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Commercial Property Fire: Important Considerations After a Fire

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

After your commercial or multifamily property experiences a fire, your brain will likely be going a mile a minute trying to figure out the next steps. Though the apparent structural damage will bring about thoughts of roof repair and rebuilding, there are other important considerations to make before the initial fire cleanup and restoration.

1. Safety and Self-Evaluation

The safety of employees, tenants and you are paramount after experiencing a fire disaster. After calling emergency services, you should be most concerned with getting everyone out of the building because the structural integrity of the property is most assuredly in question. Standard practices of fire safety should also be followed. For example, you should avoid drinking, eating or breathing in anything that has contacted soot, fire or smoke.

2. Financial and Insurance Contacts

You should immediately call your insurance company, mortgage lender and credit card institutions before starting any fire cleanup. Calling your insurance provider will ensure that the claims process begins immediately. Calling your mortgage lender will also help in getting through the bureaucratic procedures. Finally, if you lost any credit cards in the fire, you will be able to get replacements mailed to you sooner by notifying them.

3. Restoration Services

After ensuring your safety and making all the necessary contacts, you can begin the cleanup and mitigation process. As fires often create extensive damage, this process is better left to fire remediation specialists in the Auburn, WA , area. These services help to streamline the operations of mitigation, offering board up and tarp services, and restoration, ensuring that your property is functional as quickly as possible.

While the experience of a fire and the resulting damage can be devastating and emotionally taxing, it is necessary to keep your wits about you. Between general safety and financial obligations, you will need to focus on the process ahead. Thankfully, fire remediation services will help to restore your facility through the fire cleanup and restoration process.

Reducing the Risk of Household Appliances Causing Water Damage

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

Regular Maintenance Can Prevent Potential Damage

It is not just burst pipes, flooding, and storms that can cause water damage to your home; faulty appliances also have the potential to cause significant problems. Dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters and refrigerators are some of the usual culprits in the home. However, there are measures you can take to significantly reduce the risk of them leaking and causing water damage to your property.

Check the Hoses

One of the most common causes of appliances causing water damage is the failure, damage or blockage of hoses. Both dishwashers and washing machines have hoses connected to them as they are water-drawing appliances. It is important to check the hoses regularly for degrading, cracks or blockages before further problems are caused. Realistically, hoses need replacing every three years.

Identify and Check Water Valves

You should make sure that everyone in the house knows where the main water valve and the water valves for each appliance are located. If a leak does occur, it can be dealt with swiftly by turning off the water. It is also important to check that the valves open and close correctly. SERVPRO® is often called out by people who have just returned home to find a flood or leak after a vacation or weekend away. A preventative measure you can take is to turn off the valves before you leave home.

Drains, Pumps, and Filters

Depending on the appliance, a piece of equipment may have drains, pumps or filters. Each of these components may become blocked with debris over time, and this will disrupt or prevent the flow of water. In turn, this can result in leakages or the appliance may stop working altogether. Check for blockages and debris at least twice a year to keep these parts clear.

Contacting the Professionals

There are some occasions when you will not be able to rectify a problem, and it is important you know when you need to call a professional rather than attempt to resolve an issue yourself. If your appliance has a warranty, then a qualified engineer will come to identify any problems and either fix or replace the parts as necessary. It is well worth considering an extended warranty, so your appliance is covered for longer. Having faults repaired quickly will minimize the chances of needing to use our services at SERVPRO® to tackle water damage. Although these tips reduce the risk of problems with household appliances, there is still the possibility of a fault or leak occurring that results in water damage to your home. In the event of this happening, contact SERVPRO of Auburn/Enumclaw as soon as possible at (253) 848-0800. Once you have described your emergency, our team of experts will visit you to assess the damage and begin restorative work as soon as possible.

What To Do If You Do Not Have Flood Insurance

8/10/2020 (Permalink)

Flood insurance form on a table with a book. Double check your need for flood coverage

Many people who live far from major waterways assume that they do not need flood insurance. But with increasingly unpredictable weather in recent years, homes that are not on a flood plain can also be inundated. Even a few inches of water in your house is enough to cause major damage.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get help if you experience flooding but do not have insurance in Pacific, WA. There are also good reasons to consider insuring your home against flooding even if you have never thought it necessary.

What To When Your Home Is Damaged by a Flood

If water ravages your home but you don't have insurance that covers floods, there are three steps to take:

  • Consult the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine whether your home is in a declared federal disaster zone.
  • If it is, make an appointment with a FEMA inspector to visit your home and assess the damage as soon as possible.
  • Look for companies in Pacific, WA, that specialize in flood mitigation and restoration.
  • Even if you initiate the cleanup process, you can apply for reimbursement.

Why You Should Reconsider Flood Insurance
Even if you are confident that you live far from a flood plain, it is worth double-checking your need for flood coverage. On FEMA’s website, you can enter your address and see the agency’s assessment of the flood risk near you. You may be surprised at how close some waterways are to your family’s most valuable asset.

How To Stay Safe, Not Sorry
It's comforting that the federal government can assist in the event of an unexpected deluge. But if you are not in a declared disaster zone, you may not get the help you need.
Water is one of the most powerful forces on earth and can have serious consequences if it gets into your home, yet most homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program can be less than $500 per year, and some private insurance companies also offer flood-related insurance. It is an additional expense, but in today’s unpredictable world, the peace of mind may be worth it.

Signs Your House May Have a Mold Problem

7/29/2020 (Permalink)

Mold behind wall Mold damage behind a wall in a Diamond, WA home

How To Tell If There Is an Issue?

Do you know if you have mold contamination in your home? What are the signs of such a disaster? Is there mold lurking in your HVAC system or ductwork? Mold remediation companies in Black Diamond, WA, can help you determine if there is a problem, and if there is, they will help you remove it, but how do you tell if there is an issue?

Smell
Appearance
Building Symptoms

Smell
Mold has a unique smell. It is musty. Many people associate the smell of mold with the scent of dirt crawlspaces. The reason mold is connected to a musty odor is that it thrives in humid and damp environments. If your home is often humid, and you smell mustiness, then consider having your space tested.

Appearance
The surest sign of mold contamination is the appearance of mold. If you see dark staining around your ducts, or if you notice colorful patches appearing on a wall behind your washer, you may have mold. Mold differs from mildew. It has a 3D texture to it, and it seems almost soft. It can come in several colors, green, black, yellow, gray, etc.

Building Symptoms
Building materials often succumb to an infestation in standard ways. For example, you may notice drywall appearing brittle; insulation can change color, appearing dirty. Be especially observant of potential changes in porous items, because mold tends to root deep. Often the visibility of mold means there is a more significant problem. A mold remediation specialist can provide a more detailed explanation of residential warning signs.
Mold contamination is a common household problem, especially in humid climates. You need to be diligent about acknowledging the signs and symptoms of mold to respond quickly before an infestation spreads. If you suspect you have a mold problem in your home, then contact a remediation company in your area and ask if they offer to test.

Understanding How Fire Sprinklers Work

7/12/2020 (Permalink)

Automatic ceiling Fire Sprinkler in red water pipe System A fire sprinkler system is connected to a network of pipes that are filled with water

As a commercial property owner, not only should you have property insurance that covers damages and losses due to a fire, but you should also have fire suppression measures in place. From fire extinguishers to hoses to sprinkler systems, your building should have these items as part of an overall fire safety plan. If a blaze breaks out in your property in Enumclaw, WA, you’ll feel better having an automatic fire sprinkler system that immediately kicks in to minimize damage through extinguishment and limiting the spread of smoke.

The Benefits of Fire Sprinklers

You might think having extinguishers is good enough for minimizing damage. You might also think that the proximity of your property to a fire station eliminates the need for suppression measures. A fire sprinkler system is connected to a network of pipes that are filled with water, so it can immediately begin quenching flames when detected. This system isn’t triggered by smoke, but rather by the high air temperature caused by fire. These sprinklers react quickly and can either fully extinguish any fires or limit the spread and damage long before firefighters reach the location of the blaze. Contrary to what you might think, you don’t have to worry about the following with a fire sprinkler:

  • Significant water damage from accidental operation
  • Sprinkler activation by smoke
  • The wrong sprinkler being triggered by flames

In the event of a blaze, the nearest sprinklers will engage to extinguish the flames.

Post-Fire Restoration
After an accident, you should consult a qualified provider of fire sprinkler cleanup services. A professional commercial restoration service can quickly clean up any damage from fire or water, bringing your property back to pre-fire and pre-water conditions. A rapid recovery helps to minimize your total damages and potentially reduce the amount of your claim. The faster the cleanup process goes, the less interruption and impact to your business operations.

Smart Ways to Prepare for Flood Response

7/10/2020 (Permalink)

Wise companies know that emergency response is an important aspect of maintaining a productive business. You probably practice fire drills and even teach your employees basic first aid. However, do you have plans in place to react to flooding in the building? If you haven’t addressed this situation yet, now is the time.

The Possible Consequences

Water issues are nothing to take lightly. Flood damage can threaten your business’s viability and even harm employees. If you aren’t prepared, the following could affect your company:

  • Loss of work days due to relocation or shutdown
  • Loss of equipment or files
  • Unhealthy atmosphere for workers

Proper Maintenance

The first thing you can do is help prevent flooding by ensuring systems and processes work properly. Inspect the plumbing in your Auburn, WA, building each year, or more often if your facility is older. Check the rain gutters and downspouts and make sure they divert water away from the foundation. Have a flood response specialist identify any sewage concerns with the main lines coming into your office.

Have a Backup Plan

You no doubt have sensitive files and data on your computers and servers. Water can wreak havoc on electronics, which could destroy this valuable information. Make sure you back up all essential data on the cloud.

Have a Business Continuity Plan

A flood at work could be minor and do little to interrupt your daily activities. However, in more significant incidents such as when black water comes onto the premises, you could be out of the office for weeks or even months. Make sure you have a plan to keep your business running, whether this occurs in a secondary office or with employees working from home.

Act Now

If water does find its way into your workplace, contact a professional flood response and cleanup company without delay. This will help ensure efficient restoration.

Know what to do if you have flooding at work. Follow an effective plan.

Basement Flooding: What Your Insurance Covers

6/16/2020 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Flooded basement in Bayne Junction

Basement Flooding: What Your Insurance Covers

Flooded basements account for a large number of residential insurance claims. If you’ve descended your stairs only to discover a basement flood in your Bayne Junction, WA, home, you are suddenly tasked with protecting your property and scrambling to orchestrate a cleanup. It may help you move forward to understand what kind of reimbursement to expect from your insurance company.
Home water damage is addressed by two separate insurance areas, depending on the origin of the offending water. Your conventional homeowner’s insurance will generally cover the most common types of damage, but it’s important to understand the exceptions.

Conventional Insurance and Water Damage

Your homeowner’s policy will generally reimburse a portion of the cleanup and restoration costs for a basement flood, as long as the water originated from inside your home. These scenarios would likely be allowable for reimbursement:

  • A leaking appliance, such as a water heater or ice maker
  • A broken plumbing pipe
  • An overflowing toilet or bathtub

Water damage should be reported to your insurance agent right away, so you are informed of the coverage possibilities. If water entering from the exterior ground level caused your problem, your conventional policy will do you no good. You would need to have purchased a government-issued flood insurance policy.

Government Flood Insurance
A flood occurs when normally dry land is inundated with water or mud. If your basement flood was caused by exterior water, a specialized government flood policy would be needed to cover the damages. Flood insurance can be purchased from the US Government, though your insurance agent can broker the sale and answer any questions. Your agent or your local flood remediation service can help you determine your risk, which will inform your level of need for flood insurance.
Understanding water damage insurance coverage is essential to protecting your home from unwanted water. If you do have water damage, you are likely in the midst of a disruptive time. Being prepared with the proper insurance and resources may reduce your stress level and help you restore some normalcy to your home and your life.

Keeping Yourself Safe in the Kitchen

6/16/2020 (Permalink)

Cute little girl and her beautiful parents are smiling while cooking in kitchen at home Keep yourself safe in the kitchen

Kitchen Safety Tips

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, approximately 66% of home cooking fires occur because food or cooking substances light on fire. In these circumstances, people were just trying to make a nice meal when life had other plans. While some people may believe it's unavoidable, proactive choices could reduce the likelihood of such a catastrophe. With that in mind, homeowners in Oceola, WA, may want to understand the likely hazards of the kitchen. The following are three tips to help increase your kitchen safety.

1. Stay Organized
One reason for fire damage is chaos. If the chef tends to toss things about, it's likely they could become harmed. Place everything out before you begin, being cognizant of location. Utensils, clothing, plastic, and paper or cloth towels should remain at a distance from the oven.

2. Stick to One Spot
One of the most valuable tips is to stay put. Life gets hectic, but it's when eyes are elsewhere flames have the chance to spread. Therefore, avoid making dinner while you are juggling too many other things. Running to the laundry room or outdoors means the stove and food are unattended. If you are present, a quick response is possible. If you are in another space, though, you are allowing it to grow.

3. Watch Your Grease
Oil adds flavor, but it also drastically increases the rate of a grease fire. As the liquid's temperature shoots up, it can splatter on other materials. If it falls on the wrong object, it could burn it, starting sparks. If this does happen, remember water doesn't help in this situation. Instead, you try baking soda or salt. Fire extinguishers are also an option. Grab one from the nearest spot, spraying it low in a sweeping motion. Finally, if you have concerns, exit and call 911. The emergency workers and fire restoration company can handle the destruction.
Don't wait for disaster to strike. Instead, remain aware of the possibility of trouble, and use the tips to make sure house a bit safer.

The Value of Pretesting in the Restoration Process

6/16/2020 (Permalink)

Insurance adjuster inspecting abandoned building A pretest is one procedure that offers added value to the restoration process

The process of remediation of a water or fire disaster in Auburn, WA, has many components. Much depends on the nature and extent of the damage. Though highly-trained technicians follow a proven process, each situation is different. This requires the disaster mitigation team to call on its combined knowledge and experience. A SERVPRO franchise looks to save money and reduce expenses where possible through many different methods. Pretesting of items allows workers to determine whether an item impacted by fire or water damage is salvageable. If the item has received too much damage, it will need to be replaced. In certain conditions, though, the item can be restored. A restore versus replace philosophy is one way to save money on restoration.

How Pretesting Works

After water or fire damage, the mitigation team conducts an inspection and assessment of the property. Technicians will look at individual items such as clothing and furniture to determine their condition. They pretest selected contents to see if they can be restored. Promising objects may undergo one or more of the following cleaning methods:

  • Foam cleaning
  • Abrasive cleaning
  • Dry cleaning
  • Wet cleaning
  • Immersion cleaning

Items that can be restored help reduce the overall costs of the insurance claim. The goal is to restore the property and contents to excellent condition while keeping an eye on lowering costs.

Why Pretesting Matters
An insurance agent and a mitigation company have the responsibility of providing the best service to its customers. A pretest is one procedure that offers added value to the restoration process. A fast response to an emergency is also important, as is cleaning the property to the highest industry standards. When the job is done right the first time, all parties can feel more confident. Unpleasant odors will be removed. The likelihood of further problems such as mold growth will be reduced. A professional cleanup is what SERVPRO has done for over 50 years.

Dealing with Fire Damage in Your Auburn Home?

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

House fires only need a small spark near combustible materials to start burning a home's interior. Other times, arson plays a role.

Regardless of the cause, the damage sustained can be extensive and affect areas of a home that never caught on fire.

Smoke Damage

Residents in the Auburn area should know that fire damage is not the only problem with a house fire. Firefighters know the damaging and deadly effects of smoke, also. Smoke is known to be more deadly than the flames of a fire because smoke permeates everywhere while fire itself is unable to burn without consuming something. Flames are hot, making people move away from them, but smoke is harder to avoid. Only a small amount of smoke needs to be present to cause asphyxiation, especially when people remain asleep.

In addition to being capable of turning family heirlooms into charred pieces of garbage, fires produce smoke and soot of different qualities. These qualities depend greatly on the type of material that was consumed by the fire. Plastics and rubber-based items create possibly the worst and dirtiest of all kinds of smoke and soot when they are burning, with items made of wood producing the least harmful side-products when they are burned. However, everything that burns during a fire produces some amount of smoke, ash, and soot. Soot has an oily feel, and it clings to everything it touches, but at the same time, the microscopic abrasives that soot contains begin to cut into whatever it covers.

Soot Damage

SERVPRO of Auburn/ Enumclaw employees are trained in determining the different types of soot, and also in how each type needs to be cleaned from the surfaces of the multitude of possible materials in your home. When a house fire is happening, soot and ash are spread through the home and lands on everything. Cleaning soot is not an easy task, but we are experienced and knowledgeable in the most effective methods currently known, providing our customers with the best possible outcomes to a horrible situation.

Personal Belongings 

During the time we are restoring your home's interior, we also take the time to clean your family's personal belongings. Hard surfaces such as shelving where items were stored are cleared and then cleaned. Each item is replaced after being restored to a clean condition. While we might not replace items in their original location, we always attempt to return them to the same area. When items are damaged beyond repair or restoration, we discuss these situations with our customer before disposing of anything.

Other surfaces such as textiles might be laundered at our site, or cleaned and restored at your home. Each item is individually cared for in the best manner possible. We want to obtain the results that make everything “Like it never even happened.”