Commercial Property Fire: How Fires Can Result in Water Damage
If you already have damage due to fire or water in your commercial property, call SERVPRO, we are ready to help you.
How Can Commercial Property Fires Cause Water Damage?
While fire damage is apparent after a blaze, many business owners are shocked when they are confronted with a surprising amount of water destruction, especially when it occurs outside of the areas affected by the disaster. However, water and fire go hand in hand, and that is somewhat obvious when you consider that moisture is needed in these three common methods to extinguish flames.
1. Fire Hose
The most significant contributors to excessive water in your facility are the hoses used by firefighters to combat and resolve the blaze. These hoses operate at nearly 400 psi, going through gallons of water per second. Additionally, rescuers may need to douse other areas of your building to prevent the flames from spreading through your property onto someone else’s.
2. Fire Suppression System
While some suppression systems are designed only to operate where fire damage is occurring, others open all sprinklers throughout the building when heat is detected. Therefore, the type of suppression system you have can contribute to water buildup after a disaster.
3. Fire Extinguisher
Beyond the main moisture contributors, there are also fire extinguishers. While these are filled with CO2 or other extinguishing agents, they all leave behind residue and water damage. Though mandatory, these tools can contribute to the overall contamination to your property.
Despite the problems that all of these tools inflict on your commercial property, each is necessary and life-saving in its own right. When a fire occurs, it is more important to resolve the issue quickly than to worry about the potential damage. Insurers know the risks, which is why many provide coverage for
a disaster restoration specialist in the La Crosse, WI, area who can help mitigate loss and restore operations.
Water and fire damage are a pair; you can’t have one without the other. However, with adequate insurance coverage, you can resolve and repair the issues sooner rather than later.
Hurricane Season: Making Sure Your Business Is Covered
Storm insurance, specifically coverage for certain severe natural disasters, is beneficial depending on your specific circumstances.
Making Sure Your Business Is Protected During Hurricane Season
Storm insurance, in the most general sense, is likely covered under most commercial policies. However, when you start to specify natural disasters into categories like hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, your policy is not as all-inclusive as you thought. To adequately protect your business this hurricane season, you may want to invest in some insurance riders and policy upgrades.
1. Hurricane and Flood Rider
Typical commercial insurance coverage will cover things like wind storms, but these are not hurricanes. Hurricanes are a different extreme breed of a storm, and as such, they require a specific rider. This is the same for flooding. These specific natural disasters are not general enough to be all-included, meaning that these disasters are typically regional and not nationwide.
2. Business Interruption
Your storm insurance coverage under your standard policy will likely not include business interruption insurance. This means that when your business is forced to close for renovations due to storm damage, your losses will not be covered possibly placing your operation in financial trouble.
3. Business Owner’s Policy
A business owner’s policy will likely bundle property, general liability and interruption insurance under one cohesive plan, but this is dependent on your insurance provider. Many owners find the convenience of bundling beneficial while others prefer to shop around.
A flooding and storm specialist in the Onalaska, WI, area or your insurance provider can offer more insight and clarification into the specific policies and their benefits. Also, they can help you decide which options are best for you and your business. These decisions are primarily tied to location and climate zones, so it pays to get an informed decision.
Storm insurance, specifically coverage for certain severe natural disasters, is beneficial depending on your specific circumstances. Not every business owner requires hurricane coverage, but for those that do, it is helpful to know that a typical policy requires additional riders for that coverage.
4 Steps To Take To Begin a Water Damage Claim
When you notify your insurance agent about the pipe burst, the overflowing toilet, or dishwasher eruption, the water damage claim begins.
4 Steps To Getting A Water Damage Claim Started
Filing an insurance claim after water damage hits your home in West Salem, WI, can be daunting. Stress from the water damage can linger while you try to figure out when to move quickly and when to wait for help; however, no matter what part of your home the flood water damaged, you probably want to begin the claim process as soon as possible after discovering the water. Here are some simple steps to get you started.
1. Contact Water Professionals
No matter what caused the water damage, the first step is typically to contact a water removal professional service. The team can quickly remove the water and help you prevent additional damage to your home that standing water can cause.
2. Telephone Your Agent
When you notify your insurance agent about the pipe burst, the overflowing toilet, or dishwasher eruption, the water damage claim begins. Be prepared to answer questions and send the company any photos you may have taken of the incident.
3. Request an Inspection
During your initial conversation with your agent about the insurance claim, don’t forget to request an inspection by a licensed insurance adjuster. Not only can he or she inspect the water damage, but the inspector can also interview you and collect any additional information you have gathered since the initial interview.
4. Process Claim Forms
Upon receiving the claim form, promptly fill it out and return the pages to your insurance company. If you fear you do not have all of the necessary information, contact your agent to stipulate that the company allows addendums. Request a letter stating the length of time any additional information will be accepted.
Water damage repairs and restoration can be a long process, but if you follow these four steps, you can be well on your way to moving through the insurance claim with a minimum of trouble. During the days, weeks, and sometimes months following the water fiasco, don’t forget to ask questions, keep receipts, and remain in contact with your insurance agent.
Tips for Removing a Toilet Clog
If you already have sewage damage in your home, call SERVPRO, we are ready to help you.
Getting Rid Of A Toilet Clog
After taking a nice, long shower, you step onto your bath mat, and the floor is soaked. A quick assessment of the situation indicates that the overflow is coming from the toilet. This probably means that there is a clog somewhere in the pipe between your toilet and your septic tank. The following tips can help you with drain clearing and sewage cleaning.
1. Snake the Toilet
To combat toilet overflow, you will likely need to snake it. A snake, otherwise known as an auger, can be found at most hardware stores in La Crosse, WI, and is pretty simple to use. You can either insert the auger into the toilet bowl itself to try to dislodge the clog that way, or you can remove the toilet so that you can reach the drain beneath it. Then turn on the shower to see if you got rid of the clog. Make sure you put old towels or newspaper on the floor first, or you may add more sewage cleaning to your to-do list!
2. Snake the Drain Cleanout
If snaking the toilet didn’t take care of the clogged pipe, you can try snaking your drain cleanout. Using a wrench, remove the cap carefully. It’s a good idea to have a bucket nearby just in case any sewage leaks out when it’s open. Snake the drain from this angle to remove the clog.
3. Call the Professionals
If the problem is still not resolved or if you’re uncomfortable using the auger, it’s time to hire certified technicians to deal with it. They can take care of the clog and clean any sewer damage that the overflow left in your home. They can also determine whether you have a larger issue, such as a tree root encroaching on your sewer line, that needs to be addressed.
An overflowing toilet isn’t a pleasant surprise, but fixing it may be simple with the right tools. If not, you can always call a plumber or sewage cleaning experts to handle it.
Controlling Lint Buildup
As hot air from the dryer passes through the trap, excess compacted lint can ignite, causing fire damage to the dryer and surrounding area.
Controlling The Buildup Of Lint
Problems related to lint buildup represent the leading cause of dryer-related fires in the United States. Prevent a lint fire from affecting your home in Onalaska, WI, by incorporating the following safety procedures into your laundry routine.
1. The Lint Trap
Although it is easy to let it slip occasionally, the lint filter that sits between your dryer and the outlet hose should be cleaned after every use. Remove the cover by the handle and roll the layer of lint away from the screen, preferably over a garbage receptacle so as not to scatter dust particles into the air. Before replacing the screen, inspect the slot for any obvious masses of leftover lint that may have become dislodged. As hot air from the dryer passes through the trap, excess compacted lint can ignite, causing fire damage to the dryer and surrounding area.
2. The Hose
The aluminum hose connecting your appliance to the exit vent outside the home is another potential source of a dryer fire. Like the lint trap, dust and debris can build up in the hose and cause restrictions in the air flow, leading to increased heat retention. Remove the hose from the wall and the dryer by the screw-on clasps and clean it with a vacuum every few months. Inspect all connection points and ports for dust and residue that could lead to a lint fire.
3. Walls and Outlets
The duct leading from the laundry room wall to the outside may also need cleaning occasionally. Typically, this process requires a rotating brush attachment on a flexible coil, available at most hardware stores as an extension to a power drill. Clean the exit vent outside the home as well, including any attached grates.
A lint fire can be a source of costly property damage and require professional fire cleanup services. Keep your appliances in optimal working condition and prevent personal injury by clearing sources of flammable material accumulation.
A Few Leading Fire Sources
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A Few Of the Most Important Fire Sources
Homeowners in West Salem, WI, should be aware of a number of leading causes of fire damage. Understanding these statistics can help you prevent a home fire and make more informed decisions regarding your fire insurance policy.
1. Food Preparation
Cooking fires are the largest category of fires requiring a documented fire department response. Most of these involve a stove range of some kind, with electrical ranges being somewhat more dangerous than gas ranges on average. Outdoor grills also rank fairly high on the list of fire causes. Around a third of these cooking fires are the result of unattended flames or heating surfaces. Clothing ignition does not usually directly cause kitchen fires, but a fire that spreads to clothing has a strong correlation with personal injury.
2. Heating Systems
The second-most common category of home fire, at around 15% of total reported cases, involves heating elements. Many of these fires, around two-fifths, are due to smaller portable space heater units. The typical cause of a space heater fire is the proximity to combustibles such as upholstery or certain building materials. Another prominent issue is the lack of appropriate fire cleaning around fireplaces and chimneys, where certain flammable materials can build up over time.
3. Electrical Systems
Another leading cause of fire lies in the various faults that can appear in home wiring and related electrical systems. A majority of these occur either in lighting components or locations where electrical power is transferred, such as outlets or adapters. Homeowners should take special care to schedule an inspection for any exposed wiring or non-functional appliances, as these can lead to shorts that ignite surrounding flammable materials.
Even the most cautious homeowner can never completely eliminate the risk of a home fire. However, a little familiarity with some of the most common fire problems can help prevent injury and the need for professional fire restoration.
Grilling 101: How to Clean a Gas Grill?
A residential kitchen was almost burnt to ashes in La Crosse County. If you experience a Fire Emergency, call SERVPRO!
Cleaning a Gas Grill (Grilling 101)
Outdoor cooking requires routine grill cleaning to ensure fire safety. Follow the steps below to thoroughly clean your gas grill and ensure your safety all season long.
1. Protect Yourself and Protect Your Grill
When getting ready to clean your grill, you should focus on safety. While the grill is warm, turn off the grill and the propane tank. You can also disconnect the tank at this time, reducing the risk of a propane-related fire or injury. You can also wear gloves to protect your hands from the remaining heat and grease on the grates.
2. Remove Washable Elements and Scrub the Interior
For a thorough grill cleaning, you may want to remove any washable elements, like the grates, plates and drip pan. All of these elements can be placed in a bucket of water and dish soap to soak while you scrub the interior of the grill. Focus on the hood and the sides of the grill and be careful not to damage the burners.
3. Wash the Grates, Plates and Drip Pan
While routine grill maintenance may not require the soaking of the grates, plates and drip pan, a seasonal or monthly cleaning can help to ensure the longevity of the grill and its components. Remove the parts from the bucket of soapy water and scrub them with a grill brush before squirting them down with a hose.
4. Complete the Process and Be Aware
Once the grill and its components have been scrubbed down, you can put everything back in its place and reattach the propane tank. However, be aware that routine cleaning is essential to grill maintenance and to avoid the possibility of a grease fire it should be performed monthly or at least seasonally. Especially in La Crosse, WI, where grilling is a year-round endeavor, you should take precautions to prevent the need for fire restoration.
While basic grill cleaning and scrubbing after a meal does help keep a grill clean, it does not always effectively remove grease and other debris which may lead to fires. You should aim to clean your grill thoroughly at least once a season, if not monthly.
Understanding Content Cleaning Following a Business Flood
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After A Business Flood, It's Important To Understand How To Clean Up The Content.
For a business, contents are assets that are inside the property but not part of the building itself. If a flood hits Onalaska, WI, these assets often become damaged and typically receive content cleaning in accordance with insurance plans. This cleaning is an essential process for restoring a business towards its previously undamaged state.
Is Professional Cleaning Necessary?
There are many reasons to utilize a professional water damage recovery specialist instead of doing the processes yourself:
- Lack of specialty knowledge required to repair certain items like electronics or upholstery
- Lack of facilities at most businesses for restoring and detailing damaged items
- Professional work succeeding the most when done early
- Insurance coverage making the cost of restoration affordable
A flood that makes its way inside a building claims a variety of vastly different assets. Most companies will subcontract specialists for expertise needed to try and restore specific items.
What Does Cleaning Contents Entail?
After an authorization is given, an inventory is taken of your business to assess the severity of damage and necessary protocol. Most companies offer two types of content cleaning. There is on-site cleaning to immediately restore less damaged items and off-site cleaning for items that are more extensively damaged and require special tools or repair conditions. Unfortunately, some items, especially porous ones, may need replacement if left in standing black water for an extended time.
Off-site items are typically electronics, clothes and appliances that were damaged. They are stored in a warehouse where they are cleaned by using industrial machines. Every single item is individually restored, so this process can take some time depending on the severity of the damage.
What Happens Next?
Once every item is restored with content cleaning, your business will receive and relocate them in a now dry and clean building. Operations can resume, and the only flood after that will be of customers or business partners returning to utilize the location that was once unusable.
When Does Secondary Damage Form?
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What Causes Secondary Damage?
When there's a flood in your West Salem, WI, home, what goes through your mind? You likely think about the damage that could be caused by the standing waters. Did you know that some of the damage you think of, such as black mold, may in fact be considered secondary damage? This secondary form of water damage isn't caused by the initial surge of water. Instead, it is usually formed when one of the following takes place:
- A leak is not properly repaired.
- The humidity is not controlled.
- The flooding is not addressed quickly.
Understanding when more damage may occur can help you and your residential water cleanup team create the best repair plan possible.
If you try to handle water damage repairs on your own, you may end up missing some important steps. This poorly planned cleanup could lead to unexpected problems down the road. For example, you may miss signs of a hidden leak. Even after you clean up the initial water damage, more liquid may be pooling inside your walls because you didn't fix the hidden problem. Forgetting to address high humidity could also lead to more damage after the flooding is addressed. High levels of humidity in your home could be enough to lead to black mold growth.
Not only do you have to know how to properly cleanup after a flood, but you have to make sure the repair process is started as quickly as possible after the standing water makes its way into your home. Dawdling at all can allow clean water to degrade and become contaminated. This increases your chances of having to deal with mold growth and other secondary issues.
Not all flooding is going to lead to secondary damage especially if you make sure to address the issues quickly and properly. Failing to take care of standing water can lead to extra problems, such as black mold growth.
Quick Guide to Understanding Fire-Related Damage
If you are a commercial building owner, you can call the SERVPRO team to ensure your fire damage is taken care of in the best way possible.
Understanding Fire-Related Damage In A Nutshell
After a fire in La Crosse, WI, it can be hard to know what the next step should be. As a commercial building owner, you need to call in a fire mitigation team to ensure your damage is taken care of in the best way possible. However, you also need to know what counts as fire damage. After all, flames can affect a lot, including:
Fire can even cause different kinds of damage, such as water and smoke damage. When you're making an insurance claim, what should be considered fire-related damage and how do you show it?
While the fire itself may not have caused the water and smoke damage, your insurance adjuster will likely consider these issues as part of the fire-related damage. This means your water-logged equipment may be covered by your building insurance because the machinery was damaged in the process of putting out a fire. Any interior or exterior surfaces affected by smoke can also be lumped in with your fire damage.
As a general rule of thumb, you can include anything affected by the fire on your report. This means any structural issues, equipment damage or lost belongings may be covered by your insurance policy. Of course, the exact coverage depends on your specific policy.
Documenting the damage done by a fire can be tricky. The flames may have destroyed certain documents, furnishings and other belongings, making it hard to show your insurance provider exactly what was destroyed. If you have an inventory list, you can send that in with the pictures of the fire-ravaged area. You may also be able to send in before-and-after pictures to better indicate what was maimed during the blaze.
Fire damage isn't always the same from one building to the next. Your insurance adjuster may deem the building and everything in it as fire-damaged, but back up your claim with documentation just in case.