Taking Care of Smoke and Soot Damages
Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to personal property and structures. Quick action is the only way to minimize the destruction. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, IICRC, is a globally recognized organization whose mission is to establish higher industry standards. As a referral source for consumers, IICRC certified firms are more likely to provide a faster, better service than non-certified competitors.Restoration costs increase and damages escalate when the cleaning process is extended. By hastening the hiring process and using an IICRC certified technician, owners will be rewarded by having the damage stopped so repairs can begin.What happens only minutes after the disaster?Immediately after a fire, soot residue settles onto the property. Discoloration of porous materials is permanent, but other surfaces may be properly cleaned to remove the discoloration. Acidic soot begins staining other surfaces if not treated quickly.Within hours all surfaces begin to suffer from fire and smoke damage. Wooden furniture may require refinishing. Metal begins to rust, pit and corrode. Painted walls begin to yellow. Clothing can become permanently stained. And finally, flooring may require refinishing or replacement.If left untreated, within weeks the restoration process will take longer and cost more. Prolonged soot exposure permanently harms all surfaces and embeds in fibers. Replacement of property may be the best option at this point. The structure may continue deteriorating if not properly restored by SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly
Types of Water Damages
SERVPRO Burlington Township / Mount Holly wants to keep you educated on the different types water can damage your property.Preventing water damage is the primary challenge for any structure seeking durability. Thermally efficient homes do not dry out as quickly as the energy wasting houses of older generations. Newer, engineered lumber products are less tolerant of frequent wetting. Most damage hides behind finishes, with long term negative impacts on indoor-air quality.The most common and destructive type of water damage is typically rain related and includes many sources:
Water seepage though basement walls.
Leaks through walls at areas like doors and windows
Roof leaks, usually through penetrations and flashing errors
Plumbing leaks, an outlier but relevant
Bulk water leaks come in many forms from the rare catastrophic plumbing failure to the more common hidden leak that causes its damage over many years. Homeowner maintenance goes a long way to preventing and reducing problems. For those building new, we suggest hiring builders who take these matters seriously. We think blower door test results offer a fair measurement for distinguishing between builders for this type of hidden craftsmanship.Uncontrolled, random air leaks are responsible for the second leading cause of water and moisture damage in our homes and buildings. Humid-air will deposit its moisture on cold surfaces which adds up over time to an amazing amount of moisture and resulting damage. This type of damage rarely reveals itself in the ways bulk water intrusion does but it still causes serious problems behind the finished surfaces.Air leaks do most of their damage in the form of energy costs. Reducing air infiltration and ex-filtration is often pointed to as one of the most cost-effective strategies for reducing energy costs and resulting environmental impacts. Increasing comfort is another huge reason to pay close attention to this important issue. Vapor diffusion is a confusing subject. There are two main ways it does damage in our climate.
When moisture reservoir cladding (masonry, fiber cement siding, stucco) gets saturated with rain and the sun or warm outdoor temperatures drive the stored moisture towards the inside. Interior vapor barriers like vinyl wallpaper increases interior vapor drive problems. Expect more damage in our region with masonry against wood common practices.
In the wintertime, when exterior sheathing or framing is cold and interior humidity is too high.Amy has blogs on the subject of wintertime humidity in homes. Keep interior humidity below 40% during cold weather. Exterior sheathing helps keep vulnerable structural members warmer, thus safer from risky dew points.Its common for people to misdiagnose a vapor diffusion problem for one of the first two. When evaluating water damage, suspect number one is bulk water. Most mold inside hidden building cavities, not exposed to bulk water is caused by air leakage.If still unsure about the differences of uncontrolled air movement and vapor diffusion, this blog may help:Breathing Walls?Siding or exterior finish materials that store water can become a problem if not detailed correctly. Selecting the right Weather Resistive Barriers are important along with the right installation details. Rain screens –technically required by code for brick– are an easy way to add durability and reduced maintenance to these types of exterior.Water is lazy but also persistent. It will defy gravity given the right substrates and conditions. It starts in design with features that readily shed water and are less prone to problems. Know and account for the main weaknesses during assembly on site. Prove the project is airtight with a blower door test. These are some of the most important ways of increasing the durability of homes and buildings.
Who Is Liable
It is undeniable that dramatic and strange weather patterns have been on the increase. Not only have we seen the highest temperatures ever recorded in some areas, but massive hail storms and flash floods as well.This is all happening at the same time as other parts of the country continue to experience severe drought and devastating fires.During extreme weather cycles, physical damage to a property can be unavoidable.But is an owner or tenant liable for this kind of damage?“The risk and liability involved with immovable property will always be that of the owner. The owner is thus liable for all damages caused by 'vis major',” says Dickens.She says ‘vis major’ is a legal term referring to a superior force, which is outside of human control. It includes acts of nature or acts of God such as lightning, earthquake, flood or violent storms.Damage to the structure of the property, unless caused by the gross negligence of the tenant, is the responsibility of the owner.“This is also the case with permanent fittings, for instance cupboards, baths, toilets or curtain rails. If the tenant causes a fire in the kitchen through gross negligence, and in so doing burns down the house, the blame - and therefore liability - for the damage falls squarely on the tenant,” says Dickens.Cilna Steyn, Managing Director of SSLR Inc., property specialist law firm, says she can provide practical advice concerning this.“The question to ask is: who caused the damage? If the damage was caused by the tenant, it is the tenant’s responsibility to fix it. If it was caused by the landlord, the landlord is liable for the damage. If the damage is nobody’s fault, the property owner is liable for repair of the damages,” says Steyn.“Another way of looking at the problem is: who has the insurable interest? A tenant cannot take out insurance on a property, whereas a landlord can. Therefore, tenants cannot be held liable unless they were grossly negligent.”How does this contrast with a property that is sold? If a property is sold but occupation has not yet taken place and the property is destroyed due to no fault of the seller, the sale is not terminated. The buyer remains liable for payment of the full purchase price.Steyn says every set of circumstances where a dispute arises regarding damages to a property is unique, and liability can therefore only be determined on a case by case basis. Here at SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly want you to be knowledgeable of all scenarios and we hope that this helps you have a better understanding of the owner and landlord relationship.
Prepare For The Storm
Hurricane Preparedness for Drinking Water Utilities from SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly
Drinking water utilities need to take precautions in advance of the arrival of a hurricane. Public water suppliers in the possible path of the storm should prepare for high winds, storm surge, torrential rain, flooding and extended power outages. To help utilities provide continuity of service to its customers before, during and after the storm, the following actions are recommended:
- Water Storage - Fill your storage tanks to help you meet demand during a power outage and to help anchor your tanks during high winds and inundation.
- Back Up Power - Fill fuel tanks for your generators. Exercise each generator under load to be sure it is running properly and power transfer is reliable. Assume a lengthy power outage. Estimate the time that you will be able to meet demand with the back-up power, fuel and water storage you have on hand. Identify several possible locations where fuel can be procured in case your primary supplier becomes unable to deliver.
- Continuity of Operation - Contact all essential employees to place them on alert. Make sure that sufficient staff will be on duty throughout the expected storm duration. Provide enough food and clean water for staff working extended shifts. Have them bring extra dry clothes, and consider providing sleeping arrangements so that extended duty staff do not become overly tired.
- Chemical and Fuel Storage - Check tanks to be sure you have enough essential chemicals (e.g. disinfectant) to get you through the storm. Check tank anchoring to be sure they are protected from wind damage and buoyancy forces (floating or overturning) should they become inundated.
- Water Sources - Identify sources that may become inundated. Prepare to remove sources from service, prior to inundation, that may be susceptible to damage from inundation or intrusion by flood born pathogens or salt water.
- Emergency Communications - Check your emergency communications equipment to be sure it is in good working order. Charge all batteries, or replace with fresh ones. Distribute communication equipment to appropriate staff.
- Public Communications - Be prepared to provide public information as needed. Check contact information with local radio and television stations. If you do not have storage and/or dedicated backup power sufficient for 3 days, consider pre-preparing water conservation advisory notices that can be issued if needed.
- Vehicles - Fill vehicle fuel tanks to be sure they are ready for use in response to the storm. Provide essential equipment (radios, instruments, tools, safety equipment, lights, ropes, etc.).
Here at SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly we are an IICRC Certified Firm.
There are 3 Basic Categories of Water
Category 1 originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. However, it may not always remain clean after it comes into contact with other surfaces or materials.
Category 2 contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. It may contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, as well as other organic or inorganic matter (chemical or biological).
Category 3 is grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Such water sources may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances.
We want you to be aware of the types of water damages that are out there and have comfort knowing we can take care of you.
SERVPRO OF Burlington Township / Mount Holly wants you to be ready for fires.
Fire spreads quickly. If fire breaks out in your home, there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life threatening. In five minutes, your home can be up in flames. Be prepared for a fire before it starts.Prepare for a fire
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside bedrooms, at the top of open stairways, and at the bottom of stairways that are closed in between two walls.
- Test smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries twice a year. Make it a habit when you reset your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
- Replace your smoke alarms once every 10 years.
- Plan and review your home escape routes with your family. Practice getting out of each room.
- Check that windows are not nailed or painted shut. If you have security gratings or burglar bars on windows, make sure they have a fire safety opening feature and can be easily opened from the inside.
- Think about getting escape ladders if your home has more than one level.
- Teach your family to stay low to the floor (where the air is safer) when getting away from a fire.
- Put A-B-C-type fire extinguishers in your home and teach family members how to use them.
- Put heaters at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire. Be very careful when using temporary heating sources like space heaters.
- Make sure your home is insured. If you rent, consider buying renter’s insurance.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Better safe than sorry is an all too common saying that holds a lot of value. Here at SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly we want you to be prepared for the worst. SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly believes in being READY. One of the first ways of doing this is to have an emergency supply kit. It may be different depending on what type of disasters you are likely to encounter but this is a good starter list. Put this emergency kit in a safe place that easily able to be found by all members of your family.
- Water ( one gallon water per person per day)
- Food ( non-perishable 3-day supply)
- Battery-operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal help
- Dust mask
- Hygiene items
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener
- Local Maps
- Cell phone with chargers
- Important documents
- Fire extinguisher
We care about the well being of you and your loved ones so this is why we recommend taking the proper precautions in being ready. You never know what could happen but whenever you reside in the Philadelphia area, just know that SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly has your back.
Our green trucks, vans and cars are always ready with our many different types of vehicles. During emergency water and fire calls we respond with our trucks all ready to go! Our crews and staff goes above and beyond to make sure our vehicles are fully stocked in case of any emergency we are ready to up and leave. SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly wants to be there as soon as you have a loss happen. We have a water truck that we bring to the job site to extract water right on the premises. This helps to ensure that the drying process can start quickly so your water emergency can get cleaned up. We also have other vehicles that are designated for large loss jobs and removing your affected content for cleaning at our shop. When you see the green SERVPRO vehicles you know we are helping you, your neighbors, and your local businesses get back to everyday life quickly and efficiently.
Watch The Mold
New Jersey homes are known for their ability to withstand the harsh environments that come through the fall and winter every year. What you may not understand, is that a compromised roof could allow moisture to seep into the attic space from snow or ice on the shingles that have not melted away. When this new moisture is allowed to continue unchecked in your attic space, mold can find plenty of places to grow.Since mold damage to your New Jersey residence typically happens involving organic materials, you should appreciate the options available in your attic right now. Most construction uses plywood backing against the joists of your roof, and all of these components provide the right base for a mold colony to successfully feed and grow. It is a good idea to get in the habit of periodically checking up in your attic area for the presence or signs of molding, especially if you are not one to typically go into this area of your house.While you should be able to smell the overwhelming musty scent of a thriving colony, sometimes this can be difficult to do if you have a decent ventilation system in place. Visual inspections can also be misleading at times, as newly forming colonies are not often overly noticeable to the naked eye.Our SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly technicians can provide inspections of your attic space to provide assurances that fungus is not currently present and that the conditions of your attic are not likely to create these organisms in the future. If something is found, our technicians begin their remediation work right away.The process is all about preventing the spread of the fungus by neutralizing its spores in the air. The neutralization procedure uses a negative air chamber. Once these spores have been contained, thoroughly cleaning the area is the next step. This process changes based on the type of mold and how deeply it is rooted, but all of the colonies get removed at this time.
One thing about SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly 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 New Jersey 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 Burlington Township / Mount Holly specializes in both minor and large vandalism and graffiti cleanup and restoration. If you ever encounter such a damage please know you are in good hands when you call us here. We care about you getting back up and running. Don’t worry when someone intrudes and tries to destroy your personal property, SERVPRO of Burlington Township / Mount Holly will act fast and efficient to restore your personal items and remove all vandalism and destruction from your home or commercial building.