Archived Blog Posts
4 Steps To Emergency Preparedness For Any Disaster
It is important to have a team assist you in putting together an Emergency Response Plan.
4 Steps To Emergency Preparedness For Any Disaster
When disaster strikes, the last thing you want to do is scramble to come up with a plan. In this article, we'll show you how to create an emergency plan so that when disaster strikes, you can be prepared.
Every building needs an emergency plan in case of disaster.
Emergency preparedness plans are essential for every building, from homes to businesses. Unfortunately, many people do not have an emergency plan and find themselves scrambling in a disaster situation. If you are looking for ways to prepare yourself or your family or employees for any disaster, we have five steps you can take to ensure that everyone is safe during a crisis.
You’ve already done the first step, which was to make sure your building has a disaster plan in place. Now it's time to create an emergency plan for your facility that includes all of the different types of emergencies you may face. This will help you prepare for any situation and keep everyone on your staff safe from harm.
1. Know your risks
Before you can prepare for an emergency, you need to know your risks. Your risk assessment should include:
- Identifying the risks to your building and occupants
- Listing the risks in order of importance (the most severe being first)
- Identifying vulnerabilities that could affect you and identifying ways to mitigate them
2. Build a team
It is important to have a team assist you in putting together an Emergency Response Plan. If you have ever tried to do anything alone, you know it can be a challenge. The same is true for emergency preparedness. No single person has the time, knowledge or skills to respond effectively to all disasters. By building a team of friends, family, or employees you can cover each others' weaknesses and strengths, making for a more effective team overall.
The best way to do this is by creating a team made up of different people who have specific skills and expertise—for example:
- First responder
- Security personnel
- Facilities manager/supervisor(s)
3. Make critical information quickly accessible
When a natural disaster or emergency strikes, communication is crucial for keeping your employees informed, safe and on board with your business recovery plan. When an event happens that impacts your business, let people know where to turn for answers. A critical part of being informed is finding out exactly what information you should be looking for and where to find it. If a company has a crisis plan, make sure that everyone knows where it is placed in the office.
4. Test the plan
Testing your plan is essential for making sure it works. There are many ways to do this, but the most important thing is to make sure you test with real people and real equipment. You can't rely on a Google search or YouTube video to tell you if your plan will work in an emergency situation. Having regular emergency drills with your employees will give you a chance to test your plan as well as give your employees the opportunity to learn the plan first-hand.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to put your plan into action. Remember that this is a living document, so be sure to test it regularly and add new information as needed. Also remember that this isn’t just about making sure you have an emergency kit—it’s about being prepared for whatever comes your way!
What to do if Ceiling has Wet Stains?
If you've got a wet spot on your ceiling that's not mold, you'll want to do everything in your power to get rid of it as fast as possible.
What to do if Ceiling has Wet Stains?
There are a variety of reasons your Portland, ME home has wet ceilings. Sometimes there might be water damage from a leaky roof, other times it could be condensation buildup caused by poor insulation or air circulation. It may look like nothing at first glance, but if left unchecked it can lead to serious problems over time. We want to help you better understand how to identify wet stains on ceilings and what action is appropriate depending on their cause.
Determine the source of the leak.
Water stains on your ceiling could indicate that there's a leak somewhere in your home. Leaks can be caused by a variety of things, including plumbing issues, roof problems, and leaks in the walls.
When faced with this situation, first determine the source of the leak. If there is water dripping from above, check for cracks or holes in your roof where rain could be entering; if there are no holes in your roof but water is still leaking through onto your ceiling, look for leaks in plumbing pipes that run through your attic and into your house below. After determining whether or not there are any obvious sources of water coming from above, clean up what has already spilled and make sure to dry out as much moisture as possible before moving on to step two: stopping further leaks and preventing future ones from happening again!
Fix the leak.
If you have a leak in your ceiling, this is the next step to take. If you don't fix the leak, more water will get into your home and damage your ceiling. You may need to call in a professional if you aren't sure how to fix it or if it requires expensive materials.
Dry out water from the ceiling.
If you've got a wet spot on your ceiling that's not mold, you'll want to do everything in your power to get rid of it as fast as possible. First, use fans and other ventilation methods to dry out the ceiling. If the stain is large and there's plenty of water damage, hire a professional restoration company like SERVPRO of Portland.
Water stains on ceiling can be caused by a variety of things.
The best thing you can do if you discover water stains on your ceiling is to locate the source of the leak as soon as possible, and then stop it. The source of the leak may be a fairly straightforward issue to fix, or it may be more complicated, such as replacing an old roof or repairing a broken pipe.
Whatever you decide to do about your water stains on the ceiling in order to prevent further damage, it’s important that you act quickly before too much damage has been done and before any mold starts growing in your home.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the problem of wet stains on the ceiling and what to do about it. If you have any additional questions or concerns please feel free to contact SERVPRO of Portland and we will be happy to assist you with whatever questions you may have.
Content cleaning and fire damage
If you need Odor Removal and Deodorization
Cleaning of the contents and fire damage
A home fire is devastating, and it doesn't help that you can't even think about cleaning up until the smell of smoke has been dealt with. I know it can be hard to imagine, but there are things you can do to restore your clothing and other belongings. In this article, we'll explore the options for cleaning clothes after a fire, including professional dry-cleaning and content cleaning (home remedies). We'll also talk about how to remove odors from soiled items that may not be salvageable through washing alone.
Not all items are unsalvageable
The first thing to remember about cleaning clothes after a fire is that you have options. If the damage is minor, you can attempt to clean it yourself. If the clothes are soiled by water or smoke inhalation, professional cleaning may be necessary.
While all these methods can remove fire-related odors from clothing:
- Dry cleaning - The most expensive method, but also one of the most effective for removing smoke smells. It's best if you take your clothing directly to a dry cleaner instead of trying this at home because they'll know how best to treat each material type (and won't lose their license).
- Ultrasonic cleaning - This uses high-frequency sound waves that break up dirt and grime so they can be rinsed away with water during washing machine use; it's also an excellent option for soaking garments that aren't safe for dry cleaning or steam pressing (such as leather).
- Steam pressing - You'll want a professional pressing service rather than trying this at home—if done improperly by an amateur, hot steam could damage delicate fabrics like silk or wool!
Removing smoke odor from clothing can be expensive or impossible.
While it is possible to remove smoke odor from clothing and other non-porous items, such as linens, carpets and upholstery, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of smoke odor removal in the future.
- Vacuum your home thoroughly each day. This will help remove any loose particulate matter that would otherwise settle on furniture or in carpeting over time.
- Make sure your furnace filter is changed monthly (at minimum).
- Use a dehumidifier if humid conditions are causing problems with mold growth or mildew formation in carpeting or upholstery fabrics. This can help reduce moisture levels while also removing excess humidity from living spaces where people spend time indoors during colder weather periods when they wouldn't normally be outside enjoying themselves at all hours of the day!
Content cleaning is worth the investment
Content cleaning isn't always easy, and it can be expensive. You need a professional who knows how to clean your belongings without damaging them further. To find the right professional, start by asking friends or family members if they have any recommendations. If they don't know of anyone, ask your local fire department if there are any companies in the area that specialize in content cleaning after fire damage.
Once you've found a company, its website will have information about its services and prices on it. Read through this carefully so that you know exactly what they do before hiring them (such as whether they'll be cleaning specific items). Also, make sure that everything listed on the website is available locally—if not, find out how much more it would cost for shipping costs or travel expenses for someone to come out from another city or state!
Once you've hired an expert who can help clean up after your home has been damaged by fire very carefully review all bills before paying them so there are no surprises later down road! In many cases, your insurance company will pay for the content cleaning.
The best way to protect your belongings is by keeping them out of harm's way. If you've been affected by a fire, it's important to get an expert inspection and evaluation before cleaning up the mess. This will ensure that your efforts at restoration don't cause more damage than the fire itself did!
How To Prevent Mold Growth on Bread
Keep your bread fresh and fuzz-free.
How To Keep Your Bread Fresh and Fuzz- Free
Have you ever purchased a fresh loaf of white bread at the grocery store, only to find green, fuzzy spots on the crust just a few days later? Mold can grow on various foods and in countless different environments. However, bread, with its nutritious ingredients and warm, spongy texture, is the most common breeding ground for the fuzzy fungi. If you are curious about mold growth on bread and how to handle it, read on to learn some helpful tips and tricks on keeping your bread fresh and fuzz-free!
Learn the Dangers
Eating moldy bread in Casco Bay Islands, ME, can cause numerous unfavorable reactions such as:
While ingesting mold is typically harmless, it can potentially cause severe illness. Therefore, if you detect fungus growth on your sourdough loaf, promptly throw it in the garbage. Further, cutting the moldy sections off the affected areas won't necessarily remove all bread mold, so keep in mind this is an ineffective mold removal method.
If you accidentally consume mold-contaminated bread, do not panic. Those with healthy and uncompromised immune systems typically don't experience any dangerous symptoms.
Handle It Properly
If you discover bread or fridge mold, do not inhale it, as fungus growth can cause a host of respiratory issues. Place the moldy bread in a sealed bag and toss it in the trash away from children and pets. Thoroughly clean the surface areas contaminated by the bread mold, and ensure it did not spread to any adjacent items. If mold ever grows out of control, call a local mold remediation specialist for professional removal.
Prevent Future Growth
The best way to prevent mold growth on your fresh bread is to place just one to two servings in a cupboard for immediate eating. Freeze the remaining loaf for easy thawing later.
While grotesque and unsightly, bread mold is a common and often benign occurrence. Make sure to handle it with care, and always follow proper food storage instructions to avoid accidental ingestion.
Smoke & Soot Cleanup
Soot buildup on these light fixtures after a fire occurred in a local business in Portland.
Smoke & Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your Portland, ME home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and Soot Facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Portland will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
How to Repair a Flooded Toilet
Toilet overflow in Falmouth, ME
Many toilets in commercial buildings are controlled by a device known as a flushometer. While these devices usually work quite well, they are still prone to malfunctioning. This can cause toilets to engage in a never-ending flush cycle, ultimately driving up your water bill and resulting in damage from toilet overflow. If your building in Falmouth, ME, is suffering from this affliction, consult the following guide.
Step-by-Step Toilet Repair Guide
Repairing a toilet is a relatively simple process, even if you have very little plumbing experience. Follow this guide to stop a toilet flood:
- Use a flat screwdriver to shut off the water. There should be a slot on either side of the flushometer, depending on which direction it's facing.
- Use a wrench to loosen the flushometer's top lid. After this, you should be able to unscrew the lid using your hands.
- Carefully remove the flange cover to expose the gasket. You may experience some water spray while performing this step.
- Remove the gasket and clean out any built up sediment. It's a good idea to thoroughly rinse the gasket as well. Use a small, thin object to clean out the weep hole as well.
- Replace the gasket after you finish cleaning it and reverse steps 1 through 4 to reassemble the flushometer.
If the above steps do not resolve your toilet overflow problem, you may have to replace the gasket completely. If your toilet still isn't working properly, you may have to contact professional plumbers to assist you with the issue.
A continuously flushing toilet can drive your water bill up, as well as annoy your employees and drive customers away. It's imperative that you resolve any toilet overflow issues as soon as possible so that you can resume business as usual.
If your commercial bathroom has suffered any type of water damage as a result of the toilet flood, you need to contact flood remediation experts to help resolve the problem.
4 Tips for Cleaning Sewer Problems
Flooded basement in Westbrook, ME
Four Important Things To Do When You Are Dealing With Dirty Water
A flooded basement is one of the biggest problems a homeowner or renter can ever face. If the incoming water is contaminated with sewage, the situation is even more distressing. If you are faced with this situation, there are a number of things you can do to increase your own personal safety and limit the damage to your home. Here are four important things you can do when you are dealing with dirty water in Westbrook, ME.
1. Stay Safe. If you notice your plumbing is backing up, your first priority should be the safety of your family and your pets. Any water that comes from a sewage line is going to carry contaminated water. This should only be handled by experienced workers wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment. In many circumstances, your best option will be to vacate the premises and seek help.
2. Call in the Professionals. A flooded basement is definitely a situation that calls for trained workers. A certified flood mitigation franchise can arrive quickly on the scene and begin the restoration process. An experienced team will know how to deal with sewer issues. The company will make sure the scene is safe for everyone.
3. Look Into Insurance. Early on in the process, it is a good idea to call your insurance agent. They can tell you what will be covered and how to document any damages. More than likely, an insurance adjuster will be out to visit your property. As long as you are working with a reputable mitigation company, it's better to start with the cleanup process than to wait.
4. Make Sure the Work Is Complete. When dealing with a flooded basement, half measures will not be enough. It's important to make sure all moisture is removed and all surfaces are cleaned and scrubbed according to the highest standards. This will keep your home free of mold growth and unpleasant odors.
How SERVPRO Can Help Your Insurance Agent
Did you know that we are a Preferred Vendor for many insurance companies?
How SERVPRO Can Help Your Insurance Agent
After a disaster at your Casco Bay Islands, ME, the business you may contact your insurance adjuster to file a claim and figure out the next steps for restoration. In many cases, your agent may have a preferred restoration vendor such as SERVPRO they recommend for a variety of reasons. In addition to being certified professionals, a preferred restoration team may also be able to help your insurance agent in a number of ways.
1. Damage Assessment
One important aspect of an insurance claim is a damage assessment. In many cases a restoration service may have to do this as well, so choosing a preferred provider allows the restoration professionals to perform the assessment they need to create a repair plan, and then share this information with your insurance provider.
2. Electronic Inventory System
Your insurance adjuster may also recommend a local SERVPRO as they offer the use of an electronic inventory system. This system can be accessed remotely and can store files needed for the insurance claim. This can allow all the information to be kept in a single location making it easy for your agent to access what they need as they work on your claim.
3. Item Cleaning Services
Another service your professional restoration team may be able to offer is item cleaning. This means that they can possibly clean and restore many of the company items that may have been damaged. Each item will require a different cleaning solution depending on size, material, and if the item is mechanical or electrical in nature.
A restoration service may even be able to repair documentation. This can be helpful to your agent because it allows them to recommend a single team to work with rather than several.
Your insurance adjuster may recommend a preferred restoration service such as SERVPRO for a number of reasons. These can include the team’s ability to help with damage assessment, as well as their ability to offer an electronic inventory service and item cleaning. If you have further questions a professional can help.
What Happens When Lighting Strikes a House?
Lightning strikes by a house in Gorham, ME
What Happens When a House is Hit by Lightning?
Approximately 22,600 house fires are started by lightning every year. In some areas of the United States, these bolts can strike the ground well over 100 times per second, and meteorologists have recorded over 900 strikes per minute. Although not all of these will cause a lightning fire, some of them can and do.
The Three Types of Damage
Fire is not the only thing that you have to worry about when volatile electricity strikes your home. There are three ways that it can cause both physical and fire damage.
- Fired damage - caused by a direct strike to wood or other flammable substance
- Electrical shorts - caused by electricity traveling through your wiring
- Shock wave damage - damage caused by the wave of energy released during a strike
These three types are all dangerous and can be the cause of a lightning fire.
Strikes Are Preventable
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to prevent direct strikes. The easiest is to trim tall trees around your home. Lightning looks for the quickest and easiest path downward. This means the taller the object, the more likely it is to be hit.
You should also make sure that your roof and shingles are in good repair. Use either asphalt shingles or another nonconductive material as roofing. This may not prevent a strike but will help insulate your home from fire damage.
After a Stike to Your Home
If your home takes a direct strike, you may have scorch marks on the walls even if it did not start a house fire. This is because lightning travels through conductive materials like wiring and coax cable. To clean these scorch marks, you will need a professional in Gorham, ME.
Fortunately, a strike does not always result in a lightning fire. By taking some simple precautions, you can lessen the chances that your home will be a victim of this type of fire.
6 Ways To Get Your Home Ready For a Storm
To prepare for a storm, it is critical to give maintenance to your roof in Westbrook, ME.
How to Prepare Your Home for a Storm in 6 Easy Steps
Preparing for a storm may prevent damage and promote safety at a residence in Westbrook, ME. Homeowners should maintain the exterior of a residence and take a few important measures to avoid wind damage and keep out flood water.
1. Maintain Roofing
It is important to maintain the roof on a residence. Leaks or wind damage may be more likely if shingles or roofing materials are damaged or missing at the start of a storm.
2. Trim Trees
Have overhanging or large trees trimmed on a regular basis. Fallen limbs and flying branches are common causes of storm damage.
3. Consider Storm Windows and Flood Barriers
Residents of regions prone to storms with high wind speeds may want to have storm windows installed. Reusable sandbag alternatives can also be helpful for keeping out flood water and avoiding a flooded building.
4. Acquire a Generator and Fuel
If storm conditions interrupt the supply of electricity, homeowners can rely on a generator that runs on gasoline, diesel, propane or natural gas. Generators should only be operated outside. It may be worthwhile to invest in a way to protect or anchor down a generator.
5. Make Emergency Plans and Assemble Kits
Assemble a home kit with enough non-perishable food for three days, a gallon of water per person per day, first aid supplies, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlights, and batteries. Homeowners should also prepare a mobile kit in case of evacuation.
6. Stow Away Outdoor Items
Patio furniture, grills, and other items that are typically kept outside may sustain damage or become flying debris. Any loose items should be stowed indoors in the days or hours before a storm.
All of these steps can help homeowners prepare for a storm in Westbrook, ME. If a residence suffers damage from flood water or wind, homeowners should contact insurance providers and a storm and water damage restoration service.
Why Do Fires Often Lead To Floods?
If a fire has caused damage at your residence, you should document and report damage to a homeowners insurance provider.
Why Do Fires Frequently Cause Floods?
Fire damage often leads to or coincides with flood damage. If you reside in a region that has recently experienced wildfire damage, you may want to obtain flood insurance coverage. The Federal Emergency Management Association is partnered with the National Flood Insurance Program. Learn more about the connections between fire and flooding damage and the coverage offered by FEMA NFIP to offset mitigation and restoration expenses.
Exterior Fires and Floods
Wildfires char the ground and eliminate vegetation. A fire near a residence can have several effects that combine to increase flooding risks:
• Charred becomes resistant to absorbing rainfall
• Runoff increases and may result in mudflows
• Flash flooding risks increase
Flood risks may remain elevated for up to five years following a wildfire. Nearby homeowners should consider obtaining insurance coverage through FEMA NFIP or a private flood insurance provider.
Interior Combined Damage
Localized fires that affect a single residence or a limited area can also result in a combination of fire and water damage. This type of flooding usually results from suppression attempts and can exacerbate fire damage in a few ways:
• Thousands of gallons of water may be present in a structure
• Water damage must be mitigated before fire damage
• Combined damage increases risks of superficial and structural damage
If a fire has caused damage at your residence, you should document and report damage to a homeowners insurance provider. Standard policies usually cover fire damage and water damage due to fire suppression efforts. Flood insurance is only necessary for external water damage caused by heavy rains or rising bodies of water.
If wildfire damage has recently affected your area in or near Falmouth, ME, you may want to investigate flood insurance coverage through FEMA NFIP. For combined fire and flooding damage resulting from fire suppression, notify your homeowner's insurance provider and arrange to have damage assessed by mitigation and restoration professionals.
How To Eliminate Smoke Odor From Your Home
An unpleasant smoke odor may linger in your Portland, ME, home even after the fire has been controlled and the damage repaired.
How to Get Rid of Smoke Odors in Your Home
A fire at your Portland, ME, home may cause many problems. Lingering smoke smell is likely to be one of the most stubborn. Fortunately, there are several smoke cleaning methods available.
Understanding Smoke Damage
The temperature and speed of the fire, as well as the items, burned, determine the type of smoke. There may be more than one type. Wet, dry, and protein smokes are common in house fires.
The types of smoke present are important factors when choosing a cleaning method. Fortunately, a fire restoration service can tell you which type of smoke you are dealing with and the best way to remove it.
Eliminating Smoke Odor
Although it may be tempting to cover the smell of smoke with air fresheners, this won’t take care of the problem permanently. The only way to keep the odor from returning is to remove the smoke particles from the air and surfaces. The following are some of the most effective tools available for smoke cleaning:
- Air filters
- Ozone machines
- Thermal foggers
Filtration devices work by circulating air and trapping the smoke particles in a HEPA or carbon filter. Ozone machines generate a compound, ozone, that binds with the smoke particles to create a new compound that does not smell. These two methods are ideal for eliminating smoke particles that are present in the air.
However, there may also be particles located inside porous surfaces. When the fire raised the temperature of the affected area, porous surfaces expanded. When the area cooled, the surfaces contracted, and the smoke odor became trapped inside. A thermal fogger works by heating the area again, causing porous surfaces to expand, allowing the deodorizing fog to reach the trapped particles.
Even after the fire has been extinguished and the damage repaired, an unpleasant smoke smell may linger in your Portland, ME, home. Thorough smoke cleaning is the only way to permanently remove the odor.
The Challenges of a Partial Loss Fire
A partial loss fire is more common and can range from completely destroying rooms and physical structures to causing only minor smoke and soot damage.
The Difficulties Of A Partial Loss Fire
Every business fire is unique in some way. A catastrophic fire can take down entire buildings and leave nothing more than rubble and ash. A partial loss fire is more common and runs the spectrum of destroying rooms and physical structures to only inflicting some relatively minor smoke and soot damage. While you would much prefer a minor fire to a major one, your company in Falmouth, ME, will still face significant challenges.
Dealing With Smoke Damage
Smoke has several insidious qualities that can damage various aspects of your business. It can leave your facility unusable for a time and it can penetrate HVAC systems and electrical components. The residues from smoke often contain acidic compounds that damage walls and corrode metal. Cleanup is often technical, requiring the services of an experienced fire mitigation franchise.
Working With the Insurance Company
After a partial fire loss, you could have more work and contact with your insurance provider. There could be a series of questions on the ability to repair or replace a list of items and materials:
- Personal objects
- Ceramic fixtures
In general, restoring an item is more cost-effective than replacing it, but this is not a hard and fast rule. The cleaning process could be too labor-intensive to merit cleaning, and some items are just not salvageable.
Handling a Complicated Cleanup
Not all fire restoration jobs are the same. While the general process is similar, the details vary. Some jobs involve the removal of water damage from fire fighting equipment as well as the rebuilding of burned structures. Most cleanups are time-sensitive and work has a certain urgency. A fast response can reduce expenses and prevent additional damage such as mold growth and damage from weather.
A partial loss fire presents your company with many obstacles. Professionals can help you meet this challenge in the best manner possible.
5 Ways To Prepare Your Business for a Fire
Depending on your business space, you may need more than one fire extinguisher. A multi-story building must have at least one per floor.
5 Steps To Prepare Your Company For A Fire
No one ever wants to experience a business fire in Portland, ME. But the National Fire Protection Association reported 111,000 non-residential fires in 2020 alone. With those statistics, it's crucial to set up your business to prevent fires and respond to fires. Here are five ways to prepare.
1. Have Enough Fire Extinguishers
Depending on the size of your office or retail space, you need more than one fire extinguisher. There should be one per floor in a multi-level building at the absolute minimum. Fire extinguishers come in various sizes and should be placed in key areas of your business, such as the kitchen area, central office, and near tools or electrical panels.
2. Prevent Fire Damage Through Organization
One way to prevent fire damage is to stay organized. The more dust and clutter, the easier it is for a spark to become a major fire as flames spread over boxes, papers, and other office debris. After a fire, a commercial restoration team can assess the damage to recommend repairs and give prevention tips for the future.
3. Conduct Regular Fire Drills
To keep your staff safe, make fire preparation drills a regular event. Fire drills aren't just for students in school. It's important for everyone to confidently be able to exit the building from any and all exit points.
4. Maintain Exit Routes Regularly
All exit points must be maintained regularly. Ensure that any automatic fire doors work correctly. Keep exit doors unlocked. Check fire escapes or window ladders. A business fire can spread quickly, which won't leave time to address locked doors or broken ladders.
5. Inspect Wiring on a Schedule
Inspect wiring on a scheduled basis. Instead of waiting for a problem, such as an outlet that starts to spark or the discovery of a wire that has lost its covering, inspect all electrical sources every six months and correct any problems immediately.
A business fire can be prevented or mitigated by preparing your business in advance.
How To Stop a Continuously Flushing Toilet
Flushometer gaskets can become clogged with sediment as a result of constant exposure to water. you must wash the gaskets to remove the sediment.
How To Stop A Toilet From Flushing Constantly
If your toilets are continuously flushing, there may be a problem with the flushometer. The flushometer is the mechanism that flushes the toilet. If the flushing is not stopped, there may be toilet overflow that could result in damages. Here's how to stop a toilet from flushing continuously.
Take the First Steps
If your toilets won't stop flushing, there are a series of steps you can try:
- Turn off the water
- Remove the cover
- Clean the gasket
- Reinstall the gasket
- Replace the gasket if flushing continues
Once the problem is fixed, you should call a water damage restoration service in Falmouth, ME, to clean up any toilet overflow and prevent mold growth.
Access the Gasket
To access the gasket, you should first turn off the water so that you do not have a toilet flood. You will then need to remove the cover on the flushometer. You will first need to unscrew the cover on the side of the flushometer and then use a wrench to remove the lid on top. This will expose the gasket, allowing you to remove and clean it.
Clean the Gasket
The gaskets in flushometers can become covered with sediment due to their constant exposure to water. You should wash the gasket, carefully removing as much sediment as possible. This includes using a small instrument, such as a needle, to clean out the weep hole. Doing this will improve the vacuum created by the gasket and hopefully stop the continuous flushing.
Reinstall and Test
After cleaning the gasket, you should put it back in its place and reattach the cover. You will then need to turn the water back on and flush the toilet. If the flushing still will not stop, you may have to replace the gasket or call a plumber.
You can stop a toilet that is continuously flushing by accessing the gasket, cleaning the gasket and then reinstalling and testing the gasket.
If cleaning or replacing the gasket does not work, you may need professional assistance to prevent toilet overflow.
How To Handle a House Fire
Our Disaster Recovery Team is available 24/7, 365 days a year to help with any size fire or water loss. Even if you just have a question, call us.
What To Do If Your House Is On Fire
House fires are common occurrences that affect and devastate many families every year. Residential blazes are scary, unpredictable, and alarming, so ensuring you and your family have a specific fire escape plan in place is crucial to your safety. Follow these simple steps, and be prepared during and after a potential emergency.
1. Be Alert and Take Action
If you experience a house fire in Casco Bay Islands, ME, promptly perform the following measures:
- Enact your emergency escape plan
- Dial 911 and alert emergency personnel to your situation
- Secure medical care for any people or pets with severe burns or injuries
- Call worried family and friends to let them know you are safe
- Do not reenter your home until a proper fire damage assessment is complete
2. Put Safety First
Following a fire, confirm with firefighters that it is safe to reenter your home. Dress in boots, long pants, sleeves, helmets, protective eyewear, and masks as you inspect your damaged residence. Consider consulting a professional smoke and soot removal team to clean your house and restore it to a safe and livable status.
It is crucial to remove any smoke-damaged paraphernalia from your home. Specifically, dispose of any food that might have soiled due to heat or smoke. Physical damage is only a portion of the devastation fires create. Despite devising even the most detailed fire escape plan, many survivors experience feelings of guilt and angst in the months following the disaster. Make it a point to check-in with your family members regularly. Ensure they appropriately deal with their stress and get professional help for anyone struggling mentally or financially. Further, watch your household pets, making sure they don't exhibit any long-term symptoms from the fire or smoke.
As ravaging as fires can be, remind yourself that your successful fire escape plan saved your family's lives. Remember that everything else is replaceable, and all that matters is the safety of your loved ones.
3 Essential Steps After a Basement Flood
Once any floodwater around your house has receded, getting the water out of your home as soon as possible is imperative.
Three Important Steps To Take After A Basement Flood
Watching your lower level in Windham, ME, fill with water is scary and can feel impossible to fix. Regardless if it is from a torrential downpour, a sewer backup or some other emergency issue, a basement flood can be very damaging to your home without proper aftercare. Once you have checked your insurance coverage, here are three more things you must do afterward.
1. Drain the Water
Once any floodwater around your house has receded, getting the water out of your home as soon as possible is imperative. You will need a few items to accomplish this:
- Submersible pump
- Long hose
- Extension Cord
Pump as much water out as you can. Once you are down to smaller puddles you can work with a wet/dry vac as well to finish the job.
2. Dry and Clean Up
After the water has been removed, take out any damaged belongings. Use towels or blankets to soak up any further puddles and wipe everything down as much as you can. Set up some large fans to begin drying out the area. Depending on how long you were flooded and how deep the water was, you may need to replace any carpeting and drywall in the affected area. In order to prevent further damage from your basement flood, it is best to contact trained water restoration specialists to help complete the job thoroughly.
3. Prevent Future Floods
Determining the cause of the flood will help you to prevent future occurrences. Check your sump pump to ensure it is working properly and is appropriate for the amount of groundwater in your area. You should also check the drainage around your home and your gutter system to ensure each one is properly designed to funnel water away from your house.
It is important to remain calm and think ahead when you experience a home disaster. Although it can seem like an overwhelming experience, damage from a basement flood can be minimized if you take these steps.
4 Tips for Drying Out a Commercial Building
If your building floods, it and its contents need to be thoroughly dried as soon as possible.
4 Recommendations For Drying Out A Commercial Building
When your Portland, ME, commercial building suffers water incursion, whether it's from a pipe burst or act of nature, the same basic steps will have to be taken. These steps will help protect any occupants in the affected area and the building and its contents. Professionals will probably have to be called in to remedy the situation thoroughly. Still, you can follow water damage tips to begin drying out the building before help arrives. After all, the quicker drying begins, the less damage will occur.
1. Turn Off Electricity
If you can safely make your way to the breaker box, the power to the area should be turned off immediately. Never walk through standing water in which electrical items are sitting. The electricity can travel throughout the water, electrocuting you. If you can't navigate to the breaker safely, or if you're unsure, you must wait for a professional to cut the power supply.
2. Extract Standing Water
Next, all the standing water will need to be extracted. A wet/dry vacuum is excellent for doing this safely and efficiently. It will also remove smaller debris.
3. Remove Soaked Materials
After you've extracted as much water as possible, one of the most critical damage tips to follow is to remove as many wet materials as possible. This can even include drywall and flooring. Soaked carpet and padding typically aren't salvageable; it can't be dried entirely before mold growth occurs (within 24 to 48 hours). Water damage remediation experts are highly recommended, as they can bring in industrial-grade equipment.
4. Dry Remaining Contents
You can try to dry the remaining contents by opening windows and doors if the outside is less humid than inside, using dehumidifiers, running fans and turning up the heat via the HVAC system or space heaters.
If your building floods, it and its contents need to be thoroughly dried as soon as possible. These are a few damage tips and cleaning tips you can begin before professionals arrive on the scene.
3 Reasons You Need a Flood Insurance Policy
Whether you experience flood damage from nature or from some other source, a flood insurance policy will help you to recover more quickly.
Three Reasons You Need Flood Insurance
Your business in Falmouth, ME, isn't in a flood zone. In fact, you don't live in an area where flooding has historically been an issue. Although your commercial insurance agent is encouraging you to consider a policy, you're skeptical about the additional cost. Here are three reasons that you need a flood insurance policy even though you don't live in a flood zone.
1. Floods Aren't Always Natural
When you think of floods, you are probably thinking about naturally occurring ones that make news headlines. However, floods aren't always caused by nature. Your business could flood because of a burst water main line in the street or a leaking pipe in the basement.
2. Flood Damage Is Costly
Many commercial insurance policies have exclusions for floods, so you could find yourself on the financial hook for a lot of damage restoration without a separate policy for floods. A flood policy covers what your primary insurance does not in the event of an incident, including product that might be damaged or destroyed.
3. Flood Insurance Is Affordable
Don't let cost stand in the way of full coverage for your business. FEMA offers a National Flood Insurance Program that is affordable for business owners like you. Additionally, the NFIP supports communities as they plan flood mitigation efforts. Whether you experience flood damage from nature or from some other source, a flood insurance policy will help you to recover more quickly.
When you need restoration help after a flood, your commercial insurance provider will be able to suggest a water damage restoration team that will work with you from the initial damage assessment to the end of your project.
The way that this works best for you is if you have a flood policy that ensures there are no gaps in coverage with your general insurance plan.
Prevent financial strain on your bottom line by choosing a policy like NFIP from FEMA to keep your business safe.
3 Steps to Emergency Preparedness at Home
Basic safety equipment like a fire extinguisher and first aid kit are essential, but you should also prepare an emergency kit for your family.
Three Steps to Home Emergency Preparedness
Keeping your family safe in your home in Westbrook, ME, is surely a priority. There are a lot of hazards that can affect your family and being prepared goes beyond just having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Here are three steps to getting your home prepared for an emergency.
1. Make a Plan
Think about the different emergencies that might arise and create a plan for each. In case of a home fire, you should have a plan for how to get out of the house and a meeting spot outside in case your family gets separated. Depending on where you live, consider other disasters that could affect you:
- public health emergencies
The more you think ahead about what you should do in these situations, the easier it will be to act under pressure if the need arises.
2. Build an Emergency Kit
Having basic safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher and first aid kit is great, but you should also put together a complete emergency kit for your family. You should include ready-to-eat food, water, phone chargers, an emergency radio, flashlights, batteries, essential medication, toiletry items, cash, extra clothing, a whistle, spare masks and extra clothing. Make sure that your kit has at least enough supplies to last three to four days.
3. Communicate With Your Family
Discuss all of your plans with your family so that every member knows what to do. Make sure to talk about basic fire preparedness and safety even with young children in case you are unable to reach them immediately. The knowledge that your spouse and children are informed will help keep you calm when disaster strikes.
Your whole family should be prepared when an emergency arises. Whether it's knowing the location of the fire extinguisher or where to meet up if you are separated in a disaster, following these steps will help you get the household ready. If your family remains safe in an emergency the worst work you'll have afterward is contacting emergency restoration specialists to get your home back in order.
How to Develop a Business Continuity Plan After a Storm
With an established continuity plan and good insurance, you can survive the storm and get back to business quickly.
How To Create A Business Continuity Plan Following A Storm
Storms and flooding can strike very suddenly in Portland, ME. While some predictions can be made about widescale storms, others come without warning, and the results can be a disaster for a community – and spell bankruptcy for a business.
Fortunately, you can act proactively and prepare for problems. There are three critical steps to build resiliency in your business:
- Get a commercial insurance policy.
- Develop a continuity plan.
- Keep key personnel informed.
Know Your Insurance Coverage – and Its Exemptions
Insurance policies can be confusing. Make sure you ask your agent about what is and isn’t covered. If you want flood coverage, you’ll need a separate flood policy.
Establish a Business Continuity Plan
The U.S. Government maintains a website to help citizens and businesses prepare for disasters. They have a detailed description of how to develop your plan, beginning with the business impact analysis. This starts with a risk assessment to determine what’s high risk for your location and type of business. Are you in a high-risk flood zone? Do you rely on digital information or is everything local? Which natural disasters are most likely?
Which Disaster Is Most Likely – or Most Harmful?
Aim for the most probable disasters based on your BIA. For disasters unlikely in Portland, ME, it may not be worth detailed planning, but general disaster planning can have wide-reaching benefits, even in unforeseen situations.
Key Personnel Should Be in the Loop
The key to resiliency after getting storm damage is to get reopened as soon as possible. Most small businesses will fail within two years if they’ve been closed for more than a couple of days after a disaster. Immediately after the storm, every essential person should be contacted and information shared.
You need to discuss what resources you need to reopen as fast as possible after the storm passes. Calling a commercial restoration specialist immediately after a storm can also be the difference between surviving the disaster and never reopening. Speed is essential, so your restoration company will work with you to get reopened as soon as possible.
With an established continuity plan and good insurance, you can survive the storm and get back to business quickly. Every day you’re closed increases your risk of staying that way.
SERVPRO Offers Expert Document Restoration Services
SERVPRO is available 24/7, 365 days a year to help with any size fire or water loss. Even if you just have a question, call us and we will answer you!
SERVPRO's Document Restoration Services Are Second To None.
A significant water, sewer or flood event can damage all your essential documents and files. If recovery is going to happen, it needs to start right away. SERVPRO understands this and operates a secure document restoration facility. Professionals there control the process and give your documents the treatment they deserve.
Different Types of Documents Require Different Responses
Not all documents have the same level of importance. Not all records are paper. Not every document needs restoration. Each document gets an appropriate level of treatment. The specific treatment depends on the document’s type and importance. Here are some examples of the types and the treatments they might receive:
1. Important documents need restoration. An important document has an original signature, hand-written notes or an official mark. If a copy won’t do, it’s important. A special freeze-drying process performs document drying. Gamma irradiation sterilizes these documents when bacteria and other contaminants are a concern. Examples of important documents would be:
- Stock, bond and other certificates
- Books and manuscripts
- Irreplaceable legal documents
2. You can digitize less critical documents. In most situation, it’s not the document that is important. It is the information on the document. In these cases, it is more cost-effective to digitize and reprint the document. An alternative is to digitize and reproduce it when needed.
3. Some documents are not paper-based. Developed films and x-rays may seem undamaged but still, require cleaning. The same applies to microfiche and microfilm. Photographic prints may pose a challenge to the document restoration specialists.
4. Medical records require special treatment. SERVPRO’s HIPAA Master-Certified technicians perform this cleaning. Round-the-clock surveillance of the restoration activity ensures confidentiality.
Perhaps a flooded basement destroyed your home office in the Windham, ME, area. Maybe a roof failure at work soaked the company accounting records. The amount of damage doesn’t matter. The document restoration experts at SERVPRO tackle projects of any size.
3 Strategies for Preventing Water Damage in Your Home
Our team quickly responded to this water loss to cleanup and get the drying process in place quickly. Call SERVPRO when you need it!
Three Ways to Prevent Water Damage in Your House
Your Portland, ME, home is probably one of your greatest investments. Beautifying, decorating and improving your property takes hard work, so guarding it against damage can be as important as repairing existing issues. Preventing water in your home can help you avoid a variety of troubling issues, from structural problems to mold growth and more.
1. Insulate Your Water Pipes
Wrapping your home’s water pipes can protect your property from water damage in a few ways. First, it keeps the pipes warm when the temperature drops below freezing and prevents water from freezing inside them. Frozen water tends to expand and may cause the pipe to burst, resulting in a messy pipe cleanup job. Insulating your pipes can also keep your home’s water supply flowing normally, even during a cold snap when the risk of a broken pipe is higher than usual.
2. Upgrade Your Drainage System
When it comes to finding unexpected water in the home, one of the most common trouble spots is likely to be the basement. Basement floods can be common in early spring when runoff and heavy rains cause your yard to overflow. You can prevent this issue by upgrading your drainage system. Replace old gutters and downspouts and have your roof checked to ensure it is draining properly.
3. Have Your Home Inspected by a Water Remediation Company
Contacting a flood cleanup and water remediation company to inspect your home for possible flooding risks can help keep it safe. Knowledgeable flood technicians can identify and resolve issues that may increase the risks, whether you live in an area that floods often or your home’s basement is prone to taking on water. Working with a company like this can help you defend your home against water damage all year round.
Preventing water in the home probably a high priority for you as a Portland, ME, homeowner. Taking the proper steps to reduce this risk can give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your happy home.
Can You Deduct Storm Damage From Your Business Taxes? 3 Factors To Consider
Not all storm damage to your businesses is tax deductible, and the rules are typically different for commercial properties.
Is It Possible To Deduct Storm Damage From Business Taxes? 3 Things To Think About
Flooding, hurricanes and other types of violent weather events can cause severe storm damage to your Portland, ME, business. The removal of flood water and the repair and restoration of one or more areas of your building may force you to close your business until the damage is fixed. You may be able to recover some of this loss when you file your taxes; however, there are a few questions you might want to ask yourself before you try to claim these damages.
1. Did I File an Insurance Claim?
Before you try to claim damage that occurred from flooding or other types of weather-related events, it is important to ask yourself if you filed an insurance claim and whether you received any compensation. If so, you cannot deduct such losses from your taxes. While it is permissible to receive recompence, you cannot file a claim and then receive a tax discount as well. If you have business insurance, check with your agent concerning your options before you file.
2. How Much Can I Claim?
Not all storm damage to your businesses is tax deductible, and the rules are typically different for commercial properties. For example, homeowners are bound by certain restrictions that involve the total amount of their gross income. As a business owner affected by a weather event, you could be exempt from these caveats. The total amount you can claim will likely depend on past insurance claims and the type of damage your property endured.
3. How Long Do I Have To File?
You may have delayed in your filing as you wait for your flood damage and restoration service to finish repairs to your business in order to have specific cost amounts instead of estimations. While this may help you claim a larger refund, it is a good idea to contact your accountant or local tax office to ask about filing deadlines.
When storm damage impacts your Portland, ME, business, the monetary loss can be considerable. Understanding how to claim it on your taxes before you file may result in faster compensation and avoid delays that could harm your business in the long run.
Supporting Local Disaster Relief Efforts
Pictured in check presentation: Jared Lamey, Holly Merrill, Barbara Rapoza, Scott Carter, Nicole Evans & Liz Thompson
Through the efforts of the Maine SERVPRO franchises, sponsorships and clients from our annual golf event in September 2021 we were able to raise and present a check for $15,000 to the American Red Cross of Maine’s Disaster Relief Fund. Thank you to everyone who participated in making our 2021 event a success.
Over the past 14 years we have raised over $155,000. With the help and generosity of our community, we hope that we can continue to increase that number to help the American Red Cross in Maine supporting their local disaster relief efforts and assist those who have suffered the effects of a disaster.
How To Choose an Air Purifier
If you want to reduce the amount of airborne particles, such as mold spores or dust, in your home, experts recommend a HEPA filter purifier.
What To Look For When Buying An Air Purifier
Of all the places you spend your time, your home in West Falmouth, ME, should be the place you can breathe the easiest. An effective air filtration system can help. The market is so saturated with purifiers that look promising, however, that it can be overwhelming to try to choose the one that’s best for you and your family. The following suggestions may be able to help you narrow down the options.
Qualities To Seek
The first thing you must decide is what you need. When experts test to see if an air purifier works well, they often look at four criteria:
- Percentage of particles removed from air
- Amount of air flow
- Simplicity of use
- Level of customer satisfaction
You may choose your air filtration device based on one or all of these standards. If you want a purifier that reduces the amount of potentially irritating particles in the air, for example, filter efficiency is probably going to be your most important requirement.
Reasons To Buy
If you want to reduce the number of airborne particles, such as mold spores or dust, in your home, mold remediation experts recommend a purifier with a HEPA filter. HEPA filters not only remove over 99% of particles from the air, they actually improve in performance over time. If your machine also has a carbon pre-filter, you can increase the life of your filter and improve your air quality even further. The most effective air purifiers on the market include the Oransi Max, the BlueAir 450E and the OV200 Air Purifier. While costs for these machines can range from a few hundred dollars to over $1000, it may be worth the price to know that your family is breathing cleaner air.
The best air filtration system is one that has an efficient filter, good air flow, ease of use and good customer reviews. Look for the purifier that improves the air quality of your home the best.
Is Smoke Damage Covered By Insurance?
In most cases, smoke damage will be covered by your commercial insurance policy.
Is Insurance Coverage For Smoke Damage?
If your commercial building or one adjacent to yours recently sustained a fire, and you are left dealing with smoke-related damage, you may be worried about making a claim with your insurance company. Is smoke damage a covered loss? Read on to learn everything you need to know about smoke claims to put your mind at ease.
Soot Damage and Insurance
In most cases, damage from smoke will be covered by your commercial insurance policy. This is even the case if the fire occurred at a company right next to yours. However, there are some steps you need to take to properly file your claim and increase the chances of it being accepted. They are as follows:
- Contact your insurance company to report the smoke damage and file a claim.
- Assess your loss and prepare a smoke cleanup plan with the help of professionals.
- Record proof of any damage and repairs through photographs, receipts and other documents.
- Prepare for the insurance adjuster to arrive for surveying purposes.
Following the steps above will increase the chances of restoring your property as best as you can. Having a solid plan in place will also make it more likely that your insurance company will approve your claim.
Smoke Cleaning Assistance
As you can see above, creating an action plan for cleanup is one of the most important parts of this entire claims and restoration process. A reliable Westbrook, ME, fire damage restoration company should be able to arrive on an emergency basis, assess the situation and help you build a cleanup plan that will likely include reducing odors and eliminating smoke from your building.
Smoke damage isn’t always easy to deal with, and communication with your insurance provider can be even more frustrating. Following the steps above and knowing where to turn for cleanup help can make your business’s post-fire future more positive.
Water in the Basement
Be aware that any drywall or flooring components that have absorbed too much water may need to be replaced as they can harbor bacteria and mold.
The Basement Is Wet.
A residential basement flood situation in Portland, ME, can cause serious problems for those involved if not addressed in a timely manner. Check out the following resources to better understand what to do if standing water occupies your lower floors.
The most important consideration for any prudent homeowner is the safety of the occupants. Never enter a completely flooded basement area until you have disconnected the home from the power grid, especially if the electrical outlets or other appliances are still in standing water. You might also consider some form of contact protection, such as a pair of boots or waders, to prevent unnecessary exposure to contaminants from gray water.
Trudging through the water will do you little good without a solid plan. Depending on the form your insurance coverage takes, you may need to make an inventory of the items affected by your basement flood. Your insurer may also require that you take active steps to prevent any ongoing damage, such as routing new sources of rainwater away from the home. The drying process for affected items should begin at this point. Your insurer may insist that certain sensitive items and procedures are handled by a qualified flood damage restoration service.
3. Prevention and Maintenance
Once you have cleared all standing water from the property and moved any water-susceptible belongings, inspect the basement area to determine why water accumulated. Is the sump pump in working order? Are there any clogged or broken pipes or drains between your basement and the sewer? Take steps to inspect and repair these items. Also, note that any drywall or flooring components that have absorbed too much water may need replacement, as these can harbor bacteria and mold.
Though a wide range of natural disasters or plumbing problems can affect any homeowner, a few preventative steps can reduce the risk of a basement flood and help to mitigate the amount of property damage you incur.