Tips for Preparing Your Business for an Emergency Situation
If your business is damaged due to a disaster or an emergency, SERVPRO of Douglasville is here for you.
If you own your own business, you understand the importance of planning ahead to set yourself up for success—but have you considered the need to plan ahead for an emergency scenario? The frequency with which disasters occur continues to rise, and being prepared for any scenario is the best defense business owners have against them.
Understanding how to prepare your business can help you recover far more quickly after an emergency and get your doors reopened faster after a disaster.
How to Prepare Your Business for an Emergency
Review the details of your insurance policy. The average commercial insurance policy provides many standard coverages, but it also leaves quite a bit of scenarios out, requiring business owners to purchase additional coverage for situations such as floods, income interruption and gaps in your policy. It is smart to review your insurance policy through the lens of disaster preparedness planning to learn about any gaps in coverage you may have.
Make sure your documents are backed up and stored well. Having the right documentation on hand after a disaster will make the recovery process much easier, but have you considered the correct way to store them? Many files are digital now, so you should make sure you have a cloud backup or hard copy in case your computer gets damaged in a disaster. If you have physical documents you may need, make copies of those and store them securely in a secondary location.
Be sure you have an evacuation plan. If a flood or other natural disaster is incoming, officials will normally recommend a rapid evacuation so that everyone can get to safety. Be sure you have an evacuation plan that includes well-marked evacuation routes and a headcount system to make sure everyone is accounted for, and make certain that you have rehearsed often with staff. This serves to reduce panic in the moment as well as your overall liability, and equips everyone to move to safety calmly and quickly in an emergency.
If your business is damaged due to a disaster or an emergency, we are here for you. You can contact us any time to learn more about commercial restoration and how we can help.
Training Your Employees on Fire Safety in the Workplace
If you have fire damage to your business, you can depend on SERVPRO of Douglasville.
Owning a business presents a large liability for multiple reasons. While you have many things you must plan for, planning for an emergency event such as a fire should certainly be part of your routine. Every year, fires lead to around $10 billion in overall damages, and if your business is not prepared before one happens, these damages can devastate you.
One of the best ways to boost the overall fire safety of your workplace is by training your employees to be conscious about it. When they are empowered to practice fire safety themselves, you can significantly lower your risk and ensure everyone is working together to create a safer office space.
Tips to Empower Your Employees to Be Fire-Safe
Create a fire safety committee. Installing a properly equipped fire safety committee in your office is a great way to tackle fire safety problems and allow you to delegate some of the planning so it does not all fall on you. A fire safety committee can plan evacuation drills, suggest improvements around the office and communicate other fire safety efforts with the staff at large so everyone is in the loop.
Make sure everyone knows the fire protocol. Fire alarms can incite panic in even the most prepared of individuals, but knowing what to do can significantly reduce the fearful instincts they might inspire. Be sure that you have regular workplace fire evacuation drills in order to help your employees be prepared for a real-world fire scenario. Everyone in your building should feel comfortable navigating emergency exit routes and getting to safety when a fire starts anywhere in the building.
Have a fire extinguisher seminar regularly. Fire extinguishers are an effective way to stop an electrical or other small fire in its tracks before it becomes out of hand—but only if your staff knows how to use them. Make sure to train everyone on their operation (you can often have local fire officials pay a visit to do this), and clearly mark where they are throughout the office so everyone is empowered to take action at the first sight of a spark.
If you have fire damage to your business, you can depend on us. Contact us at any hour to learn about our commercial restoration process.
How to Prepare Before a Storm
SERVPRO of Douglasville is your storm damage cleanup expert.
Before a storm strikes, follow these safety measures to ensure your family and home are safe. You’ll also want to prepare an Emergency Supply Kit to get each person through three days should you lose power or have no running water.
Follow these steps to prepare for when a storm hits:
• In warm weather, turn your air conditioning down. In cold weather, turn your heat up. During and after the storm, keep doors and windows closed - you can retain inside temperature for as long as 48 hours.
• Charge your cell phone and other devices that need to be charged.
• Keep freezer doors closed and sealed. Frozen food will keep two or three days in a well-filled freezer.
• Leave a porch or front light on. This helps our crews know when repair work is successful.
Disconnect or turn off any appliances that will start automatically when power is restored to avoid overloading circuits. Hot appliances pose a fire hazard, including:
• Electric space heaters
• Washers and dryers
• Microwave ovens
• Refrigerators and freezers
Our Thorough Water Damage Inspection Process
If you have had water damage to your home, you can count on SERVPRO of Douglasville to help you recover.
When you call us for water damage, you can be certain that you will receive a complete water restoration process that addresses all possible points of damage. One of the ways that we ensure this is by doing a complete and thorough inspection during our water damage restoration process.
Once you get in touch with us, our highly trained technicians will respond quickly and do a full inspection to create a water damage restoration plan. Here’s how it works:
- Identify and Stop Continuing Water Flow
If the water is due to something such as a broken pipe or plumbing issue, it is possible that moisture may still be seeping into the area undetected. We will do a complete assessment to determine if there is still an active flow of water due to a leak and if so, we will stop it to prevent any further damage from occurring.
- Define the Classification of Water
Understanding the categorical classification of the water damage will help us determine the severity and how to proceed with the repairs. There are three types of water damage categories that are possible when damage is present.
- Category 1 Water consists of clean water that is not contaminated.
- Category 2 Water is contaminated with chemical or biological byproducts, which can be common after dishwashers or sump pumps overflow.
- Category 3 Water is severely contaminated, often caused by floods or sewage overflows, and can cause serious health issues.
- Inspect the Area and Determine the Extent of the Damage
Water damage can be especially tricky because it can impact areas that are not immediately visible to the naked eye. Moisture can seep into drywall and impact the structure of the home, which can also affect adjacent rooms that were not touched by flooding. We will do a full inspection to determine just how far-reaching the damage is so you can have a full and complete restoration that leaves no affected area untreated.
If you have had water damage to your home, you can count on us to help you recover. Contact us at any hour to set our water damage restoration plan in motion.
Science of Drying
SERVPRO® of Douglasville professionals have the training and equipment to help make water damage "Like it never even happened."
Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? Having the knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water-damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a fan or two around the damaged area, SERVPRO® of Douglasville professionals are trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages. If your home or business suffers a water damage, SERVPRO® of Douglasville will inspect the building to detect every component that is wet to help prevent secondary damage from happening; measure how much moisture is in wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly; and speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
What exactly does it mean to help "speed up Mother Nature?" A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material?but only if the air is, indeed, drier. The only problem is nature often takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville has the tools to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces inside walls, and much more. SERVPRO® also uses state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process to help accelerate the drying of your home or business.
It's not only the equipment, but the technology too! SERVPRO® pf Douglasville utilizes DryBook™, a proprietary tool that provides real-time documentation and updates on the drying process and helps ensure industry drying requirements are met. With DryBook™ Mobile, you have the ability to know exactly where your property is in the drying process.
The bottom line? SERVPRO® of Douglasville professionals have the training and equipment to help make water damage "Like it never even happened."
*Source Restoration Newsline Vol 32, Iss 7
Summer is full of fun and new adventures. Follow safety guidelines to ensure a good time is had by all.
SERVPRO® hopes you stay safe and have an awesome summer. Consider the following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), to keep you and your family safe.
- When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
- When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
- When camping, always use a flame-retardant tent and set up camp far away from the campfire.
- Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire. Extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite.
- Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling to freshen an existing campfire.
Summer is full of fun and new adventures. Whatever your adventure, follow all safety guidelines to ensure a good time is had by all.
*Source Restoration Newsline Vol 32, Iss 6
Restoring Your Business After a Flood
SERVPRO of Douglasville is your local restoration experts for restoring your business following a flood.
Floods can be miserable ordeals, even with extensive preparation. They can spring up with little to no warning and saddle you with the responsibility of a lengthy, expensive restoration period. Your business could be
underwater in a flash, and you could be faced with mounting repair bills and extended interruption to your business.
But floods can also be regenerative. Large-scale damage to your business is an opportunity to rebuild and minimize potential damage and disruption that could be caused by future floods. If your business has sustained flood damage, do not panic. Think of it as a chance to fortify your business against future flood damage rather than nothing but a ruinous misfortune.
Cleaning Up After a Flood
Once floodwaters start to recede, you may want to immediately get your hands dirty and start the cleanup effort. Fight that urge. Never re-enter premises until you are absolutely sure they are safe. Floods leave multiple hazards in their wake, such as exposed wires, weakened buildings and contaminated water. Your first priority should be the safety of yourself, your employees and anyone else who might enter or pass near your business.
Local insurers often visit flood-damaged premises and offer guidance after floodwaters start to retreat. Until then, use extreme caution when visiting your business.
Before entering your flood-damaged building:
- Notify your insurer. Take pictures of contents and damage for your insurer—the more the better—but only if it is safe to do so.
- Turn off your building’s gas and electricity, and any fuel taps. Never touch sources of electricity when standing in floodwater.
- Check for structural damage before entering the building. Do not enter if there is any chance it may collapse.
- Assume that all water-damaged structures are unstable until proven otherwise.
- Treat all stairs, floors, roofs and overhangs as unsafe until inspected.
Your insurer will send a loss adjuster and other specialists to assess your business’ damage. After ensuring that your property is stable, it is time to get dirty.
When beginning cleanup efforts, follow this guidance:
- Ensure you and your employees follow every health and safety precaution, such as wearing boots, rubber gloves and other personal protective clothing.
- Use caution when handling debris—it may be contaminated or harbor unseen sharp objects.
- Dispose of equipment only after notifying your insurer.
- Disinfect your property with ordinary household cleaners, but follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure you are disinfecting properly. Let cleaned surfaces dry completely.
- Open a window and leave the building if you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing—these may be signs of a gas leak.
- Operate electrical equipment only if the ground is dry—never operate electrical equipment that is in or near water.
- Clean any water taps that were submerged in contaminated floodwater with a bleach solution. Let the water run for 30 seconds prior to using it.
- Drain water in stages to avoid disparity between the water pressure inside and outside your building.
- Shovel mud out in stages so the pressure inside and outside remains equal. Remove the rest with a hose, but make sure it is not a high-pressure one—these hoses can blast contaminants into the air.
- Use a pump and generator to remove water. Position the generator outside in the open air if it produces carbon monoxide. Only pump out water once the flood levels outside your property are lower than inside.
- Keep windows and doors open, weather permitting, to expedite drying, but never sacrifice building security.
- Dry your building using a combination of fans, industrial heaters and dehumidifiers. Your insurer may provide these tools.
- Leave central heating on at 68° F or above to encourage drying if it is safe.
Upgrading After a Flood
Make the most out of an unfortunate situation by using your flood damage as an opportunity to repair your property with flood-resistant products. Consider installing the following flood-resistant precautions:
- Pumps and pump systems sit below the ground floor to remove water that enters from the ground.
- Flood skirts which act as barriers around any potential inlet for water.
- One-way valves fit to water pipes to prevent water backing up into your property.
- Water-resistant sealants refer to a wide variety of sealants—you can use them all over your property.
- Plastic fittings in kitchen or lavatory areas are more durable than reconstituted wood, which disintegrates in a flood.
- Electrical sockets, fuse boxes and wiring should sit at least 12 inches above the 100-year flood level in your area to prevent water damage.
- High shelving is a convenient option for ensuring you have an area above floodwater to store valuable items.
No matter what you install, the ultimate preparation for a flood is proper insurance. Remember that your damaged stock and premises will not be the only setback you suffer from a flood—interruption to your business’ continuity can be fatal. Purchase a comprehensive policy tailored to your specific industry and location that accounts for business interruption. Taking risk-reduction measures may help cut down your premium or excess.
The Most Common Types of Water Damage in Your Home
SERVPRO of Douglasville is your local water restoration experts. We have the tools and technology to handle any restoration.
For most of us, the specific types of nomenclature for water damage in our homes are not as important as the need to just have it prevented, fixed or restored. However to certain people (like your insurance agent), these differentiations are very important.
The specific instance and cause of your water issue could make the difference in whether the repair gets paid for by your insurance company.
So, let’s break it down into the three types of damage you’ll need to know about when reporting water damage to your insurance—and then you should double-check your policy to see which you’re covered for, so you don’t get surprised if one of them becomes suddenly very relevant.
The 3 Delineations of Water Damage
Sewer or water backup. The other types of damage may have more potential for destruction, but this one is the most potentially toxic, and let’s face it, the yuckiest. Sewer or water backup is what happens when water from sewer pipes or drainage systems gets pushed back up into your home. The causes range from aging or degrading sewer systems to blockages in sewer lines due to thirsty tree roots that find a crack in a pipe.
This type of claim also encompasses damage from backup of rainwater and debris caused by blocked gutters or rainwater pipes.
Overflow and discharge. The dishwasher explodes. The pipes freeze. The washing machine overflows or the kids forget the bath is running. These are the types of damage caused by overflow and discharge. When water is released or bursts from plumbing or appliances, and there’s a sudden emanation of water, this is the type of claim you’re looking at.
Flood. This one is sometimes confused with overflow, because we tend to say things like, “My water heater burst and now my basement is flooded.” But for insurance and damage purposes, the definition of a flood event is more environmental—“a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties.” In other words, it’s not truly considered a flood unless a rainstorm or other natural occurrence causes it.
No matter the cause of your water damage, we have the tools, the tech and the training to restore your home to its original state. Call or click when you need us on the scene, or simply to find out how we can help.
Spotlight on: Document Restoration
SERVPRO of Douglasville can restore your documents following a water or fire to prevent the loss of important information.
As a leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO® of Douglasville knows timely mitigation is the key to reducing severity and recovering damaged items. Water-damaged paper goods can rapidly deteriorate. Without proper handling, valuable files and irreplaceable documents could be lost forever. Let SERVPRO's Document Restoration Team help you recover your damaged paper goods before it is too late.
Vacuum freeze drying is the most efficient and effective way to salvage water-damaged documents. SERVPRO® of Douglasville uses sublimation, turning a solid directly into a vapor, skipping the liquid stage, to avoid causing more damage to the documents. An example of sublimation is dry ice: dry ice is made of carbon dioxide (not water.) When dry ice is exposed to normal atmospheric conditions, it begins to sublimate?it turns directly from its solid stage into its gaseous stage, bypassing the liquid stage.
This process can recover even the most delicate items, from documents to photographs and x-rays, to entire business archives. SERVPRO's goal is to make this process as simple as possible for our customers!
*Restoration Newsline Vol 32, Iss 7
What to Do After a Flash Flood
SERVPRO of Douglasville is your local water restoration experts. We have around-the-clock service for emergencies.
July in the greater Atlanta area typically involves over 16 days of expected rain—that’s over half the month. And while the average rainfall amount from those days isn’t anything overwhelming, there’s always a chance that one of those rainy Georgia days could turn into something unexpected.
A flood warning is issued. Suddenly water is crossing roads, creeks are backing up and the weatherperson is warning you about dangerous conditions outside.
Water’s pouring into the basement or garage, and now you’ve got ruined carpet, flooded rooms and other issues. You’ve taken shelter on higher ground if necessary, you’ve stayed off the roads and away from rushing water. Your family is safe, and you’ve got an emergency kit prepared for power loss or perished food.
But when the waters recede and the flooding is over, what are your next steps?
First of all, and most importantly, be safety-conscious. If you have time before water starts coming in, unplug your appliances.
If standing water is in your home near appliances that are still plugged in, leave them be. Attempting to unplug them can result in fatal electric shock, because they may charge the water surrounding you.
If perishable food has been touched by flood water, consider it unsafe and throw it out. Also boil any tap water before drinking until you know it’s safe and uncontaminated with flood water.
Depending on the amount of water present, you may be able to take care of the drainage yourself if your home has a sump pump, or even a wet/dry vac. But if the damage from a flash flood is more than you can manage, or if it has caused other issues that need your attention, don’t wait—call the water damage technicians at SERVPRO of Douglasville.
With a locally owned and operated office nearby and 24⁄7 emergency services, we can be onsite quickly to mitigate damage, prevent further damage and restore your basement or garage to its original state.
With highly advanced technology, skilled technicians and around-the-clock service for emergencies, we’ve got the tools and the people to get the job done. Get in touch today if you’ve experienced water damage.