Recent Posts

We’re Here to Help When Storms Strike

2/9/2020 (Permalink)

a yellow storm damage sign in front of a large damaged roof SERVPRO of Ames is your Damage Restoration expert. If you experience any storm damage call us right away.

Storms happen on a regular basis, but it is wise to remember that they can still cause major damage. In 2018, storm damage was responsible for an estimated $2 billion in household losses. For homeowners, it is important to have a plan in place in case this type of damage strikes your home.

Deciding on a restoration company to work with is a crucial part of making this plan, and for that, we are here to help. We can handle all the types of damages that come along with storms and can help you get your home restored as quickly as possible.

Why to Consider Us as Your Restoration Provider

We Are Equipped for All Types of Restoration
Storm damage is quite complex because of all the elements it can include. Not only can the structure of your home be damaged by wind, fallen trees and other debris, but this can also lead to water damage as it continues to rain. Working with a company like us that can handle both of these types of damages is ideal, as we will be able to restore every aspect of storm damage that you sustain.

We Keep Our Workforce Up to Date
Every storm is unique, just like the damage it can cause. That is why our technicians are required to study the industry-standard restoration guidelines from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification and to be well-versed in all kinds of damages. Additionally, we ensure everyone in our workforce stays in the loop on current trends by hosting seminars and online learning opportunities for everyone to attend.

We Are Here 24 Hours a Day
As a member of the community, we value our local presence—but we are also able to bring a national response if the situation calls for it. Because there are SERVPRO® locations across the nation, we really can uphold our slogan of responding to any size disaster. Coupled with our 24-hour emergency hotline, you can rest assured that we will respond quickly and take care of the problem.

We Have a Strong Reputation in Restoration
Any sort of disaster is likely to give rise to shady behavior, and bands of severe storms are no different. It is not uncommon for households to be contacted by scam restoration companies after a disaster strikes. The good news is that we have a strong local and national reputation, so you never have to worry about being scammed when you work with us.

If you have experienced storm damage or want to learn more, you can call us 247 for more details.

Getting Back to Basics for Household Fire Safety

2/9/2020 (Permalink)

a person laying another wood log into hot burning fireplace A house fire can occur when you least expect it. SERVPRO of Ames is on call 24/7 and will guide you through any fire restoration project.

Practicing fire safety is one of the most important things that individuals can do to protect their homes and their families. Not only can property losses be difficult, but house fires can also claim lives and be a devastating occurrence all around.

While there are many resources for fire safety out there, having all of the information in one place is not always possible. To help families stay safe and readily access the information they need to do so, we have put together our guide to the best fire safety tips so you can stay prepared.

Best Tips for Fire Safety in the Household

Frequently Check Smoke Detectors. Smoke detectors are one of the top tools required for fire safety. They should be put in every room and in the main area of every floor, and it is recommended to use an interconnected system so they will all be triggered if one goes off. Be sure to test them every 30 days as well.

Have a Fire Escape Plan. A fire escape plan is another extremely important element of fire safety. Be sure you have an escape route mapped for every room of the home and are aware of how to check for fires behind closed doors. Establish a household meeting spot where everyone can reconvene once they have safely escaped, as well.

Know How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher. Picking the right fire extinguisher for your household is important, as is knowing how to use it. Make sure to understand how yours operates and how to spray it to most effectively extinguish flames.

Never Leave Flames Unattended. Flames and cooking appliances that are unattended are some of the most common fire starters across the country. Even candles and ovens can pose a risk that can quickly become out of hand if there is no one in the room. It is best to never leave any flame unattended for any length of time.

Keep a Closed-Door Policy. For nighttime fire safety, sleeping with the door closed is one of the best things you can do, as a door will hinder the spreading of the flames. Nighttime fires are quite common and are some of the most fatal, so practicing safe sleeping habits can help you and everyone else in the household stay protected.

If you’d like to learn more about protecting yourself from a house fire and how our restoration services can help you recover, get in touch today to learn more.

Avoid Water Damage From Appliances

2/9/2020 (Permalink)

frustrated woman on floor looking at broken washer If your home experiences any flooding or another water issue, SERVPRO of Ames is here to dry, clean and repair any damage.

While flooding is often assumed as the main cause of water damage, one of the most common culprits is actually appliances in the household. Fortunately, being aware of this as a homeowner can help with prevention.

By knowing what appliances are known to commonly cause water damage, homeowners can check for the key signs of risk in order to practice prevention and avoid the woes of water damages.

Appliances That Are Common Causes of Water Damage

Hot Water Heater
Hot water heaters are one of the leading culprits of water damage from appliances. Typically, they will be designed to last between 10 and 15 years, but leaks can start much earlier due to factors of construction materials, installation and premature corrosion.

Refrigerator
The ice maker on the refrigerator typically has water lines made of a bendable plastic, which can develop micro-tears over time. Due to the fact that refrigerators are not moved frequently, this can lead to water damage that can accumulate and cause significant issues. Moving your refrigerator away from the wall to check the hoses can go a long way in preventing this.

Dishwasher
Dishwashers typically do not get moved away from their cubby until it is time for replacement, and this often causes homeowners to discover hidden water damage in the process. Soft floors or discoloration can be an indicator, but it is important to do regular checks. It is also important to not exceed the manufacturer’s lifetime estimate for the dishwasher—water damage from older models is often exempt from insurance coverage.

Washing Machine
The water used by washing machines is significant, and the hoses connected to them have been known to fail and cause hidden leaks. It is important to check the hoses every 30 days, with a replacement every five years being the recommended time frame.

Air Conditioner
Air conditioning units create condensation as part of their normal operations, and this moisture will generally be drained away through the mechanisms in place to do so. However, issues with drain lines and leaks can lead to water damage instead. Regular maintenance of your unit and check on it frequently is the best prevention tactics to make sure all is operating well.

If your home has been impacted by water damage or you’d like to put a plan in place in case it happens to you, contact us to learn how we can help.

Tips for Small Business Owners to Manage Risks

2/9/2020 (Permalink)

preparedness and readiness sayings in bold lettering with red background Having a disaster plan in place is crucial for any business. SERVPRO of Ames is your full-service commercial restoration company.

When you own a business, a natural disaster puts more than just you at risk. For many small business owners, their commercial property is essential to their livelihood, and thus it is vitally important that they are able to continue operations even during the worst of circumstances.

One of the best ways to do this is by preparing for a disaster in advance, as the frequency of natural disasters continues to increase around the world. Knowing what your unique risks are, having a plan in place for the worst-case scenario and knowing what to do after a disaster are all important aspects of staying safe and recovering quickly.

Preparing for a Disaster at Your Small Business

1. Double-Check Your Insurance
While small business owners often believe they have adequate insurance coverage, many are disappointed to find out that this is not necessarily the case as far as natural disasters are concerned. Excessive damages, such as those from a flood, often require the purchase of extra business insurance in order to provide complete coverage for disaster scenarios.

2. Create Your Action Plan
Planning for what you will do when a natural disaster is imminent is a wise choice, as it will help you mitigate risks to your business. Being aware of any machinery shutdown requirements and saving important documents are ways you can help your business stay safe while learning about evacuation routes and local shelters is a great way to keep yourself safe should a disaster occur.

3. Rehearse Drills and Prepare Staff
If you manage employees on the property, it is important that you uphold your duty to care for them by preparing them for a disaster scenario. Be sure they are aware of the company’s official disaster proceedings and practice your building evacuation regularly and with varied scenarios so everyone can feel more at ease.

4. Choose a Restoration Company to Work With
When a disaster hurts your small business, it has also hurt your livelihood—which is why reopening quickly is so important following a disaster. By picking the restoration company you will work within advance of a disaster scenario, you can call them the moment you discover damage so your restoration process can begin right away.

If you need to pick a commercial restoration company that’s right for you, call us today! We can tell you all about what sets our process apart.

Why House Fire Rates Go Up in the Winter

2/9/2020 (Permalink)

snow covered Christmas tree branches Practicing prevention is the best way to reduce the chance of a fire, however, if you do experience a loss contact SERVPRO of Ames.

As cooler air begins to move into an area, the rate of house fires increases as a result. While there are many reasons behind a house fire occurring, being alert to the winter-specific risks is a smart way to stay safe during the colder days.

Being aware of the reasons home fires are more likely in the winter as well as prevention tips you can implore at any time is key to fire safety.

Why House Fires Increase in Cool Weather

An Increase in Cooking
Because most of us cook nearly every day, it is the leading cause of all home fires at any given time. This is especially true for the winter months, as more people are baking, entertaining and cooking holiday meals—increasing the likelihood of this occurring.

The Risk of Heaters
Winter fires are also commonly caused by unsafe heating methods, which amounts to the second most common fire cause in the winter. Portable heaters are a common culprit, as models not equipped with an automatic shutoff can tip over and cause a fire to start on the floor. Additionally, it is important to keep anything flammable away from any type of heat source, especially a fireplace.

Candles and Decorations
While open flames and candles are quite common, they present the risk of a house fire any time they are lit. Several winter holidays are commonly celebrated with candles, and decorative or scented candles are increasingly common in cold weather. Additionally, decorations can pose hazards, as many are only used once per year and can cause electrical fires to break out.

Cold Weather Fire Prevention Tips

Though it is the knowledge we all hope to never have to use, focusing on prevention and preparation is the best way to ensure you are ready for a house fire. These safety tips are helpful both in the winter and year-round to help you and those in your household stay safe:

  • Check smoke alarms once every 30 days and replace every 10 years.
  • Always monitor open flames.
  • Select space heaters with automatic shut-offs in case they tip over.
  • Utilize a screen every time you use a fireplace.
  • Draft and practice an emergency escape plan with your household.

If your home has been impacted by a fire, call us right away. We are leaders in restoration and can help you recover quickly after a fire occurs.

An Overview of Flood Damage

2/9/2020 (Permalink)

Water damage is always an inconvenience, but flood damages have their own considerations. With the many types of floods and the multiple ways that water can infiltrate the home, the severity of the damage is often surprising.

The impact of floods continues to rise in every part of the world, making it vital that homeowners take the time to understand the issues floods can lead to and how they should react.

Ways Flooding Can Damage Homes

Foundational Damage. When a flood saturates the soil the home’s foundation is built on, parts of it can become raised. This can lead to cracks in the foundation, as well as sealing problems with door and window frames throughout the home.

Drywall Damage and Mold. The waterlogged drywall can become weak and begin to fall apart, but that is not the only issue. Drywall can allow mold to grow underneath it, infiltrating the structure of the home and requiring replacement of any ceilings or walls that were affected.

Insulation Saturation. While certain types of insulation do not absorb moisture, most types can easily become soaked through and require replacement due to the high rate of mold growth they can cause.

Temporary Frame Swelling. The good news about a house’s frame is that it is typically constructed of solid lumber, meaning any swelling will be temporary. While mold precautions should certainly be taken to prevent an outbreak, most frames will remain structurally sound after a flood.

Appliance Ruining. Ovens and refrigerators contain insulation and almost always require replacement following a flood. That being said, other types may be able to be salvaged, but they must be inspected by an expert to be certified as safe before using.

Furniture Damage. Upholstered furniture can absorb a surprising amount of water, making it susceptible to water damage and mold growth. Furniture made of wood, glass pieces, and other miscellaneous materials should be cleaned thoroughly but should be OK for use.

If your home has been affected by a flood, we’ll be here to help you! Give us a call 247 to learn about our certified flood restoration process.

Sound the Alarms

2/9/2020 (Permalink)

Red Fire Alarm Switch at Night on the Side of a City Street Practicing the prevention of fires, and keeping batteries in your alarm is important, however, if you do experience a loss contact SERVPRO of Ames.

Have you tested your fire alarms lately? According to the Red Cross, you could have as few as only TWO MINUTES to escape safely from your house after a fire begins. 

This is why testing your fire alarms should be a part of your home maintenance routine! These alarms in your home make sure that you get alerted as soon as possible that a fire has started. 

The next item on the list is having a planned fire escape route. BUT, having it isn't enough- you need to have practiced this route with your family ahead of time. Check out this free worksheet from the Red Cross to help you as you plan for your Phenix City, Eufaula or Tuskegee home!

Two minutes is quick, but disaster strikes in the blink of an eye. Make sure that your family and your home are ready. Once your family is safe, you can call in the professionals to handle your home.

SERVPRO of Ames is locally owned and operated, so we’re already close by and ready to respond immediately when you need us. We make disaster "Like it never even happened." Give us a call today at (515) 233-4544!

Spring Cleaning of the Hoarder

2/9/2020 (Permalink)

A bedroom cluttered with clothes and other miscellaneous items A cluttered space can lead to a cluttered mind, handle the mess and avoid a fire. Need help? Contact SERVPRO of Ames at (515) 233 4544!

We may not all know people who are hoarders, but for those who do it can be incredibly frustrating to see someone keeping items that are completely unnecessary and rarely if ever, used. However, hoarders are often very reluctant to get rid of anything, which makes it difficult to help them. We just want the best for the people we care about. Spring cleaning season is an ideal time to talk to the hoarders in your life and see if they would be willing to accept some hoarding clean up help. If so, these tips on how to help a hoarder can guide your interactions as you work together on some spring cleaning.

Recognize the signs of a serious hoarding disorder
While hoarding may look to outsiders like someone just hasn’t gotten around to getting rid of items in their home, it can actually be a psychological disorder. In many cases, people who are extreme hoarders are psychologically diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. This comes out in the form of compulsive hoarding, and it’s not something you can just solve by going in and cleaning up the house.

If the person you would like to help has signs of a hoarding disorder, you should direct them to get psychological counseling to address that side of the problem. You can help by finding a counselor in your area who has experience with compulsive hoarding. Then when the time comes, you can offer your help with the actual hoarding clean up.

Be compassionate and connect with feelings
When providing hoarding help, remember that your main job is to help your friend or family member. Much of that help is going to come emotionally as you support the person to work through the piles of stuff. You need to be ready to listen with compassion, show empathy, and be sensitive to the person’s feelings. If you come in with a task-oriented mentality, you will likely meet with a lot of resistance that will make it difficult to achieve real progress.

Determine the criteria for deciding whether things are worth keeping
While you may be willing to get rid of everything a hoarder has been holding onto, it’s not your stuff, and you don’t have the right to give it away or throw it away. Talk to your friend or family member and work out a method for answering the critical question of whether you can get rid of any given item. Agree on whether you can get rid of items without consulting your friend, or if your friend needs to be present to make each decision.
Some common criteria for determining what to get rid of in hoarding clean up include:

  • Items that have not been used at all in a certain amount of time
  • Items that do not bring joy to the owner
  • Items that are duplicates of other things
  • Sentimental items that can be photographed to preserve the sentiment

Make a plan. Experts recommend an organized plan of action, starting with enlisting help from a group of friends, family members, or professionals. Next, schedule a date, and workroom by room, no matter how hard it is not to think of all the other rooms you must clean and clear out. Finally, delegate tasks to your group members and create a system for setting aside keepsakes and valuables, charitable/donations, and trash.

Prevent future clutter creep. Spring cleaning should only come but once a year, provided you maintain the deep clean you completed on that first warm weekend. With a hoarder, that requires extra due diligence, and often on the part of the caregiver.

3 Types of Damages Homes Can Get From Lightning | SERVPRO® of Ames

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

lightning strikes in dark stormy sky Lighting Strikes

The dramatic view of lightning streaking across the sky is quintessential to thunderstorms, but it also represents extreme danger. Lightning can often cause severe injuries and damage to property when it strikes, which is why it is essential to know the dangers it presents.

<h3about-lightning">Information About Lightning

All thunderstorms develop an electrical charge, and thunder and lightning are the results of this. What our eyes perceive as a lightning bolt is the storm shooting off some of its electrical charge, which is manifested as a strike.

Clouds are well-insulated for electrical charge, why is why there are so many lightning strikes that arc across the sky. When lightning strikes toward the ground instead, that’s when damages can be caused.

<h3types-of-lightning-damage">3 Types of Lightning Damage

The damage caused by lightning strikes can be caused not only by heat but also due to damage to wires and pipes. These are the three main types of damage homes can get from lightning:

1. Fire damage. Lightning reaches temperatures around 500,000 degrees, making it hot enough to ignite buildings on impact. As it travels through a home’s wires, damage can also be caused inside the walls, raising the potential for electrical fires in the future. An electrician or the local fire department can often test for hot spots and assess the damage.

2. Electrical damage. Lightning has more electrical charge than most electronics are equipped to handle, so lightning traveling through the wires can easily move up cables and ruin appliances. Surge protectors are the common defense against this.

3. Structural damage. The thunder we hear when lightning strikes across the sky is a result of shock waves created by the force. This force is still present when lightning strikes the ground, with enough force to shatter windows, explode foundations and crack chimneys. A thorough home inspection after the storm passes is useful in assessing the damage.

If your home has been affected by storm damages or lightning-related fires, give us a call today! We are experts in damage cleanup and can restore your damage quickly.

Getting Your Business Prepared for Flooding | SERVPRO® of Ames

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

flooding in large room with staircase partially submerged in water Business flooding

For business owners who do not operate in a floodplain, it may seem odd that they should prepare for flooding. However, national disasters include flooding around 90% of the time, and many affected areas are those not traditionally prone to flooding.

It is smart for business owners to consider and plan for the possibility of a flood, both to keep their employees safe and get their business reopened more quickly after a disaster.

<h3to-do-ahead-of-time">What to Do Ahead of Time

By being honest about their risks, training employees and planning ahead, business owners will be much more prepared for a flood and will know how to stay safe. Some key points to plan for include:

  • Referencing the FEMA Flood Map to get an idea of your risk levels
  • Copying all paperwork and records to keep in a safe, external location
  • Drafting your own Emergency Action Plan and training employees for what to do
  • Clearly marking the office evacuation route
  • Considering the purchase of flood insurance if it is something your business insurance does not handle
  • Assembling an emergency kit for the workplace in the event you and other employees are stranded for a time
  • Placing any valuables in the highest possible areas if flooding becomes imminent

<h3documents-to-preserve">The Documents to Preserve

In order to restore and reopen, having your documents copied and safe will be a big assistance. Keep any essential papers, such as:

  • The continuity plan for how you will resume operations
  • Contact information for employees, as well as their emergency contacts
  • Your insurance policy for the business and flood coverage if applicable
  • Vendor information, along with contact information for suppliers and any other third parties that may be crucial to operations
  • Guidelines for how to recover files from computer backups
  • Any pertinent financial documents

If your business has experienced a flood, we are always here to help. Call us 247 to get our team of professionals to your business quickly so you can get back on track.