Recent Posts

Top 5 Causes of House Fires

7/22/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Top 5 Causes of House Fires Fires can destroy your home

Every 86 seconds, fire departments across the United States respond to residential fires. As a homeowner in Portland, ME, the prospect of a home fire is terrifying. Help prevent fires in your home by knowing the top five fire causes:

1. Cooking

Leaving cooking unattended is the leading fire cause in homes. The risk is increased with frying and attempting to extinguish the blaze without assistance from firefighters. Never leave your home with food cooking in the kitchen. If a fire starts, call 911 before attempting to put out the flames.

2. Smoking

The majority of house fires instigated by smoking involve bedding and upholstery. If you smoke, go outside if possible. Never smoke in bed or near flammable fabrics, especially when tired.

3. Heating

When heating is the reason for a home fire, it is commonly due to space heaters or wood stoves. Reduce your risk by turning off these devices when you are asleep or not at home. Furnace maintenance can help prevent fires due to central heating.

4. Electrical

Failures with electrical equipment or lighting cause 9-13% of residential fires. Check your cords, plugs, outlets and light fixtures for damage and repair or replace as needed.

5. Arson

There is little you can do to prevent a fire that is set intentionally. About half of this type of fire is set by children and adolescents.

The best way to protect your own safety and reduce fire damage at your home in Portland, ME, is to know the common causes of home fire and how to prevent them. In addition to the above information, keep at least one functioning smoke detector at each level of your home. If possible, install a home sprinkler system. Have and practice an escape plan with your family in case of a fire. After a fire, contact your insurance agent and a fire restoration specialist to begin the process of smoke and fire cleaning.

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3 Things You Need To Do Right When You Spot Mold

7/17/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation 3 Things You Need To Do Right When You Spot Mold Ceiling Mold Damage

Black mold can surface quickly in a commercial building in Portland, ME. One day you may not notice any signs of the fungus growth and the next you see spots of it on your walls. Whether you smell or see the growth, it is important to take action as quickly as possible.

1. Call in Help

As soon as you notice any type of mold growing in your commercial space, you need to call in a professional team. The experts in mold cleanup can quickly assess your problem, make a remediation plan and start the repairs. This fast action may help save you money. If you try to take on the cleanup on your own, you may end up making the problem worse because the growth can spread to remote areas on the property.

2. Stop the Airflow

If your cleanup team can't get out to your building right away, you shouldn't sit around and wait. You need to do what you can to stop the black mold from spreading to new parts of your building. Spores can travel in the air, so you should try to cut off airflow. This may mean turning off your HVAC system, closing windows and removing fans from the space.

3. Address the Water

If you notice mold growth, chances are you also have some sort of moisture problem. Whether it's standing water or high humidity, you need to address the water issue as quickly as possible. If you have standing water, start the drying out process. If you have high humidity, set up a dehumidifier. Identifying the cause of the water problem can make your mold cleanup a little easier because you need to stop the water before you can really remove the growth. In some cases, you may have to turn off the water to your building until the professionals arrive.

It doesn't take long for mold to spread and invade other parts of your building. Taking fast actions when you first notice black mold can help make the entire cleanup process a little easier.

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Smoke & Soot Cleanup

6/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke & Soot Cleanup Soot buildup on these light fixtures after a fire occurred in a local business in Portland.

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Portland will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 207-772-5032

Cleaning Valued Possessions After a Flood

6/26/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Cleaning Valued Possessions After a Flood Possessions damaged after a flood in Portland Maine

Water in a home can range from a nuisance to a nightmare, as residents of Portland, ME, can attest. Storms or equipment failures are the most frequent offenders, and though vigilance can go a long way in avoiding loss, some incidents defy precautions. It is comforting to know that professionals are nearby to assist if serious water damage befalls your home.

Cleaning Tips for Your Family Treasures

If a flood damages an heirloom that cannot be replaced, there may be a way to salvage the item. Consider the following strategies for addressing harm to your sentimental favorites:

• Remove dirt or debris from still-wet objects with a gentle rinse of clean water. Lightly brush if necessary while applying a fine spray.
• Air dry the object indoors to avoid further damage from excessive heat or sunlight.
• Head off additional damage caused by mold or mildew after you have had water in a home. Allow air to gently move around the object.
• Leathers and textiles need to air dry. Don’t attempt to hurry the process. Professional dry cleaning can be very effective as the final step to restoration.
• Wet paintings need to remain on their stretchers, though they can be removed from frames. Air dry them face-up.
• Don’t pull apart photos or negatives that are stuck together. Rinse without touching the surfaces, and when they have separated, allow them to air dry.
• Objects made of paper need to be handled gently and allowed to air dry.
• Wood furniture will likely require the services of a conservator once it has dried.
• Collect pieces of anything that has disintegrated and allow them to dry. Assess later whether you can handle the repair on your own or defer to a professional conservator.

Avoiding Trouble

After an episode of water in a home, think about what you can do to avoid a recurrence. A broken pipe, for example, might be avoidable through routine inspection and preventative maintenance. If potentially catastrophic weather is on the way, plan for your family’s safety first, and then consider moving your most precious items to a place where they have a better chance of remaining safe and dry.

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Drying Important Company Documents After a Flood

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Drying Important Company Documents After a Flood Damaged belongings can be restored when properly dried

Your immediate concern after a disaster strikes your company in Portland, ME, may be the safety of your employees, commercial building, and business inventory. Once the task of addressing urgent matters is complete, the need to assess the situation and stabilize the company will probably be your next mission. One way to mitigate possible damage after a water disaster is the preservation of key business items such as wet documents.

Saving Business Documents

Flooding response time can often determine whether documents can successfully be saved. Flood water generally has a high pH level, so the longer the papers are in the dirty water, the more ink can bleed and pages can deteriorate. Some of the business documents in question may include

• Employee medical documents
• Personal identification papers
• Financial papers
• Legal documentation
• Emergency contact information

Removing water as soon as possible is essential because mold can begin to develop in as little as 48 hours. A professional recovery service can remove standing water and sterilize the documents with gamma irradiation that can be critical to prevent mold and other contaminants from ruining the papers.

Freeze-Drying Papers

By using a state-of-the-art freeze-drying method to protect valuable data, the loss of documents due to water damage can be dramatically reduced. The new document drying technique safely processes the paperwork until it can be addressed by a specialized team. The materials are vacuumed and then dried using a process known as sublimation. During sublimation, the water is removed in a gaseous state. The vacuum process can safely be used on wet documents such as

• Photographs
• Files
• Blueprints
• Books
• Parchment
• Microfiche

The restoration procedure may also include cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing all materials.

Restoring Vacuumed Materials

Restoring wet documents to their pre-damaged condition is nearly impossible, but a professional recovery team can stabilize the acidity of the water damage and quickly freeze the documents. Once the recovery is completed, the materials can often return to your business with almost no visible damage.

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Essential Thunderstorm Safety Tips at Work

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Essential Thunderstorm Safety Tips at Work Storm Damage in Portland, Maine

It’s not uncommon for a thunderstorm to roll into the area. While the sound of booming thunder may mesmerize some people, a storm’s effects can cause significant harm to your office building. It’s important to have a plan in place to keep your employees safe during this severe weather but to also understand how you can prevent damages and other negative consequences.

Take a Look at Your Grounds

A heavy rain storm may be good for keeping things green, but it’s often accompanied by other concerning weather conditions. You can’t afford damage to your building, so make sure you prepare for large storms.

• Trim your trees to reduce the chances of broken windows or other destruction if trees are knocked over.
• Make sure your rain gutters are working properly and sending water away from the building’s foundation.
• Inspect the lightning rod on top of the building and make sure it will do its job properly.

Have a Safety Plan

Chances are you have instituted a fire evacuation plan at work. It’s also important to establish safety regulations during a major rain storm. Large storms can bring high winds, so employees should know to stay away from windows and skylights during these situations. Go over these and other important regulations annually and ensure that everyone commits to follow them.

Know First Aid

If a large storm comes to your Portland, ME, office, you face the possible risk of injuries. Not only should you have a first aid kit in the workplace, but you should train employees on basic first aid. You should be able to deal with minor injuries, but you can even handle more significant issues while you wait for responders to arrive on scene.

Don’t let a large rain storm catch you off guard at work. Consult an expert to help you prepare for these issues and avoid injury and major damage to your building.

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3 Factors To Consider When Creating an Evacuation Plan for Your Business

5/24/2018 (Permalink)

As a Portland, ME, business owner, one of your priorities might be to keep your employees and customers as safe as possible. One way to accomplish this is to have an evacuation plan in place in case of an emergency. If you ready to open a business or want to create a more effective fire escape plan for your building, there are several factors you may want to consider as you do so.

1. The Size of Your Building

If you own a building with one or two floors, your emergency escape plan will probably be simple to create. Be sure to mark any exits clearly and provide anyone inside with directions to the exits closest to them. For larger buildings, remind your employees to use the stairs in case of a fire and help those unfamiliar with the building follow the escape plan.

2. The Number of Exits

As you form a fire escape plan for your commercial building, consider how many exits are available and how people would escape if these doors were blocked by flames during a fire. If your building lacks additional exits, you might want to consider having a contractor install them. Not only can additional doors provide a means of escape during an emergency, they may make formulating an evacuation plan simpler.

3. Handicap Access

When an emergency arises, it may be more difficult for handicapped individuals to escape the building. This is a factor you might want to consider, especially if you own a retail business. A fire damage and restoration company may be able to assist you with a viable escape plan by noting where limited access might create a dangerous situation for the handicapped and advise you about how to modify these areas.

The thought of a sudden fire in your commercial building can be frightening. However, being prepared with an effective fire escape plan for your Portland, ME, business can help save the lives of your employees and customers if disaster strikes.

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Quick Guide Safety Gear Used During Mold Remediation

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Quick Guide Safety Gear Used During Mold Remediation Protective equipment during mold remediation is important for you or your mold remediation team

If you have found mold in your Portland, ME, home, you may be wondering what your next move should be. Calling a professional mold remediation team should be your first step. You may be tempted to take care of the issue yourself, but there are a lot of rules you need to follow. For example, you need to get rid of the entire problem and not just wipe away the surface mold. Experts in mold damage know exactly how to address fungus-related problems. Professionals also have access to the safety gear needed to tackle this big project. What type of protective equipment do most experts use and why do they use it?

• Face Masks: Safety masks play a major role in mold cleanup. These devices help keep mold spores from entering a person's lungs. Depending on the job at hand, remediation teams may use full-face or half-face respirators.

• Gloves: Mold can cling to the hands of those who touch it. Workers need to wear gloves to ensure they do not spread the spores to other areas of your home or other customer's homes.

• Eye Protection: This protective equipment is only needed if the crew uses face masks that don't cover the eyes. Goggles can protect the eyes from debris related to mold removal.

• Coveralls: Fungus can also cling to clothing, which is how it travels from location to location. Many professionals choose to use special coveralls that are washed after each job to limit the spread of mold.

• Shoe Coverings: Some coveralls may come with attached boots, but when this is not the case shoe coverings are needed. This equipment acts as a barrier between the workers and the rest of your home because they are removed before leaving the infested area.

Protective equipment, like face masks and body coverings, are used to not only protect the person handling the mold but also to protect the rest of your home. If you want mold removed removed properly, you need to work with a team that uses proper safety gear.

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3 Helpful Tips for Avoiding a Dryer Fire

5/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 3 Helpful Tips for Avoiding a Dryer Fire Cleaning your Portland dryer vent will prevent future fires from lint and dust

Though you and your family probably take the time to exchange chore duties in your Portland, ME, home, some cleaning tasks inevitably fall by the wayside. One of these tasks includes keeping your dryer maintained and well-kempt, preventing a potential dryer fire in the process. Here are three helpful tips for avoiding a fire through your home’s dryer, whether it be due to a lint fire, an electrical issue or something more hazardous.

1. Be sure to clean the lint filter before and after every load of laundry. While cleaning out lint from the trap can easily be overlooked, creating a schedule to regularly follow can quickly make the task become a common habit in your family. This prevents considerable lint and dust build-up from forming near the heating element, eliminating a possible dryer fire hazard with every use thereafter.

2. Make it a priority to snake out your air exhaust vent pipe. A lint fire can erupt just as easily through the exhaust pipe as the filter since air flow can become restricted in the ventilation path due to build-up over time. Not only should professional inspections be conducted on a consistent basis but the outside vent ducting should be unblocked from time to time, as well.

3. Frequently inspect for and remove any dust collection behind the dryer, and ensure that flammable items aren’t resting too close to the heating element. Excess dust, lint and dirt can collect on the electrical wiring and tubing behind your dryer, so using a duster or vacuum to remove build-up is crucial to keeping the machine working properly and safely. Furthermore, be wary of storing any flammable objects or chemicals near the heating element.

While perfectly maintaining your Portland, ME, home at all times can be impossible due to everyone’s busy schedules, making dryer maintenance a priority is vital to preventing a potential lint fire in your residence.

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How To Detect Mold Growth in Your Building

4/25/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation How To Detect Mold Growth in Your Building Mold and mildew can grow after your belongings suffered from water or moisture damage

If your property has been affected by flooding in Portland, ME, you may be concerned about mold growth. Because mold spores are carried in the air, they are found everywhere. That means if there is any lingering moisture in your building, conditions are right for mold spores to settle and grow into a colony. If you can't locate the mold yourself, call in an indoor environmental specialist to conduct a mold test before you hire a mold remediation company to deal with it.

Look for It

In most cases, you can detect mold through visual inspection. Get a good flashlight and examine any locations likely to be affected. This includes areas prone to retaining moisture and harboring mold, such as rooms under the roof, basements and crawlspaces.

Mold appears as patches of discoloration, often growing in a circular or rounded pattern. There are more than 100,000 species of mold and they come in a range of colors:

• Black
• Grey
• Brown
• White
• Green
• Orange
• Yellow

Sniff It Out

If you don’t find any mold during your visual inspection but you notice a persistent odor, you could have mold growing in hidden locations, such as inside your walls or under carpets and floorboards. An indoor environmental specialist can test the air and tell you if there is an unusually high spore count inside your building. Although most people think of musty or earthy odors when they think of mold, different species can have distinct smells:

• Old cheese
• Cat urine
• Car exhaust
• Dirty, wet socks

If you can smell mold, chances are very good you have developing growth. Having your air tested by an indoor environmental specialist can help you decide if you need to bring in a mold remediation expert in Portland, ME, to perform a cleanup. These experts can use infrared light and hydrometers to locate hidden mold and design a plan to remove it quickly and efficiently.

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