Our first ever Virtual CE Class
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, here at SERVPRO of Minot, we have been doing our best to keep things as normal as we can. As an essential business, we are continuing to provide our disaster cleanup and restoration efforts to the local community. We have also been providing cleaning and disinfecting services to local businesses to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
One way that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted us, was the loss of our continuing education event. SERVPRO provides free continuing education (CE) classes to those who may need credit for maintaining their insurance license. This is an excellent class for us to show our appreciation for our local insurance agents and adjusters by giving them free education to improve their professional lives. Unfortunately, we were not able to provide this event last March due to the state shutdown.
While we were disappointed by not being able to host this event, the news that these classes could now be done virtually was exciting news. Our instructor, Dan Luttrell, was able to teach the class from his home in Dallas to local insurance agents here in Minot.
This class on Ethics was an extremely informative class, with one experienced agent saying afterwards “That was by far the most fun CE class I have ever taken!” Participants in the class were taken through scenarios that could come up in their professional and personal lives and shown that most situations don’t always have a clear right answer. Over the course of the three-hour class, it was shown that sometimes the ethical choice isn’t always the easy one and what sometimes seems like the unethical choice, really is the best option.
This was an excellent class and we would like to thank Dan for doing a great job in being our instructor and also thank everyone who signed up and participated in the class.
Why Every Business Needs an Emergency Ready Profile
Life throws challenges at us all the time, and as a business owner, you know are constantly overcoming new challenges that arise throughout the day. Most of the time, these challenges don’t slow down your everyday operations, but when disaster strikes, your entire company can be put on hold until it is resolved. A pipe bursting, break room fire, or flooded first floor can put business on hold for days, weeks, or months depending on severity. Oftentimes a business can never recover after major building damage.
While you never know what disaster will strike, preparing for the worst can mitigate secondary damage and reduce the time doors are closed. A SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) is a free assessment strategically designed to: 1) Prevent damage from any disaster 2) Establish clear communication and authorization for work to begin and 3) Help your business recover from any unexpected event. The ERP is not a full contingency plan but rather an addition to your existing plan.
An ERP is a free assessment of your company’s facilities and potential threats to their structural integrity. This profile is established by identifying high risk events that are specific to your facilities and addressing response options. An example would be a restaurant being at a high risk of fire damage, do to cooking and hazardous conditions in a kitchen, therefore planning where a fire would take place, identifying key access points such as switches to turn off gas and power lines and then having contact info for the local fire department, insurance agents, and SERVPRO of Minot to clean any damage that occurs.
As a restoration company, the sooner we receive a call, the sooner we can have staff on site. Establishing SERVPRO of Minot as your Priority Service Provider means we can respond to your emergency faster than normal and get your business open ahead of schedule.
To learn more details about a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile, call our office today, or email Ben at benjaminr@SERVPROminot.com
5 Steps for Preparing for a Big Storm
Storms can be dangerous weather events that leave destruction to your property as well as cause injuries and occasionally even death. Below is a checklist to make sure your home and family are best prepared for any storms, so that you, your loved ones, and your home can stay safe.
Prepare a storm shelter.
Include essential supplies such as food, water, a first aid kid, flashlights and batteries to last a few days in the case of a severe storm or tornado.
Clear branches and dead trees around your home.
The high-speed wind of storms can send dead branches or even trees crashing through your windows, siding, and roof. Clearing these objects away from your house is an easy way to make sure they don’t cause any damage.
Secure outside objects
The benefits of technology is we have weather apps and stations that give us warning before a storm arrives. If a bad one is coming up, move large outdoor objects inside to prevent damage to your house and those objects.
Document your valuable items.
Take pictures of valuable items that you can use to show insurance later. If they are damaged or lost in the storm, you have better luck with your claim if you have documentation. Include date of purchase and purchase amount if you have that as well. Bonus points for saving receipts!
Protect Your Pets!
When preparing for storms, oftentimes pets are forgotten about. Make sure to have a plan in place for your pets, whether that is in your storm shelter or if that means having them in a separate safe location for when the storm hits.
The Danger of Smoking to Your Home
For years, smoking has been known to have negative consequences on your health, but what about the health of your home? Although smoking inside in public areas has been outlawed for some years, smoking inside is still common in many households across the U.S. Besides the Health consequences from smoking, your home can also suffer damages as well.
Smoking is the leading cause of death in home fires. With an average of 590 deaths annually and 1,130 injuries. Fires caused by smoking materials happen mostly in bedrooms (34%) and living rooms (43%) these are areas where flammable materials such as blankets, carpet, and couch fibers are liable to catch fire if they are exposed to a flame from a cigarette.
Smoking is generally viewed as only harmful to oneself, or through secondhand smoke. However, if a fire breaks out from smoking, this damages the home and endangers the lives of everyone who lives there.
When trying to resell a home, one that has been occupied by a smoker can be a tough sell. The smell from cigarettes is a tough one to remove and simply cleaning the carpet is not always the solution. The smell from smoke can get trapped in cupboards, vents, and even the ceiling. All of this combines to reduce home value by almost 29%. This reduced value is sure to keep rising in severity as smoking becomes less common in society.
How to Clean
Smoke is one of the most challenging smells to get out of your home. Anyone who has burnt their dinner knows the smell can linger for hours. Years of smoking inside is even harder to restore a fresh smell. When dealing with smoke, simply spraying an air freshener or cleaning the carpet will likely not do anything to help.
Cleaning the walls and ceilings with a cleaning solution is a great start, followed by a deep cleaning of the carpets and floors. Oftentimes you may need to professionally clean your air ducts. The smoke smell can get stuck in your ducts, furnace, and air conditioning units, which will need to be fully removed to keep the smell from circulating throughout your home.
NFPA (Jan. 2019) Home Fires Started by Smoking. NFPA.com. Marty Ahrens.
Realtor Magazine. (July, 2018) How Much Cigarette Smoke Decreases Resale Value.
What to Do When You Find Mold in your Home
Discovering mold in your home can be a frustrating event. Not knowing how bad the problem is, how to remove it, the cost of a professional and whether or not your home is safe are just some of the thoughts you’ll have. To help relieve some of those worries, below are some tips to help manage your mold problem.
The first step to do is to call the mold experts at SERVPRO of Minot, we will immediately respond to your call and have staff on site to provide help and advice. Every discovery of growth is different and having experts take a look at it is important in deciding what to do next.
Until we are able to get staff on site, here are some tips on what to do.
Try and contain the area
If the growth is in a room that can be sealed off from the rest of the house. Air movement will spread the spores around and can lead to further growth throughout your home. Staying out of it until technicians can determine the extent of the problem is a good way to keep you and your family safe.
Stop the Source
Mold growth is accompanied by moisture from a leak or other water source. See if you can stop the leak or remove the source as this will help reduce further mold growth. If the area is wet and needs to be dried, do not turn on fans as that will spread mold growth further around the room and house. Call SERVPRO and we can remedy both the water damage and mold growth.
Contact Your Agent
Contact your insurance agent and see if your home has a mold policy. This will go a long way towards saving you money on the remediation. If you don’t have a policy, call your agent and talk to them about adding it to your existing coverage.
The best tip on how to handle the discovery of mold in your home is to remain calm and let the trusted experts at SERVPRO take care of you and your home, providing you with all the information you need to remediate the problem.
SERVPRO of Minot Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
SERVPRO of Minot was welcomed into the Minot Chamber of Commerce! As new owners, the chamber wanted to honor the purchase of the franchise by Ryan Conklin and Lance Larson that occurred back in September.
Due to scheduling, the COVID-19 outbreak, and busy times here at SERVPRO® we were unable to have the ribbon cutting ceremony until June 23rd. Although it was a wait to cut the ribbon, we were glad to take part with the Minot chamber.
As local owners, being apart of the Minot community is important. We love being able to go out to local residents’ homes and businesses and repair them from the disasters they face. Giving peace of mind to those we live with here in the Magic City.
To see the Facebook live of the ribbon cutting, click here.
Why Commercial Buildings should use professional cleaners to battle COVID-19
As we continue to battle through the COVID-19 pandemic. Commercial buildings have been doing a great job of continuing to implement different measures for keeping the people in those facilities safe. Here are the reasons why a commercial building may consider or need to bring in a professional cleaning staff to battle against COVID-19
Having an Emergency Response Plan.
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout our community, more people are going to be exposed and test positive for the disease. What will your workplace do when that happens? If there is a massive outbreak of COVID-19 in your workplace, a response needs to be in place so that 1) employees can be safe and 2) work can resume without a fear of infection from the work environment.
A proactive plan should be developed that includes preventative measures to reduce potential exposure and also reactive measures for when exposure happens, and a COVID-19 positive person enters the workspace. This second situation, one where a person has potentially left the virus in the workplace, is one where a professional cleaning staff should be considered.
While normal custodial staff are equipped to handle regular cleaning operations, COVID-19 is different. This highly infectious disease could be transmitted to an unprepared custodial staff if they are not trained in wearing proper protective equipment (PPE) and if they are exposed, it opens a legal gray area in which they can claim they were knowingly exposed to biological contamination without the right equipment.
At SERVPRO of Minot we equip all our technicians with the right PPE, which includes gloves, respirators, and full suits for protection. Additionally, we have high-grade that have been recommended for CDC use against COVID-19. This combined with full coverage insurance for our technicians allows us to confidently send them into a biologically contaminated space.
Give us a call today to talk about setting up an emergency COVID-19 response plan. This will allow you to have a response plan in place to battle the spread of COVID-19 if it should enter your workplace.
How to Properly Test Your Smoke Alarm
While it is a task that is quite boring, monotonous and can be seen as a waste of time, testing your smoke alarm can literally be a life or death decision. So while yes, it is boring, this simple task can save the lives of you, your family, your pets, and your home. Here is the proper way to test your smoke alarm to keep everything you love, safe.
Make sure you can hear the alarm from everywhere in your home.
Have someone stand in the room farthest away from the alarm, with the door closed to make sure the sound is audible. If they can hear it clearly, you’re good to go, if not, you can try replacing the batteries to improve hearing or you can buy another detector to place in a better spot.
To test the alarm, it is as simple as holding the test button and waiting for the piercing noise to ring out, confirming the batteries and sound are working correctly. This does not test whether or not the alarm is properly detecting smoke, however.
Testing smoke alarms by using smoke should be done a few times a year, safely, in order to ensure proper functioning of the detector. After warning the members of the house that you are testing the alarm, strike a match and then blow it out, holding the match about a foot away from the detector. The smoke given off, should be enough to trigger the alarm, if not, repeat a few times to see if you can set it off. If there is still no response from the alarm, replace the batteries and try again. Remembering it may take a minute or two before the alarm will sound.
Safely testing your smoke alarms is a mundane task, but as a homeowner it is your responsibility to make sure your home is safe along with everyone in it.
Secure your Home before your Summer Vacation
Prevent water damage while you are on your getaway.
As we make our way through the summer, you may be going on a summer trip. If so, here are some simple ways to make sure you come home to your home safe and sound, and not a watery nightmare.
Do an Inspection
As you are packing the car and getting ready to head out, do a quick inspection of your home to ensure you are ready to leave. Turn off the water main, and drain the existing water from sinks, toilets, and outdoor spigots. Once the water main is switched off, turn on faucets, spigots, and flush toilets until water no longer flows out.
Other places to inspect:
- Pipes under every sink.
- Water heater.
- Seals around windows (in case it rains).
- Appliance hoses: washing machine, dishwasher, and ice maker.
- Sump pump. Dump a bucket of water into the sump pump to ensure it's working. Make sure to listen to its motor running as well.
- Toilet tanks. Look for cracks that may worsen and leak while you're gone.
Have someone check on your home
Give a set of keys to a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor and have them check on your home periodically while you are gone. The amount of times they should check in depends on the length of your trip, but it should be at least twice a week. Once water damage occurs, letting it stagnate for days at a time can multiply the cleanup costs tremendously. Show your house sitter all bathrooms, where the water main is, and other areas at risk of water damage. Leaving a check list for them will make sure they don’t miss any subtle leaks or moisture.
Leave heating and cooling systems running as normal, these allow air flow through your home and prevent humidity from building up. They also will keep pipes from freezing if there is a sudden temperature drop one night, which is more of a risk during the fall and winter months than in summer.
Enjoy your trip!
If you do a thorough inspection, take proactive safety measures and leave someone to look over your home, then you have done more than enough to ensure you won’t suffer from water damage. Although anything is possible, and even the most cautious plan can still not prevent water damage, you shouldn’t worry about the safety of your home while on vacation. Take steps to prepare and then enjoy your time away!
Water Damage Response Tips
You are going to panic initially when you realize your home has suffered water damage. Once you give us a call, we can quickly send technicians out to begin remediation on damaged property. Before we arrive, instead of panicking, you can take steps yourself to prevent further damage. These steps should only be used if the water damage is caused by clean water. If you have suffered damage from sewer, toilet, or other contaminated water sources, stay away from the scene as it may have adverse health effects.
Here are tips for what you can do to prevent further water damage to your home, until our trained technicians can make it to you.
- Shut off the water source if it can be done safely.
- Remove any excess water by mopping or using towels.
- Remove and pop up we upholstery cushions for drying. Do not put cushion covers in washing machine.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs.
- Hang furs and leather goods separately at room temperature.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Do not use a regular vacuum to try and remove excess water.
- If water damage is in the ceiling, do not turn on lights or overhead fans. And keep out of rooms where the ceiling is beginning to sag from holding water.