Archived Blog Posts
A Salute to First Responders
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” This famous Mr. Rogers quote comes to mind when we celebrate first responders: those who arrive first on the scene of any disaster or emergency.
In the event of a disaster or emergency, there are many different agencies and people in your community who are ready to respond. Whether it’s a house fire or a hurricane, we are thankful every day for these first responders.
Firefighters, EMTs, and Police
Local fire and police departments, as well as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), are often first on the scene of an emergency. In the U.S., there are more than 29,700 fire departments with 1,160,450 total firefighters, according to the National Fire Protection Association’s 2015 U.S. Fire Department Profile.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are almost 245,000 EMTs and paramedics in the U.S. In the U.S. there are about 18,000 federal, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, employing more than 750,000 fulltime sworn officers, according to the Uniformed Crime Reporting Program collected by the FBI.
When events such as natural disasters strike, different branches of the military are often a first line of response. The Army National Guard and Air National Guard, with over 342,000 soldiers, respond domestically when deployed by their state Governor, often during states of emergency from weather-related events. They can also be called upon during terrorist attacks or civil unrest, or called overseas by the President of the United States.
Active duty soldiers can also be called upon for certain domestic events as well.
FEMA Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
As a part of FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), these volunteers are trained to be prepared for any disasters that may affect your local area in an effort to support professional responders. CERT volunteers are trained in “basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations,” according to FEMA.
With more than 2,700 CERT programs, over 600,000 individuals have been trained nationwide. Teams are managed locally, but supported nationally by FEMA.
SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties recognizes these and the countless other first responders in our communities for keeping our communities safe.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 4
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
Severe Weather Safety
Severe weather can happen anytime, anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of the following intense storms*:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,300 tornadoes
- 2 land-falling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 650 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. * Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action, and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
Know Your Risk.
The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business, and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms, and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communications plan for your home and business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
Be an Example.
Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.
Contact SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties for more readiness tips and tools, including SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile® (ERP). Having an ERP in place for your facility can help minimize business interruption in the event of a disaster.
SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties can help you be “Ready for whatever happens!”
*Facts and figures provided by noaa.gov
**Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
Do You Know What To Do When a Flood Happens?
Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river, or even in the desert—there is always potential for flood damage. Fema.gov reports in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past does not mean you won’t in the future. In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas, and even just one inch of flood damage in an average home can cost you up to $27,000.*
According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather related disaster. The American Red Cross offers the following flood safety tips.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
If a flood does strike your home or business, contact SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties at 770-253-8972. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly, and the cleanup is often an overwhelming task. The SERVPRO® System is prepared to handle any sized disaster. When fire and water take control of your life, SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties will help you take it back.
*Facts and figures provided by fema.gov
**Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
When Water Damage Strikes
The first 24 hours following a water loss are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties will be on-site to help ensure a water damage is handled by completing the following steps.
SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties will inspect affected areas to determine the extent of water damage and will review the inspection with you to answer any questions before beginning any work.
SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties will take steps to help protect your home or business, as well as personal belongings and other contents, from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing the area for drying. They will explain the needed emergency services to you step-by-step.
To help ensure your home or business and belongings are dried to appropriate industry standards, SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties will monitor the drying process. The updates will be consistently communicated to you.
SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties's team of professionals will repair structural materials, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of your property and belongings. A final walk-through of the job-site will be conducted with you to help ensure the property was returned to preloss condition.
EMERGENCY WATER DAMAGE TIPS
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents, and other sensitive valuables to a dry place.
- Don’t enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers, or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
- Don’t use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water; this could cause electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
For more information on recovering from water damage, contact SERVPRO® of Troup-Coweta Counties today - 770-253-8972.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
Did You Know...Generator Safety
If you have a generator on hand for power outages during severe weather, follow the safety tips below from the American Red Cross:
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, or any partially enclosed area.
- To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.
- Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home. Although CO can’t be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately.
- Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home or property and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
Common Mistakes You're Making with Your "Small" Water Damage
When finding themselves in the midst of a water damage event, many people immediately react by jumping in and cleaning up the mess. Beginning the restoration process as soon as possible is important, but starting before you have taken the necessary steps or know exactly what you are doing could actually make things worse in the end. To help avoid these mishaps, a few of the most common mistakes in water damage clean up are listed below. The most critical mistake to not make is failing to hire a professional restoration company to do the dirty work for you. SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties is your local expert to help you navigate the “waters”.
Mistake #1- Not Having the Job Done RIGHT the First Time
Adopting the “do it yourself” approach when it comes to water damage clean-up is often the go-to mindset. However, this is usually a more difficult process than people think. It can be a long process and following the proper procedures is very important. For example, if you neglect to begin airing out your home by opening up windows and doors for ventilation and using fans to dry things out as soon as possible, the damage will eventually be worse.
Mistake #2- Not Being Completely Thorough
As mentioned above, the water damage restoration process done right requires that you be very thorough. Cutting corners and major shortcuts will not make a big difference and can actually cause more damage. It is better to have the job done right up front, but it will not happen overnight. To ensure all the water is removed and mold will not begin to grow on and in your walls, ceilings, and carpet, you will want to make sure your contractor is certified to do the work needed in an appropriate time frame.
Mistake #3- Waiting Too Long
It can be tempting to put off dealing with flooding or water damage when it’s just a small incident, especially when life is hectic. Even minor flooding can lead to major damage in the long run. The water seeps into walls and flooring over time when not dried properly and can cause structural damage and mold growth. It’s not worth the risk to procrastinate. It could save you a lot of time, heartache, and money in the long run.
Mistake #4- Not Involving a Certified Restoration Company
Trying to tackle the water damage restoration process on your own is great undertaking. Having it done right the first time requires the proper expertise, the right equipment, and enough time to be as thorough as required. Though it may seem like you have the time and resources to clean it up, you will soon realize the process is more involved than originally thought. Should you ever find yourself in a situation where your home or business has been compromised by flooding or water damage, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties.
Let SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties help you recover your property properly following a water damage event. Call us today – 770-253-8972.
Sources of Outside Water Damage
There are many ways that water can infiltrate your home, often when you least expect it. It will destroy everything in its path and take over your entire world. In addition to increased stress levels, unexpected water damage can cause displacement for you and your family. Only a certified and insured restoration company should be trusted to mitigate the damage to your home. SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties is your local resource to get your home back in working order.
Water damage can occur from both interior and exterior sources. Below are some ways you can help prevent water damage inside your home that comes from outside sources.
- Ensure that shingles, flashings or tiles on your roof aren’t missing, broken, cracked, curled or damaged in other ways.
- Cut tree limbs that hang above your roof so they don’t cling to shingles and trap moisture.
- Make sure the vents, flues, chimneys, air conditioners, and evaporative coolers are properly installed and in good shape.
- Check for leaks around rooftop air-conditioning units, vents for exhaust or plumbing, or other specialized equipment.
Gutters and Downspouts
- Clear gutters and downspouts from leaves, twigs, and other debris. Also check that they are in good condition so that water can flow freely. You can do this by installing metal screens to help prevent clogging.
- Ensure downspouts direct water at least five feet away from your home’s foundation. This helps direct water away from the foundation. Downspout extensions can be added if needed.
Doors and Windows
- Install window well covers to help prevent water and debris from getting trapped and causing water to eventually seep into your basement.
- Check for leaks near the corners of your doors and windows. Signs of leaks include peeling paint, paint discoloration or swollen frames.
- Installing overhangs or awnings above exterior doors and windows protects them from the sun, rain, and snow.
- Check for a tight fit on closed doors and windows. Any cracks between the sash and frame Close your doors and windows to check for a tight fit. Repair or replace damaged flashing or weather-stripping.
- Check for and repair cracked or broken siding boards, bricks, stone or another masonry, and structural sheathing.
- Remove any shrubs and other landscaping features from along the walls, and avoid directing water towards the house when irrigating the garden and plants to prevent excessive water near the foundation.
- Seal any openings from wiring, plumbing, phone, cable, and heating and air conditioning lines with foam or caulk. Repair any damaged or unpainted wood surrounding these openings.
- Termites can eat wood, plaster, and even metal siding causing holes and compromising structural integrity. Check for signs of termite activity on the walls and the wooden structures around your foundation.
- Ensure that the exhaust vent doors properly open and close.
Following these steps can help protect your home from exterior water damage. If water does happen to sneak into your home, make sure to have SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties on speed dial. We’ll be there to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Commercial Water Damage
Many commercial business owners know that moisture is often the enemy especially when it can shut your business down. With an average of 50% of businesses not reopening following a major disaster, SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties can help make sure your business isn't one of them.
Water can penetrate into any space and take advantage of even the smallest crack, causing damage to the structure. How it enters the building is irrelevant; the response should be the same. Calling in a professional commercial water damage specialist can help ensure there are no lingering health threats to you or your employees once the water damage has been eliminated.
SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties is your local professional for all your commercial water damage needs. Call us today – 770-253-8972.
Commercial Sewage Damage
Floods, sewage backups, and other contaminated water can cause some of the worst damage to your commercial property. Contaminated water is often filled with deadly substances including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This can be compounded by the composition of your commercial building. Organic materials such as drywall, wood, and debris found in carpet is prime breeding ground for pathogens and other bacteria and parasites to grow. The health risk to you and your employees is greatly increased when exposure to flood waters, sewage, and other types of contaminated water.
SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties will dry the commercial building quickly and apply antimicrobial agents to all surfaces that had contact with the water to help make sure that they can eliminate any lingering contaminants. This can help ensure you and your employees that they can return to a safe working environment. If your commercial building is in need of water damage cleanup and repair, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties at 770-253-8972. We are available 24/7 to help you get your business back “Like it never even happened.”
Understanding the Fire Restoration Process
The fire restoration process should be started as quickly as possible following a fire damage. The longer you wait to contact a certified restoration company, the more likely it is for damage from water and smoke to intensify. It’s bad enough there was a fire, but the water and chemicals used to extinguish it can cause secondary damage. The remnants will continue to do damage long after the flames are extinguished. *
The average person will attempt conventional cleaning methods like renting a steam cleaner and using common cleaning agents available at the store. Unfortunately, this will barely make an impact on the problem and could cause bigger issues. Chemical agents could react with the residue and cause permanent damage, and in some cases, they may cause toxic fumes. Fire damage cleanup is one of the most difficult jobs out there, and it should be left to a professional for the best results. *
Let SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties be your certified professional when facing your own fire damage. We will walk you through the process step by step to ensure that your home is properly restored. Our team of professionals is available 24/7 to help you put your life back together and restore your normal as much as possible.
Call us today at 770-253-8972.
Smoke Damage Cleanup
Smoke damage cleaning is, perhaps, the most complicated form of treatment for a homeowner to accomplish themselves. Not only does it take a thorough approach and deep remediation of nearly every surface in the building, it can only be done effectively if the areas behind the building’s walls receive treatment as well. This is a massive challenge to anyone but certified professionals, as these experts have the know-how, manpower and equipment to complete the task properly. SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties is your local expert in smoke damage cleaning and restoration.
Once the fire dies out, the problem is only beginning. Soot and smoke have a tendency to get everywhere, and these particles are so small that they can pass through walls effortlessly. They will also cake onto furniture, countertops, floors and walls if not dealt with right away, causing discoloration and overpowering odors. Smoke damage cleaning has to address both issues to be completely effective.
The professionals at SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties are certified through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and have the expertise and materials needed to do the job right. With powerful treatment solutions, the soot and smoke can be removed during a deep scrubbing of the building. Professionals have access to thermal fogging technology to take care of the odors emanating from behind walls. The thermal fogging produces a cloud of odor neutralizing particles that can go where the smoke does.
*Information courtesy of https://www.IICRC.org/blog/tag/smoke-damage-restoration
Be Prepared: Earthquakes
An earthquake, as defined by the U.S. Geological Survey, is a term used to describe both sudden slip on a fault, and the resulting ground shaking and radiated seismic energy caused by the slip, or by volcanic or magmatic activity, or other sudden stress changes in the earth. Earthquakes may cause household items to become dangerous projectiles; cause buildings to move off foundations or collapse, damage utilities, roads and structures such as bridges and dams, or cause fires and explosions. They may also trigger landslides, avalanches, and tsunamis. Earthquakes can occur any time of day at any time of year without warning. They can’t be predicted and usually last less than a minute. Aftershocks, on the other hand, can last up to months after the initial event.
Many think that because we live in Georgia we won’t have earthquakes. However, all 50 states and 5 US territories are at some risk. Over the last several years, there has been an increase in the reports of earthquakes in our area of the country. Whether you felt them at your home or not, it’s important to be prepared and know what to do in the event of a significant earthquake event.
For more information on how to be prepared in the event of an earthquake, visit ready.gov/earthquakes.
Be Prepared: Winter Weather
A winter storm occurs when there is significant precipitation and the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet or snow, or when rain turns to ice. A winter storm can range from freezing rain and ice, to moderate snowfall over a few hours, to a blizzard that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures.
Winter storms can cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other conditions.
For more information on how to be prepared before, during, and after a winter storm, visit ready.gov/winter-weather.
While there is no way to completely eliminate all of the molds and mold spores in your home, there are some steps you can take to control the amount of moisture and subsequent mold growth. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, the following are several ways to accomplish moisture control.
One way is to stop any water that could creep into your home. Fixing any leaks from appliances, pipes, or supply lines; using waterproof or water-resistant materials such as tiles, deep-sealed concrete, galvanized/stainless steel hardware, etc.; using moisture barriers over exposed dirt and having proper ventilation in crawl spaces to prevent water from the ground; and making sure gutters are properly cleaned and maintained are ways to prevent unwanted water from invading your home. Keeping this water out is key to preventing microbial growth.
Another is to keep it clean. Fabrics that are not cleaned regularly and kept in well ventilated places will breed mildew. Mold and mildew thrives in soiled, damp places. Dirty duct work can cause mold spores to circulate throughout your home without you really noticing.
The next thing to remember is to keep it dry. Using dehumidifiers, fans, and opening windows, especially during hot weather, to regulate the humidity levels in your home help inhibit the ability of mold to grow. It is ideal to keep humidity levels below 40% and reduce potential for condensation on cold surfaces by insulating around them.
Disinfecting surfaces regularly can prevent microbial growth from occurring or returning. A 10% bleach solution – 1 ¼ - 1 ½ cup bleach to a gallon of water – or a commercial disinfectant is recommended by FEMA to be most effective in removing/preventing microbial growth.
If you do find yourself with mold in your home, trust a certified professional, like SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties, to remove it properly.
*information courtesy of FEMA Mold & Mildew Guide
The Mold Remediation Process
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our “typical” process:
- Emergency Contact - (770) 253-8972
The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call us. Our representative will ask a series of questions to help us determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel.
- Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
We carefully inspect your property for visible signs of mold. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view. We use various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources.
- Mold Containment
Our professionals use various containment procedures to prevent the spread of mold. We may use advanced containment procedures like negative air chambers to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. All fans and heating and cooling systems will be turned off to prevent the spread of mold.
- Air Filtration
Our specialized filtration equipment allows our Professionals to capture microscopic mold spores out of the air. We utilize powerful “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in process.
- Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. We’ll use antifungal and antimicrobial treatments to eliminate mold colonies and to help prevent new colonies from forming. It may be necessary to remove and dispose of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and carpeting, to remediate heavy mold growth.
- Cleaning Contents and Belongings
We clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, clothing, and other restorable items affected by mold. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and disinfect your belongings. We’re also trained to remove odors and deodorization using fogging equipment.
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may have been removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. The restoration step gets your home or business back to normal.
Trust the professionals at SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties to help with any mold remediation needs.
Newnan-Coweta Chamber Golf Tournament 5.4.16
A great day of networking and golf.
We had a blast participating in and being a hole sponsor for the Newnan-Coweta Chamber Golf Tournament on May 4, 2016. Lynn Kiessling, Sales and Marketing Rep for SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta, had a great time networking and making some very important connections. Piedmont Hospital dominated the course with 6 teams. They were also the presenting sponsor the tournament. Bonnell Aluminum and Piedmont Hospital had a great time playing corn hole with our SERVPRO reps while waiting to tee off. We also enjoyed meeting and making connections with the Coweta County Water Authority, Yamaha, Blue Chip Air, Brickhouse, South Towne Toyota of Newnan, Wells Fargo, and Pepsi. SERVPRO of Troup-Coweta Counties is very much looking forward to participating in this fun-filled, exciting event again next year.