Picking up the Pieces: Steps To Take Right After the Storm
While these storm tips are broad and do not cover the extent of the restoration process, they are meant as a starting off point.
Storms are unpredictable, and they can leave you vulnerable in the one place that you’re meant to feel the safest, your home. Between heavy rains, high winds, and lightning, your home is susceptible to various levels of structural damage, and when the weather breaks the aftermath can be just as disheartening. Follow the three simple storm tips below to help ensure your safety and to get your restoration started on the right foot.
1. Ensure Your Safety
After a storm, it is most important to make sure that you and your family are safe. Storms can leave behind downed power lines, broken glass, and worse. The first thing you should do when a storm ends is to evaluate your surroundings and to get yourself to a safe location.
2. Call for Help
Depending on the damage to your home, you may want to seek assistance from restoration specialists in the Leawood, MO, area. Also, reaching out to your insurance company and asking about any storm tips or required steps they have for you is a good idea. Beyond the basics, if your area has been significantly damaged, you should find out if the government has declared it a disaster area. Designated disaster areas are eligible for disaster relief, meaning that you may be able to get assistance to restore your property.
3. Get Out Your Camera
Regardless of the level of storm damage, most insurance companies require proof of loss. While most insurers will send out a qualified adjuster to document your home, it may take weeks before an adjuster can get to you, especially after a significant storm. Taking pictures ensures that you have evidence of the immediate damage as well as allows you the opportunity to begin cleanup.
While these storm tips are broad and do not cover the extent of the restoration process, they are meant as a starting off point. These three tips, while simple, are easy to remember even after the disarray and shock of severe weather.
What You Need to Know About Home Sewage Backups
If your sink is overflowing that means you have sewage backup in your home.
What You Should Know About Sewage Backups at Home
Sometimes a sewer system in Leawood, KS becomes overwhelmed, as in the case of a storm, and there isn't much you can do to stop it. There are often there are some subtle hints of the problem before it happens. Here are some things you should know about a storm-related sewer backup.
Increase Your Awareness
Sometimes rain is just too much and too fast, dumping large volumes of water on a sewer system. This is one reason that a sewer backup can happen in a home. The problem is compounded when the sewage system isn't operating at its best, but how do you know something is afoot? Well, be sure you don't dismiss some foretelling signals such as:
- Sewer gas odors
- Gurgling or bubbling in drains, sinks and toilets
Call a professional as soon as you notice these clues, so the next bout of rainwater doesn't cause a major backup. If you are on a septic tank, you most certainly are responsible for any maintenance, but call your local municipality first for a sewer line problem. It may be your responsibility depending on where the problem lies.
Clean the Mess
When you do have a sewage backup that contaminates your home, you need to make sure the cleanup is done carefully. The first step is always to solve the problem that led to the backup to prevent additional contamination in your home. "Black water" is the worst category of flood water because the flood has harmful bacteria and other pathogens. This kind of flood requires special cleaning.
A professional water remediation specialist can clean a sewer backup safely and effectively. They know porous materials are best removed and disposed, but they are also able to effectively clean other parts of your home with antimicrobials to keep your family safe from the contaminated water. Experts have access to specialized equipment and training to make sure your water damage is completely clean to prevent mold growth.
4 Steps To Take When You Find Mold in Your Rented Space
Mold damage in an Overland Park, KS building.
When You Find Mold in Your Rented Space, Follow These 4 Steps
There are few things that can throw panic into your day like finding mold in your Overland Park, KS, building. Evidence of mold colonies encroaching into your space is frustrating to you and the property owner. The key to resolving this problem efficiently and effectively is taking quick action.
1. Notify Your Landlord Immediately
Does your landlord respond best to a phone call or a text? Do you need to contact the property owner through the mail? Choose the method of contact that is sure to get the quickest response. After making contact, be sure to keep a paper record of your interactions. The landlord may be responsible for mold cleanup but could claim not to have known about the problem. Your paper trail protects you from becoming responsible.
2. Take Pictures of the Mold
A photographic record is beneficial for several reasons, such as giving your landlord important information to share with the insurance company and providing valuable information for remediation experts. The photos could also be included in your record of the situation. However, be careful not to disturb the area to avoid releasing any mold spores.
3. Prevent Further Growth or Spreading
One of the best ways to prevent mold colonies from developing is to quickly clean up water damage as soon as it occurs. Whether you found a leak around a toilet or a window swamp cooler has been dripping, you need to alert the property owner and take all necessary steps to correct the water damage. Your quick response will limit the amount of mold cleanup you have to do.
4. Stay Out of the Area During Testing
Once the landlord is alerted to the mold contamination problem, mold cleanup professionals will arrive to complete testing and provide remediation. The testing provides direction for remediation efforts. Once Overland Park, KS, professionals have completed their work, you can confidently return to your day-to-day activities.
5 Candle Safety Tips
Situate candles with open flames at a safe distance from flammable materials.
5 Safety Tips for Candles
Candles with open flames are a common cause of fires. Candle fires are most common during the holidays when more people use candles for decorative purposes. There are five safety tips that you can follow to reduce the risk of a candle fire in your home.
1. Limit candle use to the dining room table. Restricting the use of open-flame candles to the dinner table can help to ensure that more than one person watches lit candles. Be sure to blow out the candles when you clear the table.
2. Use candle alternatives in the bedroom. Bedrooms are the most common location for candle fires. People light candles and then fall asleep and leave them unattended. Try flameless alternatives for nighttime mood lighting.
3. Never leave children or pets unattended with a candle. Children or pets can easily play with candles and get hurt or knock over a lit candle and cause a candle fire.
4. Keep candles at least a foot away from combustibles. In addition to considering where a candle will look best, you should situate candles with open flames at a safe distance from flammable materials.
5. Try other mood lighting and fragrance solutions. From candle warmers that bring out the scent of your favorite candles without a fire risk to LED candles, there are more candle alternatives available today than ever before.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, candles caused up to two percent of home fires and four percent of direct property damage between 2011 and 2015. Up to a third of these fires originated in bedrooms when the person who lit the candle fell asleep. A candle fire can put the lives of residents and the safety of your home at risk. If you do experience a fire, contact a residential damage restoration company in Prairie Village, KS that provides fire and smoke cleanup.
How To Keep Water Out of Your Crawl Space
You may not always know you have a wet crawl space unless it turns into a mold problem, but you can take measures to prevent it.
How To Keep Water Out of Your Crawl Space
A wet crawl space is not something you want to ignore. While it may not seem to affect your home, unattended leaks can cause mold growth that only restoration experts can combat. There are several ways that water can get into the crawl space, but fortunately, there are also ways to prevent it.
Proper Gutter Care
Common culprits in crawl space flooding are your gutters. There are several ways your gutters could cause moisture problems:
- Gutters clogged with dirt or debris
- Downspouts pointed toward house
- Missing or damaged downspout
- Cracked gutters
The solution to this problem is simple. Take good care of your gutters, and they will do the job they are designed to do, which is directing water away from your home instead of toward it.
Another thing you can do to direct water away from your house and avoid a wet crawl space is to make sure you have a slope away from the foundation. It should slope 6-8 inches, and you need to check it periodically to make sure that it hasn't been washed out by rainfall or lawn care. You can also protect your crawl space by not overwatering the flower beds that are close to your house. Don't leave the water running unattended. Give the plants just what they need to thrive and turn the water off.
Water leaks in your home can trickle to your crawl space. It's best to catch the leak before it gets there, not just so you can fix the source of the problem but also so that you can do so while the problem is still confined to an area that is easy to access. If you notice signs of a flood in your home in Leawood, KS, call repair technicians as soon as possible to avoid leaks into lower areas of your home.
You may not always know you have a wet crawl space unless it turns into a mold problem, but you can take measures to prevent it. Protecting the area at the foundation of your home is essential to keeping your home free from water damage.
How To Select the Best Fire Extinguisher for Your Home
Not all fire extinguishers are created equal.
What Is The Best Type Of Fire Extinguisher For Home Use?
Not all fire extinguishers are created equal. When shopping for one for your home, it’s important that you understand the differences between each type of fire extinguisher, what they’re used for and how to select the right one for your home. There are a few factors to consider before making your purchase:
There are four different sizes for extinguishers used to fight home fires: 10-pound, five-pound, two-pound, and stove-top. The 10-pound extinguisher is best for garages, sheds, and outbuildings in which a fire might have the potential to grow without being noticed.
A five-pound extinguisher is best for in the home and for combatting kitchen fires and electrical fires. If you want to be able to combat a home fire, the five-pound fire extinguisher is ideal.
A two-pound extinguisher is best for on-the-go, such as in a vehicle. These models are typically disposable and come with mounts to keep them from rolling around in the trunk.
Stove-top extinguishers are exactly what they sound like—extinguishers used to fight stove fires. They’re lightweight and can be mounted directly on the range hood for easy access.
Home extinguishers are labeled as either A, B or C. Models with an “A” are effective on ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood and cloth. Those with a “B” are ideal for flammable liquids such as oil or grease. Extinguishers with a “C” can be safely used on live electricity.
Finally, you want to consider ease of use. An extinguisher won’t do you any good if you do not know how to use it or if you do not have the capacity to operate it. When shopping around, ask a technician for a demonstration or, at the very least, step-by-step instructions.
A fire extinguisher needs to be a part of your fire preparedness plan.
Bad Weather: Preparation Tips for Employers
Have an emergency supply kit.
How Do You Prepare For Severe Weather
No one likes to think about the havoc winter storms could wreak on their commercial properties in Prairie Village, KS, but giving it some forethought may be just the thing that minimizes damage during a snow storm. As an employer, you are responsible for the well-being of your building as well as your employees. Here are some tips on keeping them as safe as possible.
1. Have an emergency supply kit. If the storm hits while employees are present, it’s possible that they will be stranded in the building for an extended period of time. A stash of flashlights, shelf-stable food, blankets and bottled water can go a long way toward keeping them comfortable while they wait for the danger outside to pass.
2. Have a first aid kit. A collection of bandages, first aid ointment, sanitizer and other essential supplies is a good idea anytime. It can be especially helpful during the months when conditions are more hazardous outside, as people are more likely to be injured during a snow storm.
3. Increase insulation in walls, particularly along the outer perimeter. If your plumbing freezes, your building could experience a pipe burst, which can cause significant water damage that can only be remedied by water restoration specialists. Wrapping pipes or adding an extra layer of protection from the cold can help them stay intact.
4. If possible, let employees stay home. If the local weather station warns that the roads could be treacherous, consider allowing employees to work from home. While your business is important to you, the people who take care of it should be more important. Keep them safe by offering them telecommuting options.
A snow storm may slow business down, but if you prepare adequately, there are ways to work around it. Planning ahead protects the structural integrity of your building, keeps your employees safe and communicates that you care about the well-being of both.
Why Rain Causes Mold
Black mold found after a storm in an Overland Park, KS home
Why Rain Causes Mold
When a heavy storm hits Overland Park, KS, you probably check your property afterward for damage. What you may not be expecting is to find a musty odor and a mysterious growth. It's not that uncommon for black mold to appear within days after a rainstorm, though. Anywhere there is water damage, fungus growth is a distinct possibility.
Thunderstorms often wreak havoc on homes. The roof is particularly vulnerable. There are many factors that can lead to roof damage during a storm:
- Hail impact
- High winds that detach shingles
- Broken tree branches
- Clogged gutters
Any point at which your roof is compromised can lead to a moisture problem in your attic. If you don't find and remedy the issue quickly enough, the water damage can easily turn into black mold growth. In fact, fungus can start to multiply in as little as 24-48 hours after the initial water issue begins, so quick remediation is the key to preventing it. Both the roof and the subsequent damage must be fixed to avoid secondary problems.
If you have cracks in your foundation or storm flooding overtaxes the sewer system, you may have to contend with a basement flood. While a sump pump can remove a lot of the standing water, the residual moisture can still cause mold to grow on any damp surfaces. You must call certified mold cleanup specialists as soon as you know you have a problem. They can not only take care of your mold issue but also mitigate the water damage so that the fungus doesn't return a few days after they leave.
If you find black mold in your home after a storm, it is probably due to unmitigated water damage nearby. Fast and thorough remediation is vital for taking care of both the mold growth and the underlying issue that led to it.
Home Fire Prevention: Are You Prepared?
Kitchen fire in Leawood, KS.
No one wants to think about a fire in their home, but fire preparedness is an essential element home safety. Fire services respond to nearly 400 thousand home fires each year. This discussion about common fire causes may help you augment your household’s fire-readiness plan.
Building codes require a smoke alarm near the kitchen because nearly half of fires at home are cooking-related. Some common sources of kitchen fires include:
- Gas stove flames can ignite built-up oils or grease on pots and pans.
- An unlit gas burner accidentally left on can cause dangerous gas build-up in your kitchen.
- Greasy or dry food that is near a hot broiler coil can spark an oven fire.
- Small kitchen appliances, such as toasters, can ignite dry crumbs that contact the heating element.
Kitchen fires can cause significant damage and may require professional fire restoration. It is recommended to keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen.
Fires caused by recreational activities, such as barbecuing or smoking, cause thousands of home fires yearly. It’s important to barbecue outside at a safe distance from structures. Following manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning and lighting your grill is essential. Smoking in the bedroom is a common cause of home fires. It is recommended that you not smoke while reclining or while using alcohol. Human error is another reason to keep a fire extinguisher in risk-prone areas.
Winter temperatures can make it tempting to heat your bedroom with a space heater before going to bed. An unattended small heater can spark a home fire; it may become overheated or tip over and ignite nearby drapes, carpet or clothing. If you turn a small heater on, it’s recommended you stay in the room throughout its operation.
Fires start because a flame or heating element comes in contact with some kind of fuel. This may be gas, textiles, grease, or oil. It’s important to carefully monitor anything with a heating element in your home. A wisely-located fire extinguisher can save your Leawood, KS, home from extensive damage. Common-sense fire preparedness can mean the difference between a relaxing evening and a devastating fire.
Commercial Storm Restoration: 5 Things Owners Should Expect To See
Storm damage in a daycare.
Commercial Storm Restoration
When a powerful weather system impacts an area, commercial owners are likely to require water and storm cleanup procedures. Whether from an internal flood or roof leak exposure, properties may incur immense damage. A water restoration company should attend to the premises, providing several means of assistance, including drying and tear out procedures. As a proprietor, expect to witness the following five things.
1. Methodical Testing
Not all water damage is the same. Anytime moisture saturation occurs, it's essential to understand the source and how it impacted the facility. A remediation team of certified professionals takes samples of the air and structure. These collections provide valuable information about what may be growing within the rooms and how to treat the location correctly.
2. Minimize Movement
If something is harboring inside the walls, it may migrate through the air or by a person. Barriers should be established to prevent people from entering and leaving often. Negative air chambers may be used to prevent air contamination. Signs and visible blockades are put up to keep others from walking into the zone.
3. Various Drying Efforts
Dampness sets into porous materials, especially the floor and wall. The team must air out the space to prevent rot and bacterial and mold growth. The crew brings in industrial dehumidifiers, which extract humidity. They then perform flood cuts in which they tear out at least 12 inches of drywall above the flood line. This step reduces fluid amounts and improves air circulation within the wall.
4. Content Evaluations
Some items may be salvageable. Employees look through the fixtures, electronics and paperwork. Using effective and highly sophisticated technology, they may be able to clean and repair some possessions.
5. Rebuilding and Replacing
Once the impacted section has been sanitized, storm restoration starts. The workers fix the walls, install the new carpeting. They also patch and paint the walls.
Commercial owners should understand the need for stages. Both drying and tear-out processes prevent future complications. Take care of things now to avoid trouble later.