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Learning To Create an Effective Fire Escape Plan

10/18/2021 (Permalink)

Firefighter in a burning house. A fire escape plan can save your life during an emergency in your Ogden, UT residence.

Do you have a fire escape plan? If not, you are not alone. Many families fail to plan for fire disasters, which makes the disaster even more dangerous. Having an emergency escape plan significantly reduces the risks of injury or death, but it is not enough to have a plan; it must also be an effective plan designed for your specific home and circumstance. You can contact the local fire department or a fire remediation company in Ogden, UT, for assistance.

4 Steps for the Ideal Fire Escape Plan

An escape plan is all about accessibility and ease of use. If you make your plan too complicated or your designated exit points too complex, you risk injury or worse. Every plan is only as effective as its weakest exit strategy, so make sure you can find and acquire the necessary tools to make escape easy and convenient. There are at least four steps for developing the ideal escape plan.

1. Rooms Need Two Exits

While most people feel that having two designated exits from their home is enough to keep them safe during a fire emergency, they are mistaken. You never know where a fire will start or how it will spread. If you only have two exits from your home, you up the chances you will become trapped.

An effective escape plan requires a minimum of two exits per room, meaning bedrooms, basements, attics, kitchens, bathrooms, etc., need two manageable exits. You do not have to get overly creative here. A window and a door are good escape routes; just make sure that every space in the home has a minimum of two ways out, including hallways.

2. Escape Routes Must Remain Clear

As you design your escape routes, remember the paths need to remain clear. Do not place bookshelves in front of windows or couches in the direct line to the front door.

While this seems like a simple rule, it is easy for people to become complacent, especially if they do not practice their routes at least once per month. When too much time passes, it is easy to forget about routes and clear paths. People become more interested in design and style, leading to clutter and potential barricades to your escape.

3. Communication Is Key

Do not underestimate the power of communication, especially repeated communication. When you come up with an escape plan, please do not shy away from talking about it. Quiz your kids on the routes out of their rooms and the house. Ask your spouse to explain to your children how to make quick choices during a fire. By having conversations, even repetitive ones, you ensure your escape strategy remains a priority in the minds of your family.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

Similarly, the physical practice is crucial to developing muscle memory. In a genuine emergency, your brain can freeze, wasting the few precious moments you have to escape a fire. By practicing at least once per month, you ensure your family knows how to get out of the house.

A fire escape plan is a crucial part of family safety. Follow the steps above to create and practice your ideal plan.

How To Mitigate Sewer Damage to Two or More Floors

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

Woman cleaning a restroom. An overflowed toilet means sewer damage in your Ogden, UT commercial building.

Restrooms in your commercial building in Ogden, UT, are designed for easy cleaning. Every surface is easy to wipe down, and toilets are often self-flushing to prevent backup. When overflow does occur, however, it can make a big mess that doesn't necessarily stay in the room itself. Any space adjacent to or under the restroom may have sewer damage after a toilet malfunction. Water damage mitigation specialists often must address the issues in the restroom as well as the materials and floor beneath it. The typically simple remediation process gains a few steps when damage to multiple floors is involved.

1. Assessment of Sewer Damage

The first thing that technicians do when they arrive on site is to assess the extent of the damage. Because much of the overflow from the flooded toilet is likely to seep in between the tiles on the floor, they may have to remove portions of the material to see how far the problem goes. At the end of the assessment, they should be able to provide a report that provides useful information about the rest of the process:

  • Cause of the problem
  • Repairs the sewage company needs to provide to prevent further damage
  • Areas affected
  • Level of contamination and damage
  • Tasks involved in mitigation
  • Estimated cost of repairs

2. Extraction of Water

Once the members of the remediation team know what needs to be done, the next step is extracting any excess water or sewage from the affected area. Industrial pumps and various other drying methods may be used to remove water, thus stopping the damage in its tracks.

3. Removal of Materials

Having extensive sewer damage that affects the floor beneath the restroom means that technicians will probably need to remove a lot of materials. Not only must they rip out ruined pieces of flooring under the toilet itself but they also must tear out drywall, insulation, and ceiling tiles from all surrounding areas that have been contaminated by the flooding.

4. Disinfection of Surfaces

Since damage from a flooded toilet most likely has a Category 3 contamination level, all remaining surfaces must be disinfected. This part of the process removes any harmful microbes or bacteria, protecting your building and the people in it.

5. Drying of Area

Unmitigated water damage can lead to secondary issues such as mold growth. Therefore, ensuring that the entire area is completely dry before the structure is rebuilt is essential for preventing additional problems. All remaining materials must be free of damage and excess moisture.

6. Restoration of Building

The final step in the mitigation process is restoration. The team doesn't just leave your building gutted and clean. They replace the ceiling, walls, and flooring materials, matching them to the existing structure so that no one can tell there was damage.

Sewer damage from an overflowing toilet may seem like a small problem on the surface, but it can have far-reaching effects, particularly if the water seeps into the floor below it. A trustworthy mitigation team can find and fix all the damage caused by the overflow so that your building's structure remains secure and strong.

How Can an Electronic Claims Service Help?

9/29/2021 (Permalink)

A person using a notebook. Electronic claims service makes the process easier and faster.

If your home sustains loss from a disaster in Ogden, UT, whether a pipe burst, fire, or mold infestation, you're probably going to want to file an insurance claim. Thanks to modern technology, the claims process is easier than ever. SERVPRO offers an electronic claims service that extends many benefits in addition to its ease of use. This service is just one reason the company is on the shortlist of your insurance agent's preferred restoration providers. In addition to being a locally owned business with corporate reach and resources, industry competitors can't beat SERVPRO's electronic claims service.

Why Choose SERVPRO's Electronic Claims Service?

1. It's Convenient and Readily Accessible for Everyone Involved

People can access the electronic claims system remotely, from anywhere with an internet connection. They can also access and edit it on various devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones. This easy access makes it super convenient for an adjuster or restoration professional to upload information about and photos of the damage to the system as soon as they take them.

2. It Preserves Multiple Types of Information

Digital files are very similar to paper files, containing all of the information you would've found as paper documents in the past. This variety of data often includes itemized lists of damaged contents, photographs of the damage, the plan of action for restoration and repair, and progress reports from various contractors. To be put simply, everything you would find in a tangible file is now stored electronically.

3. It Creates a More Efficient Claims Process

Thanks to the electronic claims service, the insurance claim process is more efficient than ever. In the past, once completed, paper documents had to be shared by hand. They would move through multiple hands of different professionals and clients, and some required them to be mailed, which takes more time. Then, they had to be filed. There were risks of the documents becoming damaged or misplaced. Filing your claim electronically with SERVPRO makes the process virtually seamless and shared nearly instantaneously amongst everyone involved. Everything is in one location and can be viewed and updated by anyone with authorization at any time. Even better, the changes are made and seen in real-time.

4. It Improves Accuracy

Because the information is in a digital format and stored in a virtual file, accuracy is strengthened. As various professionals, such as insurance adjusters and fire damage restoration experts, add and subtract information to the claim, the computer is good at catching errors that the insurance agent or other people might miss.

5. It Requires Less Paper

The electronic claims service is not only user-friendly, but it's also eco-friendly. No longer is there a need for vast shelves of boxes and long rows of file cabinets packed with paper documents. The electronic storage system digitally saves, encrypts, and backs up for even more security. It has also reduced administrative costs and decreased the need for paper correspondence.

Whatever type of disaster your home experiences and whatever the damage, SERVPRO's electronic claims service makes filing an insurance claim super simple. Technology is improving all the time, and SERVPRO will continually be on top of it.

Preparing for an Adjuster Visit After Water Damage

9/23/2021 (Permalink)

Roof damaged by water. Schedule as soon as possible a visit with an adjuster after water damage in your Ogden, UT home.

Water damage can stem from a variety of circumstances, from pipe breaks to storm surges. While your home insurance policy will vary depending on the cause of the damage, in most situations, an insurance claim will require a visit from a home adjuster. The adjuster will want to identify and verify any damage to make a proper recommendation about claim approval. During their visit to your home, the insurance adjuster will be looking for several things, including:

  • Evidence of structural damage
  • Cause of the damage
  • Receipts for claimed losses
  • Estimates for repairs
  • Mitigation attempts

Looking To Ensure Damage Was Mitigated

While you might feel overwhelmed after a water disaster, you need to remember that you still have responsibilities as the homeowner. An insurance company expects all clients to mitigate further loss after a disaster, meaning if water damage occurs because of a hole in the roof or a pipe break, you are likely expected to either cover the hole or shut off the water supply to prevent more damage to the property. Be aware that failure to mitigate further loss can result in the denial of your claim.

It is also worth mentioning that your insurer likely doesn’t expect you to resolve the issue completely. They mainly want to see that you put forth an effort to minimize the extent of the damage. Additionally, you do not have to mitigate the problem alone; it is strongly advised that you seek assistance from a professional mitigation company in Ogden, UT.

The home adjuster will take time to assess mitigation efforts because if they find evidence that you didn’t do enough, it saves the insurance company money. Remember, the insurer is not your friend; they do not want to give you money, and they especially do not want to give you more than they have to.

Making the Adjuster’s Visit Easy

Do yourself a favor and make the adjuster’s visit as straightforward as possible. To make their visit easy, you should put together a loss inventory. This document will include an itemized list of all damaged or destroyed items. If possible, include pictures of all the items along with copies of receipts.

Additionally, you should compile a list of any structural damage to your home. The list should identify the specific location and any damage; for example, the left interior wall of the basement has a crack and is showing signs of moisture penetration.

Finally, you will want to have copies of repair bids. The adjuster will need to see estimates of the damage done to the property. A remediation company can help you gather any necessary information, including a loss inventory.

It is important to remember that while an insurance company might have preferred contractors, you do not need to work with them for a claim to be approved. It is important to hire the professional you feel most comfortable with.

A home adjuster visit is a requirement of the claims process. While every insurance company is different and will have different expectations for their clients, the above information is pretty standard. For more information, you might want to contact your insurance provider.

Steps To Take When You Discover Mold

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth When you discover mold in your Ogden, UT home, act quickly to avoid further damage.

You can't always prevent water damage in your commercial building or the fungus that grows on wet materials. You can, however, influence how big the problem gets. If you discover black mold in your building in Ogden, UT, the immediate steps you take may mean the difference between a quick remediation process and a long-term rebuild.

Call for Mitigation

The first thing you should do if you see patches on the wall or ceiling of your office building is to contact local mold damage, mitigation experts. The faster the technicians get there, the sooner they can start the steps of the mold cleanup process:

  • Assess the scope of the problem
  • Extract excess moisture
  • Tear out ruined materials
  • Disinfect area, if necessary
  • Dry all surfaces
  • Rebuild structure
  • Restore aesthetic components

Mold can start to grow on surfaces within as few as 24 hours after a water loss has occurred. If you want to keep it from getting out of control, you need to call for help quickly.

Turn Off Water Main

Chances are good that the moisture problem causing the mold growth in your building stems from a blockage or leak somewhere. A toilet may have overflowed in the upstairs restroom. A pipe may have burst along an exterior wall during an ice storm. To prevent further damage, it makes sense to stop the flow to the location of the problem. Locate the water main and shut off the water for the building. Then call a trusted plumber to investigate and fix the issue before you turn the water back on again.

Shut Down HVAC System

While continuous airflow may help prevent black mold in your building, that changes once a fungus problem is discovered. An important step in slowing the spread of the growth is containing it, which means it doesn't help you to continue to blow mold spores throughout the building by way of the air ducts. By shutting down your HVAC system until the problem is resolved, you can help ensure that the technicians can isolate and mitigate the whole issue the first time around.

Leave Mitigation to the Professionals

It may be tempting to grab a bucket of soapy water and a brush to scrub away the mold on the wall. Unfortunately, this may make the problem worse, even if it looks like you're getting rid of the growth. Mold not only covers the surface of the materials it invades but also embeds itself into the fibers and cracks beneath. Despite your best intentions, your attempt to clean may just be feeding the mold by adding more moisture. It's best to wait for the mitigation team to arrive so that they can contain the mold and get rid of the problem for good.

You may not be able to completely prevent black mold growth in your building, but you can minimize its invasiveness. By calling the right professionals who can tackle the problem quickly and stopping the spread of the growth beyond the affected area, you are on the right track. Your fast action may be the key to stopping the mold before it gets out of control.

Understanding the Fire Cleanup Process

8/20/2021 (Permalink)

A house on fire. The cleanup after fire damage will require a professional team.

Most homeowners worry about the fire and smoke damage after a fire, but there are more issues to deal with than that. Most fires will leave behind a trail of debris and water damage in their wake. If you experienced a fire, contact a fire remediation specialist in Ogden, UT, for assistance. They will institute a multi-step plan for recovery, including:

  • Water removal
  • Debris cleanup
  • Smoke and soot cleanup
  • Restoration

Water Excavation

The first thing a remediation crew will need to tackle is any excess water in the home. Between the fire hoses and burst or broken pipes, a fire can leave behind a substantial amount of water.

The crew you hire will likely come prepared with shop vacs, pumps, and possibly van pumps. These tools should make quick work of the water.

With the water removed, the crew will need to dry the area before they begin cleanup and restoration. Again, they will have several tools for the job: dehumidifiers, fans, and air movers.

Trash and Debris Removal

When the area is dry, the crew you hire can begin removing all the debris and assess the house's structure. Sometimes, the level of damage does not become apparent until after water and garbage are removed.

Most items touched by the fire will need to be thrown away, especially porous items present in a chemical fire. However, you might be able to salvage non-porous or hard surfaces, as these can be cleaned easily of any residue.

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

The most challenging aspect of fire cleanup is smoke damage. Smoke and soot get into and contaminate everything. Even when a fire is small, the smoke and soot can contaminate multiple floors of a home because of HVAC systems connecting different levels of the house.

A mitigation crew will need to examine all appliances, devices, and surfaces to eliminate any trace of soot damage. If any amount of soot remains in devices and appliances, it can damage or contaminate the outputs.

In many situations, experts recommend discarding any equipment present in a fire because of the challenge of cleaning the items. If you choose to keep as much equipment as possible, you might want to hire a cleaning specialist.

Restoration

The final fire and smoke cleaning stage is the part of the process that all homeowners look forward to the most: restoration. During this phase of construction, the home's structural integrity is re-established, drywall is replaced, flooring is restored, and painting and other finishing touches commence. When all is said and done, the homeowner will never know that anything bad happened to their home, at least not by looking at it.

While smoke damage is a concern for many homeowners after a fire disaster, the primary concern should be the house's structural integrity. A fire is not an automatic loss for the structure of the house. In fact, there are many situations when mitigation and restoration services can rectify the beauty and soundness of a fire-ravaged home. The point is, allow experts the opportunity to assess your home because it might not be as bad as it seems.

7 Steps for Restoring Your House After a Major Storm

8/20/2021 (Permalink)

Fallen tree. A storm can cause several damages to your Ogden, UT, home.

A severe storm can quickly wreak havoc on your house, from wind to flooding to fallen trees. You could have a significant job on your hands. You might even have to arrange temporary housing during the remediation process. Of course, you don't want to think about your Ogden, UT, home sustaining any kind of loss. However, being prepared with an emergency plan for the worst-case scenario can keep your family and your home more shielded from the storm and its after-effects.

Prioritize Safety

Safety should always come first. Always wear personal protective equipment, such as safety goggles and a hard hat, when you're performing post-storm cleanup. Don't operate machinery if you're unfamiliar with how to use it safely. Also, be careful of downed power lines, standing water where electricity might be on, and other safety issues.

Document Loss for Insurance

Report the loss to your insurance company as soon as possible to start the claims process. Don't do any cleanup until the insurance adjuster says to do so. They may need to see the damage and take photos of the loss for the claim before restoration begins.

Clear Tree Damage

If you've endured a heavy storm, you're likely to have fallen trees and/or limbs and debris. If you can't safely handle it due to downed power lines or large trees or branches, wait for the professionals to use their specialized equipment and expertise. If you're familiar with this type of cleanup, use a chainsaw to cut large branches into smaller, more manageable pieces and be mindful of more falling debris.

Extract Water

If you've had significant rains and water has infiltrated your house, you'll need to begin water damage remediation as soon as possible. Cleaning and drying the affected area within 48 hours is essential to prevent widespread mold growth and structural damage. The most efficient way to quickly remove standing water by yourself is by using a wet/dry vacuum. If you can't access one of these units in time, mops and towels will also work. If the job seems too challenging for you to handle yourself, flood damage restoration experts can help.

Remove Soaked Items

If flooding has occurred indoors, it's essential to remove all excess moisture. This means removing all soaked materials from the area. These items could include wooden and upholstered furniture, paper materials, even carpeting, and drywall.

Dispose of Ruined Food, Medication, and Cosmetics

Food, medication, and cosmetics that have been exposed to water or heat must be disposed of, as they could be dangerous to ingest or use. Also, if you've had a power outage for more than a few hours, the food in your refrigerator, and possibly your freezer, are spoiled and must be thrown out.

Clean and Dry Everything

One of the most critical parts of cleanup is cleaning, sanitizing, and drying everything in the affected area. Everything must be thoroughly dried within 48 hours. If it's not possible, the item probably won't be salvageable.
Remember these steps in case your home undergoes flooding or any other storm damage. Preparation is key to a swifter restoration after a disaster.

How To Safely Use a Fire Extinguisher

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

A house after fire damage. A fire extinguisher can save your life and your home in Ogden, UT.

A kitchen fire can start in a matter of seconds and spread just as quickly. Knowing how to safely use a fire extinguisher in your Ogden, UT, a home could be the deciding factor between fire prevention and fire restoration.

Understand the Limitations.

A portable fire extinguisher can serve a wonderful purpose in protecting your home from the spread of flames. However, certain considerations must be made before deploying its use:

  • First, it must be easily accessible. Fire can spread in mere seconds, and if your extinguisher isn’t nearby or outside of the inflamed area, its purpose will be negated before you can reach it.
  • The fire should be in its incipient stage; small and contained to the original ignited material, such as a stovetop or wastebasket.
  • A safe evacuation path should be behind you, not behind the flames.
  • There is a limited amount of extinguishing agents within portable extinguishers that can be gone within seconds, rendering them useful only for the smallest of fires.

With these considerations in mind, it’s important to understand how to use the device.

Understand the P.A.S.S. Technique. 

The effective range of your fire extinguisher depends on the style. The common ABC extinguisher utilizes a dry chemical stream that can reach five to twenty feet, discharging within ten to twenty-five seconds. To use the extinguisher is simple as remembering the P.A.S.S. acronym:

  1. Pull: Break the tamper seal by pulling the pinout.
  2. Aim: Direct your aim low, pointing the extinguisher nozzle toward the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze: Squeeze the handle slowly and evenly, releasing a consistent stream of the extinguishing agent.
  4. Sweep: Use a sweeping motion from side to side, continuing to aim at the fire near its base until it goes out. Continue to discharge once the flames have been extinguished to prevent reignition.

Fire damage is something all homeowners want to avoid, but safety should always remain a top priority. If you have any doubt about your ability to stop a fire, or your portable extinguisher cannot smother the flames, evacuate immediately, and call emergency services.

For more information, please visit us at SERVPROogdenut.com/fire-smoke-damage-restoration.

How To Deal With Wayward Sprinklers and the Damage They Cause

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

Home being repaired after water damage. Air movers on water damage in a South Ogden, UT home

Studies indicate the fire sprinklers do far more good than harm, and that they actually end up saving both business owners and homeowners money when they deploy. When sprinklers deploy during a fire, they cut the typical cost of fire damage by half. Then there are the life-saving benefits of sprinklers. Some statistics that may surprise you are as follows:

  • Sprinklers reduce the average property loss by as much as two-thirds compared to a fire not controlled by sprinklers, even if they do cause a bit of flooding.
  • There are no accounts of a fire killing more than two people in a public building fire in which a working system was present.
  • Combined with smoke alarms, sprinklers cut the risk of a person dying in a home fire by 82 percent.

The stats clearly show that sprinklers are a worthwhile and necessary investment. That said, it is not unheard of for fire sprinklers to deploy without cause. When this happens, they can cause significant water damage, and you may want to know what your options are when they do.

What To Do When Sprinklers Go Off Without Cause

When sprinklers go off without cause, they can cause significant flooding and costly damage. You can minimize the cost of damage by turning off the water supply line immediately. Once the line is off, take down the wayward sprinkler and its components and bring it to the sprinkler's manufacturer or your Ogden, UT, fire department. Someone should be able to help you determine the cause.

If the cause of the malfunction has to do with faulty equipment rather than lack of maintenance, damage caused to your building, as well as replacement of the system, should be covered by your insurance company. As for cleaning up the flooding and subsequent damage caused by the faulty sprinkler, contact your water remediation team right away before the damage becomes much greater than a bit of wet carpeting and equipment.

How To Keep Your Construction Site Free of Water Damage

8/11/2021 (Permalink)

Commercial building in construction. Water damage can be prevented at your building construction site in Ogden, UT.

There are many things that can delay the construction process of your new commercial building in Ogden, UT. Malfunctioning equipment or delays in paperwork approval are likely to disrupt the timeline of the overall project, and that is not something you can always avoid. Other issues such as water damage, however, can usually be prevented through timely water pipe repair, proper drainage, or effective tarping. Here are some ways to ensure that your project isn't unnecessarily derailed


Building Envelope Protection

As the building is being erected, there are several ways to prevent water from getting inside, even if there are storms or flooding in the area. Measures should be taken when the crew is not present to board up or secure tarps over all the open areas:

  • Doorways
  • Windows
  • Roof openings

The crew members should also identify other vulnerable spots in the structure as they finish up each shift so that they can cover those areas as well. Consistent protection keeps the crew from having to redo parts of the structure by preventing water damage in the first place.

Groundwater Awareness

Rain is not the only way that water issues can occur. Unexpected seepage from groundwater can lead to a flooded building in no time. Avoiding this problem is one of the benefits of a thorough land survey before construction even begins. Having a detailed map of the area where the site is located helps the crew avoid unpleasant surprises.

Good Drainage Practices

No matter how careful the construction crew is, accidents sometimes happen. For example, if a pipe breaks during testing, there will be some type of water loss, even if the source is shut off quickly. Having a good drainage system that diverts the excess water away from the structure already in place can minimize the damage it causes. The project manager can then focus on finding someone to complete fast water pipe repair and complete any minor mitigation that is needed.

Damage Mitigation

A broken pipe can lead to significant water damage, particularly if it happens overnight when no one is present to respond quickly to the problem. If this occurs, the affected parts of the structure will likely need water damage mitigation services before further construction can continue. The cleanup experts can assess the extent of the damage, tear out ruined materials and make sure the building is dry so that further damage doesn't happen. Then work on the project can resume with the confidence that no structural damage remains.

The construction of a new commercial building from the ground up is an exciting prospect. With the freedom of design and increase in control, it brings, however, it also comes with certain risks. Quick water pipe repair alone may not be enough to prevent water damage to the vulnerable structure while it is under construction. Having solid flood prevention measures in place can minimize damage, and putting trusted mitigation experts on speed dial can get the project back on track in a timely manner. Your contractor should be able to walk you through the measures the crew has in place to protect your building throughout the process.