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The Top Five Causes Of House Fires and How To Avoid Them

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

"Mmm," you moan as the smell of barbeque brushes your nostrils.  Your mouth begins to water, your stomach begins to growl, a warm shiver tickles your spine.  Your body begs for a slice of whatever is cooking in the kitchen, until, all of a sudden, you realize that that's not food at all.  It's your house.  Your house is on fire.

Don't you just hate when that happens! You think you're about to get a hot meal, but instead, you get an insurance claim.  Alright, alright, I'm kidding.  I'm hoping you can tell the difference between Risky's Bar-B-Q, and a risky BBQ (that's a little pun for y'all around Parker County).

On a serious note, house fires can be seriously detrimental.  They endanger you, your family, your pets, and your assets.  Although there is no sure way to completely prevent sparks from flying, there are some things that should be kept in mind and paid attention to. Here are the five most common causes of house fires and how you can do your best to avoid them.

  • Cooking is the cause of a whopping forty-nine percent of residential fires.  Now that's not giving you permission to eat out every day, but it is encouragement to watch what you put on your stove.  More often than not, these fires are caused by grease that gets overheated.  Grease is an incredibly flammable substance once it reaches about six-hundred degrees fahrenheit.  When it reaches this point, it can combust spontaneously, even without direct flame contact.
  • Toasters and ovens can also start fires if not cleaned properly.  Oils and crumbs that sit at the bottom of these machines can catch fire when exposed to extreme heat, like they are.
    • How do you prevent these things from causing a fire?  Leaving anything unattended on your stove is not a good place to start, especially if you're cooking something in oil or grease.  Also, make sure to clean your cooking equipment often to ensure that there are no crumbs or oils trapped at the bottom of them.
  • The second most common cause of house fires are heating appliances such as space heaters.  These kinds of fires are less common than ones caused by cooking, causing only twelve percent of residential fires, but can be equally as detrimental.  Heaters that are fueled by kerosine are especially dangerous, as the fuel is extremely flammable.  Electric heaters can also be dangerous if the electrical wires short out, causing sparks.
    • How to avoid fires caused by heating appliances: simply unplug or turn off your heater when nobody is around to supervise it.  Not allowing the heater to overheat will also contribute to the act of avoiding flames.
  • As stated above, electrical shortages can create sparks, causing fires.  Generally, shortages don't happen "just because", they are usually caused by faulty wiring or by having too many things plugged in at once.  Although only ten percent of residential fires are caused by electrical shortages, it is still important to take what preventative measures you can. 
    • Avoiding electrical shortages is slightly more difficult than avoiding the fire starters previously discussed.  Having an electrician inspect your home or business is one of the safest ways to ensure that you aren't at risk especially if you live in an older home.  
  • If you're a smoker, chances are you've heard the "why smoking is bad for you" speech a million times over.  I'm not here to shame or commend your life choices, but, when you put your cigarette in the ashtray, check to see if there are any red ashes left.  Cigarette ashes only cause about five percent of house fires, but are the cause of about twenty-three percent of fire deaths.  This is because this fire most often starts while the resident is asleep.
    • How to prevent fire caused by cigarettes: ensure that your cigarette is fully put out when placed in the ashtray.
  • The fifth most common fire starter in the home is the beloved candle.  Didn't think Bath and Body Works could cause so much trouble huh?  Truthfully, this is another one of those situations where the open flame is fine, as long as somebody is supervising it.  Most fires caused by candles happen when the resident has left the home or when a flammable object, such as paper, is left within reach of the flame.
    • The best way to prevent fire caused by candles is to remove flammable objects from the surrounding area, as well as blowing the candle out when planning to leave it unsupervised.

Overall, house fires aren't completely preventable, but they are avoidable.  By watching what you do, keeping things tidy, and not leaving open flames unattended, you can save yourself a lot of money and frustration.

If for some reason you do experience the rage caused by fire damage, SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties is more than willing to help!  We are open 24/7/365 and are always ready to answer your calls.  You can contact us at 817-596-8714

Outdoor Furniture That Will Save Your Wallet and Your Sanity

4/13/2021 (Permalink)

Light Brown, synthetic wicker Patio Furniture Synthetic wicker looks luxurious, withstands the elements, and doesn't break the bank!

Who doesn't love snuggling up on the couch with a good book while listening to the rain fall on your window?  The unexpecting owners of beloved patio furniture, that's who.  But here's the good news: rain doesn't have to ruin the outdoor furniture that you spent hours picking out and strategically placing on your back porch.  There are certain cloth materials that are made to withstand the effects of water, woods that repel insects and mildew, metals that are made to resist the formation of rust, and synthetic materials created to hold their own against the elements.  Let's start with seating.

Durable Seating Options For Outdoor Furniture:

  • The first, and probably most common water resistant seating material, is synthetic wicker or rattan.  The organic version of these materials is absolutely charming, although, not the most durable.  However, synthetic wicker or rattan mimic the color and texture of the natural fibers, with the additional perks of being waterproof and resistant to fading.  Fortunately, these materials are made to last, and won't break the bank.
  • If your goal is to go all natural, teak wood might be the material for you.  Though teak is durable when exposed to moisture, its natural state and place of origin definitely make it more of an investment compared to synthetic materials.  Dawning from Asian rainforests that are prone to monsoons, teak is a soldier.  It is not only waterproof, but also resistant to insects and sunlight, and doesn't attract dirt.  It may be a high dollar material, but its natural state and long lasting features make this wood worth the price.
  • Powdered aluminum is also a good choice of material for your backyard oasis.  Why is aluminum a better choice than other metals?  Allow me to put on my lab coat for a moment.  Rust is iron oxide, and because aluminum has virtually no iron in it, it doesn't rust.  Aluminum can also have an anti-corrosion coating added to it as extra insurance against rust.  Class dismissed.

Now that we have covered the most reliable base materials for outdoor furniture, let's discuss how we can add a little pizazz.

No fabric is going to be one-hundred percent waterproof.  There are waxy finishes that can be added to the surface of fabrics to allow water droplets to roll off rather than soak in, but those don't last forever.  Rather than preventing your cushions from getting wet, consider investing in a material that will dry quickly, resist mold, and avoid that mildew stench that nobody enjoys.

The Best Cushion Materials To Avoid Moisture Damage:

  • The first fabric on our list is going to be polyester.  No, not like your great grandma's clothing.  Polyester has come a long way since the early ages of leisure suits.  This fabric will give you an expensive look without the expensive prices.  It repels light amounts of rain and still keeps its tight, clean shape even when it gets sopping wet.
  • Acrylic fabrics are also a worthy option when it comes to patio furniture cushions.  Acrylic manages to stay easy on the eyes, with its silky touch, while also being resistant to the elements.  This fabric also holds its color due to the dying process that it endures.  Acrylic fibers are typically dyed before being woven together, resulting in the fabric keeping its vibrant color through the sun and the rain.

Polyester and acrylic fabrics are considered the two best fabrics to use for patio furniture cushions, but, what about the cushion itself?  There is only one thing that I, and most cushion aficionados, will recommend: quick-drying foam.  This miracle foam is made to be outdoors in rain or shine.  It is porous, which allows water to run right through it rather than soaking it in like cotton stuffing would do.  Because of this, it also dries exponentially fast and resists the growth of mold as well as that mildew smell.  You still have to let the cushions sit out in the sun after a nice rainfall, but, they will be ready for use at record speeds.  They also don't have to be replaced as often as your average cushion which will save your wallet.

In Conclusion?

You shouldn't have to panic about making an artist's impression when your in-laws decide to invite themselves over for a barbeque.  These materials that we discussed previously will be ready, and stay ready, for any occasion.  No more complaints from your mother-in-law about smelly cushions or old furniture.  Give yourself something to be proud of, no matter the weather conditions.  Synthetic wicker, teak wood, and aluminum are just a small portion of luxurious looking, weather resistant materials.  Just as Polyester and Acrylic aren't the only fabric options out there, but they are the biggest bang for your buck.  These items are just a few outdoor furniture pieces that will save your wallet, and your sanity!

Shocking! Isn't it?

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

What is the definition of the idiom 'force of nature'?

According to https://www.yourdictionary.com, a 'force of nature' is

       A mighty natural force which is beyond human         control, notably if potentially castastophical,             such as the elements (e.g. storms and                     extreme temperatures) or geological (e.g.               seismic and volcanic) activity.

Lightning most definitely suits this definition.  

The chances of you getting struck by lightning are slim; about 1 in every 500,000.  However, the likelihood of your house getting struck by lightning isn't as unreasonable; about 1 in every 200.  Although the majority of people may go their entire lives without having to worry about lightning damage, those who have, generally face major consequences.

The state of Texas is at high risk for lightning damage; just below California.  In 2019, Texans made 5,780 insurance claims due to lightning damage.  These claims ended up costing more than $88.3 million.  This is important to know because the majority of lightning damage begins during the spring season and peaks in the summer.  These statistics may serve as encouragement to prepare your home from lightning strikes this season.  Here are some things you may not have known about lightning damage:

  • Lightning damage doesn't always occur as a result of a direct hit.  When lightning strikes the ground, it can travel through metal pipes or electrical wiring to your home.  This generally causes the electrical outlets to blow and requires all new wiring throughout the house.
  • In 2019, lightning strikes, whether direct or secondary hits, caused 20 deaths and 100 injuries in the United States.
  • Around 19% of fires caused by lightning directly affect homes.
  • The majority of lightning damage occurs during the months of June, July, and August.

How To Minimize the Damaged Caused To Your Home Due To Lightning

  • Unplug electrical wiring from all outlets throughout the house.
    • Failing to do so can not only cause your outlets to fry, but also the electronics plugged into them.
  • Installing surge protectors may also protect your outlets.
  • Installing a lightning rod may redirect the bolt to prevent it from striking your house.
  • Ensuring that your home has functioning smoke detectors will assist in notifying you if a fire has started due to the powerful bolt of electricity.
  • Consider adding lightning damage to your home or renters insurance incase of an emergency.

Although repairing damages due to any natural disaster isn't ideal, and taking preventative measures is inconvenient, accidents are sure to happen.  If your home or business is affected by lightning, SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties is more than willing to help! We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You can give us a call at 817-596-8714.

Five Ways To Protect Your Home From Wind Damage

4/6/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo SERVPRO is here to help with any disaster that comes your way!

Here in North Texas, we've been experiencing gusts of wind reaching up to 40MPH.  Chances are, you've probably seen loose items blowing around or heard someone complaining about their outdoor furniture getting damaged.  Although 40MPH winds may not be considered a windstorm, the gusts are most definitely strong enough to cause damage.  Fortunately, there are some methods that have been proven to defend your home against wind damage.

Five Ways To Protect Your Home From Wind Damage

  • If it's broke, fix it.
    • Confirm that all of your roof shingles are secure.
    • Repair loose or damaged fencing.
    • Ensure that your garage door is in good condition.
  • Secure outdoor items.
    • Place chairs, toys, umbrellas, etc. in a shelter.
    • Push heavier items such as grills or patio tables against a sturdy wall.
  • Examine trees in your yard
    • Loose branches may fly off and damage a window or a car.
    • Dead trees can blow over on top of a structure.
  • Move your vehicle to safety
    • Park your vehicle under a shelter of some sort.
    • If no shelter is available, avoid parking near a tree for the reason previously stated.
  • Have an emergency plan in place.
    • Make sure your insurance will cover possible damages.
    • Keep a restoration company that you trust in mind just in case damages occur.  
    • Stock the most well-protected room in your house stocked with emergency items.

Be sure to routinely check and maintain your home so you're prepared for whatever storm may come your way.  However, if you do happen to find yourself in a sticky situation, SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties is able and willing to help!  We are available 24/7 to take the stress of storm damage off of your shoulders! 

Give us a call at 817-596-8714

We Are Available 24/7/365

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

If you are frantically googling 'water repair near me', you are most likely in a dire situation that requires assistance ASAP.  Whether it's one o'clock in the morning or one o'clock in the afternoon, SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties is prepared to take on any disastrous situation!  Our team is available around the clock seven days a week.  What truly makes us stand out against similar businesses?  We are the ONLY call you'll need to make.  We will personally clean all salvageable items, remove wet flooring, dry wall, and insulation from the affected area, and use our equipment to dry out the same area and prevent the growth of mold.  We will also take the liberty to contact your insurance adjuster to handle the billing as well as hire a trusted construction company to cover the repairs.  We are adamant about leaving no loose ends.  

If you are experiencing the aftermath of a flood, fire, mold, biohazard, vandalism, or you're in need of a general deep cleaning, give SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties a call at 817-596-8714

The Home Stretch Of Recovery

3/31/2021 (Permalink)

Thank You! Thank you for supporting us!

SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties has been working around the clock to reach as many people as possible.  Because of the snow storm back in February, so many homeowners have had to experience the frustration and inconvenience of water damage.  Busted water pipes are no joke, and neither is the amount of damage caused by the water loss.  Not only does it flood your home, but if not treated quickly and properly, it can cause mold spores to form.  Although we have not been able to reach every call that comes in, we have been moving as fast as we can, to do what we can, for the people that we have been able to help.

We want to give a huge THANK YOU to every person that has been patient and kind throughout this season.  We truly appreciate each and every customer that has shown us support and grace during this time period.  We hope to be returning to normal soon, so we can help more people like YOU! 

Why Your Business Needs a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP)

3/30/2021 (Permalink)

Being a business owner comes with an excessive list of stressors.  Handling an emergency on your own should not be one of the items on that list.  That's why SERVPRO created an emergency program, to make certain that all businesses, small and large, are fully prepared for any disaster.

What is the SERVPRO ERP?

Unfortunately, disasters cannot always be prevented, which means it is crucial for businesses to have a plan to follow incase of emergency.  Our Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) is a step-by-step program made by us, specifically for your business, to ensure that all important structures, exits, and utilities, as well as important contacts, have been identified and documented.  This app works to provide business owners with a plan to follow in an effort to prevent any and all emergencies from escalading to the point of no return.  Our ERP includes the following:

  • A no-cost assessment of your facility. 
  • A precise profile document containing the most critical information about your facility.
  • A list of emergency contacts for every situation.
  • A guide to the recovery process after the disaster has occurred.
  • Facility details such as water, gas, and electricity shut offs.
  • A list of the primary contacts for your business as well as establishing SERVPRO as your primary restoration and disaster mitigation provider.
  • A step-by-step guide explaining the exact steps to take as soon as you notice your facility is in danger.

Why is it important for my business to have a plan in place?

Did you know that 50% of small businesses that endure a catastrophe aren't able to recover? The majority of businesses that are able to survive, do so because they had an emergency plan in place.  Having a plan serves as a mental insurance policy, protecting one's "peace of mind".  Protecting your facility will also protect yourself and your employees, establishing a certain amount of trust between your "employee" and "employer" relationship.  

Will SERVPRO help clean up and repair damage after a catastrophe?

The answer is ABSOLUTELY!  SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties is prepared for any disaster thrown our way.  Our staff is trained to handle just about any disaster from busted water pipes to biohazard.  We can even help with your every day commercial cleaning needs.

If you are a business owner in or near Parker or Hood County consider giving us a call to help prepare yourself to protect your facility! You can contact us over phone or through email:

817-596-8714

OR

sp9037@att.net

Reviews Help Us, Help You

3/25/2021 (Permalink)

A couple of our customer reviews We love when our customers share their experiences working with us!

Here at SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties, when it comes to our customers, we want to make sure we are providing the best service possible. We understand that any disaster in your home is frustrating and can become very stressful. Whether it's fire, water, mold, stained carpet, or damaged belongings, we can handle it for you. We want to leave you, knowing that we have given you back power and control over your home. 

Our goal is to make YOU happy and ease your stress through the process. We would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on our review page on our website. These comments leave only room for us to grow and improve us for the future. Call SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties today at (817) 596-8714

https://www.SERVPROparkernortheasthoodcounties.com/customer-reviews/reviews

Too Hot to Handle

3/23/2021 (Permalink)

The idea of gathering around a bonfire with a group of friends is frequently thought about as the spring season approaches.  With this in mind, it's important to know how to safely go about this smoky activity.  Here's a few tips you may consider following to ensure your BBQ only cooks the food on the table.

  • Keep the fire contained by constructing a fire pit.
  • Avoid lighting an outdoor fire in high winds.
  • Ensure that there is a bucket of water and a water hose nearby incase of emergency.
  • Don't use lighter fluid once the fire has been started.
  • Make sure to put the fire out completely by stirring the ashes around and dousing with water.

Following these five tips will aid in preventing your fire from becoming "too hot to handle".

Signs of a Weakened or Busted Water Pipe

3/18/2021 (Permalink)

Repairing busted water pipes and the damage they cause can be stressful for all parties involved.  Although there is no sure way to prevent wear and tear, there are some signs to look for in order to catch a leak early on.  

Signs That You May Have a Busted Water Pipe

  1. The formation of puddles under sinks, around toilets, etc. is one of the more obvious indications of a damaged pipe.
  2. Low water pressure can also be an effect of a leak or burst.
  3. Stains along walls or ceilings are another obvious sign of water damage.
  4. Discoloration in the water such as a reddish undertone or strange smells that mimic something metallic may be due to rust which will eventually weaken the pipes.
  5. Water bills may increase if there is a leak that has gone undetected for a period of time.