Leading Causes of Fires - How to Avoid
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires & injuries in the U.S. Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves or ovens. Although it is important to make sure your appliances are functioning properly and kept up to date, it is equally important to cook with caution and never get too comfortable in the kitchen.
Heating is the second leading cause of residential fires. However, heating fires are a larger problem in single family homes than in apartments. Unlike apartments, the heating systems in single family homes are often not professionally maintained. Make sure your heating systems are being professionally regulated during the colder seasons.
Although accidents happen, it is important to be prepared and alert in order to minimize these chances before they occur. Here are a few simple safety precautions to take to decrease the possibility of a fire.
- Keep flammables away from ignition sources.
- Utilize flammable storage cabinets.
- Know your chemical properties.
- Do not block fire extinguishers with equipment.
- Utilize those with electrical expertise/installations/assistance.
- Do not overload outlets - use a track plug.
- Practice good housekeeping techniques in the lab/office/work area.
- Inspect wires for possible damage and replace as needed.
How To Clean Your Building After a Toilet Flood
There may not be much that is nastier to deal with than a sewer backup, and your business plan may not include the budget for a sewer cleanup, so, it might be worth looking into flood insurance. Nonetheless, problems can occur and the unexpected can happen, throwing a wrench into the works. Differing from a category 1 or clean water flood, a flooded toilet carries serious contaminants that must be properly dealt with.
How Do You Clean Up Sewer Water
If the water is running clear, stops upon shutoff and is confined to a non-porous bathroom floor, you may be able to mop it up and clean it with detergent and chlorine bleach. If the water has any color to it, is coming from deeper in the drain or is spilling out onto carpeted areas, down a heat duct or is deep enough to be standing you will likely need assistance from a professional sewage cleanup service.
Remove everyone from the area to avoid exposure
Find the water shutoff valve and turn the flow off, if possible
If the water is not running mostly clear, it may be coming from the sewer rather than the supply line
Water must be extracted and cleaned up
Sanitizing and disinfecting must be thoroughly done as sewage can be considered a biohazard
Cleaning and Disinfecting
The sewer line may need to be cleared professionally to unblock the drain. A sewer cleanup service may be necessary to help with that as well as the cleanup. Sewage water is likely to contain bacteria and viruses and it is critical to contain the spill and begin professional a sanitizing process as soon as possible, using industrial disinfectants. Every nook and cranny needs attention. Any rugs, carpets or soft surfaces will likely need to be disposed of.
Employ preventative measures such as regular drain and supply line inspections and enzyme treatments to reduce the risk of flooding. When prevention fails and the need for sewer cleanup occurs, take it seriously to ensure proper restoration.
FAQs About How To Clean Under Your Home After A Flood
Under Home Cleaning - After Flooding
Many homeowners are eager to begin cleaning their homes after a flood although, few people realize that the area underneath houses often need to be cleaned after a flood. Here are a few helpful things to know about cleaning crawlspaces after a flood.
Though damage in a crawlspace may not be immediately apparent, identifying damage in a timely manner is often important. The following are common indicators that a crawlspace has been affected by a storm:
- An unpleasant, musty odor in areas above and around the crawlspace due to mold growth
- Damaged subfloors or warped vinyl floors
- High levels of humidity in rooms above the crawlspace
A home flood can cause major damage to both the interior and exterior of a home, and though crawlspaces are often overlooked, they are still prone to damage. When water quickly accumulates under a house it is not removed or drained, the structure of the house can be affected. Crawlspace damage can also occur if there are high levels of humidity in the area. This can cause building materials to absorb the moisture and weaken.
Thankfully there are steps that storm damage restoration company professionals take to clean your home’s crawlspace. First, water is removed from the crawlspace. If mold and high levels of humidity remain present after all the water is extracted, professionals may create negative air pressure in the area to dry it up. Once the area is dry, professionals may restore or replace any materials that have been damaged.
Though floods can wreak havoc on your home, it is important to understand the cleaning steps to take after, to prevent any future issues. Knowing the signs of a damaged crawlspace, common causes of damage and how the underside of your house is cleaned can make the clean up process much simpler.
Possible Reasons Your Toilet May Be Leaking
Do You Notice Water Every Time You Flush?
You may have a leaking toilet. A buildup of standing water in your bathroom could lead to water damage, mold or mildew, so it’s best to find the source of the problem as soon as possible- especially in Kansas City, MO. As a complex system, there are multiple reasons this could be happening. Toilets are an everyday necessity, so be sure to take the proper measures to get it back in working order.
Diagnose the Problem
First you need to figure out where the water is leaking from. Clean up as much of the water as you can on both the floor and the toilet itself, so that you can follow the water as it builds again. Try flushing the leaking toilet to jumpstart the process. Usually the water seeps out below the toilet, which will be addressed below, but during this process more unusual causes may present themselves, such as a:
- Damaged toilet tank
- Valve that does not completely close
- Sweaty bowl
- Supply tube that is wobbly or movable
Water pooling beneath your leaking toilet may be the result of floor bolts that hold the toilet in place becoming loose. Simply remove the protective covers and tighten each one with a wrench. Be sure not to make them too tight, or you could damage the toilet. You should visibly notice the leak stop. If not, there may be a deeper issue.
If tightening bolts did not stop your water flow, that probably means that the wax seal on your gasket is dry or cracked. Luckily, it is replaceable. Be sure to shut off the water and drain the toilet before beginning the process. Next, disconnect the water-supply tube and lift the toilet from the floor. You will need to scrape off the old wax before installing the new wax gasket.
Leaking bathrooms are no fun, but that does not mean they should be ignored. Diagnosing the problem is half the job. Feel free to reach out to a professional.
Floods are classified into three different categories. These categories can be easily spotted based on the various colors of the water. Floodwaters may be white/clear, gray, and black. Each category requires specific safety precautions and have different levels of mitigation and clean out. It is crucial to understand the difference in categories to receive the proper assistance and avoid any further damage.
White/clear water is the least expensive to remedy. The source is sanitary, meaning that there is no harmful bacteria or sewage present. While this category can be a relief, it is still necessary to act quickly to remove the water and repair the damage. If the water sits for too long, it can be contaminated by other items in the area, causing an elevation in category or classification.
If the water is found to be category two, or grey water, through pretesting, then it is best that you do not go near it. This result indicates that there are organic and inorganic substances in the water and that you may become ill if it is consumed or touched.
Black water, is the most dangerous water. The level of contamination includes sewage, chemicals, bacteria and possible toxins. It is likely that your insurance agent and company will recommend a disaster restoration specialist who will probably seal the space as they work to remove the water safely.
Preparing for Storm Season
Preparing for Storm Season
Spring and summer are just around the corner which means storm season is upon us. It is important to be prepared before disaster strikes to minimize damage done on your home and your finances. Rick Isaacson, Chief Executive Officer of SERVPRO Industries, Inc. encourages individuals to follow these safety precautions before disaster strikes.
- Know your alert system – Be aware of your community's severe weather warning system. Know in advance where you will take shelter if at home, in the office, etc.
- Keep an emergency kit handy – Emergency kits should include first-aid supplies, enough drinking water for three days and food that doesn't need to be refrigerated or cooked. Also be sure to have several flashlights, a battery-powered radio, blankets and extra batteries within reach.
- Take inventory of your personal property – Make a detailed list of your possessions and back it up with photos or video footage. Keep one copy in your home and another in a separate location.
- Protect your home – Branches can cause substantial damage if they become airborne, so make sure to keep all trees properly trimmed. Also, keep a supply of lumber and other materials on hand to use to brace windows and other openings.
Isaacson adds that extensive damage can also be caused by floods, an inevitable consequence of storm season. In the event of water or fire damage, SERVPRO offers an assortment of services to help people quickly recover and restore any damaged property. SERVPRO is a 24 hour emergency service with trained professionals on standby ready to help when needed, to make the job “Like it never even happened.”
Characteristics of a Category 3 Water Damage
Category 3 Water Damage
There are three different levels of damage when it comes to water damages. Category 3 damage is by far the worst. Experts have a way to categorize the different levels of water damage that can occur from flood water. Category 3 isn’t something you want to ignore or even be around. Here are some traits of this type of water:
- Is contaminated with toxic or pathogenic agents
- Occurs due to back-up sewers
- Carries feces, pesticides or heavy metals
Water from this category is often called black water because of materials found in it. This situation may not be because of a flaw in your building or home. Black water can come in due to sewage problems from the main city line. There are also cases where a toilet overflow could cause category 3 concerns.
If you notice black water at any time in your office or home, make sure you evacuate immediately. Identify where the water is located and how much area is affected. You should contact emergency services and your insurance company as well. Don’t go near the water, and don’t try to clean it up yourself. Instead, get in touch with a reputable commercial water damage restoration specialist. A professional crew will extract all the water with high-powered wet vacuums. Once all the water is gone, the team will dry the floor, walls, ceiling and any other items. A technician will then, sanitize the space to ensure mold doesn’t grow and that there is no presence of harmful materials.
Category 3 flood water is nothing to take lightly. Follow these guidelines and let a seasoned professional take control.
Municipal Flood Prevention
It is nearly impossible to control natural factors that lead to high water conditions, but many communities try to take steps to reduce the risk of flooding. Various methods of flood control are regularly practiced, such as
- Levee, dam, and reservoir construction
- Floodwater diversion, including the use of floodways
Many of the modern methods used in urban and rural areas today have their roots in ancient flood prevention practices.
This method is commonly used in China and involves creating an urban environment where water can hold, clean, and then drain water naturally. This ecological approach involves using rainwater for daily living, such as irrigation gardens, flushing toilets, and recharging aquifers.
Flood Plains and Overflow Areas
Vast areas of open land around rivers play vital roles in water management and natural flood protection. Additionally, many city planners include "parks" at lower levels than the surrounding neighborhood. These overflow areas become ponds during storms or heavy rainfall and may save surrounding homes from water-filled basements.
Separate Systems for Storm and Wastewater
Many cities have taken an important step by running separate underground pipe systems for draining rainwater out of the sewer systems. This reduces the burden on wastewater treatment plans and improves the efficiency of functionality. Additionally, city workers take steps to keep sediment, debris, and other items out of the sewer system.
This refers to replacing non-permeable materials with permeable solutions. For example, a concrete walkway up to the front door won't absorb any water, concrete is non-permeable. However, a decorative stone walkway or a gravel path can absorb water. The more water is absorbed by the ground, the less risk of high water and can help stop flooding.
Flood prevention is a continued study that involves improved efforts. If you want tips on how you can help in prevention efforts before high water situations, talk to a flood remediation professional in your area.
Fire Extinguisher Safety
An in home fire can be devastating, especially if the fire is not quickly put out. It is critical that homeowners understand the value of having and knowing how to use a fire extinguisher.
There are numerous types of fire extinguishers and it is important to make sure you are using the correct one to prevent major damage. When deciding which kind to use, you may consider what types of fires are most likely to occur in that area. For example, to extinguish a kitchen fire caused by grease, you may want to have a Type B extinguisher. It can also be helpful to have extinguishers that can put out various types of fires.
It is appropriate to place extinguishers in areas that are prone to fires. Common locations to place a fire extinguisher can include in garages, where gasoline could catch fire, in kitchens, where grease may cause a fire and near electrical equipment that could spark a fire. Not placing in certain locations could result in major damage that necessitates help from fire damage restoration.
It is important to act fast when extinguishing a fire. The acronym P.A.S.S. can be helpful to remember when learning how to use an extinguisher. P.A.S.S. stands for pull, aim, squeeze and sweep; when using an extinguisher, a person should pull the pin in order to break the seal, aim toward the lowest part of the fire, squeeze the extinguisher’s handle and then sweep back and forth to fully extinguish the fire.
Knowing how to use extinguishers can help you feel more prepared to handle a fire in your home. It’s often wise to know what type of fire extinguisher to use in different situations, how many extinguishers you should have in your home and how to use an extinguisher.
Love What's Local
SERVPRO of Lee's Summit is committed to supporting this community 24/7 during catastrophes, contaminations and other disasters.
When a disaster occurs, working with a company that is local to the area can be useful for a variety of reasons. However, a small local company may only specialize in certain types of disaster responses, and also may not be able to tackle large restoration projects. Regardless of how much or what type of damage has occurred, a local restoration franchise that has been certified can appropriately respond to a disaster of any kind.
Though a corporation may have the experience necessary to respond to major damage, a company that isn’t locally owned may not understand the unique challenges that come with local landscapes. Additionally, a company that isn’t local is likely to have a slower response time, which can ultimately result in a building sustaining additional damage. However, a SERVPRO franchise that is local to a business owner’s area can mitigate the damage by responding quickly.
Often, a local franchise has a myriad of tools that other restoration companies may not have. We have partners that can quickly send the needed tools to the franchise. Additionally, your local SERVPRO is more likely to have spent time studying procedures and practices, meaning that professionals from a local franchise will have up-to-date information on how to best handle any situation.
After a disaster or contamination of any kind it is often helpful to employ a local restoration franchise. A SERVPRO franchise can manage problems of any size, respond quickly after disasters and can provide the necessary tools and equipment needed for restoration. Call your local SERVPRO today!