Know the Facts about Business Fires
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as many as one in four businesses that suffer some kind of major disaster do not reopen afterward. It’s true, overcoming a major loss is extremely difficult, but with the right restoration company and team on your side, working hand-in-hand with your insurance company, the chance of your Indianapolis-area company surviving is pretty high!
Depending on the size of the fire, and the amount of damage, some businesses that have come to SERVPRO for help have reopened just days after the fire happened. Thanks to innovations in smoke odor removal, fire damage restoration, and cleaning in general, it is possible for crews to start work nearly immediately after the fire department clears the scene, and have things back up and running in no time. Although, again, that all depends on the severity of the fire. But no matter the severity, recovery is possible!
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, U.S. fire departments responded to about 3,300 office property fires per year between 2007 and 2011. Those fires resulted in about $112 million in property damage each year, and most were in business offices – and happened during business hours. However, the good news is the number of business fires was down a whopping 71 percent from 1980 to 2011.
Different Causes of Commercial Water Damage
When business owners visualize water damage, they often picture a massive storm wiping out power lines, flooding offices, and shutting down businesses for days at a time. It is true that commercial water damage is often the result of floods and water that stems from weather events and storms.
However, many entrepreneurs and business space renters forget that storms and severe weather aren't the only causes of floods and water damage. Here are some of the typical causes of water damage to commercial buildings.
1. Malfunctioning sprinkler systems
Some older office and retail buildings still have outdated sprinkler systems that work in conjunction with fire protection systems. While such sprinklers can come in handy during a fire emergency, they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are faulty or in need of replacement. This could easily damage inventory and business assets.
2. Damaged appliances and equipment
This cause of commercial flood damage is more common in restaurants and catering facilities, as well as any business that has appliances and equipment that make use of water. If the appliance fails and sends water across your building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water emergency.
3. Broken pipes and plumbing
Just like in a residence, if the plumbing system in your workplace fails water damage could be the result.
4. Backed up sewer lines
This is another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, realize the potential dangers of contaminated Black Water which can cause health effects and ruin products and office furnishings.
If your business has suffered commercial water damage, SERVPRO of Auburn/Rocklin will get you back up and running again. Give us a call at (916) 632-2250.
Business Fire Facts
Time of Day
- Peak time of day for office fires: Noon – 2p.m. (a.k.a. lunch time!)
- 69% happened between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- The 31% that occurred between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. caused 67% of recorded property damage, because they went undetected longer. This also highlights the need for automatic detection equipment and working sprinkler systems.
- 19% of fires happened on weekends.
Cause of the Business Fires
- 29% were caused by cooking equipment. However, just 6% of these fires caused actual property damage.
- Intentionally-set fires caused the most direct property damage – 21%.
- Electrical equipment is the second leading cause of office fires.
- Just 2% of office fires start in a concealed space like an attic, in the ceiling, or in another conceals space. However, these fires accounted for 13% of the direct property damage.
Containment & Putting it Out
- 4 out of 5 fires were confined to the room of origin.
- 90% of fires were large enough to activate sprinklers, which were effective 88% of the time.
- Deaths per 1,000 stores were 62% lower in offices equipped with sprinklers compared to those without.
Industrial/Manufacturing Facility Fires
The NFPA also has statistics specific to manufacturing facilities. According to their research, there are about 37,000 fires at industrial or manufacturing facilities each year, resulting in 18 deaths, 279 injuries, and $1 billion in property damage. Heating equipment and stop tools were the leading cause – sparking 28 percent of the fires. Mechanical failure or malfunction caused 24 percent of the fires.
Planning for the Worst
As part of your emergency preparation plan, be sure to have a local, reputable restoration company – like SERVPRO– on speed dial. The sooner you get the professionals in cleaning up after the disaster, the sooner you can get back to business (916) 632-2250.
Staying Safe in the Summer
Each summer, families and friends across the country enjoy the summer months with barbecues, camping trips, or by cooling off in a pool or lake. In order to enjoy these occasions, it is important to keep safety top of mind to ensure you have fun in the sun.
According to the United States Fire administration, just under 8,600 Americans are injured by fireworks and almost 5,000 are injured by charcoal/wood burning and propane grill fires, annually. A barbecue grill should always be supervised when in use. Keep children and pets a safe distance from the grilling area to prevent accidental burns or tipping off the grill.
If you enjoy lounging by the pool or going for a boat ride to cool off from the summer sun, make sure you exercise caution, especially when children are present. Only swim in approved areas and supervise children at all times when near the water.
Summertime should be a time to make memories and enjoy the great outdoors. The following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), will help keep you safe all summer long.
- When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluid designed for barbecue grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
- When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
- Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD (personal floatation device) when boating, jet-skiing, tubing or water-skiing. Air-filled swimming aids, like water wings or inner tubes, are not substitutes for approved PFDs. An adult should always supervise children using these devices.
- Be sure to extinguish all smoking materials and shut down motors and heating devices before fueling a boat. In case of a spill, wipe up fuel and check for fuel leakage and odors.
- When camping, always use a flame retardant tent and setup camp far away from the campfire. Only use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns inside the tent, not liquid-filled heaters or lanterns.
- Always build a campfire down wind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your campfire. Always extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite. To extinguish, cover with dirt or pour water over the fire.
- Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.
- Consider leaving firework use to trained professionals. Stay back at least 500 feet from professional fireworks displays.
Your local SERVPRO Franchise wishes you a safe and happy summer!
Steps to Take After a House Fire
A house fire is traumatic event that can certainly leave you with a mix of emotions. You’ll be nervous, worried, scared, upset, wondering what to do next, and just how to do it. First things first…take a deep breath, try to relax, and know that everything will be more than fine. Ultimately you need to make sure that your family is safe and sound. Once you can confirm that, then you can tackle the recovery process of your home and belongings.
We’ve compiled a list of five things that you should do and be aware of after a fire. This way, you can approach the rebuilding of your home in a cool, calm, and collected manner!
(1) Review with the authorities and the professionals as to when it is safe to enter the home after the fire. The fire department will make sure that the fire is completely extinguished and then will go through their precautionary measures in order to deem the area ‘safe’.
(2) Know who to contact. First, contact any family members to let them know of the occurrence and the fact that you are safe. Review, and then contact your insurance company. A clean-up team, such as SERVPRO of Auburn/Rocklin should also be one of the first calls made. We can efficiently and professionally get you back into your home – it will be as if nothing happened!
(3) Get the fire report. Typically coming to you from the fire department, this correspondence will review the facts of the fire – the home structure, the area of the fire, as well as the time and date. In some cities and towns, you may need to call the fire department directly in order to get a copy of this report.
(4) Make sure to secure your property. If you are not securing the property, you could potentially be making a bad situation into a terrible one – your home could be robbed of its remaining property, or, in some cases, another individual could be injured on the property (becoming your responsibility). You can ask the authorities and emergency services on the best methods in securing what is yours.
(5) Begin the clean-up process. Interior and exterior clean-up will most certainly be required, and more often than not there is damage that you cannot locate with the naked eye. That said, you should definitely hire a professional service like SERVPRO of Auburn/Rocklin to do a thorough cleaning of all areas and of all soot, smoke, and odor.
Call us (916) 632-2250.
Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of West Sioux Falls will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care. Any questions or to schedule an inspection give SERVPRO Auburn/Rocklin a call (916) 632-2250.
Odors caused from Fire Damage
Odors from smoke and fire damage can be hard to remove. At SERVPRO of Auburn/Rocklin, we understand the process of contents restoration. We take a restore vs. replace approach, saving our customers time and money. Ozone is one method that we use to deodorize items after cleaning them. When used properly, this is a very effective method. Used improperly, it can be dangerous or ineffective. Remember that who you choose to clean after a fire is one of the most important decisions you can make.
Preventing Bathroom Mold
What does mold need to grow? In order for mold to grow, it needs oxygen, moisture, warmth and food. The ideal spot for mold to grow would be a warm place (somewhere between 77 and 86 degrees), with a high amount of humidity or moisture, and organic matter, like cotton, paper or wood for the mold to feed upon. This makes our bathrooms an ideal spot for mold growth. Our bathrooms tend to be warm, they contain things like towels, toilet paper, and woodwork for the mold to feed upon, and they often have high levels of relative humidity from running water and steam from hot showers. So what can you do to prevent mold from growing in your bathroom?
First make sure that your bathroom is properly ventilated. Poor ventilation is one of the most common causes of bathroom mold. Without proper ventilation, steam/moisture in the air from hot showers and running water, settles on bathroom surfaces and makes a perfect environment for mold growth. Every bathroom should have a clean and properly functioning ventilation fan permanently mounted in the ceiling and it should be turned on every time someone showers. They are inexpensive and can be purchased at most hardware and home improvement stores. A properly installed and functioning, ventilation fan in your bathroom's ceiling will help move the air out of your bathroom and clear the humidity caused by hot showers and other running water. It is important however to ensure that your ventilation fan has been properly installed and is venting the moist bathroom air outside of your home versus into your attic or some other room. If it improperly vents into another area of your home, you are simply transferring your problem from one location to another. If your bathroom does not have a ventilation fan, instead of showering with the bathroom door closed, as most of us do, an alternative until a ventilation fan can be installed, would be to leave the bathroom door open while showering. This will allow the steam/humidity to dissipate over a larger area reducing its impact. Another alternative during warm weather months, or in warm climates, would be to open a bathroom window while showering or even putting a box fan in the window with the air blowing out of the bathroom versus in. And of course, abstaining from very long, hot showers is always recommended when trying to prevent mold.
Regularly cleaning your bathroom by wiping down all surfaces at least once a week will also help keep mold in check. And when it comes to cleaning/preventing mold, wiping is always the best approach. Molds are fungi that reproduce by releasing spores into the air. Spraying bleach on mold may look like an easy fix. When you spray bleach on mold it looks like it almost instantly disappears. Unfortunately, when you spray bleach on mold, you are releasing the mold spores into the air. Think of it like a mature dandelion that you have just gently blown upon and released the seeds floating into the air on their white dried flowers. The mold spores that you have just released by spraying bleach upon them, float through the air and settle onto new surfaces, where they can begin to grow again if the conditions are right. Wiping with soap and water, or another cleaner, and then throwing away any rags that may contain beginning mold spores is your best bet.
Also when it comes to mold in bathrooms, consider that caulk and grout are there to block or keep out water and moisture. If you have missing or broken caulk or grout, water and moisture can get behind the tiles and mold can form behind the tiles where it's impossible for you to see or clean. It's important to regularly replace and/or maintain your bathroom caulk and grout.
Lastly, painting your bathroom with a mold resistant paint and/or primer will help you battle mold in your bathroom. As indicated earlier, mold needs a food source of organic matter. Drywall paper can be a source of food for mold. Using a mold-resistant paint on bathroom walls can help stop mold before it starts by sealing off access to a food source.
And as always, if you do develop a problem with mold, SERVPRO of Auburn/Rocklin is here to help. Call us at (916) 632-2250.
Preventing Attic Mold
Anywhere in your home with moist, warm air is an ideal environment for mold to grow. For some of us, moist, warm air can be found in our attics. And unfortunately, many of us rarely, if ever, go up in our attics, so any problems can go unchecked for long periods of time. It’s important to check your attic periodically for common causes of attic mold.
Anything that introduces water or moisture to your attic can be a problem. Things like:
1) Leaking Roof - Sometimes a roof leak is bad enough that water leaks into the floors below and becomes immediately apparent. However often the leak is small enough to cause attic mold, without being apparent in the living spaces of the home.
2) Dryer Vents, Plumbing Vents, and Kitchen or Bathroom Fans vented in to the attic - This practice can pump warm, moist air into the attic where it can be trapped and begin the cycle of mold growth. It is always best to vent these items outside of the home.
3) Missing or Improperly Installed Insulation - Missing or improper installation of the wrong kind of insulation can cause problems in multiple ways. Moisture from the lower levels of the home can rise and get trapped in the attic. Additionally, it can create moisture or condensation in your attic. Think of your attic like a cold glass of ice water outside on a hot summer day. The water is a much lower temperature than the air around it and condensation develops on the glass. If there is missing or improperly installed insulation, this same principle can apply when your home is air conditioned to 70 degrees, but your attic temperature is 99 degrees. Lastly, missing or improperly installed insulation can lead to number four……
4) Ice Damming – An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into your home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and create a perfect environment for mold growth. It’s important before winter to clean your gutters so that winter’s melting snow and rain can properly drain off your roof. Additionally, improper insulation can contribute to ice damming by allowing warm air from inside your home to escape into the attic.
5) Inadequate Ventilation - It seems counter-intuitive, but the basic ventilation principal for your attic is to keep it as cool as possible during the cold season. Pay attention to your roof after snow storms. If you look at your roof several days after a snow and you see an even distribution covering your roof, that’s a good sign that your attic is properly ventilated. If on the other hand, you see sections where snow has melted, that suggests an area in the attic where warm air has been trapped instead of being properly vented to the exterior. Make sure your soffit vents are clear and free of things like debris, bird’s nests and insulation.
6) Water Heaters or Furnaces installed in the attic - While not a common practice in Wisconsin, sometimes homes without a basement will have water heaters or furnaces in the attic. You may also see this practice in larger homes with several heating and cooling zones, as well as spa style bathrooms with a huge soaking tub, where it is common practice to have designated systems to support these luxuries. Unfortunately, this practice can contribute to adding moisture to your attic and contribute to mold growth if there are any leaks from these items.
Where Does Mold Hide?
Think your home is pristine? There is no way mold can be infesting your sanctuary, right? You may need to reevaluate your thinking. Mold may be hiding within your residence. Mold problems can occur anywhere if conditions are ideal for growth, and some portions of your home may be home to mold, as well. You may try to maintain a clean environment, constantly dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, organizing, and doing a thorough cleaning of your property, but you may have missed a spot…or a few. There may be some parts of your home you do not consider, and you are not alone in making this mistake.
The kitchen is a location that may have moisture issues which can contribute to mold growth.
- Check under your sink. A small pipe leak may go unnoticed, letting the moisture and water damage sit untreated. Leaks combined with dark spaces are the perfect environment for mold.
- The sponge dish may have a mold problem. You use your sponge to wash dishes every day, but when you put it back in its dish, moisture may begin to collect and mold begin to form.
- Under your fridge isn’t safe either. Yes, even your refrigerator may have moisture issues. The refrigerator can leak without you knowing. There is a drip pan under your refrigerator that can collect excess water, but if left untreated, mold can form.
Your washing machine may be a hot spot for mold. Check the door of the washing machine, inside the gasket. Dark, warm, moist areas are ideal for mold growth. Make sure to wipe under the door gasket after each wash to prevent mold growth. Also leave the door open to air-out the washing machine.
Your shower or tub may be hiding mold without your knowledge.
- Check under lids and bottoms of shower products. You may forget to pick these products up and clean underneath. Moisture can become trapped under the lids or under the products and mold can form.
- Bath toys may be fun for kids, but they may also be housing mold. Water may get inside the toys and be unable to get out. This is a difficult location to discover mold. You may need to open up one of the toys to see if mold is growing inside, and if there is mold, replace all of the toys, as there most-likely will be mold within them as well.
Mold does not discriminate and may develop in any property as long as ideal conditions are met. Mold can cause health issues with excess exposure, so it is important to remove any mold you discover. If you suspect mold may be in your property, contact SERVPRO of Auburn/Rocklin (916) 632-2250. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.