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How Flash Floods After Storms Can Be Dangerous | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

11/27/2020 (Permalink)

Though there are many weather events that can cause issues or even lead to fatalities, many people are unaware that flash floods are on the list of things to be seriously concerned about. While heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths, floods are a close second in the United States, with flash floods being the most dangerous type.

Flooding is always a frightening event, but flash floods are particularly dangerous because of how quickly they can begin—even in areas not typically impacted by flooding. Any body of water can spawn a flash flood if there is enough rain, and because there are often only minutes to react, knowing the facts in advance is so important.

Understanding What Is Considered a Flash Flood

A traditional flood will slowly begin to rise, while a flash flood must occur within the first six hours after a storm, but they often happen in as few as three hours.

Flash floods tend to be more common in urban areas due to the possibility of blocked storm drains and drainage systems, and they can occur even in areas that are not situated low enough to be a regular flood concern.

Understanding the Warning Guidelines for Flash Floods

As we have discussed, flash floods occur with little to no warning, which is why you should always stay alert to local broadcasts when there is a storm occurring. Flash flood watches will be issued for broad areas if it becomes a possibility, which is when you want to make sure you have a safety plan in place. For a warning, you may only have moments to react—and for a flash flood emergency, the incident is imminent and you must move to high ground as quickly as possible.

Understanding How to Increase Safety for a Flash Flood

Being safe is so important during any storm or severe weather event, especially when flash floods become a possibility. These are some of the best rules to keep in mind to make sure you and your family are always as safe as possible:

  • When storms involve heavy rain, stay inside and away from low-lying parts of properties.
  • Always have an evacuation plan for floods and be sure your family is aware of it.
  • Avoid trying to cross floodwater, whether in a vehicle or on foot.
  • Avoid touching floodwater or allowing children to play near it, as it can be heavily contaminated.
  • Always turn around if there is water on your intended route of travel.

If your home or business has been damaged due to a flood or other severe weather, you can depend on us. Contact us at any hour to learn more about our services or to report damage to your property.

Fire Safety: Electrical Focus | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

11/20/2020 (Permalink)

The holiday season is coming fast, and with it the temptation to string as many colored lights as possible inside and out. Before you start plugging everything in, do a quick review of your home’s electrical safety situation.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, “electrical distribution or lighting equipment” accounts for about 34,000 home fires every year. These hazards include cords, lighting, plugs and wiring.

From the point at which electricity enters your home to endpoint devices, we’ll look at the most common sources of danger:

Human Error

From using devices in an unsafe manner to allowing curtains to droop against heating elements, human carelessness contributes to many home electrical fires. The best remedy is caution. Always read appliance directions and follow them.

Never leave devices such as space heaters unattended. Make sure electrical devices and appliances have plenty of space around them. Treat electrical devices with a healthy respect in every situation.

Electrical Failure or Malfunction

After human error, electrical “failure or malfunction” makes the second leading cause of deaths from house fires. Many fires involve arcing, where a spark jumps from one conductor to another. Damaged wires and loose connections—in your house wiring or in appliances—can lead to arcing. So can faults in junction and control boxes.

Professional Advice. If your house has older wiring, it might be time for a visit from an electrician. He or she can look for any wiring that needs to be updated. Your electrician can also install arc-fault circuit interrupters to cut off power when dangerous arcing conditions occur.

Sharp-Eyed Solutions. For your part, you can check devices and appliances from small holiday lights through washers and dryers. Look for any exposed wires, loose cords or frayed coverings of cords/wires. Discard damaged devices or have them professionally repaired.

Distribution

Distribution problems also contribute to house fires. Connecting more than one appliance to a socket spells trouble. Similarly, extension cords should only be used occasionally, not incorporated as part of your day-to-day wiring solution.

Too many appliances connected to one outlet or circuit can lead to fires. Make sure you place no more demand on any one circuit or outlet than it can support.

From fire to storm to flood, disaster can strike a business at any time. To discuss a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, contact us at any hour for assistance.

Wintertime Tips for Fire Prevention | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

11/13/2020 (Permalink)

It seems like every year, the holiday season approaches faster and faster—but that means the increased risk of house fires does, too. Wintertime is when the most home fire incidents tend to occur according to the Red Cross, mainly because there is an increased chance for them to occur due to common winter activities.

The No.1 cause of home fires is cooking regardless of the season, but the chances for heating and electrical-related fires always increases when the weather turns colder. Focusing on fire safety throughout your wintertime celebrations will ensure that fires are far less likely to get a chance to spark.

Tips for Fire Prevention Around the Holiday Season

Keep safe when cooking. Cooking is the top cause of house fires in every season, but during the winter, there are more large, family style meals and far more baking which causes the frequency of cooking related fires to increase. It is wise to always keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and be careful about utensils, potholders, dish towels and curtains being anywhere near the stove.

Heat the house with proper precautions. It is common to use space heaters throughout the winter season to knock the chill off, but it is important to be certain your model has safety features such as a tip over shutoff and overheating sensor. If you have a fireplace in the home, have your chimney inspected annually to reduce the risk of fire, and be sure to never leave a fire or a space heater unattended or going while you sleep.

Decorate with care. The decorations commonly associated with Christmas, such as trees and lights, present an electrical hazard if they are not installed correctly. Christmas tree fires due to electricity are extremely common, often as a result of the lights being plugged in improperly. Make sure to not overload outlets or power cables, and never use decorations with frayed wiring.

If you have damage due to a house fire, you can depend on us to help. Contact us 24 hours a day to report damage and receive a quick response from our certified restoration technicians. Get in touch today.

Why Choose SERVPRO of Cedar Mill/Oak Hils

11/12/2020 (Permalink)

Why Choose SERVPRO - image of small house with Band-Aids over it SERVPRO is always here when you need us 24 hours a day!

Sustaining damage is a frightening thing, and determining how to recover can feel like an
impossible process. Not only are there safety and emotional considerations to take into account, but there is also the damage that can occur to your home or business to contend with, too.
Thankfully, if you experience damage, we are always here to help you. Deciding what
restoration company to work with can be a difficult process, but we hope that you will consider
us to take on the task so you can return home or to work in a timely manner.
Read on to learn more about what makes us different.
Why You Should Choose to Work With Us for Restoration
We Will Respond Quickly Regardless of the Time
When you discover any type of damage to your home or office, you will want things to be
remedied quickly so you can regain a sense of normalcy in life —which is why we are always
here when you need us. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a
year, so regardless of if you discover damage on a weekend, on a holiday or in the middle of the
night, you can still be certain we will respond rapidly to your call.
We Can Access Extra Resources if Necessary
We are proudly owned and operated locally, but since we are attached to the SERVPRO®
brand, we have far more resources at our disposal. Nationwide, there are hundreds of other
locations that can provide assistance and extra resources to our community if need be. That
means if a large storm or other catastrophic event comes through that damages many buildings
in the area, you will still receive exceptional, timely service from us.
We Are the Best at What We Do
We take pride in the restoration work that we do, and we make sure that every task we perform
is done exceptionally well. Our technicians are trained extensively when they are hired and are
provided with many growth opportunities throughout their careers, so you can be certain that
your restoration job is in good hands when you give us a call.
When you need restoration for your home or business, we hope you will trust us with the job. If
you need to report damage or just want more information, give us a call any time to learn more.

Is Water Damage As Serious As It Seems?

11/12/2020 (Permalink)

Serious Water Damage - image of woman cleaning water damage Water damage can cause significant damage no matter where is occurs.

Water damage is something that every homeowner has heard horror stories about, but it is also
something that everyone hopes will never happen to them. Water damage is more common
than people typically realize, impacting an estimated one out of 50 households every single
year—but just because it is common does not mean it should not be taken seriously.
Water damage can cause significant damage no matter where it occurs. Whether it is a damp
crawlspace, leaking roof or plumbing issue in the walls, the damage that water damage causes
can compound over time, creating a much bigger headache when it eventually has to be dealt
with. Below, we will be looking at why water damage is such a serious issue and why you
should always seek professional help if you discover it in your own home.
Why Water Damage Is Such a Serious Issue
Water Can Become Contaminated Over Time
The severity of water damage has quite a bit to do with the classification of the water causing
the issue—in general, water damage from inbound plumbing pipes or clean water sources will
not be as bad, while drains, sewers and flooding can cause much more serious problems.
However, even if your damage starts off as a result of clear, clean water sources, if left
untreated, the water can quickly become contaminated and create a breeding ground for
bacteria to thrive.
Water Can Give Rise to Mold Growth
Mold is a serious problem in many homes, and even if no one in your household has underlying
conditions such as asthma or allergies, it can still present health effects if it is allowed to
grow. Mold can grow anywhere that is damp, making the site of water damage a perfect place
for a colony to overtake.
Water Can Cause Structural Issues
Depending on the saturation level and area that is impacted by water damage, you may have to
consider the structural impact of having soaked floorboards, joists and studs in your home .
Water can saturate these materials and impact the structural integrity of your building with time,
creating a hazard for your household in addition to the water damage issue.
If you have water damage, do not hesitate to give us a call quickly. You can get in touch at any
hour to learn more about our services or to get a response from our expert technicians.

Recovering as a Business Owner After a Disaster

11/6/2020 (Permalink)

Plan ahead and check your insurance coverage Plan ahead and check your insurance policy coverage.

Recovering as a Business Owner After a Disaster | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

It is so rewarding to build a business and succeed, but if a disaster comes through and causes damage, that is a frustrating incident that is entirely out of your hands. This can devastate businesses that are not prepared, which is why knowing what you would do in this type of situation is so important for the longevity of your business after an emergency.

Safety during a disaster is the most important thing, so we highly recommend starting with a plan that encompasses your evacuation procedure, communicating with employees and keeping your office stocked with emergency supplies. Once you do this, you can move into phase two of the planning, which involves determining how you will be able to quickly recover.

Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery for Your Business

Check your insurance coverage and call your restoration company. No two commercial insurance policies are the same, so it is wise to get in touch with your provider to make sure you have all the information necessary to file a claim if you are able to. Next, contact your commercial restoration company to get that process started. In many cases, they will be able to talk with your insurance company directly to keep things simple for you.

Get in touch with your customers quickly. Your customers will want to hear from you after a disaster, so sending out messages quickly is a great way to keep them in the loop on your timeline and how they will be able to support you through this time. It might be worth considering doing a special promotion with gift cards or other long-lasting items that they can purchase and use at a later date to assist you throughout the rebuilding process.

Make sure you are aware of the assistance offerings. There are many disaster assistance programs available to business owners, such as the Small Business Administration’s loan program, which can be used for restoration, disaster-related costs and even income due to losses from the damage. These loans are typically designed to be easy to qualify for and to repay to help business owners rebuild.

If your business has been damaged due to a disaster, we’re here to help. Contact us at any hour to report your damage or to learn more about our commercial restoration services.

Understanding the Dangers of Flash Floods During and After Storms | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mills/Oak Hill

10/1/2020 (Permalink)

Car driving in flash flood When a flash flood hits, take these steps to be prepared.

While severe thunderstorms present dangers in their own right, they are not the most dangerous weather event that is possible in relation to heavy rain. Many people are surprised to learn that floods kill more people in the United States than tornadoes, hurricanes or lightning, and that flash floods are the most dangerous type of flood of all. 

Flash floods are not only destructive, but they can come about quickly—and because many people do not understand their dangers, they are often not taken as seriously as they should be. Fortunately, by understanding the dangers and the warnings surrounding flash floods, you can more easily stay safe from them in the future. 

Know the Alerts Surrounding Flash Floods 

To begin to increase your safety from flash floods, knowing the meanings of the various weather alerts is a great first step. A Flash Flood Watch is when you should make sure you are ready to execute your evacuation plan if necessary, as conditions are favorable for a flash flood. A Flash Flood Warning means that a flash flood is currently happening or will be happening soon, and a Flash Flood Emergency is the most severe alert, meaning that a severe flash flood is happening in the area. 

Have a Plan in Place for Flash Floods 

Because flash floods come about so quickly, it is important to have a plan ahead of time so you can react immediately in the event that an evacuation notice is issued. Make sure you have an evacuation supply bag, are aware of evacuation routes and know where to go should a flash flood occur. 

It is important to note that you should never attempt to drive through floodwaters—if your preferred route is blocked, turn around and find another avenue instead. You should also never walk through floodwaters, as moving water can quickly sweep even fully grown adults off their feet. 

If your home is damaged due to a storm or a flood, we are here to help you with the restoration process from start to finish. You can get in touch with us at any time of the day or night to learn more or to report damage for a quick response from our team.

Tips for Doing an At-Home Water Damage Inspection | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

Preserving the longevity of your home is so important to protect your investment, and there are few things that can be as detrimental to this as untreated water damage. While cosmetic issues are a concern for sure, water damage can also lead to severe structural issues within your home if it is not quickly addressed.

While you should always call in a professional if you notice water damage, you can often check around the house yourself to look for any signs. This can prevent costly homeowners insurance claims if it is caught early and significantly reduce the headache associated with restoration.

How Can I Look for Water Damage at Home?

Inspect your walls and ceilings. Because water damage is often so evident on drywall and ceilings, this is a good place to start your search. Look for water spots, discoloration or blistering anywhere along the walls or ceiling, as these can indicate water damage is present. Also pay close attention to door and window frames that lead to the exterior of the home, as these can allow water to seep in when it rains.

Don’t forget to look down. Because floors are the lowest point in every room, water can pool underneath them if there is an issue somewhere else in the room. Subfloors can become saturated with moisture quickly, leading to buckling or a wavy appearance in the floor above. Your nose can also point you in the right direction—if you notice a musty odor, there is likely an issue.

Inspect your roof. It is important to keep your roof in good shape to make sure it is keeping out all the elements it can when it rains. A pair of binoculars can give you valuable insights into the quality of your roof and help you spot any loose shingles or peeling places. Additionally, it is smart to check that your gutters are doing their job the next time it rains to prevent water from building up around your foundation.

Pay close attention to the basement. Damp basements used to be considered a given, but we know now how dangerous untreated water damage can be even if it is under your home. Watch out for a musty feeling in the air, signs water is seeping down the walls or any mold growth, all of which are clear signs that there is damage present.

If you have water damage anywhere in your home, we are here to help. You can contact us at any hour to learn more about our services or to report damages. Get in touch today to speak with a water damage restoration expert.

Our Top Fire Safety Tips to Protect Your Home | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

white fire alarm being tested by a person If you experience any property damage due to a fire, we are here to help. Contact SERVPRO of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills to learn more.

Experiencing a house fire is never something that is on someone’s agenda, but they happen more often than you might think. A small fire can quickly start to spread and turn dangerous, taking under a minute in a lot of scenarios. Taking a proactive fire safety approach is key for making sure you are reducing your chances of ever having to deal with a house fire in your own home.

Fortunately, implementing fire safety in your household is about planning ahead and generally developing good habits to prevent it from becoming an issue. By being proactive, you can significantly mitigate the fire risk throughout your household.

How Can I Take a Proactive Fire Safety Approach?

Check your smoke detectors. If you never consider the smoke detectors in your home, now is the time to start. Smoke detectors should be installed throughout the home and be tested every 30 days to make sure they do not have defects. Many models are designed to have 10-year batteries now, but if yours begins chirping, make sure you replace the batteries right away to keep it operational.

Create a fire escape plan. If the smoke detectors do go off, it is important that everyone in your home knows what comes next and how to escape safely. A fire escape should take two minutes or less to execute. Be certain that every room has at least two exits, that every family knows how to quickly get out of the home and designate a spot for you to all reconvene outside to check in.

Limit your fire risks. There are many ways to get into the habit of fire safety to lessen your overall fire risk profile. There are many things you can do around the home to prevent fires, such as always supervising candles or open flames, never leaving the room while the oven is on and not overloading your electrical outlets with heat-producing appliances.

Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Though there are many fires that will immediately be too large to use a fire extinguisher on, if there is a small and contained fire, knowing how to use one can keep a small issue from becoming a large one. A working fire extinguisher should be installed in the kitchen and any other high-risk areas, and you and your family members should all be familiar with how to use it.

If your home is damaged by a house fire, we are here to help. Our expert fire restoration technicians are here 247 to spring into action as soon as you call. Contact us at any hour to report your damage and receive a quick response.

Starting a Severe Weather Preparedness Plan

8/24/2020 (Permalink)

large yellow storm warning sign in front of dark forming clouds SERVPRO of SERVPRO of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills is here to provide you with a rapid response. Contact us right away if you experience any storm damage.

Though there is no way to predict when severe weather may happen, we always encourage people to be vigilant about preparing for it at every time of year. Keeping your household protected from damage and safe from harm is so important, and through a few small tweaks, something anyone can easily accomplish in advance of severe weather. Here are some great tips regarding how it works:

How to Prepare Your Household for Severe Weather

Prepare your home as much as possible. Damage is not entirely preventable, as storms can be unpredictable and harsh, but there are ways that everyone can make improvements to reduce their chances. Cutting back any dead or loose tree limbs and securing patio furniture and other potential projectiles is advised, and you may also want to consider installing a generator for the home in case the power is out for a prolonged period or time.

Create a family communications plan. Ideally, your entire family will be home when severe weather becomes a threat so you can migrate to your designated safe room and stay put until it is over. However, this may not be the case, which is why planning for how to communicate and what to do in case someone is out of the house is wise. Do not forget to factor pets into the equation and be certain someone is in charge of getting them to the safety area as well.

Make sure your emergency kit is stocked. Emergency kits can come in handy both during a storm and in the aftermath in case of a power outage. You should pack your emergency kit with all necessary supplies to be sure you and your family members have enough food and water, as well as medical supplies, both for while you are sheltering from the storm and in the aftermath if access to traditional resources becomes limited.

Consider getting a weather radio. Many of us rely entirely on our phones and the internet for weather updates, which is fine in normal conditions but can be risky in the event of severe weather. In case your phone dies, have a backup weather radio with plenty of batteries or a hand-crank feature, so you can be certain you never miss emergency alerts and weather updates.

If your home is damaged by a storm, you can depend on us to take care of any damages. Contact us at any hour to report damage and receive a rapid response.