Do you know who to call in for a disaster?
What do you do when disaster strikes and you’re left to pick up the pieces? When the worst case scenario is the one happening to you, who can you trust to restore some sense of normalcy to your everyday life and alleviate the stress that comes with dealing with disaster?
At SERVPRO of Tacoma, we exist to lighten your load and take care of your disaster situation. We understand that planning for a disaster is one thing but going through it is something completely different. While insurance is there for a reason, we make sure your home is taken care of by our team of highly trained professionals.
Where at once it seemed like all was lost, by utilizing the restore first mentality, our experts come into your home looking to redeem what once seemed lost. In addition to salvaging many items that can’t be replaced such as family heirlooms, documentation, or things of sentimental value, our restorative approach is much more cost-effective than replacing everything and starting from scratch.
Though we never wish disaster on anyone, we know very well that these situations unfortunately happen. SERVPRO of Tacoma exists to alleviate the stress and make those situations “Like it never even happened.”
Is your family ready for an emergency?
Children and Youth Emergency Preparedness
Ensure your kids know what to do in the case of emergency. When making your plan make sure your kids are included and know what to do!
What you should know about Youth Preparedness
- Ensure children are included in preparedness conversations
- Learn the building blocks of preparedness − Be Informed, make a Plan, build a kit and get involved.
- Know the emergency plan for your child’s school and childcare facility
- Practice evacuation plans and other emergency procedures with children on a regular basis
- Learn different ways to help children cope during and after an emergency
- Make sure children have emergency contacts memorized or written down in a secure place
- Teach kids when and how to call important phone numbers like 911
- Make sure everyone, including children, knows how and when to call 911 for help
- Make sure they know their addressee so they can provide proper information over the phone.
- Who’s your emergency contact? Make sure the kids know who it is and practice with them.
- Update school records and discuss emergency contact numbers with kids before they go:
- Review your family emergency communications plan with kids at your next household meeting
- Include your child's medication or supplies in your family’s emergency kit.
- Include your child's favorite stuffed animals, board games, books or music in their emergency kit to comfort them in a disaster.
- Get the kids involved in building their own emergency kit:
- Store important family documents on your phone in a safe secure app. Keep hard copies in secure place.
- Emergencies can happen anytime. Ensure your child is prepared for the emergency.
- Email, voice, or text. What will your child’s school use to communicate during an emergency? Make a plan before a disaster and discuss with your kids.
- Many Americans aren’t familiar with their child’s school evacuation & reunification plans. Are you?
By making a plan and letting everyone know how to react during an emergency your helping your family be that much safer.
Are you ready for Spring?
Basement or Crawlspace with rotten wooden framing
Spring's just around the corner and those blossoms will be blooming before you know it. Have you made your spring-cleaning to-do list yet? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Prepping your home on a seasonal basis is one of the most important things you can do because in addition to increasing you’re the value of your home, it allows you to catch problems before they turn into costly repairs. Just as you wouldn't put off going to the doctor to stay on top of your health, you shouldn't neglect prepping your home for the new season. To make it as stress-free as possible, we've assembled 5 ways to best prep your home for spring.
- Assemble Your Maintenance Toolkit
First things first: make sure you have the right tools on hand to make the job go smoothly!
Make a checklist of items that you'll always need in order to diagnose and treat the problems that flare up. You may have some of them lying around already (a flashlight and stepladder for example). There's no need to rifle through your woodshed, basement, or junk drawer – we have made a list of items to make your job easier!
- Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment
- Caulk and caulk gun
- Whisk broom/stiff brush
- Utility knife
- Duct Tape
- Pruning shears
- Become Mold’s Greatest Enemy
After the winter season, all the extra moisture can increase the chances of mold.
The areas that are prone to get damp the most should be the first places to look. Taking the form of dark blotchy spots, mold thrives under sinks, in your basement, and in the attic and crawl spaces where it's darkest. If you’re finding a lot of mold, it's best to try to stop the source rather than clean up individual spots. Proper sealing and air circulation helps stop mold, but we recommend also working with specialty contractors who can help you pinpoint where the problems are so you can banish mold for good.
- Root out Wood Rot
As you check your basement for mold, make sure you're on the watch for signs of soft, brittle, or crumbly wood.
This is wood rot, and it should replaced immediately, as it can adversely affect your home's structure. Keep an eye on it through spring and if you're seeing more wood rot forming, consider getting a dehumidifier for the basement, as this will significantly cut down on excess moisture.
- Check the Washer & Dryer
How often do you check the hoses on your washer? Make sure they don’t have any tears or cracks.
A flood caused while doing laundry doesn't just rob you of clean clothes, it also robs you of your budget if it's all going to repairs. Lint that builds up in your dryer can also be a fire hazard, so we recommend a thorough cleaning to make sure the air can properly vent. First, shut off the gas or electric going to the dryer. Then use a long, thick wire brush to sweep out excess lint in the vent pipe and under the dryer enclosure. Use the skinny vacuum attachment to make sure everything gets sucked up. Just be careful not to damage the wires and mechanical parts of the dryer.
- Protect the Foundation
Intense winter storms can really do a number on a house, even right down to the foundation.
Check around your house for any cracks or signs of stress on the foundation. If you see anything, call a professional to properly assess what needs to be done. Also make sure to inspect the concrete slabs under your HVAC system or heat pump. These are easy to repair with a concrete crack filler, polyurethane sealant or silicone caulk.
7 TIPS TO AVOID BURSTING PIPES
It’s getting colder outside and many of us are pulling out our winter clothes and starting our fireplaces and furnaces. There is one task that many overlook during our winter preparations: the winterization of water pipes. We are prone to cold snaps in the Pacific Northwest and when it gets cold, the accumulated water inside the pipes freezes, expands and creates extreme pressure. Eventually, the ice creates enough pressure for the pipes to crack. A small 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water per day.
- Wrap outside faucets – Covering and insulating the exterior faucet can help protect any water inside the pipes from freezing in the winter.
- Caulk around pipes where they enter the house – You want to keep out as much of the cold air as possible. You can also check around dryer vents, windows, and electrical wiring.
- Disconnect garden hoses – Any water sitting inside the garden hose could freeze and damage the material. If you have a sloped driveway, lay them out and let them drain, then store them.
- Drain in-ground sprinkler systems – any remaining water in your sprinkler systems can expand and crack your underground pipes. Even Polyethylene pipes which are more flexible and expand under pressure can become damaged; water left inside can freeze and rupture the pipe walls. To minimize the risk of freeze damage, contact your manufacturer for proper winterization.
- Let a stream of water run, if the temperature dips below freezing – A little bit of water flow keeps pressure low in the pipes. Low pressure means less of a chance of burst pipes.
- Open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathroom – Keeping cupboard doors open allows heat to reach the pipes, reducing the risk of them freezing.
- Shut off and drain your water system if you are leaving home for several days – If leaving out of town during the cold months, you may consider shutting off your main water line and draining your water system. Empty pipes mean no water can freeze and rupture them. Keep in mind, if you have a fire protection system, this may not be the best option for you. Shutting off the water main means your fire system won’t work.
Call SERVPRO® of Tacoma at 253-896-3000 today to get help with all your restoration needs. We specialize in water, fire, mold & bio-hazard cleanup.
Don't Burn the Bird!!!!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we know how tasty a deep-fried turkey can be! Doing it wrong though can wreak havoc on your tasty diner. I have some helpful tips to ensure your turkey and home don’t end up in flames!
First and foremost, make sure your frying space is no less than 10 feet from your home or other structures. Also ensure that your area is flat and there is no risk of knocking over the fryer.
Next, make sure your bird is fully thawed and dry, extra water and moisture can cause the oil to bubble over and cause a fire.
Finally make sure you always have a fire extinguisher handy just in case and never leave the bird unattended.
If you find yourself in an unsightly situation this Thanksgiving, just know your friendly SERVPRO of Tacoma is here to help.
Is your business protected from a fire??
Did you know that fire is the most common cause of property damage? The key to protecting your business is your employees having education on fire safety and protocol. Here are a few fire prevention tips!
- Reduce Clutter- Keep your workplace clutter free and items put away. Keep electrical appliances away from the fuel such as paper and cardboard. Also ensure things like computers has proper
- Maintain your fire extinguishers- Check with your local fire department to ensure your extinguisher is up to code. You should also educate employees on how to use the extinguisher.
- Install fire sprinklers or suppression system- all businesses have a fire alarm system, but you should also consider a sprinkler system.
- Maintain Outdoor Spaces- if your business is in a dry or forested area take time to ensure you keep brush and trees from growing against the building.
- Have Exit Strategy - Always have an emergency plan and make sure your employees are aware of this plan, include things like maps to exits and well-lit exit signs
- Clean and Inspect all equipment- Faulty equipment is a common cause of fires. Make sure machines are in proper working order and turn them off when not in use.
Taking these simple steps can help prevent fires ruining what you’ve worked so hard for.
Steps to take during a flood!!!
The extend of water damage can depend on how quickly you handle the situation. The steps you take in the first few minutes of can change the scope of damage drastically. Here are a few steps you should take in the event you find your business in crisis.
- Stop the water at the main valve. If there is a substantial amount of water also turn off electrical (if it is safe).
- Call your insurance company and file a claim, then give your local SERVPRO of Tacoma a call.
- Asses the water damage and take photos before
- Remove any irreplaceable items around your business.
- Mop up any standing water or use a floor squeegee to move it towards a door.
These steps can help manage the situation until technicians show up and can get started.
Don't Let the Cold Catch You Unprepared
Winter Storms are Just around the corner are you ready?
Did you know that with winter storms create higher risks in many parts of your life? Things like hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning and heart attacks from overexertion. With proper precautions are taken we can avoid these risks.
These storms can last any where from a few hours to a few days, know that you and your family will be secure during this time.
A few things you can do to prepare are:
- Create an emergency supplies kit for your family include things like (flashlights, radio and batteries, first aid items, space blankets, bottled water, non-perishable food, and warm clothes).
- Learn the signs of hypothermia and frostbite, also learn to treat them.
- Pay attention to weather warnings.
- Prepare your home by replacing insulation and weather stripping. Learn to protect your pipes from freezing.
- Check or install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (change batteries as needed).
If you happen to be stuck in the middle of a nasty storm Stay off the roads as much as possible. Limit your time outside, if your must go out layer up. Only use generators and grills outdoors and away from windows, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Don’t be caught in the cold when the storm rolls in, put a plan into action to ensure your prepared!
Rain storm preparation
There is forecast of heavy rains this winter. Questions about water damage? Just ask! SERVPRO of Tacoma 253-896.3000
Sometimes a storm can bring some serious water damage, even a flood. Are you prepared for a flood? Most people aren’t, so here are a few tips to be storm and flood ready!
- Water (A 3+ day supply; one gallon per person per day.)
- Food (3+ day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food.)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Medications (7 – day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation/personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact info
- Extra Cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Pet supplies
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Rain gear
- Insect repellent and sunscreen
- Camera for photos of any damage
8 Things to Consider Before Filing a Commercial Fire Damage Claim
If you’ve just experienced commercial fire damage, you’ve probably already filed a claim with your insurance company. Before you get too far into the claim process, there are some important points to consider.
There’s a lot of “fine print” in the handling of these situations that some insurance companies won’t necessarily bring to your attention on their own. Having a solid understanding of the process, will help ensure you protect your own interests in the commercial fire damage claim.
Below are 8 important points to consider:
1. Normally for water damage you send the insurance company documentation of the damages. But how do you do this for items or property that has been destroyed by fire damage? Are there good “before” pictures of the same space, on your phone or website, that you can compare with the “after” photos of the damage? Does your bank have record of the blueprint from when they helped you finance the property?
Does your business account have record of furniture, equipment, etc. that you purchased for the space? These would be good places to start, but you’ll want to ask your adjuster/agent for more specific protocol and requirements.
2. Is it a good idea to make repairs and restorations yourself? Your insurance company will pay less, but your premium may not increase as much. Weigh the costs and benefits of each option.
3. How did smoke or water from fighting the fire affect your electronics, equipment, and structural integrity. How do you claim those damages to trigger better coverage?
4. When making repairs, make sure your insurance company does not cut corners by using companies or contractors that repair with materials containing lead and asbestos. That could lead to greater costs and health risks down the line
5. Find out how your policy addresses code coverage and Green building upgrades.
6. If your coverage is limited, what can you do about it? How can your agent or a public adjuster help?
7. During the claims process, your insurance provider may engage a forensic accountant. Find out their role, which financial statements you are required to produce, and why. You should also ask if you can, and should, recast your financial statements. Don’t hesitate to get input from an accounting professional you trust, as well as your agent.
8. Find out what can be included as extra and expediting expenses, and what the difference is.
If your business or rental has fire damage don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of Tacoma 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 253-896-3000. We are here to help!