Biohazard, Crime Scene, and Vandalism Cleanup
Recognized as a leading fire and water cleanup and restoration provider by hundreds of insurance companies, SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties also offers fast, reliable biohazard and crime scene cleanup* and restoration services to residential and commercial property owners.
Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences for building occupants, employees, customers, and owners. A failure to properly handle and safely remove such hazardous substances can contribute to unhealthy and even dangerous environments.
SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties professionals are trained to safely and effectively remove biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA, and state and local health regulations.
Equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products, SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties helps turn unsafe environments into clean, safe homes and offices.
SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties can help with the following issues:
- Bloodborne Pathogens
- Methamphetamine Labs
- Crime Scene Residues
- Sewage Backups
- Black Water Intrusions
- Mold Mitigation and Remediation
State and local regulations vary. Contact SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties today at 770-716-3595 for 24-hour emergency service.
*Services vary by location
**Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 6
THE SCIENCE OF DRYING
Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? Having the knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a fan or two around the damaged area, your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals are trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages. If your business suffers a water damage, your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will: • Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet to help prevent secondary damage from happening. • Measure how much moisture is in wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly. • Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment. What exactly does it mean to help “speed up Mother Nature”? A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material—but only if the air is drier.
The only problem is, nature often takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out.
Your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals have the tools and equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces inside walls, and much more. Your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals also use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying of your home or business.
It’s not only the equipment but the technology too! SERVPRO® has developed DryBook™, a proprietary tool that provides realtime documentation and updates on the drying process and helps ensure industry drying requirements are met. With DryBook™ Mobile, you have the ability to know exactly where your property is in the drying process.
The bottom line? Your local SERVPRO® has the professional training and equipment to help make water damage “Like it never even happened.”
*Courtesy of: RESTORATION NEWSLINE
Volume 30 Issue 8
Protecting Your Property Against Vandalism
Virtually all business properties are subject to vandalism. Vandals can strike anywhere: in cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Fortunately, there are steps businesses can take to discourage vandals from targeting their property.
What Is Vandalism?
While the definition of vandalism varies from state to state, the term generally means the intentional damage, destruction or defacement of someone's property without the owner's permission. Vandalism is a criminal act and is prohibited by state laws. It may qualify as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount of financial damage that's involved. Some states refer to vandalism as criminal mischief or malicious mischief.
Why and Where It Occurs
People may commit acts of vandalism for a number of reasons. Here are some of them:
- Punish a business or industry
- Express frustration
- Communicate an ideology or political beliefs
- Express hate
- Show off artistic skills
- Express gang affiliations
Vandals may target buildings, personal property or both. According to the Urban Institute, vandals typically strike in the late evening when business property is unattended. Juvenile offenders may commit acts in the afternoon after school has let out.
Vandals often target public or semi-public property like buses, train stations, and street signs. Such property is easy to access and is often poorly protected. Vandals may also hit private property that's in close proximity to public areas.
Effects of Vandalism
Vandalism can impact your business in a number of ways. First, it can damage your property. Damaged or defaced property requires time, effort, and money to repair. Secondly, vandalism may cause your business to lose income if the vandalized property cannot be used and is essential to your operations.
Thirdly, graffiti, trash, and other types of defacement can have a negative effect on your company's image. Such damage can deter potential customers from entering your premises. Fourthly, vandalism can lower the value of your property. Property that has been damaged or defaced may be unattractive to potential buyers or tenants. Finally, some types of vandalism, such as broken windows, can cause bodily injury to employees or visitors.
While you cannot prevent all acts of vandalism, you can discourage vandals from striking your property by taking the steps outlined below. Additional suggestions for thwarting vandals are available from the Urban Institute's website.
- Keep property tidy. Keep your premises clean, tidy, and free of trash. Disorder attracts vandals.
- Maintain good lighting. Make sure your property is well-lit at night. Check light bulbs regularly.
- Install cameras. Install video cameras to monitor activity on your premises. When crimes have occurred, police can use your recorded video to catch the perpetrators.
- Consider shrubbery or fencing. Fencing or shrubbery can discourage vandals from entering your property. Shrubs that have prickly or scratchy leaves like holly and pyracantha can help keep intruders away.
- Consider break-resistant glass. Glass that is break-resistant or coated with security film is stronger than regular glass and difficult for vandals to penetrate.
- Don't ignore it! Vandalism tends to beget more vandalism and can encourage other types of property crimes. Thus, you should make repairs and remove graffiti promptly. Your quick response shows that you care about your property and won't tolerate its defacement.
- Contact authorities. The police department can't respond to crimes it isn't aware of. Report all vandalism to your local police department. The department may increase patrols in your area or create a hotline for reporting incidents.
- Share information. Ask other business owners in your area if they have experienced acts of vandalism and share the information you collect with other businesses. The information may reveal patterns. For example, vandals may be striking at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week.
- Join a business watch group. Business watch groups are similar to neighborhood watch groups. Group members work to reduce crime by keeping an eye on each other's property. If no watch group exists in your area, you can start one yourself. Tips on how to do this are available from the National Neighborhood Watch website.
Most commercial property policies purchased by small business owners cover "all risks," meaning they cover damage caused by any peril that's not specifically excluded. These policies rarely exclude vandalism, so this peril is covered. Most named perils policies also cover vandalism.
Most all-risk policies don't define the term vandalism. This word is defined in many named perils forms. In the ISO named perils forms, vandalism means willful and malicious damage to, or destruction of, the described property.
Two perils that may occur in conjunction with vandalism are riot and civil commotion. These perils are normally covered under both named perils and all-risk property forms. When people commit violent acts during a civil disturbance, they often target business-owned property. Property that has been vandalized by rioters may be subject to looting. Looting is normally covered in conjunction with riot and civil commotion.
Vacant buildings are highly prone to vandalism. Consequently, many property policies contain a vacancy provision like the one found in the ISO property policy. It eliminates coverage for losses caused by vandalism (and several other perils) if the building has been vacant for more than 60 consecutive days.
The meaning of vacant varies depending on whether the insured is a tenant or a landlord. If the insured is a tenant, the unit or suite rented by the policyholder is considered vacant if it doesn't contain enough business personal property for the insured to conduct its ordinary operations. If the insured is the building owner, the building is vacant if less than 31 percent of it is being used by the owner or a tenant to conduct its customary operations. The vacancy provision appears in the policy conditions.
If a building you own or rent will be vacant for more than 60 days, ask your insurer for an endorsement called a Vacancy Permit. This endorsement suspends the vacancy clause for a period of time. It may be available only if you verify that the building is adequately protected from vandals, freezing, and other perils.
*Courtesy of https://www.thebalancesmb.com/protecting-your-property-against-vandalism-4147651
How to Prepare Your Home for a Storm
While summer typically means warmer weather, it can also bring a variety of harsh weather conditions, sometimes leading to severe storms.
Homeowners can take preventative measures to help reduce damage if and when a severe storm hits. Ken Enscoe, senior director of Catastrophe Operations at Nationwide, shared some tips on how to help prepare your home for a storm:
Clear limbs and trim trees
During a storm, dead tree limbs can get loose and cause damage to a home’s exterior or even puncture a window. Heavy rain can also cause trees with shallow root systems to pull out of the ground.
Ensure that your fences are properly secured so to help prevent them from being lifted up and thrown against the house by heavy winds.
Heavy winds can cause items like patio furniture and large toys to damage the exterior of your home. It’s a good idea to anchor outdoor furniture or bring it indoors before a storm hits. You should also move anything in your yard that can become flying debris inside your house or garage.
Help prevent damage inside your house by having downspouts drain away from your home and clear your gutters of any debris.
Protect the critical areas
Wind is a major threat to your roof, windows, doors and garage doors. Either you or a building contractor can build and install temporary protection, such as approved wind shutters or plywood on windows and coverings for patio and entry doors, strengthen and stiffen garage doors, and install heavy-duty door hardware.
Protect your valuables
Protect mementos in waterproof containers and/or take the items with you if you evacuate. Inventory valuables and contents in the home with pictures or video. Note the approximate value of each item and the date of purchase. You can also send an inventory to a family member outside your region for safekeeping. Also, make sure important documents, such as an insurance policy or mortgage papers, are stored in a safe deposit or fire safe box.
Stock a basic emergency kit
A true emergency can leave you without basic services, including electricity, water, gas or sewage, for a few hours or a few days. Stock your family’s emergency kit with enough food, water and supplies to carry all of you through at least three days—and restock your kit once the emergency has passed. Be sure to include:
- Water: One gallon per person per day to cover drinking and sanitation
- Food: At least a three-day supply of food per person
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Hand-crank flashlight
- First aid kit
- Cell phone with charger
- Local maps
Create a family emergency plan
Staying connected is of the utmost importance during an emergency. Designate an out-of-town family member or friend to be your check-in person in case local phone lines are down. Make sure every member of your family knows that contact’s number and has a way to reach him or her—ideally a cell phone and charger or a prepaid calling card.
Choose a local place where your family members should meet if they are separated when an emergency strikes and your home is unsafe. This might be a landmark or even a parent’s workplace.
Know your policy
It’s critical to read and understand your insurance policy. Then, examine your property to ensure there are no physical or liability hazards.
For more on how to prepare for a variety of severe weather situations, you can also visit the Insurance Institute for Better Homes & Safety website.
*Courtesy of: https://blog.nationwide.com/news/storm-preparation-tips-for-home/
The PASS System for extinguishing fires
When you feel it is safe to do so, and you feel there is a chance of stopping a small fire, you are encouraged to tackle them with a fire extinguisher. There are a whole host of different fire extinguishers which can be used to tackle specific types of fires, and while it is important to select the right one, knowing how to use an extinguisher correctly is also vital.
With this in mind, this month we’d like to highlight the PASS System to help you remember that the main stages of the process. By following this system, you could help to prevent small fires turning into something much worse.
Since acronyms are easier to recall, most people refer to the correct operation of an extinguisher as the PASS System. Here is a breakdown of the stages:
P – Pull the pin – The first thing you need to do is pull the pin on the extinguisher you have chosen. This will then allow you to activate the extinguisher, releasing the locking mechanism.
A – Aim – Now the pin has released the locking mechanism, you should aim the nozzle of the extinguisher at the bottom of the fire – not at the flames. By targeting the base you are tackling the fuel source of the fire and putting the extinguishing effect in the right place.
S – Squeeze the level – You’ve got your aim and the extinguisher is unlocked, now you simply need to squeeze the lever to begin releasing the extinguishing agent. There is a limited amount of the agent inside every extinguisher, so use it wisely and squeeze only to get a controlled amount.
S – Sweep – You should be a good distance away from the fire itself when using the extinguisher. Keep aiming at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth to cover as much of the base of the fire as possible. If the fire begins to recede, adjust your position and continue to spray as long as the extinguisher allows.
It’s possible that once you have put the fire out, it finds a way to reignite. To avoid this, we suggest staying close by for a short period in order to monitor the remains of the fire, ready to tackle the flames should they try to take hold again.
It should go without saying that, should the fire roar back to life in an aggressive manner, you should leave immediately and let the emergency services tackle the fire. Never take on extinguishing a fire unless you are certain you can handle it.
*Courtesy of https://www.elitefire.co.uk/help-advice/pass-system-extinguishing-fires/
A ‘Go Bag’ Can Make All the Difference in an Emergency
Recent natural catastrophes, from hurricanes to western wildfires, are a fresh reminder that disaster can strike at any time. And no area of the country is immune, when you factor in the threat of tornadoes, earthquakes and human disasters like toxic spills. While the circumstances may differ, there’s one tip that every person needs to take from all these situations: how to pack a “go bag.”
A go bag is a packed case that you grab on your way out the door, and that will help keep you safe and comfortable in the coming hours and days. Stopping to hunt for your medications or other important needs can cost you critical seconds in an evacuation. Pack a separate go bag for yourself and every member of your household, and keep them stored in the same location.
I’ve interviewed hundreds of disaster victims, and compiled their recommendations below.
Pack an extra phone charger in case you’re fortunate enough to have electricity, and a portable battery pack in case you’re not. Also stash a long-lasting LED flashlight. Pack a small hand-cranked or battery-operated AM/FM radio (with extra batteries).
While getting ready for a typical day, list every toiletry you use, then buy a travel-size version of each. Pack backup eyeglasses, as well as a first-aid kit, baby wipes and a multipurpose tool with a knife and can opener.
Pack a few days’ worth. Include layers you can add or remove, plus lightweight rain gear and waterproof boots.
Pack about three days’ worth of each of your prescriptions, which should last until you can get to a pharmacy that’s open. If you need larger items, such as an oxygen tank, make sure you have a portable version.
The perfect bag
Think small and portable. A backpack is ideal, but a lightweight suitcase with wheels will also do. Just remember, you may literally be running with it.
Fill a zip-top waterproof bag with photocopies of your birth certificate; driver’s license; Social Security and Medicare cards; power of attorney and will; any marriage, adoption or naturalization certificates; proof of address; insurance, medical and immunization records; and information about your credit and ATM cards.
Food and drink
Bottled water is essential. Granola or energy bars are great because they are small and filling, and they come in a variety of flavors.
In addition to enough money for a few days, include small bills and a roll of quarters. If you need to buy something out of a vending machine, you don’t want to start asking equally desperate strangers for change.
*Courtesy of: https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/packing-your-emergency-preparedness-kit-fd.html
Do You Have Dirty Ducts
Did you know your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality? Inspecting the ductwork in your facility or home should be a high priority. In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold and irritating dust throughout your building or home.
A routine part of SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties' service is inspecting the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life-span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money. Duct cleaning may not always be necessary. SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This inspection can help save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.
In some circumstances, such as after a fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.
If you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove or fireplace, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends they be inspected for proper functioning and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
The SERVPRO® Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost-efficient. Unlike the majority of duct cleaning services, SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties uses a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.
- The process begins by using patented equipment, including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins.
- Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container.
- Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of the particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.
- As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.
- Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.
For more information on duct cleaning, or to schedule an appointment, contact SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties today.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 4
Destroy Odors with Deodorization
Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke and soot damage in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems.
As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard-to-reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.
With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties professionals provide specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties professionals do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the source of the odor. Once the source is found, SERVPRO’s own proprietary line of cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable item in affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts and more.
Ask SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you.
If you or a customer suffer a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services, contact SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties. Whether it’s fire, water, or mold damage or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we’ll help make it “Like it never even happened.”
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 4
The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents
According to FEMA, failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.
To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your or your insured’s home or business, SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup.
Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest or other potential obstacles.
For more information on proper cleaning dryer vents contact SERVPRO® of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties at (770) 716-3595.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 4
Your Belongings and Water Damage
Water damage affects not only the structure of your house but also your belongings. SERVPRO of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties understands that your home is more than a structure; your family’s furniture, clothing, keepsakes, and other belongings help transform a house into a home.
If You Have Questions or Need Help,
Call Us Today – (770) 716-3595
SERVPRO of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties specializes in restoring contents damaged by fire, water, or mold. Our expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. We pretest your contents to determine what items can be restored back to their condition before the water damage. We utilize several methods of cleaning your contents, including the following:
- Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
- Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
- Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
- Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
- Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
- Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.
If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning, SERVPRO of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties can conduct an organized, efficient move-out of the affected area. A move-out will provide several benefits, including the following:
- A quicker remodeling process
- Protecting items from potential damage
- Protecting contents from further on-site damage
When restoration is completed, we will work with you to coordinate the move-in according to your needs. The services offered upon move-in may depend on your insurance coverage.
Water-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by water. We will coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including:
- Television sets
- DVD players
- And more
The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. We start by cleaning the exterior of electronic devices to help stop further corrosion and damage. Electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician.
Document / Photograph Drying
When your valuable documents, including photographs, are damaged by water, extreme caution should be taken to help ensure the water damage does not destroy the document. Although some documents may not be restored to pre-water damage condition, SERVPRO of Fayette/S. Fulton Counties can save a great deal and help minimize additional damage.
Depending on the type of documents and the level of water damage, we have five options for the restoration of documents:
- Air Drying
- Freezer Drying
- Vacuum Freeze Drying
- Vacuum Thermal Drying
Contents Claim Inventory Service
When a water emergency strikes, the damage can often feel overwhelming. We can help ease the worry and confusion during the recovery process by offering our Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS), which provides a detailed and accurate list of your belongings. We take a room-by-room inventory of your contents, including digital photos, and in some instances, bar coding.
Our Contents Claim Inventory Service:
- Preloss list and value of contents
- Detailed and accurate report
- Better information to settle claims quicker
- Assistance with burden of proof for claims
- Peace of mind when you need it most