Huntsville/Madison Biohazard and Crime Scene Cleanup and Restoration
We provide cleanup and recovery services for many biohazard situations.
Recognized as a leading fire, water, and mold restoration provider by hundreds of insurance companies, SERVPRO also offers fast and reliable biohazard, vandalism and crime scene cleanup and restoration services.
Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences for building occupants, employees, customers and owners. A failure to properly handle and safely remove such hazardous substances can contribute to unhealthy and even dangerous environments.
SERVPRO of South Madison County technicians are trained to safely and effectively remove hazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA and state and local health regulations.
Equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products, SERVPRO helps turn unsafe environments into clean, safe homes and offices.
Our services cover the following issues:
- Bloodbourne Pathogens: SERVPRO removes and disposes of bodily fluids, tissue and other potentially pathogenic substance resulting from accident, trauma, crime or death. Technicians clean, disinfect, and deodorize the structure.
- Methamphetamine Labs: Many chemicals used in the production of illegal drugs, are volatile and can leave harmful residues throughout a structure. SERVPRO follows federal and state guidelines to properly clean all surfaces.
- Crime Scene Residues: Fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals to tear gas and pepper spray residues can be cleaned from surfaces and contents to restore your property.
- Arson and Vandalism: After the fire trucks are gone, your home and belongings likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO has the specialized fire and water damage cleanup and restoration training and experience to quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition. We also have specific training and equipment for odor removal and deep cleaning of upholstery and carpet.
- Sewage Backups: Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contamination. This water is grossly unsanitary and could cause severe illness or death if ingested, and any contact should be avoided. Sources for category 3 water could include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
- Black Water Intrusions: This water is grossly unsanitary and could cause severe illness or death if ingested, and any contact should be avoided. Sources for category 3 water could include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
- Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup
- Mold Mitigation and Remediation: Mold can produce allergens and irritants and has the potential to cause other health effects. Mold can spread quickly through your home or business in as little as 48 hours. If you suspect that your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property. If mold is found, we have the training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
Water Damage Statistics
When you consider the statistics, it becomes clear just how common a problem water damage can be. According to insurance industry research,
- 14,000 people in the US experience a water damage emergency at home or work each day
- 98% of basements in the US will suffer from some type of water damage during their lifetime.
- 37% of U.S. homeowners claim to have experienced water damage
Water leaks cause incredible amounts of damage and waste.
- Water leaks from homes in the US can exceed 1 trillion gallons of water in a year.
- Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste at least 90 gallons of water a day.
- A continuously running toilet can waste over 200 gallons of water per day, and
- A 1/8 inch crack in a pipe can spill 250 gallons of water in a day.
- A faucet leaking at a rate of 1 drop per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water in a year.
Protecting Your Warehouse Inventory From Water Damage
Damage in a warehouse needs to be dealt with right away so that the items stored have the best chance of recovery.
Commercial water damage presents double trouble to you as an owner and employer. Not only do you need to recover your premises, equipment, and inventory from the effects of leaks or flooding, you also have employees and customers who rely on you to keep your business running even while restoration efforts are in process. SERVPRO works closely with our commercial clients to avoid closure or a shut down even after a significant water damage to your warehouse or other storage facility affects your business. We encourage business owners to consult with us before any warehouse water disaster by developing an Emergency READY Profile.
Preventing commercial water damage in Huntsville may not be possible if heavy storms or flooding affect your warehouse but a review of your preparedness can limit the effects to your bottom line. Take advantage of our training and expertise by scheduling a thorough assessment of your warehouse and other operations. There is no charge for our review of your facilities, and we will use the information to ready your team should the worst happen.
You can also reduce and prevent the impact of flooding and water damage to both business operations and inventory:
- Keep stock off the floor.
- Routinely clean external and internal drains of debris such as leaves, waste, and other vegetation.
- Prevent water entering the building by installing permanent or removable barriers to seal doors, windows and other openings.
- Raise electrical sockets to keep them clear of possible flood water.
Water Damage Ten Times More Likely Than Fire
Water damage can happen to anyone.
Most homeowners worry about experiencing a fire. Few of us worry about having a water damage in our home. A study of claims data from a major insurance company shows that your home is 10 times more likely to be damaged by water than fire.
Fortunately, much of this water-related damage can be prevented and taking a few simple home maintenance steps can help decrease the chances of water damage.
The following list provides preventive measures to help avoid the top four common causes of non-weather related water damage:
Leaks from washing machine hoses: Washing machine hoses should be inspected annually and replaced every five years – or immediately, if there are any signs of cracking or bulging.
Leaky plumbing around water heaters: Plumbing should be inspected annually and repaired if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion. When possible, water heaters should be installed in an area with floor drains to minimize damage if leaks should occur.
Leaks from refrigerator ice machines: Ice maker connections, usually located behind the refrigerator, should be inspected annually and hoses replaced if they appear cracked or corroded.
Clogged drain lines on air conditioning units: Air conditioning drain lines should be checked yearly.
Tips To Prevent Fires In The Workplace
Last week was Fire Prevention Week and we shared tips on fire safety on our Facebook page. While the main focus is on preventing residential fires, it is also a good time to revisit workplace fire safety and prevention especially since several Huntsville businesses have experienced fire damage recently.
12 Tips to ensure a fire-safe workplace:
Step 1. Get Organized– Practice good workplace housekeeping. Clutter contributes to fires by providing fuel and by preventing access to exits and emergency equipment.
Step 2. Designated Smoking Areas – Smoke only in designated areas, and extinguish smoking materials safely. Never smoke in storerooms or chemical storage areas.
Step 3. Fire Extinguishers – Maintaining the appropriate type and number of fire extinguishers and learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
Step 4. Electrical Hazards – Report all electrical hazards. Many fires start in faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment.
Step 5. Access to Control Panels – Electrical control panels need to have free access maintained so that the electric could be shut off easily.
Step 6. Maintenance – Maintain machinery to prevent overheating and friction sparks.
Step 7. Sprinkler Systems & Smoke Detectors – Never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment or emergency exits. Observe clearances when stacking materials. Testing of sprinkler systems and smoke detectors at least annually.
Step 8. Chemical Safety – Use and store chemicals safely. Read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheet to determine flammability and other fire hazards. Provide adequate ventilation when using and storing these substances.
Step 9. Waste Control & Storage – Control the accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials and residues so that they do not contribute to a fire emergency.
Step 10. Prevent Ignition – Use all precautions to prevent ignition in potentially explosive atmospheres such as those containing flammable liquid vapors or fine particles. Use non-sparking tools, and control static electricity as required.
Step 11. Exits – Emergency exit diagrams should be posted and emergency exits should be well lit with neon-regulation signs.
Step 12. Contact Info – Employees should have a list of emergency contact phone numbers in case of emergency. Remember that people will often panic in an intense situation; therefore basics such as the company address, phone number and floor plan should be posted.
All of these tips can help prevent fires in your business, office or warehouse. But it's important to note that sometimes the unexpected happens regardless of preventative measures. The simple truth is that fire emergencies and disasters can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. If your business experiences a fire loss, call the fire and water damage restoration experts and we’ll respond immediately to get you back to business.
Facts About Home Fire Sprinklers
Make no mistake: smoke alarms are crucial and significantly cut the risk of dying in a home fire. But these devices do nothing to suppress a fire. Home fire sprinklers in coordination with smoke alarms have been proven to protect lives and property against fire.
Home fire sprinklers
- If you have a reported fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present.
- Sprinklers reduce direct property damage by about 70 percent per fire.
- Research shows that when sprinklers were present during a fire, the fire is kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time.
- Roughly 85 percent of the time, just one sprinkler operates during a fire.
- Each individual sprinkler is designed and calibrated to go off only when it senses a significant heat change.
- Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire.
Model safety codes now require the use of home fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. These requirements offer the highest level of safety to protect the people of your community. To learn how to advocate for fire sprinklers in your community’s new homes, visit NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative site.
Fast Facts About Home Fires
- Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
- One-quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
- Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 365,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,560 deaths, 11,075 civilian injuries, and $7 billion in direct damage.
- On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
- Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Most fatal fires kill one or two people.
- During 2010-2014, roughly, one of every 338 households reported a home fire per year.
How Temperature Affects Mold Growth
While stopping mold growth is very difficult without adequate tools and training, slowing (or accelerating) expansion could be as simple as changing your thermostat. Mold is hardy by nature, but that does not mean it is invulnerable to environmental changes. The key to controlling mold damage in Huntsville and Madison County could very well be careful climate control. Before calling SERVPRO to your home, consider what each of these conditions can do to affect mold growth.
The ideal conditions for mold damage in Huntsville tend to involve temperatures at or slightly above room temperature. These temperatures are not only the most comfortable for humans, but also for most types of mold. Mold usually grows fastest when your home is in its default state. While cranking up the air conditioning or turning off the heat may help to slow the spread of mold, it will also likely create uncomfortable conditions for you, so consider carefully any changes you make.
Few types of mold grow well in colder climes as warmer ones. In northern parts of the country, the fungi are much more common in the summer, as freezing temperatures present a serious impediment to efficient growth. However, living in low temperatures can create safety hazards, meaning that a cold day only tends to advantage non-climate-controlled parts of the home such as garages and outdoor areas.
Particularly hot summer days can be either harmful or helpful, depending on conditions. Unfortunately, most hot days in Huntsville tend to carry with them conditions of high humidity, fostering increased mold growth.
If you suspect that your Huntsville home or business has a mold problem, SERVPRO of South Madison County can inspect, assess and remediate your property.
If You See Signs of Mold,
Call Us Today – (256) 533-5335
Our Work In Houston
For the last month, we have had crews in Houston helping other SERVPRO franchises clean up flood damaged homes and businesses. We frequently send crews out of town to help other SERVPRO franchises when a large disaster such as a hurricane or flood affects their area.
Our first round of crews left Huntsville on August 29th. They were loaded up with equipment and supplies and had quite a long drive. Because flood damaged materials must be removed for proper restoration, they faced hard work removing flooring and drywall day after day. They also work long hours and weekends. After two weeks, we always swap out our crews. The original crews need and deserve a rest after all of their hard work and the new crews are rested and ready to help those who need it.
We operate on a wait list and were given a list of 50 homeowners needing our help when we arrived. Eventually that list grew to 80 names. Our primary focus is to remove damaged materials and dry out the home as quickly as possible to prevent secondary damage and mold growth. We also want to save as much of the homeowner's belongings as possible.
Our crews received raving reviews from many of the homeowners that they worked so hard to help. We are very proud of their efforts and hard work!
Great job, SERVPRO TEAM!
Tips To Control Mold
If you suspect that your Huntsville home or business has a mold problem, SERVPRO can inspect, assess and remediate your property.
As we discussed in our previous blog post, mold is often a problem after a water damage. Many homeowners try to handle water damage cleanup themselves and unseen damage leaves moisture that later causes mold to grow.
If you had a water damage recently and you now smell a musty odor or have visible mold, here are some tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help control mold problems:
- The source of mold is moisture; therefore fix all leaks in pipes and in any damp area around tubs and sinks.
- Rebuild, or retrofit, with water-resistant building materials such as tile, stone, deep-sealed concrete, galvanized or stainless steel hardware, indoor/outdoor carpeting, waterproof wallboard and water-resistant glues.
- Prevent seepage of water from outdoors into your house. It is important to have rainwater from gutters or roof drains away from the structure. Ground around the house should slope away to keep basements and crawl spaces dry.
- Cover dirt in crawl spaces with plastic to prevent moisture from coming up from the ground. Ventilate the area as much as possible.
- Clean fabrics such as curtains and upholstery often to keep them dry, because soil promotes mold growth.
- Consider having ductwork cleaned and inspected professionally or replaced if you suspect mold exists on the inside surface of the duct or if duct insulation has been wet.
- Reduce the moisture in the air with dehumidifiers, fans and open windows or air conditioners.
- Do not use fans or vacuum cleaners if mold already exists, especially in hot weather. A fan or vacuum cleaner will spread the mold spores.
- In moisture-prone areas, choose carpets of man-made fibers.
- Reduce potential for condensation on cold surfaces by insulating.
- Routinely check potential problem spots.
For more information, visit www.fema.gov/removing-mold-your-home.