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How to Prepare for Wildfires

12/1/2022 (Permalink)

wildfire With the right planning, preparation, and resources, wildfires can be survivable.

How to Be Prepared for Wildfires

Wildfires can be terrifying, but they're also natural parts of the ecosystem. And while they might not seem likely to happen, knowing how to be prepared for wildfires is important no matter where you live. If this is your first time dealing with wildland fires, take some time now to plan for the worst-case scenario if it does happen.

Know the signs and symptoms of wildfires.

If you smell smoke in the air, it could mean that a wildfire is nearby. You may also see ash falling from the sky or observe dry air and low humidity, as well as clear skies with strong winds and gusts. The smell of smoke should be your first sign that something is on fire nearby; if you don't smell anything but do notice other signs like those above, then it's likely that there is a wildfire nearby.

Have a plan for where to go if a wildfire approaches.

Planning ahead is key to reduce risk of injury or death. If you are at home, follow these tips:

  • Have a plan for where to go if a wildfire approaches.
  • Be ready to act quickly and leave if told to do so by local authorities.
  • Be aware that there may be several ways out of your neighborhood, but not all roads are safe for travel during evacuations.

Providing enough water reduces risk of dehydration.

This is a crucial step. You can't live without water and having enough of it for each person in your household makes it less likely that anyone will suffer from dehydration. FEMA recommends one gallon of water per person per day, but the general rule is to always have at least one gallon per person per day on hand.

If you have tap water, boil it for at least 1 minute before drinking or use bottled water (but make sure to check expiration dates). Another option is to buy purifiers or filters that remove contaminants like bacteria and viruses from contaminated sources such as lakes or rivers.

You should gather the necessary supplies ahead of time, especially in dry weather. It is important to have enough food, water and medication for your family.

Plan for the worst and be prepared for it.

It is important to know what to do in the event of a wildfire as well as know your community's emergency plan and know how to respond in case of an emergency. Identify possible evacuation routes ahead of time so that if there is an evacuation order issued by local authorities. 

Have a supply kit ready to go with enough food, water and other supplies for at least 72 hours. Pack items that are lightweight and portable such as cans of tuna or spam, dry cereal, peanut butter and crackers. Be sure the kit has any medications you use regularly. Include things like flashlights with extra batteries and wind-up radios so that you can get information on where it's safe to go if wildfires threaten your area. Also include important documents like proof of identity cards or birth certificates in case there is an evacuation order issued by local authorities.

With the right planning, preparation, and resources, wildfires can be survivable. But it’s important not to get complacent when it comes to wildfires.  The key is being proactive about keeping your family safe from these natural disasters. By knowing what to do in case of a wildfire, as well as how they start and spread, you’ll be prepared if one ever strikes close by.

I Found a Leak Under my Kitchen Sink

11/7/2022 (Permalink)

water leak under kitchen sink Kitchen sink leaking

How to Repair a Kitchen Sink Leak

If your kitchen sink is leaking, there are a few simple steps you can take to repair it. It is important to stop the leak as quickly as possible in order to prevent further damage from occurring. Follow these instructions to replace or repair your faucet:

1. Make sure the water valve is off.

If the water valve is on, you will need to turn it off. It is important to stop the water from continuing to leak as quickly as possible. Once you have turned off the water valve, turn on the faucet to drain any remaining water from your pipes.

2. Check the drain stopper.

If the sink has a removable drain stopper, use a flashlight to inspect it and make sure there are no obstructions in the drainpipe beneath it. The stopper should also be checked for damage or missing parts—if any of these issues exist, you will need to replace your sink's drain assembly with one that includes a new rubber gasket (this goes for both types of drains).

3. Check the faucet is secure to the sink.

If it's loose, this might be the cause of your water leak. Tighten the faucet by removing and replacing the screws around it. Be careful not to overtighten! If your sink still leaks, there might be a bigger issue on hand.

4. Remove the faucet.

Disconnect the faucet handle by loosening the set screw that holds it in place and pulling out its stem. You may need to use pliers for this step; if so, be careful not to scratch or bend any parts of your faucet as you do so!

Remove any washers from underneath your faucet's base plate (if applicable) and clean out any debris from around them with a toothbrush before reinstalling them when putting everything back together again—this will help prevent future leaks from occurring due to clogs caused by dirt buildup around these components' gaskets or seals when used regularly over time.

5. Seal the faucet with plumber's putty and reinstall it.

Plumber's putty is a soft, putty-like material that is used to seal small leaks in pipes. It comes in either paste or rope form, so choose whichever one best suits your needs.

For this step, you'll need:

  • Plumber's putty
  • Tape measure and pencil (if you're using rope)
  • Hammer

6. Reattach the faucet to the sink

Reattach the faucet to the sink, tighten it, and turn on the water to test for leaks. If your leak has been repaired, turn off the water and let everything dry overnight before using your sink again. If there are still leaks, it might be time to call a plumber.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to fix your sink leak. If the leak continues, it is important to call a plumber as quickly as possible. Waiting to call a plumber can cause water and mold damage to your kitchen cabinets, flooring, and walls surrounding the sink. If you are in need of water cleanup services, our SERVPRO of Summerlin North/Sun City is always here to help!

What To Do After a Fire

10/5/2022 (Permalink)

Walls and door of a room covered with smoke A fire can be devastating.

How to Respond to a Fire

A fire can be the scariest thing you’ve ever experienced. Fires cause so much damage that it can be difficult to know where to start with the cleanup. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! We have some tips on what to do after a fire.

Call Your Insurance Company

After you’ve dealt with the immediate damage and cleaned up your home, it’s time to call your insurance company.

The first thing you should do when filing a claim is figure out if your policy covers fire damages. If you have renter's or homeowner's insurance, there may be special clauses that apply when filing claims for damages from fire. Your agent will be able to guide you through this process and explain any differences in coverage between renters and homeowners or what types of claims need to be filed by whom.

Once it's been determined that the policy covers fires, begin documenting everything that needs repaired or replaced so that both parties—you and your insurer—are on the same page about how much money is needed for repairs after a fire has occurred. The documents will include photos of what was damaged as well as receipts for any items purchased while replacing damaged goods such as appliances or furniture (this can also be done online).

You need to get a claim started right away. The sooner you file a claim, the faster you can start putting your life back together. 

A fire can be devastating, but it's important to know that you don't have much time to file a claim. If you wait too long, your insurance company could deny your claim and refuse to pay for any damages or medical expenses related to the fire.

It's also important that you get in touch with an insurance agent as soon as possible after a fire occurs. After all, they're trained professionals who will be able to help guide you through what steps need taken next. 

  • Your first step should be making sure everyone is okay and safe. Then call the police or fire department right away so they can collect evidence about how the fire started (and if it was intentionally set). Next contact friends and family members who may want help cleaning up their home afterwards - some people might offer free labor while others may donate food/clothing (or even money) if they're able -- but only accept if it feels right! Finally make sure everyone knows where they're going so there won't be any problems later on down road when trying figure out where exactly their belongings might've ended up being stored during this stressful time period...

Don't Touch Anything

The first thing you should know about fire damage is that it can be harmful, even dangerous.  Don’t touch anything that has been damaged by smoke or fire (including walls, furniture, etc.) until the room has been cleared out by professionals who know what they're doing! And don't try to clean up on your own—your home insurance may not cover any injuries sustained while trying to remove blackened debris yourself.

Try Not To Walk Through Smokey Areas

Have Fire Damage Restoration Professionals Restore Any Damaged Areas 

If you have suffered a home fire, it is important to have experts come in as soon as possible to inspect and clean the area. If damage has occurred, they can help you file an insurance claim so that you do not lose out on money that is rightfully yours. It is also important to call professionals because they will be able to assess the damage properly and know what they need to do in order to restore your home back to its original state.

If you wait too long before contacting restoration experts, there could be more damage done than originally thought and this could make it more difficult for them when trying to fix everything up again. The longer an area has been exposed since the fire occurred, the more likely it will take longer for someone like us at Chicago Fire Damage Restoration Incorporated (CFDRI) or another firm like us elsewhere across America who specialize in these kinds of situations because we understand how damaging fires like these can be especially if there was smoke involved which would cause even further complications down below where most people don't even think about until we tell them otherwise."

If you have experienced a fire, it is important that you take the right steps to protect yourself. You should call your insurance company right away and contact Fire Damage Restoration Professionals to help restore any damaged areas.

3 Necessary Storm Preparation Steps for Property Managers

8/30/2022 (Permalink)

Hard drive connected to a computer. SERVPRO log Keep computer files backed up on an external hard drive or cloud.

Storm Preparedness

A key duty of a property manager is to be ready for severe weather. With storms there is always the possibility of property damage or destruction that may require a professional restoration service to repair, as well as the risk for less serious but still important weather-related setbacks such as power loss. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead for a storm even if one is not forecast. Here are three necessary steps property managers in Summerlin, NV should take for storm preparedness.

1. Create a List of Important Contact Information

One thing property managers should do is create and regularly update a list of important contacts and other information. They need to be able to get in touch with tenants, the insurance company, service providers, staff and general contractors. Before a major storm event, they should check all of the contact information on this list and make sure it is current and accurate. Information they should collect, if available, includes:

  • Tenant names, phone numbers, addresses and email addresses
  • Names and apartment numbers of elderly people
  • Number of tenants, pets and children
  • Contractor phone numbers
  • Emergency service phone numbers
  • Insurance agent phone number and email address
  • Staff phone numbers, addresses and email addresses

2. Create an Emergency Plan

Another important step in storm preparedness is developing an emergency plan. This should include role assignments for staff and guidelines for ensuring the safety of the tenants. It should be reviewed with staff and communicated to the renters.

3. Create Backups of Important Files

There is a lot of important paperwork associated with property management. To ensure that this is not lost, back up all files, especially if they are currently in paper format. Even if you already have digital copies of your files, you should still have a second copy of each one stored off-site or in the cloud.

Being on top of storm preparedness can mitigate or even completely prevent disasters. Make sure you have what you need and know what to do ahead of time.

Essential Elements of a Fire Escape Plan

8/30/2022 (Permalink)

Map route. Fire escape plan Practice makes perfect

Develop And Communicate A Solid Plan

While having smoke alarms in your Sun City, NV, home may be the first line of defense, having a fire escape plan is just as important. A fire damage and restoration company can repair and restore the damage from a home fire, but the safety of everyone in the household relies on developing and communicating a solid plan.

Key Elements
While every home is different, as are the people who reside in it, a basic fire escape plan should include the following vital elements.

Make a Map – The map should include every hallway, room, door, window and level of the house. This not only provides a visual of the home but also allows for the next step of the plan.
Designate Escape Routes – Every room needs at least two escape routes in case the effects of the fire blocks one of them. This is especially important for homes with more than one level. The ability to exit the door and go down the stairs may not be a viable option. It is a good idea to consider keeping fire ladders in each upper-level room to ensure a safe exit from a second-story window.
Communicate a Meeting Place – After everyone knows how to get out the safest way possible, they also need to know where to go for a headcount. A designated meeting place across the street or on the corner of your neighbor’s sidewalk allows for a safe distance from the flames.

Practice Makes Perfect
As important as fire preparation is, it only works if it is regularly revisited. Physically going through the plan on a regular basis, as they do in school, helps solidifies the process and may highlight areas that may need to be addressed. It’s also important that everyone in the household, including guests, have a copy of the plan.
A fire is often an unexpected event, so ensure you have made and practiced a fire escape plan to increase the chances of everyone safely getting out of the home.

What To Do When a Sump Pump Fails

8/25/2022 (Permalink)

A serum pump installed in a basement of a house with a water-powered backup system. A malfunctioning sump pump can cause a residential basement or crawlspace to flood

A malfunctioning sump pump can cause a residential basement or crawlspace to flood. Regularly test the pump at a home in Las Vegas, NV, as it is better to find out that a pump does not work when water is not accumulating on the lowest level of a structure. Here are three steps to take in the event that a pump does not activate or fails to drain water.

Check the Pump Function

The most reliable way to test pump functionality is to run water through the system. Take the following measures to check drainage capabilities:

  • Fill the sump pit with water
  • Check to see if the float raises
  • Make sure the pump activates

A pump that does not activate as the pit fills may have a bad float switch, blown fuse or tripped breaker. Sump pumps should have a primary and backup power source to prevent storm damage in the event of power failure.

Identify Needed Maintenance
If a pump is slow to drain or is not functional, ensure the basin and drain lines are clear. The check valves on sump pumps tend to fail. Test valve function by pushing this component up and down to ensure it moves freely. More advanced maintenance may require a plumber.

Repair or Replace a Sump Pump
A malfunctioning or broken pump may necessitate professional repairs or replacement. With proper pump maintenance, most sump pumps have an operational life of at least 10 years. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider a column, pedestal, or submersible pump.
If a sump pump is in working condition and connected to reliable primary and backup power sources, the risk of failure should be minimal. The pump should automatically activate and drain water that is backing up into a basement or crawlspace. Contact a plumber if backups remain a problem at a residence in Las Vegas, NV.

How Business Interruption Can Help After a Fire

7/31/2022 (Permalink)

Business interruption insurance form and red pen for signing. Interruption insurance can provide income protection for your business.

How a Fire Can Help With Business Interruptions

Good planning and preparation are part of running a strong business. This means being ready for all possible challenges, including disasters in your Sun City Summerlin, NV, workplace. If you experience a fire in the office, it could not only cause significant damage to the building but could disrupt your daily operations. Thankfully, interruption insurance can provide income protection for your business.

Working Elsewhere

Fires can destroy structures as well as business equipment and supplies. Smoke damage can also make it unsafe for people to work in the building. Interruption insurance can help cover the costs of temporarily relocating to another location. This coverage can help with the following:

  • Transporting materials to the new location
  • Paying rent at the temporary location
  • Paying for equipment so employees can work remotely

Replacing Supplies

Your building may still be intact, but if materials such as computers, workstations, and office furniture were ruined, you may have to suspend operations until you have new equipment. This type of business interruption can be detrimental if you don't have the right coverage. Interruption insurance will help pay for items you lost in the fire.

Lost Income

One of the biggest concerns you'll have as a business owner after a fire is how it will affect your company's revenue. If you are unable to produce merchandise, fulfill orders or sell products, it'll be impossible to keep up with demand and maintain your income stream. The fire restoration process takes time, even if you hire an experienced disaster recovery team. The right insurance coverage will take care of the money you have lost by not being open for business after a fire. The insurance adjuster will help you determine the appropriate amount.
Recovering from a fire can be a long and difficult ordeal. However, if you have interruption insurance, you can have the peace of mind you need that your business can carry on even after a disaster.

6 Tips To Prepare Your Business for a Flood

7/23/2022 (Permalink)

People escape to exit door Plan and practice evacuation routes

Prepare For A Flood

Most people don’t expect to be impacted by a flood or other natural disaster; however, flooding is among the most common in the United States. While you may not want to think about it, preparing for a flood or other type of storm damage should be a top priority. Preparation is key to preventing major damage. Here are six tips to help your Las Vegas, NV, business prepare for a flood.

1. Understand the Level of Risk
Do you know how likely it is for your business to be impacted by a flood? Floods can happen from a variety of water sources including overflows of dams, hurricanes, rain, and snow. Take the time to identify your level of risk based on potential water sources. FEMA has a flood map to help you recognize risks.

2. Practice Evacuation Routes
One of the best things you can do to prepare for flooding is to plan and practice evacuation routes. Educate your employees on your processes and procedures during an emergency. Employee safety should be your main goal.

3. Have an Emergency Supply Kit
It’s also wise to have an emergency supply kit available to take during an evacuation. The supply kit should include basic first aid supplies that may not be immediately available following a disaster.

4. Move Valuables to Higher Ground
Your business has valuable equipment and furniture. If possible, consider moving these items to higher ground to lower the risk of becoming submerged in floodwater.

5. Obtain Flood Insurance
The best time to purchase flood insurance isn’t during an emergency. Most insurance policies take 30 days before they are effective. The National Flood Insurance Program managed by FEMA offers flood insurance to business owners through private insurance companies.

6. Partner With Restoration Experts
Flood damage can be costly and you don’t want to compound the financial loss with a decrease in productivity. The best way to get your business back to full operation quickly is by working with a water restoration company.
Flooding can be devastating physically, financially, and emotionally. By using these tips to prepare your business for a flood, you’ll be able to minimize loss.

What You Need to Know About Mold in Air Ducts

7/18/2022 (Permalink)

Mold growth around air duct system Mold growth around air duct system

Mold growth is common in outdoor areas at any time of year. Due to excessive moisture during wet seasons, it's not uncommon to also experience black mold in the one place you don't want it, which is inside your home in Sun City, NV. Unfortunately, this type of mold isn't easily removed and it can invade areas of your home where it can go unnoticed, including in air ducts where it feeds on dust.

How To Know if Mold Has Entered Air Vents

There are some common visual signs to watch for if you suspect mold has made a home in your air vents. These include:

  • The musty odor emanating from your vents
  • Black powder around the exterior and interior of vents
  • Dark spots that don't easily wipe off vents

If you suspect mold is present, don't attempt to clean it yourself. You likely don't have the right equipment or training to remove it safely.

How Black Mold Is Removed
Have a professional first confirm what you are experiencing is black mold. Once it's confirmed, it will be recommended that you have the ducts cleaned by a restoration specialist.
The specialists will need to take time to inspect your air ducts, including the insulation that surrounds them. If mold is found in the insulation, it will need to be removed and replaced. They will then clean and vacuum your AC system using special tools and protective equipment.

Preventing Future Infestations
During the restoration process, the issue that created the mold growth will need to be identified and corrected so it doesn't happen again. It's important going forward that you try to keep your vents clear of dust and debris. One of the best ways to have clean ducts is to regularly change your AC filters.
Always try to keep your home dry and free of too much moisture. Never allow water or condensation to pool on the materials of your home. A dry home is a home free of black mold.

5 Ways To Avoid Commercial Water Damage

6/27/2022 (Permalink)

Insulation for pipes You can help prevent a flood by insulating exposed pipes.

Five Ways To Avoid Commercial Water Damage

When you think of damage from water at your Summerlin, NV, business, you may picture a storm or significant flooding event. However, most commercial damage comes from appliances, HVAC systems and plumbing. You can take these five steps to protect your facility and avoid a business claim.

1. Inspect Drainage Systems and Gutters
Gutters and downspouts collect debris, especially in the fall. Buildup can cause water damage to the interior and exterior walls. Conduct a regular inspection of your drainage systems to remove leaves and other debris.

2. Seal Cracks
Gaps, holes and other cracks invite water and moisture into your facility. They can also allow cold air to come in. If temperatures go below freezing, it could lead to a pipe break. Use sealants such as spray insulation, caulk and weather stripping to decrease the chances of burst pipes.

3. Insulate Pipes
Exposed pipes are a business claim waiting to happen when the temperatures dip, especially at night when it gets the coldest. Water expands as it turns to ice, causing pipes to burst. Flooding and building damage may result. You can help prevent a flood by insulating exposed pipes.

4. Keep Buildings Sufficiently Heated
Keep the thermostat set at 50 degrees or warmer, even on the weekends or during shutdown periods. Avoid extreme temperature changes, as they can lead to broken pipes. It's a good idea to check your thermostat batteries regularly.

5. Check HVAC and Sprinkler Systems
Even a tiny leak in your fire sprinkler system, plumbing or HVAC system can cause significant damage. Inspect your systems regularly for weak or broken pipes.

Filing a Business Claim
Commercial insurance can help pay for professional water remediation after the damage. However, avoiding a flood is better. Talk to your insurance agent about your coverage types if you need to file a claim in the future.