What to do When a Storm Damage Happens to You!
Extensive Damage Documented in Florida Structure
When it comes to preparing for a storm, many people either think they have enough knowledge on what to do. Others assume it will never happen to them. If you are a Floridian, however, you can’t afford to be in a position of loss due to lack of consideration. Damage can be big or small, but all damage poses real inconvenience. Remember, knowledge is power, so it’s worth a few minute read to ensure storm preparedness.
The first thing to identify with is the safety of all who occupy the space affected. The storm will likely have brought a high level of fear in, and you may be inclined to rush into space in an attempt to salvage items. There are safety hazards that can be detrimental, so you will need to look for broken glass, chipped wood, or other debris before doing that. The entire property should be thoroughly checked, and cleared, before your guard is dropped.
The next steps to take are checking to make sure any structural damage has been identified and documented. Checking to ensure all building properties and roofs are stable is key. Check for holes, leaks, dents or broken shingles on the roof. Walls, doors and windows are all included in the structural assessment as well. Removing debris should be done along the way as well to assist in further safety.
Taking photos should be done next. Everything that is reported as hazardous should be documented with pictures to support if you plan to get compensation or restoration in place quickly. Try not to assume you will remember details or recount exact locations of damage. Simply, take the time to document each line item. This will be extremely helpful when working with an insurance adjuster.
That brings us to the next step where you call your insurance provider. Hopefully you have flood insurance or a homeowners policy for the property. If you do, the storm damage repairs are more likely to be covered. It’s suggested that you notify your provider within 60 days of the incident to make the claim. Many homeowners policies cover tornado damage and roof and water damage. Most go further to take care of hotel expenses, and even food spoilage. If you do not have any policies in place, you may qualify for federal support through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
You may want to get things back to “normal” quickly, which is completely understandable. Still, it’s encouraged that you start with the essential repairs needed to get the structure in functioning condition fast. Keep all receipts on initial and temporary repairs. Once the insurance inspection takes place, you will be ready to embark on your search for a storm damage repair company like ours.
Adjusters are there to help, but it’s your responsibility to have a general understanding of the process, so that you don’t feel swayed or manipulated along the way. The adjuster is just that- not an employee of the insurance company. They may, in fact be, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes independent adjusters are contracted as third parties. These agents still perform services. Public adjusters, however, are not affiliated with the insurance company, so their services come with a fee and they are not at liberty to provide legal advice or help with reconstruction.
It is your job to be used into the timeline of storm damage recovery laid out by the insurance company you are contracted with. We know you want to begin repairs immediately, but it is crucial to understand the timeline and the importance of it being carried out in the way identified by professionals. Your insurance company has 14 days to respond to a claim, and they may need more info or the proof-of-loss form as well. Once they have all this info they can either accept or reject the claim. The next phase of the process can then take up to 30 days. Once accepted, the company will be afforded 90 days to send the check. There are many local insurance companies that we highly recommend
Once the logistical items above are complete, it’s time to call in the storm professionals. The more time that goes by, the more susceptible you are to having further challenges. Secondary damage can set in as the structure remains unrepaired. Mold can begin to grow on unfixed roof leaks, and dangerous molds are detrimental to your health. The unforeseen can be avoided by relying on professionals like our team, and should always be brought in for optimal, timely recovery.
Simple Fire Prevention Steps That Save Lives
Tallahassee kitchen fire damage before restoration takes place.
Have you ever thought about fire safety in your home? Do you know about the handful of daily tasks that can put you at risk of a house fire? Do you know that cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States?
Of course, home fires have a high likelihood of starting in the kitchen- more so than any other room in the house. The American Red Cross has reported a 10% rise in home fires in the past 20 years, and we expect to see a continuous increase moving forward. In fact, numbers show that every two and a half hours, someone is killed in a home fire, and over 20,000 people are injured in home fires annually.
How does a family meal turn into a cooking fire? Much easier than you would think! Unattended cooking is the most common cause, and leaving cloth items near a burning or hot eye once the meal is completed. It is the most effective protocol to make sure there is a tested, functioning fire alarm in the kitchen area, and even better to have a fire extinguisher near as well. It is said that having the smoke alarm in the home reduces the likelihood of death by fire by half.
Even so, the following steps can prevent needing to rely on the smoke alarm at all, and should be practiced in every home:
The first, and easiest practice to execute, is to never leave cooking food unattended.
It is imperative that someone stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. It’s understandable that you may need to multitask during meal times in today’s day and age, so if you must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove make sure to ask someone to watch it or go ahead and turn off the stove. If you are cooking, check the food frequently and set a timer so that you stay within the cooking time frame needed and don’t fall into burning the dish, Try to wear cooking friendly clothes- meaning items that hug the body. It is proven that wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Of course, you should always aim to keep children away from the cooking areas. Creating a “kid-free zone” in the kitchen area is a great way to do this. A three foot radius is best no matter how old the child is- ensuring a safe distance from heat to hands is always set in place. Be intentional in keeping items that can catch on fire, such as pot holders, mitts, paper bags, plastic packages, towels and curtains, away from the stove or any other appliances that can generate heat. Be sure to clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup as well. Regular deep cleans and kitchen checks are the best way to ensure safety over time.
The most important item to have in place, at the end of the day and all of the item checks, is the smoke alarm. Put simply, smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
Keep up with disaster tips from our crew at SERVPRO of Central Tallahassee.
Prevention and Protocol- What to do Before and After a Storm
Tallahassee home takes on unexpected storm damage.
Far too many relate to the following scenario:
A storm is on the radar, and you think you have done all you can to prepare for minimal damage, but you still find yourself with unforeseen damages in the wake of it. When this happens, you can feel like your entire world has been turned upside down! It's overwhelming, and it's challenging to get organized and decide what to do first. So many home and business owners feel confident in the prevention plan, and yet they lack the protocol needed to handle the aftermath of a storm and natural disaster. With a task as big as storm recovery, there may be more steps needed in some cases, so get to planning now! Here are our top 3 steps to take so you can be prepared if a storm damages your home or business:
1- Stay alert and proceed with caution.The national storm damage service site offers deeper insight to identifying storms of any kind and the potential dangers involved, such as injury. The first thing to ensure is that all household, or business employees are safe and out of harm's way. This can be done by checking for hazards like broken glass, exposed nails or screw, etc. Piles of debris or unsteady structures should be identified too. Further, you want to ensure that there are no other risks that can be avoided in the immediate future. Once you’re certain you and your household members are safe and unharmed, take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries. The last items are extremely important and at the top of the danger radar. Staying away from power lines in the area and checking any smells associated with gas is crucial. Shut off all valves to prevent continued danger.
2- Assess and document next. There are many steps ahead, and professionals who can help you carry them out, but the more info you gather, the better! Once the storm has passed, you will have some time for the insurance company to get involved, so go ahead and take as many pictures as you can. The more you have, the more likely you are to get the best compensation for your loss. Be sure to take pictures of any interior and exterior damage to your home- knowing that it could have structural damage that is not seen. In the notes taken, be sure to cover the following:
- Roof damage. Try to identify any holes, leaks, dents, gutter damage, or missing shingles. If extensive, call a local roofer for a second opinion.
- Exterior siding damage. Rain can cause damage to siding and strong winds can tear it right off, so check this even if the storm seemed moderate.
- All damage to windows and doors. Outside of the damage from the wind itself, the flying debris can affect even larger objects like windows and doors.
- Moisture damage. Once water makes its way into your home, mold will begin to develop in insulation, wood, furniture, and carpeting.
- Fire damage. Downed power lines or water in the outlets of electrical equipment can create shorts and cause fires.
3- Stay detailed, organized and keep receipts. Your homeowner's insurance can be a lifesaver in "getting back to normal," but the agents need your help along the way. Documentation is HUGE! save all receipts for materials, labor and even miscellaneous items in the aftermath to ensure fair reimbursement. Knowing your policy is your responsibility too. Make sure you fully understand your coverage- from tree damage to flood damage, because not all standard policies cover such things. If flood damage is not covered in your policy, it is wise to get it on an additional one. Most homeowners insurance policies cover:
- Weather damage: This typically includes damage due to hail, wind, fire, snow, and more.
- Non-weather events: Common non-weather events are actions like theft and vandalism.
- Sudden/accidental events: This includes situations like a water pipe breaking or a water leak.
If you are living in an area labeled "high storm risk," you will want to be thorough with an agent that has experience in that field. There are many options outside of standard policies, so shop around before making the decision.
There is a lot to do, and "off-season" is a time to not rest on your prevention laurels, so get ahead of the disaster today!
Fire Damage- The First Steps You Can Take.
The restoration process begins in Tallahassee fire damage.
Fires are one of the types of disasters that most think would never happen to them. For most, they are in stories that happen to other people and rarely are considered to be a close risk. While we hope this stays true for our lives, we must identify with the fact that it just takes one instance for our "story" to change.
Having said that, there are many things you can know that will help you in dealing with the consequences of a fire. In the following content, you will gain more insight as to what you can do to clean up fire damage and the things you should know before a remediation company, like ours, comes in to take over the job.
These tips may seem small, but they can go a long way in protecting your family and property so that you can return to your home to its' pre-fire condition.
In the cleanup process, the initial stages will involve removing debris, water, smoke particles and soot accumulation in the building and vents as well as removing and replacing all damaged items to remove the smell and improve air quality. The combination of these steps can be very time consuming and require an expert skillset and the knowledge of health and safety protocols. It's important that you realize that you don't have to tackle cleanup alone.
SERVPRO franchises are all equipped with experience and knowledge in fire damage and can take you through the process- taking the most challenging parts off your hands. Our goal is to remedy the disaster, so that you can focus on putting the pieces back together with what matters most- loved ones.
While we know the comeback process can be lengthy for you, it's equally important that you understand the time it can take for restoration to be complete, so customer patience is extremely important as well. Added stress doesn't help the cleanup process go any faster, so acceptance of the imperative steps is extremely useful. Our staff is here to help narrow the focus so that you can feel confident going one step at a time, one day at a time.
The first step, in the case of a fire, is to call 911. After doing that, calling your insurance agent should be done immediately. The faster they can be informed, the faster restoration teams can come in to assist and prevent further damage. Insurance companies often need to come in and provide authorization to get the help we can offer. An instance that can offer an example: if there is structural damage to a home, water mitigation may tend to be brought in so that mold damage can be avoided. Once these steps are taken, your appointed agent should help to finalize and file the claim, allowing the work to begin. Once that happens, professionals can be called in and all of the belongings can start to be replaced and restored.
The length of temporary stay may vary, but you will undoubtedly need a place to stay following the fire. Even a small fire will need to be formally inspected by the fire department and the cleaning and air quality must take place prior to your return.
Even outside of the property damage, smoke and burned materials can cause detrimental health conditions, so professionals must be used in the process of discerning what to remove and what can stay.
Needless to say, if there is a large loss with significant amounts of damage, a long term housing plan must be put into place. If need be, your insurance company can help you find the proper housing needed while your restoration process is completed- which can take an upward of months before the end is met.
When dealing with matters this impactful, your well being may be overlooked. Do not fall victim to lack of rest and clarity of thought so that you can make the best decisions possible even under duress. For some, staying with family or friends is helpful and hard decisions are made more easily with their support. If these are not options open to you, there are disaster relief services, such as the Salvation Army or the Red Cross where they can direct you towards temporary housing as well.
Even when the fire is out, ash, soot, and smoke residue can be left behind. This means that even distinguished, there are many dangerous health hazards still lurking. Non-organic materials that are burned reals toxins called VOC’s that can have long-term effects and even lethal if they are ingested or inhaled. Some signs show up immediately after exposure, but many take lengths even reaching years. Even seasoned vets have faced health challenges when the proper precaution has not been executed. Everyone who enters the space post-fire should proceed with extreme caution when reentering a property. Even in cases where the fire department says there is no serious structural damage and you may reenter the property,many toxic chemicals may still hang in the air.
If you are unsure whether tools you should have on hand, check the The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healthwebsite to see examples of protective gloves, masks, clothing, and breathing equipment with effective filters that need to be worn by everyone who enters a building after it has been boarded up because of a fire.
Fire Prevention Amplified During Holiday Season
Dried out Christmas Tree catches fire, causing local fire department to extinguish it on residential site.
The beeping sounds are plentiful, as we forge our way through holiday shopping and crowded checkout lanes! The season brings joy and celebration sounds all around. Still, the beeping sound you may not have checked for could save your life. That’s right, I am talking about the smoke detector BEEP!
In our great city, there is no excuse to be without the precautions made available to you. In fact the Tallahassee Fire Department offers two smoke detectors for each household at no cost to the residents. This effort is made most important due to the number of fire disasters reported each year. The holiday season is known to increase those numbers exponentially.
Our local Fire Department (TFD) is strongly suggesting that the community residents keep a high regard for extra protocol during the holiday season. Added decor- including celebratory candles, Christmas tree lights, and greenery surrounding can cause more hazard than normal and the festivities surrounding can serve as a distraction. To ensure the education is effective, TFD hosts a Christmas Tree Fire Safety partnership with the State Fire Marshal with tips and tools for every household. They highlight the simplicity of the steps that can be taken and offer entertainment along the way.
It’s suggested that residents take on as many of the following as possible for maximum fire prevention:
- Check Christmas trees for fresh, green needles. Dried out trees burn faster, so keeping your tree watered and moist is important.
- Keep trees at least 3 ft from fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, heating vents and other heat sources.
- Don’t position trees in front of exits.
- Check light strings to make sure they have no damage and also turn lights off before leaving and going to bed.
- If purchasing an artificial tree, make sure you see the “Fire Resistant” label on it.
- Use a fire screen in front of embers and logs and sure fires are fully extinguished after using them for leisure.
- Check all batteries in smoke detectors.
While this information can seem like common sense at first glance, it is easy to forget or get wrapped up in the events, celebrations and busy days. Check out this Home Safety Survey provided by the Tallahassee Fire Department.
We are proud to serve our community with disaster relief and are honored to support the prevention tactics to avoid it as well.
What Matters to You, Matters to Us- Content Restoration Services at SERVPRO.
Damaged items in need of restoration on residential job.
Often we hear the question, "do you service residential projects?" While we take pride in offering services to large loss and commercial work, we wouldn't be satisfied if we didn't service the most important space to our customers- their homes.
Homeowners find themselves in need of flood damage cleanup, repair damage from frozen pipes, ceiling and wall damage, storm recovery, water extraction, attic and mold remediation, fire damage, black mold and much more.
One area that has come to be wildly important for customers is content restoration. It's not just the "things" that we will miss, but those material items can hold so much memory value and resemble decades of history for families. Companies, like ours, are having to dig deep and become resourceful to offer services that specialize in the restoration of prized possessions. Being a franchisee in the fastest growing restoration company in the world, ,we are proud to have headquarters that service such items with professionalism and care.
Unlike SERVPRO, many companies have not climbed on board to offer services like these in-house. Using subcontractors leaves many inquiries getting the same response, sending damaged items out to another vendor. The trends, and demands, set forth by millennials create heavy focus on technology and they won't accept non-digital inventory or the age-old sifting through the box tactics. Content restoration firms are expected to embrace and implement 3D mapping of loss sites, real-time data and online tracking of contents utilizing pack-out inventory and claims management software.
Jumping into the moving protocols, the implementation of such technology helps restoration companies meet service measurables without disturbing the homeowners, reduces the time frame for claim cycles, and even reduces the claim cost. Expectations from the customer are much higher today. No longer is it enough to have good customer service, but the customer EXPERIENCE must meet standards above and beyond today.
Even further, residential customers want to keep things under one roof today when it comes to services. Historically, companies took pride in having an "expert" in every corner. From document drying to furniture refinishing, companies had a referral for each category of need. Today, for ease and speed, it is preferred that companies handle all of these in-house. At first glance, it may seem like an overwhelming amount of added work and obligation, but this shift offers restoration companies more control over the claim and customer experience as a whole. It can also create more revenue and increase profit margins.
Still, restoration companies are not the only ones with more opportunity in this new setup. Insurance companies are able to serve better- increase the length, and quality, of their customer relationship too. It also increases the likelihood of a positive referral for insurance companies. Lastly, the "all inclusive" service model shortens the claim cycle and opens the door for more productivity for adjusters as well.
We have the ability to offer much more under the SERVPRO umbrella and are able to move along with trends at the fastest pace for residential clients. Our franchise refuses to fall into the complacency trap or rest on our service laurels. We are open-armed to technology advances and take great pride in capitalizing on opportunities it offers to SERV best.
First Responder Bowl Leads to Local Efforts
Local efforts to piggyback national efforts for emergency responders, during the First Responder Bowl, are in the works.
November is full of fine food and good feels, but we are already revving up for a December to remember! SERVPRO is preparing to honor first responders during the holidays over national broadcasting yet again. The honorary tradition launched in 2014 to celebrate police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, correctional officers, search and rescue, dispatchers, security guards, federal agents, border patrol agents and military personnel. The first to arrive at any emergency, these everyday heroes deserve recognition and support, so we are excited be part of doing just that. Nearly two million first responders put their lives at risk, to save the lives of others and ensure wellbeing for all, each and every day. Firefighters, police officers and emergency medical workers embark on risky, selfless tasks for the betterment of communities near and far. The skills acquired, and bravery needed to do so, can't be ignored. EMT's perform basic lifesaving techniques at the scene of accidents and on the way to the hospital or healthcare facility. Firefighters respond to similar scenes including natural disasters and even hazardous waste spills. Walking out of their homes each day, leaving behind loves ones and security, to service strangers is an act of heroism that most can only imagine. The games of the past have tagged on to the essence of the theme with great suspense and excitement. The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl has been concluded by a touchdown or less for the past two years- two games even being decided on a final play! The touch matches and neck-to-neck plays are sure to repeat this year as well. Taking the initiative to a local level, we will be offering gratitude goodies for these most valued community responders. Each week, our local teams will head out into the community to feed, honor and celebrate out local Tallahassee heroes. Taking place in a holiday month full of festivities, we foresee even more participation from local leaders and vendors. Starting December 1st, we will provide lunches, snacks, gifts and more to the local stations and healthcare facilities. If you are a local business seeking to donate contact our team for more info.
Tis’ the Season
FREE Dinner for Tallahassee Family
Tis' the Season to SERV! We are a team of "can do" crew members year round- coming to the aid of Tallahassee residents and business owners when disaster strikes. Still, the holiday season offers even more ways to give back, and we don't want to miss a beat. Partnering with a tried and true taste bud favorite, Jeri's Midtown Cafe, we are sponsoring a Thanksgiving meal for 6-8!
With this simple and easy Free Meal Giveaway Form, you can nominate a worthy family in the Tallahassee community and enter them to win. Jeri has long been a staple in Tallahassee. Even more impressive, she has always given back to the organizations that do above and beyond for the community. Partnering with The Kearney Center, Second Harvest and more, Jeri ensures her "love on a plate" makes it to mouths in need. "I wanted to make sure that the sentiment of family and love stays at the center of holiday celebrations. That's why I began to create a lavish, yet simple, catering menu for people to put TIME together above all," says Jeri. Her simple ordering system and flavor-bursting menu is what you could call "classic with a twist!" We couldn't think of a more exciting partnership than that.
With a SERVice-based nature, our team prioritizes Tallahassee residents outside of any disaster too! From sponsorships to events, we have pushed to do all we can to ensure that businesses can still serve- even in the emergency state of a pandemic. We know that the show must go on, and we aspire to do our part in making sure it does no matter what. That's how we came up with a sponsored feast idea this year. We are always looking for ways to engage and SERV our clients outside of the emergency setting, and this was a perfect opportunity to do just that.
The magic is in the story, so we wanted to make sure that we got to hear the WHY in each submission and nomination. If you know a deserving family, tell us about them and enter them to win!
Disaster relief relationships are of the upmost importance
New York homes still unlivable month after storms.
Relationships with emergency service providers are more important than ever before.
Many homeowners share the following story:
Hurricane, or similar natural disaster, hits. Resident incurs damage and loss. Insurance held doesn’t cover damage cost. Damages force resident to reside in expensive hotels for indefinite period of time.
Tragically, this story is a broken record nationwide. Since 1980, the U.S. has experienced 298 weather and climate disasters. The total cost of these events exceeds $1.975 trillion, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.
Also documented are the policies held by most homeowners in the country- policies that don’t cover a wide range of potential disasters including tornadoes, lightning damage, and winter storm damages. In addition, and perhaps more concerning, are the flood, sewer and fire damages that are unaccounted for in coverage.
Many insurance companies are encouraging homeowners and renters to develop relationships with emergency services organizations to establish a relationship and project potential rates, as most end of having to pay out of pocket fees. Moreover, it’s been found that there is a big misconception in the communities affected. That being the misunderstanding that insurance representatives have the skillset and knowledge needed to combat and minimize disaster damages.
Restoration companies can be key in these moments. Suggestions and tips on what to do can be found by contacting our highly trained restoration specialists. When it comes to dealing with sudden, weather-related damage to their homes, even the most experienced professionals can find themselves out of their depth. That is where our 1700+ franchise locations come into great service potential.
The relationship matters most when the service is needed, but you don’t have to wait to begin it! While SERVPRO’s 1900+ locations take pride in being ready for each incoming call, they are also investing in new, innovative ways to find you! Partnering with Reonomy, SERVPRO will be able to target outreach to prospects across rural, suburban, and urban geographies. This means that we can find customers with potential needs more easily and help prepare for the unforeseen.
With a commitment to excellence, even lack of coverage and natural disasters can be mediated and combatted.
4 Important Ways a Water Damage Company Can Help You
SERVPRO solutions for your home.
4 Important Ways a Water Damage Company Can Help You
4 Important Ways a Water Damage Company Can Help You
Trying to tackle water damage on your own may not be the best idea. Learn what a water damage company can do to help you.
It can feel overwhelming to see standing water in your home. What do you do first? Focus on getting the water out or removing your possessions from the water? Whether it’s from a flood or a burst pipe, the faster you react to the water damage, the better.
Luckily, you don’t have to take this on by yourself. Water damage professionals should be the first people you call when realize your home has suffered from unwelcome water. Let’s look at everything a water damage company can do for you, but first, let’s cover the basics.
What Is a Water Damage Company?
Improperly treated water damage can lead to black mold, mildew, and wood rot. This means time and expertise are crucial.
Water damage remediation professionals go through training through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. They strive to preserve your house and valuables by removing water and making repairs.
Water Damage Services
A highly-trained team of professionals will serve you from the minute you call until your house is dry back to normal. Here are just four of the ways a water damage company can help you after a flood.
Plan of Action
Water damage services begin with the initial assessment of testing the water to determine the extent of the threat it poses. There are three different types of water that can damage your house. The flood could be of clean water, gray water (from washing machines, showers, etc), or black water (contaminated from the septic tank). Once the water damage remediation team knows what they're dealing with, they can form their plan of action.
Water Extraction and Drying
The next step focuses on extracting the water using submersible pumps and wet vacuums. Once they remove the water, the drying process can begin. Industrial-grade dehumidifiers pull moisture out of the air and high-speed fans circulate airflow to speed up the process.
Cleaning and Restoration
After everything is dry, the cleaning and repairs begin. Carpets, floors, drywall, and anything else affected by the water damage must be removed or sanitized. Depending on the severity of the water damage, your home may need reconstruction. Your water damage company will address these as well to restore your house to be your home again.
Possible damage to the foundation or structure of your house can be costly and dangerous if done incorrectly. This is why it’s best to leave this kind of work to the experts.
Peace of Mind
Hiring a water damage company gives you the peace of mind that no spot is overlooked. They work knowing that every hour can mean more water absorption and more permanent damage.
Go With the Pros
You’re one call away from having all your flooding problems solved by water damage company experts. If you or someone you love is a flood victim, be sure to call our 24-hour emergency service at (850)765-5706. For more information about the other services we offer, including fire damage and mold remediation, contact us today.