6 Surprising Causes of Home Fires
At SERVPRO, we always treat your family with the greatest empathy and respect, and we’ll treat your property with great care.
Home fires are incredibly scary to think about. In the most unsuspecting of times, homeowners must act quickly to protect their loved ones, their pets, and their most cherished home items. Unfortunately, in the United States nearly 4,000 people are killed each year from fires, that number is more than all natural disasters combined. In fact, approximately every minute and a half a new home fire is reported throughout the country, as reported National Fire Protection Association. While most people think of home fires as something that would never happen to them, the reality is that these occurrences strike far too many families across the nation. Fire damage is a serious problem, even for the smallest of home fires. As such, the ability to prevent a home fire from happening in the first place is absolutely critical.
Most people think that common fire starters like candles and cooking make up the majority of home fires. Nevertheless, it is important to be educated on all kinds of causes in order to prevent fires from starting in the first place. Some of the more surprising causes of home fires are as follows:
- Dishwashers: many people believe that since dishwashers have water in them they are incapable of causing a fire. However, the motor and heating elements in a dishwasher make it a potentially dangerous appliance.
- Jars: ant kind of glass object has the potential to catch fire from the reflection of the sun, so flammable liquids should not be stored in glass jars or glass containers of any kind.
- Outdated Appliances: old appliances have a tendency of having faulty wires and thus cause unexpected fires.
- Circuit Breakers: if the wiring in a circuit breaker is old or faulty it make catch fire.
- Smoke Detectors: even though smoke detectors are there to help in the event of a fire, they can actually catch fire on their own if they are malfunctioning. Make sure that your smoke detectors is not missing any batteries or malfunctioning in any way.
- Children Playing: when kids begin to experiment with things like lighters and matches, accidents tend to occur. Children should be kept far away from matches, lighters, and candles.
Fire damage can be devastating for you and your family. Feelings of confusion and stress are common, and you need a caring expert to guide you through this crisis. At SERVPRO, we always treat your family with the greatest empathy and respect, and we’ll treat your property with great care.
Preparing Your Business for the New Year
On behalf of SERVPRO, we wish you a happy, healthy, and successful 2018 and beyond!
As a business owner, thinking forward to the coming year is critical to maintaining current goals and setting new objectives. People often look at New Year’s resolutions as personal goals like losing weight, being more attentive to loved ones, or giving back to the community. While all of those resolutions are important, people fail to look at New Year’s resolutions as it relates to their own business. From treating your employees well to creating a solid company culture, being introspective this time of year should extend personal life and move into your business world. The most savvy business owners take time each year around the holidays to reflect on successes, analyze failures, and set new goals for the year to come.
December is often chaotic for businesses of all kinds. As such, it is imperative to be diligent in your efforts to shift focus to the year ahead. We suggest spending some time as many of your employees as possible in order to get feedback. In doing so, you will have a well-rounded idea of where to start your business resolutions brainstorming session. Consider the following as your write down your company’s New Year’s resolutions:
- What is the industry as a whole doing differently that your company? Where do you see major trends going?
- How is your competition identifying opportunities in the marketplace? What can you adopt from competitors who are doing well?
- Who is an outstanding employee? How can you give them more responsibility moving forward?
- What are the overhead costs in your organization? Are there any ways to cut that number down?
- Does your office have a happy, positive mindset? Company culture is critical to productivity, is yours a constructive one?
These questions will lay the foundation for your company to succeed. Start by writing down overarching goals and then create specific bulleted lists as to how your organization will achieve them. On behalf of SERVPRO, we wish you a happy, healthy, and successful 2018 and beyond!
Battling Mold in Your Garage
If you suspect that your home or business has a mold problem, SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County can inspect, assess and remediate your property.
Florida homeowners are used to dealing with weather elements like heavy rainstorms, extremely hot days, and hurricane disasters at any point in time during the year. The combination of hot, humid days paired with incredible hot months creates the perfect home for mold inside of your garage. And if you are like most Florida residents, you likely have a garage in your home and depend on that space for storage, a place for your vehicle(s), and even an outside refrigerator in some cases. Unfortunately for our garages, mold thrives in dark, moist, unventilated places. So, while it may not be top of mind for most people, it is extraordinarily important to be aware of potential mold growth in your garage.
Building a garage with materials that would prevent mold is ideal, however, most people do not have that option. So, keep the following tips in mind for preventing and battling mold in your garage:
- Minimize moisture with a dehumidifier
- Ventilate as much as possible with fresh air
- Open the garage for a portion of time each day to let sunlight inside
- Make sure the garage door is properly sealed to prevent water from seeping in
- Keep your stored items organized and on shelves
- Keep any shrubs or plants near the garage trimmed at all times
- Avoid storing anything wet inside of the garage
- After a heavy rainstorm, remove any standing water and dry the area as soon as possible
- Do not keep cardboard boxes in the garage
Preventing mold in your garage is important for any homeowner. We recommend doing regular inspections of your garage to ensure that no mold spores have grown, especially in moist, dark areas. If you suspect that your home or business has a mold problem, SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County can inspect, assess and remediate your property.
Staying Safe This Holiday Season
Make sure that you are spreading these safety tips amongst your friends and family. On behalf of SERVPRO, happy holidays to all!
When the holiday season rolls around every year, people are often distracted with decorating, party planning, and gift giving. While November and December are certainly the months for giving holiday cheer more attention, keeping safety in the forefront of your mind is absolutely necessary. From distracted drivers to holiday decorations accidents, far too many injuries occur during this time of the year. In fact, thousands of emergency room visits occur every year during the holiday months, accounting for things like back strains, falls, and lacerations. While rare, around 200 tree-related fires occur each year, causing property damage and fatalities across the country.
Keeping your home a safe and happy place during the 2017 holiday season is imperative. Decorations like candles, trees, ornaments, and lights are all potential hazards to your home’s safety. Keep these tips in mind while making decorating your home this year:
- Multiple extension cords should never be strung together
- Check your smoke alarms for proper functioning
- If you have a live Christmas tree, be sure to water it each day
- Never run your extension cords under carpeting, furniture, or rugs
- Candles should be placed at a safe distance from anything flammable, we recommend at least 3 feet
- Check the labels on all outdoor decorations to ensure they were designed for outside use
- Make sure that no decorations are in heavily trafficked areas in your home to avoid any slip and fall accidents
- Throw away any light strings that have pinched or frayed cords
- Use ladders carefully and properly, ideally with a person there to spot
- Be extra careful while cooking, as kitchen fires are much more likely during the holiday season
Holiday cheer is contagious, so make sure that you are spreading these safety tips amongst your friends and family. In doing so, you will ensure that your loved ones are able to safely enjoy all that the holiday season has to offer. On behalf of SERVPRO, happy holidays to all!
Protecting Your Home from Damage in Heavy Rain
Proactively protecting your home from water damage or storm damage in heavy rains is extremely important.
Hurricane season technically ends on November 20th, but experienced Florida residents know that heavy rains can (and do) come during any season. When a serious storm comes your way, heavy rains can wreak havoc on your property, both inside and outside of your home. If it seems like it’s been even wetter than usual in South Florida lately, that’s because it has been! Based on new reports from the South Florida Water Management District, South Florida hasn’t seen this much rain in 86 years. Storm surges of heavy rains often mean flooding in your neighborhood and it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers associated with this extra rainfall and water.
Rain damage can be very costly if not handled both immediately and correctly. Far too many homeowners become lazy about storm damage and then are left to deal with additional issues like mold growth. As such, keep the following tips in mind for protecting your home from damage in heavy rain:
- Clean your gutters regularly
- Pay attention to your home’s drainage efficiency
- Check your windows and doors for proper sealant
- Have your roof inspected
- Fix any leaks throughout your home, especially in the bathrooms and kitchen
- Watch out for water leakage through your air vents
- Look out for mold growth, which often indicates water damage
- Be aware of potential health hazards associated with rain damage
- Make sure that all electrical equipment and appliances are in a water-free location
Proactively protecting your home from water damage or storm damage in heavy rains is extremely important. From both a safety and cost-savings perspective, ensuring that your home is safeguarded during Florida’s rains is beneficial in a variety of ways. If your home has suffered storm damage in any recent heavy rains, contact our team of water damage professionals today!
Most Common Signs of Water Damage
From the walls to the floors, water damage usually shows itself in one way or another.
Water damage in a home can be a serious problem if not detected early. Unfortunately, loose water inside of a house can flow virtually anywhere it wants to and thus presents a potential issue for homeowners who are unaware of its existence. Contrary to popular belief, a leaky or busted pipe is not always easy to notice, especially when water is moving slowly. The ability to recognize the most common signs of water damage is critical to identifying the problem before it becomes a costly, major headache. While water damage repair and restoration can fix almost any losses, protecting your home or business from water damage by spotting the signs early is extremely important.
Things like flood damage or a toilet overflow show water damage in a property clearly. However, some of the most damaging issues come from the seemingly undetectable leaks. The following are the most common signs of water damage:
- Moisture in carpet or other flooring
- Painted walls with raised lines or wallpaper that begins to peel
- Dark grouting around floor tiles
- Separation between trim or baseboards from the wall
- Stains on ceilings that look like rust or watermarks
- Mold spore growth on walls or ceilings
- A musty odor in particular spots in the home
- Higher water bills
- Buckling of wood floors
- Changes in the “typical” sounds of the plumbing system
From the walls to the floors, water damage usually shows itself in one way or another. Being aware of the common signs of water damage can help homeowners to save money and the integrity of the home’s structure. If you think that your home is showing some of the above signs, contact us today to learn more about our water damage repair and restoration services!
Basic Home Fire Escape Plan
When it comes to fire safety, there is no better way to prepare than having a solid fire escape plan.
No one plans for a fire to break out inside of or near their home. Home electrical fires account for close to 500 deaths and over 1,400 injuries each year. In addition, home electrical fires cost billions of dollars in property damage annually. As such, preparing and planning an emergency escape strategy is critical to protecting you and your loved ones in the event of an unexpected home fire. First and foremost, your home should be inspected for working smoke alarms in every room. In addition, you must create a specific evacuation plan, practice fire drills, and make sure that your entire family is well-versed in what to do in the event of an emergency.
Keep in mind the following pieces of advice when developing and deploying your personal home fire escape plan:
- Keep all exits unblocked (both doors and windows throughout the house)
- Make an escape route for each individual room in the home
- Smoke alarms should be placed in every room, on every level of the home, and outside of any sleeping area
- Walk through your escape plan with entire family
- Choose a location a safe distance away from your home as your family’s meeting place
- Memorize the fire department’s emergency phone number, make sure your family does as well
- Assign a capable adult to be in charge of any infants, elderly people, or anyone that lacks mobility and would require assistance in an emergency
- Take every smoke alarm signal seriously and evacuate immediately
- Inform guests or visitors in your home of the fire escape plan
- Never go back into a burning building before being cleared from the firefighters on the scene
Creating a home fire escape plan is absolutely essential for everyone. Whether you live in a single-family home or a high-rise apartment building, be sure to prepare yourself for the steps that would be taken in the event of a fire. When it comes to fire safety, there is no better way to prepare than having a solid fire escape plan.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS KICKS-OFF SEASON WITH ANNUAL TEA GUEST SPEAKER LESLIE GRAY STREETER FROM PALM BEACH POST
This annual event is a fundraiser for the Women in Business Council whose mission is to promote networking and education for professional women.
The Women in Business Steering Council announced their annual tea will be Wednesday, August 30, 2017 from 3p.m.-5p.m. at the Abacoa Golf Club. This year’s guest speaker will feature local Palm Beach Post award-winning journalist and columnist, Leslie Gray Streeter.
Leslie Gray Streeter is an award-winning columnist and pop culture writer for the Palm Beach Post, where she has worked since October 2002. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she is a proud product of that city's public-school system, and graduated from Baltimore City College High School in 1989.
In 1993, she graduated from the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park, after which she began her professional journalism career. That has included stints at the Miami Times, a community weekly in Miami, Florida, the York Dispatch/Sunday News in York, Pa., and finally the Post.
Guests are invited to flaunt your best tea dress and hat. Prizes will be awarded for beauty and creativity. Ladies will come and enjoy an afternoon tea, light bites, and desserts.
"The Women in Business Annual Tea is one of my favorite Palm Beach North Chamber events. There is a feel of camaraderie as we enjoy our tea sporting elegant to wildly creative hats. Our speaker, Leslie Streeter, will certainly add to the fun with light hearted laughter! By the way, men are certainly welcome to join us! (Hats are optional)" said Donna Goldfarb, Chair of the Women in Business Council.
The event is made possible through the generous support of sponsors including Series sponsor: Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, Tea Sponsor: Baron Sign, Orchid Sponsors: Gentile Glas Holloway O'Mahoney (2GHO), Cathy Peduto Allstate Insurance, Illustrated Properties, Financial Investment Network Inc., Leo A Daily, Palm Beach Kennel Club, PGA Commons, SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County, and Glidden Spina.
This annual event is a fundraiser for the Women in Business Council whose mission is to promote networking and education for professional women and women entrepreuners while highlighting the women leaders in the community. Tickets are $35 for Chamber members and non-members and walk-ins will be welcome the day of.
“The Women in Business Council is an incredible resource for business women in the Palm Beach North community seeking a forum rich with experience, knowledge and great networking opportunities” said Beth Kigel, President and CEO of the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce.
Staying Safe and Smart in Hurricane Irma
Good luck to all and remember that SERVPRO is here for all of you during and after the storm!
Florida residents are no strangers to hurricanes and the massive damage that they can cause. With Hurricane Irma looming, it’s difficult avoid the memories of past hurricanes that left homes in shambles. Devastation is something that sticks with a family. Nevertheless, if the rebuilding efforts after monster storms like Hurricane Andrew taught us anything, it taught us to prepare, prepare, and then prepare some more. While its exact path is still unknown, there is no way around the fact that Hurricane Irma is going to be a seriously catastrophic storm. At this point, emergency plans should already be in place as you prepare your home and your family for the massive hurricane heading our way.
Weather experts have warned that wind, not flooding, is going to be the main concern this weekend. As such, the following steps should be taken today and tomorrow to ensure that you and your family stay safe and smart in Hurricane Irma:
- If you have an evacuation plan, now is the time to set it in motion. Map out your route and hit the road as soon as possible.
- Make sure your gas tank is full.
- Get water (1 gallon per day per person), non-perishable food items (enough for 3-7 days), and flashlights.
- Keep all important documents (insurance policies, passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, emergency contact phone numbers, health insurance cards, and any other important identification, financial, or property paperwork) in a waterproof safe box or some type of protective case.
- Photograph every room and valuable item inside of your household, as well as the entirety of the outside home. Photographs will be critical when filing insurance claims after the storm.
- Put up your shutters now, before the rain starts to come down.
- Run a load of laundry and dishes today before the power goes out.
- All patio furniture must be brought inside.
- Secure your garage door.
- Trim any branches or damaged trees that look like they may fall once the winds pick up.
Do not forget to prepare your pets for the storm. In addition, make sure that your first-aid kit is handy in addition to toilet paper, medications, cash, and fully charged electronics. Hurricane Irma is likely going to cause major destruction to South Florida homes. The focus right now must be safety for you and your family. If you have any questions, please reference local news stations or the NOAA Weather Radio for updates. Good luck to all and remember that SERVPRO is here for all of you during and after the storm!
The Fascinating Truth about Mold
While mold will always be present in your day-to-day life, there are a number of ways to avoid excessive exposure.
Most people do not realize that mold is everywhere. Mold lives inside, mold lives outside, and, in fact, mold is likely growing somewhere in close proximity to you as you read this article. Mold spores are microscopic and are therefore difficult to spot with the eyes. Thriving on moisture, mold spores often grow in places that are wet and colonies often grow quickly when exposed to water. Understanding some basic mold facts and figures can help you to be more aware of the potential dangers of mold growth and the risk of letting it thrive without professional removal or remediation.
We have spent some time collecting some of the most interesting facts and fascinating truths about mold. Take a moment to read through these figures and make mental notes of how important it is to be aware of any signs of mold:
- Approximately 93 percent of Chronic Sinus Infections are linked to mold
- Nearly 30 percent of new homes built have mold in them already
- Mold exposure has been linked to asthma, allergic reactions, and other respiratory health issues
- Fixing water leaks or problems is the best way to avoid mold growth
- Mold can grow on virtually any type of substance or surface as long as moisture is present
- Storm-driven rain is one of the most common sources of mold
- There have been over 1,000 mold-related insurance claims over the last decade
- Every single type of mold has a potential to cause some type of health issue
- Roof damage often leads to mold growth as a result of roof leaks
- Doors, windows, and exterior walls are all vulnerable to mold growth when moisture exists
- Poor ventilation inside of a home causes mold to grow
- Humidity must be controlled to prevent excessive mold growth
While mold will always be present in your day-to-day life, there are a number of ways to avoid excessive exposure. Keep the above facts and figures in mind in order to protect you and your family from mold-related health issues. If you believe that you may have a mold issue in your home or business, contact SERVPRO today to speak with our mold remediation experts!