Please don't walk away from your stove while cooking! Flare ups can often happen and if you are not paying attention your cooking area can become an inferno in moments. Make sure all rags and any other easily combustible items are away from that area because they can easily accelerate and spread a flare up. Just by paying a little more attention to your cooking can save you and your family from a lot of damage. Be safe and remember that before you know it a fire can start!
If such a loss occurs remember we can make it “Like it never even happened.”
We clean this too!
When you think of SERVPRO, you may only think of water, fire or mold cleanup. While that is a huge part of our business, it's not all we do when it comes to cleaning. Situations that are too messy, too personal, too risky or just too much for you to clean, we can clean!
Our technicians are specially trained to deal with all sorts of cleanup - those that come from unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances (crime scene cleanup, death/suicide cleanup) and those that seem an insurmountable task (hoarding situations, pet waste, etc). We do it all! We do the "yucky" stuff that people don't want to do.
It's not just a matter of restoring the property to "before" condition. It also has to do with following strict laws and guidelines that govern bio-hazard cleanup as well as properly sanitizing the affected areas. SERVPRO is not your everyday carpet cleaning company. We are equipped and ready to dive in and take care of any sticky situation and bring you back to "Like it never even happened."
Our staff is compassionate and empathetic to your situation and understands that many situations that involve bio-hazard cleanup are uncomfortable and emotionally taxing.
We want to take as much worry and stress off of you as we can. There really isn't much we can't clean up, so if you have any questions or wonder if we can tackle your messy cleaning job, just call us! We're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take the burden off of you and your family.
Flooding in Chicago!
Happens all too often!
Our crew recently returned home from a two week trip to Chicago to aid in storm damage cleanup. On the night of April 17th the Northern Illinois and Western Michigan areas received around 5-7 inches of rain. SERVPRO was ready and dispatched one of our Storm Teams to help the massive amounts of customers with flood damage.
Our Storm Teams were developed precisely for this type of situation and have specially designed systems to get help to our customers as fast as possible, even during trying times like these. SERVPRO of Cheviot and Cleves is proud to be a member of the Storm Team that responded to the Chicago area.
We handled many different situations during our trip from an inch or two of water all the way up to 5 1/2 feet of water in basements. Some basements were not finished and some were. Many of the customers we helped experienced sewage backing up into their basement because the storm and sewer drainage systems in the area could not handle the tremendous amount of rain. Thankfully we are always ready with the knowledge, training, equipment and willingness to handle even the toughest jobs. In Chicago we definitely helped to make it "Like it never even happened."
Don’t forget renters!
f you're a homeowner, you most likely have homeowner's insurance, for several reasons. If you have a mortgage on the property, it's required. But even if it wasn't required, you want to protect your home and it's contents in case something catastrophic happens.
If you're a renter, it's not that much different. While you are not responsible for the actual structure that you live in, think what you would do if everything in your home went up in flames. What if your flat screen TV was stolen? What if everything you owned was ruined because the roof ripped off in a tornado?
Don't be fooled by thinking your landlord's insurance will cover your things. It doesn't. Therefore, you'll be out in the cold with NOTHING if you don't have renter's insurance when you need it.
Beyond just having renter's insurance, be mindful of the limit you place on your belongings. While it may be tempting to lowball your possessions for the lower premium, think about how much money you'd really need to replace all your clothing, jewelry, furniture and other things often forgotten like pots, pans, kitchen utensils, linens, personal hygiene items, small electronics forgotten in a drawer, like tablets and game consoles. Would $25k be enough? $50k?
Last summer, SERVPRO of Cheviot and Cleves were called to a local apartment complex that had caught fire due to negligence in cooking of a neighbor. So it wasn't even the customer's FAULT, yet her entire apartment affected, covered in soot and smelling of smoke.
We were on scene in minutes, packing up her belongings and hauling them back to our warehouse to be cleaned and inventoried. While she went through such a traumatic event, she didn't have to worry about her stuff or where it would end up.
We cleaned everything that was salvageable, and returned them to her in her new apartment weeks later. Her renter's insurance covered it all. The packing labor, materials, hauling, storage fees, everything.
Renter's insurance is pretty cheap, considering the benefits. Policies had be had for as little as $9 a month when bundled with other insurance, or a standalone policy is around $15 and up per month. Your stuff is worth that, right? You bet it is!
It will be ok!
The Sun Is . . . Rising
While in Virginia Beach helping to clean up from the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew I was fortunate enough to stay right on the beach. (It turns out off season rates are as good as anywhere else in the area!) I began taking a picture of the sunrise over the ocean each morning because I don't get that opportunity very often and I would send the picture to my wife each day.
I was in Virginia Beach throughout the Presidential campaign season I returned home just before election day. When I was looking back over my pictures from this trip I saw this particular sunrise and thought of a story I have heard several times over the years. It is said that when the Constitutional Convention was concluding Benjamin Franklin commented on a chair that George Washington had been sitting in throughout the convention that had a semi-circle sun carved into it. He said that he was unsure if that was a rising sun or a setting sun throughout the convention. Finally, at the end of the convention he became certain that for America, the sun was indeed rising.
When I thought of that story and this picture of the sun rising over Virginia Beach I thought about this Hurricane and all the other Storm Events that I have travelled to. I thought about all the storms that have hit our country in the past and I thought to myself, it's going to be alright for these people. Our country is at its best when helping those in need and we have an amazing ability to overcome difficulties in order to keep moving forward. That story of the rising sun chair and the picture I took reminded me that everyone on the East Coast that was affected by Hurricane Matthew may never be the same and it may take a long time to fully recover. But I am certain because of the people I met that for Virginia Beach and any other community affected, the sun is rising.
Most likely uninsured!
The Man Family Cave
I was supposed to have the project done before my son was born, but before I knew it, there he was at 2 years old, climbing through the cabinets I was about to install as part of my basement remodel. It turns out that when you do it yourself, it takes a little longer! When I finally completed it, my family had a re-vamped basement that we could use for entertaining, playing or just connecting while watching a movie together. I was proud of my work and began to add up all the money I saved by doing it myself. Then I thought about the money I spent just on materials like carpet, drywall, paint, cabinets and tile not to mention the furniture and my son’s toys.
Being a SERVPRO owner, I know that the most common damage in basements is water damage. There are all kinds of sources like broken pipes, water heaters, washing machines, water softener tanks and of course anything that happens upstairs will eventually find its way down to the basement. But I felt really good knowing that if any of those things happened in my revamped basement my insurance would kick in and I could have someone else repair it!
Not So Fast!
Our customer was a young traveling sales rep and was gone from her home for several days at a time. This particular time, she had returned to find that the basement she just recently spent thousands of dollars to have finished sustained a water damage. There was a drain in the laundry area that backed up after a heavy rain and it was estimated that only about an inch or two of water got into the basement, but it made its way all over. By the time she returned home to find her wet basement and called us out, the water had already wicked up the walls about 14 inches!
No worries though! Insurance was there to cover the loss and everything was returned to preloss condition with little-to-no financial harm to the customer, right? I wish I could say that was the case. However, our customer discovered that this source of loss was only covered by a special coverage attached to a homeowner’s policy. Good news – she had that coverage. Bad news – there was limit of only $5000!!! For this job we had to cut out drywall 2ft from the floor, tear out carpet, remove baseboards, steam clean, apply a sanitizer and install drying equipment just to get the basement clean and dry. There was also a small bar that had to be removed and 4 rooms of furniture that sustained water damage plus the cost of repairing everything that had to be removed. I’m sure you can see that $5000 left our customer woefully underinsured.
The next day I began to think about my own basement and a particular drain right in front of the washing machine. I knew that I had drain back-up coverage, but I never really looked at my policy in detail to see how much. My basement wouldn’t be nearly as expensive to repair as our recent customer's if the same thing happened, but I also knew that it would take more than $5000. The next day I called my agent and found out that that I did indeed only have $5000 of coverage, so I asked to increase it. At that time, for an extra $50/year I could increase my coverage by $20,000 with my carrier. What a bargain!
All Things In Moderation
I’m not saying to run out and buy a bunch of insurance for drain back up if you don’t need it. I’m not saying go buy $50,000 or $100,000 of drain back up coverage if you do need some. However, I highly recommend taking a quick inventory of what you have in your basement and maybe do some online shopping to see what it might cost to replace those items if they were damaged by either rain water or sewage backing up from a sump pump or drain. Think about the materials that were used to finish your basement. Tile can withstand water damage especially when installed on concrete. Carpet may survive a sump pump or water heater failure, but it has to be disposed of if the water originated from a sewer drain. Cabinets may survive a sump pump failure, but not if the water sits long enough to cause warping. My advice is to work with your insurance agent to determine the right coverage for you and your situation. If you need this special coverage, you will be happy you have it if you sustain this kind of loss. If you need higher limits because you have more to lose it will cost a little more, but you will be relieved that you have it if you ever need it. Make sure you review your policy or call your agent today before it’s too late.
The last thing you want is to find out it’s going to cost more than you have to put your home back “Like it never even happened.”
My roof caused a flood in my basement?
Most people think that their roofs are just there to keep rain from getting in the house, so how could it cause a flood in the basement? Roofs are just a part of a complete drainage system where each part must work together to keep water from coming into the house anywhere. Like any system, if any part is not maintained it could cause the whole system to fail. Here is a quick look at some of the components of the drainage system of most properties:
- Roof (shingle, tile, rubber, metal, etc.)
- Gutters (and other metals like flashing and valleys)
- Drain pipes (above ground, underground)
- Sump Pump (and drain tile)
- Landscape grading
Where's the breakdown?
Roofing materials can wear out over time, gutters can become clogged or damaged, downspouts can get dented which reduces water flow, sump pumps can seize and mulch and dirt can wash out over time and build up against the foundation. When a part of the drainage system fails gravity takes over and generally deposits the rain into the basement. Do I have anyone interested in home ownership yet? The good news is that with a little bit of maintenance and inspection all of these parts of the system can keep water out of your basement as long as you live there. Lack of maintenance could result in the situation you see in the picture!
A season of opportunity
Spring is the season of opportunity. The season to sow, to try something new, to clean up and shake off the remnants of winter. So take the opportunity to walk around your property and look at these different drainage systems. You could even test some of them by spraying water on your roof to inspect for problems. You may not exactly feel like singing in the rain, but it is the best time to see how your drainage system is working. Keep safety in mind when you inspect and ask for help if you are unsure. If you believe water has already gotten into your basement we'll be happy to come out and inspect for wet materials and damage at no charge. Some simple maintenance will provide for years of happy homeownership.
Anderson Turkey Gobble Gobble
Better on sandwich
Every other customer that I've ever served that had a turkey involved in their clean up also had cooking involved. Without a doubt this was one of the most unique situations I've ever come across. I've seen jobs before where a deer had crashed through a basement door or window and I've seen times when a bird tried to fly through a window like on the glass cleaner commercials, but failed with a resounding thud. This was the first time I'd ever seen a bird succeed. A wild turkey flew up high enough and was large enough to shatter the glass on this second floor window. It wasn't able to get through the screen, but the damage was done.
Extent of the problem
Glass in automobiles is tempered glass which tends to break into small chunks when it is broken for safety. The glass that generally goes into windows for our homes is typically not tempered and one, two or three panes. This type of glass breaks into large, sharp, pointed pieces and also very small slivers that can be very hard to see. In this case, the window burst into a carpeted bedroom with no clear idea exactly where every single piece went. There was a bed next to the window, a dresser within a few feet and clothing in a closet right across from the bed. Small pieces of glass can get embedded in fabrics like carpeting, clothing and bedding and this is a room where skin comes in contact with those materials on a regular basis.
Our technicians began immediately to clean up the glass and then remove the carpet. We just can't take a chance that a small sliver of glass gets stuck in the carpet and then makes its way into our customer's foot later on. We emptied all the dresser drawers, removed all the bedding and had all the clothing professionally cleaned. We thoroughly cleaned the subfloor and took extra care to make sure that nothing we removed could possibly allow a piece of glass to leave the room. Whether it's vandalism due to animals or humans, we've seen it before and we have a plan. Of course the best plan of all is to keep the turkey on a sandwich!
Too much Too Fast
Recently we were able to serve customers out of town that were affected by Hurricane Matthew. While North Carolina grabbed most of the headlines, our crew was sent to Virginia Beach, VA. It never ceases to amaze me how nature can put a wrench in our plans by damaging our property. We saw a incredible amount of damage, not from ridiculously strong winds or trees falling on homes, but from flooding. While I certainly believe that North Carolina sustained heavier damage, Virginia Beach got a lot of the rainfall that accompanied the hurricane which caused pockets of extreme flooding. One of our customers was injured during the flooding and rescue crews had to use a boat to get him from his house to an emergency vehicle. I couldn't imagine having to boat up to my front door!
Many Hands Make for Light Work
Once the flood waters receded it was time for SERVPRO to go into action. One thing that excites me about this company is our ability to respond in times of need. SERVPRO's Storm Team is able to organize and send hundreds of crews to help when our customers need it the most. We have the resources to get all the equipment, supplies, tools and trained team members to the right spots quickly. It was phenomenal yet again to see so many SERVPRO trucks and vans from so many different parts of the country helping a city in need.
Help Isn't Just Being There, It's More
It's not just quantity that matters. We follow the same standards to help flood victims that we do every other day of the year. It's important to me that our customers know that we are there to help, not to take advantage of the situation they are in. Some contractors only see dollar signs. We follow IICRC standards for completing the job and we use the same estimating and pricing system that we always use. I found that this allowed our customers to trust us immediately even though we were from out of town. And trust is important to helping restore our customers. After all, it's important to restore the property, but it's more important to restore the customer's faith that it will be alright.
Wow that fire is hot!
Wow that fire is hot!
Recently we were challenged with a very extreme basement fire. The fire was so hot that it actually burned through several floor joists and created a hole in the first floor. It is estimated that this basement was over 1100 degrees Farenheit and with that much heat the fire doesn't just create soot, but it bakes the soot into everything. It's one thing to clean smoke and soot residue off of walls, ceilings, floors and belongings at the opposite end of a house from the fire, but quite another when extreme heat is a factor.
Baked on soot meets its match
They say that sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, but not in this case. In order to find a cleaning process that will get the baked on soot cleaned off we turned to . . . ice? Dry Ice actually. Dry Ice isn't actually ice in the sense that there is no water present in Dry Ice. It is made up of CO2 cooled and compressed into a solid and shaped into pellets that are about -109 degrees F. Special equipment then blasts these pellets at the surface that needs to be cleaned much like sand or soda blasting. Dry Ice blasting is less aggressive than sand blasting which is perfect for fire damage clean up without the need for heavy, burdensome suits and other personal protective equipment. The other major benefit is the speed of clean up after the blasting. Once the Dry Ice hits a surface it turns back into a gas and "evaporates" instead of leaving hundreds of pounds of media (sand, soda, etc.) to clean up.