How To Prepare Your Home for a Fire
House fire in Boston, MA
Most people take active measures to prevent house fires, but not many people have implemented fire preparation techniques. Yet, fire prep is just as important as fire prevention, and in fact may be more so when it comes to protecting your home and loved ones. If you have yet to implement fire safety procedures, it’s time to do so. Below are five things you can do to get started.
5 Steps To Prepare Your Home for a Fire.
- Test your smoke alarms.
- Plan an evacuation route.
- Teach your children what to do in the event of a home fire.
- Devise a communication strategy.
1. Test Your Alarms
Though your smoke alarms should inform you when they’re low on batteries, it doesn’t hurt to check them periodically. Test them once a month, and to err on the side of caution, replace their batteries at least once a year.
2. Plan an Evacuation Route
This should be at the top of your fire preparation list. Identify all possible exits for each room in the home and make sure that each family member is aware of where those exits are. Designate a family meeting spot outside.
3. Teach Your Children
If you have young children, show them what the fire alarm sounds like and advise them on what to do if they hear one. Inform them of evacuation routes as well.
4. Plan a Way To Communicate
Put together an emergency contact list and make sure that all family members know who to contact if they cannot find one another. Have your young children memorize important phone numbers, beginning with 911.
The best way to ensure that all family members know what to do in the event of an emergency is to practice. Host a fire drill every couple of months and devise different scenarios. In doing so, you can increase the odds that everyone knows what to do and how to escape in a real emergency.
Your Boston, MA, fire remediation team or local fire department can review your fire preparation plan and provide additional tips for how to improve it. Don’t cut corners when it comes to fire safety and start planning today.
Is Storm Damage Tax Deductible?
Commercial Storm Damage in Boston, MA.
If your commercial property in Boston, MA has been damaged by a storm, you may want to know whether the cost of the damage is tax deductible. Unrecoverable losses caused by storms or natural disasters are usually deductible, as long as these damages are proven and will not be reimbursed by insurance. Here are three steps you can take to find out whether you can deduct the cost of storm damage from your tax bill.
3 Steps to Find Out if Storm Damage is Tax Deductible.
- Determine how much damage your insurance covers. If your business is insured, you can only deduct damage that exceeds your coverage or was not covered for other reasons. Owners of uninsured commercial property can deduct the total cost of storm damage. Consult IRS Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts, to read the rules for claiming these deductions.
- Check to see if a storm or disaster is a Presidential Declared Disaster. If you are dealing with storm damage in a region that has been federally recognized as a disaster area, special filing options may apply to your situation. Check the IRS's list of tax relief in disaster situations to see if your locality is listed and find out about any assistance that is available.
- Distinguish between actual property loss and deductible property loss. Actual property loss is your total loss as the owner of a commercial property. Deductible property loss is based on the current value of your property and factors in all reductions. If you are unsure about reductions involved in a commercial property, you should contact an accountant.
If you have unrecoverable storm damage at your commercial property in Boston, MA, you should see if you can deduct any damage from your tax bill. Tax deductions cannot overlap with covered losses, but these deductions can help to offset the cost of professional damage restoration if your property is uninsured or underinsured.
3 Ways To Avoid a Cigarette Fire in Your Home
Keep an ashtray outside
Ways to Prevent a Cigarette Fire in Your Home
Though there are various reasons residential fires occur, cigarettes are one of the most common causes of home fires in Chinatown, MA. Fortunately, there are several ways you can prevent a cigarette fire from starting in your home.
1. Keep Ashtrays Outside
Properly extinguishing and disposing of cigarettes is often a helpful way to prevent a fire. Though many people keep ashtrays in their home, it can be wise to place your ashtray outside of your home if you want to decrease the chance of a fire occurring. If a cigarette isn't properly extinguished, an ashtray fire can easily start in your home, especially if the ashtray is near flammable materials. Keeping an ashtray outside and away from flammable objects can be a useful way to keep your home safe.
2. Don't Smoke When Sleepy
In order to reduce the likelihood of a cigarette fire in your home, it's usually best not to smoke when you are tired. Many fires from cigarettes occur when a person is smoking on a sofa or bed and then falls asleep. When asleep, it's easy to drop a lit cigarette without noticing, and if the cigarette remains lit, mattresses, cushions and other materials can quickly catch fire. Avoiding smoking when you're tired is an easy way to decrease the chance of a home fire.
3. Smoke Outside
When a person smokes inside a home, a fire is often more likely to occur. With so many flammable items in homes, setting a lit cigarette down momentarily can result in a fire. Homeowners whose homes have been damaged by fires may find it helpful to contact fire restoration experts. However, smoking outside of your house can help to prevent a home fire, eliminating the need for restoration and fire cleanup.
Instead of restoring your home after a fire, it's generally easier and less time-consuming to take precautions to prevent a cigarette fire. Keeping ashtrays outside, not smoking when tired, and only smoking outside are helpful ways to prevent a cigarette from causing a fire in your home.
Steps for Handling a Bathtub Backup
Sewer backup in a Back Bay, MA bathtub
How to Handle a Bathtub Backup
During storm season in Back Bay, MA, your area may flood. This can affect the sewer system and, by extension, your home. Sewer backup is a common occurrence during seasons of heavy rain. If it floods, it can push sewage back through the line into places in your home such as the bathtub or shower. Here are the steps you can take to handle it.
1. Prevent Further Problems
It doesn't do you any good to clean up a mess if the problem that caused it hasn't been resolved. In fact, by running more water in your home, you just encourage more bathtub backup. If the main sewer line is clogged, unclogging it is the first order of business. Turn off the water main to your home, and contact city authorities and a licensed plumber to address the issue.
2. Assess Damage
Once you have notified professionals who can fix the problem, you need to assess the areas of your home that are affected by the sewer backup. A puddle of sewage in the bathtub is unpleasant, but that alone is no reason to hire professionals to clean it up. Using the proper protective gear and a strong cleaner, you can disinfect your bathtub. If, however, the toilet overflowed onto the floor, you may need the help of sewer cleanup experts. This is especially necessary if you suspect the contaminated water has soaked into the flooring, as it may need to be replaced.
3. Call Insurance Company
Your flood policy may cover remediation costs if the damage was a result of flooding. Document the damage with pictures, and get an itemized list of the cost from the technicians who perform the cleanup. Timely reporting and clear evidence can help you prove your claim and increase chances of a payout.
Sewer backup is a common result of flooding during storm season. By addressing the problem quickly, you can fix it and avoid additional damage.
How To Prevent Mold Damage After a Flood
Mold growth begins 24 to 48 hours after the initial moisture problem.
A flood in your home is a serious issue. In addition to the water ruining your belongings, carpet and other structures, if left too long, it can also cause bacteria and mold growth. Follow these tips to take care of mold and prevent avoidable damage after a flood.
Tips on how to avoid mold damage after a flood
Take Safety Precautions
As soon as you discover a flood in your Boston, MA home, unplug all electronics and remove all furniture and other movable items right away. Remember the following:
- Gaming consoles
- Smartphones and tablets
- Medical equipment
- Other electronics
Disconnect the power to prevent electric shock during the cleanup process. Remember, the faster you complete this process, the more likely you are to save many of your more expensive belongings. Pull up carpet and underpadding, which can likely can't be saved. You may be able to save the carpet if it’s cleaned quickly enough, but shrinkage is possible.
Remove the Water
You can remove the water in several ways. Without power, you'll need to use buckets, mops and old towels to remove as much of it as you can. If the sewers aren't backed up, simply pour the water down the drain. If they aren't working, pour it onto the lawn. If you have power, you can use a wet/dry vacuum to soak up much of the water, but be sure to plug it in far away from any flood damage to better prevent shock. Avoid extension cords, which can short and cause a shock as well. If the flood waters are too high, you might consider renting a sump pump. Remove the standing water as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth.
The Final Steps
After you remove the excess water, open windows and use fans and a dehumidifier to dry the rooms out. Ensure the drywall is still safe to avoid crumbling, and disinfect the area to remove bacteria that may have entered your home through the sewer lines. Don't forget about walls and non-upholstered furniture. Finally, use a mold control product throughout your home and let it dry overnight to ensure you remove any trace of a problem. This takes care of any mold starting to grow and prevents new mold growth.
3 Ways Smoke Can Affect Your Building After a Fire
Smoke travels further than flames
Smoke Cleaning Should be Performed After a Fire
If you experience a fire in your South End, MA, building, it’s not only the flames that you need to be concerned about. In some cases, smoke can cause even more damage. The following are a few reasons that smoke cleaning should be performed as soon as possible after a fire.
1. Smoke Travels Further Than Flames
Even if the fire was small or contained to a specific area, there may be smoke damage beyond this point. Smoke travels through the air and carries soot and other contaminants as it does. Because of this, it is important to have smoke cleaning done throughout the building, whether the flames spread far or not.
2. It Can Cause Long-Term Damage
While fire damage is often obvious, smoke damage can be less so. Smoke and soot particles can find their way into small crevices where they can begin to cause problems for your belongings. This is especially true for electronics, as the acidic elements in the smoke can cause the metal and hardware to corrode. If you believe that your computers, televisions or equipment have been affected, do not turn them on until they have been examined to prevent making the damage worse.
3. Odor Can Be Difficult to Remove
It may be fairly easy to remove the visible signs of smoke and fire damage, but the smell can linger for long afterward. Smoke particles can become trapped in the walls, carpeting and porous items, so you should include these in the cleanup process as well. Smoke odor can be stubborn, but a fire restoration company will have professional equipment that should be able to remove it from the air and your belongings.
After a fire, it can be easy to focus on the damage that you can see, but you should be sure to pay attention to that which is less visible as well. Performing smoke cleaning is an important part of the restoration process and should be done thoroughly to return your building to its previous condition.
Top 3 Causes of Commercial Sewage System Problems
Pipe break in an Financial District, MA building
Common Causes of Sewage Issues
Sewage issues in commercial buildings can be caused by a number of different factors. If left unaddressed, these underlying complications can continue to cause damage to your property in Financial District, MA, and lead to devastating water damage costs. Whether the problem is a blocked sewer or broken pipe, taking prompt action is crucial in order to protect your commercial property. The following causes of sewage issues are very common in commercial buildings and must be addressed immediately.
1. Foundation Damage
If you come across cracks or other forms of damage to your building’s foundation, it may be indicative of serious sewage problems. Some common issues that can lead to foundation damage may include:
- Improper drainage
- Sewer line failure
- Leaking sewer vents
- Damage to plumbing systems
The best way to avoid these issues is to quickly repair a damaged foundation before the deterioration leads to a blocked sewer or pipe burst and becomes more costly.
2. Water Pipe Issues
Various forms of damage to your water pipes can harm other areas of your commercial property. If you experience any pipe breaks or leaks, they may cause water stains or swollen ceiling tiles and walls. These signs of water damage can even cause mold to crop up if they are not taken care of appropriately. Be sure to contact water restoration services in order to prevent any further water damage that results from broken pipes.
3. Damage to Cast-Iron Sewer Lines
There are numerous plumbing problems you might come across that may signal cast-iron sewer line damage. If you notice unpleasant sewer gas odors, a blocked sewer may be the culprit and you should contact a professional to address this. However, damaged sewer lines may also cause clogged drains and lead to a toilet overflow. Don’t delay having a sewer problem fixed, because the damage can build up and lead to excessive costs and stress.
Any problem that concerns your commercial sewage system should be taken care of as quickly as possible. Protecting your property from water damage caused by pipe breaks or other failures can benefit both you and your business.
How To Handle an Overflowing Toilet
A clogged toilet needs to be dealt with correctly to prevent sewer damage
While toilets may get clogged or not function as they should from time to time, an overflowing toilet can pose a large issue, especially if dealing with a sewage backup. If sewage water enters your home in Seaport, MA, it is labeled Category 3 water and needs to be considered an emergency since the bacteria, viruses, and microbes in the contaminated water can cause serious illness and harm to anyone it comes into contact with. This situation warrants the help of a professional sewage cleanup and restoration company. Here is some useful information for dealing with a toilet overflow and sewer damage.
Possible Causes of a Sewage Backup
While you should contact a sewage company whenever a backup occurs, there are several reasons sewage might make its way into your home:
- Clogged or flooded toilet
- Tree roots affecting sewer line
- Damaged, worn, or clogged sewer line
- Municipal sewer backup
How To Deal With a Clogged Toilet
While a clogged toilet is not an emergency in itself, it needs to be dealt with correctly to prevent sewer damage from occurring. Often, a small clog can be handled using a toilet plunger. You should prevent overflowing ahead of time by taking the lid off the tank and pushing the flapper down, which prevents water from entering the bowl. Then turn off the toilet’s main water supply. If a plunger doesn’t fix the clog, you can try using a toilet auger or snake to break up a clog in the drainage pipe. Sometimes, a plunger or auger won’t be enough to fix the issue and will need to be fixed by a professional plumber.
Since sewage backup is grossly contaminated and causes severe harm to any who consumes or comes into contact with it, you should always call a professional sewer damage cleanup company rather than try to clean up the mess yourself. Prevent a toilet overflow from occurring by knowing how to effectively handle clogs.
Mold Can Damage More Than Just Your House
It is possible to restore special items with the help of mold cleaning services.
The aftermath of discovering mold damage in your home in South Boston, MA usually consists of addressing the structure of your house, like drywall and flooring. However, the damage may have spread to many of your belongings in the vicinity, as well. It is important to deal with these belongings appropriately in order to prevent the further spread or return of the mold problem.
Get Rid of What You Can
To be safe, it is a good idea to replace as many effected items as possible. On the bright side, this could be an opportunity to redecorate! Certain belongings, especially fabric, may be too far gone or not worth the trouble of mold cleaning. Things like:
There are mold remediation services that can efficiently identify, pack up and dispose of such items for you as part of their process.
Clean What You Can’t Part With
It is understandable that certain items are not easily replaceable, like large furniture and sentimental keepsakes. For instance, what if the family photo album has mold growing on it? You may need to trash the album itself, but the photographs can be removed and restored. Upholstery is usually treated with foam cleaning, so that it doesn’t shrink or bleed. There are many mold cleaning specialists who have methods for cleaning contents, drying photographs and documents or restoring electronics.
Mold is never totally absent from your home, as mold spores are a normal component of the air both indoors and outdoors. It is the management of moisture in your home, like leaky pipes, that prevents appropriate levels of mold from increasing or manifesting as growing colonies. It is a good idea to contact mold remediation services if you suspect a problem, before it gets too bad.
Mold can affect your belongings as well as your home. Although it is best practice to replace what you can, it is possible to restore special items with the help of mold cleaning services.
How To Practice Fire Safety in Your Home When Smoking Cigarettes
Take smoking outside
Steps You Need to Take When Smoking at Home
While you might not always realize it, every time you smoke a cigarette you are at risk of starting fire. If you’re not careful, the embers of your cigarette can easily come into contact with something flammable and ignite into a much larger problem. It is especially important to be aware of surroundings when at home in Back Bay, MA, since there are many flammable objects that can catch fire. In fact, cigarette fire is the number one cause of civilian home fire deaths in the United States. Here are a few important steps you need to take when smoking at home to protect yourself and your family.
1. Take Smoking Outside
With so many flammable objects inside your home, the most important safety precaution you can take when smoking is to take it outside. It especially important you never smoke in your bedroom or while lying in bed. Bedding materials can catch fire easily, and you might fall asleep while smoking.
2. Use Ashtrays
Any time you smoke, dispose of your cigarette butt in a sturdy, stable ashtray placed on a surface that won’t easily catch on fire. A cigarette fire can easily start if you leave your butt on a random surface in your home.
3. Completely Put Out Butts
Make sure to completely put out cigarette butts and ashes before throwing them into the trash to prevent an ashtray fire. It is a good idea to soak the ashes and butts in water before tossing them.
4. Never Smoke Near Oxygen
Stay away from oxygen tanks or other places oxygen is used to prevent an explosive fire. Even if the oxygen source is turned off, stay far away to be safe.
Although cigarette fire is preventable if you keep in mind the steps listed above, if one ever does occur in your home, it a good idea to get in contact with a fire cleanup company that can quickly repair any damage that has occurred.