Recent Posts

Keep your Kids Safe with these Fire Safety tips

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

Child with fire escape plan drawn out on a piece of paper in front of their face Make sure your children understand the escape plan!

When creating an escape plan in your home, you should go over it with your children so they know how to get out the house. Kids typically don’t think about how they would escape from their home in a fire, so this is an important discussion to have with them.

  • Have a plan in place for children that cannot get out on their own, such as infants and toddlers. Talk about which family member is going to wake up the children and help them get out.
  • Always identify two different ways out of every room. You should know multiple ways to exit in every room in case one exit is blocked, or it is too dangerous to use.
  • Choose a destination outside the house to meet, a safe distance away. This could be across the street, or at a neighbors’ home.

In addition to fire prevention with children, there is the concern of burn prevention. In many instances of fires started by children, serious burn injuries can occur. Here are some tips to help keep your kids safe from fire and burns.

Drapery & Blind Cleaning

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

Room with white upholstered chairs with long tan drapery and cloth shades/blinds When Should My Drapes Be Cleaned?

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals excel at cleaning fine fabrics and intricate pieces. Fabrics are carefully inspected and tested to determine which of the System’s five cleaning methods is most appropriate.

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are trained to use state-of-the-art equipment designed specifically for cleaning fine fabrics. Wet and dry cleaning methods are available as required. You can be confident in the SERVPRO System - we inspect and pretest to determine the safest and most effective cleaning method. When it comes to drapery and blinds, your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional has the training, equipment and experience to make them clean again.

A good rule-of-thumb is to clean drapes approximately every two years. A recent survey by SERVPRO disclosed that the average customer believes drapes should be cleaned when they look dirty. Depending on your heating system, the amount of smokers in the home, and other factors, drapes may not show soil for two to six years. The oily atmospheric soil will gradually cause the fabric to deteriorate. Often, direct sunlight is unjustly blamed for this. You may triple the life of your draperies through professional cleaning, which is relatively inexpensive compared to replacement costs.

Professional Cleaning

When your draperies need cleaning, make certain they are dry cleaned ONLY. Only a small percentage of materials can be laundered. If in doubt, call your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional for advice. Be discriminating in your choice of professional dry cleaners. Some cleaners have equipment designed for clothes cleaning, while others have equipment specifically designed for draperies.

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have an exclusive process of dry cleaning draperies right in your home. There’s no need to have your home or office exposed while your draperies are out being cleaned.  SERVPRO Franchise Professionals inject a specially formulated solvent into your drapery under pressure and extract the chemical, leaving your drapes clean. This special process results in no damage or shrinkage to the material. Most importantly, you will get quality cleaning at a reasonable price. Call your local SERVPRO Professional at 386-754-0261 for a free survey of your drapery cleaning service.

How Long Can Germs Live on Surfaces

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

GERMS written out with green circles in bubble letters Germs & How to Remove them
Germs have been rough this year. Reports on the potential dangers of antibiotic-resistant superbugs mingle with discussions of the effectiveness of vaccinations and various other medical interventions. While germs may be too small to be seen with the naked eye, encountering them can have a major impact on your health, and these microscopic menaces can lie in wait on a wide array of common surfaces. How long can germs live on surfaces? And what can you do to protect yourself and your health? When germs are on the prowl, no place is safe. Buses, commuter trains, rental cars, and private vehicles transport both people and virulent germs. Retail establishments, health clubs, educational institutions, restaurants, hotel rooms, and even cruise ship cabins can shelter germs. In fact, practically anything that you touch can expose you to germs, putting your health at risk. According to the National Health Service, the lifespan of a germ varies depending on the type of germ and the surface that it is on. How long can germs live on surfaces? Below we explore a few common examples.


The common cold is a frequent source of misery. A variety of viruses can trigger it, and like other viruses, cold germs tend to survive for longer periods on hard, nonporous surfaces like desktops and handrails. On suitable indoor surfaces, cold germs can linger for days, but fortunately they rarely remain infectious for more than 24 hours. Cold viruses can also thrive on the skin, but their survival time there is generally measured in mere minutes or hours.


Viruses that cause influenza can survive in the air as droplets for hours and live on hard surfaces like phones and keyboards for up to 24 hours. Infectious flu viruses clinging to a tissue can last for about 15 minutes, but viruses on the hands tend to fade quickly. Most will be only a minimal threat after five minutes. It may be a small window of time, but influenza germs don’t warn you of their presence and can make you very sick if you’re unlucky enough to encounter them when they’re infectious.


A highly contagious virus that triggers stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea in those unfortunate enough to catch it, a norovirus can spread through small droplets that travel through the air before settling on surfaces like elevator buttons, table tops, and clothing. While they don’t thrive as successfully on porous materials like tissues and fabrics, noroviruses can survive on hard surfaces for days or weeks if the conditions are favorable.


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, the culprits behind dangerous MRSA infections, are unfazed by many of the antibiotics that are effective in combating other staph infections. Like viruses, these germs tend to survive for shorter periods on porous surfaces than they do on nonporous ones, but they’re capable of living for days or weeks on surfaces if the circumstances are right.


Everyone has seen it. If you’ve worked in restaurants or other public venues, you may even have wielded it: the dreaded wet, grey rag. Habitually passed over tabletops between customers with a few desultorily swipes, it is an obviously inadequate weapon when it comes to eradicating germs. But what is required to disinfect a surface?


If you want to kill the germs lurking on a surface, you need to choose an appropriate disinfectant. You also have to apply it properly. That means saturating the surface with enough of the germ-fighting chemical to get the job done and ensuring that there’s enough contact time (time when the chemical is on the surface) to allow it to eliminate any germs present. Choosing a low-grade disinfectant or skimping on either saturation or contact time can compromise your germ-fighting efforts, so it’s vital that you choose your products carefully and read and follow their directions.

As the professional, SERVPRO provides proper training and EPA registered disinfectants to ensure our customers we are doing a thorough job for them.  Whether it be commercial or residential we can handle any cleaning concern or job you might have.  Call us at 386-754-0261!

Prepare for Rain - The Right Way

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Raining Severely and Gutter of House Showing overflow Rain Heavily Falling and Gutters Overflowing with Rain Water

Living in Florida there is always that chance of heavy rain storms coming our way.  SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties has worked on multiple projects that were due to the surplus of rain.  The most memorable one being 2012 during Tropical Storm Debbie.  With almost 30 inches of rain in a short time we had several people call us at all hours of the day and night due to leaks caused by the rain. Sometimes these leaks are unavoidable, but we want to make sure you are prepared for the next storm.  

There are various forms of getting prepared for rainy weather but for the most part normal maintenance will keep your home or business safe from heavy rain.

Here are some tips to avoid rain damage. 

  • Plant shade trees or palm trees at least 20 feet away from your home. 
  • If you have gutters, make sure they are clean. 
  • Ensure there are no leaks on your roof. 
  • Check for damage on your home or business and repairs are needed. 
  • Weatherstrip windows and doors. 
  • Have your trees trimmed. 

Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons - What is the Difference!

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Palm Trees by Ocean and Dark sky looming overhead Typhoon Coming on Land

Through out our life time we may have heard these three names for storms. Hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons and tropical storms. So what is the difference between all these? 

Well, here is a quick guide:

Hurricanes are tropical storms that form over the North Atlantic Ocean and Northeast Pacific.

Cyclones are formed over the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Typhoons are formed over the Northwest Pacific Ocean.

Tropical Storms a localized, very intense low-pressure wind system, forming over tropical oceans and with winds of hurricane force.

So which would you be most likely to come in contact with in your area?  Here in Florida Hurricanes & Tropical Storms due to the warm water in the Gulf of Mexico & Atlantic Ocean.  Remember, regardless of the storm, SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee County located here in Lake City is ready to handle any situation!  We also cover Lake Butler, Jasper, White Springs, Fort White, Madison, Perry, MacClenney and surrounding counties.  

Weather & Mold in our State

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Ceiling with small spots of grey and black mold Seen here is a shower/bathroom with mold on the ceiling.

Recognizing Mold Growth 

We have warmer weather here in Florida and that means it is a thriving environment for mold here in the south. Mold can be found both indoors and outdoors in places with high levels of moisture, such as leaks around pipes, windows, or roofs. If flooding has occurred and saturated your home, mold will also grow in drywall, dust, upholstery, and carpet, just to name a few. This is why it is of utmost importance to reach out to SERVPRO immediately if any water damage has occurred - our specially trained professionals will ensure your home and belongings are properly cleaned and dried to inhibit mold growth.

Acting on Mold Growth 

Mold can be many different colors, smell musty, and will often look like spots. Regardless of what type of mold it is, it needs to be removed. If you see visible mold, do not disturb it by attempting to clean the area yourself, touching the mold, or blowing air across affected areas. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home. If you suspect mold, keep loved ones out of the area, turn off fans and the HVAC system, and contact your friends at SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties!  

We are located in Lake City and provide services in Lake Butler, Live Oak, White Springs, Perry, Madison, MacClenney, Fort White, Starke, Chiefland, Steinhatchee, Cedar Key, Suwannee and many more surrounding counties in North Central Florida.  

SERVPRO can handle any kind of water loss!

12/27/2019 (Permalink)

When you know you have a water problem in your home or business from a leak, a flood, or an overflowing appliance or sink, it doesn't matter how much water is present. Such a situation is an emergency and must be taken care of quickly. 
In Fort White, Lake City, Live Oak, Jasper, White Springs and other surrounding counties, water can cause serious damage to the interior of a home or business if removal efforts aren't started immediately. Water can quickly evaporate if temperatures are high enough, which is often the case in Florida. If the interior is cooler, due to the central air unit running, water that is not removed will soon seep into areas which might not show damage until months later. 
SERVPRO equipment includes moisture detectors that can locate concentrated areas of moisture, hidden water, and elevated humidity levels in a home. Technicians will take initial readings of areas within a home to use as a baseline for later readings. These other readings will be taken on a regular basis during the entire water removal process. The initial readings will also be used to calculate how much drier the interior needs to become for it to be considered fully dry. How many dehumidifiers, air movers, and other pieces of equipment will be required is also determined by how wet a home is at the initial reading. 
Training from IICRC provides SERVPRO  technicians with the skills required for successful water removal in any setting. Basics, such as removing certain items so they can air out in the outdoors and place furniture on blocks to prevent staining of carpeting followed by the use of portable water extraction units are a major part of water removal. 
As the home's interior becomes less damp, areas with high levels of humidity are targeted. Dehumidifiers will increase evaporation rates of areas where water has seeped into. Air Movers will help direct this humid air toward the outdoors through open doors and windows. Hygrometer readings taken will be recorded during this process, so homeowners will know that their home is once again safely dry. These readings may need to be shown to insurance companies, and the documentation should be placed with other paperwork regarding the home. 

Having a company that can coordinate the whole process from start to finish to make your life easier, and gets you back in your home or business faster. “Like it never even happened.” 

If you would like more information on hiring a Highly Trained Water Restoration Team Call SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Conties today at (386) 754-0261

Keep Mold out of Christmas

12/20/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Christmas tree SERVPRO Christmas tree

Once a year, we celebrate Christmas by putting up decorations and spending time with our families.  After all of the festivities are over, we pack up those decorations and store them in sheds or attics.  The issue that some people may run into is mold settling on those precious decorations.  SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee counties would like to take some time to share some tips on how you can prevent mold on your Christmas decorations.

Since your decorations are stored in an area where humidity is increased, you want to dehumidify the air both inside the storage containers, and in the surrounding area. A small dehumidifier is perfect for the job. You want the humidity level in your attic or basement to ideally be below 30%-50%.

If you have any issue with mold on your decorations, reach out to SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties so we can assist with bringing those decorations back to their previous glory.

Preventing pipes from freezing and bursting

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

Frozen pipe Don't let frozen pipes dampen your Holiday Season

With the temperature dropping, one of the most common issues that will occur is pipes freezing and potentially bursting.  Here at SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties, we would like to share some tips on how to prevent this type of issue.

The best way to prevent this issue would be to let cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Allowing as little as a trickle to be flowing through the pipe can prevent it from freezing. Keeping the thermostat at the same temperature during the day and at night will assist with this also.

Generally the temperature has to get to about 20 degrees to cause pipes to freeze.  If your pipes do freeze, do not let them thaw on their own.  Once the pipes begin to thaw, the faucet will leak water to let you know that you have found the frozen pipe.

Christmas on The Square - Live Oak, Florida

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

Two People standing in front of a display table with Ugly Sweaters on Steven & Susan wearing their "ugly sweaters"!

SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties enjoys being able to go out into our local community and share who we are and the services we can provide.  On December 7th, we were able to be involved in one of our areas most popular events, Christmas on the Square in Live Oak, Florida.

Christmas on the Square is not the type of event you would expect from a small town like Live Oak.  The event has now expanded to three days which include the lighting of the town Christmas tree and a 5K fun run on Thursday night, SNOW DAY on Friday and then Saturday is a mixture of businesses and personal tents setup selling everything from home-made cakes to purses or woodworkings.  Saturday is capped off with the Live Oak city Christmas Parade which floods the downtown area with floats that are decorated for the parade theme.  This year’s theme was a Patriotic Christmas.

SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties loves to take part in events like this to further show that SERVPRO and its services do not just stop with Fire and Water damage or Cleanup and Restoration but also serving our community in any way possible.