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Responding Quickly to Disasters Is Our Business | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria

3/19/2019 (Permalink)

We know that a fast response is crucial, which is why responding faster to any size disaster is more than just a slogan for us.

If a disaster has struck your home or business, time becomes a precious commodity, and it is not on your side. When it is your home or livelihood on the line, you need help right away—and you don’t have the benefit of waiting for help.

Why Time Matters

When water damage comes into play through various water damage events such as flooding, appliance and/or plumbing failures, storm damage and water from firefighting efforts, there is no luxury of having time for clean up.

The walls, the floors, upholstery and your belongings are fast casualties of water. It only takes mere minutes for water to spread and begin to saturate your property and belongings or anything else in its path.

Within the first 24 hours, the effects of water damage will include:

  • Drywall beginning to swell and break down
  • Metal surfaces beginning to tarnish
  • Furniture beginning to swell and crack
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper items spreading and staining
  • The beginning of a musty odor

The damage will continue to worsen as time goes on. Between 48 hours and a week later, you will start to see:

  • The growth and spreading of mold and mildew
  • Swelling and warping of doors, windows and studs
  • Metal beginning to rust and corrode
  • Paint beginning to blister
  • Wood flooring swelling and warping
  • The possibilities of serious biohazard contamination

Water damage that is left unattended for more than a week leads to greatly increased costs and restoration time as well as impacts structural safety.

How We Can Help

When you call us, we provide immediate response to any disaster, large or small, which can help to minimize the damage and keep the cleaning and restoration costs manageable.

Our specialists are trained in cleanup and restoration and can be dispatched to your property or business at any time, no matter what day or time it is.

As a locally owned and operated franchise, we are close by and ready to respond whenever your call comes in. A major plus of being part of a national network of over 1,700 franchises is that we have access to many more resources for cleanup and restoration projects that may be larger or stem from major storm situations.

Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Ideas for Protecting Your Business From Fire Hazards | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

Being a business owner has many responsibilities as well as plenty of safety factors that need to be taken into consideration regarding risks to your business, staff and visitors. Fire is a one of those risks and—as a business owner—you need to spend a little extra time on fire prevention.

Leading Causes of Commercial Fires

Findings by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicate that the leading causes of structure fires in office properties from 2007–2011 were (in order):

  1. Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
  2. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
  3. Heating equipment, 11% of fires
  4. Intentional, 10% of fires
  5. Smoking materials, 9% of fires
  6. Exposure, 4% of fires
  7. Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires

Of those causes, intentional caused 20% of property damage, with exposure and electrical distribution and lighting equipment following closed behind with property damage of 18% and 15%, respectively.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2007, fires and explosions accounted for 3% of all workplace fatalities.

In taking a look at more recent numbers, the NFPA estimates that from 2007–2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year. Those fires resulted in an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.

Protecting Your Business

There are many steps you can take to protect your business from the risk of fires. But by focusing on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, you will be taking positive steps to help reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.

First, walk through your facility, looking for any fire hazards. You might want to check with your local government to see if they offer the services of a fire marshal who will help identify these risks and provide guidance on your fire prevention plan.

Make sure that the right fire protection equipment is in place. This should include an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.

Last, and most important, you must make provisions for the human aspect of your business—your employees. Create a fire plan and review it regularly with your staff, thereby ensuring that everyone is aware of the procedures to follow in the event of a fire. By conducting fire drills at least once a year, you keep fire safety procedures fresh, and it will also afford you the opportunity to review evacuation plans and first-aid kit locations.

Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island is available to help make it like it never even happened.

Do You Know What the 3 Classifications of Floodwater Are? | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

Understanding the differences in the types of water that are involved with water damage will help you when dealing with the cleanup. It is easy to think that all water causing damage is the same, but there are three separate classifications for it: clean water, gray water and black water.

Regardless of what type of water has caused the damage, there will always be a cleanup and restoration process that will need to be done afterward. The most important thing to accomplish is removing all the moisture and damp items quickly, so that mold cannot begin to flourish in its ideal environment.

<h41-clean-water">No. 1: Clean Water

The name says it all—this water is considered “clean” and not the type to pose an immediate threat to your health. It is free of contaminants and can come from:

  • Broken water lines
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Toilet holding tanks
  • Snow melt and rainwater

Of the three different classifications of water, this is the easiest type of water damage to work with, as there are fewer microbes living in the water. However, after 48 hours and having contact with the building surfaces, clean water can move up to category two, which is gray water.

<h42-gray-water">No. 2: Gray Water

Gray water is where water damage cleanup and restoration can become a bit more involved and tedious. This water may pose a health risk, due to it containing slight amounts of chemical or biological contamination. This slight contamination in gray water means that it would need to be thoroughly treated before it is safe to consume.

Gray water is the type of water that can come from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. Again, the 48-hour exposure time applies here as well, with gray water turning into black water if not treated.

<h43-black-water">No. 3: Black Water

Black water is the most hazardous of the three classifications, and it is considered to be highly contaminated with harmful chemicals and biological matter. This includes floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.

Sewage is contaminated with microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more—many of these can be harmful to humans.

Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroenteritis-type illnesses

Just remember that when it comes to floods, any water should be treated as if it is black water since it picks up contaminants along its path.

The three classifications of floodwater are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our technicians all study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration and are available to help determine the steps to take to get your home back to normal.

It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria is here to help get the situation under control and make it "Like it never even happened." Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need emergency cleanup and restoration services!

Ideas for Protecting Your Home From Water Damage | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

As a homeowner, there could come a time that you encounter a water damage situation to your home, as it can be one of the most common and costliest disasters homeowners face. From a burst pipe to a malfunctioning dishwasher or storm damage, there are countless ways water damage could strike your home.

While water damage can be an especially common issue for homeowners to deal with, there are plenty of ways you can help protect your home.

<h4to-protect-your-home">Ways to Protect Your Home

Water damage may not seem like much of a hassle for you to deal with, but drying out and cleaning up will prove to be tedious, not to mention there is a good possibility mold will follow. Mold is a very common side effect of water damage, as mold can begin to grow and flourish within 24–48 hours of moisture exposure.

When you begin to look for ways to protect your home, it may help you to break it down by areas of impact. These areas might include the basement, kitchen, bathroom, flooring and ceilings.

Preventing water damage in the basement begins by preventing any water seepage, which can be done by resealing vulnerable areas of the basement, ensuring that water drains away from your home and installing a backwater valve.

Your kitchen and bathrooms may experience water damage resulting from plumbing issues and appliance failures.

Make sure to regularly:

  • Inspect all appliances for issues with hoses and faucets
  • Check seals and caulking around showers and tubs, ensuring they are watertight
  • Know where the main shut-off valve is in your home
  • Don’t leave the house while the washer or dishwasher is running

There are things you can do to protect the possessions in your home from water damage, but don’t be surprised if it is not always possible. Use waterproof bins to store items and keep items stored on shelves off of the floor—which is especially recommended when using your basement for storage.

<h4from-water-damage">Recovering From Water Damage

If your home does experience a water damage situation, you stand a good chance of salvaging anything that can be dried out within 48 hours.

Your first step should be to contact your insurance company and assess the extent of the water damage in your home as well as identify the type of water that is involved.

The types of water that are involved in water damage are:

  1. Water from rain, condensation, leaky pipes, etc. is called “clean” water.

  2. Slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, etc. is called “gray” water.

  3. Water from sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, etc. is considered “black” water and this water can cause serious health problems.

Remove any wet objects from the home after a water damage disaster. Then dehumidify and dry your home out, followed by a thorough, disinfecting cleaning.

Pro tip: You can freeze wet books, photos and papers in a frost-free freezer to buy some extra time. This prevents mold and mildew from developing and causing more deterioration. Once able, you can remove them from the freezer and air-dry or fan-dry the pages.

It may seem like recovering from water damage is an overwhelming and slightly impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can call on the highly trained experts at SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island, who are here to make it "Like it never even happened."

Creating a Severe Weather Preparedness Plan | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island

1/24/2019 (Permalink)

Most of the time we will have advanced warnings for some types of severe weather, but there can be times when Mother Nature manages to catch us off-guard.

Fortunately, there are things you can do and safety tips to follow that will ensure your family is prepared for these various severe weather occurrences.

Severe Weather Planning Tips

A great place to start is to put an established family emergency plan in place.

Be sure to that this is regularly practiced and reviewed if your family does have an emergency plan in place, especially as the seasons and weather change to ensure that everyone knows exactly what to do.

If you have not yet created a family emergency plan, here are some helpful hints to take into consideration when doing so:

1. Emergency Alerts and Warnings

We will always have radio and television broadcast alerts available to us, but thanks to today’s technologies, it is very easy to receive emergency alerts and warnings on your smartphone that is equipped with a weather app or Google. You will quickly receive emergency alerts, which can provide you with valuable time in severe weather situations.

2. Storm Shelters

Living in an area where tornadoes are common means you’ll want to seek shelter in the lowest part of your home, preferably a basement if you have one. If there is no basement, find an interior room on the lowest level that is away from windows and doors. There are other reasons a storm shelter is needed besides tornadoes, and by visiting you can learn more about those situations.

3. Evacuation Routes

Do you know your evacuation routes? You should always have multiple routes mapped out that can serve as an evacuation route since things such as hurricanes, flooding and fires can force you from your home in a hurry and one route could become impassable. Make sure you remember your furry family members when evacuating and find out if there are places to stay with your pets along the way.

4. Keeping in Touch

Reliance on cell phones is our first choice for communicating with our family members, but there will be times when that won’t be possible. Cell phone towers don’t always withstand a storms fury and power may also be lost, you may lose or leave your cell phone behind, and, if there is no power, you will not be able to charge your batteries.

Make sure there is an emergency communication plan completed for your family and designate a safe meeting place for your family in case you get separated.

If a storm does cause damage to your home or business, don’t hesitate to call your friends at SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island to get the cleanup and restoration process started.

The Importance of a Disaster Plan for Business Owners | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

General The Importance of a Disaster Plan for Business Owners | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island Disaster Plan

These days, there are plenty of natural disasters happening that prove Mother Nature can be quite a formidable foe, throwing everything from floods, hurricanes and tornadoes to wildfires and earthquakes at us. The key to being able to keep your business afloat (no pun intended) is to be prepared for any or all of the worst-case scenarios.

Taking action and being prepared for those scenarios involves developing a natural disaster plan for your business. Some of the aspects to be considered when designing that plan are laid out in this blog.

What to Take Into Consideration

There are many things you will need to consider when you are developing a disaster plan for your business.

Included in those considerations are:

  1. How to safely protect your employees
  2. Securing your assets
  3. How to get your business up and running smoothly again

FEMA, the Red Cross and have created many helpful checklists that can identify areas that need to be included in your natural disaster preparedness plan as well as highlight areas where more planning needs to take place.

Employee Safety Is Key

When disaster strikes without warning, your primary concern must be having a plan in place that lays out procedures and safety measures for the protection of employees and visitors.

Evacuation routes and all exits from your facility need to be clearly marked—and you need to provide a place where people can take shelter, look into installing emergency lights, and have a designated staff of “safety wardens” properly trained and ready to help with all emergency efforts.

When picking out a place to take shelter, a basement or storm cellar is ideally the best location in the event of tornadoes or other high-wind situations. If that is not possible, designate a small interior room on the lowest level of the building or use a closet or interior hallway.

Don’t Forget About Your Assets

While brick and mortar locations are generally sturdy places to have a business, there are still important considerations to make about how to protect the assets inside the building. Everything from equipment to merchandise is at risk and so are thousands of dollars when a natural disaster strikes.

Be sure you have put together a very detailed and up-to-date inventory and pictures, if possible, of these items. This will be needed for filing insurance claims. If your assets are located on a computer server, take the necessary steps to ensure that it is regularly performing backups and that you are using a storage system that cannot be damaged, such as cloud storage options.

As a building owner, spend time walking through your building with a contractor to uncover areas that may need to be improved with regard to structural integrity. A contractor can also walk you through safety upgrades and advise on any areas that may not be structurally sound to withstand certain weather situations.

Get Back to Business, Faster

Businesses usually must shut down after a natural disaster due to damage and needed repairs or rebuilding. Every day you remain closed is another day you’re losing lost profits. Make a wise move and set up a “rainy day” fund, which will help you with additional costs that may not be covered by your insurance.

Compile a list of contractors who will make themselves readily available for repairs and/or construction needs, and find a cleanup and restoration service will be available to quickly respond to your emergency situation.

With SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island, you can count on us to get to the disaster faster and make it "Like it never even happened." Our training and expertise have prepared us to help with water damage, storm damage, fire damage and mold remediation quickly and effectively.

Knowing what to do when disaster strikes your business is of the utmost importance. When it comes to the cleanup and restoration aspects, depend on SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria to be there for you.

Facts You Need to Know About Mold Remediation | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

If you are facing a water damage situation in your home or commercial property, mold growth is likely occurring. In fact, mold can begin growing within 48 hours of exposure to moisture.

Knowing the steps to take in this situation is vital, which is why we’re using this blog to provide you with an overview of what exactly mold remediation is.

Do You Understand Mold Remediation?

It is very likely that you’ve seen ads for mold remediation with the promise of mold removal, but the latter of the two is not true. To remove all mold from a home or business is simply impossible. A qualified restoration company focuses on mold remediation, further setting the goal of lowering mold levels back to a normal and safe level.

Mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both inside and outdoors. However, they only become an issue when a minor problem is ignored, allowing it to become major mold infestation.

In a mold remediation situation, technicians isolate all of the contaminated areas. Depending on the level of remediation, it will be done by either closing all doors and windows or sealing off all doorways and openings completely with a polyethylene sheeting. Dust in the contaminated areas is suppressed through misting process.

All of the wet and mold-damaged materials will be removed and discarded using plastic bags. The technicians will then ensure that all areas exposed to and affected by the mold are thoroughly cleaned and dried. A HEPA vacuum may be used in some cases to help with the removal of contamination and debris.

A biocide is used to treat the mold-affected area and then left overnight to destroy and kill the mold spores. The following day, the mold remediation crew will return to encapsulate the affected area and beyond.

It’s Best to Call the Professionals

If there is a chance your home or business may have a mold problem, you’ll want to act quickly. Upon evaluating the size of the problem, you should call a professional mold remediation company if the mold-affected area is more than 10 square feet.

Be sure that the professionals you call are highly trained and certified in areas like:

  • Applied microbial remediation
  • Water damage restoration
  • Applied structural drying

While some homeowners and business owners have successfully resolved minor mold issues on their own, the best way to handle mold is to contact the professionals for the quick and safe resolution to the problem.

At SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island, our mold damage specialists are trained and certified experts in mold remediation. If your home or business is experiencing a mold issue, contact us to begin the mold remediation process.

Protecting Your Home From Common Causes of Water Damage | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Severe weather is usually one of the first things that comes to mind for many when the subject of water damage comes up.

However, while storms and flooding can cause catastrophic water damage, they are often not the main culprits. Instead, there are various items in your home that can be responsible for many situations that result in water damage.

Understanding Water Damage

Water damage is something that many homeowners will face, with it being the third most common reason for homeowners to file a homeowners insurance claim between 2011 and 2015, paying out an average of $8,861 per claim.

It is important to know the difference between water damage and gradual water damage, and how it can impact insurance claims. Examples of gradual damage are ongoing situations that have been happening over time, such as plumbing issues in the walls that will cause damage to walls, ceilings or floors, or water damage caused by cracks in the foundation. Unfortunately, many gradual water damage situations are not covered by homeowners insurance, while storm-related water damage usually is.

Plumbing Failures and Water Damage

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the leading causes of water damage are:

  • Plumbing supply system failures. Per IBHS, plumbing supply system failures are the leading source of residential water losses and cost an average of $5,092 per incident after the deductible. This can involve frozen pipes that can burst because of a buildup in water pressure caused by freezing water or when the supply system materials fail and creates a leaking or burst pipe. It was also found that in homes 16 to 40 years of age,` this was a more frequent occurrence and made up a large group of supply system material failure claims.

  • Plumbing drain system failures. This can occur when a sewer drain backs up and overflows into a home or from material breakdown issues. In their study, IBHS found that 52% of drain system failures were caused by sewer backups and 37% were related to material performance issues. IBHS also found that the average drain system failure was more expensive in southern states than in northern states.

  • Toilet failures. Toilet failures fall second in line to plumbing supply system failures for residential water damage loss, and can be caused by a faulty fill valve or clogged drain lines. According to IBHS, toilet failures that occur on the first floor of a home resulted in more expensive claims than those that occurred in basements or upper floors.

  • Water heater failures. If your water heater has reached its life expectancy, the tank begins to rust and corrode. This can result in leaking or bursting issues, and IBHS found that 69% of all water heater failures were the direct result of a slow leak or sudden burst and, on average, cost $4,444 per incident following the deductible.

  • Washing machine failures. Typically caused by supply hose failures, drain line failures and machine overflows, washing machine failures are one of the top 10 sources of residential water damage losses. Per IBHS, supply hose failures were responsible for over half of all washing machine-related losses.

If your home ever experiences any water damage, the professional team at SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island is available 247 to help with cleanup and restoration and make it look “like it never even happened.”

How Wind Damage Can Impact Your Property | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Many threats and concerns arise with the possibility of severe storms, with damaging winds being high on the list. These winds, which can come with little to no notice, can create long-term structural impacts.

What to be Concerned About

Tornadoes and hurricanes are not the only storms to cause damaging winds. “Straight-line” winds with wind speeds exceeding 50–60 mph are often spawned by strong or severe thunderstorm—and their damage is different than damage from a tornado.

The damage from these winds can be very destructive, causing loose items around your home to become projectiles. Windows and roofs can take a major brunt of this damage, and if the damage is extensive, it can result in water damage to the inside of the home as the outside elements come indoors.

Anyone who lives in a thunderstorm-prone area can be at risk from damaging winds, but there are some structures, like mobile homes, that are especially at risk. Even when anchored, they could be seriously damaged in wind gusts over 80 mph.

How to Protect Your Property

There are a number of steps you can take to protect your property from damaging winds, but keep the “Two R’s” in mind: reinforce and remove.

  • Have your garage door professionally reinforced.

  • Remove and/or anchor loose objects on your property that could be blown or tossed by the wind, including trash cans, grills and outdoor furniture.

  • Have large or dying trees and branches near your home professionally removed. Better to remove them now than have them come crashing down during a storm.

Not all high wind circumstances come with advanced warning, as we all know, but using a “just-in-case” logic and being prepared could prevent major damage to your home.

Also, if you are building or renovating a home, be sure all windows, walls and doors meet building code for your area.

Should your home ever be hit by damaging winds and resulting water damage, the highly trained specialists at SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island are here 247 to help with the cleanup and restoration of your home.

Learning About Fire Hazards in Your Home | SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Thinking about the possibility of a fire in your home is never an ideal situation to imagine, this we know. For thousands of people throughout the country each year, though, this situation has become a reality.

Want to take steps to protect your home from a structure fire? Take some time to review common fire hazards and some lesser-known ones.

Remember to Watch Those Candles

After reviewing data for a five-year period, from 2011 to 2015, the National Fire Protection Association foundthat fire departments in the U.S. responded to an estimated 8,700 home structure fires a year that were started by candles.

Candles are reported to have caused 2 percent of home fires, with 3 percent resulting in death and 7 percent with injuries. There were an average of 24 home candle fires reported per day over those five years—and December was when home candle fire instances were most common.

Of all the candle fires during this time span, 37 percent started in bedrooms and were responsible for 36 percent of the associated deaths and 51 percent of the associated injuries. In total, there were 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in direct property damage.

If you’re burning a candle, make sure it’s at least one foot away from anything flammable and in a sturdy holder that won’t tip over easily. You should not be burning candles in a home where oxygen is being used, and remember to always blow out all candles before leaving a room or going to sleep.

Smoking and Home Structure Fires

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, but smoking inside is the leading cause of home fire deaths. In 2014, an estimated 17,200 home structure fires were reported due to smoking materials, which includes cigarettes, cigars and pipes.

The Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes reported that those fires resulted in 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in property damage.

Fire-safe cigarettes are the safest option, and deep, sturdy ashtrays should always be used. Put out all cigarette butts and ashes in water or sand prior to throwing them.

Smokers should know that most deaths result from fires that have started in living rooms, family rooms or bedrooms. Also, keep in mind that one out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.

Glassware Can Be a Fire Hazard

There are many lesser-known hazards that may be present in your home that could also cause of home structure fires.

Some types of glassware in your home can pose a fire risk, because when sunlight passes through them, the concentrated ray could ignite flammable materials. This is why it’s smart to move glass accessories away from windows.

Look out for loose outlets in your home, because the movement of these electrical outlets could loosen the wires connected to the outlet and create dangerous arcing, increasing the risk of fire.

Dust bunnies can also pose a fire risk when collecting near electrical sockets and floor heaters. Vacuuming or sweeping your floors regularly and cleaning behind those hard-to-reach places, like an entertainment system, can help prevent buildup.

Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to homes, and in many circumstances, can be accompanied by water damage from firefighting efforts. If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, SERVPRO® of West Bradenton/Anna Maria Island is here to help restore your home to pre-fire condition.