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The First 24 Hours After a Disaster

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

Drying equipment placed on top of each other, prepared to be distributed in the places that are needed. SERVPRO has the proper drying equipment to help cleanup your home after suffering water damage in Salt Lake City, UT.

When your home is on fire or your basement is filling with floodwater, you don't want to wait long for trained technicians to arrive. As you know, a fast response is the best way to prevent further damages. The first 24 hour period after experiencing damages is vital to the well-being of your home. Take a look at what you can expect:

  • Within one hour
  • Within four hours
  • Within eight hours


Salt Lake City, UT, restoration professionals can accomplish a lot during the first hours after a disaster.

What You Can Expect From Restoration Professionals


The First Hour


A representative from the restoration company will call you within an hour after your first request for emergency help. During that phone call, you'll cover a lot of vital information that helps professionals determine which equipment and supplies to have available. You may discuss safety concerns or how to maintain communication with each other.
If the situation requires, technicians will arrive to cover holes with tarps or board up broken windows and doors. This emergency response team focuses on preventing further damages with temporary solutions. Even if repairs don't require a lot of work within the first 24 hour period, technicians will be on-site to verify whether an immediate response is necessary.


On-Site in Four Hours


Depending on the type of damage and safety concerns, clean up and restoration technicians will arrive at your home ready to thoroughly inspect your home. During these assessments, technicians can provide estimates regarding the type of repairs necessary and how long the job will take. They may talk to you about your insurance coverage and direct you to the next steps you should take. The restoration company is always open and committed to arriving Faster to Any Size Disaster; they'll load up the appropriate equipment and search out the best route to your home.


Eight Hours After Damages


Within those first hours, after gathering information and making assessments, a restoration representative will communicate with you, to share the information they've gathered, and to go over the plan for getting your home back in shape.

Within the first 24 hour period, you and technicians from the restoration company will share a lot of information, go through an onsite home inspection, and put together a plan for restoring your home so that it looks "Like it never even happened."

Black Water Precautions for Safety

5/27/2020 (Permalink)

Image of black water with letters stating "Water classifications (Black vs Gray)" It's important to learn more about Black Water and compare it with oher categories.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification sets standards for professional members of the cleanup and restoration industry. According to the IICRC standards, black water damage cleanup must involve specialized equipment, supplies, and techniques. Why is this so important?

Compare "black" to other categories.

  • White water is clean and safe to consume. It is fresh from the tap.
  • Gray water may contain soap, fats, oils, hair, and bits of human skin. It is what's leftover after cooking, washing, and bathing.
  • Black water often contains hazardous chemicals, pathogens, human waste, and animal feces. Flood water is almost always considered black.


Once you know what's in the water, it's easy to understand why flood cleanup and mitigation professionals would take extra precautions. What do professionals do to keep your family and themselves safe while cleaning up the watery mess?


Assessment

Before any work begins, water damage cleanup and restoration professionals will inspect and assess the damages. This is a necessary step that helps technicians prepare the most appropriate supplies and equipment, as well as providing you with an idea of how long the job may take.

Containment

One of the next steps will be making sure that contaminants and other hazards from the water aren't spread throughout the rest of your home. This may involve laying down plastic sheeting, and the situation may also require some testing of your plumbing system to be sure your drinking water isn't contaminated.

Protection

Technicians may don personal protective equipment, including gloves, protective goggles, boots, and other clothing that prevents contact between the technician and contaminants in the water. It's important that you recognize the precautions that technicians take. Keep your family safe by staying out of contaminated areas of the home until it is safe to return.

When your Salt Lake City, UT, home is affected by flooding, make sure you take necessary steps to avoid coming into contact with black water. Contact professionals right away to clean up water damage and provide any necessary reconstruction services.

Teaching Kids About Fire Safety

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

Image of figures going downstairs with green letters stating "Pracitice often" Practice fire safety with your family to keep the safe.

As a parent, you want your child to feel safe at home. While teaching children about potential residential disasters might feel counterintuitive to creating a secure environment, fire safety is necessary to ensure their well-being should the worst occur. Most fire prevention and restoration experts in Salt Lake City, UT, can tell you there are four things every child needs to know to escape a fire.

4 Things Every Child Needs to Know

  • Bed roll
  • Fire crawl
  • Door check
  • Escape plan

Bed Roll


Heat rises. Temperatures between the floor and the ceiling can differ by a few hundred degrees during a fire. Teach your children how to get out of bed during an emergency. The bed roll is a simple maneuver, and it can save your kids' lives. First, have them roll to the edge of their mattress with their face toward the floor. Extend the hand closest to the edge down to the floor to brace themselves. Slowly, they will slide off of the mattress and onto the floor.

Fire Crawl

The next fire safety maneuver to learn is the fire crawl, which has two iterations. The first crawl is on all fours like a baby, with your forearms on the ground and your nose close to the floor. Some refer to the second crawl as an army crawl, and you use it when the heat is too great. For the second crawl, you lay on the floor and use your arms and legs to push you across the floor.

Door Check

Closing doors can often reduce fire damage, but opening a door during a fire is dangerous. Teach your children how to check a door safely with the back of their hand. Do not open a hot door.

Escape Plan

Create and practice a fire escape plan with your kids. You should practice multiple times throughout the year to ensure familiarity.
Fire safety is critical. While parents don't want to scare their children with a hypothetical, sometimes it is necessary to protect them.

How To Stay Safe During a Flood

5/5/2020 (Permalink)

Preparation kit containing a flashlight, batteries, water, first aid kit. Prepare a portable flood kit in your Sugar House, UT property

Flooding poses risks to residents of Sugar House, UT, as well as first responders. The following flood safety guidelines are helpful when preparing for flood conditions.

Follow Evacuation Orders

Residents should stay apprised of flooding risks and prepare to evacuate as soon as an order is issued. Plan ahead by assembling a portable flood preparedness kit that includes the following items:

  • First aid kit
  • Non-perishable food
  • Water
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Sleeping bags
  • Jumper cables
  • Flares

If a homeowner plans to stay at home, he or she should gather most of these items and store a home preparedness kit above the anticipated flood level. Stock up on enough food and potable water for several days.

Protect Yourself

Flood water may contain chemicals, heavy metals and pathogens. People should avoid drinking or making direct contact with this water. One of the most essential flood safety measures involves exercising caution near moving water. A person can easily lose his or her footing in six inches of moving water and vehicles may float in 12 inches of water.

Tips for First Responders

First responders should take additional precautions. Here are three of the best safety tips:

  • Avoid electrical components
  • Get immunized
  • Wear personal protective equipment

Responders can reduce electrocution risks by avoiding downed power lines and making sure that the electricity has been shut off in any flooded structures they enter. Exposure to disease is another preventable risk. The Center for Disease Control recommends a tetanus booster for all disaster relief workers and the Hepatitis B vaccine for medical care providers. Relief workers should wear insulated and watertight electrical hazard boots, hip waders, waterproof work gloves, and eye protection. Respirators may also be necessary.

These flood safety suggestions can help to keep residents and first responders safe. Homeowners should contact a damage mitigation and restoration company if flood waters breach residences located in Sugar House, UT.

Get Help Tracking Insurance Claims

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

Image with green letters asking, are you covered? Insurance coverage is important and SERVPRO can help tracking the insurance claims.

It doesn't take serious flooding or a major storm to lead to water damage in Salt Lake City, UT., commercial property; a leaking toilet that doesn't get noticed before the doors are closed over the weekend can lead to very expensive repairs. The same is true when it comes to fire, smoke, and other damages. A lot of work is required to restore the property after damages, and much of that work begins with an insurance claim.


Accurate Reports in Less Time


Working closely with insurance providers, SERVPRO understands the complexity of each claim and the need to work through the claim as quickly as possible. With this in mind, SERVPRO offers the Claims Inventory Center. This source of information offers each insurance agent access to

  • Relevant facts and statistics from national, regional, and local sources
  • Types of claims and information about losses
  • Job costs compared by region and type of damages
  • Other facts and numbers relevant to creating estimates


Agents often handle more than one claim at a time, so access to this information from one location helps them create accurate reports in less time.


Smooth Flow of Data


There are other benefits to accessing the Claims Inventory Center while working on each insurance claim. For example, the system is set up so that it can keep track of damaged items. Each time an agent submits a list of damages, the data associated with those claims is also stored. A restoration team submits information easily, and agents withdraw the facts they need without fuss.

Quick Exchange of Information


Information is accessed electronically. At one time, records were stored in rooms full of filing cabinets or cardboard boxes. Pulling specific information from these records wasn't always an easy task for agents. The electronic system, on the other hand, can be accessed conveniently. It makes it possible for each member of the restoration effort (insurance agents, restoration professionals, adjusters, for example) to communicate quickly without interrupting work.
A lot of work goes into the completion of an insurance claim. The Claims Inventory System helps agents and other professionals track claims, exchange information, and complete forms accurately and quickly.

Commercial Property Insurance and Water Damage

4/23/2020 (Permalink)

Drying equipment placed in commercial hall to dry carpet after suffering water damage Commercial water damage in Salt Lake City, UT.

Some of the most common insurance claims are those regarding water damage. While there are many ways for businesses to reduce risks, it's very difficult to prevent any type of water trouble, especially considering that water is a necessity in the workplace. Unfortunately, even a tiny bit of water in the wrong place can lead to serious and expensive damages. It's true that experienced water cleanup and repair professionals can put things back in order for your business, but what should you do on your end?


What Does Your Insurance Policy Cover?


The first step is to consider whether water damage is covered by your business insurance policy. The only way to be sure you have appropriate cover is to discuss your concern directly with a representative from your insurance company. There are a few general areas where policy owners have questions:


Are bursting pipes covered?

This is an important point, particularly in areas where freezing temperatures are an issue. Hidden pipes that freeze and burst are of significant concern. Much of the time, these damages are covered by commercial property policies.
Slightly cracked and broken pipes that result in gradual damage pose a separate problem. These damages, whether the result of normal wear and tear or due to owner negligence, are commonly excluded from insurance coverage.
Floods are also a common exclusion on commercial property policies. Sometimes property owners purchase additional coverage specifically for floods.


Imagine that one of your pipes bursts over a weekend when no one is there to notice the water. Floors, carpeting, walls, cabinets, and anything on the floor could be completely soaked before anyone notices. In this case, insurance coverage is absolutely necessary for complete water cleanup.

Learn About Risks and Prevention

Once you have an appropriate water damage insurance policy in place, discuss potential risks and preventative steps you can take. Insurance representatives are often valuable resources with suggestions specific to the Salt Lake City, UT, community and specific to your type of business.

Property Owner's Response to Coronavirus Exposure

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

Image of coronavirus with orange letters stating Here to Help SERVPRO is ready to help with coronavirus.

Each day brings new information about coronavirus exposure. The spread of covid-19, a respiratory disease, happens quickly and easily, passing from people who are up to six feet apart from each other. Commercial property owners and apartment building owners in Salt Lake City, UT, must understand the risks involved if a tenant becomes infected.

Pre-Exposure Steps

Preparation is a key step in minimizing daily operation disruptions. Most experts recommend taking precautionary steps while avoiding spreading panic throughout their properties.

Some examples of steps to take include:

  • Developing a pandemic response plan
  • Posting reminders of best practices, such as washing hands and wearing masks when sick
  • Providing access to soaps and hand sanitizers in common areas
  • Hiring professionals with coronavirus cleanup training to routinely disinfect high traffic areas


Most of these are steps that commercial property owners should be taking anyway, so the steps can be implemented without adding to nervousness about coronavirus exposure.

Pandemic Response Plan

Eventually, an employee or tenant may be exposed to or infected by the virus. When this happens, property owners refer to their pandemic response plan. This plan should include how to communicate with property tenants and anyone who may have been exposed. For apartment owners, it's important to understand the rights of tenants and act within federal tenant laws and covid-19 cleanup guidelines.

Professional Cleanup Response

Once a commercial property has been exposed to the virus, it may be necessary to hire professionals to thoroughly disinfect the property with special attention given to high-traffic areas. Commercial property cleanup professionals are working to purchase the FDA-approved disinfectants and the appropriate personal protective equipment to avoid further exposure and spread of the virus. There's still more to learn about how to carry out coronavirus cleanup, and professionals have access to CDC recommendations.

Communication With Tenants

As a commercial property owner, it's important to let your Salt Lake City, UT, tenants know that you're taking precautions to limit coronavirus exposure. Be sure to mention your efforts to reduce the spread of the virus and to respond immediately to potential exposure.

SERVPRO's Electronic Claims Services

3/31/2020 (Permalink)

Flooded hall due to severe storms. Flooded hall.

When you need your agent to run an insurance claim, much of the work is completed and stored electronically. A great software system consists of much more than a virtual storage file, however. SERVPRO offers an electronic inventory of claims information and makes it available to insurance companies, agents, and adjusters. How does this help you, the homeowner?

  • The detailed paperwork process is handled more quickly.
  • Information is shared between appropriate professionals without delay.
  • The computer system may catch errors that humans missed.
  • Administrative costs are kept lower.

When your property has been affected by natural disasters or manmade damages, you need to get the repairs and reconstruction sorted out as quickly as possible. This inventory system helps make that possible. Take a closer look at some of these benefits:

Efficient Paperwork Completion


In the past, paperwork was completed and shared by hand. For an insurance claim to be filed, older records had to be tracked down and pulled out. The results were often sent through the mail to other professionals or to homeowners. This process exposed the claims paperwork to risks of being lost, damaged, or mishandled. Electronic filing is much faster, and the results are almost instantly shared with all relevant parties.

Improved Levels of Accuracy


It's all too easy for mistakes to happen when claims are processed. The risk of errors increases with each pair of hands that adds or subtracts information to and from the claim. While your insurance agent probably watches very carefully to catch any errors, it's nice to know that the computer system is also running through the document to track down mistakes.

Decreased Paperwork Costs


Electronic storage systems cut out the need for large warehouses or dusty basements of filing cabinets and shelves of boxes. The electronic claims system also reduces the need for stamps, envelopes, and paper. While digital documents haven't completely eliminated the need for paper copies, it has cut down administrative expenses.
SERVPRO property damage cleanup and repair professionals work closely with insurance companies to streamline and improve the exchange of information for each insurance claim. Look for positive results when your Salt Lake City, UT, property is damaged because of storms or manmade disasters.

Understanding the Fire Remediation Process

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

Kitchen suffered severe fire damage, pans and kitchen utensils burned to ashes Kitchen fire damage.

A fire in your home in Salt Lake City, UT, can cause a lot of damage. Fire restoration experts start by repairing the damage, and then they can rebuild your property.

Four steps you can expect the technicians to take once they arrive at your home.

1. Assessment

The first thing specialists have to do is get a clear picture of the extent of the damage. They walk through your home, making note of fire, water and smoke damage that needs to be mitigated. At the end of this visit, they compile an itemized list of tasks and can give you a general cost and timeline for completion.

2. Removal


Before technicians can repair salvageable items, they must remove everything that needs to be thrown out. Even if they are able to save something, it still needs to be removed so that they can work on repairs. Personal belongings must be removed and either set aside for cleaning or discarded.

3. Cleaning

After all destroyed materials have been removed, a thorough cleaning is in order. A big part of fire restoration is cleaning not only the soot and smoke left by the fire but also the water damage that happened from the fire being put out. Every surface must be disinfected before new materials can be brought in.

4. Restoration

Once damage cleaning is done, technicians can build on the existing structure to restore your property. New drywall can be added and painted to match the rest of the area. New tile and flooring can be installed. Finally, items that were able to be restored can be moved back into the space.

A home fire may cause a lot of damage, but most homes can be repaired. The fire restoration process starts with assessment and mitigation. Then technicians take the steps necessary to return your home to its former glory.

Do You Need Hurricane Insurance

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

Hail hitting on top of roof during storm.  Hail damage is very common after a sever storm.

Depending on where you live in the country, the months from June to November can be fraught with concerns over hurricanes and other severe storms. After suffering heavy financial losses because of recent hurricanes, primary insurance and reinsurance companies looked for ways to keep their losses down. If you're a business owner in Salt Lake City, UT, you should understand what your storm insurance policy covers:

  • Damage done to any buildings on your property
  • Some wind-related damages on your grounds
  • Vandalism and theft that occur because of the storm
  • Damaged equipment, fixtures, furnishings, and supplies

Most property insurance coverage does not include these items without special riders. It's important to talk about your risks and potential losses with your insurance agent.

Hurricane and Wind/Hail Deductibles

In addition to determining whether you should boost your storm insurance, make sure you understand the two kinds of wind-related deductibles: hurricane and wind/hail. Depending on where you live and other factors, one of these deductibles may be better for your purposes than the other type. For example, if you live in "hurricane country," hurricane deductibles tend to be higher than wind/hail products. Discuss your option with your insurance agent.

Costs of Reconstruction


Other thing to consider as you research the most appropriate insurance coverage for your commercial property is what it will cost to get your buildings back into working condition after a major storm. Get more information about water damage mitigation, storm damage repair, and reconstruction costs by talking to storm damage cleanup and repair experts.

When the Storm Passes

If you've already suffered storm-related damages, it's best to wait until the winds die down before trying to clean up or make repairs. Once the storm has passed, reach out to local emergency response professionals and property damage emergency response teams to prevent further destruction, including secondary damages. Finally, contact your Salt Lake City, UT, insurance provider to make sure you have an appropriate amount of coverage.