Natural Disaster - Flooding
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), “Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding.” NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as:
- Flash Flooding
- River Flooding
- Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems
- Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)
- Ice/Debris Jams
- Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
- Dam Breaks/Levee Failure
Just because you haven’t experienced a flood doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the U.S., and commercial flood claims average more than $75,000 (NFIP).
When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO Livonia Professionals can help. They can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get you back in business as soon as possible.
Your local SERVPRO of Livonia Professionals are ready to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
What to do about a mold problem...
What’s the Difference?
Since microscopic mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors, removing all mold from a home or business is impossible. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold. This is a fallacy.
A qualified restoration company understands the science behind mold and mold growth. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have the training and expertise to remediate the mold in your home or business. Mold remediation focuses on getting mold levels back to normal, natural levels.
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same.
Step 1: Emergency Contact
Step 2: Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
Step 3: Mold Containment
Step 4: Air Filtration
Step 5: Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
Step 6: Cleaning Contents and Belongings
Step 7: Restoration
When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. Consider the following mold facts: Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants and have the potential to cause other health effects.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact a SERVPRO Franchise Professional for mold remediation services.
What NOT to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold
Does your business have a plan?
How quickly your company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning before the devastation of these tragedies. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. Protect your business investment and give your company a better chance for survival with the following preparation:
Develop a Business Continuity Plan
Your organization's risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope, and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flow chart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management.
Review Insurance Coverage
Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed, or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage, and business interruption. Understand what your policy does and does not cover.
Prepare Your Emergency Plan
Your employees and co-workers are your businesses' most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during, and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and/or other communication tools.
Practice the Emergency Plan
Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, consumers, and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.
Secure Your Facility and Equipment
Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant, or store is not usable. Secure valuable equipment.
Why IICRC is important to you...
IICRC is the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. There are many courses and certifications that SERVPRO technicians have obtained to guarantee better service for our customers. The IICRC sets industry standards across the board. They cover everything from cleaning techniques to fire and water damage restoration. They also do extensive training on Mold Remediation. To stay IICRC certified, there are constant re-education courses required.
SERVPRO of Livonia, requires that their lead technicians are IICRC certified. For the last 4 years we have had an IICRC technician on every single job site for the duration of the project, to make sure you, the customer, receives the highest quality of service.
When a SERVPRO IICRC Certified technician enters your home, they are equipped with in depth knowledge of how to assess the damage that has occurred, and then the best tactics to not only stopping further damage but restoring the items you currently have.
SERVPRO Livonia, holds itself to the highest standards in the industry to best serve our customers and our community.
Finding Hidden Mold
Modern building materials including wood, drywall, grout, and wallpaper are all appealing food sources for mold. All they need is a little moisture, and mold spores can take hold and create an entire colony hidden behind the walls, beneath the floor, or above the ceiling in your home. With homes built the way they are today—tightly, with energy efficiency in mind—water from a leaky roof or vapor from the dishwasher can easily get trapped inside. This creates a recipe for disaster, one that could cause health effects.
Finding Hidden Mold in Your Home
Hidden mold can also destroy home value by damaging its structural integrity. It’s something you want to get rid of as quickly as possible.
If you think you might have hidden mold growing in your home, use these tips to find it:
Hire a professional: The easiest and best way to find out if your home has hidden mold is the hire a professional mold remediation company like SERVPRO. We know how to quickly and successfully find and eliminate mold in your home while causing the least amount of disruption to your daily life possible. Some of the other methods listed below can be challenging to perform without the help of an experienced pro.
Check the roof for leaks:Visit the attic and pull up insulation to check for hidden mold there. Roof leaks can also result in ceiling water stains and sagging drywall, other indicators for hidden mold growth.
Check for leaky pipes: This obvious sign of water intrusion could be causing mold growth on the other side of the wall. Examine all fixtures for leaks, including the bathroom and kitchen sinks, toilet, refrigerator, washing machine, and all other water and sewer supply lines.
Test the humidity with a hygrometer: If any rooms have relative humidity higher than 60 percent, hidden mold is likely in that area.
Examine the inside of cabinets: Remove drawers and look thoroughly at all wood surfaces in kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. You may even need to remove the cabinets in their entirety to examine the wall and floor beneath the installation. This, however, will most likely require the help of a professional.
Have the ductwork inspected: Mold can grow inside the ductwork and spread spores all over your home. An inspection from SERVPRO may reveal the problem.
Have the ceilings, walls, and floors tested for dry rot: Elevated internal moisture and dry rot is an indication that hidden mold is growing there.
Remove sections of wallpaper: Cut one-inch square pieces from the wallpaper every several feet. Examine the backside of the samples for mold growth.
Cut holes in the drywall: This can be seen as a drastic move by many homeowners, but if you have hidden mold behind the walls in your home, it’s important that you find it as soon as possible. Use a flashlight to examine the wall or ceiling cavity. Smell the air and try to pick up on any musty odors that indicate mold growth.
SERVPRO has the expertise and knowledge required to remove mold from the basement, crawlspace, attic, or anywhere else it has started growing in your home or business. Call 734-744-8104 today if you suspect mold anywhere in your home or business.
Why not to use bleach to clean mold...
Chlorine Bleach is often regarded as the answer for stopping mold growth and removing the mold. However, this is a myth. Bleach does not exonerate mold. Here are three reasons why bleach is not the answer to mold, and should never be used to clean a mold contaminated area.
1. Bleach Loses Effectiveness over Time
Chlorine bleach can dissipate rapidly, causing the bleach to be less effective. Over time this occurs because chlorine can evaporate and even faster in areas that are above room temperature. When the chlorine disappears, the bleach bottle turns into a bottle of salt water.
2. Bleach can actually contribute to mold growth
Chlorine bleach was made to clean surfaces, therefore can only kill surface bacteria and mold. This is due to bleach’s ion structure, which prevents the chlorine from penetrating porous material such as wood and drywall. When mold grows in porous areas, the enzyme’s roots grow deep within the material, rendering the bleach ineffective of exterminating the mold. The bleach can only remove the green stain from the mold, allowing surface to appear clean. But underneath the surface, the water component of the bleach penetrates and helps the internal roots to continue to grow, causing mold to reappear.
3. Bleach is Toxic
Bleach emits harmful fumes that pollute the air we breathe and can cause health effects to humans and even pets. Also research shows that household bleach is one of the leading causes of accidental poisonings in the United States.
As college students head back to their dorm after winter break, remember these tips to stay safe and keep those around you safe.
Learn the building’s evacuation plan.
If you’re living on campus, chances are your dorm will have an emergency evacuation plan and all buildings on campus should have an evacuation plan posted on each floor. Make sure you are familiar with these plans.
If you live off campus, have an escape plan of your own with at least two ways out of each room.
Don’t overload your room’s electrical outlets.
Most electrical outlets in dorms are designed to handle specific amperage. It’s best not to try to push them to their capacity by using too many multi-plug devices. If you ever notice any scorched marks or burning odors around an electrical outlet, stop using that outlet and inform someone of the problem right away.
Cook with care.
Be careful when cooking in your dorm or in the dorm’s community kitchen. If you do not have a kitchen in your dorm, then you should follow the school’s guidelines on what sort of plug-in cooking equipment is permitted for use in the dorms. Always be careful with electric frying pans, toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, etc. Never leave your dorm when cooking appliances are in use.
Respect open flame policies.
Most schools don’t allow you to smoke or burn candles or incense in the dorms. If you do smoke, be sure to do so in the designated areas on campus (most likely away from buildings). Avoid burning candles or incense in your dorm room. If you burn them for the smell, try using essential oil diffusers to create a pleasant aroma in the dorm. If you do still choose to burn candles or incense in your dorm, never leave them unattended and keep them away from flammable materials.
Don’t tamper with fire safety features in your dorm.
Most dorms should have smoke detectors. It is important that you do not cover them with any decorations in your dorm. Additionally, do not remove the batteries in your dorm’s smoke detector. It will send a signal to Public Safety to investigate the source of the problem. If your dorm has a sprinkler system in place, don’t hang any decorations on it. Sprinklers are there to help put out a fire before firefighters can get there. They are especially important if your dorm is on an upper level as it can be more difficult for firefighters to get to the flames.
Be mindful of clutter and how you decorate your dorm.
While decorating a dorm room can display your personality or bring some of home to school with you, it can also become potential fuel for a fire. Every poster or tapestry you hang on the wall, or piece of decor you hang from the ceiling, can be considered a fire hazard. Some schools may limit the amount of wall space that can be covered in your dorm, or may prohibit hanging things from the ceiling. Even if there are no restrictions, it would be wise to limit the amount of decor you hang in your room as well as to keep clutter to a minimum. Additionally, avoid draping materials over hot items like lamps that could potentially cause ignition. Furniture should also be kept away from the room’s heat source to reduce the risk of fire.
5 Things to Include in Your Fire Escape Plan:
- Draw a Map of Your Home.
Draw a map of each level of your home. On your map make sure to show the following:
- All doors,windows, & smoke alarms.
- 2 ways to get out of each room. Check to make sure you can open all doors and windows easily.
- Mark a safe location to meet near the front of your home.
- Have 2 Ways Out of Each Room.
When making your plan try and have at least 2 ways out of each room. Also, make sure each person can open all the windows and doors.
- Know How to Keep Yourself Safe When Escaping!
There are multiple different scenarios that can happen when you’re trying to get out of your home, so make sure you and your family know how to handle them.
A few things to know and practice are:
- Crawling low to the floor to avoid toxic smoke.
- Closing doors on your way out to help slow the spread of fire, giving more time to safely escape.
- Stop, Drop, & Roll if clothes catch on fire.
- How to call 9-1-1 to get help.
If the fire prevents you from escaping, here are some tips…
- Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to help keep smoke from coming in.
- Call for help, or if you don’t have a phone try using a whistle to alert neighbors.
- Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.
- Get Out & Stay Out!
Designate a meeting location a safe distance in front of your home – like at the end of the driveway, on the sidewalk, or near a certain tree. You want it to be near the front of your home so the firefighters will know that you’re out.
Be sure to never go back into a burning building for any reason! If someone is missing tell the firefighters right away since they are equipped to perform rescues safely.
- Have a Fire Drill Twice a Year!
Fire drills aren’t just for schools, but for your home too!
It is recommended that youprepare and practice your fire escape plan twice a year with everyone in your household, including children.
Water Contamination Terms
Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that can cause health effects. Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contamination.
There are three major types of contaminated water.
Category 1: “Clean Water”
This is water from a clean source, such as a broken clean water supply line or faucet. If left untreated, category 1 water can quickly degrade into category 2 or 3 water depending upon such factors as time, temperature and contact with contaminants.
Category 2: “Gray Water”
This water has a significant level of contamination that could cause health effects if ingested. Sources for category 2 water may include washing machine overflow; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; or dishwasher overflow.
Category 3: “Black Water”
This water is grossly unsanitary, can cause health effects, and any contact should be avoided. Sources for category 3 water could include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
SERVPRO of Livonia will inspect the contaminated water to determine the type of water and then plan the appropriate response to safely restore your home or business.
Car Emergency Kit
You may have a home emergency kit or a home first aid kit, however, a car emergency kit can be just as important to keep. May people spend large amounts of time in a car, expecting them to work at every use. This is a dangerous truth that can be believed as cars cannot be reliable all the time. It is when driving in the worst weather conditions or not in a great area that a car can lose functioning.
A car emergency kit is something that you may have never thought about until the exact time you need it.
Vehicle breakdowns happen and even a car service membership or calling for help may not be an immediate relief to the problem. Sometimes it can take hours for a car emergency to be responded to. This is why we suggest having a car emergency kit at hand in your vehicle. The following are items to keep:
- First Aid Kit
- Reflective warning triangles
- Tire gauge
- Foam tire sealant
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight/extra batteries
- Tire chains
- Duct tape
- Tow strap/rope
- Multipurpose utility tool
- Rain poncho
- Drinking water
- Nonperishable snacks
In the winter add:
- Snow shovel
- Cat litter
- Windshield ice scraper
An emergency kit for your car can be purchased or it can be homemade, either way it is a great way to keep safe on the road.