The Difference Between a Tornado Watch and a Tornado Warning
North Texas lies in the southern part of an area known as Tornado Alley. Here, the conditions are just right to spawn huge storms and funnel clouds, so those of us who live here are no stranger to big storms and high winds. You may turn on the TV during a particularly bad storm and hear that there is a tornado warning or a tornado watch, but what is the difference between the two?
A tornado watch means that the conditions are right to form a twister in your area. If you are in a place that is under a tornado watch be prepared to quickly move to cover, and keep an eye on the emergency broadcasts in your area. Watches will typically occur over a broader area than warnings; they may even span multiple counties during particularly large storms.
A tornado warning means that a funnel has been spotted! It may have been picked up on a weather radar, or someone may have seen it themselves. Either way, you should immediately seek cover! Move away from windows, and get to low ground (The first floor of your house, or a basement if available). If you live in a mobile home, or if you are outdoors when the watch comes in, find a sturdy building and get inside. If you are unable to do that, find low ground and lie face down, protecting your head with your hands.
Tornadoes are disastrous, and they leave a mess in their wake. If your property suffers from storm damage, call SERVPRO® of Hurst-Euless-Bedford to make it “Like it never even happened.” 817.595.0004.
How to Protect Your Property from Stormwater
Stormwater runoff is rain that has not been soaked into the ground, so it flows over the ground until it finds somewhere to go. Ideally, the water would find a stream or river to flow into, but this is not always the case. Sometimes the water will flow straight into your house. Water damage is never fun, and trying to get rid of water as well as clean up the rest of the mess a storm has left behind can be a real hassle. The best way to handle stormwater runoff is to make sure it doesn’t happen to begin with. If you are up for a bit of landscaping, you can optimize your yard to keep stormwater away from your building.
- Swales: Simply put, a swale is just a type of trench meant to carry water and redirect it away from something important. If you decide to install swales in your yard, make sure they are redirecting somewhere that the water will not cause damage such as a stream or pond.
- Rain Gardens: These gardens are designed with plants that are able to take up excess water to keep it from flowing freely. They also help filter the water so that the water that does reach ponds and rivers tends to be cleaner than water that has just flowed over driveways and roads.
- Draining Driveways: Driveways are one of the largest contributors to stormwater runoff. Installing drainage areas on the sides of the pavement or using gravel can help minimize the amount of water that becomes runoff.
Sometimes there is so much runoff that no matter what you do, your house may suffer from some water damage. If that is the case, call us at 817.595.0004 to see how we can help return your home to normal!
The 2018 Hurricane Season
Hurricane season in the Atlantic brings whipping winds, driving rains, floods, and power outages; in fact, NASA has named them the most violent storms on earth. “Hurricane Season” is the time of year when conditions become perfect for these swirling storms to form more easily. This season usually lasts from early June to around November. Shifts in pressure and temperature lead some pretty big storms to form, but though some of them may disappear before reaching land, some storms grow to be massive and wreak havoc along the east coast of the US. These tropical monsters are rated in categories from 1-5 with 5 being the biggest, baddest storms. Hurricane Irma in 2017 was a category 5 storm.
These storms are scary to think about, and 2018 has already seen a few storms this summer, but you don’t need to worry too much. The national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a statement saying that the 2018 hurricane season is expected to have below normal activity. They are estimating between 9 and 13 named storms with 4 to 7 of those storms becoming hurricanes, and only 2 of the hurricanes to be classified as major storms. A below average season would be a welcome respite from the 2017 season which handed us Hurricanes Harvey and Irma who both did major damage to the United States and left hundreds of communities in shambles.
Even with a more positive outlook for this year’s hurricane season, it never hurts to be prepared! If you live in a coastal area, or an area with a history of big storms, keep an eye on the local news to make sure that there are no storms forming that could affect you. Be able to determine whether it is safe for you to hunker down, and have enough supplies to do so. Sometimes, you will need to evacuate, so plan your evacuation route ahead of time - just in case.
SERVPRO® of Hurst-Euless-Bedford is ready for any type of disaster. If you have storm damage, call us at 817.595.0004.
6 Weeks Worth of Mold Damage
Mold covered the walls of this apartment.
This apartment was left unattended for 6 weeks when the resident went out of town. While they were gone, a leak occurred in the walls of the building, and they returned to this huge mess! Different types of mold were spreading across the walls and onto the ceiling in multiple rooms, and the various molds were competing to cover the most space. You can see the different colors and layers of mold growing on the walls in the photo. When molds compete like this, it can lead to dangerous toxins being released into the air.
Mold can spread extremely quickly when the conditions are right, and situations like this can easily get out of hand if the growth is left untreated. Stories like this are all too common - someone goes on vacation and disaster strikes while they are gone. If you are going to be away for an extended period of time, have someone check up on your home to make sure everything is still working like it should be.
If you suspect you have a mold problem, call SERVPRO® of Hurst-Euless-Bedford immediately at 817.595.0004 before you end up with mold growth like this!
Do Not Use Bleach to Kill Mold
A common misconception about mold is that you can use bleach to treat it. The main uses for bleach are for disinfecting and changing the color of something, so stick to those uses next time you grab a bottle of Clorox from the grocery store. The EPA and OSHA has taken a strong stance against using bleach to treat mold, and here is why:
- Bleach does not work on porous surfaces, but mold loves porous areas. Bleach is made up of 90% water, so once the chlorine quickly evaporates, you are left with a ton of moisture that will actually help mold continue to grow. Even though it may look like bleach has killed the mold infecting your home, it is only the top layer that has been killed, and the mold’s roots within the walls will easily come back stronger than ever.
- Bleach is toxic. This one is a no brainer, but for some reason, people want to dump the chemical all over their house at the first sight of mold. Children and pets can easily get into the bleach you may have used to treat mold which could make them quite sick; even the fumes can create health problems! There are so many alternative solutions to treat mold with, there is no reason to put your family or employees at risk by using bleach.
- Bleach can weaken the surfaces you put it on. When bleach is put on a surface such as wood, it can begin to eat away at the fibers. Even a small change to an important structural piece of your home could be disastrous. Imagine having to rebuild parts of your home just because you treated some wooden beams with bleach!
When it comes to mold, it is better to leave the remediation to the professionals. Our team of experts can quickly handle any problem and make sure that your home or office is safe for everyone. We use specially formulated solutions that are sure to kill mold and keep it from returning - without causing toxic fumes. If you are in need of mold remediation, call us today at 817.595.0004.
The Truth About Black Mold
If you are a fan of home improvement shows, you have almost certainly heard of “toxic black mold,” and with the insane media headlines, who wouldn’t be scared of it? The truth is, there is no such thing as “toxic black mold.” While there is such a thing toxigenic molds (they produce mycotoxins), there is no mold that is actually toxic itself.
Mold is everywhere in our environment, both inside and out, and most folks live their life without ever being troubled by it. While some people do have mold allergies that will make it more difficult for them to handle mold, there are very few reports of mold that involve the hemorrhaging, memory loss, and other extreme effects that you hear about on TV.
Stachybotrys chartarum is what is most closely associated with the term “toxic mold.” It has a greenish black appearance, and while it is not one of the most common molds found indoors, it is not exceptionally rare. As with other molds, Stachybotrys chartarum grows best in a warm humid space, so be sure to take care of any water damage you have quickly, before mold can begin to grow.
No matter what type of mold you suspect in your home or office, you should seek immediate treatment for it. Our experts can determine the type of mold, treat it, and make sure your building has a safe environment for everyone inside. Call SERVPRO® of Hurst-Euless-Bedford if you have any suspicions of mold in your home or office. 817.595.0004.
So, you have mold and you called someone to handle it... now what? Once the mold technicians arrive, they will need to ensure that the mold does not keep spreading throughout the building so that they can be sure that they have treated all of the affected areas. They will do this by setting up containment barriers - usually made of heavy plastic - around any areas that need to be treated. These barriers, along with air scrubbers, will keep mold spores from traveling to different parts of the building.
Depending on the scope of the job, our technicians may need to use more advanced techniques to properly remediate the mold. One of these techniques includes creating a negative air chamber or negative pressure environment. This just means that the air pressure inside the contained area is less than the air pressure outside of the contained area. This technique allows us to better control any mold spores that may begin floating around once the remediation process has begun.
Once the area is properly contained, our experts can continue with the rest of the mold remediation process. If your home or business has been affected by mold, call 817.595.0004 to have a SERVPRO® of Hurst-Euless-Bedford technician begin the remediation process!
Choosing the Right Smoke Detector
Having a smoke detector in your home is critical to making sure you and your family are safe. You should have one in every bedroom and on every floor of your home. You probably already knew how important these little alarms are, but do you know how to make sure that your smoke detector is a good one?
Smoke detectors can come in any size and shape, and they can be as cheap as $5 or as expensive as $150, so with all of these options, how do you know what to choose? First, there are two different types of detectors: ionized and photoelectric. Some devices are a combination of these two types. Ionized smoke detectors work best when there are actual flames present. They are quick to sound the alarm when a lot of heat is produced. Photoelectric smoke detectors work well with fires that start slow and tend to smolder and create a lot of smoke. Smoldering fires like these are usually pretty silent, so people do not always notice them at first; some people will actually develop breathing problems and pass out before they realize that a fire is occurring.
Both types of alarms are designed to detect fire no matter what, and both will be sufficient to get you and your loved ones out of the house in time as long as you keep up with maintenance such as testing the alarms and replacing batteries when needed. If you feel the need, you can put a mixture of the two types of alarms throughout your house. Regardless of what type you choose, make sure you have them in the kitchen, bedrooms, and any other important places in your home.
If your house or office suffers from a fire loss, call SERVPRO® of Hurst-Euless-Bedford today at 817.595.0004.
Halloween Fire Safety
Fall is here, and soon it will be time to bust out the costumes and carve some pumpkins! Nothing puts a damper on Halloween festivities like an accident, so follow the tips below to make sure that you have a happy and safe Halloween!
- Choosing a Costume: Costumes are arguably the best thing about Halloween, but if you aren’t careful, they can cause a lot of damage. Be careful if you choose to have a costume with long trailing pieces of fabric, and if there is a mask involved, make sure the person wearing it can easily see out of the eye holes so that nothing gets caught up in a candle or other source of fire.
- Decorations: Paper decorations, cornstalks, and other adornments can all ignite easily if they are left too close to an open flame or a heat source. Even a simple light bulb that gets too hot could ignite paper. When you are gearing up for some spooky festivities, make sure to place decorations in safe places, or you will really be in for a scary night!
- Candles: Once you’ve carved your pumpkins, you will need to light them up, but be careful any time you are handling a flame! Use candles and holders that won’t tip over easily, and always supervise lit flames. To avoid fire hazards altogether, consider using battery-operated tea lights or glow stick inside your jack-o-lanterns instead.
- Stop, Drop, and Roll: This skill is one of the first things that comes to mind when discussing fire safety, and for good reason! It can literally save a life! This technique can smother fire that has caught on someone’s clothing. Be sure to go over how to stop, drop, and roll with your kids before you hit the streets for trick or treating.
Now that you have gone over the tips to keep you and your family safe this year, you can be sure to enjoy your Halloween without having to worry about any potential disasters. If your home suffers fire damage, call SERVPRO® of Hurst-Euless-Bedford at 817.595.0004 to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Putting out a Grease Fire
Cooking is not usually considered a dangerous hobby, and many people find it relaxing. Keep your cooking from going south by making your kitchen as safe as you can. Oil is a big ingredient for many dishes, but unfortunately, it can be easy to ignite, and grease fires are not easily put out with water. If you have a grease fire in your kitchen, you need to act quickly to keep the fire from spreading. Follow these steps to put out a grease fire in your kitchen;
- Turn the Heat Off: This step may seem obvious, but in the heat of the moment, you may be panicking and forget to do so. Leave the pot where it is or you risk burning yourself and spilling oil which could spread the fire.
- Put a Metal Lid on the Pot: Fire uses oxygen to burn, so putting a metal lid on the pot will cut off that supply of oxygen. DO NOT use a glass lid; the heat could cause it to shatter. Once the fire burns through the small amount of oxygen left in the pot, it will put itself out. Keep in mind that this will only work if the fire is contained to the pot and has not spread to any other part of the kitchen.
- Use Baking Soda or Salt: This is another trick that will work if the fire is relatively small and contained. Baking soda releases carbon dioxide which smothers the fire, but if the flames are already too large, this may not work. You will need a lot of baking soda for this. Another trick you could try is using salt. Salt is able to absorb a lot of heat, so it is able to remove so much heat that the grease simply can’t support its own combustion any more.
- Use a Fire Extinguisher: Every household should have a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible part of their kitchen. Once you have gotten your fire extinguisher and you have had it properly inspected, you should know how to properly use it, or you could make the flames worse. Do not stand directly in front of the fire when you spray the extinguisher, or the pressure from it can actually spray the grease further and spread the fire. Stand back at a safe distance and spray the fire. This may take a little longer than you would think, so continue using the extinguisher until you are sure the fire is out. Using a fire extinguisher will contaminate your kitchen, so make sure you give it a thorough cleaning before cooking in it again.
- Call 911: If the fire does get out of control, call 911. It is better to do this sooner than later. Get yourself and any family members out of the house until the fire department arrives.
If you need restoration after fire damage, call SERVPRO® of Hurst-Euless-Bedford today at 817-595-0004.