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How the Pros Respond to Large-Scale Disasters

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

Photo of the SERVPRO office (outside) SERVPRO of Affton/Webster Groves

As a business leader, you've already got enough on your plate. When a disaster hits your workplace, you may feel helpless and not know how you can possibly recover. Fortunately, professional cleanup companies have the skill and experience to help you with disaster recovery in even the worst situations. When you need a quick response and reliable service, contact a specialist.

Advantages of Calling the Pros

Certified disaster cleanup experts have what it takes to get your business on track. Whether it's a fire, flood, storm damage or something else, the incident doesn't have to derail your business. The company provides the following benefits:

  • The technicians have the right equipment.
  • The company uses industry-standard techniques.
  • The company will respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For Widespread Disasters

For minor or moderate incidents, the disaster recovery team can have you back in business quickly. Of course, in the most severe circumstances, more effort is required. The cleanup company can mobilize its forces and send additional equipment and supplies to local franchises. The best disaster cleanup organizations have a team in Affton, MO, near you.

The Process

For storm response or to help you clean up and rebuild after another disaster, the company will first assess the damage and make a plan. Technicians will share this information with you so you know the time frame and how it will affect your business. Next, team members clean up the damage. This may entail removing water or addressing smoke damage. Crews will salvage any materials they can and will replace those items that are beyond repair. Restoration may include rebuilding the roof, foundation or other areas of the building such as flooring, walls or ceilings.
Disaster recovery doesn't have to be an impossible task. When you call upon a professional company with a strong track record of success, you can have peace of mind.

How Ice Dams Can Cause Mold Damage

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

Icicles on a roof winter background image Ice dams occur when snow melts on top of a warm roof.

When a snowstorm hits, you are probably worried that the power will go out in your Concord, MO, building. You may also fear that a burst pipe will flood your office. Yet winter weather can also affect your commercial property in another way. An ice dam can form on your roof, leading to the growth of black mold.

Ice Dams and Mold

Ice dams occur when snow melts on top of a warm roof. The melted water then flows to the colder eaves, where it refreezes into ice. This ice blocks additional water from dripping off the edge of the roof. The water instead goes under the shingles and into the building, where it can damage:

  • Insulation
  • Sheetrock
  • Wall studs

When these parts of the building get wet, they create a breeding ground for mildew and mold. By the time you notice the fungus, you may not be able to handle the problem on your own. Instead, you may need to contact mold remediation specialists, which could affect your company's profits. You may even have to close down the property temporarily while the ice dam is removed and mold cleanup is performed.

Stopping Ice Dams

There are simple steps you can take to limit the development of ice dams. Try adding insulation or heated cables to ensure the entire roof remains fairly warm. You should also put caulk around any pipes or vents and seal exhaust and HVAC ducts.

Fixing Ice Dams

If you do see one or more ice dams, you should get rid of them immediately before they cause mold damage. You can quickly and safely break up the dam with a roof rake.
An ice dam could cause water to back up on your roof and leak into your building. This, in turn, could necessitate extensive black mold cleanup. To prevent this occurrence, maintain a consistent temperature on the roof and quickly address any dams that form.

Tips for Putting Up a Temporary Security Fence

12/28/2019 (Permalink)

A woman is upset about her building which has burned down Fire damage in Marlborough, MO

Tips for Putting Up a Temporary Security Fence

When you experience a fire at your Marlborough, MO, commercial property, your buildings, inventory, equipment, and other belongings become vulnerable to theft and vandalism as a result of the fire. At this point, it's important to protect yourself against further losses, such as with a security fence. Other elements of protecting against losses include

  • Contacting your insurance agency
  • Waiting for professionals before removing or cleaning items
  • Making a written and video record of the damage
  • Saving receipts for all repair work

If you have sensitive information or dangerous substances on your property, discuss appropriate actions with the insurance company and the fire damage cleanup and repair professionals.

Security Is Your Responsibility

Although there will be several parties involved in the reconstruction of your fire-damaged property, including the insurance company, adjusters, the fire department, and cleanup and repair crews, you are ultimately responsible for making sure your property is secure. A temporary security fence is just one part of that effort.

Tips for Choosing Temporary Fencing

As you go about choosing the best type of fencing for your property, consider the following tips:

  • Understand the point of the fencing. Are you trying to keep everyone out or prevent goods from being removed from the property? Do you need multiple points of access? How will authorized people gain entry?
  • Consider the type of landscape surrounding your property. There may be some challenges and hazards to consider.
  • Make sure the fence is secure enough. You may require maximum security or maybe a simple fence will be adequate. Remember the main purpose of the fencing.
  • Balance your potential financial losses with the cost of installing temporary fencing.
  • Look for a reputable company. Ask for recommendations and check into past jobs.
  • Find out if there are any legal requirements regarding fencing. Hopefully, the professionals providing the temporary fence are familiar with these guidelines.

Carefully consider your options as you secure the safety of your buildings and belongings. Remember that the aftermath of a fire is a particularly vulnerable time for commercial properties. Discuss the need for a security fence and further steps with the professionals you've hired to handle fire damage cleanup and recovery.

Stay Safe in the Kitchen This Holiday

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Testing a smoke alarm Test your smoke alarms in your Webster Groves, MO home before the holidays

Stay Safe in the Kitchen This Holiday

Did you know that the winter holidays are the times when most home cooking fires happen? It’s popular to celebrate the holidays with family and feast, but the additional chaos brings more opportunity for accidents. Give the firefighters in Webster Groves, MO, a break, and make some plans to keep your family safe from fire damage this holiday season.

Top Ten Holiday Kitchen Tips for Fire Safety

Additional people and extra cooking mean you have more risk than normal, so it’s a good time to make sure you are extra careful in the kitchen. Take some time before everyone arrives to prepare the kitchen for holiday safety. Here are some kitchen tips for before and during the holidays:

  1. Test your smoke alarms before the holidays.

  2. Clean your stove and oven to reduce grease buildup.

  3. Keep kids and pets out of the cooking area, using a physical barrier if necessary.

  4. Cook only when you are alert. Falling asleep with food on the stove is a common way fires start.
  5. Don’t leave the stove unattended while cooking.

  6. Plan to be home as long as it takes to cook your turkey or other large items.

  7. Keep clutter off the kitchen floor so you have plenty of room to move around the cooking area.

  8. Ensure that cords are not hanging where they might be snagged by someone walking by or grabbed by children.

  9. Keep flammable items away from the stove. Make sure your guests aren’t using the stove as a landing pad for food packages, paper towels or oven mitts.

  10. Don't put out a grease fire with water. Use a lid and turn off the heat.

You can really help reduce risks and keep your family safe by following these simple tips. Most of this advice comes down to staying alert in the kitchen.

If you need help to clean up after a fire, count on a fire damage specialist to get you through it. Unlike most contractors, these professionals deal specifically with fire recovery and can guide you through cleanup, repairs, and care for your personal belongings.

Building a Commercial First Aid Kit

12/17/2019 (Permalink)

front view of green first aid box OSHA requires that all workplaces have at least one approved first aid kit

Building a Commercial First Aid Kit

When it comes to workplace accidents you need to be prepared for anything, whether a twisted ankle from slipping on a wet floor or a first-degree burn from an electrical fire. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all workplaces have at least one OSHA-approved first aid kit. Although particular industry requirements vary, your business will need to supply these basics:

1. Bandages and Gauze
Bandages and gauze come in many shapes and sizes, making them very versatile for a variety of types of injuries. They can be used for cleaning, covering, packing and securing wounds.

2. Resuscitation Equipment
This equipment commonly includes airways, syringes and a mask used for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

3. Blanket(s)
A first aid kit blanket is used to reduce the loss of body heat if an injured person is at risk of going into shock or as insulation from cold temperatures. It could also be used as a pillow or to elevate an injured limb.

4. Elastic Wraps
Elastic wraps are used for support, as well as administering localized pressure to injured body parts such as a sprained ankle or wrist. They are also great for keeping a hot or cold compress in place or a wound dressing intact.

5. Splint
A splint is used to stabilize and immobilize an injured body part such as a broken bone. It will be used until further treatment is available.

6. Instructions for Requesting Emergency Assistance
The kit must include a list of the items of information you need to have available when calling 911, including your name and title, your location, your telephone number, the number of people injured, type(s) of injury, first aid already performed and condition of injured individuals.

7. Miscellaneous Supplies
An emergency kit should also include supplies such as latex gloves, tweezers, scissors, adhesive tape, antiseptic wash and topical antibiotics.
Check out the OSHA first aid kit requirements for your particular industry and number of employees. In the event of a disaster at your building in Lakeshire, MO, you can feel confident calling on cleanup professionals to help.

How To Prevent Water Damage on Vacation

12/5/2019 (Permalink)

A hand with a glove removing debris from a gutter Remove any debris, such as leaves and twigs, from your gutters

4 Ways To Avoid a Water Pipe Repair While Returning from Vacation

The last thing you want to think about on vacation is a broken pipe or flooded basement back home. Here are four ways to avoid a water pipe repair when you return from a relaxing trip far away from Grantwood Village, MO.

Inspect Your Home Before You Go

Before you jet off to Jamaica or load up the family minivan and make tracks for the Grand Canyon, perform a walk-through of your home to make sure all things water-related are in working order. If you spot any of the following warning signs, it would be wise to address them before you leave:

  • Damaged hoses connected to major appliances
  • Kinks in those hoses
  • Plumbing leaks beneath kitchen, bathroom, and utility room sinks
  • Cracks or corrosion on your water heater
  • Cracks or gaps in your window and door seals
  • Damaged roof shingles

Some of these warning signs lead to fairly easy fixes. If appliance hoses or shingles are damaged, replace them. Fill gaps in seals with caulk. For more significant issues, such as a cracked water heater, your best move is likely to call a professional technician.

Ask a Friend To Check In

Have a responsible friend or family member stop by your home periodically. He or she can pick up your mail, feed pets, and ensure that no water damage has taken place. Better still, arm him or her with the number for your trusted water damage restoration company just in case you're in need of flood cleanup or water pipe repair while you're away.

Clean Your Gutters

Remove any debris, such as leaves and twigs, from your gutters. Make sure your downspouts are clear and connected properly, too.

Test Your Sump Pump

If extreme weather strikes Grantwood Village, MO, while you're away, you'll want your sump pump to be up to the task. Verify that it's working properly before you depart by removing any debris, filling it up, and running it. Ensure that water is leaving the home and that the pump isn't making any odd noises.
Vacations aren't cheap. Save your hard-earned cashed for your next trip to Boston or Belgium instead of a water pipe repair.

Understanding Where You Might Find Mold in Your Home

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

Mold spots behind wall paper. Mold damage should be handled by a professional, especially if it has infested large areas of your home.

While it should go without saying, mold damage should be handled by professional remediation companies in Affton, MO. However, it is understandable if you want to make sure that you actually have an issue before calling in the calvary. Therefore, if you smell something musty in your home, then there are at least three areas where mold might be lurking.

Porous Items
Wall Cavities
Damp or Humid Areas

Porous Items

While mildew growth is common on hard surfaces, mold is typically found infiltrating porous and organic items. For example, fabrics, drywall, floor pads, insulation are all possible locations for mold. However, to narrow down your search, consider where you have seen any water damage. For example, did you have a flood in your basement? Then check around baseboards for any signs of damage or discoloration.

Wall Cavities

If you did experience flooding in your home, or if you recently repaired a burst or leaking pipe, then you may have mold damage within the affected wall cavity. Mold thrives in dark and damp environments, and even if the source was repaired, there still might be some residual growth.

Damp or Humid Areas

While mold growth typically occurs in damp or humid areas, those areas do not have to be hidden. For example, attics are renowned for being humid areas. Also, basements struggle with dampness. Therefore, purchase humidifiers to help control the humidity levels in your home, and also consider installing fans or other ventilation tools.
However, if you want to be sure that you have an issue before calling a remediation service, then check the common areas that mold might be lurking: porous items, wall cavities and any other damp or humid areas with poor ventilation. While mold is a dreaded disaster for many homeowners, it is one with a positive outlook on restoration.

What To Do When Your Fire Alarm Is Beeping

12/1/2019 (Permalink)

fire alarm on a ceiling flashing red. Your smoke alarm is an important part of your home.

When you hear your fire alarm beeping, your first instinct should be to check for smoke or flames in your Affton, MO  home. If you do find a fire, get out of the house and call 911. Once the blaze has cleared, you should also contact your local fire damage cleanup specialists.

If there is no fire, your next course of action should be figuring out why your alarm was beeping.
Typically, a beeping smoke detector in the absence of a fire signals that something is wrong with the detector itself. You need to make sure the device is working properly so it will alert you in the event of a real fire.

After all, a working smoke detector could give you a chance to extinguish the blaze before it causes severe fire damage. If your fire alarm is beeping when there are no flames, follow the below steps.

Reset the Device

Just like other electronics, a smoke alarm can be reset. Try turning off its power source, removing it from its bracket, and pressing down the test button for 15 to 20 seconds.

Change the Batteries

If you want to avoid the need for major fire cleanup in your home, you should change your smoke detector batteries every six months. Before taking the old batteries out of the device, be sure to note how they are placed in the alarm.

Clean the Alarm

Dust inside a fire alarm can also cause it to beep uncontrollably. The dust could also cause the detector to malfunction when there is actual smoke damage in your home. You can solve this issue by using an air blower to remove any debris.

Buy a New Device

If all else fails, consider buying a new smoke detector. Any alarms more than 10 years old should be replaced.

If you hear your smoke alarm beeping when it shouldn’t be, you need to address the source of the malfunction as soon as possible.

3 Ways To Avoid the Stench of Mold

11/12/2019 (Permalink)

carpet removed from floor due to storm water contamination. Drying equipment is placed on area that suffered damage. Drying equipment placed in a Shrewsberry, MO home

3 Ways To Avoid the Stench of Mold

When water intrudes into your home in Shrewsberry, MO, it not only ruins your property, but it can leave the residence vulnerable to mold growth. As the spores spread, they bring with them an unpleasant aroma. To try and eliminate it, you'll need to take several steps, both on your own and with professional help. Here are three ways to try and kick that funky smell out of your abode.

1. Call in the Experts

Flood water that sits for any period of time needs attention. Call in a water restoration company to inspect the area and provide guidance throughout the process. As the experts look over your rooms, they can dry out water-logged walls and remove materials from the impacted areas. With their specialized equipment, they'll have options to alleviate the stench.

2. Get Rid of the Water

Sometimes people think that water isn't harmful; however, it is the activator for mold growth. Letting it sit can quickly instigate development. Prevent this by eliminating the excess liquid. You'll need to pull the water out from the walls and air. To do this, rent an industrial dehumidifier (or several of them) from a local home store. You may also invest in moisture absorbent products for smaller areas. Depending on the extent of trouble, you'll need to run the device over several days, testing the walls moisture levels regularly.

3. Move Items Out To Dry

Open up the area so that the room itself airs out. Then, evaluate the ruined furniture. Sometimes sofas and tables should be considered sewage loss since category three water has microbes. If you've suffered something else, such as a water main break, then you could try to treat the upholstery with white vinegar. What about the floor? You could try applying baking soda to the carpet. If that doesn't work, pull it up and discard it.
When water invades your space, take care to clean the impacted space immediately. Call in help and remove any spoiled items. Doing so can help avoid mold growth and reduce the chance for undesirable scents.

Preparing Your Business for a Winter Storm

10/21/2019 (Permalink)

Snowstorm, snow-covered street and cars with a lonely pedestrian Winter storm in Shrewsberry, MO

Doing business in Shrewsberry, MO, means being ready for winter weather. Once a winter storm has passed, you can assess the damage and, if necessary, begin disaster restoration, but being prepared will not only help prevent damage, but also save lives and other costs down the road.

Stay Informed – and Share That Knowledge With Customers and Employees 

There are three levels of winter storm advisories issued by the National Weather Service:

  1. A winter storm watch means that there is a reasonable chance of significant ice or snow within 36 hours. Stay alert!
  2. A Winter storm warning means 4 – 6 inches of snow or ¼ inch of ice is expected within 24 hours. Be prepared!
  3. A blizzard warning means life-threatening winter conditions that should last at least three hours are expected to hit your area soon. Seek immediate shelter!

As soon as practical, inform customers via social media or other appropriate means about how this will impact your business, whether it means you will be closing or can’t provide services you ordinarily would. If you have essential equipment that relies on electricity, check your backup systems and plan for key personnel to shelter safely at the business. Have phones and chargers, flashlights, spare batteries, food and blankets stocked up. Also have any de-icing supplies you’ll need for immediately after the winter storm. You’ll also need a back-up heating source, a carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher ready.

Restoration of Storm Damage

Immediately after the storm, take any urgent steps necessary to secure your business from further damage, including tarping walls or roofs that have been penetrated. Before you reopen, use salt or other de-icing methods in areas used by employees and customers – the last thing you need is a slip-and-fall lawsuit!

A winter storm in Shrewsberry, MO, doesn’t have to be terrifying if you plan appropriately. If you have suffered damage, call your insurance company as soon as you can, and hire an experienced storm remediation company to prevent further damage and fully restore your company to pre-storm conditions.