Fire Safety Do's and Don'ts
Although home fires spike around the holidays, a home or office fire can happen any day of the year. People eat every day and therefore cook every day, maybe not every meal but the risk is there. So what are some of the concerns after a fire damage to my home or office? The fire department has to investigate all calls they are called to. So, before the last fire fighter leaves, ask them if it is ok to call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County to come and get started on the cleanup.
After any fire damage situation, our primary focus is safety first, yours should be also:
- Is it safe to stay in the house?
- Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
- Only do activities that are safe for you to perform. Did the fire go through the ceiling? Is there a danger of it collapsing?
- Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome and other metal surfaces with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil. This could include silverware, guns, and expensive faucet fixtures
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
- Change HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional. Smoke particles are different and may need special treatment in order to save costs.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Contact SERVPRO of West Forsyth County Regarding Fire or Smoke Damage Emergency - (336) 946-1131
SERVPRO of West Forsyth County proudly serves Winston-Salem, Clemmons, Lewisville, Pfafftown, Rural Hall, and surrounding areas. We are available 24 hours /7 days a week and are ready to restore damage to your home or commercial structure. It is always best to contact us directly.
Flash Flood Safety
Earlier this year we have seen heavy down pours some as much as 2 inches per hour. July tends to be one of the wettest months for Winston Salem averaging 3.4 inches. We need rain in our area for growth and to sustain our lives. Flash flooding on the other hand can be a potentially dangerous situation. Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, however not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such as flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water carrying rocks, mud and other debris. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding event typically occurs when waterways such as rivers or streams overflow their banks as a result of rainwater or a possible levee breach and cause flooding in surrounding areas. It can also occur when rainfall or snowmelt exceeds the capacity of underground pipes, or the capacity of streets and drains designed to carry flood water away from urban areas.
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.
Cleaning Up and Repairing Your Home
- Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.
- Don’t ever drive through water that you can’t see the bottom of. Turn around don’t drown. You could lose control of your car in as little as 6 inches of water.
- Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.
- Listen to your radio for information on assistance that may be provided by the state or federal government or other organizations.
- Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home. Call SERVPRO of West Forsyth we have the capability and expertise to handle your water mitigation and restoration of your home or business.
It is always best to call us directly 336-946-1131
Your Mop Is Not Qualified
You can't see the water but we can
We know how disruptive unseen water damage can be for your business or home. For this reason, SERVPRO of West Forsyth County offers 24-hour emergency response. We understand how to manage the drying process and use the proper equipment and moisture measuring devices. We ensure your building is quickly and thoroughly dried. This helps prevent secondary water damages and allows you to regain control quickly ensuring your structure and its contents are properly dried, deodorized and protected.
The thing is most of us in Winston Salem think “I will just get it up with a shop vac, or your mop”. The problem is water follows the path of least resistance, and you only got the water you can see up. What about the water you don’t see? In the picture associate with this blog the meter shows the plywood subfloor to be saturated with water yet looking around the meter the wood doesn’t appear wet. If left unchecked mold and wood rot would start to occur. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County has the tools to see where water is hiding, and by the time you smell the effects of water left in hidden sources it’s costing you more money in mold mitigation. By having a professional dry your home or business you can avoid mold growth and further damage by unseen water.
Weather it is your commercial place of business or the home you love, let us help prevent risking further damage to the value of your building. Call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County and let us make it, “Like it never even happened.“
It's always best to call us directly!
How do I know I need SERVPRO of West Forsyth County?
The Crew of SERVPRO of West Forsyth County
From micro burst storms, to pop up thunder showers it’s been wet by anyone’s standards. More than a few folks have had to deal with the soggy mess inside as well as out. Frequently, homeowners wonder if it necessary to call a professional mitigation company or if they can do it themselves. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind while weighing your options for restoring your home.
First thing to determine is are you safe? Don’t enter rooms where electrical circuits, equipment, switches or outlets have been exposed to water. If you can do so safely; turn off circuit breakers to the affected areas.
Secondly; what is the source of the water? If possible without putting yourself at risk shut the water off. Keep in mind; contaminated water such as storm water or a sewer back up from the tub, toilet or sink can carry any number of contaminants. Contact a plumber to repair the leak or clog and opt for a professional to clean up and sanitize.
What if I can’t find the leak? We have the tools to find the source. Most folks don’t have a $1200 infrared camera or a $300 moisture meter just laying around in there toolshed. These tools give us the ability to see water you can’t see. Often times it’s hiding under or behind a floor, cabinet or wall some leaks go undetected for long periods. Once the source has been identified, be careful not to expose yourself to mold. A SERVPRO certified mold specialist in Winston Salem has the knowledge and tools to mitigate safely and contain it to prevent cross-contaminating other areas of your home.
What about my carpet and wood furniture? Place aluminum foil or unstained wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet and wipe excess water from wood surfaces. This will help protect the finish on your wood furniture as well as protect your carpet from staining.
Are my valuables safe? Professionals from SERVPRO will be working to lower the humidity in the affected areas; but in the meantime removing dry valuables like computers, cameras, artwork and documents to unaffected area will help protect them. If some of these items are already wet, it is usually possible to dry and restore them. Your certified techs are trained to assist you with these issues and will be happy to help provide you with answers to your questions.
What can a professional do that I can’t? IICRC certified technicians from SERVPRO have the knowledge to test materials and the experience to ensure your home is carefully and completely returned to preloss condition. We monitor the drying process so you and your insurance company can be confident the job is done right. Prompt and thorough mitigation will assure all structure is properly dried, help prevent mold growth and protect your home investment. SERVPRO’s 24/7 on call service offers fire and water damage mitigation services and mold remediation in Winston-Salem and surrounding areas.
What is the IICRC? The IICRC is a nonprofit organization that provides certification and standard-setting for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. The IICRC is recognized internationally as a knowledgeable industry voice and resource.
For more information about the IICRC: www.IICRC.org/consumers
For more information about SERVPRO of West Forsyth County: www.SERVPROwestforsythcounty.com
Is there a fungus among us
Have you ever heard that silly phrase, "There's a fungus among us?" Well, when it's actually true it's really not silly. In one of our other blogs we discussed mold types, counts and air quality. But where does it live what conditions does mold like or better yet hate? Most of us don't realize it but mold is around us all of the time. It's common and travels easily so it really isn't possible to completely eliminate it from our environment. There are many different varieties of mold and typically it isn't harmful to your health. However, sometimes it DOES become a problem and something needs to be done about it. Most health issues occur when there are high concentrations of mold in the house. Unfortunately mold spores are invisible and can be transported in various ways: through heating and air ducts, open doors and windows, on pets and even on our shoes.
To prevent mold from showing up uninvited to your house, make sure you properly ventilate those warm, damp, and humid environments.
Mold thrives in warm, damp, humid places like bathrooms, basements, roofs, pipes, windows and anywhere flooding has occurred. It likes some of the same environments we humans like. Mold needs three things to thrive. Some kind of nutrient (like cellulose), cardboard is steroid for mold. Water, to help break down or decay the nutrients. Last mold needs time to be left alone and feed and grow. Can potted plants be a source for mold? Yes, they add oxygen to our air but also, you guessed it, mold. The "yuck factor" is mold can grow in all kinds of environments: wood, wood products, paper, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, drywall, cardboard, carpets, upholstery, paint, insulation and even dust! Yeah, pretty much everything in your home!
- How do you find it? Usually either smelling its musty odor or finding spots of any color can find mold. An air quality test can also determine if you have a safe environment in your home or office. Once mold can be identified by sight, smell, or an air quality test its concentration may be high enough to present a health hazard. That's when something needs to be done. It's called mold remediation and it's something SERVPRO of West Forsyth County specializes in. For more information on our mold services call us 336-946-1131 or read more on our website.
It's always best to call us directly
Air Quality Testing
Pre and Post Mitigation Test Results
In every home in Winston Salem there is a certain amount of mold. It’s everywhere but it is only bad for you when it is in concentrated doses, and we spend more than 85% of our time concentrated indoors. If you want to know exactly how much, and what types there are in your home you should have an air quality test. There are a couple of types of tests, one available readily even on the internet is a swab test. Although economical, it only tells you if the presence of mold is present on the surface area that you swab. It does not however tell you the amount of spores in the air that you are breathing. That is why we recommend an aerosol canister test that draws air from the suspected room and is sent to a lab for analysis. Why is it important to get an air quality test? Did you know that 40% – 60% of the air you breathe is from your crawl space? When was the last time you were in your crawl space? Was there water standing? Is your sump pump working properly to keep it dry? You should check it regularly in order to prevent fungal growth. With the heavy rains Clemmons and surrounding areas have had it could be a safe haven for mold and fungal growth.
There is no standard set by the government for what is acceptable limits of mold. But the EPA does state. “Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.” An EPA guide to Mold can be found here.
SERVPRO felt like that there should be a standard and that standard is governed by IICRC . It is called the ANSI/IICRC S520 Mold Remediation Guide. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County does not conduct the Air Quality tests themselves. We do this for our reputation and to ensure that there is no conflict of interest. We would caution you to have independent third parties conduct the test and share the results with us and perspective clients.
In the picture there is a before and after air quality test report for a basement that was remediated for mold in Rural Hall NC. The standard is that mold count should be below 500. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County tries very hard to get the counts below 300. This is how you know that a remediation expert has done the job properly. An air quality test and proper mold remediation services can give you peace of mind and keep you and your family safe.
Should you suspect that you have a mold issue, it’s best to call us directly at
336-946-1131 SERVPRO of West Forsyth County.
Be prepared is like creating your own good luck
SERVPRO Urges Winston-Salem Home and Business Owners to “Resolve to be Ready” in 2017
Local cleanup and restoration specialist shares no-cost emergency planning tools that enable fast and effective disaster response and recovery
New Year’s Eve has come and gone, but it is not too late to think about making just one more resolutions, according to Jeff Meadows, owner of SERVPRO® of West Forsyth County. While resolutions typically involve committing to personal changes and reaching goals, Meadows says the single most important resolution both business and home owners can make for 2017 is to “Resolve to be Ready.”
“Preparing in advance to deal with the unexpected can make a world of difference in how quickly and completely property owners can put the pieces of their lives back together,” says Meadows. “Emergency readiness plans are the foundation for effective and timely emergency response.”
Meadows encourages all property owners to take advantage of the no-cost and easy emergency planning tools available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (https://www.ready.gov/publications), as well as SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile and READY Plan Mobile App (http://ready.SERVPRO.com).
- FEMA resources include guidelines for a creating a Family Emergency Plan and Emergency Supply List, with additional tips for pet owners, seniors, people with disabilities, and even commuters.
- SERVPRO offers their free SERVPRO READY Plan app, which stores critical contact and property information electronically in advance, where it can be accessed with a mobile device in seconds if disaster strikes.
For business owners:
- FEMA offers materials on topics ranging from creating a Business Continuity Plan to an Insurance Discussion Coverage Form in addition to guidelines for creating an Emergency Response Plan.
- For businesses, SERVPRO offers a no-cost facility assessment and assistance in creating a comprehensive Emergency READY Profile® (ERP). The ERP includes information about emergency contact numbers, priority and high/risk areas, shut-off valve locations and more that can then be stored in the READY app.
“The time to gather and store information like emergency contact numbers; insurance contacts; and the location of fuse boxes, fire suppression system controls, and such is before an emergency strikes, not during an emergency,” says Meadows. “Having this information at your fingertips can help emergency responders react as quickly and effectively as possible, helping to limit loss of property and even lives.”
SERVPRO of West Forsyth County specializes in disaster restoration, cleanup and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened,” for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of West Forsyth County, or the SERVPRO mobile app and the SERVPRO Emergency READY Program, contact Ed Dean at (336) 946-1131 you can also visit https://ready.SERVPRO.com .
Prepare for fire loss before it happens.
We have recently had friends and neighbors in the Winston Salem area who have lost everything to a house fire. The recent wild fires in Western NC and East TN have taught us that you never know when the worst day of your life will strike. This time of year also lends to an increase in home fires due to decorating and cooking for the holidays. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County can't stress enough the importance of being prepared.
Make spreadsheets of valuable items with cost new & current value, copy receipts for major ones as you buy (you don't absolutely have to have them but makes it easy), take photos with smart phones, and prepare yourself for your WORST DAY. Have a conversation with your insurance agent about your coverage's, do they have any advice to prepare? Do they have an inventory guide? What are you responsible for? READY.GOV has this advice for ensuring that you get through a fire or disaster here. You can also send the information you will need in an email. From there you'll ALWAYS have it so long as it is in the cloud or an internet based email. Keep it in an email folder marked Disaster Day Insurance. This way you'll have it through fire, flood, or national disaster. You can also keep these documents in a fire proof box or safety deposit box. Digital copies will make it easier to discuss with the insurance company. Have it already done so you don't have to worry about wondering what you're missing. Nor have the stress of figuring it all out when everything is gone. Microsoft Office has a great home itemization spreadsheet.
You will need a team of people who will help get you back to normal. One that will be there for you on your WORST DAY. SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) can help you or a business gather that team for you. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County hopes that you never need to put the plan into action, but knows that being prepared for a disaster is better than not being prepared.
Should you need our services it’s best to call us directly at 336-946-1131
Preventing Bathroom Mold
Ahhhh a hot, steamy shower feels good to achy muscles, washing away your cares for a while. And while you’re relaxing and opening your pores in your skin the humidity level in your bathroom is rising, which can create an ideal environment for mold and mildew.
Preventing Mold with a Bathroom Exhaust Fan.
Many people think that the exhaust fan in the bath room is there to remove away unpleasant odors. While they can help with that, these fans actually serve a much larger purpose. Bathroom exhaust fans draw the moisture-laden air that fills the room after a steamy shower or hot bath out of the bath room, bringing the room’s humidity down to a healthier level. This is a vital step in preventing mold growth and averting mold damage.
Your bathroom is an ideal location for mold because it thrives in a humid environment. One way to ensure that if comes on each time you enter the bath is to have an electrician hardwire the fan to the light switch. But for more efficient way of controlling humidity invest in a humidity sensor.
Most people turn the fan on when they enter their bathroom to shower and turn it off when they leave. Unfortunately, this does not always give the exhaust fan enough time to evacuate the steam and humidity. Ideally, the fan needs to run until the moisture level in the bathroom is back to normal. You could just leave the fan running and come back later to turn it off, but you run the risk of forgetting it. This wastes energy and can shorten the lifespan of the exhaust fan. Instead, consider installing a humidity sensor. The sensor will automatically cut the fan off when the correct humidity level is restored. It is an easy way to prevent mold damage.
Dealing With Mold
If you find that you have a mold issue in your bathroom, do not attempt to handle it yourself. Disturbing the mold may facilitate its spread and contaminate other areas of your home or business that can be prevented. Spreading and cross contaminating your home or business could end up costing more money in the long run. Instead, turn to the professionals at SERVPRO of West Forsyth County in Winston Salem NC. Our technicians have the training, specialized equipment, and protective gear to address mold damage. They can inspect the area, identify the source of moisture, contain the mold, remove it, properly cleanse your belongings and restore your home or business to a healthy environment.
It’s best to call us directly 336-946-1131
7 tips for preparing for a disaster
Don't wait for a disaster to make a plan
#1 Make a Plan. Living here in Winston Salem, NC, you’re less likely to face an earthquake than a severe storm that could cause flash flooding. Knowing what you could face will help prepare you for emergencies as you go throughout your day to day routine. Red Cross has thought of a number of them and are listed here. Flooding in Florida and Louisiana reminds us that you may not have as much warning with flash floods or sudden storm systems. It doesn’t take much time, but it will save you valuable time should an emergency happen. Make, print and practice a plan.
#2 The Details matter. Know the details of how you escape a disaster. Planning the route of where you are going while the fire is burning is not the time to plan your route. Knowing if you are going to a shelter, motel or friends home will help get you there quickly and safely. Ensuring that everyone knows the details of the plan will ensure that your family will meet you at the prescribed place. Does your family require special needs? Do you have pets? These are the types of details that matter. The goal is to ensure the whole family is taken care of. Medications needed? Does the shelter or motel take pets? Consider all of the needs of the entire family.
#3 Stay informed. Ensuring that you are informed of impending storms by listening to NOAA or the local news alerts will keep you aware of changing weather. Being informed is part of being prepared. Local news agencies are committed to alerting their listeners and viewers of dangerous situations.
#4 Communicate. Most people say I’ll just pick up my cell phone, but that may be down. If local phone lines are overloaded or out of service it is sometimes easier to call or text long distance. Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones. If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for "Disaster" to register yourself and your family. Speaking of communication, sign up for emergency alerts. The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA’s) are designed to be short and an effective way to save lives by giving warning and direction to people in the affected area. Don’t turn them off because they are less annoying than the alternative. Social Media may give you some information and allow you to contact family but don’t count on it exclusively.
#5 Emergency Kit. Having a plan but no tools to implement it with is ineffective. What are some of the basics you need? Water, Food, and Shelter are the big three but what about other necessities? Do you have medicine that you need? A small child to care for? What are other items to help you along the way? Think first aid items, rope and flashlights. FEMA has a list of items that will be helpful here. Do you need to be a doomsday prepper? Probably not, but depending on the severity, you may have to rely on your own for 3-4 days before infrastructure is restored. Be sure you are familiar with what is in the Emergency kit and how to use the items in the kit.
#6 Get trained. Knowing some basic emergency training will also help in a crisis situation. Know how a fire extinguisher works or how to perform CPR. The American Red Cross has education on a number of topics that can be useful in an emergency situation. Learn where the shut offs are for utilities in your home or office. Cutting them off may prevent further damage or making a bad situation even worse. Be sure that your family and coworkers are educated on the plan of what to do in case of an emergency.
#7 Now that you are planning what to do when you are at home, what about if you’re away from home? Talk to your child’s school and ask how they plan or evacuate the school? How do they communicate with you about emergencies? Does your business have a plan? SERVPRO of West Forsyth County can help you with that. The Emergency Ready Profile can go right beside your employee handbook and be carried with you on your mobile device. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business. Call us to get started on your plan 336-946-1131.