Recent Posts

Fireworks Safety for the 4th of July

6/13/2017 (Permalink)

Community Fireworks Safety for the 4th of July SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa would like to wish you and your family a Happy Fourth of July!

The number of Americans planning to use backyard fireworks this Fourth of July is expected to hit an all-time high.  In preparation for holiday celebrations, The National Council on Fireworks Safety (NCFS) encourages consumers to review all safety tips before purchasing and using fireworks.

"Every year, safety is our first priority as families begin to plan their Fourth of July festivities.  While fireworks are the most iconic and festive way to celebrate our country's independence, there can be dangers if fireworks are used improperly," said Nancy Blogin, President of the National Council on Fireworks Safety.  "Consumers should purchase fireworks from a reputable company or fireworks stand, check local and state laws for fireworks use in your city, and check all instructions on fireworks packaging before use."

The fireworks industry has made great progress in improving firework quality and reducing injuries; however, there is still work to be done as the vast majority of fireworks-related injuries in the U.S. each year result from the misuse of fireworks.

We have seen an increase in injuries among youth that have used fireworks in videos unsafely to impress their friends or to get a laugh.  We want parents to help us put a stop to using fireworks in viral videos by encouraging safety and by explaining that the improper use of fireworks can produce serious injuries or even death.

"We have a collective responsibility as a community to put a stop to improper fireworks usage.  If you see something that is unsafe, say something or report it to your local fire or police department," said Blogin.

The NCFS's missing is to educate the public on the safe use of fireworks and encourages consumers to follow the following safety tips before engaging in fireworks celebrations this Fourth of July:

  1. Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  2. Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  3. A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
  4. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  5. Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  6. Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  7. Do not hold a firework item in your hand.
  8. Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  9. Never relight a "dud" firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water before you discard it.
  10. After purchasing fireworks, always store them in a cool, dry place.
  11. When using fireworks always have a connected hose, bucket of water, or other water source nearby.
  12. Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers.
  13. Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  14. Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trashcan away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  15. Ensure all pets and animals are away from fireworks noise.
  16. With the rise in stress-related disorders affecting American service men and women, pay special consideration to individuals who may be sensitive to loud noises in proximity to your fireworks show.

If you have any questions regarding how to properly use fireworks we encourage you to consult your local dealer.

About The National Council on Fireworks Safety

The National Council on Fireworks Safety is a nonprofit 501(c) organization dedicated to educating the public about the safe and responsible enjoyment of consumer fireworks.  For more information, visit http://www.fireworkssafety.org.

Mold 101 : What to Know

6/12/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Mold 101 : What to Know There is a plethora of bad information floating around about mold. SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa has your back and can help you sort through the facts.

Chances are by now you have seen or heard horror stories about mold.  Maybe it's from a neighbor, friend, or even the local news doing a story about the evil "Black Mold" that is spreading across the country.

First things first, let's understand one basic fact that some people may not tell you... Mold is everywhere.  I can guarantee that you have brought mold into your home.  The good thing is that not all mold is harmful to humans.  The type of mold, the environment, and how much mold is in an area (measures in spores per cubic meter) goes a long way in determining what steps are necessary to keep your house and your family safe.

The other factor that makes understanding mold difficult is that there is a plethora of misinformation floating around.  What kind of risks are there?  How rare is it to find mold in your house?  What are the chances that your home insurance covers mold?  How do you know which information is accurate?  Don't worry, SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa has your back.  Over the next few weeks check back to see our updates so you can be in the know about mold.

Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration

6/12/2017 (Permalink)

Storm and flood damage require specialized restoration techniques and equipment.  When a storm hits your home, you need the company with storm damage experience and expertise.  SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa can respond immediately to storm and flooding conditions.

SERVPRO is faster to any disaster.  We're dedicated to responding immediately to water and storm damage emergencies.  A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost.  As leaders in the storm and water damage industry, we have advanced training and expertise, not to mention a tremendous amount of hands-on experience.  We use this training and experience to quickly dry your home and restore it back to pre-storm condition.

What you can do until help arrives:

After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first.

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy.  Be careful!

What to do After Flooding

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

What NOT to do After Flooding

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place.  Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

Do you have a water emergency?  Call us today at 785-690-7373.

What kind of equipment will be used in my home or business?

6/8/2017 (Permalink)

General What kind of equipment will be used in my home or business? Here are just some of the pieces of equipment you may encounter during your water damage.

When a water damage occurs it is common to feel blindsided by the many steps involved in the mitigation process.  The task of removing the water, drying out the home or business, then putting things back into place seem a bit overwhelming.  That's where we can help.  Our team of highly qualified technicians take great care in walking customers through the steps necessary to dry and repair their property. 

There are many different types of equipment utilized in the drying and restoration process.  Here is just a glimpse of what you can expect to see:

  • Air Movers and/or Axial Fan : Professional grade air movers and axial fans produce more air movement than a standard household fan.  The higher volume of air being moved increases the rate of evaporation, helping to dry the structure as quickly as possible.
  • Dehumidifier : A dehumidifier removes water vapor from the air by condensing it out against refrigerated fins.  The water is stored and then periodically purged from the machine by use of plastic tubing.  The tubing will generally be run so that it dumps water down a drain, such as a bath tub or sink, or sometimes out a window or door.  Professional dehumidifiers pull much more vapor from the air than a household dehumidifier.  In this way they are generally more efficient.
  • Air Scrubber : An air scrubber might be used if your loss is a result of water classified as a category 2 or 3 loss; which means that it came from a contaminated source or through building materials.  These machines remove airborne particulates by trapping them in HEPA filters.  Air scrubbers are also used in cases where a customer has a health condition that requires the air quality to be monitored.
  • Specialty Drying Equipment : There are a variety of different tools available to our technicians for use in specialty circumstances.

Many customers are concerned about the cost of their power bill when they see the amount of equipment needed to dry their property.  This is an understandable concern.  Your insurance adjuster can discuss how to handle this with you. 

Water Damage Tips for Property Owners

6/8/2017 (Permalink)

These tips are for Category 1 water situations ONLY, which is water that originates from a sanitary source and poses no substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure.

  • Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the home/building, when access to the power panel is safe from electrical shock.
  • Remove excess water by mopping or blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove oriental or other colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Do not use a regular vacuum to remove water.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water. 
  • Do not leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpeting.

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.  The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property.  If you have any questions or need help to ensure your property is drying properly, contact SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa at 785-690-7373.

The Behavior of Smoke

6/8/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa knows smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor.  Their knowledge of building systems helps them investigate how far smoke may have spread.  Here are some facts you may not know about smoke:

  • 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.

The 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 Lawrence/Ottawa will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred.  The cleaning procedures will them be based on the information identified during the pretest.  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.
    • Visually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
  • Fuel Oil Soot : Furnace Puff Backs
    • White "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
  • Other Types : Tear gas, fingerprint power and fire extinguisher residue.

Special loss situations require special care.  SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa are trained to handle even the toughest losses.

Preparing for Storms

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

Taking steps to protect your family and property from storms before they hit can save lives and help minimize damage to your home or business.

Severe storms cause billions of dollars of damage in the United States each year. When big storms hit, many families find themselves disorganized and not well prepared. This is why it is important to have an emergency plan and make sure everyone knows the plan in case of an emergency.

Creating an Emergency Plan

The first step is to create a written disaster plan and review it with your household. Be sure everyone knows where to go and what to do. Have an emergency meeting place, such as a park, building, or other landmark near your home. If you are separated, have everyone meet at the chosen location.

Preparing for a Storm

To prepare for a storm, you should have an emergency kit. Since you may need to evacuate on short notice, pack your emergency kit into backpacks and have them ready to go. Everyone should know where the emergency kits are.

Your emergency kit should contain:

  • Battery powered flashlight
  • Portable battery powered radio
  • Extra batteries
  • List of emergency phone numbers
  • Prescriptions and essential medicines
  • First aid kit
  • Nonperishable emergency food
  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person, per day)
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Disposable camera
  • Credit cards and cash
  • Change of clothing
  • Sturdy shoes or boots
  • Important papers, identification and bank information
  • If you have pets make sure they have an emergency kit with 3-5 days worth of food and supplies, including a per carrier, leash and current identification tags.

How to Stay Safe If Your Home is Damaged by Storms

After the storm is over, return to your home only after you are cleared to return by authorities. Enter your home with caution.

Check for signs of gas and water leaks and damage to electrical or sewer systems. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, leave immediately, keeping doors and windows open. Call your gas company to report the problem. Stay clear of frayed electrical wires and downed power lines.

Do not drink any tap water or use tap water to prepare food until you have been notified it is safe to do so.

Make sure you take pictures of any roofing, structural damage, flooding, broken windows or other debris, and make notes of anything that is broken or damaged. When it comes time to file an insurance claim, the pictures you take after the storm can go a long way in helping you recover from the storm, prove your claim is valid and getting approved for repairs as quickly as possible.

Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration

SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa responds immediately to your flood and storm damage emergencies. We have the storm damage restoration experience and specialized equipment to restore your home or business back to pre-storm condition.

Need storm or flood restoration service?

Call us today at 785-690-7373.

Mold Inspection and Remediation: A Brief Overview

5/11/2017 (Permalink)

One of the most serious problems that can occur as a result of water damage is the need for mold remediation for your home. Because natural disasters can happen at any time, homeowners are concerned about water damage affecting their property in conjunction with one of the secondary results – mold infestation. This concern is legitimate because problems in your home caused by mold proliferation could result in health effects and structural challenges. Because mold may gain a foothold in your home due to water intrusion or leaks, it is important for you to secure mold inspection and mold remediation services from the experts at SERVPRO.

A Brief Overview

The mold is fungus, and it can come in an assortment of colors, including gray, green, black, or white. Mold can also appear in various shapes and thrives best in materials that have a high moisture content. Examples would be ceiling tiles, paint, carpet, wallboard, and paneling. While mold growth can result from water damage, it can also be caused by high humidity within the home. Try to keep indoor humidity below 45 percent. To effectively remove mold, SERVPRO mold remediation experts will first identify the areas of mold sources and locations, then evaluate the extent of the growth. After this information is gathered, the technicians can start to remove and clean the mold from the environment.

The mold inspection process must be thorough. Unfortunately, mold can begin to grow and thrive in a variety of places, which means that mold remediation specialists need to analyze the residential property carefully. Although mold can thrive in several areas, the main points of inspection should be leaky roofs, indoor plumbing regions, HVAC systems and regions where there are building maintenance problems. In addition to eliminating mold, the remediation process will help prevent its spread or reoccurrence by eliminating moisture sources, and removing infested material. Disposing of these causes of mold proliferation helps restore a healthy environment to your home.

Conclusion

As made apparent by the information outlined above, a mold infestation is a serious matter and should never be taken lightly. Although some property owners may want to complete the removal process for themselves, this is not the best course of action. To secure mold removal efficiently, you should attain assistance from professionals who have industry experience.

The technicians from SERVPRO have at their disposal the specialized tools necessary to do a thorough job. As important as the tools and equipment are, job knowledge, expertise and experience are of equal value. This makes SERVPRO the ideal company to remediate your mold issue. Call us now to attain the excellent, expedient mold inspection and remediation services you need!

Restoring Your Home After a Fire

5/9/2017 (Permalink)

One of the most traumatic experiences a homeowner can face is a devastating fire.  If out of control, a fire can destroy all of your possessions making it imperative to follow the proper procedure to rescue your personal belongings.

The only way to ensure you don't suffer permanent damage to your belongings is to start the restoration process the day of the fire.  Within the first few minutes of the fire being extinguished soot residue will cause discoloration of plastics, appliances, and porous materials like alabaster and marble.  Within the first few hours these discolorations can turn into deeper stains affecting bathroom grouts, counter tops, and appliance furnishings among other things.  After the first few days those discolorations can become permanent.

The process of fire restoration is slightly complex and time consuming.  To complete the process yourself it would take several weeks so it is highly recommended that you immediately contact the professionals at SERVPRO to do the job for you.  These professionals have the specialized fire restoration training to complete the job in an efficient and timely manner.  But you still might want to understand the process of fire restoration.  So here are the steps that will be taken to restore your home to its pre-fire condition.

Before beginning the restoration, it's very important to protect yourself.  Wearing thick clothes and gloves will protect you from the hazardous materials in the house.  Professionals will arrive wearing special clothing and equipment to protect them from harmful chemicals.

Once properly attired, a professional fire restoration company will inspect the entire home for every trace of fire damage.  They will inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property, which will help to determine the extent of the damage of your home, caused by fire, smoke and soot.

With the preparation complete, it is then time to begin the restoration process.  The first step will be to ventilate the building.  Opening all windows and doors will allow fresh air into the building. While a stiff wind may help the process, turning on some fans will expedite the ventilation process.

Often fires will compromise windows, walls, and roofs so it's important to cover those areas to secure and protect them against further damage.  SERVPRO professionals will board up missing windows and place tarps over missing roofs. 

Occasionally there will be water damage following a fire.  Like with fire restoration, water removal must begin almost immediately to minimize lasting damage.  Professionals will remove the majority of the water and then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove any remaining water.

The next step will be to clean the building by using specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from the ceiling, walls, carpeting, upholstery, or any other areas that might have been affected.  Professionals will treat the damaged areas with special equipment using ozone technology, powerful non-consumer technology that enables them to permanently remove odors.

The final step to completing the recovery of your home following a fire restoration.  This can include major repairs like replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet.  It can also include major repairs like reconstruction of various areas or room within the building.

For homeowners, fine clothing that has been damage by smoke will need to be cleaned.  SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa offers this service as well.

Sometimes there will be items that can't be restored on site.  These items will be packed up and returned to the warehouse where they will be properly cleaned and deodorized.

If immediate action is not taken to restore your home after a fire, the affects can be irreversible.  Therefore it is of the utmost importance that you immediately call the folks at SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa to help save your possessions and not attempt to accomplish the feat yourself.  At the very least have these professionals come to survey the damage and provide you with a quote.

If you come across a fire in the home, you can contact SERVPRO to serve your fire restoration needs.

Waterproof the foundation of your home to prevent water damage.

5/4/2017 (Permalink)

Waterproofing your home keeps your foundation dry and prevents water and structural damage from occurring over time.  According to Enlightenme, there are several ways to waterproof your foundation from the inside and outside of your home.  Don't wait until it's too late.  Check your home and get it protected before the next storm hits.

Exterior:

  • Drainage - this type of waterproofing method works by having gravel and a drainpipe installed into your landscape to collect excess water and carry it away from the foundation of your home.
  • Waterproofing exterior membranes - these are applied by using a brush or roller directly on the foundation of the home.  They are usually made by polyurethane to create a waterproof seal to prevent water from entering the home.

Interior:

  • Drainage/sump pump systems - drainage pipes and tiles are placed around the perimeter of the foundation to direct water to the sump pump in your home, allowing it to exit the home and flow away from the foundation.
  • Waterproofing interior membranes - just as there are materials to waterproof the exterior of your home, there are also materials to protect the inside also.  These are applied to the inside walls of the foundation and stop moisture from entering the lower levels of the home.