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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Commercial Blog Posts

5 Tips for Recovering Water-Damaged Valuables

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

water damage on wooden floor, clear standing water on wooden floor. Water damage in Tenino, WA.

5 Tips for Recovering Water-Damaged Valuables

Water damage in the home can come from a variety of sources in Tenino, WA, ranging from storms and flooding to leaky appliances to even a broken pipe. Regardless of the cause of water in the home, the resulting harm to any cherished belongings can be devastating. This doesn’t necessarily mean family valuables are gone for good; in fact, it may be possible to save them by following these five tips:

1. Rinse wet items with clean water. This is done primarily to rid the item of any contaminants from the original water event. Try not to grind debris into the material. If silt or foreign matter needs to be removed, use a soft brush or damp cloth to dab clean.

2. Create airflow. Open windows, use fans and use dehumidifiers to begin the process of drying the room. Air conditioning can also help to move stagnant air. Increased ventilation can reduce the humidity and prevent the onset of mold.

3. Separate broken valuables from humidity. Repair of a damaged item should be delayed until all the pieces are dry and clean. Try to keep like-items together in labeled bins if necessary.

4. Dry clean or quickly dry organic material. Textiles and leather should be air-dried in order to prevent damage. Clothing garments that have become moldy most likely need professional dry cleaning to remove the mold and odor. Bedding can be dry cleaned to assure that mold growth is inhibited. Steam cleaning water-damaged clothes should remove any stains and unwanted scents.

5. Take extra care of paper products. Books, art, photographs and other documents should be handled with care and allowed to air dry. Use extreme consideration when separating wet pages. Avoid pulling apart photos that have become wet and stuck together; allow separation while immersed in clean water.

Historically valuable items are often the unfortunate casualties of unwanted water in the home. Contact a professional conservator to increase your chances of successful restoration.

Damage caused by water in the home can be a real setback for residents of Tenino, WA. By following these five steps, you can preserve your esteemed personal items, family heirlooms and other valuables.

How To Keep Your Rental Properties Free From Mold

7/26/2021 (Permalink)

ceiling affected with mold, mold spots on ceiling Mold damage on ceiling.

How to Keep Mold Out of Your Rental Properties

When you own a rental property in Olympia, WA, there are many things you may want to do before renting out an apartment or commercial space to a new tenant. Minor repairs and a new coat of paint may be the most visible improvements, but it’s also important to do regular checks to ensure that the space doesn’t need mold cleanup.

Mold comes in many varieties, and mold spores can grow wherever moisture is present, especially if an area isn’t well ventilated. It’s very important for landlords to check periodically for mold contamination and address any growth before it spreads. There are four main reasons that a rental property may need mold cleanup.

1. Storms and flooding can cause significant water damage. A thorough and immediate cleaning of any affected areas is crucial and may best be handled by a professional restoration specialist.

2. A leaky roof, damaged plumbing, or a broken appliance can bring unwanted water into a building, often in areas that cannot be seen. Landlords should make repairs as soon as they happen, then immediately dry and clean the affected areas, keeping them well ventilated to avoid mold contamination.

3. Clogged gutters and drain pipes may cause water to be misdirected into the building’s interior. Frequent gutter cleaning and tree trimming can help to prevent this problem.

4. Careless tenants may not be as exacting as you are about taking care of the space. Leaving wet towels on the floor or being inattentive to spills can create a breeding ground for mold growth. While this is not the landlord’s fault, owners can help deter such issues by checking the property periodically and informing new tenants of ways they can avoid the growth of mold spores.

Storms, water damage, clogs, and careless tenants cannot always be avoided. However, by making regular building checks and taking immediate action when mold cleanup is needed, landlords in Olympia, WA, can effectively prevent and address mold before it spreads.

Category 3: How Storm Water Gets Contaminated

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Entrance of a building flooded Flood water is considered Category 3 water.

Owning a commercial property in Lacey, WA means that occasionally, you may have to deal with storm damage. When flood water rises too high to keep it out of your building, it is important to call in expert mitigation services to fix the problem. Not only are these professionals certified to stop the problem from getting bigger, but they also know the proper precautions to take when dealing with contaminated water. Hiring professionals help keep you and your employees or tenants safe.

Contamination Categories

There are three categories of contamination that can be present when a building floods:

  • Category 1: Clean water from pipes or supply lines
  • Category 2: Gray water from dishwashers or washing machines
  • Category 3: Black water from sewers or flood water

The runoff from storms belongs in Category 3. It is not safe to ingest, as it likely contains bacteria and microbes. It is not advisable to let the water even touch your skin. Professional mitigation experts don protective gear before handling anything that has touched the water so that they are protected during the cleanup process.

How Storm Water Gets Contaminated

You may be wondering how rain can become contaminated. The water is contaminated as soon as it hits a surface. Buildings and the ground are infested with millions of types of bacteria or microbes, and all of them get swept up in waters from the flood. The sewer is also likely to back up if waters get too deep, causing further contamination. There is no such thing as clean storm water, so it's important to steer clear of it as much as possible when evacuating.

Flood water is considered Category 3 water, and that means that dealing with it is best left up to trained professionals. If your building is affected by storm flooding, make sure everyone is safely evacuated and let the experts do their job.

Does a Commercial Fire Always Require Water Cleanup?

4/20/2021 (Permalink)

Outside of a building structure has been damaged by fire, board up has been placed on windows and door Commercial fire damage in Lacey, WA.

When businesses in Lacey, WA, have a significant fire, the fire department is going to do whatever it takes to save lives and extinguish the flames. This often includes copious amounts of water – up to 20,000 gallons! Yet, even with small fires, you can expect a significant water cleanup.

Why Do Fire Departments Use Water?

There are four reasons most fires are put out with water:

  • Water is cheap.
  • Water is available everywhere.
  • Water is better for the environment.
  • Chemical retardants may leave a toxic residue.

With a large public water system already installed in populated areas, the infrastructure strongly favors using it. It’s also extremely adept at smothering fires and transferring the heat to steam.

So, What’s Wrong With Water?

The water is going to pick up nasty residue from the smoke. It carries this soot and oil all through a building, getting behind walls and into electrical systems and appliances.

It also damages everything porous that it touches, warping construction material and causing wood rot, which attracts insects. The water cleanup can be the most expensive part of a fire cleanup process.

Does Insurance Pay for Water Damage Repair?

Insurance companies realize that the benefits of putting out a fire quickly far outweigh the cost of cleaning up the water damage later. In the case of a fire cleanup, all the firefighting activities will be fully covered by standard commercial insurance policies.

How Do You Get Water Damage Repaired?

Once water damage gets into the sub-flooring or walls, you need a professional water damage restoration expert to inspect your business. When excess moisture gets behind walls, you can get toxic black mold growth, causing terrible odors and damage to the building. The smoke cleanup can also be very extensive, which can be done by your water damage experts. The preferred method is to restore items instead of replacing them. This dramatically speeds up the process and will substantially reduce your cost if you don’t have insurance.
Water cleanup can be a significant cost of a fire in your business. Of course, it’s always better than the alternative. Fortunately, the experts have years of experience dealing with the results of firefighting.

Avoid Mold Cross-Contamination Through Containment and a Professional Response

2/3/2021 (Permalink)

Mold Quarantine Mold remediation in Tenino, WA

Mold cleanup can be a particularly tricky task because of the potential for cross-contamination. This is especially troublesome if mold contamination has closed down part of the commercial property, and there's concern that other parts may get shut down as well. Sadly, when property owners turn to DIY cleanup efforts, spores are often transported to previously unaffected areas. Rather than risking the spread of spores, it's best to turn this task over to Tenino, WA, professionals.

The First Containment Efforts

When you first notice the mold problem, reach out to mold cleanup and remediation professionals. These technicians have the training, equipment, and necessary supplies to avoid spreading spores. As you wait for the professionals to arrive, there are a few steps you should take:

Cordon off the affected area. If possible, completely cut off access to the area. Closed doors may prevent spores from traveling beyond the area as well as discouraging people from walking through.
Limit traffic in and out of the contamination zone. Spores can easily travel outside of the affected area on shoes, clothing, or even a slight breeze.
Turn off the heating and cooling system. HVAC systems are efficient at providing ventilation, but they are equally efficient at housing and carrying mold spores throughout the entire building.

Once these steps are complete, it is safe to wait for cleanup technicians to arrive.

Professional Cleanup Methods
Technicians take further steps during cleanup to keep mold contained. These include wearing protective gear, such as boots, gloves, and filtration masks. If necessary, they will further seal off the affected room or rooms with plastic sheeting. Sometimes, exhaust fans are required to provide ventilation that only moves toward the exterior of the building. Technicians use airtight plastic bags for removing affected items and may create a decontamination zone.
Thorough mold cleanup requires swift containment efforts. It is also a project with the potential for many mistakes and should be turned over to professionals as soon as possible.

When Fire Damage Leads to Water Damage

1/2/2021 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a house Fire damage in Olympia, WA

The last thing you expect when your home catches fire in Olympia, WA, is to have to deal with water damage. However, when it comes to putting out a fire, it’s inevitable that your home will be deluged with water. Let’s take a look at the types of water damage, how it happens, and how it can be restored.

What Are the Types of Water Damage?

Water damage can take many forms. Standing water can soak into wood and tile to warp them and erode away at any sealants. Dripping water can leave stains and residue, and can cause paint to bubble and peel away. Water has the capacity to significantly weaken structural integrity, and a waterlogged, fire-damaged building is a particularly vulnerable one.

How Does Water Damage Happen?

Depending on the size of the blaze, it may take firefighters hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water to subdue the flames. While much of the water will evaporate on contact with the hottest areas of the fire, much more of it will puddle and pool in your home. These ashy pools may be left standing for some time until cleanup, soaking into the floors or dripping down the walls. Fire hoses also eject water at high velocity, and sheer impact can cause damage. 

Fire hoses aren’t the only culprits, though. Immediate damage during the fire can cause water pipes to burst, flooding areas of the home. Structural damage from the fire can also expose the house to the elements, allowing rain, sleet, and snow inside to cause further water damage.

How Do You Recover a Water-Damaged Home?

Water damage can be almost as difficult to recover from as fire damage, but it’s not without hope. You may have to strip out wallpaper and carpet, dispose of electronics, and discard furniture that absorbed water and cannot dry out. You may also hire trained professionals to restore your home to the best shape possible.

Creating a Fire Escape Plan in 7 Steps

12/28/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO trucks in our Olympia, WA parking lot We can handle any sized fire loss that may occur.

When a fire breaks out, it can cause chaos inside your business that only leads to the remediation professionals needing to clean up more damage. To avoid this, you want to follow these steps to create an outstanding fire escape plan.

1. Imagine Various Scenarios
The first step for creating your fire escape plan is to examine all of the potential threats and scenarios that could endanger your business in Olympia, WA. Consider where fires would start, how they would start, and what could happen at each location.

2. Establish Responsibilities
During a fire, your employees will look to their leaders to tell them what to do. Therefore, your fire escape plan should have a clear chain of command for emergencies.

3. Create a Communication Plan
Someone must be in charge of communication. Designate an employee responsible for calling the fire department and sharing information with employees, customers, the media, the community, organizational leaders, suppliers, transportation partners, and government officials.

4. Map Exit Routes
A good plan will include the primary and secondary exit routes. Establish these and then clearly mark them. Large buildings will require multiple maps throughout the office spaces.

5. Know Your Tools
Ensure that there are fire extinguishers and break out tools throughout the building. Then, regularly inspect them to keep them in working condition.

6. Rehearse Fire Evacuations
Fire drills should be a regular part of your business. This gives your employees practice and can help you ensure that your plans are working.

7. Adjust Plans As Necessary
As you run your fire drills, you will need to see how it flows for your employees. If you see room for improvement, adjust your plan to make it more efficient.
Whether you have a large or small business, having an emergency escape plan will help things go smoothly in the event of a fire. Following these steps will help you establish one that works for your company.

4 Steps to Minimize Water Damage to Wood Floors

11/8/2020 (Permalink)

Damaged wooden floor Damaged wooden floor

Four Steps That Can Minimize The Damage To Your Flooring

The beautiful wood floor in your Yelm, WA, home are resilient, but they have an arch enemy: water. In the event of a pipe burst, it may mean 100s of gallons of water penetrating into any cracks, broken seals or scratches. The longer that water sits, the higher the chance that you will need a water damage and restoration specialist to complete extensive repairs or replacement. The moment a moisture problem is discovered, the following four steps can minimize the damage to your flooring.

1. Remove Wet Objects
Any waterlogged items should be removed from the wet floor, such as rugs and furniture. If they are left in the affected area, gravity will continue pulling moisture down. This increases the chances of the issue spreading and secondary problems arising, such as mold and mildew.

2. Extract Excess Water
A pipe burst can unleash massive amounts of water. Extracting as much as possible is vital to save your floor. You start the extraction with an arsenal of towels, rags and mops. A wet/dry vacuum is also recommended. Even if the water is no longer visible, it should be continued to be used to suck up hidden moisture.

3. Dry It Out
On its own, wood takes a long time to dry. To speed up the process use fans and a dehumidifier. This will enhance airflow and reduce humidity levels. Be sure to regularly move the fans for optimal air circulation.

4. Test Moisture Levels
Even if it looks dry, there is a good chance it isn’t. The best bet is to use a moisture meter to test the levels. The process can take time, so don’t be surprised if the levels are higher than you thought they would be.
A pipe burst is a sure sign of trouble for your flooring. If you take immediate action, you can minimize the damage.

Commercial Property Fire: Important Considerations After a Fire

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

After your commercial or multifamily property experiences a fire, your brain will likely be going a mile a minute trying to figure out the next steps. Though the apparent structural damage will bring about thoughts of roof repair and rebuilding, there are other important considerations to make before the initial fire cleanup and restoration.

1. Safety and Self-Evaluation

The safety of employees, tenants and you are paramount after experiencing a fire disaster. After calling emergency services, you should be most concerned with getting everyone out of the building because the structural integrity of the property is most assuredly in question. Standard practices of fire safety should also be followed. For example, you should avoid drinking, eating or breathing in anything that has contacted soot, fire or smoke.

2. Financial and Insurance Contacts

You should immediately call your insurance company, mortgage lender and credit card institutions before starting any fire cleanup. Calling your insurance provider will ensure that the claims process begins immediately. Calling your mortgage lender will also help in getting through the bureaucratic procedures. Finally, if you lost any credit cards in the fire, you will be able to get replacements mailed to you sooner by notifying them.

3. Restoration Services

After ensuring your safety and making all the necessary contacts, you can begin the cleanup and mitigation process. As fires often create extensive damage, this process is better left to fire remediation specialists in the Puyallup, WA, area. These services help to streamline the operations of mitigation, offering board up and tarp services, and restoration, ensuring that your property is functional as quickly as possible.

While the experience of a fire and the resulting damage can be devastating and emotionally taxing, it is necessary to keep your wits about you. Between general safety and financial obligations, you will need to focus on the process ahead. Thankfully, fire remediation services will help to restore your facility through the fire cleanup and restoration process.