Recent Posts

Cleaning your home after you've experienced a water damage

10/24/2019 (Permalink)

Carpeted closet floor affected by water damage and device used to dry water Extracting and drying a carpeted closet after water damage.

While we all know the importance water plays in our every day life, it can cause devastating damage if it finds its way into the structure and contents of your home in Mineola, TX. Not only may you lose valuable and sentimental personal belongings before you begin water cleanup, but water damage can also render appliances useless, cause mold to grow and ruin sheetrock and insulation. The restoration process can be long and difficult, but following the five steps listed below can help make the process easier.

  1. Remove remaining water. The longer standing water stays in your home, the more damage it can cause. It is important to remove any water as quickly as possible to allow the building to completely dry. Depending on how much water remains in your home, you can use any one of the following items to remove it:
  • Sump pump
  • Trash pump
  • Wet vac
  • Buckets
  • Towels
  1. Assess the damage. Once the water has been removed, you can see the extent of the damage. You may have to tear out carpet to remove mold, rip out sheetrock and replace it, and scrub multiple surfaces and materials to get rid of bacteria.
  1. Remove mold and damaged materials. If water damage has caused mold to grow, it is important to remove the fungus as soon as possible. Evaporating moisture and treating the area with antifungal spray may help rid your home of mold.
  1. Clean non-porous items. After removing any traces of mold, you can begin the final, most time-consuming stages of cleanup. Any items that do not absorb water, such as furniture, counters, toys, or storage containers, that came in contact with the water need to be scrubbed thoroughly with warm water and disinfectant to remove potentially-harmful germs.
  1. Clean porous items. Items that may have absorbed water should be cleaned thoroughly to keep them from mildewing. Porous items may include anything from the following list:
  • Curtains
  • Stuffed animals
  • Clothes
  • Bedding

Dealing with water damage in Palestine, TX can be overwhelming, but following these five steps can make water cleanup easier. Visit our website http://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com for more information on water damage.

We can make the damage to your home "Like it never even happened."

10/17/2019 (Permalink)

Five gentlemen dressed in Servpro uniforms standing in front of a big green box truck with Servpro Orange roof top logo on it SERVPRO Hero Ready Crew

SERVPRO of Athens/Mineola/Palestine is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Athens/Mineola/Palestine

SERVPRO of Athens/Mineola/Palestine specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. 

For more information regarding the expertise of SERVPRO of Athens, Mineola and Palestine please visit our website and see all of the ways SERVPRO can make the damages in your home "Like it never even happened."

What do you do with your contents after a flood?

10/16/2019 (Permalink)

mattresses leaned up against a red brick wall in a rural area Mattresses affected by Water at a local Commercial Business

When a flood happens in your home or a business, contents are assets and often have sentimental value. Often though the immediate water damage that has occurred is what gets the most attention. But we can't forget about the contents. Contents are described as objects inside the property but not part of the building itself. If a flood hits Mineola,TX, these assets often become damaged and typically receive content cleaning in accordance with insurance plans. This cleaning is an essential process for restoring a business towards its previously undamaged state.

Is Professional Cleaning Necessary?
There are many reasons to utilize a professional water damage recovery specialist instead of doing the processes yourself:

Lack of specialty knowledge required to repair certain items like electronics or upholstery
Lack of facilities at most businesses for restoring and detailing damaged items
Professional work succeeding the most when done early
Insurance coverage making the cost of restoration affordable
A flood that makes its way inside a building claims a variety of vastly different assets. Most companies will subcontract specialists for expertise needed to try and restore specific items.

What Does Cleaning Contents Entail?

After an authorization is given, an inventory is taken of your business to assess the severity of damage and necessary protocol. Most companies offer two types of content cleaning. There is on-site cleaning to immediately restore less damaged items and off-site cleaning for items that are more extensively damaged and require special tools or repair conditions. Unfortunately, some items, especially porous ones, may need replacement if left in standing black water for an extended time.

Off-site items are typically electronics, clothes and appliances that were damaged. They are stored in a warehouse where they are cleaned by using industrial machines. Every single item is individually restored, so this process can take some time depending on the severity of the damage.

What Happens Next?

Once every item is restored with content cleaning, your business will receive and relocate them in a now dry and clean building. Operations can resume, and the only flood after that will be of customers or business partners returning to utilize the location that was once unusable.

For more tips on how to clean your contents properly visit https://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com

Plan and Practice your Escape for Fire Prevention Month

10/16/2019 (Permalink)

Red sign with White lettering captioned "October is National Fire Prevention Month" October is National Fire Prevention Month.

Every Second Counts during a fire. Fire experts agree; people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home or business before it's too late to get out! In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families and businesses have developed and practiced a fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in your Palestine home or office understands the plan.

Here are 5 tips to create and utilize a thorough Fire Escape Plan!

1. Draw a map of each level of your home or business and show all the doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all the doors that lead outside open easily.

2. Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Store them near the window where they will be used.

3. Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home  where everyone can meet after they have escaped. Make sure to mark the location of meeting area on your Escape Plan.

4. Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can not help them. Plan for everyone in your home or office, with special consideration for elderly or disabled individuals. 

5. Practice your fire escape plan during the day and the nighttime.

for more information visit 

https://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com

Water Damage in a Commercial Building

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Wet ceiling tiles Beginning immediate water remediation is the key to quickly bouncing back from a flooding incident.

Water damage can take a toll on the flooring, walls and any belongings that come into contact with excessive moisture. It’s even more imperative that the situation is quickly and sufficiently tended to if you’re dealing with a black water issue.

Where Black Water Comes From

Oftentimes contaminated by a number of microorganisms and bacteria, this dirty water can infiltrate a building in a number of ways:

  • Flooding from storms will often carry contaminants and debris into interior spaces.
  • The overflow or rupture of sewage or septic systems can leak waste into your business.
  • Standing clean water can quickly become dirty and contaminated with mold and bacterial growth if left unchecked for a period of time.

It is especially important to handle the situation immediately if water has appeared inside your building due to any of these circumstances.

What To Do If Your Business Is Contaminated

Mold can begin to form quickly, often within 48 hours, so taking fast action is imperative. Make sure people are evacuated from contaminated areas to limit their exposure to bacteria and mold if water has been left standing. The following steps should then be taken to begin the cleanup process:

  • Remove any standing water as soon as possible
  • Thoroughly dry areas affected by water damage to limit the spread of mold and bacteria growth
  • Clean all salvageable affected items and dispose of those that can’t be adequately cleaned and disinfected

When Help Is Needed

Depending on the size of the area suffering from water damage or the level of black water contamination, working with professionals in Athens, TX, can supply peace of mind that cleanup will be completed properly so that your business can return to normal. Beginning immediate water remediation is the key to quickly bouncing back from a flooding incident.

For more information on water damage visit our website.

Are you prepared with a SERVPRO Emergency Response Profile?

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO's Emergency Response Program for Commercial Businesses Prepare yourself with SERVPRO's Emergency Response Profile!

As a member of the Ready Campaign’s National Preparedness Coalition, SERVPRO® of Athens/Mineola/Palestine is on a mission to help people be prepared.

How quickly your company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. The following are basic measures business owners and managers can take to begin preparing. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, local economy, and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.

 Develop a Business Continuity Plan.

Your organization’s risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flow chart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management.

Review Insurance Coverage.

Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage and business interruption. Understand what your policy does and does not cover.

Prepare your Emergency Plan.

Your employees and co-workers are your business’ most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and/or other communication tools.

Practice the Emergency Plan.

Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.

Secure Your Facility and Equipment.

Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not usable. Secure valuable equipment.

Improve Cyber Security.

Protecting your data and information systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don’t open e-mails from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known as patches regularly.

Information provided by ready.gov.

Hurricane and Extreme Storm Preparedness Tips For This Upcoming Storm Season Near You

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

Flash Flood in Palestine, TX Rising waters caused by flash flood in Palestine TX

Here at SERVPRO of Athens/Mineola/Palestine we know disaster never strikes when its convenient and mother nature can cause some real damage and leave you and your family at risk so we've compiled a list of things you can do to protect your home or business during the upcoming storm season. 

1) Stock up on Bottled Water: At the very first mention of a hurricane even possibly coming to your area soon, go out and buy bottled water!  Once a hurricane is on its way, cases of water can be in very limited supply.  Stocking up on bottled water should be your first priority

 2) Store Extra Water in Plastic Soda Bottles: Save your used 2-liter soda bottles.  Wash the soda bottles with dish soap and hot water, rinsing well.  Fill each cleaned bottle with water and place a date on the outside of the bottle so you know when you filled it.  Water should be replaced every 6 months.

3) Fill your Bathtub with Water: The day before the predicted hurricane, be sure to fill all bath tubs with water.  You can even clean out your garbage cans ahead of time and fill them with water.  If you fill your outside garbage cans with water, be sure to store them in your garage.  It’s incredible that 120 mph winds are even strong enough to blow over garbage cans that are filled with water!

You can use the water you’re storing in your bathtubs and garbage cans for sanitation purposes.  Use it to wash your hands and for flushing toilets.  You can also use the water in your bathtub as a source of emergency drinking water.  Use  water purification tablets to make sure the water is safe to drink.

4) Fill up your Car’s Gas Tank Before the Storm Hits: Whether you plan on evacuating the area or not, you will definitely want to fill up your car’s tank with gas as soon as possible to avoid long lines.  After the storms passes, lack of electricity or other damage from the storm may cause many gas stations to be closed.  Having a tank full of gas is one of the most important hurricane preparedness tips… and it will sure give you some peace of mind!

5) Have a Backup Power Source: Buy a generator way before hurricane season even starts.  During hurricane season, purchase enough gasoline to run each generator for 7 – 10 days.  One generator can be used for your air conditioning and a separate generator can power your refrigerator, lights, and other necessities.

Having only one generator means you might have to choose between running your air conditioner or your refrigerator, freezer and cell phones.  One generator isn’t always enough to handle all your needs.

6) Get a Pump/Siphon: You might run out of gasoline to run your generator, so it’s a smart idea to have a Pump/Siphon on hand.  You can siphon the gas from your car’s tank to keep your generator running.

7) Use the One Cup Trick: If you have to evacuate, fill a cup with water and place it in the freezer until frozen.  Once the water is frozen, place a quarter on top of the frozen ice and put the cup back in your freezer.  When you return after evacuating, see if the quarter is still on the top of the ice or if it has sunk down into the ice.  That way you can tell if your food defrosted and just refroze, or if it stayed frozen while you were gone.

8) Stock up on Emergency Food Supplies: After a hurricane, it can often be very difficult to buy food from your local grocery store for several days.  That’s why its important to stock up on Emergency Food Supply Kits.  

9) Barbara writes: “When I first moved to Palestine,TX an older friend told me what she did while everyone else was running to the grocery store. She baked a couple of loaves of bread and would get the largest cut of meat in her freezer and fix it. She told me they would either have good sandwiches or, if the storm missed them, they would have the start of a celebratory meal.

10) Get a Propane Stove: Be sure to get a propane stove so you can still cook when the power goes out.  Nothing beats a hot delicious meal, no matter the circumstances!

11) Have your Stovetop Coffee Maker Ready: In a tough situation, there’s nothing better for a boost in moral that a hot cup of coffee!  

12) Create a Safe Room: Designate a “safe room” in your home and make sure everyone knows where it is.  It should be similar to the kind of safe room you’d choose during a tornado – a closet with solid walls, a door, and no windows.  If you have a larger walk in closet, grab folding chairs, blankets, pillows, and anair mattress.  This will help you stay cozy and comfy while your in you’re safe room for several hours waiting for the hurricane to pass through your area.

13) Get Your Camping Gear Ready: If you are lucky enough to have electricity after the hurricane passes, offer a shower, hot meal, and a bit of time in your air conditioned home to your friends.

Patti writes: “Many of my friends went days without a hot meal or a shower.  Once one friend would get electricity, they’d invite other friends to “share the comforts of life” – even to the point of making meals and having sleepovers.  Camping gear came in handy for all the sleeping bags in the living room and family room.”

14) Grab some Card Games and Board Games: If you don’t have electricity, your iPad and smart phone batteries will run low and you will be bored to tears before long.  That’s why it’s important to make sure you have some board games and card games to provide entertainment until the power is restored.

15) Make a Homemade Survival Kit: Nobody ever plans to be in a survival situation.  When the unexpected actually happens, you’ll give yourself a little pat on the back and thank yourself for planning ahead!  These Homemade Survival Kits are extremely useful to have on hand in a hurricane. 

16) Make a DIY Mini Survival Kit: I definitely love this DIY Mini Survival Kit!  This is the compact version of the survival kit above and it’s the perfect addition to your backpack, or your car’s glovebox!  It takes hardly any space to store and is a valuable resource when any unexpected emergency pops up away from home!

How can I Receive Emergency Broadcasts if the Power is Out?

17) Get a Hand Crank Emergency Radio: This Hand Crank Emergency Radio will let you hear emergency broadcasts even if the power is out at your home and your cell phone battery is all used up.  I’ve had one of these for years and I love it.  Having one of these hand crank radios is definitely one of the most practical hurricane preparedness tips, and you can even charge your smartphone with it!

18) Make an Altoid Tin Candle: This double wick Altoid Tin Candle is the perfect light source to have on hand when the power goes out.  It’s the ultimate compact candle, and the double wick burns for over 6 hours!

What to do if You Run Out of Candles:

19) Turn an Orange into a Candle: Did you know… you can make a candle from an orange peel?  Yes, it’s true!  This little orange peel candle works like a charm!  If the power ever goes out and you’re low on candles, this Orange Peel Candle is the perfect DIY trick!  All you need is an orange and some cooking oil and your ready to go!

20) Make a Milk Jug Lantern: To make a Milk Jug Lantern, wash out a milk jug and remove the label.  Then, fill the milk jug up with water and strap on a headlamp pointing into the milk jug.  That’s it!  It’s a clever re-purposing trick that creates a soft light that’s ideal for reading, playing a game, and illuminating your safe room.

21) Get a Lantern: It’s always useful to have a lantern or two on hand in case you loose your power.  

22) Have Extra Garbage Bags on Hand: Garbage collection services may be temporarily suspended after a hurricane, so having extra garbage bags handy is a necessity. 

What to do if You Have to Evacuate Your Home:

23) Dish Washer Trick: If you have to evacuate with little or no warning, place any paper documents, valuable photos, electronics, and keepsakes you can’t bring with you in plastic ziplock bags and put them in your dishwasher.  Your dishwasher is waterproof and secured to cabinets so it’s more likely to survive a hurricane.  Before placing any valuables in your dishwasher, be sure to turn off the water supply to your house and unload any dishes from the dishwasher.

24) Board up your Windows: As a hurricane approaches, protecting your home becomes a top priority.  One of the most vulnerable areas for damage to your home are your windows.  If you don’t have hurricane shutters, 3/4 inch plywood boards are the next best thing.  Get your plywood boards for free at Home Depot with some of my favorite little known tricks…

For more information on how you can prepare and repair your home and business regarding storm damage visit us at 

https://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com/

What are flood cuts and are they right for the water loss at your Commercial Business

8/7/2019 (Permalink)

Flood Cuts provided after extreme storms and rising waters.

When rising waters invade your commercial   property, the drywall may become compromised. The flooding warps the drywall and creates an ideal location for mold to grow. To remedy this, a storm damage restoration service will “flood cut” the drywall. Understanding the appropriate time to do a flood cut allows you to know when it’s the correct choice.

What Merits a Flood Cut?

Flood cuts are the preferred method of repair and containment for situations involving one of a few types of water:

• Clean water stagnated by the drywall for an extended time
• Dirty blackwater with contaminants
• Damaged insulation within the walls
• Suspicion of interior wall damage

Any form of contamination will need a tear out of the wall to validate its structural integrity. Severe flooding may merit repairing the entire section of drywall rather than a sliced section. Clean water damage treated early is often safe from having to do a flood cut in favor of less invasive wall pumps.

Why Should Flood Cuts Be Considered?

Drywall is porous and easily absorbs water from a flooded floor. Since the bottom of the material is likely where the water entered, it’ll be severed over a foot up above the flood damage’s peak. Without the material in the way, the moisture within the wall can be fully removed. The drywall is then repaired or replaced at the location of the cut.

What Happens If I Deny a Flood Cut?

The interior of the walls is worth letting restoration specialists evaluate if they ask. Mold grows very rapidly. A flood cut early on can become unfeasible later once the drywall crumbles and mold spreads. It’s easy to overlook hidden problems. Ignoring it will leave your business with a moldy odor and more property damage.

Your Mineola, TX, business is worth protecting from flooding, even if it means a little surgery to restore it to how it once was. If the water isn’t clean, the damage is often unseen. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com.

Tips to Prevent Cigarette Related House Fires

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

Cigarettes in Ashtray -Potential Firehazard

House fires are more common than you’d think. Along with thunderstorms and neglected stoves, cigarettes are one of the leading causes of at-home fires, despite their small size. If you or a household member smokes, here are five things you can do to protect your home and avoid dealing with the fire cleanup process. 


1. Smoke Outside.


The best way to prevent a fire within the home is to step outside while smoking. A cigarette fire often starts in the living room or bedroom. While outside, you can be sure that ashes or cigarette butts won’t ignite any flammable objects within your house.


2. Use Sturdy Ashtrays.


If you do decide to smoke inside, be sure to get an ashtray that is deep and sturdy. This will prevent any ash from encountering rugs, magazines, or anything else that could ignite. Another way to prevent ashtray fire is by putting sand in the ashtray to completely put out the cigarette. 


3. Don’t Smoke in the Bedroom.


It’s dangerous to smoke in bed because there is a chance that you might fall asleep with a lit cigarette. Mattresses, blankets, and bedding are all very flammable. The bedroom should be a safe place to sleep, not an easy location to start a cigarette fire. 


4. Keep Smoking Materials Out of Reach.


Kids are often too curious for their own good. To prevent any accidental fires from starting, stash your cigarettes, matches, and lighters somewhere where they can’t reach.


5. Completely Extinguish Your Cigarette.


If anything, always put out your cigarette completely. If a cigarette butt is still lit while left unattended, it’s easy for it to ignite something flammable close by. You can douse the cigarette in water or sand to help extinguish them. 

Keep your home in Palestine, TX, safe by following these five tips when preventing a cigarette fire. 

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROathensmineolapalestine.com.

4 Tips to Prevent Lightning Related Fatalities

7/24/2019 (Permalink)

Lightning Storm in Texas

Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. Though the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000, some factors can put you at greater risk for being struck. Here are a few lightning safety tips. 

BE AWARE

Check the forecast before participating in outdoor activities. If it calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity, or make sure adequate safe shelter is available. 

GO INDOORS 

Remember the phrase, "When thunder roars, go indoors." Find a safe, enclosed shelter when you hear thunder. Safe shelters include homes, offices, shopping centers, and hard-top vehicles with the windows rolled up. 

AVOID WINDOWS

As well as doors, porches and concrete. Do not lie on concrete floors and avoid leaning on concrete walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. 

AVOID WATER 

Do not bathe, shower, wash dishes, or have any other contact with water during a thunderstorm because lightning can travel through a buildings. 

For more information on ways to prevent lightning fatalities visit Centers for Disease Control; Cdc.gov