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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Preparing Your Home for Snow, Sleet and other Slick Storms

2/3/2022 (Permalink)

Snow, Sleet, and other Slick Storms are something that you and your family should be prepared for, especially in the coming months. These months, we are prone to see ice, sleet, snow, sometimes hail, so we have to be prepared for when the time arises. Here are some tips for how to prepare your home and your family for these storms.

Always check your home’s heating and air conditioning system

Always make sure that your home’s heating and air conditioning system is working properly, and is being maintained. Change the filters, and have the system inspected by a good HVAC contractor. Look into an annual maintenance agreement. The contractor will check your system and make sure your heat is going to be there when you need it the most. 

Maintenance on Your Chimney and Other Heating Equipment 

It’s important to make sure that your heating equipment and chimneys are cleaned and inspected before the winter. The filter of your furnace will need to be replaced on a regular basis to prevent any mishaps with the heating equipment.

Set the heat to around 55 degrees or higher to make sure that your pipes do not freeze or burst. 

Install storm proof windows

Installing stormproof windows will help to prevent any heat from escaping. You may also use plastic sheeting to prevent the heat from getting out, and letting the cold air in. 

Let faucets drip consistently when it is freezing outside

This will help to prevent any water pipes from freezing. 

Paying attention to the roof

Make sure that no tree branches are extending over the roof, this will prevent any damage to your home if heavy snow is piled on your roof, or if ice has covered over top.

Checking for Storm Damage on Your Home’s Exterior

2/3/2022 (Permalink)

It’s just as important to check your home’s exterior after a storm as it is the interior. In fact, it may be more important to check the exterior, since that’s where water usually gets into your home.

Here is a quick list of what you should check on the exterior of your home after a storm. It only takes a few minutes, and it can save you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in home repair costs. 

First, check your siding. Strong winds, rain, and hail can loosen your siding, whether you have vinyl or wood siding. Also, check window frames and shutters for vulnerability as well as rot. 

Next, give your outdoor structures a quick check. That includes decks, sheds, fences, pergolas, gazebos, even garden arbors.   

While you’re out checking these structures, remember to check your trees to make sure no branches have fallen or were damaged or weakened during the storm. These can pose a threat for future storms. 

Finally, check your roof. Be careful when inspecting your roof. Make sure to use a sturdy ladder and good grippy shoes to prevent slipping and falling. As you inspect your roof, look for shingles that have been turned up or are missing. Any place where shingles have been damaged is a potential spot for water to seep in. Take a picture of the damage and call your insurance agency, as your insurance may cover the costs of roof repair.

Having an Emergency Plan for Storms

2/3/2022 (Permalink)

Schools, office buildings, hotels, and hospitals all have plans posted (even practiced) in case of an emergency. So, why not have a disaster recovery plan for you in your own home or business? This may or may not be something that you have considered before, and perhaps it has just been put on the backburner with other tasks. However, this is a task that you may not want to put off; after all, disaster can strike at any time. 

By ensuring that you have a solid plan that everyone is aware of, not only will clean-up be easier, but it will help to ensure the safety and well-being of loved ones. So, where exactly should you start and what are the benefits?

  1.     Reduced fear, anxiety, and panic if disaster should strike – Have a good understanding of what disasters you may face. If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes, you’ll want to make sure there is a safe shelter for everyone. Additionally, you will want to make sure there are provisions in your shelter such as water, blankets, dry food, lights, batteries, etc.
  2.     Avoid confusion and extra stress - Make sure that everyone is aware of the disaster plan and there are clear responsibilities. No matter the age, everyone who lives or works under your plan should be well versed in what to do if there is a flood, fire, or other natural disasters. Discussing and practicing this plan can help to ensure that everyone is in the loop. 
  3.     Less stress with clean-up and repairs - Check with your insurance! Make sure that all of the bases are covered with your insurance, especially that you are covered from floods and other natural disasters. 
  4.     No need to worry about replacing items that are irreplaceable. Make sure to keep important documents and keepsakes in a fireproof and waterproof safe. Not only will this help to make the claims and clean up an easier transition, but you can also protect important pictures and documents. 
  5.     Less counting later on! Keep an inventory of all valuables. If you should have to file a claim, it will be easier to pull the record out as opposed to trying to scan your stressed brain. 

If you decide that it is time to make and follow a disaster plan, make sure that you do your research so that you are well prepared. It is easy to get caught up in life and forget that disasters do happen, but if it should happen, you’ll be glad that you were ready. If you are in the middle of making your plan and are not sure of what contacts to put in your phone, add SERVPRO to the list, we are faster to any disaster! 

Do you Have a Plan for Tornadoes?

2/3/2022 (Permalink)

TORNADOS are highly common in many parts of our country and every household should be prepared to act quickly when the warning sirens blare.

Even if do not hear a siren or get a text warning, there are clear signs a tornado may be heading your way including seeing a funnel cloud, hearing roaring noises, a suddenly darkening or green-colored sky, hail, and debris in the wind.

Fortunately, preparing a safe spot in your home to wait out a tornado is simple and well worth doing to protect your family.

Have a designated safe room – the lower the better, preferably in the basement. Even a closet without windows can work. 

Ensure you have essential supplies on hand in the safe room – food, water, first aid supplies, important documents, clothing, blankets, battery-powered radio, medication, and pet supplies. Some books may help pass the time too.

Remove any loose items from around your home to stop them from being thrown into the building and causing damage – trash cans, patio furniture, fallen tree branches, grills, and the like.

Have your home checked over by professionals to ensure masonry and chimneys are in good condition and secured. They can also help reinforce the safety room, especially its doorways.

And finally, check your insurance policy to be sure you understand what is and is not covered in the event of damage. If it needs updating do it before tornado season.

Restoring Your Important Documents and Images After Flooding

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

When you notice a flood in your home, it may be too late or dangerous to remove any important documents or pictures from the water. Water damage is not only bad for your flooring and foundation, but can ruin anything that is in the path of the water. Here are some ways SERVPRO cleans your precisions belongings: 

  • Air Drying
  • Dehumidification
  • Freezer Drying
  • Vacuum Freeze Drying
  • Vacuum Thermal Drying

There is no set schedule to flooding so it may be worth your time to buy water and fireproof safe to place all your important documents, pictures, and money in just to be safe. SERVPRO also offers Contents Claim Inventory Service where we will go all throughout your home to take note of any belongings or structures that were damaged by the flood. 

Our Contents Claim Inventory Service:

  • Preloss list and value of contents
  • A detailed and accurate report
  • Better information to settle claims quicker
  • Assistance with the burden of proof for claims
  • Peace of mind when you need it most

Cleaning Your Yard After A Flood

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

While there are endless amounts of information about what to do when your house floods, what do you do when your yard is flooded? As always, SERVPRO is here to help with some tips on how to take care of your lawn after a flood. 

The first and most important thing you can do is avoid floodwater. Pools of water in your lawn can quickly become dangerous between the depth and unsanitary water. It’s best to hire a professional to inspect the water before attempting to remove it, yourself. 

The next thing you should do is clean up debris. In many cases, a flooded lawn is caused by a particularly bad storm. This means that in addition to water, there will likely be branches or items from your neighborhood strewn around your yard. It’s also important to keep an eye out for sections of trees that have been damaged and hire a professional to remove them before they become dangerous. 

You may also want to consider contacting a professional landscaper once the water and branches have been removed. This is the best way to have the highest chance of saving your beloved flowers, shrubs, and bushes after a flood has occurred. 

How to Protect your Pipes from Freezing

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

With the winter season comes the possibility of frozen pipes. This can be a big issue, however, it can also be prevented. When one's pipes freeze it is likely they will burst which can be dangerous and damaging to a home. Here are some signs to look out for and ways to stop your pipes from freezing!

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Pipe freezing can cause devastating, costly damage by bursting or cracking. It is better to just avoid the situation altogether. There are many different things that can be done to help this issue:

-Insulate Pipes: The more insulation one uses, the better protected your pipes are. It is especially important to insulate in your home’s crawl spaces/attics because those are the areas where freezing is the most likely to occur. 

-Seal Cracks: Locate any cracks in your pipes that let cold air inside. It is important to immediately take action and seal them to prevent further damage. You should look for any air leaks that may be happening around wiring or vents to be safe. 

-Secure Outdoor Pipes: Before the cold/winter hits, garden hoses should be disconnected. Valves leading outdoors should also be drained. You can protect them by using facet covers in the winter months.

-Drip Warm Water: When you know that cold weather is coming it is smart to have a slow drip of warm water throughout your faucets to prevent them from freezing. This is especially important overnight when they aren’t being used.

-Adjust Thermostat: Try and keep the thermostat at a constant temperature to help prevent freezing throughout the day and night when there is cold weather. This will help keep the pipes warmer so they have less of a chance of freezing. 

What To Do If Pipes Freeze

Pipes freezing can be a serious danger and action should be taken ASAP! If you turn on a faucet and there is only a drip or no water at all, it’s likely your pipes are frozen. Here are some steps to take if this is happening:

-Check Water Supply Lines: Go through and check the water supply lines and note any areas/spots that seem to be extremely cold. Be sure to notice any line breaks that there may be as well.

-Call a Professional: It is always a smart decision to call a professional when you are unsure of what to do. Protecting your home safely is a priority that a professional can help ensure. Get the help you need to prevent any unwanted damage. 

-Shut off Water: If pipes have already burst or are about to turn off the water using the main water valve in your home. Be sure everyone in the home knows the location of this valve to prevent any costly confusion that could happen in the future.

-Use a Hairdryer: A hairdryer could be an at-home solution for a frozen pipe. You may be able to thaw the ice using the heat from the hairdryer. It is important, however, to check that there is no standing water that could lead to one getting electrocuted. Put your safety first!

Check your pipes this winter season to make sure they don’t freeze! SERVPRO is here to help prevent the damage from happening as well as clean up any that might’ve already happened. We want to help ensure the protection of you and your home. Don’t freeze in the possibility of danger!

Fire Extinguishers and their Upkeep

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Fire extinguishers are likely found in the majority of, if not all buildings/homes you’ve been in. They are there to prevent fires with flame-retardant chemicals. They are only effective, however, if people know where they are and when to use them. 

Types of Fire

There are different types of fire extinguishers that are effective for different types of fires. Fires are classified by what causes the fire in the first place. For example, wood, paper, cloth, etc. is different from an electrical fire. Because of this difference, there are different types of fire extinguishers to stop them. It takes certain chemicals to stop a fire and if the wrong chemicals are used it can make it worse. There are dry chemicals, carbon dioxide, water, and wet chemical fire extinguishers and if the wrong one is used it will likely be ineffective or make the fire worse.

Fire Extinguisher Upkeep

According to the National Fire Protection Agency(NFPA), these are the recommendations for upkeep and inspection procedures:

-Make sure the location is in a designated place.

-Keep it visible or have a sign to indicate the location for those who may not know.

-Make sure there is easy access to the extinguisher.

-Be sure that it is always full (weigh it).

-Pressure gauge should be in the operable range.

Testing should be done on fire extinguishers but the time between each test depends on the type of extinguisher. If it doesn’t pass the testing, then the fire extinguisher should immediately be replaced.

Keep your home safe from any fire that may happen. It is always an unexpected event and being prepared with a fire extinguisher may help there be less damage. Here at SERVPRO, we want to help you with any fire damage repair or restoration that you may need! Better to be safe and prepared than sorry. 

Fireplace Maintenance and Safety

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Fireplaces are a great addition to any home. They provide both a stylish upgrade to your interior and a new source of warmth. Nonetheless, they are still a source of fire in your home. Because of this, it is important to remember that there are maintenance and safety tips that you should follow.

Never Leave a Burning Fire Unattended

We all know that you should not leave fire on your stove (such as a burner being on) alone in the kitchen, but the same rule applies to your fireplace. Make sure that you always have an eye on your fireplace when it is in use.

Clean the Interior of the Fireplace

Cleaning the inside of your fireplace is an often overlooked part of keeping up with the maintenance of your fireplace. By cleaning it, you are preventing potential fire hazards in the future.

Use the Right Wood

The type of wood you burn makes all the difference. For example, treated wood has toxins that are released when burned. Using wood labeled for indoor burning will help keep you safe.

Install and Test Smoke Alarms

If you do not have smoke detectors in your home, now is the time to install them. They will detect if anything accidentally catches on fire. Make sure that you are testing your alarms monthly.

Test the Fireplace Before Using It

To ensure that your fireplace is working properly, check that your fireplace is properly ventilated. Doing this will ensure that there is no smoke entering your home.

Making sure that you are always following the maintenance and safety rules for a fireplace is essential to keeping your home safe. After having reviewed these tips, we hope that you are able to enjoy your fireplace safely and comfortably.

How to Safely Use a Space Heater

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Space heaters are a fantastic way to warm up your home when the weather is dropping. Keeping the cold outside can be difficult, so they help combat that problem. Just like any other appliance, it is important to make sure that you are using it safely. Here are some of our favorite tips for using a space heater:

Use it on a Flat Surface

Using a space heater on a flat surface is key to preventing it from tipping over. Tipping the heater over may result in a fire since it produces heat. 

Keep it Away from Flammable Materials

As we have already mentioned, the heater is going to be hot. Pull your heater at least 3 feet away from any flammable materials (curtains, bedding, furniture, etc.) to prevent anything from catching on fire.

Buy Smart

If you have not yet purchased your space heater, we recommend that you invest in one with smart controls. This will allow the space heater to automatically turn off after a set period of time.

Plug it Directly into the Wall

To avoid overloading your electrical outlets, make sure you plus your space heater directly into an outlet. Using an extension cord may cause it to overload and stop working, or even potentially spark a fire.

Watch Out for Water

Water and hot, electric elements do not mix well. Make sure that your space heater has plenty of space between any water sources to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Having a space heater is a great addition to your home. It can bring some warmth to the cold, winter months. Always make sure that you are using the heater properly to keep your household safe, warm, and happy.

Proper Candle Care

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Candles are a great way to bring a welcoming smell to your favorite spaces. In addition to the smell, their looks can give a warm, cozy mood to your space. They have a flame, so it is important to make sure that you are taking proper care of them. Here are some of our favorite candle care tips.

Never Leave Your Candle Unattended

Just like any source of fire, it is important to never leave the flame alone. While your candle is burning, make sure that you stay close by just in case something happens to the candle and its fire spreads.

Burn in a Large Space

If you are in a small and stuffy area, the fumes from certain candles may not make you feel the best. By burning in a large area, the scent has more room to spread to, therefore providing a better overall experience.

Use Proper Ventilation

Similarly, to why you should burn your candle in a large space, you should also make sure that the area can be well ventilated. Otherwise, the scent could become overwhelming. 

Trim the Wick

Trimming the wick is a part of candle care that most people overlook. By trimming the wick, you are greatly reducing the amount of smoke being released into the air, which overall creates a better burning experience. 

Don’t Play with the Hot Wax

Playing with the hot wax may look fun, but it is not worth it. You will likely be messing up the burn pattern of the candle. There is also a possibility that you could burn yourself, so it is best to leave the hot wax alone.

Candles are something just about everyone enjoys, but it is still important to make sure that you are taking proper care of yours. Safety should always be your priority, so make sure that you practice proper candle care.

What are Tenants Responsible For in Commercial Spaces?

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

As the tenant of commercial office space, it’s important to know what you’re responsible for when it comes to cleaning and maintaining the leased space. While we always recommend checking your rental agreement and even checking with your landlord or their property manager, there are some things that you can usually count on being responsible for.

Let’s look first at what you must do as a tenant. When renting commercial space, it’s your responsibility to keep nonstructural parts of your space clean and functioning. That usually includes keeping the walls and floors clean, fixing any lighting issues, and cleaning areas like offices, kitchens, and bathrooms. It’s also your responsibility to take out the garbage regularly and to be a good neighbor to other businesses sharing the space. Any activities that disrupt other tenants or harm the space will concern the landlord and could lead to your eviction.  

What shouldn’t you do? As a tenant, you should not need to clean common areas like stairways and elevators. You also should not be responsible for fixing structural damages like heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical wiring, or maintenance of any machinery or equipment that was included in the rented space. Such responsibilities fall to the property owner. However, if you notice any structural issues, you should contact the landlord immediately, so they can quickly remedy the issue. 

If you need help keeping your commercial office space safe and clean, contact your local SERVPRO franchise. Whether you need regular cleaning and maintenance or you’ve had a disaster that needs to be cleaned up, we can help. 

How SERVPRO Can Help Clean Educational Facilities

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Damage to an educational institution affects two components: the property and the learning process. Whether it be a storm, water, fire, or any other type of disaster, the property is going to be damaged. This will affect how usable the facility is, so until it gets fixed, it cannot be used as a school. It is important to fix the building as quickly as possible to get the school back up and running for the students to be able to return. To do this as fast as possible, it is essential to hire a damage restoration team to help. 

SERVPRO is equipped to clean and restore educational facilities as fast and safely as possible. Our experienced team is able to repair damage sustained from any disaster while minimizing any disruption to the students and their education. We are capable of restoring educational buildings of all sizes, from nursery schools all the way to universities. In addition, we can support the restoration process of athletic facilities, such as sports complexes and stadiums. 

SERVPRO is also able to disinfect educational facilities. We can handle the cleaning in just about any space you can think of, whether that be to handle mold or disinfect surfaces across the facility. We prioritize providing students and staff with a clean and safe environment to learn in, so we clean spaces as efficiently as we can. 

Any damage done to an educational facility can be scary for students, staff, and administrators, so SERVPRO is committed to providing the most efficient and effective clean-up possible to the space as possible. We are here to help you when disaster strikes, so contact SERVPRO for all of your educational facility’s damage restoration needs.

How Often Should Schools Be Professionally Cleaned?

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

If there’s one thing that everyone knows about children, it’s that they can be great at making messes and spreading germs. Because of this, it’s important (now more than ever, thanks to COVID-19) to keep our children's schools clean. Here are some of the best ways to do that:

Be Aware of the Dirtiest Places

High-touch surfaces are some of the most important things to keep clean anywhere, but this is especially true in schools, where there may be more high-touch surfaces than in other places. For example, door handles, water fountains, desks, tables, pencil sharpeners, whiteboards, and dry erase markers are all high-touch surfaces that should be cleaned daily. 

Know When to Bring in the Pros

There are certain things that are just not feasible for teachers to clean. Many schools hire janitors for projects such as cleaning bathrooms, mopping the floors, and cleaning food equipment. While this should be done daily, we know that sometimes cleaning while the kids are in school can be hard. If you really want to deep clean your school, breaks may be the best time to do so. During winter break, spring break, or summer break, professional cleaning crews will have more time to deep clean things like carpets, lockers, cafeterias, etc. 

Best Masks to Wear in the Workplace

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Masks are still a part of our daily lives, so it is a good idea to invest in professional-looking ones. One of the keys to finding a good mask for you is to find a fit that you like first, then find colors and patterns you like next.

Old Navy Pleated Masks

Old Navy offers an adjustable trifold mask that has adjustable straps. They come in a multitude of colors and patterns, allowing you to expand your mask wardrobe rapidly. These masks come in a 5-pack and are priced at $12.50.

Bilio Mask

Bilio masks are a great option for glasses-wearers, as they offer a copper nose piece and are shaped to fit your face tightly, reducing fog. They come in many different color options, allowing you to style them with just about anything. They are priced at $38 each.

Outdoor Research Adrenaline Sports Face Mask

The Adrenaline Sports Face Mask Kit is great for anyone who works outdoors because it is designed for high levels of activity. It is breathable and lightweight, making it suitable for anyone who works outside. The mask also comes with a filter pocket and filters. This mask costs $29.

Fydelity Face Mask

The Fydelity Face Mask is a lightweight, moisture-wicking mask. It features adjustable straps and a nose bridge. Offered in a variety of colors and patterns, this mask will complete any of your favorite work outfits. Coming in at $15 each on Amazon, the Fydelity mask is a great option for anyone looking for a comfortable mask.

Finding the right mask can be tricky, so trying out several brands and styles will help you find the best one for you. Here at SERVPRO, we make safety our greatest priority. Wearing these masks in the workplace will keep you safe and stylish.

The SERVPRO Way of Cleaning your Belongings After A Fire

1/26/2022 (Permalink)

House Fire The SERVPRO Way of Cleaning your Belongings After A Fire

The last thing you or your family wants to worry about after a devastating house fire is cleaning your belongings and treasures. Not only is this a hassle, but it can actually be quite dangerous. That is why you should leave it to the professionals at SERVPRO. Here is a list of ways that we clean your belongings and restore them: 

  • Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
  • Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
  • Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
  • Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
  • Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
  • Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.

We also provide move-out and pack-up services so you can stay somewhere safe while we do the dirty work! Once the restoration is complete, we will move all your freshly cleaned items back in. 

What Happens if There's a COVID Outbreak in the Office?

12/28/2021 (Permalink)

As if work wasn’t already stressful enough, this year you also have to add in company shutdowns, working from home, masks, and so much more to the list. During this time it is important to have a plan in place in case Covid-19 comes into your workplace.

If someone is experiencing symptoms that have been linked to Covid-19, they should begin to quarantine and get tested. If an employee tests positive it is important that anyone that had close contact* with that individual also gets tested, as well as anyone experiencing symptoms. If it is possible to work remotely it is ideal to do so for the next 2 weeks. 

If an employee tested positive for COVID-19 and worked while contagious, it is recommended to thoroughly clean this space using EPA-approved disinfectants, a diluted bleach solution, or 70% alcohol solution. According to CDC, the following cleaning and disinfecting should be performed in your facility: 

  • Close off areas used by the person who is sick. Companies do not necessarily need to close operations, if they can close off affected areas. 
  •  Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.  Wait 24 hours before you clean or disinfect. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  •  Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines. 
  •  Vacuum the space if needed

Once the area has been properly disinfected, business can be reopened and workers that did not have close contact* with the infected individual can return to work. If any customers or clients had close contact with the employee they should be notified, but you do not need to reach out to all. 

The employees who tested positive or came in close contact* are able to return to work once they have both been fever free without medication for 24 hours and it has been 10 days since the onset of symptoms. If asymptomatic, 10 days after the positive test. 

Stay vigilant about preventing the spread of Covid-19 by following CDC guidelines. SERVPRO can help with Covid cleaning after an outbreak, or in prevention. 

*close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a prolonged period (15 minutes or more) starting from 2 days before illness onset. The 15 minutes does not need to be continuous. Face coverings do not eliminate all risk

Educational Facilities Professional Cleaning and Restoration

11/29/2021 (Permalink)

SERVOPRO cleaning crew Our SERVPRO crew working on commercial cleaning.

After a long first semester with the COVID-19 virus still lingering around and flu season is in full swing, it may be time to get your educational facility professionally cleaned. The perfect time to do this is over Christmas and summer break when there are no students to disrupt. A clean environment helps students to learn better and it also decreases the risk of students calling out sick from class. 

When a school or other educational facility sustains water or other damage, it’s not only a loss of property; it’s also a loss of time spent learning, leaving many students struggling to catch up. SERVPRO® can help minimize your facility’s downtime so your staff and students can return safely. Whatever size facility you have, our trained technicians will work with your school’s administrators to assess water or other damage, regardless of the size or cause. Our professionals know how to restore the damage in areas specific to educational facilities such as classrooms, laboratories, and gymnasiums. It’s our goal to restore your school to its preloss condition with as little disruption as possible to students, teachers, and staff.

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration, SERVPRO is experienced in handling school water damage, fire, mold remediation, and the cleaning and disinfecting of facilities of all sizes, including:

  • Early Childhood – Preschool and Nursery School
  • Primary – Elementary and Middle Schools
  • Secondary – High School and Academies
  • Higher Education – College and University
  • Industry Trade Schools
  • Athletics – Gymnasium, Sports Complexes and Stadiums

Medical Facility Cleaning and Restoration

11/29/2021 (Permalink)

Medical Facility Medical Facility

If there is any place in the world you want to be clean, it is probably a medical facility. Hundreds of sick people come in and out of these facilities every day so it is important that they are properly cleaned and maintained. 

SERVPRO® brings our experience and training to help hospitals and other healthcare facilities following damage from fire, water, mold or other emergency situations.

When damage of any kind strikes a hospital or other medical facility, the welfare of the patients is the top priority. Owners and managers of hospitals and other healthcare facilities can count on SERVPRO to handle everything from hospital fire and water damage to medical office cleaning. Our highly trained professionals will quickly assess your needs and work with environmental and infection control teams to help ensure all health certifications are obtained prior to completing the job.  Our professionals are trained to handle the complexities involved with the cleanup and restoration of medical facilities, such as adherence to HIPAA protocols and the proper disposal of medical waste. We strive to complete cleaning services in your medical facility in a timely and cost-efficient way so that you can have a clean, safe environment to care for your patients.

SERVPRO has experience offering medical cleaning services to facilities that include:

  • Hospitals
  • Assisted Living Centers
  • Outpatient Surgical Centers
  • Hospice Facilities
  • Senior Living and Nursing Home Facilities
  • Medical Office Buildings
  • Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Electronics and Machine Restoration

Five Tips for Getting Rid of the Smoke Smell in your Home

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

If you’ve had a fire in your home recently, the smell of smoke may still haunt you even if you’ve had the damage repaired. Not only is the smell of smoke unpleasant, but it can also be a harsh reminder of the fiery event that took place in your home. Here are five tips to get that smell out of your house for good! 

  1. Air out the house. Open every single door and window in your house that you can and turn on every fan you own. Place the fans strategically throughout your house, pointing them in corners or towards doorways and windows. This will help “push” the smell out of the house. 
  2. Clean! All clothes, towels, bedsheets, curtains, rugs, blankets, and other fabric materials in your home should be washed-- even furniture needs to be cleaned. Wash your windows, screens, and blinds, as well as all solid surfaces with dish soap, white vinegar, and warm water. 
  3. Deep clean the carpet. Get your hands on a carpet cleaner and shampoo your carpets-- carpet holds smoke! 
  4. Clean out the HVAC system. Smoke can stay stuck in the ductwork in your home and continue to circulate smokey-smelling air throughout your home. 
  5. Repaint your walls. Paint can also retain smoke odor, so if you follow the previous tips and still smell smoke, it may be time for a paint job! Latex paint is best for preventing odor retention. 

Of course, if you still notice the smell after following these tips, give us a call and let the professionals handle it-- we’re happy to help! 

How do you Know You're Done Cleaning After a Flood?

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

After a home flooding, it can be a great relief to see the water removed and your home begin to dry out. But just because the water is out, doesn’t mean your home is safe.

The biggest problem that arises from flooding is mold. Under the perfect circumstances, mold can begin to grow just 24 to 48 hours after flooding. And even after standing water is removed, there is still the risk of excess moisture. 

So how do you deal with moisture that could cause a mold outbreak? The first step is to get rid of any materials that were soaked and cannot be properly cleaned or will not dry thoroughly. Carpet and carpet padding must be torn out and trashed. Padded and cloth-covered furniture like loveseats and couches may need to be tossed as well.

Drywall should be removed 12 inches above the waterline. Most baseboards will also need to be discarded. If the insulation behind the drywall is wet, cut it above the wet area and discard it. Don’t pull the entire column of insulation down, as it can be difficult and expensive to replace.

Once the compromised materials are removed, you can focus on the floors and studs. In most cases, floor boards and studs can be saved, but they must be cleaned and dried properly. To do so, ventilate your home by opening windows and allowing for air circulation. To help air flow, use simple box fans or even carpet dryers. If you’re not able to open windows, use a dehumidifier. Even after you think the space is dry, continue the drying and ventilating process. 

We also recommend using a moisture meter, which can read the moisture level in the floorboards and studs. Once these materials are at or below 16% moisture, you are safe from future mold growth. 

How Do You Know When Everything Is Dry?

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

After you’ve had a flood in your home, your first question during the restoration process may be, “How will I know when everything is completely dry?” You may even be wondering if everything in your home ever will be completely dry again. 

One of the easiest ways to be sure that everything will be dry is to hire professionals, such as our SERVPRO professionals, to handle the restoration process for you. At SERVPRO, our technicians have professional equipment that can help us to know when your property is dry:

  • Moisture Sensors: detect moisture in carpets, baseboards, and walls.
  • Moisture Meters: determine the moisture content of various materials.
  • Thermohygrometers: measure both temperature and relative humidity, allowing SERVPRO professionals to calculate humidity, dew point, and vapor pressure in your property.

In general, it can take several weeks to completely dry out a house and its contents. If you have the ability to set your belongings outside to dry, it’s usually best to do so. Fabric items such as clothes, towels, or bedding can typically dry within 24 hours if left outside, as long as the weather permits. Remember to avoid placing items in direct sunlight if you use this method. As for larger items, such as mattresses or furniture, it could take up to a week to dry them outside, so we recommend hiring a team of professionals to ensure that your possessions are dried quickly enough to avoid mold growth.

COVID-19 in the Office: Applying 2020 Lessons in 2021

9/5/2021 (Permalink)

For the last year, it’s been hard to go an entire day without hearing or seeing the words: pandemic, Corona, COVID-19, 6 feet, social distancing, and everything related.

The COVID-19 pandemic was definitely the single most talked about topic in 2020 and for good reason as it has an effect in some way in everyone's life. Who could have thought that running back to your car to grab your mandatory face mask before going into a public place was going to be the new normal. With all of these changes and new rules and regulations there are new problems that have come to light.

Most businesses have been able to reopen and we have seen the “stay at home” orders become less and less in effect. With that being the case there is a whole new category of cleaning that needs to be done in order to ensure these businesses are safe for people to come to. 

What questions to ask professionals responsible for disinfecting your space?

  • Do your employees have a pathogen-specific certification for building disinfection?
  • Are you properly insured to provide services (worker’s compensation, liability insurance, etc.) related to communicable diseases?
  • Are you following a cleaning and disinfection protocol that is specific to that building?
  • Are your employees in compliance with OSHA and EPA regulations? (i.e. training, infection control plans, PPE, proper chemicals, etc.)
  • Do you have a properly written contract specific to COVID disinfection services?

Unfortunately, a lot of contractors hopping onto this new COVID cleaning bandwagon do not have the experience, certifications, and knowledge in order to ensure your business is up to the current OSHA and EPA standards, making these questions very important to ask before deciding on the company you will use for your business.

The solution to this new widespread problem we are seeing with COVID-19 is as simple as proper training. One training and certification possibility lies with The Pathogen Response and Resource Alliance (PR2A), which has established professional training and certification courses.

The Founders of PR2A provide unmatched and critical credibility that supports our overall mission in developing a nationally recognized COVID Standard of Care, starting with training and certification courses. 

At SERVPRO we are committed to keeping with the highest standards in every service we provide. We offer Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned and all of our technicians are certified for pathogen-specific cleaning.

Give us a call today at 1-800-SERVPRO to see what we can do for your business. 

How to Choose the Right Commercial Cleaning Company

9/5/2021 (Permalink)

There is nothing worse than turning off a potential new client because of a dirty or dusty-looking office space. When it comes to cleaning, businesses have two options, they hire individuals on their own payroll, or they just take the burden off their plate and hire a professional company to handle all those duties. 

There are pros and cons to both options but overall hiring a professional cleaning company is usually the better option.

A commercial cleaning company understands every aspect of what it takes to both keep your office sparkling clean and the extent to which a very clean office makes a favorable impression on clients. They must do a great job of cleaning and maintaining your workplace, but you must also be confident that they will protect your business assets.

Top 5 Tips for Hiring the Right Company

  • Find out their hiring and training requirements. A professional commercial cleaning services company will be able to discuss how they hire staff and evaluate employees. This process should include background checks and a formal training process. In addition, team members should be fully trained in safety and OSHA procedures. 
  • Ask for references. When selecting a commercial cleaning company, you should do a little research on their reputation. Check out their customer satisfaction reviews and the company’s overall standing within the local business community. Were other companies satisfied with their performance? Would they recommend them?
  • Ask if they have liability insurance. All prospective commercial cleaning companies should be able to provide proof of insurance and demonstrate that they’re fully licensed. You should ask to see their general and workers' compensation certificates. It is also important they hire their own staff and not sub-contractors. 
  • Find out if they have an established cleaning process. You want to know if this is a well-established commercial cleaning company, with a history of serving businesses, a proven track record, and the ability to demonstrate they’ve achieved results for other clients.
  • Choose a local company. Hiring a company with a local office or headquarters helps to ensure you will be able to have a crew out quickly if there is a need for them to do so. 

If you run a business, making sure the floors are swept and the trash is taken out is probably not high on your list of priorities. Leave the dirty work to the professionals, as an uncleanly office can leave a negative impression.

SERVPRO has over 50 years of experience in offering this type of service and they understand the importance of a safe and clean environment at work.

Call 1.800.SERVPRO  today to find out how they can help make sure your office stays sparkling clean. 

The Mobile Workforce Trend

9/5/2021 (Permalink)

Nowadays it would probably be easier and more convenient to go a day missing a hand than it would be to not have your cell phone. Mobile phones are literally the center of our life with reminders for appointments, alarms, contacts, emails, social media, bank information, and basically anything that you have going on in your daily life. 

Naturally and inevitably, our careers and workplaces are being woven in with our mobile devices. The technology that we have begun to rely on has offered the opportunity to infuse the mobile workplace trend to businesses of all kinds and all over. This trend is a long time coming, and due to the COVID-era the popularity and need have sky-rocketed. 

What is a Mobile Workforce?

A mobile workforce is a group of employees that isn’t bound by a central physical location. Instead, the employees are connected by various types of technology: computers, smartphones and other mobile devices.

Traditionally, the definition of a mobile workforce was synonymous with ‘work from home.’ However, with tech advances such as video conferencing and collaboration applications, the definition of remote working has expanded and increasingly includes employees that are out in the field - an estate agent signing off a mortgage, a lawyer briefing a client, or a sales rep closing a deal. All of these, together with those working from home, contribute to the mobile workforce. 

Why use a Mobile Workforce?

In today’s world, working remotely has increased in popularity and in fact was the only option for a significant amount of time. Creating a mobile workforce gives employees the capability to access all needed databases and be able to stay connected with the team in using uniform systems. 

A mobile workforce is also helpful to the younger generation who excel in the technological world. Studies have also shown that productivity is increased when work can be done from home or a space an individual can choose to use. 

At SERVPRO we are a mobile workforce, not only in the technological sense but also in the way of having the capability to mobilize within minutes and arrive faster to any disaster 24/7.

We are here to help in the times that offices are needed to keep all employees and customers safe. Call today for any of your commercial cleaning needs 1-800-SERVPRO. 

What to Do in the Event of a Grease Fire

9/5/2021 (Permalink)

A fire happening whether it’s in your home or a building you’re in is likely a thought that has crossed your mind.

Although there is the fire department to call to help deal with a fire, it is also important that you take steps and precautions to prevent them yourself. A lot less damage could take place if you have fire prevention tools to use while waiting for the fire department to show up.

A common kitchen fire that you may not know how to prevent is a grease fire. These are the steps to take to prevent the spread of a grease fire:

How to prevent the spread

-Cover the fire with a metal lid and leave the cover on until it has cooled.

-Turn the heat source off.

-Pour baking soda or salt on it to smother the fire if possible.

You have to be careful to use either baking soda or salt if you decide to smother the fire. This is because other cooking powders have different chemicals that don’t react the same as baking soda or salt. If you use a different powder it has the chance of making the fire worse. 

What not to do

-Do not try to move the pot/pan outside of the building. 

-Do not try to pour water over it to extinguish the fire. 

If you attempt either of these it can either cause you to get injured or make the fire worse.

Trying to move the pot/pan outside can end up giving you really bad burns or even lead to a fire outside of the building. Be sure to keep in mind the right methods if you ever find yourself in this situation.

What to do if you can’t stop the fire

-Get out of the home or building you are in. It is most important that you, including others, get out of the building safely. This is why it is a top priority to avoid injury and possible loss. 

-Call 911. Be sure you are a reasonable distance from the fire to ensure you are safe before calling. 

-Stay out and far from home/building until the fire has been contained and handled by firefighters.

Ways to prevent grease fires

-Don’t leave food being cooked in grease unattended.

-Keep flammable items far from the stovetop.

-Heat the oil slowly to the recommended temperature.

-Add food into oil/grease gently to avoid any splatter.

Knowing fire prevention methods is very important just in case you ever find yourself in a situation where there is a fire. Knowing ways to slow or stop a fire can help lessen damage from happening in your home.

Here at SERVPRO, we want to help you restore your home and offer services for fire damage repair and restoration. No one ever expects a fire to happen so try and be prepared for the unexpected.

How to Create an Evacuation Plan in Case of a Fire

9/5/2021 (Permalink)

Evacuation plans are a necessity, regardless of whether you are at home or in a business. Having one in place could save lives and prevent unnecessary injury to those involved in the situation.

Here are some tips on making a custom evacuation plan to best fit your needs as well as those around you. 

Plan for everyone. 

Don’t just think for yourself, the plan needs to benefit everyone and accommodate any special circumstances. Children may need extra planning as situations like this may be hard for them to understand. 

Find two ways out. 

Make sure you are not limited to one exit, ensuring multiple exits gives you a better chance of escaping to safety. 

Involve children in planning. 

Consider having your children help create a fire evacuation plan2. Draw a map of the home and have children mark two exit routes and the locations of smoke detectors.

Choose a meeting spot. 

Decide on a meeting place outside, such as a neighbor’s house, mailbox or stop sign. It should be in the front of the house so emergency responders can see you when they arrive. Agree not to go back into the house after you leave.

Check smoke alarms. 

Check that smoke detectors are properly placed and working. The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing them in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping room and on every level of the home.3

Be visible. 

Make sure that your house number can be seen quickly from the street by emergency responders.

Respond quickly.

Make sure everyone knows that if the smoke alarm sounds, he or she needs to get out immediately.

Have a backup plan. 

If the planned exit routes are blocked and it’s not possible to leave the house, close all doors between you and the fire. Place a towel under the door and go to an exterior-facing window. Call the fire department to report your location.

Share with everyone. 

Go over the plan with everyone who lives in the house and with visitors and overnight guests.

Practice regularly. 

Practice and review the plan regularly (at least once a year).

How Ohio Storms Can Damage the Interior of Your Home

9/5/2021 (Permalink)

With Ohio thunderstorms come hail and high winds. And this year, in particular, we’ve experienced quite a bit of rain. These conditions can cause a range of damage to your home. It’s important to be on the lookout for any signs, so you can catch them early. 

The next time a storm comes along, we encourage you to check for these signs of storm damage inside your home. A quick walk-through is all you need, and it can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in repair costs. 

First, check your ceilings. If you find any flaking paint, discoloration, or dripping on your ceiling, then chances are good that your roof has a leak. You will want to follow the leak up to your attic, to see where the leak is coming from. 

Next, check your walls because walls can show signs of water and moisture damage just like ceilings. If you find any moldy, mildewy dark spots; chipping or flaking paint; or streaks where water has run down, then you know that water is seeping in. Trace the water back to find the source, so you can fix it immediately. 

Regular Roof Maintenance Homeowners Can Do to Prevent Storm Damage

9/5/2021 (Permalink)

What other part of a home takes a harder beating than the roof? All year it’s subjected to wind, rain, hail, freezing temperatures, and the hot sun. Since your roof is already facing quite a gauntlet, it’s important to regularly maintain it to prevent serious damage. Roofs aren’t cheap, so taking precautions is well worth the time and effort. 

Shingles are your roof’s main protective layer. They shield and insulate your roof from the elements. When shingles come loose, peel up, or fall off, your home becomes vulnerable to water damage. That’s why it’s important to check your shingles for any signs of weakness such as missing or loose shingles.

Strong winds will easily get under loose shingles and tear them up with each gust. So even one loose shingle can lead to big, expensive problems. 

While you’re checking your shingles, inspect the gutters as well. Make sure your gutters aren’t clogged. Throughout the year, gutters can get packed with dirt, leaves, and tree nuts. If they aren’t cleaned out, water will build up and run over your roof, which can cause water damage. 

If water sits too long on your roof, you can also get moss patches. While some homeowners find mossy roofs pretty, it’s actually destructive. Moss holds water and can push shingles away from the roof, allowing water to sink through. If you see moss on your roof, try applying zinc sulphate granules regularly, or call a roof repair company. 

Finally, protect your roof by trimming any overhanging tree branches. Trees can shed, dropping leaves and nuts. And, if squirrels and birds hangout in the tree, you can end up with animal droppings on your roof. But none of those annoyances are as bad as a tree limb dropping on your roof. Make sure trees close to your home are annually inspected  and properly trimmed.  

Roofs are too important to your home’s structural integrity to forget about. Keep an eye on your roof throughout the year, especially before and after severe weather. 

What Are the Differences Between Waterproofing Techniques?

9/5/2021 (Permalink)

When it comes to keeping your basement dry, there are many ways that any homeowner can stay proactive and on top of things. While sometimes the fixes may be smaller like a dehumidifier or sealing cracks, there are other instances that will require a little more time and attention. Waterproofing your basement, in particular, is one step that will take more effort, but is probably unavoidable. 

The good news is, there is more than one way to waterproof your basement.

Oftentimes the word itself can be intimidating because everyone thinks it is expensive. However, depending on your needs, you may be able to settle for a different waterproofing technique. Additionally, depending on how bad the water intrusion is you may be able to do some patchwork. But, when it comes down to waterproofing, there are two proven methods. So, what are your options?

Interior:

When you choose to do an interior waterproofing job, it will be more cost-effective. Your basement concrete walls will be deconstructed and rebuilt with a proper drainage system. This will require installing a sump pump as well.  Although this method may be the less expensive route, it may not have as long of a lifespan. 

Exterior:

Choosing to go with exterior waterproofing is likely to be a little more costly, but an investment in your home. With this method, the company will dig around the perimeter of your home to basically reinforce your drainage system and add an extra layer of protection. Because this option requires digging, it can only be done when the ground is not frozen. 

Although one option may stick out to you more, every situation is unique. If your home is going to be your forever home it may be best to invest in protecting your basement.

If your waterproofing needs are not as extensive, you may be able to get away with an interior waterproofing job. If your basement is showing signs of mold and water damage, you should get in contact with your local contractor. They will be able to help you decide what option will best suit your needs, and your local SERVPRO can help to get rid of that mold and water in no time! 

How to Secure Your Outdoor Furniture in Severe Weather

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

outdoor furniture with storm clouds and "How to Secure Your Outdoor Furniture in Severe Weather" How to Secure Your Outdoor Furniture in Severe Weather

Spring is here and the temperatures are starting to rise. But if you live in Ohio, you know that with spring comes spring storms: rain, hail, thunderstorms, and--wind. Every year spring storms sneak up on homeowners. After a long winter, we’re excited to have our patio furniture out. Then along comes a storm, and we’re out searching the neighborhood for cushions and lightweight furniture. 

Have you had to hunt down your own furniture after a storm? We have good news. This is totally preventable!

How to secure your outdoor furniture in storm season? 

If you’re worried about outdoor furniture and decor blowing away, protect it from the wind. Of course, you need to be aware of the weather, but let’s assume you tuned in to the weather forecast and know what’s coming. Before a storm hits, close and secure table umbrellas, and cover your outdoor chairs and couches with outdoor furniture covers. Furniture covers are great because they prevent pillows and cushions from being blown away, and they protect the furniture from dirt and dust. 

If your furniture is light and easily blown away, we advise bringing it into a covered space like a garage. If a garage is not an option, stack your lightweight furniture in a corner or tight against the back of your home where strong winds are less likely to blow through. You can also use sandbags or other heavy objects to weigh the furniture down. 

If you have an outdoor grill, we recommend pushing it against a solid wall. You don’t want it tipping over in the wind. 

Taking these precautions will save you from having to search the neighborhood for your outdoor furniture. But your neighbors will appreciate you too because securing your furniture prevents high winds from turning your outdoor furniture into dangerous projectiles.

Questions to ask Before Hiring a Home Restoration Pro

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

title over professional cleaners in hazmat suits cleaning Trust in professionals that can answer all the questions right the first time.

A disaster just occurred in your home, and you need help NOW! But before you hire the first home restoration company you find in a Google search, we want to help you make sure you know what questions you should be asking them!

  1. Are your employees properly trained and licensed? Making sure that the company you chose is licensed and provides proper training, along with making sure they have insurance, ensures that you, as the customer, are not responsible for any issues that may arise during the project. 
  2. Are you available immediately? Your home disaster didn’t wait until 9:00 on Monday morning, neither should your restoration professionals! 
  3. Is your company local? Some restoration companies travel to areas that big storms are heading towards-- it’s always best to make sure your company is local so they’ll be there to help if you have any issues after the restoration project is completed. 
  4. What type of restoration do you have experience with? Some restoration companies may have more experience with remodeling homes than restoring homes, meaning they may not be experts when it comes to things like fire or water damage. 

Of course, at SERVPRO we have all of these bases covered! SERVPRO employees are trained in advanced restoration technology, available 24/7 for emergencies through local franchises, and we’re experts at home restoration!

Emergency Readiness Plan - ERP

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

title over red emergency light Planning ahead saves lives and protects your home and business from increased damage when disaster strikes.

When a disaster strikes – will your business be ready or will it be ruined? Of course no one plans on a disaster, but you absolutely can plan for it. A timely response in a crisis can minimize business interruption and lost revenue as well as save you thousands of dollars in damages. Knowing what to do, who to call, and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation. 

Many businesses have an emergency contingency plan in place, but a vast majority of these are missing the essential plan to get their business back up and running following a disaster. The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile is not a contingency plan but it is a vital component of any existing plan. Contingency plans consist of three main components: incident response, disaster recovery, and business continuity – the SERVPRO ERP addresses the incident response and disaster recovery components. 

Why Create a SERVPRO ERP?

  • A no cost assessment of your facility
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information including:
    • Employee and Emergency contacts
    • Utilities contact and Shut off
    • Primary contact information - Identifies name, title, phone number, and email for all contacts needed to begin the cleanup and restoration process
    • Insurance Contact information
    • Property Overview - A one page snapshot of your facility: address, photo, directions, and a brief description of the structural information and special instructions. 
  • Allows for additional notes about the facility, Inclusion of Lead Reports, Inclusion of Asbestos Reports, or a copy of your companies Evacuation Floor Plan

Once all information is gathered SERVPRO will deliver an organized Emergency Ready folder and file to you. Your ERP will also include weather alert information, disaster preparedness tips, and mitigation tips. It is the perfect time to make sure your business is ready for anything and it is easier than ever with the SERVPRO Ready Plan app. Download the app today and get prepared!

Why SERVPRO? Just Listen to Our Customers

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

customer shaking hands with representative with logo and title Trust in SERVPRO, we care about our customers!

Picture this. You are peacefully sleeping on a frosty January night, there was a storm warning before bed, but you weren’t overly concerned. CRASH! You are jolted awake by a loud noise. You drag yourself out of the nice warm blankets to make sure your family is okay and nothing is wrong. As you enter the hallway you see something in fact is devastatingly wrong. There is a tree branch through your roof, it is now snowing in the middle of your home, it is 2 am, and it is COLD! What do you do?

This was a reality for the Richardson family. The first call they made on that morning was to SERVPRO, they had no prior experience with the company before this night, but google told them they were close and they were open at this desperate time of need. The Richardsons now say, “We are so grateful that a quick google search found us the company we will be using for the rest of our lives for everything we may need for our home, from the second we made the call we knew we made the right call!” Technicians from SERVPRO arrived barely an hour after the call was made, and they didn’t just take a look, they got to work!

Once SERVPRO arrived on site, the Richardsons had no choice but to check into a hotel for the night and figured this would be their life for at least the next month, if they were lucky. Of course, this hotel stay cost came out of their pocket, as the insurance claim was an unknown beast they had not yet had the chance to tackle. “We were one of the lucky homeowners that had never had to use our insurance and make a claim, but we have heard horror stories and we weren’t even sure where to begin,” says Elliot Richardson. What they didn’t expect was the same team that arrived at their house to help save their home, would also be the same people that helped them navigate the insurance claim process. “With the help of SERVPRO, we won our insurance claim, they helped us every step of the way, with advice, pictures, and even talking to the agents to explain the damage. I hoped they would save our home, but I never expected they would also help save our livelihood” -  Elliot 

SERVPRO started working the night the tree crashed through the roof, they immediately sealed the home so no further damage would occur. They worked diligently for the next 2 weeks and to the Richardsons' surprise, just 2 weeks after checking in to what they were sure would be a month-plus long ordeal they were back home in their own beds. 

"We thought we'd never be able to enjoy our home again. Thanks to SERVPRO the whole ordeal is but a distant memory and we can enjoy our home again "Like it never even happened." - Mary Richardson

What happened to the Richardsons was devastating. The technicians of SERVPRO know how it feels to be displaced and scared in the middle of the night with no idea how it will all turn out. They not only have the knowledge and skill to complete the job fast, but they have the compassion to help you through the situation and help navigate the stressful parts you may not fully understand. SERVPRO is here for you and your family 24/7 and while they can’t stop the disaster they will make it just that much easier to live through. Call us today to get more information on helping you through a disaster. 

Regular Checks for Homeowners on Plumbing and Pipes

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

When it comes to home maintenance and spring cleaning the list can be endless, but still, everyone usually has the basics: rake the leaves, weed, clean the gutters, mow the lawn, etc. Although these are crucial tasks to have on your list, you may be forgetting a few important items like checking pipes and plumbing. 

That old saying “out of sight out of mind” is not always a good thing. Even though you can’t see all of the pipes and plumbing in your home, they still need a little TLC. So with that being said, what should you check for?

Faucets

Once a quarter or a few times a year (at least) it is a good idea to check all of your faucets and spouts for water drips. Sometimes all you will need to do is tighten a few nuts and bolts. Not only will it be nice to not hear dripping water, but it can also save you money on your water bill - those leaky faucets add up. 

Outdoor Water Spouts

You should check your outdoor water hookups regularly as well. It is also important to shut off the outdoor water valve in the winter to avoid frozen pipes and damage. 

Running Toilets

If you have a toilet that is prone to running, you may be able to do an easy fix. Sometimes it just requires a small part that can be picked up at your local hardware store - again it will be budget-friendly for your water bill. 

Drainage 

Whether it is your shower or your sink, it is important to make sure everything is draining properly and that they are well sealed. If you notice extra mold or mildew (smell or see) you may have some water leakage. Not only is this going to be important for the lifespan of your shower/sink/plumbing, but it will also be important for your health. 

So now that you have a list of a few different plumbing and pipes that should be checked and maintained regularly, you can get to work. If you find an area that has been neglected or is particularly mold-ridden, give SERVPRO a call for expert mold mitigation.

Planning for Storms Ahead of Time

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

Storms are scary, but you can’t avoid them. But you can do your best to prepare for them. Homes can be damaged during a storm, however, you can take all opportunities to protect them. Follow these tips to best protect your home during a storm. 

Keep the Yard Tidy

When putting away outdoor items, creates less possible debris that can fly into your home. 

Secure Windows and Doors 

Secure the windows and doors and ensure that they won’t fly open and let debris and winds in

Trim the Trees 

Trees closer to your home can be potential debris that can fall not only on your home but your car and the power lines. 

Install Storm Shutters and Doors

Installing both storm shutters and doors will protect your home from strong winds, ice, snow, and debris.

Strengthen your Roof 

Reinforcing your roof will prevent structural damage and tear-offs. 

Taking these simple precautions can protect you, your family, and your home. When a storm hits, you can feel safe and protected.

Summer Grilling Safety Tips

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

Summer weather means grilling season is in full swing! Although grilling may be something you are a pro at, it is important to make sure you refresh your safety protocols. 

Grill Outdoors

It is essential that you are grilling outdoors. This will help prevent fires as well as prevent smoke and other harmful gasses from being released in your home.

Stabilize the Grill

Before you start up your grill, you need to make sure that the base is sturdy. This will prevent the grill from tipping over and potentially start a fire.

Clean Your Grill

Build-up occurs as a residue from the food you grill. Over time, this build-up may cause a grill fire. Prevent this by scraping your grill regularly.

Check Your Surroundings

Normally there is a lot going on while grilling. Make sure you keep an eye on your kids, friends, and activities around you. The best way to stop accidents is to prevent them.

Avoid Loose Clothing

Since you will be standing near a fire, it is important to make sure your clothes are not draped over the grill. Check that all loose sleeves, aprons, and even your hair is out of your way.

Grilling is always a fun summer activity, but also make sure it is a safe activity. If anything does go wrong, call SERVPRO, faster to any disaster.

There's an App for That!

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

title over woman holding phone outdoors Explore our intuitive Ready Plan app to make planning for emergencies as simple as sending a text.

There’s an app for that! In this day in age, you can not complete many things with the help of an app. At SERVPRO we know the convenience of having all the information you need available on your mobile device – and in the case of an emergency, it is more important than ever as there may not be time to find the right papers or log on to a desktop to get what you need to apprise necessary parties of cleaning and restoration needs after disaster strikes. 

SERVPRO is putting help in the palm of your hand with the Emergency Ready Program app – available for apple and android devices including mobile phones and tablets. Whether you are a homeowner or a multi-site property manager the Emergency Ready app will help you be ready for whatever happens.  

The app allows you to create individual ERPs (Emergency Ready Profiles) for each property you own or manage, which will save you time when time is of the essence.

Let’s say you receive notice that one of your properties has flooded. Immediately you can open the SERVPRO ERP app to begin a water damage claim, within seconds of becoming aware of the situation – the restoration process begins and the damage will be minimized since every second count in an emergency. 

By entering detailed information before an emergency occurs you can minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. While no one plans on a disaster, with the SERVPRO plan app you can be ready for whatever happens. Pick up your phone and get started with the Ready Plan app today!

Wind Storm Blew Off Your Shingles! What Do You Do Now?

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over wind blowing through window curtains Know how to react when a wind storm hits in NE Ohio.

Ohio roofs take a beating in every season. But spring can be the most destructive season. With dramatic changes in atmospheric pressure, strong winds can kick up at a moment’s notice.

If your roof has vulnerable spots, especially along edges and corners, strong winds can sneak under your shingles and blow them off. Once your shingles loosen, your roof is compromised. 

To avoid wind damage, have your roof inspected and updated regularly. The key is to have this done before storm season sets in. 

If you can, use impact-resistant materials. Also, keep the trees surrounding your home trimmed to prevent loose or dead branches from falling on or being blown onto your roof. 

But what if a wind storm has blown off your shingles? What do you do? 

  1. Document the full extent of the damage. Do not clean up or making any temporary repairs.
  2. Call a roofing company or contractor to inspect the roof and get an estimate for repairs. If you aren’t sure who to use, contact your public adjuster for help finding a trusted contractor. Remember, you don’t have to take the first estimate you receive, so try different contractors if you’re not happy with the first estimate.
  3. Call your homeowner’s insurance company to report the damage and file a claim.
  4. Depending on the extent of the damage, contact a reliable company, like SERVPRO to tarp your roof and prevent further damage. 

If you find yourself in need of storm damage repair and cleanup, give SERVPRO a call at 1-800-SERVPRO. With 1,700 locations in the U.S. and Canada, we respond faster to any size disaster. Representatives are available 24/7.

Be safe!

Building an Emergency Plan for Your Workplace

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over red emergency light Have a plan in place for your employees' safety when disaster strikes.

Disaster can strike anytime and anywhere. Mother Nature is unpredictable, and fires don’t stick to a convenient schedule. Emergencies at work are just as likely as emergencies at your own home. Creating a comprehensive emergency response plan can save lives.

The actions you take within the first few moments of any emergency are critical and can change the course of how the events unfold. Emergencies in the workplace can include Robberies. Cybersecurity Incidents, Natural Disasters, On-Site Accidents, etc. It is important to have a plan to battle any and all of the possibilities. 

Steps to Creating an Effective Emergency Plan in the Workplace

Step one: Assemble the Team -  The strength of the plan depends on the commitment of your team. Seek out the participation of everyone in the office in the early stages. 

Step Two: Conduct Risk Assessment - Conduct a risk assessment to identify potential hazards and vulnerabilities within your organization. People should always be your first consideration in a risk assessment, but risks to physical assets and the environment should also be included in your assessment.

Step Three: Establish Objectives - Performance objectives are quantifiable and tangible milestones that you’ll achieve as you develop your emergency preparedness program. Key recommendations: 

  • Reach out to public emergency services and regulators.
  • Conduct a business impact analysis (in addition to your risk assessment) to identify the operational and financial impacts from an interruption or disruption of your business.
  • Identify opportunities for hazard prevention and risk mitigation.
  • Protect the safety of your employees by developing evacuation, sheltering, and lockdown plans.
  • Conduct employee training and drills.
  • Install an emergency generator to power the data center during a power outage.
  • Install a fire sprinkler system.
  • Phase-out the use of highly toxic or flammable chemicals.
  • Build a culture of preparedness in the workplace and encourage employees to have a plan at home.

Step Four: Create Written Policy -  OSHA’s minimum requirements suggest that your plan should include the following elements:

  • Means of reporting fires and other emergencies.
  • Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments.
  • Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate.
  • Accounting for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed.
  • Rescue and medical duties for employees performing them.
  • Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted in case of an emergency.

Step Five: Develop an on-site Emergency Response Team - Designate cool-headed and well-respected emergency response leaders within your organization to lead evacuation (as necessary), coordinate communication, conduct a headcount and communicate detailed information to 911 dispatch and emergency responders. These team members should also be responsible for making sure that minors, disabled employees, or at-risk residents are safely sheltered or evacuated.

Step Six: Practice and Review - Your Emergency Response Plan is only as good as the people who are carrying it out. Every six months, conduct emergency drills and schedule a one-on-one with your in-house ERT members to make sure they’re still up for the job.

Hopefully, this exercise will be done as a preventative measure and a just-in-case plan that will never need to be used. Unfortunately, Emergencies do happen, and in the case that they do, the first (or second) call you to make is extremely important. You should always call 9-1-1 first, but making your second call to SERVPRO can mean saving a lot of time and money restoring your office to its previous condition. Be sure to add 1-800-SERVPRO to your Emergency Response Plan, or reach out for help in creating one for your business.

Why are Certifications Important When Hiring a Restoration Professional?

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over people exchanging documents Your SERVPRO technicians are certified professionals in their industry.

It is always an inconvenience when there is damage to your home. However, hiring a professional can lessen this stress. Here are some reasons why it is important to hire a restoration professional with certifications. 

There are many people in the industry today who pose as a professional in restoration. Oftentimes they may not have experience as well as little to no training within the area of service. The businesses where people may be posing as restoration professionals do perform in other types of home repair which leads them to appeal to people that don’t know much about the requirements or the area of service. They do not, however, have the necessary skills, experience, knowledge, or equipment to restore a home/property. This leads to the area not being fully restored to the preloss conditions, but only causes the salvageable structures to be torn out and replaced.

There are many pros to making sure a restoration professional has the proper certification. The key to restoration is to find what can be restored within the damage that has happened. This allows replacement costs to be avoided and more cost-effective. Also if many things within the area of damage can be repaired then it can help one to avoid making an insurance claim for the costs if everything was needing to be replaced. 

Be effective with your restoration and guarantee it's done right. Here at SERVPRO, we have the certified professionals you need to help restore your space. Contact us today at 1-800-SERVPRO for more information.

What is Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned?

3/11/2021 (Permalink)

Title over sponges on top of plain background Trust SERVPRO to ensure the highest levels of cleanliness in these trying times.

Slowly, but surely things are beginning to return to normal. We are at the point where one year ago the entire state and country were being shut down. All nonessential businesses were forced to close, all employees that had even the slight ability to work from home were doing so. Now as most things are reopening and most restrictions are being lifted, going back to the office and keeping it clean has a whole new meaning. 

In keeping up with the times, SERVPRO has introduced a new standard of cleanliness that is meant to put confidence back in the hearts of employees returning to work in the office. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, is our new defensive pathogen cleaning program that takes the standard janitorial cleaning practices to the next level following the uniquely designed 3 C’s:

  • Consult: Not all businesses are the same, so we’ll tailor a bespoke cleaning program based on the unique needs of each facility.
  • Clean: Based on the agreed plan, an expert deep clean is initiated using our proprietary EPA-Approved Hospital-Grade cleaning solutions and always adhering to the leading level of cleaning and decontamination standards set by the CDC.
  • Certify: You’ll know a business is Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned by the shield posted on their front window. Along with digital emblems and other collateral, this beacon represents their commitment to the comfort and security of their employees, customers, and community.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has over 50 years of experience in decontamination and because of this, you will know when you see the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned shield you can believe you had your space cleaned and decontaminated by true professionals. SERVPRO cares about the health and safety of all its clients and does not cut corners. They hold all the alphabet certifications; CDC RIA, IICRC, RRP, HST, etc., and uphold their work to these standards at all times. If you are returning to the office or in need of deep cleaning, Request the help of SERVPRO online today!

Proper Tree Maintenance to Prevent Storm Damage on your Property

3/1/2021 (Permalink)

Title over gloved hands pruning tree branch Take these tips into consideration to protect your home from storm damage.

Oftentimes when a storm hits there are tree branches scattered all over the place. During a storm the wind and rain cause branches to break off which may even cause damage to your home. To help prevent the chances of a storm causing damage to your home follow these tips. 

Proper Trees to Plant

Something that needs to be considered before planting a tree is the location of where you live. It is crucial to plant trees that are native to the location where it is being planted. This is because native trees are better suited for the environment and weather conditions in its native area. It will help the tree stay healthy and strong longer, preventing it from causing damage to your home during a storm. 

Also when you are looking to plant trees make sure it is grown properly. It can help guarantee it grows to be strong enough to withstand the weather conditions. Rather than having a bunch of support around the young tree being grown minimize the support and let it become adapted to the wind and environment. This will help the tree to have a stronger base and roots which will support the grown tree and allow it to withstand the environment. 

Removing Dangerous Trees

It is important to remove trees that appear hazardous, especially before your location's stormiest season. This is because they will likely fall and cause a lot of damage to your home. There are things to look for when trying to identify what may be a hazardous tree on your property. Things like cracks in the trunk, decay of half or more of the tree, dead branches, etc. These are some key indicators of a tree that can be dangerous to have near your home, on your property, or even near a powerline. Be sure to keep a close eye on trees that may be showing any of these indications. If unsure contact a specialist, and remove if necessary.  

Pruning Your Trees

It is common for homes to have damage due to dead or broken branches that come down in a storm. Even without heavy winds weak branches can still break off and cause damage. This is why pruning your tree is important because removing all the weak and dead branches can prevent damage further down the line as well as keep your trees healthy. 

Be cautious of the damage trees can do to your property. It is important to have the proper maintenance and upkeep of your trees. Here at SERVPRO, we are here to help provide you with any cleanup or consulting you need. Give us a call or visit our website for more information. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is here to help!

The Meaning of the 100-Year Flood

3/1/2021 (Permalink)

Title over flooded land of barren trees Knowing some of the antiquated terminology surrounding storms can be important to understand how you need to prepare.

If you have never heard the term “100-year flood”, what was the first thing that came to mind? Most probably think that it is a great flood that happens every 100 years or a flood that lasts for years and years. What this term is actually used for is to describe a momentous flood. Because floods can vary in severity and cause, this is a term that is commonly used for those natural disasters that we see on the news. If it does not actually refer to a flood that occurs every 100 years, then how did this term come into play, and is how factual is a “100-year flood”?

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), this term came from the US government in the 1960s. To set a basis for the National Flood Insurance Program, they decided to use the 1-percent annual exceedance probability (AEP), which is “the probability of a flood event occurring in any year”. At this time, the government believed that it would be a fair balance between protecting citizens and overly rigid regulations. 

So, the next time you hear someone refer to the “100-year flood”, take peace in knowing that we will not be enduring a flood that lasts 100 years. It is, however, not a myth, and floods still occur, and they can be devastating. With the 1-percent probability (or 1 in 100), it could happen to you. If you find yourself in over your head (pun intended) with flooding and water damage, give us a call. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County can help you get your home or business restored in no time.

Backyard Bonfires & Fire Safety

3/1/2021 (Permalink)

Title over crackling bonfire Stay safe when the warm weather backyard activities commence.

You have the perfect s’more in your hand, toasted golden brown marshmallow on 2 perfect squares of graham cracker, and chocolate on top and bottom. You can hear your uncle’s voice, telling his favorite ghost story for the umpteenth time. Raw throat from the top of your lungs rendition of Kumbaya. Life doesn’t get much better than sitting around a bonfire with your friends and family on a cool fall evening. However, if you do not follow safety precautions the best night ever could become the worst with no warning. 

Before the Fire 

  • Only build fire in enclosed, contained areas. 
  • Clear the area around the pit of dry paper, grass, leaves, or pine needles 
  • Make sure the pit is on a flat surface in an open area, away from any trees and the home
  • Move furniture away from the fire pit
  • Keep flammable materials away from the fire pit
  • Check wind direction and be prepared to make any adjustments

During the Fire

  • NEVER leave a fire unattended
  • NEVER use garden waste or trash in a fire
  • NEVER leave children unattended
  • Keep your distance, sparks can fly unexpectedly
  • ALWAYS keep a fire extinguisher or hose nearby

When the night is coming to a close, you must put the fire out completely before leaving the area. To do this you will want to douse the fire with water. Once the flames are extinguished use more water and stir with a stick or shovel to confirm all ashes, wood, and sparks have been successfully put out. Be sure to store any flammable items safely and away from children. 

A backyard bonfire is one of the best ways to enjoy a warm or even cool night with friends and family. If you follow these safety tips, your only worry will be running out of marshmallows. Remember fire is dangerous, but handled with care and safety enjoying a night by the fire should remain a timeless tradition.

Things to Look for When Buying a Commercial Building

3/1/2021 (Permalink)

Title over city of buildings Know the tricks of the trade when it comes to purchasing your commercial property.

Looking for the perfect place to fulfill your lifelong dream of opening a bakery or a toy store? Looking for a new location to help your current business grow? No matter the reason, buying commercial property is a huge investment and should not be treated lightly. It is important to do your homework to ensure the purchase is the right one for you. Buying commercial real estate is a lot more challenging than purchasing a home and there are many things to be considered before pulling the trigger. 

Location

When buying any property the location is a big factor, especially when it is a business. The infrastructure and surrounding neighborhood can either raise or lower the value of the property.

Some questions to consider:

  • Are there any similar businesses located nearby?
  • Will you have access to any support services like parking?
  • What are the market trends for that area?
  • What are the zoning laws where the building is located?

Knowing the answers to these questions and making sure they match your needs can save you from potential problems in the future.

Building Classifications

A commercial building is a property that’s used for business purposes. But there are different classifications for different types of property. For instance, office buildings are typically classified as Class A, Class B, or Class C. Class A buildings present the lowest level of risk, while Class C buildings come with the highest level of risk. Industrial buildings and retail stores have their own designations as well, so it’s important to understand how the property you’re considering buying is classified and what it means for you as a business owner.

Building Condition

The last thing you want to do is buy a property and then uncover a mold infestation that will cost you thousands of dollars to remediate. Avoid this by having the property thoroughly inspected before purchasing. Consider also what was the building previously used for and what kind of wear and tear has it been through over the years?

Team of Experts

There is a lot that goes into the purchase of a commercial building and having a team of experts in your corner can increase your odds of securing financing and spotting potential problems from the beginning.

Some of the experts that can help this process run as smoothly as possible:

  • CPA
  • Contractor
  • Commercial real estate attorney
  • Commercial realtor
  • Mortgage broker
  • Tax attorney

Financing Options

You’ll need to find the right financing options to purchase the building. The type of financing you’re able to secure will depend on your personal and business credit scores, the type of property you’re buying, and your lender. It is a good idea to get pre-approved before making an offer and your accountant can help. 

Types of loans to consider for purchasing a commercial building:

  • Conventional mortgage
  • Bridge loan
  • SBA 504 loan
  • Hard money loan

Having all the information as well as a good team on your side will go a long way in making sure the property you choose to purchase will continue to be a dream come true instead of turning into a nightmare. Create a wish list of what is important to you and your business using these tips and that will give you a starting point to find the very best match for you. 

5 Tips to Prepare for the next Northeast Ohio Storm

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

Storms can be an inconvenience, but also a danger. Knowing what to do can be of help to you and your family. It’s as the Boy Scouts say ‘Be Prepared’! Here are some tips to help you this winter: 

  1. Keep a close eye on the weather reports and warnings for winter storms 
  2. Sign up for the local warning system. Such as the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 
  3. Equip your household to stay warm, install insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Educate yourself about freezing pipes and how to avoid them. Fit carbon monoxide and smoke alarms into your home.
  4. Collect the necessary needs for the home in the case of no power. Be sure to include what each person requires, especially medication. And don’t overlook pets! Keep spare batteries, primarily for radios and flashlights. If the budget allows, keep soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and other household cleaning supplies. 
  5. Keep an emergency equipment kit for your car. Jumper cables, sand, flashlights, extra clothing, blankets, water, and food that will not go bad. 

While storms can be daunting, look them right in the face and tell them that you are not worried because you, like a boy scout, are prepared. 

Warning Signs of Dangerous Outdated Wiring

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

Before bed each night and maybe even multiple times throughout the day, you plug in your phone to charge. You may have a watch, headphones, tablet, laptop, or any other electronic charging right alongside it. In today’s world with all the technological advancements your home is required to supply power to so many more devices than ever before. There is not much thought given to what goes on behind the walls as long as the light switch turns the light on and the charger works as it should, but old or damaged wiring can cause big problems. Overloading an older home's wiring can start a fire. 

Home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly than 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage. Many of these fires can be prevented if you know how to recognize and address common warning signs.

  • Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips - It is common for your circuit breaker to trip on occasion, that is what they are designed to do. In most cases, you will be able to flip the switch and continue going as usual. However, if the circuit breaker begins tripping multiple times a month or more it’s a sign of a deeper more serious problem.
  • Flickering, Buzzing, or Dimming Lights - If any of these things happen when you plug in or use multiple appliances this is a sure sign you are needing a professional upgrade. 
  • Frayed or Chewed Wiring - Wires can fray or crack from age, heat, corrosion, or bending. They can also be nicked, pinched, or pierced by nails or screws. Damaged wires are dangerous and should be replaced by a pro. Rodents will also chew through wiring. 
  • Discolored, Scorching, or Smoking Outlets - Keep an eye open at the outlet points in your home. If you notice any discoloration or scorch marks on your outlets, that is a sign that the wiring in your home has been damaged in some way and is releasing heat. That heat is already damaging your home and has the potential to do much worse if left unchecked.
  • Warm or Vibrating Outlets - Another way to find out if the wiring in your home has gone bad is to check by feel. Without touching any wiring directly, feel your home’s electrical outlets for heat or vibrations. In the case of either, have an electrician check for and replace any loose or damaged wiring.

Working with electricity is best left to the professionals, as it can be dangerous when not handled properly. Even with taking all necessary problems, disaster can still strike. If it does, SERVPRO is here to help. With over 50 years of fire restoration experience, the technicians at SERVPRO will make dealing with the results of a house fire as easy and manageable as possible. 

Best Methods to Dry Soaked Carpets After Leaks or Floods

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

Floods and leaks are a hazard, and many people don’t like them. But what about your carpet? How does the carpet feel about leaks and floods? The answer is, not super great. Wetness on carpets can create long term damage to carpets or even make them irreparable. When a carpet is exposed to large amounts of water, it is best to start drying your carpet immediately. 

But how should you dry a carpet? Here are the steps:

  1. Remove all the furniture

This will make it easier to remove the water without any obstructions. When the carpet is finally dry, and the furniture has been sitting on it, it will leave dents and ruin the carpet’s volume.

  1. Pump out the water

Removing as much water as possible is a priority. Using a submersible pump is best; you can rent one from a nearby hardware store. If you cannot rent one, using a bucket is the next best option. 

  1. Use a shop vac

The excess water by now should have soaked into the carpet, and the best way to remove it is through a shop vac. DO NOT use a household vacuum cleaner; it is not made for cleaning out water and poses a high chance of electrocution. 

  1. Use a dehumidifier

This will help in the case of extracting more moisture from the room. 

  1. Dry the carpet
    1. Turn on fans 
    2. Use towels 
    3. Open windows 
    4. Turn on the air conditioning or heat
  2. Remove the padding

This is when the possibility of the padding and subfloor could have been damaged. If water has reached it, it is a better and cheaper option to just to replace the padding

  1. Dry the subfloor

Use fans to dry any water that has reached the subfloor. Once dry, add more filling and place the almost dry carpet back.

  1. Clean the carpet

Once the carpet is damp, clean it. Use a carpet cleaner or cleaning solution. This will remove any bacteria or dirt. 

What is an ERP (Emergency READY Profile)?

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

It is estimated that more than 50% of business owners are not prepared for an emergency or natural disaster. Whether it’s lack of insurance coverage, lack of planning, or inadequate savings, most businesses are one disaster away from going out of business. 

That’s where a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile comes in! SERVPRO offers this FREE service to business owners to help them prepare for disaster so they are ready to tackle the challenges that unexpected disasters can pose. An ERP contains the following: 

  1. A thorough and free assessment of your place of business. 
  2. A Profile Document that contains all necessary information needed in an emergency.
  3. A guide to help you get back up and running post disaster.
  4. Establishes your local SERVPRO franchise as your go to restoration and damage mitigation professional. 
  5. Clear instructions on chain of command for work to commence post disaster.
  6. Detailed specific information regarding your facility management, like shut off valves, emergency exits, main frames, etc.  

SERVPRO can help you and your business be “ready for anything that happens” and the first step is creating your ERP. With our 24/7 365 service and handy mobile app, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing you’ll be able to handle any emergency that comes your way. 

How Often Should You Be Sanitizing Your Workplace?

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

Title and logo over gloved hand cleaning wood surface with cloth Regular sanitization of your business can make a difference in the health of your employees and clients.

Pandemic or not, cleanliness and sanitation are important in the home and workplace. When the world was turned upside down (or so it seemed) because of COVID-19, we began to see new standards for health and safety. One obvious precaution that was taken (almost immediately) was cleaning and disinfecting an area that was exposed to a positive COVID-19 case. But what about the “normal” or “day-to-day” cleaning? How often should you be sanitizing your office?

The amount of cleaning that should be done usually depends on the amount of traffic and the kind of work that is being conducted in your workplace. Obviously, if there are a lot of people in and out of the building, touching surfaces, and sharing workspace, then some sort of daily cleaning and disinfecting should be conducted. Sometimes this may look like a cleaning crew coming in at the end of the day and taking care of everything. Or perhaps, they come in and clean, but sanitization takes place during the day and is the responsibility of those using the space (cleaning wipes and spray at each station). 

Maintaining a clean and safe workspace by cleaning and sanitizing regularly can easily be done and make a world of a difference. Begin by evaluating your space and the resources available, once you have done this you can come up with a plan then implement it into the office routine. By doing this, it will be easier to ensure a healthy work environment for employees and customers.

Fire Retardant Fabrics

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

Title and logo over fireproof blanket Knowing which fabrics are fire retardant to better protect you and your home.

FABRICS are all around us, adding warmth, texture, color, and much more to our surroundings, whether curtains, drapes, furniture upholstery, carpets, and even the clothes we wear.

But fabrics can also burn easily and in today’s world we want to protect our homes, businesses, property – and the people we love – from unnecessary risk if the worst does happen and a fire breaks out.

Luckily, there are many types of fabrics out there and each has its own unique properties, many of which are actually surprisingly resistant to fire. 

And for those that are more flammable, an increasing range of products exists to improve their abilities to resist fire.

Fabrics are assessed on their fire retardancy based on how long it takes the fabric to burn and at what temperature this takes place. Fabrics are assessed in labs and tested with different types of fire starter such as a gas burner, a smoldering cigarette, or a match, and rated on internationally agreed standards.

Some natural fibers are among the best at being flame-retardant – wool is the hardiest of natural fibers, being particularly hard to catch the light, and often self-extinguishes smaller flames. Silk, perhaps surprisingly, is also a very slow burner and hard to light.

Of man-made fibers, acrylic, polyester, and nylon all have high melting points – higher than many natural fibers – and are considered fire retardant.

For fabrics that are not as naturally retardant, there are two main methods to make them tougher against fire – coating and dipping.

The coating is a method where a fire-retardant back coating is applied to the fabric. This is best for upholstery as it makes the fabric stiffer – good for furniture less so for curtains.

Dipping is when the fabric is given a chemical bath, with the solution filling in space between fibers and making the finished product more resistant to fire – when exposed to heat the chemicals activate and trigger a reaction that suppresses the flame.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is your trusted fire safety advisor and here to help with any emergency clean up or restoration. 

Storm Insurance: What to Know

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over fallen tree on a roof Make sure you and your home are protected from the elements.

WHILE Northeast Ohio may not be in a major hurricane zone, we have all experienced some rough winds and storms.

Particularly during the tornado season, many of us find we have some damage caused to our properties – from a few missing roofing shingles to trees falling on our homes.

It is worth checking out your homeowner’s insurance policy before storm season to check exactly what is and is not covered in the event the weather brings significant damage to your property.

As a rule, a good policy should cover some common types of storm damage, usually hail, wind, fallen trees and lightening – but flooding and earthquake damage is usually excluded.

While earthquakes are not common in this area, flooding can be – if your home is particularly at risk it may be worth taking out extra and specific coverage. This tends to apply regardless of the cause of the flooding, be it a burst river or a burst water pipe in the basement.

As always with insurance, the detail of your policy is key – do not assume you are covered as you may be in for a shock when you try to make a claim. Look into the specific terms and conditions of your policy, and if you are not sure, talk to a broker or an agent. A review of your coverage is usually a good idea, then you can clarify exactly what you need and want.

Tornado VS. Hurricane: Know the Difference

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over tornado Knowing the difference between a tornado and a hurricane could be crucial to your safety.

Natural disasters occur often and are almost completely out of our control. While some areas are more prone to certain forces of nature, we are all impacted in some way or another. When it comes to fires and floods, you can sometimes prepare for it, prevent it, and even control it at times. This is not the case in regards to the windy variety of natural disasters. Both hurricanes and tornadoes alike can be destructive and devastating. But, what are the main differences between the two?

While both of these phenomena are alike in that they both produce powerful and destructive swirling winds, they still have their differences. One of the biggest differentiation between the two is the size and time length. While tornadoes are usually no more than a few hundred feet wide, hurricanes can span up to hundreds of miles (in diameter). Additionally, while occasionally tornadoes can form over water (water spouts), they are mostly land prominent - unlike hurricanes. The energy that creates a hurricane comes from warm ocean waters, as opposed to tornadoes that form from powerful updrafts of wind that eventually twist as they rise. 

Depending on what part of the country you live in, one might be of more concern than another. However, oftentimes a hurricane will impact hundreds of miles away (even other states). Both of these natural disasters can wreak havoc on homes and businesses alike. From debris caught in the wind to mass amounts of rain. Structures become susceptible to fire, storm damage, water problems, and more. If you find that a tornado or hurricane has impacted your home or business, give us a call, we can help you get back to normal in no time.

Maintaining Air Quality in Your Northern Summit County Business

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over blue cloudy sky Keep fresh air flowing for you and your employees.

CLEAN air is a vital part of staying healthy, more so during the winter when we tend to want to curl up and shut our windows tightly.

But stale indoor air being continually recycled around your home or office is not good news – especially for those with allergies or respiratory problems as this cycle simply increases the number of spores, pet dander, and dust moving around your property.

Luckily improving air quality is simple and straightforward by some good habits.

Number one – keep your space clean. Regular vacuuming, especially with a model containing a HEPA filter, will literally suck away much of the dust or pet dander. Hardwood floors also make it harder for allergens to accumulate. The same thinking applies to regularly clean curtains and drapes, and laundering bed linens – preferably at a higher temperature.

Next, check and change your filters. It is easy to overlook but if they are doing their job, they will get dirty and clogged up over time, and this is especially true with forced-air heating systems. 

It may also worth getting your ducting cleaned regularly to remove any trapped dust – but this does depend on your system and is not always appropriate, so seek advice.

Air purifiers are a good investment, especially for those with respiratory problems, and are essential if you cannot remove the cause of the allergens – after all, our pets are part of our family. These may not eliminate allergens but can cut them down significantly.

And a dehumidifier in damper areas such as the basement can help reduce mold growth and the spores mold emits.

Finally – fresh air is your friend. Even in the coldest months, open your windows occasionally and let clean air into your home.

Steps to Prevent Frozen Water Damage

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

title over frozen pipes Avoid water damage to your home and plumbing.

As the days get colder, you start adding gloves, hats, coats, and scarves to your wardrobe to prepare and protect yourself from the harsh weather outside. Your home needs the same kind of care to prepare for the colder weather as well. Taking precautions before freezing temperatures hit can help save you a lot of money and stress later when you don’t have to deal with a burst water pipe in the dead of winter or other water damage that can occur.

Clean Your Gutters

Now that fall is in full swing and the leaves have fallen, clean out your gutters to prepare for winter. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and freeze which in turn will cause water to leak into your home and wreak havoc. It is also important to knock off any large icicles. 

Prepare for Winterization

The process of winterizing plumbing pipes prepares the home for freezing temperatures that can cause leaks and breaks in the home. When water freezes it expands and if the expansion occurs in pipes it can produce pressure and cause damage. This process is recommended when the home will be vacant and no water will be running through the pipes. Make a plan when beginning this process as well as a list of all your home’s plumbing parts and you can be sure not to miss a step. 

Steps to Winterize Plumbing

  1. Shut off the main water valve and turn off the water pump and heater
  2. Open all drain valves and taps 
  3. Blow excess water out of pipes using an air compressor
  4. Open the drain valve in your hot water tank and let it drain completely
  5. Flush all toilets repeatedly to remove as much water as possible and add antifreeze.
  6. Check all sinks and tub drains for drain traps, add antifreeze to any found.

Taking the time to follow these steps can save you a lot of time and money in costly repairs later. For more information and tips be sure to call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County and they can walk you through the process.

What You Need to Know About Sleet in Northern Summit County

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

title over iced over tree branches Know how to prepare for a sleet storm in Northeast Ohio.

NOT rain nor snow, but an unpleasant mix of both – sleet is a type of weather we do not spend as much time considering as its wet cousins.

With neither the aesthetics of snow, nor the regeneration that rain can bring, sleet seems to be the worst of both worlds – cold, ice forming, slippery, and wet.

More accurately known as freezing rain, sleet is often quaintly called a ‘wintery mix’ by television weather forecasters, but sleet is not a winter wonderland for your home.

While many of us dread a storm bringing hail, which is noted for its ability to cause damage to your roofing and siding, sleet can be just as pernicious.

While the initial impact may not cause as much damage as a hailstorm, sleet’s smaller pellets are more prone to settle and build up onto your property – which is where the problems can really begin. 

Since sleet needs cold weather to form its crystals, it means the settled sleet is much more likely to freeze solid into ice.

This settling sleet and ice are much more likely to penetrate under roofing shingles, especially in older roofs, than snow – which settles on top – or rain, which simply runs off the side.

And once inside the roof, when it starts to melt you can see water leaks into your home, more displaced damage to shingles and roofing tiles, and even pools of water forming that can refreeze into ice dams.

Water – and therefore ice – is also heavy. While your roof can withstand huge amounts of rain, as it runs down into guttering and is drained away, it was not designed to withstand large weights for sustained periods which is possible during a harsh winter. A regular pre-winter inspection of the state of your roof is highly advisable if you live in an area prone to harder winter weather.

And what is a problem for a roof is also a problem for the sides of your home. Whether your house is finished with traditional wood, or more modern plastic or vinyl, if it is older there are likely to be holes, cracks, or chips that sleet can get behind, causing similar problems for the inside of your property, which can become expensive to remedy.

While the weather is beyond our control, preparing for its impact is not – and prevention is better than a cure. Have your property inspected regularly to spot potential problem areas and fix them before they become a real problem.

Count on SERVPRO of Northern Summit County to inspect for potential problems and fix any damages to keep you and your wallet safe!

Fire Safety is Still Important in the Winter

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

title over space heater in background Fire damage can be just as dangerous, if not more, in the wintertime.

It’s the type of weather where you can see your breath, your fingertips resemble literal ice cubes, and you need at least 3 layers to leave the house comfortably. During the winter, as the temperature drops outside people tend to bring the heat inside. There are blazing fireplaces, space heaters, candles lit, and oven cooked comfort food all to keep you cozy and warm. Unfortunately, these can also present fire hazards if not managed properly. Keep your family both warm and safe with these winter fire safety tips. 

Candles:

  • Be sure to keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything flammable. 
  • Blow out candles when you leave the room
  • Do not leave children or pets unattended with the lit candle
  • Don’t fall asleep with lit candles

Space Heaters

  • Keep anything flammable at least 3 feet away from the space heater
  • Children and pets should also be at least 3 feet away from a space heater
  • Ensure Space Heater has an automatic shut off switch
  • Turn off the space heater when going to bed or leaving the room or house

Fire Places

  • Make sure the damper is open before lighting the fireplace.
  • Don't close the damper until all ashes are completely cooled.
  • Keep the screen closed while the fireplace is lit.
  • Always put the fire out before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Keep any flammable objects far away from the fireplace.



On top of these fire hazards specific to the winter months, it is important to be aware and practice basic fire safety measures that should be followed year-round. Have a smoke detector on every level of your home, test the batteries monthly and replace them when needed, and always have a plan in case of a fire that you and your family know well. Be sure to always have a working fire extinguisher that has been properly maintained and inspected, and know how to use it. At SERVPRO we know how important it is to keep your family safe and we can help you ensure you are doing what you can to prevent a house fire. If an emergency does happen, we are also here to restore your damaged house to the home it was before.

What You Need to Know About Hard Water Softeners

1/28/2021 (Permalink)

Title over corroded piping Learn about the benefits of water softeners for your home and business.

YOU know if you live in a hard water area – your sinks and faucets discolor, your hot drinks have white flakes in them, and you are covered in a film every time you shower.

Luckily, there is nothing inherently dangerous about hard water for humans – it simply means your local water supply has a high level of calcium in it, which can basically come out of the water supply in your home and turn into little flakes of limestone.

Indeed, calcium is good for our bones – but hard water is no joke for our appliances and water system.

People who live with hard water tend to have to replace essential white goods like washing machines, dishwashers, ice makers, kettles, and even whole furnaces on a regular basis as the limestone builds up around heating elements and eventually effectively suffocates the equipment.

It can also build up inside pipes – especially hot water pipes – leading to reduced pressure and blockages.

There are many ways to remove limescale and treat appliances, but the most effective is to stop the problem at the source and install a water softener into your main supply, so the water is treated before it hits your home and appliances.

By running the hard water through a softener, a chemical reaction with salts takes place, removing the excess calcium, from the water and providing your home or offices with more softened water, and saving on your repair and replacement bulls in the future.

Flat Roof Maintenance to Prevent Disaster at Your Northern Summit County Business

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Flat roof in front of cityscape Maintain proper care of your building's flat roof.

Many commercial buildings have a flat style roof. If you’re the owner of a commercial building, it’s likely you’re already aware of the required regular maintenance for flat roofs as regular maintenance is important in preventing catastrophic damage in the event of extreme weather. 

Flat roof maintenance can seem overwhelming and sometimes costly, but the maintenance costs pale in comparison to the costs that can be incurred by damage to a poorly maintained flat roof. Here are 5 tips for keeping your flat roof in tip-top shape: 

  1. Regular Inspection

Wear and tear on a flat roof is not always immediately apparent. Make sure to hire a licensed professional to perform an annual inspection on your roof. 

  1. Trim Surrounding Foliage

If you have large trees near your building, it’s a good idea to maintain the branches and trim any foliage that extends over or nearby your roof. Storms can cause nearby branches to break which can ultimately damage your roof as a result. 

  1. Install and Maintain Proper Drainage

Pooling water is often the culprit of roof damage and deterioration. Proper drainage is extremely important for buildings with flat roofs. Make sure you are regularly checking for clogs and leaks within your drainage system. 

  1. Clean All Debris

Collecting debris can not only cause issues with your roof’s integrity but can also mask other areas of concern. Be sure to clean debris off of your roof on a regular schedule.

  1. Do Not Store Anything on Your Roof

Your flat roof is susceptible to stress and caving if it is used improperly for storage. Flat roofs are not typically built to carry any weight beyond what is predetermined at the time of construction. 

By following these simple steps, it’s likely you’ll get the most life out of your flat roof. However, even the best-laid plans fall short and disasters can happen to anyone. SERVPRO’s team of trained professionals is faster to any disaster and specializes in commercial restoration. Remember your SERVPRO partners if you are ever in need of commercial roof repair.

Fireproofing Important Documents and Valuables

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Title over burning and charred papers. Prevent irreversible damage to your important documents.

HOUSES do not burn down often – but when they do the impact can be devastating. 

Even assuming everyone is safe and sound, the task of rebuilding can be overwhelming – especially if all your key information was also lost in the fire.

Insurance information, birth certificates, passports, property deeds – they can be retrieved and reestablished but not without extensive time, research, and costs. And any sentimental archives would probably be lost forever.

But with a little bit of preparation, you can minimize this risk for very little cost and effort, giving yourself a much better springboard to rebuild as quickly as possible should the worst happen.

Fireproofing your essential documents and valuables is a surprisingly simple process. In today’s world, many documents are electronic to start with, and can be stored in any number of cloud platforms – and a quick picture of any other essential paper documents can simply be uploaded for safety too, and accessed anywhere should you need to. Do make sure the digital location and password are known by those key family members that may need it, or the information will exist but be lost.

For physical documents, fire bags or a small fireproof safe are ideal and not expensive. The bags come in various sizes and can hold up to 500 sheets of paper, or small valuables, and are resistant to temperatures up to 2,500F.

A fireproof safe can also be bought for very little at any superstore or office supply store, and again come in a range of sizes. Not only can you keep important documents under lock and key, but should a fire break out, they will be in a good place to survive the flames. They are also much more convenient than paying for a deposit box at a bank.

For larger quantities of documents that may not be quite as vital, there are chemical flame retardants that can be sprayed on paper and cardboard storage boxes cheaply and quickly. They will not hold up as well as a safe but will help keep flames at bay as the chemicals provide a char resistant layer of protection and buy vital time for fire crews to do their work. There are also homemade solutions that will make your paper harder to catch light by soaking your documents in Borax solution or coating them in wax. Again, neither will be fireproof but both will make it harder for the paper to actually catch alight.

For a professional opinion on fireproofing, and for an efficient cleanup should a fire affect your home or business, call SERVPRO today.

Dangers of Standing Water in a Home

11/20/2020 (Permalink)

Title over water damaged ceiling exposing pipes Prevent water damage in your home and business.

Whether it is your home or your business, preventing water damage and intrusion is crucial. When a hard rain hits, it won’t be hard to tell if you have sitting water in your basement, or near your foundation. However, oftentimes, water will intrude your home or business in spaces that you cannot see on your own. The good news is that when this happens there are usually a few red flags to look out for. 

One telltale sign that you have hidden water damage is an unpleasant smell. Although the water may be invisible, the smell of mildew is not. If you begin to smell this in your home or business it is likely that there is also fungus growing somewhere. In a situation like this, not only is it bad for the foundation of your home or business, but it can also cause health issues. 

If you start to notice that musty smell, it is a good idea to begin to keep an eye out for visual signs of water damage. In addition to being able to see mold growing on your walls, you may notice a stain. And, while discoloration may not seem like a big deal, chances are that it is only the beginning of your troubles. As the damage gets worse you may begin to see sagging ceilings and walls, as well as peeling paint. 

Once you know what to keep an eye out for, it is easier to recognize if you have water damage. Taking care of the problem sooner rather than later can help to prevent further issues including safety hazards, structural issues, and health problems. If you notice any of these signs in your home or business, you should contact a professional right away so that you can find the source of the water invasion. For an advanced water inspection by a highly trained water restoration technician, give SERVPRO a call today.

Preventing Kitchen Fires at Your Holiday Dinner

11/19/2020 (Permalink)

The holidays are a great time of year but cooking in the kitchen can get dangerous fast. It’s important to exercise safety and caution at all times in the kitchen in order to prevent the common kitchen fire. The majority of house fires actually start in the kitchen. Make sure you and your family are taking these precautions this year.

Watch What You’re Cooking

Leaving hot pots and pans unattended is a recipe for disaster. Even if you are just leaving the kitchen for a second, make sure you’re turning the stove off

Keep Your Area Clear

Make sure your preparation and cooking areas stay clear of any stray towels, bags, boxes, and drapery. Keep children and animals out of the kitchen to minimize the risk of accidental bumps and shakes.

Avoid Loose Clothing


Make sure your shirt and sleeves are clinging to your body and not draping over the oven or stovetop. Clothing fabric can easily catch fire.

See Smoke? Turn it Off

If your stove or oven starts to smoke, turn it off and cover it. Remove pans from burners and keep the oven closed until the smoking ceases.

Always Have a Backup

Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches on fire; this can be used put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled and no longer smoking.


If a fire does break out, make sure you have an evacuation plan in place so that you and your guests can get out safely. SERVPRO is on standby for any of your fire damage needs.

Avoid Fall Property Damage in Northern Summit County

10/21/2020 (Permalink)

Gloved hand pulling leaves out of gutters. Do a little maintenance around your home now and avoid disaster later.

Spring is the season with the most rain, so it only makes sense that it would be the season that results in the most water damage at properties, right? Well actually, water damage property claims go up by about 30% in the fall and early winter. Fall storms can wreak just as much havoc as any other time of the year, and often even moreso because we aren’t prepared for the bad weather

Rain itself isn’t usually the main culprit that causes damage and disaster, it’s the lack of preparation or issues with maintenance that typically result in big issues. For instance, when heavy rains come in the fall, or even mild rains, that water is competing with debris as it tries to move away from your home. Your gutters, for instance, can easily become clogged with all of the falling leaves and if water can’t move away from your home it might end up inside of it. Additionally, if the gradient around your home isn’t sloping down and away from your home, it could mean that water is collecting around your foundation and seeping into your home.

Another common fall problem is frozen and burst pipes. It is very important that you winterize and outdoor faucets or spigots to make sure that they don’t freeze with the sudden temperature drops. Of course, the fall is typically mild until late November or so but you can never predict when the temperature might plummet to freezing, causing snow and ice. Make sure that any vulnerable pipes that are exposed to the elements are properly insulated to prevent freezing and bursting. You should also make sure to keep your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees or higher to make sure that you are maintaining enough warmth in your home to prevent dips that can cause freezing.

You should always take whatever steps you can to ensure that your property is safe from damage, but if the worst happens to you, you can count on SERVPRO of Northern Summit County to have your back. We are faster to any disaster.

Your Business Needs a Contigency Plan

9/30/2020 (Permalink)

Looking up at skyscraper buildings Make sure that you know what to do if your business faces a disaster.

WHEN disaster strikes, it can often deal a fatal blow to a business – but those that survive often do so because they have a plan in place.

And a good contingency plan is well worth taking the time and effort to prepare so when the worst happens everyone knows exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.

People buy home insurance not because they expect their house to burn down – but just in case it does.

The same is true for contingency planning – taking the time to work out how you will keep operational when faced with the sudden loss of access to your building is simply essential.

For example, can staff work from home? Have you the ability to reroute suppliers? Can you switch to an alternative location? Is your information technology infrastructure backed up remotely? How do you communicate with your customers?

And all the while you are picking up and carrying on with the day-to-day of your business, what plans are in place to repair and restore the damaged facilities?

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County can be an ideal partner in your contingency planning – by talking with us when there is nothing going wrong means our experts can be fully prepared and ready to step in the very moment something does go wrong.

Our teams are experts in cleaning up post-disaster and repairing and restoring your facilities to full operational capacity quickly – and we can do this to maximum effect if we know before it all goes wrong. Call us today for help in putting together your contingency and continuation plans.

Avoiding Electrical Fires in Your Northern Summit County Home

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

Someone plugging electrical cord into outlet Make sure that your home is safe by checking your electronics.

ELECTRICITY is essential to the modern home and we rarely think twice about it when we flick a switch.

But with our homes having ever more machines, devices and equipment hooked up to the main supply – many running 24/7 – we cannot afford to be too cavalier in our approach to electricity, as if things are not running properly a fire can soon break out.

Check electrical outlets for loose-fitting plugs or exposed wires, never force plugs into outlets or remove the third grounding pin to make it fit a two-prong socket, and do not overload outlets with adapters.

Cords should not be frayed or cracked or hidden under carpets or rugs, and do not nail or staple them into place. Extension cords are designed for temporary use only, not permanent fixtures.

Light bulbs should be the correct wattage for the fixture’s design – do not put higher watt bulbs in as they can overheat – or replace with low power LED bulbs. Make sure they are screwed in tightly.

And wherever possible install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters – GFCIs – especially anywhere water could be present, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry, workshop, garage, basement, and outside.

Check fuses are the right rating for what they are doing and check circuit breakers are working. Check wiring regularly for defects – loose wires or fixtures are common flashpoints for fires and popping or sizzling sounds in walls are a warning sign.

And if appliances start to act up, regularly blowing fuses or tripping breakers, it is a sign something is wrong – unplug immediately and get it checked or replaced.

But if the worst does happen and a fire starts in your home, SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is on standby 24/7 to clean up and repair your home.

Plumbing Problems in Your Northern Summit County Home

9/26/2020 (Permalink)

close up of valve on pipe Don't let leaky pipes and other plumbing problems cause issues in your home!

WATER is a powerful and relentless force of nature – as well as being essential to our everyday lives, it can also cause a lot of damage.

We cannot live our daily lives without using the miracle of running water in our homes – a shower to start the day, tap running to clean our teeth, water for the coffee machine in the kitchen, set the dishwasher running as we head to work, throw a laundry load in when we get back, and of course flushing the toilet a few times.

But when water comes out of our plumbing system in a place you do not want it to, you have big problems on your hands – water will simply keep coming 24 hours a day until the problem is fixed, whether it is a high-pressure burst or a slow but continual drip - drip - drip.

And it will always take the path of least resistance – working its way through units, downpipes, along floor joists, through the floorboards until it cannot go any further when it will start pooling and backing up.

Flooding damage is expensive – it will ruin not just carpets and floors but soak into the drywall like a sponge meaning extensive and expensive repairs.

And if it is your foul water pipes that have been compromised, dealing with sewage could increase damage exponentially.

The top ten most common plumbing problems are: dripping taps, slow draining sink, clogged bath drain, a clogged toilet, running toilet, faulty water heater, low water pressure, jammed garbage disposal, leaky pipes, and a sewer system backup.

If you are unlucky enough to suffer a flooding disaster, it is vital to act quickly to minimize the impact of the damage – damp fixtures and fittings soon become moldy ones too. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is on hand 24/7 to help you clean up and then restore your home to the way it should be.

Why You Need a Restoration Specialist and Contractor on the Same Team

9/25/2020 (Permalink)

blurry close-up of hard hat, tape measure, and writing materials Trust a company that can do it all for you and return things to normal for you faster.

WHEN you find yourself needing restoration and cleanup services after a disaster, it is often only stage one of the complete job.

Returning your home or business to the way you need it after a flood or fire or storm is many times going to require renovations and repairs which cannot even be properly assessed until after the debris is cleared up. That’s where SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is ideally positioned to help.

We do not just pack up our equipment and disappear once we have cleaned up as many firms do – we are on hand to help through the entire restoration process.

Our expertise in handling the immediate aftermath of a disaster means we can feed vital information and knowledge into the restoration teams that follow behind our initial work.

As a complete one-stop solution we are uniquely positioned to handle the repairs after the cleanup operation is complete.

And as you are dealing with the same people throughout the whole process you have a clear and direct channel of communication, avoiding having to act as a liaison between different firms and contractors trying to get your home or business up and running as you need it again.

Project technicians can assess the situation on hand during the early cleanup phase and keep the construction staff informed of what is needed. This allows our construction experts to be estimating budgets, planning for materials, obtaining permits, and organizing team coverage.  All this is done to avoid causing you time, trouble, and effort coordinating multiple contractors during an already stressful time.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is on hand 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ready to help you get back to normal as quickly and safely as possible.

Protect Your Home From Disaster with Good Grill Safety

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

close-up of round grill loaded with food Everyone enjoys grilling, but make sure to protect yourself with good safety practices.

We love our barbecues, cookouts, and grills – summer and fall just would not be the same without the smell of someone nearby grilling up a tasty meal.

But a grill can be a potential disaster waiting to happen if you do not take the time and trouble to look after it and its surroundings – grillmasters can get a little complacent which can end in a fiery disaster.

It may seem obvious, but your grill is literally a fire, whether gas-powered or traditional charcoal and they can soon move from controlled to uncontrolled.

Start by keeping your barbecue well away from your home – at least 10 feet or more if possible. Fire can and does spread rapidly.

Keep your grill clean – many of us get a bit lazy in a way we would never tolerate in our kitchens, and fat can soon build up, creating a reservoir of fuel and the opportunity for sudden flare-ups.

Check for gas leaks – is your piping old and worn, are seals cracked, are connectors as tight as they should be?

Always make sure your barbecue lid is open before you turn the gas on – or you are creating an explosion in the waiting.

Do not overload the grill with food – all that dripping fat is literally fuel to the fire and flare-ups become much more likely.

Here at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County, we want you to enjoy a good grill out safely – but if the worst does happen we will be there to get your house back in shape and back to being your home.

Take Time this Fall to Get Ready for Winter

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

a candle, two pumpkins, and some cranberries in front of a snowy scene Make sure that you're ready for the harsh weather on its way this winter.

LEAVES are showing signs of turning and pumpkins are appearing on front porches – fall is definitely well on its way.

Which is the ideal time to think a little further ahead and make sure you take advantage of the last of the nice weather to give your home the once-over and ensure you are prepared for the harsh winter weather?

And given this is Northeast Ohio, that means making sure you – and your house – are prepared to withstand a snowstorm.

When the snow falls hard and fast, you need to be ready – make sure you have snow shovels on standby and a good supply of rock salt ready to grit your driveway. If you have pets, make sure you have a safe variety as regular salt can burn paws. Stock up on winter fuel if you rely on wood, coal, oil, or gas supplies to heat your home. Even if you usually use central heating, it is a good idea to have some supplies in case power goes down.

Make sure you have a ready supply of blankets and warm clothes in case the power does go out, along with suitable food supplies, flashlights, spare batteries, and candles in easy to find locations.

But while you need provisions, so does your home if it is to – literally – weather the storm.

Take the time to check your insulation to winterize your property – check insulation levels in attics, basements, and walls, and maybe consider plastic over your windows. Make sure any exposed pipes are lagged and insulated to prevent freezing – and maybe even leave a tap on dripping to help keep water moving in the pipes.

Have your heating systems professionally checked and serviced to make sure they are working properly, efficiently, and safely – you do not want to find out you had a faulty thermostat during a snowstorm.

Check for draughts and find where they are coming from – time for a little bit of caulking to seal them up – and get the roof checked for leaks or holes, and that it is up to bearing the weight of the snow.

But if the worst does happen and the winter weather finds its way into your home, your experts at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County are on hand throughout to help rescue and repair your property.

Are Winter Storms Worse than Summer Storms?

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

Pine forest covered in snow during snow storm Winter storms bring a whole different set of problems from summer storms.

All storms are not the same – one of the joys of living in Northeast Ohio is the wide variety of our weather.

And while storms happen all year round, a summer storm is quite different from a winter one.

In the summer we have to deal with lightning, thunder, hurricanes, and tornadoes. But the winter brings ice, snow, and extreme cold.

Which is worse? On one hand, it is a matter of opinion – but on the other, the impact of damage can be more easily identified.

Both can cause catastrophe to a home or building – summer storms bring the risk of flooding or even in rarer cases complete devastation by a tornado or lightning hit.

But winter storms bring snow and ice – which lasts much longer than the storm itself, with huge numbers of homes affected at the same time.

Snow is heavy and turns to water slowly, finding its way into cracks and crevices in the fabric of your home.

The cold – which can be extreme in Northeast Ohio – causes pipes to burst and windows to crack.

And repairs can take much longer as roads are blocked and its harder to work outside.

But no matter which type of storm impacts you and your home, SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is on 24/7 standby to help you clean up the devastation caused by Mother Nature, identify the repairs needed, and get them underway fast and efficiently.

Restoring Your Commercial Property After a Fire

9/17/2020 (Permalink)

close-up of a burned wall of a building If fire happens at your property, you'll need a professional team to return things to normal quickly.

FIRE is the biggest destroyer of businesses by far – most businesses that suffer a large fire simply never reopen their doors again.

Naturally all businesses are going to be impacted by a disaster of any kind – a tornado or flooding for example.

But in most cases, with proper clean up and repairs, a business can soon be back on its feet and welcoming customers once again.

Fire is different – the heat and smoke damage from a fire can literally destroy even the strongest of structures, rendering even brick-and-mortar buildings dangerous and unsafe.

Which is why it is vital to call experts in as soon as possible if you want to see your business trade another day.

Starting with a 24-hour response, SERVPRO is there to begin work immediately to get you back to work with the minimum of interruption possible.

Our experts will immediately assess the damage, begin work to mitigate further damage if necessary, and start planning for the clean up.

This involves not just working on smoke and fire damage, but removing the water and foam that will have been used by the fire service to extinguish the blaze.

And finally our team will work with you to restore your commercial premises back to a fully functioning business environment as quickly and efficiently as possible – better than new.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County Will Be There for You

8/28/2020 (Permalink)

night sky with stars Any time, day or night, SERVPRO will be there for you.

Disasters don’t wait until you’re ready to strike. And they certainly don’t have business hours. Anything could happen at any time and chances are that disaster will catch you unprepared. But you don’t have to stress because you can trust that SERVPRO will be there at any time of the day or night to help you take care of what needs to be handled.

If your basement floods in the evening on a Friday, you know that you certainly can’t wait until first thing Monday morning to handle the damage. The longer water sits in your home, the more damage there will be. Too long and you might just lose everything. A quick response is of the utmost importance for you to get back to life as usual. SERVPRO is on call for your disasters, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Yes, even Christmas. Of course, no one wants to imagine that their holiday could be wrecked by a disaster but for some people, it is a reality. Knowing who you can call and trust in those times of dire need could make a huge difference in getting your life back to normal faster. Make sure you turn to a trusted disaster restoration specialist who can help you when you need it most. Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County first.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County Helps to Unite the Community

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

small flag in yard in the sunset SERVPRO gives flags to community businesses to show unity.

This year has been a challenge for everyone, no matter who you are or where you live. We at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County know how deeply people have been affected by all of the uncertainty in the world surrounding us. That’s why we try to do our part to bring people together in any way we can.

In March, Governor Mike Dewine called on all Ohioans to fly the American Flag to demonstrate and encourage unity among everyone during the fraught times of Coronavirus. We decided to give away USA-made flags to local businesses for our friends and neighbors to fly proudly. Between March and July, we gave away over 100 flags within our community.

Flying the flag is just a small gesture that people can make right now to help show others that they are not alone. Everyone’s situation might be a little bit different but we are all experiencing the same moment in history and together, we can get through anything. We are Americans, we are Ohioans, we are a community. We still have flags left for businesses that have not yet received one. If you are interested in a flag, please contact us at (330) 650-4486 or email laura@SERVPROrri.com with “Free Flag” in the subject line and include your business name, phone number, and address. This is a limited time offer while supplies last.

How to Test Your Sump Pump Before a Storm

7/17/2020 (Permalink)

Looking down on sump pump You can avoid big problems with just a little bit of maintenance.

A sump pump in your home could mean the difference between an average day and a disaster. Sump pumps are meant to remove excess water from around the foundation of your home – something that could prove to be invaluable during a major storm. It’s important, however, to periodically ensure that your sump pump is working properly. Regular testing will keep you apprised of any issues with your sump pump that need to be addressed before it’s too late and your home is flooded.

Testing is fairly simple and doesn’t require any special skills.

  1. First, you want to identify the exit pipe that drains water out of your home (it will be located outside the house). Inspect the pipe for any debris that could be clogging it to ensure that it will drain properly.
  2. Next, you should take a large bucket of water and slowly pour it into the sump pit until you hear the pump click on and start draining the water.
  3. Listen as the water recedes to hear the pump click back off once the water has been drained.

If the pump either does not kick on when water is poured into the pit or if it doesn’t shut off again once the water has been drained, it is not working properly. Most commonly, sump pumps get unplugged by a member of the family for one reason or another and then forgotten to be plugged back in. This incredibly simple solution could make a significant difference in the event of a high water situation. Another common sump pump problem is that the float activator is set too high and doesn’t turn the pump on in time. You can adjust it yourself fairly simply and ensure the pump kicks on when it is supposed to. If you check all of the above aspects but the pump still doesn’t work, then you know that it is time to have it professionally serviced.

Performing regular checks on your sump pump could be the difference between a dry home and a house flood that will disrupt your life. If you experience water damage in your home, call on us at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County to come to the rescue. We are faster to any disaster at any time, 24/7/365. You know you can trust our highly qualified technicians to help make it "Like it never even happened."

The Dangers of Storm Water in Your Home

7/17/2020 (Permalink)

water flooding a kitchen Storm waters entering your home could harm both your things and your health.

Some of us love a good storm, love watching the rain fall in torrents and lightning crack across the sky while the thunder rolls. Others of us might hate the storms and want to hide under the bed like our dogs when extreme weather rolls through. Regardless, storms are a part of our lives in Northeast Ohio whether we like it or not, and sometimes we have to deal with some adverse effects from the heavy rains that will inevitably befall us.

Some people might think that if they don’t live in flood plains, then they will never have to worry about flooding in their homes. However, these intense storms that dump tons of water in a short amount of time can cause damage to homes in all kinds of different situations.

One of the biggest risks to any home as a result of a storm is Category 3 Black Water backing up into living quarters. This is water, mainly sewage but also water from overflowing streams or lakes, that is highly contaminated and could affect the health of people in your home. There are three levels of black water damage that you could experience.

  1. Level one originates inside the home and is contained to a small area. Most of the home, including the structure and porous material, are not affected.
  2. Level two also originates inside the home, but a larger area is affected, including porous material, and structure must be inspected for contamination.
  3. Level three comes from an outside source like a main sewage line or overflowing river or lake and causes greater health risks from contamination over a longer period of time.

CAT 3 Black Water contains many different kinds of bacteria, mold, and viruses that can affect your health. Diseases such as tetanus, hepatitis, and various kinds of infections, among other health issues, can be spread by exposure to black water. You should avoid direct skin contact with black water and even breathing in contaminated air could lead to illness.

If you experience flooding in your home, the most important thing to do is address the problem as quickly as possible. Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County and we will be there anytime 24/7/365. Our highly-trained technicians know how to handle black water contamination and make your home safe again. Protect yourself and your family from health risks and know that SERVPRO will help return your home to normal.

Summer Fire Safety Tips in Northern Summit County

7/17/2020 (Permalink)

Closeup of a small bonfire Enjoy all the activities you enjoy this summer, but stay safe!

Summer is in full swing in Northeast Ohio and that means people are spending more time soaking up the sun and enjoying the outdoors – or maybe that they’re sitting inside loving the air conditioning. Either way, people are enjoying those good summertime feelings, well-deserved after another long, cold NEO winter. Don’t let a summer fire come along and ruin that warm-weather positivity. It’s true that house fires are less common in the summer than in the winter, but there are some precautions you can take to avoid a disaster at your home.

  1. Grilling: For many people, grill out is a major perk of warm weather. Cooking your food over an open flame just gives it that smokey, delicious quality you can’t get on the stove or in the oven. It’s important, however, to make sure you take some simple precautions like checking the propane hose and tank for leaks before turning your grill on after a period of disuse. Additionally, you always want to make sure that you keep your grill a safe distance of at least three feet away from your home and out from under any overhangs. One of the most common causes of grill fires is a failure to clean the grill, leading to internal fires that could quickly get out of control. Clean your grill after every use to remove grease and leftover particles.
  2. Bonfires: Even though it’s warm outside, a favorite summertime activity for many people is sitting around a backyard bonfire. Bonfires are also a common way for people to eliminate yard waste that they have lying around. Make sure that fires are at least five times the height of the fire in distance away from any surrounding structures. Never burn aerosols, canisters, or anything containing foam or paint as they could explode, and the fumes can be toxic. When putting out a bonfire, make sure that you rake and turn the coals while dousing them with water to ensure that the fire is completely out.
  3. Air conditioners: Another common cause of summer fires is air conditioner malfunction. Of course, it is wonderful to be able to go into a nice cool home after an afternoon spent in the oppressive summer heat but it’s important to make sure that your AC is properly maintained to avoid any issues. Window units especially tend to be the major culprits for fire starters, as they sometimes overload electrical outlets or have internal faults that cause problems. Don’t leave your window AC unit running for too long without breaks or when you are not around. Additionally, if you have central air, you are at much lower risk for air conditioner fires but having your system periodically inspected, every few years, to ensure it is still in good working condition could save you from disaster later on.

If a fire does happen in your home this summer, know that you can call on SERVPRO of Northern Summit County to come to the rescue. We are faster to any disaster and our highly trained technicians can remove all evidence of fire from your space, including smoke damage. Call us when disaster strikes.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County Technicians are IICRC Certified

7/8/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO technician cleaning Trust our highly-qualified technicians with all of your cleaning and restoration needs.

At SERVPRO of Northern Summit County, we are highly invested in providing the highest possible quality care to everyone who needs our services. We know that, oftentimes, when people call on us at SERVPRO, it is not under the most fortunate of circumstances. Our disaster restoration services are meant to help people recover from some of the worst, most difficult situations they may ever face – events like fires, floods, and major storm damage. That’s why we pride ourselves on having some of the most highly trained restoration technicians in the industry who you can trust to restore your home or business to perfect condition after a disaster befalls you.

All of our SERVPRO technicians are IICRC certified, which means that they have been trained to meet a high level of quality for all of their work. The Institute for Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification is a nonprofit that helps to set globally recognized standards for these areas. By sending our technicians to IICRC training, we are ensuring that every single person who utilizes SERVPRO for their cleaning and restoration needs is receiving the best possible work in their time of need.

You can trust SERVPRO of Northern Summit County to come to your aid at any time, 24/7/365 with the best people for every task. We have been in business for over 35 years, helping to restore people’s homes and businesses to perfect condition after disasters. Whether you are in need of fire, water, or storm damage cleanup, mold remediation, or proactive and reactive cleaning measures, we can make it "Like it never even happened." Make sure SERVPRO is your first call when disaster comes knocking at your door.

Make Your Business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned window cling Let your customers know you care with Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry-leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high-frequency touchpoints, foot traffic, and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.

Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County today at 216-650-4486 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.

* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision-makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience.  Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.

Plan For Storm Damage in Northern Summit County

4/3/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO house logo on image with rain storm in background SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your storm damage.

When a major storm passes close to the house, the home may suffer water damage that is difficult to repair. A certified professional will likely be needed to help prevent serious health or structural threats. Storm surges can carry pathogens and mold.

The main reason a home is prone to water damage is because moisture is difficult to detect. Moisture can collect behind the walls, where mold and bacteria may multiply.

Professional restoration services can quickly identify what items in the home are compromised. Anything that is porous may need to be discarded such as mattresses, box springs, pillows and particleboard.

A family can prepare for professional cleaning by getting rid of these items before the technicians arrive, but record and itemize these items for insurance purposes. Technicians trained in this restoration field know how to find compromised areas and restore them.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your storm damage. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486. We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year including all major holidays.

 

Is Your Business Ready For Storm Season in Northern Summit County?

4/3/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO house logo on image with building in background SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your business water damage.

Did you know that 50% of businesses never reopen after a fire, storm, or water disaster? SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is available 24 hours a day to get YOUR business back up and running, "Like it never even happened."

Lightning strikes account for 6.5% of property claims. High winds, heavy rain, and flooding from a thunderstorm can destroy a business in minutes. If your business is not prepared for a quick recovery, the lost revenue of your business could mean closure.

SERVPRO has over 40 years of experience as a leading fire and water cleanup and restoration provider. There are over 1,500 franchises servicing 48 states, which allows more locations for faster responses.

We are quick to respond because we help ensure the damage is contained and the restoration process begins promptly. We help with large loss capabilities; no fire or water damage is too big.

Help prepare your business disaster by signing up for our Emergency Ready Program. This will reduce business interruption following a disaster, call for details.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your business water damage. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486. We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year including all major holidays.

 

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is Professional And Efficient

4/3/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO house logo on image with green SERVPRO truck SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your damage.

Flooding, water, and storm emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and can happen when we least expect it in your home. We know how stressful and devastating this can be.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County provides professional emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which even includes all holidays.

We want this process to go as smoothly and efficiently as possible for you, so you can get your damage restored in no time. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the best professionals to get this damage taken care of. You can expect an immediate response time, day or night, for your home in Northern Summit County.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your damage.  If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486. We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year including all major holidays.

 

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County Provides CE Classes to Local Community.

3/3/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with presentation classroom. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your damage.

Are you a insurance agent and looking for continuing education classes? Good news for you! SERVPRO of Northern Summit County provides you with a variety of class options each month. Get your learning on while you get credit for your continuing education.

Pick and choose which ones you want to attend, and come have a grand old time. There are anywhere from 3-5 classes per month, that you can attend.

Make sure you sign up for email notifications and sign up for the class you’d like to attend: https://ce4free.com/

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your damage. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486. We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year including all major holidays.

  

Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County When You Are Have Damage at Your Business

3/2/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with business building. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your business water damage.

Damage to your business can happen at anytime, especially when there is flooding or high water. Business owners need a reputable and reliable company for when these crises become realities. 

 
Slow water leaks can come out of no where in your business, which can damage products, office furniture, and the structure of your building. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County specializes in restoring water damage to your structure.

Water can quietly seeps in from cracks that is in plumbing or improperly installed gutter and drain systems. We train our technicians to discover the source of the water and to restore the damage done.
 
We use high-efficiency air movers, heaters, and dehumidifiers to remove water as vapor from your building; this helps ensure that we prevent any mold damage. We focus on restoration to your business building, to make it look “Like it never even happened.” 
 
We work quickly to inventory and move wet products to a dry staging area. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is in constant communication with your insurance provider so that you can develop the evidence for any claims needed. Your business will be restored in no time.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your business water damage. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486. We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year including all major holidays.

  

Prepare And Prevent Flooding in Northern Summit County

3/2/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with flooding on road. March 13-19th is Flood Safety Awareness Week.

Storm damage happens can happen at anytime in Northern Summit County. As winter starts to end, spring bring water damage and flooding. Flooding can cause more damage in the United States more than any other weather-related event.

March 13-19th is Flood Safety Awareness Week. We want to create awareness for the community. More than half of all flood related deaths result from vehicles being swept downstream. It is a good time to share awareness about flooding so that you can minimize potential flood damage and accelerate recovery efforts.

If you receive notifications that there is a flood warning here are some simple ways to prepare:

  • Check if your insurance covers flood damage. If not, find out how to get flood insurance.
  • Make an itemized list of personal property well in advance. Photograph or video the interior and exterior of your home.
  • Keep insurance and important documents in a safe deposit box.
  • Assemble a disaster supplies kit.
  • Find out where you can go if ordered to evacuate.
  • Make a keep-in-touch arrangement with relatives and friends.

After a flood hits you will want to also take precautions:

  • Avoid areas subject to sudden flooding.
  • Even six inches of fast moving floodwater can knock you off your feet. Never try to walk, swim or drive through such swift water.
  • Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. STOP! Turn around and go another way.
  • Keep children from playing in floodwaters or near culverts.
  • Use flashlights, not lanterns or torches, flammables may be inside.
  • Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas.
  • Refer to Red Cross or Federal Emergency Management Agency web sites for ideas and examples of disaster plans and disaster kits.

It is important to prepare for a flooding disaster as soon as possible. If you get flooding in your building and need restoration call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your business water damage. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486. We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year including all major holidays.

  

How to Keep Safe During a House Fire.

2/5/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with house fire. We know how devastating a fire disaster can be, but we are here to help!

A small flame can turn into a major fire within seconds. It takes minutes for smoke to fill a house. You may not think you will ever be a victim to a house fire, but it's better to be prepared and know what to do should it ever happen.

Keeping safe in your house during a fire:

  • If you hear your smoke detector or see fire, exit your home as quickly and safely as possible; do not stop to grab your belongings.
  • Get low to the floor and crawl on your hands and knees to evade the toxic smoke.
  • Immediately stop what you're doing and drop flat to the ground and roll around until you smother the fire.
  • Close the door and cover all vents and cracks with a cloth to keep the smoke out.
  • If you are trapped in a second story room get yourself to an area where people will be able to hear or see you.
  • If you must go out a window, look for a ledge you can get yourself onto and hang down from your hands.
  • Make sure everyone is accounted for; if anybody is missing, only re-enter the building if it is safe to do so.
  • Keep a safe distance between you and the fire.

Always call 9-1-1 at any sign of a fire and think for your safety first before acting.

We know how devastating a fire disaster can be, but we are here to help! Call SERVPRO of Portage County (330) 677-4483 to help get your home restored efficiently.

  

How To Prevent Winter Storm Damage in Your House.

2/5/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with home that has icicles. We know how devastating a storm and water disaster can be, but we are here to help!

Prevent Winter Storm Damage in Your House.

After a winter snow storm, temperatures can go up and down which causes melting and freezing. This temperature variation can cause snow or ice to melt and trickle into your house. This can cause damage on the way inside the cracks. Water damage is not fun for any home owner.

The good news, you can prevent water damage from snow melts by shoveling snow away from your house. Yes, it could be as simple as that.

It may also be necessary to shovel snow from areas with grass underneath. This can help the water from entering and flooding once it warms up.

Contact our team of professionals for more information about snow water damage to your home.

We know how devastating a storm and water disaster can be, but we are here to help! Call SERVPRO of Portage County (330) 677-4483 to help get your home restored efficiently.

  

How to Keep Safe During a House Fire

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with Firefighters and fire in background SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your home fire.

You may think you'll never be a victim of a home fire, but it's better to be prepared and understand a few tips:

Keeping safe in your house during a fire:

  • React as soon as you hear your smoke alarm go off. Leave your house at the sound of an alarm and call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not stop to grab your belongings.
  • Know when to Safely exit through doors. If you see smoke under the door, do not open the door to escape. If you do not see smoke, put the back of your hand to the door if it is cool, open slowly and pass through.
  • Prevent yourself from smoke inhalation by Getting low to the floor and crawl on your hands and knees. If you have to walk through the smoke, cover your nose and mouth with a shirt.
  • Stop drop and roll if your clothes catch fire. Immediately stop what you're doing, drop flat on to the ground and roll around. Make sure to cover your face with your hands as you're rolling to protect yourself.
  • Call for help from a second story window. If you are trapped in a second story room get yourself to an area where people will be able to hear or see you.
  • Escape from a second story window if you can. If you have an escape ladder, toss it down the side of the house. If you must go out the window, look for a ledge you can get yourself onto and hang down from your hands.

It is important to know what to do should a fire arise in your home, you need to act quickly and be careful. Always call 9-1-1 first and get to safety.   

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your home fire. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486

  

Fire Prevention Safety Tips for Your Business

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with business buildings. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your business fire disaster.

Fires can happen at anytime in businesses. There are some quick tips for business owners to follow so that they can prevent a fire, or prevent it from spreading quickly:

  • Extension cords are a common electrical violation. Extension cords attached to building surfaces as permanent wiring or extended through walls, ceilings, floors and under rugs. Extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis and must be properly rated for the intended use.
  • Both smoke and CO detectors have saved thousands of lives over the years. Smoke detectors should be located on the ceiling of each floor or on a wall; this should not be more than four inches from the ceiling.
  • Fire extinguishers can help in the early stages of a fire if you are in a safe location and know what to do.
  • All fire extinguishers are tested by the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) for safety and performance. They are rated based on the type of fire they will put out, and their classification is determined by the size of the fire they will put out.

Make sure to always call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing a fire and take safety first and foremost before taking precautions into your own hands.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your business fire disaster. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486

  

Six Ways to Protect Your Home From Flooding

2/2/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with  water on ground in background SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle water damage in your home.

Six Ways to Protect Your Home From Flooding

Flooding can strike anywhere at anytime. Floods are a common and expensive natural disaster in the U.S. If you ignore this risk, you could be left with a destroyed home and belongings. It is hard to prevent flooding, but by taking little precautions and actions you help avoid major damage from a potential flood. The first step in avoiding a flooding risk is knowing the flood level of your home with an official measure of how high floodwaters could rise.

Your next steps in protecting your home from flooding should include the following:

  1. Make sure to raise switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring at least a foot above the expected flood level.
  2. Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units and generators should be anchored above your flood level as well.
  3. A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up in your home, so you will want to install an interior or exterior back-flow valve.
  4. The grading or slope of the house can direct water either way from your house. This can be determined by watching how water flows.
  5. If your home floods frequently you can raise your home on piers or columns so the lowest floor is above flood level.
  6. Make sure to have clear gutters, drains and downspouts. You will also want to move furniture, rugs, electronics and other belongings to upper floors when flooding will not happen.

    Bonus tip, you will want to shut off electricity at the breaker panel with any sign of flooding. If flooding increases you will want to elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks if they're in harm's way.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle water damage in your home. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486

  

Five Things You Should Do if Your Property is Damaged From a Storm.

2/2/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with  snow storm in background SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your home storm damage.

Five Things You Should Do if Your Property is Damaged From a Storm.

Homes can get damaged during storms, which leads to problems for home owners. It is important to be prepared and knowledgeable in case this should happen to your home. Here are some quick tips:

 1) File a claim immediately: The faster you file and notify your insurance, the sooner you can get an agent to your property to assess the damage. Claims that aren't complicated usually don't take long to process.

2) Contact storm damage repair companies: Contact SERVPRO of Northern Summit County to help get your home restored efficiently and with care, just call (330) 650-4486.

3) Be prepared to pay out of pocket: There is usually always some sort of deductible with any home damage and an insurance company. It is important to know this deductible and plan for it.

4) Don't wait for more storms before you contact your insurance company: some problems will have different deductibles, so make sure to file as soon as the damage happens.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your home storm damage. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486

  

Prepare Your Business For Fire Before It Happens In Northern Summit County.

1/1/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with business. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your business fire disaster.

Commercial Fire Damage Restoration is something that no business owner wants to go through. However, the truth is it might happen. The best advice to prepare your business for a fire before it happens is to make sure that you have some sort of Emergency Plan in place.

It is best to hire SERVPRO of Northern Summit County, even before the fire hits your business. We can help you develop an Emergency Readiness Plan for your employees so that when disaster hits you are prepared as best as can be.

Fire damage is especially devastating for a business or commercial property, since you will not be operate normal hours for a little while. In addition to the fire and smoke damage, significant water damage from firefighting efforts and fire suppression systems may occur.

Every hour spent restoring your business back to pre-fire condition is an hour of lost revenue and productivity; we know how critical this is as a business owner. If your business experiences a fire loss, call the fire and water damage restoration experts and we’ll respond immediately to get you back to business in Northern Summit County. 

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has many benefits:

  • 24 Hour Emergency Service
  • Faster to Any Size Disaster
  • A Trusted Leader in the Fire and Water Restoration Industry with over 1,700 Franchises
  • Highly Trained Fire and Water Damage Restoration Specialists

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your business fire disaster. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486

  

Portable Generators Can Cause Fire Damage in Northern Summit County. 

1/1/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with fire. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your fire disaster and restoration.

The winter months are cold in Northern Summit County, and can cause power outages or the need for additional warmth. Portable generators can be useful during winter storms. However, if you are not careful, they can cause fire disasters and many other issues.

Here are some tips if you plan on using Portable generators this season:

  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas
  • Keep portable generators away from all doors, windows and vents
  • Have carbon monoxide alarms in your home
  • Do not use a generator in a wet area
  • Connect appliances to the generator with heavy-duty extension cords
  • Do not fuel your generator when it is running

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) in conjunction with U.S. Fire Administration, National Fire Protection Association and Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend the following safety tips in preventing loss of life and property when operating portable generators:

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never use generators in the house, garage, crawl spaces or other enclosed areas.
  • When a CO alarm sounds, it is a warning to occupants that poisonous gases may be in your home.
  • Test CO alarms frequently and replace batteries as needed.
  • Use UL listed/marked outdoor extension cords to connect to the generator.
  • Keep children and pets away from the generator and fuel.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your fire disaster and restoration. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486

  

Freezing Temperatures In Northern Summit County Can Cause Winter Water Damage.

12/22/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with metal pipes. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your winter water disaster.

Northern Summit County is notorious for winter and this years winter is no exception.  We are all aware of the downsides of unpredictable winter weather that might affect our homes. It is important to be proactive as much as you can in the winter months.

Winter temperatures can vary greatly from day to day in Northern Summit County. We sometimes see those warm days turn quickly to bitter cold ones. The sub-zero temperatures can be dangerous to our homes.

Pipes within the exterior walls are vulnerable. Water within pipes may become cold enough to freeze. Water expands when it freezes, and it has nowhere to go, therefore it can cause pipes to burst. Water can flow into walls and onto floors, causing flooding and damage.

Cold temperatures and freezing water can do damage on the outside of the house. An ice dam can form along the edge of your roof or even along the gutters. This happens when a higher temperature section of the roof is above freezing yet the lower part is below freezing. The ice forms a barrier which blocks the flow of water off the roof. The hard ice will push the shingles out of place and allow water to slip down to the ceiling or attic. Water damage will continue until the ice dam is discovered and the affected area is repaired. This is why it is so important to make sure your home is properly insulated.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle your winter water disaster. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486

  

Ready Plan For Your Business in Northern Summit County

12/4/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with commercial building in the background SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile minimizes businesses interruption by having an immediate plan of action

As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster. The businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can be q peace of mind, and knowing you are "ready for whatever happens”.

SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile minimizes businesses interruption by having an immediate plan of action simply because your team will know what to do and what to expect in advance if damage strikes.

Here are some SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile facts:

  • It is a no cost assessment of your facility. This means there is no need to allocate funds.
  • You will have a Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency. 
  • This is a guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster and can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive.
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • It provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.

    Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during your business emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster. If you need assistance with storm or flooding call (330) 650-4486

  

Fire Safety Tips For Homes in Northern Summit County

12/2/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with firefighters putting out a fire. There are things to be cautious of to prevent a fire. However, should your home ever face a disaster call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County.

It is important to be safe when using electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs and other equipment in your home. It only takes one mistake to spark an electrical fire, but simple prevention measures can be effective solutions.

These safety tips can help keep all appliances operating safely and help you prevent unexpected fires in the home:

  • Ensure any appliances you purchase are approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Unplug unused appliances and store cords safely out of reach of young children.
  • Appliances that generate heat should be given several inches of clearance all around for good air circulation and cooling.
  • Do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.
  • Keep all electric appliances away from water: sinks, bathtubs, pools or overhead vents.
  • Do not operate any electrical appliance with wet hands.
  • Keep clothes and curtains away from radiators, space heaters, heating vents and other heat sources.

There are so many more things to be cautious of to prevent a fire. However, should your home ever face a disaster call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster. If you need assistance with storm or flooding call (330) 650-4486

  

Tips For Water Damage

12/1/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with traffic lights and rain The period after a large storm or flood is often a hectic. While waiting for SERVPRO to arrive to perform water damage restoration.

The period after a large storm or flood is often a hectic.  While waiting for SERVPRO to arrive to perform water damage restoration there are some simple do and don’ts. 

You can take great steps to avoid further property damage in your wet basement or other areas of your home:

DO

  1. Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party
  2. Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
  3. Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping.
  4. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  5. Remove & prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.
  6. Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, and documents.

    DON’T
  7.  Enter rooms with standing water where electrical hazards may exist.
  8. Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. 
  9. Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining.
  10. Leave Oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining.
  11. Use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
  12. Use TV’s or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors

Remain calm, help is on the way.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster. If you need assistance with storm or flooding call (330) 650-4486

  

SERVPRO gives back to community.

12/1/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with staff member in background with coats. SERVPRO gives back to community. It’s time to give back. Portage County Insurance Association are doing a coat drive Christmas Celebration!

SERVPRO gives back to community.

It’s time to give back.

Portage County Insurance Association are doing a coat drive Christmas Celebration! 

Coats are due prior to the party on December 4th. Anyone can also purchase the coats at the party December 5th.  If you have coats you want to donate, you can contact Laura at SERVPRO, 330-807-5471 or Laura@SERVPROrri.com

**New or used coats are accepted. 

**Used coats will be professionally cleaned at no charge.

Thank you in advance we truly appreciate you!!

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster. If you need assistance with storm, fire, or water damage call (330) 650-4486

  

The Top 10 Causes of Fire in Northern Summit County

11/4/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with firefighters and fire SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster. If you need assistance call (330) 650-4486

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 374,000 U.S. homes catch fire annually. The cumulative damage is jaw-dropping. The price tag: Almost $8 billion annually.

The key to home fire prevention is knowing the most common causes. Working smoke detectors in the kitchen and on every floor are a must for every American home.

Here are the top 10 causes of fires:

  1. Cooking: All it takes is an unsupervised oven; never leave a stove unattended, maintain a three-foot buffer between you and a hot stove. Make sure to keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
  2. Kids Playing with Fire: Kids are naturally curious about fire. Parents should ensure young children don’t have access to matches, lighters and easily flammable liquids and materials.
  3. Smoking: Some might fall asleep in their chair while smoking and may wake up seeing your living room in flames. An unattended burning cigarette in an ash tray or a just a few fallen ashes on carpet can ignite a serious blaze in your home.
  4. Heating:  Space heaters are extremely flammable and can easy overload. Keep them away from furniture and appliances.
  5. Electrical: An overloaded circuit board, or even a power cord or faulty extension cord, can have your home smoking in short time. Be aware of the amount of watts you are plugging in to any extension cord.
  6. Candles: These are a practical and cheap mean of light and nothing sets the mood for a romantic or intimate dinner. Always ensure all candles are blown out before leaving the room or house or going to sleep.
  7. Fireplace: Fireplaces can turn from trusted heating sources to ground zero of a house fire. Unattended fires are the main cause of fireplace-centered house fires.
  8. Dryers: Dryers are loaded with debris, are highly flammable and can lead to fires.
    Improper dryer vents and venting can lead to dryer-related fires. Remove the lint screen after every use.
  9. Flammable Products:  Be sure all gasoline and oil used for lawn mowers and snowblowers are capped and kept away from other potential fire sources. Make sure all trash reciprocals are firmly covered and stored away from your home.
  10. Christmas Trees: Dry Christmas trees wrapped with lights and electrical cords are the greatest fire threat. When celebrating with a live Christmas tree, make sure it is well watered and leave the lights off when you are not home.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster. If you need assistance with storm or flooding call (330) 650-4486

 

Winter Causes Water Damage in Northern Summit County

11/4/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with house and sleet SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster.

Water damage may occur at any time of year, cold temperatures and inclement weather can combine to trigger winter water damage. This can be leaks and water intrusion in Northern Summit County. To reduce seasonal risks, be aware of these common sources of water damage in the winter months:

  • Frozen Pipes
    Install pipe insulation on all supply pipes potentially exposed to freezing temperatures. This can be the crawl space or up in the attic. When a hard freeze is in the forecast, open faucets slightly and allow them to drip to relieve pressure if pipes freeze. If water flow stops during extreme cold, assume a pipe has frozen. Don’t wait until it thaws to find out there’s a rupture, get help immediately.
  • Ice Dams: Water runs down to the colder portion of the roof then freezes again, obstructing flow of runoff into gutters. Water then seeps through shingles and sub-roofing and causes water damage in the attic. You can prevent this by making sure the attic is properly ventilated to remain uniformly cold. Make sure to seal ceiling cracks, gaps and other openings with caulking to prevent heat loss into the attic.
  • Snow Melt: Melting snow around your house can saturate deep into the soil and leak through the foundation and basement walls. Shovel accumulated snow away from the house. If you can, seal cracks and gaps in the basement wall and, if you don’t have one, install a sump pump.

It’s cold outside! Knowing the types of winter water damage that can occur can help you avoid these hazards.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster. If you need assistance with storm or flooding call (330) 650-4486

 

Commercial Evaluating Mold: Air Sample Testing

10/2/2019 (Permalink)

Bright green, brown, black, and blue colorful mold spore growth on batt insulation due to water damage Our mold process is efficient so that you can get your business back on track in a timely manner.

All commercial buildings contain mold spores since they a natural part of the environment.  An elevated mold count especially one that contains spores from varieties of mold that are commonly found when water damage is involved, such as stachybotrys chartarum, can indicate that there may be a structural moisture problem.      

In the insurance claim process, mold testing is generally utilized after the mold has been remediated to confirm that the mold spore count is at or below the count found outside the building. The test is conducted while the remediated area is contained in order to confirm the success of the cleaning process. 

Determination of airborne spore counts is accomplished by way of an air sample, in which a specialized pump with a known flow rate is operated for a known period of time. Conducive to scientific methodology, air samples should be drawn from the affected area, a control area, and the exterior.

The air sampler pump draws in air and deposits microscopic airborne particles on a culture medium. The medium is cultured in a laboratory and the fungal genus and species are determined by visual microscopic observation. Laboratory results also quantify fungal growth by way of a spore count for comparison among samples. The pump operation time was recorded and when multiplied by the operation time results in a specific volume of air obtained. Although a small volume of air is actually analyzed, common laboratory reporting techniques extrapolate the spore count data to equate the amount of spores that would be present in a cubic meter of air.

Our mold process is efficient so that you can get your business back on track in a timely manner. We are happy to serve commercial buildings with mold damage in the SERVPRO of Northern Summit County.


If you have questions or need further information about the mold testing process, contact SERVPRO of Northern Summit County at 800-648-1212. 

Does your commercial building need Ordinance Or Law Coverage? YES IT DOES!

10/1/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO logo with a commercial building faded in the background How much ordinance or law coverage to you need? There is no way to get an exact number but you should look at the worst case scenario.

Commercial structures built more than a few years ago are most likely deficient in some aspect of the applicable building code.  Building codes change rapidly and in large insurance losses, having too little or no Ordinance or Law coverage can potentially cost you a substantial amount of out of pocket expense.  Ordinance or Law provides three critical areas of coverage: Coverage for Loss to the Undamaged Portion of the Building, Demolition Cost and Increased Cost of Construction Coverage. Many reconstruction projects frequently uncover code issues and without Ordinance me, the building owner is responsible for the additional cost.  According to Adjusters International Disaster Recovery Consulting, compliance with ordinances and laws after a loss can add 50% or more to the cost of the claim.  A tough pill to swallow if your business has to pick up the expense! 

How much ordinance or law coverage to you need?  There is no way to get an exact number but you should look at the worst case scenario.  For Coverage A, Loss to the Undamaged Portion of a Building,  experts suggest choosing the total limit scheduled in your property policy. For Coverage B, Demolition Costs, a rule of thumb is $5 per square foot.  Coverage C is for the Increased Cost of Construction and one suggested method for determining coverage uses cost averaging.  Experts suggest multiplying .5-1% of the building value by the age of the building to come up the amount of insurance coverage required.   For example at 1%, a ten year old $500,000 building would need $50,000 in coverage (1% X 500,000=$5000 X 10 Years= $50,000). You can also ask your insurance agent about blanket coverage. 

Don’t be caught short on funds to get back in business after a disaster.  Be sure to review your Ordinance or Law coverage with your commercial insurance agent and seek advice regarding the recommended amount of insurance coverage.  If a disaster strikes your business, the trained staff at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County are commercial restoration experts and are here to help.  Call 800-648-1212 for assistance 24/7.

Prepare For A Storm In Northern Summit County

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on dark cloud storm background Storms occur with little warning and can be devastating, so you’ll need the company that you can trust to rise to the occasion.

Storms occur with little warning and can be devastating, so you’ll need the company that you can trust to rise to the occasion. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County can handle any size disaster. 

Should storm water begin to accumulate around your house, here are a few easy steps that may help protect your home:

  • Make sure all windows are closed tightly. Make sure to check windows in your basement area
  • Move valuables to higher ground
  • Continuously monitor the sump pump (if you have one) to verify that it is operating properly
  • Make sure to secure any outside furniture
  • Cover basement window wells to help divert water from pooling inside the well

Safety should always be your main focus when faced with storm water.

  • Do not walk through moving water, as even 6’ of water is enough force to knock you off your feet
  • Stay away for flood waters as it is contaminated and unhealthy and may pose health hazards

Storm and flood water damage can be very destructive. Immediate action is needed, and you need the company with storm damage experience. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster. If you need assistance with storm or flooding call 1-800-648-1212.

Prepare For a Windstorm in Northern Summit County.

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on dark image with benches Windstorm damage is covered on a standard homeowner's insurance policy.

Yes, windstorm damage is covered on a standard homeowner's insurance policy. But whose homeowner's insurance policy covers the loss?

First, it is important to understand what windstorm insurance policies cover. Windstorm insurance is a special type of property and casualty insurance designed to cover damages caused by high winds. Windstorm insurance may cover damages from hurricane-force winds, tornadoes, hail and other weather events.

A hypothetical tree falls on your house. 

  • Scenario 1: your tree falls on your house. Your homeowner's policy will provide coverage up to your policy limits, after you pay the deductible. The coverage extends to cover damage to your main home, garage, shed or other additional buildings and structures such as a fence. If there is damage to the structure of the house, debris removal is also covered, up to policy limits.
  • Scenario 2: your tree falls on your neighbor's house. The basic rule is that the insurance policy of the property that was damaged pays for the loss.
  • Scenario 3: your neighbor's tree fell on your house. Your homeowner's insurance policy should pay for any damage per the property claim.

Please note that homeowners insurance usually won't cover a loss caused by negligence or a maintenance-related issue. So if the tree was rotting and ready to fall down before the storm, homeowners insurance likely would not cover the damage the tree caused to your home.

Always call your home owners insurance first and tell them what is going on. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster. If you need assistance with wind or storage damage call 1-800-648-1212.

What To Do If You Have Water Damage

9/28/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO house logo on a rainy image with cars and person riding bike. Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County if you have water damage. If you need assistance with storm or flooding call 1-800-648-1212.

Water in unwanted places can cause a lot of damage. It can ruin your prized possessions and your home. If you have water damage it is important to act quick, call your insurance company then a restoration company like SERVPRO of Northern Summit County. Here are some tips for you to do until help arrives:

  1. Disconnect the power, unplug any electronics, and remove electronics, furniture and movable items immediately. The faster you get items out of the way, the more likely you’ll be able to save them. Definitely move all electrical items first, and if you can, turn off your power leading into the affected area, especially if water rises above electrical outlets.
  2. Get rid of the water. There are several ways to get rid of the water. As long as sewers in your neighborhood aren’t backed up, you can pour the water down the drain. A wet/dry vacuum can be used too. Be very careful to plug it into outlets far away from water. Don’t use an extension cord as the connection could also short out and give you a nasty shock; water and electricity don’t mix!
  3. Dry out the affected area. Make sure to mop up all the water, use fans and  a dehumidifier to help dry out the area. Open windows to allow for air circulation and faster drying, if you are able.
  4. Disinfect. After the area has dried out, including wood beams, insulation, drywall, etc., use a good disinfectant to get rid of any bacteria that might have come up through sewers, toilets, etc.
  5. Dispose of damaged items responsibly: Don’t be tempted to throw everything into a dumpster. Organize damaged goods into piles and take what you can to recycling centers, you will help alleviate the pressure on your local landfill site.

    Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County  if you have water damage.  If you need assistance with storm or flooding call 1-800-648-1212.

Summit County family daily routine disrupted by dryer fire

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

Summit County residence with dryer sitting out on driveway. The dryer has extensive black and brown burn damage Dyer is the source for a fire in Summit County residence. An unattended dryer caught fire and caused fire damage to a family's home.

SERVPRO of Summit County received a request for fire damage restoration.  Upon arrival to the family home, we met this dryer in the driveway.  These driveway meetings are more common that you would imagine.  The fire department will set the source appliance outside the residence to assist with removal of odor.  Everyone is safe and sound, however these events can be very unsettling.  How many times do you turn the dryer on and leave the house?  We all do it. 

The 2 easy things you can do to help prevent dryer fires: clean the lint screen, and make sure the exhaust is venting properly as well as clean and free of debris. Regular maintenance, using the correct plug as recommended by the manufacturer, and utilize the proper electrical outlet is also critical.  Do not overload the dryer or dry towels with heavy grease or other flammable substance. 

This family's home did not have structural damage however the entire home will require restorative cleaning – from top to bottom!  Our service team has helped countless customers feel safe, cared for, and hopeful during the aftermath of a disaster. We are ready to help you as well. Day or night, our restoration experts respond immediately, we are faster to any disaster!  Big or small, SERVPRO is there to help.   

Our team at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County will get you taken care of. 

Call Us Today – (330) 650-4486

Your Commercial Building had a Sewage Back Up… Now What?

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

A mechanical room in a commercial building in Summit County with raw sewage visible on the concrete floor The goal is to return your property to sanitary conditions quickly and efficiently when mitigating sewage contaminated environments.

Removing sewage and restoring your building back to a level of acceptable cleanliness is more difficult than it sounds.  Mop it up and throw some bleach at it, right?  If only it were that easy.  In order to achieve a healthy and safe environment for your employees, tenants and customers, a three-step cleaning process in conjunction with appropriate drying procedure is critical.  Professional mitigation companies such as SERVPRO of Northern Summit County follow a strict protocol based on the IICRC S500 Standard Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration. 

The goal is to return your property to sanitary conditions quickly and efficiently when remediating fecally-contaminated environments.  Contaminants can be spread by tracking and aerosolization so proper containment and PPE should be utilized.  Due to this fact, decontamination is performed first before drying fans are placed.  This involves rough cleaning, initial sanitizing and demolition.  Porous materials are removed and discarded at this stage and if the sewage has penetrated below non-porous flooring, it has to be removed as well.  Detailed cleaning follows which involves not only using appropriate disinfecting but also the use of hot water which penetrates irregular surfaces and semi-porous material.  Multiple rounds of cleaning may be required.  During the cleaning stage dehumidification should be used to help prevent mold growth and once the building is sanitized properly, fans are placed to dry the environment. 

All steps outlined above are critical for returning your building back to a healthy and safe place for your employees, tenants and customers.  If you have questions about this process or need assistance with a sewage clean-up, SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is at your service 24/7 by calling 800-648-1212.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County uses structure materials with thermal imaging

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

Thermal imaging is just one piece of technology services at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County used to utilizes water damage in your home.

Structure materials with thermal imaging and standard camera are Red, yellow orange indicated dry and blues and purples indicate elevated moisture. 

Using thermal imagers to detect moisture intrusion is a relatively new practice in water damage mitigation.  Thermal imaging has be used successfully to detect water intrusion in interior walls following roof leaks, foundation failure, chimney leaks, etc. It can find things that the naked eye doesn’t always see. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County has this powerful equipment to help get your water damage taken care of.

There are a number of areas where moisture can accumulate that are frequently overlooked in typical inspections.  Using thermal imaging technology can help reduce the cost to repairs by minimizing damage to the property to find the core source of water intrusion.

Thermal imaging is just one piece of technology services at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County used to utilizes water damage in your home.  Contact us today to schedule a site inspection (330) 650-4486

Can You Dry Hardwood Floors After A Water Damage in Northern Summit County?

8/25/2019 (Permalink)

The professionals at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County have saved hundreds of hardwood floors by using advanced drying equipment.

A very common question we receive at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is, “Can I dry hardwood floor after water damage?” The only downfall off hardwood floors is that in the event of a flood or water overflow, hardwood floors cannot be easily taken out and dried like carpet can. This brings us to our question – "Can you dry hardwood floors in place, or does everything need to be ripped out and replaced?"

First, you need to recognize the many different factors that play into properly achieving a dry hardwood floor. Water damage can increase drastically if not taken care of properly, professionally, and in a timely manner. Here are some of the main considerations:

Response Time - Water damage can be greatly decreased depending on the response time to the problem. Time is of the essence when it comes to hardwood floor water damage – the moisture, temperature, and dust layer beneath a wet wood floor can provide an ideal environment for mold and many other problems.

Type of Wood Flooring - Before you can determine how to properly dry hardwood floor, you need to determine what type of wood flooring you have.

Amount Of Moisture - A flooded hardwood floor can have up to 40% moisture content and can retain well above the normal amount of moisture for weeks if left to dry on their own. Nails may begin to lift, glue may release causing separation between floor pieces, and tongue and groove floors often cup or buckle when moisture has been absorbed.

If you decide to attempt to dry and save hardwood floors in place SERVPRO of Northern Summit County  has specialized drying equipment that forces airflow beneath the surface of the floor, allowing moisture to be released.

A restoration specialist can inspect the hardwood floor damage to determine the right plan of action for your home. They will work with you and your insurance carrier to decide the best option – drying or replacing the floor. The professionals at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County have saved hundreds of hardwood floors by using advanced drying equipment. 

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County provides restoration, reconstruction and remodeling services

8/24/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County provides restoration, reconstruction and remodeling services

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County provides restoration, reconstruction and remodeling services to residential and commercial facilities. Our services include When it comes to water & fire damage restoration there are several reasons why you should call us. 

#1 We’re Nearby

The SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is locally owned and grounded in the community.  We are centrally located and always ready to respond to 24/7 to provide emergency services.   Locally owned with national resources, our customers get the best of both worlds.

#2 We’re Faster to Any Size Disaster

A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost., SERVPRO of Northern Summit County  provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – including all holidays.

#3 Advanced Training

Experience matters. All of our technicians are highly trained in property damage restoration and they have access to our advanced equipment.

Training includes The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), which sets the standard for the cleaning and restoration industries.

#4 Advanced Equipment and Techniques

Besides the professional drying equipment and power extractors that help us move lots of water quickly we also the newest technology in the industry. By investing in the latest technology and equipment we can restore your home more quickly and minimize costs. 

#5 Confidence

When the job is done our technician provides validation and documentation to your insurance carrier that your property is dry and the job is complete so you can feel confident, safe and comfortable.

If you experience water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, storm damage restoration, repairs, and commercial project services give us a call (330) 650-4486

Tips to Help Prevent Summer Claims in Northern Summit County

8/15/2019 (Permalink)

Follow these tips to help prevent summer claims for your home.

In a recent show of data, Farmers Insurance states that more than 50% of flood claims get filed during the summer between June and August. With travel being increased during summertime for families due to vacations and breaks, the weather sometimes causes unplanned and unexpected troubles.

Add a little preparation, forethought, and precaution in your household to allow you to take on some of the disasters summer can bring. 

Follow these tips to help prevent summer claims for your home:

  • Caution Around Water on Roadways: Although you may FEEL safe driving through water, bear in mind merely six inches of water can reach the bottom of most cars. Flood waters can be dangerous due to depth, flow, and also the unseen debris and possible downed power lines. Losing control of putting yourself in harm’s way out of convenience could be detrimental.
  • If in Doubt, Please Re-Route: Be wary of your surroundings and common driving routes. If you travel through underpasses, drainage canals, or similar spots, flash flooding can occur and you should plan alternative routes in case of an emergency.
  • Store Valuables Safely: Anything of value such as documents, photos, electronics, or the like need placed on shelves or high enough off the ground should water penetrate your home. Water wreaks havoc enough as is without taking valuable possessions down with any soaking. More irreplaceable items may be better kept in a safety deposit box, safe, or other location.

While these tips certainly provide a leg up on preventing summer claims, accidents and emergencies do happen. If you find yourself in that situation, count on SERVPRO’s extremely well-trained professionals to give you the support you need 24 hours a day, 7 days per week including weekends and holidays. 

Local SERVPRO Northern Summit County Receives Outstanding Performance Award

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County received the CHAIRMAN'S Gold award at SERVPRO’s recent 50th Annual Convention.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County received the CHAIRMAN'S Gold award at SERVPRO’s recent 50th Annual Convention. The event, themed “Making History,” was held from June 24-28 at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, California, where the company was founded.

“It is always gratifying to earn a distinction for our business,” said Bruce Johnson, SERVPRO of Northern Summit County Owner, “but it feels especially good this year. We are proud to be a member of the SERVPRO franchise family as the company celebrates 50 years of franchising success. SERVPRO’s ongoing commitment to providing innovative tools, ongoing training, and an ever-evolving business framework gives entrepreneurs like us a roadmap for success. We are proud to be part of SERVPRO’s team of dedicated disaster remediation professionals, and to know that we have both the tools and the knowledge to serve home and business owners in our community should the need arise.”

The company’s 50th Annual Convention was a celebration of the company’s history and a showcase of small business best practices and cutting-edge restoration and remediation technology. The event featured a variety of workshops and group sessions ranging across 37 different topics. Attendees gained knowledge and hands-on experience to help them build and grow their businesses and strengthen ties with both residents and businesses in their local communities. Highlights of the convention included a keynote address by motivational speaker Jon Gordon and an awards ceremony recognizing the achievements of top-performing franchisees.

“SERVPRO has come a long way since Ted and Doris Isaacson started the company as a painting business in Sacramento in 1967,” said Rick Isaacson, chief executive officer of SERVPRO. “In 1969, they used their cleanup and restoration background to take their new company in a different direction and never looked back. SERVPRO’s professional services network now includes more than 1,700 individually owned and operated franchises across the U.S. and Canada. Our annual convention brings this diverse group of entrepreneurs together to learn from industry experts and gives us an opportunity to recognize our top-performing franchises. We are incredibly proud of each of these dedicated professionals and the world-class service they provide to their customers and their communities.”

Summer Home Maintenance Tips in Northern Summit County

7/26/2019 (Permalink)

When the sun finally comes out, we all want to take trips, stay outside, and enjoy the nice weather.

When the sun finally comes out, we all want to take trips, stay outside, and enjoy the nice weather. However, homeowners should cross a few items off their list to ensure winter left no surprises. 

Here are some summer home maintenance tips to take care of before soaking up the sunshine:

Clean: A whole slew of pieces will need cleaned after the winter months. Eavestroughs, downspouts, gutters, furnace filters, dryer vents, lint traps, air conditioners, and siding could all use a little attention. Clear out any debris or build-up to prevent any damage, backing up, or safety issues. Keeping everything tidy will help reduce risk of disasters or costly fixes later.

Inspect: Chimneys, roofs, decks, patios, swing sets and other equipment, toilets and pipes, doors and windows, and electrical outlets and cords need a good once-over to check for any broken pieces or protruding parts. Finding damage and taking care of them right away will keep costs to a minimum and lessen the chance of any emergencies occurring. Stay on top of all the details, and you can have a relatively smooth summer where your home is concerned.

Examine: The exterior of your home, landscaping, and exterior caulking should be looked over thoroughly to find any evidence of any deterioration or marring that may need touched up and repaired. You may see signs of rodents or wildlife that need addressed, also. Proper attention can keep the problem from persisting or worsening.

Take this list and add anything that may have been overlooked.  SERVPRO of Northern Summit County are available 24/7 including holidays and weekends to assist you and get your home back to “Like it never even happened.” You will be able to rest easy and enjoy the summer sun accordingly.

Northern Summit County Be Prepared With Your Emergency Ready Profile (ERP)

7/26/2019 (Permalink)

With over 40 years of experience, you will have peace of mind using SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile

You may be asking, “What is an ERP?” An Emergency Readiness Plan or Emergency Ready Profile is a method of careful, well-practiced strategy of planning for emergencies before they happen to prevent panic during a catastrophe. When disaster strikes, having this tool in place will allow you or any employee to effectively handle whatever arises.

With SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action at no cost.

What should your ERP contain? Besides the essential information such as emergency and primary contacts, gas and water shut-off areas, and priority areas and procedures, the Department of Homeland Security refers to your ERP as “Protective Actions for Life Safety” which includes:

  • Fire Drills -- Rehearsing the action to take during a fire.
  • Shelter -- Sheltering staff during a natural disaster.
  • Shelter in Place -- Sheltering staff during a man-made emergency.
  • Lockdown -- Eluding and protecting against an active shooter

With over 40 years of experience, you will have peace of mind using SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile. Plus, our mobile app Ready Plan allows for instant share and quick accessibility for assistance. Rest assured, your business is in good hands when you trust SERVPRO and our highly, well-trained professionals.

Top Fire Safety Tips For Northern Summit County

7/7/2019 (Permalink)

Preparation for emergencies is good, but accidents DO happen. If you find yourself needing emergency services, call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County.

Top Fire Safety Tips

Predictions and statements from The National Interagency Fire Center have been confusing and somewhat contradictory as of late. While they said that spring 2019 wildfire activity should be normal, they also stated that late summer wildfire activity may be especially severe in some areas. 

Along the same lines, the Forest Service claims that each year, the season for wildfires becomes longer, hotter, and, in turn, more expensive.

  • Do Your Due Diligence: Cooking remains top of the list for residential fires. Continue to be aware of your surroundings, and use caution when you prepare meals. Accidents happen, but safety measures can help prevent some accidents.
  • Another area on the rise is rental property structural fires. Vacation rentals using places like Airbnb are not held to the same standards as hotels and the like. Look for these safety precautions in the places you visit and stay as a traveler. And, renal owners, equipping your facility with fire-prevention tools and information is protection for both you and your guests that may be well-worth the investment.

Here are the top fire safety tips for you to follow:

  1. Keep the stovetop clear of anything that could catch fire (i.e. towels or curtains)

  2. Electrical outlets should remain free of adapters and multiple cords.

  3. Pathways around the home need to be clear to avoid tripping (including holiday decorations).

  4. A designated outdoor smoking area (when allowed) should be placed far enough away from the building with a specific, safe discard bin for butts (i.e. a deep, sturdy ashtray).

  5. Teach children 9-1-1 or local emergency number, how, and when to call from cell phones or outside telephones.

  6. Create a designated family meet-up place a safe distance from the home in case of an emergency.

  7. Doors and windows leading outside should have the ability to open.

  8. Identify escape routes from each room in the house, and routinely go through them, in the event of an emergency.

  9. Memorize the address of your home and any vacation rental you visit (each member of the family).

  10. Ensure vacation rental has printed and visible floor plan of property with escape routes, exits, and emergency contact information.

  11. Place carbon monoxide alarms in various locations throughout the home as required by law, codes, or standards such as every level of the home and outside each bedroom.

  12. Portable fire extinguishers should be easily found and reached in the home.

  13. Install smoke alarms on every level, in rooms, and outside bedrooms (look into requirements) and check them regularly; interconnecting them works best so when one sounds, they all sound.

Preparation for emergencies is good, but accidents DO happen. If you find yourself needing emergency services, SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is your professional restoration team.  We are here to help you 24 hours, 7 days per week, including holidays and weekends. Our well-trained professionals are here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Ways You Can Prevent Water Damage in Northern Summit County

7/7/2019 (Permalink)

If you need help with any water damage clean-up, don’t hesitate to call our extremely well-trained professionals at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County

When you own a home, maintaining can seem tedious and tiresome. However, that maintenance is one of the best ways to prevent water damage to your home. Consider it a way to avoid a more costly outcome as water damage ranks among the highest for cost and commonality for homeowner disasters.

What can be done to prevent water damage? Here’s a list to add for maintenance for a start:

  • Proper Drainage: This step is vital. Poor drainage can lead to many issues such as cracks in your foundation, uneven settling, and allowing ways for water to seep into your home. Gutters and downspouts are included in this preventative measure. Clean them regularly to keep out leaves and other debris. Gutter guards can help if your gutters tend to clog easily and often.
  • Inspections: The following areas should be inspected well and often; refrigerator, water heater, air conditioning unit, attic, hoses, faucets, sinks, showers, tubs, and toilets. All of these pieces may develop leaks or damage that needs to be taken care of before disaster strikes. Stay ahead of those by checking them to catch any danger before it starts or spreads.
  • Installations: Some tools to install that may be beneficial are an emergency pressure release valve in plumbing system, water leak detection devices or alarms, a water flow monitoring system, and floor or drain pans. The latter helps with slow leaks while the others work as an extra set of eyes on your home in case of excess pressure, water flowing where it shouldn’t, and any leaks you may not have detected yet.
  • Test, Check, and Fix: By testing your sump pump and checking your pipes, you will be on top of any leaks, cracks, or repairs that are necessary. If you get caught in a storm with your sump pump out of commission, you will be in a world of trouble. Fixing any issues right away avoids mold, mildew, dry rot, or any detrimental water damage problems.

While these are just a few of the measures you can take to prevent water damage from occurring, they remain important.

If you need help with any water damage clean-up, don’t hesitate to call our extremely well-trained professionals at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County to make it “Like it never even happened.” We are available for assistance 24 hours per day, 7 days a week including holidays and weekends. 

The History of Meth & Future of Decontamination

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

Methamphetamine is not a new drug, although it has become more powerful in recent years as techniques for its manufacture have evolved. The History of Meth According to DrugFreeWorld.org, Amphetamine was first made in 1887 in Germany and methamphetamine, more potent and easy to make, was developed in Japan in 1919. The crystalline powder was soluble in water, making it a perfect candidate for injection. In the 1930s, doctors began using amphetamines in the United States to treat asthma and narcolepsy. Methamphetamine went into wide use during World War II, when both sides used it to keep troops awake. High doses were given to Japanese Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions. And after the war, methamphetamine abuse by injection reached epidemic proportions when supplies stored for military use became available to the Japanese public causing post-war Japan to experience the first meth epidemic.  In the 1950s, methamphetamine was prescribed as a diet aid and to fight depression. Easily available, "pep pills" or "bennies" were sold as a nonmedical stimulant to college students, truck drivers and athletes and abuse of the drug spread. This pattern changed markedly in the 1960s with the introduction of home manufacturing of the drug, worsening the abuse. Then, in 1970, the U.S. government added methamphetamine to the Controlled Substances Act regulating the drug. After that, American motorcycle gangs controlled most of the production and distribution of the drug.  During the 1980s, Mexican drug manufacturers began producing forms of the drug that could be smoked and towards the end of the decade, new ways to cook methamphetamine began to appear. In the 1990s, Mexican drug trafficking organizations set up large laboratories in California. While these massive labs are able to generate 50 pounds of the substance in a single weekend, smaller private labs were springing up in kitchens and apartments, earning the drug one of its names, “stove top.” Rural locations became ideal for cooking meth because of geographic isolation.  Meth Today Today, most of our meth in North America comes out of Mexico or is produced in soda bottles known as the "Shake n' Bake" method. Most of the contaminated properties become contaminated through usage rather than from production. It is estimated that more than 2.1 million Americans are currently using methamphetamine. The problem is that users can contaminate anywhere from one to 50 properties per year, leading to an estimated 12 million properties contaminated in the U.S. and another 800,000 properties contaminated in Canada. Users move from house, to apartment, to hotel, to car, to new relationship, to the next motel, etc. Everywhere they go, they continue to use or smoke meth. Nothing inside this drug is natural. Most of the ingredients contain carcinogens and poisons leaving a dirty trail behind that enters into the cold air returns circulating throughout the property. Studies indicate that just smoking meth two to four times can contaminate a property above habitable standards. Meth residue is sticky and clings to surfaces and inside the ducting system until it is physically decontaminated and removed.   The Decontamination Process Here's a quick outline of the process:

  • Remove Porous Materials 
  • Dry Clean
  • Wet Clean
  • Rinse
  • Test  
Decontaminating a property starts with removing all porous materials including furniture, carpet, carpet pad, soft ducts, etc. Next, the furnace and duct work is cleaned using duct cleaning equipment to remove dust, dirt, and debris. Dust and dirt also needs to be vacuumed from the floor and surfaces throughout the property. Once everything has been dry cleaned, we bring up the heat and humidity in the home before applying a meth remover product. It is important to use a product that can remove the bio-film from the surface, making physical removal easier. The product can be applied with a ULV fogger, foamer (most recommended) or a paint sprayer. Once product is on the surfaces, scrub it into the surfaces and allow to remain moist up to four hours. This process is repeated two to three times depending on the amount of methamphetamine in the property. Lastly, we rinse. The meth remover product rinses easily with water. Once the surfaces are dry, the home is ready for testing.    There are less than 1,000 remediation companies that actually advertise that they remediate methamphetamine and there are nearly 12 million contaminated properties in North America. This means our industry could easily add another 20,000 remediation companies that could complete 50 to 100 jobs a year. The best part about meth remediation is that there are no such things as meth emergencies. Meth remediation calls aren’t made in the middle of the night and the jobs can be scheduled. Contrast this with water damage work. The profit margins are good (35-55% depending on your efficiency). This problem is not going away. 

Top Three Tips for Fire Safety in Northern Summit County

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

For any fire damage repair or restoration needs, call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County at (330) 650-4486.

Fires escalate quickly. Having an escape route practiced (committing it to muscle memory) and working smoke alarms can be literal life savers. What else can you do for fire safety in your home?

Here are our top three tips for fire safety that can keep you and your loved ones as protected as possible.

  1. Every level of your home should have a smoke alarm installed. Place them inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas, including the basement, in living rooms and/or near stairways for optimal use.

  2. Test and maintain smoke alarms regularly. Each month, you should check that they are in proper working condition. If they need new batteries, change them right away. Smoke detectors are critical components to alerting you in time to get out before a fire spreads too much.

  3. Twice a year, you should practice your fire escape plan with your family. Feel free to talk and plan the route together more than twice a year. However, at least two times every year will ensure it stays fresh in your mind if ever you should need to implement the steps.

BONUS TIP: Remember to never go back inside for anything at all. If you experience a fire in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT, and CALL FOR HELP.

For any fire damage repair or restoration needs, call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County at (330) 650-4486. With us by your side, we’ll return your home to you “Like it never even happened."



Swift Arrival to Any Disaster in Northern Summit County

6/13/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County will get your emergency taken care of in a timely manner.

Disasters happen outside of business hours. Naturally, that means you need assistance outside of business hours, too. Emergencies happen whether you are ready or not, count on SERVPRO of Northern Summit County to help with professional emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, including holidays. Our promise is to return your property to “Like it never even happened.” Day or night, you can rest assured thatSERVPRO of Northern Summit County will respond immediately to your call.

No Emergency Too Big or Too Small

Many cleaning and restoration situations call for immediate action. SERVPRO is strategically positioned to quickly reach any size emergency with over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian Franchise locations. A prompt response helps to reduce the damage and the costs for cleaning and restoration.

One particularly invasive disaster is water. It rapidly spreads throughout your property and absorbs into floors, walls, furniture, etc.SERVPRO of Northern Summit County arrives swiftly and begins the water extraction method in an instant. Below, you’ll find a timeline for reference to show why reaching and treating as soon as possible is imperative.

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water rushes over your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings absorb water.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed and cause permanent stains on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to expand and break down.
  • Metal surfaces start to tarnish.
  • Furniture bulges and cracks.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • Musty odors emerge.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and disperse.
  • Doors, windows, and studs expand and warp.
  • Metal proceeds to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture distorts and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint forms blisters.
  • Wood flooring balloons and bends.
  • Possibility of serious biohazard contamination.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Time and cost increase exponentially for restoration; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be considerable.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard pollutants present extreme risks to occupants.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County will get your emergency taken care of in a timely manner. 

About SERVPRO of Northern Summit County

6/11/2019 (Permalink)

About SERVPRO of Northern Summit County

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County, including Brecksville & Broadview Heights, understands the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage, and the disruption it causes your life and home or business. Our goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life and quickly return your home or business to preloss condition "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County, including Brecksville & Broadview Heights, specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property following fire, smoke, or water damage. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County can also mitigate mold and mildew from your home or business in a flash.

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. 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. Our extensive training and opportunities beyond the required training only boosts our team players and the professionalism we bring to every job.

Beyond training, SERVPRO uses the best and most advanced technology and techniques to cleanup and restore the damage left in the wake of disasters. Each machine and product allows our well-trained restoration specialists to perform their duties in a quicker, more efficient manner. When you have already dealt with so much, the time it takes to cleanup and restore your home or business should not be another load to bear.

With a nationwide system of qualified franchises, no damage is too large or too small for SERVPRO of Northern Summit County. SERVPRO supports you when your emergency hits. We know that can happen any time, anywhere, day or night. Call us for immediate assistance, available to you 24/7 including weekends and holidays.

We service the Northern Summit County area including Hudson, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Twinsburg, Macedonia, Northfield, Sagamore Hills, Boston Heights, Akron, Fairlawn, Cuyahoga Falls and surrounding areas.

Serving you since 1967, SERVPRO is the cleaning and restoration brand you know and trust.

Highly Trained Restoration Specialists Guaranteed in Northern Summit County

6/9/2019 (Permalink)

Any damage emergencies you experience will be in good hands with SERVPRO of Northern Summit County.

Highly Trained Restoration Specialists Guaranteed

Any damage emergencies you experience will be in good hands with SERVPRO of Northern Summit County. Our staff receives extensive training for property damage restoration. They will have your home or business back to it was before “Like it never even happened.” SERVPRO takes pride in their restoration process on your home or business for a timely and professional experience.

What kind of training do they obtain?

Initial Franchise Training: In this 15-day hands-on course at the SERVPRO Corporate Training Facility, the foundation of the SERVPRO training program takes place. Primarily for new Franchise owners, this course covers many restoration topics:

  • Fire Restoration
  • Water Restoration
  • Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
  • Mold Mitigation

Employee Certification Training: As a voluntary, self-paced program, this training is designed forSERVPRO Franchise employees. Following successful completion of course materials and an examination, a certification will be awarded. Modules include:

  • Crew Training
  • Fire Restoration
  • Water Restoration
  • Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

IICRC Training and Certification

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our professionals must study IICRC standards and best practices in these areas:

  • Water restoration
  • Fire restoration
  • Mold remediation
  • Carpet and upholstery cleaning
  • Other cleaning and restoration courses

Continuing Education Classes

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County provides both credit and noncredit courses for insurance agents, insurance adjusters, real estate professionals, and Franchise staff. Intended to improve knowledge of emergency mitigation, these sessions include:

  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry
  • Restorative Drying for Loss Control
  • Mitigation Awareness Response Seminar (non-credit course)

e-Learning

Access to web-based training is also available to all of our staff. While completely voluntary, this program is designed to be an ongoing, self-paced coaching series for a Franchise's employees. After video presentations and support materials, a knowledge test concludes each module. This additional information keeps our technicians and office staff updated on industry standards and the professional quality you deserve.

Any damage you experience will be in good hands with SERVPRO of Northern Summit County. 

Expect Advanced Technology and Techniques in Northern Summit County

6/8/2019 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO in Northern Summit County, we provide the most advanced technology and techniques for our customers.

Expect Advanced Technology and Techniques in Northern Summit County

At SERVPRO in Northern Summit County, we stay up-to-date and provide the most advanced technology and techniques for our customers. With these advancements, SERVPRO can restore your property swiftly, reliably, and more effectively to its preloss condition. You can count on a timely turnaround whether using SERVPRO for business or home needs. Practical standards for cleaning and restoration are put in place by The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC); The IICRC S500 Water Damage Guide even incorporates the field of psychometry into its specific set of practical standards.

Some of the equipment that helps SERVPRO adhere to the standards and stay true to the technological advancements are as follows:

  • Moisture Detection and Measurement: Specialized equipment detects, measures, and monitors a property’s moisture levels to fit certain scientific drying principles. Recent technology, like infrared cameras, helps us find water through a wall, ceiling, or floor. For thorough water removal, an infrared camera may be used to identify water location. To measure the extent of saturation, we use sensitive moisture detectors, hygrometers, and other meters.
  • Water Extraction: Powerful extraction equipment removes the majority of the water from your home or business which in turn accelerates the drying process. For continuous draining of high-level water, we use submersible and gas-powered pumps.  For efficient water removal, we prefer truck-mounted and portable extraction units.
  • Drying: The remaining moisture from ceilings, walls, and floors of your home or business can be removed using industrial strength fans and dehumidifiers. Proper drying techniques help to avoid swelling and warping of floors, walls, and furniture. High-speed fans quickly evaporate excess moisture. Industrial-grade dehumidifiers extract water vapor from the air.
  • Odor Removal: With water and fire damage, often powerful odors follow. Our advanced machines eliminate airborne contaminants and control the air quality during the restoration and cleanup procedure. Air scrubbers AND Thermal foggers and deodorization cleaners
  • Sanitizing Agents, Germicides, and Antimicrobial Treatments: To fully clean and remove odors and/or contaminants on your property, OSHA-approved cleaning agents may be required. Deodorization products control smells from an abundance of moisture. Disinfectants ends bacteria, fungi, mildew, and other harmful microorganisms growth.

At SERVPRO in Northern Summit County, we  provide the most advanced technology and techniques for our customers.

Top 5 HVAC Problems and Solutions for SERVPRO of Northern Summit County

6/6/2019 (Permalink)

Here are the top 5 problems and solutions with an HVAC system

Your HVAC system houses many parts and pieces. When you need to troubleshoot an issue, that means finding the source can be difficult. With this common list, hopefully, you’ll have a bit of an easier time.

Here are the top 5 problems and solutions with an HVAC system:

Refrigerant:

Air conditioning and cooling not working properly? You may be looking at a refrigerant leak. Usually, this issue can be resolved by simply refilling or replacing the refrigerant liquid. Without refrigerant, you will likely end up with other issues as the condenser will be working overtime.

Filters:

If your air quality seems less than great, take a look at the filters. Not only will you reduce the dust, pollen, and other pollutants, but a clean filter helps your HVAC machine run more smoothly. Change the filters regularly to avoid future mechanical issues.

Thermostat:

If the unit becomes unresponsive or the temperature fluctuates, the problem may very well be the control pad itself; the thermostat. Restore your heating and cooling needs by trying a couple of routes. First, changing the batteries could be the ticket. You could also check to see if the breaker has been tripped. Otherwise, a replacement thermostat may be in order.

Drainage:

Another issue that causes more problems than just a part that needs changed is if a condensation pump goes out in your HVAC system. This piece results in a lack of proper drainage, so water pools in the unit. If located near your foundation, major water damage could occur. Your machine will be working hard to compensate for the broken pump until fixed.

Maintenance:

Regular maintenance is critical for the health of your HVAC system. If you maintain your system and check it regularly, you’re likely to keep any of the above problems from happening in the first place. Stay on top of keeping it running before any issues arise.

No need to sacrifice your comfort. Be aware of the above problems and solutions to remain as warm or cool as you want to in the event of an HVAC mishap. For any of your air duct and HVAC cleaning needs, call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County at (330) 650-4486We stand by our word, it’ll be “Like it never even happened.”

How Well Does Cleaning Mold From Carpet Work? Ask SERVPRO of Summit County Ohio

5/28/2019 (Permalink)

How Well Does Cleaning Mold From Carpet Work?

Cleaning carpet that already has a fungus growing on it from water loss, or damage, sparks a bit of controversy. One factor to keep in mind is that unless mold is appropriately removed, the restoration contractor has failed in bringing the structure back to its preloss state. Without removing visible fungus colonies, a risk of sickness remains.


Let’s Set the Scene

Wonder Makers Environmental recently called their local Kalamazoo, MI SERVPRO, one of our sister franchises, to help in the cleanup of a building one of their clients own. Fungus had grown between their monthly checks, and at an impressive rate. A trail of clues led to the culprit: a malfunctioning water heater. Despite the checks, conditions suggested the water heater had been leaking for weeks. The question then becomes, how do you effectively restore the building, clean and dry the carpets, and remove the fungus that had grown exorbitantly? Getting rid of the fungus without the possibility of it spreading or returning, and not placing a health risk to anyone now or in the future due to the water damage is a job that SERVPRO takes seriously.


Delivering Results

Using a HEPA air scrubber, SERVPRO technicians were able to collect airborne spores that may be released by the hot water extraction process and to allow for air movement to speed up the drying of the carpet. After the workers completed their cleaning and restoration measures, Wonder Makers Environmental proceeded to run extensive testing on samples of carpet and air to determine the effectiveness of the remediation operation. The results were in: both air and surface samples were equally impressive. Spores per cubic feet were reduced from over 6,000 to less than 50. For more in-depth information, check out this article. Our work speaks for itself, even in a single case study.

As you can see, cleaning mold from carpet DOES work and can be quite effective if done properly and by professionals. Those of us at SERVPRO strive to help with any restorative actions you may seek. After experiencing water damage/loss, the last thing you need is to worry about the cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Summit County at (330) 650-4486. Our job is to make it “Like it never even happened."

What To Do When A Flood Hits in Summit County, Ohio

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

Flooding is a common natural disaster, and the aftermath can cost a pretty penny.

Flooding is a common natural disaster, and the aftermath can cost a pretty penny. Whether floods hit suddenly or more slowly, they can be dangerous and leave a mess in their wake. Don’t underestimate the power of flood waters.

Keep yourself and others safe by following some guidelines of what to do when a flood hits:

  1. Due Diligence: Check to see if you’re in a flood-prone area. Your local floodplain administrator should be able to help you determine this. Here is a list from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Resources of the floodplain administrators in Ohio. Installing check valves or having sump pumps installed when necessary will help prevent backing up into sewer traps and homes. Also, ensuring you have comprehensive insurance that covers flood damage is a good idea.
  2. Proper Preparation: Plan and practice an evacuation route. Having this, disaster supplies, and a communication idea in place will help tremendously in the event of a flood. Be ready to use a radio or TV to stay up to date on the latest information on the storm (status, emergency level, and evacuation readiness). If you have an upstairs and the time to do so, move items of value and possessions you can to higher-ground. Filling the tub, sinks, and vessels with clean water will be beneficial if contamination occurs. Turn off utilities if requested to do so by authorities. Most importantly, never attempt to go through flood waters on foot or vehicle. A split second and two feet is all it takes to be swept away; the waters may be deceiving, as well. Listen closely to the updates and follow any instructions given.
  3. Aftermath Measures: Depending on the severity of the flood, the county emergency management agency and local government handle everything to meet the immediate needs of the public. The main information you need to remember are merely to be aware of any gas leaks, check the foundation and inspect homes with flood-damage before entering, and any appliances and motors that may have gotten wet should NOT be used until they are appropriately cleaned and dried.

Your state or local emergency management agency can help answer any of your other flood or flood safety questions: the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Resources; the National Weather Service; or your local American Red Cross chapter.

Stay safe, and keep SERVPRO, Summit County, Ohio, (330) 650-4486, in mind for any water damage issues, clean-up, or restoration insurance needs you may have!  SERVPRO, “Like it never even happened.”

Deciding When to Demo, and When to Restore

4/25/2019 (Permalink)

To demolish, or not to demolish, that is the question. In a nod to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and perhaps one of the most popular lines in English literature, we are constantly faced with this issue in our industry. The decision to demolish, either completely or selectively, versus repair/renovate is sometimes like running the gauntlet.

Whether the loss was caused by fire, flood, wind or other peril, the single most important factor to consider is safety.

If your client’s home or business has sustained structural damage, it is imperative a registered design engineer evaluate the structure to determine if it has been compromised and if can it be repaired. The local building authority is likely to have some input in this process. The stamped letter/documents from the engineer will need to be submitted to that authority.

A house or building found to be in very poor condition structurally speaking is usually better off demolished. It may be a cheaper and safer option. If the building can be repaired, now the question becomes should the building be repaired. Factors such as historical significance, cost, condition of the house, building code upgrades, etc. should all be reviewed. Insurance carriers will also have some influence in the decision. Depending on the language in the policy, carriers may have the right to consider replacement versus drying, cleaning or repair.

Demolition Considerations

  • Is the property a historic property or in a historic district (aka heritage home)? Is it architecturally significant? There may be historic preservation ordinances and laws to protect historic resources and character. Many cities, towns and communities establish historic preservation commissions and a process for considering alterations or demolition.
  • Investigate the permitting process early in the planning stage. If your client decides to demolish a building, even one that has suffered fire or storm damage, it does not automatically follow that you will get planning/zoning permission to build any replacement structure or to change the use of the site.
  • Teardown restrictions can require structures to strictly adhere to the predominant architectural size and standards of the neighborhood.
  • Demolition permits usually require site specific testing for contaminants such as lead and asbestos, prior to demolition. Building materials such as ceilings, ductwork, flooring, roofing and siding may contain these materials. Disposal of demolition debris that has asbestos-containing material (ACM) can be costly. Consideration should be given to the presence of coolant gases (freon/refrigerant), mercury (fluorescent lamps) and potentially radioactive materials (exit signs). Discovery of an old, underground oil storage tank can also be very costly.
  • Utilities must be disconnected, including electricity, gas, cable/phone, sewer and water. Some cities/jurisdictions, such as Boston, may require you to disconnect utilities all the way to the property curb line or Right of Way (ROW).
  • The cost to demolish and rebuild a home or business is highly variable.
  • Newly constructed homes tend to be more energy efficient than renovated homes.
  • Environmentally critical areas, such as wetlands or steep slope, have different restrictions.
  • Local fire departments may require permits to be pulled and inspections/oversight by the fire marshall.
  • If there is a mortgage on the property, your client must involve their bank in the process. The only legal way to tear down a house is to own it outright or to pay off any existing mortgage(s). If the loan balance is less than the value of the land, there could be an issue. Construction loans and/or insurance proceeds could be used to pay off the debt.

Repair/Renovation Considerations

  • Renovation/repair is an alternative to demolition, but it may not be the most affordable option. Costs tend to accumulate the further you get into a renovation project and unforeseen problems discovered. Opening up walls, for example, can reveal pest/termite infestations, leaking pipes, mold, deteriorated framing, damaged wiring, cracked foundations, etc.
  • Extensive water damage can undermine foundations and footings. This type of damage can be difficult to identify. A thorough inspection of the property should be completed prior to making the decision to repair/renovate.
  • Older buildings/homes often have interior layouts that are difficult to rearrange for modern uses. An open floor plan with lots of natural light may not be so easily or cost effectively accomplished.
  • Many homes and businesses were built when building codes were less strict than they are today. Rebuilding or restoring a structure may require meeting more demanding building codes. Even undamaged parts of the structure may be required to be brought up to current building code (plumbing, electrical, mechanical, life safety, ADA, energy, etc.).
  • Depending on the extent of the damage, planning and zoning review may also apply to “repaired” buildings. For example, we recently experienced a building that was designated an R-2 usage classification when it was constructed in the 90’s. A partial fire loss caused the local building department and fire department to reevaluate the usage classification as it had changed since the original construction. Ultimately, the classification had to be changed which, in turn, triggered the application of more stringent building and life safety codes. The moral of the story is that, over time, the original approved usage classification of a facility can morph and change into something different despite good intentions from ownership.
  • Substantial rehabilitation of historic structures or in a historic district may qualify for significant tax credits.
  • In some communities, local government rules encourage substantial renovations over demolition by making it easier, faster and cheaper to obtain the necessary permits. You may be able to retain the foundation or add on to it. You might also be able to retain a portion of the existing structure or incorporate it in to your design thereby allowing you to sidestep local restrictions.
  • Deconstruction – the careful removal of building materials to reuse them elsewhere – can provide financial and environmental benefits. Donations are tax deductible. Recycling building materials can be gratifying for environmentally conscious homeowners. The downside is that deconstruction can take two to three times longer than typical demolition.
  • Renovations may require that a lead-safe licensed renovation contractor be engaged.
  • Existing commercial buildings undergoing substantial renovations are eligible to become LEED certified under LEED for Commercial Interiors and/or LEED for Existing Buildings upon completion of the renovation and three months of occupancy/operation.
  • Repairs/renovations can sometimes be completed in stages. Living expenses can add indirect costs to repair/renovation budgets. The homeowner may be able to live in the home while work is being completed.

No matter which route you choose, demand surges for labor, equipment and materials are not uncommon after natural disasters – hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquake, flooding, wildfires, etc. Do your homework and open a dialogue with the local building department, insurance carrier, contractors, vendors and suppliers. The key is proper planning before you pick up a hammer. Don’t go into a project blindly and hope to stay within budget.

Water Damage Requires a Quick Response

4/16/2019 (Permalink)

Floods, rainstorms and tornadoes can become massive water damage threats to businesses during the often-stormy spring and summer months. Facilities plagued with such water woes this season must take quick action.


Floods, rainstorms and tornadoes can become massive water damage threats to businesses during the often-stormy spring and summer months. Facilities plagued with such water woes this season must take quick action to control many possible problems, experts say. 

You won’t see it emphasized on the nightly news when a disaster hits, but water damage can represent potentially huge disasters for businesses and building owners and operators. 

Water damage can mean much more to a business than just wet and soggy carpets. There are other common, more significant problems businesses face when water wreaks havoc on property, such as indoor air quality problems. Mold and mildew grow rapidly in damp, humid environments, leaving behind an unpleasant smell that permeates floors, walls and ceilings, even after the water has been removed. It also can create health problems for employees. 

Damage to the building’s structure and foundation also can be an issue. When water sits inside a building for a period of time, the walls, ceilings and floors absorb the water, which threatens the overall structural integrity of the building and creates an unsafe environment. Total reconstruction of the building often becomes the only option. 

Another major threat to business is the loss of expensive equipment, which often can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace. 

To minimize water damage, there are two critical steps that need to be taken:

  1. Act fast to assess the situation; and
  2. Control the environment within the building.



Act Fast and Call an Expert

The absolute first step to take is fast action. Damage resulting from water and flooding is very progressive. The longer the water flows or wet conditions are allowed to exist, the greater the recovery problem becomes. A water damage consultant must come in immediately to survey the situation. 

In a typical scenario, a team of water damage recovery professionals is dispatched to the site to perform a thorough inspection and fully determine the extent of the damage. A disaster reclamation partner also will develop an intense restoration plan and determine which items are worth restoring and which are better replaced. 

You can’t always save everything by drying, but you can save a tremendous amount. It’s not unusual to save between 30 and 70 percent of the cost needed to reconstruct a facility.

Controlling the Interior Environment

Another key in limiting water damage is to quickly control three conditions of a building’s atmosphere: relative humidity, temperature and air circulation. Fast, effective action at this point will generally confine the damage to the area that was directly affected by the water damage event. 

The most effective way to control these conditions in a high-moisture environment, especially a large facility, is to employ professional disaster drying that combines air movers with desiccant dehumidifiers. 

Disaster drying often eliminates the need to rip out and replace walls, carpet, floor covering, hardwood floors and the building structure, which can be a huge expense. On top of that, you preclude the odors and staining caused by mold and mildew. These problems can come back to haunt you weeks later in a superficially dried building.

The Desiccant Way

When a facility has been severely water damaged, you need high volume desiccant dehumidifiers. Some larger desiccant dehumidifiers can pull 800 gallons of water out of a building in one day, compared to the typical small refrigeration units that remove about five gallons a day. 

Many people are surprised that “solid” materials such as concrete and hard woods absorb moisture. But they do and rather quickly. 

Getting the water back involves a phenomenon called migration. Migration is the tendency for water molecules to move toward a low vapor pressure. When a room is filled with very dry air, which has low vapor pressure, trapped water migrates outward and is evaporated from the surface by the dry air. As the air in the room fills with water vapor, we expel it. We then replace it with more dry air and the process continues. 

It’s also essential to be sure the equipment being used is sized right. Inappropriately sized drying equipment can lead to insufficient drying and long-term problems with the building. Only large-volume dehumidifiers could provide the massive drying power needed to dry the space quickly and thoroughly.

Best Defense: A Disaster Recovery Plan

To minimize damage and costs, companies need to think ahead about what to do in a water damage event and contact a water damage expert to create a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). 

A DRP can limit the extent of water damage occurrences by defining and prioritizing the recovery of areas within a facility and stating immediate next steps. Proper planning and fast action are most certainly the best defense to preventing a catastrophic water damage event.

Helping Property Owners Recover from a Fire-Damage Emergency

4/11/2019 (Permalink)

Dealing with a fire-damage emergency and the claims process is an emotionally trying time for a policyholder. A restoration professional must be sensitive to the personal and emotional aspects of a fire-damage situation. It’s imperative to recognize that a homeowner goes through five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

The professional must be prepared to respond appropriately to each situation. Insurance professionals need to prepare the homeowner for the restoration process, work closely with the restoration professional to ensure quality and timely work, and maintain a constant flow of communication throughout the process. A restoration professional must recognize that every loss is significant to the people impacted by it, and take the proper steps to restore the home to preloss condition. 

Dealing With a Fire-Damage Emergency

A fire loss is often more severe than a water loss, and special attention to safety is imperative. The restoration professional needs to ask the property owner some simple questions to quickly evaluate the level of damage: “Is there any structural damage? Is there a lot of smoke?” 

Air quality is the most important factor to evaluate. With any fire, carcinogens enter the air, and safeguards will need to be put in place to help ensure the safety of the air that the residents and workers breathe. All necessary PPE should be available for technicians, as well as the proper equipment to replace the bad air with fresh air as soon as possible. 

If not already aware, the service professional should consider the ages and health of everyone in the home. Young children, the elderly and pregnant women might need to leave the property immediately, as they are often more susceptible to air-quality related health issues. If the client is not comfortable living in the home, the agent needs to assist in finding alternative accommodations for the residents.

 

Specifics to Consider When Scoping a Smoke and Soot Loss

There are several important steps to take when analyzing a fire-damage emergency:

  1. Evaluate how much heat was involved that resulted in damage to the structure, fixtures and contents. Look for a “heat line” on the wall, which often indicates possible damage to the structural integrity of the drywall materials.
  2. Where did the smoke/soot travel to? Did the smoke get into the HVAC system? Did the smoke travel into the attic areas, or force its way into the crawl space or basement?
  3. Consider pre-cleaning as an alternative process to save the metal and glass items in a home.
  4. Is there excessive smoke inside of the walls? This often requires removal of the drywall to get rid of the smoke/soot and accompanying odors.
  5. Determine which systems are available that will best deodorize the property and contents. These include professional cleaning and sanitizing; organic deodorizing systems; hydroxyls; and/or ozone.
  6. Determine the extent of the damage and the processes/procedures that will return the property, and the lives of those people involved, back to a “preloss” condition as quickly as possible.
  7. Respond as rapidly as possible to minimize the long-term effects of smoke and soot damage, and the many acids those materials contain.

Smoke and soot-related emergencies require specific mitigation strategies, depending on the materials affected: flat or glossy paint, finished and unfinished; laminates and solid wood items; particle-board materials; natural and man-made fibers in carpets and upholstered furniture. Porous, semi-porous and non-porous materials all require unique cleaning and deodorizing systems to most effectively deal with smoke/soot damage. 

Wildfires often destroy thousands of acres of property and hundreds of homes. There is not much a mitigation company can do in those situations. However, there are often thousands of homes that are downwind from the fire that suffer smoke and soot damage, both on the exterior and the interior of homes. Smoke enters around doors and windows, through the ventilation system and even through the soffit vents into the attic areas. 

Knowing how to deal with these materials quickly and professionally to neutralize and remove the compounds from the home, and to control and manage the odor damage are key aspects of a professional restoration/mitigation company. 

Overall, the most important thing to understand about a fire damage emergency is that helping a client cope with the property loss is first priority. Communication along the way and hand-holding through the process is just as important, if not more, than the property owner receiving a check for the loss. 

The restoration professional should be empathetic and emphasize that the damage will be taken care of, but never pass off the restoration process as a casual routine. The level of damage should be evaluated quickly and efficiently. It is critical to work with the insurance agent to educate the policyholder, ease their concerns, and manage their expectations. 

Understand that each client will go through five steps of grief, and anticipate that anger will turn up one way or another. If the restoration professional expects this emotion to surface, they will be prepared to help the client cope and restore their sense of calm.

Back to Basics: 6 Steps to Handle Large-Loss Fire Restoration

4/2/2019 (Permalink)

Not only can a fire be devastating for the structure of a home or building, but it can also be emotionally devastating when it comes to the occupants of that structure, whether that is a family of four or a company of 400 workers. That's part of the reason why handling a large-loss fire doesn't just involve restoring the property to a preloss condition, but also being sensitive and understanding with the occupants of the affected home or business. That's not to say that restoration professionals are counselors — they're not — but acting with empathy can go a long way toward making a fire loss a little less stressful for the individuals who are most impacted. Here are six steps to follow to handle large-loss fires:

  1. Getting the call: Whether this initial call comes from a homeowner or the insurance company, this first point of contact is an ideal time to gather as much information as possible about the fire. Where did it occur? How many rooms are affected? What type of fire was it? The goal of this initial point of contact is to gather information to get an idea of the scope of the project before arriving on site.
  2. Arrive on site/inspection: After the initial phone call comes an on-site inspection. This is typically done after the fire department has doused the flames and secured the property. By this point, the restoration team should have a good idea of what type of fire occurred (i.e. protein fire, petroleum fire, etc.) and inspecting the property helps team members estimate the scope of work that will be involved, the timeline of the project and whether or not any demolition and reconstruction will be necessary. Depending on the severity of the fire, the restoration team may also board up the windows and doors to ensure structural stability.
  3. Access occupant needs/packout: If it is possible, restoration professionals will likely ask the building occupants to gather any immediate needs. For a house fire, this may consist of undamaged clothes, school supplies, computers, etc. Everything else in the facility that has been affected by the fire will then likely be packed out and taken to an off-site location for contents restoration.
  4. Estimate and begin work: After estimating the cost of the project and having the proper documents signed by all parties involved, then work can start on the fire loss. For a large fire loss, demolition and reconstruction of at least a portion of the property is likely necessary. Other areas of the property may just require soot and smoke damage restoration, where walls are HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuumed and washed, items are hand-cleaned and carpets are deep cleaned to remove soot residue. While restoration is occurring on site, it's also likely occurring off site in terms of the packed out contents (i.e. affected clothes, electronics, hard items, soft goods, etc.).
  5. Frequent communication: Whether the project takes five days or five weeks, good restoration contractors will be in regular communication with both the insurance company and the homeowner or business owner. This constant communication helps keep all parties up to date on progress, as well as provides an outlet for questions to be asked and answered related to the project. Communication is often the differentiating factor between good and poor restoration contractors, as keeping in regular touch with relevant parties ensures transparency and provides a regular source of contact.
  6. Final jobs/walk-through: After the crux of the project is complete, the last step is usually having the air ducts professionally cleaned and deodorized so soot doesn't contaminate — or cross contaminate — the facility. Following this, the occupant and insurance adjuster will likely take a final walk-through of the property to ensure the job has been done adequately and correctly. Any contents that went off site for cleaning will also be returned to the home and placed in their original location.
As you can see, a large-loss fire restoration job is a bit of a different challenge compared to a standard water damage restoration or mold remediation job. It's important your crew is trained to properly handle all the steps of every unique job.

Advanced Planning Ensures Experienced Partner Before Disaster Strikes

4/2/2019 (Permalink)

Thousands of commercial and industrial buildings each year are damaged by unforeseen disaster, ranging from fire or smoke and soot to water that infiltrates walls, floors, and equipment through events such as a burst water pipe, seepage, fire sprinkler flooding or leaks from a rainstorm. 

 



Thousands of commercial and industrial buildings each year are damaged by unforeseen disaster, ranging from fire or smoke and soot to water that infiltrates walls, floors, and equipment through events such as a burst water pipe, seepage, fire sprinkler flooding or leaks from a rainstorm. 

            Wherever such an event occurs, the results can be operationally and financially disastrous. Potential risks include destruction of interior structural materials, equipment and files; disruption of operations; further damage from humidity; and, if water is not abated quickly, microbial damage -- the growth of mold, which is a potential health hazard. 

            When damage occurs, it is essential to take immediate action to stabilize the loss and mitigate damage. Doing so will maximize recovery of all contents such as inventory, machinery, furniture, carpeting, electronic media, documents and files, will minimize replacement costs, preserve good indoor air quality, and control mold risks.   

Advance Planning

The best “insurance” in a recovery situation is to plan in advance of an occurrence by creating a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).  The DRP defines and prioritizes the recovery and restoration of areas within a facility and details immediate next steps. It also designates the professional disaster restoration services provider to be summoned immediately when an incident occurs. 

Pre-selecting a full service restoration provider that provides priority emergency services assures that building owners and managers will have a “partner” in the reclamation process. There will be no learning curve during an emergency because the firm already will be familiar with the structure and the plan.  It then can move rapidly to begin recovery work within the first 24 hours – a critical parameter to minimize the effects of water.  

Select a restoration provider that offers guaranteed priority emergency services. In the event of a fire, weather related or other water-damage disaster to a building or facility, owners or managers of properties registered in these programs will receive immediate priority for emergency drying and restoration services. 

Expectations

            Following is a list of services you should expect of the restoration company you contract:

  • Consulting. The project scope should be provided at the front end. The firm quantifies the damage, determines what can be saved, recommends the equipment and process and expected results.
  • Project Management. The company has the ability to quickly assemble a cohesive work team, provide rapid emergency response time, provide a turnkey operation for recovery and restoration and guaranteed results.
  • Stabilization: The provider takes the necessary steps to stabilize the environment and assists with relocation efforts to an unaffected area or off-site, if necessary.
  • Dehumidification and Drying. Through removal of standing water and excess moisture, the firm has the ability to reduce material loss, limit indoor air quality problems and speed return to occupancy and operation of the affected business.
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting. By cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting interior surfaces, the provider eliminates contamination from molds, bacteria, mildew and potential biological hazards.
  • Odor Control: Thermo fog, wet spray, ozone or dry vapor methods should be properly employed to control odor.
  • Electronic Equipment Restoration. In many cases, it is possible to clean and restore hi-tech components following exposure to fire or water damage.
  • Preservation of Large-Scale Production Equipment. Contamination removal preserves production-operating equipment.
  • Document and Media Restoration. Cleaning, sanitizing, deodorizing and drying restores paper records and electronic and digital media storage. This process is most effective if the firm dry cleans by vacuum and has refrigerated transport storage capabilities to minimize deterioration of materials.
  • HVAC and Mechanical Systems Cleaning. Cleaning and deodorizing the supply and return duct system as well as the metal housing that encloses coils, heat exchangers and filter banks assures that clean air again passes through the system into the structure.
  • Smoke and Water Decontamination. Residue from damage sources such as fire, flood and storms is removed.
  • Corrosion Control. Metal surfaces are cleaned and treated to prevent further damage from corrosion.
  • Controlled Demolition and Disposal. Surfaces that will not respond to restoration efforts in a cost-effective way are removed to expose hidden cavities and to expedite the recovery process or to remove sources of odor.  

    Selecting the Right Firm

        It is important to have properly trained cleaning and restoration technicians overseeing your recovery project. A list of providers can be obtained from organizations like the Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB). You also may want to do the obvious: review Web sites; read the case histories on the site; contact company representatives. 


      While it may sound as a cliché, the assessment process begins with reviewing experience, reputation and references.  Plan to do more in-depth research before making a commitment.  

Ask Annissa: How Do I Handle Sensitive Documents Damaged in a Fire Loss?

4/2/2019 (Permalink)

Personal papers like bills, canceled checks, credit card statements and everyday magazines have no value in the eyes of the insurance company and they often don’t want to pay for them to be cleaned or deodorized. However, they often have value to the homeowner.

The biggest problem with this is that paper can hold a lot of odor and may re-contaminate the house once everything is unpacked. So first off, we check with the homeowner and see if the paperwork is something that they can live without. Or is it really important and needs to be kept? Once you explain that the papers can hold a lot of odor and may cause recontamination of the house and belongings, this will sometimes make the homeowner more aggressive about putting them in the round file.

If the paperwork cannot be parted with and must go on the “keep it list,” then we dust them off and organize them into a large 11x14 inch spec bag. This is a heavy duty plastic bag that keeps the odor and contamination contained until the homeowner can photo copy or reprint the documents they want to keep. The cost to the insurance company to handle them this way is really no more than their cost would be to throw them away, so this keeps your adjuster and homeowner happy.

This also allows the homeowner to go through the papers at their convenience as they are dealing with a lot of pressing decisions in the first few days after a fire. Having one less pressing thing to have to handle right away can be a huge relief for them.

Mold Remediation: Dangers in the Ducts

4/1/2019 (Permalink)

Mold remediation is a serious subject, covered at large by professionals and institutions that specialize on the subject matter. While I'm not a mold expert, I do know air duct cleaning and how important it is to complete an HVAC Duct Cleaning after any mold, mildew, or fire restoration. The HVAC system of a building, residential or commercial, is designed to convey the dirty undesirable air from the living space and replace it with clean, heated or cooled, conditioned air that is pleasant to breathe and comfortable to building occupants. Depending on the building type and room use, many building codes call for the air in a room to be exchanged five to 15 times per hour. For HVAC that are clean and have adequate filtration, every exchange of air generally means the indoor air quality is improving. However, when mold, mildew, soot, allergens, and other contaminants are present, in the HVAC system, the IAQ is reduced with every air exchange. Proper source removal HVAC air duct cleaning, following any restoration project, will reduce the contaminants within the HVAC system and in some cases completely remove the chances of recontamination. It sometimes is overlooked that while a building itself is being remediated, the HVAC system is still in operation and therefore moving mold spores, smoke particles, and other contaminants throughout the return and supply air duct, as well as other HVAC system components. Because the HVAC system is redistributing the air throughout the building, a small about of dirty/contaminated air has the potential to recreate the need for an entire restoration project in as little as a few days.   Source removal, the practice of cleaning by removing contaminants the HVAC system, is the method prescribed within the NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Assocaiton) Standard, ACR-2013. Source removal can be achieved in a variety of ways, but is most often achieved by using a negative air vacuum/collector, rotating duct brushes, and compressed air whips/skippers to loosen debris from the duct walls allowing the airflow from the vacuum/collector to evacuate it from the HVAC system. The methods for a proper professional HVAC Air Duct Cleaning have been continually developed and refined for 30 years by working professionals engaged with NADCA and other IAQ associations.

After the Disaster: Providing Restoration Solutions, Not Suggestions

4/1/2019 (Permalink)

Hurricanes.  Tornadoes.  Flooding.  Frozen pipes.  Storms. 

All of these will occur during the course of a year. All will cause major damage to dwellings and buildings. What is one of the major sources of damage- WATER. Water damage is caused by a variety of things including plumbing leaks, burst pipes and broken hoses, moisture ingress within a structure, clogged toilets, foundation cracks and leaking roofs. While the symptoms will be addressed by plumbers, roofers, foundation specialists and other tradesmen and tradeswomen, clean-up and remediation specialists have some of the toughest and potentially dangerous jobs to tackle to ensure a safe and functional dwelling or building. Before a building is considered safe, someone must disinfect affected areas, remove damaged or mold/mildew- contaminated items, properly dispose of the water-damaged items and then review and inspect areas to ensure that they’re safe. 

So, what can we recommend to residents and occupants of the buildings that have significant (or even small levels of) water damage? 

  • Stop the flow of water.
  • Turn off the power.
  • Assess the conditions. Is it safe to stay in the building?
  • Look for electrical hazards and “slip and fall” areas. Stay away from compromised areas.
  • Get away if possible, but if you must stay, then only do activities that are absolutely necessary.
  • Try not to lift wet materials. Water will add significant weight to any material that absorbs.

What can you recommend an owner do after flooding?

  • Gather items from floors and low lying areas.
  • Remove any excess water by mopping or blotting up the water with towels or absorbent material.
  • Remove wet rugs and carpeting that can easily be removed.
  • Remove any wet upholstery, cushions, pillows, blankets and dry them out
  • Wipe excess water from furniture, cabinets, accessories
  • Turn AC ON for maximum drying during the summer

What should you recommend an owner NOT do after flooding?

  • Don’t use household appliances, televisions or any other electronic devices
  • Don’t leave wet fabrics in place. Hang luxury items such as leather goods, furs and dresses.
  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner (unless it’s a wet-dry vac) to remove moist or water from a room.
  • Don’t leave colored items on a wet floor.
  • Don’t turn on ceiling fans or lights if the ceiling is wet. 
  • Stay out of rooms where the ceiling is sagging.

After a homeowner or building occupant has taken the requisite steps to ensure his/her safety, then its time for the professional to come in and do their work. Professionals will use the following steps to assess and restore property following water damage:

  • Initial contact and pre-inspection survey
  • Inspection and water damage assessment
  • Water removal and extraction
  • Drying and dehumidification
  • Cleaning and sanitizing
  • Restoration

A fast response is crucial to prevent long term damage, sick-building syndrome and irreversible damage. While professionals are responsible and knowledgeable, sometimes little things that might be missed become critical to the successful remediation/restoration after water damage or flooding.

  • Mold and Mildew are the ENEMIES. Protect yourself and building inhabitants by using the proper protective gear including body suits, gloves and masks or respirators. Contain the mold/mildew before trying to disinfect. Wrap your booties, pants and gloves with tape to ensure a good and proper seal of your body suit.
  • Use environmentally-friendly antimicrobial and antibacterial treatments when you can. These will leave less of an impact to the inhabitants once the job is complete. 
  • Properly dispose of refuse. Bag the molded, damaged and soiled items in a thick plastic bag and twist the opening to form a goose-neck then seal the opening tightly with duct tape to ensure that the contents are secure and will not escape during transport to the landfill, preventing further contamination.
  • Seal off the contaminated environment from the area that is not contaminated or is being used by the building inhabitants. Hang poly-sheeting, build airflow containment units and properly seal them off with strong polyethylene or cloth duct tape suitable for use in damp, moist environments. Innovative containment systems with pre-inserted zippers and doors are now available for ease of use.

Customers are now used to fast, reliable and almost instantaneous service. The e-commerce model used to obtain goods is now being applied to service as well. By offering easy “one-stop” access to water damage cleanup; easy contact, assessment, water removal, drying, cleaning, sanitizing and restoration; you will enhance your relationship with your customers and attract them to your business. Remember these tips when communicating potential water leakage and flooding issues with your customers and you will become their one-stop source providing solutions, not suggestions.

Backup or Overflow

2/26/2019 (Permalink)

Backup or Overflow? 

What is the difference between a water backup and an overflow?  Overflow is caused by a blockage in the plumbing system.  Water causing damage never enters the sewer system and in some cases, water damage can be considered an overflow if blockage is in the lateral pipe.  It all depends on insurance policy language.  A backup is a situation where water or sewage enters through drains or sewers or overflows from a sump pump, sump pump well or any other system designed to remove subsurface water which is drained from a foundation area.  A water backup is excluded in most Homeowners policies but coverage can be added with an endorsement.  Coverage is usually limited to a specified amount but a few insurance companies offer more extensive options.  Water backup coverage is critical for not only homeowners but condo owners, renters and commercial insureds as well. 

Keep in mind that any property can experience a backup and the damage can be expensive especially if the area is finished.  There are four main areas to consider when deciding how much coverage you need including mitigation or drying out the area, structure reconstruction, contents damage and mechanicals such as furnace and water heater.  Be sure to discuss the right coverage option with your insurance agent so you are well protected in the event of a backup event.    

Giving Back

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO we feel that it is important to give back to the community so we’ve partnered with our local insurance agents to support local domestic violence shelters.  Every 9 seconds in the U.S. a women is assaulted or beaten.  Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women- more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.  92% of women surveyed list reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.  In December of 2018 women in our industry came together to provide Christmas gifts to over 140 women in local shelters.  The outpouring of support was staggering!  We plan to continue the supporting domestic violence shelters by providing volunteer opportunities and continued donations.  In May we plan to give jewelry and scarves to the shelters so the children can give them a moms a Mother’s Day gift.  To all the generous women who have helped provide gifts for our local domestic violence shelters a special Thank You for your kindness and caring.  We will continue to keep everyone updated on this cause which is very near and dear to all our hearts.  Thank you!   

Ordinance or Law Coverage- Every Building Should Have Coverage

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

Ordinance or Law Coverage- Every Building Should Have Coverage

Ordinance Or Law Coverage allows for payment of losses arising out of the enforcement of building laws or ordinances, including those that may require the demolition of damaged structures that increase the cost of repairing or rebuilding the damaged property.  According to Adjusters International Disaster Recovery Consulting, compliance with ordinances and laws after a loss can add 50% or more to the cost of the claim. 

Building codes or ordinances set minimum standards that must be met when structures are built or reconstructed. Their purpose is to protect the health and safety of building occupants. Building codes may be enacted and enforced by state and/or local governments.  Building codes are primarily directed at new construction. Yet, they may also apply when existing structures are renovated, altered, reconstructed or used in a different way. 

Some codes may require a building that is only partially damaged to be demolished and reconstructed rather than repaired. A building may require demolition and reconstruction if the damaged portion is worth 50% or more of the building's value. Codes can affect the size, design, height, usage and location of a structure. They may also determine the building materials that may be used.

Building codes change frequently. Codes that existed when a structure was built may be outdated when a loss occurs. To meet current codes, a damaged building undergoing repair may require expensive materials. Some structures may need to be reconfigured. Thus, building codes can significantly increase the cost of the repairs or renovations.

Homeowners policies often include a standard amount of ordinance or law coverage which is 10% of the dwelling coverage or coverage A.  This may be enough for newer or updated homes but careful review of possible building code issues should be made in order to determine if more coverage makes sense.  In commercial insurance, ordinance or law coverage is not typically included and can be added with an endorsement.  It is important to take a comprehensive look at the building and potential ordinance or law costs that may be incurred in order to determine how much coverage should be added. 

Consult your insurance agent for more information so you won’t get burned if you have a disaster.

Sump Pumps

1/30/2019 (Permalink)

Looking at the weather predictions for the week, today is a great day to check your sump pump to verify it is working properly.

When to check your sump pump? How To Test Your Sump Pump?

When to replace it?

When to check it? Sump pumps remove water pressure from homes during times of excessive snowmelt or rainfall. To ensure that your sump pump will work properly when it’s needed, you should check it periodically. It is a habit in my house to check it before, and sometimes during, an extreme weather event.

When to replace it? Did you know that generally sump pump manufacturer warranty their sump pumps for 1 year, 3 year or 5 years. When is the last time you replaced your sump pump? Depending on how much your sump pump runs – you should consider these warranties a good indicator of replacement time. Just because it is still running, doesn’t mean it is functioning at full capacity.

How to test your sump pump? The following tips will help prevent sump pump malfunction:

  1. Debris in the Basin: Sometimes debris such as children’s toys and other household objects may fall into the basin and interrupt the float mechanism which can cause it to malfunction. The float mechanism can also fail naturally over time. To test this mechanism, fill up the basin with water to make sure the sump pump starts like it should.
  2. Check Valve: The check valve prevents water from going back into the sump pump in the event of a failure. Make sure to check this valve because it is not always installed properly; the arrow should be pointing away from the sump pump.
  3. Weep Hole: Sometimes sump pumps may have a weep hole between the pump and the check valve. You can clean the weep hole with a tiny object such as a toothpick, just be careful not to break anything off in the hole.
  4. Clean the Impeller: The impeller is a small filter that may become clogged and when this happens it can cause the sump pump to suddenly stop running or make a whining noise. Cleaning or replacing the impeller can get the sump pump to function properly again.
  5. Back Up Power Source: Sump pumps are only useful when plugged into a power source and if the power goes out during a thunderstorm, the sump pump will stop working. Installing a backup power source for the sump pump is the best way to prevent this from happening in the middle of a thunderstorm when the sump pump is needed the most.

NEVER... Walk Away from the Stove

1/3/2019 (Permalink)

Sporting Events and Television!

It happens, especially during sporting events…… you can hear the roar of excitement from the other room, and you know you are missing the big play of the game. So you leave the stove, just for a quick peek. Only it’s just never as quick as you anticipate. Meanwhile back in the kitchen….grease fire has erupted. It can happen so quickly, the cooking oil gets over heated and out of control.

Good Rule: never leave the stove or turn your back for any period of time.

Think fast!

1) Evaluate – call 911 if it is out of control while gathering family and get to safety

2) Put a metal lid on it

3) Turn off the heat

4) Dump baking soda

5) Chemical fire extinguisher is best as a last resort or if the above options are not available

6) Stop. Let the area sit, cool down, before you address the damage.

NO, NO, NO

1) Do not throw water

2) Do not use a hand towel

We hope you never need to remember these tips. But your SERVPRO Team is here to help with the clean up should disaster strike. The photos are from a kitchen grease fire; just a second of “unattended”. The good news is the final repairs are beautiful; "Like it never even happened." No family members, or pets were injured in the event. Just frayed nerves and a bit of quilt. (Accidents happen and we should learn from them and move forward.)

Quick thinking allowed the structure damage to be contained to the kitchen. However soot and smoke damage occurred throughout the residence.

We are here to help 800-648-1212

Timing is Everything

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage requires a quick response by stopping the source of water intrusion as soon as possible.  Knowing where your water shut off value is located in your residence, and reviewing the location with your immediate family and service professionals (housekeeper, babysitter, dog walker, house sitter, ect) is critical.  Prompt response to stopping the water intrusion and clean up and dry out can greatly reduce overall restoration costs.  Before water mitigation can begin, the source of the water intrusion will need to be addressed.

Initial steps to assess the damage and evaluate the level of contamination will help to formulate an action plan and determine if professional assistance is needed to help restore your home.

Professional water mitigation should be highly considered when:

  • Water originated from a contaminated source: dishwasher, water bed, drain line, toilet, washing machine, flood water, etc.  When addressing contaminated materials protecting the home from cross contamination, mold and securing the environment for the occupants becomes a primary focus for the emergency services.
  • Porous materials affected by water: hardwood flooring, cabinetry, carpet and padding, drywall, etc.  An immediate response to with water extraction and application of a biocide can help reduce the amount of structural material damage and reduce the amount of time the home or affected area is out of use.
  • Water traveled from one floor to the floor or floors(s) below.  It’s not the obvious water that causes damage, you can easily mop up that.  When water and bacteria is trapped between layers of structural materials, this “hidden moisture” can cause long term damage and possible mold growth.

SERVPRO’s professional mitigation team is IICRC Certified, trained, and expertise knowledge to help you evaluate the extent of damage, and create an action plan for cost effective dry out of the affected area(s). 

Remember, quick response time can reduce the overall mitigation costs and loss of use.  Contact our office to schedule a site inspection and scope of damages for your home today.

How to keep clients’ properties dry in all seasons

11/9/2018 (Permalink)

With water around every corner, clients’ properties are more vulnerable to water damage than many would imagine. In fact, water is the number one property-related homeowners claim, according to Chubb’s claims data, and the Insurance Information Institute found that one in 50 homeowners will experience a related claim each year. When they do, it will cost close to $10,000 per leak.

Despite being both a common and costly risk, a recent Chubb survey of homeowners examining their approach to water damage prevention shows that it’s a threat clients largely overlook. Luckily, agents and brokers can help clients prevent water from damaging their homes, no matter where it comes from. It starts by helping clients understand the seasonal exposures they face.

Ensuring a fun, carefree vacation

Most clients take advantage of the summer to travel with family and friends. Yet too many vacations are ruined as a result of clients failing to take the appropriate water protection steps before departing. Consider that even though many clients ask a caretaker to watch their homes while away, Chubb’s study found that just 30% leave water leak information and only 17% provide information about what to do in the event of a weather-related flood with caretakers.

Why the concern? Time is of the essence when it comes to water damage, with even the smallest leaks or drips building up over time. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety reports that plumbing supply system failures and toilet failures are the two most common sources of residential water loss. If either of these systems drip for days, the results can be devastating, both in terms of property and financial damage.

Before your clients head out, advise them to:

  • Turn off the water supply. This is the only way to prevent a leak from occurring while away; or
  • Install a water shut-off device. This is the surest way to prevent wide-spread damage in the event of a leak.

Beyond travel, the warm summer months also provide clients with the opportunity to jumpstart home renovations. But in their desire to drive value, the number one home-related concern identified in Chubb’s study, many clients are inadvertently inviting new water risk into their homes.

Start with encouraging clients to pay close attention to a contractor’s qualifications, prioritizing certifications and licensing above word-of-mouth recommendations. Although both play an important role in the hiring process, Chubb’s study found that 42% of homeowners prioritize the latter, versus 32% who emphasize the former. If contractors don’t have the right experience or professional background, they should not be involved in the client’s renovation project.

Making the most of your time outdoors

Homeowners eager to enjoy the last warm days of the year often spend time working on their gardens, yards and outdoor areas. Many use this time to install sprinkler systems, construct outdoor kitchens and build decks, all designed to enhance their homes’ landscapes. According to Chubb’s survey, close to a third of homeowners (30%) think these types of exterior upgrades most positively impact their homes’ values.

Yet, these projects can quickly let water into all the wrong places. Agents and brokersshould encourage clients to consult with a landscape architect about how enhancements may alter the slope of their garden or clog drains and gutters. Failure to take this into account means new upgrades could redirect water toward clients’ homes, seeping into the foundation or basement over time and potentially resulting in significant damage. By speaking with your clients about their garden renovation projects, this is an expensive loss that agents and brokers can help clients avoid.

Forecasting frozen pipes

Most homeowners know that the pipes in their homes are at risk of bursting during the cold winter months. Homeowners are 40% more likely to have water damage in the winter than any other time of the year, according to Chubb claims data.

Still, only 21% of homeowners report installing pipe insulation, even though it is one of the surest, simplest and cheapest ways to protect exposed pipes in the basement or garage in cold weather. Homeowners might also want to consider hiring a contractor to install pipe insulation for interior pipes that are located adjacent to an outside wall.

Not only does installing pipe insulation help keep the water in a home’s plumbing system from turning to ice and expanding (and thus bursting the pipes), it often helps homeowners save money on their energy bill. In essence, a reminder to install insulation could help clients avoid a major winter headache while also lowering utility bills.

10 tips to prevent chimney fires

11/9/2018 (Permalink)

Proper home maintenance requires constant vigilance.

Chimneys, in particular, require upkeep. A chimney that is dirty, blocked or in disrepair can inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue, and can also cause a chimney fire. Nearly all residential fires originating in the chimney are preventable, according to the New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

Chimney fires account for 75% of home heating fires, meaning homeowners should actively monitor their chimneys. Homeowners looking to avoid damage to their property and increased premiums should prepare for fires by checking their smoke alarms and updating their emergency plan.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends looking for these signs of a pending chimney fire: a loud cracking and popping noise; a lot of dense smoke; or an intense, hot smell.

Cyber Awareness

11/9/2018 (Permalink)

Why is SERVPRO concerned about creating community awareness regarding cyber attacks and cyber security?  The more our world becomes connected to the internet the greater the risk for property damage.  Consider the following scenarios:

  • Hackers gain access to a steel mill via a phishing attack introducing malware to the control system that prevents the shutdown of a blast furnace causing massive damage.
  • A power grid is remotely disabled by hackers causing extensive power outages.
  • Using a homemade transmitter, a teenager trips rail switches and derails train cars.
  • A hacker infiltrates the computerized waste management system and deliberately spills millions of gallons of raw sewage.
  • Machines at a hospital are infected by malware and a remote-access program is installed on the hospital's HVAC system.  This jeopardizes patient safety by putting drugs and other medical supplies at risk by altering the heating, AC and ventilation systems.


Sound like science fiction?  They are all true incidents and it is predicted that as the IoT (Internet of Things) continues to expand, property attacks will become more prevalent and costly.  Imagine hackers gaining access to the freezer temperature control at a frozen food manufacturer or infiltrating the computer system that regulates the fire sprinkler system in a large hotel.  The focus on cyber security and providing appropriate cyber coverage for commercial customers is not only important to protect data but also to protect vital system functions. Hackers have only scratched the surface when it comes to property damage so it is important to educate yourself about cyber risks before a catastrophic incident occurs.

Mold Remediation

11/4/2018 (Permalink)

How to determine if I can handle the mold clean up in my house? 

Do I need a professional mold remediation company?

Firstly, the source of the water intrusion needs to be resolved.  If the source continues to allow water intrusion, the home will eventually return to an unhealthy condition.  

You might want to consult a mold remediation company….

  • If the visible mold spores affected area, from tip to tip, is larger than a 10 square foot area
  • If you suspect that the heating ventilation system may be contaminated
  • If the original water was from a black water source (sewage contamination)
  • If you have health concerns of the occupants

There are numerous mold cleaning products on the market for consumer use.  It is best not to use OVER USE any harsh chemicals.  Simply scrub hard surfaces with a detergent and water, and let the area dry.  It is very important to use personal protective equipment while cleaning: eyes, hands, and respiratory system.  Upon completion of the cleaning, the area should be free of  visible mold spores and musty, moldy odors (mold staining on structural materials may still be present).  It is critical to monitor the affected area for a few months to make sure the area does not return to unhealthy.  The area needs to continue to be dry, clean and odor free.  If the area again begins to deteriorate, go back to correction of the source of water intrusion.  It is possible that the original correction was not sufficient or there might a secondary source of water intrusion.  

If you determine that your home or business has a mold problem, and the source of the moisture intrusion has been corrected, SERVPRO of Northern Summit County can inspect and assess your property. If professional mold remediation is needed, we have the training, equipment, and expertise to handle the situation.

Vacant Homes and Mold Growth

11/3/2018 (Permalink)

Vacant homes or unattended homes have unique issues that can that increase the likelihood of mold growth.  These homes are locked up without inhabitants coming or going, turning on the heat, running air exchangers or ventilation fans, and have restricted air flow. Thus moisture or condensation can build up inside and create an ideal climate for mold. To thrive mold needs moisture, oxygen, a food source and a surface on which to grow; easily available within a residence.  Mold spores are abundant in our environment, and once a mold spore has attached itself to dust particles, which provides the nutrients needed, all the spore needs is moisture. 

Procrastinate where mold cleaning is necessary can be a costly decision. If mold spores are allowed to proliferate, you may be faced with extensive structural damage to your home and possibly loss of property value. Today’s buyers are very leery about investing into a home with visible mold contamination. Additionally, consumers are very aware that some molds species can produce toxins and allergens. 

The remediation priority would be to correct the excessive of moisture build up in the residence. Remediation would include 1) water proofing, 2) corrective measures to secure windows and doors, 3) create healthy air flow. etc.  After the corrective measures to reduce the moisture, professional mold remediation of all affected structural materials, contents, and HVAC system would need to be completed.  If the issues that are causing the elevated moisture are not corrected prior to remediation services, after a period of time, the home would again become unhealthy.

If you determine that your home or business has a mold problem, and the source of the moisture intrusion has been corrected, SERVPRO of Northern Summit County can inspect and assess your property. If mold remediation is needed, we have the training, equipment, and expertise to handle the situation.

Evaluating Mold: Air Sample Testing

11/3/2018 (Permalink)

All buildings contain mold spores since they a natural part of the environment.  An elevated mold count especially one that contains spores from varieties of mold that are commonly found when water damage is involved, such as stachybotrys chartarum, can indicate that there may be a structural moisture problem.     

In the insurance claim process, mold testing in is generally utilized after the mold has been remediated to confirm that the mold spore count is at or below the count found outside the building. The test is conducted while the remediated area is contained in order to confirm the success of the cleaning process. 

Determination of airborne spore counts is accomplished by way of an air sample, in which a specialized pump with a known flow rate is operated for a known period of time. Conducive to scientific methodology, air samples should be drawn from the affected area, a control area, and the exterior.

The air sampler pump draws in air and deposits microscopic airborne particles on a culture medium. The medium is cultured in a laboratory and the fungal genus and species are determined by visual microscopic observation. Laboratory results also quantify fungal growth by way of a spore count for comparison among samples. The pump operation time was recorded and when multiplied by the operation time results in a specific volume of air obtained. Although a small volume of air is actually analyzed, common laboratory reporting techniques extrapolate the spore count data to equate the amount of spores that would be present in a cubic meter of air.


If you have questions or need further information about the mold testing process, contact SERVPRO of Northern Summit County at 800-648-1212. 

Health Hazards Lurking in Your Basement

10/21/2018 (Permalink)

Basement mold can happen to anyone.

Basements are damp, which is precisely the environment in which mold thrives. To reduce the risk of mold, use a dehumidifier, seal cracks in the foundation, and replace carpeting with tile, vinyl, or another appropriate hard flooring.

Not every basement laundry area enjoys adequate dryer venting from the basement to the outdoors. You laundry area could even be on the main floor or the upstairs of the home.Rather than running a vent pipe to the outside of the house, some homeowners opt to outfit the dryer with a device that catches lint and then recirculates warm air from the dryer throughout the basement. Unfortunately, the exhaust from the dryer also includes  chemicals from laundry detergents. If you spend any time in your basement, have your dryer vented to the outdoors.

Prevent clients from being their own worst vacation enemies

10/15/2018 (Permalink)

While global hot spots like Paris and Tokyo remain popular destinations, travelers are increasingly choosing off-the-beaten path destinations as their

The most popular form of entertainment for high-net-worth clients is travel, especially after they stop working. No matter where they go, however, travel includes some element of risk. Although most associate that risk with violence, travelers are much more likely to run into exposures of their own making — whether it’s an unexpected issue back home or unknowingly exposing personally identifiable information.

Vacation hot spots

If your clients could go anywhere in the world, do you know where they would go? And how they would get there — by plane, tour bus or cruise ship?

According to AirBnB, global hot spots like Paris and Tokyo remain popular destinations, but travelers are increasingly choosing off-the-beaten path destinations as their vacations of choice. Some are traveling with well-established tour companies but others are venturing off on their own or with more local, less-well-known groups.

Bookings are up by more than 250% in Da Nang, Vietnam, for example, as well as more than 200% in Matinhos and Guarapari, Brazil, and 175% in Zagreb, Croatia.

As your clients prepare for the summer travel season, here’s what you need to know in order to protect them.

Out of sight, not out of mind

When on vacation, the worries of everyday life should be far away. Nevertheless, failure to take certain actions before departure can end up hitting clients like a literal beach wave.

According to a 2017 study by Chubb on home protection behaviors, the majority of Americans lock their windows (85%) and deadbolt their doors (77%) before heading out on vacation. Just 22%, on the other hand, shut off the water main.

Why does this matter? Many clients incorrectly assume that theft is the most common and costliest form of property damage, especially while their homes are sitting empty. It’s neither. Water leaks should instead be their primary concern as data from the Insurance Information Institute suggests that water leaks occur four times more frequently than theft claims. Additionally, the same data shows an average water-related loss costs more than $8,800, as compared to $3,990 for theft.

More concerning is the fact that the time between when a leak occurs and when it’s discovered directly impacts the severity of water damage. For clients on vacation — even for a long weekend — this makes them vulnerable.

So how can you help your clients keep their everyday worries at bay while on vacation? Here are some tips:

  • Insist that they turn off their main water supply before traveling.
  • Advise they check for any leaks prior to departure.
  • Encourage them to ask a trusted neighbor or friend to stay or check in on their home while away.
  • Counsel them to install a water shut-off device, if one isn’t already in place. If it is, remind clients to replace all batteries and set the device to “away mode” before leaving.

Handle with care

Although agents and brokers should always advise that clients leave their jewelry at home, there are ways to help keep valuables safe(ish). Start by ensuring your clients have worldwide coverage for valuable articles and no deductibles for most causes of loss. This assumes they’ve already taken the important step of purchasing a valuable articles policy, as opposed to solely relying on their homeowners’ policy, which often has a $5,000 cap on valuables.

Beyond ensuring they have the right policy in place, the safety and security of valuable items is largely dependent on client behavior. In other words, help them make smart choices. Clients should never pack their jewelry in checked luggage, for instance. Instead, they should keep it in a carryon — ideally one that they will have on them the whole flight.

Upon arrival, encourage your clients to keep their jewelry in the hotel’s main safe. Individual room safes are easily accessible to hotel employees and codes can be overridden. Jewelry should remain in the hotel’s main safe unless clients are physically wearing it. That means no putting it by the nightstand and returning it to the safe in the morning. While it should go without saying, remind clients that they should avoid heading to the beach or pool when wearing their jewelry.

Live in the moment

Clients might want to share pictures of the historical landmarks they’re visiting or white sand beaches they’re relaxing on, but posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another social media site puts them at risk.

The concern is three-fold. First, they’re alerting local thieves who might be monitoring popular hashtags or location “check-ins” on social media that naïve tourists are nearby. Potentially more concerning, however, is that it could alert criminals back home that their property is vacant. (Even though I mentioned water leaks are more common than theft above, this behavior could certainly tip the scale!)

Finally, if a client uses an unsecure Wi-Fi network, which are common at hotels, bars, restaurants and other tourist destinations abroad, hackers can gain access to a treasure trove of personal information. Reminding your clients that vacation is a time to relax and subsequently “unplug” is the best thing you can do to help keep them safe.

The concern doesn’t end when clients power down their smartphones, unfortunately. Payments and cash withdrawals also present ripe opportunity for identity thieves.

Whenever possible, encourage your clients to pay for vacation purchases, including meals, lodging and excursions, with cash they brought from home. If they must pay with a card, credit cards are preferable to debit cards, as the latter link directly to client bank accounts.

As clients prepare to make the most of summer travel, don’t let an unexpected accident or mistake detour their plans. Take these steps ahead of time and you’ll ensure that your clients do what they’re looking forward to most — relaxing.

What Ice Storm Accumulations Mean and How to Stay Safe

10/4/2018 (Permalink)

At a Glance

  • Just a thin coating of ice can result in a travel nightmare, and heavier amounts will severely damage trees and power lines.
  • Here's how to prepare for an ice storm and stay safe.

You may hear forecasters talk about ice accumulations this week and wonder, "Will I lose power, or will the roads just be slippery?"

 

Just a thin coating of ice can result in a travel nightmare, while heavier amounts will severely damage trees and power lines. Strong winds can add extra force to already weighted down tree branches and power lines, increasing the likelihood of significant damage.

Ice Storm Facts

  • Ice can increase the weight of branches by 30 times.
  • A 1/2-inch accumulation on power lines can add 500 pounds of extra weight.
  • An ice storm in 2009 centered from northern Arkansas to the Ohio Valley knocked out power to 1.3 million.
  • In 1998, an ice storm in northern New York and northern New England damaged millions of trees and caused $1.4 billion in damage. Accumulations were as much as three inches thick!

These ice accumulations are caused by freezing rain. Freezing rain is a result of snow falling through an above-freezing warm layer in the atmosphere above the surface of the earth, which melts the snowflakes into rain. The rain drops then move into a thin layer of below-freezing air right near the surface of the earth, allowing them to freeze on contact to the ground, trees, cars and other objects.

While accumulations of sleet can also make roads treacherous, sleet does not accumulate on trees and powerlines, so ice events with more sleet than freezing rain pose a greatly reduced threat for tree damage or power outages.

(MORE: Difference Between Freezing Rain and Sleet)

 
The type of precipitation we see at the ground depends not only on the temperature at the ground, but also several thousand feet above the surface.

What kind of impacts and damage do different amounts of ice cause? 

'Nuisance'

A nuisance ice event is usually one of 1/4 inch or less of ice accumulation.

Even though these lighter accumulations are considered nuisance, travel can be extremely dangerous even with a light glazing.

 
Typical impacts of "nuiscance" ice accumulations - one-quarter inch or less.

'Disruptive'

A disruptive ice storm is typically one of 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice accumulation.

This amount of ice starts to damage trees and power lines.

 
Typical impacts of "disruptive" ice accumulations - one-quarter to one-half inch.

'Crippling'

Widespread accumulations of over 1/2 inch.

With widespread ice accumulations of over 1/2 inch, there is severe tree damage and power outages may last for days.

The most devastating storms contain ice accumulations of an inch or more.

(MORE: Winter Storm Central)

 
Typical impacts of "crippling" ice accumulations - one-half inch or more.

Be Prepared

  • Avoid driving on icy roads for your safety and the safety of emergency personnel.
  • Be sure to charge cell phones and laptops ahead of time. Make sure you have several ways to communicate with others. Consider landline phones, social media, and texting.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets. Plan for pets to come inside, and store adequate food and water for them.
  • Children should never play around ice-covered trees; they may be injured if a branch breaks under the weight of the ice and falls on them.
  • Think about safe alternate power sources you could use if you lose heat, such as a fireplace, wood/coal stove or portable space heaters. However, be sure to exercise caution:
  • Follow manufacturers instructions when using portable space heaters and other devices.
  • Never use portable generators, camp stoves and grills inside your home or garage; they should only be used outside. Keep them at least 20 feet away from your home's windows, doors and vents to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Use flashlights during power outages instead of candles to prevent the risk of fire, and keep plenty of extra batteries on-hand.  

Before the Power Goes Out: Food Safety

  • Make sure you have appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer.
  • Check to ensure that the freezer temperature is at or below 0 degrees and the refrigerator is at or below 40 degrees.
  • In case of a power outage, the appliance thermometers will indicate the temperatures in the refrigerator and freezer to help you determine if the food is safe.
  • Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers in case the power goes out. If your normal water supply is contaminated or unavailable, the melting ice will also supply drinking water.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.
  • Purchase or make ice cubes in advance and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.
  • Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.

 When the Power Goes Out: Food Safety

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
  • A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if it is unopened.
  • Buy dry or block ice (or freeze containers of water) to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time.
  • If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs while it is still at safe temperatures, it's important that each item is thoroughly cooked to the proper temperature to assure that any foodborne bacteria that may be present is destroyed. However, if at any point the food was above 40 degrees for two hours or more — discard it.
  • For infants, try to use prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water. When using concentrated or powdered formulas, prepare with bottled water if the local water source is potentially contaminated.

Lack of flood insurance heaps misery on homeowners slammed by Hurricane Florence

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

The drenching rains and massive flooding caused by Florence are expected to inflict a high financial toll on homeowners in North Carolina and other states, as only a small percentage are covered by flood insurance that could help offset the costs of rebuilding their damaged homes.

An estimated quarter of a million homes in North Carolina are projected to be affected by Florence, which has caused flash flooding and record rain amounts across the state, according to CoreLogic, a property analytics company. 

Estimates from insurance analysts and actuaries show an alarmingly high percentage of homeowners – both in coastal towns and those far inland – that are underinsured for a water-driven natural disaster as destructive as Florence. 

Only 10 percent to 20 percent of coastal homeowners in the hard-hit eastern part of North Carolina, for example, have coverage through the government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and only 1 percent to 3 percent of homes in inland counties have flood policies, according to estimates from John Rollins, an actuary at consulting firm Milliman. Statewide, roughly 3 percent of the homes in North Carolina have flood coverage and 8 percent of homeowners are covered in South Carolina, Rollins said.

“Obviously, that leaves a lot of people uninsured,” Rollins told USA TODAY.

The numbers of those covered are low, he said, because people think that because their home isn't in a high-risk zone designated by the government that there's "zero risk" of a flood. "But that's not true," Rollins says. Many also don't realize their basic homeowners policy doesn't cover flood damage, while others overestimate the disaster aid they will get from the government. 

Unfortunately, standard homeowners insurance won’t cover any flooding-related issues. The estimated insured losses from Florence are in the range of $3 billion to $5 billion, according to CoreLogic. Goldman Sachs, a Wall Street bank, said they could go as high as $10 billion to $20 billion. 

Insurers should have no problem being able to pay out claims to policy holders because the industry has cash reserves of roughly half a trillion dollars, according to Matt Carletti, senior insurance analyst at JMP Securities.  

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The problem for homeowners is that insured losses generally are only about one-third of total economic losses, which puts them on the hook financially for a more sizable part of their home rebuilds if losses are due to uncovered flood costs, Carletti said.

 

To get flood coverage, homeowners must buy a separate policy. Most purchase this extra coverage from the government-backed NFIP program, which is designed to restore your home to its preflood condition and replace your possessions. NFIP policies, which carry average premiums of about $600 to $700 a year but can run into the thousands of dollars in high-risk zones, cover up to $250,000 for a home's structure and up to $100,000 for personal possessions. 

Homeowners not covered for flood damage can seek federal disaster assistance in the form of grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or apply for a loan from the Small Business Administration, said Steve Bowen, meteorologist for Aon Benfield's Impact Forecasting division. FEMA may provide up to $33,000 in assistance for home repair, although the average for Superstorm Sandy in 2012 was about $8,000 and roughly $7,100 for Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

At the end of July, there were 134,306 active NFIP flood policies in place in North Carolina, Bowen said. That's only 3 percent of the estimated 4.62 million housing units in the state, he said, citing U.S. Census Bureau data.

Damage to homes caused by floods tend to be costly. The estimated potential loss for a 1,000-square-foot, single-story home with possessions worth $20,000 that is inundated with just 1 inch of interior water can run as high as $11,000, according to FEMA data, and the estimated loss for 5 inches of water climbs to more than $18,000.

Given the fact that many parts of North Carolina have received rain totals of 2 feet or more, many homeowners will be facing high rebuild costs they may not be able to afford.

“You are looking at a lot of homeowners that will have out-of-pocket costs that could easily be five figures, or more than $10,000,” said Cathy Seifert, an insurance analyst at CFRA, a Wall Street research firm. 

 

Insurance coverage for drain, sewer and sump pump problems

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

Analysis brought to you by the experts at FC&S Online, the recognized authority on insurance coverage interpretation and analysis for the P&C industry. To find out more — or to have YOUR coverage question answered — visit the National Underwriter website, or contact the editors via Twitter: @FCSbulletins.

Question: This is a Commercial Property risk. I have a toilet that continued to run as the toilet stopper did not seal properly. All would be fine except the heavy rains saturated the drain field not allowing the water to drain from the toilet. This resulted in an overflow causing damage.

The insured has a $10,000 limit on discharge from sewer, drain, or sump from a CP 73 51 endorsement.

Does this limit apply or would it be considered a loss under the normal limits? But for the saturated drain field, there would be no loss. The drain field caused the water to not be able to drain properly; is that a back-up by definition?

— North Carolina Subscriber

Answer: Endorsement CP 73 51 is a proprietary endorsement that includes additional coverage for Discharge From Sewer, Drain Or Sump (Not Flood-Related), up to a $10,000 limit in the endorsement. This response is in regards to the water damage claim submitted for our review. Here are the facts as presented:

  1. A toilet ran continuously due to a stopper that did not seal properly. The toilet overflowed.
  2. The drain field overflowed due to heavy rains.
  3. The drain field is tied to the septic system serving the insured property.

Based on these facts, there are two causes of loss, and we cannot determine the extent of damage from each cause of loss:

  1. What caused the toilet stopper to not seal properly? Was it wear and tear or faulty workmanship? What interior water damage resulted from the toilet overflow?
  2. What caused the drain field to overflow? Despite heavy rains, it should still have absorbed the water. So what factors may have contributed to the drain field overflow? Was sludge or other obstruction a contributing factor? What interior water damage resulted from the drain overflow?

This is not an expert opinion, just personal experience with a broken toilet flapper. Regardless of how much the toilet ran, it never ran outside the toilet bowl because the drain carried out the water. If the drain was stopped up, not allowing the water to flow through the drain, then the water could back up and out from the toilet bowl, causing interior water damage.

If the water damage was caused by the broken toilet seal, there would be no coverage.

If the water damage was caused by the drain field overflow, then there would be limited coverage of $10,000 for Discharge From Sewer, Drain Or Sump (Not Flood-Related) provided in the proprietary endorsement CP 73 51.

However, this is an issue of fact, not coverage. We can only speak to the coverages that would be provided in the forms based on the two causes of loss as presented.

Washing machine overflow

Question: Our property coverage contains an exclusion for flood. Included under the flood definition is the exclusion of water or sewage that backs up through sewers, drains or sumps. It also excludes overflow of any body of water.

We have a claim where the fire department put a load of clothes in the washing machine and was called out on a run. During the washing cycle, water overflowed into the building due to the drain being frozen from an ice storm. This was while the firefighters were gone performing their duties. When they returned, the building was flooded, damaging carpet and sheet-rock. Is this covered?

— Oklahoma Subscriber

Answer: We do not see an exclusion that would apply in this situation. It doesn’t sound as if the water actually went down a drain and then backed up. The washing machine overflowed because water could not go down the frozen drain, which would not constitute a backup. So, in our opinion, the loss is covered.

Sump pump and water backup

Question: One of the more common claims we handle deals with sump pumps and applicable exclusions. In this case, the business owner’s policy contains the following provision, “We will pay for loss or damage to covered property caused by water that backs up from a sewer or drain, subject to the following limitations:  We will not pay for loss or damage under this Additional Coverage caused by the emanation of water from a sewer or drain that itself is caused by, or is the result of “flood,” surface water, waves, tides, tidal waves, overflow of any body of water or their spray, all whether driven by wind or not;”.

Carrier issued a denial, as follows:

In view of the cited exclusions, the water damage to the basement is the result of flood and groundwater; therefore, we would not make a payment for this loss.

The loss was not caused by flood or surface water, but a high water table that overwhelmed the pump’s capability to function due to two major rain events one year ago. When the water table receded, the pump functioned so it was not failure in the sense one thinks of failure, i.e., mechanical or electrical. Water entered through the sump, through some cracks in the floor.

My belief is that this is a covered loss. I could not find any information on the definition of “sump pump,” the purpose of a sump pump, or the definition of “groundwater.”

The carrier used the term “groundwater” in the denial. That is not addressed in the endorsement.

— Connecticut Subscriber

Answer: It does not sound like the water backed up through the sump pump but in fact came through the cracks in the floor.

This type of loss would be subject to the part of the water exclusion that states, “Water under the ground surface pressing on, or flowing through… floors… basements.” (This can be seen in the ISO BP 00 03 01 10, B.1.g.) If the insured has purchased sewer and drain backup coverage, it would not apply to this type of loss. However, if it can be shown that the water really did overflow or was discharged from the sump (as opposed to seeping in through floor cracks), that would be covered.

The ‘whys’ behind lack of flood insurance coverage

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

One of the ongoing issues with hurricanes and other flood disasters is the fact that many, many people lack flood insurance. But why is that? Why are people not buying the coverage they need?

The Private Risk Management Association (PRMA) conducted a survey of agents about why their insureds do or do not carry flood insurance. We had the chance to talk to Lisa Lindsay of PRMA about the study and its results.

Their study showed that across the board, whether high net worth or not, people’s mindset is that “It won’t happen to me.” Flood insurance is seen as something homeowners are required to have, not something they need to protect their assets. The study showed that many people only buy flood insurance because the bank says they have to. They later celebrate when they’re no longer required to hold flood insurance because their mortgage has been paid off.

Likewise, consumers have been conditioned to believe that unless they are in a high-hazard flood zone, coverage is not needed. The fact that flooding occurs in many non-high hazard areas is overlooked. It’s not just coastal areas that flood, but areas near rivers, streams and even low-lying areas in towns where runoff can accumulate often flood, causing unsuspecting homeowners damage that’s not covered by their normal homeowners’ policy.

Better understanding of mitigation efforts

Not only do people need a better understanding of flood insurance, but they also need a better understanding of mitigation efforts, that is, steps they can take to prevent or minimize flooding and reduce the potential damage. Sandbags, inflatable barriers and landscaping are just some ways people can prepare for a flood. Both the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy and the new ISO Personal Flood Policy provide up to $1,000 for steps taken to protect the insured building from flood or imminent danger of flood. The $1,000 is provided for the cost of:

  • Sandbags and sand to fill them,
  • Fill for temporary levees,
  • Pumps,
  • Plastic sheeting, and
  • Lumber used in connection with these items.

As most insureds don’t read their policies, it’s likely that most are unaware of these coverage benefits for mitigation of damages.

Private flood policies to the rescue?

With the concern surrounding the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), carriers are beginning to issue private flood policies. For example, one carrier has a private flood policy with limits up to $15 million on property, much higher than the NFIP limits of $250,000.

ISO has developed both a Commercial Flood program and a Personal Flood program, both available this year. The expansion of available coverage should be a tremendous help in getting homeowners insured. However, education of agents and the public is key.

Better analytics is helping to make private coverage possible; instead of just referring to the standard flood maps, which may be out of date, there are companies providing better analysis of property that includes rainfall, local topography, elevation and susceptibility to hurricanes, not just for rains but for winds and storm surge as well.

Although flood insurance can be expensive in some places, in many areas that’s not the case. As a result, property owners don’t investigate their options for coverage.

Another issue is construction itself. Builders resist changes to codes to make properties safer while continuing to want to rebuild in areas that have been flooded. If building is going to occur in such areas, the buildings need to be built in a way to protect the property as much as possible from flooding. People also get a false sense of security from the fact that the town has allowed buildings to be constructed in low-lying areas, figuring that if zoning approved of the area it must be safe to construct a home in that area.

Understanding the 100-year flood

Yet another large issue is the misperception of the 100-year flood. Many people believe that this means that the chance of their property being flooded is one in 100 years. What it really means is that every year there is a 1% chance of flood. This puts the property at significant risk, as not only do 100-year storms need to be accounted for, but other storms as well.

Time Period10 Yr.25 Yr.50 Yr.100 YrTotal Odds1 yr.10%4%2%1%17%10 yr.65%34%18%10%127%20 yr.88%56%33%18%195%30 yr.96%71%45%26%238%50 yr.99%87%64%39%289%

Source: FC&S Online

The overarching issue is how to educate both the public and the industry on flood mitigation techniques and the availability of insurance coverage. The industry needs to inform people of not only what their risk is but also about the available risk evaluation tools, mitigation techniques and available coverage. Agents and brokers need to be well informed in order to proactively change the narrative of flooding and coverage.

Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning up after a flood can pose health risks. You and your family should wait to re-enter your home until professionals tell you it is safe, with no structural, electrical or other hazards.

Before you start cleanup activities, contact your insurance company and take pictures of the home and your belongings. Remember – drying your home and removing water-damaged items is your most important step for preventing mold damage.

Is There a Problem?

Was your home flooded? If so, and you were not able to dry your home (including furniture and other items) within 24-48 hours, you should assume you have mold growth. You need to completely dry everything, clean up the mold, and make sure you don’t still have a moisture problem.

You may see or smell mold on clothing, drywall, furniture, cardboard boxes, or books, but it may also be hidden under or behind items like carpet, cushions, or walls.

Mold Basics: How Molds Can Affect Your Health

Key Messages

  • Wear personal protective equipment. Wear an N-95 respirator at a minimum, goggles, and protective gloves.
  • Use portable generators carefully, outside and away from the home, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.
  • Ensure the mold cleanup is complete before reoccupying your home.

Exposure to mold can lead to asthma attacks, eye and skin irritation, and allergic reactions. It can lead to severe infections in people with weakened immune systems.  Avoid contaminated buildings and contaminated water as much as you can.

Flood water may have carried sewage or chemicals into your home. This could expose you or your family to viruses, bacteria, disease carriers (such as mosquitoes), and parasites, as well as mold. To learn more about cleaning and disinfection go to: www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/flood/standing.html.

You can protect yourself and your family from mold exposure by following these steps.

Before You Enter Any Moldy Site:

  • Protect yourself and loved ones against hazards. People with breathing problems like asthma or who have weakened immune systems should stay away from moldy sites. Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work. Check for loose power lines or gas leaks. Make sure the electricity and gas are turned off. Look for sagging ceilings or floors or other structural problems. Watch out for wet, muddy, or slippery floors.
  • Protect your mouth and nose against breathing in mold: wear at least an N-95 respirator. If you plan to spend a lot of time removing moldy belongings or doing work like ripping out moldy drywall, wear a half-face or full-face respirator. Basic information on using it is in OSHA’s general respiratory protection guidance.
  • Protect your skin. Wear protective gloves (non-latex, vinyl, nitrile, or rubber). Do not touch mold or moldy items with bare hands.
  • Protect your eyes. Wear goggles that provide complete eye protection. Choose goggles designed to keep out dust and small particles. Safety glasses or goggles that have open vent holes will not protect you against dust and small particles.

After You Leave a Mold Site:

  • Protect yourself and loved ones. Shower and change your clothes.  This will help you avoid carrying mold and other hazards back to your current living quarters.

Should I Do This Myself?

This job may be too difficult or dangerous for you. It may be best to get help from experienced and qualified professionals if you can.  Hire a mold inspection or remediation professional affiliated  with or certified by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), or American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) to inspect, repair, and restore the damaged parts of your home. Your state also may regulate mold remediation.

Sampling for mold is not usually recommended. Understanding the results can be difficult, and no matter what kind of mold is in your home, you need to clean it up and fix the moisture problem.

If I Must Do This Myself, How Can I Do It Safely?

Follow these steps:

  1. Put on the personal protective equipment described above to protect your eyes, nose, mouth, and skin.
  2. Remove standing water and wet materials. Use a wet vacuum to remove water from floors, carpets, and hard surfaces. Dry your home and everything in it as quickly as you can – within 24 to 48 hours if you can.
  3. Open all doors and windows when you are working and leave as many open as is safe when you leave.
    • Open inside doors, especially closets and interior rooms, to let air flow to all areas. Take doors off their hinges if you need to.
    • Open kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity doors; remove drawers, wipe them clean, and stack them to dry.
    • Open the attic access to let air flow to the attic. Before you open the attic door, make sure nothing will fall on you.
  4. When electricity is safe to use, use fans and dehumidifiers to remove moisture. Do not use fans if mold has already started to grow, because the fans may spread the mold.
  5. Clean with water and a detergent. Remove all mold you can see. Dry right away.
  6. If you use cleaning products, do not mix cleaning products together. DO NOT mix bleach and ammonia because it can create toxic vapors.
  7. Painting or caulking over mold will not prevent mold from growing. Fix the water problem completely and clean up all the mold before you paint or caulk.
  8. Throw away items that can’t be cleaned and dried. Throw away anything that was wet with flood water and can’t be cleaned and dried completely within 24 to 48 hours. If you have precious items that you want to preserve, follow these guidelines from the Smithsonian Institute: www.si.edu/mci/english/learn_more/taking_care/mnm.html.

Safety Tips on Using Portable Generators

  • If you use a portable generator for electricity use CAUTION to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.
  • Use portable generators OUTSIDE and at least 20 feet away from buildings.
  • Do not use portable generators inside your house or garage.
  • Do not put portable generators on balconies or near doors, vents, or windows.
  • Do not use portable generators near where you or your children are sleeping.
  • Never refuel a generator while it is hot.
  • For more information, go to: www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/portable_generator_safety.pdf[PDF – 22 KB]

Am I Done?

  • If you still see or smell mold, you have more work to do. After a remediation, there should be no signs of water damage or mold growth.
  • You may need to ask a mold remediation professional to know whether your mold problem is completely fixed. As noted in the “Should I do this myself?” section, sampling for mold is not usually recommended; instead, a careful inspection of the work area for completion of the cleanup and absence of mold-related odors is usually appropriate.
  • If you have health problems that get worse when you return home, like asthma or allergy attacks or skin or eye irritation, you may still have some mold.

How small businesses can better protect themselves

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

Even the best-run small businesses face the risk that external factors beyond their control, like a natural disaster, could derail operations.

recent joint survey conducted by Insureon and Manta revealed that approximately 60% of small business owners don’t have either a formal disaster recovery plan or business interruption insurance, both of which could help them bounce back if an unforeseen event like Hurricane Florence forces their business to temporarily close.

Natural disasters are unpredictable such as the recent wildfires in California are unpredictable. Out-of-control fires in Yosemite threatened the livelihood of small business owners in the hospitality industry, with one innkeeper estimating a loss of at least $20,000. Other local businesses, such as guided tour and day trip operators, faced the possibility of serious financial losses and the need to dip into savings to cover operating expenses.

While a disaster recovery plan won’t completely insulate small businesses from problems caused by Mother Nature, a well-thought-out strategy can help minimize the impact. In addition to purchasing commercial property insurance to help pay for repairs to damaged property, business owners should also consider buying a business interruption insurance policy. Not only can it help expedite recovery from a disaster, it can also minimize a business’ financial losses.

Developing a comprehensive disaster recovery plan

In the event of a natural disaster, small businesses may be forced to temporarily close. Unfortunately, not all businesses are equipped to survive a prolonged shutdown. According to the survey, 31 percent of owners don’t know if their companies would be able to resume operations if they had to close for longer than one month, with an additional 13 percent confident that they would definitely not be able to reopen. However, only 39 percent of small business owners surveyed said they have a formal disaster recovery plan in place.

Disaster recovery plans can help business owners act fast to protect their company’s infrastructure and get the business back up and running as quickly as possible. Some information to consider including in a recovery plan includes:

  • A list of key contacts, such as the insurance company, utility companies, suppliers and financial institutions
  • A detailed plan of what steps employees should take in the event of an emergency
  • A communication plan for notifying customers and vendors of the closure
  • Documents and resources that are critical to the business’ operations

To keep everyone in the loop, employers may want to review disaster recovery plans with employees during on-boarding, and hold annual emergency response drills.

Why add business interruption insurance?

Companies face more than just physical damage from natural disasters; they also experience financial losses from being forced to halt operations for a period of time.

While property insurance can pay to repair building damage caused by a wildfire, business interruption insurance covers the potential income lost during a temporary closure. These payout amounts are usually based on income and expense records, so business owners should carefully store copies of these documents in a safe, off-site location.

Business interruption insurance can vary from policy to policy, but typically provides coverage for the following three things:

  1. Profits an owner would have earned if the business was not forced to close
  2. Normal operating expenses, including employee wages, taxes and loan payments
  3. Temporary relocation expenses, such as moving and rent costs

Business interruption insurance usually will not cover costs related to utilities, income that isn’t properly documented and losses caused by a partial closure.

Some policies might not protect against every natural disaster. For example, if events like wildfires are not covered by a proprietor’s property insurance policy, their business interruption policy won’t cover expenses related to wildfires either. For total protection, proprietors should verify with their insurance carriers that their policies cover common natural events that are specific to their geographical vicinity.

Above all, small businesses can best prepare by taking a proactive approach to disaster recovery planning. In the absence of a plan or adequate insurance, small business owners are putting themselves at risk for significant financial losses that could force some to permanently close. With the right combination of preparedness and comprehensive insurance, business owners can ensure they are ready for anything Mother Nature throws their way.

Disaster recovery for agents, brokers & claims professionals

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

A hurricane is coming. You’ve implemented your business’s emergency preparedness plan. You’ve boarded up your brick-and-mortar location in the storm’s path. You’ve ensured your staff’s safety. You’ve secured your CRM data at an offsite, low-risk location (or in the cloud), and armed your staff with printouts just in case. You’ve mobilized your claims workforce. And you’ve prepared your clients with disaster-specific risk mitigation and claims reporting information.

But are you ready for what comes next?

After a weather-related catastrophe passes, agents, brokers and claims professionals must be prepared to ride out the next storm: the onslaught of claims. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey resulted in nearly 670,000 combined personal and commercial property insurance claims to private insurers, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and the Texas Fair Access to Insurance Requirement Plan, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. All those insureds expect a prompt, professional response, and rightfully so.

Here are seven tips to help you get back to business with minimal interruption.

1. Keep an eye on the weather

Large storms seldom follow their forecasted track. Watch for changes in weather patterns and reach out to high-risk insureds — such as large car dealerships or marinas — that might be impacted by a sudden shift in the storm track, so they can relocate their assets if possible and take all necessary precautions.

Then, stay in touch with emergency management officials. To provide timely outreach to your clients, you’ll need to know when roads will re-open and when it will be safe to bring claims representatives into the area.

2. Set up temporary offices

Today, power outages from storms don’t bring businesses to a halt. Wi-Fi hotspots mean your insureds may be able to stay connected with their mobile devices. You should too. For agents and brokers, this may mean working “virtually” — from homes, hotel rooms or coffee shops — rather than finding a temporary brick-and-mortar location. Claims professionals (especially CAT adjusters) are accustomed to finding Wi-Fi hotspots wherever they go so they can determine coverage, assess damages and resolve claims without interruption.

3. Mobilize your claims force

Start to determine how many claims professionals you’ll need on the ground to assess the damage. Know the physical location of CAT adjusters and how to contact and deploy them as needed so they can reach out to your clients and help them calculate property loss and business interruption loss.

4. Determine your priorities

For agents and brokers, making sure your clients are safe and handling their first-notice-of-loss response will be your two biggest business priorities in the immediate aftermath of a storm. Determine what your staff can handle, and what they can’t. Small or mid-sized retail agents or brokers may ask their clients to report claims directly to the carrier. The agent or broker should also understand all their carriers’ documentation and estimate requirements for clients who sustained smaller losses that don’t need to be inspected by the carrier. In any event, the agent or broker will still need to follow up on the progress of all claims.

It’s also important to be aware of carrier binding suspensions, state moratoriums on non-pay and other cancellations, and other guidelines, procedures and processes that might be disrupted by the weather event.

Another option may be to outsource some of those critical business functions to an external vendor that specializes in insurance operations and business process management. If you’re already working with such a vendor, this is a natural next step. If you’re seeking such a vendor, look for one with offshore and on-shore capabilities and practical business continuity plans not tied to a physical location that can help you minimize business interruption.

5. Keep your insureds informed

This is where an agent or broker’s online presence will pay major dividends. Use your website and your social media channels to let your insureds know you’re back in business, who to call, where to submit claims, and how to contact you, your staff and their carrier.

6. Rely on your data

Gather analytics around the property or assets you insure and track the potential loss. For example, if you know you insure 1,000 homeowners who were in the swath of the hurricane, you can calculate the potential impact beforehand, and then re-calculate based on the storm’s actual path. This will give you the data you need to comprehend the number and severity of claims you and your staff may be handling.

7. Plan better the next time

No matter how well you plan, the days after a weather catastrophe will be frenetic. But proper planning will help you ensure business continuity.

I spent 20 years working in carrier claims departments, and have been a part of organizations helping people recover from serious storms since Hurricane Gloria hit New York City in 1985. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that the right time to help in a natural disaster is both before and after.

In the days after Hurricane Harvey, we at ReSource Pro offered our clients help with their priority work, for example. We rerouted our impacted clients’ calls to our on-shore center and handled loss reporting calls, and we followed up with carriers and insureds to confirm adjuster assignments. We leveraged offshore locations to handle first-notice-of-loss data entry for impacted clients.

Although that helped clients after the storm, helping clients prepare for the next storm is just as crucial. That’s why I advise our clients that, when you work with external vendors, ask them to do a portion of work on a regular basis. If you anticipate asking a vendor to handle first-notice-of-loss data entry during a storm, having them do a portion of that work with some frequency during normal business operations ensures a smooth transition — and familiarity — with the work during an emergency.

This will ensure your external strategic partner knows your processes, understands your clients, and is prepared to offer seamless support when catastrophe strikes. You’ll gain a level of confidence in your business partner that will keep your clients satisfied, which in turn will become a key differentiator for your agency or brokerage.

Top Tips for Fire Safety

9/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire safety is important!

Did you know that if a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape? During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives. Learn what else to do to keep your loved ones safe!

Top Tips for Fire Safety

 

Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

 

Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.

 

Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.

 

If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

Business Owners Find Varied Paths to Recovery Post-Disaster

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

As small business owners in Hawaii and California clean up following Hurricane Laneand wildfires, they’ll find there’s no one formula for recovery.

The same disaster can devastate businesses in divergent ways – a hurricane might tear the roof off one restaurant, flood another and leave a third with little damage.

 

Whether a business recovers often depends on how prepared it is, such as whether it has insurance and its computer data is backed up remotely. Owners should also find out what resources are available to them from the government, their communities and other entrepreneurs, says Craig Markovitz, a professor of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. Communication with customers and vendors is also crucial, Markovitz says.

“Let people know you’re going to get back on your feet,” he says. Anything from a sign on a company’s premises to advertising to media coverage will help.

Markovitz also advises owners to rally their entrepreneurial spirit, which helped them succeed in the first place.

Here are the stories of business owners who were able to recover:

OWNER: Patrice Farooq, Cupcake Kitchen Houston

 

THE DISASTER: Hurricane Harvey, August 2017

When Houston was inundated by over 4 feet of rain in four days, Farooq’s bakery was damaged by water that entered through the roof. She lost appliances including a commercial freezer and all her perishables including eggs and dairy products. Farooq estimates her losses at $30,000, and she was shut for about three weeks.

THE RECOVERY: Even as she was first dealing with the damage, Farooq began using Facebook ads to let customers know she’d be reopening, and to ensure they didn’t forget about her shop.

“I had an idea that the (customer) traffic was not going to be the same and we would run the risk of going out of business,” Farooq says.

Farooq kept advertising after she reopened, and revenue had returned to about 80 percent of pre-Harvey levels by January. But because the neighborhood was still rebuilding, Farooq decided to move the store five miles away, opening in May. Revenue is now 50 percent above the level of before the storm.

OWNER: Nate Stokes, Visiting Angels senior care franchise

THE DISASTERTornado; Joplin, Missouri; May 22, 2011

The tornado destroyed Stokes’ cars and his office, which no one was in when the twister hit, and he later learned that his accountant had been killed. Stokes saw the area the next day; it was acres of rubble.

“If you had blindfolded me and brought me there, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you where we were,” he says.

Three of 50 employees had to quit because they lost their homes and needed to focus on rebuilding their lives. Three more were temporarily unable to work. He lost several clients whose homes were destroyed.

THE RECOVERY: Stokes’ church offered him office space, and the Visiting Angels franchise in Tulsa, Oklahoma, lent him a car and computer. About a month after the tornado Stokes found an office 12 miles away, in Carthage, Missouri, but he was unable to replace all his lost equipment and cars until he received insurance money six months later.

It took about a year for Stokes’ business to return to its pre-disaster functioning. He’s still based in Carthage but now has a satellite building in Joplin.

OWNERS: Brent and Juan Reaves, Smokey John’s BBQ restaurant

THE DISASTER: Fire; Dallas; Sept. 9, 2017

Wood stored near a meat smoker caught fire, heavily damaging the kitchen, sending smoke into the entire restaurant. It caused no injuries, but the restaurant had to be gutted.

THE RECOVERY: The brothers, who had several catering gigs on their schedule, realized they could still have money coming in by focusing up that part of their business. They quickly found kitchen space where they could prepare food. And other barbecue purveyors were ready to pitch in when they heard about the fire, Brent Reaves says.

“People started calling us and said, ‘Hey guys, if you need smokers, we can help,”’ Reaves says.

With advertising, the catering business soared, helping fund the restaurant’s reconstruction. The rebuilt Smokey John’s will be 1,000 square feet larger to handle the booming catering business, and the Reaves brothers have set a goal of $1 million in catering revenue this year. They expect to reopen the restaurant in September.

OWNER: Brandon Gaille, Gaille Media, internet marketing agency

THE DISASTER: Hurricane Harvey, August 2017

Gaille’s second-floor office became flooded when nearby Lake Houston overflowed. He and his staffers couldn’t re-enter the building for three months – even after the water receded, it left behind dangerous levels of mold. When Gaille was allowed back in, he had to wear a mask.

THE RECOVERY: Gaille and his two staffers and 10 freelancers were able to keep working because most of their documents and records were stored online and could be accessed remotely. So the company had minimal disruption. But last fall, one of Gaille’s employees asked him to consider making the remote work arrangement permanent.

“I don’t want to go back to the office,” the staffer told Gaille.

The move is saving Gaille thousands of dollars a year in overhead – rent, utilities and commuting costs.

OWNER: Bob Tuck, Mr. Appliance, repair company

THE DISASTER: Hurricane Charley; Port Charlotte, Florida; Aug. 13, 2004

The hurricane hit as Tuck was shifting from being a Maytag appliance retailer and repair shop to a Mr. Appliance franchisee, doing only repairs. Tuck was able to move inventory from the store to a warehouse. It took nearly three days before Tuck could travel to the store because of debris and downed power lines. The store, which still had mock-ups of kitchens with appliances, was almost completely destroyed. But the office with all the company’s records was unscathed, as was the warehouse and his inventory.

THE RECOVERY: When Tuck was able to contact the Mr. Appliance corporate offices, the company offered to help him and the community, and told him it would send water and take over his phone lines and answer his calls.

Tuck didn’t try to find another retail space; over the next four months he sold off his Maytag inventory to homeowners who lost their appliances to the storm.

However, there was little demand for appliance repair and therefore little revenue coming in. Tuck’s insurance policy helped cover his financial losses and he also obtained a Small Business Administration disaster loan.

“It was our only means of survival,” Tuck says.

OWNER: Jeff O’Hara, AlliedPRA, event/conference planning company

THE DISASTER: Hurricane Katrina; New Orleans; Aug. 29, 2005

Physical damage at his company wasn’t an issue for O’Hara; it was the city’s overall devastation that for two years wiped out New Orleans’ tourism and convention industries. O’Hara also lost his house. He had to move away from New Orleans for more than a year, getting part-time jobs in Colorado to support himself.

THE RECOVERY: O’Hara worked the phones while he was away, staying in touch with clients, suppliers and tourism officials. He was working to convince people that despite the widespread belief that the city was in ruins, its most popular tourist areas including the French Quarter were undamaged and ready for visitors.

He also traveled around the country, meeting with clients. Even after moving back he worked side jobs, and in 2007, business began to trickle back in.

But O’Hara and the industry faced more problems – the Great Recession hit, devastating the corporate travel business.

“In all, it took seven years to get back to our previous levels of revenue,” O’Hara says

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ask Annissa: How Do I Handle Sensitive Documents Damaged in a Fire Loss?

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

What’s the best way to handle and clean personal papers in a fire loss that have been damaged by soot and also smell? The homeowner wants to keep them and won’t let me throw them away.

Personal papers like bills, canceled checks, credit card statements and everyday magazines have no value in the eyes of the insurance company and they often don’t want to pay for them to be cleaned or deodorized. However, they often have value to the homeowner.

The biggest problem with this is that paper can hold a lot of odor and may re-contaminate the house once everything is unpacked. So first off, we check with the homeowner and see if the paperwork is something that they can live without. Or is it really important and needs to be kept? Once you explain that the papers can hold a lot of odor and may cause recontamination of the house and belongings, this will sometimes make the homeowner more aggressive about putting them in the round file.

If the paperwork cannot be parted with and must go on the “keep it list,” then we dust them off and organize them into a large 11x14 inch spec bag. This is a heavy duty plastic bag that keeps the odor and contamination contained until the homeowner can photo copy or reprint the documents they want to keep. The cost to the insurance company to handle them this way is really no more than their cost would be to throw them away, so this keeps your adjuster and homeowner happy.

This also allows the homeowner to go through the papers at their convenience as they are dealing with a lot of pressing decisions in the first few days after a fire. Having one less pressing thing to have to handle right away can be a huge relief for them.

The Anatomy of a Fire: Understanding 3 Types of Fires & Effective Cleaning Techniques

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Association, it’s estimated that some 370,000 home fires occur each year, costing close to $7 billion in total property damage. In many of these home fires, however, the fire starts and is contained in a certain area of a home or business. Even though containment eliminates the necessity for complete demolition and reconstruction, it is still necessary for proper cleaning of soot and smoke to commence, in order to restore the property to a preloss condition. Anatomy of a FireContrary to what many may believe, there is more than one type of fire — and the type of fire that occurred will dictate the appropriate cleaning method. The most prevalent types of fires are: high-oxygen fires, which produce dry soot; low-oxygen fires, which produce greasy, wet soot, and kitchen fires. Here’s a closer look at how to clean each type of fire:

  • High oxygen: Dry sponges are a must. Follow this by applying a low-alkali detergent and then rinse thoroughly.
  • Low oxygen: Use high-alkali detergents along with warm water to wash the walls and structures. Rinse, then paint over.
  • Kitchen: These are often the most challenging fires to clean, as soot residue is difficult to detect. For this reason, cabinets, drawers and other appliances often need to be removed to adequately clean the area.
General Cleaning TechniquesSmoke and soot can penetrate paint, carpet, upholstery and clothes. While carpet can be deep cleaned and clothes can be taken to the dry cleaner, properly restoring walls, structures and objects is a different story. Here’s a look at some general cleaning techniques:
  • Personal protective equipment: Gloves, a protective mask, long-sleeved shirts and pants should be worn on site to minimize contact with ash.
  • Remove contents: Remove contents from the house. While some contents may have to be discarded, others can be effectively hand cleaned. Cleaning contents in an ultrasonic machine is also an option with some items.
  • Ventilate: Open windows and doors to remove odor.
  • Beware of other contaminants: Lead and asbestos can turn a fire restoration job into an environmental restoration job if they’ve become disturbed.
  • Hand scrubbing: Fire damage work is one of the most tedious types of repair work. It involves a lot of handwork, such as scrubbing walls and structures with sponges — and using chemicals and specialized restoration equipment, such as media blasting tools, in the event of heavy residue.
  • Duct cleaning: Following restoration, a duct cleaning is required. That’s because smoke and soot have a tendency to become trapped within a home or business’s duct system. This can spread contaminants — and odors — to other areas of the home when in operation. Hence, a professional duct cleaning is necessary.
Techniques for Various Materials
  • Clothes and fabrics: A specialized dry cleaner is capable of restoring these items to preloss condition. Cleaning soot-contaminated clothing is somewhat of a science, and while a homeowner may be able to adequately restore clothing on his own, it’s always best to leave this to the professionals.
  • Carpet: A professional carpet cleaning is a must in order to effectively remove contaminants and odor from the carpet.
  • Building materials: Dry chemical sponges are your best bet for wallboard, plaster, wood and wallpaper. These will remove much of the soot and also prevent it from being lodged deeper into the material.
  • Other materials: Sponges, towels and mops are ideal for cleaning tile, glass, metal and certain appliances. Since these aforementioned objects are less porous than drywall, for example, it’s OK to use a wet or dampened sponge or cleaning tool. Plus, there’s no risk of lodging contaminants deeper into the material.
  • Specialty cleaning tools: Ultrasonic cleaning machines can come in handy as they can adequately clean non-porous items quickly and efficiently, compared to hand cleaning.
When it comes to a fire damage situation, you also need to remember how vulnerable the homeowner is in the situation. While any type of home catastrophe is never welcome, a fire has the potential to be the most devastating. With that in mind, also be sure to work on your customer service skills, communicate effectively and regularly with the homeowner to determine his needs throughout the process, and keep him up to speed on the project’s progress. Where a water damage situation can be restored in as little as three days, it’s not uncommon for a fire damage situation to last several weeks — or even months if reconstruction is involved. Hence, proper cleaning and handling of a project is all the more important.

Americans' flood risk is far greater than previously thought, study finds

8/15/2018 (Permalink)

Storm water flooded the streets with and vehicles.

A new study led by the University of Bristol states that 41 million Americans are at risk from flooding rivers, according to phys.org. That’s more than three times than the current estimate of 13 million people.

Related: Nor’easter leaves thousands without power, record coastal flooding expected

The study is based on a new high-resolution model that maps flood risk across the entire continental United States, whereas the existing regulatory flood maps produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) cover about 60% of the continental U.S.

The estimate of 41 million does not include the millions of additional Americans that are at risk of coastal flooding.

The increase in numbers of those at risk is a result of the expanded coverage of the map combined with its ability to estimate flooding on small streams—something that wasn’t adequately captured in previous flood-risk models, according to the study’s researchers. The study predicts that more than 60 million Americans may be vulnerable to a 100-year flood by 2050.

“Because climate change may cause so-called ’100-year’ floods to occur more frequently, even more people may be exposed to flooding in the future. All of this highlights the critical need for comprehensive floodplain and flood risk management planning,” Oliver Wing, the lead researcher behind the study and a Ph.D. student at the University of Bristol’s School of Geographical Sciences, said in a statement.

For more information about the study, check Environmental Research Letters where it was first published.

Insurance questions grow alongside mold, fungi and algae

8/15/2018 (Permalink)

Black mold growing inside a home.

Analysis brought to you by the experts at FC&S Online, the recognized authority on insurance coverage interpretation and analysis for the P&C industry. To find out more — or to have YOUR coverage question answered — visit the National Underwriter website, or contact the editors via Twitter: @FCSbulletins.

Question: I know of the exclusions for mold, rot, deterioration, etc.  However, I do not think that is what this is. I was just reading this article about algae, lichen and moss, and it talks about how algae, lichen or moss “eat” the limestone from shingles.  This is not deterioration, per se. Looking at a standard homeowners’ policy, I could not locate an exclusion. Also, it states in the policy they pay for risk of direct physical loss; no mention of the words, “Sudden” or “Accidental.”  

Should this claim be covered?     

— Hawaii Subscriber

Answer: Good question. Algae and fungi are different organisms, as far as I can tell. So the exclusion for mold, fungus and dry rot does not apply.

All living things are broken down into kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus species. Since Algae and fungus are in two different kingdoms, they are different. For example, a house cat is the kingdom animalia, phylum chordata, class mammalia, order carnivora, family felidae, genus felis, species catus.

People are kingdom animalia, phylum chordata, class mammalia, order primates. Notice that people and cats share the same kingdom, phylum and class. Since algae and fungus start out with different kingdoms, they’re different.

However, by the time the roof is covered with dark streaks or moss or lichen, you have a maintenance issue, which is excluded. An insured is responsible for taking care of the covered property; if that involves having the roof pressure washed now and again, it’s his responsibility. Same with the siding; it needs to be power washed or cleaned in some areas on a regular basis. The exclusion isn’t for the plant life, it’s for letting it get so bad that it damaged the roof.

Is algae considered a contaminant?

Question: We have a claim with a company that provides swimming pool maintenance as well as lifeguards. The claimant alleges that she slipped and fell on algae that formed around a drain due to stagnant water being formed.

My question is: Would algae be considered a microorganism or organic contaminant? And if so, would it be excluded, even though the claimant was not injured by it but slipped on it?

— Kentucky Subscriber

Answer: The claimant slipped on the algae and was injured so you cannot really say she was not injured by the algae but only slipped on it. If the claimant slipped on water or tripped over a chair and was injured, the insured could still be held to have acted negligently even though the water or chair did not injure the claimant, so it is the same with slipping on algae.

As for algae, the opinion here is that algae is an organic contaminant in this instance, especially since the exclusion in question states the following: “including but not limited to mold, mildew, fungus, spores.” Algae is a plantlike organism, a biological (living) organism, so the exclusion would apply.

Deciphering the microorganism exclusion

Question: The insured is a hotel. Claimant and her children and husband stayed at the insured hotel for seven days. A week after the claimant left the hotel, she went to the doctor and alleged she sustained bed bug bites. We have received reports from the claimant’s doctors stating that she had scabies. In review of the microorganism exclusion (AD68830413), it excludes biological organisms. In review of the definitions of “scabies” (Sarcoptes scabiei), it does not appear to fall into this category. We have reserved our rights at the present time but would like your opinion as to whether or not you agree that scabies would not be considered a microorganism.

— New Jersey Subscriber

Answer: The policy does not define the term “microorganism,” so we turn to the dictionary. ‘Scabies’ is defined as, “an infestation of the scabies mite (Sarcoptes scabiei).”

‘Microorganism’ is defined as, “any organism too small to be viewed by the unaided eye, as bacteria, protozoa, and some fungi and algae.”

‘Organism’ is defined as, “a form of life considered as an entity; an animal, plant, fungus, protistan, or moneran.”

This description of scabies from MedicineNet.com leaves no doubt that scabies are a form of life too small to be viewed by the human eye:

Scabies is an itchy, highly contagious skin disease caused by an infestation by the itch mite Sarcoptes scabiei. Mites are small eight-legged parasites (in contrast to insects, which have six legs). They are tiny, just 1/3 millimeter long, and burrow into the skin to produce intense itching, which tends to be worse at night. The mites that infest humans are female and are 0.3 mm-0.4 mm long; the males are about half this size. Scabies mites can be seen with a magnifying glass or microscope. The scabies mites crawl but are unable to fly or jump. They are immobile at temperatures below 20 C, although they may survive for prolonged periods at these temperatures.

Ambiguities in the policy must be read in favor of the insured, and exclusions must be narrowly read. However, the common meaning of the terms “microorganism” and “organism” leave no room for ambiguity. Scabies mites are alive and microscopic. Thus, scabies can be considered microorganisms. It is our interpretation of the facts that scabies are excluded here by the microorganism exclusion.

Artillery fungus damage

Question: Our homeowner recently had mulch delivered to his home by a local nursery. After the mulch was spread around his plants, some artillery fungus sprung from it and attached themselves to the home. The paint job is now ruined and substantial expense will be involved to remove the fungus and re-paint the home.

The insurer has denied the claim based on the exclusion of the, “release, discharge, or dispersal of pollutants or contaminants.” This interpretation seems rather harsh to us and we would appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

— Pennsylvania Subscriber

Answer: The current ISO homeowners form 3 excludes damage done by the “release, discharge, or dispersal of pollutants or contaminants.” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary says that a contaminant is something that contaminates — it soils, stains, corrupts, or infects by contact or association. This is what the artillery fungus has done and such damage would be properly excluded by an ISO homeowners.

However, as we have said on other occasions, we do not believe that this is the type of claim intended to be reached by the exclusion. It is a sudden and accidental claim and out of the control of the insured. The insurer must examine its own claims-paying philosophy regarding payment of the claim. But, as we said, it is technically not covered.

On the other hand, one independently filed homeowners form does not contain such wording. Rather, it excludes contamination — a process that occurs over time. That is what we believe to be the spirit of the exclusion — to avoid coverage for the long-term contamination and pollution exposure.

If the homeowners carrier does pay the claim, then it has a cause of action against the nursery that provided the mulch. However, if the homeowners insurer denies the claim, then the insured homeowner must institute his own action against the nursery.

When mold remediation is part of the job

Question: Our insured is a pest control business. Endorsement CG 24 25, limited fungi or bacteria coverage, is attached to the insured’s CGL form and the question we have is this: Does this endorsement cover the insured’s exposure for the mold work he performs?

The insured will tear out and treat mold ridden areas of a home or business. Does CG 24 25 provide coverage for the insured for the work he does to contain, treat, and neutralize mold? If the insured completes his work and then the mold comes back in a month or so, will he have coverage for a claim made against him?

— Pennsylvania Subscriber

Answer: CG 24 25 will provide liability coverage for the insured is a claim is made against him for bodily injury or property damage based on the inhalation or ingestion or contact with or exposure to mold (that is, fungi) or bacteria within a building or structure. So, if the insured treats a house and then down the road, the insured is sued because the mold comes back and causes a health issue, the endorsement will provide coverage.

Now, there is no coverage for re-doing the insured’s work, that is, correcting the previous work. The endorsement only applies to claims for BI or PD and does not apply to any expense or costs to do any re-mediating or correcting any previous negligent work on the part of the insured.

Mold coverage and a rot endorsement

Question: An insured has a very large two-story deck off the front of his home. He lives on the Oregon Coast, so the wood has a tendency to rot and decay faster than in other regions. The underside of the deck is open, which is clearly visible from the ground floor. It was found that one of the 6×6 wooden support posts along with other parts of the deck has started to rot and needs to be replaced. The insured believes coverage should be extended under the wet or dry rot endorsement. Your thoughts?

— Minnesota Subscriber

Answer: The policy ( HO 00 03 02 00 with HO 04 05 12 02) has the usual wear and tear exclusion, as well as the mold, wet or dry rot exclusion. The endorsement provides coverage for fungi, wet or dry rot when the loss is caused by a peril insured against. The insured’s damage to the deck is simply wear and tear and is not covered, even by the endorsement.

The endorsement excludes the presence of condensation, humidity, moisture or vapor over a number of weeks unless the damage is unknown to the insured and hidden. As the deck is readily visible, and the insured knows he’s in an area that is prone to faster decay due to being on the coast, the damage to the deck was not hidden.

HVAC Problems ? Here are 5 Problems and Solutions

6/21/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO will make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This can save you money and provide peace of mind.

When your HVAC system isn't cooling your home efficiently and comfortably, there's likely a big problem requiring maintenance, troubleshooting or repair. Here are the 5 most common HVAC problems and solutions.

Noisy Air Vents

Noisy air vents mean trouble. Rattling and clamoring noises are often caused by loose ductwork connections. Wrapping the rattling ducts with metal tape will do the trick.

Loud pops and bangs are usually ductwork expansion and contraction due to temperature variances. Make sure your ducts are well insulated.

Frozen Evaporator

Ice buildup on the evaporator coil brings home cooling to a halt -- even though your A/C may still run. Dirt buildup on the evaporator is a common problem for ice accumulation. Clean the evaporator with a spray can of self-rinse coil cleaner.

High Indoor Humidity

High indoor humidity is one of the most common HVAC and indoor air quality problems during the cooling months. The only practical way to control high humidity in your home is with a dehumidifier. This could be a portable unit, or install a whole-home dehumidifier for optimal results, comfort and efficiency.

Water Leaks

Your central air system produces an unbelievable amount of condensate during the cooling months. So, it's quite common for the drainage system to become clogged and/or malfunction and spill water in your home. You can try to alleviate the clog with a shop-vac, but it's better to call your HVAC technician right away.

Dirty Air Filter

Air filters are among the simplest HVAC devices. Yet, a dirty filter can cause a long list of expensive problems -- including all of the preceding four most common HVAC problems. Moreover, running your HVAC system with a dirty filter drains your energy budget. Change your filter as suggested by the manufacturer.

Worried about your HVAC Compressor and lightning damage ? Check out our blog post HVAC Compressor Damage: Lightning or Wear & Tear

Also check out what SERVPRO of Northern Summit County's Air Duct and HVAC cleaning services can do for you.

Questions or in need of service ? Call us today - 330-650-4486

Dentist Abandons Practice After Fire Loss- Will Policy Proceeds be Recovered?

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician | Odor Control Technician | Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician | Water Damage Restoration Technician

An Excerpt from Property Casualty 360 Q&A

Question: Our insured had total fire loss and is insured under a business-owners policy. The insured is a dentist and determined that as of this loss she would abandon this practice as she had other locations that were more productive.

Since there was a direct loss from a covered peril, but no period of restoration to speak of, will the insured recover any policy proceeds under business income coverage?

Answer: In order for business income coverage to be triggered, the insured must suffer an actual loss of business income due to the necessary suspension of operations during the period of restoration. If the dentist is not continuing the business at that location, and it is not going to be repaired or replaced, you are correct that there is no period of restoration, and there is also no loss of income due to suspension of operations, so there would be no business income coverage.

Fire Damage ? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County's 24/7 Emergency Service line - 330-650-4486

For information on SERVPRO of Northern Summit County fire damage services, click here.

We're On Social Media !

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is active on social media, and we would love for you to follow us!

On our social media pages, you can find relevant safety, cleaning, and remodeling tips, local and industry news, event information, before and after pictures of completed jobs, pictures of our crew, volunteer and fundraising campaigns, and more! 

We are currently on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, with more platforms to come. Social media allows us to interact with our customers, local businesses, and industry partners in new and exciting ways. We love to hear your thoughts and feedback through social media, and we welcome comments on industry topics and content you would like to hear more about. Please click the links below and follow our pages to receive the latest updates from us!

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SERVPRO of Northern Summit County

4/25/2018 (Permalink)

Hire SERVPRO of Northern Summit County today - 330-650-4486

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County takes great pride in being a part of the Northern Summit County community. We understand that communities like ours hold America together. We want to do our part to ensure the Northern Summit County community thrives by helping those less fortunate, keeping the area safe and making our community the best it can be.

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • Initial Franchise Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our Professionals study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration, fire restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration courses.

The IICRC sets practical standards for restoration and cleaning. The past few decades has seen a rapid advancement in the technology and techniques used in the restoration industry. These advancements allow SERVPRO of Northern Summit County Professionals to restore a property back to preloss condition quickly, reliably, and more effectively.

In need of our services ? Hire SERVPRO of Northern Summit County today by calling our 24/7 Emergency Service line - 330-650-4486, or Request Help Online

Know What Steps to Take as Spring Storms Occur

4/16/2018 (Permalink)

Beautiful Spring... It can also bring major storm activity and being prepared to protect yourself, your home and contents is important.

Spring-

Green grass, colorful flowers, relaxing rain showers and distant, whispering rumbles of thunder. But it isn't always this peaceful. Consider the notes below, Northeast Ohio, and take to safe steps when dangerous weather is predicted for Summit County, Portage County and/or Canton.

Tornadoes- Spring can be the peak season for tornado activity. Tornadoes occur mostly on warm spring days between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. However, tornadoes can occur anywhere, at any time of the year, at any time of the day.

The Red Cross has safety steps people should take now to be ready if a tornado warning is issued for someone’s neighborhood:

  • Download the free Red Cross tornado app for mobile devices. The tornado app puts everything you need to know to stay safe in a tornado at your fingertips. The app can be downloaded from the iTunes or Google Play stores by searching for American Red Cross.
  • Know your community’s warning system.
  • Pick a safe room in your home where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. This should be a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
  • Prepare for strong winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
  • Know the tornado danger signs – dark, often greenish clouds, a wall cloud, cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or a roaring noise.

Thunderstorms- Thunderstorms are most likely to happen in the spring and summer, during the afternoon and evening. However, like tornadoes, they can happen anywhere, at any hour of the day. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people every year that tornadoes or hurricanes.

The Red Cross has steps you can take if a thunderstorm is predicted for your area:

  • If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning.
  • Watch for storm signs like darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing winds.
    Postpone any outdoor activities. Many people who are struck by lightning are not where it is raining.
  • Take shelter in a substantial building or a vehicle with the windows closed. Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Stay away from windows.
  • Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.

If you are outside or driving, there are things you should do to remain safe. Information can be found with the following link discussing what to do before, during and after a thunderstorm.

Flooding-Spring can be a time of year for flooding. Communities in the Midwest and south have already seen floodwaters inundate neighborhoods. Snow melt and heavy spring rains fill rivers and streams and flooding can occur. Flash floods occur suddenly when water rises rapidly along a stream or low-lying area. People should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and head for higher ground when a flood or flash flood warning is issued.

Other safety steps include:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

Heed this advice as the Spring weather begins ! Stay safe, Northeast Ohio !

Storm Damage ? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County at our 24/7 Emergency Service line - 330-650-4486 or Request Help Online

Safety Tips When Preventing House Fires

4/11/2018 (Permalink)

Have Questions? Call Us Today – 800-648-1212

For our last blog post, "Homeowners policy. Fire coverage. What do I need?," we covered the following:

Insurance coverage is very important in protecting your home and belongings.

Know what you own- document everything in a video. Educate yourself on the policy you are buying and choose your agent based on your needs.

We also want you to consider the five most common causes of house fires:

  1. Cooking equipment 
  2. Heating equipment 
  3. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment
  4. Intentional fires 
  5. Smoking materials 
  6. Candles

In this blog post we will explain how you can reduce the risk of a fire starting in your home.

  1. Cooking equipment.
    • Be alert when cooking and don’t leave food unattended
    • DO NOT throw water on a grease fire- put a lid on the pan or powdery material such as baking soda to smother the fire
    • If an oven fire flares up, turn the oven off and leave the door shut until the fire extinguishes itself
    • Keep clothing, pot holders, paper towels and other flammable items away from fires
    • Keep working smoke detectors in the house, and have a fire extinguisher nearby just in case
  2. Heating equipment.
    • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater
    • Maintain a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters
    • Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home
    • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes; keep children and pets away from space heaters
    • Make sure your fireplace is properly cleaned and checked before the cold weather season starts.
    • Keep the fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs
    • Make sure wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces are professionally inspected and cleaned once a year
  3. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment.
    • Don’t overload outlets or electrical cords
    • Make sure you have the right cord for the job – inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use
    • Don’t leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight, or when not at home
    • Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring
  4. Intentional fires.
    • Consider what could burn
    • Remove overgrown vegetation
    • Remove abandoned cars
    • Secure vacant homes
    • Watch for kids
    • Get to know your neighborhood
    • Report suspicious activity
    • Work with your community
    • Watch local businesses
    • Organize a watch program
    • Install and test smoke alarms
    • Call 911
  5. Smoking materials.
    • If you smoke, consider smoking outside
    • Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes
    • Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they can’t be seen
    • This one might be obvious, but nonetheless, don’t smoke in bed, when you’re tired, or around medical oxygen
  6. Candles.
    • Never leave a candle burning near flammable items
    • Never leave a candle burning in a child’s room or an unoccupied room
    • Make sure candles fit securing into candle holders so they won’t tip over
    • Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep

You can follow every piece of advice above, and the chances are positive that you’ll avoid any type of fire in your home. However, even though the risk is greatly reduced, accidents still happen.

The bottom line is that you need to make sure you have enough coverage in the event of a major loss.

Does your home have fire damage ? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County's 24/7 Emergency Service line at 330-650-4486 or Request Help Online

Homeowners policy. Fire coverage. What do I need?

4/4/2018 (Permalink)

In Ohio alone, there were 105 home fire fatalities reported in 2016.

A home fire is reported every 90 seconds in the United States.

One death occurs every 2 hours and 35 minutes, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Now is the time to review your coverage, Northeast Ohio.

But first, consider the five most common causes of house fires:

  1. Cooking equipment is the number one source of home fires and the second leading cause of home fire deaths – usually leaving pots or pans unattended on the stove while you run away to do something for “just a minute.” The NFPA says that 47% of all house fires start this way.
  2. Heating equipment accounts for 15% of home fires, specifically this time of year. Trying to heat the home with space heaters or chimneys that aren't properly cleaned are the leading causes of heating equipment fires.
  3. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment account for approximately 9% of home fires, and can come from a number of different origins. They can be caused by an equipment malfunction, from an overloaded circuit or extension cord, or from an overheated light bulb, space heater, washer, dryer or other appliance.
  4. Intentional fires account for approximately 8% of home fires. The majority of these fires are started outside but still average $1 billion in direct property damage.
  5. Smoking materials are on a downward trend, however, they still account for 5% of home fires and are the leading cause of home fire deaths.

Other common causes include candles, children playing with fire, and Christmas trees.

*Stay tuned for our next blog post covering House Fire Safety Tips for each "cause of fire" listed above.

Taking precaution will reduce the risk of a fire starting in your home, but the bottom line is you need to make sure you have enough coverage in the event of a major fire loss.

Fire insurance is a necessary part of your homeowners policy. If you have a comprehensive homeowners policy, fire coverage will be included. However, there are many different providers and policies, therefore a variety of coverage limits, deductibles and exclusions defining what is, and is not, covered.

If your property is insured for actual cash value, your fire coverage may be less than what is needed to replace your damaged structures and items.

You can, and should, very seriously consider insuring your property with replacement value coverage instead. This type of coverage will cover the cost of rebuilding a house similar to your previous one after a fire, and provides funds to replace damaged appliances, clothing, and furniture with new items.

KNOW WHAT YOU OWN. We highly recommend you do a video recording of your full house and document your contents.

Your homeowners policy provides the following coverage options to protect your home from fire (check your policy to make sure you understand any exclusions):

  • Covers the structure of your home
  • Covers additional structures on your property, including sheds, garages and outbuildings
  • Insures the contents, or your personal belongings, in each of the structures, including furniture, appliances, electronics, clothes, etc.
  • Provides for living expenses if a fire displaces you and your family for a period of time, including rent or hotel expenses

Choosing the right insurance company is incredibly important, but even more important is selecting the best insurance agency to service your needs, and educating yourself on what you are buying.

Does your home have fire damage ? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County for help - 330-650-4486 or Request Help Online.

Asbestos and the Work Place

3/27/2018 (Permalink)

Non-adherence to OSHA standards could result in larger jury awards against non-compliant companies.

Back in 1972, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law- asbestos risks have beset the industry with decades of health-related liability issues, resulting in ripple effects for insurers. Congress created the Federal Occupational Safe and Health Administration (OSHA), which remains at the forefront of employee safety and has had a significant impact on modern U.S. asbestos litigation.

Beyond the immediate consequences of a regulatory violation, OSHA standards impact today's asbestos litigation in three important ways:

  1. OSHA violations are often cited by plaintiff's counsel arguing for the imposition of a higher degree of culpability

  2. OSHA's applicability can allow certain knowledge to be legally imputed to a defendant (irrespective of what the defendant actually knew)

  3. Because OSHA's regulations control the actions of employers and their employees’ workplace, the adherence or non-adherence to OSHA standards may give rise to arguments for apportioning greater liability to defendants in physical control of the plaintiff's work space.

The current OSHA standard for workplace exposures to asbestos is .1f/cc and has been in effect since 1994.

FEMA Publishes Guidance for Handling Flood Losses

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

There's no easy solution.

The 2017 Hurricane Season was a brutal one. Seventeen named storms struck the United States causing a record-setting $200 billion in damage.

Much of this damage occurred not from high winds or storm surges, but from extended heavy rains that triggered major flooding.

In an effort to facilitate prompt post-inspection advance payments to policyholders, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published an outline of steps, serving as guidance for handling flood losses.

  1. Report the loss to your insurance agent or the insurance carrier, who will in turn assign an adjusting firm who provides an adjuster to assist you with presenting the support for your loss.
  2. The adjuster inspects the property (scoping visit) and may ask if you wish to request an advance payment from your insurer; the adjuster will send you a detailed room-by-room unit-cost estimate of damage and a proof of loss form. If you agree, the proof of loss form should be signed to and sworn to, and upon your insurer's review and agreement, the loss is settled.
  3. If you do not agree, you should work with your adjuster to find a dollar amount for the covered loss that can be agreed on. Also, working with your general contractor is helpful.
  4. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the adjuster, you should contact your adjuster's supervisor by calling the adjusting firm.
  5. The supervisor should work with you to find a dollar amount for the covered loss that can be agreed on.
  6. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the adjuster's supervisor, you should contact your insurance carrier's claims department to discuss the amount difference or coverage issue with the claim examiner.
  7. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the claims examiner, you should complete a proof of loss form for the total amount you are requesting (the disputed amount plus any additional amount), and then send the signed and sworn-to proof of loss form with documentation to support the additional amount you are requesting, directly to the insurance carrier claim examiner.
  8. If the insurer agrees with your documentation, they will pay the amount you are requesting; or they may provide the adjusting firm with their recommendation which may lead to an additional payable amount and a new Proof of Loss. If the insurer disagrees, they will issue payment for any undisputed amount, and a written denial letter will be sent to you fully explaining the reasons for the disallowance (denial) of your claim or any portion of your claim.
  9. If you agree with the denial or no longer dispute the decision, the loss is settled.
  10. For any denial of payment, in whole or in part, which you are disputing, three options remain:
    • You may send an amended Proof of Loss with supporting documentation back to the claim examiner; see STEP 8
    • You may submit a formal Appeal to FEMA
      • A written appeal letter must be sent to FEMA within 60 days of your insurer's denial letter, along with a copy of the denial letter and the documentation you have to support your appeal.
    • You may file a lawsuit against your insurer
      • A lawsuit must be filed within one year of your insurer's first written denial letter and only in U.S. District Court in the district where the property is located at the time of the loss
      • However, once you file a lawsuit, you may no longer appeal your claim to FEMA or file an amended Proof of Loss with your insurer.

Storm or water damage ? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County's 24/7 Emergency Service line - 330-650-4486 or Request Help Online

With Spring Comes Thunderstorms- Are You Ready ?

3/12/2018 (Permalink)

When lightning strikes near a power line, it increases the electrical current. The extra burst of electricity can lead to computer & appliance damage.

Did you know that 50% of businesses never reopen after a fire or water disaster? SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is available 24 hours a day to get YOUR business back up and running, "Like it never even happened."

Thunderstorms are absolutely something to be conscious for. 6.5% of all property claims are due to lightning strikes. Wood and other flammable building materials can easily be ignited when lightning comes in contact or passes through them. In addition, high winds, heavy rain and flooding from a thunderstorm can destroy a business in minutes.

If not prepared for a quick recovery, the lost revenue of your business could mean closure.

That is why SERVPRO has local franchises across the nation. When an emergency situation arises, call one of our highly trained professionals, certified in water, fire and mold clean up and restoration.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County can provide:

  • Over 40 years of experience as leading fire and water cleanup and restoration providers.
  • There are over 1,500 franchises servicing 48 states.
  • More locations for faster responses.
  • Quick response time to help ensure the damage is contained and the restoration process begins promptly.
  • Large loss capabilities - no fire or water damage is too big.

When the next storm hits Summit County, Ohio, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Northern Summit County - 330-650-4486, or Request Help Online.

Also consider joining our Emergency Ready Program and reduce business interruption following a disaster. Call for details.

Overlooking Water Leaks in Your Home- A Mold Threat

3/6/2018 (Permalink)

DO NOT overlook water leaks in your home. Beware of mold.

A Chubb survey revealed the majority of homeowners do not view internal water leak damage as the most concerning home threat.

Chubb North America Personal Risk Services Division President, Fran O'Brien, said "the time between when a leak occurs and when it's discovered is the single greatest factor in determining the amount of damage."

Nearly 80 percent of homeowners overlook the threat of costly water leaks while on vacation, Chubb survey found. Something to consider as families leave for Spring vacation.

And on top of the drip, drip, drip of what could start as a minor leak, depending on the duration of your Spring vacation, the drip, drip, drip could result in not only water damage to your home, but mold damage as well. For information on how that works, refer to our blog post, 5 Levels of Mold Remediation.

If you'd like to know more about Chubb's survey, click here to visit their site.

Mold Damage ? Water Damage ? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit Conuty's 24/7 Emergency Service Line at 330-650-4486, or Request Help Online.

Flooding Rains and Toxic Spills, Beware, Ohio

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

With floods becoming more frequent, the risk of toxic spills has increased too, experts warn.

"A report by The New York Times found that of the more than 21,600 facilities across the country that handle large quantities of toxic materials, over 1,400 are in areas the Federal Emergency Management Agency considers to have a high risk of flooding.

The proximity of these chemical sites to areas prone to flooding is a relic from a time when industrial operations benefited from being close to rivers and oceans – the bodies of water allowed for transportation, trade, or even a ready supply of cooling water.

Experts believe that this outdated business practice could lead to a major environmental and health disaster." Excerpt from: Insurance Business Magazine

Reported by the Cleveland Patch in their Feb. 8, 2018 article, Toxic Waste Being Reduced In Cuyahoga, Across Ohio, while Cleveland is one of the top five states with the most toxic releases, reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show less toxic waste is being released. Also reported, Ohio is seeing a new low in toxic waste being disposed.

"There was 102 million pounds of toxic waste disposed of in the Buckeye State in 2016, the lowest total since at least 2003," the author, Chris Mosby, writes.

"Cuyahoga County had about 7 million pounds of waste to dispose of in 2016. More than 47 million pounds of waste was either disposed of, recycled, treated, used for energy recovery or source reduction."

The EPA said the majority of compounds released in our country falls into the "other" category. The largest identified compound being zinc, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reports very little is known about the long-term effects of exposure to zinc.

As Cleveland and surrounding counties are prone to Lake Erie's floods and lake-effect weather, we must continue the movements Ohio is making to improve our toxic waste disposals.

Sources: https://patch.com/ohio/cleveland/toxic-waste-being-reduced-cuyahoga-across-ohio

https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/environmental/experts-as-floods-worsen-so-does-the-risk-of-toxic-spills-91979.aspx

Twelve Things you Can Do to Prepare for Spring

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

Done with Winter ? Prep for Spring ? Here are 12 things you can do to prepare your home.

  1. Clean your rain gutters. 
    Wind, animals, and gravity bring sticks, leaves, and other organic matter into your rain gutters, and chances are yours have accumulated their share of detritus over the winter. That's bad news for your home: When downspouts are clogged, rainwater can spill out of your gutters and around the perimeter of your house, putting it at risk for leaks and flooding. Get ready for spring showers by removing the mess from your gutters to ensure that the water will flow freely. Check out our blog post Rain Gutters and Water Problems for clues you may have a problem.
  2. Change filters.
    To maintain optimal air quality in your home, it’s a good idea to replace your HVAC system's air filter seasonally as well as the filter in your kitchen range hood. While you're at it, consider changing the filters in your water purification system. Depending on your water, you might not need to change these as often as your HVAC filters, but it's not a bad idea to check them now. So, go ahead and welcome spring with new filters all around to keep your home clean and fresh, and your appliances in good working order. Need help ? See what SERVPRO of Northern Summit County can do to help with our Air Duct and HVAC Cleaning Services.
  3. Check vents.
    As snow melts away from your home’s foundation, it’s a good time to check any vents along the foundation or in the attic. Look for missing or damaged screens, debris, signs of insect or rodent infestation, or other issues, and correct them before they have a chance to become bigger problems later in the season.
  4. Service the Lawn Mower.
    Get your lawn mower ready for the season with a tune-up. If you didn’t do it in the fall, now’s the time to drain and replace oil, sharpen the blades, remove caked-on grass and mud, and lubricate moving parts.
  5. Prep the gas grill.
    After a long winter spent cooped up indoors, you're probably eager for a sunny day and a burger hot off the grill. Get your outdoor cooking station ready for spring by scraping away any rust spots that developed over the winter, cleaning the grill inside and out, and checking the fuel tank hose for damage.
  6. Clean Backyard Furniture
    As the weather warms up, outdoor entertaining may be just around the corner. Prepare for warmer days ahead by thoroughly hosing down all backyard furniture—chairs, tables, and lounge chairs—wiping away cobwebs, and bringing outdoor chair cushions out of winter storage.
  7. Pamper the Lawn
    Once the danger of frost has passed and your grass starts to come out of winter dormancy, it’s time to jump-start your spring lawn-care routine. Address winter damage to your turf by seeding bare patches—although if you do reseed at this time of year, you should avoid spring applications of chemical weed or crabgrass treatments, which can harm new grass. Then get a head start on weed prevention by manually removing broad-leaf weeds before they have a chance to multiply. For cool-season grasses, spread a light application of fertilizer in early spring; for warm-season grasses, fertilization can wait until late spring or early summer.
  8. Groom Shrubs and Trees
    Winter storms can be hard on your landscaping, resulting in broken tree limbs, ragged shrubs, and a garden full of organic debris. Get your yard ready for spring by removing broken or damaged branches, pruning summer-blooming trees and shrubs like butterfly bush and crepe myrtle, and raking up fallen leaves. For information on our Storm Damage services, click here.
  9. Check the Roof
    Take advantage of the sun’s return to check your roof for cracked or missing shingles or tiles, and examine flashing around vents and the chimney for damage. While you’re at it, have the chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
  10. Plant Bulbs
    Spring is the ideal time to plant summer-blooming flowers, which include beauties like dahlias and gladioli. Go ahead and get them into the ground as soon as the danger of frost has passed.
  11. Clean Windows
    Winter storms and rain can leave your windows streaked and dirty. Improve your view of mellower weather and let more sun into the house by cleaning windows, both inside and out. Storm Damage ? Click here.
  12. Test Alarms
    Let the change of season be your reminder to test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors for proper functioning. Change batteries if necessary. Alarms can malfunction as they age, so if yours are older than seven years, consider replacing them.

Happy Spring, Summit County ! In need of SERVPRO of Northern Summit County services ? Questions ? Visit our website or call us at - 330-650-4486

Is Your Business Ready?

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

When disaster strikes, getting help is now quicker and easier using the SERVPRO Ready Plan.

The best way to reduce business interruption following a disaster is to PLAN for it NOW.

The statistics uncovered by industry research say as many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster. Of the businesses that survive, the majority had a preparedness plan in place.

SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile for YOUR business will minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. With a no cost assessment of your facility, the program's profile includes your emergency contacts, all shut off valves and their locations, priority areas of your facility and more.

The SERVPRO Ready Plan provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

Your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. Call now and take the next step in protecting and growing your business.

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County - 800-648-1212

And now with the SERVPRO Ready Plan Mobile App, help is at your fingertips. Call now and ask how to get started.

Preparing for Spring

2/5/2018 (Permalink)

There are dangers posed by wet or flooded basements, so it's important to call a flood damage professional like SERVPRO of Northern Summit County.

Well, folks, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, predicting 6 more weeks of winter. While we have trusted the Pennsylvania groundhog for countless years, additional weather-predicting rodents have called for an early Spring this year, 2018. That being said, it is never too soon to begin preparing for the back and forth weather that Spring is.

The most severe of storms Spring can bring are thunderstorms. When warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, thunderstorms can bring lightning, tornadoes and flooding, and if not properly prepared, this can cause extensive damage to your home or business.

Below are 5 ways to prepare your home for storm damage that can cost you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars, if not kept on mind:

  1. Clean your gutters. Clear any debris from your gutters to make sure all the rain water can easily flow off your roof away from your home. When water can't get through your gutters, it pools on your roof and around your house. For further information on this subject, refer to our blog post, "Rain Gutters and Water Problems."
  2. Trim your trees. Some of the worst storm damage is caused by falling trees. A healthy, sturdy tree is unlikely to topple in high winds, but one with dead limbs, or disproportionate growth might. Spring is the perfect time to contact an arborist to evaluate your trees, and if you’ve got large trees on your property, you should have them evaluated yearly. Maintaining them will help you protect both your property and the tree itself.
  3. Back up your sump pump. When heavy rains come, sump pumps can get overloaded. A flooded basement can cause all sorts of damage to your contents, and when water covers wiring or electric appliances, things get dangerous. Make sure your sump pump has a battery backup just in case the electricity goes out. You might also consider installing a second, battery operated pump that will come on if the main one fails.
  4. Gather emergency supplies. American Red Cross recommends keeping a three-day supply of food and water for your family, and a seven-day supply of any medications. You might also add a battery operated radio, and a car adapter for your cell phone.
  5. Grade your yard. If water pools around your home, your foundation is in jeopardy. Ensuring that your yard slopes away from your home will keep rain water from sitting by your foundation and causing damage. Click here for a YouTube tutorial, provided by "This Old House," on how to grade your home. Most lawn companies, however, offer this service.

As we get closer to the rainy season, consider these five steps to keep your home and family safe.

Do you have water problems ? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County for help- 330-650-4486

Rain Gutters and Water Problems

2/2/2018 (Permalink)

The financial costs of poor drainage can be substantial, and the human health costs significant too.

Most homes have gutter downspouts that lead straight to the ground, which means all the water from the roof is pouring to just one point where it can collect against a home's foundation. This most often causes the water drainage problems and, thus, the damage.

Prevention is important. Here are some clues that you may have a problem with your gutters:

  • Areas where the ground is wet for long periods of time after it rains or the sprinklers are running signal an area where the water is collecting
  • Discoloration and mold growth on a home's foundation and siding or paint is easily falling off your house are indications that water is pooling.
  • Musty smells in your basement or crawlspace signal water may be getting into your home.

Financial costs of poor water drainage can add up, but the good news is that gutter problems are an easy fix.

Do you have water damage in your home or business ? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County's 24/7 Emergency Service line at 330-650-4486 or request help online at our franchise website.

Renters Insurance and a Squirrel On Fire: What You Need to Know

1/11/2018 (Permalink)

Blow torch the fur, they said. It'll be great, they said. One massive fire later... Better call SERVPRO.

It's been proven, Summit County, that using a blowtorch to remove the fur of a squirrel is not an intelligent thing to do. Renter's insurance, however, is absolutely an intelligent thing to do, especially if you insist on using a blowtorch on your rented property to remove the fur of a squirrel rather than use a knife to skin the thing.

$300k renters insurance settlement proves you shouldn’t blowtorch a squirrel, a piece written by Marc Christopherson and published on LiveInsuranceNews.com, tells its readers the crime, the consequences and the solution of blow torching a squirrel on rental premises and setting afire multiple units of the apartment complex. What I want our readers to pay attention to is the insurance company's role in this situation and understand the impact of having renters insurance.

To keep it simple, they believed the blow torch would remove the fur from the squirrel so they could eat it as their main course meal. They did not intend to light on fire their apartment unit as well as those around theirs, but that is precisely what happened, causing $2 million in damage.

Naturally, the complex owners sued the couple for the damage costs and the case moved its way around the appeals court, never reaching an agreement until about 4 years later.

Finally, in August of 2016, the apartment complex and the tenant's renters insurance company agreed on a settlement of $300,000, which would be paid by the insurance company to the complex owners. That is not exactly the $2 million settlement the complex wanted, but you can't have it all, I guess.

The fact to take away from this story is that without renters insurance, who knows where this couple would be now. $300,000 from their insurance policy compared to $2 million from who knows where, having their renters insurance, an annual or monthly price that is very affordable, saved their you-know-what's in the end.

But, seriously, blow torching a squirrel ? Kids, don't try this at home. Actually, I take that back- kids and adults, don't try this ever.

For more information on this story, follow this link.

Do you have fire damage to your home or business ? No matter the cause, squirrel or oven grease, we will help. Call us today at 330-650-4486, or request help online.

Frozen and Burst Pipes- Understand and Take Precaution

12/27/2017 (Permalink)

"Even a small crack in a burst pipe can spew hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water in a day."

If your pipes are exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time, the water can freeze and cause extensive damage to your home. This can be avoided!

Frozen pipes can occur for two basic reasons:

  1. Installation of pipes in an unheated space without adequate protection
  2. Insufficient heat in the area of the freeze

What types of pipes are susceptible this situation? Domestic water piping, HVAC heating and cooling piping and sprinkler piping are all vulnerable if left in cold and unprotected conditions as stated above. Plastic and metal pipes can burst when they freeze, and depending on the size of the pipe, even a small crack in a burst pipe can spew hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water in a day.

Why does a pipe burst, anyway? Well, when water freezes, it expands. The ice expansion will exert pressure against the pipe wall but also pressurizes the water trapped between the ice and a closed valve or fixture. As the water continues to freeze and expand inside the pipe, it causes the trapped water to continue to increase in pressure, thus, just as a can of soda will burst in your freezer, so does your water pipe.

Some common locations where pipes will freeze are outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, fire sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas. These areas include basements, crawlspaces, attics, garages, bathroom sink cabinets and kitchen cabinets. Pipes along exterior walls that have little or no insulation, voids in the insulation or improperly installed building wrap are subject to freezing. You might want to check in on that sooner rather than later. Review the International Plumbing Code by clicking here.

On what you, the homeowner, can do to prevent a pipe burst from happening, refer back to our blog piece, "How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe."

Remember, this stressful situation can be avoided if you think ahead!

With any questions or if your home has been water-damaged, call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County on our 24/7 Emergency Service line, 330-650-4486 or Request Help Online.

Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Our franchise professionals are uniquely qualified to help. Need Help? Call our 24/7 Emergency Service line at 330-650-4486

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County understands the stress that comes with damage to your home or business, whether it be from fire, water, mold, storm or even biohazards. Our franchise professionals are uniquely qualified to help.

Our team is trained to IICRC standards in fire and water cleanup and restoration. In addition, we have Employee Certification Training, Initial Franchise Training, e-Learnings and Continuing Education Classes. For more information on our training program, click here.

Restoring your property is SERVPRO's first priority, and restoring your property is less expensive than replacing your property.

We respond immediately to your loss with our 24/7 Emergency Service team. With over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency. An immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

For more information on SERVPRO of Northern Summit County, visit our Company Profile page.

Need Help? Call us at 330-650-4486, or Request Help Online.

How to Remove Mold And Mildew Stains From Washable Clothes

11/23/2017 (Permalink)

Even if you can't see any spots or growth, if the odor is present there are spores growing and treatment is necessary.

Mold can easily grow on clothes and fabric if you have too much moisture in your home. Clothes made of cotton or other organic materials make great food sources for mold and mildew to live on.

There are a few tips to keep in mind when removing mold from clothes:

  1. It's best to wash your clothes in hot water. Hot water kills mold more effectively than cold water and better removes mold spores and allergens too. Of course make sure you don't use water so hot that it can damage your clothing.
  2. When you're washing your clothes with a mold killing solution, it's best to wash them through at least two full cycles. Then after your clothes have been washed hang them on the line in the sun. The heat from the sun and the sun's ultraviolet light help to kill mold.

There are quite a few solutions you can wash moldy clothes in to get rid of the mold. Some good ones include:

  • Bleach
  • Borax
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Mold killing detergent

For the full article and a step-by-step explanation of the cleaning process, click here.

Does your home or business have mold damage? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County at 800-648-1212

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of N. Summit County can respond quickly, working to first contain the mold infestation and prevent its spread to other parts of the building.

Provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation- Indoor Environments Division, this Guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth.

Contents:

  • Mold Basics
    • Why is mold growing in my home?
    • Can mold cause health problems?
    • How do I get rid of mold?
  • Mold Cleanup
    • Who should do the cleanup?
  • Mold Cleanup Guidelines
  • What to Wear When Cleaning Moldy Areas
  • How Do I Know When the Remediation or Cleanup is Finished?
  • Moisture and Mold Prevention and
    Control Tips
    • Actions that will help to reduce humidity
    • Actions that will help prevent condensation
    • Testing or sampling for mold
  • Hidden Mold
  • Cleanup and Biocides
  • Additional Resources

Click Here for the full PDF file

Have a Mold Problem? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County Today – 800-648-1212

Include Safety in Your Thanksgiving Holiday

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

Candles cause an estimated 15,600 house fires, 150 deaths, and 1,270 injuries each year. Never leave a candle unattended.

Especially during the holidays, the kitchen is the heart of the home. From baking and decorating cookies to testing family recipes, keeping kitchen fire safety at the top of your mind is a must- certainly when there is a lot of activity and people in one space.

Some Thanksgiving not-so-fun facts:

  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Eve/Day.
  • In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving.
  • Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.

With that said, here are some safety tips for the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday:

  • Stay in the kitchen/home when you are cooking so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Make sure kids stay away from the stove and oven.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Be sure electric cords are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child or pet.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working.

Caution is not a buzz kill. A house fire, on the other hand, is.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday, Summit County!

How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

11/14/2017 (Permalink)

A frozen pipe can exert pressure at over 2,000 Lbs/ square inch, enough pressure to rupture almost any pipe filled with water.

Frozen water pipes are a serious risk during very cold winter weather. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure at over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture almost any pipe filled with water, which provides no place for the ice to expand. A burst pipe can spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, and that equates to thousands of dollars of damage to your home. Pipes are most susceptible to freezing when they are located:

  • in an outside wall
  • in a cabinet under a sink (especially near an outside wall)
  • in an unheated crawl space or basement

If your pipe is frozen but not yet ruptured, you must thaw it right away. There are a few thawing techniques to try, depending on where the frozen pipe is located.

Warning: Never use a blow torch or other open flame to thaw a pipe. This presents a serious fire hazard and can damage the pipe.

A frozen pipe that hasn't burst yet often reveals itself at a faucet: when you turn on the faucet and no water comes out or it has slowed to a trickle, there's probably a blockage of ice somewhere in the line. It's time take immediate action:

  • Shut off the water to the faucet locally or at the home's main water shutoff valve.
  • Open the faucet that is supplied by the frozen pipe; do this even if you don't know where the blockage is.
  • Identify the frozen pipe and locate the blockage: Follow the pipe back from the faucet to where it runs through cold areas, such as an exterior wall or unheated crawl space. Look for areas on the pipe that have frost or ice; it may also be slightly bulged or fissured.

When you find that the frozen—but not yet burst—pipe is behind a wall or ceiling, you've got a challenge on your hands. You have three options for thawing the pipe:

  • Turn up the heat in the house and wait.
  • Cut out a section of the wall or ceiling to access the frozen section of pipe, then thaw the pipe as an exposed pipe (see next slide).
  • Use an infrared lamp to help heat the wall section in front of where you believe the pipe is frozen. Infrared lamps are better than regular heat lamps because they pass through the air without heating it and will direct more energy to warming the wall and frozen pipe.

If the frozen pipe is exposed, you have several options for thawing it. Whichever remedy use use, heat the pipe from the faucet toward the frozen area. This allows water to flow out as the ice melts.

  • Hair dryer: Usually the easiest and safest way to thaw a pipe. If the pipe is close to the wall, place a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help radiate heat onto the backside of the pipe.
  • Heat lamp: You can use an infrared or incandescent heat lamp. As with a hair dryer, if the pipe is close to the wall, use a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help reflect heat onto the pipe.
  • Portable heater: A small, powerful heater works great for warming pipes under a kitchen or vanity base cabinet. Direct the heater onto the frozen section of pipe. It will work like a hair dryer on steroids!
  • Electric pipe heat tape: Heat tape is a ribbon-like wrap that contains electrical heating elements. You wrap it around the pipe you want to heat and plug it into the wall. The temperature of the tape is controlled with a thermostat. Heat tape can also be used to prevent pipes from freezing in critical areas; you can leave the heat tape on the pipe and plug it in only when needed.

There are a few things you can do to prevent the problem of freezing pipes from occurring again:

  • Leave the faucet dripping slightly during the coldest time of the day or night.
  • Open the cabinet doors to allow the heated air from the room to reach pipes inside the cabinet.
  • Wrap the problem pipe with electrical heat tape.
  • Insulate problem pipes with foam insulation wrap, especially those that run through unheated spaces. Note: Insulation merely slows the transfer of heat and will not prevent a pipe from freezing if the surrounding air is cold enough.
  • Heat unheated areas with a permanent heater, just to keep the temperature above freezing, or about 40 degrees F. Warning: Do not use portable heaters, which should never be left running unattended.
  • Remove garden hoses attached to outdoor faucets (hose bibs or sill cocks). If the faucet is not a frost-proof type, turn off the water to the faucet inside the house and drain the exterior section of the pipe and faucet.

Is It Possible to Restore Clothes that Have Been Affected by Mold?

11/9/2017 (Permalink)

If you decide to remove mold from clothes yourself, be sure you do it safely. Refer back to our blog for more on clothing restoration.

Any garment or fabric that has not suffered physical deterioration or discoloration as a result of mold growing on it, and that is washable (typically, a minimum of 130ºF for at least 10 minutes), can be restored completely. That goes for bacterial contamination as well, as evidenced by hospitals daily as they wash linens, gowns, surgical drapes, etc.

Dry cleaning also does a good job when evaluated and cleaned - often twice - by a qualified professional. Again, this assumes no deterioration or discoloration of the garment. Ultimately, sampling and evaluation by a qualified environmental professional can be used to confirm remediation of the garment.

Professional restoration technicians understand the need for quick response. Immediate remediation is key to controlling any escalating costs. The longer the remediation is delayed, the higher the cost of restoration. Certified restorers have the knowledge to test materials and apply the restoration techniques required to return the items to their preloss condition. Look for the IICRC logo to verify IICRC certification.

Does your home or business have mold damage? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County at 800-648-1212

Agents: Watch Word Choice in Claims Letters

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

Grammar matters.

The following bullets point out random errors in word choice. You may not lose a client because you make a poor word choice, but you’re not helping the relationship either. Here are several word choice issues to watch for as you phrase your letters:

  • “ABC Insurance Company will make no voluntary payment of your claim…” Voluntary?
  • "e.g., and i.e.," most people don’t know the difference. Use e.g., when you are giving examples; use i.e., to introduce your thought “in other words.”
  • “Exception” and “exclusion” are words that have their own meanings. One adjuster wrote,” the exception that pertains to your loss can be found in your policy and is provided below for your reference. I think the word should be “exclusion.”

Here’s the difference: An insurance policy tells you what is covered.

Exclusions are classes of items that are not covered, such as nuclear war, acts of God, or terrorism. Exceptions are “exclusions to the exclusions, reinstating particular items within a whole category that had been “excluded.” For example, a homeowner’s policy may have an exclusion for all motorized vehicles. The exception to that exclusion might be a lawnmower, because a mower helps service the premises.

  • “Said” – Very legalistic: “Said payment would allow you a discount of $300.” Just write, “This payment would allow you a discount of $300.”
  • “Regard” and “Regards.” Do not write, “This is in regards to…” Write, “This is in regard to…”
  • “Were” and “was.” Take the phrase, “If there were no coverage…” Using “were,” known as the subjunctive mood in English, represents situations contrary to fact.
  • “Confirm.” When you confirm a lunch date, you restate your agreement as to the time and place. In insurance, however, it’s common to see a claims letter that starts, “This will confirm my phone call of 4/11/17." But what does “confirm” mean? Is the writer summarizing the previous call? Documenting it? Confirming is something you do to re-check a future date or agreement.
  • “Advise.” About 80 percent of the time claims people use “advise,” they just mean “tell” or “inform.” No need to use “advise” in a sentence like, “Let me advise you that it will rain today.” There is no “advice” being given. However, if you write, “Let me advise you to bring your umbrella,” you are using “advise” correctly.

"Your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression, and like all impressions, you are in total control." -Jeffrey Gitomer

Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather- Avoid Water Damage

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

Inspect your roof and gutters on a regular basis — at least twice a year.

With winter on the way, we’re heading into a busy time of year that includes several major holidays coming back-to-back. The last thing we want to worry about is the risk of water damage due to the changing weather.

Here are some wintertime considerations to keep your home safe and reduce, or even prevent, possible insurance risks:

  1. Keep your drains and gutters clean. Exactly how frequently depends on where you live, but you want to plan for twice a year. Clogged gutters can cause a few issues including roof leaks. If your gutters can't drain properly, the excess water can soak through the shingles and eventually start leaking into your home. Don't forget melting snow can also fill up the gutters, causing similar issues!
  2. Inspect your roof for damage and leaks. While you're cleaning those gutters, take the time to inspect your roof. Keep an eye our for cracks, leaks where different parts of the roof meet, and general wear and tear. You should do this also twice a year at least.
  3. Water expands, its mass increasing by about 9% when it freezes. Blocked pipes result in a buildup of pressure, which can cause a burst pipe, equipment malfunction, or contaminated water back-up inside the building. To avoid this, consider insulating your water lines and using heat tape as well.
  4. For extreme weather, it is wise to always leave a tap running at a trickle because running water is less likely to freeze.

Watch for our next blog post on how to defrost a frozen water pipe.

Defending Your Family Business Against Fraud

10/26/2017 (Permalink)

Fraud can occur anywhere within a company and the right controls can limit its successful execution.

In a study done by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the 2016 Global Fraud Study found that "businesses with fewer than 100 employees, which are in many cases family-owned, experience fraud at a rate of 28.8%, compared to the 19.8% experienced by those with more than 10,000 employees."

Smaller business often suffer more from fraudulent activities. It's more difficult to manage the damage it causes in a $5 million company than a $250 million company. This kind of activity also damages the company culture.

The median fraudulent loss suffered by small organizations is the same as large organizations: $150,000. However, while it is the same number, this number takes up a larger percentage of the small business revenue.

Here are 5 ways to defend your small business from fraudulent activities and enforce internal controls:

  1. Segregate financial duties. Create a three-person system of checks and balances: one person opens the bank statements, one prepares the bank reconciliations, and a third reviews all transactions and canceled checks.
  2. Stay away from signature stamps. Family and small businesses should require two signatures for any payment over a certain monetary amount.
  3. Establish routine checks of payroll, supplier and vendor lists by multiple people within the company. The final payroll list should be reviewed by someone other than the person distributing checks and preparing the payroll, and the list of vendors should periodically be checked for unrecognized names.
  4. Educate employees on financial reporting. To increase levels of security, outsource your financial reporting and ensure someone is monitoring for fraud.
  5. Every employee — including family members — should understand protocols in a business from expectations to pay rates and benefits. Clear expectations help avoid a power struggle and will clearly define who is double-checking various aspects of the business.

Fraud can happen anywhere. The more you believe it won't happen to your business, the more susceptible you become to it.

Source: 5 Ways to Defend Your Family Business Against Fraud by Bill Kowalski

Mold Cleanup Information for You and Your Family

10/23/2017 (Permalink)

We invest in the latest equipment and ongoing mold remediation training because it helps us restore your home or business quickly and effectively.

Molds are a natural part of the environment. They can be found anywhere there is water and moisture, so the key to controlling them in and around your home or business is moisture control. If mold is found in your home or business, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem immediately. It is also important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer resources for proper and safe mold cleanup. Click here for more information on mold cleanup information for you and your family.

Mold Damage? SERVPRO of Northern Summit County will help- 330-650-4486

Also check out our webpage for our mold remediation process.

Water Damage After a Major Storm

10/20/2017 (Permalink)

We have the storm damage restoration experience and specialized equipment to restore your home or business back to pre-storm condition.

When a major storm passes close to the house, the home may suffer water damage that is difficult to repair.

There are many things a family can do to begin repairing any destruction, but a certified professional will likely be needed to get rid of any serious health or structural threats. Contaminated storm surges or floods can carry pathogens and become a breeding ground for mold. If allowed to fester, these mold spores can spread throughout the building and become even more difficult to remove. In many cases,  governmental agencies could condemn the structure if the microbial threat is too great.

The main reason a home is sensitive to water damage is because moisture is difficult to detect once the floods recede. Standing liquids can encourage microbial growth within 24 hours and can saturate all kinds of textiles and seep through drywall. Moisture may collect behind the walls, where mold and bacteria may multiply out of sight.

Professional restoration services can quickly identify what items in the home are compromised by water damage. Normally, anything that is porous may need to be discarded if it has come in contact with contaminated fluids. These items, like mattresses, box springs, pillows and particle board, trap more moisture than other materials and foster the growth of microbes.

A family can prepare for professional cleaning by getting rid of these items before the technicians arrive, but be sure to properly record and itemize the items for insurance purposes prior to disposing. Once professionals arrive at the building, they will be able to track down any pockets of excess moisture and remove them. 

It’s important for a family to hire professionals that are certified through a reputable organization. Technicians trained in this area know how to find compromised areas and do what it takes to restore them.

Flood damage in your home or business? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County today at our 24/7 Emergency Service Line - (330) 650-4486 or at our Online Help Line.

The Truth About 100-Year Floods

10/17/2017 (Permalink)

The above image includes a diagram demonstrating the magnitude and frequency of water levels during a flood.

Whenever a strong hurricane or storm causes significant flooding, there is often talk of a 100-year flood. People will think a flood of that magnitude occurs once every hundred years, so they should be safe from harm for the next hundred years. Some base their decision to buy flood insurance on this false belief, putting them at risk of a catastrophic loss.

In order to determine the true frequency of floods, scientists will create a history of the area, tracking the frequency of different sized floods and the average number of years between them to develop the probability of a given sized flood in a particular year.

But rain volume alone does not always create the flood. The condition of the ground before the rain is critically important. If the area has received a lot of rain recently and the ground is already saturated, less rain is needed to flood the area. If the area has been experiencing a drought and the rain is falling fast, it is possible for the water to run off instead of soaking into the ground.

Factors such as a river basin and the addition of dams and levees will be considered. Once a flood recedes, high-water marks will be surveyed by scientists to estimate the maximum flows and streamgages will record the height and quantity of flow.

Explained by Property Casualty 360 in their article "The truth about 100-year floods," "The accumulation of data allows for a determination of the annual probability that a given stream or river will exceed its banks. This is known as annual exceedance probability, or AEP. A 1% AEP flood has a 1 in 100 chance of occurring every year, with an average recurrence every 100 years. This is the 100-year flood." They also predict during a span of a 30-year mortgage, "there is a 26% chance of a home in a 1% AEP, or 100-year flood area, of being flooded."

Questions about flood damage? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County today at- 330-650-4486.

Mobile Homes- Are They Covered?

10/5/2017 (Permalink)

Wind-damaged mobile homes in Oklahoma.

We might be in Ohio, away from all the severe hurricane damage to trailer parks in Florida, Georgia and Texas, but this does not change how the events have changed our perspective on these homes' insurance coverage.

That perspective being: this is important!

Enlightened by Property Casualty 360's article, Mobile homes — A unique insurance exposure, a mobile home serves as both a home and a vehicle. When on the road, authorities treat it as a vehicle, and once settled down in a trailer park, it becomes a home.

Because of the portable and lightweight nature of mobile homes, wind is a significant hazard! Hurricanes and tornadoes, especially, can cause significant damage to mobile homes with the high winds easily flipping, uplifting and damaging the home.

Strap-downs and straps are required to offer stability from these cases, and some newer models use frame anchors tied to the chassis. Some carriers may require a particular type of tie-down for a specific part of the country. Wind zone ratings will indicate how much wind a mobile home can withstand.

With all this in consideration, is the part-vehicle part-home eligible for homeowner's insurance? Coverage is offered for when the mobile home is on the move, covering collision, collision defined as it is in the auto policy.

"As long as the collision happens while the vehicle is being transported there is coverage," Property Casualty 360's article reads. "Not covered is a loss caused by the home making contact with the transportation vehicle that results in damage to the home unless the transport vehicle was in an accident. The coverage applies for 30 days from the effective date on the endorsement. Coverage also includes upset of the home while it is in transit or stranding or sinking if the home is on a licensed ferry line."

Mobile homes require their own coverage needs, meaning its policy will be different from a homeowner's policy. There are carriers that specialize in mobile homes and the coverages they need:
HomeInsuranceWeb.com

Do you have storm damage? Call SERVPRO of Northern Summit County at 330-650-4486

Fire Safety: Unplug Household Appliances

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

The consumption of household appliances worldwide is forecast to generate nearly 590 billion U.S. dollars in revenues by 2020.

With electric appliances being so common in modern homes, it's easy to forget that there are very real risks and hazards associated with their use and even non-use.

Being safe when using electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs and other equipment is easy. It only takes one mistake to spark an electrical fire, but simple prevention measures can be effective solutions.

These safety tips can help keep all appliances operating safely and help you prevent unexpected fires in the home:

  • Ensure any appliances you purchase are approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or another reputable consumer laboratory.
  • Unplug unused appliances and store cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.
  • Appliances that generate heat, such as clocks, televisions and computer monitors, should be given several inches of clearance all around for good air circulation and cooling.
  • Do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.
  • Keep all electric appliances away from water such as sinks, bathtubs, pools or overhead vents that may drip.
  • Do not operate any electrical appliance with wet hands or while standing in water.
  • Keep clothes, curtains toys and other potentially combustible materials away from radiators, space heaters, heating vents and other heat sources.

Source: Stephanie Sage of Sage Restoration

To read more on this subject, click here.

Have Questions about Fire Safety? Do you have fire damage? Call Us Today – (330) 650-4486

Why a Fire Restoration Contractor Is the Way to Go

9/6/2017 (Permalink)

When fire & water damage strikes, a fast response is critical. We’re dedicated to responding immediately, day or night, to your Summit County property

A fire restoration contractor can help you restore your home properly after a house fire.

When you hire a fire restoration company, it dispatches several fire restoration contractors, each of whom has the knowledge to use the tools necessary to complete the job. Their skills vary, from reducing the dangers in your home after a fire to preventing secondary water damage. Hiring a fire restoration contractor is an excellent idea because it allows the experts to work on many different things at once, which lets you focus on other things like insurance matters.

A Fire Restoration Contractor’s Equipment

A fire restoration contractor has a variety of tools and the knowledge necessary to use them effectively. One example of this is an ozonation machine. This machine generates ozone, a toxic gas, which fills the house and can partially reverse the effects of smoke odor from embedding itself in everything. These machines are expensive and dangerous, and only a qualified professional should use them.

Getting a referral from your insurance provider is an excellent idea. This ensures that the company you hire has contractors that actively implement sound business practices and can restore your home properly and in accordance with any applicable laws. In addition to this, this method allows you to be sure that the contracting company and your insurance provider can work well together and agree on an appropriate settlement.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 330-650-4486

Winter is Coming: Prepare Your Business for Winter

9/5/2017 (Permalink)

A winter storm can bring with it sleet, ice, high winds, and heavy snow, which can result in sudden unexpected commercial property damage.

September has arrived

and, before we know it, so will Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and then the holidays. Is your business ready for the frigid temperatures, the heavy snowfall?

According to Leavitt Group's article, Prepare Your Business for Winter Weather, In the past five years, 15 percent of small businesses have experienced damages caused by water and freezing. The average cost of these claims is $17,000.

Leavitt Group also discusses common types of winter-related damages, including:

  • Damage to contents, inventory and equipment caused by significant temperature changes.
  • Water damage caused by pipes freezing and bursting.
  • Wind damage to roofs, buildings and landscape.
  • Fire suppression efforts delayed by inaccessible fire hydrants (covered by snow or ice)
  • Frozen fire suppression sprinkler pipes, resulting in flooded rooms and malfunction of system.
  • Ice damming, resulting in damage to roof and gutters.
  • Injury to guests and employees.
  • Loss of revenue (business interruption).

Taking preventative actions now while the weather is still warm is incredibly important and could save you business a lot of time and money. Here are some maintenance tips Leavitt Group suggests in preparing your business for winter:

  • Drain water from all systems and equipment not needed in winter months, including landscape sprinklers and air conditioning units
  • Check for and repair damages to the roof. Make sure roof drains are clear and in good condition. Clear rain gutters to ensure proper drainage and make sure downspouts are intact and draining in areas away from foot traffic
  • Inspect the exterior of the building for gaps and seal appropriately to prevent weather and critters from getting inside
  • Trim tree branches and lanscape that might come in contact with the building in the event of heavy snowfall and ice accumulation
  • Make sure the heating system has enough fuel for unexpected conditions and a back-up in case of emergency
  • Maintain a temperature of at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit in unoccupied facilities, attics and basements
  • Make arrangements for snow removal with a reputable company before winter starts- don't wait until the storm hits and you are buried under a pile of snow. Discuss snow removal from the roof. To avoid damages from snow removal equipment, mark curbs, fire hydrants, drains, speed bumps and other features that may not be visible under a layer of snow
  • Make sure you have sand, ice melt and shovels on hand for winter maintenance that won't be covered by your snow removal contractor

Begin checking off your maintenance needs while the weather still allows for it. Stay tuned for our next blog for commercial property owners, "Developing a Business Continuity Plan for the Winter Weather."

Have questions? Call our office at 800-648-1212 or our 24/7 Emergency Service number at 330-650-4486.

5 Levels of Mold Remediation

8/28/2017 (Permalink)

When dealing with mold contamination in your home it can be difficult to decide when a mold remediator is needed or what you can take care of yourself.

In the following 5 levels, you will have a guideline to go by when removing mold from your home:

  1. Level I (10 square feet or less)Mostly found on ceilings or baseboards. Level I mold contamination may be cleaned without hiring a mold remediator, but there are several important safety precautions that you need to know:
    • Do not attempt cleaning mold if you suffer from asthma, allergies, or immune disorders

    • Wear gloves, eye protection, and an N95 disposable respirator

    • Vacate from your work area any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.

    • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from your home in a sealed plastic bag to prevent an infestation in another part of your home

    • Clean your work area when you’re done with a damp cloth or mop

    • Make sure all areas are left dry and visibly free of mold contamination

  2. Level II (10-30 square feet)About the size of one wall panel. To clean, the same precautions used in Level I should be taken.
  3. Level III (30-100 square feet)
    The size of patches of mold on several wall panels. To clean, the same precautions used in Level I and II should be taken, as well as:
    • Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting
    • Vacate everyone from your work area until work is completed.
  4. Level IV (greater than 100 square feet)
    An infestation depending on how much greater than 100 square feet may require the assistance of a mold remediator. If not, the same requirements should be followed as were needed in levels I, II, and III along with the following:
    • Every worker must be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with full face respirators with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cartridges, with disposable protective clothing covering both head and shoes.
    • Make sure workers completely isolate their work area from the rest of your home with sheeting sealed with duct tape, including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and any other openings.
    • Air monitoring should be conducted prior to moving back into your home to determine if it is fit to reoccupy.
  5. Level V (Air Conditioners and HVAC Systems)
    All remediation procedures for air conditioning units and HVAC systems should be left to professionals. Procedures for level V remediation for areas larger than 10 square feet are the same for all previous levels with the following precautionary measures added:
    • Shut down the HVAC system prior to remediation
    • Growth-supporting materials that are contaminated, such as the paper on the insulation of interior lined ducts and filters, should be removed and sealed in plastic bags
    • A variety of biocides – broad spectrum antimicrobial agents designed to prevent the growth of microorganisms – are recommended by HVAC manufacturers for use with HVAC components, such as cooling coils and condensation pans. HVAC manufacturers should be consulted for the products they recommend for use in their systems.

Do you have mold in your home or business? With questions or if you need a mold remediator, call our 24/7 Emergency Service line at (330) 650-4486. Request help online by clicking here.

Water Back-Up, Overflow or Discharge? Homeowners' Claims

8/22/2017 (Permalink)

Last month we talked about how to protect your home from flood damage. Hopefully the tips served you well, but here are some tips on what causes a water back-up or overflow and whether or not there is coverage for such a loss.

Is it a water back-up, an overflow or discharge?

A back-up is a build-up caused by a stoppage in the flow. Something prevents the water from continuing down its path, so it is forced to reverse direction and go back the other way.

  • Causes: A collapsed drain pipe can cause a back-up because water can no longer proceed down its normal course. A blockage can also cause a back-up. The blockage prevents the water from going forward. Both of these factors force the water to reverse direction.

An overflow is when excess or surplus is not able to be accommodated by an available space.

  • Causes: The space is filled to capacity and water then spreads beyond its limits. A bath tub left running creates an overflow, as well.

Discharge is what happens when water is released from plumbing or appliances and then floods your home.

  • A leaking pipe discharges water from the hole in the pipe.

The ISO HO 00 03 provides coverage for water damage that is the result of a discharge or overflow of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or household appliance if it is on the resident’s premises. This covers:

  • Pipes that leak behind walls
  • Floors, or ceilings
  • Washing machines and dishwashers that overflow
  • Toilets that overflow
  • Storm drains off premises that overflow due to high rains or floods

It is important to note that a sump, sump pump or related equipment, or a roof drain, gutter or downspout or similar equipment is not considered a plumbing system or household appliance.

A discharge or overflow caused by a storm drain, water, steam, or sewer pipe is covered as well if it is off the premises.

Overcoming Hoarding: 12 Tips

8/22/2017 (Permalink)

There’s obviously the assault on your eyes of the quantity of the clutter, then there’s the appreciation of what a mishmash the clutter is. -WebMD

Compulsive hoarding, also known as hoarding disorder, is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them, according to MayoClinic.org. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of value, occurs.

People with compulsive hoarding may not see it as a problem, and this makes treatment challenging. Below are some tips to overcoming hoarding, pulled from Oprah.com:

  1. Just because you can think of a use for an object, doesn't mean you need to keep it. If you haven't used an object in over a year, if you didn't know you had it until you found it, you can probably live without it.
  2. More is not necessarily better. Try to get rid of the extras.
  3. Categorize items into piles. A pile of things to keep, to donate, to sell or give away, and to throw away, but don't make too many piles and stress yourself out.
  4. Don't overthink. If the decision takes you more than a couple of minutes for a particular object, you're making it too complicated.
  5. Learn to get past the imperfections- you don't have to do a perfect job, just a good enough job.
  6. Only Handle It Once (OHIO). If you pick something up, make a decision and put it where it belongs.
  7. Be brave. The people who gain the most are usually those who are willing to risk the most.
  8. Understand what you're afraid of, and recognize when your fears are irrational. Ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen if I throw this out? How bad would that really be? Then discard it and watch for whether or not that bad thing happened.
  9. Be patient. No one overcomes compulsive hoarding overnight. Take it one room at a time.
  10. Keep the ball rolling. Clean things as they come along before they become overwhelming problems. Once you start, don't stop. Create a pattern, 5 minutes a day, 30 minutes...
  11. Be strict with yourself. Promise yourself a reward for doing it.
  12. Know when to ask for help. Compulsive hoarding is a potentially serious mental health issue. If you can overcome it on your own, great. If you can't, get help from someone who has experienced it.

For further information, visit WebMD.

How to Keep Safe During a House Fire

8/17/2017 (Permalink)

In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It takes minutes for smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.

You may not think you'll ever fall victim to a house fire, but it's better to be prepared and know what to do to avoid panicking if it happens to you. To increase your chances of survival, follow these steps:

Keeping safe in your house during a fire:

  • React as soon as you hear your smoke alarm go off. If you hear your smoke detector or see fire, exit your home as safely as possible. Do not stop to grab your belongings. Your only concern should be to get out as quickly as possible.
  • Safely exit through doors. If you see smoke under the door, do not open the door to escape. If you do not see smoke, put the back of your hand to the door to feel for heat. If it is cool, open slowly and pass through. If you see fire, close the door to protect yourself from the fire and search for another exit.
  • Prevent yourself from smoke inhalation. Get low to the floor and crouch or crawl on your hands and knees to evade the toxic smoke, avoiding disorientation and unconsciousness. If you must walk through the smoke, cover your nose and mouth with a shirt or towel.
  • Stop drop and roll if your clothes catch fire. Immediately stop what you're doing, drop flat on to the ground and roll around until you smother the fire. Cover your face with your hands as you're rolling to protect yourself.
  • Ward off the smoke if you can't get out. If you cannot escape, you can always reclaim some measure of control and stay safe, even if you feel trapped. Close the door and cover all vents and cracks with a cloth or tape to keep the smoke out.
  • Call for help from a second story window. If you are trapped in a second story room, do what you can to get yourself to an area where people will be able to hear or see you. Take a sheet- preferably white- and hang it out the window to signify you need help. Be sure to close the window to the fresh oxygen doesn't draw the fire towards you. Put a blanket or towel at the base of the door to prevent the smoke from coming underneath.
  • Escape from a second story window if you can. If you have an escape ladder, toss it down the side of the house. If you must go out the window, look for a ledge you can get yourself onto and hang down from your hands, facing the side of the building. Let yourself fall to safety.

What to do once you exit your home:

  • Do a head count. Make sure everyone is accounted for. If anybody is missing, only re-enter the building if it is safe to do so. Tell the first responders immediately on their arrival if you are afraid someone is missing.
  • Call 911. Use your cellphone or call from a neighbor's house.
  • Do an injury assessment. After making the call and the resources are coming, check yourself and your family for any injuries. If there are, do what you can to address them until the fire department arrives.
  • Get away from the structure. Keep a safe distance between you and the fire.

Preventing future house fires:

  • Form and practice your family's escape plan. Have a plan of escape in the event of a fire. Practice at least twice a year to get comfortable with the routine. Plan to find two ways to escape from each room. Practice escaping by crawling, being in the dark and having your eyes closed.
  • Make sure your home is prepared. Check your smoke detectors are working and always have fresh batteries. Make sure your windows can easily be opened and that screens can be quickly removed. Everyone in your family should be able to open and close all windows. Buy reliable collapsible ladders in case of higher level escapes.
  • Practice safe behaviors. Teach your children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Always be in the kitchen when you're cooking. SO not smoke in the house and make sure you put out your cigarettes entirely. DIspose of any electronics with frayed wires. Avoid lighting candles unless they're directly in your line of vision. Always check that the gas is turned off as well as any other wired electronics. Finally, try to use a lighter instead of matchsticks.

For more information as well as a community Q&A, click here for the source of the above information.

HVAC Compressor Damage: Lightning or Wear & Tear?

8/15/2017 (Permalink)

In the summer months, when severe weather is most prevalent, property carriers see an increase in claims for lightning damage to HVAC equipment, and most often to the compressor.

HVAC compressor damage due to lightning is commonly misdiagnosed. More often than not, an HVAC claim that is originally reported as damaged by lightning is ultimately found to have suffered damage due to some other cause of loss.

No matter the time of year, one of the most common culprits of compressor failure is mechanical damage due to age-related wear and tear. Nearly 43% of all compressors (regardless of how the damage is initially reported) fail due to this cause of loss.

Considered the “heart” of the HVAC system, the compressor is not only critical to proper system function, but can often be impossible to repair and expensive to replace. Moreover, without understanding the root cause of compressor failure, the simple act of replacing this component may not ultimately resolve the overarching issue. When handling HVAC claims, it is critical to understand what caused the compressor to fail before agreeing on a scope of repair for settlement.

For additional information on mechanical damages versus electrical damages, click here to the source of this information.

Vehicles After Flooding: Filing a Claim

8/14/2017 (Permalink)

No region is safe from flooding. All 50 states are subject to flash floods.

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, it is important for consumers to be aware of the warning signs of a flood damaged vehicle. If you are in the market to buy a used vehicle, be sure to inspect it carefully.

The following tips on filing a claim will help those with flooded vehicles after a storm:

  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Have your policy readily available and find out whether the damage is covered under the terms of your policy and how long you have to file a claim.
  • Your automobile insurance policies cover flooding if you have purchased comprehensive coverage. If you only have liability coverage, your vehicle is not covered for flooding.
  • Minimize your losses and document the damage. Take photos of any damage and then make whatever reasonable temporary repairs that are needed.
  • Remember that flooding is generally not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Flood insurance is a separate policy through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program and some private insurers.
  • Ask for identification from any agents, adjusters or contractors. Do not sign any contracts for repairs until you have been instructed to do so by your adjuster and you have called the Better Business Bureau in your area.
  • Don’t be afraid to file a claim. Storms are considered “Acts of Nature” and an insurance company cannot cancel, refuse to renew or increase the amount of a premium on a homeowners policy based solely on this type of incident.

Do you have storm damage? Contact our SERVPRO franchise at (330) 650-4486 or request help online.

Fire Damage Cleanup

8/14/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly.

Fire damage clean up is an arduous process that often requires the proper industrial equipment and time. A standard vacuum cleaner is rarely enough. In addition, time is of the essence. In the wake of a fire, when victims are faced with insurance matters, arrangements for interim housing, and possible health concerns, homeowners are unlikely to make salvage efforts the top priority. Sadly, this could present a costly dilemma. In these cases, the services of a certified fire restoration company are invaluable.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) states that delays in fire damage clean up can have serious consequences. In addition to the obvious devastation created by heat, flames, and soot, water and smoke are powerful contaminators and destructors in their own right. Immediate intervention is critical to minimize exposure to these damaging agents in hopes of limiting restoration costs.

In addition to the structural destruction caused by the flames, acidic soot alone can cause irreparable harm to a home’s interior and belongings. But the problems don’t end there. Odor removal can present another challenge, and ceiling or box fans alone are not always powerful enough to disperse the smell of smoke. Water damage caused by first responders in an effort to extinguish the inferno further complicates matters.

For more information on fire cleanup and how to choose a restoration firm to do the damage cleanup, visit the IICRC website.

Do you need fire damage cleanup? Call our 24/7 Emergency Service line at (330) 650-4486, or request online help.

Is Hazard Insurance the Same as Homeowners?

8/10/2017 (Permalink)

For maximum protection against the unexpected, a reliable homeowners insurance policy is the way to go.

As a home owner, you will likely have a need for this insurance at some point in your lifetime. Lending companies tend to use the terms "hazard insurance" and "homeowner's insurance" interchangeably, but there is a definable difference between the two.

Hazard insurance, which protects you financially from the effects of damage to the structure of your home from hazards such as natural events, vandalism, and fire, is usually bought PART OF your homeowner's insurance policy. Generally hazard coverage is not sold separately but is combined with liability and contents coverage as a package.

There are certain hazards that are not covered by homeowner’s insurance and they are listed as exemptions in the policy.  Examples include damage caused directly by pollution, floods, and earth movement. Open perils policies provide insurance coverage for any reason not specifically excluded in the policy.  A named perils policy, on the other hand, provides coverage only for the perils listed.  A homeowners named perils policy typically covers 16 named perils including fire, theft, windstorms and vandalism. 

A standard homeowners HO3 policy covers the structure of your home under open perils and contents such as clothes, furniture, appliances and books under named perils.  A standard homeowners HO5 policy covers the structure and contents under open perils. Many insurance companies have modified versions of the HO3 and HO5 policies so if you have questions about your homeowners policy coverage, be sure to speak with your insurance agent.  

For additional information from a related article, click here.

Do You Need a Mold Remediator?

8/9/2017 (Permalink)

Mold spores thrive on moisture. They can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water and produce allergens and irritants.

If you suspect mold in your home or business, you're probably anxious to get the problem taken care of as soon as possible. If you have small children, older adults or animals, it is even more important to effectively rid your home of mold so it doesn't affect their health.

When choosing a reliable mold remediator, it is important to consider the following tips:

  1. Only choose mold remediators that are certified. To ensure the highest quality of service, go with mold remediators that perform all of their own inspections and remediations. Generally, those who have been in business for a while and who have worked in a variety of settings including commercial and residential areas will be able to perform the most reliable services.
  2. Find a mold remediator that will inspect your home before they begin work. Later, the mold remediators should perform both an air-quality check and a swab check to test for mold. SERVPRO, among other mold remediation companies, will test for asbestos and lead as well as different types of mold. Make sure that contact information is included in the proposal so you’ll know who to get in touch with in case of problems. 
  3. Check for a warranty. It is an assurance by one party to the other party that specific facts or conditions are true and/or will happen. Check that the mold remediator also offers to come back and redo any area that shows signs of mold within six months to a year.

It is important to take some extra time to choose the best mold remediator to avoid further serious problems in your home or business.

If you are experiencing troubles with mold, call us at our 24/7 Emergency Service number, 800-648-1212 or request help online.

Cybercrime From An Insurance Perspective

8/1/2017 (Permalink)

IBM estimates businesses are attacked about 16,856 times a year- 46 attacks per business per day, nearly two attacks per hour.

We've heard the stories. Cyber hacks influencing the presidential election, ransomware attacks across the globe. We might even think the hackers are winning the war- the cyber war, that is.

Insurance Business America discusses this matter with an insurance perspective in a recent article, interviewing James Shaheen, cyber risk practice leader at Integro.

According to Shaheen, with every attack, our cyber security experts learn something new, and counter every attack with a defense. It will take us some time, though, to figure out what we need to implement, where the gaps are in the security, to fully protect our data.

When it comes to insurance, Shaheen believes we are doing well in the protection of Protected Health Information (PHI), Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and the Payment Card Industry (PCI), but the concern is what he calls "second-tier data."

Second-tier data, or trade secrets, is what drives businesses, and is also what is not well protected by insurance from these cyber attacks.

Shaheen claims at Integro this is an issue being addressed and developed. How much would such a development be worth to your business?

To read Insurance Business America's article and for related stories, click here.

Tips on How to Prevent Kitchen Fires

7/24/2017 (Permalink)

Cooking equipment was involved in an annual average of 19% home fire deaths, 44% reported home fire injuries, and $1.1 billion in property damage.

Kitchen fires are the most common cause of household fires. From grease spills to stray dishtowels, a simple overlook can set your house ablaze. Follow these tips to reduce your risks of a kitchen fire:

  1. Stay in the kitchen when cooking. Unattended cooking is the number one cause of cooking fires. If you must leave the stove unattended, turn off the heat and move the pan to a cool burner.
  2. Use a timer to remind yourself to check on your dish. Check your food regularly, whether you're simmering, baking, boiling or roasting.
  3. Keep the stove top clear. Keep dishtowels, oven mitts, paper towels -anything that can catch fire- away from your stove top.
  4. Dress for the occasion. Wear close-fitting clothes and tightly roll up sleeves when you're cooking. Loose clothing can come in contact with burners and catch fire.
  5. Wipe up spills. Cooking on a dirty stove or in a dirty oven and grease buildup can all start a fire.
  6. Don't overheat your oils. Overheated oil can start to smoke and bubble up, which can cause it to spill out and ignite.
  7. Wait for grease to cool before disposing! Tossing hot grease into your trashcan can send it up in flames. Wait for it to cool, or pour it into an old food can before tossing it out.
  8. Keep your smoke detector working. Ensure all are working and change the batteries twice a year (when you change your clocks for daylight savings time is a good reminder).

NOTE:

If a fire does erupt on your stove top, DO NOT try to smother it by sliding a lid over the pan. INSTEAD, turn off the burner and leave the pan uncovered until it has cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and leave the door closed.

Should your home be damaged from a fire, our 24/7 Emergency Service can be reached at (330) 650-4486, or request help online.

6 Ways to Protect Your Home From Flooding

7/21/2017 (Permalink)

The erosive force of moving water can drag dirt from under a building's foundation, causing it to crack and tumble.

Flooding can strike anywhere and at any time, and floods are the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the U.S. Ignoring the risk means a destroyed home and belongings, and mold soon follows that.

Your first step in avoiding this risk is knowing the flood level of the home you're buying- an official measure of how high floodwaters could rise. You can find this information at FEMA's online flood maps.

Your next steps in protecting your home from flooding should include these 6 measures:

  1. Safeguard in-home electrical and climate systems. Raise switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring at least a foot above the expected flood level in your area. Modify your furnace, water heater, and any other anchored indoor equipment.
  2. Anchor and raise outdoor equipment. Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units and generators should be anchored above your flood level. Unanchored fuel tanks can break free, and severed supply lines will contaminate surrounding ground.
  3. Modify water valves. A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up in your home. Install an interior or exterior backflow valve.
  4. Determine how water flows around your house. The grading or slope of the house, the angle of the ground, can direct water to or away from your house. This is easy to determine by watching how water flows or accumulates during an average rainstorm.
  5. Opt for a major retrofit. If your home floods frequently and moving isn't an option, you may need to take drastic and costly measures. Either raise your home on piers or columns so the lowest floor is above flood level, wet-proof your home by installing foundation vents that would allow water to flow through the building instead of rising inside, or do some dry-proofing by applying coatings and other sealing materials to your walls to keep our floods.
  6. Take last-minute measures as waters rise. Clear gutters, drains and downspouts. Move furniture, rugs, electronics and other belongings to upper floors. Shut off electricity at the breaker panel. Elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks if they're in harm's way.

If you have any flood damage in your home or building, call us today at our 24/7 Emergency Service Line - (330) 650-4486 or at our Online Help Line.

Flash Flood Safety Tips

7/19/2017 (Permalink)

When a river overflows, bridges, houses, trees and cars can be picked up and carried off.

While in the midst of storm and hurricane season, we feel it necessary to draw attention to some flash flood safety tips.

Firstly, here are some statistics on flooding to note:

  • Flooding is the second leading weather-related cause of death
  • 2 feet of water will move your vehicle. 6 inches of water will sweep you off your feet

Here are some safety tips to practice when experiencing a flash flood event:

  • Get to higher ground and avoid low spots in the road or areas prone to flooding
  • Never cross barriers that protect from flooded areas. If your vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately
  • Flood dangers are harder to recognize at night
  • Never cross water of unknown depth. Roads may be washed out

Keep watch of your local weather station for flooding and flash flooding threats.

Stay tuned for our next blog with "6 ways to protect your home from flooding."

Protecting Your Homes During the Summer Travel Season

7/6/2017 (Permalink)

The average property dollar loss per burglary is a staggering $2,251. Take precautions before leaving your house unoccupied.

Before leaving your home alone for vacation time this summer, seek some risk identifications to unoccupied homes and steps necessary to mitigate them.

Burglary is, of course, the biggest risk, and home security systems provide exceptional safety and peace of mind. However, the homeowner still has a critical role in making sure his or her home and its contents are safe.

Do not broadcast your whereabouts and travel activities on social media. Criminals lurk online and are eager to burgle a home when they know the residents are away.

Make the home look occupied:

  • If cars are normally left outside, have someone periodically drive them or move them around.
  • If there is a swimming pool, keep the water in it circulating.
  • Make sure that lawn mowing and watering continue as scheduled.
  • Put a hold on mail and newspaper. Use timers on exterior lights to go on and off at the usual times.

Secure the home and its contents. Security systems can only do so much. Take extra precautions when you plan to be away:

  • Add security lights with motion sensors to scare off potential burglars.
  • Close all window latches and put a secondary blocking device such as a wooden dowel.
  • Let the security company know when the home will be vacant.
  • Lock the garage door manually.
  • Move jewelry to a safe or bank safety deposit box.
  • Do not leave keys in an obvious place.
  • Lower the volume or shut off the ringer on telephones so they cannot be heard outside.
  • Make sure fine art, expensive electronics and other valuables are not visible through windows.
  • Put fresh batteries in smoke detectors so they remain operable.
  • Deadbolt the doors.

Minimize the potential for damage. Some steps you can take to avert potential disasters include:

  • Shutting off water lines.
  • Making sure a sump pump in the basement is working properly.
  • Making sure washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers are turned off.
  • Unplugging small appliances and electronics to prevent damage from a power surge.

A watchful pair of eyes is the best defense, so ask a trusted neighbor to look in on things while you are away, to alert you and the police is there is anything suspicious. A house-sitting arrangement is worth considering for a long absence.

We're On Social Media !

6/27/2017 (Permalink)

Social media allows us to interact with our customers, local businesses, and industry partners in new and exciting ways. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is active on Facebook and LinkedIn, with more outlets to come! We would love for you to follow us so we can hear your thoughts and feedback through social media, and we welcome comments on industry topics and content you would like to hear more about !

On our social media pages, you can find relevant safety, cleaning, and remodeling tips, local and industry news, event information, before and after pictures of completed jobs, pictures of our crew, volunteer and fundraising campaigns, and more! Please click the links below and follow our pages to receive the latest updates from us!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SERVPRON.SummitCounty

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/restoration-resources-inc-dba-SERVPRO-n-summit-county-portage-county-and-canton

Roof Tarps: Preventing Further Storm Damage

6/20/2017 (Permalink)

A damaged home protected under a roof tarp until further repair is put into action.

Roof damage can be caused by heavy rains, winds or falling debris. To reduce the possibility of even more damage, some may use a roof tarp, offering a quick solution and a gap of time until better weather permits a safe inspection and repair.

It seems like a good, and cheap, way to quickly cover the holes in the roof, stop the water leak, and prevent rodents from entering the home or business through those holes, although we do not recommend this as a permanent solution to the problem.

  • It will wear out over time.
  • It is only a temporary fix, and can cause more problems as time passes.
  • If the roof has water damage, mold could be growing in the affected areas.
  • Wind can move the tarp, leaving spaces uncovered and the roof will leak again.
  • If not installed properly, it could hold pools of standing water, aka, mosquitoes.
  • The tarp can increase the heat inside your home or business. Heat and moisture trapped under the tarp may cause mold and other damage inside your property.

Don’t wait for more damage to occur in your home or business! Our 24/7 Emergency Service can be reached at (330) 650-4486, or request help online.

Creating a Killer Facebook Ad Campaign for Your Business

6/20/2017 (Permalink)

Another option would be to invest tens of thousands in expensive branding... Facebook allows you to start your marketing budget at just $5.

Marketing on Facebook doesn't have to be confusing and intimidating. Here are some things to consider when developing your Facebook Ad campaign, a simple and straightforward strategy that will expose your message to your ideal market and present a relevant message that drives prospects to take action:

  1. Target your audience. Identify your ideal client, find people who had had “liked” groups related to the subject, target a specific ZIP code or individuals who fall between certain ages. Facebook allows you to filter these and more demographics.
  2. The ideal budget. Facebook allows you to start your campaign budget at $5. As you progress, so can your investment.
  3. The perfect Facebook Ad. What should it look like?
    • Don't mention pricing. Studies show that ads without price have 10% higher conversion rates.
    • Add a face to the ad.
    • Choose images that show the desired result of your clients, where they will be after your work.
    • Test Red vs. Blue. Studies also show ads with red and blue have 20% higher conversion and click-through rates.
    • Use a "call to action" button, such as "Apply Now."
  4. Where should the clicks go? You do not want to send your prospects to the home page of your website. Direct your traffic to a landing page where they can download a report, where the only action they can take is the next step in the process.

For details and graphics on this subject, click here to read the main article.

Are You in Need of a Water Heater Repair?

6/15/2017 (Permalink)

A corroded water heater will occur if not maintained, leading to flooding and further damage

It's easy to forget our water heaters need to be maintained- we use them frequently for showers, the dishwasher and the washing machine. But if we neglect the maintenance could result in malfunctions and replacing the water heater.

Notice these first signs to avoid a bigger problem:

  • The smell and color
    • The hot water will have an off smell and rusty color.
    • This could be the result of a rusty anode rod in the water heater, and the anode rod can be replaced.
    • The smell could be due to bacteria growth. This happens when the hot water has not been used or has been turned off for some time.
  • The corroded pipes 
    • Cause an off-color, water that is not hot enough, too hot or no water at all, as well as sediments appearing in the water
    • Before acting on the above points, have the water heater inspected by a plumber
    • Can be solved by installing a water softener or by replacing the plumbing
  • The strange noises and leaks
    • Usually caused by a buildup of sediments inside the tank
    • Leaks coming from the water heater could lead to flooding
    • Pops, bangs, gurgles and the like indicate something is wrong with the water heater
    • A boiling sound indicates the water heater is overheating or pressure is building up inside the tank
    • All the above need to be addressed immediately to prevent further problems

Having your water heater repaired as soon as you see these signs will save costs, further damage to your unit and home and replacing your unit altogether.

Tips to an Appropriately Floored Kitchen

6/14/2017 (Permalink)

Kitchens go through a lot, and having an appropriate floor to withstand the dirt, the grease, the falling heavy objects, and God knows what else, is extremely important to keeping the environment in check.

Here are some pros and cons to various types of flooring recommended for kitchens:

  • Tile
    • Quick and simple cleaning
    • Withstands blows from heavy objects and scratches
    • Multitudes of color options
    • Over time, seams between individual fragments will clog with mud, difficult to clean
  • Laminated Floors
    • Simply washed by semi-dry cloth
    • Attractive appearance
    • Waterproof option
    • Can withstand household chemicals, somewhat resistant to abrasive detergents
  • Linoleum
    • Easy cleaning
    • No seams
    • Waterproof
    • Attractive appearance
    • You get what you pay for

For further information, follow the link to read HGTV's Kitchen Floor Buying Guide: http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/kitchen-remodel/kitchen-floor-buying-guide

Getting Through a Power Outage

6/13/2017 (Permalink)

Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.

According to Inside Energy Investigations, "the five-year annual average of [power] outages doubled every five years...: For 2000 to 2004, there were an average of 44 reported grid outages per year. From 2005 to 2009, there were an average of 100 reported grid outages per year. From 2010 to 2013 (a four year period), there were an average of 200 reported grid outages per year."

The following link will lead you to the source of information: http://insideenergy.org/2014/08/18/power-outages-on-the-rise-across-the-u-s/

Diesel Service and Supply names a few potential reasons for these outages:

  • America's Aging Power Grid. In 2014, our electric grid was losing power more often than any other developing nation.
  • Severe weather. Research suggests that 70-percent of power outages are caused by bad weather or natural disasters.
  • Air-conditioning. The rising temperatures are not what cause the power outages. It is the number of people in the region running their air-conditions and fans, overloading the power grid, causing temporary or long-term blackouts.
  • Wildlife. Animals interfering with electrical equipment accounts for about 11-percent of America's outages. 

A sure way to avoid a blackout entirely is to purchase a quality generator. With the right kind of backup generator and routine maintenance, a power outage doesn’t have to mean lost business.

To read more on what Diesel Service and Supply has to say on this matter, click HERE.

Trash or Treasure: What's the difference?

6/6/2017 (Permalink)

Clutter will add up and can get out of hand!

The saying goes, one person's trash is another person's treasure.

But how do you tell the difference between the trash and the high-value items in your home or office?

We've all been there, cleaning out our space and finding stories or uses in every object found. But which stories should be preserved, and which items will really get used?

Here are some tips in determining what clutter has money's worth and what may just be clutter.

  • Look for stamps, labels and other antique indicators. High-value items are considered to be anything having to do with:
    • Antiques
    • Art
    • Coins
    • Furs
    • Jewelry
    • Precious metals and stamps
  • Seek out an appraiser. Find out how much your item is worth!
  • If you're not looking to sell, ask yourself questions.
    • When was the last time I used this?
    • Is this item worth the storage space?
    • What's the value in keeping this item?

Keeping these tips in mind will have you better equipped for the next time you're exploring and decluttering your home and/or office!

The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP)

6/1/2017 (Permalink)

Ready Plan | SERVPRO Ready Plan

As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind, and knowing you are "ready for whatever happens" speaks trust to your clients and employees that in the event your business is affected by a disaster, they don’t necessarily have to be.

By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

  • A no cost assessment of your facility. This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
     
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
    It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
     
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
    This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
     
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
    You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
     
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin. This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
     
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information. Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold

5/25/2017 (Permalink)

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home or business. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your building.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of Northern Summit County, Portage County and Canton for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County, Portage County and Canton specialize in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 800-648-1212

Does Your Home or Business Have A Mold Problem?

5/11/2017 (Permalink)

Building with structural mold damage.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:



  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.

  • Mold spores are microscopic and 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 can lead you to possible mold problem areas.

  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent. 


If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.


Stay tuned for our next blog featuring mold do's and don't's!

Northern Summit County Smoke and Soot Cleanup

12/1/2016 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Northern Summit County Home.

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Northern Summit County will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
330-650-4486

IICRC Certified Firm

11/15/2016 (Permalink)

We are an IICRC Certified Firm

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is an IICRC 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.

Restoring Your Northern Summit County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

10/13/2016 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges

Flooding and water damage events at Northern Summit County commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

Faster to your Northern Summit County Water Damage Event

10/13/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration service in Hudson, Twinsburg, Macedonia, & surrounding areas.

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Northern Summit County provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Northern Summit County arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 330-650-4486

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Northern Summit County

SERVPRO of Northern Summit 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. 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.

September is National Preparedness Month

9/7/2016 (Permalink)

Consider ways that you can prepare for potential emergencies during National Preparedness Month

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? National Preparedness month encourages individuals be prepared for potential emergency situations. The more that you are prepared for the unexpected, the more equipped you will be to deal with situations quickly and effectively and to limit the damage. AT SERVPRO we understand the challenges and stresses of unexpected disaster. National Preparedness Month is a great time to put together readiness plans for potential emergency situations that could affect your home or business. It is a time to consider how your family could stay in touch if separated when an emergency occurs, how you can work together with your neighbors and community in a disaster situation, and how you can assist those who are particularly vulnerable during an emergency, such as children and older adults. The best way to mitigate a disaster is to be prepared! You can find lots of great resources at https://www.ready.gov/september.

Follow us on social media

6/16/2016 (Permalink)

Follow us on social media!

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County is active on social media, and we would love for you to follow us! On our social media pages, you can find relevant safety, cleaning, and remodeling tips, local and industry news, event information, before and after pictures of completed jobs, pictures of our crew, volunteer and fundraising campaigns, and more! We are currently on Facebook and LinkedIn, with more platforms to come. Social media allows us to interact with our customers, local businesses, and industry partners in new and exciting ways. We love to hear your thoughts and feedback through social media, and we welcome comments on industry topics and content you would like to hear more about. Please click the links below and follow our pages to receive the latest updates from us!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SERVPRON.SummitCounty

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/restoration-resources-inc-dba-SERVPRO-n-summit-county-portage-county-and-canton

Factors to consider when faced with a biohazard cleanup

4/7/2016 (Permalink)

If you are faced with a biohazard cleanup, our professional, compassionate staff can guide you through the process.

If you are faced with a biohazard cleanup, such as a trauma scene, sewage backup, or hoarding situation, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Avoid exposure to any contaminants present. There are serious health risks associated with exposure to blood, bodily fluids, animal waste, sewage, and other biohazardous materials. Treat all potentially hazardous materials as if they are contaminated.
  • Assess ways to secure your personal safety and contain the situation, such as turning off the HVAC system and avoiding standing water or sagging ceilings.
  • Before attempting to clean up a trauma scene yourself, particularly when it involves a loved one, consider the long-term mental and emotional consequences of doing so. The cleanup process can be emotional and traumatic in itself. Biohazard cleanup professionals are trained to deal with trauma situations with compassion and discretion.
  • If you would like assistance with a biohazard cleanup, our trained professionals can assess the situation, provide a no-cost estimate, and clean the affected areas and dispose of the waste in accordance with federal and state regulations.

Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 13-19

3/17/2016 (Permalink)

Floods can be unpredictable and cause a lot of damage. Stay informed and prepared as flood season approaches!

March 13-19 is Flood Safety Awareness Week. According to the National Weather Service, "Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. More than half of all flood related deaths result from vehicles being swept downstream. Of these, many are preventable." As flood season approaches, now is a great time to review such topics as the dangers of flooding, driving through water, and flood insurance. Additional resources are available at http://www.weather.gov/okx/FloodAwarenessWeek2016

SERVPRO's Reconstruction and Remodeling Services

2/18/2016 (Permalink)

A finished kitchen remodel that was done by our reconstruction team!

Did you know that in addition to water mitigation, fire cleanup, and mold remediation, SERVPRO also offers reconstruction services? After our pros are done with drying out a home or removing smoke-damaged materials, we can put homes back together just like they were before the damage occurred. The convenience and savings of working with one company to assist with mitigation and repairs can be significant. In addition to reconstruction after damage, we also do general home remodeling. Have you been considering remodeling your kitchen? We can help. Does your bathroom need an update? We do that too. From drywall to painting to framing and much more, we can assist with your reconstruction project!

Here are just some of the reconstruction services SERVPRO offers:

  • Drywall repair and installation
  • Floor repair and replacement
  • Kitchen and bath installation and remodeling
  • Cabinet and trim replacement
  • Insulation installation
  • Ceiling repair
  • Fixture replacement
  • Painting

Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 3: What to do if a Frozen Pipe Bursts

2/2/2016 (Permalink)

Damage resulting from a pipe burst due to a frozen pipe

Taking preventative measures and noticing frozen pipes in time to thaw blockages are key to avoiding pipe bursts. Unfortunately, sometimes disasters occur despite our best efforts at prevention. In the unfortunate event that a frozen pipe does burst, you can mitigate the damage by following these important tips:

  • Turn off the main water supply immediately.
  • If the water is flowing near any electrical outlets or conductors of electricity, you should also shut off the electricity.
  • Contact a plumber to repair the burst pipe.
  • Remove the water. Use buckets, towels, and a wet/dry vacuum to remove water from the affected area.
  • Act quickly! The longer there are wet materials in your home, the greater chance there is for mold, warping, and more serious damage.
  • If you feel that the water damage is too much for you to handle on your own or you would like assistance in the cleanup, contact the qualified water mitigation specialists at SERVPRO to assist you.

If you or someone you know is faced with a pipe burst, the experts at SERVPRO can help to mitigate the damage and restore your home!

Sources:

http://www.policyexpert.co.uk/insurance-blog/house-home/pipes-burst-freeze/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/what-to-do-if-a-frozen-pipe-bursts-in-your-home/2015/02/19/af9b87be-b857-11e4-aa05-1ce812b3fdd2_story.html

Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 2: Thawing Frozen Pipes

1/5/2016 (Permalink)

Act quickly if you discover frozen pipes in your home to avoid the damage that pipe bursts can cause.

Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 2: Thawing Frozen Pipes

In the previous blog post, we discussed how to prevent frozen pipes in order to avoid a pipe burst. If a frozen pipe occurs despite your best efforts at prevention, there are still steps that you can take to thaw the affected pipe before a burst occurs and the situation becomes a much bigger issue. You will notice a pipe may have frozen when after turning on a tap no water or a very small trickle comes out.

  • The first thing you should do is turn off the main water supply. If you don’t already know where your main water supply is, locate it now in order to be able to act quickly if you ever find yourself in a situation where your pipes have frozen.
  •  Locate the frozen pipe by turning on taps one at a time to see if water flows out. If water flows in all areas of the house except for one, trace the line from the blocked faucet to areas that may be more exposed to cold. If water does not flow out of any of the taps, the frozen pipe may be located near the water meter.
  • Once you have located the affected area, use a blow dryer, heat lamp, or other heat source to apply heat to the affected area. Do NOT use a blowtorch or any other device with an open flame.
  • Keep the faucet open and apply heat from the open tap toward the blockage. Continue to apply heat until the water flows from the faucet at normal pressure.
  • If you are struggling to find the blockage or are unsure if the pipe is clearing properly, contact a plumber.

Even during a close call with a frozen pipe, if you follow these steps and put the preventative tips from the previous blog post into action, you can boost your chances of avoiding water damage to your home due to a pipe burst.

Sources:

http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-advice/thawing-frozen-pipes.shtml

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes

Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 1: Preventing Frozen Pipes during Winter Months

12/15/2015 (Permalink)

Damage that occurred as a result of a pipe burst due to a frozen pipe.

Frozen pipes can mean big problems for your home. As water freezes, it expands and can exert up to 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch! That pressure can cause pipes to burst and water to flow into your home, potentially causing extensive damage.

Taking preventative measures during the cold winter months is the best course of action to avoid frozen pipe bursts. The pipes that are most susceptible to freezing are those that are outdoors, are exposed to exterior walls, or are in unheated areas like under cabinets or in attics or crawl spaces. In order to prevent frozen pipes in those areas, follow these tips:

  • Drain water from hoses, water sprinklers, and other outdoor lines when the weather starts to cool down and they will no longer be in use.
  • On particularly cold days, open cabinet doors to allow warm air to flow around pipes and turn on the taps slightly to allow a slow drip to run through the faucets.
  • Make sure that there is insulation present in areas around pipes that are more susceptible to cold weather.
  • Consider installing heating cable, heating tape, newspaper, or another form of insulation around exposed pipes.
  • If you are leaving for vacation, don’t set the temperature any lower than 55°F.

Putting these tips into practice will significantly reduce your chances of having a pipe freeze in your home, and thereby, avoid the larger and much more costly and inconvenient problem of a pipe burst.

Sources:

http://homerepair.about.com/od/plumbingrepair/ss/thaw_frzn_pipe.htm#step1

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

12/4/2015 (Permalink)

Be safe this holiday season!

As the holiday season approaches, so does the peak time of year for cooking and candle fires. Cooking equipment is the number one cause of home and workplace fires. Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve are the three peak days for cooking fires. Candle fires peak on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve. SERVPRO reminds you and your family to stay safe this holiday season by following these fire safety tips:

Cooking Safety Tips

· Be especially careful when frying food. Frying is the greatest fire risk.

· Be aware that electric ranges cause more fires than gas ranges.

· Never leave cooking unattended. Unattended cooking causes 90% of kitchen fires.

· Clean thoroughly to prevent grease buildup.

Candle Safety Tips

· Please candles a safe distance from flammable objects. The leading cause of candle fires is placing candles too close to something that can burn, such as curtains or furniture.

· Do not leave candles unattended.

Smoke Detector Safety Tips

· Test smoke detectors once per month. Having working smoke alarms reduces one's chance of dying by fire by about half.

· Change batteries twice per year.

· Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.

· Be sure you have smoke detectors on each level of the home and placed near or inside each bedroom at a high point in the room.

Fire Extinguisher Safety Tips

· Follow the acronym P.A.S.S. – Pull the pin, Aim at the base, Squeeze the lever, & Sweep from side to side

· The best type of fire extinguisher for home use is a multipurpose "ABC" extinguisher, which uses a dry powder that is able to put out most types of fires.

· Fire extinguishers should be placed in plain sight close to ground level in areas of the home that are more prone to fires, such as the kitchen and garage.

· Keep a fire extinguisher in each occupied bedroom to help you and your family escape if a fire occurs during the night.

· Although fire extinguishers should last for 5-15 years, check the gauge regularly to make sure the needle is in the green area and inspect the pin, hose, and handle periodically.

Sources:

Akron Fire Department General Fire Safety presentation materials

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/cooking

http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/candles

SERVPRO Offers GREEN CLEANING

3/16/2015 (Permalink)

Did you know SERVPRO® offers “GREEN” alternatives for some of our products? SERVPRO® is a proud member of the EPA’s Design for Environment initiative (EPA/DFE). The EPA/DFE has established set criteria for formulating environmentally friendly cleaning products. The initiative is designed to allow chemical formulators (such as our very own in-house chemists) a resource to formulate environmentally friendly cleaning products using environmentally friendly raw materials.

Some of the "Green" products SERVPRO® offers are:

Benefect® Botanical Disinfectant

SERVPRO® All Surface Green Clean

SERVPRO® Carpet & Upholstery Green Clean

SERVPRO® Window Green Clean

Contact us for more product information! 

Prevent Christmas Tree Fires This Holiday Season!

12/9/2014 (Permalink)

Christmas tree safety tips

From the National Fire Protection Association: http://www.nfpa.org/ 

Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer.

Picking the tree

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1" - 2" from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the tree

  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas

  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

Tips for Winterizing Your Home!

11/3/2014 (Permalink)

Winterize Now So Pipes Don't Freeze This Winter!

Cold Weather can have a huge impact on businesses and homes that aren’t protected. Heavy precipitation, freezing temperatures and damaging winds can all have a negative impact on your property. To help avoid costly and time-consuming damages due to the weather, consider the following tips while winterizing this year:

  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or un-insulated areas of your home and/or business.
  • Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shut off valve in the basement 
    or crawl space and turn it to “off”.
  • If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shut off. 
  • Do's and Don'ts to follow after a Flood or other Water Loss

    9/8/2014 (Permalink)

    By following these steps before water mitigation begins, you can take great steps to avoid further property damage in your wet basement or other area

    The period after a large storm or flood is often a hectic and confusing time.  While waiting for SERVPRO to arrive to perform water damage or flood cleanup, here are some simple do’s and don’ts to follow until help arrives.  By following these steps before water mitigation begins, you can take great steps to avoid further property damage in your wet basement or other areas of your home:

    For CLEAN Water Losses

    DO

    1.       Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.

    2.       Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.

    3.       Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.

    4.       Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.

    5.       Remove ad prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.

    6.       Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.

    7.       Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.

    8.       Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors.

    9.       Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors.

    10.   Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.

    DON’T

    1.       Enter rooms with standing water where electrical hazards may exist.

    2.       Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water.  Always avoid electrical shock hazards.

    3.       Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining.

    4.       Leave Oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining.

    5.       Use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.

    6.       Use TV’s or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.

    7.       Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

    Additional Information for CONTAMINATED Water Losses

    DO

    1.       Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.

    2.       Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with contaminated items.

    DON’T

    1.       Spread contaminated water by walking unnecessarily on damaged or wet areas.

    2.       Turn on the HVAC system is there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.

    3.       Use household fans to dry the structure and spread contaminants.

    4.       Use products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated area.

    September 1 Starts National Preparedness Month

    9/2/2014 (Permalink)

    Today is the first day of National Preparedness Month! This week will focus on How To reconnect with your family after a disaster? Make sure your family has a family emergency communication plan. How will you reconnect with each other? Where will you meet? What if your neighborhood is being evacuated? Communicating with your friends and family when a disaster occurs is important to make sure everyone is safe. This is why having both an evacuation and communication plan is important. Have peace of mind when a disaster strikes and create your evacuation and emergency communication plans. Ready to make a plan? Start today by visiting http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

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