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Three Important Tips to Help Homeowners Avoid Being Scammed After a Storm Damage Disaster

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County explains how to identify and avoid scams after storm damage has struck a home or business.

SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County realizes the worry and frustration homeowners experience after a thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane, or flash flood causes storm damage to their homes. The helplessness a homeowner feels as a stream of water pours into the structure through a hole in the roof can be overwhelming. In desperation, some homeowners will turn to the first person who knocks on the door offering to help out. A large-scale weather disaster can bring out the best in people, but a disaster can also bring out some of the worst con artists and scammers. The team of dedicated and caring professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County explains how homeowners can identify and avoid scams when a storm damage disaster strikes.

How to Identify and Avoid Scams After a Storm Damage Disaster

After severe weather damages homes in a community, general contracting companies who are aware of the large-scale needs will descend on the community seeking to meet the short-term emergency repairs that homeowners legitimately need. Here are three quick tips to help homeowners avoid scammers and select a reputable, credible, and reliable storm damage restoration company.

Tip #1: Validate the company’s professional credentials and reputation.

In this stressful situation, homeowners must be careful to secure the services of a reputable, credible, and reliable company. A reputable company has a track record of satisfied customers and positive reviews, which can be found on the company’s social media accounts. A positive rating with the BBB is another strong indicator of past performance.

A trustworthy company will have proof of credibility. Professional certifications validate training and expertise, and a credible company will be licensed, insured, and bonded. Companies that are reliable generally have achieved longevity. Companies that are family-owned, family-operated, and have been in business for many years have demonstrated reliability year after year.

Just because a company travels to a different city or town to help residents rebuild does not necessarily indicate the contractor, home services company, or property damage restoration company is bogus or seeking to scam desperate homeowners. When a large-scale disaster occurs, many companies will rally to meet the massive need. A few simple questions can separate solid, trustworthy service providers from scammers.

These questions include:

  • Where is the company’s base of operations? Beware of “storm chasers” who will not produce information about their base of operations and their company history.
  • Does the company have references and reviews to validate a good reputation?
  • Is the company licensed, insured, and bonded?
  • Does the company have the professional certifications a credible company would have?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Does the company have equipment and technology to cover the full scope of work, including emergency tarping, water removal, applied structural drying, pack out and storage services, cleaning and restoration, mold remediation, and rebuild services?
  • Is the company a franchise?

This last question is crucial on several fronts. Usually, a local company that is a part of a national franchise must meet very high qualifications and standards. Adherence to these standards must be demonstrated on a regular basis. Customer complaints are taken seriously and are addressed in a timely, satisfactory manner. In a major disaster involving hundreds or thousands of structures, SERVPRO locations may respond from far and wide. The stringent requirements set by SERVPRO for every single franchise location anywhere in America guarantee a uniform standard of excellence and performance across the board.

Tip #2: Document everything.

Keep an accurate paper trail of all expenses. These expenses include not only materials and repair services but also any food, lodging, travel, medical expenses, and pet care associated with the storm damage disaster.

Avoid paying in cash for storm-related expenses. Payments by credit card or check will automatically create permanent, digital documentation essential to a successful claims process. This documentation will prove to be useful should a dispute arise. A huge red flag is requesting or demanding full payment or a large partial payment upfront prior to any provision of services or completion of project milestones.

Tip #3: Avoid hasty decisions.

The salesman or company representative who knocks at the door offering significant savings for a quick decision is often a scammer, especially if the company is not local or a well-established, reputable franchise. A well-established company patiently invests the time to educate its consumers on the restoration process. Professionals will provide an inspection, assessment, and complete estimate with photo and video documentation. Impulse decisions may lead to costly future repairs of shoddy work in the long run.

As a locally owned and operated business, the SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County team lives and works in this community and is close by and ready to respond immediately when a homeowner or business needs storm damage restoration or cleaning services.

For more information about storm damage restoration in Glen Rose, TX, contact the office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

Tips for the Proper and Safe Use of a Fire Extinguisher

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Before using a fire extinguisher to control or put out a fire in the home, homeowners need to make sure that they understand how to use this tool.

The fire damage restoration team at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understands the stress, anxiety, and frustration homeowners experience when dealing with fire damage. Property damage from a fire touches almost every area of the home. Smoke and soot contamination is widespread, and the water used to extinguish the flames can cause more damage than the fire itself. For the SERVPRO professionals, water extraction, cleanup, and property damage restoration are a top priority.

How important is knowing how to properly operate a fire extinguisher?

According to a National Fire Protection Association report entitled “Home Cooking Fires,” US Fire departments responded each year to about 173,000 home structure fires resulting from cooking. In 2018, fire departments were called out to 470 home cooking fires per day. These statistics do not include those fires that were extinguished without the services of the local fire department.

The majority of home cooking fires involved ranges or cooktops. Leaving the stove unattended was the leading cause of cooking fires and casualties. Over half of non-fatal injuries occurred when individuals attempted to put out the fire themselves. This last statistic highlights the importance of knowing how to properly operate a fire extinguisher in the heat of the moment.

Every homeowner should know the basics about safely and effectively operating a fire extinguisher. All mature and physically able members of the household can easily be trained in the proper use of this valuable piece of equipment should a fire break out in the home. Knowledge and training can enable the quick response that is needed to extinguish a fire. When a fire breaks out, the adrenalin rush can be paralyzing. Familiarity with the fire extinguisher and proper training can overcome the chaos and paralyzing fear of the moment. The correct application of the extinguisher can eliminate the fire in seconds.

Home fire safety tips

Consider the following basic home fire safety tips:

  1. Have the appropriate type of fire extinguisher on hand.

Make sure that the appropriate type of fire extinguisher has been acquired and is stored in a location that is quickly and easily accessible. Only people trained in the proper use of fire extinguishers should use these tools.

  1. Call for assistance before attempting to put out a fire.

A fire can spiral out of control far more quickly than homeowners may have anticipated. While taking steps to extinguish the fire, if possible, have someone summon help to be on the way in case the fire gets out of hand.

  1. Plan a safe escape in case the fire grows out of control.

Decide on a safe escape path before approaching the flames. Avoid allowing the smoke, heat, or flames to block the evacuation path.

  1. Stay alert to the scope of the fire.

A house fire can spread very quickly because of the presence of many flammable materials present and the confined area of the structure. Seconds matter. However, unless an explosion is involved, the occupants have time to evaluate the situation and respond accordingly in most situations.

How to use the fire extinguisher

Address the flames using the PASS Method:

Step #1: Pull the pin.

Remove the pin by pulling it from its location on the handle. Prior training to become familiar with the parts and operation of the equipment should be adequate to reduce or eliminate any delay in this vital first step. Once the pin is removed, the operating lever is unlocked and ready to be pressed, discharging the chemicals onto the fire.

Step #2: Aim low.

Aim the extinguisher hose or nozzle at the base of the flames. Attacking the base of the fire targets the materials or liquids that are fueling the flames.

Step #3: Squeeze the operating lever.

This action should allow the extinguisher to discharge the extinguishing agent onto the flames. Since fire extinguishers may differ in their design and operation, familiarity with the units that have been purchased for use in the home is crucial. Some extinguishers have a button or other means of activation other than a standard handle.

Step #4: Sweep from side to side.

While aiming at the fire’s base, sweep the extinguisher back and forth as the chemicals are being discharged until the flames are completely out. Maintain focused attention on the fire. If the fire re-ignites, follow the same process of pressing the lever and sweeping the discharged agent on the re-emerging flames. Do not leave the area unattended until the fire department has arrived or the fire has been completely extinguished and is unable to flame up again.

Bonus safety reminders

When a fire erupts, time seems to slow down as the heart races. Controlled breathing and calm thinking can win the day and save lives. These safety tips save lives every day.

  • The person discharging the fire extinguisher should always keep a safe exit behind them so that they can quickly escape from the fire.
  • Before beginning the PASS method, people should make sure that they are standing at least eight feet away from the fire.
  • Exit the home, business, or other structure if the fire is not immediately extinguished. Most fire fatalities are from smoke inhalation. Stay low to the floor while making the retreat.
  • If the fire is extinguished, have the fire department inspect the burned location to ensure that the fire has been completely put out and the area is entirely safe. Smoldering embers can flare up many hours after the original fire has been extinguished.
  • Without exception, any fire extinguisher that has been discharged should be recharged or replaced.

The staff of SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is ready to respond immediately when a homeowner or business needs the services of a fire damage restoration company. To learn more about fire damage restoration in Grandview, TX, contact SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

When There Is a Mold Infestation in an Apartment, Can the Landlord Be Held Liable?

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County explains potential liability issues stemming from a mold infestation and shares mold prevention tips for both landlords and tenants.

The dedicated damage restoration and mold remediation professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County understand and appreciate the priority landlords and property managers place on keeping tenants safe and comfortable. A mold infestation can present health effects that raise concerns for renters who live in a single-family dwelling or an apartment complex. Tenants around the nation have succeeded in winning lawsuits against landlords to cover expenses arising from health effects possibly caused by exposure to mold in the rented dwelling.

Where can mold be found in a rental?

The colors and shapes of mold vary widely. Some common varieties of mold include paecilomyces, stachybotrys, aspergillus, penicillium, and fusarium. Mold ranges in color from white, black, gray, or green. The texture of these fungi can be shiny and smooth, and some mold textures have a powdery appearance. Mold can give off a strong, pungent, disgusting odor.

Mold needs four basic things to thrive: warmth, darkness, organic matter for food, and humidity. Humidity creates prime growing conditions for mold. The naturally humid climate of the North Texas area around Dallas and Fort Worth presents more mold issues than drier climates. Homes and buildings in drier climates will still have mold problems when excessive moisture issues are present. Mold can grow in any climate as long as moisture is present.

Mold is often found growing on items that have become saturated with water from a leaking faucet, roof leak, a cracked tub or shower floor, or a dripping drain pipe. Look for mold on painted surfaces, drapes, upholstery, clothing, wall paneling, ceiling tiles, newspapers, or cardboard boxes.

Concealed, or hidden mold, can thrive in the dark cavities between walls. Mold can be found hidden under floors and in ceilings. Mold can also find a home in spots that are less accessible. A basement or attic with additional moisture and warmth are favorites of mold.

What can the landlord do to keep the property safe and livable?

Any property owner is responsible for ensuring that the rental property is safe and habitable, whether mold is present or not. All building codes should be followed to promote the health and safety of the tenants. Measures should be taken to mitigate or prevent water intrusions in the rental.

  1. Implement a responsive reporting process for tenants.

Have a reporting process for the tenant that results in a quick response and remediation of any situation.

  1. Stop the water intrusion.

When possible, the tenant should be instructed on how to stop the water flow either at a cut-off valve or at the valve to the water main.

  1. Begin the cleanup and restoration process.

Initiate the water removal and property damage restoration immediately. If the water damage incident is more than the tenant can safely and quickly manage, the landlord would be smart to dispatch a pre-qualified property damage restoration professional to stop the water intrusion, remove the water, and begin the restoration process before secondary damage takes place. Mold growth is a primary example of advanced secondary water damage.

  1. Keep detailed records of how the incident was handled.

By compiling phone logs, receipts, photos and video of the damage, or any other relevant documentation, the landlord preserves a historical record that may be helpful in the event of litigation.

  1. Perform scheduled maintenance on the property.

A property owner or property manager should conduct a walk-through of the property on a regular basis to check for water damage or signs of a mold infestation.

Other maintenance tips include:

  • Deal with leaks as soon as they are discovered.
  • Replace water supply lines every five to seven years.
  • Have the HVAC system annually inspected by a qualified professional HVAC technician.
  • Have a trusted roofing contractor inspect the roof and gutters each year.

What can the tenant do to prevent mold growth?

The tenant can be a positive force in keeping the rental safe and livable when it comes to preventing mold growth. Here are some suggestions:

  • Report any mold issues as soon as they are discovered.
  • Adequately ventilate the home or apartment.
  • Control humidity levels.
  • Keep the apartment or home clean and dry.

The lack of ventilation, the presence of high humidity levels, and unsanitary conditions create conditions favorable to a mold infestation.

As a locally owned and operated business, the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County team lives in the area and is invested in the community. This personal connection makes the SERVPRO team a great choice for homeowners, landlords, property managers, businesses, and industry when a disaster occurs.

For more information about mold remediation and mold removal in Cleburne, TX, contact SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

What Steps Should Homeowners Take When a Broken Water Main Floods Their Home and Causes Water Damage?

5/31/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County offers tips on dealing with water damage from a broken water main.

The water damage restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County are aware that a quick response to water damage helps prevent advanced secondary water damage, which can complicate the restoration process. The team understands the disruption, stress, and frustration homeowners face when dealing with a property damage crisis, including water damage from a broken water main. The SERVPRO team offers homeowners several tips for dealing with flooding from a broken water main.

What is a water main?

Homeowners who reside in a densely populated area will most likely obtain their water supply from a municipal source rather than from a private well. The publicly sourced water is delivered to the area by a water main, which refers to pipes buried underground along the streets throughout the neighborhood. Outside the city or neighborhood, the water main is by the road. A network of spurs and pipelines delivers the water to each home. The pipe that delivers the water from the water main to the home is installed with a meter. This meter is the dividing point between the home’s water line and the water main. The repair of any water leaks from the meter to and including the home is the responsibility of the homeowner. Water leaks from the meter to the water main and beyond are the responsibility of the municipality to repair.

What causes the water main to break?

Building codes often require that water lines and other utilities be buried quite deeply to keep the lines from being easily damaged or to keep water lines from freezing. Some causes of water main breaks are:

  • The aging of the system
  • Equipment failure or defective installation of the pipes
  • Digging, drilling, blasting, or boring near the waterline or water main
  • Driving over the pipes with heavy equipment

What are some signs that the water main is broken?

A reduction in water pressure or the sudden loss of all water pressure may indicate that a water main has ruptured or that a portion of the water system is out of operation for a time. A massive water main break has the potential to flood an entire home. Signs that a major water line break may have occurred include:

  • the sound or smell of water in the street, yard, or under the home
  • pooling water or soggy ground when it has not rained
  • wet surfaces such as the driveway or sidewalk
  • sagging spots around the home’s foundation
  • water in the crawl space, basement, or garage

Will insurance cover water damage from a broken water main?

Any water damage from a broken water main on the homeowner’s side of the water meter is typically covered by insurance. When a break in the water main causes water or flood damage to a home or business, the insurance company may deny a damage claim because the damage stemmed from the water main and not from a leak within the homeowner’s property. Take the following steps if the water damage resulted from a broken water main operated by the town or municipality:

  • Contact the local town or municipality immediately to repair the broken water main or spur. Let them know that property damage has occurred and that a detailed description of the damage with documentation will be provided as soon as possible.
  • Document the event and the damage with pictures, video, and written notes.
  • Contact the insurance company. Even though the homeowner may be convinced that the water damage was caused by a broken water main and is not covered by insurance, the policyholder should contact the insurance company to determine if the claim will be covered or denied.
  • Reach out to a water damage restoration company to immediately begin the water removal and damage restoration process. SERVPRO professionals will conduct a thorough inspection of the property, including identifying the source of the water damage, assessing the extent of the damage, and providing a written estimate of the needed damage restoration services. This estimate will include copious documentation, including written descriptions and images. This information will prove helpful when dealing with the water company.
  • Present an estimate of repair costs to the water authority and seek compensation for damage restoration expenses. Along with the description of damages and the repair estimate, provide evidence that the damage was caused by a water intrusion from the broken water main.

Water damage from sudden or accidental events is often covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy. Water damage resulting from accidentally damaging pipes from the meter to the home or within the home is typically covered by insurance. Water damage from a flood disaster is not covered by a standard homeowner’s policy. Special flood insurance must be purchased.

If a homeowner damages a water pipe or the water main beyond the meter while drilling, blasting, boring, or digging, the homeowner may be held responsible for the payment of repairs or any property damage caused by the incident. Stiff fines could apply if the homeowner failed to have the utilities marked prior to engaging in activity that could lead to the damage of any underground utilities.

As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County is close by and ready to respond immediately when a homeowner or business has a water damage emergency and needs restoration or cleaning services. For more information about the water damage restoration company serving Glen Rose, TX contact the office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

Why Do Homeowners Need Emergency Tarping Services?

5/31/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County highlights five reasons why homeowners in Venus, Crowley, and Grandview, TX, may need emergency tarping services.

SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County understands the stress, anxiety, and frustration homeowners experience when storm damage to the roof allows water to leak into the home. As each minute passes, water cascades into the house through the roof, damaging ceilings, walls, flooring, furniture, and personal belongings. As soon as conditions are safe, the breach in the roof must be closed. The best solution is emergency tarping installed by a professional who has the knowledge, tools, safety gear, and equipment needed to quickly and safely perform the task.

Occasions When Emergency Tarping Is Needed

Whenever a roof is leaking, emergency measures need to be taken to slow or stop the flow of water into the home. A gaping hole near the bottom of the roof allows rainwater above the hole to flow into the house. It may not be raining very hard outside, but the amount of water flowing into the home is multiplied by the area of the roof above the breech. A temporary but very effective solution to prevent water damage is emergency tarping. Emergency tarping may be needed in the following instances:

  1. Storm damage

Severe weather involving hail, high winds, tornadoes, and hurricanes can cause serious roof damage. The Crowley and South Johnson County area is prone to severe weather since it is in close proximity to the Red River Valley, the “tornado alley” of Texas.

  1. Wind damage

Wind associated with an incoming or outgoing weather front can be fierce, even if the wind is not accompanied by rain and hail. The weather forecast may not call for rain in the immediate future; however, if shingles have been dislodged or boarding has been disturbed, the damaged area needs to be tarped until the roof can be repaired.

  1. Uprooted tree

A fallen tree can cause serious structural damage to a roof, and immediate tree removal is imperative. Once the tree is removed, the damage can be assessed and the roof can be tarped. Even if only one limb pierced the roof, a large quantity of water can enter the attic and cause extensive water damage to the interior of the residence.

  1. Fire damage

Firefighters may need to create an opening in the roof in order to put out flames in the attic. This opening will need to be adequately covered to prevent further water damage while the home is being repaired.

  1. Flooding

Johnson County receives, on average, about 38 inches of rainfall per year. Sometimes the region gets much more rain than usual, such as in 2015 when over 60 inches of rainfall was recorded. 2015 was the wettest year on record for Johnson County and the surrounding area.

Heavy rainfall over an extended period of time can overwhelm a roof’s ability to displace water through the gutters and downspouts. Even though the homeowner may have just cleaned the gutters, debris that accumulates during a period of severe weather can clog gutters, causing roof damage along the bottom regions of the roof. Leaks around roof vents, skylights, and chimneys may occur when a tropical storm stalls out over a region and dumps excessive amounts of water onto the roof for days at a time.

Emergency Tarping Is a Job for Experienced Professionals

Emergency tarping is dangerous without the proper equipment and training. A homeowner can make the situation worse if the tarp is incorrectly installed. Wet roofs are slippery, especially when covered with leaves, sticks, or grime. Wind may get under the tarp and pull a homeowner off the roof, causing injury or death. Emergency tarping is best left to professionals who are equipped to perform the task safely.

What to Do Until Help Arrives

While severe weather is present in the area, conditions may be too dangerous to install emergency tarping. Some degree of water damage cannot be avoided. What can a homeowner do when roof damage is allowing water to leak into the home? Listed below are tips to help homeowners limit the damage and protect their belongings:

  • Move items that are light enough to be lifted safely. Make sure that they are out from under the drip zone.
  • Cover heavy items with plastic or a tarp.
  • Place buckets or trash cans under drips to collect the water and reduce water damage.
  • Prevent a possible ceiling collapse by piercing a small hole in the ceiling to allow the water to escape. A sharp pencil makes a clean hole that can be easily repaired. Multiple holes may be needed to allow enough water to vent so that the ceiling does not collapse.
  • Be safe! Avoid back injuries. Pillows and cushions are heavy when water-logged. Wear sturdy shoes to prevent slip-and-fall injuries.

SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County is locally owned and operated. Crews are available 24/7 to respond to any size disaster, including storm damage requiring emergency tarping. To learn more about storm damage restoration in Glen Rose, Grandview, and Crowley, TX, contact SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

Seven Common Causes of Fire Damage in Restaurants and Eating Establishments

5/31/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County explains seven causes of commercial fire damage in restaurants.

SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County highlights seven causes of commercial fire damage in restaurants. Every twelve minutes, a fire department responds to a report of a fire at a restaurant or drinking establishment. An industry source describes the situation in these terms: “According to figures provided by the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments across America responded to an average of 8,240 structure fires at eating and drinking establishments each year between 2012 and 2016. These fires resulted in two civilian deaths each year on average, along with 115 injuries and $246 million in property damage.”

Seven Causes of Commercial Fire Damage in Restaurants

  1. Failure to properly clean cooking equipment

Many of the most popular foods people love to eat in restaurants involve a cooking process that produces a large quantity of grease. This grease accumulates in the exhaust hood systems of these commercial kitchens. The cook line, exhaust hood, hood filters, exterior exhaust fan, and connecting ductwork present potential fire hazards for commercial kitchens.

If left unchecked, the grease buildup often leads to serious fire hazards. Food preparation and customer service should be top of mind for the restaurant owner or manager, not worrying about a fire hazard in the exhaust hood system or the grease trap.

  1. Misuse of cooking equipment

Cooking equipment accounts for six out of ten restaurant fires. Leading causes of cooking equipment fires are deep fryers (31%), ranges (18%), and grills (11%). Cooking equipment designed to be used in the home cannot stand up to the heavy demands of a commercial kitchen. The equipment quickly wears out and becomes a fire hazard. Commercial-grade deep fryers, electric frying pans, and ranges are manufactured to higher specifications enabling the equipment to withstand the daily, prolonged usage required in a commercial kitchen.

  1. Presence of flammable materials and substances in the kitchen

It comes as no surprise that the most common causes of major fires in restaurants involve cooking flames and flammable materials in the kitchen. Cooking oil and alcohol are leading contributors to kitchen fires. Foil, parchment, boxes, and paper packaging were the items that were first ignited in four out of ten restaurant fires.

  1. Gas leaks

When older or neglected cooking equipment cannot support current gas flows to a kitchen, gas leaks can occur. The leaking gas can explode when ignited. The electric arc from switching on an electrical device such as a lightbulb can ignite the leaking gas. A match or lighter, which are often used in preparing dishes, can also ignite loose gas.

A key indicator of a gas leak is the sulfuric or rotten egg smell. Another indicator of a gas leak is the color of the flame. A functioning system produces a sharp blue flame, while a system with a compromised flow of gas may produce a yellowish or orange flame. If pilot lights in gas stoves and ovens are unexplainably extinguished, a gas leak may be the cause. The gas may be escaping into another part of the stove or behind a wall. If the leak is immediately detected and resolved, an emergency fire damage disaster can be prevented.

  1. Electrical malfunction

The demands placed on commercial cooking equipment are heavy and ongoing. Over time the wiring and electrical components break down under the stressful wear and tear. Continuing to use older electrical equipment without proper maintenance or periodic replacement creates a fire hazard in a commercial kitchen, whether a restaurant, school or nursing home.

  1. Smoking near the restaurant premises

Smoking near a restaurant can create a fire hazard. Restaurant fires are sometimes caused by smoking materials that are improperly discarded in trash cans near the premises. Seven percent or one in twelve reported restaurant fires were caused by smoking materials.

  1. Arson

Unfortunately, about one in twenty-five fires at restaurants and drinking establishments are intentionally set. Though accounting for only about four percent of the total fires, arson causes ten percent of the total property damage.

As a locally owned and operated business, the SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County team lives and works in the community and is close by and ready to respond immediately when a restaurant, drinking establishment, or other types of businesses need commercial fire damage restoration or cleaning services.

For more information about commercial damage restoration in Cleburne, Crowley, and Venus, TX, contact SERVPRO of  Crowley and South Johnson County by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

Why Cleanup From a Biohazard Incident Is a Job for a Professional Commercial Cleaning Company

5/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County urges local businesses to turn to certified and well-equipped professionals to remediate commercial biohazard incidents.

The commercial damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County know that exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can cause serious health effects. Failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments. The professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations. Equipped with the necessary safety gear and cleaning products, they transform unhealthy environments into clean, safe homes and offices.

What is a biohazard event?

A biohazard incident involves the presence of, as well as potential or actual exposure to, biological or chemical contaminants, which can cause serious health effects. The failure to remove the hazardous substances in a timely and proper fashion can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments.

What are the categories of biohazard risk?

The Centers for Disease Control distinguishes four levels or categories of bio-hazardous risk:

  • Level one: These substances or pathogens pose minimal threat to humans and the environment.
  • Level two: These substances are transmitted by direct contact with infected or contaminated material. These Level two agents can cause serious health effects.
  • Level three: These biohazardous pathogens can become airborne and cause serious health effects.
  • Level four: These highest-risk pathogens are life-threatening diseases.

What are some examples of incidents classified as biohazard events?

  • Sewage backups
  • Chemical spills: Industry spills, crime scene processing, meth labs
  • Body-fluid incidents: suicides, homicides, accidents
  • Hoarding scenes
  • Animal waste or remains

Why should businesses enlist the services of commercial biohazard cleanup professionals?

Every biohazard involves a degree of risk or danger. Even a low-risk biohazard incident can have drastic health effects if improperly managed. Decision-makers tasked with remediating a biohazard incident should consider these compelling reasons for enlisting the commercial biohazard cleanup services of trained, certified, and experienced professionals.

#1. Safety is the priority at all times.

Low-risk biohazard sites are inherently dangerous. Certified professionals have been carefully trained using the best and safest equipment, technology, and EPA-approved solutions to remove, disinfect, sanitize, or neutralize the worst biohazard incident. These courageous professionals also know how to complete the cleanup while keeping employees, inventory, and the larger manufacturing site safe. Whether the setting is a small business, office, factory, warehouse, school, or bank, the professionals at SERVPRO can isolate the disaster area to prevent or reduce contamination of the large venue.

Certified SERVPRO biohazard cleanup professionals know how to be thorough. Total cleanup means no surprises in the future from exposure to residual contaminants. Employees can feel safe when they have to work in areas affected by the biohazard or chemical spill. Employee confidence increases efficiencies and promotes stability and unity in the workforce.

#2. Better efficiency gets the business back to business sooner rather than later.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County will bring highly-trained commercial biohazard mitigation specialists  who will work efficiently to accelerate the return to normal business operations. High-speed equipment, advanced technology, and best-practice techniques vastly reduce mitigation time when compared to having untrained and ill-equipped employees take on the dangerous and complicated challenge of cleaning up a sewage backup, a chemical spill, or an accident scene.

#3. Liability risks should be avoided.

A commercial biohazard cleanup company is structured to take on the risks associated with remediating a contaminated site. Having employees address a dangerous situation without the benefit of special training, proper equipment, and approved protective gear puts the employees and the business at great risk. The legal fallout from a slip-and-fall injury during the cleanup of a sewage backup could bankrupt a small business. Contracting a serious illness from exposure to a deadly pathogen or hazardous chemical could lead to lengthy and expensive litigation. The potentially severe liability of having employees manage a biohazard incident is not worth the risk.

As a locally owned and operated business, the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County team lives and works in the local community and is close by and ready to respond immediately when a company needs biohazard or chemical cleanup services. For more information about Cleburne, TX, damage restoration, contact the office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

Why Spring Cleaning Season Is the Perfect Time to Practice Fire Safety and Prevent Fire Damage

5/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County, a Crowley, TX, fire damage restoration and property damage restoration company, reminds homeowners to remember fire safety precautions as they are making their list of things to do for spring cleaning.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County provides property damage restoration services to homeowners and businesses that have suffered a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster. A house fire and the accompanying smoke and water damage can bring life to a standstill. The traumatic experience of being awakened in the middle of the night by the pungent smell of smoke or the shrill alarms of smoke detectors is not soon forgotten.

As winter draws to a close and spring blooms fresh, clean, and green, SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County reminds homeowners to review fire safety precautions when making their list of things to do for spring cleaning.

Why Homeowners Should Review Fire Safety Precautions This Spring

When a fire erupts in a home or business, seconds count. If a stove top grease fire is not extinguished within a minute or less, the homeowner must seek to escape safely rather than put out the blaze. Knowing how to swiftly execute a fire safety plan can and does save lives. When creating a spring-cleaning list, include the fire safety precautions listed below.

  1. Test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

Annually testing all smoke and carbon monoxide detection devices and replacing old batteries with fresh, new batteries verifies that the alarms are operational. Knowing that all devices are in good working order instills confidence that the early warning devices will perform as expected if a fire breaks out. Do not wait until spring cleaning to change the batteries in a chirping smoke or CO detector. The distinctive, piercing chirp sends a message: “Change my batteries now!”

  1. Replace all smoke alarms that are over ten years old.

Most homeowners are not aware that smoke detectors have a limited lifespan. Ten years can slip by in a moment, and many homes have smoke detectors that have been in place for decades. Older devices and dated smoke detection technology have been replaced by improved devices that are more reliable and have additional functionalities.

  1. Replace all carbon monoxide alarms that are over seven years old.

These devices also have a limit to their functional lifespan. Be proactive, and change out these devices even if they are still operational. An alarm malfunction when the home is at dangerous levels for carbon monoxide can be fatal.

  1. Inspect the dryer vents and clean the clothes dryer housing, including the vents.

According to the US Fire Administration, failure to clean the clothes dryer accounts for 2,900 residential clothes dryer fires each year and causes an estimated five deaths, one hundred injuries, and $35 million in property damage. Clogged dryer vents account for a large percentage of these fires. The gradual buildup of lint inside the dryer, a kink in the exhaust tubing, or an obstruction at the outside vent can present a situation that makes the dryer and the exhaust system a serious fire hazard. Inspecting and cleaning the clothes dryer housing and venting system can help prevent clothes dryer house fires.

  1. Clean out the clutter in the home to avoid fire hazards and make entry and exit of the home easy and safe.

Piling clutter on extension cords or electronic devices, near heaters, or next to appliances creates a fire hazard. Clutter may make a hallway, bedroom, or stairway impossible to escape from in the middle of the night when the air is thick with smoke and the mind is foggy from being awakened from a deep sleep. Old magazines, newspapers, mail, books, and clothing provide tinder for sparks that may grow into a raging house fire.

  1. Remove any clutter outside the home that could be a fire hazard or that could be dangerous in a fire damage situation.

Flower and shrub beds laden with dry leaves, pine cones, and sticks are a tinderbox waiting to ignite. A spark from a fire pit, campfire, grill, or combustion engine could easily alight in the beds and cause a house fire. Debris and clutter in the yard could also impede escape from a burning home and result in injury from a trip-and-fall incident in the dark.

  1. Inspect electrical outlets and electronic devices for fire hazards.

Replace any electrical outlets or light switches that are malfunctioning or appear to be worn out. Repair or replace frayed, damaged, or cracked electrical cords.

  1. Practice the fire escape plan with the family, roommates, or other home occupants.

Having a comprehensive fire safety plan and being able to escape the structure in the event of a fire are crucial. Saving lives is more important than the material contents of the home or the home itself.

  1. Pre-qualify a reliable damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County, that will respond quickly to a fire damage disaster.

The time to choose a fire damage restoration company is before a fire damage disaster occurs. Ask about the company’s availability, response times, service areas, certifications, experience, equipment, and rating with the BBB.

For more information about Crowley, TX, fire damage restoration, call the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County office at (817) 297-8588 or email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

The Advantages of Hiring a Restoration Company With Certifications in Applied Microbial Remediation

5/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County highlights the benefits of the Applied Microbial Remediation Technician Certification for a damage restoration company and its clients.

The team of professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County has earned seventeen IICRC certifications, including Applied Microbial Remediation Technician. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the non-profit certifying body for the cleaning and restoration industry. IICRC certification means that technicians have received world-class training in the technology, techniques, and safety protocols for cleaning and restoration.  For the customer, IICRC-certification means receiving the best quality cleaning and restoration services from technicians who embrace the IICRC core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, excellence, and expertise. This emphasis on knowledge, expertise, and customer care makes SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County the best cleaning and restoration choice when a property damage disaster such as a mold infestation or a sewage spill happens in the home or business.

What is the Applied Microbial Remediation Technician certification?

According to the IICRC, “The Applied Microbial Remediation Technician course covers mold and sewage remediation techniques to individuals engaged in property management, property restoration, IEQ investigations or other related professions. Emphasis will be placed on teaching mold and sewage remediation techniques to individuals who will perform these procedures in the field. Course graduates will be adequately equipped to perform remediation services, while protecting the health and safety of workers and occupants.”

What are the benefits of using a damage restoration company with technicians certified in applied microbial remediation?

Disaster-specific training in mold and sewage remediation yields consistent, thorough, and safe cleanup of serious health hazards, such as microbials, contaminated water, and human waste.

Mold can cause a wide range of health effects. Prolonged exposure to mold can exacerbate health effects caused by or predating the mold infestation.

Gray water and black water spills are highly dangerous. Gray water, also known as category two water, may have only a slight trace of human waste if any at all. Gray water in carpeting, if not immediately extracted, can grow mold and other bacteria, making it black water. Black water contains human or animal urine or feces. The cleanup of gray and black water is not recommended as a DIY project since these toxic waste disasters require special training to clean safely. Exposure to the bacteria in black water through a cut or through the eyes, nose, or mouth can lead to serious illness or even death. Bacteria in black water also release endotoxins, which can cause serious long-term health effects.

The use of technology to detect the presence of moisture, mold, mycotoxins, and dangerous substances enables SERVPRO technicians to interpret the severity of a mold or sewage disaster and determine when safe levels have been achieved in the cleaning and restoration process.

Other factors that ensure the disaster site is dry, clean, sanitary, and safe for the entire family include:

  • the proper operation of extraction and drying equipment
  • the proficient use of cleaning tools
  • the execution of thorough cleaning techniques
  • the application of EPA-approved cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing solutions

Stringent standards uniformly applied in a toxic environment, such as a mold infestation or a sewage spill, yield consistently safe results.

How does AMRT certification benefit the SERVPRO professional who receives it?

There is both a human and a humane dimension to certification as an Applied Microbial Remediation Technician. Disasters involving water, fire, smoke, mold, toxic wastes, and biohazard materials require technicians to enter environments that are at times exceedingly dangerous to the physical health of the restoration professionals. When called upon to risk life and limb, they respond with selfless courage. Technicians who receive training and certifications from IICRC also learn how to serve the needs of others while protecting their own health and safety. A part of the training involves the use of PPE, safety awareness, and danger protocols that keep everyone safe, including the technicians.

Why choose SERVPRO?

  • Available 24/7, 365 days a year
  • Faster to any size disaster
  • Advanced technology and equipment
  • Insurance claims handled from beginning to end
  • Technical certifications and continuing education

Why choose SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County when a property damage disaster strikes? The answer is foundational to the core values of the SERVPRO ethos. As a locally owned and operated business, the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County team lives in the community and provides immediate service when services are needed by a member of the community. Homeowners can be assured that when they call SERVPRO at 2:00 am in the morning for a property damage disaster, the responding technicians provide services not simply because they have been called, but because they have a calling.

For more information about the Cresson, TX, damage restoration company, call the office at (817) 297-8588 or email office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

Standing Water: Is it Safe?

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Remediation Certification (IICRC) classifies water into these three categories:

  • Category 1 “Clean Water” is from a source that poses no substantial harm to people. Water that overflowed while running your bath water, leaking from a supply line for an ice maker, or leaving on the kitchen faucet are good examples.
  • Category 2 “Gray Water” poses health risks due to significant levels of contamination of bacteria, mold and/or chemicals. This includes dirty water from washing machines, dishwashers, as well as leaks from water beds, broken aquariums and urine.
  • Category 3 “Black Water” may contain disease-causing organisms, toxins, and is grossly unsanitary. Typical black water conditions occur from a sewer backflow, a broken toilet bowl containing feces, and rising flood waters. (Rising flood water is considered Category three because of the possibility of chemicals and organisms found in lawn chemicals, fertilizers, animal feces, decaying ground debris, and over filled sewer and septic systems.)

What Should Homeowners Do? 

It’s essential to call an experienced restoration company in Godley, Texas as quickly as possible after water damage or flooding occurs. If you have water in your home after a storm, do not wade into it unless doing so is necessary. It is important to dry out the area as soon as possible. Contaminated water can spread disease and cause mold growth in as little as two days. 

Be sure to rid your home of the water as soon as you can to keep you and your family safe.  Call SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County or visit our website for more information on water damage