Contact List following a fire
It can be overwhelming seeing the damages that fire has caused to your home and belongings but timing is essential in fire damage restoration and you need to act fast to mitigate your home.
Companies the you want to contact:
Restoration contractor: The longer you let your home sit in soot and water damage, the further the damage. This is why it is crucial to start the fire restoration process right away. After speaking to a reputable fire restoration company they will be able to develop a custom action plan to restore your home. An expert will be dispatched to your home to review the damage, get a clean up plan in place and save as much of your belongings as possible.
Insurance Company: Contact your insurance company and alert them of the situation at hand. They will be able to shed a little light on this dark situation by informing you of the next steps you need to take. With their guidance, you will be able to navigate the first initial steps of your fire damage claims. In addition, they will be able to inform you of the best practices you should take such as making a list and taking pictures of damaged items for documentation.
Utility and Lending Companies: Paying your bills and living expenses in addition to paying to having your home and belonging restored can be financially exhausting. Utility and lending companies realize this and they know the hardship a family can face in the event of disaster such as a house fire. Contact them, explain your situation, and see if they offer any hardship programs that would lower your payments or stop them completely until you get back on your feet.
Physician: Do you or a family member rely on daily medication to stay healthy? Depending on the extent of the fire damage or the origin of it, retrieving medication may not be possible. Contact your family physician and request to have your medication filled at your nearest pharmacy.
Child’s School: If you have a child in school you may want to contact the school and alert them of the situation at hand. If the fire damage deems your home unlivable you may need to stay with a family member and their home can be too far from the school. Teachers and principles are understanding of the difficulties a child and family faces in the event of a disaster and may allow them to do class work at home.
Call SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge if you have any questions or concerns.
Your Home can be severely damaged by Smoke
After you have been cleared to re-enter your home or business it is important to keep an eye out for structural damage. A licensed inspector may be needed to evaluate the building to make sure that it is safe. Ceilings can collapse, causing injury or even death. Concrete can expand from the heat of a fire leading to an unsound foundation.
Make sure to take lots of pictures of the structure and of your damaged contents. Fabric, leather and wood will all have telltale signs. Check everything for charring. If it passes your inspection then give it the old smell test to check for smoke odor.
Your walls and ceilings may be discolored from the intense heat, charring and soot. If your HVAC system was running during the fire you may want to thoroughly check rooms that were seemingly not affected by the blaze. The soot could have traveled through your duct work to other rooms.
If you have any questions or concerns please call SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge.
How can homeowners remove odors and restore their homes on their own?
Prep Space They should start by removing all materials from the area. Some people only recommend removing items that suffered fire damage, but a homeowner must keep in mind that total restoration starts by reducing exposure of clean items to lingering smoke. Also, if one area is burnt and another nearby one is fine, a homeowner should seal off damaged sections so that odors do not contaminate materials in untouched areas.
Purify the Air Throughout the cleaning and restoration process, a homeowner must set up one or more air purifying devices that contain activated carbon filters to absorb odors. Boxes of baking soda placed throughout the damaged area can also help. SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge can provide Hydroxyl Generators, Ozone and air scrubbers with carbon filters.
Remove All Debris Cleaning up ash and soot isn't an easy task. Creosote creates difficult-to-remove oily stains. Water-based cleaning solutions make a mess that's even harder to remove, and moisture promotes bacteria and mold growth in badly deteriorated materials. A homeowner must start to remove ash and soot odors by rubbing surfaces from the ceiling down toward the floor with a dry soot eraser sponge. Afterward, they should then sweep up remaining particles with a broom and dustbin and finally a vacuum. Application of a liquid solvent with a sponge is necessary to remove stains. To remove lingering odors, a homeowner must use liquid deodorizer spray.
Restore the Home The final part of the process for smoke removal and returning a space to its former physical state is total restoration. If necessary, a homeowner must repair or replace structural materials, furniture, and appliances. Once they complete this portion of the restoration process, they merely need to replace decorative items to make the area comfortable and welcoming once again. Air purifiers should no longer be necessary unless the homeowner uses them to reduce allergy-related dust, pollen and pet dander and odors unrelated to a fire. Homeowners can't solve every smoke-based fire damage scenario on their own. If smoke odor doesn't dissipate or the fire affected a large area or caused extensive damage, they should invest in help from a professional restorer. If something does happen, call our team at SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge. We expertly and quickly handle total reconstruction jobs, including smoke removal and structural rebuilds and repairs. We're also available 24/7 for emergency restorations.
Business Interruption Coverage
The insurance world can be very confusion. Many times a business can have an a la carte' type of policy which gives them the ability to choose what is and is not covered.
Business interruption coverage is insurance is intended to compensate for the losses that occur as a consequence of having to close your business after your commercial property is damaged by a covered loss.
Business interruption coverage is not standard on commercial insurance policies. It usually needs to be specifically added to your commercial property policy and always has a coverage limit (for example, $30,000 per incident). However, to obtain Business Interruption insurance proceeds, your business must have sustained a physical loss that is covered under your commercial policy (like water damage or damage caused by fire, hurricane, tornado, etc.). Unfortunately, property damage covered under a flood policy does not usually include business interruption coverage. For example, standard flood insurance policies issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (which is administered by FEMA) do not provide business interruption coverage.
Always be sure to check your policy and ask your agent to be sure you know your coverages and understand your rights.
Also, if you suffer fire damage or water damage please call SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge.
FEMA Flood Map
Flood damage, water damage or storm damage can catch you off guard. Be prepared!
Knowledge is power and when it comes to flooding you want to be very knowledgeable!
Here is the link to the FEMA Flood Map. You enter in your zip code to see whether you are in a flood plain or not.
Whether you are in a high risk zone or not, you may need flood insurance because most homeowners insurance doesn't cover flood damage. If you live in an area with low or moderate flood risk, you are 5 times more likely to experience flood than a fire in your home over the next 30 years. For many, a National Flood Insurance Program's flood insurance policy could cost less than $400 per year. Call your insurance agent today to find out more information.
Also, if you have a business that is in a flood zone and would like an emergency plan in place in case you flood please give SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge a call.
Garden District homes and their flooding problems
Water damage and flooding in south Baton Rouge
If you live in the garden district of South Baton Rouge then you are most likely no stranger to flooding. Your neighborhood has flooded 14 times in the last 5 years. While the city-parish is working towards a better drainage solution you need to have a plan in case you flood again.
SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge has your back. We understand that during a storm your friends and family come first. After you are safe, protecting your largest asset, you home or business, is next. We are the water damage mitigation specialist and can insure that you get the attention you need.
Give us a call if you have any questions or concerns. If you own a business and need an emergency plan we can schedule for a free consultation.
Water Damage Tips and Tricks
Busted pipe in your house or business can cause tremendous water damage
If you suffer water damage at your home or business it is important to attempt to mitigate the damage until a professional restoration company can take over. Your insurance company expects for you to be pro active while waiting on SERVPRO to arrive.
The following are some useful tips and tricks that will show your insurance company that you are working to minimize the damage.
- Turn off the water supply
- Call a plumber if necessary
- If the water is clean (not sewage) shop vac or towel up the standing water
- Place some fans out to create air flow
- Elevate your furniture out of the water
- Create a list of damaged belongings
- Take lots of photos
Just doing these steps will insure that you are trying to help.
If you have any questions or concerns please give SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge a call.
Busted pipe at a local business caused major water damage.
When you encounter water damage at your house or business make sure that you are aware of its potential to create serious problems.
Wallboard and drywall:
These porous materials act like a sponge and become fragile in a flood, and may remain contaminated even after they dry out.
This thick material may not have to be replaced but it takes a very long time to dry. If it is severely cracked or warped, it will need to be replaced.
Foam sheets of insulation just need to be hosed off and dried, but muddy fiberglass batts should be thrown out. Cellulose insulation, made of blown-in treated paper, will need to be removed and replaced.
Furniture and other solid wood items may warp and crack following a flood, but they can usually be saved when dried out completely.
Particle board and laminated wood:
These materials may separate and weaken after getting wet and usually need to be replaced.
Wood studs and framing:
These solid pillars are usually OK if they dry completely. They must be disinfected, but don’t usually have to be replaced. They are most often far from human contact, so risks of harm from any remaining contamination are low.
Most carpets and laminated coverings will have to be thrown out after a flood, especially any with soaked foam rubber backing. A professional cleaner may be able to save small rugs and valuable carpets, which should be removed from the site immediately.
Pipes and electrical wiring:
Floods can float or break pipes and strip electrical wiring. Unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing, work with a contractor if you see damage to these items.
These can be shorted out during floods and can leak harmful and explosive gases into the air. They will need to be cleaned and checked by a professional before use.
Heater and air conditioner units can become flooded, which can damage their internal electrical systems and douse pilot lights. They can also become muddy, and cleaning them will require professional cleaning. In addition, venting systems can flood and become contaminated. If that happens, they must be taken apart and hosed off piece by piece to prevent contamination from being blown through the air.
IF you have any questions or concerns please give SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge a call.
Emergency planning for your Pets
Please take the necessary steps to protect your furry friends.
SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge understands how important your pets are. They are family!
- Know what disasters could affect your area, which could call for an evacuation and when to shelter in place.
- Keep a NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station and monitor TV, radio, and follow mobile alert and mobile warnings about severe weather in your area.
- Download the FEMA app, receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.
Make a Plan
Remember, during a disaster what’s good for you is good for your pet, so get them ready today.
If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, injured – or worse. Never leave a pet chained outdoors. Plan options include:
- Create a buddy system in case you’re not home. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals.
- Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets.
- Find pet friendly hotels along your evacuation route and keep a list in your pet’s emergency kit.
- Locate boarding facilities or animal hospitals near your evacuation shelter.
- Consider an out-of-town friend or relative
- Locate a veterinarian or animal hospital in the area where you may be seeking temporary shelter, in case your pet needs medical care. Add the contact information to your emergency kit.
- Have your pet microchipped and make sure that you not only keep your address and phone number up-to-date, but that you also include contact info for an emergency contact outside of your immediate area.
- Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
- If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located.
- Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
- If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger!
Don't get Scammed by "Storm Chasers"
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, it is easy to be tricked by a less than professional repair service. Hiring a “storm chaser” will lead to serious headaches, exorbitant costs, poor workmanship and unfinished work that can leave your home or business in worse condition.
To ensure your home or business is restored by a trustworthy and reliable company after devastating flood damage, SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has compiled a list of key characteristics to help identify “storm chasers.”
“After a flood, home and business owners are in a vulnerable state,” said Pete Duncanson, IICRC Chairman. “Unfortunately, some individuals will take advantage of people’s hardships. These tips will help you identify the warning signs of a flood restoration scam artist.” To help home owners and businesses properly restore their properties following a disaster, the IICRC identifies the following traits of a “storm chaser”:
1. Too-good-to-be-true prices. Often dubious restoration companies will offer low prices to grab your attention, but be wary of surprise costs that will hurt your wallet. Never let the price of the repairs be the sole criterion for choosing a restoration firm.
2. Requesting upfront cash payments. While it can be a regular practice to deposit up to one-third of the estimated price on the day repairs begin, avoid paying in cash or more than the expected payment. Pay by check or credit card, and pay the final amount only after the work is finished and you are happy with the quality of the repairs.
3. A lack of references. References are easy to check and can help you quickly identify if the company is legitimate and provides good service. Research the company online and check feedback on user-review sites such as Angie’s List or Yelp, or ask friends or business contacts if they have had any experience with the firm.
4. High-pressure tactics. Often, a “storm chaser” will arrive uninvited to your door peddling their services. If the contractor is using high-pressure sales tactics, it is best to turn them away politely and shut the door. Technicians should be courteous, thoroughly explain the scope of work and answer all questions. You should never feel pressure to accept their services.
5. Lack of training. Professional cleaning and restoration firms require management and employees to engage in formal training in a variety of cleaning and restoration disciplines, and these educational efforts will be ongoing. Inquire about the formal training and certifications of technicians who will be working in your home or business. Look for organizations that require their technicians to hold certifications from organizations like the IICRC to ensure the work is done correctly.
6. Inability to show credentials. Never hesitate to ask for proof. Ask to see the individual’s certification card, business license and insurance certificate. To verify a company, you can contact the IICRC which is a not-for-profit standards-setting and credentialing body for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industry. Call the IICRC at 1-844-464-4272 to confirm the certification of any company that has contacted you.
Immediately after a storm, a home or business owner should contact their insurance provider for a storm damage assessment by an adjuster. Insurance companies can often provide a list of credible restoration companies.
If you have any other questions or concerns please give SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge a call.