What to do After a Fire
You may not know what to do after a fire. Follow these steps to get a little clarity and call us if you need help.
Now that the fire is out, there are a few things you need to know. Here is a check list to follow:
Step 1 - Securing the site
- Protect the fire site from any further damage by weather, theft or vandalism. Do not leave the site unsecured.
- If you are the owner it is your responsibility to see that openings are covered against rain and entry. Make sure outside doors to the property can be locked and secured. The Fire Department will help secure the premises until responsibility can be handed over to the tenant or insurance company.
- If you are the tenant contact your real estate agent or landlord and inform them of the fire. If you cannot contact them and you need professional assistance in boarding the premises, a general contractor for or fire damage restoration firm can help. Check your telephone directory.
- If you plan to leave the site, try to remove any valuable remaining in the building.
- Contact your own insurance agent to report the loss.
Step 2- Cautions
- Household wiring which may have been water damaged should be checked by a licensed electrician before power is turned back on.
- Check for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be weakened. The local Council's Building Inspector may be able to help.
- Food, drink and medicines exposed to heat, smoke or soot may be discarded in the appropriate manner.
- Refrigerators and freezers left unopened will hold their temperature for a short time. However do not attempt to refreeze thawed items.
- The Fire Department will call for the services of the local gas, fuel and electricity suppliers to disconnect services before they leave the site.
- If a utility (gas, electricity or water) is disconnected, it is your responsibility to have the services checked and reconnected by a licensed trade person. Do not attempt to reconnect the service yourself.
- Start collecting receipts for any money you spend. These are important because you can use them to show the insurance company what money you have spent relating to your fire loss and also verifying losses claimed.
Step 3 - Insurance Claims
- Make personal contact with the insurance claims manager.
- Advise the claims manager of loss or damage and give him, or her, a forwarding address and telephone number if the circumstances have forced you to leave the damaged fire building.
- The sooner the insurance company is alerted, the quicker the insurance claim can be processed, as the company has to alert the insurance adjuster to carry out the inspection.
- Try to form an inventory, as soon as possible, of household items either inside or outside the buildings which have been damaged by fire. The inventory of damaged items will further speed the claim when the loss adjuster makes contact. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after the inventory is made by the insurance adjuster.
Step 4 - Leaving your home
- If you have to leave your home because the fire has left it unsafe, contact the local police. They can keep an eye on the property in your absence.
- Check with your insurance company to find out whether you are entitled to stay in hotel as part of a temporary housing clause in your policy, or how soon you might get an advance on your eventual insurance claim settlement.
- Provided it is safe to do so, try to locate the following to take with you:
- Vital medicines, such as blood pressure regulating drugs or insulin.
- Eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetic devices or personal aids.
- Valuables such as credit cards, check-books, insurance policies, savings account books, money and jewelry.
Notify these people of your new address
- Your employer.
- Family and friends.
- Your children's schools.
- Your Post Office. Have them either hold or forward your mail, depending on the length of time you expect to be relocated.
- Delivery services like newspapers and milk.
- Telecom and the suppliers of gas, electricity and water.
SERVPRO of Western Essex County at 973-994-1640
We will help to get your life in order after this catastrophic event.
Talk to your staff about fire safety today.
Fire Safety Tips for the Workplace
No matter type of business you conduct at your workplace, fire safety should always be a main concern. Here are a few fire safety tips you can distribute to your staff.
- Keep your work area free of waste paper, trash and other items that can easily catch fire.
- Check on your electrical cords. If a cord is damaged in any way, replace it. Try not to lay cords in places where they can be stepped on, as this will contribute to deterioration of the protective outside coating.
- Don't overload your circuits.
- Turn off electrical appliances at the end of each day.
- Keep heat producing equipment away from anything that might burn. This includes copiers, coffee makers, computers, etc.
In the Event of a Fire
- Upon finding a fire, call 911 immediately and don't hand up with the emergency responder until told to do so.
- Close doors when exiting to help limit the spread of smoke and fire throughout the building.
- Never use elevators during an evacuation.
- Follow the escape plan and meet at a per-determined place outside of your building and away from danger. Conduct a headcount to ensure all of your staff has evacuated.
The best way to ensure the safety of your staff is through fire prevention and preparation. Talk with your staff about fire safety in the workplace today.
How to Help Prevent House Fires
Follow these tips to help prevent a house fire.
We have developed a list of the most common causes of fire-related losses as well as some things you can do to help prevent them.
Faulty Wiring and Outlets Are One of the Top Causes of House Fires.
- Check the electrical cords throughout your home for signs of fraying, and replace all frayed wires.
- Do not pinch or cover electrical cords with items such as rugs.
- Be aware of the capacity of your home's electrical system. Do not overload your circuits. If you have questions about your home's electrical system, you may want to consult a licensed electrician.
- Understand the difference between surge protectors and power strips—both allow you to plug in multiple electronic devices, but only the surge protector will help protect these devices from a power spike. Use surge protectors to protect valuable electronic devices, such as computers and televisions.
Carelessness in the Kitchen May Also Lead to a House Fire.
- Never leave your pots or pans unattended on your stove.
- Keep a kitchen fire extinguisher readily available and know how to use it.
- Keep your stove and oven clean. Built up food splatter or grease can later ignite when the stove or oven is turned on for cooking.
Clothes Dryers Are Another Common Source of House Fires.
- If you are installing your own dryer vent, follow the directions in the manufacturer’s installation instructions, using the recommended duct material. If you are unsure about how to properly install the vent, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
- Clean out the dryer vent regularly.
- Clean out the lint filter after each load.
- Lint may also collect under and behind your dryer, so do not forget to clean these areas.
Alternative Heating Sources May Also Create a Fire Hazard.
- Avoid using an older space heater, as it may not have adequate safety features compared to newer units. When purchasing a new space heater, ensure it is UL Listed and pay attention to the safety features.
- Do not place a space heater near furniture, curtains or other objects that could easily catch fire.
- If you plan to install an alternative heating system, such as a wood or pellet stove, follow the manufacturer's instructions. If you are unsure about how to properly install the system, consider hiring a professional to do the installation.
- Before installing a wood or pellet stove, check to ensure it complies with the laws of your state and municipality.
Dirty Chimneys Also Pose a Fire Hazard.
- Have your chimney inspected annually by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweep. Have a professional clean and repair the chimney as needed, especially before the cold months, when you will be using it frequently.
- Use seasoned wood only. Never burn green or damp wood.
- Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or trees in your fireplace—these can all spark chimney fires.
Why Regular Carpet Cleaning is Important
Carpet Cleaning is very important. Learn why here!
Carpet cleaning can be a bothersome chore. However, the reward of restoring the freshness and beauty back to our carpets is very often worth the efforts. Carpets without proper cleaning quickly lose its beauty in due time. The soiling of carpets can unfold rather fast, even with regularly vacuuming and spot cleaning. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why carpet cleaning is so important.
It prolongs the life span of the carpet.
Vacuuming does help but there are dirt and grime that sinks deep within the fibers. They become hard to clean. They even make the carpet look old and discolored. Regular carpet cleaning in intervals of 12 to 18 months sustains longer life span. It also maintains the beauty of the carpet as if it is only several months old since purchased.
It removes stains, restoring the carpet back an unblemished state.
Carpet stains often mar the look of a carpet and make our living space less pleasant-looking. Carpet stains appear all the time from the dirt carried inside from the soles of shoes, to spilt coffee, wine and other drinks, to pet accidents and more. Deep carpet cleaning can separate the dirt from the carpets, bringing it back to an unblemished and pleasant-looking state.
It lessens pollutants.
The carpet is an effective trap of various particles. Dirt, dust, pet dander, and insect allergens are regulars of home carpet. Regular carpet cleaning helps lessen or completely eliminate these pollutants. The use of special sanitizers like carpet shampoo kills the bacteria from these particles. Would you believe that the average home toilet seat is cleaner than the average home carpet?
It prevents insect infestation.
There are insects that are hard to notice when they are on the carpet’s surface. Sometimes, adaptive coloration makes cockroaches and mites to stay on it until they release eggs. They also leave body fragments like shed skin. With regular carpet cleaning, you do not clean the carpet alone but also kills insects and prevents possible infestation.
It eliminates bad odor.
The dust, insects, urine and various pollutants on the carpet emit foul odor. They also increase the chances that some organisms like bacteria and fungi will soon thrive on the carpet. The bad odor is itself a sign of an unhealthy environment. Regular carpet cleaning will not only eliminate bad odor. It will also hinder these harmful organisms from being carpet mainstays.
It contributes to overall home appeal.
A well-maintained and regularly cleaned carpet is a sign of a well-maintained home. It leaves an impression that the homeowner is careful and meticulous of how his house looks and appeals to his guests. More often than not, a clean home carpet reflects that other things and other parts within the house also shows equal cleanliness.
It protects your investment
Regular carpet cleaning treats your carpet as a great investment. It doesn’t matter how cheap or how expensive you’ve bought it. This is an effort that maintains beauty, color, and the pattern or designs of your carpet longer than you could imagine. It can even make your carpet a legacy passed to your children.
Summary & Next Steps
Regular home carpet cleaning should not be taken for granted. Summing up, the importance it brings comes down to adding beauty wherever that may be.
Manual (hand wash) carpet cleaning of homes can be a tedious, if not impossible process. Fortunately, there are many models of home carpet cleaning machines that allow the process to be much easier.
On top of your own carpet cleaning routines, you may also consider engaging qualified professional cleaning services for an expert review of your carpets. Here at SERVPRO Western Essex County we have the most up to date equipment to do a job well done. You can always give us a call for professional advice on the matter at hand.
Proper Air Duct Cleaning for Businesses
What You Need to Know About Air Duct Cleaning
Air duct cleaning is a misnomer. In actuality, the entire HVAC system should be cleaned. Failure to clean all components of the system can result in recontamination of the entire system, thus minimizing the benefits of cleaning.
Just as you wouldn’t clean only half of your living room floor, you also would not want to clean only part of your HVAC system. NADCA recommends cleaning the entire HVAC system, including the following components:
- air ducts
- drain pan
- air plenum
- blower motor and assembly
- heat exchanger
- air filter
- air cleaner
There are two key components to HVAC cleaning: breaking contaminants loose, and collection of contaminants.
Breaking Contaminants Loose
Properly cleaning HVAC systems requires removing the sources of contamination. Source removal begins with the use of one or more agitation devices designed to loosen contaminants from the surfaces within the heating and air conditioning system. Examples of agitation devices include: brushes, air whips and compressed air nozzles or “skipper balls.” Agitation can also be achieved through hand-brushing or contact vacuuming.
Collection of Contaminants
During cleaning, the entire HVAC system is placed under continuous negative pressure (a vacuum) to prevent the spread of contaminants. Continuous negative pressure allows very fine particles to be removed from the system as they become airborne, ensuring that these particles are not released into the living space when the system is turned on after cleaning. This negative pressure also serves to extract the loosened contaminants, which are collected and removed from your home.
HVAC system cleaning is not a complex process, but each job is unique. Where possible, access to duct interiors should be made through existing openings such as supply diffusers, return grills, duct end caps and existing service openings. Cleaning technicians may need to cut access holes in the duct work in order to reach inside with various cleaning tools. Creation of these service openings, and their subsequent closure, requires craftsmanship and professional skills.
There is a wide variety of equipment available to HVAC cleaning professionals. Both truck-mounted and portable vacuums can be used to stop the spread of contaminants and get the system cleaned to the NADCA Standard.
Antimicrobial chemicals include sanitizers, disinfectants and deodorizers that can be applied to nonporous surfaces in HVAC systems to address microbial contamination and help control odors. Only chemicals registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be used. These products should only be considered after mechanical surface cleaning has been performed and if the need for such treatment has been deemed necessary. Review the NADCA White Paper on Chemical Applications in HVAC Systems for more information.
When it comes to your commercial property, we mean business. You need a company that can minimize the disruption to your clients while delivering superior results. Whether you need professional cleaning to make your business shine, or emergency water restoration services, SERVPRO of Western Essex County has the training and expertise to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
- Small Office Buildings
- Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
- Apartment Buildings
- Small Retail Stores
- Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
- High-Rise Residential
- Manufacturing & Industrial
Commercial Building Cleaning Services
Whether your need is removing an odor problem or deep-cleaning flooring or carpets, you can depend on SERVPRO of Western Essex County to get the job done right the first time. We’ll respond promptly and make your work space look its very best. Learn more about our commercial cleaning services.
Commercial Building Restoration Services
SERVPRO of Western Essex County is available 24 hours a day to restore your property and get you back to business. We have the expertise, equipment, and highly trained personnel to handle your commercial water, fire, or mold damage. We can also access the resources of our national network of 1,700 Franchises to handle large commercial projects and major storm events. Learn more about our commercial restoration services.
Give us a call we can help
Get Ready for a Thunderstorm
Follow these tips to stay safe in a thunderstorm.
SERVPRO of Western Essex County cares gratefully about the safety of our customers. Thunderstorms can be a scary and overwhelming event. Here are some safety precautions that can be taken to insure your well-being.
- Keep yourself updated with news reports by listening to your local weather radios.
- When inside, stay off corded phones, computers, and other electronic equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity or plumbing.
- Unplug any appliances or electrical items such as TVs, computers, and air conditioners. If you are not able to unplug, turn it off.
- Secure any doors and shutters. Make sure that you remove any dead or rotting branches from trees that could potentially fall and cause damage to your home or anyone.
Remember, Storm damage is likely to occur depending on the intensity of the storm. For any services you may need whether an emergency or a quote, please feel free to give us a call at (973) 994-1640
The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents Commercial
Over 15,000 Dryer-Related Fires Each Year
Home and business owners should be taking note: when lint clogs a dryer duct, your building is at risk for fire. Dryer vent cleaning helps to prevent costly fires, reduce dryer downtime—and keep your building’s dryer system functioning properly.
SERVPRO of Western Essex County is a cost-effective way to protect the safety of building residents. As part of our service, we remove lint, birds’ nests, small articles of clothing and more from dryer vents in houses, beauty salons, hotels, multi-family living structures and other establishments.
SERVPRO of Western Essex County ensures that the full length of the dryer vent is clean when we leave your property.
This may entail cutting additional access points to the dryer vent from the attic, basement—or where ever the dryer vent routes through your home or business.
Here at SERVPRO of Western Essex County no job is too big for us and we are always here to help. We are open 24/7 seven days a week, just for our customer's needs.
Commercial Division| Our Services
Commercial cleaning and restoration present unique challenges. Our goal is to provide excellent results while minimizing the disruption to your clients. SERVPRO of Central Union County & Roselle are fully equipped to take on your commercial property no matter the size of the job.
- Air Ducts / HVAC
- General & Specialty Cleaning
- Post Construction Cleaning
- Punch List Services
- Dry Ice Blasting
- Power Washing
- Biohazard & Sewage
- Odor Removal / Deodorization
We offer our services to any time of commercial property:
- Small/Large Office Buildings
- High-Rise Office Buildings
- Apartment Buildings
- Small Retail Stores
- Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
- High-Rise Residential
- Manufacturing & Industrial
For any additional information, please feel free to contact our office for all of your commercial property needs.
Prepare NOW For Storm Wind Damage
Hurricanes are very destructive, prepare before they hit.
While in hurricane season, it is the time to think about storm damage, even here in the northeast. Preparing your business or home now can help prevent unnecessary damages to your building when that storm hits.
Wind can come in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, microbursts, or downdrafts. It can be valuable to understand the impact of high winds and how to best protect your business, home, and property from wind damage. There are many ways to reinforce a building against wind damage — some are simple enough to DIY while others may require a pro.
First, inspect your building's roof, siding, windows and doors, and even landscaping to identify vulnerable spots. Replacing many of these items can be very expensive, so this may not be an option. However, being prepared to install temporary protection in the event of a storm that brings high winds and heavy rains may be all you need to do. No solution is perfect; mother nature knows that, but doing nothing to prepare is not the best option either.
When considering the role doors play in protecting buildings from high winds, it is customary to think about our exterior doors first. They are the doors that provide the first line of defense from high winds and blowing debris.
While wind-resistant doors and break-resistant glass play a significant role in fighting winds, interior doors are also essential. In hurricane winds or when a tornado may be imminent, all doors and windows, including every interior door, should be closed. This can prevent pressure build-up inside a building, leading to losing a room. Closing interior doors will also help compartmentalize damage from wind or rain if there is a breach in the exterior of a building.
Impact-resistant doors are the best possible solution, but if these are not installed, then:
- inspect doors for any cracks or missing or damaged hardware.
- Ensure no air leaks around the door and replace standard hinge screws with longer, stronger screws that will reach into the wall frame.
- Ensure the threshold seals the door bottom and is screwed deeply into the floor.
- Add a deadbolt to exterior doors that extend a minimum of one inch.
- If you have French-style double doors, make sure they are refitted with bolts that extend at least an inch into the floor.
- Finally, reinforce doors (and windows) with sheets of plywood when a hurricane approaches. This can be cost-effective and should be planned.
Many items in a yard can quickly turn into projectiles during high winds. These items make a building's windows vulnerable during high winds, especially when standard glass is used.
Even a small branch or piece of flying debris can start a landslide of damage once a window is cracked. As winds continue to put force on the broken window, the break can become more extensive and even cause the complete failure of the window. Winds and rain now have even greater access to the building's interior, creating further damage. Once winds enter a space, the entire structure, including the roof, is at risk.
There are only two options when it comes to providing better window protection. One is to cover or reinforce windows, and the other is to upgrade windows to high-impact glass.
The roof is one of the most significant parts of a building. It is helpful to think of it as a combination of materials that protect your home from the elements and help keep warmth and cool air inside.
The roof is susceptible to damage in high winds for various reasons. As a roof ages, shingles can become brittle and lose adhesion to the structure. Older roofs aren't reinforced as well as more modern structures and are more easily damaged. While a roof is large and heavy, it can be no match for high winds as elements get peeled away, or the entire roof structure may even be lifted away. Of course, once the roof has been compromised, wind and water can enter the interior of the building, and the entire building will be at risk.
There is no additional protection you can provide for a roof except repairing damaged sections or replacing the roof entirely.
A garage door is typically the most significant moving part of an entire home. Generally speaking, garage doors are designed to move upward and downward. Under the stress of high winds, they can and do fail. This can cause a chain reaction of destruction and damage to a home once wind and moisture are introduced to the area.
Check to see that all seals around the door are good enough to prevent winds from entering. Protecting a garage door can be done with special braces or installing plywood as you would with windows.
Another area of a home that should be of concern in high winds is the siding. Like the roof, windows, and doors, keeping a home's siding inspected and properly maintained will go a long way in maintaining its integrity in a windstorm. Like those other areas, the key is preventing the wind from getting a foothold behind the siding, allowing it to tear it off of the structure.
Preparing the siding of a building is to repair damages sections and gaps where wind could enter or complete replacement of the system.
Landscaping and Outdoor Items
An important component of protecting a building in high winds is minimizing the potential projectiles that can become airborne. These projectiles can result from trees and limbs and from an assortment of yard items.
Depending on how much warning you have prior to a wind event, these items should be safely stored. Larger items which cannot be stored should be disassembled and stored, or at the very least turned upside down and secured to the ground. You should consider every item not secured in their outdoor spaces as a potential projectile.
Taking Shelter Indoors
The safest place in a building during a high wind event is generally the same; an interior room on the lowest level of a structure, away from windows and exterior doors. In some cases, this may be a basement or a first-floor interior closet or bathroom.
Be sure to take a battery operated radio or weather radio with you along with a flashlight. Blankets may offer additional protection and in severe cases, mattresses can be used to provide cover. If an interior bathroom is used, the tub can provide additional protection.
When disaster strikes your home or business, choose the #1 ranked in Restoration Services. Choose SERVPRO of Western Essex County.
Contact us at (973) 994-1640 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Western Essex County's System Services.