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.
DO YOU HAVE AN ERP?
An ERP is an Emergency Ready Program. As a business owner you always want to make sure you have an action plan if ever an emergency occurs. If there was a flood, major leak or a tornado, as a commercial property you would want contacts and action plan close by. We couldn't imagine the amount of stress whenever something like that ever occurred! SERVPRO® of Birmingham wants to ease that stress and we realize that you might not think about the unexpected things that may happen, therefore we have implemented the ERP program.
What is the Emergency Ready Program?Our ERP, Emergency Ready Profile is the best way to reduce business interruption following a disaster, plan for it now!
- As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research.
- Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind.
- By developing a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile for your 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 business.
Why Implement the Emergency Ready Program?
Having an ERP saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money. Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
- The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile Advantage is of no-cost assessment to your facility. This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency. – It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects.
- It will save a lot of time if ever needed. A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
- An ERP can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action. Establishes SERVPRO® of Birmingham as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
- You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by. Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
DON'T HAVE AN ERP? CALL US! (205) 664-6770!Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.” Give us a call today and set up your ERP!
SERVPRO of Birmingham is IICRC Certified
SERVPRO of Birmingham is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.
IICRC Certified Firms must• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.
The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration IndustryThe IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals. Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.
About SERVPRO of BirminghamSERVPRO of Birmingham specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
What Happens If You Discover Mold?
DID YOU KNOW?
- Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, and anywhere there has been flooding.
- Whenever mold drops on anything that has excessive moisture, it will grow. Check basements and places that hold a lot of moisture in your home, often to ensure no mold is present.
Here are some tips if you discover mold within your home or around your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Birmingham for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
If you and your family have found mold growing in or around your home, the best decision to make is to call SERVPRO in order to resolve the issue quickly and efficiently. SERVPRO has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment to handle your mold problem. Mold, like mentioned above, can cause numerous health effects and cause damage to your home.
Call SERVPRO (205) 664-6770
Your property will be carefully inspected using technology that can detect mold.
Then, containing the mold will be the top priority, in order for it not to spread any further.
3. Air Filtration
Specialized equipment captures any mold that remains in the air.
Any mold growth, is removed using anti-fungal treatments.
5. Cleaning & Restoration
SERVPRO cleans all furniture, clothing, walls, etc. with chemicals to ensure the mold will not return. Lastly, if anything in your home needs restored SERVPRO will repair those items.
Surviving the Flood...
We live in a world where mother nature has a mind of her own at times, and natural disaster can strike at anytime and can ruin the "normalcy" of the life we once had. The nice furniture, flooring, and decor that once occupied our home, now washed away by water. Whether the flooding that has occurred in your home was because of a pipe bursting, a sewer backup, faulty appliance, a heavy rain or even rising floodwaters, there are important steps you should take in order to keep you and your family safe.
After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:
- Is it safe to stay in the house?
- Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
- Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
- Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
You and your family may not even be thinking about flooding, but rather tornado damage or hurricane damage. But with any severe storm or rain there is always a chance of flooding. And even appliances can cause flooding. Here at SERVPRO® of Birmingham we want you to be as prepared and safe as possible, therefore we put together some do and don'ts to put into practice after you have encountered flooding within your home.
What To Do After Flooding
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- Gather loose items from floors.
What NOT To Do After Flooding
- Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
- Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
- Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
- Don't use television or other household appliances.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
- Do not panic, take a breath and understand that although today feels like the worst day ever. Things WILL get better.
- Keep safety always at the forefront of your mind (stop the water source, shut all electricity off, etc.)
- Call SERVPRO in order to get things clean, dry and back to beautiful as quickly as possible.
- 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
Preparing For Severe Storms
Expecting a tornado or other major storm? Knowing the right steps to take BEFORE a major storm comes can protect you, your family, and your property. Storms can be challenging all by themselves, do not let your lack of preparation add onto these already challenging times. SERVPRO of Birmingham wants to ease the burden and inform you of several steps you can take to stay safe.
Make a Plan of Action
When a major storm threatens your community, you want to be able to evacuate if need be. In order to do this in a safe and timely manner you must have an action plan in place.
- Ensure everyone in the family is aware of this plan
- Be aware of evacuation routes
- If a tornado comes, know where you and your family will take cover
- Plan for any animals you may have as well
Assemble an Emergency Kit
Having the necessary equipment and food for whenever a power outage may occur is a great step you can take in order to stay safe during a storm. Some important items for an Emergency Kit are:
- First-Aid Kit
- Food & Water
- Battery-powered radio
Stay Informed During the Storm
Local television and radio stations are your best source for updates on how the storm is developing and steps to take to get to safety. However, if you ever hear a tornado siren, you should immediately head to the nearest shelter.
If After the Storm, Damage Has Occurred Contact A Professional
Disaster can strike anytime and SERVPRO® of Birmingham is here to help. We are open 24/7 and work to respond quickly to calls to minimize damage, and, in turn, the costs of cleanup and restoration. When you have a flooding or storm emergency, we’re already nearby and ready to help. We are part of this community too and we take pride in being a part of Birmingham and want to do our part in making it the best it can be!
Prolonging Your Life & The Life of Your Carpet
Whether you have been living in an apartment complex for 6 months or a two-story house for 10 years, everyone needs to be mindful of when they last had their carpet professionally cleaned. We realize that there are things around the house that are tossed aside and forgotten about, however maintaining clean carpets should not be one of them. Here at SERVPRO® of Birmingham we understand life happens, like when your child spills a drink all over the carpet or the dog mistakes the carpet, for the grass outside. We get it, but we only want what's best for you and your health.
Why Does My Carpet Need to be Professionally Cleaned?
Many people have been exactly where you are now, thinking "I wipe up all spills and vacuum often, I am good to go." That simply is just not the case. And frankly this alone isn't good enough. It may not be evident to the naked eye, but carpets can house all sorts of dirt, bacteria, and allergens that can be harmful to your health. Carpets that are not well maintained can hold dust mites, molds, pet hair, dead skin cells, insect feces, and other particles deep-seated in their fibers. Below are three possible problems that can be the result of carpets that are not well-maintained.
Danger #1: Weak Immune System
- Everyday our bodies fight to keep us healthy and strong. However, living in an unclean environment, leads to being exposed to harmful bacteria, which can cause you to be more susceptible to diseases.
- Getting out carpets professionally cleaned helps to remove dust mites, bacteria and other allergens, which ultimately helps your family breathe easier and reduces the risk of colds and other health problems. As strange as it may sound, dirty carpet can negatively impact the airflow in your home.
Danger #2: Reduces the Life Span of the Carpet
- Not professionally cleaning your carpet allows for dirt to stay embedded inside the fibers of the carpet. Which ultimately will lead to the fibers breaking and wearing down.
- Regular vacuuming will keep your carpet looking good and prevent debris and dirt from embedding into the fibers.
- Keeping your vacuum in good shape will help keep your carpet in good shape. A vacuum that is half full will be much less effective than an empty one. Be sure to keep it cleaned out and keep up on the maintenance with it as well.
Danger #3: Odor in Carpet
- Professional cleaning companies can use top notch chemicals, to get out odors that regular vacuums or cleaners just simply cannot get out. A couple of these odors are dog urine and cigarette smoke. These odors almost always take a professional crew to come in and get rid of.
Do Not Worry! SERVPRO Can Help!
If you are unsatisfied with your carpet SERVPRO® of Birmingham is here to help. We are open 24/7 and work to respond quickly to calls. We care about your health and safety.