SERVPRO's Vermont Voyage: Restoring Hope Amid the Floods
On July 10th, 2023, catastrophic rain hit the State of Vermont causing flooding throughout.
Over the first 48 hours of rainfall, it was reported that up to 9 inches of rain fell in areas with no end in sight. Torrential rains, swollen rivers, and overflowing reservoirs converged, unleashing a deluge that tested the resilience of its residents. Towns were submerged, homes marooned, and roadways rendered impassable.
As the waters eventually receded, Vermont embarked on a journey of recovery, with organizations like SERVPRO at the forefront, aiding in the restoration of homes and communities.
4,000 homes and 800 businesses reported water damage - some being the notable State Capital buildings in Montpelier.
On July 13th, 2023, the SERVPRO Disaster Recovery team out of Columbus, Ohio headed towards the record-breaking devastation. With three semi-Tractor trailers packed with over 1200 Air Movers followed by 75 highly trained team members traveled 700 miles northeast to support with the States Cleaning efforts.
Our SERVPRO team was able to aid in 13 critical buildings by offering expert water extraction, thorough cleaning, and extensive restoration services.
The 13 buildings spanned from multi story to 150-year historic staples in the community.
Throughout the next 9 weeks our crew’s dedication to restore Montpelier was unwavering. With each restored building, we helped rebuild dreams and history, embodying our mission to not merely clean up after disasters but to restore the heart of a district.
In each waterlogged room and beneath the layers of mud, we discovered the enduring spirit of a state determined to rebuild and restore the rich history of the state.
The community hadn’t seen these record rain falls since 2011 during Tropical Storm Irene. As the nation’s leader in water mitigation, we were there to assist and strengthen the area.
We are honored to be the trusted restoration partners to help mitigate the water damage, restore the history of Vermont, and revitalize the city of Montpelier. In time of the crisis, we hope our dedication shone through and the people of Vermont know they can always count on SERVPRO to help embark on the path to recovery.
Clearing The Air
Smoke odor can be one of the most persistent and unpleasant reminders of a fire incident or other smoking-related activities. Lingering smoke odors can permeate walls, furniture, carpets, and even personal belongings, making it challenging to feel comfortable and at ease in your home or business.
- Air Out the Area: The first step in smoke odor elimination is to ventilate the affected area thoroughly. Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate and carry away the smoke particles. Use fans to speed up the process and ensure proper ventilation.
- Clean Surfaces and Belongings: Smoke particles can settle on various surfaces and belongings, leaving behind odorous residues. Clean walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture using a mixture of water and vinegar or a mild detergent. Consider using a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner to capture and remove smoke particles from carpets and upholstery.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and can help absorb and neutralize smoke odors. Sprinkle baking soda on carpets, furniture, and other affected areas, let it sit for a few hours, and then vacuum thoroughly.
- Charcoal or Coffee Grounds: Charcoal and coffee grounds are also excellent natural odor absorbers. Place bowls of activated charcoal or coffee grounds in the affected area and let them absorb the smoke odors over time.
- Vinegar Solution: A vinegar solution can be effective in neutralizing smoke odors. Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and mist the affected areas. The vinegar smell will dissipate, taking the smoke odor with it.
- Professional Smoke Odor Removal Services: For severe or stubborn smoke odors, it's best to seek professional smoke odor removal services like SERVPRO. Trained technicians use specialized equipment and techniques to target and eliminate smoke odors effectively.
- Repainting: In some cases, smoke odors may have penetrated into the paint on walls and ceilings. Repainting the affected areas with odor-sealing primers and fresh paint can help seal in the odors.
- Prevention: The best way to eliminate smoke odors is to prevent them in the first place. Ensure that smoking is limited to designated areas away from living or working spaces, and consider investing in air purifiers or air filtration systems to maintain clean and fresh indoor air.
Is Your Columbus Commercial Building Ready For Winter?
As the colder months approach around Ohio, commercial property owners and managers should prepare for the challenges that winter brings. Proper winterization is essential for maintaining a safe, efficient, and functional property during the frosty season.
- Conduct a Winter Maintenance Check:
Before the winter weather sets in, schedule a thorough inspection of the property. Check the roof for leaks, the gutters for blockages, and the windows and doors for proper sealing. Addressing any maintenance issues early can prevent costly damage and energy inefficiencies during the winter.
- HVAC System Maintenance:
A well-maintained HVAC system is crucial for keeping the property warm and comfortable during winter. Have a technician inspect and clean the heating system, change air filters, and ensure that all components are functioning optimally.
- Protect Pipes from Freezing:
Frozen pipes can lead to significant water damage and expensive repairs. Insulate exposed pipes and consider installing heating cables in areas prone to freezing. Encourage tenants to keep the property heated, even during periods of vacancy, to prevent pipe-related disasters.
- Snow and Ice Removal Plan:
Create a comprehensive snow and ice removal plan in collaboration with a reputable snow removal contractor. This plan should include designated snow removal areas, priorities for clearing different parts of the property, and an emergency response plan for severe weather events.
- Stock Up on Winter Supplies:
Ensure an ample supply of winter essentials, such as salt, sand, snow shovels, and ice melt. These supplies are essential for maintaining safe walkways and parking lots, reducing slip and fall risks for tenants and visitors.
- Landscape and Tree Maintenance:
Trim tree branches that could potentially break under the weight of snow and ice, posing a hazard to the property and its occupants. Additionally, remove any dead or weak trees that could fall during winter storms.
- Check Exterior Lighting:
With shorter daylight hours in winter, proper exterior lighting is crucial for ensuring safety and security on the property. Inspect and replace any burnt-out bulbs or damaged fixtures to maintain a well-lit environment.
- Communicate with Tenants:
Open lines of communication with tenants and inform them of your winter preparation plans. Encourage them to report any maintenance issues promptly and provide them with guidance on winter safety measures.
- Plan for Power Outages:
Prepare for potential power outages by having a contingency plan in place. Consider investing in backup generators to keep essential systems, such as emergency lighting and security, operational during power disruptions.
- Review Insurance Coverage:
Review your property insurance coverage to ensure it adequately protects against winter-related risks, such as snow damage, burst pipes, and slip and fall incidents. Make any necessary adjustments to your policy to avoid potential financial losses.
Winterizing commercial properties is a proactive approach to safeguarding investments, maintaining tenant satisfaction, and ensuring smooth operations during the colder months. By conducting proper maintenance checks, preparing for snow and ice removal, and focusing on tenant safety, commercial property owners and managers can navigate winter with confidence. Remember, early preparation and attention to detail are key to a successful and hassle-free winter season for your commercial property.
Outdoor Fire Pit Safety
These cooler evenings seem to be starting sooner and lasting longer here in the Columbus area. While they provide a cozy and inviting setting, they can also be dangerous. As with any open flame, safety should always be the top priority. Let’s explore essential tips and precautions to ensure you can enjoy your outdoor fire pit safely.
- Location and Placement: Choosing the right location for your fire pit is crucial. Ensure it's placed on a non-flammable surface and keep it at a safe distance from any flammable materials. Clear an area around the fire pit to prevent accidental sparks from igniting nearby objects.
- Keep a Fire Extinguisher and Water Source Nearby: Always have a fire extinguisher and a bucket of water or a hose nearby. These tools can be essential in quickly extinguishing small flames or sparks that may escape the fire pit. You can pick up a fire extinguisher from Home Depot, Kroger’s, Meijer or other local grocery stores near you.
- Mind the Wind: Be mindful of wind direction when using the fire pit. Wind can blow sparks and embers, potentially causing fires elsewhere in your yard. It is vital in the Downtown areas including Grandview, Franklinton, and German Village that there is No burning when an air pollution alert, warning, or emergency is in effect. Its also important for areas like Blacklick, Pickerington, or other rural areas that the smoke doesn’t obscure visibility on roadways.
- Properly Extinguish the Fire: Before leaving the fire pit unattended or going to bed, ensure the fire is entirely extinguished. Use water or sand to douse the flames and stir the ashes to cool them down.
- Be Mindful of Fire Regulations: Check with your local authorities for any specific fire regulations or bans in your area. During dry seasons or high-risk fire periods, there may be restrictions on open fires. Some local regulations in Bexley include keeping the fire pit at least 15 feet from a structure. In other areas like Westerville, Worthington, and Dublin it’s a law to keep fires more than 1,000 feet from neighbors.
An outdoor fire pit can be a source of warmth, comfort, and joy for your home. By following these safety tips and using common sense, you can enjoy your fire pit with peace of mind. Remember, safety should always be the priority.
When it comes to maintaining a healthy and comfortable living environment, we often focus on visible areas of our homes. However, one essential aspect that frequently is overlooked is the air ducts. These passages play a critical role in regulating airflow throughout our homes. Let’s dive deep to explore the significance of cleaning ducts.
- Improved Indoor Air Quality: While Columbus has been under advisory for the Air Quality, we can take precautions by improving our own air quality inside our home. The quality of the air we breathe indoors can significantly impact our health. Over time, dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and other contaminants can collect within the ductwork. When the HVAC system operates, these pollutants can be circulated throughout the home, leading to respiratory issues & allergies.
- Enhanced HVAC System Efficiency: Dust and debris accumulated in ducts can restrict airflow, causing your heating and cooling system to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. In these hot Ohio summers, that is the last thing we need. A clogged system may lead to increased energy consumption and higher utility bills. Cleaning the ducts ensures optimal airflow, allowing your HVAC system to operate efficiently and save you money in the long run.
- Prolonged HVAC System Lifespan: A well-maintained HVAC system is more likely to have an extended lifespan. Removing dust and debris from the ducts reduces strain on the system's components, preventing premature wear and tear and costly repairs. A prolonged system can save you money in the long run.
- Fire Safety: The dirt and dust trapped in the ducts can ignite quickly when ignited. Think of blocked ducts as a hallway for flames as they burn immediately.
While cleaning air ducts may not be at the top of your home maintenance list, it can improve indoor air quality and system efficiency to reduce allergens and prevent mold growth. regular duct cleaning offers a range of benefits that positively impact both your health, home safety and the longevity of your HVAC system. Consider scheduling professional duct cleaning services periodically to breathe easier and enjoy a cleaner, healthier home.
Always Be Looking For Water Damage On Your Property
Water rings and stains on your ceilings and walls are signs of water damage!
Water damage can be very detrimental to your home or business! Most people don’t know that the longer you wait after having water damage the more damage you are actually causing to your home or business. When you have water damage the best thing to do is shut off the water source that is causing the damage. If the damage is coming from something you are unable to cut off, you may need to contact a plumber in your area. Once this is completed then you want to call the professional experts here at SERVPRO® of South Columbus to come out immediately and assess the problem. It doesn’t matter the size of the damage we will be able to help get it under control. Water damage can be difficult to spot but here are some signs you can look for in your home and business:
- Water rings on your ceiling or walls
- Soft or sagging on your ceiling or walls
- Wet or soggy carpets
- Warping in your wood flooring
The best thing to do is call an expert right away before the problem gets worse. Our highly trained technicians are waiting for your call. We have our specialized equipment ready to use to get your disaster mitigated as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the problem gets worse, call our highly trained team at SERVPRO® of South Columbus today!
The Aftermath Of A Commercial Fire
Once the fire department has doused all of the flames, be sure to call SERVPRO, the fire remediation experts.
When a fire strikes on your commercial property, it's quite likely that you feel yourself start to panic. This immediate reaction makes sense given all of the economic turmoil and property destruction that a fire can cause. However, knowing which steps to take in the face of a southern Columbus commercial fire can help prevent you from becoming anxious, losing money, and undergoing extensive property damages. To handle a commercial fire successfully, follow the tips below:
1. Contact A Fire Remediation Expert.
Once the fire department has put out all of the flames, be sure to call a fire remediation expert. This individual will be able to equip you with a thorough assessment indicating the extent of the damages. Don't ever attempt to handle any of the cleanups, drying, or restoration processes on your own. Doing so could put you in peril of injury and illness.
2. Assemble Your Records.
In addition to contacting a fire remediation expert, make sure that you assemble your business' essential records. You'll want to have this information with you when you start working with your insurance company. To guarantee that you can have all of your files ready in a safe place, make a point to buy a fireproof safe where they can be stored.
3. Call The Insurance Company Immediately.
Be sure that you call your insurance company once the fire is put out. This step is important because your insurance agent will work with you to file a claim and determine how much coverage you'll attain for the commercial damages.
4. Get Permission To Re-enter The Building.
Always ask the fire department or another local authority whether you can re-enter your building. In some cases, a fire can weaken the structural integrity of the commercial property and make it subject to collapse. This is why you need to assure that re-entry is safe for you and your tenants.
If you experience a fire at your commercial property, call our experts at SERVPRO of South Columbus today at (614) 863-1392!
Electrical Fire Safety
Overloaded Electrical Circuit Safety Tips
Electrical circuits can become dangerous when overloaded. Though it may be easy to simply plug in another power strip or extension cord when adding equipment, the wiring in some buildings often isn't capable of supporting too many high powered electronics. Older office buildings and homes, in particular, often suffer from lack of electrical outlets.
Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. Help lower your risk of electrical fires by learning the warning signs and not overloading your electrical system.
Overloaded circuit warning signs:
- Flickering, blinking, or dimming lights
- Frequently tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses
- Warm or discolored wall plates
- Cracking, sizzling, or buzzing from receptacles
- Burning odor coming from receptacles or wall switches
- Mild shock or tingle from appliances, receptacles, or switches
How to prevent electrical overloads:
- Never use extension cords or multi-outlet converters for appliances
- All major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Only plug one heat producing appliance into a receptacle outlet at a time
- A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have a qualified electrician inspect your home and add new outlets
- Power strips only add additional outlets; they do not change the amount of power being received from the outlet
If fire damage has impacted your home or business, please call SERVPRO of South Columbus at 614-863-1392. Let our professional team do the cleanup with the proper procedures to keep you, your home or company safe.
Stages of a Fire
Call SERVPRO of South Columbus at 614-863-1392 if you experience an unexpected fire
A fire in your home or business never something you expect to experience. Which is why it is important to know the 4 stages of a fire to keep you safe.
Incipient: This first stage begins when heat, oxygen and a fuel source combine, having a chemical reaction resulting in a fire. It is also known as “ignition”. There is usually a small fire, which often goes out on its own, before the following stages are reached. During this stage, recognizing a fire so early is your best chance at suppression or escape.
Growth: This stage is where the structure’s fire load and oxygen are used as fuel for the fire. During the growth stage, there are multiple factors that affect the fire including where the fire started, what combustibles are nearby, ceiling height and the potential for “thermal layering”. This is stage is when a deadly “flashover” can occur’ potentially trapping, injuring, or killing firefighters.
Fully Developed: When the growth stage has reached its maximum and all nearby combustible materials have been ignited, the fire is considered fully developed. This is the hottest stage of a fire and the most dangerous for anyone trapped within.
Decay: The decay stage is the longest stage of a fire; it is characterized by a significant decrease in oxygen or fuel, putting an end to the fire. There are two common dangers during this stage. First, the existence of non-flaming combustibles that can potentially start a new fire if they are not fully extinguished. Second, there is a danger of a backdraft when oxygen is reintroduced to a volatile, confined space.
What To Do When Filing A Flood Insurance Claim
Don't wait to file a claim! Call your Insurance Agent and our SERVPRO Team!
Most homeowner’s insurance does not offer flood coverage. However, if you have a separate flood policy for your home, then you will want to file an insurance claim if your home has been damaged. The process can sometimes be frustrating or confusing, so use the following tips to help your claim go smoothly.
1. Call Your Insurance Agent
The first step in filing a flood claim is calling your insurance agent. In some cases, the company can deny your claim if you have waited too long to contact them. Getting the process started right away will prevent this.
2. Take Pictures
After you have contacted your agent to begin the process, you should take photos of any areas of the house that have been flooded. Be sure to photograph any affected items as well. This will help the insurance company determine the extent of the damage. Keeping a list can be helpful as well.
3. Set Aside Affected Belongings
Once you have taken pictures and documented the damage, you don’t need to wait for the insurance adjuster to arrive to begin moving your items. If you allow them to sit in the water, the damage will only worsen, so you should relocate them to a dry area quickly.
4. Prevent Additional Damage
If the insurance company does not believe that you have taken the necessary steps to prevent further damage, this can affect your flood claim. It is a good idea to call a water damage restoration company, like SERVPRO to do repairs, but you can start on remediation before they arrive. Along with moving affected items, you can board up areas and place tarps to prevent the water from spreading.
Making a flood claim may not always be the simplest process, but there are things you can do to make it easier on yourself. Following this advice will help move it along more quickly and ensure you get the most that you can from your policy.