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Advice on Fire Safety for Your Valuable Items

1/9/2023 (Permalink)

Smoke detector Install a working smoke detector

Advice on Fire Safety for Your Valuable Items

If you have valuable items in your home, you may be worried about what would happen to them in the event of a fire. It's only natural to want to protect your valuables against damage or loss, and there are steps that you can take to do just that. Here are some tips for protecting your home and possessions against fire damage.

Keep an Inventory

Keeping track of your valuables can be as simple or as detailed as you want it to be. If you're just starting out, take photos of all the items and save them in a folder on your computer or phone. Then, make a list of every item and include photos and serial numbers (if possible). This is especially important if any items were gifts from family members or friends—you'll want their sentimental value documented so that you don't lose track of who gave them to you.

You can also use spreadsheets for this process; some people find it easier or more fun to keep track of their stuff by using Excel or Google Sheets to create lists, categories, and checklists. Many apps exist that let users keep accurate records of their belongings; we recommend Evernote (which also offers two cents off per gallon when it's used at BP stations) because it lets users scan barcodes into the system so they don't have to type everything manually!

Make Sure Your Home is Protected From Fire

You can help your home protect you by taking the following steps:

  • Install a working smoke detector.
  • Have an escape plan in place and be sure to have a meeting place outside of the building.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher that suits your needs and stick it somewhere easy to reach in case of emergency, like near the kitchen or close to any pets' crates.
  • Keep a first aid kit handy for minor cuts, scrapes, burns and bruises that may result from firefighting activities.
  • Keep clutter under control in rooms where it collects (like closets) so that if there is an outbreak of flames due to an accident or lightning strike nearby, they will be able to move freely through areas without having too many obstacles blocking their way out through doorways--and away from danger!

Get Your Valuables Appraised

It is important to get an appraisal before a fire or other disaster. You will want to be able to discuss the value of your possessions with your insurance company so that you can receive proper coverage. If you hire a professional appraiser, they will be able to help determine the value of both individual items and collectibles as well as whole collections. You can also perform this task on your own if you are particularly knowledgeable about antiques and collectibles in general. It's never too early to start thinking about how best to prepare for disaster recovery!

Take Photos of Your Valuables

When you take photos of your valuables, it's not just about making sure that when you put down a book to go look something up online, that you don't forget what exactly made this book so precious to begin with. It's also about helping yourself remember the stories behind each item—and even more than that, it helps others understand why these things matter.

Store Your Important Documents Digitally

With traditional paper documents, you have a range of options for safety. You can store them in a fireproof safe, but that doesn't do you much good if they're destroyed by water or smoke, or if the safe itself is damaged. You could also store them in a secure cabinet with a lock, but this isn't always practical depending on where you live (for example, many apartments don't allow access to their cabinets).

If your documents are important enough to keep on paper rather than digitize them and save them online somewhere else (whether it's an online storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive), then one way to protect them from fire would be to scan or digitize the documents yourself. This way there is no worry about damage from water or smoke inhalation when taking out the saved files after a fire has been extinguished. 

Another option is using cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive which allows users easily share files between different devices without needing any technical knowledge whatsoever! This means once something gets uploaded onto these platforms they're automatically backed up elsewhere so even if something happens at home then someone else could get access via another device anywhere else around the world.

Keep Valuables in a Safe Place

It is important to keep your jewelry and other valuables in a safe place. To ensure that they are protected from both fire and water damage, consider storing them in a safe or drawer.

Keep your valuables away from fireplaces and radiators, as well as windows, doors, and vents. If you have children at home who might be tempted to play with these items when they're not supervised, it's best if you store them out of reach or lock them up somewhere only an adult can access them.

A Few Steps to Take Now

A fire can be devastating, and it's important to take the steps necessary to protect your valuables.

  • Make sure your valuables are insured. If you don't already have coverage, talk to your insurance provider about adding it as soon as possible. A good policy will cover lost items due to a fire, but only if they're properly protected beforehand.
  • Take photos of all of your possessions, including family heirlooms or sentimental items that might be harder for an insurer to value on their own (such as jewelry). Photos will help you remember what was lost in case there's any confusion later on down the road.

The best way to protect your valuables is by taking the steps as soon as possible and making sure that you have a plan in place for what happens if your home does catch on fire. If you don’t have insurance, then there are still things that can be done to minimize damage from fires such as keeping valuables out of reach of children or pets who could easily knock them over while playing around the house.

Can Your Water-Damaged Hardwood Floor be Saved?

12/1/2022 (Permalink)

Warped wood floor If your flooring is damaged by water damage call SERVPRO of Lacey.

Can Your Water-Damaged Hardwood Floor be Saved?

Water is one of the most common causes of damage to hardwood floors. However, it’s not always easy to tell if a water-damaged hardwood floor can be saved. The good news is that there are plenty of factors that will help you determine if your floor can be saved or not. In this blog post, we'll discuss where the water damage came from and what kind of floors might have been damaged by it so you can figure out your next steps for getting your home back in shape after a flood or leak!

Can You Save Your Laminate Flooring?

If your laminate flooring has been damaged by water, don't worry! It's not too late to repair it.

If you have a small amount of damage, simply wipe up any standing water and then use a mop to dry the area. If there is more extensive damage, you may need to remove the damaged pieces and replace them with new ones.

When replacing a piece of laminate flooring, make sure that you use a similar-sized piece from a similar brand and color. To match up the old pieces with their replacements, use an awl or other thin metal tool as a guide for your new pieces.

What About Your Engineered Wood Floors?

If your engineered wood floors are made from MDF or medium-density fiberboard, then they should be saved. These floors are extremely durable and can be sanded many times over. This is one of the reasons why they're so popular among homeowners who want to do-it-yourself flooring projects.

However, unlike hardwood floors that can be refinished with polyurethane and continue to look good for years afterwards, engineered wood flooring cannot take repeated coats of polyurethane. Instead, you'll need to apply a stain or finish that will penetrate into the fibers of the board itself and resist wearing away through friction.

How to Refinish Your Solid Hardwood Floor

If your hardwood floor is damaged beyond repair, you’ll need to remove the damaged wood and then refinish the entire floor.

To prepare for a refinishing project, you will have to remove all furniture and other items from the room. After removing all debris from the room, sweep up any remaining dust with an old broom handle or push broom attachment on your vacuum cleaner before beginning work on removing old finish from your solid hardwood flooring

Call A Professional

It’s often impossible to tell how much damage has been done until the water has been removed and the floor has dried. A professional will be able to assess your situation, determine what course of action is required, and recommend the best way for you to move forward.

In addition, a professional will know how best to remove all of the water from your flooring before it can cause any further damage. For example, if you try to use a vacuum or steam mop on your own—which are generally not recommended methods—you could risk scratching or damaging your hardwood floors instead of drying them properly. A professional will also be trained on how long they should wait between removing excess moisture from their floors and refinishing them so that they don’t warp because too much time has gone by between these steps.

Don’t be scared off by the thought of water damage to your flooring. With a little education and some expert help, you can save your floors and get them looking like new again.

How Do I Flush A Water Heater?

11/3/2022 (Permalink)

Water Heater Flushing a water heater is a process that takes time and patience.

How Do I Flush A Water Heater?

If you're like most people, the first time you ever flushed a water heater, it was because something went wrong. Maybe you left the faucet running and flooded your bathroom. Maybe you forgot to turn off a pipe after doing some plumbing work. Or maybe you got too excited about a new home improvement project only to find out that your water heater is actually smaller than expected. Regardless of the reason, here's what to do if you need to flush your water heater:

Before you being, turn the power off to the water heater.

To turn off the power, you need to turn off the breaker that supplies power to your water heater. You may have noticed this when you first turned on your circuit breakers after installing new electrical outlets or switches—there were two separate boxes next to each other, one labeled "power" and the other labeled with a number (e.g., 120V). This is because there are actually two different kinds of electricity: alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). AC flows back and forth between positive and negative while DC flows in one direction only.

This is an important step. Turning off the power ensures your safety and protects the machinery. 

Step 1: Turn off the water heater and water supply

The first thing to do is turn off the water heater and water supply.

To turn off a gas-powered water heater, you must first turn off its pilot light by pressing down on the knob until it clicks. Then, open up the gas valve cover and turn off any valves that are marked "gas" or "pilot." Finally, look for a lever that says "on/off," which should be located near where you turned off your pilot light. Push this lever towards you (so it is perpendicular to your main burner) in order to shut down your heating source entirely.

Next, you need to find out where your hot and cold water lines connect to your house's plumbing system so that they can be shut off confidently without causing damage or leaks anywhere else in your home's water system. This can vary depending on what kind of equipment was installed when they built out this part of their house - so don't worry if some connections are harder than others! Just keep trying different ones until something works! 

Step 2: Connect a garden hose to the drain valve.

You will need to have a garden hose long enough to reach all the way inside the drain valve. Attach the other end of your hose to your drain, and then turn on your water heater.

Step 3: Run hot water and open the drain valve.

Now, open the drain valve to let water out of the tank. The hot water will start flowing into your sink or tub and you'll be able to see if there are any problems with your heater as it empties. Be careful not to get burned by hot water!

Run hot water until the water coming out of the drain valve is clear and free of sediment. When you've flushed your tank well enough, turn off the tap at its end and close it back up again.

Step 4: Turn the water supply back on to flush the tank.

  • Turn the water supply back on.
  • Run water through the tank until you see it start to flow out of your faucet.
  • Close the drain valve (on older models, this is usually a large brass lever or knob) and fill up your tank with fresh water.

Step 5: Fill the tank and turn on the water heater.

Before you can turn the water heater on, you need to make sure that the tank is full of water. This will take some time, so be patient. When the tank is full, you can turn on the water heater.

Hopefully, we’ve given you a few ideas on how to flush your water heater. Remember that it is a process that takes time and patience, so don’t get frustrated if things don’t go according to plan at first! With enough practice and perseverance though, anyone can do this job themselves—and save money in the process.

Who should I call after a fire in my home?

10/4/2022 (Permalink)

Commercial fire If you have any questions about fire damage cleanup and restoration services, don’t hesitate and give our SERVPRO of Lacey team a call today.

Who Should I Call After A Fire In My Home?

After a home or building has been damaged by fire, the priority is to make it safe again. This means that the property owner will need to hire a mitigation & restoration company. It's not uncommon for these two companies to be different from one another, which adds more stress and confusion for homeowners. The good news is that there are companies out there that can do both phases of reconstruction (mitigation and reconstruction) in one seamless process!

Rebuilding a fire-damaged building is no easy task. 

Rebuilding a fire-damaged building is no easy task. In addition to all the general contractors, subcontractors, and materials needed, the property owner also needs to communicate with his or her insurance company, and insurance adjuster. These parties will be involved in determining whether or not it's possible to rebuild on your property after a fire. They may also be responsible for some of the decisions you make when it comes time to rebuild.

The loss has been devastating—but remember that you are not alone! 

Finding a "one-stop-shop" 

It can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster to have your home or business damaged by fire. When that happens, you'll want to make sure you're in good hands and get the best possible outcome for your situation.

In addition to finding a reliable contractor who will do quality work at an affordable price, it's also important to find someone who has experience working with insurance companies on claims like yours. Asking around among friends and family is another way of ensuring that you're getting honest feedback about potential contractors' abilities and character traits that may affect their performance as well as their reliability on future projects (like being clear when they report back after going out into the field).

SERVPRO of Lacey is a one-stop shop that can handle all the cleanup and restoration. Our team also works with your insurance company and takes care of the entire claims process from start to finish.

SERVPRO of Lacey offers mitigation and reconstruction services

Most people don't realize that a restoration company can also do the reconstruction of a damaged home or building. This is because many fire mitigation companies are also general contractors. They have experience in building construction and design, so they can do any type of work that needs to be done to repair or rebuild your home after it has been damaged by fire.

If you've experienced a fire, it can be a very stressful time. Finding the right people to help you through this process is crucial to getting your life back on track. If you have any questions or are in need of fire damage cleanup and restoration services, don’t hesitate and give our SERVPRO of Lacey team a call today. Our team is highly trained and experienced in residential and commercial fire damage cleanup and restoration and we offer our services around the clock, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

3 Tips for Handling an Overflowing Toilet

8/25/2022 (Permalink)

Toilet overflow If your toilet overflows is being caused by sewer damage.

What Do I Do If My Toilet Overflows?

Few things might cause more stress for you as a Tenino, WA, homeowner than an overflowing toilet. There are several reasons a toilet might flood, from a pipe clog to local sewer damage. No matter the cause, the resulting overflow can mean quite a mess. However, there are several actions you can take to reduce the risk of damage to your home until you can call a flood cleanup and restoration service to handle the worst of the problem.

1. Shut Off the Water Valve

If you can reach the toilet safely, locate the shutoff valve. It is usually on the back of the exterior tank, near the bottom. Turn the valve until the water flow stops. You can also take the top off the toilet tank and lift the float ball to stop the toilet from running.

2. Clear the Area

If the toilet overflow is being caused by sewer damage due to heavy rains or localized flooding, it is a good idea to clear the area and make it off limits until the cleanup crew arrives because the flood water likely contains contaminants that may harm people and pets. Do not let anyone touch the water with their bare hands and try to seal off the bathroom as best you can. Once you contain the flood as much as possible, call the sewage company to let them know what has happened.

3. Note What You See

It is best to leave the aftermath of a flooded toilet to your cleanup crew. However, it may help the flood techs if you can tell them how the flood occurred and what you noticed directly before and after the incident. Did the toilet overflow very suddenly or did it happen slowly? Did you notice any unusual sounds or odors emanating from the toilet before the flood? Letting your cleanup crew know about these details may help them handle the problem with more efficiency.

Sewer damage, clogged pipes, and other plumbing issues can all cause a toilet flood in your Tenino, WA, home. However, knowing how to stem the worst of the damage until help arrives can help you protect your home and family.

Tips for Making a Claim After a Fire

8/24/2022 (Permalink)

Home Insurance Claim form The insurance company is one of the first calls you make when a fire has destroyed your home.

After A Fire, Here Are Some Pointers On How To File A Claim

When a fire damages your home in Tenino, WA you may not be in the right frame of mind for making good decisions. The decisions you make regarding your fire insurance claim, however, can affect how much of the fire restoration is covered by your insurer. Here are three tips to help you think through the process rationally and hopefully get the settlement you need to restore your home.

1. Call Insurance Company

One of the first calls you make after a fire has ravaged your home is to the insurance company. Timely reporting is essential to getting your claim processed and approved. As soon as the company receives your call, an assessor can be sent to review the damage and substantiate your claim.

2. Call Professional Restorers

After a fire, your home is likely permeated with the odor of smoke and soot damage. Firefighters probably had to use a lot of water to put out the fire, resulting in water damage as well. Certified fire restoration specialists offer both smoke cleaning and water damage remediation to fix the problems in your home. They often offer board-up services to secure the house during the restoration process, and they can give you an estimate on what the repairs are going to cost, which can back up your claim with the insurance company.

3. Don't Touch Anything

Once you have made the necessary calls and the waiting begins, you may be tempted to start cleaning up the damage yourself. Fight the urge to do so. The insurance agent that comes to assess the damage needs to see it as it is, and without the knowledge and skills of the specialists, you may cause more damage. While you wait, it is a good idea to take pictures of the damage as long as it is safe to do so.

You may feel powerless when your home suffers fire damage. By calling the appropriate professionals and waiting on their guidance, however, you can speed up the fire restoration process.

SERVPRO Provides The Expertise To Help Manage Your Insurance Claim

8/15/2022 (Permalink)

Fire damage in a commercial building You may need to file an insurance claim for damages.

When a fire, flood, or another disaster leads to property damage or loss at your business in Olympia, WA, you may need to file an insurance claim for damages. SERVPRO disaster management professionals will handle the cleanup and gather and organize details to support your claim.

Documenting Your Claim

An insurance agent representing your insurance provider will require specific information to evaluate your claim. During the aftermath of a disaster, remembering to gather various details can be challenging. Fortunately, our field teams have experience gathering everything necessary to support your claim, including:

  • First Notice of Loss
  • Loss Photos
  • Loss Estimates
  • Restoration Estimates
  • Replacement Estimates

We inventory each of your items into an Excel spreadsheet, which we send to every claimant and their insurance agent.

Tracking Your Claim Through Electronic Records
Working with our experienced claims facilitators means that you and your insurance representative will always know your business's restoration status. Our Claims Information Center compiles electronic files for every job we undertake and updates them every step of the way. We include estimated completion dates and descriptions for additional services necessary to achieve the best possible results.

Accessing Your Claim Online
SERVPRO provides insurance adjusters and their clients with online access to every claim file. Adjusters can also get timely answers to their questions and compare our methods and costs to our competitors' to ensure we provide the best value.

Unparalleled Support
Our teams' full-service response to any disaster helps us stand as a leader in the restoration services industry. Our standards of excellence include using state-of-the-art technology to salvage and mitigate property damage. When necessary, our Resource Center recruits and vets industry partners who offer competitive pricing while maintaining our standards of excellence.

When you and your insurance agent need a trustworthy restoration service that goes the extra mile to manage and facilitate your insurance claim in  Olympia, WA, turn to SERVPRO.

Do You Have To Throw Away Contents That Have Been Mold Damaged?

7/25/2022 (Permalink)

Mold damage in a home Mold damage in Yelm, WA.

Every year in the U.S., floods cause around $8 billion in damages. Houses that flood not only have the floodwater disaster to deal with, it’s also normal to experience an explosion of black mold growth afterward. Mold cleaning in Yelm, WA, should be an expected part of the restoration process.

When it comes to contents, it’s often cheaper to throw away items with significant mold damage. However, if the items are valuable or sentimental, they’ll need to be cleaned by the experts – a complicated process requiring the right equipment and techniques.

Why Do Floods Cause Black Mold?

Mold is a natural substance that helps eat dead plants and animal matter. In the outdoors, it’s strongly controlled by good airflow and UV rays in sunlight. Indoors, it not only finds shade and restricted airflow, but it also has plenty of substances to feed on, such as

  • Paper
  • Some fabrics
  • Wood
  • Drywall

All it takes is a source of moisture. The leftover humidity after a flood is more than sufficient to require extensive mold cleaning throughout your house.

Can Mold Remediation Save Contents?

In many cases, yes. However, the process isn’t easy or cheap, especially with paperwork and photographs. The mold literally eats away at these materials as it grows. You need to call top mold remediation experts to respond immediately to your home.

The process starts by removing all the floodwater and excess humidity from your home as quickly as possible. Damaged paperwork should be put in the freezer until it can be processed. All food should be discarded and anything to be saved that has mold growing on it should be isolated.

What Else Can Be Saved?

A special device called an Esporta Machine can save paper, textiles, cardboard, and even stuffed animals in many (but not all) cases. Items that are special enough to save rather than replace can be restored through modern mold remediation methods. In some cases, insurance will even pay for it.

Mold cleaning is an intense process that can save many items. However, time is working against you, so call the experts quickly if you want to save both items and money!

Are My Flooded Electronics Salvageable?

7/15/2022 (Permalink)

Removed drywall after a flood Call a water removal company after a flood.

As a business owner in Olympia, WA, you may worry that flooded electronics caused by severe weather and faulty plumbing can make your valuable records inaccessible. Answers to the following questions determine if your equipment is salvageable after a flood.

Were Your Electronics Submerged?

When electronics spend any amount of time underwater, damage occurs quickly to parts, including:

  • Circuit boards
  • Lithium batteries
  • Monitors
  • Chips and memory cards

If devices, including computers, printers, and phones, are running while submerged, it is critical to shut off the main power supply before handling them to prevent electrocution. Submerged electronics are usually irreparable, making placement the only option.

Were Your Electronics Exposed To High Humidity?

Electronic damage can occur even when your equipment does not spend any time underwater. After a flood, contacting a flood restoration service to perform water extraction can prevent a dramatic rise in humidity. Moisture can cling to dust that collects within your electronic equipment to create a thick, muddy substance that reduces airflow, causing the device to overheat. Excessive heat causes computer motherboards and phone batteries to run slowly and inefficiently.
Electronics powered off while exposed to high humidity have the best chance for successful restoration; however, it is still worth attempting to clean and dry them if this is not the case. Experts who specialize in flooded electronics can do this if you do not feel comfortable handling devices yourself.

Was Water Dripping on Your Electronics?

Leaks are a common cause of flooded electronics in business offices. Leaks can expose devices to water with high concentrations of minerals, ions, or contaminants that can cause adverse effects by changing interior parts' conductivity. Attempts to dry your electronics do not guarantee their restoration, but doing so as soon as possible before corrosion sets will increase the chances of success.
If floods and leaks cause electronic damage at your business, a flood restoration company can coordinate your drying and repair efforts.

Odor Removal Following a Flood

7/8/2022 (Permalink)

Flooded commercial building Odor Removal Following a Flood

Cleaning Up After a Flood

Mold growth and sewage loss are severe complications following a septic system backup that causes a flood at your business in Olympia, WA. Although powerful water extraction methods can quickly dry your space, more drastic efforts are necessary for sanitization and odor removal.

Problems Following a Flood

Water that floods your business following a severe storm or plumbing damage requires careful handling because it may contain:

  • Salmonella
  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Sewage
  • Parasites

Flood water at your business requires prompt removal before mold problems develop. Mold spores that quickly spread through the air are not visible, but you can detect them in your building by the musty odor they produce. Fortunately, knowledgeable mold remediation professionals can undertake odor removal efforts that purify the air.

Odor Removal Methods

The first step toward eliminating the odor that follows a flood involves air filtration. This technique involves industrial-grade HEPA vacuums that capture microscopic spores in the air and prevents them from spreading.

Mold growth and other contaminants leave behind stubborn odors, but ozone generators provide one of the most effective treatments for removing them. This method involves introducing ozone molecules into the contaminated space. Ozone is an oxygen molecule that has three rather than two oxygen atoms. The third atom breaks away from the others, attaches itself to the atom producing the offensive odor, and neutralizes it.

It is necessary to evacuate the premises while ozone treatment is underway and until the oxygen molecules in the atmosphere return to their normal levels.

Air fogging is another method that involves heating a deodorizing solvent and releasing it into the atmosphere as a mist. It is particularly effective for accessing the difficult-to-reach areas behind walls, under floorboards or within upholstery fibers and leaves behind a pleasant odor.

Odor removal professionals have the knowledge and skills to address unpleasant odors resulting from mold growth and sewage loss following a flood from a septic system backup at your business in Olympia, WA.