Preparing Your Business for A Disaster
You may just be starting out with your own business or have an established well-oiled machine. Either way, you work hard planning for the future. One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of running a business, is disaster preparedness. After all, most businesses will never experience a serious disaster, so why worry?
Planning is Not Hard
Luckily for business owners across Long Island, planning for the possibilities of a disaster is not as hard and time consuming as it seems. Here are a few tips to help ensure the continuity of your business, even in the event of a disaster:
- Develop a comprehensive preparedness plan that covers, fire, flood, natural disasters, criminal behavior and terrorism. Templates for these plans can be found in various places around the Internet including ready.gov, a service provided by the US Department of Homeland Security.
- Test your program to make sure that employees and contractors know what to do in case of an emergency. Proper testing can identify gaps in your plan and makes for a calmer and more organized response during a real disaster.
- Backups – At the very least keep crucial documents backed up offsite or in a secure location. Ideally, documents and other paperwork is scanned and backed up securely on the Internet.
- Train employees in critical skills such as how to handle an active shooter or CPR. These are training programs that save lives.
- While you may have business insurance, does it cover all disasters? Some policies have exclusions that can mean denied coverage.
- Have a list of known contractors and disaster preparedness companies such as SERVPRO of Bellmore/Wantagh that can respond quickly to your business needs.
Are You Ready?
You can learn more about being ready by visiting our very own SERVPRO website here: https://ready.SERVPRO.com - see if you are truly prepared for an emergency.
The bottom line: It’s never too late to implement important contingencies to help ensure the continuity of your business. Not only does an emergency plan help you get back on your feet after a significant event, but it can also save time, money and most importantly, lives. Be prepared!
Practical Tips to Avoiding a Flooded Home
Flooding always seems to happen when you least expect it. And oftentimes, it’s while you’re away, making a bad situation so much worse. Fortunately, there are some often overlooked practical tips to help prevent flooding, or to detect and correct it quickly if it does.
First, many of the water delivery systems in your house, such as your faucets and toilets, have individual valves. These valves are typically used to service the system or cut off water flow in an emergency or when you plan to be away for an extended period of time. Over time, these valves can deteriorate, themselves causing a flood. The corrosion can also cause the valve to not shut off, making it that much harder to control the water flow. If you see that your valves are beginning to corrode, or when testing your valves see they do not completely shut off water flow, a plumber or a knowledgeable DIYer can easily replace the valves with little effort.
Shower valves can also be a source of in-wall leakage that may not be readily detectable. Shower valves degrade over time and use, and since these are hidden within the wall, it is hard to inspect them. Speak to your plumber about the shower valve and consider replacing it when remodeling the bathroom, shower or tub.
Many large appliances such as our washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators also get old and may show their age with a water leak. Tubing can leak, and depending on the pitch of the floor beneath the appliance, water may pool in corners of the room that are out of sight. Inspecting your appliances on a regular basis, or as recommended by the manufacturer, can help predict and avoid serious water issues.
You will also want to make sure that the main water shut-off valve (usually found outside of the house) is working properly as well. This valve system should be identified and tested as appropriate, and the valve should be replaced if it does not fully cut off water to the home.
Water heaters are a major source of water leakage. As they age, they tend to corrode and rust from the inside out. This, combined with potential build-up of pressure, can cause the water heater to leak or rupture once it reaches the end of its life. Water heaters should be serviced by a qualified technician on intervals suggested by the appliance manufacturer. If your current water heater is worse for wear, a new water heater is not only more reliable, but will likely heat water much more efficiently, giving you more hot water for less money.
There are various gadgets available in home improvement stores, some which can be connected to some security systems, that can detect water pooling on the floor and notify you via an audible alarm, an app or phone call. These devices can be strategically placed throughout the house, based on where they are most effective.
Once again, prevention is key in avoiding a water leak. But should you find yourself in this situation, SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh is here to help.
Fire Safety Is A Year-Round Concern
When it comes to keeping your family safe, fire prevention is at the top of the list. And while there have never been as many resources as there are today, many families are still unprepared for the possibility of a home fire. Fires kill an average of over 2,500 people every year according to the NFPA and destroy countless homes. Most fires are preventable.
The first key to fire safety is proper preparation. Having a plan and making sure each family member knows it well is key to safety. You can start with the resources found here: http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/resources/safety-tip-sheets.
Purchase fire extinguishers and place them strategically throughout the home. Fire extinguisher instruction sheets typically have a map showing where fire extinguishers should be placed to maximize safety.
Purchase or replace smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are the primary alerting system for fires in the home. There are different types of smoke alarm sensors and some confusion over which is better. Ideally, have a dual sensor smoke alarm in each suggested location, or one of each sensor at that location. If the smoke detector has a heat sensor and/or carbon monoxide detector built in, even better. Refer to the smoke alarm instruction manual for proper placement and locations throughout the home. Your smoke alarm system may also be hardwired with an intercommunication line. Many recently built homes will be wired in this manner. This means that if one smoke alarm triggers, every smoke alarm in the house will trigger with it, alerting everyone in the home and not just where the smoke or fire originates.
Many security systems now offer the ability to add a monitored smoke alarm for a small added fee. The peace of mind knowing that someone is monitoring your home whether you are there or away may be worth the small extra charge.
It is also important to remember that it is often the thick, toxic smoke created by a fire that ultimately overwhelms and disables occupants of the house. Be mindful of this when choosing fabrics and floor coverings, as you may have the option of picking items that are either fire resistant or less toxic. Check for fire ratings when furnishing your home.
Of course, if a devastating fire were to occur, once you have secured your family members, SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh is here to help with the cleanup. From fire to smoke damage and more, our advanced cleaning capabilities can help you bring your home back to its original condition.
How Your Roof Can Lead to Costly Home Repairs
The roofs above our heads represent a physical barrier from the elements as well as an important psychological comfort. Yet, even though a roof represents one of the largest investments in our home, most homeowners do not maintain it as diligently as they would their car. This all-too-common problem, can lead to significant damage inside the home.
Roof maintenance needs to be on the annual to-do list for every homeowner and especially for those of us that live in climate with four seasons. During a harsh winter, our roof is exposed to the cold causing its components to contract. Hot summers have the opposite effect making the roof components expand and placing additional strain on its integrity. Dry and alternately rainy spells can all accelerate the degradation of the roof.
When a roof fails there can be very obvious leaks from the ceiling. Far more insidious is the leak that is not readily apparent, usually as a result of a defect in a seam. Water may drip into the space between the walls and collect under tile, carpet or wood. By the time the defect is found, it may have already caused extensive damage that went largely unseen. Not only can this water intrusion cause physical damage to the home, but it can also create a mold contamination problem that can cause significant ill effects to occupants.
Some practical tips on maintaining your roof include
- Get an annual inspection from a licensed, experienced roofer
- Ensure that all seams, especially those around chimneys and where a flat roof meets the pitched roof or a wall, are watertight
- Ensure that any structures attached to the roof including trellises, gutters and more are not rotting and are appropriately fastened
- Ensure that there is sufficient airflow into and out of the attic
- Ensure that any roof cleaning is performed by a professional with extensive experience. For example, using chlorine bleach to clean a roof can cause the degradation of the nails or screws used to fasten the roofing material to the deck as well as degradation of the roofing material itself
- Of course, do not wait to repair or replace the roof when needed
In the end, a minimal investment in ensuring that your roof is well maintained can go a long way toward helping avoid a disaster in the future.
Leave Us a Review!
All of us here at SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh want to thank you for inviting us into your home and trusting us with its repair. Your satisfaction is of utmost importance to us and we hope that your experience with us was nothing less than excellent.
We know your time is important, but we’d like to ask you to take a moment of your time to review us online and tell other potential customers about your experience. Please leave us a review at your favorite website, including:
If you have any questions or concerns, or our work did not meet your expectations, we want to hear from you. Please call Raymond Norowski, Owner of SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh at (516) 809-9600. We are always here to help.
Critters in the Attic Can Cause More Trouble Than Just Ripped Insulation.
Racoon entering home through roof hole.
As the cold weather approaches and we start to prepare our homes for the long winter season, we need to be aware of the rodents and pests in the area that are looking for lodging too. Our homes and garages look like opportunities for shelter for raccoons possums, squirrels and birds. We have to take a second look and make sure that there are no easy entrances that these creatures are able to use to get into our homes and cause damage.
The damage that they can cause can be as simple as ripping up some old insulation, all the way up to chewing up electrical wires and destroying HVAC systems. Calling an exterminator is essential to get these vermin out as soon as possible so that the damage that they inflict is as minimal as possible. Once the intruders are removed the job is not quite done.
Now is the time to call SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh. The waste products that these animals leave behind can be toxic if they become airborne transmitting the Norovirus to everyone in the home. Calling the experts at SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh will allow them to come and clean up the biohardous waste that the animals leave behind. Once the area is properly cleaned the area should be properly closed off so that the animals don't come back.
The Day It Rained in the Kitchen
It was February break, we were coming back from a week of skiing. The car ride home was long and traffic was brutal. We all hoped that dinner would be soon. When we entered the house something was wrong... VERY wrong. It was raining in the kitchen! We had forgotten to turn off the water in the house and to leave the faucets on a slow trickle while we were away, so when the pipe in the upstairs bathroom froze at the joint and pulled apart, everything went crazy. Water went everywhere. It soaked my cabinets, my kitchen furniture, the hardwood floors, and then went into the finished basement. It took out the entertainment area. The TV, video game systems, the stereo, carpets- EVERYTHING!!!! We called our insurance company and they sent over the SERVPRO representatives to help. They came right away, they took away what was wet, dried what could be saved, and helped us to tell the difference. They explained the craziness to us and made us realize that this was going to be alright. My advice to anyone is- don't go on winter vacation without leaving your faucets on a slow trickle. And if you ever do have a pipe burst, call SERVPRO first!
Customer was on 2 week vacation and came home to find the floor joists in his basement covered in mold.
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 516-809-9600
Belmore / Wantagh / Seaford 24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service
SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - 1-516-809-9600
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
About SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh
SERVPRO of Bellmore / Wantagh specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Are your gutters properly installed?
Plywood and framing damaged from wet rot.
Gutters are an important and often overlooked part of our houses. But, we take them for granted at our own peril. Gutters direct rainwater run-off to help avoid basement flooding and to maintain the integrity of the home’s foundation amongst other things.
Gutter maintenance is often emphasized, especially during the fall months, when leaves clog gutters and cause improper redirection of water. However, not much is said about the installation of gutters in the first place. A significant number of gutter systems are installed improperly, either by well-meaning DIY homeowners or poorly trained or inexperienced handymen and contractors. Ultimately, any money saved could end up costing much more than the homeowner bargained for. Some of the most common issues with gutter installations include:
- Gutters that do not divert water far enough away from the home’s foundation causing either a) flooding or b) foundation problems. This can either be caused by improper initial installation, degradation of the gutter system or missing components
- Poorly installed drip edge that does not divert water into the gutter but rather allows water to rot fascia and roof sheathing. Roofing and gutter installation are two different specialties. Don’t rely on a roofing contractor to properly handle your gutters – make sure a specialist inspects the work
- Improper installation or maintenance and/or improper sizing can cause leaking seams, stagnating water and serious consequences
- Missing or damaged flashing, a metal barrier meant to prevent water from rotting wooden components of the roof, can lead to significant exterior and interior damage.
In the case of the house featured in this blog post, water made its way into the house, running between the exterior and interior walls. The exterior sheathing, framing and drywall had completely deteriorated requiring complete replacement at significant cost. All of this damage could have been prevented if the flashing behind the gutter was properly installed.
It may seem like an inconvenience, but understanding your gutters, maintaining them properly and making sure they are properly installed can, for a relatively small cost, avoid major repairs down the road.