Is Your Business Disaster Ready?
Have you stopped to consider whether or not your business is truly ready for whatever happens?
Sure, you may have your shelves stocked and your labels printed with restock orders on the way. But do you have a plan in place for when the unexpected happens and you’re stuck with picking up the pieces?
Disasters are a natural part of life here in Birmingham. When you take into account the year, or better yet, the decade, we’ve had so far, it would be wise to consider how your business may be affected when these disasters strike. Whether it’s an unprecedented pandemic, a historic freeze that forced the whole south central region of the United States to come to a screeching halt, or your average thunder, lightning, and hail storms that seem to make a weekly appearance. In this region, anything can happen.
You may know SERVPRO of Birmingham as your go-to disaster restoration company, which we are. But do you also know that we specialize in helping your business get disaster ready as well? One of the ways we enjoy serving our community partners is by creating Emergency Ready Profiles, or ERPs, for their commercial properties.
When our dedicated, local SERVPRO Representatives meet with local business owners and facility managers, we gather important materials such as building information, utility shut off locations, and key contacts. Not only is this information important as it pertains to the daily tasks of a facility manager, but it’s also pertinent in the event of an emergency or disaster when time is of the essence.
One of the key benefits in setting up an ERP with our team is having all of your essential property information in one place. In addition to keeping such relevant information organized, your local SERVPRO representative will contact you periodically to update any changes to your profile.
Becoming disaster-ready is a process and our team is eager to help you get started! To set up your free Emergency Ready Profile, call our office today to speak to one of our representatives and ensure that your business is "Ready for whatever happens", just like SERVPRO.
So, What Causes Indoor Flooding?
Water damage usually has one major leading cause: indoor flooding. Some of the most common causes of indoor flooding are:
- Leaky or Broken Pipes: The most obvious cause of indoor flooding is leaky or broken water pipes. Pipes can burst from changes in water pressure or even a faulty setup, but regardless of the cause, pipe problems often cause a ton of damage. Leaky pipes are usually a warning sign of more problems to come. Hidden floods caused by broken pipes in your walls can even create the perfect environment for microbial growth.
- Faulty Washing Machine Hose: The most common problem with watching machines are faulty hoses. A leak in your intake hose can worsen over time and can cause flooding in your home.
- Water Heaters: Even a small leak in your water heater can cause major flooding due to its endless flow of water. Make sure to inspect your water heater on a regular basis, keeping up with maintenance to ensure it doesn’t spring a leak.
- Clogged Sewer or Drain Lines: The flow of water to and from your house can be disrupted when you have clogged sewer or drain lines. Some clogs might be benign, allowing for a slow drain that is merely an inconvenience. But those clogs can get worse over time. The clog can cause your sinks, toilets, and showers to overflow with water, resulting in major damage. This can even include backed-up sewage, causing a hazardous environment for anyone or anything that comes in contact with the affected water.
If you find flooding inside your home, call us and we will be there to help.
Fire Pit Tips
Here in Birmingham, AL it's a tradition to enjoy the cooler nights outside around a homemade fire pit! Many of us are looking forward to spending time gathering around them to enjoy time with family and friends. Before you start dreaming of moonlit nights and toasted marshmallows, take a moment to check out some of these tips on fire pit safety:
Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips:
- Whether you prefer a built-in or portable fire pit, choose one that is not too large for the area. The pit should be a minimum of 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials as well as away from trees, fences, sheds, power lines, and telephone wires.
- Make sure that the seating area is large enough and properly placed for comfort and ventilation.
- Check wind direction before lighting a fire.
- Don’t use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
- To start the fire, use a lighter to ignite crumpled pieces of paper covered with small sticks. Then, add larger sticks and a log or two to keep it burning.
- Burn only dry material. Damp material will create excess smoke.
- Don’t wear flammable clothing (like nylon) or any loose-fitting clothing.
- Never leave the fire unattended, and keep pets and children far away from the fire as they will be attracted to it.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket of water nearby.
- As the fire dies down, use a shovel and spread out the ashes to allow them to cool down. Then slowly pour water over those ashes and watch them closely to be sure that no burning embers remain or reignite. Put the cooled ashes in a specially designated ash storage metal can.
Red, White and Barbecue
One of the main ways The Fourth of July is celebrated in America is through fireworks and grilling. Every year thousands are injured by unsafely handling grills. Here at SERVPRO of Birmingham we care about fun and safety: therefore, we are giving you a few do's and don'ts when grilling, that way you can stay safe and grill your favorite meal at the same time.
What TO DO when grilling:
- Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house.
- Clean your grill regularly, this will decrease the amount of fuel the grill would have if there was ever a fire.
- Check for gas leaks.
- Keep decorations like umbrellas or plants away from your grill.
- Keep a bottle of water near your grill just in case it is ever needed.
What NOT To Do when grilling:
- Don't turn the gas on when the lid is closed: this causes gas to build up.
- Never leave a grill unattended.
- Overload the grill with food.
- Never use a grill indoors.
- Do not panic if an emergency occurs, instead call SERVPRO.
- Keep safety always at the forefront of your mind.
- 24-Hour Emergency Service
- Faster to Any Size Disaster
- Highly Trained Water Restoration Technicians
- A Trusted Leader in the Water Restoration Industry
- Locally Owned and Operated
- Advanced Water Inspection, Extraction, and Drying Equipment
Have You Considered a Career at SERVPRO of Birmingham?
In today’s job market, job seekers are no longer looking for a place where they’ll make a paycheck, they are searching for a place where they’ll make a difference. At SERVPRO of Birmingham, our team members do just that on a daily basis. Not matter which role you play in our organization, whether its at the front desk taking calls or on the front lines extracting water, you can be certain that you are fulfilling duties that go beyond
Coupled with a family-oriented culture and a standard of excellence in all we do, not only do our team members feel right at home, but they also end the day knowing that the work they deliver is among the best in the industry.
At SERVPRO, positions are always available for the right individuals who wish to join us in our vision of becoming the premier cleaning and restoration company in the world. Not only is it our mission to develop a team of quality people who focus on fairness, excellence, and mutual respect, but we are also creating opportunities for our team members to grow within the organization. We desire to see you succeed!
So no matter which role you play in our organization, whether its at the front desk taking calls or on the front lines extracting water, you can be certain that you are fulfilling duties that go beyond administrative tasks or heavy lifting, you are helping us restore hope and normalcy to the lives and daily routines of some of the most vulnerable and even traumatized members of our communities.
If you’re looking for a place where you will make a difference in the lives you touch and have the opportunity to grow and develop your skills, a career at SERVPRO of Birmingham may be a great fit for you!
To apply, visit our website for open positions or send your resume to leo@SERVPROofbirmingham.com
TAKE PROPER PRECAUTIONS BEFORE LIGHTING FIREWORKS!
As Memorial Day and the 4th of July approach, make sure you and your family are aware of firework safety! We want the holidays for you and your family to be just as they were meant to be, FUN! Often times, though people handle fireworks in an unsafe manner.
I am sure everyone has seen the viral video, "Back up Terry." In this video a man in a wheelchair lights a firework and there is a malfunction with his wheelchair. He can't get away from the firework fast enough, and the fireworks start going off right next to him. And yes, although we thought this video was funny, we need to realize that this could have ended entirely different and Terry could have been badly injured.
DID YOU KNOW?
During the holiday months, on average 180 people a day go to the hospital for firework related injuries. We encourage you here at SERVPRO of Birmingham to:
- Store fireworks away from children
- Always read the labels and follow directions
- Keep small children and pets indoors: they are easily frightened
- Always have water near, in case of an incident
- Soak used fireworks in a bucket of water afterwards
- Dispose of used fireworks and debris properly
- Never re-light "dud" fireworks
- Never keep fireworks in your pockets: the friction could set them off
- An adult should always be the one lighting the fireworks
- Keep matches & lighters away from children
- Use fireworks outdoors only
- Do not throw fireworks or hold them in your hand
- Don't be like "Terry", light firework and move away quickly
- Use only legal fireworks
- Make sure you are able to set off fireworks (every state is different)
- Fireworks are prohibited on all state parks, and state or federal forest land
- The National Fire Protection Association estimates that the local fire department responds to more than 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year. THEREFORE, DO NOT point fireworks toward homes and keep away from bushes, leaves, and flammable substances.
IF YOU ENCOUNTER A FIRE, SERVPRO CAN HELP!
As we get ready to enter into hurricane season, we want to make sure our community is well prepared and informed of what to do in case the storms get way out of hand. To ensure you and your loved ones are safe during this upcoming storm season, read along for these tips on what to do to be storm safe:
- Know Your Risks: One the most important things you can do is understand how susceptible your area is to hurricane weather. Being informed pf the likelihood of how a hurricane can affect your area by keeping up to date with weather announcement and local and governments
- Build an Emergency Kit: This one sounds simple, but it is often overlooked. Keeping an emergency kit that is stocked with water, canned foods, non perishables, and comfort items such as blankets and toys could be the difference between a disaster and an inconvenience.
- Review And Gather Documents: Review your policies ahead of time to see what is covered and if flood insurance is available to you. Gather important documents such as insurance policies, IDs, birth certificates, deeds, or even sentimental documents and keep them in a fireproof and waterproof safe.
- Be Informed: Knowing where to go and who to call is key to staying safe. Having an evacuation plan in place in the event of a disaster ensure members of your household know what to do in case home isn’t the safest place to be. Have a planned route and an alternate route to get to a safe place away from the storm.
- Strengthen Your Home: Taking a look around your property to see if you are vulnerable in the event of a hurricane is a key factor in minimizing your risk of damage. By looking for vulnerable areas, you’ll be able to address them and fortify and susceptible areas around the home or property.
Implementing these tips will help you face this hurricane season and minimize the risk of your property being a victim of the elements. Keep SERVPRO of Birmingham in mind for all your storm damage restoration needs.
Commercial Cleaning Tips
Spring & Summer time has become a great time of year to undertake deeper cleaning projects. Although spring cleaning is commonly associated with residential homes, it is just as much needed for commercial places as well. The cold winter months keep everyone cooped up inside and bacteria & messes start to grow. A good cleaning helps to give workers a more open and less hectic environment; additionally, a clean and welcoming place of business helps to attract customers. Here is a list of some important areas to inspect during your deep cleaning cleaning:
OUTSIDEWindows are one of the simplest yet crucial areas to keep clean. Beyond making sure you have squeaky clean windows, check to make sure they have tight seals. Small gaps in window seals can cause cool air to seep out (and warm air in the winter months), as well as allowing water to trickle in. Checking caulking and weather stripping remains intact and up to par can save you money in the long term. This is very important for the presentation of your business. Now the grass, flowers, weeds and other plants are starting to grow, it’s important to start grooming your landscape. Don’t wait till your plants get out of control, hire someone now or take some time yourself to pull the weeds, mow the grass, and trim any trees or bushes. Additionally, this is a great time to plant some flowers if you want to spruce up your place of business. When converting your buildings air flow system from heating to air conditioning now is the best time to quality check your system. Test your system by running it for a while to make sure it’s working properly, check any old or out of date parts that might need replacing. Clean out the ventilation system by removing dust particles and any other debris lying inside. Ventilation systems are rarely cleaned, which is why lots of building owners tend to find pest infestation or mold problems when cleaning their vents/ducts. It’s best to take these precautions while the temperature is in a transitioning period. Along with the re-birthed trees and plants, spring also brings back hordes of pests. Ants, spiders, termites, mosquitoes, and even bed bugs can become a problem. It’s best to take preventative measures to ward off pests instead of being forced to shut the business down for a couple weeks in order to fumigate for pests. Lastly, if you are continually having the same pest problems each year, try to identify exterior factors that might be attracting those pests and any defects in your building that might be letting them in.
INSIDESimple and effective. Even if you already dust on a regular basis now’s a good time to dust those harder to reach, and often ignored, areas. As people come in from the rainy times and wipe their feet on your carpets, dirt begins to build up. Don’t let this grime buildup in your building; buy some strong cleaning products for your floors and a top quality vacuum for carpets. In addition to constantly maintaining floors and carpets, now is a great time to hire a professional carpet and floor cleaner to give your floors a deep clean. Reorganizing comes in two parts. The first is the organizing of all the previous years files into a consolidated area for ease of access. Best practice is to do this at the beginning of every year so that your files are neatly organized and easy to find when needed. The second is the reorganization of the office itself. Ideally, this is a continuing process year round. If the office has gotten out of hand this can be a good time of year to tidy up and breathe some fresh air into the workplace. Depending on your type of business will help determine what type of cleaning takes priority. If you need extra help or an even deeper clean call SERVPRO to help!
Sewer Line Issues
Blocked sewer drain is relatively common in commercial properties!! Backed up sewers can cause thousands of dollars in damage to floors, electrical systems, walls, etc. Learn about the most common causes of sewer backups, and what you as a commercial property owner can do urge your residents or your co-workers of steps to take to ensure there are no sewer line. Be aware of these four things that may be an indicator you have a sewer problem.
Odors:Be aware of any odor around drains. If after clearing a clog you smell sewer gas, you may want to call a plumber for an inspection, as strong sewer smells can be an indicator of issues further in the line.
Clogged Drains :A blocked sewer will not only cause unpleasant odors to occur in your building, but the blocked pipe can also cause frequent clogging of your drains and toilets. This problem may also cause sewer backups into your facility.
Indentations in Landscaping:Also, while you may not have any clogging issues, it is still possible that your sewer lines have failed. Pipe breaks may cause indentations in your landscaping, like divots in the lawn. If the break is severe enough, it is possible that sewage is leaking into the grounds of your property. Eventually, this can also lead to a sewage backup in your building.
Deformations in Landscaping:In addition to indentations in the lawn, you may notice perpetual puddling in certain areas. You may also see that areas of your parking lot have sunken or cracked along with sidewalks. Depending on how close the break is to your building, you may even notice cracks in the foundation. These issues often require the expertise of a disaster restoration specialist to resolve, which depending on your insurance policy may be covered. Be proactive! Here are two things to do on a day to day basis to ensure there are no sewer problems for you and your commercial property.
Cooking oil should never go into the drain. You should let the grease cool off and then dispose of in the garbage can.
- Properly dispose of grease.
Paper towels, feminine hygiene products, cloth diapers, and hygienic wipes, etc. do not deteriorate quickly and can become a major problem.
- Properly dispose of paper products.
EXPECTATIONS OF SERVPRO..
What should be expected when you contact us? First and foremost, expect our 24-hour availability! Whether you are calling day or night, weekday or weekends, and even during the holidays, you can always expect to speak with a real person about the emergency you are experiencing. SERVPRO of Birmingham is the top choice for many insurance agencies in the Shelby County and Jefferson County areas.
Here is what you can expect during the first several hours after contacting SERVPRO of Birmingham: Quick Response - When a building has been damaged, the response time is an important factor in how time-consuming and how costly restoration will be. SERVPRO is always open, so you can expect to hear back within an hour after you have contacted them about the emergency. Once you have provided them with the necessary information, we will begin preparing to address the needs of your client. Arrive Time - Our technicians can be on-site to begin the restoration process within four hours. This fast response can make the difference if your home or commercial business has suffered a great deal of damage. Beginning the process more quickly will result in less damage overall which can end up costing the insurance agency less money. Inspection/Verbal Briefing - Once the damage restoration specialists have arrived, they can inspect the home to determine the extent of the damage and decide on the best course of action moving forward. Our team has the ability to let you know in the emergency is claim worthy or not as well. They will provide a verbal briefing so that you are aware of what will happen next. Our team's quick 24-hour response will allow us to begin mitigation as soon as possible to prevent any further damage before we begin work on necessary repairs.