Recent Fire Damage Posts

Lint Trap Fire: 5 Effective Tips To Avoid Major Fire Damage

10/24/2022 (Permalink)

A dirty lint trap that caused a fire in a Union County home. The professionals are on call and ready to restore your fire-damaged property!

The professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties are here to help your property avoid lint trap fires. 

Dryer fires are common in homes across the United States, and lint build-up is the leading cause of this type of fire. SERVPRO professionals have seen the damage these fires can cause, and we want to help you avoid becoming a victim of a lint trap fire.

Lint trap fires typically happen when the lint build-up in the dryer or around the vent becomes hot enough to ignite. The fire then has access to the home through the ductwork and quickly begins to spread, causing significant fire damage.

The following blog post will go over five tips the experts at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties advise to help avoid a lint trap fire in your home. Keep reading to learn more about lint trap fires and what you can do after fire damage occurs on your property.

What is lint, and how does it cause fires?

Lint is a fluffy, cotton-like material produced when clothes are dried. Lint can cause fires because it is very flammable and often collects in the dryer and around the vent where there is extra heat. Lint build-up in the dryer is the leading cause of dryer fires.

Tips to prevent a lint trap fire

Now that you know the dangers of lint build-up let's review some tips on preventing a lint trap fire from happening in your home.

1) Clean out the lint trap after every load of laundry

One of the best ways to prevent a lint fire is to clean out the lint trap after every load of laundry. Lint can quickly build up in the trap and cause a fire if it is not removed regularly.

2) Keep an eye on the dryer while it's in use

Another way to prevent a lint fire is to keep an eye on the dryer while it is in use. If you notice any sparks or excessive heat coming from the machine, unplug it immediately.

3) Have your clothes dryer installed by a professional

If you are unsure how to install a clothes dryer properly, it is best to hire a professional. Professional installation will help ensure that the dryer is installed correctly and will not pose a fire hazard.

4) Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months

It is vital to clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months. Lint can quickly build up in the pipe and cause a fire if it is not removed regularly.

5) Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent

Nests of small animals and insects can block the dryer's outside vent, limiting airflow and contributing to a fire. Therefore, it is essential to check the vent regularly to ensure it is clear.

What should you do if a lint fire occurs?

Call the fire department immediately when a lint fire occurs in your home. Once the fire is out, you should contact a professional fire restoration company. The right company will be able to quickly and efficiently restore your home to its pre-fire condition and will know its way around insurance claims.

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties—your local fire damage restoration company

When a lint trap fire breaks out, you must have a company on-call that you can trust. The experts at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties are here to help! We have the knowledge and experience to quickly and efficiently restore your home or business to its pre-fire condition.

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties is a leading provider of fire restoration services. Our team of certified professionals has the knowledge and experience to handle any sized job, big or small. When you hire us for fire restoration services, you can expect a quick response time because we understand that time is of the essence when a fire occurs. Our team will arrive on-site within hours of your call to begin the restoration process.

Contact us today for more information about our fire restoration services.

Electrical Fire Damage: 5 Steps to Take to Speed Up Recovery

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

An electrical fire caused by faulty wiring in a Union County home. The professionals at SERVPRO are always available to help combat electrical fire damage!

Having a restoration company like SERVPRO in your corner can help make electrical fire damage disappear! 

The professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties understand that an electrical fire can be a frightening experience. Not only is there the potential for extensive damage to your property, but there is also a guarantee that your personal belongings could be lost or damaged. We have seen electrical fires occur for several reasons, but the most common causes include:

  • Faulty electrical wiring
  • Overloaded electrical circuits
  • Extension cords
  • Appliance malfunctions

When an electrical fire occurs, you will want to take steps to ensure that your home or business is back in its pre-damaged condition as quickly as possible. This blog post will discuss five steps you can take to speed up the restoration process.

What is an electrical fire? 

Electrical fires are a type of fire caused by electrical wiring or equipment. These fires can be hazardous and can cause extensive damage to your property. The best way to prevent electrical fires is to ensure that your electrical wiring and equipment are in good condition and are not overloaded.

Five steps to take when an electrical fire occurs

You will want to prioritize your family's safety when an electrical fire occurs. Once you have done that, you can focus on the steps needed to get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. The following steps are recommended to start the restoration process quickly and to save your damaged belongings:

Step 1. Call the Fire Department 

The first step you should take when an electrical fire occurs is to call the fire department. Electrical fires can be hazardous, and you must have professional help to put out the fire and ensure safety. 

Step 2. Evacuate the premises 

Once the fire department has been notified, you will need to evacuate the premises. You and your family must leave the area immediately and go to a safe place. 

Step 3. Shut off the power

It is essential to shut off the power to reduce the risk of further damage.

Step 4. Contact a fire restoration company 

The next step is to call a fire restoration company. Electrical fires can cause extensive damage to your property, and it's essential to have a professional help you restore your home or business. 

Step 5. Contact your insurance company

If your home suffers any damage from an electrical fire, contact your insurance company. They will be able to help you with the claims process and provide you with the financial assistance you need. 

Our electrical fire restoration process

As you have learned in step four, calling a restoration company is crucial as soon as possible after an electrical fire occurs. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will respond quickly to your electrical fire emergency. Our electrical fire restoration process includes the following steps: 

  1. Inspection and assessment: The first step in our electrical fire restoration process is to inspect and assess the damage. The fire damage assessment will help us determine the best action to restore your property. 
  2. Board-up and tarp-over services: If necessary, we will provide board-up and tarp-over services to secure your property. These services will help prevent further damage and protect your property from the elements. 
  3. Electrical system repair: Repairing your electrical system is essential to avoid another electrical fire. Common electrical repairs include replacing electrical wiring, outlets, and switches. 
  4. Fire damage cleaning: Once the electrical repairs are complete, we will begin fire damage cleaning. Deep fire damage cleaning will remove any smoke and soot from your property. 
  5. Rebuild: The final step in our electrical fire restoration process is to rebuild your property to its pre-fire condition. They may involve drywall repairs, painting, and structural rebuilds. 

Wrapping up

We hope you enjoyed learning the steps you need to take if an electrical fire occurs in your home or business. Remember that the first thing you should do when an electrical fire occurs is to call the fire department and evacuate the premises. Then, once the fire is extinguished, you should contact a fire restoration company like SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties. 

As an IICRC-certified firm, we have the experience, training, and equipment necessary to restore your property quickly and efficiently. We understand the stress that electrical fires can cause, and we will work tirelessly to return your home or business to its pre-fire condition. 

If you have any questions about our electrical fire restoration process or need assistance with a restoration project, please contact us today. We are always here to help!

Fireplace Fire Damage: 5 Tips to Prevent Fireplace Fires

9/2/2022 (Permalink)

A fireplace fire in a Union County home. The professionals at SERVPRO are available 24/7 to combat any amount of fire damage.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties want to ensure that you and your family are safe this fireplace season. 

Fireplaces are a cozy addition to any home in the fall and winter, but they can also be dangerous if not used safely. The professionals at SERVPRO have seen the first-hand effects of fireplace fire damage and want to ensure that the residents of the North Georgia Counties avoid any possibility of a fireplace fire in their homes.

The following blog post will cover our top five favorite tips on how a property owner can avoid a fireplace fire and what steps they should take in the event that a fireplace fire does occur. However, before we get started, we must mention that it is best to contact fire restoration professionals immediately after experiencing fire damage. 

The dangers of fireplace fires

Fireplace fires are one of the leading causes of residential fires in the United States. A fireplace fire can cause extensive damage to your home and, in some cases, even may be catastrophic. Many things can contribute to a fireplace fire, but some causes are more common than others. The following outlines the most popular reasons for a fireplace fire:

  1. Burning materials other than wood- One of the most common fireplace fire hazards is burning materials other than wood in your fireplace. Avoid burning paper, leaves, and trash. While it might be tempting to burn these items in your fireplace, it is best to avoid them, as they can easily ignite and cause a fire.
  2. Not using a fireplace screen- A fireplace screen is designed to keep embers and sparks from flying out of the fireplace and landing on nearby combustible materials. If you do not have a fireplace screen, keep a close eye on the fireplace while it is in use.
  3. Creosote build-up- Creosote is a flammable substance that builds up inside your chimney. If not removed, it can easily ignite and cause a fireplace fire. Be sure to have your chimney cleaned regularly to avoid build-up.

Five tips to prevent fireplace fires

Now that we have covered the dangers of fireplace fires, let's look at some tips for preventing them.

  1. Use a fireplace screen- As we mentioned before, fireplace screens are designed to keep embers and sparks from flying out of the fireplace. Be sure to use one whenever you have a fire in your fireplace.
  2. Only burn dry wood- Wet or green wood is one of the leading causes of fireplace fires. This type of wood contains a high amount of moisture, which can cause it to ignite quickly and produce a lot of smoke. Be sure only to burn dry, seasoned wood in your fireplace.
  3. Minimize creosote build-up- As we mentioned before, creosote is a flammable substance that can build up inside your chimney. To avoid this hazard, be sure to have your chimney cleaned regularly.
  4. Schedule annual chimney inspections- A yearly chimney inspection can help identify any potential fireplace hazards before they have a chance to cause a fire. 
  5. Install a chimney cap- A chimney cap is designed to keep debris and animals out of your chimney. A chimney cap has proven to help prevent a fireplace fire from starting in the first place.

What to do in the event of a fireplace fire?

In the event that a fireplace fire does occur, it is essential to take the following steps:

Step 1: Evacuate your home immediately- The first step is to evacuate your home immediately. Be sure to leave all of your belongings behind and get out safely.

Step 2: Call the local fire department once you are safely out of your home.

Step 3: Contact your insurance company- After you have evacuated your home and contacted the fire department, be sure to contact your insurance company. They will be able to help you with the next steps in the claims process.

Step 4: Contact a reliable restoration company- Once the fire is extinguished and you have contacted your insurance company, it is essential to contact a dependable restoration company. They will be able to help you restore your home back to its preloss condition.

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties can help when disaster strikes!

We hope you enjoyed learning about fireplace safety and what to do in the event of a fireplace fire.

When a fireplace fire occurs, acting quickly and contacting a reliable restoration company is essential. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties has the training and experience necessary to restore your home back to its preloss condition. 

Our fire damage services include:

  • Board-ups
  • Contents cleaning
  • Smoke and odor removal
  • Structural repairs

We understand that fireplace fires can be stressful, and when you choose to hire us, we promise to work quickly and efficiently to get your home back to normal. So do not hesitate to contact us when you have experienced a fireplace fire! We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Firework Fire Damage: 5 Essential Safe Tips

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

A firework show in Union County The professionals at SERVPRO are prepared for any size fire disaster!

The professionals at SERVPRO have seen fireworks cause extensive fire damage.

Fireworks are a staple of celebrations all across America. These colorful explosives from the 4th of July to New Year's Eve provide plenty of excitement and fun. However, as with any type of firework, there is always a risk of fire damage.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties have seen firsthand the damage that fireworks can cause. In fact, we responded to hundreds of fire damage calls a year, many of which were caused by fireworks. 

In this blog post, we will discuss the dangers of fireworks and how to avoid firework fire damage. We are tired of homes and businesses being damaged by firecrackers and other fireworks because these tragic incidents can be preventable. By following the essential firework safe tips mentioned in this blog post, you can help keep your family and property safe from firework fire damage!

The dangers of fireworks

Fireworks can be dangerous if not handled properly. They often contain high levels of explosive material, which can cause extensive fire and smoke damage if they ignite.

It is essential to take the following five safety tips when handling fireworks to avoid fire damage:

  1. Always read the instructions on the fireworks before igniting them.
  2. Never try to relight a firework that has failed.
  3. Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby in case of a fire.
  4. Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  5. Keep children and pets away from fireworks at all times.

When can you set off fireworks in Georgia?

In Georgia, you can set off fireworks any day of the week between 10 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. However, your local government can restrict these times with a general noise ordinance. If you are setting off fireworks on public property, you will need to get a permit from your local fire department.

You should also check with your homeowner's insurance policy to see if it covers fire damage caused by fireworks. Many policies have exclusions for fire damage caused by fireworks, so checking before setting them off is essential.

What should you do if a firework starts a fire?

If a firework does cause a fire, it is essential to call 911 immediately and evacuate the area. Do not try to extinguish yourself, as fireworks are highly flammable.

Once the fire is out, you will need to assess the damage and call a fire restoration company to begin the cleanup process. The right professionals will work quickly to assess the damage and develop a fire restoration plan. They will also work with your insurance company throughout the process to ensure that your property is restored to its pre-fire condition. 

How SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties handles fire damage restoration?

When it comes to fire damage, time is of the essence. The sooner you call SERVPRO, the sooner we can get to work restoring your property. 

Our fire restoration process includes the following steps:

Assessment: We will assess your property's fire, smoke, and water damage and develop an action plan.

Board-up and tarping service: We will tarp your roof and board up any windows or doors that have obtained damage. Board-up and traping services help prevent further damage to your property.

Water removal and drying: We will remove any water that has been left behind by the fire hoses and dry out your property.

Smoke and soot cleanup: We will clean any soot or smoke damage from your walls, ceilings, and floors.

Odor removal: We will identify and remove any lingering odors caused by the fire.

Reconstruction: We will repair any structural damage caused by the fire.

Need help recovering from firework fire damage?

You don't need to handle firework fire damage alone. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties is here to help. We are a team of IICRC-certified fire restoration professionals dedicated to restoring your property.

We understand that fire damage can be overwhelming, but we will work with you to ensure that your property is restored as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Contact us today to get started on your fire restoration project. We are available 24/7 to take your call, and we will respond as soon as possible.

Kitchen Fires: The 3 Most Common Causes

4/22/2022 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire damage in a blue ridge Georgia home Contact the professionals at SERVPRO for fast responding fire restoration services!

A kitchen fire can cause severe fire damage. 

Kitchen fires can cause significant damage to your home. In the worst-case scenario, a kitchen fire can lead to a total loss of property. Some of the most common damages caused by kitchen fires include:

  • Smoke damage
  • Water damage from putting out the fire
  • Damage to the kitchen cabinets, appliances, and countertops
  • Soot damage
  • Odor damage

The professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties receive multiple calls a year regarding kitchen fire damage. Out of all the fire calls we have received, there has been one thing to stay consistent; not one fire damage job is like another. 

The following blog post will cover the three most common causes of kitchen fires. By the end of this post, you will know how to help prevent kitchen fires from happening in your home and who to call if they do.

The three causes of kitchen fires

When it comes to kitchen fires, there have been three leading causes that we have seen:

1) Leaving a pot or pan unattended on the stovetop 

2) forgetting to turn off the oven 

3) grease/oil build-up.

Now that we know the three most common causes of kitchen fires, let’s go into more detail about preventing a kitchen fire from occurring in your home. 

How to prevent kitchen fires

The best way to deal with fire damage is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some tips on how to help prevent kitchen fires:

1) Never leave a pot or pan unattended on the stovetop. If you have to leave the kitchen for any reason, turn off the stove.

2) Always double-check the oven before leaving the house or going to bed. Make sure that it is turned off and cooled down.

3) Keep your stovetop and oven clean. A build-up of grease and oil can quickly turn into a fire. Wipe up any spills as soon as they happen, and clean your stovetop and oven on a regular basis.

4) Don’t overload electrical outlets. If you need to use multiple appliances at the same time, use a power strip with built-in circuit protection.

5) Keep flammable items away from the stove. Everyday flammable items include things like paper towels, wooden utensils, and curtains.

6) Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Make sure that everyone living in the house knows how to use a fire extinguisher properly.

Who to call if you have kitchen fire damage

As you have already learned, kitchen fires can leave significant damage in their wake. So if you find yourself in this situation, the first thing you should do is call to call a team of fire restoration professionals. 

When searching for the right team, you need to ensure that they have experience with kitchen fire damage and have the proper training from the IICRC. You will also want to ensure that they are a reputable business by checking out their reviews online. 

Wrapping up

We hope you enjoyed learning about the three most common causes of kitchen fire damage. By following the tips in this post, you can help prevent a kitchen fire from happening in your home. In the event that a fire does occur, make sure to call SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties for all of your fire damage restoration needs!

The team at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties has the experience and training from the IICRC needed to handle any size of kitchen fire damage. We are a locally owned and operated business with over 25 years of experience in the fire restoration industry. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and will work quickly and efficiently to get your kitchen back to its original state. 

If you need help with kitchen fire damage, contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will respond quickly to any size disaster.

Extension Cord Safety: 8 Tips to Help Avoid Fire Damage

2/11/2022 (Permalink)

 A safely wrapped extension cord in the street. Contact the professionals at SERVPRO for superb fire restoration services!

One of the best ways to avoid fire damage is knowing extension cord safety.  

Fire damage to a property is one of the leading causes of insurance claims in the United States. Typically, short circuits are to blame for these types of fires, and the misuse of extension cords is one of the leading causes of short circuits. A short circuit can occur when an extension cord isn't used correctly or becomes damaged; there is an increased chance of an electrical current not following the intended path.

Each year, extension cords are responsible for starting thousands of fires in the United States. However, there are ways to use these cords safely and minimize the risk of a fire. In the following blog post, we will go over eight extension cord safety tips to help keep you and your family safe from unwanted fire damage!

The dangers of extension cords

The professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties know first hand that extension cords can be hazardous when not used correctly. Improper use of an extension cord can lead to a fire, which can cause extensive damage to a home and property.

An extension cord is made of tiny wires, each with a specific function. However, when these small wires are broken or crushed, they cannot do their job. If one of these tiny wires breaks, it can increase the resistance in that wire and cause the circuit to overload and eventually cause a fire.

Tips for using an extension cord safely and avoiding fire damage

To increase the lifespan of your extension cords and to avoid fire damage, there are eight things you should do when using them:

  1. Never remove the grounding pin to make a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet: By doing this, you are removing one of the safety features of an extension cord.
  2. Don't overload the circuit: Don't plug too many things into the same extension cord. Using too much wattage in one extension cord can be very dangerous and overload the circuit, increasing the risk of an electrical fire.
  3. Keep all plugs and connections clean so that no debris can ignite.
  4. Don't run cords under rugs, carpets, or furniture.
  5. Periodically inspect the cord for damage, such as cuts or discoloration. If there are cuts or discolorations, replace the cord immediately.
  6. Unplug the cord when it is not in use, and before wrapping
  7. Use extension cords outside that are only labeled for outdoor use
  8. When using more than one extension cord to power an appliance, make sure they have a similar current output rating (do not exceed a cord's amperage rating)

Storing extension cords

When not in use, it is best to unplug your extension cords and store them in a dry place. If you must store them outdoors, make sure they are in a waterproof container. In addition, cords should be loosely coiled when stored and never kinked or tied in a knot.

Final thoughts

Extension cords are supposed to be used for short-term purposes, but some people like to use them permanently. If you choose to use your extension cord as a permanent fix, you must follow all of the safety tips above and inspect the extension cord regularly.

Extension cords are a great tool, but if they are misused or abused, then severe fire damage can occur, and the professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties have had to clean up quite a few fire damage claims caused by extension cord misuse.

Please contact us today for more information about our fire restoration services or the proper use of extension cords. All of our professionals are IICRC certified and can help with 24/7 emergency fire restoration services.

3 Great Reasons to Call SERVPRO After a Grease Fire Occurs

1/21/2022 (Permalink)

Grease fire damage behind a glass stove top. Contact the professionals at SERVPRO for immediate fire restoration services!

A grease fire can cause extensive damage to your home.

If your home has ever been damaged in a fire, you know just how devastating it can be. Not only do you have to worry about the damage to your property, but you also have to worry about the safety of your family and the health of your loved ones.

Grease fires are some of the most dangerous when it comes to fire types. They often occur in the kitchen area and quickly spread throughout a property if not extinguished properly.

It is essential to call professional firefighters immediately when experiencing a grease fire in your home. But what happens after the firefighters leave? That's where the professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties come in. We offer comprehensive grease fire cleaning services that will help get your home and life back to normal quickly and safely.

The following blog post will describe how grease fires start and the three main reasons you should contact SERVPRO for grease fire cleaning services. So without further ado, let's get started!

What is a grease fire?

A grease fire can be extremely dangerous because they're often fed by large quantities of cooking oil or grease that accumulate under stovetops and fryers. When grease catches on fire, it sticks to the walls and floor of your kitchen and any other areas to which it spreads. In addition, these grease stains can leave an oily residue that can damage your property even after extinguishing the flames.

3 Reasons why SERVPRO is the best company for grease fire cleaning services

1) SERVPRO prioritizes safety

When it comes to grease fire cleaning, SERVPRO places a high priority on safety. Grease fires can be hazardous; there might be broken glass and a variety of other safety hazards. The professionals at SERVPRO will take all necessary precautions to ensure that all parties involved in the fire restoration process are safe. They will use the latest equipment and safety gear to protect themselves from the dangers of grease fires, and we always follow proper safety protocols.

2) SERVPRO follows regulations

SERVPRO always follows all local fire cleaning regulations for grease fires. In some cases, not all damaged items are disposable in a normal dumpster. The SERVPRO professionals will ensure your grease fire restoration complies with all disposal laws in your local area.

3) SERVPRO can restore damaged items

The SERVPRO team has the experience and expertise necessary to clean up grease and oil stains quickly and safely without causing additional damage. In addition, they can effectively restore grease-stained items after grease fire cleaning services, which will save you time and effort in the long run.

After a grease fire, SERVPRO can restore upholstery, carpets, walls, cabinets, and other surfaces.

Wrapping up

The professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties hope that your home never gets damaged by a grease fire, but if it does, you know who to call!

Without professional help, the smell of smoke and soot can linger for months. Therefore, to ensure that your property is adequately restored, you will want to hire professional grease fire cleaning services as soon as possible.

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties offers a wide range of fire restoration cleaning services that will help get your home back to its original condition. We have years of experience dealing with all types of fire damage, and we know what needs to be done to restore your home safely and quickly.

Contact us today to learn more about our services or emergency fire restoration services!

Cigarette Smoke Removal: 4 Great Professional Removal Steps

10/22/2021 (Permalink)

Cigarette butts in an ashtray Contact the professionals at SERVPRO for smoke removal services!

The best way to remove cigarette smoke from your home is by professional cigarette smoke removal services.

If you've ever smoked inside your home, you know how cigarette smoke stains and smells linger on surfaces for years, and the number of damages will depend on how long cigarette smoking has occurred in the home.

Cigarette smoke contains a chemical called nicotine which bonds to porous materials like wood, fabric, and paints. It doesn't matter if the cigarette is out; as long as it was lit at some point inside the home, there will be lingering traces of cigarette odors.

The best cigarette smoke removal tactics will require a combination of cigarette smoke odor neutralizers and specialized tools that remove cigarette smoke from different surfaces. In the following blog post, we will go over our professional cigarette smoke removal process for a home that was smoked inside for thirty years. By the end of this post, you will know how cigarette smoke is removed from a home and reasons not to smoke inside a home.

Removing decades of cigarette residue

Recently a homeowner called the professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties for water restoration services after a sink trap leak caused damage to the subflooring underneath a homeowners kitchen tile flooring. While performing our initial inspection, we realized that the home not only had water damage but also had cigarette smoke damage throughout the property. 

We asked the homeowner how long they have been smoking inside their home, and they let us know that it has been over 30 years! 

When cigarette smoke is present for a long time, everything in contact gets stained and discolored. For this customer, the cigarette smoke had been lingering in their home for years, not allowing us to know:

  • The actual color of the carpet flooring 
  • The color of the walls 
  • The color of the ceramic tile in the bathroom

The customer asked us to perform both the water damage and cigarette smoke removal services because they planned to put their house on the market in the next six months.

The cigarette smoke removal process

The professionals at SERVPRO have found the best way to attack a cigarette smoke removal job is to attack it like a soot cleaning job.

First step: Strategically place ozone machines that disperse cigarette smoke odor neutralizers throughout the damaged areas. The cigarette smoke smells drawn into the ozone machines are changed through oxidation, which removes cigarette odors.

Second step: Wipe down walls, light switches, and door frames using a professional soot sponge. A soot sponge is a lint-free, absorbent sponge that cigarette smoke residue absorbs into.

Third step: Seal and repaint the walls. The cigarette smoke stains on the walls are now gone, but you will want to repaint them to make them look fresh and new.

Fourth step: Go over the entire area with a wet/dry vacuum removing all cigarette ash particles from soft surfaces such as carpets and fabrics. It may be best to completely remove and restore all damaged carpeting rather than spending time removing years of cigarette residue.

The entire cigarette smoke removal process took several days for the above job because cigarette smoke had seeped into both the padding and subflooring of their home. In the end, we are very proud to say that our cigarette smoke removal process allowed us to remove over 30 years' worth of cigarette odors and discoloration from the entire house!

Why you shouldn't smoke inside your home

As smoke and fire damage restoration professionals, we can't wrap up this blog post without giving you reasons not to smoke inside your home. Cigarette smoke damages everything it comes in contact with over time, not to mention the countless fire damage calls received caused by a single cigarette. So please do yourself a favor and do not smoke inside your home! 

For more information about cigarette smoke removal services, please contact us today. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties is available 24/7 to answer any type of smoke removal questions you might have.

Damaged Chimney Flue: 1 Small Crack Can Cause Serious Fire Damages

10/1/2021 (Permalink)

Remodeled living room after a chimney flue cause fire damages Contact the professionals at SERVPRO for complete fire restoration services!

The professionals at SERVPRO have had to restore severe fire damages caused by chimney flue issues.

A damaged chimney flue can cause severe damages to your property without warning. To avoid an unwanted fire damage disaster, you should get your chimney flue inspected for any cracks or damages once a year.

A damaged chimney flue can be caused by many things, such as a small crack that worsens over time. The following blog post will go into detail about how a chimney flue can become damaged and a real-life situation that left an elderly couple with a home with severe fire damage. 

How can a chimney flue become damaged?

Natural disasters, neglect, or improper installation are the main causes of a damaged chimney flue. The number one way to tell if the chimney flue has damages is when there is chipped-off cement mortar inside the fireplace. A property owner must contact a chimney repair specialist at the first sign of excess cement mortar; a crack will only worsen over time and lead to serious structural damage.

A damaged chimney flue may not directly lead to fire damage right away, but the cracks will allow for moisture to enter, increasing the likelihood of mold growth or water damage. It is best to contact the property restoration professionals at SERVPRO when water or mold issues are inside the property.

A recent call

Earlier this year, the professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties received a call from a distraught gentleman. The call was because the home that he and his wife have been living in for the last fifty years caught on fire and damaged their living room and bedroom. 

Soon after the call, we dispatched our crews and were on-site in thirty minutes. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a fire marshal who explained to us that a crack in the chimney flue caused the fire loss.

After the property owners signed the necessary paperwork, we began removing all the fire-damaged debris and categorizing what could and couldn't be salvaged. The fire damage clean-up took two weeks to completely remove all caracoled items and free the property from excess smoke damage.

The next step was to rebuild the property "Like it never even happened." Before the rebuild process, the rebuild team at SERVPRO agreed that we wanted the elderly homeowners to feel like they were getting an upgrade rather than a replacement for their home. So, we went and upgraded their bedroom and living room that now has their dream bar.

In the end, the elderly couple was delighted with our team and was astonished at how we turned a terrible situation into something that they can proudly call their home.

How to avoid chimney flue fire damage?

The best way to avoid any type of chimney fire damage is to schedule regular chimney inspections with a chimney repair company. During a chimney inspection, the professionals will carry out a complete check of your chimney to ensure no damaged or worn parts are in place. If there is excess soot build-up, they will even perform a chimney cleaning.

Wrapping up

We hope you now know how important it is to schedule professional chimney inspections because when your chimney flue gets damaged, it can cause severe fire damage to the inside of your home.

Please contact the professionals when a damaged chimney flue causes fire damage to your property. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties is an IICRC certified firm with the professional knowledge to handle any size fire damage disaster. We are readily available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, to help you with your fire damage claim.

Fire Pit Safety: What is the Correct Fire Pit Distance From A House?

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

A fire pit in the backyard Count on the professionals at SERVPRO for any size fire restoration project caused by a backyard fire pit!

Make sure your fire pit is the correct place this summer. 

There is nothing better than starting a fire in a fire pit on a pleasant summer evening. A fire's warmth and light are the perfect way to end the day. But before you fire up your fire pit, there are some important things to keep in mind for safety's sake!

In the following blog post, we will discuss two types of fireplaces: permanent and portable, as well as how far your fire pit should be from your house, as well as fire pit safety tips to make sure that everyone stays safe.

The 2 types of fire pits: permanent and portable

There are two main types of fire pits homeowners install on their property: permanent fire pits and portable fire pits.

Permanent fire pits are often built into the ground, with cement blocks to contain the fire. This type of fire pit is most common in areas where fire restrictions are minimal.

On the other hand, portable fire pits are often made from metal and don't need to be built into the ground. These fire pits are great for a homeowner who is curious if they want to invest in a permanent fire pit.

The proper fire pit distance from a house

No matter what type of fire pit you decide to use, fire safety must always be a top priority. Fire pits should be at least ten feet from the house, but we recommend 20 feet to avoid fire damage. The fire pit should also be at least ten feet away from any other type of flammable surface, such as a swing set or tree.

Fire safety needs to be a priority!

Whenever you decide to start a fire in a fire pit, you need to ensure that appropriate safety measures are followed. The team at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties has put together a list of 10 fire pit safety tips to ensure you get the most enjoyment from your fire pit this summer while keeping everyone safe.

10 Fire pit safety tips 

  1. A fire pit should never be placed on a wooden deck or any wooden surface.
  2. Avoid burning seasoned wood
  3. Follow any fire pit laws by your local city and county authorities.
  4. Keep a fire extinguisher or a water source close by in case of an emergency
  5. Avoid operating a fire pit beneath a building overhang or under a partially enclosed space.
  6. Keep a portable fire pit make sure the ground is level 
  7. Check for overhanging trees that can easily ignite from sparks. 
  8. Surround a fire pit with non-combustible materials, like stone, brick, and sand.
  9. Don't use lighter fluid or gasoline to start a fire.
  10. Surrounding chairs should be at least 5 feet away from the fire pit. 

What to do when a fire pit causes fire damage

If you are dealing with fire damage caused by a fire pit, you need to contact a reliable fire damage restoration company for help.

Professional fire restoration experts will clean up the fire-damaged area and remove all of the smoke damage left behind after the fire is put out.

The right team of fire restoration professionals may be able to save certain items from your home that were not significantly fire-damaged through an extensive cleaning process.

Final Thoughts

As with any outdoor fire event, homeowners need to keep their property safe when hosting guests by following the backyard fire safety tips above. 

When dealing with a fire damage claim, you can count on the professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties. All of their fire damage restoration professionals have gone through extensive training and are IICRC certified

Please feel free to contact us for further questions on our fire restoration services. We hope you are having a great summer!

Photoelectric or Ionization: Which Smoke Detector is Right for You?

5/21/2021 (Permalink)

ionization smoke detector in Blue Ridge commercial property We are ready for any size fire restoration job!

Learn about the two main types of smoke detectors to install in your property

When it comes to protecting your property from fire, safety is the most important thing. You want to ensure that you are alerted quickly and can escape safely with minimal damage if a fire starts in your home or business. But which type of smoke detector should you install?

Both photoelectric and ionization detectors use sensors to sense smoke and fires differently based on where they think the source of the fire started.

Understanding the differences between the two will help you make the right decision about the smoke alarms protecting your property. Keep on reading to find out what smoke detector you should install!

What is an ionization smoke detector?

An ionization smoke detector uses a sensor that responds to both visible and invisible combustion particles by releasing electrons that travel through the air. When airborne molecules collide with the internal sensing chamber an electric charge will trigger the alarm.

Unlike photoelectric alarms, this type of smoke detector will not detect fires in areas with no smoke or fire present (i.e., false alarms). It has fewer detection levels than photoelectric detectors because it does not have any kind of light-sensing component like photoelectric sensors do. Ionization smoke detectors detect fast flaming fires and are best installed in kitchens and bathrooms and places you may leave unattended for long periods, such as your home office. 

What is a photoelectric smoke detector?

A photoelectric smoke detector uses a light-sensing component to detect slow smoldering fires. The sensor is either an array of LEDs or an infrared beam, which activates when the light from these devices reflects off smoke particles in the air. When smoke is sensed, the alarm will sound and notify you that there has been a fire detected in your property.

Photoelectric vs. Ionization Smoke Detector: Which to choose?

Both photoelectric and ionization smoke detectors have their strengths and weaknesses. The main difference between photoelectric and ionization is that one has an airborne sensor that senses fires through light sensors (photoelectric). At the same time, the other relies on particles being released into the air (ionization). Which smoke detector you choose to install will depend on your needs for detection.

Ionizing Smoke Detector: These detectors work best when installed in kitchens and bathrooms as well as places you may leave unattended for long periods, such as your home office.  

Photoelectric smoke detectors are best installed in places where you are most likely to see the fire, such as your kitchen during a grease fire.

The IICRC certified professionals at SERVPRO can not say that one type of smoke detector is better than the other. We recommend installing both ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors to ensure maximum detection of the various types of fires. 

Call SERVPRO for fire or smoke damage restoration.

Call SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties if, unfortunately, your smoke detectors didn't do the job quick enough and you are left with fire or smoke damage; we are skilled professionals in the fire damage restoration field who can remove all soot webs and restore your property to a pre-disaster state within no time.

Fire disasters always come without warning, and such an unfortunate thing can happen to anyone. We respond quickly to emergencies, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year because we know that every second will count when minimizing property damage.


At SERVPRO, we truly understand how devastating it can be to find yourself in a fire damage situation. Contact us today for immediate help!

What Causes Soot Webs On The Wall?

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

Black soot on hands after touching a soot web Contact the professionals at SERVPRO before trying to clean soot webs on your own!

After a fire breaks out, you may be left with soot webs.

Fire disasters can cause devastating consequences, and it is crucial to understand the impact of smoke damage. All fire damages result in smoke and soot damage. Soot consists of carbon particles that are released as a product of incomplete combustion. 

When there is a fire, the heat moves towards cooler surrounding areas as a phenomenon of atmospheric equilibrium. Thus, enabling the smoke and soot particles to circulate along with air to spread around the entire space. 

High vapor pressure forces these particles into closed and sealed spaces, creating newly formed soot chains, known as soot webs or soot tags. The development of soot webs may look like an initial consequence of prior existing spider webs, but that is false. Soot webs are formed entirely as a consequence of a fire disaster. 

What Are Soot Webs Made Of? 

Soot webs are created as a product of improperly combusted carbon particles following a fire disaster. The development of soot webs is facilitated by air motion and thermal equilibrium. These soot webs resemble spider webs, except they form immediately after a fire, they appear darker, and they have a strong odor of oil present. 

How Do You Clean Soot Webs?

Soot webs can range from light to heavy and are often detected as dust that reappears even after being vigorously cleaned. It is noticed on hands as charcoal would when touched. Soot smears on the surfaces of walls when touched. Additionally, soot produces a lingering smell of smoke.

The cleaning of soot webs can be a highly challenging and daunting task. The first thing to do is to open doors and windows to ensure that there is sufficient ventilation. Turn off all fans and air-conditioners to prevent the spread of loose soot dust within the vents. 

To clean soot:

  1. Wear a multilayered face-mask or a respirator to avoid breathing in soot particle deposition.
  2. Effectively remove furniture uncovered in soot to prevent unnecessary deposition and contamination that could occur while the soot webs are cleared.
  3. Begin the soot cleaning by vacuuming in and around the walls and surfaces covered in soot or soot webs. This will eradicate the loose dusty soot and leave the adherent particles intact.
  4. Follow this step by wiping the area with a special chemical sponge. 

When to contact SERVPRO

Cleaning soot webs calls for attention to urgent damage restoration by professionals to efficiently clean up these soot webs and clear up all closed and sealed spaces. Soot adheres to multiple surfaces and is notorious for leaving permanent stains if not tended to immediately. 

The entire process is tedious and can be extremely hard to manage without adequate equipment and training. 

The professionals at SERVPRO specialize in damage restoration and cleaning up of all devastating consequences following a fire disaster. The highly trained workers at SERVPRO will make sure to restore your place in a good-as-new condition. 


Contact us today if you have any questions about our soot web cleaning process. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions!

Is Your Business Prepared for a Fire?

3/14/2021 (Permalink)

How prepared are you? Do you have a fire escape plan for your business? A fire can spread quickly, leaving only minutes to escape. Having a plan in place prior to an emergency will allow you and your employees to exit quickly in the event of a fire. We at SERVPRO can help you plan for a fire or other emergency by creating an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including: emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. The ERP is a no-cost assessment. All it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save a lot of time in the future. Call us at 706-896-1880 or 706-273-7776 to schedule an appointment to begin your ERP.

What Are Fire Chasers?

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Fire chaser holding fire restoration contracts When working with a fire chaser, be sure to know what you are signing.

Fire chasers chase fires and offer fire damage services

Imagine your business site or home is up in flames. You hope this is all a bad dream as you see all your life's belongings burning away. The feeling of despair clouds your mind. Amid all these emotions, you see random people surrounding your property, thrusting documents, and contracts in your face. You are too bewildered to ask yourself, "Who told them that I have a fire?". Just as you are wondering this, you see another restoration company reaching your site. You are then questioning yourself: How did this happen?

A fire chaser is also known as a first responder. It is a person that possesses extensive experience in dealing with incidents of property loss. Fire chasers belong to a restoration services team that has been notified by a third party that a property is suffering from fire damage. When a fire chaser reaches a fire loss location, they are aimed at convincing the owner of the property, who very likely is worried and stressed, to use them for fire restoration services. Some fire chasers intentionally create an emergency atmosphere so they can get their contracts as soon as possible and sell their service. Fire chasers can have a bad reputation because they are known as clever people who aim to take advantage of people at the vulnerable stage of facing a disaster. 

Are fire chasers good or bad? 

While there can be many considerable benefits of being a fire chaser, there can also be disadvantages. Fire chasers know one solid fact: they are dealing with vulnerable victims of the disaster. Hence they are known to easily take full advantage of the victims. While the victims are certain that it will require effort, time, and money, they also want to escape this grueling process and get the pre-disaster condition of their property as soon as possible. 

We have heard about other restoration companies in Atlanta weaponizing the fear factor by placing shock and panic in the victim, causing them to make decisions that they might not agree with later. At SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties, we do not agree with this method of selling. When you choose us to clean your fire-damaged property, we can ensure you that we will take care of everything and offer you help however you may need it. We know that you are in a vulnerable place; that is why we won't make you feel pressured to decide by signing any documents and contracts until you are certain how you want to move forward.

How do fire chasers get paid? 

Cutting to the chase, the pay of fire chasers depends on the situation at hand, and many factors. It depends upon the restoration company that employs them. However, typically, fire chasers are paid on a percentage of the total damage loss. It ranges from 5 percent to 15 percent of the total homeowner's insurance claim money that the restoration company receives for the fire damage repairs. 

You can trust SERVPRO 

With over 50 years of experience and more than 1,700 franchises nationwide, SERVPRO excels at all restoration services. In times of crisis, you need a company that is faster, possesses advanced technology, and has highly trained certified professionals; this is what SERVPRO offers. Whether the restoration services are required for water, fire, or mold mediation, SERVPRO will give exceptional services with its certified and highly trained team. SERVPRO has years of experience in residential as well as commercial services. Their responsibility consists of being available 24/7 to cater to any calls of assistance regarding property damage incidents. Their vast experience enables them to be equipped with dealing with all extents of all damage. The damage can be of water, mold, or fire. No matter the source of the incidents, you can rely on SERVPRO for their readily-available help with their professional and capable tools. 


Contact us and we promise to help you preserve the damage caused to your business site or home. You can rely on the team at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties to ensure your property will be protected from further damages such as pests, rain, and potential looters after a fire loss.

Ozone Machine For Smoke Damage

12/17/2020 (Permalink)

Man plugging his nose before ozone treatment A properly performed ozone treatment will relieve your home from nasty odors

Ozone Treatment—an Effective Solution for Removing Unpleasant Odors

There are many daunting factors associated with a fire outbreak; it wouldn't be wrong to state that these unfortunate circumstances leave homeowners in an overwhelming situation. Fire and smoke damage will cause significant damage to the property and considerable financial loss.

However, apart from all these damages, the most troubling factor is the strange, pungent smell that makes it even harder to continue living in the property. When SERVPRO gets a call about fire damage, you will notice that the fire restoration professional will be placing ozone machines throughout the property. 

An ozone treatment serves to be the most viable high-tech solution that works efficiently in eradicating musty odors. The ozone machine will provide you with a fresh and smell-free environment. Let us dive deeper into the benefits associated with this remarkable technology.

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a molecular gas composed of three atoms of oxygen, with excellent commercial and residential cleaning uses. Ozone is used for cleaning purposes mainly because it can easily detach one of the oxygen molecules and then re-attach to other molecular substances, thereby changing their composition chemically. Due to this capability, ozone works efficiently in eradicating the unpleasant odor of smoke and other reagents that cause a foul odor.

Ozone Machine—Removing Smoke Odor Now Made Easier

The ozone machine is a piece of efficient equipment, generally available in a mobile unit that removes indoor odors and pollutants. It has a compartment that traps carbon dioxide from the environment. An electrical discharge is then used to split oxygen into a molecular state. This process, which is known as corona discharge, helps in forming ozone gas— a highly reactive gas that clears out the pungent smell present in the environment.

Precautionary steps while using the machine 

As you are working with high voltages, it is essential to take severe protection while using the machine; hence, it is always recommended to ground the fault circuits to avoid current issues. Apart from that, all the metal casing must also be adequately grounded to ensure you do not leave loose metal parts while the machinery is in function. Though the machine looks simple to use, there are certain imminent dangers associated with it. Therefore, hiring a professional staff to carry on with the procedures is a more convenient solution.

Hire professionals to get done with the job efficiently

Although the machine looks simple to use, there are certain imminent dangers associated with it. Hiring a professional staff to carry on with the procedures is a more convenient solution. The SERVPRO professionals take specific precautionary measures into strict consideration. Certified fire damage professionals should be the only ones to handle an ozone machine due to ozone gas's reactiveness and capabilities to remove pungent odors. Though the machine looks simple to use, there are certain imminent dangers associated with it. Therefore, hiring a professional staff to carry on with the procedures is a more convenient solution.

SERVPRO Ozone Treatment—the Professional Fire Cleaners

From providing fire damage restoration to top-to-bottom cleaning, the professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties have you covered. With over 50 years of expertise, our specialists are dedicated to providing all-inclusive fire restoration services with the highest quality. We are among the renowned providers of residential and commercial ozone treatments. We have set high standards with our reliable and professional services.


Call us at (706) 896-1880

How To Effectively Clean Grimy Soot Off 3 Different Surfaces

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

Cleaning soot of burned wood flooring Call The Soot Cleaning Professionals Today!

For most varieties, leave cleaning soot to smoke restoration professionals.

Cleaning soot is not as easy as wiping the dust off your house’s furniture. 

If you don’t use the suitable equipment and the right method for cleaning soot, you’ll end up with a bigger mess on your hands. Not everyone has access to a vacuum with a HEPA filter or other high-powered electronic devices needed to repair smoke damage!

Soot that emits from rubber and plastic combustion is oily in texture and is not easy to clean with household cleaning equipment.

Moreover, soot stains in the kitchen result from protein burnout, making them the most stubborn soot stains. Call the soot cleaning professionals for repairs if you don’t want your house to emit toxic fumes and particles long after being damaged in a fire.

What is soot?

Soot is the impure carbon particles resulting from incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons like wood, oil, and charcoal. When organic matter burns, it releases the residue of its pyrolyzed fuel in the air, which is either brown or black. 

They are a type of pollutant that is sticky to touch and can get smudged easily upon contact on any surface. 

These particles get stuck on different surfaces like walls, fans, ventilators, and chimneys and can cause various complications–especially in people with respiratory issues like asthma. 

What surfaces can soot stick to?

Different types of soot stick to various surfaces and require specific cleaning protocols. For example, dry soot is like dust that settles on furniture, whereas wet soot–moisture mixed with dry soot–can easily stick to any surface.

Among all soot types, dry soot is the easiest to clean. The other classes (wet soot, oily soot, protein soot) often require hiring professional help. 

You can try cleaning the other types of soot on your own; professionals do the task in a fraction of the time.

Cleaning soot from painted walls 

Find a clean cloth and dab rubbing alcohol or paint thinner on it. Then, gently rub it against soot stains on the painted walls. 

Cleaning soot from painted walls is the easiest of all available options, especially if the paint used is stain-resistant. A chemical dry-cleaning sponge will be able to do the same job as well.

In some cases, using a wet cloth on the walls smudges the carbon particles over the surface. Soot particles are soft to touch, but their texture is sticky; therefore, direct use of a wetted cloth for cleaning can create a mud-like mess on your wall. 

If you find yourself in a similar situation, try cleaning it using a dry-cleaning sponge first, then use something wet to clean the remaining residue.

Cleaning soot from brick fireplace

Fireplaces don’t pose an immediate danger to you and your family, but if you don’t clean them regularly, they can malfunction, depositing soot in the surrounding area. 

For their cleaning soot from fireplaces malfunction: first, remove ashes from the hearth, then sweep off debris and dust particles from the area as much as possible. Then, clean the difficult places using a long brush. Don’t forget the nooks and crannies!

The final step uses either a mixture of water and vinegar or a paste of baking soda and dish detergent to scrub the soot off the interior of your fireplace. You might need to do a fair amount of scrubbing, but that’s the downside of not hiring a professional–SERVPRO’s team is up to the task if you need support!  

Cleaning soot from stone

The most efficient way of cleaning soot from stone surfaces is with TSP (trisodium phosphate), which you can buy in either liquid or powder form from the market. The product is toxic if ingested, and direct exposure can irritate your skin and eyes.

Cleaning soot from concrete floor

Not many products can clean soot from concrete floors, especially in cases of extreme smoke damage. If you want to give it a try, use grill cleaners; many people have attested that it works if you rub the surface long enough. 

Call soot cleaning professionals!

Most of the cleaning methods mentioned above require careful handling. If you are doing it yourself, use gloves, goggles, and cover other cleaned surfaces with a tarp before staring at your soot cleaning task since the methods described can be harmful. 

Cleaning soot stains in your kitchen are possible without any professional help, but things like a fireplace cleaning or smoke damage clean up requires professional restoration. We advise you to always go for the most comprehensive solution for your home instead of the cheapest. 

Some smoke damages are beyond repair–only a professional restoration crew can bring these surfaces back to life. You don’t need to strain your body and risk your health for an impossible cleaning task–leave it to the professionals!

Call us at (706) 896-1880

Is it safe to stay in a house with smoke damage?

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke Damage to Blue Ridge home SERVPRO professionals follow all safety protocols when cleaning smoke damage.

In short, smoke damage after a house fire needs to be cleaned by professionals ASAP.

Fires can decimate your property and destroy all types of furniture. Even after the initial fire has been put out, it is still unsafe to enter the home due to smoke damage. 

If left untreated, smoke damage can potentially cause more harm than the initial fire. 

After a house fire, professionals should inspect the smoke damage before anyone else enters the household. It may seem safe to enter the house but, even if you cannot see any smoke, there still may be particles left behind walls. It is imperative that a smoke damage professional inspects the house and clears any remaining smoke particles.

Types of smoke damage

Smoke damage is any damage that is caused directly by the smoke, not the fire. It can fit into the most narrow areas such as wiring, pipes, and other small gaps. The composition of smoke damage varies from house to house, based on the items burnt. There are four primary smoke damage categories: dry smoke, protein residue, fuel/oil residue, and wet smoke. The types of things burnt determine their classification.

The burning of paper and wood generally causes dry smoke. It leaves behind small particles that are easily cleaned but that gets into small cracks and porous materials.

Protein residue is common in kitchen fires. It’s when organic materials are incinerated during low-heat fires.

Fuel/oil residue isn’t common in residential fires, but it is possible if the home is storing petroleum products. Cleaning this type of smoke damage is incredibly difficult, so its rare occurrence is a benefit.

Wet smoke is the product of burning rubber or plastic. This classification type is characterized by dark black smoke. This type of smoke damage is sticky and dense, making clean up near impossible without specialized equipment.

Also, after the removal of fire, walls and furniture are usually soaked with water. Removal of water from these areas is vital, and professionals can do this with dehumidifiers or air movers.

The professionals at SERVPRO have the best techniques to remove soot and smoke effectively from these surfaces. Our experts can promptly assess the amount of damage and lie out the best method for the complete removal of soot and smoke from your household.

How long does smoke damage last?

How long smoke damage lasts depends on how fast action is taken to clean it up. 

Certain items need to be saved within minutes to prevent permanent damage. Walls and furniture can become permanently stained if not treated by 1-2 days. 

The quicker you take action, the better. We take immediate action here at SERVPRO, arriving at your home within minutes of your call.

SERVPRO fire and smoke damage services

Smoke damage is no joke and should not be taken lightly; entering the household without proper protection or masks can prove deadly. The safest decision is to call professionals to inspect and assess the amount of damage done to the house. 

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties team of experts can quickly assess, contain, and neutralize any smoke before further damage occurs. SERVPRO IICRC certified experts will carefully inspect all the rooms of the property to develop a proper plan. Give SERVPRO a call now and ensure the safety of both you and your loved ones!


Call us at (706) 896-1880

Space Heater Fire Hazards Are More Likely To Occur In The Colder Months

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

Hot space heater fire hazard When a fire occurs we will remove all smoke and soot from all surfaces!

A Professional Fire Restoration Company Will Mitigate Any Fire damage.

With the winter season well upon us, all anyone can think of doing is curling up in front of their space heater, all snug and cozy. After all, who doesn’t like unwinding after a long, cold day with a mug of their favorite cocoa, a festive movie, and the warmth of a heater? But space heaters can do as much damage as they do good, and it’s essential to take precautions to prevent any space heater fire hazards from occurring. 

Is Your Space Heater a Fire Hazard?

Remember when someone asked you who your best friend was? Well, for these next couple of months, that’s your space heater. But believe it or not, your space heater can turn out to be quite the fire hazard. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), from 2008 to 2010, portable electric heaters were the cause of roughly 1,200 fires per year.  

With most heaters containing a 1500 watts voltage, this is more than enough power to cause a spark should any of the appliance's components prove faulty. So, it’s best to look out for a damaged wire, cord, or plug. Additionally, if you’re using an extension cord, then it is essential to check that too; fires are often caused by extensions instead of the heater itself. 

Of course, even a correctly functioning space heater can be prone to combustion, and the most common cause of this is its surroundings. Space heaters should be kept at a safe distance from all items, roughly a distance of about three feet, but people often forgo this advice and huddle up close to get maximum heat. This seemingly harmless act could prove fatal if any of the nearby materials were to catch fire. 

Are All Space Heater the Same?

Although there’s no doubt that a space heater can turn out to be dangerous, that doesn’t mean that it is an appliance not suited to your home. It is one of the best sources of indoor heat to help you get through the harsh winters. All you need to do is use it safely, and you’ll be all set. 

The best type of space heater to go for are electric space heaters as these have proven to be the safest, with the following 4 types of space heaters to keep clear of:

1) Fan Heaters

2) Ceramic Heaters

3) Oil Heaters

4) Convection Heaters 

Still, if you choose to use one of the above types – as they are usually cheaper – Please keep a close watch.

How Do I Make My Space Heater Safer?

Of course, everyone can’t get an electric space heater, and so, there are a few steps that you can take to make your space heater safer – whatever type it may be.

 Space heater precautions to consider:

  • Steer clear of extensions wherever possible
  • Do not leave your space heater without supervision or running overnight
  • Stick to your heater’s operation manual
  • Turn off your heater at the first signs of a spark or overheating
  • Give your space heater adequate rest, ideally after every few hours
  • Keep your space heater well away from any liquids
  • Place the space heater on a straight surface 
  • Place all materials and items at a distance of at least three feet
  • Make sure your space heater is UL certified 

Just follow these simple guidelines, and the chances of a space heater fire hazard will fall drastically. 

One of the smartest things you can do is install heat and smoke sensors at various points throughout your home, taking special care to place them in rooms where your space heater is used. These alarms are excellent at detecting the smallest signs of a space heater fire hazard, as their reaction time is just a couple of minutes. Just make sure your alarm has a loud enough sound, so you’ll be able to notice it even if you’re immersed elsewhere.

Final Thoughts 

So, is it likely that your space heater starts a fire? Is a space heater’s risk of fire far too significant? Not at all! As long as you stick by the precautionary methods and keep safe, your space heater is an excellent addition for the winter months.

Remember to call SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties when a space heater fire breaks out in your home or business. SERVPRO are fire damage restoration professionals on call 24/7 and will be there to help you every step of the restoration process. 

After a Fire, the Danger Isn't Over

3/15/2020 (Permalink)

There’s been a fire at your home or business. Once the firemen leave, your first inclination may be to go inside the structure to see what’s salvageable and start the cleaning process. But cleaning up after a fire is much more complicated than regular cleaning. It’s also very dangerous. Because once the last flame has been snuffed out, the dangers from a fire linger. 

Soot Hazards

Since fire destroys all materials, the soot that covers everything you touch and that you kick up in the air is full of toxic substances. That’s why the highly trained professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties wear heavy duty personal protection equipment (PPE) on fire mitigation jobs until all the soot is removed. Here are some of the poisons found in the soot and ashes of a building fire:

  • Mesothelioma (cancer) causing asbestos fibers from building materials
  • Carbon materials can produce carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides
  • PVC can create hydrogen chloride, phosgene (used as a chemical weapon during World War I), dioxin, Refrigerant-40, bromomethane (a pesticide), etc.
  • Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide (poisonous gasses)
  • Petroleum based items can produce formaldehyde, acrolein, furfural, cresols, and other harmful chemicals
  • Even wood smoke releases more than 100 chemicals also found in cigarette smoke

Removing the Odors

One of the main aftereffects of a fire are odors. These can be difficult to remove without professional know-how and equipment. For instance, did you know that four factors (The Four S’s) can impact the strength of fire odors? Those are:

  1. Size - The bigger the fire, the more objects have burned, and thus there’s been more smoke.
  2. Span -The longer a structure has been exposed to smoke, the more deeply odor has seeped into porous materials.
  3. Space - When a fire occurs in a smaller room, the smoke odor becomes more intense and concentrated.
  4. Stuff - Not all odors are equal. For instance, burning wood, plastic and protein, all emit different smells with varied consistency.

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties has the knowledge and equipment to eliminate the diverse and pungent odors that occur after a fire. Besides the easily accessible areas, we also examine wall cavities, duct work, crawl spaces and plumbing chases to establish whether they also suffered any smoke or fire damage. We’ll ensure that they’re cleaned, repaired and that all traces of odor are removed.

So as tempting as it may be to rush back into your fire damaged home or business once the fire is out, play it safe and call SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties so that we can safely make it “Like it never even happened.”

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

9/24/2019 (Permalink)

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 Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties 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 – 706-896-1880

Fireworks Safety

9/22/2019 (Permalink)

Almost everyone loves fireworks!  The Fourth of July is just around the corner and we will be looking forward to watching the beautiful fireworks displays.  Some of us will go to local displays and some of us will watch the magnificent displays around the country on television.  Did you know that the largest fireworks display in the world happened at the New Year countdown on January 1, 2016?  It was in the Philippine Arena, Ciudad de Victoria Bocaue Bulacan, Manila, Philippines, consisting of 810,904 fireworks, lasting for 1 hour 1 minute 32.35 seconds in the pouring rain.  Amazing, isn’t it?The Chinese stumbled upon a kind of natural firecracker as early as 200 B.C.  They would roast bamboo, which would explode with a bang due to the hollow air pockets inside.  They believed that the noise would ward off evil spirits. At some point between 600 and 900 A.D., Chinese alchemists mixed together saltpeter (a common kitchen seasoning) charcoal, sulfur and a few other ingredients, unwittingly yielding the first crude form of gunpowder.  It is speculated that they were possibly trying to make an elixir for immortality.  When the Chinese began stuffing this volatile substance into bamboo shoots and throwing them into a fire, the first fireworks were born.   By the time of the Renaissance, pyrotechnic schools were training fireworks artists across Europe.  In the 1830s, the Italians began to incorporate very small amounts of metals and other additives to their fireworks, thus creating the bright, multicolored sparks and sunbursts seen in contemporary fireworks shows.  Until then, fireworks were just loud noises, orange flashes and faint golden traces of light. Legend has it that Captain John Smith set off the first fireworks display in America in 1608.  Some of the colonists may have gotten a little carried away and a spate of firecracker-related pranks became a public nuisance, prompting officials in Rhode Island to ban the “mischievous use of pyrotechnics” in 1731. Today, most states regulate how and where fireworks may be used, as well as the types of explosives would be available for consumers to purchase.  In 2009, nearly 9,000 Americans were hurt by fireworks with a disproportionate number of the injuries occurring in July.  This is why fireworks safety is so important.   The Fireworks Safety Code • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114• Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks• Keep fireworks in a closed box• Follow the instructions on each firework• Light them at arm’s length, using a taper• Stand well back• Never go near a firework that has been lit.  Even if• It hasn’t gone off, it could still explode• Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them• Always supervise children around fireworks• Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves• Never give sparklers to children under 5• Keep pets indoors• Don’t set off noisy fireworks late at night and never past 11pm

Where there's smoke, there is fire ... tips for fire prevention

9/17/2019 (Permalink)

In 2011, there were 1.3 million house fires in the United States.

1.3 million families temporarily displaced.

We attach our memories to things. We often scoff at materialism and we even poke fun at those who tend to accumulate lots of “things” … but the truth is, sometimes, things have meaning.

Your grandmother’s quilt, photos of your children, artwork, the shoes you wore on your first date with your husband, a movie ticket from a special day with a good friend … these are all seemingly meaningless things. Some of us are more sentimental than others.

Out of 1.3 million, it’s a safe bet that some important “things” were lost. We helped approximately 240 customers last year and though we restored a lot of belongings, some items were too far gone. Some of those things were not replaceable. Worse than things are people injured or killed. Nearly 25 thousand people each year are injured or killed by fire and that’s why prevention is so important.  Here are some less common tips from Ready.gov, a website dedicated to disaster prevention.

Electrical

·         Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.

·         Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

·         If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.

·         Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.

·         Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Cooking

·         Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

·         Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.

·         Do not cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.

·         Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.

·         Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Fires can spread from nearly harmless to engulfing in less than 30 seconds. Reavy.gov reports many people do not realize how incredibly fast fire is. Fire is not bright and glowing as it would seem. Especially in a house it quickly produces thick black smoke making everything dark. Additionally, it’s smoke and toxic fumes from the various materials in a home that usually kills people. These hard facts should be enough to help you create a fire escape plan for your family.

As for those belongings, put precious mementos in fireproof safe or box. Have your photos scanned so you have digital copies of all family photos, old and new. Terry and Tonya, two of our team members who help inventory belongings and restore items have thoroughly enjoyed breathing new life into “Grandmother’s China” and even finding lost treasures in the process of moving furniture and cleaning up after a disaster.

Here at SERVPRO, we are used to working with insurance companies to help restore or rebuild homes. In the Blue Ridge area, one of the agents we are blessed to work with is Kevin Panter, who offers the following advice “Insureds need to take their annual review with their insurance agent seriously.  It is often determined during a time of loss that the insured’s building limits and personal property contents limits are not adequate.  Having proper documentation and adequate limits will help make the claim process much easier.   Having cell phone videos and storing proper documentation off the premises will help greatly should a claim arise.” You can reach Kevin through his company http://www.kevinpanterinsurance.com/ .

“Our whole reason for existing as a business is to help our customers feel confident and comfortable as we restore their homes or businesses to preloss conditions. When disaster, small or large, strikes, you feel like you’ve lost control. We want to help you get it back. Our crews are often praised for their compassion. It is truly heartfelt,” explains Carnie Wall, co-owner.

Grilling Safety

9/16/2019 (Permalink)

Summer time is grilling time. We all love to either cook on a grill or eat what has been cooked. Just thinking of all the mouthwatering goodies that can come off a grill makes me hungry, but before eating, comes safety! When grilling weather finally gets here after a long, cold winter, a lot of us will go drag the grill out of the garage and fire it up. If we don’t take time to check things out and clean everything properly (which ideally was done before putting it away last year), we are asking for trouble. Safety tips and procedures are given to us for a reason- our personal safety and the safety of our surroundings. In 2014 alone, over 16,000 people ended up in emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. A failure to properly clean the grill was the leading factor contributing to the fire and a close second was having the grill too close to a flammable object, such as the house or porch railing. It can seem like a waste of precious grilling time to clean everything before firing up the grill, especially if you have done so before storage for the winter. You must remember that dust and insects can get into places that could cause a problem while your grill is in storage. Here is a comprehensive list of sensible rules to follow so that your grilling season will be a safe and happy experience:

1.Read the owner’s manual. I know, who reads those things. We all should so that we understand the proper way to use our equipment. Even if you have been grilling for years, when you buy a new grill, it is extremely important to read the manual. All grills are not the same.

2.Grills are for outside use ONLY. Both charcoal and gas grills should never be used indoors, never inside a tent and garage or any other enclosed space. Grills produce carbon monoxide, which may accumulate and kill you.

3.Use only in a well-ventilated area. Always set up your grill in an open area away from structures. Avoid dry leaves or brush and high traffic areas. No one wants little Bobby to come running around the corner and knock the grill over, that would spoil your whole day.

4.Follow electric codes. If you use an electrical apparatus, such as a rotisserie, with your grill, make sure it is up to code and the cord is place so that it is not a trip hazard.

5.Use long handled utensils. Barbecuing tools are made with extra-long handles for a reason, to avoid burns on your hands and arms. Use them.

6.Wear safe clothing. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to wear a fancy shirt or dress while barbecuing. Even if you are hosting a big party. Close fitting garments are best as they are less likely to come into contact with hot coals or gas burners. Those cumbersome oven mitts can be your best friends while grilling; scorched fingers from hot items are no fun.

7. Keep the fire under control. Keeping a close watch on the temperature of your fire can lessen flare-ups. If you must douse a flare-up with a mist of water, remove the food first. A fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand or even a water hose should be close by in case of a problem. Use baking soda to put out a grease fire; using water in this instance will just spread the fire.

8. Never leave a hot grill unattended. Just because the cooking is done and the fire is out doesn’t make a grill safe. It can stay hot enough to cause problems for up to an hour after being extinguished. Wait until it has cooled off before trying move it. And don't let people play around the grill while it is still hot. Grilling out is one of the best things about summer time. Hot dogs, hamburgers, even chicken all seem to taste better when cooked on the grill. This year you may want to try your hand at more exotic dishes such as Ginger-soy glazed Mahi-Mahi or Grilled Shrimp in a Banana-leaf Pouch. Whatever you decide to cook on your grill this summer, be sure to follow the safety rules so that you and your loved ones will have a fabulous summer with no trips to the emergency room.

For more tips and tricks to help you prevent leaks, fires and more sign up for occasional email newsletters OR please visit the SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties website!

Understanding The Fire Restoration Process

9/11/2019 (Permalink)

It is imperative that IICRC-approved fire restoration should be implemented as soon as possible after a house fire is out. The longer the delay in contacting a restoration company, the more opportunity there is for damage from water and smoke to intensify. A homeowner’s insurance company should be able to refer an approved and experienced restoration firm. It is surprising just how well restoration works in light of how destructive a fire can be. Depending on the damage, a home can often be restored to its before-fire state. A restoration team has a difficult task to perform, and a great deal of responsibility, but IICRC-approved technicians are well-equipped to return a home to its original condition.

The fire restoration process involves the repair of any structures damaged by smoke, fire, or water. Carpets undergo a chemical process to remove smoke odor. Sub-floor materials undergo inspection for damage and may need to be replaced. Upholstery and curtains are subject to a similar process. Furnishings are taken to a separate location and restored to pre-fire condition. The home is aired out for as long as needed to diminish the effects of odor and mildew, and deodorization efforts continue throughout the process. Through the cooperation of the insurance company, the restoration team, and the homeowner, a home can be restored and made safe to live in once again.

www.IICRC.org

Smoke Alarm Campaign

9/11/2019 (Permalink)

The Red Cross DAT team and the Towns County Fire Dept. finished up their third SMOKE ALARM CAMPAIGN in Towns County and welcomed their new community partner SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties. SERVPRO was a great addition to the team that provided much needed additional manpower, as well as, additional smoke alarms. 
Red Cross is in its forth year of working with Fire Chief Harold Copeland and his fire fighters on the Smoke Alarms Saves Lives Campaign. This campaign was a program started by the Red Cross nationwide 3 years ago in an effort to reduce injuries and deaths in house fires by 25% within 5 years. On Wednesday, June 8th, we installed 150 new 10 ­year lithium battery smoke alarms in 51 homes in Towns County that couldn't afford them, didn't have working smoke alarms, or had old ones that needed replacing. We also proudly expanded this program to include Veterans in need of these alarms.
The Red Cross and Fire Dept. would like to especially thank Mr. Keith Wall, Owner, of SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties and his team who are now a permanent member of this campaign going forward for all their time and efforts supporting this life saving campaign and for the purchase of the additional alarms needed. We'd like to thank Home Depot of Blairsville for their discounts on those smoke alarms.

We'd also would like to thank additional businesses in Hiawassee that supported us in this campaign. They are Hiawassee Hardware who provided batteries to be used in some current existing alarms, as well as, Hardee's, McDonalds and Zaxby's for
providing food for all the volunteers who came out to work this event. And last but not least thank you to all the workers, SERVPRO employees, Fire Fighters and Red Cross volunteers, this couldn't have been accomplished without you.

Home and Garden Show 2019

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties had so much fun at the Home & Garden Show in Hiawassee hosted at the Towns County Recreational Center! We were able to meet customers and give them information they never knew regarding what was lurking in their HVAC duct systems and information regarding mold due to flooding among so much more! Thank you to everyone who came out to see us! If you didn't get a chance to come out or have questions for us, feel free to contact SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties and our office will be happy to answer any questions you may have any kinds of issues you are experiencing. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties is always here to help!

Apple Blossom Festival 2019

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin and Gilmer Counties participated in the 2019 Apple Blossom Festival in Ellijay, GA this May. We were able to meet customers from all over and give them information they never knew regarding what was lurking in their HVAC duct systems and information regarding mold due to flooding among so much more! Thank you to everyone who came out to see us! If you didn't get a chance to come out or have questions for us, feel free to contact SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties and our office or production staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have any kinds of issues you are experiencing. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin and Gilmer Counties is always here to help!

About SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties

SERVPRO of  Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

https://www.SERVPROuniontownsfanningilmercounties.com/employee-photos

Grilling Safety

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

Summer time is grilling time. We all love to either cook on a grill or eat what has been cooked. Just thinking of all the mouthwatering goodies that can come off a grill makes me hungry, but before eating, comes safety! When grilling weather finally gets here after a long, cold winter, a lot of us will go drag the grill out of the garage and fire it up. If we don’t take time to check things out and clean everything properly (which ideally was done before putting it away last year), we are asking for trouble. Safety tips and procedures are given to us for a reason- our personal safety and the safety of our surroundings. In 2014 alone, over 16,000 people ended up in emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. A failure to properly clean the grill was the leading factor contributing to the fire and a close second was having the grill too close to a flammable object, such as the house or porch railing. It can seem like a waste of precious grilling time to clean everything before firing up the grill, especially if you have done so before storage for the winter. You must remember that dust and insects can get into places that could cause a problem while your grill is in storage. Here is a comprehensive list of sensible rules to follow so that your grilling season will be a safe and happy experience:

1.Read the owner’s manual. I know, who reads those things. We all should so that we understand the proper way to use our equipment. Even if you have been grilling for years, when you buy a new grill, it is extremely important to read the manual. All grills are not the same.

2.Grills are for outside use ONLY. Both charcoal and gas grills should never be used indoors, never inside a tent and garage or any other enclosed space. Grills produce carbon monoxide, which may accumulate and kill you.

3.Use only in a well-ventilated area. Always set up your grill in an open area away from structures. Avoid dry leaves or brush and high traffic areas. No one wants little Bobby to come running around the corner and knock the grill over, that would spoil your whole day.

4.Follow electric codes. If you use an electrical apparatus, such as a rotisserie, with your grill, make sure it is up to code and the cord is place so that it is not a trip hazard.

5.Use long handled utensils. Barbecuing tools are made with extra-long handles for a reason, to avoid burns on your hands and arms. Use them.

6.Wear safe clothing. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to wear a fancy shirt or dress while barbecuing. Even if you are hosting a big party. Close fitting garments are best as they are less likely to come into contact with hot coals or gas burners. Those cumbersome oven mitts can be your best friends while grilling; scorched fingers from hot items are no fun.

7. Keep the fire under control. Keeping a close watch on the temperature of your fire can lessen flare-ups. If you must douse a flare-up with a mist of water, remove the food first. A fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand or even a water hose should be close by in case of a problem. Use baking soda to put out a grease fire; using water in this instance will just spread the fire.

8. Never leave a hot grill unattended. Just because the cooking is done and the fire is out doesn’t make a grill safe. It can stay hot enough to cause problems for up to an hour after being extinguished. Wait until it has cooled off before trying move it. And don't let people play around the grill while it is still hot. Grilling out is one of the best things about summer time. Hot dogs, hamburgers, even chicken all seem to taste better when cooked on the grill. This year you may want to try your hand at more exotic dishes such as Ginger-soy glazed Mahi-Mahi or Grilled Shrimp in a Banana-leaf Pouch. Whatever you decide to cook on your grill this summer, be sure to follow the safety rules so that you and your loved ones will have a fabulous summer with no trips to the emergency room.

For more tips and tricks to help you prevent leaks, fires and more sign up for occasional email newsletters OR please visit the SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties website!

Where there's smoke, there is fire ... tips for fire prevention

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

In 2011, there were 1.3 million house fires in the United States.

1.3 million families temporarily displaced.

We attach our memories to things. We often scoff at materialism and we even poke fun at those who tend to accumulate lots of “things” … but the truth is, sometimes, things have meaning.

Your grandmother’s quilt, photos of your children, artwork, the shoes you wore on your first date with your husband, a movie ticket from a special day with a good friend … these are all seemingly meaningless things. Some of us are more sentimental than others.

Out of 1.3 million, it’s a safe bet that some important “things” were lost. We helped approximately 240 customers last year and though we restored a lot of belongings, some items were too far gone. Some of those things were not replaceable. Worse than things are people injured or killed. Nearly 25 thousand people each year are injured or killed by fire and that’s why prevention is so important.  Here are some less common tips from Ready.gov, a website dedicated to disaster prevention.

Electrical

·         Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.

·         Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

·         If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.

·         Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.

·         Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Cooking

·         Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

·         Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.

·         Do not cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.

·         Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.

·         Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Fires can spread from nearly harmless to engulfing in less than 30 seconds. Reavy.gov reports many people do not realize how incredibly fast fire is. Fire is not bright and glowing as it would seem. Especially in a house it quickly produces thick black smoke making everything dark. Additionally, it’s smoke and toxic fumes from the various materials in a home that usually kills people. These hard facts should be enough to help you create a fire escape plan for your family.

As for those belongings, put precious mementos in fireproof safe or box. Have your photos scanned so you have digital copies of all family photos, old and new. Terry and Tonya, two of our team members who help inventory belongings and restore items have thoroughly enjoyed breathing new life into “Grandmother’s China” and even finding lost treasures in the process of moving furniture and cleaning up after a disaster.

Here at SERVPRO, we are used to working with insurance companies to help restore or rebuild homes. In the Blue Ridge area, one of the agents we are blessed to work with is Kevin Panter, who offers the following advice “Insureds need to take their annual review with their insurance agent seriously.  It is often determined during a time of loss that the insured’s building limits and personal property contents limits are not adequate.  Having proper documentation and adequate limits will help make the claim process much easier.   Having cell phone videos and storing proper documentation off the premises will help greatly should a claim arise.” You can reach Kevin through his company http://www.kevinpanterinsurance.com/ .

“Our whole reason for existing as a business is to help our customers feel confident and comfortable as we restore their homes or businesses to preloss conditions. When disaster, small or large, strikes, you feel like you’ve lost control. We want to help you get it back. Our crews are often praised for their compassion. It is truly heartfelt,” explains Carnie Wall, co-owner.

Apple Blossom Festival

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin and Gilmer Counties participated in the 2016 Apple Blossom Festival in Ellijay, GA this May. We were able to meet customers from all over and give them information they never knew regarding what was lurking in their HVAC duct systems and information regarding mold due to flooding among so much more! Thank you to everyone who came out to see us! If you didn't get a chance to come out or have questions for us, feel free to contact SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties and our office or production staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have any kinds of issues you are experiencing. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin and Gilmer Counties is always here to help!

About SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties

SERVPRO of  Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

http://www.SERVPROuniontownsfanningilmercounties.com/crew-photos

Fireworks Safety

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

Almost everyone loves fireworks!  The Fourth of July is just around the corner and we will be looking forward to watching the beautiful fireworks displays.  Some of us will go to local displays and some of us will watch the magnificent displays around the country on television.  Did you know that the largest fireworks display in the world happened at the New Year countdown on January 1, 2016?  It was in the Philippine Arena, Ciudad de Victoria Bocaue Bulacan, Manila, Philippines, consisting of 810,904 fireworks, lasting for 1 hour 1 minute 32.35 seconds in the pouring rain.  Amazing, isn’t it?The Chinese stumbled upon a kind of natural firecracker as early as 200 B.C.  They would roast bamboo, which would explode with a bang due to the hollow air pockets inside.  They believed that the noise would ward off evil spirits. At some point between 600 and 900 A.D., Chinese alchemists mixed together saltpeter (a common kitchen seasoning) charcoal, sulfur and a few other ingredients, unwittingly yielding the first crude form of gunpowder.  It is speculated that they were possibly trying to make an elixir for immortality.  When the Chinese began stuffing this volatile substance into bamboo shoots and throwing them into a fire, the first fireworks were born.   By the time of the Renaissance, pyrotechnic schools were training fireworks artists across Europe.  In the 1830s, the Italians began to incorporate very small amounts of metals and other additives to their fireworks, thus creating the bright, multicolored sparks and sunbursts seen in contemporary fireworks shows.  Until then, fireworks were just loud noises, orange flashes and faint golden traces of light. Legend has it that Captain John Smith set off the first fireworks display in America in 1608.  Some of the colonists may have gotten a little carried away and a spate of firecracker-related pranks became a public nuisance, prompting officials in Rhode Island to ban the “mischievous use of pyrotechnics” in 1731. Today, most states regulate how and where fireworks may be used, as well as the types of explosives would be available for consumers to purchase.  In 2009, nearly 9,000 Americans were hurt by fireworks with a disproportionate number of the injuries occurring in July.  This is why fireworks safety is so important.   The Fireworks Safety Code • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114• Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks• Keep fireworks in a closed box• Follow the instructions on each firework• Light them at arm’s length, using a taper• Stand well back• Never go near a firework that has been lit.  Even if• It hasn’t gone off, it could still explode• Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them• Always supervise children around fireworks• Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves• Never give sparklers to children under 5• Keep pets indoors• Don’t set off noisy fireworks late at night and never past 11pm

Smoke Alarm Campaign

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

The Red Cross DAT team and the Towns County Fire Dept. finished up their third SMOKE ALARM CAMPAIGN in Towns County and welcomed their new community partner SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties. SERVPRO was a great addition to the team that provided much needed additional manpower, as well as, additional smoke alarms. 
Red Cross is in its second year of working with Fire Chief Harold Copeland and his fire fighters on the Smoke Alarms Saves Lives Campaign. This campaign was a program started by the Red Cross nationwide 3 years ago in an effort to reduce injuries and deaths in house fires by 25% within 5 years. On Wednesday, June 8th, we installed 150 new 10­year lithium battery smoke alarms in 51 homes in Towns County that couldn't afford them, didn't have working smoke alarms, or had old ones that needed replacing. We also proudly expanded this program to include Veterans in need of these alarms.
The Red Cross and Fire Dept. would like to especially thank Mr. Keith Wall, Owner, of SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties and his team who are now a permanent member of this campaign going forward for all their time and efforts supporting this life saving campaign and for the purchase of the additional alarms needed. We'd like to thank Home Depot of Blairsville for their discounts on those smoke alarms.

We'd also would like to thank additional businesses in Hiawassee that supported us in this campaign. They are Hiawassee Hardware who provided batteries to be used in some current existing alarms, as well as, Hardee's, McDonalds and Zaxby's for
providing food for all the volunteers who came out to work this event. And last but not least thank you to all the workers, SERVPRO employees, Fire Fighters and Red Cross volunteers, this couldn't have been accomplished without you.

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

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 Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties 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 – 706-896-1880

Damage from Water Should be Cleaned by Certified Professionals

3/22/2018 (Permalink)

The amount of damage water can cause is amazing, and often underestimated by homeowners. Excess moisture is bad enough, but when a home is flooded or hit with a plumbing disaster (like a burst pipe), the situation can quickly get out of hand. There’s a reason why these incidents are among the most expensive problems a homeowner can face. Contaminated water not only creates immediate structural problems, it can leave serious biological threats behind after it has been removed.

Floods, sewage backflows, and other sources of contaminated fluid usually cause the worst damage. Dirty water is filled with all kinds of harmful substances, ranging from chemical residues to animal feces to parasites. Bacteria, viruses and fungi grow explosively in contaminated fluid, and severe health risks, like salmonella and hepatitis, are common in flood waters.

This problem is compounded by the composition of most homes, which are filled with organic materials. Drywall, wood and the matter that is trapped in carpet fibers are just a few examples, and they can give pathogens room to grow. Within 48 hours, mold may begin creeping behind the walls and releasing spores, and any organic materials that have been soaked through by contaminated fluid will usually have to be destroyed.

That’s why restoration firms, in addition to surveying the home for structural problems, will dry the home quickly and apply antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents to all surfaces that had contact with the water. This ensures the family can return to a safe home, and not one harboring a collection of harmful pathogens.

www.IICRC.org

Where there's smoke, there is fire ... tips for fire prevention

8/18/2017 (Permalink)

In 2011, there were 1.3 million house fires in the United States.

1.3 million families temporarily displaced.

We attach our memories to things. We often scoff at materialism and we even poke fun at those who tend to accumulate lots of “things” … but the truth is, sometimes, things have meaning.

Your grandmother’s quilt, photos of your children, artwork, the shoes you wore on your first date with your husband, a movie ticket from a special day with a good friend … these are all seemingly meaningless things. Some of us are more sentimental than others.

Out of 1.3 million, it’s a safe bet that some important “things” were lost. We helped approximately 240 customers last year and though we restored a lot of belongings, some items were too far gone. Some of those things were not replaceable. Worse than things are people injured or killed. Nearly 25 thousand people each year are injured or killed by fire and that’s why prevention is so important.  Here are some less common tips from Ready.gov, a website dedicated to disaster prevention.

Electrical

·         Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.

·         Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

·         If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.

·         Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.

·         Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Cooking

·         Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

·         Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.

·         Do not cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.

·         Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.

·         Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Fires can spread from nearly harmless to engulfing in less than 30 seconds. Reavy.gov reports many people do not realize how incredibly fast fire is. Fire is not bright and glowing as it would seem. Especially in a house it quickly produces thick black smoke making everything dark. Additionally, it’s smoke and toxic fumes from the various materials in a home that usually kills people. These hard facts should be enough to help you create a fire escape plan for your family.

As for those belongings, put precious mementos in fireproof safe or box. Have your photos scanned so you have digital copies of all family photos, old and new. Terry and Tonya, two of our team members who help inventory belongings and restore items have thoroughly enjoyed breathing new life into “Grandmother’s China” and even finding lost treasures in the process of moving furniture and cleaning up after a disaster.

Here at SERVPRO, we are used to working with insurance companies to help restore or rebuild homes. In the Blue Ridge area, one of the agents we are blessed to work with is Kevin Panter, who offers the following advice “Insureds need to take their annual review with their insurance agent seriously.  It is often determined during a time of loss that the insured’s building limits and personal property contents limits are not adequate.  Having proper documentation and adequate limits will help make the claim process much easier.   Having cell phone videos and storing proper documentation off the premises will help greatly should a claim arise.” You can reach Kevin through his company www.KevinPanterInsurance.com .

“Our whole reason for existing as a business is to help our customers feel confident and comfortable as we restore their homes or businesses to preloss conditions. When disaster, small or large, strikes, you feel like you’ve lost control. We want to help you get it back. Our crews are often praised for their compassion. It is truly heartfelt,” explains Carnie Wall, co-owner.

Grilling Safety

8/18/2017 (Permalink)

Summertime is grilling time. We all love to either cook on a grill or eat what has been cooked. Just thinking of all the mouthwatering goodies that can come off a grill makes me hungry. But, before eating, comes safety! When grilling weather finally gets here after a long, cold winter, a lot of us will go drag the grill out of the garage and fire it up. If we don’t take time to check things out and clean everything properly (which ideally was done before putting it away last year), we are asking for trouble.Safety tips and procedures are given to us for a reason- our personal safety and the safety of our surroundings. In 2014 alone, over 16,000 people ended up in emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. A failure to properly clean the grill was the leading factor contributing to the fire and a close second was having the grill too close to a flammable object, such as the house or porch railing. It can seem like a waste of precious grilling time to clean everything before firing up the grill, especially if you have done so before storage for the winter. You must remember that dust and insects can get into places that could cause a problem while your grill is in storage.Here is a comprehensive list of sensible rules to follow so that your grilling season will be a safe and happy experience:

1.Read the owner’s manual.

I know, who reads those things. We all should so that we understand the proper way to use our equipment. Even if you have been grilling for years, when you buy a new grill, it is extremely important to read the manual. All grills are not the same.

2.Grills are for outside use ONLY. 

Both charcoal and gas grills shouldneverbe used indoors, never inside a tent or garage or any other enclosed space. Grills produce carbon monoxide, which may accumulate and kill you.3.Use only in a well-ventilated area.Always set up your grill in an open area away from structures. Avoid dry leaves or brush and high traffic areas. No one wants little Bobby to come running around the corner and knock the grill over, that would spoil your whole day.

5.Follow electric codes.

If you use an electrical apparatus, such as a rotisserie, with your grill, make sure it is up to code and the cord is place so that it is not a trip hazard.

6.Use long handled utensils.

Barbecuing tools are made with extra-long handles for a reason, to avoid burns on your hands and arms. Use them.

7.Wear safe clothing.

It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to wear a fancy shirt or dress while barbecuing. Even if you are hosting a big party. Close fitting garments are best as they are less likely to come into contact with hot coals or gas burners. Those cumbersome oven mitts can be your best friends while grilling; scorched fingers from hot items are no fun.

8. Keep the fire under control.

Keeping a close watch on the temperature of your fire can lessen flare-ups. If you must douse a flare-up with a mist of water, remove the food first. A fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand or even a water hose should be close by in case of a problem. Use baking soda to put out a grease fire; using water in this instance will just spread the fire.

9. Never leave a hot grill unattended.

Just because the cooking is done and the fire is out doesn’t make a grill safe. It can stay hot enough to cause problems for up to an hour after being extinguished. Wait until it has cooled off before trying move it. And don't let people play aroung the grill while it is still hot.Grilling out is one of the best things about summer time. Hot dogs, hamburgers, even chicken all seem to taste better when cooked on the grill. This year you may want to try your hand at more exotic dishes such as Ginger-soy glazed Mahi-Mahi or Grilled Shrimp in a Banana-leaf Pouch. Whatever you decide to cook on your grill this summer, be sure to follow the safety rules so that you and your loved ones will have a fabulous summer with no trips to the emergency room.

For more tips and tricks to help you prevent leaks, fires and more ... sign up for occassional email newsletters OR please visit theSERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Countieswebsite!

Home & Garden Show 2017

8/9/2017 (Permalink)

Julie Seabolt (Marketing SMR) at the Home & Garden Show

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties had so much fun at the Home & Garden Show in Hiawassee hosted at the Towns County Recreational Facitlity! We were able to meet customers and give them information they never knew regarding what was lurking in their HVAC duct systems and information regarding mold due to flooding among so much more! Thank you to everyone who came out to see us! If you didn't get a chance to come out or have questions for us, feel free to contact SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties and our office will be happy to answer any questions you may have any kinds of issues you are experiencing. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin and Gilmer Counties is always here to help!

Understanding The Fire Restoration Process

8/9/2017 (Permalink)

It is imperative that IICRC-approved fire restoration should be implemented as soon as possible after a house fire is out. The longer the delay in contacting a restoration company, the more opportunity there is for damage from water and smoke to intensify. A homeowner’s insurance company should be able to refer an approved and experienced restoration firm. It is surprising just how well restoration works in light of how destructive a fire can be. Depending on the damage, a home can often be restored to its before-fire state. A restoration team has a difficult task to perform, and a great deal of responsibility, but IICRC-approved technicians are well-equipped to return a home to its original condition.

The fire restoration process involves the repair of any structures damaged by smoke, fire, or water. Carpets undergo a chemical process to remove smoke odor. Sub-floor materials undergo inspection for damage and may need to be replaced. Upholstery and curtains are subject to a similar process. Furnishings are taken to a separate location and restored to pre-fire condition. The home is aired out for as long as needed to diminish the effects of odor and mildew, and deodorization efforts continue throughout the process. Through the cooperation of the insurance company, the restoration team, and the homeowner, a home can be restored and made safe to live in once again.

www.IICRC.org

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

8/4/2017 (Permalink)

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 Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties 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 – 706-896-1880

Apple Blossom Festival

7/31/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin and Gilmer Counties participated in the 2016 Apple Blossom Festival in Ellijay, GA this May. We were able to meet customers from all over and give them information they never knew regarding what was lurking in their HVAC duct systems and information regarding mold due to flooding among so much more! Thank you to everyone who came out to see us! If you didn't get a chance to come out or have questions for us, feel free to contact SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties and our office or production staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have any kinds of issues you are experiencing. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin and Gilmer Counties is always here to help!

About SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties

SERVPRO of  Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

http://www.SERVPROuniontownsfanningilmercounties.com/crew-photos

Smoke Alarm Campaign

7/31/2017 (Permalink)

The Red Cross DAT team and the Towns County Fire Dept. finished up their third SMOKE ALARM CAMPAIGN in Towns County and welcomed their new community partner SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties. SERVPRO was a great addition to the team that provided much needed additional manpower, as well as, additional smoke alarms. 
Red Cross is in its second year of working with Fire Chief Harold Copeland and his fire fighters on the Smoke Alarms Saves Lives Campaign. This campaign was a program started by the Red Cross nationwide 3 years ago in an effort to reduce injuries and deaths in house fires by 25% within 5 years. On Wednesday, June 8th, we installed 150 new 10­year lithium battery smoke alarms in 51 homes in Towns County that couldn't afford them, didn't have working smoke alarms, or had old ones that needed replacing. We also proudly expanded this program to include Veterans in need of these alarms.
The Red Cross and Fire Dept. would like to especially thank Mr. Keith Wall, Owner, of SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties and his team who are now a permanent member of this campaign going forward for all their time and efforts supporting this life saving campaign and for the purchase of the additional alarms needed. We'd like to thank Home Depot of Blairsville for their discounts on those smoke alarms.

We'd also would like to thank additional businesses in Hiawassee that supported us in this campaign. They are Hiawassee Hardware who provided batteries to be used in some current existing alarms, as well as, Hardee's, McDonalds and Zaxby's for
providing food for all the volunteers who came out to work this event. And last but not least thank you to all the workers, SERVPRO employees, Fire Fighters and Red Cross volunteers, this couldn't have been accomplished without you.

Fireworks Safety

7/31/2017 (Permalink)

Almost everyone loves fireworks!  The Fourth of July is just around the corner and we will be looking forward to watching the beautiful fireworks displays.  Some of us will go to local displays and some of us will watch the magnificent displays around the country on television.  Did you know that the largest fireworks display in the world happened at the New Year countdown on January 1, 2016?  It was in the Philippine Arena, Ciudad de Victoria Bocaue Bulacan, Manila, Philippines, consisting of 810,904 fireworks, lasting for 1 hour 1 minute 32.35 seconds in the pouring rain.  Amazing, isn’t it?The Chinese stumbled upon a kind of natural firecracker as early as 200 B.C.  They would roast bamboo, which would explode with a bang due to the hollow air pockets inside.  They believed that the noise would ward off evil spirits. At some point between 600 and 900 A.D., Chinese alchemists mixed together saltpeter (a common kitchen seasoning) charcoal, sulfur and a few other ingredients, unwittingly yielding the first crude form of gunpowder.  It is speculated that they were possibly trying to make an elixir for immortality.  When the Chinese began stuffing this volatile substance into bamboo shoots and throwing them into a fire, the first fireworks were born.   By the time of the Renaissance, pyrotechnic schools were training fireworks artists across Europe.  In the 1830s, the Italians began to incorporate very small amounts of metals and other additives to their fireworks, thus creating the bright, multicolored sparks and sunbursts seen in contemporary fireworks shows.  Until then, fireworks were just loud noises, orange flashes and faint golden traces of light. Legend has it that Captain John Smith set off the first fireworks display in America in 1608.  Some of the colonists may have gotten a little carried away and a spate of firecracker-related pranks became a public nuisance, prompting officials in Rhode Island to ban the “mischievous use of pyrotechnics” in 1731. Today, most states regulate how and where fireworks may be used, as well as the types of explosives would be available for consumers to purchase.  In 2009, nearly 9,000 Americans were hurt by fireworks with a disproportionate number of the injuries occurring in July.  This is why fireworks safety is so important.   The Fireworks Safety Code • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114• Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks• Keep fireworks in a closed box• Follow the instructions on each firework• Light them at arm’s length, using a taper• Stand well back• Never go near a firework that has been lit.  Even if• It hasn’t gone off, it could still explode• Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them• Always supervise children around fireworks• Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves• Never give sparklers to children under 5• Keep pets indoors• Don’t set off noisy fireworks late at night and never past 11pm

Grilling Safety

7/25/2016 (Permalink)

 Summertime is grilling time.  We all love to either cook on a grill or eat what has been cooked.  Just thinking of all the mouthwatering goodies that can come off a grill makes me hungry.  But, before eating, comes safety!  When grilling weather finally gets here after a long, cold winter, a lot of us will go drag the grill out of the garage and fire it up.  If we don’t take time to check things out and clean everything properly (which ideally was done before putting it away last year), we are asking for trouble.     Safety tips and procedures are given to us for a reason- our personal safety and the safety of our surroundings.  In 2014 alone, over 16,000 people ended up in emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.  A failure to properly clean the grill was the leading factor contributing to the fire and a close second was having the grill too close to a flammable object, such as the house or porch railing.  It can seem like a waste of precious grilling time to clean everything before firing up the grill, especially if you have done so before storage for the winter.  You must remember that dust and insects can get into places that could cause a problem while your grill is in storage.   Here is a comprehensive list of sensible rules to follow so that your grilling season will be a safe and happy experience:  1. Read the owner’s manual.  I know, who reads those things.  We all should so that we understand the proper way to use our equipment.  Even if you have been grilling for years, when you buy a new grill, it is extremely important to read the manual.  All grills are not the same.    2. Grills are for outside use ONLY.   Both charcoal and gas grills should never be used indoors, never inside a tent or garage or any other enclosed space.  Grills produce carbon monoxide, which may accumulate and kill you. 3. Use only in a well-ventilated area.  Always set up your grill in an open area away from structures.  Avoid dry leaves or brush and high traffic areas.  No one wants little Bobby to come running around the corner and knock the grill over, that would spoil your whole day.   5. Follow electric codes.  If you use an electrical apparatus, such as a rotisserie, with your grill, make sure it is up to code and the cord is place so that it is not a trip hazard.    6. Use long handled utensils.  Barbecuing tools are made with extra-long handles for a reason, to avoid burns on your hands and arms.  Use them.     7. Wear safe clothing.  It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to wear a fancy shirt or dress while barbecuing.  Even if you are hosting a big party.  Close fitting garments are best as they are less likely to come into contact with hot coals or gas burners.  Those cumbersome oven mitts can be your best friends while grilling; scorched fingers from hot items are no fun.   8. Keep the fire under control.  Keeping a close watch on the temperature of your fire can lessen flare-ups.  If you must douse a flare-up with a mist of water, remove the food first.  A fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand or even a water hose should be close by in case of a problem.  Use baking soda to put out a grease fire; using water in this instance will just spread the fire. 9. Never leave a hot grill unattended.  Just because the cooking is done and the fire is out doesn’t make a grill safe.  It can stay hot enough to cause problems for up to an hour after being extinguished.  Wait until it has cooled off before trying move it. And don't let people play aroung the grill while it is still hot.     Grilling out is one of the best things about summer time.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, even chicken all seem to taste better when cooked on the grill.  This year you may want to try your hand at more exotic dishes such as Ginger-soy glazed Mahi-Mahi or Grilled Shrimp in a Banana-leaf Pouch.  Whatever you decide to cook on your grill this summer, be sure to follow the safety rules so that you and your loved ones will have a fabulous summer with no trips to the emergency room. For more tips and tricks to help you prevent leaks, fires and more ... sign up for occassional email newsletters OR please visit the SERVPRO of Union, Towns,  Fannin & Gilmer Counties website! 

Fireworks Safety

7/25/2016 (Permalink)

Almost everyone loves fireworks!  The Fourth of July is just around the corner and we will be looking forward to watching the beautiful fireworks displays.  Some of us will go to local displays and some of us will watch the magnificent displays around the country on television.  Did you know that the largest fireworks display in the world happened at the New Year countdown on January 1, 2016?  It was in the Philippine Arena, Ciudad de Victoria Bocaue Bulacan, Manila, Philippines, consisting of 810,904 fireworks, lasting for 1 hour 1 minute 32.35 seconds in the pouring rain.  Amazing, isn’t it?The Chinese stumbled upon a kind of natural firecracker as early as 200 B.C.  They would roast bamboo, which would explode with a bang due to the hollow air pockets inside.  They believed that the noise would ward off evil spirits. At some point between 600 and 900 A.D., Chinese alchemists mixed together saltpeter (a common kitchen seasoning) charcoal, sulfur and a few other ingredients, unwittingly yielding the first crude form of gunpowder.  It is speculated that they were possibly trying to make an elixir for immortality.  When the Chinese began stuffing this volatile substance into bamboo shoots and throwing them into a fire, the first fireworks were born.   By the time of the Renaissance, pyrotechnic schools were training fireworks artists across Europe.  In the 1830s, the Italians began to incorporate very small amounts of metals and other additives to their fireworks, thus creating the bright, multicolored sparks and sunbursts seen in contemporary fireworks shows.  Until then, fireworks were just loud noises, orange flashes and faint golden traces of light. Legend has it that Captain John Smith set off the first fireworks display in America in 1608.  Some of the colonists may have gotten a little carried away and a spate of firecracker-related pranks became a public nuisance, prompting officials in Rhode Island to ban the “mischievous use of pyrotechnics” in 1731. Today, most states regulate how and where fireworks may be used, as well as the types of explosives would be available for consumers to purchase.  In 2009, nearly 9,000 Americans were hurt by fireworks with a disproportionate number of the injuries occurring in July.  This is why fireworks safety is so important.   The Fireworks Safety Code • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114• Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks• Keep fireworks in a closed box• Follow the instructions on each firework• Light them at arm’s length, using a taper• Stand well back• Never go near a firework that has been lit.  Even if• It hasn’t gone off, it could still explode• Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them• Always supervise children around fireworks• Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves• Never give sparklers to children under 5• Keep pets indoors• Don’t set off noisy fireworks late at night and never past 11pm

Where there's smoke, there is fire ... tips for fire prevention

7/25/2016 (Permalink)

Tips from to prevent fires and good advice from local insurance pros.

In 2011, there were 1.3 million house fires in the United States.

1.3 million families temporarily displaced.

We attach our memories to things. We often scoff at materialism and we even poke fun at those who tend to accumulate lots of “things” … but the truth is, sometimes, things have meaning.

Your grandmother’s quilt, photos of your children, artwork, the shoes you wore on your first date with your husband, a movie ticket from a special day with a good friend … these are all seemingly meaningless things. Some of us are more sentimental than others.

Out of 1.3 million, it’s a safe bet that some important “things” were lost. We helped approximately 240 customers last year and though we restored a lot of belongings, some items were too far gone. Some of those things were not replaceable. Worse than things are people injured or killed. Nearly 25 thousand people each year are injured or killed by fire and that’s why prevention is so important.  Here are some less common tips from Ready.gov, a website dedicated to disaster prevention.

Electrical

·         Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.

·         Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

·         If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.

·         Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.

·         Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Cooking

·         Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

·         Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.

·         Do not cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.

·         Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.

·         Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Fires can spread from nearly harmless to engulfing in less than 30 seconds. Reavy.gov reports many people do not realize how incredibly fast fire is. Fire is not bright and glowing as it would seem. Especially in a house it quickly produces thick black smoke making everything dark. Additionally, it’s smoke and toxic fumes from the various materials in a home that usually kills people. These hard facts should be enough to help you create a fire escape plan for your family.

As for those belongings, put precious mementos in fireproof safe or box. Have your photos scanned so you have digital copies of all family photos, old and new. Terry and Tonya, two of our team members who help inventory belongings and restore items have thoroughly enjoyed breathing new life into “Grandmother’s China” and even finding lost treasures in the process of moving furniture and cleaning up after a disaster.

Here at SERVPRO, we are used to working with insurance companies to help restore or rebuild homes. In the Blue Ridge area, one of the agents we are blessed to work with is Kevin Panter, who offers the following advice “Insureds need to take their annual review with their insurance agent seriously.  It is often determined during a time of loss that the insured’s building limits and personal property contents limits are not adequate.  Having proper documentation and adequate limits will help make the claim process much easier.   Having cell phone videos and storing proper documentation off the premises will help greatly should a claim arise.” You can reach Kevin through his company www.KevinPanterInsurance.com .

“Our whole reason for existing as a business is to help our customers feel confident and comfortable as we restore their homes or businesses to pre-loss conditions. When disaster, small or large, strikes, you feel like you’ve lost control. We want to help you get it back. Our crews are often praised for their compassion. It is truly heartfelt,” explains Carnie Wall, co-owner.

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

7/11/2016 (Permalink)

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 Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties 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 – 706-896-1880

Smoke Alarm Campaign May 2016

6/13/2016 (Permalink)

The Red Cross DAT team and the Towns County Fire Dept. finished up their third SMOKE ALARM CAMPAIGN in Towns County and welcomed their new community partner SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties. SERVPRO was a great addition to the team that provided much needed additional manpower, as well as, additional smoke alarms. 
Red Cross is in its second year of working with Fire Chief Harold Copeland and his fire fighters on the Smoke Alarms Saves Lives Campaign. This campaign was a program started by the Red Cross nationwide 3 years ago in an effort to reduce injuries and deaths in house fires by 25% within 5 years. On Wednesday, June 8th, we installed 150 new 10­year lithium battery smoke alarms in 51 homes in Towns County that couldn't afford them, didn't have working smoke alarms, or had old ones that needed replacing. We also proudly expanded this program to include Veterans in need of these alarms.
The Red Cross and Fire Dept. would like to especially thank Mr. Keith Wall, Owner, of SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties and his team who are now a permanent member of this campaign going forward for all their time and efforts supporting this life saving campaign and for the purchase of the additional alarms needed. We'd like to thank Home Depot of Blairsville for their discounts on those smoke alarms.


We'd also would like to thank additional businesses in Hiawassee that supported us in this campaign. They are Hiawassee Hardware who provided batteries to be used in some current existing alarms, as well as, Hardee's, McDonalds and Zaxby's for
providing food for all the volunteers who came out to work this event. And last but not least thank you to all the workers, SERVPRO employees, Fire Fighters and Red Cross volunteers, this couldn't have been accomplished without you.

Apple Blossom Festival 2016

6/13/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin and Gilmer Counties participated in the 2016 Apple Blossom Festival in Ellijay, GA this May. We were able to meet customers from all over and give them information they never knew regarding what was lurking in their HVAC duct systems and information regarding mold due to flooding among so much more! Thank you to everyone who came out to see us! If you didn't get a chance to come out or have questions for us, feel free to contact SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties and our office or production staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have any kinds of issues you are experiencing. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin and Gilmer Counties is always here to help!


 


About SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties


SERVPRO of  Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.


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