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Commercial Property? Yes we do that

1/21/2020 (Permalink)

The Boston skyline is full commercial buildings Commercial properties have a lot of moving pieces. Making sure they are as safe as possible to reduce business interruption.

Did you know SERVPRO of East Boston provides services for your commercial properties?

Serving the local community when disaster strikes is always important. So is maintaining the cleanliness of your property as well as restoring it when an unforeseen issue occurs. Our services are not limited to residential

Commercial Cleaning:

Many times business owners and property owners will call us to assist in a thorough cleaning quarterly. This helps maintain high standards while taking the pressure and time off of your staff to focus on the money making aspects of the business. Restaurants in particular reach out to us due to the strict standards set forth by the board of health. When the grease has begun to build up, or the walk-in had just too many articles of food under the floor grate they will call for a once over.

Ok so what is a once over? It is a team of people that clean every nook and cranny, wiping it all down. It can mean trash removal, disinfecting, duct cleaning, brick cleaning, and even air quality checks. The list is exhaustive as we will customize every aspect of your needs to ensure your project is done.

Emergency Services:

When you do have an emergency is it important that you get back to normal as soon as possible with as little interruption to your clients and their access to your goods and services. There are so many reasons business interruption can occur but the most common for businesses are cooking, electrical, heating, arson, smoking and combustible materials.  I see you already shaking your head, we only have a microwave and a coffee maker here. All of our employees go outside to smoke and our wiring is up to code. We do not have any combustible materials in our office and who would set fire to the building.

Guess what each and every one of the things listed above are plausible. While some may be more inclined to happen than others they are the top reasons for damage. We are able to help with each and every one in addition to a few extras. Think your building is too large or small for our services? Think again we have access to a full arsenal of resources to scale up or down based on the projects needs.

Emergency Ready Plans:

What do you do in an emergency? Who do you call? Great you know the plan, does everyone else? What happens when and if you something happens and you are not around? We have a solution for that.  It puts vital information at your fingertips immediately. These plans outline where key shut off valves are within the building to mitigate damages. It will also supply everyone with immediate points of contact for starting the process of cleaning up as soon as possible so that loss of business can be reduced as much as possible. Ask us today about these FREE PLANS.. Yes you read that right. FREE>>

Water and Fire damage cleanup:

While this sounds straightforward enough there are a whole set of rules that come with the proper cleaning up of this sort of damage. Water damage rule number 1 just because you cannot see it does not mean it is not there. Unless you have moisture meters and know what the resting state of the building is vs the area where the water damage occurred you cannot tell if it is dry or not.

Oh and that soot you see all over the wall LEAVE IT ALONE… chances are you will clean it wrong and will not only make is worse but push it into the very fibers of whatever material it is on and make it impossible to get out. I bet you did not know that there are 3 different kind of smoke damage? Wet smoke, dry smoke, & protein fire residue, each one requires different treatments and some are invisible to the eye. Due to each cause of damage being different and having different chemical reactions that cause the residue it is important to understand analyzing the situation and selecting the right solution will be the only want to ensure that your problem is solved correctly the first time.

Mold & Air Quality:

Have you ever cleaned up a water loss with your own in house team? Did a pipe break get cleaned up professionally but everyone forgot about the duct work? Do you have a lot of employees calling out and taking sick days? This all costs time and money which is valuable. Have you ever looked internally to see if the culprit could be the building itself? Many times these overlooked areas of money saving attempts can be the cause of such issues. Providing proper air quality that is free of mold and contagions will keep your staff as healthy as you can control and in turn reduce time away from the office.

There are a lot of commercial properties in and around town. Is yours protected? If you are not sure we can assist you with your building give us a call and just ask chances are if we cannot assist we will surly know who can. SERVPRO of Arlington, Somerville, Charlestown is here because life interrupted is no fun. 

Prevent and survive a fire in your home

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Fires affect more than just you These brave men and women will come and help you in times of fires stay safe so they can too.

Getting out of the house is the most important thing to do when a fire breaks out. Time is not on your side. Having a plan, mapping escape routes, and doing practice scenarios can save your life. Make sure you call 911 as soon as possible, preferrably once you are outside. Have a central meeting point for your entire family a safe distance away from your home. Our partnership with the American Red Cross is to ensure you are prepared for anything, including fires.

Our friends at the National Fire Protection Association have some very interresting facts about fires we think you should know. You can always visit their website for this and other important information about fires at the following.

http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/campaigns/fire-prevention-week/fast-facts-about-fire

Home fires

  • Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
  • One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
  • Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • In 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 367,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,745 deaths, 11,825 civilian injuries, and $6.8 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2014, 15 home fires killed five or more people resulting in a total of 88 deaths.
  • During 2009-2013, roughly one of every 335 households had a reported home fire per year.
  • Smoke alarms
  • Three out of five home fire deaths in 2009-2013 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80% of the time.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended. 
  • Escape planning
  • According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, more than half never practiced it.
  • One-third of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
  • Cooking
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 162,400 cooking-related fires between 2009-2013 resulting in 430 civilian deaths, 5,400 civilian injuries and 1.1 billion in direct damage.
  • Two of every five home fires started in the kitchen.
  • Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Ranges accounted for three of every five (61%) home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 13%.
  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking and hot food and drinks than of being hurt in a cooking fire.
  • Children under five accounted for 30% of the 4,300 microwave oven scald burns seen in hospital emergency rooms during 2014.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 18% of the cooking fire deaths.
  • More than half of people injured in home fires involving cooking equipment were hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
  • Frying is the leading activity associated with cooking fires.
  • Heating
  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean. This usually involved creosote build-up in chimneys.
  • Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) home heating deaths.
  • Just over half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
  • In most years, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries.
  • Once you are safe, the fire is out, and the emergency services are gone, what happens next? You have to focus on the clean up and getting back to normal. There is a lot more into cleaning up after a fire than you can imagine. Knowing who can work with fire restoration to get your home back to normal is so important. They must know how to get the smoke odor removed, what to remove that is not salvageable along with what can be saved.
  • Here is to keeping you happy, healthy and safe as we approach the holiday season.. 

Fires should be taken seriously

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Fire can be capitvating Fires in with the right environment and conditions can be devastating. Know all the facts and prevent them as much as you can

Our friends at NFPA have some great tips and ideas on how to prevent fires. Due to the fires in Australia that are leveling homes and killing both firefighters and those who live in that area along with billions of animals. They will forever in our lifetime change the landscape of the country.

These fires are fast moving and the amount of smoke they cause can be just as deadly as the flames. Please use caution when presented with a fire situation. Even better is to use caution to prevent them.

Today, people who die in fires typically die in ones and twos, in their own homes and vehicles.

Fire in the home

Home is the place people feel safest from fire, but it’s actually the place they’re at greatest risk. Approximately 80% of all U.S. fire deaths occur in the home; an average of seven people die in home fires every day.

According to NFPA’s latest reports, home fires and home fire deaths declined by about 50% since 1980. However, the 7.8 deaths per 1,000 reported home fires reflects a 10% increase over the 7.1 rate in 1980.  In other words, while the number of U.S. home fires and home fire deaths has significantly declined over the past few decades, the death rate per 1,000 reported fires is actually a little higher. These numbers show that while we’ve made strong progress in preventing fires, mitigating their effects when they do happen remains a challenge.

Today’s homes burn faster than ever. Experts say you may have a little as two minutes (or even less) to safely escape a typical home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight wood construction, all contribute to the increased rate at which home fires burn.

The death toll of home fires can be reduced through:

  • Cooking. Cooking is by far the leading cause of home fires and injuries in the U.S. each year, and is the second-leading cause of home fire deaths. Unattended cooking represents the leading cause of these fire. People get distracted by children, pets or visitors, sometimes forgetting that they left food cooking. There is no safe period of time to leave cooking unattended. Almost two-thirds of home cooking fires involve the range, especially the cooktop. A 1999 CPSC study found that about two-thirds of home range fires started within the first 15 minutes of cooking; this increased to 83% for frying fires.
  • Heating equipment. Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, and third leading cause of home fire deaths. Most heating-related fire deaths can be traced to space heaters—a category that includes fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves. Space heaters (excluding fireplaces and chimney) most often caused fires when something that could catch fire was left too close. Most fireplace and chimney fires were caused by creosote buildup. These can be prevented by regular cleaning.
  • Electrical. Flipping a light switch. Plugging in a coffeemaker. Charging a laptop computer. Electricity is such a ubiquitous part of our daily lives that it’s easy to overlook its power and potential for fire-related hazards. In fact, electrical distribution and lighting equipment represents the third-leading cause of fires. Wiring and related equipment was involved in 70 percent of these incidents; cords or plugs were involved in only 10 percent of the electrical distribution or lighting fires, but these fires caused more than one-quarter (28 percent) of the associated deaths.
  • Smoking materials. Lighted tobacco products — almost always cigarettes — are the leading cause of fatal fires in the home, causing an average of 560 deaths per year. Typically, abandoned or discarded smoking materials ignite trash, mattresses and bedding, or upholstered furniture, with the majority of fatal smoking-related fires starting in the bedroom, living room, family room or den.
  • Wildfires. While wildfires have traditionally been considered a concern only in the western half of the U.S., hotter temperatures, severe drought and a growing number of people living in the wildland-urban interface have played a role in increasing the risk in states all across the country. And with some of the hottest summers and winters on record in recent years, wildfires are burning larger than ever before and destroying twice as much land area each year as they did 40 years ago, and the threat continues to increase.Most fire deaths are not caused by burns, but by smoke inhalation. Often smoke incapacitates so quickly that people are overcome and can’t make it to an otherwise accessible exit. The synthetic materials commonplace in today’s homes produce especially dangerous substances. As a fire grows inside a building, it will often consume most of the available oxygen, slowing the burning process. This “incomplete combustion” results in toxic gases.particles: Unburned, partially burned, and completely burned substances can be so small they penetrate the respiratory system’s protective filters, and lodge in the lungs. Some are actively toxic; others are irritating to the eyes and digestive system.toxic gases: The most common, carbon monoxide (CO), can be deadly, even in small quantities, as it replaced oxygen in the bloodstream. Hydrogen cyanide results from the burning of plastics, such as PVC pipe, and interferes with cellular respiration. Phosgene is formed when household products, such as vinyl materials, are burned. At low levels, phosgene can cause itchy eyes and a sore throat; at higher levels it can cause pulmonary edema and death.
  • In addition to producing smoke, fire can incapacitate or kill by reducing oxygen levels, either by consuming the oxygen, or by displacing it with other gases. Heat is also a respiratory hazard, as superheated gases burn the respiratory tract. When the air is hot enough, one breath can kill.
  • vapors: Foglike droplets of liquid can poison if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
  • Smoke is made of components that can each be lethal in its own way:
  • The killing fumes

When oxygen levels are at...

...a person experiences:

21 percent

Normal outside air

17 percent

Impaired judgment and coordination

12 percent

Headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue

9 percent

Unconsciousness

6 percent

Respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, death

https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/News-and-media/Press-Room/Reporters-Guide-to-Fire-and-NFPA/Consequences-of-fire

So you got flooded .. Now what do you do?

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Water always wins Flooding can occur with out warning despite the advanced weather technology. Having a plan and knowing how to react makes all the difference.

Everyone always wants to get back to normal as soon as possible, with as little cost and intrusion into their life as possible. Guess what? That expectation is the worst way to approach this kind of water loss. While it sounds great what is the big deal. Let us explore the things that can happen when you actually move too quickly.

Having anything submerged in water means it was able to saturate. Saturated clothing can be wrung out but is still wet at the fiber level. Guess what wood does the same thing. Unlike clothing wood structures cannot be thrown into a dryer. That is right inside those beams are still wet. Behind that wall is soaked, oh your home is insulated yeah that’s wet too. That beautiful wood floor is sitting on a subfloor that space is wet too. However will you get it dry. Well if you do not have high powered fans and commercial grade dehumidifiers it can take months yes months to air dry.

Aside from the fact that everything is wet, said you were flooded right? Guess what despite what you think flood water is not clean. At all! It is flooded because the water did not have a normal place to drain. Where does most city water drain into? That is right the sewer system.. So if you are flooded because the sewer system is not working that is right folks you have been flooded with sewer water.

CHECK FIRST

  • Is mold already growing
  • Is electricity on & active (Never walk through water to power off electricity)
  • Check for gas leaks
  • Is the structure safe
  • Wear protective eye glasses, Shoes and gloves and respirator if you suspect mold.
  • Do not mix chemicals the vapors can be deadly (Especially Bleach and Vinegar)

Step by Step guide:

  • Get to safety: If the rain has stopped flooding is still possible as the water drains from some areas and into others. Makes sure you stay safe. Once it is safe to do so start assessing the personal damage you have incurred.
  • Insurance: Most people have home owners insurance. Guess what they do not cover flood insurance so start there. If you were flooded and do not have flood insurance you are on your own. Even if you do it is your responsibility to keep the home safe and reduce damages as much as you can. Which means you cannot wait to hear from the insurance company. Should you get mold or rot from waiting most likely it will not be covered due to the fact that it is considered secondary damage. Meaning it would not occur if you had started to clean up immediately.

The clean up: What can you do before the adjuster arrived from the insurance company.

  1. Take pictures of everything, before you or anyone do any work what so ever.
  2. Clean up areas of the house so that wall, and floor damage can be easily seen.
  3. There can be hidden damage, such as behind the walls so it will be reassessed as work begins.
  4. Reach out to government agencies for potential assistance for aid. (Please note that a federal disaster must be declared for you to apply for this type of assistance.
  5. Hire an electrician to come in and assess the safety of electrical system of the home. This will tell you what is safe and not safe to turn on (Never turn on equipment that was submerged any salvageable items could spark and become a total loss)
  6. Check with the local town to see if the water is safe to use or if it was adversely affected by the flood waters.
  7. Go through your food and make sure you throw out anything not in a metal can. Make sure you get rid of the labels and get new ones. To identify the food later. The cans must be washed if you are going to keep them . o.
  8. All your silverware and utensils have to be cleaned and sorted. Wood, plastic or anything no metal or ceramic needs to go
  9. Cut and remove walls (Even if they do not look damaged)
    1. If you see a water line ..Cut the wall at a minimum of 2 feet above that line.
    2. Remove insulation and yes throw it away.
    3. Take off the base boards , they may be able to be dried and saved but at least removing them assured they are not holding in moisture.
  10. It is recommended anything that cannot be dry cleaned should be thrown away. This includes but is not limited to furniture, clothing, and blankets.
    1. Carpets must be pulled up and while the carpet may be able to be cleaned and dried the pad cannot so throw that way.. Do not re-attach the carpet before the floor it sits on is fully dry (Yes we have to say that again) To avoid any issues make sure that you do this within 48hrs after the water goes down so that it does not have a chance to grow anything it should not be growing (which is anything)
  11. Flooring: Be it if you have wood, vinyl, laminate or tile if it was submerged in flood water it really has to go.
    1. If you are not sure if the tile or its adhesive is asbestos get it tested.
    2. If it is a painted surface and you are not sure about the presence of Lead that too should be tested.
    3.             This step while will be a bit of a delay keeps you, your family and the workers safe.
  12. Subfloors: Guess what your floors sit on a floor and regardless of what sort of main floor you have most of the time the subfloor is plywood and will be affected by the water. The top floor must be removed so that this level of floor can dry fully. Make sure you do not have any buckling before you put a new floor on top once it is dry. If so you may need to replace that.
  13. Set up fans and Dehumidifiers to created a vortex to encourage drying. Proper fan positioning and temperature regulation will speed up the drying process.
  14. ****BLEACH**** DOES NOT KILL MOLD… PERIOD….
  15. If you see mold… There is a very specific process that must be followed. The most important step is to NOT spread the spores all over the house. So DO NOT VACUUM them unless you have a hepa-vacuum.

Contact a professional and keep in mind this is not a two or three day process. Have the right expectations going in to this. It will ease your mind and reduce the amount of stress that you have. Expecting something to be done to fast can result in long term damage that will cost more. It will also put undue stress on all involved. Take a step back and know that it could be a month or even more depending on how extensive the damage is.

Fires in your business do you have a plan?

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Where there is fire there is water If your business suffers a fire you have the trifecta of fire, water, smoke. Getting back up and running as soon as possible is essential.

Fires at a business can be debilitating. There are many facets of business interruption that occur. Having to close your doors to clients, employees and revenue are the most disastrous. Many times businesses without a solid plan do not reopen. We are here to show you some ways to prevent that from happening. Timely responses are going to be your best friend when disaster strikes. Proper communication will provide you with a true scope of the damage as well as an explanation of how it will be handled.

First and foremost you must have a plan of action you will take prior to any major disaster. Whom it is you will be calling to get you back to normal. What company do you have to do the remediation process? What you do not know, So you will be calling your agent they will know who you can call Right? They are closed or on vacation. So you are going to call in a claim to the insurance company? Where is your paperwork, in the desk where the fire just occurred? Probably as you have never had to use it before. So now without a plan you have just spent the better part of an hour trying to find someone to call.

Over an hour has passed and you are stuck in an endless call tree waiting for your insurance company claim department. Did you know most remediation companies can show up within 4 hours of the initial call. Many times it is much earlier than that. Starting the process of cleaning up your damage sooner rather than later will reduce the secondary damage that many insurance companies will not cover. With solid knowledge of the claim process and the need for their services most insurance companies do not need prior approval or a claim number before services are started. Calling a restoration company and having one already in mind can save you valuable time.

There are restoration companies out there that provide emergency preparedness plans that are accessible from an app on your phone. All important contacts right at your finger tips. Filing a claim directly from the app allows you to put into motion the clean up process to ensure there is no lapse in executing a plan. These plans can also show emergency responders where your major shut off valves are so they are able to keep themselves safe as well as stop any additional damage from occurring.

Although a fire may be contained on one floor, the damage caused by the fire may affect other floors within the building. As a business owner your focus is on handling the job promptly and properly to minimize disruptions to your customers, employees and vendors. Prompt action by a professional helps reduce secondary or long term effects allowing you to return to business as usual. How you can prevent additional damage until a professional arrives is.

1) Limit movement within the affected area

2) Place towels, sheets or old linens on areas where traffic will occur to prevent additional contamination or tracking soil into unaffected areas.

3) DO NOT .. DO NOT attempt to wipe off or remove any soot that sits on any walls furniture or stationary object. This can push the soot and odor deeper into the material making it more difficult or impossible to remove later.

4) DO NOT attempt to clean any carpets or upholstered furniture without speaking to a professional.

4) Turn off and or unplug all technology in affected areas and do not turn on until you consult a repair service.

5) DO wipe chrome faucets, appliances or other non porous surfaces (NO Stone counter tops do not count) The apply a light coating of lubricant.

A professionally trained individual is the best way to ensure that you have the most effective cleanup possible following a fire. Attempts to clean up the damage can result in improper drying resulting in mold. Smudging in the soot deeper into the materials can result in inability to remove the damage and lock in the odors.

Not every fire damage is the same but there are some basics of treating fire damage that remain constant.

What to expect:

Smoke and soot removal

Water Removal and dehumidification

Odor Removal

Many times restoration companies will contact you back to arrange services within 1 hour. Their arrival is usually no later than 4 hours after that initial phone call< many times earlier. They will communicate the scope of work and how things need to be handled within 8 hours. This ensures a solid foundation for getting you back up and running as soon as possible. They are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week including holidays so that you can start getting back to normal right away.

We have been seeing a lot of water main breaks

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Water main breaks are dangerous Watermain breaks are dangerous to foundations, basements, streets and your routine.

Sink holes. What causes them? How does water affect them? What to do when one opens up near you? Is it covered by insurance?

Florida is not the only area that can experience a sink hole. To better understand how and why they happen a little geology lesson is needed.

What causes them?

Bedrock that has a lot of limestone, carbonate rock or salt deposits will be more likely to erode. Resulting in holes that can no longer support the ground above it. Sink holes can also develop if an object such as a building is built on soil it too soft to support the weight.

How does water affect them?

The cause of this erosion is from water. As water passes through the top layers of soil, plants, roots and decaying materials making the water more acidic. As more material is eroded out of the rock the hole becomes larger eventually too large to sustain the earth that remains above it. These holes can open on a street, under a building, or on the edge of a cliff.

What to do if a sinkhole opens on your property?

Vacate your home or office immediately. Contact emergency professionals to have the area roped off. Reach out to your insurance company to have them send out an adjuster to make an initial assessment. Sinkholes NEVER get better. You will have to work with engineers to decide on the proper course of action. Getting someone to come out and take soil samples every 5 ft will provide a good picture of what is going on. Note this testing can take 3-5 weeks and may require payment from you. It is not cheap with average cost running $4,000-$8,000. Also know many insurance companies do not cover sinkhole damage unless you have separate insurance similar to flood insurance. Know what your policy covers if you think you are in a high-risk area.

As more and more flooding events occur these events will increase. As aging pipes fail and water is forced out into these already susceptible areas washing out the support materials even faster that normal.

There are 3 different kinds of sink holes cover collapses sink holes, cover substance & solution sink holes. They also have two ways they are created naturally and manmade. There is nothing that can be done about the naturally occurring ones. The man-made ones that is a whole different story.

The man-made ones stem from pipes underground breaking and washing away the soil they are sitting in. In turn they are compromising the materials above them. While natural sink holes have the same risks and cause the same problems. Maintaining pipes and catching small leaks before they become big problems is essential to reducing the damage that they can cause.

Watermain breaks and sewer systems that are overloaded. are a contributing factor to sink hole development. When the pipe breaks the water will find a way to go somewhere. The force pushing the water through those pipes is immense and will continue to push water through if it is broken or not. Water will expand out from the break forcing the earth away as well.

Sewer systems that become overloaded will force water out of a controlled pipe system onto the streets, sidewalks, front yards allowing it to get into a lot of developed ground that has been leveled with sand allowing it to wash away.

Which is why it is essential to never drive through a flooded area. You can not see if a sink hole has been created. Water is level with the surface that it sits on. This water is always muddy and the bottom where the ground is can never been properly assessed. These sink holes can be a few feet or upwards or 50ft or more. They can also release a lot of toxic fumes contaminating the water. Please stay out of the waters and wait, go around and seek alternate route.

Treating a flooded road or area the same as if there was a storm event is essential for your safety. Only 6inches of moving water can knock someone off their feet. If you are off balance and fall into contaminated water, you should seek medical attention and rinse the water off immediately. Taking a sample of the water to the doctors office can help them assess your real risk. Toxic chemical, bacteria, and virus thrive in water and can be ingested if you are yelling for help or over exerted and are breathing through your mouth. Allowing that bacteria to enter your digestive system and or your lungs.

It is better to just be smart and stay out of the area. Do not drive around barriers. Do not walk through the flooded water if you can avoid it. Do not drive your car through these roads or flooded our areas. Again it is impossible to know how deep they are.

Remember get out of immediate danger, call authorities, and DO NOT DRIVE OR WALK through flood waters.

Photo courtesy of

https://whdh.com/news/large-sinkhole-rips-open-street-in-chelsea/

Water gets trapped in your home

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Water below the surface can cause problems unless your home is 100% waterproof. Water damage will be hidden in your walls and crevasses

Your home should be your place of rest. When water begins leaking – even small leaks in areas you can’t see inside your home could quickly become a source of stress. The possibility of harmful mold, rot and unseen damage may affect the value of your home and the health of loved ones. Professionals understand how disruptive water damages can be for your entire family and will help ensure the water is identified, regardless of where it hides. That’s why we offer 24-hour emergency response by trained, uniformed restoration professionals. With top-of-the line equipment and time-tested cleanup and restoration techniques, and have the expertise to help make your house feel like home again.

After all, when it comes to your home and family even a small disaster can feel like a huge problem. So if water damage occurs in your home just call a professional and get the job done right the first time.

The professionals you call should be able offer the following. Please keep in mind these professionals while adept at water damage and clean up they are not plumbers and cannot fix the underlying cause of the water.

Identify the Source/Type of Water.

Measure Temperature and Humidity for Drying Analysis.

Survey the Extent of Damage and Inspect the Premises For Hidden Moisture.

Perform Emergency Water Extraction.

Move and Block Furniture and Contents.

Inspect Carpet Pad/Carpet and Provide Service.

Apply Necessary Treatments (Disinfectants/Deodorization).

Utilize Advanced Drying and Monitoring Equipment.

Dispose of Refuse.

Water damage that you do not see is the most worrisome to us. People are always looking to save money and we get that. This results in attempts to clean up water damage themselves. Not only is this a bad idea it can be dangerous.

Water backup is from improper drainage to the sewer lines on the streets. Think about that for a moment. ..Sewer line back up, Contamination bacteria and a host of other hidden potentials. The other problem with this self clean up all too often people forget about what you cannot see. For example water comes in through the home, passes through your wall to get into your home. What is in your wall that you do not see? Insullation, Drywall, electrical wiring, maybe even insects and animal dropping or carcasses can all be behind there. When dirty water passes through there a lot that can go wrong, especially when you do not know it is even there.

Water restoration companies have special equipment that allows them to determine how wet certain materials are behind the scenes. They also have the training to understand water migration and that what is not always visible can still be there. Special training and equipment allows them to know to pull off baseboards, proper angle of fans in conjunction with industrial styled dehumidifiers to properly push the water out from behind walls into the air and extract it directly out of the air. There is a lot more to water remediation than getting it off the floor. You must then have the proper cleaners and anti-microbial sprays to rid the surfaces of all the bacteria and contaminants the water touched.

Please make sure you reach out to your local remediation company whenever you have water intruding into your home so that you can get back to normal as quickly and safely as possible.

Winter is not over yet folks.

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

It is New England and while the weather so far this season has lent itself to being a mild one we are not out of the woods yet. Typically a mild December lends itself to wild weather at the end of January and February. Many days have allowed those die hard New Englanders to continue to tough it out with shorts and tee shirts. That being said it is a good time for a reminder about how quickly our weather can change and what you can expect in the new two coming months.

Frost bite.

This is a very big concern that many all too often through caution to the wind. We wear the shorts, do not use the gloves, grab the flip flops and socks (WHY WHY JUST WHY), those high fashion shoes that go with your outfit that you cannot even walk on and if it is not a baseball hat who needs it. Well you do!! We have had a lot of wind this season. The wind takes those mild temperatures we have had and drastically alters them. The wind pushes the air allowing it to move through clothing easier. It also brings the real feel temperature down. If you do not have the right clothing. When you are trying to look a part you run the risk of some very severe consequences.

What is frostbite and how to tell if you have it.

There are two stages to frostbite Superficial frostbite and traditional frostbite. With any frostbite the extremities are more susceptible. Fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks, and chins. Some of the first indicators of frostbite are extremities start to turn red. You may also have a feeling of pins and needles in the area being affected by the cold. It can start to sting, burn or even become itchy. Looking at the color is essential it can initially be red but will start to turn gray or white maybe even a little yellow looking as the tissue becomes more damaged. If you do not rectify these issues soon enough and in the right way your skin may start to become hard and feel waxy as the cold gets into the deep parts of the tissue. Blisters may start to form especially you try to warm up the affected area the improper way.

What you should do if you suspect you are getting frostbite. First and foremost get out of the cold. Get any wet clothes off, and also get any jewelry off as it will be cold. You can put the affected area into warm water between 100-105 degrees to warm it up slowly. You can also individually wrap the area with a gauze. If your hands or feet were affected it is important that you wrap each one separately. If you are unsure about how your feeling always check with a professional and seek out emergency help right away. Once color changes start to set in you can have permanent damage up to and including amputation.

Hypothermia

This type of issue is much more drastic and affects the entire bodies core temperature when the core temperature drops to 95 and below is when trouble starts. The body tries to protect itself but routing blood to vital organs and extremities. This can result in a dangerous situation. As with any uncertainty it is imperative to seek out professional medical assistance. Until that happens there are steps you can take to help the person. Remove any wet clothes, get them into a warm environment. Surround them with warm layers of blankets and pillows for insulation. Make sure you are covering feet, hands, arms, head. It is also important to lay them down to make sure that the blood can flow easily and reduces how hard the heart has to work to move the blood around. Do not move anyone suspected of hypothermia too quickly because they are more susceptible to a cardiac event. Should something happen CPR may need to be administered until help arrives.

There are 3 stages of hypothermia they are all based on the ambient temperature of the body.

Mild: 90-95 degrees: The body tries to protect itself by increasing rate of breathing to pull in more oxygen to improve blood flow. It will also start to make you feel tired and fatigued so that major organs get more care. Blood pressure will tend to rise and shivering will commence. Coordination and judgment will begin to be impaired.

Moderate: 82.4-90 degrees: At this stage the blood pressure tends to start falling, your reflexes are more affected. Breathing heart rate and coordination become more labored and more difficult.

Severe: Less than 82.4 degrees: This is a highly critical stage in which breathing is much more difficult as the body tries to protect the brain. Your pupils will become less reactive heart attacks and full heart failure are more predominant at this point. Risk for a pulmonary edema is likely at this point.

Keep an eye out for any of these issues and try to get into a warm safe place as soon as possible. Once memory becomes impaired there is a tendency and desire to remove clothes. They can become combative and irrational.

While we are hardy New Englanders we can be too hardy and stubborn at time. The desire to look fashionable and show we can handle the cold. This can prove to have dire consequences. Please pay attention to the weather, include the wind chill in your assessment, stay alert (you are not being a baby), be smart. Making winter fun requires a little bit of safety awareness.

So you think you can cook?

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

Safety while cooking Putting a lid on a grease fire is the best way to put it out..

Fire Damage…..

Think water damage is the only thing that needs a quick response …Think again..

The number one cause of fires in the home are from cooking and 34% of them result from someone walking away from the stove.

Life is busy.. It is very easy to get distracted these days.  Multi-tasking has become a habit and despite what we are taught it is not actually better.

Staying focused on the task at hand provides you with a more concise timely resolution with accurate results.  No matter what sort of tasks you are doing and trying to accomplish. This is especially important when working in a kitchen.

No matter what you are using to cook… A microwave, toaster, hot plate, gas / electric stove, or even a crock pot which many of us set and forget can be dangerous. Walking away from something that is hot can have dire consequences.  

Did you know that the numbers on your toaster are actually for minuets? So when you walk away from your toaster for the 2n time and your toast has burnt to a crisp and you had it on high you could have in theory had your bread in the toaster for upwards of 10 minutes. Dried out bread can catch fire very easily and cause an electrical fire in your home.  Not being prepared can be very dangerous.

Fire can get out of control in as little as 30 seconds and more than 12K people are injured every year in a fire.  A small home fire is nothing to mess around with. Having the right kind of fire extinguisher to put of various types of fires is very important.  Just having a fire extinguisher is not enough , having the right one is pivotal..

For example electrical and grease fires cannot be put out in the same manner as a fire that starts from say a wood stove or fire place. Did you know that actually throwing water on a grease fire will make matters worse and cause the fire to expand more rapidly?

We use the term disaster to be all encompassing and maybe even a little too broad within our industry. Fire damage specifically kitchen fires can be broken down into some simple terms. Stove fires.. Toaster fires….Grease fires.. Vent and exhaust fires and even fires from  your microwave.

Below you will find some statistics on home cooking fires.

42% of surveyed consumers say they have left the kitchen to talk or text on the phone, and 35 % have left to use the computer to check email while food is cooking. If you tend to do a lot of cooking, invest in a second or third timer. They're an inexpensive way to stay safe while ensuring that your  food  does not overcook.

  • Nearly half (45 %)  of consumers say they have left the room to watch television or listen to music. Multi-tasking during the busy day is  tempting. If you succumb, it's important not to leave the stove or oven unattended

  • Nearly one third (29 percent) of consumers reported that they have intentionally disabled smoke alarms while cooking. (YIKES!!!!)

  • More than half (56 percent) of surveyed consumers said they plan to cook for family or friends this year - with 42 percent of those cooking for groups of 11 or more.

    Fire damage can be extensive and wide spread even to areas of the home that the flames did not reach. The small particles that burned travel in the air throughout the home and due to their small size and nature can stick to just about anything.  

    Taking care of smoke, fire and soot damage is necessary and here is why.  There are various types of soot damage and some are acidic which can stain a variety of surfaces if not treated quickly . Within hours all surfaces that have come in contact with fire and smoke damage begin to feel its affects. Wood furniture, floors  and molding will need to be refinished, Metal will begin to rust and corrode. Clothing can become permanently stained and need to be thrown away.  Walls will begin to absorb the particles and  start to turn yellow.

    Within weeks if left untreated soot exposure embeds into fibers and deep into porous materials continuing to deteriorate the items or property if not properly restored in a timely manner.

    Any  clothing bedding , curtains and washable materials should too be professionally cleaned because an alkaline cleaner neutralizes the acid from the soot. Make sure it is someone that has experience specifically with smoke damage.

    Professional Restoration companies have the proper tools and training to get you back to normal without these lingering effects. From special sponges for removing soot and ash from the walls, air purifiers to scrub out the particles that have not settled on the anything yet, right down to high efficiency vacuums that have a great filtration system that prevents the soot from being redistributed into the air, they are even able to clean the vents above your stove that collect the grease which can be helpful to prevent fires in the first place. We strongly recommend a professional whenever there is fire soot and smoke damage because improper cleaning will continue to damage the property and increase the costs down the road.

Types of water damage to a home

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

House underwater Your home does not have to be underwater to have water damage. Know the signs

Water will not damage my home I am careful; I do not live in a cold climate my pipes will not burst. Let us examine that claim. Do you have kids, washing machines, dish washers, Ice makers in your refrigerator, air conditioners, tress on your property, an older home or gutters? Then you are at risk.  

Kids love things they do not understand, and they love to try and figure it out with their hands if possible. Water is exceptionally fascinating especially since a great deal of time is spent trying to teach them how to use a toilet and have a sense of personal hygiene. The drains in the sink, bathtub and toilet are an immediate fascination. Watching what happens as water swirls around and slips down into the abyss of the drain. What is even more fascinating is watching what happens as it bubbles up over the rim and begins to flow all over the bathroom. Kids will put many things into a toilet to force it to overflow. Drains will be clogged with all sorts of toys backing up the pipes flooding the bathroom.  

New technologies such as ice makers, dish washers and air conditioners have made our lives very convenient. Constant temperatures to keep us comfortable and ice when we want it for our favorite beverages and a hands-free time free way to clean it all up allows us the finer things.  There is a price to be paid for these luxuries.

Sometimes they fail resulting in flooded homes, flooded basements or water damage in the kitchen. Maintaining these appliances is crucial in making sure you check for ever small leaks as they can seep under the floor, water damage in between walls to porous materials can quickly become costly. New technological advances in types of hoses and piping techniques can reduce this problem inspect your home regularly and update any older hoses and piping areas to avoid massive water damage to your home.

Air Conditioning units are designed to collect water in a drain and transport it outside. If a blockage occurs your living room can soon become a serious source of water damage. These units are usually put on some sort of wooden structure which can and should be inspected frequently. Should you see your wood floors with water running over them or your carpet is saturated please call a professional as it is already too late to clean up this water damage yourself.

Trees and nature, while many of us like the convenience of the modern world we still want the beauty of the natural one. So you surrounded your property with trees, bushes, shrubs and flowers. Trees are tall, strong, and very resilient many surviving 100s of years. This is in part to their ability to seek out food and water. The pipes are full of food and water and due to the strength, we admire in the branches so to rings true for their roots. Many times, trees will break through weak spots in a pipe and drink from the water and soak up the nutrients from the sewage contained within them. The roots will continue through it growing within the pipe itself thus supplying it with a constant food and water source. Roots in a pipe can be a very big problem and a great source of trouble for sewage damage and water damage in and around your home.

Gutters can also cause serious water damage to your roof and attic areas. Many times these are unchecked due to lack of consistent access to these areas of your  home. When gutters get clogged with leaves and branches the water will no longer be able to flow down and seeks an alternative path, this is usually onto and through your roof. Once it gets through your roof the water damage will invade your attic and left unnoticed or unchecked can result in mold growth. 

So if you think that you would never have water damage in your home think again. Pipes bursting from the cold is not the only water damages your home. Be on the lookout and if you find something call a professional because you never know how long it has been going on.

 Remember: With any kind of water damage in the home, time is of the essence! Drying the home in three days or less prevents the growth of mold