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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Should You Hire an Independent Cleaner or a Cleaning Company?

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Are you trying to decide whether you should hire an independent cleaner or a cleaning company? It’s an important question to consider, and we’re here to give you some guidance to help you make an informed decision. 

When you hire a cleaning company, you’re getting professional cleaners who have been vetted, hired, and trained by the company. You can rest assured that whoever cleans your facilities is an employee of the company you’ve hired. If your usual cleaner is sick or on vacation, the company will assign another competent cleaner to your facility. 

When working with a company, all you need to worry about is paying the company, which will provide you with an invoice. If anything is broken, stolen, or the cleaner is injured, the cleaning company will cover the damages or workman’s compensation. If there is an issue with a cleaner, the company can speak with them, and, if necessary, assign a new cleaner to your account. 

On the other hand, if you hire an independent cleaner, the process is more complicated and can be uncomfortable when issues arise. For example, if you hire an independent cleaner, they may not be properly trained or have all of the necessary supplies to clean your space. You also can’t rely on a company to do a background check and vet them. It’s up to you to do the research or take on the risk. If the cleaner becomes sick or takes a vacation, your space does not get cleaned until they return to work.

If anything is lost, stolen, or broken, you will have to speak to the cleaner yourself or file a police report, which can be very uncomfortable. If the cleaner is injured on the job, and they’re not insured, you could be held liable. And if you're not happy with the cleaner’s services, you have to have those uncomfortable conversations.  

If you’re interested in hiring a top-shelf cleaning company, look no further than SERVPRO. With 1,700 franchises nationwide and 24/7 availability, you can count on a job that meets our high standards and is completed on time. 

Psychometrics - The Science of Post Flood Drying

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Flooding can happen any time of year … rain OR shine.  If you are faced with flooding in your home or business, there are many things that will be going through your mind, from what may have been damaged, to how to get the water out and the area dry. A few of those racing thoughts you may want to hone in on in particular, like getting the area clean and dry. And while some may say “it’s not rocket science”, and it is true that drying a wet basement is not in fact rocket science, it is still however science! This science even has a name, and it is called Psychometrics. 

When Psychometrics comes into play, the air and its properties are studied and examined. This is an important aspect to know and understand. Although an area may seem dry and clear of moisture, there may still be a threat. When certified SERVPRO technicians are called in to help with a clean-up, they can get to the root of all that is going on and help to create the right atmosphere for proper drying. If you are faced with flooding and water damage, avoid hidden moisture and further damage by not following all of the proper steps (science) - give SERVPRO a call! We are faster to any disaster and would love to help you get back to normal "Like it never even happened."

Will my Bills go up After a Flood?

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Have you recently experienced a flood and are worried about what the damage might be? There are many factors that go into the repair costs. Here are some of the damages that can occur and how that may affect your bills…

Possible Damage

There are so many different things water damage may affect. It can cause issues like mold and rotting that can go undetected for some time. Breathing mold could cause significant issues with your health. 

There are, however, more issues that need to be considered when thinking about water damages. These include:

- Structural/Electrical Damage: Flooding can cause foundation cracks, material loss, and structural damage. It can even break or damage wires in your home. If this occurs be sure to avoid touching outlets, wires, switches, etc. Get a professional to come and look at the damage and take care of the electrical issues.

- Appliances: All appliances within your home can be compromised when it comes to water damage, such as heating, air conditioning, water heater, refrigerators, etc. If they do become damaged or are wet after flooding/water damage, turn off the home’s electricity and get it inspected by a professional. 

- Mold: It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to grow on a damp surface. This is why it is important to dry out your home and belongings as soon as possible after flooding. You can open windows, use fans, dehumidifiers, etc., to help speed up the process. 

Cost Difference

The cost of damages will depend on many different factors. The more damage, the more expensive restoration will be. If there is less damage and you have flood insurance, most- if not all- will likely be covered. If you get water damage and don’t have any insurance, it could end up being very costly.


Get the proper estimates and damage repair for your needs. SERVPRO has trained technicians to handle any water damage repairs. Check out the website today for more information on the services that are offered. Don’t let water damages wear you down!

Flood Plains to Avoid in Ohio

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

When it comes to buying a new home, it can be both thrilling and terrifying all at the same time! While you may be looking for the perfect neighborhood or school district, there are a few other things that you will want to keep in mind as well. You may consider how close it is to the highway, how long it would take for emergency services to arrive, or even the surrounding elements that might cause a threat to the house. One thing in particular that you should absolutely consider is flooding. 

Certain areas are going to be more prone to flooding than others. No matter where you look, chances are the areas that are more prone to rain and snow will have a risk of flooding or possible water damage to your home, but floodplains, in particular, are a factor that will be something to look out for! 

A floodplain is usually the lowland that borders rivers, lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water. Some floodplains are more prone to flooding than others. This is information that you can research and learn more about from the FEMA website, tax records, or even a title search. If you are unsure of how to find this information, your realtor or insurance agent should be able to help direct you. 

Although this may not be at the top of your list when you are searching for your forever home, you will not want to overlook it. Areas that are prone to flooding will not only be a headache in the future, but it may also influence the structure of the homes that you are looking at. 

Best Types of Flooring for Leaky Basements

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Basements are the one part of your home that is meant to not only be for storage, laundry rooms, home gyms, and family time but also safety. When you rely on your basement to keep you (and your treasured belongings) safe, it is important to trust that water won’t be a threat. Although you can waterproof your basement and seal every crevice you can find, water can still get in at times. 

This is important to consider when it comes time to redo your basement, sometimes the right flooring can help to circumvent this stressor. So if you are thinking about an update to your basement, you may want to consider a few new floor options.

Ceramic or Porcelain

Opting for a tougher material will help to not only clean up any water but also maintain durability. When water vapor is present in your basement it will be easy to wipe the area dry and use fans to circulate the air. 

Vinyl Plank Flooring

These diable floors are fairly easy to install and surprisingly durable. Additionally, they stand their ground when it comes to moisture. These may be a good option for someone who is looking for an easier fix.

Rubber Flooring

Yes, rubber flooring is an option, and you may have even seen flooring like this at your gym. Chances are, the gym uses this flooring because of how durable it is, easy to install, and water-resistant it is. The added bonus is that it's pretty comfy for your feet as well. 

Although you may be tempted to get cozy carpeting for your basement, it may be worthwhile considering a few of the above-mentioned options. If you really miss your carpet, you can always find a fun area rug. Nonetheless, it is crucial to protect your basement and floors from water damage, not only will it keep your basement clean and smell-free, but it will be safer for you as well.

Benefits of Our Advanced Technology and Services

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Life happens-- things get spilled, pets have accidents or track mud through the house, factories have spills, among all the other things life can throw at you. Luckily, SERVPRO is here to help you with any clean-up you may need! We can help clean up messes you may not have even known were there! 

Here’s how we do it:

Carpet

  • Bonnet Cleaning: A less aggressive method for short piled carpets. Carpets that are cleaned using this method also tend to dry in 30 minutes or less, and spots and stains are less likely to return in comparison with other carpet cleaning methods. 
  • Hot Water Extraction: A deeper cleaning method for all carpet types. Hot water extraction is an eco-friendly way to get dust and allergens out of your carpet while also disinfecting it. This method is also ideal for commercial carpet cleaning, as it’s much more gentle than many other carpet cleaning methods. 
  • Deluxe Precondition and Rinse: Helps restore deeply soiled areas by removing deep stains and conditioning your carpet. This method can also help to restore carpet piles and is ideal for the restoration of water-damaged carpets.
  • Showcase Premier Cleaning: The most thorough cleaning method in the industry. Showcase Premier Cleaning is a 2-step process where the carpet is shampooed and then conditioned and rinsed. This is also the ideal cleaning method for carpet restoration after fire damage. 
  • Dry Cleaning: When color-fastness is an issue. Dry cleaning allows you to break down dirt by applying a pre-treating agent prior to the use of other cleaning methods. 

Air Duct/HVAC

When it comes to your air ducts or HVAC system, it’s all about preventative maintenance. SERVPRO professionals will inspect your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units and help you to keep them clean, saving you money that you may have otherwise spent on repairs and keeping your air fresh! It can also help to prevent or eliminate odors or mold. 

Ceilings, Walls, and Hard Floors

While your ceilings, walls, or hard floors may not look dirty, they probably are. These parts of your home are exposed to things like cooking oil, pet dander, and dust, among other things, every single day! This means that even if your home or office looks clean, they’re most likely beginning to accumulate soil. 

Using our advanced cleaning methods, SERVPRO can help you restore your ceilings, walls, and hard floors and get them looking brand new without needing a coat of paint! If you are planning on painting, however, it’s still a good idea to get your walls professionally cleaned first-- that way, you can be sure your primer and paint will adhere to the wall properly!

Why Customers Love SERVPRO

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

WHEN a pipe on the second floor of his mother’s house burst, Brian knew exactly whom he was going to call – SERVPRO.

“The burst had probably happened at least a day before, and the heater had been running non-stop, flooding the whole of the downstairs,” he said.

But an earlier experience of a similar flood years before meant Brian had no qualms whatsoever when his insurance agent gave him a list of approved contractors.

“SERVPRO was on the list so I just said call them,” said Brian. “The earlier leak was at least 15 years ago and was nowhere near as bad as this one as the water had only been running an hour, but they came immediately, dried the carpets, and did the tests for mildew and mold. They were quick and efficient.”

“I was comfortable with using SERVPRO and just automatically said use them again.”

And Brian was delighted to discover the service was just as good with the new flood. “They did the full water mitigation and clean up,” he said. “Their team had to cut up pretty much two feet on every wall, and even cut out some ceilings from where the water had come through from the floor above.”

“The house was trashed with water and stuff all over the place, but the SERVPRO team was fast. They had all the furniture moved, carpets out and demolition done in a couple of days, and drying equipment brought in.”

Now SERVPRO is helping Brian reconstruct his mother’s home in Cuyahoga Falls and said: “My contact at SERVPRO, Joanne, walked us through everything. I was especially happy as my mom is 80 and she took the time to make sure she understood everything that was happening.”

“I would absolutely recommend SERVPRO to other people,” said Brian.

Kitchen Fire Safety Basics

1/27/2022 (Permalink)

Home is where the heart is, and they say the kitchen is the heart of the home. This is rightly so, the magic of home-cooked meals and family bonding through cooking together; it doesn’t get much heartier than that. While the kitchen is a great place for family, fun, and food, there are also many hidden dangers lying all around. In fact, the great majority of house fires start in the kitchen. 

Learning the basics of cooking and preparing food safely in the kitchen is a must for the safety of you, your home, and your family. 

Never Leave a Heat Source Unattended

This one is a no-brainer. Leaving the stove or oven unattended for even a second can leave room open for a fire disaster to break out in your home. Be mindful of your attention span when cooking. If you are under the influence or feeling sleepy, it’s probably not a good idea to be operating cooking equipment. 

Be Alert


Always be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to control any fires or stray sparks that may flare-up. Do not let children or pets near the cooking area to prevent any distractions or further hazards. 

Be Tidy

Put any food scraps in the garbage or away from the cooking surface. This will prevent potential fire hazards. Pay attention to grease spills or flammable materials. 

Use a Timer

Your internal clock may be accurate, but don’t leave anything up to chance. Fire’s wait for no man! 

Dress to Cook

Leave the loose, baggy clothing in the closet. Make sure nothing is dangling from your arms that could end up catching a flame. 

And there you have it! A crash course on kitchen safety from your #1 restoration service, SERVPRO. 

Managing Humidity in Your Basement

1/27/2022 (Permalink)

Managing humidity in your basement is very important. Humidity can cause mold to grow which is damaging to your basement and the air within your home. 

What causes basement humidity?

Some factors that make the basement area of a home generally the most humid are because it’s underground, surrounded by concrete, and basements generally have very few windows. All of these things combine to cause more moisture to be trapped in the basement. 

How to Detect High Moisture. 

It can be difficult to tell if your basement traps moisture. Some key signs to look for include:

Mold: There may be mold growing in your basement in cracks, walls, corners, etc. 

Damp walls/Condensation: The walls could feel wet from the high humidity levels and surfaces could even be collecting condensation.

Musty Odor: If the basement has a musty odor it can be an indication of high moisture. Especially if clothes that have been in the basement have this odor because it’s likely they haven’t had a chance to dry sitting in such a humid room.

How to Manage Humidity?

There are ways to avoid high amounts of moisture in your basement. Some of these ways include:

Open Windows: Opening the windows in your basement helps circulate the air within the room. It will reduce humidity and can even create a better feel when you’re in the basement. 

Clean: Too many items in your basement creates a cluttered environment. This gives mold and mildew a chance to grow in these hidden, cluttered areas.

Get a Dehumidifier: Having a dehumidifier in your basement creates a way to absorb moisture. This can protect belongings in your basement from being damaged, and prevent any mold from growing.

Keep your basement protected from high humidity. Here at SERVPRO, we are here to help you protect yourself and your home from unsafe conditions. Contact us today at 1-800-SERVPRO for more information on what we can do for you!

What to Do If Your Home Floods

1/27/2022 (Permalink)

What to Do If Your Home Floods

You’ve been hit by severe weather and excessive rains, and your home is flooding. What do you do first?

If you experience flooding in your home, you need to act quickly. Mold can begin growing within 24 hours, depending on the environment. Remember that mold grows best in warm, damp environments. 

First, take pictures of the water damage from a safe place. You don’t want to stand in water that could be electrically charged, or contains bacteria or sharp objects. The pictures will help when insurance gets involved. 

Aside from documenting with pictures, your first move is dependent upon the height of the water. If the water in your home is below electrical outlets, then you can focus on salvaging appliances, decor, and furniture. Remove rugs and other absorbent materials, and place them in a well-ventilated spot where they can begin to dry. 

Wooden furniture can be hoisted above the water using bricks. If the water level is low enough, you can even cover the legs of furniture with a waterproof material like aluminum foil to protect the wood from soaking up moisture and warping. 

If the water has risen above electrical outlets, then first, shut off your electricity and gas. Next, call your electrician. If your home has flooded from severe weather, then chances are good that many other homeowners are experiencing the same thing. Call the electrician quickly to beat the rush. 

After you’ve called an electrician, reach out to your insurance company to begin the claims process. The sooner you get this process started, the faster you will be reimbursed for the water damage repair costs. 

3 Most Common Causes of House Fires in America

1/25/2022 (Permalink)

It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare. You hear the piercing chirp of the smoke alarm. You smell burning and then smoke. And you realize your home is on fire. Luckily, there are some precautions you can take to prevent becoming the victim of the three most common causes of American house fires.

The most common cause of house fires is unattended cooking. Whether you’re baking, grilling, broiling, or boiling, never leave your cook station unattended. We’re all human, and, therefore, forgetful. We walk away from the stove to do one thing, and then we get a text, and 20 minutes later we smell burning. It’s a terrible feeling! 

When cooking, never leave the stove or grill unattended. If you absolutely must step away, set an alarm on the stove. That way, if you forget, the stove alarm will remind you. Also, be prepared, and have a fire extinguisher on hand. Every floor of your home should have a working fire extinguisher. Pay attention to the “service by” date, and have your extinguisher serviced regularly.  

The second most common cause of house fires is due to improper use of heating equipment like space heaters. When using a space heater, make sure it is set away from any flammable material like clothes, bedding, curtains, furniture, and carpet. And remember, space heaters should only be used to heat small areas of your home, not the entire home. So use them accordingly, and do not leave them on when you leave home.  

The third most common cause is scary because it’s so difficult to detect: faulty wiring. Behind your walls, you could have old wiring that could cause sparks and lead to fires. But there are some signs you can look out for. If you notice that when you use other appliances your lights flicker? Do you often experience blown fuses? Do you smell burning or melting plastic around your outlets? Any of these signs could mean you have faulty wiring. If you suspect your home may have faulty wiring, contact your trusted electrician to investigate. 

Mold Cleaning Services

1/25/2022 (Permalink)

Mold in your home or business is a very serious problem that typically needs to be dealt with right away. If a source of water is present, such as after storm damage or a flood, the chances are that the resulting mold will ultimately make the damage worse. On top of this, mold can also produce allergens and irritants that present a health hazard.

SERVPRO uses a 7-step mold remediation process: 

  1. Contact SERVPRO
  2. Inspection and damage assessment
  3. Mold containment
  4. Air filtration
  5. Removal of mold and infested materials 
  6. Cleaning contents and belongings
  7. Restoration

Because every mold infestation is different, each individual scenario typically requires a unique variation on these seven steps. Rest assured that while these seven steps serve as a baseline approach to mold remediation, our professional team at SERVPRO will always work with you to develop a unique solution. 

In addition to cleaning up the mold in your home or business, it’s also important to take care of the source of the mold. For example, most mold infestations are a result of water damage from an event such as a storm or flood. Of course, once your mold remediation has been completed, SERVPRO is happy to help you with these issues, as well.

The Benefits of Hiring a Commercial Cleaning Company

1/25/2022 (Permalink)

Some people have concerns about hiring a commercial cleaning company. But most of those concerns are based on false information. In this post, we’ll look at some of those base-less concerns and some of the many benefits of hiring a professional cleaning company.

Concern #1: Cleaning companies are impersonal

Some people think hiring an independent cleaner is better because you know them or are more likely to get to know them. They feel that cleaning companies are big, faceless entities, and are, therefore, harder to trust. 

This really isn’t the case. Employees of professional cleaning companies are just as friendly as independent cleaners. And while having one cleaner you can call your own sounds nice at first, it can actually cause issues. For example, what if your cleaner wants to take a vacation or becomes ill. Your facility doesn’t get cleaned. With a cleaning company, if your normal cleaner isn’t available for whatever reason, the company will send another cleaner to make sure you get the services you’re paying for. 

Concern #2: Independent cleaners do a better job than companies

These days, we’ve become distrustful of bigger organizations like companies and governments. While this distrust is sometimes earned, it’s not always warranted. For example, you may think that an independent cleaner will do a better job than an employee of a cleaning company. But that independent cleaner is just as likely to slack off and cut corners. In fact, they may be more likely to cut corners because they don’t have to answer to a boss. An employee, on the other hand, must meet their company’s standards in order to keep their job. There’s also the question of supplies. A cleaning company has a steady stream of cleaning equipment and supplies. An independent cleaner may not be able to afford such equipment

Concern #3: Handling issues with quality of work 

Many people assume that when they hire an independent cleaner, the quality of work will be better than that of a cleaning company. This is often untrue and puts the person employing the cleaner in an awkward position. If the independent cleaner isn’t doing quality work, then it’s up to the employer to speak to that cleaner. These conversations can be uncomfortable and can lead to resentment. However, if you’re working with a cleaning company, and you’re unhappy with the outcome, most cleaning companies have channels in place where you can express your concerns. Fixing the issue then falls on the employee’s supervisor. Also, if you are unhappy with your service, most companies have money back guarantees. 

When you work with SERVPRO, you’re actually working with a franchise of a larger company. And the franchises are each unique and want to build relationships with the people they serve in their community. Reach out to your local SERVPRO family for any questions about our professional cleaning services. 

We look forward to speaking with you!

Should You Get Flood Insurance?

1/5/2022 (Permalink)

These days, we have insurance for everything under the sun: car insurance, phone insurance, health insurance, pet insurance - the list could go on and on. If you own a home or business, you will have homeowners or commercial insurance. While having these securities may help you to sleep easy at night knowing that you are covered (in the case of a disaster) - it is important to consider: “Am I completely covered?”.

One common misconception or misunderstanding is when people think that their home or business is covered if a flood should happen. However, while regular insurance will help to pay for damages from water accidents, they will NOT cover flood damage. Because of this, many people opt to invest in flood insurance. However, there are still some that may look at flood insurance as “just another expense” or “surely my homeowners insurance will cover everything I need”. 

If that is your train of thought, you may want to think again. While homeowners insurance will cover damage that is sudden or accidental, it absolutely will NOT cover flood damage. Even if you do not live in a high risk area or flood plain, weather still happens. With the right combination of rainy days and sunless skies, or a bad winter storm, flooding does happen. Additionally, according to NDRC (the Natural Resource Defense Council, Inc.), if your home is flooded and it is valued at less than $250,000, it is very likely that there will be more damage than your home is even worth. 

If you are still unsure of whether or not flood insurance is an investment you want to make, ask for some more information from your insurance representative. Most insurance companies will offer it, but if not, they will be able to recommend another company.

Mitigation Restoration

1/5/2022 (Permalink)

Often mistakenly used as substitute words, there is an important difference between water damage mitigation and its cousin water damage restoration.

Put simply, mitigation comes first, followed by restoration. 

Mitigation stops the initial problem and prevents more damage from taking place – first aid for your home. This could include stopping the leak, pumping out water, drying carpets and removing sodden drywall to prevent mold and damp setting in.

Restoration starts when mitigation is complete and seeks to return your property to the condition it was before the water damage took place. This is the medical treatment after the first aid for your home.

At SERVPRO, we are experts in handling both parts of the water damage problem. We can advise on when to repair and when to replace. We use the latest technology to assess how far water has penetrated into walls and floors and advise on avoiding mold which can have serious health implications. We are trained to handle flooding that may be unhealthy or dangerous to handle yourself, especially if it involves sewer water.

Is SERVPRO Just For Disasters?

1/5/2022 (Permalink)

Everyone knows that SERVPRO is faster to any-sized disaster-- it’s our slogan for a reason! But did you know we can help you with more than just disasters? 

When you think of home restoration, you probably think of emergencies, such as fire damage, water damage, or storm damage. At SERVPRO, we pride ourselves on being experts in restoration after disasters like these, but we can also clean up the more minor issues in your home or commercial space. 

SERVPRO professionals are also experts in mold remediation. Mold can often be an after-effect of other types of property damage, such as water damage from flooding. However, while mold is not as serious of an issue compared to that, it’s still important to get it cleaned up-- otherwise, it could begin producing health effects in some individuals. 

At SERVPRO, we also offer commercial cleaning services. This means that we’ll come to your business for everyday professional cleaning and perform preventative maintenance to keep your commercial property looking and operating at its best. With these services, we hope you won’t need us to come back to clean up a disaster! 

Next time you notice mold or just think your building could use a good cleaning, keep us in mind! We’ve got you covered for more than just disasters.

Is SERVPRO Just For Disasters?

1/5/2022 (Permalink)

Everyone knows that SERVPRO is faster to any-sized disaster-- it’s our slogan for a reason! But did you know we can help you with more than just disasters? 

When you think of home restoration, you probably think of emergencies, such as fire damage, water damage, or storm damage. At SERVPRO, we pride ourselves on being experts in restoration after disasters like these, but we can also clean up the more minor issues in your home or commercial space. 

SERVPRO professionals are also experts in mold remediation. Mold can often be an after-effect of other types of property damage, such as water damage from flooding. Mold can cause health effects. 

At SERVPRO, we also offer commercial cleaning services. This means that we’ll come to your business for everyday professional cleaning and perform preventative maintenance to keep your commercial property looking and operating at its best. With these services, we hope you won’t need us to come back to clean up a disaster! 

Next time you notice mold or just think your building could use a good cleaning, keep us in mind! We’ve got you covered for more than just disasters.

Should you Have a Cleaner on Staff, or Hire a Cleaning Company?

1/4/2022 (Permalink)

Offices can be a common place that begin to foster viruses and other germs. This means that it is essential, especially in the current pandemic, that a company is properly adapted to be cleaned and sanitized regularly. This poses an important question: Should you have a cleaning person on staff or hire a cleaning company? 

Typically, having a cleaning person on staff may seem to be the logical choice to many companies. The cleaning person will most likely be there on a daily basis and be able to clean during or after the workplace is being occupied. Most of the time, a cleaning person on staff will have a very limited knowledge on proper cleaning techniques, unlike a commercial cleaning company. 

A commercial cleaning company is specialized in cleaning workspaces. They are trained on how to deeply and efficiently clean offices to minimize the chance of a virus from spreading. Hiring a professional cleaning company gives you the peace of mind that the safety of your staff is in highly qualified hands.

Having a quality clean to your office regularly will ensure that your employees are safe in their workplace. Due to the current state of the pandemic, it is of the utmost importance to keep your staff in a clean environment. Hiring a trusted commercial cleaning service, such as SERVPRO, is vital to keep your community safe.

Candle Safety

1/4/2022 (Permalink)

Trim the Wick

When you burn a candle, trim the wick every time. Be sure to cut it between ? and ¼ inches long. Items such as scissors, nail clippers, or if a wick trimmer to be extra careful. When you trim your wick, you will have a bright, clean burn. If your wick is untrimmed, your flame will be misshapen and it will obscure the flame. 

Melt Wax All the Way Across.

When you light your candle, make sure that the top layer of wax is melted across the candle. This process typically takes some time so make sure that you have time to let your candle burn. 

Burn for Four Hours at a Time

If you burn your candle for more than four hours, it can collect carbon on the wick. This can cause your wick to become unstable. Burning your candle for too long can also create a flame that is too large for the candle. 

Multi-wick Candles

Try out a multi-wick candle for a more fluid, level burn. Having multiple wicks to your candle can lead to a proper burn for your candle, a quicker burn, and a stronger scent.

Keep Candle Away from Wind

Try not to burn your candle close to windows, fans, or air conditioning. Lighting your candle by an area with moving air could disturb the flame. It can also stain a jar if it is made out of a tin.

Dip the Wick of Candle

When you are ready to extinguish the flame, do not blow out the candle. Blowing out a candle causes the wick to continue to burn even though the flame has been let out. 

Be safe when lighting your candles, and always remember to extinguish the flame when you are done using them. Most importantly, keep them out of the reach of young children and away from flammable objects.

Best Practices for a Wood-Burning Fireplace

1/4/2022 (Permalink)

When cold weather comes more people use their fireplaces. Many people have gas fireplaces as well as wood. Safety precautions need to be taken with both practices, however, we have some advice as to the best practices with a wood fireplace. 

Keep it Clean

It is important to maintain a clean fireplace before burning anything in it. This is because if there is debris within the fireplace, it can be dangerous and burn down your home. To clean it up, you can do multiple things like vacuuming up the ash and removing all of the buildups. If this task is not something you’re comfortable with, you can always hire a chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney/fireplace. It is recommended to have them come at least once a year to better guarantee your safety. When cleaning your fireplace on your own, make sure to wear protective gear like gloves, goggles, and masks to protect your body from any debris or harm. Maintaining a clean fireplace is a key step to take before burning any wood.

Type of Wood

The type and quality of wood will affect the way it burns. It is recommended to burn hardwoods like oak, birch, etc., as opposed to softwoods like cedar, pine, etc. This is because hardwood will burn for a longer period of time as opposed to softwoods. Softwood may also have more sap within the wood which can cause more sparks as well as smoke. If there is a lot of smoke regularly with your fireplace, however, take that as a warning sign that there may be problems with it. 

Take action and be cautious with your fireplace and don’t hesitate to call a professional. Here at SERVPRO, we are here to help you with maintaining your home safety. Contact us today at 1-800-SERVPRO for more information. 

Are Electric Blankets Safe?

12/27/2021 (Permalink)

In the ’80s and ’90s, electric blanket fires were known to cause house fires. After the rise of house fires from electric blankets, the general public grew unsure of their safety. The fires would start from the wires in the blankets overheating. Another reason that there were fires from electric blankets is due to them not being stored correctly. If an electric blanket is left plugged in for too long, that also presents a fire hazard, especially if it is near other flammable objects.

The majority of problems that come with are not the product itself, but the way they were being used. You should not use an electric blanket that is more than 10 years old. Electric blankets that are available now are much smarter and advanced, and overall much safer to use. 

Many modern electric blankets have a feature that allows them to automatically shut off after an extended period, making them very safe to use. This can prevent the product from overheating or reaching a very high temperature. If you still have reservations about using an electric blanket, use it away from flammable objects and do not leave it plugged in for too long.

Here are some quick tips for using your electric blanket safely:

  1. After every use, unplug your electric blanket.
  2. Avoid crumpling or bunching your blanket when storing it.
  3. Wash your blanket according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  4. If you use it every night, leave it unplugged and keep it in a cool dry place.
  5. Do not keep your blanket for more than 5-10 years, no matter how high quality it is.

Before you buy an electric blanket, make sure to research the brand and make sure that it is of high quality. Make sure to use your electric blanket safely. If you have further questions about your electric blanket, contact the manufacturer.

How to Prevent Issues with Your Water Heater

12/21/2021 (Permalink)

WATER heaters are the quiet and overlooked workhorses of home plumbing – they sit in the basement and just get on with the job.

Because they are pretty straightforward pieces of equipment, they tend to be very reliable, which means it is very easy to overlook the need for some basic maintenance to avoid unexpected shocks.

The problem when a water heater goes wrong can often not be the repair itself, but the damage that can be caused to a property if they leak, causing a flood in your home.

There are several reasons why a water heater may start leaking, including a build up of sediment, especially in hard water areas, rusting, broken pressure release valve, corrosion or overheating.

But some simple maintenance steps can prevent these issues turning into problems. Aim to check your heater every three months and look for problems with the temperature and pressure valve and the anode rod. Try draining two pints of water from it at the same time.

As you do this, check the general area around the heater for signs of mold, water pooling, moisture and loose fittings.

It may be worth installing a water shut off valve as well which senses if there is a leak, and automatically closes off the water supply to minimize damage. If there is a leak, drain the tank as soon as possible to prevent continued flooding.

SERVPRO Can Help Clean Healthcare Facilities

12/21/2021 (Permalink)

Disasters in healthcare facilities are devastating to patients, employees, and the property owners. In an emergency, keeping the patients safe is the priority.  Damage to the property is inevitable, so it is important that the people are the most important asset in the situation. If there is any damage to the property, it is vital that you contact a damage restoration professional, such as SERVPRO.

Once you have created a plan that allows your patients and staff to get to a safe point, asking for help from a restoration specialist is key. SERVPRO is capable of cleaning up any damage caused by disaster, such as fire, storm, or water damage. We make the process as seamless as possible. In turn, this helps the patients and staff get back into the building as soon as it is safe to do so. Ensuring that your healthcare property is in good hands is key to getting your building in tip top shape for optimal performance.

SERVPRO is also a top notch cleaning service for healthcare facilities. From medical offices to hospitals, we are trained to deliver the best quality cleaning. SERVPRO adheres to HIPPA protocols and properly disposes of medical waste. Proper cleaning in medical facilities is necessary to keep anyone that enters the building as safe as possible.

SERVPRO is committed to providing everyone with clean and safe healthcare environments. Professional restoration and cleaning services are essential to keeping your healthcare facilities as sanitary and safe as possible. Contact SERVPRO today to learn more about our medical facility cleaning and restoration.

How SERVPRO will Assist in Storm Damage Cleanup

12/21/2021 (Permalink)

Storm damage is a problem that should be remedied as soon as possible. The longer you let storm damage go, the worse (and more expensive to clean up and repair) it will get. 

Winter weather is fast approaching in Northeast Ohio, and while that may mean there will likely be a lower chance of flooding as a result of storms, that does not mean that winter storms can’t cause damage. In fact, flooding may still be a very real concern depending on temperature fluctuations. 

As a company who provides 24-hour emergency services, SERVPRO will get to the location of your storm damage faster than anyone else. Our highly trained storm damage specialists will work as fast as possible to get your property back in tip-top shape. Since our franchises are locally owned, you can also rest easy knowing that your storm damage is being repaired and restored by local experts who know exactly what materials will stand up to the weather in your area in the future. 

No matter how severe your storm damage may be, we’re confident that our SERVPRO technicians will get your home or business back up to par in record time while treating you and your loved ones with the utmost compassion throughout the process.

What to Do if your Basement Floods

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

The basement. The room most vulnerable to flooding. Finished or unfinished, water doesn’t discriminate. Every year, thousands upon thousands of homeowners experience the nightmare of a flooded basement. But what do you do when water begins pouring into your basement? 

Your own safety comes first. If the water is above electrical outlets, unplug all appliances, and shut off the electricity. Once the risk of electricity is gone, you can begin removing your belongings from the flooded area to a dry, well-ventilated area, so they can dry out. 

With your belongings safely removed, you can now focus on extracting the water from your basement. Most basements have a sump pump, which is a system designed to push accumulating water from your basement to the outside. But what if your basement does not have a sump pump or the sump pump is not working properly? 

If your basement is only partially flooded, you can use a wet-dry vacuum to suck up the standing water, but if the flood is substantial, you may need to call a plumber or emergency service, like SERVPRO, to manually pump the water out of your basement. 

SERVPRO is equipped to remove standing water and begin the cleaning and drying process as soon as possible. Cleaning and drying should be done quickly to mitigate or prevent mold growth, which can be harmful to your health. 

Bonfire Safety During Fall

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

Bonfires during the fall season can be so fun and a great way to bond with your friends and family. Sitting by the campfire can make for a time to tell scary stories, play games, share secrets, and create fun memories. Smelling the campfire and roasting marshmallows makes for great fun and a new adventure. While hanging out by a campfire is a fun activity, it can be easy to forget about the risk factors associated with having a bonfire.

Bonfire Safety tips:

Make sure to check the weather if you are planning to have a bonfire, if it is overly windy, you may want to reschedule for a clear day. Wind can make it hard to light the fire and it could also blow sparks around the surrounding bushes or trees. In addition, always check the direction of the wind before you start the fire. If you have a portable fire pit, you could move it to an area where there is a windbreak.

Store your firewood in a safe place. If you want to keep your fire pit going for a long time, you will have to keep feeding it firewood. Make sure that it is stored in a safe place away from the fire pit. Feed the fire pit at your place.

Build your fire out in the open, to ensure no chance of surrounding areas catching fire. You should never light a fire underneath a building or beneath trees. Make sure to keep the immediate area around the fire pit clear of any flammable objects as well.

Never leave your fire unattended. Even if a fire has weakened significantly or died down, it is still a hazard to leave it unattended. Even if you are going in for a quick bathroom break or to grab a drink, do not leave the fire alone under any circumstances. While small flames may appear to be harmless, they are still considered a threat to safety when left alone. Pour water over live embers, and make sure that all logs have fully stopped burning before you stop lighting them.

Keep chairs far away from the fire. Of course, most know to be careful around a fire, but sometimes when wanting to bundle up or make a s'more, a person can be closer than recommended. When you sit too close to a bonfire, the flames can touch your clothing, hair, or other flammable materials. Make sure that your sleeves are rolled up and your hair is tied back when you are tending to the fire, especially when roasting marshmallows or other foods.

Drink responsibly around a fire. While alcohol is flammable, overindulgence is also never a good idea, especially by fire. If you or your guests are planning to drink by a fire, do so in moderation and make sure that your judgment is never impaired.

Having a bonfire is so fun and a great way to make some fun fall memories. Make sure to follow these tips to stay safe during your bonfire, and have fun!

Fire at Home: What to Do before Help Arrives

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

When a fire breaks out at home, it can be easy to revert to a state of panic. However, it is integral that you remain calm and think with a clear head. House fires are responsible for over 2,600 deaths each year, but prevention is actually quite simple if you have the knowledge. Your local SERVPRO is here to help with some valuable tips on just how you should take action in the event of a house fire. 

If Possible, Extinguish the Fire

Firstly, inspect the situation to see if this is a manageable fire. If you can extinguish the fire yourself, ensure you do so quickly and thoroughly to prevent further spreading and damage to your home. Remember PASS: pull the pin, aim at the base of the fire, squeeze the handle, and sweep from side to side. 

Ensure a Safe Escape

In the case that a fire is not manageable, immediately run to safety and call for help. If there is smoke in the home, make sure you stay low to the ground and try to avoid doors that feel hot on the other side. 

Get to Safety

As soon as you get outside, get a safe distance from the fire to ensure you remain unaffected should the fire spread to the perimeter of the house. 

Call for Help

Once you have made it to safety, CALL FOR HELP. If you don’t have your hands on a phone, get to a neighbors house to access communication as soon as possible. When you reach 911, give them all the information they need, and do not hang up until you are certain to help is on the way. 

If You Get Trapped Inside

Don’t panic. Make sure you cover all cracks around the doors with any material you can find, wet if possible. If you have access to a phone, dial 911. When stuck in the upper stories of the house, hang something out the window to alert help of where you are. Do not attempt to escape if you are in a safe room. Should you catch fire, remember: Stop, Drop, and Roll. Be sure you are continually covering your face.

SERVPRO is here to help with the aftermath, but our most important priority is that you stay safe, know how to prevent these fires from potentially spreading, and know the proper procedures.

Top 3 Ways to Address Flooding

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded Floor Top 3 Ways to Address Flooding

Nobody wants their home to flood, but we know that sometimes it happens. If you have a flood in your home, you know who to call-- SERVPRO! But here are a few helpful tips when it comes to what to do before we get there: 

  • Stop the water at its source. Unless your flood was caused by a force of nature, like a storm, the first thing you should do is stop the water source. The easiest way to do this is to turn off the main water valve to your house, turning off all of the water. 
  • Turn off the electricity. The last thing you need when your house floods is to risk electrifying the water. If it’s not possible to access the breaker without getting in the water, call an electrician! If there is a flood warning in your area due to weather, it may be best to turn off your electricity ahead of time.
  • Evacuate. If the flood was not a result of a force of nature and your yard is safe, evacuate your family, animals, and anyone else in the house to your backyard. If your yard isn’t safe, head over to a neighbor or family member’s house to wait for assistance. Always have a plan in place that includes meeting spots and a way to make sure everyone in the house is accounted for! 

Retail Cleaning Checklist

9/6/2021 (Permalink)

COVID has forced retailers to adapt in many ways remarkably quickly. And while it’s certainly been a difficult time and the future remains uncertain, it’s also been an eye-opening experience for changes that may be long overdue. 

When it comes to store cleanliness, COVID has perhaps pushed businesses in a good direction, pandemic notwithstanding. It’s important to pay extra attention to the details. Creating a thorough retail cleaning checklist is absolutely essential so that nothing is forgotten and to keep your entire team on the same page.

Retail Cleaning Checklist:

  • Clean High-Touch Surfaces Often - The most important parts of your store that need cleaning are the spots the get high traffic of touches. Of course, these are the areas that are most likely to pass a virus or other germs from one person to the next. For retailers, these likely include; Doorknobs and handles, Counter surfaces, Bathroom doors, Sinks and toilets, Shopping baskets and carts, POS machines, and credit card pin pads.
  • Disinfect Properly - There are many different solutions that work as a disinfectant. First, make sure to use soap and water before disinfecting. This helps reduce the dirt and grime beforehand, making the disinfecting round more productive.
  • Wash Soft Surfaces - Clean all carpets, rugs, chairs, couches, window drapes, towels, and apparel tried on by a shopper. Use soap and water or any other disinfectant cleaner on larger items to clean them and preserve their appearance. For small individual items, use a washing machine with hot water. 
  • Wipe Down all Electronics - Electronics are the most commonly touched items in any store, particularly around the point of sale area. Clean all POS hardware, including desktops, keyboards, scanners, tablets, credit card machines, receipt printers, keypads, and cash drawers. Many retailers have implemented a regular cleaning every 15-30 minutes.
  • Don’t Forget Outdoor Areas - Outdoor areas are safer than indoors, but they, too, need attention. Do not spray outdoor areas with disinfectant. It’s not proven to reduce risks of transmission and a waste of the cleaning material. Clean areas that are routinely touched with soap and water, such as railings, outdoor seating areas, sidewalk signage, or anything else at your storefront that can come into contact with customers or passersby.
  • Make all Retail Cleaning Checklists a Habit - As important as the items in the checklist itself, it’s critical that businesses implement a routine for their staff. Like mask-wearing, more frequent hand washing, or any other change we’ve had to make to adapt to the pandemic, changing your store’s policies requires that your staff find a habit. Start with a general staff meeting to go over a cohesive policy. Put the new policy in print so that all team members can access it and it can be shared with new employees.

Post checklists in opportune spots around the store. Ask shift leaders and managers to double-check with staff members throughout and at the end of their shifts, especially during the beginning.

SERVPRO offers commercial cleaning services backed by over 50 years of experience. They are knowledgeable and certified to ensure sanitation in line with CDC guidelines. Let us worry about the dirty work, call 1-800-SERVPRO today for a consultation. 

When Renting Office Space, What Is the Landlord Responsible for?

9/6/2021 (Permalink)

When you’re renting commercial office space, it’s crucial to have a strong understanding of what your landlord is responsible for. You don’t want to spend money on services that aren’t your responsibility. And you also don’t want to cause further damage to anything that you should not tamper with in the first place. This could be a transgression of your rental agreement and could lead to legal recourse. 

With that said, you should always check your rental agreement or lease contract. Have a copy on hand that you can reference when you’re unsure which responsibilities belong to you and which to your landlord. 

Generally, there are a number of aspects your landlord is responsible for. Structural repairs usually fall on the landlord. It’s the landlord’s responsibility to maintain and repair heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning, as well as plumbing and electrical.

If there are any systems or machinery that come with the space, those usually fall under the landlord’s responsibility as well. In addition, your landlord is usually responsible for keeping common areas like stairways and elevators clean and functioning properly.   

If your lease contract does not specifically state these matters, then it’s worth having a discussion about. Otherwise, you could be held liable for building repairs that you’re not insured to cover. 

Whether you are a landlord or tenant in a commercial space, keeping your property clean and safe is important. If you need help cleaning and maintaining your commercial space, don’t hesitate to reach out to SERVPRO. Our trained professionals are there to help your business succeed. 

How to Teach Children About Fire Safety at Home

9/6/2021 (Permalink)

A parent’s biggest goal is to make sure that their child is always safe. We live in a world where there are many things to be fearful of, but the best thing that you can do is teach your child what to do in a dangerous situation.

One of the disasters we tend to teach children about earliest is fire. The key to introducing fire safety is to have a plan to teach your children if there is a fire at your home. 

Make sure your fire alarms are working properly.

Primarily, you need to make sure your fire alarms are functioning properly so you can introduce what a fire alarm is and how it works to your children.

Fire alarms are there to alert you that there is a fire, so in case there is actually a fire in your home you need to make sure your child knows what that sound is.

Plan your escape route.

You need to have a plan on how you and your children are going to get out of your home in the case of a fire. They need to be able to get out from their bedroom, so a window may be the easiest way for them to get out. You might need to get a rope ladder to assist them to get out of the house safely.

Decide on a family meeting point.

Once you make it out of the house, you need a safe place to be until help arrives. The point should not be too close to your own home. Some good places to consider are across the street, a neighbor a few doors down, or even walk to a neighboring road. Make sure that your child is comfortable with the location you choose as a safety point.

Put your plan into practice. 

The key to having a safe and successful plan for fire safety is to make sure you practice it. This allows you and your family to become comfortable with what to do in the event of a fire. It is best to be over-prepared than under-prepared. 

Fire safety is going to be something that your child has most likely never thought of, so it may be scary to them at first. The goal of teaching your child about safety is to make sure that your child is comfortable with knowing what to do in a dangerous situation.

SERVPRO is always happy to help with disaster prevention, so do not hesitate to contact us to help make your home a safer place.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Home from Lightning

9/6/2021 (Permalink)

The CDC puts your odds of being struck by lightning at 1 in 500,000. But they also say, “Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities.”

Eitherway, you’re odds are much better than your home’s. 2020 saw 17 U.S. lightning fatalities. In contrast, insurance policyholders made 77,000 lightning claims in 2019. The claims resulted in more than $900 million in damages.

Protect your home from lightning

These statistics show that lightning is a serious problem for homeowners. So check out these tips for protecting your home in 2021. 

Lightning Protection System

Have a lightning protection system professionally installed. These systems give lightning a designated path to follow, so it doesn’t travel to unprotected wiring or piping in your home. They consist of air terminals (lightning rods), main conductors, ground rods, bonds, surge protectors, and even tree protection. 

Lightning protection systems should only be installed by contractors listed by Underwriters Laboratories and certified by the Lightning Protection Institute.

Surge Protection Devices (SPDs)

These devices redirect electrical surges that come to your home through powerlines. They protect your appliances by diverting the electrical surges into the ground. They should also be professionally installed. 

How to protect yourself from lightning

If you’re indoors, and you know lightning is coming, unplug electrical appliances. If lightning is already striking, stay away from all electrical appliances, windows, doors, piping, water sources like sinks and showers, and landline telephones. 

If you’re outdoors, find shelter, preferably in a lower elevation. Lightning travels by the path of least resistance, so the taller an object is, the more likely it will be hit. A vehicle with the windows closed is a safe option.

Never use a tree, as they're often the tallest structures and most likely to be struck. Also stay away from telephone and utility poles, and any metal objects. 

If you’re interested in learning more about protecting you and your home from lightning, contact the Lightning Protection Institute.

If you’re home or business suffered damages from a lightning strike, and you need emergency services, contact our 24/7 emergency service line. We have over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian locations, so we’re strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency.

SERVPRO: An Advocate Who Will Stand up to Insurance Companies for You

9/6/2021 (Permalink)

Having a disaster happen to your property can be a stressful time for you as the owner. Not only are you required to handle the cleanup of the disaster, but you have to deal with filing a claim with your insurance company.

Insurance companies are typically very difficult to work with, as it is hard to understand some of their lingo if you are not familiar with restoration terms. 

The simplest solution is to hire an advocate that will fight your insurance company for you. Not only are you getting a top-of-the-line restoration specialist, but you are also hiring someone to work with your insurance company directly.

SERVPRO offers to handle your insurance company for you, therefore you do not need to have a middle man to pass along information to the insurance company. This prevents there being any chance of miscommunication between the company you have hired to fix your home and your insurance company. 

SERVPRO offers high-quality restoration services and is also able to work directly with your insurance company. We can help manage your insurance process and your paperwork. It is important to hire a company that is willing to advocate for you, not simply get the job done at a low standard. 

SERVPRO has a team of highly vetted professionals who want the best for your property. Our team is familiar with much of the language insurance companies use and will look out for you during the process. 

How to Secure Your Outdoor Furniture in Severe Weather

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

title over home in front of stormy sky Ensure the protection of your valuable outdoor property by taking these steps.

Finally, the weather is warming up and Ohioans are itching to get outside and use their outdoor furniture. But with warmer weather comes severe storms. Storms notorious for blowing away your furniture.

So how can Ohioans secure and protect their outdoor furniture? 

This is a great question since tornado season starts in April. 

Check out these five simple steps to keep your outdoor furniture where it should be.

Store it 

Seat cushions, pillows, plastic lawn chairs, and potted and hanging plants can blow away. Bring those light-weight and fragile objects inside your garage or home. 

If you have an outdoor umbrella, close and secure it. If you can’t bring it inside, make sure the umbrella has a heavy base and is firmly anchored. If it’s loose in the base, lay it on the ground in a safe place.

Cover it

Outdoor furniture covers come in many sizes and are great for wood and wicker patio furniture. Most hardware and big box stores carry durable weather-resistant covers. Find covers that fit your furniture. Invest in rope, bungee cords, ratchet straps, or even chains to hold the covers in place. 

If you don’t have furniture covers, and you need something quick, a tarp will get the job done. 

The best part about furniture covers is they keep your furniture dry and clean. Simply remove the covers and get back to relaxing!

Weigh it down

If your patio furniture is light, and you can’t bring it inside, the next best thing is to weigh it down. Sandbags can be helpful. Pile sandbags on your umbrella base. Stack light-weight chairs and top them with a sandbag. 

You can even use sandbags to hold down your furniture covers. 

Trim it

These last two tips take a bit of forethought but are important. Inspect your trees and shrubs for low-hanging or dead limbs. Especially limbs near your home. In a strong storm, these limbs can fall and damage your outdoor furniture, your home, and your vehicle.

Pro tip: add trimming dead limbs to your regular lawn maintenance to prevent future damage. 

Plant it

Plant a windbreak -- a row of trees or shrubs that blocks wind. They not only protect your property, they also provide privacy and look beautiful. From small shrubs to tall pines, you can find the perfect plants to fit your needs. 

Follow these 5 easy steps, and you’ll get years of use out of your outdoor furniture.

What to Do After a Fire

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

After the fire trucks leave, your home likely suffers from fire and smoke damage and extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Have Questions About Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call Today 1-800-SERVPRO

Every fire damage event is a little different, and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” fire damage emergency.

Step 1: Emergency Contact

The restoration process begins when you call the SERVPRO Customer Care Center, which is staffed 24 hours a day. Our specialist will ask a series of questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us dispatch the nearest SERVPRO Franchise Professional with the appropriate equipment and resources.

Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

Our Professionals will carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action.

Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service

Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, the SERVPRO Franchise Professional can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs.

Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)

The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. They will then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process.

Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

The SERVPRO Franchise Professionals use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.

Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing

They will clean all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. They’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.

Step 7: Restoration

Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

Water Damage Claims

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

Insurance of any kind will usually bring about a feeling of security and peace of mind; that is what “insurance” is after all, right? When purchasing a plan, whether it be homeowners, health, car, or any other kind of insurance, the buyer usually takes into consideration the monthly costs, deductibles, premiums, and other factors. This is important information to be aware of when finding a plan that best suits your needs. Oftentimes, however, we do not really think about those plans until the absolute worst has happened and we are faced with a disaster or an emergency. Much like any other insurance plan, homeowners coverage will come with stipulations and possibly those fine print lines that sometimes get overlooked. If you find yourself in a sticky situation with needing to file a claim for water damage in particular, you may understand this now more than ever.

One of the first steps in getting your mess taken care of is understanding what kind of water damage you are dealing with and what your plan covers. In order to better understand this, you can call your insurance company and they can help you not only get the claim started, but also catch you up on what is covered. It is important to note that making this initial call may be the most important step to take in the whole process, as some policies have a deadline for filing. Sometimes it may be tempting to let it go or do a quick fix because it “does not look TOO bad”, but don’t be fooled, this may cost you more in the long run. 

While sewer backup, bursting pipes, and storm-related water damage may be taken care of with your plan; you will find that the gradual water damage like a leaky roof from seepage or pipes leaking, will NOT be covered. However, if that gradual damage ends up causing major damage like a broken pipe or other extreme situations, your insurance may help with a portion of the costs. Again, this is something that you should contact your agent about for more information. 

While water damage can be overwhelming and even scary, it can be taken care of (even avoided)! If you find yourself in deep waters (pun intended), you should take that first step of making that call to your insurance company. If you are lucky enough to not have encountered this, remember it certainly doesn’t hurt to take a look at your plan again for a refresher. In addition, it may be worth your while to keep a record of maintenance that has been done over the years as well as take preventative measures to avoid water damage. Although we hope you are never faced with this kind of situation, we are here to help if you are. For any water damage restoration and cleanup give SERVPRO a call because not only are we faster to any disaster, but we can also work with your insurance company for a stress-free claims experience!

Storm Damage Prevention Tips in Canton

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

Although disaster sometimes cannot be foreseen, the damage can be somewhat prevented. There are steps that any homeowner or business owner can take in order to stay prepared and ready if a storm should strike your neighborhood. The preventative measures one can take range from minor improvements to structural upgrades. And no matter the task (big or small) you will be happy that you made the effort if a storm should strike. So, what are some of the best practices when it comes to storm proofing your home?

-       Prevent water damage and leakage – Make sure that windows and doors do not have any cracks or exposed areas. Water seeping in can cause damage not only to the structure that it is penetrating, but also the interior of your home. Avoid water damage and mold by using proper materials to seal up and openings. 

-       Maintain your surroundings – Take care of trees and gutters around your home. When you make sure to get rid of any dead or hazardous branches, that is one less threat of structural damage. Additionally, make sure to clear out your gutters to avoid water buildup.

-       Upgrade – Although upgrades may cost a little more time and money, they may be a stress saver later on down the road. Whether it is your roof, siding or even windows, updated materials will better withstand harsh weather. 

-       Cross your Ts and dot your Is – Make sure to check all of the areas around and inside of your home, including the chimney, basement and attic. It may be as simple as cleaning out your chimney of old debris or patching a hole in the ceiling. 

-       Button up – If there is a storm on the way make sure to secure all windows and doors and remove any clutter from your yard or driveway. This will help to protect you inside and the outside of your home. Your neighbors may even thank you for not adding to their home damage with the trash cans or bicycles that were left out for the strong winds to carry.

-       Have backup – investing in backup power for your home could be a lifesaver if a storm should hit. Not only can it help to protect your electronics, perishables and pipes (if it is cold out), but you will also be grateful for light and electricity if things get really bad. 

Although some of these measures may seem like a chore, they can help to save and protect you, your home and your loved ones. Storm proofing is one more investment to make when it comes to safety and security in your life. In addition to these steps, it is a good idea to have a solid plan that everyone is aware of, as well as backup supplies like food, water, and first aid. If disaster should strike, you’ll be glad you took the time.

Let SERVPRO Be Your Trusted Building Maintenance Partner

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

As a business owner or property manager, your plate is full enough. There aren’t enough hours in the day for you to complete your top-priority tasks and clean your facility. Or maybe you have a cleaning crew, but you’re not satisfied with their work. 

As America’s #1 cleanup and restoration brand, we provide professional cleaning to commercial offices and industrial facilities.

Since COVID-19, cleanliness has become a top priority for everyone. Business owners know their customers expect the highest level of cleanliness for their safety. So if a workplace is dirty, has odors, unwanted moisture, or shows signs of normal wear and tear, customers and employees may feel unsafe. We’re here to help you keep your space looking and smelling new. 

If you want to raise the standards of clean, we offer Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned. This program targets viral pathogens to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This service is geared to the unique needs of each space and includes a professional deep cleaning using our EPA-approved, hospital-grade cleaning agent. 

When your customers and employees see the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned shield on your business’s window, they’ll feel safe and welcomed. 


Your local SERVPRO franchise wants to take building maintenance off your plate and give you the best professionally cleaned workspace they can. That way you can focus on the things only you can do.

The SERVPRO Story

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has been around for over half a century and has been committed to customer satisfaction for just as long. Beginning in 1967 as a painting business within 2 years Ted and Doris Isaacson, creators of SERVPRO, transformed the company into a franchisor of cleanup and restoration specialists. 

That was just beginning, within the first 12 years of being in operation, they had acquired the Bristol-Myers Domesticare Division and its 175 franchises. And within another 10 years they relocated with 647 franchises to Gallatin, Tennessee in order to be within 600 miles of 50% of the U.S. population. 

Today, SERVPRO has 1,700 operating franchises and continues to grow. They are experts in the business of disaster recovery. And have received awards for being a key community contributor and continuing to have impressive growth. 

They are faster to every disaster. Solely because of their ability to grow and with their number of franchises they are able to keep that promise. Each technician that arrives at the home or business is fully certified. We stay up to date with all requirements and best practices. 

The IICRC Standards are the most comprehensive and advanced technical information in the industry. Requiring each technician to commit to these standards and become certified means they are all trained to get the job done the right way. 

The goal for each project we take on is to leave when it seems like nothing happened. Water, Fire, etc. damage can be devastating and the minutes after it occurs mean everything. We know this and SERVPRO is available 24/7 and will be there fast to get the recovery started. Call us today to learn more 1 - 800 - SERVPRO.

Deep Cleaning Your Office - How Often, and What Does it Really Entail?

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over clean office in background Make sure your office is up to the cleaning standards for you and your employees.

Blooming flowers, cute springtime outfits, warmer weather, sunshine, and no more snow! Spring is here and so many wonderful things come along with the season. But there is one aspect that is dreaded. Spring Cleaning. When it comes to your office keeping it clean is so important for both your employees and your customers. Cleaning the office regularly reduces the number of harmful germs and bacteria present. Fewer sick days mean more productivity. And speaking of productivity, a clean office is clear of distractions and obstacles that make work more cumbersome.

COVID-19 has changed so much about how we live and do business, including how deeply and how often office cleaning is recommended. Deep cleaning is important, especially if you suspect or have confirmed a COVID-19 case in your workplace. Deep cleaning in the office revitalizes your workspace by going further than the normal weekly cleaning procedures. 

General Deep Cleaning Services:

  • Carpets and upholstery are cleaned and treated to remove stains.
  • Draperies, blinds, and window treatments are vacuumed, dusted, and cleaned.
  • Wood, tile, ceramic, or cement flooring is thoroughly scrubbed, stains are removed, and flooring is either refinished or sealed.
  • Air ducts are vacuumed and filters are cleaned or replaced.
  • Tile grout is cleaned thoroughly to remove stains and grime.
  • Computer keyboards, monitors, phones, copy machines, and other items are cleaned and sanitized.

When to Schedule?

On average, an office with light traffic or few employees may need a deep clean once or twice a year. Medium traffic may need a bit more attention; twice a year or every other month. However, carpeted offices with heavy traffic may need deep cleaning as frequently as once a month. Regardless of your office’s size, a deep cleaning can be done any time of the year. With the current going-on in the world, you also need to deep clean after any COVID-19 outbreaks. 

There is nothing more important than keeping yourself, your employees, and your customers safe, now more than ever. SERVPRO understands this and developed Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned defensive cleaning program that gives your business a way forward to provide your employees and customers ongoing safety as you operate after the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more today and get that dreaded spring cleaning out of your hands.

Having an Emergency Storm Plan in Place

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over lightning striking in a city Make sure you and everyone in your building has a safety plan to follow when disaster strikes.

Schools, office buildings, hotels, and hospitals all have plans posted (even practiced) in case of an emergency. So, why not have a disaster recovery plan for you in your own home or business? This may or may not be something that you have considered before, and perhaps it has just been put on the backburner with other tasks. However, this is a task that you may not want to put off; after all, disaster can strike at any time. 

By ensuring that you have a solid plan that everyone is aware of, not only will clean-up be easier, but it will help to ensure the safety and well-being of loved ones. So, where exactly should you start and what are the benefits?

  1.     Reduced fear, anxiety, and panic if disaster should strike – Have a good understanding of what disasters you may face. If you live in an area that is prone to tornadoes, you’ll want to make sure there is a safe shelter for everyone. Additionally, you will want to make sure there are provisions in your shelter such as water, blankets, dry food, lights, batteries, etc.
  2.     Avoid confusion and extra stress - Make sure that everyone is aware of the disaster plan and there are clear responsibilities. No matter the age, everyone who lives or works under your plan, everyone should is well versed in what to do if there is a flood, fire, or another natural disaster. Discussing and practicing this plan can help to ensure that everyone is in the loop. 
  3.     Less stress with clean-up and repairs - Check with your insurance! Make sure that all of the bases are covered with your insurance, especially that you are covered from floods and other natural disasters. 
  4.     No need to worry about replacing items that are irreplaceable. Make sure to keep important documents and keepsakes in a fireproof and waterproof safe. Not only will this help to make the claims and clean up an easier transition, but you can also protect important pictures and documents. 
  5.     Less counting later on! Keep an inventory of all valuables. If you should have to file a claim, it will be easier to pull the record out as opposed to trying to scan your stressed brain. 

If you decide that it is time to make and follow a disaster plan, make sure that you do your research so that you are well prepared. It is easy to get caught up in life and forget that disasters do happen, but if it should happen, you’ll be glad that you were ready. If you are in the middle of making your plan and are not sure of what contacts to put in your phone, add SERVPRO to the list, we are faster to any disaster!

Freezing Water - The Science of Keeping Freeze and Water Damage at Bay

3/1/2021 (Permalink)

Title over frozen background Prevent frozen water damage in your Northeast Ohio home.

Water begins to freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees celsius. Weather like this makes for the perfect snow day or ice skating day, but perhaps not the best day for your home or business. When the temperature outside begins to drop to below 32 degrees, you may end up with water or freeze damage if you are not well prepared. So, how exactly can you stay ahead of the freezing weather? Here are a few measures that you may want to consider this year: 

  1. If this is your first time evaluating your property for freezing weather, it may be important to make sure that your structure is well insulated (especially if it is an older building). When the temperature drops below freezing, that old Vermiculite or mineral wool may not stand up to the cold. (make sure to check your attic’s insulation as well)
  2. Make sure that your pipes are well insulated. This is a fairly easy task and can be a DIY project. Taking this step to protect your home or business may help you in the long run by avoiding pipes bursting and breaking. 
  3. Check your gutters before it gets too cold. The build-up in your gutters may create a blockage and prevent proper water drainage. If this happens the water will need to go somewhere, and the last place you will want it is inside. 
  4. Examine your foundation and windows for holes and cracks. You may find small openings that do not look intimidating, but when it gets cold and wet enough they may be susceptible to expanding and further damage. If you notice these spots seal them up with spray foam insulation, caulk, or whatever other materials you may need. 

Taking just a few simple steps and extra time may save you a big headache later on down the road. Some of the steps mentioned above are even projects that you can handle yourself - even if you are not the most experienced with home improvement. If you find yourself in an emergency situation with water or freeze damage this year, give SERVPRO of Canton a call any time day or night. We can come out to give you an evaluation, and help you get back to normal as soon as possible!

SERVPRO of Canton Technicians are AMRT Certified

3/1/2021 (Permalink)

Title over man stamping paperwork Trust in your restoration provider; choose SERVPRO.

Finding mold in your home can be a scary experience for any homeowner. Mold can make you and your family sick, cause damage to your home, and is an unpleasant sight. All of the technicians at SERVPRO of Canton have been AMRT certified and take pride in being able to keep your home safe for you and your family.

What is AMRT certified?

The IICRC Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT) course covers mold and sewage remediation techniques to individuals engaged in property management, property restoration, IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) investigations, or other related professions.

Emphasis will be placed on teaching mold and sewage remediation techniques to individuals who will perform these procedures in the field. Course graduates will be adequately equipped to perform remediation services while protecting the health and safety of workers and occupants.

Why is it important?

At SERVPRO of Canton, all of our technicians are IICRC AMRT certified. IICRC or The Institute for Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification is a nonprofit that helps to set globally recognized standards for these areas. Ensuring our technicians receive this training gives you confidence in knowing they have the training to provide the highest quality of work and utilize the most effective processes known. 

Mold remediation needs to be handled professionally and by someone, you can trust to get the job done. At SERVPRO of Canton, we are committed to earning that trust. For over 35 years we have been helping to restore homes from any and all disasters or damage they may encounter. If you find mold in your home be sure to call SERVPRO of Canton first and let us give you back your peace of mind.

How to Vet a Professional Plumber Before Hiring

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

When hiring a plumber it isn't guaranteed that you will get a reliable one. Vetting a plumber before hiring can avoid many costly plumbing errors that can add onto the expenses you already have from the initial plumbing work. It is beneficial to vet your plumber prior to hiring. 

To pick the right plumber you want to make sure they are licensed. Some plumbers are only registered rather than licensed which can be a big difference in their performance. You can check if your state requires a plumber to be licensed, which many do, but some only require them to be registered. This may also indicate how much knowledge or experience a plumber has in the trade. It is important to choose a plumber with an extensive amount of experience. This is because with more experience it is more likely for them to do the tasks well due to the past plumbing situations they’ve handled. 

Another thing that you want to make sure to do before hiring a plumber is making sure they are insured and bonded. By having a bonded and insured plumber it helps to cover the possibility of accidents because even if they have experience it doesn’t eliminate the odds of mistake. When they are insured it covers contractor errors that can occur and injure people or even damage your property. Whereas, the bond is what will pay for any damage that isn’t covered by the insurance. 

Be sure to hire the proper plumber to help ensure you don’t lose money on any services. We are here to provide you with any information you may need or even help repairing damages. Contact us today at 1-800-SERVPRO to help make sure you get the job done right.

Protecting Tech During Storms

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

WE know the drill – the tornado sirens go off and we head to our basements to protect ourselves.

A basic human instinct, unchanged throughout time, to search out and seek the safest refuge until the storm literally passes.

While caves have been replaced with basements, we also have other tools at our disposal to help us through harsh weather which can aid us in many ways.

First is protection of our property – if we have enough warning, we will seek to weatherproof our houses with boarded windows and move furniture and possessions to higher levels of our homes to protect against the risk of flood.

But what about our intellectual property? Our data on our computers and our passwords for bank accounts and insurance policies? Make use of modern technology and ensure your valuable data is backed up to a cloud service so it can be fully retrieved even if your computer and hard drive are destroyed.

As you head to the basement with food and water, make sure you grab your smartphone or tablet. This can be a literal lifeline to the outside world during – and after – a storm. Make sure your phone is fully charged and resist the temptation to pass the hours idly scrolling social media or watching a film – you may need that battery power and given the weather you should not rely on your power staying on. In fact, stay away from anything plugged into the electrical supply.

Invest in some cheap battery charging backs and keep them in your storm cellar along with bottled water -they could provide any top ups to your battery you need.

And there are a range of useful apps – but download them well before any storm to save battery power. Put your phone into a power saving mode as well so it lasts as long as possible.

Apps you may want to download include: Zello, which turns your phone into an old-fashioned walkie talkie to connect to emergency services in an old school tried-and-tested manner; Nextdoor, which uses your GPS to connect you with people nearby; and WeatherPlus, to get the latest updates on the storm progression. Add in your local television station for up-to-the-minute news and updates about the storm.

And if you must evacuate your home for the storm’s duration, the recent innovations in home security can help you keep a literal eye on your property. 

There are now dozens of smart internet-connected devices available such as door cameras that people use to protect their homes from intruders – but the same devices can give you the reassurance your home is ok as you can literally get a live feed to your phone or tablet to see the storm’s progression. Other devices include water sensors, motion sensors, remote cameras, door lock sensors and smoke detectors all of which can feed you real time information and offer push alerts if they are triggered. In these cases, no news is good news.

Electrical Outlets & Home Fires - What to Look For

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

Need to charge your phone, plug in your hairdryer or mixer? Electrical outlet. Need to start a fire? Not an electrical outlet. Outlets are one of the top causes of electrical fires. Home electrical fires account for over five thousand fires a year, resulting in billions of dollars in property damage, injury, and death. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that over a fifth of home electrical fires are caused by outlets. Electrical fires are scary, but how do you avoid them? What should you even look for? 

Overloaded outlets not only look bad but are dangerous. When an outlet is overloaded, it carries too much electricity and will generate lots of heat. The heat will create wear on the internal wiring system and can start a fire. Avoid plugging in more than two appliances in an outlet, and I know what you are thinking, “what if I just plug in an extension cord? Then can I plug in more appliances?” Nope, that is called ‘piggybacking,’ and it’s not safer and can produce even more heat, making it exponentially riskier. One should only temporarily use extension cords and NEVER use a space heater or an air conditioner on an extension cord. If you really need more outlets somewhere, consult a qualified electrician. 

Outdated outlets can also create issues. As the wires behind the outlet become older, they could loosen or break, causing a fire. The wiring system behind outlets will have a fuse or circuit breakers that will disconnect when the outlet is overloaded. However, an improperly installed fuse or circuit breaker could eliminate this safety focus. Ask an electrician to inspect your house to ensure that it meets safety standards. 

Not only the wiring for the outlet wear, but the blades within the outlet can as well. This will be present if, after plugging an appliance in, the cord will fall out. Perhaps, this happening may seem just annoying, but it can be dangerous. The loosened blades will generate heat, potentially causing an electrical fire. If you notice this, your best bet is to replace the outlet as soon as you can. 

Home electrical fires with the cause being outlets is an easily preventable worry. Precautions are the wise man’s protection. Checking for the telltale signs and guaranteeing that your home meets safety standards are simple ways to keep peace of mind. Danger may lurk, but you will be prepared.

Preserving a Historical Building

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

Building repairs, updates, and general maintenance can be taxing both physically and mentally. This is especially true when it comes to a historical building. Not only do you have to worry about guidelines and restrictions, but the building may also be a little more fragile than a structure that has been built in the past few decades. So, how exactly do you go about caring for and preserving a historical building without compromising the safety of its occupants? A good place to start is to understand the cultural significance of the structure and the history it holds. 

Once you truly understand the structure’s story, it becomes easier to have direction in preserving and protecting it. In fact, depending on the significance of the building, you may be able to apply for grants and funding to help maintain and update the structure. If you are able to secure these, you can truly make the commitment to not cut any corners on supplies or experience. This will be an important factor not only for the safety of everyone, but also maintaining the most accurate image of the building. 

If you have found yourself in possession of a historical building, take time to consider and do your research. Resources ARE available, and you may be surprised by how important preservation is to others who may be willing to help. You do not have to restore and preserve it all on your own, and you will be grateful you saved a piece of history when you do! If you find that you need a little extra help cleaning and sanitizing your building, give SERVPRO a call at (330) 677-4483 for help with all of your commercial cleaning needs! 

Office Rental Maintenance: Who is Responsible for What

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

title in front of office supplies on a desk Educate yourself on the responsibilities of you versus your landlord.

Office rental maintenance relies on an agreement between the tenant and the landlord. Although these agreements can differ from one to another, they often follow many of the same basic principles. As a general rule of thumb, the tenant is responsible for keeping the office in good shape and the landlord is responsible for the structural aspects of the building.

The responsibilities of the tenant are focused on many of the cosmetic aspects of the rental space. This includes the cleaning and repairs of items such as the carpet, wall coverings (such as paint or wallpaper), lighting, and bathroom and kitchen fixtures. As the tenant, your responsibility is to fix any of these aspects of your rental office if you cause damage to them.

The landlord of the rental aspect is in charge of the structural integrity of the rental office. Some structural aspects are the shell of the building, the foundation, windows, roofing, electrical system, heating system, and ventilation system of the building. These responsibilities many landlords do not want to put in the hands of their tenants because they want to assure that they are maintained and repaired properly. 

There needs to be a good balance between tenant and landlord responsibilities. For example, a tenant of the office space may not want to invest much money or effort into fixing the electrical system of the building because they are only renting the space and do not have any commitment to staying in the office space forever. Cutting corners on repairs of major systems of the building can be unsafe. On the other hand, if a lightbulb burns out, the tenant will be much more willing to repair it because it is a simple and inexpensive problem to fix.

Responsibility in rental office maintenance is something that needs to be addressed when signing a lease. Both parties must agree on the terms of the lease. If you need to address any repairs, make sure you contact a professional. SERVPRO of Canton is always ready to help whenever you are in need of a repair.

Lightning Hazards on Your Property

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over lightning over dark sky Be prepared when lightning strikes near your Canton home.

There are many myths that involve lightning, some of which tell you exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. Getting struck by lightning is known as an extremely rare occurrence, comparable to winning the lottery, but looking at the number you are actually way more likely to be struck by lightning than to win the lottery. It is more common than people think and it is important to know the potential hazard to make sure you and your home are as safe as possible. 

Lightning presents 3 main hazards to your home if it were to be directly hit:

  • Fire Damage- The biggest threat lightning holds to your home is starting a fire. Your home along with a lot of the items in it are made from flammable materials that could easily be ignited if struck. 
  • Power Surge Damage- If lightning chooses any of the home's electrical wiring as its primary or secondary path, the explosive surge can damage even non-electronic appliances that are connected. Even if most of the lightning current takes other paths to the ground, the home's electrical system will experience enough of a surge to cause potentially significant damage to anything connected to it, electronics in particular.
  • Shock wave Damage- Lightning can easily break and crack brick, concrete, stone, and cinder block. Brick and stone chimneys usually will take a huge hit. Lightning's shock waves can blow out plaster walls, shatter glass, create trenches in soil and crack foundations.

Your home is a safe shelter during a lightning storm, but there are some precautions to take to ensure your safety.

  • Avoid water - stay out of the shower and bath during a storm.
  • Avoid electronic equipment,
  • Avoid corded phones - Cordless and cell phone use is okay 
  • Avoid all windows, doors, porches, and concrete. 

If lightning strikes your home you will want to call 911, lightning can spark fires that will take time to be known. Lightning strikes are an underrated weather hazard as well as unpredictable. There’s not much to be done that can prevent it from striking anywhere, but you can know how to keep yourself safe. SERVPRO of Canton is your storm damage specialist. 

How to Prepare a Flood Plain Go Bag

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over flooded living room with furniture Prepare your household for when the flood water hits your area.

IF a flood hits your home, you have to act quickly – the time is of the essence to get you and your loved ones and pets to safety.

Water is literally a force of nature and there is little you can do to prevent damage from taking place – but you can prepare to minimize damage and put yourself in the best position to pick up and repair when the floodwaters subside.

If you live in a flood plain, it is worth having a ‘grab bag’ ready to go so you can simply load your family and pets into the car, grab the pre-packed essentials and get yourself to safety – everything else can be sorted out later.

Your grab bag or box should be put together around the 5 Ps of Evacuation – Personal Needs, Priceless Items, People, Prescriptions and Papers.

For your personal needs, gather essentials like clothing, toiletries, food, cash, phones, chargers and first aid supplies. Priceless items are quite self-explanatory – whatever you own that cannot be replaced. These may be sentimental rather than valuable but will be unique to your family.

People – whom are you taking responsibility for? It may seem obvious, and probably is, but does your family unit include others that may not live with you or even a vulnerable neighbor? And – of course – we count our pets as family.

Prescriptions – gather all your essential medications and any equipment, and the paperwork too - if you are away for a while you will need refills and the pharmacist will need vital information.

And finally, Paperwork – ensure you have access to all your key documents. Some, like passports and birth certificates, you should take with you. Others, in today‘s electronic world, could be stored on the cloud such as bank details, insurance policy information, and suchlike – all ready for you to start the essential calls to get your home put right for your return.

Make sure you plan ahead and remember that SERVPRO of Canton is faster to any disaster. 

SERVPRO of Canton Technicians are WRT Certified

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over water damaged ceiling Trust SERVPRO of Canton to be your go-to Water Damage Restoration Team.

Basement flooded? An ice dam on the roof? Water damage anywhere in the home can be devastating. It also becomes the breeding ground for mold and dangerous substances. When water damage occurs having someone knowledgeable and who cares can make a huge difference in getting your home back to being the safe haven for your family it always should be. At SERVPRO of Canton, all of our technicians are WRT certified to ensure you are receiving the service you deserve. 

What is WRT certified?

The Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT) course is designed to provide basic education for technicians and other materially interested parties in the science and practice of water damage restoration. This course is designed to teach non-restoration personnel that perform remediation work to give them a better concept of water damage, its effects, and techniques for drying of structures. This course will give residential and commercial maintenance personnel the background to understand the procedures necessary to deal with water losses, sewer backflows, and contamination such as mold.

This course will cover:

  • Extraction
  • Basic containment
  • Basic mold procedures.
  • Essential knowledge of water damage and its effects
  • Techniques needed for drying and restoration
  • The spectrum of building materials and surfaces.

Why is this Important?

IICRC or The Institute for Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification is a nonprofit that helps to set globally recognized standards for these areas. Ensuring our technicians receive this training gives you confidence in knowing they have the training to provide the highest quality of work and utilize the most effective processes known. 

At SERVPRO of Canton, we understand the importance of these certifications. Every technician that will enter your home holds all available certifications. We are committed to being the company you can trust with both our knowledge of restoration and the customer service standards we strive for. Visit our website or give us a call at SERVPRO of Canton today and let us take away the stress of restoring your home.

Practice Electrical Safety: Power Strips

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

title over power strip with multiple cords plugged into it Know the dangers of having power strips in your home and how to properly use them.

ELECTRICAL extension cords and power strips – in the cable soup that is an office today these items are convenient and cheap.

And because they are so easy to use, we also tend to ignore the safety issues they create in a busy office environment.

Quite apart from any trip hazards that loose cabling provides, power strips and extension cords are the biggest single cause of electrical fires, with a fire breaking out every six minutes in the US because of inappropriate use of this equipment.

General advice for good electrical safety in the office – or home – includes replacing any loose or frayed cords, not running extension cords under carpets or across doorways, avoid overloading outlets with high power appliances, and shutting off any outlet that feels warm.

Power cords need to be treated with care – they may look fine but be hiding problems. Throw away any cords that are cracked or cut and do not try to repair a cut cord, it is not worth the risk for the cost of replacement.

Power cords and extensions should never be coiled when in use – this creates a large build-up of heat leading to fires. By their very nature, they are designed for temporary use and should not be attached to baseboards as a permanent solution.

Never adopt a three-pronged plug to fit into a two-pronged outlet as this removes the ground pin and can lead to electrical shocks.

If you find you are relying on lots of extensions and power strips to keep your office equipment running it is a sign you need to upgrade your electrical wiring – call a qualified electrician to install more outlets, which will be neater, safer, and code and backed by bonded insurance.

If you do need to use an extension cord, ensure it is up to the job you are using it for – is it rated for indoor or outdoor use and can it handle the power needs of the tool or device being used? Remember that power strips do not increase the amount of electricity available at an outlet, merely allow more items to tap into the power already provided. This means it can be easy to overload a circuit with too many devices, especially if you are using higher consuming items. Add up the total wattage used by everything you want to use and ensure both the circuit and the cable can handle this need.

Give SERVPRO of Canton a call if you are in need of fire damage restoration!

What To Do When You Have A Leak

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

title and logo over pipe spewing water Know how to handle a water leak in your home or business

WATER is a force of nature – it will always take the path of least resistance and it will keep coming until properly repaired.

Whether you are facing a sudden and large burst pipe flooding your basement, or a small drip, drip, drip that went unnoticed for a long time, water can cause untold damage to your property.

But expert help is on hand to not only stop the leak but help with the tidy up – and ensure it does not happen again.

When you find a leak, assess what type it is, as each has its own consequences of inaction.

Consider the non-damaging leak – the toilet that keeps running or the dripping tap. These are not going to cause damage to your property as the water is still draining away where it is supposed to. But water bills will go up – and even the smallest drip, running continuously 24 hours a day, will add dollars to your bill. And fixing it takes time and money.

Next is the minimal damage – you have escaped a big problem for now, but it will only get worse if not taken care of. If buried in a wall or the basement, it is easy to overlook them until a bigger repair presents itself.

And then there is significant damage demanding immediate attention – the burst pipe causing a flood which is destroying your property as you see it. There can be no delay in getting help.

When faced with a leak try to diagnose the problem – shut off all sources of water to work out where the water is coming from. Check the water meter – is it still showing running water? If so, there is a leak somewhere – and you are paying for it.

Turn off the water supply to the building, clean up the mess and get the leak fixed – and the bigger the problem the more important it is to act fast. Document any damage by taking pictures for the insurance company and work with your trusted SERVPRO of Canton to ensure the problem is fixed properly.

Winter Storm Damage Tips

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

title over snow in front of a stone bridge and van Make sure you're prepared when the winter weather hits Canton.

It is the time of year when the days get shorter and you never really can tell what time it is. Looking out the window you think, How is it already so late? then look at the clock and it really is only 5:30 pm. Along with the early sunsets and bitter cold also comes winter storms ready to wreak havoc on your home. Inform yourself of the potential dangers that can cause significant damage so you can take the proper precautions and save yourself a whole lot of money and stress in the long run. 

  • Ice and Snow can Strain the Roof - Condensation and freezing temperatures can cause severe damage on your roof, including ice dams that lead to roof leaks, strong winds that loosen shingles, and icicles that put stress on your roof. To avoid any major blows to your roof, remove any icicles immediately and fix damaged shingles as soon as the wintry weather allows.
  • Ice Dams can Bring Down the Gutters - Clear your gutters of the debris before cold weather arrives, then keep an eye on them in freezing temperatures to make sure they stay clear of dangerous amounts of ice. If ice dams do form, clear out your gutters by applying a de-icing agent or string a heated gutter cable
  • The Cold Cracks Caulk - Fluctuations in winter temperature cause caulk to pull away from windows, which in turn creates drafts that let warm air out and cold air in. If you notice that your home is particularly drafty, check your windows and reapply caulk to any cracks to warm up your home and save on energy bills.
  • Freezing Weather = Frozen Plumbing - On the coldest days and nights, your plumbing pipes may be at risk for freezing and bursting. To avoid this plumbing catastrophe when temperatures dip, insulate your exposed pipes with heat tape or foam pipe insulation and turn on your faucet to a slow drip to keep water flowing.
  • Tree Branches Snap - Wintry conditions can put their life and limb at risk. When subjected to low temperatures and heavy condensation, tree limbs can break and fall on your roof, siding, or power lines. The best way to prevent winter damage to your trees is to prune them during the fall

Being aware of the potential damage and being proactive can be the best thing you do for your home this year. Winter can be a beautiful time of year, the snow on the trees, the relaxing calm you feel with that quiet snowfall muting the world around you, and the holidays full of family and loved ones. Don’t be fooled, the calm beauty can turn your home into a chaotic mess in a matter of minutes with a busted pipe or tree branch through the roof. Prevention is key, it can happen and it will if given the opportunity. Let SERVPRO of Canton help winterize your home and if damage does happen to occur despite your best efforts they are trained and certified in every aspect of home restoration to get your home back in shape with as little headache as possible.

SERVPRO of Canton Invests in Continually Educating Our Team

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Title over books Education is a keystone for the functionality of SERVPRO of Canton.

LIFELONG learning underpins all true professionals and improves the quality of the work and service they can offer to their customers.

Whatever your trade or profession, good people always strive to improve. Whether simple conversations with peers on new techniques or formalized continuing education, the best have a curiosity to want to learn more.

And this is true at SERVPRO, where continuing education is part and parcel of what we do. In all areas of our work, there are continual advances in technology and equipment, there are changes in laws, regulations, and standards, there are breakthroughs in science that change how we look at our professional challenges and how we approach tasks.

SERVPRO continually seeks to empower our people to take industry qualifications, recognized by trade bodies around the country.

Investing in our team is a bedrock principle as without the most knowledgeable people we cannot offer the best service. And our people are our business – experts in their field who stay experts because they stay ahead of the pack by prioritizing their education.

If you are seeking a restoration service that is focused on and committed to continually educating and improving the knowledge of their staff, call SERVPRO of Canton today.

What are PVC Pipes?

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Title over a stack of pipes Learn more about these common home water pipes.

WATER arrives at your tap through pipes – miles and miles of different types of pipes.

And in recent years PVC piping has become increasingly common compared to the copper of yesterday, or other materials such as galvanized steel. Polypropylene or pex.

As always, each type has its unique advantages and drawbacks, though PVC is rapidly replacing copper for much domestic pipework.

A thermoplastic polymer, PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride and is a combination of vinyl and plastic. It is usually white though can be cream or grey as well, and is ideal for use with a high-pressure water supply.

It is manufactured in different thicknesses and configurations, and if being used for drinking water should be marked ‘NSF-PW’ or ‘NSF-61’ meaning it meets safety standards.

The major advantages with PVC for piping include its longevity, as it does not corrode or rust – unless it is compromised somehow it lasts indefinitely, even under the hi9gh pressure water it usually takes.

It is a very easy material to work with, as it is light and flexible, and can simply be glued together, requiring no soldering. Many joints are simply clip-on.

PVC is also very cheap, particularly in comparison to copper, making it highly attractive to plumbers and not very attractive to thieves.

But the one big drawback is it is not good at handling hot water – like plastic, heat can make the material warp or even melt, and as such, it should not be used with home hot water supply. Fittings can also be bulky if you are working in very tight spaces.

However, PVC has a direct relative – the Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride pipe – and this chemical twist gives CPVC heat resistant properties, meaning it can be used for hot water piping. CPVC also comes in a wider range of sizes than PVC, including matching traditional copper. It does cost more than its cousin but is still substantially cheaper than alternatives, but should not be used in direct sunlight as it can break down over time.

9 Reasons Your Water Bill May Have Increased

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Title over basement water piping. Water can be wasted in your home; find out how to prevent this and save your wallet.

OF all our utility bills, water usually tends to be one of the more consistent - after all, we tend to shower by routine, and wash up by habit.

Our needs do not tend to vary wildly as they do with the heat in winter, for example.

But sometimes we can get a nasty shock when we get the water bill and find a sudden jump in the cost – and a leak is usually the culprit, especially if it has gone unnoticed for a while.

Here are nine of the top reasons your water bill may have jumped – and what you can do about it.

  • Running Toilet - Easy to overlook as it is not causing any damage – and especially if it is a little-used one ion the basement or a spare room bathroom – but a toilet continually running can add up to 330 liters of water a day to your bill that you literally flushed down the loo.
  • Leaky Faucets or Valves - A drip a second can soon add up to 20 liters a day – as well as annoying, it is expensive. Get the tap fixed.
  • Summer Fun - While many people’s water use is pretty constant, you may be a seasonal consumer – do you sprinkle the lawn and flowerbeds or do you have a pool? These will boost your bills, but at least it is a conscious choice.
  • Water Softeners – these gizmos can add a hefty chunk of change to your bills depending on their settings and how often they recharge.
  • Furnace Humidifier – if this is set too high it can cause problems as the drain can become blocked and cause a leak.
  • Old Heaters – These do not last forever, especially in hard water areas, and it can be worth checking them for leaks at the base periodically. If it is tucked away in the basement it is easy to overlook.
  • Appliances – like heaters, our dishwashers and washing machines wear out. Leaks can occur, often hidden from sight. Check them regularly and replace them when they are worn out.
  • Outdoor Leaks – Is there a leaky hose dripping away, or a puddle that never seems to disappear even in the height of summer? Signs you could be pouring water away without realizing it.
  • Underground Leaks – perhaps the worst of all, as you often will have no clue about it until a nasty bill arrives, and also the repair most likely to need professional attention.

Long Term Health Effects of Smoke Damage

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Title over smoke in front of black background Prevent the damage to your health from smoke and fire damage.

Fires can happen just about anywhere. When they do strike, there can be unfortunate consequences if they are not properly cleaned up after. Many places will have smoke damage left behind, which requires a professional to properly handle. Fires leave behind microscopic particles, which can lead to a variety of health issues.

The health concern that will most likely happen first is the irritation of your eyes and nose. The particles will cause discomfort to your skin. Eyes often become itchy from smoke damage because the particles left behind are irritating to your body. Similarly, you may also get a runny nose because that is a natural way for your body to attempt to keep out the particles left behind from a fire. 

Smoke damage can also cause chronic conditions, such as heart and lung issues. The particles from the fire will build up inside of your body. Breathing in harmful substances will have an impact on the health of your lungs since that is where the air you breathe is filtered. The particles can also increase the side effects of other preexisting conditions because your breathing may be worsened from the particles left behind from smoke damage.

The best way to prevent any health issues from occurring from smoke damage is to have the damaged items properly removed. To ensure that your safety is being put first, contact SERVPRO for fast and safe removal. Remember, if you are experiencing any health issues after a fire, contact a doctor immediately.

Tips for Removing Smoke Odor from a Home

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Title over used cigarettes. Follow this guide to eliminate the odor from smoke in your home.

The smell of smoke is a nuisance, but how does one remove it? To assist in the elimination of smoke odor from home, follow these tips:

Clean out ashtrays 

Remove the source. Clean out the ashtrays and ensure that all cigarettes have been put out properly to prevent any fire hazards.

Open windows

Fresh air will help dissipate any smoke smells. Fresh air in and the odorous air out.

Baking soda

Baking soda is one of the best at-home cleaning methods and it can be used for the purpose of removing the odor of smoke. Baking soda will neutralize the odor. This method is best for carpets and fabric surfaces. Sprinkle some on and leave for a day to be vacuumed up. You can also place bowls of baking soda around the home to help remove more of the odor.

Wash fabric items 

Take a chance to wash all fabric items; blankets, curtains, pillow covers, clothes, etc. Allow the items to dry outdoors so they don’t reabsorb the smoke odor.  

Vinegar 

Like baking soda, vinegar removes odor naturally. Wipe down hard surfaces, floors, walls, etc, with white vinegar. And once again, like baking soda, place bowls of vinegar around the home to eliminate the odor. 

Ammonia 

Ammonia is what to use on the spots that no matter how hard you scrub, the smell still won’t come out! Mixing one cup ammonia with four liters of water, and SCRUB. The smell of ammonia will dissipate in a few days.

Air purifying plants 

Some plants are fragrant and can help mask the odor in a home, and some can help filter the smell altogether! Plants such as English ivy, snake plants, spider plants, aloe vera, and the Chinese evergreen will assist in removing toxins and odors from the home. 

COVID-19 Cleaning - What Makes a Difference?

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Gloved hand spraying cleaner on surface. Prevent the spread of COVID in your business with SERVPRO Canton.

COVID-19 Cleaning - What Makes a Difference?

The pandemic has changed many of our routines and lifestyle choices; one of the most notable being our cleaning habits and protocols. COVID has proved itself as a force to be reckoned with in terms of its spread and lethality. One of the main things this virus has shown us is that we have been living in a world filled with lackluster cleaning.

Firstly, it is essential to note the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting and the best use for each of them:

Cleaning is the process of removing dirt and bacteria, not necessarily alienating them. This should be performed on surfaces routinely throughout the day. Make sure your employees are washing their hands frequently and adequately.

Disinfecting is actively killing germs that are on surfaces, this should be done when bacteria is found or suspected on a specific surface.

Sanitizing is the process of using both actions to cut down the number of germs on surfaces.

So, What Works Best?

Whether it is at your business or at home, you will want to make sure you are cleaning all high touch surfaces, these include:

  •       Keyboards
  •       Remotes
  •       Desktop Mice
  •       Tables
  •       Doorknobs
  •       Handles
  •       Toilets
  •       Faucets
  •       Railings

These frequently trafficked areas should be cleaned at least 3 or more times per day to ensure the limitation of spreading the virus and/or other harmful bacteria. Call your trusted SERVPRO to get the job done right and keep your company safe.

The Dangers of Standing Water in Your Home

12/2/2020 (Permalink)

Title over standing water in a tarp. Prevent the dangers of standing water in your home.

Standing water, what's the big deal? Standing water from a clogged drain, puddles in the basement, and the old pool that hasn’t been drained are troublesome, irritating, and unpleasant, but can actually be pretty dangerous. People tend to overlook the hazards of standing water. 

Mosquitoes 

Mosquitoes breed exceptionally fast in the water. And stagnant water is even worse. And as mosquitoes are known for carrying many blood-borne pathogens, such as dengue, Zika virus, West Nile virus, and malaria, they are especially dangerous for your health and your family's health. 

Vermin

Rats, mice, and possums, oh my! Vermin such as these are constantly on the hunt for watering holes, like that puddle in your basement. Much like mosquitoes, vermin carry diseases of their own and will infect others if they leave their hiding spot. No one fancies vermin, to begin with anyway!

Bacteria 

Bringing it back to high school science class. Bacteria and other parasites are known for their great ability to thrive in moist environments. Most are particularly hazardous to your health. And these bacteria could’ve come from an animal, or human waste, which can be found in lots of standing water. 

Standing water really can be detrimental to the health of yourself, your family, and your home. It’s best to remove any standing water before any danger occurs. If you find any standing water and need help removing it, contact SERVPRO today for a consultation. 

Tips for Keeping Employees Safe and Healthy this Winter

12/2/2020 (Permalink)

Text over 3 smiling business employees Your employees are one of the most important parts of your business, make sure they are staying safe from the winter blues.

The winter season is full of dangers as well as illnesses. This winter, however, we are dealing with more worries than we have had to in the past. This is because winter is already known as flu season and is being impacted even more this year due to covid. It is more important than ever to keep employees safe and healthy this winter season, and we can help with these tips. 

In the winter there are many weather elements that can cause a lot of harm to a person. There are dangerous things such as snow, ice, and even frigid temperatures. Some ways to help ensure your employees are safe in these conditions are by keeping all the walkways and work areas clear of ice and snow by shoveling and salting the ground. If in a constant outdoor work area it could also help to have heavy-duty shoes with good traction on the bottom and protection for the winter weather. Another thing to ensure the safety of employees whether working outdoors or indoors is to have them wear bright-colored clothing (vest, etc.), especially when they are outside in winter weather because snow may make it difficult to see someone. 

Getting sick is a common occurrence in the winter months. People become ill in many different ways and it may be hard to avoid it in the workplace. The best way to keep workers healthy is to have employees feeling sick to stay home when ill. Especially with covid, it is important to have employees always wearing masks or to have employees work remotely and minimize the number of people in a workspace. 

It is important to keep your employees safe and healthy while working. We are here to help you keep employees safe in your workplace. Contact SERVPRO of Canton today and get the services you need to ensure the safety and health of your employees.

SERVPRO of Canton technicians are FSRT certified

12/2/2020 (Permalink)

Title over fire damaged house. When fire strikes, SERVPRO is there for your home remediation needs. We have trusted skills and certifications.

Having a fire in your home, big or small, can cause devastating damage. You may not know where to start when it comes to restoring your home back to its pre-fire glory. At SERVPRO Canton we make it our personal mission to remove any extra worries about restoration from your mind. Our technicians are professionals and they all hold FSRT certification.

What is FSRT Certification?

The Fire and Smoke Remediation Technician (FSRT) course is intended for professionals engaged in property management, restoration, and related professions. It is designed to teach the effective management of restoration of damage related to fire and smoke exposure. It will address technical and practical procedures including fire science and behavior, job site management, and proper estimating of projects. 

During this course our technicians learn: 

  • Initial Inspection
  • Communication and Documentation
  • PPE & Safety Considerations
  • Process of Remediation
  • Corrosion Mitigation and Site Mitigation
  • Initial Equipment set up
  • Content Processing
  • Structural Cleaning and Restoration
  • Hard Surface Contents
  • Soft Finish Contents

Why is this Important?



IICRC or The Institute for Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification is a nonprofit that helps to set globally recognized standards for these areas. Ensuring our technicians receive this training gives you confidence in knowing they have the training to provide the highest quality of work and utilize the most effective processes known. 

At SERVPRO of Canton, we place emphasis on these certifications to ensure you are getting the absolute best restoration possible. A fire in your home can be terrifying and traumatic and leave everlasting issues if not properly taken care of. Call SERVPRO of Canton today to take the stress of restoration of your plate!

The Difference Between Laser and Sensor Smoke Detectors

12/2/2020 (Permalink)

Title over smoke surrounding a smoke detector Know the difference between these two smoke detectors to determine which one is best for your home or business.

Every so often, maybe once a year, you start hearing an annoying beep, every couple of minutes. It takes a few minutes to find the source, but once you do it becomes the first time you’ve thought about your smoke detector all year. Even then you just change the batteries and let it fall from your mind again. Smoke detectors are in place to save your life, so it's important to know you have the right one in your home. 

There are two types of detectors: Ionization and Photoelectric, also known as sensor and laser detectors. Almost every home today is equipped with ionization detectors, but more and more people have been making the switch or addition of photoelectric. There are even states such as Iowa, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Vermont that require the photoelectric system.

What’s the Difference?

Ionization Smoke Detector - An ionization smoke detector contains a small bit of radioactive material that sits between two plates with electrical charges; the charge ionizes the air and causes a current to move between the plates. If smoke enters this chamber, the ion flow is disrupted and the alarm sounds. Ionization smoke detectors are well equipped to sense the very small smoke particles produced by fast-moving, flaming fires.

Photoelectric Smoke Detector - This device aims a focused light source into a sensor chamber; when smoke enters the chamber, it reflects light, which then triggers the alarm. Photoelectric smoke detectors are best at detecting large smoke particles from slow, smoldering fires.

One of the major problems with Ionization sensors is false alarms. How many times have you been cooking dinner and the smoke detector goes off? It is common to just disconnect the battery and forget about it. In fact, recent statistics show that in 24% of home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound; in half of those cases, there was a missing or disconnected battery. 

Photoelectric detectors are best for responding to a slow-burning, smoldering fire and decrease the chances of safely getting out. These fires usually burn for a period without flames and most often start from a candle of cigarette flame. Ionization detectors take up to 10 minutes longer to detect these fires.

Ionization detectors respond faster to smoke from flaming fires than a photoelectric device does. Most flaming, fast-moving fires are a result of flammable liquids, wood, or paper catching fire. These are items that produce flames right away and do not have as much smoke as a smoldering fire. For this reason, photoelectric devices will provide family members with less advance warning to get to safety before hot, flame-intense fires engulf the residence.

The best way to keep your family safe is to have a blend of photoelectric and ionization smoke detectors. It’s too risky to go with one and not the other because there is no way to predict what type of fire threat your home may experience. Keep photoelectric in the bathrooms and kitchen areas to avoid false alarms. There are also dual sensors available that utilize both ionization and photoelectric technologies. Look into the options available to keep your home a safe haven. 

Preventing Kitchen Fires at Your Holiday Dinner

11/18/2020 (Permalink)

Title over person putting turkey dish in oven Cook safely this year and prevent common kitchen fires.

The vast majority of house fires are most likely to start right in one of the most common areas of your home; that’s right your very own kitchen. For this reason, it is important to exercise extreme caution while cooking, especially during the holiday season with all of your guests around. Luckily, there are several preventative measures you can take to ensure that you, your family, and your food stay safe this holiday season. 

Stay Alert

Negligence is the biggest contributor to these fires. Make sure when you have something on the stove or in the oven that you are paying close attention to the temperature and time. Stovetop burners pose an extreme danger in the kitchen when left unsupervised. Additionally, food left in the oven for too long is a recipe for explosion. If you have consumed any alcohol or are feeling tired, it’s probably best for you to stay out of the kitchen. 

Keep Your Preparation Area Clear

Ensuring there are no towels, potholders, packaging, or utensils near the stove is a key component to maintaining kitchen safety; this is especially important if the whole family is cooking their multiple dishes at the same time. Decluttering the counter and stovetops will make food preparation easier and safer.

Beware of Crockpots and Other Appliances

Leaving those smaller appliances plugged in at high temperatures for too long poses a risk for electrical fires. Make sure you keep these kinds of appliances on low heat and keep your eye on them throughout the day. 

What to do if a Fire Breaks Out in the Kitchen

Remain calm. Calmly instruct your guests to evacuate the house if you recognize the fire is uncontrollable. Should you decide to contain the fire yourself, ensure you still have a plan to get out. Keep a lid by the pans in case of a grease fire to smother the flames. In the case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed until the fire is out. Unplug any electrical appliances that catch fire and use baking soda to extinguish small flames. 

Remember SERVPRO is always here for your fire damage needs should an accident ever happen. Stay safe and have a happy holiday!

Keep Your Home Safe: Look for These Common Fire Hazards Around the House

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

Text over a bundle of matches Your home could be at risk for fire damage; be proactive and prevent common housefires.

Your home should be the safest place possible, especially if you have a big family. Fire hazards can pose a huge danger to the structure of your home and the safety of those living in your household. A house fire can spread rapidly, and burn an entire home down in a matter of minutes. Watch out for these common fire hazards you may not be aware of and keep your home free from the risk of fires year-round.

Unattended Candles

Candles are a major culprit of a number of house fires around the world. Leaving your candles lit when you leave the house or go to bed is leaving your drapery or other surrounding fabrics at risk for catching fire. Always remember to blow all of your candles out if you are not going to be around to attend to them. 

Heat Sources

Devices such as space heaters and radiators need to be closely monitored as they can easily get caught on blankets, drapes, and clothing. Remember to never depend on a space heater to heat your entire home and find other solutions that will be safer and long-lasting. Using your oven as a heater is also a big no-no in terms of fire safety, especially a gas stove; this poses a risk to a kitchen fire or even an explosion in your own home. Turn off your portable heaters before leaving the house or going to bed. 

Dryers

One of the most silent and undetectable sources of house fires is right inside your laundry room. That’s right; if you neglect to clean your dryer lint repository regularly, it can easily catch fire and create a huge blaze in your home. Remind yourself to clean the lint trap daily and ensure the exhaust vent is clear of any lint as well. 

Smoking

This is one of the leading causes of fire deaths in the nation. Smoking in the house is a danger in itself; falling asleep with a lit cigarette is all it would take to start a fire. It’s important to take the smoking outside and always ensure the butts are fully extinguished and placed in an ashtray before entering the home. Children should never be left unsupervised with lighters and matches within their reach. 

Keep all of this in mind as you perform your daily household duties. Performing these small preventative measures will benefit the safety of your entire household in the long run. SERVPRO is always here for your fire damage needs should accidents arise.

Preparing Your Water Pipes for the Winter Weather in Canton

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

Text over frozen pipes in front of a brick wall Prevent your pipes from freezing this winter.

It happens every year; temperatures drop below freezing and the pipes running through your home get iced over, leaving you stuck with little to no water pressure. Unprepared pipes are also at a higher risk of exploding and spewing your water where it’s unwanted; in your basement, bathroom, or kitchen. Here are some ways you can winterize your pipes for when those cold temperatures set in over Canton. 

Insulate Exposed Pipes

Pipes that are in tricky places such as garages, attics, or crawl spaces are more prone to those freezing temps. Getting some protective insulation to cover those pipes will prevent the cold from wreaking havoc in those areas of your home. Heat cables will work wonders for protection in combination with that insulation. 

Kitchen Cabinets Should Stay Open

During those cold snaps, you’re going to want to open your kitchen cabinets open. Letting the warm air circulate behind those closed doors will prevent damage to at-risk kitchen piping. Putting a space heater next to the cabinets will also help significantly. 

Store Those Garden Hoses

Leaving hoses attached outside during the winter can create ice blockage that will wreak havoc on your home’s entire piping system. It is paramount that you unscrew all of your garden hoses and put them in storage for the season, you’ll save on pipe repairs and you won’t have to replace your hoses next summer.

Keep the Faucets at a Trickle

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it works! If your pipes still end up exposed as the winter moves in, remember to keep those faucets at a slow drip or trickle to maintain water pressure within the pipes. While it may run your water bill up a little, it will be worth it by saving on pipe repairs. 

Be prepared for the winter weather hitting Canton this year, stay safe. As always, SERVPRO is always on standby for you in the event of a plumbing emergency. 

Autumn Water Damage in Your Canton Home

10/12/2020 (Permalink)

Icicle dripping out of pipe Don't let water damage ruin your autumn fun this year.

Often times, when we think of fall, we think of those cool and breezy, temperate days where the sun is shining through the colorful leaves. However, the weather can be quite nasty during those autumn months we love so much and during October, November, and December, the most amount of water damage claims are made on homeowners’ policies for the whole year.

Many times these claims are a result of freezing pipes – the quickly shifting temperatures of the fall can lead to pipes freezing and bursting and a ton of damage in your home or business. Fall storms, however, can also be a culprit for water damage. As the trees go dormant for the winter, dropping leaves and dead branches, you can run into a couple of problems in your home. The leaves and debris could clog up your gutters, preventing water from moving away from your home. The build-up of water could lead to leaky roofs or foundations allowing water inside your home. Additionally, windblown debris could do storm damage that might then leave space for water to enter your building.

Basic maintenance can help prevent some of these problems from happening at your home. Keep your gutters clean as the leaves fall and collect there and ensure that water is moving down the downspouts. Additionally, check the gradient of the land around your foundation, make sure that it is sloped away from your home to prevent water from collecting around your foundation. If your roof is in need of some TLC, spend a little time and money getting it repaired and hopefully save yourself from needing a full replacement.

To help prevent your pipes from freezing, try to make sure that any pipes that are located in unheated spaces are insulated. Keep your thermostat set above 55 degrees to prevent any freezing in the interior of your home. Additionally, it could help to open cupboards and doors to let heat into areas where vulnerable pipes might be located. Drain and winterize any outdoor faucets as well so that those particularly susceptible pipes don’t cause you any trouble.

Doing maintenance now can save you lots of trouble down the line. Of course, we trust that our homeowner’s insurance will have our back if anything goes wrong, but it would always be better to not have to deal with disaster at all. If disaster does strike at your home or business, make sure you call SERVPRO of Canton. We are faster to any disaster.

Preventing Electrical Fires in Your Canton Home

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

two men wearing hard hats looking at an electrical panel Take care to make sure that electrical fires don't happen in your home.

As a homeowner, there are many maintenance items on your checklist each year, electrical safety being among the most important. Electrical fires are one of the most common causes of household fires, but they can be easily prevented through proper maintenance and awareness. 

There are different ways to avoid electrical fires that almost anyone can follow. The first way is by checking electrical outlets within the household. Improperly installed electrical outlets are one of the top causes of electrical fires. Check for any loose plates or broken wall plates because this ensures that the wiring and components are not left uncovered. As an added safety measure, if children are present within a household, be sure to cover up any unused outlets.

Another way to avoid electrical fires is by checking the plugs within a household. Be sure to never force a plug into an outlet. When plugging in a three pin plug into a two pronged outlet, never remove the third pin from the plug. Instead, use an adapter for a three pin to two prong outlet, it’ll save some time & money and more importantly keep you safe. Be sure to never overload an outlet with too many plugs and adapters because it can cause the outlet to short circuit and start a fire. 

An additional safety measure is making sure to check the cords within the household. Check to make sure that each cord isn’t frayed, cracked, under a carpet, or areas where there’s high foot traffic. Never staple cords to walls, floors, and other objects because it can cause the above mentioned issues with the cords. If cords are damaged or frayed, be sure to replace them immediately. 

Once you have assessed your household with these ways in mind, be sure to fix any issues upon encountering them. A safe household is a happy household. And of course, be sure to call SERVPRO in the event of a disaster. SERVPRO can handle fire damage restoration making it appear "Like it never even happened." 

Your Business Needs a Contigency Plan

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

Two business owners wearing aprons standing outside their shop Make sure that you know what you'll do if disaster strikes your business.

Every business wants to avoid all possibilities of something going wrong, but sometimes disaster is unavoidable. The way a company chooses to cope with the disaster is up to them, but it will always be in their best interest to have a contingency plan in place in case disaster strikes. There are several steps any company should consider when creating their own business contingency plan.

  • Assess What Threats There Are To Your Company

No matter what industry a business is in, there will always be threats to the business. The most common threats are natural disasters. This could include fires, storms, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes. The threats your company is susceptible to are based on your location.

  • Decide How Employees Will Communicate

Communication is key whether there is a disaster or not. Having your employees communicate properly during a crisis will allow your business to remain operational. Your employees will feel more comfortable knowing how they are going to communicate with their coworkers during an emergency.  

  • Choose Where Employees Will Go

Going to the office is almost a comfort to many people. They know that is where they are the most productive in getting work done. Disaster can take that away. You must choose a spot that your employees will feel safe to get their work done, even though it may not be their typical workplace. 

  • Determine How Employees Will Continue To Do Their Jobs

Even in a disaster, work will still need to get done. Deciding how your employees will get done will be easier for some companies than it is for others. The internet has opened an abundance of doors to get work done in different locations, but that may not always be an option for everyone. The key is to find a plan that will keep your employees as productive as possible.

  • Test Your Plan

Now that you have a plan in place, there is only one way to see if it will be effective: test it out. There are several ways to go about this. Primarily, you could walk through the plan with your employees and explain it to them as you go along. Another way you could have your employees test the plan is to have them perform a simulation. After testing your plan you can adjust things as needed.

Having a business contingency plan is crucial as an emergency could arise at any time. Not only is it crucial to consider how your business is going to operate after there is a disaster, but you also need to consider how your company is going to be able to return to normal. This may include fire/water/storm restoration to your workplace, having backup equipment, and making sure your employees are comfortable. Nobody wants their business to go through any type of disaster, but it is always best to be prepared for the worst.

Fire Damage Restoration of a Commercial Property

9/17/2020 (Permalink)

building that has experienced fire damage If a fire happens at your commercial property, you'll want the best in the business to make it right fast.

Whether you own a business or a commercial property, you might think that your building is invincible. However, whatever building it is from the traditional wood frame to brick and mortar, it is not invincible. Fire and other natural disasters happen, and when they do they are completely out of our control. As a business owner, a calamity such as this can be detrimental. You will likely have to shut your doors for repairs, and safety.

In the event of such a disaster, it will be important to act swiftly. This might be the time to consider a professional restoration service, not only for the safety of yourself but your employees and customers as well. Because a disaster can happen anytime day or night, a credible company will offer 24/7 services (yes, even on holidays). Whatever the time of day, it is important to take this five-step process to mitigate any further loss and guarantee a safe return.

ICE

Most of us have an “In Case of Emergency” contact saved in our phones, whether that be a spouse, friend, parent, or sibling. If you are a business owner, why not save your trusted restoration company’s number for events such as this. You should be proactive and call the company as soon as you can.

Evaluation

Once the crew has arrived, they will begin to assess the damage. At this time, it will be important to learn about what happened, and what locations of your business were affected. Once this has been done, you will receive a quote for the work that needs to be done.

Alleviation

At this time, the professionals will come in and get to work. They will close off areas that may have been affected, air out the space, and remove any damaged property and litter. This is a crucial step to avoid further damage.

Restore

The team will begin a full cleanup. This is when surfaces are cleared and sanitized of any soot, dust, smoke, water, and any other residue from the disaster.

Rehabilitation

The final step in the process is the full restoration and rehabilitation of your business. Anything that was damaged such as building materials, cabinets, carpets, electronics, furniture, and flooring will be taken care of.

As a business owner, after enduring a calamity such as this, it is understandable that you would want to save the most that you can. At times like this, we like to think that handling it ourselves is the best idea. This is not always the time and money saver that you hope it would be. It is not uncommon for these kinds of projects to be done improperly, create more damage, and end up costing more.

In situations like this, hiring a professional might be the financially savvy thing to do, plus you get peace of mind that the job is done right. When you call SERVPRO, you can feel at ease knowing that your business will be certified SERVPRO cleaned. Not only are we faster to any disaster, but we also adhere to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the CDC. If you are faced with a disaster and need restoration services give SERVPRO of Canton a call at (330) 966-2377.

Preparing for Winter Weather in Canton

9/17/2020 (Permalink)

Close-up of branch covered in snow Make sure that you're ready for winter weather by taking a few easy steps this fall.

As the weather gets cooler, homes get warmer and most people prefer to stay inside in the comfort of their own home. The big question is, how do you protect your haven from winter storms? Living in northeast Ohio, most of us are aware of the climate and weather changes, as well as the potential threats that come along with it. Being familiar with the changes in weather does not always mean that we are completely prepared.

However, there is no need to fret. There are a few things that you can do as the leaves are changing to stay proactive for winter. One of the most important tasks might be making sure that your heating system is clean and functioning as it should. You should replace your system every 12 -15 years, but in the meantime, you can maintain that by changing the filters before the cold weather comes in.

Here are a few other ways to get prepare for winter storms:

  • Make sure that your home is in good condition; check your roof and drains to make sure there is no damage that might cause issues in a storm.
  • Clean out your gutters to prevent blockage. Proper drainage is important so that water is being directed to where it is meant to go.
  • Make sure that you have snow removal equipment available such as a shovel, salt, sand, and other ice-melting materials. If you are unable to maintain the snow and ice on your sidewalks during the winter, make sure you have arranged a professional to take care of it for you.

These are just a few ways to stay prepared as the winter months approach. It is important to stay ahead of the cold not only for the safety of you and your family but also to avoid any major storm damage. Taking these measures could save you both time and money. When you are unsure of what steps to take, such as how to check and clean your ventilation system, give the professionals at SERVPRO a call. If you find yourself in trouble with storm damage to your home or business, give SERVPRO a call at (330) 966-2377. Our highly trained professionals are faster to any disaster!

SERVPRO of Canton Uses Advanced Equipment

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO technician working with equipment to dry a property Trust our advanced equipment to help restore your home or business to perfect condition.

A lot of different elements are involved in the restoration process. We tell you all the time how important it is to rely on a company that can come to your rescue anytime you need us, but it’s equally important to trust restoration specialists that have access to all of the best technology to return your space to normal. At SERVPRO of Canton, not only is our staff highly trained to specialize in restoration, we have advanced technology that helps us get the job done better and faster than other companies.

Water damage can be devastating for a home or business and detecting and removing all water is crucial to the restoration process. We use infrared camera equipment to identify water as well as moisture detectors, hygrometers, and other such sensors capable of locating and detecting moisture to be removed. Additionally, when it comes to the actual moisture removal process, we use high-powered pumps and portable extraction units to get the water out of your space in addition to high-speed air movers and industrial-grade dehumidifiers to help with the drying process.

Water and fire damage can also leave behind strong odors that make your space just as unusable as the damage itself. We utilize air scrubbers, thermal foggers, and deodorization agents to remove airborne contaminants during the restoration and cleaning process.

On top of all of this, we even have a selection of SERVPRO exclusive cleaning products that we use to help with deodorization, sanitization, and disinfection for everything from restoration to commercial cleaning.  All of our products are OSHA-approved and of the highest quality to keep your home or business from any risks.

When disaster happens to you, turn to the company with the tools to make it right again. Call SERVPRO of Canton.

When Disaster Strikes in Canton

8/28/2020 (Permalink)

Lightning flashing in sky Lightning could be the cause of major disaster in your home or business.

Lightning strikes might not be the most common disaster to befall a person but they can cause substantial property damage. In the United States, there was a total of 109,049 lightning claims for property damage in 2016. Most commonly, the damage is due to electrical surges damaging components or wiring. Power surges from transformer or service line shorts are also often contributing factors. Consider that in less than a microsecond, a lightning discharge can generate up to 200,000 amps of electricity.

Lightning is caused by an electric potential difference (a voltage) being created between one cloud and another, or between a cloud and the ground. A charge of electrons builds upon the higher cloud while a lack of electrons occurs on the lower part. When lightning strikes a structure, wood and other flammable building materials can easily be ignited when lightning comes in contact or passes through them. Electrical surges are caused when lightning strikes near a power line causing an increase in the amount of electrical current flowing to a wall outlet. This extra burst of electricity is often too much for a surge protector to handle, which can lead to computer and appliance damage. Lightning is the most common natural cause of wildfires.

The latest data available states that fire departments respond to an average of 22,600 fires per year started by lightning. These fires cause an average of nine civilian deaths and $451 million in direct property damage per year. Home fires accounted for 19% of lightning fires while non-residential properties accounted for 7%.

So how can you prevent lightning damage to your home or business property? The key to avoiding lightning damage is to channel the lightning to the ground without allowing it to damage the structure or anything else of value along the way. A professional whole-building surge protection system can be installed that takes your entire structure, surrounding structures, and landscaping into consideration when grounding for lightning strikes. Systems should be certified and approved. Of course, this type of protection is expensive so here are some optional ways to protect property and the lives of the people inside:

  1. Lightning rods can help direct lightning strikes safely away from a property if properly installed. Unfortunately, lightning might not strike the lightning rod because it does not attract lightning. If hit, however, it will channel the lightning to the ground.
  2. Keep taller trees a safe distance from your property.
  3. Unplug or disconnect appliances, internet, antennas, satellite dishes, and electrical equipment when you first hear the clap of thunder.
  4. Install surge protectors. They can help but are not foolproof if the strike is powerful.
  5. Connect telephone, cable/satellite TV, and network lines to a surge suppressor.
  6. Stay away from all plumbing during a lightning storm as the pipes of the property make excellent conductors.
  7. Stay off the landline phone. 4-5% of people struck by lightning were talking on corded phones.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent a lightning strike, but you can reduce the likelihood of damage or injury by implementing the strategies outlined above. When you hear thunder or see lightning in the sky, take precaution, and protect yourself and your property.

The First Steps When Flooding Happens

7/17/2020 (Permalink)

Street with houses with standing flood water Keep calm and know exactly what to do when flooding happens to you.

You can never predict when flooding will happen to you. Sure, if you live in a flood plain, you know the risks are higher during certain seasons and storms, but flooding could happen to anyone in the event of a leak or damaged water main or even during a bad enough storm if your foundation has issues you weren’t aware of. If flooding happens to you, it’s important to know exactly how to handle the situation so that everyone stays safe and your home can return to normal quickly.

  1. Do NOT enter the flooded area. It might be your instinct to try to save or salvage something you left in the area, but it is important that you do not make contact with the water. The water could be conducting electricity and you could potentially get shocked. Additionally, the floodwaters could contain sewage or Category 3 Black Water that could make you ill.
  2. Stop the flow of water, if possible. If the water is coming in from the outside in the event of a storm or such a meteorological phenomenon, then you will have no control over the water. If the water is coming from inside your home, however, make sure that you shut off the water to prevent the flooding from getting any worse.
  3. Turn off the electricity. Make sure, once again, that you are not entering the water to do this. If you have to enter the flooded area in order to cut the power, you will need to call an electrician.
  4. Document as much as you can. You will want to take as many photographs as possible to document the extent of the damage for your insurance company.
  5. Call for help. Your first call should be to your insurance company to find out what the next steps are. It is incredibly important to handle flooding as quickly as possible, but you need to know if your insurance company will require an adjuster to view the damage before cleanup is begun.

The next steps – removing the water, drying the space, disinfecting, and eliminating mold – are a long and arduous process that should be begun immediately. Call on an experienced company like SERVPRO of Canton to come to your rescue. Our highly-trained technicians can deal with flooding and water damage quickly and efficiently and we are on duty 24/7/365, whenever and wherever disaster strikes. You can trust the SERVPRO team to return your home to perfect condition. We make it "Like it never even happened."

Mitigate Storm Damage with Regular Maintenance

7/17/2020 (Permalink)

Lightning striking in a residential neighborhood You can't control when a storm is going to happen but you can help limit your risk by keeping your property maintained.

We all know that in Canton, Ohio we can expect our fair share of severe storms. Spring and Summer are major culprits for high winds, heavy rains, and lightning in our area. These extreme weather conditions could cause trouble for home and business owners by inflicting damage on their property. Sometimes, these unfortunate instances are entirely out of our control but there are a few things we can do regularly to help limit the amount of damage that severe weather will do when it inevitably comes our way.

  1. Test your sump pump. Testing is easy and anyone can do it. Simply fill the pump pit with water and see if it begins to drain. If it doesn’t, it needs maintenance to do its job when flooding happens.
  2. Clean your gutters. Keeping gutters clean means that they will be able to drain water off the roof and away from your building. Clogged gutters and downspouts could mean water damage during a storm.
  3. Trim your trees. Trees with dead or rotting branches could mean disaster for your home or business during a storm. Proper pruning allows the trees to be stronger and more stable in the face of extreme weather.
  4. Clear debris from your yard. Debris left laying about could turn into projectiles during a storm and cause damage to your building. Cleaning up yard waste is an easy way to prevent disaster.
  5. Make sure your roof and siding are in good shape. You shouldn’t have to worry about checking on your home too often but loose or missing shingles and loose siding could leave your home vulnerable to excess damage during a storm.
  6. Make sure that water can drain away from your building. This might be a bigger project for a professional but if water isn’t moving away from your home or business and is standing or moving towards it instead, you could be at risk for flooding and water damage.

Keeping an eye on these areas and items around your building could save you a lot of trouble in the long run. If storms come through and damage your property, however, know that you can call on SERVPRO of Canton to help you. We are disaster restoration and cleaning experts, with a staff of highly-trained technicians on call 24/7/365 to respond when you are in need. Make sure you call SERVPRO when things go wrong.

A Trained Team is Important for Your Small Business Restoration

7/17/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO technician working with equipment to dry a property Our team knows what they're doing and can help you get back to business in less time.

No matter where disaster happens, it can ruin lives. If fire, water, or storm damage strikes in your home, you can lose treasured possessions as well as have the comfort of your safe space majorly disturbed. For most people, they can’t imagine a worse situation to have to deal with. If you are a business owner, however, disaster striking in your business can be just as devastating as it can entirely disrupt your livelihood. Big corporations might be able to withstand an unfortunate event like a fire or a flood, but these situations could bring down a small business swiftly.

That’s why it’s important for business owners to have a trusted partner for restoration needs. We at SERVPRO of Canton hope that you never have to call on us but in your time of need, you should know that we will be there to answer the call. Our restoration technicians are on-call 24/7/365, prepared to step up to the plate and help you through the worst situations. Our team is trained with the best certifications available for restoration specialists and can be trusted with the things you value.

With the SERVPRO of Canton team, you will lose less of your valuable time to the restoration process and be able to resume business as usual quickly. We guarantee our work to be of the highest quality so you know that you can resume business after a disaster with no worries. If you’re a small business owner in the Canton area, make sure that you have our number saves so that you don’t lose any time searching for a restoration team when disaster strikes. Call SERVPRO of Canton at (330) 966-2377.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned - A Defensive Cleaning Program

7/17/2020 (Permalink)

Table tent signs describing the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program on top of a wooden table. Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.

Call SERVPRO of Canton today at (330) 966-2377 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.

* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience.  Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.

Emergency Planning Could Save Your Family

7/7/2020 (Permalink)

family laughing together and planning Make sure your family knows what to do in the event of a disaster.

You wake up in the middle of the night and you smell smoke. Something is burning in your home and you have to get out. Do you know what you’ll do in the event of this worst-case scenario? If you don’t, then it’s probably a good idea that you sit down and make an emergency plan for your family. 

There are many resources on the internet that will provide you with the tools to get started in your emergency planning. Ready.gov suggests asking yourself these questions:

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  2. What is my shelter plan?
  3. What is my evacuation route?
  4. What is my family/household communication plan?
  5. Do I need to update my emergency preparedness kit?

They also provide an emergency plan that you can fill out or simply reference to create your own. This guide will help you make sure you don’t leave any important pieces out of your own plan that you may not have considered if you have never been in an emergency situation before.

Once you have an idea of how you will handle each of the above tasks, as a family you can begin to put together your emergency preparedness kit. The American Red Cross has a list on their website that you can follow as you compile things. You should always start by looking around the house for things you already have before you run to the store to purchase supplies. Chances are you might have quite a few things you need on hand. If you don’t want to spend the time hunting down all the supplies for your kit, however, there are places that you can purchase pre-made kits. Just make sure that you consider the specific needs of your household and add the items that you think you might need that have been left out.

After your plan has been made and your emergency kit is put together, the most important thing you can do with your family is practice. You want to make sure that everyone knows exactly what to do when the time comes to act. In the heat of the moment, some people might panic and forget what to do, but the more you practice the plan, the more likely everyone is to remember. Emergency planning is about ensuring everyone’s safety and there is no better way to do that than to take the time to make sure everyone understands.

Of course, we all hope that we’ll never have to use our emergency plans but it’s better to have one and never need it than to need one that you never made. And if disaster comes knocking at your door, know that SERVPRO of Canton will be right behind it ready to clean up the mess. We will come to your aid 24/7/365 with our highly trained team or disaster restoration specialists and make it "Like it never even happened." Give us a call when a disaster happens and you’ll be back to normal in no time. 

Storm and Water Damage Need A Quick Response Time.

4/3/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO house logo on image with street lights Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 any time of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action

Floods, rainstorms and tornadoes can become massive water damage during the spring and summer months.

Water damage can be so much more than wet and soggy carpets. Mold and mildew grow rapidly in damp, humid environments, leaving behind an unpleasant smell, even after the water has been removed.

Damage to a building’s structure can be an issue. When water sits inside a building for a period of time, the walls, ceilings, and floors absorb the water. This can threaten the overall structural integrity of the building.

The absolute first step to take is fast action. The longer the water flows or wet conditions exist, the greater the recovery problem becomes. SERVPRO of Canton is your professional restoration company.

Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 any time of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

Would Your Business Be Ready For a Disaster?

4/2/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO house logo on image with commercial buildings And now with the SERVPRO Ready Plan Mobile App, help is at your fingertips. Call now and ask how to get started.

When disaster strikes, getting help is quicker and easier than ever before, by using the SERVPRO Ready Plan.

The best way to reduce business interruption following a disaster is to PLAN for it NOW. You never know when disaster will strike for your business.

The statistics uncovered by industry research say as many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, this is because those businesses never had a preparedness plan in place.

SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile for YOUR business will minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. This is a no-cost assessment of your facility. It covers your emergency contacts, all shut-off valves and their locations, priority areas of your facility and more.

The SERVPRO Ready Plan provides solutions so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

And now with the SERVPRO Ready Plan Mobile App, help is at your fingertips. Call now and ask how to get started. A quick response time can reduce the overall costs and loss of use for your business. We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.  Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 any time of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

 

SERVPRO of Canton is Ready For Restoration

3/28/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO house logo on image with green SERVPRO truck We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.

SERVPRO of Canton is professional and is highly trained to be of service to your all of your restoration needs. You should choose us for a variety of reasons.

The Employee Certification Training is a voluntary, self-paced program designed for SERVPRO Franchise employees. Course materials included are Crew Training, Fire Restoration, Water Restoration, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

A 15-day hands-on course at the SERVPRO Corporate Training Facility is the foundation of the SERVPRO training program and covers Fire Restoration, Water Restoration, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Mold Mitigation.

All of our staff have access to web-based training. This voluntary program is designed to be an ongoing, self-paced coaching series for a Franchise's employees. Our staff at SERVPRO of Canton is up to date on all equipment, training, and professionalism.

You can rely on SERVPRO of Canton to get all of your restoration needs to be resolved whether it is fire, water, storm or mold damage.

We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.  Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 any time of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

 

How to Prevent Winter Water Damage in Your Canton Home

3/2/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with winter snow and water Remember, a quick response time can reduce the overall costs and loss of use. We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.

Water damage requires a quick response; stopping the source of water intrusion as soon as possible is critical.  It is important to know where your water shut off value is located. It is also important to review the location with your immediate family and service professionals.  

There are some quick and easy ways to help prevent water damage in the winter months in Canton Ohio. Pipes in the crawl space, outside walls, and in the attic are vulnerable to freezing in cold temperatures. Take action on the following items:

  • Close cracks, holes, and openings in outside walls and foundation near water pipes with caulk.
  • Wrap exposed pipes with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves.
  • Faucets connected to pipes in unheated spaces are prone to freezing. Let these faucets drip to help prevent water in the pipes from freezing.
  • Keep cabinet doors open is temperates are below 32 °F. This will provide heat to pipes.
  • If a pipe bursts, shut off the water supply to your home immediately.


Ice dams take form when warm air in the attic heats the roof and melts the snow on the roof. The melted snow collects unheated eaves and starts freezing. If you don’t prevent ice dams, they can cause significant water damage to your roof and home. To prevent ice dams:

  • Have your gutters and downspouts cleaned, inspected, and repaired before the winter months.
  • Insulate your attic properly; the heat in the home should not reach the attic. Make sure the attic floor is airtight and has no hole openings.
  • Provide ventilation to the attic to keep the roof cool. The temperature in the attic should be 5 to 10 °F warmer than the outside temperature.

If you have a sump pump in your basement, ensure it is working properly to  prepare for sudden flooding.

Remember, a quick response time can reduce the overall costs and loss of use. We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.  Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 anytime of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

  

SERVPRO of Canton is Faster To Any Disaster.

3/2/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with SERVPRO employees and van SERVPRO of Canton has teams that can help with any disaster scenarios. Our goal is specially IICRC trained franchise employees.

SERVPRO of Canton is here to help whenever you have fire, mold, water, or storm damage to your residential or commercial property. We are a locally owned in the Canton Ohio area, and are efficient to your damaged building. Here are three things that make us stand out:


1. Here to Help

No matter where the flood, tornado, or temperature drop, is located in Canton Ohio, we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including all major holidays. We know that a disaster can happen at anytime.

2. Faster to Any Disaster

No matter what type of storm strikes in Canton,  SERVPRO of Canton has a  disaster recovery team emphasizes on our slogan of being “Faster to Any Disaster."


3. “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of Canton has teams that can help with any disaster scenarios. Our goal is specially IICRC trained franchise employees is to create a disaster scene that is “Like it never even happened.” We help restore your damage and get it restored efficiently and work with all insurance companies to keep the damage flowing seamlessly.

Remember, a quick response time can reduce the overall costs and loss of use. We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.  Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 anytime of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

  

Prepare Your Building for Severe Thunderstorms in Canton Ohio.

3/1/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with trees and storm damage Remember, a quick response time can reduce the overall costs and loss of use. We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.

Prepare Your Building for Severe Thunderstorms in Canton Ohio.

With Spring around the corner, we will be getting Severe thunderstorms, in Canton Ohio, before you know it. Let’s face it this should not be taken lightly either: these are the storms that are thunder, lightning and strong winds. It is usually advised to find shelter and stay indoors when severe weather like this strikes. Here are some basic tips to help ensure your building is safe during severe thunderstorms:


1. Keep Trees Trimmed

The exterior of your building can become extremely dangerous during severe weather, especially with unkempt trees. Long branches or innocuous bare limbs can become troublesome in certain instances. It is best to keep trees trimmed.


2
. Know First Aid

In an emergency situation, it can be helpful to know what to do for those who might be near you, should a storm arise. you should know basic first aid practices, as well as CPR.

3
. Install Defensive Measures

You might want to consider having lightning rods and generators to prevent any damage to electrical systems. There is a great deal of electricity in your home and taking caution should be your priority. Severe storms can wreak havoc on electrical systems.

Remember, a quick response time can reduce the overall costs and loss of use. We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.  Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 anytime of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

  

Four Things To Do If You Spot a Leak in Canton Ohio.

3/1/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with pipes leaking It is important to make sure that any water damage is taken care of efficiently and in a timely manner. Hidden water can cause damage to wood.

The kitchen is the central location of a home. This is where we gather to cook and rinse our dishes. Discovering a leak, may feel as if all central functions of your home have come to a stop. Here are a few tips to follow if you spot a leak in your Canton Ohio home:

  1. Shut Off the Water Valves: This will stop the leaks immediately. You can shut it off by finding the valve underneath the sink.
  2. Call a Plumber: Hiring a plumber will help identify the leak. They will also repair or replace leaking lines or fittings if needed.
  3. Contact Your Insurance Company: It is important to know what your insurance policy says before paying for something out of pocket. The repair may not be covered, but the water from the leak resulting in damage may be; always talk with your insurance company.
  4. Call a professional restoration company:Water damage is risky and can cause much more damage if it isn't taken care of efficiently and properly. SERVPRO of Canton specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential property after water damage.


    It is important to make sure that any water damage is taken care of efficiently and in a timely manner. Hidden water can cause damage to wood, cabinets, flooring, and even more.

Remember, a quick response time can reduce the overall costs and loss of use. We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.  Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 anytime of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

  

Prepare For An Ice Storm in Canton Ohio

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with icicles. It is that time of year where the weather can get rough and can cause danger to homes. Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 anytime of the day.

It is that time of year where the weather can get rough and can cause danger to homes. Ice can increase the weight of branches by 30 times, causing a major disaster for any local homeowner.

Ice accumulations are caused by freezing rain. Freezing rain is a result of snow falling through an above-freezing warm layer in the atmosphere above the surface of the earth. The rain drops then move into a thin layer of below-freezing air right near the surface of the earth, allowing them to freeze on ground, trees, cars and other objects. Ice is not fun to mess around with. If you hear that an ice storm could happen, here are some tips for you to take in.

What to do before an ice storm

  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings.
  • Fill up your car’s gas tank.
  • Prepare an emergency supply kit with basic supplies including food, water, a flashlight and extra batteries.

What to do during an ice storm

  • Ice can accumulate on branches, power lines and homes. If you must go outside, pay attention to branches that could break.
  • A hanging power line could be charged (live) and you could get electrocuted, DO NOT TOUCH.
  • Avoid driving; even a small amount of freezing rain can make roads extremely slippery.

What to do if there’s a power outage

  • Check your circuit breaker panel to rule out any problems.
  • If you live with young children consider temporarily staying somewhere with power.
  • Try to stay warm during a power outage by staying inside and dressing in warm clothing.
  • Stuff towels and rags underneath doors to keep the heat in.
  • Unplug electronics and appliances to avoid a power surge.
  • Do not operate generators, BBQs, propane and natural gas appliances inside or the garage as they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector with a battery backup.
  • Use a flashlight rather than a candle for light.
  • If lighting candles, use proper holders and keep out of reach of children. Never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Ensure the fireplace screen is in place when burning fuel in a fireplace.

Remember, a quick response time can reduce the overall costs and loss of use. We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.  Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 anytime of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

  

Know The Facts About Chimneys To Prevent Fires in Canton Ohio

2/1/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with  house and chimney shown. The Majority of Chimney Fires Go Undetected, that is simply because Slow-burning chimney fires don’t get enough air or have fuel to be dramatic.

Your chimney has architectural interest to your home, but the truth is it is a real function is to carry dangerous flue gases from your fireplace out of your home. 

The last thing you are likely to be thinking about is the condition of your chimney. Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which damage structures, destroy homes and injure or kill people.  Sometimes fires happen in chimneys and people do not even realize it is happening until it is too late.

Chimney fires can burn explosively; they are noisy and dramatic enough to be detected by neighbors. Flames or dense smoke are signs that you might have a chimney fire. It has been report that these fires sound like a startled low rumbling sound which reminds them of a freight train or a low flying airplane.

Here are 7 ways to prevent a chimney fire:

  1. Have Your Chimney and Fireplace Cleaned and Inspected Annually
  2. Build Small Fires
  3. Use Seasoned Wood
  4. Never Use Paper or Combustible Liquids in the Fireplace
  5. Use a Chimney Liner
  6. Install a Chimney Cap
  7. Ensure Good Air Supply

The Majority of Chimney Fires Go Undetected, that is simply because Slow-burning chimney fires don’t get enough air or have fuel to be dramatic or visible. They often go undetected until a later chimney inspection is done. The temperatures they reach are very high and can cause as much damage to the chimney structure, which can be too late to fix. It is best to follow the simple tips above in order to prevent a chimney fire at all costs.

Remember, a quick response time can reduce the overall costs and loss of use. We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.  Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 anytime of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

  

Prevent Damage To Your Business in Canton Ohio

2/1/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with  commercial buildings in background Implement an emergency plan and make sure employees know how to respond. You can set up an Emergency Plan Readiness with SERVPRO of Canton

Prevent Damage To Your Business in Canton Ohio

Mother nature is unpredictable, and it can seriously impact your business. Not only can they damage the property and equipment, but it can prevent employees from getting to work. Here are some tips to reduce your risk of disaster damage:

  • Backup your company files and store them in a safe, off-site location.
  • In the event of a disaster, heavy equipment and cabinets, could topple over causing injury to those nearby; make sure all large items are pinned down nicely.
  • If you are replacing the roof be sure to make them as fire-resistant as possible.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on every floor, this can prevent the fire from becoming more dangerous.
  • Reinforce doors and windows to protect against strong forces.
  • Have an emergency kit on hand and also a complete first aid kit.
  • Implement an emergency plan and make sure employees know how to respond. You can set up an Emergency Plan Readiness with SERVPRO of Canton

Remember, a quick response time can reduce the overall costs and loss of use. We are ready when you need us at SERVPRO of Canton.  Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 anytime of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

  

Restoring Your Portage County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

1/4/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with businesses We know how devastating a business disaster can be, but we are here to help

Flooding and water damage events in Portage County commercial properties are complex that require a knowledge. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup, or something larger, we work quickly to assess each unique situation. We also isolate the damaged area.

Our professionals at SERVPRO of Portage County are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns. We also strive to fully restore the damaged area of your business while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. We work efficiently and carefully to ensure that your business is restored in no time. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

We know how devastating a business disaster can be, but we are here to help! Call SERVPRO of Portage County (330) 677-4483 to help get your home restored efficiently.

  

How To Reduce Fire In Winter Months

1/4/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with fire flames We know how devastating a fire disaster can be, but we are here to help!

Most of us spend our time cozied up inside throughout winter! We run our homes on overdrive during cold weather. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) claims there are more than 360,000 home structure fires each year, resulting in about $6-8 billion dollars in damage.

Some causes of home fires happen because of the following:

1. Cooking: The U.S. Fire Administration identifies cooking as the leading cause of house fires.

  • Never leave the kitchen or appliances unattended while cooking.
  • Keep paper products such as towels and potholders away from the stove.
  • Keep children and pets three feet away from the stove.


2. Candles: Fires happen a lot because of candles.

  • Be sure to extinguish all candles before heading to bed at night.
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Candles should be placed at a minimum of three feet from combustible materials such as decorations, curtains, blankets, etc.

3. Smoking: The warmth of your home may be tempting to smoke indoors if you are a smoker.

  • Always use a deep ashtray to put out smoking materials.
  • Never discard your cigarette in plants, peat moss, mulch or anything else that can ignite easily.
  • Before you toss butts and ashes, ensure they are completely out.

4. Dryers & Washing Machines: There are nearly 3,000 dryer fires reported each year.

  • Clean lint filters every time you use the dryer.
  • Make sure your dryer vent and ductwork are professionally cleaned once a year.
  • Make sure someone is home and awake while the cycle is going.

We know how devastating a fire disaster can be, but we are here to help! Call SERVPRO of Portage County (330) 677-4483 to help get your home restored efficiently.

  

How to Avoid Wind Damage to Your Business In Canton Ohio

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with winter windy day with business downtown. If you or someone you know is faced with wind damage and needs restoration, the experts at SERVPRO can help

Winds from tornadoes and thunderstorms damage homes and even businesses in tragically ways. In fact, winds might not even be storm-driven but can still pack awesome force. This is simply because winds are powered by air moving from high atmospheric pressure areas to lower pressure areas.

Wind is uncontrolled and unpredictable, it’s a threat for many businesses. Here are a few preparation tips:

Ensure insurance coverage: It is important to discuss coverage for wind damage with your insurance company in advance of storm season. Many policies cover wind damage, but might have restrictions so it is important to know what is covered and to ask questions.

Prepare property: It is important to make sure that your building is sealed. You will also want to make sure your siding, windows, doors and exterior components are securely fastened.

Prepare surrounding environment: Wind harms property indirectly. Trimmed and healthy trees are less likely to drop limbs or even fall whenever a storm happens. Any outdoor structures are advised to be secured to the ground.

If you or someone you know is faced with wind damage and needs restoration, the experts at SERVPRO can help to mitigate the damage and restore your home!  Call (330) 305-2650

  

How to Reduce the Risk of Commercial Kitchen Fires

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with fire flames. If you or someone you know is faced with fire and needs restoration, the experts at SERVPRO can help

Did you know that commercial kitchens are at high risk for fire? This is because multiple ignition sources and flammable items squeeze into compact: open flames, electrical connections, heating systems, cooking oils and fuels, and so much more.

Prevent fires whenever possible because these events devastate businesses. Typical losses per fire average $23,000 and nearly half of all establishments shut their doors permanently. It is hard to deal with anyway you look at it.

Here are some tips to prevent fires in buildings:

Plan Smartly: Commercial kitchens require fire safety measures that are specific and require regular inspections. These are specified by government codes, ordinances and regulations. It is best to hire experts to assess your fire risks whenever possible.

Maintain Continuously: Kitchen requires regular maintenance to boost fire safety. Make sure to have your appliances, electrical equipment, Class K portable fire extinguishers, exhaust fans and vents must be inspected, refurbished cleaned regularly. It is important to pay attention to where grease traps can happen.

Train Adequately: The most important thing to plan for is to make sure your business develops, distributes and knows the emergency and evacuation plans. Your employees should have knowledge on the kitchen best practices and fire safety measures.

If you or someone you know is faced with fire and needs restoration, the experts at SERVPRO can help to mitigate the damage and restore your home!  Call (330) 305-2650

  

SERVPRO of Canton Takes Pride in Their Employees

1/2/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with SERVPRO logo on trucks Our service team is trained to handle your unique situation with the quality and compassion you deserve.

SERVPRO of Canton understands the personal trauma that comes after suffering damage in a home.  These tragic events can leave families feeling vulnerable.  It might seem hard to think about who can you trust with access to your family and home? 

Our management team is committed to ensuring your family’s safety as well as protection of your personal belongings.  We impose very high standards in our recruiting and employment practices. 

All employees undergo a national background check every calendar year.  If you worked for us for 8 years, we have 8 national background records on file, that is a lot of backgrounds and consistency.

We complete pre-employment national background checks on all prospective candidates prior to hiring. All our technicians are highly trained and certified through the IICRC; the IICRC certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industry.

We believe in the investment of education to provide the best quality of service to protect your family and the investment in your home.

Protecting your family also includes proper business insurance.

Anyone working on your property should be covered with General Liability insurance, which serves to protect workers as well as property owners.

The insurance coverage would include injury to a worker on a job site and or accidental damage to your home or your personal property. 

We also carry Contractor Pollution Liability which covers mold remediation as well as other contaminates. SERVPRO of Canton follows federal laws and EPA regulations put in place to protect your family from exposure to lead paint and or asbestos.

Our service team is trained to handle your unique situation with the quality and compassion you deserve.

And we are ready when you need us. Call anytime: (330) 305-2650 anytime of the day, someone is waiting to discuss your unique situation and help you determine the best course of action.

  

The Top Causes of Winter Water Damage in Canton Ohio

1/2/2020 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with pipes in background. If you or someone you know is faced with water damage and needs restoration, the experts at SERVPRO can help.

Winter brings cold chilling temperatures in Canton Ohio and a host of water damage possibilities. Residential homes are vulnerable to water damage in the winter months. There are several factors that can cause even more water damage from the winter months.

Burst Pipes: Pipes are known for bursting in subfreezing temperatures. Pipes break due to the buildup of water pressure this is typically between a sink’s faucet and an ice blockage. The pipe might be sturdy, but sometimes it is just ready to rupture.

Pipes that are more prone to breakage are uninsulated ones,  located along the exterior walls in areas of a home, such as the attic, basement, garage, crawl space or underneath a kitchen sink.

Insulation is the number one protection against a burst pipe.

Prevent Gutter Blocks to Protect Your Roof: Gutters are important for directing running water away from your home. When gutters freeze, or are blocked by ice, it can cause deconstruction. That snow that is along the roof melts from heat that escapes from inside the home and trickles into the gutter; it freezes into what is known as an ice dam. Water can infiltrate underneath the roof shingles, lifting them up and causing roof damage. Roof leaks are the result. Once a leak happens, you may find unsightly water marks along your home’s ceilings or drips

If you or someone you know is faced with water damage and needs restoration, the experts at SERVPRO can help to mitigate the damage and restore your home!  Call (330) 305-2650

  

Every Business Should Have An Emergency Kit.

12/2/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with Emergency Kit and First Aid Kit in background Disaster can strike at anytime for a business. It is important to make sure you can be as prepared as possible in case of a disaster.

Disaster can strike at anytime for a business. It is important to make sure you can be as prepared as possible in case of a disaster. A business disaster kit should include emergency supplies for you and your employees to stay safe and well while waiting out the storm, and on ward.

So, what to put in an office emergency kit? Here is a list of items to consider when creating a business preparedness kit:

  • Bottled water: Have a minimum three-day supply of water for every member of your staff. You need to have enough clean water for both drinking and sanitary purposes.
  • Non-perishable food: You will want to have a three-day supply of non-perishable food per person. Keep in mind that the food should NOT require any cooking and should NOT provoke thirst. A few examples are canned meats, vegetables, and fruits; nuts, cereal bars and other food items that have a long shelf life.
  • First-aid kit and essential medications: Sterile gauze pads, bandages, antiseptic lotion, pain relievers, fever reducers, thermometer, scissors, tweezers, and sterile gloves are just some ideas to start with.
  • Sanitation and hygiene supplies: Hand soap, paper towels, moist towelettes, antibacterial wipes, toilet paper, garbage bags, disinfectants, and other hygiene supplies.
  • Emergency supplies: Fire extinguishers, flashlights, light-sticks, spare batteries, whistles, a portable hand crank radio, and a disposable camera.

If your business you know is faced with a disaster and in need of restoration, the experts at SERVPRO can help to mitigate the damage and restore your home!  Call (330) 305-2650

  

SERVPRO of Canton offers CE Classes

12/2/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with teacher in a classroom.    SERVPRO of Canton offers CE classes for insurance agents.

SERVPRO of Canton offers CE classes for insurance agents. The primary purpose of the CEU is to provide a permanent record of individuals who have completed one or more non-credit educational experiences. When CEUs are approved you can be sure the program you chose complies with internationally recognized standards.

1 CE hour is based on 60 minutes of instruction.

Continuing education is an all-encompassing term within a broad list of post-secondary learning activities and programs.

Recognized forms of post-secondary learning activities within the domain include: degree credit courses by non-degree career training, college remediation, workforce training, and formal personal enrichment courses (both on-campus and online).

Find out more on when our next events are by signing up here: https://ce4free.com/

If you or someone you know is faced with damage and needs restoration, the experts at SERVPRO can help to mitigate the damage and restore your home!  Call (330) 305-2650

  

How to Keep Warm and Prevent Space Heater Fires

12/1/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with Space heater in background During the winter months low temperatures happen in Canton Ohio.50% of home heating fires occur during the months of December, January, and February.

During the winter months low temperatures happen in Canton Ohio. We see many owners turning to alternative sources of heat. 50% of home heating fires occur during the months of December, January, and February. Space heaters are best used with caution.

Follow these safety tips to keep warm with space heaters during the winter months and prevent fire damage:

  • When purchasing a space heater, look for a safety certification: Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Auto shut off features are beneficial. This will help prevent overheating and hazards.
  • Maintain at least three feet of space around the space heater.
  • Remove flammable materials such as curtains, bedding, and clothing from being too close to the space heater.
  • Keep the heating unit away from water. Keep space heaters away from bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Never use an extension cord with space heaters. The amount of power drawn from these units is too much for a low amp extension cord to handle; by doing this it will cause the cord to overheat and spark a fire.
  • Plug only the space heater into the wall outlet.
  • Keep the space heater on the floor; make sure the floor is either wood or tile.
  • Make sure to turn off the heating unit when you leave a room.
  • Make sure you have working smoke detectors on every level of the building

If you or someone you know is faced with fire damage and needs restoration, the experts at SERVPRO can help to mitigate the damage and restore your home!  Call (330) 305-2650

  

What To Do If a Pipe Bursts In Canton Ohio

12/1/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with water pipe.   Taking preventative measures and noticing frozen pipes in time to thaw blockages are key to avoiding pipe bursts.

Taking preventative measures and noticing frozen pipes in time to thaw blockages are key to avoiding pipe bursts. Unfortunately, sometimes disasters occur despite our best efforts at prevention. In the unfortunate event that a frozen pipe does burst, you can mitigate the damage by following these important tips:

  • Turn off the main water supply immediately.
  • If the water is flowing near any electrical outlets or conductors of electricity, shut off the electricity.
  • Contact a plumber to repair the burst pipe.
  • Remove the water by using buckets, towels, and a wet/dry vacuum to remove water from the affected area.
  • Act quickly! The longer there are wet materials in your home, the greater chance there is for mold or warping.
  • If you feel that the water damage is too much for you to handle on your own or you would like assistance in the cleanup, contact the qualified water mitigation specialists at SERVPRO to assist you.

If you or someone you know is faced with a pipe burst and needs restoration, the experts at SERVPRO can help to mitigate the damage and restore your home!  Call (330) 305-2650

  

Water Damage Can Hurt Local Homes in Canton Ohio

11/4/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on dark image with water Frozen pipes can cause expensive, unnecessary damage. It is easier than you might think to protect your home.

Winter weather is on its way. As temperatures drop your water pipes and meter are susceptible to freezing. Frozen pipes can cause expensive, unnecessary damage. It is easier than you might think to protect your home.

Follow these simple steps now to help you prevent your water pipes and meters from freezing this winter:

  1. Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses: This allows water to drain from the pipe, which will cause it to NOT freeze. It only takes a single, hard, overnight freeze to burst.
  2. Insulate water pipes or faucets in unheated areas: If you have pipes in an unheated garage or a cold crawl space, wrap the water pipes before temperatures decline.
  3. Seal off access doors, air vents and cracks: Winter winds whistling through small openings can quickly freeze water pipes.
  4. Find your main shut-off valve and label it: Knowing how to access and turn off your water quickly can help you limit damage.
  5. Turn off the water if you are away for a long period of time: When you are away from home for several days, turn the water off. You then should drain the outside faucets or leave the thermostat set above 55 degrees. This helps to ensure your home stay warm and the pipes do not freeze.

If you are in need of restoration after this disaster give SERVPRO of Canton a call (330) 966-2377. We are open 24 hours 7 days a week.

Avoid a fire tragedy this holiday season in Canton

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on fire image with firefighters Tragic Christmas tree-related fires can be rare, but according to the National Fire Protection Association, they are much deadly than any other fires

Tragic Christmas tree-related fires can  be rare, but according to the National Fire Protection Association, they are much deadly than any other fires. Trees only catch fire when set alight by a blaze that already exists in the home.

Minimizing the chances of a Christmas tree-related fire is possible with the following tips:

  1. Pick a fresh-looking tree: Fresh trees aren’t as likely to catch fire, according to the American Christmas Tree Association. It’s essential to choose a tree with green needles. Brownish needles mean the tree is really dry, which makes it more flammable. Also, signs of a fresh tree include soft and flexible needles that don’t easily fall off.
  2. Keep the tree watered: Constant moisture is key, because a dried-out Christmas tree in a home is not good.  Experts recommend keeping a real tree watered at all times to ensure that it remains consistently moist.
  3. Keep tree away from heat: Ensure that the tree is at least 3 feet way from any heat source, such as fireplaces, radiators or heat vents, the NFPA recommends.
  4. Shake the tree: Give your real tree a good shake. If you find that a lot of needles fall to the ground, it’s a sign that the tree isn’t getting enough water. This is a red flag of danger for fires.
  5. Check the tree’s lights: Faulty lights can cause a tree to ignite. It’s essential to check the lights you use to decorate the tree.

Christmas trees are met to be fun and jolly, but don’t get caught up in a horrible disaster if you can prevent. These tips and more can help you so that you don’t end up with a fire around the holiday season.

If you are in need of restoration after this disaster give SERVPRO of Canton a call (330) 966-2377. We are open 24 hours 7 days a week.

How to Prepare for Winter Storms in Canton Ohio.

10/4/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with ice on trees. Did you know that 15 percent of home owners have experienced damages caused by water and freezing?

October has arrived and before we know it so will then Thanksgiving, then the holidays. Are you ready for the frigid temperatures, the heavy snowfall?

Did you know that 15 percent of home owners have experienced damages caused by water and freezing? The average cost of these claims is $17,000. The good news is that you can prepare for this before it happens:

  • Drain water from all systems and equipment not needed in winter months. This includes landscape sprinklers and air conditioning units.
  • Check for any damage to the house and repair damages to the roof. Make sure roof drains are clear and in good condition.
  • Clear rain gutters to ensure proper drainage and make sure downspouts are intact and draining in areas away from foot traffic.
  • Inspect the exterior of the building for gaps and seal appropriately.
  • Trim tree branches and landscape that might come in contact with the building.
  • Maintain a temperature of at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit in unoccupied facilities, attics and basements
  • Make arrangements for snow removal with a reputable company.
  • Make sure you have sand, ice melt and shovels on hand for winter maintenance that won't be covered by your snow removal contractor

Taking preventative actions now while the weather is still warm is incredibly important and could save you a lot of time and money. Begin checking off your maintenance needs while the weather still allows for it. If you are in need of business restoration after a disaster give SERVPRO of Canton a call (330) 966-2377. We are open 24 hours 7 days a week. 

Storm Damage Can Cause Disasters to Local Businesses

10/4/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image with trees and snow. Winter storms that involve snow, rain, or even ice can cause damage to your business.

Winter storms that involve snow, rain, or even ice can cause damage to your business.  It's prudent to take steps to prevent the dangerous effects of storm damage and to keep yourself and your employees safe. Winter storms can cause power outages that might last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous. You can learn more at ready.gov/prepare.

Here are some quick tips to help you and your team prepare for a winter storm:

  • Sign up for local alerts and warnings.
  • Create and test emergency communication plan(s).
  • Stock emergency supplies, and install battery-powered or battery backed-up carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.
  • Review your property insurance, and safeguard critical documents.
  • Identify a place nearby where you can safely warm up should you lose heat in your business.
  • Stay indoors and off the roads. If you must drive, keep emergency supplies in your car.
  • Close off rooms to consolidate and retain heat.
  • Dress in layers, and use blankets to stay warm.
  • Never use a generator, camp stove, charcoal grill, or gasoline or propane heater indoors, as these items can start accidental fires, cause electric shock, and/or cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Remove snow and ice from your tailpipe before starting your car, and check regularly if idling.
  • Clean all snow and ice from your car before driving.
  • Dress in warm clothing, stay dry, prevent prolonged exposure to cold and wind, and avoid overexertion clearing/shoveling snow.

If you are in need of restoration after this disaster give SERVPRO of Canton a call (330) 966-2377. We are open 24 hours 7 days a week.

Would Your Business in Canton Ohio Be Prepared for a Disaster?

10/4/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO  house logo on image of city in winter with snow. SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile for YOUR business will minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action.

The best way to reduce business interruption following a disaster is to PLAN for it NOW. Up to 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan

The statistics uncovered by industry research say as many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster. Of the businesses that survive, the majority had a preparedness plan in place.

SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile for YOUR business will minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. With a no cost assessment of your facility, the program's profile includes your emergency contacts, all shut off valves and their locations, priority areas of your facility and more. Here are some benefits of an Emergency Ready Profile

  • A no-cost assessment of your facility. This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster. This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
  • SERVPRO® is a sponsor of the American Red Cross Ready Rating™ program.
  • A free, web-based program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies. Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
  • Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.”

The SERVPRO Ready Plan provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

Your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. Call now and take the next step in protecting and growing your business.

If you are in need of restoration after this disaster give SERVPRO of Canton a call (330) 966-2377. We are open 24 hours 7 days a week.

And now with the SERVPRO Ready Plan Mobile App, help is at your fingertips. Call now and ask how to get started.

What If a Fire Strikes in Canton?

9/24/2019 (Permalink)

Orange SERVPRO house logo with on a backdrop of bright orange and dark orange fire flames Does your home or business have fire damage ? Call SERVPRO of Canton's 24/7 Emergency Service line at 330-966-2377.

A fire can happen at anytime. Being prepared will help reduce its devastating effects. The first few minutes following a fire are the most significant. If you do not act quickly, there can be consequences; the correct response to a fire can keep effects minimal.

When a fire occurs, notify the fire department, the police department, and the insurance company. Next, call a disaster restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Canton, to help prevent further damage.

By evaluating the materials and surfaces affected, a disaster restoration company will provide an understanding of the fire's chemistry and allow for a targeted, informed restoration effort. Even though each fire's chemistry differs, one of the most important things disaster restoration companies do immediately is wipe down the affected areas to avoid further damage caused by humidity and acidic residues. They will use air scrubbers, which are highly filtered air machines, so soot particles will not recontaminate air and will limit redistribution of contaminated particles while restoration work continues. They will pull all filters from the HVAC system, clean and recondition the system, and then install new filters.

A fire is usually a complex fire, the result of incomplete combustion and fueled by synthetic materials, including those found in carpets, furniture, plumbing, and other equipment. Complex fires cause the most damage and leave the most waste, but disaster restoration professionals can professionally handle the cleanup and restoration.

Does your home or business have fire damage ? Call SERVPRO of Canton's 24/7 Emergency Service line at 330-966-2377.

SERVPRO of Canton provides restoration, reconstruction and remodeling services

9/6/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Canton provides restoration, reconstruction and remodeling services to residential and commercial facilities.

SERVPRO of Canton provides restoration, reconstruction and remodeling services to residential and commercial facilities. Our services include water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, storm damage restoration, repairs, and commercial project services.

When it comes to water & fire damage restoration there are several reasons why you should call us. Here are our top 5 reasons to call SERVPRO of Canton (330) 305-2650 when you need restoration services.

#1 We’re Nearby

The SERVPRO of Canton is locally owned and grounded in the Stark County community.  We are centrally located and always ready to respond to 24/7 to provide emergency services.  

#2 We’re Faster to Any Size Disaster

SERVPRO of Canton provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – including all holidays.

#3 Advanced Training

 All of our technicians are highly trained in property damage restoration and they have access to our advanced equipment.

Training includes The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), which sets the standard for the cleaning and restoration industries.

#4 Advanced Equipment and Techniques

Besides the professional drying equipment and power extractors that help us move lots of water quickly we also the newest technology in the industry. By investing in the latest technology and equipment we can restore your home more quickly and minimize costs. We also use professional-strength cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing products to complete the job.

#5 Confidence

When the job is done our technician provides validation and documentation to your insurance carrier that your property is dry and the job is complete so you can feel confident, safe and comfortable. 

There are many more reasons why you should choose SERVPRO Canton including that we have been in business for over 30 years, we are professional, we help save money, we professionally answer all questions and concerns, we help manage insurance paperwork, and more.

If you experience any damage for your home or business call us at (330) 305-2650

   

SERVPRO of Canton uses structure materials with thermal imaging

8/30/2019 (Permalink)

Thermal imaging is just one piece of technology services at SERVPRO of Canton used to utilizes water damage in your home.

Structure materials are used with thermal imaging and standard camera.  Red, yellow orange indicated dry and blues and purples indicate elevated moisture.

Using thermal imagers to detect moisture intrusion is a relatively new practice in water damage mitigation.  Thermal imaging has be used to detect water intrusion in interior walls following roof leaks, foundation failure, chimney leaks, etc. It can find things that the naked eye doesn’t see. SERVPRO of Canton has this powerful equipment.

There are a number of areas where moisture can accumulate that are overlooked in typical inspections.  Using thermal imaging technology can help reduce the cost to repairs by minimizing damage to the property to find the core source of water intrusion. 

Thermal imaging is just one piece of technology services at SERVPRO of Canton used to utilizes water damage in your home.  Contact us today to schedule a site inspection (330) 305-2650.

   

Can You Dry Hardwood Floors After A Water Damage?

8/19/2019 (Permalink)

If you decide to attempt to dry and save hardwood floors in place SERVPRO of Canton has specialized drying equipment.

“Can I dry hardwood floor after water damage?” The amount of homes with hardwood floors is steadily increasing for many reasons, the most prominent being that hardwood floors not only tend to sell homes faster, but they also increase the price. The only downfall is that in the event of a flood or water overflow, hardwood floors cannot be easily taken out and dried like carpet can. 

Water damage can increase drastically if not taken care of properly, professionally, and in a timely manner. Here are some of the main considerations:

Response Time - Water damage can be greatly decreased depending on the response time to the problem. Time is of the essence when it comes to hardwood floor water damage – the moisture, temperature, and dust layer beneath a wet wood floor can provide an ideal environment for mold and many other problems.

Type of Wood Flooring - Before you can determine how to properly dry hardwood floor, you need to determine what type of wood flooring you have.

Amount Of Moisture - A flooded hardwood floor can have up to 40% moisture content and can retain well above the normal amount of moisture for weeks if left to dry on their own. Nails may begin to lift, glue may release causing separation between floor pieces, and tongue and groove floors often cup or buckle when moisture has been absorbed.

If you decide to attempt to dry and save hardwood floors in place SERVPRO of Canton has specialized drying equipment that forces airflow beneath the surface of the floor, allowing moisture to be released.

A restoration specialist can inspect the hardwood floor damage to determine the right plan of action for your home, just give us a call (330) 305-2650

Tips to Help Prevent Summer Claims of Canton. 

8/15/2019 (Permalink)

Accidents and emergencies do happen, though these might help prevent damage on your home. If you find yourself in that situation, count on SERVPRO’s

Farmers Insurance states that more than 50% of flood claims get filed during the summer between June and August. Travel increases during summertime for families due to vacations and breaks, the weather sometimes causes unplanned and unexpected troubles.

Add a little preparation and precaution in your household to allow you to take on some of the disasters summer can bring. 

  • Caution Around Water on Roadways: Although you may FEEL safe driving through water, bear in mind merely six inches of water can reach the bottom of most cars. Flood waters can be dangerous due to depth, flow, and also the unseen debris and possible downed power lines. Losing control of putting yourself in harm’s way out of convenience could be detrimental.
  • If in Doubt, Please Re-Route: Be wary of your surroundings and common driving routes. If you travel through underpasses, drainage canals, or similar spots, flash flooding can occur and you should plan alternative routes in case of an emergency.
  • Store Valuables Safely: Anything of value such as documents, photos, electronics, or the like need placed on shelves or high enough off the ground should water penetrate your home. Water wreaks havoc enough as is without taking valuable possessions down with any soaking. More irreplaceable items may be better kept in a safety deposit box, safe, or other location.

Accidents and emergencies do happen, though these might help prevent damage on your home. If you find yourself in that situation, count on SERVPRO’s of Canton extremely well-trained professionals to give you the support you need 24 hours a day, 7 days per week including weekends and holidays.

Local SERVPRO of Canton Receives Outstanding Performance Award

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Canton received the CHAIRMAN'S Gold award at SERVPRO’s Annual Convention. We are happy to be with a great company!

SERVPRO of Canton received the CHAIRMAN'S Gold award at SERVPRO’s recent 50th Annual Convention. The event, themed “Making History,” was held from June 24-28 at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, California. 

“It is always gratifying to earn a distinction for our business,” said Bruce Johnson, SERVPRO of Northern Summit County Owner, “but it feels especially good this year. We are proud to be a member of the SERVPRO franchise family as the company celebrates 50 years of franchising success. SERVPRO’s ongoing commitment to providing innovative tools, ongoing training, and an ever-evolving business framework gives entrepreneurs like us a roadmap for success. We are proud to be part of SERVPRO’s team of dedicated disaster remediation professionals, and to know that we have both the tools and the knowledge to serve home and business owners in our community should the need arise.”

The company’s 50th Annual Convention was a celebration of the company’s history and a showcase of small business best practices and cutting-edge restoration and remediation technology. The event featured a variety of workshops and group sessions ranging across 37 different topics. Attendees gained knowledge and hands-on experience to help them build and grow their businesses and strengthen ties with both residents and businesses in their local communities. Highlights of the convention included a keynote address by motivational speaker Jon Gordon and an awards ceremony recognizing the achievements of top-performing franchisees.

“SERVPRO has come a long way since Ted and Doris Isaacson started the company as a painting business in Sacramento in 1967,” said Rick Isaacson, chief executive officer of SERVPRO. “In 1969, they used their cleanup and restoration background to take their new company in a different direction and never looked back. SERVPRO’s professional services network now includes more than 1,700 individually owned and operated franchises across the U.S. and Canada. Our annual convention brings this diverse group of entrepreneurs together to learn from industry experts and gives us an opportunity to recognize our top-performing franchises. We are incredibly proud of each of these dedicated professionals and the world-class service they provide to their customers and their communities.”

SERVPRO of Canton received the CHAIRMAN'S Gold award at SERVPRO’s Annual Convention. We are happy to be with a great company! 

 Be Prepared With Your Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) in Canton

7/26/2019 (Permalink)

With SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action at no cost.

An Emergency Readiness Plan or Emergency Ready Profile is a method of careful, well-practiced strategy of planning for emergencies before they happen to prevent panic during a catastrophe. Having this tool in place will allow you or any employee to effectively handle whatever arises.

With SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action at no cost.

What should your ERP contain? Besides the essential information such as emergency and primary contacts, gas and water shut-off areas, and priority areas and procedures, the Department of Homeland Security refers to your ERP as “Protective Actions for Life Safety” which includes:

  • Fire Drills -- Rehearsing the action to take during a fire.
  • Shelter -- Sheltering staff during a natural disaster.
  • Shelter in Place -- Sheltering staff during a man-made emergency.
  • Lockdown -- Eluding and protecting against an active shooter

With over 40 years of experience, you will have peace of mind using SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile. Plus, our mobile app Ready Plan allows for instant share and quick accessibility for assistance. Rest assured, your business is in good hands when you trust SERVPRO and our highly, well-trained professionals.

SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action.

Summer Home Maintenance Tips Canton Ohio 

7/21/2019 (Permalink)

With summer being here there are a few things you should do before you enjoy those sunny days. Homeowners should cross a few items off their list.

With summer being here there are a few things you should do before you enjoy those sunny days. Homeowners should cross a few items off their list to ensure winter left no surprises. 

Clean: Eavestroughs, downspouts, gutters, furnace filters, dryer vents, lint traps, air conditioners, and siding could all use a little attention. Clear out any debris or build-up to prevent any damage, backing up, or safety issues. Keeping everything tidy will help reduce risk of disasters or costly fixes later.

Inspect: Chimneys, roofs, decks, patios, swing sets and other equipment, toilets and pipes, doors and windows, and electrical outlets and cords need a good once-over to check for any broken pieces or protruding parts. Finding damage and taking care of them right away will keep costs to a minimum. 

Examine: The exterior of your home, landscaping, and exterior caulking should be looked over thoroughly to find any evidence of any deterioration or marring that may need touched up and repaired. You may see signs of rodents or wildlife that need addressed.

SERVPRO of Canton professionals are available 24/7 including holidays and weekends to assist you and get your home back to normal. You will be able to rest easy and enjoy the summer sun accordingly.

Top Fire Safety Tips for SERVPRO of Canton

7/7/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Canton is here to help you 24-7, 365 days, including holidays and weekends.

Predictions and statements from The National Interagency Fire Center have been confusing as of late. Spring 2019 wildfire activity should be normal, they also stated that late summer wildfire activity may be especially severe in some areas. 

The Forest Service claims that each year, the season for wildfires becomes longer and hotter. 

Do Your Due Diligence

Cooking remains top of the list for residential fires. Continue to be aware of your surroundings, and use caution when you prepare meals. Accidents happen, but safety measures can help prevent some accidents.

Another area on the rise is rental property structural fires. Vacation rentals using places like Airbnb are not held to the same standards as hotels and the like. Look for these safety precautions in the places you visit and stay as a traveler. And, renal owners, equipping your facility with fire-prevention tools and information is protection for both you and your guests that may be well-worth the investment.

Here are the top fire safety tips for you to follow:

  1. Keep the stovetop clear of anything that could catch fire (i.e. towels or curtains)

  2. Electrical outlets should remain free of adapters and multiple cords.

  3. Pathways around the home need to be clear to avoid tripping (including holiday decorations).

  4. A designated outdoor smoking area (when allowed) should be placed far enough away from the building with a specific, safe discard bin for butts (i.e. a deep, sturdy ashtray).

  5. Teach children 9-1-1 or local emergency number, how, and when to call from cell phones or outside telephones.

  6. Create a designated family meet-up place a safe distance from the home in case of an emergency.

  7. Doors and windows leading outside should have the ability to open.

  8. Identify escape routes from each room in the house, and routinely go through them, in the event of an emergency.

  9. Memorize the address of your home and any vacation rental you visit (each member of the family).

  10. Ensure vacation rental has printed and visible floor plan of property with escape routes, exits, and emergency contact information.

  11. Place carbon monoxide alarms in various locations throughout the home as required by law, codes, or standards such as every level of the home and outside each bedroom.

  12. Portable fire extinguishers should be easily found and reached in the home.

  13. Install smoke alarms on every level, in rooms, and outside bedrooms (look into requirements) and check them regularly; interconnecting them works best so when one sounds, they all sound.

Accidents DO happen and we know that you will have emergency services. SERVPRO of Canton is here to help you 24-7, 365 days, including holidays and weekends. Our well-trained professionals are here to make it “Like it never even happened.” 

Ways You Can Prevent Water Damage in Canton Ohio

7/7/2019 (Permalink)

If you need help with any water damage don’t hesitate to call our extremely well-trained professionals at SERVPRO of Canton.

Maintaining a home can seem tedious and tiresome. Maintenance is one of the best ways to prevent water damage. It is a way to avoid a more costly outcome as water damage. 

Here’s a list to add for maintenance for a start:

  1. Proper Drainage: This step is vital. Poor drainage can lead to many issues such as cracks in your foundation, uneven settling, and allowing ways for water to seep into your home. Gutters and downspouts are included in this preventative measure. Clean them regularly to keep out leaves and other debris. Gutter guards can help if your gutters tend to clog easily and often.
  2. Inspections: The following areas should be inspected well and often; refrigerator, water heater, air conditioning unit, attic, hoses, faucets, sinks, showers, tubs, and toilets. All of these pieces may develop leaks or damage that needs to be taken care of before disaster strikes. Stay ahead of those by checking them to catch any danger before it starts or spreads.
  3. Installations: Some tools to install that may be beneficial are an emergency pressure release valve in plumbing system, water leak detection devices or alarms, a water flow monitoring system, and floor or drain pans. The latter helps with slow leaks while the others work as an extra set of eyes on your home in case of excess pressure, water flowing where it shouldn’t, and any leaks you may not have detected yet.
  4. Test, Check, and Fix: By testing your sump pump and checking your pipes, you will be on top of any leaks, cracks, or repairs that are necessary. If you get caught in a storm with your sump pump out of commission, you will be in a world of trouble. Fixing any issues right away avoids mold, mildew, dry rot, or any detrimental water damage problems.

You can take these actions to prevent water damage from occurring. If you need help with any water damage don’t hesitate to call our extremely well-trained professionals at SERVPRO of Canton. We are available for assistance 24 hours per day, 7 days a week including holidays and weekends. 

Top Three Tips for Fire Safety in Canton, Ohio

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

For any fire damage repair or restoration needs, call SERVPRO of Canton at (330) 305-2650.

Fires escalate quickly and you do not have time to think. Having an escape route practiced (committing it to muscle memory) and working smoke alarms can be literal life savers. What else can you do for fire safety in your home?

Here are our top three tips for fire safety that can keep you and your loved ones as protected as possible.

  1. Every level of your home should have a smoke alarm installed. Place them inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas, including the basement, in living rooms and/or near stairways for optimal use.

  2. Test and maintain smoke alarms regularly. Each month, you should check that they are in proper working condition. If they need new batteries, change them right away. Smoke detectors are critical components to alerting you in time to get out before a fire spreads too much.

  3. Twice a year, you should practice your fire escape plan with your family. Feel free to talk and plan the route together more than twice a year. However, at least two times every year will ensure it stays fresh in your mind if ever you should need to implement the steps.

Remember to never go back inside for anything at all. If you experience a fire in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT, and CALL FOR HELP.

For any fire damage repair or restoration needs, call SERVPRO of Canton at (330) 305-2650

Canton Ohio to Prepare for Peak Hurricane Season

6/13/2019 (Permalink)

A man of authority standing in front of a SERVPRO Semi Truck wearing a hard hat ready to begin emergency services. SERVPRO of Canton will get your emergency taken care of in a timely and professional manner.

How does hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean affect Stark County? Peak hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean is from mid-August to late October. However hurricanes can occur anytime in the hurricane season: June to the end of November.  It has been recorded that hurricanes or tropical storms have brought significant rainfall to our Ohio Valley.  Since 1876 remnants of 58 recorded storms have produce rainfall our area. During Hurricane Ike in 2008 Ohio sustained over $1.255 billion in insured losses.  These storm remnants can produce heavy rainfall, flooding, widespread windstorms with gusts to hurricane-force, and power outages.

Prepare your home or business for hurricane season:

  1. Complete a roof inspection: your roof is the first line of defense during heavy storms.  Shore up any loose shingles and make sure that gutters are free of debris to allow water to flow smoothly.
  2. Trim or remove damaged trees and limbs surrounding your home.
  3. Lock and secure windows, doors and other access points into your property, out buildings or sheds.
  4. Secure loose items on your property that could be picked up by strong winds and transformed into a projectile (such as trampolines, lawn furniture, grills, trash cans, etc.)
  5. Move your vehicles into shelters or garages, if possible, and avoid low lying areas that can flood and parking near trees.
  6. Consider purchasing a portable generator for use during power outages.
  7. Flashlights and extra batteries would also be useful.

These emergency situations call for immediate action. A prompt response helps to reduce the damage and the costs for mitigation and restoration. SERVPRO of Canton provides specialized water damage mitigation, storm clean up, and restoration services to bring your property back to normal with minimal downtime.  

SERVPRO of Canton has the expertise and resources to handle any size disaster and can respond immediately to storm and flooding conditions.

As always, SERVPRO of Canton is here to assist following any disaster. We can help restore your property back to pre-storm condition. Give us a call at 330-330-966-2377

About SERVPRO of Canton

6/11/2019 (Permalink)

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)

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)

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 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)

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. 

Advanced Planning Ensures Experienced Partner Before Disaster Strikes

4/2/2019 (Permalink)

Thousands of commercial and industrial buildings each year are damaged by unforeseen disaster, ranging from fire or smoke and soot to water that infiltrates walls, floors, and equipment through events such as a burst water pipe, seepage, fire sprinkler flooding or leaks from a rainstorm. 

 



Thousands of commercial and industrial buildings each year are damaged by unforeseen disaster, ranging from fire or smoke and soot to water that infiltrates walls, floors, and equipment through events such as a burst water pipe, seepage, fire sprinkler flooding or leaks from a rainstorm. 

            Wherever such an event occurs, the results can be operationally and financially disastrous. Potential risks include destruction of interior structural materials, equipment and files; disruption of operations; further damage from humidity; and, if water is not abated quickly, microbial damage -- the growth of mold, which is a potential health hazard. 

            When damage occurs, it is essential to take immediate action to stabilize the loss and mitigate damage. Doing so will maximize recovery of all contents such as inventory, machinery, furniture, carpeting, electronic media, documents and files, will minimize replacement costs, preserve good indoor air quality, and control mold risks.   

Advance Planning

The best “insurance” in a recovery situation is to plan in advance of an occurrence by creating a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).  The DRP defines and prioritizes the recovery and restoration of areas within a facility and details immediate next steps. It also designates the professional disaster restoration services provider to be summoned immediately when an incident occurs. 

Pre-selecting a full service restoration provider that provides priority emergency services assures that building owners and managers will have a “partner” in the reclamation process. There will be no learning curve during an emergency because the firm already will be familiar with the structure and the plan.  It then can move rapidly to begin recovery work within the first 24 hours – a critical parameter to minimize the effects of water.  

Select a restoration provider that offers guaranteed priority emergency services. In the event of a fire, weather related or other water-damage disaster to a building or facility, owners or managers of properties registered in these programs will receive immediate priority for emergency drying and restoration services. 

Expectations

            Following is a list of services you should expect of the restoration company you contract:

  • Consulting. The project scope should be provided at the front end. The firm quantifies the damage, determines what can be saved, recommends the equipment and process and expected results.
  • Project Management. The company has the ability to quickly assemble a cohesive work team, provide rapid emergency response time, provide a turnkey operation for recovery and restoration and guaranteed results.
  • Stabilization: The provider takes the necessary steps to stabilize the environment and assists with relocation efforts to an unaffected area or off-site, if necessary.
  • Dehumidification and Drying. Through removal of standing water and excess moisture, the firm has the ability to reduce material loss, limit indoor air quality problems and speed return to occupancy and operation of the affected business.
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting. By cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting interior surfaces, the provider eliminates contamination from molds, bacteria, mildew and potential biological hazards.
  • Odor Control: Thermo fog, wet spray, ozone or dry vapor methods should be properly employed to control odor.
  • Electronic Equipment Restoration. In many cases, it is possible to clean and restore hi-tech components following exposure to fire or water damage.
  • Preservation of Large-Scale Production Equipment. Contamination removal preserves production-operating equipment.
  • Document and Media Restoration. Cleaning, sanitizing, deodorizing and drying restores paper records and electronic and digital media storage. This process is most effective if the firm dry cleans by vacuum and has refrigerated transport storage capabilities to minimize deterioration of materials.
  • HVAC and Mechanical Systems Cleaning. Cleaning and deodorizing the supply and return duct system as well as the metal housing that encloses coils, heat exchangers and filter banks assures that clean air again passes through the system into the structure.
  • Smoke and Water Decontamination. Residue from damage sources such as fire, flood and storms is removed.
  • Corrosion Control. Metal surfaces are cleaned and treated to prevent further damage from corrosion.
  • Controlled Demolition and Disposal. Surfaces that will not respond to restoration efforts in a cost-effective way are removed to expose hidden cavities and to expedite the recovery process or to remove sources of odor.  

    Selecting the Right Firm

        It is important to have properly trained cleaning and restoration technicians overseeing your recovery project. A list of providers can be obtained from organizations like the Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB). You also may want to do the obvious: review Web sites; read the case histories on the site; contact company representatives. 


      While it may sound as a cliché, the assessment process begins with reviewing experience, reputation and references.  Plan to do more in-depth research before making a commitment.  

Ask Annissa: How Do I Handle Sensitive Documents Damaged in a Fire Loss?

4/2/2019 (Permalink)

Personal papers like bills, canceled checks, credit card statements and everyday magazines have no value in the eyes of the insurance company and they often don’t want to pay for them to be cleaned or deodorized. However, they often have value to the homeowner.

The biggest problem with this is that paper can hold a lot of odor and may re-contaminate the house once everything is unpacked. So first off, we check with the homeowner and see if the paperwork is something that they can live without. Or is it really important and needs to be kept? Once you explain that the papers can hold a lot of odor and may cause recontamination of the house and belongings, this will sometimes make the homeowner more aggressive about putting them in the round file.

If the paperwork cannot be parted with and must go on the “keep it list,” then we dust them off and organize them into a large 11x14 inch spec bag. This is a heavy duty plastic bag that keeps the odor and contamination contained until the homeowner can photo copy or reprint the documents they want to keep. The cost to the insurance company to handle them this way is really no more than their cost would be to throw them away, so this keeps your adjuster and homeowner happy.

This also allows the homeowner to go through the papers at their convenience as they are dealing with a lot of pressing decisions in the first few days after a fire. Having one less pressing thing to have to handle right away can be a huge relief for them.

Mold Remediation: Dangers in the Ducts

4/1/2019 (Permalink)

Mold remediation is a serious subject, covered at large by professionals and institutions that specialize on the subject matter. While I'm not a mold expert, I do know air duct cleaning and how important it is to complete an HVAC Duct Cleaning after any mold, mildew, or fire restoration. The HVAC system of a building, residential or commercial, is designed to convey the dirty undesirable air from the living space and replace it with clean, heated or cooled, conditioned air that is pleasant to breathe and comfortable to building occupants. Depending on the building type and room use, many building codes call for the air in a room to be exchanged five to 15 times per hour. For HVAC that are clean and have adequate filtration, every exchange of air generally means the indoor air quality is improving. However, when mold, mildew, soot, allergens, and other contaminants are present, in the HVAC system, the IAQ is reduced with every air exchange. Proper source removal HVAC air duct cleaning, following any restoration project, will reduce the contaminants within the HVAC system and in some cases completely remove the chances of recontamination. It sometimes is overlooked that while a building itself is being remediated, the HVAC system is still in operation and therefore moving mold spores, smoke particles, and other contaminants throughout the return and supply air duct, as well as other HVAC system components. Because the HVAC system is redistributing the air throughout the building, a small about of dirty/contaminated air has the potential to recreate the need for an entire restoration project in as little as a few days.   Source removal, the practice of cleaning by removing contaminants the HVAC system, is the method prescribed within the NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Assocaiton) Standard, ACR-2013. Source removal can be achieved in a variety of ways, but is most often achieved by using a negative air vacuum/collector, rotating duct brushes, and compressed air whips/skippers to loosen debris from the duct walls allowing the airflow from the vacuum/collector to evacuate it from the HVAC system. The methods for a proper professional HVAC Air Duct Cleaning have been continually developed and refined for 30 years by working professionals engaged with NADCA and other IAQ associations.

After the Disaster: Providing Restoration Solutions, Not Suggestions

4/1/2019 (Permalink)

Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Flooding. Frozen pipes. Storms.

All of these will occur during the course of a year. All will cause major damage to dwellings and buildings. What is one of the major sources of damage- WATER. Water damage is caused by a variety of things including plumbing leaks, burst pipes and broken hoses, moisture ingress within a structure, clogged toilets, foundation cracks and leaking roofs. While the symptoms will be addressed by plumbers, roofers, foundation specialists and other tradesmen and tradeswomen, clean-up and remediation specialists have some of the toughest and potentially dangerous jobs to tackle to ensure a safe and functional dwelling or building. Before a building is considered safe, someone must disinfect affected areas, remove damaged or mold/mildew- contaminated items, properly dispose of the water-damaged items and then review and inspect areas to ensure that they’re safe.

So, what can we recommend to residents and occupants of the buildings that have significant (or even small levels of) water damage?

Stop the flow of water.
Turn off the power.
Assess the conditions. Is it safe to stay in the building?
Look for electrical hazards and “slip and fall” areas. Stay away from compromised areas.
Get away if possible, but if you must stay, then only do activities that are absolutely necessary.
Try not to lift wet materials. Water will add significant weight to any material that absorbs.
What can you recommend an owner do after flooding?

Gather items from floors and low lying areas.
Remove any excess water by mopping or blotting up the water with towels or absorbent material.
Remove wet rugs and carpeting that can easily be removed.
Remove any wet upholstery, cushions, pillows, blankets and dry them out
Wipe excess water from furniture, cabinets, accessories
Turn AC ON for maximum drying during the summer
What should you recommend an owner NOT do after flooding?

Don’t use household appliances, televisions or any other electronic devices
Don’t leave wet fabrics in place. Hang luxury items such as leather goods, furs and dresses.
Do not use a vacuum cleaner (unless it’s a wet-dry vac) to remove moist or water from a room.
Don’t leave colored items on a wet floor.
Don’t turn on ceiling fans or lights if the ceiling is wet.
Stay out of rooms where the ceiling is sagging.
After a homeowner or building occupant has taken the requisite steps to ensure his/her safety, then its time for the professional to come in and do their work. Professionals will use the following steps to assess and restore property following water damage:

Initial contact and pre-inspection survey
Inspection and water damage assessment
Water removal and extraction
Drying and dehumidification
Cleaning and sanitizing
Restoration
A fast response is crucial to prevent long term damage, sick-building syndrome and irreversible damage. While professionals are responsible and knowledgeable, sometimes little things that might be missed become critical to the successful remediation/restoration after water damage or flooding.

Mold and Mildew are the ENEMIES. Protect yourself and building inhabitants by using the proper protective gear including body suits, gloves and masks or respirators. Contain the mold/mildew before trying to disinfect. Wrap your booties, pants and gloves with tape to ensure a good and proper seal of your body suit.
Use environmentally-friendly antimicrobial and antibacterial treatments when you can. These will leave less of an impact to the inhabitants once the job is complete.
Properly dispose of refuse. Bag the molded, damaged and soiled items in a thick plastic bag and twist the opening to form a goose-neck then seal the opening tightly with duct tape to ensure that the contents are secure and will not escape during transport to the landfill, preventing further contamination.
Seal off the contaminated environment from the area that is not contaminated or is being used by the building inhabitants. Hang poly-sheeting, build airflow containment units and properly seal them off with strong polyethylene or cloth duct tape suitable for use in damp, moist environments. Innovative containment systems with pre-inserted zippers and doors are now available for ease of use.
Customers are now used to fast, reliable and almost instantaneous service. The e-commerce model used to obtain goods is now being applied to service as well. By offering easy “one-stop” access to water damage cleanup; easy contact, assessment, water removal, drying, cleaning, sanitizing and restoration; you will enhance your relationship with your customers and attract them to your business. Remember these tips when communicating potential water leakage and flooding issues with your customers and you will become their one-stop source providing solutions, not suggestions.

Backup or Overflow?

2/26/2019 (Permalink)

What is the difference between a water backup and an overflow?  Overflow is caused by a blockage in the plumbing system.  Water causing damage never enters the sewer system and in some cases, water damage can be considered an overflow if blockage is in the lateral pipe.  It all depends on insurance policy language.  A backup is a situation where water or sewage enters through drains or sewers or overflows from a sump pump, sump pump well or any other system designed to remove subsurface water which is drained from a foundation area.  A water backup is excluded in most Homeowners policies but coverage can be added with an endorsement.  Coverage is usually limited to a specified amount but a few insurance companies offer more extensive options.  Water backup coverage is critical for not only homeowners but condo owners, renters and commercial insureds as well. 

Keep in mind that any property can experience a backup and the damage can be expensive especially if the area is finished.  There are four main areas to consider when deciding how much coverage you need including mitigation or drying out the area, structure reconstruction, contents damage and mechanicals such as furnace and water heater.  Be sure to discuss the right coverage option with your insurance agent so you are well protected in the event of a backup event.    

Giving Back

2/26/2019 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO we feel that it is important to give back to the community so we’ve partnered with our local insurance agents to support local domestic violence shelters.  Every 9 seconds in the U.S. a women is assaulted or beaten.  Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women- more than car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.  92% of women surveyed list reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.  In December of 2018 women in our industry came together to provide Christmas gifts to over 140 women in local shelters.  The outpouring of support was staggering!  We plan to continue the supporting domestic violence shelters by providing volunteer opportunities and continued donations.  In May we plan to give jewelry and scarves to the shelters so the children can give them a moms a Mother’s Day gift.  To all the generous women who have helped provide gifts for our local domestic violence shelters a special Thank You for your kindness and caring.  We will continue to keep everyone updated on this cause which is very near and dear to all our hearts.  Thank you!

Ordinance or Law Coverage- Every Building Should Have Coverage

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

Ordinance or Law Coverage- Every Building Should Have Coverage

Ordinance Or Law Coverage allows for payment of losses arising out of the enforcement of building laws or ordinances, including those that may require the demolition of damaged structures that increase the cost of repairing or rebuilding the damaged property.  According to Adjusters International Disaster Recovery Consulting, compliance with ordinances and laws after a loss can add 50% or more to the cost of the claim. 

Building codes or ordinances set minimum standards that must be met when structures are built or reconstructed. Their purpose is to protect the health and safety of building occupants. Building codes may be enacted and enforced by state and/or local governments.  Building codes are primarily directed at new construction. Yet, they may also apply when existing structures are renovated, altered, reconstructed or used in a different way. 

Some codes may require a building that is only partially damaged to be demolished and reconstructed rather than repaired. A building may require demolition and reconstruction if the damaged portion is worth 50% or more of the building's value. Codes can affect the size, design, height, usage and location of a structure. They may also determine the building materials that may be used.

Building codes change frequently. Codes that existed when a structure was built may be outdated when a loss occurs. To meet current codes, a damaged building undergoing repair may require expensive materials. Some structures may need to be reconfigured. Thus, building codes can significantly increase the cost of the repairs or renovations.

Homeowners policies often include a standard amount of ordinance or law coverage which is 10% of the dwelling coverage or coverage A.  This may be enough for newer or updated homes but careful review of possible building code issues should be made in order to determine if more coverage makes sense.  In commercial insurance, ordinance or law coverage is not typically included and can be added with an endorsement.  It is important to take a comprehensive look at the building and potential ordinance or law costs that may be incurred in order to determine how much coverage should be added. 

Consult your insurance agent for more information so you won’t get burned if you have a disaster.

Storms and Little Warning

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

Storms occur with little warning and can be especially devastating, so you’ll need the company that you can trust to rise to the occasion. Regardless of the type of storm, SERVPRO of Canton can handle any size disaster. 

 When severe weather breaks, storm water builds up on streets, near lakes, rivers, and local storm control channels.  Should storm water begin to accumulate around your house, here are a few easy steps that may help protect your home:

  • Make sure all windows are closed tightly – especially check windows in your basement area
  • Move valuables to higher ground
  • Continuously monitor the sump pump (if you have one) to verify that it is operating properly
  • Make sure to secure any outside furniture or decorations that can become airborne with high winds
  • Cover basement window wells to help divert water from pooling inside the well
  • Make sure to pick items off the floor that may get damaged from water exposure
  • Keep your shoes, car keys, and family emergency kit near the door

Safety should always be your main focus when faced with storm water.

  • Do not walk through moving water, as even 6’ of water is enough force to knock you off your feet
  • Stay away for flood waters as it is contaminated and unhealthy and may pose health hazards
  • People or vehicles in flooded areas can hamper Emergency Responders ability for quick response

Storm and flood water damage can be very destructive. Immediate action is needed, and you need the company with storm damage experience. SERVPRO of Canton has the expertise and the resources to handle any size disaster. If you need assistance with storm or flooding call 1-800-648-1212.

Sump Pumps

1/30/2019 (Permalink)

Looking at the weather predictions for the week, today is a great day to check your sump pump to verify it is working properly.

When to check your sump pump? How To Test Your Sump Pump?

When to replace it?

When to check it? Sump pumps remove water pressure from homes during times of excessive snowmelt or rainfall. To ensure that your sump pump will work properly when it’s needed, you should check it periodically. It is a habit in my house to check it before, and sometimes during, an extreme weather event.

When to replace it? Did you know that generally sump pump manufacturer warranty their sump pumps for 1 year, 3 year or 5 years. When is the last time you replaced your sump pump? Depending on how much your sump pump runs – you should consider these warranties a good indicator of replacement time. Just because it is still running, doesn’t mean it is functioning at full capacity.

How to test your sump pump? The following tips will help prevent sump pump malfunction:

  1. Debris in the Basin: Sometimes debris such as children’s toys and other household objects may fall into the basin and interrupt the float mechanism which can cause it to malfunction. The float mechanism can also fail naturally over time. To test this mechanism, fill up the basin with water to make sure the sump pump starts like it should.
  2. Check Valve: The check valve prevents water from going back into the sump pump in the event of a failure. Make sure to check this valve because it is not always installed properly; the arrow should be pointing away from the sump pump.
  3. Weep Hole: Sometimes sump pumps may have a weep hole between the pump and the check valve. You can clean the weep hole with a tiny object such as a toothpick, just be careful not to break anything off in the hole.
  4. Clean the Impeller: The impeller is a small filter that may become clogged and when this happens it can cause the sump pump to suddenly stop running or make a whining noise. Cleaning or replacing the impeller can get the sump pump to function properly again.
  5. Back Up Power Source: Sump pumps are only useful when plugged into a power source and if the power goes out during a thunderstorm, the sump pump will stop working. Installing a backup power source for the sump pump is the best way to prevent this from happening in the middle of a thunderstorm when the sump pump is needed the most.

NEVER...Walk Away From Your Stove!

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Sporting Events and Television!

It happens, especially during sporting events…… you can hear the roar of excitement from the other room, and you know you are missing the big play of the game. So you leave the stove, just for a quick peek. Only it’s just never as quick as you anticipate. Meanwhile back in the kitchen….grease fire has erupted. It can happen so quickly, the cooking oil gets over heated and out of control.

Good Rule: never leave the stove or turn your back for any period of time.

Think fast!

1) Evaluate – call 911 if it is out of control while gathering family and get to safety

2) Put a metal lid on it

3) Turn off the heat

4) Dump baking soda

5) Chemical fire extinguisher is best as a last resort or if the above options are not available

6) Stop. Let the area sit, cool down, before you address the damage.

NO, NO, NO

1) Do not throw water

2) Do not use a hand towel

We hope you never need to remember these tips. But your SERVPRO Team is here to help with the clean up should disaster strike. The photos are from a kitchen grease fire; just a second of “unattended”. The good news is the final repairs are beautiful; "Like it never even happened." No family members, or pets were injured in the event. Just frayed nerves and a bit of quilt. (Accidents happen and we should learn from them and move forward.)

Quick thinking allowed the structure damage to be contained to the kitchen. However soot and smoke damage occurred throughout the residence.

We are here to help 800-648-1212

Timing is Everything

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage requires a quick response by stopping the source of water intrusion as soon as possible.  Knowing where your water shut off value is located in your residence, and reviewing the location with your immediate family and service professionals (housekeeper, babysitter, dog walker, house sitter, ect) is critical.  Prompt response to stopping the water intrusion and clean up and dry out can greatly reduce overall restoration costs.  Before water mitigation can begin, the source of the water intrusion will need to be addressed.

Initial steps to assess the damage and evaluate the level of contamination will help to formulate an action plan and determine if professional assistance is needed to help restore your home.

Professional water mitigation should be highly considered when:

  • Water originated from a contaminated source: dishwasher, water bed, drain line, toilet, washing machine, flood water, etc.  When addressing contaminated materials protecting the home from cross contamination, mold and securing the environment for the occupants becomes a primary focus for the emergency services.
  • Porous materials affected by water: hardwood flooring, cabinetry, carpet and padding, drywall, etc.  An immediate response to with water extraction and application of a biocide can help reduce the amount of structural material damage and reduce the amount of time the home or affected area is out of use.
  • Water traveled from one floor to the floor or floors(s) below.  It’s not the obvious water that causes damage, you can easily mop up that.  When water and bacteria is trapped between layers of structural materials, this “hidden moisture” can cause long term damage and possible mold growth.

SERVPRO’s professional mitigation team is IICRC Certified, trained, and expertise knowledge to help you evaluate the extent of damage, and create an action plan for cost effective dry out of the affected area(s). 

Remember, quick response time can reduce the overall mitigation costs and loss of use.  Contact our office to schedule a site inspection and scope of damages for your home today.

How to keep clients’ properties dry in all seasons

11/3/2018 (Permalink)

With water around every corner, clients’ properties are more vulnerable to water damage than many would imagine. In fact, water is the number one property-related homeowners claim, according to Chubb’s claims data, and the Insurance Information Institute found that one in 50 homeowners will experience a related claim each year. When they do, it will cost close to $10,000 per leak.

Despite being both a common and costly risk, a recent Chubb survey of homeowners examining their approach to water damage prevention shows that it’s a threat clients largely overlook. Luckily, agents and brokers can help clients prevent water from damaging their homes, no matter where it comes from. It starts by helping clients understand the seasonal exposures they face.

Ensuring a fun, carefree vacation

Most clients take advantage of the summer to travel with family and friends. Yet too many vacations are ruined as a result of clients failing to take the appropriate water protection steps before departing. Consider that even though many clients ask a caretaker to watch their homes while away, Chubb’s study found that just 30% leave water leak information and only 17% provide information about what to do in the event of a weather-related flood with caretakers.

Why the concern? Time is of the essence when it comes to water damage, with even the smallest leaks or drips building up over time. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety reports that plumbing supply system failures and toilet failures are the two most common sources of residential water loss. If either of these systems drip for days, the results can be devastating, both in terms of property and financial damage.

Before your clients head out, advise them to:

  • Turn off the water supply. This is the only way to prevent a leak from occurring while away; or
  • Install a water shut-off device. This is the surest way to prevent wide-spread damage in the event of a leak.

Beyond travel, the warm summer months also provide clients with the opportunity to jumpstart home renovations. But in their desire to drive value, the number one home-related concern identified in Chubb’s study, many clients are inadvertently inviting new water risk into their homes.

Start with encouraging clients to pay close attention to a contractor’s qualifications, prioritizing certifications and licensing above word-of-mouth recommendations. Although both play an important role in the hiring process, Chubb’s study found that 42% of homeowners prioritize the latter, versus 32% who emphasize the former. If contractors don’t have the right experience or professional background, they should not be involved in the client’s renovation project.

Making the most of your time outdoors

Homeowners eager to enjoy the last warm days of the year often spend time working on their gardens, yards and outdoor areas. Many use this time to install sprinkler systems, construct outdoor kitchens and build decks, all designed to enhance their homes’ landscapes. According to Chubb’s survey, close to a third of homeowners (30%) think these types of exterior upgrades most positively impact their homes’ values.

Yet, these projects can quickly let water into all the wrong places. Agents and brokersshould encourage clients to consult with a landscape architect about how enhancements may alter the slope of their garden or clog drains and gutters. Failure to take this into account means new upgrades could redirect water toward clients’ homes, seeping into the foundation or basement over time and potentially resulting in significant damage. By speaking with your clients about their garden renovation projects, this is an expensive loss that agents and brokers can help clients avoid.

Forecasting frozen pipes

Most homeowners know that the pipes in their homes are at risk of bursting during the cold winter months. Homeowners are 40% more likely to have water damage in the winter than any other time of the year, according to Chubb claims data.

Still, only 21% of homeowners report installing pipe insulation, even though it is one of the surest, simplest and cheapest ways to protect exposed pipes in the basement or garage in cold weather. Homeowners might also want to consider hiring a contractor to install pipe insulation for interior pipes that are located adjacent to an outside wall.

Not only does installing pipe insulation help keep the water in a home’s plumbing system from turning to ice and expanding (and thus bursting the pipes), it often helps homeowners save money on their energy bill. In essence, a reminder to install insulation could help clients avoid a major winter headache while also lowering utility bills.

10 tips to prevent chimney fires

11/3/2018 (Permalink)

Proper home maintenance requires constant vigilance.

Chimneys, in particular, require upkeep. A chimney that is dirty, blocked or in disrepair can inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue, and can also cause a chimney fire. Nearly all residential fires originating in the chimney are preventable, according to the New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

Chimney fires account for 75% of home heating fires, meaning homeowners should actively monitor their chimneys. Homeowners looking to avoid damage to their property and increased premiums should prepare for fires by checking their smoke alarms and updating their emergency plan.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends looking for these signs of a pending chimney fire: a loud cracking and popping noise; a lot of dense smoke; or an intense, hot smell.

Cyber Awareness

11/3/2018 (Permalink)

Why is SERVPRO concerned about creating community awareness regarding cyber attacks and cyber security?  The more our world becomes connected to the internet the greater the risk for property damage.  Consider the following scenarios:

  • Hackers gain access to a steel mill via a phishing attack introducing malware to the control system that prevents the shutdown of a blast furnace causing massive damage.
  • A power grid is remotely disabled by hackers causing extensive power outages.
  • Using a homemade transmitter, a teenager trips rail switches and derails train cars.
  • A hacker infiltrates the computerized waste management system and deliberately spills millions of gallons of raw sewage.
  • Machines at a hospital are infected by malware and a remote-access program is installed on the hospital's HVAC system.  This jeopardizes patient safety by putting drugs and other medical supplies at risk by altering the heating, AC and ventilation systems.


Sound like science fiction?  They are all true incidents and it is predicted that as the IoT (Internet of Things) continues to expand, property attacks will become more prevalent and costly.  Imagine hackers gaining access to the freezer temperature control at a frozen food manufacturer or infiltrating the computer system that regulates the fire sprinkler system in a large hotel.  The focus on cyber security and providing appropriate cyber coverage for commercial customers is not only important to protect data but also to protect vital system functions. Hackers have only scratched the surface when it comes to property damage so it is important to educate yourself about cyber risks before a catastrophic incident occurs.

Vacant Homes and Mold Growth

11/3/2018 (Permalink)

Vacant homes or unattended homes have unique issues that can that increase the likelihood of mold growth.  These homes are locked up without inhabitants coming or going, turning on the heat, running air exchangers or ventilation fans, and have restricted air flow. Thus moisture or condensation can build up inside and create an ideal climate for mold. To thrive mold needs moisture, oxygen, a food source and a surface on which to grow; easily available within a residence.  Mold spores are abundant in our environment, and once a mold spore has attached itself to dust particles, which provides the nutrients needed, all the spore needs is moisture. 

Procrastinate where mold cleaning is necessary can be a costly decision. If mold spores are allowed to proliferate, you may be faced with extensive structural damage to your home and possibly loss of property value. Today’s buyers are very leery about investing into a home with visible mold contamination. Additionally, consumers are very aware that some molds species can produce toxins and allergens.

The remediation priority would be to correct the excessive of moisture build up in the residence. Remediation would include 1) water proofing, 2) corrective measures to secure windows and doors, 3) create healthy air flow. etc.  After the corrective measures to reduce the moisture, professional mold remediation of all affected structural materials, contents, and HVAC system would need to be completed.  If the issues that are causing the elevated moisture are not corrected prior to remediation services, after a period of time, the home would again become unhealthy.

If you determine that your home or business has a mold problem, and the source of the moisture intrusion has been corrected, SERVPRO of Canton can inspect and assess your property. If mold remediation is needed, we have the training, equipment, and expertise to handle the situation.

Evaluating Mold: Air Sample Testing

11/3/2018 (Permalink)

All buildings contain mold spores since they a natural part of the environment.  An elevated mold count especially one that contains spores from varieties of mold that are commonly found when water damage is involved, such as stachybotrys chartarum, can indicate that there may be a structural moisture problem.     

In the insurance claim process, mold testing in is generally utilized after the mold has been remediated to confirm that the mold spore count is at or below the count found outside the building. The test is conducted while the remediated area is contained in order to confirm the success of the cleaning process. 

Determination of airborne spore counts is accomplished by way of an air sample, in which a specialized pump with a known flow rate is operated for a known period of time. Conducive to scientific methodology, air samples should be drawn from the affected area, a control area, and the exterior.

The air sampler pump draws in air and deposits microscopic airborne particles on a culture medium. The medium is cultured in a laboratory and the fungal genus and species are determined by visual microscopic observation. Laboratory results also quantify fungal growth by way of a spore count for comparison among samples. The pump operation time was recorded and when multiplied by the operation time results in a specific volume of air obtained. Although a small volume of air is actually analyzed, common laboratory reporting techniques extrapolate the spore count data to equate the amount of spores that would be present in a cubic meter of air.


If you have questions or need further information about the mold testing process, contact SERVPRO of Canton at 800-648-1212. 

Mold Remediation

10/30/2018 (Permalink)

How to determine if I can handle the mold clean up in my house? 

Do I need a professional mold remediation company?

Firstly, the source of the water intrusion needs to be resolved.  If the source continues to allow water intrusion, the home will eventually return to an unhealthy condition.  

You might want to consult a mold remediation company….

  • If the visible mold spores affected area, from tip to tip, is larger than a 10 square foot area
  • If you suspect that the heating ventilation system may be contaminated
  • If the original water was from a black water source (sewage contamination)
  • If you have health concerns of the occupants

There are numerous mold cleaning products on the market for consumer use.  It is best not to use OVER USE any harsh chemicals.  Simply scrub hard surfaces with a detergent and water, and let the area dry.  It is very important to use personal protective equipment while cleaning: eyes, hands, and respiratory system.  Upon completion of the cleaning, the area should be free of  visible mold spores and musty, moldy odors (mold staining on structural materials may still be present).  It is critical to monitor the affected area for a few months to make sure the area does not return to unhealthy.  The area needs to continue to be dry, clean and odor free.  If the area again begins to deteriorate, go back to correction of the source of water intrusion.  It is possible that the original correction was not sufficient or there might a secondary source of water intrusion.  

If you determine that your home or business has a mold problem, and the source of the moisture intrusion has been corrected, SERVPRO of Canton can inspect and assess your property. If professional mold remediation is needed, we have the training, equipment, and expertise to handle the situation.

Lack of flood insurance heaps misery on homeowners slammed by Hurricane Florence

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

The drenching rains and massive flooding caused by Florence are expected to inflict a high financial toll on homeowners in North Carolina and other states, as only a small percentage are covered by flood insurance that could help offset the costs of rebuilding their damaged homes.

An estimated quarter of a million homes in North Carolina are projected to be affected by Florence, which has caused flash flooding and record rain amounts across the state, according to CoreLogic, a property analytics company. 

Estimates from insurance analysts and actuaries show an alarmingly high percentage of homeowners – both in coastal towns and those far inland – that are underinsured for a water-driven natural disaster as destructive as Florence. 

Only 10 percent to 20 percent of coastal homeowners in the hard-hit eastern part of North Carolina, for example, have coverage through the government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and only 1 percent to 3 percent of homes in inland counties have flood policies, according to estimates from John Rollins, an actuary at consulting firm Milliman. Statewide, roughly 3 percent of the homes in North Carolina have flood coverage and 8 percent of homeowners are covered in South Carolina, Rollins said.

“Obviously, that leaves a lot of people uninsured,” Rollins told USA TODAY.

The numbers of those covered are low, he said, because people think that because their home isn't in a high-risk zone designated by the government that there's "zero risk" of a flood. "But that's not true," Rollins says. Many also don't realize their basic homeowners policy doesn't cover flood damage, while others overestimate the disaster aid they will get from the government. 

Unfortunately, standard homeowners insurance won’t cover any flooding-related issues. The estimated insured losses from Florence are in the range of $3 billion to $5 billion, according to CoreLogic. Goldman Sachs, a Wall Street bank, said they could go as high as $10 billion to $20 billion. 

Insurers should have no problem being able to pay out claims to policy holders because the industry has cash reserves of roughly half a trillion dollars, according to Matt Carletti, senior insurance analyst at JMP Securities.  

More Money: What you need to know about flood insurance as Florence dumps rain on Carolinas

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The problem for homeowners is that insured losses generally are only about one-third of total economic losses, which puts them on the hook financially for a more sizable part of their home rebuilds if losses are due to uncovered flood costs, Carletti said.

To get flood coverage, homeowners must buy a separate policy. Most purchase this extra coverage from the government-backed NFIP program, which is designed to restore your home to its preflood condition and replace your possessions. NFIP policies, which carry average premiums of about $600 to $700 a year but can run into the thousands of dollars in high-risk zones, cover up to $250,000 for a home's structure and up to $100,000 for personal possessions. 

Homeowners not covered for flood damage can seek federal disaster assistance in the form of grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or apply for a loan from the Small Business Administration, said Steve Bowen, meteorologist for Aon Benfield's Impact Forecasting division. FEMA may provide up to $33,000 in assistance for home repair, although the average for Superstorm Sandy in 2012 was about $8,000 and roughly $7,100 for Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

At the end of July, there were 134,306 active NFIP flood policies in place in North Carolina, Bowen said. That's only 3 percent of the estimated 4.62 million housing units in the state, he said, citing U.S. Census Bureau data.

Damage to homes caused by floods tend to be costly. The estimated potential loss for a 1,000-square-foot, single-story home with possessions worth $20,000 that is inundated with just 1 inch of interior water can run as high as $11,000, according to FEMA data, and the estimated loss for 5 inches of water climbs to more than $18,000.

Given the fact that many parts of North Carolina have received rain totals of 2 feet or more, many homeowners will be facing high rebuild costs they may not be able to afford.

“You are looking at a lot of homeowners that will have out-of-pocket costs that could easily be five figures, or more than $10,000,” said Cathy Seifert, an insurance analyst at CFRA, a Wall Street research firm. 

Insurance coverage for drain, sewer and sump pump problems

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

Analysis brought to you by the experts at FC&S Online, the recognized authority on insurance coverage interpretation and analysis for the P&C industry. To find out more — or to have YOUR coverage question answered — visit the National Underwriter website, or contact the editors via Twitter: @FCSbulletins.

Question: This is a Commercial Property risk. I have a toilet that continued to run as the toilet stopper did not seal properly. All would be fine except the heavy rains saturated the drain field not allowing the water to drain from the toilet. This resulted in an overflow causing damage.

The insured has a $10,000 limit on discharge from sewer, drain, or sump from a CP 73 51 endorsement.

Does this limit apply or would it be considered a loss under the normal limits? But for the saturated drain field, there would be no loss. The drain field caused the water to not be able to drain properly; is that a back-up by definition?

— North Carolina Subscriber

Answer: Endorsement CP 73 51 is a proprietary endorsement that includes additional coverage for Discharge From Sewer, Drain Or Sump (Not Flood-Related), up to a $10,000 limit in the endorsement. This response is in regards to the water damage claim submitted for our review. Here are the facts as presented:

  1. A toilet ran continuously due to a stopper that did not seal properly. The toilet overflowed.
  2. The drain field overflowed due to heavy rains.
  3. The drain field is tied to the septic system serving the insured property.

Based on these facts, there are two causes of loss, and we cannot determine the extent of damage from each cause of loss:

  1. What caused the toilet stopper to not seal properly? Was it wear and tear or faulty workmanship? What interior water damage resulted from the toilet overflow?
  2. What caused the drain field to overflow? Despite heavy rains, it should still have absorbed the water. So what factors may have contributed to the drain field overflow? Was sludge or other obstruction a contributing factor? What interior water damage resulted from the drain overflow?

This is not an expert opinion, just personal experience with a broken toilet flapper. Regardless of how much the toilet ran, it never ran outside the toilet bowl because the drain carried out the water. If the drain was stopped up, not allowing the water to flow through the drain, then the water could back up and out from the toilet bowl, causing interior water damage.

If the water damage was caused by the broken toilet seal, there would be no coverage.

If the water damage was caused by the drain field overflow, then there would be limited coverage of $10,000 for Discharge From Sewer, Drain Or Sump (Not Flood-Related) provided in the proprietary endorsement CP 73 51.

However, this is an issue of fact, not coverage. We can only speak to the coverages that would be provided in the forms based on the two causes of loss as presented.

Washing machine overflow

Question: Our property coverage contains an exclusion for flood. Included under the flood definition is the exclusion of water or sewage that backs up through sewers, drains or sumps. It also excludes overflow of any body of water.

We have a claim where the fire department put a load of clothes in the washing machine and was called out on a run. During the washing cycle, water overflowed into the building due to the drain being frozen from an ice storm. This was while the firefighters were gone performing their duties. When they returned, the building was flooded, damaging carpet and sheet-rock. Is this covered?

— Oklahoma Subscriber

Answer: We do not see an exclusion that would apply in this situation. It doesn’t sound as if the water actually went down a drain and then backed up. The washing machine overflowed because water could not go down the frozen drain, which would not constitute a backup. So, in our opinion, the loss is covered.

Sump pump and water backup

Question: One of the more common claims we handle deals with sump pumps and applicable exclusions. In this case, the business owner’s policy contains the following provision, “We will pay for loss or damage to covered property caused by water that backs up from a sewer or drain, subject to the following limitations:  We will not pay for loss or damage under this Additional Coverage caused by the emanation of water from a sewer or drain that itself is caused by, or is the result of “flood,” surface water, waves, tides, tidal waves, overflow of any body of water or their spray, all whether driven by wind or not;”.

Carrier issued a denial, as follows:

In view of the cited exclusions, the water damage to the basement is the result of flood and groundwater; therefore, we would not make a payment for this loss.

The loss was not caused by flood or surface water, but a high water table that overwhelmed the pump’s capability to function due to two major rain events one year ago. When the water table receded, the pump functioned so it was not failure in the sense one thinks of failure, i.e., mechanical or electrical. Water entered through the sump, through some cracks in the floor.

My belief is that this is a covered loss. I could not find any information on the definition of “sump pump,” the purpose of a sump pump, or the definition of “groundwater.”

The carrier used the term “groundwater” in the denial. That is not addressed in the endorsement.

— Connecticut Subscriber

Answer: It does not sound like the water backed up through the sump pump but in fact came through the cracks in the floor.

This type of loss would be subject to the part of the water exclusion that states, “Water under the ground surface pressing on, or flowing through… floors… basements.” (This can be seen in the ISO BP 00 03 01 10, B.1.g.) If the insured has purchased sewer and drain backup coverage, it would not apply to this type of loss. However, if it can be shown that the water really did overflow or was discharged from the sump (as opposed to seeping in through floor cracks), that would be covered.

The ‘whys’ behind lack of flood insurance coverage

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

One of the ongoing issues with hurricanes and other flood disasters is the fact that many, many people lack flood insurance. But why is that? Why are people not buying the coverage they need?

The Private Risk Management Association (PRMA) conducted a survey of agents about why their insureds do or do not carry flood insurance. We had the chance to talk to Lisa Lindsay of PRMA about the study and its results.

Their study showed that across the board, whether high net worth or not, people’s mindset is that “It won’t happen to me.” Flood insurance is seen as something homeowners are required to have, not something they need to protect their assets. The study showed that many people only buy flood insurance because the bank says they have to. They later celebrate when they’re no longer required to hold flood insurance because their mortgage has been paid off.

Likewise, consumers have been conditioned to believe that unless they are in a high-hazard flood zone, coverage is not needed. The fact that flooding occurs in many non-high hazard areas is overlooked. It’s not just coastal areas that flood, but areas near rivers, streams and even low-lying areas in towns where runoff can accumulate often flood, causing unsuspecting homeowners damage that’s not covered by their normal homeowners’ policy.

Better understanding of mitigation efforts

Not only do people need a better understanding of flood insurance, but they also need a better understanding of mitigation efforts, that is, steps they can take to prevent or minimize flooding and reduce the potential damage. Sandbags, inflatable barriers and landscaping are just some ways people can prepare for a flood. Both the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy and the new ISO Personal Flood Policy provide up to $1,000 for steps taken to protect the insured building from flood or imminent danger of flood. The $1,000 is provided for the cost of:

  • Sandbags and sand to fill them,
  • Fill for temporary levees,
  • Pumps,
  • Plastic sheeting, and
  • Lumber used in connection with these items.

As most insureds don’t read their policies, it’s likely that most are unaware of these coverage benefits for mitigation of damages.

Private flood policies to the rescue?

With the concern surrounding the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), carriers are beginning to issue private flood policies. For example, one carrier has a private flood policy with limits up to $15 million on property, much higher than the NFIP limits of $250,000.

ISO has developed both a Commercial Flood program and a Personal Flood program, both available this year. The expansion of available coverage should be a tremendous help in getting homeowners insured. However, education of agents and the public is key.

Better analytics is helping to make private coverage possible; instead of just referring to the standard flood maps, which may be out of date, there are companies providing better analysis of property that includes rainfall, local topography, elevation and susceptibility to hurricanes, not just for rains but for winds and storm surge as well.

Although flood insurance can be expensive in some places, in many areas that’s not the case. As a result, property owners don’t investigate their options for coverage.

Another issue is construction itself. Builders resist changes to codes to make properties safer while continuing to want to rebuild in areas that have been flooded. If building is going to occur in such areas, the buildings need to be built in a way to protect the property as much as possible from flooding. People also get a false sense of security from the fact that the town has allowed buildings to be constructed in low-lying areas, figuring that if zoning approved of the area it must be safe to construct a home in that area.

Understanding the 100-year flood

Yet another large issue is the misperception of the 100-year flood. Many people believe that this means that the chance of their property being flooded is one in 100 years. What it really means is that every year there is a 1% chance of flood. This puts the property at significant risk, as not only do 100-year storms need to be accounted for, but other storms as well.

Time Period10 Yr.25 Yr.50 Yr.100 YrTotal Odds1 yr.10%4%2%1%17%10 yr.65%34%18%10%127%20 yr.88%56%33%18%195%30 yr.96%71%45%26%238%50 yr.99%87%64%39%289%

Source: FC&S Online

The overarching issue is how to educate both the public and the industry on flood mitigation techniques and the availability of insurance coverage. The industry needs to inform people of not only what their risk is but also about the available risk evaluation tools, mitigation techniques and available coverage. Agents and brokers need to be well informed in order to proactively change the narrative of flooding and coverage.

How small businesses can better protect themselves

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

Even the best-run small businesses face the risk that external factors beyond their control, like a natural disaster, could derail operations.

recent joint survey conducted by Insureon and Manta revealed that approximately 60% of small business owners don’t have either a formal disaster recovery plan or business interruption insurance, both of which could help them bounce back if an unforeseen event like Hurricane Florence forces their business to temporarily close.

Natural disasters are unpredictable such as the recent wildfires in California are unpredictable. Out-of-control fires in Yosemite threatened the livelihood of small business owners in the hospitality industry, with one innkeeper estimating a loss of at least $20,000. Other local businesses, such as guided tour and day trip operators, faced the possibility of serious financial losses and the need to dip into savings to cover operating expenses.

While a disaster recovery plan won’t completely insulate small businesses from problems caused by Mother Nature, a well-thought-out strategy can help minimize the impact. In addition to purchasing commercial property insurance to help pay for repairs to damaged property, business owners should also consider buying a business interruption insurance policy. Not only can it help expedite recovery from a disaster, it can also minimize a business’ financial losses.

Developing a comprehensive disaster recovery plan

In the event of a natural disaster, small businesses may be forced to temporarily close. Unfortunately, not all businesses are equipped to survive a prolonged shutdown. According to the survey, 31 percent of owners don’t know if their companies would be able to resume operations if they had to close for longer than one month, with an additional 13 percent confident that they would definitely not be able to reopen. However, only 39 percent of small business owners surveyed said they have a formal disaster recovery plan in place.

Disaster recovery plans can help business owners act fast to protect their company’s infrastructure and get the business back up and running as quickly as possible. Some information to consider including in a recovery plan includes:

  • A list of key contacts, such as the insurance company, utility companies, suppliers and financial institutions
  • A detailed plan of what steps employees should take in the event of an emergency
  • A communication plan for notifying customers and vendors of the closure
  • Documents and resources that are critical to the business’ operations

To keep everyone in the loop, employers may want to review disaster recovery plans with employees during on-boarding, and hold annual emergency response drills.

Why add business interruption insurance?

Companies face more than just physical damage from natural disasters; they also experience financial losses from being forced to halt operations for a period of time.

While property insurance can pay to repair building damage caused by a wildfire, business interruption insurance covers the potential income lost during a temporary closure. These payout amounts are usually based on income and expense records, so business owners should carefully store copies of these documents in a safe, off-site location.

Business interruption insurance can vary from policy to policy, but typically provides coverage for the following three things:

  1. Profits an owner would have earned if the business was not forced to close
  2. Normal operating expenses, including employee wages, taxes and loan payments
  3. Temporary relocation expenses, such as moving and rent costs

Business interruption insurance usually will not cover costs related to utilities, income that isn’t properly documented and losses caused by a partial closure.

Some policies might not protect against every natural disaster. For example, if events like wildfires are not covered by a proprietor’s property insurance policy, their business interruption policy won’t cover expenses related to wildfires either. For total protection, proprietors should verify with their insurance carriers that their policies cover common natural events that are specific to their geographical vicinity.

Above all, small businesses can best prepare by taking a proactive approach to disaster recovery planning. In the absence of a plan or adequate insurance, small business owners are putting themselves at risk for significant financial losses that could force some to permanently close. With the right combination of preparedness and comprehensive insurance, business owners can ensure they are ready for anything Mother Nature throws their way.

Disaster recovery for agents, brokers & claims professionals

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

A hurricane is coming. You’ve implemented your business’s emergency preparedness plan. You’ve boarded up your brick-and-mortar location in the storm’s path. You’ve ensured your staff’s safety. You’ve secured your CRM data at an offsite, low-risk location (or in the cloud), and armed your staff with printouts just in case. You’ve mobilized your claims workforce. And you’ve prepared your clients with disaster-specific risk mitigation and claims reporting information.

But are you ready for what comes next?

After a weather-related catastrophe passes, agents, brokers and claims professionals must be prepared to ride out the next storm: the onslaught of claims. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey resulted in nearly 670,000 combined personal and commercial property insurance claims to private insurers, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and the Texas Fair Access to Insurance Requirement Plan, according to the Texas Department of Insurance. All those insureds expect a prompt, professional response, and rightfully so.

Here are seven tips to help you get back to business with minimal interruption.

1. Keep an eye on the weather

Large storms seldom follow their forecasted track. Watch for changes in weather patterns and reach out to high-risk insureds — such as large car dealerships or marinas — that might be impacted by a sudden shift in the storm track, so they can relocate their assets if possible and take all necessary precautions.

Then, stay in touch with emergency management officials. To provide timely outreach to your clients, you’ll need to know when roads will re-open and when it will be safe to bring claims representatives into the area.

2. Set up temporary offices

Today, power outages from storms don’t bring businesses to a halt. Wi-Fi hotspots mean your insureds may be able to stay connected with their mobile devices. You should too. For agents and brokers, this may mean working “virtually” — from homes, hotel rooms or coffee shops — rather than finding a temporary brick-and-mortar location. Claims professionals (especially CAT adjusters) are accustomed to finding Wi-Fi hotspots wherever they go so they can determine coverage, assess damages and resolve claims without interruption.

3. Mobilize your claims force

Start to determine how many claims professionals you’ll need on the ground to assess the damage. Know the physical location of CAT adjusters and how to contact and deploy them as needed so they can reach out to your clients and help them calculate property loss and business interruption loss.

4. Determine your priorities

For agents and brokers, making sure your clients are safe and handling their first-notice-of-loss response will be your two biggest business priorities in the immediate aftermath of a storm. Determine what your staff can handle, and what they can’t. Small or mid-sized retail agents or brokers may ask their clients to report claims directly to the carrier. The agent or broker should also understand all their carriers’ documentation and estimate requirements for clients who sustained smaller losses that don’t need to be inspected by the carrier. In any event, the agent or broker will still need to follow up on the progress of all claims.

It’s also important to be aware of carrier binding suspensions, state moratoriums on non-pay and other cancellations, and other guidelines, procedures and processes that might be disrupted by the weather event.

Another option may be to outsource some of those critical business functions to an external vendor that specializes in insurance operations and business process management. If you’re already working with such a vendor, this is a natural next step. If you’re seeking such a vendor, look for one with offshore and on-shore capabilities and practical business continuity plans not tied to a physical location that can help you minimize business interruption.

5. Keep your insureds informed

This is where an agent or broker’s online presence will pay major dividends. Use your website and your social media channels to let your insureds know you’re back in business, who to call, where to submit claims, and how to contact you, your staff and their carrier.

6. Rely on your data

Gather analytics around the property or assets you insure and track the potential loss. For example, if you know you insure 1,000 homeowners who were in the swath of the hurricane, you can calculate the potential impact beforehand, and then re-calculate based on the storm’s actual path. This will give you the data you need to comprehend the number and severity of claims you and your staff may be handling.

7. Plan better the next time

No matter how well you plan, the days after a weather catastrophe will be frenetic. But proper planning will help you ensure business continuity.

I spent 20 years working in carrier claims departments, and have been a part of organizations helping people recover from serious storms since Hurricane Gloria hit New York City in 1985. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that the right time to help in a natural disaster is both before and after.

In the days after Hurricane Harvey, we at ReSource Pro offered our clients help with their priority work, for example. We rerouted our impacted clients’ calls to our on-shore center and handled loss reporting calls, and we followed up with carriers and insureds to confirm adjuster assignments. We leveraged offshore locations to handle first-notice-of-loss data entry for impacted clients.

Although that helped clients after the storm, helping clients prepare for the next storm is just as crucial. That’s why I advise our clients that, when you work with external vendors, ask them to do a portion of work on a regular basis. If you anticipate asking a vendor to handle first-notice-of-loss data entry during a storm, having them do a portion of that work with some frequency during normal business operations ensures a smooth transition — and familiarity — with the work during an emergency.

This will ensure your external strategic partner knows your processes, understands your clients, and is prepared to offer seamless support when catastrophe strikes. You’ll gain a level of confidence in your business partner that will keep your clients satisfied, which in turn will become a key differentiator for your agency or brokerage.

Ask Annissa: How Do I Handle Sensitive Documents Damaged in a Fire Loss?

9/10/2018 (Permalink)

What’s the best way to handle and clean personal papers in a fire loss that have been damaged by soot and also smell? The homeowner wants to keep them and won’t let me throw them away.

Personal papers like bills, canceled checks, credit card statements and everyday magazines have no value in the eyes of the insurance company and they often don’t want to pay for them to be cleaned or deodorized. However, they often have value to the homeowner.

The biggest problem with this is that paper can hold a lot of odor and may re-contaminate the house once everything is unpacked. So first off, we check with the homeowner and see if the paperwork is something that they can live without. Or is it really important and needs to be kept? Once you explain that the papers can hold a lot of odor and may cause recontamination of the house and belongings, this will sometimes make the homeowner more aggressive about putting them in the round file.

If the paperwork cannot be parted with and must go on the “keep it list,” then we dust them off and organize them into a large 11x14 inch spec bag. This is a heavy duty plastic bag that keeps the odor and contamination contained until the homeowner can photo copy or reprint the documents they want to keep. The cost to the insurance company to handle them this way is really no more than their cost would be to throw them away, so this keeps your adjuster and homeowner happy.

This also allows the homeowner to go through the papers at their convenience as they are dealing with a lot of pressing decisions in the first few days after a fire. Having one less pressing thing to have to handle right away can be a huge relief for them.

Selecting the Proper Drying Equipment for Commercial Restoration

9/10/2018 (Permalink)

In May we looked at the different players in the commercial market. This time we will delve into the twisted and somewhat misunderstood world of equipment. Many restorers still use the “WOT” method of equipment selection, as in “Whatever’s On the Truck.”

I want you now to consider the “WHAT” method, as in “Whatever the Project Requires.” Have you ever lost a bid when you were sure you charged less per day for air movers or labor than anyone else? You may have thought someone had the inside track and maybe so, but most likely you lost the bid on the total bottom line, not on just the bid price. 

As we discussed, it is the occupant that pays rent to the owner, who then pays the bank and insurance. So if we keep the tenants happy, we have a better chance of keeping everyone pleased. A successful selection of equipment and deployment depends on the parameters of the job not what you have on hand. 

So what are the parameters? How do I get to the total bottom line? Once again, Zig Zigler says it the best: “You can get what you want if you just help enough of the right people get what they want.” 

We now know who the right people are; we just need to provide them with a finished project with as little cost and interruption to their services as possible. This is what they want. 

 

Imagine a disaster has just struck your business: fire, flood, earthquake, tornado or maybe like me by a little hurricane called Katrina. After making sure everyone is safe, what are your concerns about your business? Can I stay open? Can I get supplies from my vendors? How long will it take to get the place back together? How are we going to pay for it all? 

Our job is to help answer these questions and provide the best overall solution. This is Bottom Line Drying. What we need to do is combine these concerns and needs with equipment available on the market to produce the best result. The fundamentals of drying dictate that adding energy (heat) to a material while passing the driest available air over its porous surface will invoke evaporation of unwanted moisture from the material and thus the building itself. We call it HAT (Humidity, Airflow and Temperature). 

(I like “HATE” better. The E stands for Evaporation, but I don’t want to be the one called out for preaching hate in this day and age. But it is probably OK to HATE water – it doesn’t have much of a lobby in Washington!) 

Seriously, let’s look at the parameters individually and deploy equipment accordingly. 

The first is, can the business stay open? This is determined by structural integrity: Is it safe for occupancy? Can the occupants vendors supply the occupant with the materials or services needed in order to conduct business on a day to day basis? Is there Business Interruption Insurance? 

This is of primary concern, because the occupancy of the building is one of the most important factors when developing an allowable temperature range. If people are going to be in the building shopping, eating or working, then noise and temperature level – as well as equipment visibility – are important considerations. So large equipment located away from customers, with air movers on low, and comfortable temperatures are best. You may even need to constantly relocate air movers for aesthetic reasons. 

Make sure everyone involved is on the same page

By the way, a hot-air drying unit works fine here if it is cool and dry outside, or you can use localized or “spot” heating for specific, tough-to-dry materials. If the business will be closed for a few days, we do not have creature comfort or visibility concerns, but we have to check on materials and products in the building before we allow for elevated temperature drying (generally above 80 F). 

The building’s design is the second most important consideration. You must understand, this consists of the building’s construction materials and physical layout as well as the contents. Most building materials have no problems handling temperatures up to 120 degrees and most materials, especially the denser or less permeable, actually dry better in these higher temperatures. 

Please be careful on total temperature (air or material), because sprinkler systems are part of many commercial buildings and their heads are designed to rupture on temperature, not from sensing flame, and some are rated as low as 130 degrees. (How good is your liability insurance? Want to find out?) 

The contents are a mixed bag of every material you can imagine, and many are sensitive to temperature or even low humidity – operational computers or server rooms are obviously concerned with high temperature, but low humidity may induce static discharges into the system, doing serious damage. 

You need to consult with the occupants and building engineer about temperature- or humidity-sensitive items, and get them to sign off on any elevated temperature drying so you will not be held responsible for something you did not know was there. 

The layout generally determines air mover placement and quantity, but it also very important to the drying system selection: LGRs, desiccants or heat-based systems. Here, the general guidelines are simple: it is much cheaper to rent one big piece of equipment than many smaller pieces, thus decreasing the bottom line. 

This is why many commercial projects that have large common areas or hallways use desiccants or larger trailer-mounted heating systems. But if the layout is one of multiple exterior entrances (1,000- to 3,000-square-foot individual units) like condos or hotel rooms, LGR’s are going to be the fit. Layout also includes site access and power availability, as they are also major determining factors, as well as what equipment happens to be available when you need it (as much as I hate to say it, sometimes “WOT” is all we have to work with). 

Use the right equipment to suit the project’s needs

Then there is the Question of All Questions: “How long is it going to take?” “It will be dry when it’s dry” is true, but that’s not what I mean. Lately, a lot of focus has been on drying as fast as possible, and that is great in the residential or commercial market when the building is unoccupied, but when a commercial customer needs his facility to conduct business, being out of business even for two days can be unacceptable. 

Businesses such as restaurants and hotel ballrooms have planned functions. Since Mrs. Jones will probably have only one 50th anniversary party, are you going to tell her she can’t have the party tonight? Many times you can dry the carpet/flooring in several hours, have it safe for the party and start the wall drying after hours, when the guests have left. 

In this case, you are going to spend a few more days drying with increased equipment billing and labor hours, but there would be no business interruption payout, again making the bottom line lower. I call this “Ghost Drying” because you are constantly working on the wet structure, but anyone who uses the facility hardly even notices you are there. You have just made the insurance company, the building owner, the occupant, and Mrs. Jones very happy. 

The last word in drying is communication: Be sure that when you are bidding on a project that the owner, tenants, insurance folks and all of your people are on the same page. Just because you know the benefits of how you custom tailored this drying project for them does not mean they understand it. 

It is important to start every bid submission with a meeting of all concerned and continue with these meetings on a daily basis until the project is complete. This openness in working together as well as showing concern and understanding for all involved will make you a successful Bottom Line Dryer.

The Anatomy of a Fire: Understanding 3 Types of Fires & Effective Cleaning Techniques

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Association, it’s estimated that some 370,000 home fires occur each year, costing close to $7 billion in total property damage. In many of these home fires, however, the fire starts and is contained in a certain area of a home or business. Even though containment eliminates the necessity for complete demolition and reconstruction, it is still necessary for proper cleaning of soot and smoke to commence, in order to restore the property to a preloss condition. Anatomy of a FireContrary to what many may believe, there is more than one type of fire — and the type of fire that occurred will dictate the appropriate cleaning method. The most prevalent types of fires are: high-oxygen fires, which produce dry soot; low-oxygen fires, which produce greasy, wet soot, and kitchen fires. Here’s a closer look at how to clean each type of fire:

  • High oxygen: Dry sponges are a must. Follow this by applying a low-alkali detergent and then rinse thoroughly.
  • Low oxygen: Use high-alkali detergents along with warm water to wash the walls and structures. Rinse, then paint over.
  • Kitchen: These are often the most challenging fires to clean, as soot residue is difficult to detect. For this reason, cabinets, drawers and other appliances often need to be removed to adequately clean the area.
General Cleaning TechniquesSmoke and soot can penetrate paint, carpet, upholstery and clothes. While carpet can be deep cleaned and clothes can be taken to the dry cleaner, properly restoring walls, structures and objects is a different story. Here’s a look at some general cleaning techniques:
  • Personal protective equipment: Gloves, a protective mask, long-sleeved shirts and pants should be worn on site to minimize contact with ash.
  • Remove contents: Remove contents from the house. While some contents may have to be discarded, others can be effectively hand cleaned. Cleaning contents in an ultrasonic machine is also an option with some items.
  • Ventilate: Open windows and doors to remove odor.
  • Beware of other contaminants: Lead and asbestos can turn a fire restoration job into an environmental restoration job if they’ve become disturbed.
  • Hand scrubbing: Fire damage work is one of the most tedious types of repair work. It involves a lot of handwork, such as scrubbing walls and structures with sponges — and using chemicals and specialized restoration equipment, such as media blasting tools, in the event of heavy residue.
  • Duct cleaning: Following restoration, a duct cleaning is required. That’s because smoke and soot have a tendency to become trapped within a home or business’s duct system. This can spread contaminants — and odors — to other areas of the home when in operation. Hence, a professional duct cleaning is necessary.
Techniques for Various Materials
  • Clothes and fabrics: A specialized dry cleaner is capable of restoring these items to preloss condition. Cleaning soot-contaminated clothing is somewhat of a science, and while a homeowner may be able to adequately restore clothing on his own, it’s always best to leave this to the professionals.
  • Carpet: A professional carpet cleaning is a must in order to effectively remove contaminants and odor from the carpet.
  • Building materials: Dry chemical sponges are your best bet for wallboard, plaster, wood and wallpaper. These will remove much of the soot and also prevent it from being lodged deeper into the material.
  • Other materials: Sponges, towels and mops are ideal for cleaning tile, glass, metal and certain appliances. Since these aforementioned objects are less porous than drywall, for example, it’s OK to use a wet or dampened sponge or cleaning tool. Plus, there’s no risk of lodging contaminants deeper into the material.
  • Specialty cleaning tools: Ultrasonic cleaning machines can come in handy as they can adequately clean non-porous items quickly and efficiently, compared to hand cleaning.
When it comes to a fire damage situation, you also need to remember how vulnerable the homeowner is in the situation. While any type of home catastrophe is never welcome, a fire has the potential to be the most devastating. With that in mind, also be sure to work on your customer service skills, communicate effectively and regularly with the homeowner to determine his needs throughout the process, and keep him up to speed on the project’s progress. Where a water damage situation can be restored in as little as three days, it’s not uncommon for a fire damage situation to last several weeks — or even months if reconstruction is involved. Hence, proper cleaning and handling of a project is all the more important.

Business Owners Find Varied Paths to Recovery Post-Disaster

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

As small business owners in Hawaii and California clean up following Hurricane Laneand wildfires, they’ll find there’s no one formula for recovery.

The same disaster can devastate businesses in divergent ways – a hurricane might tear the roof off one restaurant, flood another and leave a third with little damage.

 

Whether a business recovers often depends on how prepared it is, such as whether it has insurance and its computer data is backed up remotely. Owners should also find out what resources are available to them from the government, their communities and other entrepreneurs, says Craig Markovitz, a professor of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. Communication with customers and vendors is also crucial, Markovitz says.

“Let people know you’re going to get back on your feet,” he says. Anything from a sign on a company’s premises to advertising to media coverage will help.

Markovitz also advises owners to rally their entrepreneurial spirit, which helped them succeed in the first place.

Here are the stories of business owners who were able to recover:

OWNER: Patrice Farooq, Cupcake Kitchen Houston

 

THE DISASTER: Hurricane Harvey, August 2017

When Houston was inundated by over 4 feet of rain in four days, Farooq’s bakery was damaged by water that entered through the roof. She lost appliances including a commercial freezer and all her perishables including eggs and dairy products. Farooq estimates her losses at $30,000, and she was shut for about three weeks.

THE RECOVERY: Even as she was first dealing with the damage, Farooq began using Facebook ads to let customers know she’d be reopening, and to ensure they didn’t forget about her shop.

“I had an idea that the (customer) traffic was not going to be the same and we would run the risk of going out of business,” Farooq says.

Farooq kept advertising after she reopened, and revenue had returned to about 80 percent of pre-Harvey levels by January. But because the neighborhood was still rebuilding, Farooq decided to move the store five miles away, opening in May. Revenue is now 50 percent above the level of before the storm.

OWNER: Nate Stokes, Visiting Angels senior care franchise

THE DISASTERTornado; Joplin, Missouri; May 22, 2011

The tornado destroyed Stokes’ cars and his office, which no one was in when the twister hit, and he later learned that his accountant had been killed. Stokes saw the area the next day; it was acres of rubble.

“If you had blindfolded me and brought me there, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you where we were,” he says.

Three of 50 employees had to quit because they lost their homes and needed to focus on rebuilding their lives. Three more were temporarily unable to work. He lost several clients whose homes were destroyed.

THE RECOVERY: Stokes’ church offered him office space, and the Visiting Angels franchise in Tulsa, Oklahoma, lent him a car and computer. About a month after the tornado Stokes found an office 12 miles away, in Carthage, Missouri, but he was unable to replace all his lost equipment and cars until he received insurance money six months later.

It took about a year for Stokes’ business to return to its pre-disaster functioning. He’s still based in Carthage but now has a satellite building in Joplin.

OWNERS: Brent and Juan Reaves, Smokey John’s BBQ restaurant

THE DISASTER: Fire; Dallas; Sept. 9, 2017

Wood stored near a meat smoker caught fire, heavily damaging the kitchen, sending smoke into the entire restaurant. It caused no injuries, but the restaurant had to be gutted.

THE RECOVERY: The brothers, who had several catering gigs on their schedule, realized they could still have money coming in by focusing up that part of their business. They quickly found kitchen space where they could prepare food. And other barbecue purveyors were ready to pitch in when they heard about the fire, Brent Reaves says.

“People started calling us and said, ‘Hey guys, if you need smokers, we can help,”’ Reaves says.

With advertising, the catering business soared, helping fund the restaurant’s reconstruction. The rebuilt Smokey John’s will be 1,000 square feet larger to handle the booming catering business, and the Reaves brothers have set a goal of $1 million in catering revenue this year. They expect to reopen the restaurant in September.

OWNER: Brandon Gaille, Gaille Media, internet marketing agency

THE DISASTER: Hurricane Harvey, August 2017

Gaille’s second-floor office became flooded when nearby Lake Houston overflowed. He and his staffers couldn’t re-enter the building for three months – even after the water receded, it left behind dangerous levels of mold. When Gaille was allowed back in, he had to wear a mask.

THE RECOVERY: Gaille and his two staffers and 10 freelancers were able to keep working because most of their documents and records were stored online and could be accessed remotely. So the company had minimal disruption. But last fall, one of Gaille’s employees asked him to consider making the remote work arrangement permanent.

“I don’t want to go back to the office,” the staffer told Gaille.

The move is saving Gaille thousands of dollars a year in overhead – rent, utilities and commuting costs.

OWNER: Bob Tuck, Mr. Appliance, repair company

THE DISASTER: Hurricane Charley; Port Charlotte, Florida; Aug. 13, 2004

The hurricane hit as Tuck was shifting from being a Maytag appliance retailer and repair shop to a Mr. Appliance franchisee, doing only repairs. Tuck was able to move inventory from the store to a warehouse. It took nearly three days before Tuck could travel to the store because of debris and downed power lines. The store, which still had mock-ups of kitchens with appliances, was almost completely destroyed. But the office with all the company’s records was unscathed, as was the warehouse and his inventory.

THE RECOVERY: When Tuck was able to contact the Mr. Appliance corporate offices, the company offered to help him and the community, and told him it would send water and take over his phone lines and answer his calls.

Tuck didn’t try to find another retail space; over the next four months he sold off his Maytag inventory to homeowners who lost their appliances to the storm.

However, there was little demand for appliance repair and therefore little revenue coming in. Tuck’s insurance policy helped cover his financial losses and he also obtained a Small Business Administration disaster loan.

“It was our only means of survival,” Tuck says.

OWNER: Jeff O’Hara, AlliedPRA, event/conference planning company

THE DISASTER: Hurricane Katrina; New Orleans; Aug. 29, 2005

Physical damage at his company wasn’t an issue for O’Hara; it was the city’s overall devastation that for two years wiped out New Orleans’ tourism and convention industries. O’Hara also lost his house. He had to move away from New Orleans for more than a year, getting part-time jobs in Colorado to support himself.

THE RECOVERY: O’Hara worked the phones while he was away, staying in touch with clients, suppliers and tourism officials. He was working to convince people that despite the widespread belief that the city was in ruins, its most popular tourist areas including the French Quarter were undamaged and ready for visitors.

He also traveled around the country, meeting with clients. Even after moving back he worked side jobs, and in 2007, business began to trickle back in.

But O’Hara and the industry faced more problems – the Great Recession hit, devastating the corporate travel business.

“In all, it took seven years to get back to our previous levels of revenue,” O’Hara says

Water Damage Requires a Quick Response

9/5/2018 (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.

5 thing

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —

After a storm moved through the Sacramento area, emergency crews responded to hundreds of calls regarding toppled trees that damaged property.

Experts break down what you should do if your property sustains storm damage:

 Advertisement

1) File a claim immediately

Insurance agents said they are busy processing claims after Wednesday's storm. They said the faster you file, the sooner you can get an agent to your property to assess the damage.

Claims that aren't complicated usually don't take long to process, Sacramento-based State Farm Michael Yee insurance agent said. 

2) Contact storm damage repair companies

Some storm damage repair companies in the Sacramento area said their phones have been ringing off the hook. They recommend getting problems fixed as soon as possible, especially with more wet weather and potential problems ahead.

3) Make sure your contractor is licensed with the state

When it's time to make repairs, the California Office of Emergency Services warns people to make sure your contractor is licensed with the California Contractors State License Board.

The board also warned against paying in cash, being cautious about door-to-door offers of repair services and recommend always having a written contract.

4) Be prepared to pay out of pocket

Yee said whether the damage was done by a tree owned by you, your neighbor or the city, some expenses will likely come out of your pocket through a deductible. 

5) Don't wait for more storms to contact your insurance company

Yee said damage to your home or car can't always be bundled together. Some problems will have different deductibles, so make sure to file as soon as the damage happens -- even if you have to file multiple times. 

Lightning coverage and safety

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

Lightning can cause damage to your home and belongings—and can cause bodily harm. It's prudent to take steps to prevent the dangerous effects of lightning and to keep yourself and your family safe. Here are some things you can do.

Lightning and insurance

Your standard homeowners and business insurance policies, and the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy cover damages—such as a fire—that results from a lightning strike. Some policies also provide coverage for the damage caused by power surges.

That said, it's far better to prevent lightning damage than to have to deal with the consequences.

Protect your home by installing a lightning protection system

A lightning protection system (LPS) provides a specified path on which lightning can travel. The Lightning Protection Institute (LPI) explains how LPSs work in this infographic. A rooftop network of lightning rods or air terminals is connected to a series of down conductors, which carry the current down to a grounding network. In that way, the system safely directs the destructive power of the lightning strike into the ground, which leaves the structure of your home or business and its contents undamaged.

Lightning protection is not a “do-it-yourself” project—contract a UL-listed lightning protection specialist to install the system in accordance with national safety standards. 

Protect your home and electronics from surges

Electrical surges from lightning can enter a structure via power transmission lines and cause electrical fires as well as damage to your building's electrical system, your appliances and your home electronics.

Regular power strips offer little surge protection. To assure the best safeguards, UL-listed surge protection devices (SPDs) should be installed to filter and dissipate damaging electrical discharges. Most electric utilities will rent or sell a surge device for the electric meter to “clamp down” on incoming surges; licensed electricians can install similar protection.

To protect valuable electronics like computers, home entertainment centers, gaming systems and smart home technology, install UL-listed transient voltage surge suppressors–and consider unplugging expensive electronics when you know a storm is approaching.

Protect yourself and your family with precautions

  • When thunder roars, go indoors. During a storm, it's best to take shelter in a house or other fully enclosed building. Inside, don’t stand near open windows, doorways or metal piping. Stay off the phone and avoid contact with small appliances, like toasters and hairdryers. As water conducts electricity, also stay away from plumbing, sinks, tubs and radiators.
  • If you know a storm is coming, avoid known hazards and dangerous locations. These include areas where you will be the highest object—a golf course, for example. Bodies of water also attract lightning, so avoid lakes, beaches or open water, and fishing from a boat or dock. Never ride golf carts, farm equipment, motorcycles or bicycles during a thunderstorm.
  • If you are caught outside in a thunderstorm, take shelter in a hard topped-vehicle or a low area such a tunnel or even a cave if necessary. Stay clear of fences, isolated trees and other conductive objects such as telephone poles, power lines and pipelines. These present a danger from a potential side flash, which is voltage from a nearby, lightning-struck object.
  • If you're caught in an open field with no nearby shelter, and your hair begins to stand on end, drop down into a crouch with your hands on your knees, and balance on the balls of your feet. The static electricity in your hair is an indication that lightning is about to strike, and the idea is to make as little contact with the ground as possible. Never lie down flat or place your hands on the ground. 

Northeast Ohio Home Fire Campaign

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign

The Home Fire Campaign helps save lives by installing free smoke alarms in homes that don't have them, and by educating people about home fire safety.

Do You Need A Smoke Alarm?

Request a Smoke Alarm Here

Together we installed 1 million smoke alarms – a major milestone achieved!

 

Thank you to the thousands of volunteers that joined us to Sound the Alarm to install 100,000 free smoke alarms in at-risk communities across more than 100 cities. Together, we’re saving lives!

Help save lives in your community.

Every day, seven people die in home fires, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately lose their lives. The American Red Cross wants to improve the odds and save lives, that’s why we launched our Home Fire Campaign in 2014.

A critical part of the campaign is Sound the Alarm, a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. Red Cross volunteers, along with fire departments and other partners canvass at-risk neighborhoods, installing free smoke alarms, replacing batteries in existing alarms, and providing fire prevention and safety education. In just three years, we’ve accomplished so much, including the installation of more than 1 million smoke alarms and prepared more than 1 million people against home fires through our home visits.

Get Involved

There are several ways you can get involved with Sound the Alarm: Volunteer to install smoke alarms in your community.

Find Local Volunteer Opportunities 

 Fundraise to support the Home Fire Campaign.

Start a Fundraiser

 Make a donation to support Sound the Alarm.

Donate Now

The Red Cross Responds to a Home Fire or Other Disaster Every 8 Minutes.

In Northeast Ohio, the Red Cross and its partners have:Previous 

Made 15,336 households safer

  

Installed 42,869 smoke alarms

  

Helped create 15,336 escape plans

  

Replaced 1,317 smoke alarm batteries

  

Reached 11,280 youth with preparedness information

  

Made 15,336 households safer

  

Installed 42,869 smoke alarms

  

Helped create 15,336 escape plans

  

Replaced 1,317 smoke alarm batteries

  

Reached 11,280 youth with preparedness information

  

Made 15,336 households safer

  

Installed 42,869 smoke alarms

  

Helped create 15,336 escape plans

 NextCan your family escape in just 2 minutes? You can keep your family safe with 2 simple steps. 

Step 1. Practice your 2-minute drill. Make sure your family can safely escape a home fire in under 2 minutes. 

 

Step 2. Test your smoke alarms monthly. Make sure you and your family are alerted as soon as a fire is detected. If the smoke alarm isn't working, change the batteries.

STORM, FLOOD, AND HURRICANE RESPONSE

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

Recommendations for the Cleaning and Remediation of Flood-Contaminated HVAC Systems: A Guide for Building Owners and Managers

Introduction

During flooding, systems for heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) can become submerged in flood waters. As a result, these systems may contain substantial amounts of dirt and debris and may also become contaminated with various types of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. The following recommendations will help ensure that HVAC systems contaminated with flood water are properly cleaned and remediated to provide healthy indoor environments.

Microorganisms may grow on all surfaces of HVAC system components that were submerged in flood waters. In addition, moisture can collect in HVAC system components that were not submerged (such as air supply ducts above the water line) and can promote the growth of microorganisms. Therefore, all components of the HVAC system that were contaminated with flood water or moisture should be thoroughly inspected, cleaned of dirt and debris, and disinfected by a qualified professional. The following recommendations will help ensure that HVAC systems contaminated with flood water are properly cleaned and remediated to provide healthy indoor environments.

These recommendations will be reassessed periodically and updated as appropriate.

Steps Before Cleaning and Remediation

  • If the building is to remain partly occupied (for example, on upper floors not affected by flood waters), isolate the construction areas where HVAC systems will be cleaned and remediated by using temporary walls, plastic sheeting, or other vapor-retarding barriers. Maintain the construction areas under negative pressure (relative to adjacent non-construction areas) by using blowers equipped with HEPA filters (high-efficiency particulate air filters) to exhaust the area. To ensure complete isolation from the construction areas, it may be necessary to pressurize the adjacent non-construction areas and temporarily relocate the outdoor-air intake for the HVAC system serving the occupied areas.
  • Take precautions to protect the health of workers who are cleaning and remediating the HVAC system. Make sure that workers wear at least an N-95 NIOSH-approved respirator to protect against airborne microorganisms. Increased levels of respiratory protection (for example, powered, air-purifying respirators equipped with high efficiency filters) may be appropriate depending on the level of visible contamination. In addition, when using chlorine bleach or other disinfectants in poorly ventilated environments, it may be necessary to use appropriate chemical cartridges in addition to the particulate filters to protect workers from breathing the chemical vapors. Employers must implement a complete respiratory protection program that meets the requirements of the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.134). The minimum requirements for a respiratory protection program include a written standard operating procedure for the following: selecting and using respirators; the medical evaluation of workers to determine whether they are physically able to wear the respirator selected for use; training and instructions on respirator use; the cleaning, repair, and storage of respirators; the continued surveillance of work area conditions for worker exposure and stress; and a respirator fit-testing program. For tight-fitting respirators, fit-testing is necessary to help ensure that the respirator fits tightly, reducing the potential for leakage of outside air from around the edge of the mask. In addition, employers must provide workers with appropriate skin, eye, and hearing protection for the safe performance of their jobs.

HVAC Cleaning and Remediation

  • Remove all flood-contaminated insulation surrounding and within HVAC system components. Discard these contaminated materials appropriately following applicable Federal, State, and local regulations.
  • Remove contaminated HVAC filter media and discard appropriately following applicable Federal, State, and local regulations.
  • After removing any insulation and filters, clean all flood-contaminated HVAC system component surfaces with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner to remove dirt, debris, and microorganisms. Pay special attention to filter racks, drain pans, bends and horizontal sections of air ducts where debris can collect.
  • After removing any insulation or debris, disinfect all HVAC system component surfaces while the HVAC system is not operating. Use a solution of 1 cup of household chlorine bleach in a gallon of water. Do not mix bleach with other cleaning products that contain ammonia.
  • Conduct the cleaning and disinfection activities in a clean-to-dirty work progression. Consider the use of auxiliary fans to supply “clean” air to the worker position and carry aerosolized contaminant and disinfectant in the clean-to-dirty direction, away from the worker’s breathing zones and towards the point of filtration and exhaust.
  • Follow the disinfection procedure with a clean water rinse. Depending on the amount of debris present, it may be necessary to mechanically clean the HVAC system component surfaces with a steam or a high-pressure washer before using the disinfectant. Gasoline powered pressure washers should be used outside away from air intakes to prevent carbon monoxide hazards. (See NIOSH topic webpage, “Carbon Monoxide Hazards from Small Gasoline Powered Engines

    Note: Remove and discard HVAC system components that are contaminated with flood water, and cannot be effectively cleaned and disinfected. Replace them with new components.

  • After cleaning and disinfecting or replacing the HVAC system components, replace the insulation – preferably with an external (i.e. not in the air stream) smooth-surfaced insulation to help prevent debris and microorganisms from collecting in the future.
  • Make sure that the HVAC system fan has been removed and serviced (cleaned, disinfected, dried thoroughly, and tested) by a qualified professional before it is placed back into the air-handling unit.
  • During the cleaning and remediation process, consider upgrading the HVAC system filtration to the highest efficiency filters practical given the static pressure constraints of the HVAC system fan. This step has been shown to be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the long-term quality of the indoor environment, since it reduces the amount of airborne dusts and microorganisms.

Resuming HVAC Operations

  • After cleaning and disinfecting or replacing HVAC system, have a qualified professional thoroughly evaluate its performance and correct it as necessary before the building is occupied again. The HVAC system performance should conform to the recommendations contained in ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2016, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality.
  • Before the building is occupied again, operate the HVAC system continuously in a normal manner at a comfortable temperature for 48 to 72 hours. During this period, it may be beneficial to open the HVAC outdoor air dampers to the maximum setting that still allows you to provide the desired indoor air temperatures. If objectionable flood-related odors persist after this “flush out” period, reassess by looking for flood-contaminated areas that were not identified earlier and continue the flush-out process until odors are no longer apparent. Replace the HVAC filters used during the flush-out prior to building occupancy.
  • After a building is occupied again, make frequent (for example, weekly) checks of the HVAC system to ensure that it is operating properly. During these checks, inspect the HVAC system filters and replace them when necessary. Gradually reduce the frequency of the HVAC system checks to monthly or quarterly inspections, depending on the routine operation and maintenance specifications for the HVAC system.
  • If no routine operation and maintenance program is in place for the HVAC system, develop and institute such a program. At a minimum, include the following routine procedures: inspection and maintenance of HVAC components, calibration of HVAC system controls, and testing and balancing of the HVAC system.
  • After the building is occupied again, maintain the interior temperature and relative humidity to conform with the ranges recommended in ASHRAE Standard 55- 2013, Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy.

Additional Resources

Additional information about the cleanup and restoration of water-damaged and mold contaminated HVAC systems is available from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). Their pertinent documents (Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation [IICRC S520] and Assessment, Cleaning and Restoration of HVAC Systems [ACR 2013]) are available for purchase at www.IICRC.org/ and http://acrstandard.nadca.com/, respectively. The University of Minnesota has a document titled, “HVAC System Decontamination” available for free off the internet at www.dehs.umn.edu/iaq_hsd.htm. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Protection also has a document entitled “Flood Recovery: Heating and Cooling Systems available at http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/watermgt/GENERAL/FLOODS/fs1957.htm.

References

  1. OSHA [1998]. Occupational Safety and Health Standards (29 CFR 1910.134). Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington, D.C.
  2. ASHRAE [2016]. ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2016: Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. ASHRAE, Atlanta, GA.
  3. ASHRAE [2013]. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55-2013: Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy. ASHRAE, Atlanta, GA.

Is Mold Testing Really Necessary?

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

When left to accumulate, mold can damage buildings and expose the inhabitants of the infested building to health risks such as sinuses, wheeling and exacerbation of asthma. The growing concern over mold growth across the country has allowed for a plethora of speculations, misconceptions and confusion about various aspects pertaining to mold. One of the frequently asked questions by concerned homeowners is whether mold inspection is necessary.

The necessity of mold inspection will entirely depend on the goal of the inspection process. The truth is that if you can see mold in your house, you probably do not require hiring a mold inspector to come and inspect or test for the presence of mold in your house. It is also untrue that mold inspection is necessary to determine the course of action to take after the mold is detected. Most of the time, the cause of mold growth is the presence of moisture in the building and thus the only cause of action to take is to eliminate the source of moisture.

Most of the time, indoor mold growth is obvious and visible for anyone. However, sometimes it is not, especially if the mold is growing behind walls and hidden cavities. Often, it is not easy to determine whether these hidden mold growth are extensive; this may call for mold inspection procedures to determine the extent of the mold formation. At other times, what may appear as mold may not necessarily be a mold growth; a good way to determine this would be through scientific inspection and testing.

Another goal of mold inspection is to determine the cause of mold growth in a building. Most of the time, you can tell when there is a mold infestation in your house but you may be unsure of the precise cause of this mold growth. A professional mold inspection contractor may be in a position to inspect your home for possible sources of moisture. Obviously, if you already know the sources of moisture that may be predisposing your house to mold growth, there is no need to use the services of a mold inspector.

A mold inspection may also be necessary if you are looking to find out the structures that have been infested by the mold growth. As mentioned earlier, some molds grow in hidden spaces and only a scientific inspection may be able to detect these hidden mold growths. By catching hidden mold formation early, you can abate the mold to keep the house from further contamination.

It is advisable to hire the services of mold inspector only after you have physically inspected your home for visible molds. Given that currently there are no standards regulating mold inspectors, it is suggested that you only work with companies that are well established and have the expertise to conduct inspection and recommend remediation if necessary. The most ethical contractors will only suggest an inspection procedure when they really want to rule out other water damage problems, such as mildew, that may appear as mold.

HVAC Problems ? Here Are 5 Problems and Solutions

6/21/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO will make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This can save you money and provide peace of mind.

When your HVAC system isn't cooling your home efficiently and comfortably, there's likely a big problem requiring maintenance, troubleshooting or repair. Here are the 5 most common HVAC problems and solutions.

Noisy Air Vents

Noisy air vents mean trouble. Rattling and clamoring noises are often caused by loose ductwork connections. Wrapping the rattling ducts with metal tape will do the trick.

Loud pops and bangs are usually ductwork expansion and contraction due to temperature variances. Make sure your ducts are well insulated.

Frozen Evaporator

Ice buildup on the evaporator coil brings home cooling to a halt -- even though your A/C may still run. Dirt buildup on the evaporator is a common problem for ice accumulation. Clean the evaporator with a spray can of self-rinse coil cleaner.

High Indoor Humidity

High indoor humidity is one of the most common HVAC and indoor air quality problems during the cooling months. The only practical way to control high humidity in your home is with a dehumidifier. This could be a portable unit, or install a whole-home dehumidifier for optimal results, comfort and efficiency.

Water Leaks

Your central air system produces an unbelievable amount of condensate during the cooling months. So, it's quite common for the drainage system to become clogged and/or malfunction and spill water in your home. You can try to alleviate the clog with a shop-vac, but it's better to call your HVAC technician right away.

Dirty Air Filter

Air filters are among the simplest HVAC devices. Yet, a dirty filter can cause a long list of expensive problems -- including all of the preceding four most common HVAC problems. Moreover, running your HVAC system with a dirty filter drains your energy budget. Change your filter as suggested by the manufacturer.

Worried about your HVAC Compressor and lightning damage ? Check out our blog post HVAC Compressor Damage: Lightning or Wear & Tear

Also check out what SERVPRO of Canton's Air Duct and HVAC cleaning services can do for you.

Questions or in need of service ? Call us today - 330-966-2377

Dentist Abandons Practice After Fire Loss- Will Policy Proceeds be Recovered?

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician | Odor Control Technician | Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician | Water Damage Restoration Technician

An Excerpt from Property Casualty 360 Q&A

Question: Our insured had total fire loss and is insured under a business-owners policy. The insured is a dentist and determined that as of this loss she would abandon this practice as she had other locations that were more productive.

Since there was a direct loss from a covered peril, but no period of restoration to speak of, will the insured recover any policy proceeds under business income coverage?

Answer: In order for business income coverage to be triggered, the insured must suffer an actual loss of business income due to the necessary suspension of operations during the period of restoration. If the dentist is not continuing the business at that location, and it is not going to be repaired or replaced, you are correct that there is no period of restoration, and there is also no loss of income due to suspension of operations, so there would be no business income coverage.

Fire Damage ? Call SERVPRO of Canton's 24/7 Emergency Service line - 330-966-2377

For information on SERVPRO of Canton  fire damage services, click here.

We're On Social Media !

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Canton is active on social media, and we would love for you to follow us!

On our social media pages, you can find relevant safety, cleaning, and remodeling tips, local and industry news, event information, before and after pictures of completed jobs, pictures of our crew, volunteer and fundraising campaigns, and more! 

We are currently on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, with more platforms to come. Social media allows us to interact with our customers, local businesses, and industry partners in new and exciting ways. We love to hear your thoughts and feedback through social media, and we welcome comments on industry topics and content you would like to hear more about. Please click the links below and follow our pages to receive the latest updates from us!

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SERVPRO of Canton

4/26/2018 (Permalink)

Hire SERVPRO of Canton today - 330-966-2377

SERVPRO of Canton takes great pride in being a part of the Canton community. We understand that communities like ours hold America together. We want to do our part to ensure the Canton community thrives by helping those less fortunate, keeping the area safe and making our community the best it can be.

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • Initial Franchise Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our Professionals study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration, fire restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration courses.

The IICRC sets practical standards for restoration and cleaning. The past few decades has seen a rapid advancement in the technology and techniques used in the restoration industry. These advancements allow SERVPRO of Canton Professionals to restore a property back to preloss condition quickly, reliably, and more effectively.

In need of our services ? Hire SERVPRO of Canton today by calling our 24/7 Emergency Service line - 330-966-4483, or Request Help Online

Know What Steps to Take as Spring Storms Occur

4/16/2018 (Permalink)

Beautiful Spring... It can also bring major storm activity and being prepared to protect yourself, your home and contents is important.

Spring-

Green grass, colorful flowers, relaxing rain showers and distant, whispering rumbles of thunder. But it isn't always this peaceful. Consider the notes below, Northeast Ohio, and take to safe steps when dangerous weather is predicted for Summit County, Portage County and/or Canton.

Tornadoes- Spring can be the peak season for tornado activity. Tornadoes occur mostly on warm spring days between 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. However, tornadoes can occur anywhere, at any time of the year, at any time of the day.

The Red Cross has safety steps people should take now to be ready if a tornado warning is issued for someone’s neighborhood:

  • Download the free Red Cross tornado app for mobile devices. The tornado app puts everything you need to know to stay safe in a tornado at your fingertips. The app can be downloaded from the iTunes or Google Play stores by searching for American Red Cross.
  • Know your community’s warning system.
  • Pick a safe room in your home where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. This should be a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
  • Prepare for strong winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
  • Know the tornado danger signs – dark, often greenish clouds, a wall cloud, cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or a roaring noise.

Thunderstorms- Thunderstorms are most likely to happen in the spring and summer, during the afternoon and evening. However, like tornadoes, they can happen anywhere, at any hour of the day. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people every year that tornadoes or hurricanes.

The Red Cross has steps you can take if a thunderstorm is predicted for your area:

  • If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning.
  • Watch for storm signs like darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing winds.
    Postpone any outdoor activities. Many people who are struck by lightning are not where it is raining.
  • Take shelter in a substantial building or a vehicle with the windows closed. Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Stay away from windows.
  • Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.

If you are outside or driving, there are things you should do to remain safe. Information can be found with the following link discussing what to do before, during and after a thunderstorm.

Flooding- Spring can be a time of year for flooding. Communities in the Midwest and south have already seen floodwaters inundate neighborhoods. Snow melt and heavy spring rains fill rivers and streams and flooding can occur. Flash floods occur suddenly when water rises rapidly along a stream or low-lying area. People should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and head for higher ground when a flood or flash flood warning is issued.

Other safety steps include:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

Heed this advice as the Spring weather begins ! Stay safe, Northeast Ohio !

Storm Damage ? Call SERVPRO of Canton at our 24/7 Emergency Service line - 330-966-2377 or Request Help Online

Homeowners policy. Fire coverage. What do I need?

4/4/2018 (Permalink)

In Ohio alone, there were 105 home fire fatalities reported in 2016.

A home fire is reported every 90 seconds in the United States.

One death occurs every 2 hours and 35 minutes, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Now is the time to review your coverage, Northeast Ohio.

But first, consider the five most common causes of house fires:

  1. Cooking equipment is the number one source of home fires and the second leading cause of home fire deaths – usually leaving pots or pans unattended on the stove while you run away to do something for “just a minute.” The NFPA says that 47% of all house fires start this way.
  2. Heating equipment accounts for 15% of home fires, specifically this time of year. Trying to heat the home with space heaters or chimneys that aren't properly cleaned are the leading causes of heating equipment fires.
  3. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment account for approximately 9% of home fires, and can come from a number of different origins. They can be caused by an equipment malfunction, from an overloaded circuit or extension cord, or from an overheated light bulb, space heater, washer, dryer or other appliance.
  4. Intentional fires account for approximately 8% of home fires. The majority of these fires are started outside but still average $1 billion in direct property damage.
  5. Smoking materials are on a downward trend, however, they still account for 5% of home fires and are the leading cause of home fire deaths.

Other common causes include candles, children playing with fire, and Christmas trees.

*Stay tuned for our next blog post covering House Fire Safety Tips for each "cause of fire" listed above.

Taking precaution will reduce the risk of a fire starting in your home, but the bottom line is you need to make sure you have enough coverage in the event of a major fire loss.

Fire insurance is a necessary part of your homeowners policy. If you have a comprehensive homeowners policy, fire coverage will be included. However, there are many different providers and policies, therefore a variety of coverage limits, deductibles and exclusions defining what is, and is not, covered.

If your property is insured for actual cash value, your fire coverage may be less than what is needed to replace your damaged structures and items.

You can, and should, very seriously consider insuring your property with replacement value coverage instead. This type of coverage will cover the cost of rebuilding a house similar to your previous one after a fire, and provides funds to replace damaged appliances, clothing, and furniture with new items.

KNOW WHAT YOU OWN. We highly recommend you do a video recording of your full house and document your contents.

Your homeowners policy provides the following coverage options to protect your home from fire (check your policy to make sure you understand any exclusions):

  • Covers the structure of your home
  • Covers additional structures on your property, including sheds, garages and outbuildings
  • Insures the contents, or your personal belongings, in each of the structures, including furniture, appliances, electronics, clothes, etc.
  • Provides for living expenses if a fire displaces you and your family for a period of time, including rent or hotel expenses

Choosing the right insurance company is incredibly important, but even more important is selecting the best insurance agency to service your needs, and educating yourself on what you are buying.

Does your home have fire damage ? Call SERVPRO of Canton for help - 330-966-2377 or Request Help Online.

Asbestos and the Workplace

3/27/2018 (Permalink)

Non-adherence to OSHA standards could result in larger jury awards against non-compliant companies.

Back in 1972, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law- asbestos risks have beset the industry with decades of health-related liability issues, resulting in ripple effects for insurers. Congress created the Federal Occupational Safe and Health Administration (OSHA), which remains at the forefront of employee safety and has had a significant impact on modern U.S. asbestos litigation.

Beyond the immediate consequences of a regulatory violation, OSHA standards impact today's asbestos litigation in three important ways:

  1. OSHA violations are often cited by plaintiff's counsel arguing for the imposition of a higher degree of culpability
  2. OSHA's applicability can allow certain knowledge to be legally imputed to a defendant (irrespective of what the defendant actually knew)
  3. Because OSHA's regulations control the actions of employers and their employees’ workplace, the adherence or non-adherence to OSHA standards may give rise to arguments for apportioning greater liability to defendants in physical control of the plaintiff's work space.

The current OSHA standard for workplace exposures to asbestos is .1f/cc and has been in effect since 1994.

FEMA Publishes Guidance for Handling Flood Losses

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

There's no easy solution.

The 2017 Hurricane Season was a brutal one. Seventeen named storms struck the United States causing a record-setting $200 billion in damage.

Much of this damage occurred not from high winds or storm surges, but from extended heavy rains that triggered major flooding.

In an effort to facilitate prompt post-inspection advance payments to policyholders, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published an outline of steps, serving as guidance for handling flood losses.

  1. Report the loss to your insurance agent or the insurance carrier, who will in turn assign an adjusting firm who provides an adjuster to assist you with presenting the support for your loss.
  2. The adjuster inspects the property (scoping visit) and may ask if you wish to request an advance payment from your insurer; the adjuster will send you a detailed room-by-room unit-cost estimate of damage and a proof of loss form. If you agree, the proof of loss form should be signed to and sworn to, and upon your insurer's review and agreement, the loss is settled.
  3. If you do not agree, you should work with your adjuster to find a dollar amount for the covered loss that can be agreed on. Also, working with your general contractor is helpful.
  4. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the adjuster, you should contact your adjuster's supervisor by calling the adjusting firm.
  5. The supervisor should work with you to find a dollar amount for the covered loss that can be agreed on.
  6. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the adjuster's supervisor, you should contact your insurance carrier's claims department to discuss the amount difference or coverage issue with the claim examiner.
  7. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the claims examiner, you should complete a proof of loss form for the total amount you are requesting (the disputed amount plus any additional amount), and then send the signed and sworn-to proof of loss form with documentation to support the additional amount you are requesting, directly to the insurance carrier claim examiner.
  8. If the insurer agrees with your documentation, they will pay the amount you are requesting; or they may provide the adjusting firm with their recommendation which may lead to an additional payable amount and a new Proof of Loss. If the insurer disagrees, they will issue payment for any undisputed amount, and a written denial letter will be sent to you fully explaining the reasons for the disallowance (denial) of your claim or any portion of your claim.
  9. If you agree with the denial or no longer dispute the decision, the loss is settled.
  10. For any denial of payment, in whole or in part, which you are disputing, three options remain:
    • You may send an amended Proof of Loss with supporting documentation back to the claim examiner; see STEP 8
    • You may submit a formal Appeal to FEMA
      • A written appeal letter must be sent to FEMA within 60 days of your insurer's denial letter, along with a copy of the denial letter and the documentation you have to support your appeal.
    • You may file a lawsuit against your insurer
      • A lawsuit must be filed within one year of your insurer's first written denial letter and only in U.S. District Court in the district where the property is located at the time of the loss
      • However, once you file a lawsuit, you may no longer appeal your claim to FEMA or file an amended Proof of Loss with your insurer.

Storm or water damage ? Call SERVPRO of Canton's 24/7 Emergency Service line - 330-966-2377 or Request Help Online

With Spring Comes Thunderstorms- Are You Ready ?

3/12/2018 (Permalink)

When lightning strikes near a power line, it increases the electrical current. The extra burst of electricity can lead to computer & appliance damage.

Did you know that 50% of businesses never reopen after a fire or water disaster? SERVPRO of Canton is available 24 hours a day to get YOUR business back up and running, "Like it never even happened."

Thunderstorms are absolutely something to be conscious for. 6.5% of all property claims are due to lightning strikes. Wood and other flammable building materials can easily be ignited when lightning comes in contact or passes through them. In addition, high winds, heavy rain and flooding from a thunderstorm can destroy a business in minutes.

If not prepared for a quick recovery, the lost revenue of your business could mean closure.

That is why SERVPRO has local franchises across the nation. When an emergency situation arises, call one of our highly trained professionals, certified in water, fire and mold clean up and restoration.

SERVPRO of Canton can provide:

  • Over 40 years of experience as leading fire and water cleanup and restoration providers.
  • There are over 1,500 franchises servicing 48 states.
  • More locations for faster responses.
  • Quick response time to help ensure the damage is contained and the restoration process begins promptly.
  • Large loss capabilities - no fire or water damage is too big.

When the next storm hits Canton, OH, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Canton - 330-966-2377, or Request Help Online.

Also consider joining our Emergency Ready Program and reduce business interruption following a disaster. Call for details.

Overlooking Water Leaks in Your Home- A Mold Threat

3/2/2018 (Permalink)

DO NOT overlook water leaks in your home. Beware of mold.

A Chubb survey revealed the majority of homeowners do not view internal water leak damage as the most concerning home threat.

Chubb North America Personal Risk Services Division President, Fran O'Brien, said "the time between when a leak occurs and when it's discovered is the single greatest factor in determining the amount of damage."

Nearly 80 percent of homeowners overlook the threat of costly water leaks while on vacation, Chubb survey found. Something to consider as families leave for Spring vacation.

And on top of the drip, drip, drip of what could start as a minor leak, depending on the duration of your Spring vacation, the drip, drip, drip could result in not only water damage to your home, but mold damage as well. For information on how that works, refer to our blog post, 5 Levels of Mold Remediation.

If you'd like to know more about Chubb's survey, click here to visit their site.

Mold Damage ? Water Damage ? Call SERVPRO of Canton's 24/7 Emergency Service Line at 330-966-2377, or Request Help Online.

Flooding Rains and Toxic Spills, Beware, Ohio

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

With floods becoming more frequent, the risk of toxic spills has increased too, experts warn.

"A report by The New York Times found that of the more than 21,600 facilities across the country that handle large quantities of toxic materials, over 1,400 are in areas the Federal Emergency Management Agency considers to have a high risk of flooding.

The proximity of these chemical sites to areas prone to flooding is a relic from a time when industrial operations benefited from being close to rivers and oceans – the bodies of water allowed for transportation, trade, or even a ready supply of cooling water.

Experts believe that this outdated business practice could lead to a major environmental and health disaster." Excerpt from: Insurance Business Magazine

Reported by the Cleveland Patch in their Feb. 8, 2018 article, Toxic Waste Being Reduced In Cuyahoga, Across Ohio, while Cleveland is one of the top five states with the most toxic releases, reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show less toxic waste is being released. Also reported, Ohio is seeing a new low in toxic waste being disposed.

"There was 102 million pounds of toxic waste disposed of in the Buckeye State in 2016, the lowest total since at least 2003," the author, Chris Mosby, writes.

"Cuyahoga County had about 7 million pounds of waste to dispose of in 2016. More than 47 million pounds of waste was either disposed of, recycled, treated, used for energy recovery or source reduction."

The EPA said the majority of compounds released in our country falls into the "other" category. The largest identified compound being zinc, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reports very little is known about the long-term effects of exposure to zinc.

As Cleveland and surrounding counties are prone to Lake Erie's floods and lake-effect weather, we must continue the movements Ohio is making to improve our toxic waste disposals.

Sources: https://patch.com/ohio/cleveland/toxic-waste-being-reduced-cuyahoga-across-ohio

https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/news/environmental/experts-as-floods-worsen-so-does-the-risk-of-toxic-spills-91979.aspx

Twelve Things You Can Do to Prepare for Spring

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

Done with Winter ? Prep for Spring ? Here are 12 things you can do to prepare your home.

  1. Clean your rain gutters. 
    Wind, animals, and gravity bring sticks, leaves, and other organic matter into your rain gutters, and chances are yours have accumulated their share of detritus over the winter. That's bad news for your home: When downspouts are clogged, rainwater can spill out of your gutters and around the perimeter of your house, putting it at risk for leaks and flooding. Get ready for spring showers by removing the mess from your gutters to ensure that the water will flow freely. Check out our blog post Rain Gutters and Water Problems for clues you may have a problem.
  2. Change filters.
    To maintain optimal air quality in your home, it’s a good idea to replace your HVAC system's air filter seasonally as well as the filter in your kitchen range hood. While you're at it, consider changing the filters in your water purification system. Depending on your water, you might not need to change these as often as your HVAC filters, but it's not a bad idea to check them now. So, go ahead and welcome spring with new filters all around to keep your home clean and fresh, and your appliances in good working order. Need help ? See what SERVPRO of Canton can do to help with our Air Duct and HVAC Cleaning Services.
  3. Check vents.
    As snow melts away from your home’s foundation, it’s a good time to check any vents along the foundation or in the attic. Look for missing or damaged screens, debris, signs of insect or rodent infestation, or other issues, and correct them before they have a chance to become bigger problems later in the season.
  4. Service the Lawn Mower.
    Get your lawn mower ready for the season with a tune-up. If you didn’t do it in the fall, now’s the time to drain and replace oil, sharpen the blades, remove caked-on grass and mud, and lubricate moving parts.
  5. Prep the gas grill.
    After a long winter spent cooped up indoors, you're probably eager for a sunny day and a burger hot off the grill. Get your outdoor cooking station ready for spring by scraping away any rust spots that developed over the winter, cleaning the grill inside and out, and checking the fuel tank hose for damage.
  6. Clean Backyard Furniture
    As the weather warms up, outdoor entertaining may be just around the corner. Prepare for warmer days ahead by thoroughly hosing down all backyard furniture—chairs, tables, and lounge chairs—wiping away cobwebs, and bringing outdoor chair cushions out of winter storage.
  7. Pamper the Lawn
    Once the danger of frost has passed and your grass starts to come out of winter dormancy, it’s time to jump-start your spring lawn-care routine. Address winter damage to your turf by seeding bare patches—although if you do reseed at this time of year, you should avoid spring applications of chemical weed or crabgrass treatments, which can harm new grass. Then get a head start on weed prevention by manually removing broad-leaf weeds before they have a chance to multiply. For cool-season grasses, spread a light application of fertilizer in early spring; for warm-season grasses, fertilization can wait until late spring or early summer.
  8. Groom Shrubs and Trees
    Winter storms can be hard on your landscaping, resulting in broken tree limbs, ragged shrubs, and a garden full of organic debris. Get your yard ready for spring by removing broken or damaged branches, pruning summer-blooming trees and shrubs like butterfly bush and crepe myrtle, and raking up fallen leaves. For information on our Storm Damage services, click here.
  9. Check the Roof
    Take advantage of the sun’s return to check your roof for cracked or missing shingles or tiles, and examine flashing around vents and the chimney for damage. While you’re at it, have the chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
  10. Plant Bulbs
    Spring is the ideal time to plant summer-blooming flowers, which include beauties like dahlias and gladioli. Go ahead and get them into the ground as soon as the danger of frost has passed.
  11. Clean Windows
    Winter storms and rain can leave your windows streaked and dirty. Improve your view of mellower weather and let more sun into the house by cleaning windows, both inside and out. Storm Damage ? Click here.
  12. Test Alarms
    Let the change of season be your reminder to test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors for proper functioning. Change batteries if necessary. Alarms can malfunction as they age, so if yours are older than seven years, consider replacing them.

Happy Spring, Canton ! In need of SERVPRO of Canton services ? Questions ? Visit our website or call us at - 330-966-2377

Is Your Business Ready?

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

When disaster strikes, getting help is now quicker and easier using the SERVPRO Ready Plan.

The best way to reduce business interruption following a disaster is to PLAN for it NOW.

The statistics uncovered by industry research say as many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster. Of the businesses that survive, the majority had a preparedness plan in place.

SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile for YOUR business will minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. With a no cost assessment of your facility, the program's profile includes your emergency contacts, all shut off valves and their locations, priority areas of your facility and more.

The SERVPRO Ready Plan provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

Your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. Call now and take the next step in protecting and growing your business.

SERVPRO of Canton - 800-648-1212

And now with the SERVPRO Ready Plan Mobile App, help is at your fingertips. Call now and ask how to get started.

Preparing for Spring

2/5/2018 (Permalink)

There are dangers posed by wet or flooded basements, so it's important to call a flood damage professional like SERVPRO of Canton.

Well, folks, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, predicting 6 more weeks of winter. While we have trusted the Pennsylvania groundhog for countless years, additional weather-predicting rodents have called for an early Spring this year, 2018. That being said, it is never too soon to begin preparing for the back and forth weather that Spring is.

The most severe of storms Spring can bring are thunderstorms. When warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, thunderstorms can bring lightning, tornadoes and flooding, and if not properly prepared, this can cause extensive damage to your home or business.

Below are 5 ways to prepare your home for storm damage that can cost you hundreds, even thousands, of dollars, if not kept on mind:

  1. Clean your gutters. Clear any debris from your gutters to make sure all the rain water can easily flow off your roof away from your home. When water can't get through your gutters, it pools on your roof and around your house. For further information on this subject, refer to our blog post, "Rain Gutters and Water Problems."
  2. Trim your trees. Some of the worst storm damage is caused by falling trees. A healthy, sturdy tree is unlikely to topple in high winds, but one with dead limbs, or disproportionate growth might. Spring is the perfect time to contact an arborist to evaluate your trees, and if you’ve got large trees on your property, you should have them evaluated yearly. Maintaining them will help you protect both your property and the tree itself.
  3. Back up your sump pump. When heavy rains come, sump pumps can get overloaded. A flooded basement can cause all sorts of damage to your contents, and when water covers wiring or electric appliances, things get dangerous. Make sure your sump pump has a battery backup just in case the electricity goes out. You might also consider installing a second, battery operated pump that will come on if the main one fails.
  4. Gather emergency supplies. American Red Cross recommends keeping a three-day supply of food and water for your family, and a seven-day supply of any medications. You might also add a battery operated radio, and a car adapter for your cell phone.
  5. Grade your yard. If water pools around your home, your foundation is in jeopardy. Ensuring that your yard slopes away from your home will keep rain water from sitting by your foundation and causing damage. Click here for a YouTube tutorial, provided by "This Old House," on how to grade your home. Most lawn companies, however, offer this service.

As we get closer to the rainy season, consider these five steps to keep your home and family safe.

Do you have water problems ? Call SERVPRO of Canton for help- 330-966-2377

Rain Gutters and Water Problems

2/2/2018 (Permalink)

The financial costs of poor drainage can be substantial, and the human health costs significant too.

Most homes have gutter downspouts that lead straight to the ground, which means all the water from the roof is pouring to just one point where it can collect against a home's foundation. This most often causes the water drainage problems and, thus, the damage.

Prevention is important. Here are some clues that you may have a problem with your gutters:

  • Areas where the ground is wet for long periods of time after it rains or the sprinklers are running signal an area where the water is collecting
  • Discoloration and mold growth on a home's foundation and siding or paint is easily falling off your house are indications that water is pooling.
  • Musty smells in your basement or crawlspace signal water may be getting into your home.

Financial costs of poor water drainage can add up, but the good news is that gutter problems are an easy fix.

Do you have water damage in your home or business ? Call SERVPRO of Canton's 24/7 Emergency Service line at 330-966-2366 or request help online at our franchise website.

Renters Insurance and a Squirrel On Fire- What You Need to Know

1/11/2018 (Permalink)

Blow torch the fur, they said. It'll be great, they said. One massive fire later... Better call SERVPRO.

It's been proven, Canton, that using a blowtorch to remove the fur of a squirrel is not an intelligent thing to do. Renter's insurance, however, is absolutely an intelligent thing to do, especially if you insist on using a blowtorch on your rented property to remove the fur of a squirrel rather than use a knife to skin the thing.

$300k renters insurance settlement proves you shouldn’t blowtorch a squirrel, a piece written by Marc Christopherson and published on LiveInsuranceNews.com, tells its readers the crime, the consequences and the solution of blow torching a squirrel on rental premises and setting afire multiple units of the apartment complex. What I want our readers to pay attention to is the insurance company's role in this situation and understand the impact of having renters insurance.

To keep it simple, they believed the blow torch would remove the fur from the squirrel so they could eat it as their main course meal. They did not intend to light on fire their apartment unit as well as those around theirs, but that is precisely what happened, causing $2 million in damage.

Naturally, the complex owners sued the couple for the damage costs and the case moved its way around the appeals court, never reaching an agreement until about 4 years later.

Finally, in August of 2016, the apartment complex and the tenant's renters insurance company agreed on a settlement of $300,000, which would be paid by the insurance company to the complex owners. That is not exactly the $2 million settlement the complex wanted, but you can't have it all, I guess.

The fact to take away from this story is that without renters insurance, who knows where this couple would be now. $300,000 from their insurance policy compared to $2 million from who knows where, having their renters insurance, an annual or monthly price that is very affordable, saved their you-know-what's in the end.

But, seriously, blow torching a squirrel ? Kids, don't try this at home. Actually, I take that back- kids and adults, don't try this ever.

For more information on this story, follow this link.

Do you have fire damage to your home or business ? No matter the cause, squirrel or oven grease, we will help. Call us today at 330-966-2377, or request help online.

Frozen and Burst Pipes- Understand and Take Precaution

12/27/2017 (Permalink)

"Even a small crack in a burst pipe can spew hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water in a day."

If your pipes are exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time, the water can freeze and cause extensive damage to your home. This can be avoided!

Frozen pipes can occur for two basic reasons:

  1. Installation of pipes in an unheated space without adequate protection
  2. Insufficient heat in the area of the freeze

What types of pipes are susceptible this situation? Domestic water piping, HVAC heating and cooling piping and sprinkler piping are all vulnerable if left in cold and unprotected conditions as stated above. Plastic and metal pipes can burst when they freeze, and depending on the size of the pipe, even a small crack in a burst pipe can spew hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water in a day.

Why does a pipe burst, anyway? Well, when water freezes, it expands. The ice expansion will exert pressure against the pipe wall but also pressurizes the water trapped between the ice and a closed valve or fixture. As the water continues to freeze and expand inside the pipe, it causes the trapped water to continue to increase in pressure, thus, just as a can of soda will burst in your freezer, so does your water pipe.

Some common locations where pipes will freeze are outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, fire sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas. These areas include basements, crawlspaces, attics, garages, bathroom sink cabinets and kitchen cabinets. Pipes along exterior walls that have little or no insulation, voids in the insulation or improperly installed building wrap are subject to freezing. You might want to check in on that sooner rather than later. Review the International Plumbing Code by clicking here.

On what you, the homeowner, can do to prevent a pipe burst from happening, refer back to our blog piece, "How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe."

Remember, this stressful situation can be avoided if you think ahead!

With any questions or if your home has been water-damaged, call SERVPRO of Canton on our 24/7 Emergency Service line, 330-966-2377 or Request Help Online.

Call SERVPRO of Canton

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Our franchise professionals are uniquely qualified to help. Need Help? Call us at 330-966-2377

SERVPRO of Canton understands the stress that comes with damage to your home or business, whether it be from fire, water, mold, storm or even biohazards. Our franchise professionals are uniquely qualified to help.

Our team is trained to IICRC standards in fire and water cleanup and restoration. In addition, we have Employee Certification Training, Initial Franchise Training, e-Learnings and Continuing Education Classes. For more information on our training program, click here.

Restoring your property is SERVPRO's first priority, and restoring your property is less expensive than replacing your property.

We respond immediately to your loss with our 24/7 Emergency Service team. With over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency. An immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

For more information on SERVPRO of Canton, visit our Company Profile page.

Need Help? Call us at 330-966-2377, or Request Help Online.

How to Remove Mold And Mildew Stains From Washable Clothes

11/23/2017 (Permalink)

Even if you can't see any spots or growth, if the odor is present there are spores growing and treatment is necessary.

Mold can easily grow on clothes and fabric if you have too much moisture in your home. Clothes made of cotton or other organic materials make great food sources for mold and mildew to live on.

There are a few tips to keep in mind when removing mold from clothes:

  1. It's best to wash your clothes in hot water. Hot water kills mold more effectively than cold water and better removes mold spores and allergens too. Of course make sure you don't use water so hot that it can damage your clothing.
  2. When you're washing your clothes with a mold killing solution, it's best to wash them through at least two full cycles. Then after your clothes have been washed hang them on the line in the sun. The heat from the sun and the sun's ultraviolet light help to kill mold.

There are quite a few solutions you can wash moldy clothes in to get rid of the mold. Some good ones include:

  • Bleach
  • Borax
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Mold killing detergent

For the full article and a step-by-step explanation of the cleaning process, click here.

Does your home or business have mold damage? Call SERVPRO of Canton at 800-648-1212

Include Safety in Your Thanksgiving Holiday

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

Candles cause an estimated 15,600 house fires, 150 deaths, and 1,270 injuries each year. Never leave a candle unattended.

Especially during the holidays, the kitchen is the heart of the home. From baking and decorating cookies to testing family recipes, keeping kitchen fire safety at the top of your mind is a must- certainly when there is a lot of activity and people in one space.

Some Thanksgiving not-so-fun facts:

  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Eve/Day.
  • In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving.
  • Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.

With that said, here are some safety tips for the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday:

  • Stay in the kitchen/home when you are cooking so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Make sure kids stay away from the stove and oven.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Be sure electric cords are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child or pet.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working.

Caution is not a buzz kill. A house fire, on the other hand, is.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday, Canton, OH!

How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

11/14/2017 (Permalink)

A frozen pipe exerts pressure at over 2,000 Lbs/ square inch, enough pressure to rupture almost any pipe filled with water.

Frozen water pipes are a serious risk during very cold winter weather. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure at over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture almost any pipe filled with water, which provides no place for the ice to expand. A burst pipe can spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, and that equates to thousands of dollars of damage to your home. Pipes are most susceptible to freezing when they are located:

  • in an outside wall
  • in a cabinet under a sink (especially near an outside wall)
  • in an unheated crawl space or basement

If your pipe is frozen but not yet ruptured, you must thaw it right away. There are a few thawing techniques to try, depending on where the frozen pipe is located.

Warning: Never use a blow torch or other open flame to thaw a pipe. This presents a serious fire hazard and can damage the pipe.

A frozen pipe that hasn't burst yet often reveals itself at a faucet: when you turn on the faucet and no water comes out or it has slowed to a trickle, there's probably a blockage of ice somewhere in the line. It's time take immediate action: 

  • Shut off the water to the faucet locally or at the home's main water shutoff valve.
  • Open the faucet that is supplied by the frozen pipe; do this even if you don't know where the blockage is.
  • Identify the frozen pipe and locate the blockage: Follow the pipe back from the faucet to where it runs through cold areas, such as an exterior wall or unheated crawl space. Look for areas on the pipe that have frost or ice; it may also be slightly bulged or fissured.

When you find that the frozen—but not yet burst—pipe is behind a wall or ceiling, you've got a challenge on your hands. You have three options for thawing the pipe:

  • Turn up the heat in the house and wait.
  • Cut out a section of the wall or ceiling to access the frozen section of pipe, then thaw the pipe as an exposed pipe (see next slide).
  • Use an infrared lamp to help heat the wall section in front of where you believe the pipe is frozen. Infrared lamps are better than regular heat lamps because they pass through the air without heating it and will direct more energy to warming the wall and frozen pipe.

If the frozen pipe is exposed, you have several options for thawing it. Whichever remedy use use, heat the pipe from the faucet toward the frozen area. This allows water to flow out as the ice melts.

  • Hair dryer: Usually the easiest and safest way to thaw a pipe. If the pipe is close to the wall, place a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help radiate heat onto the backside of the pipe.
  • Heat lamp: You can use an infrared or incandescent heat lamp. As with a hair dryer, if the pipe is close to the wall, use a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help reflect heat onto the pipe.
  • Portable heater: A small, powerful heater works great for warming pipes under a kitchen or vanity base cabinet. Direct the heater onto the frozen section of pipe. It will work like a hair dryer on steroids!
  • Electric pipe heat tape: Heat tape is a ribbon-like wrap that contains electrical heating elements. You wrap it around the pipe you want to heat and plug it into the wall. The temperature of the tape is controlled with a thermostat. Heat tape can also be used to prevent pipes from freezing in critical areas; you can leave the heat tape on the pipe and plug it in only when needed.

There are a few things you can do to prevent the problem of freezing pipes from occurring again:

  • Leave the faucet dripping slightly during the coldest time of the day or night.
  • Open the cabinet doors to allow the heated air from the room to reach pipes inside the cabinet.
  • Wrap the problem pipe with electrical heat tape.
  • Insulate problem pipes with foam insulation wrap, especially those that run through unheated spaces. Note: Insulation merely slows the transfer of heat and will not prevent a pipe from freezing if the surrounding air is cold enough.
  • Heat unheated areas with a permanent heater, just to keep the temperature above freezing, or about 40 degrees F. Warning: Do not use portable heaters, which should never be left running unattended.
  • Remove garden hoses attached to outdoor faucets (hose bibs or sill cocks). If the faucet is not a frost-proof type, turn off the water to the faucet inside the house and drain the exterior section of the pipe and faucet.

Is It Possible to Restore Clothes that Have Been Affected by Mold?

11/9/2017 (Permalink)

If you decide to remove mold from clothes yourself, be sure you do it safely. Refer back to our blog for more on clothing restoration.

Any garment or fabric that has not suffered physical deterioration or discoloration as a result of mold growing on it, and that is washable (typically, a minimum of 130ºF for at least 10 minutes), can be restored completely. That goes for bacterial contamination as well, as evidenced by hospitals daily as they wash linens, gowns, surgical drapes, etc.

Dry cleaning also does a good job when evaluated and cleaned - often twice - by a qualified professional. Again, this assumes no deterioration or discoloration of the garment. Ultimately, sampling and evaluation by a qualified environmental professional can be used to confirm remediation of the garment.

Professional restoration technicians understand the need for quick response. Immediate remediation is key to controlling any escalating costs. The longer the remediation is delayed, the higher the cost of restoration. Certified restorers have the knowledge to test materials and apply the restoration techniques required to return the items to their preloss condition. Look for the IICRC logo to verify IICRC certification.

Does your home or business have mold damage? Call SERVPRO of Canton at 800-648-1212

A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home

11/3/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Canton can respond quickly, working to first contain the infestation and prevent its spread to other parts of the building.

Provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation- Indoor Environments Division, this Guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth.

Contents:

  • Mold Basics
    • Why is mold growing in my home?
    • Can mold cause health problems?
    • How do I get rid of mold?
  • Mold Cleanup
    • Who should do the cleanup?
  • Mold Cleanup Guidelines
  • What to Wear When Cleaning Moldy Areas
  • How Do I Know When the Remediation or Cleanup is Finished?
  • Moisture and Mold Prevention and 
    Control Tips
    • Actions that will help to reduce humidity
    • Actions that will help prevent condensation
    • Testing or sampling for mold
  • Hidden Mold
  • Cleanup and Biocides
  • Additional Resources

Click Here for the full PDF file

Have a Mold Problem? Call SERVPRO of Canton Today – 800-648-1212

Agents: Watch Word Choice in Claims Letters

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

Grammar matters.

The following bullets point out random errors in word choice. You may not lose a client because you make a poor word choice, but you’re not helping the relationship either. Here are several word choice issues to watch for as you phrase your letters:

  • “ABC Insurance Company will make no voluntary payment of your claim…” Voluntary?
  • "e.g., and i.e.," most people don’t know the difference. Use e.g., when you are giving examples; use i.e., to introduce your thought “in other words.”
  • “Exception” and “exclusion” are words that have their own meanings. One adjuster wrote,” the exception that pertains to your loss can be found in your policy and is provided below for your reference. I think the word should be “exclusion.”

Here’s the difference: An insurance policy tells you what is covered.

Exclusions are classes of items that are not covered, such as nuclear war, acts of God, or terrorism. Exceptions are “exclusions to the exclusions, reinstating particular items within a whole category that had been “excluded.” For example, a homeowner’s policy may have an exclusion for all motorized vehicles. The exception to that exclusion might be a lawnmower, because a mower helps service the premises.

  • “Said” – Very legalistic: “Said payment would allow you a discount of $300.” Just write, “This payment would allow you a discount of $300.”
  • “Regard” and “Regards.” Do not write, “This is in regards to…” Write, “This is in regard to…”
  • “Were” and “was.” Take the phrase, “If there were no coverage…” Using “were,” known as the subjunctive mood in English, represents situations contrary to fact.
  • “Confirm.” When you confirm a lunch date, you restate your agreement as to the time and place. In insurance, however, it’s common to see a claims letter that starts, “This will confirm my phone call of 4/11/17." But what does “confirm” mean? Is the writer summarizing the previous call? Documenting it? Confirming is something you do to re-check a future date or agreement.
  • “Advise.” About 80 percent of the time claims people use “advise,” they just mean “tell” or “inform.” No need to use “advise” in a sentence like, “Let me advise you that it will rain today.” There is no “advice” being given. However, if you write, “Let me advise you to bring your umbrella,” you are using “advise” correctly.

"Your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression, and like all impressions, you are in total control." -Jeffrey Gitomer

Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather- Avoiding Water Damage

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

Inspect your roof and gutters on a regular basis — at least twice a year.

With winter on the way, we’re heading into a busy time of year that includes several major holidays coming back-to-back. The last thing we want to worry about is the risk of water damage due to the changing weather.

Here are some wintertime considerations to keep your home safe and reduce, or even prevent, possible insurance risks:

  1. Keep your drains and gutters clean. Exactly how frequently depends on where you live, but you want to plan for twice a year. Clogged gutters can cause a few issues including roof leaks. If your gutters can't drain properly, the excess water can soak through the shingles and eventually start leaking into your home. Don't forget melting snow can also fill up the gutters, causing similar issues!
  2. Inspect your roof for damage and leaks. While you're cleaning those gutters, take the time to inspect your roof. Keep an eye our for cracks, leaks where different parts of the roof meet, and general wear and tear. You should do this also twice a year at least.
  3. Water expands, its mass increasing by about 9% when it freezes. Blocked pipes result in a buildup of pressure, which can cause a burst pipe, equipment malfunction, or contaminated water back-up inside the building. To avoid this, consider insulating your water lines and using heat tape as well.
  4. For extreme weather, it is wise to always leave a tap running at a trickle because running water is less likely to freeze.

Watch for our next blog post on how to defrost a frozen water pipe.

Defending Your Family Business Against Fraud

10/26/2017 (Permalink)

Fraud can occur anywhere within a company and the right controls can limit its successful execution.

In a study done by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the 2016 Global Fraud Study found that "businesses with fewer than 100 employees, which are in many cases family-owned, experience fraud at a rate of 28.8%, compared to the 19.8% experienced by those with more than 10,000 employees."

Smaller business often suffer more from fraudulent activities. It's more difficult to manage the damage it causes in a $5 million company than a $250 million company. This kind of activity also damages the company culture.

The median fraudulent loss suffered by small organizations is the same as large organizations: $150,000. However, while it is the same number, this number takes up a larger percentage of the small business revenue.

Here are 5 ways to defend your small business from fraudulent activities and enforce internal controls:

  1. Segregate financial duties. Create a three-person system of checks and balances: one person opens the bank statements, one prepares the bank reconciliations, and a third reviews all transactions and canceled checks.
  2. Stay away from signature stamps. Family and small businesses should require two signatures for any payment over a certain monetary amount.
  3. Establish routine checks of payroll, supplier and vendor lists by multiple people within the company. The final payroll list should be reviewed by someone other than the person distributing checks and preparing the payroll, and the list of vendors should periodically be checked for unrecognized names.
  4. Educate employees on financial reporting. To increase levels of security, outsource your financial reporting and ensure someone is monitoring for fraud.
  5. Every employee — including family members — should understand protocols in a business from expectations to pay rates and benefits. Clear expectations help avoid a power struggle and will clearly define who is double-checking various aspects of the business.

Fraud can happen anywhere. The more you believe it won't happen to your business, the more susceptible you become to it.

Source: 5 Ways to Defend Your Family Business Against Fraud by Bill Kowalski

Mold Cleanup Information for You and Your Family

10/23/2017 (Permalink)

We invest in the latest equipment and ongoing mold remediation training because it helps us restore your home or business quickly and effectively.

Molds are a natural part of the environment. They can be found anywhere there is water and moisture, so the key to controlling them in and around your home or business is moisture control. If mold is found in your home or business, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem immediately. It is also important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer resources for proper and safe mold cleanup. Click here for more information on mold cleanup information for you and your family.

Mold Damage? SERVPRO of Canton will help- 330-966-2377

Also check out our webpage for our mold remediation process.

Why a Fire Restoration Contractor is the Way to Go

10/20/2017 (Permalink)

When fire & water damage strikes, a fast response is critical. We’re dedicated to responding immediately, day or night, to your Summit County property

A fire restoration contractor can help you restore your home properly after a house fire.

When you hire a fire restoration company, it dispatches several fire restoration contractors, each of whom has the knowledge to use the tools necessary to complete the job. Their skills vary, from reducing the dangers in your home after a fire to preventing secondary water damage. Hiring a fire restoration contractor is an excellent idea because it allows the experts to work on many different things at once, which lets you focus on other things like insurance matters.

A Fire Restoration Contractor’s Equipment

A fire restoration contractor has a variety of tools and the knowledge necessary to use them effectively. One example of this is an ozonation machine. This machine generates ozone, a toxic gas, which fills the house and can partially reverse the effects of smoke odor from embedding itself in everything. These machines are expensive and dangerous, and only a qualified professional should use them.

Getting a referral from your insurance provider is an excellent idea. This ensures that the company you hire has contractors that actively implement sound business practices and can restore your home properly and in accordance with any applicable laws. In addition to this, this method allows you to be sure that the contracting company and your insurance provider can work well together and agree on an appropriate settlement.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 330-650-4486

The Truth About 100-Year Floods

10/17/2017 (Permalink)

The above image includes a diagram demonstrating the magnitude and frequency of water levels during a flood.

Whenever a strong hurricane or storm causes significant flooding, there is often talk of a 100-year flood. People will think a flood of that magnitude occurs once every hundred years, so they should be safe from harm for the next hundred years. Some base their decision to buy flood insurance on this false belief, putting them at risk of a catastrophic loss.

In order to determine the true frequency of floods, scientists will create a history of the area, tracking the frequency of different sized floods and the average number of years between them to develop the probability of a given sized flood in a particular year.

But rain volume alone does not always create the flood. The condition of the ground before the rain is critically important. If the area has received a lot of rain recently and the ground is already saturated, less rain is needed to flood the area. If the area has been experiencing a drought and the rain is falling fast, it is possible for the water to run off instead of soaking into the ground.

Factors such as a river basin and the addition of dams and levees will be considered. Once a flood recedes, high-water marks will be surveyed by scientists to estimate the maximum flows and streamgages will record the height and quantity of flow.

Explained by Property Casualty 360 in their article "The truth about 100-year floods," "The accumulation of data allows for a determination of the annual probability that a given stream or river will exceed its banks. This is known as annual exceedance probability, or AEP. A 1% AEP flood has a 1 in 100 chance of occurring every year, with an average recurrence every 100 years. This is the 100-year flood." They also predict during a span of a 30-year mortgage, "there is a 26% chance of a home in a 1% AEP, or 100-year flood area, of being flooded."

Questions about flood damage? Call SERVPRO of Canton today at- 330-966-2377.

Mobile Homes- Are They Covered?

10/5/2017 (Permalink)

Wind-damaged mobile homes in Oklahoma.

We might be in Ohio, away from all the severe hurricane damage to trailer parks in Florida, Georgia and Texas, but this does not change how the events have changed our perspective on these homes' insurance coverage.

That perspective being: this is important!

Enlightened by Property Casualty 360's article, Mobile homes — A unique insurance exposure, a mobile home serves as both a home and a vehicle. When on the road, authorities treat it as a vehicle, and once settled down in a trailer park, it becomes a home.

Because of the portable and lightweight nature of mobile homes, wind is a significant hazard! Hurricanes and tornadoes, especially, can cause significant damage to mobile homes with the high winds easily flipping, uplifting and damaging the home.

Strap-downs and straps are required to offer stability from these cases, and some newer models use frame anchors tied to the chassis. Some carriers may require a particular type of tie-down for a specific part of the country. Wind zone ratings will indicate how much wind a mobile home can withstand.

With all this in consideration, is the part-vehicle part-home eligible for homeowner's insurance? Coverage is offered for when the mobile home is on the move, covering collision, collision defined as it is in the auto policy.

"As long as the collision happens while the vehicle is being transported there is coverage," Property Casualty 360's article reads. "Not covered is a loss caused by the home making contact with the transportation vehicle that results in damage to the home unless the transport vehicle was in an accident. The coverage applies for 30 days from the effective date on the endorsement. Coverage also includes upset of the home while it is in transit or stranding or sinking if the home is on a licensed ferry line."

Mobile homes require their own coverage needs, meaning its policy will be different from a homeowner's policy. There are carriers that specialize in mobile homes and the coverages they need:
HomeInsuranceWeb.com

Do you have storm damage? Call SERVPRO of Canton at 330-966-2377

Fire Safety: Unplug Household Appliances

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

The consumption of household appliances worldwide is forecast to generate nearly 590 billion U.S. dollars in revenues by 2020.

With electric appliances being so common in modern homes, it's easy to forget that there are very real risks and hazards associated with their use and even non-use.

Being safe when using electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs and other equipment is easy. It only takes one mistake to spark an electrical fire, but simple prevention measures can be effective solutions.

These safety tips can help keep all appliances operating safely and help you prevent unexpected fires in the home:

  • Ensure any appliances you purchase are approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or another reputable consumer laboratory.
  • Unplug unused appliances and store cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.
  • Appliances that generate heat, such as clocks, televisions and computer monitors, should be given several inches of clearance all around for good air circulation and cooling.
  • Do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.
  • Keep all electric appliances away from water such as sinks, bathtubs, pools or overhead vents that may drip.
  • Do not operate any electrical appliance with wet hands or while standing in water.
  • Keep clothes, curtains toys and other potentially combustible materials away from radiators, space heaters, heating vents and other heat sources.

Source: Stephanie Sage of Sage Restoration

To read more on this subject, click here.

Have Questions about Fire Safety? Do you have fire damage? Call Us Today – (330) 966-2377

Hotel Chain Suffers Water Loss: What Will the Carrier Pay?

9/6/2017 (Permalink)

The extent of the destruction will be the most determining factor when calculating price. Most restoration companies bill by the square foot.

Inside a Property Casualty article discussing property damage repairs and what the carrier will cover in replacement costs, there is a question regarding a water loss at a hotel chain with a replacement cost policy. Read below:

Question: Our insured is a hotel that suffered water damage to some of its rooms. The insured is a franchisee and has an agreement with the hotel chain that requires replacement of damaged decor with current decor; all of the rooms on the same floor must be updated to the current decor. The hotel has a replacement cost policy, but the other furniture was not damaged. The carrier's position is that it is not responsible for the non-damaged rooms. What should the carrier pay?

Answer: This scenario differs from the matching issue, about which we often receive questions. The carrier is correct in not paying to bring all of the rooms up to the current decor. There is no loss or damage to the other rooms, and while the rooms would not match each other, this is not something that would be apparent to guests. Nothing in the self-contained rooms themselves would be mismatched.

If the chain requires franchisees to maintain a uniform look to all rooms on a floor, that falls more under the cost of doing business. If the rooms themselves are not damaged, it is not an insurance matter to bring them up to speed with the other rooms.

If items in the rooms themselves are not matched, that would be a different matter. For instance, if a headboard needed to be replaced on one bed but a matching one could not be found, then both headboards should be replaced.

Does your commercial property have water damage? Call our 24/7 Emergency Service number, 330-966-2377, or ask for help online.

Read more on our Commercial Restoration Services.

The Basics of Sewer Backup Insurance

9/6/2017 (Permalink)

Our Professionals are trained to regular IICRC industry certifications, Employee Certification Training, Initial Franchise Training & Continuing Edu.

While shopping for home insurance, it's important to anticipate all the headaches that can go along with home-ownership, including sewer backup.

When sewage flows into your home, it can cause thousands of dollars in damage, and typical home insurance and flood insurance policies won't cover those expenses.

If your sewer's system's pipeline combines storm water and sewage, it's more likely to become overloaded during harsh weather. Tree roots can enter your pipes and cause blockages, or improperly disposing of cooking grease or flushing inappropriate objects down the toilet (diapers, feminine hygiene products or paper towels).

Many homeowners may not realize they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the pipeline between the city sewer main, usually located in the street, and their house.

Sewage backup coverage is available from most insurers as a rider to a home insurance policy. Coverage for $5,000 to $10,000 in damages can run about $75 to $150 a year, according to FEMA, and there's usually a deductible.

If sewage seeps into your home, not only does the spill itself need to be addressed, but your plumbing may need to be flushed or replaced. Duct-work carpets, drapes and walls may be soiled, possibly beyond repair. Ewser backup insurance helps pay for incidental damage, such as cleaning contents, walls and furniture and some policies may cover work on plumbing.

To get the maximum claims payment to which you're entitled, make sure you have photos on hand of what your home looked like before the damage took place. That way, you can provide your claims adjuster with "before" and "after" pictures. Be sure to itemize property losses and save all receipts for repairs and cleaning.

Do you have water damage in your home? 

For help restoring your home after a water loss, call our 24/7 Emergency Service team at 330-966-2377

Water Damage After A Major Storm

9/6/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Canton arrives quickly & starts the water extraction process almost immediately, minimizing the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

When a major storm passes close to the house, the home may suffer water damage that is difficult to repair.

There are many things a family can do to begin repairing any destruction, but a certified professional will likely be needed to get rid of any serious health or structural threats. Contaminated storm surges or floods can carry pathogens and become a breeding ground for mold. If allowed to fester, these mold spores can spread throughout the building and become even more difficult to remove. In many cases,  governmental agencies could condemn the structure if the microbial threat is too great.

The main reason a home is sensitive to water damage is because moisture is difficult to detect once the floods recede. Standing liquids can encourage microbial growth within 24 hours and can saturate all kinds of textiles and seep through drywall. Moisture may collect behind the walls, where mold and bacteria may multiply out of sight.

Professional restoration services can quickly identify what items in the home are compromised by water damage. Normally, anything that is porous may need to be discarded if it has come in contact with contaminated fluids. These items, like mattresses, box springs, pillows and particle board, trap more moisture than other materials and foster the growth of microbes.

A family can prepare for professional cleaning by getting rid of these items before the technicians arrive, but be sure to properly record and itemize the items for insurance purposes prior to disposing. Once professionals arrive at the building, they will be able to track down any pockets of excess moisture and remove them. 

It’s important for a family to hire professionals that are certified through a reputable organization. Technicians trained in this area know how to find compromised areas and do what it takes to restore them.

Flood damage in your home or business? Call SERVPRO of Canton today at our 24/7 Emergency Service Line - (330) 966-2377 or at our Online Help Line.

Why a Fire Restoration Contractor is the Way to Go

9/6/2017 (Permalink)

Our “restore first” mentality gets you back into your home or business quicker and with less disruption to your life.

A fire restoration contractor can help you restore your home properly after a house fire.

When you hire a fire restoration company, it dispatches several fire restoration contractors, each of whom has the knowledge to use the tools necessary to complete the job. Their skills vary, from reducing the dangers in your home after a fire to preventing secondary water damage. Hiring a fire restoration contractor is an excellent idea because it allows the experts to work on many different things at once, which lets you focus on other things like insurance matters.

A Fire Restoration Contractor’s Equipment

A fire restoration contractor has a variety of tools and the knowledge necessary to use them effectively. One example of this is an ozonation machine. This machine generates ozone, a toxic gas, which fills the house and can partially reverse the effects of smoke odor from embedding itself in everything. These machines are expensive and dangerous, and only a qualified professional should use them.

Getting a referral from your insurance provider is an excellent idea. This ensures that the company you hire has contractors that actively implement sound business practices and can restore your home properly and in accordance with any applicable laws. In addition to this, this method allows you to be sure that the contracting company and your insurance provider can work well together and agree on an appropriate settlement.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 330-966-2377

Overcoming Hoarding: 12 Tips

9/5/2017 (Permalink)

There’s obviously the assault on your eyes of the quantity of the clutter, then there’s the appreciation of what a mishmash the clutter is. -WebMD

Compulsive hoarding, also known as hoarding disorder, is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them, according to MayoClinic.org. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of value, occurs.

People with compulsive hoarding may not see it as a problem, and this makes treatment challenging. Below are some tips to overcoming hoarding, pulled from Oprah.com:

  1. Just because you can think of a use for an object, doesn't mean you need to keep it. If you haven't used an object in over a year, if you didn't know you had it until you found it, you can probably live without it.
  2. More is not necessarily better. Try to get rid of the extras.
  3. Categorize items into piles. A pile of things to keep, to donate, to sell or give away, and to throw away, but don't make too many piles and stress yourself out.
  4. Don't overthink. If the decision takes you more than a couple of minutes for a particular object, you're making it too complicated.
  5. Learn to get past the imperfections- you don't have to do a perfect job, just a good enough job.
  6. Only Handle It Once (OHIO). If you pick something up, make a decision and put it where it belongs.
  7. Be brave. The people who gain the most are usually those who are willing to risk the most.
  8. Understand what you're afraid of, and recognize when your fears are irrational. Ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen if I throw this out? How bad would that really be? Then discard it and watch for whether or not that bad thing happened.
  9. Be patient. No one overcomes compulsive hoarding overnight. Take it one room at a time.
  10. Keep the ball rolling. Clean things as they come along before they become overwhelming problems. Once you start, don't stop. Create a pattern, 5 minutes a day, 30 minutes...
  11. Be strict with yourself. Promise yourself a reward for doing it.
  12. Know when to ask for help. Compulsive hoarding is a potentially serious mental health issue. If you can overcome it on your own, great. If you can't, get help from someone who has experienced it.

For further information, visit WebMD.

Winter is Coming: Prepare Your Business for Winter

9/5/2017 (Permalink)

A winter storm can bring with it sleet, ice, high winds, and heavy snow, which can result in sudden unexpected commercial property damage.

September has arrived and before we know it so will Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then the holidays. Is your business ready for the frigid temperatures, the heavy snowfall?

According to Leavitt Group's article, Prepare Your Business for Winter Weather, In the past five years, 15 percent of small businesses have experienced damages caused by water and freezing. The average cost of these claims is $17,000.

Leavitt Group also discusses common types of winter-related damages, including:

  • Damage to contents, inventory and equipment caused by significant temperature changes.
  • Water damage caused by pipes freezing and bursting.
  • Wind damage to roofs, buildings and landscape.
  • Fire suppression efforts delayed by inaccessible fire hydrants (covered by snow or ice)
  • Frozen fire suppression sprinkler pipes, resulting in flooded rooms and malfunction of system.
  • Ice damming, resulting in damage to roof and gutters.
  • Injury to guests and employees.
  • Loss of revenue (business interruption).

Taking preventative actions now while the weather is still warm is incredibly important and could save you business a lot of time and money. Here are some maintenance tips Leavitt Group suggests in preparing your business for winter:

  • Drain water from all systems and equipment not needed in winter months, including landscape sprinklers and air conditioning units
  • Check for and repair damages to the roof. Make sure roof drains are clear and in good condition. Clear rain gutters to ensure proper drainage and make sure downspouts are intact and draining in areas away from foot traffic
  • Inspect the exterior of the building for gaps and seal appropriately to prevent weather and critters from getting inside
  • Trim tree branches and lanscape that might come in contact with the building in the event of heavy snowfall and ice accumulation
  • Make sure the heating system has enough fuel for unexpected conditions and a back-up in case of emergency
  • Maintain a temperature of at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit in unoccupied facilities, attics and basements
  • Make arrangements for snow removal with a reputable company before winter starts- don't wait until the storm hits and you are buried under a pile of snow. Discuss snow removal from the roof. To avoid damages from snow removal equipment, mark curbs, fire hydrants, drains, speed bumps and other features that may not be visible under a layer of snow
  • Make sure you have sand, ice melt and shovels on hand for winter maintenance that won't be covered by your snow removal contractor

Begin checking off your maintenance needs while the weather still allows for it. Stay tuned for our next blog for commercial property owners, "Developing a Business Continuity Plan for the Winter Weather."

Have questions? Call our office at 800-648-1212 or our 24/7 Emergency Service number at 330-966-2377.

Storm Damage: Validating Claims Through Weather Data

9/5/2017 (Permalink)

In the past year, the U.S. was hit with 8 major storm and climate-related events that each caused more than a billion dollars in property damage.

Data and analytics can go a long way in improving inefficiencies and processes, weather data, to be specific, holding a significant value.

Extreme weather events will always occur and certain areas of the country are more susceptible than others. For the insurance claims industry, this data is especially critical to verify claims following an extreme weather event.

According to Aite Group, "79% of insurers believe that data and analytics will have a significant impact on meeting the needs of [property and casualty] (P&C) customers."

Insurers have several options in capturing data to enhance insurance claims. Drone assessment is among the list for property damage assessments. Pairing weather data with drone services and their accurate imagery of a site could add validity to a claims decision.

Lightning and hail data and additional advanced weather data technologies are imperative for insurance companies in improving internal efficiencies as well as customer operations.

Do you have storm damage? Call us at our 24/7 Emergency Service number, 330-966-2377.

Does Your Home or Business Have Mold?

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

almost all molds that grow in the built environment can produce triple helical glucan, both of which are toxic to lung cells.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent. 

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

Follow These Tips If You Suspect Mold In Your Home or Business

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

Indoors, mold needs moisture to grow; it becomes a problem only where there is water damage, elevated and prolonged humidity, or dampness.

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home or business. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your building.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of Canton for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of Northern Summit County, Portage County and Canton specialize in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (330) 966-2377

Creating a Killer Facebook Ad Campaign for Your Business

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

Marketing on Facebook doesn't have to be confusing and intimidating. Here are some things to consider when developing your Facebook Ad campaign, a simple and straightforward strategy that will expose your message to your ideal market and present a relevant message that drives prospects to take action:

  1. Target your audience. Identify your ideal client, find people who had had “liked” groups related to the subject, target a specific ZIP code or individuals who fall between certain ages. Facebook allows you to filter these and more demographics.
  2. The ideal budget. Facebook allows you to start your campaign budget at $5. As you progress, so can your investment.
  3. The perfect Facebook Ad. What should it look like?
    • Don't mention pricing. Studies show that ads without price have 10% higher conversion rates.
    • Add a face to the ad.
    • Choose images that show the desired result of your clients, where they will be after your work.
    • Test Red vs. Blue. Studies also show ads with red and blue have 20% higher conversion and click-through rates.
    • Use a "call to action" button, such as "Apply Now."
  4. Where should the clicks go? You do not want to send your prospects to the home page of your website. Direct your traffic to a landing page where they can download a report, where the only action they can take is the next step in the process.

For details and graphics on this subject, click here to read the main article.

Cybercrime From An Insurance Perspective

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

MyDoom is considered the most expensive virus in the world and in cyber security history, having caused an estimated financial damage of $38.5B.

We've heard the stories. Cyber hacks influencing the presidential election, ransomware attacks across the globe. We might even think the hackers are winning the war- the cyber war, that is.

Insurance Business America discusses this matter with an insurance perspective in a recent article, interviewing James Shaheen, cyber risk practice leader at Integro.

According to Shaheen, with every attack, our cyber security experts learn something new, and counter every attack with a defense. It will take us some time, though, to figure out what we need to implement, where the gaps are in the security, to fully protect our data.

When it comes to insurance, Shaheen believes we are doing well in the protection of Protected Health Information (PHI), Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and the Payment Card Industry (PCI), but the concern is what he calls "second-tier data."

Second-tier data, or trade secrets, is what drives businesses, and is also what is not well protected by insurance from these cyber attacks.

Shaheen claims at Integro this is an issue being addressed and developed. How much would such a development be worth to your business?

To read Insurance Business America's article and for related stories, click here.

6 Ways to Protect Your Home From Flooding

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

The erosive force of moving water can drag dirt from under a building's foundation, causing it to crack and tumble.

Flooding can strike anywhere and at any time, and floods are the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the U.S. Ignoring the risk means a destroyed home and belongings, and mold soon follows that.

Your first step in avoiding this risk is knowing the flood level of the home you're buying- an official measure of how high floodwaters could rise. You can find this information at FEMA's online flood maps.

Your next steps in protecting your home from flooding should include these 6 measures:

  1. Safeguard in-home electrical and climate systems. Raise switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring at least a foot above the expected flood level in your area. Modify your furnace, water heater, and any other anchored indoor equipment.
  2. Anchor and raise outdoor equipment. Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units and generators should be anchored above your flood level. Unanchored fuel tanks can break free, and severed supply lines will contaminate surrounding ground.
  3. Modify water valves. A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up in your home. Install an interior or exterior backflow valve.
  4. Determine how water flows around your house. The grading or slope of the house, the angle of the ground, can direct water to or away from your house. This is easy to determine by watching how water flows or accumulates during an average rainstorm.
  5. Opt for a major retrofit. If your home floods frequently and moving isn't an option, you may need to take drastic and costly measures. Either raise your home on piers or columns so the lowest floor is above flood level, wet-proof your home by installing foundation vents that would allow water to flow through the building instead of rising inside, or do some dry-proofing by applying coatings and other sealing materials to your walls to keep our floods.
  6. Take last-minute measures as waters rise. Clear gutters, drains and downspouts. Move furniture, rugs, electronics and other belongings to upper floors. Shut off electricity at the breaker panel. Elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks if they're in harm's way.

If you have any flood damage in your home or building, call SERVPRO of Canton today at our 24/7 Emergency Service Line - (330) 977-4483 or at our Online Help Line.

5 Levels of Mold Remediation

8/28/2017 (Permalink)

Molds destroy the material they feed on, including walls, carpets, insulation and ceilings. Unless dealt with and removed, it will continue to grow.

When dealing with mold contamination in your home it can be difficult to decide when a mold remediator is needed or what you can take care of yourself.

In the following 5 levels, you will have a guideline to go by when removing mold from your home:

  1. Level I (10 square feet or less)
    Mostly found on ceilings or baseboards. Level I mold contamination may be cleaned without hiring a mold remediator, but there are several important safety precautions that you need to know:
    • Do not attempt cleaning mold if you suffer from asthma, allergies, or immune disorders
    • Wear gloves, eye protection, and an N95 disposable respirator
    • Vacate from your work area any infants less than 12 months old, individuals recovering from recent surgery, anyone with a suppressed immune system, or people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma, sever allergies, emphysema, etc.
    • Contaminated materials that cannot be cleaned should be removed from your home in a sealed plastic bag to prevent an infestation in another part of your home
    • Clean your work area when you’re done with a damp cloth or mop
    • Make sure all areas are left dry and visibly free of mold contamination
  2. Level II (10-30 square feet)
    About the size of one wall panel. To clean, the same precautions used in Level I should be taken.
  3. Level III (30-100 square feet)
    The size of patches of mold on several wall panels. To clean, the same precautions used in Level I and II should be taken, as well as:
    • Seal ventilation ducts/grills in the work area and areas directly adjacent with plastic sheeting
    • Vacate everyone from your work area until work is completed.
  4. Level IV (greater than 100 square feet)
    An infestation depending on how much greater than 100 square feet may require the assistance of a mold remediator. If not, the same requirements should be followed as were needed in levels I, II, and III along with the following:
    • Every worker must be trained in the handling of hazardous materials and equipped with full face respirators with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cartridges, with disposable protective clothing covering both head and shoes.
    • Make sure workers completely isolate their work area from the rest of your home with sheeting sealed with duct tape, including ventilation ducts/grills, fixtures, and any other openings.
    • Air monitoring should be conducted prior to moving back into your home to determine if it is fit to reoccupy.
  5. Level V (Air Conditioners and HVAC Systems)
    All remediation procedures for air conditioning units and HVAC systems should be left to professionals. Procedures for level V remediation for areas larger than 10 square feet are the same for all previous levels with the following precautionary measures added:
    • Shut down the HVAC system prior to remediation
    • Growth-supporting materials that are contaminated, such as the paper on the insulation of interior lined ducts and filters, should be removed and sealed in plastic bags
    • A variety of biocides – broad spectrum antimicrobial agents designed to prevent the growth of microorganisms – are recommended by HVAC manufacturers for use with HVAC components, such as cooling coils and condensation pans. HVAC manufacturers should be consulted for the products they recommend for use in their systems.

Do you have mold in your home or business? With questions or if you need a mold remediator, call our 24/7 Emergency Service line at (330) 966-2377. Request help online by clicking here.

Fire Damage Cleanup

8/28/2017 (Permalink)

We have the knowledge and the specialized equipment to get your property back to pre-fire condition.

Fire damage clean up is an arduous process that often requires the proper industrial equipment and time. A standard vacuum cleaner is rarely enough. In addition, time is of the essence. In the wake of a fire, when victims are faced with insurance matters, arrangements for interim housing, and possible health concerns, homeowners are unlikely to make salvage efforts the top priority. Sadly, this could present a costly dilemma. In these cases, the services of a certified fire restoration company are invaluable.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) states that delays in fire damage clean up can have serious consequences. In addition to the obvious devastation created by heat, flames, and soot, water and smoke are powerful contaminators and destructors in their own right. Immediate intervention is critical to minimize exposure to these damaging agents in hopes of limiting restoration costs.

In addition to the structural destruction caused by the flames, acidic soot alone can cause irreparable harm to a home’s interior and belongings. But the problems don’t end there. Odor removal can present another challenge, and ceiling or box fans alone are not always powerful enough to disperse the smell of smoke. Water damage caused by first responders in an effort to extinguish the inferno further complicates matters.

For more information on fire cleanup and how to choose a restoration firm to do the damage cleanup, visit the IICRC website.

Do you need fire damage cleanup? Call our 24/7 Emergency Service line at (330) 966-2377, or request online help.

Do You Need a Mold Remediator?

8/24/2017 (Permalink)

Mold spores thrive on moisture. They can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water, producing allergens and irritants.

If you suspect mold in your home or business, you're probably anxious to get the problem taken care of as soon as possible. If you have small children, older adults or animals, it is even more important to effectively rid your home of mold so it doesn't affect their health.

When choosing a reliable mold remediator, it is important to consider the following tips:

  1. Only choose mold remediators that are certified. To ensure the highest quality of service, go with mold remediators that perform all of their own inspections and remediations. Generally, those who have been in business for a while and who have worked in a variety of settings including commercial and residential areas will be able to perform the most reliable services.
  2. Find a mold remediator that will inspect your home before they begin work. Later, the mold remediators should perform both an air-quality check and a swab check to test for mold. SERVPRO, among other mold remediation companies, will test for asbestos and lead as well as different types of mold. Make sure that contact information is included in the proposal so you’ll know who to get in touch with in case of problems. 
  3. Check for a warranty. Check that the mold remediator also offers to come back and redo any area that shows signs of mold within six months to a year.

It is important to take some extra time to choose the best mold remediator to avoid further serious problems in your home or business.

If you are experiencing troubles with mold, call us at our 24/7 Emergency Service number, 800-648-1212 or request help online.

Water Back-Up, Overflow or Discharge? Homeowners' Claims

8/22/2017 (Permalink)

Last month we talked about how to protect your home from flood damage. Hopefully the tips served you well, but here are some tips on what causes a water back-up or overflow and whether or not there is coverage for such a loss.

Is it a water back-up, an overflow or discharge?

A back-up is a build-up caused by a stoppage in the flow. Something prevents the water from continuing down its path, so it is forced to reverse direction and go back the other way.

  • Causes: A collapsed drain pipe can cause a back-up because water can no longer proceed down its normal course. A blockage can also cause a back-up. The blockage prevents the water from going forward. Both of these factors force the water to reverse direction.

An overflow is when excess or surplus is not able to be accommodated by an available space.

  • Causes: The space is filled to capacity and water then spreads beyond its limits. A bath tub left running creates an overflow, as well.

Discharge is what happens when water is released from plumbing or appliances and then floods your home.

  • A leaking pipe discharges water from the hole in the pipe.

The ISO HO 00 03 provides coverage for water damage that is the result of a discharge or overflow of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or household appliance if it is on the resident’s premises. This covers:

  • Pipes that leak behind walls
  • Floors, or ceilings
  • Washing machines and dishwashers that overflow
  • Toilets that overflow
  • Storm drains off premises that overflow due to high rains or floods

It is important to note that a sump, sump pump or related equipment, or a roof drain, gutter or downspout or similar equipment is not considered a plumbing system or household appliance.

A discharge or overflow caused by a storm drain, water, steam, or sewer pipe is covered as well if it is off the premises.

How to Keep Safe During a House Fire

8/17/2017 (Permalink)

In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It takes minutes for smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.

You may not think you'll ever fall victim to a house fire, but it's better to be prepared and know what to do to avoid panicking if it happens to you. To increase your chances of survival, follow these steps:

Keeping safe in your house during a fire:

  • React as soon as you hear your smoke alarm go off. If you hear your smoke detector or see fire, exit your home as safely as possible. Do not stop to grab your belongings. Your only concern should be to get out as quickly as possible.
  • Safely exit through doors. If you see smoke under the door, do not open the door to escape. If you do not see smoke, put the back of your hand to the door to feel for heat. If it is cool, open slowly and pass through. If you see fire, close the door to protect yourself from the fire and search for another exit.
  • Prevent yourself from smoke inhalation. Get low to the floor and crouch or crawl on your hands and knees to evade the toxic smoke, avoiding disorientation and unconsciousness. If you must walk through the smoke, cover your nose and mouth with a shirt or towel.
  • Stop drop and roll if your clothes catch fire. Immediately stop what you're doing, drop flat on to the ground and roll around until you smother the fire. Cover your face with your hands as you're rolling to protect yourself.
  • Ward off the smoke if you can't get out. If you cannot escape, you can always reclaim some measure of control and stay safe, even if you feel trapped. Close the door and cover all vents and cracks with a cloth or tape to keep the smoke out.
  • Call for help from a second story window. If you are trapped in a second story room, do what you can to get yourself to an area where people will be able to hear or see you. Take a sheet- preferably white- and hang it out the window to signify you need help. Be sure to close the window to the fresh oxygen doesn't draw the fire towards you. Put a blanket or towel at the base of the door to prevent the smoke from coming underneath.
  • Escape from a second story window if you can. If you have an escape ladder, toss it down the side of the house. If you must go out the window, look for a ledge you can get yourself onto and hang down from your hands, facing the side of the building. Let yourself fall to safety.

What to do once you exit your home:

  • Do a head count. Make sure everyone is accounted for. If anybody is missing, only re-enter the building if it is safe to do so. Tell the first responders immediately on their arrival if you are afraid someone is missing.
  • Call 911. Use your cellphone or call from a neighbor's house.
  • Do an injury assessment. After making the call and the resources are coming, check yourself and your family for any injuries. If there are, do what you can to address them until the fire department arrives.
  • Get away from the structure. Keep a safe distance between you and the fire.

Preventing future house fires:

  • Form and practice your family's escape plan. Have a plan of escape in the event of a fire. Practice at least twice a year to get comfortable with the routine. Plan to find two ways to escape from each room. Practice escaping by crawling, being in the dark and having your eyes closed.
  • Make sure your home is prepared. Check your smoke detectors are working and always have fresh batteries. Make sure your windows can easily be opened and that screens can be quickly removed. Everyone in your family should be able to open and close all windows. Buy reliable collapsible ladders in case of higher level escapes.
  • Practice safe behaviors. Teach your children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Always be in the kitchen when you're cooking. SO not smoke in the house and make sure you put out your cigarettes entirely. DIspose of any electronics with frayed wires. Avoid lighting candles unless they're directly in your line of vision. Always check that the gas is turned off as well as any other wired electronics. Finally, try to use a lighter instead of matchsticks.

For more information as well as a community Q&A, click here for the source of the above information.

HVAC Compressor Damage: Lightning or Wear & Tear?

8/15/2017 (Permalink)

In the summer months, when severe weather is most prevalent, property carriers see an increase in claims for lightning damage to HVAC equipment, and most often to the compressor.

HVAC compressor damage due to lightning is commonly misdiagnosed. More often than not, an HVAC claim that is originally reported as damaged by lightning is ultimately found to have suffered damage due to some other cause of loss.

No matter the time of year, one of the most common culprits of compressor failure is mechanical damage due to age-related wear and tear. Nearly 43% of all compressors (regardless of how the damage is initially reported) fail due to this cause of loss.

Considered the “heart” of the HVAC system, the compressor is not only critical to proper system function, but can often be impossible to repair and expensive to replace. Moreover, without understanding the root cause of compressor failure, the simple act of replacing this component may not ultimately resolve the overarching issue. When handling HVAC claims, it is critical to understand what caused the compressor to fail before agreeing on a scope of repair for settlement.

For additional information on mechanical damages versus electrical damages, click here to the source of this information.

Vehicles After Flooding: Filing a Claim

8/14/2017 (Permalink)

No region is safe from flooding. All 50 states are subject to flash floods.

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, it is important for consumers to be aware of the warning signs of a flood damaged vehicle. If you are in the market to buy a used vehicle, be sure to inspect it carefully.

The following tips on filing a claim will help those with flooded vehicles after a storm:

  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Have your policy readily available and find out whether the damage is covered under the terms of your policy and how long you have to file a claim.
  • Your automobile insurance policies cover flooding if you have purchased comprehensive coverage. If you only have liability coverage, your vehicle is not covered for flooding.
  • Minimize your losses and document the damage. Take photos of any damage and then make whatever reasonable temporary repairs that are needed.
  • Remember that flooding is generally not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Flood insurance is a separate policy through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program and some private insurers.
  • Ask for identification from any agents, adjusters or contractors. Do not sign any contracts for repairs until you have been instructed to do so by your adjuster and you have called the Better Business Bureau in your area.
  • Don’t be afraid to file a claim. Storms are considered “Acts of Nature” and an insurance company cannot cancel, refuse to renew or increase the amount of a premium on a homeowners policy based solely on this type of incident.

Do you have storm damage? Contact our SERVPRO franchise at (330) 966-2377 or request help online.

Is Hazard Insurance the Same as Homeowners?

8/10/2017 (Permalink)

For maximum protection against the unexpected, a reliable homeowners insurance policy is the way to go.

As a home owner, you will likely have a need for this insurance at some point in your lifetime. Lending companies tend to use the terms "hazard insurance" and "homeowner's insurance" interchangeably, but there is a definable difference between the two.

Hazard insurance, which protects you financially from the effects of damage to the structure of your home from hazards such as natural events, vandalism, and fire, is usually bought PART OF your homeowner's insurance policy. Generally hazard coverage is not sold separately but is combined with liability and contents coverage as a package.

There are certain hazards that are not covered by homeowner’s insurance and they are listed as exemptions in the policy.  Examples include damage caused directly by pollution, floods, and earth movement. Open perils policies provide insurance coverage for any reason not specifically excluded in the policy.  A named perils policy, on the other hand, provides coverage only for the perils listed.  A homeowners named perils policy typically covers 16 named perils including fire, theft, windstorms and vandalism. 

A standard homeowners HO3 policy covers the structure of your home under open perils and contents such as clothes, furniture, appliances and books under named perils.  A standard homeowners HO5 policy covers the structure and contents under open perils. Many insurance companies have modified versions of the HO3 and HO5 policies so if you have questions about your homeowners policy coverage, be sure to speak with your insurance agent.  

For additional information from a related article, click here.

Determining Death Coverage: Are Bodily Fluids Considered a Pollutant?

8/9/2017 (Permalink)

Are bodily fluids considered a pollutant?

It has been held that living, organic irritants or contaminants do not constitute pollutants under the policy definition because the irritants specifically identified in the definition, namely, "smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemicals and waste," are primarily inorganic in nature.

The current trend is to view pollutants and the pollution exclusion in connection with environmental issues. Therefore, bodily fluids are not a pollutant, meaning there is coverage in many instances.

For further details from a related article, click here.

Refer back to our blog for our next post, "Is Hazard Insurance the Same as Homeowner's Insurance?"

Windstorm Damage: Whose Insurance Covers the Loss?

7/28/2017 (Permalink)

Straight-line winds are common with the gust front of a thunderstorm or originate with a down-burst from a thunderstorm.

Yes, windstorm damage is covered on a standard homeowner's insurance policy. But whose homeowner's insurance policy covers the loss?

First, it is important to understand what windstorm insurance policies cover. Windstorm insurance is a special type of property and casualty insurance designed to cover damages caused by high winds. Windstorm insurance may cover damages from hurricane-force winds, tornadoes, hail and other weather events that are accompanied by wind gusts that exceed 35 miles per hour.

A hypothetical tree falls on your house. 

  • Scenario 1: your tree falls on your house. Your homeowner's policy will provide coverage up to your policy limits, after you pay the deductible. The coverage extends to cover damage to your main home, garage, shed or other additional buildings and structures such as a fence. If there is damage to the structure of the house, debris removal is also covered, up to policy limits.
  • Scenario 2: your tree falls on your neighbor's house. The basic rule is that the insurance policy of the property that was damaged pays for the loss.
  • Scenario 3: your neighbor's tree fell on your house. Your homeowner's insurance policy should pay for any damage per the property claim.

Please note that homeowners insurance usually won't cover a loss caused by negligence or a maintenance-related issue. So if the tree was rotting and ready to fall down before the storm, homeowners insurance likely would not cover the damage the tree caused to your home.

Canton, Ohio Smoke and Soot Cleanup

12/1/2016 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Canton, Ohio Home.

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
330-966-2377

IICRC Certified Firm

11/15/2016 (Permalink)

We are an IICRC Certified Firm

SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

Restoring Your Canton, Ohio Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

10/13/2016 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges

Flooding and water damage events at Canton, Ohio commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

Faster to your Canton, Ohio Water Damage Event

10/13/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration service in the Canton area.

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 330-966-2377

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Northern Summit County

SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. 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.

September is National Preparedness Month

9/7/2016 (Permalink)

Consider ways that you can prepare for potential emergencies during National Preparedness Month

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? National Preparedness month encourages individuals be prepared for potential emergency situations. The more that you are prepared for the unexpected, the more equipped you will be to deal with situations quickly and effectively and to limit the damage. AT SERVPRO we understand the challenges and stresses of unexpected disaster. National Preparedness Month is a great time to put together readiness plans for potential emergency situations that could affect your home or business. It is a time to consider how your family could stay in touch if separated when an emergency occurs, how you can work together with your neighbors and community in a disaster situation, and how you can assist those who are particularly vulnerable during an emergency, such as children and older adults. The best way to mitigate a disaster is to be prepared! You can find lots of great resources at https://www.ready.gov/september.

Follow us on social media

6/16/2016 (Permalink)

Follow us on social media!

SERVPRO of Canton, Ohio is active on social media, and we would love for you to follow us! On our social media pages, you can find relevant safety, cleaning, and remodeling tips, local and industry news, event information, before and after pictures of completed jobs, pictures of our crew, volunteer and fundraising campaigns, and more! We are currently on Facebook and LinkedIn, with more platforms to come. Social media allows us to interact with our customers, local businesses, and industry partners in new and exciting ways. We love to hear your thoughts and feedback through social media, and we welcome comments on industry topics and content you would like to hear more about. Please click the links below and follow our pages to receive the latest updates from us!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SERVPRON.SummitCounty

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/restoration-resources-inc-dba-SERVPRO-n-summit-county-portage-county-and-canton

Factors to consider when faced with a biohazard cleanup

4/7/2016 (Permalink)

If you are faced with a biohazard cleanup, our professional, compassionate staff can guide you through the process.

If you are faced with a biohazard cleanup, such as a trauma scene, sewage backup, or hoarding situation, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Avoid exposure to any contaminants present. There are serious health risks associated with exposure to blood, bodily fluids, animal waste, sewage, and other biohazardous materials. Treat all potentially hazardous materials as if they are contaminated.
  • Assess ways to secure your personal safety and contain the situation, such as turning off the HVAC system and avoiding standing water or sagging ceilings.
  • Before attempting to clean up a trauma scene yourself, particularly when it involves a loved one, consider the long-term mental and emotional consequences of doing so. The cleanup process can be emotional and traumatic in itself. Biohazard cleanup professionals are trained to deal with trauma situations with compassion and discretion.
  • If you would like assistance with a biohazard cleanup, our trained professionals can assess the situation, provide a no-cost estimate, and clean the affected areas and dispose of the waste in accordance with federal and state regulations.

Flood Safety Awareness Week is March 13-19

3/17/2016 (Permalink)

Floods can be unpredictable and cause a lot of damage. Stay informed and prepared as flood season approaches!

March 13-19 is Flood Safety Awareness Week. According to the National Weather Service, "Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather related hazard. The main reason is people underestimate the force and power of water. More than half of all flood related deaths result from vehicles being swept downstream. Of these, many are preventable." As flood season approaches, now is a great time to review such topics as the dangers of flooding, driving through water, and flood insurance. Additional resources are available at http://www.weather.gov/okx/FloodAwarenessWeek2016

SERVPRO's Reconstruction and Remodeling Services

2/18/2016 (Permalink)

A finished kitchen remodel that was done by our reconstruction team!

Did you know that in addition to water mitigation, fire cleanup, and mold remediation, SERVPRO also offers reconstruction services? After our pros are done with drying out a home or removing smoke-damaged materials, we can put homes back together just like they were before the damage occurred. The convenience and savings of working with one company to assist with mitigation and repairs can be significant. In addition to reconstruction after damage, we also do general home remodeling. Have you been considering remodeling your kitchen? We can help. Does your bathroom need an update? We do that too. From drywall to painting to framing and much more, we can assist with your reconstruction project!

Here are just some of the reconstruction services SERVPRO offers:

  • Drywall repair and installation
  • Floor repair and replacement
  • Kitchen and bath installation and remodeling
  • Cabinet and trim replacement
  • Insulation installation
  • Ceiling repair
  • Fixture replacement
  • Painting

Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 3: What to do if a Frozen Pipe Bursts

2/2/2016 (Permalink)

Damage resulting from a pipe burst due to a frozen pipe

Taking preventative measures and noticing frozen pipes in time to thaw blockages are key to avoiding pipe bursts. Unfortunately, sometimes disasters occur despite our best efforts at prevention. In the unfortunate event that a frozen pipe does burst, you can mitigate the damage by following these important tips:

  • Turn off the main water supply immediately.
  • If the water is flowing near any electrical outlets or conductors of electricity, you should also shut off the electricity.
  • Contact a plumber to repair the burst pipe.
  • Remove the water. Use buckets, towels, and a wet/dry vacuum to remove water from the affected area.
  • Act quickly! The longer there are wet materials in your home, the greater chance there is for mold, warping, and more serious damage.
  • If you feel that the water damage is too much for you to handle on your own or you would like assistance in the cleanup, contact the qualified water mitigation specialists at SERVPRO to assist you.

If you or someone you know is faced with a pipe burst, the experts at SERVPRO can help to mitigate the damage and restore your home!

Sources:

http://www.policyexpert.co.uk/insurance-blog/house-home/pipes-burst-freeze/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/what-to-do-if-a-frozen-pipe-bursts-in-your-home/2015/02/19/af9b87be-b857-11e4-aa05-1ce812b3fdd2_story.html

Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 2: Thawing Frozen Pipes

1/5/2016 (Permalink)

Act quickly if you discover frozen pipes in your home to avoid pipe bursts.

Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 2: Thawing Frozen Pipes

In the previous blog post, we discussed how to prevent frozen pipes in order to avoid a pipe burst. If a frozen pipe occurs despite your best efforts at prevention, there are still steps that you can take to thaw the affected pipe before a burst occurs and the situation becomes a much bigger issue. You will notice a pipe may have frozen when after turning on a tap no water or a very small trickle comes out.

  • The first thing you should do is turn off the main water supply. If you don’t already know where your main water supply is, locate it now in order to be able to act quickly if you ever find yourself in a situation where your pipes have frozen.
  •  Locate the frozen pipe by turning on taps one at a time to see if water flows out. If water flows in all areas of the house except for one, trace the line from the blocked faucet to areas that may be more exposed to cold. If water does not flow out of any of the taps, the frozen pipe may be located near the water meter.
  • Once you have located the affected area, use a blow dryer, heat lamp, or other heat source to apply heat to the affected area. Do NOT use a blowtorch or any other device with an open flame.
  • Keep the faucet open and apply heat from the open tap toward the blockage. Continue to apply heat until the water flows from the faucet at normal pressure.
  • If you are struggling to find the blockage or are unsure if the pipe is clearing properly, contact a plumber.

Even during a close call with a frozen pipe, if you follow these steps and put the preventative tips from the previous blog post into action, you can boost your chances of avoiding water damage to your home due to a pipe burst.

Sources:

http://www.oldhouseweb.com/how-to-advice/thawing-frozen-pipes.shtml

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes

Frozen Pipe Bursts Part 1: Preventing Frozen Pipes during Winter Months

12/16/2015 (Permalink)

Damage that occurred as a result of a pipe burst due to a frozen pipe.

Frozen pipes can mean big problems for your home. As water freezes, it expands and can exert up to 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch! That pressure can cause pipes to burst and water to flow into your home, potentially causing extensive damage.

Taking preventative measures during the cold winter months is the best course of action to avoid frozen pipe bursts. The pipes that are most susceptible to freezing are those that are outdoors, are exposed to exterior walls, or are in unheated areas like under cabinets or in attics or crawl spaces. In order to prevent frozen pipes in those areas, follow these tips:

  • Drain water from hoses, water sprinklers, and other outdoor lines when the weather starts to cool down and they will no longer be in use.
  • On particularly cold days, open cabinet doors to allow warm air to flow around pipes and turn on the taps slightly to allow a slow drip to run through the faucets.
  • Make sure that there is insulation present in areas around pipes that are more susceptible to cold weather.
  • Consider installing heating cable, heating tape, newspaper, or another form of insulation around exposed pipes.
  • If you are leaving for vacation, don’t set the temperature any lower than 55°F.

Putting these tips into practice will significantly reduce your chances of having a pipe freeze in your home, and thereby, avoid the larger and much more costly and inconvenient problem of a pipe burst.

Sources:

http://homerepair.about.com/od/plumbingrepair/ss/thaw_frzn_pipe.htm#step1

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm/preventing-thawing-frozen-pipes

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

12/4/2015 (Permalink)

Stay safe this holiday!

As the holiday season approaches, so does the peak time of year for cooking and candle fires. Cooking equipment is the number one cause of home and workplace fires. Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and Christmas Eve are the three peak days for cooking fires. Candle fires peak on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve. SERVPRO reminds you and your family to stay safe this holiday season by following these fire safety tips:

Cooking Safety Tips

· Be especially careful when frying food. Frying is the greatest fire risk.

· Be aware that electric ranges cause more fires than gas ranges.

· Never leave cooking unattended. Unattended cooking causes 90% of kitchen fires.

· Clean thoroughly to prevent grease buildup.

Candle Safety Tips

· Please candles a safe distance from flammable objects. The leading cause of candle fires is placing candles too close to something that can burn, such as curtains or furniture.

· Do not leave candles unattended.

Smoke Detector Safety Tips

· Test smoke detectors once per month. Having working smoke alarms reduces one's chance of dying by fire by about half.

· Change batteries twice per year.

· Replace smoke detectors every 10 years.

· Be sure you have smoke detectors on each level of the home and placed near or inside each bedroom at a high point in the room.

Fire Extinguisher Safety Tips

· Follow the acronym P.A.S.S. – Pull the pin, Aim at the base, Squeeze the lever, & Sweep from side to side

· The best type of fire extinguisher for home use is a multipurpose "ABC" extinguisher, which uses a dry powder that is able to put out most types of fires.

· Fire extinguishers should be placed in plain sight close to ground level in areas of the home that are more prone to fires, such as the kitchen and garage.

· Keep a fire extinguisher in each occupied bedroom to help you and your family escape if a fire occurs during the night.

· Although fire extinguishers should last for 5-15 years, check the gauge regularly to make sure the needle is in the green area and inspect the pin, hose, and handle periodically.

Sources:

Akron Fire Department General Fire Safety presentation materials

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/cooking

http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/candles

SERVPRO Offers GREEN CLEANING

3/16/2015 (Permalink)

Did you know SERVPRO® offers “GREEN” alternatives for some of our products? SERVPRO® is a proud member of the EPA’s Design for Environment initiative (EPA/DFE). The EPA/DFE has established set criteria for formulating environmentally friendly cleaning products. The initiative is designed to allow chemical formulators (such as our very own in-house chemists) a resource to formulate environmentally friendly cleaning products using environmentally friendly raw materials.

Some of the "Green" products SERVPRO® offers are:

Benefect® Botanical Disinfectant

SERVPRO® All Surface Green Clean

SERVPRO® Carpet & Upholstery Green Clean

SERVPRO® Window Green Clean

Contact us for more product information! 

Prevent Christmas Tree Fires This Holiday Season!

12/9/2014 (Permalink)

Christmas tree safety tips

From the National Fire Protection Association: http://www.nfpa.org/ 

Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer.

Picking the tree

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1" - 2" from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the tree

  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas

  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

Tips for Winterizing Your Home!

11/3/2014 (Permalink)

Winterize Now to Avoid Frozen Pipes!

Cold Weather can have a huge impact on businesses and homes that aren’t protected. Heavy precipitation, freezing temperatures and damaging winds can all have a negative impact on your property. To help avoid costly and time-consuming damages due to the weather, consider the following tips while winterizing this year:

  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or un-insulated areas of your home and/or business.
  • Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shut off valve in the basement 
    or crawl space and turn it to “off”.
  • If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shut off.
  • Do's and Don'ts to follow after a Flood or other Water Loss

    9/8/2014 (Permalink)

    By following these steps before water mitigation begins, you can take great steps to avoid further property damage in your wet basement or other area

    The period after a large storm or flood is often a hectic and confusing time.  While waiting for SERVPRO to arrive to perform water damage or flood cleanup, here are some simple do’s and don’ts to follow until help arrives.  By following these steps before water mitigation begins, you can take great steps to avoid further property damage in your wet basement or other areas of your home:

    For CLEAN Water Losses

    DO

    1. Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
    2. Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
    3. Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
    4. ipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
    5. Remove ad prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.
    6. Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
    7. Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.
    8. Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors.
    9. Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors.
    10. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.

    DON’T

    1. Enter rooms with standing water where electrical hazards may exist.
    2. Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water.  Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
    3. Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining.
    4. Leave Oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining.
    5. Use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
    6. Use TV’s or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.
    7. Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

    Additional Information for CONTAMINATED Water Losses

    DO

    1. Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage.
    2. Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with contaminated items.

    DON’T

    1. Spread contaminated water by walking unnecessarily on damaged or wet areas.
    2. Turn on the HVAC system is there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
    3. Use household fans to dry the structure and spread contaminants.
    4. Use products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated area. 

    September 1 starts National Preparedness Month

    9/5/2014 (Permalink)

    Today is the first day of National Preparedness Month! This week will focus on How To reconnect with your family after a disaster? Make sure your family has a family emergency communication plan. How will you reconnect with each other? Where will you meet? What if your neighborhood is being evacuated? Communicating with your friends and family when a disaster occurs is important to make sure everyone is safe. This is why having both an evacuation and communication plan is important. Have peace of mind when a disaster strikes and create your evacuation and emergency communication plans. Ready to make a plan? Start today by visiting http://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

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