Recent Posts

Help SERVPRO Raise Money For Christmas Gifts Given To Children Hospitalized Over The Holidays!

10/22/2020 (Permalink)

Flyer announcing the bags tournament fundraiser with all the details Please Consider Donating To Bring Some Holiday Joy To This 2020 Season!!!

I think we all can agree that 2020 has been a horrible year for most people locally, regionally, nationally and across the globe.  Unemployment is at record highs, businesses are closing all around us and hospitalizations related to depression and other behavioral health issues related to COVID-19 are skyrocketing.

What makes things worse, many children are struggling dealing with these challenges related to the pandemic.  Kids are having difficulties coping with problems caused by the pandamic and hospitalizations are projected to be very high over the Christmas season.

Many families have lost their job and are struggling to make ends meet.  Some children from these families have been or will be admitted to the hospital where the families can not afford a hospital stay, let alone a Christmas gift for their child.  We are SERVPRO felt compelled to help.  So, we are hosting another bean bags tournament fund raiser where all proceeds will be donated to the Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation to purchase Christmas gifts for children who will be hospitalized over Christmas and the family can not afford to purchase a gift for their child. 

Help us to bring some joy to these children.  And YOU can help us make a difference by either playing in the tournament or by making a monetary donation to this cause.

If you are interested in playing or making a donation, please give us a call and we will gladly accept your money.  We want to put as many smiles on the childrens faces as possible.  It has been a terrible year, but please help us end it on a good note and pray that 2021 will be MUCH better!

Call SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County to be a part of this fund raiser.  262-542-0900.

Todd & Tina Szada

During Pandemic SERVPRO Is Called To Disinfect

10/14/2020 (Permalink)

Employee wearing PPE while wiping down a desk and chair in an office SERVPRO Employee Disinfecting After a COVID-19 Exposure

The year of 2020 has been very challenging for most people.  Business owners and employees have been impacted in numerous ways as well.  With the COVID-19 pandemic, SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County is being called upon to clean and disinfect after an exposure.  Even though businesses are taking extra and special pre-caution, this virus is still finding ways of getting in to both commercial and residential settings.

This photo shows a SERVPRO employee wearing personal protective equipment while wiping down with a hospital-grade disinfectant an office that recently had 2 confirmed employee cases of COVID-19.  Not only are the horizontal and vertical surfaces cleaned and disinfected, a disinfectant is sprayed into the air to knock down any virus that might be in the air.

If you are concerned about a possible exposure to COVID-19 and would like your place of employment or home disinfected, call on the professionals who have been cleaning and disinfecting since the 1960s.  Call on SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County at 262-542-0900 and speak with a member of the management team who can assist you in making your structure Certified: SERVPRO Clean.

SERVPRO Successfully Dries Ceramic Tile Flooring

10/14/2020 (Permalink)

Green inflatable matt on bathroom tile floor along with drying equipment.  SERVPRO's Drying Equipment In Action To Dry Ceramic Tile

An overflowing wash machine caused this laundry room to flood.  The water migrated through the ceramic tile floor and into the den below.  

SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County was called in to dry out the structure and do as little demo as possible.  We knew that it would be a challenge to dry out the ceramic tile floor, but with the proper equipment, we had a chance of success.  

This photo shows our heatable mat system and dehumidifier in place.  This equipment works by placing a standard air mover with the air blowing into a heater to warm up the air.  This heated air is then blown into an inflatable mat that has tiny holes on the bottom where the hot air can escape.  The hot air comes in contact with the ceramic tile heating it up while removing the moisture at the same time.  The average drying time for this type of work takes about 3 days, but this one took 4 days.  It was one extra day of drying but it prevented the entire floor from having to be removed and replaced, saving the insurance company a significant amount of money.

Call SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County with all your emergency water restoration needs.  262-542-0900

Due to Halloween, We Have Been BOO-P-ED

10/13/2020 (Permalink)

Top photo of 2 women with a dog and the bottom photo are treats and pamphlets provided by HAWS Even the Pets at SERVPRO Are Getting Ready For Halloween

Today we had a cute "crocodile" visit our office here at SERVPRO of Southwest Waukesha.  Our costumed visitor is Ciara.  She is a lab/ husky mix that came to Waukesha County Human Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) from Louisiana through the Wings of Rescue program.  Her clear blue eyes will melt your heart. She stole the heart of our mold manager, Matt, and might not be available to adopt for long! BREAKING and CONFIDENTIAL NEWS!  The Waukesha County HAWS and the Jefferson County HAWS will be the recipients of our 2021 Annual Bean Bags Tournament Fund Raiser to be held on March 6, 2021.

SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County Participates in Local Chamber Event

10/13/2020 (Permalink)

Two SERVPRO employees standing under a SERVPRO pop up tent holding bottles of wine Tina and Sarah Getting Ready To Pour Wine Samples

The Delafield Chamber of Commerce hosted their First Annual Wine & Brew Taste Testing event in beautiful Downtown Delafield on October 10th.  SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County was a proud sponsor and participant of this very fun event.  Over 500 paying individuals were able to sample various flavors of wine and brew while also learning more about the local businesses.

SERVPRO employees Tina (co-owner, pictured right) and Sarah (marketing representative, left) poured samples of two different types of wine to thirsty patrons.  "What a beautiful day and a great way to promote our business to local people who may not have heard about our services," said Tina. 

Call 262-542-0900 to learn more about all the services that we are able to provide such as:

  • Fire, smoke and soot
  • Water removal and dehumidification
  • Asbestos abatement
  • Mold mitigation and remediation
  • COVID-19 disinfecting
  • Contents cleaning 
  • Reconstruction
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Duct cleaning
  • Deodorization
  • Biohazard and crime scene cleaning and
  • Vandalism clean up

It Is That Spooky Time Of Year So Let SERVPRO Help With The Eerie Feeling In Your Home To Help It Sell Faster

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

Inside of old home with plaster falling off the wall and ripped curtains on window If Your House Looks Like This, SERVPRO Is Here To Help

With October already here, Halloween just around the corner, and spooky season coming to its peak, we thought it would be an appropriate time to share some reasons that your house might feel a little creepy. 

The following comes from "October 2020 Talking Real Estate ENewsletter.” Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Have you ever toured a home and just wanted to run right back outside? Maybe something hit you negatively, but it could be easily fixed. If the location and price are good, updates could be the answer. Ask yourself: what would you do to make a creepy home warm and inviting?

Improve lighting –Dark rooms can be spooky. Low light, especially from too few windows, can also be depressing. Can windows be enlarged? Can the electrical be updated to allow for the installation of sconces and ceiling lights? 

Re-design living areas – Low ceilings, awkward layouts, or rooms too small for their purpose can make a home feel claustrophobic. Can the ceilings be raised into the attic? Can a wall or two be removed? Can space be “borrowed” from another room for better flow?  

Simple maintenance – Keeping a home in good condition shows that it’s loved, while neglect makes homebuyers feel uncomfortable. Can obvious flaws be fixed and at what cost? 

Freshen - If the problem is odor, it could be pets, smoking, old furnishings, or musty spaces. Dampness can suggest a leak in bathrooms or kitchens.  Can the smell be identified and eliminated through cleaning or remodeling?

Modern updates – Homes stuck in the past need updating which can eliminate a lot of problems? Is there enough room in the budget to remodel to get the home to meet your criteria?

You could turn the spookiest house in the neighborhood into the home of your dreams.

If your home is feeling a little creepy because of odor, water damage, pet and child created flaws, or simply the need for a good cleaning, give us a call. SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County at 262-542-0900 for all of your "spooky" needs. 

Source:

  1. Hubrich , Dian. “October 2020 Talking Real Estate ENewsletter.” Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Oct. 2020, bhhsmarketingresource.com/p/9f60b389d6754032b1de30fca1af1b40/8916920/?rxid=13414208441827544136820.

Preparing Children For Possible Disasters

10/6/2020 (Permalink)

Two children sitting in a classroom raising their hand to answer the teacher Teaching and Preparing Children About Disasters Is A Great Idea

Disasters don’t wait — make sure children are prepared

To view html content with hi-res photos, copy and paste the following link in your browser: Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

by ReadyWisconsin

MADISON, Wis. — Disasters can be difficult for kids to deal with, which is why ReadyWisconsin is encouraging families to take the time to make sure their youngest members know how to respond when the unexpected happens. September is Preparedness Month in Wisconsin, which is a reminder to everyone that disaster don’t wait, so make your plan today.

“Children may not fully understand what’s going on during a disaster or what steps they should be taking to remain safe,” said Dr. Darrell L. Williams, Wisconsin Emergency Management administrator. “During Preparedness Month, we encourage families to spend time going over emergency plans with kids and making sure they understand what to do.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought much uncertainty for families across Wisconsin, while the start of the school year has resulted in changes to the regular routines of many. Regardless of where they are spending their days, parents should talk to their children about what to do if there is an emergency at home, school, or daycare. Make sure they know who to contact and identify a safe meeting place. Put together a supply kit with your kids and include them in the process of creating an emergency plan for your family.

“Preparedness is a life-long effort, and even adults should spend time this month learning more about what they can do to help keep them and their loved ones safe,” Williams said. “Taking just a few minutes out of your day to discuss the types of disasters that could effect your community and how to react could make all the difference when facing an emergency.”

While many students started the year virtually due to COVID-19, educators looking ahead to the spring should consider helping their students prepare for disasters by offering the Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP) program. Designed for fourth and fifth-grade classrooms, this curriculum developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is made available by the state at no cost to educators. The program teaches important preparedness lessons to children and encourages them to take that information home.

“Since it began in 2011, STEP has helped over 80,000 children in Wisconsin learn about the importance of being prepared for the unexpected,” said Dr. Williams. “We are proud and excited to once again make this free program available to classrooms across the state.”

Fourth and fifth-grade teachers and school administrators interested in offering the STEP program in their schools or to virtual classrooms during the spring of 2021.

For more safety tips follow us on Facebook  and Twitter 

Here at SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County, we believe the health and safety of all community members should always be the #1 priority. When it comes to the safety of children, we take particular interest seeing as they are more susceptible to illness, injury, and trauma. Getting you information on how to stay safe is just as important as helping you get back to normal after an accident.

In the unfortunate event of a disaster, give SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County a call at 262-542-0900.

Hidden Hazards of Fire Soot on Electronics

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

Computer tower disassembled showing smoke damage to the inside Smoke Damage To the Inside of a Computer

The following blog excerpts come directly from https://www.randrmagonline.com/articles/88660-recognizing-hidden-hazards-of-fire-soot-on-electronics?oly_enc_id=5235J0800912E7Y

Have you ever tried fixing your own electronics and appliances and ended up with extra parts? In the beginning of my career, I probably broke more electronic equipment than I ever repaired, but over the years I developed the skills needed to properly disassemble electronics and appliances as well as restore them to preloss condition. Also, along the way I learned a thing or two about the hidden hazards of fire soot.

According to the insurance industry, about one in 325 insured homes has a property damage claim related to fire and lightning, and on average, Americans own approximately 25 electronic products per home. Although most of the time electronics can be restored by a professional after a fire and returned to the home afterwards, there are a lot of hidden hazards of smoke and soot damage that are commonly misunderstood and pose certain health risks when not handled properly.

A typical structure (residential home or business) contains various materials such as plastics, elastomers, foams, polymers, adhesives, fabrics, wood products and asbestos containing materials. The incomplete combustion of these materials as a result of fire can produce an array of toxic organic compounds such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SOVCs), and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHs).

Exposure to these compounds during a fire may exhibit both acute and chronic toxicity. Some of the other chemicals and gases found in smoke are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, water vapor, hydrogen cyanide, carbon particles, aldehydes, nitrogen oxide, benzene, toluene, styrene, metals, and dioxins. The size, quantity, character, and type of particles, gases, and chemicals in smoke varies depending on what is burning and whether it was complete or incomplete combustion.

When different types of items burn, various types of soot residue and smoke are produced including wet smoke, dry smoke, plastic or rubber smoke, protein smoke, furnace soot, and candle smoke. When restoring or cleaning electronics, it is important to be able to recognize the difference in various types of soot and smoke as they pose different risks and implications.

Wet smoke is thick, smeary, sticky, has a pungent odor, and is prone to discoloration. It is very difficult to clean and requires specialized products and techniques. Wet smoke must be addressed quickly.

Dry smoke typically involves smaller, non-smeary particles, and is usually a result of hot, fast burning fires. The odor is usually not as strong as wet smoke.

Burning Plastic, foam, rubber, and polymers produce plastic or rubber smoke and burn with high energy at low temperatures. The particles produced have a high degree of ionization, therefore are attracted to other materials and form smoke webs. The smoke produced can potentially be acidic, if it is not addressed soon enough or treated properly with specialized products, bare metal surfaces can corrode and pit.

Protein smoke residue is a result of slow burning food such as meat and poultry. The particles are usually invisible and have a particularly strong pungent odor. A slow burn allows the protein to disperse and attach to everything, tends to stain painted and varnished surfaces, and is typically very difficult to clean.

Furnace soot or puff-backs result from the misfiring in a furnace or when an older furnace is replaced with a newer, high efficiency furnace. The ventilation system will aid in the distribution of the soot and can send it throughout the entire home, covering drapes, bedding, furniture, cabinets, walls, and everything in between. It is possible that before the malfunction occurred, the furnace may have been emitting small quantities of soot over an extended length of time. When this occurs, the soot bonds to the surfaces making it more difficult to clean.

Candle soot residue, AKA “dirty house syndrome” is visible residue without a recognizable fire source. Studies show that it is very possible to be a result of burning cheap scented decorative candles. Candle soot production normally begins when the particulate matter produced reaches .06 to 0.1 microns in size. Because the particles are so fine, they lodge in irregular surfaces and are held by electrostatic bonds requiring complete disassembly of the item.

Smoke aids in the distribution of soot and travels to cooler areas and continues until the fire is extinguished, thereby causing soot to be distributed everywhere in its path.

When it comes to restoration, electronics are very sensitive and when compromised by smoke and soot, become a safety hazard. Damage from smoke and soot primarily stems from increased resistance in circuits and connections by corrosive metal loss, short circuiting caused by current leakage, and overheating. Cleaning smoke and soot damage on electronics and appliances requires learned skill sets, professional cleaning products, and techniques. It is important to take the complexity of effective electronics restoration into consideration before letting just anyone disassemble a computer or flat screen TV and hope for the best. 

If you ever experience a fire or soot/smoke damage, be sure to call SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County at  262-542-0900.

Source

  1. Copeland, James. “Recognizing Hidden Hazards of Fire Soot on Electronics.” Restoration Remediation Magazine RSS, Restoration & Remediation Magazine, 24 Oct. 2019, www.randrmagonline.com/articles/88660-recognizing-hidden-hazards-of-fire-soot-on-electronics?oly_enc_id=5235J0800912E7Y.

SERVPRO Is Invading Your Space for Good Reasons

9/29/2020 (Permalink)

SERVRPO drying equipment placed in the kitchen and blocking a doorway Our Equipment May Be In The Way, But Because We Care!

SERVPRO is the largest restoration company in the United States and that means we are in a lot of buildings, both residential and commercial.  

We admit that sometimes we get in the way. We ask invasive questions about your personal spaces. We bring in loud equipment. It seems like we are always invading our customer's spaces.  

While we are sorry for this inconvenience, at the same time we aren't because we know that this is the best way to mitigate your problem.  Without us walking through all the affected areas, asking questions, looking in closets, checking inside shower stalls, etc., we can't do our job thoroughly and efficiently.  Our job is to take care of the issues that come with mitigation work. Water, fire or mold mitigation, even asbestos abatement, requires thorough inspections. It requires our employees to ask tough questions to get to the best solution for YOU, our customer.  

Our loud equipment is often left for several days and we will ask you to allow us access every 24-36 hours to ensure that the equipment is doing what is supposed to. Our visiting every day can get annoying, but it is necessary.  

SERVPRO is the number one restoration company and we got there by being annoying. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are HERE TO HELP.   

We GREATLY appreciate our customers putting up with our invasions. And we want you to know we do it because we love helping others.   Please call our office at 262-542-0900 to schedule SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County to come and invade your home or business. You'll be glad you did. 

Danger Still Exists Even After The Fire Is Extinguished

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

Kitchen wall that has a hole burned through from a fire Debris Left After A Fire Is Still Dangerous

After a structure fire, restoration contractors are often on scene within hours to perform emergency services.  This usually begins with boarding up windows and doors and covering holes in the roof cut by the fire department. This is intended to protect properties from further damage as well as prevent unauthorized entry, theft, or spoiling of evidence. However, what many people may not realize is that boarding-up a fire damaged structure can create an extremely hazardous environment.

Although the flames have been extinguished, the smoke has cleared, and the fire department removed the yellow tape, the fire scene isn’t as safe as one might think. Toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) created by the vast array of materials and products that, after being burned, are now in a state of off-gassing, saturating the indoor air with poisonous gases and particulates. The combination of the lack of ventilation after a board-up and the toxicity of the combustion byproducts created classifies this environment as immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that a respiratory hazard exists when a toxic contaminant is present in the air at a sufficient concentration to cause harm when inhaled. The damage may occur immediately, or it may take days, weeks, months, or years for effects to surface.

The types and quantities of materials and products that combust, their chemical reactions, heat, time, and other factors, make each post-fire environment unique.  The vast array of toxic chemicals, VOC’s, and particulates are limitless and exposure to them can have immediate and/or long-term health effects.  Fire investigators know all too well the dangers of post-fire environments and many are sickened.  

One example of this occurred when a fire chief in California walked through a residential fire to assess the damage. A short time later, as he was returning to the fire station, he became ill and his aide transported him to a local hospital. The hazardous material response team was called to the scene and located several glass containers of a substance later identified as liquid sodium cyanide. The chief was subsequently transported to a medical facility equipped with a hyperbaric chamber for treatment and fully recovered. Physicians and investigators eventually determined that he had inhaled near-lethal doses of sodium cyanide from a jewelry refinishing business that was operated from the home. (1)

Restoration contractors face similar dangers in structure fire settings, where they may spend days performing emergency services, mucking out debris, estimating, and inventorying personal property.

Smoke, Toxic Gasses, & Chemicals

Considering that cigarette smoke alone contains over 7,000 chemicals, with 70 identified as cancer-causing, the products and materials that burn in a structure fire produce innumerable toxins. These products may include plastics, fiberglass, fabrics, fire retardants, electronics, pesticides, cleaning solutions, automotive fluids, solvents, chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs and a host of others.

Currently, the EPA has over 85,000 chemicals registered in its inventory of substances that fall under the Toxic Substances Control Act and approximately 2,000 new chemicals are introduced each year.(2) The Chemical Abstracts Service is the world’s authority on chemical information and it has over 100 million registered chemical substances in its registry.(3)  These chemicals are combined in more than 7 million mixtures formulations that are found in homes and buildings across the U.S.(4) The majority of the chemicals currently in commercial use haven’t been evaluated.(5)

Some of the most toxic chemicals and gases found in smoke include: hydrogen cyanide, phosgene, dioxins, furans, sulfur dioxide, PCB’s, hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, and arsenic. Other toxins may include benzene, lead, chromium, and other metals, toluene, acrolein, mercury, formaldehyde, phenol, styrene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

To give you an idea of how toxic some of these chemicals are, phosgene and hydrogen cyanide were used in World War I as chemical warfare agents, resulting in thousands of casualties. Both hydrogen cyanide and phosgene are commonly found in structure fire smoke. 

Dioxins – The Worst of the Worst

Restorers are well aware of hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead, and mold, but few realize how toxic  smoke particulates and soot can be. The dioxin named 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) has been called the most toxic man-made compound on Earth.(6) Scientists say it is exceeded in toxicity only by radioactive waste.(7)   Dioxins are formed when products containing carbon and chlorine are burned, such as plastics containing PVC. (11)

Particulate Exposure

Particle exposure leads to around 20,000 premature deaths in America each year. Inhaled particles that are less than 5 microns travel to the lower lung where the gas exchange occurs in the alveoli. The particle size of soot is approximately 2.5 microns or less and to offer some perspective on the size of these particles, a red blood cell is approximately 7 microns in size. 

Smoke particles--approx 2.5 microns (left); Red blood cells--approx 7 microns (right)

The smallest ultrafine particles are so minute they behave like gases, passing through the lungs and directly into the bloodstream. Ultrafine particles also travel up through the nose and, rather than passing down into the lungs, they are delivered directly into the brain and central nervous system via the olfactory nerve, bypassing the body’s protective blood/brain barrier. 

Safety Considerations

The importance of wearing proper protective equipment when working in or around fire debris or a fire damaged structure cannot be understated. Restorers should consider the following safety tips:

  1. Establish a safety and site assessment protocol to determine what type of PPE should be worn. The highest level of respiratory protection should be considered.
  2. Have all workers fit tested to ensure their respirators function properly.
  3. Ventilate enclosed areas unless doing so will expose others to health hazards.
  4. If workers experience any adverse health symptoms from exposure to smoke odors or soot, seek medical attention immediately. 

IF you experience a fire, let the certified and trained professionals handle the cleanup and deodorization.  Please feel free to call SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County with any fire or water needs. 262-542-0900. 

References

  1. FIRE SCENE INVESTIGATION: A “CAUSE” FOR CONCERN? http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-157/issue-6/features/fire-scene-investigation-a-cause-for-concern.html
  2. It could take centuries for EPA to test all the unregulated chemicals under a new landmark bill By Mark Scialla: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/it-could-take-centuries-for-epa-to-test-all-the-unregulated-chemicals-under-a-new-landmark-bill
  3. Characterization of fire Investigators Exposure During Fire Scene Examination By: Dennis L. Rogers – DuPage County Arson Task Force (page 19)
  4. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Education_Employment_and_Workplace_Relations/Completed_inquiries/2010-13/firefighters/report/c02 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10794914
  6. Medical Effects: Dioxin and PCB’s From Wood Burning http://burningissues.org/carwww/medical_effects/dioxin.htm
  7. World Health Organization http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/
  8. A Guide to Living Plasticless http://plasticisrubbish.com/2008/06/03/dioxins-poisons-contamination/
  9. Dioxins and their Effects on Human Health http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/
  10. Dioxins Produced by Backyard Burning https://www.epa.gov/dioxin/dioxins-produced-backyardburning
  11. and http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/
  12. The Aspen institute https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/agent-orange-in-vietnamprogram/health-effects/