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IICRC Certification & Why It’s Important | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

4/6/2020 (Permalink)

Who is the IICRC?

The IICRC is the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification and it was established as a non-profit organization in 1972. They set the standards for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. They also offer certifications that are considered the highest quality in our field of work.

Why are Certifications Important?

To put it simply, certifications do the legwork for you. When you’re in an emergency situation, certifications allow you to have confidence that the people you’re hiring are competent and able to complete the work they’re being hired to do. Here at SERVPRO, we highly value continuing education and keeping our standards up to par with the IICRC’s expectations. That way, we know we are providing the best service possible to our customers. 

What are Our IICRC Certifications at SERVPRO Cedar Mill?

We hold a number of certifications from the IICRC, including:

  • Water Damage Restoration Technician (WRT) – The WRT certification is the gateway to other IICRC certifications. This course gives residential and commercial maintenance personnel the background to understand the procedures necessary to deal with water losses, sewage backflows, and contaminations such as mold.
  • Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT) – The AMRT certification covers mold and sewage remediation techniques. Emphasis is placed on teaching mold and sewage remediation techniques and graduates will be adequately equipped to perform remediation services while protecting the health and safety of workers and occupants.
  • Applied Structural Drying Technician (ASD) – The ASD certification is designed to teach effective, timely and efficient procedures for drying water-damaged structures and contents.
  • Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician (FSRT) – The FSRT certification concentrates on the technical procedures for successfully completing the restoration of a fire and smoke damaged environment.
  • Odor Control Tech (OCT) – The OCT certification course covers olfaction and odor, odor sources, detection process, the theory of odor control, equipment, chemical options, and applications.
  • Trauma and Crime Scene Technician (TCST) – The TCST certification program provides specific information for the proper maintenance and cleaning of trauma and crime scenes.

What Does This Mean for You?

The types of situations we handle on a daily basis are unpredictable in every sense of the word. Losses happen in homes and commercial buildings, where loved ones and the general public are the ones at risk by not putting forth the best quality work and maintaining the highest standards. IICRC certification can be that peace of mind; for us to know we have up to date education and that we have done the best possible job, and for you to know that you are safe anywhere SERVPRO Cedar Mill has performed services.

When you have an emergency, you can be certain that you're safe with SERVPRO Cedar Mill. Give us a call today at 503-619-6198!

For more information on the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, go to www.IICRC.org.

Our 1-4-8 Service Response Policy | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

4/2/2020 (Permalink)

two men in uniforms holding drying equipment outside of a green SERVPRO van Our team is committed to being ready when your disaster hits.

At SERVPRO of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills, we completely understand the importance of timeliness when your home or business disaster occurs. Having a team ready for a quick response helps alleviate your stress as soon as possible and helps mitigate further damage.

Our 1-4-8 Service Response Policy dictates: 

  • Within one (1) hour from the notice of loss, a SERVPRO Professional will contact you to arrange for service.
  • Within four (4) hours of loss notification, a SERVPRO Professional will be on-site to start mitigation services (if necessary).
  • Within eight (8) business hours of on-site arrival, a verbal briefing of the scope will be communicated to the appropriate person. 

*Exceptions may apply under certain conditions, such as a local catastrophic event or storm situation.

Having a quick response expectation and protocol helps our team get to your property and help reduce the damage of your loss. In order to minimize further damage like mold, or further structural issues our team is committed to getting your property back to “Like it never even happened.”

If you are in an emergency situation give us a call at 503-619-6198 and we will coordinate our team to mobilize and get your home or business back in order!

Responding to COVID-19 | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

man in SERVPRO uniform and a man in a suit jacket stand behind a model of an office, large orange letters say 'Here to Help' In these unprecedented times, we remain steadfast in our commitment to helping our customers.

We must adjust our operations to some extent. At SERVPRO of Cedar Mill, we have begun screening calls for COVID-19 symptoms or situations. Even if we have a simple water loss, we ask if they understand the 3 levels or Categories of COVID-19 

We are asking about symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath. If that information is obtained, we then relay to our responding units to don appropriate PPE.

We’ve adjusted our response matrix and how we approach damage restoration calls. For the time being, we send in the minimum required number of personnel to assess the situation. If additional help is needed, that crew radios outside to the crew leader to bring in further equipment or personnel. Ideally, if the insured is able to safely do so, have them walk outside to meet our crews. Naturally, this is not always possible, and we must remember to put our customers first.

If COVID-19 symptoms are suspected or confirmed crews don the recommended PPE from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). PPE for COVID-19 is a disposable gown to stop droplet transmission to our duty uniforms, gloves to prevent germ transmission to our hands, eye protection to prevent droplets entering our eyes and mucous membranes, and a NIOSH-approved N95 respirator for respiratory protection. If there is low suspicion of infection, then this level of PPE is not needed. We remain cautious, though, depending on where we are responding. For instance, if the responding area has commercial office buildings, hotels or multifamily dwellings, we will consider placing a surgical mask on yourself with eye protection and gloves prior to entering these facilities. Maintain a distance from your customers and limit contact with them as best as possible. Consider placing a surgical mask on them as well to add additional barriers of protection. 

At the station level, we must remain vigilant and keep our areas clean. Our company has instituted a twice-a-day house chore regiment. Surfaces such as door handles and light switches are sprayed down, all surfaces are cleaned with approved cleaners. Keep in mind that the kill time for most cleaners is 10 minutes for biological agents. Spray your surfaces and let them air dry for 10 minutes. Ensure your facepieces on your reusable respirators are cleaned, common areas and rooms are disinfected, and surfaces within the service vehicles and the apparatus are wiped down.

Lastly, do not panic. I’ve heard the phrase that these are “unsettling times.” To the public at large, that is true, but for us, this is another task that we’ve been asked to handle. It is expected that we remain professional, that we hold the line, and that we educate and reduce our risk of exposure as much as reasonably possible.

One way to view this is as a gigantic hazmat run. We can reduce the contamination by limiting contact, wearing masks and respiratory protection, disinfecting and minimizing time with our customers.

Determining How Well-Prepared Your Business Is for a Disaster | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

3/19/2020 (Permalink)

If you are the owner of a business, it is wise to make sure you are as prepared as possible for an unforeseen emergency or disaster in order to protect your investment. To kickstart this process, we recommend that business owners first assess where your preparedness levels are so you can better understand where to improve them.

Being aware of several key factors can let you know exactly how prepared you are for an emergency. First, understanding your insurance coverage will let you know if additional policies are required to protect you. From there, making sure you have a plan in place, both for in the moment and for recovery can keep you safe and make restoration go as quickly as possible.

Your Commercial Insurance Coverage

There are many various things that a commercial insurance policy will cover, but often in the case of disasters, their coverage alone is not sufficient. Talk with your insurance agent about where your policy might be lacking—businesses not being covered against flooding is the most common issue, but there is also the option to buy umbrella coverage and interruption insurance to make sure you are fully protected.

Your Emergency Plan and Supply Kit

If a weather emergency is on the way or a disaster such as a fire breaks out, there are generally a scarce few minutes to react. Therefore, putting a plan in place will help you make the most of the time you have. Plan for any potential threat that may present itself, and provision for situations where evacuation is the best course of action as well as situations where you may need to remain in the office and survive off an emergency kit until help arrives.

Your Plan for Restoration and Recovery

Limiting the time your business has to spend closed due to recovery is the best way to avoid excessive losses due to a lack of income. Deciding in advance what restoration company to use is a big factor in this because it will allow you to make the call right away when you discover damage to your property. Additionally, research if you qualify for disaster assistance loans from the Small Business Administration to help cover some of these costs at a reduced interest rate.

If your business has been impacted by a disaster, you can contact us 247 for guidance on how to begin the commercial restoration process.

Stop Storm Damage to Your Home With These Weatherproofing Tips|

3/11/2020 (Permalink)

a person placing weatherstripping on a white window If you have any storm damage, SERVPRO of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills is here to help. We are available 24/7 and ready to assist you when you need it most.

While houses are resilient to most instances of wind and rain, severe weather can bring on much harsher conditions than most homes are built to handle. This is made evident by the fact that approximately 50% of all homeowners’ insurance claims are due to weather-related damages. Though one can never tell exactly how many issues a storm may cause, taking some precautions against the weather can be a smart way to increase your home’s resilience to storms.

Weatherproofing is a fairly simple task that most homeowners can tackle themselves as a weekend project. While it is fairly simple to protect your home, when severe storms are on the way, you will be grateful that you took the following tips to heart.

Stop Storm Damages With Weatherproofing

Keep Your Shingles in Shape
leak in the roof can happen for a multitude of reasons, but they can all be exacerbated by bad weather. Regularly checking your roof for any missing, cracked or loose shingles can often be enough to catch roof damage before it turns into a much larger issue with the next band of storms.

Beat the Weather With Weatherstripping
Purchasing and installing weatherstripping in your home is recommended by Energy.gov because it can save you a significant amount on your electricity bills as well as protect you from unwanted leaks. Installing weatherstripping around all your external doors and windows is a generally easy task that can have major benefits.

Gut Debris From Your Gutters
A twice-annual clearing of a home’s gutters is the official recommendation, but experts recommend doing it even more frequently if you have many trees in your yard. It is also smart to look for signs of gutter damage—water spilling from odd locations, sagging between downspouts and pooling water around the base of your home are all signs that more extensive repairs are required.

Pick the Right Paint
There is more to exterior paint than just color now that there are so many options on the market. Many paints offer technology to block weather from impacting your home, such as waterproofing and resistance to cracking. If your paint is peeling or just needs a refresher, looking into a high-tech upgrade may help keep your home more protected.

If you have issues with storm damage to your home, we are always here to help. Contact us 24 hours a day for a rapid response.

Making Sure Your Business is Adhering to Fire Codes | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

3/3/2020 (Permalink)

Business owners have to plan for a variety of things, but one of the most essential hazards to plan for is a commercial fire. Fires happen quite frequently and for a variety of reasons, which is why it is important to always be vigilant about making sure your business is adhering to the fire codes set forth by authorities to be as safe as possible.

Making sure your business is up to code involves providing adequate equipment, putting planning measures in place and keeping fire exits clear to allow for quick evacuation if needed. Here are some guidelines to be sure your business is adhering to.

Fire Safety Code Guideline for Businesses

Install fire detection and suppression equipment. Installing fire alarms, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems throughout your business is a wise choice in case a fire breaks out, and is often a requirement for commercial spaces. Once these systems are installed, performing monthly alarm checks and working with your local fire department for equipment testing will help you make sure you are adhering to these guidelines and lessening your risks.

 Keep fire extinguishers handy for all staff members. Keeping fire extinguishers present and accessible is an important part of fire safety. This way, if it is safe to do so, a fire can be stopped before it has a chance to spread and wreak more havoc on your business. Be sure that you purchase the right type of extinguishers for the fire causes your business is likely to face and follow inspection guidelines to ensure they are still in working order and not in danger of expiring.

Host regular fire evacuation drills with staff. Making sure your staff knows exactly what to do when the fire alarm sounds is an important part of keeping everyone safe. Go over evacuation procedures with staff and host drills regularly. Be sure you are reviewing different scenarios and utilizing different exit points, so that you and your staff are prepared for the variety of situations that could be possible when a fire starts.

How to Assess Your Business’ Emergency Preparedness Levels | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

man pushing backup button How to Assess Your Business’ Emergency Preparedness Levels | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

If you own your own business, you are likely familiar with how damaging natural disasters can be for those who are unprepared. It is a competitive market for small businesses, and when disasters enter the mix, things can become even more dire.

If you have started the emergency preparedness process already, you may be wondering if you are doing enough to protect your investment should a disaster or emergency occur. To help you determine where your business stands, we have put together three of the most important considerations for preparedness so you can evaluate where you should focus your efforts:

Do You Have an Evacuation Plan in Place?

Having an evacuation plan is the first step toward disaster preparedness. You should have a plan for various scenarios including fires, floods, and severe weather, as well as any risks your specific business might be exposed to (such as a chemical spill or other industry-specific emergency). Develop this plan and practice it with employees at least twice a year, being sure to debrief as a company afterward to address any questions or concerns.

Do You Have an Evacuation Plan in Place?

Having an evacuation plan is the first step toward disaster preparedness. You should have a plan for various scenarios including fires, floods, and severe weather, as well as any risks your specific business might be exposed to (such as a chemical spill or other industry-specific emergency). Develop this plan and practice it with employees at least twice a year, being sure to debrief as a company afterward to address any questions or concerns.

Teaching Children About Fire Safety Tips | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/ Oak Hills

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

a girl, boy and women holding toddler looking at fire If your family has been impacted by a fire, you can count on us for restoration. Contact us 24/7 to begin the fire and smoke restoration process.

Though talking with children about fire safety may not be the most fun conversation, for the safety of your family, it is one of the most important that you can have.

While teaching children about the dangers of fire may seem like something that will scare them more than it will help, by taking an age-appropriate approach, you can better prepare them for a fire without giving them unnecessary fears.

Age-Appropriate Ways to Teach Fire Safety

Focus on Evacuation as the No. 1 Priority

If your kids do not know how to react to a fire alarm, their first priority if one sounds might be to hide or run to you—when really, their focus should be to get out of the house as quickly as possible. Teach children who are old enough to understand that evacuating through a safe, smoke-free exit is the No. 1 priority when the fire alarm sounds—and reassure them that you will meet at your designated spot to check that everyone is OK.

Make Your Chat About What They Can do, Not About Dangers

Sometimes, learning about fire safety can actually make children more afraid of fire than safety-conscious, which is why framing it right is important. Instead of focusing on how dangerous a house fire can be, focus on what children can do around the house to prevent fires. Explaining that they should never play with matches or electrical outlets is much less alarming than going into details about how much damage a fire can do.

Create a Fire Escape Plan as a Family

Allowing your children to get involved in your fire escape plan will not only help them feel safer and more in control when it comes to fire safety, but it will also help them remember the details of the plan in a much more concrete way. Making the drafting and practicing of your fire escape plan a family affair will make sure everyone is on the same page and fully aware of what to do should a fire start in any area of the house.

If your family has been impacted by a fire, you can count on us for restoration. Contact  us  24/7  to begin the fire and smoke restoration process.

Tips for increasing fore safety around the house

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

If you are aiming to increase your household’s fire safety efforts, all the tips circulating online may seem overwhelming. However, with over 350,000 fires occurring every year according to the National Fire Protection Association’s data, it is important to do everything you can to keep your household safe.

 To help you keep the most important tips in mind, we have organized them based on the rooms in your house so you can do a thorough fire safety check for your family.

Fire Safety Tips for Each Room of the House

Fire Safety Tips for the Kitchen:

  • Keep a working fire extinguisher stored in the kitchen and be sure everyone in the family knows how to operate it.
  • Make sure any matches or lighters are stored out of reach of children.
  • Store chemicals and other flammable materials in accordance with the safety guidelines listed on the product.
  • Clear out the crumb trays on toasters and toaster ovens regularly.

 Fire Safety Tips for the Bedrooms

  • Never leave open flames—even candles or guarded fireplaces—unattended.
  • Use space and portable heaters with caution.
  • Discontinue use of frayed phone chargers and other cables immediately.
  • Sleep with bedroom doors closed to stop the spread of nighttime fires.
  • Install a smoke detector in each sleeping area of the house.
  • Keep lamps and electronics that produce heat (i.e. computers) away from curtains or drapes.

 General Fire Safety Tips

  • Check your smoke detectors at least once a month and be sure there are two exits from each room in the home.
  • Practice your fire escape plan at least twice per year with the entire family.
  • Keep fire extinguishers throughout the house, especially in common areas.
  • Clear out dryer lint trays often.
  • Do not run extension cords under rugs, through doors or around corners where they might become pinched.

A Guide to Disaster Recovery for Small Businesses | SERVPRO® of Cedar Mill/Oak Hills

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

woman hand reading Insurance Policy paper If your business has suffered from a disaster, you can count on us to be there for commercial restoration.

Facing a disaster as a small business owner can be a scary thing, but putting a plan in place can help you achieve peace of mind in case one ever impacts you.

Having a clear action plan for recovery will allow you to spring into action as soon as the disaster has passed, helping you to get back to business much quicker than if you did not know what to do. Read on for our four-step guide to disaster recovery for small businesses:

  1. Create a Business Disaster Recovery Plan

Think of your business disaster recovery plan as your master document to guide you through the emergency preparations for your business. It should include a customized risk assessment, so you know where to focus the majority of your resources, a communications plan for how you know where to focus the majority of your resources, a communications plan for how you will get ahold of employees in the aftermath, and information regarding document and data backups in case the original copies get destroyed during the disaster.

  1. Create a Business Disaster Recovery Plan

Think of your business disaster recovery plan as your master document to guide you through the emergency preparations for your business. It should include a customized risk assessment, so you know where to focus the majority of your resources, a communications plan for how you will get ahold of employees in the aftermath, and information regarding document and data backups in case the original copies get destroyed during the disaster.

  1. Be Sure You Understand Your Business Insurance Policy

Not all commercial insurance policies are created equal, so making sure you understand what your coverage map looks like is key. Most commercial policies will cover basic things, but many business owners choose to add on extras such as flood insurance, interruption insurance and umbrella insurance to make sure there are no surprises in the aftermath of a disaster.

  1. Choose a Commercial Restoration Company

The commercial restoration company you choose is one of the biggest factors that determines how quickly you can get back to business following a disaster—and reopening as quickly as possible is one of the best things you can do. For these reasons, picking a commercial restoration company in advance is a wise choice. That way you can call them immediately after the disaster in order to begin the restoration process as quickly as possible.

  1. Research Disaster Relief Loans

Depending on the type of disaster that has occurred, the Small Business Association offers many commercial disaster loans for business owners. These loans are offered at a lower than usual interest rate to help business owners get the funds they need to cover all the costs associated with recovery.