Fire Safety for Orlando Hotel Managers
Fire sprinklers are a great way to alert staff and guests of a fire and can help minimize the damage sustained.
In Orlando, FL, concerns about fire safety is typically the last thing on the minds of your hotel’s guests. Hotel fires can put many people’s lives in jeopardy, particularly sleeping guests and those who live on the higher floors of the hotel building. Fires can also cause large-scale damage to your business.
Policies within the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 require hotel management to conduct fire assessments, to apply fire control and prevention initiatives, and to give people the tools and knowledge to evacuate a fire as safely as possible.
Hotel fire can be very deadly, often taking the lives of those who are unaware of the danger and who are unprepared for it. Applying an appropriate amount of safety training and resources for your hotel can prevent the unthinkable.
Fire Safety for Hotels Checklist
The Regulatory Reform establishes a series of fire control responsibilities that must be handled to ensure that your hotel is safe for both guests and your staff. Any hotels who are lacking in fire safety measures can be issued notices requiring the hotels to address these deficiencies. In the most severe cases, the authorities may prevent the business from operating as usual until there is progress on attaining full compliance with the Reform’s standards.
This Fire Safety for Hotels Checklist is divided into these topics:
• Fire Risk Assessment
• Fire Wardens
• Fire Training
• Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems
• Fire Route Plans
• Fire Evacuation Plans
• Informing Guests of Fire Safety
Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment involves five steps.
• Hazard identification: consider the means by which fires can happen, such as obstructed ventilation and damaged electrical plug sockets. Locate potential sources of kindling as well, such as paper, laundry, chemicals, and furniture.
• At-risk individuals: you must assess who are the most vulnerable people in the event of a fire. Guests should be your main focus. They generally don’t know your building’s layout and could even be soundly sleeping when a fire breaks out. Another important group to consider are those with hearing, seeing or mobility disabilities.
• Fire safety measures: assess ways to establish or improve upon current fire safety practices. This may include better housekeeping procedures, such as periodic checks of electrical appliances and plugs. Constructing disability-minded escape routes on the levels above the ground floor may be another measure.
• Record findings and corrective actions: The Regulatory Reform authorities will inspect your hotel records to ensure that you are actively managing your fire safety risks and hazards. This includes past compliance with their standards. This means that it’s necessary and wise to write down everything that you do and everything that still needs to be accomplished.
• Review: hotel buildings and their appliances do not last forever. This means that new hazards will show up from time to time and past fire control measures will lose their effectiveness. You must periodically reassess risks, reestablish control measures and rerecord fire prevention and control-related information.
It will be your responsibility to appoint someone with sufficient competence to serve as the hotel’s fire warden. This person will be responsible for the hotel’s fire safety, prevention, and evacuation guidelines. The fire warden can be someone picked out by you, or you can serve the role yourself. Either way, the designated fire warden must gain both technical and practical training in fire safety procedures so that they are well-versed in preventing and combating fires.
Hotel guests can’t be expected to know the building’s escape routes enough to evacuate efficiently, meaning that they may rely solely on someone who can guide them to safety during a fire. Fire wardens should maintain a guest list for this reason, and they should work with fire rescue personnel in cases when someone on the list cannot be accounted for in the evacuation process.
Some hotels are so large or complex that they need multiple fire wardens. At the bare minimum, there should be one fire warden on each floor, for each shift. Considerations should also be given for holidays and covered shifts for sicknesses or vacations.
You must provide fire training so that employees can respond appropriately to the alarm ringing. This includes situations when an employee should sound the alarm if it doesn’t go off automatically. This training includes fire hazard prevention measures, such as spotting and reporting problems, as good housekeeping practices. Training should also include the different types of fires, fire extinguishers, and how to correctly use them. Hotel training should familiarize the staff of all types with fire escape routes and locations for people to assemble during the evacuation phase. All employees should know who are the appointed fire wardens and when they have to fulfill that role.
Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems
A hotel's fire detection and alarm system are legally mandated. It’s your responsibility to ensure that manual call points are installed throughout the building in easy-to-spot locations. If the staff can find these manual call points without any trouble, then they can activate them more efficiently if a fire or fire damage is observed or reported.
Smoke detectors should be inspected monthly at a minimum. Manual call points should be tested weekly during normal business hours. Alarms throughout the hotel should be loud enough to immediately wake up guests and alert hotel staff of the fire hazard. Room alarms close to the head of the bed should ring around 75dB. Hotel guests must immediately wake up and begin evacuation efforts in the event of a fire. This is because guests can suffocate from unsuspectingly inhaling smoke while asleep, even post-evacuation.
A competent employee with technician experience or an external contractor should periodically check equipment and conduct necessary repairs.
Some items that should be inspected include:
• Kitchen appliances
• Fire doors
• Firefighting equipment
• Plug sockets
Make sure to keep maintenance and repair records. They serve as proof that your hotel is in compliance and inform you of upcoming servicing and checks.
Escape Route Plans
Escape routes should be positioned in ways that ensure that anyone can safely reach them even if the fire blocks out a different path.
Escape routes should:
• Be enclosed with smoke- and fire-resistant materials
• Be obstruction-free
• Be accessible for those with disabilities
• Remain closed as much as possible to prevent the spread of smoke and fire
Fire Evacuation Plans
For hotels, one of two evacuation plans are typically used:
• Simultaneous evacuation: small, uncomplicated hotels have alarm systems that warn all rooms and floors to evacuate simultaneously.
• Horizontal/Vertical phased evacuation: for more complex hotel structures, the system is designed to sound alarms and evacuate those who are in immediate danger first.
Your risk assessment and your local fire service can inform you if you need more information.
Informing Guests of Fire Safety
Your hotel guests should be immediately informed of manual call points and escape routes. Fire safety information forms for guests should clarify:
• Steps to take if the guest sees a fire or if the guest hears the alarm.
• The closest fire exit route from their hotel room & a floor plan.
• The closest assembly point location.
SERVPRO of Winter Park
In the event of a hotel fire, reach out to SERVPRO of Winter Park, serving the Orlando, FL area. SERVPRO of Winter Park can manage fire damage restoration projects at commercial levels for hotels or resorts.
How SERVPRO Conventions Benefit the Client
The SERVPRO convention allows trusted vendors to set up booths and sell products and equipment to franchisees.
SERVPRO is a national business and a leader in the restoration industry. Every year, SERVPRO holds a convention for their many franchises and vendors. Although it may seem like this convention does not provide value for restoration customer from the outside looking in, there are actually multiple ways the client benefits from this gathering.
SERVPRO franchises are individually owned and operated. Although they all benefit from being under the corporate powerhouse that is SERVPRO, the fact is that some franchises are bigger and have been around longer than others. At the convention, franchisees are able to purchase the latest equipment from trusted vendors at discounted rates. Better and more equipment translate to your local SERVPRO being better equipped to handle your disaster efficiently.
Aside from equipment, franchisees also have access to discounted vehicles during the convention. Locations short on vehicles get maxed out quicker and tend to give jobs away to other locations that may not be as close. Adding to their fleet ensures that franchises can cover more ground in their territories and arrive at jobs faster.
A huge part of the convention are the many classes that franchisees and their management staff can take part in. These classes range in topic and include training to improve the efficiency of office staff and customer service. A business that is run better is a business that is more successful in pleasing its customers.
Fire and Water Damage in Hotels and Resorts
SERVPRO of Winter Park is trained to get you fast estimates with the best calculations to get you a clear idea of what repair costs may be.
Cleaning and restoring your hotel, resort, convention center, or other hospitality business following a fire or water damage event can be a daunting prospect. Luckily, the experts at SERVPRO are here to help. We'll work with your management and staff to make sure any inconvenience to your guests is minimized as we isolate and fully restore the damaged areas.
Fire and Water Damage
Ruined flooring is perhaps the most obvious result of a water damage event. Water can destroy tile, vinyl, and wood flooring. It can also compromise the wooden sub-flooring beneath carpeting. Ceilings may also be affected as water leaking from one floor finds its way to the one beneath. Often times walls (or the bottom portions of them at least) will need to be replaced also, as they're made of porous materials that absorb water.
Soot, smoke damage, and water damage can destroy furniture, artwork, and other hotel property. Customer and client property may be damaged also, adding to your already considerable financial burden.
As costly as a fire or water damage event can be, the costs of not having the cleanup done correctly can be far greater. Improper or incomplete cleaning and restoration can lead to the growth of off-putting and potentially dangerous mold. Mold growth affects air-quality and is malodorous. Few things will damage the carefully maintained reputation of your resort, hotel or convention center quite so quickly as this toxic invader.
Why SERVPRO of Winter Park?
At SERVPRO of Winter Park, we understand that response time is critical when dealing with a fire or water damage event. A fast response can limit damage and potentially reduce costs. We stand ready twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to serve Central Florida's many resorts, hotels, and convention centers.
No job is too big or too small for SERVPRO. We scale our response teams and equipment to best suit any given situation and, should the need arise we'll mobilize one of our Commercial Large Loss teams.
Whether you run a hotel, resort, school, or convention center, SERVPRO knows that you'll need to continue operating as cleanup and restoration are performed. We'll coordinate with your management to allow for normal operations to continue around the safely isolated cleanup area.
SERVPRO of Winter Park provides a host of other restoration services too. In SERVPRO's fifty-years experience, we've become experts in dealing with mold removal, vandalism cleanup, document recovery, and even the isolation and cleanup of biohazards.
There's no way to know when disaster will strike, costing you money in damages and disrupted operations. When and if catastrophe finds your hospitality business, you'll be glad to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing the experts at SERVPRO of Winter Park have your back.
If you've experienced a fire, or water damage event, visit our website to learn exactly how our many services may be applied to the quick and efficient restoration of your establishment. Or even better, call SERVPRO now at 407-678-5391.
How to Avoid Claim Denials for Water Damage
Asking your insurance adjuster if you're more likely to be approved or denied when they're on-site is an opportunity to get answers to concerns.
Home insurance claims stemming from water damage are among the most frequent of insurance claims around. We will cover water damage types, what damage is covered and what claims are typically made by homeowners. We will also cover why home insurance companies deny certain claims and how to avoid these denials.
Types of Water Damage
There are many kinds of water damage. Different homeowner’s insurance policies will cover different types of damages and situations. Some of the more common sorts of water damage that will show up on a policy as either covered or excluded from coverage include:
• Water damage caused by heavy storms
• Flood damage
• Water backup or sewer backup
• Accidental or sudden discharge
Home Insurance Claims for Water Damage
Homeowners usually want to know what sorts of water damage will be covered by their policies. Common types of water damage inquiries are for leaks, such as from leaky roofs, toilets or pipes around the house that distribute water. Coverage for water damages will be determined by the damage’s origin, the policy that the homeowner signed up for and if the claimed damage is both sudden and accidental or if the damage was gradual.
Gradual damage is water damage deemed to occur slowly over a long period of time. Some forms of gradual damage will be hard to spot until it is too late, such as when the damage is occurring within the interior walls of a home. Though these sorts of issues can lead to structural damage down the road, most of these damage claims would be denied since they didn’t occur both accidentally and suddenly.
Homeowners frequently make claims ultimately caused by gradual damage such as the following:
• Leaky pipes, plumbing, and faucets damaging walls, floors, and ceilings.
• Watering seeping in from foundation weaknesses or from holes around the home’s exterior.
• Worn down tiles, flashing or other roofing materials that are allowing water to enter the home.
• Damage due to corroded, moldy or rotting materials.
• Electrical wiring that has become worn and less effective.
• Sub-standard home repairs or non-repairs.
Though not always, insurance companies may cover the “resulting damage” of issues or parts that originally wouldn’t have been covered by the present policy.
If a homeowner wants to know the finer details of what is covered and not covered in their policies, then it’s best to consult the insurance company or their insurance broker or advisor. They can go over the exclusions and details of a homeowner’s insurance policy for complete coverage details.
Reasons that Claims can be Denied
Homeowner’s insurance claims can be denied for a variety of reasons. Gradual damage, coverage lapses or miscommunications are just a few reasons for claim denials. No matter the reason, the homeowner should request a complete explanation of why the claim is not being granted. This includes an elaboration of which part of the wording within the policy doesn’t apply to what the homeowner is seeking compensation for.
Keep in mind that many people represent the home insurance organization during the claims process, so it’s a good idea to determine from whom the denial is coming from. Was it the contractor, an insurance agent or a claims adjuster? Each person has a different role within the organization, opening different paths for reviewing or negotiating through the process.
One reason for the claim being denied was that it was for an issue that the homeowner had to specifically request or endorse beforehand. It’s one of the homeowner’s rights to know what conditions were covered on their policies for present and future reference, including the optional endorsements and features.
How to Avoid Claim Denials
• Keep records of home repairs, including the names of the professionals hired for the home’s maintenance.
• Maintain an accurate account of the homeowner’s responsibilities and of the policies and exclusions of the insurance coverage package.
• Implement periodic home maintenance, at least every spring and fall to mitigate and prevent damage.
• Select the best insurance package for the specific needs of the home and look into extra features that can provide added value.
The Dangers of Stagnant Water
The greatest danger of a water damage situation is electricity. Be sure to shut down power to affected areas before work begins.
Standing water in your home can affect your property in ways that can be financially prohibitive to address as well as creating severe health issues. Any time there is flooding of any kind, water extraction needs to happen as quickly as possible. Water simply getting into your home in any way creates a serious issue but the longer water is allowed to stagnate, the more serious of a problem it creates. Here are four dangers associated with stagnant water.
Some of the most common health issues related to stagnant water are malaria, Legionnaires’ disease, and dengue. When water is clean, such as from a burst or leaky pipe, it doesn't start off containing bacteria but bacteria breed quickly, which means it can quickly become contaminated. Flooding that occurs as the result of storms or sewage overflows will generally already contain bacteria. The longer it sits, the more prevalent the bacteria become, creating a major health hazard. The longer water stands in your home, the more likely you are to contract a serious disease from it.
2. Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew both have the potential to create a variety of health issues. Mildew generally has a strong odor, but mold will often be odorless so you may not even be aware of its presence. Mold spores are highly toxic, however, so if you have mold or mildew in your home, you will still feel the effects of it even if you can't see or smell it. One of the biggest dangers of stagnant water is that it allows mold and mildew to develop deep inside furniture or carpet padding or even inside your walls.
3. Risk of Injury
Waiting to have standing water extracted can pose a serious risk to those in the property. If circuit breakers are not turned off, there is the potential of being electrocuted. If the water is murky and can't be seen clearly through, there is also the risk of injuring yourself on unseen objects.
4. Structural Damage
Drywall works essentially the same way as a sponge does and is vulnerable to a process known as wicking. This is where the lower edges of the drywall will absorb water and transport it high up into the wall. Once it is there, it is generally hidden by the paint and even feels dry to the touch, so you may have no idea there is water in your walls. As the water dries, it will warp the drywall or even make its way into the wooden beams that form the support structure for your entire house. Once water works its way into the support beams of your home, it can wreak all kinds of havoc that can be very costly to fix.
5. Dry Rot
Dry rot is actually a fungus that produces spores which travel through the air. The fungus feeds off of the cellulose and hemicellulose in wood, which are the components which give the wood its strength. The mold spores need three things to grow into a fungus: heat (ideally between 70 and 77 degrees), moisture and a source of food (wood). When flooding occurs inside your home, it creates the ideal environment for the fungus that causes dry rot to develop. It is important to remember once again, that the entire support structure of your home is made of wood, which is largely hidden behind drywall.
Any time you have a flood, it is imperative that water extraction takes place as quickly as possible. Once the majority of the water has been extracted, however, it can still leave furniture, floors and even walls overly damp. This is why it is important to work with a professional restoration company. The moisture you can't see is generally what will do the most damage. A professional restoration company will not only take care of the water you can see but also the moisture you can't.
Why Insurance Adjusters Should Use and Recommend SERVPRO
Get your insurance client the best help available by using SERVPRO and taking advantage of trained and certified technicians.
When homes are damaged in natural and other disasters, it is always in an insurance company's best interest to make sure that any damage is fixed properly the first time. When flood or water damage does not receive proper remediation, it can lead to much more severe and long-term damage. When insurance adjusters recommend companies that address damage properly and appropriately, they not only help protect the homeowner's property and save their company from having to pay even more expensive claims down the road but they also help strengthen and build stronger relationships with their clients. Here are three reasons why insurance adjusters should use and recommend SERVPRO to all of their insurance clients.
1. Locally Owned and Operated, Nationally Known
SERVPRO is a chain of locally owned and operated franchises that make up a network of over 1,700 operators across the US and Canada. That means we all benefit from understanding the unique needs of the communities and geographical areas we serve as well as having access to a wealth of information and experience from other franchise owners across the country. With that many franchise owners all working together, you can rest assured that the needs of your clients will be handled quickly and professionally.
2. Workers Ready and Waiting
Unlike other types of structural damage, water damage must be addressed immediately to have the best outcomes. When hurricane season hits or other natural disasters strike, other companies can be overrun with requests and it can take several days or even weeks to get teams out to help mitigate the damage. This leaves anxious homeowners susceptible to being taken advantage of by a number of scam artists that quickly move into the area in the wake of any natural disaster. SERVPRO, on the other hand, can call upon any number of regional franchises to get additional help in place whenever and wherever it is needed, so your clients get the high level of expertise they deserve.
3. Start to Finish Service
We understand that it's not enough to just simply do a great job restoring the homes of your customers. It is also important to keep costs low, provide a clear paper trail of all work performed and even save you the headache of dealing with multiple vendors. We offer a National Call Center that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help you promptly handle all claims. We also pre-screen all vendors to ensure they are fully qualified, insured and licensed when necessary. Our Claims Information Center maintains a complete electronic job file, which we can provide to you at any time and within hours of any claim. The file includes a detailed estimate, digital loss photos as well as a "First Notice of Loss" and scanned forms and paperwork which can be delivered either by email or hard copy. We don't just provide a superior level of service to your clients, we also offer that same superior level of service to claims adjusters as well.
We understand that to be the best in the business, we can't just offer superior restoration service. We also have to offer superior service to insurance companies to help you gain a competitive advantage. All franchisees are trained to IICRC standards in Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration as well as offering continuing education classes to both Franchise Professionals and Insurance Clients at our state of the art IICRC Approved Training Facility. Our performance standards are both measured and well-documented, which can help provide increased value to you, your shareholders, managers, and customers.
Avoiding Hurricane Insurance Scams in 2019
Scams have become more frequent with each passing year and present an additional possibility for a disaster following a hurricane.
Hurricane season always brings the potential for significant property damage, which is often covered under homeowner's insurance policies. Unfortunately, the insurance industry as a whole collects more than $1 trillion a year in premiums, which makes it a prime target for a wide range of fraud, including hurricane scams. While homeowners themselves may be innocent of any wrongdoing, they can also become the unwitting victims of insurance fraud or even unwitting participants. Insurance fraud costs the average American family anywhere from $500 to $700 per year in added premiums. Here are four ways to protect yourself from hurricane scams during the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
1. Be Wary of Anyone Knocking On Your Door Offering Unsolicited Repairs
For the most part, reputable contractors and repair services will more than have their hands full in the wake of a hurricane. In fact, the long waiting list for estimates and repairs is what creates a prime environment for scam artists. While reputable companies may send out door knockers offering estimates, they will never perform repairs right there on-the-spot.
2. Always Get at Least Three Estimates
You will want to get at least three estimates before deciding on a contractor and check each one carefully to see what work they are recommending. In some cases, unscrupulous contractors may charge for services that should be free and in other cases, they may try and charge for work that doesn't actually need to be performed. When you get estimates, you don't want to just look at the price but also at all the work recommended. If an estimate recommends significantly more or less work than the others, that might be a red flag. In the case of too little work, they may try and bill you more for additional work later and in the case of too much work, they may charge you for services they don't actually perform.
3. Check the Contractor's Credentials Carefully
Any natural disaster brings a flood of impostor contractors, so be sure and check their credentials carefully. In some cases, reputable contractors may come in from nearby areas to help cover the overflow of work, but you should still be able to check their credentials, no matter where they come from. Most states require contractors to carry worker's compensation, property damage, and liability insurance and may even need to be licensed. Ask for a copy of their license and insurance and then contact your local or state licensing agencies to ensure their credentials are in good standing and they meet all the requirements. You will also want to contact their insurance company to ensure their insurance is in good standing and their policy has not lapsed. Last, but not least, you will want to check with reputable agencies like the Better Business Bureau or Angie's List. Your insurance company may even be able to recommend a number of pre-vetted contractors.
4. Get a Clear, Written Contract and Read It Carefully
Before the contractor begins work, you need to ensure you have a clear, written, detailed contract that clearly defines everything the contractor is being contracted to do. This should include prices for labor, materials, clean-up procedures and estimated start and finish dates. Also, make sure there are no blank spaces on the contract that can be filled in at a later date and that you read the contract carefully before signing. One of the biggest scams plaguing the insurance industry is Assignment of Benefit or AOB scams. This is when the homeowner simply signs away their benefits, leaving any negotiations between the contractor and the insurance company. While this may seem like a good deal and alleviate a lot of paperwork, in truth, it opens homeowners up to repairs not being completed and insurance companies being billed for services never performed.
Cleaning Clothing After A Fire in Orlando
Sort through clothing carefully to make sure you only attempt to wash items that are salvageable. Discard items that have been burned and have holes.
Recovering from a fire in Orlando can be a long, time-consuming process, even if there was little to any physical or structural damage. Just the smoke from fire alone can create a significant amount of damage, which can be difficult to mitigate. Clothing, furniture, and upholstery can all reek of smoke, even if they are far from the flames and in some cases can even be stained with soot. In most cases, you will likely need to hire a professional remediation company to restore furniture and upholstery, but you may be able to restore clothing on your own. Here are four steps to cleaning clothing after a fire.
1. Inspect Clothing Carefully to See What Can Be Salvaged
Some clothing may have burn holes or be stained or damaged beyond your ability to salvage it. Because clothing restoration is a time-consuming process, you want to focus on only what can be salvaged. Your fire insurance will most likely cover the cost of replacing clothing that cannot be salvaged.
Before clothing can be cleaned it will need to first be deodorized through a process called an ozone treatment. Ozone treatment is an oxidation process that cleans your clothing similar to the way rain cleans the air. Before you attempt to clean your clothes, it is extremely important to have them professionally deodorized with this unique treatment. Using ordinary fabric deodorizers will merely mask the smell temporarily, but eventually, the perfume of the deodorizer will evaporate, leaving your clothing once again reeking of smoke. The smell will also permeate any new clothing you purchase, so it is vitally important to have them professionally deodorized. In some cases, a fire restorer will use an ozone generator and in other cases, they will deodorize them in an ozone room.
3. Sort Remaining Clothing According to Type
Some types of fabric will be more difficult to get the smoke smell, soot stains or other stains out of, so you want to sort clothing by recommended care (found on the label), color (Light/ medium/ dark) and degree of soil (light/ medium/ heavy). You may end up with several small loads of clothing, but you want to keep them separate rather than combine them into larger loads. You will almost invariably have to wash each item several times, so it is more important to sort them by care label than you might with a single wash. Some clothing will need to be taken to an Orlando dry cleaning facility, but they may need to be professionally wet cleaned in spite of the dry clean only label.
4. Choose the Right Detergent
Different detergents will be more effective at removing scents, stains, soot and soil from different fabrics. The majority of clothing items will most likely be cotton, polyester, or poly/cotton blends. The effectiveness of cleaning will depend largely on the type of fabric and the type of detergent used. In tests, 100% polyester has the least likelihood of being returned to its original color and state. Pure cotton and poly/cotton blends are most effectively treated by washing in warm water anywhere from one to four times with either a liquid detergent or a low phosphate powder detergent and a liquid chlorine bleach. Because bleach will damage some fabrics and is not generally safe to use on darker clothing, it is better to use liquid detergent on darker clothing. Lighter clothing and whites will generally fair better with chlorine bleach. Powder detergent on its own is only partially effective at returning clothing to its original state. Dry cleaning is also the least effective method, so some dry-clean-only clothing may not ever return to its original condition.
Mold In Commercial Buildings and Schools
Mold can grow unseen in hidden areas such as in the ceiling above a classroom posing a danger to students.
With each passing year, concern over indoor exposure to mold increases. The public has become increasingly aware of the potential dangers linked to mold exposure. In addition to personal properties and residences, property managers and those responsible for the maintenance of commercial buildings, hotels, and schools should be aware of hidden dangers and acquire some knowledge of mold growth to protect the health of building occupants. With some basic knowledge of the subject, even inexperienced and untrained individuals can be capable of making reasonable judgments as to whether a situation can be handled in-house or requires the help of trained professionals.
Molds Can Be Found Almost Anywhere
They can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.
It is Impossible to Eliminate All Mold
This also holds true for mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors. Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on.
Mold Can Have Various Effects on Health
Molds can produce allergens that can trigger health issues to inhabitants. Health issues can vary between individuals. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth. Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. Moisture problems can have many causes, including uncontrolled humidity. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Some of these changes have resulted in buildings that are tightly sealed but may lack adequate ventilation, potentially leading to moisture buildup. Building materials, such as drywall, may not allow moisture to escape easily. Moisture problems may include:
- Roof Leaks
- Landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building
- Unvented combustion appliances
- Delayed maintenance or insufficient maintenance are also associated with moisture problems in schools and large buildings
Moisture problems in portable classrooms and other temporary structures have frequently been associated with mold problems. When mold growth occurs in buildings, adverse health problems may be reported by some building occupants, particularly those with allergies or respiratory problems. Remediators should avoid exposing themselves and others to mold-laden dust as they conduct their cleanup activities. Caution should be used to prevent mold and mold spores from being dispersed throughout the air where they can be inhaled by building occupants.
Causes of Residential Water Damage in Orlando
Pipe bursts and fixture leaks are a common cause of water damage in both residential and commercial properties.
Water damage is a terrible event that can have devastating consequences for your home in Orlando if it is not properly and quickly addressed. This happens as excessive amounts of water start pooling up where it does not belong. There are a number of factors that can cause excessive water build up and resulting damage. They include the following:
- Plumbing system problems
- Leaking or burst pipes
- Water buildup in spaces that tend to gather water like residential attics, crawl spaces, and basements
- Issues with your HVAC systems (heating and air conditioning)
- Malfunctioning or defective appliances
- Natural disasters and ugly weather created problems
Once you are aware of the likely suspects causing this damage, you can take proper steps to head off floods and leaks before they get out of hand. The faster you recognize the issue, the less work the water extraction process will require. It will save you a great amount of damage restoration work and repairs as well.
Plumbing System Problems
It is true that occasional plumbing issues will happen behind the walls. You can not detect these when they occur. Many other issues start when pipe joints or hoses are not correctly attached. By taking an occasional look under your sink, you should be able to head off most serious plumbing issues. Clogged drains are another common cause of overflowing sinks, toilets, and bathtubs leading to water damage.
Leaking or Burst Pipes
Leaking pipes (or those which burst) are all too common causes of damage by water. Toilets and drains can back up, which causes a blockage. This leads to excess pressures on the pipes that respond by either leaking or bursting altogether. Improperly functioning garbage disposals are another frequent reason for why pipes can burst. Roots growing into sewer lines are yet another. Finally, if your pipes are rusty or simply old, this can cause them to leak over time.
Water Buildup in Spaces that Tend to Gather Water
Some places that lie hidden in your home have a greater tendency to suffer from accumulating water and resulting damage. This includes basements, crawl spaces, and attics. Crawl spaces themselves are built under houses so that workers can gain access to install electrical wiring and pipes.
The problem with this is that such damp and dark crawl spaces encourage mold to thrive. This leads to structural damage. Moisture that drips down through concrete foundations leads to basement leaks. Air getting in between the house and the attic causes condensation on the roof underside. This can create mold growth and rot. You should check around your house from time to time, especially accessible pipes.
Issues with HVAC Systems
HVAC systems include heating, air conditioning, and ventilating systems. They commonly cause water-related damage. If air conditioners are not routinely serviced, then this leads to a buildup of moisture. The cooling moisture encourages mold to grow in the ducts of the air conditioning system.
Malfunctioning or Defective Appliances
Appliances age with time, causing the piping to rust and the hoses to weaken. This includes refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters that can all be subject to deterioration. You should closely watch machines that are older. Hot water heaters and washing machines are generally the two appliances that create this kind of damage in a house.
Natural Disasters and Ugly Weather Created Problems
You can not control natural disaster borne water issues. But you might undertake all necessary preventative safety measures before they strike to mitigate their impacts on your house. Hurricanes, flash floods, and unexpected storms all lead to damaging water buildup. Clogged rain gutters, roof damage, and cracks in the foundation are common causes of water damage during bad weather.
The Water Removal Process
Fortunately, there is a process of water extraction that can remove nearly all of the water in your Orlando home. Professionals like our staff at SERVPRO Winter Park can decrease the drying time to stop mold or additional water damage from occurring. We utilize truck mounted vacuums and potent pumps in order to rapidly take away from hundreds to thousands of gallons in excess water.
Step One: Pack Out
Should your house require an extensive cleanup and restoration job, our professionals will efficiently move you out to save your belongings from suffering from additional damage.
Step Two: Emergency Water Removal
Expertly trained water removal techs will start removing water almost right away. They could utilize submersible pumps along with industrial grade wet/dry vacs. This crucial step will reduce the amount of time needed to dry the house and aid in heading off secondary water damage and mold before it begins.
Inspect Carpets and Carpet Pad
Our pros will investigate the damage to the carpet and its pads to learn if they need to be taken out to save the sub-floor. We use such detection equipment as hygrometers, moisture detectors, and meters to ascertain the moisture saturation levels. We could utilize infrared cameras to locate that hidden water lurking behind ceilings and walls. Gas powered and submersible pumps do this job of constantly pumping away high levels of water. Our portable and truck-mounted extraction units will ensure effective water removal.
Dehumidifying and Drying
It is possible that once the water has been removed, your residential walls and floors may appear dry but still feel wet when touched. This is because, unfortunately, the majority of building materials (including wood and drywall) retain large amounts of water. This will warp, break down, or swell the material and lead to mold damage as well. It is where the dehumidifying process begins.
Our Orlando experts will manipulate humidity and temperature levels to dry the remaining moisture. We utilize particular equipment ideally suited for this, such as dehumidifiers and air movers. This will get out that water that has been retained. The high-speed air movers will cause an airflow over carpets and pads, furniture, and walls to evaporate the moisture. Our Orlando experts will closely monitor the progress by utilizing moisture meters to determine the point where all materials have reached necessary drying levels.