House Fires in American Homes
You may think that house fires increase in the winter months, and you’d be right, but only ever so slightly (about 1% more than warmer months). When house fires actually increase a noticeable amount its not during the colder months or because of the temperature outside, but during certain hours of any given day within the year.
What are the peak hours during the day that the most fires happen within American homes you may ask? The answer is from about 4:30pm-8:30pm. Why? Most of us are home by that time and should be able to catch a fire if it happens, right? But most fires caused between that 4 hour period, are caused by homeowners themselves…and they are caused, by cooking dinner.
Cooking fires make up almost 50% of all household fires. And while many homeowners catch the fires before they cause substantial damage, many can get out of control within minutes…seconds even.
We cook with highly flammable materials and substances. Butter, oil, and fatty substances can catch fire and create a toxic coat of soot within the area in minutes.
When you are cooking, never leave something unattended and keep a fire extinguisher handy and close by. Make sure you know how to operate the fire extinguisher as well. Seconds and minutes can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and a few hours of a smoky smelling house, and an entire home that needs fire restoration cleaning. If you have suffered a cooking fire, call SERVPRO of Salem West. We can help you return your space to it’s preloss condition.
What Is Water Damage?
Understanding water damage is something that is more scientific than you may think. When we think about objects and buildings, we don’t think of them containing water…but they do. Most materials we interact with every single day have a moisture content within them already. Even us as human beings are 60% water (H2O). You may think that the water in the human body is limited to the soft tissue, but it isn’t. Our bones even contain water, they are made up of 31% water. Water Damage can occur in the human body as well, over-hydration (water intoxication) can be detrimental to our health.
Now, when we think about our homes, what are they made out of? Wood.
The wood we use to build homes is made up of roughly 5%-25% of water. This number is affected by the density of wood, the age of the wood, the humidity in the air, and how long the wood has acclimated before being used/installed. Water damage occurs in wood, just like in the human body, if the wood absorbs more water than it’s natural resting water content.
What happens when wood absorbs too much water? The wood swells, it buckles, it rots, it begins to grow mold, it begins to lose it’s structural integrity. But, much like the human body, if water damage to the wood is addressed quickly and correctly, the wood can return to it’s natural state without long term effects.
Drying is one of the most important aspects of our job here at SERVPRO of Salem West. Our technicians are trained to monitor the moisture levels in affected materials and see that they are drying properly to their preloss condition. So if your home suffers a water damage, call SERVPRO of Salem West, we can get your house returned to its happy level of moisture content!
Mold Discovery In Commercial Properties
When mold is discovered in a commercial building, it’s paramount that the building owner has it remediated promptly. Known mold problems without remediation can lead to health effects, depreciation of property value, increased financial burden to remediate, and lawsuits against building owners from tenants.
The best thing you can do as a property owner/manager is maintain your commercial properties on a regular basis. This includes keeping a close eye on your tenants, seeing to it they know the proper procedures to keep the building moisture free, make sure they know that they need to report each water loss, leave fans on during and after bathes and showers, use a fan in the laundry area, report mold as soon as the first signs appear.
As a property manager, inspect your roof regularly, educate your tenants on caring for the building/residence, perform inspections as often as law allows, be proactive about addressing your tenants concerns. If your tenants feel comfortable reaching out to you to report problems, they will most likely report them as soon as they occur…and not wait.
Remediating mold can be costly, but not near as costly as ignoring the problem. If you or your tenants notice mold, try to figure out what is causing it first and get that fixed. If you can’t locate the problem, SERVPRO can help you figure it out. After the source of the mold has been fixed, SERVPRO of Salem West can get rid of the mold safely and efficiently.
Power Outages Preparedness
Power outages can be particularly inconvenient if you rely on the electric for your heat, cooling, and cooking needs. If you have multiple days straight of power not being available, hundreds of dollars worth of food/meat could go to waste as well. There are options and measures one can take to be prepared and more equipped to maintain your lifestyle during such an outage.
- Invest in a generator. Generators can be pricey and costly to run, but even if you only run them for a few hours a day, that’s enough to re-cool/freeze your fridge & freezer, take a warm shower, cook your meals, and cool or heat your home to a comfortable level. Generators are expensive, but for the particularly vulnerable to such power outages they could be worth the trade off.
- If a generator isn’t an option you wish you explore, you can always invest in a large cooler & a propane camp stove. A large cooler, with bags of ice changed out daily, can rescue the food you have in your fridge. A propane stove can still allow you to cook homemade meals. But as far as cooling you or house, heating your house, or taking showers or baths…those will not be alleviated with the cooler and propane option.
There are multiple things you can do right now to prepare for such an outage.
-Buy canned food, ready to eat!
-Buy extra gallons of fresh water
-Buy wet cleansing wipes for refreshing when showers aren’t an option
-Know where your cold weather clothes are kept/sleeping bag
-Invest in a solar charger, so you can continue to charge your phone and contact family
There are many other things you can do as well, these are just some ideas. If you know someone at risk (a senior citizen, someone with a health condition, someone with small children) check in on them during a power outage. Being prepared yourself, allows you to be better prepared to help others.
Wind Damage...Rare, But Costly
Here in the Pacific Northwest we don’t get much wind damage, but when we do, it can cause serious damages. Our coastal region is more prone to stronger winds, but our coastal region is also more prepared for strong winds…being that it’s normal out there.
The main cause for concern with high winds is power outages and fallen trees. We have all seen the men from the city in their bucket trucks trimming limbs back from power lines. Keeping tree limbs clear of power lines and falling dead trees as soon as they are noticed prevents disasters due to trees falling into homes and over power lines.
If you notice a large tree next to your house or a city power line, it’s best to inspect it regularly to insure it’s healthy. Also, you will want to trim it, or have it cut back if it starts to impede the path of the electric line. Strong winds can take down even healthy trees, so be diligent about the height of the tree and weigh the risks of letting it tower above your house.
Most windows are storm resistant now, but many older homes still have single, or double pane glass windows installed. Broken windows due to limbs and high winds are often due to older windows not being replaced when needed.
An old roof is also cause for concern when it comes to wind damage. If a roof is already rotting or falling apart in places it needs to be replaced before high winds make the likelihood of wind and water damages more costly and inconvenient.
Commercial Structure Water Damage in Newport, Oregon
Commercial building water damages happen for various reasons.
One such reason has nothing to do with the system or component failures, but just one small mis-step.
SERVPRO of Salem West was notified by a hotel client who suffered such a loss.
While the HVAC company was servicing the above-head duct work, the technician took a small mis-step and put his foot through the ceiling of the lower floor while at the same time stepping upon a sprinkler head.
The sprinkler head broke off and began pouring water from the fourth floor down to main lobby, even the elevator was put out of operation.
They called us as soon as it happened and we were onsite in a short period of time. We extracted all of the standing water and placed 100 pieces of drying equipment on the first day.
We were successful in drying the hotel in place with minimal demo required in this newly renovated coastal hotel.
Check out the video we made by clicking
Evaporation is part of the process in water damage restoration
Evaporation: The process of a liquid turning into vapor.
Did you know that evaporation is a key component of the water damage mitigation process? When Salem, Oregon homes or businesses’ suffer a water damage it is important to begin the drying process.
The sooner the building is dried out the greater the chances are of salvaging materials and not having to demo.
Air movers are an important tool in the process of drying homes, commercial buildings and contents.
Air movers speed up the process of evaporation by moving air across a wet surface. Air movement across a wet surface picks up moisture from the material and turns it to a vapor, thus making the air humid and the building material dry.
Watch this video on How Air Movers Work which shows the evaporation process.
Thanks for watching!
The Atlantic Storm Season's Effect on the Pacific Northwest
The Atlantic Storm Season effects the Pacific Northwest too, here's how.
For the most part, the Pacific Northwest which includes Oregon, Washington and Idaho are not necessarily effected by storms in the Atlantic Region directly.
However, our industry which is called Disaster Cleanup and Restoration is impacted by storm events in other parts of the country from the South to the Eastern Seaboard.
When big events occur in other parts of the country, their own local resources are either rendered useless or non-accessible. Equipment and supplies can be damaged and no longer useful or functional. And that is why the Pacific Northwest is impacted.
The SERVPRO franchise system has operators in ever major metro market place. This means no matter the event or size, if there is property damage due to flooding, fires, storms, tornadoes or hurricanes the SERVPRO system can respond.
While Oregon doesn't generally have major weather events, we did have a fluke Tornado in Aumsville, Oregon that took the state and Willamette Valley by surprise.
The Risks of Neglected Water Damages
Unaddressed water damages can cause much more damage than a person ever realizes. When water invades an area and isn’t addressed in a timely manner, it sits and begins to grow bacteria and become contaminated.
Water damages can cause a great deal of problems when they affect a house or business. Left unmitigated, water can sink deep into wood surfaces and even make its way into the crawl space. Water can become trapped under non-porous surfaces like linoleum and non-porous tile.
Trapped water cannot be dried from the outside. Trapped water leads to dry rot and mold growth. Dry rot and mold growth are far more costly to remediate than water. Dry rot can be hazardous given that it compromises the structural integrity of wood. Mold can be dangerous given the health effects it can cause.
Here in Salem Oregon, we have water losses that we respond to that have been sitting for weeks…sometimes even months. Usually in this case, insurance will not cover the water damage because the homeowner knew of the damage but did nothing to remediate it, which caused a far more costly situation.
Be proactive in protecting your home or business from secondary water damages, call SERVPRO of Salem West at the first sign of water damage, and we can make it “Like it never even happened.”
For video click HERE.
Proactive Cleaning in Commercial Buildings
Salem, Oregon, and the surrounding areas have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants that had chairs jam-packed into their dining rooms prior to this year (due to high demand) have had to cut their occupancy drastically.
Salem is trying to accommodate this change by shutting down downtown streets over the weekends, so restaurants can have outdoor seating in the streets.
Not only have the restaurants given up the opportunity to make more profits, but they are spending more money on cleaning products and services in order to assure their staff and customers that they are being proactive about precautionary COVID-19 cleaning measures.
SERVPRO of Salem West offers our Certified: SERVPRO cleaned program to any commercial business that is interested in investing in a proactive approach to fighting the spread of this virus.
We have had great success and helped many businesses in the area get back to work safely and smartly.
If you are interested in finding out how to get our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned decal in your business window, reach out to SERVPRO of Salem West (503) 393-9999, we can get you back to business quickly and safely.