Reopening Your Business After a Natural Disaster
A natural disaster can be a devastating experience for any business.
Opening Your Company Again Following a Natural Disaster
Natural disasters can strike at any time, and when they do, businesses need to be ready. In the aftermath of a natural disaster, many companies are understandably concerned about their employees and customers. But what about the business itself? How does a company get back on its feet after a natural disaster? The answer depends on the type of damage sustained by your business premises. Some building damage can be fixed relatively quickly, while other problems may take months or even years to resolve. This guide walks through some best practices for getting back up and running again after an earthquake or flood wreaks havoc on your city’s infrastructure—and ultimately helps keep both employees and customers happy in the process!
Have A Disaster Plan
Your business plan should include an outline of what you would do in the event of a disaster, how you would communicate with customers and suppliers, and how long it would take for your staff to get back up and running.
It can be helpful to have a template for this kind of plan in place before a disaster strikes so that you can quickly make adjustments as needed.
Call Your Insurance Company
You should call your insurance company as soon as possible to let them know that your business has been damaged. They will want to know the extent of the damage, and they will be able to tell you what kind of coverage your business has. They may also help you file claims for any damages, which can make it easier for you to get repairs done right away.
If it seems like there aren't any options for repairing or replacing equipment after a natural disaster damages your business, talk with an insurance agent about finding restoration companies in your area who can help with cleanup and rebuilding efforts so that everything is back up and running as soon as possible.
Keep Track of Your Contents
As you begin to get your business up and running, don’t forget about your business contents. You need to make sure that you have a plan for how to handle the insurance claims process in the event of a disaster. This will ensure that your belongings are accounted for and covered by an appropriate amount of insurance coverage after a natural disaster has occurred.
You should also consider having some sort of data recovery plan in place so that any lost data can be recovered quickly and efficiently after a natural disaster has occurred at your business's location. Your employees' personal effects should also be considered when working on this aspect of getting back into operation after a natural disaster has occurred.
Turn to FEMA for Help
Beginning the rebuilding process is daunting, but you can get help with FEMA. The agency provides resources for businesses in need of temporary housing, disaster loans, and other assistance after a natural disaster. FEMA also offers financial relief for businesses that were affected by natural disasters through its Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Program.
Call a Professional for Cleanup
You should not try to clean up on your own. It is dangerous, and you could get hurt. You may damage your property and spread germs if you do not use proper safety gear, such as rubber gloves and respiratory masks. If you need to remove debris from the building, hire professionals.
You should know who is handling restoration services. This can be a contractor, vendor, or another business that specializes in disaster relief. Not only do they have the equipment and manpower to deal with the situation, but they also have a lot of experience doing so and will know what questions to ask when dealing with insurance companies and government agencies.
A natural disaster can be a devastating experience for any business, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. Many resources are available to help you get back on your feet and get back into the game of running your Cleveland, TN company. If you are unsure about what steps need to be taken next, talk with an insurance agent or someone else who has experience dealing with these types of situations before proceeding. The last thing anybody needs is more stress while trying to rebuild their lives after this terrible event! If your home or business is damaged by flood, fire, or storm, give SERVPRO of Bradley County a call!
What Is Category 3 Water Damage and How Do I Handle It?
Category 3 water damage can result from standing water.
How Do I Handle Category 3 Water Damage?
Category 3 water damage is the worst-case scenario in home renovation. It's the type of water damage that results from sewage, standing water, and flooding from rivers, lakes, streams, and groundwater. A category 3 spill requires months of cleanup to get rid of any moldy odors that linger after a disaster strikes. This article will explain what Category 3 water is and how you can best handle it if it happens to your home or business.
What Is Category 3 Water Damage?
Category 3 water damage is a loss of water that exceeds the safe capacity of your home's drain system. This problem usually occurs during a heavy rainstorm, when sudden and severe downpours cause the drains to overflow or back up. If this happens, you may experience an immediate, but a short-lived flood. However, if there are any cracks in your foundation or below-ground pipes have been damaged due to corrosion or wear and tear, then it could take weeks for your home's foundation to dry out completely.
How Does Category 3 Water Get In My Home?
Category 3 water can get into your home in many ways. Some of which are more preventable than others:
- roof leaks (specifically those caused by flash floods)
- burst pipes (due to age)
- pouring rain onto ground saturated with groundwater (causing mudslides)
- sewer backups (due in part to clogged pipes)
- flooding caused by rising tides during high tides and hurricanes/tropical storms, etc.
How Does Category 3 Water Get in Your Home?
Category 3 water can enter your home through several sources, including broken pipes and leaking appliances. You may also have been exposed to category 3 water on the way home from work if you were in the vicinity of a flood or storm.
How Are Category 3 Water Losses Handled?
First, you want to call a professional water damage restoration company, like SERVPRO of Bradley County. Calling a professional will help ensure that the category 3 water loss is handled correctly. SERVPRO has equipment and expertise that you might not have and therefore are able to handle any category 3 water loss with ease. We work closely with your insurance, so you don’t have to worry about it as much.
If you have category 3 water in your home, it's critical to act quickly. Your personal safety is at risk and the longer you wait, the more damage category 3 water can do. If a family member becomes sick or if you notice an unusual odor—or if you see mold growing—it's time to call your insurance company and SERVPRO of Bradley County right away.
Category 3 water losses are a serious matter and should be handled by professionals. If you’re not sure if your loss is a category 3, give us a call today so we can help you determine the best course of action for your situation.
Why You Shouldn’t Clean Puffback Soot Yourself?
Puffback fires can cause secondary damage to your property.
Puffback Soot Should be Cleaned by the Professionals
Soot is a substance that forms on the insides of chimneys and flues as a result of incomplete combustion. This can occur if your firewood is too damp or if the damper isn’t working properly. These soot deposits are called “puffbacks” because they resemble fluffy white clouds when expelled from your chimney. They can be extremely damaging to your property—causing secondary damage from water used in cleaning-up efforts, for example—and should be cleaned up only by SERVPRO professional restoration technicians with specialized equipment and expertise in handling these types of situations.
Puffback Soot Can Get into the Smallest Places
Puffback soot is a very fine and sticky substance that can get into even the smallest parts of your property. It’s not just on the walls and ceilings; it can be found in cracks in floor tiles, along baseboards, or even inside electrical outlets. If you clean this up yourself using water, you could end up damaging your property from all the water that will inevitably get used to put out the fire as well as cleaning-up efforts afterwards. We recommend having an expert team come in to clean your property without risking any damage to it.
Water is Secondary Damage to Your Property After a Puffback Fire
Don't clean up the soot yourself. Puffback fires can cause secondary damage to your property from water used to put out the fire, as well as from water used in cleaning-up efforts. Water can cause paint and other surface coatings to peel off walls and furniture, staining them permanently. Wood floors may warp and swell when exposed to too much moisture. Carpeting may become permanently stained by the chemicals you use to clean it up. Tile surfaces like flooring or countertops could crack if they absorb too much water at once (especially if they've been sealed). Upholstery fabrics could be damaged and torn by sharp tools like wire brushes that are used for cleanup jobs; likewise, furniture frames may splinter or crack if not properly covered during cleanup activities
Puffback soot is also very difficult to remove completely because it acts like an adhesive when wetted down with certain cleaning agents--so it's important that only non-toxic solvents be used for cleaning up this type of fire damage!
No DIY Puffback Cleanup
When you have experienced a fire, the last thing you want to do is clean it up yourself. You need a professional to take care of your property so that it’s safe and secure.
SERVPRO of Bradley County can help you with puffback damage. We will work closely with your insurance company to ensure that everything is handled professionally and efficiently.
If you have any questions or would like more information about puffback cleanup services in Bradley County, TN contact us today!
Business Contingency and Evacuation Planning in a Fire
Your contingency plan must be executable not only by you, but also by everyone in your company.
You never want to think of a fire breaking out at your Charleston, TN, business, but it’s better to plan for the worst and never see a moment’s danger than it is to hope for the best and face catastrophe without a plan. That’s why you need a fire contingency plan and safe evacuation strategy for your business – to protect yourself, your property, your employees, and your customers.
Steps to Create a Contingency Plan
It’s not enough to just have a contingency plan in place. Your contingency plan needs to be executable not just by you, but by everyone in your business.
• Establish a designated evacuation plan and alternate routes. Determine the fastest, safest way to leave the building. Chart the route as part of documented procedures, but also ensure that each route has an alternate route in the event that others are blocked by fire or falling debris.
• Post evacuation and safety procedures near all exits and thoroughfares. Employees and customers alike should be able to immediately find a map of the safest evacuation route no matter where they are on your premises. Ensure that easy graphical instructions are available; most don’t have time or presence of mind to stop and read written instructions during a fire.
• Designate evacuation leaders. Your business should have two or more employees per shift who are designated as evacuation leaders, preferably more for backups. Your evacuation leaders are tasked with taking control of the situation and guiding others, especially customers who may not be familiar with drills.
• Ensure all employees have a handout with contact information for emergency personnel and documented safety procedures. Provide this information immediately on hire, and periodically reiterate.
• Conduct safety training drills. At least once per month, do random safety training/fire drills to reinforce protocols in an emergency.
• Periodically test all sprinklers and fire safety equipment. Smart planning will safeguard your people. Smart protections will safeguard your inventory and property. Make sure all fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and other fire safety equipment are operational and functioning up to spec.
IICRC Restoration Industry Certification Programs
Our technicians undergo extensive water restoration training and certification through an IICRC-approved school.
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), is a non-profit organization that serves the cleaning and restoration industry. Originally founded in 1972, the Institute now has more than 60,000 active certified technicians around the world. In addition to maintaining industry standards and offering continuing education and disaster resources, the Institute offers a variety of certification programs for both restoration firms and individual technicians.
Certification programs help ensure that restoration technicians have the necessary skills to complete their work safely and effectively. The Institute offers certification programs on a variety of topics relevant to the restoration industry:
- Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
- Applied Structural Drying Technician
- Building Moisture Thermography
- Commercial Drying Specialist
- Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration
- Health and Safety Technician
- Trauma and Crime Scene Technician
- Water Damage Restoration Technician
A technician who wishes to move beyond the standard mitigation certificate may be able to pursue a master track in textile cleaning, fire and smoke restoration or water restoration. The Institute also offers the continuing education courses required to maintain these certificates.
Benefits of Certification
IICRC certified technicians are trained to perform at a high level in their field, which helps to build trust with employers, insurance companies and customers. Certification can serve to demonstrate that a technician has a high level of competence and commitment to maintaining their skills according to industry standards. Certification can also benefit employers by motivating employees to learn the latest technologies, providing advancement opportunities and increasing job and customer satisfaction.
How To Become Certified
A technician can become certified by taking an approved course and passing an exam. To maintain their certificate, technicians will need to pay a renewal fee and complete continuing education courses. Technicians may be able to pursue a master certification after at least three consecutive years of being a certified technician.
IICRC certification offers many benefits for both technicians and their employers. Interested technicians can begin their path towards certification by taking an approved course at a school in East Cleveland, TN.
How Ozone Gets That Cigarette Smell Out of Your Home
A typical ozone machine is an excellent tool for removing cigarette smells.
What Are Ozone Machines?
Ozone machines are among the top tools used by professionals in Hopewell, TN, for home deodorization. They’re especially prominent when it comes to cigarette removal, as they eliminate the baked-in scent of tobacco smoke from walls, floors and ceilings more completely than any other product out there. However, there are some things you should know about these deodorizing tools:
- They don’t just push smoke out of your home
- The amount you must use depends on the size of the issue
- They can be dangerous
Ozone machines don’t just create a breeze that pushes smoke out of your home. Rather, ozone gas is powerful enough to destroy particles and microbes that lead to the formation of foul odors. When you smoke, it’s the tar and other particles that built up on the walls that create the smoke odor, so using ozone to remove these unwanted substances is the best way to remove the odor altogether.
The Right Amount
As you might expect, the amount of ozone you’ll need to use in a room to thoroughly deodorize it depends on both the size of the space in question and the severity of the issue. For example, a small room with only slight smoke damage will require far less ozone gas to resolve than a sprawling room with heavy damage.
You can certainly rent one of these machines to use on your own, but ozone gas is not without its dangers. If it’s strong enough to destroy particles in cigarette smoke, imagine the damage it can do to an unprotected set of lungs. That’s why it’s usually best to leave this part of your home deodorization process to the professionals in most cases.
A typical ozone machine is an excellent tool for removing cigarette smells and other smoke odors from a home. However, before you look for one, you should always perform research to ensure you’re doing things safely.
How To Clean Up After an Overflow
Sewer backup in a Wildwood Lake, TN bathroom.
How To Clean Up After an Overflow
A leaking or overflowing toilet can make a big mess in a short amount of time. It can lead to sewer damage in your floor and walls, and if it's not dealt with properly, it may even compromise the structural integrity of your home. Fortunately, sewage mitigation experts in Wildwood Lake, TN, can determine what kind of remediation you need and fix the problem quickly.
Identify the Source
Assessment starts with figuring out where the leak is coming from, which informs the rest of the mitigation process. The source of the water determines its contamination level:
- Category 1 – supply line leak
- Category 2 – overflow containing clean water or urine only
- Category 3 – overflow containing feces
The technicians from the sewage company should inspect the area for damage. A small leak of clean water may just require the replacement of a few tiles. More extensive sewer damage, however, makes multiple steps necessary.
Disinfect the Area
If the water from the flooded toilet is contaminated, the remediation team has to do more than just get rid of the moisture. Technicians remove material that isn't salvageable and use industrial cleaners to disinfect the remaining structure. Getting rid of bacteria and other contaminants helps prevent secondary damage from occurring. Once the space is clean, it must thoroughly dry before fixtures can be replaced.
Restore the Bathroom
Remediation of damage is only half the job. SERVPRO technicians make your bathroom look "Like it never even happened," by rebuilding the parts of the structure that were damaged. They match the new materials with the existing flooring so that no one can tell you had a flooding disaster. Once the toilet is reinstalled, the process is complete.
Sewer damage requires more than just mopping up the wet floor. To fully mitigate the damage, the whole area must be inspected and disinfected. A thorough cleanup prevents secondary damage and gets your home back to normal.
Preparing Your Business for Severe Storms
Keep computer files backed up on an external hard drive or cloud in case of flood damage
A hurricane, a tropical storm, or even heavy rain can critically damage your South Cleveland, TN, business if you do not prioritize disaster preparedness. Creating a plan to fortify your establishment against strong weather can mitigate the impact, especially when it comes to unexpected severe weather. Take these important steps to craft an effective storm plan.
Create a Planning Team
Even with your leadership position, you cannot prepare your business alone. Create a task force team that can handle important elements such as:
- Employee and client safety
- Data recovery
- Property protection
- Communication system
Depending on the team size and the complexity of these areas, you can either delegate these sections to one team or split them up between smaller groups that meet later. Build a team where members vary in experience, work shifts, and locations, as they may have different perspectives on how a storm impacts their day.
Take Advantage of Technology
Today's technology is particularly helpful for disaster preparedness. For instance, wireless communication makes it faster and easier to send emergency messages to team members and clients about any sudden situation via phone call, email, text, or social media. Your data is also crucial to your business, so use advancements like the cloud system to move it to an offsite facility. This move ensures that important information is safe from any physical storm damage.
Practice for the Situation
A detailed and careful plan never matters without a successful execution, and business preparedness is not an exception to this. Once you have created plans for safety, evacuation, and property protection, it is time to practice them to ensure everything runs smoothly during an unexpected event. Assign roles to employees, such as leading the evacuation of certain areas to ensure an orderly procedure. You can both schedule drills and run some surprise ones to test the organization's readiness.
Disaster preparedness allows you to protect both your employees and your building from unexpected storms. Enact these safety measures now and stay in contact with helpful organizations like the insurance company and storm damage remediation to handle the aftermath effectively.
Protect Your Home Against Flood Damage
If you are going on vacation make sure to shut off the main water line.
Clean Your Downspouts and Gutters
Make sure to clean out your gutters at least once every six months or more often if you have a lot of trees near your Bradley County home. When water collects in the gutters it can cause damage to your roof and the gutters themselves. Down-spouts that aren’t clean and checked to ensure the water is running off properly and is running away from your house can cause damage to walls and even your foundation. At SERVPRO of Bradley County, we have seen this issue from many customers. Clean those gutters and spouts!
Switch off the mains
If you are going on vacation or you are going to be away for a length of time, switch the water off at the main. This will stop any dripping or other water issues while you are away. You wouldn’t want to come home to water rushing out your front door to greet you! If you have a drip system or sprinkler system, it may make sense to ask a neighbor, house sitter or your landscaper to turn these on and off manually. There are some systems you can control from your phone to water your landscaping too!
Keep your garden in check
While we’re on the topic of landscaping, trees and shrubs can cause damage to your pipes from the roots wrapping around the pipes. Keep your garden maintained and avoid planting large plants near piping if at all possible.
Take care of those small leaks immediately
Found a little leak? It may seem like a harmless drip, but a small leak can become a big water damage problem if not dealt with as soon as possible. Even tiny drips can cause mildew and mold in your home and even lead to structural damage and dry rot over an extended period of time. If you fix the leaks as they occur, you have less likelihood of the small issue becoming a huge problem later. If you have a sudden spike in your water bill, make sure you investigate for underground water leaks as well.
Check the appliances
Most people think toilets are the cause of most home floods but don’t forget about your appliances! Monitor appliances for leaks and replace any cracked and brittle piping. Things like a dishwasher or washing machine can flood your house out quickly if the appliance is not maintained adequately.
Flood damage in our homes is something most of us experience at some point in our lives. It could be caused by something as simple as an overflowing bathtub or something more serious such as a burst pipe or sewerage pipe rupture.
Flood damages to your home can range from minor to severe and dealing with the issue can be overwhelming. While some water issues cannot be foreseen, there are a few things you can do to prevent flood damages to your home from factors you have some control over.
How To Inspect Your Sump Pump
It is a good idea to inspect your sump pump on a quarterly basis.
Sump Pump Inspections
Your basement may be a fun place to entertain or give you a lot of extra storage. Whatever its purpose, it can’t serve it well if it gets flooded. Regular sump pump inspections are necessary to ensure that, if extra water does flood your basement, it won’t stay there long. A reliable pump can significantly lower the cost of water remediation services if your basement floods. Here are some things to check off your list during the inspection.
Get Rid of Debris
A big part of pump maintenance is just cleaning it out. There are several places dirt, rocks and other debris like to hide in your pump:
- Discharge pipe
- Vent hole
- Intake screen
Any obstruction in these areas can cause your pump to malfunction when you need it the most.
Check Cord and Power Supply
Over time, cords can wear out, especially if they are in an area like the basement where they may be trapped under boxes or twisted around other obstacles. Check the cord to make sure it is not broken. You also want to ensure that the sump pump is hooked up to a working power supply. It is a good idea to connect it to a generator so that if it is needed during a power outage in a storm, it will still function.
Test the Pump
Every time you inspect your pump, it’s a good idea to simulate a flood scenario to see if it works. Flood the basin with a bucket of water. If your pump is working, it will activate and drain the water. If it does not do this, you need to contact a repair technician in Cleveland, TN, to fix it.
It is a good idea to inspect your sump pump on a quarterly basis. This ensures that all debris is removed, it is connected to a reliable power source and it actually does what it’s supposed to do. Then when storms come, you know your basement is protected.