Recent Posts

We are Your Mold Damage Specialists

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

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, 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.

SERVPRO is There for You & Your Business | Disaster Plan

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

Would your business be prepared to face all that Mother Nature can throw at it through floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and earthquakes? The most important key to surviving these natural disasters is to be prepared for these situations.

Being prepared for these situations involves creating a natural disaster plan for your business. This blog will lay out some aspects to consider when designing that very important disaster plan.

Where to Start With Your Disaster Plan

There are many things you will need to consider, including your employees, your material assets and equipment, when developing a disaster plan for your business.

Some of those considerations should be:

  1. How to protect your employees
  2. How to secure your assets
  3. How to get business up and running again

Many checklists have been made available through sources like the Red Cross, FEMA and Ready.gov that can offer information that will help you identify areas that need to be included in your natural disaster preparedness plan. These sources will also help you see just how prepared you truly are.

Don’t Neglect Employee Safety

If a disaster should strike without warning, your plan must lay out clear and concise procedures and safety measures for the protection of your employees and visitors. Your evacuation routes and exits from your facility should all be properly and clearly marked, have an area designated that will serve as a shelter space, consider emergency light installation, and ask for volunteers to serve as designated “safety wardens” properly trainedand ready to guide and assist with all emergency efforts.

When choosing a place for shelter, ideally this space would be a basement or storm cellar in the event of tornadoes or other high-wind situations. If there is no basement available, select a small interior room on the lowest level of the building, such as a closet or interior hallway.

How to Protect the Assets

In a brick and mortar location, you’ll still need to make careful decisions when it comes to protecting the assets inside the building. You have thousands of dollars tied up in equipment and/or merchandise that will be at risk should a natural disaster strike.

Be sure to have a complete and up-to-date inventory of all equipment and assets. Having photographs prior to a disaster whenever possible is also always helpful if insurance claims need to be made. If your assets are computer data-based and kept on a server, take the steps necessary to ensure that the backup system is making regular backups and that the storage system cannot be damaged, such as a cloud storage option.

If you own the building that you conduct your business in, get with a contractor to uncover areas that could be structurally strengthened. This contractor should be able to suggest possible safety upgrades and advise on any areas that may not make the grade in certain weather situations.

Getting Back to Business

When—and if—a natural disaster does occur, it may be entirely possible that your business will have to be closed for days or months due to the damage incurred. And every day you remain closed is another day of lost profits. It is wise to set up a disaster fund to help cover any additional costs that are not covered by your insurance.

Keep a list of contractors handy who will make themselves available for repairs, and know which cleanup and restoration service will be available to quickly respond to your emergency situation.

With SERVPRO® of Central Union County, you can count on us to get to the disaster faster and make it "Like it never even happened." Our training and expertise have prepared us to help with water damage, storm damage, fire damage and mold remediation quickly and effectively.

Knowing what to do when disaster strikes your business is of the utmost importance. When it comes to the cleanup and restoration aspects, depend on SERVPRO® of Central Union County to be there for you.

We Are The Experts & We Are Here To Help | Identifying Floodwaters

3/11/2019 (Permalink)

If you think all water that causes water damage is the same, think again! There are three classifications for it: clean, gray and black.

By gaining a better understanding of the differences in these types of water, it will help you understand how to better handle a water damage situation.

Whenever there is a water damage situation, it doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage because a cleanup and restoration process will always follow. First, and most important, is removing all moisture and damp items as quickly as possible to hinder the growth of mold, which begins to flourish in this ideal environment.

Clean Water

The name says it all; clean water is considered “clean” and not likely to be the type that would pose an immediate threat to your health. This water contains no contaminants and is the result of:

  • Broken water lines
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Toilet holding tanks
  • Snow melt and rainwater

Clean water is the easiest type of water damage to work with because there are fewer microbes living in the water. But remember, it only takes 48 hours and contact with the surfaces of a building for clean water to become a category two, becoming gray water.

Gray Water

Damage from gray water makes water damage cleanup and restoration a bit more serious. This is water that may pose a health risk because it will most likely contain chemical or biological contamination. This slight contamination means that gray water would need to be thoroughly treated before it is safe for consumption.

Water that comes from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. is considered gray water, and the 48-hour exposure time applies here as well, as it will become black water if it is not quickly and property treated.

Black Water

A black water damage situation is considered the most serious of the three classifications as this water is highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter. This would include floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.

Sewage is contaminated with microbes, which include bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more—many of these can be harmful to humans.

Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroenteritis-type illnesses

Any water involved in a flooding situation should be considered dangerous and assumed to be black water since it will pick up contaminants along its path.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industry, recognizes these three classifications of floodwater. Our highly trained technicians have all studied IICRC’s standards and best practices in water restoration and are available to help determine the steps to take to get your home back to normal.

It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO® of Central Union County is here to help get the situation under control and make it "Like it never even happened." Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need emergency cleanup and restoration services!

SERVPRO of Central Union County Cares About Your Family

3/11/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Protect Your Business From Fires | What Could Cause it?

3/6/2019 (Permalink)

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 from 2007–2011 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.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2007, fires and explosions accounted for 3% of all workplace fatalities.

In more recent studies, the NFPA estimates that from 2007–2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires at office properties per year. Those fires were responsible for an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.

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. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO® of Central Union County is available to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Trust SERVPRO of Central Union County to Protect Your Home From Water Damage

3/6/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know water damage can be one of the most common and costliest disasters your home may experience? Anything from a burst pipe to a malfunctioning dishwasher or storm damage are some of the countless ways water could cause damage in your home.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to protect your home. Read on as we take a look.

Learning How to Protect Your Home

Besides dealing with the damage from the water itself, there is also the potential for long-term impacts on your home. Mold is one of the most common and dangerous side effects of water damage, as mold begins to grow within 24–48 hours of exposure to moisture.

As you consider ways to protect your home from water damage, it can be a less daunting task to break it down by areas of impact. These areas would include basements, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and ceilings.

Water damage in the basement can be prevented by checking for and remedying water seepage by resealing vulnerable areas of the basement, making sure water is draining away from your home and installing a backwater valve.

Plumbing issues and appliance failures are the major causes of water damage in your kitchen and bathrooms.

Be sure that you regularly:

  • Inspect all appliances, watching for issues with hoses and faucets
  • Check the seals and caulking around your showers and tubs to make sure they are watertight
  • Know where the main shut-off valve is in your home
  • Never leave your home while the washer or dishwasher are in use

Protecting the possessions in your home from water damage is a different story and not always possible, but there are things you can do to at least decrease the amount of loss. It is advisable to use waterproof bins to store items and to store your possessions on shelving off of the floor—especially in the basement.

Knowing Where to Start

If your home does fall victim to a water damage situation, you can stand a good chance at salvaging items that can be dried out within 48 hours.

Be sure to contact your insurance provider first thing and evaluate how much water damage has affected your home as well as identify the type of water that is involved.

The three types of water are:

  1. “Clean” water. Can be from rain, condensation, leaky pipes, etc.

  2. “Gray” water. Slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, etc.

  3. “Black” water. Water from sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, etc. This water can cause serious health problems.

It is important that, following a water damage disaster, you get your home dried out, dehumidify the area, remove wet objects and disinfect remaining materials as soon as it is safely possible.

Pro tip: Books, photos and papers can be placed in a frost-free freezer to allow some extra time, which prevents mold and mildew from developing and causing more deterioration. Once you are able to do so, remove them from the freezer and air-dry or fan-dry the pages.

It may seem like recovering from water damage is an overwhelming and slightly impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can call on the highly trained experts at SERVPRO® of Central Union County, who are here to make it "Like it never even happened"

PREPARE FOR FLOODS AND STORM DAMAGE

10/4/2018 (Permalink)

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.

To get life back on track after flooding and storm damage, call SERVPRO® of Central Union County.

Preparedness for Pets: After the Storm

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

Pets are just as important as any family member to most people, so why would you not make them a part of your preparedness planning? There are several things you can do to make sure they stay safe as well during an emergency. Pet Emergency Kit Ready.gov/animals lists the below items as essential to building your Pet Emergency Kit.

  1. Food: At least a three-day supply in an airtight, waterproof container.
  2. Water: At least three days of water specifically for your pets.
  3. Medicines and medical records.
  4. Important documents: Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
  5. First aid kit: Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution. Including a pet first aid reference book is a good idea too.

7.Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash.

8.Crate or pet carrier: Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.

  1. Sanitation: Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach.
  2. A picture of you and your pet together: If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics. Familiar items. Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.

Evacuations While practicing fire escape or evacuation plans, be sure to include pets. If an evacuation happens, don’t leave pets behind as they can be lost or injured.

Identification Microchipping pets is a great way to locate them. Most veterinary clinics and shelters have scanners that will read the microchip information to help find a pet’s owners. Be sure to take four-legged friends into consideration when planning for emergencies. Visit ready.gov/ animals for further tips and safety precautions to think about for you or your insured’s families’ pets, or your tenants pets’ during a disaster.

Storm Damage: What are the Causes?

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

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 is that hurricanes cause damage far past the coast. That storms cause damage 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.

Mold: When To Call The Experts

9/11/2018 (Permalink)

Experienced homeowners know that mold comes with the territory. Often, a little elbow grease will do the trick to get rid of it, but not always. It’s important to be educated about mold to know when it’s time to ask for professional help.

Below you’ll find three mold facts to help determine when to call for professional mold remediation services.

1. Airborne

Did you know that mold is airborne? Mold spores spread through the air - which means it can spread quickly and far.

Because mold spores are airborne, they can also cause health side effects like allergies and respiratory issues, and even skin irritation. If you’ve noticed these adverse reactions, it may be time to call in an expert.

2. Drywall

Mold can grow in the walls of your home - especially untreated drywall that is porous. To get rid of mold in the walls, often the infected section of the wall has to be removed.

If a mold colony has grown larger than 10 sq. feet in the wall, it’s time to ask an expert for help.

3. Water

All mold needs to grow is water or humidity. That makes the bathroom or even the basement the most common locations for mold. Because mold is common in these places, you may think you can handle it on your own. But if the infestation continues to reoccur, the problem might be worse than you think.

If you have a mold problem that just won’t go away, call SERVPRO® of Central Union County today. SERVPRO® will make it like it never happened.