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What You Should and Shouldn’t Do After a House Fire | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

a person looking at a home completely destroyed by fire When you have fire damage, call your local expert at SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston so that we can get the job done right.

Once the smoke clears and the flames have been stopped, the fire department leaves and you might be stuck with a disaster that you don’t know how to handle. Regardless of the extent of the damage, it’s crucial that you plan accordingly and know the next step when fires erupt.

While the fire is roaring, and even days after it’s put out, your home can suffer extensive damage caused by the flames and the resulting smoke. It’s not often mentioned, but when this happens, your home is exposed to the elements and can suffer serious water damage as well.

In places like South Carolina where rainfall is a constant part of life, our homes can be at extreme levels of risk once a fire opens them up to the outside world. And while fires may not seem like a major concern to us, this recent blaze in Charleston displaced over 180 people in just over an hour of burning.

This is why we recommend that you contact your local restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Downtown Charleston—that way you can get back into your home as quickly as possible.

Common Mistakes Homeowners Make

Many homeowners believe that it’s safe to walk around their home once the fire has been stopped, but this is often not the case. There are many factors you must consider before deciding whether or not to traverse your damaged home. If the damage is severe, there could be major structural issues and your walls could be mere moments away from collapse.

A lot of people who suffer fire damage immediately begin to clean up and gather personal belongings, discarding ones that are fully destroyed. This can actually hinder you, and you should keep everything until your insurance company has had ample time to assess the damage and potential claims for your situation.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, it can take as little as 30 seconds for a small flame to grow into a major problem and do major damage to your home. This does not mean that you should give up hope.

Recovering from a home fire can be very stressful and demanding. With these following ideas, however, we hope to lighten the load and keep you on the right track to restoration.

The Right Moves To Make

It goes without saying that when fire damage happens to your home, you ensure the safety of your family, and then you pull out your phone to call the insurance agent. This process is often thought of as annoying and trivial, but doing it properly can actually help you restore your home quicker.

By documenting the important information like the date and time of the fire, the specific location, potential causes, and the level of damage done to your home, you can breeze through this step.

Along with keeping the crucial details, taking photos is an absolute must! Many people become too overwhelmed by the damage and forget to photograph the damage, but you can’t allow yourself to do the same. Once it’s safe to approach the home, take as many pictures and videos as your phone can store to guarantee that all of your losses are properly documented and logged.

The last step is to remember to breathe, and attempt to stay calm. During these horrible events, emotions run high and stress levels skyrocket, which only makes you feel worse about the current situation. Hopefully, you follow these steps and call your local experts at SERVPRO of Downtown Charleston so that we can get the job done right.

If you have experienced fire damage or want to learn more about our fire damage restoration services, contact us today. We’re here to act fast, 247.

SERVPRO® Is the Solution to Your Flood Damage Challenges | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

6/2/2022 (Permalink)

multiple white sandbags at the bottom of a stairway near an exit door Every water disaster is different. Let SERVPRO of Downtown Charleston help guide you through any water-related restoration.

Downtown Charleston attracts all kinds of weather. Because Charleston is surrounded by water, flooding is a regular phenomenon.

Charleston experiences multiple floods a year—a number that’s only expected to increase, with the NCCOS predicting 60 floods per year by 2051. Because floods are so unpredictable, having a plan in place in case your home or business is damaged is vital.

Floods bring the risk of water damage, and if your property has been impacted by the devastating effects of a flood, SERVPRO is here to help. When dealing with water damage from floods, we have a plan in place to guarantee that the restoration process runs efficiently.

It all starts with the first phone call. As soon as you contact us, we can go to work. We will assess the damage and begin your home or business restoration. Learn about how we restore your property to its pre-disaster state:

Qualified Water Experts

With so many water incidents in Charleston each year, it’s not surprising that our crew is well-versed in water damage. Our staff is continually learning new techniques and approaches to restore homes damaged by flooding. We have the expertise to examine standing water in your house or business and execute mitigation strategies.

Quick Services

When it comes to water damage, restoration should begin as soon as possible because delaying will only make matters worse. A quick response can prevent mold and other kinds of infrastructure damage. We respond quickly to flood damage, allowing water cleanup to begin as soon as possible in order to prevent further loss.

Water Repair Technology

The foundation of the cleanup process is our advanced technology. Our equipment can detect moisture and extract standing water, guaranteeing that your home and items are dry and damage-free.

Water damage can also leave unpleasant odors in your house or company; we can extract odors and leave your home smelling fresh.

Regional Expertise

Our area’s particular propensity to flood is paired precariously with the large number of historic properties in our midst. We pay particular attention to the specific requirements for restoring historic buildings, taking special care in every single action we take from start to finish.

We offer a solution to all the difficulties that a flood can cause! Allow SERVPRO to restore your home or business to its preloss condition.

Why Your Business Should Have Regular Fire Drills | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

5/25/2022 (Permalink)

two people in a meeting room looking at multiple fire extinguishers Is your business prepared if disaster were to strike? Let our team help you create an Emergency Ready Plan.

When you’re operating a business, you have so many things on your plate. You’re concerned with everything from operational expenses to income to employee welfare to the ROI of your marketing efforts.

With all of those to-dos, it can be easy to allow some aspects of business to slip by. One that you shouldn’t allow to fall by the wayside? Regular fire drills.

In fact, when was the last time your business had a fire drill? If you can’t name it, you’re probably overdue.

Why Fire Drills Are Important

First things first, why are fire drills needed? A fire can have disastrous consequences for a business, impacting the structure of the facility and the products inside. But it can also put the lives of people in danger.

And that danger zone starts within seconds after a fire sparks. Once a fire begins, you may only have a couple minutes to safely exit the building before the entire structure can go up in flames.

Most office buildings, or retail facilities, aren’t necessarily set up for quick evacuation. Depending on your specific building and setup, you may have to navigate around multiple offices and down staircases—or you may need to dodge clothing racks and mannequins.

That’s why it is vitally important to plot out the escape route ahead of time and to practice it with all employees so they know how to quickly get out.

How to Conduct a Business Fire Drill

Not sure where to begin? Some basics will help:

  1. Work with the fire department to determine an escape plan. They can help you determine the best way to evacuate when needed. Like in the home, there should be two ways to evacuate from every room in the building.
  2. Outline those plans and place them strategically in the building. These need to be easily referenceable, both during an emergency and at other times for review. It should also be included in employee onboarding and training materials.
  3. Determine who’s in charge. You need to have a safety team with leaders who are responsible in case a fire begins. This team of employees should be prepared to roll-call your entire roster of employees once evacuated, as well as any vendors or other people inside the building.
  4. Run the drill. During a fire drill, your team should act as if the building is actually on fire. Run through every part of the scenario, including escaping from the building and taking roll to ensure everyone is out. During these drills, practice alternative scenarios, too, such as what to do in case one route is blocked and another needs to be used.
  5. Repeat the drill. When you initially create a fire escape plan for your business, you should practice it every few weeks for a little while. This develops familiarity, which can help prevent chaos in the case of an actual fire. After a while, you can begin having unannounced fire drills every quarter.

Would your business be prepared if disaster were to strike? Our team of experts can help you create an Emergency Ready Plan for your business. Get in touch today to get started. 

Spring-Clean to Get Rid of Fire Hazards | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

5/25/2022 (Permalink)

a person cleaning the inside of a kitchen oven A fire can break out at any time, SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston is ready to take your call, day or night.

When you think about spring-cleaning, you probably think about sprucing up the house and making it sparkle. But as you clean up this spring, you can also boost your family’s fire safety.

That’s because many fire hazards lurk in plain sight. You walk past them on a daily basis, without ever really thinking about the danger. Taking a close look at your house and cleaning up those hazards this time of year can keep you safer year-round.

Have an hour or so and want to give your house a good hazard-cleaning? Start here:

  1. Look for flammable objects in the kitchen. That handy rag you keep near the stove may help you wipe up spills, but it’s also a fire hazard. Nothing flammable should be kept near the stove or other cooking appliances, so clear out the space.
  2. Check and put away heating devices. We’re probably past the time of year when you might need a space heater or portable fireplace. Take time to give them a good once-over, looking to ensure the cord isn’t frayed or otherwise damaged. If it is, it’s time to replace the device. If not, store the heater away safely until next winter.
  3. Have the fireplace checked and cleaned. Have a fireplace? Now’s a good time to have a professional inspect it, make repairs and clean it out.
  4. Clean out the lint trap in the dryer. Hopefully you do this after every load of laundry, but if not, it’s time to remove the lint. Even if you do check it regularly, take time during your spring-cleaning routine to give it a more thorough cleaning.
  5. Take a look at your outlets. Are any of them overloaded? Are you using multiple extension cords? Are any of your cords frayed or otherwise damaged? All of these are fire hazards, so make corrections and find replacements.
  6. Review your grill placement. You might be ready to fire up the grill, but is your grill in a safe place? Grills should be placed at least 10 feet away from the side of the house and any other flammable surfaces or objects. It should also ideally be near a working water source.
  7. Clear the clutter. This is probably already part of your spring-cleaning list, but it’s an important part of preventing fires. When you have piles of clutter, including items such as newspapers, the clutter is a double fire hazard — it can quickly spark in a fire and it can make it more challenging to get out of the house safely if a fire occurs.

Need help cleaning up after a fire sparked in your home? Get in touch today to get your restoration started—we’re here 24/7!*

What Should You Do After Your Home Suffers Storm Damage? | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

5/19/2022 (Permalink)

a large tree trunk split in half laying in grass If you discover storm damage to your home or business, you can count on SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston.

As the spring season comes into full effect, so does the intensity of storms, bringing in whipping winds, heavy rain, lightning and the ever-so-common storm surges and floods. Between these unpredictable weather events, it’s a surprise that our structures and property don’t suffer more damage than they already do.

Here in Charleston, we face an added risk, living near the coast. Even further inland, rivers and creeks run throughout our state and have proven to cause flooding in every area. In fact, there are over 300,000 properties in South Carolina that face significant flood risks over the next 30 years.

Though extreme weather events come in all shapes and sizes, the damage they cause is always something to take seriously. Here are some tips on getting through the aftermath of storm damage.

Stay Cool, Calm and Collected

If the storm that just passed through was powerful enough to damage your home, odds are you spent plenty of time in a crowded closet or bathroom taking cover from the destruction outside. It’s important to take a moment and reconnect with everyone, taking deep breaths and assessing each other for any injuries.

This is a good time to talk through how your response to last night’s emergency either worked or did not work. It allows you to figure out flaws in your preparations and improve them so you’re ready for the next disaster.

Assess and Document All Damage

Once you’ve ensured that everyone is OK and that it’s safe to exit the home, take a walk outside and analyze your property. Take photos on your cellphone of everything that is even minimally damaged, as this evidence will come in handy later so the insurance company can understand the extent of the damage.

Make Necessary Repairs

More often than not, it’s safer to leave your home as it is so the emergency response team can properly handle your home repairs. However, sometimes the damage has become so severe that it can actually cause more damage if left alone.

Making temporary repairs may be required to keep your home from being further destroyed, and if possible, you should do this immediately. Be sure to keep any and all purchase receipts so they can be added to the insurance filings, and follow these tips to help you handle that claim.

Contact the Professionals

Once you’ve addressed the needs of your family, the immediate needs of home repairs and spoken to your insurance company, give the experts at SERVPRO of Downtown Charleston a call. We’re available 247 and have an impressively quick response to all disasters.

By following these steps, and remembering to call the expert team in green, you can be better prepared for the storms ahead.

If you discover storm damage to your home or business, you can count on SERVPRO to handle the restoration. We’re here 247 to spring into action—get in touch with us today.

What Should Go in an Office Emergency Kit | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

first aid kit slightly opened with bandages and gauze on table Contact SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston to create an Emergency Ready Plan or to learn more about our scope of commercial services.

When you’re running a business, you have tons on your to-do list at any given time. You’re making big plans, restocking inventory, keeping your facilities clean and safe, managing a team of employees and navigating the changing times.

While all of these things are important, there may be one item you’re leaving out—emergency planning.

As much as you might not like to think about it, emergencies happen. To keep your business up and running after an emergency, you need a plan, which we can help you with. And to keep the heart of your business—your employees—safe during an emergency, you need an emergency kit.

Why Businesses Need an Emergency Kit
Since we live in a coastal area that’s no stranger to hurricanes, you probably understand the importance of maintaining a well-stocked emergency kit.

You might have an emergency kit in your home. To protect yourself and your family, you ideally need a kit in your house and in your car, stocked with items to keep you safe and healthy in the case of a storm or other emergency.

But most of us spend hours each day at work. When you’re operating the business, you may even spend more time at work than you do at home sometimes.

So you need to take the same preventive measures in the workplace that you do at home. You need to maintain a stock of items that will help nourish your team and keep you safe and protected during a storm and the immediate aftermath.

What to Put in an Office Emergency Kit
So, what should go in an emergency kit for the workplace? Well, first things first—you may actually need multiple kits (or at least one very large supply) depending on the size of your facility and the number of employees on your team.

Determining what goes inside is fairly simple, if you already have a good understanding of what goes in a personal or family emergency kit. It’s basically the same thing, on a larger scale.

When planning out your emergency supplies, you’ll need to base the amount of supplies on how many employees you have. (You should update the kit with extra supplies when employees are added to the team.)

An office emergency kit should contain:

  • Flashlights, with extra batteries
  • First-aid kits
  • Canned goods and prepackaged foods to supply the entire team
  • Emergency blankets
  • Enough bottled water to provide one gallon per person for at least three days
  • A weather radio that’s battery-powered or operated by hand crank
  • Extra cell phone batteries and/or portable chargers
  • Physical maps of the area surrounding your facility
  • Work gloves
  • Multi-purpose tools, like a Swiss Army knife
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Matches

Because every individual has personalized needs, you may want to suggest that employees also keep a small kit of supplies on-site. This kit could include basics such as prescription medications, contact lens solution and personal hygiene products.

Planning ahead for an emergency is the best possible step businesses can take. Get in touch today to create an Emergency Ready Plan or to learn more about our scope of commercial services.

What to Teach Your Kids About Fire Safety | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

a toddler playing with stove knobs in kitchen If you have been impacted by a fire event, contact SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston.

When a fire strikes, you may have only around two minutes to safely escape from your home. That’s scary for an adult to consider, but even more alarming when you consider your kids.

Because children aren’t fully developed, physically or emotionally, it can be even more challenging for them to react properly when a fire sparks. That’s why it is important for your entire family to be informed about fire safety basics and what to do when a fire occurs.

But what do your kids need to know? Read on as our SERVPRO of Downtown Charleston team gives you a guide.

Teaching Kids Fire Safety Basics
As with anything, the amount of information you share with your kids about fires will depend on their specific ages and maturity level. But here are some basics to share with any kid, tapered to an age-appropriate message:

- Don’t play with fire. This may well be the most important message you should share with your kids. Each year, an average of 300 Americans are killed and $280 million in property is destroyed as a result of children playing with fire. Keep all matches and lighters out of your kids’ reach—and teach them to never play with or even make contact with fire.

- Follow the fire escape plan. As a family, create a plan for escaping your house in the case of a fire. This plan should include two ways to get out of any room in the home. Practice the plan repeatedly with your entire family. Depending on the age of your kids, part of the plan may be that an adult needs to go to the child and help him or her escape. Regardless, every person should know how to get out, and it should be practiced enough that it becomes familiar.

- Know what the alarm sound means. Would you recognize the sound of an alarm alerting you to a fire in the home? It’s important that you are able to do so easily, and that your children can also discern between the smoke alarm and other alarms and noises in the house. When the smoke alarm goes off, it’s important to leave the home until it’s determined that the home is safe and a fire isn’t present.

- Don’t come back inside. This tip is important enough to stand on its own. Your kids need to know how to escape the home and when to do so, but they also need to know to never come back inside until they’re told to do so by an adult.

- Firefighters are your friends. While kids might idealize firefighters and other fire responders, when they encounter firefighters in an emergency situation, like a fire, it’s not uncommon for them to be scared. After all, they’re in full gear and often carrying heavy equipment. Teach your children that firefighters are there to help and to follow their instructions carefully.

If a fire strikes, your next move matters. You can get in touch] with SERVPRO professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week to start the restoration process. We’ll help get your home back to looking “Like it never even happened.”

What Does It Mean to Shelter in Place? | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

a large storm forming off in the distance over a large body of water The storm has passed, however, you notice that your home has suffered damage. Contact SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston right away.

If you’ve lived in Charleston for a while, you’ve probably been through a hurricane watch or warning. They’re not uncommon during the heart of hurricane season, which stretches from late May into November.

During these periods of heightened alert, there’s often a rush to determine whether you should remain where you are—and shelter in place—or evacuate

Thankfully, meteorologists are usually able to provide local government officials with specific guidance related to current weather conditions that allows them to make this determination.

But it can still be confusing for the average person. So, let’s break down what “sheltering in place” looks like and how you can prepare yourself and your family ahead of time.

Steps to Take as a Storm Approaches

When a storm is predicted, whether it’s an intense thunderstorm, a major rainstorm with expected flooding or a hurricane, it’s important to take prompt action. Start here:

  1. Go inside. Seems self-explanatory, but you’d be surprised how many folks try to test the limits and stay outdoors when a storm is approaching. You will be safest inside a building, but if you can’t get to a building, sheltering inside your car is next best. During a storm, keep the car turned off and try not to touch anything metal.
  2. Close things up. To keep the weather outside of your home, you need to close up all windows and exterior doors. In certain conditions, such as when intense winds are expected, you may want to board up those windows or put shutters in place for extra protection from flying objects.
  3. Choose the safest spot in your home. Ideally, settle your family into a comfortable spot on the lowest level of your home, in a space that’s free of windows. Bring your emergency kit and other necessities into the space so you won’t need to leave it often, if at all.
  4. Keep up-to-date on what’s happening. If cell service is still operational, you can check weather apps and other sources to determine the latest information about the storm. Otherwise, use the battery-operated weather radio you should have in your emergency kit to keep you in the know.
  5. Stay in place until officials say it’s OK to leave. Once the storm has passed, even while you’re still waiting for the all-clear, you can text or call loved ones to let them know your current status.

The storm has passed, but your home suffered damage. What should you do next? Call SERVPRO—we’re available 24/7 to get the restoration process started!

Why You Need a Full-Service Restoration Team for Fire Damage | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

a firefighter spraying water on a large house fire No matter the type of damage, SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston has you covered.

When you think about fire, you probably think about the flame. And it’s true, when a fire occurs in a house or business, the flame is the most obvious factor present.

The intense heat let off by those flames can cause immense danger in mere minutes. In fact, on average, it only takes 30 seconds before a small flame becomes a dangerous one—and only five minutes or less before a house structure is fully engulfed.

But while it’s true that those flames are the cause of a lot of fire damage, they aren’t the only cause. When a fire strikes, the building that caught on fire may also be affected by soot damage, smoke damage, chemical damage and even water damage.

That’s why you need a team of restoration specialists that knows the ins and outs of every type of fire-related damage.

The SERVPRO Difference

Many restoration companies may claim that they’re experts in restoring properties after fire damage. But to be more accurate, they’re actually experts in restoring properties damaged by flames.

Because a house fire rarely causes only flame-related damage, you need a restoration team that offers you more. That’s where SERVPRO can help.

Our team of highly qualified technicians goes through advanced, specialty training in all types of restoration, so we know the best practices for remedying damage due to all sorts of fire-related factors. We can handle the flame damage, but we also take care of all the rest.

When a fire strikes, you can reach out to our team 24/7. Our Emergency Line offers you quick access to our team, and the restoration process will start promptly.

We will visit your house or business for an initial on-site assessment of the damage, quickly determining what areas need to be marked as particular dangers. We’ll also carefully identify all the different kinds of damage in the home, which can include:

- Soot damage. You’ve seen soot in the aftermath of a fire burning in the fireplace. In that case, the soot is contained within the fireplace. But during a house fire, soot can accumulate nearly everywhere, sticking to surfaces and objects.

- Smoke damage. When a fire is gone, the smoke lingers. Even after the actual smoke has diminished, the odor of the smoke and the smoke residue will stick around, clinging to everything in the building.

 - Water damage. Yes, water damage. When fires are extinguished, massive amounts of water are involved. This often leaves standing pools of water that can cause damage on their own but can also contribute to mold growth.

- Chemical damage. Firefighting efforts also involve the disbursement of chemicals to extinguish the flames. Those chemicals may be lethal to the fire, but they’re also hazardous to your home and your possessions.

When you call on SERVPRO, you can rest assured in knowing that we’ll help get your home back to preloss condition, no matter what kind of fire-related damage we encounter.

No matter the type of damage, SERVPRO has you covered. Get in touch today to get the restoration process started.

When Disaster Strikes, Minutes Matter | SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

a large tree downed on a white walking ramp Have you sustained property damage and are not sure what do to next? We are here to help, contact SERVPRO® of Downtown Charleston.

A fire started in the kitchen. A leaky hose on your washing machine led to a flood in the laundry room. A storm knocked a tree through your roof.

No matter the type of disaster, when one strikes, you can’t wait. And at SERVPRO of Downtown Charleston, we believe you shouldn’t have to.

When you call SERVPRO, you don’t have to leave a message. We’re available 24/7 via an Emergency Line, allowing you to talk with a team member about your emergency and get the restoration process underway.

This may be the most important part of our commitment to our community. We know that when an emergency occurs, the longer the damage lingers, the more likely it is that further damage will occur. That’s why we act fast.

Here’s how we’re able to do it:

Our 24/7 Emergency Line

We mentioned this above, but it’s important enough that we’re talking about it again! Your disaster is our disaster.

If an emergency strikes overnight, you don’t have to wait—you can call us immediately. If flooding affects your home over the weekend, same thing. And we even have a team on the line on holidays, because disasters don’t take a break.

You call, and we get started. It’s that simple.

We’re Locally Owned and Operated

We can get to you fast because we’re literally right down the road. SERVPRO of Downtown Charleston serves Charleston and the surrounding areas from a spot right in the heart of the city itself.

That means when you call us, you won’t have to wait until we can travel from another city in the state or elsewhere in the region. The fact that we’re locally owned and operated also gives us a leg up in another way—we know the ins and outs of this community, allowing us to get started (and finished) faster.

We’re a Full-Service Provider

When one type of home damage occurs, another type often follows quickly behind. Take water damage, for example. When that leaky hose caused the laundry room to flood, it left a pool of standing water in the laundry room and dripping into the hallway. If that water isn’t dried up and removed quickly, it can create ripe conditions for mold.

You need a team that can handle it all—and do it quickly. Even under the best of circumstances, sometimes other types of damage will crop up. We’ve got all the bases covered, allowing for a prompt resolution.

When disaster strikes you don’t have to wait. Get in touch with our team 24/7 to get the restoration process started! Because minutes matter.