Smoke Damage or Fire Damage – What’s Worse?
What is conclusive is that both smoke and fire damage will cause loss – both of life and financial loss.
Brutal Statistics of Smoke and Fire Damage
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in the United States, a fire department responds to a fire every 23 seconds. Notably, 96% of all homes in the United States have been afflicted by some form of smoke-related or fire damage. In fact, over a five-year study, NFPA found house fires to cause 2,620 deaths and $6.9 billion in property damage. It is undeniable that fires have catastrophic consequences.
Fire damage can span the gamut, ranging from minor damage to complete destruction. Similarly, smoke damage can severely impact one’s health and one’s home. Fire safety reporting agencies list smoke inhalation as the leading cause of home fire deaths. All this research begs the question, which is worse smoke damage or fire damage?
On average, seven people per day are killed by fires. In the event that a fire does not result in loss of life, burn injuries are among the most painful and damaging injuries a person can experience. Burn injuries due to fire damage often require long-term hospitalization. Further, burn injuries can affect nerves, muscles, bones, and blood vessels.
From an economic standpoint, every year over $10 billion in property damage is the result of fires. For example, a fire in a commercial kitchen can cost $23,000 in fire damages. Many items lost in fires are irreplaceable family heirlooms and memories.
Oftentimes, the smoke that accompanies a fire can cause more damage than the fire itself. Many fire detection, prevention, and containment tactics do nothing to dispel the smoke. During a fire, different chemicals are released into the air with the smoke. Inhaling smoke from a fire can cause grave respiratory and cardiac effects. Moreover, smoke decreases the quantity of oxygen in the lungs which can cause a person to suffocate.
In the instance of a fire, firefighters will cut holes in walls and roofs to quickly ventilate a building. Their goal is to get the smoke out as rapidly as possible. This may require multiple holes cut into buildings and roofs depending on the nature of the smoke. More ventilation holes will require more costly building repairs. Smoke can permeate behind walls, into HVAC vents, and in electrical outlets. Odors related to smoke can get trapped in closets and walls and take many years to dissipate. It leads to yellowing of walls. Additionally, it is very messy and difficult to fully clean.
Which is Worse?
What is conclusive is that both smoke and fire damage will cause loss – both of life and financial loss. While some fires are unavoidable, many fires can be prevented.
Some key fire prevention tips include, outfitting your home or building with fire alarms in every room and on every floor; installing carbon monoxide detectors on every floor; using proper space heater precautions, such as automatic shut offs and keeping space heaters at least three feet away from all flammable objects; extinguishing all candles and embers in a fireplace in the appropriate manner; practicing fire drills so everyone knows the proper fire procedures; and learning how to use a fire extinguishers.
As always, you can count on SERVPRO of South Palm Beach for any fire damage and smoke damage needs.
Critical Steps to Manage Mold Damage Emergencies
When in doubt, contact a mold remediation specialist to make a plan for assessment and removal.
Mold can cause major damage to your health and your home or building. Mold spores are all around us, both indoors and outdoors. It can enter a building through doors or windows, cooling or heating systems, and even on clothing or pets. Mold spores are microscopic, making it impossible to know when mold enters your home or building.
Therefore, mold prevention is key. And since mold thrives on moisture, maintaining the appropriate humidity level may stave off troublesome mold. Aim to keep indoor humidity below 45%. Still, mold can make its way into your building. If it does, the critical steps to manage mold damage emergencies are identification, mitigation, and seeking professional assistance.
Identify the Mold
Trust your senses when it comes to mold in your home or business. Most of the time, mold can be seen or smelled. Mold emits a stale, musty odor. An unfamiliar smell may be a sign on mold. Trace the smell to its source and look for further indications of mold damage in the area.
Visible mold can come in various colors, including white, gray, brown, black, yellow or green. The texture of mold growth may appear cottony, leathery, or velvety. Mold may blend in with its surroundings. Check your home or business for damp, wet areas. Water damage often leads to mold growth. Microscopic mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to moisture.
Begin Mold Remediation
After an initial investigation into the mold, do not delay in taking action. The initial stages of smaller mold remediation can be done by yourself. Mold may be removed from hard surfaces using household products, such as soap and water or a bleach solution of no more than one cup of laundry bleach in one gallon of water. The Center for Disease Control provides precautions should you use bleach to clean up mold.
In addition to removing the mold, you must fix the moisture problem right away. Since mold spreads quickly, rapid action should be taken. However, it is important to note that mold can be very harmful to your health. If mold rapidly multiplies or returns immediately following removal, contact a mold remediation specialist.
Contact a Mold Removal Expert
Some mold remediation and mold removal is too dangerous or difficult for the homeowner or business owner to manage. When an expert is needed, contact mold emergency experts SERVPRO of South Palm Beach at (561) 325-6763. A mold expert can quickly tend to the problem using current techniques and equipment. A mold remediation expert will inspect and assess the problem.
Then, the expert contains the mold and ensures the air is filtering through. The next step is mold removal from the building and materials. Once the mold is out, the building may be thoroughly cleaned. The final step in the mold remediation process is restoration. Professional mold remediation and removal experts can restore your home or business. The sooner the problem is identified the greater chance of an easy restoration.
Remember, the homeowner or business owner should regularly check for water damage and excess moisture. A strange odor should never be ignored. Early detection is one of the most critical components of managing mold damage. When in doubt, contact a mold remediation specialist to make a plan for assessment and removal.
How do I File a Claim for Water Damage?
Remember to review your policy and determine if you are covered.
How do I File a Claim for Water Damage?
Water damage is a serious issue, and you should never underestimate the impact it can have on your home and property. But while filing a claim can be intimidating, it’s also necessary. The first step is to review your policy so that you know what kind of water damage coverage you have (or don’t have) before contacting your agent about filing a claim.
Review your policy
Before you file a claim, it's important to review your policy and determine if you are covered. A standard homeowners insurance policy will only cover damage caused by water if it occurs suddenly and accidentally in the home. If this is the case, then any leaks will be covered up to whatever amount is stipulated in your policy.
Contact your agent
To file a claim for water damage, you must first contact your insurance company. Once the claim has been filed, an adjuster will come to your property and assess the damage. They will collect information about what happened and why it happened, as well as how much money is needed to fix it. After collecting this information from you and inspecting the damaged areas, they'll let you know if they can cover any of those expenses (e.g., repairs or replacement). If so, they'll take care of paying for them on your behalf; if not, their rejection letter will explain why—and give advice about how to proceed next.
Document the damage
Documenting the damage may be one of the most important steps you take. It's easy to get caught up in the urgency of saving your belongings and getting water out of your home, but if you don't document what happened and how much is damaged, it will be difficult for an insurance adjuster or lawyer to assess your claim.
To make it easier on yourself later, take pictures with a cell phone camera or digital camera before doing anything else:
- Photographs of the area before any damage occurred (to show how clean or dirty it was).
- Photographs of any wet spots that were visible after initially starting cleanup efforts (to demonstrate how widespread they are).
- Photographs from multiple angles that clearly show where water entered your home as well as its path throughout different rooms.
Get an opinion
The first step in filing a claim for water damage is to get an expert opinion.
You should ask other professionals who are qualified to give their opinion on the situation, such as your insurance company's adjuster or a contractor who specializes in water damage restoration.
Even if it seems like you're wasting time by having too many opinions, these experts will be able to point out any errors with the initial report and provide valuable insight into how much work will be needed for remediation and repair.
Filing a claim is not hard, but there are steps you have to take.
As with any insurance claim, the first thing you need to do is call your insurance agent. If there is an emergency situation, like a burst pipe or flood, then take photos and video of the damage as soon as possible so that you have evidence to present in your claim. You should also keep all receipts related to repairs or cleanup costs. When working with a company, such as SERVPRO of South Palm Beach, they will take care of entire claims process for you alongside the mitigation and restoration services. This is definitely something to consider when shopping around for water cleanup companies after a loss.
How Sprinklers Can Save Your Business from a Fire
Sprinklers can't stop every fire from happening, they are an effective tool for preventing damage and saving lives.
How Sprinklers Can Save Your Business from a Fire
We've all heard the tragic stories of businesses that have been destroyed by fire. While sprinklers can't stop every fire from happening, they are an effective tool for preventing damage and saving lives. It's also important to know how to use them in an emergency situation.
Sprinklers are effective in putting out fires.
Sprinklers are the most effective means of putting out fires, and sprinkler systems can be installed in all sorts of buildings—from restaurants to schools.
When you think about it, sprinklers might seem like an overreaction to the threat of fire. After all, what’s so bad about a little smoke damage? But when you consider how quickly a small flame can turn into a raging inferno that threatens lives and property—not to mention how much money it takes just to repair the building itself—sprinklers suddenly become your ally in preserving life and property.
Suppressors will save property.
Sprinklers can save your business from a fire. They’ll put out the flames and prevent them from spreading. Fire sprinklers use an automatic water delivery system to combat fires, so they will put out more than just one area of a fire. Most importantly, they won’t do any damage to your property in the process!
Fire extinguishers, on the other hand, are not always as effective at putting out fires as you might think—and could even cause more damage if used improperly. For example: In 2009 alone there were over 1 million accidental fires involving portable fuel-burning heaters or stoves (U.S. Department of Labor). If you want to protect yourself against those kinds of accidents (and others), consider investing in an early warning system like sprinklers instead!
The cost is not unreasonable.
You may be surprised to learn that the cost is not unreasonable. The initial investment can be significant, but the sprinkler system itself will pay for itself in the long run. In fact, many insurance companies offer discounts on insurance premiums when you have a sprinkler system installed in your business.
In addition to being cost-effective, installing an automatic fire suppression system can help protect you from liability issues as well. If someone were to get injured while visiting your business because of an active fire in which you did not act quickly enough, they could sue you for damages related to their injuries and suffering or loss of property or assets—and possibly even punitive damages if they were particularly harmed by your negligence or carelessness during a fire situation at your place of business! But by having working smoke detectors and sprinklers installed throughout any building where people might gather regularly (including offices), there's less chance that anything bad will happen due to undetected fires or other hazards lurking around corners unseen by human eyes alone—and even less chance that anyone would needlessly suffer injury due to those hazards being left unchecked until it was too late."
Sprinklers can save your business in more ways than one.
Sprinklers are also a great way to reduce the damage caused by fire. Sprinklers work by detecting smoke or heat and then releasing water onto a small area where the fire is located. This reduces both smoke damage and heat damage, which can be very expensive in terms of property damage and replacement costs.
We've all heard about how sprinklers can save lives, but did you know they can also save businesses from costly damages?
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to install sprinklers on your commercial property in South Palm Beach, there are many reasons why it may be worth your while. Sprinklers can save lives, property, and money—and they aren’t very expensive at all! If you want to know more about how fire sprinkler systems work and how they can help protect your business from fire damage, contact us today for a quote. We would love to speak with you about our products and services so that we can create a plan that fits seamlessly into your budgeting needs.
What To Know Before Buying Business Interruption Insurance
This is why you also need to purchase business interruption coverage.
What To Know Before Buying Business Interruption Insurance
You probably purchased property insurance before opening your company. This insurance can help you replace any items destroyed by a broken pipe or another disaster. However, large water damage does not just harm physical assets. If your building is affected by flooding, you may have to temporarily shut down the premises while emergency cleanup professionals do their work.
This is why you also need to purchase business interruption coverage. This insurance assists with various operating expenses incurred while your building is closed for restoration. You can use business interruption insurance for:
- Loan payments
- Rent, lease or mortgage payments
- Lost income replacement
Business interruption coverage typically kicks in two to three days after the damage occurs. Each claim usually provides payments for up to 30 days. Here are some more things to know about this type of insurance.
Extent of Coverage
Not every disaster is included with business interruption insurance. Damage caused by earthquakes or flooding is covered under a separate policy. The policy also may not reimburse you for utility payments or undocumented income losses.
The cost of business interruption insurance is based on several factors. Obviously, more extensive coverage will come at a higher expense. Estimate your future profits based on projections and gross earnings. You can then use that amount to decide how much insurance to purchase.
The price may also vary based on the size, type and location of your business. Businesses in high-risk cities or industries could cost more to insure.
You may also want to add some endorsements to your business interruption policy. You can purchase extra expense insurance to cover expenses such as overtime payments and hardware replacement. You can also ensure some of your dependent properties that you do not own, such as manufacturing locations and suppliers' headquarters.
While business interruption insurance does not cover flooding, many other disasters are included in this type of policy. It is thus a worthwhile expense that can help keep your Boca Raton, FL company running during restoration.
Flood Water Is Almost Always Considered Blackwater
There are three water categories.
When a Highland Beach, FL, business floods, it’s generally considered black water, which is equivalent to sewage. That means it needs to be handled with extra care as it may contain significant levels of contaminants.
Flood Water Categories
Unless you can trace the flood water directly to its source — and the source is potable — it’s going to be regarded as unsanitary. If it has traveled a long way outside or come into contact with hazardous waste, it needs to be handled by professionals. It’s broken down into three categories:
Category 1: If the water damage is from a water supply line in your own business and hasn’t picked up a lot of debris or toxic substances, it can often be treated as category 1, which is sanitary.
Category 2: Water that leaks from a dishwasher or washing machine is considered category 2, which has some risk. Rainwater leaking in from your roof also is usually category 2. It requires some special handling but is not considered black water.
Category 3: This is black water. It is considered dangerous and must be cleaned by top storm damage specialists. OSHA and Highland Beach, FL, have laws that require businesses to be sanitized after a flood before employees and especially customers are allowed back in. Insurance companies may even deny claims if they discover you failed to clean up after a flood.
Category 3 water requires a deep cleaning with custom, proprietary agents. Most experts recommend SERVPROXIDE or Benefect Decon-30 for commercial storm damage cleaning. These sanitizers decontaminate many surfaces and are applied using saturated towels or unique ultra-low volume foggers or misters.
When customers or tenants walk into your building, they get an immediate impression of how clean it is. The look, the feel, and particularly the smell of a store or residence can be the difference between high traffic and bankruptcy.
If handled well, flood water damage can be mitigated and your business restored to its condition before the storm. If mishandled, it can chase off residents, employees, and customers in droves.
3 Basic Facts About Black Mold
Black mold damage in Boca, FL.
Facts About Mold
Boca, FL, homeowners may have heard horror stories about how black mold-infested homes or buildings and caused significant damage. Fortunately, these extreme tales of uncontrollable mold growth are not the norm. Once the fungus is found, mold remediation specialists can correct the problem and begin mold cleanup. Below is some basic information for homeowners to know about this common household issue.
1. There Are Many Types of Mold
Most people don’t understand that there are thousands of different strains of mold. These fungus species can be found in a variety of colors, including black, green, pink, white, and gray.
Stachybotrys is what most people are referring to when they notice black mold in their home, though there are several strains of mold that are black in color. No matter what type is found, it’s important to have the problem remediated as soon as possible.
2. Mold Thrives in Homes With High Moisture
It can be surprising to find mold in your home if you clean on a regular basis. However, mold spores are found everywhere indoors and outdoors. The fungus doesn’t need a dirty home to spread: all it needs is moisture. A good way to identify if your home has high humidity is to get a hygrometer. These gadgets can be purchased online or at a local home improvement store. The humidity level should be below 45% in your home.
3. Mold Can Be Prevented
There are easy ways for homeowners to prevent mold growth in their homes. Start with establishing the correct humidity level to prevent moisture. Next, regularly check possible areas for water leaks. Underneath sinks, around pipes, and near windows and appliances are likely places to check for leaks.
If water is found, dry the area meticulously. Do not install carpet in areas with moisture, such as in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
Black mold is just one type of mold found in homes. Fortunately, most cases of fungal growth can be prevented with simple precautions.
3 Types of Damage that Occur During a Fire
A fire in your home can be devastating.
Elements That May Affect Your Home
A fire in your West Boca Raton, FL, home can be devastating. Fire damage can affect your belongings as well as the structure of the building. On top of this, you may be dealing with secondary forms of damage as well. The following are some ways that various elements may affect your home and how you can address it.
The damage caused by flames is likely the first to cross your mind when you think of a fire in your home. Fire damage can be incredibly destructive, leading to missing sections of the building and ruined property. Luckily, a cleanup and restoration company can make repairs and rebuild your home. They can also salvage many damaged items.
You may not usually consider water damage as a consequence of a fire, but depending on the size and severity of the blaze, firefighters will need to use a fire hose to put out the flames. This can result in flooding inside the building. It is important to have this water removed as soon as possible to prevent additional problems such as mold. A dehumidifier and open windows can help the building dry more quickly.
Smoke travels further than flames, so it often affects a larger area of your house and can leave a film of soot on walls, floors and objects. This can be corrosive to certain materials and should be removed right away. For hard surfaces, soap and water are usually enough but fabrics may need to be dry cleaned or put in the wash. Using an air purifier can help remove smoke odors from the environment.
If you have experienced a fire in your home, it’s important to begin work on fire damage and any other issues as soon as possible. This will prevent the damage from worsening and will allow you to have your home back to normal more quickly. Any needed cleanup and repairs can be done by a professional service to ensure the building is safe.
How To Choose a Good Fire Restoration Company
SERVPRO is a good fire restoration company
How To Choose a Good Fire Restoration Company
After a commercial fire, you should contact fire damage restoration professionals to assess and repair your property. There are many remediation companies providing services in Boca Raton, FL so it can be hard to tell which ones to trust.
Ideally, you should look for trained and experienced remediation professionals. They should perform water and smoke cleanup rather than just addressing the charred portions of your property. They should additionally follow the below steps during a typical restoration.
1. Immediate Response
Look for a remediation company that can come to your premises as soon as it is safe to do so. Even a slight delay can cause additional harm to the property. This is particularly true if the fire damaged the roof, windows or doors. Water from a sudden rainstorm can then enter the property and create even more destruction. You should thus hire fire damage restoration experts who will immediately cover up any holes in the structure following the blaze.
The remediation company should also provide a fair and accurate estimate of the repair cost. This typically follows an inspection and assessment of the damage.
The experts can then start cleaning your property. This should include eliminating any lingering odors caused by smoke. The pros should also utilize submersible pumps to drain standing water left behind by firefighter hoses. Items that are badly charred or contaminated may have to be completely discarded.
The remediation professionals should then restore everything that was damaged. This could include installing new carpets, replacing the cabinets, or repainting the walls.
A good fire damage restoration company responds to the premises immediately and surveys the extent of the harm. The experts should also provide board-up and tarp-over services before cleaning and repairing the building and its contents. If you pick a remediation business that follows these steps, your property should be back to normal quickly.
3 Times Homeowner’s Insurance Doesn’t Cover a Flooded Basement
A basement flood from a natural disaster is generally not covered by your insurance.
A Flooded Basement Isn't Always Covered By Homeowner's Insurance.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of sources for a basement flood in your home in Boca, FL, that your homeowner's insurance will not cover. The following sources are common examples of when the flood is not covered.
A basement flood from a natural disaster is generally not covered by your insurance. This means you should have a sump pump in your unfinished basement. If you have a finished basement, you should take other measures to keep water out. For all situations with rising water levels, flood insurance is your best bet. This type of policy offers insurance coverage for your personal belongings. In other words, they will pay to replace your items or have them dried by a water restoration company that offers content cleaning.
2. Sewage Backups
If sewage backs up and floods your basement, it will probably not be covered under a standard policy. This type of disaster is the most expensive and can cause a lot of damage. Fortunately, you can combat it by purchasing an additional clause on your insurance policy. Just make sure that you get at least $10,000 of coverage. Otherwise, they could leave you footing a lot of the bill for the restoration work.
3. Groundwater Seepage
A basement flood caused by groundwater seepage is generally not covered. You may notice these after heavy rain strikes as water seeps through the cracks in your foundation. Your insurance company considers this a non-coverable calamity. This is also typically not covered by flood insurance. The best way to prevent this type of disaster is to ensure that your foundation is solid. Also, reseal your basement walls periodically. This will prevent any water from entering, so you don't have to worry about paying for the damage.
Your homeowner's insurance doesn't cover every type of water damage. These are just some of the sources of a flooded basement that your insurance company will likely exclude from your policy.