Educate your children about fire safety.
According to an NFPA® report on youth and wildfire preparedness, only 21% of students interviewed in wildfire-prone regions have a family preparedness plan for when they are home alone. Even more amazing is that only 10% had evacuation bags prepared for themselves at home. However, 65% of these young people were aware that a fire could happen at any time and anywhere.
Discuss with your family what to do before and when a wildfire happens. Take a moment to discuss what the plan is when your young family members are home alone or if they are home, caring for younger children. Some ideas for developing your family plan include:
Connecting with a trusted neighbor close by who your children know who can evacuate them.
Or, setting up a schedule with other working parents in the neighborhood, so that one is always at home and can make sure the children are safe.
Packing a Go Bag with treasured items, water, food, prescriptions, etc. That they can grab and leave quickly with.
Practice together with their pets if time allows to be able to crate them and go.
Have a designated contact, such as an out of town family member’s number programmed into their cell phone so that you can find each other quickly.
The most important thing that you can do as a family is to make sure your home and the landscape immediately surrounding your home is well maintained for wildfire safety. You want to make sure that those you care about are safe and secure. For more information about wildfire safety tips check out NFPA’s Firewise USA® webpage.
Please visit the link below for more information: https://community.nfpa.org
Summer Safety Tips
Keep Summer Fun!
Summer is right around the corner and so are all the leisurely activities that follow. Most of us will be taking camping trips and spending afternoons at the pool or grilling out. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the risks that come along with summer activities. The National Fire Protection Association provides many useful tips to keep you and your loved ones safe throughout the summer.
- Permitted campfires need to be at least 25 feet away from any structure.
- Never use gasoline, flammable liquids or combustible liquids on a flame.
- Avoid burning on windy, dry days. It is easier for open burning to spread out of control when it's windy and dry.
- Watch children while the fire is burning. Never let children or pets play or stand too close to the fire
- Always have a hose, a bucket of water, or a shovel & dirt/sand nearby to put out the campfire.
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep Children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from grills and in trays and below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- Do not swim during a thunderstorm.
- Keep electrical devices, appliances, equipment, and cords 6 feet away from water.
- Make sure that any overhead lines maintain the proper distance over a pool and other structures such as a diving board.
- If you think someone in the water is being shocked, turn off all power and call 911.
Commercial Restoration and Mitigation Services
If you are a property manager, business owner or building engineer then you understand the importance of maintaining and taking care of a commercial property. Our SERVPRO Commercial Division is solely dedicated to providing quality service for commercial clients and their properties. Our Commercial Division understands the needs and complexities of commercial buildings. We provide Emergency Ready Plans for large scale buildings, to get you back in business as quickly as possible.
We have the resources and capabilities to provide commercial restoration and mitigation services for any size structure. Whether your business or commercial property faces a fire, water or mold loss, we can handle it. We also provide board up and bio-hazard clean up services.
- We are an EPA & IICRC certified firm
- Any size loss will be handled confidently by an IICRC professional trained in water, fire, smoke, and commercial loss
- Golden Spike, Great Wolf Resorts, Ballard House, VA Medical Center, Aurora Firehouse 15, local municipalities, etc.
- We have equipment resources to manage all of your needs
- Including specialty drying equipment (injectidry, floor drying system, ETES, air scrubber, desiccant, etc.)
- 16 production vehicles, including 2 trailers
- Esporta Washing System
- Ultrasonic Cleaning System
- Document Drying
- Production teams with 7 years of national catastrophic storm travel
- Producing jobs in locations such as Illinois, Maryland, Arkansas, Idaho, Florida, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, California, Georgia, and Puerto Rico.
- Ownership that places the highest importance on Customer Satisfaction
- Our capabilities allow us to respond to your needs
SERVPRO’s Commercial Division is qualified to answer any of your restoration and mitigation questions. If you are concerned about your commercial property or if you have any questions about the services we provide, call our office and ask for our commercial division.
Mold can even latch onto paper.
In the aftermath of disaster, some of your most valued contents—documents, photographs, and books—could be lost forever. As a leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO knows that timely mitigation is the key to recovering damaged possessions. With years of experience and state-of-the-art technology, SERVPRO’s restoration professionals will help you recover your paper goods before it is too late.
Our Document Restoration Facility:
- Innovative: we use the latest vacuum freeze-drying method, as well as gamma irradiation technology for sterilizing
- Secure: managed by HIPAA Master-certified technicians, under 24/7 surveillance
- Digital: we use a computerized inventory system for digitizing your documents
- Flexible capacity - we can accommodate large commercial losses or small residential jobs
- Full Service: we offer a range of services including drying, cleaning/disinfecting, re-jacketing, digitizing, and deodorization
Then SERVPRO document restoration team uses innovate vacuum freeze-drying techniques; in fact, we use the same freeze-drying methods used by the Library of Congress to dry valuable historic documents and books. Our vacuum freeze-drying process is the only method approved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the General Services Administration (GSA).
Types of content:
- paper documents
- books and magazines
- manuscripts and files
- photographs, films, negatives, and microfiche
- blueprints and maps
Document Cleaning and Disinfecting
In many water damage situations, like sewage or flood water, documents will be exposed to bacteria, viruses, pesticides, or other harmful chemicals. Our team uses a gamma irradiation process to safely and effectively sterilize your documents.
In the digital age, converting your paper files and photos to digital formats can have an invaluable impact on your business or home. With the help of SERVPRO’s restoration professionals to digitize your documents, you can save storage space and have access to your records at the touch of a button. And perhaps most important of all, you’ll have digital copies of your valuable documents that can’t be lost in a flood or fire.
Why Choose SERVPRO?
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals will get the job done right. For document restoration backed by state-of-the-art equipment, over 40 years of experience and Professionals trained to the highest standards, call us today. With over 1,700 Franchises nationwide, there’s a SERVPRO Professional nearby and ready to serve you.
With the days lengthening and weather warming, spring is a good time to get outdoors and tackle some larger home projects. Now that the threat of winter storms has passed, you can look for damage and make any needed repairs, as well as prep your home and garden for summer. We spoke with an expert to get helpful tips on what to watch for this season, from proper irrigation to mosquitoes and termites (oh my!).
1. Clean gutters and downspouts. After the last frost has passed, it’s important to have your gutters and downspouts cleaned and repaired. ‘Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause the wood trim at the eaves to rot, and that can invite all kinds of critters into your attic space,’ says Victor Sedinger, certified home inspector and owner of House Exam Inspection and Consulting.
Having your gutters and downspouts cleaned early in the season can also help prevent damage from spring rains. ‘Gutters and downspouts should be clean and running free,’ Sedinger says. ‘If your downspouts are installed properly, water is diverted away from the house so that no water collects around your foundation.’
Contemporary Landscape by B. Jane Gardens
2. Reseal exterior woodwork. Wood decks, fences, railings, trellises, pergolas and other outdoor structures will last longer and stay in better condition if they’re stained or resealed every year or two. Take this opportunity to make any needed repairs to woodwork as well.
3. Check for signs of termites. Beginning in March and going through May or June, be on the lookout for these winged insects. ‘Termites swarm in the spring,’ Sedinger says. ‘If there’s a bunch of winged insects flying out of a hole in the woodwork, that’s probably termites. Call a licensed professional pest control company. You’ll save money and trouble in the long run.’
4. Inspect roof. Winter storms can take quite a toll on the roof. When spring arrives, start by making a simple visual inspection of your roof. ‘It doesn’t require a ladder, and you certainly don’t have to get on a roof to look,’ Sedinger says. ‘Use binoculars or a camera or smartphone with a telephoto feature if you need to.’ Look for missing shingles, metal pipes that are damaged or missing or anything that simply doesn’t look right. If you notice anything that needs closer inspection or repair, call a roofer.
5. Paint exterior. If you’re planning to repaint your home’s exterior this year, spring is a good time to set it up. Want to paint but can’t decide on a color? Explore your town and snap pictures of house colors you like, browse photos on Houzz or work with a color consultant to get that just-right hue.
6. Inspect driveways and paths. Freezing and thawing is rough on concrete, asphalt and other hardscaping materials. Take a walk around your property to look for damage to walkways, paths and driveways, and schedule repairs as needed. Asphalt can often be patched, but damaged concrete may need to be replaced entirely.
7. Check sprinkler and irrigation systems. Checking your sprinklers or irrigation systems in the spring can save water – and save your plants. Sedinger shares these tips for checking your watering system:
Run the system through all the zones manually and walk the property.
Make sure none of the heads are broken or damaged.
Adjust any heads that are spraying the house, especially windows, as this can cause moisture problems.
Adjust heads that are spraying the street, sidewalk or porches to avoid wasting water.
If you don’t know how to maintain your sprinkler system, call a professional to do it. You’ll save money on your water bill and protect one of our most valuable natural resources.
Traditional Landscape by Margie Grace - Grace Design Associates
8. Prevent mosquitoes. In recent years, we’ve become more aware of the potential danger mosquitoes can pose to our health. ‘West Nile virus and Zika virus are just the latest diseases caused by these winged pests,’ Sedinger says. The best way to prevent mosquitoes around your home is simply by getting rid of any standing water. ‘Walk around your property [and peek at your neighbors]. If you see anything or any area where water stands, fix it, tip it, get rid of it or maintain it regularly,’ Sedinger says.
9. Check screen doors and windows. Screens are designed to let the breeze flow in and keep bugs out – but they can only do their job if they’re free from holes and tears. Before setting up your screens for the warm months ahead, be sure to carefully check each one and repair any holes or tears, no matter how small. You can find screen repair kits at most hardware and home improvement stores.
10. Schedule air-conditioning service. ‘Home inspectors see a lot of air-conditioning systems that are just not taken care of,’ Sedinger says. ‘Just because it gets cool doesn’t mean it’s working efficiently.’ To get the longest life out of your cooling system and keep it running as efficiently as possible, change the filters at least once each season, and hire a licensed professional to service the equipment before the start of summer.
Commercial Property Insurance
Commercial property insurance covers businesses for losses due to certain covered events, such as fire, theft, vandalism, or natural disaster. This coverage helps business owners protect their valuable assets, such as an owned or leased building, tools, equipment, machinery, or inventory. Commercial property insurance rates typically average $500 to $1,000 per year.
Commercial Property Insurance Rates
The cost of business property insurance varies depending on the value of the property to be insured, the location of the business, and the coverage limits and deductible you choose. There are several other factors affecting the cost of commercial property insurance, but most small businesses will pay $500 to $1,000 per year in premium.
Some insurance providers will allow you to include commercial property insurance in a business owners policy (BOP), which is a bundled package of multiple insurance types. The cost of the package as a whole is often less than the underlying policies if purchased separately.
The most important factors that affect the cost of business property insurance include:
- Geography: Everything from the land value of your business location to local crime rates can impact the annual cost of your premium.
- Safety and Security: This expands on the geography and location aspect. Is your commercial property located in a high crime area? Are there hazardous materials stored in your building or nearby?
- Size of Business Premises: A large commercial building will generally cost more to cover than a single unit office space.
- Age of Building: Old buildings can be more susceptible to certain types of damage, so they may cost more to insure. For example, a fire caused by old electrical wiring could translate into costly repairs if the building needs to be rebuilt to code.
- Type of Equipment: Heavy industrial equipment will cost more to insure than an at-home business’ sewing machine.
- Age of Equipment: You may pay higher premiums if your equipment is hard to repair because of scarce parts or if it’s more likely to break down because of heavy use.
Insurance companies will charge more for greater risk exposures that require higher coverage limits. It’s important to remain aware of the risk exposures of your business and the assets that you need covered.
Use an Agent or Broker Who Understands Your Business
Commercial property insurance is a type of small business insurance and is not specific to any particular industry. Keep in mind that not every insurance company will have intimate knowledge of your business or the risk exposures that need protection. When shopping for a commercial property insurance policy, try to find an agent or broker who understands your business or industry type.
How Commercial Property Insurance Works
A commercial property insurance policy is non-industry specific, which means that the coverage is mostly standard across all business types. However, commercial property insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product. Policies will differ in a few key areas, such as the coverage limits, how assets are valued, and what’s covered and not covered in the policy.
What Commercial Property Insurance Covers
Your insurance policy will cover certain perils, which are causes of damage such as fire or theft. Coverages included in your policy are called inclusions, whereas perils not covered in your policy are called exclusions. It’s important to know what is covered in your policy and what is not covered.
Here are some of the primary items covered in a commercial property insurance policy due to loss from a covered peril:
- The building, owned or leased
- Business equipment loss
- Damage or loss due to wind, hail, fire or theft
- Accidental damage of property
- Business Interruption (lost business income)
- Electronic data
- Interruption of computer operations
- Valuable papers and records
- Forgery or alteration
- Accounts receivable
Of the covered items in a commercial property insurance policy, the most important items to cover are the building and the business’ assets contained within it. Business interruption, which covers a loss of income when your business is forced to suspend operations due to a covered event, is also necessary coverage in the property insurance policy.
For more information about Commercial Insurance visit Fit Small Business: Get Your Business Into Shape!
Does Your Insurance Cover Mold?
Homeowners insurance covers mold damage if it was caused by a "covered peril." Otherwise, an insurance company will likely not cover mold damage. There are exceptions, which we will get into later in this article.
Home insurance policies usually don't cover mold that resulted from a preventable water leak, flooding, or high humidity.
Home insurance companies also typically don't pay for maintenance issues that insurers think a homeowner should have prevented. Insurers expect homeowners to proactively take care of those problems before they need to file an insurance claim.
Home insurance covers mold if a "covered peril" caused the mold. In that case, your home insurance policy will likely pay for repairs and clean-up.
Here are some of home insurance's covered perils:
- Vandalism or malicious mischief
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Falling objects
- The weight of ice, snow, or sleet
- Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from plumbing, heating, air conditioners, sprinkler systems, or household appliances
- Frozen pipes
Let's take a look at some real-world examples. When home insurance will likely cover you:
- An ice dam forms in a roof gutter during a rough winter and water backs up under your shingles. The water leaks into your attic, soaks your attic floor and insulation and creates mold.
- A pipe bursts in your home and dumps gallons of water on the floor and saturates drywall while you're at work. Mold begins to form before you call.
- A washer hose springs a leak and damages behind your washer. The washer hose isn't old, you stop the leak, and report the damage immediately, but not before mold forms.
These are "sudden and accidental" incidents. Insurance companies typically cover this type of damage. In fact, non-weather-related water damage is one of the most common home insurance claims and one of the most expensive.
When home insurance will likely NOT cover you:
Your basement pipes freeze and burst. You don't notice it for a few weeks. Now, you have a few inches of water on your floor and mold growing.
Broken shingles on your 40-year-old roof allow water into the attic. Water saturates wood and insulation and leads to mold in the attic.
Mold forms in your shower. You don't think much about it until one day you notice that it's really unsightly and you're concerned about whether it's making your family sick.
In these cases, an insurer will likely not cover the damage. Why? An insurance company expects you to take care of your house. That means properly ventilating the bathroom, replacing an old roof, and checking your basement regularly. An important reason to stay on top of home maintenance.
Also, the standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover water damage caused by a flood. Thus if a flood causes water damage that leads to mold, the resulting mold issue would not be covered by your home policy.
A separate flood policy, will cover mold and mildew, as long as it’s not caused by the homeowner’s failure to inspect and maintain the property after the flood. That means, once you can get back into your home, you need to start trying to clean up and keep mold from growing or spreading.
How do I know if my home insurance policy covers mold?
As mentioned earlier, home insurance companies usually don't cover mold damage unless it's directly related to a "covered peril." The good news -- there are exceptions.
Check your homeowners insurance policy to see if there is any language about mold claims. Some insurers offer limited coverage for mold claims. This may mean limiting how much the insurer will pay for a mold-related claim. Or an insurer may increase the cost of a home insurance policy if you have mold-related coverage.
If you don't have mold coverage, you can buy an endorsement to your insurance policy that adds mold coverage. An endorsement is when an insurance company adds additional coverage to a regular home insurance policy, for an additional fee.
Some home policies provide a limited amount of coverage for mold claims. This can be by capping the amount the insurer will pay, for example at $5,000, or stating that the insurer will only pay for certain services, such as clean-up, and excluding others, such as testing and remediation.
Visit https://www.insurance.com/home-and-renters-insurance/home-insurance-basics/mold-coverage.html for more information.
Is that mold?
Mold Testing or Sampling
Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building's compliance with federal mold standards. Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.
Are there federal regulations or standards regarding mold testing?
Standards or Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for airborne concentrations of mold, or mold spores, have not been set. Currently, there are no EPA regulations or standards for airborne mold contaminants.
When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
The Mold Remediation Process
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. Learn more about our mold remediation process.
- Emergency Contact - (303) 576-6868
- Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
- Mold Containment
- Air Filtration
- Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
- Cleaning Contents and Belongings
Commercial Fires Prevention
Leading Causes of Structure Fires
Commercial Fires Prevention
During the five-year period of 2007-2011, NFPA estimates that U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year which include general business offices, banks, veterinary clinics, research offices, engineering facilities, mailing firms and post offices. $112 million in property damages were reported.
When Are Commercial Fires Likely to Occur?
The chance of a commercial fire occurring during operating hours is extremely high. One-third of commercial office fires occur between business hours. The more populated a business is, the higher the chance of a fire occurring. Businesses occupying these commercial properties should inform their staff of fire dangers and how to prevent one.
- Turn off Coffee Makers, toaster ovens and kitchen appliances
- Have a designated staff member ensure kitchen appliances are turned off at the end of the day
- Always plug major appliances, like refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers, directly into a wall outlet
- Never use an extension cord with a major appliance — it can easily overheat and start a fire.
- Always plug small appliances directly into a wall outlet.
- Unplug small appliances when you are not using them.
- Don’t allow space heaters in an office setting.
- Keep lamps, light fixtures and light bulbs away from anything that can burn.
- Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture.
- Check electrical cords on appliances often. Replace cracked, damaged and loose electrical cords. Do not try to repair them
- Do not overload wall outlets.
- Insert plugs fully into sockets.
- Never force a three prong cord into a two-slot outlet.
- Replace worn, old or damaged extension cords right away.
- Use extension cords for temporary purposes only.
- Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched, like under a carpet or rug.
- Do not overload power strips.
- Use power strips that have internal overload protection.
Information provided by FEMA and the National Fire Protection Association.
All wet material removed.
Have you had a toilet overflow, a pipe burst, a washer malfunction or walk into a basement completely flooded by rainwater? Water can seep into almost every material and cause irreversible damage. When water saturates your carpet or walls, you will need to make decisions and make them quickly! Do not waste time contemplating how to clean up the water, each hour counts when water is involved. The longer water sits in porous material, like carpet or drywall, the sooner bacteria and microbial growth begins to grow.
One of the prime locations for microbial growth to spread is in a humid room with sopping wet carpet and walls. What do you do? Grab a shop vac and suck it up? Grab a slew of towels and cover the floor while dancing on top of them, hoping they will absorb all of the water? Grab all the fans you own and try to set them in just the right places, hoping that everything will dry out in time? Go ahead and try those techniques, but you will have a huge and more costly headache to deal with in a month.
If you choose to call a restoration company, be sure to call one who has the certifications to back up their work.
SERVPROs all over the country are locally owned franchises, and the majority of them are run by the actual owner. At SERVPRO of Aurora I know that our project managers, office staff, marketing team and even the owners are WRT IICRC certified. That means they know everything it takes to get water out of your home or business.
We are not magicians; we can not save all carpet and walls, but we can certainly extract the water from the affected areas and remove any wall that is not salvageable, ultimately leaving you a clean, bacteria-free slate to work with. We even have a construction division that can help you get your home back to preloss condition. Do not waste time trying to clean up a disaster on your own or have the local neighborhood handyman clean it up, just call SERVPRO of Aurora and we will walk you through the process. You will be informed and updated of the restoration/mitigation process throughout the entire job so that nothing is questionable. We are your go-to! Give us a call even if you just have a question and we will be happy to help.
-Your SERVPRO of Aurora Marketing Coordinator, Danielle Neff