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Dry Ice Blasting for Commercial Fires

11/13/2020 (Permalink)

A technician dry ice blasting a fire damaged room. Dry-ice blasting is an eco-friendly and fast way to remove damage from fire.

As a commercial property owner, you know how important it is to get back to work after any sort of disaster. We've been working with large and small commercial properties for over 50 years and have an arsenal of restoration techniques depending on the building and situation. One of the fastest and most eco-friendly one is referred to as Dry-Ice Blasting (also called CO2 Blasting, or Dry Ice Dusting.)

Dry-ice blasting is used to remove surface stains - most often this is char, soot and residue that is left behind after the flames have been extinguished. It works by using compressed air to accelerate dry ice pellets to create mini-explosions that lift the stain from the substrate. Despite how that sounds - it is non-abrasive , non-conductive and can be used without damaging active electrical or mechanical equipment.

In most cases, items won’t need to be disassembled because it finds its way into small spaces between parts. Disassembly and reassembly are time consuming so dry-ice blasting can reduce downtime so you can return to business quicker.

Our goal is to put things back together so that it looks and feels like “it never happened.” If you experience fire damage, SERVPRO of North Garland can dry-ice blast away the damage, remove lingering odors and minimize downtime for you and your tenants.

If your business needs help with fire damage, give SERVPRO of North Garland a call at 972-496-2441.

Common Causes of House Fires

11/13/2020 (Permalink)

A bedroom that has been on fire. Avoid common house fires by knowing how to protect yourself.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that fire stations respond to house fires every 24 seconds. Fire is quick acting and volatile - so educate yourself of the risks to keep your home fire-free. Here are the most common causes of house fires.

Cooking Fires
Cooktops generate open flames that can quickly spread out of control if they aren't watched carefully. Home cooking fires account for approximately $1 billion in property damage, 550 deaths and 4,820 injuries every year. 

Electrical Fires
Malfunctioning appliances can spark, resulting in a dangerous fire. These fires account for 13% of all residential fires, including 18% of all civilian fire deaths. These fires are most likely to occur in the colder months. 

Candle Fires
Candles may generate a small flame, but that doesn't mean that they're completely harmless. Most candle fires occur when other household items, such as furniture and curtains, are kept too close to the flame. It only takes a few seconds for them to catch fire and consume the house.

Careless Children
Children playing with fire are responsible for $172 million in property damages every year. 83% of these fires are caused by young boys, half of which are under the age of six. Proper fire safety education is vital when it comes to preventing these accidents.

Smoking
Smoking is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths. These are often caused when someone carelessly smokes a cigarette, cigar or other product too close to combustible materials.

Should you experience a fire in your home or office, SERVPRO of North Garland is here to help.

Prepare the Trees Please

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

Splintered Tree Proper care of trees will help prevent storm damage.

We love our trees in Texas – they provide much needed shade in the summers. But those same trees in a storm can become dangerous. High winds and lightning cause broken branches, splintered tree trunks and even the complete uprooting of a tree – which can cause significant damage to you, or your neighbor’s, property.

Like most things, maintenance is key to keeping them healthy and flourishing. Proper upkeep will prepare your trees to weather the storm – literally. Watering and fertilizing are important, but regular pruning can shape your trees in becoming more resistant to storms and weather damage.

Improper pruning can cause damage so if you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself, it’s best to leave it to the experts. In general, the National Arbor Day Foundation recommends these tips for pruning and care:

  • Keep branch angles at 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock. Narrower angles between 2 branches can become a weak point.
  • The center of gravity for a tree should be over the trunk. Remove branches on the leaning side and encourage branch growth on the opposite side to ensure a stable center of gravity.
  • Don't cut branches back to stubs. Long, natural limbs on a tree are strong and can withstand storm-like conditions. If a branch needs to be removed, cut it back to the main branch or to the tree's trunk. Do remove any temporary branches such as rubbing branches, suckers and water-sprouts.
  • Conduct tree trimmings when it’s best for the type of tree. Some trees need to be pruned in a specific season to avoid pests and disease. As we head into winter, make sure your oak-trees get trimmed so they don’t end up with oak wit. Other types of trees that should be pruned in winter include apple, cedar, Douglas fir and spruce trees.

In general, trees that are healthy endure storms way better than the rest. If you don’t want your trees to end up deteriorating due to extreme weather conditions, then be a responsible tree owner—provide the plants with proper watering, regular and corrective pruning and nutrients.

Lessons on Lightning

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

Lightning bolt near a house. Lightning is unpredictable, so know your facts to stay safe.

If you can hear thunder then you’re close enough to be struck by lightning – so understanding the facts will help you stay safe in a storm.

  • Lightning is highly unpredictable which increases the risk to people and property.
  • Rain isn’t required for lightning to occur – it’s been seen as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.
  • "Heat lightning" is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away for thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction so it’s best to take precaution.
  • Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening. More people will survive a lightning strike than die from it, however they can have lasting effects from the injury.
  • Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.

If a Storm is Approaching

  • Move to a sturdy building or car. Do not take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, or in convertible automobiles.
  • Many houses are grounded by rods and other protection that conduct a lightning bolt's electricity harmlessly to the ground. However, water and pipes conduct electricity – so do not get in the bath or take a shower during a lightning storm.
  • Lightning causes power surges, so unplug appliances and other electrical items – especially computers and televisions.
  • If your only option for shelter is an automobile – get inside but don’t touch any of the metal. It’s steel frame will protect you as long as you don’t make contact with it. Tires are made of rubber – which is a conductor so will not protect you if it strikes the car.

Remember that no place outside is safe when lightning is in the area. Stay indoors until 30 minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder. If your home or property is damaged from lightning, SERVPRO fire and storm experts can help.

Get the Most From Your Commercial Real Estate Investment

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

Office building Maximize Your Return Through Maintenance and More

While buying a property at the right price is critical, what you do with it after the purchase is often more important. Good property management leads to good return on the investment. Here ae 5 tips to keep in mind as a commercial property owner:

Happy Tenants
It can be difficult and expensive to find new tenants so the best way to maintain your income is to keep the ones you have. This involves regular communication, anticipating tenant needs and being proactive. One of the things tenants care most about is the cleanliness of their workspace. When you use SERVPRO to clean your facility, we can provide you with a badge and collateral to let tenants know it’s SERVPRO Certified.

Excellent Maintenance

You know that tenants will pay more for properties that look good and are well kept. Properties are designated as Class A, B, or C based on their condition and Class A facilities have higher rent and lower turnover. For a large commercial property, the list of things that need to be regularly maintained is extensive. SERVPRO offers HVAC maintenance, janitorial services and deep cleanings that eliminate bio-hazards.

Lovely Landscaping
The outdoor vibe is just as important as the indoor one. Beautiful (and smart) landscaping provides additional areas for tenants to meet, eat or have some downtime during breaks. Protect your outdoor investment by clustering wind-resistant trees and plants, maintaining the correct proximity to building structures and consistent watering and pruning.

Sustainability

Younger tenants are particularly drawn to sustainable buildings. You can offer site-wide recycling or composting services, relamp existing lights with energy efficient bulbs and upgrade the HVAC system. All of these things will save you money and the headache of finding new tenants.

Safety

Keep your tenants safe with well-lit external areas, monitored entrances and the presence of security guards in common areas. Keep your building safe with an emergency readiness plan. SERVPRO offers a free assessment to help build a plan that will minimize downtime and damage from storms or other disasters.

Owning commercial real estate can be a tremendously rewarding investment with active management and participation. Following the steps above will help ensure a high return and highly satisfied tenants.

Deep Fried Turkey – Delicious, but Dangerous

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

Fried Turkey Be Safe When Deep Frying a Turkey

There’s no question that fried turkey tastes great, but there are many dangers associated with using a deep fryer. It’s actually pretty easy for these to catch fire so make sure to follow these safety tips if you choose to cook this way:

  • Don’t Overfill the Cooking Pot – even a small amount of oil can catch flame if it comes into contact with a burner. If the pot is too full, oil can spill when you insert the turkey. The U.S. Fire Administration suggests that you first place the turkey in a pot with water so you will know the correct amount of oil.
  • Don’t Leave a Fryer Unattended – deep fryers may not have thermostat controls and can overheat to the point of combustion. It’s crucial to stay close and to check the temperature of the oil often. Deep Fat Fryers are also easy to tip over – so make sure the area is secure and monitored. Never use a fryer inside – these should always be used outdoors on a solid surface (not a deck or under a patio cover.)
  • Make Sure to Thaw Completely - never drop a frozen turkey into a hot fryer. You can find hundreds of YouTube videos showing what can happen if you don’t properly thaw your turkey prior to deep frying. This happens when a frozen turkey reacts with high temperature oil causing a lot of steam which then forces the oil to boil over and catch fire. Flames can shoot up as high as 10 feet if it’s not handled the right way.
  • Have the Right Tools - make sure you have a fire extinguisher and well-insulated potholders nearby since the lid, sides and handles get insanely hot and you could end up with harsh burns if not careful.
  • Keep Others Safe - never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use as the oil can remain hot for hours.

 SERVPRO urges you to follow these safety recommendations for a safe and successful turkey frying experience. A cooking fire can be devastating, causing injury as well as serious damage to your home or property. If an accident does happen, you can always call the experts at SERVPRO of Park Cities. We'll be there to help get you back to normal 24/7, 365 days a year.

Will Your Water Damage Be Covered by Insurance?

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

insurance form Know Your Coverage

According to the Insurance Services Office (ISO), water damage claims are the second most frequent insurance claim, impacting 1 in 50 homeowners each year. Many of these claims end up denied because of the type of damage reported.

What Type of Damage Will Be Covered?

"Sudden or Accidental" coverage is typically covered by insurance. This is damage that happens as the result of an identifiable incident like a storm or a busted  water heater. In this case you can make a claim and the resulting damage will be covered, but not the item that caused it. You will have to pay your deductible and the cost to replace what broke, leading to damage (water heater, dishwasher, etc.)

Damage that happens over time is considered "Gradual" and will not be covered unless your policy has an exception. This could include rusted pipes or other slow leaks that culminate in damage. Proper maintenance, and documentation of it, is key to preventing structural deterioration.

Equally important is understanding your homeowner's policy, including what is and isn't covered. Review it thoroughly and ask your agent to clarify anything that you don't understand. 

Filing a Claim

If you do find water damage and need to file a claim – SERVPRO of Park Cities can help you navigate the process. Call us as soon as it happens and our team will come out to properly document all damage and stop any further issues. We work closely with insurance providers to ensure they have all the required information in order to properly verify and pay the claim.

"Like it never even happened."

If you do have water damage, we are available 24/7 to restore your home to it's original state.

Why SERVPRO When Disaster Strikes

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO vehicles Here to Help

We’ve been dealing with disaster recovery for over 50 years and have the experts and equipment needed to restore things “Like it never even happened.” Here are several reasons why we should be your first call after a disaster.

1-4-8 Service Response Guidelines - Quick and accurate response can minimize loss expenses from secondary damages.

  • Within one hour from notice of loss, SERVPRO of North Garland Professionals will contact you to arrange for service.
  • Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO of North Garland Professional will be on-site to start mitigation services (if necessary).
  • Within 8 business hours, a verbal briefing of the scope of work will be communicated to the property manager or point of contact by a SERVPRO of North Garland Professional.

Pretesting - Through pretesting, we determine the extent of the damage which allows us to treat only the affected area to reduce job costs, restoration expenses and disruption.

Inventory Analysis - The Inventory Analysis is a detailed record of all your belongings which is conducted prior to any disaster. This reduces the time needed to build your itemized room-by-room loss inventory for insurance claims.

Electronic File Documentation Complete with Loss Reports - Online access is available to all files, information and proof of results, allowing the information to be easily transferrable to various parties involved.

24/7 Call Center - Prompt work order handling and dispatch don’t have to wait for daylight. Utilizing SERVPRO’s 24/7 Call Center, emergency services can begin as soon as possible, helping minimize additional loss, downtime and expense.

Large Loss Capabilities – Catastrophic Loss Response Team - With hundreds of trained crews manned with thousands of pieces of commercial equipment and service vehicles, SERVPRO’s Large Loss Response Teams can initiate response to any sized loss in any part of the country within hours.

Professional Reassurance and Consistency - As leaders in cleanup and restoration, SERVPRO of North Garland Professionals strive to maintain a professional appearance in uniform, equipment, vehicles and cleaning methods to help convey “Green means clean!”

National Accounts Guidelines (for National Accounts Insurance Clients) - To assure to our clients they will receive consistent, professional service and performance across the country, the National Accounts Guidelines require completed job files, detailed communication and much more from SERVPRO of North Garland Professionals.

More than 1,700 Franchises located in North America - SERVPRO of North Garland Professionals are nearby, ready to respond quickly. The faster restoration begins, the quicker our customers can return to business.

We Know Smoke & Soot

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke Damage in an Empty Room Smoke and Soot Cause Damage Too.

Fire damage is caused by flames, but also by the resulting smoke and soot which cause both visible and hidden damage far beyond the area of the original fire. There are different types of smoke & soot damage and understanding the properties of each help identify and remediate appropriately. These include dry or wet smoke, synthetic substances, protein material, petroleum or natural substances and the restoration process depends on the cause.

Dry vs Wet Smoke:

High-heat, fast-burning fires fueled by wood and paper typically produce dry smoke, resulting in a residue of fine power on the surface of things. While it can be simpler to clean (just wipe it off) it can also get into cracks and porous surfaces, leaving an odor which is more difficult to remove.

Wet smoke damage typically comes from low-heat, slow-burning fires – often from plastic or rubber items. It is thick and black and leaves behind a sticky residue with a strong odor. It smears easily which makes it more difficult to clean.

 Synthetic Substances:

As synthetic materials burn, they create a thick billowy black smoke that rises quickly and clings to everything, leaving a smudged-looking residue. This can cause a bigger mess if not cleaned properly using a vacuum and dry-chemical sponge cleaning.

Protein Residue:

When a fire consumes a protein source (such as meats or beans), it will leave behind a yellowish-brown residue resembling grease smears (think of the inside of your oven, the cooking grate on your grill, or a dirty pan after cooking meat). Since this residue is extra greasy, it’s extra difficult to clean. The best way to tackle this mess is with proper professional fire cleaning chemicals specifically for protein-based residue.

Petroleum Smoke:

Petroleum smoke comes from burning oil or oil-based substances. It is dark and will discolor anything it touches. This smoke can ruin upholstery and flooring if not taken care of quickly.

Since each type is a little different, each one requires a tailored solution for cleanup. Our fire experts know what to look for and how best to handle the many different conditions associated with smoke and soot.

Why Call Us for Mold Issues?

10/30/2020 (Permalink)

Mold Damage on a Wall SERVPRO of North Garland is licensed to properly manage mold remediation and restoration.

Mold damage in the US cost homeowners approximately 73 billion dollars a year. Mold eats away at carpet, drywall, wall studs, ceiling tiles and other porous building materials. If not addressed properly it can lead to walls collapsing or floors caving in. It's also toxic, and will require proper removal and remediation. SERVPRO of North Garland is a licensed expert when it comes to mold. Our process includes a thorough inspection and damage assessment. Remediation then starts with containment to avoid further spread. We will seal off the room(s), disable HVAC systems and if necessary, bring in negative air chambers.

Our HEPA vacuums are powerful “air scrubbers” that filter the air and remove the mold spores. We use antifungal and antimicrobial cleaners and always dispose of materials properly. 

Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, carpets and other building materials may need to be replaced. 

SERVPRO can also handle the restoration and rebuild. We are the trusted partner for many insurance companies and will help you navigate the  claim process. Our goal is to leave your home feeling "Like it never even happened."