Maryland Flash Floods
With all these crazy flash floods (or flash flood warnings) happening in the Maryland area recently, it’s hard to know whether your home or office is safe from water damage. Water can get into places that you would never expect and can cause damage that you never even knew existed! Damage over time can sometimes be worse than immediate damage because it becomes deep-rooted and can harm the actual foundations or supports of certain structures.
Don’t let something as simple as water affect your daily routine. The last thing we ever want to see is anybody suffering from water damage (or any damage for that matter). We care about our county and we care about you, that’s why SERVPRO of Howard County is dedicated to giving you peace of mind through our 24/7 restorative services. Feel free to give us a call any time and we will be ready to send out a crew of our professionally trained staff members to inspect or restore your home or office! (410) 465-7333
If you Hear a Roar, Get Indoors!
Summer time is the perfect time for people to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. But outdoors is not the place to be when you hear a storm rolling in!
There is a saying, "If you hear a roar, get indoors." The roar is referring to thunder. There is technically no place outside that is safe during a storm.
Never seek shelter under a tree or around poles. Lightning tends to strike taller objects.
Don't lie down on the ground either; thinking it will hit something taller than you. It will travel to the ground.
Stay away from water; even the kitchen sink or shower.
Lightening can strike from even 10 miles away. Amazing right?
So don't wait to see lightning. Listen. If you hear thunder get indoors and waiting patiently for the storm to pass.
Deaths happen every year from lightning strikes. Don't let it happen to you. Just remember that old saying, "If you hear a roar, get indoors!"
Caught in a Flood Situation
If someone asked you which weather event causes the most damage, most people would probably jump to say hurricanes or tornadoes. However, according to the NOAA, flooding kills more people each year than tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightning.
Flooding can cause damage quickly, and can often occur with little to no warning. That said, it is possible to be safe and be prepared when flood risk is present or actively occurring.
Additionally, Floodsmart.gov reports that in the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the United States every year than any other weather related disaster.
If find yourself caught in a flooding situation it seems obvious, but it is important to remember to stay away from flood waters, no matter the height of the standing water. A mere six inches of swiftly moving water could easily sweep you off your feet. If you happen to be driving when you get caught in a flood, turn around and don't drown! Most cars (it is safe to assume that your car is one of most cars) can get swept away by less than two feet of moving water. If flood waters are rapidly rising whilst you are driving through a flooded road, exit your vehicle and move yourself to higher ground. Value your safety first! Also be sure to keep children out of and away from any flooding water or potential flood zones during heightened risk times.
It does not matter if you live near a coastline, in the city, the mountains, near a tiny river, or even in the desert...there is always potential risk for flooding and flood damage. Just because you and your property have never experienced a flood or flood damage does not mean you never will!
20% of flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk area. On average, flooding costs $3.5 billion in annual losses for the USA.
Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when it isn't treated quickly and properly. This includes mold damage from improper drying of flooding.
The cleanup can be overwhelming, but that is what SERVPRO of Howard County is here for. Our crews are trained to handle an size disaster quickly and efficiently.
When you feel like you're drowning in water damage, SERVPRO helps you stay above water!
The Inconvenience of Water Damage
Water damage is always inconvenient, no matter the type of water causing it; however, understand which type of water you're dealing with can be crucial to minimize destruction until our professionals arrive.
Clean water can be from a broken pipe/water source, or even rainwater.
Clean water becomes gray water after it has been left untreated. Untreated water allows for bacteria and fungi to grow and the water then becomes contaminated. This water can become hazardous.
Black water is typically caused by sewage damage or natural disaster flooding. Black water should ALWAYS be handled by professionals.
How do you minimize the damage from these water types?
For clean water:
If you can, shut off the water source.
Turn off any circuit breakers to affected areas. This protects from any potential electrical shock. Do not enter any rooms with standing water because unknown shock risks could be hiding.
Mop, blot, or wipe down any excess water.
To start drying any damage or soaked upholstery, remove and prop them up to start the drying process.
Move valuables to a safe place
Remove colored items that might bleed or run, causing stains.
Never use a vacuum to remove water. Shock risk is high!
If your ceiling is wet, don't turn on any ceiling fixtures. Don't enter the room is the ceiling is sagging from retained water.
For contaminated water:
Avoid all contact with sewage. Wash yourself thoroughly if you come into contact with contaminated items.
Do not walk through affected areas.
Do not turn on your HVAC system as it could spread contaminated air.
Do not use fans. Air flow could spread contaminants.
If food or personal hygiene products are exposed to contaminated area, discard them.
Water damage can be traumatic, but the cleanup and restoration process doesn't need to be.
A Business is no Place for Mold!
Summer is certainly on the way, and with it will come those warm temperatures. What does that mean for your business?
Well, a majority of businesses consider summer to be their busy season. If you're one of those businesses, you know that damage or a loss in your facility can cost you time that your business can't afford to lose.
Avoiding mold damage can be simple, especially when it comes to air conditioning condensation lines.
When the warm weather is here, we know your employees are turning up the AC and making it work overtime with them. This extra work for the air conditioner could lead to leaks in the condensation lines, which can potentially feed hidden mold. Not only is mold inconvenient to your business, it can carry health risks. And for those reasons, the U.S. EPA recommends routinely inspecting your HVAC units. Depending on how large your business is, there might be more than one in your facility.
When you inspect these units/systems, you shouldn't only be looking for mold. It's important to check for moisture or any dripping. No matter how little the amount of water may seem, mold starts on a microscopic level. It doesn't take that much liquid to keep mold alive and thriving!
If you think you find mold in your commercial property, it's important to proceed with caution.
Better yet, call our professional crews in and we will take care of drying out any moisture and removing any mold you find or even if you're just suspicious of mold. Remember that mold carries risks and if you don't know what you're doing, it can be incredibly dangerous.
That's why our specially trained teams are here to help!
By now, we're sure you've heard us talk about how there is an exact science when it comes to structural drying. That's why our SERVPRO of Howard County professionals are specifically trained to dry your property to such standards. When you come across water damage in your home or water damage in your business, it's common to think you can clean it up yourself. In smaller cases this is likely true; however, in cases with more water and more extensive damage, DIY drying can potentially worsen the extent of the damage itself. When water is dried improperly, you run the additional risk for mold growing.
Still need some other reasons to leave the drying to the professionals? Well, SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor will:
- Inspect the property to find everything that may have been exposed to water to prevent that secondary damage
- Measure how much moisture is in the wet materials affected by the water loss and monitor their drying
- Use professional drying equipment to speed the drying process along
The bottom line is that while DIY drying might seem easier and faster, it is usually far less effective and can leave you with more damage than what you started out with. Our SERVPRO pros have the equipment and the training to move the process along as quickly as possible!
Deodorization After a Fire
Have you ever noticed how when you burn a bag of popcorn in the microwave the smell seems to linger for way longer than it should?
That's what happens with even the smallest fire in your home or business. After a fire if the area isn't properly cleaned, restored, and deodorized the burnt scent can hold onto to your space for years to come. The smoke from a fire is what carries the awful scent throughout a structure. This smoke sets into any surface it can touch.
If a cleanup isn't executed as fast as possible, the residue can cause permanent damage and could even cause the smell to come back!
The SERVPRO of Howard County team is highly trained to locate and remove the source of the odor. Other professionals will just mask the scent with a fragrance of some kind and once it wears off, you're left with the bill and no actual solution to your odor problem.
Our professionals also work to make sure you understand all of your possible options when it comes to deodorization.
What to do After a Fire Occurs
Fire damage itself is enough trouble as is, but most forget that smoke damage and other odors can be just as much of a nuisance. After a fire, it's important to act appropriately in order to avoid secondary damage. These do's and don'ts might come in handy to help you increase chances of a successful restoration.
- Limit movement. Extensive movement can further embed soot particles in your carpet and other upholstered surfaces
- Keep you hands clean so you don't transfer any soot around and damage walls and woodwork, etc.
- Put dry, colorfast towels and/or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas
- If your electricity has failed, empty any fridges and freezer entirely. Then prop their doors open to prevent odor
- If you have chrome appliances or trim, you can wipe soot from those surfaces and apply a thin coating of lubricant to them
- If you fire occurs during winter and your heat fails, pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to ensure your pipes and other fixtures don't freeze
- Change your HVAC filters, but leave the system off until it is checked by a professional
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over your air registers. This keeps soot particles out of your HVAC system
- Don't try to wash any walls or painted surfaces without calling SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor to consult about the extent of the damage
- Don't shampoo carpet of upholstered furniture
- Don't try to clean any electrical appliances that might have been close to the flames, heat, or water, because they might have become contaminated
- If your ceiling is wet, do not turn on the fan. The wiring might be wet or damaged and could cause electrical shock. Air movement could also spread around other particles and cause secondary damage
- Don't send your garments to the dry cleaner, as improper cleaning might only set in the smoke odor
If your home or business is faced with fire damage, don't try to clean it yourself. Our SERVPRO professionals are given special training and specific equipment to mitigate fire damage without furthering damage.
Curing Headaches 24/7
Our trained technicians know the proper procedure to cure you headaches. SERVPRO of Howard County is there for your commercial business whenever you need us, no matter the time of day. Just like your local pharmacy is there for you 24/7, so is SERVPRO.
We're even there for the pharmacy whenever they need our expertise!
The pharmacy pictured here wasn't able to help people that needed their services due to a water loss. Their customers were told they had to wait for help during regular business hours when they were adequately staffed to handle the workload AND the damage to their business.
SERVPRO of Howard County got out to them on a Saturday to help them get back in business ASAP because when their clients need them, they have to be ready.
SERVPRO is not the, "Take two of these and call us in the morning" type. We are the "Let us treat you and your business anytime, any day, so you can feel better in the morning."
Isn't that what everyone needs?
Fireworks this 4th of July
Here's a fairly well-known joke about the 4th of July. It goes something like this: always buy fireworks from the guy missing a few fingers; you know he always has the good ones!
Kind of funny but not so much if it happens to you!
Every 4th of July, people get hurt with fireworks. Some lose a finger, some lose their home to fire and some even worse. It's not hard to believe that some people call the 4th of July the deadliest of holidays. If you're going to enjoy setting off fireworks this year, make sure to follow the instructions on the fireworks as well as these additional tips:
Have a bucket of water near by
Light one at a time
Don't try to re-light a "dud" firework. Give it some time and then soak it in water
Wear safety glasses
Don't let children handle fireworks
Always be a safe distance from any buildings or cars
Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting and then tossing in a metal trash can
The last thing to remember is don't forget to pack your common sense this holiday and anytime you light off fireworks, check your surrounds and look for things that could go wrong!
You don't want to be like the guy in joke!