When is it Safe for Employees to Return to Work After a Flood?
It's natural to want to return to work as soon as possible after your business suffers from a costly incident, such as a "black water" flood. After all, you have this big expense to pay off and you're losing money just by not being at the office. No matter how eager you are, you still have to consider your employees' personal safety. Keep the following safety considerations in mind before you send your employees back to your New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City office.
1. Sweep Up Any Physical Debris. The physical damages should be the first task you address during flood cleanup. Strong floodwaters can introduce harmful objects into the office, such as stray nails and glass shards. Make sure to sweep the office floors thoroughly to ensure every hidden danger is taken care of. As a business owner, your employees' personal safety should be your number one priority. Taking the time and effort to thoroughly clean and disinfect your office building following a black waterflood is a non-negotiable task for you. Contact flood remediation experts for assistance during the cleanup process.
2. Clear Out the Flood Water. Both black and gray water floods pose major safety concerns for your employees. Black water is characterized by the presence of harmful biohazards, such as human/animal fecal matter, raw sewage, and dangerous chemicals. You have to make sure you clear out all of the contaminated floodwaters and thoroughly disinfect every exposed surface before you allow your employees to return to the office.
3.Check the Air Quality. It's very possible that the biohazards introduced with the floodwater are now in the air. Make sure to set up fans and other air filtration devices throughout your building to help eliminate harmful agents. As an additional safety measure, you may want to consider keeping these filtration devices running even after your employees come back.
If your business is experiencing a flood, call the professionals at SERVPRO of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City today!
The Different Types of Flood Water We Work With In New Orleans
Category 1: Clean water from a broken pipe or rainwater that has not mixed with contaminants. Saving a carpet damaged by Category 1 water is possible if the carpet has been wet for less than 24-48 hours. Otherwise, the water may “degrade” into Category 2. Professionals can restore both padding and carpet through proper sanitation and remediation procedures.
Category 2: Greywater which is contaminated and can cause sickness if swallowed or if it touches the body. This includes overflow from washing machines or dishwashers, toilet overflows with no solid matter, broken aquariums, sump pump failures, etc. With this type of loss, the padding needs to be replaced, but the carpet can be salvaged. Not treating a Category 2 loss within 24-48 hours will turn into a Category 3.
Category 3: Blackwater that’s highly contaminated with pathogens or other harmful agents and materials. Examples include sewage, toilet backflows, flooding from seawater, rivers, streams, and water from hurricanes, storms, or other weather-related events. Cleaning your flooded carpet is nearly impossible if Category 3 water saturated it.
Every water damage situation is different. So, you cannot know for sure if or when your carpet and pad can be salvaged until you have a professional restoration company inspect the carpeting.
Also, the faster you report the disaster, the lower the costs will be. If you’re dealing with a flooded carpet problem, contact us today!
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Your New Orleans Home
Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas. It can cause severe health problems and even death to unsuspecting people in their homes. This deadly gas exists in combustion fumes that result from burning fuel (gas, wood, propane, etc.) in various appliances and machines. Those include stoves, fireplaces, gas ranges, lawnmowers, electric generators, cars, and more. Here are some tips to prevent CO poisoning in your New Orleans home.
- Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances inspected and/or serviced at least once a year by a certified professional.
- Never use gas ranges or ovens to heat your home. Also, don’t use gas camp stoves or charcoal grills indoors. Using these can cause a buildup of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
- Don’t use portable flameless chemical heaters (catalytic) indoors. Although these heaters don’t have a flame, they burn gas and can cause CO to build up in your home.
- Be careful when using gas-powered electric generators. Never use them in your home, basement, or garage, and keep them at least 20 feet from windows, vents, or doors.
- When buying gas equipment, be sure to check for the seal of a national testing agency like Underwriter’s Laboratories.
- Make sure to vent gas appliances properly:
- Indoor vent pipes should go up slightly as they go toward the outdoors. Doing this will help prevent CO or other gases from leaking if the joints or pipes are not adequately tightened or affixed.
- Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or anything else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home.
- Keep the vents for the stove, fireplace, dryer, and furnace clear of snow during and after a snowstorm.
- Have your chimney checked for soot, debris, and corrosion at least once a year. Hire a chimney sweep to clean your chimney annually.
- When the fireplace is in use, open the flues. Close your fireplace or damper only when the fire is completely out.
- Never idle your vehicle inside a garage that’s attached to the house or living space, even if you leave the door open. Have a mechanic inspect your vehicle’s exhaust system once a year to prevent CO build-up.
- If you drive a vehicle with a tailgate — when opening the tailgate, open vents or windows to make sure the air is moving through your car. If only the tailgate is open, CO from the exhaust will pull into the car.
- Install CO alarms in your home.
Does Your New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City Home Need a Dehumidifier?
When cleaning up water damage, commercial-grade dehumidifiers are excellent for sucking excess moisture from the air, helping to dry out the area and prevent further damage. While extraction of the standing water takes first priority, dehumidification prevents a variety of further problems such as improving air quality and reducing mold growth. If you don’t already have a dehumidifier, here are some benefits of why you should get one.
- Overly moist air is susceptible to catching a variety of airborne particles, contaminating your air. This could include dust, dead skin cells, and mold spores. Dehumidification reduces the number of particles in the air, making it easier and better for breathing.
- Reducing moisture and maintain cleaner air is one of the best ways to prevent mold growth in your home. Mold grows by finding a damp, wet environment and then releases spores into the air which spread throughout your home until they find another surface to grow on. One of the reasons we at SERVPRO of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City dehumidify areas that have been affected by water loss is to reduce the chance of mold growth.
- A less humid environment in your home means clothing will dry faster, pieces of bread and cereals will remain fresh longer without getting stale, and you won’t find signs of rust or corrosion on things like computer equipment, electronics, and tools.
- A dehumidifier also lowers energy costs because it helps your air conditioner run more efficiently. When the air in your home is more humid, the A/C must do the function of cooling the air and removing moisture, which means it has to work harder. This also causes your A/C to wear out sooner, which means you will need to replace and repair it more often.
Leaky Windows? | SERVPRO of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City
What to Do if There Is a Water Leak Around a Window
The natural elements can wear down the integrity of a home. Over time, the homeowner may notice leakage around a window, which can possibly result in wood rot, mold and water damage. The longer the leak is left unaddressed, the more the repairs will cost.
Locate the Problem
Even a slow drip can mean that more water is sitting inside of the wall. Once a homeowner notices moisture trickling from a window when it rains, the first step is to carefully look at the wall around the area to find the source of the leak. However, thanks to gravity, appearances can be deceiving; liquid may pool in one place, but that place is not always the leak's origin.
Two common problem areas are the edge and the rubber seal. The gap between the edge and the surrounding wall is usually sealed with caulk. Eventually, the caulk dries out and begins to peel and chip. Like caulk, the rubber seal situated between the panes and frame can ultimately dry out, creating rips in the rubber.
Gauge the Severity of Damage
Depending on the severity of the damage, the window may need to be replaced. A replacement is usually warranted when decaying or softness is found on nearby surfaces. However, even if the surrounding surfaces seem to be structurally sound, the homeowner should not just re-caulk the gaps without getting an expert's opinion on the full extent of the damage.
SERVPRO® of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City Can Help!
A specialist at SERVPRO® of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City can determine whether any ceiling tiles or drywall have sustained damage. After he assesses the situation, the restoration technician will give the homeowner the best remediation option to make the damage disappear. By acting quickly, the homeowner can prevent expensive repairs in the future. SERVPRO® of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City is always ready to help the residents of New Orleans and the city's surrounding communities solve their water damage problems.
Experience a Fire? Call Us SERVPRO of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City
When it comes to restoring or replacing your home’s contents after a fire, the first 48 hours are extremely crucial. SERVPRO® of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City understands this timeframe is important and will show up to help with fire, smoke, soot, and any contents remediation your home may need.
The restoration process cannot begin until you call us. Our representatives will ask questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us respond immediately with the appropriate equipment and resources.
Once on the scene, our technicians will inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action. Because so much water is used to put out the fire, we must begin to dry the property with our dehumidifiers and air movers. We then can use our equipment to remove smoke and soot from all areas of the home. We are also able to remove the contents of your home and keep it safe at our facility while the mitigation is in process. To maintain security and protect against further damage, our team will board up any missing windows and place tarps over damaged roofs.
Once the home is free of debris, water, and smoke we can start to clean up and sanitize the property. For items that can be restored, we can remove odor and bring it back to pre-fire condition. After these steps, the restoration process can begin and you can get your home and life back to normal. We will walk through your home to make sure everything is up to your standards and you are completely satisfied.
Quick Tips for Storm Safety Anywhere You Go
Even in the winter in Louisiana, the weather is warm so it is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors. But when sudden storms pop up, staying safe is of paramount importance. Thunderstorms may come and go quickly, but while they are in the area, they can cause a concerning amount of damage.
While the safest place to be during a storm is at home, if a sudden storm pops up when you are away, here are some practical tips for safety.
Practical Tips for Staying Safe From Sudden Storms
Know your options for shelter. When you are made aware of a severe weather scenario and are safe at home, remaining there is the best thing you can do so you can wait out the storm. However, this is a luxury that will not always be present. If you are caught out in a storm, you can shelter in your car as long as you can pull over safely and cut off your engine.
Practice electrical safety. A lightning strike can hurt a structure in many ways, but the most common way is via a power surge. As the lightning travels through the home’s electrical system, the wires will become overwhelmed with charge and transfer that to anything plugged into an outlet. If you can, go through the area you are in and unplug everything before a storm. In general, it is best to also have surge protectors throughout your home and office.
Avoid direct contact with concrete. Concrete structures are so sturdy in part because of how they are built. As concrete is poured around the metal, it creates a great structure—but also causes concern if there is lightning nearby. The metal in concrete can disperse electricity if the building is struck by lightning, so avoid touching these surfaces directly if possible.
Stay indoors for at least 30 minutes. If you are out enjoying the day when a storm rolls in, make sure you are not rushing back out too soon and putting yourself in danger. Lightning strikes can travel tremendous distances, causing officials to urge people to stay inside for at least half an hour after the last clap of thunder.
If your home sustains damage due to a storm, you can count on us to help. Contact us at any hour to learn more about our storm restoration process.
Sneaky Places Mold Can Hide in Your Home | SERVPRO of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City
Some places in your home are unassuming for mold growth, but due to the moisture leftover that we don’t even realize most times, mold can easily grow. This growth can upset your health, your home's value if it spreads, and it is an eyesore to look at.
Many of us have become plant parents during quarantine, but did you know that potted plants are a breeding ground for growth? When you overwater your plants and the water sits where the sun doesn't shine, microbial growth can form.
Your washing machine and dishwasher are susceptible to mold growth due to leftover moisture. You should check your appliances monthly for any new growth. This includes under any rubber seals, and behind the units as well.
Your Toothbrush Holder
While we replace our toothbrush every couple of months, your toothbrush holder is often neglected. Water that drips down your toothbrush along with the moisture from your shower and the germs from your mouth makes it a perfect location for mold growth. Make sure to wash your toothbrush holder with soap and water every few months (or more)!
Outdoor Rugs and Floormats
Underneath floor mats it is dark, and constantly wet from rain, mud, and tracking dirt onto the mat. You should consider hosing down your outdoor mats every so often and allowing them to completely dry to avoid any mold buildup. Any buildup can be tracked into your home and quickly spread.
Call us for any suspected growth, and we will walk you through the remediation process!
Make Sure You Are Prepared for the Aftermath of a Fire
Making sure that you are prepared for a fire (and its aftermath) is a great way to gain peace of mind and keep your household safer. First, you should prioritize a plan for evacuating to safety in case a fire breaks out.
After this is settled, move on to planning for the aftermath of a house fire—assessing the damage, filing an insurance claim and getting a restoration company are all much easier when you know exactly what to expect from the process.
Planning for the Aftermath of a House Fire
Prepare yourself for what to expect. There is no way to predict the damage your home will contain after a fire, but knowing general fire damage patterns can help you prepare. You will generally see spots of charring around where the flames broke out and anywhere they traveled to, but it is also important to note that smoke and soot can travel much farther throughout the home.
Wait to enter your home. Always listen to officials regarding when it is safe to re-enter your home. Ceiling supports, walls and floors can all be damaged by fires and cause structural concerns, so going back in prematurely can cause unnecessary damage both to you and to your home.
Contact your insurance company. Starting the claims process quickly is recommended, and your insurance company will work with you on what this looks like. Every claims process is different based on your provider, so conferring with them directly will help you know what to expect.
Document the damages. Having thorough documentation of the damages is a great way to stay organized and on top of everything as you work to recover. A list is a helpful way to itemize your belongings, and pictures of the damages can come in handy both for you and for your insurance claim.
Contact your restoration company. Prioritizing your emotional and mental well-being after a house fire is important to the healing process, and when you do not have to worry about restoration, that is much easier to do. Work with a company that you can put your faith into so you can gain peace of mind that your home is being restored well.
If your home is damaged in a house fire, you can count on us to help you. Get in touch at any hour for a quick response!
How to Minimize Flooding in Your Yard | SERVPRO of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City
With the unpredictable weather in NOLA, by the time lunch rolls around after you have left for the day, your New Orleans home can be flooded in a moment’s notice. Switching up the landscaping outside of your home can help reduce flooding outside of your home that could potentially cause indoor flooding. Below are four tips to help plan ahead if a neighbor’s pool floods into your yard or there is a storm surge.
- Add Heavier Mulch - Lighter mulch can easily be picked up by water and clog your drains causing a backup of water. Heavier mulch can absorb more water as well as stay in place. Don’t forget to place mulch six inches from the siding of your home so it does not rot your home’s exterior.
- Grow a Garden - Planting native plants and plants with high moisture tolerance will help prevent soil erosion and allow water to drain better.
- Grade your Yard - Sloping the ground around your home will allow water to flow away from your home’s foundation.
- Use Rain Barrels - Rain barrels collect rainwater from downspouts to redirect moisture away from your home. SERVPRO® of West El Paso Tip - use the collected water for both indoor and outdoor plants, or make a birdbath!
After taking measures to help reduce flooding in your yard always double-check your work. Excessive rain or dry spells can cause your landscaping to naturally change and consequently reverting your work. After extreme weather check to see how your drainage methods are doing and adjust accordingly. In the event your home does flood, SERVPRO® of New Orleans Uptown & Mid-City is available 24/7 to help minimize damage and salvage the contents of your home.