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The Hows and Whys of Document Restoration

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

Wet documents When documents are affected by water damage, always call in a team of professionals that are Here to Help

The Hows and Whys of Document Restoration

A big storm, a building fire or a flood can do a number on just about everything a business owns. Knowing how to deal with water removal, mold abatement, smoke odors, and other issues is a must for a professional disaster mitigation franchise. The process of document restoration is one area that requires expertise, training, and the right equipment. With the proper procedures the following materials can be salvaged in many situations:

  • Photographs and films
  • Paper documents
  • Maps and blueprints
  • Books and magazines
  • Parchment

Successful restoration involves state-of-the-art technology and experienced technicians. A fast response to damaged documents increases the chance of success.

Why Document Restoration Is Needed

Any major upheaval to a business in Houston, TX, could result in damaged documents. A flood could bring in dirty water that coats papers and photographs with contaminated bacteria and chemicals. A fire could result in soot damage to materials. To prevent these important, historic or valuable materials from being lost forever, a meticulous restoration process can save them. With advanced document drying and cleaning techniques, these materials can still be retained in the company archives and be accessible to employees. SERVPRO technicians know how important it is to recover these valuable documents.

How Restoration Is Accomplished

HIPPA master-certified technicians use the latest technology to restore documents. Vacuum freeze-drying methods and gamma irradiation technology are two options to dry, clean and sterilize paper and parchment. Technicians use many of the same methods employed by the Library of Congress and the National Archive and Records Administration. SERVPRO provides full-service document restoration. These measures, in addition to drying, include cleaning and disinfecting, re-jacketing, digitizing and deodorizing. The digital process uses a computerized inventory system that converts paper and photos to digital, thereby increasing storage, ease of access and durability of materials. When documents are affected by water damage, always call in a team of professionals that are Here to Help.

What Do You Need To Know About Mold Standards?

1/6/2020 (Permalink)

Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification SERVPRO is certified with the IICRC for water, fire, and mold damage

What Do You Need To Know About Mold Standards?

If you are a business owner or property manager in Hilshire Village, TX, being familiar with mold standards is part of the job description. This information will help guide you through mold cleanup as well as ensure the job is being completed to current standards. One important resource is the ANSI/IICRC S520 publication, known as the Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation. While it probably is not critical that you know this document, available in both hard copy and electronic format, inside and out, any mold mitigation franchise you deal with should be knowledgeable about its contents.

Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification

The IICRC is a mouthful, but it is a recognized leader in mold standards and the best methods for cleaning up a variety of commercial and residential situations. Among other tasks, it provides information on the following items:

  • Certification standards for cleaning companies
  • The effects of disinfectants on cleaning different materials
  • The importance of standards in the cleaning industry

The organization publishes a variety of publications on cleaning standards, how to make sure mold clean companies are current on techniques and equipment and the best methods to restore various materials such as carpeting, tile flooring, and clothing. Publications can be ordered at www:IICRC. org/store or by calling 360-693-5675.

American National Standards Institute

ANSI and the IICRC work together to provide guidance and clarification on such issues as how to clean black mold and the concepts and procedures for restoration, cleaning and inspection of properties with mold damage and other issues. Mold standards for cleaning and restoration have been established through a rigorous process that involves government agencies and cleaning companies throughout the U.S. As a property owner when you hire a mold cleaning company it is important that the company knows and understands advances in the industry. This will make sure your building is cleaned safely and effectively.

How To Keep Your Furry Friends Safe in the Event of a Fire

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Dog sitting on a door mat with written text Home Your pets needs to be a part of your emergency fire plan.

House fires are the most common disaster that emergency responders respond to, according to the United States Fire Administration, but they are also the most preventable. While many homeowners in Houston, TX, have a fire emergency plan in place, many do not have one that includes their pets. Thousands of animals are left without homes each year due to the lack of pet preparation. If you want to keep your furry friend safe and in your care even if a fire breaks out, keep these pet safety tips in mind when drafting your family emergency plan:

• Include your pets in your plan! Pets get left behind because their owners panic and aren’t sure what to do with them in an urgent situation. By being prepared, you can act swiftly and effectively when it comes to keeping your loved one safe.
• Practice makes perfect. When performing a fire drill, take your pet with you as if you were dealing with a real emergency.
• Keep in mind: Though your pet is your family too, do not delay leaving if a fire becomes too dangerous, even if you haven’t found your pet yet, as this could put you in danger.

Prevent House Fires

The first item on your fire emergency plan should be “Prevent House Fires.” You won’t have to worry about evacuating if there isn’t any fire to escape from. You can help keep your home, family and furry friends safe by doing the following:

• Put Out Flames: Pets, like children, are naturally curious and will likely investigate the source of an open flame should there be one. When you’re not around to keep an eye on your pet, extinguish all flames.
• Go Flameless: If you cannot remember to blow out the candles when you leave or if your pet is always curious, buy flameless candles.
• Remove Stove Knobs: Larger dogs can reach stove knobs and yours may accidentally turn one on with its nose when sniffing around. Remove knobs when you’re not around.

Your pets needs to be a part of your emergency fire plan. If they're not already, use the above tips and make them one.

For more information, visit

Understanding Fire Damage Restoration

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Firefighters fighting a fire Fire damage is one of the most devastating and inconvenient losses a home or business owner can suffer.

Understanding Fire Damage Restoration

Fire damage is one of the most devastating and inconvenient losses a home or business owner can suffer. Whether it's home or commercial fire damage, the best way to deal with such a tragedy is to act quickly to start fire restoration. Fire restoration should occur as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more damage will set in, and the less likely you will be to restore your property to its original glory.

How Damage Occurs

Initially, there will be soot damage that stains hard smooth surfaces such as alabaster, marble and plastics. It left un-removed, the soot damage will eventually cause deep staining which could permanently mar your furniture and appliances. If left unattended, deep staining will become permanent and change the appearance of your walls, floors and appliances forever. If you act too late or not at all, or if the fire in the home was very extensive, corrosion will set in.

Ideally, a commercial fire restoration company should be onsite initiating fire cleanup as soon as the fire is put out.

How the Fire Cleanup Process Works

If for any reason you are unable to hire a fire damage restoration team, there are a few steps you can take to get the fire damage restoration process underway yourself.

The first thing you'll need to do is don the proper attire. You'll need protective clothing included but not limited to a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a pair of gloves. Use a surgical mask or bandana to cover your nose and mouth from smoke damage.

After you've appropriately dressed, open all the doors and windows. It's important to have as much ventilation as possible to prevent further smoke damage, soot damage and other airborne chemicals. If you have ceiling or stand-alone fans, use them. This will also provide minor relief from smoke smell. However, you'll ultimately need to use a lot of disinfectants, sprays and deodorizers to control the smoke smell and reduce the smell of home or commercial fire damage. Even then, the results will be far from perfect. Some smoke damage smells will remain.

Now, it's time to clean everything. Every surface after a fire in home or fire in business needs to be cleaned. This includes light fixtures, carpets, exterior and any individual items that require fire cleanup from the effects of commercial fire damage after fire in business.

For textiles such as carpets and clothing, fire cleanup requires having them professionally dry cleaned or washed at home with a gentle alkaline detergent as an initial step towards fire damage restoration. Vacuum carpets after a fire in business with a high-powered vacuum cleaner to remove soot damage and smoke smell. Exterior surfaces like stone, stucco, brick and siding should be cleaned with a pressure washer and light detergent.

The Professional Cleaning Process

As stated earlier, trying to restore your home yourself should only be done in a worst case scenario where you can't get a professional company soon enough. If you wish to make your home or business inhabitable again, you will inevitably need to hire a commercial fire restoration company to address the fire damage.

Once you do, they will begin their process by surveying the damage caused by the fire in home or fire in business. They will examine all the damage left by the fire and provide you an estimate of how much it will cost to repair it. They will then go to work ventilating, removing odors and cleaning.

If they do not have the equipment necessary to give something the cleaning it needs, they will haul it off to a facility where it can be cleaned by professionals who specialize in fire damage.

Also, you won't have to worry about masking odors any longer once you get a professional company involved. They use state-of-the art ozone technology that is only available to professionals.

Doing fire damage restoration after a fire in your home or commercial fire damage your living is a very arduous, costly and time-consuming project. It is not a job to attempt to complete by yourself. Get a professional address smoke smell, smoke damage and fire damage. Visit for more information on fire damage.

3 Differences Between Storm and Flood Damage

12/20/2019 (Permalink)

Entrance of a building flooded Flooded building in Houston, TX

Differences Between Storm and Flood Damage

While they both involve water, there is quite a bit of difference between flood damage and other damage caused by storms. These differences can influence the way that the situation needs to be handled. If your building in Houston, TX, has been affected by either of these, you should keep the following distinctions in mind.

1. The Type of Water Involved
There are three categories of water that range in contamination levels, with Category 1 being clean and Category 3 being highly contaminated. A large portion of storm damage will involve clean water. However, flood water will always be Category 3. This is because, as the water rises, it mixes with dirt, debris and sewage that contains waste and bacteria.

2. Insurance Coverage
Because flood damage can be expensive to repair, insurance companies do not include it in their basic policies. If you want to ensure that any damage is covered, you will need to purchase a separate flood policy. This is an especially good idea if you are in a location that floods often, but it can be useful in any area.

3. The Cleanup Process
Flooding can cause a lot of damage to the structure of your building as well as the items it contains. It can contribute to mold growth and other secondary damage. When Category 3 water is involved, it can be even worse. Because the water is highly contaminated, it can be more difficult to clean any materials that have absorbed it. You may need to throw out and replace items that could have otherwise been repaired.
Whether your building has been affected by flood damage or another type of water damage, you should have it removed as quickly as possible. A cleanup and restoration company can do this for you. They will perform mitigation to prevent the damage from spreading and will make any necessary repairs. Once the process is complete, your building will look as good as new.

How Tarp Helps Your Roof Recover From Fire Damage

12/20/2019 (Permalink)

A fire destroyed five stores on the Atlantic City Board Walk Fire damage in a Spring Valley, TX building

It’s no secret that a fire can cause severe damage to any type of property. If your business in Spring Valley,TX, has been impacted by fire damage, it’s crucial to do what you can to prevent further harm. Applying tarp over your roof is an effective and reliable way to keep your entire building safe and to speed up the recovery process. Here are some of the major benefits of utilizing tarp services during the fire cleanup process.

Preventing Additional Damage

The risk of further damage is one of the most serious threats that you face after a fire. By applying tarp to your roof, you can keep your building well protected from additional harm. Tarp helps to shield against the following risks:

  • Wind damage
  • Water damage
  • Smoke or soot residue

With time, these forms of damage can cause severe harm to your business. Not only can they compromise the state of your commercial building, but they may also lead to costly repairs and replacements.

Keeping Vandalism at Bay
A business that has been destroyed by a fire is, unfortunately, a point of easy entry for thieves. If criminals break into your damaged building, they may gain access to valuable information and cause serious harm to your personal property. Fortunately, requesting tarp up services during a fire cleanup can deter thieves and keep your company safe.

Increasing Chances of Being Insured
If you’re looking for the right coverage after a fire incident, it’s worth noting that your policy may require you to protect your business with tarp over or board up services. By taking this step, you can demonstrate to your insurance carrier that you’re making an effort to prevent further damage. Be sure to have your roof tarped over during roof repair to be eligible for insurance.
Requesting tarp services allows your business to recover more quickly. For optimal results, be sure to take this important step after you call a fire damage restoration company for a fire cleanup.

How the Pros Clean up After Sewer Damage

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

Stair of a house fully flooded Flood damage in Bunker Hill Village, TX

How the Pros Clean up After Sewer Damage

A flood in your home is bad enough, but when a backed-up sewer is to blame, you've got a lot more problems on your hands. Because sewer water will contain human feces and other hazardous materials, known as black water, you need to enlist the expertise of a professional flood remediation team. These specialists have the experience and equipment to safely handle sewer cleanup.

Your Responsibilities

If you have a flood in your Bunker Hill Village,TX, home, you may be able to handle it on your own if it's only affecting a small area and doesn't include black water. However, for a sewer backup, your primary responsibility is to safely get out of your home. Coming into contact with black water can make you sick or can even be lethal. Other steps you need to take are:

  • Make sure every family member, including pets, are out of your home.
  • Call a flood cleanup company, the city utility services and your insurance company.
  • Do not re-enter your home until it is deemed safe to do so.

The Pros Step In
Even for something as seemingly simple as a flooded toilet, you don't want to try to clean up sewage on your home. A professional crew will first come in and inspect the extent of the damage. The team will extract all water in the affected areas of the home. Using protective equipment, crew members will clean the flooded space, ensuring that all sewage is gone from the home.

Drying and Disinfecting
The cleanup team will use dryers and dehumidifiers to thoroughly dry the home as part of the sewer cleanup process. Importantly, crew members will also sanitize the area to kill any remaining bacteria. The company will then evaluate its work to ensure you can return your home.
Leave sewer cleanup needs to the professionals. The right company will take care of even the most severe flooding and make your home look like it did before the water damage.

Protecting Your Home When You Are Away

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

smoke detector with white smoke and red warning light Replacing all your smoke detectors with smart versions can be expensive, but it can pay off in the long run

3 Smart Devices That Can Improve Your Fire Safety Efforts

You know that it's important to protect your home in Hilshire Village,TX, by using a smoke alarm system. With smart alarms, you can be notified of a house fire even if you are not there. Quick notification can allow you to contact emergency personnel in a timely manner so that they can put out the fire and save as much of the structure as possible. Here are three smart devices that can improve your fire safety efforts.

1. Smart Smoke Detector

Replacing all your smoke detectors with smart versions can be expensive, but it can pay off in the long run. Most models can detect both smoke and heat, so you get a clearer indication if there is a problem with fewer false alarms. A smart detector can also contact emergency services for you. The fire department finds out about the fire at the same time you do, which can reduce their response time.

2. Smart Battery

If cost is a factor, you can start small by replacing the 9-volt batteries in your current smoke alarm system with smart batteries. You can connect these batteries with your Wi-Fi to get notifications on your phone when the alarm is triggered or the battery needs to be replaced. These batteries can last up to five years, which can also save you money over time.

3. Smart Listener

Another cost effective option if you're not ready to upgrade to a full smart system is a listener. You place the listener in the wall at a central location, and it lets you know if any of your smoke detectors send out a signal. The downside to having a listener as part of your fire safety plan is that it cannot discern between false alarms and real threats, so you get a notification no matter what.
You can save on fire damage cleanup services if you can get fire personnel to your home faster. A smarter smoke alarm system can help you do that.

Do Mold Remediation Professionals Need To be Certified?

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

3 green mold dots Mold removal licensing is required when damage exceeds a certain amount of square feet.

Do Mold Remediation Professionals Need To be Certified?

When your Bunker Hill Village,TX, home has been affected by mold, your insurance company may want you to work with a certified mold remediation company. The appropriate licensing and certification vary from one state to another, but there tend to be some similarities:

Certification is earned by technicians who have completed approved training.
Licensing and certification must be carried by both the company and the individual technicians.

Water damage often leads to mold or mildew growth, so the restoration company you hire must be qualified to treat the toxic substances.

Why Certification and Licensing Matters

Why is mold certification so important? The simple answer is that a certified mold remediation professional has completed specialized training to safely and effectively deal with mold. Certification proves that the professional has demonstrated the ability to complete mold and water cleanup with high-quality results. A certified mold removal specialist knows how to do this work while protecting the health and well-being of your home and family.

The Risks of Hiring Unqualified Workers

In unfortunate cases around the country, homeowners have hired companies or workers without appropriate licensing and certification. This is often prompted by low, low prices. An appropriate licensed and certified professional has overhead costs, such as training for employees and their insurance (including general liability and workers' compensation.) These costs affect the prices the professionals charge their customers. If you come across a company with very low prices, it's probably best to move on and find a different mold remediation company.

What To Expect From Qualified Professionals

Qualified professionals generally wear personal protection gear with high filtration masks, boots, and gloves. They'll seal off the mold-damaged area for containment. Specialized equipment, including HEPA air scrubbers and dehumidifiers, are brought to your home for thorough mold remediation. Antimicrobial cleaners and professional sealants may be used to prevent regrowth.
Before you hire professionals to clean up mold damage in your home, make sure they are fully qualified, insured, licensed, and certified mold technicians. Your insurance company may provide recommendations.

Top 3 Black Water Myths

11/13/2019 (Permalink)

Heavy flooding from rain. Picture taking from the outside of the house Flooded home in Spring Valley,TX

Top 3 Black Water Myths

Black water. The very name sounds menacing and with good reason. Laden with bacteria and pathogens, this highly contaminated material is one of the most common and dangerous side effects posed by flooding. Lack of knowledge surrounding this water can put the health of you and your loved ones at risk. Learn more about the top myths surrounding this water and what you can do when your Spring Valley,TX suffers water damage.

Myth 1: Dirty Water Isn’t That Dangerous

Water professionals grade water according to levels of contamination, with black water being the worst. This water refers to any water contaminated with bacterial, fungi or human/animal waste. Common sources include broken toilets or even flood waters from rainfall or ground runoff. This water can contain countless pathogens that can cause everything from gastroenteritis to eye infections so it’s important to handle it properly.

Myth 2: Dirty Water is Black

Contrary to the name, this contaminated water doesn’t have to physically appear black. Indeed, it can look as clear as regular drinking water! Black simply refers to the level of contamination. When facing water damage in your home, focus less on the color and more on the source.

Myth 3: You Can Clean Up Contaminated Water

A dangerous belief is that this water can be cleaned up by a homeowner. The water’s pathogens can infect you via droplets in your eye or even water splashed on an open wound. Professional water removers use gloves, eye protection and other tools not readily available to the average homeowner so they are the best ones to handle this dangerous material.
With all the risks this water poses, it’s vital that it is handled with care. If you think your home has suffered black water damage, don’t take chances. Hire a professional water remediation company to safely remove the water, disinfect and dry your home. Your safety is worth the expense.