Understanding the Fire Restoration Process
It is imperative that IICRC-approved fire restoration should be implemented as soon as possible after a house fire is out. The longer the delay in contacting a restoration company, the more opportunity there is for damage from water and smoke to intensify. A homeowner’s insurance company should be able to refer an approved and experienced restoration firm. It is surprising just how well restoration works in light of how destructive a fire can be. Depending on the damage, a home can often be restored to its before-fire state. A restoration team has a difficult task to perform, and a great deal of responsibility, but IICRC-approved technicians are well equipped to return a home to its original condition.
The fire restoration process involves the repair of any structures damaged by smoke, fire, or water. Carpets undergo a chemical process to remove smoke odor. Sub-floor materials undergo inspection for damage and may need to be replaced. Upholstery and curtains are subject to a similar process. Furnishings are taken to a separate location and restored to pre fire condition. The home is aired out for as long as needed to diminish the effects of odor and mildew, and deodorization efforts continue throughout the process. Through the cooperation of the insurance company, the restoration team, and the homeowner, a home can be restored and made safe to live in once again.
SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas is an IICRC certified firm. Call us if disaster strikes your home or business at 702-656-0203.
Information provided by IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning, and Restoration Certification).
SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas uses state-of-the art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying of your home or business.
SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas professionals use the latest technology to help ensure your property is dried quickly and efficiently.
DryBook™ is a proprietary tool that:
- Manages industry drying requirements.
- Provides real-time documentation on the drying process.
- Validates that services are executed to standard.
- Reports to all stakeholders involved.
- Allows real-time updates through DryBook™ Mobile integration.
This improves results and restores your property at a faster rate, getting you back in your home or business sooner. The bottom line? SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas have the training and equipment to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
What Are Safe Moisture Levels?
One of the most common questions people have about moisture measurement is “What are safe moisture levels in walls, floors, etc.?”
The answer is: “It depends.”
Types of Wall Materials and Moisture
What constitutes a “safe” level of moisture in a wall will change depending on what the wall is made of. In most modern construction, interior walls tend to use a surface layer of gypsum (a.k.a. drywall) because it’s a relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and long-lasting material that’s easy to work with. However, older buildings may use other interior wall surfaces, such as wooden paneling or plaster.
Generally speaking, for drywall, a safe moisture content (%MC) would be less than 1% MC. Anything above 1% MC in drywall would indicate a level of moisture that could compromise the integrity of the gypsum board.
Exterior walls may use a variety of materials, from wooden siding, to vinyl, aluminum, brick, and stone. Of these exterior wall materials, wood is generally the most susceptible to moisture which is why wood siding is usually treated to resist rain. However, water repellent finishes can only prevent moisture from getting past the surfaces where the wood has been treated. If water reaches an untreated surface, such as the backside of the wood, then it can still be absorbed and cause problems.
With wood, it can be harder to generalize what a safe amount of moisture is. This is because the humidity conditions can have an effect on what the ideal moisture content of wood can be—not to mention that “safe” moisture levels can vary from one species of wood to the next.
How Humidity Impacts “Safe” Moisture Levels
The ambient humidity and temperature conditions where your walls are located can have an effect on what could constitute a “safe” amount of moisture in the wall when dealing with hygroscopic materials like wood. If wood wall materials aren’t in equilibrium with their surrounding environment, then they will absorb or let out moisture until they are—which can cause swelling or shrinkage that impacts the look and integrity of the wood.
So, knowing the relative humidity (RH) conditions is a must when trying to determine what a “safe” moisture content for wood walls is. For example, if the temperature in the room is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the RH is 50%, then a “safe” level of moisture in the wall would be about 9.1% MC.
Measuring Moisture in Walls
So, how can you be sure if the walls in a structure have a safe level of moisture? One way to check is to use a moisture meter that is optimized for building inspection work like the BD-2100.
This particular moisture meter is ideal for checking the moisture content of walls because it has reading scales for both drywall and wood that allow for precise, quantitative moisture measurements in these materials. A separate reference scale setting can be used for getting qualitative readings of moisture in other wall materials (like plaster).
The BD-2100’s drywall moisture meter readings are accurate in gypsum to moisture content percentages as low as 0.2% and as high as 50%. In the wood scale, the meter can detect moisture accurately over a range of 6% MC to 40% MC. The ability to detect moisture accurately in both wood and drywall makes this device particularly suited for building inspection work.
Learn more about measuring moisture by checking out Delmhorst’s restoration guide, which has information about the different kinds of moisture meters, the main causes of water damage, and how to best use moisture meters.
Source: Delmhorst Instrument Co
Severe Weather Safety
Severe weather can happen any time, anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of the following intense storms*:
◊ 10,000 severe thunderstorms
◊ 5,000 floods or flash floods
◊ 1,300 tornadoes
◊ 2 landfalling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 650 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage.* Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action, and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
Know your risk. The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather can impact you, your business, and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts in your area. Severe weather comes in many forms, and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazard scenarios.
Take action. Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communications plan for your home and business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
Be an example. Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with family members, co-workers, and friends on social media. Your preparedness efforts may inspire others to do the same.
Contact SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas for more readiness tips and tools, including SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile(ERP). Having an ERP in place for your facility can help minimize business interruption in the event of a disaster. SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegsas can help you be “Ready for whatever happens!”
If you have a generator on hand for power outages during severe weather, follow the safety tips below provided by the American Red Cross.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, or any partially enclosed area.
- To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use it in wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.
- Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home. Although CO can’t be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately.
- Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home or property and outside sleeping areas to provide early warnings.
When Water Damage Strikes
The first 24 hours following a water loss are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of receiving a loss notification,SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas will be on-site to help ensure a water damage is handled by completing the following steps.
SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas will inspect affected areas to determine the extent of water damage and will review the inspection with you to answer any questions before beginning the work.
SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas will take steps to help protect your home or business, as well as personal property and other contents, from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing the area for drying. They will explain the needed emergency services to you step-by-step.
To help ensure your home or business and belongings are dried to appropriate industry standards, a SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas will monitor the drying process. The updates will be consistently communicated with you.
SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas will repair structural materials, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of your property and contents. A final walk through of the job site will be conducted with you to help ensure the property was returned to its preloss condition.
Emergency water damage tips
• Shut-off the water source, if possible or contact a qualified professional to stop the water source.
• Turn-off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
• Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
• Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
• Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents, and other sensitive valuables to a dry place.
• Do not enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers, or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
• Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water! This could cause electrical shock or damage to the device.
• Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water. For more information on recovering from water damage, contact SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas.
Smoke Alarms Save Lives
Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.*
The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.
Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation.
Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance. For more on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas
- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
- Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps,” the battery is low and should be replaced right away.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
JUST THE FACTS: Smoke Alarms
- Three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or when the alarms are not working.
- Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.
- More than one-third (37 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.
- The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.
*Statistics and tips provided by National Fire Prevention Association
What Is Black Mold?
Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often called “black mold” or “toxic mold”. Sensational news reports warn about the dangers of black mold and these stories can be alarming and confusing. Any mold in your home should be treated with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.
How Do I Tell If It's Black Mold?
Since many types of mold can produce allergens and irritants, you should contact a qualified mold remediation company regardless of the color or type of mold. In many instances, multiple types of mold can exist in the same house or structure. If you suspect that you have a mold problem, contact SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas immediately.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today (702-656-0203)
Understanding Water Types
When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup. There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals. When you have a water damage, don’t leave your property to chance. Call SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas. Consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.
Damage from Clean Water
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock. Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place.
- Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining.
- Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
Damage from Contaminated Water
- Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items. Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
- Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
- Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
- Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.
Leave the Hassle of Board-Ups to the Professionals
Whether after a fire, storm, or other structural disaster, boarding up damaged property is a burden that no one should ever have to go through— especially if it is your property that has been damaged.
Boarding up damaged property incorrectly could cause secondary damages such as moisture or animal intrusion, making the situation even worse. The process of boarding up after an unexpected damage can also be as dangerous as the damage itself.
SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas can board up the damaged property and mitigate and re-mediate the original damage, providing you with peace of mind while helping make it “Like it never even happened.” Call SERVPRO of Northern Las Vegas with any questions you may have regarding board ups and the mitigation and re-mediation process.