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How SERVPRO Can Help Your Business Prepare for Large Loss Water Damage

2/6/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage How SERVPRO Can Help Your Business Prepare for Large Loss Water Damage Call the experts to help with your commercial water loss!

As a business owner, you are always thinking about the future, and you know that disasters are something you need to be prepared for. When disaster strikes, possessions are often ruined, and the structures of businesses can be negatively affected. Staff can become injured or find themselves in dangerous situations, and these are scenarios you want to be able to prevent or at least be ready for. A professional damage restoration company can be an important and welcomed resource during times like these; such companies are able to complete all necessary repairs in a timely and efficient manner as well as keep you and your workforce out of harm’s way.

While disastrous situations can rarely be foreseen, planning ahead in preparation for any possible commercial water damage will help you be prepared to handle such an event. During extreme weather, some areas of your business are going to be more apt to experience damage than others. For example, low-lying areas like basements, cellars, and parking lots are most likely to experience storm damage.

Planning ahead in these areas will help:

  • Basements and cellars should be inspected ahead of wet weather since they have a number of easy entry points for water. If there is heavy rainfall during inclement weather, or if the building is near a body of water such as a lake or river, they are going to be in danger. Let the SERVPRO of Boise professionals look for cracks in the foundation, ceiling, and walls of these areas. Handling the aftermath of flooding and storm damage can be very expensive, but is an event that can be avoided if you plan ahead by enlisting the help of our team.
  • A damaged roof, either from weather or fire, is susceptible to water damage, and the areas underneath it will suffer. If rain gutters have not been properly maintained, you may experience some problems stemming from standing water, as well. SERVPRO is skilled and experienced when it comes to maintaining our clients’ property, and we can help you be ready in the event of large loss water damage.
  • If areas such as entryways, windows, and doors are not properly sealed against extreme wet conditions, large loss water damage is a definite danger. We can help you make sure they are free of standing water and debris, as well, if flooding occurs. Proper planning in this area can prevent injuries and costly repairs.
  • Our professionals can help ensure that all areas around your buildings are kept free from flammable materials and that all plants and trees are trimmed well on a regular basis to prevent fires from spreading if they occur.
  • State law requires that you post an evacuation plan in a visible place for your staff and customers. Make sure that your employees understand it and know how to carefully guide clientele to safe areas should a disaster occur. Have a phone tree established so that all employees are alerted to important information whether they are at work or at home. The SERVPRO of Boise team can help in creating a plan.

Our team here at SERVPRO of Boise is ready to help in case of disaster and large loss water damages, and the repairs your business may need in the aftermath. We are also experts in fire damage restoration, mold remediation, commercial restoration, and much more!

Classification of Water Damage in Your Home

1/29/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Classification of Water Damage in Your Home Water damage can originate from either internal or external sources, it is important to know what category of water you are dealing with.

In this post we will be explaining some of the basics of water damage and how it can affect your home and health. Water damage is the leading culprit when it comes to property damage and restoration service needs.

Now this actually surprises a lot of folks, when they hear water damage they usually imagine a flood from a nearby river, a natural disaster etc. While events as such do occur, there are more common ways for water damage to affect your home, including:

  • appliance leaks from you fridge, ice machine, washing machines, etc.
  • toilet overflows
  • sinks and bath/shower overflows or left running without attendance
  • broken/leaky water pipes within walls and ceilings
  • drainage issues around the property
  • roof leaks and compromised exterior
  • rain/wind storms

As you can see, water damage can originate from either internal or external sources and once it gets into your home it is important to know what kind of water you are dealing with.

What do we mean by what kind of water? Well in the restoration industry we recognize water in THREE different categories:

  • CATEGORY 1 – Also referred to as “Clean Water”, this means that the water originated from a sanitary source and does not generally pose a risk to our health.
  • CATEGORY 2 – This could also be referred to as “Grey Water”, meaning it contains some contamination and would not be sanitary enough for human consumption, posing a health risk if ingested.
  • CATEGORY 3 – Commonly known as “Black Water”, this is water that is grossly contaminated and could contain disease causing organisms, pathogens, and other harmful materials.

Now you know the 3 different categories of water and how it can enter into your home. Each of these different categories of water damage comes with their own do's and don'ts on how to deal with them. Restoration professionals like SERVPRO of Boise have advanced training and expertise, not to mention a tremendous amount of hands-on experience to handle any water damage emergency. 

Dealing with Fire Damage in Your Home

1/29/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Dealing with Fire Damage in Your Home We have specialized equipment, specific training, and certifications that allow us restore your home to preloss condition.

The process involved will definitely differ depending on the severity and size of the fire and damage caused, as you can see in the image to your right this is quite severe fire damage. However the principles of fire damage restoration will for the most part be the same.

Like in most restoration projects the main goal you are trying to reach is preloss condition, that is you want your property to be restored back to how it was before the damages occurred; you want it to be safe, clean, free of smokey odors, and of course looking "Like it never even happened."

Now at this point we are going to assume that the fire has been put out, everybody is safe, and you are now looking at the damage caused and are wondering what to do next.

Before you start any work ensure that:

  • the property is structurally sound and is safe to re-enter
  • you have identified any safety hazards that may be present

As you re-enter the property you will want to get rid it of any lingering smoke and gasses that may still be present. You can do this by opening windows and doors and releasing them outside. In situations where there is a lot of smoke still lingering inside the property and you have neighbors close by then you will want to exhaust the air through an air filtration device (AFD). An AFD unit will process the air through a series of filters reducing its potency and potentially harmful contents.

Once you have taken care of these initial steps and are ready to assess what work needs to be done. You should be taking note of the two main types of possible damagethe obvious burnt and charred materials and the less obvious smoke and soot damage.

Now, you will need to make a decision whether to repair or replace the affected items or property. Any items or property that got burnt and charred will be easier to spot and will likely need replacement, if you are not sure on what to do with a certain item you should get it out of the property until your decision is made. As once we start the cleaning process we will want all burnt and charred materials out of the property.

Once all the burnt materials are out of the home you can start looking at what got damaged indirectly. It becomes trickier to decide whether to repair or to replace an item that has been affected by smoke and soot as the process can be difficult and costly.

Okay, so now you know the first few steps on how to get started on a fire damage restoration project. If your property has suffered a fire damage incident that is of a large scale or simply outside your comfort zone to handle yourself give SERVPRO of Boise a call at (208) 375-0300

5 Insurance Resolutions for 2019

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 5 Insurance Resolutions for 2019 What are your New Year's Resolutions? Do they include reviewing your insurance policies?

Are you making a New Year's Resolution? Statistically, more than half of all resolutions fail... but they don't have to. We have some resolutions you can actually keep this year. Even better? You can accomplish most of these in January and be sitting pretty for the rest of the year, worry free with a simple insurance audit!

Update Home Inventory

Your home inventory is a tool that your agent can use to determine the right level of coverage for your homeowners insurance. Plus, if you have a claim, having an up-to-date inventory will benefit you and get your claim paid faster. If you haven't done an inventory on your home in a while, we have some tips on where to start. If you have completed an inventory, right after the holidays are and ideal time to update! Be sure to share the updated home inventory with your agent when you're done.

Right-Size Your Life Insurance

Life insurance is not one-size-fits-all. Your coverage needs to evolve over time. If you don't have a policy yet, now is a great time to talk to your agent about what type of policy would best suit your needs (and your budget.) We have six things you should consider when you are looking at coverage. 

If you do already have life insurance, is it working hard for you? Could you get more benefit out of your policy while you are still living? Maybe. Talk to your agent about the ways you can make your existing policy work for you and your family.

Earn Discounts

Did you know that you can play a part in determining your auto insurance rates? With Driveology, you have the chance to earn discounts based on your good driving behavior. You can also monitor your vehicle health and environmental impact in the process. 

If you have a teen driver in the house, you may be able to save even more with you Young Driver Safety program. With this program, drivers under the age of 25 can learn safe driving behaviors, and help you earn discounts on your auto policy premiums. 

Prepare for the Unexpected

You try to be as prepared as possible, but you never know what is right around the corner. Prepare for unexpected risks with an umbrella policy. Umbrella earns its name because the coverage arches over your vehicle and homeowner's insurance to provide an extra layer of protection: it starts where vehicle and homeowner's insurance liability limits stop. You might be surprised by all the things umbrella policies cover for an affordable price. 

Call Your Agent

When was the last time you evaluated your coverage's with your agent? Your agent can do an annual SuperCheck and make sure you are covered where you need it (and aren't paying for coverage's you've outgrown). Life changes fast, make sure your insurance keeps up. If you have been wondering if you could bundle your policies, need a different life insurance policy, or bought a new boat, you could use a SuperCheck. Contact your agent and schedule a brief review today.

With this new year, if you have resolved to save money, your agent may be able to help. Contact your agent today. It's an easy resolution to keep and can affect your bottom line all year. Can you say that for other resolutions?

5 Simple Steps for a Home Inventory

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 5 Simple Steps for a Home Inventory A home inventory is a smart move!

Five Simple Steps for an Insurance Home Inventory

You know how much you paid for that new TV; same for your computer. But what about those plastic bins of toys you keep under the stairs? Your collection of antique china? That expensive woodworking equipment? You might have already taken stock of the big things, but in an emergency, could you do a mental household inventory list and name all your valuables? That's why it's important to do a home inventory. For peace of mind, and for insurance purposes, a home inventory is just a smart move. It can help you decide how much and what type of homeowners' insurance to buy, speed up the claims process, and help verify losses for your income tax return. Where do you start? READ ON!

1. Starting a Household Inventory- Get Organized

First of all, you'll need to get organized. You'll want to document things like the insides of your tool boxes and closets; start a household inventory list. Tidy up; it's easier to see what you have if your possessions aren't in piles on the floor of your closet or crumpled up in a junk drawer.

2. Starting an Insurance Home Inventory- Method to the Madness

Before you start making your home inventory list, plan your starting point. Map your course through your household and move room to room methodically. By plotting your course in advance, you're saving yourself time and also decreasing your chances of missing important inventory items. For an insurance home inventory, remember to include your attic, garage, and even detached structures (like your shed).

3. Making a Home Inventory List- Document Everything

How you document your household inventory is important. Photography is your friend; go from room to room, taking pictures (or even video, provided you narrate!) as you go. Make special note of your most valuable items (jewelry, antiques, electronics) and where you keep them. It's also helpful to keep receipts and to note the serial numbers for your gadgets.

What type of items do you include on your household inventory list?

  • Furnishings (bookcases, cabinets, couches, tables, drapes, lamps)
  • Appliances (stove, washer/dryer, hair dryer, scale, vacuum)
  • Electronics (Flash drives, gaming systems, tablets, chargers, computers, DVD collection)
  • Lawn and Garden (patio furniture, lawn mower, snow blower, hoses, bikes)
  • Antiques and Collectibles (baseball cards, dolls, signage, toys, stamps, coins, art)

What details do you include about the items on your household inventory list?

  • Provide a general description of the inventory item
  • List the quantity of those items
  • Note the date each item was purchased
  • Specify how much you paid for each item on your inventory list

4. Securing Your Insurance Home Inventory- Store It Somewhere Safe

You'll be tempted to keep the inventory list in your home, but that's definitely not the safest place. Create a private album on an online site like Flickr or on the Cloud, and label it "Home Inventory." Print your inventory and keep it in a safety deposit box. Whatever you do, don't keep your only record of your possessions on your property.

5. Maintaining Your Home Inventory List- Update it Frequently

Whenever you make a big purchase, or even just every couple of years, reevaluate. This is also a good excuse to de-clutter as you go. Remember, an out-of-date home inventory could hold up the claims process at a time when that's the last thing you need.

6 Things to Consider When Buying Life Insurance

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 6 Things to Consider When Buying Life Insurance It's important to understand the factors that affect how much life insurance you need.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all life insurance policy. You might need more, or less life insurance than your neighbor down the road, depending on multiple factors. 

Of the 60 percent of Americans who have life insurance, 1 in 4 felt they needed more coverage.

Before shopping for a policy or purchasing additional life insurance protection, it's important to understand the factors that affect how much life insurance you need. So how do you determine how much life insurance you need? Here are six things to consider:

1. Income

The amount on your tax return plays a significant role in your life insurance calculations. The more you earn the more coverage you need. Your agent can help you determine how much life insurance you may need.

2. Debts

The proceeds from a life insurance policy need to take care of all of your debts, including mortgage balances, car loans, student loans, credit card balances or other debts that would be a burden to your family and will need to be paid in full. More debt necessitates more life insurance.

3. Savings

Review your existing assets. If you have significant savings and investments that can be used to cover burial/estate expenses, pay off debts and provide a financial cushion for your family, you'll need less life insurance than someone with few assets. 

4. Existing Coverage

Do you have life insurance coverage through an employer? One 2016 survey found 19 percent of policyholders had life insurance through work. Depending on the amount of that coverage, having your own policy may be a good idea.

5. Family Size

The more dependents you have, the more life insurance you need. In addition to thinking about the number of children depending on you for coverage, take their ages into consideration as well. You'll need more life insurance to protect young children through adulthood than you would for college graduates with their own policy.

6. Future Needs

Life insurance helps protect your family, and that means purchasing enough coverage for their future including educational expenses. When calculating your life insurance needs, determine how much it'll cost to send your children to college.

To determine how much life insurance you need, an online calculator is a good place to start. And you'll want to make an appointment with your agent for a detailed analysis of your life insurance needs. 

Important Message From: Idaho Department of Health & Welfare

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Important Message From: Idaho Department of Health & Welfare Testing for radon during home inspections is highly recommended!

Frequently Asked Questions About Radon

  • What is radon and where does it come from?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil.  It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and invisible gas.

  • How is radon measured?

Radon levels are measured in picocuries per liter of air or pCi/L.

  • Can radon harm me and my family?

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that radon causes 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. The risk of developing lung cancer from radon depends on the level of radon you are exposed to over a lifetime, as well as other genetic and environmental factors, such as if you are a smoker.

  • How does radon cause lung cancer?

Long-term exposure to high radon levels can increase your risk of developing lung cancer.  When radon gas decays, it breaks down into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe.  As the particles continue to decay, they release small bursts of energy that can damage lung tissue and may lead to lung cancer in some people. 

  • Is radon a problem in Idaho?

Yes, there are many areas throughout Idaho that have high levels of radon. For more information on radon levels where you live, call the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Indoor Environment Program at 1-800-445-8647.

  • How can I find what the radon levels are in my home?

Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. There are two general tests for radon:  short-term and long-term. The quickest way to test is with a short-term test.  These tests provide a quick radon value within a brief period (typically three to seven days) of time.  Long-term tests are typically placed in the home for at least three months and may remain in the home for up to a year. Long term test kits give a better estimate of the amount of radon in your home throughout the year. 

  • Where can I get a radon test kit?

You can purchase radon test kits from hardware stores, home improvement centers, online or other retail outlets.  Reduced price short-term radon test kits may be purchased by Idaho residents from Air Check

  • When and where should I conduct the test?

Preferably test your home for radon in the winter. Your test should be performed on the lowest floor of your home where you spend time.  If you have a basement and spend time there, test in the basement.  Otherwise, test on the 1st floor in a bedroom or spare room.

  • I just received my test results, what do they mean?

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that your home have radon levels below 4.0 pCi/L. If your levels are above 4.0 pCi/L you can test again to confirm your test results and/or mitigate your home to lower radon levels. If you have additional questions about your results, call the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Indoor Environment Program at 1-800-445-8647.

  • How can I reduce the radon levels in my home?

A quality radon mitigation system is able to reduce the amount of radon in your home to usually below 2 pCi/L.  Contact an experienced radon mitigation professional for more information or you may also choose to mitigate your home yourself.  There are many instructional videos on YouTube that can guide you through the process. 

  • How much will it cost to reduce radon levels in my existing home?

Steps to reduce radon levels in your home depend on many factors. If you do it yourself, average costs for parts range from $300 to $600. The cost to have a certified radon mitigation specialist do the work in an existing home ranges from $1,500 to $2,500. Cost of installing radon-resistant features during construction runs from $300 to $500. Contact an experienced radon mitigation professionalfor more information.

  • I'm building a new home, what can I do to prevent radon?

Discuss with your builder how to incorporate radon reduction techniques into the construction of your new home.  

  • I'm buying a house, should I have it tested for radon?

Yes, before you buy a house, you should have the home tested for radon.  The most common procedure for testing during a real estate transaction is for the potential buyer to request the radon test as part of the overall home inspection.  If the test is near 4.0 pCi/L, you may negotiate with the seller to have a radon mitigation system installed with the goal of bringing radon levels below 4.0 pCi/L.

  • I am a renter. Does my landlord have to test for radon if I ask?

No, your landlord is not legally required to test for radon. You may conduct the test yourself or ask your landlord to conduct the test.

  • I tested my rental home and the results were high. Is my landlord required to reduce the radon levels?

No, your landlord is not legally required to reduce radon levels in your rental home. However, you may notify the landlord of the results and discuss with them the need for radon reduction repairs.

  • Who can I contact for more information about radon?

If you have more questions about radon, please call the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Indoor Environment Program at 1-800-445-8647.

Natural Catastrophes: Protect Yourself Before and After a Disaster Strikes

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Natural Catastrophes: Protect Yourself Before and After a Disaster Strikes As many as 34 hailstorms hit the Gem State this past year.

Ensure proper coverage before a major event; know who you are dealing with after a storm hits.

Wildfires. Earthquakes. Hailstorms.

Mother Nature can be unpredictable. When it comes to natural disasters, ensuring proper coverage beforehand, and knowing whom to deal with to handle repairs in the aftermath can help protect your property and your finances from predatory and unscrupulous contractors looking to make a quick buck. 

"Unexpected events such as the hailstorms in southeastern Idaho this past spring serve as reminders of the value of catastrophe insurance. When making storm repairs, be diligent and always be sure to do business with a local, licensed contractor. 

Hail can quickly wreck havoc on your home and car. For autos, comprehensive coverage will safeguard your vehicle; however, a basic liability policy will not. When it comes to your home, hail damage is covered by a standard homeowner's policy, but coverage can be affected by factors such as where you live and the type of policy you have purchased.

Amy Lambrecht, a supervisor with the Department's Consumer Affairs division, says hundreds of claims have been filed as a result of the hailstorms in southeastern Idaho. She recommends the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of insurance fraud:

  1. Be wary of door-to-door solicitors
  2. Make sure contractors are licensed
  3. Read all documents before signing anything
  4. Keep copies of all documents signed
  5. Be leery of contractors trying to provide "advice" about insurance coverage

Insurance industry statistics estimate hail damage to exceed $1 billion annually in the U.S., mostly to roofs and cars. Understand the risks of where you reside and the types of catastrophe coverage available. 

F1rst Responder Bowl

11/9/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO F1rst Responder Bowl Do you know someone who deserves this award?!

SERVPRO is proud to be the sponsor of the first-ever First Responder focused bowl game and we extend a heartfelt thank you to all the brave men and women on the front-lines. Their courage and compassion is inspiring to all. We are grateful to live in a country where individuals dedicate themselves to protecting and serving their fellow citizens. We are humbled by their bravery and thank them for putting their lives on the line in order to save those around them. We thank them for their service and sacrifice.

The game will be played on December 26th in Dallas, TX. However and broadcast on ESPN; however, we have an exciting opportunity to take part, here in Boise, at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

We are currently seeking nominees within the Treasure Valley community that are worthy of receiving the "Honor a Responder" award. To qualify, the nominee must have served in fire, police/law enforcement, EMT, National Guard, disaster relief, or military. This includes anyone who has been injured and returned to work, has saved lives during their career, entered retirement (but had served their community for many years), trained or mentored fellow First Responders, or has lost their life in the line of duty (their family members are encouraged to receive the award on their behalf). The nominee shall be someone who has accomplished something remarkable in 2018. The winner of this award, as well as their family and friends, will be given tickets to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on December 21st and will receive media recognition. 

Please forward your nomination, to include the name, affiliation or department, and the reason you feel they deserve this award, via email to; marketing@SERVPROboise.com. The deadline is Monday, December 3rd. The winner will be chosen by a separate panel of first responders and business community members, not SERVPRO of Boise employees.

We are also seeking persons interested in selecting a finalist. If you are one of those people or would like additional information please contact our marketing manager, Kelly Parziale, at 208-991-6880.

Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to bestowing a local First Responder with this honor for years to come. Because when we lift up those we depend on, we strengthen our ability to serve - our ability to make the memories of Fire & Water Damage "Like it never even happened." ®

Thanksgiving Fire Safety

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Thanksgiving Fire Safety Consider these tips if you are already planning on how to cook your bird this year and have a safe holiday!

For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations. With that being said, keeping fire safety top of mind during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there's a lot of activity and people at home. As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer. 

Statistics

  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
  • In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving.
  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and deaths.
  • Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries.

Safety Tips

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove-top.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don't have any slips, trips or falls.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords are not dangling off the counter.
  • Keep matches and utility lighter out of reach.
  • Ensure your smoke alarms are in working condition.