will experience some type of incident or mishap in their house. They can handle many of these minor issues on their own, but what happens when something severe such as a flood or fire produces catastrophic loss? This is precisely when you need an experienced professional to take over. SERVPRO fits the profile as the ideal disaster relief company. These experts have what it takes to tackle disasters of any size.

What Makes SERVPRO the Best?

In the aftermath of a fire or flooding, as an insurance agent you don’t want to trust cleanup, rebuilding and replacement to just anyone. SERVPRO is equipped with what you’re looking for in a high-quality disaster response team.

  • They have resources.
  • They have a proven track record of success.
  • They use best practices and techniques to clean up after large losses.
  • They have the skills and customer service you need.

Biggest Problems

Chances are, if a major storm or fire affects your client’s home, it may affect others in the areas as well. When it comes to catastrophic loss, SERVPRO has the ability to handle even the most challenging situations. This trusted disaster restoration company has a nationwide presence so that it can send technicians from several locations to your client’s home and neighborhood. This helps ensure a faster, more thorough response to the most significant problems.

True Professionals

SERVPRO is one of the most reputable names in the business because the entire staff prides itself in doing first-rate work. The team will start by inspecting the storm damage or damage from smoke and fire. Technicians will then decide what they need to replace altogether and what they can clean, repair and salvage. They use the most up-to-date techniques and equipment to ensure your client’s home is as close to the preloss state as possible.

SERVPRO is your top choice to help your insured recover from catastrophic loss. Call your local office during your time of need.

5 Methods to Avoid Urban Flooding

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

5 Methods to Avoid Urban Flooding

Flooding is an all too common form of natural disaster faced by cities around the country, including Des Moines,WA. While humans are unable to stop Mother Nature, taking proactive measures toward flood prevention can help towns and communities avoid some of the major damage and cleanup. Here are five tactics that urban areas can employ to prevent catastrophic flooding.

1. Renovate Drainage Systems

Many cities have combined sewer systems, where rainwater and wastewater travel a single pipe to the sewage treatment area. This means that excessive water from torrential rains or storms can cause an overflow. Revamping this system to include a second pipe can remedy this issue. While this can be an expensive endeavor, the money saved from avoiding flood cleaning and repairs can make it worthwhile.

2. Maintain Sewer Systems

Sewer systems can easily be compromised by debris, waste and tree roots. Rust and corrosion are also common culprits in causing issues. Regular cleaning and routine maintenance can prevent problems that may ultimately contribute to flooding.

3. Preventative Structures

Seawalls, levees, dams and floodwalls are designed to hold back or retain floodwaters. These barriers can be very effective forms of flood prevention in those cities that are located near a body of water.

4. Permeable Pavement

Most cities and towns have concrete or asphalt sidewalks and streets. These materials are not absorbent, and rainwater can easily overwhelm drainage systems and cause flooding. A number of porous surfaces can be used instead to allow water to infiltrate, eliminating runoff and controlling water from storms.

5. Increase Vegetation

There are many natural defenses against flooding, and vegetation is a highly effective one. Trees can hold water in leaves and bark, and their canopies can slow the flow of water until it evaporates or is absorbed by the soil. Grass and shrubs combat erosion and reduce the force of floodwaters.

Flood prevention strategies can help towns and communities dodge some of the damage caused by water, but when disaster strikes, emergency restoration specialists are available to assist in cleanup and rebuilding.

Three Types of Smoke Alarms and How to Maintain Them

2/4/2019 (Permalink)

Alarm with replaceable battery

How Alarms are Powered and How to Maintain Each Type

Fire alarms are important safety tools for your Seahurst,WA home. They can warn you when a fire starts and, in some cases, allow you to prevent significant fire damage. Not all alarms are made the same way, so it is important that you know how your alarms are powered and how to maintain each type.

1. Alarms That Use Replaceable Batteries
When you think of a smoke alarm, you will likely think of this kind first. These alarms use a nine-volt battery that needs to be replaced at least once a year. The alarm will start beeping as a reminder when the battery starts to run low. When this happens, you should replace the battery right away to ensure that the alarm continues to work properly.

2. Alarms That Use Non-Replaceable Batteries
If you have a newer smoke detector in your home, then it might use a non-replaceable lithium battery instead. These batteries will last for up to ten years and you should not try to replace them. Instead, you will need to replace the entire alarm when it is time. The manual that comes with your alarm should have instructions on how to determine when you need to purchase a replacement.

3. Alarms That Use Electricity
Some alarms are connected to your home’s electrical system and do not require a battery to function. However, even if your smoke alarm is hooked up to the electricity, it should always have a backup battery in case of a power outage. You should replace this battery once a year, the same way you would with a battery-powered alarm. All types of alarms need to be tested monthly and should be completely replaced at least once every ten years.

No matter what type of smoke alarm you have in your home, you should be sure to maintain it properly by replacing the batteries or the alarms themselves when necessary. Fire damage restoration services are available in case of damage to your home, but keeping your alarms working can save your life.

Smoke Damaged Electronics: Why You Should Always Call a Professional

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

A regular or electrical fire can damage electronics

Smoke Damaged Electronics

An electrical fire, or any fire, can leave your electronics in disarray. While it is tempting to turn everything on and see if it still works, it is best to avoid powering on most items. There are elements of a fire that can be hazardous to your electronics, and that damage may become irreversible if powered on. It is best to leave the cleaning and testing to the professionals and avoid these common smoke damage pitfalls.

1. Avoiding Magnetic Charges

Though it may not be common knowledge, smoke does have a magnetic charge. This charge can short your laptops circuit board, or damage other machinery and appliances. To protect your laptop, you should take it in for a professional computer cleanup, letting the staff know about your concerns. Best case scenario, they save your computer; worst case, maybe they salvage your files.

2. Dealing with Black Film

A regular and electrical fire can leave a smoke residue on your electronics called black film. This film infiltrates the internal components of your items, insulating them and making them vulnerable to overheating. It is necessary to dismantle all parts and thoroughly clean them.

3. Removal of Acidic Soot

In addition to magnetic charges and black film, the remnants of soot on your electronics are acidic which can lead to degradation. This means that if the soot is not adequately cleaned off, your item’s life span will diminish, likely substantially.

4. Cleaning with Appropriate Equipment

While most businesses employ janitorial staff, it is important to note that electronics cleaning is a specialized field. Many janitors do not have the necessary tools or experience to clean electronics after a fire. You will likely want to hire a disaster restoration specialist in the Seattle,WA, area.

A regular or electrical fire can damage electronics. While the fire itself can be destructive, it is the smoke damage that does the most harm to these items. The intricate components and the variety of smoke, film and soot, make hiring a professional most beneficial.

How to Make a Water Damage Claim

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

Call your insurance representative in Mercer Island,WA and discuss the incident in detail

Do you ever pay your monthly insurance premium and cringe at the amount of money you spend? You’re not the only Mercer Island,WA, homeowner to stress out about these costs. On the other hand, with proper coverage, you can spare yourself grief and much more financial stress in the event of bursting pipes or other issues that leads to flooding at home. If water has damaged something in your house, you must understand the claims process so you can get the help you need.

Key Points to Know

You don’t want to have to make a claim for water damage, but you’re thankful you have that protection if something does go wrong. To alleviate your stress during this already anxious time, considering the following:

  • Know the extent of your coverage. What does your policy cover?
  • Document the type and extent of the damage.
  • Contact the insurance company as soon as possible.

Get Familiar With Your Policy

You have homeowner’s insurance for a situation just like this, so put it to good use. However, policies can differ, so it’s crucial you know what yours will cover and not cover. Find out whether your policy will cover the cost to fix a broken pipe and other problems that have occurred due to deterioration over time. These are often your own responsibility. However, more disastrous situations such as sewer backups or storm-related problems are usually covered.

Keep Records

Whether bursting pipes cause flooding in your home or whether the problems come from Mother Nature, you should take photos of all the affected areas and what caused the water damage. Also, describe in writing how the flooding occurred and what it damaged.

Get in Touch With the Insurance

Call your insurance representative and discuss the incident in detail. At this point, you can formally file a claim and ask any questions. This is also the ideal time to contact a disaster cleanup company.

Not sure whether your insurance will bursting pipes in your house? Follow these steps to make sure you properly file a claim.

3 Tips To Prevent Mold After Water Damage

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

Control moisture and humidity in your Harbor Island,WA home

3 Tips To Prevent Mold

Dealing with water damage in your home in Harbor Island,WA, sometimes makes it seem like a mold problem is inevitable. It may be easier to prevent mold than you think, though. You don’t have to resign yourself to recurring patches of fungus on your walls, carpet and ceiling. Follow these tips to keep these issues at bay.

1. Maintain Optimal Air Flow

Stagnant air can contribute to mold growth. If you do not have sufficient air flow in your home, mold spores are more likely to settle on surfaces. You are also more likely to have moisture problems, which exacerbate mold issues by giving it sustenance. Make sure that the areas of your home that are prone to excess moisture, such as the laundry room, kitchen and bathroom, are properly ventilated.

2. Pursue Quick Remediation

If your pipes spring a leak, a fast response is the best way to prevent secondary damage such as mold. Call mold remediation experts immediately whenever your home has water damage. It only takes a couple of days for spores to settle and multiply on surfaces in your home. The quicker you can make the environment less hospitable for fungus growth, the more likely you are to prevent the problem.

3. Keep Moisture Levels Down

Mold loves moisture, so it logically follows that minimizing moisture in your home can help with mold prevention. There are two main ways to do this. First, make sure you keep the humidity level at 45% or below. You can purchase a humidity meter at most hardware stores. Second, dry all affected items thoroughly any time you have a spill or leak. Allowing moisture to remain on surfaces in your home is an invitation to mold.

You may not be able to prevent water damage, but you don’t have to resign yourself to further issues such as mold infestation. Hire specialists who are faster to any size disaster to keep your home free from secondary damage.

Insurance Claims and Rate Hikes: Should You File?

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Drying a flooded home in Seattle, Wa

When something happens on your property, you likely wonder whether or not it is worth filing an insurance claim. The general understanding is that filing creates a rate hike, and sometimes that hike may price you out of your policy. However, is every claim created equal, and are there ever times that you shouldn’t file?

Determine Responsibility

While a rate hike is likely part of any claims process, a lot of weight is put on the idea of responsibility. For example, if something happens that is entirely out of your control, then the hikes associated with the claim may be minimal. On the other hand, if it is proven that you were negligent, then rate increases will likely be severe because they are associated with the risk you present to your insurer.

Type of Claim

Beyond responsibility, the effect on rates is dependent on the type of insurance claim. For example, there are varying degrees of water damage. A home flood caused by sustained pipe damage is going to cause a higher increase than a sudden burst pipe.

The Cost of Filing

It is important that you consider the cost of filing a claim. Most claims can result in a 20 to 40 percent increase and, depending on your insurer, may stay in effect for two to four years. Also, if the claim is considered high risk, your insurer may drop your coverage, requiring you to acquire high-risk policies.

Should You File

Whether or not you file is entirely up to you. If the damage is your responsibility, meaning you are at fault, then filing could result in the loss of coverage. Therefore, it may be better to resolve the issue on your own by hiring an emergency restoration company in the Seattle,WA, area. However, if the incident is an unforeseen event, then a claim is possibly your best option.

The insurance claim process often causes anxiety because homeowners are concerned with the effect it will have on their policy. However, the crucial thing to understand is that your insurance is there to protect you from unforeseen expenses and disasters, so use it when you need it.

How Do House Fires Typically Start?

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Plugging in too many cords in one outlet can cause fire damage

It’s a nightmare scenario that no homeowner wants to think about: a house fire causing major damage or harm. The effects of a home fire can be devastating and even deadly. Fortunately, there are ways you can help prevent these awful situations in your Mercer Island,WA, house. When you understand some of the leading residential fire causes, you can take appropriate measures to keep you and your family safe.

Electrical Fires

You rely on electricity in your house every day of your life. It powers your appliances, your computers and forms of entertainment. It’s hard to imagine living without this convenience. However, electrical issues can also start fires. Here are some typical ways this occurs:

  • Plugging in too many cords in one outlet
  • Faulty wiring or faulty fuse boxes
  • Old, outdated appliances
  • Overheated space heaters

Smoking

If you smoke, take great care to dispose of cigarettes or cigars properly. Better yet, smoke outdoors away from your home and away from brush. Cigarette butts and ash can easily fall onto carpet, furniture, paper and other items. Once a home fire starts, it can spread quickly. If you choose to smoke indoors, use an ashtray and never leave a lit cigarette unattended.

Cooking

Many fires begin in the kitchen over a hot stove or in an oven. Not only can these issues lead to expensive fire cleaning, but they can cause extensive damage. Often, people will let pans get too hot or may even leave a stove or oven on. Keep a close eye on cookware when you’re baking or cooking, especially if grease is involved.

Candles

People love scented and other types of candles for the ambiance they can create. Regrettably, they’re also culprits for fires at home. If you light candles, keep them away from flammable materials.

Any of these problems could arise in your house and cause a home fire. While a restoration team can help clean up the damage, it’s better to know the causes of fires and avoid them altogether.

Cleaning Up After Sewer Damage

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Drying and dehumidifying damaged area in a Harbor Island, WA commercial building

Cleaning Up After Sewer Damage

A flood in your Harbor Island,WA, building can leave your business in awful shape. If you've had damage due to a sewer backup or flooded toilet, it's possible that your furniture, business equipment or important documents have become saturated, and that areas have been exposed to dangerous viruses or bacteria. It's important to enlist the help of a professional water damage restoration company to effect emergency repairs and do the sewer cleanup. Following the steps outlined below, their team of experts can use specialized skills and equipment to get your building back to its original condition.

1. Inspect and Assess

The sewer cleanup process begins with the water mitigation experts making a thorough inspection and assessing the damage. The water is tested to check for contaminants, and the exact nature of the damage determined. Based on these results, the water professionals determine the best techniques and equipment to employ.

2. Remove Contents

Any items, including office equipment, furniture and appliances, are removed from the water-damaged area. Using a variety of specialized methods, salvageable items are completely dried, cleansed and disinfected, and electronic items are restored.

3. Removal of Water

After all items have been removed from the affected areas of the building, water removal can begin. Various pieces of high-efficiency equipment, including trash pumps, sump pumps and truck-mounted extractors, are used to take any excess water out of the building. All remaining contaminated materials, such as drywall and carpeting, are removed. Specially formulated cleaners are used to eliminate any remaining contaminants.

4. Dehumidifying and Drying

After all excess water is removed and the area disinfected, the technicians then completely remove any moisture that remains. Heavy-duty dehumidifiers and air movers are brought in to do the job.

5. Final Restoration

Once everything has been thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and dried, the process of restoring the damaged areas can begin. This process can vary considerably depending on the extent of the damage, ranging from some drywall or carpet replacement to reconstruction of entire sections of the building.

Following the procedures outlined above, a sewer cleanup company can get your business back to normal, safely, quickly and efficiently.

Does My Commercial Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Ceiling mold damage in Seahurst,WA

Hurricanes, flash floods and even severe thunder storms can leave your Seahurst,WA, business struggling with water damage and mold. One of the first things that comes to mind is whether your commercial insurance policy will cover all or part of the damage. Here’s a primer to help you understand just what you may face when trying to get coverage following mold damage.

There are thousands of types of mold, which is defined as a fungus that thrives in continually moist environments. Most types don’t cause trouble. But some forms can create problems including

  • Discomfort among those who have mold allergies
  • Damage to wood, drywall, furniture and other materials
  • A musky, unpleasant smell

These are just a few of the things that make mold such a pain that business owners typically want to remove it immediately. Unfortunately, mold removal can be costly, so insurance help with the bill is ideal.

What Does Insurance Cover

Starting in the 1990s, many commercial insurance providers started adding mold exclusions. Before you sign up for a policy, or before you face mold damage, take a look at their approach to mold. Check for exclusions that refer to fungus. Fungus exclusions are common and apply to loss or damage caused by the presence, growth or spread of fungus, wet or dry rot or bacteria. This typically includes mold or mildew as well as their toxins, spores and even scents.

Fortunately, there are still limited coverage commercial insurance policies out there. If you have one, be aware that while they may cover fungus, they often require that it be the result of a specified cause of loss. Other times they may only provide reimbursement if flood coverage is specified.

Mold remediation can be costly, but with the right mold insurance coverage, you can keep more of your money in your pocket. Do your research when choosing or changing your insurance to lessen the expense.

Creating an Office Fire Escape Strategy: 3 Factors To Consider

11/20/2018 (Permalink)

Create a fire escape plan for your Seahurst,WA business

Creating a Fire Escape Plan

Imagining the possibility of a fire breaking out at your Seahurst,WA, business is not very pleasant. However, preparing for such an emergency can reduce the risk of injury to your employees and customers, and one way to do so is to create a fire escape plan. Before you draw up your map, there are a few factors to consider that can make it more efficient and reduce the time it takes for everyone to evacuate the building.

1. What Are the Fire Risk Factors?

Understanding your office building’s fire risks can help you create a viable escape plan. For example, if your company occupies one floor and there are others either above or below you, consider where a fire might be most likely to start. Restaurants and manufacturing businesses both carry a considerable fire risk, so it is a good idea to keep the environment in mind when creating your evacuation plan.

2. How Many Exits Are There?

During a fire, the route to the main exit may be blocked by smoke or flames. To ensure everyone can leave the building by an alternate route, note all the available exits when you draw up an emergency escape plan and detail how they can be reached during a fire. Have smoke and fire damage cleanup service technicians tour the building with you and ask whether there are enough exits to accommodate the building’s maximum occupancy.

3. What Kind of Protocol Can Be Used?

When you create a fire escape plan, consider how to put it into action if a blaze should break out. For instance, if you have employees on different floors, then invest in fire protocol training across the board to ensure all employees knows how to react if the fire alarm goes off and that they know how to reach the nearest exit.

Remember to give yourself plenty of time to creating a viable fire escape plan for your Seahurst,WA, business. Careful planning can reduce chaos and panic during such an emergency.

4 Ways To Prevent Mold Damage After Flooding

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

24 hour standing water in a Seahurst,WA residence means that mold may already started to grow

Prevent Mold From Becoming A Serious Problem

Flooding frequently leads to mold growth, as fungus requires moisture in order to grow and multiply. Homeowners should take immediate action to mitigate primary water damage and prevent secondary damage after a flood occurs in Seahurst,WA. Here are four ways to prevent mold from becoming a serious problem.

1. Drain Water As Soon As Possible

Standing water can lead to extensive damage in your home and significantly increase the risk of mold. Homeowners can start this process using simple equipment such as buckets, but flood mitigation professionals usually rely on pumps to drain water.

2. Start the Cleanup Process

Flood water is considered Category Three water or black water, which means that it contains potentially dangerous contaminants and even sewage. After all of this water has been removed, the affected area should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Remove debris and kill off bacteria that can facilitate the mold growth or pose additional risks to occupants.

3. Remove Porous Building Materials

Porous materials such as carpet or drywall will probably need to be torn out and replaced during the mitigation process to prevent mold from starting to grow. Restoration experts can help homeowners determine whether it is worth the time and money to attempt to clean or repair damaged contents or materials. More often than not, replacement is the best option.

4. Completely Dry the Area

Mold cannot flourish in a dry environment. Professionals may use commercial- or industrial-grade equipment such as air movers and dehumidifiers to speed drying and draw moisture out of semi-porous surfaces.

These four measures may reduce the extent of mold growth following a flood in Seahurst,WA. If a residence has been exposed to standing water for 24 hours or longer, mold may already have started to grow. A water damage mitigation and restoration company can ensure that conditions do not remain conducive to mold.

Ruined to Rescued: Three Steps To Save a Wet Carpet

11/1/2018 (Permalink)

Wet carpet can be saved. Learn how!

If you’ve ever had a pipe break in your home, you know that the aftermath can be as costly as it is messy. Before you get out your credit cards, you should know in most cases it’s possible to rescue a waterlogged carpet!

As long as the source of your flood is clean, following a few simple steps can save you a lot of money.

Stem the Flow

The first step to rescuing your rugs after a pipe break is to make sure the water has stopped flowing as soon as possible. The less water that comes in contact with your floor, the easier your floor will be to save. Locate the source of the leak and turn off the water as soon as you can.

Start Blotting

Once you’ve stopped the flow of the water, it’s time to start drying your floors. Gather as many towels as you can find and start blotting! Lay the dry towels over the wet area and apply pressure to soak up as much water as you can. Once the towel is saturated, replace it with a dry one and keep going. If your carpet is white or light in color, just be careful not to use brightly colored towels that may bleed dye and cause staining.

Crank the Air

While you are blotting, get dry air flowing through the room. If it’s not humid outside, open doors and windows to create a cross breeze through the room. You can also crank up your air conditioner or turn on your central heating system. If you have a dehumidifier in your home, using it will also help.

Taking these three easy steps can put you and your rugs well on the way to restoration. In the event of a serious flood, you may want to contact an expert remediation specialist in Seattle, Washington who can help prevent odors or mold. When you have a pipe break, the key is to move quickly to avoid lasting damage to your carpets and floors.

The 4 Don’ts of Water Damage

10/26/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage is caused by broken pipes

List of Don’ts of Water Damage

A broken pipe creates many concerns for homeowners, and while it is instinctual to protect your belongings, that instinct can lead to injury or further damage. The list of don’ts below may help you minimize health risks while mitigating concerns over your belongings.

1. Do Not Use Electronics

While most people are preoccupied with the immediate risks to property, they may ignore the dangers of submerged outlets and water-soaked wiring. Plugging in or trying to use electrical appliances and tools may come with the threat of shock and electrocution. If you are uncertain of the safety of your home, you can seek help from a disaster specialist in the Seattle,WA, area who can assess your property for any potential hazards.

2. Do Not Ignore Damp Fabrics

While a broken pipe can be overwhelming, you shouldn’t let it distract you from other threats to your property. Ignoring damp fabrics, for instance, can lead to mold growth, and it may also cause irreversible damage to hardwood floors and other surfaces. It is essential to remove wet materials and hang them somewhere to dry.

3. Do Not Leave Wet Dyed Items on Floors

Items like books and magazines may also stain and distress floors, countertops and furniture. Their colorful bindings and pictures can bleed deep into porous surfaces if left to soak and dry on their own. Also, as paper is a porous substance, it can be a source of mold and mildew growth.

4. Do Not Handle Items without Protection

The buildup of water in home can also lead to contamination, depending on the origin of the pipes. For instance, flooding from sewer lines can fill a house with black water, which is water conducive to bacteria growth. Unless you know the water classification, assume that water is contaminated and that you must wear protective clothing to handle any affected items.

A broken pipe presents many potential hazards for homeowners, and while it is easy to know what you should do, like removing excess water, it is less obvious what you should avoid. The above list of don’ts may help you avoid risks while mitigating your home repair.

3 Power Backup Options for Businesses

10/26/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial generator in Mercer Island,WA

Power Backup Options

A power outage may slow down business, but it does not mean a commercial property must completely shut down. Power backup equipment can protect and sustain the core systems of a company. These three power backup options can provide electricity and prevent damage to computers and servers in offices in Mercer Island,WA.

1. Power Generator and Fuel Supply

Most business owners should consider a commercial standby generator. Three-phase designs have fortified components that provide more power than manual consumer-grade generators. Smaller businesses may be able to use a single-phase generator. Calculate your power needs over various periods of time to choose the right equipment.

Standby generators can be powered by diesel, natural gas, or propane. A smaller portable generator may run on gasoline. Operate a consumer-grade manual gas generator outside to prevent carbon monoxide from accumulating in a building.

2. Automatic Transfer Switch

An ATS monitors the supply of power and will automatically activate a standby generator in the event of a power outage. The ATS will also transfer the power source back to the utility and shut down the generator as soon as the power turns back on.

3. Uninterruptable Power Supply

A UPS is a useful solution for preserving data and functionality for computer systems and servers. This component sustains power to systems for a short period to cover the transfer between utility power to generator power and back again.

Regardless of which type of generator and backup equipment you choose, you can safely operate electrical equipment and core systems during a power outage. Make sure that you have enough fuel to meet your needs for at least several days in case of a severe storm or prolonged outage. Keep in mind that most fuel types have a limited shelf life. Contact a commercial damage restoration company if a property sustains damage during a storm in Mercer Island,WA.

The 3 Best Candle Alternatives

10/26/2018 (Permalink)

Candles can cause a large number of fire to your Harbor Island,WA home

Candle Alternatives

Candles cause a large number of house fires. Children or pets can accidentally overturn a candle and ignite nearby combustible materials. These fires also frequently start when open flames are left unattended in a bedroom after the person who lit the candle falls asleep. Here are three flameless candle alternatives that you should consider to produce similar mood lighting effects or scents.

1. Electric Candles

Battery-operated candles are perfect for safer use for decorative purposes or as nightlights in the bedroom. These candles may be designed to flicker or disperse a scent. You can find an electric alternative for most colors, styles, and fragrances of candles, whether you desire a pillar, taper, or tea light look. You can place electric candles almost anywhere without worrying about starting a fire.

2. Christmas or Fairy Lights

Strings of lights are a safe way to add a magical touch indoors or outdoors with a lower fire risk. Use these candle alternatives to create a low-light look when decorating a room or for a holiday. You can select single- or multi-colored strings of lights and choose from standard bulbs or models with ultra-efficient LED bulbs. It is affordable to replace individual bulbs or an entire strand.

3. Candle Warmers

If you have standard scented candles that you would like to enjoy more safely, try pairing them with a candle warmer. These devices are available as low-profile bases or lamp-style designs. You can also spread a scent using oil or wax warmers or reed diffusers for a different look.

These candle alternatives allow you to create lighting looks you love or enjoy the scent of standard wax candles. All of these options also significantly reduce the risk of starting a candle fire. If a fire does break out at your home in Harbor Island,WA, schedule a consultation with a residential fire and smoke restoration service.

Mold Remediation

11/17/2016 (Permalink)

A couple months ago, Erika had a small leak in her basement powder room sink. She cleaned up the water, had a plumber out to fix the plumbing, and figured that was that. However, one day while doing laundry, she decided to use that room. Something seemed a little off. The room didn’t smell like the apple cinnamon air freshener that she had put in there. In fact, it smelled damp - as though the water had never been cleaned up. She called her local SERVPRO, who was able to take moisture readings in the walls.

It turns out that not only did the water from the leak a couple months ago soak into the walls, but it had seeped halfway up the wall! Combined with the fairly moist environment already present in the basement, Erika was looking at a lot more damage than she had originally feared. The technician pulled back the baseboard, and found colonies of black mold growing! In the end, half of the wall had to be demolition, and Erika ended up having to pay not only for the SERVPRO services, but also the services of a general contractor put her bathroom back together.

Mold is such a tricky microscopic beast, because the spores themselves are in the air around us at all times. They float through the air unnoticed by all (except those who are allergic) until they are exposed to water. Here in the Pacific Northwest, mold is especially prevalent because of the amount of rain we receive annually. The constant damp air combined with a water loss in a house is a perfect breeding ground for mold.

There are a few ways to help reduce or prevent mold from growing in your home, however:

  • Make sure that all windows are air-tight.
    • A faulty seal in a window, especially in the winter, can allow moisture in and give mold room to grow.
  • If there is water damage, have someone out immediately to start drying.
    •  It takes only 72 hours for mold to start presenting itself.
  • Ensure that laundry rooms are properly vented.
    • The moist heat from the dryer is a wonderful place for mold.
  • Ensure that crawl spaces, garages, and attics are properly insulated.

Even though mold may not be 100% preventable, it is 100% removable. If you think you may have mold present in your house, call SERVPRO of South & West Seattle at 425-225-2227 for a cost-free estimate today.

Vandalism Cleanup

11/17/2016 (Permalink)

Residential house vandalized by teenagers!

One thing about SERVPRO of South & West Seattle is that we are a “one stop shop”. Not only do we specialize in fire and water damage restoration and cleanup; we specialize in vandalism and graffiti cleanup!

In some areas of the PNW vandalism can happen on a reoccurring basis and require a lot of time set aside to cleanup, paint over, or tear down the damaged area. As we know vandalism can range from small pranks like throwing eggs at someone’s front yard to completely destroying someone’s house from breaking windows or spray painting on their private property. Luckily, SERVPRO of South & West Seattle specializes in both minor and large vandalism and graffiti cleanup and restoration.

In addition to removing spray-paint on walls we can also clean:

 

Don’t worry when someone intrudes and tries to destroy your personal property, SERVPRO of South & West Seattle will act fast and efficient to restore your personal items and remove all vandalism and destruction from your home or commercial building.

Call us today at (425) 255-2227 for any questions or concerns!

Quality Carpet Cleaning

11/17/2016 (Permalink)

When it comes to cleaning your home or commercial building you want the highest-quality possible. Rely on SERVPRO of Renton to provide you with your needs and wants in a cleaning service. SERVPRO of Renton specializes in carpet, upholstery, ceilings, floors, walls, drapes, and blinds cleaning.

As a company we offer a number of cleaning options based off of your type of carpets, upholstery, blinds, etc. Our cleaning services address moderate and heavy soil conditions in your carpets. 

Our specialized cleaning methods are:

  • Bonnet Cleaning
    •  A less aggressive method for short piled carpets.
  • Hot Water Extraction
    •  A deeper cleaning method for all carpet types.
  • Deluxe Precondition and Rinse
    • Helps restore deeply soiled areas.
  • Showcase Premier Cleaning
    • The most thorough cleaning method in the industry.
  • Dry Cleaning
    • When color-fastness is an issue.

 

Keeping up with your carpets:

  • Vacuum regularly to reduce accumulated dust/dirt
  • Remove spots immediately
  • Move furniture to change traffic pattern
  • Have people take off their shoes in your home
  • Use walk-off mats to take of soil tracked into your home/building

You can count on SERVPRO of Renton to get the job done for you in a timely matter at the highest-quality of cleaning possible. Give us a call today to set up a time for us to come out at (425) 255-2227.

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