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Home Fire Readiness: Are You Prepared?

9/17/2020 (Permalink)

burned stove Kitchen fire damage in Hallandale, FL

Common Causes of Fire Homes

No one wants to imagine having a fire in their home, but fire preparedness is an essential responsibility for homeowners. Fire departments in the U.S. respond to over 400,000 residential fires annually. Understanding the common causes of home fires may help identify weak links in your fire-readiness plan.

Kitchen Risks
Home smoke alarms should be located near the kitchen because almost half of the residential fires originate from cooking activities. Consider these common sources of fire:

  • Dried or greasy food near a hot broiler can spark an oven fire.
  • Gas stove flames can ignite grease or oils built up on pots and pans.
  • Heating elements in toasters and other small appliances can ignite dried food or crumbs.
  • A gas burner left on accidentally can cause a buildup of volatile gas in your kitchen.

Keeping a fire extinguisher near your kitchen is strongly recommended. A kitchen fire can quickly cause costly damage, and the cleanup may require professional fire restoration services.

Human Causes
Carelessness is a major risk factor in home fires. Unsafe smoking or barbecuing causes thousands of fires annually. It’s important to follow manufacturers’ instructions for lighting and cleaning your grill. Locating it at a safe distance from structures is also essential.
Smoking in the bedroom is a significant fire risk. It is dangerous to smoke while reclining, while in bed, or after using alcohol. Placing a fire extinguisher near risk-prone areas and using common fire-safety sense will reduce your risk.

Small Heating Appliances
Cold temperatures make it tempting to warm up your bedroom or office with a portable heater. However, unattended space heaters increase your risk of a home fire. Monitoring heaters and placing them at a safe distance from drapes, clothing, or bedspreads are strongly recommended.
When a spark or a heating element contacts a fuel source, a fire can easily ignite. The fuel source may be textiles, gas, oil, or grease. It’s important to monitor devices or in your home that contain heating elements, and a well-placed fire extinguisher can protect your Hallandale, FL, home from costly damage. A little extra caution goes a long way; common sense may be the best fire-readiness tool you have.

You Might Be Able To Deduct Storm Damage From Your Taxes

9/11/2020 (Permalink)

Closeup on businessman holding a card with text TAX DEDUCTIBLE In many situations, damages and expenses caused by storms are tax-deductible

When a storm hits your commercial property in Royal Poinciana, FL, you have a lot to think about. At first, your actions will center on making sure everyone in your company is safe. Once that is accomplished you will want to concentrate on recovering from the impacts of storm damage. If the damage to your building is significant, hiring a professional storm mitigation company makes a lot of sense. A team of highly-trained technicians will arrive on-site and begin the process of recovery. Certified workers will remove standing water and repair damages caused by wind, rain, and hail. The goal is to get your company back on its feet as quickly as possible.

The High Cost of Storm Damage

At some point, your thoughts will turn to expenses. This is the time to take the following actions:

  • Contact your insurance company
  • Look into strategies to limit expenses
  • Consider ways to recoup losses
  • Look into special loans or grants

In many situations, damages and expenses caused by storms are tax-deductible. Tax laws change frequently so it is always a good idea to check with your accountant or tax specialist. In general, expenses that exceed the limits of your insurance coverage qualify for a write-off.

The Process of Recovery
A storm recovery franchise follows a proven process to restore your facility to its original condition. While each storm presents a unique challenge, the initial stage typically begins with an assessment and inspection of the building. Once the scope of the storm damage is known, the technicians will develop a plan to remove water and dry out impacted areas of the property. They will use specialized equipment to restore your property as the situation demands. They will investigate the building to make certain mold has not begun to grow in affected areas. If mold is present, they will employ advanced techniques to control mold. On average, the recovery process takes a few days.

Steps for Dealing with Water Damage

8/18/2020 (Permalink)

Carpet flooded in a commercial building Commercial water damage in Golden Beach, FL

Water damage can slowly or seemingly instantly happen in your Golden Beach, FL, business. Once you have recognized you have a problem, it’s imperative to take quick action to correct the cause of the problem and ensure secondary damage doesn’t happen.

Common Sources

The source of the issue is important to know. Depending on the reason for water loss, it may mean costly repairs or a relatively quick fix. Main sources include:

Mother Nature – Severe storms and flooding can easily find cracks in the foundation, roof, or openings to enter a building.
Piping – Damaged or broken pipes may cause a slow leak or sudden burst of 100s of gallons of water.
Sprinkler Systems – Although imperative for safety, they can malfunction if not properly maintained and regularly inspected.
Appliances – From an on-site dishwasher to the building’s water heaters, appliances have an array of parts that eventually may weaken or go bad.
Toilets, Drains – These regularly used features can easily clog if items are improperly flushed or debris blocks the main drain.

After the Damage
Once water damage happens, a few key steps need to take place to ensure proper water cleanup and restoration, as well as adhere to your commercial property insurance.

Call your insurance and get a claim going quickly.
Verify the extent of the damage by calling a certified water restoration specialist. Along with having the ability to find hidden damage, they will have the expertise to properly clean and restore your property back to “Like it never even happened.”
The faster it dries out, the fewer chances that the damage will spread. Before doing anything, ensure that it is safe to remove items, open windows, and use fans and humidifiers.
Document anything that you do and everything that has been damage. Doing that will ensure the claims process goes more smoothly and give the restoration expert a better grasp on what cleaning methods will be required.

While dealing with water damage can feel overwhelming, taking quick action and getting help right away will make it easier to get operations back to normal.

Hidden Mold Locations in Your Commercial Building

8/17/2020 (Permalink)

water damaged ceiling causing mold growth Mold growth on ceiling tiles

Hidden Mold Locations in Your Commercial Building

Mold growth can damage your Hollywood Lakes, FL, commercial building, and affect your profits. That is why you probably do visible checks for mold every few months. Yet these quick inspections may not be enough. Mold may also be hidden throughout your property. It can rapidly spread in hard-to-see locations. By the time you notice the mold, the problem may already be widespread.
In general, mold grows in dark, moist places. Unfortunately, that description applies to many areas in a commercial building. When you inspect your property for mold, you should specifically focus on the below locations.

1. Paper Stacks
Not everything in your building has been digitized. You probably still have stacks of folders and documents in the basement or closet. If these storage locations are prone to high humidity, they could easily foster mold growth.

2. Ceiling Tiles
Ceiling tiles absorb both dirt and moisture, making them a breeding ground for mold. Wet tiles resulting from roof or pipe leaks are particularly dangerous. Any tiles with water damage should be thus replaced immediately.

3. Carpet
Carpet similarly captures both dirt and moisture. Floods or spills can soak the carpet, increasing the risk of mold.

4. Ducts
During the summer months, the air flowing through the building ducts contains lots of moisture. This moisture can condense both inside and outside the ducts. Consider installing an ultraviolet lighting system on the ducts to destroy any microorganisms.

5. Electrical Equipment
You may not think that outlets or switches would be common locations for mold. After all, electric equipment is typically pretty dry. However, mold can thrive in the gaps between the electronics and the ceiling or wall, especially if those gaps are filled with warm and moist air.
If you do locate mold growth on your property, you should not attempt to clean it yourself. Instead, you should rely on cleanup and restoration specialists who know the proper techniques that should prevent the mold from returning.

Essential Information About Home Water Damage

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

a graphic that says category 3 damage Understanding water contamination levels may help you choose the best strategy for restoring your home and your peace of mind.

Essential Information About Home Water Damage

When water damages your Hallandale FL home, suddenly you have many tasks to take care of. Cleaning up and restoring your property can be both time consuming and expensive. This brief guide may help you identify your first steps and understand whether your insurance will help you. Home water damage generally originates from one of three sources.


Interior Water


Water-related damage often comes from sources inside your home. Here are some examples of interior, non-storm-related damage.

An appliance, such as a dishwasher or ice maker, leaks clean water.
A supply water line breaks.
A toilet or sewer overflows, introducing toxic sewage to your structure.
A washing machine leaks water contaminated by soil or grease.

If your offending water originated from a toilet or sewer, it is considered highly toxic, and a professional water remediation service should perform the cleanup. It is a good idea to inform your homeowner’s insurance agent about your water damage early on. They can tell you what level of coverage and reimbursement your policy carries.


Stormwater


When water enters your home before it reaches the ground, generally due to a weather event, it is considered stormwater. Hail, snow or rain entering through a broken window or roof leak describes this type of damage. Your conventional insurance will likely cover stormwater cleanup.


Floodwater


If water enters your home because of external, rising floodwater, it is considered to be highly toxic. Floodwater is called black water or Category 3 water, which is the highest level of toxicity. Water damage from Category 3 water can contain substances such as sewage, toxic chemicals or hazardous objects. For this reason, it requires professional crews to perform the cleanup. Your homeowner’s insurance will not cover this type of damage; a special government-issued insurance policy would be needed for you to receive help.
Whatever the source, water can cause significant damage and inconvenient interruptions to the lives of you and your family. Flood damage will require professional help for safe restoration. 

Help Protect your Property in Hollywood by Boarding Up After Disaster

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura is aware of the horrific damage a storm or hurricane can leave in its wake. Boarding up before or after a storm hits in Hollywood will be beneficial to you and your property.  Unfortunately, during a storm, it is common for windows and doors to break leaving your house or office building susceptible to unwanted guests such as dogs, raccoons, cats, etc. These animals will continue tearing up what is already destroyed along with urinating and defecating, leaving unwanted odors. Boarding up can also help to deter people who might want to take advantage of your disaster by stealing or vandalizing your structure.

Here are a few of the letters you will find on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) map when facing storms:

  • D = Tropical Depression (wind speed less than 30 MPH)
  • S = Tropical Storm (wind speed between 39 MPH and 73 MPH)
  • H = Hurricane (wind speed between 74 MPH and 110 MPH)
  • M = Major Hurricane (wind speed greater than 100 MPH)

It’s better to be prepared next time winds of this magnitude strike our homes and offices. These tips will help you avoid disaster if possible, but in the event you experience wind damage to your property in Hollywood, please call the professionals at SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura at 954-921-8992.

How To Prepare for the Next Big Storm

8/6/2020 (Permalink)

graphic that says flash flood ready Are you ready for the next Florida storm?

Living in Hollywood, FL you know that large storms are common. With them can come a lot of precipitation. If you're not prepared, you could soon see flood water coming into your home. Luckily, there are some effective ways of reducing flooding on your property. With a few basic steps, you can stay dry and protect your loved ones and belongings. You can also save yourself a lot of time and grief.


Install Shutters


Many people think of using shutters as a way of beautifying their home. While this is certainly true, they can also be useful against water damage. A high-quality set of shutters can keep water from getting through your windows. Here are a few to consider:

Roll-down: Are attached above the window and can be lowered manually when need. The cost is around $25 a square foot.


Accordion: These attach to the side of windows permanently and open outwardly when not in use. The cost is as little as $15 a square foot.
Bahama: Are propped permanently above the windows. They will not last as long and are around $15 to $20 a square foot.
Storm panels: For a more durable option, these removable metal panels offer a good barrier against water. They are as little as $7 per panel.

Check Your Drainage


When heavy rains come, your rain gutters and downspouts had better be up to the task. You could easily get a flooded building if they are not properly diverting water from the property. Check the gutters and clear them of dirt, leaves and other debris. If there are cracks or major damage to the gutters or downspouts, replace them immediately.


Landscaping Changes


Trees and plants can help block flood water. Planting large trees around the perimeter of your yard can create a natural barrier against flooding. Natural plants and rich ground cover can soak up water.


You may not be able to prevent all flood water from invading your home during a massive storm. However, these tips can reduce the need to call SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura to repair your home.

Smart Ways To Mitigate Mold Damage

8/6/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on walls of a kitchen Mold growth in Hallandale, FL

How To Cleanup Mold And Stop The Spreading

If you discover mold in your home, it can be an alarming sight. Mold is unpleasant and causes various concerns. Fortunately, there are ways to clean up the mold and stop it from spreading. A few simple steps can save you a lot of time and grief. These tactics are effective for all types of fungus, including black mold.

Check for Leaks and Other Water Issues
Because mold thrives in wet environments, the first thing you want to do if you detect it is to find any sources of leaking or standing water. These are often in the following areas:

  • Under sinks
  • Under or behind appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers, and refrigerators
  • Inside walls

One approach to eliminating additional black mold is to cut off the water supply completely. When a professional mold remediation company comes to assess your mold problem, technicians will usually shut off the main water. This ensures that existing leaks will cease.

Adjust the Airflow
Having good airflow in your home is a double-edged sword. On one hand, proper ventilation will help prevent a moisture problem and reduce humidity, eliminating the conditions that create a perfect breeding ground for mold. On the other hand, if there are existing mold problems in your home, the blowing air conditioner or heater can spread the spores around the area. For this reason, when professionals assess your mold issues, they will turn off the HVAC system.

Thoroughly Dry the Area
Drying any wet areas is a critical component of mold cleanup. It isn't enough to extract water or fix leaks. Completely drying wet places will reduce the chances of mold coming back. Cleanup teams in Hallandale, FL, will also disinfect the affected surfaces in your home.
By taking these and other measures, mold removal teams can make your home free of this fungus. Call a professional today if you spot black mold or any other type of mold.

Here’s Why 9 out of 10 Small Businesses Fail After a Disaster

7/3/2020 (Permalink)

Picture collage of workers in a building after fire damage Commercial fire in Royal Poinciana, FL

Following a major disaster, around half of small businesses never even reopen. Most simply don’t have the resources to recover, even with insurance to cover damages and costs. While there are a few reasons for this, possibly the single most effective action you can take to save your business from bankruptcy is to purchase business interruption insurance.

It’s Called a Disaster for a Reason

Things can go very wrong very quickly in Royal Poinciana, FL. There are quite a few ways for nature – or mankind, for that matter – to throw you a curveball:

  • Flooding
  • Fire
  • Hacking
  • Earthquake
  • Looting
  • Hurricane
  • Tornado
  • Major pandemics

Sometimes you may have advanced notice, but in many cases, it’s a big surprise. Either way, studies show that around half of all businesses never reopen after a disaster and a whopping 90% fail within a year. Business interruption insurance is useful to cover lost revenue while your property is closed to normal operations.

Preparation Makes a Huge Difference
The first thing you can do to save your business is to have a continuity plan. FEMA has an excellent template to help you develop it along with advice for the best implementation.
It’s also common for businesses to create a plan but allocate inadequate time to training employees and management. At a minimum, managers and key employees must have some training and access to resources to mitigate the damage.

Loss of Revenue Is a Disaster in Itself
After a large event, such as a business fire or major flood, your company may be shut down for a considerable period, during which you’ll still have certain operating expenses. If you can’t resume operations within about 5 days, you risk being one of the 90%.
Depending on your policy, business interruption insurance helps cover lost profits, continuing operating expenses, and even the cost of shifting to a temporary location.
Once your company has survived the disaster, call a local fire cleaning company to help you deal with the mess and get things going. With luck, they can get you back in business before you notice that you were closed.

3 Reasons Why Your Fire Alarm Is Beeping

6/9/2020 (Permalink)

Close Up Of Replacing Battery In Domestic Smoke Alarm Change the batteries of your fire alarm every six months to prevent unnecessary beeping

Three Steps To Take If You Have A Beeping Smoke Alarm

A fire alarm that won’t stop beeping can be a pain in the neck. It is an essential part of keeping your home safe, but sometimes it can go off for reasons that have nothing to do with fire. Here are three steps to take if you have a beeping smoke alarm in Aventura, FL, that just won't quit.

1. Change the Batteries
Most of the time, the culprit behind a chirping smoke alarm is low battery life. Its batteries should be changed every six months to prevent unnecessary beeping. To change your fire alarm’s batteries, first grab a stool. Twist the alarm until you can remove it from the ceiling or its ceiling mount. Carefully open the casing and replace the old batteries with the new. Finally, twist the detector back into its mounting bracket and ensure that it's secure.

2. Reset Your Fire Alarm
Sometimes, all your smoke detector needs is a simple reset. To do this, locate your unit's test button. It may be on the front of the unit, or it may be inside the unit near the batteries. Hold the test button for up to 20 seconds or as long as your alarm's manual specifies to reset the unit.

3. Replace Your Smoke Detector
Your smoke alarm may still go off even after you perform maintenance on it. If your alarm falls in this category, it’s probably time to replace it. The average alarm has a lifespan of 10 years.
If you do decide to replace the unit, do so promptly to avoid fire damage, smoke damage, and a visit from your local fire restoration company. Fire alarms are inexpensive and easy to installs, so there's no reason to delay.
Smoke detectors have one job: to warn you about imminent danger. If your fire alarm is malfunctioning, react promptly to find the source of the problem and return this vital piece of home equipment to working order.