4 Ways to Protect Your Home from Storm Damage
Most storms that pass through Catawba County are mild, but it only takes one to cause massive damage!
Since storms have started to become a regular occurrence in the Hickory area, it’s a good time to take some preventative steps to mitigate potential disaster. In case you’re not sure where to start, below you’ll find 4 ways you can protect your home from storm damage!
- Remove dead or sick trees and branches from close proximity to your home. Storms can bring heavy winds, some of which can topple trees and branches. In some cases, this debris can knock holes into your roof or walls and expose your home to further damage.
- Clean out your gutters. Water damage can be a sudden and expensive problem, so it’s best to avoid it if possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to make sure your gutters are clean and properly working so water can be directed away from your home. Gutters are your first line of defense!
- Address any drainage issues in your yard. Heavy rains can quickly become a problem for homeowners when the water doesn’t have anywhere to go. This water can flood homes or cause other problems, so it’s best to address these issues as soon as possible.
- Make sure all doors and windows are properly sealed. Winds can be very destructive to a home, but properly sealed doors and windows can help prevent winds from damaging your structure. This also helps prevent water from seeping in and creating a suitable environment for mold.
We endure storms without incident every year, but without routine maintenance and inspections, your home is at a greater risk of suffering from disaster. If you follow the above tips (you can find more tips here), you’re less likely to have storm damage to your home. But if you do have damage and you need help with cleanup and restoration, call SERVPRO of Catawba County West today!
What to Do if Your Business Faces Disaster
Your business might suffer from disaster, but hiring a high-quality disaster restoration company can drastically improve recovery times.
Nobody really likes to think about it, but what do you do when your business suffers from disaster? If you’re like most people, you’ll probably stress yourself out and worry about getting everything back to the way it was before. After all, it’s like a baby to you.
We can offer prevention tips all day long, but ultimately, your business is still at risk for all kinds of disaster. If that time comes, you’ll certainly be looking for answers, and fortunately, we’re here to provide them.
Consult Your Emergency Readiness Plan
If you don’t know what an Emergency Readiness Plan is, it might be too late to explain. An Emergency Ready Plan is a detailed document that outlines everything you need to know to respond to an emergency. It includes emergency shut-off locations, contact information for emergency personnel and other relevant people, and much more. It’s an essential outline for any business to have.
If you have one and you’re in an emergency situation, locate it and act accordingly. If you do not have one and you’re not in an emergency situation, contact us and we’ll put together an Emergency Readiness Plan for you free of charge!
Contact Your Insurance
This information should be in your Emergency Readiness Plan, but if not, then find their information and contact them immediately. Besides getting the ball rolling on the process, your representative will also provide you with other important information for you to get your operations running again.
However, be aware that although your insurance representative will make recommendations about who you should use for services, you ultimately get to make those decisions, so feel free to use somebody you know and trust!
Call Your Local Cleanup & Restoration Company
You want your business to be up and running again, but if your place of operations has severe water, fire, or storm damage, then you’ll have to address that first. There will likely be several different cleanup and restoration companies in your area, but consider looking for these qualities in a company:
- They have a great reputation
- They have the people and resources to handle the job quickly
- They are responsive, patient, and friendly
If you haven’t called anyone yet, we at SERVPRO of Catawba County West have all of the qualities listed above and are ready at a moment’s notice, so we encourage you to call us now at (828) 322-4400!
Make Alternative Arrangements
Depending on the amount and type of damage your business has endured, it’s possible that you’ll have lost a lot of assets. So while that might mean you can’t operate from your building or use damaged equipment/machinery, it doesn’t mean you have to sit around and wait! While there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, there are a few different options to consider:
- Use an alternative space while yours is being restored. This isn’t possible for every business, but consider temporarily using a different space so you can keep operations running. For example, one baker rented out a local church’s kitchen while she waited for hers to be restored. If you’re a retail location, it will be difficult to set up in a temporary new space, so consider selling your merchandise online!
- Contact your customers (if applicable). If you get routine business from customer orders, let them know up front what happened. Depending on your current relationship with them, they may be willing to wait for a new order or pay up front to help you out. At the very least, communication with your customers will let them know that you care.
- Look for outside help. The sad reality is that about 40-60% of small businesses will never reopen their doors after a disaster, according to FEMA. It’s for this reason that we encourage you to utilize all available resources—including family, friends, and community members. There’s no shame in asking for help!
Focus on Reopening
There are a lot of obstacles that arise after a disaster, but it’s not impossible to reopen your business! Take things one step at a time and work with your staff and customers as much as possible. Between you and your staff, your insurance, and your local cleanup and restoration company, you can be back open in no time!
3 Tips for Preventing Kitchen Fires
Kitchen fires are the most common type of home fires, but they can be easily prevented!
Every year, kitchen fires top the list as the most common source of home fires. These fires might remain limited to the kitchen, but many of them affect entire homes, sometimes leading to a complete loss. Since everyone uses the kitchen, here are 3 tips for preventing kitchen fires:
- Never leave your kitchen unattended when using a heat source. Many people leave their kitchen while they are waiting for something to cook, but that leaves them susceptible to uncontrolled fires. If you have to step away from the kitchen—even for a moment—turn off the heat source.
- Clear off your kitchen counters. Keep flammable objects (plastic bags, pot holders, etc.) off your counters while you are using any heat source. If a minor fire does start, these materials can jumpstart the spread rate and increase the chances of a major fire breaking out.
- Regularly clean kitchen surfaces. Besides just keeping a clean home, cleaning kitchen surfaces prevents grease buildup. Because grease is highly flammable, removing excess stains from the area will help prevent a fire.
Kitchen fires are incredibly common, but with vigilance and proper cleaning, you can prevent one from happening! If you do have a kitchen fire, call your local restoration company to make it “Like it never even happened.”
3 Reasons Why SERVPRO of Catawba County West Should Handle Your Commercial Loss
We have the manpower and equipment to clean up any-sized disaster!
Your business is your lifeline, which is why if disaster strikes, you want to hire professionals who can quickly return you to your normal operations. But with so many different restoration professionals to choose from, why should you consider SERVPRO of Catawba County West?
1. We are a certified Large Loss Response Team (LLRT). SERVPRO Corporate designates specific franchises throughout the nation as LLRTs. These franchises are prequalified and equipped to handle any-sized loss. Our franchise has restored large disasters such at places such as Lees McRae, Valley Hills Mall, and Bernhardt Furniture.
2. We can pull in other SERVPRO franchises to quickly make it “Like it never even happened.” One of the benefits of working with a national company is that if the work exceeds our limitations, we can bring in resources from as many franchises as we need. We truly can handle any-sized disaster!
3. We have experience working with many different commercial entities. Our franchise has helped bring many different businesses and agencies from disaster. For over 9 years, we’ve gained the experience to prove that we understand the sensitive nature and the nuances that come with commercial losses.
It can be difficult to bring in an outside company, especially when your own business is vulnerable. But SERVPRO of Catawba County West brings an experienced team of dedicated workers who are ready to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Emergency Ready Profiles: A Powerful Tool for Businesses
Disaster can strike any business, but an Emergency Ready Profile can help limit the scope of total damage.
Most people know that SERVPRO excels at fire and water cleanup and restoration, but not many know that we offer a free service that helps local businesses survive potential disasters. Our Emergency Ready Profiles are customized outlines that help you quickly respond to a disaster should one occur. If you haven’t heard about this service, you’ll find out what you need to know below!
Emergency Ready Profiles are completely free. Most businesses have to spend time and resources to put together an emergency profile, but we do all the work for you! In exchange for a few minutes of your (or a representative’s) time to answer some questions, we’ll assemble both a digital and physical copy that you can access at any time. What’s the catch? There’s absolutely none; we just hope that if you ever need our services, you’ll give us a call!
Emergency Ready Profiles are specific to your business. Our profiles include all pertinent information needed for you to react quickly and efficiently: the post-evacuation meeting place, pictures and descriptions of emergency shut-off locations, emergency contact information, and much more! This asset is tailored to address your specific business and its features.
Emergency Ready Profiles allow help to respond more efficiently. If you do have a disaster, you’ll want responders to know exactly where to go. We give a copy of your profile to your local fire department (this may not apply to some departments), plus we keep a copy on file so we can quickly pull up your data to speed up the process.
If you have a business and don’t have an emergency plan in place, call SERVPRO of Catawba West today at (828) 322-4400 and get your FREE Emergency Ready Profile!
4 Things SERVPRO Can Do for Fire-Damaged Homes
Our crew is highly trained and capable of packing out your belongings so they can provide deep cleanings!
When a fire damages parts of your home, it almost seems impossible to imagine how your home will be the same again. Fortunately, SERVPRO of Catawba County West has plenty of experience restoring homes to their preloss conditions! There are several things that our franchise offers to customers, but there are 4 important services that we offer:
- Clean floors, walls, and ceilings. Soot and smoke can do a considerable amount of damage, but our expert team has the skills, equipment, and cleaning products to clean both. We’re able to remove lighter soot without requiring repainting or carpet replacement.
- Inventory, pack out, and contents cleaning. Your home is full of personal items that just can’t be replaced. Fortunately, our team is capable of inventorying, packing out, and cleaning your contents back to their previous condition. Our inventory process goes room-by-room and includes photos of each item so you can easily file your insurance claim. The items will then be carefully moved out of the home and relocated to our warehouse to be cleaned by state-of-the-art equipment.
- Duct cleaning. Soot and smoke will pollute your HVAC system, which means it will be less efficient and recycle contaminated air throughout your home. Our duct cleaning experts will use professional equipment to clean and deodorize your ducts so you can relax knowing your air is clean.
- Deodorization. Fires can leave behind strong odors that often seem ingrained into your home. Once everything has been cleaned, our technicians will deploy specialized equipment to remove any trace of the offensive odors.
House fires can be very stressful, but SERVPRO of Catawba County West has the team and experience to make it “Like it never even happened.”
5 Things to Do if Your Basement Floods
Basements make a great place to store belongings and to hang out, but flooding can quickly turn it into a haven for mold growth and structural damage.
We’ve received many calls over the years from customers whose basements have suffered some kind of damage. But one of the most common issues basement-owners face is flooding. Whether it’s due to a burst pipe, a storm, or some other cause, flooding can be a major problem. If you own a basement and don’t know what to do if and when it floods, then this is post is for you.
- Turn off the power. Immediately turn off the gas and/or electricity because it’s never safe to enter a flooded room when your power is still active. If you are unable to turn off the power, do not enter the basement until somebody is able to do so.
- Identify the source. Once you identify the source of the flooding, it’s best to address it as quickly as possible. If a burst or leaky pipe is the problem, shut off your water immediately and call somebody to repair it. If it’s from rain or outside flooding, it may be best to wait until it stops before attempting to start cleanup. (Note: Please wear gloves and appropriate clothing when entering a flooded room. The water could quite possibly be contaminated and unsafe for contact.)
- Start removing the water. Assuming you’ve completed the first two steps, it’s time to start removing the water because the longer it sits, the more likely you will have mold and other damage. You may have already called a disaster restoration company (which we highly recommend to prevent the aforementioned problems), but you should still begin the extraction process. You can use buckets, a sump pump, a mop, etc., but the main point is to get the water out as quickly as possible.
- Begin drying out the basement. Once most of the water has been removed, you can focus on drying out the room. If there wasn’t much flooding, you might be inclined to do this yourself by placing several fans around the room, but be aware that if it’s not dried properly, you are leaving yourself open to mold and structural damage. If you’re not sure what to do, or if there was a lot of flooding, you will want to hire a disaster restoration company.
- Keep humidity low. You would ideally do this during the drying process as well, but it’s important that you use a dehumidifier or similar device to keep humidity at a relatively low level. Mold is one of the biggest problems that comes from water damage, but without much humidity, it is not very likely to grow. If you hired a restoration company, this should be taken care of for you.
Basements might seem like an easy target for flooding, but all is not lost if yours ever becomes a victim. If water fills your home or business, contact your local water cleanup company to help you through the process and make it “Like it never even happened.”
What to Do if Your Home has Mold Growth
If mold is treated quickly, it can spread throughout an entire home. The above home had to be gutted completely.
Your home is your safe haven, so when mold invades your space, it can make you uncomfortable. Whether you’re concerned about your health or your home’s structural soundness, there are multiple reasons why you might want the pesky fungus out of your living quarters. While it's impossible to actually remove all traces of mold, if you discover that your home is affected by mold growth, there are a few things you can do to take care of the issue.
- Consult your physician (if necessary.) Mold growth can cause health effects, so many people get concerned with how it might affect them. If you have had any health issues that you are concerned about, please consult your doctor and let them know you have identified mold in your home.
- Identify and remove the source. If you discover mold in your home, it’s likely because of moisture. Check for leaks in your roof or wall and lower the home’s humidity. If there are gaps around doors or windows, use caulk to seal those spaces. Without moisture, mold’s growth is hindered.
- “Remove” the mold. Ideally, you’ll want to contact a trustworthy mold-removal company. They will have the tools and expertise to remove and treat hidden and visibly affected areas. At the end, they will offer a before-and-after assessment to prove mold counts have dropped to normal levels.
- Prevent future growths. Once the affected areas have been removed, you will want to make sure growth doesn’t start again. Control your home’s humidity when possible and ensure there aren’t any ways excess moisture can enter your home. If you have any major water damage, contact your local disaster restoration company for help; they will take steps to make sure mold doesn’t grow in your home again!
You don’t have to panic when you find mold growing in your home. If you take the necessary steps to cut off its food source and remove the areas that are already infested, you’ll be able to restore peace and help prevent it from happening again.
3 Signs That You Might Have Mold Growing in Your Home
One of the most obvious indicators your home has mold growth is you can visibly see it. Don't ignore the signs!
The harsh reality is that mold is everywhere—indoors and outdoors. But that doesn’t mean it needs to take up residence in your home. While it’s important to treat mold growth as soon as you notice it, how do you know it’s happening on your property?
- You see it. While this seems like an obvious sign, many homeowners have seen signs of mold growth without realizing what they were actually looking at. For example, some spores are so small they resemble dirt. Don’t assume that all molds look the same!
- Your home smells musty. Mold needs moisture to grow, which is why a mold-infested house smells musty. In many cases, since mold is not always in visible areas, this smell will be the only indication you will have!
- You’ve recently had a leak or similar water problem. If you’ve had any kind of water damage, your home is at high risk of having mold growth. Even when you think you’ve dried up any puddles or wet spots, water can be absorbed into walls and other porous materials. Because of this, mold can grow undetected until it becomes a major problem.
If you have any of these indicators, you should have a mold inspector visit your home. Their tests will be able to determine if you have a growth problem. If you do, be sure to call a mitigation and restoration company to help you take your home back.
3 Reasons Your Business Should Clean its Air Ducts
Commercial businesses often let their HVAC systems go unattended. Don't do the same for yours!
When’s the last time you had somebody come clean your business’ air ducts? If it wasn’t in recent years, then you’re long overdue. In fact, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends you clean your HVAC system every 3 to 5 years. But other than duct cleaning companies trying to make money, is there really any need for your ducts to be cleaned? In case you’re in doubt, we’ve got 3 reasons why your business should clean its air ducts:
- Clean air ducts are energy efficient. Nobody likes spending unnecessary money, yet most people don’t realize that a dirty HVAC system actually forces the system to work harder. A clean duct system will reduce energy costs over time.
- Eliminate offensive odors. When something gets into your HVAC system that doesn’t belong, it can make your entire office building smell awful. A good cleaning will not only eliminate the odor, it will remove the source as well.
- Hinder mold growth. Mold needs organic substance to feed and grow. By removing dirt and other debris from your air ducts, mold will have a much harder time taking hold of and contaminating your HVAC system.
If you have a commercial business in Catawba County with existing HVAC issues—or you want to preemptively take action before it does—contact a specialist who will give you a fair assessment of your needs. We at SERVPRO of Catawba County West have specialized staff who are ready to give your duct system the cleaning it deserves, so call us today for a free estimate!