By: Rachel W.
As soon as I see an article online about wildfires or pass a TV with flames engulfing the screen, I’ll likely be packing my bags. There’s little notice in this industry, so paying close attention to the fire season is crucial. I constantly check to see if evacuations have been lifted because as soon as we go, my life is in for dramatic changes.
Since I began my career in the restoration industry in 2016, I’ve worked on three separate storms, the last two only a few months apart. I was nervous on my first firestorm, but well-trained, so I jumped at the opportunity.
It isn’t easy. I’ve witnessed devastation on every trip and it’s just as heartbreaking as the first time, but also a good reminder of why I’m there. I’ve experienced a whirlwind of emotions, but the work is so rewarding I’ve volunteered to go on every occasion since.
By: Ryan M.
My first experience on a water storm site was in North Carolina when disaster struck. Hurricane Florence caused major flooding from storm surges and heavy rains. The Hurricane caused around 20 billion dollars in damage. It was extremely humbling to see people overcoming the hardships of not having a place to stay and little to no access to essential supplies. It was heartwarming to see the community coming together and volunteers on job sites going from house to house helping neighbors. I arrived with our disaster response team not knowing what to expect. The streets were lined with insulation, home contents, flooring, drywall and debris from fallen trees. Fema trucks were driving up and down the streets all day every day trying to keep up with collecting the debris. Our teams worked 14-18 hour days to help people get to the point where they could begin to rebuild their homes. Homes had water lines at the 4ft mark around the entire house. Most homes were completely full of several different strains of mold by the time people were able to access them. In order to bring these homes to a repairable point our crews removed all non-structural materials and dried the framing and floor joists. The Neuse River in the New Bern area where we spent most of our time had engulfed peoples homes and businesses and destroyed nearly all of their possessions. Our number one focus was to help as many families and businesses as possible as quickly and effectively as possible. It was hard work in hot temperatures of 80-90 degrees with 60-70 percent humidity and our crews worked relentlessly. I was so proud of our team and the number of people we were able to help and I will always remember the people I met and those that we served. We were driven by our founding principles, strong values and our desire to serve our community and country.
Assessing Water Damage
By: Layton C.
Whenever a homeowner has a water loss, it is important to understand the damage the water can do, and how to asses it properly. One of the first things that SERVPRO does after meeting the homeowner is to inspect all affected materials in all affected areas. This allows us to gauge what is wet and how wet the material actually is. SERVPRO technicians use moisture meters and thermal cameras to map out the wet area. Most homeowners don’t own this equipment so they may not be able to see the full damage, but it is possible to get a general idea if one knows what to look for and understands how water travels.
Having the appropriate equipment and tools are essential for the quality of work performed. We see many homeowners extract water with a wet vac and place office fan’s around the wet area. This is a great start to prevent further damage, but the equipment used will not have the same efficiency as ours. When SERVPRO needs to remove a material we are trained on removing it in a specific way. We want to make the repair as easy and as quick as possible.
Depending on what material we are trying to dry and the saturation level of the material could call for a specialized drying plan with more equipment than the traditional box fan and dehumidifier. Our goal is to get all 10’s with the customer satisfaction survey. Assessing the damage correctly and having the correct equipment is a must. Meeting the expectations makes the mitigation process faster and cheaper.
By: Andrew V.
The restoration industry is a chaotic yet fulfilling industry. It presents many challenges along
with opportunities to help customers in ways that very few industries do. As an industry-leading
restoration company, we experience the emotions with the homeowners. Their normal routine has just been turned upside down. Their home is now being torn; it can be a very stressful experience. It is our job as a restorer to take into consideration each customers’ needs and provide a custom drying or cleaning strategy that will best accommodate the customer. We strive to provide the experience for both a residential or commercial client. During residential losses where we need to be concerned with one family and their needs, and during a commercial loss we need to take into account the needs of possibly multiple owners, tenants, and their entire client base!
Commercial projects offer very unique and often challenging opportunities to show the customer that we care for not only their business but also their wellbeing. During a water damage loss in an assisted living home here in the treasure valley, we were presented with not only the needs of our direct customers but also the needs of up to 65 residents. Taking the time to go a little bit further for your customers can show you care. We spent half a day setting up containments and negative pressured air to prevent dust and debris from getting into any of the units. During lunch and dinner time we only used hand tools to keep down on noise. Most importantly of all whenever we passed a resident in the hallways we always greeted them with a smile. By the time we left the project many of the crew were on a first-name basis with some of the residents.
Taking the extra step for not only our residential customers but also ensuring that our
commercial livelihood is intact during the restoration process is again very challenging but when done properly you can be the hero that they need.
Commercial Fire Damage Restoration
Once the fire department has doused all of the flames, be sure to call a fire remediation expert like SERVPRO.
When a fire strikes your commercial property, it's quite likely that you feel yourself start to panic. This immediate reaction makes sense given all of the economic turmoil and property destruction that a fire can cause. However, knowing which steps to take in the face of a Treasure Valley commercial fire can help prevent you from becoming anxious, losing money, and undergoing extensive property damages. To handle a treasure valley commercial fire successfully and speedily, implement the following four tips:
1. Contact A Fire Remediation Expert.
Once the fire department has doused all of the flames, be sure to call a fire remediation expert. This individual will be able to equip you with a thorough assessment indicating the extent of the damages. Don't ever attempt to handle any of the cleanups, drying, or restoration processes on your own. Doing so could put you in peril of injury and illness.
2. Assemble Your Records.
In addition to contacting a fire remediation expert, make sure that you assemble your business's essential records. You'll want to have this information with you when you start working with your insurance company. To guarantee that you can have all of your files ready in a safe place, make a point to buy a fireproof safe where they can be stored.
3. Call The Insurance Company Immediately.
Be sure that you call your insurance company once the fire is put out. This step is important because your insurance agent will work with you to file a claim and determine how much coverage you'll attain for the commercial damages.
4. Get Permission To Reenter The Building.
Always ask the fire department or another local authority whether you can reenter your building. In some cases, Treasure valley fires can weaken the structural integrity of the commercial property and make it subject to collapse. This is why you need to assure that reentry is safe for you and your employees.
Call SERVPRO For Fast, Friendly Fire Remediation Services
If your business caught on fire, don't worry. Instead, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Boise and let us start cleaning up immediately. Acting right now is the key to limiting damages and expediting the restoration process. Choosing our team of industry specialists is the secret to attaining the sophisticated services you deserve. All of our IICRC-certified technicians will work with diligence and determination to get your commercial property back in pristine condition, so call us now at (208) 375-0300 to attain your free estimate.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Boise is strategically located to respond quickly to your commercial fire emergency event. When commercial fire damage occurs we have the resources and personnel to help. Call us today! (208) 375-0300
This is a House Burnt to the ground caused by a wildfire.
By: Rachel W.
I remember the first time I was driving through a neighborhood decimated by fire—street
after street of rubble, the rare glimpse of a chimney, and the occasional staircase to
nowhere. I saw entire neighborhoods with one house standing around ashy remains of
cars and driveways.
Families are on sidewalks, sifting through the remains of their homes. I had seen memorials
for first responders who had lost their lives, wildlife moving into neighborhoods, and
groups patrolling their blocks to keep out looters.
There is so much to process arriving in affected areas, yet within all of that, something
beautiful grows out of the disaster, Community. Seeing everyone come together to help
is one of the most inspiring parts of the job. Being able to stay long enough to see
things being rebuilt and growing again will remind you that even in the worst of times,
things will and can get better.
5 Common Reasons for House Fires in the Boise Area
This fire was caused by a Barbecue on the back porch.
1. Cooking Equipment
When a pot and pan splatter grease, it can take seconds to cause a fire. When cooking stay close by, especially if using oil or high temperatures. Keep combustibles away from the heat source (e.g. oven mitts, dish towels, paper towels).
2. Electrical Equipment
- Make sure your outlets aren't overloaded
- Don't have electrical wires under heavy equipment
- Your Electrical appliances don't have loose or frayed cords/plugs
Keep candles on a level surface, away from combustible materials and out of reach of children or pets. Always blow them out before leaving the house.
Use Barbecues away from the house, deck rails, and tree limbs. Maintenance them on a regular basis, clean removable parts (inside and out) with soapy water. Check for potential leaks in the connections by spraying them with soapy water; Watch if bubbles form when you open the gas.
5. Fire Pits
- You may need a permit depending on where you live to have a fire.
- You have to have a permit if your fire is bigger than 2 ft tall and 3 ft diameter.
- Keep at least 25 ft away from structures and tree limbs.
- Use a screen over your fire to keep the sparks from flying
- Keep a bucket of water or a hose close by.
Turn Around, Don't Drown!
Failing to evacuate flooded areas, entering flood waters, or remaining after a flood has passed can result in injury or death. Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Floods may:
- Result from rain, snow, coastal storms, storm surges, and overflows of dams and other water systems.
- Develop slowly or quickly - flash floods can come with no warning.
- Cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings, and create landslides.
IF YOU ARE UNDER A FLOOD WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY
- Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don't Drown!
- Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.
- Determine how best to protect yourself based on the type of flooding.
- Evacuate if told to do so.
- Move to higher ground or a higher floor.
- Stay where you are.
HOW TO SAY SAFE WHEN A FLOOD THREATENS
Know types of flood risk in your area. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center for information.
Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
If flash flooding is a risk in your location, then monitor potential signs, such as heavy rain.
Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately, or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect and can protect the life you've built. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. De-clutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.
- Depending on where you are, and the impact and the warning time of flooding, go to the safe location that you previously identified.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
- Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio, or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown!
- Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning.
- If your vehicle is trapped in rapidly moving water, then stay inside. If water is rising inside the vehicle, then seek refuge on the roof.
- If trapped in a building, then go to its highest level. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising floodwater. Go on the roof only if necessary. Once there, signal for help.
(Be Safe AFTER)
- Listen to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Avoid driving, except in emergencies.
- Snakes and other animals may be in your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up.
- Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.
- Avoid wading in floodwater, which can contain dangerous debris and be contaminated. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
- Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.
Does Your Treasure Valley Home Have a Mold Issue?
Make sure to check behind your appliances for mold growth and/or water damage.
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, 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 can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 208-375-0300
Is Mold Covered Under Insurance?
Does your homeowners policy cover mold remediation?
Mold remediation covered under insurance can alleviate much stress associated with the fungus. However, you must understand your insurance policy fully to receive compensation for mold damage. If you have mold growing somewhere in your home, you may not have to pay to remove and repair the damaged areas. However, not all instances of mold come as part of your policy. Learn when mold covered under insurance is partially or fully your responsibility below. Also, find out what to do about it if you do or do not have the proper coverage.
Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Mold Damage?
Some homeowner’s insurance does cover mold. However, the mold covered under insurance must fall under covered peril. The language of your policy includes the conditions qualifying for a covered peril. As long as the specific thing causing the mold is a peril on your plan, you have coverage. Examples of peril include water damage resulting from accidents, or other factors. Some claims handle the removal of the mold, as well as reimburse you for any property damage.
Keep in mind, insurance companies limit the amount of coverage they offer so that additional coverage may cost a lot more. Again, it all depends on your insurance policy stipulations. There are also different types of claims to consider depending on your status as an owner with tenants or the owner or renting party.
First Party Coverage Claims
When you have mold in your home and make a claim with your insurance company, it’s known as a first-party property claim. You must be the policyholder to receive insurance coverage for the claim.
Third Party Coverage Claims
If you rent a home or apartment and your tenants file an insurance claim for mold, this falls under the third-party claim.
Tips for Dealing with Mold Damage
Whether insurance covers the mold in your home, you must address it as soon as possible. Allowing it to grow can lead to health problems, such as respiratory issues, throat irritation, and others. Mold thrives in moist areas. If your home has vulnerabilities to water leaks, you must address the incident quickly. Doing so can mitigate some of the health risks and property damage brought on by mold.
How to File a Claim for Mold
Each insurer has its own set of policies, but the general order to file a mold claim is as follows:
- Call your insurance company and set up an appointment with an adjuster.
- Try to dry the impacted area with fans, open windows, and other means of removing excess moisture. Avoid cleaning or removing mold because the adjuster must first assess the damage.
- Take pictures of the damaged areas.
- Talk to your agent about mold coverage limits.
In most cases, the homeowner must prove the mold is a result of a water damage claim resulting from burst pipes or some other event. Even if your policy covers your mold event, it may only cover a certain amount.
Without Proper Coverage
To get mold covered under insurance, you need qualifying circumstances. Your insurance company cannot remove or repair mold damage due to your lack of upkeep. For instance, failing to fix a minor leak that becomes a significant leak does not qualify you for mold coverage.
Other examples include mold resulting from:
- Long-term leaks
- Long-term moisture
- Construction defects
Tips for Handling Your Claim
Because insurance companies can make handling your mold problem a significant process, there are a few things to keep in mind before you make a claim.
- Never offer a guess as to the origins of the mold
- Do not agree with your insurance company if they suggest the mold has been around for a long time
- Allow the company to conduct a full investigation before signing off on any paperwork provided by the insurance company
Other Tips for Handling Mold
The best way to handle mold is to prevent its growth at the onset. You can limit mold growth by doing the following:
- Use air humidifiers and air conditioners to keep air moisture between 30 percent and 60 percent
- Do not place carpets or rugs in damp areas such as basements
- Fix small leaks immediately
- Inspect faucet fixtures and nozzles under sinks and toilets to check for leaks
There are several measures you can take to decrease the chances of mold growth. It is especially important in humid states where moisture collects easily in different parts of the home.
Do you need more information about dealing with mold damage or mold remediation? Our trained mold remediation specialists at SERVPRO offer 24-hour emergency services. Using the most advanced technology, our team keeps the mold from causing any further damage. Failure to act immediately can result in the denial of your claim, call us today at (208) 375-0300!