What Can FEMA Disaster Relief Do for You?

A flood, fire and other disasters are devastating to families. Thankfully, there is assistance you can take advantage of.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides help to many of those in need; homeowners and others that need special aid when a disaster strikes.

What do you have to do to get assistance? Just ask for it. Here’s how.

Although the government and its workers are not always quick to respond, you can get the process started by visiting this link. You can also call the FEMA helpline at (800) 621-3362. You will enjoy an automated voice service but be patient and you should have your questions answered.

What’s next?

After you apply for disaster assistance, FEMA will mail you a copy of your application and a copy of a document entitled “Help After a Disaster.” This is especially helpful if you don’t have insurance coverage for the disaster event your family is facing. This happens more than you think.

Here is what FEMA says they will do for you, in part, according to the government website:

  • If you do not have insurance: An inspector will contact you after you apply to schedule a time to meet you at your damaged home.
  • If you have insurance, you need to file your insurance claim and provide FEMA with a decision letter (settlement or denial) from your insurance company before FEMA disaster relief issues an inspection.
  • There is an exception for damages caused by flooding; if you have flood insurance, FEMA will issue an inspection before receiving a copy of your flood insurance decision letter to evaluate your eligibility for temporary living expenses since these are not covered by flood insurance.
  • About 10 days after the inspection FEMA will decide if you qualify for assistance. If so, FEMA will send you a check by mail (or direct deposit) with an explanation of what the money covers (i.e. rent or home repair).
  • If FEMA determines that you are ineligible for any reason, you will receive a letter and a chance to appeal. Appeals must be in writing and mailed within 60 days of the determination. Read the letter carefully for the reason of ineligibility before filing your appeal.

But no matter what, when in need, your disaster restoration company can take care of you. Give them a call today!

Cold Weather Comfort

space heater safety, home safety, precautions

 

It’s coming. You can probably feel it right now. Space heater safety season!

That’s right. Brrr! For some across the country, this means trying to keep warm and snug in the home.

Some find comfort from their fireplaces. Others might use electric blankets. And others rely on space heaters, either gas powered or electric, to boost the comfort level their regular heating system can’t always provide, especially in sub-zero temperatures.

Space heater safety is very important, as many suffer from accidental fires and burns annually from these necessary devices.

The first consideration is which type of space heater you will choose. Electric models are considered safer than those which use fuel, which can be overturned and quickly cause a fire difficult to extinguish. So be smart when shopping and consider how the heater will be used and if there are children or pets (or clumsy adults) that might tip it over.

Space Heater Safety features

  • Consider the size and shape of the heater. Lower-profile heaters are more difficult to tip over. Some space heaters are shaped like a tower, and can easily be tipped. Avoid those.
  • While all space heaters should have an automatic turn-off mechanism if tipped over, still do your research and ensure yours has one.
  • If you have children or pets, an outer grill safety feature should be mandatory. You don’t want accidental contact burns to occur.

General Fire Safety tips

  • Measure the area you wish to heat and make sure the device you purchase is sufficient for the space. An overworked heater can be dangerous. And one that is too large for a room can overheat the room and be uncomfortable.
  • When purchasing a fuel-fired heater, never fill it while the device is on. Open flames are dangerous. Use appropriate, approved containers to carry the fuel.
  • When purchasing an electric heater, make sure it is plugged into a three-prong outlet that is grounded. Any extension cords you use must be able to handle the current your heater will need. Be sure to ask an expert about this.
  • Common sense dictates keeping any flammable materials away from the heater, such as furnishing, draperies, etc.
  • When you turn the heater off, give it plenty of time to cool down before touching or moving it.

But if anything does happen, such as a fire or smoke damage, then it’s time to get some professional help. Call your disaster restoration experts. After all, it pays to call a pro!

Importance of Service

Three Steps to a Cleaner Home

clean homes, 3 tips for a cleaner home

It’s a never-ending chore, tasks that must be done each day, each week, each month, each year…

That’s right — keeping your house nice and clean and healthy for your family.

Keeping your home clean is much easier if you have an easy-to-keep schedule. Especially if you concentrate on “preventative maintenance.” If you think ahead and plan your cleaning tasks appropriately, you will find you aren’t stuck an entire weekend playing catch-up with house cleaning chores.

Here are a few tips to an always-clean home.

1: Keep the dirt outside

Be sure to have quality welcome/walk-off mats outside your front door and any other entry door you frequently use. A small — but polite — sign that asks visitors to remove their shoes is a huge step to keeping dirt and grime outside (or at least at the front door.)

2: Stop the stacking

In the kitchen, that is. It’s easy to let dishes and other mealtime items to pile and stack up, with dirty dishes slowly taking over the kitchen sink and nearby countertops. Instead, make it a habit that after mealtimes or snacks that everything is washed, cleaned and put away immediately. If you use it, you clean it.

3: Team effort

It can be challenging, especially when everyone is running all over the place trying to get to work and school, but if the entire family pitches in and spends just a few minutes on making beds, tidying up bedrooms, cleaning up after themselves, first thing in the morning… then the house is much cleaner for the entire day. Plan a short amount of time each week where the family all works together to “speed clean” the home. Pick up and put away items lying around, dust, vacuum, sweep and more together.

Wool Hides Dirt!

Taking On Holiday Stains

clean carpet spots, avoid holiday stains

It’s that time of year when you start planning for family and friends to visit and, since you are hospitable, you start thinking of all the delicious meals, snacks and beverages you will serve them when they arrive.

Despite the very best attempts of you and your guests to keep things on the plate, in the bowl, in the glass and on the spoon or fork, the inevitable happens: Food or drinks spill, and for some reason they always spill on the carpet. Usually white carpet.

There is no need to panic, but there is a need to gather your thoughts, keep your cool and not overreact to the situation. That is difficult when you witness a full glass of merlot splashing onto your white, wool rug in the middle of the living room.

Your first reaction might be to grab a random cleaning product from the collection underneath the kitchen sink. This can be a mistake. Some consumers have been known to use window cleaner, bathroom tile cleaners and other products on carpet.

Instead, keep things simple. Use these three, easy-to-remember steps:

1. Scrape and Blot

If the spill is food related, scrape up as much as you can. Then, using white, disposable paper towels or white, washable cotton towels, start blotting up the spill. Keep at it until the area you are working on is fairly dry and you have removed as much of the spot as you can. Then…

2. Add product

Using a flip-top or trigger sprayer application, apply small amounts of a product manufactured specifically for carpet fibers. The best products for this can be obtained from your carpet and furniture cleaning company. Blot in between applications, and when the spot is gone, use a little warm water to help remove the cleaning residue, blotting as you do so. Then…

3. Blot some more

When the job is complete, and you are happy with the results, blot until all moisture seems to be removed and then leave a white, absorbent towel on the spot with a weight on the towel, so any remaining moisture wicks up into the towel. Leave the towel in place for several hours.

But when the occasion occurs (and it will) and the spot just won’t come out, stop your work to avoid damage to the color texture of the carpet and “setting” of the spot or stain. Quickly call your carpet and furniture cleaning specialist.

Dirt Dulls Carpet

Making Better Decisions Buying Carpet

buying carpet, carpet fiber, choosing carpeting

Imagine…

You are shopping for new carpet, perhaps just a few rooms. Two of the rooms are bedrooms, which don’t get as much foot traffic as the entryway, living room and hallway you also need to replace. It’s been nearly 10 years since buying carpet.

You go to a local carpet retail store. The carpet salesman has a great deal for you: A virtually stain-proof carpet with vibrant colors and also soft to the touch. You put your fingers into the carpet pile and love how it feels. You order the carpet for all the rooms you need to replace.

In a week or two, on the scheduled installation day, you remove all the furniture from the rooms and the installation pros show up and remove the old carpet and pad and put in the new.

It looks great!

A year later, when you decide it’s time to have the carpet cleaned, your carpet cleaning pros show up and do a great job removing the dirt. Even the spots come right out! However, there is a “worn” area in the living room and down the hallway, but not in the bedrooms. You ask your carpet cleaning pro why that is.

He performs a fiber identification test and informs you that you purchased polyester carpet. Polyester tends to matt down and look somewhat soiled just because of wear. He then kindly informs you that if you had purchased nylon, a more durable carpet fiber, this likely wouldn’t have happened.

You are upset. Don’t you hate it when you purchase something and it doesn’t perform as promised? But remember, carpet salespeople may not be your best consultant when buying carpet.

So before you go looking for new carpet or furniture, give your carpet and furniture cleaning pro a call. Ask which fiber is best for each application in your home. Yes, polyester may be soft and colorful, but it may be best to keep it in the bedrooms. Try durable fibers like nylon and wool (which is expensive), in the high trafficked areas of your home.

Easy to Clean Carpet

Candles and Scents: Candle Soot Damage

candle soot damage, scented candles, holiday candles

Many people love the warm fall and winter fragrances from scented candles. There are hundreds of scents available, from favorites such as vanilla, citrus, lavender, and more. Some scents smell just like cookies or cakes in the oven. Of course, you don’t get the benefit of eating them!

Yet, as inviting as those scents may be, there are some concerns you should consider as you burn them.

Pollution issues

It’s been noted by various environmental groups and indoor air quality specialists that burning candles can produce pollutants such as acetone, toluene, benzene and others. These are some of the components found in soot, considered a hazard all on its own.

More and more people — perhaps just like yourself — love the smell of these scented candles. Yet put off smoke, even invisible smoke, that can be leaving an unhealthy residue in your home. Remember, soot is the product of material that didn’t totally go through the combustion process of burning. If the flame of your candle isn’t totally blue, no doubt there is soot being produced, and candle soot damage is imminent.

What can you do to avoid candle soot damage?

Choose your scented candles wisely. Opt for natural wax materials, such as beeswax or soy candles, both of which are better choices than wax made from petroleum products. Natural materials may cost more, but are a better, safer and healthier choice.

Make sure your wick is burning adequately. The wick should burn evenly with the melting wax, and curl as it burns. Ensuring the wick is less than ½ inch long when you light it will help.

Burn your candles where there is limited or no draft. Air movement can cause the flame to burn erratically and possibly create more soot pollution.

Don’t burn your candles all the time. Make it a treat. Burn them when you are in the mood for a nice scent in the home.

And when you do have issues with your candles, such as a residue on surfaces in your home, call your upholstery and flooring restoration professional. They can help determine if your candle burning habits are safe!