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Avoiding Fire Hazards While Cooking | SERVPRO® of Central Union County & Roselle

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

man putting out kitchen fire If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that we are here to make it “Like it never even happened."

Even though the kitchen can be a wonderfully versatile place for family and friends to gather to enjoy a fresh-cooked meal or to spend quality time together, danger can lurk. Unfortunately, home fires can often begin in the kitchen.

Fires resulting from cooking are the No. 1 cause of home fires and injuries and, often, the leading cause of these kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

Over $130 million in homeowners insurance claims that were related to grease and other cooking fires were paid out in 2017 by State Farm Insurance. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:

  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Alabama
  • Georgia

Staying Safe in the Kitchen

There are other safety tips to look into, as well as the well-known tip of remaining in the kitchen while cooking. Here are some other helpful tips to observe while cooking:

1. Be careful of your clothing. If you are wearing long, flowing sleeves or loose fitting clothing, it is best to change into a short or close-fitting sleeved shirt or make sure any loose shirts are tucked in or tied back away from the stove. Loose clothing could catch fire if you aren’t careful and get too close while cooking over the stove.

2. Be aware of what you are placing on or near the stovetop. Make sure there are no kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, it is best to move anything flammable away from the stove.

3. Place a fire extinguisher in or close to the kitchen. It is best to have at least one fire extinguisher located in your home and, ideally, one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.

4. Wait before throwing hot grease in the garbage can. Even if the grease may not be on fire, it could still be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. Letting the grease cool a bit and then disposing of it in an old coffee can is safest. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.

5. Be sure there is a fire escape plan established. Thinking about the worst that can happen is not fun, but it’s better if you are over-prepared rather than unprepared if an emergency were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.

Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO of Central Union County & Roselle is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Prepare For Floods and Storm Damage

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

house floating in a tube To get life back on track after flooding and storm damage, call SERVPRO® of Central Union County & Roselle.

Unfortunately, the likelihood of floods is increasing across the U.S., even in areas that aren’t usually prone to excess water. But the fact remains that if rain is possible, so are floods.

A flood officially occurs when two or more acres, or two or more properties, have been partially or completely inundated with water.

But if you are facing a flood, the last thing you’ll be worried about is the official definition. You’ll be worried about your safety and the safety of your property.

This blog contains helpful flood preparation tips - not to worry, none of them suggest building an ark.

  1. Back-Up Power In an emergency, you should have a generator. It’s impossible to know whether or not a storm or flooding will take out the power – and you don’t want to be left in the dark. The type of generator you need depends on a few different variables.

Don’t forget: water is a conduit for electricity, and after a flood you’ll be facing a lot of excess water. When you know that flooding is imminent, move all your appliances and electrical devices to safer ground.

  1. Risk Level Before flooding is expected, you should become familiar with your property’s risk for floods. Local government and FEMA are good resources for this. A familiarity with flood zones, risk, and causes is the first step of preparation. For Westfield, NJ, and the surrounding areas, start here.

Another smart risk-management tool is a weather radio. Purchase a weather radio and learn how to use it, including what the different emergency notifications mean.

  1. Emergency Prep It’s important to have an emergency preparedness kit that can handle any emergency. But you should also have supplies tailor to specific severe weather events. Because floodwater contains contaminants, be sure to pack plenty of clean and fresh water. Choose a waterproof case for your kit and all it contains, like important documents. For a more detailed list on what should be in your emergency kit, read this.
  2. Evacuation Plan Your evacuation plan should include two things. One: become familiar with the local and federal government plans for evacuation. Second: create a personal evacuation plan and involve all members of the family. The plan should be practiced until everyone has it memorized. Be sure to include an emergency communication plan as part of the overall evacuation plan.

Many floods are caused by severe storms and excess rain. Remember that significant storm damage may be caused and may not be noticeable until after flood waters recede.

Commercial Division | Our Services

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

outside of a commercial building Contact us to make it, "Like it never even happened."

Commercial cleaning and restoration present unique challenges. Our goal is to provide excellent results while minimizing the disruption to your clients. SERVPRO of Central Union County & Roselle are fully equipped to take on your commercial property no matter the size of the job.

Commercial Services:

  • Air Ducts / HVAC
  • General & Specialty Cleaning
  • Post Construction Cleaning
  • Punch List Services
  • Dry Ice Blasting
  • Power Washing
  • Biohazard & Sewage
  • Odor Removal / Deodorization

We offer our services to any time of commercial property:

  • Small/Large Office Buildings
  • High-Rise Office Buildings
  • Apartment Buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel/Motels
  • Small Retail Stores
  • Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
  • High-Rise Residential
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Government/Military

For any additional information, please feel free to contact our office for all of your commercial property needs.

Making Sure Your Family is Prepared for Severe Weather | SERVPRO® of Central Union & Roselle

7/20/2021 (Permalink)

call phone held over a computer clicking for an emergency Having a team on your side after a disaster can help relieve stress. SERVPRO® of Central Union County is here to help 24/7.

Today, we are fortunate to have advance warning for some types of severe weather, but there are also times where Mother Nature manages to catch us by surprise.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take and safety tips to follow that will guide you in preparing for your family’s safety in various severe weather occurrences.

Where to Start

One of the best ways to ensure your family’s safety is to have an established family emergency plan at the ready.

Be sure to go over your plan together as a family at the beginning of each weather season if there is an emergency plan in place so everyone knows exactly what to do.

Here are some things to take into consideration when creating your family emergency plan if you have not yet done so:

1. How will emergency alerts and warnings be received?

Thanks to technology today, emergency alerts and warnings are at our fingertips with our smartphones that are equipped with a weather app or Google. We can quickly receive emergency alerts, that provide us with valuable time in severe weather situations. Warnings and alerts are also still broadcast over radio and TV.

2. What type of storm shelter do you have?

Where tornadoes are a common occurrence, you’ll want to be in the lowest part of your home, preferably a basement, or if there is no basement, use an interior room on the lowest level that is away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls. Tornadoes aren’t the only weather circumstance that require a form of storm shelter, and you can learn about more of the situations that call for them by visiting ready.gov.

3. What are the evacuation routes?

Have you mapped out multiple evacuation routes because hurricanes, flooding and fires can force you from your home at a moment’s notice. It’s wise to have multiple routes in the event one is impassable, and be sure you find places to stay with your pets along the way if you have furry family members involved in your evacuation.

4. How will everyone stay in touch?

Cell phones are the easiest way to keep in touch with your family, but in some circumstances, that just will not be possible. Cell phone towers can be damaged and phones could be lost or left behind; not to mention batteries will not last forever and there will be no power to recharge them.

Your family should have an emergency communication plan in place as well as a safe meeting place so that you can all meet there if separated.

If a storm does cause damage to your home or business, don’t hesitate to call your friends at SERVPRO® of Central Union County to get the cleanup and restoration process started.

Understanding Thunderstorm Damage | SERVPRO of Central Union County & Roselle

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

umbrella that has been blown away Having a team on your side after a disaster can help relieve stress. SERVPRO of Central Union County & Roselle is here to help 24/7.

Thunderstorms are a regular occurrence during the summer season, bringing along the risk of damage to your property.

Thunderstorms come in varying levels of intensity. Do you know what those are?

Understanding Thunderstorms

Across the world, an average of 16 million thunderstorms occur each year. The U.S. can see upward of 100,000 thunderstorms annually, with an estimated 10% earning severe status.

Thunderstorms need certain conditions to be met in order to form. Moisture and rising unstable air are required, along with a “lifting” mechanism, which could be things like hills or mountains that force air to rise, or where warm/cold or wet/dry air bump together, causing that rising motion.

There are three stages in a thunderstorm’s life cycle. Those are the developing stage, the mature stage and the dissipating stage. It is during the mature stage that things like hail, strong rain, lightning, high winds and tornadoes are most likely to occur.

Common Types of Damage

Thunderstorms can prove dangerous in many different ways, but an extremely serious threat stems from the possibility of seeing flying debris due to high winds.

During severe storms, wind can see speeds in excess of 57.5 mph, and that is certainly high enough to result in damage to your property.

Even the most unexpected items could reach projectile status during a high wind situation. A smart thing to do is make sure you have scouted your yard for items that could turn dangerous, such as tree branches, lawn furniture, and fencing, and then taken steps to secure them before a storm comes into town.

Besides wind damage, thunderstorms can also produce these types of damage:

Lightning damage. Not only can lightning strikes cause a fire, they can also wreak havoc on your electrical systems. Since a lightning strike can pass through the wiring of your home, it can lead to the damage of anything plugged in.

Tornado damage. With wind speeds that can reach as high as 200 mph, tornadoes are especially destructive. They are able to cover a large area and do their damage in a limited amount of time.

Hail damage. Believe it or not, hail damage can top out around $1 billion a year. Small hail can damage crops throughout the country, while larger hail can damage vehicles, roofing and windows.

Flood damage. Rain almost always accompanies a storm, so it should not come as a surprise that heavy rains can turn into flood danger. Flash flooding can have the strength to rip trees out of the ground and sweep items and structures away.

If a thunderstorm has resulted in damage to your home or business, know that our team is available 247 to help with cleanup and restoration. Contact us at 908.650.8611.

Window Air Conditioner Leaking Water Into House – What To Check – How To Fix

6/14/2021 (Permalink)

air conditioner units in an apartment building If your home has experienced any water damage, the team at SERVPRO® is always available to help with cleanup and restoration.

Question: I just turned my window AC unit on today and it is leaking water inside my house. What could be the problem? I had it running for 3 weeks and all of a sudden it started to leak. Water is on the plastic vent where the cold air blows out. I believe that is where it is leaking from but not sure. Can you tell me how to fix this? 

 ANSWER: You need to check a few things to be sure the ac unit is installed properly and there is no water drainage block present.

– Unplug the window AC unit.

– Clean up all the water on the AC unit, on the window ledge, and on the floor of your room.

– Check and be sure the AC is tightly sealed in the window.

– Do you feel warm air coming into the room around the AC unit?

– If you feel warm air coming in you need to seal it again.

– Check to see if the drain holes on the rear of the ac unit are blocked.

– Clean the drain holes to allow water to drip out.

– Make sure the filter is clean and not clogged with massive dirt or dust.

– After cleaning up the water and having it turned off for 30 minutes or so, then turn it back on to make sure the water doesn’t appear again.

Here are the reasons water can drip from a window air conditioner unit:

AIR LEAK – AIR CONDITIONER NOT PROPERLY SEALED IN WINDOW:

If your window air conditioner is not sealed correctly, the warmer air from outside gets inside the air conditioner. When this happens, the moisture that is in the warmer air will be condensed by the colder air inside the air conditioner. When there is excess moisture, the water will leak. 

DRAIN IS BLOCKED – DIRT OR DUST HAS BLOCKED THE DRAIN HOLES:

There are drain holes (drip pan) at the rear of window AC units. They can get blocked from dusty conditions or dirt in the air. When this type of blockage happens, the water that would normally drip out will be trapped and water will leak from the front of the AC unit and at both sides of the unit. Be sure to keep the drain holes clean and free of debris. Also clean the filters or replace them to prevent any type of blockage that may cause a water leak.

OUTSIDE TEMP IS LOWER – HEAVY MOISTURE IN OUTSIDE AIR:

If it is raining or there is heavy moisture in the air outside, water evaporates much less than usual. This leads to excess water moisture in the air conditioner and this will cause water leaks. This is normal for most window AC units and using a drip pan can solve the issue if there is heavy moisture in the air outside.

CONDENSER PUMP NOT WORKING – BROKEN OR CLOGGED PUMP:

If the condenser pump in the AC is faulty or clogged, it will cause water to leak. You can check the condenser/pump if you feel confident. Check for any blockage or loose wires. If the pump seems to be okay visually, you will need to test the pump with a meter to see if it is faulty. If so, you may be better off buying a new AC unit.

If your home has experienced any water damage, the team at SERVPRO® is always available to help with cleanup and restoration, making it look “Like it never even happened.” Contact us at 908.650.8611.

How We Approach Restoration Differently | SERVPRO® of Central Union County & Roselle

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

Green SERVPRO van driving down the road If you have experienced storm damage, we are always here to help! Call our restoration experts 24/7 so we can address your damages quickly.

There is a lot that goes into choosing a restoration company as a homeowner. Not only are you picking someone to restore your home, but you are also forced to make a big decision during a stressful time in life. Choosing the right company will give you peace of mind and make your experience a positive one, but it’s important to pick one that is trustworthy.

Because there are so many types of damages that can occur from a disaster, it is important to choose a company that can handle a variety of situations.

When water damage turns into structural damage or a small kitchen fire releases toxic soot particles into the air, homeowners will want a company that can handle the entire situation. Seeking a company that can handle complications is essential for a positive experience.

Our Approach to Restoration

Our restoration jobs are just as much about providing excellent service as they are restoring your home. These are the ways in which we approach restoration differently:

With a Guaranteed Quick Response Time

Emergencies do not have respect for anyone’s schedule, which is why we do not have business hours. Our emergency service line is an around-the-clock service, meaning you can call us 24 hours a day to report the damage. Once we receive the call, our technicians will spring into action in order to get to you ASAP.

With an Experienced Team

Our restoration technicians are industry leaders with proven results. Trained according to IICRC standards, they will ensure the most up-to-date methodology is used in your restoration for any type of damage.

With a National Network

Our franchise locations are located across the country with over 1,800 locations. This means that we have a national network to utilize for resources. Therefore, we can treat a large-scale disaster with the same care and efficiency as we would an isolated spot of thunderstorm damage.

If you have experienced storm damage, we are always here to help! Call our restoration experts 247 so we can address your damages quickly.

Can You Identify Common Fire Hazards in Your Home? | SERVPRO of Central Union County & Roselle

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

red christmas candle with holly If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, we are here to help restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of their home being damaged by fire, but it’s an unfortunate, harsh reality for a multitude of Americans.

One way you can help protect your home is to understand fire hazards and know how to identify them. In this blog, let’s dive into two of the most common causes of household fires.

Candles are a common fire hazard.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, over a five-year period from 2011 to 2015, fire departments across the United States answered an estimated 8,700 house fires a year that were caused by candles.

In total, these fires caused 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in property damage. Candles were the cause of 2 percent of reported house fires, of which 3 percent resulted in death and 7 percent resulted in injuries.

An average of 24 home candle fires per day were reported during those five years, with December having the highest month of incidents. Out of all the candle fires during this time period, 37 percent started in the bedroom and were responsible for 36 percent of the associated deaths and 51 percent were associated with injuries.

When using a candle, be sure it’s kept at least one foot away from anything that could possibly ignite and that it is in a sturdy holder that will not easily tip over. It is never wise to use a candle where oxygen is in use in a home. And you always want to ensure that all candles are properly extinguished before leaving a room or going to sleep.

House fires from smoking can be lethal.

While cooking is the leading cause of house fires, smoking is the main cause of home fire deaths. Approximately 17,200 house fires were reported in 2014 due to smoking, which includes cigarettes, pipes and cigars. Those fires resulted in 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in property damage, according to the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes.

If you’re a smoker, it is smart to smoke outside, as most deaths result from fires that started in living rooms, family rooms or bedrooms. Fire-safe cigarettes are the best option, and using a deep, sturdy ashtray is advised.

Drop all lit cigarettes and ashes in water or sand prior to throwing them out—and remember that one out of four fatal victims of smoking fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.

Dust bunnies as fire hazards?

While candles and smoking are well-known causes of home structure fires, were you aware that some glassware in your home could be a fire risk? When sunlight passes through them, the concentrated ray may ignite flammable materials. It’s best to keep glass accessories away from windows and out of direct sunlight.

Dust bunnies can also pose a fire risk when they collect near electrical sockets and floor heaters. Regular sweeping or vacuuming regularly and cleaning hard-to-reach areas like behind entertainment systems can help prevent buildup.

Also, look for loose outlets in your home. The movement of these outlets loosens the wires connected to the outlet and could create dangerous arcing.

What to Do When Hoarding Is Discovered | SERVPRO® of Central Union County & Roselle

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

plastic bottles and garbage In need of a team to help restore a space where hoarding has been an issue? Contact our team at 908.650.8611.

Have you ever heard about hoarding? It’s a dangerous mental disorder that can make household dangers, including fires, more likely.

So, what is hoarding exactly? Hoarding is a mental illness that causes people to obsessively hang on to possessions, ultimately accumulating them in large quantities that can take over a home. Those affected by the disorder are rarely hoarding things of any value—trash and other clutter are common.

As these items pile up over time, they can present fire hazards, house insects or rodents, or even hide toxic mold growth.

So, if you you need to clean out a space where hoarding has been taking place, what should you do?

Step 1: Call in the professionals, who can clean up the space and ensure the area is safely rehabbed for future use.

What Is Involved in Hoarding Cleanup

There’s more involved in hoarding clean-up than simply clearing out the hoarded materials and washing the space. A professional team will provide a comprehensive cleanup process that mitigates any safety hazards that have cropped up.

Removal of Dangerous Substances

Piles of hoarded materials can conceal any number of health hazards, including toxic mold growth, along with insects, bacteria, and other pests.

A team of professionals educated in safe removal principles and outfitted in the appropriate gear will help ensure this step is done comprehensively and safely.

Removal of Items

When you think of cleaning up after hoarding, this is probably the step you think of. This involves clearing the space of hoarded materials, including items like newspapers and even trash that has collected over time.

Other items like carpets, furniture, and kitchenware, may also have been contaminated and need to be removed.

Complete Cleaning

Once the space is cleared of all debris and clutter, a professional team will deep-clean the area. This is the last step in the process and helps ensure the property is ready to be used again.

In need of a team to help restore a space where hoarding has been an issue? Contact our team at SERVPRO® of Central Union County, and we’ll make it "Like it never even happened."

An Introduction to Mold Remediation | SERVPRO® of Central Union County & Roselle

5/17/2021 (Permalink)

Plastic sealing during mold remediation We will ensure that each mold remediation job is done correctly and completely. Give SERVPRO of Central Union County & Roselle a call.

When there is water damage in a home or commercial property, mold growth will likely follow. Mold can begin to grow within 48 hours after moisture exposure.

If you are ever facing a mold issue, knowing what steps to take is very important, which is why we have chosen to use this blog to discuss the subject of mold remediation.

Mold Remediation, Not Removal

Mold remediation and mold removal ads are everywhere, and you’ve probably seen ads for these services, but the truth is there is no such thing as mold removal. Removing all mold from a home or business is simply impossible. Instead, a qualified restoration company focuses on mold remediation, which in turn brings mold levels back to a normal and natural level.

Mold spores occur naturally almost everywhere, both inside and outside. The issue arises only when a minor mold problem is left untreated and then turns into a major mold issue.

During mold remediation, the contaminated areas will be isolated by technicians. Depending on the amount of remediation required, this would be done by either closing all doors and windows or sealing off all doorways and openings with polyethylene sheeting. The technicians will use a method called “misting” to suppress the dust in the contaminated areas.

Materials that are wet and mold-damaged are removed and discarded in plastic bags. Any areas that have been exposed to and affected by the mold are then thoroughly cleaned and dried. A HEPA vacuum may be brought in at sometime during the remediation process to help remove contamination and debris.

Then, the mold-affected area is treated with a biocide and left overnight to start killing the mold spores. The following day, the mold remediation crew will return and encapsulate the affected area and beyond.

When to Contact a Professional

If you believe your home or business may have been affected by mold, you’ll want to act quickly. Upon evaluation of the size of the problem, and if the moldy area is more than 10 square feet, you will want call in the professionals.

The professionals you hire for mold remediation should be highly trained and certified in areas such as:

  • Applied microbial remediation
  • Water damage restoration
  • Applied structural drying

While some minor mold issues can be successfully resolved by home and business owners on their own, it is always safest to talk to professionals and get the remediation process started quickly before further damage sets in.

At SERVPRO® of Central Union County & Roselle, our mold damage specialists are trained and certified experts in mold remediation. If your home or business is experiencing a mold issue, contact us to begin the mold remediation process.