Home Ignition Zones and Wildfires
Last year was a devastating year for wildfires as it destroyed thousands of homes of the animals that inhabit the forest and the homes of celebrities that overlook such beauty, alike. As a growing number of people living in these at-risk areas, more than 25,000 structures were destroyed, including 18,137 residences and 229 commercial structures in 2018 alone. California accounted for the highest number of structures lost in one state due to the number of significant fires, including the Mendocino Complex, Carr, Camp and Woolsey fires.
According to National Fire Protection Association, home destruction vs. home survival in wildfires point to embers and small flames as the main way that the majority of homes ignite in wildfires.Embers are burning pieces of airborne wood and/or vegetation that can be carried more than a mile through the wind can cause spot fires and ignite homes, debris and other objects.
There are methods for homeowners to prepare their homes to withstand ember attacks and minimize the likelihood of flames or surface fire touching the home or any attachments. Experiments, models and post-fire studies have shown homes ignite due to the condition of the home and everything around it, up to 200’ from the foundation. This is called the Home Ignition Zone (HIZ). Within these three zones, Immediate Zone, Intermediate Zone, and Extended Zone, you the homeowner have the expectation to remove dead plant and tree materials, keep grass mowed to a height of 4”, clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves, debris and pine needles to name just a few! For more information please go to: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Wildfire/Firewise-USA/Online-learning-opportunities/Online-courses
Safety in the Home
Keep your family safe from fire. Be aware of the hazards in your home. And, be sure to have an escape plan. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes
Burn awareness Most “fire-related injuries” are burns. Make sure kids stay more than 3 feet away from the stove. Most “fire-related injuries” are burns. In fact, approximately every 60 seconds someone in the U.S. sustains a burn injury serious enough to require treatment.*
Dryers and washing machines The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires is failure to clean them.
- Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires; washing machines 4%, and washer and dryer combinations accounted for 5%.
- The leading factor contributing to the ignition of home fires involving clothes dryers was failure to clean, accounting for one-third (33%) of dryer fires.
- A mechanical or electrical failure or malfunction was involved in the vast majority of home fires involving washing machines.
- Fires involving clothes dryers usually started with the ignition of something that was being dried or was a byproduct (such as lint) of drying, while washing machine fires usually involved the ignition of some part of the appliance.
Escape planning Learn the steps to create and practice a home fire escape plan. Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.
Gasoline & propane safety Always handle gasoline in the home or propane-powered equipment cautiously. Handle any propane-powered equipment cautiously and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Cylinder tanks for equipment such as stoves and ovens must be located outside of the home.
- Keep gasoline out of children's sight and reach. Children should never handle gasoline.
- If fire does start while handling gasoline, do not attempt to extinguish the fire or stop the flow of gasoline. Leave the area immediately, and call for help.
- Do not use or store gasoline near possible ignition sources (i.e., electrical devices, oil- or gas-fired appliances, or any other device that contains a pilot flame or a spark).
Hoarding and fire safety Many fire departments are experiencing serious fires, injuries, and deaths as the result of compulsive hoarding behavior. The excessive accumulation of materials in homes poses a significant threat to firefighters fighting fires and responding to other emergencies in these homes and to residents and neighbors.
Maintaining Your Commercial Property
With yearly returns falling between 6-12% of purchase price, commercial property is one of the best investments available today. An investment that profitable commands an extremely high time commitment. Moreover, if you own multiple properties, the time it takes to maintain all of those properties is all but impossible for one person to handle alone. At best, it’s like adding an additional full-time job to your current list of time commitments. At worst, it will completely overrun your life. Here’s some of the best and most time-effective ways to maintain the value of your commercial property.
1: Keep Your Tenants Happy
Tenants are the single most important aspect of your commercial property investment. A property without tenants is always doomed to lose money. It stands to reason, then, that keeping your tenants happy is the first step towards a successful investment.
2: Keep the Building Safe
Keep communication channels with your tenants open. If tenants always know that they can get a hold of you when something goes wrong, they will be more confident doing business with you.
3:Keep It Clean
Nothing will ruin someone’s opinion of a property faster than filth and clutter. Your property is likely the face of your tenants’ businesses. If it’s messy and poorly maintained, their clients will become dissatisfied, which will ultimately fall back on you.
4: Maintain and Upgrade Your Property
Commercial property maintenance involves more than just vacuuming floors and wiping down windows. In fact, there are hundreds of things that you must do to keep a building maintained: check the roof for leaks, ensure that all fire and emergency equipment is functional and up to code, keep the air intake clean, and much more.
5: Invest in Efficiency
Making your building more green both maintains and increases its value. The gold standard for green buildings today comes from LEED certification. LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.” Buildings that are LEED certified demonstrate more environmental consciousness and energy efficiency than normal buildings.
Don't Ignore Water Stains!
You look up and see the dreaded water stain on the ceiling of your home in Metro West Boston and you instinctively know this is not good.When you cannot identify the possible water source above the stain, you could have a leaky pipe. It is not uncommon for water to run along piping or rafters before dripping onto your ceiling.
A leaky pipe may haveexisted for quiet some time itbeforebecomesapparent to you. And sadly, there could be a good deal of water damage to your home that you cannot see yet. It is something you want to handle right away before EVEN more damage is done. A professional remediation company such as SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley can help you get everything cleaned up. Our technicians are trained and have the right equipment for the job.
In a situation like this, we find the areas of your structure that are wet and define precisely how wet they are compared to regular moisture levels. We use various devices to help us track moisture within your home. Our goal for drying is to return materials affected to their normal moisture content levels. These tools are used to find the actual moisture content of different materials and help us figure out if your structure is dry.
SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley technicians also use thermo-hygrometers which measure both relative humidity and temperature. Some even do more, like measure dew point. We allow the thermos-hygrometer to adapt to air conditions in the room before we take a reading. We then use these readings in conjunction with a psychrometric calculator or chart. We do so to determine the specific humidity.
Readings for four areas are compared including the unaffected areas, the areas affected by moisture, outside the home, and the exhaust being processed through the dehumidifier into the area affected to make sure dehumidification is contributing to a drying process that is effective.
SERVPRO of Newton / Wellesley Stops the Flood Damage In Its Tracks
When a severe thunderstorm strikes the Metro West area, conditions can cause extensive property damage.High-speed winds can break exterior walls or blow tree branches into your windows leaving a gap for rainwater to come into your structure.
If there is a significant amount of water present in the home, moisture gets pulled out of materials using a specialized extraction system. After water removal, the next step in mitigating flood damage is the rapid drying process. Drying out structural components promptly can happen with the use of drying equipment.
Air movers and dehumidifiers get placed by our SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley technicians in the affected area to create an environment that speeds up the natural evaporation process. The number of air movers and dehumidifiers used depends on the size of the affected region and how much water got into the home from the thunderstorm. The amount of dehumidification needed is calculated by how many porous materials inside the house got wet.
Once the amount of dehumidification is figured out the number of dehumidifiers needed to start drying get set up. Each day our SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley technicians return to the site and check moisture levels and humidity inside the affected area. If the region is not drying quickly, then more equipment can be set up to improve drying. If drying has been successful and the levels have dropped, then dehumidifiers get taken out.
In some situations, our SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley technicians set up a drying chamber around the affected area to help speed up drying. A drying chamber consists of thick plastic sheeting that is set up with poles around the affected region. This "tent" targets the damp areas needing additional drying. The smaller the chamber is, the less cubic feet of air the dehumidifier has to turn over.
Specific methods and techniques can help reduce drying time so that microbial growth should not occur. Monitoring the work site every day helps us make a change to ensure rapid drying. For professional help with drying out moisture after a storm floods your neighborhood, call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today!
Stop Water Damage Before it Even Happens
Think first before you plant:
Some plants and trees, like weeping willows, have pretty invasive roots. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.
Roof Gutters, Roof Gutters, Roof Gutters:
You know it’s on your to-do list anyway, so if you can, take a safe climb up to your roof next Sunday and check out your gutters. If you’re seeing lots of leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, and whatnot up there, your gutters may not be doing the job you hired them for. And on a rainy day, a clogged gutter can send water spilling into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. That could cause some serious water damage! So next time you’re doing some seasonal cleaning, make sure those gutters are clean. And if your gutters are too high, be safe and get a professional to check them.
Keep a watchful eye on your water bill:
With so many water pipes hidden behind walls and in the floors in your house, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is done. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your monthly water bill. If you see it starting to creep up, or get one that’s uncommonly high, it’s a pretty good sign that you may have a leak somewhere.
Use a drain snake instead of unclogging chemicals
No matter how crazy clean you are, from your shower to your kitchen sink, clogs are going to happen. And chances are at some point in your life you’ve used one of those powerful chemical drain cleaners to get things moving again. But as convenient as they may be, most folks don’t realize those caustic chemicals are also eating away at their pipes (and they might not be too good for you either). If you rely on them a lot, you could be setting yourself up for leaks. That’s why owning a drain snake is a good solution to clear away clogs. They’re pretty inexpensive, you can get them at your local hardware store, and they can cut through most any clog you’ll have without damaging pipes or making your eyes red and teary.
Never pour grease down your sink:
You’ve probably heard this before, but you should definitely avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. It doesn’t matter if you flush it with hot or cold water. It can still congeal and cling to your pipes, and could still cause some serious damage and blockage.
Gross! Walking On A Wet Carpet
The toilet overflows, a pipe bursts, a washer overflows or you walk intoyourbasement completely flooded by rainwater. Gross! Water can seep into almost every material and cause irreversible damage. When water saturates your carpet or walls, you will need to make decisions and make them quickly! Do not waste time contemplating how to clean up the water, each hour counts when water is involved. The longer water sits in porous material, like carpet or drywall, the sooner bacteria and microbial growth begins to grow.
One of the prime locations for microbial growth to spread is in a humid room with sopping wet carpet and walls. What do you do? Grab a shop vac and suck it up? Grab a slew of towels and cover the floor while dancing on top of them, hoping they will absorb all of the water? Grab all the fans you own and try to set them in just the right places, hoping that everything will dry out in time? Go ahead and try those techniques, but you will have a huge and more costly headache to deal with in a month.
If you choose to call a restoration company, be sure to call one who has the certifications to back up their work.
We will extract the water from the affected areas and remove any wall that is not salvageable, ultimately leaving you a clean, bacteria-free slate to work with. We even have a construction division that can help you get your home back to preloss condition. Just call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley and we will walk you through the process. You will be informed and updated of the restoration/mitigation process throughout the entire job so that nothing is questionable. We are your go-to! Give us a call even if you just have a question and we will be happy to help.
Commercial Fire Alarm Systems
Commercial properties are held to a high level of maintenance to ensure safety of all occupants. These buildings include:
- Office Buildings – including serviced offices.
- Industrial Buildings – warehouses, distribution centers and garages.
- Retail/Restaurants – includes shopping centers, leisure facilities and pubs.
- Other non-residential properties such as entertainment venues, hotels, nursing homes, medical and self-storage complexes, as well as many more
Legal requirements for commercial fire alarm systems
As you can imagine, there is a lot more legislation concerning the installation, placement, testing and maintenance to regulate fire alarms in commercial premises than in residential buildings. British Standards provide guidelines that should be complied with and failure to do so is seen as a breach of a responsibility towards safety and can be punishable by law.
Fire alarms systems play such a key safety role in commercial buildings and there are a lot of lives potentially at steak. If the fire alarm systems are not sufficient then harsh penalties can be given, including hefty fines and in the case of extreme negligence, this can even result in imprisonment if lives are lost as a result of an ineffective approach to fire safety.
In addition if a fire does occur on a commercial property, insurance policies may be voided if it can be proved that the fire alarm and smoke detectors were ineffective. Be sure to test your alarms!!
How Does Commercial Insurance Work?
Your insurance policy will cover certain perils, which are causes of damage such as fire or theft. Coverages included in your policy are called inclusions, whereas perils not covered in your policy are called exclusions. It’s important to know what is covered in your policy and what is not covered.
Here are some of the primary items covered in a commercial property insurance policy due to loss from a covered peril:
- The building, owned or leased
- Business equipment loss
- Damage or loss due to wind, hail, fire or theft
- Accidental damage of property
- Business Interruption (lost business income)
- Electronic data
- Interruption of computer operations
- Valuable papers and records
- Forgery or alteration
- Accounts receivable
Of the covered items in a commercial property insurance policy, the most important items to cover are the building and the business’ assets contained within it. Business interruption, which covers a loss of income when your business is forced to suspend operations due to a covered event, is also necessary coverage in the property insurance policy.
For more information, reach out to your local insurance provider.
SERVice Above The Rest!
Effective training is the best way to help ensure your customers receive the service they deserve. We are trained to IICRC standards in Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration. In addition, continuing education classes are available to Franchise Professionals and Insurance Clients at our state of the art IICRC Approved Training Facility.
Vendor Qualification Compliance and Professionalism
If you call SERVPRO, we will use only qualified vendors to service your customer. That commitment resulted in:
- A National Call Center to achieve prompt handling of the claim.
- Implementation of best practices and job process programs.
- National Accounts qualification criteria and annual compliance checks.
- Crew and vehicle standards.
- Insurance requirements.
- File documentation requirements.
- Quality assurance program.
Serving Adjusters and Their Clients
A SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley's job is to reassure the customer, perform quality service and to report to you quickly. We know your job is to interpret the policy and adjust the claim... and not to deal with problems from vendors! Working together we strive to save you time so you can focus on priority files, while having complete control of every loss you are assigned. 24-hour emergency response, damage mitigation, loss assessment, and an electronic file are available to you within hours. SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley's documented, measured performance increases value to you and your shareholders, managers and customers.
Hard-earned results have made SERVPRO leaders in the fire and water cleanup and restoration industry. The SERVPRO System is geared to achieve customer satisfaction and mitigation results, adding to your company’s competitive advantage.