What to look for in a restoration company
No one plans for a disaster, but quick action after a calamity and bringing on SERVPRO of West Forsyth County to mitigate and repair everything can save both time and money. Most of the homeowners living in Winston Salem area who call a restoration company, are doing so for the first time. In many cases, these individuals are concerned about who will in their home. How will they help with this huge mess and where do I start. There are many things that cannot be fixed after a disaster and will have to be replaced. Though it may be difficult, this is a process that has to be dealt with swiftly, as the longer it takes to respond, the more damage will add up and make the situation worse.
The problem with burn damage is that it doesn’t end when the flame goes out. There are some things you should do and things you shouldn’t. Ash left behind is highly acidic, and will slowly eat away whatever it touches. Silver and metal finishes can be pitted when left untreated with time. Within minutes, plastics are yellowed and any appliances in the vicinity of the combustion are discolored. This discoloration gets worse and worse, and begins to affect fiberglass and metals after several hours. Fire and flood restoration typically must begin before a few days pass, because metal corrosion takes root and wood furniture requires refinishing as quickly as possible.
After a few weeks, huge costs can be expected, because at this point, carpet needs to be ripped up and replaced, and metal and glass will be permanently etched, many times, beyond the point of being able to salvage it. Getting to the damage quickly is a SERVPRO of West Forsyth County trait. This means windows and appliances will need immediate attention to avoid replacing them. Piping may also be damaged beyond repair, and multiple leaks may cause water damage throughout the home. SERVPRO of West Forsyth is certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration. We can keep this from happening. We are equipped to replace carpeting that is beyond repair and clean furniture in an effort to save it. Restoration is less expensive that replacement, so if we can save you money while making it “Like it never even happened” we will.
Another major disaster that many homeowners have to deal with each year is extreme water damage. This may happen following a hurricane or major storm that causes a river or lake to overflow. We have seen in recent month’s rain in the Clemmons NC area of 2 inches per hour. Flash floods can occur anywhere. Water can cause catastrophic and permanent destruction to a building, and it’s not unusual for those affected to be condemned and removed completely in the worst case scenarios.
The problem is that water is that it accelerates the growth of many nasty organisms, from molds and fungi to bacteria and parasites. All of these represent major health hazards, and are difficult to remove if they are allowed to take root. While SERVPRO of West Forsyth County can stop the spread of these organisms by removing rotting material, a homeowner can help out by getting rid of some items in the home right away.
Anything that is textile-based will need to go if it is soaked by water contaminated by sewage. It is often difficult to tell if this is the case, we will err on the side of caution and remove them anyway. Carpeting in the home will need to be ripped up and discarded if it is not dried within 48 hours of being soaked, including the padding that lies underneath the fibers. Clothing, insulation, bedding, paper and stuffed toys will all need to be thrown out if they come in contact with contaminated water. Electronics will likely be destroyed if submerged, though it’s best not to test them, as wiring can be damaged and cause electrical shock. When a catastrophe such as either of these occurs, it is best to contact a reputable company to help as quickly as possible.
SERVPRO of West Forsyth County has the knowledge and equipment to help you and your family should they suffer a WATER, FIRE or MOLD Damage. It’s Best to call us directly 336-946-1131
Community service and a service to the community
SERVPRO of West Forsyth County is more than a small business. We are a family of folks who care about the community we live in. We are invested and committed to be a part of our community and give back whenever possible. From collecting for hurricane relief to collecting for the local food pantry we believe that it is important to help our community when times get tough.
Some of the areas of the community we are involved in include. Being on the board for the Lewisville Clemmons Chamber of Commerce serving as the VP of Community Service. At its monthly meeting the Chamber collects an item for a local group in need. For the month of December we are collecting items for Women Who Care. We are on the board of the Rural Hall Area Business Association (RHABA) each year the association collects for the 2nd Harvest Food Bank and for 12 years has raised money for the local elementary school with its annual 5K & 10K run. SERVPRO has helped with Generosity Feeds and Hurricane relief efforts through our BNI network.
As you can see we care about our community. We take that same care with our customers. Most times they have had a traumatic event happen to their home or business and need our help. So we do what we can to help restore their lives to normal and make it “like it never even happened.”
Should you have a need for our services call us directly at 336-946-1131
Cooking Up a Safe Holiday Season
Startling statistics underscore the need for caution in the kitchen
Holiday party planning begins now for many families, and Jeff Meadows of SERVPRO of West Forsyth County offers some important reminders to Winston-Salem residents to help ensure this season glows with the warmth of good food and good friends, and not with the glare of a devastating home fire.
“The holiday season is a time when many families plan big and elaborate meals for large groups of people,” says Meadows. “But all that cooking creates an extraordinary risk of fire. For a safe and festive holiday season, it’s important to understand that risk and take steps to minimize it.”
Cooking Fire Safety
Research from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reveals that in 2017, on average, U.S. fire departments responded to a home fire every 88 seconds.1 Cooking equipment was the leading cause2 of home fires and fire injuries, causing 47 percent of home fires. These fires resulted in 20 percent of the home fire deaths and 45 percent of the injuries.
“Winston-Salem families should keep these statistics in mind as the holidays approach. According to the NFPA, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve2,” says Meadows. “Families should also be aware that frying poses the greatest risk of fire, in fact, the NFPA discourages the use of outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers that immerse the turkey in hot oil.3 this video graphically illustrates the danger these devices can pose.
Meadows offers these additional cooking safety tips from FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration.4
- Keep an eye on what you fry: If you see any smoke or the oil starts to boil, turn the burner off.
- Stand by your pan: If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so that no one can bump them or pull them over.
- Wear short sleeves or pull sleeves up: 18 percent of cooking fire fatalities in 2016 were caused by ignited clothing.2
- Keep a pot lid or cookie sheet nearby to cover a pan if it catches on fire.
“Taking common sense precautions like these and keeping kids and pets out of the kitchen during meal prep can help keep your holiday celebrations safe,” says Meadows. “The precautions you take could help prevent a devastating home fire, a tragic injury, or even the loss of life. While SERVPRO disaster response professionals are fire damage restoration specialists, they know how important it is to keep the focus on fire prevention, because for some types of loss, there is no remediation.”
SERVPRO is an industry leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services. For more fire prevention and fire safety tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit SERVPRO of West Forsyth County’s website. For more information on SERVPRO of West Forsyth County, please contact Jeff Meadows at (336) 946-1131.
Prepare for winter storms
Here in the south east we weather storms like hurricanes and summer storms fairly well. But what have you done to prepare for winters wrath? The northwest part of the state saw its first glazing of ice recently and here in Winston Salem area we are waking to below freezing temperatures but warm quickly by noon.
In older homes an overnight freeze could be enough to rupture a pipe. Consider insulating your pipes, especially if on an outside wall. Now is the time to ensure that crawl space pipes are well insulated. If there are drafts blowing in on pipes be sure to caulk and seal up these drafty areas before it gets much colder. If your home is on a concrete slab, some of your pipes may be in your attic and ceiling area. These also should be insulated from the cold. When they burst they can actually cause a lot of damage to ceiling and floors.
Heat tape is also an option and may already be installed if you live in a premanufactured home. Be sure to inspect it regularly for signs of fraying and wear. If you install heat tape your self be sure to follow all the manufactures instructions. Never double wrap heat tape over itself or use on top of thermal insulation as this could be a fire hazard.
If the power goes out are your pipes prone to freezing solid? If they are then be sure to turn on both the hot and cold water on dripping. Keep outside doors and garage doors closed but inside doors should be open to allow heat to circulate throughout your home. Be sure to keep your thermostat at 55 degrees or higher both day and night. This is especially true if the home is vacant waiting to be rented or sold. If you open cabinet doors do let heat under a sink, be sure to put items like cleaners and choking hazards for pets and children away to avoid a problem of another kind.
If after you have taken these precautions and water doesn’t come out and you suspect a frozen pipe. Shut the supply off and call a plumber. If water comes out of another area of your home you may be able to narrow down the pipe that is frozen this will be helpful to know for the plumber as we all know time is money especially by the hour.
Should you have a need for our services due to a burst pipe call us directly at 336-946-1131
Fire prevention maintenance
Why do you change the oil in your car? To prolong the life of the car, right? Maintenance around your office or home is just as important. Fire prevention is a part of that maintenance. Some of these include items that are often overlooked or placed on the back burner (pun intended). But they are key to avoiding the need for SERVPRO of West Forsyth County’s fire restoration services.
- Be sure to test smoke detectors monthly. It’s a good idea to change the batteries when we change the clocks in the fall and spring.
- Your Fire Extinguishers should be checked to ensure they are in date. The fire marshal will inspect and tell you if you have enough for your building. A company like Fire-Ade will test and certify extinguishers. Extinguishers can last anywhere from five to fifteen years. Ask your fire marshal if you have to have your extinguisher certified.
- Check the lights in Fire Exits and Exit Signs. Can customers and employees clearly see exit signs? Can they easily get to them? Have you practiced a fire drill to ensure guests and employees can easily get out of the building in the event of an emergency. Assign key personnel to ensure the safety of customers and visitors in the building in case of emergency.
- State or Local Guidelines. Here are the Forsyth County inspections page and includes common hazards and violations. Take a minute to read up on these, check to see if you are in violation or have a hazard around your home or office. Talk to your local fire marshal to learn about the guidelines.
Keeping your business, employees, and customers safe should be your top priority. Protecting your office and home is step #1 to prevent a disaster from happening but if it does, we can make it “like it never even happened.” Call us directly at 336-946-1131
Cooking and Fire Prevention Safety
The Holidays are upon us and we will be doing more cooking. And unless you live on takeout and fast food, cooking is necessary to feed your family. But not all of us were born Emeril Lagasse or Gordon Ramsay. We novice chefs need a little more help. And sometimes, accidents happen. According to the NFPA (National Fire Prevention Association) Two-thirds (67%) of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. Before you cook up a disaster, know how to put out potential fires.
How to prevent a kitchen fire
Stay nearby, this sounds unnecessary to say but unattended cooking are by far the leading cause of kitchen fires. According to the NFPA, unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires. Don’t leave your boiling spaghetti alone!
Place your products elsewhere Keep your towels, paper towels and pot holders away from open flames because they pose a fire hazard.
Have the proper tools. Besides a lid and a fire extinguisher, ensure smoke detectors are working properly test them biannually. When cooking on a stove top, always keep a lid nearby that fits the pot or pan you’re using. That way, if the food catches fire, you can put the lid on to quickly smother the flames.
Salt, a handful of salt, which cuts off the oxygen supply and smothers the fire.
Baking soda, like salt, baking soda works to put out grease fires, Sexton says. For example, if grease falls to the bottom of the oven and catches fire, covering it with baking soda should put it out.
Fire extinguisher. If you don’t have access to salt, baking soda or water, use a fire extinguisher. Keep one handy in your kitchen in case of emergencies, Reith and Sexton suggest. Know where it is and how to use it.
If your towel or pot holder catches fire, put it in the kitchen sink and douse it with water. But never use water to put out a grease fire. Pouring water onto a grease fire will make a bad situation worse. This can cause burning oil to splatter or even bigger flames to form. Burning drops of grease or oil can spread quickly out of control.
How to put out a kitchen fire. Smother the flames Fire needs oxygen to thrive. Thwart flames by cutting off their supply. Turn off the heat. Remember to turn the burner off when a fire occurs. If the fire starts in an appliance, like your oven or microwave, immediately cut the power source and close the door, Sexton says. If you catch it early enough, there won’t be enough oxygen, and the fire will die.
Evacuate. Don’t be a hero. If a fire gets out of hand, you should get out of there. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 55 percent of non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried fighting the fire themselves.
Call 911 - Emergency service providers undergo many hours of training to handle these situations, so avoid putting yourself at unnecessary risk. Let professionals who know the risks and dangers handle it. According to the city website for the FY 2017 Winston Salem has responded to 769 fires. That is actually down from 2015 when they responded to 819 fires.
Be sure to stay safe and for more information and tips on what to and not to do see our website SERVPRO of West Forsyth County. After the fire department leaves there will be damage, call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County to help make it “Like it never even happened.” It’s best to call us directly 336-946-1131
Where’s the Mold?
Moisture meter showing that the wall is saturated with moisture.
We get calls on a regular basis from customers who say “we smell mold or mildew but don’t see any mold, can you help?
We’ve learned over the years some people have a very keen sense of smell and do indeed smell mold even when they can’t see it. The challenge then becomes finding and eliminating the mold. If customers are not aware of any type of water damage event that could have led to mold growth inside their home we usually suggest they get an air quality test from a reputable Indoor Environment Professional. These tests are very objective and document both the types and quantities of mold present in the air. We then review the test results, consult with the customer and if tests say mold is present we begin the search.
Typically we would begin by scanning all areas of the foundation walls, near sinks, toilets, dishwashers, washing machines, hot water heaters, etc. with infrared cameras looking for areas that appear cold or wet. This usually helps us determine the general areas that are wet and that could be leading to mold growth. The next step is to detail check the suspect areas with moisture meters to zero in on the wettest spots to determine where the water is coming from that allows the mold to live.
From there we would begin removing baseboards, shoe mold and other trim work looking for mold growth. If we still do not find the mold we can use borescopes to see inside the walls or demo a small area of the wall then take a photo inside the wall. Once the mold is found containment is set up to isolate the mold affected areas and mold mitigation begins per IICRC s520. (A standard to which we can show progress)
Mold requires water and an organic material to live and grow, without water it cannot live. So if we detect water leaks early we can minimize the chances for mold growth in our homes or properties. We recommend the use of Water Leak Alarms to help detect and alert us to small leaks before they become a major water or mold damage issue. The alarms are small, battery powered, cost less than $12 each in most areas and will emit a shrill alarm when contacted by even a small amount of water. We suggest putting them in the Laundry room near the washer, Near the Water Heater, under the Dishwasher, under all sinks and behind the Fridge if you have a water dispenser or ice maker. These alarms won’t prevent a water leak but they will alert you much sooner of a water issue than the smell of mold or mildew.
If you suspect mold or see it call us directly at 336-946-1131
Water you can't see.
Water, when controlled is a life sustaining resource. So why is that we should get water up and dry structure so quickly? We mopped up or squeegeed the floor? We got all the water up right? Are you sure? In the picture attached it doesn’t look wet but the meter tells a different story. The tools we use can show us the water you can’t see. When water is not extracted thoroughly it can be an extremely damaging element. Since water flows on the path of least resistance it can seep into cracks and crevices you don’t even know you have. The insulation inside walls can act as a sponge and wick the water up the wall causing secondary damage to your home or business. If left unattended the water can with in as little as 72 hrs start to form mold causing the cleanup effort costs to rise even more.
When we are called in after a leak it is easier for us to prevent mold growth and save you money by extracting the water, removing saturated wet materials that are easily replaced at a low cost, such as carpet pad, sheet rock, and insulation. We will also dry the structure and prevent mold growth and wood rot. This process is called demoing. This prepares the areas damaged to be restored once drying has reached a measured and monitored goal.
Restoration of areas that would be costly to replace saves you and the insurance company money. These areas include, floor joists, wooden studs, even engineered hardwood floors when we can get to them quickly enough. Some items depending on the type of water damage are not salvageable such as soft goods like plush toys, sofa cushions and pillows. When these items have been exposed to contaminated water such as a sewer backup it’s best to discard and replace them.
Once the area has been mitigated properly then the restoration or repairs to the sheet rock, flooring and cabinets can be completed. This process can take some time but with our experts we can make the water damage to your home or business “Like it never even happened.”
It’s best to call us directly at 336-946-1131 we are available 24/7/365 for emergency services.
Halloween Fire Safety
One of the top reasons kids get hurt on Halloween is because they get hit by cars. Be sure to ensure they can see clearly and be seen clearly. If possible leave out the accessories to give the child a free hand to hold while you cross the street with them. If you’re driving on Halloween be sure to keep this in mind that kids may be crossing the street and can’t be seen as readily.
Be sure to use flame retardant materials in the costume. Some folks still light candles for their jack-o-lanterns. Loose ill-fitting costumes could be at risk for catching fire. They could also be a risk for a tripping hazard another good reason to leave the accessories out of hands to allow them to catch themselves. Instead of lighting the pumpkin try using a glow stick or battery operated LED light.
Decorations are another source of materials at risk of catching fire. Many of these are made from paper, dried corn stalks or other dried flowers. Be sure to keep them clear of flames or other heat sources such as portable heaters. Also don’t block entrance and exits with decorations that may inhibit you from exiting quickly and safely in the event of a fire. Two of every five fires reported were because decorations caught fire in the home according to the NFPA.
If you do use candles be sure to use sturdy holders that will not tip easily, and use in uncluttered stable surface. Avoid the edge of the surface to not be knocked to the floor. Never use candles in a home where oxygen is in use. Keep Candles at least 1 foot from away from object that can burn, Most importantly never leave a candle burning unattended.
SERVPRO of West Forsyth County hopes you have a safe and Happy Halloween. Should you need any of our Fire Damage related services call us directly at 336-946-1131
How do I know I need SERVPRO of West Forsyth County
SERVPRO of West Forsyth County Crew
Whether you have Fire, Water or Mold damage; 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. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County is focused on root cause solutions so that you only have to deal with the damage once. Fixing it right the first time is a priority.
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 the first time. 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, water and mold damage mitigation services 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: IICRC Welcome Video And IICRC Org
For more information about SERVPRO of West Forsyth County: www.SERVPROwestforsythcounty.com
Or call us directly to ask about our scope service 336-946-1131 it’s best to call us directly.