Learning More About Water Damage | SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin
Learning More About Water Damage | SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin - SERVPRO OF SE WAUKESHA COUNTY/WEST FRANKLIN Blog
Water is necessary for life, but what we could do without is the potential for water damage to our property.
There are numerous ways water can damage your home, but do you know what some of the top causes of water damage are?Water Damage 101
The Travelers Companies Inc. found that between 2009 and 2015 there were five different reasons homeowners claims were made. Those were:
- Wind damage to the outside of the building
- Water damage caused by non-weather situations
- Water damage caused by the weather
- Crimes, including theft
Notice how water damage makes this list twice? That’s because of how much havoc it can wreak. The list breaks water damage into two different categories: the sort not caused by the weather and the sort caused by the weather.
Damage not caused by weather is the most frequent in the home and is the result of plumbing and appliance problems. Water damage caused by the weather can be just as difficult but is not as frequent. This type of damage can happen due to the moisture caused by rain, snow and ice melt.
Regarding your home, the most popular reasons for water damage are:
How to Limit Water Damage
- Malfunctions in your plumbing systems
- Leaking appliances
- Water pipe breakdowns
- Old water heaters
Water damage repair costs are high, but the situation could be much worse if you do not have adequate coverage in your homeowners insurance policy.
You will want to review your homeowners insurance to be sure you know what is covered. Most of the time winter damage from ice and snow, water overflows, a breakdown of a hot water heating system, and frozen plumbing are covered in a standard policy.
By staying diligent, it is also possible to keep some water damage incidents from occurring.
Check into these precautionary and regular maintenance tips to keep your home, hopefully, free from water damage. Here are some suggestions:
- Use water sensors and automatic shut-off valves.
- Hire a professional to install back flow valves and standpipes in basement drains.
- Use metal mesh hoses for your washing machine and clothes dryer.
- All of the outside gutters and downspouts need to be kept clear.
- Never pour grease down the sink.
- Be sure your sump pump is running properly.
While it may not be possible to prevent all water damage situations in your home, you can follow some of these suggestions to be proactive about protecting your property.
Water damage can be a nightmare to deal with, but fortunately, you will always have SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin on your side to help with the cleanup and restoration process.
Preventing Fires in the Kitchen
Preventing Fires in the Kitchen
The kitchen can often be the hub of a home, a wonderfully versatile place where family and friends gather spending quality time and where some delicious meals are prepared. Unfortunately, the kitchen is also the space where many home fires occur.
Cooking fires are ranked as the No. 1 cause of home fires and injuries, and unattended cooking is the leading cause of these kitchen fires.
In 2017 alone, State Farm paid over $130 million in homeowners insurance claims related to cooking and grease fires. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:
- North Carolina
- New York
<h4tips-for-cooking">Safety Tips for Cooking
Staying in the kitchen while cooking is a good habit to practice, but not the only fire safety tip you should be following. Here are some other helpful tips to observe while cooking:
1. Are you careful about what you wear while cooking? Does your outfit have long, flowing sleeves or is it big and baggy? It could catch on fire if you aren’t careful while cooking over the stove. It’s best to wear short or close-fitted sleeve shirts and make sure any baggy shirts are tucked in or tied back.
2. Are you cautious about what you set on the stovetop? Make sure you don’t have kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, anything flammable will be moved away from it.
3. Is your home equipped with a fire extinguisher in/near the kitchen? Hopefully you have at least one fire extinguisher located in your home, ideally one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.
4. Are you throwing hot grease in the garbage can without letting it cool? The grease may not be on fire, but it could be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. You should let the grease cool a bit and then dispose of it in an old coffee can. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.
5. Has your family prepared a fire escape plan? Thinking about the worst-case scenario is never fun, but it’s better to be prepared than unprepared if an emergency were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.
Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Making Sure Your Business Is Ready for Disaster Situations | SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin
When you stop to consider what is involved with running a business, one of the most important factors to think about is emergency preparedness.
Emergencies and disasters happen, and while having a plan in place cannot stop all disasters, it can still give your business an advantage for safety by making sure that your employees know what to do if a disaster or emergency situation should occur.
Making a Plan
This should be a priority! Have you taken the time to sit down and work out an emergency preparedness plan for various disaster situations?
There are numerous emergencies your business should have a preparedness plan in place for, including:
- Severe weather, including thunderstorms and winter storms
- Other natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes
- Human-caused hazards, including accidents or acts of violence
- Technology-related issues like power outages and equipment failure
It will not matter if it’s a man-made incident or a natural disaster that strikes, if there is no emergency plan for your business, the situation could get even more stressful quickly.
You should make sure that safety training and familiarization of emergency preparedness plans are included in the company onboarding process, team-building activities and continuing education opportunities. By helping employees familiarize themselves with proper safety protocol and emergency procedures, you’re not only giving them the tools to protect themselves, but you are also setting them up to help protect guests/visitors and the business itself.
Where You Should Start
A good starting point to begin setting up an emergency plan for your business is evaluating which scenarios could most likely to occur—and those that are a long shot but could still happen. After all, it’s better to prepare for all the worst-case scenarios and not be caught off guard.
The internet has a wealth of information in online resources to help guide you through this process, including Ready.gov, the American Red Cross, FEMA and the CDC.
Look into a business impact analysis (BIA) that will help predict the potential effect a disaster may have on your business. This would include lost or delayed sales and income, increased expenses from repairs, and delayed implementation of business plans. Don’t forget to make sure a crisis communications plan is in place, too.
Once you have come up with an emergency preparedness plan, you’re not finished yet. Be sure to go over it and practice it with your employees, as reviewing and rehearsing various scenarios can help ensure the process remains fresh in their minds and can help employees feel more empowered.
Disaster can strike when you least expect it, but by being prepared and having a plan in place, your business will be better suited to handle whatever Mother Nature has in store. If the worst should happen and your business is damaged, know that SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
Tornado Safety Tips You Should Know | SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin
April and May mean that we are in the height of tornado season throughout the entire United States.
Tornado Safety Tips You Should Know | SERVPRO® of SE Waukesha County/West Franklin - SERVPRO OF SE WAUKESHA COUNTY/WEST FRANKLIN Blog
Springtime weather, while beautiful, can often be unpredictable, so it is good to always be prepared for the chance of severe thunderstorms that lead to the perfect conditions for a tornado touchdown.
April and May traditionally hold the title for having the highest occurrences of tornadoes at 30% and 24% respectively, which means that right now, we are in the height of tornado season throughout the entire United States.
Included in this blog are some tips and information on tornadoes that can help keep your family prepared for the worst possible scenario.What Can Cause a Tornado
There are approximately 1,200 tornado events in the U.S. each year, and they are develop in thunderstorms, especially those known as “supercells.”
A tornado will form when changes in wind speed and direction create a horizontal spinning effect within a storm cell. This is then tipped vertical by rising air moving up through the thunderclouds.
Upon formation of a tornado, the signature funnel cloud will be clear and transparent, but it will become more visible when water droplets from the storm’s moist air condense or when dust and debris are picked up. A typical tornado can grow to be 660 feet wide and will move at 10 to 20 miles per hour, although larger and faster have been observed. Hail and intense winds of over 200 mph can accompany tornadoes.
The time of day that tornadoes typically occur in the spring and summertime is later in the afternoon, but it is vital to remember that they can occur anytime and anywhere.Tornado Safety Tips
Familiarize yourself with the difference between a tornado watch and tornado warning. A watch can be issued when the conditions are favorable for tornadoes, while a warning is only issued when a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.
Watches mean to keep an eye out for changing conditions, but if a warning has been issued for your area, it is vital to take action to find safe shelter, especially if you are in the path of the tornado.
Shelter options include:
- Underground options like a basement or storm shelter.
- The lowest part of your home, in an area that is away from outside walls, doors and windows. Interior closets and bathrooms can be ideal options.
- If you are outside, try to get to a sturdy building. Mobile homes and trailers are not a safe option.
- If on the road and no building access is available, do not get under an overpass or bridge. Instead, find a low, flat location and use your arms to protect your head and neck.
You should make sure that you have flashlights, a battery-powered weather radio and extra batteries in your selected tornado shelter at home. Also, when at home, you can provide additional protection by using furniture items like couch cushions, mattresses or blankets to help keep your head and neck covered.
If you are caught out on the road during a tornado, DO NOT try to outrun it. Find safe shelter, if possible, or get out of your vehicle and lay flat on low-lying ground, covering your head and neck.
Tornadoes are unpredictable and devastating wherever they strike. While meteorologists and weather services can provide some advanced warning to potential threats, tornadoes can still occur with little to no warning at all.
If your home or business has been damaged by a tornado, know that SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin is ready and waiting to jump into action and get cleanup and restoration of your property underway.
Spring Weather Can Be Unpredictable | SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin
Spring Weather Can Be Unpredictable | SERVPRO® of SE Waukesha County/West Franklin - SERVPRO OF SE WAUKESHA COUNTY/WEST FRANKLIN Blog
We’ve made it through winter and welcome spring with open arms! Now we can better enjoy the weather…but also buckle up for whatever Mother Nature may choose to send our way.Weather Threats in the Spring
With the arrival of spring comes longer days, balmy weather and more sunshine, but the season also brings with it the threat of severe weather throughout the country. It’s the time of the year that means the weather may change at moment’s notice.
Because of unstable temperatures that cause changing weather, it can go from warm to cold even in the same day. That temperature change can result in extreme weather changes as well.
Thunderstorms are increasingly common throughout the spring and also the main cause of severe weather. A thunderstorm can occur whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, which is most common in the spring and summer.
When you study the natural catastrophe losses in the U.S. for 2017, severe thunderstorms were the most common cause and produced some of the costliest results. Out of 50 events, there were 85 fatalities and an estimated total of $25.4 billion in overall losses.
Severe thunderstorms can bring about the threat of flooding, high winds and even tornadoes if the conditions are right. It has been found that in modern history, 10% of all violent tornadoes have occurred in March, with April, May and June taking the top spots at 30%, 24% and 15% respectively.Prepare for Springtime Storms
There’s no way to accurately predict the weather, but fortunately, forecasters have the tools available to give us an advance warning that severe weather is possible. Advanced warnings, along with the right preparation, can greatly improve overall safety for your family.
Here are some things you can do to your home to prepare for the chance of severe weather:
- Clear out your home’s gutters, drains and downspouts.
- Trim trees of precarious limbs or branches that could break off in a storm.
- Secure or store outdoor belongings if severe weather is in the forecast.
Having an emergency kit on hand is always advised. These kits should include the following:
- Battery-operated flashlight and NOAA weather radio, with extra batteries for both
- Emergency evacuation or shelter plans
- Important personal info, like telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends, insurance and property info, numbers for the utility companies, and medical info
- A first-aid kit with things like non-latex gloves, adhesive bandages, tweezers, sterile gauze pads, aspirin packets, adhesive cloth tape and scissors
- 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
- Personal hygiene items
- Blankets or sleeping bag
Despite its unpredictability, there is one thing that always remains true of the spring weather season: It always happens. If your home or business is damaged in a storm, you can depend on SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin to get the cleanup and restoration process started fast.
Essential Tips for Surviving a Fire in your Home
Most of us probably don’t think this could ever happen to us and our homes, therefore we likely don’t have a plan in place. Putting an evacuation plan together and practicing it with our families can go a long way. We’ve all heard the saying, practice makes perfect. It’s natural for us as humans to panic in a situation like this, but the more we plan ahead and practice, the more it becomes muscle memory.
Here are some tips to consider when you are putting together your evacuation plan when fire becomes your enemy.
- Have a written escape plan
- Most important, write down your plan. Describe routes that will be used to evacuate your home, where you will meet afterwards and who your designated leader will be that will contact the authorities for help.
- Purchase Rope Ladders for the upper floors (if you have them)
- Having ladders ready to go is important in case your downstairs is blocked off. Most emergency rope ladders can be purchased for $30-$50.
- Have a fire extinguisher
- It’s ideal to have multiple fire extinguishers that are easily accessible in your major rooms including the master bedroom, the kitchen, the bathrooms and living room.
- Install and Test Smoke Alarms
- These should be installed on every level and in each major room of your home. Make sure to test them on a monthly basis to make sure they are working. Repair or replace any that don’t.
- Test doors for heat
- A well-known tip for surviving a house fire is to test the doors for heat before walking through it. There could be a fire blazing in the next room even if it’s not in the room you are in.
- Stay low to the ground
- Staying low to the ground makes you less vulnerable to smoke which tends to rise.
- Cover your nose and mouth covered with a wet rag or shirt
- Often times the fire itself is not the biggest threat, it’s the smoke. Breathing in too much smoke can cause you to pass out. At a minimum, cover your mouth with your hands.
- Don’t go back in after you have evacuated
- Once you have safely evacuated the home, do not go back in no matter what. Leave it to the professional fire crew to handle the situation from that point on. Never go back in for valuables. Those are replaceable, lives are not.
- Place emergency kits near the exits
- Having a few kits near the exits can be helpful to grab on the way out. Include some cash, extra clothing, first aid supplies and so forth.
- And most important, PRACTICE
- The best way to be prepared is to practice! Just like schools that run periodic fire drills to make sure everyone knows how to evacuate, you should do the same with your families. This could ultimately be what saves your lives in the end.
If you do experience fire damage in your home, that can be devastating. We can help restore your home back to its pre-fire condition. Our approach is to take the least invasive path to restoration and save as much as possible. Give us a call today and let SERVPRO of Southeast Waukesha/West Franklin do the worrying for you. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”
We’re Here to Help Resolve Disaster Situations Fast | SERVPRO® of SE Waukesha County/West Franklin
We’re Here to Help Resolve Disaster Situations Fast | SERVPRO® of SE Waukesha County/West Franklin - SERVPRO OF SE WAUKESHA COUNTY/WEST FRANKLIN Blog
When disaster strikes your home or business, time is of the essence when it comes to cleanup and restoration. When it is your home or livelihood on the line, you don’t have the luxury of the benefit of waiting for help—you need it right away.
We understand that a fast response is crucial, which is why responding faster to any size disaster is more than just a slogan to us.The Importance of a Fast Response
When your belongings or business are on the line, time is not on your side when it comes to disaster cleanup. This can be especially true where water damage comes into the picture, which can occur through various means such as flooding, appliance and/or plumbing failures, storm damage and fire damage, as water is used to put out the fires.
Within minutes, water can spread throughout your property, saturating everything it touches in its path. Your walls, floors, upholstery and your belongings are fast casualties of water—nothing is safe.
The effects of water damage within the first 24 hours include:
- Drywall beginning to swell and break down
- Metal surfaces beginning to tarnish
- Furniture beginning to swell and crack
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper items spreading and staining
- The beginning of a musty odor
The damage continues to worsen as time goes on. Between 48 hours and a week later, you could begin to see:
- The growth and spreading of mold and mildew
- Swelling and warping of doors, windows and studs
- Metal beginning to rust and corrode
- Paint beginning to blister
- Wood flooring swelling and warping
- The possibilities of serious biohazard contamination
Water damage that is left untreated for more than a week will lead to dramatically increased restoration time and costs and may also impact structural safety.We’re Here to Help
Our services offer an immediate response to any size or type of disaster, which can help minimize the damage and help keep the cleaning and restoration costs manageable.
Our trained cleanup and restoration specialists will be dispatched to your property or business at any time, no matter what day or time it is that you call.
Also, since we are a locally owned and operated franchise, we are close by and ready to respond whenever the call comes in. One major perk of being part of a national network of over 1,700 franchises is that we have access to more resources for the cleanup and restoration projects that may be larger or stem from major storm situations.
Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Fire Safety Tips for Your Business | SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin
Fire Safety Tips for Your Business | SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin
Business owners have much to take into consideration regarding risks to their business, staff and visitors. As a business owner, one of those risks you need to spend a little extra time planning for and working toward preventing is a fire.
Leading Causes of Commercial Structure Fires
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has reported that the leading causes of structure fires in office properties from 2007–2011 were (in order):
- Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
- Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
- Heating equipment, 11% of fires
- Intentional, 10% of fires
- Smoking materials, 9% of fires
- Exposure, 4% of fires
- Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires
Of those causes, intentional, exposure, and electrical distribution and lighting equipment accounted for the most property damage with 20%, 18% and 15% respectively.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2007, fires and explosions were responsible for 3% of all workplace fatalities.
In studying more recent numbers, the NFPA estimates that for a period from 2007–2011, U.S. fire departments answered an average of 3,340 calls for fires involving office properties per year. Those fires resulted in an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.
Protecting Your Business From Disaster
So, what steps can you take to protect your business and employees from the risk of fires? By placing an emphasis on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, you are taking steps to reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.
First, assess your facility for the risk of fire hazards. Local governments in some areas may even offer a visit from a fire marshal to help identify these risks and provide guidance on your fire prevention plan.
Ensure that the right fire protection equipment (including an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers) is in place on each floor.
Finally, work with your most important asset—your employees—by creating a fire plan and reviewing it with your staff to make sure everyone knows procedures to follow in the event of a fire. By conducting fire drills at least once a year, you will keep this information fresh in everyone’s mind, and provide the opportunity to review evacuation plans and first-aid kit locations.
Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin is available to help make it "Like it never even happened."
This Is How Floodwater Is Classified | SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin
This Is How Floodwater Is Classified | SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin - SERVPRO OF SE WAUKESHA COUNTY/WEST FRANKLIN Blog
Not all water that causes water damage is created equal. There are three different classifications: clean water, gray water and black water. Understanding the differences in these types of water will help you understand how to better handle a water damage situation.
Whatever type of water is involved, there will always be the tedious chore of a cleanup and restoration process afterward. The first and most important step to take is removing all of the moisture and damp items quickly to inhibit the growth of mold—since a wet environment is the perfect environment for mold.Clean Water
The name clearly defines clean water. This water is free of contaminants and not the type that will pose an immediate threat to your health. It can come from:
- Broken water lines
- Malfunctioning appliances
- Toilet holding tanks
- Snow melt and rainwater
Cleanup in a clean water situation is the easiest to deal with since there are fewer microbes living in the water. However, after 48 hours and after contact with building surfaces, clean water can transform into gray water.Gray Water
Gray water makes water damage cleanup and restoration a bit more complicated. This is water that may pose a health risk since it will contain slight amounts of chemical or biological contamination. The slight contamination in gray water means that it would need to be thoroughly treated before being safe for consumption.
Examples of gray water is water that comes from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. Here, as well, the 48-hour exposure time applies because, if not treated, gray water turns into black water.Black Water
Black water is the worst and most serious of the three classifications, and it is heavily contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter. This would include floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.
Sewage is laden with microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more—many of these can be hazardous to humans.
Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:
- Gastroenteritis-type illnesses
Remember, when it comes to floods, play it safe and assume all waters are black water since it picks up contaminants along its path.
These classifications of floodwater are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), which is an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industry. Our technicians all study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration and are available to help determine the steps to take to get your home back to normal.
It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin is here to help get the situation under control and make it "Like it never even happened." Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need emergency cleanup and restoration services!
Ways to Guard Your Home From Water Damage | SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin
As a homeowner, there could come a time that you encounter a water damage situation to your home as it can be one of the most common and costliest disasters homeowners face. From a burst pipe to a malfunctioning dishwasher or storm damage, there are countless ways water damage could strike your home.
While water damage is common, there are plenty of ways you can help protect your home from some trying scenarios.
Guarding Your Home From Water
Not only is water damage a hassle to deal with, but it can have a long-term impact on your home, namely, mold. Mold begins to grow within 48 hours of moisture exposure and is one of the most common side effects of water damage.
When you are thinking about ways to protect your home, don’t be overwhelmed. Break it down by areas of impact, such as basements, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and ceilings.
You can help prevent water damage in the basement by preventing water seepage. To do this, start by resealing vulnerable areas of the basement, making sure water drains away from your home’s foundation and installing a backwater valve.
Your kitchen and bathrooms may experience water damage due to plumbing issues and backups or by appliance failures.
Be sure you regularly:
- Inspect all appliances, looking for issues with hoses and faucets
- Check seals and caulking around your showers and tubs, looking for any leaks
- Know where the main shut-off valve is in your home
- Don’t leave the house while the washer or dishwasher is running
Protecting your possessions in the home from water damage is not always possible, but there are waterproof storage bins that can be used for storing items to at least decrease the amount of destruction. Also, keep items stored up off the floor on shelves—which is especially recommended when using your basement for storage.
How to Recover
If you find yourself and your home in a water damage situation, you’ll can stand a good chance at salvaging items if they can be dried out within 48 hours.
Make sure to immediately contact your insurance company, evaluate the extent of water damage to your home and identify the type of water that is involved as well.
The three types of water involved include:
“Clean” water. Can be from rain, condensation, leaky pipes, etc.
“Gray” water. Slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, etc.
“Black” water. Water from sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, etc. This water can cause serious health problems.
After a water damage disaster strikes, remove all wet items, dry your home out and dehumidify the area. Then be sure to clean and disinfect any remaining materials.
Pro tip: You can freeze wet books, photos and papers in a frost-free freezer to buy some extra time. This prevents mold and mildew from developing and causing more deterioration. Once able, you can remove them from the freezer and air-dry or fan-dry the pages.
It may seem like recovering from water damage is an overwhelming and slightly impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can call on the highly trained experts at SERVPRO® of Southeast Waukesha County/West Franklin, who are here to make it "Like it never even happened."