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5 Steps to Commercial Fire Safety

12/1/2021 (Permalink)

map of a commercial building Establish an evacuation plan.

5 Commercial Fire Safety Steps

It is impossible to guarantee that a fire will never break out in your commercial property in Fort Smith, AR, but you can increase fire safety. If you do not already have a contingency plan in place for employees or other occupants to follow in the event of a fire, here are five simple steps you should take.

1. Establish an emergency plan. This plan should include a method for reporting fires as well as an evacuation plan. You may want to hold a mandatory meeting on a regular basis in which you inform employees or occupants about their roles and responsibilities.

2. Post maps with emergency escape routes at strategic locations. People may panic in the event of a fire and forget the specifics of the contingency plan. It is a good idea to post the best evacuation routes in strategic places throughout a building, such as near stairs or elevators. Make sure that these plans indicate that elevators are not safe to use during a fire.

3. Create a contact list. This list should include the names, titles, departments, and contact information for all employees.

4. Identify essential services. Depending on the businesses in the building or the needs of the facility itself, you may want to specify which services require attention and who will perform these tasks in the event of an emergency.

5. Store important records in a secure location. Keep important documents such as accounting, employment, or insurance records in a safe location on- or off-site.

These five steps are intended to help you create a contingency plan to promote the safety of all employees or occupants in a business or commercial property. Following these steps will make you better able to account for all of the people in your building. If you do experience a fire, contact your local certified commercial restoration service, SERVPRO of Fort Smith at 479-452-8282.

What To Do When Water Gets In Your Crawlspace

12/1/2021 (Permalink)

man under a wooden deck Water in a crawlspace can come from a variety of sources.

Three Methods For Fixing a Wet Crawl Space

Water in a crawlspace can come from a variety of sources. Some of these causes are preventable, whereas others call for quick action to eliminate standing water caused by flooding. Here are three methods for fixing a wet crawl space and preventing the issue from recurring.

1. Identify the Source

A crawlspace may flood for a variety of reasons. Conditions brought about by overflowing surface or subterranean water can be difficult to prevent, but should be cleaned up as soon as possible. Grading problems, clogged gutters, and improperly installed downspouts can also lead to crawlspace and foundation issues. A broken water line or sewer backup can also cause water to collect in a crawlspace.

2. Pump Out Water And Dry

Residential water damage restoration services have all of the expertise and equipment needed to quickly restore a wet crawl space. Professionals rely on pumps to get rid of water and blowers and dehumidifiers to speed drying. This equipment can limit the extent of damage and mitigate mold.

3. Fix the Cause

You may be able to prevent water from collecting in a crawlspace by adjusting the grading of your landscaping and carefully monitoring watering in beds near the foundation of your home. Clear your gutters and make sure that downspouts direct water away from the foundation and have a two-foot splash block. Have plumbing regularly inspected to prevent pipe breaks and take measures to prevent bursts due to freezing temperatures by heating your home and allowing a faucet to drip.

Mold may have already started to develop if water has been standing or moisture has lingered in your crawlspace for 24 to 72 hours or longer. Conditions in a wet crawl space are ideal for mold growth. You may want to hire a water damage restoration service with certified mold prevention, testing, and mitigation experts on staff at SERVPRO of Fort Smith at 479-452-8282.

Save Money and Natural Resources by Maintaining Irrigation Systems

7/14/2021 (Permalink)

water sprinkler, spraying water on grass When was your irrigation system installed?

Ways To Save Money And Natural Resources With Regular Irrigation Maintenance

When you decided to put in an irrigation system at your business you had hoped that it would save you some time on landscaping so that you could focus on other business matters. While an automatic sprinkler system is indeed efficient, it will not remain so without proper and regular maintenance. 

1. Adjust to the Seasons
Have you ever driven by someone's home or business and seen the irrigation system running in the middle of a rainstorm? Not only is this inefficient, but it also adds unnecessary cost to your bottom line and could cause flooding. Know the seasons in your area and adjust your irrigation schedule accordingly. Too much water isn't only bad for your landscaping, it can be bad for your business. If too much water collects along with your building, it could lead to flooding, in which case you should call a commercial restoration service for help.

2. Inspect Often
Your sprinkler system is intended to withstand some normal wear and tear but that doesn't make it indestructible. If a nozzle gets bumped out of place by a passing dog or by a landscaper trimming weeds, it might need to be repositioned to do its job correctly. Worst case, the nozzle or the line that connects to the nozzle has been damaged which can lead to sprinkler flooding. If you've adjusted your irrigation schedule for the season but your water usage bill seems high, check your system to see if it has sustained any damage.

3. Update Your System
When was your irrigation system installed? If you aren't sure or if you know that it has been a number of years, you may want to consider an upgrade. Upgrading your system can save you money and resources, as well as prevent flooding from damaged lines. Frequent irrigation maintenance helps you to know when it's time for an update.
Keeping a regular irrigation maintenance schedule will ensure that your system is working for you and not against you.

3 Steps To Take After a Fire

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

3 Steps To Take After a Fire

A fire can be devastating for any house. One of the first things you should do as a homeowner is to contact a fire restoration service to begin the remediation process. However, that is just the beginning. From calling your fire insurance provider to finding a good smoke cleaning service, you should carry out certain actions to get your house back to pristine condition soon.

1. Call Insurance Company

Your house should have a comprehensive insurance policy in place that covers fire damage. You can expect to receive phone calls from other agents offering you a great deal, but you should be wary of such calls. The only person you need to talk to is your insurance agent. It is also good to provide the fire restoration company you hire with your insurance information so that they can work directly with your provider.

2. Salvage Without Touching Anything Too Damaged

You want to leave things as they are for the most part or else your insurance provider may not cover as much. However, when it is safe to re-enter the building, you may be able to go inside and salvage equipment, photos and documents to prevent soot from damaging them. However, if something is clearly damaged, then let it be. Leave these items to professional restorers who may be able to salvage your property.

3. Board up the Building

Another way an insurance company can avoid paying out your fire insurance policy is if you fail to take certain actions to protect your building in North Naples, FL from additional damage. For example, if you do not board up the building and tarp certain areas, then your building may suffer from vandalism or theft. Your insurance company may pay for smoke cleaning but not those acts. It is also a good idea to shut off the main water valve and put up a safety fence to assist the fire restoration team.

Dealing With Smoke Odor After a Fire

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Four-Step Cleaning Process

Beyond the damage of a commercial fire, the aftermath usually includes the odor of smoke. While it may not seem like the most pressing issue immediately following the disaster, smoke smells can become a persistent problem in your business if not dealt with. Thankfully, there are methods to remove the smoke odor from your facility. A smoke cleaning company will often follow a four-step process.

1. Airing Out the Facility
The first line of defense for smoke cleaning is to air out the facility. You want to open all windows and doors. It's also beneficial to use ceiling fans, window fans, and air Movers to expedite the process. A knowledgeable restoration service will likely be way ahead of you on mediating odor problems.

2. Cleaning All Fabrics and Materials
Smoke can penetrate porous surfaces, meaning that furniture, rugs, curtains, and other materials will need to be professionally cleaned to eliminate the potential odor. The restoration service you use can use ozone machines or thermal foggers to eliminate any pervading smells.

3. Cleaning Non-Porous Surfaces
While smoke damage will not penetrate a hard surface the same way it will fabric, the remnants of soot and ash can lead to odors. The best way to eliminate the smells is to clean and disinfect the surfaces as soon as possible. The longer the soot sits on a surface, the more time it has to permeate the air around it.

4. Assessing and Cleaning the HVAC System
Smoke can infiltrate your heating and cooling system. It collects in vents throughout the facility and the air filter of the main unit when it does so. You want to have a professional technician service the equipment and replace the air filters.
While most business owners are concerned with the damage to their property, it is also essential to pay attention to the smells after a fire. With fast response times and adequate smoke cleaning techniques, the odor can be eliminated.

4 Tips for Maintaining a Commercial Roof

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

Maintaining a Commercial Roof

A roof is something that can easily be overlooked, but your property relies on it to keep everything underneath it safe and dry. Once roof damage happens, it may mean more than needing a roof rebuild. Missing shingles, damaged membranes and other issues lead to issues that may require the services of a water damage and restoration professional. Although the unexpected can happen, the following four tips make it easier for your roof to weather the storms.

1. Preventive Maintenance
The top way to avoid roof damage is to stay on top of maintenance. Business owners should regularly check for any leaks, standing water and blocked drains. These often lead to other issues. Any signs of missing pieces indicate there may be hidden trouble lurking.

2. Regular Inspections
Along with visibly checking the roof, it should be professionally inspected annually. A professional will have the expertise to look for other issues, such as weak spots, sagging and structural issues. Scheduling this inspection may mean the difference between an inexpensive repair and a costly new roof.

3. Keep It Clean
Especially after a storm, it is important to check for wind damage and ensure the roof is clean of leaves and branches. Along with potentially clogging a drain, debris piling up invites the growth of algae. If that happens, it can start to deteriorate the roof faster. It may also lead to mold growth.

4. Inspect Roof Equipment
Most commercial properties have some time of equipment on the roof. Whether an HVAC unit, ventilation or skylights, these items should be regularly checked to ensure they are functioning properly. If any damage is discovered, repairs should be immediately made to avoid a leak.
Although Mother Nature may eventually lead to some kind of roof damage, staying on top of maintenance and inspections increases the chances of the roof lasting longer.

How To Decide When To Call In The Pros

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

wooden board covered in black mold spores Mold spores have grown and spread on an inner wood structure.

How To Decide When To Call In The Pros To Clean Up Water Damage

Water damage in your home can occur from a number of different sources ranging from outdoor flood damage, roof damage that lets in precipitation to interior causes such as a burst pipe or overflowing washer causing flood damage. Obviously, the longer water sits, the more water damage it is likely to cause. In addition, damage mitigation of water that comes from a clean interior source such as a pipe or washing machine is also easier than damage mitigation from flooding or a sewer issue. In some cases, whether it is water in your home or water in your business, you absolutely want to call in professionals to deal with the issue. However, there are some types of water damage restoration - particularly if it is water in your home - you might want to tackle on your own. For water in your business, there is the additional issue of valuable electronics, which are more susceptible to water damage and require different restoration and mitigation techniques. For water in your home, however, here is brief overview of how drying and water cleanup should occur.

1. Lift furniture

Once you have cleaned and evacuated the majority of the water, your best friends in the final stages of water cleanup, restoration and drying are air and heat. For restoration and damage mitigation in floors in particular, getting the best airflow possible means getting furniture up above the surface of the floor so as not to block the airflow. In addition, you will also want to protect the legs and lower surfaces of furniture from wicking up the water and leaving stains once it dries. Drying out carpeting and flooring is also important and lifting furniture will aid in the drying process.

2. Remove baseboards and drill large holes in the bottom of drywall

Drywall is not only dry, it also acts like a sponge, which means it will wick water high up into the walls where you can't see it because it's covered by paint. The paint also acts as a protective barrier that will keep air from being able to dry out the drywall. Drilling holes in the bottom of the drywall allows air to get inside the walls and dry out the drywall from the side that is not covered by paint. Drilling the holes in the bottom of the drywall also means they will be covered up once you replace the baseboards.

3. Spray a strong disinfectant on the walls

Mold, mildew and bacteria thrive in moist environments. To make sure that you do not have long-term mildew damage, be sure and spray any carpets and walls with a strong disinfectant or anti-bacterial spray. Also keep in mind that many insurance companies will cover flood recovery, but they will not cover mold and mildew damage, since that should have been taken care of in the initial recovery. This is something to consider when deciding whether or not to call in pros to recover from flood damage.

4. Set up industrial fans, an industrial dehumidifier and crank up the heat

While regular household fans might be enough to create a cool breeze, they are not powerful enough to create a strong enough wind current to climb up high into your walls. Heat will help water evaporate, and dry air will absorb the water as it evaporates, but you have to then remove the water from the saturated air so it will absorb more moisture, which you do with the dehumidifier. You want to keep doors and windows tightly sealed during this process, so you may want to leave the house while the heat and fans do their work.

Water in your home will create damage if left standing long enough but water in your business has the potential to create even more damage due to the presence of more electronics. For water in your business, you will most likely want to call in the pros to do the water cleanup. Even in your home, however, water cleanup from flood damage can be pricey even if you do all the work yourself.

The cost of renting industrial fans and an industrial dehumidifier might be comparable to hiring professionals to do it for you and you can be sure if you hire professionals that it is done properly and does not result in even costlier mold damage.

Common Causes of a Leaking Toilet and Their Fixes

4/14/2021 (Permalink)

Common Causes of Toilet Leaks

A leaking toilet is absolutely no fun. From having to clean up gross toilet water to having to deal with secondary water damage, there are countless reasons you need to suck it up and either invest in professional plumbing services or figure out how to fix the leak yourself. Which you choose to do all depends on the cause of the leak. Below are just four common causes of toilet leaks:

  • The wax ring is dry.
  • The toilet was improperly installed.
  • The tee bolts are loose.
  • The flange is broken.

If you don't feel confident in your ability to make an accurate diagnosis and repair the issue yourself, call a plumber. Otherwise, keep reading for repair solutions.

Solutions to a Bathroom Leak

The solution to your leaking toilet all depends on the problem. If the problem stems from a dry-rotted wax-ring, you may have to remove your toilet and exchange the old ring with a new one. This can be kind of a pain to do, as toilets are heavy and what lies beneath them is generally not very pretty. However, if you're strong, and if you can get over the gunk that rests at the base of a toilet, you can save big on making the repair yourself.

If the toilet was improperly installed, you may need to, again, remove the toilet and reinstall it. This is also something you can either do yourself or have a handyman take care of for you.

Loose tee bolts is the best-case scenario. Tightening tee bolts involves nothing more than taking a wrench and twisting the nuts with all your might. Hopefully, tee bolts are your only concern.

If possible, fixing a broken flange is worse than fixing a rotted wax ring. It's also a much more complex process than any of the above fixes, which is why, if the flange is the problem, you should allow your local plumber to do the job for you.

Once the Repair Is Done, It's Time To Cleanup

Once you've fixed the leaking toilet, contact your water damage restoration team to clean up around the leak site and ensure that there is no residual moisture that can cause secondary damage. This final step can save you money and your home.

Consider These 3 Tips When Dealing With a Canceled Flight

4/13/2021 (Permalink)

Black board showing 'cancelled flights' A flight cancellation is an unexpected event.

Storm Tips

Severe thunderstorms can severely disrupt any planned air transportation. A canceled flight can delay your plans and make you uncertain over what to do next. You will need to prepare for potential incidents like these to ensure you can resume your schedule safely. The following storm tips can help you go through tough situations like these.

1. Stay Safe and Calm
A flight cancellation is an unexpected event that can be either a minor inconvenience or a major plan wrecker. No matter what, you will need to stay calm throughout it. You can make sound decisions with a clear head. Understand that the cancellation will protect multiple lives, including yours. If the event is taking place do not stress about property damage. A call to storm damage restoration can resolve any issues once you return safely.

2. Call the Airline Immediately
One of the first actions you should take after a canceled flight is calling the airline. While it seems tempting to get in line and rebook the flight in person, the airline's phone service is a faster, more convenient solution. This tactic also helps gate agents who may be overwhelmed with several travelers. Gather your previous flight's information, preferably with a specialized smartphone app, and call the company to reschedule easily and without the wait time.

3. Ask for Reimbursements
Depending on the situation, you might entitled to some reimbursements. Investigate the airline's policy. If your flight was bumped without your consent, you should receive some reimbursement. Meanwhile, a traditional delay or cancellation will have different reimbursements depending on the company's rules. Some will refund you for rescheduling, but if your delay is significantly long, they can help you get meals and a hotel stay.
While a canceled flight can seriously affect your agenda, remember that this is done to keep you and others safe. These tips can help you make the best out of an unfortunate situation and recover as soon as the storm clears.

3 Advantages of Using SERVPRO's Document Restoration Service

4/13/2021 (Permalink)

wet paper Wet documents can cause devastating and costly losses.

3 Advantages of Using SERVPRO's Document Restoration Service

One of the most devastating effects of a flood or other disaster in a commercial setting is damage to — or the loss of — valuable documents, such as client files, accounting ledgers, contracts, books, photographs, blueprints, documents with original signatures, and other important papers. SERVPRO is the industry leader in water damage remediation, including document restoration. Its acclaimed document drying process features several unique elements that stand out from the competition.

1. Specialized Restoration Facility
First, water-damaged documents are transported to a secure, specialized restoration facility where they are entered into an advanced digital inventory system. Each restoration facility is managed by specially trained technicians who have received HIPAA Master certification. These secure facilities are closely always monitored and have the capacity to accommodate even large commercial recovery needs.

2. Advanced Cleaning and Drying Techniques
At the document facility, a team of experienced restoration specialists evaluate the damage to documents and then utilize state-of-the-art document restoration methods to repair the damage. SERVPRO’s inventive vacuum free-drying technique, for example, is the same method that the U.S. Library of Congress uses to restore priceless historical documents and is the only document drying technique that has been approved by the General Services Administration and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Technicians then employ an advanced gamma irradiation procedure to disinfect and deodorize documents.

3. Digital Archiving Service
One highly valuable but sometimes overlooked benefit of the restoration process is the digital archiving process. At the drying facility, each water-damaged document becomes a part of a computerized document inventory. The restored documents are also scanned into this inventory. The result is that all paper documents that enter the facility are converted into a high-quality digital format. These digital versions can then be uploaded and stored, safe from any future physical damage.
Wet documents can cause devastating and costly losses. Fortunately, SERVPRO’s document restoration professionals are always ready if disaster strikes.