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About SERVPRO of Canton

6/11/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO About SERVPRO of Canton SERVPRO of Canton understands the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage

SERVPRO of Canton understands the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage, and the disruption it causes your life and home or business. Our goal is to help minimize the interruption to your life and quickly return your home or business to preloss condition "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Canton specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property following fire, smoke, or water damage. SERVPRO of Canton can also mitigate mold and mildew from your home or business in a flash.

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our extensive training and opportunities beyond the required training only boosts our team players and the professionalism we bring to every job.

Beyond training, SERVPRO uses the best and most advanced technology and techniques to cleanup and restore the damage left in the wake of disasters. Each machine and product allows our well-trained restoration specialists to perform their duties in a quicker, more efficient manner. When you have already dealt with so much, the time it takes to cleanup and restore your home or business should not be another load to bear.

With a nationwide system of qualified franchises, no damage is too large or too small for SERVPRO of Canton.  SERVPRO supports you when your emergency hits. We know that can happen any time, anywhere, day or night. Call us for immediate assistance, available to you 24/7 including weekends and holidays.

We service the SERVPRO of Canton area. 

Serving you since 1967, SERVPRO is the cleaning and restoration brand you know and trust.

Highly Trained Restoration Specialists Guaranteed in Canton Ohio

6/9/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Highly Trained Restoration Specialists Guaranteed in Canton Ohio SERVPRO of Canton Ohio provides your home or business with the most professional care.

Highly Trained Restoration Specialists Guaranteed

Any damage emergencies you experience will be in good hands with SERVPRO Of Canton Ohio.  Our staff receives extensive training for property damage restoration. They will have your home or business back to it was before “Like it never even happened.” SERVPRO takes pride in their restoration process on your home or business. 

What kind of training do they obtain?

Initial Franchise Training

In this 15-day hands-on course at the SERVPRO Corporate Training Facility, the foundation of the SERVPRO training program takes place. Primarily for new Franchise owners, this course covers many restoration topics:

  • Fire Restoration
  • Water Restoration
  • Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
  • Mold Mitigation

Employee Certification Training

As a voluntary, self-paced program, this training is designed for SERVPRO Franchise employees. Following successful completion of course materials and an examination, a certification will be awarded. Modules include:

  • Crew Training
  • Fire Restoration
  • Water Restoration
  • Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

IICRC Training and Certification

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our professionals must study IICRC standards and best practices in these areas:

  • Water restoration
  • Fire restoration
  • Mold remediation
  • Carpet and upholstery cleaning
  • Other cleaning and restoration courses

Continuing Education Classes

SERVPRO of Canton Ohio provides both credit and noncredit courses for insurance agents, insurance adjusters, real estate professionals, and Franchise staff. Intended to improve knowledge of emergency mitigation, these sessions include:

  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry
  • Restorative Drying for Loss Control
  • Mitigation Awareness Response Seminar (non-credit course)

e-Learning

Access to web-based training is also available to all of our staff. While completely voluntary, this program is designed to be an ongoing, self-paced coaching series for a Franchise's employees. After video presentations and support materials, a knowledge test concludes each module. This additional information keeps our technicians and office staff updated on industry standards and the professional quality you deserve.

SERVPRO of Canton Ohio provides your home or business with the most professional care. 

Expect Advanced Technology and Techniques in Canton, Ohio

6/8/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Expect Advanced Technology and Techniques in Canton, Ohio SERVPRO in Canton Ohio will provide you with the most advanced technology and techniques.

Expect Advanced Technology and Techniques in Canton, Ohio.

At SERVPRO in Canton Ohio, we stay up-to-date and with most advanced technology and techniques. With these advancements, SERVPRO can restore your property swiftly, reliably, and more effectively to its preloss condition. You can count on a timely turnaround whether using SERVPRO for business or home needs in Canton Ohio. Practical standards for cleaning and restoration are put in place by The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC); The IICRC S500 Water Damage Guide even incorporates the field of psychometry into its specific set of practical standards.

Some of the equipment that helps SERVPRO adhere to the standards and stay true to the technological advancements are as follows:

Moisture Detection and Measurement

Specialized equipment detects, measures, and monitors a property’s moisture levels to fit certain scientific drying principles. Recent technology, like infrared cameras, helps us find water through a wall, ceiling, or floor.

  • For thorough water removal, an infrared camera may be used to identify water location.
  • To measure the extent of saturation, we use sensitive moisture detectors, hygrometers, and other meters.

Water Extraction

Powerful extraction equipment removes the majority of the water from your home or business which in turn accelerates the drying process.

  • For continuous draining of high-level water, we use submersible and gas-powered pumps.
  • For efficient water removal, we prefer truck-mounted and portable extraction units.

Drying

The remaining moisture from ceilings, walls, and floors of your home or business can be removed using industrial strength fans and dehumidifiers. Proper drying techniques help to avoid swelling and warping of floors, walls, and furniture.

  • High-speed fans quickly evaporate excess moisture
  • Industrial-grade dehumidifiers extract water vapor from the air.

Odor Removal

With water and fire damage, often powerful odors follow. Our advanced machines eliminate airborne contaminants and control the air quality during the restoration and cleanup procedure.

  • Air scrubbers
  • Thermal foggers and deodorization cleaners

Sanitizing Agents, Germicides, and Antimicrobial Treatments

To fully clean and remove odors and/or contaminants on your property, OSHA-approved cleaning agents may be required.

  • Deodorization products control smells from an abundance of moisture.
  • Disinfectants ends bacteria, fungi, mildew, and other harmful microorganisms growth.

SERVPRO in Canton Ohio will provide you with the most advanced technology and techniques. With these advancements, SERVPRO can restore your property swiftly, reliably, and more effectively to its preloss condition. 

Top 5 HVAC Problems and Solutions for Canton, Ohio

6/6/2019 (Permalink)

Your HVAC system houses many parts and pieces. When you need to troubleshoot an issue, that means finding the source can be difficult. With this common list, hopefully, you’ll have a bit of an easier time.

Here are the top 5 problems and solutions with an HVAC system:

Refrigerant:

Air conditioning and cooling not working properly? You may be looking at a refrigerant leak. Usually, this issue can be resolved by simply refilling or replacing the refrigerant liquid. Without refrigerant, you will likely end up with other issues as the condenser will be working overtime.

Filters:

If your air quality seems less than great, take a look at the filters. Not only will you reduce the dust, pollen, and other pollutants, but a clean filter helps your HVAC machine run more smoothly. Change the filters regularly to avoid future mechanical issues.

Thermostat:

If the unit becomes unresponsive or the temperature fluctuates, the problem may very well be the control pad itself; the thermostat. Restore your heating and cooling needs by trying a couple of routes. First, changing the batteries could be the ticket. You could also check to see if the breaker has been tripped. Otherwise, a replacement thermostat may be in order.

Drainage:

Another issue that causes more problems than just a part that needs changed is if a condensation pump goes out in your HVAC system. This piece results in a lack of proper drainage, so water pools in the unit. If located near your foundation, major water damage could occur. Your machine will be working hard to compensate for the broken pump until fixed.

Maintenance:

Regular maintenance is critical for the health of your HVAC system. If you maintain your system and check it regularly, you’re likely to keep any of the above problems from happening in the first place. Stay on top of keeping it running before any issues arise.

No need to sacrifice your comfort. Be aware of the above problems and solutions to remain as warm or cool as you want to in the event of an HVAC mishap. For any of your air duct and HVAC cleaning needs, call SERVPRO of Canton at (330) 305-2650. We stand by our word, it’ll be “Like it never even happened.”

How Well Does Cleaning Mold From Carpet Work? Ask SERVPRO of Canton Ohio

5/28/2019 (Permalink)

Cleaning How Well Does Cleaning Mold From Carpet Work? Ask SERVPRO of Canton Ohio Cleaning carpet that already has a fungus growing on it can be challenging.

Cleaning carpet that already has a fungus growing on it can be challenging. This carpet damage came from water loss, or damage, sparks a bit of controversy. One factor to keep in mind is that unless mold is appropriately removed, the restoration contractor has failed in bringing the structure back to its preloss state. Without removing visible fungus colonies, a risk of sickness remains.


Let’s Set the Scene

Wonder Makers Environmental recently called their local Kalamazoo, MI SERVPRO, one of our sister franchises, to help in the cleanup of a building one of their clients own. Fungus had grown between their monthly checks, and at an impressive rate. A trail of clues led to the culprit: a malfunctioning water heater. Despite the checks, conditions suggested the water heater had been leaking for weeks. The question then becomes, how do you effectively restore the building, clean and dry the carpets, and remove the fungus that had grown exorbitantly? Getting rid of the fungus without the possibility of it spreading or returning, and not placing a health risk to anyone now or in the future due to the water damage is a job that SERVPRO takes seriously.


Delivering Results

Using a HEPA air scrubber, SERVPRO technicians were able to collect airborne spores that may be released by the hot water extraction process and to allow for air movement to speed up the drying of the carpet. After the workers completed their cleaning and restoration measures, Wonder Makers Environmental proceeded to run extensive testing on samples of carpet and air to determine the effectiveness of the remediation operation. The results were in: both air and surface samples were equally impressive. Spores per cubic feet were reduced from over 6,000 to less than 50. For more in-depth information, check out this article. Our work speaks for itself, even in a single case study.

As you can see, cleaning mold from carpet DOES work and can be quite effective if done properly and by professionals. Those of us at SERVPRO strive to help with any restorative actions you may seek. After experiencing water damage/loss, the last thing you need is to worry about the cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Canton at (330) 305-2650. Our job is to make it “Like it never even happened."

What To Do When A Flood Hits Canton, Ohio

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage What To Do When A Flood Hits Canton, Ohio The aftermath of a flood can cost a pretty penny, it is a pretty common disaster that no one likes.

The aftermath of a flood can cost a pretty penny, it is a pretty common disaster that no one likes. Whether floods hit suddenly or more slowly, they can be dangerous and leave a mess in their wake. Don’t underestimate the power of flood waters.

Keep yourself and others safe by following some guidelines of what to do when a flood hits:

  1. Due Diligence: Check to see if you’re in a flood-prone area. Your local floodplain administrator should be able to help you determine this. Here is a list from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Resources of the floodplain administrators in Ohio. Installing check valves or having sump pumps installed when necessary will help prevent backing up into sewer traps and homes. Also, ensuring you have comprehensive insurance that covers flood damage is a good idea.
  2. Proper Preparation: Plan and practice an evacuation route. Having this, disaster supplies, and a communication idea in place will help tremendously in the event of a flood. Be ready to use a radio or TV to stay up to date on the latest information on the storm (status, emergency level, and evacuation readiness). If you have an upstairs and the time to do so, move items of value and possessions you can to higher-ground. Filling the tub, sinks, and vessels with clean water will be beneficial if contamination occurs. Turn off utilities if requested to do so by authorities. Most importantly, never attempt to go through flood waters on foot or vehicle. A split second and two feet is all it takes to be swept away; the waters may be deceiving, as well. Listen closely to the updates and follow any instructions given.
  3. Aftermath Measures: Depending on the severity of the flood, the county emergency management agency and local government handle everything to meet the immediate needs of the public. The main information you need to remember are merely to be aware of any gas leaks, check the foundation and inspect homes with flood-damage before entering, and any appliances and motors that may have gotten wet should NOT be used until they are appropriately cleaned and dried.

Your state or local emergency management agency can help answer any of your other flood or flood safety questions: the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Resources; the National Weather Service; or your local American Red Cross chapter.

Stay safe, and keep SERVPRO, Canton Ohio, (330) 305-2650, in mind for any water damage issues, clean-up, or restoration insurance needs you may have!  SERVPRO, “Like it never even happened.”

Deciding When to Demo, and When to Restore

4/27/2019 (Permalink)

To demolish, or not to demolish, that is the question. In a nod to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and perhaps one of the most popular lines in English literature, we are constantly faced with this issue in our industry. The decision to demolish, either completely or selectively, versus repair/renovate is sometimes like running the gauntlet.

Whether the loss was caused by fire, flood, wind or other peril, the single most important factor to consider is safety.

If your client’s home or business has sustained structural damage, it is imperative a registered design engineer evaluate the structure to determine if it has been compromised and if can it be repaired. The local building authority is likely to have some input in this process. The stamped letter/documents from the engineer will need to be submitted to that authority.

A house or building found to be in very poor condition structurally speaking is usually better off demolished. It may be a cheaper and safer option. If the building can be repaired, now the question becomes should the building be repaired. Factors such as historical significance, cost, condition of the house, building code upgrades, etc. should all be reviewed. Insurance carriers will also have some influence in the decision. Depending on the language in the policy, carriers may have the right to consider replacement versus drying, cleaning or repair.

Demolition Considerations

  • Is the property a historic property or in a historic district (aka heritage home)? Is it architecturally significant? There may be historic preservation ordinances and laws to protect historic resources and character. Many cities, towns and communities establish historic preservation commissions and a process for considering alterations or demolition.
  • Investigate the permitting process early in the planning stage. If your client decides to demolish a building, even one that has suffered fire or storm damage, it does not automatically follow that you will get planning/zoning permission to build any replacement structure or to change the use of the site.
  • Teardown restrictions can require structures to strictly adhere to the predominant architectural size and standards of the neighborhood.
  • Demolition permits usually require site specific testing for contaminants such as lead and asbestos, prior to demolition. Building materials such as ceilings, ductwork, flooring, roofing and siding may contain these materials. Disposal of demolition debris that has asbestos-containing material (ACM) can be costly. Consideration should be given to the presence of coolant gases (freon/refrigerant), mercury (fluorescent lamps) and potentially radioactive materials (exit signs). Discovery of an old, underground oil storage tank can also be very costly.
  • Utilities must be disconnected, including electricity, gas, cable/phone, sewer and water. Some cities/jurisdictions, such as Boston, may require you to disconnect utilities all the way to the property curb line or Right of Way (ROW).
  • The cost to demolish and rebuild a home or business is highly variable.
  • Newly constructed homes tend to be more energy efficient than renovated homes.
  • Environmentally critical areas, such as wetlands or steep slope, have different restrictions.
  • Local fire departments may require permits to be pulled and inspections/oversight by the fire marshall.
  • If there is a mortgage on the property, your client must involve their bank in the process. The only legal way to tear down a house is to own it outright or to pay off any existing mortgage(s). If the loan balance is less than the value of the land, there could be an issue. Construction loans and/or insurance proceeds could be used to pay off the debt.

Repair/Renovation Considerations

  • Renovation/repair is an alternative to demolition, but it may not be the most affordable option. Costs tend to accumulate the further you get into a renovation project and unforeseen problems discovered. Opening up walls, for example, can reveal pest/termite infestations, leaking pipes, mold, deteriorated framing, damaged wiring, cracked foundations, etc.
  • Extensive water damage can undermine foundations and footings. This type of damage can be difficult to identify. A thorough inspection of the property should be completed prior to making the decision to repair/renovate.
  • Older buildings/homes often have interior layouts that are difficult to rearrange for modern uses. An open floor plan with lots of natural light may not be so easily or cost effectively accomplished.
  • Many homes and businesses were built when building codes were less strict than they are today. Rebuilding or restoring a structure may require meeting more demanding building codes. Even undamaged parts of the structure may be required to be brought up to current building code (plumbing, electrical, mechanical, life safety, ADA, energy, etc.).
  • Depending on the extent of the damage, planning and zoning review may also apply to “repaired” buildings. For example, we recently experienced a building that was designated an R-2 usage classification when it was constructed in the 90’s. A partial fire loss caused the local building department and fire department to reevaluate the usage classification as it had changed since the original construction. Ultimately, the classification had to be changed which, in turn, triggered the application of more stringent building and life safety codes. The moral of the story is that, over time, the original approved usage classification of a facility can morph and change into something different despite good intentions from ownership.
  • Substantial rehabilitation of historic structures or in a historic district may qualify for significant tax credits.
  • In some communities, local government rules encourage substantial renovations over demolition by making it easier, faster and cheaper to obtain the necessary permits. You may be able to retain the foundation or add on to it. You might also be able to retain a portion of the existing structure or incorporate it in to your design thereby allowing you to sidestep local restrictions.
  • Deconstruction – the careful removal of building materials to reuse them elsewhere – can provide financial and environmental benefits. Donations are tax deductible. Recycling building materials can be gratifying for environmentally conscious homeowners. The downside is that deconstruction can take two to three times longer than typical demolition.
  • Renovations may require that a lead-safe licensed renovation contractor be engaged.
  • Existing commercial buildings undergoing substantial renovations are eligible to become LEED certified under LEED for Commercial Interiors and/or LEED for Existing Buildings upon completion of the renovation and three months of occupancy/operation.
  • Repairs/renovations can sometimes be completed in stages. Living expenses can add indirect costs to repair/renovation budgets. The homeowner may be able to live in the home while work is being completed.

No matter which route you choose, demand surges for labor, equipment and materials are not uncommon after natural disasters – hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquake, flooding, wildfires, etc. Do your homework and open a dialogue with the local building department, insurance carrier, contractors, vendors and suppliers. The key is proper planning before you pick up a hammer. Don’t go into a project blindly and hope to stay within budget.

Water Damage Requires a Quick Response

4/16/2019 (Permalink)

Floods, rainstorms and tornadoes can become massive water damage threats to businesses during the often-stormy spring and summer months. Facilities plagued with such water woes this season must take quick action.

Floods, rainstorms and tornadoes can become massive water damage threats to businesses during the often-stormy spring and summer months. Facilities plagued with such water woes this season must take quick action to control many possible problems, experts say. 

You won’t see it emphasized on the nightly news when a disaster hits, but water damage can represent potentially huge disasters for businesses and building owners and operators. 

Water damage can mean much more to a business than just wet and soggy carpets. There are other common, more significant problems businesses face when water wreaks havoc on property, such as indoor air quality problems. Mold and mildew grow rapidly in damp, humid environments, leaving behind an unpleasant smell that permeates floors, walls and ceilings, even after the water has been removed. It also can create health problems for employees. 

Damage to the building’s structure and foundation also can be an issue. When water sits inside a building for a period of time, the walls, ceilings and floors absorb the water, which threatens the overall structural integrity of the building and creates an unsafe environment. Total reconstruction of the building often becomes the only option. 

Another major threat to business is the loss of expensive equipment, which often can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace. 

To minimize water damage, there are two critical steps that need to be taken:

  1. Act fast to assess the situation; and
  2. Control the environment within the building.



Act Fast and Call an Expert

The absolute first step to take is fast action. Damage resulting from water and flooding is very progressive. The longer the water flows or wet conditions are allowed to exist, the greater the recovery problem becomes. A water damage consultant must come in immediately to survey the situation. 

In a typical scenario, a team of water damage recovery professionals is dispatched to the site to perform a thorough inspection and fully determine the extent of the damage. A disaster reclamation partner also will develop an intense restoration plan and determine which items are worth restoring and which are better replaced. 

You can’t always save everything by drying, but you can save a tremendous amount. It’s not unusual to save between 30 and 70 percent of the cost needed to reconstruct a facility.

Controlling the Interior Environment

Another key in limiting water damage is to quickly control three conditions of a building’s atmosphere: relative humidity, temperature and air circulation. Fast, effective action at this point will generally confine the damage to the area that was directly affected by the water damage event. 

The most effective way to control these conditions in a high-moisture environment, especially a large facility, is to employ professional disaster drying that combines air movers with desiccant dehumidifiers. 

Disaster drying often eliminates the need to rip out and replace walls, carpet, floor covering, hardwood floors and the building structure, which can be a huge expense. On top of that, you preclude the odors and staining caused by mold and mildew. These problems can come back to haunt you weeks later in a superficially dried building.

The Desiccant Way

When a facility has been severely water damaged, you need high volume desiccant dehumidifiers. Some larger desiccant dehumidifiers can pull 800 gallons of water out of a building in one day, compared to the typical small refrigeration units that remove about five gallons a day. 

Many people are surprised that “solid” materials such as concrete and hard woods absorb moisture. But they do and rather quickly. 

Getting the water back involves a phenomenon called migration. Migration is the tendency for water molecules to move toward a low vapor pressure. When a room is filled with very dry air, which has low vapor pressure, trapped water migrates outward and is evaporated from the surface by the dry air. As the air in the room fills with water vapor, we expel it. We then replace it with more dry air and the process continues. 

It’s also essential to be sure the equipment being used is sized right. Inappropriately sized drying equipment can lead to insufficient drying and long-term problems with the building. Only large-volume dehumidifiers could provide the massive drying power needed to dry the space quickly and thoroughly.

Best Defense: A Disaster Recovery Plan

To minimize damage and costs, companies need to think ahead about what to do in a water damage event and contact a water damage expert to create a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). 

A DRP can limit the extent of water damage occurrences by defining and prioritizing the recovery of areas within a facility and stating immediate next steps. Proper planning and fast action are most certainly the best defense to preventing a catastrophic water damage event.

Helping Property Owners Recover from a Fire-Damage Emergency

4/11/2019 (Permalink)

Dealing with a fire-damage emergency and the claims process is an emotionally trying time for a policyholder. A restoration professional must be sensitive to the personal and emotional aspects of a fire-damage situation. It’s imperative to recognize that a homeowner goes through five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

The professional must be prepared to respond appropriately to each situation. Insurance professionals need to prepare the homeowner for the restoration process, work closely with the restoration professional to ensure quality and timely work, and maintain a constant flow of communication throughout the process. A restoration professional must recognize that every loss is significant to the people impacted by it, and take the proper steps to restore the home to preloss condition. 

Dealing With a Fire-Damage Emergency

A fire loss is often more severe than a water loss, and special attention to safety is imperative. The restoration professional needs to ask the property owner some simple questions to quickly evaluate the level of damage: “Is there any structural damage? Is there a lot of smoke?” 

Air quality is the most important factor to evaluate. With any fire, carcinogens enter the air, and safeguards will need to be put in place to help ensure the safety of the air that the residents and workers breathe. All necessary PPE should be available for technicians, as well as the proper equipment to replace the bad air with fresh air as soon as possible. 

If not already aware, the service professional should consider the ages and health of everyone in the home. Young children, the elderly and pregnant women might need to leave the property immediately, as they are often more susceptible to air-quality related health issues. If the client is not comfortable living in the home, the agent needs to assist in finding alternative accommodations for the residents.

 

Specifics to Consider When Scoping a Smoke and Soot Loss

There are several important steps to take when analyzing a fire-damage emergency:

  1. Evaluate how much heat was involved that resulted in damage to the structure, fixtures and contents. Look for a “heat line” on the wall, which often indicates possible damage to the structural integrity of the drywall materials.
  2. Where did the smoke/soot travel to? Did the smoke get into the HVAC system? Did the smoke travel into the attic areas, or force its way into the crawl space or basement?
  3. Consider pre-cleaning as an alternative process to save the metal and glass items in a home.
  4. Is there excessive smoke inside of the walls? This often requires removal of the drywall to get rid of the smoke/soot and accompanying odors.
  5. Determine which systems are available that will best deodorize the property and contents. These include professional cleaning and sanitizing; organic deodorizing systems; hydroxyls; and/or ozone.
  6. Determine the extent of the damage and the processes/procedures that will return the property, and the lives of those people involved, back to a “preloss” condition as quickly as possible.
  7. Respond as rapidly as possible to minimize the long-term effects of smoke and soot damage, and the many acids those materials contain.

Smoke and soot-related emergencies require specific mitigation strategies, depending on the materials affected: flat or glossy paint, finished and unfinished; laminates and solid wood items; particle-board materials; natural and man-made fibers in carpets and upholstered furniture. Porous, semi-porous and non-porous materials all require unique cleaning and deodorizing systems to most effectively deal with smoke/soot damage. 

Wildfires often destroy thousands of acres of property and hundreds of homes. There is not much a mitigation company can do in those situations. However, there are often thousands of homes that are downwind from the fire that suffer smoke and soot damage, both on the exterior and the interior of homes. Smoke enters around doors and windows, through the ventilation system and even through the soffit vents into the attic areas. 

Knowing how to deal with these materials quickly and professionally to neutralize and remove the compounds from the home, and to control and manage the odor damage are key aspects of a professional restoration/mitigation company. 

Overall, the most important thing to understand about a fire damage emergency is that helping a client cope with the property loss is first priority. Communication along the way and hand-holding through the process is just as important, if not more, than the property owner receiving a check for the loss. 

The restoration professional should be empathetic and emphasize that the damage will be taken care of, but never pass off the restoration process as a casual routine. The level of damage should be evaluated quickly and efficiently. It is critical to work with the insurance agent to educate the policyholder, ease their concerns, and manage their expectations. 

Understand that each client will go through five steps of grief, and anticipate that anger will turn up one way or another. If the restoration professional expects this emotion to surface, they will be prepared to help the client cope and restore their sense of calm.

Back to Basics: 6 Steps to Handle Large-Loss Fire Restoration

4/2/2019 (Permalink)

Not only can a fire be devastating for the structure of a home or building, but it can also be emotionally devastating when it comes to the occupants of that structure, whether that is a family of four or a company of 400 workers. That's part of the reason why handling a large-loss fire doesn't just involve restoring the property to a preloss condition, but also being sensitive and understanding with the occupants of the affected home or business. That's not to say that restoration professionals are counselors — they're not — but acting with empathy can go a long way toward making a fire loss a little less stressful for the individuals who are most impacted. Here are six steps to follow to handle large-loss fires:

  1. Getting the call: Whether this initial call comes from a homeowner or the insurance company, this first point of contact is an ideal time to gather as much information as possible about the fire. Where did it occur? How many rooms are affected? What type of fire was it? The goal of this initial point of contact is to gather information to get an idea of the scope of the project before arriving on site.
  2. Arrive on site/inspection: After the initial phone call comes an on-site inspection. This is typically done after the fire department has doused the flames and secured the property. By this point, the restoration team should have a good idea of what type of fire occurred (i.e. protein fire, petroleum fire, etc.) and inspecting the property helps team members estimate the scope of work that will be involved, the timeline of the project and whether or not any demolition and reconstruction will be necessary. Depending on the severity of the fire, the restoration team may also board up the windows and doors to ensure structural stability.
  3. Access occupant needs/packout: If it is possible, restoration professionals will likely ask the building occupants to gather any immediate needs. For a house fire, this may consist of undamaged clothes, school supplies, computers, etc. Everything else in the facility that has been affected by the fire will then likely be packed out and taken to an off-site location for contents restoration.
  4. Estimate and begin work: After estimating the cost of the project and having the proper documents signed by all parties involved, then work can start on the fire loss. For a large fire loss, demolition and reconstruction of at least a portion of the property is likely necessary. Other areas of the property may just require soot and smoke damage restoration, where walls are HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) vacuumed and washed, items are hand-cleaned and carpets are deep cleaned to remove soot residue. While restoration is occurring on site, it's also likely occurring off site in terms of the packed out contents (i.e. affected clothes, electronics, hard items, soft goods, etc.).
  5. Frequent communication: Whether the project takes five days or five weeks, good restoration contractors will be in regular communication with both the insurance company and the homeowner or business owner. This constant communication helps keep all parties up to date on progress, as well as provides an outlet for questions to be asked and answered related to the project. Communication is often the differentiating factor between good and poor restoration contractors, as keeping in regular touch with relevant parties ensures transparency and provides a regular source of contact.
  6. Final jobs/walk-through: After the crux of the project is complete, the last step is usually having the air ducts professionally cleaned and deodorized so soot doesn't contaminate — or cross contaminate — the facility. Following this, the occupant and insurance adjuster will likely take a final walk-through of the property to ensure the job has been done adequately and correctly. Any contents that went off site for cleaning will also be returned to the home and placed in their original location.
As you can see, a large-loss fire restoration job is a bit of a different challenge compared to a standard water damage restoration or mold remediation job. It's important your crew is trained to properly handle all the steps of every unique job.