Preventing a Disaster
- Turn off the water supply valves to the washing machine when it is not in use.
- Disconnect all outside hoses before the first frost.
- Maintain and test smoke detectors twice a year. Replace the batteries Spring and Fall when the time changes. Have a planned escape route for all members of the family or business and practice, practice, practice.
- Never leave cooking unattended; keep a fire extinguisher (1A 10BC rating) in the kitchen, next to an exit door.
- Before starting a wood or gas fire, be sure the damper is open.
- Service your furnace and un-vented gas logs annually.
- Clean the chimney of a wood burning stove or fireplace regularly.
- Place burning candles on only nonflammable surface far from flammable objects.
- Never leave a candle burning unattended.
- Trim candle wicks to ¼ inch before lighting to reduce the quantity of soot emitted.
- If you are gone from home more than a few days, have someone visit periodically.
- Don't smoke, and never smoke in bed.
- Know your emergency contact phone numbers, i.e.: 911 where appropriate.
Even in the most careful of households, disasters happen. When they do, it is important to avoid health risks, accident risks and the potential of additional damage by contacting a restoration professional immediately.
In Case of a Smoke or Fire Loss
- First, fire and/or other casualty officials must complete their work.
- Handle all electrical items with extreme caution.
- Throughout the house: Keep movement to a minimum and keep your hands clean. This will help prevent soot particles from penetrating upholstery, carpets, walls and woodwork thus preventing further damage.
- Upholstery: Vacuum loose soot particles. Cover upholstered furniture with sheets.
- Drapes & carpets: Vacuum loose soot particles. Place clean, dry towels or linens over carpets in heavy traffic areas.
- Houseplants: Wash off both sides of leaves; softened water or milk helps.
- Ventilation systems: Change furnace and air-conditioning filters. Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air grilles.
- Food and drinks: Take inventory then discard canned and packaged foods or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. They could be contaminated.
- Refrigerator & freezer: If the electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop open the doors. Use common sense, and determine whether or not you should remove the doors to the appliance for safety reasons.
- Kitchen & bathrooms: If the heat is off during freezing temperature, pour approved antifreeze solution, such as would be used for swimming pools or RV's down sinks, toilet bowls and tubs. Be certain that the antifreeze type that you use is approved for such use. Clean and protect chrome on faucets and appliances with a light coating of WD-40®.
- Walls: To prevent soot from setting permanently, don't wash or paint without first contacting your RestoreCore representative.
- Carpets & upholstery: To prevent odor from setting permanently, don't attempt cleaning without first contacting your RestoreCore representative.
- Electrical appliances: Don't clean or repair TVs, radios, computers or any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water. Consult an authorized repair service.
- Clothing: Do not dry clean or launder smoke-damaged items. Contact your RestoreCore representative for special instructions.
- Ceiling fixtures: Do not switch on any ceiling fixture or fan if the ceiling is wet. The wiring may be wet or damaged.
In Case of a Water Loss
- Handle all electrical items with extreme caution.
- Throughout the house: Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Open windows in cool weather to speed the drying process. In hot weather, switch on air-conditioning if it's safe to do so. Call your RestoreCore representative for special instructions.
- Upholstery: Remove all loose cushions and prop up on a clean sheet so that they'll dry more evenly. (Check for possible “bleeding.”)
- Carpets: Remove area rugs from wet wall-to-wall carpets. Pick up books, magazines or other items lying on a wet rug or floor.
- Ceilings: CAUTION: heavily water damaged, sagging ceilings can collapse causing personal injury. If in doubt about a ceiling's stability, do not enter the room. Punching small holes in a ceiling relieves trapped water. Place drip pans beneath; move nearby furniture and other household items.
- Furniture: Place aluminum foil, wood blocks wrapped in a plastic wrap, or plastic saucers between furniture legs and wet carpeting. Open, but do not force, drawers and cabinet doors to dry out interiors.
- Storage receptacles: Open suitcases and other storage boxes; dry them outside but not in direct sunlight.
- Artwork: Remove paintings and other artwork to a safe, dry place.
- Clothing: Dry garments immediately. Hang furs and leathers to dry at room temperature.
- Make a list and take pictures of all damaged contents.
- Vacuums: Do not use your regular household vacuum cleaner to remove water.
- Electrical appliances: Do not use TVs, radios, computers or any electrical appliance while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially concrete and tile floors.
- Ceiling fixtures: Do not switch on any ceiling fixture or fan if the ceiling is wet.
- Beware of electrical hazards when walking into standing water.
If You Discover Mold
- Locate the source of the water that is creating the mold problem.
- Eliminate the source of the water BEFORE attempting to remediate the mold.
- Contact your health care provider for you concerns regarding your health, the health of your family or building.
- DO NOT attempt to vacuum or try to clean the mold without professional advice.
- DO refer to the EPA guidelines before doing anything with the mold. It may be a job you can handle. On the other hand, some mold problems require special handling by a trained professional.
For more information refer to the EPA's mold information available at: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/molds/moldguide.html