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Commercial Systems Prone to Water Damage: SERVPRO of Cherokee County

4/28/2022 (Permalink)

Green SERVPRO Disaster Response Truck filled with restoration equipment SERVPRO of Cherokee County is ready for whatever happens! We'll restore your business after any size of property damage.

Commercial properties present unique risks when it comes to water damage in Canton, GA. Unlike residential homes, which are usually one story and have easily accessible crawl spaces and attics, commercial buildings can be many stories high with flat roofs and multiple storefront windows. They also often have expensive specialized equipment that can be very costly to repair or replace if damaged by water. In this blog post, we will discuss the different parts of a commercial building that are at risk for water damage, as well as some tips on how to prevent it.

Plumbing Systems

The first and most obvious risk for water damage in a commercial property is the plumbing system. Because commercial buildings have more bathrooms, kitchens, and other water-using fixtures, they also have larger and more complex plumbing systems. These systems are often located in hard-to-reach places, making them difficult to repair if they spring a leak.

One of the main water damage challenges according to The Hartford Insurance is an improperly maintained sprinkler system. By law, most commercial buildings must have a fire sprinkler system, but many building owners forget to regularly maintain and test these systems. While a well-maintained fire sprinkler system can help prevent extensive fire damage in the event of a fire, improper maintenance or disaster planning can cause extensive water damage that can flood multiple floors.

Another plumbing risk is burst pipes. Commercial buildings, especially high rises tend to run at a higher pressure than residential buildings. Therefore, a burst pipe has the potential to release significantly more water than a home.

One of the ways in which we help commercial property owners prevent catastrophic property damage before it happens is through our app-based Emergency Response Planning program (ERP).

Roofing Systems

In addition to the plumbing system, there are a number of exterior commercial building components that can experience water damage. One of the most common is the flat roof. Because flat roofs are not sloped like traditional pitched roofs, they tend to pool water instead of shedding it. This can lead to leaks and eventually, if left unaddressed, major water damage.

Some common commercial roofing systems include:

  • Built-up Roofing (BUR): Often called tar and gravel roofs, these commercial roofing systems are built with a semi-continuous membrane installed in layers, then covered in aggregate. While they are usually simple to maintain, best practices suggest inspecting the roof for deterioration and possible leak points at least twice yearly.
  • Thermoplastic Single-Ply Membrane Roofing (PVC & TPO): These roofs are installed in large rolls that are then welded together at the seams with heat. The material is very durable and oil-resistant. However, the heat-welding methods require skilled installation, which can lead to weak points and leak-prone areas if not performed correctly.
  • EPDM Roofing: Some roofers call these "rubber roofs" because the material they are made of, ethylene propylene diene monomer is very rubber-like. This kind of roof is derived from oil and natural gas, and appears dark gray or black. When installed correctly and with the highest thickness available, this type of commercial roof will last a very long time with little to no issues. Unless you experience storm damage in your area, an annual check for leaks around the roof penetrations should suffice.

Window Systems

Commercial window systems are built for durability and use, however, they can often present a unique water damage challenge for commercial facilities. Most aluminum glazing systems aren't intended to be 100% waterproof. Most commercial window systems are meant to limit water penetration during extreme circumstances while also weeping water back out to the exterior.

By directing all moisture to the sill flashing, storefront systems limit water penetration. It's critical that the sill flashing be installed correctly in order to avoid water damage. Making sure that sealant is put on the top of the rear leg before installing the sill is one of the most important aspects of a good installation.

The most essential aspect of maintaining water penetration with a storefront is end dam fastening and sealing. Water will enter the building through the jamb locations if end dams are not properly fastened and sealed. Improperly (or missing) end dams can cause significant water damage to the interior drywall or flooring around commercial storefront windows.

Like anything else in a building, time and the elements can cause wear and tear and failure of these commercial window water control systems.

Commercial Water Damage Inspection Services

So if you notice moisture or water damage around your storefront windows, you should consider calling SERVPRO of Cherokee County to inspect for potential water damage issues. Our technicians are trained to identify, troubleshoot, and restore all types of commercial water issues.

Call today to schedule your commercial service!

(770) 924-3848

Tips to Stay Safe during Fire Damage: SERVPRO of Cherokee County

3/29/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO green Disaster Recovery truck trailer parked outside of a property restoration project with four workers around it. No matter how serious your property damage may be, SERVPRO of Cherokee County is your local expert for restoring your home or business.

It's that time of year again - fire season in Cherokee County, GA, and surrounding areas. Between February and May, the weather gets hotter and drier, while the risk of house fires rises. A fire may start from a variety of sources, ranging from a faulty wire to an overloaded outlet to a kitchen mishap to a bonfire left unattended. It's critical to know how to react quickly and effectively if your home catches fire.

Here's What You Need To Know If A Fire Starts: 

The first line of defense against a house fire is to know how to use the proper fire extinguisher for the situation. This simple procedure can help save lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage. If the fire spreads uncontrollably, evacuate immediately and stay away, then call 9-1-1. Leave all of your belongings where they are and save yourself and your loved ones.

If your clothing ignites, remember the old adage: Stop, Drop, and Roll.

It's critical to utilize the stairs if you live in a building with elevators in case of a fire. The elevator electrical system may be damaged by a fire, causing the shaft to operate like a chimney and rapidly fill up with deadly fumes.

Doors may be used to your advantage in a fire, potentially saving your life. If the doorknob or handle is hot, don't open it. If you can't exit through the primary route, look for another option. Do not open any doors that are warm to the touch.

Close any doors that might obstruct your exits, lay a wet towel beneath the doors, and call the fire department or 9-1-1 if flames, heat, or fire block your avenues of escape. Tell them exactly where you are so they can find you.

If you're near a window that you can't use as an escape, open it and wave a brightly colored cloth or use your phone flashlight to signal for help.

What To Do After a Fire

After a fire, it is important to contact a professional fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Cherokee County. We have the training, experience, and equipment to properly restore your home - "Like it never even happened."

If you try to clean up the fire damage yourself, you could end up making the situation worse both in your home and with your insurance company's process.

Trust the experts, and call today!

Spring Storms and Weather Events in the United States | SERVPRO® of Cherokee County

3/25/2022 (Permalink)

 an image with a cloudy, rainy, sunny and snowy sky Extreme temperature changes can lead to severe weather. SERVPRO of Cherokee County is a click away if you experience any damage.

The United States, being one of the world’s largest countries in the world, has a tremendously diverse and expansive landscape. As a result, seasonal weather here is not one-size-fits all—different sections of the nation encounter different weather patterns, which results in variable degrees of weather threats for various regions.

Let’s examine the weather patterns that may occur as spring approaches and warm and cold air masses collide throughout the country—and also what we can consider here in Georgia.

The spring months in the Pacific Northwest are prone to heavy rain, which may result in flooding and water damage. Snow will continue to accumulate at higher elevations, and the melting and runoff associated with it can bring problems of their own.

The Upper Midwest and Northeast have the longest duration of winter, and will see frigid weather throughout the season. From Maine to the Dakotas, folks can expect cold weather and the possibility of blizzards and heavy snow even until late spring or early summer.

On the other hand, the Southwest and southern West Coast will need to keep an eye out for extreme heat waves that can damage lives and property. The South Pacific region, including Hawaii, will be on high alert for the possibility of tsunamis produced by tectonic activity.

The central United States, from Iowa to Texas, will also need to be on the lookout for windstorms, derechos and the potential of wildfires, which may spread rapidly when winds are high and conditions are dry. A notable portion of this area is Tornado Alley, which is especially prone to tornadoes.

Finally, here in the Southeast, we can expect to have a wide range of severe weather events, from thunderstorms and tornadoes in landlocked areas to early-season hurricanes along the coast later in the spring. April, in particular, will see the most tornadoes in Georgia than any other month throughout the year.

Wherever you live in the United States, extreme weather is a possibility. While it may vary from state to state, it never hurts to be aware of and prepared for severe weather.

If extreme weather leaves you with damage from water, fire or other elements, help is a click away. Contact your local SERVPRO of Cherokee County for fast, expert recovery.

5 Types of Water Damage Testing Equipment: SERVPRO of Cherokee County

3/11/2022 (Permalink)

Many pieces of Green SERVPRO Water restoration equipment lined up in a warehouse ready for dispatch SERVPRO of Cherokee County is ready to respond to your water damage restoration call immediately when you need us. Call today!

Because water damage can often reach areas you can't even see, our SERVPRO of Cherokee County technicians use several types of testing equipment to help you restore your property damage in Woodstock, GA and throughout Cherokee County "Like it never even happened." This equipment is used to analyze environmental conditions, test all types of building materials for potential water damage, and track the drying efficiency of the emergency water damage restoration process. Here are a few of the machines our team utilizes:

  1. Moisture Meters: Moisture meters are one of the most common pieces of water testing equipment. These meters such as the Dri-Eaz Protimeter SurveyMaster measure the moisture level of an environment or material and provide a digital reading on the device's screen. By using moisture meters, our technicians can quickly test whether any materials in your home are affected by water damage so they can then begin taking steps to dry them out. They are used to test everything from drywall, wood, siding, tile, insulation, carpeting, and everything in between.
  2. Voltage Meters: Because emergency water damage restoration equipment can require significant electrical power, voltage meters are used to ensure that the equipment is being operated safely. These meters measure the voltage of an electrical circuit and help our technicians avoid any potentially hazardous situations.
  3. Thermometers: In order to better understand how water damage is affecting different areas of your property, our team uses thermometers to take temperature readings both inside and outside of walls, floors, the air inside and outside of the affected areas, and more. Temperature is an important part of our local water damage restoration process because it helps our restoration technicians determine and control the speed of the water damage drying process.
  4. Infrared Meters: Because Infrared meters see temperature differences between different building materials, they are often used to scan for hidden water damage that might otherwise be missed. A common misconception about Infrared meters such as the Flir E6 is that they are used to see behind walls. This is not the case. However, our SERVPRO of Cherokee County technicians use them along with our other testing equipment to help demonstrate and determine the potential extent of water damage and required removal of affected materials. They can also be used to identify other existing electrical, mechanical, and building issues.
  5. Air Sampling Equipment: Air sampling is also an important part of the local water damage restoration process because it helps our SERVPRO of Cherokee County technicians identify and quantify any biohazards in the environment, such as mold spores, lead, pollen, insect parts, skin cell fragments, fibers, and inorganic particulates. By taking air samples inside and outside of the affected areas, our technicians and indoor air quality experts can determine whether or not specialized restoration processes are required.

SERVPRO of Cherokee County is here to help you restore your property damage "Like it never even happened." If you have any questions about our water testing equipment or the emergency water damage restoration process, please don't hesitate to give us a call at (770) 924-3848. We're always happy to help!

3 Easy Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes

2/21/2022 (Permalink)

Leaking tap Let faucets drip.

Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing

Frozen pipes can lead to a lot of damage around the house. Not only will you be unable to get water through certain faucets, but the pipe can burst entirely, causing a flood. You need to seek out water line repair in Canton, GA as soon as you notice your water system not working the way it should. However, one option better than that is to simply prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place.

1. Keep the Heat Running

Homeowners may be hesitant to leave the heat running all day long even if people are going to be gone, but the slight increase in the power bill is well worth it to prevent frozen pipes. Bursting pipes can cause a lot of damage, especially if the water floods a room with a lot of valuables. A house does not have to be kept at a particularly high temperature. As long as a home’s interior is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be fine.

2. Prop Open Interior Doors

If you are going to run the heat all day, you want to be certain you are getting the most out of it. Leave all the interior doors open so that heat can flow easily from one room to the next. This includes cupboards in the bathrooms and kitchen.

3. Let Faucets Drip

The main cause of frozen pipes is a buildup of pressure in the system. Homeowners in Canton, GA can relieve some of this pressure by letting faucets drip throughout the day. You should ordinarily address dripping like this as soon as you can, because it can increase water bills. Similarly to keeping the heat running, the small increase is well worth it to prevent more catastrophic damage. In the event your home does develop a burst pipe, then you’ll need to contact a professional service to repair the pipes and dry the affected room.

Clothes Dryer Safety Tips to Prevent Fires

2/14/2022 (Permalink)

hand removing lint from dryer filter The lint trap should be cleaned between all loads of laundry.

Keep Your Home Safe From a Dryer Fire

Clothes dryers are involved in thousands of house fires each year, and the highest number of these occurs in fall and winter. The majority of these fires start because the dryer is not cleaned and maintained properly. Luckily, there are some simple tips available to help keep your home in Woodstock, GA, safe from a dryer fire.

1. Installation

Using the correct electrical outlet and plug to hook up your dryer is essential. To ensure that installation is completed properly and safely, consider calling a professional to connect your dryer. Like all electrical appliances, dryers come with warnings and instructions from the manufacturers, and you should read over these carefully.

2. Cleaning

The lint trap should be cleaned between all loads of laundry. The back of the dryer should also be cleared, as lint can build up in this area. Every few months, the vent pipe or exhaust should be emptied using a plumber’s snake in order to avoid a lint fire.

3. Proper Use

Using your dryer properly can also protect your home from a dryer fire. Avoid overloading your dryer with too much clothing at once. Do not dry items with rubber, foam or plastic, such as bathroom mats with rubber backing. Never place clothing with oil, gas, alcohol or any other flammable chemical in your dryer. Always turn the dryer off before going to bed or leaving your residence.

4. Maintenance

Routinely inspect equipment parts, such as the venting system, to ensure that there is no damage or build-up of lint. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of anything flammable. Check outside venting for blockages, such as birds nests. Unplug or disconnect the dryer if you will be away for an extended period.

A dryer or lint fire is almost completely preventable, but homeowners must take proper precautions. If your residence has been damaged in a dryer fire, don’t hesitate to reach out to a fire restoration service today.

Commercial Property: Flood Recovery and Financial Responsibility for Tenants

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Floodwaters surrounding building Flood damage in Free Home, GA.

Flood Recovery and Financial Responsibility for Tenants

If your business is run out of a leased facility, you may be wondering what your financial obligations are after a flood or significant water damage. While business and renter's insurance will help you through the inevitable business interruption, there is the bigger picture of culpability and responsibility. Most of the answer depends on where you live and your lease agreement.

1. State Regulations

Most states require property owners to have commercial insurance coverage, and they also hold property owner’s accountable for repairs. However, depending on where you live, owner’s may be able to share responsibility with tenants under certain circumstances.

2. Lease Agreement

You may also want to review your lease agreement because there may be line items that refer specifically to water damage and who is ultimately responsible for the repairs. Your renter's insurance provider may be able to help you understand your rights as a tenant as well.

3. Personal Property

In most states, the property owner is responsible for the structure of the property, and the tenant is responsible for their personal property. In regards to businesses operating out of leased facilities, this means that the owner is responsible for the facility and you would be responsible for damaged equipment, which is likely covered under your business policy.

4. Restoration

While the owner’s property policy likely covers restoration work involving the structure of the facility, any damage done to your business, like inventory and equipment, is considered a personal business loss and will likely be covered by your insurance. You can contact your insurer or a disaster restoration specialist in the Free Home, GA, area for more details.

A flood is devastating for a business, but especially when that business operates out of a leased space. In most states, the property owner is responsible for structural issues while your business and renter's insurance is responsible for personal property losses.

Think Fast About Broken Pipes

1/26/2022 (Permalink)

Air movers and drying equipment placed in the hallway of a home after water damage Fans and dehumidifiers will help remove water and any remaining moisture.

Steps To Fix a Bursting Pipe In Your Home

It always seems like an unexpected disaster happens on a day when you really don’t have time to deal with it: when you are scheduled to lead a presentation with a client, when you have to pick up the kids from school, or when you are heading out for vacation. Here are some tips so you can prepare to think fast when you have bursting pipes in your home in Oak Grove, GA.

Complications Happen Fast

The trouble with bursting pipes and other unsuspected leaks is that damage quickly goes from bad to worse:

• Wood and paper materials can be structurally damaged the longer they are left in water.

• Staining can take place when wet materials are allowed to sit against carpet or other items.

• Metal materials can start to corrode.

• Exposure to time and temperature can turn clean water into harmful “gray water”.

• Mold can start growing in about 48 hours.

Don’t delay and get started with the cleanup. Everything else can wait.

Phone a Friend for Fast Help

You may actually need to phone two friends: one to pick up your kids or do your presentation, and one professional water mitigation specialist that understands the need to act fast to fix the broken pipe and clean up water. Turn off the water so your bursting pipe doesn’t continue spraying water all over your home. It’s amazing how quickly water starts to accumulate.

The call you make to the expert will be most useful for resolving your bursting pipes quickly. The right professional will have knowledge, experience and special equipment to help you resolve the flood. Pumps, vacuums, fans and dehumidifiers will help remove water and any remaining moisture to minimize damage and prevent secondary trouble such as mold growth.

You’ve Got This

Now that you know what to expect and who to call, you can think fast during an emergency and help minimize water damage in your home.

The Riddle of Water Damage After a Fire

1/21/2022 (Permalink)

Severe fire damage inside a building, smoke on walls, ceiling collapsed, wet insulation all over the place Fire and water damage to a building in Nelson, GA.

The Aftermath Of a Fire

The flames billow during a fire in Nelson, GA, and nothing is more welcome than the fire fighting crew with the pressurized water hoses and chemical retardants being sprayed onto the roof of your commercial building. As the flames die down, an inspector can then inform you the building is safe to reenter. That is when you notice the fire damage and water - so much water. How can you begin to deal with all that unexpected water? Try these three steps.

1. Contact a Professional

Fire and smoke restoration professionals can quickly begin work on removing the water from your building once the fire marshal, inspector or deputy allow entrance. By beginning the cleanup process as quickly as possible, future mold and mildew problems can often be alleviated.

2. Look for Water

An average fire hose can supply up to 24 gallons of water a minute when fighting a fire. That means that in 30 minutes, the hose is shooting out enough water to fill an average swimming pool with about 18 inches of water. Along with fire damage, water pressure often breaks windows, tears through doors, and enters ceiling holes. Water may find its way into unexpected places such as inside electronics, under wooden floors, and inside walls. Looking for water damage in hidden places can save time and money.

3. Create Air Flow

After removing as many of the porous items from the water as possible, and once the professional team has removed the majority of the liquid, create a method of air circulation and ventilation. Your fire restoration team may offer industrial blowers, dehumidifiers and air moving fans, but if they do not, it is still important to get the air moving to remove excess moisture from the building. This can help prevent mold and mildew, warping floors, and bulging walls.

Fire damage often includes hundreds of gallons of water. Knowing what the possible scenario is in the aftermath of a fire can help you be prepared for the unexpected. Too much water can be a bad thing, especially when it is on the floor of your commercial property.

Fire Risk In Your Commercial Office? Try These Tips

1/20/2022 (Permalink)

Office Fire Office Fire

Our homes and our businesses in Towne Lake, GA or Holly Springs, GA are our castles, which is why we work hard to make them as safe and secure as possible. Unfortunately, there are some hazards that may not be obvious and can cause damage to your office, in the form of fire or water damage. Even more unfortunate? The cost of these damages, which could run into the thousands of dollars, and can come out of your pocket—whether you’re an individual homeowner or a business owner or landlord. Here are some common causes of fire and water damage in commercial office buildings, as well as tips on how to prevent them from occurring and damaging your home or commercial property.

Understanding Building Fire Damage

Most office building fires are small. But even a small fire can do a lot of damage if it gets out of control or isn’t contained early on. One of the biggest dangers is smoke and fire damage to your home or commercial office's interiors. Smoke can permeate materials, carpets, walls, flooring, ceilings—even drywall joints—leaving hidden danger behind long after flames have been extinguished. Even if you can’t see any visible signs of fire or smoke damage, you should always have an experienced professional examine your property for lingering toxins from before you move back in.

According to this report by the NFPA, there are 7 main causes of fires in commercial office buildings. Cooking Equipment, Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, heating equipment, intentional damage, smoking materials, exposure to other fire sources, and electronic, office, or entertainment equipment. This statistic includes general business offices, banks, veterinary or research offices, engineering, mailing firms, and post offices.

Common Causes of Commercial Building Fires

Most office fires are caused by cooking equipment, accounting for slightly over one in every four commercial office fires. However, while these fires are the most common, they do not account for most of the property damage to office buildings. That position is taken by the intentional damage category. Intentional damage alone accounts for a full 20% of commercial fire property damage. Intentional Property Damage occurs when a person seeks to purposely damage the office property through arson.

Two other leading causes of fire in office buildings are heating equipment, electrical distribution, and lighting equipment. Together, they account for 18% of property damage to commercial office buildings. These can include things such as space heaters, light fixtures, electrical wiring, outlets, electrical appliances, extension cords, and more.

While lower on the list, smoking materials, electronic, office, or entertainment equipment account for 12% of commercial office property damage.

Lastly, exposure fires, as defined by the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), are fires resulting from another fire outside of the commercial building itself. This kind of commercial fire damage accounted for 18% of property loss.

What Can I Do To Prevent A Building Fire?

If your building was constructed with modern building materials, fire damage should be a rare occurrence. But it can still happen if you’re not careful. Make sure all smoking materials are safely extinguished before leaving work each day. A smoldering cigarette can ignite more easily than you think. Also, make sure to regularly inspect your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire suppression systems to ensure they’re working properly. If a smoke alarm goes off for no reason at all, make sure to replace or recharge its batteries immediately.

The NFPA uncovered another intriguing statistic about fires on weekends and between the nighttime hours of 7 pm and 7 am. 19% of fires occurred on weekends but accounted for 31% of fire-related property losses. Meanwhile, fires at night accounted for less than one-third of office property fires, yet caused 67% of direct property damage due to fires.

Automatic Fire Detection & Fire Extinguishing Systems: This shows that one of the most important steps you can take towards protecting your office building from fire damage is to install and maintain automatic detection and fire extinguishing systems.

Camera monitoring systems such as those installed by videosurveillance.com or Pelco would be best for large-scale commercial properties. Otherwise, self-installed solutions such as those recommended in this article by PC Mag will work well.

For fire suppression systems, the best solution is to pay a proper fire protection services consultant such as Fire Protection Services LLC. Make sure to ask them to help you develop and implement a fire suppression system maintenance plan.

Cooking Equipment Fire Prevention: The best way to prevent fires with cooking equipment is to train your staff properly in its use, cleaning, and maintenance. For more on cooking equipment fire prevention, be sure to refer to our article called Reduce Fire Risk in Your Commercial Kitchen with These Quick Tips.

Electrical Hazards Fire Prevention: When it comes to electrical distribution and lighting equipment, there is a multitude of reasons why fire may start. But according to this article by firerescue1.com, faulty outlets or appliances, light fixtures, extension cords, space heaters, and wiring issues were the 5 most common electrical fire causes.

To prevent faulty outlet or wiring fire hazards, the first step is to make sure to have a certified electrical contractor or property inspector review your commercial property before purchase. Even if you or a tenant are already occupying your commercial office space, a proper inspection by a certified electrical contractor to ensure code compliance of all building materials and installations will protect you from potentially expensive fire repairs. This is especially important to protect you from having to pay for potential property damages out of pocket.

To protect your commercial property from fire damage due to light fixtures or extension cords, the most important tip is to ensure you follow the manufacturer's maximum recommended wattage and amperage guidance.

A good rule of thumb for selecting an extension cord is the smaller the wire gauge rating, the greater the capacity. According to this article by the Spruce, 12-gauge extension cords can handle up to 1920 watts (16 Amps), 14-gauge cords can handle 1440 watts (12 Amps), 16-gauge  can handle 840 Watts (7 Amps), and 18-gauge cords 600 Watts (5 Amps). In addition to wattage capacities, another thing you should look at when choosing a commercial electrical power solution is cord lengths. The longer the cord, the more important it becomes to have a higher wattage extension cord.

For light fixtures, you should follow manufacturer guidelines to prevent property fire damage. However, what you should look out for are potentially dangerous light bulb wattages and materials around your lighting fixtures that could catch fire. High-wattage incandescent bulbs installed on light fixtures that are rated for lower-wattage bulbs can spark flames because of overheating. Also, keeping flammable materials around light fixtures, or allowing dust buildup increases the risk for fire damage.

Call SERVPRO of Cherokee County to Restore Commercial Fire Damage

We hope these tips are useful to help you protect your commercial property from fire damage. In case you experience a property loss in your commercial office building or commercial property, our team at SERVPRO of Cherokee County is available to help 24/7/365. Call us today at 770-924-3848 for rapid assistance.