Missteps to Avoid After a House Fire
Consult a professional for best results following a house fire
A house fire will upend your life. Even a fire that is contained to one room can spread soot and harmful fumes throughout your home. Putting out the fire may create a water damage or a mess of fire extinguisher foam.
Your first instinct may be to start cleaning whatever you can, but you may actually make the damage worse. You should consult a fire restoration specialist certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) to learn what you can do and how best to save your property.
Here is a list of things you should do after a fire. Meanwhile, avoid the following:
Do Not Wash Soot-stained Walls
If you attempt to clean painted or papered walls with typical household cleaners, you may fix the soot into the material. Suddenly, what should be a simple cleaning job may require painting or new wallpaper.
Do Not Shampoo Your Rugs
Again, household cleaners will not be effective removing soot from carpets and upholstery. Instead you risk making a temporary stain permanent when you attempt to clean fabrics yourself. Fire restoration professionals have commercial cleaning products that can safely remove soot from rugs, carpets, and upholstery.
Do Not Attempt Cleaning Electronics
When electronics like computers, radios, and televisions have been exposed to excessive heat or water, they should be inspected by an authorized repair service before you turn on the power again. Trust the professionals to avoid electrocuting yourself or igniting another fire.
Do Not Consume Contaminated Food
Foods that were not fully sealed should be considered contaminated following a fire. In addition, sealed foods that have been exposed to excessive heat may also be unsafe for human consumption. Check with a trained fire technician to learn what can be salvaged and what must be discarded.
Do Not Turn on Power or Electric Devices
If the power is out after a home fire, an electrician should inspect the building for safety before power is restored. If the power remains on, you should still avoid using overhead lights, ceiling fans, or other appliances that may have suffered fire or water damage until they have been inspected by a qualified professional.
Do Not Send Clothes to Your Regular Cleaner
Some drycleaners specialize in fire restoration. Others do not have the training and materials to properly clean clothes exposed to soot. If you want to salvage your clothes, be sure to take them to a drycleaner who specializes in cleaning after a fire.
Here at SERVPRO® of Waltham / Weston / Watertown / Wayland, our IICRC-certified fire restoration technicians have the training and experience to guide you in getting your life back following a house fire. Trust us to help you restore your home and peace of mind.
Where Water Goes, Mold Follows
After several days, a water damage can become a major mold remediation project.
Our franchise is often called to respond to water losses that have resulted in mold or other microbial growth. If we can dry the affected areas within three days of a water intrusion, we can usually save all building materials. If we cannot, the project is much bigger and may involve significant demolition and mold remediation.
Given the right conditions of warmth and humidity, mold can start growing within a couple of days. By the time you see the microbial growth, the loss is much bigger and will cost more time and money to remediate.
Dishwasher Leak in Watertown
Last month, we were called to a condominium in Watertown, Mass. that had a water leak from its dishwasher. The leak had gone undetected for several weeks, and we found microbial growth beneath the dishwasher when we arrived.
When water sits for weeks on organic material, the loss is considered category 3, the highest contamination level of water damage. In this case, contaminated cabinets, flooring, and drywall had to be removed and discarded.
Many Steps to Mold Remediation
Mold remediation involves several layers of protection. Technicians wear personal protective equipment including masks, and they set up containment barriers to prevent microbial spores moving outside the affected area.
Additionally, Massachusetts law requires asbestos testing before attempting the demolition, so we could not even begin that work until a third party had taken samples back to the lab and completed testing.
Once we were cleared to begin work, we removed the countertop, contaminated cabinets, drywall, and three layers of flooring. We installed a HEPA-filtered air filtration device, several fans and dehumidifiers.
Do Not Wait for Mold
All this is to remind you that when you suspect you have a water intrusion in your home, you must act quickly to dry building materials and contain the damage. If your insurance company decides you were negligent in not addressing the water damage sooner, you may even end up paying out of pocket for the secondary damage.
Call SERVPRO® of Waltham / Weston / Watertown / Wayland at the first sign of a water damage. We will act fast to prevent mold growth and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Free Emergency Planning for Watertown, Mass. Businesses
Call today to schedule a free Emergency Ready Plan for your business
No business can avoid disasters completely. Water main breaks, burst pipes, and clogged sewer drains can cause flooding even for businesses located high on a hill. Fires, wind storms, and hurricanes happen. We cannot help prevent these disasters, but we can be prepared to rebound after an event and resume business as soon as possible.
Emergency Ready Plan
SERVPRO® of Waltham / Weston / Watertown / Wayland helps local businesses prepare for whatever happens. We work with business owners and facility managers to gather key contact information and note critical utility shutoffs within their facilities.
We use this information to create an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP). Not only do we provide a paper copy of this document to keep onsite, we also put all the information and photos into a mobile app. The SERVPRO® Ready Plan App keeps all your data at your fingertips on your phone, allowing you to make edits as needed or quickly share with others.
Business Survival Planning
Odds are you are not the only person relying on your company’s survival. Your customers, vendors, and employees depend on you. An ERP will help you get back in business as soon as possible following a disaster allowing you to meet your obligations.
FEMA data indicates that up to 40% of businesses fail following a disaster. Of those that survive, three quarters of them had a disaster recovery plan in place in advance.
We would like to help your Watertown, Mass. business recover quickly in the event of an emergency. Please call our office today at 781-647-9100 so we can get started on your free Emergency Ready Plan.
Commercial Cleaning: No Job Too Big
Trust SERVPRO for emergency commercial cleaning
Many people know SERVPRO® of Waltham / Weston / Watertown / Wayland as the team you call to clean after a fire or flood in your home, but you should know we also service commercial clients as well.
As part of a nationwide franchise system, we are able to meet the challenge of any size job. If we do not have enough manpower or equipment, we can call in other franchises or activate the SERVPRO® Storm Team to meet the needs of commercial clients in our area.
Air Terminal Flood
We were recently called to an air terminal that flooded during a summer microburst. Four inches fell in two hours, and the air terminal flooded to four feet deep.
It is amazing the damage two hours of rain can do. Our team had to recover documents from a flight school, clean heavy equipment, and dry the entire building. For some of the specialty items, like antique furniture in one of the offices, we called in trusted subcontractors to complete the restoration with us.
Office Building Water Damage
Last year, a cold snap caused a sprinkler head to break off on the top floor of a 20,000-square-foot, two-story office building. By the time someone shut off the water a few hours later, most units on both floors plus storage in the basement were affected.
We had to deploy a giant generator, several truckloads of fans and dehumidifiers, and all of our technicians to complete the restoration and dry out the building.
School Post-Construction Cleanup
Right before school started this year, we received a call from a local school department. Two of the town's school buildings had undergone construction projects over the summer. Unfortunately, the contractors had not protected the buildings and the duct work from sawdust and other construction materials.
We were tasked on short notice to clean the schools in time for the first day of classes. Our crews worked until 2:00 am to be sure we met the deadline for this project.
We would like a chance to show your organization what we can do. Call us for a free estimate the next time a water damage or other emergency cleaning job interferes with your business. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”
Who Cares What Color Your Mold Is?
No matter the color, consult a mold remediation specialist before it gets worse.
A common misconception states that color determines the mold hazard in your building. For some reason, black mold has received a bad rap, and many people mistakenly believe they have nothing to worry about with other colors.
Mold spores that can grow into a variety of colors are always present in the air we breathe. They usually do not present a hazard because they are so few in number. Most molds and other microbes only become a hazard when they have an opportunity to grow into colonies releasing large numbers of spores into the air.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes that mold can cause health effects.
When mold grows to the point that you can see or smell it in your building, you need to call in a mold remediation specialist. Here at SERVPRO® of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland our franchise professionals are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification for microbial remediation.
We can contain the contamination, remove contaminated materials, and scrub the air of mold spores and other particulates. We can also advise you on steps you should take to control moisture and discourage future microbial growth.
Free Mold Remediation Estimates
Mold will only get worse if you ignore the problem. Call us today to schedule a free estimate and find out what it would cost to control the outbreak and allow everyone in your building to breathe easy again.
First Steps Following a House Fire
Trust SERVPRO for fire cleanup in your home
A house fire is traumatizing. Even when everyone makes it out safely, even when the fire is contained to a small area, you will be left thinking of what could have been worse. Plus, you will have a mess that cannot be cleaned with conventional consumer products.
These tips will help you take back control of your life following a house fire.
Our restoration professionals are committed to restoring your property. We want to help you reoccupy your home as fast as possible.
Our experienced crews will help you navigate the restoration process. Their know-how and commercial cleaning products will prevent secondary damage to your belongings.
Avoid Tracking Soot
Try not to walk through sooty areas if it can be avoided. Put down dry, old linens or colorfast towels in the traffic areas you cannot avoid.
Handle as little as possible and wash your hands frequently, so you are not moving soot onto uncontaminated items.
You can safely wipe soot off chrome fixtures. Consider applying a light coating of lubricant to protect them from soot disturbed during cleaning.
If the weather is cold and the heating system is disabled, you should pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilets, tubs, and holding tanks to prevent pipes freezing.
Check Your Appliances
If you do not have power, empty the freezer and refrigerator of food and leave the doors open. Otherwise, you will get bad odors in them.
As with plumbing fixtures, you can wipe the soot off chrome appliances and apply a lubricant, but you should not attempt to use an electrical appliance until you are certain it was not damaged in the fire.
Protect Heating System
Cover your HVAC intakes with two layers of cheesecloth to prevent soot and other particulates from getting into the system. You may also change the air filter, but you should not try to turn the system back on until an HVAC professional has inspected it.
Remember Your House Plants
Plants are living organisms that need to breathe. Wipe away soot from both sides of all leaves to help them survive. Consider moving them to another location if the temperature during restoration is too hot or cold for them.
Trust the Professionals
Here at SERVPRO® of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland, our crews have the training and experience to restore your property and get you back in home ASAP. If you have a fire, call us to start the process of getting your life back and making it “Like it never even happened.”
Top 5 Reasons It’s Never Too Early To Plan Ahead
September is National Preparedness Month (image courtesy of FEMA.gov)
Everyone likes to believe bad things will never happen to happen to them. However, disasters happen whether or not we believe they will. September is National Preparedness Month. This year, all the destruction of hurricanes and wildfires across our nation reminds us of the importance of planning ahead.
Here are the top five reasons you should plan ahead to survive disasters.
1. Identify Potential Problems
When you create an emergency plan, you have an opportunity to find and correct problems.
Here at SERVPRO® of Waltham / Weston / Watertown / Wayland we help businesses create Emergency Ready Profiles using the Ready App. Many times we will find situations that are easily fixed to make a building safer during an emergency.
Maybe the water shutoff is not well lit and requires a flashlight to access. Or we might find the electric main is in a closet blocked by storage goods. By creating a plan ahead of time, our client can arrange to have a flashlight close at hand and train employees to maintain full access to the utility shutoffs.
2. Spread Costs Over Time
Emergency planning for families often involves stocking up on supplies like water, first-aid kits, and non-perishable foods. These items can be expensive if you buy them all at once when an emergency is imminent.
However, if you plan ahead, you can stock many of your emergency supplies over time and take advantage of sales to save money.
3. Avoid Lines at the Last Minute
Another hassle with last-minute emergency preparations is that you will find yourself competing with all the other last-minute shoppers when bad weather is headed in your direction. Spreading purchases over time as part of your regular shopping will save you all that time on line when disaster looms.
4. Educate Everyone
Planning ahead allows you to educate everyone in your home or business about the proper responses in the event of an emergency. For example, fire drills can educate everyone on how to safely evacuate a building quickly.
Making sure everyone knows where to meet up safely away from a building will permit accurate headcounts following evacuation. Accurate headcounts lessen the chance that first responders might be sent into danger trying to rescue someone who is actually safely out of the building.
5. Respond Quickly When Disaster Strikes
With proper planning, you will be better able to respond quickly to a disaster. You can lessen the impact of adverse events by establishing and rehearsing procedures for possible emergencies. You can prioritize your actions in advance and ensure you have everything you need on hand to weather the storm.
And when the dust has settled, you can trust SERVPRO® of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland to help you make it "Like it never even happened.”
Highly Recommended Water Professionals
Diane and Ken recommend SERVPRO for water damage
Remember the snow that would not stop in 2015 and all the ice dams that resulted? SERVPRO® of Waltham / Weston / Watertown / Wayland had just moved into a new office at 50 Sun Street, Waltham, Massachusetts when the flakes started flying and would not stop. Ice dams led to a surplus of water damage calls that spring.
Ice Dam Interrupts Dinner Prep
Diane called us after an ice dam leak came through her second floor bathroom and down into the kitchen.
“I was actually cooking and I happened to go to the refrigerator and all of a sudden water started dripping on me and then the whole thing went.”
Fortunately, Diane knew whom to call. As her husband Ken points out, “We called SERVPRO® and they were quite responsive, easy to work with. Their schedule met ours. They came when they said they would.”
Trust Professionals To Dry It Right
We removed wet drywall and insulation and set up a moisture barrier. We installed fans to evaporate moisture and a dehumidifier to dry the air. We also used a HEPA-filtered air scrubber to collect airborne microbes and spores. Finally, we applied a botanical, anti-microbial solution to deter future microbial growth.
In our customer testimonial video, Diane adds, “They’re professionals. We recommend them highly.”
Making a Difference During Disasters
That was a tough year for many of us in Greater Boston. Some insurance companies stopped having restoration companies perform emergency water services for ice dams until they were certain the snow had ended for the season. Our franchise was still cleaning up the mess into the summer of 2015.
Not everyone gets to feel like they make a difference every day. At SERVPRO®, even during a slow week we have multiple opportunities to make a disaster “Like it never even happened.”
Who Do You Call When Your Office Floods on New Year’s Eve?
"If I could give them 100 stars, I would."
Murphy has a rule about how everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Here at SERVPRO it seems like everything that can go wrong will go wrong when it is most inconvenient.
For example, having a water damage in your examining room at any time is bad enough. Having it on New Year’s Eve could be disastrous.
Commercial Water Damage
On New Year’s Eve 2014, Dr. Michael Edelstein was in his Moody Street office. He does not usually work on the last day of the year, but he was fortunate to be there late that afternoon when water rained down from the apartment above him.
He did not feel fortunate at the time. “New Year’s Eve I figured I would be hard-pressed to find anybody who could respond.” (See customer testimonial video.)
24/7 Emergency Response
Dr. Edelstein was lucky though, because our owner Steve Taylor was right around the corner signing the lease for our new franchise office here in Waltham. “Within twenty minutes, the local franchisee was in my office. Within probably thirty minutes after that, I had a crew of seven people.
“I could not give them a higher endorsement…If I could give them 100 stars, I would give them 100 stars. They were terrific.”
Do You Feel Lucky?
Dr. Edelstein certainly does. He was lucky to be there when the water flooded his office. Had he already left for the night, the water would have sat there through the holiday contaminating his office.
He was also lucky he called SERVPRO® of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland. Our committed employees put their plans on hold to service the client that evening. We minimized the damage, cleaned exposed surfaces, and dried the area. Most importantly, Bay State Eye Associates was back in business as scheduled following the holiday.
We cannot prevent commercial water damages and other disasters, but we can help you take back control of your life when they happen. Trust the team with the commitment to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Weston Attic Mold Remediation
Microbial growth in attic before and after remediation
Most homeowners get very concerned when they find mold in their attics. Mold you can see in your attic may mean you have a high level of mold spores you cannot see throughout the home, and excessive mold may cause health issues for people in the home.
Attic Mold in Weston
SERVPRO® of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland was recently called to a home in Weston, Mass. because the homeowner thought he saw mold growing in the attic. Our estimator found microbial growth on the sheathing and rafters of the attic ceiling and provided the homeowner with a free remediation estimate that he accepted.
Removed Visible Growth
Our technicians began remediation by setting up containment to prevent contaminants from the attic getting disturbed and traveling to other parts of the home. Next, they removed and discarded the insulation covering the sheathing.
Filtered Out Airborne Substances
Once the insulation was removed, the technicians vacuumed the sheathing and rafters with a HEPA vacuum. They then set up a HEPA-filtered air scrubber to remove microbial spores, dust, bacteria and other airborne particles from the air.
Deterred Future Growth
Finally, the production team applied a plant-based anti-microbial solution to the surface areas to discourage future microbial growth.
When you see or smell mold in your home, call in a professional to remediate the situation and protect air quality for your family. SERVPRO’s technicians are trained and certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Certification. We offer free estimates and are always “Here to Help.”