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Tips for Partial Loss After a Commercial Fire

9/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Tips for Partial Loss After a Commercial Fire Fire damage in Topeka, KS

Devastatingly, your business in Topeka, KS, catches on fire. You are ecstatic to find out that the building is not a total loss. In a partial fire loss, fire and smoke damage do not completely destroy the property. When this occurs, what are your responsibilities as the owner? What happens next?

Business Owner Responsibilities

After a partial loss transpires, know what to do. Consider the following tips:

  • File a claim with your commercial insurance agent as soon as possible after the fire loss. Photograph and document all water, fire and smoke damage before the insurance adjustor assesses the loss.
  • Insurance companies typically cover costs to achieve a consistent, uniform look. This means that partially damaged materials, such as roofing or siding, must be matched to the non-damaged areas or replaced entirely.
  • Advocate for yourself and your business if the insurance adjustor does not consider your partial loss case a priority.
  • Contact a professional fire restoration specialist immediately. A delay in beginning the cleanup process risks secondary damage. Water damage from firefighting efforts can spread and lead to mold growth in as little as two days.

Fire Restoration Steps

Once you have done your part, the cleanup and restoration process begins. Know what to expect next:

  • The fire restoration company typically arrives within hours to properly and thoroughly assess the damage. A detailed inspection commonly includes all building structures and systems. This consists of evaluating the siding, roofing, foundation, walls and windows. Plumbing and electrical systems are checked as well. Drywall may require removal to investigate water damage in the walls and insulation.
  • Your building may be boarded up or tarped to increase security and prevent further damage from the weather.
  • If present, excess water is drained with vacuums and pumps. Professional grade equipment cleans smoke and soot from structures, contents and the air.

Even though your commercial property only suffered a partial fire loss in Topeka, KS, you must still act quickly. Immediately contact your insurance agent and a restoration specialist to return your business to pre-fire condition.

3 Essential Tips for Handling Winter Weather as a Business

9/3/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage 3 Essential Tips for Handling Winter Weather as a Business Storm damage in Colwich, KS

Winter brings many special considerations when running your Colwich, KS, business. As one of the major potential dangers to operations, winter weather can lead to dangerous work or travel conditions. An ice or snow storm can lead to property damage or employees unable to use the workplace. Here are three essentials tips for making these winter nuisances more manageable.

1. Know What You Are Up Against

Winter weather varies greatly depending on any seasonal weather phenomena or advancing air fronts. There are several types of winter storms. A blizzard is the most dangerous because of extremely limited visibility, frigid wind chill and dangerously strong winds. An ice storm may not sound as dangerous like a blizzard, but it can lead to a power outage, frozen pipe burst or employee harm.

Luckily, weather services offer a winter storm warning. You have at least twelve hours to prepare. There are also “winter storm watches” that should still be heeded even though it’s only a chance of a snow storm. The weather forecast is one of the most helpful prevention tools.

2. Keep the Building Secure From Weather Threats

An inspection by yourself or a professional during the early winter can catch potential hazards. Leaks and cracks in the structure could lead to collapse from heavy snow or harsh winds. Computers should be preventatively secured and backed up in case of sudden or extended power loss. If it’s safe to do so during winter, snow and ice should consistently be removed from roofs and sidewalks.

3. Plan Ahead and Know Whom to Call

A major snow storm is likely disruptive and needs an actionable plan. Employees should be informed of any potential to work from home instead of risking the roads. A local storm damage restoration company should be kept in a contact list of emergency services, so you can treat severe weather damage or stop any minor damage from deteriorating. Things can be kept both functional and safe by acting early. After all, preparation is much cheaper than reparation.

Cleaning Items Damaged by Water

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Cleaning Items Damaged by Water Air mover and dehumidifier on a water damage in a Wichita, KS home

If there’s water in your home, your personal belongings will more than likely be affected. Whether it comes from a broken pipe, storm or flood damage, water tends to go wherever it wants. Knowing how to clean, preserve and protect your property can help make an overwhelming task much more manageable. Here are some helpful tips on taking care of items damaged by water.

1. Put Safety First

Before handling anything that’s been water-damaged, make sure you wear appropriate gloves and masks. You might even consider waterproof clothing. This kind of water can be contaminated by a host of chemicals, bacteria and foreign substances, and no matter how valuable they might be, no personal possession is worth the potential cost to your health.


2. Clean Off the Mud

Once the water in your home is gone, clean any mud or silt off your items. You can rinse them with cool, clean water. Only use clean water in order to prevent additional contamination. If your items have already begun to dry, or if you have soiled clothes that require dry cleaning, don’t scrub them. Use a brush or cloth to wipe away as much debris as you can.

3. Get Them Dry

Remove wet items to a dry part of the house and allow them to air-dry. Use fans and open windows to increase air circulation, which can aid the drying process. Some items, like area rugs and wool blankets, can safely dry in direct sunlight, while others need to be indoors. Place waterlogged books, papers and photographs in the freezer to dry them out slowly. A restoration specialist can advise you if you have valuable or collectible papers, books or photographs.

While water in your home in Wichita, KS, can cause serious damage, many of your personal possessions can be saved and their functionality restored. If you have any questions about the best methods for preserving and restoring a particular item, contact a professional in your area.

After the Flood: Make the Most of Your Insurance Claim

7/20/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage After the Flood: Make the Most of Your Insurance Claim Be sure to file your flood claim within 60 days of the actual flood event.

Now that the flood waters have receded, it’s time to survey the damage and take steps to restore your property. As the holder of a flood insurance policy, you are already ahead of the curve—but there still may be significant work to be done before you can collect on a flood claim. Here are some steps that can help guide you through the process in Wichita, KS.

1. Stay safe. Take every precaution to be certain your home is safe to enter and that there is no threat of further flooding, electrical mishap or collapsing infrastructure. Assume that water is unsafe for human consumption.

2. Contact your insurance company. Contact your insurance claims adjuster as soon as possible. Provide him or her with cell phone and/or email contact information so you will be readily available for an onsite visit.

3. Document the damage. Take photos of the damage to document your loss. If you have pictures of the areas prior to the flood, it would be useful to have them on hand for comparison.

4. Start the cleanup. Begin the cleanup process and call a restoration specialist in [City, State], if needed. If the adjuster has not yet made his or her assessment, be sure to note everything you intend to include on the flood claim. Make a list of lost and damaged items and include dates of purchase, estimated values and receipts, if possible.

5. Retain evidence. Keep any damaged materials you may remove from the house as the adjuster may need to see them for proof of loss purposes. If possible, store these damaged materials outside on your property.

6. Work with your insurance company. Once the adjuster arrives and finishes the assessment, you will likely be asked to sign a proof of loss statement that will follow specifications as set forth in the insurance policy.

Be sure to file your flood claim within 60 days of the actual flood event. By following these steps, you can be assured of the greatest possible chance for a successful insurance settlement. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.

3 Tips for Space Heater Safety

7/18/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 3 Tips for Space Heater Safety Follow the above safety tips at your home in Wichita, KS, to avoid a burned space heater.

Freezing air outside in Wichita, KS, makes you long for a warm, toasty atmosphere inside of your home. Warming yourself near a space heater feels good, but is it a smart choice? A burned space heater is one of the top causes of residential fires, particularly during the winter months. Learn how to safely use a space heater by following the three tips below.

1. What Kind To Buy

Space heaters come with options for safety features, such as an automatic shutoff if the unit overheats or tips over. Look for an independent safety certification label, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Ensure the appliance has a sturdy cord that is at least 6 feet in length.

2. Where To Place It

Place the heater on a hard surface, such as the floor. Do not place it in a child’s bedroom or play area or in a garage where incendiary materials are stored. Use the 3-foot distance rule for children, pets, walls, bedding, curtains and furniture. Allow this distance from flammable fabrics to prevent a burned space heater from setting fire to your home.

3. How To Care for It

Plug the heating unit into its own outlet to avoid overheating. Never use an extension cord or place the appliance near water. When you retire to bed for the evening or leave the room, even for a few minutes, turn off the space heater. Remove it from the outlet by holding the plug, never the cord. If the cord is damaged, discontinue use. If the unit has filters, change them regularly.

Follow the above safety tips at your home in Wichita, KS, to avoid a burned space heater. Always remember to practice general fire safety as well. Install and maintain at least one functioning smoke detector at every level of your house, especially near the bedrooms and kitchen. Have an escape plan in case of a fire. If a fire occurs, execute your plan to get your family to safety. For soot and smoke cleanup, contact a fire restoration specialist.  For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.

When Good Intentions Turn Sour: How To Prevent Mold in the Break Room Fridge

7/12/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial When Good Intentions Turn Sour: How To Prevent Mold in the Break Room Fridge Mold loves old, leftover food. Keep your shared office refrigerator in Wichita, KS, clean and free of fridge mold by adhering to the above five simple

Every day, good-intentioned office workers in Wichita, KS, bring their leftovers to work, place their meals in the fridge and absentmindedly leave their lunches to languish for days, weeks, and even months. Unfortunately, mold loves old food, and these good-intentioned individuals have inadvertently created an atmosphere that is prime for mold growth. If you are battling fridge mold in your shared office space, here are five simple ways you can ensure that your lunchroom remains clean and mold-free.

1. Assign responsibility. Since office refrigerators inhabit common spaces, there is often no single person responsible for ensuring their cleanliness. If an individual manages the fridge, others will be inclined to pay attention to their behavior and remove old food.

2. Establish ground rules. Create agreed-upon guidelines regarding fridge use and place them prominently in the lunchroom. Asking that food be labeled or establishing limits on how long one can leave his or her lunch in the cooler are common policies in many offices today.

3. Consume meeting leftovers within 24 hours. Sharing leftover egg sandwiches from this morning’s board meeting is a great way to boost office morale, but these leftovers are also great incubators for fridge mold. Toss out any unclaimed food items within 24 hours.

4. Set up a cleaning schedule. Fridges should be cleaned out once per week. All old food items, with the exception of dressings, oils and other non-perishables, should be disposed of and shelves should be wiped down.

5. Disinfect quarterly. Fridges should be disinfected every three to four months, perhaps more if you notice any mold smell. Disinfecting a fridge does not require harsh chemicals and can be done with soap, warm water, and a sponge. Depending on the size, number, and extent of the job, some companies have decided to hire a professional to assist with this process.

Mold loves old, leftover food. Keep your shared office refrigerator in Wichita, KS, clean and free of fridge mold by adhering to the above five simple lunchroom guidelines. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.

After the Flood: Make the Most of Your Insurance Claim

7/12/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage After the Flood: Make the Most of Your Insurance Claim Be sure to file your flood claim within 60 days of the actual flood event.

Now that the flood waters have receded, it’s time to survey the damage and take steps to restore your property. As the holder of a flood insurance policy, you are already ahead of the curve—but there still may be significant work to be done before you can collect on a flood claim. Here are some steps that can help guide you through the process in Wichita, KS.

1. Stay safe. Take every precaution to be certain your home is safe to enter and that there is no threat of further flooding, electrical mishap or collapsing infrastructure. Assume that water is unsafe for human consumption.

2. Contact your insurance company. Contact your insurance claims adjuster as soon as possible. Provide him or her with cell phone and/or email contact information so you will be readily available for an onsite visit.

3. Document the damage. Take photos of the damage to document your loss. If you have pictures of the areas prior to the flood, it would be useful to have them on hand for comparison.

4. Start the cleanup. Begin the cleanup process and call a restoration specialist in [City, State], if needed. If the adjuster has not yet made his or her assessment, be sure to note everything you intend to include on the flood claim. Make a list of lost and damaged items and include dates of purchase, estimated values and receipts, if possible.

5. Retain evidence. Keep any damaged materials you may remove from the house as the adjuster may need to see them for proof of loss purposes. If possible, store these damaged materials outside on your property.

6. Work with your insurance company. Once the adjuster arrives and finishes the assessment, you will likely be asked to sign a proof of loss statement that will follow specifications as set forth in the insurance policy.

Be sure to file your flood claim within 60 days of the actual flood event. By following these steps, you can be assured of the greatest possible chance for a successful insurance settlement. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.

Do Your Bathroom Supply Lines Need Changing?

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Do Your Bathroom Supply Lines Need Changing? If you're seeing signs of a bathroom leak in your home, it may be an indication of supply line damage.

Water supply lines are used throughout the home to connect appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. In the bathroom, they connect sink faucets and toilet tanks to the plumbing system. Eventually, supply line damage can occur, which can cause bathroom leaks and potentially costly water damage. So, it's important to know that your supply lines are in good shape.

What Should You Look For?

It's easy to tell if a supply line is damaged. Some of the signs are:

• Corrosion of the steel braiding
• Bulging of the inner lining material
• Loose or cracked connector
• Leakage from a break

What Causes a Supply Line Leak?

Most supply lines have a polymer lining on the inside, made of rubber or plastic. This lining, which transports the water, is generally not strong enough on its own to stand up to the water pressure going through the line. The pressure can vary greatly depending on the municipal supply, ranging from over 100 psi on down to 50 psi. Therefore, the lining is usually wrapped in a braided stainless steel sleeve, giving it much greater strength and allowing it to stand up to a range of pressures.

The main culprit for supply line damage is chlorine. Through humidity, chlorine is able to dissolve and create hydrochloric acid. The stainless steel braiding reacts with hydrochloric acid, leading to corrosion. Ultimately, the inner tubing will bulge through the cracks in the braiding and leak.

If you have a supply line that's showing signs of wear, check your warranty. A steel-braided line will usually have a lifetime warranty, while a five- to eight-year warranty is normal for plastic lines.

If you're seeing signs of a bathroom leak in your home, it may be an indication of supply line damage. If you've already suffered water damage, be sure to make a call to a qualified professional in Wichita, KS, so that he or she can assess the situation and make the necessary repairs. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.

How To Remove Birds From Entryways

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

There are several ways to discourage birds from nesting in the entryways of buildings. Services specializing in bird cleaning and bird removal rely on several humane pest control methods. You can try several methods before contacting experts to get birds away from the entrance to a commercial building.

1. Suspend material to prevent nesting. Bird prevention and removal specialists suggest hanging clear monofilament sections suspended from a clear plastic plate with an adhesive back that can adhere to gables, entryways, and a variety of other building materials. This material, which is called "twine," discourages birds from nesting in awnings, canopies, eaves, or entryways.

2. Install sloped PVC panels on structural components. Install bird slopes on any 90-degree angle where birds are a problem. You may also order extenders that add up to 10 inches of protection from birds seeking to nest in an entryway or end-caps to help to prevent birds from getting behind panels.

3. Choose and rotate visual deterrents. Putting up predator eyes near an entryway can be one of the most effective bird cleaning solutions used by owners and tenants. The appearance of these eyes poses a sufficient threat to keep birds from nesting. It is important to switch up the location of predator eyes or other visual deterrents to prevent birds from becoming accustomed and beginning to disregard the presence of these indicators.

4. Call a bird removal service that specializes in humane removal. A service that relies on humane discouragement and removal methods to keep birds out of entryways may follow all of these steps and take additional measures.

If you are a property owner or tenant seeking bird cleaning in Wichita, KS, you should consider a commercial restoration company that can clean up after birds stop nesting. Plan to have all areas inhabited by birds cleaned and protected eliminate every trace of the issue. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.

Getting Back on Your Feet - Storms, Taxes, and You

6/12/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Getting Back on Your Feet - Storms, Taxes, and You Getting back on your feet after suffering storm damage can be very stressful; however, it is not impossible.

After suffering storm damage to your Wichita, KS, commercial building, the last thing you want to do is think about taxes. However, taking time to figure out if the amount you spent post-disaster is tax deductible could help you to save money and get you on your way to recovery.

Tip One: Be Prepared

One of the most difficult parts of making a tax claim after a storm is estimating how much the property was worth before the damage was done. There are a couple things you can do to help maintain an accurate estimate:

• Keep receipts of any major purchases for the commercial building.
• Hire an appraiser to estimate the value of the commercial building.

Being prepared and documenting the value of your commercial property before a storm takes place can help you get back to normal much faster after a disaster.

Tip Two: What Is Covered?

One of the first steps to getting back on your feet after a storm is to figure out what losses your insurance covers. Insurance can cover any number of different types of damage to your commercial building:

• Flooding from sudden storms
• Damage from hurricanes or tornadoes

It is important to know what types of storm damage your insurance company covers. If your insurance does cover a specific type of damage, you generally cannot claim money spent as a tax deductible item. However, if your insurance does not cover certain types of damage, then you may be able to claim a deduction.

Tip Three: Call a Professional

Navigating insurance and deductibles can be incredibly complex after a storm, and timing can be critical. Tax laws regarding natural disasters are constantly changing. Hiring a tax advisor and taking advantage of his or her expertise can help you move the recovery process along.

Getting back on your feet after suffering storm damage can be very stressful; however, it is not impossible. With these tips, and professional help from storm reparation experts, you can get your business back up and running in no time. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.