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Tips for Creating a Home Fire Escape Plan

8/29/2022 (Permalink)

Map of a house and escape routes Create a fire escape plan for your home

During a home fire, you may only have minutes to escape your Gardere, LA, property. You and your loved ones will not have time to figure out a fire escape plan. That is why you need to come up with a fire preparation strategy ahead of time.

Making Your Plan

Involve every member of your household in the planning process. Each person should know the locations of the smoke alarms and the windows and doors.
Next, pick a meeting place outside of your home. This way, everyone will know where to go after leaving the house. Common meeting places include:

  • Stop signs
  • Light posts
  • Mailboxes
  • Neighbors' homes


Any security bars on your windows and doors may make it hard for family members to exit the home quickly. As you create your fire escape plan, make sure the bars have emergency release devices.
Finally, have every person in your house memorize the phone numbers for your local fire department and emergency restoration company. That way, someone will be able to contact these professionals from safely outside the home.


Practicing Your Plan
You should practice your escape plan twice each year. This will let you see if there are any faults in your strategy and give you time to correct them.
As each person exits the house during the drill, he or she should practice closing the doors behind them. This can slow the spread of a real fire. If you have an escape ladder, every member of the home should practice locating and using it.
You should also practice a scenario where you or a loved one are trapped in the home due to smoke or fire. In this scenario, you should seal yourself into a room by closing the door and covering and vents or door cracks.
A blaze in your home can be a scary situation. However, having a fire escape plan in place should help everyone keep calm during an emergency.

Why Choose a Certified Drying Specialist?

8/20/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO technician on his knees checking a dehumidifier Drying commercial services in Arlington, LA

Why Go with a Certified Drying Expert?

If your Arlington, LA, business has experienced flooding, leaks or other water damage, you will likely need to hire professionals for the water clean up. Choosing a certified restoration service gives you peace of mind that the job is done correctly.


Certification
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration is a global leader with almost 50 years of experience in setting standards and providing training to restoration professionals. In addition to creating standards in other restoration areas, the IICRC offers certification in commercial drying. The IICRC certification ensures that restoration teams are up-to-date on the following:

  • Technology
  • Equipment
  • Techniques
  • Project management


The IICRC standards are developed by industry leaders and rigorously tested to ensure they reflect the restoration industry's best practices. You can trust that an IICRC-certified restoration team will perform complex commercial jobs efficiently and thoroughly.


Restoration
The IICRC standards go into great detail about the water clean up process, but the general steps are the same for most restoration jobs. The source of the water is addressed as quickly as possible to prevent further damage. The damage is then documented via photo or video for the insurance company. Standing water is extracted using pumps or wet/dry vacuums, and the remaining moisture is dried using fans and dehumidifiers. Cleaning, sanitization and mold removal are done as needed. Documents, antiques, electronics and other items may be moved off site for more delicate restoration techniques. Everything that cannot be fully cleaned and dried is removed from the property. Finally, all damaged items are repaired or replaced.
Whether your commercial building has experienced a roof leak, broken pipe, flooding or other water event, beginning the water clean up process as soon as possible can prevent further structural damage and mold growth. Bringing in an IICRC-certified restoration team in ensures that the job is done is properly and professionally, so you can focus on your customers, employees and other business matters.

What To Do if You Find Mold in Your Rental Home

8/15/2022 (Permalink)

Bottom of a drywall humid and with mold Black barrier mold

How to Handle Mold in a Rental Property

Mold spores are everywhere and are harmless when they're floating around, but the trouble comes when they take up residence in your apartment or rental home in  Gardere, LA. Whether it's in your bathroom or around your windows, mold can pop up wherever moisture is. As a tenant, here are some things to do when you discover mold contamination in your home.


1. Appraise the Situation
Before you do anything, take a closer look to make sure the substance you're seeing is actually mold and not dirt or mildew. If it's mildew, which looks fluffy or powdery and is usually gray, white or yellow, it is easy to clean off. If you determine that the substance is mold, try to find the source of the moisture it's feeding on. If it's around your shower or windows, that's a pretty obvious reason why it might be there, but if it's on your walls, there might be a pipe leaking, requiring some more intense water and mold cleanup.


2. Contact Your Landlord
If you've determined that there needs to be some action taken, call your landlord. Send them pictures of the mold and explain what's happening. Since mold is usually tied to a water problem, they'll want to respond quickly. When you do this, though, don't assume that they'll automatically take care of the cost of the mold cleanup. If the source is a leaky pipe that is outside of your control, it's usually their responsibility, but if you caused a flood or haven't been ventilating the bathroom properly when you shower, it's often your job to cover the expenses. If you think the mold contamination may be your fault, talk with your renter's insurance about what they'll cover and what they won't.
Mold is a common issue in homes, but it's important that you respond quickly if you think you've found some in yours. This keeps the mold cleanup process from becoming bigger and more costly than it needs to be.

3 Reasons Protecting Wood From Water Is Vital To Its Lifespan

7/30/2022 (Permalink)

wooden floor damaged by water Wooden floor damaged by water.

Three Reasons To Protect Wood From Water

One of the biggest threats to the longevity of wood is water. Wood continuously absorbs and expels water, a process that eventually degrades the integrity of the material to the point that it is no longer usable. Especially in humid and rainy regions, swelling wood can be a persistent problem that is of utmost importance to address to extend the life of wooden constructions.

1. Contraction and Expansion Damages Wood
Swelling and shrinkage in wood are driven by moisture. Years of water absorption and expulsion weaken the integrity of the fibrous cell walls that make the material rigid. This leads to fragility and cracking, which not only causes breakage but increases the likelihood of decay. Minimizing the amount of water absorbed is key to prolonging the life of wood, making it vital to keep it sealed with paint or finishes like urethane.

2. Variation in Swelling Wood Rates Affect the Integrity of Structures
The speed of swelling and shrinking varies in each individual piece of wood. Uneven rates of swelling or shrinking can not only cause distortion or warping in an individual chunk but can also cause joint problems in the frame of a house or a piece of furniture. Protecting wood with paint or finish thus helps slow the distortion at the joints, increasing the longevity of wooden structures.

3. Keeping It Dry Is Protection, Too
Interior wood (studs, joists, etc.), although not exposed to the elements and hence often left unprotected, still requires vigilant upkeep. Exposure to water from a ruptured supply line or a leak from a water pipe repair can lead to swelling problems if left unaddressed. The life of even this unprotected wood can be prolonged simply by ensuring that any damp parts are allowed to dry and are kept dry.
In most cases, the effects of swelling wood can be mitigated by keeping a watchful eye on the paint or finish that protects it. Hiring the services of protection and restoration professionals is also a good way to ensure that homeowners in Baton Rouge, LA, get the most out of their wood.

4 Plans To Include Within Your Business Disaster Plan

7/20/2022 (Permalink)

Text for ARE YOU PREPARED on yellow road sign with blur blue sky background Are you prepared?

Are You Prepared?

Are you prepared for the possible disasters that could happen to your business in Arlington, LA? Ready your facility and employees with these four plans for disaster preparedness.


1. An Involvement Plan
A key component of business preparedness is getting your employees involved. By creating a diverse planning team, you can address employee needs and have a clear plan for getting everyone to safety. The co-workers you choose should also be ready in emergency situations. They know the plan best, so they will be crucial to helping others during an emergency.


2. An Evacuation Plan
Getting everyone out of your facility safely means ensuring that your employees know your evacuation plan inside and out. To prepare them, you need to give them the information they need. Create detailed maps with evacuation routes, locations of safety equipment and assembly places. Post them in high traffic areas such as elevator corridors. Review your plans frequently to make sure they are understood. Conduct drills to give your employees confidence if a real emergency happens.


3. A Shelter-In-Place Plan
Certain emergencies might call for you to stay indoors. “Shelter-In-Place” plans need to consider how to keep your employees safe within your facility. These include tornado warning and air-quality contamination emergencies. Create a diagram of your building for each possible scenario and designate rooms for your employees to go to for each situation.


4. A Post-Disaster Plan
Disaster preparedness includes having a plan for when the emergency is over. Have a list of emergency contacts prepared. Create a communication network to check on employees and relay any important information they will need going forward. Develop a plan to continue servicing your most valued customers. This way, you can continue to work while commercial restoration services get your facility up and operating at full capacity.
Disaster preparedness is a business owner’s responsibility, but by including your employees in your preparation, you will be more prepared for an emergency.

How To File a Fire Claim for Your Business

7/13/2022 (Permalink)

Young handsome brunette man over isolated background making phone gesture and pointing front Contact a restoration company if you would like further clarification on the claims.

Four Steps To File a Fire Claim

A fire is about the worst thing any business owner can experience. However, the important thing after any disaster is staying calm and restoring your business. In order to get back to business as usual, you may need to hire a fire restoration company in Gardere, LA, but before you do that, you will need to file a fire claim with your insurance company, which typically involves four steps:

1. Call Your Insurer
Before getting your fire restoration underway, call your insurer and report the disaster. While you may have millions of things going through your head after the disaster, contacting your insurance agent is crucial to getting the recovery process started.

2. Mitigate Further Loss
If you want your fire claim to be approved, then make sure you take efforts to mitigate any further loss. An insurer may cover the damage caused by the fire, but if any preventable damage occurs after the fire, then you are responsible.

3. Gather Proof of Loss
You can help move the recovery process along if you document any fire damage. An insurance adjuster will want evidence of lost or damaged property, so by photographing everything and labeling it, you can help the adjuster with a proof of loss statement.

4. Collect Receipts
Receipts help your insurance company determine the value of the claim. You want to prove the financial loss. If you have receipts from equipment purchases and repairs you made, make sure that those are organized and with the rest of the claim forms for review.
A fire claim is like any other insurance claim, but the process can feel a little direr depending on the level of devastation. By organizing receipts and documenting the scene, you can help move the claims process along. You can also contact a restoration company if you would like further clarification on the claims and recovery processes.

3 Risks of Driving Through Flood Water

6/26/2022 (Permalink)

White van driving through flooded street Avoid driving through a flooded street.

Driving Through Flood Water Poses Three Dangers

Many of us wouldn’t think twice about driving through a flooded street. After all, what harm can a little H2O do? Fact is, it can do much more damage than you think. Not convinced? Here are a few more reasons why driving through flood water in Baton Rouge, LA, is never a good idea.

About Flood Water
Flash floods are common in areas that are low-lying, but they can happen anywhere that rapid rainfall accumulates. If you doubt the power of flood water, understand that

  • It takes just a foot of water to make your car float
  • It takes just two feet of water to make the average SUV float

Engine Failure
Car engines aren't meant to be immersed in water. If flood waters are high enough, your engine can do something called hydro locking. This happens with water penetrates the combustion chamber, stopping your vehicle from running and killing your electrical system. That means a stalled car in a flood - not a good thing.

Brake Failure
If your engine doesn't stall out in a flooded street, your brakes just might. That's because your brake components were meant to operate under dry conditions. Water can make it difficult or impossible for brake pads to contact rotors causing you to lose control of your car.

Being Swept Away
Swift-moving water is a force to be reckoned with. It can not only float your car but pick it up and moved down the road! This could leave you colliding with debris or even other vehicles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the majority of flood-related drownings come after someone drove into a flood.
Driving through a flooded street might not seem like a big deal, but it can become one fast. Never underestimate how dangerous flooded areas can be. Keep these flood travel tips from storm cleanup experts in mind the next time you think about taking on flooded roads.

3 Common Water Damage Situations You Should Anticipate

6/18/2022 (Permalink)

Extracting water with a vacuum, wet carpet. Commercial water damage in Arlington, LA.

The Most Common Causes of Water Damage In Businesses

A broken pipe might be your first guess when determining what caused water damage to your Arlington, LA, business. However, there are other factors that could have started it. Correctly identifying these issues allows you to resolve them and prevent them in the future. The following incidents are some of the most common causes of water damage in businesses. 

1. Damaged Roof
Severe or even mild weather events are not generally problems since the building itself can withstand most of them and protect anything and anyone inside. Unfortunately, these elements can wear down the structure and areas such as the roof may allow water to seep in. The additional humidity can damage your walls, ceilings and work equipment, as well as cause a mold infestation. Yearly roof inspections and maintenance by professionals can spot and prevent these issues before they start.   

2. Leaky or Broken Pipe
There are multitudes of reasons why your pipes can crack or break, from aging materials to high pressure caused by freezing temperatures. The signs of water damage can be challenging to notice because they happen within the walls. Search for musty smells, discoloration and small puddles throughout the building. Ignoring these signs can lead to greater incidents such as flooding. Call a plumber and shut down the main supply immediately to prevent further impact. 

3. Defective HVAC Systems
An HVAC system is essential to keeping your customers and employees comfortable and happy. Their heating and cooling operations also require water, so malfunctions can result in this specific type of damage. Clogged or disconnected pipes, damaged ducts, frozen coils, dirty filters and more are some of the issues you should avoid before the situation escalates. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for operation and maintenance. Hire HVAC experts for regular inspections and repairs. 
Various factors throughout your business can cause water-based disasters. From a broken pipe to a faulty air conditioner, you will need to watch for the usual culprits and contact water repair specialists once you find the damage. 

How To Prepare For a Severe Storm

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

Flashlight, portable radio, batteries, water bottles and a first aid kit Make a safety kit.

Prepare For a Severe Storm

If you are expecting a storm in Gardere, LA, there are some steps that you can take to prepare yourself, your home and your family. The following actions can help reduce water damage to the building and increase your safety.

1. Seal Doors and Windows to Keep Out Flood Water
During a storm, water can make its way inside the building through cracks around doors and windows. Make sure these are closing properly and that the seals around them are not damaged. You may want to place sandbags near entrances for additional protection.

2. Relocate Important Belongings
If you live in a house with multiple stories, move anything that you can to an upper level. This will help reduce damage from flood water. If your home is single-story, place important or valuable items on shelves or inside airtight containers to keep them safe.

3. Make a Safety Kit
It is not only important to keep your belongings safe but also for yourself and your family. The power may go out during a storm, so prepare a kit with flashlights, radios and extra batteries. Canned foods that do not need to be cooked and bottled water should be included as well.

4. Evacuate If Necessary
In some cases, it may not be safe to stay where you are. If it is likely that the area will flood, you should find shelter somewhere safe until the storm passes. If you return to a flooded building, a professional flood damage restoration company can repair your home and clean affected belongings.
Severe weather can cause a lot of trouble, from creating a dangerous environment to filling your home with flood water. Preparing ahead of time can help you get through the situation more safely. Do what you can to protect your home and belongings, and take shelter somewhere else if you need to.

3 Details of Fire Escape Your Kids Need To Know

5/30/2022 (Permalink)

Father and son speaking It is important to include children in the preparation of a house fire.

Three Things Your Kids Should Know About Fire Escape

Talking with your kids about fire safety might seem a little nerve-racking, but having the right information is crucial to ensuring kids' safety. Clear communication about your fire escape plan helps the whole family to be prepared. Even if you've already covered the basics of escaping a home fire in Baton Rouge, LA, with your children, there are a few details that you may want to revisit and practice during your next fire safety review.

1. Stay Low
There are two important scenarios during which your kids will need to remember to stay low when escaping a house fire:

  • Getting out of bed: Have your kids practice safely rolling out of their beds onto the floor. Because heat rises, they should avoid sitting up to get out of bed during a fire.
  • Moving through the house: Practice crawling on hands and knees through your home to your fire exits. Also practice crawling with the belly to the ground, in the case of extreme heat.

2. Don't Hide
It is important to remind children to never hide during a fire. The impulse to hide in the midst of a crisis is understandable, but it compromises kids' safety by making it harder for firefighters to find them. If they are unable to safely exit the home, they should stay put where they can be found quickly, such as lying on the floor next to their bed.

3. Pick a Meeting Spot
Talk ahead of time about where you will meet after exiting your home. Choose a spot that is easy to get to but a safe distance from the house. Have your children practice meeting there so they will remember if the time comes.
Practicing these steps helps to secure your kids' safety. In the event of a fire, everybody reaching safety and gathering at your meeting place enables you to focus on the next steps. These include finding a safe place to stay while you have a fire damage assessment done on your home. Clear communication with your children is key to both preparing for the event of a home fire and navigating any changes afterward.