Recent Posts

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/.

How To Create a Fire Escape Plan for Office Space in a High-Rise Building

5/18/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial How To Create a Fire Escape Plan for Office Space in a High-Rise Building A fire in a high-rise building can be a terrifying experience.

Fires are dangerous. Finding yourself trapped in a tall building on fire? Even more so. To reduce the likelihood of this happening, it is important for offices in a high-rise building to have a well-tested fire escape plan. Below are five steps to simplify the process.

1. Survey the Area

Request a blueprint of the floors the business occupies and walk them. Identify ways in and out of offices, offices suites, floors and the building itself. Pay special attention to areas that require key cards to get in or out. In the case of an emergency, these should open automatically. Ensure exit routes, doors and stairs are always clear.

2. Clearly Mark Emergency Exits

The path to an emergency exit should be easily identified even for first-time guests. Use large and legible signs that will remain visible even if the lights go out. Most tall buildings may have more than one emergency stairwell, so map out which side of the office should go to which stairwell. This prevents the likelihood of employees running to the one farther away.

4. Select Fire Wardens

Fire wardens are regular employees who have the additional responsibility of taking the lead during an emergency. In the case of a fire, they lead their assigned group to safety and should perform a headcount or roll call once gathered outside.

5. Test & Revise

For a fire escape plan to be considered well-tested, practice is often necessary. Perform drills at least twice per year. Do not allow a company culture of ignoring the fire alarm when it goes off. Sprinklers should also be tested to reduce the need for restoration due to fire damage. After an evacuation, fire wardens and other employees should provide feedback to better improve the emergency escape plan.

A fire in a high-rise building can be a terrifying experience. However, a good fire escape plan can be an excellent way to protect both people and property in Wichita, KS. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.

Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Mold

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Top 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Mold Mold prevention starts with moisture control.

Mold is everywhere in Wichita, KS, but there’s a surprising amount we don’t know about it. Let’s take a look at the top five frequently asked questions about mold growth.

1. What’s the Difference Between Mold and Mildew?

Mold is a thick, fuzzy growth, while mildew is flat and powdery. Mold growths tend to spread across both inorganic and organic matter, even though it requires organic matter to truly feed; mildew will generally only appear on organic matter. Both can come in multiple colors, though the most recognizable colors are black for both or, for mold, fuzzy green and white.

2. If I Wait Long Enough, Will Mold Just Die?

No, especially if you live in a high-humidity area. Mold is a living organism just like any other, and just like any living organism, it exists to live and reproduce. That means unless you put a stop to it, mold will continue to grow as long as it has a surface to grow on and moisture to feed it.

3. Can I Remove Mold Myself?

For early-stage mold growth, you may be able to remove it by wiping it away carefully and disinfecting the area, but you can never be completely sure you’ve eliminated the mold until you bring in a mold remediation specialist. Even after removing mold growth, you will always have mold spores in the air as part of your natural environment.

4. What Makes Mold Grow So Fast?

Mold grows the fastest where there’s water damage. Water damage tends to saturate the drywall and wood of your home to make these organic substances perfect breeding grounds for mold.

5. How Can I Prevent Mold?

Mold prevention starts with moisture control. If you get rid of the moisture in your home, you’re more likely to prevent mold from growing. Check your pipes, windows, roofs, and appliances. Invest in a dehumidifier if needed. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.

6 Tips To Reduce Fire Hazards in the Kitchen

5/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 6 Tips To Reduce Fire Hazards in the Kitchen Kitchen fire safety is important for your family, so use these tips.

The fire department often responds to kitchen fires in Wichita, KS, so it’s wise to take simple precautions to reduce fire hazards in your home. Here are tips to keep your home safe from kitchen fires.

1. Organize Your Kitchen With Safety in Mind

Anything that might catch fire should be kept away from your stovetop. Keep a baking sheet or pan lid nearby to cover a pan if there is fire. Turn pot handles so they point to the rear of the stove as this will minimize the chance that someone might knock them over.

2. Stay in the Kitchen While Cooking

Unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of kitchen fires. Stay in the kitchen whenever you are grilling, frying or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off and move your pots and pans off the heat because a grease fire is a danger.

3. Dress Safely While Cooking

Loose clothing can catch fire from a gas flame or electric burner. When cooking, wear short sleeves or rolled sleeves. If you have long hair, tie it back.

4. Remember To Turn Everything Off

Turn ovens or burners off after cooking. Other kitchen fire safety tips are to clean up food spills, grease or anything that could catch fire. Be careful when lighting the burner on a gas stove or a pilot light. Don’t put too much oil or grease in pots or pans as hot oil or grease might splatter and cause a grease fire.

5. Install a Smoke Alarm Near the Kitchen

Be sure you have a smoke alarm installed near the kitchen, but not in it. You don’t want cooking smoke or steam to trigger the alarm. Change the batteries every six months.

6. Install a Home Sprinkler System

A sprinkler system will provide protection for your home. If you are renovating or building, consider installing a sprinkler in the kitchen, the area of your home with the greatest fire risk.

Kitchen fire safety is important for your family, so use these tips. Contact a restoration specialist for help if you have kitchen fire damage. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.