Top Things to Know About Mold
Top Things to Know About Mold
We’ve all have seen mold before. Whether it’s in a bathroom, on an exterior wall, in the fridge on some food, or other damp areas; we’ve all experienced mold before. While many people are quite familiar with mold and battling it in their Indianapolis home, most may not know everything about this nuisance. In this blog, we go over some of the top things most people may not know about mold in their Indiana businesses and homes.
Mold Is Practically Everywhere
Mold at it’s smallest form travels as microscopic spores through the air we breathe. It is in the air outside our home and inside our home. There is no simple way to remove all traces of mold from your home. It is naturally occurring and exists everywhere. While there is very little you can do to keep mold spores from entering your home, you can take steps to keep those spores from colonizing and growing into a bigger and more visible mold growth problem. Keep the air circulating throughout your home and eliminate any moisture problems.
Mold Can Grow In Many Places
The key to mold growth is moisture and organic material. In the home, organic material can include carpeting, wood framing materials, drywall, cardboard boxes, clothes, wallpaper, and furniture. In the forest, mold grows or feeds off of dead organic matter like dead trees and fallen leaves. Mold can also grow from the dust on a concrete floor or in your air ducts. If there is organic material and moisture present, mold will find a way to grow.
Moisture is Mold’s Best Friend
While you can’t eliminate organic material from your home, you can take away the fuel that causes mold growth -- moisture and standing water. The reason why you will often find mold in basements, bathrooms, and crawl spaces is because that is where you also tend to find moisture in the air. Since mold spores and organic material are present in most environments, including homes and businesses, it is just a matter of introducing moisture to cause mold to grow.
In basements, you can reduce the moisture with a dehumidifier, In a crawl space, you can line the bare ground with a moisture barrier lock i.e. plastic sheeting. With bathrooms, you can make sure to keep the exhaust fan on when showering and leave the bathroom door open afterward to allow the moisture to dissipate.
If you should have a basement flood or a roof leak or a broken water pipe, it’s important to get the water and the moisture out quickly to inhibit mold growth. Since water can get into areas that may not be so easy to dry, most homeowners and businesses contact a water damage restoration and mold remediation company, like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the equipment and the expertise to remove all of the water and all of the moisture and treat the areas to prevent mold from taking hold. If mold growth has occurred, they can also remediate the mold and eliminate the moisture problem.
Mold Has a Distinct Smell
Mold can’t always be spotted with the naked eye. Sometimes it is hidden underneath or deep within carpets. Sometimes it starts inside walls or in air ducts or in other hidden and unseen areas of your home. If you don’t see the mold occurring, the other tell-tale sign of the presence of mold in your home is the smell of mold. Mold has a distinct musty smell that many may acquaint with a basement or crawl space or wet forest. The smell is the result of the mold eating and metabolizing the organic material it is feeding off of. The material can include most organic matter like wood, carpeting, clothes, cardboard boxes, drywall, and furniture. In the forest, mold feeds off dead organic matter like fallen trees and dead leaves.
Molds Produce Allergens and Irritants
According to the EPA, mold commonly causes allergic reactions in people. These molds tend to be found outdoors and are usually seasonal. Fall allergies tend to be the result of mold from the falling and dying leaves. As they fall to the ground and pile up, the dead leaves hold moisture which can boost the presence of mold in the air. Reactions from mold can include a runny nose, sneezing, red eyes, skin rashes, and sore throat. These symptoms are the typical ones people experience but do not include all reactions that people may experience when exposed to mold.
Call the Mold Remediation Professionals
If the mold should get out of hand or you discover mold growth in your basement or crawlspace, call the mold remediation experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the expertise and equipment to safely remove and remediate your mold problem. If your home should suffer flooding or water damage, it’s important to quickly remove the water and moisture to reduce or eliminate potential mold growth. SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can also help homeowners and business owners out with water damage restoration. Give them a call any time and any day for your water damage and mold problems.
Does Your Indiana Business Have a Business Continuity Plan?
Does Your Indiana Business Have a Business Continuity Plan?
In a previous blog, we discussed steps a business can take to prepare should a natural disaster impact their Indiana business. We discussed the importance of protecting your data, planning to work off-site, and/or working with loss of power. Many of those steps should be part of a business continuity plan.
A business continuity plan is an extensive document that a business develops to ensure the business can stay operational in the event of a natural disaster occurring. In this article, we will delve deeper into what a business continuity plan is and the steps to take to create a thorough and effective one for your business.
The Process of Developing a Business Continuity Plan
In order to create a business continuity plan, a business must take several steps in identifying the impact of a natural disaster to your business, document strategies to recover critical business processes, develop plans and teams to implement for the continuation, and conduct training to ensure the strategies and plans are complete.
STEP 1: Business Impact Analysis
The first step in developing a business continuity plan is to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA). A BIA identifies potential loss scenarios that may occur to your business. A natural disaster could impact your business in one scenario but it could also impact one of your business partners in another scenario. Business operations could be affected by delays from a supplier or from delays in a shipper, or both. It’s important during the BIA to identify and consider every scenario that could impact your business.
During the BIA, every department lead should participate in order to identify every impact your business may have due to a natural disaster occurring. Impacts can be financial and/or operational. Once all department leads have provided their reports on potential impacts to their areas of the business and steps to take to recover and restore operations, the next step is to prioritize the steps. The BIA should identify the business departments and processes that could suffer the greatest operational and financial impacts to the business and prioritize them for the business continuity plan.
STEP 2: Continuity Strategies
Now that your business has identified the operational and financial impacts from the BIA, the next step to take is to identify and document recovery requirements and develop strategies to implement in the business continuity plan. By identifying and documenting the steps needed to take, you can then determine if you have the appropriate resources to implement the steps. You may find you do not have the personnel or the capabilities to carry out certain continuity strategies.
It is during this step, that you can explore options to carry out all the strategies. You may also find that you have choices to make in strategies for particular impacts. By working with all department leaders, the strategies that work best for the whole company can be chosen and implemented. Now that you have the strategies to help your business quickly recover from a natural disaster, you can move to the next step of developing the business continuity plan that includes the team, strategy plans, and procedures to take.
STEP 3: Continuity Plan Development
So, you’ve identified the impacts a natural disaster can have on your business and you’ve developed the strategies to take to recover from these impacts, now you need to put it into a plan. The business continuity plan is the documentation that you can provide to every person in your business that shows in detail every step and process to take to manage a business disruption.
The plan should begin with the business continuity teams and leaders. Teams can be key departments or more general business stages like production, shipping, IT, and support. Each team will have a designated leader that will be in charge of implementing and managing the continuity plan. The plan can include checklists that team leaders can easily follow. The checklists can include recovery strategies, locations of supplies and equipment, contact info of team members, emergency personnel and disaster recovery contacts, and manual workarounds for each strategy.
The business continuity plan should be extensive but easy to follow for every leader and team member involved. It also needs to ensure that every team is communicating and working together to ensure the recovery is smooth.
STEP 4: Continuity Plan Training
Once the business continuity plan has been developed and approved, you can’t just file it away and hope you never have to use it. It is important to educate and train every team leader and team member on the plan. Not only should the plan be discussed on a regular basis, but it also must be tested and evaluated.
It is during this critical time of conducting testing of the plan, that many businesses find gaps in the plan that need to be addressed. As you can suspect, it’s better to find these problems and correct them during plan exercises than during an actual disaster where lives and property are at risk. If gaps or problems are identified, you will want to update your business continuity plan as soon as possible to correct them.
When testing your business continuity plan, you want to test scenarios with varying degrees of difficulty and impacts to your business. You also want to reevaluate your plan on an annual basis or when large changes have occurred at your business. These changes could be staff turnover or business growth and expansion. In either case, your business continuity plan may have gaps in it.
An Important Part of Your Business Continuity Plan
If your business should suffer from a natural disaster or an event that impacts the operation of it, it’s important to have a commercial restoration company, like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, as part of your business continuity plan. Whether your business has been damaged by storms, floods, and/or fire, SERVPRO if Indianapolis West can help your business get back to work by repairing any damage your business property may have.
They have the tools and the expertise to handle almost every type of damage your business may sustain. Put them in your business continuity plan and give them a call if your business should ever suffer damage from a natural disaster or unforeseen event.
Indianapolis Home Water Damage Facts & Statistics
Indianapolis Home Water Damage Facts & Statistics
Did you know that water damage and freezing are the second most common damage to a home just behind wind and hail damage? According to the Insurance Infomation Institute, a single family home over 100 years will file 2.38 claims for wind and hail damage and 1.99 claims for water damage and freezing on average.
In this blog, we will dive through the facts and statistics on water damage to Indianapolis-area homes. While some things are unpreventable, there are some statistics that might help you prevent or reduce the risk of water damage to your home.
Average Water Damage Costs
Revisiting the Insurance Information Institute’s data, on average a home suffers around $9,633 of damage from water and/or freezing. Compared to a fire which causes on average around $50,000 of damage, it is not much but it is still significant which is why it’s important to have home insurance. Damages from water and freezing tend to be to the drywall, carpeting, flooring, fabric goods, and furniture.
The other important thing regarding water damage is how quickly the homeowner reacts to cleaning it up. The longer the water sits, the more damage it can cause. Standing water in a basement or water damaged drywall can quickly lead to mold growth and more damage and problems. If you should suffer water damage to your home, it’s important to contact a water cleanup and restoration company, like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, a soon as possible.
Leading Causes of Water Damage
In another study by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, the top causes of water damage to homes were gathered. According to the study, the five most common causes of water damage to a home were caused by:
Plumbing pipe failures are caused by pipes freezing and bursting or pipes leaking. Freezing pipes can occur when water pipes are exposed to extreme temperatures as a result of the home heating system failing or pipes in crawl spaces or exterior walls are exposed to severe winds and cold temperatures. Water damage from pipe failures results in an average of $5,000 according to the study.
Plumbing or sewer drain failures are a result of sewer backups or leaking from material failure. If you don’t own a basement then you are in luck as 68% of all sewer backups occurred in basements. While disgusting and potentially unhealthy, the average cost of damage from a sewer backup is $4,400.
Backed up and overflowing toilets account for 78% of all water damage from toilets. Toilets failing are the second leading cause of water damage to Indianapolis homes with pipe failures being the first. Due to the fact that toilets occupy upper floors, the damage they can cause can be quite severe due to the water running down through the floors. On average, toilet failures cause around $5,500 in damage to homes.
Water heater failures tend to occur due to the water heater rusting and corroding after years of use. These failures can start as small leaks or turn quickly into expansive water damage if there is a severe failure of the water heater tank. Just like toilets, the damage from a water heater failure is dependent on which floor it is located on. Water heaters located in the basement or garage result in less damage than one that is located on the first or upper floors and fails.
Washing machine failures tend to be due to clogged drains resulting in the machine overflowing. They can also be caused by bad water supply hoses that crack, break or become disconnected. On average, washing machine failures result in over $5,000 in damage.
Most Water Damage is Preventable
In another study by the American Insurance Association, they found that 93% of all water damage to homes could have been prevented. In looking at the common causes of water damage above, you can quickly start to see that many times the water damage occurs due to materials that have failed due to age.
Some ways that you can reduce the risk of water damage to your Indiana home is to check your toilets, washing machine, and water heater on a regular basis for signs of deterioration or material damage. For example, if you notice that your toilet sometimes runs constantly, you may want to check the flanges inside the tank and replace or fix them. With washing machines and water heaters, it’s good to check for any signs of water dripping or pooling around the appliances. If you do spot some water, you will want to find and fix the problem before it becomes a bigger one. With pipes, it’s important to take steps to reduce the risk of freezing during extreme cold weather. If you have a sink that is on an exterior wall, you may want to turn the water on just slightly to reduce the chance of the water freezing in the pipes and bursting.
What to Do If Your Home Suffers from Water Damage
If you should suffer water damage from a burst water pipe, appliance failure or sewer backup, it’s important to act quickly to ensure the water is removed and the home cleaned. After a day or two, water can lead to mold growth which can cause further damage to your home. Whether it’s in the middle of the night, on the weekend, or during the holidays, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West is always available to handle any water damage emergency. SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean up the water damage and return your home back to normal. Give them a call if your Indianapolis-area home should suffer water damage.
Indianapolis Home Fire Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Month
Indianapolis Home Fire Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Month
October is officially Fire Prevention Month and to recognize this month at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we’d like to offer these fire safety tips for your Indianapolis home.
Check Your Smoke Alarms
Your smoke alarms should be checked on a monthly basis, so if you’ve missed a few months then now is a great time to check them. Most smoke alarms have a button that you press and hold until they go off. If they do not go off, then replace the battery with a new one and test again. If it still doesn’t work, then purchase a new smoke alarm. Smoke alarms should be placed at every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside every bedroom.
Practice a Fire Escape Drill with Your Family
It’s important to not only have a fire escape plan for your family but to practice it on a regular basis. Practice what to do if a fire should occur on every level of your home. You and your family need more than one escape plan. This could be running out through doors or climbing out through windows. When planning and practicing a fire escape plan, you also need to designate a meeting place outside the home where everyone will meet.
Clean Out Dryer Vent
While you should be cleaning the lint trap every time you run your dryer, you need to clean out the dryer vent tubing at least once a year. Your dryer vent is the tubing that runs from your dryer to the exterior wall where it exits out of your home. Over time, lint and dust can build up inside the tubing and eventually clog. Dryer lint is extremely flammable and if it is allowed to build up, the heat from your dryer can ignite it causing a fire. To clean out the dryer vent tube, you will most likely have to pull out the dryer and remove the tube. While this may take a little time, reducing the risk of a fire happening is worth it in the end.
Check Your Furnace Filter
With the cold season upon us, it’s important to check your furnace filter and replace it if it is dirty and clogged. With a clogged filter, your furnace will have to work overtime to heat your home during the cold season. This not only will increase your heating bill and put undue stress on your furnace, but it could also increase the risk of a fire occurring from the excess dust in the filter. When checking your filter, be sure to make sure your furnace and blower are turned off. Replacing the furnace filter is an easy and quick task that can save you money and reduce the risks of fire.
Check Your Electrical Outlets
If you have computers, televisions, and other electronics throughout your home; it’s a good idea to check all the plugs, wires and outlets for any potential problems. Problems that could lead to a potential fire include frayed wires, loose plugs, and overloaded outlets. These problems can cause sparks or overheating which can quickly cause a house fire. It’s also a good idea to dust off or vacuum up any dust and/or dirt around the outlets. While it’s not always ideal, you don’t want any fabrics or boxes covering up your outlets. Ideally, outlets should be clear of any potentially flammable materials like couches, curtains, storage boxes, stuffed animals, and mattresses.
Use Space Heaters Responsibly
With the cold weather upon us in Indiana, many of you may be pulling out the space heaters from storage and running them. Before you plug the space heater in, you want to check the cord, plug, and heater for any damages. If there are frays in the cord or broken parts on the heater, it’s best to toss it and get another one. Also, be sure to blow or vacuum out any dust in the coils and intake before starting it. Once you start the heater, you will want to observe it while it heats up to make sure it is operating properly. As far as placing your space heater in your room, you want to make sure there is plenty of space between the heater and any furniture, walls, and objects. When you leave the room, it’s always best to turn off the space heater to reduce the risk of a fire occurring. A blanket or drape blown onto the space heater can heat up very quickly and easily ignite within minutes.
When Fires Do Happen
Even with taking all the proper steps to prevent a fire from happening at your home, fires can happen. When they do happen, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean up the fire and smoke damage and return your home back to normal. Whether it’s the middle of the night or during a holiday, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West is available 24/7 for any home emergency fire cleanup and restoration. Hopefully, you’ve read and followed all the fire prevention tips above. These tips will not only help reduce the risk of a fire happening at your Indianapolis home, but they will also prepare you and your family on what to do if one should occur.
How to Remove Mold from Basement Walls
How to Remove Mold from Basement Walls
When it comes to removing mold from a basement wall, there is no one answer. There are a lot of factors that go into determining if you can remove the mold and how to do it. But before we dive into determining if mold can be removed from a wall, we first must understand what mold is and how it grows.
What is Mold?
Mold is a living organism, or more precisely, it is a fungus. It tends to grow in dark and damp environments and it feeds on cellulose. Cellulose is an organic material that can be found abundantly in drywall, cardboard boxes, carpets, wood, clothes, and curtains. You won’t usually find mold on metals and plastics since they don’t contain cellulose. A quick look around your basement and you can see that there are many places where mold can grow if the conditions are right.
Can Mold Be Removed from Walls?
Now that we know what mold is and how it grows, can it be easily removed from your basement walls? Well, it depends on what your walls are made of and whether they are painted. If the mold is growing on painted drywall or painted concrete, then you may be able to wipe the mold off. You can use a household cleaner that is made to remove mold and spray it down, scrub it off, and wipe it clean.
If the mold is found growing on unfinished drywall, then you might have a problem. Due to the porous nature of the drywall, the mold may be embedded into the drywall and won’t be able to be wiped clean. It is usually best to remove the drywall with the mold and replace it with new drywall.
With unfinished concrete walls, you obviously can’t easily remove and replace the concrete walls like you can with drywall. With concrete walls, you will want to scrub off any mold you can see and then soak the area with a mold cleaner. The cleaner should soak into the concrete and kill off any mold or mold spores that are hiding out underneath the surface.
Household Cleaners May Not Be Good Enough
If you walk down the household cleaners aisle at the grocery store or look up DIY mold cleaning solutions on the web, you’ll notice there are a lot of solutions and recipes to clean/kill/remove mold. While these may seem to do the job at first, most do not remediate the mold problem. Weeks later, the mold can return. Even the mold that has been killed can be harmful to one’s health if not removed. A quick search on the Internet shows some recommend a bleach solution while others say that it isn’t effective or healthy. So what is one to do?
Other Problems That You Need to Be Aware before Cleaning Mold
If you do try to clean or remove mold from your walls, be sure to wear ventilation to protect yourself. Inhaling mold can possibly be dangerous to your health especially when you do not know what type of mold you are dealing with.
Another problem with trying to clean mold on your own is that by scrubbing and cleaning and removing it, you may be unknowingly spreading the mold spores elsewhere. If you are scrubbing mold off a wall, the mold spores can quickly and easily become airborne and travel to other parts of your basement and home. Think of mold like a cup of fine flour. If you throw that cup of flour in the air, the tiny bits of flour can travel easily through the air and spread everywhere. Mold spores are even tinier (can’t be seen by the human eye) and can spread even easier and farther.
What’s the Best Way to Remove Mold from Basement Walls?
If you discover mold growing on a wall or walls in your basement, the best thing might be to call a professional mold remediation team like the team at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. The mold remediation team at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West have the tools and equipment to inspect and assess the damage and determine the right steps to take to contain the mold, remove the mold, clean the contents, and restore your basement. They will also identify the cause of the water or moisture and either stop it or provide a solution to stopping it so that it doesn’t cause mold growth in the future.
One last piece of advice if you discover mold in your basement, is to leave it alone. If you disturb the area, the mold spores can become airborne and spread elsewhere. Give SERVPRO of Indianapolis West a call anytime 24/7 if you find mold in your basement.
How to Clean Up from a Flooded Basement
How to Clean Up from a Flooded Basement
With the recent storms and flooding, many homes throughout central Indiana may have suffered from the unfortunate event of a flooded basement. There is nothing so frustrating as looking down your basement stairs and discovering that your basement is now under water along with all the belongings that you have stored down there. So you’ve discovered a lake in your basement, now what do you do? Below we will cover things you should do and shouldn’t do and how ultimately to clean and restore your flooded basement.
Be Careful - Water and Electricity Do Not Mix
If there is standing water in your basement, do not go near it. You should not assume that the power has been cut off by the home’s circuit breaker. If your home’s circuit box is located in a dry area of your home, then you should check the breaker box to see if the circuits powering the basement have been tripped and are off. If you have a hot water heater or furnace in the basement, they should be powered off also from the breaker box.
If you are unsure that all of the power is off in the basement, then wait until the water has completely resided or call an electrician or professional flood cleanup company. They will know what to check or who to contact to ensure there is no power going to the flooded basement.
You Don’t Know Where That Water Has Been
The second danger with a flooded basement is that you don’t know where the water originated. While it could be rainwater that has pooled up once the sump pump went out, it could also be from the municipal sewer system backing up. When the local sewer system floods and backs up, it heads to the lowest points first, which are basements. Some home’s main sewer pipes have check valves to prevent the sewer system from backing up into their basements but many homes do not.
If your basement has a floor drain or bathroom, the sewer system may back up into your basement. Obviously, you don’t want to get anywhere near that water as it can be harmful to your health. Since you don’t know where the water has come from, it always better to be safe than sorry. Wait until the water has resided and try to avoid any skin contact with the water. Even it is isn’t sewage water, it could contain other chemicals and contaminants from your basement or the flood waters outside your home.
So What Should Be Done If A Basement Floods?
As you can see, there are a lot of dangers from a basement flooding. The best thing to do if your basement has flooded is to call a water damage cleanup company, like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the expertise, equipment, and tools to remove the water, dry the basement, remediate any mold or potential mold, and restore your basement.
Once the water in the basement subsides or has been pumped out, then it’s a matter of removing all the water soaked items like furniture, storage boxes, area rugs, and more. If there is carpeting in the basement, it will probably need to be commercially vacuumed to extract the water If there is drywall in the basement, then it may need to be removed or at least partially removed. Drywall can absorb the flood waters and if not removed, it can lead to mold growth. All wood and porous surfaces must also be treated to prevent mold from growing. There are a lot of areas in a basement where the water can seep into and lead to extensive mold growth and damage.
Don’t Risk Further Damage. Contact the Water & Mold Damage Cleanup Professionals.
A flooded basement can be a huge mess that can quickly turn into an even bigger mess. That is why you should trust the professionals at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West to clean up your flooded basement and return it back to normal. They deal with flooded basements, homes, and businesses on a regular basis and know just what to do to clean and restore all the damage. Whether it is on the weekends or in the middle of the night, you can call them anytime to show up and get right at work to restore your flooded basements.
Commercial Cleaning Services
SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean and protect your investment.
Spending extra time and resources to clean and disinfect your office or warehouse space is something you don't always have time to do. Turn to the professionals and let us handle the everyday wear and tear that gradually soils your office. When dirt, odor, and moisture problems go beyond the scope of your regular janitorial staff, you need to call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West for prompt service.
We specialize in all commercial cleaning services, from removing an odor problem to deep cleaning flooring and carpets, you can rely on us to make your workspace look its very best. SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can work around your regular business hours so there will be no disruption or downtime for your office. From general cleaning of workspaces to heavy cleaning of warehouse walls and ceilings, we have specialized training, products, and equipment to get your commercial property clean and safe. A clean office promotes employee health and safety, production and overall happiness. A clean business keeps customers coming back.
SERVPRO of Indianapolis West wants to help keep your facility clean and a place where people want to work and buy from. We have service agreements that range from weekly cleaning services, quarterly, or by the call. We'll work with you and around your schedule and cater our services around your needs.
Our commercial cleaning services include:
Biohazard and Sewage
SERVPRO is trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly following OSHA and health regulations. Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous and is best left to the professionals. Equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products, we can help transform these unhealthy environments back into clean and safe workspaces.
Trauma and Crime Scene Cleanup
Accidents and crime scenes often have blood or other biohazard contaminants that may pose a severe health risk. Our highly trained service professionals will respond immediately and safely clean and disinfect any trauma or crime scene with empathy and respect.
Carpet and Upholstery
A good rule of thumb is to have your carpet and upholstery professionally cleaned every 12 months. Protect your investment by calling us to clean and maintain your carpet and upholstery. Ceilings, walls, and floors are exposed to dirt, dust and other contaminants from inside and outside. Whether they need general maintenance cleaning, or heavy cleaning from smoke or fire damage, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West has the expertise to do the job right the first time.
Odor Removal and Deodorization
We have several different types of deodorization techniques. One of our Project Managers will discuss with you the method that will be most beneficial for your property. Masking the odors and other shortcuts are not what we do. We fully address the source of the odor so it doesn't return.
Vandalism and Graffiti
SERVPRO offers emergency services for board up due to broken windows or damaged structure. Often simple acts of vandalism, like breaking a window, can cause significant water and mold damage if not addressed promptly. In addition to removing spray-painted graffiti from exterior walls, we also clean driveways, sidewalks, asphalt, metals, glass, wood, plastic and masonry.
The Facts About Indiana House Fires
The Facts About Indiana House Fires
With the recent strong storms, you may have seen stories on the local news about homes catching on fire from lightning strikes. While that is possible, lightning accounts for a very small percentage of house fires. Lightning is still dangerous and you should definitely take cover if it is near, there are other areas and parts of your home that you should keep an eye on as common culprits of Indiana house fires.
In the article below we will go over statistics on house fires as reported in the U.S. Fire Administration's National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) by the fire departments throughout the country. The stats come from the residential fire incident reports from 2013-2015.
Residential Fires are the Second Most Common Fire
Residential fires, which include single-family homes, apartments, and condos, account for 30% of all fires reported. Businesses account for 8% and vehicles account for 15%, while outside fires (forest fires, grass fires, etc.) accounted for 41% of all fires. While home fires accounted for only 30% of all fires, they resulted in the most injuries, deaths, and dollar loss from property damage.
The Leading Cause of House Fires
Have you ever left something on the stove for too long that resulted in a small confined fire? Apparently, many of us have by the stats from the U.S. Fire Administration’s report. Cooking fires accounted for an astounding 50% of all house fires that occurred between 2013-2015. Cooking fires originated in ovens, on stovetops, and in microwaves. Most of these fires were contained to the food container (skillet, pot, cooking sheet) and were extinguished before the fire had time to spread.
The second leading cause of house fires is from heating equipment. Heating equipment includes space heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, and radiators. These fires account for close to 12% of all house fires. These fires, like cooking fires, can be easily prevented by not leaving a fire in a fireplace or wood stove unattended and keeping flammable objects at least three feet away from heat sources. If you use space heaters, be sure to turn them off before leaving the room or going to sleep.
Other leading causes of house fires include appliance fires, candles, smoking, and electrical malfunctions. All of these together only account for 16% of all fires. Fires from smoking and candles are usually due to carelessness while appliance and electrical fires are due to damaged equipment or overloaded circuits. With appliances and electronics, it’s always good to check the cords for damage or frays. Also, never overload a wall outlet with an excessive amount of appliances and equipment.
The Spread of Fires in Homes
Fortunately, most fires in homes are discovered quickly and extinguished before they spread. Around 55% of all fires are contained to the object that the fire originated at. This could be a pot or an appliance or a piece of fabric like a table cover or chair. While the fire damage is usually limited to the object, the smoke damage can still be substantial. Fires that take over a whole room account for 20% of all fires while fires that take over a whole home account for 17% of all fires. These fires are the most devastating to property and to the health of the occupants.
Be Safe in Your Home with Working Smoke Alarms
One of the keys to catching a fire early and extinguishing it before it has caused extensive damage is to have properly working smoke alarms located throughout your home. According to the report, smoke alarms were only present in 43% of nonconfined house fires. Nonconfined fires are fires that spread from their original confined source i.e. cooking pot. While smoke alarms will not prevent a fire, they serve as an early warning device to alert the occupants that a fire is occurring. A smoke alarm gives them time to either extinguish the confined fire or evacuate and call the fire department if the fire is nonconfined.
It a Fire Should Occur at Your Indiana Home, Call the Fire Restoration Professionals
Even a small little kitchen fire can cause a lot of smoke damage. Whether you have experienced a small fire or an extensive fire, the fire restoration experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean up, repair and get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. They have the tools, equipment, and know-how to handle smoke damage, water damage, mold damage and fire damage -- all of which can occur from a house fire. Whether a fire happens during the day or in the middle of the night, you can call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West 24/7 to handle your home’s emergency.
The Dangers of Stagnant Water & What to Do If Found
The Dangers of Stagnant Water & What to Do If Found
Stagnant water, also known as standing water, is a body of water that does not flow or go away in a timely manner. This can be a small puddle in your backyard or a puddle in your crawl space. They both can result in problems for you and your home. The puddle in the backyard can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and the puddle in your crawl space can result in damaging mold growth.
Stagnant water can come from any source. It can be clean water from a leaky water pipe or faucet. It can be from rainwater which is likely with the stagnant water in your yard. Or worse, it can be from a sewer line in your home or a sewer backup in your neighborhood. While the sewer water or black water, as it is known, can be the most dangerous to one’s health, they can all lead to mold growth, bacteria growth, and mosquito problems. The clean water can mix with debris, bacteria, and organisms and result in mold growth and other problems.
The Hidden Dangers of Stagnant Water
One of the problems with stagnant water is when it is hidden from our daily view. This could be some standing water hidden behind a woodshed that we never see or stagnant water that sits undisturbed and unseen for months in our crawlspace or basement. It is that time that can ultimately lead to extensive damage to your home.
The longer stagnant water sits in your crawl space, basement, bathroom, or garage; the more time it has to promote mold growth in your home. Once the mold has begun, it usually won’t stop growing until it is found and remediated by professionals, like those at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. Given a little bit of time, mold can grow quickly on the floor joists, ducts, floors, walls, insulation and other surfaces nearby. Given a few months, mold can lead to structural damage to your home and spread throughout the home through the air or ducts.
What to Do If Stagnant Water is Found
If you find stagnant water right away, you may be able to remove the water without much damage. You need to vacuum or pump out the water and completely dry the area. You also need to remove any materials that got wet including clothing, furniture, carpet, padding, insulation, and drywall. Once all the damaged materials have been removed, you can sanitize the area to ensure the mold and bacteria don’t grow. While this may be good enough, many times it doesn’t work completely. Days or weeks later, the homeowner discovers mold or bacteria growth where they thought they had dried and cleaned everything.
The Best Thing to Do If Stagnant Found is Found
The danger of water getting into your subfloors, drywall, and structural beams is that they aren’t easy to get dry. They tend to soak up the water which can lead to mold growth in a day or two. That is why it is always best to call water damage experts to professionally remove, dry, clean and repair your home from water damage. Professionals, like those at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, have seen and dealt with all kinds of water damage and know exactly how to handle your situation to ensure all the damage is removed and restored completely. This can include bringing in commercial dryers, dehumidifiers, and other equipment to completely remove all the water and moisture from the area. They also have industrial cleaners and tools to check and remove all the water and remediate any materials with mold growth.
It Doesn’t Take Much Water to Do Damage
It only takes a little puddle of water to create a lot of damage in your home. It’s always a good idea to check for standing water in your crawl space, basement, garage and other areas where it may occur on a monthly basis. You also want to make it a habit of checking inside, under and around your home after huge rain showers have rolled through your area. Not only may you spot trouble areas inside your home, but you may find trouble areas around your property where the water can lead to a mosquito infestation or stream back into your foundation and into your crawl space.
If you do find stagnant water inside your home, you can try to remove it as quickly as possible but you should definitely call SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. Not only will they remove the water but they’ll be able to evaluate your property for any damage or potential damage from the standing water. They’ll be able to keep your small problem from turning into a much bigger problem down the road.
Preparing for the Unexpected: How to Protect Your Business from Natural Disasters
Preparing for the Unexpected: How to Protect Your Business from Natural Disasters
When it comes to natural disasters in Indiana, we tend to think of floods, tornadoes and damaging storms. Unlike natural disasters like hurricanes, Hoosiers tend not to have any time to prepare for the natural disasters that occur in their backyard. But even though we don’t have days to board up our businesses, there are things we can do to prepare if a disaster should strike our business.
In this blog, we will cover steps you can take to prepare your business for the unexpected so that you can reduce your downtime and losses.
Protect Your Data
If you are like most businesses, you have a lot of data or information saved on your computers. You may have billing, contacts, payroll, taxes, and other documents saved on your computers. You may have CAD files or photos or other data for your clients’ projects. Needless to say, you probably would some money and perhaps lots of money if the data on your computers were destroyed.
While you may not be able to save everything that you and your staff do on your computers, you can save and recover most of it if you save your data in the cloud at an offsite server facility. There are many companies out there that provide backup and recovery services for businesses. It’s important that once you do choose a backup provider, that you use it. Many businesses learn too late that they weren’t backing up their data on a regular basis.
Plan for Loss of Power
Is your business capable of operating if you lose power? It’s not uncommon for Indiana businesses to lose power after big storms. If your business requires power to operate, you may want to have generators available to provide emergency power. You may just need them for lights or you may need them to power heaters or air conditioners in order to protect your inventory from extreme temperatures.
It’s important to create a plan of what to power in order to ensure you have enough generators and enough fuel to keep the emergency power going for a few days. You don’t want to not have enough power or run out of fuel after 6 hours.
Plan to Work Off Site
If your business is flooded or destroyed by a tornado, can it operate elsewhere? If your business works mainly online, then operating your business from laptops at home or elsewhere may not be too much of an inconvenience. If you rely on equipment or materials that are stored at your business, operating remotely may be a little more difficult. Still, it is a good idea to consider creating a contingency plan in the event that your business site is inaccessible. Are there other locations that your business could operate in an emergency? Are there jobs that can be done while your business site is closed? Having these plans planned in advance can help your business avoid any long down times.
Develop An Emergency Plan
As discussed in the previous section, having an emergency plan can save you time and money. Your emergency plan should be available and shared with all of your employees. It needs to contain phone numbers and/or a phone tree so everyone can be kept up to date. It needs to include what to do in case the office is closed. It should include what steps to take if your business is damaged. If you are a large business, you may want to delegate critical recovery roles to certain team members. An effective emergency plan should be thorough and precise and leave no one guessing what to do next.
After The Storm - Hire the Commercial Restoration Pros
One of the first steps you should take after your business has been damaged by flood waters, storms, and/or a tornado is to call the commercial restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the tools and expertise to handle any size disaster. Whether it is water damage, fire damage, or other storm damage, they can get to work right away so you can get back to business as usual as soon as possible. Give them a call the next time your business suffers the unexpected from a natural disaster.