Prevent Your Pets from Starting Fires
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners' pets. Just a few months ago we helped restore a home after the homeowners' dog accidentally turned on their gas stove while they were out running errands thus resulting in a small kitchen fire. Thankfully, no one or pets were harmed because of the fire. But now the homeowner knows to remove the kitchen stove knobs to prevent another accident from happening in the future.
The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have joined forces to provide the following tips:
- Extinguish Open Flames - Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
- Remove Stove Knobs - Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house - a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
- Invest in Flameless Candles - These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
- Secure Young Pets - keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
Water Damage Restoration in Amite
In July of 2018, a family in Amite returned home from vacation only to discover water leaking from their attic. Sometime while they were away their hot water heater malfunctioned. This caused hundreds of gallons of water to leak from the attic to both floors of their home. To be exact, a little over fourteen hundred square feet of the home was affected. Two hours after receiving notice of the situation, our team was at the home beginning the water damage restoration process. Out water damage restoration technicians extracted all of the water, removed the wet insulation and baseboards to ensure proper drying, and utilized our professional drying equipment. In as little as four days the job was completed and our customers were impressed.
Before you and your family leave for vacation please follow these tips to properly protect your home from a similar disaster.
Contents Restoration with the Highest Level of Care
Pat Riley said, "excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better". We strive to always go the extra mile, to treat our customers like family, and to regard their belongings with the highest level of care. Pictured here are boxes of contents from a few of our customers' homes. All of the contents have been cleaned and deodorized. Now, they are being stored in our warehouse until the homes have been completely rebuilt and we can return them. Notice the brightly colored tags on each box. The orange tags have a QR code specific to each home owner. The other colored tags help our fire damage restoration crew to identify which room each box of contents should be returned to. Every extra step we take during the restoration process in intended to give our customers more peace of mind and to ensure a smooth recovery back to life as normal.
2 Things You Must Do Before Going on Vacation
According to a study by AAA, thirty-five percent of Americans plan on taking at least one family vacation every year. If you plan on traveling for more than a couple of days, then you should make sure your home is properly protected while you’re away. Of course, you already know to check and double check that each window and door is properly locked, but you may be missing a couple of steps that will ensure your home is truly safe while you and your family are elsewhere.
Don’t let people know your home is empty.
- Suspend mail and newspaper services. You can sign up online to suspend USPS mail service and have your mail delivered to a local post office for up to thirty days. For trips longer than thirty days you should ask a neighbor or friend to pick up your mail. Contact your newspaper provider and ask them to temporarily postpone deliveries.
- Arrange for lawn care services while you’re gone. This will help make your home seem less abandoned to strangers.
- Install exterior lighting or motion detectors to deter burglars.
- Wait to post vacation pictures on social media. I know this is almost impossible for most people, but resist the urge to let the world know you’re not at home. Enjoy the time with your family or friends and post pictures when you return.
Accident proof your home.
- Check the batteries in home security devices, including motion detectors, cameras, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace them if necessary.
- Shut off the main water supply. Often times a homeowner will call us upon returning from vacation because they have learned a broken pipe or malfunctioning appliance has caused water damage. If you would like to leave the water on for an automated sprinkler system, then at least turn off the water supply to the dishwasher, washing machine, and to each toilet. You may think this is an uncommon event, but trust me, this happens all too often. You don’t want to come home to a disaster. Save yourself time and money by being just a little overcautious.
- Conserve energy. Switch your water heater to vacation mode or turn it off completely. Most water heaters now have a pre-programmed vacation mode. If yours does not, then you should be able to manually adjust the temperature. Another way to conserve energy is to set your thermostat to either four degrees above or below your normal temperature. For summer months, set the thermostat in the upper 70’s. For winter months, set the thermostat in the upper 50’s.
- Prevent a power surge by unplugging your electronics or make sure they are plugged into a surge protector.
- If you often loose power during a storm or day of heavy rain, then before you leave for vacation freeze a cup of water, place a penny on top of it, and leave it in your freezer. When you return home check to see if the penny is frozen on top of the cup. If the penny is not frozen on top, then this means your house lost power sometime during your trip. Inspect the food inside your refrigerator and freezer. You may need to throw several items away.
I hope these tips help to protect your home and give you more peace of mind during your next vacation.
Commercial Sewage Loss in St. Tammany Parish
In March of 2018, the sewage system backed up at a retail store in East St. Tammany Parish. The property manager for this commercial building reached out to us for help as soon as she received notice of the disaster. The building is little over ten thousand square feet and almost seven thousand square feet were affected by contaminated water. We definitely had our work cut out for us. Within an hour of receiving the phone call, our crew was on site assessing the damages and creating a plan of action. We began by moving the clothing racks and extracting the water. We placed drying equipment and dehumidifiers in position at the end of the first day. Later, the retail business's facilities manager asked us to remove all of the carpet. The store was outdated by at least decade. The managers decided to make lemons out of lemonade and to use this time to renovate the store. Our crew removed all of the carpet, properly dried the structure and all remaining materials, applied an anti-microbial agent to prevent further damages, and cleaned and disinfected all affected areas. In less than two weeks, we were able to complete the job and release the space for the next phase of renovations. Both the tenant and the property manager were extremely pleased with the work our team did.
Tips for Responding to Fire Damage
First and foremost, staying safe is most important. Call the fire department immediately and do not enter the property until it is okay to do so.
After a fire, the damage left behind by the water used to extinguish the fire and the lingering soot are often worse than the fire itself. SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville has many years of experience in cleaning and restoring fire damaged properties. We work hard to make it seem "Like it never even happened."
What to do after a fire:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent further damage
- Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on carpeted traffic areas to prevent more soiling
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop open doors
- Do not attempt wash any walls of painted surfaces
- Do not attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture
- Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire or water
- Call SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville at 985-871-5375
Why every family should create a home inventory list
In the unfortunate event of an emergency would you be able to list the contents of your home for your insurance company? How much is your home truly worth? What is the current value of your furniture, artwork, jewelry, kitchen appliances, etc?
Creating a household inventory list will help to prove your losses after a disaster, like a fire or a catastrophic hurricane. A detailed inventory of your home includes careful descriptions of each valuable item, receipts, and pictures. Copies of the list should be stored in a fire proof safe, shared with a family member, and sent to your insurance agent. You can even go paperless and download a free App to make your list. For more information about home inventory lists visit www.rmiia.org or www.howtogeek.com.
Tips for Preparing Your Home for a Hurricane
According to the experts at Colorado State University, the 2018 Hurricane season is predicted to be slightly above average. So far we are expected to have 7 hurricanes, 14 named storms, and 3 major hurricanes.
Follow these tips to help prepare your home and prevent any unnecessary damages:
- Move furniture and electronics off of the floor or to a room upstairs if possible
- Roll up area rugs and store them some place rising water can not reach
- Examine the trees around your home for any weakened branches that could pose a threat during periods of intense wind or heavy rain and trim or remove them
- Examine your roof for any needed repairs to prevent water leaks
- Move lawn furniture, toys, potted plants, and any other heavy objects outside inside
- Check doors, windows, and walls for openings where water could get in. Use caulk to seal any cracks, gaps, or holes.
If you plan on evacuating, then remember to bring these important documents with you:
- Insurance documents
- Driver's license and passport
- Social security card
- Proof of residence (deed or lease)
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Stocks, bonds, and other negotiable certificates
- Wills, deeds, and copies of recent tax returns
- Home inventory list for insurance purposes
For more information on hurricane preparedness please visit https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.
Spring Cleaning Tips From a Restoration Pro
Happy Spring! Finally, winter is over and we can remember why we live in the beautiful state of Louisiana. It's time for crawfish, festivals, outdoor concerts, and tons of family friendly events. It's also time for Spring cleaning and giving your home a check up.
Here are a couple of tips from a restoration professional to help keep your home or business in tip top shape this season:
- Daylight savings time = time to test the smoke alarms in your home and business. A couple of minutes spent checking your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors can save your life. Visit www.redcross.org for more information about testing your smoke alarms and for fire safety tips.
- When tidying up around the house, remember to inspect the outside as well. Check your roof for damages and make any necessary repairs to prevent water damage from April showers.
- Make sure your gutters are clean of debris and properly draining water away from your home.
- Examine trees for any loose branches that pose a threat to your home and have them removed.
Disaster Preparedness Tips for Commercial Property Owners
Successful business owners are thoroughly prepared for any possible disaster or business interruption. In the event of a disaster, how ready are you to respond appropriately?
To help mitigate losses during a disaster follow these tips:
- Regularly review and update emergency plans
- Regularly inspect buildings for repairs
- Finding and addressing issues, such as leaking roofs or windows, can prevent unnecessary water damage or mold growth.
- Create an emergency contact list with approved vendors for repairs and restoration
- The emergency list should include contact information for approved contractors, plumbers, electricians, water and fire damage restoration vendors, and other helpful vendors.
- Communicate well with employees
- Communication is key to mitigating losses after a disaster. Each and every employee should your emergency plans and how to respond to a disaster, like a broken pipe or sprinkler system malfunction.
- Educate employees on how to prevent unnecessary water, fire, or mold damages
- For tips on responding to a water loss please click here.
- For tips on responding to fire damage please click here.
- For tips on preventing mold growth please click here.
If you would like to learn more about emergency planning for property managers please send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com.