A Salute to First Responders
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” This famous Mr. Rogers quote comes to mind when we celebrate first responders: those who arrive first on the scene of any disaster or emergency.
In the event of a disaster or emergency, there are many different agencies and people in your community who are ready to respond. Whether it’s a house fire or a hurricane, we are thankful every day for these first responders.
Firefighters, EMTs, and Police
Local fire and police departments, as well as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), are often first on the scene of an emergency. In the U.S., there are more than 29,700 fire departments with 1,160,450 total firefighters, according to the National Fire Protection Association’s 2015 U.S. Fire Department Profile.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are almost 245,000 EMTs and paramedics in the U.S. In the U.S. there are about 18,000 federal, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, employing more than 750,000 fulltime sworn officers, according to the Uniformed Crime Reporting Program collected by the FBI.
When events such as natural disasters strike, different branches of the military are often a first line of response. The Army National Guard and Air National Guard, with over 342,000 soldiers, respond domestically when deployed by their state Governor, often during states of emergency from weather-related events. They can also be called upon during terrorist attacks or civil unrest, or called overseas by the President of the United States.
Active duty soldiers can also be called upon for certain domestic events as well.
FEMA Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
As a part of FEMA’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), these volunteers are trained to be prepared for any disasters that may affect your local area in an effort to support professional responders. CERT volunteers are trained in “basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations,” according to FEMA.
With more than 2,700 CERT programs, over 600,000 individuals have been trained nationwide. Teams are managed locally, but supported nationally by FEMA.
SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington recognizes these and the countless other first responders in our communities for keeping our communities safe.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 4
Hoarding: A Serious Problem
According to The Mayo Clinic, “Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.” Many people with hoarding disorder do not find their habits to be a problem.
Hoarded items are often things others would throw away or look at as junk or garbage such as old newspapers, junk mail or packaging.
Hoarding can lead to homes filled with extreme clutter to full capacity from years of accumulation, making living conditions unsanitary and crowded. Bugs, fleas, rats and other vermin may be present, at which point an exterminator would need to be called. At times, hoarding may spread to outside the home as well, to storage facilities, or even the garage or yard.
SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington encounters hoarding situations several different ways. Often, SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington is called for a fire or water loss and find the hoarding situation when they arrive on-site. One of our trained professionals will communicate with the insurance company regarding their contents coverage, and after approval, contents can be packed out and possibly cleaned, dried, and stored by SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington, or relocated to a storage facility so work on the fire or water loss can begin.
Another way SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington encounters hoarding jobs is through calls from landlords, case workers, real estate agents, or family members, often after the death of a loved one. In these situations, the crew will see if they should look for any items of importance while they clean the job. Sometimes, family members will come and try to help the hoarder sort through their contents as well.
Each case is very different, and hoarding jobs are often sensitive situations, but SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.” If you encounter a hoarding situation at one of your properties, or with your insureds, call SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington today at 770-483-1212.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 4
Severe Weather Safety
Severe weather can happen anytime, anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of the following intense storms*:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,300 tornadoes
- 2 land-falling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98 percent of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 650 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage. * Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action, and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
Know Your Risk.
The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business, and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly, obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. Severe weather comes in many forms, and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communications plan for your home and business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
Be an Example.
Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same.
Contact SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington for more readiness tips and tools, including SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile® (ERP). Having an ERP in place for your facility can help minimize business interruption in the event of a disaster.
SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington can help you be “Ready for whatever happens!”
*Facts and figures provided by noaa.gov
**Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
Do You Know What To Do When a Flood Happens?
Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river, or even in the desert—there is always potential for flood damage. Fema.gov reports in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past does not mean you won’t in the future. In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas, and even just one inch of flood damage in an average home can cost you up to $27,000.*
According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather related disaster. The American Red Cross offers the following flood safety tips.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
If a flood does strike your home or business, contact SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington at 770-483-1212. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly, and the cleanup is often an overwhelming task. The SERVPRO® System is prepared to handle any sized disaster. When fire and water take control of your life, SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington will help you take it back.
*Facts and figures provided by fema.gov
**Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
Did You Know...Generator Safety
If you have a generator on hand for power outages during severe weather, follow the safety tips below from the American Red Cross:
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, or any partially enclosed area.
- To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.
- Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home. Although CO can’t be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately.
- Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home or property and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
When Water Damage Strikes
The first 24 hours following a water loss are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington will be on-site to help ensure a water damage is handled by completing the following steps.
SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington will inspect affected areas to determine the extent of water damage and will review the inspection with you to answer any questions before beginning any work.
SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington will take steps to help protect your home or business, as well as personal belongings and other contents, from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing the area for drying. They will explain the needed emergency services to you step-by-step.
To help ensure your home or business and belongings are dried to appropriate industry standards, SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington will monitor the drying process. The updates will be consistently communicated to you.
SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington's team of professionals will repair structural materials, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of your property and belongings. A final walk-through of the job-site will be conducted with you to help ensure the property was returned to preloss condition.
EMERGENCY WATER DAMAGE TIPS
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents, and other sensitive valuables to a dry place.
- Don’t enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers, or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
- Don’t use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water; this could cause electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
For more information on recovering from water damage, contact SERVPRO® of Conyers/Covington today - 770-483-1212.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
Common Mistakes You're Making with Your "Small" Water Damage
When finding themselves in the midst of a water damage event, many people immediately react by jumping in and cleaning up the mess. Beginning the restoration process as soon as possible is important, but starting before you have taken the necessary steps or know exactly what you are doing could actually make things worse in the end. To help avoid these mishaps, a few of the most common mistakes in water damage clean up are listed below. The most critical mistake to not make is failing to hire a professional restoration company to do the dirty work for you. SERVPRO of Conyers/Covington is your local expert to help you navigate the “waters”.
Mistake #1- Not Having the Job Done RIGHT the First Time
Adopting the “do it yourself” approach when it comes to water damage clean-up is often the go-to mindset. However, this is usually a more difficult process than people think. It can be a long process and following the proper procedures is very important. For example, if you neglect to begin airing out your home by opening up windows and doors for ventilation and using fans to dry things out as soon as possible, the damage will eventually be worse.
Mistake #2- Not Being Completely Thorough
As mentioned above, the water damage restoration process done right requires that you be very thorough. Cutting corners and major shortcuts will not make a big difference and can actually cause more damage. It is better to have the job done right up front, but it will not happen overnight. To ensure all the water is removed and mold will not begin to grow on and in your walls, ceilings, and carpet, you will want to make sure your contractor is certified to do the work needed in an appropriate time frame.
Mistake #3- Waiting Too Long
It can be tempting to put off dealing with flooding or water damage when it’s just a small incident, especially when life is hectic. Even minor flooding can lead to major damage in the long run. The water seeps into walls and flooring over time when not dried properly and can cause structural damage and mold growth. It’s not worth the risk to procrastinate. It could save you a lot of time, heartache, and money in the long run.
Mistake #4- Not Involving a Certified Restoration Company
Trying to tackle the water damage restoration process on your own is great undertaking. Having it done right the first time requires the proper expertise, the right equipment, and enough time to be as thorough as required. Though it may seem like you have the time and resources to clean it up, you will soon realize the process is more involved than originally thought. Should you ever find yourself in a situation where your home or business has been compromised by flooding or water damage, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Conyers/Covington.
Let SERVPRO of Conyers/Covington help you recover your property properly following a water damage event. Call us today – 770-483-1212.
Sources of Outside Water Damage
There are many ways that water can infiltrate your home, often when you least expect it. It will destroy everything in its path and take over your entire world. In addition to increased stress levels, unexpected water damage can cause displacement for you and your family. Only a certified and insured restoration company should be trusted to mitigate the damage to your home. SERVPRO of Conyers/Covington is your local resource to get your home back in working order.
Water damage can occur from both interior and exterior sources. Below are some ways you can help prevent water damage inside your home that comes from outside sources.
- Ensure that shingles, flashings or tiles on your roof aren’t missing, broken, cracked, curled or damaged in other ways.
- Cut tree limbs that hang above your roof so they don’t cling to shingles and trap moisture.
- Make sure the vents, flues, chimneys, air conditioners, and evaporative coolers are properly installed and in good shape.
- Check for leaks around rooftop air-conditioning units, vents for exhaust or plumbing, or other specialized equipment.
Gutters and Downspouts
- Clear gutters and downspouts from leaves, twigs, and other debris. Also check that they are in good condition so that water can flow freely. You can do this by installing metal screens to help prevent clogging.
- Ensure downspouts direct water at least five feet away from your home’s foundation. This helps direct water away from the foundation. Downspout extensions can be added if needed.
Doors and Windows
- Install window well covers to help prevent water and debris from getting trapped and causing water to eventually seep into your basement.
- Check for leaks near the corners of your doors and windows. Signs of leaks include peeling paint, paint discoloration or swollen frames.
- Installing overhangs or awnings above exterior doors and windows protects them from the sun, rain, and snow.
- Check for a tight fit on closed doors and windows. Any cracks between the sash and frame Close your doors and windows to check for a tight fit. Repair or replace damaged flashing or weather-stripping.
- Check for and repair cracked or broken siding boards, bricks, stone or another masonry, and structural sheathing.
- Remove any shrubs and other landscaping features from along the walls, and avoid directing water towards the house when irrigating the garden and plants to prevent excessive water near the foundation.
- Seal any openings from wiring, plumbing, phone, cable, and heating and air conditioning lines with foam or caulk. Repair any damaged or unpainted wood surrounding these openings.
- Termites can eat wood, plaster, and even metal siding causing holes and compromising structural integrity. Check for signs of termite activity on the walls and the wooden structures around your foundation.
- Ensure that the exhaust vent doors properly open and close.
Following these steps can help protect your home from exterior water damage. If water does happen to sneak into your home, make sure to have SERVPRO of Conyers/Covington on speed dial. We’ll be there to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Commercial Water Damage
Many commercial business owners in the greater Conyers/Covington area know that moisture is often the enemy especially when it can shut your business down. With an average of 50% of businesses not reopening following a major disaster, SERVPRO of Conyers/Covington can help make sure your business isn't one of them.
Water can penetrate into any space and take advantage of even the smallest crack, causing damage to the structure. How it enters the building is irrelevant; the response should be the same. Calling in a professional commercial water damage specialist can help ensure there are no lingering health threats to you or your employees once the water damage has been eliminated.
SERVPRO of Conyers/Covington is your local professional for all your commercial water damage needs. Call us today – 770-483-1212.
Commercial Sewage Damage
Floods, sewage backups, and other contaminated water can cause some of the worst damage to your commercial property. Contaminated water is often filled with deadly substances including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This can be compounded by the composition of your commercial building. Organic materials such as drywall, wood, and debris found in carpet is prime breeding ground for pathogens and other bacteria and parasites to grow. The health risk to you and your employees is greatly increased when exposure to flood waters, sewage, and other types of contaminated water.
SERVPRO of Conyers/Covington will dry the commercial building quickly and apply antimicrobial agents to all surfaces that had contact with the water to help make sure that they can eliminate any lingering contaminants. This can help ensure you and your employees that they can return to a safe working environment. If your commercial building is in need of water damage cleanup and repair, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Conyers/Covington at 770-483-1212. We are available 24/7 to help you get your business back “Like it never even happened.”