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Storm Damage: What are the Causes? SERVPRO® of Central Union County | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

Four traffic lights and power lines on a dark night in a rain storm. We are available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In the past few months, New Jersey has been experiencing a high level of heavy rainfall. Did you know heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding is one of the common types of damage from storms? There are ten common types of storms and being familiar with them aids in storm preparation and damage prevention.

SERVPRO® of Central Union County knows how important it is to homeowners to keep homes safe from storm damage.

The 5 most common storms are:

  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Thunderstorms
  • Snow storm
  • Hail storms

Since Union County is so far north and so close to the coast, it’s very possible that you may experience each of these kinds of events.

The fact that hurricanes cause damage far past the coast is obvious, but the kinds of damage they cause and how is not always known.

Since hurricanes have long-term effects (Hurricane Sandy impacted 24 states), it’s very important to be educated on that type of storm in particular.

Hurricane damage is caused by three distinct but related storm elements: storm surge, floods, and wind.

Storm surge is when water rises far past the predicted tide level. This rise occurs because the wind from the hurricane pushes the water toward the shore, giving it nowhere to go, except up and in. The force of storm surge can be so strong as to destroy buildings and roads.

Storm surge is a direct cause of floods. The extra water from storm surge can reach far inland, causing widespread floods as it goes. Hurricanes can also cause rainfall as far as 100 miles past where the hurricane actually hits. Even tropical storms that don’t reach hurricane level can cause excess rainfall and thus floods.

Wind from hurricanes can reach speeds of 74 mph up to 155 mph. Winds of this speed cause widespread destruction by uprooting trees, downing power lines, and carrying debris and tossing it against other structures, even causing roofs to lift. It’s not unheard of for hurricane winds to form tornadoes.

Storm surge, floods, and winds can cause damage that is far-reaching, unexpected, and overwhelming. You can take precautions by packing an emergency preparedness kit, installing weather-resistant features to your house, and always following official safety orders or directives.

Storm damage clean up can be exhausting and dangerous. Don’t do it alone. Call SERVPRO® of Central Union County for expert storm damage restoration services.

Fire Safety Basics to Help Protect Your Family | SERVPRO® of Central Union County | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

2 fire escapes on a red brick building. We are available for emergency restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Every year in the United States, more than 350,000 house fires happen, adding up to more than $5.5 billion in property damage. Beyond the financial loss, these fires also lead to nearly 3,000 deaths and another 10,000 injuries.

The best defense for your family against a fire is to prepare in advance. That’s why it’s important for every person to know how to prevent fires and how to respond if one occurs.

Start teaching your kids basic fire safety guidelines when they’re young. Let’s also take a look at three other fire safety practices you can practice as a family:

Watch Out for Fire Hazards

Go through your home. You might be surprised how many fire hazards you spot! Take some time and go through every room and your outdoor space to uncover any hazards.

  • Ensure your appliances are in good shape.
  • Check that electrical cords are in workable condition.
  • Do not overload outlets and/or extension cords.
  • Check to make sure you are using the correct wattage of lightbulbs.
  • Double-check that electrical wiring is not covered up by rugs or carpet.
Creating Your Fire Plan

In the event of a fire, every person in the family needs to know what to do—including how to get out of the house and where to go once they’re out.

But don’t just create a plan and not have practice drills. After all, as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” Regular practice of what to do makes you more likely to remember the steps if an actual fire occurs.

Practice Kitchen Fire Safety

Cooking is the biggest single cause of home fires. That’s why it’s important to be especially careful in the kitchen.

Anyone who’s cooking needs to familiarize themselves with basic cooking safety:

  • Never cook when tired or unable to pay attention.
  • Do not leave kids and teens alone when they cook.
  • Always keep a lid at hand when cooking on the stove in case of a grease fire. If a small grease fire occurs, use the lid to smother the fire.
  • If a fire occurs in the oven, turn it off and keep the door closed.
  • Leave the room and close the door if a kitchen fire occurs and begins to spread.

If your family has experienced a fire and needs help restoring your home, we can help! Give us a call to learn about our fire restoration services and what we can do for you.

It’s Time to Prepare for Spring Storms | SERVPRO® of Central Union County | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

4/23/2020 (Permalink)

thunder and lightning bolts in a dark grey, stormy sky Having a team on your side after a disaster can help relieve stress. SERVPRO of Central Union County & Western Essex County is here to help.

Spring is here! That means that, even though we are enjoying warmer weather, we also must now prepare for whatever Mother Nature may choose to send our way.

Spring = Thunderstorms

With the arrival of spring comes longer days and more sunshine, but it also brings the threat of severe weather throughout the country. It’s a toss-up this time of year, meaning the weather may change at moment’s notice.

Unstable temperatures are the cause of the changing weather, with temps that can go from warm to cold even in the same day. That temperature change can result in extreme weather changes as well.

Thunderstorms become more common during the spring and are the main cause of severe weather. A thunderstorm will occur whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, a common occurrence in the spring and summer.

In taking a look at natural catastrophe losses in the U.S. for 2017, severe thunderstorms were the most common and produced some of the costliest results. Out of 50 events, there were 85 fatalities and an estimated total of $25.4 billion in overall losses.

With these storms comes the threat of flooding, high winds and even tornadoes if the conditions are right. It has been found that in modern history, 10% of all violent tornadoes have occurred in March, with April, May and June taking the top spots at 30%, 24% and 15% respectively.

Make Sure Your Family Is Prepared

Weather forecasters are not able to predict the weather with 100% accuracy, but fortunately, they do have the technology available to at least give us an idea of severe weather that could be coming. Advanced warnings, along with the right preparation, can greatly improve overall safety for your family.

Here are some things you can do to your home to prepare for the chance of severe weather:

  1. Clear out your home’s gutters, drains and downspouts.
  2. Trim trees of precarious limbs or branches that could break off in a storm.
  3. Secure or store outdoor belongings if severe weather is in the forecast.

Having an emergency kit on hand is always advised. These kits should include the following:

  • Battery-operated flashlight and NOAA weather radio, with extra batteries for both
  • Emergency evacuation or shelter plans
  • Important personal info, like telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends, insurance and property info, numbers for the utility companies, and medical info
  • A first-aid kit with things like non-latex gloves, adhesive bandages, tweezers, sterile gauze pads, aspirin packets, adhesive cloth tape and scissors
  • 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blankets or sleeping bag

Despite its unpredictability, there is one thing that always remains true of the spring weather season: It always happens. If your home or business is damaged in a storm, click here to contact us.

What Could Cause Fires in Your Business | SERVPRO® of Central Union County & SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

4/14/2020 (Permalink)

Two men putting out a fire with a fire extinguisher at their place of business. Having a team on your side after a disaster can help relieve stress. SERVPRO of Central Union County & Western Essex County is here to help.

Business owners have many responsibilities, with one of them being safety factors to take into consideration regarding risks to your business, staff and visitors. One of those risks that needs some extra consideration is planning for and working toward preventing fires.

Leading Causes of Commercial Structure Fires

According to a report published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) the leading causes of structure fires in office properties were (in order):

  1. Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
  2. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
  3. Heating equipment, 11% of fires
  4. Intentional, 10% of fires
  5. Smoking materials, 9% of fires
  6. Exposure, 4% of fires
  7. Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires

Of those causes, intentional, exposure, and electrical distribution and lighting equipment accounted for the most property damage with 20%, 18% and 15% respectively..

Protect Your Business

By focusing on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, you can take steps to protect your business from a fire risk and help reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.

First, you must assess the fire hazard risk. Fire marshals are often offered in some areas by the local government. During a visit, the fire marshal can offer advice and help identify your business’ risks, providing guidance on your fire prevention plan.

You’ll want to make sure you have chosen the right fire protection equipment. This should include an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.

Finally, and more importantly, consider your employees and visitors. By creating a fire prevention and evacuation plan and reviewing it with your staff, you’ll be making sure everyone knows what to do in the case of a fire. Conduct regular fire drills at least annually to keep the fire safety protocol fresh, and take time to review evacuation plans and routes and also the location of first-aid kits.

Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. Click here to contact us to learn about our fire damage repair and restoration.

How to Prevent House Fires | SERVPRO® of Central Union County & SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

4/14/2020 (Permalink)

Brick and vinyl sided house on residential street with flames coming out of the garage. A quick response from SERVPRO of Central Union County | Western Essex County ensures your Damage Restoration needs are professionally completed.

Smoke alarms are a great tool for house fire prevention, but they are not the only way to lessen your risk.

The causality of house fires is varied, but one thing that is consistent is how frequently they occur. By learning about the statistics and proven prevention methods, homeowners can keep their families safe.

The Numbers Behind House Fires

In the United States, it is reported that a home fire is put on record every 24 seconds according to the NFPA. That works out to nearly 8,600 house fires a day.

Though the vast majority of house fires are cooking-related, malfunctioning appliances, frayed wiring or cords, and carelessness with open flames are also often to blame. Because fires spread rapidly and can quickly consume an entire home, it is essential to be vigilant in prevention for the safety of your household.

House Fires Prevention Tips

Being proactive is the best defense against house fires. By keeping these fire prevention tips in mind, you can minimize your risk and keep your home safer:

Maintain smoke detectors. Maintain your smoke detectors by testing them each month and replacing them every 10 years.

Clean the dryer. After each load of laundry is dried, make a point to clear lint from the tray. Lint can build up and become a fire hazard when the dryer gets warm.

Keep an eye on open flames. Fires can start and spread faster than you think, which is why it is never wise to leave the room when there is an open flame. Whether it is a candle, cooking flame or fireplace, always keep an eye on them.

Maintain electrical cords. Cords and electrical wires should be checked often for frayed spots and immediately replaced if they are present. Never run electrical cords under rugs or behind furniture, as they can produce heat.

Read product labels. Chemicals in household products can be highly flammable, and so can products that come in aerosol cans. Keep these away from sunlight or heat sources.

If your home has suffered damage from a house fire, click here to contact us. We are certified in fire and soot remediation, and here to help 247.

The Dangers of Lightning During Storms | SERVPRO® of Central Union County | SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

4/14/2020 (Permalink)

Dark grey skies with clouds and a thunder storm rolling through. We are available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There are many ways in which a thunderstorm can cause damage. Flooding or wind damage are what often come to mind, but it is also important to consider the risks associated with lightning when discussing thunderstorms.

While some storms bring rain and water, every storm is made up of electricity, creating the possibility for lightning even in the absence of precipitation. Lightning bolts can be up to 500,000 degrees, causing damage and even fatalities when they strike. An understanding of what lightning is and how it can be dangerous is extremely helpful in helping homeowners prevent these risks.

How Thunderstorms and Lightning Coexist

All thunderstorms contain the electricity that makes a lightning strike possible. What we know as a lightning strike is actually a rapid burst of electricity that occurs when this charge becomes agitated.

The atmosphere is not an ideal conductor, which is why lightning tends to strike objects—this creates a less resistant route in getting to the ground. When a home is the object that has been struck, lightning will usually forge this path through water pipes and wiring.

How Lightning Is Dangerous to Homes

While there are many dangers surrounding thunderstorms, there are three main ones involved with lightning striking a house:

The risk of fire. One of the biggest dangers of a lightning strike to a house is the fire hazard it causes. Lightning is hot enough to ignite building materials, causing a fire to break out at the point of impact. Additionally, lightning traveling through wires can cause them to fray, creating fire hazards all throughout the home.

The risk of power surges. Because of the electrical charge at play with lightning, it can easily transfer that to the wiring in the home. This is what we call a power surge, which can affect any electronic device plugged in that is not routed through a surge protector.

The risk of shock waves. Shock waves are typically manifested in thunder, but they can also occur at the site of a lightning strike. Shock waves have been known to crack chimneys, break windows and explode cinder blocks, making them extremely hazardous to a home’s structure.

If your home has been affected by storm damages or lightning-related fires, click here to contact us. We are experts in damage cleanup and can restore your damage quickly.

We are Cleaning Experts | | SERVPRO® of Central Union County & SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

3/19/2020 (Permalink)

picture of the SERVPRO logo against a building saying we are under one roof We are available for specialized cleanup and disinfection services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Contact us Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today. 

Can't call right now? Please visit our contact us page and we will get in touch with you. 

SERVPRO of Central Union County | SERVPRO Of Western Essex County.

Make Sure Your Business Is Ready for Potential Disasters | SERVPRO® of Central Union County & SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

3/13/2020 (Permalink)

man standing under umbrella looking out at fire in dark stormy sky Having a team on your side after a disaster can help relieve stress. SERVPRO of Central Union County & Western Essex County is here to help.

When you are a business owner, one of the most important factors to think about is emergency preparedness.

Disaster are going to happen, and while having a plan in place cannot stop all disasters, it can still offer a certain sense of security and at least ensure that your employees are aware of what to do if a disaster or emergency situation should occur.

What’s Your Plan?

Please take the time and make it a priority to sit down and work out an emergency preparedness plan for various disaster situations that could affect your business!

There are numerous emergencies your business should have a preparedness plan in place for, including:

  • Fire
  • Severe weather, including thunderstorms and winter storms
  • Other natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes
  • Human-caused hazards, including accidents or acts of violence
  • Technology-related issues like power outages and equipment failure

When disaster strikes, it doesn’t matter if it’s a man-made incident or natural, if no emergency plan is in place for your business, things could get even more stressful quickly.

You should make sure that safety training and familiarization of emergency preparedness plans are included in the company onboarding process, team-building activities and continuing education opportunities. By encouraging your employees to familiarize themselves with proper safety protocol and emergency procedures, you’re not only giving them the tools to protect themselves, but you are also setting them up to help protect guests/visitors and the business itself.

Where to Begin

In beginning to set up an emergency plan for your business, start by evaluating which scenarios are most likely to occur—and go as far as considering the longshots that could still happen. After all, it’s better to prepare for all the worst-case scenarios and not be caught off guard.

There are plenty of online resources to help guide you through this process, including Ready.gov, the American Red Cross, FEMA and the CDC.

If you have a business impact analysis (BIA) done, it will help predict potential effects a disaster may have on your business. This would include lost or delayed sales and income, increased expenses from repairs, and delayed implementation of business plans. Don’t forget to make sure a crisis communications plan is in place, too.

Once you have come up with an emergency preparedness plan, be sure to review it and practice it with employees. Reviewing and rehearsing various scenarios can help ensure the process remains fresh in their minds and can help employees feel more empowered.

Disaster can strike when you least expect it, but by being prepared and having a plan in place, your business will be better suited to handle whatever Mother Nature has in store. If the worst should happen and your business is damaged, know that SERVPRO® of Central Union County & SERVPRO® of Western Essex County is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO® Professionals Adhere To The Highest Cleaning and Sanitation Standards |SERVPRO® of Central Union County & SERVPRO® of Western Essex County

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

living room of an interior home We are available for proactive cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

SERVPRO of Central Union County| SERVPRO of Western Essex County offers cleaning services including the removal of biohazard contaminants. We have the specialized training and products to get your home or property back to business.

About Coronavirus

The CDC is responding to an outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has spread to 60 locations internationally (as of this publication), including cases in the United States. The virus known as “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Scope of Cleanup Protocol

Our professionals can perform a proactive cleanup that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection where the customer states that there is no active known threat of COVID-19 contamination or exposure. The customer will be required to acknowledge that cleaning and disinfecting will only apply to the current state of the structure and contents. The structure would not be protected from future COVID-19 contamination if an infected person was to enter and occupy the building.

Cleanup Scope of Work and Planning

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables at a minimum. These same surfaces are mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces as well, including:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving and Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Cleanup and Disinfecting Procedures

Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of waste.

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar type organisms to COVID-19.

SERVPROXIDE™, SERVPRO’s proprietary disinfectant, is a hospital-grade disinfectant that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 on hard, non-porous surfaces. In addition, SERVPROXIDE™ currently has dozens of EPA-approved claims including Feline coronavirus, Canine coronavirus, Staphylococcus (MRSA), E. coli, Salmonella, Rotavirus, Swine flu (H1N1) and more.

Porous surfaces that are not water-sensitive, such as carpet and other fabric material, cannot be disinfected but can be sanitized using SERVPROXIDE™.

Contact Us

If you need us, we’ll be there – no matter the time or day, contact us at 866.361.3400. The team of highly trained restoration and cleaning experts at SERVPRO of Central Union County & SERVPRO of Western Essex County is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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

3/11/2020 (Permalink)

black smoke coming out of windows from a burning house Having a team on your side after a disaster can help relieve stress.

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 1,700 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.