Cleaning up after a flood
When your house floods, the water can wreak havoc on the structure of the house, your personal belongings, and the health of the inside environment. Flood waters contain many contaminants and lots of mud. High dollar items can get ruined all at once, even with just an inch of water, for example: carpeting, wallboard, appliances, and furniture. A more severe storm or deeper flood may add damage to even more expensive systems, like: ducts, the heater and air conditioner, roofing, private sewage and well systems, utilities, and the foundation.
After a flood, cleaning up is a long and hard process. Here is a list of common techniques for sanitizing and cleaning flooded items:
- First things first: call your insurance agent. If your insurance covers the damage, your agent will tell you when an adjuster will contact you. List damage and take photos.
CALL SERVPRO OF EAST HONOLULU 808-395-9545. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration.
- Take furniture, rugs, bedding and clothing outside to dry as soon as possible. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to remove moisture or open at least two windows to ventilate with outdoor air. Use fans to circulate air in the house. If mold and mildew have already developed, brush off items outdoors to prevent scattering spores in the house. Vacuum floors, ceilings and walls to remove mildew, then wash with disinfectant. Wear a two-strap protective mask to prevent breathing mold spores.
- Mattresses should be thrown away.
- Upholstered furniture soaks up contaminants from floodwaters and should be cleaned only by a professional.
- Wood veneered furniture is usually not worth the cost and effort of repair.
Solid wood furniture can usually be restored, unless damage is severe.
- Toys and stuffed animals may have to be thrown away if they've been contaminated by floodwaters.
- Photographs, books and important papers can be frozen and cleaned later. They should be dried carefully and slowly. Wash the mud off and store the articles in plastic bags and put them in a frost-free freezer to protect from mildew and further damage until you have time to thaw and clean them or take them to a professional.
You can avoid the hassle of the clean up by calling SERVPRO OF EAST HONOLULU. We will get the job done like it never even happened.
Hurricane Season in Procress
Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over warm ocean waters and move toward land. Potential threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, tornadoes, and landslides. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The Pacific hurricane season runs May 15 to November 30. Hurricanes:
- Can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.
- Can affect areas more than 100 miles inland.
- Are most active in September.
IF YOU ARE UNDER A HURRICANE WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY
- Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
- Evacuate if told to do so.
- Take refuge in a designated storm shelter, or an interior room for high winds.
- Listen for emergency information and alerts.
- Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.
- Know your area’s risk of hurricanes.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- If you are at risk for flash flooding, watch for warning signs such as heavy rain.
- Practice going to a safe shelter for high winds, such as a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room in a sturdy building on the lowest level that is not subject to flooding.
- Based on your location and community plans, make your own plans for evacuation or sheltering in place.
- Become familiar with your evacuation zone, the evacuation route, and shelter locations.
- Gather needed supplies for at least three days. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets.
- Keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies.
- Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups. Consider hurricane shutters. Review insurance policies.
What to do 6-36 hours before a hurricane hits
When a hurricane is 36 hours from arriving
- Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- Restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
- Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
- Review your evacuation zone, evacuation route and shelter locations. Plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
- Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
When a hurricane is 18-36 hours from arriving
- Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
- Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
- Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
When a hurricane is 6-18 hours from arriving
- Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.
When a hurricane is 6 hours from arriving
- If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are.
- Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
- Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
- Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
Air Conidition MOLD
General Manager, Lorenzo, testing the air for mold in a Honolulu home and it's surrounding area
Air conditioner mold can spread throughout the house every time you turn your air conditioner on and exposure to mold can lead to numerous health problems, including respiratory disorders and allergic reactions. Air conditioning mold needs to be removed as soon as possible, to protect your health and the health of your loved ones.
The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (AACA) explains that keeping your air conditioning ducts free of dirt and other debris can reduce the likelihood of mold growth by making sure there is no organic matter in the ducts on which mold can feed. Mold also needs water in order to grow and condensation inside air conditioning ducts often provides just enough moisture for mold to thrive. There should not be standing water inside your air conditioning ducts, though, and if there is, you need to have your system serviced by an air condition specialist
You should check your air conditioning ducts for mold if you have mold growing in other areas of your home or if you smell a musty odor in a room but don’t see mold anywhere. If you’re not sure if there is mold in your air conditioning ducts or not, you can have a certified mold tester come in and test for mold. He or she can check for mold in other areas of the home, too, since mold in your air conditioning system is easily spread to other areas of the home when you turn on your air conditioner.
How to Help Prevent Water Damage
It's important to check household appliances regularly. The simple steps below can help you protect your home from the most common causes of water damage:
- First, know where the main water supply is located in case of emergency.
- If you will be away from home for an extended period, shut off the water supply and drain the pipes. If your home is protected by a fire sprinkler system, do not turn off the water to this system.
- Check the drain lines annually and clean them if they are clogged.
- Inspect water heaters, showers, tubs, toilets, sinks and dishwashers annually, and have them repaired if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion. When possible, install water heaters in areas with floor drains to minimize damage if leaks should occur.
- Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilet bases, and make repairs as needed.
- If your refrigerator has an ice machine or water dispenser, the hose between the wall and the refrigerator should be made of braided copper, which has greater cracking and corrosion resistance.
- Check pipes for cracks and leaks. Have pipe damage fixed immediately to prevent more costly repairs in the future.
- Check appliance hoses and plumbing fittings for breakage, crimping or bending.
Have smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.
- 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. Install alarms in the basement. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
- Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
- Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
- A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
- People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
- Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.
According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 96% of American homes have at least one smoke alarm, no smoke alarms were present or none operated in two out of five (41%) of the reported home fires between 2003-2006. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Tens Things You Should Know About MOLD
- Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
- There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
- If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
- Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
- Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
- Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
- Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
- Increasing ventilation
- Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
- Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
- Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
- In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
- Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.
The most effective way to manage mold in a building is to eliminate or limit the conditions that foster its establishment and growth. Mold should not be allowed to colonize materials and furnishings in buildings. The underlying moisture condition supporting mold growth should be identified and eliminated. To remediate problematic mold growth, mold should be removed from materials that can be effectively cleaned and materials that cannot be cleaned or are physically damaged beyond use should be discarded. Occupants and workers must be protected from contaminants during remediation. After emergency situations (such as flooding due to hurricanes), to avoid fungal growth on susceptible materials, it is important to dry them quickly.
- Take emergency actions to stop water intrusion if needed.
- Identify vulnerable populations, extent of contamination and water source.
- Plan and implement remediation activities.
The key to prevention in the design and operation of buildings is to limit water and nutrients. The two basic methods for accomplishing that are keeping moisture-sensitive materials dry and, when wetting is likely or unavoidable, using materials that offer a poor substrate for growth. Specifically, design and maintenance strategies must be implemented to manage:
- Rainwater and groundwater, preventing liquid-water entry and accidental humidification of buildings.
- The distribution, use, and disposal of drinking, process, and wash water, making equipment and associated utilities easily accessible for maintenance and repair.
- Water vapor and surface temperatures to avoid accidental condensation.
- The wetting and drying of materials in the building and of soil in crawlspaces during construction.
Tens Things You Should Know To Prevent Kitchen Fires
Did you know the kitchen is where more home fires occur than anywhere else in the house and that cooking is the number one cause of home fires? The American Red Cross has steps everyone can follow to avoid a cooking fire:
1. Never leave cooking food unattended – stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen, even for a second, turn off the stove.
2. Check your food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking.
3. Use a timer so you’ll remember that the stove or oven is on.
4. Don’t wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
5. Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
6. Keep anything that can catch fire - pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
7. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
8. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.
9. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
10. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
Storm Prevention Tips
Prior to a storm
Remove trees or branches dry during a storm that could fall and cause casualties or damage.
Stay inside the building another 30 minutes after you last hear thunder.
Rules to follow if a storm is imminent
Stop all outdoor activities.
Enter the building or a car. Close windows and doors.
Pipelines can produce electricity. Use wireless phones only in emergency situations. Cordless phones or cell phones are safe to use.
Unplug appliances and other electrical equipment such as computers and air condition. When you feel your hair stand up, is an indication that there is a lightning danger. Sit you squat down. Put your hands on your ears and your head between your knees.
Avoid high objects such as a high tree isolated area open fields, beaches or a boat on the water, any metal objects such as agricultural machinery, farm equipment, motorcycles, bicycles, etc.
If you're in the woods, look for shelter in an area with less tall trees.
If you are in an open area, go to a low area such as a valley.