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Strategies to Help Business Owners Prepare for and Recover from Storm Damage

9/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County offers tips on how local businesses can weather storms in the Grandview, TX, area.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understands the economic impact storm damage in Grandview, TX, can have on local businesses. A major storm damage disaster that disrupts normal business operations affects the business, its employees, and its network of customers and vendors.

How Storm Damage Affects Businesses

  • Damages the structure, machinery, equipment, raw materials, and inventory
  • Disrupts the provision of products and services to customers, which can result in lost business
  • Interrupts the revenue stream and profitability of the company
  • Interferes with the employees’ ability to earn a living, causing some workers to seek employment elsewhere
  • Gives competitors the opportunity to capture market share and hire the trained, skilled, and experienced employees of the damaged business
  • Decreases the revenue of contractors, vendors, suppliers, and logistics

Storm Preparation and Recovery

Disaster preparation, response, and recovery are essential to mitigate the negative physical and economic impacts of storm damage on a business, its customers, its employees, its vendors, and the broader supply chain network.

The Insurance Information Institute reports, “No business is totally immune from disaster. Every year, businesses temporarily shut down—or close forever—because of a disaster such as a flood, fire or hurricane. Forty percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster and another 25 percent fail within one year, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).”

Business owners and managers can implement a proactive strategy to mitigate the negative impact of a disaster on business operations. Adequate insurance coverage is also very helpful.

Disaster Preparation

In areas vulnerable to hurricanes, tornadoes, derechos, and severe thunderstorms, households can prepare for such disasters with a comprehensive approach that includes:

  • stockpiling extra food, water, and emergency supplies such as batteries, medicine, and first aid items
  • formulating a survival and evacuation plan
  • becoming familiar with emergency resources.

Like homeowners, business owners must prepare for disruptive storms. For the business, though, the emphasis must be on restoring operations as swiftly as possible. The goal is to minimize losses and protect the revenue cycle. Adequate preparation for a disaster involves these basic steps.

Step 1: Formulate a written disaster recovery plan.

This business continuity plan outlines in detail how the management team and employees will respond to and recover from a disaster. This continuity plan may include an action step as drastic as relocation to a temporary facility.

This response and recovery plan should embrace the protection and recovery of the company’s non-tangible but very valuable assets such as its IP (intellectual property) and IT (information technology) infrastructure.

Step 2: Train employees.

Train and drill the workforce so that they are prepared to deal with a storm damage disaster.

Step 3: Store emergency supplies.

Collect an adequate supply of flashlights, fresh batteries, a first-aid kit, and walkie-talkies in case the power and communication grids temporarily collapse. Have a battery and solar-powered weather radio on hand to provide severe weather updates and alerts. Consider stocking food, water, and blankets for stranded employees. An emergency generator could be extremely useful if the power is unexpectedly interrupted.

Step 4: Maintain vital data offsite.

The resumption of business operations after a storm damage disaster requires access to critical business information. Offsite information storage should include information about employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, contracts, insurance policies, and more. Include an inventory of equipment, supplies, finished goods, and merchandise.

Disaster Response and Recovery

After a disaster, implement the disaster recovery plan. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, a damage restoration company will take these action steps as needed:

  • Secure the facility, including boarding up entry points if necessary.
  • Make temporary repairs to minimize further damage, including emergency tarping.
  • Relocate salvageable equipment and property to a safer area.
  • Document property damage. Include photos and video.
  • Clean up the damaged property. Workers should wear safety gear. Save damaged items in case the insurance adjuster needs to inspect them for a claim.
  • Initiate contact with the insurance company to begin the claims process.
  • Save receipts for all disaster-related expenses.

Once security and cleanup issues have been addressed, the focus should pivot to the restoration of business operations as laid out in the Disaster Recovery Plan.

As a locally owned and operated damage restoration company, the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County team is dedicated to assisting businesses that have been devastated by property damage. The goal is to clean and restore the damaged property so that the facility can resume normal business operations as soon as possible.

For more information about storm damage restoration in Grandview, TX, contact the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com

The Property Damage Consequences of Commercial Vandalism

9/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County warns local business owners that vandalism can lead to water, fire, and mold damage.

Vandalism can be an upsetting situation for a business to deal with, and even a simple act of vandalism can lead to devastating water damage, fire damage, or mold damage that requires the services of a damage restoration company for cleanup and remediation. Acts of vandalism can range from a petty prank to extensive destruction of property and inventory. Not all vandalism occurs because of malicious intent; for instance, graffiti can be a skilled work of artistic expression, yet the spray paint still has to be removed to comply with city or county ordinances.

Commercial property owners need to be aware of the ways that vandalism can directly or indirectly lead to commercial water damage and fire damage. SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County is highlighting the wider property damage consequences that vandalism can have on a commercial facility.

Broken Windows

When a window is broken, water can intrude into the building. If the window was shattered during rainfall or a thunderstorm, a large amount of water could enter the facility before the property owner or the employees are able to deal with the broken window. Addressing the issue promptly is essential since a makeshift patch or cover for the window may not completely stop water intrusion.

If a broken window does lead to water intrusion, the property owner should engage the services of a restoration company to remediate the water damage. Letting the water pool on the floor or failing to remove all of the moisture increases the possibility of a mold infestation, which could spread to the business’ inventory and lead to expensive losses.

Fire Sprinkler System Vandalism

Like the broken window scenario, a sprinkler system intentionally set off by a vandal can cause water and mold damage, as well as ruined inventory. Data from the American Fire Sprinkler Association reveals that quick response-style sprinklers release around eight to twenty-four gallons of water each minute, creating a deluge for the business owner to deal with.

Arson

Examples of arson include dumpster fires, garbage can fires, and the use of improvised incendiary devices such as Molotov cocktails. Fire damage is frequently accompanied by several other problems, including smoke damage, water damage, and mold damage.

Biohazard Situation

If biohazardous materials come in contact with a commercial facility during an act of vandalism, employees and customers could face serious health effects if the situation is not dealt with quickly and safely. Dangerous contaminants necessitate the services of a cleanup company that is equipped with the proper equipment, personal protective gear, and training to clean the building.

DIY Graffiti Cleanup

After a commercial property is graffitied, the property owner or the employees may attempt to use a pressure washer to remove graffiti. However, this DIY project could end in disaster. People who are not trained in pressure washing techniques might try to clean surfaces that should not be pressure washed, such as windows. As mentioned above, a shattered window can allow water to gush into the building and cause damage.

The Safest Option for Vandalism Cleanup: Hire a Damage Restoration Company

A reputable, professional company will have all the necessary certifications to complete the work and will be properly licensed and insured in order to protect the commercial client from the expenses of litigation.

A rapid response to commercial vandalism helps minimize the scope of any water or fire damage, as well as secondary damage. The team at SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County will jump into action when the client contacts the company for damage restoration and cleanup services. Technicians will quickly clean up vandalism and graffiti and remediate any damage resulting from the act of vandalism. Not only can SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County remove spray paint from exterior walls, but the company can also safely clean a variety of surfaces, including walkways, driveways, asphalt, metal, glass, plastic, wood, and masonry.

SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County offers a comprehensive menu of commercial damage restoration services and can tackle all facets of the restoration project. Services: Commercial Water, Fire, Mold Damage Restoration Services applicable to commercial vandalism include:

  • General cleaning and graffiti removal
  • Brick, stone, and concrete cleaning
  • Odor removal and deodorization
  • Debris removal
  • Water damage restoration
  • Fire damage restoration
  • Mold damage restoration
  • Contents cleaning

For more details about commercial damage restoration in Glen Rose, TX, call SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County at (817) 297-8588 or email the office at office@SERVPROcrowley.com

A Power Washing Mistake That Can Lead To Costly Water Damage for Homeowners

9/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County advises homeowners to use great caution when undertaking a DIY pressure washing project.

As cleaning and damage restoration professionals, the team at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understands the homeowner’s desire to have a clean and well-kept home, but homeowners need to be aware of a home maintenance mistake that can result in water intrusion and a water damage restoration project.

Pressure Washing: A Popular Option for DIY Home Maintenance

The power washer is a favorite piece of equipment among homeowners for several reasons:

  • Affordability

A residential-grade power washer from a big box store fits in most household budgets at a price between $250 and $500. The unit will pay for itself after only a few hours of usage.

  • Versatility

A wide variety of nozzles, wands, and attachments makes the gas-powered power washer adaptable to almost any situation and surface, including wood decks, concrete patios and driveways, fences, brick, farm machinery, lawn equipment, and more. Large wheels and weight displacement enable the homeowner to push or pull the unit almost anywhere with ease.

The pressures used in power washing are measured in terms of PSI or pound-force per square inch. PressureWashr.com, an online resource for the residential pressure washing industry explains the different PSIs used in pressure washing, writing, “The Society for Protective Coatings classifies water cleaning technology according to the following PSI ranges:

  • Less than 5,000 PSI is low-pressure water cleaning
  • 5,000 to 10,000 PSI is high-pressure washer cleaning
  • 10,000 to 25,000 PSI is high-pressure water jetting
  • More than 25,000 PSI is ultra-high pressure water jetting.

But when it comes to everyday use, the most popular PSI pressure washers are all less than 5,000 PSI.”

An Expensive DIY Pressure Washing Mistake That Homeowners Want to Avoid

Pressure washing professionals offer the following warning to homeowners considering a DIY pressure washing project: “The risks of DIY window pressure washing come from inexperience with handling such equipment. High-pressure jets of water can shatter glass, carve out pieces of wood, and even damage the siding of your home. People also often forget to load the pressure washer with the proper ratio of water to cleaning solution. Without this, washing is less effective, so people often increase water pressure to make up for it.”

In many cases, if the homeowner power washes replacement windows, the guarantee or warranty is rendered null and void. The high-pressure stream of water from the wand can shatter the glass, rupture the seal in the windows, loosen caulk, and damage the siding adjacent to the windows. These types of damage cause water intrusion, which can be a stream of water spraying into the home or a leak that leads to hidden water damage over time. If the warranty is voided, repairs and replacements will be the homeowner’s responsibility. In addition, the homeowner will have to cover the cost to repair any water damage to the structure, as well as any resulting mold issues. Power washing the windows may save time, but the effects of water leaks, mold, wood rot, and termites could be a nightmare.

Cleburne, TX, Water Damage Restoration

When a DIY power washing project ends in a water damage disaster, SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is the local choice for water damage restoration services. The team will remove the water, dry out the structure, clean the affected area, and restore the flooring, baseboards, walls, and any other materials damaged by the water intrusion.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County utilizes industrial-grade water-removal and drying equipment, cutting-edge moisture-detecting technology, and advanced cleaning techniques when dealing with a water damage disaster. The certified professionals are available 24/7, 365 days a year, and they arrive on the scene within an hour of the client’s emergency contact. Technicians inspect and assess the situation, mitigate the water intrusion, and begin the removal and drying process. Whether the water intrusion is from a burst pipe, storm damage to the roof or a DIY power washing project gone wrong, the experienced team at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is prepared for all the challenges that water damage presents.

For more information about water damage restoration in Cleburne, TX, contact SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County by phone at (817) 297-8588. The damage remediation and cleaning company can also be contacted by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com

What Fire Damage Risks Are Associated With Common Countertop Appliances Found in the Kitchen?

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County explains the fire risks associated with common kitchen countertop appliances.

Fire damage in Grandview, TX, kitchens can occur for a variety of reasons. The stove is a leading culprit for kitchen fires, and the National Fire Protection Association reports that ranges and cooktops “were involved in 61 percent of reported home cooking fires, 87 percent of cooking fire deaths, and 78 percent of cooking fire injuries.” However, homeowners should not underestimate the destructive potential of smaller countertop appliances and should abide by fire safety best practices in order to ensure that the kitchen remains a safe place.

Microwaves

Microwaves are one of the top causes of fires started by countertop appliances in the kitchen. Common microwave fire hazards include overcooking food, heating food in containers that are not microwave safe, and sparking, a relatively common microwave malfunction.

Toasters

According to data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), toasters, along with toaster ovens, caused 1,416 fires over a four-year period. An insurance provider cautions, “Toasters have electric elements inside that are used to brown your bread or bagel. If the toaster fails and doesn’t turn off, a fire can start. Never leave a toaster unsupervised, and remove the crumbs on the bottom of the toaster regularly. In addition, inspect the electric elements for stuck crumbs.”

Coffee Makers

While coffee makers may not be the first appliance that homeowners think of when they consider fire risks, certain types of coffee makers can be a fire hazard. Special care should be taken in the case of cappuccino machines, which use high-pressure steam to create the frothy drink.

Consumer Watch explains, “Coffee makers are notorious for being a source of burns and fire, especially when an automatic shut-off mechanism is not present in the machine. If the unit does not shut off or is not turned off after use, the unit may continue to heat the carafe and plastic parts. Burns, melting of components, and even home damage are not uncommon.”

Slow Cookers

Compared to other appliances like microwaves and toasters, slow cookers are less likely to catch fire. FEMA reports that, from 2012 through 2015, slow cookers caused 103 fires, as well as nearly 1.6 million dollars in property damage costs.

Pressure Cookers

Pressure cookers add another factor of potential danger to the cooking process with their use of high-pressure steam to cook food. While pressure cookers, as well as multi cookers that combine pressure cooking and slow cooking functions, are occasionally the cause of fires, the main concern is the potential for the cooker to produce a steam explosion due to misuse or a malfunction.

A Houston area law firm warns, “Pressure cookers typically fail when the vent to release the pressure inside of the pot is defective, the lid of the pot is designed poorly or when the advertised safety features of the pressure cooker malfunction….Some defective pressure cookers lack a manual shut-off safety feature to prevent the device from exploding or occasionally the safety feature itself is defective. Defective pressure cookers may provide inaccurate pressure readings, causing home cooks to believe it is safe to remove the lid when it is not. Defective pressure cookers may also have design flaws in the lid which may prevent it from closing properly or allow for pressure to build inside of the pot when the lid is not properly sealed.”

Appliance Fire Prevention Tips

In addition to the appliance listed above, homeowners often have many other types of countertop appliances in the kitchen, including waffle irons, electric grills and griddles, blenders, and air fryers.

By practicing the safety tips listed below, homeowners can minimize the fire damage risk associated with countertop appliances.

  • Always unplug the appliance when it is not in use.
  • Never use an appliance in a manner in which it was not intended to be used.
  • Regularly inspect the appliance’s power cord for signs of wear or damage.
  • Do not attempt a DIY repair of a damaged appliance.
  • Discard the appliance if it has exposed wiring, a fraying electrical cord, or is otherwise damaged.
  • Keep the appliance away from flammable materials and liquids.
  • Do not use the appliance too close to the range, which could set the appliance on fire, or the sink, which could lead to an electrocution situation due to the presence of water.
  • Be very cautious of older appliances, which sometimes lack the safety features that are present in modern models.

To learn more about fire damage restoration in Grandview, TX, call SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County at (817) 297-8588 or email the team at office@SERVPROcrowley.com

How Proactive Home Maintenance Can Help Glen Rose, TX, Homeowners Avoid a Water Damage Disaster

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County advises homeowners to address four common home maintenance concerns in order to prevent future water damage issues.

Water damage restoration in Glen Rose, TX, occurs in the context of water damage incidents that are sometimes devastating and always stressful for homeowners. SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is well aware of the distress homeowners experience when water damage and mold are discovered in the home. A reliable solution is to call in the SERVPRO professionals. Advanced equipment, cutting-edge technology, superior cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved cleaning products enable the water damage and mold mitigation specialists to thoroughly resolve the issue and restore the affected areas.

Four Home Maintenance Issues to Address Proactively

Certain home maintenance concerns, if left unaddressed, can quickly snowball into a major water damage disaster. Listed below are four home repairs that can be dealt with proactively in order to prevent a water damage situation in the future.

  • Gushing Gutters

A red flag indicating the potential for water damage is rainwater gushing over gutters and pooling next to the foundation walls. Action is required quickly because excessive water may cause the siding and foundation walls to deteriorate. When these two barriers to water intrusion become degraded, moisture will invade the crawl space or basement, causing serious damage. While basements are not commonplace in North Texas due to the presence of limestone in the ground, homeowners who do have a basement need to keep a vigilant eye out for water intrusion.

What should homeowners do if they observe water pouring out of the gutters? The first step is to closely inspect the entire gutter system for corrosion or clogs. Some clogs can be easily cleared or dislodged by the homeowner. Corroded gutters present a more complicated and expensive challenge. The services of a professional home services or roofing company may be required to replace faulty gutters or to clean out clogged gutters that are far above the ground.

Another factor to consider is the slope of the soil around the foundation of the home. The soil should slope one inch per foot for at least six feet. The overall grade of the yard may indicate the need for a steeper and longer slope away from the foundation to prevent flooding and water damage in the crawl space or basement.

  • Roof Leaks

Visible signs indicating a compromise of the integrity of the roof are curling, cracked, or missing shingles. Widespread deterioration of shingles may signal the need for a complete roof replacement. Other signs that roof leaks may be a concern are cracks in the flashing around skylights, chimneys, and roof valleys. Roof vents will spring leaks when the rubber boots develop cracks.

When the roof fails to provide a watertight barrier, moisture will find its way into the home, damaging the home’s insulation and drywall. The result could be wood rot and mold infestation.

The typical homeowner can replace a shingle now and then and may also patch leaky flashing. However, if a roof is more than twenty years old, replacement may be the best solution. A roof with one layer of asphalt shingles might receive a second layer of shingles. This solution is less expensive. Verify with the manufacturer that this type of application will not invalidate the shingle warranty. Consult with an experienced roofing contractor or structural engineer to ensure the roof can support the additional weight.

  • Foundation Cracks

Cracks in the concrete that exceed 3/16’s of an inch are evidence of bulging and buckling in the foundation. This situation demands an immediate response from the homeowner. An unstable foundation threatens the entire structure.

Some solutions are easy. An epoxy injection system can resolve hairline cracks. If the cracks become larger, the homeowner should obtain a professional opinion from a structural engineer.

  • Mold and Mildew

Musty smells and black mold on the bathroom ceiling or other surfaces are strong indicators that advanced secondary water damage has occurred. Gutter issues, roof leaks, or cracks in the foundation may have permitted water and moisture to enter the home, causing mold and mildew issues, and structural damage.

Ceiling tiles, carpet, and drywall readily harbor mold. Once contaminated, these and other items may need to be cleaned or totally removed and replaced to prevent the further release of mold spores. Address the mold issue without delay. Small patches of mold can be addressed by the homeowner, but the safest and best course of action is to call in professionals who have the equipment, personal protective gear, EPA-approved cleaners, and specialized techniques for dealing with mold and mildew issues.

By addressing these four concerns when they first appear, the homeowner can prevent a water damage disaster in the future. Procrastination will only allow the problem to enlarge in scope and require a more expensive and extensive restoration project.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is a locally owned and operated business. The SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County team is ready to respond immediately when a homeowner or business needs water damage restoration services, as well as other restoration and cleaning services.

For more information about Glen Rose, TX, water damage restoration, contact the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com

Why Prequalify a Restoration Specialist for Off-Campus Living Accommodations Before Students Start College?

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County urges property owners of off-campus housing to prequalify a damage restoration company before students arrive.

The property damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understand the concerns of the property owner who owns and rents out off-campus housing to college students. The challenges of being a landlord can be stressful. Landlords can reduce some of the stress by prequalifying a property damage restoration company with the experience and skill to work with this type of niche property.

By prequalifying a damage restoration company before students arrive on campus, a property owner can be ready in an emergency. A disaster mitigation and restoration team can be dispatched in minutes and on scene within an hour or less when the property owner knows who to call.

When would the services of a property damage restoration company be needed?

Owning off-campus rental property can be rewarding and challenging. Occasions that would require the services of a damage restoration company include the following scenarios:

  1. Natural disasters

Cleburne, TX, experiences its share of the severe weather that hits the North Texas region. Hurricanes, tropical depressions, tornadoes, and heavy thunderstorms are a part of life in this section of the United States. When severe weather damages a home or business, emergency tarping is needed immediately to stop the water intrusion and prevent further damage.

  1. Water damage and sewage damage events

A home full of college students will have its share of water damage and sewage backups. When these disasters occur, the damage restoration team can provide a rapid response, resolve the water intrusion or sewage spill, and begin the cleanup and restoration process immediately.

  1. Fire and smoke damage from a cooking fire or electrical malfunction

Cooking in the kitchen is a leading cause of house fires. A home full of college students is also overloaded with electronic devices and chargers. The concentration of novice cooks and electronics increases the likelihood of a fire damage disaster.

  1. Celebrations and weekend parties

Celebrations and weekend parties may create an environment that requires the immediate attention of a professional cleaning service. Some situations may fall into the category of biohazard cleanup when drug paraphernalia, narcotics, spilled alcohol, and bodily fluids are involved.

What to look for when prequalifying a property damage restoration company

The practical questions listed below are designed to assist a property owner in prequalifying a restoration company.

  1. Basic business information

How long has the business been in operation? Is it locally owned and operated? What is the background of the owner? Is the owner involved in the day-to-day affairs of the business? Is the company listed with the Better Business Bureau?

  1. Response time

What is the stated response time of the company? How soon can they be on scene for the specific property? A local company with a nearby base of operations will be more likely to arrive within the estimated time frame.

  1. Upon arrival

What happens upon arrival? A qualified property damage restoration team will begin with an inspection and assessment of the situation. A water intrusion such as a burst pipe, a ruptured appliance supply line, or a leaking toilet will be mitigated by shutting off the water source. If severe weather has damaged the roof, emergency tarping will be immediately installed to stop the flow of water into the home. After the damage has been assessed and documented, a detailed estimate will be presented for approval. The benefit of having a prequalified restoration company means that the water removal process can begin immediately. Every minute counts in a water damage disaster.

  1. Certifications and equipment

What IICRC restoration and cleaning certifications does the company have? Are technicians involved in continuing education and instruction?

  1. Insurance claims process

Does the company promote its ability to successfully manage the insurance claims process for the customer? A competent property damage restoration company handles the insurance claims process from start to finish. They should use Xactimate, the industry-standard for job estimating, or a similar app recognized and approved by the property owner’s insurance company. The claims process is complicated, so leave it to the experienced professionals who have a positive track record dealing with insurance companies.

  1. New construction and rebuild services

Is the company equipped to handle the restoration process, including any new construction and rebuilds? The restoration company that can manage the entire project to completion is a valuable asset to the distant property owner.

  1. Customer reviews

Are customer reviews easily accessible, current, and positive? What are customers saying about their experience with the company?

These questions can help property owners identify a reputable property damage restoration company that can be trusted to competently, efficiently, and compassionately handle any size disaster, 24/7, 365 days a year.

As a locally owned and operated business, the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County team lives and works in this community and is close by and ready to respond immediately when a homeowner or business needs property damage restoration or cleaning services.

For more information about SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County, contact the Cleburne, TX, damage restoration company by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com

Three Important Tips to Help Homeowners Avoid Being Scammed After a Storm Damage Disaster

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County explains how to identify and avoid scams after storm damage has struck a home or business.

SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County realizes the worry and frustration homeowners experience after a thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane, or flash flood causes storm damage to their homes. The helplessness a homeowner feels as a stream of water pours into the structure through a hole in the roof can be overwhelming. In desperation, some homeowners will turn to the first person who knocks on the door offering to help out. A large-scale weather disaster can bring out the best in people, but a disaster can also bring out some of the worst con artists and scammers. The team of dedicated and caring professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County explains how homeowners can identify and avoid scams when a storm damage disaster strikes.

How to Identify and Avoid Scams After a Storm Damage Disaster

After severe weather damages homes in a community, general contracting companies who are aware of the large-scale needs will descend on the community seeking to meet the short-term emergency repairs that homeowners legitimately need. Here are three quick tips to help homeowners avoid scammers and select a reputable, credible, and reliable storm damage restoration company.

Tip #1: Validate the company’s professional credentials and reputation.

In this stressful situation, homeowners must be careful to secure the services of a reputable, credible, and reliable company. A reputable company has a track record of satisfied customers and positive reviews, which can be found on the company’s social media accounts. A positive rating with the BBB is another strong indicator of past performance.

A trustworthy company will have proof of credibility. Professional certifications validate training and expertise, and a credible company will be licensed, insured, and bonded. Companies that are reliable generally have achieved longevity. Companies that are family-owned, family-operated, and have been in business for many years have demonstrated reliability year after year.

Just because a company travels to a different city or town to help residents rebuild does not necessarily indicate the contractor, home services company, or property damage restoration company is bogus or seeking to scam desperate homeowners. When a large-scale disaster occurs, many companies will rally to meet the massive need. A few simple questions can separate solid, trustworthy service providers from scammers.

These questions include:

  • Where is the company’s base of operations? Beware of “storm chasers” who will not produce information about their base of operations and their company history.
  • Does the company have references and reviews to validate a good reputation?
  • Is the company licensed, insured, and bonded?
  • Does the company have the professional certifications a credible company would have?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Does the company have equipment and technology to cover the full scope of work, including emergency tarping, water removal, applied structural drying, pack out and storage services, cleaning and restoration, mold remediation, and rebuild services?
  • Is the company a franchise?

This last question is crucial on several fronts. Usually, a local company that is a part of a national franchise must meet very high qualifications and standards. Adherence to these standards must be demonstrated on a regular basis. Customer complaints are taken seriously and are addressed in a timely, satisfactory manner. In a major disaster involving hundreds or thousands of structures, SERVPRO locations may respond from far and wide. The stringent requirements set by SERVPRO for every single franchise location anywhere in America guarantee a uniform standard of excellence and performance across the board.

Tip #2: Document everything.

Keep an accurate paper trail of all expenses. These expenses include not only materials and repair services but also any food, lodging, travel, medical expenses, and pet care associated with the storm damage disaster.

Avoid paying in cash for storm-related expenses. Payments by credit card or check will automatically create permanent, digital documentation essential to a successful claims process. This documentation will prove to be useful should a dispute arise. A huge red flag is requesting or demanding full payment or a large partial payment upfront prior to any provision of services or completion of project milestones.

Tip #3: Avoid hasty decisions.

The salesman or company representative who knocks at the door offering significant savings for a quick decision is often a scammer, especially if the company is not local or a well-established, reputable franchise. A well-established company patiently invests the time to educate its consumers on the restoration process. Professionals will provide an inspection, assessment, and complete estimate with photo and video documentation. Impulse decisions may lead to costly future repairs of shoddy work in the long run.

As a locally owned and operated business, the SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County team lives and works in this community and is close by and ready to respond immediately when a homeowner or business needs storm damage restoration or cleaning services.

For more information about storm damage restoration in Glen Rose, TX, contact the office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

Tips for the Proper and Safe Use of a Fire Extinguisher

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Before using a fire extinguisher to control or put out a fire in the home, homeowners need to make sure that they understand how to use this tool.

The fire damage restoration team at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understands the stress, anxiety, and frustration homeowners experience when dealing with fire damage. Property damage from a fire touches almost every area of the home. Smoke and soot contamination is widespread, and the water used to extinguish the flames can cause more damage than the fire itself. For the SERVPRO professionals, water extraction, cleanup, and property damage restoration are a top priority.

How important is knowing how to properly operate a fire extinguisher?

According to a National Fire Protection Association report entitled “Home Cooking Fires,” US Fire departments responded each year to about 173,000 home structure fires resulting from cooking. In 2018, fire departments were called out to 470 home cooking fires per day. These statistics do not include those fires that were extinguished without the services of the local fire department.

The majority of home cooking fires involved ranges or cooktops. Leaving the stove unattended was the leading cause of cooking fires and casualties. Over half of non-fatal injuries occurred when individuals attempted to put out the fire themselves. This last statistic highlights the importance of knowing how to properly operate a fire extinguisher in the heat of the moment.

Every homeowner should know the basics about safely and effectively operating a fire extinguisher. All mature and physically able members of the household can easily be trained in the proper use of this valuable piece of equipment should a fire break out in the home. Knowledge and training can enable the quick response that is needed to extinguish a fire. When a fire breaks out, the adrenalin rush can be paralyzing. Familiarity with the fire extinguisher and proper training can overcome the chaos and paralyzing fear of the moment. The correct application of the extinguisher can eliminate the fire in seconds.

Home fire safety tips

Consider the following basic home fire safety tips:

  1. Have the appropriate type of fire extinguisher on hand.

Make sure that the appropriate type of fire extinguisher has been acquired and is stored in a location that is quickly and easily accessible. Only people trained in the proper use of fire extinguishers should use these tools.

  1. Call for assistance before attempting to put out a fire.

A fire can spiral out of control far more quickly than homeowners may have anticipated. While taking steps to extinguish the fire, if possible, have someone summon help to be on the way in case the fire gets out of hand.

  1. Plan a safe escape in case the fire grows out of control.

Decide on a safe escape path before approaching the flames. Avoid allowing the smoke, heat, or flames to block the evacuation path.

  1. Stay alert to the scope of the fire.

A house fire can spread very quickly because of the presence of many flammable materials present and the confined area of the structure. Seconds matter. However, unless an explosion is involved, the occupants have time to evaluate the situation and respond accordingly in most situations.

How to use the fire extinguisher

Address the flames using the PASS Method:

Step #1: Pull the pin.

Remove the pin by pulling it from its location on the handle. Prior training to become familiar with the parts and operation of the equipment should be adequate to reduce or eliminate any delay in this vital first step. Once the pin is removed, the operating lever is unlocked and ready to be pressed, discharging the chemicals onto the fire.

Step #2: Aim low.

Aim the extinguisher hose or nozzle at the base of the flames. Attacking the base of the fire targets the materials or liquids that are fueling the flames.

Step #3: Squeeze the operating lever.

This action should allow the extinguisher to discharge the extinguishing agent onto the flames. Since fire extinguishers may differ in their design and operation, familiarity with the units that have been purchased for use in the home is crucial. Some extinguishers have a button or other means of activation other than a standard handle.

Step #4: Sweep from side to side.

While aiming at the fire’s base, sweep the extinguisher back and forth as the chemicals are being discharged until the flames are completely out. Maintain focused attention on the fire. If the fire re-ignites, follow the same process of pressing the lever and sweeping the discharged agent on the re-emerging flames. Do not leave the area unattended until the fire department has arrived or the fire has been completely extinguished and is unable to flame up again.

Bonus safety reminders

When a fire erupts, time seems to slow down as the heart races. Controlled breathing and calm thinking can win the day and save lives. These safety tips save lives every day.

  • The person discharging the fire extinguisher should always keep a safe exit behind them so that they can quickly escape from the fire.
  • Before beginning the PASS method, people should make sure that they are standing at least eight feet away from the fire.
  • Exit the home, business, or other structure if the fire is not immediately extinguished. Most fire fatalities are from smoke inhalation. Stay low to the floor while making the retreat.
  • If the fire is extinguished, have the fire department inspect the burned location to ensure that the fire has been completely put out and the area is entirely safe. Smoldering embers can flare up many hours after the original fire has been extinguished.
  • Without exception, any fire extinguisher that has been discharged should be recharged or replaced.

The staff of SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is ready to respond immediately when a homeowner or business needs the services of a fire damage restoration company. To learn more about fire damage restoration in Grandview, TX, contact SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

When There Is a Mold Infestation in an Apartment, Can the Landlord Be Held Liable?

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County explains potential liability issues stemming from a mold infestation and shares mold prevention tips for both landlords and tenants.

The dedicated damage restoration and mold remediation professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County understand and appreciate the priority landlords and property managers place on keeping tenants safe and comfortable. A mold infestation can present health effects that raise concerns for renters who live in a single-family dwelling or an apartment complex. Tenants around the nation have succeeded in winning lawsuits against landlords to cover expenses arising from health effects possibly caused by exposure to mold in the rented dwelling.

Where can mold be found in a rental?

The colors and shapes of mold vary widely. Some common varieties of mold include paecilomyces, stachybotrys, aspergillus, penicillium, and fusarium. Mold ranges in color from white, black, gray, or green. The texture of these fungi can be shiny and smooth, and some mold textures have a powdery appearance. Mold can give off a strong, pungent, disgusting odor.

Mold needs four basic things to thrive: warmth, darkness, organic matter for food, and humidity. Humidity creates prime growing conditions for mold. The naturally humid climate of the North Texas area around Dallas and Fort Worth presents more mold issues than drier climates. Homes and buildings in drier climates will still have mold problems when excessive moisture issues are present. Mold can grow in any climate as long as moisture is present.

Mold is often found growing on items that have become saturated with water from a leaking faucet, roof leak, a cracked tub or shower floor, or a dripping drain pipe. Look for mold on painted surfaces, drapes, upholstery, clothing, wall paneling, ceiling tiles, newspapers, or cardboard boxes.

Concealed, or hidden mold, can thrive in the dark cavities between walls. Mold can be found hidden under floors and in ceilings. Mold can also find a home in spots that are less accessible. A basement or attic with additional moisture and warmth are favorites of mold.

What can the landlord do to keep the property safe and livable?

Any property owner is responsible for ensuring that the rental property is safe and habitable, whether mold is present or not. All building codes should be followed to promote the health and safety of the tenants. Measures should be taken to mitigate or prevent water intrusions in the rental.

  1. Implement a responsive reporting process for tenants.

Have a reporting process for the tenant that results in a quick response and remediation of any situation.

  1. Stop the water intrusion.

When possible, the tenant should be instructed on how to stop the water flow either at a cut-off valve or at the valve to the water main.

  1. Begin the cleanup and restoration process.

Initiate the water removal and property damage restoration immediately. If the water damage incident is more than the tenant can safely and quickly manage, the landlord would be smart to dispatch a pre-qualified property damage restoration professional to stop the water intrusion, remove the water, and begin the restoration process before secondary damage takes place. Mold growth is a primary example of advanced secondary water damage.

  1. Keep detailed records of how the incident was handled.

By compiling phone logs, receipts, photos and video of the damage, or any other relevant documentation, the landlord preserves a historical record that may be helpful in the event of litigation.

  1. Perform scheduled maintenance on the property.

A property owner or property manager should conduct a walk-through of the property on a regular basis to check for water damage or signs of a mold infestation.

Other maintenance tips include:

  • Deal with leaks as soon as they are discovered.
  • Replace water supply lines every five to seven years.
  • Have the HVAC system annually inspected by a qualified professional HVAC technician.
  • Have a trusted roofing contractor inspect the roof and gutters each year.

What can the tenant do to prevent mold growth?

The tenant can be a positive force in keeping the rental safe and livable when it comes to preventing mold growth. Here are some suggestions:

  • Report any mold issues as soon as they are discovered.
  • Adequately ventilate the home or apartment.
  • Control humidity levels.
  • Keep the apartment or home clean and dry.

The lack of ventilation, the presence of high humidity levels, and unsanitary conditions create conditions favorable to a mold infestation.

As a locally owned and operated business, the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County team lives in the area and is invested in the community. This personal connection makes the SERVPRO team a great choice for homeowners, landlords, property managers, businesses, and industry when a disaster occurs.

For more information about mold remediation and mold removal in Cleburne, TX, contact SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

What Steps Should Homeowners Take When a Broken Water Main Floods Their Home and Causes Water Damage?

5/31/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County offers tips on dealing with water damage from a broken water main.

The water damage restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County are aware that a quick response to water damage helps prevent advanced secondary water damage, which can complicate the restoration process. The team understands the disruption, stress, and frustration homeowners face when dealing with a property damage crisis, including water damage from a broken water main. The SERVPRO team offers homeowners several tips for dealing with flooding from a broken water main.

What is a water main?

Homeowners who reside in a densely populated area will most likely obtain their water supply from a municipal source rather than from a private well. The publicly sourced water is delivered to the area by a water main, which refers to pipes buried underground along the streets throughout the neighborhood. Outside the city or neighborhood, the water main is by the road. A network of spurs and pipelines delivers the water to each home. The pipe that delivers the water from the water main to the home is installed with a meter. This meter is the dividing point between the home’s water line and the water main. The repair of any water leaks from the meter to and including the home is the responsibility of the homeowner. Water leaks from the meter to the water main and beyond are the responsibility of the municipality to repair.

What causes the water main to break?

Building codes often require that water lines and other utilities be buried quite deeply to keep the lines from being easily damaged or to keep water lines from freezing. Some causes of water main breaks are:

  • The aging of the system
  • Equipment failure or defective installation of the pipes
  • Digging, drilling, blasting, or boring near the waterline or water main
  • Driving over the pipes with heavy equipment

What are some signs that the water main is broken?

A reduction in water pressure or the sudden loss of all water pressure may indicate that a water main has ruptured or that a portion of the water system is out of operation for a time. A massive water main break has the potential to flood an entire home. Signs that a major water line break may have occurred include:

  • the sound or smell of water in the street, yard, or under the home
  • pooling water or soggy ground when it has not rained
  • wet surfaces such as the driveway or sidewalk
  • sagging spots around the home’s foundation
  • water in the crawl space, basement, or garage

Will insurance cover water damage from a broken water main?

Any water damage from a broken water main on the homeowner’s side of the water meter is typically covered by insurance. When a break in the water main causes water or flood damage to a home or business, the insurance company may deny a damage claim because the damage stemmed from the water main and not from a leak within the homeowner’s property. Take the following steps if the water damage resulted from a broken water main operated by the town or municipality:

  • Contact the local town or municipality immediately to repair the broken water main or spur. Let them know that property damage has occurred and that a detailed description of the damage with documentation will be provided as soon as possible.
  • Document the event and the damage with pictures, video, and written notes.
  • Contact the insurance company. Even though the homeowner may be convinced that the water damage was caused by a broken water main and is not covered by insurance, the policyholder should contact the insurance company to determine if the claim will be covered or denied.
  • Reach out to a water damage restoration company to immediately begin the water removal and damage restoration process. SERVPRO professionals will conduct a thorough inspection of the property, including identifying the source of the water damage, assessing the extent of the damage, and providing a written estimate of the needed damage restoration services. This estimate will include copious documentation, including written descriptions and images. This information will prove helpful when dealing with the water company.
  • Present an estimate of repair costs to the water authority and seek compensation for damage restoration expenses. Along with the description of damages and the repair estimate, provide evidence that the damage was caused by a water intrusion from the broken water main.

Water damage from sudden or accidental events is often covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy. Water damage resulting from accidentally damaging pipes from the meter to the home or within the home is typically covered by insurance. Water damage from a flood disaster is not covered by a standard homeowner’s policy. Special flood insurance must be purchased.

If a homeowner damages a water pipe or the water main beyond the meter while drilling, blasting, boring, or digging, the homeowner may be held responsible for the payment of repairs or any property damage caused by the incident. Stiff fines could apply if the homeowner failed to have the utilities marked prior to engaging in activity that could lead to the damage of any underground utilities.

As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County is close by and ready to respond immediately when a homeowner or business has a water damage emergency and needs restoration or cleaning services. For more information about the water damage restoration company serving Glen Rose, TX contact the office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.