Category 3 water, although referred to as Black Water or Dirty Water is not always visually black or dirty.
In the restoration industry there are three categories of water and as industry professionals it is our job to determine which category of water each damage has. The most severe category is Category 3 which is also commonly called CAT 3, Black Water or Dirty Water. Category 3 water (Black Water) is highly contaminated water that is potentially toxic to anyone inside the dwelling.
The water is considered category 3 (Black Water) if it meets any of the following criteria. Sources include sewage backup, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow with feces or stagnant liquid that has begun to support bacterial growth. If Category 1 or Category 2 has been left untreated for more than three days, it is likely that it will develop into Category 3 (Black Water). If your damage is deemed as Category 3 (Black Water), it is likely that many pieces of your property will need to be replaced. Anything porous, such as furniture, carpeting and drywall is grossly contaminated. Category 3 water, although referred to as Black Water or Dirty Water is not always visually black or dirty. In fact, most times it is completely translucent.
If you are ever faced with damage to your home act fast, find your source and call the professionals at SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig. We will assess the damage and ensure that it is properly mitigated to ensure your safety.
Understanding Content Coverage
The best way to determine if you have enough content coverage is to conduct a home inventory.
Everyone has homeowners insurance right? It’s one of those things you have and hope you never have to use right? So, what happens if you do have to utilize coverage because of a damage?
Unfortunately, because homeowners insurance is necessary many homeowners rely solely on their agents to choose a policy that is right for them. This is totally fine, and works in many cases, but being educated on what your policy includes and doesn’t include is important.
Most policies are written and cover to repair or rebuild your home after damage. But what about ALL of the personal belongings inside of your home? Generally, your content coverage is 50 to 70 percent of the coverage that you carry on the structure of your home. In most cases this is a sufficient amount to cover personal items that are damaged, but in some cases it isn’t.
The best way to determine if you have enough content coverage is to conduct a home inventory. This is a much easier task thanks to modern technology. Walk through your home room by room and photograph all personal belongings. (TIP-If you picked your home up and turned it upside down, all items that would fall out are considered contents.) Open drawers and closets to photograph all items inside. You can catalog these items and keep them at an offsite location or you can download an app such as DreamVault and access it from any mobile device. This particular app is designed to house photos and information pertaining to each individual item, such as price, model and serial number. There is also a speech to text feature to help with documentation.
If you have jewelry, collector’s items, art or firearms, sometimes your coverage can fall short. Keep that in mind when documenting all items and reviewing your policy. If you find that your coverage is lacking you can generally purchase additional coverage or a rider for certain items.
When you have had damage to your home and personal belongings, you don’t want to worry with the added stress of insufficient coverage. Ensure that you are covered.
If you have damage to your home and/or personal items we are here to help. Call our office and we will walk you through the process and make your damage “Like it never even happened.”
Flash Flooding And How It Affects You
Flash flooding occurs when there is a sudden influx of water onto normally dry land.
Flash flooding occurs when there is a sudden influx of water onto normally dry land. Flooding can happen for many reasons, including heavy rains, ocean waves, snow that melts too quickly or dams and levees that break. Floods are the most common and wide spread weather-related disasters.
Flooding can happen very quickly with little or no warning. The destructive power of a flood combined with unpredictability make them extremely dangerous. Flooding can occur anywhere that receives rain fall. In the United States floods kill more people each year than tornadoes, hurricanes or lightning.
What areas are at most risk from flooding?
Areas that are densely populated are at a high risk. Heavy construction and areas that have little to no dirt or grass that is not covered by concrete have nowhere for water to run off. In turn, instead of the water dissipating back into the ground it rises. In these densely populated areas if the streams have been re-routed underground and into storm drains they are at risk of overflowing and causing damage.
Areas near rivers are at risk. Levees are built along rivers and are used to prevent high water from flooding bordering land. If these levees are not maintained or the rains cause them to fail they cause devastating damage.
Mountains and steep hills produce a high amount of water runoff. If there are streams around these areas it causes them to rise quickly due to the rock and soil sediment. A creek or stream that at its regular depth might be 6”-7” can swell to a 10 foot raging river if a thunderstorm with heavy rain lingers.
Flash Flood or Flood Watch-Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated watch area-be alert.
Flash Flood or Flood Warning-Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent-take necessary precautions at once! Get to higher ground.
Urban and Small Stream Advisory-Flooding of small streams, streets and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains is occurring.
Flash Flood or Flood Statement-Follow-up information regarding a flash flood/flood event.
Ensuring that you are well educated on flooding and why it happens is the first step to safety. If you find yourself in a flood situation stay calm and get to higher ground.
How Clean are Your Air Ducts?
Your air ducts, you don’t see them, so they must be just fine. But they do see a lot of traffic, but do they need cleaned?
Your air ducts do need cleaned if you have these issues;
- Permanent or long-term water damage.
- Mold, mildew, or other microbial growth.
- Debris buildup that restricts air-flow.
- Dust, cobwebs, or other debris visibly blowing from duct work/registers.
- Evidence of insect or rodent infestation.
- Offensive odors from your duct work.
- Frequent bouts of illness or allergies among your family A SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig technician will inspect each air duct, opening all access panels. We will clean supply ducts, return ducts, air vents, and diffusers. In all cases of duct cleaning, it is also necessary to address the source of the dirty air duct to prevent recurrence, including moisture, water, dust, debris, pest contamination, and other pollutants.
- Want to reduce the need for duct cleaning?
- During normal operation, dust can accumulate in duct work that can lead to microbial growth. Duct cleaning will reduce this growth, as well as increase the efficiency of your system.
- Regularly change your air filter.
- Regularly schedule annual professional maintenance and cleaning.
- Maintain good housekeeping practices to reduce the likelihood of contaminants.
- Ensure air intakes are properly located.
- Have your duct work regularly inspected.
Why is it Important to Have a Fire Evacuation Plan
We hear a lot about smoke detectors. They are VERY important in a home safety plan. But do not forget the full Fire Evacuation Plan.
We hear all too often sad stories of houses catching fire and not everyone making it out safely.
This brings me to the main reason for this topic. As we hear these stories and how the smoke detectors save people’s lives, we realized that a FULL PLAN of escape is necessary. So, when was the last time you and your family practiced an evacuation drill? Maybe, it has been awhile. Please do not put this off any longer. The main point is, it’s easy to forget about your overall evacuation plan. Please, take a few minutes and go over a Complete Fire Evacuation Plan with your family.
- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
- Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
- Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
- Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
- Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cellular phone once safely outside.
- If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency.
- If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won't compromise your security - but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
- Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family's fire escape plan.
- Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately.
- Once you're out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.
Does water have you afloat in your home?
A beautiful home that flooded.
Whether it's a water heater leak at 1 in the afternoon, or a toilet run-over at 1 in the morning, SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig has your back! Water damage can be a nightmare, but don't let that ruin your Holiday spirit. Here at SERVPRO were all about making happy memories and helping the wonderful people in our community, that's why we have 24-hour emergency service, for whenever disaster strikes!
Our water certified technicians are standing by, determined to get you back on dry land!
Give us a call at any time of the day or night, and our highly educated technicians will be more than happy to assist you!
SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig
Mold Remediation vs. Mold Removal
Since microscopic mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors, removing all mold from a home or business is impossible. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold. This is a fallacy.
SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig understands the science behind mold and mold growth. Our SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig Professionals have the training and expertise to remediate the mold in your home or business. Mold remediation focuses on getting mold levels back to normal, natural levels.
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same.
- Step 1: Emergency Contact SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig (210) 610-6800
- Step 2: Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
- Step 3: Mold Containment
- Step 4: Air Filtration
- Step 5: Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
- Step 6: Cleaning Contents and Belongings
- Step 7: Restoration
Signs of Mold? Call SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig (210) 610-6800
Commercial Fire Preparedness
Commercial business owners everywhere know they must keep their fire protection systems up to code, but what happens when they don't?
A fire can break out at any time. Faulty equipment or a careless employee, you must be prepared. Maintaining your fire suppression system, as well as planning ahead, can save your business from extended closure following a fire.
There are many cases every year in which a lack of properly installed fire safety equipment leads to extensive damage from fires. If your business isn't up-to-code on all of your sprinklers, suppression systems and alarms, your business could face disastrous consequences.
You also need to address the issue that businesses don't always prepare for - employee fire safety training. An employee who has been trained can avoid the fire hazard, and possibly even fight the fire, using an extinguisher the right way.
Next, you must prepare for the aftermath. By having a FREE Emergency Ready Profile conducted by your local SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig team, you are way ahead of the game. This profile will expedite the cleanup and restoration services provided by SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig. Contact our local office at (210) 610-6800 to schedule yours today.
What to do until SERVPRO arrives
A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig professionals arrive. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration.
Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
If electricity is off, empty freezer/refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
Change HVAC filters; leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted
surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig Professional.
Don’t attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig Professional.
Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as they may be contaminated.
If ceiling is wet, do not turn on ceiling fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
Don’t send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.
Commercial Water Damage
When your employees, along with their families, and the community you do business in depends on your company, the thought of commercial water damage caused by extreme weather is very frightening. With a little planning, we can help keep your business operating after catastrophic water damage.
The free SERVPRO of Universal City / St. Hedwig Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) will help you in keeping your business downtime to a minimum. It will include information on key water shut off points, as well as information on your building and the key contacts. It also has the information on the best routes to enter your business to begin work. These steps, as well as may others, will help expedite the response time to your emergency.
By planning ahead, you are taking that step to minimize downtime of your business. Your employees, along with their families, and the community will all thank you!
Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!