The Dos and Don’ts of Fire Damage Cleanup
Experiencing a fire in your Missouri home or business can be overwhelming, to say the least. But it’s vital that fire damage cleanup and the restoration process is begun as quickly as possible in order to get your life back to normal.
But do not attempt to do this on your own! You’ll need to rely on experts to handle the situation. There are specific steps the professionals know and will follow to restore your property and contents to their preloss condition.
Because of the seriousness of these situations, here is a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to fire damage restoration and smoke cleanup:
· Make safety the priority. Even if the situation looks safe and clear to you, don’t enter a burned structure until a professional has informed you it’s safe to do so. Not only may the building be unstable, but fires can start again — even after they seem to be extinguished.
· Document, document, document. Take photos of the fire damage, save receipts, take notes of conversations and keep all email correspondence. These actions help when dealing with your insurance company.
· Call your insurance agent to initiate a fire damage assessment.
· Call your local restoration company, SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County, to help with fire damage cleanup and repair.
· Limit movements inside the structure to keep soot particles from spreading.
· Change furnace filters.
· Cover dry furniture and upholstery with sheets.
· Weather permitting, open windows and doors for ventilation.
· Remove clothing and soft contents from the property and have it cleaned by SERVPRO professional fire damage restoration cleaners, not just a dry cleaner.
· Throw away all food and drink left after the fire.
· Enter a building before the fire department gives you the green light, even if it looks safe.
· Start cleaning residue from walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. Everything has to be assessed by your insurer first.
· Walk on carpets or touch furnishings impacted by smoke residues or debris until they’re professionally cleaned.
· Eat food, including canned goods, that were exposed to heat or fire.
· Turn on utilities until professionally checked.
· Turn on, clean, or use any electronic equipment until professionally checked.
Smoke and soot residue left behind after fire damage can cause severe health effects if not handled correctly. Only trained experts with professional equipment that understand the complicated chemical interactions involved with soot and fire can ensure your fire damage restoration is done safely and thoroughly.
The best thing to do is get in touch with SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County as soon as possible. We will assess your property and come up with a fire damage cleanup plan that includes:
· Securing your property to prevent further damage
· Removing damaged and unsalvageable items
· Cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing of your property and belongings
· Repairing or replacing all fire and smoke damaged areas of the structure
Our main goal at SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County is to restore your property and make it “Like it never even happened.” As a locally owned and operated company, providing the best possible customer service is our business
What Do Our Core Values Mean for You?
It’s a term that’s been bandied about, but what exactly are “core values”?
Core values are the cornerstone beliefs of a person or organization. They represent a company’s heart. These guiding principles dictate behavior and can help people understand the difference between right and wrong. Core values also help companies to assess whether they’re on the right path, meeting their customers needs, and fulfilling their goals.
Here at SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County we pride ourselves on living up to our core values as a locally owned company and as a team. We believe in the following 6 key values that characterize our company and help us to stand out in the community:1. Growth – Size matters, but only if it is accomplished through knowledge, excellence, innovation and continuous improvement every day - at every level.2. Integrity - Do what’s right and fair. Our relationships with customers, suppliers and each other are based upon honesty, trust, and mutual respect. We do what we say we will do and treat all with respect.3. Being the Best - Persistently strive for excellence in all we do. We adapt the newest technology and use the highest quality products, thus adding value to the services we offer our customers. As a team, we work together to meet the needs of our customers and to help the company be successful.4. Leadership - Provide strong, supportive management teams who embrace and drive change. By example promote honestly, integrity, enthusiasm, creativity, teamwork, excellence and empowerment of individuals.5. Customer Service - Achieve total customer satisfaction by meeting every requirement of every customer. This is more than satisfaction with our products and service. It also includes communication, billing, marketing, product availability and countless other interactions with customers.6. Teamwork - Be reliable, honest, supportive of each other's efforts, enthusiastic and positive. Value ideas over hierarchy. Communicate openly and face challenges optimistically to achieve our common goal of being the best. Be accountable, deliver on promises and strive to exceed expectations.
We recognize that our customers are the reason for our success and we’re committed to listen and respond positively to their needs. In fact, all our decisions are based on what’s best for our customer. By adhering to the above values, SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County strives to create a company that is not only a great one to work for, but also one that will tirelessly work for you.
Water Damage…What Can I Do Until Help Arrives?
At SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County we are available 24/7/365 days a year for your water damaged home or business. When it comes to water damage quick action is crucial and a delay, even a small one can cause more serious damage to your property.
We understand that during this stressful time you need someone to walk you through this process. SERVPRO of Springfield/Greene County has the specific water damage training to walk you through the difficult and often times confusing moments following a disaster in your home or business. If you need emergency services, we recommend calling our team immediately to get this process under way 417-865-771.
Here are a few tips of what you can do before help arrives.
- Ask yourself, is it safe to stay in this home or property?
- If it is safe to stay remove any slip and fall hazards.
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- Gather loose items from floor; wet materials may be heavy, be careful!
When you call our SERVPRO Representative will ask you some quick questions, these questions will help us know what equipment and tools to bring with us. Here is an example of what they will ask:
- Name & Contact Information.
- Street Address of the affected home or business.
- Insurance Information if applicable.
- Cause of water damage.
- Approximate time water damage occurred.
- Is there electricity available on site?
Once our SERVPRO Priority Responder is on-site they will walk you through the entire process of restoring your property while our highly trained technicians get to work quickly working on mitigating damage and restoring your home or business.
SERVPRO of Springfield/Greene County welcomes new Operations Manager
SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County is excited to introduce our new Operations Manager, Travis Auvil.
SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County is excited to introduce our new Operations Manager, Travis Auvil. Travis is no stranger around here; he has had many different hats and is an integral part of our SERVPRO Team.
Travis joined our team in 2011 and will be celebrating 10 years of employment with us this year. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science from Missouri State University and the following Certifications from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC): Water Damage Restoration, Applied Microbial Remediation and Applied Structural Drying; he is Osha 10 Certified. He also holds Continuing Education Instructor credentials for the State of Missouri and is part of our C.E. teaching team.
Travis is a member of our Storm Team and has traveled extensively to hurricane and flood disasters across the country and has been a Large Loss Project Manager for many large commercial losses we have produced here locally and across the country.
When Travis is not at work, he is cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs, playing golf or riding his side by side.
Why Choose SERVPRO?
Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a disaster in your business or home, whether it be fire, flood, plumbing or appliance malfunction or reconstruction you might wonder what to do, who do you call? There are many restoration companies you could call we are here to tell you SERVPRO of Springfield/Greene County is one of the best in southwest Missouri. We have been serving the Springfield area since 1985, we are locally owned, family owned business. We have over 36 years of experience, highly trained certified technicians that are available 24 hours a day, we are a trusted leader in the restoration industry. If you don’t believe SERVPRO is the best check it out these testimonials left by some of our very own customers!
The 5 women that came to clean our house after a propane fireplace malfunction left the inside of our home covered in soot were quick, efficient and hardworking. This is truly a group of professionals and I would recommend them to anyone needing a service like theirs! They showed up when they said they would, and quickly cleaned, paying very close attention to detail. They left no crack or crevice untouched!
— Artie S. in Springfield, MO
Following a fire at our church facility, we lost our entire kid's wing. SERVPRO was there before the fire was put out. They assessed the damage and went right to work. They worked alongside our insurance, guided us in inventory, and even pulled a few strings with their contacts to get us a secondary location for our programs before Sunday. We always felt in the loop and are grateful for their service. Not sure how we could of done it without them.
— Daine in Springfield, MO
SERVPRO responded quickly to my call and came to inspect our facility. A plan of action was developed in conjunction with an air quality specialist. They worked around my schedule for repairs and there was always someone available to answer the phone or questions. The employees were polite and did an excellent job of explaining the steps they were taking. I would highly recommend SERVPRO to anyone out there. DAN - you were GREAT to work with!
— Allison P in Hurley, MO
I want to thank all of you for the excellent work you did at my home after the flooding we had here! John was very professional, prompt and helpful through the whole process, and I felt in good hands as soon as he walked through my door! Everyone I had dealings with through this mess was understanding and efficient also! Now that it is all over, it really is "Like it never even happened." So your team has really lived up to your company standards.
— Clint in Springfield, MO
I'm writing this very deserving review for SERVPRO and crew of contractors used in rebuilding our basement. We had recently had a sewer line backup into our basement and pretty much destroyed half of it.
In addition, I had just broken by leg and was in no shape to do anything but try to work with a contractor over the phone to coordinate the remodeling process. Darrel came by the house and worked up the remodel estimate and initiated the next steps, by working directly for me and with one of the insurance adjuster. The timing of this event could not have happened at a worse time. I had company flying in from CA and they were planning to stay at our home for a week. They were scheduled to arrive in 3 weeks. Darrel said he could get the work done in 2 weeks, subject to the insurance company’s approval. Fast forward to insurance approval, Darrel’s team started and finished the project in 8 days. The performance by the entire team coordinated by Darrel was outstanding in every regard.
I appreciated their professionalism, sensitivity to our needs, and their desire to achieve completion the project on time and within budget!
Lonnie S – Springfield
If you find your business or home is in need of a restoration and clean-up company do yourself a favor and call SERVPRO of Springfield/Greene County today!
A Look Back at 2020 Hurricane Season
Hurricane Laura and Sally 2020
Although 2020 is now in the record books and we're not sorry to see it go, we can't help but look back at the record breaking hurricane season we experience this year. There were 30 named storms and 12 landfalling storms in the continental United States, 6 of those were major hurricanes. This is the most storms on record in one year surpassing the 2005 record of 28 storms.
SERVPRO of Springfield/Greene County was honored to be a small part of the recovery efforts from these storms. Our teams traveled in September to Lake Charles, Louisiana and also to Gulf Shores, Alabama to assist in the restoration efforts of back to back Hurricanes Laura and Sally. We are privileged to be a part of the SERVPRO nationwide traveling storm team, helping other communities across the nation build back from these catastrophic storms that destroy their homes and businesses. In like when catastrophic storms and flooding hit our southwest Missouri community storm teams from across the nation partner with us and are available to assist the needs of our community if needed. It is a wonderful partnership.
As shown in the photo here a few large projects we worked on during this storm season, we also were able to assist local home owners as well. While in the Lake Charles area we were able to help a local Parks and Recreation restore 7 buildings at 5 different locations across the city. These buildings suffered wind and water damage and had no power for weeks. Our team was able to successfully bring in power needed via large generators and desiccants to clean and dry their buildings to prevent further damage.
In Gulf Shores, Alabama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally our team was responsible for restoring 385 units in two large condominium buildings.
We are very proud of the work we were able to accomplish in these communities but we know that it would not be possible without the dedication and sacrifice of our outstanding team. Those that travel and those that stay back home in the Springfield area to serve our local customers and keep operations running smoothly on the home front.
Large Loss Disaster Recovery Team Ready for Action
SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County is ready and available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Call us at 417-865-7711 for more information.
We are excited to announce that our recent addition is now equipped and ready to serve our customers. SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County is part of SERVPRO’s nation-wide Commercial Large Loss Division’s Disaster Recovery Team. Our experienced Disaster Recovery Team members are large loss specialists. We are highly trained, with 35+ years of experience; we are prequalified and positioned throughout the United States to handle any size disaster. Every large loss is supervised by a commercial operations manager to help ensure seamless communication and timely mitigation.
SERVPRO of Springfield/Greene County is able to dispatch trained production professionals and cut cost through the strategic placement and oversight of temporary labor.
We are excited about our recent addition of a 53-foot Disaster Recovery Team Trailer to our fleet. Our trailer is now equipped and ready to roll out and handle your commercial large loss. It is now equipped with 300 air movers, 30 Dehumidifiers, 10 Air Scrubbers, 2 Portable extraction units, cleaning supplies, tools for demolition, power distribution and containment along with a portable office.
SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County is ready and available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to help with your commercial water damage or major event strikes. Please call us at 417-865-7711 for more information.
How to Keep Your Southwest Missouri Workspace Clean and COVID-19 Free
To many, their Greene County area workplace becomes a second home. Since so much time is spent there, most try to make it comfortable. Perhaps a bit too comfortable. Many have never developed good cleaning and decluttering habits at home and so transfer those behaviors to their work area. These habits can be very unhealthy in a number of ways.
For one thing, researchers at Florida State University conducted a study of over 4,900 adults across the U.S. to try and understand how their work environment affected them long-term. A major finding is that those working in dirty surroundingshad a steeper cognitive decline than their tidier counterparts. And according to a study by Brother, 40% of survey participants said a messy workspace actually causes them to be less productive. Besides clutter promoting procrastination, having to clean it up later takes time away from important work.
But today, there’s an even more serious reason why your Greene County workplace should be kept clean. A dirty desk could result in serious health issues.
According to research by the University of Arizona, desks aresome of the dirtiest and most germ-ridden surfaces we come into contact with. The average office keyboard and mouse can contain as much as 400 times more germs and bacteria than a toilet seat! And those germs could now contain the COVID-19 virus. So, for as long as the COVID-19 pandemic lasts, keeping a clean and tidy workstation has taken on elevated importance. New and enhanced sanitization measures will be needed to help prevent the spread of the disease in the workplace.
Best Practices to Keep Your Work Area Clean
First, unplug everything. Don’t just switch things off. Powered-down electronics usually carry a small standby current that could be dangerous or damaging if circuitry comes into contact with cleaning fluids. It’s also easier to move stuff around if it’s not plugged in.
Next, clean with antibacterial disinfectant wipes the items you touch the most, such as your phone, pens, staplers, scissors, calculators, and tape dispensers, then remove them off your workspace. Afterwards, use disinfectant wipes to clean the entiredesk surface, making sure to pay particular attention to the areasthat you touch most often, such as edges and the areas surrounding the keyboard. For effective disinfecting, let surfaces dry out for around five minutes.
Computer screens bear the brunt of coughs, sneezes and just plain being breathed on, so they need to be cleaned but will require a little more care and attention than other items on your desk. As a rule, don’t apply cleaning products directly to the display as they can cause damage, clouding, and discoloration. To clean and kill the COVID-19 virus, wipe it down with a damp (not dripping wet) microfiber cloth with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution. Avoid using paper towels or rougher types of cleaning cloths as they may scratch or dull the screen.
If you’re using your workspace every day, try to thoroughly clean and disinfect it once every two weeks. Between these deeper cleanings, focus on sanitizing high-touch points such as desk phones, keyboards, and mice once a day.
If you’re an employer, encourage employees and housekeeping staff to regularly clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as keyboards, desks, countertops, light switchesand doorknobs. Provide disposable wipes so that workers can easily wipe down those commonly used surfaces.
SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County provides cleaning and decontamination services to commercial and residential properties throughout Southwest Missouri. If you believe your facility has been exposed to COVID-19, call us immediately for a thorough cleaning and disinfection to protect you and your employees and so that the disruption to your business is as minimal as possible.
The Very Real Dangers of Smoke and Soot
If you’ve experienced a fire in your Southwest Missouri home or business, you may be tempted to rush back into the building once the flames are extinguished to check on the damage and your belongings. But the experts know from personal experience that this could be harmful to your health.
A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health has found that firefighters have higher rates of cancer than the general population due to exposure to smoke and toxic soot because many did not wear the proper gear. In fact, The International Association of Firefighters says cancer is now the leading cause of death among firefighters.
“It was never really something we thought about when I first started 32 years ago. It was a badge of honor to come out with all your gear dirty,” said Peter Silva Jr., a former firefighter. “If you didn’t wear your mask in there you were a strong, aggressive firefighter, and if you went in with your mask on, you were kind of ridiculed at times.”
So, having a cavalier attitude about wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) has resulted in the illness of many firefighters. Since it’s doubtful that you own any specialized PPE, you too could be in danger from the aftereffects of a fire.
But why is exposure to smoke and soot dangerous? Because the following are toxic substances that can be produced when certain materials burn. These can remain within soot after a fire:
- Mesothelioma (cancer) causing asbestos fibers from building materials
- Carbon materials can produce carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides
- PVC can create hydrogen chloride, phosgene (used as a chemical weapon during World War I), dioxin, Refrigerant-40, bromomethane (a pesticide), etc.
- Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide (poisonous gasses)
- Petroleum based items can produce formaldehyde, acrolein, furfural, cresols, and other harmful chemicals
- Even wood smoke releases more than 100 chemicals also found in cigarette smoke.
Because of these dangers, incident commanders are now ordering firefighters to keep their masks on until they’re away from the smoke and soot and washed down by decontamination teams on the scene. Once back at the station, they’re being told to change into a second set of turnout gear while industrial washing machines clean the dirty outfits.
If fire professionals take this issue seriously, shouldn’t you? The advice of Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn is priceless. He says, “I’ve buried way too many friends over my 33 years. Too many friends ... so I tell them, ‘Think about your wife, your husband, your boyfriend, your girlfriend before you take that mask off your face.”
Because of these dangers, only fire remediation experts like those at SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County should be in charge of cleaning up after a fire. We have the experience, knowledge, equipment and PPE needed to safely and thoroughly clean and repair your home or business. We also make sure there are no lingering odors. And since smoke and soot affects not only the structure of your house but also your belongings, we will ensure that those items that are salvageable will be returned only after being meticulously cleaned and sanitized.
Fire Extinguisher Safety Tips
There are many preventative measures you can take to reduce the risk of fire damage in your home, such as smoke detectors, an evacuation plan, and a fire safety kit. If a large fire breaks out, you’ll need to call the fire department and wait for help. But certain small fires may not require outside assistance and can be put out with a fire extinguisher. But before you do, the following is information that you need to know.
Find Your Fire Extinguisher
It’s smart to know the location of your fire extinguisher before a fire breaks out and you’re stuck without it. Everyone who resides in your home, whether family members or roommates, also need to know where it is. Your fire extinguisher(s) should be hanging on the wall in plain sight so that no one has to go searching for it in an emergency. Kitchens, laundry rooms, and garages are the best places to store them because heat sources and flammable chemicals are most present in those rooms.
If you don’t own a fire extinguisher, buy one immediately. They come in a variety of sizes and prices and should be affordable by all. If your rent, some states and towns, including Springfield, state that landlords must provide a portable fire extinguisher and that they properly maintain it.
Inspect Your Fire Extinguisher
It is important to regularly inspect your fire extinguisher to make sure it’s in working order because the worst time to discover it isn’t is during a fire. Check the inspection tag for the date your fire extinguisher was last inspected to judge if it needs another one. To work correctly, the gauge’s needle should only point to the green “charged” zone. Otherwise, it needs to be recharged
If you find cracks in the hose, or if it’s too brittle to bend easily, get it replaced. Be sure the pin is securely tied to the extinguisher with a safety tether. Other damages, such as corrosion, dents, and leaking, will require replacement of the unit.
Use Your Fire Extinguisher
Everyone in your home or business needs to know how to use a fire extinguisher before an emergency. Go to a safe, isolated, outside area to practice. It is highly recommended that you use the P.A.S.S. technique to operate your fire extinguisher:
First, pull the pin and break the tamper seal on the fire extinguisher. Second, aim the extinguisher nozzle low at the base of the fire. Third, squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent. Finally, sweep back and forth until the fire is completely out.
(If you have any doubts in your ability to operate a fire extinguisher during a fire, evacuate the premises instead.)
Cleanup and Recharge Your Fire Extinguisher
Since the extinguishing material in most fire extinguishers is a dry chemical, you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove any remaining residue once the fire is out. The extinguishant is similar in texture to sand, so you should be able to remove most of it. Once the loose residue is picked up, use a damp rag to scrub up whatever is left. Be sure to keep your hands protected because the chemical can potentially damage your skin.
Even if you only discharged a little of the fire extinguisher, the cylinder still needs to be replaced or refilled. If you don’t, it won’t be able to help protect you if another fire breaks out. Call your landlord or a local, licensed fire protection company to recharge it.
If your Missouri home or building has sustained fire damage, contact SERVPRO of Springfield / Greene County immediately. Our trained fire damage restoration professionals use advanced equipment and cleaning products to clean and restore your property, ensuring that your home or business is returned to its original condition or better.