Recent Posts

How Technology is Valuable During a Storm

9/28/2022 (Permalink)

4 people on phones and laptops Technology is your friend during an emergency situation.

While the idea of technology seems simple on the outside, the constant updates and innovations can deter people from learning all that their devices can do for them. When emergencies or natural disasters hit close to home, it can be extremely advantageous to know how to make the best use of your technological devices. Technology allows you to stay updated on outside conditions as well as let family and friends know where you are.

We recommend keeping portable chargers readily accessible so that you can make the most of your technology during an emergency. Keep these tips on how to effectively use your devices in mind.

Applications for News Updates

Checking apps for updates on your smartphone is a fast and easy way to catch up with the latest news in North Central Florida. Make sure you have reliable news apps downloaded before inclement weather hits so that you can stay posted on local weather conditions and national updates.

Mark Yourself Safe

Another helpful feature of social media that not a lot of people know to use is the ability to mark yourself as safe. Facebook offers a feature called Safety Check that lets users mark themselves as safe if there is a dangerous situation in or near where you live. Simply updating your status as safe lets family and friends know that for the time being, you are out of harm’s way. The Red Cross has a similar feature called Safe & Well, which is both an app and website, where users can be marked safe.

Use Online Storage

Websites like Google Drive and DropBox ease the stress of possibly losing important copies of identification cards, passports, insurance policies, medical records, pet records, etc. in the event of a disaster. Be sure to scan and save any important documents before inclement weather is expected.

Make SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties your go-to team when your North Florida home or business is in need of any kind of remediation. Call us today at (386) 754–0261.

Storm Safety in North Central Florida

9/28/2022 (Permalink)

brochure with cloud and lightening strike on it Practice Storm Safety and be Prepared

It feels like the weather changes almost instantly in North Florida!  One minute it is hot and dry, the next minute a storm or hurricane is approaching the area.  No matter what, we seem to get our fair share of rain consistently!

We had a friend get in trouble really quickly while driving during a flood watch/warning. Thankfully, emergency crews rescued her in time but her car was a total loss.  She literally said it was seconds from when she attempted to drive through what she thought was a "shallow but big puddle" and the time her car began to fill with water.  After that, she reminds me every time it starts to rain like it is right now. 

Thinking of my friends and neighbors in our North Florida, I decided to go on Weather.GOV today and do some research as I watched the rain pour down. I found these really good tips to keep us and our loved ones safe during this rainy time.  Please stay safe out there!

During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware and monitor local radio and television outlets. Avoid floodwaters at all costs and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise. Don't wait until it's too late!

  • Stay Informed: Listen to radio and television, including NOAA Weather Radio if possible, check the Internet and social media for information and updates.
  • Get to Higher Ground: If you live in a flood-prone area or are camping in a low-lying area, get to higher ground immediately.
  • Obey Evacuation Orders: If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Lock your home when you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.
  • Practice Electrical Safety: Don't go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping, or popping noises--get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
  • Avoid Flood Waters: Don't walk through floodwaters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 if possible. Do NOT drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don't Drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards such as sharp objects, washed-out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc. A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in 12 inches of water can float a car or small SUV, 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.

As you can tell, water can be extremely dangerous and it can quickly cause large amounts of damage. If floodwater enters your home, be sure to follow flood safety tips from the CDC, and then give SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties covering more than five North Central Florida counties a call at (386) 754-0261. 

How Do I Properly Clean My Live Oak Home After A Fire

6/21/2022 (Permalink)

Red Fire Hydrant in grass and by a wall Right after the call to the Fire Department, make SERVPRO in Lake City be your very next call!

Contacting a cleaning professional may be the best decision you can make if a fire occurs in your home. The flames, heat, soot, and smoke will affect every room in your house, and your structure can even be adversely affected. Recovery from a fire event is a tremendous job, so you will need the assistance of professionals who have the expertise and equipment required to get your work or personal space back to normal as soon as possible. Our SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties team can be onsite right away to help you begin the recovery process.

What Steps Can I Take While Waiting For SERVPRO To Arrive At My Sparta Home?

While you are waiting for SERVPRO to arrive, there are some things you can do to begin the cleaning and recovery process:

  • Be sure to limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of the leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What Types Of Fire-Related Cleaning and Restoration Services Does SERVPRO Offer?

Cleaning Process. SERVPRO specializes in restoring the contents of a home or business that has suffered from fire damage or water damage. The team will assess all your belongings carefully to determine which items can be restored to their “pre-fire” condition and will use several cleaning methods to restore your property to its original condition. These can include:

  • Foam. The foam method is used for upholstery since upholstery can shrink, or the colors may bleed in water.
  • Dry. This method gets rid of light residue.
  • Wet. This technique is a very effective cleaning method used to remove moderate to heavy residues.
  • Immersion. In this method, items are dipped into a bath of cleaning products for a thorough cleaning that removes heavy residues and overwhelming odors.  
  • Electronics. Electronics damaged by fire and the accompanying smoke often present a serious hazard, so never turn on fire-damaged electrical devices. The smoke residue contains acids that corrode metal and can cause electronic failure in an electrical component. Computers, televisions, and CD/DVD players should be assessed and cleaned by a professional before being used. 
  • Odor Removal. Inhaling smoke can have an immediate negative effect on you, even if it’s only for a short time, so managing lingering soot and smoke is important. Hiring a professional fire and smoke damage restoration contractor will ensure that your property is free from the after-effects of a fire quickly and thoroughly. 
  • Reconstruction. If the smoke and fire damage to your home or business is such that it will need extensive restoration or rebuilding, SERVPRO can organize your move-out process. Removing your items from designated areas will help any remodeling process go a lot faster and protect them from any further damage. Once that is complete, we can then coordinate and organize your move back into your premises to get back to normal.

If your Live Oak home or business has suffered damage from fire, water, or mold, SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties team is fire damage and water damage experts, and we handle mold remediation, too. As part of our fire restoration services, we remove all unpleasant fire-related odorsas well. 

This franchise is independently owned and operated.  We have been in business since 2005 and have over 80 Years Combined Experience so make us your first call at 386-754-0261 and let us help you with our expertise.

What Are Some Dos And Don’ts If You Experience Water Damage In Your Business?

6/21/2022 (Permalink)

Caution Wet Floor sign yellow in color on a wet floor We are here to help in Clay County!

After any water damage situation, your primary focus should always be safety first. If the flooding is extensive, you need to ensure it's safe for everyone to stay in the building; water damage can create dangerous structural issues. As everyone knows, electricity and water are a bad combination, so that's another thing to watch out for. When moving about the premises, you will want to guard against slip and fall accidents. 

You may decide to begin cleaning up the mess yourself, but please keep in mind that wet materials can be far heavier than they are when they are dry. Know your limits, and only do what you know you can do safely. Engaging the help of a restoration specialist like SERVPRO can be a wise choice that will allow you to avoid unfortunate accidents. We can be onsite at your Walker commercial location right away to start your water damage recovery process.

What Are Some Steps I Can Take If My Clay County Business Is Affected By Water Damage?

Some "dos" when handling water damage to your commercial location: 

  • Do remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Do wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Do remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Do place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Do turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Do remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Do remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Do gather up loose items from floors.

What Are Some Tasks I Need To Avoid When Managing Water Damage At My Commercial Location In Clay County?

Here are some definite "don'ts" to be mindful of while recovering your property from a water damage event: 

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. 
  • Don't leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use a regular vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use computers or other appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

SERVPRO of North Clay County/Oakleaf/North Middleburg is here to help you with emergencies and disasters of all types and sizes. In addition to water damage, we handle fire damage, mold remediation, odor removal and deodorization, biohazards, and more!

This franchise is independently owned and operated.  We are located in Orange Park, Florida and here to help in North Clay County businesses and homes.  904-861-8870 is the easiest way to get in touch with us.

Maintaining Your Smoke Detectors

6/21/2022 (Permalink)

White square with a red button in the center - fire alarm Change your batteries in your fire alarm so it will detect smoke and allow time for you to get out safely.

Smoke detectors are not something we pay much attention to during our day-to-day living, but they immediately become essential if a fire happens! Make it a priority to maintain your smoke detectors regularly so that they are always ready to alert you in the event of a fire. 

Making Sure Your Smoke Detectors Work As They Should

  • Make sure you know how old your alarms are, and test them monthly using the provided test button.  
  • Keep them clean and free of greasy build-up and dust, which could affect their performance. A scheduled cleaning will make sure your smoke detectors stay in good working order.
  • Ensure that your smoke detectors are powered up and ready to go at all times and schedule battery changes so that they are always prepared to alert you whenever you need them.
  • Your smoke detectors should all go off simultaneously in the event of a fire, so contact a professional to make sure they are all synced.
  • Replace all smoke detectors, including those using 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, before turning ten years old. If they don’t respond correctly during a routine check, it’s definitely time for new units. 
  • Save and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing and maintenance of your units. 
  • A certified inspection entity should mark your smoke detectors. 

Install Smoke Detectors In All The Right Places

  • Every room in your home or business needs a smoke detector, any place where people will be, and where a product is stored, as well. 
  • Each unit should be securely fastened to its surface, whether it is a wall or a ceiling. 
  • Ensure that smoke detectors are in all areas where people spend time, from the bathroom to the warehouse of your business, and remember that customer waiting areas and public restrooms need to be outfitted, as well. 

We care about your safety here at SERVPRO of Columbia & Suwannee Counties, so don’t hesitate to contact us for all your large-scale cleanup projects. We’re experts at handling water and fire damage, mold prevention and remediation, vandalism and biohazards.  We are always available to help in the 5 counties located in North Florida to include: Columbia, Suwannee, Hamilton, Union and Lafayette so if you live in Jasper, Live Oak, Lake City, Lake Butler, Mayo, Perry, White Springs, Fort White or any city located in one of these counties we are here for you.

The Truth is... it's Everywhere!

6/21/2022 (Permalink)

Dark area in corner of ceiling Mold... a factor we deal with in everyday living in Florida!

Let’s face it, mold spores are everywhere. They can be found indoors and outdoors. They can enter your home or business through windows, vents and HVAC systems. Mold from outdoors can attach to clothing, shoes, pets and can be carried indoors. It grows anywhere, especially where there is moisture. 

Mold’s Best Friend:

Water. Any home or business can quickly become infested with mold with the introduction of a water source, like a roof or plumbing leak. Mold can spread throughout a property in as little as 48-72 hours

Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants. 
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

“Mold Removal” vs. Remediation

Because mold is everywhere, removing all mold from your home or business is impossible. A qualified restoration company understand the science behind mold and mold growth and knows how to remediate the problem area. So what do you do when you find mold growth in your home or business?

  • Step 1: Emergency Contact SERVPRO of North Clay County / Oakleaf / North Middleburg @ 904-861-8870
  • Step 2: Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
  • Step 3: Mold Containment
  • Step 4: Air Filtration
  • Step 5: Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
  • Step 6: Cleaning Contents and Belongings
  • Step 7: Restoration

Develop a plan with your family on how to escape if a fire starts.

6/20/2022 (Permalink)

Yellow and orange flames on a black background Don't be caught unprepared!

Fires can happen anywhere at any time

Each year, the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters. The vast majority of which are home fires. As a matter of fact, 1 in 5 home fires are caused from unattended cooking; "pot on the stove". Did you know you have as little as 2 minutes to escape?

Here are the Top Tips for Fire Safety courtesy of the American Red Cross.

  • Install Smoke Alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test Smoke Alarms every Month.
  • Talk with Family Members about a Fire Escape Plan. Practice your plan twice a year.
  • If a Fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP.

We want to help you!

SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee Counties has the water and fire damage training and expertise to help you through this tough time. The specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire and water damage and can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Have Smoke or Fire Damage Questions? SERVPRO of Columbia and Suwannee counties is her to help!

Call Us Today @ (386) 754-0261

HERE TO HELP

6/17/2022 (Permalink)

Looking through a door into the street piled with debris and a green truck in the background Unimaginable debris after a hurricane caused flooding.

SERVPRO'S from surrounding areas head in from all over to help the in areas that have been affected by inclement weather.  SERVPRO is a team oriented company that has compassion for everything we do and everyone we help.  When another area of the country is impacted with a storm or tragedy we can call upon our fellow teammates to come in and help.  Sometimes due to the area being affected it may require out of state SERVPRO's to respond in a time of need.  We have traveled to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, Louisiana just to name a few and continue to be ready for the call when we are needed.  The goal is to assist our fellow SERVPRO's and treat all customers with the best customer service experience as one, unified company.  After all was said and done, all the help of these surrounding SERVPRO's were able to team up together and restore this broken community. 

A healthier workplace starts with clean air

6/16/2022 (Permalink)

Large brush looking thing inside a square box which is the HVAC duct system Is it time to get your ductwork cleaned?
When and why should you get your ducts cleaned at the office?  Pollutants like pollen, bacteria, dust, debris, tobacco, etc. are one of the most obvious reasons to get the air ducts cleaned. Their removal ensures the flow of clean air into the office space and also prevents the HVAC system from working harder.

When contaminants, dust, mold and debris build up in your air ducts, it causes the system to work harder, which translates into more energy costs. Not only does cleaning your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system lead to a cleaner workplace, it also increases energy efficiency and can reduce your energy costs.

Let SERVPRO assess your HVAC system with a free inspection of your air duct system. Once a skilled technician has completed the assessment and inspection, if we feel it will benefit you we will outline the process we use and schedule you for the cleaning.  Many times there is no need for the ducts to be cleaned and we want to be honest and earn your trust.

Throughout the HVAC cleaning process, we ensure minimal disruption to your business’s operations by containing our work areas and maintaining an open line of communication with your employees.   Once the work is complete, we conduct a final inspection and answer any questions you might have.

At SERVPRO, we want you to be completely satisfied with our results. As such, only highly trained, certified technicians perform the work. Take the first step in providing a healthier, cleaner and more energy efficient work environment-Call SERVPRO located in Lake City, Florida today at 386-754-0621 for a free quote!

2022 Atlantic Names for Hurricanes

6/16/2022 (Permalink)

The 2022 hurricane season is underway and the first named storm of the season is now behind us.  Although tropical systems can form in any month of the year (and they have), the official hurricane season for the Atlantic basin runs from June 1 to November 30.

Tropical storms and hurricanes are named via a 6-year rotating list, standardized by the World Meteorological Organization. Representatives from hurricane-prone nations contribute names for the lists, which alternate between male and female. The letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z are not used.

There have been two changes to the list since 2016. Matthew was retired after causing almost 600 deaths and over $16 billion in damages. It has been replaced by Martin in the 2022 list. Otto caused substantial damage in Central America in November 2016, and will be replaced by Owen in 2022 and beyond.

If a hurricane season turns hyperactive with more than 21 named storms, the National Hurricane Center will then proceed to a supplemental list of names.


NOAA is expecting between 14 to 21 named storms with six to 10 hurricanes. Of those hurricanes, they anticipate three to six will become major hurricanes. CSU’s outlook predicts 20 named storms including 10 hurricanes, five of which they expect to be major hurricanes.

Those of us living in Florida always are hopeful for a quiet hurricane season and when we do have one coming are normally well prepared.  For those of you new to Florida see a prior blog of ours about hurricane preparedness.