Staying Safe During and After Floods
Dangerous residential flooding from 2010. Photo courtesy FEMA.
Because of numerous rivers and streams in the state, Arkansas residents are especially prone to damage caused by floods. Flooding can be common during the heavy rainy seasons but unusual weather patterns can also bring unexpected flooding of the type we have witnessed in our state over the last few years.
If your home has flooded, it is important to conduct a list of safety checks before returning inside. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has produced an in-depth document outlining these safety steps. They include:Checking the roof for dips across the surfaceChecking external walls to determine if they are no longer plumChecking the foundation from the outside to see if it has been damagedMaking sure electricity and gas have been shut off
Once inside, there can be multiple safety hazards and threats. The presence of mold is a real possibility and a valid concern for your personal safety. If you have an older home, there is also the risk of lead or asbestos contamination. Flood water contains multiple health hazards and just because the visible water is gone, it doesn’t mean the contaminants are no longer a threat.
That burning desire to check your home after major water damage is natural but even a few minutes inside could be bad for your health. At SERVPRO® of Northwest Little Rock, we provide emergency water disaster and flood services for Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle, Sherwood, Jacksonville, Cabot, Benton, Bryant, Hot Springs and all of Central Arkansas. We have given our mitigation specialists extensive training for safely entering this type of dangerous environment and for getting the remediation process started. It is our hope you never have to experience this type of natural disaster or other types of water damages but if you do, we are a phone call away at (501) 803-9700 and are always ready to help.
Water Damage: The Science of Drying - Part I
A Moisture Meter helps determine water concentration levels. It is one of the tools we use to determine "What is Wet" and "How Wet Is It."
When the expert water technicians from SERVPRO® of Northwest Little Rock enter your home after a water disaster, we have two very important questions that we must answer before drying equipment is installed. The first question is “What is Wet?” The question sounds simple enough but the answer is often more complicated. Standing water is obvious but it almost always means that hidden cavities of water exist that must also be found. These hidden areas can be found under cabinets or laminated flooring. Water can also seep under tile floors or hardwoods. Beyond the floors, water often rests inside walls and insulation and can move to adjoining rooms. Determining “What is Wet” is one of the most important questions we must answer.
The second question in our damage assessment is “How Wet Is It?” Water found under cabinets or inside walls can cause extensive damage if left untreated. Wood will warp, wet sheetrock will lose its strength and insulation can absorb large amounts of water. To answer the question “How Wet Is It,” we use sophisticated metering equipment that can measure moisture levels in areas that are out of site. We may also use a special camera capable of reading temperature variations within walls or ceilings or even in the foundation to answer this critical question.
At SERVPRO® of Northwest Little Rock, we provide emergency water disaster services for Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood, Jacksonville, Cabot, Benton, Bryant, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff and the rest of Central Arkansas. These are some of the questions we know how to answer to get your home dry and keep your environment safe. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (501) 803-9700. We know how to properly assess water damages and answering these critical questions lets us develop and execute a plan of action in our efforts to make your loss “Like It Never Even Happened.”
Water Damage: The Science of Drying - Part II
A Hygrometer reads humidity levels providing important information when answering "Is It Drying," and "Is It Dry."
When the expert water technicians from SERVPRO® of Northwest Little Rock begin drying your home after a water disaster, we have already answered two very important questions: “What is Wet” and “How Wet Is It.” We have discussed these questions in an earlier post. The answers to those questions allow us to develop a specific plan of action to begin the drying process. That plan tells us how much temporary drying equipment is needed in the affected areas and where that equipment needs to be installed.
Once drying equipment is installed and operating, the next phase of drying your home begins. Like the initial assessment, there are two questions that must be properly answered before our job is complete. Those questions are, “Is It Drying?” and “Is It Dry?”
Under ideal circumstances, drying your home can take several days. The different materials impacted by water damage in your home have unique drying characteristics. The metering equipment that tells us what is wet also tells us how much these materials have dried. Proper drying techniques include temperature management, air movement and dehumidification. Temperature (heat) brings moisture to the surface. Air movement removes (evaporates) moisture from the surface. Dehumidification removes the evaporated moisture from the air while supplying a sufficient amount of dry heated air to keep the cycle going. This on-going process lets us answer the question, “Is It Drying.”
The final question, “Is It Dry,” is answered when moisture and other measurements taken from the areas initially impacted by the water damage closely match the readings from areas that remained dry. In our initial assessment, and throughout the drying process, we take moisture measurements from an area within your home that was unaffected by the water leak and use those measurements as our “drying standard.” In its simplest terms, when our wet-area measurements closely match the dry-area measurements, we can conclude your home is dry.
At SERVPRO® of Northwest Little Rock, we provide emergency water disaster services for Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood, Jacksonville, Cabot, Benton, Bryant, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff and across Central Arkansas. These are the questions we know how to answer to get your home dry and keep your environment safe. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (501) 803-9700. We know how to properly assess water damages and develop and execute a plan of action in our efforts to make your loss “Like It Never Even Happened.”
House Fire Season? Not When It's Your Home!
This fire started in the overnight hours. The family had established escape routes so all adults and children escaped unharmed.
We often hear about a particular time of the year as being the “season for house fires,” meaning house fire disasters are on the rise from that month forward. It is usually associated with colder weather when we start to use more home heating. When it comes to your home, however, there is no “season” for a fire. It can strike at any time. The sad fact is that 2,500 people will be killed in fires over the next year. 13,000 people will suffer serious injuries related to fires and the loss of property – in terms of real dollars – will be more than $7 Billion!
SERVPRO® of Northwest Little Rock provides expert restoration services if you have experienced a house fire. If that is your situation now, please call (501) 803-9700 so we can begin restoring your home. The residue left from a fire, known as soot, presents hidden dangers if not properly removed from your home and your possessions. Soot is acidic in nature and within hours to days, it will begin to decay or even destroy whatever surface it comes in contact with.
Our homes are a collection of different types of materials, all of which represent unique risks once they have been exposed to the heat from a fire. The structure itself is composed of wood and sheetrock. Electrical wiring is wrapped with plastics and rubber. Insulation is found in attics and behind walls. Floors are made of wooden materials that have been coated with chemicals to preserve their beauty, or covered with synthetic materials found in carpets. Each presents its own set of risks. The water used to extinguish the fire also presents a different set of problems for furniture that comes in contact with it and personal belongings left on floors.
SERVPRO® of Northwest Little Rock technicians are trained to determine what can be salvaged and what needs to be discarded. Each home contains items of sentimental value like pictures and heirlooms. Until help arrives, pictures need to be removed from glass frames as quickly as possible so they can dry unless they have become stuck to the glass. Valuable items like jewelry, weapons, ammunition, financial papers and other personal items should be removed from the home for safe keeping.
Our restoration specialists treat the damaged contents of your home with the utmost respect and care. Once cleaned and restored, we will safely store your property until your home is ready for your return. Our job is to make your loss “Like it never even happened.”
We have helped hundreds of families recover from house fire damages in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood, Jacksonville, Cabot, Benton, Bryant, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff and across Central Arkansas. To learn more, visit us on the web at www.SERVPROnorthwestlittlerock.com.
Smoke Damage is as Dangerous as Fire Damage
Smoke caused extensive damage in this room, even though the actual fire never touched this area.
In a typical house fire, more damage is caused by smoke than by the actual flames. During a fire, the materials that burn produce toxic smoke that is actually filled with microscopic particles known as soot. These tiny particles become charged from the extreme heat and migrate to cooler air found in other parts of the house. Because this smoke is often extremely hot, it can cause additional damage away from the actual source of the fire by melting plastics, scorching fabrics and textiles and spreading toxic gases that will literally kill any living thing in its path. That’s why smoke alarms throughout your home are critical to saving lives.
The Department of Homeland Security says “In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames. Most deadly fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won't have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape.”
At SERVPRO® of Northwest Little Rock, our trained specialists know how to restore your belongings after a house fire. We hope you never need our services but if you do, we will help you determine what can be restored and what needs to be replaced. Restoring smoke and fire damaged items costs less than replacing them. Having your belongings restored, especially items of sentimental value, helps most families recover from the trauma of a fire more quickly than otherwise possible.
Again, we hope you never need these expert services but if you do, call us at (501) 803-9700 or visit us on the web at www.SERVPROnorthwestlittlerock.com. We have helped hundreds of families recover from house fire damages in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood, Jacksonville, Cabot, Benton, Bryant, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff and across Central Arkansas.