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Preparing for the storm

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

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
  • Toothpaste
  • Tampons and pads
  • Diapers

Tip: Store all of these items together in a place that’s easy to locate.

How to classify a fire

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

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".

Storm Damage?

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

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:

Avoid floodwaters

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

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Water Damage, What to do next

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

After The Water is Gone

The recent flooding in Northern Virginia stunned many of our citizens and has most people in the area fearful of it happening again.  We’re always here to help.  Our team at SERVPRO is here to serve our communities that we are proud to be a part of. We’re prepared and on call 24/7/365 and ready to assist in any of your water damage needs, no matter the size, large or small. Our highly trained technicians are available around the clock to quickly and properly restore your home or business. By using innovative inspection methods and extraction equipment, we’re able to detect all of the water and remove it as quickly as possible. Our technicians will observe and document the drying process to ensure your property is back "Like it never even happened.”

WHAT TO DO AFTER FLOODING:

  • Clear all items off of furniture and wipe off excess water.
  • Remove excess water on the floor using mops or towels.
  • Prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs that are on top of wet carpeting to prevent staining.
  • Create air flow by opening doors and window to help prevent microbial growth.
  • Remove rugs from wet carpeting.

WHAT NOT TO DO AFTER A FLOOD:

  • If ceiling is wet, don't turn on ceiling fixtures
  • Keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
  • Don't use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other items printed in ink on wet carpet or floors.

Even though you may have mopped, wiped and removed all of the visible water, there may still be moisture lurking in hidden places.  That’s where we can offer our help.  Our teams are available 24/7/365.

Sewer Damages

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

Sewer....It is a dirty job, let a professional from SERVPRO help you!

Sewage Leaks in Crawlspaces

When a sewage line leaks or bursts in a crawlspace, it can be very hard to detect until considerable damage has occurred. It’s an emergency situation that must be repaired and cleaned up as soon as it is discovered. In addition to the unpleasant odor, bacteria and mold can grow rapidly and cause serious health issues for all of the home's inhabitants.

Noticeable signs of a possible leak:

  • A foul odor in the home with no obvious source.
  • Signs of microbial growth near and around the flooring and crawlspace.
  • Flooring and Floorboards beginning to bend, deform, or bloat. 
  • Clogged toilets or sinks.

This is perhaps one of the most difficult cleaning services that we offer at SERVPRO.  In order to protect our team from the harmful contaminants, we wear fully sealed containment suits (PPE) and manually clear out all liquid and waste material from the crawlspace.  Once cleared, we are able to begin the cleaning, drying, and remediation process.

After you’ve had the line repaired, trust the professionals at SERVPRO to complete the remediation process.  We’re always here to help.

Drying Water Damaged Structures

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

We make your problem a top priority!

Often times, plumbing failures happen in NOVA and a small crack inside a water pipe can spill hundreds of gallons of water into your home or business in a short period. Once moisture begins to leak into the interior of the property, many of the contents and building materials can become the victim of water damage. In more extreme situations, saturated building materials must be removed and replaced. Whenever our technicians mitigate water damage in any building, we work towards drying out and saving materials as opposed to removing and replacing them.  

The applied structural drying process, commonly referred to ASD, can save you and your insurance carrier money during the restoration phase of the loss. When mitigating water damage in NOVA, our team knows that it’s less disturbing to the occupants of the building to have us dry the structure rather than demolishing it. Although, if building materials lose their structural integrity once they get saturated, then the replacement of items becomes necessary.  

During many plumbing failure situations, several items such as carpeting and drywall become water damaged.  Our water restoration technicians at SERVPRO can usually dry these items using air movers to circulate the air in the building and dehumidifiers to remove the moisture from the air. However, some building materials such as exterior walls can be tricky to dry out.  

A layer of insulation is included in most exterior walls. It’s installed to trap heat inside of a structure but it may also work as a barrier to prevent air from getting pushed into exterior walls. In some situations, when insulation gets wet, the R-value drops and the material must get removed.  

However, when dealing with fiberglass insulation air can get pushed through the material, and exterior walls can be dried and saved. In other situations, our technicians drill holes on the bottom and top of the drywall so that air can circulate inside the wall cavities and dry out the exterior walls.  

Do you have a Disaster Plan?

6/26/2019 (Permalink)

Emergency kit items

With Hurricane season upon us and some major Hurricanes hitting so close to our area last year, we wanted to take a moment to make certain our friends are prepared for a natural disaster.  The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency or disaster. While each situation is unique, your family can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies.

The following are measures you and your family can take to start getting ready. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your family, home, and the community.

Review the following questions to learn if your family and home is prepared. Be Informed.

Do you know what kind of emergencies might affect your home or daily life?

Do you know what you and your family will do in an emergency situation?

Prepare Your Emergency Plan

Do you have an evacuation and shelter-in-place plan?

Do you have a plan to communicate with your family before, during, and after an incident?

Do you have an emergency supply kit?

Practice the Emergency Plan

Have you practiced your plan recently?

Does your family know where to go in the event of a natural disaster?

Have you reviewed your plans in the last 12 months?

Review Insurance Coverage

Have you reviewed your insurance coverage recently to see if you’re covered in a disaster? Secure Your Home

Have you conducted a room-by-room walk-through to determine what safety measures can be taken?

Improve Cyber Security

Have you installed a firewall on your computer?

Do you regularly update your antivirus software?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, visit ready.gov and learn how to better prepare your family and home for an emergency or natural disaster.

One Final Word of Advice…

Create an Emergency Supply Kit.  Why take the risk?

Your emergency supply kit may be different depending on what disasters you are likely to encounter, but according to ready.gov, a basic emergency kit should contain:

  • Water (one gallon of water per person per day)
  • Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
  • Battery-operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask
  • Hygiene items
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Cash
  • Important documents
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches

We hope this information has been helpful to you and your families.  Your safety is our number one priority!

Would your Business Survive a Disaster?

6/26/2019 (Permalink)

Choose to be a business that could recover from a fire! Let our amazing marketing team help you build a facility's emergency evacuation plan!

It’s time to check your facility’s emergency and evacuation plans to make sure they are accurate and up to date!  Don't have an emergency and evacuation plan?  Let us help you make one!

A BUSINESS PLAN…For Fire Emergencies

An emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses; however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), recommends building an emergency action plan to protect yourself, your employees, and your business during an emergency.  OSHA suggests the following steps when developing such a plan.

  • Organize an Emergency Preparedness Procedures review with employees to review your company’s emergency plans. You may wish to select an individual or team of individuals to lead and coordinate your emergency plan.
  • Once a plan is developed, post evacuation procedures, including routes and exits, where they are easily accessible to all employees. Ensure all exits and routes are clearly marked and well lit, (wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel) and unobstructed and clear of debris at all times.
  • Conduct office evacuation exercises and drills. Designate a safe spot outside of the facility where employees can regroup, recover, and conduct a head count.  Once completed, evaluate how well the plan worked and if additional training or exercises are needed.

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) will help ensure you are “Ready for whatever happens.” In the event of any 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 contacts, shut-off valve locations and priority areas.  This is a no cost community outreach program we offer.  Give us a call at 703-583-8484 if you’d like us to establish an ERP for your facility or if you would like further information.

As always, we’re here to help make it “Like it never even happened."

Thunderstorm Safety

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

Always be prepared!

It is that time of year and our area has already seen some severe thunderstorms.

Did you know Severe Thunderstorms are officially defined as storms that are capable of producing hail that is an inch or larger or wind gusts over 58 mph?

These storms can produce possible damages such as:

  • Hail this size can damage property such as plants, roofs, siding and vehicles.
  • Wind this strong is able to break off large branches, knock over trees or cause structural damage to trees.
  • Strong wind and rain can bring rain into your home through siding or hydro-static pressure.

Some severe thunderstorms can produce hail larger than softballs or winds over 100 mph, so please pay attention to the weather so you know when severe storms are possible and you have a safety plan in place for you and your family in case of an emergency.

Thunderstorms also produce tornadoes and dangerous lightning; heavy rain can cause flash flooding.

For more weather related information you can visit the National Weather Service to get more information on thunderstorm safety, tornado safety, lightning safety and flood safety

As always, should your home or business suffer damage from any of these weather events our Professional Team is always here to help.  Call us 24/7/365 at 703-583-8484