What to do until SERVPRO® arrives!
After you have experienced water damage the first thing you should do is to shut off the water source if possible. Once the water source is stopped contact SERVPRO® of Ajax at (289) 460-5124. The faster mitigation begins, the less damage is sustained to your home or office. While awaiting our services there are certain steps that can be taken.
- Locate and stop the source as soon as possible, if the water is from an internal source shut off the main water valve
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if the access panel is safe from electrical shock.
- Alert a restoration company to begin work as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
- Begin documenting damaged items and removing valuables from the affected area. Do as thorough an assessment as possible of all property that has sustained damages from the event. Look behind appliances, lift carpeting, check the crawl spaces and make sure you are using a light source that allows you to see exactly what is going on.
- Take pictures of all your findings, no matter how small. Once things dry out, you will have no evidence of what has happened, and that might be a problem.
- Contact your insurance company representative to file a claim.
- Document the claim number and adjuster contact information, this information will be critical for the restoration company to work with your insurance agency.
For Clean Water:
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- Remove excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture o a safe placed.
- Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water
- Depending on the weather outside you can open windows to allow the humid air to leave the space.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items. Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
For Contaminated Water:
- Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you encounter contaminated items.
- Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
- Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
- Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
- Discard any food and/ or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated items.
- It is highly recommended to contact professional help as soon as possible if there is flooding with contaminated water as it can be very hazardous to you and your family’s health.
We are always here to help, where the water loss is big or small, clean or contaminated water and are a phone call away at (289) 460-5124.
SERVPRO® of Ajax has got you covered when storms strike!
Canada, especially Ontario, is known for its extreme weather. Scorching hot and rainy in the summer and unbearably cold and snowy in the winter. When you live through these conditions, you know they aren’t particularly friendly on your home’s structure. Being prepared is the first step, but if restoration is necessary SERVPRO of Ajax is the company to call for any of your home restoration needs.
SERVPRO of Ajax employs trained water and storm damage specialists, water restoration technicians and applied structural drying technicians. That means we can restore your home or business and get life back to normal. Our list of storm related services includes (but not limited to):
- Mold Remediation
- Sewage Cleanup
- Carpet Cleaning
- Odor Removal
- Contents Restoration
- Move Outs / Pack Ups
- Electronic Cleanup
- Document / Photograph Drying
So the next time the lightning strikes or the snow rolls in, have our number ready in case the worst case scenario happens! Call 289-460-5124.
How to Prepare your Employees for a Fire
A fire is never something you expect to happen in your building, however it is something that strikes commercial buildings daily. With that being said, it is important to make sure your employees/tenants are ready in case a fire happens to occur.
First, it is vital that you have an Emergency Action Plan in place. This plan frameworks your employees’ responsibilities during any type of emergency – including a fire. Your Emergency Action Plan should contain:
- Escape route map: Print out a map of your building and highlight the primary and secondary exits, the routes accessible for those who might be disabled. And where to assemble once safely evacuated outside of the building. Point out where fire alarm pull stations are located, as well as fire extinguishers and any other key items that are important in any emergency.
- Evacuation policies and procedures: This should outline evacuation routes, crowd control policies, how to assist people with disabilities and how to report fires.
- Special Staff’ Responsibilities: Decide where to draw the line on instructing employees to use fire extinguisher (if fire is small and contained) or to evacuate immediately. Some commercial offices require designated staff to stay behind to shut down critical plant operations for example. Make sure these procedures are in place if necessary.
We must always be prepared in case fire strikes, but preventative measures are always the best to know, to help prevent a fire before it can even start.
- Keep up with routine maintenance.
- Make sure there is enough ventilation when utilizing any cleaning products.
- Get rid of any card board boxes/pallets regularly as pile ups tend to happen. This is a breeding ground for fire.
- Make sure all hallways and emergency exits are clear just in case an emergency strikes and evacuation is necessary.
In order for your employees to be well aware of fire procedures and policies, ensure they are put through the right training such as
- Fire extinguisher training
- Shut down procedures (may not apply to all)
- Fire Drills
Common Types of Mold in your Home
Mold comes in all shapes, sizes and colours. Learn how to identify the type of mold in your home and develop a plan of attack for treating it.
The most common types of mold include aspergillus, cladosporium and stachybotrys atra (more commonly known as black mold).
Aspergillus is a fairly allergenic mold that is regularly found in foods and in-home air conditioning systems. Cladosporium is typically a black or green “pepper like” substance that grows on the back of toilets, painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. While this mold is nontoxic to humans, it can trigger common allergy symptoms, such as red watery eyes, rashes and sore throat.
Mold that looks orange or red is typically found outdoors, due to its nature to thrive on decaying plants and moist wood. This type of mold, which can appear slimy, is harmless and should only be removed for aesthetic purposes.
White mold is not technically a type of mold, but the good news is that this typically indicates the mold is only in the early stages of growth and can easily be treated.
Stachybotrys atra or black mold is a toxic mold commonly found in cellulose-rich building materials from damp or water-damaged buildings. When wet, Stachybotrys can look greenish black and slimy, but can also look sooty and black. It’s been associated with several symptoms which are highly controversial. If you find stachybotrys in your home, you must seek professional assistance immediately to remove it.
SERVPRO of Ajax is here to help with any mold problems you may have, whether toxic or non-toxic. Call us at 289-460-5124 for more information.
Key Signs Your House May Have Toxic Mold
Despite what you may think, mold isn’t always visually seen or easy to find. Here are some of the most common warning signs that may indicate there is toxic mold growing inside your home.
Some of the most common signs of mold growth are:
- Dormant allergies or allergic reactions
- Aggravated asthma or other lung problems
- Discoloured walls
- Black spots
- An increase in negative health symptoms such as a fever or feeling itchy
- Musty, moldy odor
- Visual indicators of mold growth such as greenish black areas, slimy textured residue, and even simple mildew are all signs that a mold inspection needs to be scheduled
If your home has had any issues with moisture, condensation or other water problems, you can be certain that mold has started growing. Thus, if you had or have any water issues, you probably have mold and should hire a professional mold inspector such as SERVPRO® of Ajax make sure your home is safe.
What to do during a power outage
What were you doing during the Northeast blackout of 2003 in Ontario? Just recently we celebrated the 15-year anniversary of the power outage that affected a whole province. Most of us didn’t have power for 2 days, some regions took nearly a week or two for power to be restored. Most of us were left struggling to live through a power outage during our hottest month of the year. If something like this were to ever happen again (even if it’s just for a few hours) make sure you are prepared. Here are a few helpful tips.
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed
- Only use generators outdoors and away from windows
- Do not use a gas stove to heat your home
- Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges
- Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices
- If safe, go to an alternate location for heat or cooling – your local news organizations will provide you with areas with the appropriate amenities if need be.
- Check on your neighbours
Before the power outage
- Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity
- Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out
- Ontario recently just programmed alerts to go out on any electronic device to warn people of extreme weather and so on. Make sure you have received a test of these updates.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
- Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Make sure you have enough non-perishable food and water
- Use a thermometer in the fridge so you are aware of the temperature when power is restored. If the temperature 40 degrees or higher (4 degrees Celsius), throw food out.
- Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tank full.
During power outage
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. The refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately 4 hours. A full freezer will maintain its temperature for about 48 hrs. Use coolers with ice if you need to and monitor the temperature of your fridge/freezer using a thermometer.
- Generators, camp stoves and charcoal grills should always be kept outside and away from windows to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t use a gas stove/oven to heat your home.
- Check on your neighbours.
- If safe, go to an alternate location for heat and cooling – your local news organizations will provide you with areas that have the appropriate amenities if need be.
- Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power surges or spikes may occur and damage your items.
After the outage
- Throw out any food that has been exposed to 40 degrees (4 degrees Celsius) or higher for two hours or more, or food that has unusual odor, colour or texture.
- If power is out longer than a day, throw out any medications that require refrigeration unless the label says otherwise.
How to use a Fire Extinguisher
It may seem like a simple thing, but, when you are under the pressure of a situation which requires the use of a fire extinguisher it may be harder then you think. Read these simple instructions so that you know how to use a fire extinguisher and can respond quickly in case of a fire.
Always remember PASS
Pull the pin in the handle
Aim at the base of the fire
Squeeze the lever slowly
Sweep side to side
Know the different types of fire extinguishers
Fire extinguishers come in different types, and each of these types are used for putting out different types of fires.
Class A - Ordinary solid combustibles like wood, cloth and paper products.
Class B – Flammable liquids and gasses
Class C – Electrical fires (Do not use water to put out these fires as there is a risk of electrocution)
Class D – Flammable metals
Class K – Oils and grease fires
If the time comes to use a fire extinguisher, follow these guidelines:
- Only use a fire extinguisher if you are taller then the fire. Extinguishers are meant for the early stages of a fire, if the fire is taller then you the extinguisher won’t be enough, get out of the house and call 911.
- Make sure the extinguisher you have is for the right type of fire. And ABC extinguisher will work on kitchen grease fires, but an A extinguisher could make the problem worse as it is essentially only pressurized water.
- Make sure the fire extinguisher is still pressurized. Check the gauge, if the needle is in the green you are good, but if not, you won’t have enough pressure to put out the fire, so get out and call 911.
- Position yourself with your back to an unobstructed exit so that you can get out quickly if you need to. Make sure you know your fire extinguishers range before hand, and position yourself accordingly, you want to be far enough that you aren’t in danger of being burned, but close enough that the discharge will be effective.
- Use PASS (see above)
- Never turn your back on the fire even after it’s been extinguished. There may be hot spots of hidden flames that could ignite again at any moment.
How to Prevent Water Damage to your Commercial Business
As demonstrated by the recent flooding in Toronto and surrounding areas, water can seriously damage property. The cost to fix water damage can be very expensive and in some cases not covered by your insurer. That is why it is always best to take the preventative measures to protect your business property from any sort of water damage. Here are three helpful tips on how to go about protecting your business.
- Research information
- Your municipality’s website might have info on flood and sewer back-up prevention programs whose costs may be tax-deductible.
- Sewer back-up prevention
- Disconnect weeping tiles and install a backwater valve and sump pump
- Make sure there’s a secondary energy source (battery or generator) for your sump pump in case of power failure
- Detach the foundation drain from the sanitary sewer
- Disconnect the eaves troughs and foundation drains from the sewer system
- Waterproof building structures
- Regularly inspect your roof and eaves troughs
- Regularly inspect walls and windows
- Check basements for mold, water staining, cracks in the walls and make sure drainage systems are working properly
- Check plumbing regularly to make sure theres no leaking fixtures/joints, and irrigation systems aren’t spraying water on foundation walls
- Make sure the fixtures attached to exterior walls are waterproofed, and drain any standing water on the exterior
- Make sure any inventory is kept off the ground in water/air proof containers whenever possible
Roof Leaks and Mold
Knowing how to care for your roof can protect you against multiple things: water damage, mold, critters and so on. An aged roof may contain worn or broken shingles, which can lead to leaks inside your home. If you don’t check on your roof regularly, leaks can go unnoticed for a significant period and can not only cause water damage, but also mold growth. Intermittently checking up on your roof and attic can help you catch small problems before they turn into big ones.
How long does a roof last?
Obviously replacing your entire roof is a major expense, and because of this, most homeowners want to prolong their roof’s life for as long as possible. If water infiltration starts to become a problem, you may be wondering whether it’s time to replace your shingles. A lot of roofs wear unevenly due to sun damage, exposure to natural elements like wind and improper installation. In these instances, you might need to replace part of your roof before its lifespan is complete. Climate is also a big factor when it comes to lifespan. The average asphalt shingle roofs last approximately 20 years. Replacing your entire roof ranges around $7000-$10,000.
How to care for and maintain your roof
Because of the dangers of working at heights, roof maintenance should only be done by professionals. With that being said, as a homeowner you should keep thorough records of maintenance, warranty information and roof inspection record. If shingles or fallen debris end up in your yard, keep them to show your contractor. Typically, a roof inspection includes: a visual inspection of the roof, a check on seals around areas where water could potentially come through and identifying damaged or worn out shingles. As a homeowner you should: clean out your gutters, trim back or remove any trees that are at risk of hitting your home, and properly seal roof openings such as skylights, chimneys and vents.
Signs of a roof leak
Often, signs of your roof leaking can appear out of no where. There’s a chance you may notice the first trickle during heavy rain, or a damp spot on the ceiling. A roof leak can also be detected when yellow or brown stains appear on your drywall/ceiling. Leaking through the fireplace is also a good detection of a leak, as well as warped woodwork. If you sense a musty odor, that is an indication that mold may be present – which ultimately was probably caused by a leak.
What to do if your roof leaks
If your roof is leaking, you should first take immediate action to prevent damage to the interior of your home. If water is dripping, place a bucket under the leak to preserve your fabrics and wood. After you do this, speak with SERVPRO® of Ajax to determine where the leak is coming from. All roof inspections and repairs should be done by a professional because of safety concerns. Your consultant at SERVPRO® of Ajax will recommend the best course of action to repair your home and prevent any future water damage or mold invasion.
If you suspect mold
Dampness leads to mold. That is why it is important to treat a leak as soon as you find it. Mold can cause damage to your home and cause health issues for those living in your home. In addition to drywall damage, the insulation behind the walls may be wet or moldy. Mold may also damage the wood underneath your roof shingles. Left untreated, indoor dampness and sitting water associated with roof leaks can lead to problems with mold and should be taken care of as soon as possible. If you’re unsure whether you have a mold problem, you can schedule a free home inspection with SERVPRO® of Ajax. If we find mold, we will let you know what’s involved in removing it and give a price quote. We work with insurance companies to leave you feeling at ease.
Use a Professional Water Restoration Company!
Imagine, you come home from work, running errands or even from vacation, only to find your basement is flooded! Your initial response may be to try and fix the issue yourself, but before you do, check our “Three types of contaminated water” article. If you have grey or black water, it is highly recommended you contact a professional ASAP, and remember, clean water can turn into greywater in less then 24 hours.
So, do you call your general contractor or a disaster restoration company? There are a few important differences between contractors and professional Water Restoration Companies. As a professional Restoration Company, we try to restore, rather than replace, whenever possible.
Most contractors are not certified in drying and cleaning water damage to industry standards, so they tend to replace everything that is affected. This will often will include all flooring, walls, cabinets and even furniture. SERVPRO® of Ajax technicians are certified in drying and cleaning water damage to industry standards. We will not remove materials unless it is necessary. The average time to dry is 3 days, this prevents further interruption to your daily life and saves you money. We try to mitigate the water damage and restore when possible. Restoring your home is more cost efficient than replacing materials in your home.
Call SERVPRO® of Ajax! We are available 24/7 for emergency water losses!