September is National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). NPM is FEMA's national annual preparedness outreach. It is managed and sponsored by FEMA's Ready Campaign. The Ready Campaign, in conjunction with the Ad Council, aims to educate and empower Americans during NPM and through the year to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. National Preparedness Month culminates on September 30th with National Preparedness Day, the National Day of Action. The theme for 2022 is: A Lasting Legacy. The life you've built is worth protecting. Prepare for disasters to create a lasting legacy for you and your family. SERVPRO® is proud to spotlight National Preparedness Month this year. By doing so, we want to make sure you are prepared in case of a disaster? whether natural or man-made. If you haven't taken the time to think about how different disasters could affect you, then we challenge you to take the necessary steps to become informed and develop an emergency plan for before, during, and after an event for yourself and your family. IN THIS ISSUE of the Restoration Newsline:
• Why is NPM observed in September?
• What 2 states experience the most tornadoes?
• Preparedness steps that could save your life
• What to include in an emergency supply kit We must work together to ensure that our families, businesses, places of worship, and neighborhoods are ready for the unthinkable.
Begin preparing vital information now so you can address the unique needs of your business during an emergency situation. Contact your local SERVPRO® team of professionals to find out more preparedness planning tips and how you can minimize business interruption with SERVPRO's Emergency READY Profile®.
How SERVPRO work directly with your insurance
When a disaster strikes your property, it is important to know who to call! SERVPRO of La Grange Park / North Riverside, Arlington Heights/Prospect Height, and Elmhurst is highly trained and experienced in disaster restoration and cleanup. Our team is the trusted leader in the restoration and cleaning industry, and we offer a wide variety of services for your residential and commercial properties. Water damage, fire damage, and mold damage don't stand a chance against our team! Locally owned and operated, we are dedicated to being "Faster to any size disaster!" Available 24 hours a day, days a week for your emergency.
When you experience an unexpected disaster in your home, you may not know how to handle it. After the shock is over, your first thoughts are “what am I going to do?” and “How am I going to pay for this?”. These are two very common questions homeowners ask themselves given the high cost of repairing water, fire, mold or trauma damage. Good news for you, our team of professionals is here to help eliminate that concern.
Here at SERVPRO of La Grange Park / North Riverside, Arlington Heights/Prospect Height, and Elmhurst set ourselves apart from other restoration companies with our seamless design to work directly with most insurance companies while keeping property owners in the loop. Our dedicated team of professionals understands the insurance industry. From knowing how the claims process works, to getting your claim submitted and your repairs documented correctly. One major advantage we use is our advanced technology that allows us to perform very accurate estimates with detailed reports on replacements. Many of our team members have worked directly with insurance agents and adjusters.
As one of the largest restoration and damage remediation companies in the country, we work with hundreds of insurance companies to help our customers get their claims processed quickly and fairly. Many insurance companies know that SERVPRO handles losses professionally and often recommend us to their policyholders.
If you have any questions or are in need of emergency services, don't hesitate and give our SERVPRO of La Grange Park / North Riverside, Arlington Heights/Prospect Height, and Elmhurst team a call!
What to do after a Home or Commercial Property Fire!
Experiencing a Home or Commercial Property fire can be a very traumatic experience and leave you feeling overwhelmed and confused. SERVPRO understands the anxiety that comes when a water or fire damage event hits your home or business. Our professionally trained staff is accustomed to handling these emergencies, and we strive to minimize the disruption for you so you can get back to normal life, soon. We’re a trusted leader in fire and water cleanup, restoration services, pathogen, and biohazard cleaning, and more. Our experience in this service allows us you help understand and answer some of the questions you may have and leave you with some insightful tips. The following is a list of tips we believe will help us through a difficult experience.
Call for Help
This may seem obvious for some but in the case of panic, your mind may be in a state of stress and confusion. Remove yourself from immediate danger and call for help. In the case of an emergency first responders are trained professionals with experience in dangerous situations Getting out of the home or property and seeking help from your first responder may be detrimental to saving others and your own life.
Take a moment to collect your thoughts
A backdraft of emotions often sweeps over the homeowners after a fire ravages a home. Fear, uncertainty, stress and doubt about the future of the property can overwhelm the homeowner long after the flames have extinguished, and the smoke has cleared. Once the first responders have arrived and you are no longer in immediate danger, take a moment. Understand that you may have just undergone a traumatic experience. Take a deep breath and take a moment to gather your thoughts. Taking a moment to collect your thoughts and clear your mind you may be able to better assist and communicate with your first responders. Help the first responders to answer questions they may have such as the number of individuals on or in the property and the cause of the fire. Help the first responders to make sure all individuals are safe. People and animals that are injured may need to be transported to a hospital or veterinarian for immediate help.
Contact your property manager or Insurance Agent
Contact your property manager to let them know what has transpired. Your property manager may have essential resources to help, such as new or temporary housing. Your property manager may also need to collect information from you to file an insurance claim. Contact your insurance company immediately. Insurance companies may take some time to process claims and the quicker that you are, the better. Many insurance companies face casualty losses such as fires and have national accounts with professional restoration companies. Such as SERVPRO, utilize highly trained and skilled technicians alongside advanced technologies to get your home back together “Like it never even happened”
Secure your property ad Call a reputable restoration company
Many restoration companies such as SERVPRO have emergency response teams that are available 24/7. Depending on the damage the company to come to your home and begin as soon as the fire department allows. When it is safe they will secure the property, and start pumping out water and drying material to reduce water damage and mold infestation. Restoration companies such as SERVPRO will help you understand the true damages of your property.
The first 48 hours after fire damage can make the difference between restoring and replacing your property and personal belongings. SERVPRO franchise professionals can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems. SERVPRO franchise professionals provide timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke, and soot removal to contents claims inventory and document restoration. These services help ensure your property, belongings, and memories are restored to preloss condition when possible. Here are a few tips you might be able to do until help arrives
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.
- Coat chrome faucets, trim, and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
- Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces.
- Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery.
- Do not clean any electrical equipment.
- Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set up smoke odor.
Building Safety Month
Building Safety Month is an international campaign that takes place annually in the month of May to raise awareness about building safety, according to the International Code Council (ICC) website. This increasingly popular campaign reinforces the need for the adoption of modern, regularly updated building codes, and help individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures. This initiative is presented by the International Code Council, a nonprofit association that is focused on building safety worldwide. The Code Council provides a wide range of building safety solutions and develops codes and standards used around the world to construct safe, sustainable, affordable, and resilient structures. All communities need building codes to protect their citizens from disasters like fires, weather-related events such as flooding, and structural collapse. Model building codes, adopted and enforced by well-trained professional code officials, are society's best way of protecting homes, offices, schools, manufacturing facilities, stores, and entertainment venues. The theme for this year's campaign is Safety for All: Building Codes In Action. Regularly updated codes and a strong system of strict code enforcement ensures that individuals and communities are safe in the buildings where they live, work, and play. This campaign is supported by four core themes that will be highlighted throughout the month:
Week 1: Planning for a Safe & Sustainable Tomorrow
Week 2: Exploring Careers in Building Safety
Week 3: Understanding Disaster Mitigation
Week 4: Creating a Safe & Abundant Water Supply To learn more about the weekly themes, check out iccsafe.org.
You can help spread the word about Building Safety Month, the importance of building safety, and the role of code officials with your community! Use the hashtag #BuildingSafety365 to join the global conversation on social media. As always, if your residential or commercial property suffers from structural damage, call your local SERVPRO franchise professionals to help make it "Like it never even happened.®"
SERVPRO’s Higher Standard of Cleaning
SERVPRO has been helping our community for over 50 years so it should be of no surprise that when the COVID-19 pandemic began SERVPRO was quick to react to the virus. We enacted safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus between customers and businesses. SERVPRO has been committed to providing a safe and clean location for customers and businesses to frequent often. This has been possible through our higher stander of cleaning operations.
Did you know that 89% of consumers said they are hesitant about returning to brick-and-mortar establishments according to a recent survey? And of those, 40% say that cleanliness is a major factor for concern?
A business can look spot on clean but what about the invisible germs and pathogens that our naked eye can’t see? These hesitant consumers are talking about coronavirus, and patrons and employeeswant to feel safe and secure. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean. Fortunately, SERVPRO has adapted and changed the way we clean. SERVPRO to tell everyone about a new program we are rolling out to take ourCOVID-related cleaningwork to a whole new level, or a “higher standard of clean” says our SVP & Chief Marketing Officer Mike Stahl.
Certified: SERVPRO cleaned program is a cleaning and disinfecting program. This program ensures that businesses and their patrons have been treated by SERVPRO’s best-in-class cleaning and disinfecting services. Businesses and buildings will be provided SERVPRO Certifies Cleaned decals for their windows and doors, signage for tabletops, and digital assets they can share online. This gives consumers and employees peace of mind knowing that a business or building has been treated by the #1 cleaning and restoration brand.
Springtime Storm Flooding
Bingley Floods Boxing Day 2015 River Aire - Ireland Bridge
Flooding, an overflowing of water that covers or submerges land that is normally dry, is the most common natural disaster in the United States. (Ready.gov/ Samhsa.gov) Although often predicable and planned for alongside “emergency declaration for evacuation, storms and floods can be occasionally unpredictable. Floods happen during heavy rains when the snow melts rapidly when dams or levees break (most notably is the New Orleans levee break killing hundreds and leaving millions homeless). Flooding can even be in relation to other natural disasters such as underwater earthquakes causing tsunamis and hurricanes.
Flash floods are fast-moving waters that are particularly dangerous because of the combination of destructive power and speed. Usually occurred by heavy rainfall exceeding the grounds or drainage system’s ability to absorb the water. Water flows out into streets and sidewalks making driving and walking very dangerous. These flash floods can be significantly damaging to infrastructure. Flooding can cause server damage to residential and commercial properties. Although these events can occur randomly there are ways to prepare and prevent the damaging effects of flooding.
Preventative steps you can take in the case of a flood are unclogging drains and gutters, using sandbags to direct the flow of water, installing a backflow prevention device, and getting a sump pump. A sump pump is a submersible device installed in a sump pit dug at the lowest point of your house such as the basement and used as a sort of drain. installed If your residential or commercial property suffers from flood damage, call your local SERVPRO franchise professionals to help make it “Like it never even happened”
9 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe From Water Damage
Minor leaks can go undetected for a long time and cause significant damage if left unchecked.
- You should be aware of the location of the stopcock. Ensure that not only you, but also your family members, are aware of its location. A severe leak or rupture can cause significant damage in minutes. It is critical to understand where and how to turn off the water supply.
- Check for leaks ahead of time. Minor leaks can go undetected for a long time and cause significant damage if left unchecked. Consider that a dripping faucet can waste up to 57 gallons (260 litres) of water per week. Look for signs of stray water beneath sinks and around appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.
- Check that your sump pump is operational. The sump pump, which is common in basement homes, plays an important role in ensuring that your basement does not flood after prolonged periods of rain. If you have one, make sure it's well-maintained and serviced at least once a year.
- Keep debris out of your gutters. While leaves are the most common cause of blocked gutters, this isn't just an autumnal problem. Moss and weeds are frequently discovered to be a major cause. Blocked gutters play a significant role in damp problems. If you see water running down the side of your house or if your gutters appear to be sagging, they're probably blocked and need to be cleaned.
- Inspect your roof from the inside out. Examine the inside of your attic for signs of water leaking through the roof. Examine the joists for damp spots and the plaster for tea-colored stains. Outside, look for visible damage to the roof and make sure the flashing around any chimneys is in good condition.
- Keep your pipes from freezing. Even if you plan to be away, use a smart thermostat to keep your home at a minimum temperature of at least 10 degrees Celsius. Warm water must be able to circulate through pipes to avoid freezing damage. If a property will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, turn off the water supply at the stopcock and consider draining the system so that no water remains in the system.
- Pipes that are exposed should be properly insulated. Snap-on pipe insulation is inexpensive and effective, and it can also be used outside.
- Install a device to detect water leaks. Detection devices, which are relatively inexpensive, cut off the water supply in the event of a leak, which is critical if you leave your property vacant for extended periods of time.
- Look for any signs of moisture or mold. Damp can be detected by flaking paint or wallpaper, as well as black, speckled marks on skirting and sills. Consider adding more insulation if your walls feel cold to the touch or if you notice a musty odor. In the mornings, check windows and skylights for condensation. Its presence can indicate that your home has higher-than-average moisture levels.
10 Safety Tips to Prevent a Dryer Fire
Consider running the dryer only when you are home and awake for your own safety.
We usually wash and dry our clothes on a daily or weekly basis. However, it is critical to keep your clothes dryer in good working order in order to keep your home and family safe. Avoiding these specific bad habits can help you avoid a potentially disastrous house fire.
1. Installation by a Professional
Professional technicians can ensure that your dryer is installed correctly and carefully. These professionals should be knowledgeable about a wide range of units, including gas and electric dryers, as well as washer/dryer combos. Most manufacturer recommendations, such as proper vent pipe installation, are familiar to these technicians.
A technician would explain how minimizing bends in the pipe is important because it creates fewer opportunities for lint to accumulate. They can install a dryer vent fan for you if the distance between the vent and your dryer is significant. This is an automatic electric device that increases airflow through the duct whenever the dryer is turned on. Having a professional install and service your dryer unit can help ensure that any potential hazards are handled correctly.
2. Ongoing Maintenance
According to experts, the primary cause of clothes dryer fires is a failure to clean and maintain them. Check behind the dryer, where lint tends to accumulate. You should clean your dryer once a year and inspect the hose and vent for blockages twice a year.
It is a good idea to have a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis once a year. This will reduce the amount of lint that accumulates while also providing you with a professional opinion on the safety of your unit. In addition, a professional can inspect the venting and exhaust system. Employ only certified dryer exhaust technicians to ensure that this procedure is carried out correctly.
3. Keep Flammables to a Minimum in the Surrounding Area
Dryer lint is not the only flammable that should be considered and kept away from the dryer unit's heat. Anything flammable should be swept up and disposed of before it accumulates and creates a fire hazard. Cleaning up dust and lint is time-consuming, but it is far less difficult than dealing with the aftermath of a fire.
On the same note, do not store cleaning products, boxes, or clothing baskets near the dryer because they may start a fire that spreads quickly. While this is an extreme case, keeping the area clutter-free is an important step toward fire prevention.
4. Remove and clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry.
Household dust and lint are the most common sources of ignition in dryer fires. They congregate within the dryer cavity, which is located near the heating elements. Temperatures can reach 550° here, which is hot enough to start a fire. It is never a good idea to forget to clean out your lint filter.
Cleaning the lint screen before and after each drying cycle is a good habit to get into during your laundry routine. This is an obvious first line of defense in the prevention of dryer fires. Wiping down the interior of the dryer will also remove excess lint buildup that the screen does not catch. This is a less obvious step that many people overlook, but it is nonetheless critical.
It is also critical that you never use a dryer without a lint filter, as this removes the dryer's built-in defense against hazardous lint buildup. This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how frequently it occurs.
5. Only use metal venting material that is rigid or flexible
Most clothes dryer manufacturers recommend using flexible or rigid metal venting material to maintain proper drying time and airflow. Lint can accumulate in accordion-style ductwork, causing clogs and increasing blockages. Any dryer venting made of plastic or coiled wire foil should be replaced immediately with rigid non-ribbed metal ducts. Purchasing from a reputable vendor is critical to ensuring that your unit meets the necessary safety standards.
It is always a good idea to do your research on any major appliance before purchasing it. Looking at the unit's website to ensure it is from a reliable source, as well as researching customer reviews, can help you make an informed decision.
6. Ensure that the air exhaust vent pipe is not obstructed
One of the leading causes of dryer fires is clogged dryer vents. When the vents are clogged, it is difficult to tell. Some people are completely unaware that the vents must be cleaned on a regular basis. However, it is critical to understand that lint accumulates on a large scale within the hoses and, when combined, can cause a serious problem. The accumulation restricts airflow, which can lead to overheating and fire.
In between professional inspections, clean the outside exhaust vent regularly. It is best to check this when your dryer is running by making sure that the exhaust air is escaping properly. If you cannot feel any air, it is likely that there is a lint accumulation clogging the vent outlet. This might require you to disconnect the exhaust vent from the dryer to remove the clog. Remember to reconnect the ducting to the outside vent and dryer before you use the dryer again. If you are unsure of how to do this, it is always recommended that you contact the manufacturer for help or hire a professional.
7. Avoid Overloading
Laundry is easy to put off, especially if you have a busy schedule. However, this can lead to you saving all of your dirty laundry to be cleaned on the same day, and it's easy to use this as an excuse to overload your dryer, which can be dangerous.
A heavy load is too much for the dryer and is the most common reason for it to break down. Aside from downtime and repair costs, an overloaded dryer can cause the drum belt, spindle bearings, and pulleys to work overtime, resulting in higher-than-normal temperatures. When this occurs, the friction can ignite a spark, resulting in a fire.
This may be the most straightforward cause of dryer fires and malfunctions to avoid. Maintain organization by limiting your laundry loads to a few times per week. If your schedule makes this difficult or unreasonable, it may be better to simply split your laundry load into two or three loads instead, and take a slightly longer (albeit safer) time to complete this necessary chore.
8. Examine Gas Lines
Qualified professionals should inspect the gas line and connection to ensure that they are leak-free and in good working order. Aside from a dryer fire, gas leaks are extremely dangerous and can cause a variety of problems. If you notice a burning odor when using your dryer, stop using it immediately and contact the manufacturer as soon as possible. At all times, stay away from the suspected gas leak area.
9. Use the Proper Plug and Outlet
Dryer grounding is critical to their proper operation. Check that you are using the correct electrical plug and outlet as specified by the manufacturer. A licensed professional installing your dryer unit is a good way to ensure that you are doing this.
Check all connections on a regular basis and keep an eye out for any changes. If anything appears to be wrong, loose, or discolored, stop using it right away. Overloaded electrical sockets frequently cause tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses, which can result in a house fire.
10. Never use the dryer when you are leaving the house or sleeping.
We've all succumbed to convenience and thrown a load of laundry in the dryer before heading to work or running errands. However, if a fire starts while you are away, you will be unable to put it out. Furthermore, if you are sleeping, it may be too late for you to realize that your house has caught fire.
Consider running the dryer only when you are home and awake for your own safety. It's also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in your laundry room in case anything goes wrong.
How to Protect Your Property from Floods Caused by Snowmelt, Ice Jams, and Winter Storms
The risk of flooding doesn't go away after winter.
When we hear about flooding in the news, we usually hear about spring floods and summer storms, giving the impression that flooding occurs just half of the year. We're not out of the woods yet.
The risk of flooding doesn't go away in the winter, and flooding isn't the only thing to be concerned about when the weather turns cold. Snowmelt, ice jams, and winter storms threaten major floods from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes to the Northeast throughout the winter months.
Winter Flood Risk #1: Snowmelt
Snowmelt is an element of the natural water cycle. However, if snow thaws too quickly to be absorbed back into the soil, neighboring water bodies, and drainage systems, it can flood adjoining land, potentially flooding your basement.
Snowmelt floods can occur anywhere in the snowy north of the US, and they usually occur in small, isolated episodes. But that doesn't rule out the possibility of serious consequences. Let's pretend it snows ten inches, which isn't unheard of in freezing areas. One inch of water equals ten inches of snow, and an inch of floodwater can cost you up to $25k in repairs, according to FEMA.
While snowmelt risk is higher in the spring, climate change has introduced more and more unseasonably warm temperatures every winter. Take the 2019 Midwestern floods, for example. Record amounts of snowfall from January through March were followed by a three-day stretch of 60-degree weather. Rain fell and caused historic levels of flooding along the Missouri River and its tributaries.
Winter Flood Risk #2: Ice Jams
Long cold episodes that cause the surface of rivers to freeze are followed by warm spells, resulting in ice jam floods. Large pieces of ice break off unevenly as temperatures rise, blocking streams and flooding adjacent settlements.
Winter Flood Risk #3: Winter Storms
People who live in lakeside places like the Windy City are probably familiar with flooding in the winter. Strong winds from winter storms can create massive waves that crash over shorelines and barriers into city streets, as they did in Chicago last winter.
These winter storms and subsequent floods are common in the Midwest along the Great Lakes, but they also happen along the East Coast. Nor’easters can trigger storm surges that push heavy ocean tides into coastal communities, on top of heavy rain or snow.
Regular downpours and flash floods can happen throughout the winter, too, as long as temperatures are high enough.
Steps You Can Take This Winter to Prevent Flooding on Your Property
The easiest method to protect your property from a flood is to put measures in place before one occurs. The two most important actions to take care of to ensure that you have both financial and structural flood mitigation on your property.
Step 1: Secure Flood Insurance
Purchase flood insurance as soon as possible once the fear of floods has passed. That way, if you experience flood damage this winter, you'll be able to file a claim swiftly and easily.
The good news is that a flood insurance policy covers all sorts of flood damage equally, so your policy will provide coverage all year. The cost of coverage is decided by factors such as the age of your structure, the type of foundation it has, and your flood zone and risk level.
Step 2: Shovel Proactively and Test Drainage Systems
Shovel snow away from your foundation by at least five feet.
Shovel snow away from a runoff path if your property is on a slope or hill.
Remove any snow that has accumulated on your roof.
Keep snow and ice from accumulating around your property's drainage systems, such as gutters and groundwater pumps.
A bucket of water can be used to test sump pumps.
Floods caused by snowmelt, ice jams, or winter storms can be helped with the same wet and dry floodproofing measures you take to safeguard your property against spring and summer floods, such as constructing drainage systems.
Will Insurance Pay For Mold Remediation
If you notice mold growth, it's best to eliminate it quickly. SERVPRO has the equipment and knowledge to assist in the cleanup process.
If you notice mold growth, it's best to eliminate it quickly. SERVPRO has the equipment and knowledge to assist in the cleanup process. Restoration costs can add up quickly, though, and you're probably wondering whether your homeowner's insurance can help pay the bill. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it won't. You'll want to review your policy and speak with your insurance adjuster. Here are three things to know before having that conversation.
1. Was It Accidental?
Is mold coverage not in your policy? Owners usually have to add it separately. That doesn't mean that you can't get aid. Did your roof cave in from snow or ice? Did a pipe suddenly freeze and burst? Insurance companies may payout if the spores spread as a result of something out of the homeowner's control. If the initiating incident is included then the subsequent events get bundled with it.
2. Was the Issue Remedied Quickly?
Before a check is cut, the company could ask for evidence proving your home was under proper care. Take the broken pipe for example. Can you prove that you called for help as soon as possible? Did you let it sit and fester for a while? If the latter is the case, you may have encouraged the fungus growth, giving grounds for denial. It's best to care for water damage as quickly as possible. Prove your efforts by saving receipts. Show efforts to have repairs made and dry up the premises.
3. Is a Different Policy Available?
Speak openly about concerns. As you meet about policy updates including mold insurance limits. For instance, some companies only pay up to a certain amount, capping the remediation and leaving the rest of the cost to the residents. Consider supplementing coverage. While you may have to pay a bit more each year, that annual amount could offset large numbers.
Eliminate mold growth as soon as possible. When you notice an issue, call SERVPRO and we will contact your insurance company if needed.