Certified Water Restoration Contractors
Certified water restoration contractors are required to meet a strict set of standards, dictated by insurance companies and industry organizations to restore the property to its preloss condition. If a restoration project is done improperly, it can result in mold growth or other toxic hazards that can cause serious health issues for the occupants, therefore, it is important to choose a company that knows the industry standards and has a stellar reputation in their community.
Before choosing the right restoration contractor, take these four tips into consideration:
Tip #1: Do Not Choose a Friend or Family Member in the Construction Business
We’ve all heard the horror stories about someone’s friend who had their savvy brother-in-law with a little construction experience fix something that's gone wrong at their home or business, and it turned out to be a disaster. It is never a good idea to try to save money and cut corners by hiring a friend or family member to make building repairs that are totally beyond their skills. It usually harms the relationships and costs you a lot more time and money!
Tip #2: Do Not Choose the Contractor Who Built Your Home or Building
General contractors and construction companies who mostly build new construction do not have adequate insurance restoration experience even though they think they do. They lack the proper equipment, correct experience and certified training required to perform water mitigation, smoke odor removal, content restorative cleaning, deodorizing and handling techniques. Also most of the time, they do not understand the proper methods for reconstruction and repairs under these unique conditions, not to mention how to identify and deal with the hazardous materials and dangerous structural conditions, after a disaster.
Tip #3: Do Not Choose a Contractor Who Has Little, or No Experience Working With Insurance Companies
As the insurance policyholder, it is your responsibility to disclose any loss to the insurance company and provide the necessary documentation required to process the claim. You will need an estimate from a restoration company that meets the strict insurance company requirements, created using specific estimating software. If the estimate format does not meet the insurance company standards, it may be rejected.
Tip #4: Do Not Choose a Cleaning Service
Carpet cleaners and house cleaning crews are great for every day, small-scale cleaning job. But when it comes to flooding, fire, and smoke damage, they don’t have the technical capabilities or knowledge to remove high levels of moisture that infiltrates the floors and walls. In not mitigating the damage properly, it can cause dangerous secondary damages to accumulate in a matter of days. Smoke and ash damage also goes far beyond the soot that is left on walls, ceilings, and furniture. If not cleaned and deodorized properly, it can leave behind microscopic toxins and fine particulates that can be hazardous to the health of the occupants.
Years of experience and extensive training are required to be a certified restoration contractor, and obviously, there are many good reasons for that. Give us a call with any questions.
Fire Damage Restoration Process Blog 2
Call in your claim promptly to your insurance company but understand that you may face some frustrating situations. You may believe that because you’ve just had a major loss, you know your insurance agent, and you pay your premiums on time, that your insurance company will give you a top dollar amount right off the bat. It’s important to remember that insurance companies are a business and their goal is to be profitable. This means when you file a claim, don’t be surprised if the offer you first receive is lower than what you anticipated. That’s because their goal is to restore you to preloss condition. Their goal isn’t for you to profit from the tragedy. If you aren’t satisfied with the first offer, it is okay to push back. You pay your premiums. It’s the insurance company’s job to restore you to your preloss condition. You may feel fearful that your premiums will then increase, but it is still your responsibility to make sure their claims are paid in full.
To do so you can show receipts of your different items, warranties, owner’s manuals, appraisals, and boxes. It may be useful for you to provide a list of all the items that were damaged in the fire by listing it room-by-room. You can request to see if your claim covers temporary housing while your home is under renovation. You won’t be entitled to any wages lost during the time of the tragedy.
After you’ve filed your claim, it’s important to then call a fire damage restoration company fast. Most likely your insurance company will have a list of companies they recommend; otherwise, they will encourage you to seek your own.
Storm Preparation: Torrential Rain/Flooding
Heavy rains cause mud and debris in this business
Floods happen quickly, meaning you’ve got to respond effectively and efficiently to ensure the safety of your employees and others at your workplace. If there’s no time to evacuate to a location outside the flood zone, move to the highest point possible in your facility. This area should be identified as soon as possible to save precious seconds when the water is rising. The designated area you decided should be stocked with necessary office supplies and storm supplies. It should also provide a safe place for people.
Make sure your storm preparation activities include a review of your response plans, regular evacuation drills and an inventory of supplies, including:
Cell phones and accessories
Sorbents and spill kits
Tarps and plastic sheeting
Entrance floor mats
NOAA weather radio
Flashlights, lanterns and work lights
First aid kits and wound care supplies
Batteries and battery backup and uninterruptible power supplies
Personal care supplies
Water and snacks
Myths and Facts about Lightning
Myths and Facts about Lightning
Myth: It’s not raining here, and skies above me are clear, therefore I am safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning can strike many miles away from the thunderstorm. If storms are in your area, but skies happen to be clear above you, that certainly does not imply you are safe from lightning. Though these “Bolts from the Blue” are infrequent, lightning strikes 10 to 15 miles away from the storm are not out of the question.
Myth: Since I am inside my house and out of the storm, I am completely safe from lightning.
Fact: Just because you have taken shelter inside, you are not automatically safe. While inside waiting out a storm, avoid using the telephone or electrical appliances and do not take showers or baths. Also stay away from doors and windows. Telephone lines, cords, plumbing, even metal window, and door frames are all lightning conductors and pose a threat.
Myth: The rubber soles of shoes or rubber tires on a car will protect you from being struck by lightning.
Fact: Rubber soles of shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal. Although you may still be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
Myth: People struck by lightning carry an electrical charge and should not be touched.
Fact: Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately. Cardiac arrest and irregularities, burns, and nerve damage are common in cases where people are struck by lightning.
Being Competent In What You Do
Water and Mold Damage
SERVPRO of Malibu / Topanga Canyon / Pacific Palisades was contacted regarding a water loss that was not remediated properly from another vendor. Mold was discovered that was not addressed during the initial dry down by the former restoration company. When we arrived on site walls were cut open and mold was present in the area. We provided a 5 man crew and set up protective barriers around the affected areas, with air filtration devices. All ceilings and walls were removed to remediate the cavities where the damage occurred.
Our company came to an incomplete water damage project which created mold contamination and in 4 days, our crew provided mold remediation services, completed the unfinished portion of water damage to the building, and passed the post-remediation clearance testing, all by the end of that week. The management was pleased with our prompt and efficient process for such a large project.
Tips to Avoid Commercial Water Damage
Commercial Water Damage
Commercial water damage is a serious issue. For the period 2004-2008, compensation for losses incurred from water damage was the second highest type of claim on commercial insurance policies. Even a small crack in a water pipe can release a huge amount of water in a relatively short time. Problems caused by water are seven times more common than fire damage and six times more common than burglary, so it makes sense to be aware of some of the causes of leaks and flooding at your property and what you can do to prevent them happening to you.
Clogged drains and toilets
Soap residues, grease, hair, food waste, and other items can all contribute to clogs in drains and toilets. The build-up is usually gradual and can be detected by slow drainage. Any such problem should be dealt with quickly as a back surge of contaminated water can be very unpleasant and constitutes a significant health hazard. Clean your drains regularly and make sure that unsuitable items and substances are not flushed down the toilet.
Over time, pipes begin to degrade and cracks can appear. The natural shifting of the foundations of your house can also put stresses on to your pipework that can cause cracking and lead to leakage. Where pipes are hidden beneath flooring or within walls, the first signs may be damp patches appearing. These should always be investigated to determine their cause and enable remedial action to be undertaken in a timely fashion.
The intake hoses to your washing machine are always under pressure and are a common source of leaks. Make sure the connections are tight and, if you have plastic or rubber hoses, it is better to replace them with reinforced steel braided ones. In any event, the hoses should be replaced every five years. When you are leaving the house empty for a few days, turn off the water supply to your washer.
Water heaters can corrode over time and the points where water enters and leaves are prone to rust. The typical life span of a water heater is about ten years. Inspect your heater regularly and replace it if you observe signs of corrosion. Look for a heater with a long warranty.
Overflowing Drain Pans
Air conditioning and heating systems have drainage pans to collect condensation and other wastewater which can overflow if not emptied from time to time. Clogs can occur if routine maintenance is not carried out. Your AC should be regularly serviced to ensure it is working efficiently and inspecting the drainage line is an important part of this inspection. It is possible to have a float switch installed which cuts off the system if a blockage occurs.
These are the most common areas from which floods and leaks can arise. The best way to protect your commercial property and your business from water damage is to pay attention to any signs of a problem and take action straight away to determine its nature and what needs to be done to set things right. Make sure you know where your main valve is located and how to turn it off in the event of an emergency. Prevention is better than cure. Some flood events are beyond our control and for those, there are specialist contractors who can deal with water removal and remediation of property to minimize their effects
Woolsey Fire: Storm Event
We want to thank all the franchises, both near and far, who came out to help us with the Woolsey Fires.
The Woolsey Fire started on November 8, 2018, and burned for 13 days before it was contained. This was an unprecedented, fast-moving brush fire, 14 miles wide, with a footprint of 150 square miles, driven by gusts of up to 70 mph—the most destructive fire L.A. County has ever seen. Three canyons were affected and 70,000 homes, businesses, and other structures lay in the fire’s path. A quarter of a million people were evacuated.
The outpouring of support we received was overwhelming and we are grateful that we have such an amazing corporate office. SERVPRO really is an amazing brand and we are grateful to be part of it.
Fire Damage Restoration Process
The first thing you need to do is call your insurance agent or your insurance company’s claims department and they will assign you an adjuster. It is always a good idea to file your insurance claim as soon as possible and will soon discover that many insurance policies cover losses that come from wind, fire, lighting, and smoke. Most of the time major fire insurance protects your home’s contents as well as other structures on your property like your garage and other non-livable structures. Depending on your policy, most insurance companies likely cover the contents of your home.
To file a claim, you’ll need the following information:
1. Date of the fire or loss
2. Type of loss – electrical, wildfires, etc.
3. Location where the damage occurred
4. Condition of property
5. Contents and their damaged state
6. Police report if applicable
Tips to Help Your Business be Ready For A Disaster
Keeping Your Business Open
Disasters not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods but sometimes entire communities, including businesses of all sizes. As an employer in your community, having a business continuity plan can help protect your company, its employees, and its infrastructure, and maximizes your chances of recovery after an emergency or disaster.
Update and Distribute Emergency Contact Information to your Employees. Additionally, you can create and distribute a list of important emergency numbers in the areas you do business.
Organize an Emergency Preparedness Procedures review with employees to review your company’s emergency plans.
Conduct Office Evacuation/Shelter-in-Place Exercises and Drills. Once completed, evaluate how well they worked and if additional training or exercises are needed.
Put Emergency Items of Display. Showcase an Emergency Supply Kit in your break room or other high-traffic locations and encourage employees to get their own Emergency Supply Kit for their homes.
What is Mold? What is Mildew?
Is it Mold?
What exactly is mold?
Mold is a fungus that grows from microscopic spores floating in the air. All kinds of mold are found everywhere in nature and are quite important to the ecosystem — they help with the decomposition of organic materials like dead trees and fallen leaves. This process allows the nutrients that those natural materials contain to be released back into the soil, becoming available for living organisms to use.
Mold is a type of fungus that grows in the form of black or green patches and easily penetrates the surface of whatever it is growing on. Mold can even appear as fuzzy or slimy in texture and is most likely the result of larger infestation.
What exactly is mildew?
Put simply, mildew is a kind of mold that tends to grow on flat, moist surfaces. Mildew typically grows flat and doesn’t penetrate the surface, making it easier to clean and get rid of. It is typically a patch of gray or white fungus.
Both mildew and mold are types of fungi, typically, mold is black or green, and mildew is gray or white. They both thrive when there is moisture in the environment and can be difficult to get rid of. Both mold and mildew can be sneaky and spread quickly without homeowners ever knowing they exist. If you have any questions you can always call us for a free inspection.