Recent Posts

Steps to Take Before a Tropical Storm or Hurricane Hits

5/15/2024 (Permalink)

Drying equipment on carpet floor. For professional assistance with storm damage restoration, contact our team at SERVPRO for prompt and reliable service!

As hurricane season approaches, it's crucial to prepare your home and family for potential storms. By taking proactive measures and planning ahead, you can minimize the impact of a tropical storm or hurricane and ensure the safety of your loved ones. In this blog, we'll discuss important steps to take before the storm arrives, helping you to stay informed, organized, and prepared for any emergency.

1. Stay Informed

Monitor weather forecasts and updates from reliable sources, such as the National Hurricane Center or local emergency management agencies. Pay attention to storm tracks, projected intensity, and evacuation orders in your area. Stay informed about potential hazards, evacuation routes, and emergency shelters available in your community.

2. Prepare an Emergency Kit

Gather essential supplies and create an emergency kit that includes non-perishable food, water, medications, first-aid supplies, flashlights, batteries, a battery-powered radio, and important documents. Stock up on supplies for at least three days to ensure you have enough provisions in case of power outages or restricted access to stores.

3. Secure Your Home

Inspect your property for potential hazards and secure loose items that could become projectiles in high winds, such as patio furniture, outdoor décor, and potted plants. Trim trees and branches near your home and remove dead or diseased limbs that could pose a risk during the storm. Reinforce windows and doors with storm shutters or plywood to protect against flying debris.

4. Evacuation Planning

Know your evacuation zone and have a plan in place for relocating to a safe location if necessary. Determine evacuation routes and designate a meeting point for your family members in case you get separated. Make arrangements for pets and livestock, and consider the needs of elderly or disabled individuals who may require special assistance during evacuation.

5. Backup Power and Utilities

Invest in a portable generator or backup power source to maintain essential appliances and equipment during power outages. Test your generator in advance and ensure it is properly fueled and functioning. Turn off utilities, such as gas, water, and electricity, before the storm to prevent damage and reduce the risk of fire or electrocution.

6. Communication Plan

Establish a communication plan with family members, friends, and neighbors to stay connected during the storm. Exchange contact information and designate an out-of-state contact person as a central point of communication. Use text messages, social media, or a designated group chat to stay in touch and provide updates on your status.

By following these pre-storm preparations, you can enhance your readiness and resilience in the face of a tropical storm or hurricane. From staying informed and assembling an emergency kit to securing your home and planning for evacuation, taking proactive steps before the storm hits can help mitigate risks and protect your property and loved ones. For professional assistance with storm damage restoration and cleanup, contact our team at SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs/Longwood for prompt and reliable service. Stay safe and be prepared!

The Threat of Wildfires in Florida

4/11/2024 (Permalink)

SERVPRO van parked outside a building with fire damage. Don't wait until it's too late—start implementing these wildfire preparedness measures today to protect your home and loved ones.

As a homeowner in Florida, it's important to recognize the potential dangers posed by wildfires and take proactive steps to protect your property. While Florida may be known for its beautiful landscapes and sunny weather, it's also susceptible to wildfires, especially during dry and windy conditions. In this blog post, we'll explore the risks associated with wildfires in Florida and provide practical tips on how to prepare and protect your home from this ever-present threat.

Understanding the Threat

Wildfires in Florida can occur throughout the year, but they are most prevalent during the dry season, typically from late fall through spring. Factors such as drought, high winds, and human activity can contribute to the spread of wildfires, posing a significant risk to homes and communities across the state.

Assessing Your Home's Vulnerability

Start by assessing your home's vulnerability to wildfires. Consider factors such as the proximity of dense vegetation or wooded areas, the presence of flammable materials near the home, and the condition of the roof and exterior walls. Identifying potential vulnerabilities will help you develop a comprehensive wildfire preparedness plan.

Creating Defensible Space

Create defensible space around your home by clearing vegetation and debris from the immediate vicinity. Trim trees and shrubs to create a buffer zone of at least 30 feet around structures, and keep grasses and other flammable vegetation well-maintained and watered.

Hardening Your Home

Harden your home against wildfire by using fire-resistant building materials and making necessary upgrades to the roof, windows, and exterior walls. Consider installing ember-resistant vents and enclosing eaves and soffits to prevent embers from entering the home.

Preparing an Evacuation Plan

Develop an evacuation plan for your family and pets in the event of a wildfire. Identify multiple evacuation routes and establish a designated meeting point outside the evacuation zone. Keep emergency supplies such as food, water, medications, and important documents readily accessible.

Stay Informed

Stay informed about wildfire activity in your area by monitoring local news and official updates from emergency management agencies. Sign up for emergency alerts and notifications to receive timely information about evacuation orders, road closures, and other important updates.

Maintaining Fire Safety Practices

Practice fire safety year-round by observing local regulations regarding outdoor burning, using caution when operating grills or fire pits, and properly disposing of cigarette butts and other flammable materials. Encourage neighbors to do the same to reduce the risk of accidental fires.

Seek Professional Assistance

In the unfortunate event that your home sustains fire damage, it's essential to seek professional assistance for thorough cleanup and restoration. SERVPRO® specializes in fire damage restoration, offering comprehensive services to help homeowners recover from the aftermath of a fire. Let our team handle the restoration process, allowing you to focus on rebuilding and restoring your life after a fire.

By taking proactive steps to prepare and protect your home from wildfires, you can minimize the risk of damage and increase the safety and resilience of your property. Don't wait until it's too late—start implementing these wildfire preparedness measures today to protect your home and loved ones.

Laborer to Production Operations Manager - Celebrating Success, Mentorship, and Team Spirit at SERVPRO® of Altamonte Springs / Longwood

12/6/2023 (Permalink)

man standing over green machine used for water restoration, hands out like he's teaching a lesson to an audience Heydrich Kattar Hernandez training his team

In his 2 short years with SERVPRO® Team Nicholson, representing our Orlando location, Heydrich Kattar Hernández has proved endless in zeal, integrity, and a desire for personal and professional development. As we celebrate having Heydrich on board, we not only commemorate his individual successes but also the mentorship and inspiration he offers to our entire team.

In November 2021, Heydrich started with us as a laborer, bringing enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn. His tenure has been marked by significant, quick growth, shaped by his willingness to serve in a variety of roles. He says the diverse experiences—from working on various residential and commercial jobs to the challenges of long hours and extensive travel—have enriched his professional journey.

Now serving as Production Operations Manager within our Training Division, Heydrich continues offering a high standard of service as he uses his passion for making a meaningful impact on our customers’ and employees’ lives. He says, "I've had the privilege of meeting people from all walks of life and contributing to helping others in their homes."

Heydrich embodies the SERVPRO Team Nicholson culture that values knowledge-sharing, encouragement, and opportunity. He says,

“I am sincerely thankful for the belief placed in me, the opportunities to share knowledge, and the continuous support from colleagues who have been mentors and guides. Special appreciation goes to those who have dedicated time to teach, coach, or offer support.“

Heydrich's journey with SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs / Longwood and SERVPRO Team Nicholson not only marks a personal achievement, but serves as a testament to the power of teamwork and constancy.

Today, Heydrich is excited about the future as he focuses on scouting for talent that aligns with our core values, and continues to help our team grow and improve. Cheers to Heydrich!

Follow the story on our LinkedIn.

How Can SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs/Longwood Help with Waste?

7/12/2023 (Permalink)

 

SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs/Longwood Helps with Waste

Although SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs/Longwood is well-known for fire and water restoration, you may not know that we offer hazardous waste disposal. Our highly-trained professionals can help you or your business with biohazard, vandalism, and crime scene cleanup. We specialize in removing and cleaning common hazardous wastes such as bloodborne pathogens, sewage backups, illegal drugs, hoarding situations, crime scene residues, and more. We are trained to safely decontaminate these situations in accordance with OSHA and CDC regulations. Our sanitizing agents, antimicrobial treatments, thermal foggers, and deodorization agents help us make your property “Like it never even happened.” 

When you experience a biohazard concern or have hazardous waste on your property, leave the responsibility of hard cleanup to us. Bloodborne pathogens, bodily fluids, and other contaminated waste can cause problems. Follow these steps after contamination. 

  • Call SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs/Longwood immediately at (407) 830-9899 for biohazard cleanup. 
  • Stay out of infected areas. 
  • Call first responders if the situation is life-threatening. 
  • Treat all areas and/or bodily fluids as if they are contaminated. 
  • Turn off the HVAC system if there is sewage damage. 

Don’t wait to call us when you have a biohazard emergency. These situations can leave home and business owners feeling vulnerable, violated, and unsafe. SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs/Longwood is here for you 24/7, 7 days a week at (407) 830-9899.

5 Questions about Flooded Drywall

7/11/2023 (Permalink)

1. What Is a Flood Cut? 

When your home has been damaged by floodwaters, the water restoration professionals in Orlando, FL, will cut out the wall at least 12 inches above where flood damage stopped. This is called a flood cut. 

2. What Happens When Drywall Gets Wet?

When drywall, or plasterboard, gets very wet, or when it is wet for a long time, it loses structural integrity. When this happens, the wall becomes soft and weak. Additionally, the area could see mold growth and become discolored or smelly. 

3. Is It Necessary To Tear Out Wet Wallboard?

A speedy response may save the wall. However, if the drywall has obviously absorbed moisture, or if it is soft, stained, obviously wet, or smelly, it must be removed and replaced. This job can expose you to hazards. Instead of taking personal risks, contact a local water damage specialist. 

4. What Are the Main Concerns With Flooded Walls?

Flooding carries a high risk of contamination. Floodwaters may carry infectious diseases, chemicals, and other pollutants. These can lead to problems for your family if those contaminants are allowed to remain in your home after soaking into the plasterboard. 

5. Should Drywall Be Recycled or Destroyed?

Some plasterboard can be recycled if it consists of gypsum powder and paper (as well as some additives). Unfortunately, most of the drywall pulled out ends up in landfills. Some water restoration professionals will haul the materials off for you. If not, reach out to an appropriate source for recycling. 

Flooding leads to many concerns, but contaminated drywall shouldn't be a serious problem. Don't wait for further trouble before you take action. Instead, contact the leading industry-certified water reconstruction professionals at SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs/Longwood, to put your home back in shape.  

Pink Residue: Understanding and Preventing the Fungal Menace in Your Bathroom

3/9/2023 (Permalink)

bathroom, white tile with pink mold in the cracks, text overtop says "pink mold?" pink-colored grime is actually a result of a specific type of mold called serratia marcescens

As a homeowner, you have an endless list of projects to manage. You step into the shower and notice the once-white grout on the floor is now a shade of pink. Over time, the inside of your shower curtain and tub ledges tell the same story. You might think that the pink color is a result of neglect and lack of proper cleaning, but the truth is that the pink-colored grime is actually a result of a specific type of mold called serratia marcescens.

Understanding Where Pink Mold Grows

Serratia marcescens thrives in damp, warm environments such as bathrooms and kitchens. This type of mold is known for its pink, red, or orange color, which can make it easy to spot. It can grow on a variety of surfaces, including tile, grout, silicone, and other materials commonly found in bathrooms. It can also form on surfaces that are frequently exposed to water, such as shower curtains, bath mats, and other bathroom fixtures. The mold can also be found in the drain area where water and soap scum accumulate.

Preventing Pink Mold Growth

This type of mold can produce an unpleasant musty odor and can aggravate allergies and asthma symptoms. It is crucial to clean and sanitize your bathroom regularly to prevent the growth of serratia marcescens and other types of mold. This includes cleaning the tub, shower, and sink, as well as other fixtures that are exposed to water. If you notice any mold in your bathroom, it is important to address the issue as soon as possible.

At-Home Remedies

Mold can be a common problem in homes, particularly in areas that are damp or have poor ventilation. While it is important to address the root cause of mold growth, such as fixing leaks or improving ventilation, there are several at-home ways to effectively reduce small amounts of mold. Remember to wear protective gear, such as gloves and a mask, when cleaning. For spot-treatment, try:

  1. Vinegar: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and spray the solution onto the affected area. Let it sit for several hours before scrubbing with a brush and wiping clean.
  2. Baking Soda: Mix 1/4 tablespoon of baking soda with water to make a paste, then apply it to the affected area. Let it sit for several hours before scrubbing with a brush and wiping clean.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide: Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts water and spray the solution onto the affected area. Let it sit for several minutes before scrubbing with a brush and wiping clean.
  4. Tea Tree Oil: Mix 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with 1 cup of water and spray the solution onto the affected area. Let it sit for several hours before scrubbing with a brush and wiping clean.

While these at-home remedies can be helpful for small spot-treating, larger or more severe cases require professional intervention. 

Trusting the Professionals at SERVPRO

SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs/Longwood, a professional cleaning and restoration company, can help homeowners address mold and other issues in your home. Their trained technicians use advanced equipment and techniques to safely and effectively remove mold and prevent it from returning.

They can also provide a range of services such as cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing to keep your home looking and smelling fresh. Don't let mold take over your home. Trust the experts at SERVPRO Team Nicholson to get the job done right and give you peace of mind. With their help, you can enjoy your clean and fresh-smelling shower once again.

Women in Restoration: Potential Unlocked

3/8/2023 (Permalink)

orange background, different shades of green portraits of women, title says women in the restoration business We’re excited and proud to be a part of the future of the restoration industry.

Half of all SERVPRO Franchise Owners are women.¹ Surprised? 

Not us. Although women make up just under 11% of the construction workforce, and about a fifth of the restoration workforce, when we look at our team, we see women excelling daily in a variety of roles from Production Technician to Construction Manager. 

Our SERVPRO community is fostering an atmosphere where all employees can form genuine working relationships with their colleagues, embracing the unique perspective of each individual to provide the best cleaning and restoration services for our clients. 

Why the Restoration Industry? 

The restoration and remediation industry is nurturing by nature. We’re often interacting with clients after extreme damage to their property. It takes a team of empathetic people to support our clients through some of the worst days of their lives. 

Jessica Dooley, Construction Manager at our SERVPRO of Bartlett/Cordova location in Memphis, TN reassures her clients to, “keep your eye on the prize because at the end of this, and this will end eventually, it will be over and everything is going to be beautiful again.” She also prioritizes setting realistic expectations and communicating frequently, often texting updates to her clients, and keeping them in the loop every step of the way.

The restoration industry provides a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on people's lives during their most challenging moments, and employees like Jessica exemplify the caring and supportive approach that sets our team apart.

Investing in Potential 

Women make up 33% of Team Nicholson’s workforce, more than double the industry average. Why? We invest in potential. Our Financial Controller, Cassie Wyatt, started her SERVPRO journey on the Production side of the house, as a Construction Administrator. As one of our more tenured female employees, Cassie has witnessed Team Nicholson’s exponential growth and fostered her own success along the way. 

She says, “I’ve stayed with SERVPRO and Team Nicholson for almost nine years because there is so much opportunity to learn and grow with the company.” Cassie shares that during her time, it’s been amazing to see other women earn opportunities to advance within the organization as well, especially those under her leadership.

She wants to keep the momentum going by sharing her knowledge with others who are just starting out, helping them achieve their career goals. She adds, “...the best advice I can give other women is to just be consistent. Keep pushing, keep working hard, keep learning, and absorb as much knowledge as you possibly can. Your knowledge is your power!”

Keep the Momentum Going

Our Training Director, Lori Wilson, is a driving force behind our company’s training and development initiatives, creating opportunities for all employees to obtain industry certifications and learn best practices. With over 10 years of experience in the restoration field, Lori is using her expertise to help other women go after leadership roles.

Lori was recently appointed as an advisor for the Women in Leadership program at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s Center for Professional Learning. She shared her enthusiasm in a recent Facebook post, “...In the restoration industry women in leadership roles is becoming more prevalent, and that is very exciting!” 

Lori has thrived in this industry, earning IICRC certifications as a Master Water Restorer, Master Fire Restorer, Master Textile Restorer, and IICRC Instructor. She loves, “...helping people see their potential as leaders and helping them grow..” 

Lead the Way

At SERVPRO Team Nicholson, we’ve witnessed the positive impact a diverse workplace can have on our employees and our customers. We’re excited and proud to be a part of the future of the restoration industry. 

Sources:  ¹John Sooker, SERVPRO Executive Vice President, US Bureau of Labor and StatisticsZippia 

What It’s Really Like to be a Restoration Professional: Hidden Challenges of the Disaster Recovery Industry

3/7/2023 (Permalink)

green background, SERVPRO technician in a mask wiping a wall, the text reads "overcoming hidden challenges," magnifying glass While on the job, crews learn some of the unique challenges that are not immediately apparent to those outside the industry.

Hidden Challenges of the Disaster Recovery Industry

The restoration industry is critical to the rebuilding and recovery process of commercial and residential properties after disasters, such as fires, floods, and storms. These industry professionals work tirelessly to help homeowners and business owners return to their properties as quickly and safely as possible.

While on the job, crews learn some of the unique challenges that are not immediately apparent to those outside the industry.

These challenges, while daunting, are actually a great opportunity to showcase skills and problem-solving abilities. Here are some of the hidden challenges faced by restoration professionals and what it's really like to work in the disaster recovery industry.

What It’s (sometimes) Like to Work as a Restoration Professional

  1. Limited Accessibility

Some areas of the building may be difficult to access, such as CRAWL SPACES, attics, or basements. Restoration professionals must be able to navigate these spaces safely and effectively in order to properly assess and mitigate the damage. Thankfully, the International Residential Code (IRC) now requires crawl space entrances to measure a minimum of 16 inches high and 24 inches wide.

  1. Time Constraints

Restoration work needs to be done quickly in order to minimize the damage and PREVENT FURTHER DETERIORATION. This can be challenging, particularly in the aftermath of a major disaster spanning a large region, like when Hurricane Ida hit the gulf. When a large region is affected, multiple buildings need to be restored at the same time. In general, a 24/7 emergency service restoration professional should be on-site within a few hours of being contacted—if not sooner—to assess the damage, develop a plan to mitigate it and begin the restoration process. The specific timeline for response may vary based on factors such as the severity of the damage, the location of the property, and the availability of resources.

  1. Unforeseen Complications

Sometimes, the damage is more extensive than originally thought, or hidden issues are discovered during the restoration process. Anyone who has taken on a home renovation project knows the construction adages all too well. Restoration professionals must be able to adapt to these complications and develop new plans of action as needed to keep the project going, as is within their means.

  1. Dealing with Insurance Companies

Restoration professionals often need to work with insurance companies and their adjusters to get the necessary coverage for the restoration work. This can be a time-consuming and complicated process, particularly when dealing with large-scale damage. However, the frequency of these transactions can make professionals familiar with insurance claims, creating a more efficient experience for all parties.

  1. Keeping Up with the Latest Technologies and Techniques

The restoration industry is constantly evolving, with new technologies and techniques being developed all the time. Restoration professionals must be able to stay up-to-date with these changes in order to provide the most effective and efficient service. Thankfully, SERVPRO takes training seriously and invests heavily in their employees' frequent education and development.

Rewarding

Working as a restoration professional can be as rewarding as it is demanding. It takes a dedicated individual to pursue this line of work, but there are many positives to the job that make it all worthwhile.

Why Choose Restoration?

  1. To help people in their time of need and make a real difference in their lives
  2. To work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment with new challenges every day
  3. To develop a wide range of skills, from construction to communication and customer service
  4. For career growth and industry advancement opportunities
  5. To work with a team of like-minded individuals who share a common goal of helping others
  6. To CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY and make a positive impact on the local area
  7. For job security in a career, as disasters and emergencies will always occur and restoration services will always be in demand

Can SERVPRO be a Career?

The restoration industry offers a diverse range of career paths and opportunities for professional growth. If you're looking for a dynamic work environment that allows you to make a difference in people's lives, then SERVPRO may be the perfect fit for you.

With over 50 years of experience in the industry, SERVPRO offers a wide range of career paths.

Aftermath of Home Fires: Understanding Smoke Damage

3/7/2023 (Permalink)

large house on fire, smoke billowing out the top, words on image "after a fire" SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs / Longwood, our fire and smoke damage restoration experts have years of experience handling the aftermath of home fires.

Experiencing a home fire can be an extremely frightening and traumatic event. Once the flames have been extinguished, the focus turns to the damage left behind.

The Impact of Smoke Damage

While the damage caused by flames is visible and often the primary concern, the impact of smoke damage should not be overlooked. In fact, smoke damage can be just as devastating to a home and its contents, and it can occur even in areas where the fire did not directly reach. 

Common Issues After House Fire

The following are some of the most common issues like to smoke damage after a home fire: 

  • Charring
  • Warped plastic and wood
  • Discoloration
  • Yellow stains on walls and ceilings
  • Household textiles covered in soot
  • Smoke odor and particles found on upholstered furniture, drapery, clothing, and carpets

One of the most significant impacts associated with smoke damage is the presence of smoke odor throughout the home, which can linger for months if not addressed properly. Restoration professionals can rid your home of odors by cleaning and sealing surfaces, HVAC cleanings, using an AIR SCRUBBER, Ozone treatments, and thermal fogging, among other methods.

Cleaning Up

Salvaging items impacted by smoke damage generally isn’t easy for the average person without the right knowledge or tools. It is a complex process that requires the expertise of a smoke damage restoration professional.

Some methods professionals use to clean smoke are:

  1. Dry cleaning: Smoke-damaged clothing and textiles can often be salvaged through professional dry cleaning.
  2. Ozone treatment: Ozone machines can be used to remove smoke odor from items like furniture and carpets.
  3. HEPA vacuuming: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums can remove soot and other smoke particles from surfaces.
  4. Thermal fogging: This process involves using a machine that releases a fog of deodorizing chemicals to neutralize smoke odor.

To Restore or To Replace?

Specialists assess the damage to both the home and its contents, determining what can be saved and what must be discarded. Professionals often prefer to restore rather than replace damaged items because restoration is usually more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. On top of that, many items have sentimental or historical value, so professionals do their best to restore rather than replace. By restoring items to their original condition, restoration professionals can help reduce waste and preserve valuable resources for the customer—it’s a win-win.

SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs

At SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs / Longwood, our fire and smoke damage restoration experts have years of experience handling the aftermath of home fires. If you or a loved one has experienced a fire, including the associated smoke damage, please do not hesitate to contact us. We offer free consultations and are always here to help you get back on the road to recovery.

What To Do After a House Fire

1/31/2022 (Permalink)

Your Orlando home was likely not built to stop house fires before they spread to other areas of the house. In general, most of the materials used for the construction of your home are fire kindling, able to catch fire quickly and spread throughout the property. On top of that, the popular open-concept floor plan lays out the perfect environment for fires to spread from room to room more easily than other floor plans.

While flames do much damage on their own, other substantial effects of a fire are smoke and soot damages. 

Soot Damages

Soot is most concentrated where it burned longest, but matted debris and film from the combustion leave a dark or black residue on surfaces, furniture, flooring, and other materials, too. Removing this residue requires multiple approaches. For wall surfaces, scrubbing with wet and dry sponges can often remove the bulk of the film. Confined spaces like ductwork require high powered vacuums. 

Smoke Damages

Smoke damage often presents itself in the form of a harsh odor lingering in fabrics, carpeting, and open spaces throughout affected areas of your house. Removal of this odor typically requires thermal fogging, a process that releases an unscented chemical compound into the environment and contents of the room to break apart odor molecules and leave no discernible scent behind. 

The Right Solution

Unfortunately, this causes a bigger mess than most people are equipped to handle. Fire damage proves to be challenging to remove without the right equipment. We always suggest hiring a professional fire cleanup and restoration expert. We may be biased, but SERVPRO is just that. We have the experience, tools, and techniques to help you through widespread fire, smoke, and soot damages. 

When you face the effects after a house fire, SERVPRO of Altamonte Springs / Longwood responds quickly to get your home back to preloss conditions, as soon as possible.