Ways To Prevent Damage and Prepare for a Winter Storm
A winter storm can be beautiful, but it can also be a nightmare for your business if you are unprepared for it in North Prince William County. The heavy snow, wind and ice that accompanies the storm can cause severe damage and costly repairs. When these disasters happen, call your insurance company and a storm damage restoration service immediately to file a claim and begin repairs. While you cannot prevent a storm from coming your way, there are several steps you can take to prevent some of the damage from happening and mitigate loss. Here are a few ways to prepare your business for winter weather.
1. Insulate Your Building
Make sure your building is properly insulated. If temperatures drop below freezing, your pipes could freeze and burst, causing flood and water damage. Routinely inspect your building’s heating system to ensure it is working properly and keep the temperature above 55°F to avoid a pipe break.
2. Perform Regular Maintenance
Keep a regular maintenance schedule to make sure windows, doorways and the outside of your building are in good condition. Over time, building materials can wear down, allowing cracks and gaps to form which can reduce the structural integrity and insulation of your building and make it more susceptible to storm damage and flooding. In addition, you should routinely inspect your roof. Replace any broken shingles and make sure shingles are intact and firmly nailed down to prevent roof leaks and wind damage.
3. Stock Emergency Supplies
Create an emergency weather kit that includes snow shovels, ice-melting salt and a first aid kit in case a winter storm comes through unexpectedly. Keep non-perishable food items available in case you are stuck in your building overnight and cannot go home.
4. Watch Local Weather
During the winter months, stay on top of the local weather forecast. Start preparing early if a snowstorm is heading your way, and make sure your staff is adequately prepared.
A winter storm can cause severe damage if you do not take it seriously. Performing routine maintenance on your building and keeping an eye on the weather can greatly reduce damage and keep your business safe.
Put the Nightmare Behind You
Dealing with the aftermath of criminal activity prevents you from moving on with your life after a tragedy or frightening experience. Many different substances, odors, and dangerous contaminants remain, most requiring very specific remediation not easy or safe for a typical cleaning crew to complete. SERVPRO offers clients discrete, certified trauma and crime scene cleanup.
You already experienced considerable trauma during illegal activity playing out in your home. The authorities completed their investigation, and you now need fast and efficient crime scene cleanup in your home. In addition to bodily fluids, a broad variety of evidence-gathering and preserving chemicals and substances contaminate the place you used to treasure as a haven and refuge from the world. Put your trust in our well-trained team of specialized cleaning experts. We value the confidence you feel for our services and wish to restore both your home and your sense of peace.
If a standoff occurred inside your house, the smell and physical residue of tear gas, pepper spray, or other topical irritants fills the air and the area. You need the skills of our crime scene team to remove the substances, and especially the smells, from your home. Because of the chemicals utilized, there is a special methodology followed to clear them away completely. Likewise, if investigators lifted prints or other physical evidence from the surfaces inside your house, SERVPRO staff know how to make these powders, liquids, or gels disappear for good.
The debris remaining after the production or distribution of illegal drugs or other substances are tricky to contain and remove. We make certain our staff receive up to date schooling on the proper methods recommended by federal and state agencies to remove all dangerous and volatile materials.
If the worst happened and death or serious accident occurred within the walls of your home, SERVPRO technicians follow OSHA and EPA directives to ensure that human or other tissues, blood, or bodily fluids are managed safely. Removal without any trace is the goal, permitting you to move forward in a safe and protected manner.
For professional, compassionate, and comprehensive crime scene cleanup services contact SERVPRO of North Prince William. One simple call to (703)368-4399 puts you on the road to recovery from a life-altering experience.
We know what it’s like to lose your belongings to a fire. That’s why we offer content cleaning to help you recover from the effects of fire damage. If your clothes have been damaged in a fire, our professional team will spot and clean them for you. We can also advise you on what process is best for any specific piece of clothing or item.
Content cleaning is a service that can be done by professionals if your clothing has been damaged in a fire.
Although it may seem like a daunting task, each piece of content will be pre-spotted, pre-tested and thoroughly cleaned. Contents with smoke residue may need an additional ultrasonic cleaning process.
If you're feeling overwhelmed about how to proceed with cleaning your clothing after this unfortunate event, we've got you covered! We can help you get back on track and make sure that your items are restored to their former glory so that they look as good as new!
Each piece of content will be pre-spotted, pre-tested and thoroughly cleaned.
The first step in the cleaning process is pre-spotting, which involves a thorough inspection of each item to determine what damage it has sustained and whether it can be cleaned. If an item cannot be cleaned, we will discard it. Next, we thoroughly clean all items (including furniture) using our proprietary process that removes smoke residue while also preventing any new soiling from occurring.
Contents with smoke residue may need an additional ultrasonic cleaning process.
The contents of your items can be affected by smoke residue. Smoke can make an item smell like burnt or wet wood, or it may leave behind a yellow discoloration that won't wash out. Smoke residue can also cause the ink on labels to fade, which will make them illegible.
Smoke residue may need to be removed before you clean the item using other methods such as steaming and dry cleaning (using chemicals). Ultrasonic cleaning is one effective way of removing dirt and grime from objects but not all materials are suitable for this type of cleaning process so check with your dry cleaner first!
We'll help you get your belongings back in good shape after fire damage.
We're here to help with our expert post-fire cleaning services. Whether you need help getting rid of the smell or repairing some of the physical damage left behind by fire, we'll fix everything up, so it looks like nothing ever happened. We'll even make sure all those pesky stains disappear from your carpeting so no one will ever suspect anything was amiss.
Our experience with these situations makes us uniquely qualified to handle any situation involving smoke or water damage. So, whether you've been through a kitchen fire recently or have just gotten back from vacation (and found out about another family member's house burning down), let us do what we do best: restore order after chaos has taken over!
We are proud to say that we offer some of the best prices in town for a wide range of services. We’re confident that our 100% customer satisfaction guarantee will give you peace of mind when dealing with your fire-damaged items, and we can help you get back on your feet quickly after an emergency like this!
What To Do When You Smell Natural Gas
If your home in North Prince William County, VA uses gas for heating or cooking, it's important to know what to do in the event of a gas leak. On its own, natural gas doesn't have a smell, so providers put additives in that give it a scent in order to protect consumers. If you smell gas inside or outside of your home or hear a hissing sound, there are steps to take to ensure that you protect yourself and your family.
1. Don't Touch the Lights
When you first smell gas and you're not sure what's happening, the first step is to NOT turn on the lights. If there is a leak, turning a light switch on or off can trigger a reaction that causes a gas fire. Similarly, don't use matches, start or stop appliances, or use the phone.
2. Check the Stove
Check the stove to make sure that all the burners are off. One common reason that you smell gas but a gas explosion isn't imminent is that a burner was accidentally bumped on.
3. Open the Windows
If you can verify that the natural gas smell was caused by an improperly closed burner, it's safe to open the windows and doors to air out the house. However, if you've checked the stove and no burners are on, it's important to leave the windows closed to prevent oxygen from getting to a flame.
4. Leave the House
When the stove is ruled out as the cause of the smell, it's time to leave the house — and quickly. Worry only about getting the people in your home out; don't try to take extra items with you. A potential gas fire is an emergency!
5. Call for Help
Once you're safely away from the house (at least across the street), call 911 for help. In the event of an explosion that causes damage, an emergency restoration team will work with you to get you back in your home quickly.
A gas fire is a common way that homes sustain damage. If you think you smell gas, protect your family by leaving the house and calling for help.
How Do Hygienists Check for Mold?
Sampling Techniques Professionals Use
Hiring an environmental hygienist to perform a mold test is the most accurate method for determining whether mold is growing in a residence. Learn about the sampling techniques professionals use and how test results can increase the effectiveness of mold cleaning.
An environmental hygienist will take samples to send to a lab for analysis. Depending on the situation, a hygienist may obtain different types of samples:
- Bulk (contents or materials)
Any of these methods can yield conclusive results about the type of mold present in a house. Air testing may include analysis of microbial volatile organic compounds and spores. Bulk testing may focus primarily on the presence of spores. All of these methods allow for targeted mold remediation measures.
There are several methods of lab analysis that a hygienist or mold specialist may recommend. The amount of detail and speed of these methods vary:
- A combination of these methods
Microscopy involves visual analysis and can provide results in as little as two days. Culturing is a slower process that involves growing mold spores in a Petri dish. This process can provide more detailed results, such as the subspecies of mold, but is slower and more expensive.
A hygienist can provide test results and recommendations for mold cleaning. A homeowner may want to work with a full-service restoration company to ensure that mold remediation proceeds as efficiently as possible. Depending on the species of mold and the extent of an infestation, different cleaning or quarantining methods may be recommended.
These are the three major stages of checking for mold. An environmental hygienist can recommend the best mold cleaning methods for a particular species of fungi or type of infestation. If a homeowner is concerned about mold damage at a residence in North Prince William, VA he or she should hire a certified hygienist.
Why It's Important to Pick a Qualified Preferred Vendor
A client calls your office to report that they have an insurance claim in North Prince William, VA. Like most business owners who are facing a disaster, they're anxious to get the cleanup and restoration process completed as quickly as possible. As an insurance agent, you have a responsibility to help your client get the help they need while keeping costs down for your company. Luckily, you have a list of preferred vendors, and you inform your client that the names on that list are truly the best. Here's why it matters to you and to your client that they choose a preferred vendor.
To participate in the vendor program, a company has to be able to verify that they are qualified to complete the services that they say they provide. Vendors who value their business will keep good records of certifications, but it's even more important to know that the staff receives regular continuing education in order to stay on top of the latest best practices. A company like SERVPRO has a set of twenty-one guidelines that employees of each franchise must meet in order to remain on preferred vendor lists.
In addition to qualified staff, a preferred vendor who wants to be recommended by an insurance agent must maintain compliance with all industry standards. This means that the tools they use, the standards to which they complete jobs, and the way they maintain project paperwork all have to be above board. The easiest way to ensure that these things happen is to work with a company that has consistent expectations for every franchisee.
The last thing that your client wants to deal with is a vendor who doesn't keep in touch. SERVPRO has the reach to ensure that calls are answered and the resources to keep every project organized. As an insurance agent, you want your clients to be confident when they choose a restoration company after a disaster. Encourage your clients to use the preferred vendor list so that they can be confident that they are working with the best in the business.
Water Damage Causes
Water Damage can show up in many different ways. There are few things as structurally damaging as a flood. And, unfortunately, even homes which are not located in ‘at risk’ areas can find themselves dealing with far too much water. If plumbing fixtures burst, the results are much the same, so steps must be taken to protect a home from plumbing failures.
We tend to take the plumbing system which moves water inside our homes for granted. However, when it breaks down, action must quickly be taken. The best solution is always prevention. Inspection and maintenance are the keys to troubleshooting and identifying problems, as well as understanding what is required to fix them. SERVPRO offers some information and suggestions to help you prevent water damage to your home.
Top Tips for Avoiding Leaks & Water Damage
Clean Gutters Regularly: it is not enough to just install high-quality gutters, they must remain free of leaves and debris. Rainwater collected in the gutters needs an unobstructed passage to reach the downspouts. It must then flow at least five feet away from the foundation and exterior walls freely.
Install a Sump Pump: if you live in a very wet or low-lying area. It is surprisingly easy for basements to become flooded during heavy rains or appliance failures. As the unwanted water collects in the sump pump catchment, it can be drained to the exterior of the building.
Appliance Malfunctions: electrical appliances like dishwashers and washing machines are supplied with water under pressure. Frequently the fittings will corrode over time initiating a pinhole leak that eventually ruptures the supply line. Plastic drainage hoses will dry out and crack after extended use. Replace them with reinforced hoses before this happens.
Invest In Shut Off Switches: if you do use your dishwasher and washing machine very frequently, it's practical to invest in a water ‘shut off’ switch. If a washing machine cannot be instantly turned off during an emergency, a shut off switch can be used to override its settings and shut everything down immediately. These switches can be applied to single appliances or installed in the main water supply line.
Treat Pipes Carefully: burst pipes are the most common cause of household floods. This means no pouring oil or grease down a drain, leaving central heating on the lowest setting when away from home in the winter, and keeping a close eye on water pressure. If the water pressure in your home is above the advised psi for your area of Beverly Hills, seek advice from your water utility.
Finding Reliable Water Restoration Services
If you have found a leak or identified the presence of water damage in you property, you need to take steps to repair it as soon as possible. Easy enough. Just pick up the phone and call the experts at SERVPRO. The skilled IICRC-certified technicians will remove the water using industrial grade equipment, dry out water damaged items and restore your home to its preloss state "Like it never even happened."
Highly-Trained Water Restoration Specialists
As leaders in the water damage industry, SERVPRO of North Prince William has advanced training and expertise, not to mention a tremendous amount of hands-on experience. Call us for fire or water damage emergencies in North Prince William, VA for 24/7 service. (703)368-4399
Commercial Cleanings For Your Business
One Chance to Make a Great First Impression
We had clients coming into town who had never visited our offices before. Although our furniture, floors, and carpets were only a couple of years old, they looked kind of dull and no longer smelled fresh and clean.
Our building manager referred us to SERVPRO of North Prince William. They sent out a team that cleaned our offices from top to bottom. They cleaned the light fixtures, millwork, blinds, drapes, upholstery, carpets, floor mats, floors, bathrooms, and breakroom. By the time they completed the work, our offices looked sparkling clean and smelled wonderful.
Commercial Cleaning Services
- Carpet and Upholstery
- Drapes and Blinds
- Ceilings, Walls, and Hard Floors
- Odor Removal and Deodorization
- Air Ducts and Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC)
- Biohazard and Sewage
- Trauma and Crime Scene
We have extensive experience cleaning all kinds of business settings and buildings:
- Small Office Buildings
- Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
- Apartment Buildings
- Small Retail Stores
- Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
- High-Rise Residential
- Manufacturing and Industrial
Local businesses can rely on SERVPRO of North Prince William to clean and renew tired and dingy-looking offices and workspaces.
Renters Can Expect From Their Coverage...
Many tenants buy renter’s insurance to cover the cost of replacing their personal belongings if they are damaged or destroyed by an accident in the building where they live. Your coverage, however, may pay for much more than just item replacement. It’s important to talk to your agent, so you know just how much you can expect your insurance company to pay if the place you are renting in Reston or Herndon catches fire.
Part of the fire restoration process is determining which items can be cleaned and saved and which must be thrown away. Your insurance coverage should pay for:
- Cleaning costs
- Replacement costs
Make sure your policy states that it pays replacement cost rather than the actual cash value of your items. The purpose of insurance is to make you whole again, and replacing lost belongings is a good start.
If the fire was caused by your negligence, you might be liable for any damages you cause to other people or to the structure itself. Your renter’s insurance probably has a clause that protects you from legal costs. Your policy may cover damage to your neighbor’s belongings or the property itself, as well as cover medical bills of anyone injured in the fire if you bear some responsibility for its starting.
Fire restoration experts may work quickly, but there are probably going to be some nights that you are unable to stay in your rented space. Finding a temporary place to live can be expensive. Your insurance policy is likely to cover this as well. You can include your shelter needs as part of the fallout of the fire damage to your home when you file your claim.
Your renter’s insurance does cover the loss of your belongings, but it can also cover other losses. Your insurance agent can help you build a solid policy that takes all potential expenses of the fire into consideration.
How Can I Protect My Business?
What is the Emergency Ready Program?
- As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest research.
- The overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-Planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind.
- SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water & fire damage can affect your business.
As a business owner you ALWAYS want to make sure you have an action plan if ever an emergency occurs. If there was a flood, major leak, tornado you would want contacts and action plan close by.
- A no cost assessment of your facility.
(This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost)
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an Emergency. (It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed)
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
(This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action)
- Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. (You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by)
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin. (This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money)
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information. (Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens.")
SERVPRO of North Prince William wants to ease that stress and we realize that you might not think about the unexpected things that may happen, therefore we have implemented the ERP Program.