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How To Keep Your Business Safe During a Storm

4/7/2021 (Permalink)

desk, two chair and a wet carpet of an office. Concept of water damage in an office Severe weather can cause damage to your building.

Prepare For Any Severe Weather Coming Your Way

A severe rainstorm in Zachary, LA, can be a threat to your commercial building if you are not properly prepared. Use these tips to help stay alert and prepared for any severe weather that may come your way.

Get Prepared
It’s important to prepare yourself if you know a storm is coming. Staying up to date on the weather using an app on your phone or a local news station can help you know when to expect severe weather.
It’s important to know the difference between a severe weather watch versus a warning to stay properly prepared. A watch means that conditions that could cause severe weather are expected, while a warning means that meteorologists have already spotted a severe storm.
Some signs of a severe storm include:

  • large and puffy cumulus clouds
  • darkening skies
  • a sudden drop in temperature
  • sudden change in wind direction

If you notice any of these signs, distant rumbles of thunder or lightning, it means a thunder or rainstorm may be approaching.

Secure Your Building
If a storm is coming, it’s important to make sure that your building is secure to avoid damages. This may include things like trimming trees to get rid of dead or rotting branches that can cause damage during periods of high winds. Any fixtures outside that may get blown away should be gathered up and moved to a safe place. Get all employees inside and make sure any windows and doors are locked or securely shut. If you know there is a thunderstorm coming, unplug any unnecessary electronics to prevent damage from lightning.

Endure the Storm Safely
During a severe rainstorm, your most important concern should be keeping yourself and your employees safe. This means keeping everyone away from windows or skylights and avoiding plumbing fixtures that may conduct electricity. If you live in an area that has frequent severe weather, it may be beneficial to have policies and procedures for your commercial building during storms so that all your employees stay safe.
Keep your business safe during severe weather with these tips.

Tips for Using a Home Fire Extinguisher

3/24/2021 (Permalink)

Fire extinguisher instruction labels set. Instruction extinguisher and protection of fire with extinguisher illustration The acronym P.A.S.S. can help you remember how to use an extinguisher.

Tips For Utilizing Extinguishers Correctly

Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. This tool can help you put out a kitchen fire before it spreads. Here are some tips for utilizing extinguishers correctly.

1. Make an Evacuation Plan
Before you get too close to the fire, determine exactly how you will escape the room if the blaze becomes too big for you to handle. Make sure that no heat, smoke or fire comes between you and your chosen evacuation path.

2. Pick the Right Extinguisher
Different fires require different types of extinguishers. Water or class A extinguishers are designed for ordinary combustibles such as plastic, cloth, paper, rubber and wood. Class B extinguishers utilize carbon dioxide and work best on flammable liquids, including grease, gasoline and oil. Electrical fires require Class C extinguishers, which utilize dry chemicals.
Of course, when you spot flames in your home, you do not always have time to figure out the correct fire extinguisher to use. Ideally, you should keep a multipurpose extinguisher in your house, as it works on fires caused by combustibles, flammable liquids or electrical equipment.

3. Use the P.A.S.S. Technique
The acronym P.A.S.S. can help you remember how to use an extinguisher. You just Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle and Sweep the extinguisher from side to side.

4. Know When To Evacuate
Most importantly, do not be a hero when trying to put out the fire. If the flames take up more than 60 square feet, if you feel radiating heat on your exposed skin, or if you have trouble breathing due to excess smoke, evacuate the house immediately. Contact firefighters to extinguish the blaze and fire damage cleanup specialists to restore your Baker, LA, home.
You can try to suppress a blaze using a fire extinguisher. Make sure you pick an extinguisher designed for the type of fire in your home. If the flames get out of control, evacuate immediately and let the professionals handle the situation.

Why Insurers Appreciate Electronic Claims Services

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

Electronic insurance claim form Electronic insurance claims.

Insurance companies process many claims every day, some of which are easier and faster to approve than others. The availability of accurate information about property damage is a determining factor for the speed and ultimate success of insurance claim approval. Find out how the SERVPRO Claims Information Center can support damage claims for properties located in Monticello, LA.

Reliable Access To Information

Insurance agents and adjusters must be able to access information about property damage to process a claim. All of the following elements should be included in a job file:

  • First notice of loss
  • Documentation of damage
  • Forms and paperwork
  • An itemized estimate

A notice of loss is required to file an insurance claim, as is documentation of damage taken prior to mitigation. The Claims Information Center makes all of this information available upon processing by a restoration franchise. These digitized materials and other helpful resources can be accessed online at any time through the same convenient service.

Faster Job Progress Updates
As certified professionals make progress on mitigating, cleaning and restoring damage, information about ongoing work is also updated on the Claims Information Center. An insurance agent or adjuster can check in on the status of a job at any time during claim processing.

Industry Standard Performance Comparisons
One of the best features of working with a large restoration company is the availability of information from other jobs in the same area and nationwide. Insurers can compare the performance of a franchise location to industry standards for damage restoration work.
The accuracy and availability of information are the two most important factors for successfully settling any insurance claim. Property owners may prefer to retain the services of restoration professionals who use electronic claims services for restoring homes or commercial buildings in Monticello, LA, and most insurers seek out Preferred Vendors with access to the SERVPRO Claims Information Center.

3 Steps To Take When Your Basement Floods

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. A visible line is showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. A flooded basement needs to be dealt with quickly so you can keep your house safe.

3 Steps To Take When Your Basement Floods

If you have flooding in your basement, you need to act quickly so your insurance coverage will pay for the damage. Here are the three steps you need to take when you find a wet basement.

1. Ensure You Can Safely Enter the Basement
Anytime you notice a basement flood, you need to think about how high the water level is and if it could have an electrical current. Therefore, before entering any standing water, turn off your electrical breaker. If you don't do this, you could be electrocuted. If you cannot turn off the breaker due to the water, you must immediately call a water mitigation company. Aside from this, be on the lookout for harmful contaminants, such as sewage. Consider that a building has been structurally damaged due to the water and needs to be evacuated immediately.

2. Find the Water Source
When your basement flood is safe to enter, you must locate the source of water. This is the most challenging step. Be sure to check all potential sources and turn off your water supply if it is an internal factor. Some of the most common sources you should look for include natural disasters, sewer backups, sump pump problems, grading issues, foundation cracks, worn sealing, structural damage, and plumbing leaks.

3. Make the Necessary Calls
After identifying the water source for your basement flood, call a cleanup crew. There are many different companies in Baton Rouge, LA, to choose from. Go with the one that can provide you immediate, quality assistance. The next call you make should be to your insurance agent to determine if your policy will cover the damage. If the water source is a city sewer line, call your local municipality to report the incident.
A flooded basement needs to be dealt with quickly so you can keep your house safe. These steps help you handle the situation appropriately, ensure your safety, and minimize your home's damage.

3 Things That Can Accidentally Activate Your Fire Sprinklers

2/10/2021 (Permalink)

Active fire sprinkler It is best if you know the most common triggers of these systems.

Common Reasons Fire Sprinklers Activate

Fire sprinklers are among the most common fire suppression methods in commercial buildings in Zachary, LA. While they are a great option, they have the potential to activate accidentally. Modern sprinklers are sturdier than their predecessors, but they can still activate unexpectedly. When this does happen, it can result in water flooding a building and demanding that the company hire water restoration professionals. Here are some of the most common reasons these systems are triggered.

1. Freezing Temperatures
Traditional systems are connected to your water lines and can freeze. If the water inside the pipes freezes, it puts a lot of pressure on the valves that keep the water from flooding a building unnecessarily. This damages the valves and lets water leak out once the pipes thaw. This generally only happens in uninsulated pipes.

2. Corrosion
Older sprinklers can break down from corrosion. As this happens, the valve that lets water out through the heads gets weaker and can be triggered easier. Generally, regular maintenance can reduce the chances of corrosion being an issue. However, since oxygen and water are the main cause of rust, corrosion is not impossible, even on well-maintained systems.

3. Overheating Near the Heads
Sprinkler systems automatically dispense water when they sense heat. Therefore, if they are too close to a source of heat, they can go off accidentally. For instance, if a head is situated too close to a skylight that lets the warm sun through, you can have a soggy situation. Fortunately, these systems are becoming more sophisticated, making for less of an issue in newer sprinklers.
Sometimes, sprinklers can be accidentally activated, causing flooding in a business. The result is a lot of water damage in your building. Therefore, it is best if you know the most common triggers of these systems. This helps you understand a potential threat and protect your business.

Leaking Roof? Beware of Mold

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

Peeling paint on an interior ceiling a result of water damage Roof leaks may lead to a major problem to your commercial building

As a business owner in Baker, LA, your daily to-do list may seem endless. Ensuring maintenance of the property may be easy to overlook, but even a minor roof leak may quickly lead to reprioritizing your list. While a mold remediation and restoration company is trained to eliminate black mold and restore the property, avoiding it altogether is a better alternative.

Types of Growth

Unfortunately, small leaks may go undetected. Since this pesky fungus only needs around 24 to 48 hours to start forming, it may have already spread into a big problem. For commercial properties, there are two main types of black mold growth that a leaking roof can cause:

  • Systemic Growth: If moisture has built up for an extended period of time, the growth may have spread to the entire attic under the roof. This requires more extensive remediation.
  • Limited Growth: If there is enough ventilation or the problem has been discovered soon enough, the moisture accumulation may be minimized to the affected area. With it being more contained, the cleanup process is typically much easier to address.

Prevention Tips
While a ceiling leak is a sure sign of a problem, that often takes time to happen. In many cases, the problem isn’t discovered until the damage has already happened. Along with having the roof inspected for potential issues or replacement if is a few decades old, general maintenance helps prevent problems and makes the roof last longer.

  • Remove any debris that has settled on the roof to avoid damage.
  • Regularly have gutters and downspouts cleaned to prevent water from pooling.
  • If the property is near a tree, ensure overhanging branches are trimmed back.

Being faced with black mold means time and money spent on cleanup. While the right conditions may make it hard to avoid, being proactive and addressing any roof issues helps minimize the chances of a problem.

4 Messy Water Issues You Could Have To Deal With in Your Home

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

Clogged sink pipe Clogged pipes are a common problem for homes

Types of Water Problems

Water is wonderful when it is in lakes, rivers, oceans, and pipes, but when it is released into your home in Baton Rouge, LA, it can be a big problem. You might be headed off to work and the next thing you know you have dirty water on the floor from a toilet or shower. Fortunately, you can always find professional help in the realm of an emergency restoration company that specializes in sewage cleaning and other water issues. Trained technicians can help when you have to deal with many types of water problems.

1. Toilet Overflow. This is a common problem in homes throughout the country. The causes are many, from a plugged commode to a leaky base, but the situation is basically the same: contaminated water on your floor. Because the water might contain unhealthy substances, it is best to call a company experienced in sewage cleaning. The experts will wear PPE, clean up the water and address the cause of the overflow.

2. Shower Problem. This too can come in many forms. One interesting occurrence is when you are taking a shower and the toilet spills over at the same time. This is caused by a clog between the toilet and the shower and should be addressed quickly with a water cleanup and a pipe repair.

3. Flooding Issue. When water comes into your home from outside, it is smart to take extra precautions. Flood water should be considered an emergency water event due to the possibility of dangerous substances being present.

4. Clogged Pipe. This is a common problem for homes and one you probably have seen before. To fix, it is important to clean up any escaped water and to repair the issue with the plumbing system.
A number of disasters can happen in your home that requires professional sewage cleaning services. A fast response protects your property and the people you love.

Smoke Damage in Commercial Buildings Usually Requires Professional Help

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

Before and after picture of a restaurant damaged by fire Smoke cleanup services in Baker, LA

Fires are by nature a destructive event. Probably worse than the fire itself is the smoke damage, which will spread much further than the burn damage. A small fire in Baker, LA, can release an incredible amount of smoke, which tends to get into every nook and cranny.
If the damage is extremely isolated and there’s no soot damage, you may be able to clean it yourself. Once a sooty residue is left behind or the damage has gone beyond a single room, you’ll certainly need the best professional smoke cleaning available.

Very Small Cleanups Are Possible In-House

A tiny fire, such as something burning on a stove that’s quickly extinguished, can be handled by your employees. There are a few cleaners that will work:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Vinegar
  • Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)
  • Bleach

The best bet is usually TSP and water. Mix 1 tablespoon of TSP into a gallon of water and wipe off the smoke damage. You can add a cup of bleach for the best smoke cleaning, but don’t use bleach on items that aren’t colorfast, such as fabrics and drywall.

Heavy Cleaning Requires Certified Cleanup Specialists
Smoke is a really nasty substance. It’s oily and acidic and the tiny particles can get places that aren’t protected, including inside electronics and appliances. It can contain toxic elements and it’ll leave stains on many surfaces. Specialized equipment and solvents are needed for significant damage.
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the national organization that certifies select local restoration experts in Baker, LA. Companies that meet the standards have technicians who must attend a smoke cleanup and restoration course and pass an exam.
Soot is very sticky and can be impossible to clean without dangerous cleaning agents restricted to those who are trained to use them. Furniture and clothing can often be saved by using IICRC approved methods to remove soot damage. The more absorbent materials are, the harder they are to clean, so expert help is essential. SERVPRO eliminates smoke damage and leaves your business “Like it never even happened.”

3 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Property Managers

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blue Cape Cod Style Suburban Home Board up Board up your property

3 Hurricane Preparedness Tips for Property Managers

Even the most conscientious of property managers can not completely avoid the chance of hurricane damage. However, these three tips can help get your property ready to withstand hurricane season with as little damage as possible.

1. Gather Information
Circumstances can quickly become chaotic in the wake of a major hurricane, so it is a wise hurricane preparedness step to gather together all of the information you will need before a hurricane happens. Make sure you have the latest contact information for all of your renters. Update service providers, such as roofers, general contractors, and storm restoration services in Monticello, LA, in your system. Attempt to negotiate priority clauses with any service providers that you don't already have an agreement with.

2. Draft Your Hurricane Plan
Your plan should include detailed information on which employees have which responsibilities in the event of hurricane damage. There should be contingencies for employees who are unable to perform their jobs due to the after-effects of the storm. Critical responsibilities should not be placed with employees who live in high-risk areas. The plan should also address preparedness steps, such as boarding up the property, placing sandbags and storm shutters. Share your plan with your employees and your renters so that they know what to expect.

3. Help Tenants Prepare
Whether this is your tenants' first hurricane or they are old-hands, panic can set in if tenants are not properly prepared by the property management. Explain your county's evacuation plan. Encourage renters to have their own hurricane plan ready. Remind them what your policies on storm preparation and repairs are. Make sure they know which preparation and repair steps they are responsible for and which they should let your team handle.
Preparing for hurricane damage is an important task for property managers in areas at high-risk for hurricanes. The better prepared you are, the better you will be able to protect your property, employees, and tenants.

What Factors Impact the Speed of Mold Growth After Water Damage?

12/14/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wall due to humidity Mold growth in Baton Rouge, LA

What Factors Impact the Speed of Mold Growth After Water Damage?

If your commercial building has sustained water damage of any type in Baton Rouge, LA, it's important to act as quickly as safely possible. Mold can begin to appear within 24-48 hours after the water event occurred. Since you can't possibly tackle everything at once, the important question is: does mold grow at the same rate on every surface? Knowing what factors impact the rate of mold growth will help you to establish a plan for having the mold cleaned up. Keep in mind that with so many types of mold, it's important to leave mold clean up to a trained mold removal and remediation specialist who knows how to safely assess the extent of damage that has occurred.

1. Building Material Composition
Different types of materials are more or less susceptible to rapid mold growth depending on their composition. Natural building materials provide a nutrient source that promotes the growth and spread of mold. Porous materials such as drywall and insulation can also provide food sources for mold since they trap moisture and dust.

2. Water Activity
If you've had a flood, whether due to a natural disaster or a burst pipe, it's pretty obvious that since your space has water damage, there's a good environment for mold growth. However, even high humidity levels can cause mold to grow in your building. Mold prevention in these spaces usually involves running a dehumidifier and checking for places where water may be penetrating the building, such as around windows, under doors, and around pipes.

3. Temperature
Mold will grow the most rapidly at its ideal temperature, which is about 77 degrees Fahrenheit, though certain types can still grow at temperatures as low as 19 degrees. By maintaining a consistent temperature and humidity level, you can prevent mold-friendly environments.
There are a few factors that contribute to the speed at which mold grows even after water damage has occurred. Acting quickly can help to mitigate major problems for your business.