Fires are Preventable!
Be sure to visit Ready.gov for more helpful information on how to prevent fires in your home!
When it comes to your or your insured’s properties, there are certain safety precautions that can be taken to help prevent fires. Ready.gov shares the following tips on home fire prevention.
Electrical and Appliance Safety
Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
Fireplaces and Wood-stoves
Inspect and clean wood-stove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
FLOODING CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE
Storm Flooding can be very scary, please always be prepared
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), “Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding.” NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as:
• Flash Flooding
• River Flooding
• Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems
• Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)
• Ice/Debris Jams
• Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
• Dam Breaks/Levee Failure
Just because you haven’t experienced a flood doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the U.S., and commercial flood claims average more than $75,000 (NFIP). When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO® Dale City/Lake Ridge Professionals can help. They can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile® (ERP), or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get you back in business as soon as possible. Your local SERVPRO® Dale City/Lake Ridge Professionals are ready to help make it “Like it never even happened
Why September is the Peak Month for Hurricanes and Tropical Storms
September 10th is historical the most active day for hurricanes!
The Atlantic Hurricane and Tropical Storm season runs from June 1 through November 30. Nearly all tropical storm activity in the Atlantic basin occurs during those dates with it peaking between August and October. Statistically, September 10 is the most likely day to find a tropical cyclone somewhere in the Atlantic.
You may ask why. It’s because of both the wind and water.
Wind shear may prevent storms from organizing into a tropical cyclone. Wind shear is the variation of the wind's speed or direction over a short distance within the atmosphere. Stronger wind shear in the spring fades through June and July, and by late August, wind shear reaches a minimum.
The changes in climate create wetter and bigger storms.
Also to note is the temperature of the ocean. As summer passes, the water temperature in the deep tropics rises which is the result of sunny days, warmer air temperatures, and more moisture in the atmosphere. Warmer ocean temperatures drive greater storm activity.
With the lack of wind shear in the atmosphere combined with the warmth of tropical waters, it may cause the waves off of Africa to strengthen into a hurricane.
The number of tropical storm and hurricane days for the Atlantic Basin spikes in mid-September.
Difference of Various Regions
The patterns vary in different areas of Earth. For example, in the Northwest Pacific basin tropical cyclones occur regularly, throughout the year. Therefore, there is no "typhoon season" there, though there is a lull in February and March and a peak in August and September. In the North Indian basin, typhoons peak in both May and November.
In late October and November, the number of hurricanes and tropical storms drops steeply in late October and November. As fall temperatures arrive, wind shear increases in the Atlantic basin. The air and the water both cool down, resulting in fewer areas where the storms can form.
SIGNS OF DAMAGE CAUSED BY HIDDEN WATER LEAKS
Hidden water damage can cause major problems in your home
If undetected and left untreated, a hidden water leak in your property can become very costly, especially if it leads to extensive damage to your walls and flooring. There are subtle signs you can look for in your home to determine if you need a plumber to fix those leaking fixtures and pipes before things get worse. When you have a substantial leak you need a certified remediation company, such as SERVPRO, to help you clean up the damage.
One sign of a hidden leak, ensuring the need for professional water removal, is a wall which has blistering wallpaper or paint. Typically, mere steam from hot showers in your home should not cause this to happen. When water and moisture get between the paint and the wall, they stop the bond and begin to separate the two, making the paint peel away from the wall and fall off in small pieces. It is the same sign with wallpaper.
WARPED OR STAINED WALL
A wall which is warped or stained for no apparent reason is a clear sign of a plumbing leak. Drywall becomes soft and starts to bubble when it is exposed to moisture, eventually warping and breaking up into pieces. If the leak reaches your ceiling, it will sag and could leak some of the accumulated water, causing more damage to your home.
BUCKLED, CRACKED OR SQUISHY FLOORING
At times, your flooring may be damaged as well if the leak was severe enough, causing cracking, staining or buckling. Moisture can make your floor feel soft or squishy depending upon the material content. In these cases, you often find a damp subfloor as well. If the problem is found quickly, our SERVPRO technicians can dry and salvage it without causing a costly replacement. However, if the water has caused damage to the subfloor as well, it may require new subfloor.
At SERVPRO, our technicians have specialized tools such as moisture meters to locate any hidden moisture and leaks in your property and to remove any accumulation of water from those leaks. Once we determine what is causing the leak, then we’re able to address and fix the problem, and eliminate the water with the use of industrial pumps, fans, and dehumidifiers. Quickly drying your home is important to avoid the growth of mold. Once your home is dry again, then repairs can be made, including replacing any damaged drywall and flooring.
If you believe you may have a hidden leak, please give us a call. We’re always here to help.
Is Your Business Prepared For Whatever Happens
You can download the ERP app through the Apple Stote or Google play to multiple electronic devices including phones & tablets.
At SERVPRO we care about our commercial clients and encourage all of them to be prepared for whatever happens. If you were to open the doors to your business and discover water everywhere, would you know exactly what to do and who to call? During an emergency is not the time make these decisions…we can help you be prepared with a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP).
Knowing what to do and who to call in advance is key to quick response and timely mitigation. Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster.
In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations and your most crucial areas. It’s also accessible online using your smartphone, tablet or computer.
The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile Advantages
- A no-cost assessment of your facility
- A concise profile document that contains the critical information needed in the event of an emergency
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing remediation work to begin
- Provides important facility details such as shut-off valve locations, critical areas and priority contact information
If you would like further information or to schedule with us to have a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile completed on your facility, please give Janét a call at our office. We’re always here to help.
PREPAREDNESS FOR PETS
Have you accounted for Fido or feline when emergency planning?
Pets are just as important as any family member to most people, so why would you not make them a part of your preparedness planning? There are several things you can do to make sure they stay safe as well during an emergency.
Pet Emergency Kit
Ready.gov/animals lists the below items as essential to building your Pet Emergency Kit.
Food - At least a three day supply in an airtight, waterproof container.
Water - At least three days of water specifically for your pets.
Medicines and medical records
Important documents Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
First aid kit Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is a good idea too.
Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash
Crate or pet carrier Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.
Sanitation Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach.
A picture of you and your pet together If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
Familiar items Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.
While practicing fire escape or evacuation plans, be sure to include pets. If an evacuation happens, don’t leave pets behind as they can be lost or injured.
Microchipping pets is a great way to locate them. Most veterinary clinics and shelters have scanners that will read the microchip information to help find a pet’s owners.
Be sure to take four-legged friends into consideration when planning for emergencies. Visit ready.gov/ animals for further tips and safety precautions to think about for you or your insured’s families’ pets, or your tenant’s pets’ during a disaster.
Preparing for the storm
Supplies Recommended for Storm Preparation
Because of the possible lack of clean water and power outages following a storm, you may need supplies to keep your family safe and happy following a disaster. Storms may also cause limited access to your vehicles, roadways and stores.
Be prepared and stock up on everything you might need NOW before the storm arrives. Be certain to:
- Prepare an emergency water supply
- Prepare an emergency food and medicine supply
- Gather safety items
- Gather personal items
Prepare an emergency water supply
- Have at least 5 gallons of water per person (which should be enough to last 3 to 5 days)
- Gather clean containers for water.
- Get supplies to make your drinking water safe (like iodine tablets or chlorine bleach).
- Learn how to safely store your water supply.
- Learn how to make your drinking water safe for use.
Prepare an emergency food and medicine supply
- Gather a 3 to 5 day supply of food that won’t spoil such as canned foods.
- If needed, stock up on baby food or formula.
- Gather any prescription medicines.
Gather safety items, including:
- First aid kit and instructions
- Fire extinguisher
- Battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries
- Sleeping bags, pillows and extra blankets
Gather personal care products, including:
- Hand sanitizer and soap
- Wet cleaning cloths (like baby wipes) in case you don’t have clean water
- Tampons and pads
Tip: Store all of these items together in a place that’s easy to locate.
How to classify a fire
Here to help through your fire damage.
Fire Damage Classifications
Removal of property from a home or business depends on the type of damage sustained to the structure and personal items. Our team is trained to determine whether the cause was the heat and flames, smoke residues, or as a result of the effects to extinguish the fire. Each type of damage will also fall into three levels or categories of damage: Minor, Medium, and Major.
With Minor Damage
- There is little need for removal.
- The fire was restricted to a single room, quickly extinguished and small.
- Only small items like dish towels and perhaps the pot or pan where the fire started must be disposed of and replaced.
- Most of the restoration involves light cleaning of residue covered ceilings, walls, floors, counters and cabinets.
With Medium Damage
- More property is removed.
- The fire was larger, spread into other parts of the home, and took longer to extinguish.
- Larger items such as furniture and drywall panels are physically damaged and require disposal.
- The cleaning method requires stronger chemicals and tools like scrub brushes.
- Odors are very noticeable and require further cleaning to eliminate them.
With Major Damage
- Items near the origin of the fire are severely burnt and need immediate removal and disposal.
- Structural components such as framing also suffer physical damage.
- Smoke residues are so thick that some items may need to be cleaned using ultrasonic equipment or may not be able to be completely cleaned and require replacement.
- Odors may be so strong that eliminating them can be more expensive than the option of replacement.
Removal of contents does not necessarily mean they must be disposed. We can move salvageable items or those that simply need cleaning to either an on-site storage container on their property or to storage at our facility while repairs are being completed.
We’re always here to help. Our goal is to address your restoration needs as professionally and quickly as possible. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can get your property and life back to “Like it never even happened".
Storms can develop quickly and cause major damage.
Flood Safety in NOVA
Flooding doesn’t always happen in Northern Virginia but did you know that 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk areas? In fact, flooding is one of the most commonly widespread weather-related disasters. According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in our country every year than any other weather-related disaster.
The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips:
A mere six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet. If you approach a flowing stream of water that is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way.
Driving in flooded areas
If you encounter a flooded road, turn around and go another way. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. If you are stranded on a flooded roadway and the water is rising rapidly, get out of the car immediately and seek higher ground.
Keep children out of the water
Children are naturally curious but often lack judgment about the dangers of running water caused by flooding or the contaminants it may contain.
Our goal at SERVPRO of Dale City/Lake Ridge and SERVPRO of Woodbridge/Lorton is to help you be prepared and ready. We know that even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly. Although the cleanup is often an overwhelming task, our team is prepared to handle any size disaster. We’re always here to help.
What to do after the storm
Storm Damage Tips
Storms may cause a tremendous amount of loss to your home or business. These damages can range from collapsed roofs to standing water throughout the structure including precious valuables and important documents. Through extensive training and 15 years of experience in the restoration industry, our team understands the substantial amount of stress brought on by these disasters. Our goal is to always ensure the safety of our customers and provide immediate restoration services to our community.
Following storm damage, these are the tips we have to offer:
- Assure your home or business is safe to inhabit. In addition to damages like collapsed roofs and standing water, it's vital to keep an eye out for sharp broken objects around the structure as well.
- If your property is safe to stay in, photograph all damages. This will ensure your insurance will fully compensate you for all damages to your valuables and structure of your property.
- Contact your insurance agent or carrier so that you may be assigned an adjuster to assess and scope the structure and its contents to determine the amount of damage to the property.
Contact SERVPRO immediately to begin the mitigation and restoration process. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.. Our trained and insurance approved teams will take the proper steps and care to properly dry your structure and its contents, restoring it back to preloss condition.
We’re always here to help.