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The 8 Most Common Causes of House Fires According to the National Fire Protection Association

1/15/2018 (Permalink)

The 8 Most Common Causes of House Fires According to the National Fire Protection Association

The cold weather often means that people are spending more time at home and all of this time indoors increases the risks of house fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says there are more than 360,000 home structure fires each year, resulting in about $6-8 billion dollars in damage.

The causes of these fires range from food left unattended on the stove to candles left burning. From the moment a fire starts to the point where the structure is fully engulfed is usually less than two minutes, which is why it is so important for occupants to get out of the home as quickly as possible and not try to put out a large fire themselves.

Here are the eight most common causes of house fires as identified by the National Fire Protection Association.

  1. Cooking
  2. Electrical and Lighting
  3. Lightning Strikes
  4. Smoking
  5. Dryers and Washing Machines
  6. Candles
  7. Children Playing with Fire
  8. Christmas Trees

SERVPRO® of the Hill Country Comes to the Aid of Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

1/15/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® of the Hill Country Comes to the Aid of Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Fortunately, the Hill Country area received only a handful of inches of rain due to Hurricane Harvey. 

Unfortunately, Corpus Christi was hit hard by Harvey's strong winds and high rain totals.  Immediately, Austin Tonroy, owner of SERVPRO® of the Hill Country responded to the owners of the homes in Corpus Christi.  Windows were shattered, roofs were torn off, and water had flooded in from every direction in some cases.  Our SERVPRO team was able to bring in generators to power the: pumps, fans, and dehumidifiers that helped us to remove the water and dry the homes. As in most cases with water damage, many homes were in need of mold prevention applications as well. There were many, many long work days and meals on the go.

 In the end, we at SERVPRO® were immensely proud to have helped our fellow Texans during one of their most desperate times of need.

If you are ever found in the same situation with terrible storm damage, please know we are Faster to Any Disaster and are always happy to help.

What are Molds?

12/4/2017 (Permalink)

What are molds?

One of the most common questions we receive at SERVPRO® is: what exactly is mold.  What kind of mold do I have?  How do I keep it from spreading?

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. In addition, mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.

What are some of the common indoor molds?

  • Cladosporium
  • Penicillium
  • Alternaria
  • Aspergillus

SERVPRO® can help to remediate the mold in your home.  In addition, SERVPRO® will bring in air scrubbers that will help to remove the mold spores in the air in order to prevent any additional mold from forming.  In most cases, the contaminated area will be sealed off in order to contain the mold spores in the air while the air is being "scrubbed" by the air scrubbers.

In many cases, the mold can simply be remediated.  Please give us a call to schedule an appointment.

Would Your Business Be Prepared in the Event of a Disaster?

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

Would your business be prepared in the event of a disaster?

What would you do if your business suffered: Water Damage, Fire Damage, Smoke Damage, Mold, or a Bio-Hazard contamination? Do you have a plan in place? SERPVRO® offers at no charge a business "Ready Plan" app for your phone that will walk you through a preparedness  plan that could save your business $1,000's. 

As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. In general, the faster the response time to a disaster, the less secondary damage can occur. SERVPRO is "faster to any disaster" and works with you and your employees every step of the way.

The SERVPRO Ready Plan app will guide you through a: Water Damage event, Fire Damage event, Mold, Bio-Hazard contamination, and more.  Pre-planning and having this app on the ready can help to give you tremendous peace of mind.

By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

How to Decrease Your Mold Exposure

11/22/2017 (Permalink)

How to Decrease Your Mold Exposure

How can people decrease mold exposure?

Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores.Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by controlling humidity levels and ventilating showers and cooking areas.

Specific Recommendations:

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can — no higher than 50% – all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
  • Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
  • Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
  • Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.

What areas have high mold exposures?

  • Antique shops
  • Greenhouses
  • Saunas
  • Farms
  • Mills
  • Construction areas
  • Flower shops
  • Summer cottages
  • Lake Houses

Source: cdc.gov

November is Child Safety and Protection Month

10/30/2017 (Permalink)

November is Child Safety and Protection Month

Below are tips for helping to keep children safe at home.

  1. Use safety gates. Even before your baby crawls, install safety gates to match your home and protect curious children from harm. Hardware mounted gates should be installed at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  2. Prepare for bedtime: Remove all soft, fluffy and loose bedding from the baby’s sleep area. This includes pillows, blankets, quilts, bumper pads, sleep positioners, sheepskins, stuffed toys and other soft products.
  3. Be mindful of plants. Choose decorative plants that are nontoxic. Common household plants can often cause serious sickness.
  4. Use Doormats. Place a welcome mat outside your home or apartment. Pesticides and other toxins may be carried inside on the soles of people's shoes.
  5. Be cautious of choking hazards. Be vigilant about coins, marbles, keys, jewelry, paper clips, water bottle tops, safety pins, removable rubber tips on doorstops, jeweled decorations on children's clothing, crayons, and hard and round foods.
  6. Check out your furniture. Use angle braces or anchors to secure large furniture to the wall.
  7. Hot water: Set hot water heaters no higher than 120 degrees F. A lower water temperature reduces the chance of scald burns.
  8. Fingerprint your children. Contact your local police department to ask if the department provides home fingerprinting kits. Some departments will fingerprint your child for you. If your local police department does neither, you can easily find fingerprint kits for sale online. http://www.yoursafechild.com/
  9.  Be Mindful of Windows. Screens are meant to keep bugs out, not prevent children from falling.  Never put furniture or cribs near windows where children can easily fall through.
  10. Dishwasher Hazards. Point knives, forks, and other sharp items downward in the utensil basket. Don't fill the dispenser with detergent until you're ready to run the load, and wipe out any that's left over after each cycle. Always replace the cap on the bottle tightly, and store it in a locked cabinet. Keep the dishwasher closed and latched when it's not in use.
  11. Stoves and Kitchen Ranges. Make sure free-standing or slide-in ranges are installed with anti-tip brackets that secure the rear legs to the floor. Manufacturers are required to provide these brackets on ranges made after 1991, but you can contact the company for the parts, or order them from an appliance-parts store. Keep the oven door closed when not using the oven, and never allow your child to lean on or climb on the range or oven door. Install child safety locks on knobs. Install stove guards.
  12. Fire Safety. For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every sleeping area. Teach kids never to play with matches and lighters. Make a habit of placing these items up and away from young children. Create and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of every room in case of a fire.

Sources: http://www.parentguidenews.com, www.hg.org, http://www.parents.com, and safekids.org

National Fire Prevention Week

10/5/2017 (Permalink)

National Fire Prevention Week

October 8th - 14th is National Fire Prevention Week.

In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here’s this year’s key campaign messages:

  • Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

Source: National Fire Protection Association,  http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/campaigns/fire-prevention-week-2

The Three Types of Contaminated Water

9/12/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that SERVPRO of The Hill Country also cleans up sewage backups?

Sewer backups should be considered an emergency since the water may contain viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that cause serious illnesses. Our professionals at SERVPRO of The Hill Country have specialized training and equipment to quickly and safely clean contaminants like sewage.

Water damage can be classified by the three types of contaminated water. Our team of technicians will inspect your home or business to determine the appropriate plan of action for the type of water encountered.

The three types of contaminated water:

Category 1: "Clean Water"

Category 1 water is from a clean source like a broken water supply line or leaking faucet. If not treated quickly, this water can turn into category 2 or 3, depending on length of time, temperature, and contact with surrounding contaminants.

  • Water from a clean source like a broken water line
  • If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3

Category 2: "Gray Water"

Category 2 water is contaminated and could cause discomfort or illness. Examples include washing machine overflow; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; or dishwasher overflow.

  • May contain bacteria and viruses
  • Can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated

Category 3: "Black Water"

Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact should be avoided. Examples include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.

  • May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
  • Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup

24 Hour Emergency Service

Water contaminated with sewage backup should be considered an emergency situation and dealt with as quickly as possible. Our technicians at SERVPRO of The Hill Country are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for any emergency situations that arise. We have been a trusted name in safely and properly restoring homes and businesses for almost 15 years! We are here to help!

Toilet Overflow or Sewer Backup?
Call our office today (210) 361-3235

Why SERVPRO is the Best for Commercial Cleaning and Commercial Damage Restoration

8/21/2017 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO is the Best for Commercial Cleaning and Commercial Damage Restoration

Did you know SERVPRO is not just for disasters such as floods, water damage, or fires in the home?  We also help Commercial Businesses!

SERVPRO employees are certified to clean and sanitize: Upholstery, Carpeting, Flooring, and other hard surfaces.  SERVPRO is even certified to remove biohazard contaminants such as blood, urine, feces, and other things no one else wants to clean.  Refresh your carpeting and office cubical- we also specialize in odor removal and deodorization!   Additionally, SERVPRO is available after hours if services are needed when customers and/or clients are not present.

SERVPRO means reliable, certified professionals will show up at your door.  Please call today for a quote; we would be very happy to serve you on a reoccurring basis.

Hot Water Heater Leak Causes Damage to San Antonio Kitchen

8/20/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Hot Water Heater Leak Causes Damage to San Antonio Kitchen What the area where the water broke through the ceiling looked like when we arrived on scene.

SERVPRO of The Hill Country responded to an emergency water damage call in this San Antonio home. Summer had just begun, and mom along with her two children were enjoying the slower pace of life. The three had spent the morning in their pool and worked up quite the appetite. Mom decided to step inside to get food started for lunch while the kids stayed outside and dried off. Mom opened the backdoor and there in front of her was a flood in her kitchen and a hole in her ceiling. She shut off the water, called her children in to help, and then called us -- SERVPRO of The Hill Country to mitigate the rest of the water damage. The woman had discovered that her hot water heater was to blame for this disaster. The hot water heater, which was located in the attic above the kitchen, had sprung a leak. As more and more water was absorbed by the drywall, water began to pool and the kitchen ceiling started to bow. Eventually the ceiling couldn’t hold the weight of the water any longer and the water flooded the kitchen. Our technicians cleaned up the ceiling debris and extracted the standing water. They also cut and removed additional drywall that had been affected by water damage. It is important to get rid of drywall that has gotten wet as soon as possible because when it gets wet, it loses its structural integrity, and it will help minimize the potential of mold growth. After several days of drying, the moisture levels had met our dryness goal. Another home back to normal after experiencing a water damage emergency. With the help of our team at SERVPRO of The Hill Country, it was like this disaster never even happened.