Taking on Storms with Technology
Free ERP App for your home or business
These days, it is important to be ready for a storm and disaster can strike at a moment’s notice! Technology working hard to let us be aware of danger with more time to prepare before it hits! Technology can also be a vital tool in preparing for emergencies or disasters, as well as during or after to stay informed of the situation and in communication with others. From common technology you already use on a day-to-day basis to taking a few extra steps to prepare. Below are a few things that will help you be ready in the event of an emergency or disaster.
Store Information Online
There are many places to store important information securely online. Services like Google Drive and Dropbox offer a free way to store different types of files, from a Word document to images of important documents. Ready.govsuggests saving an electronic version of insurance policies, identification documents, medical records, and information on your pets, if necessary.
Follow the News
Stay informed by following agencies such as FEMA, local news channels, and local government on Twitter for the most up-to-date information in a disaster situation. You can also alert first responders if a rescue is needed through Twitter.
Mark Yourself Safe
The American Red Cross offers a Safe & Well check-in site to list yourself as safe or find family and friends in situations where communication is difficult to establish. Facebook also has a feature called Safety Check that is activated after natural disasters or a crisis. You will receive a notification from Facebook if you’re located in the affected area at that time.
Get in Touch
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date in your phone and e-mail for communication with family, friends, business contacts, and others whom you may need to get in contact with before, during, or after a disaster.
Keep a portable charger in your car and home in case of an emergency. You may need to recharge this from time to time, but you can also buy solar-powered chargers as well. Get an Emergency READY Profile®SERVPRO® of Birmingham is proud to offer Emergency READY Profiles® (ERP) for free at ready.SERVPRO.com to help prepares you, your property, or your business for an emergency.By developing a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile® for your property or business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your property or business. Put help in the palm of your hand with the Ready Plan App. Get in touch with SERVPRO® of Birmingham today for more information on developing an ERP for your property or business! Call us, Birmingham!
SERVPRO of Birmingham's Drying Equipment
Moisture Meters (like the one above) are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials.
Small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time. The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO of Birmingham has the equipment, training, and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters, technology, and equipment must be counted on to perform properly. Our team will answer your call with fast action and a full arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools used by our SERVPRO of Birmingham technicians. Moisture Sensors - Used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards, and walls. Moisture Meters - Used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing SERVPRO of Birmingham to monitor the drying process. Thermohygrometers - Measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, we can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure must also be disinfected and often deodorized. Ultra-Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers - Atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas. Thermal Foggers - Dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor-causing particles to deodorize structures, garments, automobiles and other places where cleaning cannot reach. Call us Birmingham, we have the training and equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.” Call us today at 205.252.8110
7 Tips to Prevent Mold in your Commercial Business
Why should you worry about mold in your building? According to OSHA, some mold, over time, may cause structural damage to wood along with damage to furnishings and finishes. Use the following tips to help prevent mold growth in your business.
#1: Clean Out the RefrigeratorIt can be difficult to keep track of shared refrigerators. Some people will always remember to clear out their leftovers, others won’t. Old food storage containers are a perfect breeding ground for mold. Over time, mold can travel to the shelving and even outside the refrigerator. Consider instituting an office refrigerator policy. If something is left in the fridge by a certain time each week, it goes in the garbage.
#2: Look for And Repair LeaksLeaks from plumbing, windows, roofs, and more can lead to significant water damage in your business as well as an increased risk of mold growth. If you aren’t regularly inspecting your property, it’s easy for these leaks to go unchecked until they create a larger, more costly problem. Watch for telltale signs of a leak such as lower water pressure; wet spots on the floors, ceilings, or walls; and condensation around window sills and in attic spaces.
#3: Keep It CleanIt’s easy for anyone to get caught up in work and let clutter take over his or her workspace. However, clutter creates lots of hiding spots for crumbs and dust, which are both great food sources for mold. Make sure to clear the clutter and wipe down hard surfaces regularly. Make sure to promptly clean all spills as well. Clean and sanitize break rooms and bathrooms frequently. Both rooms provide ample opportunity for mold growth. These rooms should be cleaned at least weekly depending on how regularly people use each room.
#4: Turn on the AC/DehumidifierLeaks aren’t the only way for moisture to accumulate in your business. High humidity levels can lead to moisture and mold as well. On hot days, fans can cool you off, but they don’t do much for humidity levels. Run your AC or a dehumidifier to cut down the humidity in the building.
#5: Clean out Trash CansWhile you might switch out the liners regularly, can you remember the last time you washed out the trash cans? It’s easy for bits of food and condensation to sneak beneath liners into the can, which is all mold needs to grow. Try washing out office wastebaskets about once a month to prevent mold growth.
#6: Take Care of Your HVAC SystemYour HVAC system can quickly distribute mold spores throughout your building if there is a problem. Make sure your HVAC system receives regular inspections. Sometimes moisture condenses inside air ducts or leaks drip onto ducts from ceiling tiles, which can lead to mold growth inside the ducts. Make sure to keep the HVAC drip pans clean and unobstructed. Additionally, replace your filters as needed.
#7: Slope the Ground Away from the FoundationIf the ground around your building slopes toward the foundation, water can accumulate and weaken your building’s structure. Additionally, it provides an ideal environment for mold to grow. The ground should slope away from the building. You should also make sure your building follows the local building codes for drainage. Mold is persistent. Even if you follow all the right steps it’s still possible for mold to grow and spread in your building. Fortunately, at SERVPRO of Birmingham, we have the right experience in mold remediation to make your place of business “Like it never even happened.” Unfortunately, mold doesn’t stay put, it grows quickly. You’ll want to give us a call as soon as you notice it, so we can start the remediation process. Our technicians have the training, equipment, and knowledge necessary to help locate and remediate mold efficiently. If you find mold in your place of business, call us Birmingham at 205.282.8110
Fire Safety for Pets
Pets can be considered family, too!At any given moment, a fire emergency can take place in the North Houston area or abroad, and though unexpected; it can be beneficial to already have a plan in place for everyone in your home to evacuate and meet in a safe location. While you should always be most focused on keeping yourself and your family safe, you can also spend some time on pet preparation so that you can have a better chance of getting your pets out of danger as well. You can be better prepared to keep your pets safe during a fire emergency by following these safety tips:
Practice Evacuating In the confusion caused by a fire, it can be hard to think of everything you need to do right away. If you have a plan in place and practice it a few times, you can be better prepared to handle a fire emergency. This can not only be helpful for pet safety, but also for the safety of everyone in your household.
Notice Where Your Pets Are An important part of the planning process can be noticing where your pets usually spend their time. It can be especially helpful to note where they hide when frightened. You don’t want to put yourself at risk by spending too much time searching for your dog or cat during a fire emergency, but you can be better prepared to get yourself and your pets out as soon as possible by having a checklist of areas you can look.
Keep Collars and Leashes HandyFires can be especially frightening to pets. By keeping their collars and leashes handy, you can more easily guide them out of the house. If you are unable to find them, it can be easier for the fire department to get them out if they are wearing collars. It can be a good idea to hang leashes by the door you are planning to evacuate through. Call us Birmingham at 205.252.8110
Flood Water Facts
Flooding can be disastrous
During this time of year, we see a lot of rain in the Birmingham, AL area. Across the United States though, flooding is one of the most commonly widespread weather-related disasters. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river or even in the desert, there is always potential for flood damage Though you may have never experienced a flood in the past, there’s no level of security to assure that you will not in the future. Did you know that 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. According to the American Red Cross (ARC), floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather-related disaster. The ARC offers the following safety tips:
Stay away from floodwaters
If you approach a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
Driving on a flooded road
turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and water are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
Keep children out of the water
They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
Always be prepared and ready. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly, and the cleanup is often an overwhelming task. SERVPRO of Birmingham is prepared to handle any size disaster. The sooner work begins; the sooner your home or business can return “Like it never even happened.” Call us Birmingham at 205.252.8110
Handling Heavy Rains in Birmingham, AL
Spring is here in Birmingham, AL!
We all love the warmer weather, fresh cut lawns, and spring flowers but we all know, spring in the South brings a lot of rain! Springtime can be challenging to our homes, businesses, and landscaping. Many times the rain can bring backed up sewage, holes in our roofs that lead to water damage and flooding the basements. SERVPRO of Birmingham thought it would be important to share some safety tips with you regarding heavy rains and flooding so you can keep the water mitigation to a minimum this season.
Heavy Rain Tips
- Check your Roof-Look for current damage and areas that look vulnerable to leaks. Repair these as soon as possible. If need be, call a roofer to perform the inspection and the repairs.
- Trim Foliage-Plants and trees with overgrown branches can pose a danger to your household in harsh winds and rain.
- Waterproof Windows-Check the edges of your window sills to see if they need a waterproof sealer or rubber on the edges.
- Clear out Gutters-It is important that these are clear in case of heavy rain to prevent any possible flooding. You should check your gutters a couple of times throughout the year as the wind tends to carry leaves and debris into the gutters blocking the water from flowing freely.
Remember, it is very important to keep an eye on these things because a small leak can cause a lot of damage. SERVPRO of Birmingham is always here to help! Call us Birmingham at (205) 252-8110
Why is Board Up Important?
Completed job after the adjacent home caught fire caused damage leading to board up
If your property in Birmingham, AL has experienced a fire, there are several reasons why you might want to board up structural damage or windows. In addition to keeping the external elements out of a building with fire damage, boarding up can also prevent additional losses due to looting and make the fire cleanup process easier. SERVPRO of Birmingham offers full-service restoration specialists who can also assist in board-up services.
Here are four reasons to board-up after a fire.
Talk to our experts at SERVPRO of Birmingham, about whether boarding up is a good strategy for preventing loss and limiting damage after a fire. Your major concern is likely to be how to recover from fire damage as quickly and completely as possible. Preventing looting and exposure to the elements can make fire cleanup more successful. Call us Birmingham at (205) 664-6770.
- In a commercial setting, there may still be viable stock on the premises. If products that appear viable remain in the building, you should consider boarding up. These items may require assessment and cleaning and may not be fit for sale, but having them properly processed rather than stolen can be helpful for insurance purposes.
- You want to protect electronics and other valuables. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, you may be able to restore some electronics or other valuable property to working condition.
- You need to keep out the elements. If the structure of your property has sustained extensive damage, you should try to keep the elements out to prevent additional damage. Exposure to additional water, wind, or sunlight can compound the damage caused by smoke residue and soot.
- You want to limit soot damage. It is generally a good idea to reduce foot traffic on the scene of a recent fire. When soot gets embedded into carpeting or upholstery, it can be much more difficult to restore these materials to a pre-fire condition.
Why is Our Basement Flooding?
This home is Pelham, AL experienced flooding issues in their basement and is an example of what could happen if the right steps are not taken.
During this time of year, Alabama sees an increase in rainstorms. When this happens there is the potential to see flooding in the basement in your Birmingham, AL home. By understanding the usual causes of water retention in the lower floors of your home, you can take the necessary maintenance steps to ensure that your property stays dry for years to come. Check out a few tips we have for you:
1. Location and Climate Factors A primary cause of excess water is above-average rainfall. Choosing to reside in a coastal area, for example, can increase the risk of a basement flood. Even in dryer climates, laying your home’s foundation on a low-lying or sloped part of the property can cause water to pool under walls and seep through the outer layers of the building.
2. Basement Drainage Should your home sit near or on the water table, a basement drainage system and sump pump will likely be necessary to prevent excess dampness in the flooring. If the pump system breaks down due to electrical or plumbing problems, contact a qualified professional who can perform wiring or pipe repair. A powered mechanism for removing water from the basement after flooding is the most robust method for the prevention of property damage.
3. Sources of Leakage Sometimes the biggest issues facing the homeowner lie in the ingress of water. Cracked walls or insufficient sealants and waterproof coatings can allow water that would otherwise drain away to enter the basement. Improperly positioned or damaged gutters and downspouts can divert water toward the house rather than into the yard. Gutters can also become clogged with leaves or other material, causing them to overflow. Gaps in roofing tiles or shingles can also cause undesirable water redirection, especially in periods of extreme rain or snowmelt. Controlling the water volume before it reaches the basement is often the best preventative measure. Following the above checklist of troubleshooting tips will usually stop the problem before it begins. Should you experience unavoidable flooding and require basement cleanup and decontamination, contact SERVPRO of Birmingham where we specialize in that process to avoid potential health hazards.
Are You Prepared for a Thunderstom?
During this time of year in Birmingham, AL we can experience a lot of rain, which can lead to thunderstorms. It’s important to be prepared and have a plan in place. Talk with your family and create an emergency plan for thunderstorms, floods, and tornadoes. Think about an emergency shelter and evacuation plan. Below we have a few suggestions to make sure you and your family are ready for whatever happens.
Protect your electronics
Your electronics can get fried if they are not properly protected. Plug electronics into a surge protector to avoid damage during a storm.
Prepare for power outages
Have battery-operated flashlights and lanterns in easy to get to places. Check on these items from time to time to make sure the batteries still work, replace them if necessary. Also, think about keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors shut to keep food from spoiling. If these food items rise above 40 degrees for 2 hours or more, they should be disregarded. Call your local power company to inform them of the outage and to get information regarding when the power should be restored.
Stay away from power lines
Do not go near power lines should they fall to the ground, they can be very hazardous. Call 911 if you see downed power lines.
Go inside when you hear thunder
If you hear thunder, it is likely that lightning is also occurring. Lightning can be dangerous, therefore, make sure to go inside when thunder occurs.
There are many different natural elements which can occur and be harmful when outside during a disaster. Therefore, during a storm, it is important to seek shelter and be safe. If your inside, a good place to be is at the lowest level of your home. If you have a basement or storm cellar you can hang out in until the storm passes.
Keep an emergency kit ready
Consider putting together a kit of things you may want to have on hand during a storm. Items you may want to include would be water, non-perishable food, flashlights, blankets extra batteries, a radio, and a first aid kit. If you have an emergency does strike your home during a thunderstorm, SERVPRO of Birmingham is ready to help get your life back to normal. Call us Birmingham, (205) 664-6770
The Fire Restoration Process
Fire damage is probably the last thing on your mind, but you may want to move it up on your list of priorities; preparation is the key. The first 48 hours after a fire often makes the difference between ‘restoring’ vs. ‘replacing’ your property and personal belongings. SERVPRO of Birmingham provides a timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal, to content claims inventory and document restoration.
Here is a timeline to help ease your mind of what should be done before and after SERVPRO of Birmingham arrives:
Within one hour from notice of loss, a SERVPRO of Birmingham professional will contact you to arrange for service.
Within four hours of loss notification, a SERVPRO of Birmingham technician will be onsite to start mitigation services.
A trained and uniformed SERVPRO of Birmingham employee will walk you through the job process step-by-step, explaining what to expect and the anticipated outcome.
A SERVPRO of Birmingham employee will begin pretesting for restoration, working from the source of the damage outward.
Within eight business hours of on-site arrival, a verbal briefing of the scope is communicated to the appropriate person.
Cleaning, Restoration, & Deodorization
SERVPRO of Birmingham will work neatly and efficiently to help you regain control of your property. We then use state-of-the-art restoration techniques to make it “Like it never even happened.”
After the work has been completed, a final walk-through will be conducted with you to help ensure your satisfaction. SERVPRO of Birmingham responds quickly, offering a full line of fire cleanup and restoration services to help you return home as soon as possible. Before risking further damage by attempting to clean up the damage on your own, call the fire damage clean up and restoration professionals. Call us Birmingham, (205) 664-6770