Be Ready for an Emergency
Local SERVPRO disaster restoration specialist highlights no-cost tools to help property owners prepare and maintain a comprehensive emergency readiness plan
No matter where you live or work, emergencies caused by weather, fire, wind, water, and other natural or manmade disasters can strike at any time and are largely unpredictable. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County reminds Winston-Salem-area home and business owners that preparing in advance is the best thing you can do to help minimize a disaster’s impact on your loved ones and your property. Each year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designates September as National Preparedness Month – a time to create, or update, your plan for when disaster strikes.
National Preparedness Month is a great time to resolve to create a plan, or review your existing plan, each and every year,” said Jeff Meadows of SERVPRO® of West Forsyth County. “Everyone needs a comprehensive emergency plan. Business owners also need to plan for business interruption and continuation. But equally importantly, families and businesses alike need immediate access to data like emergency and insurance contacts, shut-off valves, electrical panel locations, and the line of command to authorize work so emergency responders can react quickly and appropriately during the emergency. This month’s focus on preparedness is a great incentive for both families and businesses to put a plan in place and review it regularly.”
Creating an emergency plan is straightforward, according to Meadows. No matter what type of threats exist where you live or work – wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, or other natural or manmade disasters – tools are available from FEMA (https://www.ready.gov) with guidelines for preparing emergency food, water, and medical supplies; planning for special needs; and creating communication and evacuation plans. These tools and others, like the SERVPRO READY app, also help you store essential contact and property information electronically where it can be accessed with a mobile device in seconds if disaster strikes. Both home and business owners can download the free app at https://ready.SERVPRO.com/home/mobileapp.
Local business owners can take an additional preparedness step by designating SERVPRO of West Forsyth County as their disaster mitigation and restoration provider. SERVPRO professionals will conduct a no-cost assessment of the facility and assist the owner in completing a comprehensive Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) to be stored in the READY app.
“The key to getting your life or business back on track is timely response after a disaster strikes. That’s why it’s important to take the time to record and store your information electronically, and then commit to a time – like National Preparedness Month – to review and update your records at least once each year,” said Meadows. “Remember, filing cabinets and their contents may be inaccessible or even destroyed in an emergency situation, so don’t depend on them to keep track of critical insurance, property, or contact information in the event of a disaster. Store your data electronically. If disaster strikes, you’ll have the information you need literally at your fingertips.”
SERVPRO of West Forsyth County specializes in disaster restoration, cleanup, and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened,” for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of West Forsyth County, please contact Jeff Meadows at (336) 946-1131. For more information on SERVPRO® and the SERVPRO Emergency READY Program, please visit www.ready.SERVPRO.com.
Don't Let Water Damage Sneak Up on You
Hurricanes, storm surge, flash flood all these terms bring to mind water damage. It’s actually kind of amazing that we as humans moved out of caves and build houses out of wood. Cause if you think about it, wood is designed to do two things rot or burn. In both cases wood gets destroyed. We’re not disparaging the building material of wood. If not for fire and water damage there might not be a need for SERVPRO of West Forsyth County services.
We want to remind you that our homes need maintenance. Otherwise they fall into a state of disrepair. As we move into the fall of the year, we should look around the house and see what needs correcting around the ole homestead.
- Landscaping – does water pool up next to the house? Does the grade from the street slope towards a corner for water to drain next to the foundation? Simple rubber matting and sloping dirt away from the home can be the difference in a basement or crawl space water intrusion.
- Are the gutters clear of debris? Are downspouts leading water away from the home? Do any of the gutters sag? All of these can lead to water not being controlled properly.
- Are underground pipe drainage or French Drains clear and operational? If these are clogged, water can back up next to your home and soak the foundation. This is not good as termites would prefer to eat moist wood rather than dry treated wood.
These are just three things to check around your home. But if you do suffer a water intrusion it’s important to call us quickly. We can see water and potential for damage in wet materials you can’t see. We know how to dry your home or business to IICRC standards to prevent secondary damage. Call us direct at 336-946-1131
Prevention of a fire is better than putting one out.
Fire damage is not totally about the money or loss of things, most folks who own homes have insurance. The first priority should be the safety of the loved ones who live with you. Take a look around at what you have plugged in. The fire department is not fan of using extension cords or doubling the outlets with power strips. In fact it can lead to some serious issues to daisy chain power strips to one another. Don’t use damaged or frayed extension cords.
Do you have a clear path to evacuate the building should you need to? Our homes are lived in, kids may leave toys out or are you a collector. Are your smoke detectors connected to your security system?
What other steps can you take to prevent fires? Let’s look at another everyday thing we do, we eat, we cook. Be sure not to leave a stove unattended. If little ones are around be sure to turn handle away from the edge. Does your stove have an anti-tipping anchor device installed? Never leave any kind of open flame such as candles or fire pit unattended.
After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be safety. We have placed some tips on what to do after a fire in an earlier blog. These are just a few tips for a checklist visit NFPA. (National Fire Protection Association). This list details what firefighters say can be done to prevent fires in the home.
Contact SERVPRO of West Forsyth County Regarding a 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.
Can I clean this up myself?
You may ask yourself, why do I need SERVPRO to clean up this water? You may think my shop-vac or my mop can get this up. You would be partially correct. But what you don’t see and what you don’t know is that water is hiding from you. We have the experience, equipment and training to find it and remove it before it leads to more damage.
Moister meters and infrared cameras will help us pinpoint the source and area affected by a water damage. Experience helps us to give you corrective actions to take to fix the root cause of the problem. Our IICRC training helps us take care of the damage and prevent secondary damage, and fungal growth.
During the process you may think a box fan might help, and it will, but not as efficiently as our commercial air mover. Our fans can force as much as 3000 Cubic Feet per Minute of air over 23.5 feet. This greatly reduces the drying time. When we couple the air mover to promote evaporation, with a dehumidifier to pull water out of the air before it condensates on the walls. This also reduces the number of days it will take to dry your home or business. We monitor the results of our equipment regularly. We want to ensure that your home or business is completely and professionally dried.
Experience, Equipment, and Education this is why you would use SERVPRO of West Forsyth County. Call us direct at 336-946-1131
Storm water damage prevention
August the back to school month, so much to be done. But as you prepare to send you child back to school is your home prepared? Here are three tips that will prepare and protect your home or business from storm damage. Like all preparedness tips they need to be implemented before a storm hits. You don’t want to be out landscaping while being pelted with hail.
- Landscaping, be sure that the ground is sloped away from the home. Where the porch corners join the home ensure that it’s not low or a gathering place for ponding water. This can cause water to go down the foundation and create pressure on basement walls. If that happens water proofing or water accommodation can be costly. If left untreated it can be a source for mold growth.
- Gutters, ensure they are free flowing. If you have a downspout that leads to an underground pipe is it clear of debris? Have squirrels or chipmunks built nests in it? French drains should also be properly maintained.
- Roof and roof vents, be sure to check the roof for cracked or missing shingles. Roof vents typically have a rubber seal around them, if they look like a jacko-lantern smile they should be addressed.
These three things will assist greatly in keeping water from your home or business. But if water does find its way in call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County. It’s best to call us directly 336-946-1131
Prepare for storm flash flooding
Have you ever been disturbed from sleep by the emergency broadcast system? Chances are you have seen the message in the picture above come across your phone. This is a minor annoyance compared to having your home flooded. Do you have a plan and equipment to ride out a storm or be without power for some days?
Should the local authorities ask you to evacuate because of flash floods do you have an emergency bug out kit? It should include
- Flashlight and extra batteries;
- Portable, battery-operated radio or weather radio, and extra batteries;
- First aid kit;
- Emergency food and water;
- Non-electric can opener;
- Essential medicines;
- Cash and credit cards;
- Bedding or a sleeping bag; and
- Sturdy shoes and a change of clothes.
If the cell phones and power are down does your family know where to assemble and get back together? Have this discussion with your kids and family so that if your usual communication is disrupted they know what to do.
If your home or business is flooded by a storm water call us as soon as you can safely do so 336-946-1131
Prevention is key
Flash floods from pop up storms can lead to water intrusion in your home. Proper maintenance and care for your home is key to ensuring that you don’t develop a mold problem. If you do develop a mildew or mold problem then it’s because you also have had a water intrusion. Here is a list of things to maintain around your home to prevent water intrusion.
- Gutters – ensure they are clean and free flowing. Make sure down spout lead away from the house.
- Landscaping – This is important especially for homes with basements and crawl spaces. Again ensure the water is lead away from the home.
- Roof – have it inspected once year. Check the rubber boots around vents ensure they are not cracked, split or dry rotted.
- Paint – cracked or peeling paint can allow moisture to seep into the dark places in the home and allow mold to grow. Paint not only looks good it acts as a moisture barrier.
- Sump pumps – are they in good working order what is the backup plan in case the power goes out?
- Caulking around windows – are the casings in your windows water tight?
- HVAC – have you had biannual maintenance performed? Insist they check the condensate drain line is working properly
- Moisture detectors around key sources of water that are prone to leak i.e. toilets, dish washers, laundry room, hot water heater, sinks and the refrigerator.
Doing all these things will not guarantee you never have a water damage, but if you do call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County 336-946-1131. It’s best to call us directly.
What is you plan for disaster?
If you walked into your place of business and stepped into ankle deep water what is the first thing you would do? Jokingly most have said turn around and walk back out. But as a business owner can you afford to do that? Can you afford to be closed? No. So, that is why every business owner needs a plan of attack when disaster strikes not just water damage but, fire, storm or even vandalism damage can cost you precious days of valuable production.
Can you get to your disaster recovery plan? Small businesses and large will sometimes have a notebook manual on how they are to operate in a crises situation. What if that manual is in the same room as the fire? SERVPRO’s ready App. Is available on your phone 24/7. Even if you are not on site you will have access to the phone numbers and personnel who can ensure that your business opens for business. You can download, and sign up for the app. HERE
Call Ed Dean at 336-946-1131 to help you get started on a free assessment to see if you are SERVPRO Ready.
Plan to stay in business
We all have insurance of some kind. For our family we pay it to take care of them weather it is health insurance or homeowners. It gives, or it should give you peace of mind to know that the money and things you have worked hard for are protected. What about where you work? What assurances do you have that if your company suffers a loss can they recover from it? Chances are that if you work for a large corporation they have all the insurance they think they need but do they have a plan? Small business need a plan just as much as large companies do.
Preparedness planning for your business is just as important as planning for the needs of your family. After all our work family is who we spend even more time with than our own. Recognize the types of risks you have for your business. Do you have the resources lined up to handle losses? Losses do not come just in water damage or fires. Thunderstorms can knock out power and cause loss of production. In North Carolina the government estimates business lose $4-$7 Billion dollars annually due to power failures.
Our free Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) helps discover where you may be vulnerable. It asks questions, reviews, and identifies key personnel that will be instrumental in getting back into business quickly. Not just SERVPRO of West Forsyth County but resources like electricians, plumbers, and decision makers that can make sure your business maintains continuity of production and profit.
Call Ed Dean today to ask about the ERP 336-946-1131
Is your home or business prone to flooding
Late spring and early summer is the time that we start to have those “popcorn” thunder showers. The heat of the day triggers them mostly in the afternoon. Most of the time they dump some rain make everything muggy and move on. But occasionally they dump too much water in a short time creating flash flooding situations. Flash floods occur when the drainage systems like storm drains and ditches get overwhelmed to quickly. Creeks and rivers can also cause a flooding issue when they receive more storm runoff than they can handle within their banks.
Unfortunately rising water is not usually covered by conventional homeowner’s insurance policies. For that you will need a flood policy. Know if you are susceptible to a flood. The State of NC has provided a great resource tool that is interactive and online. This can help you find if you live near a source that can flood your home or business.
Additional safety tips for storm and or flood damage
- 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 County. We have the reputation, 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