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What Should I Do After My House Is Damaged by a Storm?

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

A man watching a house damaged by a fallen tree after a storm. Storm damage can be devastating

What Should I Do After My House Is Damaged by a Storm?

The damage a storm causes to a home can leave your life suddenly upended. In the first days after a storm, you might be overwhelmed with the damage, with everything you have to do and with concerns about getting your life back together. But careful planning can help you return to normalcy as quickly as possible.

 

Safety First

Whether your house flooded, sustained wind damage or was struck by lightning, the aftermath of a storm can pose serious dangers. Live power lines, mold and open areas of your house can all put you at risk. It's wise to leave your house until you're able to evaluate the damage. Consider going to an emergency shelter, staying with friends and family or staying at a hotel until you're able to get an inspector to your home. Take a few day's worth of clothing and supplies if possible, but prioritize safety above collecting your possessions. Your insurance company might provide someone to inspect your home for safety hazards, or you may need to hire someone, but in either case, you should have your home checked for hazards before you return.

Federal Assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides a variety of assistance to victims of storm damage. You can get help with temporary housing, with repairs, with meals for your family and with filing insurance claims. Contact the FEMA branch in your area. If the storm damaged many homes in your area, a FEMA representative may be traveling through your neighborhood or available at a local temporary FEMA office. So talk to your local representative for assistance.

  

Documenting Damage

You'll need to document the damage that has been done by the storm as soon as possible, particularly if your homeowner's insurance only covers certain types of damage. Take photos of the damage, and be sure to document any potential problems, such as mold, crumbling drywall or exposed power lines. It's a good idea to have pictures on file of the normal state of your house. So if you're concerned about a storm that hasn't hit yet, take photos both before and after the storm.

Insurance Claims

Contact your insurance company, which will assign you a claim representative. Work with the representative to have repairs done. The process sometimes takes several months, but most insurance policies will cover the damage after you've paid your deductible. Most homeowner's insurance policies won't cover flood damage, so if your home has flooded, contact your flood insurance company instead. If you don't have flood insurance, you might be stuck paying for the damage yourself. Contact SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree to come in and evaluate your home and begin the post-flood clean-up process.

 

6 Ways to Protect Your Business From Fires

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

One fire engine along several firemen trying to put out a fire at a commercial plaza with visible flames Local Firemen fighting a commercial fire
 Educate your employees about fire safety and take other steps to protect your business from the threat of a fire. 

Fire is one of the most common causes of property damage – and it can also be one of the most costly incidents for a small business. Approximately 10% of small businesses are affected by a fire, and the average cost for a fire claim is $35,000, according to a commercial insurance company.

Although modern safety regulations have reduced the risk, fire is still a major threat. To protect your business, it’s key to educate your employees on fire safety and emergency protocol, keep your workplace free from clutter, and properly maintain your equipment. These six fire prevention tips can help keep your business safe:

1. Inspect and maintain fire extinguishers

Keep fire extinguishers inspected and maintained according to the local fire code and train employees on how to properly use them. Many people have never operated a fire extinguisher. Basic training can save lives during a fire emergency.

2. Install a fire sprinkler or fire suppression system

All businesses should have a fire alarm system, but you should also consider installing a sprinkler system or fire suppression system – some local jurisdictions also require these systems in commercial buildings. Both help to extinguish fires before the fire department arrives. If you’re operating a restaurant, for example, you should have a UL 300-compliant wet chemical fire suppression system, and follow the NFPA 96 standard for ventilation and fire protection.

3. Regularly clean and inspect equipment

Faulty equipment is a common cause of electrical fires. Make sure your machines and equipment are in proper working order, and switch them off when they’re not in use. Clean tools and equipment regularly to ensure they’re functioning properly and safe to use.

4. Reduce clutter

Keep your work-space as clutter-free as possible. Boxes, piles of paper, and other combustible materials can provide fuel for a fire. In addition, be sure to keep electrical appliances (e.g., microwaves, toasters, coffeemakers) away from paper or other fuel sources, and give computers and other equipment plenty of space so that air can circulate around them and they’ll stay cool.

5. Have an exit strategy

Create an emergency exit plan, and practice fire drills with your employees. Make sure emergency exit doors have proper signage and are well-lit. Employees should always have ready access to at least two exits. Regularly check stairwells to ensure that nothing is blocking them. SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree also offers to set up an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your place of business free of charge if you'd like to have an emergency plan for your place of business.

Should you have any questions or would like SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree to come out to your place of business and help you create an Emergency Ready Profile please Call 617-774-8583.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

11/21/2019 (Permalink)

Delicious Baked Turkey on a platter along fruits and a glass of red wine It is important to follow these safety tips to prevent any fire damage to your house.
For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations.

So keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time 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.

Top 10 safety tips
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top 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 three 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 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.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Thanksgiving fire 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, the peak day for such fires.
  • 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.  

Source: NFPA's Fire Applied Research Division

Don't Get Left Out in the Cold, Time to Weatherize!

10/31/2019 (Permalink)

Tow truck towing a car out under a fallen light post from a snow storm, a windshield reads "be smart, take part, be prepared" be prepared for winter, don't wait for disaster to happen.
Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold, Time to Weatherize!

Fall is here!  With changing leaves and pumpkin spice in the air, Winter is right around the corner.

 Is your home, office or place of business ready?  Check out these Tips for Fall Maintenance.

Mold Inspection – Mold issues can arise during the fall and winter, due in part to condensation on walls and windows within our homes.  Eliminate mold HVAC risk, improve your family’s health and have a peace of mind with an inspection.

Weatherize Windows and Doors – Use weather stripping and caulk to seal out drafts.  Not only can this lower heating bills, it can also help keep insects and other “critters” out.

Inspect Your Roof – Be proactive and prevent expensive emergency repairs.  Look for trouble spots and learn how to locate a leak from inside.

Check Your Insulation – Adding insulation is one of the most important and beneficial ways to prepare your home, office or place of business for winter.  The potential money and energy savings make it well worth the effort.

Inspect and Clean your Gutters – Cleaning your gutters at least twice a year will result in better protection of your roof, your walls and foundation of your home.

Adjust the Temperature – Setting your thermostat as low as comfortable when you are home and turning the temperature down while you’re away can help save money.  A programmable thermostat can make it easy to set your temperature.

Tune Up your Heating System – Cleaning and servicing now can help save you money later.  Remember to check your furnace filter and replace it as necessary.

As always, SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree is here to help you through the process or in the event of an emergency. Call us at 781-341-7007

It's Our 5th Anniversary So We're Offering an Extra 5% Off!

10/31/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO 5 Year Promo Save 15% on any self-pay service during the month of November!

SAVE 15% ON ANY SELF-PAY SERVICE

This November, SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree is celebrating 5 years in business! To say thank you to all our customers for helping us make it to our 5th anniversary, we're offering an additional 5% off our already discounted self-pay cleaning services. this includes our


Take advantage of this great deal to get your home or business ready for the busy holiday season! 

Call us at (781) 341-7007 to book!

How to Prevent Fires at Your Business

10/30/2019 (Permalink)

Fire department ladder extinguishing flames on a commercial lot with water and ambulances on the background Fire Dept. at work on a commercial fire

How to Prevent Fires at Your Business

  • OCTOBER 2019

October is National Fire Prevention Month, and there are many simple, common-sense tips to keep your business, employees and clients safe. Below are some important easily-followed pointers that can make all the difference:

  • Ensure that you have the correct number of smoke detectors in the correct areas based on your property size and area use.
    • Make sure all smoke detectors have working batteries, and the batteries are tested regularly.
  • Areas around electrical equipment should be clear of paper, fabric or any flammable materials.
  • Make sure your mechanical systems are in proper working order to prevent fires. Heaters and air conditioning equipment should be working properly, with temperatures set correctly.
  • Many fires that happen after regular business hours can be prevented by a well-managed and carefully supervised closing time self-inspection program.
    • Are automatic sprinkler control valves open?
    • Are fire alarms and security alarms in full operation?
    • In general, make sure cigarettes and matches are extinguished in all areas of the building if applicable in your state, that trash has been removed from the building each night, any flammable liquids are properly stored in metal cabinets, and that all heat producing devices, including coffee pots, are turned off.
  • Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used.
  • Fires can start when heat builds up near things that burn. This can happen when a hot light bulb is near things that burn, such as cloth or paper, or a cord has been placed under a carpet.
  • Remember, have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including electrical inspections. Extension cords are intended for temporary use. Have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords.
  • Call a qualified electrician or your landlord if you have:
    • Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
    • A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
    • Discolored or warm wall outlets
    • A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
    • Flickering or dimming lights
    • Sparks from an outlet

How to Recover After Storm Damage

10/30/2019 (Permalink)

Four different scenarios of storm damage in square form, roof damage, trees out of the ground and water flooding streets/yard several damage from a storm in different areas of living

HOW TO RECOVER AFTER STORM DAMAGE 
 

Bad weather can spring up without much of a warning. Most of the time when a bad thunderstorm is threatening your area, you barely have enough time to find shelter. As a homeowner, it is important that you think about these moments before they occur.

Do you have the correct insurance policy? Is your home going to be covered in the event of a disaster? Is the amount of coverage going to be enough to restore your home? Thinking about these questions before the storm damage occurs can make your life after the storm much easier.

Before you do anything else, stop and make sure your home is covered for the following:

  • Water and Windstorm Damage
  • Debris or Tree Removal
  • Sewer Backup Due to Flooding
  • Sump Pump Failures Due to Flooding
  • Additional Living Expenses In Case A Storm Forces You Out of Your Home

Once you have the proper home insurance coverage for storm damage, you can feel safer during the event of a tragedy. Seeing your home in ruins after a major storm can be heartbreaking. It can be difficult for families to know how to move on from this misfortune. The best thing you can do for your family and your home is to begin storm damage recovery immediately. If you have suffered loss or damage because of bad weather, refer to the following tips on how to recover:

Take Pictures of the Damage

As soon as you are able, you need to start taking pictures of the damage done to your home. The trick to good storm damage recovery is keeping solid records of the damage. This includes any conversations that you have with your insurance agency and with SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree about the damage. You should be able to provide them with pictures and evidence of the destruction.

Photograph any outside damage and property damage that has been done to decks or outdoor buildings. The interior and exterior photos of your damage should be taken from a variety of different angles to capture the severity of the damage.

Report You Claims

It is crucial that you contact your home insurance agency immediately after your home suffers from storm damage. This is one of the biggest steps in storm damage recovery. Your homeowner’s insurance company should be able to provide you with support and structure for moving your restoration process forward.

To start, you should find an exact copy of your homeowner’s insurance and determine if the damage exceeds your deductible. You will then need to work with your insurance company to get the necessary money and repairs completed. They will be able to recommend SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree as a home restoration company approved and in most cases preferred by many insurance companies. From there, you can get a quote from the SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree and report it back to your insurance agency.

SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree works directly with your insurance company to also save you a lot of time and hassle. Being the man in the middle of two companies can be difficult. SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree make it their goal to work directly with your insurance company to improve communication during the project. This will take a lot of stress and pressure off of you during this difficult time.

Make Temporary Repairs

Once all the proper claims have been made and the damage has been reported correctly, you can begin to make some temporary repairs. These repairs do not have to be major reconstructions, and they do not have to last your family forever. You can start by making sure your home is livable again.

If you have suffered roofing damage, place a tarp or plastic material over your roof to keep your home from being damaged further by additional rain. If you have lost a wall or a large portion of your home, work on closing off that section of your house until you can do more permanent constructions.

Allow Your Family to Recover Slowly

Home repairs do not have to be completed all at one time. Storm damage can take several years to fully recover from, and it is important that you give your family the time they need. It might be a while before your home is fully restored to its natural beauty, but it is important that you take your time and get the job done correctly.

Contact SERVPRO of Milton/Braintree at 781-341-7007 for any restoration needs. We are the industry leaders and are the fastest to any disaster of any size.

 

Practice Fireplace Safety This Winter

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

Living room with in wall brick fireplace showcasing proper fireplace safety Fireplace safety in an elegant living room

PRACTICE FIREPLACE SAFETY THIS WINTER<article1205">

As cold temperatures get settled in for a long winter’s nap, many of us start to settle in by our fireplace. Many people use their fireplaces frequently in the winter months and something about a fireplace can make a home feel so cozy. However, it is important to understand how to keep your home safe while using your fireplace.

DOUBLE CHECK SAFETY DEVICES

If you are planning to use your fireplace this winter, be sure to test your smoke alarms beforehand. If you don’t remember the last time you replaced the batteries, you should do so now. You should be confident that all of your alarms, including a carbon monoxide alarm, are working properly. You should also have a small fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergencies.

INSTALL SAFETY SCREENS

If you have young children, or you have young children visiting this holiday season, it is important to have a safety screen installed on your fireplace. Fire screens will keep little hands from reaching into the fire or getting too close to the actual fire itself. The materials surrounding your fireplace, such as glass or metal, can also get extremely hot and will stay hot for hours after the fire is out. Safety screens will also prevent embers from popping out of the fire and into a room, which is especially good if you might leave the room unattended.

KEEP AREA CLEAR

If you have a fireplace, you should make sure that the area surrounding your fireplace is cleared out. Many people are guilty of putting gifts around the fireplace to serve as a decoration. Other people often put their Christmas tree right next to their fireplace. You should never put a single thing in close proximity to your fireplace while it’s functioning. You should keep all things, from books, to decorations, to curtains, a safe distance away from your fireplace. Many common household items are flammable and the temperature of the fire itself could cause them to react.

Be safe this winter and if needed SERVPRO is one call away.

Teaching Fire Safety to Children

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

Stick figure man leaving a room incased in fire through a door Always leave any area in fire immediately, do not hesitate or collect belongings. exit Immediately.

HOW TO TEACH CHILDREN FIRE SAFETY<article1211">

It is vital that you teach your children about fire safety at home. Your children should understand what to do in the event of a fire and how to protect themselves against a fire.

ESTABLISH AN ESCAPE ROUTE

In the event of a house fire, your family should have an established escape plan that you all understand. Your children should know how to get out of each room in your home and how to do so safely. You should establish a meeting point outside, far enough away from the house, so your children know where to meet you once they get outside.

FUNCTIONING WINDOWS

You should make sure that your windows can be easily opened by your child and that the screen can be removed easily. You should help your children practice opening and closing the windows in case they had to it by themselves in the event of a fire. Bedroom windows never should be sealed shut or incapable of opening. Many fires happen overnight and they may need that window to get out.

UNDERSTAND SMOKE DETECTORS

Your children should understand where your smoke detectors are in your home and how they work. They should be familiar with the sound the smoke detector makes so they can recognize it in the event that it is going off. As the adult, you need to ensure that batteries are regularly replaced and the detectors are tested.

CHECKING FOR SIGNS

You should teach your children how to check one side of a door to see if a fire could be burning on the other side. Children should understand how to feel for a fire through a door and be able to establish if there is one. You should also help children find alternative routes out of rooms if a fire is on the other side of their door, especially their bedroom.

STAYING OUTSIDE

Children need to understand that they should stay out of the burning house once they are safely outside. Many children want to run back inside for pets or toys because they don’t understand the danger of the fire inside. You should make it clear to children that they should not go back inside for absolutely anything once they are outside safely.

Ultimate Guide to fire Extinguishers in your Braintree Milton Office

10/1/2019 (Permalink)

Chart with different types of Extinguishers, uses and important information Chart summarizing fire extinguisher's blog

ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OFFICE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

Fire extinguishers are essential pieces of safety equipment in any office. However, not all fire extinguishers are the same, so what kind of extinguisher does your office building need? Each place a fire might occur requires an extinguisher specific to that location and potential class of fire. There’s a lot to know about choosing the right office fire extinguishers for your building’s needs, so be sure to make an informed choice to keep your property and your associates safe.

Identifing Office Fire Hazards

Fire extinguishers are designed to combat fires of different classes. Fire classes are determined by what fuels the fire, so you will need to assess your
environment for potential risks of each fire class.

For example, if you are in a design studio that houses large amounts of paint, a Class B fire (fire fueled by flammable liquid or gas) is a possibility. In
that case, a standard water extinguisher made for a Class A fire (fire fueled by paper, wood, straw, etc.) would not be suitable. You would need a foam
extinguisher made to fight Class B fires.

Reading up on fire classes and extinguishers can help you determine what fire classes are a risk in your office.

Determine Fire Extinguisher Size and Quantity Needed

How many extinguishers you need
and what size they should be is determined by the size of your space, level of hazard, and the recommendations of local and national fire codes. You will need to know the square
footage of your office area in order to purchase the correct number of extinguishers and situate them properly.

Select Appropriate Type of Office Fire Extinguisher

Each type of fire extinguisher is designed to put out a specific class of fire. Some extinguishers are made to fight more than one class of fire. This is why it is vital to assess the types of fires you could potentially face in your office environment. There are five main types of fire
extinguisher. Each is designed to cope with a specific fire hazard, but some are combination and can be used for more than one type of fire.

Water Fire Extinguishers

Water extinguishers
are used for Class A fires. Class A fires are fueled by ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, fabric, trash, and plastics. Offices tend to have a lot
of Class A fire sources including paper recycling bins, wooden furniture, curtains, and carpets.

Foam Fire Extinguishers

While they are made to fight Class A fires, foam fire extinguishers can also be used against Class B fires. Class B fires involve flammable liquids and
gases, such as gas and paint. Class B fire sources are usually found in offices in the form of cleaner and furniture polish.

CO2 Fire Extinguishers


Carbon dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers

are made to fight electrical fires (Class C) and Class B fires fueled by flammable liquids. Electrical fires are an obvious risk in the typical office
since sources can include computers, printers, photocopiers, speakers, and electric heaters.

Powder Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers that emit powder are versatile. They can extinguish Class A, B, and C fires. This may be a good choice for an office environment
containing risks for all three fire types.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Fires fueled by cooking oils and fat (i.e. build up in a grease catch), Class K fires, require a wet chemical fire extinguisher. Wet
chemical models are effective against Class A fires as well. These extinguishers are most often found in commercial kitchens where grease fires are more likely to occur.

The 3 most common types of fire extinguishers needed in an office are Water, CO2 & Foam.

Determine The Level of Fire Hazard

The fire hazard level of your building depends on the quantity and type of combustible materials housed there. This rating determines which kind of
extinguisher you need as well as how far apart they should be stored.

Light Fire Hazard

Most offices fall into this category. Light hazard spaces do not contain many combustible materials. Water and foam extinguishers designed to fight Class A
and B fires is the logical choice for this level of hazard. They should be stored no more than 75 feet apart.

Ordinary Fire Hazard I

Spaces at this level present more of a risk because they have a small quantity of flammable liquid on the premises and a greater amount of combustible materials (e.g. a laundromat). The greater risk of electrical fires in this environment may require CO2 extinguishers as well as water and foam extinguishers. Extinguishers here are stored every 75 feet.

Ordinary Fire Hazard II

These locations contain a considerable amount of flammable liquids without being high risk. Examples include manufacturing plants and hardware stores. Extinguishers capable of fighting a Class B flammable liquid fire (foam, CO2, or powder) should be stored every 30 to 50 feet.

Extra Fire Hazard

Facilities with printing presses, saw mills, or plastics processing equipment are at a high risk for fire. They should be equipped with large CO2 or powder extinguishers capable of fighting multiple types of fires. Extinguishers must be stored 30 to 50 feet apart.

Commercial Kitchens

The fats, oils, and open flames in a commercial kitchen present the greatest risk of fire. They also require wet chemical fire extinguishers capable of
putting out Class K fires. Because of the increased risk, commercial kitchens need to store fire extinguishers every 30 feet.

Store Fire Extinguishers Properly

Even in a low hazard environment, fire extinguishers should be stored nearest to the greatest fire risk. The required distance between
extinguishers takes into account how far an employee might be from reaching one. In an office, this means you will need to situate extinguishers no less than 75 feet apart and no further than 75 feet away from where employees work.

Fire extinguishers should be stored in wall cabinets or mounted on the appropriate brackets. The handle should be placed about 3.5 to 5 feet from the floor. Larger extinguishers may be placed with their handles about 3 feet from the floor. All portable fire extinguishers should be labeled as approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

Fire Safety For Office Buildings

Once you determine which Office fire extinguishers you need, how many are required, and how they should be stored, be sure to train your employees on how to locate and use fire extinguishers. After all, what good is safety equipment if you don’t know how to use it? By having the right fire extinguishers on site ready for use, you ensure the safety of your building and its occupants.