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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Calling all SPI and Brownsville homes and businesses!

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

restaurant SERVPRO patio heater propane check out the blogs SERVPRO Brownsville-SPI has to offer, for more safety tips !

Stay Safe from a Propane Patio Heater

Calling all SPI and Brownsville homes and businesses!

Check this following information out!! if you own a propane patio heater or have maybe been in a restaurant in the area, you might have seen one of these before! When wanting a nice dinner with a seaside view, they can be quiet the accessory to complete the view! Personally, I have been to a few restaurants in SPI and seen their adorable propane patio heaters. I stayed thinking about what dangerous could occur (in the event of a worst-case scenario). how do we handle a situation in the event something ever went wrong?

Here are some safety tips to review when thinking of purchasing or owning a propane pedestal heater

  • The MOST important thing to remember is that these heaters are meant for OUTDOOR use only!
  • Assure that the propane tank is properly closed and stored in an upright position, away from combustible materials. Keep it away from direct sunlight and in a well-ventilated area, preferably a detached garage or shed.
  • Choose the right heater for your space. You’ll have to know the size of the propane heater you have, to know how much range it’ll provide. Standard portable propane heater is about 40,000 BTUs, heating about 20 feet in diameter. If you own a business and have a bigger space, you’ll calculate the dimensions and estimate how many you’ll be needing
  • Buy smart. Make sure your heater is commercially rated. Look for a CSA Safety rated product. When you see that rating, CSA Safety, you’ll know that product has passed certification for safety by an independent third party
  • Considered one with a thermocouple, which will shut off the gas if the flame goes out, due to high winds or other factors.
  • Keep a clearance both vertically and horizontally from the hater when in use
  • Secure the heater to precent it from tilting. Many will include a feature in which it’ll shut off in the event the heater falls. You want to consider this if you’re prone to high winds.
  • Cover heater when you aren’t using it. This keeps it clean and free of debris that could accumulate
  • Store your heater in a secure spot when it is not in use. The heater should not be left outside and exposed to the environment.
  • Follow the instructions for proper use and storage of your heater

All you need to know about fire alarm inspections

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

fire clean up fire alarm safety with SERVPRO inspection Count on SERVPRO Brownsville-SPI in the evet of a fire, for a smooth clean up and restoration process!

Fire alarm inspections follow the national fire protection agency (NFPA) 72 National Fire Alarm Code, which covers the inspection, application, location, testing and maintenance of fire alarm systems. While this code establishes the minimum level of performance required by your system, it doesn’t clarify on how to meet these levels. That’s when we have a fire alarm inspector come in. During this inspection, a professional will evaluate your whole system.

This detailed inspection includes the following

  • Thermal detector testing
  • Bell testing
  • Tamper switch testing
  • Door holder testing
  • Audible/visual device testing
  • Verifying the monitor connection
  • Duct detector testing
  • Smoke detector sensitivity testing
  • Elevator recall testing
  • Pull station testing
  • Flow Switch testing
  • Load test of standby batteries
  • Ground fault detection circuitry testing
  • Inspecting the enunciator
  • Inspecting the control panel
  • Grounded field wiring testing

Your inspector will be documenting these findings. Note: your inspector should log the date of your last inspection so you know when to schedule your next fire alarm inspection.

You should, minimum, have an alarm inspection to be performed once a year. If you are the building manager, you may want to consider weekly routines. The only component that is tested once every 2 years is going to be your smoke detector sensitivity.

How fast can I restore my home after a catastrophic event?

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

deep-cleaning-polishing-servprofirerestoration Our team goes the extra mile to polish and clean salvageable items i.e. like your lamps TV's, couches...etc.!

Depending how fast you can dial 956-747-3020. Here at SERVPRO Brownsville-SPI, rest assure no matter what time of the day, we will answer our phone. We are available 24/7/365. Our services include inspections, restorations, cleaning and sanitizing services. The after-fire resolution can be very devastating both emotionally (to you as the home owner) and physically (to the house).

Your home can take minimal damage when it undergoes a fire depending on the fire itself or it can be the exact opposite. Fire damages can range from:

  • Drywall or other wall coverings
  • Carpets or wooden floorboards
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Utilities such as power cables and air ducts

At this point there are certain actions that need to be taken like:

  • Cleaning residues from the surfaces
  • Repairing or replacing charred materials
  • Deodorization
  • Refinishing surfaces

Here at SERVPRO Brownsville-SPI, our technicians take several steps to neutralize the odors. From clean up the damage, restore the damages and make it look "Like it never even happened." From going into detail, when restoring your TEXTILES! (Your clothing and personal items are returned back looking sharper than ever!)

Get more information, from your insurance provider, to get more details on: what kind of coverage you have and what is included. Ask about your textiles and fire coverage!

"Is it still raining?"

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

rain with SERVPRO Rain season is here, but so is SERVPRO Brownsville/SPI!

Yes, it’s been constant rain for us valley regions these past couple of days. With that being said, we know that there’s only one thing we worry about and it’s the after math. We don’t say it out loud, but its lingering in the back of our head.  The mess left behind is always our main and only concern. If your home/business is insured, get with your insurance agent and go over your coverage plan. If it’s necessary add flood coverage and textiles to your coverage, for the ultimate coverage, if ever needed.

Here are the first things you need to do when faced with a house flood.

Your safety comes first- we may not experience deep water flooding when living in the valley, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t had our years or could. Take into mind that if you experience flooding your health and safety should always come first. If you choose to turn off the main breaker wear proper clothing (boots, gloves if applicable) no food that has had long period of contact with the water should be consumed. (Take into mind you don’t know what contaminates the water). Move to higher ground if necessary.

Identify the source of the flooding and stop it- now this can apply in many ways i.e. if it’s a broken pipe turn off the main water supply. Now if its due to a hurricane o r you ismpply don tknow the root cause of the flood the simplest route to take is call a professional.

Document the damage- do remember to always video tape any damage affected by the damage before placing your call to the professionals for your own record purpose and for your insurance claim (if applicable).

Call your insurance provider (if applicable)- your insurance company will send you an adjuster to inspect the damage and if necessary, evaluate any losses.

Get help from a reputable water damage profession- so this is where SERVPRO Brownsville comes in! although we all get tempted to handle the job ourself, there’s no need to when we can help you the entire way. We go ahead and help you even with the insurance claim itself.

Avoid any further delays or damages and call us in the event you face an emergency. If you need any more information on our services call SERVPRO Brownsville/Spi, TODAY!

Claiming Insurance 101

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

rain with SERVPRO Emergency tarping, installed by our SERVPRO employees.

After doing some research I learned that according to the ISO, water damage increases every year compared to the damages caused by other things like wind or hail. Now, the tricky part would probably be WHEN the insurance company denies some claims due to specific reasons. That’s is why it is very crucial if you’re a water damage insurance holder, do your research educate yourself on the do and don’t and what you’re covered in.

Moment of truth: How to claim insurance for water damage

  1. Contact your insurance company ASAP- most companies have specific deadlines to report your claim after you’ve been impacted. Make sure you immediate reach out to then so they can begin to make the necessary arrangements to your claims.
  2. Make a list of your damaged property- documents everything. Take pictures and videos of any damage caused by the water. This could help you and your insurance to easily determine the cause and effect of the water damage
  3. Protect your things- some insurance companies may deny claims if they see that some repairs were made before the home was inspected, therefor make only temporary repairs (if necessary).
  4. Keep receipts- some insurance will give you the ability to repaid before you cite is inspected, so if this is the case be sure you save your receipts in the event your insurance can reimburse you for those fixes.
  5. Be present- in case your home is found to be damaged have your contractor come with you so he or she can talk to the adjuster about the damage. This may also provide you the help you need to get the maximum amount for the water damages.
  6. Get a certification if the damages are caused by an appliance leak- the inspector will give you a certificate for the water damage to your cite. Make sure you keep that certificate for your insurance claim. Otherwise, your claim will be denied unless you can show proof of the damage aside from the certificate from the inspector.

Who you gonna’ call? SERVPRO!

7/5/2021 (Permalink)

24/7 - image of green SERVPRO vehicles outside building Call SERVPRO McAllen NOW for more information!

That’s got to be the biggest question, you may ask yourself, when you’re standing Infront of a busted pipe in your kitchen or your husband tried building his own hot tub and now your whole living room is starting to look like a small kiddie pool? Who do we call??? SERVPRO!!

But, why? There’re multiple reasons why, but let’s start with the obvious.

Two words, 24/7. The fact that we are answering our phones no matter what time of the day it is, provides a relief to all our customers. That’s what were here for, to provide you a safe and restored home for you and your family!

Depending on the damage, taken by your home we take immediate action.

From clearing out your home; i.e., from all its interior belongings, cleaning and sanitizing.

To insurance claims, also! SERVPRO's claim services help us communication between the property owner, insurance company, and restoration professionals. The claims information is provided electronically, so it is available even after business hours.! Loss photographs, job cost estimates, necessary paperwork, and other important documents are all available electronically, making thigs easier to manage.

Your home is returned “Like it never even happened,” and I think that’s the best part for our customers! A fast quick process, in which you can claim your homes restoration process is done faster than ever!

Don’t think about it to much the next time you ask, “why SERVPRO”? Being a family-owned franchise, the decision should come easy when choosing who to work in your home.

24/7/365

7/2/2021 (Permalink)

Team in PPE Our Team after a facility covid cleaning. These suits are also used for bio cleaning, i.e for crime scenes!

“Can you please make sure the burst pipe happens during business hours?”

At SERVPRO we know this will never be the scenario and that the worse case scenarios happen when we aren’t ready. Count on SERVPRO Brownsville to be ready no matter what time or date of the year it is. Our shop light be off, our vehicles might be parked, but best assure that in your emergency need we will be there. We provide our services 24/7/365 for this reason. We want to be able to assure our clients that we are ready to tackle on the task no matter how big or small the job is. Rest assures the climate won’t stop us from sending out crews to inspect start and finish the job. Our services offer from helping you restore your home to helping you restore your textiles; know you will be receiving an experience where you’ll walk back into your home thinking, “Like it never even happened.”

Sign up for weather alerts TODAY!

7/2/2021 (Permalink)

Alerts 24/7/365 services allow us to take your call any time of the day in the event you face a catastrophic event. Call SERVPRO, Brownsville for more info.

We have been having more and more storms through out this summer, in the valley, and with that being said we always want to be prepared and safe. Let’s dive right into the good stuff, these following weather alerts can be the difference between being stuck in a thunderstorm, for example while driving, as per getting to safety with enough time.

Here are 6 weather alerts you might want to check out!

  1. Commercial Mobile Alerts(CMAS) or Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) is the simplest way for you to register for local weather text alerts. These alerts are sent by the national weather service. Go to your mobile phone’s SMS setting and simply search WEA or CMAS. You can also register by dialing ##2677## NOTE: Your phone must be enabled to be able to receive these alerts.
  2. Emergency Broadcasts are by default enabled on all new android phones. If you think that the alerts aren’t enabled, simply go to your

Settings > Emergency Alerts.

Here you’ll be able to see all kinds of different alerts and you can decide to turn specific ones depending on your region or situation.

  1. Emergency Mass Notification System is a great way to enroll with your EMPLOYER who uses a multi channer emergency mass notification system such as RedFlag. This business software will allow a company to send emergency/crisis alerts and internal notifications to employees, vendors, and stakeholders whenever there’s a weather-related emergency in your region via text, email. Social, voice or any other communication channel.
  2. The weather channel app is also one of the easiest ways for you to stay up to date with your region. With your location being inputted in the app no matter where you go, feel safe as the weather channel updates you on any warnings. Apart from severe weather warnings, it even sends out alerts for less-severe weather i.e fog and freeze. You may also get alerts about nearby lightning strikes, which can help you decide whether to stay outdoors or indoors.
  3. weatherUSA Alerts sends out alerts whenever these alerts are sent from a federal agency including the national weather service. They sent out real time alerts whenever there’s a weather-related warning in your area. You can choose to receive these alerts via SMS or email, and also add your county. They also provide a “quiet time” option silencing all and any alerts. NOTE: premium memberships have the option to receive voice call alerts on your phon
  4. Weather Radio is one of the best apps out there for receiving alerts on your phone. This app will read your alert out loud to you. This can come in handy if you spend yourself on the road a lot. You can also select what alerts you want to receive. NOTE: this app requires a subscription fee of $4.99 and additional lightning strike data can also be added for a yearly fee of 4.99

SERVPRO, Ready Plan App Available NOW!

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

App Icon Look for the green and orange icon, THAT'S US!

Check it out! We have an app called, Ready Plan! We offer this for any home and/or business owners so they can be ahead of the game in the event of a disaster. We all know disasters can be overwhelmingly devastating, but it’s always a relief to know you have a plan and someone to count on in this event. SERVPRO!

PERKS of downloading our app

  • We provide a free assessment of your facility, (look at that instant budget save!)
  • Build a profile document in seconds where you will be provided with critical information you will need in the event of a disaster.
  • A detailed guide to help you get back into your home or business after a disaster.
  • Set your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration.
  • The app will also provide you details in case of a disaster on immediate actions you can take for example shut off valve’s locations, priority areas and contact information (which will have you prepared and ready before a disaster)

Think about how all the information within our app, can help you and your business! With some of the tips we offer, you may even be avoiding any actual damage to your property! Also feel relieved, knowing we would be there by your side in the event anything does go wrong. Offering services 24/7, this app will lead you directly to the professionals and have you saving more than you ever imagined!

Downloading SERVPRO, Ready Plan has never been easier follow with these easy steps!

  • Visit SERVPRO.com/ready and in seconds register for an account, using your email address as your username and choose a password. (save your password and email you’ll need to have this information close by for later)
  • Choose your local SERVPRO Franchise representative to contact in the event your home or business experiences fire, mold, water or other type of damage.
  • Begin creating an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) for your property (you will also have the ability to add more than 1 property or business if that’s the scenario)
  • Go to your app store and download the SERVPRO, Ready Plan application on your tablet, blackberry, android or iPhone.
  • Log in using the email and password you created for your account back in step 1

And that’s it, it’s that simple! You’re now in and able to browse through all the above-mentioned features! Stay safe and welcome to the family!

Your key guide to identify water damage in your property

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Moisture detector At SERVPRO, we make sure to use all tools necessary to identify any water damage within your walls.

Being aware of the signs pointing you to water damage can help you, as the owner, identify a problem before it’s too late, and reach out to experts.

These are some signs you want look out for:

Unpleasant, musky odors.  Water leads to mold and mildew growth, and as the water evaporates and leaves the bacteria behind, a musty odor can develop. A lot of times, this odor is the first thing that homeowners notice when they are experiencing water damage.

Flaking paint on masonry or walls. Water damage can sometimes be temporarily hidden with paint, which is what a lot of home and business owners tend to do. While this may temporarily “solve” the problem, it is not a long-term solution you want to stick too.

NOTE: Water will always find its way in if there is an underlying problem, which can lead to issues with paint over time such as cracks, flakes and chips.

Foundational cracks. As temperatures changes and the ground shifts and settles, it is normal for hairline cracks to develop throughout the home’s foundation. But, any cracks you see larger than a hairline should be immediately examined. 

NOTE: Cracks that occur on the ceiling, walls or floor are often signs that water damage is occurring somewhere within the home and leading to damages.

If you notice any of these signs in your home or business, call SERVPRO. Our expert water restoration technicians, available 24/7, can help you determine what is causing these issues and how to treat it properly. Contact us today to learn more

Preventing water damage with SERVPRO

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

Clean up time! Image of technician in PPE cleaning. Up close pic of SERVPRO employee hepa vacuuming. This is our first step of our process for mold remediation.

One of the biggest disadvantageous things that can happen to you this summer, is having severe water damage and flooding in your home. From dealing with a broken pipe or a more serious issue, like sewer backup or a flooded basement, they can all lead to bigger complications.

Its import to act fast in the event you are experiencing any water damage. With just a small amount, of water within 24 hours, mold starts forming.

Your first priority is going to be to stop any leakage you have or whatever the source of the problem is. Once you have stopped it from causing any more damage, you may need to contact a professional to start taking the proper water damage restoration steps to repair and restore your home back to normal and prevent additional damage.

Water damage may also result in all sorts of safety hazards and structural problems that you may not even notice until it’s too late. SERVPRO can help in all of these scenarios we work round clock 24/7 to be able to help you and your home “like it never even happened”!! We assure a thorough clean and restore the damage so you may be able to return to your home sweet home!  

https://www.SERVPROeastbrownsvillesouthpadreisland.com

Celebrate 4th of July safely!

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

Happy Independence Day! Image of SERVPRO vehicle with American flags. Sending best wishes from your local SERVPRO family! Stay safe this 4th of July!

We experience about 18,500 fires a year. Most of these fires are reported on 4th of July than any other day of the year. Although we are ready to have fun we also have to remember to stay safe at all times.

Here are some easy and important tips you can follow to help protect your home from a fire.

  • Clean gutters- Don’t forget your roof! Your summer cleaning should include a little maintenance time to your roof top. By doing this, you are playing it safe and removing any kind of debris that could be used as fuel for a fire.
  • Put a sprinkler in the front and back- Keep your lawn moist! You want to prevent a spark or even a falling (but still lit firework on your yard.
  • Remove dry brush from your home and surroundings- People often don’t think of this one, as we may keep up with our daily yard cleaning, but always take a double look outside for any bark, branches or twigs. Even if you are not planning on having fireworks this year in your home, falling fireworks may still land lit and can lead to an unexpected fire.
  • Trim Trees- Removing any hanging or excess branches will help prevent any trees getting lit by a fly away spark or firework.

In the event you do encounter a fire, call 911 and SERVPRO can be your second call! We are here to provide you with the best 24/7 service, you can call (956) 747-3020 for a free estimate! "Like it never even happened."

https://www.SERVPROeastbrownsvillesouthpadreisland.com

Avoid Delays When Dealing With Fire Damage in Brownsville, TX

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

When SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island helps local homeowners with fire damage in their homes, it goes further than cleaning up the charred sheetrock and smoke damage on the interior. One of the many goals of the techs is always to save homeowners the cost of replacement whenever possible through their cleaning methods. 

Working on fire damage in a kitchen and dining room, the techs found the kitchen table and chairs, and the dining room set had extensive smoke damage but no charring. Made from solid hardwood rather than composite materials, they had excellent prospects for restoration by cleaning. As the two rooms needed repairs, the techs moved out of the room contents for cleaning at the facility.

In-House Smoke Damage Removal Process

For the furniture, the techs have cleaning agents to release the hold of the smoke residues on surfaces. The techs test items before cleaning to ensure the correct agents get used, and articles do not get harmed from incorrect cleaning methods. Wood soaps work on well on finished wood surfaces as they clean gently without using harsh detergents or strong alkalis. The techs also have equipment such as the Esporta power washing machines for heavy residues. Glass and ceramic keepsakes get restored through the use of ultrasonic baths. Afterward, the items get held in secure storage until the home is ready for the pieces to get brought back into the house and set up.

Organization During Move-Out

When SERVPRO techs move out items during mitigation, they utilize a highly organized system known as the Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS) inventory protocol to manage the pathway of actions taken during the fire and smoke damage restoration process. It logs items packed out, including their location in the home and items that required disposal along with detailed descriptions and photos. This report also helps expedite the filing of insurance claims.

Ways to Avoid Issues With Fire Damage Remediation

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

Cleaning Techniques for Fire Damaged Surfaces in Brownsville Homes

Cleaning is a vital element to the recovery of your Brownsville home after a fire. As challenging as existing in the residence can feel after even mild structure fires have occurred, effective cleaning and restoration practices can make you homeowners more comfortable. Our SERVPRO professionals have practical techniques and potent products to return damaged surfaces in your home to their preloss condition.

Depending on the severity of threats like smoke and soot residues, various cleaning practices are necessary to restore fire damage in Brownsville. Abrasive techniques like media blasting can remove set-in soot from surfaces like countertops, and also help to reduce present odors, but agitative cleaning techniques are better suited to the needs of other surfaces and contents throughout the damaged residence.

The choice made in the type of cleaning practice our SERVPRO team uses depends on the thickness of soot residue on the surface. Because this film is acidic, sensitive materials can quickly become marred and stained under direct exposure to soot particles. Addressing these concerns begins with loosening the layer of soot and smoke sediment using agitative cleaning practices.

Preconditioning or pre-cleaning are the terms used for loosening and removing the majority of residues and oils from a designated surface or material. Dry cleaning processes like vacuuming, brushing, and the use of compressed air can have an effective result in removing most of the damaging layer of acidic soot. Abrasive cleaning techniques, including soda blasting, can have a more direct approach on lingering grit, carbon, and smoke particles. Given the specific surface in question and how severe the layer of soot particles is, various techniques might get employed to regain control of a fire-damaged property.

Cleaning is a necessary component to making fire losses “Like it never even happened.” Despite how devastating these disasters can be, our SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island team has the training and the cleaning agents to help. Between our agitative cleaning techniques to break residues loose from surfaces to foam, wiping, and abrasive methods, we can restore the look and feel of many damaged materials after a fire. Give us a call anytime at (956) 747-3020.

Slow Ceiling Leak Causes Water Damage in Brownsville.

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

A slow leak in your Brownsville home can cause more damage than you realize.

It is never a good sign when water spots appear on the ceiling. It is a safe bet there is some level of water damage that has occurred.

In the case of a home in Brownsville, water damage caused by a slow leak in the ceiling accumulated over time until it ruined the sheetrock panels and the taped seams. This resulted in the need for controlled demolition in the form of a partial tear-out of the ceiling down to the raw joists and sheathing so the necessary plumbing repairs could occur.

Purpose of Controlled Demolition

When building materials require removal from the home, SERVPRO technicians cut them cleanly away to make the repairs as fast and easy as possible for both the plumbing and the cosmetic renovations necessary to restore the ceiling to its preloss condition.

Drying the Water Loss Area

To be sure all areas of excessive moisture get attention, SERVPRO technicians use their advanced moisture detection equipment to scope the room and make sure there are no other areas that show elevated water vapor levels. After removal of the damaged sheetrock panels, the technicians use air movers aimed upwards to dry the ceiling and also drying mats above to force warm, dry air downward to ensure the affected area dried completely. 

Mold Treatment

SERVPRO technicians found no signs of mold growth, but when a surface has exposure to water over a lengthy period, proactive treatments to avoid mold are a smart course of action. The techs used an antimicrobial sealant on the joists and open area as soon as it was dry to inhibit any mold growth. 

Assisting Homeowners After Completion

A standard part of service is ensuring homeowners are happy with the work done. Once the mitigation completes, a technician walks the homeowner through the process and shows them the necessary actions. They also note any necessary repairs needed to restore the home entirely. 

When water damage happens to your property, call SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island at (956) 747-3020. The certified technicians can clean up and restore the home to its preloss condition, "Like it never even happened."

The Basics of Helping Homeowners Recover From Water Damage

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

Flooding and water-related disasters are widespread. Also, they have caused many property owners quite a headache. And while water damage isn't something that can't be fixed, time and quick response are crucial during a water disaster.

While it’s common for property owners to want to rush the repairs so they can get their house back to its pre-damaged state ASAP, it’s the responsibility of the water damage restoration team to ensure that the entire process is carried out correctly and safely.

Here are some of the most critical points to keep in mind when handling a water damage situation.

Safety should be a priority.

In the event of a crisis, your primary concern should be the safety of everybody involved.

You’re already well aware that water and electricity are a lethal combination. So, it follows that in any flooding situation, the first thing you should do is switch off the electrical power in the flooded area. Afterward, close the main water valve to prevent any contaminants from entering the water system.

Lastly, should you feel the immediate need to wade through the water to check the flooded premises, don't forget to wear waterproof boots and safety gear.

Accurate assessment of the damage is essential.

There’s often more to flooding and water damage than meets the eye, which is why it’s crucial to identify the level of water damage in the area before going further with the mitigation and repair process.

Water damage is categorized into three levels.

Category 1 - water is generally clean, sanitary, and safe for consumption.

Category 2 - microorganism level in the water is too high and has the potential to cause sickness if someone were to ingest or get in contact with it.

Category 3 – water is severely contaminated and contains toxins and pathogens, which could be fatal.

Aside from identifying the level of water damage, a thorough assessment of the affected premises will give you a clearer picture of the extent of damage, and how much the repairs could cost.

Dry out the area properly.

When it's finally safe to enter the area, the next thing to do is get rid of water and moisture before they cause any more damage. However, if it's massive flooding you're dealing with, you'll have to wait for the flood to dissipate before starting the drying process.

For small leaks, you can use a fan to circulate the air and dry out the affected area. For heavier flooding situations, however, you may have to use a hand or electric pump to drain the water and then a large-capacity dehumidifier to ensure that there's very-little-to-no moisture left. When most of the house or the building is dry, open up the windows and let the air circulate. If the heating system still works, turn it up to drive what's left of the moisture and prevent mold growth.

Don’t forget to test for moisture.

With the area almost completely dry, it's time to remove waterlogged items from the affected area and sort them into piles. You can keep the ones that look salvageable and throw those that are beyond saving.

Before commencing work on the structure, though, make sure to run tests on the moisture level of the walls and floors. A moisture meter can help you check if the moisture on the walls and framings have dropped to a suitable level, while a flooring hygrometer is the most reliable tool for testing the dryness of concrete floors.

Carry out remediation and repairs as soon as possible.

Standing water is an ideal breeding place for pathogens and bacteria, while moisture can pave the way for molds to develop. When water damage is concerned, immediate action is necessary.

You see, if the remediation phase is not completed promptly, a category 1 and 2 damage can potentially turn into a category 3; a simple cleanup may turn into an extensive, complicated, and costly job.  Time is of the essence when dealing with a water damage situation.

In Case of a Water loss Emergency, Call the Water Damage Professionals at SERVPRO to get the job done right. (956)747-3020

Are There Ways to Protect My Home After a Flood?

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

With a fast response and experienced technicians, our SERVPRO team can help your home return to preloss condition quickly. 

After a flood loss in yourhome, you can wonder if things will ever look and feel the same again. Standing water alone can cause devastation throughout affected areas of your home, providing an overwhelming sight for the DIY restorer. Our SERVPRO team can help with a fast response to these emergencies when you call and the equipment and expertise to manage the current conditions and return your home to its original state. 

While there are multiple degrees of flood damage in homes after a loss incident, several of the approaches necessary to restore the current effects are the same. We have pre-stocked trailers loaded with water restoration equipment like extractors, air movers, dehumidifiers, and potent cleaning products to help. Arriving quickly with these tools and technologies already in hand ensures that vital mitigation begins as soon as possible and that there are no further opportunities for irreparable structural damage. 

What Are the Main Threats of a Flood Scenario?

Every flood situation comes with threats and risks to your home and its occupants. In many ways, this disaster is one of the most devastating that can befall a home, and that is why our professionals stay ready to respond to these water restoration needs as soon as you need it. Understanding some of the main threats to your property can help you know why you need to secure professional restoration to protect your house. Some of these pressing concerns include:

  • Material Deterioration – Direct exposure to standing or migrating water after a flood can weaken construction materials. 
  • Microbial Threats – Moist and damp conditions created by the presence of floodwater and saturation of many materials can present the appropriate conditions for mold growth in as little as 48 hours. 
  • Contaminants – Natural flooding gets considered to be a blackwater incident, meaning that the likelihood of contamination and health threats are elevated. 
  • Structural Damage – The longer that materials stay exposed to water, the more likely that they become weakened and deteriorate.

Is There a Way to Help Before SERVPRO Arrives? 

Often, homeowners want to do more to help their situation as soon as possible once disasters like flooding strike. While We’re Faster To Any Size Disaster and can often reach your property within hours of the first notice of loss, there are still ways to prepare for these possibilities and act when disasters strike in the small window before our competent professionals get there. Here is what you should do:

  • Emergency Plan – Emergency plans are an excellent way to prepare for any loss situation that could impact your property. It assigns all of the occupants of your house with a path and destination so that they can safely get out of the house during a disaster. 
  • Keepsakes and Heirlooms – There is no doubt that you have some irreplaceable valuables in your home that can become ruined by rising or spreading floodwater. If possible, in the earliest stages of this emergency, you can relocate some of your home contents to other areas of the property or take heirlooms and treasures with you when you vacate the house.
  • Turn Off Utilities If Possible – If it is possible for you to get to them safely, you can cut the electrical service throughout your home by severing the primary breaker in the box, shut off water service with a valve where the water comes from the meter into your home, and other similar steps. These steps prevent damage to these elements that can amplify the hazards or work to get done.

What Can I Expect from Professional Restoration? 

While there is an allure to cleaning and restoring your home yourself, this is rarely feasible with flood losses, as so many areas of your property can become damaged without you even realizing it. We have sophisticated equipment to track water migration and the success of drying and restoration solutions that we implement. We have multiple strategies that set our professional restoration apart, and people have come to trust our SERVPRO team thanks to our immediate actions after a flood, including:

  • Content Management
  • Extraction
  • Muck Out 
  • Drying 
  • Cleaning 

No matter how detrimental a flood loss situation can be, the right preparations and fast responses can make a substantial difference. Our SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island team can help with experience and capable equipment to make flood losses “Like it never even happened.” Give us a call today at (956) 747-3020.

How Can My Home's Flood Damage Be Remediated?

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

Flood Damage Remediation Companies Employ Various Methods to Return Your Home to Its Pre-Flood Condition.

Residents of Portsmouth are no strangers to powerful coastal storms and the flooding they often cause.  Whenever this flooding affects you, it’s crucial that you quickly have it professionally cleaned up.

Flood damage cleanup companies, like SERVPRO, have a time-tested process for safely dealing with the hazardous results of flooding. This is important because if your home isn’t properly cleaned after such an event, it could lead to long-term health effects, substantial ongoing damage to your residence, and persistent foul odors.  In order to avert these adverse effects, our technicians do the following things:

Quickly remove standing flood water from your home with powerful extractors.

Use ultra-low volume foggers to inject antimicrobials into affected surfaces.

Neutralize airborne microbes with thermal foggers.

Make interior temperatures less favorable for microbial growth with heated extractors and refrigerant dehumidifiers.

Use dehumidifiers to lower interior humidity to less than 60%, slowing the proliferation of bacteria and fungi.

Employ injectidry systems to dry difficult-to-access areas behind structural elements.

After SERVPRO workers complete these steps, residents are better protected from potentially harmful health effects and their home is less susceptible to developing mold/mildew damage, dry rot, and unpleasant smells.

Why Should I Not Attempt to Clean Up Flood Damage Myself?

Floodwaters are generally dangerous waters that have flowed over various surfaces, picking up a multitude of hazardous substances.  These waters often contain one or more of the following:  animal or human corpses, human and animal excrement, and toxic chemicals.  It, therefore, takes the expertise and equipment of a company like SERVPRO to safely handle floodwater remediation.  If you attempt to perform one yourself, you risk getting sick and likely cannot effectively eliminate the harmful microorganisms that cause long-term home damage.  

SERVPRO of East Brownsville Can Restore Fire- Damaged Materials

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

Home Fires can cause soot damage or leave odors of smoke and ash even in Materials that flames didn’t reach.

Water from firefighting as well as the fires themselves can damage structures and other belongings. If SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is called to the site of a fire-damaged building soon enough, we may be able to restore much of the property to its pre-damage condition.

Call us at 956-747-3020. We have 24-hour emergency service every day. We are also available to restore structures and to clean/disinfect items that have existing damage, so don’t despair.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island removes odors, replaces damaged drywall, and repairs most kinds of flooring. Our highly trained technicians are restoration experts you can count on.

Electrical Fire Warning Signs

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

Did you know that electrical distribution systems are the third leading cause of home fires in the United States? According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, (ESFI), electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires annually and are responsible for over one billion dollars in property damage each year. SERVPRO is committed to providing the highest level of support and service to Brownsville residents and businesses and we are ready to assist you with any fire damage emergency you may experience.

Here are some electrical safety warning signs from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
  • A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
  • Discolored or warm wall electrical outlets
  • A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Sparks from an outlet

Fire Damage Specialists

Our team is highly trained and certified in fire and smoke restoration, odor control, upholstery and fabric cleaning, and water damage restoration. Our technicians are required to undergo continuous education training to stay up to speed on industry standards and new technological advancements in our field.

Call Us Today

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is Here to Help ® commercial businesses and homeowners with any size fire damage emergency. We can also help you with the insurance paperwork and process. Call us today at 956-747-3020. We’ll restore your fire damage “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is Independently Owned and Operated.

Contact SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to Help Businesses Avoid COVID-19

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO OF East Brownsville & South Padre Island is an essential business in the RGV. We remain Faster to any Size Disaster, and crucially, can help prevent a disaster.

Call us for proactive cleaning. We follow the guidelines from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and from FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration) for cleaning frequently-touched surfaces, electronics, porous surfaces (such as upholstery and carpet), and non-porous surfaces (such as stainless steel, tile, and laminate).

SERVPRO works with businesses to help their employees and their communities avoid COVID-19. Our highly-trained technicians use hospital-quality cleaners and disinfectants.

RGV can count on us to follow the current guidelines for the cleaning and disinfection of the wide range of businesses in the area, including:

  • Senior-living communities
  • Restaurants and other food-service businesses
  • Grocery stores and other retail spaces
  • Dental office
  • Other medical facilities
  • Automobile service and rental companies
  • Community centers
  • Correctional & detention facilities

If your business is not listed above, don’t worry. We most likely have the equipment and supplies to clean it.

Call us at 956-747-3020 any time of day or night, any day of the week.

We are Here to Help®

Deep Cleaning Has Never Been More Important for Businesses in Brownsville

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO®  wants commercial businesses in Brownsville, TX to know that we have the specialty training to deal with biological contaminants similar to COVID-19, and can provide deep cleaning and disinfecting services for your facility.

We use EPA-Approved Cleaning Products

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends cleaning high-touch surfaces with a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus and follow CDC and local authority recommendations and guidelines.  According to the CDC, high-touch, porous and nonporous surfaces such as doors and doorknobs, light switches, phones, tables, tablets, bathroom fixtures, keyboards, handles and common areas should undergo routine cleaning and disinfecting using specific protocols.

Call Us Today For a Proactive Cleaning

When your business needs specialty cleaning and disinfection services, SERVPRO® of East Brownsville & South Padre Island wants to help. We are on call 24 hours a day and have the specialized equipment necessary to provide the deep cleaning services you need. Call us today at 956-747-3020.

The Different Levels of Commercial Damage

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

One of the areas SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has the capability to handle is commercial damage.

There are so many factors that can contribute to commercial damage occurring such as fires due to unforeseen circumstances, facility usage which puts wear and tear on your property, down to the most basic water damage. No matter the source of the damage, this downtime can be costly both to your business and your customers.  When damage at your commercial property happens, how do you know to what level and extent? Below we have a grading system we use to determine the level of which your property is assessed and categorized to begin mitigation.  

Level 1

Small commercial loss typically involving 15,000 square feet or less of affected floor space. If the facility was entirely affected, examples of a small commercial loss may include but are not limited to, a stand-alone retail establishment, a small church, a daycare facility, a small shopping center, a small warehouse or manufacturing facility, or a stand-alone administrative building. A Level 1 loss can also be a small portion of a much larger structure.

Level 2

Midsize commercial loss typically involving 15,000 to 60,000 square feet of affected floor space. The building or buildings involved are usually multi-level or greatly divided spaces. If the facility was entirely affected, examples of a Level 2 loss may include but are not limited to, a small multi-family property, a midsize church or school, a small shopping center, a multi-tenant administration facility, or a midsize warehouse or manufacturing facility. A Level 2 loss can also be just a portion of a much larger structure.

Level 3

Large commercial loss typically involving more than 60,000 square feet of affected floor space. The building or buildings involved will likely be large multi-level structures. If the facility was entirely affected, examples of a Level 3 loss can include but are not limited to, a large church, hospital, school, or university; a large multi-family property; a mid- to high-rise retail or administration facility; a large industrial, manufacturing, or warehouse facility; or a large strip-style shopping center or shopping mall. This is the level at which it would be appropriate to refer to the project as a “large loss.” Once our team determines the level of loss, the property is further assessed, and a team of appropriate size is dispatched to get the job done quickly and efficiently. If you have damage at your Commercial property. Give SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island a call at 956-747-3020

What are the Options for Handling Water Damage After a Storm?

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

Flood Damage Calls for Careful Consideration to Ensure Your Property is Safe from Hidden Moisture 

Significant damage may arise when you have flooding within your home after a recent storm. High-volume water loaded with contamination poses a threat to not only your belongings but also structural materials and framework. Acting rapidly is the smartest way to ensure you limit the loss and cut back on costs, which is where SERVPRO comes in. We are Faster to Any Size Disaster so that you have peace of mind in knowing that skilled technicians will be removing water and beginning restoration efforts in no time. 

Will I Have to Worry About Exterior and Interior Wall Damage?

Any time you have flood damage, walls that come into contact with flood water might be compromised somehow. Our team includes skilled IICRC-certified technicians ready to use the latest water removal equipment, treatments to quell bacterial growth, and products inhibiting the onset of potentially harmful mold. Even though we have industrial-grade pumps and extraction tools, there might be a need for controlled demolition measures to remove any materials contaminated by floodwater.

We address walls in your home by doing the following:

  • Interior walls – The interior walls may require flood cuts, which begin several inches over the waterline. Not only does this allow us to remove unsalvageable drywall, but it increased airflow and helps to gain access to any moisture or standing water inside.
  • Exterior walls – All around your home where the water came in, we need to monitor and inspect exterior walls. We use moisture sensor technology to detect moisture pockets and tell us whether or not we must create drill holes for the water to drain out. 

Our efforts will ensure your home gets restored to preloss condition, which is what sets SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island apart from other companies in the area. When you need help with flood damage, give us a call 24/7 at (956) 747-3020.

What Can I Do To Clean Up the Flood Damage In My Home

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island When Your Home Faces a Flood Damage Emergency!

storm-related damages are always a possibility for your home. When it comes to the longevity of your home, it is essential to reach out for help when an emergency strikes.

Even when it is not hurricane season, Brownsville natives know that flood damage can still happen inside of their home. Spring thunderstorms can bring severe rain to your home, and a weak roof could allow that water into your home. If sudden storm-related damages occur in your home, reach out to a clean up and restoration company, like SERVPRO, immediately.

How Fast Can SERVPRO Get to My Home?

We always strive to get to your home as quickly as possible, because we understand that water-related damages wait for no one. To speed up the traveling process, we can:
    •    Try to avoid flooded roads
    •    Use GPS to ensure we take the fastest route
    •    Remove any obstructions as quickly as possible

When a storm hits, it's not always possible to arrive when you want to. However, here at SERVPRO, we can do everything in our power to arrive at your home when you need us and to do it as quickly as we can.

What Can Your Technicians Do to Remove the Water From my Home?

Floods can bring water into your home in the blink of an eye, especially when part of your roof gives way. Our technicians can do the following to help remediate the damage as quickly as possible:
    •    Use a tarp to cover the hole in your roof
    •    Use wet/dry vacuums, portable sump pumps, and extractors to remove excess water
    •    Employ technological devices designed to evaporate excess moisture

If you think your home needs flood damage remediation services, get help right now. Contact SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island by calling (956)747-3020. We're here whenever you need us!

SERVPRO'S ERP Commercial Profile Plan

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

Be Proactive Before Commercial Water Damage in Portsmouth

Business owners in Brownsville plan for many contingencies. Employees call in sick or quit, equipment breaks, income ebbs and flows, suppliers fail to meet deadlines, seasonal demand disappoints, or surprises. One crucial concern under the radar until it demands attention is an unexpected water loss. Whether leaky plumbing, storm activity, or appliance malfunction drives the disaster, the future of your business depends on minimizing harm and a fast remediation.

How to Prepare for Water Emergencies

The perfect solution for commercial water damage in Brownsville is to avoid it. Unfortunately, plumbing lines and appliances age and exteriors cannot withstand every severe storm. There are common-sense steps a business owner can take to limit the harm to structural components, contents, and operations. Here are a few ideas you and your staff can implement:

  • Locate important documents off-site in secure storage or digitize
  • Encase records in waterproof bins and store away from plumbing and spaces prone to flooding
  • Dedicate space for inventory above flood lines and far from plumbing, windows, and doors that could admit water
  • Raise equipment off the floor
  • Ensure all staff know the location of the main water shutoff
  • Invest in regular inspection and maintenance of water risks such as plumbing, roofs, gutters, and appliances

Partner with Us -- the Emergency READY Plan (ERP)

SERVPRO offers a unique safeguard for our commercial customers. Contact us far in advance of any water event and schedule a no-obligation assessment of your physical layout and a discussion of how you conduct business. We use this information in a couple of ways to ensure a water disaster does not destroy your life's work:

We make recommendations for adaptations you put in place now to reduce the effect of any water damage on your day-to-day routines and money-making opportunities

We outline a plan of attack in case water damage occurs, personalized for your needs and space. The plan permits our Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)--trained managers and technicians to begin responding immediately if the worst happens.

We allow you to share additional details through the use of our mobile app, creating your Emergency READY Profile. The two documents together are a concise digital document accessible 24/7 for our crews.

Worried About The Cost of Restoration? SERVPRO Has You Covered

5/11/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO works with you and your Insurance company.

Once homeowners get over the initial shock of finding a water leak in their home, most begin to worry about the cost of restoration. How much are the restoration and repairs going to cost? Can their budget afford it? Can they cut any corners? Does their homeowner's insurance cover everything? These and other questions can quickly overwhelm people.

SERVPRO provides water damage services in Brownsville, as well as restoration and repair in all surrounding areas. We have been providing water damage services for many years. Our experience and technical certifications, combined with 24/7 availability and 4-hour response times, are aimed at mitigating the damage and controlling the total cost of recovery. There may be an additional cost and even health effects if homeowners do not take the proper steps to remove all moisture from their homes.

Making Informed Decisions:

One of the first actions our crew chief takes upon arriving at your home is to complete an assessment of the damage. We make sure that the source of the water is under control, and we develop a plan to remove standing water, remove the moisture, and lower the humidity. If repairs are required, these can also be discussed with the homeowner and the insurance company adjuster. We prepare an estimate of the cost to complete all of this work.

Homeowners can quickly decide in conjunction with the insurance adjuster what action should be undertaken. Note that it is essential to act quickly to avoid long term damage to floors such as hardwood floors and also the growth of mold and mildew in your home. SERVPRO can deploy a team of people within hours of the initial leak to mitigate the damage.

Homeowners without insurance coverage must carefully decide what action to take. Delays or taking no action at all can lead to costly damage more significant than the initial cleanup and drying. Hardwood flooring can cup, crown, or crack, leading to total replacement. Cabinet structures may swell, become unsightly, and lose structural integrity. Worst of all, mold infestations may appear, leading to structural damage, health effects, and very unsightly looking conditions. All of these conditions can be much costlier to repair. SERVPRO can help homeowners understand these issues and make appropriate decisions for their situation.

Call SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island at (956) 747-3020 for 24/7 service. We proudly serve Brownsville, South Padre Island, and surrounding areas. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster.

Why Standing Water Is A Concern For your Home or Business.

5/11/2020 (Permalink)

Our SERVPRO Professionals Can Help to Remove Standing Water and Dry Your Home or Business Before Irreparable Damage Occurs

Following a flood or substantial water loss that could occur in your house, it is crucial to focus on removing standing water first. As much of a priority as this should be, many homeowners are ill-prepared for this mitigation step. To successfully achieve the removal of standing water in your home, it involves the union of sophisticated extraction tools and experienced restoration technicians. 

Water removal involves the use of multiple extraction tools in our inventory. Finding the right tool for a specific job is a determination made during the scoping of the work to get done. During this initial phase that precedes mitigation, our crew chief and project manager can work with the customer to determine pre-existing conditions, the extent of the damage, and the most efficient extraction and drying solutions available. 

What Are the Main Risks of Standing Water in My Home?  

Standing water is an underappreciated threat to your home. Pooling water, regardless of its depth, can have destructive effects unexposed materials, contents, and other susceptible items. Addressing standing water first can help too limited some of the damaging effects that could take place, including: 

Structural Weaknesses  

Overexposure to standing water over extended periods can lead to a weakening of construction materials in your home. It is essential to note which materials might be deteriorating and highly saturated after water exposure. Saturation can make materials much more massive, which tests the limitations of fasteners like drywall screws and nails.

Migration

The movement of water throughout your home after a water loss incident can be a challenge to identify adequately. Getting ahead of this migration is vital, as it can limit how many materials and contents in your home become exposed to damage.

Oversaturation

Much like heavier saturations can deteriorate materials like drywall, over saturation of materials like carpeting and wood flooring can lead to specific problems of their own. With prolonged exposure, water can penetrate the surface layer of carpeting, affecting both the padding underneath this layer and even penetrate the subflooring.

Excessive Demolition 

It is consistently a priority of our SERVPRO team to limit controlled demolition and later reconstruction of your damaged home. The fast response when the extraction is needed can help to mitigate the water loss event, and prevent unnecessary demolition when possible. 

How Can SERVPRO Remove Pooling Water?  

As briefly mentioned, the focus of our responding technicians is removing standing water from damaged areas of your home as soon as possible. Our team can go about this in several ways, and it varies based on the severity of the damage, the location of the standing water, and its depth. We have multiple tools to help in this regard, but the most commonly used are: 

  • Submersible pumps
  • Wet vacuums
  • Squeegee wands 

What Happens to Water-Damaged Items in My House?  

Content management is another vital aspect of the immediate work that we can do when we arrive at a water damaged house. By assessing the water damage to your personal propertynv, we can make real-time drying decisions and recovery choices based on what these items need. In many situations, there are upwards of three primary categories the content recovery can fall into, including:

On-Site Relocation

Relocating items in a house to a safer area within the structure can be the most efficient method of protecting your belongings when no other damage is present. This solution is only suitable when no other physical damage is identifiable on the individual items.

Cleaning

Cleaning up individual belongings might seem like a tedious approach, but it can help to reduce out-of-pocket expenses for our customers. By drying and surface cleaning damaged items in the house, we can have items better prepared for replacement in the home following the completion of restoration and mitigation phases.

Off-Site Recovery 

In some situations, on-site recovery is not feasible. If more intricate cleaning and restoration are necessary, items can get relocated to our nearby SERVPRO facility for the attention they need. 

How Fast is Drying After Water Removal?  

While our team has much experience and training in drying sciences, there are too many variables to say with certainty how long drying processes typically take. We must determine where moisture exists and utilize our advanced tools to remove it from the house as quickly as possible. With equipment like high-velocity air movers and positive pressure systems, we can get you back in your home quickly after a loss incident. 

Water loss incidents can be a challenge to overcome, even for experienced restoration technicians like our SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island professionals. Give us a call anytime that we can help with our sophisticated equipment and experienced technicians. We are ready 24/7 at (956) 747-3020.

Faster Service for our Customers is the SERVPRO way

4/30/2020 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, Our motto is "Faster to any size disaster". Which means we not only arrive more quickly, but we also start work in any home or business that need restoration work fast! Our assessments remain thorough because our teamwork means the information-gathering period concludes earlier. 

The Reason why SERVPRO professionals are Quick to start soon when a home or business in Brownsville suffers from signs of water damage is because we want to prevent the spread of mold and worsening of water damage. Protecting our customers home or business is our priority! We want to help save our customers from spending for repairs that preventative work can eliminate. 

The quicker we respond to your home of businesses emergency, the less damage can happen. Water spreads from one material to another and travels from one area of your house to other areas unhindered. Once water damage areas show signs, it becomes more difficult to restore these areas. Visible damage often calls for more extensive restoration efforts or complete replacement of the area involved. Some damage can appear as newly created risks in the home. 

When your ceiling sags down for seemingly no reason, we check to ensure that hidden water, trapped in the area above the ceiling, does not exist. Because water weighs so much, it only takes a small amount from a leaky roof or a dripping pipe in an upstairs bathroom to collect water in ceiling downstairs. While this water might eventually evaporate and end up elsewhere, the situation can also take a turn for the worse. Our team understands that such situations need mitigation to make the are safe again.

Water damage can take other forms, of course, and affect almost any material inside your home which includes your personal belongings, keepsakes and mementos, furniture, and anything else under your roof. SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island specialists use their skills to put a stop to water damage and make things whole again. Moving forward is an incredible necessity of life, and we help you and your family do this. 

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is ready every minute of every hour, year-round, to help get you through the crisis of both old and new water damage. We are located nearby, ensuring fast response when you need us the most. Your first step involves a quick call to us at (956)747-3020, and we can do the rest!

Enhanced Success of Commercial Contents Fire Cleanup with Esporta System's Advanced Technology

4/30/2020 (Permalink)

Commercial Fire Cleanup and Restoration In Merrimack

When a fire damages the interior of your Brownsville commercial building, the aftermath feels overwhelming. Your own enterprise’s space and contents suffer smoke and soot damage as do the retail, restaurant, and office space you rent to other businesses. Fortunately, structural cleaning and deodorizing in the 21st century is a highly-developed and continuously improving process, our team rapidly clearing away soiling and odors from most building materials and surfaces to reinvigorate your business.

Contents Cleaning Evolves

Similar cleaning success with the many soft items among the smoke and soot-damaged contents of your flagship location in the past was less certain. With a heavy heart, you might have agreed to send the banquette cushions, wall hangings, window coverings, table linens, and other soft contents of your destination restaurant to the landfill. Before you relinquish the custom-made decor that defines your bistro’s ambiance, consider this. We impressively improved the odds of favorable outcomes for commercial soft contents fire cleanup in Esportawith our investment, the premier textile restoration system available to the disaster recovery industry. 

Esporta Represents a Soft Contents Cleaning Revolution

Unlike a traditional industrial washing machine, Esporta’s design holds soiled items stable during processing, reducing incidental and friction-based damage. Specially formulated cleaning additives are phosphate-free and highly efficient, using half the water of conventional equipment to deliver 90 percent of soft contents back to pre-smoke and soot loss appearance and function. The innovative system arrives at these remarkable results through a computer-controlled, multi-stage process. It employs a combination of hydraulic action and environmentally friendly detergents to restore items to Food Grade Clean, removing 99 percent of contaminants.

Fire Damage Includes Water Loss and Bio-Contamination

Extinguishing a fire in your commercial space can leave filthy, Category 3 water, a broad range of toxic residues, and the chance of microbial infestation. The heat and structural damage can cause ruptures of pipes and subsequent backup of waste. The patented Esporta Wash System is scientifically proven to clean not only soot but also the residuals of water damage, food spoilage, sewage, water damage, and biohazards like molds, mildews, and waste-borne pathogens. 

Firefighting Equipment Esporta Cleaned

The First Responders, our brave Fire Fighters, are in the thick of things when extinguishing the blaze at your building. The Break-Out Gear that they don for protection against the heat, flames, soot, smoke, and water embeds with this contaminated debris. Many fire stations turn to SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to periodically Esporta Clean this protective equipment. The benefit of cleaning and sanitizing rather than tossing save our local municipalities expenses and keep our firefighters always looking sharp.

Fast Turnaround

Because we have eliminated the need for subcontractors and intermediaries for specialized soft content cleaning, we control the pricing, process, and speed of completion. Our team of Content Cleaning Technicians (CCT) embraces the Esporta technology, excited for the opportunities opening up to save you and your insurer time and money as we save your business property, one item at a time. 

Give SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island the chance to transform the contents of your fire-damaged business back to “Like it never even happened,” with the cutting-edge Esporta system. Call (956) 747-3020 to explore how we can save your business without discarding thousands of dollars-worth of soiled textiles and other soft items. 

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK @SERVPRO OF EAST BROWNSVILLE .

Trained and Certified Professionals

4/29/2020 (Permalink)

3 SERVPRO employees holding Their New Fire Certificates Our new Official Fire, and Odor Technicians Received their Certificates this Morning! Good Job and keep up the Good Work!!

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island Professionals are Highly Trained and Certified to The Highest IICRC Standards. This is why we are #1 In the Restoration Company! We have the ability to get the job done right and on time to get you back to normal, That's the SERVPRO way! We have been in this industry for over 11 years and we plan on continuing to Serve our Brownsville community with any of their Fire, Water, Mold, Biohazard, and General Cleaning needs. Each New Crew Member on Board is sent out right away to get certified before they are even allowed to step into any loss we receive. Recently, Our new Crew members all Passed and received their new certificates which means they are now Certified Technicians and are allowed to attend Fire, Water, and Mold jobs. We are the restoration company you know and trust. We are here to ease your mind and let you know you are in good hands when your home or business is the victim of water or fire damage. We know how stressful a loss can be and that's why we are here to help! Call us Today! (956) 747-3020

We are Here to Serve our Community 24/7!

4/23/2020 (Permalink)

We want our Brownsville community to know that we are open and still here to help 7 Days a week for any Water, Fire or Mold cleaning and restoration needs. We are dedicated to give our customers the peace of mind when an emergency happens, SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is the restoration company they can trust to get the job done right and fast to get them back to normal! During this unprecedented time, we have been doing our part to help stop the spread by providing proactive and reactive cleaning services for all residential and commercial properties to give our customers the ease that we will do our part to make sure they are in a safe and healthy living and working environment. If you our your loved one is in need of any of our services, we will be more than happy to help and provide fast and reliable services. Call Today! (956) 747-3020

SERVPRO is Here to Help our First Responders

4/22/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Technician with Tyvex Suit Wiping down Police Unit with Hospital Grade Disinfectant Here to Help Here to Serve Here to Clean

We at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island are doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. As a huge thank you to our frontline workers, we decided to offer our sanitizing services for FREE to all our first responder vehicles. So far, we have had the honor to be able to provide these services to 2 of our local police stations. We are happy to know that we have given our brave first responders the ease and peace of mind that their health and well being is being protected while on duty. We care for our first responders and will be more than glad to provide these services for them in the future. As our first responders continue keeping our families safe, we will make sure to do the same for them. Thank you to our brave men and women in blue! 

We are your Local Cleaning Experts

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialist in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. 

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing either with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas  
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/ Classrooms
  • Offices 
  • Retail Spaces 
  • Water Fountains 
  • Shelving Racks 
  • Sales Counters 
  • Carpets/Rugs 
  • Stair Handrails 
  • Elevator Cars 
  • Playground Equipment 
  • Fitness Equipment 

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the corona virus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the corona virus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today- 

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, (956) 747-3020

Some Warning Signs of Immediate Flood Damage Remediation Needed in Brownsville

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Beginning the Recovery Process Following Brownsville Flooding

In an area positioned between multiple fronts capable of providing strong storm systems that can destroy Brownsville properties, residents and business owners in the area must remain vigilant to the possibility of disasters like flooding happening with little warning. Those in lower-lying areas of the region are more at risk for these circumstances, but any property is susceptible under the right conditions. Once the storm has passed, many homeowners return to their properties to begin the tedious task of assessing the damage. 

Before you can address any of the flood damage in Brownsville homes following a disaster, you need to follow specific steps. The more that you can familiarize yourself with the process of acquiring professional restoration assistance and working with your insurance company to come to a solution, the less time gets wasted in securing restoration and recovery services for your property. Our SERVPRO team helps customers as much as we help homes, so you can depend on our experience in disaster relief to help you navigate the hurdles in your path. 

As a premier restoration team in the region, we encourage homeowners to contact us directly when they first return to their damaged properties after a flood loss event. Though you might still wish to contact your insurance provider to see what coverage options you have regarding this situation, our team can already be at work mitigating your losses and protecting what structural elements we can. The longer that construction materials remain exposed to standing water and excessive moisture, the more they decay and deteriorate.

Our initial assessment of the property can help to provide your insurance company with the necessary documentation and photographic evidence needed to approve a damage claim you submit. Even when your provider can only cover the costs of specific recovery approaches, they still require this overall assessment and estimation of specific services to approve the filed claim. 

Only re-enter your property after a flood if you are sure it is safe to do so. Many new threats could exist that came in with the rising waters, and structural elements could have become weakened to the point of collapse. No matter how we can help, our SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island team is here for you. Give us a call anytime at (956) 747-3020

How to Remove the Smoke Odors From your HVAC System

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Air Duct Did you know that SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island can clean air ducts?

Removing Fire Odors in HVAC Systems of Brownsville Homes 

Many Brownsville homeowners run their air conditioning systems through most of the year, and there are only a few instances in which these units get turned off. When disasters like fire loss incidents occur, these HVAC networks do not shut down until you tell them to or until the conditions of the fire itself compromise the ability for the unit to continue functioning correctly. The result of these situations is often air ducts that get severely affected by soot, smoke residues, and harsh odors. Combatting all of these effects are out of the wheelhouse of the average homeowner, requiring you to trust in the expertise of certified professionals like our restorers. 

Fire odor removal can often be a considerable challenge for your Brownsville home, even with the experienced and trained professionals our SERVPRO team dispatches. Odors can spread quickly and embed into surfaces and materials throughout the house. In many cases, excessive heat causes pores in materials like drywall to expand, allowing these odors to penetrate the sheetrock. When the house cools down after extinguishment, these molecules get trapped within the pores of the material and continue to affect the occupants of the house without the appropriate deodorization methods. 

When areas like the HVAC system and air ducts become affected by spreading odors, it can be even more of a challenge to address these concerns. Our SERVPRO professionals arrive with an array of equipment designed to neutralize foul and noxious smoke and fire odors on contact, but other symptoms from the fire must also get addressed and removed within the air ducts to eliminate the scent. 

Our professionals arrive with sophisticated equipment to clean out this network of ducts, including whips, brushes, and HEPA vacuums. The sooner this system can get thoroughly cleaned after a fire, the less chance it has of perpetually circulating damaging effects. 

There are multiple concerns that every homeowner should have after a fire occurs in their residence, but with the fast response of our SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island professionals, we can make these damaging effects “Like it never even happened.” Give us a call anytime you need us at (956) 747-3020.

The Difference Between Storm VS Flood

1/9/2020 (Permalink)

Property owners may have a hard time differentiating storm damage from flood damage. Commercial properties can sustain water damage from either source. There are a few major differences to keep in mind that may help you manage these risks. 

The most general distinction is that storm water comes from above, whereas flood water usually overspills natural bodies or courses of water and covers at least two acres of ordinarily dry land. Storm damage to a commercial property may originate from a variety of causes such as

• High winds
• Heavy rain
• Hurricanes
• Snow
• Tornadoes

Most business insurance plans provide protection from damage caused by storms. Property owners will need additional coverage to offset the expenses of flood damage. If your property is located on a flood plain, you should make sure you carry the policies necessary to protect your investment.

Flooding occurs when water overflows a body of water or watercourse such as

• Creeks
• Dams
• Lakes
• Storm-water channels

For water to be considered a flood, it must not only cover two acres but affect at least two properties. If a commercial property is located in a high-risk zone and the owner has a mortgage from an insured and federally-regulated lender, he or she is required to maintain flood insurance. Damage resulting from either flooding or storms can cause severe problems and should be planned for, prevented, and handled as soon as possible. Regardless of the source of moisture, the risk of mold and other secondary damage within a building can be just as severe.

Restoring Damage From Storms and Floods

Restoration specialists can help property owners determine the precise causes of damage and the best solutions. If a commercial property in Brownsville, Tx experiences flood damage or sustains damage during a storm, contact SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island as soon as possible.

(956) 747-3020

Why Choose SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island for Your Water Damage Needs?

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

A pipe burst. A water heater leaks. A bathtub overflows. Flood water rushes in. A sprinkler system malfunctions. 

Water damage can happen in any number of ways. But if your business or home is under a few inches of water, everything takes a backseat. Only one thing matters when your business can’t operate, and there is just one thing on the mind of the water-logged resident; a solution. 

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is that solution. Equipped with the knowledge, the experience, and the training to help make your water damage “Like it never even happened.” SERVPRO professionals will start helping the moment you call. 

Backed by more than 10 years of experience, SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island professionals will help put your worries at ease, because they understand the science of drying. 

When water damage strikes, give SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island a call, we will help to make things right, make things dry and make it “Like it never even happened.”

Call us at (956)747-3020

We Can Handle Your Commercial Water Damage

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Trust SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island for Immediate Water Removal When Your Business Needs Assistance

Commercial water damage can close the doors of a business enterprise. It may be a retail store, a doctor's office, an apartment complex, or even a big-box store. Disruptions to normal business patterns lead to loss of goodwill and revenue. Consider calling in a professional water damage restoration company like SERVPRO to limit your losses.

Brownsville water mitigation professionals are needed when it comes to handling unwanted water intrusion. Water damages can occur at any time and any place. It is important to be prepared to call a professional because water damage can be very hard to clean up by yourself. In fact, water gets into many places that are inaccessible. As a result, even after you have dried up the building yourself, you can still get mold and other problems in the building.  

It takes quick action to handle the damage efficiently. You have to make sure that all the belongings are safe. If the water has gotten to some of the belongings, it is important to make sure that you clean them out as quickly as you can before any permanent damage occurs. All of the other items that you can save, you should do so. Afterward, you should contact a professionally certified team that will remove the water and use specialized drying equipment. Our SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island professionals are certified and have the equipment needed to take care of the water damage. 

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is a commercial water removal company that has experience in mitigating water damage. We know how to handle water damage that resulted from storms, clogs, natural disasters, and other similar events. We are always available when you call and will promptly dispatch a crew. Call us at (956)747-3020.

Common Water Issues for Businesses

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

For a commercial property owner in Brownsville, TX, unexpected water problems can be a big issue. Fortunately, a water damage professional can help you assess, clean, and repair damages from any flooding or leaks you may have. Here are a few of the most common water problems a business may face from leaking pipes to foundation cracks.

1. Pipe Breaks

A pipe break can occur in a number of ways. Over time, the pipe can age and loosen in its fittings, or extensive use can lead to pinhole leaks. Extreme heat or cold can also affect a pipe’s integrity. A blocked pipe can lead to pressure buildup and eventually burst.


2. Plumbing Backup

Blocked plumbing can even lead to a toilet backup or sink overflow. When a pipe is blocked, water can take the shortest path out regardless of its intended flow path. Blockages can occur from a number of things, including the buildup of water minerals over time inside a pipe or someone pouring a solidifying material, such as plaster or grease, down a drain.

3. Weather

Extreme weather conditions can also lead to leaking pipes. Cold temperatures can cause the water in pipes to freeze and expand. The expansion puts pressure on the pipe and can create a crack or even cause it to burst altogether. If you know cold weather is coming, you can check with a local professional about what preventive measures to take.

4. Foundation Cracks

Foundation cracks can also become a problem leading to water damage. Water can seep through any cracks and pool, leading to further issues such as mold. Any cracks should be investigated and assessed as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.

Water damage can happen to a commercial property. Fortunately, a professional can fix the damage caused by leaking pipes, foundation cracks, backed up toilet, or weather, and help you repair your property.

Some Warning Signs of Fire Damage Issues in the RGV.

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

Plug Catching Fire. Whether the fire damage stems from an electrical issue or started in a different way, team SERVPRO has you covered. Call today.

Something that no homeowner expects to happen is a fire, but this is often an unfortunate and tragic event. Few emergencies are as catastrophic and costly as a house fire, but it can help to hire trained professionals to assist with the restoration process. 

To address fire damage in Brownsville, you can trust our team at SERVPRO. We have trained restoration professionals that work hard to clean the soot and smoke left behind after a fire. Rather than immediately removing your walls and other materials, we formulate a plan to do our best to clean everything using a range of tools, agents, and trusted methods. 

Surface Cleaning

Spraying and wiping most surfaces is often the first order of business when our SERVPRO technicians start the cleanup process. Water or cleaning agents can be used to help break down any fire damage residues that are left behind. Another option is foam cleaning on materials where the color could run, including drapes, curtains, and upholstery. 

Absorption Cleaning

In the event that there are items in the home that are too fragile to be cleaned with water or cleaners that are solvent-based, absorption techniques can be used. SERVPRO technicians put down a layer of fine powder that helps to absorb and pull up residue so that it can be vacuumed away without causing surface damage. The same cleaning powder is also beneficial for use on porous surfaces, including marble, concrete, and brick.

Immersion Cleaning

Whenever fragility or color fastness is not an issue, our technicians can immerse items in an ultrasonic cleaning tank that helps to break down residues for easier removal. This tool uses sound waves to create agitation that forces bubbles over surfaces and throughout woven fabrics. Due to the nature of the immersion cleaning process, it is usually used after all other cleaning methods are exhausted. 

These and other methods are waiting whenever you need help with fire damage restoration. To set a team into action, give us a call at (956) 747-3020. We can send our technicians out to your location as soon as possible to get started.

Are Sump Pumps the Best for Damage in a Brownsville Store?

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

Store Isle Water damage is nothing to play with, SERVPRO will walk you through every bit of the damage

With a sprawling commercial property like a department store in Brownsville, substantial water loss incidents can quickly spread to affect a wide area of the building. As troublesome as this might seem, fast response to the emergency can limit the irreparable effect on your stock in the store and the possibility of restoring flooring and other shelving fixtures rather than tearing them out and letting our general contractors replace them. 

Many extraction tools can help in interior flooding scenarios where water removal for Brownsville department stores is vital. We strive to provide the best equipment for every disaster, and in many cases, the ideal tool for standing water loss incidents in your store is electric portable submersible pumps. These lightweight units boast a quiet, continual draw of standing water to a designated discharge point, allowing our SERVPRO team to gain control of a widespread water loss emergency effectively. However, sump pumps might not always be the best – or only – extraction equipment necessary to get the job done. 

Depth

While you can look to sump pumps to be a reliable option for any depth above two inches, even this small depth can still leave a substantial amount of water that air movers and dehumidifiers could spend weeks attempting to dry out. Instead, once down to the level where sump pumps can lose their prime, our SERVPRO technicians can switch to wet-vacs and light wands to remove the rest of the surface water. 

Material 

While standing water, in general, can be addressed by the portable electric pump, oversaturation of carpeting in the primary shopping areas of your store cannot get absorbed by this popular option. Instead, our professionals utilize weighted ride-on extraction units that can move consistently through the area. This approach is even more effective if our team can move racks of clothing, standalone shelves, and tables to other unaffected areas of the store to allow unhindered access for moisture removal.  

Your department store can need many things to look and feel like it did before the water loss incident, and our SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island team is here to help. We have sophisticated equipment and drying tools to make water losses “Like it never even happened,” when you call (956) 747-3020.

3 Ways To Keep Your Dryer Clean and Prevent Lint Fires

12/18/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Detector Take precautions to keep your home safe.

It's not always possible to prevent a disaster from affecting your home in Brownsville, TX but there are some types of fires that you can often prevent, such as a lint fire. It's often wise for homeowners to know how to keep their dryers clean and to prevent built-up lint from causing a fire in their homes.

1. Clean Your Lint Screen After Using Your Dryer
A dryer fire can cause devastation to a home, and homeowners whose homes have been affected by fires often choose to employ fire damage restoration experts. Fortunately, cleaning your lint screen is often a simple way to prevent a fire. The location of a dryer's lint screen may vary, but after using your dryer, it's often helpful to remove the screen and wipe away the lint with a cloth or with your hands. Once the screen is clean, you can place it back in its slot.

2. Remove Lint From the Interior Vents
A lint fire is more likely to occur if your dryer's interior vents are filled with lint. Though it may sound complex, removing lint from your dryer's interior vents isn't difficult. First, turn off and unplug your dryer, then move your dryer so you can reach the back panel. Open the panel and vacuum lint from the vents and wipe away any lint that your vacuum can't quite reach.

3. Clean the Exhaust Hose
It's often useful to clean out your dryer's exhaust hose in order to prevent a home fire. After turning off and unplugging your dryer and moving your dryer so you can see the back of it, you should be able to easily locate the exhaust hose. Depending on your dryer, you can either loosen the exhaust hose manually or by using a screwdriver. Finally, you can use a vacuum or a cloth to remove lint from the hose.

Your dryer is likely one of your most-used appliances in your home, and it's often wise to know how to prevent a lint fire. Cleaning the lint screen after each use, removing lint from your dryer's interior vents and cleaning the exhaust hose can help to prevent a fire.

Home Water Damage DRAINED By Experts At SERVPRO!

12/18/2019 (Permalink)

Fast Action and Cleanup of Water Damage In Your Home

When damages affect structural components and the contents of your home, you need professionals that can mitigate the crisis and resolve your situation FAST. In a water damage situation, cleanup needs to happen as quickly as possible to prevent ongoing damage and detrimental effects that lead to irreparable damage.

Water loss situations require an immediate response from skilled technicians equipped with the right tools. Our SERVPRO water restoration technicians begin their training with the extensive IICRC-certification, which is the premier standard of the industry. They take part in ongoing in-house and e-learning options to improve their knowledge in essential recovery techniques such as mitigation and drying.

These skilled technicians are available to you for water cleanup, mitigation, and water damage restoration 24 hours a day through our response team. As water damage is time sensitive, having a crew of highly-trained technicians that can mobilize personnel and equipment efficiently reduces the impact that water loss incidents have on your property. Within a matter of minutes, water can absorb into walls, floors, upholstery, and your personal belongings. You need a team that can respond immediately to help.

The equipment we use for water cleanup and restoration work is among the most advanced machines and tools available in the industry. We seek to have the best equipment possible, as this ensures that we can provide fast extractions, drying, and premier cleaning solutions. Drying is an important step in water restoration, and our high-powered equipment can detect moisture so that we can dry areas at a much faster rate than they would through conventional approaches.

Water cleanup might seem like something that you could attempt on your own, but this often leads to inadequate drying and moisture removal, which can result in negative and hazardous secondary effects like mold growth. Trust our skilled SERVPRO 24-hour response team to arrive shortly after you call to help you clean up the mess fast. Call us anytime at (956) 747-3020.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island should be your first choice for any residential or commercial restoration needs. Our team of professionals is trained to assess the damage and potential threats, extract and contain the affected area, dry, and restore your property to preloss condition.

Fire Prevention Tips for Common Causes of Home Fire Damageprevent further property damage from exposure to contaminated areas. Smoke and soot particle

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

Home affected by Smoke and Soot Even a minor fire can bring significant smoke and soot damage throughout your home. We can provide property damage restoration services near you!

What to Expect from our SERVPRO Professional Fire Damage Restoration Process

Every year, there are between 350,000 and 400,000 home fires in the U.S. (according to the National Fire Protection Association). Any building is at risk of catching fire for a variety of reasons, knowing the most common reasons for residential fire damage can be important to fire prevention. SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island ha been providing property disaster cleanup and restoration service to fire damage victims for years! Our IICRC certified fire damage restoration specialists arrive ready to rescue and recover your home and property following a fire "Like t never even happened".

Our SERVPRO team responded quickly to this home fire, in Brownsville, TX. Our restoration specialists contained the damage areas to stop the spread of hazardous soot, smoke, and toxins. SERVPRO is a trusted leader in the restoration industry; our team is ready to respond to your emergency fire property damage, quickly and effectively with unparalleled training and equipment. Giving you peace of mind that your property is being cleaned and restored by caring and competent restoration professionals.

Often during a fire restoration, Many recovery operations need to happen simultaneously, some of our crew will work on water extraction and demolition, while others will inventory and pack up items to move to another location to help prevent further property damage from exposure to contaminated areas. Smoke and soot particles are small and can get deep inside building materials, furniture and other porous items. HEPA filters help our industrial strength air scrubbers and vacuums capture soot, purify the air and neutralize odors. Our SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island's location is fortunate to offer restoration and rebuilding services following a property disaster from fire, water or mold. Using our highly qualified construction team will help keep your recovery process moving steady and hassle free, often times it can also minimize costs and completion time.

FIRST STEPS TO FIRE RESTORATION:

Isolate Fire Damaged Areas

SERVPRO professionals will start with containment to help restrict odors and debris from contaminating the air throughout the house and keep the damage contained at the source of the fire and affected areas of the home.

Water Damage Remediation

Fire suppression and rescue uses a lot of water and it can be just as destructive to structural components and contents as the fire. Our SERVPRO professionals will take the steps needed to minimize the damage by prioritizing water extraction.

Pack-Out for Contents

Fire damage mitigation and restoration is more effective when furnishings and personal possessions are relocated to avoid continued exposure to contaminated air and debris. Our Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS) creates a digital listing of the affected property, very helpful when corresponding with your insurance company. Specialized contents technicians evaluate the pack-out items’ conditions and recommend and implement efficient strategies to clean, dry, deodorize, and disinfect them.

Customized Soot Removal

Smoke and soot damages are especially invasive attacking every space of your residential property, including areas far from the actual fire. The residue from the fire travels with the air coating surfaces SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Quick action is crucial to minimize damages; soot must be removed before it begins etching, distorting, discoloring, and disintegrating wood, carpeting, fabric, drywall, plastic, metal, and glass.

Common causes of residential fire property damage disasters:

  1. Cooking: The majority of house fires are caused by cooking-related incidents, specifically, a person leaving a hot oven or stove unattended.

Prevention tips: Always keep an eye on cooking equipment while it’s in use. Use a timer to remind you cooking is in progress. Make sure to remove flammable objects and materials around cooking areas and surfaces.

  1. Heating: Portable and stationary space heaters accounted for 32% of these fires, but most resulted from the homeowner’s failure to clean heating equipment or chimneys. 

Prevention tips: Have heating equipment cleaned and inspected every year to ensure it’s working properly. When using space heaters, situate them away from combustible objects such as clothing, furniture and bedding and turn them off when you leave home.

  1. Electrical systems: Lighting sources are responsible for most electrical fires. Fires started through electrical systems represent more than $1 billion in property losses each year. 

Prevention tips: Use qualified electricians to handle your electrical projects, many fires are the result of improper installation by homeowners. When using electrical appliances, replace frayed or damaged cords, refrain from overloading outlets with plugs and use bulbs of the proper wattage for lamps.

  1. Candles: Candles are responsible for 5 percent of home fire deaths, and on average, 35 home fires caused by candles are reported each day in the United States. 

Prevention tips: Don’t leave burning candles unattended and put them out before going to bed.

Fires cause massive amounts of damage to a residential property; the flames, soot and smoke can destroy structural materials, interior and exterior items and personal processions. The aftermath of a fire can bringing massive amounts of water damage, toxic chemicals, harmful soot pollution and unhealthy smoke levels. First Responders often extinguish the flames quickly, but soot and smoke move even more rapidly, spreading damage throughout the entire property. Even a minor fire can bring significant smoke and soot damage throughout your home. We can provide property damage restoration service near you, SERVPRO is here to help with highly-trained IICRC certified fire damage restoration experts and advanced technology and equipment to restore your home and possessions, and provide knowledge and experience when you need it most.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island responds quickly to your fire damage emergency with skilled technicians to your home, our team’s primary goal is to mitigate additional damages with preventative procedures and neutralize and recover sustained damages using expert skill, experience, and equipment.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island's top-Quality Fire Restoration

5/30/2019 (Permalink)

This apartment complex suffered severe Fire Damage, and our technicians made sure to Restore the property back to preloss conditions.

Every fire is different. Even a small fire can be devastating to your home, and belongings.  It may seem like a total loss, but that is not always the case. A call to a professional Fire Restoration company can make all the difference. They can restore your home, clean, and possibly save many of your belongings. Your home can be repaired, and safe to live in faster than you might think.

Fire restoration is essential. A Fire Restoration  team like our SERVPRO crew can be at your home as soon as the fire department clears it. They will begin assessing the damage to determine what is salvageable, and not salvageable, and what needs to be replaced. They will be very thorough to make sure that your home will be completely safe for you and your family to live in once everything is cleaned up, and restored. Odor removal makes furniture, and belongings such as clothes, and contents look and smell good as new.

After the fire’s out, that’s were our team at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island comes in. We hope you never need our disaster restoration services, but if you ever do, we hope you remember our name.

Bio-Hazard Cleaning For Your Commercial Business. What Makes Trauma Cleanup Important?

5/30/2019 (Permalink)

If your commercial business needs Bio-Hazard Cleaning, Our expert technicians are always here to help!

Any site  business where a significant traumatic event took place must be cleaned as soon as possible. There are many reasons why a trauma, and crime scene cleanup process like what we offer at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is vital for your needs.

  • Stop Pathogens from Spreading Many bloodborne pathogens could spread around a property after a traumatic event. These includes pathogens produced due to significant blood loss or other cases where bodily fluids might be spread out around a property. A trauma cleanup process neutralizes, and removes all pathogens from an area, and also clears them out of the air so they will not be at risk of spreading.
  • Replace Fabrics and Other Surfaces- Sometimes the surfaces in a trauma cleanup site might be stained with blood, and other pathogens to the point where they have to be replaced. The cleanup process can help identify surfaces that might have to be replaced, depending on the amount of damage a space experienced.
  • Critical for Emotional Purposes- Many events that require trauma cleaning services can be devastating. These include moments like a death or a significant injury that led to blood loss or the spread of other pathogens. By cleaning out a space, it will feel like normal once again. It is also easier for professionals who are removed from an event to perform the cleanup.

The trauma cleanup process can be difficult, but a professional team like us at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island will help you take care of any cleaning issues. Get in touch with us  if you need help with cleaning a troubling space during a tough time.

Commercial Water Damage Cleanup You Can Trust.

5/30/2019 (Permalink)

Our SERVPRO technicians assisting a commercial after a large water loss.

When your commercial business has suffered from water damage, it can be very overwhelming. First, you have to figure out how to get rid of all the water, fix what is causing the problem, and then you have to dry everything out and do any repairs. It can be very time consuming and can put business days to a hold. It is best to call in a professional to help take care of water damage so that you can get things cleaned up the right way.

Our Water Technicians and professional and highly trained to clean up water and extract water and repair all of the damage. They know exactly what to do to safely perform any and all cleanup and repairs in your business. They have advanced water removal tools and large commercial fans to dry everything out. They know exactly what can be saved and what is a total loss.  A water damage company will know if your carpet can be dried out, and used safely, or if it would be in your best interest to get new carpet.  They can also repair walls, baseboards, doors, flooring, and anything else damaged by water so that your business will look great and will be free from weak spots that could potentially cause problems if not restored properly.

Unfortunately, where you find water, you can usually find mold. Your restoration team can treat any and all mold growth safely to keep your employees and customers from getting sick. They can also keep mold from coming back by treating and killing all mold to make sure it is gone for good.

Contact our office if you need help cleaning up water damage. SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island can handle the job.

Keep Your Business Safe and Clean With Expert Mold Damage Repair

5/28/2019 (Permalink)

A local Commercial Building Was Affected By Water Damage and Was Left Untreated Which Lead To Secondary Damages.

After a flood or other major water damage mold can become a very real problem. Its always safer to have mold removed from your business quickly, even if its not particularly dangerous. Not taking care of mold damage in a timely manner can cause safety and health issues for your customers and staff. One of the best ways to keep your business safe and clean is by trusting a professional to handle any mold damage repair you need. Mold is well known for potentially causing respiratory and other health issues, and this is especially true if you are exposed to it constantly in your business. Even if you can't see all of the mold, it is possible that it has spread into the structure of your home. When this is the case, and the damages are deeper than the surface level, mold can also lead to structural and safety issues .

Taking care of mold damage can be difficult, especially if you don't know what to expect or don't have experience getting rid of mold. It is often better to trust a professional with mold damage repair because they have the skills and knowledge needed to remedy the problem completely. This is critical if your mold problem has affected many aspects of your home. Trusting a professional with your mold damage repair will ensure the problem is completely and safely taken care of, and you will be much less likely to experience more mold in the future. 

Services We Provide For Commercial Buildings

5/27/2019 (Permalink)

A Before and After Picture of A commercial business flooring that was in need of a deep cleaning.

What many of you didn't know is, SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island offers many services for commercial buildings for very reasonable prices. If you feel that your Brownsville business is in need of some deep cleaning, Call the cleaning experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island. We have highly trained and certified  technicians that have the knowledge and skills to get your commercial business looking squeaky clean as well as Our highly advanced equipment and cleaning products.! What SERVPRO provides is HVAC duct cleaning services, Carpet cleaning services, Tile cleaning services, Mold remediation services, Water mitigation and Extraction services for when disaster strikes, as well as deep cleaning you whole commercial business. If you feel that your whole business needs some cleaning or simply just your carpets and flooring cleaned and polished, Remember, Green means clean!

A Small Fire Can Cause Odors in Your Home For Years To Come.

5/27/2019 (Permalink)

We will have trained technicians on-site of a fire damage within four hours or less to begin emergency services.

Fire, Smoke, and Soot damages in your home can create unpleasant, and permanent problems if not properly addressed As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels through out the home leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in those hard to reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in periodically resurfacing odors. Unfortunately, such damages are often made more sever when unprepared homeowners attempt to perform the cleanup themselves. All of your restorable items in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized to preloss conditions. This includes furniture, draperies, and upholstery, electronics, art, floorings, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts and so much more. We are trained and equipped to find sources of smoke odor and to effectively eliminate them from your home. proper deodorization is vital as smoke odors may appear to be gone, only to reappear months later. Before you risk doing more damage by attempting to clean it up yourself, call your local fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island.

Top Causes of Water Damage Basement Flooding During the Winter

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

When your basement floods, Give the water restoration SERVPROFESSIONALS a call!

Basements can flood just about any time of the year, and you might be surprised that it can even happen during the winter. The reality is that winter can present the most risk and only some of these are preventable. It is never a bad idea to have a water damage restoration company as part of your home maintenance list of providers, so you can respond quickly if you experience a problem.

The main causes of water damage basement flooding are ice floes, frozen concrete, blocked drains, and faulty plumbing. This is not a common occurrence, but can happen. The other causes are more common.

The most common is a pipe break due to faulty plumbing or not having proper precautions in place to avoid pipes freezing. When water freezes, it expands and can cause a burst pipe. This is more common when pipes are weakened but can happen even with newer plumbing. Freezing water can also cause a problem in your home’s concrete foundation. Additionally, concrete expands and contracts during seasonal temperature changes, which can result in cracks that let water seep in, sometimes rapidly.

A blocked or slow drain is a problem any time of the year, but it can be a real problem during warmer periods during the winter when snow is melting and needing a place to drain.

During warmer months, you should take the time to check your property for good drainage and any cracks you might notice in your home’s foundation. Check your basement and plumbing throughout the year to reduce the chances of water damage from the causes you can control.

If you should encounter water damage, give us a call at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island. Any time of the year, we are here to restore your home, whether the water damage is a plumbing issue, winter woes or from putting out a fire in your home. We can also work with your insurance company.

Tips for Dealing with Storm Damage

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

When a storm has struck your home, SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre island is faster to your disaster

The most common mistake when dealing with storm damage is calling your insurance company first. While you do need to be sure you call them within the window of time they allow for you to file a claim after a storm, there are some things you should do before you call them.

First of all, start with a high-quality, reputablestorm damage restoration company. They will fully inspect your property to find exactly what damage has occurred. They will often find storm damage that your adjuster would not have noticed, or perhaps even hoped you didn’t. By giving the adjuster a full property storm damage inspection report up front, you avoid missing out on repairs that should have been covered.

It is always best to find your own storm damage restoration company rather than go with one that the insurance company has “approved” because you want one that is working for you rather than the insurance company. You have paid your premiums so you deserve the best repair rather than the cheapest, which is what the insurance company would prefer.

You should also read over your policy before calling the insurance company so you know exactly what they should cover. All too often, homeowners hold back on claims out of fear they will be singled out for a rate increase after a storm damage claim, but this is not the case.

If you have suffered storm damage in your home or business, give SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island a call. We represent your best interest, yet can work directly with the insurance company for claims up to $500,000 to make the process easier for you. We can provide you with an inspection and then complete the restoration for you. Our project management team has over 50 years of combined experience in construction, so we are confident we can restore your home to your complete satisfaction.

Storm Damage Is Not Always Immediately Visible!

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

Storm season is approaching, If your home has been affected by a storm, Remember SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is here to help.

Bad weather can be unpredictable, and when it is, homes are at risk of suffering. The worry is that it’s often difficult to tell just how serious the damage is.

Homeowners often ignore what is seemingly minor damage, not knowing that it is actually causing major issues within the building’s structure. Remember, serious storm damage is not always immediately visible. It may seem like there’s nothing to worry about, but actually, mold growth and ceiling stains are very often signs of a more sinister problem.

At SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, we suggest that you first walk around your home when the storm has passed to check for any visible signs of debris and damage, But please don’t climb on your roof, as this could be potentially dangerous. Leave this task to the professionals.

If your home has survived a severe storm, we recommend that you schedule an appointment for us to come and take a look ASAP. If you wait for obvious signs of damage, you may be putting your entire home at risk. Moreover, if your roof or other structural elements have suffered storm damage, your insurance should cover the cost of repair and restoration.

We are a fully licensed general contractor specializing in insurance restoration. We also offer 24/7 emergency home restoration services on mold, water, fire, smoke and storm damage, as well as vandalism or any other disaster that may strike your home.

Getting Speedy Storm Damage Repair Can Make All the Difference

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

When hurricane Harvey struck, our storm team made sure to help all of those affected by the storm.

Mother Nature can sometimes be brutal on our homes and buildings. You’ve likely seen footage of the damage that was caused by major storms such as hurricanes or tornadoes, but the reality is that any storm with strong winds and heavy rain can do a number on your house. For example, a tree branch could get knocked against your roof or windows, or perhaps some power lines might come down on your home. Once you’ve survived the storm, trying to figure out how to take care of the storm damage repair can be a major pain. Where do you even start with something like that?

The good news is that your home insurance usually covers these kinds of repairs. Your best bet is to contact our office immediately to schedule services. SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island specializes in storm damage repair and can come and take a look at the damage. One of the extra things that we do for our clients is to work directly with insurance companies and make sure that we get the repairs taken care of on your home without providing any unnecessary financial burden on you. This is why there is no reason to fret over a large repair from storm damage that has been dealt to your home.

In the past, we have helped many home owners all across North Carolina get their storm damage quickly taken care of. So no matter what happens to your home, you can rest easy knowing that our team of SERVPRO professionals has you covered. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our emergency storm damage repair services.

Call Us After Wind or Storm Damage We Are Crisis Recovery Professionals!

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has the proper training and equipment to handle any storm damage.

High winds and storms can cause serious damage to buildings and homes – sending trees through windows, ripping off siding and shingles, and causing severe structural damage. If you have been the victim of storm damage, contact us – we are the crisis recovery experts.

Homeowners and businesses have trusted us for over 50 years. Our team has vast experience in insurance restoration, insurance adjusting and construction. In the wake of a storm, homeowners and businesses can count on us 24/7. Our storm damage restoration professionals offer turnkey services to get properties back to normal.

When we work for you, you have a trusted partner in every step of the  process, from re-installations to repairs and temporary board-ups. Moreover, our 24-hour disaster response service means that no matter when a hurricane, tornado or storm strikes, we’ve got you covered. Our services include:

• Inspection to determine the extent of storm damage
• Negotiations with your insurance company to ensure you get a fair settlement
• Cleanup of debris
• Temporary security measures that include board-ups for doors, windows, roofs, etc.
• Roof damage repair

Top 3 things you should know about Water Damage

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

This home was affected by water damage, and our crew was there to make it "Like it never even happened"

Water damage can be a huge hassle if not handled correctly. A surprise flood or leak can cause major issues with your walls, flooring, and furniture. When you are faced with excess water in your home, here are three things to keep in mind when facing water damage:

  1. Don’t wait to get help. It is important to get help as quickly as possible from a professional service to prevent major water damage in your home. The sooner you call a reliable team experienced in water damage restoration, the better. Getting the situation taken care of as soon as possible will prevent mold growth and other serious problems in your home.
  2. Start drying the area right away. The more you can dry the affected areas, the better. Mopping up extra water with towels and rags will help the area dry faster. When drying the area, don’t use a vacuum to remove water or use other fans or electrical appliances as they can be potentially dangerous.
  3. The damage can spread deeper than the surface. Even if you clean up all the standing water, it is likely that more water seeped through the floor and baseboards. If this extra water underneath your floor is not taken care of, it can quickly become a bigger problem, leading to mold and damage to the structure of your home.

If you are faced with unexpected flooding or leaks and are worried about water damage, give SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island. We can help take care of the situation quickly, so you won’t have water damage to worry about in the future. Give us a call today!

What can be restored from water damage

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Professionals Extracting water in our customers home

When your home has been affected by water damage, you may be tempted to want to throw everything in the trash and start over. Water damage can have devastating effects and can be difficult to clean and restore a property to its original state. Fortunately, at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, we are experts at restoration from water damage and can help guide you when it comes to restoring your home after an accident.

The good news is, plenty of things can be saved and restored after being affected by water. However, a lot of this depends on quick action on the part of the property owner. The longer a home goes without being treated, the worse the damage becomes. Mold begins to grow in the damp environment and can be irreversibly damaging. Mold spores can begin to spread throughout the home and linger in the air, where it can be inhaled and cause negative health effects to the inhabitants. The sooner you act to rid your home of water damage, the better. At SERVPRO, we offer 24-hour emergency service, so we can begin the cleanup process right away.

Some things should not be kept after having been subjected to extreme water damage. Things like mattresses, box springs, pillows, particle board and other similar items tend to harbor moisture and foster the growth of microbes. We recommend replacing items like this to prevent illness and the spread of microbes in the future. If you are unsure of whether you should toss something or not, we are happy to consult with you.

Water damage in your home is a frustrating experience to live through, but if you work with us at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, you can be sure that your home will be restored to its original beauty.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre island top Quality Fire Restoration

4/26/2019 (Permalink)

Making fire damage "Like it never even happened"

Every fire is different. Even a small fire can be devastating to your home and belongings.  It may seem like a total loss, but that is not always the case.  A call to a professional fire restoration company can make all the difference. They can restore your home, clean, and possibly save many of your belongings. Your home can be repaired and safe to live in faster than you might think.

Fire restoration is essential. A fire restoration team can be at your home as soon as the fire department clears it. They will begin assessing the damage to determine what they can save and what needs to be replaced.  They will be very thorough to make sure that your home will be completely safe for you and your family to live in once everything is cleaned up and restored. Odor removal makes furniture and belongings, such as clothes, seem good as new.

After the fire’s out, that’s were our team at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island comes in. We hope you never need our disaster restoration services, but if you ever do, we hope you remember our name.

What Goes On In the Dehumidification Process?

4/26/2019 (Permalink)

We have highly advanced equipment to get your home dry right and on time!

Dehumidification is a process where excess moisture is removed from your property. The process often takes place following a deep cleaning or when water has to be cleared out following a flood. Our team at Spangler Restoration will provide you with the help you need for dehumidifying your property.

But what happens during dehumidification? You should look at what will go on when getting your surfaces dried oDehumidificationff.

  1. The dehumidifier must be sized based on the area you need to have treated. The size is based on the number of pints of water a unit can remove in a 24-hour period. Use a humidifier with a capacity of 10 pints for every 500 square feet.
  2. A fan will start working in the dehumidifier. This will take in air from the area, particularly air with high moisture content.
  3. The air that is collected will get in contact with cooling coils. Those coils will remove moisture as the temperature is lowered.
  4. The treated air is released back into the room. The air should be dry at this point.
  5. The key is to get the relative humidity in a room to around 30 to 50 percent. This is a natural level of moisture that does not cause surfaces to become wet but still ensures the surfaces will not wear out.

You must see what you will get out of the dehumidification process. See what we at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island can do for your property when keeping excess moisture from being a burden in your home.

Staying Safe During a Tornado | SERVPRO® of East Brownsville & South Padre Island Storm Team.

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

Our Storm team is always ready to handle any disaster!

Spring weather can often be unpredictable, so it always a good idea to be prepared for the chance of severe thunderstorms that lead to the perfect conditions for a tornado touchdown.

Historically, April and May have the highest occurrences of tornadoes at 30% and 24% respectively, which means we are currently in the height of tornado season throughout the United States. Included in this blog are some tips and information on tornadoes that can help keep your family prepared for the worst possible scenario.

When Can Tornadoes Occur?

Approximately 1,200 tornadoes occur in the U.S. each year, and they are usually the result of severe thunderstorms, especially those known as “supercells.”

A tornado will form when changes in wind speed and direction create a horizontal spinning effect within a storm cell. This is then tipped vertical by rising air moving up through the thunderclouds.

The tornado’s signature funnel cloud will first be transparent, but it will become visible when it picks up water droplets from the storm’s moist air condense or dust and debris.

A typical tornado can grow to be 660 feet wide and will move at 10 to 20 miles per hour, although larger and faster have been observed. Hail and intense winds of more than 200 mph can accompany tornadoes.

The time of day that tornadoes typically occur in the spring and summertime is later in the afternoon, but it is vital to remember that they can occur anytime and anywhere.

Staying Safe in a Tornado

Make sure to understand the difference between a tornado watch and tornado warning. When a watch is issued, the conditions are favorable for tornadoes, whereas a warning is issued when a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.

Please, if you find yourself in the path of a tornado when a warning has been issued for your area, take action and find a safe shelter.

Shelter options include:

  • Underground options like a basement or storm shelter.
  • The lowest part of your home, in an area that is away from outside walls, doors and windows. Interior closets and bathrooms can be ideal options.
  • If you are outside, try to get to a sturdy building. Mobile homes and trailers are not a safe option.
  • If on the road and no building access is available, do not get under an overpass or bridge. Instead, find a low, flat location and use your arms to protect your head and neck.

You should store flashlights, a battery-powered weather radio and extra batteries in your selected tornado shelter at home.

When driving, DO NOT try to outrun a tornado. Also, when you are taking shelter in your home, utilize furniture items like couch cushions, mattresses or blankets for additional protection for your head and neck covered whenever possible.

Tornadoes can wreak absolute havoc on the areas they touch down in. While meteorologists and weather services can provide some advanced warning to potential threats, tornadoes can still occur with little to no warning at all.

If your home or business has been damaged by a tornado, know that SERVPRO® of East Brownsville & South Padre Island storm team is ready and waiting to jump into action and get cleanup and restoration of your property underway.

Mold Remediation...Don’t forget the mycotoxins!

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

Our technicians have the certification to remediate mold in your home!

As we all know, when you see mold, no matter what color, it needs to be removed. But how do we remove a .1 micron size molecule? Hepa filtration is only required to remove 99.97% of particles of .3 microns or larger. Not small enough. Air scrubbers remove airborne particles down to .3 microns. Still not small enough. In addition to the removal of all dust particulate, we find that newer fogging products, like MoldToxinKlear by US Enzyme, effectively ensure mycotoxin removal.

The US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health continues its comments by stating “metabolites produced by mold are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals.”* Many of our mold-sick customers have health issues not only due to mold but the mycotoxins they produce.

Symptoms can widely range and affect many different organ systems, as suggested by author and practicing physician Neil Nathan M.D. He is author of Mold and Mycotoxins, Current Evaluation & Treatment (2016). He published the following list of symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Muscle aches and cramps • Headaches
  • Unusual pains (“ice pick” or “lightening bolt”)
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea
  • Sensitivity to bright light, tearing, blurred vision
  • Chronic sinus congestion
  • Cough, chest pain, shortness of breath
  • Joint pain with morning stiffness
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Skin sensitivity to light touch
  • Appetite swings and weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Numbness and tingling, often in unusual patterns
  • Night sweats
  • Frequent urination
  • Temperature dysregulation
  • Sensitivity to static electrical shocks
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Excessive thirst • Impotence
  • Menorrhagia

Super Highway for Mold & Mycotoxins

Mycotoxin molecules are a much smaller molecule than the mold spore itself, making it easier to travel throughout a structure and ductwork. Mold spores are typically 1-6 microns, while human hair is about 100 microns and a mycotoxin metabolite is .1 micron. This small size, therefore, makes it easy to inhale or be absorbed through the skin.

In today’s remediation process we should not only be concerned with mold removal but also these small molecules that can cause severe health issues. There are two areas of focus. The first is removal of all dust particulate where these molecules often land and take up residency. The second is in the ductwork and its role in distribution, which must be addressed in mold remediation projects. We always recommend duct and coil cleaning at the same time of mold remediation.

Mycotoxin Environmental Testing

Not all species of mold produces a toxic substance. But if we see obvious mold and know it has been there for several weeks, we should assume mycotoxins can be present without testing. A recent study of mold growing on wallpaper was determined to produce mycotoxins that were detectable in two weeks of colony growth. **

There are several labs that test for mycotoxins in the urine of suspected mold-sick patients, and there are only a couple of labs that test for mycotoxins in the environment. We find many patients will want the environmental tests to confirm their location of exposure, home, auto or work. We use RealTime Labs in these cases, which require dust samplings of the structure for evaluation. Testing is not always necessary if you understand the species of mold that produce mycotoxins. The most common include:

  • Stachybotrys chartarum
  • Aspergillus flavus
  • Aspergillus fumigatus
  • Aspergillus niger
  • Aspergillus versicolor
  • Fusarium verticilloides
  • Penicillium chrysogenum
  • Penicillium citrinum
  • Penicillium brevicompactum
  • Chaetomium globosum

If your home is in need of mold remediation, Call the mold pro's at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island!

Our Applicants Are Always Our Main Priority

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

We are always here to help with your cleaning, and restoration needs.

Flood damage, burst pipes, and storms, OH MY! It feels like between all the crazy weather we have had in the past year, we have enough to worry about when it comes to potential water damages affecting your home or businesses. However, there is a hidden danger that lies within your home or business's walls that needs to be paid attention to. Leaking, and blocked appliances may not seem like a big deal, but it does not take a lot of time for a little leak to cause a lot of damage to your business. Taking the time to pay attention and keeping your appliances up to date can not only save you a lot of money in the long run, but it can also ensure you are keeping your property doors open and operating. Here are some helpful tips on how to make sure you're making your appliances a priority.

Mark Your Calendar

When you purchase new appliances, make sure you write down the expiration dates and recommended replacement dates on their parts and hoses. You have enough to remember throughout your busy days, so this allows you to write it down and forget about it (until the time comes to make replacements that is).

Make a Date Every Friday Afternoon

Cut out 30 minutes every Friday afternoon and walk around and check all your appliances that are hooked up to a water source. Check for blockages, the hoses, and any leaks, so that you can make sure you are not leaving them unattended for a whole weekend. A small leak over a two-day span could not only create a large amount of damage, but it could be the cause for you having to close your business's doors for a few days. Keeping up with your appliances will help keep your weekend as stress-free as possible.

Don't Put it Off

When you find the problem, fix the problem. Replace a leaky hose, or call a plumber to clear the blockage in your drains or sinks before it is too late. Finding and fixing an issue early on will save you a lot of trouble, time, and money, so don't put it off!

If you do find yourself with a water damage due to a faulty appliance, make sure you give SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island a call!

We Can Respond Fast to Your Disaster | SERVPRO® of East Brownsville & South Padre Island

4/12/2019 (Permalink)

We are always here to help assist our Brownsville community!

If you are faced with a huge cleanup after disaster strikes your home or business, time becomes an especially precious commodity. Since it is your home or livelihood on the line, you don’t have the benefit of waiting for help—you need it right away.

We know that a fast response is very important, which is why responding faster to any size disaster is more than just a slogan to us.

Disasters Require a Quick Response

When it’s your belongings or business on the line, you do not have the luxury of time when it comes to disaster cleanup. This is especially true when water damage has come into play, which can happen from various events such as flooding, appliance and/or plumbing failures, storm damage and fire damage, as water is used to put out the fires.

It only takes mere minutes for water to spread throughout your property, where it will saturate anything and everything in its path. The walls, the floors, upholstery and your belongings are fast casualties of water.

The effects of water damage within the first 24 hours include:

  • Drywall beginning to swell and break down
  • Metal surfaces beginning to tarnish
  • Furniture beginning to swell and crack
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper items spreading and staining
  • The beginning of a musty odor

As time goes on, the damage will continue to worsen. Between 48 hours and a week later, you could begin to see:

  • The growth and spreading of mold and mildew
  • Swelling and warping of doors, windows and studs
  • Metal beginning to rust and corrode
  • Paint beginning to blister
  • Wood flooring swelling and warping
  • The possibilities of serious biohazard contamination

If water damage is left unchecked for over a week, it will lead to dramatically increased restoration costs and time, as well as impact structural safety.

We’re Here to Help

As a locally owned and operated franchise, we can provide an immediate response to any size disaster, which can help minimize the damage and help keep the cleaning and restoration costs manageable.

Our trained cleanup and restoration specialists can be dispatched to your property or business at any time, no matter what day or time it is.

We are close by and ready to respond whenever the call comes in. A major perk of being part of a national network of over 1,700 franchises is that we have access to more resources for the cleanup and restoration projects that may be larger or stem from major storm situations.

Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO® of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Do's & Don'ts Of Mold Removal

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island for any mold issues you may have!

Even if you're a clean person, that doesn't guarantee that you won't have mold issues. Unfortunately, mold, just like bed bugs, DON'T care about your level of cleanliness. Regardless, mold will grow anywhere whenever there has been a water loss issue at your home that wasn't professionally removed. Anyone can have a mold problem in there home or business at anytime. SERVPRO Of East Brownsville & South Padre Island have compiled a handy list of some do's and don'ts you should follow when it comes to mold removal:

Do:

Examine your home or business regularly. Most types of mold share some obvious warning signs. For example, a musty smell in a damp basement usually means there's mold around. Black, gray, brown, or even white clusters of mold on walls, carpeting or flooring are easy to spot with the naked eye. Be observant about your home and check it regularly for mold.

Call a professional. A professional can determine which type of mold you might have, where it originates from, and how to safely perform mold removal.

Don't:

Try the Do it yourself approach. Because some molds are toxic to pets and humans, it's not safe to tackle this problem on your own. The money you think you might save by Doing it yourself isn't worth your health. Mold carries so much health risks.

Wait. Mold can grow quickly and can be dangerous. if you suspect a problem, call it in ASAP!

Make the mold feel welcome. Mold likes the darkness and warm moisture. Fix the leaks, install dehumidifiers and don't ignore the warning signs of more mold growth.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Islands Important Advice For Mold Remediation

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Mold remediation services available.

Mold is a very serious thing that can lead to many problems like health issues, respiratory issues and even safety issues. In fact, it's sometimes deadly. Its a situation that should never be ignored and be removed right away. When you observe your first sign of mold, Call SERVPRO as soon as possible, NEVER try and handle the mold situation yourself! Being exposed to the mold will pass on some dangerous health problems. Also, we warn you that you should NEVER  touch anything electrical when water is where it doesn't belong. While this might seem obvious, you'd be surprised at the number of people who have a flooded basement and casually wade through the water in order  to turn off appliances or light switches on or off. Just a few inches of water can saturate electrical outlets near a floor. In fact, you should not be there in the first place. We remind you once again, it is very dangerous! Don't let mold remain in your home for too long. This leads to the mold to spread rapidly throughout your home or business. Mold cannot grow without moisture, Therefore, its always good to have a dehumidifier to remove dampness from the air and reduce the threat of mold.

Use your senses if you suspect your house or business has mold. If you smell mustiness, its very likely mold is present. If something looks suspicious, Don't hesitate to have it checked out by SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island. Better safe than sorry.!

The Dangers Of Standing Flood Water From A Storm

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Contact Us today for any storm/water damage.

Storms cause much destruction, and devastation every year. Some of the biggest dangers caused by storms occur right after the storm has already passed. Standing flood water that was caused by storms can cause serious health risks. Here are some of the most severe problems floods can bring.

Health Dangers

Standing flood water is filled with health risks. They are teeming with diseases. Bacterial infections, and diseases become a greater possibility because flood water can infect anything it touches. This includes anything from clothing to toys that children play with. Its important not to drink or eat anything that has been contaminated by standing flood water, and always wash your hands as often as possible, especially before meals. Open wounds pose a far more greater risk of becoming infected. If possible, keep opened wounds out of the water or cover with waterproof bandages.

Physical Hazards

Disease isn't the only invisible hazard that exist within standing water. Murky water can conceal dangerous insects or even threatening animals beneath the surface. Much of this depends on the location of the storm. Standing water may also contain physical damage caused by the storm such as broken glass or sharp metal which might be impossible to see before it causes injury. On top of that, storms frequently cause damage to power lines. This can lead to a risk of electrocution in standing water. Flood water itself poses the possibility of causing drowning, whether people are in their cars or trying to swim across.

If you need storm damage repair of water damage clean-up, Contact SERVPRO Of East Brownsville & South Padre Island today!

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & SPI Storm Damage Restoration Process

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Damage caused by a storm.

Violent weather such as storm damage can wreak havoc on buildings and houses as well. The wind that comes with any type of storm can be a hazard to the structures of building or homes, by loosening the shingles or tiles on the roof. This can cause moisture such as rain and snow to infiltrate into the protective surface of the roof, which will result in the wood swelling and later on disintegration and becoming moldy. This outcome will lead to a sagging ceiling and further problems. Elements such as wind, rain, hail, and lightning can result in turning people’s lives upside down. this is why you should always count on the hero's at SERVPRO Of East Brownsville & South Padre Island. We specialize in storm restoration and clean-ups as well.

Today we would like to educate you on some of the activities we do when it comes to storm restoration.

  • Whether it is a business or residence, SERVPRO will come to your property and our trained experts will do a thorough examination of the interior and exterior of your building. This will help them discover the level of the damage. In many cases, the restoration company will discuss the renovation plans with you and your insurance adjuster.
  • When everything is agreed upon, the work begins. Depending on what type of damage is present, this will determine the type of equipment the professional will use. In the case of flooding, they will use specialized pumps and vacuums to remove water from the affected areas.
  • Generators will be brought in to operate their dehumidifiers and air movers so mold and mildew do not have a change to make matters worse. Using customized cleaners, the specialist will then disinfect hard surfaces and shampoo salvageable carpets as well as apply deodorant to combat any odors.
  •  SERVPRO will be able to rescue your building from greater structural issues, by inspecting the roof and replacing the dilapidated areas. After sealing and renovating the roof, they will then address the ceiling and restore to its former condition.

SERVPRO Of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has seen everything from BAD to WORSE, but that doesn't stop us from getting the job done right. Leave it to the professionals!

Commercial Cleaning Services: Questions To Ask Proffessionals

1/8/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Of East Brownsville & South Padre Island commercial cleaning services.

Office appearance is always an important part of a company’s image, and so is asking questions. A clean and well-lit work space and reception area can make a lasting favorable impression on employees and customers alike. If you are considering hiring commercial cleaning services to improve the appearance of your office, here are five questions to ask potential providers.

1. Do You Get Ride Of Germs In Addition To Surface Cleaning?

Germs quickly pass from person to person and decrease productivity while increasing employee absenteeism. A commercial cleaning service should be professionally equipped to handle limiting the spread of germs, and keeping your office healthy as well as clean.

2. What Hours Do You Work?

Many cleaning services work off-peak hours to accommodate their clients needs and wants. Nighttime cleaning when the office is empty, it limits the disruptions caused by a cleaning service passing through a work area. However, if your company has odd hours, you might want to discuss this ahead of time with any potential commercial cleaning services and ask if its possible to tailor a work schedule to meet your company's schedule.

3. Do You Use Environmentally Friendly Products?

Consumer's have raised concerns about the excessive use of harsh chemicals used for cleaning. Advanced equipment and modern cleaning products have been designed to thoroughly clean an office using environmentally friendly cleaning techniques. If the use of Environment friendly cleaners is a priority for you, ask your potential commercial cleaning services about their products and their preferred methods to ensure they share your concern for the environment.

4. What Are Your Contract Terms?

As any business arrangement, They usually make you sign a contract or agreement of services if you require ongoing cleaning services. Review the contract for cancellation terms in the event that you are not fully satisfied. Also, be sure to ask for references and check online reviews prior to signing an agreement. At a minimum, the contract should include a description of services to be rendered, the agreed payment terms, and require the cleaning service provider to maintain proper insurance.

5. Do Your Employees Undergo Training?

The quality of employee training makes a difference in terms of quality of work and reliability. Ask commercial cleaners about their training regimens and what specialized cleaning equipment employees will use on the job. Before granting a cleaning service unsupervised access to your facility, you may also wish to inquire about the employment background check process and employee turnover.

Hiring a professional commercial cleaning company is one way to keep your business looking neat and polished. Whether you are looking for a one-time or seasonal cleaning, or if you need services on a recurring basis, SERVPRO Of East Brownsville & South Padre Island  can make a significant difference in the overall appearance of your company facilities.

Water Damage: What To Do After A Flash Flood.

1/8/2019 (Permalink)

Pipe leaks in home cause serious damage.

In an instant, Mother nature's rains can inflict total destruction. This could result in a cracked water pipe that is constantly flooding out your home. Water damage in your living space is very serious. Your first step should always be to find the water source and try to stop it. SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island would like to provide you a few quick fixes that you can do to try while you wait for the items to be repaired.

1. Pump Out The Water

The first thing you’ll want to do if you have standing water from flood damage is get rid of it. Pumping out the water with a sump pump will help drain most of the water. Once the water’s drained, you can start analyzing the damage, and once the water levels are down, call the Fire And Water Clean-up & Restoration team at SERVPRO Of East Brownsville & South Padre Island.

2. Restoring Flooring

If your hardwood flooring, tile or carpeting had a lot of standing water on it, it’s important to determine if you can repair it or if you need to replace it. Before you decide to rip the carpet out, call the pros at SERVPRO. we will be able to save your wet, soiled carpeting with our powerful extraction process. Even Hardwood flooring can be salvaged by extracting water and then immediately applying cleaning solution. From there, the wood fibers or carpeting are saturated, sanitized and water is removed. The result is a clean, bacteria-free floor or carpet that is safe to use again.

3. Try To Remove As Much Furniture As Possible 

Once the water has stopped flowing in your Suwanee home, the first thing you should do is find your electrical breaker and shut the box off. This will allow you to safely go in and shut off all water valves if necessary. You’ll be able to assess the water damage in your home. Try to move wood furniture to a safe and dry location.

4. Get The Air Circulating

With small amounts of standing water and wet flooring remaining, you’ll want to get the air flowing. This is because damp spaces are a breeding ground for mold, mildew, germs and bacteria. 

5. Waterproof Your Home

Once the leaks have subsided and your items have been restored, it’s time to consider waterproofing your home. A temporary fix would be to seal off any holes or spaces where water can easily enter. This may include a broken downspout, a missing roof shingle or missing flashing around your roof. From there, you may want to consider have your basement as well as the exterior base of your home waterproofed to prevent water from pooling.

floods can cause very serious damage to your home. Call the water damage experts at SERVPRO OF East Brownsville and South Padre  Island right away! We will assist you with fast clean-up and flood recovery! 

3 Types Of Fires & Effective Cleaning Techniques

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

Before and After pictures of a home that had been affected by fire damage.

Many people aren't aware that there is more than just one type of fire and that there are different cleaning techniques depending on what type of fire occurred. The most prevalent types of fires are: high-oxygen fires, which produce dry soot; low oxygen fires, which produce greasy, wet soot, and lastly, kitchen fires. Here's a closer look at how to clean each type of fire:

  • High oxygen fire: Dry sponges are a MUST when it comes to this type of fire. Follow this by applying a low-alkali detergent and then rinse thoroughly.
  • Low oxygen fire: Use high-alkali detergents along with warm water to wash the walls and structures. Rinse, then paint over.
  • Kitchen fire: These are often the most challenging fires to clean, as soot residue is difficult to detect. For this reason, cabinets, drawers, and other appliances often need to be removed to adequately clean area.

General Cleaning Techniques

Smoke and soot can often penetrate paint, carpet, upholstery, and textiles (clothing). While carpet can be deep cleaned and textiles can be taken to the dry cleaner's, properly restoring walls, structures, and objects is a different story. So here's a look at some helpful general cleaning techniques:

  • Personal protective equipment: Most important thing to do first is always wear protective equipment. Gloves, a protective mask, long-sleeved shirts and pants should be worn on site to minimize contact with ash.
  • Remove contents: Remove contents from the house. While some contents may have to be discarded, others can be effectively hand cleaned. Cleaning contents in an ultrasonic machine is also an option with some items.
  • Ventilate: Open all windows and doors to remove odor.
  • Beware of other contaminants: Lead and asbestos can turn a fire restoration job into an environmental restoration job if they've become disturbed.
  • Hand scrubbing: Fire damage work is one of the most tedious types of repair work. It involves a lot of handwork, such as scrubbing walls and structures with sponges, and using chemicals, and  specialized restoration equipment, such as media blasting tools, in the event of heavy residue.
  • Duct cleaning: Following restoration, a duct cleaning is required. That's because smoke and soot have a tendency to become trapped within a home of business's duct system. This can spread contaminants and odors to other areas of the home when in operation. Hence, a professional duct cleaning is necessary.

  Techniques for various materials

  • Clothes and fabrics: A specialized dry cleaner is capable of restoring these items to the condition they were before any loss occurred. Cleaning soot contaminated clothing is somewhat of a science, and while a homeowner may be able to adequately restore clothing on his own, it's always best to leave this to the professionals.
  • Carpet: A professional carpet cleaning is a MUST in order to effectively remove contaminants and odor from the carpet.
  • Building Materials: Dry chemical sponges are your best bet for wallboard, plaster, wood, and wallpaper. These will remove much of the soot and also prevent it from being lodged deeper into the material.
  • Other materials: Sponges, towels, and mops are ideal for cleaning tile, glass, metal, and certain appliances. Since these aforementioned objects are less porous than drywall, for example, its OK to use a wet or dampened sponge or cleaning tool. Plus, there's no risk of lodging contaminants deeper into the material.
  • Specialty cleaning tools: Ultrasonic cleaning machines can come in handy as they can adequately clean non-porous items quickly and efficiently, compared to hand cleaning.

Fire damage situations can be very overwhelming, but remember that there is always a solution to every problem. Leave it to the professionals! SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island are highly experienced and are here to make things go "Like it never even happened."

Thermal Imaging For Water Damage Restoration

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

Visual representation a thermal image camera provides.

Over the years, SERVPRO Of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has been developing many tools that have help make our technician's job get done much more efficiently. One tool that we use in every job that involves water damage is the Thermal Imaging Camera A.K.A The IR Camera. Today we will be discussing more about this tool on how its used and the benefits it provides to restoration contractors.

Benefits An IR camera Brings.

Going into a job with this technology helps us build credibility with the customer. They aren't just depending on our word, they are being provided with visible evidence of what exactly the problem is and where it Is occurring.

Recent Innovations With Thermal Imaging/IR Technology.

The thermal Pro LT, brings infrared technology into our smartphone. It detects things using our mobile device that are not visible to the eye. In most cases, It may look fine to the naked eye, when in reality its NOT. Thermal imaging helps us find where the problem lies beneath the surface. For example, An area of the customers home had been affected by mold, We cant see if there is still any water accumulated in the area, so that's when the IR comes in handy. We take either a visual image or voice over video of the area, then a visual of the problem is sent right to our smartphone. We can now get to fixing the problem as soon as possible.

Choosing The Proper Drying Equipment for Commercial Restoration

1/3/2019 (Permalink)

Drying after water loss in commercial building.

Selecting the Proper Drying Equipment for Commercial Restoration

Imagine a disaster has just struck your business caused by a fire or flood from a terrible storm.After making sure everyone is safe, what are your concerns about your business? Can I stay open? Can I get supplies from my vendors? How long will it take to get the place back together? How are we going to pay for it all? at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, Our job is to help answer these questions and provide the best overall solution. What we need to do is combine these concerns and needs with equipment available on the market to produce the best result. The fundamentals of drying dictate that adding energy (heat) to a material while passing the driest available air over its porous surface will invoke evaporation of unwanted moisture from the material and thus the building itself We have special fans for getting your business dried quickly and also a pump to get all that water out.Here at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island,We provide a variety of drying equipment specifically used when water damage has taken place in your business our equipment gets the job done right and in a matter of hours to get you back in business on time! So whenever your business needs to get dried, Consider SERVPRO We got you covered!  

12 Protection tips for Fire Damage Restoration

1/3/2019 (Permalink)

 

12 Tips to Protect Yourself during Fire Damage Restoration | 2018-11-27 | Restoration & Remediation Magazine

During a wildfire, innumerable toxic chemicals, poisonous gases, heavy metals, and other toxins are generated by the materials, household products, and vegetation that burns. These contaminants fill the air, become part of the ash, and are extremely dangerous to your health if inhaled or come in contact with your skin. As restoration contractors, we often forget about the dangers involved in the various environments we enter, but safety should always be a top priority.

If you're home or business has been affected by fire or smoke,Here are some helpful safety tips:

 

12 Tips to Protect Yourself during Fire Damage Restoration | 2018-11-27 | Restoration & Remediation Magazine

  1. Avoid breathing air contaminated by smoke odor and minimize your exposure to contaminated areas.
  2. If you need to enter a smoke damaged structure, wear proper personal protective equipment, including a proper fitting respirator with a P-100 HEPA filter designed to filter vapor or gasses (not a dust mask).
  3. Persons with heart or lung disease should consult their physician before using a mask during post-fire cleanup.
  4. Avoid handling or coming in direct skin contact with items or materials affected by smoke, soot, or ash. If you need to retrieve items damaged by smoke, wear proper personal protection equipment, such as coveralls, eye protection, gloves, proper foot wear, hardhat, etc.
  5. Avoid getting ash into the air as much as possible. Do not use leaf blowers or take other actions that will put ash into the air.
  6. Avoid using shop vacuums and other common vacuum cleaners. These do not filter out small particles, but blow them out the exhaust into the air where they can be inhaled.
  7. Do not allow children or pets to enter areas that have smoke odor, ash or soot. If children or pets get soot or ash on their skin or hair, wash immediately with mild soap and warm water.
  8. If you anticipate that you will need to be inside a building or area affected by smoke, attempt to ventilate the area by opening windows or doors unless doing so will allow outdoor smoke odor or ash to get in. Minimize your exposure as much as possible.
  9. Have an environmental testing laboratory test for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and particulates to determine what types and concentrations of toxins may be present. Rarefied Air Environmental can also provide you with a comprehensive smoke odor remediation protocol.
  10. When sorting through contents, don't take chances. People should not eat or drink anything that has signs of heat or smoke damage. When in doubt, throw it out!
  11. If you experience any adverse health symptoms from exposure to smoke or soot, seek medical attention immediately.
  12. If you need to be in an enclosed space that has smoke odor, such as an office, home, or building, try to set up air scrubbers with HEPA filters or other type of filter designed to remove ultra-fine particulate matter as quickly as possible. In addition, using a hydroxyl generator can help to break down odor causing molecules

if your home or business has been damaged by fire,Call SERVPRO ASAP To repair damage!

Building Material Remediation

12/14/2018 (Permalink)

Remediating fungal contamination that is impacting building materials involves a number of steps that are widely accepted in the industry, and experience has determined that these steps should be performed in a particular order. This method offers the best possibility for removing the visible mold growth and associated debris without cross contaminating surrounding areas. Remediation professionals like SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island use the following steps as a starting point for developing a specific work plan for each project.

  1. Set up initial engineering controls, including isolation barriers, negative pressure system, and drop cloths necessary to protect the structure during initial response activities.
  2. Remove standing water.
  3. Assess condition of contents, set up appropriate decontamination structure, and remove contents from the mold remediation work area.
  4. Finalize engineering controls for removal of building materials harboring fungal growth. Make sure the setup can accommodate any unexpected hidden growth.
  5. Work with the air flow. Generally, this means that the project should be set up so that mold impacted materials closest to the decontamination unit are removed first. Work then progresses from the decon unit toward the negative air machine.
  6. Remove porous materials with visible growth. Use work practices that minimize the generation of dust. This may include the use of hand tools or power tools to which a HEPA vacuum can be attached.
    7. Enforce work procedures that emphasize a clean-as-you-go approach. Whenever possible, as they are removed from walls and ceilings, cut building materials in sections small enough to fit directly into waste bags. Bag all waste immediately rather than allowing it to pile up on the floor. Change negative air machine and vacuum filters often enough to keep them operating at optimum levels.
  7. Enforce work procedures that emphasize a clean-as-you-go approach. Whenever possible, as they are removed from walls and ceilings, cut building materials in sections small enough to fit directly into waste bags. Bag all waste immediately rather than allowing it to pile up on the floor. Change negative air machine and vacuum filters often enough to keep them operating at optimum levels.
  8. Seal waste bags using the gooseneck technique. Move waste bags into the decontamination unit where the exteriors of the bags are cleaned or they are double bagged prior to movement through unprotected areas of the building.
  9. Determine the remediation approach for semi-porous materials that have visible fungal growth. Depending on the condition of the material some items, such as rotted wood studs, may have to be removed for later replacement. Other semi-porous materials that have not suffered structural damage can be cleaned by scraping, sanding, scrubbing, or blasting. Whenever possible, use tools in conjunction with a HEPA vacuum. Specialty tools, such as the Scravac, are specifically designed for scraping contamination directly into a vacuum nozzle. Make sure that the cleaning technique does not exceed the capacity of the engineering controls. Blasting, for example, may require a substantial increase in the amount of negative pressure and airflow as compared to a standard mold remediation work area.
  10. Clean all non-porous materials that have visible fungal growth. This usually involves damp wiping or HEPA vacuuming.
  11. Using the HEPA sandwich technique, clean the entire isolated work area, including ceilings and non-impacted walls. If there are any bacterial concerns because of gray or black water, incorporate appropriate antimicrobial chemicals into the damp wiping step.
  12. If necessary, dry the remaining material in the work area through dehumidification. Be careful that airflow from fans and dehumidifiers does not impact the integrity of the isolation barriers.
  13. Conduct a thorough visual inspection of the isolated work area. Use the white glove test to ensure that the area is free of dust. Re-clean as necessary.
  14. Conduct post-remediation evaluation sampling. Compare the results to the company’s standards for mold remediation (see box for suggested post-remediation sample criteria). Re-clean and re-sample if necessary.
  15. Coordinate post-remediation verification sampling by a pre-selected third party. Evaluate the results in comparison to the criteria that were agreed upon at the beginning of the project (see box for suggested post-remediation sample criteria). Re-clean and re-sample if necessary. If the building owner chooses to forgo verification sampling, move to the next step.
  16. If included as part of the remediation project, apply an antimicrobial coating to exposed structural members to prevent future mold contamination. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. Allow all surfaces to dry thoroughly.
  17. Have the HVAC system cleaned following NADCA guidelines.
  18. If included as part of the project, replace and refinish building materials that were removed during remediation.
  19. Remove isolation barriers and remediation equipment. Unless specifically exempted in the remediation contract, repair any damage to finish materials caused by the isolation barriers.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has highly trained and certified technicians to tackle any size Mold Remediation Project.  We work hand in hand with the property owner and Industrial Hygienists to make sure the project is completed promptly and safely.  

Important Safety Tips Post Fire Loss

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

During a fire, innumerable toxic chemicals, poisonous gases, heavy metals, and other toxins are generated by the materials, household products, and vegetation that burns. These contaminants fill the air, become part of the ash, and are extremely dangerous to your health if inhaled or come in contact with your skin. Restoration Contractors like SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, often forget about the dangers involved in the various environments we enter, but safety should always be a top priority.

If you are entering an area affected by fire or smoke, consider the following safety tips:

  1. Avoid breathing air contaminated by smoke odor and minimize your exposure to contaminated areas.
  2. If you need to enter a smoke damaged structure, wear proper personal protective equipment, including a properly fitting respirator with a P-100 HEPA filter designed to filter vapor or gasses (not a dust mask).
  3. Persons with heart or lung disease should consult their physician before using a mask during post-fire cleanup.
  4. Avoid handling or coming in direct skin contact with items or materials affected by smoke, soot, or ash. If you need to retrieve items damaged by smoke, wear proper personal protection equipment, such as coveralls, eye protection, gloves, proper footwear, hardhat, etc.
  5. Avoid getting ash into the air as much as possible. Do not use leaf blowers or take other actions that will put ash into the air.
  6. Avoid using shop vacuums and other common vacuum cleaners. These do not filter out small particles but blow them out the exhaust into the air where they can be inhaled.
  7. Do not allow children or pets to enter areas that have a smoke odor, ash or soot. If children or pets get soot or ash on their skin or hair, wash immediately with mild soap and warm water.
  8. If you anticipate that you will need to be inside a building or area affected by smoke, attempt to ventilate the area by opening windows or doors unless doing so will allow outdoor smoke odor or ash to get in. Minimize your exposure as much as possible.
  9. Have an environmental testing laboratory test for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and particulates to determine what types and concentrations of toxins may be present.
  10. When sorting through contents, don't take chances. People should not eat or drink anything that has signs of heat or smoke damage. When in doubt, throw it out!
  11. If you experience any adverse health symptoms from exposure to smoke or soot, seek medical attention immediately.
  12. If you need to be in an enclosed space that has a smoke odor, such as an office, home, or building, try to set up air scrubbers with HEPA filters or another type of filter designed to remove ultra-fine particulate matter as quickly as possible. In addition, using a hydroxyl generator can help to break down odor-causing molecules.

When you are impacted by a Fire Event or Disaster, call on us here at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island.  We have highly trained Fire Restoration Technicians with the skills to tackle any size job.  Leave the cleaning and restoration to our experts so that you can focus on the other important aspects of your lives.

Fire Restoration--A Professional Standard

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has highly trained and certified Fire Restoration Technicians.  We continually train and update our service with the latest products and technology in order to improve and excel in our field.  We far exceed the current standard in place but agree that there is a need for the industry to employ updates.

Right now, work is underway to develop Fire Standard #2, or “FS#2”, or by the more formal long title Restoration and Documentation of Buildings Impacted by Combustion Particles. It will focus on how fire and smoke damage restoration work is done, and be just one of five component standards intended for eventual unification in a fire standard compendium. While there is obvious confusion due to the number of pieces at work here, this much is certain: the standard for fire damage restoration is coming, and it is going to be impactful and important. But the process takes time and a dedicated group of volunteers.

Work in Progress Since 2014

If everything goes as planned, our industry is looking at the publication of the FS#2 fire standard around this time next year in Q1 2019. The seemingly endless work of the 55 or so subject-matter-expert volunteers started in very early 2014. The overarching committee meets every other week, with meetings of the nine subcommittees often in the off weeks.

As 2017 wound to a close, the work of the volunteers, and the support of the sponsoring organizations (the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) and the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA)), has now culminated in submittal of a wide-ranging document of approximately 100 pages with nine standards sections (think chapters) and 20 informative appendices. In December 2017, the draft fire standard was submitted to ASHRAE for review, formatting, and the next and arguably most crucial stage: peer review.

Proper Procedures

The involvement of ASHRAE is new to our industry and has been a bit puzzling for restoration industry veterans. Traditionally, the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification)  has been the channel to which the industry submits the mold, water, and recently biohazard standards for our industries to ANSI. The latter is the acronym for the American National Standards Institute, a private, non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel. In short, if an industry wants a standard to be considered legitimate in the U.S. (such as having weight in court), there aren’t a whole lot of alternatives to successfully entering and completing ANSI’s validation process. In the past decade plus, the IICRC engaged this process successfully with standards for restoration of water damage (S500), mold (S520), and biohazard (S540); and, illustrating the rigors of ANSI, at one recent point lost ANSI accreditation for the mold standard, and had to work very hard to gain it back (another story for another article, another time perhaps).  It is important to note that whether it is the IICRC or ASHRAE engaged in this process, the work at this stage does not change the technical value and validity of the informational content.

As noted, this procedural stuff gets wonky, and the acronyms get dizzying, but understanding it at a high level is critical for those who want to be leaders and cutting edge in restoration. So, with FS#2, the RIA and IAQA will turn the ANSI process over to IAQA’s parent organization: ASHRAE. Founded in 1894, and formally known as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, ASHRAE boasts of more than 56,000 members, breadth across 132 nations (that’s out of a possible 195), and has some serious street cred when it comes to standards and the ANSI process. A quick search for ASHRAE standards on the ANSI website generated 165 hits. Even if there is only a quarter that many ASHRAE standards with ANSI blessing, that’s an impressive number of standards. When ASHRAE finishes a standard via ANSI, a lot of serious people across the larger world of construction and engineering take notice – which is no doubt a big positive in launching the new, first fire damage restoration standard.

During Q1 & Q2 2018, the ASHRAE process will take the drafted work of the fire damage volunteers, and transform it into the language and format customary to ASHRAE, and necessary for ANSI validation. At this point, it is only about the document conforming to industry norms of presentation, neutrality, and that the consensus process employed throughout the writing was consistently fair and balanced. While it may be hard for some to believe, ANSI really doesn’t care how accurate the content is in a standard. The priority is the integrity of the consensus process in development. If the process was handled correctly, then the resulting consensus among subject-matter-experts should have inherently produced valuable, timely and accurate content.

YOUR Call to Action

At some point in Q2 2018, a draft of FS#2 will come out of ASHRAE for peer review. Whether you are currently in the fire damage restoration business, affiliated with it, or considering it as an expansion of services, you should enroll to peer review the standard. The potential value is considerable. Peer review is an opportunity to get a look at the content of a guidance document that will shape an industry. A standard, especially a first version, is a document that will shape the understanding of influencers across the conceivable spectrum. Lawyers, insurers, specialized experts, clients (and their consultants), EH&S departments….all and more will read the document and use it as a yardstick measuring the progress and proficiency of the restoration pro. If a successful business is in large part about managing risk, leveraging expectations, and gaining competitive advantage – doesn’t reviewing the standard at the earliest possible opportunity make sense?

For those that haven’t participated in peer review before, let’s remove some common misconceptions. There are no massive hurdles to satisfy in order to participate. In fact, anyone can sign up to review a draft standard, make comments and recommend changes. You don’t need to be a member of ASHRAE, RIA or IAQA. Moreover, comments and recommendations made professionally (i.e., neither frivolous nor nasty) don’t get ignored. Quite the contrary: ANSI requires that the comments from everyone get read and responded to. What is strongly recommended if you participate is to bring substance to the table. A good philosophy is that if a reviewer decides to find fault with a given provision of the draft standard, then accompany that comment with a thoughtfully formulated suggestion for improvement/replacement. Doing so greatly improves your chances to effect significant change.

Also, there are some things we can expect from the upcoming peer review for the fire damage standard. As the first edition of a standard for an industry as venerable and large as fire damage, there will be a substantial amount of peer review comments requiring digestion and response. That effort will take much of Q3 into Q4 2018 – which is why the eventual publication is forecast for Q1 2019. We also know that when ASHRAE releases a standard for peer review, there is a firm 30-day window of opportunity to review and submit comments, there are no extensions.

What we don’t know is when the opportunity for peer review will happen. ASHRAE’s standards operations are formidable and busy. Not even RIA or IAQA have much visibility into their calendar for standards. At some point essentially the white smoke will rise from the ASHRAE chimney, and the peer review clock will start. To assure an opportunity to participate, find a service that will automatically notify when the process is about to begin. IAQA announced in January at their annual national meeting in Chicago that a new member benefit is the ability to enroll for notification of peer review of impending ASHRAE releases. This benefit itself for some may justify an individual membership in IAQA. If neither a current member of ASHRAE or IAQA, find a company offering a similar service. Full disclosure, my Design Services Team at ICP Construction has been enrolling interested professionals onto a fire damage peer review notification list for over a year at no charge.

As always, the takeaway here is dependent on the reader. The news is that there is inbound a fire damage standard pertaining to how the fundamentals of that work are professionally done. The existence of such a standard is no longer the province of rumor or chatter. Thanks to some truly dedicated volunteers a long overdue document has been crafted that will have a lasting effect on the quality, health, and prosperity of fire damage restoration. For the restoration business owner already investing in fire/smoke as an engine of growth, now is the time to engage. Sign-up to participate in peer review, and cross-reference what is in the draft standard with how your company does business. The result should be a win-win. Greater knowledge will help owners improve their businesses, and the feedback from experienced professionals will yield a better and more effective standard for fire damage restoration for years to come.  SERVPRO of East Brownsville is eager to participate in any way it can in order to better its services and Industry as a whole.

Four Tips/Reminders for Restoration Contractors

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

Restoration professionals like SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island are in a 24 hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year service. On top of that, they are expected to be on site within minutes of receiving a phone call. Many professionals find themselves in a fog of chaos during the restoration process, especially in the early stages of the project. While it is understandable that things need to move quickly, unnecessary damage caused by a restoration company can cause significant setbacks for the contractor, as well as the insured and insurance carrier. Below are some things to be cognizant of during the early stages of restoration projects to limit unnecessary setback.

Proper Pack Outs

Many restoration contractors have gotten the phone call from a property owner claiming that they broke or stole something in the property. Whether or not these claims are true, doesn’t really matter at that point; the contractor has to deal with the situation and make things right. Typical mistakes mitigation companies can make include improper documentation of personal items, improper packaging of fragile items, and trying to process items that should be handled by another vendor, such as soft goods or electronics. Taking the extra time and properly packing out a property will significantly reduce these types of headaches and improve customer satisfaction.

In Place Drying

The adage of “If in doubt, rip it out!” doesn’t always apply within the restoration industry. With the different technologies and drying methods available, contractors can preserve properties better than ever. Methods such as double extraction on the carpet, blocking and padding furniture, and using pressurized drying systems, are some of the common methods employed to adequately mitigate damages, keep costs down, and reduce cycle times for completion. Always take the extra time on the emergency service call to be thorough, especially when it comes to extraction. This will reduce completion times and mitigate further damage.  Remember, quicker cycle times and lower costs result in happier customers.

Avoid Cross Contamination

When contractors rush through projects, they end up getting called back out to do work they already did due to poor performance. It’s common to get called back out to a mold remediation project because of a failed post clearance or having to re-clean contents that are being processed on a fire loss because dirty items got mixed with clean. Whenever working in a clean environment, technicians need to be aware of their surroundings and make sure to follow proper protocol. Failure to follow protocol is usually a result of poor management. If managers take the extra time to ensure cleaning and remediation projects are being completed properly, they can make sure that the work is done right the first time.

Preserve Relationships

Restoration companies are in the business of protecting properties, but they can't do it alone. Contractors should not forget that while there is a job to do, bridges should not be burned in the process. Many times contractors lose sight of the picture and damage relationships in the course of business. Whether it's with an adjuster battling over pricing, or a sub-contractor that shows up late to the project, these people are all important to the success of the company. Taking extra time to connect with these individuals will pay dividends, rather than butting heads for the sake of being “right.” Remember, people continue to do business with people they like and respect. 

These tips are taken seriously and are at the forefront of our minds when dealing with a new mitigation loss.  SERVPRO of East Brownsville and South Padre Island strives to help property owners in their time of need and develop a strong relationship between them.  Professional service and continuous communication help us deliver a less impacting experience to our customers.

Commercial Carpet Cleaning-How to be successful at it.

5/28/2018 (Permalink)

Old-timers in the carpet cleaning industry remember when hot water extraction (HWE) of office buildings, retail stores and other commercial accounts was profitable, effective and the preferred cleaning method.

Then national maintenance management companies appeared on the scene.

Their business model was to bid low on national accounts, take a healthy cut right off the top and find a cleaner desperate enough to clean Commercial carpet cleaning with hot water extraction commercial carpet at little or no profit. Effective cleaning was no longer a priority. Low price was king.

High production rates and low equipment costs of encapsulation cleaning allowed local owner-operated companies to successfully compete on price, provide a clean appearance and still be profitable. Encapsulation cleaning, in several variations, became an increasingly popular method for commercial carpet cleaning.

How can hot water extraction cleaners provide a high level of service and profitably compete in this environment? That is the question I put to several leading cleaners around the country. Here are some of the key components for success that I was able to compile from my research.

Marketing

Don’t despair. Although it seems they are everywhere, national management companies actually control only a fraction of the carpet that needs to be cleaned. 

Develop a marketing plan. This can be based on geography by targeting an area where many prospects are clustered, or it can be based on targeting a specific type of business. Management of company “A” likely knows and interacts with management from companies “B,” “C” and “D.” If you impress company “A” with your service, the others will hear about your services. 

Whatever your marketing plan might be, put it in writing and commit to following through. Visit quarterly each company that you target.

Newspapers like to cover positive news about local businesses. Provide well-written press releases to editors of the business sections. Other businessmen are likely to read that portion of the paper first.

In addition to having a website targeting residential clients, create a website that targets commercial prospects.

Bidding

Help your prospect to select a service plan that meets their budget and their needs.

Give them options. Options could include how often various areas are cleaned, perhaps with a mix of HWE and encapsulation. You might offer training for the in-house staff to care for spot, spill and stain removal chores between professional cleanings. This has the added benefit of making the cleaning job easier if many of the spills were removed when they were fresh — long before your team arrives.

Include information about up sells. This is a great way to increase your profit from an account.

One easy add-on is office chairs. Include information in the bid that office chairs can be cleaned for $5 each when you are on-site for carpet cleaning. When carpet cleaning time approaches, remind them to leave out any chairs they want cleaned.

Cubicle dividers and protector for high traffic areas are other items that can be offered at a good profit margin, even when bidding for the carpet portion of the job is competitive.

If you also provide water damage restoration services, you may want to help your client develop a plan on what to do in case of a water emergency.

This information can be very valuable for a business to have, quickly, when the need arises. The plan should include how to contact your company at any time (day or night), any day and any holiday.

There can be a fee for this added service, as well as a retainer, to assure they have high priority for service. This may become extremely important in the event the business is the victim of a catastrophe. When that happens, demand makes it difficult to receive prompt service from restoration companies. You can be the solution.

The process

Being efficient is obviously a significant aspect of being profitable. Here are some suggestions that have proved helpful for commercial carpet cleaners.

Inspect the layout of the building. Decide in advance where to park for the most efficient hose runs, where vehicles won’t need to be moved (or moved less often). Know the location of water hook-ups, where water can be dumped by your auto pump-out systems and the location of electrical outlets for vacuum cleaners. Have this information on the work order. Don’t waste time once the cleaning team is on location.

Use corner guards around cubicles. Solution hoses can be snagged easily.

Use of an electric-powered rotary wand will be less fatiguing and allow cleaners to work efficiently throughout longer jobs.

Drag wands with wide heads are additional options that allow thorough cleaning with reduced operator fatigue than experienced with a typical scrub wand.

When you encounter a spill or other stain that could possibly wick back, mark the location with a piece of masking tape. Come back at the end of the job to apply an anti-wicking encapsulation product.

Teamwork is important. Most commercial cleaning jobs involve more than one team member. The procedure should be clear so that each person will know which task to move to next as he completes each portion of the job.

Plan breaks so that the wand is always moving. A team member who is vacuuming or applying prespray should work for enough ahead so that he can stop for a break when needed. Then he will begin extracting while the other team member benefits from a break.

A janitorial cart can be an effective way to move cleaning products, hoses, buckets, heaters, tabs and even a vacuum cleaner from one location to another and from one floor to another quickly and conveniently.

Think long-term

The highest percentage of soil encountered will always be dry soils. Excessive amounts of dry soil will definitely slow the cleaning process.

Take the time to educate your new client on the value of dry soil management. This is especially important on commercial glue-down carpet.

Huge amounts of dry soil can hide in the dense pile. Not only will this soil slow the cleaning process, but it contributes to wicking, looks bad between cleaning and shortens the life of the carpet due to increased abrasion and wear.

Training your client on the use of sufficient entryway mats and the importance of rotating in clean entry mats on a regular schedule will benefit the customer and significantly reduce the amount of time you need to spend on vacuuming and cleaning. Mats should be placed at every entrance and should be long enough so that those entering the building must walk several steps across the mats, thereby removing as much tracked-in soil as possible.

Include instructions on proper vacuuming and how to be sure the vacuums used in the building are operating effectively.

Use of a quality counter-rotating brush machine as part of your dry soil removal process opens up the pile, allows more soil to be removed and speeds up your cleaning process. It also lifts the pile, and improves carpet appearance. 

Luckily SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island can clean your commercial carpet.  We have highly trained technicians with Commercial and Residential carpet cleaning experience.  No job is too large or small.  Please call for a free quote.

5 Whys in School Remediation Projects

5/28/2018 (Permalink)

Have you ever been driven crazy by a young child who keeps asking “Why?”  That kid may be onto something.  Developed by Sakichi Toyoda and used by automotive companies and other industries to improve safety, quality, productivity and cost, “5 Whys” is a tool used to identify the root cause (origin) of a problem.  Simply asking “Why?” at least five times can help you move past looking at symptoms of the problem and onto addressing the root cause of the issue.  For example:

  1. Why is there mold in this classroom? Mold grew where condensation formed on the ceiling.
  1. Why did condensation form on the ceiling? When chilled air entered the room through a diffuser in the ceiling, it came in contact with warm, moist air and condensation formed around the diffuser.
  1. Why is there warm, moist air in the classroom? Humidity permeates the walls of the building during warm weather. Since air conditioning was installed, the windows aren’t opened much anymore and some of the window seals are no longer tight.
  1. Why isn’t the moisture being removed by the air conditioning? The HVAC system is set not to run between midnight and 6 a.m. on weekdays, and it does not run on weekends.
  1. Why doesn’t the HVAC run during the evenings and on weekends? To reduce consumption of electricity.

Once you know the root cause, you’re in a better position to address the real issue.

Renovated Schools, Real Issues

Renovation can be a cost-effective way to get few more decades of use out of an old building.  Schools that are more than 50 years old were designed and built during a time when energy efficiency was less of a concern.  Since buildings from that era “breathed” more and classroom windows were opened and closed during the school day, moisture build-up and mold growth was less of an issue.  

 When old schools are renovated, improving energy efficiency often involves the installation of vapor barriers and additional insulation, tightly sealed low-e windows, high efficiency HVAC and low energy consumption lighting.  Properly engineered, installed and operated, these upgrades can improve both the learning environment and operating budget.  Unfortunately, mold still occurs in renovated schools and the mold growth can often be traced back to one or more of these root causes:

*moisture that gets trapped between the outer layer of the building and the vapor barrier

*improperly set supply air that causes negative pressure and/or moisture issues

*HVAC that operated in a manner which allows moisture to build up during times when the building is not occupied.

Of these root causes, preventing moisture from permeating the building is likely to be beyond the scope of the immediate mold remediation project.  Adjustments to the HVAC system will probably be done by the Maintenance department or the HVAC contractor.  However, the principal or administrator of the school will probably appreciate knowing that running their HVAC at reduced levels during evenings and weekends will probably save them from having to call you back in for another mold job.

Minimizing Collateral Damage

 Because “concerned parents” tend to bring a lot more attention to situations than teachers and administrators want, consider the following when conducting your site assessment and preparing your project plan:

 Be prepared to complete your work in one evening or over the weekend. Concerned parents will be alarmed if they see people in PPE at school.

When setting up containment, hang an additional poly film visual barrier outside of your transition zone. This visual barrier will give your team a place to stage equipment and supplies in the clear zone and keep curious eyes off your gear.

Remind the newer members of your team that we don’t discuss the work that we do with people who are not on the team.  It’s especially important to keep the details of school jobs confidential.

The younger children are, the more sensitive they tend to be to environmental contaminants and to the chemicals that are used to remediate.  If the classroom or area is used by special needs students, recognize that this population has a higher rate of being immunocompromised and may have additional health considerations.  Cleaners and disinfectants that meet US EPA Safer Choice or Design for the Environment (DfE) requirements meet federal standards for low environmental impact and greener chemistries.

Observe the level of cleanliness in the building before you start the project. Mold needs a food source and inadequate housekeeping tends to promote mold growth.  Some schools are kept very clean and others are not. This may be an opportunity for improvement that needs to be discussed with the administrator as part of the project conclusion.   

Why the 5 Whys?

 Getting to the root cause of a problem will enable you to know what’s needed to correct the issue.  Although there are other tools and methods available to help with root cause analysis, 5 Whys is probably the easiest one to use and can be learned quickly.  Understanding the concerns related to school remediation jobs and factoring them into your project plan will enable you to effectively help a very important part of your community.  So the next time your child or grandchild asks “Why?” give ‘em a hug! 

If Mold is a concern in a school building, call on the experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island.  We are a Certified Mold Remediation Company and have extensive experience in commercial and residential mold projects.

HEPA and HEPA Filtration Devices

5/25/2018 (Permalink)

Disaster losses and the facility restoration process commonly involve the release of a wide array of contaminants into the air including microscopic bio-pollutants, larger, visible particles and unpleasant odors. 

Disaster losses and the facility restoration process commonly involve the release of a wide array of contaminants into the air including microscopic bio-pollutants, larger, visible particles and unpleasant odors. Portable HEPA Filtration Devices (HFDs) that can effectively and efficiently capture them can provide one of the most important tools at a remediation contractor’s disposal, with numerous potential benefits, including:

  • Enhanced productivity & work quality
  • Improved work area health and safety
  • Reduced cleanup time
  • Limiting the area of contamination
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Faster job clearance & re-occupancy
  • Reduced risk of re-contamination or call-backs

What Is a "True" HEPA Filter?

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, also known as absolute filters, are much more efficient than other types of filters for removing microscopic particles from the air. By common definition a HEPA filter must provide 99.97% minimum efficiency during use. In other words, no more than three out of 10,000 particles (0.03%) of the 0.3-micron particles pulled in can pass through. 

Filters must meet Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) Recommended Practices that cover filter media, filter media testing, filter design, construction and labeling, and completed filter testing. 

Are All HFDs Equipped With True HEPA Filters?

HFDs and the filters used in them can apparently fall well short of HEPA performance based on various industry studies and in-field testing. The differences can be much larger than they perhaps seem. Compared to HFDs with true HEPA efficiency, a 99%-efficient HFD will have over 30 times more leakage, a 97%-efficient HFD 100 times more leakage, and a 95%-efficient HFD over 165 times more leakage! 

What Causes Less-Than-HEPA HFD Efficiency?

Some of the more common causes of reduced filtration efficiency can include:

  • Each completed filter was not individually efficiency-tested. The use of true HEPA media is no guarantee that the finished filter will be HEPA efficient because a large percentage of completed HEPA filters require repairs to fix problems such as media damage or improper sealing between the media pack and filter frame. Without testing these problems cannot be found and corrected prior to filter shipment and use. In particular, a low percentage of the aftermarket filters in use today are individually tested per IEST requirements.
  • The filter was not tested at the proper airflow. Completed filters tested at airflows far below the rated airflow of the device in which the filter is used may not provide HEPA efficiency in use. The fact that a filter meets HEPA standards when tested at 500cfm or 1,000cfm airflow doesn’t mean it will when operated at 1,500cfm or 2,000cfm.
  • The filter was not made with micro-glass HEPA media. Some HFD “HEPA” filters are built with synthetic media that has an electrostatic charge applied to it to enhance initial efficiency above 99%. In-use efficiency can be reduced substantially as moisture in the air begins to dissipate this charge. This can force users to replace a costly filter after (and possibly during) each job.
  • The filter is HEPA- efficient but the HFD still leaks. Use of a less-than-HEPA efficiency pretty much guarantees that HFD performance will be compromised, but use of a true HEPA does not ensure overall HEPA efficiency. Leakage elsewhere can significantly compromise the overall integrity of the device by allowing unfiltered air to bypass the HEPA filter.

What Do HEPA Filtration Devices Do?

HFDs help control airborne contaminants during every restoration job, and are absolutely essential for water loss jobs, particularly those involving black water or structural mold contamination. Their most critical task is capturing microscopic bacteria and mold spores released into the air during the drying process, but can also capture larger particles like drywall dust stirred up during demolition and construction activities and, when equipped with carbon filters, odors off-gassed from microbes, paints and other chemicals. 

Are There Different Types of HFDs?

Yes. HFDs generally fall into one of three design types, all of which can be used to perform the same tasks:

  • ‘Large Box’ Negative Air Machines (NAM) are boxy-shaped units with galvanized steel or rotational molded polymer cabinets mounted on four casters. Designed primarily for use on large asbestos abatement projects, NAM typically provide the most airflow per purchase cost dollar, but are larger, heavier & more cumbersome than other HFD types. They are not well suited for jobs involving movement up or down stairs or in tight spaces.
  • Upright Portable Air Scrubbers are more mobile units with rotational molded polymer or stainless steel cabinets that are moved by tipping them back and rolling them on two large wheels like a hand truck. These devices typically offer more convenience features than NAM but less airflow per initial cost dollar. However, more and more users today find that upright PAS provide the greatest productivity, mobility and ease of use.
  • ‘Small Box’ Portable Air Scrubbers are small, compact devices with rotational molded polymer or stainless steel cabinets and are typically light enough (35 to 45 lbs) to pick up and hand carry. With peak airflow generally in the 400cfm to 600cfm range they are ideal for smaller jobs. However, because multiple units can be used on larger jobs, small box HFDs are also increasingly popular with restoration companies today

How and When Should HFDs Be Used?

HFDs should be put into operation immediately at the start of the job and operated continuously until, and in many instances after, all work is completed. 

The negative pressure containment mode offers the highest level of assurance against contaminants from the affected space escaping into “clean” areas when only a portion of the structure is affected. A physical barrier is erected to seal off the affected area and HFDs are operated continuously within that area to reduce airborne particle counts. Lower (negative) pressure is created within the affected area by ducting air filtered out. This pressure differential helps protect unaffected indoor areas from contamination. 

HFDs are often operated in the recirculation mode whenever the entire indoor space is affected. In this mode no pressure differential is created and there is typically no barrier. The HFD simply continuously filters contaminants from the air to reduce airborne particle counts and exhausts cleansed air directly back into the indoor space. 

How Much Airflow Do I Need?

A common industry design parameter is four to six clean air changes per hour (ACH) or more. More is better, and it’s prudent to increase the design ACH to build in a margin of safety for airflow losses due to factors such as filter loading or exhaust ducting. If you need 5 ACH for example you might design for 6 ACH. Here’s a fast and easy way to figure out the total cubic feet per minute (cfm) of airflow required:

  1. Calculate the total air volume in cubic feet by multiplying the length times the width times the height, all in feet. If there is a contained work area, use the dimensions within that area. If there’s no physical containment barrier the volume of the total space must be used.
  2. Divide the air volume by 10 for 6 ACH, by 12 for 5 ACH, or by 15 for 4 ACH.

Example: The minimum airflow required to maintain 6 ACH in a 30 ft. x 20 ft. x 10 ft. contained work area would be calculated as follows: 
Volume = 60 ft. x 20 ft. x 10 ft. = 12,000 cu. ft. 
Airflow Required for 6 ACH = 12,000 / 10 = 1,200cfm 

HEPA filtration device can help mitigate a lot of problems. Do your homework, select them carefully, and use them properly and you, insurers and their customers can all benefit.  SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has wide selection of HEPA Filtration Devices to tackle any size job.  We have trained IICRC technicians with experience in everything from Mold Remediation to Bio Hazard Cleanup.

Methods for Proper Mold Removal

5/25/2018 (Permalink)

The IICRC S520 establishes the standard for microbial remediation, which lays out general work practices and methods. While this document is considered the standard and may be considered the Bible for remediation companies like SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, there are additional effective work practices. At the end of the day, safety to our workers and customers is the top priority.

Below are five methods employed by SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to safely and effectively remove mold.

Establish Critical Containments

Before you do anything, make sure to mitigate the spread of spores by establishing critical containments upon arriving at the loss. Typically, we will seal off the visibly affected areas with plastic and tape. This helps contain the spores to the affected area and will impede the migration to other areas of the property. Adding a dehumidifier to control the humidity will also help to stop the occurrence of secondary damages caused by the elevated humidity, should there still be moisture present.

Slow Things Down to Speed Things Up

Common mistakes made by technicians are often a result of their tendency to hurry through a job. The more time they put into establishing an effective containment and employing dust free work methods will result in safer and cleaner jobs, with less call backs and re-cleans. Adequate measures should be taken to see that the walls don’t collapse, such as using the correct tape and staples where necessary. Dust free practices should also be used, such as saws equipped with vacuum attachments. Lastly, technicians should avoid kicking, smashing or any other aggressive methods of building material removal.

Proper PPE and Fit Tests

We all know how important it is to protect our workers when performing mold abatement; however, it is also important to make sure that the worker is physically able to perform the work. Before entering containment and donning a respirator, every worker should pass a respirator fit test and pulmonary physical examine. Fit tests can be performed by someone in your company who is a certified fit test instructor; however, the pulmonary physical examine should be performed by a medical professional. Together these tests will ensure that the workers are safe to be performing work in contained environments and under the physical stress of PPE.

Scrub Mode vs. Negative Air

Scrub mode and negative air are both effective methods of filtration. When technicians are working in the containment, it is standard practice to establish negative pressure, which helps mitigate the spread of mold spores to the outside of the contained area. When workers are not onsite, air filtration devices can be set to scrub mode. I recommend using lay flat ducting to route the exhaust air back into the containment. Furthermore, I would also recommend routing the ducted exhaust air to the opposite end of the containment, allowing for the path of air to travel across the affected areas. This will help pick up any mold spores that may be lingering. Should there be additional equipment available, adding extra air scrubbers to the inside of the containment will allow for even more filtration. Some experts may believe this is overkill, but I always recommend this practice in order to ensure a pass on the microbial clearance test.

Angle Grinder with Wire Brush Attachment

Traditionally, we are taught to sand the affected framing to remove surface mold, which is still an effective method; however, it is more effective and efficient to use a grinder with a wire brush attachment. With this attachment, technicians are able to complete jobs much faster and with fantastic results. Technicians also prefer the wire brush method to the sanding method due to ease of use. If done correctly, after the wire brush treatment there will be no visible indications of mold and sealing the building materials should not be necessary to pass a microbial clearance if the surfaces have been properly cleaned. 

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is a certified Mold Remediation Company.  We can handle any size loss both Residential and Commercial.  If you suspect you might have a mold issue, call us for a free inspection.

Commercial Restoration--Selecting the Proper Equipment

5/25/2018 (Permalink)

In the world of equipment many restorers still use the “WOT” method of equipment selection, as in “Whatever’s On the Truck.” SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has once or twice fallen into this practice in its initial stages. We quickly changed that way of thought and adopted a more functional method.

I want you now to consider the “WHAT” method, as in “Whatever the Project Requires.” Have you ever lost a bid when you were sure you charged less per day for air movers or labor than anyone else? You may have thought someone had the inside track and maybe so, but most likely you lost the bid on the total bottom line, not on just the bid price. 

As we discussed, it is the occupant that pays rent to the owner, who then pays the bank and insurance. So if we keep the tenants happy, we have a better chance of keeping everyone pleased. A successful selection of equipment and deployment depends on the parameters of the job not what you have on hand. 

So what are the parameters? How do I get to the total bottom line? Once again, Zig Zigler says it the best: “You can get what you want if you just help enough of the right people get what they want.” 

We now know who the right people are; we just need to provide them with a finished project with as little cost and interruption to their services as possible. This is what they want. 

Imagine a disaster has just struck your business: fire, flood, earthquake, tornado or maybe like me by a little hurricane called Katrina. After making sure everyone is safe, what are your concerns about your business? Can I stay open? Can I get supplies from my vendors? How long will it take to get the place back together? How are we going to pay for it all? 

Our job is to help answer these questions and provide the best overall solution. This is Bottom Line Drying. What we need to do is combine these concerns and needs with equipment available on the market to produce the best result. The fundamentals of drying dictate that adding energy (heat) to a material while passing the driest available air over its porous surface will invoke evaporation of unwanted moisture from the material and thus the building itself. We call it HAT (Humidity, Airflow and Temperature). 

Seriously, let’s look at the parameters individually and deploy equipment accordingly. 

The first is, can the business stay open? This is determined by structural integrity: Is it safe for occupancy? Can the occupants vendors supply the occupant with the materials or services needed in order to conduct business on a day to day basis? Is there Business Interruption Insurance? 

This is of primary concern, because the occupancy of the building is one of the most important factors when developing an allowable temperature range. If people are going to be in the building shopping, eating or working, then noise and temperature level – as well as equipment visibility – are important considerations. So large equipment located away from customers, with air movers on low, and comfortable temperatures are best. You may even need to constantly relocate air movers for aesthetic reasons. 

Make sure everyone involved is on the same page

By the way, a hot-air drying unit works fine here if it is cool and dry outside, or you can use localized or “spot” heating for specific, tough-to-dry materials. If the business will be closed for a few days, we do not have creature comfort or visibility concerns, but we have to check on materials and products in the building before we allow for elevated temperature drying (generally above 80 F). 

The building’s design is the second most important consideration. You must understand, this consists of the building’s construction materials and physical layout as well as the contents. Most building materials have no problems handling temperatures up to 120 degrees and most materials, especially the denser or less permeable, actually dry better in these higher temperatures. 

Please be careful on total temperature (air or material), because sprinkler systems are part of many commercial buildings and their heads are designed to rupture on temperature, not from sensing flame, and some are rated as low as 130 degrees. (How good is your liability insurance? Want to find out?) 

The contents are a mixed bag of every material you can imagine, and many are sensitive to temperature or even low humidity – operational computers or server rooms are obviously concerned with high temperature, but low humidity may induce static discharges into the system, doing serious damage. 

You need to consult with the occupants and building engineer about temperature- or humidity-sensitive items, and get them to sign off on any elevated temperature drying so you will not be held responsible for something you did not know was there. 

The layout generally determines air mover placement and quantity, but it also very important to the drying system selection: LGRs, desiccants or heat-based systems. Here, the general guidelines are simple: it is much cheaper to rent one big piece of equipment than many smaller pieces, thus decreasing the bottom line. 

This is why many commercial projects that have large common areas or hallways use desiccants or larger trailer-mounted heating systems. But if the layout is one of multiple exterior entrances (1,000- to 3,000-square-foot individual units) like condos or hotel rooms, LGR’s are going to be the fit. Layout also includes site access and power availability, as they are also major determining factors, as well as what equipment happens to be available when you need it (as much as I hate to say it, sometimes “WOT” is all we have to work with). 

Use the right equipment to suit the project’s needs

Then there is the Question of All Questions: “How long is it going to take?” “It will be dry when it’s dry” is true, but that’s not what I mean. Lately, a lot of focus has been on drying as fast as possible, and that is great in the residential or commercial market when the building is unoccupied, but when a commercial customer needs his facility to conduct business, being out of business even for two days can be unacceptable. 

Businesses such as restaurants and hotel ballrooms have planned functions. Since Mrs. Jones will probably have only one 50th anniversary party, are you going to tell her she can’t have the party tonight? Many times you can dry the carpet/flooring in several hours, have it safe for the party and start the wall drying after hours, when the guests have left. 

In this case, you are going to spend a few more days drying with increased equipment billing and labor hours, but there would be no business interruption payout, again making the bottom line lower. I call this “Ghost Drying” because you are constantly working on the wet structure, but anyone who uses the facility hardly even notices you are there. You have just made the insurance company, the building owner, the occupant, and Mrs. Jones very happy. 

The last word in drying is communication: Be sure that when you are bidding on a project that the owner, tenants, insurance folks and all of your people are on the same page. Just because you know the benefits of how you custom tailored this drying project for them does not mean they understand it. 

It is important to start every bid submission with a meeting of all concerned and continue with these meetings on a daily basis until the project is complete. This openness in working together as well as showing concern and understanding for all involved will make you a successful Bottom Line Dryer.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island carries every type of equipment that might be needed on a Drying project.  Commercial or Residential, you can rest assured we have the trained and qualified personnel to determine the equipment needs.

Commercial Sewage Losses--Getting Paid

5/25/2018 (Permalink)

While most insurance policies exclude coverage for cat 3 water, for decades they were paid out anyway by adjusters. Now, things are changing, and getting category 3 water jobs paid for is not so easy.

For unknown reasons, claims adjusters must have read the 12-year-old fungi and bacteria sublimits on property policies in 2016 and started pulling the trigger on denying claims under the sublimits of coverage.

The relatively sudden change in claims handling protocols on property insurance is evidenced in the 2016 loss experience of Environmental Impairment Liability insurance policies sold to commercial property owners. A mold claim never reaches an EIL policy if the property policy is paying for the loss.

Sewage loss

Almost all mold-related EIL claims in 2016 came in from commercial buildings like hotels, condos, schools and shopping malls.

In 2016, there were more mold losses paid on Environmental Impairment Liability (EIL) type insurance policies than from all other sources of contamination losses paid for under that type of insurance. EIL policies were designed for use by industrial firms and waste disposal companies. Today, there are more mold claims under EIL policies than the claims arising from industrial spills, leaking landfills and pipelines.

Almost all mold-related EIL claims in 2016 came in from commercial buildings like hotels, condos, schools and shopping malls. These firms are not traditional buyers of EIL-type insurance policies and almost all of these buildings do not have this coverage in place today. Problem!

Here is why mold evolving as the #1 source of claims under EIL policies is such an important development to a restoration contractor wanting to get paid for commercial work:

Less than 1% of all commercial buildings are insured under a EIL type insurance policy today;

99% of building owners are needlessly uninsured for mold/bacteria related damages today;

Only claims that are not covered in the property and liability policies of the property owner make it to the EIL coverage for payment;

The amount of mold work country-wide in 2016 was stable to the levels of 2014 and 2015;

The number of EIL policies insuring commercial buildings only grew 8% over those three years;

Which means for EIL policies to get a surge in mold claims, claims adjusters must have started to deny more mold related losses under the standard property policies in 2016 and;

With only a 1% market penetration for the EIL insurance product line in commercial construction in 2016, there must be a lot of property losses where the property owners are not getting the claims settlements they were expecting from the property insurance company;

All this translates to more bad debts for restorers.

Getting paid for sewage loss

The solution to the mold/bacteria coverage gap is a specially designed EIL type insurance policy that insures losses form “pollutants” including all sorts of microbial matter.

Mold-related claims being denied coverage will financially challenge many property owners. A large uninsured property loss could leave a restorer in a lurch financially if the restoration work has been completed before the stakeholders in the building figure out that the insurance coverage is only going to pay a $10,000 sublimit of coverage for a loss that involves a speck of mold.

To make sure a property owner has the money to pay for water restoration work in a world of enlightened claims adjusters, it will become increasing important for commercial property to be insured under and specially modified Environmental Impairment Liability (EIL) insurance policy. 

Today, less than one out of 100 commercial properties actually have this type of insurance in place. Which means today less than one out of 100 property owners will have the insurance needed to pay more than $10,000 for a loss involving a speck of mold or bacteria in any sequence to the loss event.

Of course, limiting the coverage for the entire loss to only $10,000 assumes the insurance claims adjuster is paying attention to the exact words in the exclusions for fungi or bacteria in almost all types of commercial insurance policies. On small losses the adjusters tend to ignore the sublimits or errantly apply them to only the part of the loss involving the direct remediation of mold or bacteria. The problem is the bigger the loss, the ones you would never want an uncollectable bill from, the more claims supervisors there are looking at it. The smart supervisors realize every time they pay a mold or category 3 water loss like the sublimits do not exist, they undermine the insurance company’s ability to use the flood exclusion which is built under the same insurance design. As a result, the larger the loss the less likely the property insurance company is going to pay for it.

The solution to the mold/bacteria coverage gap is a specially designed EIL type insurance policy that insures losses form “pollutants” including all sorts of microbial matter.

These new generation EIL-type policies will be marketed under various brand names, we have one that took eight years in research and development to create. We brand named our EIL policy for commercial property the ARMR-HPR insurance program. HPR stands of Highly Protected Risk. The HPR part of the insurance product is we will only insure a property at the very favorable rates if all of the insured locations covered under the policy have an Emergency Ready Plan in place with an approved restoration firm such as SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, and that each building has been walked through by the restoration firm.

With a ERP in place from SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island we can insure commercial buildings for about half the cost of an EIL type policy sold without an ERP plan. Typically, the premium for the ARMR-HPR product is less than 15% of the current property insurance premiums, which puts the needed coverage to close the gaps in insurance coverage created by mold and bacteria exclusions and sub-limits on property and liability insurance policies within the reach of most property owners and management firms.

Connecting the dots on all of this it is looking like the mold claims in EIL type policies can only be explained by changes in claims payment practices under traditional property insurance policies. Since 2005, property insurance policies have had sub-limits for mold and sometimes bacteria related damages as little as $10,000. As many property insurance policies are written, the most a claims adjuster should pay for the entire job involving cleaning a speck of mold in any sequence to the project is the amount of the sub-limit. To have adequate coverage for mold/bacteria related work in commercial buildings, property owners and managers need to either dramatically increase the mold/bacteria sub limits from $10,000 to a far larger amount or procure a separate specially designed EIL type insurance policy.

Handling Category 3 Water Claims

The best way to get paid for mold and bacteria contamination work is to have an insured building. More than 99% of commercial building are under insured today for mold or bacteria related losses.

Restorers with EIL policies can help property owners procure this needed coverage for mold and bacteria related losses by providing Emergency Ready Plans to property owners and managers. By encouraging property owner and managers to get insured for what a water intrusion event involving mold or bacteria is likely to cost is the best way to assure you will be paid for the work you do on any loss involving a speck of any form of mold and sometimes bacteria. The best way to get paid for mold and bacteria contamination work is to have an insured building. More than 99% of commercial building are under insured today for mold or bacteria related losses.

Call the experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to set up an appointment for your ERP.  It’s a free service so don’t delay.  We are always here to help.

Quick Response is the Key to Water Damages

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

Floods, rainstorms and tornadoes can become massive water damage threats to businesses during the often-stormy spring and summer months. Facilities plagued with such water woes this season must take quick action to control many possible problems, experts say. 

You won’t see it emphasized on the nightly news when a disaster hits, but water damage can represent potentially huge disasters for businesses and building owners and operators. 

Water damage can mean much more to a business than just wet and soggy carpets. There are other common, more significant problems businesses face when water wreaks havoc on property, such as indoor air quality problems. Mold and mildew grow rapidly in damp, humid environments, leaving behind an unpleasant smell that permeates floors, walls and ceilings, even after the water has been removed. It also can create health problems for employees. 

Damage to the building’s structure and foundation also can be an issue. When water sits inside a building for a period of time, the walls, ceilings and floors absorb the water, which threatens the overall structural integrity of the building and creates an unsafe environment. Total reconstruction of the building often becomes the only option. 

Another major threat to business is the loss of expensive equipment, which often can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace. 

To minimize water damage, there are two critical steps that need to be taken:

  1. Act fast to assess the situation; and
  2. Control the environment within the building.

Act Fast and Call an Expert

The absolute first step to take is fast action. Damage resulting from water and flooding is very progressive. The longer the water flows or wet conditions are allowed to exist, the greater the recovery problem becomes. A water damage consultant, such as SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, must come in immediately to survey the situation. 

In a typical scenario, a team of water damage recovery professionals is dispatched to the site to perform a thorough inspection and fully determine the extent of the damage. A disaster reclamation partner also will develop an intense restoration plan and determine which items are worth restoring and which are better replaced. 

You can’t always save everything by drying, but you can save a tremendous amount. It’s not unusual to save between 30 and 70 percent of the cost needed to reconstruct a facility.

Controlling the Interior Environment

Another key in limiting water damage is to quickly control three conditions of a building’s atmosphere: relative humidity, temperature and air circulation. Fast, effective action at this point will generally confine the damage to the area that was directly affected by the water damage event. 

The most effective way to control these conditions in a high-moisture environment, especially a large facility, is to employ professional disaster drying that combines air movers with desiccant dehumidifiers. 

Disaster drying often eliminates the need to rip out and replace walls, carpet, floor covering, hardwood floors and the building structure, which can be a huge expense. On top of that, you preclude the odors and staining caused by mold and mildew. These problems can come back to haunt you weeks later in a superficially dried building.

The Desiccant Way

When a facility has been severely water damaged, you need high volume desiccant dehumidifiers. Some larger desiccant dehumidifiers can pull 800 gallons of water out of a building in one day, compared to the typical small refrigeration units that remove about five gallons a day. 

Many people are surprised that “solid” materials such as concrete and hard woods absorb moisture. But they do and rather quickly. 

Getting the water back involves a phenomenon called migration. Migration is the tendency for water molecules to move toward a low vapor pressure. When a room is filled with very dry air, which has low vapor pressure, trapped water migrates outward and is evaporated from the surface by the dry air. As the air in the room fills with water vapor, we expel it. We then replace it with more dry air and the process continues. 

It’s also essential to be sure the equipment being used is sized right. Inappropriately sized drying equipment can lead to insufficient drying and long-term problems with the building. Only large-volume dehumidifiers could provide the massive drying power needed to dry the space quickly and thoroughly.

Best Defense: An Emergency Ready Plan

To minimize damage and costs, companies need to think ahead about what to do in a water damage event and contact a water damage expert like SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to create an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP). 

An ERP can limit the extent of water damage occurrences by defining and prioritizing the recovery of areas within a facility and stating immediate next steps. Proper planning and fast action are most certainly the best defense to preventing a catastrophic water damage event.

Estimating Damages after the Storm

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

It seems like yesterday, but it was 1979. I was a college student and given the opportunity to work as an adjuster (I had to ask my buddy exactly what “an adjuster” was) estimating claims for an adjusting company handling flood claims for the National Flood Insurance Program. 

Back in those days, only the federal government wrote flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program or NFIP. However, in 1983 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the administrators of the NFIP, created the “WYO” or Write-Your-Own program allowing private insurers to sell flood insurance and adjust (estimate) the flood claims arising out of the policies they sold under their brand. The government was (and still is for the most part) the “bank” and pays all claims sold by the WYO insurers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), remains the governing body. The NFIP administers the day-to-day operations of the flood program and provides adjusters (estimators) with the do’s and don’ts as to what should and should not be paid for in the event of a flood claim. Complicating the landscape even more, FEMA and the NFIP allow the WYO insurance companies to estimate their flood claims as they deem appropriate for their policyholder and their brand.

Back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s (the “Wild, Wild West” of the flood program as I like to refer to them) adjusters wrote estimates by hand and there wasn’t as much control and oversight over their content as there is today. Technology has caught up with the NFIP and the flood program’s estimates of today have little in common with those of years past.

We could spend an entire day-long class in the art of writing flood estimates for the NFIP and WYO companies. The information provided here will provide some of the basics needed to prepare flood estimates in a proper and acceptable format for flood adjusters and the federal auditors who review NFIP claims.  

Keep in mind, the NFIP requires all flood adjusters to write their own estimates. Adjusters may refer to contractor’s estimates for scope and specific pricing information, however, adjusters are required by law to prepare their own estimates.

Basic Flood Estimate Formatting

All NFIP flood estimates must be written on a room-by-room basis. Each room or area must be individually named with a complete list of all measurements for that room or area. Drawings or sketches including measurements are great but the NFIP requires these measurements be shown right on the estimate.

Rooms and areas should be ‘scoped’ in some logical order. A telltale sign of many poorly written estimates is when the estimator, for whatever reason, starts at one end of a building and then skips from room to room in random order.

We suggest when preparing flood damage estimates, scope rooms/areas either in a clockwise or counterclockwise manner, so it is easier for someone to follow along and virtually or actually “walk through” of the house while reading the estimate.

Each room or area will have its only set of estimate line items. Estimate line items should be fully detailed. Each line item should contain the following information:

  • Quantity of materials to be used
  • Unit of measure used for the material
  • The scope or operation to be performed with that material
  • A detailed description of the material to be used in the repair
  • The unit cost for that operation and material as described
  • The “extension” or total cost for the line item as described

The adjuster has the added responsibility to consider any depreciation which may apply to the line item materials, but that is not a concern of the contractor or repair specialist.

Line Items should appear in each room or area in the same order throughout the estimate. This makes the estimate easier to read for all parties and reduces the risk that a line item may be left out. 

Since we are preparing a flood estimate (ground water), it is always recommended the estimator start with flooring-related items and scope their way up the walls and finally to the ceiling (if affected by the flood waters). Estimates, where the preparer may have started with the wall repairs, then to a few floor repairs and then back to a wall item, will be looked upon by the adjuster as unprofessional. The adjuster may request the items be re-ordered to be consistent with the adjuster’s estimate. It is good practice to keep estimate line item order consistent both in their order of appearance in a room/area as well as where the item is physically located in that room or area.

Today’s leading computer estimating systems detail estimate line items for the estimator automatically. However, estimators should always review how the estimate’s line items are displayed to ensure consistency and professional appearance. If there are line items which contain multiple operations within them (i.e. assembly type line items), additional notes should be added to further explain the repair to the adjuster.

After all rooms, areas and their corresponding line items are entered, each estimate should end with a Summary or Totals page. This page should display any contractor overhead and profit fees, sales tax and any other cost information which would apply to the whole estimate. The last line of the summary/totals page should be the total cost of the restoration work. The adjuster will take care of any flood insurance policy limitations deductibles in his or her estimate.

Basic Considerations

The National Flood Insurance Program is a government agency. The money disbursed in paying policyholders’ claims is considered U.S. Treasury dollars and taken very seriously by the feds. Although the NFIP wants all policyholders treated fairly and to have a positive “customer experience,” the government auditors who examine these estimates, sometimes months or years after an event, take a sharp pencil when performing their reviews.  Adjusters submitting their estimates take exceptional care as to how the final estimate is presented in the closing documents of the flood claim. It is for this reason adjusters may ask the contractor to be more detailed in their scope of loss than they might be in a typical homeowner’s water claim estimate.

The follow are some things to consider when preparing flood estimates which may differ from preparing other types of water-related appraisals.  Adjusters are the persons ultimately responsible for adhering to NFIP policy coverages, limitations and exclusions. Some estimators reading this article may feel uncomfortable following these recommendations. We offer them only as items to consider when preparing estimates for the flood adjuster.

All Flood Waters Should Be Considered Toxic – The NFIP considers all groundwater floods as toxic (i.e. Black/Level III) water. Any mold found in a flooded building should be removed.  The flood adjuster will not consider any remediation measures short of complete removal. All porous materials such as plywood, drywall or carpeting should also be replaced. Remember, flood waters are ground waters and contain all types of bacteria and fecal matter brought into the building from surrounding areas. Estimates containing attempts to clean and restore these items will probably not be acceptable to the NFIP adjuster without detailed explanations as to why these items are salvageable. If the estimate includes any remediation or repair type items, detail the reasoning behind their inclusion in the estimate.

Consider Only Direct Physical Damages – NFIP adjuster guidelines dictate only direct physical damages caused by flood waters may be included in flood estimates. Adjusters are instructed by the NFIP only to include items “touched” by flood waters. This fact affects what adjusters can include in their estimates. NFIP will not allow its adjusters to match the upper cabinets, which were not damaged by the water, with the lower cabinets which were in flood water. 

Another example would be ceilings. NFIP will not consider ceiling repairs, even cleaning or painting, unless the water physically affected the ceiling. Although, there are some situations (usually in major flooding events when repairs cannot begin for weeks or months) where “non-touched” items may be included in a flood estimate. In general, when preparing flood estimates carefully consider if the line item being considered was directly affected by the flood water. Bottom line with this consideration – if you are not sure, check with the adjuster.

Consider Removing All Openings from Area Calculations – This includes all doors, windows, wall openings of any kind. It also includes items such as cabinets, vanities and other wall and floor type items which could be subtracted from an area’s total wall and/or floor quantities. The NFIP does allow for additional cutting, taping and masking around these types of items. These additional operations should be detailed in the estimate for them to be considered by the adjuster.

Contents Manipulation Considerations – Even though the NFIP does allow adjusters to include manipulation of specific contents items (i.e. pianos, pool tables, safes, etc.) in a building estimate, the policyholder must have contents coverage for the estimator/adjuster to include the cost of contents manipulation. Also, NFIP will not accept hourly charges or lump sum amounts for general contents manipulation – the manipulation must be specific.  Remember to check with the homeowner to see if they have contents coverage before adding any type of contents manipulation in the estimate. If coverage is not verified with the homeowner, be aware that any contents manipulation included in the estimate may not be considered by the adjuster or included in their estimate.

In Summary

Flooding is one of the most devastating forms of natural disasters a community can experience. The NFIP and WYO programs are in place today to lessen the financial and emotions blows to those communities. The ultimate objective of the NFIP is to return victims of flood and their communities back to normal as quickly as possible.

To the insurance savvy restoration contractor, the National Flood Insurance Program may, at times, seem more like a “program” rather than “insurance”. If the professional restoration contractor, like SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, has some basic knowledge on how the NFIP functions and what it requires to write solid flood estimates, that contractor can be a great asset to the flood adjuster. 

The sooner the restoration and insurance adjusting professionals can agree on the scope of the damages (considering the guidelines of the NFIP or WYO insurance company) the sooner homeowners receive payment for their damages and the affected communities can be restored to normalcy “Like it never even happened.”

Flood Waters and Oriental Rugs

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

In the 20th century, floods were the No. 1 natural disaster in the United States as counted by lives lost and the extremity of damage to property. More recently, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Oklahoma all experienced powerful storms that drenched the areas in a matter of days, sometimes hours. Once heavy rains reach the ground, creeks, lakes, and rivers swell affecting surrounding communities. 


Once floodwaters subside, the need to provide prompt drying begins; the longer it takes the greater the potential for damage to textiles. Floodwater frequently contains fecal matter that overflows from sewage systems often containing millions of microbes; these tiny organisms present a long-term destructive danger to health. 

Contamination of textiles with polluted water poses additional challenges to cleaners, homeowners, and building occupants. Restoration of textiles has been promoted through specialized cleaning or laundering, but these approaches lack sensitive methods to detect hidden microorganisms and a complete understanding of the effect of cleaning solutions or cleaning methods. 

The widespread incidence of flooding on textiles makes it inevitable that microbial contamination of textiles will occur in buildings with water damage. Authors of cleaning standards (ANSI/IICRC S500, 2006) have speculated that specialized laundering could return these materials to a hygienically sanitary state. 

Fields, farmlands, and sewage systems release contaminants into floodwaters, transporting them inside local homes, schools and buildings. In the case of river flooding, when dwellings become contaminated, a heavy load of organic matter can penetrate into the built environment causing extensive contamination of porous materials, especially textiles such as rugs due to their location on the floor. 

Organic matter and water-saturated materials can be used as a substrate for the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. Large quantities of water inside homes evaporates, causing high humidity that contributes to microbial growth on organic materials

Indoor contamination is a complex function of water sources, exposure time, and lack of immediate or ineffective cleaning and moisture control. Inside buildings, microorganisms adhere to surfaces, including heirloom Oriental rugs and other high-value textiles and porous materials. In particular, Oriental rugs, because they are highly prized, often remain in the home despite floodwater contamination; capturing and allowing microorganisms to proliferate, their complex yarn structure acts like a sink. 

Which organisms grow on materials in flooded homes depends on a series of factors: the physical and chemical makeup of the materials, as varying materials inherently provide micro-specific food sources and, most importantly, the degree of saturation, as this further determines the type of organisms likely to abound. 

Microbial growth is largely dependent on the water content, as well as adsorptive or absorptive forces throughout the capillary spaces and on the surface of water-damaged materials. Moreover, every organism has its own particular growth requirements, such as temperature and moisture levels, minimum and maximum water activity (aw) values for various categories of organisms, and optimum levels where organisms thrive. 

Where high levels of moisture are available, hydrophilic types are usually observed. If the material is not dried quickly and becomes wetter over time, we may find a succession of inhabiting organisms. Therefore, recovery must be quick when water threatens valuable textiles. 

Many people have Oriental rugs that provoke fond memories and hold sentimental value; they may be one-of-a-kind works of art. These strong attachments, especially following floods, often create a desire to salvage as many of these items as possible. Nonetheless, practical concerns regarding how sanitary these items are following flooding raise the question of safety. 

My concern is that the role of exposure to contaminated textiles is poorly understood, as is the role of mitigation and its emerging importance. Where we stand today in our knowledge of how microbial ecologies shift when flooding occurs is far ahead of where our industry was just 10 years ago. Yet in spite of the number and magnitude of losses, studies about cleaning efficacy are lacking. Our lack of research as to whether we have returned our belongings to a sanitary state or simply visually clean state is a concern. We know floodwaters ultimately cause materials to break down, but how effective are our cleaning processes? 

As consumers become more knowledgeable about public health issues surrounding floodwaters, they rely on properly trained and certified cleaners. This is in part why our industry has evolved. Our industry involves restorers such as SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, who are expected to be collectively qualified by education, training and experience to appropriately execute a key set of “core skills” on water restoration projects. 

While the training towards developing core skills is admirable, I believe additional research is needed. Moreover, organizations must continue to look critically at the accuracy or completeness of the information, which they provide. ANSI/IICRC standards and reference guides are constructed in good faith and are reliable yet will need revision as developments occur and research provides new technology and procedures.

If you were to find yourself in a Flood situation, call on the experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, to help you assess the damages and start the process of getting your home to a safe, livable condition.

Handling CAT Loss Contents Restoration--5 Key Elements

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

CAT losses are a prime example of how the restoration industry relieves a lot of stress, anxiety and pain for so many. In a mass flooding situation, a restoration contractor, such as SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is the equivalent to the emergency room doctor. Everyone is looking to you for guidance, answers and some sense of calm amongst the chaos. And just like a doctor, the contractor needs the right equipment, systems, manpower, support team and prior training to be able to do their job.

  1. Support Team

Right off the top, you need to have a base of operations to handle the logistics of organizing and coordinating all the contents jobs. People at the base need to be a really good support team for those out in the field. Location is not critical – it could be on site, at the office, or even in a different state.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, usually sets up a command center at a local hotel room. The center handles things like billing, specialty subcontractor coordination, hotel, food, transportation needs, manpower issues, supply inventory and more. This base supports my teams out in the field and helps handle the backstage stuff so work doesn’t get bogged down on the job site. This also helps our teams be more organized and on top of it on site for the homeowner, making us look more professional.

  1. Training

There are many moving parts to CAT losses. Training for these events needs to happen long before you are on the ground handling jobs. This includes being able to do estimates quickly, using software in the field (we will cover this in a moment), gathering important details from each job, having the right paperwork, knowing how to use all the equipment, and knowing what adjusters need in situations like this. Bottom line about adjusters: they need to be able to understand the big picture of the loss and get all their questions answered quickly. This is key to getting paid quickly and in full.

Let’s get specific. How do you know when to dry it, log it, or just throw it away during a category 3 water loss? Obviously, some items have no value and just need to be thrown away – like most old magazines. Then there are items you can clean and dry. These contents should be treated as contaminated in a category 3 loss and cleaned accordingly using an antimicrobial solution. Once the item is cleaned you can now dry, inventory and pack it.

  1. Manpower

This is a topic I get asked about a lot. Finding good, dependable help can be tricky in a CAT loss scenario. Restoration work needs to happen quickly, and without enough hands, you can only handle so much. Utilizing temporary labor sources is usually the best option here, but the key is to have your own trained supervision.

For instance, when I was back in Houston working Hurricane Harvey, I had two supervisors with me and we each ran a team of five to 10 people who came from the local temporary labor companies. By doing this, my manpower grew from three employees to 20-30 employees overnight. Each of my supervisors was trained and certified in all aspects of CAT loss work. They watched over all aspects of the job, monitoring quality control and proper protocols. It’s very important you have proper protocols in place when using labor in this way so you do not wind up on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

You can also call on others you may know in the industry to see if they can send any help to work with you.

  1. Billing Software

Using proper billing practices in a CAT loss situation can literally make or break your business. I have seen restoration contractors become millionaires and watched a few go bankrupt doing CAT losses.

You need to have a good billing software program set up on a laptop, computer or other device and be able to complete your scope of repairs for payment on the spot from your homeowner or to send to your adjuster as soon as work is complete on a job. Staying on top of your billing is very important.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island uses Xactimate as it is the most widely used insurance billing software in the industry at this time. And most adjusters are familiar with it. Understanding how to fully utilize your billing software is crucial to your bottom line. After all, you don’t want to be leaving thousands of dollars on the table and not even know it. You need to understand how to properly fill out the notes and details on each job so that your scopes will get approved and paid quickly without hassles. This is something to invest in when looking for training to gear up for these types of losses.

I think it is also important to mention verifying coverages. A flood is very different than a “traditional” water loss. You may be dealing with FEMA instead of an insurance company when it comes to getting paid and they have some different rules in regards to billing and work done.

A good contents inventory system or software is also important for billing and job tracking.

  1. Equipment

There is a lot of equipment needed to handle CAT losses. For contents work in major flooding situations, the equipment you need isn’t a lot different than the equipment you use on a CAT loss fire situation. You will need dehumidifiers, air movers, HEPA machines, odor removal equipment and HEPA vacuums.

You can rent a lot of this equipment instead of sinking a lot of cash into purchasing equipment that may only be in use for a few weeks before being shelved. Renting can a good way to leverage yourself into large losses without going into debt.

No matter how you get the equipment, you need to track it. You should be able to see at any given time what equipment is on what job and how long it has been there.

If you own the equipment, it should be marked and numbered with a complete inventory being done before it goes out into the field.

Most rental companies will have their equipment numbered, making it easy for you to track as well. Be sure you have a complete inventory done of rental equipment before it goes out. This is not only important so you don’t wind up losing expensive pieces of equipment, but also so you can justify your charges to your homeowner or adjuster if need be.

As you can see, jumping into a CAT loss situation unprepared could be pretty disastrous not only for the restoration contractor, but for everyone involved. However, with some preparation and good planning, you could be that contents restoration contractor that becomes the hero to those in need. 

Flood Insurance in Texas--Cost and How it Works

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

Texas doesn't require homeowners to purchase flood insurance, but if your property is in a high-risk flood zone, you may need to buy coverage as a condition of closing on your mortgage. Flood insurance is also a good consideration in Texas, as flood damage isn't covered by homeowners or renters insurance policies. Flood insurance will help ensure your home and valuables are protected against damage from flash floods, hurricanes and other threats. While the average cost of flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is nearly $600 per year in Texas, you may be able to find lower rates by comparing quotes from private flood insurance companies.

Do You Need Flood Insurance in Texas?

While the state of Texas doesn't require homeowners to have flood insurance, you may need to purchase coverage as a term of your mortgage loan. This is usually the case if your home is located in a high-risk zone on flood maps, as it’s considered to have a higher risk of flooding.

Even if you're not required to purchase flood insurance, you may want to buy coverage as Texas consistently has some of the highest fatality rates and property damage costs due to flooding. And nearly one in four flood losses occurs in flood plains that aren't considered high-risk, so even when coverage isn't required, it doesn't necessarily mean your property is safe.

A number of weather events that may occur in Texas can cause flooding, such as flash floods, heavy rains, tropical storms and hurricanes. Flood damage isn't covered by homeowners or renters insurance policies, so you would likely have to pay the associated costs out of pocket. Even if a federal emergency is declared, disaster loans average less than $10,000, and significant damage to your flooring or personal property can easily exceed this amount.

Texas Flood Insurance Coverage

Flood insurance from the NFIP has maximum coverage limits of $250,000 for your house's structure and $100,000 for its contents, although you can usually purchase a larger policy through a private flood insurance company. If you're a renter in Texas, then your landlord would be responsible for the structure, and your policy would be limited to $100,000 of personal property coverage through the NFIP.

Even if your flood insurance claim is less than your coverage limits, the policy still has limitations in terms of what will be paid for. An NFIP policy in Texas will generally cover the following.

  • Standard home systems. This can include systems such as your electrical system, furnace, water heater, plumbing system and air conditioner.
  • Carpeting and installed features. This includes damaged sections of built-in cabinets, bookcases or paneling.
  • Appliances and personal property. Appliances, such as your refrigerator and washing machine, are generally covered unless they're kept in your basement. The same applies to your personal items, including clothing, electronics and furniture.
  • Foundation and support structures. Staircases are covered so long as they're built into your house.
  • Detached garage. A maximum of 10% of your policy's dwelling coverage can be applied to a detached garage.

A federal flood insurance policy has a large number of exclusions though, so you may not receive the full payment expected if you're not familiar with them. Here are some common reasons an NFIP flood insurance policy would not cover damage.

  • The damage can be attributed to earth movement, such as a sinkhole or landslide, even if the earth movement could be traced to flooding.
  • Damage occurred to the basement or property contained within it.
  • In some cases, flooding damage from sewer backup wouldn't be covered.
  • The flood damage was done to your vehicle. You would need comprehensive auto insurance in order to cover this situation.
  • If you lost income or temporarily had to relocate due to flood damage, these costs would not be covered.
  • Certain detached property features wouldn't be covered by flood insurance. These include property such as plants, decks, patios, fences and walkways.

Cost of Flood Insurance in Texas

The average cost of flood insurance in Texas is $595 per year for policies purchased through the NFIP, but rates can vary significantly. Depending on several factors—where your house is located, how it's built, the property's elevation and how often you occupy the home—flood insurance rates can range from $200 to more than $2,000. In the largest cities in Texas, premium prices range from $468 to $1,117 per year.

Two of the most influential factors in determining flood insurance costs are your home's location on a flood map and elevation. However, premiums also account for usage factors. For example, each NFIP flood insurance policy has an annual surcharge, typically $25. However, the surcharge increases to $250 if your house is used as a rental property or you occupy it less than 50% of the year.

NFIP flood insurance can be purchased from most insurers and agents in Texas, and they will all offer the same premiums for coverage. To make sure you're getting the best rates, we recommend comparing quotes from private flood insurance companies as well. Private flood insurance policies typically come with similar or lower rates than you'll get from the NFIP, and you will usually have more options to customize your policy. If you're purchasing flood insurance as part of your mortgage requirement, check with your lender first, as not all mortgage lenders will accept private flood insurance.

In the event that you go through a storm event and your structure is flooded, call on the experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island.  We will work diligently to get your life back to order and help you resume your life as you knew it before the event.

Fire Damaged Windows--6 Steps in the Cleaning Process

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning windows affected by fire damage can be very time consuming. If you are lucky enough to get a job where the windows actually lift out or fold in for cleaning, then you’ve got it easier than most of us.

The first thing you will need to do before any cleaning begins is thoroughly inspect the window for damage like a broken seal, warped areas or heat cracks. If any of these things exist, the window will need to be replaced not cleaned.

Necessary Tools

Vacuum

Microfiber towels

Gloves

Goggles

Cotton Swabs

2 Buckets

A mild cleaner

An aggressive cleaner

Wood cream

Odor Counteractant

Chem sponge

Window cleaning solution

Paper towels

Regardless of the type of window (wood, metal or vinyl) you are dealing with, the cleaning procedures are basically the same. Most of the time, you’ll be dealing with vinyl.

Let’s walk through this process, step by step.

 Step 1: Vacuum out the window sill, frame and runner to remove any loose, dry particles.

 Step 2: Wipe the sill, runner and frame with a microfiber cloth using a mild degreaser. Always start with the mildest cleaner you feel will get the job done, then step up to a more aggressive cleaner if a test area doesn’t come clean with the first product.

Step 3: Keep cleaning, scrub, scrub, scrub! This step might take some time if there is a lot of greasy residue and soot to remove. Cotton swabs are great during this process. Be sure to clean all the tiny crevices and hard-to-reach places. Using something as small as a cotton swab (aka Q-Tip) may sound overkill, but trust me when I say the client will see the difference.

 What if the windows are wood? If the windows are wood, you may need to use a wood cream product on heavily damaged areas. However, take care when you apply the wood cream as it can be quite difficult to get out of small areas. Again, cotton swabs will help you get rid of any oily residue left behind. You may also want to use a chem sponge for light contamination and skip the wet cleaning stage when possible on wood windows.

Step 4: Deodorize! You can do this by using a microfiber cloth dipped in an odor counteractant. The cloth needs to be good and damp, but not dripping. Your goal here is to touch every surface of the window you can to make sure everything gets damp.

Step 5: Rinse the window, sill and runner with a hot water on a microfiber cloth to wipe off any excess.

Step 6: Use a window cleaner to clean and shine the glass!

Cleaning a window takes a lot of attention to detail. In a heavy contamination situation, you want to be sure to test each window in a small area to make sure you will be successful cleaning it.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has highly trained technicians that can tackle any size fire loss job.

Home » Helping Property Owners Recover from a Fire-Damage Emergency Helping Property Owners Recover from a Fire-Damage Loss

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

Dealing with a fire-damage emergency and the claims process is an emotionally trying time for a policyholder. Here at SERVPRO of East Brownsville and South Padre Island, we are always sensitive to the personal and emotional aspects of a fire-damage situation. It’s imperative to recognize that a homeowner goes through five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

The professional must be prepared to respond appropriately to each situation. Insurance professionals need to prepare the homeowner for the restoration process, work closely with the restoration professional to ensure quality and timely work, and maintain a constant flow of communication throughout the process. A restoration professional must recognize that every loss is significant to the people impacted by it, and take the proper steps to restore the home to preloss condition. 

Dealing With a Fire-Damage Emergency

A fire loss is often more severe than a water loss, and special attention to safety is imperative. The restoration professional needs to ask the property owner some simple questions to quickly evaluate the level of damage: “Is there any structural damage? Is there a lot of smoke?” 

Air quality is the most important factor to evaluate. With any fire, carcinogens enter the air, and safeguards will need to be put in place to help ensure the safety of the air that the residents and workers breathe. All necessary PPE should be available for technicians, as well as the proper equipment to replace the bad air with fresh air as soon as possible. 

If not already aware, the service professional should consider the ages and health of everyone in the home. Young children, the elderly and pregnant women might need to leave the property immediately, as they are often more susceptible to air-quality related health issues. If the client is not comfortable living in the home, the agent needs to assist in finding alternative accommodations for the residents.

Specifics to Consider When Scoping a Smoke and Soot Loss

There are several important steps to take when analyzing a fire-damage emergency:

  1. Evaluate how much heat was involved that resulted in damage to the structure, fixtures and contents. Look for a “heat line” on the wall, which often indicates possible damage to the structural integrity of the drywall materials.
  2. Where did the smoke/soot travel to? Did the smoke get into the HVAC system? Did the smoke travel into the attic areas, or force its way into the crawl space or basement?
  3. Consider pre-cleaning as an alternative process to save the metal and glass items in a home.
  4. Is there excessive smoke inside of the walls? This often requires removal of the drywall to get rid of the smoke/soot and accompanying odors.
  5. Determine which systems are available that will best deodorize the property and contents. These include professional cleaning and sanitizing; organic deodorizing systems; hydroxyls; and/or ozone.
  6. Determine the extent of the damage and the processes/procedures that will return the property, and the lives of those people involved, back to a “preloss” condition as quickly as possible.
  7. Respond as rapidly as possible to minimize the long-term effects of smoke and soot damage, and the many acids those materials contain.

Smoke and soot-related emergencies require specific mitigation strategies, depending on the materials affected: flat or glossy paint, finished and unfinished; laminates and solid wood items; particle-board materials; natural and man-made fibers in carpets and upholstered furniture. Porous, semi-porous and non-porous materials all require unique cleaning and deodorizing systems to most effectively deal with smoke/soot damage. 

Wildfires often destroy thousands of acres of property and hundreds of homes. There is not much a mitigation company can do in those situations. However, there are often thousands of homes that are downwind from the fire that suffer smoke and soot damage, both on the exterior and the interior of homes. Smoke enters around doors and windows, through the ventilation system and even through the soffit vents into the attic areas. 

Knowing how to deal with these materials quickly and professionally to neutralize and remove the compounds from the home, and to control and manage the odor damage are key aspects of a professional restoration/mitigation company. 

Overall, the most important thing to understand about a fire damage emergency is that helping a client cope with the property loss is first priority. Communication along the way and hand-holding through the process is just as important, if not more, than the property owner receiving a check for the loss. 

The restoration professional should be empathetic and emphasize that the damage will be taken care of, but never pass off the restoration process as a casual routine. The level of damage should be evaluated quickly and efficiently. It is critical to work with the insurance agent to educate the policyholder, ease their concerns, and manage their expectations. 

Understand that each client will go through five steps of grief, and anticipate that anger will turn up one way or another. If the restoration professional expects this emotion to surface, they will be prepared to help the client cope and restore their sense of calm. 

Trust inexperts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to help you along every stage of your loss.  

The Importance of Containment in Restoration

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

As a newcomer to the restoration and remediation industry, you quickly learn that remediation gets rid of the bad stuff while restoration replaces the good stuff. But often, little mention is given to the first part of the disaster relief team – containment. Yet, proper protocol says to first contain, then remediate and restore.

So what is containment and why is it important? Specifically, containment is preventing something from escaping. The restoration professional is likely to encounter substances like mold, microbials (naturally occurring micro-organisms), toxin-producing pathogens, friable lead and asbestos. Most of these toxins are very small and can easily hitch a ride on normal air currents found in most buildings. Without containing these potentially toxic substances, at the source and within a confined area, they are likely to end up creating a significantly larger mess than first encountered and quickly saturate the air being inhaled by workers, homeowners and occupants of the affected buildings.

The Value of Effective Containment

For the homeowner:

Lessened health consequence

Less likely to be displaced

Shorter restoration time

Less property damage

No lost income

For the lessor:

Reduced liability

No loss of rental income

Lower repair costs

Property not devalued

For the insurer:

Lower liability

Reduced A.L.E.s

Lower cost of restoration

Quicker repair times

For the restoration company:

Showing you care drives sales

Helps manage work load

Lowers risks to employees

Lessens liability

Allows for faster turn times

Provides visible proof-of-work

May minimize re-clean, re-test

Within the protocols we use, there should be a very high value on containment because it alone has the ability to prevent further damage to health and property. It keeps a bad situation from getting worse. It puts a lid on it. Everything else addresses the aftermath.

Containment is typically broken into two types: source and area containment.

In talking about source containment, I often use the example of a broken water pipe. With water spewing everywhere, nobody in their right mind would even think about fixing and cleaning up the mess until the water valve was turned off first. That is source containment.

For area containment, think of a quarantine room where someone sick is isolated. The point is not necessarily to keep the person inside, but to keep the pathogens contained and from escaping.

In the first example, the water is quite visible. In the second, the pathogen is microscopic – invisible. This cloak of invisibility is probably the main reason some professionals don’t take containment so seriously. It is the perception that if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

But it does exist. And in the case of some molds, just a slight breeze or vibration and they go into survival mode – spewing hundreds times more spores into the air. Without proper containment, the cost of the loss can increase dramatically. But it seems to me the greater cost is in the potential health issues by carelessly allowing cross contamination. According to industry expert Michael A. Pinto of Wonder Makers Environmental, “Medical research continues to tie exposure (to toxins) to significant health effects.”

Reducing the impact of tiny invisible airborne contaminants is exactly why containment is a valuable part of the protocol.

If you will, picture each part of the mold protocol being a person, a specialist in charge of part of the disaster medical team. You would have a first responder (containment), a surgeon (remediation) and a physical therapist (restoration).  Each is tasked with a special function. The first responder stops the bleeding and gets the patient to the surgeon, who cuts away the damaged tissue and does the necessary surgery. The physical therapist gets the body working right again.

Let’s continue by considering a real medical containment scenario – the Ebola virus. World health experts know how critical it is to contain this deadly virus. Anyone who might come into contact with Ebola knows the likelihood of survival is slim. To prevent any direct contact with Ebola, rigid environmental controls are put into place including the use of personal protective clothing, decontamination rooms and a buddy system for removing clothing. In the event of a containment breach, quarantine quarters are mandated for 40 days. With few cures, the focus must be on effective containment.

Granted the Ebola illustration is an extreme circumstance, nonetheless, preparedness for everyday “disasters” means having the right tools on hand, being up-to-date on best practices for doing source and area containment and being ready from the first moment you address the problem to respond in a way that reduces the health risks and property loss.

It is very encouraging to observe the growing interest in effective containment. As the above list shows, stopping toxins in their tracks benefits everyone in the mix.

It is not uncommon to hear concern about reduced cleaning revenue due to better containment, but omitting something to jack up income is just unethical and shortsighted. Don’t do it ever! Not only is great containment going to endear you to your customer (future referrals) but the insurer and adjuster will appreciate that you prevented displacement which can cost them thousands of dollars.

As a restoration professional, containing the site should be of utmost concern for you and your employees. A safer work site always benefits the worker and the employer. Think lower workers compensation costs and liability costs.

By effectively reducing the volume of mold spores by the use of source containment, testing is more likely to pass the first time out – reducing the cost of re-cleaning and testing a second time. The same holds true for effective area containment.

While on this subject, the sequence of source containment and then area containment is important. By securing the site rapidly with source containment, you are avoiding mass propagation of mold spores while erecting area containment. There has already been some level of cross contamination prior to your arrival that will be addressed during remediation. Also, do not make the mistake of only source containment, as what’s behind the moldy surface will need to be contained when the wall is opened up. Don’t skip steps in protocol.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island constantly trains with the latest containment procedures and materials in our Industry.  We are licensed Mold Remediation Contractors and have extensive experience in containments.  I’ll end with this thought. Be prepared, be alert and contain the problem as if someone’s life depended on it – as it very well may.

Drying Equipment-4 Features that Matter

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

The disaster restoration field has come a long way since its inception not so long ago.  A foregleam of the RIA was established in 1946 by a group of rug cleaning professionals known then and now as the National Institute of Rug Cleaners (NIRC). Through the decades, the association arranged itself into multiple “institutes” that served different aspects of its membership, including fire and water damage. In 1980, the Association of Specialists in Cleaning in Restoration (ASCR) was formed under whose umbrella the National Institute of Fire Restoration (NIFR) was created. In the 90’s, the NIFR became the National Institute of Disaster Restoration (NIDR). And in 2007, ASCR once again rebranded itself to become the Restoration Industry Association (RIA).

What’s the point of this little trip down a memory lane of abbreviations? Just as the disaster restoration industry has improved and specialized, so has the equipment that the industry uses. The business has also gotten much more competitive, not just among contractors but between manufacturers of restoration-related equipment as well. So when it comes time for you to purchase equipment, how do you know which units to buy?  SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has done its homework when it comes to which equipment to carry in its line.

There are many claims made by manufacturers about the effectiveness of their equipment and the majority of it is valid. But there are diverse testing methods in the industry which will sometimes skew the results depending on who is evaluating the equipment. 

For instance, when it comes to CFM, some units are field tested (complete with the housing) and some are bench tested (no housing) which produces different results. Sometimes statistics are used as marketing tools, but as Mark Twain once said, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Or as an American humorist, Evan Esar wrote, “Definition of Statistics: The science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures.” 

The truth is, most of the equipment that is available for the restoration contractor is pretty good stuff. But unfortunately, some cheap knock-off units have flooded the market in recent years, so you still should do your homework.  That said, it ain’t rocket science. The following are four main features you’ll want to look for the next time you’re in the market for restoration equipment. Although we’re limiting this discussion to air movers and dehumidifiers because of limited space, most of these aspects will apply to other equipment as well:

1.Power– in air movers, this is usually stated in terms of high CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) or FPM (Feet per Minute).  There are arguments about the importance of one over the other and some say a balance of both is important. But in advertising, the greater of the two numbers is usually highlighted. For dehumidifiers, high CFM is important because moisture can only be extracted from the amount of air that can be moved through the dehumidifier. So you also want to look for a high PPD @ AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) number to assure the water removal capacity and energy factor claimed for that dehumidifier are accurate.

2.Low amps – simply, the more equipment you can plug in, the faster the job is done.  Having enough low amp equipment may even save you the expense of renting a generator for more power.

3.Durability– there used to be a commercial for American Tourister luggage that showed a gorilla abusing their suitcase (see it on YouTube) to show how their luggage takes the punishment they often receive. Unfortunately, your restoration equipment often receives like treatment. One of the best ways to ensure you’re buying a durable unit is to ask other contractors who own them how theirs have held up. If purchasing units with plastic housing, be sure that it’s made by rotation molding and not injection molded. Rotomolding gives a product uniform thickness, double wall construction, and virtually stress-free corners.  Also, different parts that were once made by assembling assorted pieces can now be molded as a single part. It’s more efficient and makes a stronger product. You can tell when a unit is injection molded because it’s usually easy to push the housing in and it cracks more easily, especially in cold temperatures.

4.Safety - Most of us are used to looking for the UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) mark to make sure our purchase doesn’t blow up in our face. In reality, there are other testers that are equally recognized and accepted — prominent among them, the ETL Listed Mark issued by the ETL SEMKO division of Intertek. Like the UL Mark, the ETL Listed Mark shows that a product has been independently tested by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), that it has met the minimum requirements of commonly accepted product safety standards and that the manufacturer has agreed to periodic follow-up assessments to confirm its continued compliance.  So look for a safety mark before purchasing. After all, having a piece of your equipment burn down a customer’s house can really ruin your day.

Don’t consider price the be-all and end-all.  The old saying that you get what you pay for has a lot of truth behind it. Some units may incorporate a lot of bells and whistles, from high tech control boards to longer electrical cords. Some are more important than others, depending on your needs and wants. After all, everyone loves a choice, just like buying a car.  But when there get to be too many options along with questionable statistics, your head can start to spin.  So make it easy on yourself and concentrate on the four main features discussed in this article when shopping for equipment. You may not come away with the fanciest unit, but it’ll probably do a great job for you and last a long time.  

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has the latest drying equipment readily available.  Anything from air-movers to commercial desiccant dehumidifiers, you can count on the professionals here at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to be able to handle any size drying job.

Trapped Moisture--Finding and Eliminating

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

Finding and efficiently eliminating areas of trapped moisture is one of the many factors that differentiate an experienced restorer from a novice. If left untreated, these forgotten areas can lead to various forms of secondary damage and significantly complicate restorative efforts. Wet wall cavities are one of the most common hidden moisture scenarios technicians run into, and many different theories exist on how to handle these situations. Industry trade shows are full of different types of attachments and pieces of specialty equipment that claim to make drying these areas easier. Are they necessary? When and under what circumstances? What is truly the best way to dry hidden moisture inside of wall cavities?

The four variables that dictate an effective approach are:

  1. The presence of wet insulation (or lack thereof),
  2. Finish wall materials,
  3. The structural composition of the wall itself, and
  4. The presence of a pre-existing condition (or lack thereof). 

First and foremost we must consider that the IICRC S500 instructs us that materials are dry once they reach predetermined drying goals, as measured with a moisture meter. If we do not open the wall cavity enough to allow the use of these tools, there is no way for us to ensure with certainty that all of the trapped moisture has been removed. Therefore, at the very least, we are using some form of invasive technique in the sense that inside of the wall cavity must be accessed. This also allows us to inspect the cavity for insulation, and if found, must be removed when wet as insulation will pack down and lose its R-Value. Unfortunately, this leads to a disruptive method of drying as the walls are removed so the wet insulation can be discarded.

Next to be considered is the material that the wall itself is composed of. In most restorative situations, we are dealing with gypsum drywall or another gypsum type assembly (such as Greenboard or similar). These materials tend to dry quickly after water damage as they have a rather high permeance factor which allows water vapor to diffuse through them. However, if the room side of the wall is covered with a finish material such as wallpaper, ceramic tile, or other vapor retarding material, drying can be hindered as these surfaces will affect the rate of evaporation of moisture within the material. In cases such as this, inspection holes can be drilled below baseboard line to force air into the cavity for drying both sides of the wall simultaneously. If this method is unsuccessful, removal or perforation of the wall finish material may be necessary as well as the installation of specialty wall cavity drying equipment.  

The structural composition of the wall must be evaluated when choosing a drying method. In common residential settings, the typical scenario is 2x4 wood framing. However, in commercial settings, the presence of steel framing has the ability to pose complications as water inside the bottom track has the ability to travel great distances unnoticed. In addition, exterior building materials such as poured concrete, concrete block, and exterior wood sheathing need to be identified as they are critical to restoring to our dry standard as well. At a minimum, wall cavities need to be opened (preferably below baseboard lines) in order to direct airflow and also be able to meter these materials.

Finally, we must make absolutely sure that no preexisting conditions are hidden in the cavities we are trying to dry. Installing air movers or using specialty drying equipment to add positive pressure in these areas can cross-contaminate unaffected spaces if there is hidden microbial damage lurking inside. In addition, the possibility of lead-based paint and asbestos must be considered as well.

Normal structural drying of wall cavities can only proceed if the three aforementioned conditions are not present. If they are found, this constitutes a Special Situation per IICRC Guidelines and an Indoor Environmental Professional should be contacted to help dictate safe and effective work practices.

Restorers such as SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island will always consider keeping the cost of reconstruction work at a minimum to benefit both the customer and insurance client. If possible, all wall cavities should be opened below baseboard lines to avoid painting large areas once restoration is complete. The caulking on baseboards should always be scored before removal to ensure that finished wall surfaces are not damaged. Also, all cuts to drywall should be made with a chalk line for a professional appearance and expedited repair time.

While considering all of the aforementioned information, the following general conclusions can be drawn:

  • Wet wall cavities must be opened so direct airflow can adequately dry affected materials, and also so these materials can be measured with a moisture meter.
  • If found, wet porous insulation should always be removed as it will lose its R-Value and significantly slow the drying process.
  • If presented with a difficult to dry or costly finish material on an interior wall, consider a more disruptive technique from the opposite side of the wall to save on overall cost.
  • On an uninsulated drywall wall with 2x4 wood framing, the use of specialty drying equipment is not needed and adds unnecessary cost to the project. Drilling inspection holes below baseboard lines and placing air movers along the wall is sufficient.
  • Specialty drying equipment may be required when drying wall cavities behind cabinets or when there is a vapor retarding wall covering (ceramic tile, wallpaper, etc).

Following these simple guidelines has helped will help SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island build the reputation of consistent and effective job processes homeowners and insurance clients alike appreciate.   

Effective Vehicle Trauma Scene Cleaning—Key Steps

4/24/2018 (Permalink)

Gone are the days of the classic car find for a great deal. I remember the urban legends back in high school where you would hear that some lucky soul got a 1963 classic corvette that someone died in. The reason for the great deal was the lingering odor. Well those days are long gone now with the advancement of cleaning techniques that have been developed as well as an arsenal of deodorizing supplies and machines. Cleaning and decontaminating a trauma involved vehicle can be the equivalency of gingerly taking apart a 1000-piece puzzle, cleaning about 750 of the puzzle pieces and then putting it all back together as if nothing had ever happened.

Step one, no matter how simple the cleaning detail can be, if you are going to remove any hardware, disconnect the battery. Airbags have a hairy trigger finger. When you put together your assessment and game plan, it is wise to do your homework on each vehicle you process. Like any great boxer going into the ring, you must size up your opponent. Know their strengths and weaknesses. Know how many airbags are in the vehicle and their locations. Keep in mind the vehicle inventory of recalled Takata faulty airbags recall in your assessment and how easily they deploy. 

Those of us that have worked trauma scenes, know that blood and bodily fluids are like water; they travel the path of least resistance. Unlike in your typical home, a vehicle has more cracks, crevasses for fluids to make their way to and into.

If your services include trauma clean up of vehicles, it is best to have your own work shop or an office warehouse space before advertising these services. In most cases you can never bring enough tools and equipment with you. This creates a distraction for your client’s employees as well as their employees creating an additional hazard and liability to you. It is best to bring the patient to you, into your controlled environment.  Here at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, we do exactly that and have the experience, space and equipment to handle any size job.

Some vehicles can take a few days to properly forensically restore. You can never bring enough tools; some vehicles require specific tools for a specific make and or model made by the manufacture. So, it also important to make sure you have what is referred to as “Garage Keepers Insurance.” This is a distinctive coverage to protect you and the vehicle from damages, fire and theft should it occur. Your General Liability will not cover this type of loss.   

Once you have the vehicle secured in your warehouse and the battery is disconnected you will want to place it on rolling wheel dolly.

This will allow you the flexibility to move the vehicle with just one or two people.  You can also lock it into place.  This will also allow you to set up a large safety zone to roll the vehicle on top of.  Should it be necessary you can now easily erect a large containment barrier to create negative air flow with a HEPA system.    If you are dealing with a decomposition in a vehicle this makes it possible to roll the vehicle in and out of your warehouse as needed.

When disassembling the vehicle, a great tool to have in your warehouse is a large screen monitor hooked up to a laptop. YouTube is a great source to search and view how to disassemble any part from any vehicle. When you start your disassembly, you will have to photo document all your actions. You will thank yourself for when it comes time to reassemble everything. When you disassemble and clean each piece, keep them in a clean staging area. You will want to use one-gallon zip lockbags for all your smaller parts and mark each bag accordingly and tag all the larger pieces. When we dissemble a vehicle sometimes the auction house does not want it reassembled. However, you can create added value for your service for the auction house or body shop by placing the clean, carefully marked, tagged, and bagged up parts back in the vehicle. 

Any vehicle is ultimately a sponge. A sponge for fluids as well as a sponge for odor absorption. Wicking of fluids can occur on any soft surface. A problem our firm came across in 2010 after the economy crash was the closing of automotive plants. This created a problem for obtaining aftermarket and OEM parts to rebuild the interior. Sometimes automotive salvage yards could not locate the quality of a replacement part required. We then discovered the Esporta wash system. Our forensic operators would delicately disassemble seats and other soft interior pieces. We would then clean them and remove as much gross filth as possible to securely deliver the soft material to the Esporta Wash System. The average turnaround time for this process is less than a week and that parts are be shipped backed looking like new. The seats needing replacement foam would go to an upholstery shop to be reassembled by their professionals.  

You will need to look for every crack and crevasse, under every vent and possibly disassemble and clean wiring harnesses. You cannot remove the odor until you remove all the source. In this particular vehicle the battery is located under the passenger seat. While being loaded to be towed to our facility, the fluids that had puddled in the back seat have shifted into the battery well under the passenger seat.

Odor Removal

Should the opportunity allow weather wise, you will want to place the vehicle in the hot sun with the windows cracked to produce off gassing. In the evenings we will bring the vehicle inside and in a dark environment to introduce Chlorine Dioxide over night.

One of the most overlooked odor removal processes of a vehicle is the replacement of the cabin filter. Call you dealership to learn more. Not all vehicles have a cabin filter, and some have more than one.

Here at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, we have had great success in vehicle trauma cleaning.  We have all the latest cleaning and deodorizing equipment along with the training that helps in the success of a detailed cleaning such as this.  Please look to the experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island should you need this or any other type of cleaning service.

Hoarding Cleanup-Are you prepared to do it?

4/24/2018 (Permalink)

Studies estimate nearly 5 percent of people in the U.S. are hoarders of some kind. Most of us know of at least one: an elderly aunt or uncle or even a neighbor whose strange collection of grocery bags, bottles, old copies of the local paper and magazines pile up. Recovery is possible, but treatment for the behavior is just one part of the process. Restoring the home to a livable condition is also a major concern. An incomplete cleanup can cause further damage to the property, as well as health risks to current or future tenants in the form of illness-causing bacteria left behind in the environment.

Here at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, our job is not to judge; our job is to clean and sanitize in the most efficient and effective way possible. Understanding the client as well as the unique qualities and conditions present in hoarded homes can help restoration services avoid costly service issues and decide for themselves whether hoarding cleanup is something they are able to offer, or if it is better contracted out to a specialty service company.

What Dangers Are Associated with Hoarding?

Not only is hoarding a nuisance to neighbors; it is also dangerous to the hoarder themselves, and to others who live in or even visit the home. Depending on the level of neglect, a hoarded home can swiftly become unsafe and unlivable.

First responders require additional time and equipment to reach a victim in a cluttered home. As a precaution, many fire departments immediately call a second alarm once they realize the condition of the residence. Some firefighters are trained to recognize signs of hoarding from outside so they know to approach a scene with extra caution. Exits and entrances may be blocked or impassable, and falling debris and other items can lead to serious injuries or even death.

Bacteria and viruses are also matters of concern. Not all biological hazards are visible to the naked eye, and while a family may rid the house of the visible signs of dirt, without proper tools and training, disease causing microorganisms may remain behind which can lead to serious medical complications, including chronic skin conditions and respiratory ailments. Left unchecked for longer periods, hoarding conditions attract vermin and insects that bring disease, or produce mold and other toxic elements.

Who Are the Clients?

Unlike other forms of remediation, hoarding is unique in that first contact with a restoration company is often initiated by someone other than the victim themselves. The hoarder’s child or another relative (living in the home or elsewhere), or an outside care provider or social services representative, may be the first to seek out services. Local law enforcement and housing authorities are sometimes involved. Other cases, depend on property management to make the call.

Hoarding is a complicated situation not limited by economic factors; it can affect an expensive home, a respectable condo, or a basic rental apartment. Recognized as a mental illness related to OCD, psychologists believe that hoarding begins as a way to cope with other aspects of life which the person feels they are unable to control. Though only one person might have the illness, entire families can be affected and living in the hoarded home, including small children and otherwise healthy adults. Often it takes one of these relatives, or a social or case worker, to convince the hoarder to seek treatment. Sometimes the threat of legal intervention is what prompts a hoarder to seek cleanup services.

Age and gender are not believed to be factors in hoarding, though single hoarders living alone are often elderly. In those cases, belongings accumulate over long periods of time, and adult children are rarely present in the home to monitor the situation. Sometimes physical impairment or illness prevent the person from maintaining a healthy home. Sadly in these cases, the presence of hoarding is likely to go unnoticed until the home owner is either too sick to care for themselves or has passed on, possibly in the home itself. In both situations, family members are left scrambling to take care of their relative as well as the distressed residence. Hiring a hoarding cleanup company such as , SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island saves time and emotional stress, while also limiting the family’s exposure to potentially dangerous biohazards.

Faced with a labor intensive and time consuming task, property managers also represent a significant segment of the potential client base for hoarding cleanup. Without the presence of relatives, landlords may be forced to handle a tenant’s hoarded space. Some owners, focused on recouping lost funds, aim to acquire new tenants as quickly as possible without spending money on additional cleaning crews. Few pause to think about the risks of doing the work themselves, or having a regular janitorial staff manage the job. Others, however, recognize potential complications may arise from improper remediation such as long-term damage, odors, stains, and health-related issues which can lead to costly vacancies, even fines and lawsuits.

Characteristics of Hoarded Homes

Even in minor cases of hoarding, many victims are reluctant to allow repairmen or home inspectors into the residence. Broken appliances and out-of-date electrical, plumbing, and other utilities contribute to the deteriorated state of the home. Leaking pipes can lead to water damage, and clogged drains and sewer blockage create biohazards and may lead to extreme situations down the road.

Long-term hoarding may also seriously damage the structure of a residence. In 2014, a Connecticut woman was found crushed to death in her basement where she’d been living after the first floor of the home gave way. Though this case is an extreme example, structural issues can easily jeopardize the homeowner’s insurance, and may lead to fines and other penalties if the home isn’t kept up to code. Many hoarders will not seek outside assistance until local authorities step in, which means remediation crews will need to decide if the unit is safe enough to perform the work required.

The worst cases of hoarding usually involve animals: feces, urine, and animal corpses are biohazards that require special attention.  SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island utilizes a three-step bio-wash process to ensure that all biological materials are removed from a residence, including washing, sanitizing, and deodorizing the entire home, followed by ATP testing to verify the cleaning is thorough and complete.

Not All Remediation Companies Perform Hoarding Cleanup

Cleaning service companies are proficient in a vast array of situations, but not all have the equipment, training, or waste disposal licensing to manage the biohazards present in hoarded homes. While conducting a cleanup, SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island employees must follow a plethora of safety regulations enforced by federal, state and local agencies. These same regulations and guidelines affect any person who is potentially exposed to hazardous biological fluids or materials as part of their work activities. Crews wear specialized personal protective clothing to avoid exposure to viruses and bacteria, and learn methods of cleaning designed to achieve the highest levels of sanitation possible.

Please look to the highly trained experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to help you when trying to deal with a hoarding issue.  This type of job is much more difficult, stressfull and time consuming that it originally appears.

EPA Registered Chemicals in Flood Losses

12/8/2017 (Permalink)

Pump Sprayer

EPA Registered Chemicals in Flood Losses

Flooding and water damage can be a devastating event. Taking immediate action can help save your property from mold, mildew and moisture damage. Mold & mildew can start growing within 24 hours after a flood, as the excess moisture and dampness are perfect conditions for mold to grow. In addition, flood waters contain bacteria and other micro-organisms which can be hazardous to human health. Cleaning items exposed to floodwaters removes visible contamination yet invisible microorganisms are left behind. All flood-dampened surfaces should be cleaned, dried, disinfected and sprayed with a mold inhibitor as soon as possible. There are many products available that claim to control mold after flooding but how do you know which are really effective? An EPA registration listed on the product label helps you answer this question.  SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island only uses EPA registered chemicals in their product line.

With mold or the potential for mold growth, the EPA requires that all products that claim to kill mold or inhibit mold must be first registered with the EPA before these claims can be made. Registering with the EPA means that a product has passed their required tests for pesticide claims with an independent laboratory. The EPA classifies mold claims such as ‘kills or inhibits’ as pesticidal claims. Mold Stain removal or products that claim to remove the stains caused by mold are not considered pesticidal and do not require an EPA registration. After flooding you need a product that kills and inhibits mold, so you should use an EPA registered product to ensure the product actually kills and inhibits molds. The EPA registration outlines the proper uses and approved claims manufacturers can make about the product. It outlines proper usage, application areas, contact times, safety and general instructions. An EPA registration provides a sense of security, knowing that the claims on the label are backed by EPA testing and protocols.

In addition to mold, flood waters may carry bacteria and viruses. Products that claim to kill bacteria and viruses must also be EPA registered. The common terms found on the labels are disinfect and sanitize. The two terms are often used interchangeably but there is a difference. Disinfectants are products that destroy all organisms in 10 minutes during the AOAC Use Dilution Test, a test regulated by the EPA. Sanitizers destroy 99.999 percent of bacteria in 30 seconds during the Official Detergent Sanitizer Test (a public health test).  Sanitizers are typically used around food or in kitchens due to the speed needed to destroy bacteria on dishes and glasses as it makes the surfaces safe for contact quickly. Disinfectants are used around all other places to destroy microorganisms because they are stronger.

How do you know what products kill or inhibit mold and other microorganisms? Check the label for the words fungicide, mildewstat, disinfectant and deodorizer. These terms identify the claims and the performance of the product. Here is what those terms mean: (1) fungicide (cide = kills) so this means kills mold & mildew (2) Mildewstat (stat = inhibit) so this means inhibits mold growth. (3) Bactericide (cide = kills) which means kills bacteria.  (4) Virucide (cide = kills) so this means kills viruses. The back label will list the various organisms the product kills or inhibits. Be sure to find these terms listed on the label of the product you purchase if you want to kill mold, mildew, bacteria and viruses, all which are found in flood waters. By using an EPA registered product, you know it met the EPA protocol to kill and inhibit mold and mildew.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island recommends that once you’ve found an EPA registered product, take these key steps to flood and water clean-up:

  • Be sure to wear protective clothing including goggles and rubber gloves.
  • Open windows and dry areas thoroughly. Place moisture absorbers in small enclosed spaces like closets and bathrooms to help eliminate excess moisture and dry out the area. Moisture absorbers are a natural way to attract and trap excess moisture to eliminate and prevent musty odors and moisture damage. They do not require electricity and work well in small spaces.
  • Discard any water damaged materials that are porous and can trap mold. This includes books, paper, ceiling tiles, cellulose insulation, fiberglass insulation and soft surface items. Be sure to photocopy any valuable important papers and documents. Place the items in sealed bags before placing in trash containers.
  • Carpet and backing may be wet vacuumed and dried with fans or dehumidifiers. Clean carpet and window drapes. Apply a fungicide and disinfectant product to kill mold, mildew, bacteria and viruses. Be sure to use a bactericide and virucide to kill bacteria and viruses.
  • All hardened non-porous surfaces or objects that have come in contact with flood waters must be cleaned, disinfected and treated with a mold killer and inhibitor. Dry and clean the surface and apply a fungicide and disinfectant product to kill mold, mildew, bacteria and viruses. Be sure to use a bactericide and virucide to kill bacteria and viruses.
  • Protect against future mold growth. Use a product that contains a mildewstat to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Check for odors. It could mean you have mold and mildew behind walls. Find the mold sources and treat them as described above.

Using mold products that are registered with the EPA as a fungicide and a mildewstat ensures that the products meet the EPA requirements to kill and inhibit mold. A product that is a fungicide, mildewstat and a disinfectant saves you time because it kills and inhibits mold and disinfects in one step.  This is by far the more popular chemical used by SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island in their efforts to remediate mold affected materials.

Prevention and Risks of Moisture in Schools During Summer

12/8/2017 (Permalink)

Prevention and Risks of Moisture in Schools During Summer

Whether a school is under construction or unoccupied during the summer break, it likely is without an HVAC system to help control moisture. Without humidity control, school buildings can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. 

The moisture content in a school’s building envelope can provide the medium that mold needs for incubation and growth. Whether a school is under construction or unoccupied during the summer break, it likely is without an HVAC system to help control moisture. Without humidity control, school buildings can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. 

Risks exist whenever moisture is present at sufficient levels to allow mold to take hold. That level of moisture can result from excessive humidity, condensation or water damage. Humidity often is an unseen and undetected culprit in mold germination. Most HVAC systems are designed to bring in outside air as a requirement to enhance indoor air quality. In so doing, it is natural that, in most climates, moist air will be drawn into the building. 

Relative humidity levels above 70 percent pose a threat to any structure because moisture conditions will sustain mold formation. Such high levels of humidity are common when mechanical systems are shut down. 

The situation is exacerbated when custodial and maintenance departments tackle summertime cleaning and repair projects that they couldn’t conduct with classes in session. Typically, this work includes deep cleaning carpets and stripping and waxing floors, which creates moisture and introduces Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to the indoor air. 

With the internal HVAC system off or running intermittently to save on energy costs, custodians must seek alternative ways to cool and ventilate the building. This is often accomplished by opening the facility’s windows and doors to increase air flow. However, in hot and humid conditions, this process introduces additional moisture into the building. Consequently, when the building is closed after work each evening, all of the VOC’s and humidity are consequently trapped in the building.

Finding a Solution

Controlling humidity requires some form of dehumidification. The most effective way to control a high-humidity environment is to employ a dehumidification system that delivers low humidity air and removes moisture without the need to run costly chiller systems designed to run a fully occupied building. 

A humidity control company will deliver the portable rental units to the site on trailers and work with the school district to set up the equipment near the school’s mechanical room. Temporary overhead ductwork or layflat is utilized to distribute dehumidified and cooled air throughout the structure, precluding any reliance upon the HVAC distribution system. The amount of dehumidification and cooling will be determined by a variety of factors, but mostly is affected by the overall cubic feet of air space being controlled. 

When a room is filled with dry air, which has low vapor pressure, trapped water migrates outward and is evaporated from the surface by the dry air. This technique establishes and maintains proper humidity levels that stabilize the interior environment. 

In addition to comfortable indoor conditions, utilization of an energy-efficient cooling and desiccant dehumidification unit leads to cost savings if the school can provide house power. That’s because electricity consumption costs for these units will be less than running the school’s in-house equipment. 

Preparing for Summer Storms, Flooding

The second major threat to a structure is excess moisture that results from any source ranging from pipe or equipment leaks to flooding due to extreme weather. 

In such cases, quick action is required to dry affected materials and areas of the building to preserve good indoor air quality. The longer the water flows or wet conditions are allowed to exist, the greater the recovery problem becomes. A water damage consultant must come in immediately to survey the situation. 

If a school has been severely water damaged, portable high volume desiccant dehumidifiers are required. Some larger units can pull 800 gallons of water out of a building in one day, compared to the typical small refrigeration units that remove about five gallons a day. 

Mold and mildew grow rapidly in damp, humid environments, leaving behind an unpleasant smell that permeates floors, walls and ceilings, even after the water has been removed. It also can create health problems for occupants. To minimize damage and costs, school maintenance managers should think ahead about what to do in a water damage event and contact a water damage expert such as SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island to create a Disaster Recovery Plan. 

Creating a moisture management plan that deals with a building from construction through unoccupied times will prevent costly mold problems, and save energy by avoiding operating mechanical systems. Monitoring humidity conditions and responding to water events quickly as part of a moisture management plan will further reduce any risk of mold. 

Moisture control during summer, even if the building is not occupied, is essential to prevent mold growth and other IAQ issues. Use of rental desiccant dehumidification systems can lead to energy savings, improved indoor air quality, and a more productive work environment. School officials would be wise to rethink their HVAC strategy during summer break to prevent expensive remediation and clean-up.  SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has in its array of equipment to tackle these issues Commercial Desiccant Dehumidifiers in case of excessive humidity of water issues arise in any size structure. 

IR Cameras- How to use them Properly, Ethically, and with Profitability

12/4/2017 (Permalink)

Infrared Cameras:

How to use them properly, ethically and profitably when performing water damage restoration.

Everyone has heard the old adage, “When you only have a hammer, all your problems start to look like nails.” With an infrared camera, everything can look like water damage.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island realizes that IR camera technology can be a powerful tool for discovering the source of a leak, determining if there is latent moisture behind a wall after a dry-out and even to combat the potential for mold growth throughout a property.

On the other hand, if improperly used, an IR camera can be the cause of needless additional restoration work that won’t be covered by insurance providers.

And while an ethically-motivated restoration professional isn’t intentionally aiming to create a fear-based decisions in the mind of a property owner, it may not be viewed that way from their side, resulting in — minimally — a loss of trust and — at worst — a costly lawsuit.

What do they actually do?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding what infrared cameras actually do. To avoid issues resulting from this confusion, IR camera technology needs to be fully understood.

First and foremost, it must be made clear that thermal technology does not detect moisture at all. IR cameras detect temperature, display it visually, and that’s it.

An IR camera is no more capable of determining if something is wet than a mercury thermometer is when dropped in a cup of water. They do not “know” if things are wet, but they can easily measure temperature differentials, and water is extremely sensitive to these fluctuations.

Further, a home with water damage can reach a temperature equilibrium even after a water extraction has been performed. When this happens, if soaked drywall or carpet is the same temperature as the air around it, the IR camera won’t be able to “see” a temperature difference between the materials and the air.

This situation can easily be fixed by turning on the air conditioner, or even opening up a door to let in a draft. Actions like this will instantly affect the temperature of the air. These differences are then visible where evaporation is affecting the wet versus the dry sections of the home.

IR camera best practices

Beyond the technical limitations of the IR camera, there are also ethical implications for its use that should be addressed.

Due to the fact that an IR camera uses temperature and not actual moisture levels to determine if something is wet or not, less reputable restoration specialists might be tempted to take advantage of customers by using the visuals the camera provides.

Readouts near walls with cold water lines and air conditioning ductwork can create the impression that an area is water damaged when, in fact, it is only thermally cooler than its surroundings.

If used improperly or even unethically, this visual feedback from the camera can coax homeowners into further work than is actually required. Use of the camera in this manner is not only disreputable, but it’s also a lawsuit in the making.

That being said, when it comes down to selling yourself as an expert in the restoration industry, an IR camera and the visuals it provides can demonstrate to a homeowner, business owner or anyone you are working with on a loss that the added level of technology is an indication of true professionalism.

A heightened skill set, even if it’s only the perception of one technologically, can make a huge difference when trying to lock down a restoration project with clients.

Savvy homeowners won’t want to risk losing the services of an expert when they know they have a problem, and the IR camera may just make all the difference in illuminating this for them.

If used properly and ethically, the thermal photography that an IR camera produces can be an incredible tool for all aspects of a water damage loss.

But remember that it is still a tool, and should always be used in concert with other tools, such as moisture meters and testing, to ensure that not everything looks wet with water damage.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island incorporates the use of IR Cameras on its water losses but backs up the findings with moisture meters.  Our technicians are trained in the correct use of the IR Camera and know its limitations.  Because of this, we verify our findings with meters and make sure we have all our equipment calibrated and functional at all times.

PPE in the Restoration Industry

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

PPE in the Restoration Industry

The term PPE, or Personal Protective Equipment, refers to protective clothing, respirators, goggles, hard hats, gloves, and other garments or equipment worn to protect an individual from injury and harm.

The history of PPE dates back to ancient times when soldiers would suit up for battle. One of the first large-scale PPE uses was in World War I, when PPE was used to protect soldiers from the chemical gases such as mustard gas. In the forensic restoration industry, PPE has evolved and will continue to change to be able to protect the operators in the field against microbial warfare.

Disposables have become an integral part of many industries today. They are everywhere from the local deli to the high-tech electronic clean rooms, and while industries use some of the same materials, there are many differences.

Identifying & Choosing Materials

There are four major types of nonwoven materials most common to the today’s industries: Tyvek, microporous film, SMS (Spun-bonded-Melt blown-Synthetic), and polypropylene.

Tyvek

Dupont founded Tyvek under the research efforts of William Hale Charch in 1944. Dupont scientists found a way to shred and process nylon fibers to create a form of synthetic paper. Still, it wasn’t until 1961 that Tyvek actually emerged on the market.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene, a major nonwoven polymer in today’s market, was developed in 1954 by Guilio Natta. It was put into production in 1957 and there have been many improvements on polypropylene materials since its inception. Three of the modifications are with film coatings, PE coated polypropylene, microporous film, and SMS.

Microporous Film

Microporous film is a polypropylene membrane that is thermally laminated to a polypropylene nonwoven material. This was developed in 1987 through improved processing of polypropylene and came into the commercial market in 1993.

SMS

SMS is another derivative of polypropylene that is made up of three layers: two layers of polypropylene thermally bonded together with a thin poly membrane that is perforated.

Choosing and identifying the right materials can be difficult. These materials are used in several other industries and one of the largest users is the industrial safety sector. Their application is to protect the user from biological matter, blood, mold, asbestos, chemicals, and foreign substances getting on themselves or their clothing.

Best Options for Restoration Companies

For Non-Hazardous Jobs

Like many other companies, SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island, has several challenges when choosing the correct PPE for a restoration project. Most will use an SMS or polypropylene fabric in a lab coat, coverall, bouffant cap, shoe covers, sleeves, and masks. SMS gives good protection for fluid resistance and hold out while still achieving a breathable comfort level. Polypropylene is used in areas where protection is not critical, such as dusty or dirty areas free of hazardous materials. This is the most breathable and comfortable option.

SMS and polypropylene have varying filtration rates since the thickness of the material instead of the composition of the material determines the amount of protection. The average thickness of SMS ranges from 45 gsm (grams per square meter) to 55 gsm or 1.4 oz (ounce per square yard) to 1.8 oz. The filtration rate is 10 microns for a 55 gsm garment versus 30 microns for a 45 gsm garment. SMS will shed liquids for a period of time depending on the thickness of the material, but it is not a complete barrier. This makes SMS a very desirable material because it is breathable and will give adequate protection over a period of time. Polypropylene is the least protective of the materials and has a hold out range of 50 to 70 microns based on material weights of 45gsm to 30gsm or 1.4 oz to 1.0 oz. Many operators use polypropylene or SMS where there is minimal exposure within the work area for brief periods of time.

For Hazardous Jobs

When operator safety is especially critical, microporous film and Tyvek fabrics are the best route. Tyvek and microporous film materials will yield the highest particulate filtration efficiency. Tyvek will filter out dry particles up to 0.03 microns. The microporous film material has a barrier coating to allow for a low filtration rate at .01 microns, but lacks in comfort because it is not breathable. It works well in areas that are constantly wet and optimum protection is needed. Both of these materials will be hot to wear in most situations. When optimum protection is needed though, these materials work extremely well. With more precautions set forth for biological use, the sewn seams on these materials present a break in the barrier. There are versions of micropourus film that have sealed taped seams. Using Tychem SL and QC garments that have sealed taped seams allows for optimum protection.  SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island technicians have been extensively trained in the use of these suits before they are allowed to work on a hazardous project.

The Investment

Tyvek, since one company makes the material, is consistent in gsm weight, but microporous film, SMS, and polypropylene, vary in price by weight and size and there are many different manufactures/converters of these materials. These materials are non-wovens that are sold by weight as rolled goods and then converted to an isolation gown, lab coat, coverall, or shoe cover. This means the price of a 1.4 oz lab coat versus a 1.8 oz lab coat can vary in price by 20% and can vary even more depending on the size cut the garment has. The industrial sector usually wants the cheapest form of protection since it goes to their bottom dollar cost. The difference is a compromise in quality, weight of material, and durability can cost an operator their health or life. There are several ways to make sure you are getting what you need.

Microporous film is a complete barrier with the coating. It is meant as an alternative to Tyvek. Sizing and gsm weight is what affects the cost of this material. SMS and polypropylene weights can be looked at in several ways. First is comparing the thickness to another garment as well as weighing the garment itself. You can ask your supplier for the manufactures SDS sheets on the materials, which should always specify the weight of the material. The cut size and durability of the garment also reflect the quality. How does the garment hold up and does it fit right for the marked size of the garment? When ever you look at these materials in any form, lab coat, coverall, look at the stitching and the cut of the overall garment. You will be able to see many differences from one garment to another.

The decision to use one disposable or another option will ultimately come down to price, quality, application, and the end user. Choosing the right one can be difficult sometimes, but application and risk assessment is the best way to start. Once you know your options are compatible with the type of work you’ll be doing, you can compare the garment specifications from one product to the next and pricing to make a final purchase decision.

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island understands the importance and value PPE brings to our industry.  We spare no expense in making sure our technicians have the right protection, tools and knowledge before they tackle any type of hazardous project.

Which Provides the Best Results—Sprayers, Foggers or Misters

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Fogger

Which Provides the Best Results—Sprayers, Foggers or Misters

A clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of device will help the restorer decide which unit will provide the best results in a particular job site.  SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is equipped with all of this equipment and knows the job will dictate which unit could yield the best results.

Equipment evaluation and usage

Four distinct methods of dispersing deodorizing treatments are utilized. These methods are defined chiefly by the size of water droplets produced:

  • Pressure/compression sprayers
  • Wet foggers/misters
  • ULV (ultra-low volume) sprayers
  • Thermal-fogging devices

Pressure/ compression sprayers

These comprise the largest class of odor control application equipment. There are three main types:

  • Pump type
  • Electric
  • Airless paint sprayer

Pressure/ compression sprayers produce droplets that are often hundreds of microns in size. A micron is a unit of measure equal to one thousandth of a millimeter or 1/25,000th of an inch. These give the professional the greatest amount of control over where the spray is applied. They allow the professional to put a physical deposit of the proper deodorant where there was a physical deposit of odor thereby preventing further release of any odorous gases from the surface. Large droplets are an advantage when the desired outcome is to coat a surface.

Wet foggers/ misters

These constitute a large class of deodorant application tools. Misters work by mechanical action, using air pressure and specialized nozzles to break liquid into droplets.

Advantages

  • Lower in cost than other types of fogging equipment.
  • Droplets dispersed by these machines range in size from 25-100 microns.

Disadvantages

  • Often lack precision metering.
  • When machine operator is inexperienced, wetting, fallout and staining can occur to moisture sensitive surfaces.
  • The droplet size is typically much larger than the size of odor molecules and, therefore, does not penetrate the same as other types of fogging equipment.

ULV foggers

These are wet foggers that produce smaller droplets than wet foggers/ misters.

Advantages

  • ULVs are used to treat airspace with either water- or alcohol-based formulations. Alcohol-based formulations produce smaller sized droplets. ULVs can be adjusted to generate particles in the 8-15 micron size range.
  • Droplets can stay suspended in air for five or six hours instead of a few minutes with a wet fogger/ mister, allowing for better penetration.
  • Chance of over-wetting materials is greatly reduced when compared with wet (tri-jet) foggers.
  • Good for application inside of forced-air ventilation systems and in crawl spaces.

Disadvantages

  • Larger droplets generated by compression sprayers have a greater ability to coat surfaces than ULV generated droplets.
  • Does not get small enough in droplet size to get the best penetration and permeation into cracks and crevices and, therefore, does not reproduce the penetration of the deodorant vapors.

Thermal fogging devices

Thermal foggers are machines that utilize heat to change liquids into small droplets. These droplets condense when introduced into a cooler atmosphere. Thermal foggers can produce droplets as small as 0.5 microns up to 2 microns in size. Petroleum-based formulations are normally used with thermal fogging devices.

Differences between thermal and ULV fogging

The principle difference between ULV and thermal fogging is the thermal generation process produces a smaller and more consistent droplet size. Thermal fogging produces a dry or damp fog as opposed to the wet ULV aerosol.

Although many thermal fogging devices are limited to applying only oil-based formulations, some thermal foggers are available that may also be utilized to apply water-based formulations.

  • The concentration of active material in thermal fogging is usually lower than in ULV applications.
  • Thermal fog droplets have better penetration and permeation properties than ULV droplets.
  • Thermal fog lends itself to treatment of both large and small dwellings and buildings.
  • Gas-powered thermal foggers require no electrical source; no need to delay treatment if power is not available.
  • The small droplet size makes it possible to envelop contaminated atmospheres with odor counteractant, resulting in faster and more complete applications.

Gasoline-powered thermal fogger

Gasoline-powered thermal foggers do not require electricity and are capable of producing substantially smaller droplets than electrical powered units. They also produce larger volumes of fog.

Electric thermal fogger

Electric thermal foggers produce smaller volumes of fog with larger droplets. For simple, smaller jobs they are very useful. Be sure to use with a heavy-gauge extension cord and follow manufacturer’s directions for use.

All are effective tools in our Industry.  But it is clear that training and knowledge of these units is vital for the success of the project.  Deodorizing or disinfecting, SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island has highly trained technicians skilled in the use of these pieces of equipment as well as the chemicals involved in their use.

Soot and Smoke require Special Cleaning

11/1/2017 (Permalink)

Special Cleanup when it comes to Smoke and Soot

After a fire, soot damage is very typical. Soot can be a black flaky or oily or powdery substance which forms from incomplete combustion. Fine carbonized compounds cling to surfaces in your home like ceilings and walls, plus your possessions. Soot can be difficult to remove, and sometimes it is not possible to restore the surface to its pre-fire condition. 

There are two types of sediment you can find after soot damage home – oily and dry. A quick check you can do to discover the type of residue you have is just to run your finger over a soot-covered surface. It is oily residue if it smears. Try not to make a mess. Better yet, leave it to us to inspect and clean. 

You need an experienced fire damage restoration team working with you to clean the soot from your home thoroughly. SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island is standing by to help you as soon as the fire is out and everyone is safe. The longer you leave the smoky substance sitting in your home, the more damage it does.  

Heat from the fire pushes the soot and can cover everything in its way. Smoke looks for a kind of equilibrium and travels until its energy is used and it goes to cooler temperatures. When tested, soot can always be found on the acidic side of the pH scale. Acidic materials are destructive to a majority of elements found in nature. Over time, they keep degrading materials by oxidation which leads to discoloration, etching, corrosion or pitting. Stains over metals can yellow and soften. These reactions are ongoing from soot residues until they are removed.  

We can clean up oily residue with special degreasing agents, while we clean dry soot with cleaning sponges. Sometimes, soot will be oily in one room and dry in another. It all depends on the kinds of materials that were burned, so we check ahead of time before we begin remediation.  

Many varying types of damage occur after a fire, including water damage from firefighting efforts, but soot damage continues to eat away at the surfaces it is covering if left untouched.

Contents Restoration

SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island specializes in restoring contents damaged by water, fire, or mold. Their expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. They pretest your belongings to determine what items they can restore to pre-fire condition. They use several methods of cleaning your contents, including:

  • 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.

Move-Outs/Pack-Outs

If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning due to fire damage, SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island can conduct an organized, efficient move-out of the affected area. A move-out has several benefits, including:

  • A quicker remodeling process
  • Protecting items from potential damage
  • Protecting contents from further on-site damage

When restoration is completed, they 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. 

Electronic Cleanup

Fire-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 fire. Smoke residues can contain acids that corrode metal surfaces. If the residues are not removed, corrosion causes electronic failure in the device. SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island will coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including:

  • Television sets
  • DVD players
  • Computers
  • And more

The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. Electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician.

Contents Claim Inventory Service

When a fire emergency strikes, the damage can often feel overwhelming. SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island 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. They take a room-by-room inventory of your contents, including digital photos, and in some instances, bar coding.

Our Contents Claim Inventory Service:

  • Pre-loss 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!

When it comes to going through a fire event, know that the experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island can help make it "Like it never even happened.”

Preventing Mold with Quick Water Mitigation

5/1/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Growth on cabinets

Water Management and Mold

Each homeowner should take the necessary precautions and steps to minimize the amount of moisture while redirecting water in order to reduce the risks of mold developing.                            Mold tends to become an issue due to water intrusion, and this has developed into a major thorn in the construction industry’s side. U.S. housing’s top indoor air quality problem is mold, which is why proper water damage mitigation ought to be taken before it runs into bigger and more serious issues such as compromised structural integrity, cosmetic problems and long-term durability issues

Mold Growth in Homes

Poor water management of a home will encourage mold growth. As mold spores are invisible to the naked eye, they tend to make their way through the home, and are always present in indoor and outdoor air. While modern homes are built in such a manner where the concentration levels are insufficient to cause issues for the home’s inhabitants, it tends to make a nuisance when it starts to grow. Mold colonies require a food source, the right temperature (above 32 degrees Fahrenheit), and plenty of moisture. These conditions are all part of a home’s make up, where plenty of organic materials abound within a temperature range that does encourage mold growth. The key to stop the spread of mold is to keep moisture levels under control, and this is where water management of a building is very important. By doing your bit to prevent water intrusion, you will be able to minimize or eliminate the possibility of mold and mildew making their presence known.

 Wood-based Products

If you love all things wood, then it is all the more important to have proper water management for your home to prevent the growth of mold.  Wood-based products, while adding a sense of warmth into the home’s aesthetics, require plenty of attention as wood is one material that can absorb plenty of water, resulting in a higher overall moisture content in the surrounding area. It also requires far more effort and energy to dry wood than for it to get wet. With many wood-based furniture having concealed frames that has extremely limited, if any, exposure to air, it is all the more difficult to dry out.

What is Water Management?

It is imperative that you get a reputable water restoration Company like SERVPRO, take a look just in case there is a need for water damage mitigation works to be done. The whole idea of water management is to ensure all water will be directed away from the home. This is achieved through having a positive drainage system. It is always better that water is drained out and away from the home as fast as possible.Nothing should be left to chance, which means there should not be any part of the home that is sloped in the direction of the home’s interior.

Shingling

The roof is the primary form of protection against rain, and as rainwater subjects itself to the laws of physics and gravity, it will take the path of least resistance down the exterior finish and the drainage plane.  Along the way, it will come into contact with the likes of the finish roofing and wall cladding, window flanges, as well as flashing. These materials will then need to be layered in a strategic manner so that water on the outermost layers will remain a distance away from the sheathing and framing. This kind of layering method is known as shingling. Hence, all drainage planes ought to have the shingle strategy applied.

Contact SERVPRO of East Brownsville & SPI  Today

If you would like to make sure that your home is a place where happy memories are made and living in it is a joy ; We have the necessary expertise and wealth of experience to be able to let you know what needs to be fixed.  Our comprehensive range of services include mold remediation, water damage mitigation, and Water Damage Restoration

Restore your Carpet with These Spring Carpet Cleaning Tips

5/1/2017 (Permalink)

Carpet Cleaning process

During the winter, people close their homes to keep out the cold weather and heat their homes more efficiently.  However, with your home closed up, dirt, dust mites, and other airborne debris will circulate through the home and settle into the carpet.  By the time the spring arrives, your carpet is full of dirt and debris from the winter that needs to be removed.  This is why carpet cleaning should be part of your spring cleaning effort.  Effective carpet cleaning will remove the debris that has been accumulating in your carpet all winter and help restore its look.  Removing this debris from your carpet will also contribute to a healthier environment in your home.

As you begin spring cleaning in your home, make sure you work in the following carpet cleaning tips to clean and restore your carpeting.  If you would like additional help cleaning your carpet, you can always call a professional for carpet cleaning services.

spring-carpet-cleaning Start by Vacuuming

Hopefully, you have been vacuuming your carpet regularly throughout the winter.  Regular vacuuming is the most effective way to maintain your carpet and remove much of the embedded debris from the fibers.  By removing the embedded dirt and debris, you can prevent your carpet from deteriorating or looking discolored.  You must continue to vacuum your carpet regularly in the spring and throughout the year to keep it in good shape.  Vacuuming does not remove everything though which is why you should consider annual professional carpet cleaning.

Use Welcome Mats

One way to protect your carpet from dirt and debris is to prevent the dirt from being tracked into your home in the first place.  Placing welcome mats by every entrance will encourage people to wipe their feet when they enter your home, reducing the dirt and debris being dragged in.  People will be walking in and out of your home more frequently in the spring and summer so make sure you have your welcome mats in place.

Remove Stains

Carpet stains are tough to remove and using an over-the-counter carpet stain remover can be damaging to your carpet if you don’t use it properly.  There are a couple of ways you can try removing carpet stains yourself without risking damage to the carpet.  Try treating the stains with a solution consisting of one cup of cold water and 1/4 teaspoon of liquid detergent with no bleach.  You can also try removing the stain using vinegar and an iron.  Make a solution that is one part vinegar to three parts water.  Dampen a towel with this solution and lay it over the stain.  Iron the towel over the stain until the stain transfers to the towel.  If these methods do not remove the stain, you can call a carpet cleaning professional to treat the stain with their specialized products.

 

Protect your Carpet from Stains

Applying a stain protector will help you prevent stains in the carpet, but these protectors wear out over time.  The spring season is the ideal time to re-apply a stain protector to your carpet.

Restore your Carpet with These Spring Carpet Cleaning Tips Clean Up Spills Quickly If something spills on your carpet, you must clean it up immediately.  The longer you leave a spill to soak up in the carpet fibers, the higher the risk for a stain.  Make sure you blot dry a spill as soon as it happens to prevent staining.

Remove Odors

Like other types of fabric, carpeting can absorb foul odors that can make the room smell bad.  Fortunately, you can remove odors from your carpet safely using a mixture of essential oils and baking soda.  Add 10-20 drops of essential oil to 16 ounces of baking soda and mix the solution so that the oils become absorbed completely into the baking soda.  Sprinkle the baking soda mixture onto the area of your carpet with the odor and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing it with the vacuum.  If the odors are persistent, you may need help from a carpet cleaning professional.

Fluff the Carpet

Heavy foot traffic and furniture can flatten or indent the carpet fibers which will make the carpet look worn out.  You can fluff the carpet fibers using only an ice cube, towel, and iron.  Start by letting the ice cube melt into the flattened or indented area.  Once the ice cube melts, use a towel to softly blot up the excess water and leave the moist towel laid over the area.  Turn the iron on a low setting and iron the moist towel until the fibers are mostly dry.  Let the carpet continue to air dry and then fluff up the fibers with your hands.

Call  SERVPRO of East Brownsville & SPI

By working these carpet cleaning tips into your spring cleaning routine, you can help you improve the look and condition of your carpet.  However, it is important to remember that while these tips do help, it takes professional carpet cleaning services to completely remove embedded debris and tough stains.  Carpet cleaning professionals use advanced cleaning equipment and methods that are designed to lift stubborn stains and debris safely out of all carpet types.  As you get your spring cleaning started, follow these tips to clean your carpet and call a professional if you need extra help.

Tips before heat arrives in Brownsville Texas

4/18/2017 (Permalink)

Safety Tips Before Extreme Heat Arrives

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Know those in your neighborhood who are older, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
  • Be aware that people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than are people living in rural areas.
  • Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.

 

Tips To Prepare Your Home

  • Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
  • Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
  • Keep storm windows up all year.

 

  • #HeatSafety
  • #BeatTheHeat
  • #SummerSafety
  • #GetReady 

Water Damage in your Brownsville and South Padre Island Area

4/11/2017 (Permalink)

Water damage in the garage.

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.


Faster To Any Size Disaster


Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Brownsville & South Padre Island arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.


Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 956-747-3020


Water Damage Timeline


Within Minutes



  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.

  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.

  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.

  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.


Hours 1 - 24:



  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.

  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.

  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.

  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.

  • A musty odor appears.


48 Hours to 1 Week:



  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.

  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.

  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.

  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.

  • Paint begins to blister.

  • Wood flooring swells and warps.

  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.


More Than 1 Week:



  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.

  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.


About SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island


SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

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