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Technology: A Life-Saving Tool for Helping Communities Prepare for Storms and Storm Damage

5/12/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: The team at SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth understands the devastation storms can bring. When storms are in the forecast, home and business owners can use technology as a tool to help prepare for severe weather.

When storm and flood restoration services are needed as a result of severe weather, trust SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth, a locally owned and operated damage restoration company. Technicians provide residential and commercial property damage cleanup services to Fort Worth, Keller, and Park Glen areas with continuous coverage twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The team is dedicated to customer service.

The thunderous roar of an approaching tornado is traumatic for anyone caught in its path. The massive scale of the event leaves people helpless. Technology levels the playing field, giving people the tools to weather the storm without injury.

Tech experts cast the future of weather technology in a positive light, writing, “Natural disasters still kill around 10,000 people a year, but that number has fallen substantially over the years. As the world’s resources have advanced, people have become better equipped to handle these events. If technology continues on its current path, it will reduce these numbers even further.”

How modern technology is improving the odds for people to make it through the storms safe and sound.

1. Modeling the storm season to anticipate severe weather

Accurate expectations of future weather events improve response and survival strategies. Storm type, timing, and intensity are crucial to creating and executing the best response. Modeling is a source of this vital life-saving data.

Powerful supercomputers analyze weather satellite data to simulate seasonal hurricane activity. These powerful systems generate reliable predictions concerning storm sizes, times, and behaviors. Agencies are empowered to respond appropriately. The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) refines these predictions. AI is the future of hurricane season prediction because hurricanes are so unpredictable.

2. Rapid alert systems

Modern communications technology enables meteorologists to alert agencies and the general population with an efficiency and speed never before experienced. Preparedness involves both modeling and fast-flowing lines of communication. Fast, clear alerts give agencies, institutions, businesses, and individuals critical time needed to be ready for the extreme weather.

Smartphone technology is vastly superior to older technologies such as strategically located sirens. The portability of digital alerts through cell phone technology means almost everyone with a cell phone receives a real-time alert. Wireless emergency alerts, WEA, save lives.

3. Tornado tracking technology

Occurring at a rate of about 1,200 per year in the US, tornadoes are frequent, violent, and difficult to predict. Advances in technology mean that scientists are better equipped to track the rambunctious twisters.

Accurate tracking results in accurate alerts that help people respond, take cover, and survive the storm. This acute awareness of a tornado’s location also allows rescue agencies to quickly deploy emergency teams to devastated areas. By shaving minutes off response times, first responders can save lives in the wake of storms.

4. Reinforced infrastructure

Sheltering in place is potentially dangerous if the shelter is not compliant with modern building codes. Stronger building materials and techniques reduce damage. Basements and storm shelters provide a safe refuge for people who have had to evacuate their homes or businesses. Hurricane windows and doors can sustain high-speed, high-impact collisions with flying debris. Reinforced garage doors are amazingly resilient under extreme conditions. A garage-door failure could also lead to a catastrophic roof failure.

5. Smart power grids

The cold weather disaster of February 16, 2021, demonstrated the vulnerability of the North Texas power grid. A failed power grid puts the general population at risk while, at the same time, hindering a coordinated response effort.

Monitors and sensors in the smart grid feed power companies needed data. Customers in the offline grid receive alerts of the outage and estimates of when the power will be restored. Some tech equipment has the sophistication to troubleshoot problems. Utility companies respond to these informative alerts and restore power much more quickly than in past decades.

6. New tools for understanding weather events

Accurate, timely information saves lives. Real-time weather conditions are constantly monitored at over 900 surface observation stations across the United States. This granulated information helps scientists more fully understand the nature of “Mother Nature” when dealing with the causes and behavior of extreme weather.

Why Storm Damage Restoration Services From SERVPRO

Modern technology saves lives, but it does not necessarily prevent storm damage. When severe weather causes a disaster that creates a need for storm and water damage restoration, trust the project to the professionals at SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth, Texas. Technicians are experienced, certified, and well-equipped to tackle any size disaster.

When home or business owners need storm damage restoration services, they can call the SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth office at (817) 900-0580 for emergency restoration services. The team can also be contacted by email at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com

How Local Small Businesses in Watauga, TX, Can Overcome Severe Property Damage

5/12/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth shares strategies to help local small businesses quickly recover from devastating property damage.

SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth is dedicated to helping small businesses in Watauga, TX, recover from a major property damage disaster by rapidly providing fire, smoke, and water damage restoration services. Loyal customers are the backbone of a small business’s success. They provide consistent repeat business and keep the doors open. A temporary interruption of services or halt in production can result in customers seeking other sources for their needs. A rapid, thorough restoration process gets products and services moving and revenues flowing to satisfy customers’ needs.

How a business responds to a significant property damage disaster can have consequences for future success.  

Steps that help a small business recover from a serious property damage disaster.

Step #1: Review and understand the business’s commercial insurance policy.

Major property damage and business interruption insurance policies provide financial protection for a business in the event of a property damage disaster that not only damages the structure but also disrupts the sales and revenue cycle. A thorough understanding of the policy coverage and limits coupled with a working knowledge of how to use the policy during the claims process will ensure the business is protected and comes out on the other side of the disaster ready to move forward at a rapid momentum to make up for lost time and money.

Step #2: Consider the benefits of partnering with a restoration company that can handle the entire claims process.

Policyholders often find the complex, technical language in insurance policies to be confusing and difficult to understand. However, it is not enough for the policyholder to simply make the premium payments according to schedule and assume the carrier will advocate for the policyholder in the event of a claim payout at a fair settlement amount after property damage. The insured party needs to understand to some degree the intricacies of property insurance coverages and the claims process.

When small businesses work with SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth, the company’s trained and experienced staff can handle the claims process from beginning to end. The team will work with the insurance company to understand the coverages and the options within the policy to help the business achieve full recovery. The SERVPRO claims professionals most likely have previously worked with the insurance company in the Fort Worth and Dallas area. Claims management will not be an added headache for a business owner striving to restore normal business operations.

Step #3: Create a customized Emergency Ready Plan.

This important process breaks down into many parts. First, conduct a risk assessment of the business operations and the physical plant. Identify any fire hazards or other risks that have gone unnoticed or been neglected. Clarify if the structure is in a flood zone and qualifies for coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Assess any vulnerabilities specific to the landscape’s layout, such as grading and slope issues. Though the facility may not qualify for FEMA flood insurance, subtle changes to the landscape may reduce the likelihood of a micro-flood from a stalled thunderstorm.

Implement safety procedures to address the new risk hazards. Review the safety plan in company meetings. Conduct drills on a scheduled basis, and post signage in high traffic areas. The goal is to cultivate a safety-conscious corporate culture.

Step #4: Make sure the commercial insurance policy covers frequent disasters common to the region.

This step may require a consultation with the insurance agent. Inquire as to what coverage other businesses in the area have. A pattern may indicate an adjustment needs to be made to the policy to reduce exposure in vulnerable areas.

Step #5: Take measures to prevent property damage.

As mentioned above, subtle adjustments to the landscape can protect against flooding. Remove trees or prune branches that can fall onto the roof, causing a puncture and water intrusion. Install a removable flood gate system at vulnerable entryways. Install reinforced doors or strengthen existing doors in areas where flooding can occur. Keep drains free of clutter and debris.

Step #6: Protect vulnerable data and data systems.

Implement a data backup system such as a cloud system. A strategic partnership with IT management professionals is recommended. Outsourced IT management can scale with company growth. Remember to include payroll in the strategy.

Step #7: Pre-qualify a reputable property damage restoration company.

Look for companies with these features:

  • Insured, licensed, bonded, and IICRC certifications
  • Available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays
  • Rapid response within an hour or less
  • Best equipment, latest technology, advanced cleaning techniques
  • Provides detailed and documented estimations
  • Can scale to any size or type of disaster
  • Manages the insurance claims process

For more information about commercial water damage cleanup and restoration in the 76244 area, call SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth, TX, at (817) 900-0580 or email office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com

How to Know if a Home’s HVAC System and Air Ducts Would Benefit From Professional Cleaning Services

5/12/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth identifies situations where air duct cleaning would be desirable and shares a testimonial from a homeowner who received HVAC system cleaning services.

The team at SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth provides a full menu of services, including water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, storm damage restoration, mold remediation, and residential and commercial cleaning. Air duct and HVAC unit cleaning is among the services that SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth delivers to clients. Air duct cleaning can offer several benefits, such as helping to minimize the potential for a mold infestation, contributing to the restoration of maximal energy efficiency, and combating unpleasant odors.

Who Should Consider Air Duct Cleaning Services?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises that homeowners consider having their air ducts cleaned in the following cases:

  • “There is substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface (e.g., sheet metal) ducts or on other components of your heating and cooling system.”
  • “Ducts are infested with vermin, e.g. (rodents or insects).”
  • “Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust and debris and/or particles are actually released into the home from your supply registers.”

The EPA also offers the following recommendations regarding mold growth in air ducts and the HVAC system: “Many sections of your heating and cooling system may not be accessible for a visible inspection, so ask the service provider to show you any mold they say exists. You should be aware that although a substance may look like mold, a positive determination of whether it is mold or not can be made only by an expert and may require laboratory analysis for final confirmation. For about $50, some microbiology laboratories can tell you whether a sample sent to them on a clear strip of sticky household tape is mold or simply a substance that resembles it. If you have insulated air ducts and the insulation gets wet or moldy it cannot be effectively cleaned and should be removed and replaced. If the conditions causing the mold growth in the first place are not corrected, mold growth will recur.”

The EPA adds, “If any of the conditions identified above exists, it usually suggests one or more underlying causes. Prior to any cleaning, retrofitting, or replacing of your ducts, the cause or causes must be corrected or else the problem will likely recur.”

SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth’s Air Duct and HVAC Cleaning Services

At SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth, the team operates according to the principle of placing the customer’s needs first. Customer service, professionalism, and integrity are priorities.

Transparency is essential when it comes to air duct cleaning. SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth’s technicians only recommend air duct cleaning after a professional and thorough inspection indicates that cleaning is necessary. If the homeowner has concerns about the air quality inside the home, the team can offer a variety of recommendations about the options that are available to the homeowner to address the issue. By informing clients about the available options, SERVPRO enables homeowners to save money and make the best choice for their HVAC system. According to a SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth representative, “Our motto is ‘always do what is best for the customer,’ offering services, not for our company’s enrichment, but when we see a need.”

SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth uses air scrubbing technology to trap and contain airborne contaminants that may arise during the cleaning process. If odors are also an issue in the home, the company’s deodorization specialists can deploy commercial-grade ozone machines to permanently remove the offensive smell.

What Customers Are Saying About SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth

One online reviewer described his positive experience hiring SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth to provide air duct cleaning services at his home. He wrote in his review, “The SERVPRO team came to my house to clean out the ducts and vents for my HVAC system. They did a great job of cleaning them, with no mess in my house. They were in and out in a reasonable amount of time, and the cost was great. I would recommend their duct cleaning services to anyone. You have no idea how much dust and allergens can build up inside your ductwork in your home!”

To learn more about SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth’s damage remediation services, including water damage, fire damage, and storm damage, in Watauga, TX, and nearby areas, contact the office by email at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com or call (817) 900-0580.

Electrical Safety: Essential to the Safe Enjoyment of Swimming Pools

4/13/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth highlights the need to prioritize electrical safety around the pool to prevent fire damage.

Electrical safety around the pool can prevent a fire damage disaster. The placid crystal waters hide a weblike network of pipes, wires, a pump, and a filter, all powered by electrical current. Serious electrical hazards can cause potential fiery results. To prevent injuries and fire damage, the homeowner is urged to make electrical safety around the pool a top priority.

The pool season in North Texas runs from late March to October. The sizzling Keller, TX, summers make the backyard pool a prime location to beat the heat and relax from a hard day’s work. The pleasure does come with a specific set of necessary precautions:

  • Sunscreen protects against sunburn and skin cancer.
  • Bug spray, scented candles, and electronic bug zappers remedy the pest problem.
  • Life jackets and swim rings ensure a safe swimming experience.

Safety around the swimming pool, spa, and hot tub must include awareness of potential water and electrical hazards. These six tips will help keep the pool and surrounding area safe from electrical shock.

Tip #1: Find a pool pro.

Seek out the services of a licensed, bonded, and insured professional for pool or spa installation, maintenance, and repairs. Schedule a comprehensive inspection and maintenance appointment before the pool opening to ensure the system is operational and safe. For the diagnosis and repair of a suspected problem, secure the services of a fully licensed, experienced electrician who is knowledgeable about the electrical concerns of pools. Strict guidelines are in place to ensure pools are installed and serviced to the highest safety standards.

Tip #2: Choose Bluetooth and battery-powered poolside technology.

Bluetooth devices are perfect for the pool setting. The short-range wireless connectivity allows for cordless signal transmission and control in devices such as radio, musical audio equipment, smart TV, and security system. Convert to onboard battery power or solar power, and eliminate electrical cords.

Keep standard electrical appliances far enough away from the pool so that bystanders can avoid contact with puddled water while using the device. As an added layer of protection, adjust the cord length so that the appliance cannot be moved without being unplugged first.

Tip #3: Use safe outlets.

Special electrical outlets are used with pools and spas. These GFCI or ground-fault circuit interrupters reduce water and electrical hazards by interrupting the circuit when a circuit overload occurs. These GFCI outlets are common in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and some garages. Test the outdoor GFCI outlets once a month to ensure they are operating properly.

Where electrical appliances are necessary, take safety to the next level. Protect these outdoor plug-in accessories and equipment with specially designed outlet covers that prevent splash arcs. Life and play around the pool can get rambunctious at times. A stray splash on an unprotected electrical outlet can cause a circuit to short or throw off a spark. This situation may be all that is needed to ignite a fire or create a risk hazard for electrocution.

Tip #4: Set up safety guidelines.

A formal set of safety guidelines for activities around the pool will protect guests and the homeowner. Post the rules in plain sight. Review the rules with friends, neighbors, and family who want to enjoy the pool. These rules shape safe behavior and guard against careless, hazardous activities that can result in personal injury, death, or a lawsuit. Provide instruction on when to evacuate the pool when inclement weather is forecast or arises. Include warnings about the dangers of mixing water and electrical equipment. The combination of water and electricity is dangerous whether a pool is the source of the water or not.

Tip #5: Know how the system works and learn how to operate it smoothly.

A pool is not just a 30,000-gallon container of clear, cool water; it is also a complex network of pipes, jets, intakes, lights, and wires. The task of opening a pool at the beginning of the season requires knowledge, skill, and some sweat. After the first few times, the flush protocol seems simple. In the case of electrical activity during a thunderstorm, the pool may need to be shut off quickly before lightning strikes. A delay in shutting off the power could result in a fire or great personal injury.

Tip #6: Pre-qualify a damage restoration company before fire damage occurs.

One call to SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth has a crew arriving at the client’s location within four hours or less. The team of fire and water damage restoration professionals is available 24/7, including holidays. Technicians are equipped with knowledge, expertise, training, industry-leading tools, the latest technology, industry-standard cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved cleaning products. SERVPRO can handle the claims process from start to finish with no hassles and no headaches for the client.

Contact SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth for more details about fire and water damage restoration services. The office can be reached by calling (817) 741-5737 or by emailing office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com

Helping Homeowners Deal with Water Damage from a Dishwasher Malfunction

4/13/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth explains ways homeowners can overcome the challenges of water damage caused by a dishwasher flood.

A flooded kitchen presents several water damage restoration challenges, none of which are easily resolved. These multifaceted problems need immediate attention to prevent advanced secondary damage, which could include a mold infestation.

The challenges of water damage can prove to be a frustrating nightmare when an appliance such as the dishwasher floods the kitchen floor. A water damage disaster requires professional attention from trained technicians with the proper water removal equipment and drying techniques to quickly resolve the matter.

Within the kitchen, the dishwasher is a common source of leakage, and this appliance may leak for many different reasons. Consult a professional plumber or appliance repairman with the proper credentials to accurately diagnose the origin of the leak.

A Five-Point Plan for Dishwasher Water Damage Cleanup

1. Carefully inspect the flooded areas to accurately assess the extent of the damage.

Before initiating the cleaning process, inspect the kitchen and adjacent rooms to determine the extent of the flooding. A floor-mounted electrical outlet involved in the flood presents a serious risk hazard, especially if the fixture is not a GFCI outlet. A GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) will automatically break the electrical circuit when an overload or arc occurs. Also, other electrical appliances may be impacted by the floodwater. To remove all doubt and to ensure safety, turn off the power to all the affected areas.

If the kitchen is flooded, expect to find water under the dishwasher. If the appliance has an access panel on the bottom of the unit, check for water, and be sure to mop up any hidden moisture. Other floor-mounted cabinets in the kitchen may suffer water damage, and the cabinets can absorb the water if the remediation process is delayed. Remember, custom wooden cabinets can be very costly to repair or replace.

2. Begin the cleanup but continue to look for more water.

Not only may water be under the dishwasher and cabinets, but it may have also spread to areas under the stove, refrigerator, and freezer. The safest course of action is to turn off the power to these appliances before touching them. Standing in a pool of water and touching an appliance can have shocking consequences.

Mop up the bulk standing water first to prevent excess bulk water from seeping back under the appliances. Pay special attention to drywall and baseboards. Accelerate the drying process by stationing two or three powerful fans to cross-ventilate the flooded area. Over the next month, periodically inspect the areas under cabinets and appliances for signs of a mold infestation. The kitchen is, at times, a living space with excessive heat and high concentrations of moisture. The introduction of dishwasher flood water exacerbates the situation. The strategic placement of desiccants can facilitate the drying process, making it more difficult for mold spores to grow.

3. Be familiar with what the homeowner’s policy covers.

The standard homeowner’s policy does cover water damage caused by a mechanical or plumbing failure dishwasher. If lack of maintenance was the issue that led to the leak, the policy might not cover the flood damage. Reach out to the insurance company for clarification and advice on what steps to take moving forward.

4. Have a professional inspect an older dishwasher and perform needed maintenance.

An inspection and basic maintenance can prevent a water damage disaster and the headache that accompanies the incident. A dishwasher may give small hints of a larger impending disaster. Look for small pools of water under the front of the unit. Periodically check under the appliance for hidden water leaks.

5. Choose a cleanup and restoration professional.

Enlist the services of a licensed, bonded, and insured property damage restoration company to handle a large-scale flood from a dishwasher malfunction or supply line leak. The professional equipment can remove the water, dehumidify the environment, and perform advanced structural drying behind walls, under cabinets, and under flooring. The rapid response, as well as the rapid water removal and drying process, helps avoid wood rot, warping, buckling, the blistering of paint and wallpaper, and mold infestations.

For more details about SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth’s water damage cleanup services in the 76244 area, email the damage restoration company at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com. The office can also be reached by calling (817) 741-5737.

Five Factors to Consider When Prequalifying a Watauga, TX, Damage Restoration Company

4/13/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Prequalifying a damage restoration company before disaster strikes is an effective strategy to expedite the start of the damage restoration process. SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth outlines a five-step process for selecting a service provider.

Prequalifying a restoration company can be one of the most powerful strategies for receiving rapid water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, or storm damage restoration services. Prequalification eliminates the scramble to locate and select a service provider in the immediate aftermath of a property damage disaster. When the homeowner has already chosen a dedicated damage restoration company, he or she can immediately place a call for emergency restoration services. 

The Five-Step Process for Prequalifying a Damage Restoration Company

Step 1: Acquire references.

The homeowner’s insurance company may be able to recommend a cleanup and restoration service provider that it has worked with in the past. Also, family members, friends, and neighbors are valuable sources of information about local companies. Both positive and negative experiences can be helpful in narrowing down the selection list. Online review sites are another asset to the homeowner; however, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if an online review is legitimate. For this reason, trusted friends and family members who live in the community will likely provide the best references.

Step 2: Verify that the company is licensed and insured.

Hiring an uninsured and unlicensed company could be disastrous for the homeowner. If an uninsured company is contracted for restoration services and a technician is injured on the homeowner’s property, the homeowner could be sued for compensation. Choosing an insured company is especially important when restoration and cleanup services are needed since technicians may be working in an environment where the building is not completely structurally sound and where potentially hazardous substances are present.

A contractor’s license is one of the most fundamental requirements for a restoration company. An unlicensed company poses a great liability to homeowners, who could find themselves responsible for faulty and substandard work, as well as any additional property damage caused by the unlicensed contractor. Licensing provides legal protection for both the homeowner and the damage restoration company, so make sure that all companies on the shortlist are licensed and insured.

Step 3: Ensure that the company is properly certified.

In the restoration, cleaning, and inspection industries, an international organization called the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets the standards for industry certification. The IICRC certifies both firms and individual technicians. 26 technician education certifications are offered, including:

  • Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT)
  • Applied Structural Drying Technician (ASD)
  • Carpet Cleaning Technician (CCT)
  • Commercial Carpet Maintenance Technician (CCMT)
  • Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration Technician (FSRT)
  • Odor Control Technician (OCT)
  • Trauma and Crime Scene Technician (TCST)
  • Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician (UFT)
  • Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT)

Completion of IICRC certification testifies to a technician’s expertise and skill in his or her field of specialty. When selecting a damage restoration and cleanup company, look for an IICRC certified firm whose technicians have a broad array of certifications.

Another relevant certification is the Environmental Protection Agency’s certification for Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP). According to the EPA, “EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) Rule requires that firms performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978 be certified by EPA (or an EPA-authorized state), use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices.” If homeowners suspect that their home contains lead-based paint, they should be vigilant to make sure that any restoration company they are considering hiring is certified and equipped to safely operate in an environment where lead is present.

Step 4: Find out the company’s estimated response time.

The ability to rapidly respond to property damage emergencies is an important qualification for a restoration company. In situations such as water damage, fire damage, and storm damage, delay in addressing the initial issue can lead to advanced secondary damage.

An ideal response time would be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including holiday availability. In addition, some companies offer further assurance of a rapid response. For instance, SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth is committed to having its team of technicians arrive on the scene of a property damage emergency within four hours or less.

Step 5: Inquire if the company handles the insurance claims process.

Navigating the insurance claims process can be difficult and stressful for a homeowner experiencing a property damage disaster. For this reason, homeowners want to identify a water damage restoration company that will work with clients and their insurance providers to manage the claims process and the accompanying paperwork.

To learn more about SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth’s water damage, fire damage, and storm damage restoration services in Watuaga, TX, Keller, TX, and surrounding areas, contact the office by phone at (817) 741-5737 or by email at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com

How a Rapid Response from a Restoration Company Helps Decrease the Cost of a Sewage Cleanup

3/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Sewage damage can be very expensive, but by hiring a company that can implement a rapid response, homeowners can avoid secondary damage and minimize the overall cost to restore their homes.

The modern public sewer system makes it possible for many people to live in close proximity, but a system malfunction, severe weather, or drain blockage can result in a sewage backup necessitating sewage cleanup services. A sewage backup is inconvenient, messy, and unsanitary. Sewer line repairs can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and cleanup and restoration from a sewage backup in the basement or main living area can also cost thousands of dollars. Local homeowners in Watauga, TX, need to be aware of strategies for identifying and avoiding sewage issues.

Tips for Recognizing Potential Sewage Problems

Tip #1: Include the sewer lines in a home inspection before purchasing a home.

Before purchasing a home, the savvy buyer will have a professional carry out an inspection of the house from the roof to the foundation. If the home is not new construction, the sewage system should be carefully examined from the home to the main connection at the road. Any issues beyond the street connection are the responsibility of the utility company overseeing the mainline. Having a sewer inspection conducted prior to closing on the home could save tens of thousands of dollars once the deal is completed. A reputable, qualified plumber can scope from the mainline in the house to the connection with the municipal sewer in the street. This state-of-the-art camera technology offers homeowners and potential homebuyers an option to identify and assess any sewer line issues without having to dig. The high-tech solution reduces delays and requires no excavation.

Tip #2: Ask questions about the performance and problems of the sewer line.

Questions might include:

  • What problems have occurred in the history of the home?
  • How were these problems resolved?
  • Have there been any recurrences of the same problems?
  • What documentation is available about the problem?
  • If a sewage spill occurred, is there documentation certifying that the cleanup and restoration process met industry standards and any municipal codes regarding sewage cleanup and restoration?
  • Were the repairs a short-term or a long-term solution?

Tip #3: If a sewage problem is identified, negotiate a reasonable solution or continue the search for another home.

A sewage issue between the house and the road can be due to several factors. Tree roots may have punctured older clay pipes and clogged the system. Tree root intrusion can cause extensive damage and require large-scale excavation. If the sewage pipes are deep, the excavation work could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Shifting earth, the weight of heavy equipment, or a nearby tree can cause an offset or collapse in the sewer pipes in the yard. Older homes may have terracotta pipes that degrade over time; in addition, aging pipes will crumble when stressed. Damaged pipes may still deliver raw sewage to the mainline at the street, but it is only a matter of time before the pipes collapse entirely or become clogged with dirt and roots.

Tip #4: Be willing to work with the current homeowner if the sewer line issue is not a deal-breaker.

The problems mentioned above may need extensive excavation that requires cosmetic landscaping after the repairs are completed. It may be that the homeowner will cover the heavy expenses of repairing the sewer lines if the prospective owner is willing to shoulder the burden of the landscaping.

Tip #5: Research alternative solutions.

Advances in plumbing technology may provide a very cost-effective, long-term solution that avoids excavation or expensive pipe replacement. One such solution is the installation of a sewer liner. The liner is a flexible tube coated with resin that hardens to form an additional layer within the pipe’s interior. The application inhibits the growth of tree roots in the system. While this option can be very expensive, it is less costly than an extensive excavation.

Tip #6: Always obtain multiple quotes from reputable, qualified plumbers and other service providers.

An inspection, assessment, and quote may or may not come with a fee, but they are priceless assets. The purchase of a home with severe plumbing and sewer damage and hidden water damage could be financially catastrophic for the new owner.

The severity of sewage damage underscores the necessity of prequalifying a reputable, certified, bonded, and insured damage restoration company. Listed below are some important questions to ask potential hires:

  • Does the company guarantee a rapid response?
  • Do technicians use the best and latest equipment?
  • Are the technicians experienced, well-trained, and certified by the IICRC?
  • Can the property damage restoration company handle the project from start to finish, including managing the insurance claims process?
  • How do online reviews rate the company?
  • Does the company have good references?
  • In the event of a widespread disaster, can the team scale accordingly?

These are only a few points to consider when hiring a restoration and cleaning company, such as SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth. SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth offers a rapid response, 24/7, 365 days a year. The team uses the latest equipment, cutting-edge technology, and advanced cleaning techniques, and the company’s IICRC-certified technicians are some of the most highly trained professionals in the industry.

For more details about water damage restoration and sewage cleanup in Fort Worth, TX, and surrounding areas, email SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com. The team of restoration and cleaning professionals can also be contacted by phone at (817) 741-5737.

How Property Owners Can Prepare for the Challenges of Severe Weather and Storm Damage

3/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth offers practical tips that Keller, TX, homeowners can use to prepare for common storm damage challenges.

Locally owned and operated, SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth serves Keller, TX, and surrounding communities with water, fire, and storm damage restoration services. SERVPRO technicians are highly trained industry professionals who adhere to the highest IICRC standards.

Overcoming the Challenges of Storm Damage

Being inside a home when severe weather causes storm damage is a traumatic and potentially dangerous experience. Personal safety is a chief concern. If the damage was severe enough to require the evacuation of the structure and the threat of severe weather persists in the forecast, avoid re-entering the home until first responders or other professionals have given the green light. Staying at a friend’s house, a hotel or an emergency shelter is a minor inconvenience that ensures the safety of the family.

Damage assessment and property damage cleanup and restoration should follow closely on the heels of the disaster to prevent advanced secondary damage from the water intrusion. The following information is intended to provide homeowners with practical ways to protect and preserve the value of their property in different situations.

Tips on Insurance Coverage

Most homeowner policies cover most storm damage incidents, including severe damage. Certain factors come into play when determining the actual payout and what the homeowner must cover. Some of these factors include:

  • Premium amounts
  • Applicable deductibles
  • Age of the home
  • Condition of the structure
  • Extent of the damage
  • Current property values in the neighborhood

Clients in storm or flood damage disaster areas should not be targeted for rate increases since such catastrophic natural events may be classified as acts of God and, therefore, beyond human control. A pitfall to avoid is failing to file a claim in a timely fashion; delinquency may render a property owner ineligible for coverage in the future. In some instances, an entire neighborhood, planned community, or section of a municipality may face a rate increase following a disaster. Due diligence in claims filing can prevent a homeowner from paying higher premiums without receiving the benefits now.

When a storm damage disaster strikes, follow these steps:

  1. As mentioned above, safety is always the top priority. Make sure everyone is safe and in a protected area of the home.
  2. Hire a damage cleanup and restoration company to carry out emergency tarping and board-ups if needed. A dependable company will begin the cleanup and restoration process promptly.
  3. Thoroughly document the damage. Take copious images and videos. Be mindful of the digital storage capacity of the phone or recording device to ensure the damage scene is adequately covered. If needed, upload images and video to the cloud for safe storage. These files can be link-shared with the insurance company. Save any receipts. Take an image of the receipt and upload it to a cloud file dedicated to disaster records. Note any repairs and maintenance performed on appliances prior to the storm damage disaster.
  4. Reach out to the insurance company to immediately begin the claims process. A claims representative or adjuster will assess the situation. SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth can handle the entire claims process, reducing stress for the homeowner.

Types of Storms and Their Damage Patterns

Winter storms

Though winters are mild in Texas, winter storms can cause havoc. High winds can damage shingles or cause tree limbs to break off and puncture the roof resulting in potential water damage. This water damage can foster mold growth. In February 2021, a historic cold snap held much of Texas in its frigid grip of sub-zero temperatures, which led to frozen pipes, water damage, house fires, and many fatalities.

To successfully overcome these challenges, the homeowner should practice extreme caution. If roof damage is suspected, secure the services of a licensed, insured, and bonded roofing contractor to inspect the situation. Stay off the roof, and leave the inspection to a trained professional who has the appropriate safety equipment. Cold and wet can combine to form ice sheets on walkways, steps, and decks. Exercise extreme caution when venturing outside during sleet, ice, and snow. Every home should have a disaster readiness plan and a well-stocked cache of emergency supplies, including food, water, batteries, flashlights, a weather radio, blankets, matches, personal hygiene products, and first aid supplies.

Hail damage

Hail usually varies in size from .2 inches to about 1.75 inches, but a 6.4-inch hailstone landed in San Antonio in 2021. Signs of hail damage include dents and cracks in shingles. Roof vents and siding may have dents as well. These damages can result in hard-to-detect leaks. To overcome these challenging roof damages, contact a trusted professional with training in hail detection. Have the professional check siding, gutters, and downspouts for damage.

Lightning damage

A direct hit from a lightning bolt can cause extensive structural damage, including fires. Cable, telephone lines, appliances, wiring, and satellite dishes can sustain catastrophic damage in a lightning strike. In the event of a strike, do not venture outside until the storm has subsided and everyone is safe. Bring in a reputable electrician to assess the situation. Be sure to contact the insurance company at the time of the incident to determine policy coverage.

Thunderstorm damage

Tornadic winds can turn a home into a pile of rubble, while torrential downpours can transform a cul-de-sac into a lakefront property. Flash-flooding from severe thunderstorms can damage baseboards, drywall, flooring, and a home’s foundation. If bulk water is not removed immediately, wet items can become contaminated with pathogens, and a mold infestation can break out.

To meet the challenges of a potential flash flood, relocate furniture to a safe location within the home. Move valuables, artwork, electronics, important documents, and keepsakes to a secure place in the home or a remote location if time and conditions permit. In the event of a tornado, retreat to a safe room within the structure. A preparation and response plan for severe weather can prepare a family to endure the worst and respond appropriately if the worst, a tornado, threatens the home or neighborhood.

Preparation is the key to overcoming the challenges presented by severe weather conditions. One of the most important pre-disaster preparations is pre-qualifying a reputable, proven storm damage restoration company. The professionals should be available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. A rapid response is crucial. SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth can arrive within an hour to any property damage disaster in Keller, TX, and the surrounding area.

For more information about Keller, TX, storm damage cleanup, email SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com, or call the office at (817) 741-5737.

The Impact of Water Damage on Commercial Property Insurance

3/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth explains how water damage can affect a Haltom City, TX, company’s acquisition of insurance.

Locally owned and operated, SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth is a leader in residential and commercial water damage restoration. Available 24/7, 365 days a year, SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth is dedicated to honesty and professionalism. Highly trained SERVPRO technicians have industry certifications from IICRC, and they are prepared to handle any size or type of disaster.

Water damage and commercial insurance

The recent labor shortage is making cleanup and restoration very challenging for businesses and institutions. Improvements in this situation do not seem hopeful in the foreseeable future.

Even though water damage is a frequent cause of commercial property damage, few businesses have implemented a formal plan to prevent water damage. This failure to execute a water damage prevention strategy and a mitigation response to curb the severity of the loss can be catastrophic.

Businesses can partner with a property damage restoration company that offers consulting on the creation of a Ready Plan that identifies risk hazards and improves the company’s response. Skyrocketing material costs, supply chain issues, and labor shortages highlight the need for prevention. Businesses and institutions should anticipate a significant rise in insurance premiums due to rising labor and material costs.

Insurance companies are responding to the challenges by taking a more proactive approach with clients to implement water damage prevention and mitigation strategies. Even if labor is available, scarcity of materials and delivery delays can sink a business. The key is to prevent the disaster in the first place. Secondly, if a water intrusion does occur, stop it at the source to limit the scope of the damage and the subsequent impact on the delivery of goods and services by the affected business.

Listed below are some tips to help businesses address a potential water damage disaster.

Tip: Identify water damage risk hazards.

  • Catastrophic failures in aging plumbing systems
  • Improper or inadequate maintenance of sprinkler systems
  • Vertical risk: A water intrusion on an upper level of a multi-story office complex, retail outlet, or manufacturing facility has an elevated risk potential.
  • Recovery risk: The interruption of business operations while waiting for critical parts or materials could have a greater negative impact than the actual damage from the water intrusion. Careful attention and maintenance can limit exposure and vulnerability.

These risk factors drive home the importance of prevention and mitigation.

Tip: Understand the direct and indirect costs associated with water damage.

Water damage affects both the structure and its contents. The location of the intrusion, the length of time the intrusion affected the area, and the list of water-damaged contents directly bear upon the cost of the claim. Structural damage may be minimal, and the ensuing cleanup may be quick. However, water from the malfunctioning sprinkler system may have ruined key electrical components in several assembly-line robotics. The shortage of parts and delays in the supply chain may shut down an assembly line or an entire plant for days or weeks.

The vertical risk increases the scope of the damage. The affected business suffers an interruption of business operations, cutting hard into revenue. The property owner may lose rental income if the structure is rendered uninhabitable.

Tip: Maintenance matters.

Faithfully execute regular, intentional, and pre-emptive building maintenance to avoid water damage on both the interior and exterior of the building. Risk analysis, prevention strategies, and response protocols are crucial to avoid, prevent, or limit damage in order to minimize insurance claims which can increase future premiums. Risk engineers stress the importance of the following tasks:

  • Inspections, especially of risk hazards
  • Maintenance (roof, fan vents, skylights, windows, doors, etc.)
  • Cleaning drains, gutters, and downspouts
  • Repairing (not patching) leaks
  • Replacing aging valves, supply lines, and plumbing prior to a leak, or worse, a catastrophic failure

Tip: Partner with a water damage restoration professional to formalize a Ready Plan.

By pre-qualifying and partnering with a water damage restoration company, a commercial enterprise will always be prepared for a worst-case water damage disaster. With a plan in place, one call activates a team of water damage restoration professionals. A rapid response brings immediate action to stop the water intrusion, protect equipment and product, remove all bulk water, initiate applied structural drying, and begin the cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing process.

Partnership with SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth can include:

  • Facility site inspections in conjunction with the property owner or site manager
  • Risk analysis
  • Collection of critical information such as contact information, mapping of shut off valves, a list of staff with shut-valve authority
  • Recommendations for utilizing water sensing technology to monitor vulnerable locations

When the SERVPRO team arrives, they are familiar with the site, key people, shut-off valves, electrical panels, safety equipment, danger zones, and much more.

For more information about commercial water damage cleanup in Watauga, TX, and surrounding areas, contact SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth at (817) 741-5737 or email office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com

How Places of Worship Benefit from Commercial Property Damage Cleanup and Restoration Services

2/11/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth lays out the five steps churches need to take in the aftermath of a water damage disaster at their facilities.

Commercial facilities, including churches, are not immune to water damage and will likely need flood and water damage cleanup and restoration services at some point. When a church is hit by a water damage disaster, fast action can prevent secondary damage such as a mold infestation. A proactive recovery and restoration response will enable the facility to promptly resume the activities of a community of faith and place of worship.

Delays in taking necessary steps to remediate the disaster could not only allow the damage to worsen but could also complicate the insurance claims process. The temptation is to rally the congregation in a DIY water damage restoration project. However, without the proper equipment, training, cleaning techniques, and personal protective gear (PPG), the scope of the disaster could escalate out of control, and the expense to the church could far exceed water damage restoration costs by trained professionals.

A water damage disaster may very well involve water contaminated by bacteria and sewage. The cleanup requires astute technicians who will clean, disinfect, sanitize, and deodorize the disaster site with PPG and the best and safest cleaning solutions.

Fast action is crucial in a water damage disaster. Here are steps that help to ensure a seamless, safe, and efficient cleanup and restoration process for a church struck with water or flood damage.

Step #1: Thoroughly document the scope of the damage.

Before rearranging anything at the disaster site, create a detailed archive of photos and videos of the damaged property. Accompany the digital record with explanatory notes. Make comments while videoing the damage. More is much better than less when documenting the damage. These photos, videos, and verbal descriptions will assist the insurance adjuster in understanding the original condition of the property.

Step #2: Implement emergency repairs where it is safe to do so.

Make short-term repairs such as leak mitigation, boarding up windows, and installing emergency tarping on the roof if safe to do so. More complicated repair projects, such as damage remediation and mold removal, should be left to professional service providers who can safely complete the job. Document the temporary repairs made and save all receipts.

Step #3: Relocate items from flooded areas of the building.

Books, files, furniture, choir robes, historical documents, electronics, and other items should be stored in a dry, safe place. Do not leave any items sitting on a wet floor. Do not discard flood-damaged items until the insurance company has assessed the damage.

Step #4: Implement mold prevention strategies.

Strive to remove the water and dry out the facility and flood-damaged contents as quickly as possible. The most effective means to accomplish this goal is to hire an experienced, well-equipped, and certified restoration company.

Step #5: Notify the church’s insurance company of the situation.

If the disaster is due to a flood and the church is covered under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), notify the agency of the situation. Otherwise, for a typical water damage disaster, inform the church’s insurance company of the damage.

Simplify the Restoration Process: Prequalify a Damage Restoration Company

The pre-qualification of a damage restoration company ensures that a property damage disaster at a church or other place of worship will receive immediate attention. The communication channels at a church can easily break down, especially if the pastor is out of town or the church is too small to have a designated, paid staff position for property management.

Once a restoration company has been prequalified, any decision-maker from the pastor to the janitor can make the initial call for services. Contact information for the company can be placed on file with the secretary, stored in the cloud, and displayed on the door, bulletin board, or wall of each facility storage room. Instructions can be included to direct members of the congregation on how to proceed if they encounter a situation that requires the services of the prequalified cleanup and restoration company.

When churches choose SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth, professional restoration technicians typically respond in an hour or less. If needed, the crew can shut off water valves or the water main to stop the initial water intrusion even before a plumber arrives on the scene. The SERVPRO team has the training, equipment, and expertise to initiate the water removal process and implement dehumidification and applied structural drying so that the facility can be ready for the next church service.

The professional staff at SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth can handle the entire insurance claims process from beginning to end. This service allows the church staff to maintain a focus on ministering to the community.

For more information about commercial water damage restoration, email SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com. The office can also be contacted by phone at (817) 741-5737.