Hoarding: A Serious Problem
According to The Mayo Clinic, “Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.” Many people with hoarding disorder do not find their habits to be a problem.
Hoarded items are often things others would throw away or look at as junk or garbage such as old newspapers, junk mail or packaging.
Hoarding can lead to homes filled with extreme clutter to full capacity from years of accumulation, making living conditions unsanitary and crowded. Bugs, fleas, rats and other vermin may be present, at which point an exterminator would need to be called. At times, hoarding may spread to outside the home as well, to storage facilities, or even the garage or yard.
SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties encounters hoarding situations several different ways. Often, SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties is called for a fire or water loss and find the hoarding situation when they arrive on-site. One of our trained professionals will communicate with the insurance company regarding their contents coverage, and after approval, contents can be packed out and possibly cleaned, dried, and stored by SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties, or relocated to a storage facility so work on the fire or water loss can begin.
Another way SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties encounters hoarding jobs is through calls from landlords, case workers, real estate agents, or family members, often after the death of a loved one. In these situations, the crew will see if they should look for any items of importance while they clean the job. Sometimes, family members will come and try to help the hoarder sort through their contents as well.
Each case is very different, and hoarding jobs are often sensitive situations, but SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.” If you encounter a hoarding situation at one of your properties, or with your insureds, call SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties today at 770-253-8972.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 4
Cleaning After Fire
The October 2017 California Fires in Northern California were devastating. Northern California will be dealing with the death and destruction of recent wildfires for years. The immediate life-safety concerns about fire are obvious and frightening, but what many don’t realize is that returning to fire damaged buildings is also hazardous. Cleaning after fire is part of recovery, but done wrong this activity may do more harm. If you’re returning to a fire damaged community, follow these fire restoration tips to reduce your health risks.
After you have dealt with the initial raw emotions of fire loss, after you have contacted your insurance company and relatives and emergency personnel that are worried about you, it is time to cleanup and rebuild. FEMA has a checklist for “returning to normal” after a fire. If hiring professionals is not in the budget or you want to get back home before the pros show up, read these tips for cleaning after a fire.
Immediate Threats When Cleaning After Fire
These basic measures may save your life when you return to clean up after a fire.
- Do not reenter a fire stricken area or building unless a professional has verified it is safe to enter. Fires may reappear and you don’t want to be stuck in the danger zone. Do not go around police/fire barricades or ignore evacuation orders.
- Do not approach downed power lines or attempt to work around electrical wires.
- If the structure has been significantly impact and there are any concerns about the structural integrity of the building, do not enter until an expert or structural engineer okays the building.
- Do not enter areas with standing water. There may be hidden dangers in the water.
- Hire a professional fire restoration company – if you can. Be sure to talk with your insurance company. SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties is licensed, insured, bonded, and standing by to help you start picking up the pieces.
If you are a contractor working after a disaster you must protect worker safety – it’s the law.
*Courtesy of https://healthybuildingscience.com/2017/10/18/cleaning-after-fire/House
Earthquakes: Drop, Cover, Hold On
Before an Earthquake
- Develop a family communications plan.
- Make a Ready kit for at least three days of self-sufficiency.
- Secure cabinets, bookcases and mirrors to wall studs. Avoid installing bookcases next to beds, since heavily loaded structures could fall causing significant injury or death.
- Do NOT hang pictures over the bed.
- Strap any gas or electric water heater to wall studs. A broken gas line can cause a fire, while a knocked over or ruptured tank could cause damage or scalding.
- Store hazardous or flammable materials safely. If a container of flammable liquid spills during an earthquake, any source of flame may ignite the fluid and start a fire.
- Loss of contact with the foundation is a major source of damage in many large earthquakes. Bolt house to foundation, if possible. Houses in the Southeast are built to stand upright and may not withstand shaking.
- Consider having chimneys, roofs, and walls checked for stability. Bricks from chimneys and wall facings if not secured can fall and cause significant damage or injury.
- Keep insurance policies up-to-date and stored safely. Determine if earthquake insurance is right for you.
During an Earthquake - Drop, Cover, Hold On
- Drop to the ground fast, otherwise the earthquake shaking may knock you down uncontrollably.
- Cover yourself below a strong table or desk. Falling objects and collapsing structures cause many of the injuries and deaths during an earthquake. In addition, cover your head and face to protect them from broken glass and falling objects.
- Hold onto a table or desk and be prepared to move with it. Hold your position until the shaking stops.
- Do NOT run outside or use the stairways or elevators during the shaking. The entrance ways of buildings and homes are particularly dangerous because of falling bricks and debris.
After an Earthquake
- When tremors STOP, vacate premises immediately until it is safe to return.
- Look for and eliminate fire hazards that can cause further damage.
- Follow your communications plan to locate and connect with family and loved ones.
- Check your building for cracks and structural damage.
- Take photos to record damage before you clean up or make repairs.
- Move valuables to a safe, weatherproof location.
- Review your insurance coverage and report claims promptly.
- Collect inventory records, appraisals and photographic records.
- Use licensed professionals to conduct inspections and repair your home.
- Look for ways to better prepare your home for earthquakes as you repair or rebuild.
* Courtesy of http://ready.ga.gov/be-informed/earthquakes/
After the Fire: What to Do to Help Your Business Recover
Although many of us go through great efforts to fireproof our home, we rarely bring this outlook into the workplace. While there’s no replacement for a little bit of forethought and diligence, a fire at your place of business doesn’t have to mean the end of your company altogether. In fact, approximately 60 percent of all U.S.-based businesses reopen their doors after a disastrous fire. Some companies have even gone on to achieve a great amount of success and profitability after such an event.
Determine the Responsible Party
The first thing you should do in the wake of a fire at your business is determine the responsible party. This depends on a number of different factors, including whether you lease or own the building, the exact cause of the fire and even your specific amount of insurance coverage. Keep in mind that some insurance policies only cover the contents of the structure and not the materials used in the actual construction of the building.
Sometimes, you may need to wait until an investigation has been completed by your local fire department, police department or insurance company. If this is the case, make sure to maintain communications for further information and instructions.
Safeguard and Secure Your Remaining Property
If the fire has caused significant damage to the exterior walls, doors, windows or roof of your building, you’ll want to act quickly in order to safeguard and secure your remaining property. Smoldering remains should be fully extinguished and any large holes should be temporarily patched. Not only will this prevent vandalism after the fact, but a little bit of effort can go a long way towards minimizing the overall amount of damage caused.
Contact Anyone Who May Be Affected
Next comes the daunting task of contacting anyone who may have been affected as a result of the fire. This includes employees, board members, external partners and, in some cases, customers. If any activities or services need to be postponed or suspended, make sure to communicate that news, too. The last thing you want to do after a fire is to leave your valuable employees and business partners in the dark about the future of your company.
Furthermore, don’t forget to contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. A simple call or email will typically suffice, though large claims may require face-to-face consultation or even an on-site inspection of the damaged property.
Get Your Documentation in Order
Your insurance company will require proof regarding any claimed losses as a result of the fire, so be sure to have any pertinent documentation, including receipts, user manuals and credit card statements, at the ready. You may even want to take digital pictures or video of your property. Not only can this be used in determining your overall losses, it could serve as hard evidence in case any court proceedings should follow.
Repair and Restore Damage
If the structure isn’t a total loss, you might be able to rebuild, repair and restore your business back to its original state. Extensive smoke damage, for example, can typically be cleaned up through a number of different tools so you can go on with business as usual after the restoration.
Initiate the Recovery of Sensitive or Critical Data
Depending on your exact case, you may need to take steps to recover any sensitive or critical data that was lost in the occurrence. Damaged servers, hard drives and even personal computers can all hold data critical to the day-to-day operations of your business.
If the situation warrants, you may even consider hiring a third-party that specializes in data recovery and restoration, specifically in the event of fire. Such individuals are more likely to be equipped with the right hardware and software tools than a company that offers general disaster recovery services. Most data recovery experts will also be able to work with you in order to introduce techniques in disaster recovery planning and data loss prevention.
Getting Back to Business
Once everything has been restored to order, it’s finally time to get back to business. Make sure to outline a comprehensive fire safety plan when moving forward, just in case your business experiences another fire. You might also consider increasing your insurance coverage for the future. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
* Courtesy of https://www.personalbrandingblog.com/what-to-do-if-your-business-has-a-fire/
How Team Building Helps Improve the Bottom Line
Teams are at the very foundation of organizational effectiveness. They work best with mutual trust and a common commitment to goals. Teams are more effective than individuals because they have more talent and experience, more diversity of resources, and greater operating flexibility. Research throughout the last decade has shown the superiority of group decision-making over that of even the brightest individual in the group. The exception to the rule is when the group lacks harmony or the ability to cooperate. Then decision-making quality and speed suffer.
Successful teams must work together wholeheartedly, not just apply the principles of effective task processes. Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff (Harvard Business Review, March 2001) identified three conditions essential to a group’s effectiveness. They are: trust among members, a sense of group identity and a sense of group efficacy. Group identity is the feeling among members that they belong to a unique and worthwhile group. Group efficacy is the belief that the team can perform well and that group members are more effective working together than apart.
20 to 30 percent of business performance depends on people feeling good about working at a company, according to Goleman in Primal Leadership (2002). The link between climate and business performance has been reaffirmed by new research that spans a range of industries. For every 1 percent improvement in the service climate, there’s a 2 percent increase in revenue. Workers who feel upbeat will go the extra mile to please customers, both internal and external, and therefore improve the bottom line.
Atlanta Challenge’s experiential team building and corporate training workshops can give your company the following benefits:
- Boost employee morale
- Improve communications skills
- Develop conflict resolution skills
- Have fun together
- Enhance creative problem solving
- Help teams work together more effectively
- Develop management’s leadership skills
- Increase team efficiency
- Help employees get to know one another better
- Get your group motivated and energized towards company goals.
- Improve customer service through better understanding of customers.
- Improve sales by understanding how to communicate with customers.
*Courtesy of https://atlantachallenge.com/team-building-helps-bottom-line/
Do You Have Dirty Ducts?
Did you know your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality? Inspecting the ductwork in your facility or home should be a high priority. In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold and irritating dust throughout your building or home.
A routine part of SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties's service is inspecting the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life-span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money. Duct cleaning may not always be necessary. SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This inspection can help save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.
In some circumstances, such as after a fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.
If you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove or fireplace, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends they be inspected for proper functioning and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
The SERVPRO® Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost-efficient. Unlike the majority of duct cleaning services, SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties uses a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.
- The process begins by using patented equipment, including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins.
- Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container.
- Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of the particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.
- As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.
- Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.
For more information on duct cleaning, or to schedule an appointment, contact SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties today.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 4
Destroy Odors with Deodorization
Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke and soot damage in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems.
As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard-to-reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.
With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties professionals provide specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties professionals do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the source of the odor. Once the source is found, SERVPRO’s own proprietary line of cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable item in affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts and more.
Ask SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you.
If you or a customer suffer a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services, contact SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties. Whether it’s fire, water, or mold damage or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we’ll help make it “Like it never even happened.”
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 4
The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents
According to FEMA, failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.
To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your or your insured’s home or business, SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup.
Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest or other potential obstacles.
For more information on proper cleaning dryer vents contact SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties at (770) 253-8972.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 4
Your Belongings & Water Damage
Water damage affects not only the structure of your house but also your belongings. SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties understands that your home is more than a structure; your family’s furniture, clothing, keepsakes, and other belongings help transform a house into a home.
If You Have Questions or Need Help,
Call Us Today – (770) 253-8972
SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties specializes in restoring contents damaged by fire, water, or mold. Our expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. We pretest your contents to determine what items can be restored back to their condition before the water damage. We utilize several methods of cleaning your contents, including the following:
- Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
- Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
- Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
- Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
- Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
- Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.
If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning, SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties can conduct an organized, efficient move-out of the affected area. A move-out will provide several benefits, including the following:
- A quicker remodeling process
- Protecting items from potential damage
- Protecting contents from further on-site damage
When restoration is completed, we will work with you to coordinate the move-in according to your needs. The services offered upon move-in may depend on your insurance coverage.
Water-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by water. We will coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including:
- Television sets
- DVD players
- And more
The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. We start by cleaning the exterior of electronic devices to help stop further corrosion and damage. Electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician.
Document / Photograph Drying
When your valuable documents, including photographs, are damaged by water, extreme caution should be taken to help ensure the water damage does not destroy the document. Although some documents may not be restored to pre-water damage condition, SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties can save a great deal and help minimize additional damage.
Depending on the type of documents and the level of water damage, we have five options for the restoration of documents:
- Air Drying
- Freezer Drying
- Vacuum Freeze Drying
- Vacuum Thermal Drying
Contents Claim Inventory Service
When a water emergency strikes, the damage can often feel overwhelming. We can help ease the worry and confusion during the recovery process by offering our Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS), which provides a detailed and accurate list of your belongings. We take a room-by-room inventory of your contents, including digital photos, and in some instances, bar coding.
Our Contents Claim Inventory Service:
- Preloss list and value of contents
- Detailed and accurate report
- Better information to settle claims quicker
- Assistance with burden of proof for claims
- Peace of mind when you need it most
Trauma & Crime Scene Cleanup
After the police have finished processing a crime or accident scene, the cleaning and restoration process can begin. Many times, crime and accident scenes have blood and other biohazard contaminants that pose a serious health risk. SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties will respond immediately and has the specialized training, protective equipment, and experience to safely clean trauma and crime scenes.
Need Trauma or Crime Scene Cleanup? Call Today – (770) 253-8972
Our technicians follow OSHA and EPA protocols to help transform an unsafe environment back into a clean, safe home or business. Our first focus is always safety, since crime or accident scenes may involve bloodborne pathogens, harmful chemicals, and other dangers. We will always treat your property and the people involved with the greatest empathy and respect in the face of trying circumstances.
Crime Scene and Trauma Cleaning Services
- Fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals
- Tear gas and pepper spray residues
- Fire extinguisher residue
- Blood, bodily fluids, and tissue remnants
Common Trauma and Crime Scene Scenarios
Crime Scene Residues
From fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals to tear gas and pepper spray residues, we can clean and restore your property after a crime scene investigation.
We remove and dispose of bodily fluids, tissue and other potentially pathogenic substances resulting from accident, trauma, crime or death. Our trained Professionals clean, disinfect and deodorize the structure.
Many of the chemicals used in the production of illegal drugs such as methamphetamine are volatile and can leave harmful residues throughout a structure. Our technicians follow federal and state guidelines to properly clean all surfaces.