Recent Posts

Use a Turkey Fryer? Avoid a Fire With These Tips.

10/25/2021 (Permalink)

To be honest, I’ve never fried my Thanksgiving turkey. My family has always gone the traditional route and roasted our bird in the oven. I am tempted, however, to give it a try this year because so many people swear by how amazing and flavorful a fried turkey is. 

Working in the fire damage restoration business, however, I’ve seen the damage a turkey fryer can do to a home. Turkey fryer fires are more common than you’d imagine and are devastating because everything surrounding the fire is engulfed in the flames. 

So, why does frying a turkey carry the risk of fire? 

I know. It’s cold in Connecticut by the last Thursday of November and you may not want to be standing outside while the rest of the meal is cooking in the kitchen. But turkeys should ALWAYS be fried outside. Just because you’ve been doing it in your garage for 10 years and never had a problem doesn’t mean it can't happen to you.  Because the hot oil will spray everywhere when cooking, a 10’ radius around the fryer is necessary. It quickly starts a fire when making contact with combustible materials, such as wood or fabric.  If the oil touches bare skin, it can also cause severe burns.

One common mistake people make is using a frozen turkey. This is because when a frozen turkey is submerged into a pot of oil, the oil doesn’t mix with the frozen water on the turkey. Instead, heavy pockets of water will sink to the bottom of the fryer while the oil surrounding them quickly heats it beyond its boiling point. The water then evaporates, expands, and splatters the oil everywhere, including the burner. Upon hitting the burner, the beads of oil ignite into flames that spread out in all directions.  If you have marinated your turkey in a brine, make sure it is fully dry prior to putting in the oil. 

Measure your oil carefully, making certain that it is 4-6” below rim after the turkey is palced in it. . When you lower the turkey in, be sure to be wearing oven mitts, long sleeves, pants, and close-toed shoes. Hot oil will stick to bare skin, causing severe burns that can result in an emergency trip to the hospital.

Even a seasoned turkey fryer can have an accident that causes disaster.  The turkey can slip from your hands when lowering it into the fryer or your rope-and-pulley system could break, spilling the oil everywhere and igniting a fire. The point is that something can always go wrong when frying a turkey; therefore, you should always be prepared and have a fire extinguisher by your side at all times. 

We hate to see someone's holiday ruined by a house fire due to a cooking accident.  But if you do have a Thanksgiving disaster, we have teams on call 24/7 - even on the holidays and are Here to Help.

Is it a Winter Storm Watch, Warning or Advisory?

10/25/2021 (Permalink)

We have entered that time of year in Connecticut when the weather channels will start to warn us that there is a Winter Storm Watch, Warning or Advisory. Rarely will a week go by without one of these warnings in Connecticut. If you've wondered what the difference is between the three, here you go!

WINTER STORM WATCH is the first level of warning. It signifies that conditions are favorable to produce winter weather: snow, sleet, freezing rain, icy roads and the like. These conditions may or may not occur, but the weather service is alerting residents to the possibility. In Connecticut, heavy snow means 7 inches or more of accumulation in 24 hours or less. A winter storm watch is a long range prediction. They are issued at least 12 hours before the hazardous winter weather is expected to begin. When the storm becomes imminent, or has a high probability of occurring, the watch will be upgraded to a "WARNING".

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is the second level of warning - a middle man between the watch and warning. It is issued when winter weather is likely to create a hazard. Generally, the weather service is expecting snow, sleet, freezing rain, icy roads and other dangerous conditions. You may see a specific Wind Advisory or a Freezing Rain Advisory issued when these conditions are likely to be coming our way.  

WINTER STORM WARNING means that a winter storm is either expected soon or already taking place. Heavy snow, white-out blizzards, sleet, high winds and significant ice accumulations may be imminent, and residents should prepare immediately for deteriorating conditions. This is issued when a dangerous combination of heavy snow, with sleet and/or freezing rain, will occur or has a high probability of occurring within the next 12 hours. 

And in the Bethel area, we're bound to see a BLIZZARD WARNING a few times over the season.This is issued for a combination of strong winds averaging or frequently gusting to, or above, 35 miles an hour and very low visibility due to blowing or falling snow. These are the most dangerous winter storms and can be especially severe when combined with temperatures below 10 degrees.

Of course, as we all know in Fairfield County, the weather can change hour by hour so your best course of action is to check updates regularly and prepare for the worst!

Get Your Home Ready For Winter Weather.

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

Most of the leaves are on the ground in Litchfield County and we've already seen some of that white stuff falling from the sky. It's time to switch gears and settle in for the long, cozy New England winter.  Now is the time to take a few steps to ready your Bethlehem, CT home for the months to come.

Oil Burner Servicing - If you have not already done so, make an appointment to have your oil burner serviced. This is recommended on an annual basis. Having the burner tuned up and cleaned of dust and grime that has accumulated improves system efficiency, which means better heating performance and lower heating costs. It also minimizes the risk of your oil burner requiring a major emergency repair in the midst of freezing temperatures. At SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, we respond to many homes each winter that have water damage due to frozen pipes caused by a malfunctioning oil burner.

Wood Stove and Fireplace Cleaning - Many of our customers heat their homes with wood or pellet stoves and fireplaces throughout the Connecticut winter. These alternatives to oil heating provide what is often a more affordable source of heat. We recommend that you check your fireplace for any signs of excessive soot, cracks in the chimney and that your chimney cap is secure. Have your chimney swept annually to avoid soot buildup, or creosote. A blocked chimney can cause a  chimney fire, which is not always easily detected. These can spread quickly through the walls and roof of your home and result in massive damage to your home. A blocked chimney or a chimney with an improperly functioning flue can also  cause a buildup of carbon monoxide, putting those inside your home at risk. 

Prepare the outside of your home - Trim trees with branches that are low laying and may be an issue when covered with snow and ice. Snow and ice causes them to be heavy and possibly cause damage to your home during winter storms. Also, check your gutters to make sure they are free of leaves and debris so that they can function properly. If ice dams on your roof have been an issue for your Sherman home in the past, consider installing roof heat cables that help snow and ice melt on your roof before causing water damage inside your home. 

At SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, we are ready 24 hours a day to respond to your call. If you do experience a frozen pipe that bursts or a chimney fire or puffback this winter, call us at (203) 743-5362.

What Does it Mean to be an IICRC Firm?

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

When seeking a fire, water or mold restoration company in the Fairfield County area, it's important to choose a reputable company whose employees have been highly trained. A poorly conducted restoration can cause a home or business to have secondary problems such as mold down the line. 

SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County is an IICRC certified restoration firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County

SERVPRO of  Newtown and Southern Litchfield 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 and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: 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.

How to Avoid a Kitchen Fire in Connecticut

9/3/2021 (Permalink)

Let's talk about kitchen fires. It's actually amazing, when you think about it, that there aren't MORE fires in the kitchen.

Every household is cooking on a daily basis and we are all bound at some time or another to forget about a pot left on the stove top ("I'll check back during the commercial") or neglect to clean up that grease spill in the oven from the last time you cooked (any busy moms out there?). Proportionally, for the number of us cooking each day, the number of fires that are caused by cooking is not too substantial.

However, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, there are 471 cooking fires PER DAY in the United States. This means that as  Connecticut's leading fire restoration company, we typically receive a few calls a month from homes in which there has been a kitchen fire.

Since you can't stop cooking, the best that you can do to avoid a visit from us is:

1. Never leave food unattended. Ok, but realistically, you have to go check the baby or you're just going to sit down for a few minutes. So, set a timer whenever you leave the kitchen. You don't think that you will forget that you are cooking but neither do those other 471 people every day. Get one of those cute little egg timers that you will love using if it helps to remember!

2. Practice Microwave Safety. Of course your family knows not to put metal in the microwave. You've told them a million times, right? Well, let's face it, sometimes they might not listen to you. And, sometimes, the metal is hidden, as in a twist tie or food wrapper. The best advice we can give is to never leave a microwave unattended. And leave a note on the microwave reminding kids (and those young at heart) to double check for metal.  If a fire does start in the microwave, unplug it and leave the door shut. 

3. Have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Or, at least a big box of baking soda  - they cost about $2 and can safely extinguish a stove top fire. 

471 every day is a big number - try to avoid being part of that statistic. However, fires happen and if you have one, we are here to help.

Bathtub Overflow? We Can Help!

9/3/2021 (Permalink)

It happens a few times a year - an overflowing bathtub causes flooding in a Newtown area home. It happens easily - you turn on the tub and then go to get your magazine or answer the phone. You get distracted and don't remember the tub was on until you notice water dripping through the ceiling. 
 
Although you might be shocked that you forgot the water running and have caused damage to your home, our restoration technicians will not be. We see this sort of accident frequently and will arrive with the necessary equipment we need in order to secure and restore the water damaged areas in your home.

This includes extracting the water in your home using pumps and vacuums. We will check the subflooring for moisture. Even if you have ceramic tiles, water can seep in and around grout lines or fixture seals however in some cases, our technicians might be dry the subfloor from underneath to preserve the tiles. And, of course, if you do have water seeping through your ceiling, we will remove the ceiling and dry the joists and beams out before replacing with new sheetrock. 

Accidents happen. It doesn't have to be the end of the world. Call SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Protect Your New Fairfield Area Business

8/31/2021 (Permalink)

As a business owner, you are aware of the multitude of building codes that must be strictly adhered to in order to protect your building from fire damage. Yet, despite all of the precautions, fires still can, and do, occur at commercial properties. In fact, according to research done by the National Fire Protection Agency, in 2015, there were 113,500 fires in non-residential structure fires, which resulted in 1,425 injuries, 80 fatalities, and $3.1 billion in damages.

Although our customers who own businesses in the New Fairfield area can’t eliminate all risk of a fire at their commercial property, there are some precautions that can be taken to help reduce the likelihood of extensive damage.

  1. Eliminate the hazards: We’re talking maintaining your machinery and electrical systems in your building. Storing flammable and combustible materials properly. If you have tenants, provide clear guidelines that address the “Big 3” - smoking, cooking and candle burning - in their apartments.
  2. Install and maintain current safety equipment: A small fire can turn into a big fire very quickly if it’s not quickly identified and then spreads. Well-maintained fire alarm and sprinkler systems can help to mitigate fire damage. Inspect them regularly to make sure they are up to date and functioning.
  3. Implement fire emergency procedures: A fire alarm can only do so much. You need quick thinking and knowledgeable people on site who know what actions to take first. Train your employees on how to respond to a fire. This should include escape routes, tenant accountability measures, an emergency responder plan, and a safety point person. Contact us to set up an Emergency Ready Plan free of charge.

When you take a look at our action items above, we are talking about a minimal time and financial investment that can save your building - and lives - if you do have a fire. 

Commercial Water Damage Restoration

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

Business owners know that they are vulnerable to water damage from leaky roofs, burst pipes and malfunctioning sprinkler systems. Many, however, are not aware of how common an appliance failure can be and the damage that they can cause. Over the past few months, our office has cleaned up water damage in offices, restaurants and stores that was a result of refrigerator line leaks, toilet overflows, a broken commercial freezer and even a coffee maker line that burst.  

Maintenance and regular inspections can help business owners reduce their risk of water damage from an appliance line leak. Check for small leaks that might be indicative of a failing line and immediately address other signs of a problem such as water spots on the ceiling and slow draining toilets and sinks.   

Of course, sometimes there are not any warning signs and no way of predicting that your business is going to be hit with a water damage disaster. If you walk into your business to a flood, please take quick action to reduce the amount of damage to your home. Make 3 phone calls: to your plumber, to SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County and to your insurance agency.  

The sooner restoration begins at your Newtown business, the less impact the water damage will have on the continuity of your business.  We understand that you can’t afford to have your doors closed while waiting for a restoration company to show up and begin work. Our teams are on call 24/7 and will show up at the job equipped and ready to start the clean up work.  

4 Reasons Why People Choose Us!

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

Man and 2 women Owner Greg Geaski with our Business Development Team, Danielle and Roseann

So, you have water damage and do a Google search to see who can help. Your search will result in a long list of restoration companies who service the Newtown area. You might be wondering who to choose. After all, most companies claim to do the same work and have similar equipment. There are several factors that make SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County the team to call over the others.

1. Customer Satisfaction

Our reputation as a local company who will not consider the job complete until our customers are satisfied is what makes us stand out among the rest. What you will find sets us apart is that if a customer has a concern, we will work with them to make sure any problems are resolved. A look at our online reviews shows that we place customer satisfaction as our number one priority.

2. Locally Owned

We are locally owned by Greg Geaski, a Connecticut native who has lived here his entire life and is part of our community. Greg has owned several SERVPRO franchises for over a decade and has made his commitment to the community and customer satisfaction the cornerstone value of this franchise.

When a leader has a clear focus and commitment, the people he hires will also. Our property managers, office staff and technicians are all held to a high standard of accountability and reliability and are expected to give 100% on every job.

3. A Quick Response

We have teams on call 24/7/365 to respond to your emergency. When disaster happens, the last thing you want to do is wait. 

4. Experience

The SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County team has specialized training and over 30 years of experience in storm damage restoration, water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, commercial services and duct cleaning services. There is no guesswork here - we know how to restore your home as efficiently as possible. 

Call us at (203) 743-5362 if you need restoration work done in your home or business.

What Happens When Water Damage is Caused by Somebody Else?

7/24/2021 (Permalink)

What happens if you have a new refrigerator installed in your home and the water line leaks, destroying your wood floors? Or your oil delivery company overfills your tank, causing a toxic spill in your basement? Or perhaps a plumber improperly installed a pipe, causing water damage to your New Milford home. Who pays for the damage- your insurance company, you or the third party? 

At SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, we have team members that have been specially trained in "successful subrogation". Subrogation, by definition, is when an insurance company seeks payment or restitution from a third party that caused damage or injury to an insured person or property. Usually this means your insurance company will try to recover payments from the insurance company covering the party at-fault. 

If you have experienced water, fire or biohazard damage to your home that was caused by a third party, our staff can help you work with your homeowners insurance company in determining who is responsible for the damages. As a first responder to your disaster, we are trained to identify and save evidence that may assist your insurance company in recovering costs.  

If you have a dishwasher leak due to faulty installation at your Sandy Hook home, call us at (203) 743-5362. We will come to your home to start the restoration process and our office staff will help guide you through the insurance claims process.