Is your work family ready for a disaster?
Businesses should take steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies. Recent events in Texas show us the importance of preparing for as many contingencies as possible. From terrorist attacks to natural disasters anything could happen to disrupt your business. Despite a national campaign of activities, resources and information each year less than ½ of all households surveyed could boast a plan of action already in place. 52% of businesses say it would take them 3 months to recover from a substantial loss. But 75% of them do not have a plan in place to minimize that time or even know where they would begin to recover. Of business polled, if a disaster were to occur, 44 percent of small business owners say they don’t have access to generators — and 66 percent don’t even have business interruption insurance.
The numbers are staggering but they can be planned for and minimize the amount of disruption to your home or business. Are you ready? On the Home front, FEMA offers lots of information for adults, children and teachers to help them assist in educating and formulating a plan for themselves and those in their care at: http://www.ready.gov. This site offers everything from checklists to coloring pages as well as information on how best to plan for those with special needs.
For business owners, SERVPRO of West Forsyth wants to ask Is your business ready? 50% of the businesses that suffer a disaster that causes a disruption in transactions never reopen, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that do survive an overwhelming majority had a preparedness plan in place. A disaster recovery plan is a detailed, step-by-step course of action for getting a business back on its feet quickly following either a natural or manmade disaster. Where are your documents? How recently was your information backed up, or updated and how do you gain access to it? Can you reach your team members? Answering questions like these ahead of time could be the difference between getting up and running quickly and smoothly or perhaps not at all. Get started; http://www.ready.gov/business offers business specific planning and resources.
SERVPRO of West Forsyth County would like to help. By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, you’ll have an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key in minimizing how disasters can affect your business. Customize your ready plan data on your mobile device for quick access during an emergency. Our Emergency Ready app is available as a free download at: http://www.SERVPRO.com/disaster-recovery
Our location off Stratford Road and I-40, SERVPRO of West Forsyth County is strategically located to quickly respond to your call anywhere in the Winston Salem area. Call us directly at 336-946-1131
7 Tips for preparing for a disaster
#1 Make a Plan. Living here in Winston Salem, NC, you’re less likely to face an earthquake than a severe storm that could cause flash flooding. Knowing what you could face will help prepare you for emergencies as you go throughout your day to day routine. Red Cross has thought of a number of them and are listed here. Flooding in Texas and Louisiana reminds us that you may not have as much warning with flash floods or sudden storm systems. It doesn’t take much time, but it will save you valuable time should an emergency happen. Make, print and practice a plan.
#2 The Details matter. Know the details of how you escape a disaster. Planning the route of where you are going while the fire is burning is not the time to plan your route. Knowing if you are going to a shelter, motel or friends home will help get you there quickly and safely. Ensuring that everyone knows the details of the plan will ensure that your family will meet you at the prescribed place. Does your family require special needs? Do you have pets? These are the types of details that matter. The goal is to ensure the whole family is taken care of. Medications needed? Does the shelter or motel take pets? Consider all of the needs of the entire family.
#3 Stay informed. Ensuring that you are informed of impending storms by listening to NOAA or the local news alerts will keep you aware of changing weather. Being informed is part of being prepared. Local news agencies are committed to alerting their listeners and viewers of dangerous situations.
#4 Communicate. Most people say I’ll just pick up my cell phone, but that may be down. If local phone lines are overloaded or out of service it is sometimes easier to call or text long distance. Choose an out-of-area emergency contact person. Everyone should have emergency contact information in writing or saved on their cell phones. If your community has experienced a disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website to let your family and friends know you are safe. You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and select the prompt for "Disaster" to register yourself and your family. Speaking of communication, sign up for emergency alerts. The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA’s) are designed to be short and an effective way to save lives by giving warning and direction to people in the affected area. Don’t turn them off because they are less annoying than the alternative. Social Media may give you some information and allow you to contact family but don’t count on it exclusively.
#5 Emergency Kit. Having a plan but no tools to implement it with is ineffective. What are some of the basics you need? Water, Food, and Shelter are the big three but what about other necessities? Do you have medicine that you need? A small child to care for? What are other items to help you along the way? Think first aid items, rope and flashlights. FEMA has a list of items that will be helpful here. Do you need to be a doomsday prepper? Probably not, but depending on the severity, you may have to rely on your own for 3-4 days before infrastructure is restored. Be sure you are familiar with what is in the Emergency kit and how to use the items in the kit.
#6 Get trained. Knowing some basic emergency training will also help in a crisis situation. Know how a fire extinguisher works or how to perform CPR. The American Red Cross has education on a number of topics that can be useful in an emergency situation. Learn where the shut offs are for utilities in your home or office. Cutting them off may prevent further damage or making a bad situation even worse. Be sure that your family and coworkers are educated on the plan of what to do in case of an emergency.
#7 Now that you are planning what to do when you are at home, what about if you’re away from home? Talk to your child’s school and ask how they plan or evacuate the school? How do they communicate with you about emergencies? Does your business have a plan? SERVPRO of West Forsyth County can help you with that. The Emergency Ready Profile can go right beside your employee handbook and be carried with you on your mobile device. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business. Call us to get started on your plan 336-946-1131.
Quickly Protect Your Home After A Storm
Following a storm flood or fire, water cleanup in Winston Salem, Clemmons or Rural Hall is the first and one of the most important processes that you will need to have done. In the event that you don't complete the water removal process immediately, your property can be subjected to a plethora of unwanted, unnecessary complications such as mold growth, loss of possessions, and structural damage. If you find yourself in need of water damage services, it's important to find a skilled team of restoration experts like SERVPRO of West Forsyth. We can expedite the water extraction, cleaning, repair, and restoration components of the process. Learn more about the importance of water damage cleanup by reviewing this short reference guide:
Water Cleanup Prevents Mold and Mildew Growth
One of the reasons for securing the services of an experienced water damage cleanup company is inhibiting the growth of mold and mildew in your home. Unfortunately, these fungi can begin thriving and expanding on your property 48-72 hours after the initial water intrusion. Moreover, the moist, warm conditions created by water damage make your residential property a prime location in which mold can grow and thrive.
Prevent or Diminish Secondary Water Damage to the Structure of Your Home
Another great benefit of rapid water removal is that it prevents structural damage from adversely impacting your property. When left unaddressed for an extended time, the water can wick into walls, and studs, rust appliances, and damage the electrical system. If a natural flooding disaster occurred, then the foundation could also have been compromised.
Why You Should Secure Professional Assistance
Although some people attempt to complete the water cleanup process on their own, this approach is not advisable if it means more than using a mop and a bucket. For volumes of unwanted standing water, our water removal process is expedited and optimized through the use of specialized equipment. Truck-mounted water pumps and portable vacuums are the means of rapid water extraction. The quicker the removal, the less the water damage to furniture, walls, flooring, electronics, and personal possessions. This helps to remove water and treat damage that you can’t see.
Let SERVPRO Assist You Now
Each of our IICRC-certified professionals utilizes advanced skills while offering excellent customer service to expedite and optimize the water damage restoration process for your home in Winston Salem and surrounding areas. We work well with insurance companies by offering professional communication, official documentation of our findings and procedures, and follow-up inspections.
It’s best to contact us directly 336-946-1131
September is National Preparedness Month
September is National Preparedness Month and SERVPRO wants to make sure you have a plan set in place in case of an emergency. Safety should always be the first priority, so establishing evacuation plans in your home and office ahead of time will get you ready for any emergency that hits Winston Salem and surrounding Piedmont. SERVPRO can help you with an Emergency Readiness Plan, our mobile app. Call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County for more information 336-946-1131 or click the link.
What if you are separated during an emergency?
Your family and coworkers should discuss two places to meet. One should be outside of your home or business in case of a sudden emergency like a fire and another should be outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate. An out-of-area emergency contact should be chosen to make it easier if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. This emergency contact should be saved in your cell phone. Also, make sure to save SERVPRO of West Forsyth County as your emergency services contact so you can call and report any damage that is done to your home or business.
Plan what to do if you need to evacuate.
Decide what route you would take to get to your evacuation route. Choose something like a hotel/motel, friends or relatives house, or an evacuation shelter if necessary. Practice your evacuation plan at least twice a year, this way you can plot alternate routes on your map incase roads are impassable. If you have pets, make sure that your plan can accommodate them as well. Compile a list of pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes.
Let Your Family Know you’re Safe.
Inform friends and family so they do not worry about you once you have reached your point of evacuation. The Red Cross also offers services to let your family know you are safe and well.
It is helpful to know the types of disasters that are likely to occur in your area and know just how authorities will notify you during a disaster. Know the differences between the various weather alerts as well so you know which actions to take. Your community can change in an instant when an emergency occurs so brushing up on first aid and CPR would be beneficial for you and your family. The Red Cross can also help with classes. Be sure to communicate the plan to all who could be effected by a disaster.
If a natural disaster does occur, SERVPRO of West Forsyth County will be there to clean up the mess and restore your home or business to a preloss condition. Whether it be flood, mold, or fire, SERVPRO will make it like it never happened. Call us at 336-946-1131
Storm Flood Terminology / Safety
Flood Mapping of Winston Salem and Forsyth County
Flash Flood or Flood Watch
Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated area. Be alert to signs of rising water and be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. Tune to local TV and Radio for updates on conditions and forecasts from the National Weather Service.
Flash Flood or Flood Warning
Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent. When a warning is issued for your area, or the moment you realize yourself that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself.
Urban and Small Stream Advisory
Flooding of small streams, streets, and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and storm drains, is occurring.
Flood or Flood Statement
Follow-up information from the National Weather Service regarding a flash flood or flood event.
If advised to evacuate, do so IMMEDIATELY. Move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water.
Get to higher ground. Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, washes, etc.
Avoid areas of flowing water. The water can rise quickly. Six inches of fast-moving water can knock you off your feet. A depth of two feet will lift a car and make it float. NEVER try to walk, swim, or drive through such swift water. STOP, turn around, and find another route.
If your vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and sweep it-- and its occupants-- away.
Be especially cautious at night when it's harder to recognize flood dangers. The reflection of still water in your headlights will give you no indication of the water's true depth, and the road bed may be washed out under the water.
After a Flood
If fresh food has come in contact with flood waters, throw it out.
Contact your local public works department about water safety. Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking.
Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.
Use flashlights-- not lanterns, torches, or matches-- to examine buildings. Flammables may be inside.
Report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities.
Before a Flood
Know your flood risk and elevation about flood stage. Do your local streams or rivers flood easily? You can see if you live close to a flood prone area here. This helpful interactive map can help you locate you home in Winston Salem or anywhere in Forsyth or surrounding counties.
Install check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your home.
Homeowners' and renters' policies rarely cover flooding. Contact your insurance agency about getting flood insurance. Flood insurance is administered by FEMA and a helpful FAQ can be found here
Store drinking water in clean bathtubs and various containers if water service may be interrupted.
Keep a stock of food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration in case electric power is interrupted.
Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gas stations may not be able to operate pumps.
If your home or business suffers water damage from a flash flood call us directly 24/7 at 336-946-1131. SERVPRO® of West Forsyth County Professionals will work neatly and efficiently to help you regain control of your property when a damaging event has taken over. They will use state-of-the-art restoration techniques to ensure your property is taken care of right the first time.
We make it “Like it never even happened.” It’s best to call us directly at 336-946-1131
After the Firemen have left, What are you to do with the mess?
Firemen putting out the fire
The cost of smoke and fire damage restoration depends on a few variables even after the cause of the fire is out.
Soot, when left on surfaces can corrode and permanently discolor in the span of a few hours. If left for days, the issues can become irreparable and require the replacement of furniture, floor coverings, counter tops, and much more.
Beyond the soot; Burnt smells frequently linger, which make odor neutralization another important part of the process.
What many people don’t consider until they’ve experienced a fire first hand is the effects of the water used to put the fire out. Parts of the structure and the contents that weren’t damaged by the fire itself may be adversely affected by the water and if not cleaned and dried quickly will need to be discarded and run the risk of mold growth.
In order for smoke damage restoration to be most effective, the job should be approached as soon as possible by a professional in mitigation. Trained technicians can remove and neutralize odors, and quickly identify which items may be able to be restored.
Smoke, ash, and water all contribute to the devastation, so having someone with the proper training is crucial. SERVPRO technicians with certifications in Fire and Smoke Restoration, Water Damage Restoration, Fabric and Upholstery Cleaning, Odor Control, Mold Remediation and Prevention, and Applied Structural Drying will have all the skills necessary to salvage and return rooms to a previous state
SERVPRO® National Call Center served 313 insurance and property management companies and their clients nationwide in the last year alone. We have earned the trust of the insurance industry by serving thousands of their policy holders and clients with respect and integrity. The more we restore the less that needs to be replaced. This helps our clients save millions of dollars each year and helps lower your insurance rates too!
24-Hour Emergency Service; in our business, you need us fast! Professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Our trained, uniformed mitigation specialists are equipped to restore your property to preloss condition whenever possible and will walk you through the process until the work and your satisfaction are complete.
From large commercial buildings to residential losses, SERVPRO of West Forsyth County understands your loss is the job that matters most!
It’s best to call us directly at 336-946-1131
Fire Safety Do's and Don'ts
Although home fires spike around the holidays, a home or office fire can happen any day of the year. People eat every day and therefore cook every day, maybe not every meal but the risk is there. So what are some of the concerns after a fire damage to my home or office? The fire department has to investigate all calls they are called to. So, before the last fire fighter leaves, ask them if it is ok to call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County to come and get started on the cleanup.
After any fire damage situation, our primary focus is safety first, yours should be also:
- Is it safe to stay in the house?
- Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
- Only do activities that are safe for you to perform. Did the fire go through the ceiling? Is there a danger of it collapsing?
- Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome and other metal surfaces with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil. This could include silverware, guns, and expensive faucet fixtures
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
- Change HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional. Smoke particles are different and may need special treatment in order to save costs.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Contact SERVPRO of West Forsyth County Regarding Fire or Smoke Damage Emergency - (336) 946-1131
SERVPRO of West Forsyth County proudly serves Winston-Salem, Clemmons, Lewisville, Pfafftown, Rural Hall, and surrounding areas. We are available 24 hours /7 days a week and are ready to restore damage to your home or commercial structure. It is always best to contact us directly.
Flash Flood Safety
Earlier this year we have seen heavy down pours some as much as 2 inches per hour. July tends to be one of the wettest months for Winston Salem averaging 3.4 inches. We need rain in our area for growth and to sustain our lives. Flash flooding on the other hand can be a potentially dangerous situation. Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, however not all floods are alike. Some floods develop slowly, while others such as flash floods, can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Additionally, floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states.
Flash floods can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, a dam or levee failure. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of roaring water carrying rocks, mud and other debris. Overland flooding, the most common type of flooding event typically occurs when waterways such as rivers or streams overflow their banks as a result of rainwater or a possible levee breach and cause flooding in surrounding areas. It can also occur when rainfall or snowmelt exceeds the capacity of underground pipes, or the capacity of streets and drains designed to carry flood water away from urban areas.
Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds or low-lying ground that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.
Cleaning Up and Repairing Your Home
- Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.
- Don’t ever drive through water that you can’t see the bottom of. Turn around don’t drown. You could lose control of your car in as little as 6 inches of water.
- Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.
- Listen to your radio for information on assistance that may be provided by the state or federal government or other organizations.
- Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home. Call SERVPRO of West Forsyth we have the capability and expertise to handle your water mitigation and restoration of your home or business.
It is always best to call us directly 336-946-1131
Your Mop Is Not Qualified
You can't see the water but we can
We know how disruptive unseen water damage can be for your business or home. For this reason, SERVPRO of West Forsyth County offers 24-hour emergency response. We understand how to manage the drying process and use the proper equipment and moisture measuring devices. We ensure your building is quickly and thoroughly dried. This helps prevent secondary water damages and allows you to regain control quickly ensuring your structure and its contents are properly dried, deodorized and protected.
The thing is most of us in Winston Salem think “I will just get it up with a shop vac, or your mop”. The problem is water follows the path of least resistance, and you only got the water you can see up. What about the water you don’t see? In the picture associate with this blog the meter shows the plywood subfloor to be saturated with water yet looking around the meter the wood doesn’t appear wet. If left unchecked mold and wood rot would start to occur. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County has the tools to see where water is hiding, and by the time you smell the effects of water left in hidden sources it’s costing you more money in mold mitigation. By having a professional dry your home or business you can avoid mold growth and further damage by unseen water.
Weather it is your commercial place of business or the home you love, let us help prevent risking further damage to the value of your building. Call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County and let us make it, “Like it never even happened.“
It's always best to call us directly!
How do I know I need SERVPRO of West Forsyth County?
The Crew of SERVPRO of West Forsyth County
From micro burst storms, to pop up thunder showers it’s been wet by anyone’s standards. More than a few folks have had to deal with the soggy mess inside as well as out. Frequently, homeowners wonder if it necessary to call a professional mitigation company or if they can do it themselves. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind while weighing your options for restoring your home.
First thing to determine is are you safe? Don’t enter rooms where electrical circuits, equipment, switches or outlets have been exposed to water. If you can do so safely; turn off circuit breakers to the affected areas.
Secondly; what is the source of the water? If possible without putting yourself at risk shut the water off. Keep in mind; contaminated water such as storm water or a sewer back up from the tub, toilet or sink can carry any number of contaminants. Contact a plumber to repair the leak or clog and opt for a professional to clean up and sanitize.
What if I can’t find the leak? We have the tools to find the source. Most folks don’t have a $1200 infrared camera or a $300 moisture meter just laying around in there toolshed. These tools give us the ability to see water you can’t see. Often times it’s hiding under or behind a floor, cabinet or wall some leaks go undetected for long periods. Once the source has been identified, be careful not to expose yourself to mold. A SERVPRO certified mold specialist in Winston Salem has the knowledge and tools to mitigate safely and contain it to prevent cross-contaminating other areas of your home.
What about my carpet and wood furniture? Place aluminum foil or unstained wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet and wipe excess water from wood surfaces. This will help protect the finish on your wood furniture as well as protect your carpet from staining.
Are my valuables safe? Professionals from SERVPRO will be working to lower the humidity in the affected areas; but in the meantime removing dry valuables like computers, cameras, artwork and documents to unaffected area will help protect them. If some of these items are already wet, it is usually possible to dry and restore them. Your certified techs are trained to assist you with these issues and will be happy to help provide you with answers to your questions.
What can a professional do that I can’t? IICRC certified technicians from SERVPRO have the knowledge to test materials and the experience to ensure your home is carefully and completely returned to preloss condition. We monitor the drying process so you and your insurance company can be confident the job is done right. Prompt and thorough mitigation will assure all structure is properly dried, help prevent mold growth and protect your home investment. SERVPRO’s 24/7 on call service offers fire and water damage mitigation services and mold remediation in Winston-Salem and surrounding areas.
What is the IICRC? The IICRC is a nonprofit organization that provides certification and standard-setting for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. The IICRC is recognized internationally as a knowledgeable industry voice and resource.
For more information about the IICRC: www.IICRC.org/consumers
For more information about SERVPRO of West Forsyth County: www.SERVPROwestforsythcounty.com