SERVPRO celebrates National Red Cross month after the busy storm season.
SERVPRO of Alachua County West is proud to be a National partner with the Red Cross.
The 2017-2018 storm season has been one of the most active in recent memory, and as for any storm disaster SERVPRO is there to assist. Another presence that is there to help others in need is the Red Cross, an organization that is made up of 90% volunteers and of which SERVPRO is a proud national sponsor. In order to get an idea of what these volunteers which are comprised of our friends, family, neighbors and complete strangers have responded to this year lets recap our storm season.
The 2017 Atlantic storm season was especially deadly and destructive this past year. The hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th because this is historically the period of the year that most tropical cyclones form. Here are just a few facts about our 2017 hurricane season.
- The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season featured 17 named storms.
- It is the 5th most active season since records began in 1851.
- All 10 of the active hurricanes this season occurred in a row. This has only happened once before since records began.
- It was the costliest season on record with over $281 billion dollars in damages and most of the damage was due to 3 of the hurricanes – Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
- This is season one of only 6 seasons that had multiple category 5 hurricanes.
- The 2017 season is the only season on record to have 3 hurricanes that had an accumulated cyclone energy score over 40 – Irma, Jose, and Maria.
The 2017/2018 winter storm season has been equally devastating, creating storm scenarios all over the country. Although, we are still not out of the official storm season, this is what we have seen so far.
- The month of November began with the highest snow extent in over 15 years, covering over 1/4 of the United States.
- An early December winter storm affected areas from the deep-south from the Gulf of Mexico all the way up to New England. This meant many areas such as Florida who rarely see snow were affected by extreme cold, ice, snowfall.
- This December storm system left up to 400,000 people without power, closed schools and roads and left 3 people dead.
- A post-Christmas early January cold wave left us with cities in Minnesota and Indiana having record breaking cold temperatures.
- Times Square recorded the second coldest temperature on New Year’s Eve during festivities on record.
- A severe blizzard swept across the country early January. This bomb cyclone dumped snow, freezing rain and caused coastal flooding which is attributed to at least 22 fatalities and cancelled 4,020 flights across the U.S.
- Mid-January sent 2 more winter storms causing freezing temperatures, freezing pipes, and snow throughout the country. The city of Galveston had hundreds of pipes freeze and burst which depleted their water reserves to drought levels and bridges in Florida had to be closed due to ice after the 3 time of receiving snowfall this winter season.
These are just a few facts about our storm seasons this year, and they make us feel grateful for not only our self-less storm team members, but also our partners at the Red Cross who make up an amazing network of volunteers across the country.
Make sure there's not too much heat in the bedroom this Valentines Day!
Happy Valentine's Day, from SERVPRO of Alachua County West!
Valentine's Day is once again upon us, and it is important on this lover's holiday that we remember fire safety. 36% of all house fires start in the bedroom. That's over a third of all house fires, and many of the fires that begin in the bedroom are not caused directly by romance, they are caused by candles.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are 15,260 candle fires per year, that is an average of 42 per day. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports that candles caused a staggering $438 million in direct property damage from 2006-2010 alone, and you thought those chocolates and a dozen roses were expensive.
Let's face it, there are a lot of flammable items in your bedroom, such as window treatments, bedding, clothing, and carpeting. Many times people aren't exactly paying attention to their surroundings or forget to extinguish candles. After all, there's other stuff to do in the bedroom... like sleeping...
Since we here, at SERVPRO of Alachua County West are in love with our Customers and Community, our Valentine's Day card to you are these helpful tips for candle safety for your bedroom.
- Never burn candles in unoccupied rooms. It doesn’t take long for a fire to start and get out of control, after all, it is the bedroom.
- Keep flammable solvents away from candles. That sounds really technical, so let’s put it this way: A woman in the U.K. was killed by a fire in the bedroom. At first foul play was suspected, until firefighters found a canister of automatic spray air fresheners near candles on the bedside of her boudoir. The air freshener spit out a spray automatically into the lit candles and her bedroom went up in flames.
- Pets and candles don’t mix. They can knock over lit candles while playing or jumping up on furniture or if they are startled. Just keep Fido and Miss Kitty out of the bedroom when using candles, after all, who needs an audience.
- Use proper candleholders. The holder should be flame-resistant and large enough to contain drips. Although the melted wax from candles may have other uses in the bedroom, it is fuel for the flame of the candle. Make sure that you keep your melted wax in check.
- Keep away from drafts. Pay attention to drafts caused by open windows, ceiling or table fans, and even from other candles. I know that amazing view of the ocean and sounds of the crashing waves is super romantic, but drafts can cause candles to flare up or burn unevenly.
- Use a candle snuffer. The only time you should blow candles out is on your birthday – and not in your birthday suit! A candle snuffer can protect your linens and you from unwanted wax splatters.
So remember, as much as SERVPRO of Alachua County West would love to be your Valentine this year, practice candle safety with your sweetheart... and if disaster does happen... call (352) 374-6589 because we are "Faster to any size disaster."
If you celebrating National Umbrella Day indoors... you had better call SERVPRO!
Happy National Umbrella Day!
Saturday, February 10th is National Umbrella day. and although an umbrella is a handy thing for protecting us from driving rain or the sun's harsh rays, no one wants to need one in their home to keep water from above and ceiling debris from raining down upon them. If you need to celebrate National Umbrella Day indoors, you had better invite SERVPRO of Alachua County West to the party. Not only are our technicians fast, and known for their exemplary customer service, they are also highly skilled and trained in the “science” of drying. No water damage is the same and our technicians take their higher level of knowledge on mitigating water damage and put it to use making your damage “Like it never even happened.”
Did you know?
- The average of homeowners who have experienced a water loss is 37%.
- Approximately 14,000 people in the U.S. experience a water damage each day.
- Water damage is the second most frequent loss home and business owners file with their insurance companies.
- The total percentage of insurance claims that relate to water is 20%.
- The average cost of a water damage insurance claim is $6965.00.
- Approximately ¾ of all water heaters fail before they are 12 years of age.
- The average amount of time it take a washing machine hose to fail is only 9 years.
- A 1/8 inch long crack in a pipe can leak 250 gallons of water per day.
These are just a few facts about water damage that should persuade you to keep SERVPRO of Alachua County West’s number handy as well as cement you purchase of a spare umbrella, but if you’re not sure of what umbrella to purchase, here are a few more facts.
- The world average for umbrellas owned by an individual is 2.4 umbrellas.
- The color most used is blue at 34%, with black coming in second at 33%
- Most people in the world use portable umbrellas (55%).
- Men, on average loose more umbrellas than women. Men lose 5.6 umbrellas, and women lose 3.3 umbrellas respectively in their lifetimes.
- No less than 11 patents have been filed for umbrellas that are incorporated into a backpack of some kind.
- The annual market for umbrellas, in the United States alone, is around $350 million a year.
- Though umbrellas (and their sunny cousins parasols) are believed to have thousands of years of history, the folding umbrella was only created in 1928.
- Those little cocktail umbrellas that come in tiki drinks? They date to the first half of the 20th century, very roughly.
- Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov was murdered by an assassin wielding a poison-tipped umbrella while standing on Waterloo Bridge in London in 1978.
Now that you know the “ins and outs” of not only water damage, but also a few facts about the amazing invention the umbrella, prepare your home or business by being emergency ready. Bookmark www.SERVPROACW.com and program (352)374-6589 into your mobile phone so SERVPRO of Alachua County West can be faster to your disaster!
Celebrate Mold Remediation on National Create a Vacuum day by having SERVPRO clean your ducts.
SERVPRO of Alachua County West Creating a Vacuum.
No home or business owner likes to hear they have a mold problem. Mold spores naturally exist in the outside air and in Florida the concentration is higher than many other states due to our climate. As you come in and out of your home or business, or if you open windows for fresh air, mold spores come in as well. They can even make their way in on your clothing and skin. Along with moisture and food (dust it its #1 source of food), this mold can grow and flourish. This also gets sucked up into your HVAC system and ductwork. Your ductwork is a place that not only mold, but dust and other contaminates can accumulate and thrive which is apparent in the following duct cleaning facts:
Fact: Legionnaire’s Disease was spawned in air conditioning ducts. It Killed 29 people in 1976. (American Lung Association)
Fact: In the summer of 1988 at least seven people died in Los Angeles area from Legionnaire’s disease. (Modesto Bee 9/22/88)
Fact: One out of six people who suffer from allergies do so because of the direct relationship of the fungi and bacteria in the air duct systems. (Total Health & Better Health Magazine)
Fact: Indoor air is found to be 70%more polluted than that of outdoor air. (EPA Environmental Protection Agency).
Fact: More people spend 60 to 90% of their time indoors. (American Lung Association)
Fact: Most commercial fiberglass filters are only 7% efficient in stopping dirt, dust, pollen, etc. passing through it. (ASHRAE- American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers, INC.)
Fact: Dirty ventilation systems and contaminated ductwork combined are a 50.9% contributor to sick building syndrome. (Healthy Buildings International)
Fact: IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) litigation increases every year: and recent IAQ lawsuits command hefty settlements. Businesses are faced with even more stringent responsibilities in providing employees with a safe work environment.
Fact: It is estimated that poor air quality directly results, on a annual basis, one billion in medical costs and 60$ billion in employee sick leave and lost production.
This ductwork also sends spores throughout your home in rooms that may not yet be affected. If you have a mold problem, make sure that one step in your remediation is to have your ducts cleaned. More importantly, have them cleaned correctly by a certified mold remediation company, such as SERVPRO of Alachua County West. We are here for all of you needs… even on days other than National Create a Vacuum Day.
Are you prepared for the "Storm" if Phil sees his shadow?
Phil is watching the radar... are you?
Everyone is watching and waiting to see the groundhog's prediction for 6 more weeks of winter. The winter storm season has already wreaked havoc on many parts of the United States slowing businesses, schools, and lives in the process.
"Did you know that winter storms are the third largest cause of catastrophic losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes?"
Can we handle another 6 weeks of winter storms? The answer is yes, with SERVPRO's storm team in action 24 hours a day 7 days a week, you can. SERVPRO is the largest restoration company in the world and we take pride in having the largest support network and the most expertise in combating any storm, winter, spring, summer and fall.
So remember while Phil is hiding in his den scared of his own shadow, our technicians are braving the elements to be "Faster to any size disaster."
In honor of National Backwards day why not keep your business prepared before disaster with and ERP with SERVPRO.
Be backwards! Prepare for disaster now, before it strikes.
Today is National backwards day, and a great way to celebrate is by doing things backwards to benefit your business. An Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) is preparing your business for disaster before it strikes.
Here are some facts you may not know about business disasters:
- 75% of small businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan in place,according to a 2015 survey of 500 small business owners conducted by Nationwide.
- 52% of small businesses say it would take at least three months to recovery from a disaster, according to the same survey.
- Only 18% of companies surveyed that have fewer than 50 employees have a disaster recovery plan, according to the same survey.
- 51% of the hundreds of businesses surveyed for the 2014 Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey received a failing gradewhen it came to disaster recovery preparedness.
- 60% of respondents surveyed for the same report said that in spite of their best efforts, their disaster recovery plans were not useful during their during their worst events.
Don't let your business be a part of these statistics! Work your disaster backwards, before it happens, by calling SERVPRO of Alachua County West for your ERP Today!
As the seasons change, and the snowbirds prepare for flight, how do you protect your seasonal home from mold?
Suspected mold on a vent cover in a previously thought to be unaffected room on a mold remediation job discovered during duct cleaning.
Here at SERVPRO of Alachua County West, we receive many calls annually from homeowners that leave their house for an extended period of time and come back to find mold covering areas and contents of their home. With Florida’s sub-tropic climate it stays warm and humid most of the year. This can cause a mold problem within homes that are closed up, and if you are leaving your home, it’s important to prepare in advance to thwart any mold growth.
Prepare your home interior by making sure everything is clean and dry!
- Clean each appliance thoroughly. Clean enamel exteriors with sudsy water, rinse, and dry. Apply a coating of appliance or car wax to enamel exteriors to protect scratches from rust. Use an approved cleaner on stainless steel surfaces. Leave appliances unplugged while you are gone, to protect from electrical-current surges during storms.
- Unopened cans and jars of food can be left on shelves. Flour, sugars, and salt should be stored in tightly sealed containers. Dispose of cereals, crackers, and pastas to avoid household pests. Do not store food in a garage or shed.
- Clean cabinet interiors and exteriors.
- Fresh and perishable foods should be eaten or discarded. Give away or discard opened bottles and jars of salad dressings, condiments, and other perishable items. Replacing these items will cost less than paying to keep your refrigerator operating during the 2–3 months you are gone.
- Clean the refrigerator interior. Use a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda in one quart of water, in order to neutralize food soils and prevent odors. Dry thoroughly. Remove and clean the defrost pan at the bottom of your refrigerator. The refrigerator and freezer doors should be left ajar. Make sure the doors cannot accidentally close.
- If you choose to leave the refrigerator plugged in, dispose of all perishable foods. Leave a plastic bag with ice cubes in the freezer. On your return, if the bag contains a solid block of ice, you will know that your power was off long enough for the ice to melt and refreeze. To avoid potential foodborne illness, discard contents of refrigerator and freezer.
- For the dishwasher, remove any food particles from the filter (if present). Run the dishwasher through a short cycle. After a few minutes into the cycle, turn off the dishwasher and open its door. Clean around the door gasket and under the bottom of the door to remove any residual soil that might attract mold in these areas. Then, let the dishwasher complete the cycle. Leave the door closed, but unlatch it to release the pressure on the door seal.
- Clean the garbage disposal by grinding a batch of ice cubes through the disposal. Then rinse a solution of baking soda and water through the disposal. Leave the drain stopper in place to prevent water in the P-trap beneath the disposal from evaporating during your absence from home.
- Clean oven, broiler, and the drip trays under the burners.
- To remove spatters in the microwave, heat a cup of water for two minutes on the high setting. (Do this while the microwave is cool.) Afterwards, the condensation on the walls will loosen the spatters. Wash the inside of the microwave with sudsy water, and then rinse and dry. If possible, leave the microwave unplugged.
- Clean portable appliances thoroughly. Be sure to open the trap door under the toaster to clean it and remove the crumbs.
- Turn off the water supply to the clothes washer to eliminate pressure damage to the hoses. If needed, clean the washer’s lint filter.
- Clean the dryer’s lint filter, and use a leaf blower to blow out the dryer’s vent exhaust tubing.
- Turn off the water heater if you plan to be gone for a month or more. For shorter absences, turn the water heater’s thermostat to its lowest setting.
- Make sure all laundry is clean and dry.
- Cover toilet and tank top with a plastic wrap.
- Put stoppers in drains.
Outdoor Moisture can be an issue if you do not have proper seals on your doors and windows, and if you have a fireplace, close the damper. Excess Moisture can also be caused by evaporation from drains and toilets. If you have plants put them outside to be watered by a neighbor, because this can also cause excess moisture.
Not running air conditioning is also another way that people try to save money while they are gone. This is a mistake most commonly made by people who leave their homes for extended periods of time. Operate your air conditioner for two hours a day when your house is closed and sealed to reduce potential development of mildew. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to operate the air conditioning for a two-hour period in the cool, early morning hours. If you do not have a timer, set the thermostat between 80ºF and 85ºF. If using a humidistat, follow local recommendations and also consider having it professionally calibrated. If set too low or if improperly calibrated, the humidistat will cause the air conditioner to operate inefficiently and result in high electric bills.
There are many more ways you can ready your home for being vacant for extended periods of time, and maintenance is key. It is also handy to have SERVPRO of Alachua County West’s number handy in case of emergency.
Did you know that there are different kinds of soot associated with fires? SERVPRO can handle them all!
An example of Wet soot. This particular home had Wet, Dry, and Protein soot in different parts of the home.
Fire damage to your home or business can be devastating. It is easy to see the aftermath of the flames as they have gobbled up your belongings and building materials in its wake. One thing that can be more encompassing than the flames is the soot released by the burning materials. Soot is acidic by nature and can cause lots of damage as it continues to degrade metals, finish coatings, and electronics until it is removed. The problem of soot removal is that it is sometime hard to see and there are different types that require specific cleaning measures. Soot also continues to spread until it uses up all of its energy, moving towards colder temperatures, often times affecting all areas of your home and business, even ones not affected directly by the fire. Luckily SERVPRO of Alachua County West is familiar with all types of soot and have the expertise needed to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Fuel oil soot – Though this type of soot it not very common in Florida, due to less than 3% of its populous using fuel oil for heat, which systems are most common for “puffbacks”. A puffback is usually caused by excess fuel in the burner chamber that upon ignition causes a small explosion, sending soot throughout your vent system. This type of soot is usually grey to black and greasy in nature making it streaky and hard to clean when it’s fresh and over time, it can even bond to surfaces making it unable to be fully cleaned.
Protein residues – Protein residues are most often seen in kitchen fires. Unlike what most people consider soot to look like, it is yellow or amber in color as it coats and can be hard to see as a slight discoloration on walls, cabinets, and appliances. Because it is very hard to see this soot, the telltale sign may be a lingering odor issue if all surfaces are not thoroughly cleaned.
Wet soot – Wet smoke is typically left behind in a slow burning, low-heat fire. It is usually black and leaves behind a sticky and this residue that can be easily smeared during clean up. These are usually smoldering fires and can be caused commonly by plastic or rubber materials.
Dry soot – Opposite of wet smoke, dry smoke is most common during high heat, fast burning fires. Fuels such as wood and paper cause dry soot. Dry soot can be easier to clean, but due to the fact it has dry, fine particles it can fall into cracks and crevices, not only hard to see, but harder to clean.
For every type of soot there is SERVPRO of Alachua County West has a way to clean or restore you home or business.
What is one thing that sets SERVPRO above the rest? STORM Team!
Winter storm Jaxson is just the newest winter storm of the season, and one of the many reasons our STORM team is ready at a moment's notice.
There are many restoration companies out there that offer many of the same services as SERVPRO of Alachua County West. It can make it hard for a homeowner going through the throes of a disaster to make an educated decision on who to choose and why. There are many factors that make SERVPRO the best choice, such as our state of the art Drying program designed and operated specifically by only SERVPRO franchises, or our products which are formulated specifically by and for SERVPRO, but our storm team may be one of the biggest reasons to call SERVPRO.
SERVPRO storm teams travel all over the United States to areas with a large disaster such as floods, hurricanes, blizzards, fires, and ice storms. This has enabled our customers to have a veritable network of disaster restoration technicians at their fingertips with the large amounts of equipment needed to begin the restoration process while smaller companies are overwhelmed by the volume of restoration needed. It also means that our technicians and production employees have knowledge way beyond a company that services one area who may see disaster infrequently and only certain types of disasters. This knowledge is also used and compiled in training mandatory to all SERVPRO franchises. During winter storm Grayson when Floridians actually saw snow and ice in parts of Florida, our technicians were well versed in dealing with the aftermath of freezing temperatures due to having assisted other SERVPRO franchises in other states during winter storm disasters.
Our STORM team is just one of the many reasons that SERVPRO is “Faster to any size disaster.”
As a homeowner, know your enemy... mold!
This homeowner did not realize the mold hiding behind his cabinets until he tried to do a kitchen model.
What is mold? Mold is a fungus which reproduces by releasing tiny, microscopic spores into the air. Mold is a naturally occurring organism in the air outdoors which means that there will always be some amount of mold spores in the air indoors as well. Mold must have ideal temperatures, and moisture in order to take hold of a material and grow. These are two reasons that Floridian homes are more susceptible to mold due to its sub-tropic climate. Mold must also have one more thing to grow, and that is food made up of organic materials. The most common source of food for mold is dust. Dust in itself is made up of 70% to 80% human skin – a great food source for mold.
Now that you know the general details of what mold is, what do you do if you suspect mold in your home? Other than the obvious of seeing actual mold growth, the presence of mold is often detected by a musty odor. The spores that it emits to grow are microscopic, but can be detected by odor. If you see mold or what looks like mold, it is best to leave it alone. Once mold has grown on a porous surface such as dry wall or grout those materials need to be removed because they are embedded in the material. If you try to clean mold, it feels as if it is in danger and with sporulate and send thousands of spores you can’t see into the air to seek out moisture and food throughout your home.
The best way to deal with a mold issue is get have a mold assessor come out and test your home, this will tell you is you have a mold problem, what’s affected, and what type of mold/molds you may have. Once your assessor has tested and found you have a mold problem he will write a protocol for remediation that your chosen Certified Mold Remediation Company will follow during remediation, followed by post testing to make sure your home is at safe mold levels after remediation.
This process can be overwhelming for many homeowners and this is what sets SERVPRO of Alachua County West above its competitors. We are here every step of the way, educating and supporting our community whether or not they choose us for their remediation. Not sure what to do when you suspect mold? Call us and we’ll set you on the right path to a clean and healthy home.