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Frequently Asked Questions About FEMA

1/15/2021 (Permalink)

FEMA US Homeland Security Citizen and Immigration Services Flyer Closeup FEMA has grants that could provide financial assistance to the uninsured

If you have recently experienced a storm, you may be interested in FEMA individual assistance. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions, so you know a little more about the program.

Who Is Eligible for Assistance?

There are a few qualifications you must meet to get individual assistance. Here are the general qualifications:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien
  • You must be able to verify your identity
  • You cannot meet your needs with your current insurance
  • A Qualified disaster has caused your needs

Are You Eligible if You Already Have Insurance?
Insurance is the main source of money you should rely on to put your life back together after a storm. Therefore, you are going to want to contact them immediately after the disaster strikes. However, if they do not offer you enough funds to rebuild, you could be eligible for additional assistance from FEMA.

Will FEMA Rebuild Your House?
The individual assistance offered by FEMA is designed to help uninsured or underinsured people pay for necessary expenses after a flood. However, this program is not a substitute for insurance. It is designed to get you back on your feet after a disaster. It cannot completely rebuild your house.

What Low-Interest Loans Are Available?
If you run a small business out of your home, you may be able to borrow enough money to pay for hiring remediation professionals and cover your economic losses. However, this money is designed to come from the Small Business Administration as a low-interest loan.

What Happens After You Apply?
Once you have filed a claim for a disaster in Jasper, GA, you can check on your application's status online. You will be notified of a decision via the online portal and through your primary contact information.
If you have recently experienced flooding, you could be eligible for individual assistance. This can help you get back on your feet after a disaster and ready to rebuild your life.

4 Ways Water Can Damage Your Home

12/28/2020 (Permalink)

wooden floor damaged by water Wooden floor damaged in a Dawsonville, GA home

4 Ways Water Can Damage Your Home

Is your home in Dawsonville, GA, prone to flooding or heavy rains? It's important to know what kinds of damages, such as swelling wood, water can cause to your home.

1. Walls and Supports
If hail or heavy wind often accompany rainstorms near you, water can quickly get past the standard plastic siding. The hail can break big holes, and the wind can blow water up and behind the siding. Once this happens, there's only a small, thin sheet of wrapping that separates the water from the plywood of your home's structure. Other supports like wooden porch beams are also vulnerable. A common issue after heavy rains is swelling wood. This occurs when the wood is saturated with water and starts to expand and swell. This can compromise the structural integrity of your home.

2. Windows
While it's exciting and fun to watch rain pound against windows while you're safe and cozy in your home, windows are a big structural weakness that require consistent maintenance. The caulking, a type of rubber-like sealant used by workers when your windows were installed, can sometimes come loose, especially if you own an older home. If this happens, water can slip through the cracks between the window and its frame, which will cause water to directly enter your home.

3. Water Pipes
Water pipes: the tangled rat's nets of copper that everyone likes to put out of their mind. Yes, these can be impacted by heavy rains, too. The issue of swelling wood can put pressure on pipes, especially where water enters your home through the exterior in a supply line. It's best to keep an eye on your pipes and consider beforehand how a heavy rain might impact you. If you have the unfortunate luck to suffer a pipe break, however, you can always contact a water damage specialist to quickly clean up the damage.

4. Yard
Your kids might love to splash and play in the mud after a heavy rain, but these downpours can have other, less entertaining, side effects. If there is enough rainwater, or if your home has an inefficient gutter system, rushing water can wash away the dirt around your foundation. This can lead to basement leaks or even crack your foundation if the water freezes after it seeps through the concrete.
As an informed homeowner, you can help prevent water damage before it happens and avoid costly issues such as a water pipe repair.

3 Steps To Take After a Furnace Puffback

12/28/2020 (Permalink)

Puffback. Soot webs on ceiling A furnace puff back can create an enormous mess in your building

Take These Steps To Deal With Puff Backs The Right Way

When a furnace isn’t working properly, fumes and fuel can accumulate in the combustion chamber and ignite, causing a small explosion that forces soot and smoke through the exhaust vents. This occurrence is known as a furnace puffback. A puffback is a cry for help from your building’s furnace, although you could be the one crying when you see the puffback damage to your building. Don’t try to clean this mess up yourself: Take these steps to deal with puff backs the right way.

1. Call a Repairman
Your first step should always be to call a Dahlonega, GA, HVAC professional to repair your building’s heating system. Puffbacks do not occur when furnaces are functioning correctly. Ignoring the problem will likely lead to more mess and possibly even a fire or explosion.

2. Call Your Insurance Company

Inspect the building thoroughly to assess the damage. Soot from a puffback can travel a surprising distance and cover a huge area. It can spread even further by traveling through your building’s ductwork. Puffbacks can leave large black streaks or a fine layer of soot on just about everything, including inside drawers or behind closed doors. Your property insurance may cover the cost to clean up the puffback damage.

3. Call a Professional Cleanup Crew
Never try to clean up the mess from a puffback yourself. Soot is a unique substance that does not simply wipe away like dust. The sticky, oily soot from an oil furnace is particularly challenging to remove, and without professional equipment and training, your cleanup efforts could end up causing more damage. Contact a reliable restoration service with experience dealing with soot damage. These professionals will use the correct cleaning agents and techniques to fully remove soot and soot odor from your building.
A furnace puffback can create an enormous mess in your building. Dealing with puffback damage is frustrating, but restoration professionals have the tools to get your building looking “Like it never even happened.”

4 Sources of Construction Water Damage and How To Avoid Them

12/15/2020 (Permalink)

wooden floors damaged by water, workers placing drying equipment Wood floors damaged by water in Cumming, GA

Below Are Four Common Problems That Arise And Ways To Avoid Them

Expanding and beginning new construction on a building for your Cumming, GA, business is an exciting time, but it can also be nerve-wracking. If damage happens early on, such as a water pipe repair, it may result in issues down the road. Having a plan in place to mitigate potential water issues that require extensive repairs by a water damage and restoration company is essential. Below are four common problems that arise and ways to avoid them.

1. Unsecured Openings
No matter how safe and secure the site is, Mother Nature is notorious for bringing unwanted weather. Throughout the process, openings, such as windows, doors and elevator shafts, present the perfect opportunity for the construction site to become flooded. Along with keeping an eye on the weather, ensure a checklist is in place to protect those openings. That may include a temporary roof and boarding up windows.

2. Faulty Pipe Installation
An improper connection or plumbing installation will mean facing a water pipe repair down the road. If the system isn’t properly insulated, it may mean dealing with a broken pipe. Testing the system is a vital step. Flow alarms can be activated to help detect any leaks.

3. Site Drainage Issues
If pooling water seems commonplace on the site, you may be facing a blocked or inefficient drain. To avoid that, ensure surrounding soil is properly graded and backfill exposed areas. It may be necessary to put sandbags around the area. Drain screens should also be used to minimize the construction debris causing further issues.

4. Material Storage
Various materials are used in the construction process, and many of them are susceptible to water damage. If rainy weather is on its way, items not properly stored can lead to a building built with pre-damaged components. Ensure the contractor has a plan for storage and uses just-in-time delivery as often as possible. If they must be stored on-site, try and keep them indoors and covered.
The last thing you want to worry about after opening the doors to your new building is a water pipe repair. Formulating a plan and protecting the construction site can minimize issues from happening.

Why Cleaning Up Mold Isn't As Easy As You Think

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

specialist in PPE combating mold in an apartment Mold remediation services in Cumming, GA

Reasons Why Cleaning Up Mold Isn't As Easy As You Think

After a significant water leak at your business in Cumming, GA, you want to handle the cleanup quickly and inexpensively. You know that your insurance will take care of some things, but why shell out to have an expert cleaner come when you can do the work yourself? For fungus cleanup, it's extremely important that you know exactly what you're dealing with before you begin. Mold is made up of spores that are released into the air on contact. Not only do you need to wear protective equipment, but you need to know how to kill the mold at the root. Bleach isn't going to cut it. 

1. Mold and Sewage
Mold in the bathroom that is caused by contaminated water, especially from a toilet backup, involves a complex process to cleanup mold. You aren't just dealing with mold but also with the bacteria from contaminated water. For this type of project, you need a plumber and a remediation company that can handle both water and mold damage. This is not a project to take on yourself.

2. Mold and HVAC
If you're suspicious that your HVAC unit may have a moldy filter or has been damaged, it's important to shut off the system immediately. By continuing to run it, mold spores spread all over the building, and the fungus cleanup gets to be a bigger project.

3. Mold and You
For a very small mold problem, which is defined as smaller than 10 square feet by the EPA, you can try to clean it yourself. For a hard, nonporous surface, you can scrub it with detergent and water, and then let it air dry in a well-ventilated area. For any porous surface, it's still best to consult a professional to ensure that the damage doesn't go deeper than what the eye can see.
Fungus cleanup is a much more intense job than it appears. For the long-term benefit of your company, it's best to trust the professionals to restore your building.

7 Ways to Prevent Kitchen Fires

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

smoke detector in the room Install a smoke detector

Tips To Keep Your Kitchen Safe From A Fire

You want to keep your kitchen fire-free. This prevents fire damage to your home in Cumming, GA, and keeps you from having to hire a qualified restoration professional. Fortunately, you can follow a few tips to keep your kitchen safe from a fire.

1. Keep Appliances Serviced
One of the best tips you can follow is to ensure your appliances are working and clean. Clean the crumbs out of your toaster oven. Wash the inside of your microwave. Clean your oven. Have any malfunctioning appliances replaced or repaired immediately.

2. Unplug Small Appliances
Another of the top tips you need to follow is to unplug your small appliances when you are not using them. Things like toaster ovens, coffee pots, and mixers can only draw electricity if they are plugged in. Unplugging them prevent these appliances from drawing too much power when they are not on and straining any old wiring.

3. Install a Smoke Detector
Be sure to have smoke detectors in your home. Be sure to place it in a neighboring room that will allow it to detect any kitchen fires, but not let steam set off the alarm.

4. Use Caution With a Gas Stove
Always be careful when lighting your gas stove. Make sure to follow the instructions that came with it.

5. Don’t Put Metal in Your Microwave
Never put metal in your microwave. Microwaved metal will produce sparks that can start a fire in your kitchen.

6. Go Light on the Oil
When cooking with grease or any oil, don't put too much in your pots. This can splash and erupt into flames.

7. Wipe Up Spills
Never cook if you have spills on your stove. Built-up grease can easily catch on fire. Cleaning your stove can improve fire safety.
Due to faulty wiring or a simple grease fire, a kitchen fire is not something you want to experience. Following these simple instructions can help you reduce your chances of a fire.

Common Questions About Black Mold

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

Black mold behind drywall Black mold damage in Dawsonville, GA

Read On To Have Your Most Common Questions Answered

If your home in Dawsonville, GA is experiencing unwanted fungal growth, black mold is most likely the culprit. If you're unsure which type of mold you're dealing with, then it's a good idea to have a professional mold inspection conducted, even if it only serves to confirm your suspicions. In the meantime, read on to have your most common questions answered.

1. What Does Black Mold Look Like?
Much like the name implies, this fungus appears black or dark green in color. When you find it, it looks like a dark stain spreading across the surface of the affected area. In some cases, it may even have a fuzzy or a slimy texture.

2. Where Does it Typically Grow?
This specific variety of mold needs water in order to thrive. As such, you can typically find it growing in areas of your home that come into contact with a lot of water, such as your kitchen, bathroom, basement, laundry room and garage. It's not uncommon to discover it growing in areas that have recently suffered from water damage as well.

3. How Do You Get Mold?
House mold is a result of excessive moisture. This can come in the form of especially high indoor humidity levels, excessive amounts of condensation or simply neglecting to clean spills and puddles for too long. Mold growth is also a form of secondary damage after a flood. If your home has recently suffered any type of water damage, then you should have a professional mold inspection conducted.

4. How Can You Get Rid of Mold?
The good news is that you should be able to solve the majority of mold problems by yourself, provided they haven't gone unnoticed for too long. You can use commercial mold cleaners to do the job, or create your own non-toxic cleaner using equal parts white vinegar and water.
Always make sure to call for a professional mold inspection if you're unsure of the situation. Likewise, you should contact mold remediation experts if you find that your home's mold issue is too large for you to handle by yourself.

Preventing Water Damage When You're Away from Home

11/23/2020 (Permalink)

wet floor on living room Water damage in Cumming, GA

Preventing Water Damage When You're Away from Home

A broken water pipe is one of the most common causes of damage to homes in Cumming, GA. If you're home when the disaster occurs, you have the ability to act fast to ensure it is cleaned up and you're able to call someone to perform your water pipe repair. If you're away when it happens, such as on vacation or an extended business trip, you could come home to a major problem.

Know the Common Causes
Knowing what causes a broken pipe can help you protect against it happening. The most common causes of water pipe breaks are:

  • Freezing temperatures
  • Corrosion
  • High water pressure
  • Clogs
  • Tree roots

You don't want to have a pipe break at any time, but especially while you're away and unable to make sure a water pipe repair and cleanup happens. You would return to a flooded home with secondary damage, including structural and mold. If you experience this type of damage, always work with a professional restoration company so you and your family remain safe.

Preventing Pipe Breaks
Before leaving town for any amount of time, always know your pipes are in good working order. Inspect under your sinks and around the water heater. Also check the hoses around your appliances, such as your washing machine, refrigerator, and dishwasher. If hoses look worn, replace them.
If the temperatures are going to be cold while you're away, provide your pipes with insulation. You should be doing this anyway. Make sure your outdoor hoses are disconnected and your spigots are covered with bib protectors.
Last, find a friend or family member to check in on your home often. If you don't have someone who can do this, shut off the main water and drain the pipes. Flush the toilets to empty them as well, and leave your cupboards under the sinks open to help keep the pipes warm.
You want to be home when there is any need for a water pipe repair. A busted water pipe will always cause a mess, but it doesn't have to cause damage. Damage is preventable when you take the extra steps to be proactive.

What to Expect When You Call a Fire Mitigation Professional

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

workers with trash bags with debris after fire damage Commercial fire cleanup

What to Expect When You Call a Fire Mitigation Professional

When your Jasper, GA, business has an incident resulting in fire damage, you may not know what to expect throughout the restoration process. If you choose to work with a mitigation team to bring your facility back to an operational state, look for the following four steps to take place.

1. Assessment of Damage
After the fire is put out, and you are left with the bones of what was once a functional business place, a fire mitigation crew can come to your facility and access the situation. These professionals will determine the severity of damage and what work is needed for a full restoration. You may wish to have an insurance adjuster on-site to evaluate the costs involved in the clean-up and rebuilding process.

2. Preventative Measures
After the extent of the fire damage has been determined, a mitigation team will determine is safety and damage prevention is needed on the site. Following a fire, the building's integrity may be compromised. Preventing further damage might require some of the following measures from your mitigation expert:

  • Boards over broken windows
  • Placing tarps over fire-damaged roofing
  • Boarding up damaged walls to prevent water damage

3. Restoration Preparation
Once relative safety is in order, it will be time for preparing the space for restoration. Before restoration can take place, removal of contaminants is essential. Special equipment used by the commercial restoration company will ensure water, smoke, soot and odors are eliminated before new materials are installed.

4. Commercial Restoration
Once you make it through the accessing, preventative and preparatory phases, it will be time to restore your facility to a fully safe and functional state. The restoration process can involve many steps and may require a large crew depending on the degree of fire damage that occurred at your commercial facility. New drywall, paint or flooring are common repairs after a fire. For more serious restoration, a construction team may need to rebuild entirely to fully bring back your commercial space.
Contact a local mitigation team to start the path towards restoring your Jasper, GA, business. Watch for these basic steps to occur as you get your facility back to where it was before.

3 Tips for Effectively Handling Water Damage in Your Commercial Property

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

Flood cuts performed in a building, drying equipment placed on room. Dry your building out using fans or dehumidifiers

Here Are Three Tips For Handling Water Damage

Water damage is not an uncommon occurrence in the business world. Besides the ever-present risk of a natural disaster like a hurricane, there can be harm done to property by everyday problems like broken pipes. In the event your commercial property in Mcdaniel, GA, ever suffers from an unexpected flood, it is important to know how to handle it. It is generally recommended that a professional cleanup and restoration service be employed for water cleanup, building restoration and content repairs, but there are some steps business owners can take themselves in the aftermath of a water disaster while waiting for the professionals. 

1. Contact Your Insurance Company
It is important to call your insurance company as soon as possible after an event resulting in water damage. It takes time for insurance companies to process claims, and the order in which claims are made does not necessarily determine the order in which they are paid out. The sooner you get the ball rolling, the better.

2. Prepare for the Insurance Adjuster's Visit
After speaking with the insurance company, you should prepare for a visit from an insurance adjuster, the person who will determine how much you receive from your insurance policy. Being ready can speed up the claim process and ensure you get the amount your policy entitles you to. Here are some steps you should take in preparation:

  • Create an itemized list of damages and lost contents.
  • Take pictures of the damage.
  • Read every detail of your policy closely.

3. Cleanup Where Possible
Even before the professional restoration company has arrived, you should begin the recovery process by cleaning up what is safe to. This includes starting to dry the building out using fans or dehumidifiers and removing standing water if possible. If the water continues to flow from a source you can stop, you need to stop it, whether that means calling a plumber or turning off the water at the main supply line.
Water can devastate property. Water cleanup should begin as soon as possible to minimize harm, so consider following these tips as you handle your flooded property.