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Smoke Damage is as Dangerous as Fire Damage

12/24/2015 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke Damage is as Dangerous as Fire Damage Smoke caused extensive damage in this room, even though the actual fire never touched this area.

In a typical house fire, more damage is caused by smoke than by the actual flames.  During a fire, the materials that burn produce toxic smoke that is actually filled with microscopic particles known as soot.  These tiny particles become charged from the extreme heat and migrate to cooler air found in other parts of the house.  Because this smoke is often extremely hot, it can cause additional damage away from the actual source of the fire by melting plastics, scorching fabrics and textiles and spreading toxic gasses that will literally kill any living thing in its path.  That’s why smoke alarms throughout your home are critical to saving lives.

The Department of Homeland Security says “In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames. Most deadly fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won't have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape.”

At SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe, our trained specialists know how to restore your belongings after a house fire.  We hope you never need our services but if you do, we will help you determine what can be restored and what needs to be replaced.  Restoring smoke and fire damaged items costs less than replacing them.  Having your belongings restored, especially items of sentimental value, helps most families recover from the trauma of a fire more quickly than otherwise possible.

Again, we hope you never need these expert services but if you do, call us at (318) 345-5121 or visit us on the web at www.SERVPROmonroewestmonroe.com.   We have helped hundreds of families recover from house fire damages. 

House Fire Season? Not When It's Your Home!

12/24/2015 (Permalink)

Fire Damage House Fire Season?  Not When It's Your Home! This fire started in the overnight hours. The family had established escape routes so all adults and children escaped unharmed.

We often hear about a particular time of the year as being the “season for house fires,” meaning house fire disasters are on the rise from that month forward.  It is usually associated with colder weather when we start to use more home heating.  When it comes to your home, however, there is no “season” for a fire.  It can strike at any time.  The sad fact is that 2,500 people will be killed in fires over the next year.  13,000 people will suffer serious injuries related to fires and the loss of property – in terms of real dollars – will be more than $7 Billion!

SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe provides expert restoration services if you have experienced a house fire.  If that is your situation now, please call (318) 345-5121 so we can begin restoring your home.  The residue left from a fire, known as soot, presents hidden dangers if not properly removed from your home and your possessions.  Soot is acidic in nature and within hours to days, it will begin to decay or even destroy whatever surface it comes in contact with.

Our homes are a collection of different types of materials, all of which represent unique risks once they have been exposed to the heat from a fire.  The structure itself is composed of wood and sheetrock.  Electrical wiring is wrapped with plastics and rubber.  Insulation is found in attics and behind walls.  Floors are made of wooden materials that have been coated with chemicals to preserve their beauty, or covered with synthetic materials found in carpets.  Each presents its own set of risks.  The water used to extinguish the fire also presents a different set of problems for furniture that comes in contact with it and personal belongings left on floors. 

SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe technicians are trained to determine what can be salvaged and what needs to be discarded.  Each home contains items of sentimental value like pictures and heirlooms.  Until help arrives, pictures need to be removed from glass frames as quickly as possible so they can dry unless they have become stuck to the glass.  Valuable items like jewelry, weapons, ammunition, financial papers and other personal items should be removed from the home for safe keeping. 

Our restoration specialists treat the damaged contents of your home with the utmost respect and care.  Once cleaned and restored, we will safely store your property until your home is ready for your return.  Our job is to make your loss “Like it never even happened.” 

We have helped hundreds of families recover from house fire damages.  Visit our website for information on how we can restore your property at www.SERVPROmonroewestmonroe.com.

Water Damage: The Science of Drying - Part II

12/24/2015 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage:  The Science of Drying - Part II A Hygrometer reads humidity levels providing important information when answering "Is It Drying," and "Is It Dry."

When the expert water technicians from SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe begin drying your home after a water disaster, we have already answered two very important questions:  “What is Wet” and “How Wet Is It.” We have discussed these questions in an earlier post.  The answers to those questions allow us to develop a specific plan of action to begin the drying process.  That plan tells us how much temporary drying equipment is needed in the affected areas and where that equipment needs to be installed.  

Once drying equipment is installed and operating, the next phase of drying your home begins.  Like the initial assessment, there are two questions that must be properly answered before our job is complete.  Those questions are, “Is It Drying?” and “Is It Dry?”

Under ideal circumstances, drying your home can take several days.  The different materials impacted by water damage in your home have unique drying characteristics.  The metering equipment that tells us what is wet also tells us how much these materials have dried.  Proper drying techniques include temperature management, air movement and dehumidification.  Temperature (heat) brings moisture to the surface.  Air movement removes (evaporates) moisture from the surface.  Dehumidification removes the evaporated moisture from the air while supplying a sufficient amount of dry heated air to keep the cycle going.  This on-going process lets us answer the question, “Is It Drying.”

The final question, “Is It Dry,” is answered when moisture and other measurements taken from the areas initially impacted by the water damage closely match the readings from areas that remained dry.  In our initial assessment, and throughout the drying process, we take moisture measurements from an area within your home that was unaffected by the water leak and use those measurements as our “drying standard.”  In its simplest terms, when our wet-area measurements closely match the dry-area measurements, we can conclude your home is dry.

At SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe, we provide emergency water disaster services.  These are the questions we know how to answer to get your home dry and keep your environment safe.  We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (318) 345-5121.  We know how to properly assess water damages and develop and execute a plan of action in our efforts to make your loss “Like It Never Even Happened.”

Water Damage: The Science of Drying - Part I

12/24/2015 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage:  The Science of Drying - Part I A Moisture Meter helps determine water concentration levels. It is one of the tools we use to determine "What is Wet" and "How Wet Is It."

When the expert water technicians from SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe enter your home after a water disaster, we have two very important questions that we must answer before drying equipment is installed.  The first question is “What is Wet?”  The question sounds simple enough but the answer is often more complicated.  Standing water is obvious but it almost always means that hidden cavities of water exist that must also be found.  These hidden areas can be found under cabinets or laminated flooring.  Water can also seep under tile floors or hardwoods.  Beyond the floors, water often rests inside walls and insulation and can move to adjoining rooms.  Determining “What is Wet” is one of the most important questions we must answer.

The second question in our damage assessment is “How Wet Is It?”  Water found under cabinets or inside walls can cause extensive damage if left untreated.  Wood will warp, wet sheetrock will lose its strength and insulation can absorb large amounts of water.  To answer the question “How Wet Is It,” we use sophisticated metering equipment that can measure moisture levels in areas that are out of site.  We may also use a special camera capable of reading temperature variations within walls or ceilings or even in the foundation to answer this critical question.

At SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe, we provide emergency water disaster services.  These are some of the questions we know how to answer to get your home dry and keep your environment safe.  We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (318) 345-5121.  We know how to properly assess water damages and answering these critical questions lets us develop and execute a plan of action in our efforts to make your loss “Like it never even happened.”

Emergency Steps for Minimizing Water Damages at Home

12/24/2015 (Permalink)

Water Damage Emergency Steps for Minimizing Water Damages at Home Main Water Shut-Off is usually located near the street edge of your property.

If you discover a water leak in your home, the first few minutes are critical.  The top priority is to avoid panic and focus on getting the source of the water stopped.  The most common water leaks in a home or apartment can be traced to the kitchen or a bathroom. 

All common water supplies in a home have a cut-off valve nearby and all valves can be turned off with a clockwise turn.  If the source of the leak is your washing machine, the valves to turn off the flow are located behind the machine.  Do not disconnect the hoses.  Instead, turn off the water flow where the hoses are connected in the wall. 

In the kitchen, you will find shut-off values for the faucets under the sink.  This is also where you will most likely find the shut-off valve for an ice maker, if your freezer is equipped with one.  The valve that controls your sink is, in most cases, the same valve that provides flow to your dishwasher.  In a bathroom, cutoff valves are below the sink and may be within a sink cabinet if you have one.  The supply line for the toilet is commonly located under and behind the seat. 

A water tank can also be the source of your leak.  If it is a gas tank, turn off the gas supply first then turn off the water.  The water supply valve is usually located near or above the top of the tank.

Stopping the leak at its source as quickly as possible will minimize damage to cabinets, floors and walls.  Within a single minute, several of gallons of water can flow into your home and saturate anything in its path, including adjacent rooms. 

Some leaks cannot be stopped with an inside valve so the water supply to your house has to be interrupted.  Lines carrying water into your home come from a main line outside that can usually be found close to the street where your water meter is located. 

At SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe, we are experts at mitigating water damages.  Our emergency services include extraction, removal of damaged debris, getting your home dry and providing you with the information and services you need to make water damage “Like it never rven happened.”  Call us at (318) 345-5121 or visit us on the web at www.SERVPROmonroewestmonroe.com.

Staying Safe During Floods

12/24/2015 (Permalink)

Water Damage Staying Safe During Floods Dangerous residential flooding from 2010. Photo courtesy FEMA.

Because of our location as a gulf state, Louisiana residents are especially prone to damage caused by floods.  Flooding can be common during the hurricane season but unusual weather patterns can also bring unexpected flooding of the type we have witnessed in our state over the last few years.

If your home has flooded, it is important to conduct a list of safety checks before returning inside.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development has produced an in-depth document outlining these safety steps.  They include:

  • Checking the roof for dips across the surface
  • Checking external walls to determine if they are no longer plum
  • Checking the foundation from the outside to see if it has been damaged
  • Making sure electricity and gas have been shut off

Once inside, there can be multiple safety hazards and threats.  The presence of mold is a real possibility and a valid concern for your personal safety.  If you have an older home, there is also the risk of lead or asbestos contamination.  Flood water contains multiple health hazards and just because the visible water is gone, it doesn’t mean the contaminants are no longer a threat.

That burning desire to check your home after major water damage is natural but even a few minutes inside could be bad for your health.  At SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe, we provide emergency water disaster services.  We have given our mitigation specialists extensive training for safely entering this type of dangerous environment and for getting the remediation process started.  It is our hope you never have to experience this type of natural disaster or other types of water damages but if you do, we are a phone call away at (318) 345-5121 and are always ready to help.

Water Damage Concerns in an Historic Structure

12/24/2015 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage Concerns in an Historic Structure SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe on the site of historic Washington Plaza in Monroe, LA. Insert shows extent of water damage.

Washington Plaza is an historic structure in downtown Monroe.  It is a picturesque and popular location for business professionals with office spaces, restaurants and other amenities.  It is not only a work destination for Monroe’s professional community, it is also a destination for entertaining clients and guests.

A recent work-week began as anything but normal.  On Monday, December 14, 2015, workers arrived to find 40-plus offices flooded with up to three inches of water.  A supply line in the boiler room had ruptured. 

Water losses in commercial properties present unique challenges to restoration companies.  Interior brick and mortar walls are part of the charm identified with Washington Plaza but drying those materials requires an expert team of restoration specialists with adequate and proper equipment. 

SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe answered the call that Monday morning and had removed the obvious water by that afternoon so additional drying could begin.  Special attention was given to the unique aspects of the building while at the same time, recognizing that businesses needed to get back to normal as quickly as possible without additional delay or interruptions.

We specialize in recognizing the needs of our customers, whether they call us from their places or work or from their homes. SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe has served and been a part of this community for 20 years.  It’s our home too.

Water Damage Emergency Services Within a Large Corporation

12/24/2015 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage Emergency Services Within a Large Corporation SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe Crews at CenturyLink Corporate Headquarters

CenturyLink is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States with its corporate headquarters located in Monroe.  For more than a half-century, CenturyLink has enjoyed exceptional growth and with that growth, it has expanded its contingency plans for every type of emergency that can impact its operations and its customers.

When a sprinkler line ruptured in its Monroe Headquarters in the pre-dawn hours of December 13, 2015, an emergency response plan was put into action that included calling SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe for help.  A full team of SERVPRO® emergency response technicians was on site and extracting water in just over two hours after the initial call.  A total of 25-thousand square feet of office space was impacted but by mid-morning, SERVRO® had removed all the obvious water and had installed drying equipment to remove what remained. 

Because CenturyLink had an emergency response plan in place long before the emergency, its team knew what to do during those critical early moments and who to call for expert help.  After four days, the building was dry, the emergency equipment was removed and a major disaster was averted.

SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe is ready to respond to water damage in your home or business regardless of the size of the loss.  We thank CenturyLink for allowing us to help and for its rapid – and planned – response.  You don’t have to be a telecommunications giant to have an emergency plan in place.  We can help you create a plan for your business at no charge.  To find out more, call us at (318) 345-5121 or follow this link.

Calvin Blunt: SERVPRO® Quality

12/4/2015 (Permalink)

Water Damage Calvin Blunt:  SERVPRO® Quality Calvin Blunt, SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe Water Crew Chief, with his newly equipped service van.

Calvin Blunt, crew chief at SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe, is a valuable leader in our team of expert water mitigation and fire restoration technicians.  When we receive a call about water damage, like a flooded home or business, a ruptured water supply line, or other types of water damages, we do our best to put Calvin on the job.

In recognition of his years of experience, his professional training and his outstanding reputation for providing excellent customer service, we have presented Calvin with his own water damage response van.  In his lead role in water mitigation claims, Calvin will take this custom-equipped van to every claim he works.  It has been supplied with the latest electronic tools for determining the extent of the water damage and is also equipped with sufficient equipment to remove damaged items and begin the process of drying the home or business.

While we are happy to present Calvin with this special SERVPRO® van, we are equally excited for the customers of SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe in every part of Northeast Louisiana and Southeast Arkansas.  We want our customers to have the best, and with Calvin on the job, we know that is exactly what they will get.

Electronics Restoration Saves $$$

12/3/2015 (Permalink)

Cleaning Electronics Restoration Saves $$$ Restoring fire-damaged large-screen television in the Electronics Restoration cleaning room at SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe

At SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe, our Electronics Restoration Division offers professional electronics evaluation and restoration services designed to reduce growing claims cost associated with today's electronics-laden households.

From drying water-impacted and water damaged devises, to cleaning and deodorizing electronics affected by fire damage, smoke damage and soot, to evaluation of AC-powered items following a lightening strike or power surge, our ElectroClean™ certified restoration specialists can handle all of your electronics restoration needs.

Our three-tier data recovery system allows us to recover and preserve valuable data from damaged computers and damaged laptops.  With automated inventory, adjuster and pricing reports, our specialized inventory control system enables us to maintain meaningful communication with customers and insurance claims professionals.

A member of the Certified Electronics Restoration Network, SERVPRO® of Monroe/West Monroe's proprietary restoration techniques and equipment allows us to satisfy our customer's electronics restoration needs at an impressive 92.7% success rate at a cost that averages 20.3% of the replacement cost.