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IICRC Certification for Restoration Professionals

6/28/2022 (Permalink)

technician extracting water with vacuum in an office building. Water cleanup in a commercial building in Winchester, MA.

IICRC Certification for Restoration Professionals

Extreme weather, equipment malfunctions and accidents can damage property and interrupt business. When these events happen, business owners seek help and want the best but may not know whom to call. Fortunately, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets the standards for excellence in the restoration industry and certifies cleanup professionals. Here is an example of the 3-step training progression SERVPRO restoration technicians and firms can complete.

1. Restoration Certificates
First, the IICRC aims to provide an industry-standard mitigation certificate for professional restoration companies. They offer twenty-six different certificates that cover the range of cleanup scenarios. Certificate holders receive thorough instruction and benefit from industry-wide recognition of their skills. This prestige attracts business and instills confidence in customers needing restoration services in Winchester, MA.

2. Specialty Masters
Second, restoration technicians certified for three consecutive years who want to further their education can enroll in one of three master’s designations. The three specializations are Textile Cleaner, Fire and Smoke Restorer and Water Restorer. Technicians earn these master’s designations when they complete bundles of certifications relevant to each area.

3. Trained Professionals
After receiving their master’s designation, cleanup professionals will have reached the apex of restoration training. There is no higher or more valued credential in the restoration industry; these professionals join a global directory, attract employees who want to improve their cleanup skills and raise the profile of their restoration company.
And not only individuals but also firms can gain certification. To become certified, a firm must have at least one accredited technician, insurance and a business license. In addition, accredited businesses receive Google verification and may advertise their status with a badge for their website and social media.
So, when companies need restoration services in Winchester, MA, they turn to SERVPRO, an IICRC-certified firm and approved training center. Simply put, SERVPRO’S restoration professionals get businesses back to work.

Preventing Secondary Mold Damage Following a Fire at Your Business

6/20/2022 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a big building Commercial fire damage in Wilmington, MA.

Understanding the Relationship Between Fire, Water and Mold 

Following a fire at your business in Wilmington, MA, black mold can form due to the high humidity levels resulting from the accumulation of water that extinguishes the flames. Standing water often causes more significant secondary damage than fire when it leads to mold formation. However, you can prevent or minimize your losses by understanding the relationship between fire, water and mold.

Why You Should Dry Your Space Immediately
Firefighters' main goal is to extinguish flames as quickly and efficiently as possible. Therefore, they may use powerful hoses that deposit large volumes of water throughout your business's interior.  However, after a fire is no longer a threat, you will need to take measures to dry out your space. Part of the drying process involves removing standing water within 48 hours when it becomes a breeding ground for mold that can contaminate:

  • Air and ventilation systems
  • Floorboards
  • Spaces behind walls
  • Furnishings

It is essential to contact a reputable disaster recovery company that uses industrial-grade water vacuums and dehumidifiers to remove water quickly. 

Why You Need Professional Help To Address Toxic Black Mold
Promptly drying your space can minimize but not necessarily prevent mold formation. Therefore, it is vital to remove mold spores quickly before they spread. SERVPRO professionals apply various technologies to detect and contain toxic mold spores in places where they are invisible. They also use negative air chambers to isolate and contain spores and prevent further contamination. In addition, they rely upon air filtration machines to remove toxic mold from the air. However, widespread mold infestations may require removing and replacing structural elements and furnishings.
Standing water after a fire at your business in Wilmington, MA, can lead to toxic black mold formation that can prevent you from resuming normal operations. Fortunately, you can count on SERVPRO to restore your space to pristine condition, "Like it never even happened."

How To Lessen the Impact of Damage to Your Roof After a Storm

6/6/2022 (Permalink)

Blue tarp on a roof. Find the best roof tarp to protect your home

How To Lessen the Impact of Damage to Your Roof After a Storm

After a hailstorm or other damaging weather event, it is important to mitigate the devastation as quickly as possible. If your roof has sustained damage, there are some important steps to follow.

1. Protect Your Home From Further Roof Damage
During a storm, the damage can quickly snowball if it is left unattended. It also greatly increases the likelihood that your indoor furnishings and structures will be ruined. Talk with a storm restoration company right away to find the best roof tarp to protect your home before renovations can begin.

2. Contact Your Insurance Agent
You must call your insurance provider right away. They will send out an adjuster who can estimate the damage and help you get the paperwork going. The faster you submit the claim, the quicker you will be reimbursed for the damages.

3. Discuss Restoration Options With a Roofing Expert
Roof damage must be dealt with quickly. Choose a professional who has the knowledge and experience to handle your unique situation in Burlington, MA.
The expert should look for the following issues when assessing the rain and wind damage to your roof.

Inspect the entire roof - Experts know how to look for problem areas that others may miss during an inspection. Using specialized equipment, the professional can also determine the amount of water that is trapped underneath the shingles. This helps when deciding whether or not a whole new roof is needed, which can save you a lot of money.
Search for other roof damage - If gutters and downspouts become dented or damaged, water will not be able to drain off the roof properly. This can cause additional water damage inside your home.
Check the siding and windows - A professional will also inspect other areas that can cause damage if left unattended, such as window seals and cracks and aluminum siding issues.

Mitigate the damage to your home after a storm with these helpful tips.

3 Tips for Preventing a Cigarette Fire

5/26/2022 (Permalink)

ashtray with cigarettes When you extinguish your cigarette, be sure to do so either in an ashtray

Three Ways to Avoid a Cigarette Fire

Did you know that, according to the National Fire Prevention Association, a cigarette fire is still in the top five leading causes of home fires? There are several ways to reduce the chance of this happening in your home. If you have suffered a home fire in Woburn, MA, already, it's best to contact a fire cleanup and restoration specialist.

1. Smoke Outdoors
The easiest way to prevent an ashtray fire is to smoke outdoors. Not only does this prevent smoke odor from soaking into your furniture and carpets, but it also ensures that a fire is much less likely. Ideally, if you're smoking outside, your surroundings are either concrete or gravel, not grass or brush. If a fire does start, it's easy to quickly stomp it out if the surroundings are fire-resistant. In the colder months, instead of moving back indoors, consider buying a small portable heater that plugs into a wall outlet or extension cord. This way, you stay warm and continue to keep your risk low.

2. Keep Flammable Objects Away
The main goal of fire prevention is to make sure that a fire has nothing to burn. Besides ensuring that you're not wearing extremely loose-fitting clothing, you should also not smoke near any rugs or other cloth. Additionally, when you extinguish your cigarette, be sure to do so either in an ashtray or thoroughly stop it out on the concrete. If you use an ashtray, be sure that it, too, is not around any flammable objects on the chance that your smoke wasn't put out all the way. This is one of the leading causes of a cigarette fire.

3. Ashtray Safety
In addition to ensuring that your ashtray is in an appropriate area, also be careful when you empty it. Check that it is cool and that all cigarettes are completely extinguished. Waste bin fires are extremely common, and you'd be surprised by how easily they start. There is a surprising amount of easily flammable or explosive materials in the trash: paper, leaves, batteries, and aerosol cans.
Be prepared. Take steps to prevent a cigarette fire.

How To File a Claim After a Fire

5/21/2022 (Permalink)

Insurance claim form Filing a fire claim in Winchester, MA, is not as complicated as it sounds.

How to Make a Fire Insurance Claim

A fire can start in a matter of seconds. Irresponsible smokers, problems with electrical wiring, and lightning storms are just some of the ways that a fire can start on your commercial property. If you've fallen victim to flames, you need to make a fire claim in Winchester, MA, as soon as possible.

Make a List of Damaged and Lost Items
After the fire is put out, make a list of all the items that were damaged or lost in the fire. This includes furniture, inventory, your personal property, the personal property of any employees or clients, and anything else that you can think of. Document each item with as much information as possible for your insurance agency.

  • Item Name
  • Date of the Fire
  • Type of Loss or Damage
  • Location of the Damage
  • Condition of the Item
  • Description of the Damage or Loss

If necessary and possible, it also helps to include a list of any repairs you had to make and a police report.

Contact Your Insurance Company
After you create a list of everything you lost or that was damaged, contact your insurance agency about your fire claim. Tell your agent as much information as possible over the phone and follow his or her directions for filing a claim. Throughout the claims process, be sure to document every phone call, piece of mail, and face-to-face meeting that you have. Keep in mind that a claims adjuster will visit your property to confirm your reports about lost items or items that received fire damage.

Begin the Fire Restoration Process
Once you make your fire damage claim and receive approval from the insurance company, you'll need to hire professionals to help begin the fire restoration process. Get quotes from at least three different companies to ensure you're receiving a good rate. A good company will walk you through its process to help you understand what will happen and how your business may be affected.
Filing a fire claim in Winchester, MA, is not as complicated as it sounds. When you provide plenty of documentation, the process will go much more smoothly and you'll be on to the restoration process in no time.

4 Important Tips for Dealing With Water in a Home

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

Flooring removed in a kitchen, technician using a vacuum extractor Water damage in a home in Wilmington, MA.

4 Important Water Management Tips for Your Home

Water in your home can strike at all different times. It could happen late at night when everyone is asleep, or it could occur when you are away for the day or even when you are on a vacation. There is no good time to have water damage in your home in Wilmington, MA. There are ways, however, to minimize potential issues. Following these tips can make a difficult situation better.

1. Turn Off the Water Supply
As soon as you realize water is spreading into your home, find the closest turn-off valve. By reducing the volume of liquid that gets released, you decrease the damage level to walls, furniture and personal items. Broken pipes can release many gallons of water into your home in a matter of minutes, so it is a good idea to become familiar with the location of turn-off valves in your home.

2. Make Sure Everyone Is Safe
In addition to water damage that impacts property, unwanted water in your home poses a long list of risks. It can impact electrical systems and increase the chance of a shock hazard. If the water is contaminated, make sure pets and children stay away from the water spill.

3. Call for a Profesional Water Cleanup
A local water restoration company can arrive at your home within hours of being called. Trained technicians will quickly remove all standing water, dry out moist areas and come up with an efficient and safe restoration plan, returning your home to its original condition.

4. Keep a Lookout for Mold Growth
A water spill can lead to mold growth, especially if the area is not cleaned according to professional standards. Look for the tell-tale signs of mold growth after a spill.
Water damage is a serious concern. Make sure you take immediate action to reduce its impact on your home.

What Can Your Business Expect After Storm and Flood Damage?

4/30/2022 (Permalink)

Entrance of a building flooded Flood damage in Burlington, MA.

After the floodwaters recede, businesses and commercial properties in Burlington, MA, are frequently left with a disaster. If the water is immediately removed, you can often save a fortune in damage repair. However, construction materials and many items that get soaked require a tear-out and replacement.

What Is a Flood?

A flood is defined by the NFIP as an excess of water that:

  • Covers land normally dry.
  • Partially or completely spreads across at least two acres.
  • Impacts at least two properties.

If a pipe bursts in your building and causes water damage, that’s covered by your standard commercial insurance policy. If it meets the insurance definition of a flood, that requires a separate flood policy.

What Happens Right After the Flood?

You need a local storm restoration expert to immediately respond with commercial water extraction equipment. Every hour the water sits inside, it’s soaking into absorbent construction material and other items, such as carpet and furniture. The restoration technicians will tear out wet materials that are beyond repair and expose any hidden areas that are impacted by the flood to prevent black mold growth.

What If It’s Insured?

You’re set! As soon as you call your Burlington, MA, storm damage experts, they’ll contact your insurance company and get pre-approval to squeeze the water out fast! Insurance companies are losing money while the water sits there, so they like to work with preferred vendors who have a proven track record of quality work and reasonable rates.

What About Uninsured Water Damage?

If you don’t have flood insurance, ask the restoration company if they have a “restore versus replace” policy, which can return a building to its original condition for a fraction of the price. If possible, they’ll use a flood cut to save considerable cost on replacing the wallboard. This exposes enough area between the walls to allow large air movers to do their job, along with removing impacted insulation.
It’s best to not even wait for the flood to end. Once everybody’s safe, call the experts and get the ball rolling. Fast service means reopening much sooner.

5 Ways to Prevent Mold Build Up at Your Business

4/15/2022 (Permalink)

Carpet with mold growth Carpets and rugs can provide ideal growing environments for mold.

Ways To Fight Mold- Build Up at Your Business

You are primarily responsible for cleaning and maintenance at your place of business in Woburn, MA. You have a comprehensive schedule to clean all high-traffic areas, the outdoor space, and a system maintenance schedule that keeps everything running smoothly. One battle that you are constantly fighting is against mold. Mold spores are omnipresent so preventing them from finding an ideal location to grow is a full-time job. Here are five ways to fight mold build-up at your business.

1. Carpets

Carpets and rugs can provide ideal growing environments for mold. Rugs at entryways should be kept dry so that mold doesn't grow on or under them. Regular carpet cleaning also prevents mold growth. Vacuum often and clean behind large furniture. Consider professional steam cleaning a couple of times per year.

2. Dust

Mold can grow on dusty shelves and in forgotten corners of closets and storage spaces. Have cleaning supplies readily available for all staff so that they can clean their desks.

3. Leaks

If someone makes you aware of a leak, make maintenance a priority. Once you have identified the leak and repaired it, check for secondary damage. If a ceiling was leaking over a carpeted area, plan to do some deep carpet cleaning ASAP. If you can't identify the source of the leak, call a commercial building restoration service that can use special tools to check for leaks behind walls.

4. Landscaping

It's important to check on landscaping and rain gutters to make sure that water isn't being directed toward the building. Basements tend to be humid environments so extra water leaking in nearly guarantees mold problems. Clean gutters and properly oriented down spouts help to prevent flooding.

5. HVAC

In large buildings, the HVAC system gets a lot of use and is susceptible to mold growth. Stay alert to new condensation, dust buildup, or a mildew smell that could indicate mold growth.
In addition to regular cleaning and maintenance, deep dive projects such as carpet cleaning, closet clean outs, and HVAC inspections help to prevent mold growth at your business.

Do Landlords Bear Responsibility for Property Damage in the Event of a Natural Disaster?

4/6/2022 (Permalink)

Ceiling collapsed from commercial, debris on the floor Commercial storm damage.

Who Is Responsible for These Expenses?

Hurricanes, floods, wildfires and other forms of nature's wrath often result in structural damage and loss. The Insurance Information Institute reports that $119 billion worth of economic losses occurred in 2020 as the result of such incidents, $74 billion of which was insured. In such situations, there is generally a need for repairs and/or the services of a professional restoration and cleanup company in Woburn, MA. When it comes to a rental property, though, who is responsible for these expenses? The instinctive answer may be, the landlord of course, or maybe the renter's insurance. The actual answer is, that both are responsible for a portion of the damages.

What Costs Does Insurance Not Cover?

Renter's insurance covers a lot, depending on the policy. However, it generally does not include everything. Kinds of damage that often do not fall under its umbrella are:

  • The harm caused by earthquakes and floods
  • Theft and damage caused in a robbery or break-in
  • Accident-related breakage

What Costs Is the Building's Owner Obligated To Cover?

In the wake of a storm or other severe event, tenants may look to their landlords to take care of any damage. The latter usually handle any harm sustained by the unit/structure itself, and they can still hold said tenants to their rent agreements in cases where there is damage. However, the occupants have the option of requesting deadline extensions, waivers, payment reductions and even lease termination.

What Costs Is the Building's Owner Not Obligated To Cover?

Landlords typically do not deal with any damage done to renters' belongings. Instead, such items fall under the domain of insurance coverage. This includes clothes, jewelry, electronics, furniture and other personal effects.
Individuals renting space to others are only responsible for expenses associated with the actual building itself, such as a leaking roof or shattered window, not its contents. Renter's insurance exists to indemnify personal possessions. However, it does not cover every incident, so it is important for lodgers to carefully go over their policies and see what is and is not included.

5 Things You Should Do Following A Fire

3/26/2022 (Permalink)

Board up windows and door of a building Board up building after fire damage in Winchester, MA.

There are many things that could start a fire at your business in Winchester, MA; electrical or machinery malfunctions, space heaters placed too close to flammable materials or plugged into an extension cord, even an overcrowded outlet or a glitch in a break room microwave. Lightening during an intense thunderstorm can also cause a hazardous fire but is much less likely than things that can go wrong during an everyday work situation.
Encouraging employees to be careful, replacing defective appliances and machinery, and having your electrical system inspected regularly can all help prevent a fire disaster. Sometimes, however, prevention is not enough and the unexpected can happen.

5 Steps To Take Immediately After a Fire

There are several things that need to happen right immediately following a blaze before fire restoration can begin. There are also some big don’ts. Here is a helpful list to keep in mind.

  1. Call 911, then get everyone out and to safety, if possible
  2. Call your fire insurance company for instructions
  3. Board the building up if needed to prevent weather damage or looting
  4. Do not let anyone go back into the building prior to an inspection and an OK that it is safe.
  5. Do not touch anything or try to do anything about the damage yourself – it is possible to get injured or to void your insurance company’s requirements of coverage.

Getting Professional Help can Make it Easier

The best thing you can do next is to get help from a professional fire restoration service in Winchester, MA. They can perform a thorough assessment of the damage and help you file the report for fire insurance. They can also direct the cleanup and removal of destroyed materials, smoke cleaning and help with the restoration of your building.
Although a blaze can be a serious setback for your business, you can take some comfort in knowing that your local fire restoration service can help. As always, prevention is the best route, but if an unforeseen fire happens, following these steps can help get you back on track.