Recent Posts

The Emergency Action Plan: Understanding the Basic Principles

1/12/2022 (Permalink)

Contingency Plan A proper contingency plan in the event of a fire can be the difference between life and death.

Understanding The Fundamentals Of An Emergency Action Plan (EAP)

Every business should have a contingency plan, but that doesn’t only refer to whether or not a company succeeds or fails. Emergency planning is also a part of any good contingency. You need to know that your employees are safe and accounted for in the event of a disaster. Therefore, you should understand the basics of an emergency action plan.

1. Make a List of Contacts

Every well-crafted evacuation plan requires a list of contacts. By ensuring contacts are regularly updated, you can keep track of people in a more thorough way. For instance, if your business is evacuated because of a fire, you can double-check counts to your list of contacts, and you can reach out to anyone not accounted for.

2. Designate and Assign Clear Evacuation Routes

An emergency contingency plan should include several exit routes designed to lead outdoors from every point in the building. Additionally, employees should be assigned a route that corresponds to their section of the building. This allows evacuations to happen in an orderly and predictable manner.

3. Design a Way To Account for Employees

You may also want to assign specific floor managers to specific exit routes, making them responsible for counting and verifying everyone assigned to their route. This will make accounting for all personnel easier, and it will allow a small group of managers to interact and check numbers.

4. Know Who Is Responsible for Reporting Fires

You should assign the task of reporting fires to specific people yet encourage others to call as well. By assigning the responsibility, you ensure someone reports the problem, but by encouraging others, you make certain that no one drops the ball.

Beyond reporting fires to emergency services and your insurer, you should keep a disaster restoration specialist in the Lakeland, FL, area on file. These professionals may even set up an emergency plan with you, making the process that much easier.

A proper contingency plan in the event of an emergency can be the difference between life and death. Keep your employees and yourself safe by planning ahead, and seek assistance when and if you need it.

Use Chemical Drain Cleaners Cautiously

1/4/2022 (Permalink)

Bottles with detergent and cleaning tools on blue background When you find water or sewage damage in your home, be sure to call the trained experts at SERVPRO for mitigation services.

Chemical Drain Cleaners Should Be Used With Caution

It’s easy to understand why people look to chemicals for a clogged drain. Use them, and there is no need to pay a plumber or purchase and use plumbers’ tools. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

Never Use a Chemical Cleaner on a Completely Blocked Drain

Television advertisements would have you believe that clearing a clogged drain is simple. Apply the chemicals, the sewer blockage disappears and the toxic chemicals go with it. This process may work in see-through glass pipes and cartoon simulations, but it overlooks the real-world problems.

Chemical cleaners are highly corrosive, generate large amounts of heat and are very toxic to humans and the environment. It is these characteristics that make them unsuitable for use in a blocked sewer. Consider the following:

  1. Corrosive chemicals can weaken or damage metal pipes. Corrosion occurs naturally over time. Drain cleaners speed up this process. If a pipe leaks while it contains toxic material, the leaked liquid poses extreme health and environmental hazards.
  2. Heat can damage plastic pipes. They don’t corrode like metal, but they can fail due to excessive heat. If they start leaking, the risks are the same as with metal.
  3. If your chemical drain cleaner doesn’t work, don’t try a different one. Adding more toxic chemicals would be a terrible idea. Doing this might create a poisonous gas which would require evacuation and a visit from the Dixieland, FL Hazardous Material Unit.
  4. Toxic chemicals make the plumber’s job more dangerous. If all else fails, call the plumber. Hopefully, the plumber can fix your blockage without disturbing the pipes. However, if new pipes become necessary, the plumber must take great care to avoid chemical exposure.

The Worst-Case Scenario Is That the Blocked Sewer Pipe Fails

The sewage and toxic chemicals in the clogged drain have flooded your beautiful home. Sewage cleaning calls for a team of sewage and contamination removal technicians to remediate the problem. They will make your home look “Like it never even happened”.

Taxes and Storm Damage: What Is Not Deductible Under Casualty Loss

12/30/2021 (Permalink)

A person with a label that says: Tax deductible Storm Damage can wreak havoc on a business both physically and fiscally. Unfortunately, not all of this damage is deductible.

What Isn't Deductible In A Casualty Loss: Taxes And Storm Damage

This is the season, and most businesses are adding up deductions and getting ready to file. Unfortunately, while casualty losses may cover some elements of storm damage, not everything is tax deductible. In fact, there are at least four elements of damage that are typically not deductible.

1. Insured Items

Most businesses are required to have some type of commercial property insurance, and while basic policies will not cover extreme natural disasters, they likely cover wind and rainstorms. Any items or damage that are covered under your insurance policy cannot be claimed as a deduction because such issues are considered reimbursable.

2. Wear and Tear

Additionally, while you can deduct storm damage that is not reimbursable, you cannot claim items that have been damaged due to normal wear and tear. Therefore, if you have an HVAC unit that is past its prime and hasn’t been cared for properly, you cannot claim that it was damaged in a storm to receive a deduction.

3. Future Profits

While natural disasters, like hurricanes, can create significant business interruptions, you likely can’t claim profit losses. The reason is that these losses are considered future profits, and while some insurance policies will account for historical earnings, the IRS will not allow for these projections to be claimed as actual losses.

4. Project Restoration

Also, most insurance policies will cover some aspect of restoration after a storm, especially if you have additional riders, which means that restoration costs are reimbursable and not deductible. You can call your insurer, local IRS branch or a disaster restoration specialist in the North Lakeland, FL, area to find out more information and specifics.

Storm Damage can wreak havoc on a business both physically and fiscally. Unfortunately, not all of this damage is deductible. However, through insurance policies, most losses are reimbursable, meaning that your financial difficulties are lessened in the long term if you have adequate coverage.

Precautions After Flood Damage

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

Restoration machines are cleaning an office after water damage Prompt attention during a commercial flood event is crucial to getting your business back online in a reasonable time frame.

After A Flood, Take These Precautions

Prompt attention during a commercial flood event is crucial to getting your business back online in a reasonable time frame. Any source of standing water, such as a broken pipe or poor exterior drainage, can quickly get out of control and make the affected floor space unusable. Managers and business owners can use the following tips to minimize downtime in Lakeland, FL.

1. Avoid Safety Hazards

Do not allow employees to enter any area where electrical outlets or other pieces of equipment are inundated. Remove any appliances or larger machinery from affected areas if possible, and make sure that the electricity has been cut off at the circuit breaker or otherwise disconnected. Standing water, especially in softer materials such as upholstery or drywall, can incubate mold and other issues. These should be dried or removed quickly.

2. Begin the Recovery Process

After all water inflow has been eliminated, the next step is to address the existing water damage. Any broken pipe or other water fixture must be replaced. Maintain proper interior and exterior drainage through a sump pump and landscaping that directs water away from the building. Document any damage and necessary repairs in order to expedite filing an insurance claim.

3. Future Considerations

The best method to protect your commercial property against flooding is to stop the problem before it starts. Familiarize yourself with nearby sewer connections to guarantee that there are no blockages. Have the contact information of a local qualified cleanup professional to minimize the amount of time that flood water lingers at your place of business. Brief your employees on a few safety and remediation strategies in case another flood event occurs.

A simple broken pipe doesn’t have to mean a catastrophic loss of revenue. Turn your flood problems around and keep your business running optimally by following the above simple tips.

Crawl Space Water: How It Affects You

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

A crawl space of a home. When you find water in your crawl space, it is a good idea to contact a SERVPRO water damage restoration service.

How Does Crawl Space Water Affect You?

If you discover a wet crawl space in your North Lakeland, FL, home, then you may be wondering how big of a problem it really is. Water in your crawlspace can mean a few things for you as a homeowner.

It May Indicate Other Water Issues

Finding moisture in a crawl space means there may be other water issues in your home. Crawl space water can come from a few sources and it’s important to locate which it is. These may include:

  • Broken pipe or water line
  • A downspout or gutter that is functioning incorrectly
  • Landscaping with a grade that slopes toward the house
  • Overwatered foliage around the home
  • Underground water seeping into the building

It Can Lead to Mold Growth

A wet crawl space or other area that has recently experienced flooding can easily become a prime mold habitat. When you notice water in these areas, it’s also a good idea to check for mold as well. Mold can continue to grow even after the water is removed if the source of the moisture isn’t found and addressed.

It Should Be Fixed as Soon as Possible

Any flood water should be removed and repairs made as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your home. When you find water in your crawl space, it’s a good idea to contact a water damage restoration service. These professionals can help you assess where the water is coming from, what sort of damage has been done, if there’s a mold risk, and what cleanup steps need to be taken. They can also conduct water removal and repairs.

A wet crawl space can indicate other issues in your home you should be aware of. When you find flooding in any area of your home, it’s important to conduct cleanup and repairs as quickly as you can. Fortunately, water damage restoration professionals can provide the services you need to get the job done.

Steps of Furnace Maintenance

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

Fragment of the interior of a country house. The iron furnace heats up. There is firewood near the stove. Fire restoration experts recommend professional maintenance of your furnace, especially before the outside air cools.

Furnace Maintenance Steps

Every year, before cold weather sets in, your home needs to be prepared for the change in temperatures. This preparation includes furnace maintenance. Proper preventative maintenance helps you avoid the need for fire cleaning later. Fire restoration experts recommend professional maintenance on your furnace, particularly before the air outside gets colder. Here are the steps the technicians are likely to take to get you ready for winter.

1. Vacuum the Interior

Dust can get trapped in your furnace, and when that happens, it may smoke. If the furnace is turned on, you may need smoke cleaning in addition to maintenance. Technicians in Polk County, FL, may start your seasonal maintenance by vacuuming out the interior of your furnace.

2. Inspect the Fan Belt

The belt in your furnace keep it running smoothly, but it also endures a lot of friction. As a result, it can wear out over time, becoming loose or cracked. A good fan belt will be taut and intact. If it shows any sign of wear, the technicians can replace it so that it doesn’t slip.

3. Lubricate Bearings

Fire cleaning may be necessary later if your furnace is not properly lubricated. Some models don’t require this step, but if your furnace is an older model, it may not have permanently sealed bearings. For it to run well, the bearings need to be lubricated.

4. Change the Air Filter

The air filter to your furnace should be changed at the beginning of the season. If you are not familiar with the filter’s placement in your furnace, it is a good idea to have the technician show you how to change it, as it may need to be changed as often as once a month during periods of heavy use.

You can avoid smoke hazards and the fire cleaning expenses that come with it when you have your furnace maintained by a qualified professional before cold weather arrives. Start the season right by making sure these steps are covered.

Escaping a House Fire: Teach Your Kids How

11/8/2021 (Permalink)

A home with fire damage SERVPRO is here to help in your time of need. We are fire damage restoration experts who are available 24 hours a day to respond when you need us.

Teach Your Children How to Get Out of a House Fire

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 is the reason for National Fire Prevention Week each October. This time is used to educate the public about ways to prevent fires. Take this time yearly to teach kids safety in the event of a fire. Here are some important tips:

1. Make a fire escape plan. Draw a map, with your kids, that includes two exits for every room.

2. Check doors. Feel doors for heat and choose another path if the door is hot. When leaving a room, close a door behind you to slow the spread of smoke and fire.

3. Crawl. Teach your kids safety for exiting a house by crawling on their hands and knees. Teach them also how to military crawl if the air is too smoky or too hot above them.

4. Bed roll. The temperature of the air can be drastically hotter just a foot above you. Teach kids how to roll out of bed to avoid sitting up and getting burned.

5. Designate a meeting place. This is a clear location, at a safe distance from your home, where you can meet quickly.

6. Get out and stay out. Don’t go back inside for anything, not a toy, not a pet and not even a sibling.

7. Signal if trapped. If a fire is blocking your exit, try to get to a room with a window. Teach kids safety by telling them to close the door behind them and open the window so they can breathe and signal for help. Teach them to use bedding or clothing to signal while yelling for help.

8. Don’t hide. Firefighters look a little scary in all their protective gear. Tell kids not to hide from them or the fire.

Fire is scary, but you can teach kids plans and techniques for escape can help keep them safe. If you do have a fire in your home in Lakeland, FL, look for a professional restoration company to get you through the damage recovery. The right company will have experience and knowledge to help cleanup and rebuild from your home fire.

3 Tips for Keeping Your Business Safe During a Thunderstorm

11/8/2021 (Permalink)

Lightning thunderstorm flash over the sky. Storm damage is a headache. SERVPRO knows this, which is why we're available to respond to your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

3 Tips for Staying Safe at Work During a Thunderstorm

Whether a steady rain storm or a full-fledged thunderstorm, severe weather is common in many parts of the world. If you own a business in an area that is susceptible to high winds and other storm damage, you may wish to have a strategy for keeping your business safe. Here are three fool-proof ways to protect your North Lakeland, FL, business from storm damage.


1. Take Some Pre-Storm Steps

When rain falls, winds blow and lightning strikes, it may be too late to effectively safeguard your organization form the negative effects of a storm. Instead, take some pre-storm steps to properly protect your business. Consider doing the following before storm clouds roll in:

  • Trim tree limbs than hang over your building
  • Ensure lightning rods are in place and functional
  • Clear debris from sidewalks and emergency exits
  • Secure damaged windows, doors and other vulnerable parts of your building

2. Keep Employees and Customers Safe

While most of protecting your business from a storm involves pre-storm planning, ensure employees and customers are safe during severe weather. Remember, even a common rain storm can include intense winds, hail and lightning. As such, when severe weather occurs, ask anyone inside your business to do the following:

  • Move away from windows, doors and skylights
  • Remain inside until weather passes
  • Take care when walking or driving in flooded areas

3. Have a Safety Drill or Two

If you are a business owner, you are responsible for the safety of your employees. To be sure your workers are ready for inclement weather in North Lakeland, FL hold periodic safety drills. These drills can help your employees form excellent storm-safety habits. If you aren’t sure how to conduct an effective drill, you can use a restoration service to get some ideas.

Protecting your company’s physical and personal assets during a rain storm or other severe weather is often a top priority. With a bit of planning, though, you can be certain your organization is ready.

Burst Pipes and Paperwork: The Basics of the Water Damage Claim

11/8/2021 (Permalink)

Flood insurance form on a table with a book. After broken pipes cause a flood, call your insurance provider immediately and request any claim forms.

The Basics of a Water Damage Claim: Burst Pipes and Paperwork

An insurance claim, especially for burst pipes, is often a dreaded piece of paperwork, not only for the damage it represents but for the somewhat mysterious process involved. The basics have been broken down for you below to help demystify the process.

1. Request and Submit Claim Forms

After broken pipes cause a flood, call your insurance provider immediately and request any claim forms. During your initial conversation, it is appropriate to ask any coverage questions you may have. Understanding your policy now will mean fewer errors on the forms later and less likelihood of your form’s rejection after submission.

2. Mitigate Further Damage

While the insurance claim process can take several weeks to complete, you do not have to allow your home to sustain further damage. In fact, most insurers require homeowners take mitigative action to reduce the risk of continued loss. Therefore, you should remove excess water, board up any broken windows, shut off problematic water lines and clean out the affected areas.

3. Itemize Damages and Losses

After making a claim, your insurance company may send out an adjuster to assess the extent of the damage and any potential liabilities. You can make this process more efficient by itemizing any structural damages and property losses. Additionally, an adjuster may want a record of any acquired expenses because of the pipe burst damage, such as cleanup and mitigation costs. Keep Receipts for cleaning materials and pictures of losses as proof.

4. Ask Questions and Seek Assistance

While your insurance company can offer you the most significant insight into your coverage, you may want to search the Polk County, FL, area for a restoration specialist who can answer your mitigation concerns. Mitigation professionals have the expertise to either help you understand the process or to complete the cleanup process for you. As most insurance companies prefer you work with a professional, it may be beneficial to secure several cleanup bids to show the adjuster when they come.

The insurance claim process may seem a bit daunting, but it really comes down to paperwork, mitigation, itemization and cleanup. The process, while intimidating, is manageable when you understand the basics above.

Caring for Your Post-Fire Home

10/28/2021 (Permalink)

A room damaged by fire If your home suffers fire damage, call SERVPRO. We make disasters "Like it never even happened."

Taking Care Of Your Home After a Fire

Upon assessing your house in Griffin, FL, after a fire, the fire damage will probably be immediately apparent. In addition to the scorched bits and smoke damage, you will notice there is a lot of water in your house. This isn’t surprising since a fire hose can spray 500 gallons of water per minute while the fire is raging. By acting quickly, you can take steps to prevent further damage.

1. Begin Work on Major Damages

The first thing to do after assessing the water damage in your house is to contact a specialist who can help deal with water and fire damage. Damages may go deeper than is immediately apparent and could exist in spaces between floors and walls. It is essential that restoration begin as soon as possible, as excessive water can cause mold and mildew if left alone. Most household appliances are not equipped to deal with the amount of water that will be in your home after a torrent of water from a fire hose.

2. Stay Safe

If you enter your home, use caution when walking on wet or slippery surfaces. Items can become dangerously heavy if they are waterlogged, so use caution when standing under or attempting to pick up soggy items. Avoid electrical sparks by only using electronics that are completely dry and outlets that are far away from wet areas. Avoid rooms where the ceilings are sagging or where the structure may be unsteady.

3. Help the Pros

You can help with restoration by making areas more accessible to professionals. It will be helpful to clean up loose items near the wet areas. Wipe off furniture and move objects to a dry place away from the damage. Fabric items should be hung up or propped up so that air can flow on all sides. You may be able to use fans or dehumidifiers to help dry out areas that are less damaged.

With quick action, your home can be saved or restored after fire damage and a deluge of fire-fighting water.