If you can’t summon help quickly, a fire can quickly sweep through your Elmhurst, IL, office and leave a trail of devastation in its wake. Fire damage can be severe and make it impossible for you to resume work duties in your building. Ironically, the very water firefighters use to eliminate the fire can also cause major problems. Trained professionals have the equipment and skill to clean up both types of damage.
When you call a professional disaster cleanup crew to your office, the team won’t jump right in and start working without a plan. The company will evaluate the effects of the fire damage in order to come up with an effective strategy. The technicians will do the following:
• Make note of which areas of your building were affected.
• Determine the extent of the damage.
• Decide what areas and items you can salvage and which ones you must replace.
• Establish a plan of attack that will yield the most complete, time-effective results.
Remove Standing Water
A fire hose can pump out hundreds of gallons of water while a firefighter is battling a blaze. It’s no wonder water can wreak havoc in your office after a fire. A technician will use wet vacuums and other specialized water removal equipment to make sure there is no leftover water on your floor or on furniture or other objects. Next, the team will dry the areas with dehumidifiers and high-powered blowers.
Clean and Sanitize
Sucking up water and drying the area isn’t enough to mitigate water damage. The professionals will also use chemicals to thoroughly sanitize any areas where there had been water. This will minimize the chances of mold growth.
Fire damage and water issues go hand in hand after a fire. By understanding the process the pros use, you can have peace of mind and confidence that your office will be in good hands.
Some buildings are more at risk of flooding than others in Elmhurst, IL. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, aims to prepare every individual to handle any natural disaster that might affect him or her, and floods are no exception. There is a wealth of flood preparation knowledge you can find from this agency, including a flood risk map that shows you exactly how likely your home is to be affected by a flood. You should take the time to learn:
1. Which flood zone your home is located in
2. What flood insurance options you have
3. Where you fall on the flood insurance rate map or FIRM
4. The elevation of your property
5.What the evacuation plan is for your area
It is a good idea to have water damage covered by your insurance policy, but you may not realize that water damage and flooding damage is not the same thing. Water damage is caused by things like burst pipes or leaky roofs, but the damage caused by external factors like tidal waves or mudslides fall into a different category. Most people do not need flooding insurance, but if you are in a high-risk area, it might be beneficial. The National Flood Insurance Program, or FEMA NFIP, is a special program FEMA offers that provides affordable flooding damage insurance.
What To Do
FEMA also has recommendations for what to do during a flood. You should be intimately familiar with the evacuation plan in your area and have all the supplies you need before a flood happens. You should have plenty of canned food, bottled water, a first aid kit, and general tools. It might be good to have a flooding damage restoration company in Elmhurst, IL already in mind so you can start the process of repairing as soon as possible. Flood water contains contamination, so it is not safe to return to your home no matter how minor the damage is.
Storm Team- Iowa
Our team out helping the damages in Iowa!
Over the past couple weeks, our storm team here at LaGrange Park/N. Riverside has been out assisting those who were hit with damage from the bad storm that went through Iowa. Our team has been working on a major project at one of the local hotels nearby. Our commercial large loss division is composed of the best of the best in restoration. Our commercial operations manager has been supervising the job every since we started down in Iowa. Our team was about to dispatch trained production professionals, and cut costs through the strategic placement and oversight of temporary labor. Once our team got word there was going to be a major storming rolling through there, we had a team ready to go the day before. After the storm hit, out team drove over 3 hours to get out to the location where the commercial property was. On the way, our team was able to see all the damage first hand driving through Iowa. Our team described it almost as a "scary scene in a movie". There was semi-trucks turned over on the highway, full grown trees pulled out of the ground, entire roofs taken off of homes, broken homes, and many more disasters that put tears to their eyes. Our team knew that they needed to help fix Iowa, and be able to make it strong again. To this very day, our team is still out in Iowa assisting the major commercial loss that has taken place, and they will continue to work in order to get the operation up and going again. We here at SERVPRO are always faster to any size disasters!
Costs from water damage
Our SERVPRO team is here to help!
When it comes to owning a business or a home, water damage can be one of the most costly things there is. You can not only lose out on days or weeks of productivity, but you could also find yourself repairing or replacing valuable equipment like electronics, tools and inventory. This is where the costs come into play.
- On average, water damage from a sink will run $7,000.00 for each instance
- For toilets, that number ranges between $2,000.00 and $10,000.00
As we can see, this can add up very fast! Here are some causes of water damages, and what you can do to help prevent them.
1. Appliances and Equipment
- Air conditioners, water heaters or anything that uses tubes, pipes, gaskets or filters to operate has the potential to leak. The best thing to do is to regularly look over and maintain your equipment. If you notice anything that concerns you, such as rust, cracks, bulges or signs of moisture, call SERVPRO.
- Make sure you're checking your roof regularly. If you've got a pond up there, your drainage isn't working effectively. Keep in mind that every inch of water weighs in at around 5 lbs. Be sure to look for any damage to your perimeter flashing, roof membrane or roof penetrations like drains, pipes and gas lines.
3. Pipes and Drains
- Your plumbing system is susceptible to stoppages, clogs and dmage. If a crack develops, it could dumb 250 gallons of water per day on your facility. Look for outward signs of moisture, blue stains, rusting, and cracking and bulging. If you're having plumbing work done or you have a cut pipe for any reason, check for scale buildup. You can also try a pipe camera to get a good look at what's going on inside your system.
4. Sprinkler Systems
- Many commercial buildings are outfitted with sprinkler systems, which are great for minimizing fire damage, but not so great for water damage when they malfunction. Always check your sprinkler system for signs of damage or rust, and replace them regularly to make sure they are functioning properly.
5. Mother Nature
- Natural disasters like hurricanes, severe thunderstorms ad flash flooding can do untold damage to your business. You can control how ready you are for it though. Keeping your gutters clear, installing barriers and storing sensitive files and electronics at a higher level are all things you can do to keep the damage minimal. Consult with a SERVPRO professional to get your ERP set up and ready in case something like this were to happen.
Common Causes of Commercial Building Fires
Make sure to check all heating sources!
We usually don't think of a fire destroying our business or office building. We are more worried about less concrete threats. This includes a downward trending economy, high customer churn rate, the struggle to retain talented employees, legal issues, etc. However, nonresidential building fires killed 65 people, injured 1,425 and created $2,461,400,00 in damage between 2004 and 2013.
In order to prevent a dangerous and costly fire, the time of day fires are most likely to occur in your building depends on what type of business you're in. An office building is a bit different from a manufacturing plant. Ex: In an office building, fires are most common during regular work hours. Incidence of fires peaks in the early evening hours between 3-6pm.
Therefore, the most common causes of commercial building fires are as follows.
1. Cooking Fires
- 29.3% of nonresidential fires from 2013 were cooking related. In fact, 1 in 4 office building fires were related to cooking equipment. These types of fires do tend to account for less damage, but they are easily preventable with fire protection systems such as alarms and fire extinguishers.
- This accounts for almost 10% of fires, and tends to cause the most damage. Intentional fires also result in more civilian injuries and deaths. Unlike cooking and heating fire, it's most common for intentional fires to be started between 3pm and midnight. A few common locations to be aware of in the building are bathrooms, trash bins, garages, and open areas like a lawn or field.
3. Careless Acts and Human Error
- 9.2% of commercial fires were unintentional results of careless acts. This is somewhat of an 'other' category. Some examples include accidentally leaving space heaters or other heat producing equipment on, carelessly discarded cigarette butts igniting fires, and plugging too many things into the same extension cord.
4. Heating Fires
- Heating fires account for 9% of all nonresidential building fires. Central heating units, fireplaces, water heaters, and other heating appliances and systems should be regularly inspected to prevent fires. It is important to move any flammable materials and furniture away from heat sources.
Make sure you are prepared.
Hurricane season is upon us, and there are several named storms that have developed in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. On average, there are about 12 tropical storms that will develop between June 1st and November 30th. Of those 12 storms, 6 of them will become hurricanes according to the National Weather Service. We know that hurricanes can be life-threatening, and they can cause a serious amount of property damage. The National Weather Service lists the following as potential "hurricane hazards".
Storm surge: is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast. It can also travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers and estuaries.
Flooding: from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from landfalling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains associated with these storms often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated.
Winds: from a hurricane can destroy buildings and manufactured homes. We also see that signs, roofing material and other items left outside can become flying missiles during a hurricane.
Tornadoes: can accompany landfalling tropical cyclones. They typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the storm.
Dangerous waves: produced by a tropical cyclone's strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners. These waves can cause deadly rip currents, significant beach erosion and damage to structures along the coastline. This is even when the storm is more than 1,000 miles offshore.
With this all being said, preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Make sure you plan an evacuation route and your emergency plan, take inventory of your property and take steps to protect your home or business.
ERP for your commercial property
Make sure you not only have one set up for your facility, but also that it is up to date.
For a business owner, a worst-case disaster scenario involving fire or water damage can seem unthinkable until it suddenly becomes a reality. A quick response time by a disaster recovery company such as SERVPRO can help minimize property damage. Owners need to have a quick and convenient emergency disaster plan that connects them with vendors, necessary contacts, and pertinent information when disaster strikes. SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) is a respected industry tool during a disaster event. It is so valuable that in the midst of the confusion and panic, an owner or manager can be provided a sense of calm and clarity in reaching out for expert help.
There are four key parts to building an ERP.
1. Identify your facility's greatest threats in order to assess the overall severity of the event.
- Look at your location that you are in. Be aware if you are in tornado alley, hurricane season, or subject to freezing temperatures.
2. Document all vital information and establish clear communication activities.
- An ERP needs to contain critical property information that can help speed up response time after a disaster strikes the property. Make sure to include any documentation that deals with prior loss history. Also, identify and label utility shut off locations, and prioritize your key contacts. Prior loss history can provide first responders and restoration vendors with historical information on your facility's condition. Also, proper utility identification will allow for quicker response times for emergency shut off, requests and key contact information is vital to starting the recovery process. This will allow you to quickly contact key personnel and answer priority questions.
3. Practice! Practice! Practice! There is no "textbook" event, so expect the unexpected.
- You should always conduct practice sessions to make sure everyone is clear on the process. There needs to be clear evacuation routes in your ERP, and set a distribution chain for your disaster recovery plan amongst key contacts and various locations.
4. Keep it updated, and have all necessary information communicated with your insurance company and emergency restoration vendors.
- Make sure your ERP is always up to date. This is the best way for the recovery to begin. People are going to come and go, updates will be made to the facility, and utilities can change. This should be a dynamic document that changes as your business does. You do not want to fall behind when disaster strikes!
Check this out!
Tornadoes can occur year-round anywhere over the lower 48 of the United States, but the spring to summer period is prime time for severe thunderstorms that spawn the violent swirling columns of air. Building warmth and surging humidity are key ingredients for thunderstorms which, when severe, can evolve to produce tornadoes.
Severe thunderstorms will typically form when we get warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico clashing with cool air from Canada and sometimes dry air from the deserts. We often see the most tornadoes develop from central Texas, northward through the Nebraska and Iowa area, which is referred to as "Tornado Alley".
In order for severe thunderstorms to form, there must be a mechanism for air to rise in vigorous fashion. As a column of air rises through the atmosphere, it cools and causes moisture within to form the towering clouds we see as thunderstorms. The more moisture available and the cooler the air is aloft, the more efficient and potentially the more violent this process is. A push of dry air or cooler air from the outside can also intensify this process.
Any time there is a surge in temperature and humidity levels, combined with the approach of cooler and drier air thunderstorms can erupt. the most dramatic time of the year for this is in the spring to early summer. The peak for severe weather and tornado season is from April through June. Areas of the country that typically warm up the fastest with an ample supply of moisture are usually the most likely areas for early-season severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Program
Get set up today!
We as a company have recently introduced our new program Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, and it is designed to provide our communities with a way to know that a structure has been cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected. This is also a cleaning and disinfecting program that we here at SERVPRO have to offer for our commercial property owners in order to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. We ensure that when businesses choose SERVPRO, their customers, employees, and community are rest assured that they have selected a higher standard of cleaning.
This program is set up with 3 unique steps called the 3 C's. These 3 C's include Consult, Clean, and Certify.
Consult deals with the process of talking to each businesses personally because not all businesses are the same. A SERVPRO professional who understands the business will create a custom cleaning program to meet their specific needs. The specific program will be developed based on a range of factors including business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touch points, foot traffic, and congestion points. Therefore, they will know that the clean they receive is customized to their unique needs.
Clean is based on the specific needs of their business, and their location will undergo a thorough expert cleaning rooted in the pillars of People, Process, and Product.
-People: SERVPRO professionals are uniquely prepared during this unprecedented time to clean and disinfect homes or businesses according to the protocols set by the CDC. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that needs to be done.
-Process: SERVPRO professionals are trained to perform proactive or emergency responsive cleanups that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection. This would include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools and supplies used for cleanup, and disposal of hazardous materials. We also recommend a frequent cleaning depending on what CAT it is in. We want to make sure that people are getting back to business as soon as possible if there is a known COVID-19 case involved.
-Product: Our program has more than 100 exclusive professional cleaning products to meet any need. This includes our proprietary cleaning agent, SERVPROXIDE, which is a hospital-grade disinfectant that carries the Environmental Protection Agency's lowest toxicity category and is NSF certified for sanitizing surfaces in and around food processing surfaces.
Certify deals with the our credibility as the premier biohazard cleaning company in the country to their business. This then allows assurance to their employees and customers that only SERVPRO can deliver. Once the business has been cleaned, they will gain access to propriety signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that they've selected the highest standard of cleaning available to protect their employees and customers. We also have the option to add the date, so then their guests will know that their location is being cleaned regularly.
SERVPRO professionals have been on the front lines of proactive and reactive COVID related cleanups, and we are here to help as businesses begin to reopen and to also help them stay open!
Did you know?
Make sure yours is set up today!
Did you know that local fire departments require carbon monoxide detectors?
The Elmhurst Fire Department requires that each home be outfitted with carbon monoxide detectors, in addition to smoke detectors.
For some people, they may not know this, so here are some helpful tips and steps about the carbon monoxide detector.
First off, Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is poisonous to humans. It is known as the "silent killer" because humans cannot tell when they are around it. The carbon monoxide detector is a safety device that can alert homeowners of a CO leak, and then help them escape a potentially life-threatening situation.
Carbon monoxide can be produced by any fuel-burning device. There are three main sources, and they are your home's furnace, dryer vent in a drying machine, and fireplace or chimney. It is VERY IMPORTANT to have those sources regularly services and cleaned by a professional to help prevent a CO leak.
When it comes to installation of the alarms, it is important to have them on every level of the home. That way all family members can hear the detectors go off. There should also be detectors in every bedroom, sleeping area, and common room for extra safety while asleep. They can be placed anywhere in the room, and can also be placed on the wall or the ceiling and will be just as effective.
Lastly, it is important to test your alarms regularly, so at least once a month. If it has replaceable batteries, they should be changed at least every 6 months. However, just because you replace the batteries doesn't mean they last forever. They have a lifetime of anywhere between 5-7 years.