Classifications of fire damage
Types of fire damage
Class A- solid non-metal and non-kitchen fires caused by materials like plastics, paper, rubber, wood, cloth
Class B- liquid fires like gasoline, petrol, diesel, paint, oils, waxes, not cooking oils and grease
Class C- gas fires like oxygen, hydrogen, propane, butane
Class D- metal fires like magnesium, potassium, and sodium
Class E- Class A and B fires combined along with electrical elements
Class F- kitchen fires with proteins, fats, and often oils, also known as class K
Why is it important to know the different classes of fire?
The fire classes help determine the best method of extinguishing the fire, help insurance companies understand loss, and help you understand the best method of cleaning the fire damage.
Why can’t you use certain fire extinguishers on certain fires?
Certain fires result from chemical reactions and adding other chemicals can cause further reactions to take place. These reactions may combust the fire further.
Why can’t you use certain chemicals to clean fire damage?
The residue from fire damage can be made up of toxic chemicals and can react with cleaning products to cause harmful reactions or toxic chemicals. Some of these byproducts can be airborne, and some can be surface-bound.
Cross-contamination of mold
Can mold travel from one apartment to another
Yes, it can because apartments' conditions are usually similar, like a leak or flood, and they usually share ventilation spreading their spores. When the spores are shared in the right conditions, they are more likely to germinate. So, if an apartment near yours is beginning to show signs of mold, make sure to begin proactive measures as soon as possible.
Can mold travel from one house to another
No, it is not likely for mold to travel from one house to another. However, it is possible if each household comes over to the other household frequently or if you are moving your belongings from one house to the other. It is highly unlikely that the wind or animals will cross-contaminate the other houses nearby. Still, if you are abandoning a house for mold cleaning, it is also important to clean your belongings.
Can mold come in through the patio
Yes, residents can track mold through the patio, and doors can be left open with the wind drafting mold from the patio to the house. This cross-contamination is a problem that residents should continuously maintain because of the high chances of your patio or deck molding. Mold usually has the perfect conditions to grow on the patio since it is exposed to the outside while also having dead organic material on it from residents and building materials.
Can mold travel to other rooms
Yes, mold is very likely to travel to other rooms. Normally the same conditions are met like flooding, leaks, and high humidity from one room to the next. The venting and traffic then spread mold spores from one room to the other if they aren't already in there, to begin with. If you spot mold in one room, you must act quickly to mitigate further mold growth in the other. The mold growth can take around 24-72 hours to germinate and get in other rooms, increasing the spore count in your property by multiples.
Can mold spores follow you
Yes, mold spores can follow you from other houses that were contaminated. Once there is the sight of mold germinating, millions of spores are already on surfaces and in the air. By traveling through this environment, spores are likely to attach to clothing, skin, and hair. You may then track these spores into your own home, either increasing the amount of spores you already have or introduce new strains into your home.
How to stop mold from spreading to another house, apartment, or room
It is nearly impossible to stop mold spores from spreading into another area due to cross-contamination. However, you can mitigate the amount of spores and the germination of those spores through simple means.
Here are some ways to mitigate the spread of mold:
- Kill the obvious spots of mold as soon as possible
- Get an inspection on the other side of the molded area
- Inspect for and repair leaks
- Get dehumidifiers and research how to use them properly
- Ensure doors and windows are always closed on humid days
- Do routine checks to ensure that your house is sealed from the outside to prevent moisture and rainwater from entering
- Act as soon as possible, do not wait, or think it it will go away
Restoration services for Dothan real estate investors, landlords, and owners
We are here to help you as a property owner by providing you with restoration services all bulked into one. With our vast experience and training, we can be on the call and ready for any job 24/7. This way, it is easier for you as a property owner to put your time into other things, allowing us to get the job done quicker and more effectively with our industrial scope of equipment and our proprietary cleaning products.
All in one restoration
What SERVPRO does for your property:
We will include robust services to get the jobs done simultaneously to save the customer time, reducing their delegation and logistics planning. Offering these services gets the property back to “Like it never even happened.”
15+ years of experience
SERVPRO of Dothan is the oldest fire water cleanup and restoration service in Dothan, Al. We first opened our doors in 2005, consolidating the local franchises into one to provide Dothan and the surrounding areas with the most value possible. While we are the oldest, we still push the envelope with the most up-to-date learning. You can trust you are getting top-tier service when you put the learning alongside our expertly experienced crew with years of experience.
Top of the line training
Along with our expert experience, we have in-house ongoing learning and classes that keep all employees trained and up to date on new procedures. Our training is developed by SERVPRO for SERVPRO. This way, you can ensure that you have well-trained and knowledgeable technicians on your property armed with top-of-the-line classes.
24 hours and on call
We know that timeliness is the most important factor in saving your belongings from fire and water damage. That is why we are open and on-call 24/7. You do not have to worry if you can reach us when a new problem occurs and you need us to act fast.
Industrial grade equipment
Your common hardware stores cannot supply you with the type or scope of equipment we have. We are equipped with a fleet of powerful and quick equipment to get any job done. Our drying fans, dehumidifiers, vapor barriers, PPE, other equipment give us the ability to get the job done right and on time.
Proprietary cleaning products
No other company has all the treatments that we have. We have numerous proprietary treatments within our sanitizing agents, germicides, and antimicrobial treatments that give a superior cleaning and restoration.
Dothan, Al Coronavirus Cleaning Services and Biohazard Experts
Expert Level Cleaning Services
The SERVPRO of Dothan franchise are professionally trained and uniquely prepared during this unprecedented time to clean and disinfect your home or business according to the protocols set forth by the CDC. We have been building our professional experience dealing with biological contaminants since 2005, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff performs on a daily basis. Our professionals are trained to perform a proactive cleanup that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for the cleanup process, and disposal of waste.
The CDC encourages the cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:
- Kitchen/Food Areas
- Retail Spaces
- Water Fountains
- Sales Counters
- Carpets and Rugs
- Stair Handrails
- Elevator Cars
- Playground Equipment
- Fitness Equipment
We use specialized products
The CDC recommends the usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against these current strains of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.
For specialized cleaning services, including the new Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned defensive pathogen cleaning program, CALL US TODAY AT (334)-699-5961.
3 different water categories and when they change categories
Types of categories of water
Category 1 - clean, non-contaminated water. This water does not threaten humans and comes directly from the source, and has not yet touched contaminated or toxic material. The sources are often from sinks, showers, and ice makers straight from the city’s water supply. Toilet water or water that has come in contact with toxic material is not in the clean category.
Category 2 - gray water, used water with no toxic chemicals or bodily fluids. Often called greywater, this water is water after it has left the source and has been used or came in contact with contaminated surfaces, like the floor. This water may cause sickness or ingestion from microorganisms. Greywater usually comes from broken toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, and broken sump pumps. Still, once the toilet has excrement in it, it turns into blackwater.
Category 3 - black water used with toxic chemicals or organic waste. This water category is contaminated with toxic chemicals or biohazards, like feces. This type of water most often comes from contact between water and sewage. This type of water is unsanitary, as it contains bacteria, pathogens, and biohazards that can cause extreme sickness. Even standing water can become black water over time.
8 ways to improve a commercial building’s value as a landlord, owner, and tenant
Keep a checklist of what needs to be done
This is a standard operating procedure, but some commercial spaces do not do it. It is good to separate the checklist based on the intervals it needs to be done. So daily, weekly, monthly, bi-yearly, and yearly. Do not be afraid to put the intervals on weird time frames like three times a year.
Make a calendar and reminder based on checklist
Most of the time, employees are busy doing their daily tasks, it is not beneficial for them to spend time manually checking if something needs to be cleaned. Instead, it is better to set reminders for a certain time frame to build the cleaning process into a more efficient system. Make sure that the checklist is spread out over time. This system helps you not to forget things that need to be cleaned and have to do them all at once, increasing the labor cost and possibility of not doing job functions.
Split tasks based on what people want to do
If you do not hire a professional, you will most likely have to give responsibilities to the workers in the space. Sharing cleaning duties is normally standard procedure, and SOPs can be made according to the roles before filling the position. Certain people like doing certain tasks more than others or value time over hard work. So, it is important to delegate the tasks to those who fit the right time, difficulty, and skill specifications to help make sure employees are happy.
Have easy access to basic cleaning supplies
One of the main barriers to employees or customers cleaning is being unable to get to cleaning supplies. Sometimes they are not able to find them. Other times they are locked up, or most of the time, they are simply out of the way and not worth getting. By making the cleaning supplies accessible and easy to find, you can help reduce the friction that customers and employees feel.
Have contact with local professional cleaners
Some damage and messes are too much for your staff to handle. It is often cheaper to save on labor and hire professionals with the right equipment to save your staff time and money. As you continue to put these professionals on the job, you will understand the prices and how the processes work. This way, you can shop around and build relationships with the right people or company. Having professionals like SERVPRO in your contacts as a property owner is especially important to limit risk and streamline processes.
Budget for expenses
You should always budget for cleaning as well as damage expenses. Numerous ways are common practices for estimating the expenses you should incur every month, but the best way is to budget for the worse and hope for the best. As a landlord, your expenses should cost 1-2 times your monthly rent for the year. Your expenses may cost cleaning supplies and routine maintenance, around 10% of your monthly rent as a tenant. Keep track of these expenses over time and base your budget off of your averages, not others.
Look at energy upgrades as an investment
As bulbs break, look into longer-lasting, more efficient replacements even though they may cost more upfront. Investing now will save you time, labor, and money in the long term.
Plan to change styles every
Think of what your style is and when it will go out of date. You can usually stick to classics. Structural pieces will only need to be updated after severe damage and fading, but tenants should budget small decor changes every 1-2 years.
7 simple ways to prevent chimney fires
Install a chimney gate to suffocate the fire
Chimney glass doors can be expensive but also very handy for suffocating chimney fires. They also help to reduce the drafts from traveling through your chimney when you're not suffocating a fire. Purchasing these will still usually be cheaper than your average chimney fire repair cost, which usually ranges between $300-$1500, depending on the damages. If you have a chimney door in place, you can more easily suffocate the fire by covering any airflow gaps in the door.
Try not to use firestarters
It may be compelling to put some firestarter on the wood to make the flame larger and last longer. However, some firestarters may produce fumes that are not healthy for your home, and they may also raise the flames too high. The most important thing to look out for is keeping your flame controlled. If you have creosote or other flammable residue build-ups, you may ignite the layers if the flame is high enough.
Only burn fire-safe wood
It is best to stick to chimney-safe wood because some firewood and other fuel sources can give off flammable residue or possibly toxic fumes. An example of this flammable residue is creosote. Creosote is a flammable and oily residue that builds up from burning wood. It will slowly build up in layers, giving off a tar-like or grey, crusty appearance. There are also certain kinds of wood that cause irritating fumes. A common example is poison ivy.
Burning packaging and reading material can create a residue that can adhere to the chimney, creating an additional fuel source and toxic fumes. This flammability is particularly dangerous if the flame sparks or raises too high.
Check for chimney cracks
A crack in the protective lining of your chimney can unintentionally heat flammable layers and let in moisture. Letting in the creosote fumes in secondary layers increases build-up in areas of the chimney that are uncleanable. It is unlikely that there will be a spark or high enough temperatures in the secondary layer near the build-up, but large flames, high temperatures, and larger cracks increase the risk of it happening.
Check for water damage
Water damage leaves corrosion, giving flammable residue more surface area to stick to and increase the fuel available for chimney fires. Even worse, water damage often results in mold, which can be inhaled when burned. Mold can leave fumes that act as an irritant and cause health effects for those who are sensitive or allergic to mold.
Clean any flammable residue
Every fire can produce residue that can be flammable. Creosote is the flammable byproduct of burning wood. This residue builds up over time, slowly increasing the amount of possible fuel in the chimney for a spark to ignite to cause a chimney fire. You can use an anti-creosote chemical cleaning solution for easy to reach places, but a professional may be required for higher or thicker build-up.
Check to see if your chimney cap is still attached and functioning
Chimney caps can stop debris from falling in or animals from nesting in the chimney. A common example is when birds lay nests in an unused chimney, either blocking airflow or adding flammable debris for when the chimney eventually gets used. Over time, chimney caps can get damaged from storms or corrosion. In some cases, the wind can completely take them off. You can simply look at a certain angle or have a professional go in and check during an inspection or cleaning.
How to prepare for a Flood
Clear debris from blocking drainage
Debris in the street can block sewage drains from doing their job, causing the roads to flood even quicker. This same thing can happen on your lawn and in your home. If your yard does not have the proper runoff and drainage, it can quickly pool up and lead water to your home.
Drain blockage can also affect piping in your home. For example, if you have a crack in your sewer line and have standing water above it, there can be a backflow of floodwater coming into the sewer line pipe, overflowing your toilet. To prevent your floodwater from leaking into your sever line, you can test for pipe leaks or call a plumber to figure out if your sewer line may overflow.
Raise appliances above water level
It may be worth the time, effort, and money to put your large appliances on higher ground. You can bring up things like washers, dryers, and possibly water heaters by using wooden lifts. Refrigerators, ovens, and other fixed appliances may need different methods of damage protection.
Your kitchen has appliances that usually cannot be moved without multiple people or professionals. You may need to consider blocking off your kitchen with flood barriers if time permits and if it is feasible.
Roll up your rugs
Lean your rolled-up rugs against a wall putting the end in a water-resistant barrier. A durable trash bag can be a good option, but debris in the water or friction may cause the bag to puncture. Plastic storage containers mixed with shrink-wrap may be a good option as well. Even if the barrier is punctured or you do not have one, there will be less surface area for the water to come in contact with when you store the rug upright. Having less contact with the water will make it easier for SERVPRO to restore your carpets fully.
Review your insurance
Most homeowners pay for homeowners insurance which can often cover things like water damage. However, these policies may not protect against flood damages. You may want to look into protecting your home with flood insurance if you are in a flooding-prone zone, have poor draining, or your house sits low to the ground. You must consider several factors and understand that substantial loss may occur during a flood, so it is important to know your options and be prepared.
You may also want to review your current homeowner's policy to understand if fires from water damage are also covered. Fires can occur due to electrical damages that occur when flood damage tampers with electrical wiring and electronic appliances.
Get cash out before ATMs are drained
There may be local power outages, so it may be a good idea to pull out cash reserves before local ATMs servicers pull out the cash to protect it before a storm. It may be best to always have reserves on standby in a waterproof safe, along with copies of you and your family's essential documents.
Turn electricity off
Turning off your electricity is one of the main safety precautions you can take before, during, and after a flood. You should not come in contact with any standing water that may be exposed to live wiring. You can use a volt tester or digital multimeter to measure the standing water's electrical charge. You can also use rubber boots and other electrical PPE to protect you and your family from electrical charges.
Making sure your electricity is off, means you will have to have power on standby, like waterproof portable chargers and waterproof flashlights.
Get flood clothes
You should not only try to protect your clothing from a flood, but you should also prepare the clothing you would wear during a flood. It would be best if you had rubber rain boots that can help protect you from the possibility of being electrocuted or cut in the water. There will most likely be structural damage, broken glass, loose nails, and disconnected wiring can pose a severe risk.
Eat your perishable food first
Your power may go out, or your food may come into contact with floodwater. Do not eat the food if it has touched any of the floodwaters. Your sewage systems may have come in contact with the water contaminating it and making it a category 3 contamination water. By eating perishable food or food with unsealed packaging first, you help prevent wasting it once the power goes out or if the food is contaminated.
You should also have backup food that is nonperishable stored and ready to go. Along with storing your food, you should include any pet food as well.
Seal entry points
Some doorways, brickwork, or windows may have cracks that will allow water to seep in. You may be able to reduce the rate the water enters by going through and checking if these seals are waterproof. While you want most exits waterproof, you also want to make sure you have a doorway to escape out of in case of an emergency.
Locate the safest structure beforehand
Do not walk in large bodies of water; the currents are dangerous. Locate higher ground and have a planned route that does not require you to go through large bodies of water. These high waters can produce a current that can knock you down and increase the risk of drowning. This risk is amplified when you also have to transport loved ones, pets, and supplies.
Cleanup after flood
If the flood results in damages by getting into the house, appliances, flooring, and walls, it is time to consider professional help to clean and restore any damages. This way, you know you are getting the job done right and in the quickest time possible. If you already reviewed your insurance and made sure your policy covered your flood damages, SERVPRO will work with your insurance to make the process as seamless as possible.
How the smell of your business is costing you money
The smell of your business can impact your customers, staff, and revenue either positively or negatively, costing you business, harming your branding, and lowering your team's productivity. Managing how the smell affects your business is often called scent marketing and is a part of the value you can provide to customers as an added service for being in the store. In general, people want to be in a place that smells good. If they like the smell, they stay longer, have more affinity for the brand, and trust the brand more. Scent marketing even goes as far as to affect the customer's purchasing behavior and the staff's ability to work.
Bad odor damages branding
Your physical location is an important factor in how your business is perceived. It comes after the product or service but can leave a long-lasting impression. This leaves the customers to perceive you through a halo effect. This halo effect essentially makes the customers reason that if you cannot take care of your business, you must not take care of the product or service.
Customers spend less time shopping
The smell of a business can deter customers from staying too long or even stepping in in the first place. The time they spend in the store is important because the longer a customer spends in a store, the more products they see, and the more likely they will buy. The customers also will feel a sense of investment with their time, so they will buy more to make the investment of time worth it.
Decreases workplace productivity
Bad smells in a workplace can reduce worker productivity. Bad smells cause distractions, distress, or bad memories that are associated with the smell. The memories can cause workers to have differing unpleasant responses. We've all been in a muggy environment where we can't breathe and want to leave. Having a cool, refreshing workplace that smells good is optimal for keeping your team happy and productive, even if they get used to the smells over time.
Shows poor professionalism
Having a pleasant smell creates a positive halo effect that shows the customers that you take your business's smell seriously, so you are more likely to take your product or service seriously. On the other hand, if you cannot take care of the smell, the customers will be on the lookout for more problems and start to have a negative predisposition. This will result in the customer having a lower perceived value while also ranking you lower than you could have been when compared with other businesses, even if the other businesses may have had the same problems.
Why your business may smell
- Old carpet
- Mold and microbial
- Uncleaned spills
- Poor air circulation
- Leaking appliances
- Clogged up pipes and sinks
- Forgotten food
The easiest way to get rid of these smells is by calling your local professional cleaners SERVPRO. Most of these causes for smell can be cleaned up by SERVPRO, outsourcing the cleaning process, so your business can focus on business, and the professionals can focus on getting your business back to a professional state.
HVAC fragrance scenting
After the causes of the odors are eliminated, the easiest way to make your business smell good is by adding an HVAC fragrance scenter. These pump out a fragrance evenly through the building. They won't leave residue and soot, like candles. They also do not need constant dispensing and maintenance, like aerosol cans and battery-operated scenters. SERVPRO can install these fragrances after the cleaning process is over.
How long does it take to dry out water damage and how to speed it up
A small puddle on a water-resistant surface can take as little as an hour to evaporate. With larger amounts of water and porous material, the water can last for days causing mold and water damage. As the puddle’s volume and surrounding humidity increase, the water’s evaporation rate tends to decrease. Evaporation rates also increase as temperature and wind speed increase. Considering these factors, each water puddle or flooded area takes a different amount of time to dry out.
Main factors that affect the amount of time water evaporates
- Wind speed
- The surface area of water compared to the volume
- Type of floor
These factors all affect the amount of time water evaporates differently. As humidity surrounding the water and the water’s surface area increases, the amount of time it takes also increases. On the other hand, as temperature and wind speed increase, the amount of time it takes for the water to evaporate decreases.
How to speed up water evaporation
- Decrease the surrounding humidity levels
- Increase the wind speed with air movers
- Ask professionals
- Heat up the water
- Use a dehumidifier
As mentioned above, humidity, wind speed, and temperature affect the evaporation rate and can be controllable. You can control these by making sure to separate humid environments from coming in contact with the section of the room in the drying process. Closing doors and windows can simply do this environmental separation, or you or we may need to introduce a vapor barrier. SERVPRO can provide separation equipment.
The next method is by moving the water, evaporation, or humidity. Moving the water can be done by waterproof suctioning equipment or air moving fans. By moving the bulk of the water to a new spot, you can bypass a lot of the drying process and possibly save your home from even worse water damage. The air-moving fans can push the humidity out of the area to bring in new air. Air that is lower in moisture levels can absorb more moisture once the environment is heated.
To further speed up the process, dehumidifiers can be used by a SERVPRO technician to systematically heat the room and pull moisture out in the quickest time possible. Heating the rooms allows the water molecules to have enough energy to vibrate to break the hydrogen bonds with the surrounding water molecules and escape into the atmosphere. If the atmosphere is too humid already, there is not enough osmotic force for the molecules to rise into the atmosphere. This relationship is why the dehumidifier brings in the moisture by sucking in air and cooling it down to condense the water into liquid. Like a refrigerator, to cool the inside, the dehumidifier has to heat the outside, causing even more evaporation.