Flash Flooding: A Warning vs. A Watch
The difference between watches and warnings could be the difference between being prepared and being at increased risk for storm damage.
We've definitely seen our fair share of summer storms so far this season, especially with Harvey closing out the season with the potential of 3 more to come. We have additionally had a good bit of flash flood warnings and watches. Since SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor is one of the most reliable sources in the community for storm and water damage remediation, we figured it's only fair we provide you some flash flood facts. Knowing the difference between and warning and a watch could be the difference between being prepared and being at risk for flood damage.
When your local agencies (whether it be NWS or a local weather station) issue a flash flood/flood warning this means flooding is happening or will happen soon. When you see this warning, it means you should move to high ground or be prepared for flooding ASAP. Often times it is important to be aware of any announcements from local officials if the flooding is projected to be particularly severe.
When local agencies issue a flash flood/flood watch, it means that flooding is possible. Upon the release of this watch, you should be sure to stay tuned to radio or TV for more information about the potential severity of the flood, should the watch be converted into a warning.
We know this can seem confusing, but if you're connected with us on Facebook or Twitter, we are sure to clarify what and when each watch/warning means, when we can. But be sure to connect with your local Emergency Management channels. We recommend MDMEMA, Baltimore OEM, NWS Baltimore, Maryland OPR, and FEMA.
Smoke Behavior Is No Joke
Your belongings after a fire, aren't just debris. Your belongings are pieces of your life that deserve care to be restored to the best of our ability.
Fire losses and the damage they leave behind can be an incredibly complex job to deal with. This is caused largely by the behavior of smoke. When our SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor professionals respond to a call for a fire job, their initial goal is to determine the extent of damage from fire itself, smoke, heat, and moisture. Not only do we deal with damage to building structures, but we work to clean a building's contents and your belongings as well.
Our SERVPRO trained professionals are trained to understand how smoke penetrates various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our teams' knowledge of building systems helps them investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. We know it can be stressful when you don't understand the issues facing your home, so take a moment to read up on the different kinds of smoke and soot that could potentially effect your property.
While there are technically only two different types of smoke - wet and dry, there are varying types of soot residue after a fire. Here's a handy glossary of smoke and soot types that might come in handy if you're ever faced with the misfortune of dealing with a property fire:
Wet smoke (plastic & rubber): Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. These smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry smoke (paper & wood): Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises and thus so does the smoke
Protein fire residue (caused by evaporation of material instead of fire): Virtually invisible discolors paints and varnishes, extremely pungent odor
Fuel oil soot (furnace puff backs): While "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO can, in most cases, restore your contents and your Baltimore structure quickly (thanks to their training)
Additionally, we do deal with tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher resides. These special situations require special care and evaluation.
Understanding and having the ability to differentiate between these different types of smoke and soot is part of SERVPRO's specific training which makes us a cut above any other Baltimore local restoration team. Trusting a company to care about your home like you do can seem daunting and feel impossible, but when it comes to SERVPRO, you can trust that you're always in good hands. We make it, "Like it never even happened."
High Quality Service Powered By High Quality Technology
Our moisture meters are especially helpful to tell us how the process of drying is coming along both before and after a job.
A little goes a long way in most cases, but especially in terms of water damage. Even the smallest drop of water left to its own devices after a loss can lead to much bigger problems, including mold. The key to abating such mishaps? Proper mitigation and drying procedures. That's why SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor should always be your first call when you suspect your home or business has been struck with water damage. Our professionals are specifically trained to use special technology to mitigate properly and efficiently.
Our SERVPRO trained professionals rely on special technology in multitudes of equipment to see to it that the affected areas in your Baltimore area home/businesss are completely dry after mitigation. The top 5 pieces of equipment we use are:
- Moisture Sensors to detect lingering moisture in carpets, baseboards, and walls
- Moisture Meters determine the actual amount of moisture in different materials. The reading these meters provide aids in the drying process
- Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity, this helps calculations for making the environment more conducive to drying procedures
- Ultra Low-Volume Foggers atomize liquid deodorizing agents which creates a mist for penetrating any odor causing sites. This tool is also useful for injecting fungicides and disinfectant into wall cavities an other hard to reach spaces
- Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based solutions via a dense fog. The fog is made up of small particles of deodorizing solutions to neutralize any odors
If this all sounds overwhelming to you, have no fear...SERVPRO is here! Let us worry about the technicalities when it comes to drying your home or business. We have the know how AND the equipment to prevent secondary damage after a loss that DIY mitigation puts you at risk for.
Can We Mitigate It? Yes We Can!
Mold can be hiding in places you wouldn't even see if you don't inspect your property thoroughly, but that's why our professionals check for you!
Where there's water, there is mold risk. Mold can not only affect your health, but it can also cause significant damage to your property. It is for the very same reasons that our SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor teams have the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle any mold problem. Although every mold damage scenario is unique, and requires an equally unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same, so as to meet top industry standards.
Curious how we do it? Here are the basics for a "typical" mold job:
The mold cleanup and restoration process starts when you call us and tell us about the problem affecting your home. One of our fabulous office admins will ask you a series of questions that help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel needed to get your home back to normal
Inspection & Damage Assessment
Our team will inspect your home or business for signs of mold using technology designed to detect spores and any hidden water that might be feeding the mold and growing it
Various containment procedures are followed prevent the mold from spreading and to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to also keep the mold spores from spreading during the rest of the cleanup process
Special filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores in the air. Our professionals use powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to further prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress
Removing Mold & Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on
a variety of factors, but mainly the amount of mold, and the types of surfaces the mold appears on. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments are then employed to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new ones from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, is sometimes necessary to remediate heavier mold growth
Cleaning Contents & Belongings
Our SERVPRO pros thoroughly clean your furniture, miscellaneous items, curtains, and other restorable items affected by mold. We use a variety of techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. Our teams are also trained to remove odors/deodorize using fogging equipment
Depending on the extent of the mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet, or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. Our Rebuild division is more than happy to help replace and restore after the remediation process is complete.
This process might seem like a lot to deal with, but that is what the SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor team is here for!
Water Water Everywhere, We Just Want It To Dry!
There is a method to our madness when it comes to extensive applied structural drying. Let us take it from here!
By now, we're sure you've heard us talk about how there is an exact science when it comes to structural drying. That's why our SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor professionals are specifically trained to dry your property to such standards. When you come across water damage in your home or water damage in your business, it's common to think you can clean it up yourself. In smaller cases this is likely true; however, in cases with more water and more extensive damage, DIY drying can potentially worsen the extent of the damage itself. When water is dried improperly, you run the additional risk for mold growing.
Still need some other reasons to leave the drying to the professionals? Well, SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor will:
- Inspect the property to find everything that may have been exposed to water to prevent that secondary damage
- Measure how much moisture is in the wet materials affected by the water loss and monitor their drying
- Use professional drying equipment to speed the drying process along
The bottom line is that while DIY drying might seem easier and faster, it is usually far less effective and can leave you with more damage than what you started out with. Our SERVPRO pros have the equipment and the training to move the process along as quickly as possible!
How To: Deal with Fire Damage Until SERVPRO Arrives
Home fires can occur around or upwards of 70,000 times per year. It's better to read what to do now, than to be confused later!
Fire damage itself is enough trouble as is, but most forget that smoke damage and other odors can be just as much of a nuisance. After a fire, it's important to act appropriately in order to avoid secondary damage. These dos and don'ts might come in handy to help you increase chances of a successful restoration.
- Limit movement. Extensive movement can further embed soot particles in your carpet and other upholstered surfaces
- Keep you hands clean so you don't transfer any soot around and damage walls and woodwork, etc.
- Put dry, colorfast towels and/or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas
- If your electricity has failed, empty any fridges and freezer entirely. Then prop their doors open to prevent odor
- If you have chrome appliances or trim, you can wipe soot from those surfaces and apply a thin coating of lubricant to them
- If you fire occurs during winter and your heat fails, pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to ensure your pipes and other fixtures don't freeze
- Change your HVAC filters, but leave the system off until it is checked by a professional
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over your air registers. This keeps soot particles out of your HVAC system
- Don't try to wash any walls or painted surfaces without calling SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor to consult about the extent of the damage
- Don't shampoo carpet of upholstered furniture
- Don't try to clean any electrical appliances that might have been close to the flames, heat, or water, because they might have become contaminated
- If your ceiling is wet, do not turn on the fan. The wiring might be wet or damaged and could cause electrical shock. Air movement could also spread around other particles and cause secondary damage
- Don't send your garments to the dry cleaner, as improper cleaning might only set in the smoke odor
If your home or business is faced with fire damage, don't try to clean it yourself. Our SERVPRO professionals are given special training and specific equipment to mitigate fire damage without furthering damage.
Storm Damage Isn't Unstoppable
The next time storm damage affects your home or business, your knowledge is power!
Storm damage can be a rather difficult thing to deal with in your Baltimore home. Leave the complexities to our SERVPRO professionals, and use these helpful do's and don'ts while you wait for us to arrive on scene. These handy tips can keep you from unknowingly furthering any damage to your property.
- Wait for the "all clear" before worrying about minimizing your storm damage. Your safety should be prioritized above property safety
- Avoid entering a flooded area, unless the electricity is turned off
- Try to remove as much excess water as possible with wet-dry vacuums, mops, and towels you don't mind potentially ruining (if the water is contaminated)
- Prop up wet upholstery and pillow cushions for proper drying after you remove them from the affected area
- Don't use your household vacuum to remove water. Your standard vacuum does not double as a shop vac
- Don't leave wet fabrics in place to sit and mildew. Be sure to dry any wet items as soon as you can!
- Don't leave books magazines, or other colored items on wet carpet or floors. If left on wet surfaces, the ink can bleed and permanently stain surfaces
- Don't use any household appliances or electronics while standing on wet surfaces
Any damage to your home or business can seem daunting. If you have a few do's or don'ts in the back of your mind when a loss occurs, you will feel more in control. We will worry about the rest for you. We make it, "like it never even happened."
Summer Mold...Makes Me Feel...Bad!
If mold creeps underneath any wet surfaces this summer, we always do a thorough inspection to dry and mitigate anything we find
Do you know the prime time for mold to spawn in your home? Summer.
Our favorite season also happens to be mold's favorite too...but this doesn't mean mold has to ruin your whole summer!
Summer is mold's favorite because mold thrives in temperatures above 77 degrees, which, lucky you, happens to be around the average summer temperature in Baltimore and the surrounding communities.
Have no fear, mold is an avoidable issue! While it isn't always in your control, and mold can hide from you, try following these useful tips to lower your property's risk for mold. You can be free of mold, and free to enjoy all that the summer months have to offer.
- If it is hot outside, turn on your air conditioner. This keeps the inside of your house cool, thus starting the mold abatement process
- Be on the lookout for condensation or moisture in any of your air ducts. Air conditioning units can produce a small drip of water that can serve as food for plenty of mold spores to grow
- Do your best to keep humidity down in your home. Moisture in the air is the main attraction for mold to form and survive when humidity inside is above 50 percent. Get a dehumidifiers to help by keeping your home or business comfortably dry
- If it rains, close your windows. Closed windows keep moisture and any excess water out
- If rainfall is substantial, check on your roof for any leaks. Any ceiling discoloration can be indicative of a leak or even mold
- Inspect any of your appliances or pipes for leaks, clean up any water and fix the leak (if you can) ASAP
- See to it that your dryer is vented to the outdoors, and not toward the attic or another crawlspace thus left to build moisture in dark spaces (which mold loves)
- Open a pathway for cool air when you take a shower. Whether it be the fan or a window, the circulation of cool air can keep humidity from the warm air down
- Remove carpeting from your bathrooms or other commonly wet spaces so mold doesn't grow on it
If you suspect mold in your home, call us (the real mold remediation professionals) ASAP for an inspection.
Flash Floods Pose A Glaring Risk
Even the seemingly smallest flood can cause major damage to your home or business. You can be prepared. See Floodsmart.gov for more info!
If someone asked you which weather event causes the most damage, most people would probably jump to say hurricanes or tornadoes. However, according to the NOAA, flooding kills more people each year than tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightning.
Flooding can cause damage quickly, and can often occur with little to no warning. That said, it is possible to be safe and be prepared when flood risk is present or actively occurring.
Additionally, Floodsmart.gov reports that in the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the United States every year than any other weather related disaster.
If find yourself caught in a flooding situation it seems obvious, but it is important to remember to stay away from flood waters, no matter the height of the standing water. A mere six inches of swiftly moving water could easily sweep you off your feet. If you happen to be driving when you get caught in a flood, turn around and don't drown! Most cars (it is safe to assume that your car is one of most cars) can get swept away by less than two feet of moving water. If flood waters are rapidly rising whilst you are driving through a flooded road, exit your vehicle and move yourself to higher ground. Value your safety first! Also be sure to keep children out of and away from any flooding water or potential flood zones during heightened risk times.
It does not matter if you live near a coastline, in the city, the mountains, near a tiny river, or even in the desert...there is always potential risk for flooding and flood damage. Just because you and your property have never experienced a flood or flood damage does not mean you never will!
20% of flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk area. On average, flooding costs $3.5 billion in annual losses for the USA.
Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when it isn't treated quickly and properly. This includes mold damage from improper drying of flooding.
The cleanup can be overwhelming, but that is what SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor is here for. Our crews are trained to handle an size disaster quickly and efficiently.
When you feel like you're drowning in water damage, SERVPRO helps you stay above water!
Grilling Should Be A Good Time
Grilling safety can be the difference between a fun summer evening and a visit from Baltimore City Fire
As the weather gets warmer, we are sure you're turning the temperature up on your grills to enjoy a meal outside this summer. Don't let a fire get in the way of your good time. If you follow these safety tips, your summer meals should go off without a hitch! Check these out courtesy of SERVPRO and the National Fire Protection Association:
- If your grill is propane or charcoal powered (it probably is) only use it outside
- Keep your grill away from your house or any overhangs, etc. that could catch flame if the blazes get too high
- Children and pets should be kept away from the grill
- Be sure to remove and clean any grease and/or fat build up
- Don't walk away from the grill when it's on. Always supervise an in-use grill
- Use tools with long handles meant for grilling, to avoid any injury
Grilling is a classic summer routine for your family, and maybe even for your business. Don't let small errors turn into a big mess. If you do have a grill mishap and your property experiences any fire damage, give us a call and we'll have you back to grilling in no time!