Holiday Fire Facts
Fire at this home caused by an overheated extension cord
The holidays are one of the most wonderful times of the year! Are we right?! There is nothing better than putting up those Holiday lights and having the home feel warm and cozy. Not to be forgotten the rides at night to see all the homes dressed up with holiday lights! No matter what type of decorations we hang up during the holidays, we’re surrounded by electricity! If we aren’t careful, it can be a huge hazard if not used or maintained properly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org), Holiday fires caused an average of three deaths, 15 injuries, and $10 million in direct property damage annually. On average, one of every 52 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 135 total reported home fires. SERVPRO of Birmingham what to help keep you safe during this Holiday season, with the help of the NPFA, we’ve pulled together some safety tips for you to keep in mind! Electrical Fire Safety Tips
- Make sure that there are smoke detectors installed on every floor of the building, inside each room and right outside of every sleeping area to ensure that the alarms can be heard even when sleeping.
- Test smoke detectors monthly to make sure that they’re working properly and have working batteries.
- Have your electrical system inspected by a certified professional to make sure that all of the electrical work meets the National Electric Code safety standards.
- Look and listen for signs of electrical problems such as, flickering or dim lights, buzzing or sizzling sounds from electrical outlets, or insulation and circuit breakers that trip repeatedly. If any of these or any other electrical problems are found, contact a professional as soon as possible for the issue to be inspected.
- Avoid overloading outlets with too many electronics. Consider having more outlets or circuits installed by a professional.
- In homes with children, install tamper-resistant devices to keep children from getting electrical shocks or burns.
- Create an evacuation plan that can be used in the event of a fire.
Our team understands that there is nothing worse than being out of the home for the holidays. We know this time of year is filled with traditions and creating memories. Make sure to follow all the tips we’ve complied together but also if an emergency occurs inside your home or business, know that SERVPRO of Birmingham is ready to help you get back to your holiday traditions!
Commercial Mold Damage Tips
If your commercial building recently experienced water damages, you're probably unsure of the next step. Not only are you worried about property damage from the water, but you also have to worry about mold in your business. Mold can affect indoor air quality, can cause significant property damage, and can cause a foul smell that even the best deodorization techniques can't get rid of! Follow these tips if you're dealing with residential or commercial mold in Birmingham, AL.
- Get Rid of Moisture - This is the very first step! Before the mold can be properly addressed, as much moisture as possible needs to be removed. If there is standing water, it can be dangerous to walk into your home or commercial property, so please make sure you can safely enter the building or structure.
- Protect Yourself - You just never really know what can be floating around in standing water that can hurt you. For example, electrical wiring. You don't want to endure an electrical shock. Once you know you can safely enter, protect yourself by wearing protective clothing, such as gloves and a face mask.
- Hire a Professional - The best thing you can do is leave it to the experts. Rely on a team of professionals to help get your home or business back in tip-top shape. Experts can come in and assess the true extent of the damage and help ensure all of the molds are properly remediated. We promise it could save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the future.
SERVPRO of Birmingham is ready to help you ensure your commercial property is cleaned and ready to support your business. Give our team a call at 205.252.8110
Halloween Fire Safety Tips
Keep your Halloween season spooky and fun!
Unfortunately, symbols of Halloween and activities while fun can also present fire risks that have the potential to become truly scary. Halloween decorations are the first thing to ignite in over 1,000 reported home fires each year. Whether you are trick or treating, throwing a party, or staying inside, decorations can be a lurking fire risk and it is important to be aware. Planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one. Taking simple fire safety precautions like keeping decorations far away from open flames and using battery-operated candles or glow-sticks in jack-o-lanterns can help ensure your holiday remains festive and fun. From the National Fire Protection Association, here are five Halloween fire safety tips:
- Use a battery-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns.
- When choosing costumes, stay away from the long trailing fabric.
- Teach young children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
- Keep all decorations away from open flames, especially cornstalks, dried flowers, and crepe paper.
- Provide young children with glow sticks or flashlights to carry with their costumes.
- Remember to keep all exits clear of decorations so escape routes are not blocked. Also, make sure all smoke alarms are working properly.
Everyone here at SERVPRO of Birmingham wants to ensure your Halloween is safe and fun! Follow these steps to enjoy your Halloween season. In the case of an emergency, know that the team at SERVPRO of Birmingham is going to work around the clock to help keep your Halloween season a good one! Give our team a call at 205.252.8110
Preparing for the Floods
Team Wilson is part of a larger Storm Team that can handle any emergency
Are You Ready for a Flood?
Hurricane season is in full force right now. This season we have already had two hurricanes hit our coastline at the same time. Texas and Louisiana both were ravaged head-on but both these storms continued into the states bringing a lot of rain. Many times when moments like this occur, our cities and towns are able to hand the onslaught of rain due to the fact it may not be typical to get so much in such a little time. Being only at the beginning of the hurricane season, we thought it is important to make sure to share some flood preparedness tips with you. Below are some tips which were provided by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to help you prepare your home or business for a flood.
Before the Flood:
- Have a qualified professional elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel is susceptible to flooding.
- Install "check valves" in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home or business.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to help avoid seepage.
During the Flood:
- Turn off all utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so.
- Disconnect electrical appliances.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Do not walk through moving water. Even six inches or moving water can make you fall.
After the Flood:
- Listen for news reports to learn if the community's water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters. Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
As always, our team at SERVPRO of Birmingham is part of the larger, national Brand of SERVPRO Industries. In the event of a storm or flood, our teams have the ability to call in reinforcements from the Wilson Storm Team. Know that you can trust SERVPRO of Birmingham to put your home or business back together, “Like it never even happened.”
Heavy Rainfall Brings Water Damage
While water damage is typically associated with events like flooding or plumbing malfunctions, heavy rain can also cause its own set of issues regarding water damage around the house.
While any level of moisture can cause damage, heavy rain is considered rainfall at rates over 0.3 inches per hour and can work its way into much smaller vulnerabilities in your home. To help you better prepare and avoid water damage, we have put together a list of how these rapid rainfall rates can cause issues.
How Heavy Rains Cause Household Water Damage
Backup of clogged gutters
Clogged gutters can cause significant damage to your home after heavy rains. If there is debris in the gutters, it will be difficult for water to drain away, which can then result in leaks from puddles as the water is left standing against the roofline.
Leaks around windows and doors
Windows and doors are supposed to be sealed against the elements, but as their weatherproofing ages, it can deteriorate as well. When heavy rains roll through, water can find its way into minuscule cracks and cause damages.
Poor drainage around the foundation
If your home is at the bottom of a hill or does not have adequate drainage around the foundation, heavy rains can build up against the base of your home and lead to leaks in your basement or crawl spaces.
Leaks in and around the roof
Roof leaks are one of the leading consequences of heavy rains, and they can sneak up suddenly. All it takes is for a shingle to be scraped away or a weak spot to form and rainwater can begin seeping in as it falls.
Malfunctioning of a sump pump system
For homes with sump pumps, doing regular maintenance and checking for issues is key—otherwise, the pump system can get overwhelmed and will not be able to effectively move water away from the home.
Leaks around chimneys and skylights
Houses with chimneys and skylights tend to be more vulnerable to heavy rains than homes without them. While they are nice features to have, the seals where they meet with the roof can grow vulnerable over time and become overwhelmed when rainfall is heavy.Remember to stay safe and get excess water cleaned up professionally to minimize the chance of mold growth. Our Team at SERVPRO of Birmingham is ready to assist at a moment's notice with any of your water mitigation emergencies. Give our team a call at 205.252.8110. Call us, Birmingham!
Water Damage? What Now?!
When water damage occurs, do you know what to do and what not to do?Water damage can happen at any point for anyone, home or business, resulting in damaged property. These do's are only for clean water and do not’s pertain to sewage water. Sewage water is treated differently since it causes different damage and requires a different cleanup process. With the right tools and pieces of equipment, our professionals can safely dry out your home or business and the contents within it. Here are some things to always keep in mind.
If these tips are followed, then damage can be minimized and you will be better prepared for help to arrive. Remember to stay safe and get excess water cleaned up professionally to minimize the chance of mold growth. Our Team at SERVPRO of Birmingham is ready to assist at a moment's notice with any of your water mitigation emergencies. Give our team a call at 205.252.8110. Call us, Birmingham!
- To minimize the damage, make sure to shut off the source of water and turn off the electricity. It is essential to remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and soaking up with towels. This is especially important for wood furniture.
- To ensure that more damage isn't sustained by the furniture make sure to try and move it, if safe to do so.
- Make sure to NOT enter a room with standing water since there could be a risk of electrical shock
- Make sure to disconnect all power first.
- It is recommended to NOT leave rugs and furniture upholstery wet against one another because the fabrics have the potential to bleed between each other.
- It is important to note that you should not be utilizing your household vacuum to try and suck up any water.
Salvaged Items After a Mold Damage
Did you know Mold can grow on more than just your walls?It can grow on a variety of items, from furniture to walls to wood and flooring. When it comes to mold cleaning, however, you may be surprised about the number of objects that can be salvaged when you know the steps for cleaning them properly.
1. Leather GoodsLeather bags, jackets, and other items may be salvageable if you remove them from the affected area quickly. Because mold tends to spread faster in areas with high humidity, you can perform mold remediation for these items by transferring them to a room that is cool and dry. Once the leather has dried, you can sponge the surface with diluted baby soap to wipe away visible mold. Suede goods may need to be treated by a mold cleanup and restoration company.
2. ClothingWhile not all clothing can recover from mold damage, you may be able to salvage some items. An Esporta Machine, which is designed to clean cotton clothing affected by mold, smoke, and other substances, can be effective in removing mold. You may be able to soak some fabrics in diluted vinegar to remove the mold, but this depends on how fragile the fabric is. Your restoration experts may able to advise you about other mold cleaning processes.
3. PaintingsPaintings affected by mold require special treatment. You may want to remove any wooden framing, as mold is attracted by wood fibers. Store the painting flat, away from humidity and sunlight, before contacting a professional artwork restoration company. Avoid bagging or sealing it in any kind of tight container, as this may create humid conditions that could encourage further mold growth.
What to do...When you find mold growth on your belongings, you may not know where to begin with mold cleaning. Contacting SERVPRO of Birmingham for removing your items from areas where mold is present. Our team can help you salvage irreplaceable items and proceed with the rest of the cleanup with confidence.
What Is In Your Water?
Did you know that the water either coming into your home or from your home due to busted pipes or leaks has what we call a “category”? When it comes to handling mitigation in your home it is better to allow the professionals at SERVPRO of Birmingham to deal with the emergency because you have to treat the water correctly to be safe. You never know what is either in your water or what the water has passed through to create contamination.
The information below explains the main types of water damage and could help you identify the problem quickly if it ever happens to you.
Category One: Clear Water
This water is the cleanest, most non-toxic form of water damage. It is potable water, perhaps directly from the tap. It is unlikely to cause you any harm, even if you are exposed for some time. Nevertheless, even clean flooding can lead to electrical and structural faults, so it is safer for you to call in the experts for repairs. Clean water comes from things like a broken water supply line, tub or sinks overflow with no contaminants, appliance malfunctions involving water-supply lines to name a few. However, once clean water leaves the exit point, it might not remain clean after contacting other surfaces or materials. Although it is considered the "safest" of the categories, it can degrade to category 2 or 3 if left untreated.
Category Two: Gray Water
Gray water damage is a little bit more serious and requires a speedier removal process. This is because it may contain potentially unsafe levels of chemicals, microorganisms, or dirt. Examples of Cat 2 water include, but are not limited to: overflow from dishwashers or washing machines; overflows from toilet bowls with urine; seepage due to hydrostatic pressure and broken aquariums.
If left untreated, it can quickly degrade into category 3.
Category Three: Black Water
Cat 3 water is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Cat 3 water can include, but are not limited to: sewage; toilet backflows from beyond the trap; flooding from seawater, rivers or streams, ground surface water, or other contaminated water entering the indoor environment.
The team at SERVPRO of Birmingham is skilled in the safe handling of the different categories through training and protective clothing to eliminate the risk of sickness.
4th of July Tips During The Pandemic
The 4th of July is just ahead, 4th of July in Birmingham, AL is always one of the cities favorite times. This is a time when people typically enjoy the summer holiday with backyard barbecues, fireworks booming over Vulcan, or water fun. But this year, celebrating Independence Day will be different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The American Red Cross offers safety tips you can follow.
If your community is reopening, know which precautions to take in public settings.
- Continue to social distance by staying 6 feet away from others, especially if you are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19 (over age 65 or any age with underlying medical conditions).
- Continue to wear cloth face coverings in public. Face coverings are most essential when social distancing is difficult.
- Follow guidelines for your area when it comes to how large gatherings can be. Avoid crowds and mass gatherings.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
- Stay home if you are sick.
While most kids love playing with fireworks, it is important to never toss or throw the fireworks at anyone. If dealing with fireworks, please consider the following safety tips and suggestions.
- Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
- Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
- Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
Grilling fires spark more than 10,000 home fires on average each year in the U.S. To avoid this:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Never grill indoors — not in the house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
- Make sure everyone, stays away from the grill, including children and pets.
- Keep the grill away from the house or anything that could catch fire.
- Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.
If you are choosing to build a bonfire this weekend make sure that you are using only dry material and make sure that all debris is at least 10 feet away. When you are finished ensure that you extinguish the fire, pour water on all embers until the hissing sounds stop. Always keep a fire extinguisher close by when having bonfires or grills going so you can keep any fire damage from spreading in the case of an emergency. If you do have a fire damage know that SERVPRO of Birmingham is a call and ready throughout the entire Holiday weekend! We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and/or smoke damage. We will ensure the highest care to get you back to celebrating the Freedom we have so graciously been given.
We at SERVPRO of Birmingham hope these tips will help you have a fun and safe holiday! Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us, Birmingham at 205.252.8110
Home Fire Pit Tips
Here in Birmingham, AL its a tradition to enjoy the cooler nights outside around a homemade fire pit! Many of us are looking forward to spending time gathering around them to enjoy time with family and friends. Before you start dreaming of moonlit nights and toasted marshmallows, take a moment to check out some of these tips from Allstate to remember.
Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips:
- Whether you prefer a built-in or portable fire pit, choose one that is not too large for the area. The pit should be a minimum of 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials as well as away from trees, fences, sheds, power lines, and telephone wires.
- Make sure that the seating area is large enough and properly placed for comfort and ventilation.
- Check wind direction before lighting a fire.
- Don’t use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
- To start the fire, use a lighter to ignite crumpled pieces of paper covered with small sticks. Then, add larger sticks and a log or two to keep it burning.
- Burn only dry material. Damp material will create excess smoke.
- Don’t wear flammable clothing (like nylon) or any loose-fitting clothing.
- Never leave the fire unattended, and keep pets and children far away from the fire as they will be attracted to it.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket of water nearby.
- As the fire dies down, use a shovel and spread out the ashes to allow them to cool down. Then slowly pour water over those ashes and watch them closely to be sure that no burning embers remain or reignite. Put the cooled ashes in a specially designated ash storage metal can.