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3 Keys To Managing a Toilet Overflow Situation

8/17/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage 3 Keys To Managing a Toilet Overflow Situation Flooded basement in Watertown, NY

Many people have heard that unmistakable sound of water splashing to the floor and turned to see the unwelcome waterfall of a flooded toilet. There are efficient ways to manage the cleanup and get the system restored to proper functionality. The key to reducing sewer damage is to remain calm and act quickly.

1. Shut the Water Valve Off

The very first thing to do is to shut the valve off that goes directly to the toilet. It’s located behind the bowl and under the tank. That should stop the water from continuing to flow. If you don’t see a valve, open the tank and find something to support the float ball in the open position. If neither of these methods prevents water from continuing to fill the bowl, then you are probably dealing with a clogged sewer line and a plumber should be called immediately.

2. Attempt To Unclog the Drain

Keep a plunger and rubber gloves on hand for such occasions. A plunger with a flange creates a better seal and provides the suction needed for quick removal of debris. If the clog is stubborn, you may want to try a snake that’s specially designed for the curves associated with a toilet’s plumbing. If neither of these devices works, you will need to call a sewage company in Watertown, NY, to come and inspect the lines.

3. Clean Up the Mess

Once you’ve stopped the overflow, you should take immediate steps to keep the sewer damage from expanding further. If you’re lucky, the overflow only involves clear liquid. If that’s the case, then put towels or rags down or use a mop to keep it from seeping into flooring and drywall. Use items you can discard after use. You can clean the area thoroughly with warm bleach water after you’ve fixed the clog.

If the damage is more extensive, you may want to call in a sewage company in Watertown, NY, to disinfect the affected area and remove badly contaminated materials, such as carpeting, insulation, or drywall. Sewer damage can promote mold and disease when not properly taken care of.

Commercial Mold Remediation Guidelines

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Commercial Mold Remediation Guidelines If the answer to each of these questions is “yes,” the remediation plan meets the mold standards recommended by EPA and IICRC guidelines.

By the time you smell the distinctive musty odor, you have lost half the battle. Water damage or moisture has sparked the growth of black mold in your commercial building and left unchecked, the insidious fungus can do massive damage. Clearly, immediate steps must be taken to secure the property. The only question now is what sort of guidelines or mold standards for cleanup should you follow in Watertown, NY?

Make a Plan

There are no federal rules that a commercial property owner must adhere to when it comes to mold clean up, but the EPA provided broad guidelines in the 2008 brochure Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. First and foremost, it is important to assess the scale of the issue and form a remediation plan. Any strategy for cleanup and repair should follow these principles:

• Identify and fix the water or humidity issue.
• Communicate with employees and/or other building occupants.
• Clean up mold and dry all water-damaged areas.
• Select appropriate cleaning and drying methods and tools.
• Remove mold-damaged building materials.
• Arrange for professional help, as needed, from restoration specialists in [City, State].

If professional help is required, it is important to hire a firm and/or technician accredited by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. The IICRC’s own mold standards require a written assessment and detailed action plan. All black mold must be eradicated by use of EPA-approved fungicides.

Follow the Plan

The EPA brochure also provides tips for preferred cleanup methods and removal and disposal of affected building materials. Pages of guidelines for such are included, along with a simple checklist to determine if the remediation plan has been a success:

• Has the instigating water/moisture issue been addressed and repaired?
• Have all materials affected by mold been thoroughly cleaned of the fungus and/or removed and replaced?
• Does the site visually appear mold-free with no signs of water damage?

If the answer to each of these questions is “yes,” the remediation plan meets the mold standards recommended by EPA and IICRC guidelines.
For more information, visit

How To Protect Your Home From Lightning

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How To Protect Your Home From Lightning A lightning fire in Watertown, NY, is a rare, but possible occurrence.

What happens when lightning strikes a home in Watertown, NY? About 6,300 homes are struck each year without a resulting house fire. However, an additional 4,300 strikes each cause a residential lightning fire. Learn how to keep yourself and your home safe during this unpredictable, menacing weather event.

How Do I Protect Myself During a Storm?

When the weather turns bad outside, it is tempting to go about your normal business inside of the house. When you hear thunder, however, there are steps you should take to protect yourself and reduce the risk of lightning fire:

• Stay inside of your home, away from windows and doors. A good rule of thumb is to wait 30 minutes after you hear the last of the thunder to resume normal activities.
• If lightning strikes your home, it could cause a power surge. As a precaution, keep your distance from televisions, computers and other electrical devices. Do not take baths or showers, wash dishes or do laundry. Cellular phones are safe to use.

What Actions Do I Take If My House Is Hit?

If your house is struck, you will hear and feel a powerful boom. If you suspect the bolt has made contact with your home, take the following steps:

• Quickly check the health and safety of all family members and pets.
• Leave your home immediately if there is fire or smoke.
• Call 911 and report it, regardless of whether you see a fire. The fire department can determine if your home is safe.
• Contact your homeowner’s insurance agent, as damage is likely covered under your policy.
• Call a fire restoration specialist to assess your home. Even if a large house fire did not occur, there may be hidden damage in your roof or attic that could lead to further troubles down the road if not repaired promptly.

A lightning fire in Watertown, NY, is a rare, but possible occurrence. By taking proper precautions during a storm and following correct procedures after a strike, you can keep your family safe and minimize the damage to your home. For more information, visit

Rising Above Flood Damage

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Rising Above Flood Damage These basic cleaning requirements help you set the stage to successfully rise above the damage caused by floods.

When flood conditions affect your home in Watertown, NY, it is essential to deal with the damage immediately. All it takes is 1 inch of water to create unhealthy conditions, so addressing contaminated materials is of the utmost importance. Fortunately, whether it is carpet, household objects or furniture, if you have a flood to clean up, the same set of cleaning requirements can be followed. Therefore, after calling your insurance company and taking pictures of the conditions, you can be ready to tackle the job by following the steps below.

1. Remove Standing Water

Using protective clothing and eyewear, and tools that are safe in and around wet conditions, remove as much standing water as possible. Not only does this allow for further cleaning to take place, but you are eliminating a prime breeding ground for microorganisms such as mold, bacteria and even viruses.

2. Dry, Dry, Dry

Once the standing water has been reduced, the area and everything in it must be dried out. Fabrics and upholstery need to be addressed immediately and can be put in the sun or dryer, or taken to an appropriate cleaner. Photos, paper and books need more time to dry, so find a breathable yet sheltered area for storage. These cleaning requirements, if followed thoroughly, can save precious items and reduce the possible growth of allergens.

3. Disinfect and Clean

Due to possible contaminants in the water after a flood, clean all surfaces and objects with diluted bleach or another approved flood disinfectant. Remember, make sure the area in which you are working in is well ventilated. Cleaning agents like bleach have fumes that are harmful when inhaled over time.

These basic cleaning requirements help you set the stage to successfully rise above the damage caused by floods. Though the professionals in Watertown, NY, will take care of any structural issues in your home, you can be the first responder to your emergency. For more information, visit

5 Steps for Filing a Water Damage Claim

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage 5 Steps for Filing a Water Damage Claim Returning your home to normal after water damage involves more than just drying everything out or filing an insurance claim.

Effects from storms can be devastating. Water damage in Watertown, NY, can be difficult to recover from, but filing an insurance claim may help. Here are five steps to take in the process:

1. Review your policy. After a storm, make sure you review your policy regarding what is covered under your insurance. This might not answer all the questions you have, but it may give you a starting point.

2. Call your insurance provider. Always phone your insurance provider right away to ask any additional questions you might have. Is this covered? How does one file an insurance claim? How long will it take to process? Please don’t be shy about asking questions. Your insurance specialist is there to help you through this.

3. Photograph the damage. One thing insurance adjusters may ask for is photographic evidence of any results from the storm. You might be required to submit photos as part of the process.

3. Fill out forms. If you need to file a claim, your insurance company will send you forms within a specified time frame. Filling these out and returning them in a timely manner can help avoid delays.

4. Prepare for the visit. After the paperwork is filed, an insurance adjuster may need to see the damage. Have a list of all items lost or broken ready to show the inspector. You may also want to have a list of where all the damage from the flood or pipe burst is in order to make things easier.

5. Make repairs. Some damages may be too severe for you to handle alone, but if possible, make temporary repairs to prevent further incidents from occurring. For example, a pipe burst can be temporarily fixed to stop more damage until a professional can see to it.

Returning your home to normal after water damage involves more than just drying everything out or filing an insurance claim. When you contact restoration specialists for help in Watertown, NY, you know everything will be expertly taken care of as the cleanup and repairs are completed. For more information, visit

What Counts as Secondary Damage?

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial What Counts as Secondary Damage? If your commercial property has experienced water damage, you should immediately take action to limit the extent of the secondary damage.

Determining whether damage is primary or secondary can pose a challenge. In a commercial property with water damage, primary damage is only caused by exposure to water, while secondary may range from black mold to other issues caused by water or high humidity. Here are five types of secondary damage.

1. Corrosion: Many parts of a commercial property, from building materials to fixtures, are made out of metal. Corrosion can affect HVAC components, pipes, or studs. Over time, corrosion may lead to costly structural or utility repairs.

2. Rot: Organic materials such as wood may rot as a result of water damage. Limit the extent of this damage with thorough drying and dehumidification. Rotted building materials may undermine structural integrity.

3. Mold: Mold is a common result of water damage that can start to develop within 48 hours of water damage. There are many types, including black mold, all of which result from damage that is not addressed in a timely manner. Prevent mold by quickly removing all standing water and thoroughly drying areas affected by water damage.

4. Electrical problems: Water can damage every essential system in a commercial property. Water in electrical sockets or other components can undermine the power in the property or cause dangerous malfunctions. Commercial restoration experts can help to ensure that the lights are safe to turn on and restore water-damaged appliances and devices.

5. Damaged materials: The line between damage from primary and secondary causes can be vague. Water damage that goes untreated may cause more extensive damage to materials that is secondary. These contents may need to be replaced.

If your commercial property in Watertown, NY, has experienced water damage, you should immediately take action to limit the extent of secondary damage. Whether you are worried about black mold or any other type of damage, you should contact a commercial restoration company. For more information, visit

Mandatory Items for Your Company's First Aid Kit

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Mandatory Items for Your Company's First Aid Kit After an emergency, be sure to replace any items that were used from each first aid kit. Then contact a local restoration company to fix the damage.

It's impossible to know when a disaster will strike your business, so it's important to be prepared at all times. As a business owner, nothing is more important than the safety of your employees. To ensure their safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires businesses to have a first aid kit available to their workers at all times. Be sure to place it in a central location and hang a sign so it can be easily located. The following items are required for each kit.

Medical Equipment

• A few small gauze pads (4" x 4")
• Two large gauze pads (8" x 10")
• Adhesive bandages in various sizes
• One roll of gauze bandage (2" wide)
• Two triangular bandages
• A wound cleaning agent (moist towelettes or saline solution)
• Two elastic wraps
• One roll of adhesive tape

Employees should be trained in the proper use of this medical equipment for both minor and extreme injuries. An annual first aid training seminar is recommended.

Other Items

• A pair of scissors
• A pair of tweezers
• Resuscitation equipment (resuscitation bag, airway or pocket mask)
• One or more blankets
• A few pairs of latex gloves
• A splint
• Directions to request emergency help

These items in your first aid kit can provide additional support and cleanliness in an emergency situation.

Number of Supplies Required

This simple emergency kit is appropriate for three to four employees. If more employees are present at the worksite, more supplies are required. As a simple rule, divide the number of employees you have by four, and that’s how many kits you need at that worksite.

When You'll Need It

Emergencies such as fires, floods, or severe storms are common in Watertown, NY. The supplies in the kit can help provide assistance to employees injured during these disasters until medical help arrives.

What Next?

After an emergency, be sure to replace any items that were used from each first aid kit. Then contact a local restoration company to fix the physical damage to your worksite, which can help you get back to work as soon as possible. For more information, visit

Dirty gutters could mean water damage in your Watertown home!

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Dirty gutters could mean water damage in your Watertown home! Water can cause damage in all areas of your home!

SERVPRO® of Jefferson County would like to remind everyone that being proactive is the best way to prevent damage. And even though it is one of the more time consuming chores, keeping the gutters around your home in good shape can greatly reduce the chances of a water damage disaster.

  1. Clogged gutters can result in basement flooding, roof damage, erosion and foundation damage. Regularly check and clear the gutter system around your home to ensure there are no problems.
  2. Fixing loose gutters can also mitigate damage. Loose gutters will allow water to flow along the roof which can affect siding, doors, windows and foundation.
  3. Splash blocks are important as they direct the water away from the home. Without a splash block the water can build up around the foundation of the home and cause flooding and mildew.

Hopefully, by checking out the gutter system in your home you will be able to stop disaster before it begins. But if, by chance, something does happen, SERVPRO® of Jefferson County's water damage technicians are here to help 24/7. Call us at 315-777-8377

Heavy rains bring the possibility of water damage

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Heavy rains bring the possibility of water damage Water from heavy rain can quickly move into your home

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Jefferson County provides emergency restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Jefferson County arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – (315)777-8377

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Jefferson County

SERVPRO of Jefferson County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Planning for disaster

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Planning for disaster Local large building that had a pipe break on the 4th floor.

How quickly your company can get back to business after a blizzard, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. 

The following are basic measures business owners and managers can take to begin preparing. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, local economy, and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.

Develop a Business Continuity Plan.
Your organization’s risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flow chart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management.

Review Insurance Coverage.
Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage and business interruption. Understand what your policy does and does not cover. 

Prepare your Emergency Plan.
Your employees and co-workers are your business’ most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and/or other communication tools.

Practice the Emergency Plan.
Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in
a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.

Secure Your Facility and Equipment.
Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not usable. Secure valuable equipment.

Improve Cyber Security.
Protecting your data and information systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don’t open e-mails from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known as patches regularly.

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