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Tips to Avoid Christmas Tree Fires

12/15/2019 (Permalink)

A close up on a Christmas tree that is placed in front of a fire place Fact: Christmas tree fires can happen in the matter of SECONDS

The Stats

According to NFPA.org, between 2013-2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees PER YEAR. The biggest portion (25%) of those Christmas tree fires started because of some type of heat source, such as a candle, fireplace or equipment, was too close to the tree. We hope to see these numbers go down!

We want to help you avoid your holiday from going up in smoke! 

Tips:

Picking the tree

Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2" from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source (like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights).
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit!
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the tree

  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect. 
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas

Why you should get rid of the tree after Christmas:
Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards. Doing this also helps your Christmas light last longer.

via NFPA.org

SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia will help save your Christmas from going up in flames! 
(601) 823-1100

Winter Water Damage Prevention

12/10/2019 (Permalink)

Airing out a water damaged bathroom with the cabinets and drawers open and about to set equipment Tip: Keep an eye out on the weather so you can wrap those pipes before a freeze occurs!

Be Aware

Down south, our winter is all over the grid. One day it is warm and humid, the next it’s cold and sleeting. That’s Mississippi for you! But here at SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia Mississippi, we want to help make sure you take care of your home or business by not forgetting about your pipes in the freezing weather.

The most common winter weather damage is frozen pipes. An average of a quarter of a million American families have one or more rooms in their homes ruined and their lives disrupted each winter by water pipes freezing and breaking, according to State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. Frozen pipes can burst and cost you devastating water damage and money loss. Here are some helpful tips about your pipes during the winter season.

Prevent Freezing Pipes:

  1. Consider installing specific insulation for pipes
  2. Drain and detach any water hoses from exterior spigots.
  3. Check your basement, crawl space, attic, and garage for any uninsulated pipes. Make sure to keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines located there.
  4. Check under kitchen and bathroom cabinets as well.  Open the cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing. .
  5. Let water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes since this will help prevent them from freezing.
  6. If you will be gone from your home during cold weather, don't allow your thermostat below 55 degrees. 
  7. Make sure you drain water from a water sprinkler system or a swimming pool.  There are typically manufacturing directions on how to do so.

"I Think I Already Have a Frozen Pipe"

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, chances are good that your pipe is frozen.  It will most likely be located near an exterior wall or where your water service comes into your home.

  • Apply heat to the pipe with an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer or a portable space heater (maker sure nothing flammable is close by).  You can also wrap the pipes in towels soaked with warm water.  DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene, propane heater, for any other open flame device.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and water begins to melt, it will then begin to flow through the frozen area.  It will also help to melt additional ice in the pipe.
  • If you cannot thaw the pipe, aren't able to locate the frozen area, or you can't get access to it, call a licensed plumber.
  • Be sure to check all other faucets in your home because chances are if you have one frozen pipe, most likely you have others as well.

What to do if your pipes burst:

  1. Do not panic.
  2. Call SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia at (601) 823-1100.
  3. Let us make it “Like it never happened.”

How To Identify Mold

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

Dry wall that has been cut out to reveal the dark looking mold growing inside the wall Fact: There are thousands of different types of mold out there. Some are harmful while others aren't.

"What Does Mold Look Like?"

A lot of our customers want to know how to identify mold. First thing to know is that there is active and inactive mold. What does that mean? Well, active mold growth is either slimy or fuzzy. The color of mold is usually green, black, orange or purple. On the other hand, inactive mold is dry and powdery and may be white.
Early stages of mold can look like a fine web, whereas mold in full bloom looks bushy. Mold spores spread real easily, because they are carried by air currents, pets and people. Scary, huh?

“How can I Stop Mold from Spreading in my Home?”

The key is to WORK FAST.
We are at a disadvantage in the south because of our humid climate, but don’t let that hold you back! Mold cannot grow when the humidity and temperature is lowered. If there is a day when the humidity is low, open your windows. If not, use air conditioning and dehumidifiers (empty humidifiers often).

Another way to control mold from spreading is to isolate any moldy objects. Seal moldy trash in plastic bags and remove them immediately. Objects you can save should be dried or frozen ASAP because freezing inactivates mold.

Keep the area clean. Clean surfaces such as shelves and anywhere where valuables are kept. Use a disinfectant such as Lysol, and then use fans only after moldy objects are removed and all display and storage areas are clean.

"How Can I Save Moldy Possessions?"

It is possible to save your things that have been affected by mold. 
Air dry them away from other objects. Spread out papers, stand books on end and fan the pages open. Use blotting materials like clean towels or absorbent paper between layers of cloth or paper. Increase air circulation with a fan, but don't aim the fan directly at the objects.

If you can't dry the objects quickly or you have a large quantity, you can freeze books, documents and small textiles until conditions are right to dry them. Do not freeze moldy photographs.

Clean the mold only after it is dry and inactive. Very gently wipe or brush away the mold residue. Work outdoors if possible and always wear protective clothing and a respirator.

Avoid harsh cleaning products and bleach; they can ruin objects. Never vacuum fragile items. Use a household vacuum cleaner outdoors, since the exhaust will spread mold spores.

Be sure display and storage areas are free of mold before you return any clean object to its proper place. Reinspect the objects from time to time for any new mold growth.

Valuable artifacts and photographs should be handled by our professionals here at SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia.

Saving Your Home from Thanksgiving Disasters

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

A turkey that has caught on fire. Having fire damage can make your holiday harder than it should be. Take the easy route by following our safety precautions!

Making This Thanksgiving Easier 

"What could possibly go wrong at Thanksgiving, besides Uncle Eddie eating all the sweet potato pie?" Fire. Did you know fire damage is particularly higher this time of year? We need to keep fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time. It is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.

Thanksgiving Facts
Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving.

  • In 2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving.
  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
  • Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths. 

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

(via www.nfpa.org)

Space Heater Tips for Mississippi's Arctic Surge!

11/12/2019 (Permalink)

A space heater sitting on the living room floor Stay safe and warm during this arctic cold front this November!

Temperatures have already dropped with this arctic cold front this November! No one likes to be cold, but there are safety precautions when trying to stay warm. Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home or work place in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly.

Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for on how to keep your home safe and warm during this arctic cold surge:

  • Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
  • Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
  • Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
  • Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
  • Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
  • Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.

(via esfi.org)

Certified Professional Water Restoration Company

11/10/2019 (Permalink)

Image consist of the text showing that IICRC stands for Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification Looking for the best restoration company? Trust the trained and certified professionals here at SERVPRO!

Water Damage Can Be Deceptive

Water penetrates into structural cavities creating trapped pockets of saturation. The detection of water in these areas can often only be discovered with sophisticated moisture detection meters. Undetected moisture will continue to cause damage. This damage, at a minimum, will cause odors. Greater damage will surface when materials delaminate, shrink, split and further deteriorate to where costly repairs are required.

IICRC ?

More than just removing excess water, IICRC-certified restorers have the knowledge and equipment to further dry a home or facility (including substructure materials) completely back to preloss conditions. Through timely response and the careful monitoring of water damage, mold and other health issues can be prevented. If water damage has been present too long, mold will occur.

All IICRC-certified professionals have the training and experience to identify moisture sources, evaluate mold growth (visible or suspected), contain damage, remove contamination and dry materials to ensure that mold will not return.

[via IICRC.org]

How to Prepare for Cooler Weather

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

Someone's hand has a glove on while cleaning out dead leaves from the gutter Autumn Weather Cleaning Tips!

Outdoor Cleaning Tips that Could help Prevent Damage this Fall

Happy fall, y'all! The chill is in the air and the leaves are finally falling. Some of our customers wonder what they should do to prepare for the cooler weather. SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia always wants to help you out by giving you tips. We are here to help!

Here are some things you may want to add to your to do list for your fall cleaning! 

  • Check weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows.(Repair or replace as needed.)
  • Check and clean the gutters.
    (Do the downspouts, too.)
  • Clean the patio furniture.(Then store away.)
  • Drain and store garden hoses.
  • Check the exterior paint.(Touch up as needed.)
  • Drain the pool, if applicable.(Close it up for the year)

Some of these tips can help prevent future water damage as well, like cleaning your gutters and repair the weather stripping & caulk. 

SERVPRO wants you to know how to prevent damage to your home during the cooler months. Autumn water damages are just as serious as any other damage that can happen. Stay ahead! Get prepared!

Professional Fire Damage Restoration Team

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

A kitchen fire with SERVPRO's logo across the image and "Fire Damage?" ask underneath the logo SERVPRO is here to help!

After a Fire

A fire damage can be more involved than you may realize. Smoky residue saturates every opening because of the convection pattern that flames typically form during ignition. The soot constructs up in layers that may end up being solidified and tough to eliminate which is another reason to leave the cleaning to a specialist.

When the cleaning teams arrive, they promptly different salvageable items from charred debris, taking the things creating the strongest odors out for cleaning.

Following a fire, wall surface areas can be harmed by soot. Non-water based cleaners need to be used to remove soot from walls. These kinds of chemicals should be handled by a specialist due to the fumes and toxicity. Water-based cleaning items can cause spots to bleed into plaster walls, which is why a trained specialist should be left to deal with these chemicals.  

"What could possibly happen if I do it myself?" 
A professional restoration team reduces the after-effects a blaze can have on the health of those who return in. If a homeowner does not have the property restored by a professional, the results can be found later on down the line. To an untrained eye, they might believe the issue has been fixed. Homeowners who do it themselves may experience the remaining impacts of indoor air pollution for numerous months later on, which could also form an increased respiratory discomfort.  

We are trained to help remove your belongings as well as cleaning and storing them until your property has been restored to its original condition. We want to save as much as possible.

"Like it never even happened."

Spooktacular & Safe Halloween!

10/27/2019 (Permalink)

A spooky full moon with the SERVPRO brand in the middle of it Happy Halloween!

Ok parents, it’s that time of year again! We want our customers to have a safe and spooktacular Halloween without any accidents. SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia wants to make sure our community has some tips to follow to be prepared no matter what!

  1. Flame Resistant/Fire Retardant Costumes. 
    Today, ready-made costumes are required to be made from nonflammable materials or treated with flame retardant. However, it is important to recognize that home-made costumes are not treated, and heightened precautions should be taken. Many household items, clothing, hats, wigs, and other accessories for costumes can be highly flammable. Be sure to consider the dangers when designing a costume for your child. Remember that long-flowing costumes are a risk for catching fire on candle-lit Jack O’ Lanterns and other decorations. Safety first! If your little ones will be trick or treating this year in the neighborhood, incorporate reflective strips into the costume, and make sure all trick or treaters have a flashlight so they are visible to traffic.
  2. Street Safety. 
    In addition to having costumes that are visible to traffic, it is imperative that children understand to cross streets only at corners and to obey all traffic signals and crosswalks. It is highly recommended, particularly after dark that all pedestrians make direct eye contact with drivers prior to walking across the street to help ensure a safe crossing.
  3. Stick With Houston Neighborhoods You Know.
    While it may be tempting to trick or treat on the other side of town, it is wise to keep close to home on Halloween. Walk on the streets and paths you and your children know well, and where you recognize your neighbors. 
  4. Follow Neighborhood Protocols.
    Of course, everyone wants to get out there and collect their treats as soon as possible. Remember to trick or treat during accepted hours – typically 5:30 – 9:00, and only visit homes with front porch lights that are on. Additionally, respect homeowner’s properties by sticking to sidewalks and paths; stay off the grass whenever possible and don’t disrupt landscaping or personal items.
  5. The Great Candy Check. 
    Today, it is vital that prior to eating any of the treats that all of the candy is examined. Check to make sure all treats are sealed, and consume only store-bought treats provided by strangers. Look for any pinholes, resealed candies, or other causes for alarm.
  6. Decorations at Home. 
    If you are decorating your home for Halloween, use best fire safety protocols to ensure a safe holiday celebration. Remember that many decorations are inherently flammable (crepe paper, cardboard, sheets, etc.) and that they need to be kept away from any open flame candles, Jack O’ Lanterns, space heaters, or other sources of heat or flame. SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia is on call for any size disaster, but we’d prefer safe celebrations throughout Houston this year.
  7. Keep Pets Secured. 
    Halloween can be quite stressful for pets. The constant stream of people at the door, the eerie noises, and scary costumes can scare pets causing them to dart out the door. Sadly, there are also nefarious people that prey on pets during Halloween, and it is best to keep them safely secured in a room in your home during the festivities. If you have cats or dogs remember that they can easily knock over candles causing a fire in your home; make sure candles are out of the line of pets and children, and test all smoke detectors prior to trick or treating/party hours. Also, remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs and all candy and treats should be kept out of their reach.

We wish you a Happy Halloween!

What Does Water Damage Look Like?

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

residential ceiling that has a dark water spot This residential ceiling has a huge dark spot, which was discovered to be a water spot, from a leak upstairs.

Water Damage Signs

Water damage can be very detrimental to your home or business

The problem is the longer you wait after having water damage the more damage you are actually causing to your home or business. When you have water damage the best thing to do is shut off the water source that is causing the damage. If the damage is coming from something you are unable to cut off them you may need to contact a plumber in your area. Once this is completed then you want to call the professional experts here at SERVPRO of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia to come out and assess the problem. It doesn’t matter the size of the damage we will be able to help get it under control. Water damage can be difficult to spot but some signs you can look for in your home and business:

  • Water rings ("water spots") on your ceiling or walls
  • Soft or sagging on your ceiling or walls
  • Wet or soggy carpets
  • Warping in your wood flooring

The best thing to do is call an expert right away before the problem gets worse. Our highly trained technicians are waiting for your call. We have our specialized equipment ready to use to get to your emergency mitigated as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the problem gets worse, call our highly trained team at SERVPRO® of Brookhaven, McComb & Columbia at (601) 823-1100!