Recent Posts

What To Do: Smoke and Soot Cleanup

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot in Your Cape May or Cumberland County Property?

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home or business, causing hidden damage and odor.

Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action. 

Smoke and Soot Facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure. 
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor. 
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process. 

Different Types of Smoke: 

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO® of Cape May & Cumberland Counties will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. 

Additional information: 

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber 

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean. 
  • Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
  • Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat you with empathy and respect and treat your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call a Franchise Professional Today – 609-624-0202.

We serve Cape May, Ocean City, Wildwood and surrounding towns in Cape May County; as well as Vineland, Millville and Bridgeton and surrounding towns in Cumberland County.

If You See Signs of Mold

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

If You See Signs of Mold in Your Vineland Home.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today –609-624-0202. A Franchise Professional will help you with your questions and concerns.

SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties serves Cape May, Ocean City, Wildwood and surrounding communities in Cape May County. We also serve Vineland, Bridgeton, Millville and surrounding communities in Cumberland County.

Hurricane Season Is Not Over!

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

Hurricane Season.

Living near the coast brings many benefits to those of us who reside in Cape May and Cumberland Counties, but with all the pros, there are some cons - one of them being hurricane season.

The season started on June 1st and the threat will continue until November 30th here in the Northeast. The strongest chance for hurricanes and storm activity begins in mid-August and lasts until about the end of October. Hurricanes can bring speeds up to 200 mph, and the storms themselves have been known to stretch across up to 600 miles. Are you prepared for a storm of this size?

Important information everyone should know includes the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A watch means that threatening conditions are possible within the next 48 hours, while a warning means conditions are expected within 36 hours. Stay prepared and informed, that is the best way to get through any potential storms!

SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties is a Disaster Recovery Team.® We're Here to Help 24/7 -  just call 609-624-0202.  We offer 24 hour emergency services and have the equipment necessary for all types of storm damage to homes and businesses.

SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties serves Ocean City, Cape May, Wildwood and surrounding communities in Cape May County. We also serve Bridgeton, Millville, Vineland and surrounding communities in Cumberland County.

What Can Turn Into a House Fire?

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

Tis the Season in Ocean City and Cape May County!

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments in the United States responded to a house fire every 86 seconds. Given this risk, it’s critical for homeowners to pinpoint potential triggers and take action to prevent fire damage.

As you review your home safety, here are a few common causes of house fires you should stay aware of.  

What Can Turn Into a House Fire?

  1. Portable Heaters

When winter strikes, a portable heater may provide the little bit of extra warmth you need to stay comfortable. However, these devices can get extremely hot and ignite surrounding objects — such as curtains and furniture. If you must use a portable heater, never leave it unattended and make sure it’s not near any flammable items.

  1. Kitchen Accidents

 It takes a lot of heat to cook food, so danger can arise quickly if it’s not properly controlled. Gas stoves, grease, and food left in the oven for too long are all potential sources of fire damage. Minimize these risks by supervising meal preparation activities, keeping curious kids away from active stoves, and maintaining a clean kitchen space.

  1. Faulty Wires

Since electrical wires remain hidden behind walls, it can be hard to detect potential risks caused by factors like old age or pets that chew through cables. Call an electrician for an inspection at the first sign of trouble, such as flickering lights, malfunctioning outlets, and mysterious burning smells. A professional survey is also a good idea if your wiring is over 20 years old.

  1. Smoking

When dropped into the trash or left unattended, cigarettes can quickly spark massive flames, especially if everyone in the house is asleep. The best way to prevent this problem is to smoke outdoors — or quit.

  1. Candles

Open flames from candles can feel inviting and elegant, but they aren’t as contained as you might think. When flames get too big or candles are knocked over, they can trigger massive house fires. Always blow out lit candles before leaving a room or use battery-operated versions that do not use real flames.

Watching out for these risks can help prevent house fires, but there may be instances where the danger is simply out of your control. For these situations, turn to SERVPRO® of Cape May & Cumberland Counties for complete residential restoration services. Our trained experts use state-of-the-art tools to safely remove and restore fire damage. Call 609-624-0202 to request assistance - we're here to help 24/7. 

Before You Turn The Heater On...

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

What is a Furnace Puff Back & How Should You Handle It?

If you use an oil furnace, it’s important to know about the risk of puff backs. Essentially, furnace puff backs occur when burners do not ignite on start-up, causing excess oil fumes to combust. This reaction produces a great deal of smoke that causes soot to spread throughout the house.

When this happens, SERVPRO® of Cape May & Cumberland Counties recommends acting fast to protect your health and your belongings from smoke damage. To help you stay prepared, we highlight a few do’s and don’ts to follow when you experience a furnace puff back:

DO:

Protect Your Belongings.

Soot can spread quickly, so you’ll need to act fast to keep it from setting on your belongings. If you have a forced air system, tape cheesecloth over the vents to help keep particles from coming through the ducts. You can also place towels over carpets, rugs, and upholstery to provide a protective barrier.

Review Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy.

Since it takes special tools and experience to properly clean smoke damage, you’ll need to call a residential restoration service provider to clear your home of soot. But before you call, check your homeowner’s insurance policy, as most providers cover this kind of restoration.

Have Your Furnace Inspected.

Although puff backs can be one-off events, the problem may have occurred due to a mechanical issue with the equipment. To prevent further puff backs, have a heating specialist inspect and repair your furnace.

DON'T:

Touch or Breathe Soot.

Soot can be extremely hazardous to your health when inhaled, as it contains a variety of toxic components and carcinogens. Limit movement and keep individuals out of the home until the problem is resolved. As you protect your belongings, cover your mouth and nose with a face mask. Additionally, throw away any exposed food.

Try To Clean Surfaces.

While it’s fine to take steps to shield items from smoke damage, you shouldn’t try to clean surfaces. Standard cleaning supplies will not remove soot and may only cause particles to settle in further. Instead, wait for a professional smoke and fire damage restoration team to clean the area.

Increase Air Circulation.

You may be tempted to turn on a fan or open windows to eliminate smoke, but increased air circulation will only spread particles. To keep the problem contained, try to keep airflow to a minimum.

When furnace puff backs occur, SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties offers fast, thorough, and affordable restoration services. Equipped with specialized cleaning products, our Franchise Professionals minimize smoke damage in your home and eliminate stubborn odors.

To request assistance, call 609-624-0202 to reach a Puff Back Specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

We are proud to serve our local communities:

Prevent Fire Disasters!

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

Prevent Fire Disasters!

Keep your family safe with a working smoke alarm in every bedroom.

Did you know that roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep?

Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. In fact, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half!

When it comes to smoke alarms, it’s about “location, location, location.”

The key message from Fire Departments everywhere, is to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement (if you have one). Larger homes may need more alarms.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shares this important information so everyone better understands the life-saving value of home smoke alarms. Visit NFPA's website for more information.

*The above information courtesy of the National Fire Prevention Association. 

For information on what to do AFTER a fire call a SERVPRO Franchise Professional at 609-624-0202. We're here 24/7 every day of the year.

Concerned About Flooding?

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

Concerned About Flooding due to Storms in Cape May County?

Here in Cape May County, it’s important to be prepared for water damage. Many of us live on barrier islands where the threat of flood is an everyday concern whether its high tide from a full moon, heavy rains or an intense storm.

Being prepared for flooding and water damage is your best defense. Be aware of the tides and the weather, be prepared to move cars to higher grounds and keep all pets inside when necessary. Be aware of how high off the ground your home is, do you have a crawlspace that would be susceptible to water?

Finally, have a plan in place in the event water damage does occur in your home. SERVPRO® of Cape May & Cumberland Counties is Here to Help® 24/7. Call a Franchise Professional at 609-624-0202, and we'll work to make your situation, "Like it never even happened."®

When Storms Hit, SERVPRO is ready!

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties specializes in storm and flood damage restoration. 

Our crews are highly trained, and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

We are locally owned and operated and able to respond quickly with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Cape May or Cumberland County, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of over 2,000 Franchises across the country and elite "Disaster Recovery Teams" that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today: 609-624-0202.

Storm Season: Is Your Business Ready?

7/26/2022 (Permalink)

BEFORE the storm hits, have an Emergency Supply Kit ready and an evacuation plan.

Communicate with your co-workers and offer to help people who may be elderly, disabled or living with small children.

Every Office should have an Emergency Supply Kit - put one in your car trunk, too.

Emergency Supply Kit List:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day
  • Food (non-perishable, 3-day supply
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery powered radio, preferably a NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Clothing
  • Dust masks or bandannas
  • Plastic sheeting, garbage bags, and duct tape
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Local maps
  • Hygiene items
  • Cash - when there is no power, ATMs will not work
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container

If you suffer storm damage to your business, call the Franchise Professionals at SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties at 609-624-0202. A timely response is key to minimizing secondary damages caused by a severe storm or hurricane.

Business Owners and Property Managers should ask about our Emergency Ready® Program. 

Storm tips are provided by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). For more information on severe storms and other emergency situations, visit their website.

20 Bad Habits That Can Burn Down Your House!

7/26/2022 (Permalink)

House fires are more common than you may realize, with potential fire starters like light bulbs, laptops, and lint traps hiding in plain sight throughout your home, disguised as harmless, everyday necessities.

Are you guilty of one of these bad habits that could burn your house down? Read on to find out.

Piling Up Dirty Rags/Oil Soaked Rags

A wood stain can bestow the perfect finishing touch on a DIY furniture project. But later on, that pile of oil-soaked rags you tossed in the corner could trigger the perfect storm: Left unattended, those rags are a very real fire hazard, as they could oxidize and spontaneously combust, causing a house fire. To dispose of oily rags properly, place them in a metal can that's been filled with water, and cover it with a tight-fitting lid, or lay them flat outside to dry.

Misusing Electric Blankets/Electric Blanket Fire

A warm and cozy electric blanket is a welcome comfort in the cold of winter, but it also poses a potential fire hazard if used improperly. Never allow pets to snuggle up on top, and don't pile extra covers over the electric blanket, because excessive heat buildup may lead to fire. Keep your electric blanket at its lowest setting, never bend the coils, and always turn it off in the morning.

Neglecting Appliance Recalls

During the last decade, home appliances caused an estimated 150,000 fires each year, and a significant number of these were caused by defective appliances. To keep on top of recalls and prevent disaster in your home, register your appliance with the manufacturer or go to www.recalls.gov to find out if any of your models are on the list.

Lingering Dryer Lint/Lint Trap Fire Safety

We all know that emptying the lint screen increases your dryer’s efficiency, but did you know that lint is also flammable? Mixing excessive heat with lint buildup is a recipe for disaster. Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct regularly, as well as the interior of the dryer frame, to clear away lint and clogs, and reduce the risk of fire.

Letting Your Laptop Overheat/Laptop Fires

If you own a laptop, you know how hot it can get. When you leave your computer on your bed, couch, rug, or other soft, flammable surface, you run the risk of restricting airflow through the cooling vents, which can cause your laptop to overheat and possibly catch fire. To prevent fires, keep your laptop on a desk or table instead.

Choosing the Wrong Wattage/Light Bulb Fire Safety

If you've ever thought to yourself, "It's probably OK to use this 60-watt bulb in a 40-watt socket," you're not alone. You are, however, putting your home at risk. Installing a light bulb with a wattage that is too high for a lamp or light fixture is a leading cause of electrical fires. Always check the light fixture’s maximum wattage, and never go over the recommended rating.

Using Too Many Extension Cords/Extension Cord Fire

Extension cords are meant to be a temporary response to a lack of electrical outlets, not a permanent solution. This is why: Connecting a large number of cords for a significant amount of time can cause an overload that leads to a short circuit—which could ignite a fire. If you need additional outlets, hire a qualified electrician to install them, and you'll avoid this problem altogether.

Performing DIYs You're Not Qualified to Do/Electrical Fires

Americans will spend about $200 billion this year fixing up their homes, and nearly a fifth of this expense will go toward DIY projects. But jobs involving electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC units should never be completed without a qualified professional, because gas leaks and electrical sparks resulting from improper installation are a common cause of house fires. Don't put your home and your family at risk by attempting these dangerous DIYs on your own—hire a licensed professional instead.

Disregarding Dust/Dust Fires

Believe it or not, built-up dust can be a fire hazard if it collects in and around electronics, electrical sockets, and even floor heaters. By vacuuming on a regular basis, especially behind your electronics, you’ll significantly reduce the likelihood that particles of dust will catch fire due to prolonged exposure to heat sources.

Storing Batteries Improperly/ Battery Fires

If you store 9-volt batteries in your kitchen junk drawer, you may be putting your home at risk. When loose batteries roll around with other metals, such as screws or paper clips, the two terminals could short out and generate enough heat to ignite nearby flammables. Put a piece of electrical tape over the terminals, or store the batteries in their original packaging to prevent this possibility.

Ignoring Uninvited Guests/ Rodents Cause House Fires

Mice and other rodents like to gnaw on electrical wires to control the length of their teeth. Over time, they can remove the sheathing, leaving the wires exposed. Unfortunately, the electric current that travels through the wire generates heat, and in the absence of sheathing this could lead to sparks caused by short circuits, which in turn could ignite the surrounding surfaces. If you suspect a rodent infestation, call a professional exterminator immediately.

Forgetting the Chimney Sweep/Chimney Fires

Dead birds, raccoon nests, cracked mortar, and built-up creosote are all common causes of chimney fires. The National Fire Protection Association recommends scheduling a professional chimney sweep at least once a year to ensure the safe operation of the chimney. And when you're building a fire in your fireplace, always light it with an approved fire starter—never kerosene. The consequences could be disastrous. 

Overlooking the Range Hood/Range hood fire

While ovens and cook tops are the most common sources of kitchen fires, range hoods also pose a potential threat. Over time, grease that has built up on the vent hood filter can drip down onto the cook top, possibly igniting a fire. From there, the flames could easily reach your cabinets, and before you know it, your kitchen could be consumed by fire. Don't let this happen to you! Regularly clean and maintain your range hood to keep your kitchen out of harm's way.

Arranging Furniture Unwisely/Furniture fire hazard

If your furniture is too close to your wood stove, it could spontaneously ignite. Pyrolysis, a chemical decomposition of a combustible item, occurs when an object (say, a sofa) is continually exposed to a heat source (a wood stove) and eventually dries out. This leading yet seldom-considered cause of structural fires does not require a direct flame; all it takes is heat and time for ignition to occur.

Leaving Candles Unattended/Candles fire hazard

Candles add ambiance and aroma to any interior, but their soft glow can grow into a blaze far bigger than you planned for if left to burn unsupervised. While you’re away, Fido could knock the votive over, or a draft could cause the flame to flare up and ignite nearby flammable items. Always keep lit candles in sight and out of reach of pets, children, or flammables like drapes. Before leaving the room, use a snuffer to completely extinguish candles.

Smoking Indoors

Cigarettes, pipes, and other smoking materials sparked around 17,200 home fires in 2014; careless smoking practices indoors are all too often to blame. The embers of an improperly extinguished cigarette can interact with newspapers or other nearby flammable items and start a fire. While smoking in bed can cause nearby bedding to go up in flames, especially if the smoker accidentally dozes off while puffing. To avoid a visit from the fire department, only smoke outside, and be sure to pour water on cigarette ashes and butts before tossing them in the trash.

Stepping Away from the Stove/Kitchen fire

You may think you have enough time to get the laundry out before the onions on the stove brown, but resist the urge to leave the kitchen with the stove still on. A small flame can turn into a conflagration in less than 30 seconds, so keep your feet in the kitchen and your eyes on the stove whether you’re sautéing vegetables or searing meat. If you must step away, turn off the stove before doing so; it won’t take as long as you think to reheat!

Ignoring Loose-Fitting Plugs/Outlet fire

If no plug seems to stay put in one of your electrical outlets, it’s likely because the metal contact points in the receptacle have deteriorated and no longer allow for a secure connection. Continue plugging into the shoddy outlet and the missed connection could ignite a spark and cause a house fire as the current moves across air gaps, a phenomenon known as “arcing.” For peace of mind when plugging in, call an electrician to replace the at-risk receptacle right away.

Not Giving Space Heaters Space/Space heater fire

The same space heaters that keep you toasty when the duvet alone doesn’t cut it are the culprit in 43 percent of home heating fires and 85 percent of home heating fatalities. When placed too close to other combustible items, those items can get too hot to handle—so hot in fact, that they can catch fire. Only use heaters that automatically shut off when knocked over, and park them no less than three feet from any item that can burn, be it clothing or bedding.

Leaving Traces in the Toaster/Toaster fire

Every time you brown bread or a bagel in the toaster, they shed crumbs that fall into the bottom of the appliance. During the next toasting cycle, these same crumbs can heat up and catch fire, and your toaster, along with the kitchen, could, well, be toast. If your toaster has a removable crumb tray, regularly unplug and cool down the toaster, take out and empty the tray, and wash it with warm soapy water to prevent crumb build-up. If the unit doesn’t have a crumb tray, unplug it and then gently tip over and shake it to get rid of most of the crumbs.

 Adjust these bad habits now to avoid a dangerous situation in the future.If you have a fire in your home or business and need the help of a specialist trained in fire cleanup and restoration, contact a Franchise Professional today: 609-624-0202 or EMAIL.

SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties - we're Here To Help and are Faster to Any Size Disaster!

Information obtained by: Jill Lawrence O'Hara and Manasa Reddigari - BobVila.com