Recent General Posts
Tips for Handling a Home Insurance Claim
Consider if the damage is worth filing a claim
Your first step should be to wonder, “Do I really need to file a claim for this?” Small home problems are known as “incidentals” by many insurers. These have the same deductible and potential to raise your premiums as a whole home replacement. Making frivolous claims or requesting claims that can't be honored trigger expenses that make claims cost more than they save.
Be familiar with your insurance policy.
Review your policy every year or every time you switch carriers. Look on the “declarations” page to find out the types of incidents that are covered. This page also has the maximum value you can get from a claim. Before filing a claim, take the time to look at your policy and see if your problem is covered.
Know a Licensed and Insured, Reliable Contactor
You'll want only the most reliable contractor to perform repairs on your home after it's damaged. Try to seek one out before anything happens to your house. This will ensure that you get the best work possible when the time comes. You have the right to choose who works in your home. You do not have to use anyone you do not want to.
Use your preferred contractor for a repair estimate
A dependable contractor will be able to make an accurate estimate, then perform the work correctly both on-schedule and on-budget.
Take photos of the Damages
Your first step after calling your insurer and your contractor should be to begin documenting the damage as-is. Take clear, well-lit photos from as many angles as possible.
Get in Touch with Your Mortgage Lender
Your mortgage lender will likely be part of the settlement process if you don't own your home in full yet. Ask your lender how they handle insurance claims, many have specific packets they will want filled out to endorse insurance checks. Get that paperwork filled out at soon as possible to speed up the process with the mortgage company.
Be Present During the Adjuster Inspection
After getting a contractor's estimate, be ready to give the adjuster in writing your personal assessment of the damage. You'll help make sure that they do not miss crucial details or underestimate the extent of the necessary repairs.
Leave a Paper Trail
The key to making claims as painless as possible is airtight documentation.
- Make note of relevant phone conversations, or better yet use email to communicate since it's verifiable by both parties
- Save all receipts for expenses
- Never pay in cash, especially for your contract work
- If your policy covers living expenses, save receipts for associated costs while waiting for repairs like hotel rooms, babysitting, etc.
- Document value of existing assets prior to the damage. For example, save your HDTV purchase receipt and your invoice from a flooring replacement
- Obtain a copy of the police report, if applicable
Employee Appreciation Cookout
Our employees enjoying their cookout!
March 2nd was Employee Appreciation Day. We had a great cookout with all of our employees. We even broke out the prize wheel for everyone to take a spin. :)
Frequently Asked Flu Questions
What should I do to protect myself from flu this season?
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.
In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, you can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others. In addition, there are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza illness. Visit What you Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs for more information.
What should I do to protect my loved ones from flu this season?
Encourage your loved ones to get vaccinated. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing flu complications, and their close contacts. Also, if you have a loved one who is at high risk of flu complications and they develop flu symptoms, encourage them to get a medical evaluation for possible treatment with flu antiviral drugs. These drugs work best if given within 48 hours of when symptoms start. CDC recommends that people who are at high risk for serious flu complications and who get flu symptoms during flu season be treated with flu antiviral drugs as quickly as possible. People who are not at high risk for serious flu complications may also be treated with flu antiviral drugs, especially if treatment can begin within 48 hours.
Do some children require two doses of flu vaccine?
Yes. Some children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine for adequate protection from flu. Children in this age group who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of flu vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart. Children who have only received one dose in their lifetime also need two doses. Your child’s doctor or other health care professional can tell you if your child needs two doses of flu vaccine. Visit Children, the Flu, and the Flu Vaccine for more information.
What can I do to protect children who are too young to get vaccinated?
Children younger than 6 months old are at high risk of serious flu complications, but are too young to get a flu vaccine. Because of this, safeguarding them from flu is especially important. If you live with or care for an infant younger than 6 months old, you should get a flu vaccine to help protect them from flu. See Advice for Caregivers of Young Children for more information. Everyone else who is around the baby also should be vaccinated. Also, studies have shown that flu vaccination of the mother during pregnancy can protect the baby after birth from flu infection for several months.
In addition to getting vaccinated, you and your loved ones can take everyday preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.
Tornadoes have caused a lot of destruction in many towns, such as the devastating tornadoes that hit Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday May 22, 2011. Although, we cannot prevent a tornado, we can be more knowledgeable of what a tornado is and the signs of a tornado coming.
Tornadoes are considered nature’s most fierce storms and is formed from a violently narrow rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A tornadoes location may be marked by a cloud of debris even if the funnel is not visible.
Tornadoes may cause devastating fatalities and damage to many homes and neighborhoods in the matter of seconds.
According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), “About 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S yearly.”
Tornadoes are most likely to be seen during May into early June for the Southern Plains and for the Northern plains and upper Midwest, tornadoes are more likely to be seen in June or July. Although, these are the peak tornado seasons, tornadoes can happen at any time of the year. Tornadoes can also happen at any time of the day or night, but are most likely to hit between 4-9 p.m.
Tornado Watch: the conditions are favorable for a tornado.
Tornado Warning: a tornado has been reported, you should seek shelter.
Air Pressure: is the weight of a column of air that extends from the ground to the top of the atmosphere.
Funnel Cloud: a rotating column of wind that has not touched the ground (funnel clouds are called tornadoes when they reach the ground).
Multi-Vortex Tornado: a tornado that has two or more vortices that circle the center of a larger tornado.
Tornado Alley: an area in the United States where tornadoes are more likely to develop.
For more information on tornado safety and what to do in case of a tornado please visit https://www.weather.gov/ctp/TornadoSafety .
Emergency Ready Profile
Make sure your business is prepared for whatever may happen!
Emergency Ready Profile
It is estimated that up to 50% of businesses that close due to a disaster, such as a fire or flood, never reopen. Of the businesses that do survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Preparation is key for making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time to plan is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. By creating a plan and being prepared, you can reduce interruption and get back to business.
The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) is a tool that can help prepare your business for anything that may happen. The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile serves as a quick reference document, detailing important building and contact information. It can be an ideal supplement to any existing emergency preparedness plan. Rather than simply reacting to a disaster, be proactive by establishing a relationship with a restoration company. SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington is a leader in fire and water damage response and can help you get your property back in working order.
Advantages of the SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile:
- A no cost assessment of your facility.
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
- Establishes SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
Don't wait until disaster strikes. Contact SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington and be "Ready for whatever happens."
We Are IICRC Certified
SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington is IICRC Certified.
We Are IICRC Certified
SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.
IICRC Certified Firms must
• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.
The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry
The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.
Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.
About SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington
SERVPRO of Cayce/ West Columbia and Lexington 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 and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: 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 you prepared for hurricane season? Hurricane Season starts June 1 and lasts until November 30.
No one can predict when a disaster will strike but as we are entering hurricane season, it is always a clever idea to be prepared just in case.
To be prepared each home should have a three-day (72 hour) disaster survival kit for each family member.
Here is a suggested list of survival kit supplies:
- Drinking water:
- The suggested amount for each person is one gallon per person/ per day. You should use unbreakable containers that will not break or decompose.
- Don’t forget to add additional water for mixing formula if you have a young child and don’t forget to have extra water for your pets.
- It is also a promising idea to have extra water for food preparation.
- Water for sanitation use:
- Store extra containers of water to be used for flushing toilets, cleaning, and bathing.
- Non-perishable food: (Bring foods that you know that you and your family will eat even when there isn’t a storm).
- Maintain at least 3-7 days of food for each member of your family.
- Ready to eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables are great, you don’t necessarily have to heat this stuff up just in case you are without power.
- High energy foods like crackers, granola bars, and trail mix.
- Fresh bread.
- Comfort foods: cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereal, instant coffee, tea bags.
- Food for infants.
- Paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils.
- Aluminum foil.
- Plastic storage containers.
- Toilet paper, towelettes, soap, baby wipes, liquid hand sanitizer.
- Liquid detergent.
- Feminine supplies.
- Toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo.
- Garbage bags.
- Bleach, disinfectant.
- First Aid kit: (Assemble a first aid kit for your home and for each car).
- Germicidal hand wipes or hand sanitizer.
- Gloves, Adhesive tape, antibacterial ointment, antiseptic spray.
- Cold packs, scissors, tweezers, rubbing alcohol.
- CPR breathing barrier.
- Safety pins.
- Aspirin, ibuprofen, Benadryl, peroxide.
- (If you are taking any prescription drugs make sure you have at least a 30-day supply).
- Clothing and Bedding: (Include at least one complete change of clothing per family member).
- Sturdy shoes.
- Rain gear.
- Blankets or sleeping bags.
- Hat and gloves.
- Lawn chairs.
- Extra things you may need:
- Wind up battery operated clock.
- Paper and pencil.
- Small sewing kit.
- Map of the area.
- Citronella candles.
- Extra batteries.
For more great tips on how to make sure your family is prepared for a hurricane please visit: www.ready.gov/kit
The Right Stuff
We understand that our equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing claims loss expense. When time matters, the right technology and equipment are vital. So not only do we answer your call with fast action and trained, uniformed personnel, but also with the right equipment for the job!
When it comes to fire damage, we train our teams thoroughly. For instance, knowing the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns are vital to proper restoration.
Wet Smoke -- Plastics and Synthetics; Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary.
Dry Smoke -- Paper and Wood; Fast burning, high temperatures, dry, powdery, no smeary residues.
Protein -- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Fuel Oil Soot -- Furnace Puff Backs
Other Types -- Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue.
Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows us to focus on saving your precious items (what really matters).
Two amazing pieces of deodorization equipment include ultra low volume (ULV) foggers and thermal foggers. ULV foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that easily penetrates sites where odor-causing residues accumulate. The device can also be used to apply fungicides and disinfectants. Thermal foggers dispense solvent-based products in large volume, dense fogs suitable for confined areas. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that pair with and neutralize odor-causing particles.
We've got the right stuff.
We want to equip you to minimize home injuries with brief tips that go a long way. Stay tuned for more tips!
Do:Hose or wash egg damage from building exterior as soon as possibleBlot freshly spilled food from carpets and fabrics with a dampened cloth or sponge (but don’t overwet). Scrape and blot; don’t rub since it can damage fibersVacuum glass particles from carpets and upholsterySave containers that reveal the composition of spilled inks, cosmetic and paints.
Don’t:Attempt to remove ink, paint or cosmetic stainsOperate damaged lamps or appliancesDiscard wood chips, broken pieces from furniture, porcelain or other art objects
Educating Kids About Fire
Have you educated your kids about fire safety? Do you know how to talk about fire safety with your kids?
Here are a few tips:
- Keep matches and lighters in a secured drawer or cabinet.
- Have your children tell you when they find matches and lighters.
- Develop a home fire escape plan. Practice it with your children and designate a meeting place outside.
- Supervise young children closely. Do not leave them alone even for short periods of time.
- Take the mystery out of fire by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
- Teach children the nature of fire. It is FAST, HOT, DARK and DEADLY!
- Demonstrate how to stop, drop to the ground and roll if their clothes catch fire.
- Show children how to crawl low on the floor, below the smoke, to get out of the house and stay out in the case of fire.
- Teach children not to hide from firefighters, but to get out quickly and call for help.
Your Possessions Could Be at Risk
An accurate record of your possessions is worth more than you think. A videotape recording is not enough to protect your contents.
Reasons to Inventory Your Home Contents:
- Better information to settle claims quicker
- Add legitimacy to loss
- Assist with burden of proof for claims
For estate planning and will preparation:
- Less stress for your family and heirs
- Efficient estate closing can lessen expenses
- Ensure your heirs recieve possessions
- Factual records to fight bureaucracy
- Better information to reduce taxes
Servpro Contents Inventory Means:
- Complete preloss list and value of contents
- Detailes and accurate report filed with insurance agent or court
- Peace of mind
Time is a Precious Commodity
When you need it done right and done fast, call your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional for all your commercial cleaning needs. Did you know when you hire SERVPRO Franchise Professionals for maintenance cleaning; you get around-the-clock restoration services built with you in mind? Quality cleaning and quick response -- that's the SERVPRO way.
Can't figure out how to get the job done? Call your local Franchise Professional for all your emergency restoration needs. Because when you experience a fire, water or mold damage in your facility, you need fast response and the expertise to get the job done right, ensuring your business can get back into operation as fast as possible. Through it all, you expect the most reliable information and the very best service at a fair price.
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are committed to providing fire and water cleanup and restoration services to reduce business interruptions and recovery costs.
Are You Really Prepared?
If a natural disaster were to strike today would you really be prepared? If the answer is yes, then CONGRATULATIONS! 9 times out of 10 a household is not prepared for a disaster. After my last blog, I wondered if I was prepared for a disaster. Living in California our teachers and parents prepared us on what to do in case of an earthquake.
"DUCK AND COVER."
To be honest "duck and cover" is all that I am prepared for, which isn't saying much. Here is a helpful list to get you and your family prepared!
Please go through this list and make sure that all of these items are in your emergency kit. You never know when an emergency can strike you or your community!
- Water—one gallon per person, per day (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
- Food—nonperishable, easytoprepare items (3 day supply for evacuation, 2 week supply for home)
- Battery-powered or handcrank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7day supply) and medical items
- Multipurpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:
- Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
- Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
- Games and activities for children
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
- Two-way radios
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Manual can opener
Additional supplies to keep at home or in your kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:
- N95 or surgical masks
- Rain gear
- Work gloves
- Tools/supplies for securing your home
- Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
- Plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
- Household liquid bleach
- Entertainment items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
The Danger of not having a Emergency Kit:
Though most households are located in reasonable proximity to an emergency respondent, access to an emergency kit is often critical in securing the health and safety of residents before help arrives. For those located a significant distance from emergency assistance, or homes that contain injury-prone children or older adults, an emergency kit is non-negotiable.
Now ask yourself are you prepared for a natural disaster to strike?
Winterize Your Home
Keep Your Home Safe!
Since the severe weather has made an appearance across the country, it's only right if I give you Awesome Tips on keeping your home and business safe!
Tips for Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather
- Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or un-insulated areas of your home.
- Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shut-off valve in the basement or crawl space and turn it to "off".
- If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shut off.
- Ensure gutters are clean and secure. Leaves and debris accumulate, causing a damming effect on gutters, which could lead to roof problems and water damage.
- Proper maintenance of your furnace can help reduce the risk of puff backs.
Home Maintenance Checklist
There are tons of ways that you can keep your clean and safe and your SERVPRO team is here to give you tips on how to do so!
- Vacuum your carpet. (Rule of thumb: vacuum once per week per human inhabitant, twice per pet).
- Feel plugs/ outlets for warmth. Call electrician if anything appears unusual.
- Change air filters (if there are no pets, smoking inside the home, or inhabitants with allergies, you may change them quarterly at a MINIMUM).
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by pushing ‘test’ button.
- Check faucet and hose connections under sinks and toilets and behind laundry equipment and refrigerator.
- Look for leaks at shut-off valves.
- Check walls and ceilings for brown spots. Check painted surfaces for peeling, chipping or blistering. This can be indicative of water damage.
- Clean dust from molding and baseboards to preserve value.
- Check inside basement walls for dampness or water stains.
- Check to make sure crawl space vapor barrier is in good condition and placed correctly.
- Examine outside vents and gutters. Make sure properly sealed and clear of obstruction. Recheck vents during and after a snowstorm.
- Check condition of caulking around sinks, bathtubs, and showers. For extra protection, replace with long-lasting material such as silicone or latex.
- Clean dirt and dust from around furnaces, air grills and ducts.
- Have dryer vent cleaned by professional or remove lent with leaf blower to prevent clogging or fire damage. Check vent if clothes aren’t drying properly.
- Have carpet cleaned by professional cleaner to preserve fabric or warranty.
- Practice fire escape plan with family. Identify off-site meeting location/shelter.
- Pull back floor insulation in basement or crawl space to check for leaks, wood damage around supply pipes.
- Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Clean detectors/vacuum each grill.
- Have property inspected and treated for termites by professional technician.
- Check roof for damaged shingles and flashing.
- Replace washer/dryer and refrigerator hoses (steel braided hoses are recommended).
- Have AC unit serviced by professional technician. Condensation drain lines need to be checked for clogging to prevent water damage.
- Have fireplace inspected and cleaned by professional chimney sweeper.
- Drain garden hoses and store for winter.
Long Term Reminders:
- Every 5 years, have ducts cleaned by professional technician.
- Every 25 years, replace roof shingles.
More general safety tips include:
- Store emergency contact information (police, fire dept., hospital, etc.) in physical and digital locations. Free apps are available as a resource (see servpro.com/ready).
- Keep rescue ladder(s) for multi-story homes.
- Keep fire extinguisher in kitchen and on every floor. Have all house dwellers practice use.
- Plug a rechargeable flashlight into socket close to bed. May also be used to signal first responders.
- Trim back branches from roof and chimney to prevent fire or structural damage.
- Regularly clean fireplace ash pit.
- Never burn green wood. Burn only dry, well-seasoned hard wood that has been split properly.
- Use dryer sheets when drying clothes to reduce spontaneous combustion. Let clothes cool off before transferring.
- If a rotten-egg type smell is detected, check pipes for possible gas leak.
- Set water heaters no higher than 120 degrees. Keep combustible and flammable material away from heater.
- Consider a sprinkler system in home to prevent fire damage.
- Never plug more than one high wattage appliance in single outlet.
- Keep carpet stretched and healthy to prevent tripping on wrinkles. If wrinkled, check for delamination by pulling carpet back from corner of room. Delaminated carpet is not repairable and must be replaced.
In case of water damage, you should know what to do and what not to do until help arrives. SERVPRO’s got your back. Here are our tips:
- Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
- When access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock, turn off circuit breakers in wet areas of the building.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushion for even drying.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Any painting, art object, computers, document and other material that are valuable or sensitive to moisture should be relocated to a safe, dry place.
- Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors.
- Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors.
- Hang furs and leather good to dry separately at room temperature.
- Enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist.
- Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
- Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors to cause staining.
- Leave oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining.
- Use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Use TVs or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.
- Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet.
- Enter rooms where ceiling is sagging from retained water.
Home Emergency Tips
Here at SERVPRO we clean and restore fire and water damage, but our desire is that you never need to call us.
Harmful Waste (Sewage, Bloodborne Pathogens, Etc.)
Here are some home emergency tips:
- Stay out of affected areas
- Call emergency service personnel if the situation is life threatening.
- Treat all bodily fluids as if they are contaminated
- Turn off the HVAC system if there is sewage damage.
- Attempt cleanup of any kind
- Touch or handle items that might be contaminated with bodily fluids.
- Eat, drink, smoke, apply cosmetics or handle contact lenses in affected areas.
*If exposed to harmful waste, OSHA recommends a post- exposure medical evaluation. Consult your local health department or physician.