Is Your Fireplace Ready?
We have already had our first snow this year, and it was record-breaking. For some of us, it was the first fire of the season. The crackling of the logs, the smell of the wood-burning, and that perfect feel of winter warmth. I remember my first winter with a fireplace. I had no clue what I was doing, nor what I needed to do to ensure my family’s safety. We lived in an apartment so some of the steps needed to care for the fireplace were the responsibility of the complex, but with a home, it is your responsibility to ensure the fireplace is ready before the first use. A few years ago, a friend of mine had a massive fire start in the attic because of the fireplace, and with 2020 going the way it is now, this is the last thing we want to see happen to anyone.
Some things are basic when preparing to use your fireplace, such as checking your smoke detectors and alarms, which should be done regularly anyway, but here is your opportunity if you haven’t done so yet. Other items would be to check the area for damage, clean the blower, inspect the damper, sweep the chimney. Now, I am going to be honest here. I would probably hire someone to check my fireplace and get everything ready because I could only imagine falling off the roof if I had to get up there. Like I said, just being honest, I am pretty clumsy.
So once the fireplace has been inspected, everything has been cleaned and checked, break out those logs and get it going. Roast smores, read a book, watch a holiday movie, but most importantly, be safe.
Until next time,
Your SERVPRO® Marketing Gal, Brandy
Protect Your Pipes This Winter
This year has taught us to be prepared for the unexpected, so let’s take steps now to protect our homes from busted pipes and all the headaches associated with a major water loss during, or even after the holidays.
Interesting fact, water pipes begin to freeze when the outside temperature is around 20 degrees and it stays like that for at least 6 hours. However, insulation in your home and around the pipers helps prevent them from freezing in most cases. So for the few others, where the pipes might be older, or if you are not sure just how good the insulation is around the pipes, here are a few tips to get you through the winter months.
- Keep water faucets running with a slow drip
- Leave the cabinet doors open near pipes
- Unhook the hose from outside the house
- Install heat tape
- Seal leaks to prevent cold air from entering your home
- Check the temperature in the house to ensure there is enough heat on those colder days
How Are Your Vacant Properties?
Water Damaged Vacant Home
We were called out to a house earlier this year, that had been vacant for quite some time and had extensive water damage. There was a toilet supply line break upstairs, so the water-saturated the first-floor ceiling causing it to cave in. By the time we were contacted, there was debris all over the first floor of this home. Although the home was vacant there was still furniture that was not damaged from the water and the collapsed ceiling. Since the owner had not been living in the home, nor had they completed regular visits, we were unsure how long the water had been running. As you can see from the picture this was just some of the damage done to the lower level of the home.
So why are we talking about an older job? Well, we know many people who own multiple homes for different purposes, and some of those homes stay vacant for a variety of reasons. But when talking with those people they do not always complete regular checks on the houses that are vacant, or they do not live close enough to complete regular checks. If you do not live near the property, you should have someone nearby assigned (or hired) to check on your vacant properties. With winter right around the corner, it is even more important to schedule regular checks. September is national preparedness month, but it does not mean that you cannot start preparing for disaster prevention now.
Rockstar General Manager
Tonya Smith - Rockstar General Manager
Have you met our Rockstar General Manager? Tonya, the definition of an unstoppable female force. It is not too often, at least here in New Mexico, when you come across a woman running a disaster restoration company. She started in the industry in contents, then moved to estimating, marketing, and now the GM. Yeah, you will see some husband and wife owned companies, where the men manage the production side and the women run marketing and the office, but here it is just Tonya. She is the Queen Bee in our eyes.
We are a woman-owned business. Our office is all women, strong, determined, not afraid to get their hands dirty type of women. All led by our fearless leader, Tonya.
Tonya is always willing to help in the field, and jokes about how she has her go bag and PPE bag ready in her car. There truly is nothing stopping this lady. I think that is what makes our company so great. SERVPRO® is already a name most know, but we are a franchised organization, so it is up to each franchise to determine its full potential. Tonya sees that and inspires that in all of us. I think that is what sets us aside from everyone else.
What is IICRC Certified? Why So Important?
IICRC Certified Firm
What is the IICRC and why is that important? The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification provides the necessary training for individuals and companies who want to increase their level of awareness, understanding, and standards in the restoration industry. What most people do not understand is that there is a science to what we do when it comes to drying out a home or building and the IICRC provides this training needed to understand the science behind it all. To dry out buildings who might use air movers and dehumidifiers, or you might use an injectidry system. Moisture checks will be done frequently throughout the drying process to ensure we see changes in the drying process.
I remember the first time I had a small flood in my apartment from a monsoon storm. This was way before I came to the restoration industry, so I did not know anything. I was depending on the expertise of the maintenance staff at my apartment complex. The rainwater came in through a crack in the wall and under the door, it completely flooded my kitchen and dining room. So of course, when maintenance arrived, they grabbed towels to soak up the water and then threw some fans out to dry it out. If I had known better, I would have said something and then probably would not have had a mold issue in that area later.
Knowing the correct process is the difference between a professional restoration company and an amateur. Therefore, it is important to work with an IICRC Certified firm.
So the next time you experience a water loss in your home or at work make sure the company you have out is IICRC Certified, or just do not take the risk and give us a call directly, at 505-891-2345
Until next time,
Your SERVPRO® Marketing Gal, Brandy
News Spreads Fast
Coronavirus Spread through Belen Family
Fast response is key when it comes to the restoration industry, which means quick call backs and arriving on-site in a timely manner from that initial call. In our last blog, we mentioned how we went to Belen to help Zach, our new 4-legged friend. Well, we received that call due to our fast response and timeliness on another job site. You might have seen it in the news recently, about a prominent family in Belen who were exposed to COVID and several tested positive. We started with the call to clean the Roland Sanchez, M.D. facility over a weekend. The next day, the client called us back and expressed their appreciation for how quickly we responded to her call and how quickly and efficiently our crews completed the work. She was so happy that she sent the rest of the family a text message telling them to use SERVPRO®. So, over the next few days, we received calls from every family member in that area who owned a business to come clean their facility. These businesses rely on fast and reliable service to get back to business. We were happy to work with the Sanchez family and look forward to future business with them.
When Fire Hits Home
Fire Damaged Living Room
Having your home engulfed in flames, watching your belongings ruined not just from the fire, but from the water the fire department uses, is heart-wrenching. A few years ago, I watched some close friends of mine go through this very thing. Their fireplace started a fire in the attic which spread through the ceiling of the house. Thankfully, everyone got out safely, but they had to stand there and watch their home burn while the fire department worked diligently to put the fire out. A week later I received a call from the family asking for advice. She felt that the company their insurance referred them to was not doing what they should have been doing. Although I was not with SERVPRO® yet, I had previously worked in the disaster restoration industry. When I arrived at the house, I could see that nothing had been done, and I will never forget the look on my dear friend’s face. The look of hopelessness, anger, sadness, and the overwhelming sense of feeling lost. I immediately got on the phone with the Marketing Gal at that time, Tonya Smith (who is now our fearless leader and Rockstar General Manager). She immediately called her crews and had them dispatched to the house to start the work that should have already been started. I felt relief knowing that my friend and her family were in good hands. Tonya and her team restored my friend’s home and stepped in when to help when it felt like there was none.
Until next time,
Your SERVPRO® Marketing Gal, Brandy
How Fire & Smoke Affect Artwork
Art Street Room
Recently there was a fire outside a bay door at Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless. The heat from the bay door caused the insulation to heat up and melt causing smoke to spread throughout the Art Street room covering the walls, surfaces, and all the art on display. Thankfully the clean-up should not be too bad; however, with all the artist supplies in open containers, most of that will be deemed unsalvageable. Leading the organization to have to replace by purchase or donation. The other area of concern is for the art itself. Throughout the room there is art hanging on the walls, sitting on shelves, and propped up against items. While most of the art looked completed, there were several in progress. So, what happens if smoke, soot, and ash are not removed? Did you know that it could cause long-lasting damage, regardless if it is framed or not? Over time the paint will crack, chip, and fade faster than it would without damage if the soot and ash are not removed. Professional restoration companies would know the steps to take to preserve art, or they would have contacts for those who specialize in preserving art. It is important to move fast for things like this to prevent that additional damage.
Proactive Disinfectant Foggings
Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless
We have been called on quite a bit to help businesses disinfect and sanitize their facilities either in a proactive approach against COVID-19 or for those who have been hit with confirmed cases. Since March, our phones have been ringing with calls from all types of commercial businesses needing help. One popular approach we are often asked about is if we can provide fogging services, which we do. However, depending on the level of cleaning you need there are different recommendations that the CDC has provided. For some businesses that are looking for a proactive approach, a disinfectant fogging is suitable, for others we have to provide a deeper cleaning for confirmed cases (this is what we call a category 3 cleaning) following CDC guidelines and then finish with a fogging. Places like Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless have hired us to come in for a bi-weekly fogging to provide an extra level of protection for their staff and those they serve. If you are interested in finding out how we can schedule weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly foggings for your company please call 505-891-2345.
Helping our 4-Legged Customers
Zach and Brandy
Recently we were called out to a veterinary clinic in Belen to provide COVID-19 confirmed cleaning services. This family-owned business was depending on us to help get them disinfected and ready for them to re-open. However, there was one little hitch. This vet’s office was also boarding a dog, and the pup could not be in the facility when we completed our final step of fogging with an EPA approved disinfectant. For our conversations, there was no one that could take the dog, Zach, out of the office while we fogged. So, what do you do? Well, Brandy, our marketing gal drove down to Belen, had the crews bring Zach outside to her, and they hung outside while we finished the cleaning process and while the chemicals settled before re-entry. Although we did not have to take this extra step, we were more than willing to help. Of course, Brandy did not show up empty-handed; she came bearing treats. As you can see from the picture, Zach showed his appreciation.