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Hurricane Safety Tips

1/10/2023 (Permalink)

White van driving through flooded street Never drive through a flooded street.

Hurricanes are dangerous for everyone, but older adults, in particular, need to take extra precautions to stay safe during a storm. If you live in an area that experiences hurricanes or tropical storms, it's important that you prepare before disaster strikes. This can help keep both your home and your health protected when bad weather hits!

Avoid Flooded Areas

To keep yourself safe, avoid areas where flood waters have risen significantly. Flood water may be contaminated with sewage and other hazardous materials like oil. It can also sweep you away if it’s moving quickly.

Follow Evacuation Instructions

Evacuation instructions will be given by local authorities. If you are told to evacuate, follow those instructions and go to a safe location. If you have pets, make sure they are with you in the car or escape vehicle of your choice. If you have elderly or disabled family members who cannot travel on their own, get them to a safe place as well.

If an evacuation order is given, do not delay! Everyone should leave as soon as possible because delays could put lives at risk.

Know Your Area’s Risk

You should know the risk of floods and landslides in your area. These natural disasters can be very dangerous and cause damage to homes, roads and property.

Floods are often caused by heavy rain or snow melt, which causes rivers or streams to overflow their banks. Flooding can also occur when dams break, after earthquakes or during hurricanes. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has a "flood map" that shows areas at risk for flooding based on elevation above sea level and rainfall data from historical events. This map can help you determine if your home is at risk for flooding.

Plan and Practice

Know your area’s risk of floods and landslides. Know where you can go if you need to evacuate. Practice driving routes to your safe location. If possible, leave early enough that roads are less congested for other people who may be evacuating as well.

Prepare an Emergency Kit and Make a Family Communications Plan

To prepare for a hurricane or storm:

  • Make an emergency kit that includes a battery-powered radio, flashlight, first-aid kit, water (1 gallon per person per day,) non-perishable food, and extra batteries.
  • Get your car’s emergency kit out of the trunk and learn how to use it.
  • Make sure you have enough water, food and medication for your family.
  • Make plans for reuniting with your family after the storm if they are not at home.

Download the Emergency App

Download the emergency app to receive real-time alerts and information on severe weather in your area. You will need a data plan with your wireless carrier to use this app. Please check with your carrier for details on how much it will cost to add a new line or change your current plan. Make sure you have enough space on your phone for the app.

Do not Drive Around Barricades or Through Flooded Roads

As you are making your way through the storm and trying to stay safe, there are certain things you should not do. Do not drive around barricades or through flooded roads. If you encounter a barricade, do not try to drive around it. The police officers who placed these barricades there have done so to keep people out of danger.

Do not drive into water that is over your vehicle's fenders or deeper than 12 inches; if your car stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground before the water rises further. Do not attempt to cross bridges that have been flooded; instead take an alternate route until after heavy rains subside when these structures have had time to dry out and stabilize themselves against any possible collapse due to fractures in their foundations or structural integrity issues caused by flooding damage over time (which could happen during even small amounts of rainfall).

Preparation 

It is important that you become familiar with hurricanes to ensure your safety in the event of one hitting your location.

Preparing for a hurricane:

  • Install hurricane shutters on windows and doors. In some cases, these can be purchased from stores that sell storm-related products. If you are unable to find them in stores, they can also be found online or purchased from a local contractor who specializes in installing them for homes and businesses.
  • Fill any containers with water (buckets, trash cans) so that you have access to clean drinking water if needed during or after an emergency situation like a hurricane strike. Keep them stored away from windows where rain could enter into these containers and contaminate whatever water remains inside once it rains heavily during landfall season (June through November).

It's also smart not only because it makes sense but because locals know how dangerous it can get when there's no power available -- especially in places where temperatures rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit!

We hope that you have learned a lot from these tips. We want everyone to be safe in the event of a hurricane, but we also know that it is important for people to take action on their own behalf. The more prepared you are, the better off you are going to be when something like this happens.

What Is The Difference Between Mold and Mildew?

12/7/2022 (Permalink)

Plant with mildew Mold and mildew grow on plants

Mold and Mildew – What’s the difference?

Mold and mildew are both types of fungus that grow on the surfaces of your home, but there are a few key differences between the two. While mold grows from moisture and thrives in dark, damp places, mildew loves light and humidity. Here are some tips for identifying these common household pests and getting rid of them.

What is Mold?

Mold is a fungus that grows in damp places. It's usually black, green, or brown. Mold can grow on food, in your home, and even on furniture and clothing. If you have it on any of these things, you should call a professional immediately so that it doesn't get worse!

What is Mildew?

Mildew is a type of fungus that can grow on many different surfaces, also including fabrics, food products, and plant leaves. While mildew looks similar to mold in some cases (it can be white or gray), there are some key differences between the two that help you determine whether you're dealing with mold or mildew.

Mildew grows in moist areas and can appear as a powdery substance on surfaces like shower curtains or tiles. If left untreated for too long, it will start to smell bad and damage your belongings. To prevent this from happening to your home's valuables like furniture or clothing items:

  • Avoid storing damp items together in one place (e.g., towels next to swimsuits)
  • Clean up spills immediately so they don't get wet again later

What is the difference between mold and mildew? 

Mold and mildew are both fungi, but they are different from each other in many ways. Mold is a type of fungus with hyphae, whereas mildew is a type of fungus with spores. These differences can make it difficult for people to tell the difference between mold and mildew. Both types of fungi grow on plants as well as in homes and buildings where there is moisture present (i.e., humidity).

How to Get Rid of Mold and Mildew in Your Home

If you have mold and mildew in your home, the first step is to get rid of it. To do this, you should use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels in the air, which will prevent future growth. If you don't want to spend money on a full-size unit for your entire house (which can be expensive), try investing in one that's designed specifically for small spaces like bathrooms or closets. There are also smaller versions available so you can put them wherever they fit best.

The best step to take if you discover mold growth in your home is to call a certified mold remediation specialist, such as SERVPRO of Jacksonville South. They can take care of any size mold remediation necessary or give you tips on how to take care of your mold growth on your own if the mold growth isn’t too serious. 

How to Prevent Mold Growth and Mildew 

You can prevent mold growth by keeping the humidity level in your home around 50% and ventilating the house. This is especially important if you have a basement or crawlspace, as these areas are usually damp.

Keep your house clean by cleaning up spills immediately and removing any mold or mildew you see growing.

If you find yourself with an infestation of mold or mildew, it may be best to hire professionals who know how to properly remove it so that they don't cause further damage to your home during the process.

The difference between mold and mildew is that mold is a fungus that grows on damp or wet surfaces, while mildew is a type of fungus that grows on dry surfaces. Both are unsightly and can be dangerous to the structure and belongings of your home if you don't take care of them quickly. 

Water Damage Tips

11/1/2022 (Permalink)

Mold growth on a wall due to humidity Mold is a common problem after water damage.

6 Water Damage Restoration Tips Everyone Should Know

Water damage is a serious issue that can significantly impact your property, safety, and finances. It is important to know how to deal with water damage in order to limit the damage it does and get your home back in shape quickly. Often times people underestimate the extent of water damage and then end up spending thousands more than they would have if they called a professional restoration company right away. Here are six water damage tips everyone should know:

Do not wait to call a professional

Do not wait to call a professional. If you don’t, you could be left with a host of problems that will cost you more money and time than if you had called a water damage restoration company right away. Water damage can cause serious problems, mold growth, structural damage, and electrical issues as well as fire hazards and other concerns for your family members.

Shut off the power

Shut off the power (only if it is safe to do so). If you don’t know how to turn off the water or gas, call a professional. Using your electrical equipment after a water loss can be dangerous.

If you see any smoke or fire, shut off all utilities and leave the house immediately.

Inspect for Mold

Mold is a common problem after water damage. It can grow in as little as 48 hours, and it can cause serious problems. If you allow mold to grow and spread, it can cause significant damage to your home that takes time and money to remediate. 

Mold spores are usually found on organic matter like wood or paper products that have gotten wet recently (like from a leak). These spores propagate when they come in contact with moisture and create more mold colonies.

Dry Water Out

The third step in water damage restoration is to dry the area. To do this, you'll need to remove excess water from your home or business.

  • Use fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the area as quickly as possible.
  • If a wet/dry vacuum is available, use it to remove standing water.

Remove Damaged Materials

The next step is to remove any damaged materials. If you have water damage, you will want to take care of this as soon as possible. Materials, such as insulation and carpets, that have been affected by the water loss need to be disposed of. Failing to remove damaged materials can cause even more damage to your home.

Some materials can be repaired, but it is important that you allow the professionals to conduct the repairs and disinfection to ensure that it is clean and safe to bring back into your home.

Disinfect Remaining Areas

Lastly, it is important to disinfect the remaining areas. Depending on the type of water damage that you have experienced, your property can be covered in bacteria and viruses. To keep yourself and others on your property safe, it is important to disinfect the remaining areas. Disinfection can also prevent mold growth.

Water damage recovery is best done by professional restoration companies

In the aftermath of a water damage event, you’re likely to be feeling stressed and overwhelmed. The last thing you want to worry about is how to effectively repair the damage and restore your home back to its normal state.

Even if the damage is not too severe and you think you can handle it yourself, remember that water damage restoration requires special equipment and expertise. You should always call a professional when dealing with such a serious matter. Our SERVPRO of Jacksonville South team is always here to help!

How Much Revenue Can I lose After a Fire?

10/8/2022 (Permalink)

Visible damage to a commercial building following a structure fire Commercial fire damage in Jacksonville, FL.

How Much Income Can I Lose Following a Fire?

After a fire, you need to make sure that your business is able to get back on its feet as soon as possible. This means making sure that you have the right insurance coverage in place and that a highly trained and experienced restoration company is onsite as quickly as possible. If you don't have the right coverage in place, it can lead to long-term consequences for your business.

Fire damage can lead to severe income loss.

Fire damage can lead to severe income loss and may even put you out of business. The time it takes to recover depends on the extent of the damage, but with proper management and planning, you can get back on track in no time.

How much time does it take for a business to recover financially after fire damage?

Your insurance company should have an estimate for how long it will take for you to get back on your feet financially after a fire. They do this by estimating how much revenue can be lost due to downtime and lost profits during that time period. 

How much revenue can I lose after a fire?

This is where things get tricky because we all know different industries will experience different levels of loss following the incident. If there's $1 million worth of property damage but only 30 days' loss in normal operations - then this could mean over $2 million dollars in damages overall!

Business income coverage addresses the revenue you lose from a fire.

Business income coverage is a form of property insurance that provides protection for business owners against the loss of revenue they might incur after a fire. These policies can help with operational expenses and repairs to your property, which means you won't have to take so much out of your bank account every month.

Your business insurance can help you continue operations in case of fire damage.

When your business is impacted by fire damage, you need to ensure that your financial needs are met. This type of coverage can help with the cost of cleanup and repairs, lost income, lost business records and inventory.

While a fire can be devastating, it's important to know that you can get back on your feet with the right insurance policies and the right restoration company helping you out.

The business interruption coverage option may help you continue operations after a fire. This policy pays for lost revenue if damaged inventory or equipment prevents you from opening your doors as usual. The good news is that business interruption coverage covers many kinds of losses and allows you to stay open for as long as possible after suffering from fire damage.

If your business suffers a fire, you may be able to recover some of the revenue losses with this kind of coverage. In any case, it’s important to have a good understanding of what your insurance will cover and how much you can expect to get back after a fire. If you are in need of fire damage cleanup and restoration services in Jacksonville, FL, don't hesitate and give our SERVPRO team a call today!

The Dirty Dozen: Black Water Facts

8/28/2022 (Permalink)

wet carpet, flooded building Flood damage to a building in Jacksonville, FL.

What Is Black Water and How To Treat It

A severe flood occurs in Jacksonville, FL, causing water damage to your commercial property. You contact your insurance agent and a storm restoration specialist. At this point, the experts inform you that the flooding consists of black water. What does this mean? Review the twelve facts below to learn about this type of water and how it is treated.

1. Blackwater is considered Category 3 water damage. Category 1 is clean water and Category 2 is gray water.

2. The color categories refer to contamination levels. Black is considered the most contaminated as it contains viruses, bacteria and microorganisms.

3. The source is important to differentiate between the levels. The most contaminated water comes from floodwaters or sewage backups.

4. Contaminated water may be hazardous to your health. Do not touch or ingest this water. Viruses may also be airborne. Specialists wear protective gear during mitigation efforts.

5. Cleanup of this type takes the most time and effort. Due to the impact of bacteria, professionals take extra caution and measures during the recovery process.

6. Storm restoration technicians set a containment area. To prevent secondary contamination by floodwater or airborne germs, the impacted area is sealed off.

7. Contaminated water is pumped out. Industrial pumps and vacuums remove excess stormwater.

8. Impacted, porous materials are removed. Items such as drywall and carpet padding soak up the infected water and must be disposed of properly.

9. Remaining areas are professionally dried. Moisture is monitored and removed from structures, contents and air.

10. Once dry, exposed contents are cleaned and disinfected. This process kills remaining germs and mold.

11. Air filtration devices sanitize the air. This removes any lingering germs and odors.

12. Rebuilding and restoring take place. Your property can be properly restored.

When your commercial property falls victim to water damage in Jacksonville, FL, it is critical to act fast. This is especially true when flooding results from storm water. Although mitigating contaminated black water is time-consuming, the process can help restore your business to pre-storm condition.

Why You Should Not File an Insurance Claim After Every Water Loss

8/28/2022 (Permalink)

Home insurance claim form Before you make an insurance claim, you should check your policy

You may be tempted to file an insurance claim following any water damage to your Deerwood, FL, home. However, if you make too many claims over a short period of time, your insurance company may refuse to renew your policy. Excessive claims could also raise your insurance rates.

When Insurance Rates Increase

There are several factors that determine the rates you pay on your insurance policy. Obviously, if the damage to your property was the result of your negligence, the insurer will charge you more money in the future. Other circumstances that could cause your rates to rise include:

  • A high number of previous claims
  • A low credit rating
  • Frequent natural disasters near your home

The rate hike could be as much as 40 percent. This increase could stay in effect for several years.

When To File a Claim
Before you make an insurance claim, you should check your policy to see if filing such a claim will increase your rates. Ideally, you should understand the consequences of making a claim well before your next water emergency.
Since a large number of claims can hike your rates, you should avoid filing claims unless absolutely necessary. If your home only sustains minor flood damage, you can afford cleanup and restoration services without involving your insurance provider.
Filing claims for large disasters only can save you money, as well. Decide how much you can afford to spend on any one loss. You can then put that amount into a savings account and increase your deductible to that same number. The savings account can collect additional interest, and your higher deductible should reduce your rates.
Making an insurance claim can cause your bill to increase. You should thus only file a claim following a large home flood or similar disaster. Minor repairs should not cost you that much money, so save your insurance for the major restorations.

How Do Mold Inspections Help Determine Needed Remediation Work?

8/12/2022 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wall and ceiling When a mold infestation takes over your property call the experts at SERVPRO!

Professional Evaluations of Your Jacksonville Home Can Determine the Presence of Threatening Mold Colonies

The presence of mold in your Jacksonville home can be a threatening situation for those exposed, including your pets. While multiple signals can indicate the growth of mold, these are not always apparent. Musty odors and visible growth might not be overwhelming or even noticeable with the onset of microbial colonization, so if you suspect that mold might exist in your home, professional air sampling and environmental testing might be necessary.

Before you can begin on the remediation that your property might require, mold inspections in your Jacksonville house can determine the extent of the damage and how severe potential colonization has become. Air sampling is among the most common of the approaches for testing the concentrations of spores. A pump forces air through a collection device that traps any potential microbes and contaminants for later evaluation and testing in an off-site laboratory. Once mold has been confirmed, our SERVPRO team's remediation technicians can begin work on controlling these pressing concerns.

What Remediation Strategies Exist When Mold Gets Discovered?
Remediation is among the most challenging obstacles for a residence because mismanagement of the situation can allow for the organism to spread and affect more organic matter throughout the house. A rapid evaluation of the house's conditions and the respective remediation strategies necessary allows our technicians to get to work quickly on what must occur to protect the property and your personal belongings. Some of the common remediation tasks include:

    •    Abrasive Cleaning
    •    Antimicrobial Products
    •    Sanding
    •    Controlled Demolition

You might not always know when mold exists in your home. However, professional testing and evaluations of the property by competent technicians and mold hygienists available through our SERVPRO of Jacksonville South team can help.

What To Look for When Troubleshooting a Commercial Irrigation System

7/28/2022 (Permalink)

Broken sprinkler head A broken sprinkler head may be easier to fix than an electrical issue.

How to Troubleshoot a Commercial Irrigation System

A faulty sprinkler system can be a huge problem for your business in San Marco, FL. If sprinklers malfunction, they might spray excessive amounts of water in the area, which could disrupt business operations or even cause structural damage to the building.
If you see a problem in your building's irrigation system, you may not know how to find the source of the damage. Here are several things to look for when troubleshooting.

1. Electrical Issues in the Irrigation System
There are many electrical parts in the system that can be damaged, such as valves, solenoids, wires, and timers.

2. Broken Pipes and Sprinkler Parts
If someone steps on a sprinkler head and damages it, the sprinkler may start to malfunction. A broken sprinkler head may be easier to fix than an electrical issue.

3. Damage From Tree Roots
One of the common causes of pipe damage is pressure from tree root systems.

4. Stress From Traffic
Extensive foot traffic in the area over an irrigation system can create stress that damages pipes and supply lines. If this is an issue, you may need to evaluate the placement of the sprinkler system and how you might change it.

5. Evidence of Water Damage
If you see that standing water has leaked into a building or commercial structure, you should be wary of potential damage to the building's structures and mold growth. Even if you cannot see any flooding, there may be serious damage nonetheless. A large sprinkler leak can cause water to seep into the basement or the building's foundation.
If you suspect that there may be water damage, it is a good idea to reach out to a professional water restoration company. A team of professionals can help you assess the damage and prevent mold growth.
Looking for these common issues may help you diagnose irrigation problems. If you are unable to ascertain the source of damage yourself, seek professional help.

3 Requirements For Flood Damage Restoration

7/19/2022 (Permalink)

Water intrusion in a home Water intrusion after a storm in Baymeadws, FL.

Flood Damage Restoration

Flooding can introduce highly contaminated Category Three water into structures where it is likely to cause extensive primary and secondary damage. The cleaning requirements established by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, the certifying and standard-setting body of the restoration industry, are necessary to reduce the risk of fungal and microbial growth after a flood damages a residence in Baymeadows, FL.

1. Extraction

Restoration professionals must remove standing water prior to cleaning or attempting to restore materials or contents at a residence. These experts often use pumps. Depending on the portion of a home that is flooded, it may be possible to pump quickly. Otherwise, more gradual extraction will be necessary. It is crucial to allow the pressure on basement walls to gradually equalize to avoid structural damage.

2. Disinfection

Flood damage usually involves grossly contaminated Category Three water. Restoration specialists also refer to this type of water as black water. It may contain bacteria, chemicals, fungus spores, heavy metals, solid waste and other risky substances. One of the most important cleaning requirements involves using a flood disinfectant to prevent infection or mold growth.

3. Drying

It is essential to completely dry any part of a residence that has been exposed to water. Moisture and organic material combine to support many types of fungi. In addition to extracting water with a pump or wet vac, flood clean specialists may also recommend the use of a dehumidifier to lower relative indoor humidity levels to the range of 30 percent to 50 percent. Low humidity levels can inhibit mold growth.

Damage restoration professionals certified by the IICRC meet the cleaning requirements set forth in industry-leading standards. It can be challenging for non-professionals to properly clean up flood damage, but experts can use commercial-grade equipment and EPA-rated flood disinfectant to reduce the residual risks of storm or water damage at a residence in Baymeadows, FL.

Bathub Sewage 101

7/12/2022 (Permalink)

Overflowing water coming out a bathtub A sewer backup can be quite unpleasant - especially when it occurs in your bathtub.

Bathtub Sewage 101

A sewer backup can be quite unpleasant - especially when it occurs in your bathtub. If you are suffering from this type of sewage, you probably want to take care of the issue as soon as possible. However, there are times when it makes sense to fix the backup yourself and times when expert help is needed. Here’s how to figure out which situation you are dealing with.

Do-It-Yourself Scenarios

If the bathtub backup is small and did not cause extensive damage - and you have the proper protective gear and equipment - you can attempt to begin cleanup yourself. Here are some tips to remember during the process:

  • If you are dealing with flooding, do not run your air conditioner or heating system.
  • Throw away any non-essential items ruined by the sewer backup and keep them away from clean areas.
  • Move clean items into a clean space as soon as possible.
  • Open your doors and windows if it is sunny and dry outside.
  • Try to learn techniques to prevent future backups, with or without professional assistance.

If you run into a bigger issue at any point during the cleanup, remember to call a plumber, cleanup service, or other professional for help.

Expert Help Scenarios

There are certain cases that call for professional assistance no matter what. If you are facing a huge flood, extensive damage, or a massive backup, a professional water damage restoration company in Jacksonville, FL, should be called to help with cleanup tasks. You may also need to talk to other experts to handle specific issues that arise.

Final Advice

When it comes to a sewer backup, you want to use all of the resources available to you to get your bathroom back in clean, usable shape as soon as possible. It can be hard to ask for help, but assistance and investment are both worth the end result of a safe and secure home.