Does Lightning Cause House Fires?
If a lightning fire strikes in your home, do your best to stay safe and get the help you need
Severe storms in La Grange, IL can cause all kinds of trouble, including flooding, wind damage and even fire damage. There are precautions that can be taken to help prevent or minimize these types of damage, but due to the unpredictability factor of a lightning fire, you may do better to learn what should be done to stay safe in the event lightning strikes your home.
Things To Do Before and After a Strike
Because of the random nature of lightning, there are few preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk or the shock of a sudden lightning fire. There are a few things however that should be done immediately following a strike. Here are some guidelines for both.
Trim bushes and tree branches away from the house and roof to reduce the risk of a blaze spreading from foliage that may catch on fire
Have a lightning rod professionally installed to draw lighting safely away from the house
Turn off water, lights and other heavy draws on household electricity to reduce the attraction
Following a strike, the first priority is to make sure everyone gets out of the house
Once people are safely out, call 911 to get the fire department on its way, then alert next door neighbors so they can watch their homes
Don’t Go it Alone
A house fire is started by lightning over 22,000 times each year in the United States. Deaths or serious injuries and heavy property damage frequently accompany such a fire. If a strike does hit and start a blaze in your home, the first thing to do is to get out and call for help. Once the flames are out, it would be most helpful to call the fire and water restoration professionals in La Grange, IL to come and assist with fire damage cleanup. There may be a good deal of structural damage as lightning burns fast and hot, so get the help you need.
Take any preventive steps you can to prevent a disaster in an electrical storm. If a lightning fire strikes in your home, do your best to stay safe and get the help you need.
Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
Does homeowners insurance cover mold growth?
Have you noticed fungus growth in your home in Westchester, IL, and wondered whether or not your homeowners policy covers it? The answer is: maybe. There are situations where mold may be covered and others where it isn’t. Here are some factors that may determine coverage and what you can do about it.
What Insurance Companies Typically Cover
There is generally no mold coverage clause in a typical homeowners insurance policy, which may vary from commercial property or renter’s policies. Insurance companies expect homeowners to maintain and upkeep their property and only assume risk for covered perils. Covered perils are situations outside of a homeowner's control that occur through no fault of the homeowner. These include things such as the following:
- Frozen pipes
- Overflow of water from household items
- Impacts from snow, ice, or sleet
Fungus growth occurring from one of these situations where the impacted area is restored immediately by mold remediation specialists may be covered under your policy.
What They Don’t Cover
If water has been standing unnoticed for several days or weeks causing fungus to grow, you may find you are not covered. Additionally, if mold is caused by water seepage in an area that should have been updated, repaired or maintained, then you may not be covered by insurance. These would be your responsibility as the homeowner.
What You Can Do About It
You may be able to obtain a mold insurance rider as an addendum to your current insurance policy. This may provide additional coverage that your existing homeowners policy doesn’t. However, the insurance company may put a cap on the costs they will incur, or they may say they will cover certain costs but not others.
Fungus growth is a worrisome issue. Insurance companies generally cover damage occurring as a result of perils outside the control of the homeowner. They often don’t cover anything that could be the homeowner's fault. You may want to consider additional coverage as an addendum to your current policy to mitigate the risk if you have any concerns.
Why Hire a Certified Water Damage Expert
Commercial water damage in La Grange, IL
If you have water damage in La Grange, IL, there is a good chance you need to hire a certified water damage expert to safely return your location to normal. Faulty or old pipes can ruin personal belongings and structural materials. If not cleaned up swiftly and correctly, mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours. Certain types of water also need to be disinfected. There is considerably more to water clean up than just soaking up excess water. It is important to get a certified specialist to ensure your business is restored the right way.
What They Do
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification is a governing body that sets standards for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. To become certified, technicians must pass a series of exams and keep up with continuing education credits. A restoration specialist performs water clean up and restores your property to its pre-flood condition. Certification assures industry-leading skills in a variety of areas:
- Microbial remediation
- Commercial drying
- Odor control
- Water damage restoration
- Structural drying
How To Know If You Need an Expert
The extent of your water damage determines if you need a certified restoration specialist. For example, if you have a broken pipe and water has leaked into the drywall, subfloor, or other structural materials, you need to hire a professional. Not only will they remove materials that need to be discarded, but they will also use special drying equipment that can air things out before mold sets in. If mold is already a problem, or microorganisms are present, a specialist will develop a plan to disinfect the area and dry it in a way that does not spread germs or mold spores throughout your building.
Your business is too important to put it in the hands of someone that is not properly trained. By hiring a certified water damage expert for your water clean up, you can trust that they will get the job done right and restore your building to its previous condition.
4 Things To Do If Your Roof Collapses
Roof collapsed in a Maywood, IL home
4 Things To Do If Your Roof Collapses
There are plenty of DIY projects you can tackle at home, but if a winter storm or blizzard blows in to Maywood, IL, leaving serious roof damage behind, it is time to put down the hammer and pick up the phone. Disaster cleaning after a roof cave-in or storm damage is a job for professionals.
Do Not Enter
If a storm has caused your roof to collapse, do not go back in the house for any reason. Instead, you should do the following:
- Get out.
- Don't stop to search for, or collect, personal belongings.
- Take your family to a place where they are safe from the blizzard.
- Call 911.
Contact Your Insurance Agent
As soon as your family is safe, call your insurance agent. Let your agent know what has happened and check on what your policy will cover. Then call a company that handles winter storm restoration.
Call a Professional
A home with structural damage such as a roof collapse calls for specialized skills, and you will need to call in a professional restoration team to handle the job. They will take care of cleanup and repairs and help get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. Cleanup and restoration after a roof collapse or other serious roof damage usually involves the following steps:
- Clearing debris, such as dry wall, boards or broken pipes
- Drying the area using fans and heaters
- Repairing areas with water damage
Stay in a Hotel
Make arrangements for your family to stay outside your home for a week or more. You could stay with friends or relatives, or you may prefer a hotel. Be sure to ask your insurance agent what your policy covers in this regard, and then relax.
A winter storm can be stressful, but the cleanup doesn’t have to be. When the restoration team is finished, it will look “Like it never even happened.”
Tips for Preventing Water Damage While on Vacation
Check your water heater for leaks
When you go on vacation, you want to be able to relax knowing that your home in Berwyn, IL, is safe and sound. One of the biggest worries a homeowner can face is that of water damage and water pipe repair. Luckily, there are certain steps you can take to prevent this from happening while you're away.
First, you will want to make a thorough sweep of your home, in order to make sure nothing is leaking and everything is sealed up tight. Some commonly problematic areas to include in your inspection are:
- clear the debris from the sump pump
- check your water heater for leaks
- make sure there isn't a leaking or broken pipe under any of your sinks
- see that the hoses that connect to major appliances are in good shape
Prepare Your Home
Next, you might want to take certain measures to prepare various protection systems in your house. You can clean out your gutters. Reseal any windows or repair your roof if necessary. If you found a leak, do some water pipe repair before you go. If you are taking a vacation in the winter, insulate your pipes and leave the cupboards open so they don't freeze. Finally, remember to turn off your water, and flush the toilets after you do so to drain them of water.
Keep an Eye On It
If possible, have someone visit your home periodically throughout your absence to make sure it's not flooded. You can ask a friend or you could hire someone. Another option is to install a leak detection system. They will set off an alarm and can notify your phone. It's also a good idea to have a licensed water damage restoration specialist picked out, in case you do need to address a situation right away from afar.
The last thing you want to do when taking a much needed vacation is rush home to complete a water pipe repair. If you leave your home in top condition and make sure it is looked after, you won't ever have to!
Preparing Your Business for a Severe Storm
Invest in operable shutters to protect windows from high winds
A rainstorm or thunderstorm can occur suddenly, and you may not always have adequate time to prepare. Luckily, there are steps you can take now to prepare your North Riverside, IL, business for inclement weather.
Before a Storm
Unfortunately, storms can damage property and injure customers and employees. Here are some tips for minimizing damage:
- Invest in operable shutters to protect windows from high winds.
- Make sure all trees close to your business are healthy, and keep limbs trimmed.
- Install surge protectors or other forms of lightning protection.
- Inspect the roof to make sure it can withstand heavy rains.
- Create a plan for yourself, employees and customers in case severe weather strikes during business hours.
During a Storm
The storm plan you create should include basic safety precautions such as not using landline phones or running water, staying away from windows, etc. It should also list the safest areas of the business to go during a storm. If you have employees that may be out of the office when a storm hits, be sure to include information about how to stay safe while on the road during a thunderstorm or rainstorm, i.e., pull over as soon as possible and stay in the vehicle with the windows up.
After a Storm
Although much of the danger is over by the time the skies clear, there are still risks to both people and property. Be sure to avoid downed power lines and report them to the proper authorities. Also, never attempt to drive through a flooded area. After you ensure the safety of your employees and customers, it is important to begin repairing any damage. Before beginning repairs, though, be sure to take either photos or video for the insurance company. After documenting the damage, begin cleanup efforts as soon as possible. Water damage can quickly turn into mold growth which can further harm your property.
Preparing for a storm will go a long way toward minimizing damage, but you may still need to hire a certified restoration company to get your business back to normal after a thunderstorm or rainstorm.
3 Steps for Protecting Fire-Damaged Property
Fire damage in Broadview, IL
After your commercial property is affected by fire damage, looters may try to take advantage of the vulnerability. There are several things you can do to protect your property and everything inside.
Secure All Openings
One of the first things you need to do is board up windows and doors. Choose exterior plywood, or marine-grade wood, with at least ¾ inch thickness. Don't simply screw the plywood into place; instead, screw the wood into place from the inside or use interior clamps. You'll need more than your security system in place because the fire and related damages could have affected the wiring, or the electricity may have been turned off.
Hire Professionals for Restoration and Security
Commercial buildings are harder to secure than private dwellings. Preventing vandals from entering the property may be harder in this situation. Contact fire cleanup and restoration professionals to address the damage; they may also put up temporary fencing and assist with the boarding up process. A temporary arrangement with a security company may also be appropriate for preventing looting and vandalism.
Store Documents and Valuables in a Secure Location
If you have sensitive information, expensive products, or specialized equipment, it's a good idea to move those items to a secure location that hasn't been compromised by fire damage. As fire cleanup efforts are underway, there may be many technicians and workers coming and going through your property. Removing valuables to a secure location reduces the potential for further losses and damages.
Prevention Equals Protection
A fire in your place of business can be an emotionally taxing experience. After the flames have died down and restoration efforts are scheduled, the need for tight security is clear. Protect your property and business belongings from vandals and looting by securing your buildings, hiring professionals, and storing valuables somewhere else. Minimize fire damage on your Broadview, IL, property by taking decisive preventative action.
Efficient Commercial Mold Testing
Mold on basement
Your commercial building in Hillside, IL, needs quality indoor air. Whether you’re serving hundreds of customers daily or working in a small office with a few coworkers, air quality is important for the comfort and safety of everyone in the building. While some mold can be easily seen, other types of mold can affect your air quality and require an indoor environmental specialist to determine the presence of mold.
How To Test for Mold
Mold growth is typically easy to spot. Here are some common areas that mold may be growing in your commercial building:
- Bathroom grout and caulk
- Bathroom ceilings surrounding fans
However, not all mold is visible. Some mold can be growing deep in your HVAC ductwork, wall cavities or other areas that aren’t immediately visible. Hidden mold can have the same effect on your air quality, so consider hiring a professional indoor environmental specialist who will check the air quality and compare it to the air quality index.
Limits of Mold
The EPA hasn’t set any official limits on the amount of acceptable mold in an indoor environment. This means that there isn’t an official level to compare the presence of mold against. Any positive signs from a mold test should be treated seriously, so ask a specialist about any steps you can take to remove mold from your commercial building.
The Importance of Commercial Mold Test Specialists
Without a specialist, it’s difficult to determine the air quality of your business location. Discover how your air quality compares to other businesses, and ask about ways to improve your air quality to benefit your guests and employees. Look for a mold remediation company that is Here To Help.
Mold may be hiding in areas that you can’t see, but an indoor environmental specialist who is experienced with commercial buildings can help you accurately test your air quality and determine the best course of action for your business.
How To Prepare Your Commercial Property For Winter
It's important to prepare your business for winter.
Winter facility preparation is so crucial to your peace of mind at your commercial property. Having a check list of tasks is an efficient way to attack the needs of your building. Unexpected problems will always arise, but if you are prepared it makes dealing with those surprises less stressful.
Facility roofs are a critical point of risk when it comes to winter weather. Facilitiesmanagment.com has listed some safety tips to consider during winter weather.
Safety Tips for Your Commercial Property During Winter.
Flat roofs: Flat roofs require continual maintenance. Conduct required repairs of flat roof membranes and seams before cold weather compromises ability to do work. Be sure to identify areas where water can accumulate and where ice or heavy snow can pile up in wintertime.
Consider forming a snow and ice removal plan to prevent snow burden or ice overload from causing breakdowns in roof surface or even structural integrity. This is especially important when big snows are followed by a fast warm-up that can lead to standing water on roofs.
- Inspect roofs each week leading up to and during the winter season.
- Sweep up debris and check tar seals.
- Keep roof drains clear and be prepared if necessary to pump water off roof.
- Check that flashings are flush and secure.
- Plan for emergency snow removal in event of heavy accumulation. Identify and supply proper equipment and check it in advance of predicted snows.
Slanted Roofs: The various materials from which slanted roofs are made can present different kinds of problems. Even though water runs downhill and shingles or tiles are designed to shunt it off, slanted roofs can still leak and must be sealed correctly to prevent seepage.
- Inspect shingles and roof vents if applicable.
- Check roof-edge waterproofing and seal to prevent potential drafts.
- Install or check ice breakers to protect public safety.
- Trim back trees or branches that may impact roof integrity.
Water seepage is always something to consider in the winter as well. Foundation seepage can reach into the interior of the building and cause mold damage. This can cause air quality in the building to decline, which can lead to illness. Ensuring adequate ventilation and completely drying any areas impacted by moisture collection or seepage are the best ways to prevent mold growth.
Winter Fire Safety
Fire safety involves both preventative and responsive measures at most facilities.
- Have electrical contractors run tests on “last mile” connections from input source to buildings and throughout the facility to check wiring and loads placed on outlets, panels and equipment.
- Run daily checks if necessary to prevent storage of flammable materials including cloths or other solvent-soaked items.
- Educate all people to proper fire escape and fire drill procedures.
- Inventory and check all fire extinguishers.
- Supply adequate heat to keep fire response equipment functioning safely, including value houses, water tanks, pump houses and other supplies.
- If your facility has fire protection tanks, check daily to prevent freezing.
Your commercial property is worth protecting from the winter weather. Should you have a winter fire, mold damage, or water damage give SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside a call at 708-240-4873.
3 Common Causes of Home Fires
Cigarettes are another common cause of house fires
Common Causes of Fires
Fires can devastate homes, and avoiding a home fire Riverside, IL, is often important to homeowners. However, many people aren't sure how to prevent fires in their homes. Learning about common causes of fires can be a helpful first step in preventing your home from sustaining fire damage.
1. Worn Electrical Cords
Many items in households today require electricity to function, which is one reason why electrical fires are common occurrences in residential areas. Over time, cords can become frayed, which can expose the wires and make a fire more likely to occur. It can be difficult to notice if cords that are not in view, such as cords to the television or other appliances, become frayed. In order to help to prevent this type of fire, it can be useful to check the wiring to all devices in appliances in your house and to replace frayed cords.
2. Kitchen Mishaps
There are several reasons fires in homes often begin in kitchens. Fires commonly start in kitchens when pots or pans are left unattended or when grease is left on a stovetop and catches fire. After kitchen fires, many homeowners find it useful to contact fire cleaning and restoration experts to restore their homes to their original states. Fortunately, you can often prevent a home fire by staying in the room while cooking and keeping your kitchen clean.
3. Smoking Inside
Cigarettes are another common cause of house fires, and this type of fire is more likely to occur when a person smokes inside their home. Many people unintentionally fall asleep while smoking on their beds or sofas, which often results in a fire. Improperly disposing of a cigarette in the home can also cause a fire. However, you can often prevent cigarette fires by smoking outside of your home and extinguishing cigarettes in an ashtray outside of your home as well.
Understanding common fire causes can help you to protect your home. Replacing worn electrical cords, using caution when cooking and not smoking inside can help you to prevent a home fire.