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How to Deal With the Aftermath of a House Fire | SERVPRO® of Ames

6/24/2020 (Permalink)

woman with her face in her hands in front of the aftermath of a house fire Learn what you can do to make the recovery from a devastating house fire easier for you and your family.

A house fire is an absolutely devastating situation. No matter how quickly the fire was extinguished, it can still cause serious household damages and emotional repercussions for your entire family.

While handling the damage may seem overwhelming, you can make sure you are doing everything in your power to recover quickly and lessen the impact on your home and your mental well-being.

Enlist emotional support. 

The damage that fires cause can be alarming to see firsthand. Firefighters will often have to break windows or cut holes in the roof or walls, and many items that were not near the fire may still be damaged by smoke, soot and water from the fire extinguishers. When you are preparing to see your home for the first time after a fire, understand that it will be traumatic and you will need to grieve. Bring people who can provide emotional support to you and your family, and be open to seeking therapeutic counseling to help yourselves through the grieving process if needed. 

Wait to enter your home. 

Though things may appear to not be damaged enough to make your home a hazard, never enter without first checking with officials to determine everything is safe. The invisible damage a fire causes can undermine a home’s structural elements, and a second combustion may even be possible depending on the source of the fire. Make sure you always wait for the official OK before reentering your home.

Contact your insurance company. 

As soon as possible after the fire, contact your insurance agent to find out what your homeowners insurance policy covers and start your claim. Because policies vary so wildly, this should be done early on so you do not risk accidentally undermining your claim.

Document the damages. 

Do a full inventory of all the damages, and take detailed photographs so you have record of everything in the home that is impacted. Not only will this be helpful as you work with your insurance adjuster, but it is also a handy tool for your personal records so you can see what you will need to replace in the home. It’s wise to have an ongoing inventory of your personal belongings before you experience a fire. If you already have a documented inventory, use that as a guide when assessing damage. 

Contact your restoration company. 

There is not enough good that can be said about working with a qualified fire restoration company to help you mitigate the damages. Fires are extremely stressful for your entire household, but working with a company you can trust, like SERVPRO of Ames, can alleviate many worries and headaches. We are experts at handling the details after a fire. We can help guide you through difficult steps, save you extra work and answer many of your questions along the way.

Call SERVPRO of Ames at (515) 233-4544 anytime, day or night, to help you recover after a fire. We live and work in your local Boone and Story County areas and understand what you need most after experiencing this kind of traumatic disaster. We’re ready to help!

Trust SERVPRO of Ames to Disinfect Your Ames Area Business or School for Covid-19

6/16/2020 (Permalink)

Window decal of Certified SERVPRO Cleaned Don’t trust just anyone to disinfect your business, school or organization. SERVPRO of Ames is highly-trained and certified to do the job.

SERVPRO of Ames is answering an increasing number of calls to clean and disinfect area businesses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While few businesses and organizations have had an employee test positive for the virus, many companies are asking us to help them prepare for reopening and maintain a clean environment for their staff and customers.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – Our Viral Pathogen Cleaning Program

Don’t trust just anyone to disinfect your business, school or organization. SERVPRO of Ames is highly-trained and certified to do the job. 

We offer Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, a proactive and Covid-19 emergency response cleaning program that goes way beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. This is tested and proven viral pathogen cleaning that meets the highest standards.

Our staff specializes in biohazard cleaning and decontamination for porous and non-porous surfaces – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the CDC. 

We use EPA-approved products that don't harm your work environment or your employees, clients or students. These include our proprietary cleaning agent SERVPROXIDE, a hospital-grade disinfectant that is NSF certified for direct food surface use.

Let SERVPRO of Ames Help You Maintain a Sanitized Environment

We can sanitize every space in your business, school or organization, including:

  • offices 
  • retail spaces 
  • fitness rooms 
  • playgrounds
  • food areas (break rooms, school kitchens, cafeterias)

We’re locally owned and operated and available 24 hours/7 days per week, serving all of Boone and Story County. So we’re nearby and ready to take care of you right away.

Give us a call at (515) 233-4544. 

SERVPRO of AMES Is the Right Choice, Right Away

6/11/2020 (Permalink)

Two SERVPRO team members standing in front of a SERVPRO van SERVPRO trains team members to meet the highest industry standards in fire restoration, water restoration and mold remediation.

When you experience a disaster such as flooding or fire, you don’t have time to research restoration companies to be sure they’re the most qualified for the job. Your choice may come down to reputation or a recommendation from a trusted source.

Our Reputation for High-Level Training and Certification

SERVPRO has a long-standing reputation for training employees to meet the highest industry standards in fire restoration, water restoration and mold remediation. In addition to training at the regional level, we developed our National Training Center to expand skill instruction to more franchise owners and insurance industry employees.

Certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC)

SERVPRO of Ames technicians are IICRC-certified, which means they are “trained to operate at a higher standard within their designated certification.”

The IICRC describes its rigorous requirements for certification like this:

“Just as certified accountants, plumbers, and mechanics project a higher level of competency in their fields, and just as members of the American Medical Association and American Bar Association set themselves apart through training, experience and comprehensive examination — IICRC Certification helps to immediately identify the cleaning, restoration, and inspection Industry’s most skilled and dedicated technicians and businesses.”

An Insurance Industry Partner

We partner with many insurance companies to handle restoration for disaster claims, and we’ve earned their trust as a recommended company for their clients. We understand the requirements of a disaster insurance claim, so we can work closely with your insurance company to help your claim progress as smoothly as possible. 

Faster to Any Size Disaster

SERVPRO of Ames is locally owned and operated. Our staff is ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week to quickly respond and restore your Boone or Story County residence, school or business back to its original condition after a disaster of any size, “Like it never even happened.”

Call us right away at (515) 233-4544 if you experience any kind of water, mold or fire damage. 

You can be sure you’re making the right choice with SERVPRO of Ames.

Preventing Water Damage From Heavy Rainfall | SERVPRO® of Ames

6/5/2020 (Permalink)

heavy rainfall on a roof Regular inspection and repair of vulnerable areas in your home can save you from water damage when heavy rainfall happens.

Heavy rain—falling at a frequency greater than 0.3 inches an hour—can expose vulnerabilities in your home that you many not be aware of. Here’s what you need to know to prevent water damage in your home.

Backup of Clogged Gutters 

Clogged gutters can cause significant damage to your home after heavy rains. A buildup of debris prevents water from draining and can cause leaks when water puddles against the roofline. To prevent this, make sure you clear your rain gutters early in the spring and again in the fall.

Leaks Around Windows and Doors 

External openings of a home are usually tightly sealed during its construction, but with age, the areas around these openings can become more exposed. Heavy rain can work its way into small vulnerabilities in sealants and also leak in through gaps in door and window frames. Inspecting your home’s doors and windows every spring and repairing any weaknesses or gaps you find around the frames will help keep out heavy rain.

Poor Drainage Around the Foundation

Water sitting against the foundation of your home can quickly lead to water damage in cellars or basements, and this is far more likely to occur during heavy rain. Check your downspouts to make sure they are directing water far enough away from your house. Your yard should slope away from your foundation and may need to be regraded if it doesn’t. You should also check for any visible cracks in the foundation and repair and seal them.

Leaks In and Around the Roof 

A leaky roof is extremely common because of how infrequently roofs are typically inspected. A single missing shingle or weak spot can allow rain in slowly at first and become a much bigger problem when heavy rain is involved. It’s recommended that you have your roof inspected at least once a year by a professional to spot weaknesses so you can have them repaired before any damage occurs.

Malfunctioning of a Sump Pump System

Sump pump failure is one of the most common causes of basement flooding. They require  regular testing that includes several points of inspection and regular maintenance to prevent leaks or malfunction. If you don’t feel qualified to do a full inspection each year, it’s advised you hire a plumber to do it for you.

Leaks Around Chimneys and Skylights 

Much like doors and windows, the seals around chimneys and skylights can become weakened with age. It is important to inspect these spots regularly and repair weaknesses to ensure they are leakproof during heavy rainfall.

SERVPRO of Ames is ready to help you recover from water damage due to heavy rainfall. If you live in Ames, Story City, Madrid or any of the surrounding areas, call us at (515) 233-4544 any time, day or night, and we’ll be there quickly.

Staying Safe When Severe Storms Are in the Forecast | SERVPRO® of Ames

5/27/2020 (Permalink)

severe weather sign in front of a stormy sky Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are inevitable weather events in Boone and Story Counties this time of year. Are you prepared?

Severe weather events like thunderstorms and tornadoes pose danger to properties and people. Educating yourself and being prepared are the best ways to keep yourself safe in a severe weather scenario.

Know the Difference Between Watches and Warnings

When severe weather is forecasted for your area, it's important to understand the difference between a watch and a warning in order to react appropriately. A thunderstorm watch means there is potential for severe storms to develop, but one hasn't been identified by radar. Conversely, a warning means that a thunderstorm is imminent or occurring in the area, and you should immediately take shelter.

Be Ready To Take Shelter

Make sure the safest area of your home where you take shelter has an emergency kit that includes extra food and water as well as flashlights and first-aid supplies. If your home doesn't have a basement, you should know where the next safest place is to take shelter. Generally, you should choose a place on the ground floor away from exterior windows or doors, such as a bathroom or closet.

Set Up a Backup for Emergency Alerts

While most people will rely on their smartphones for weather alerts, this should only be your first line of defense. Storms can knock out cell reception, and cell phones can die during power outages. Set up a backup like a battery-powered NOAA weather radio so you never miss a pertinent alert.

SERVPRO of Ames is ready to help you recover from storm damage. We live and work in the local area and can be there quickly in an emergency. If you live in Boone or Story County, call us at (515) 233-4544.

Get A Free Emergency Ready Profile for Your Business From SERVPRO of Ames

5/14/2020 (Permalink)

Emergency Ready Profile app on mobile phone SERVPRO's free Emergency Ready Profile will help your company get back on its feet faster after a disaster and is accessed through an easy-to-use app.

We’re heading into storm season here in the Midwest. Is your business ready to handle severe tornado or flood damage? What about a disaster that can happen any time of year, like a fire or a water line break?

No one can prevent every disaster from happening, but if your business is prepared with a SERVPRO® Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), you’ll recover more quickly. You’ll also give your business the best chance of reopening. About 50 percent of companies never reopen after extended interruptions from disasters.

Insurance companies know this too, which is why most recommend that businesses make an emergency response plan part of their overall contingency plans.

Let SERVPRO of Ames Help You Put Your Profile Together

We enjoy the process of putting together ERPs, and we do it for FREE. It gives us a chance to get to know you and your business so we can serve you in the best possible way should a disaster ever strike. 

Jeff Short, our General Manager, or Don Stokesbarry, our Operations Manager - both highly certified technicians - will work closely with you to develop your profile containing all the critical information you’ll need in the event of an emergency.

What’s In the ERP?

This well-organized document includes:

  • Primary staff and local emergency contacts
  • Primary contractor/vendor contacts (electrician, internet provider, HVAC, etc.)
  • Utility shut-off locations with photos for fast identification
  • All needed information for your insurance company 
  • Property overview with maps, photos, and structural descriptions
  • Building access information
  • Ability to add extra reports of your own (evacuation floor plans, lead/asbestos reports)

Access Your ERP With an Easy-to-Access Mobile App and Web Portal

Once we’ve captured all your information, SERVPRO of Ames will make it all available to you through our quick and easy-to-use SERVPRO® Ready Plan mobile app and web portal. Ready Plan is password secured and allows you to manage your profile and share your information with people you choose, such as property or facility managers. 

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

The sooner you call us, the sooner we’ll create your ERP, which can make the difference between the life and death of your business. 

Call 515-233-4544 to set up an appointment as soon as possible, before a disaster hits.

Ames Area Residents: Don’t Let Your Garden Hose Be the Culprit of Water Damage

5/7/2020 (Permalink)

Ames garden hose pointed at camera with text: Wait! If you used your garden hose and didn't unhook it before temperatures dropped below freezing, make sure you check for a cracked water pipe.

Remember that warm week in early April? People were thronging places like Ledges State Park near Boone and thoroughly enjoying the weather. 

Have You Ever Done This?

We had one client in Ames whose son took advantage of the near 80-degree temps to hook up the hose and wash his car. Lots of people probably did. 

Of course, Iowa temps in April are a crazy roller coaster, and about a week later they dropped below freezing, with a little bit of snow and ice to boot. The water left in the line from the hose still being hooked to the house expanded and cracked the copper water pipe that ran inside. And the homeowner had no idea. Guess what happened.

The Unsuspected Culprit

Once it warmed back up, they turned on the hose again without realizing water was running down into their basement. We see this a lot.

If it’s a big crack, it will cause immediately noticeable water damage. If it’s a small one, it causes a leak that can go unnoticed and result in mold formation. Either way, you can prevent it.

How To Prevent Water Damage From Your Garden Hose After a Freeze

If you used your hose during that early warm streak and haven’t turned it on again, and if the water pipe is exposed, you can simply go down to where the line comes into your basement, have someone turn the hose on full blast and monitor the pipe for any leaking. 

If you have turned on your hose again after using it during the warm weather, you should go inspect the area around the pipe in your basement for any signs of water leaking or damage. 

To prevent this in the future, make sure you winterize by unhooking all garden hoses well before temperatures drop below freezing in the fall and waiting to reattach until temperatures have stabilized in the spring. If you do use your hose in early spring, it’s always good to unhook it immediately afterward. 

See any problems or have concern? Call us right away at 515-233-4544. Water can spread and be absorbed quickly, so you don’t want to wait.

SERVPRO of Ames Will Guide You to the Right Solution

SERVPRO of Ames is locally owned and close by, available 24 hours/7 days per week. Our highly trained and IICRC-certified staff is ready to come out and let you know what needs to be done, whether our services are needed or not, at no charge. 

If you just need a plumber - we’ll tell you that. If you need help with water damage repair and/or mold remediation, you can trust SERVPRO as the No. 1 brand in the restoration industry.

We have superior equipment and tools to evaluate your damage and make all the repairs so it’s “Like it never even happened.”

Flooded basement in Ames

4/22/2020 (Permalink)

water damaged household furniture sitting outside on front lawn If you’re experiencing any water damage from flooding, SERVPRO of Ames is available 24/7 to assist you with any repairs.

If your home in Ames has been impacted by a flood, it is common to feel like you are ready to get started on recovering right away.

While getting started as quickly as possible is a smart decision, it is also vital that you make your own safety a priority and ensure you are not putting yourself in harm’s way or causing any further damage to your home. Acting quickly following a flood is possible as long as you are also taking the right steps to keep yourself and your household safe.

Returning Home in the Aftermath of a Flood

Avoid further safety hazards. The first thing to remember after a flood is to never return home until officials have deemed it safe. There are many dangers such as electrical currents, contaminated water and other hidden hazards that might be present. If you can do so safely, turn off the electricity main to the house, but never do so if it is in standing water.

Air out the home. If there is no inclement weather on the horizon, opening doors and windows up will help rid the home of stale and hazardous air. Mold growth will have likely already started if surfaces are wet, but increasing air circulation can prevent it from becoming out of hand. If it has been a few days since you have been able to enter the house, entering to begin the airing out process and then leaving to let the toxic air escape is advised.

Document the damages. While it can be tempting to start the cleanup process right away, it is recommended to take pictures of the damages and impacted objects before touching anything for flood insurance purposes. While many floods are not covered under general homeowner’s policies, if you do have coverage, having documentation of the damages can help you get the most out of your claim.

Contact your restoration and insurance companies right away. It is always recommended to let your insurance company know about flood damage as soon as possible to see what coverage options are available to you. Next, you should reach out to your preferred restoration company to get the process started right away. The longer flood and water damage sits untreated, the more damage it can do to the structure of your home.

If your home has been damaged in a flood, we are here for you. You can contact us 247 to receive a quick response and set the restoration process in motion.  We service all of Story County and Boone County.

SERVPRO of Ames helping fight

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

A microscope level image of a virus cell SERVPRO of Ames is here during this tough time to help keep you safe and healthy.

About the Coronavirus:

The CDC is responding to an outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has spread to 60 locations internationally (as of this publication), including cases in the United States. The virus is known as “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Scope of Cleanup Protocol:

SERVPRO professionals can perform a proactive cleanup that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection where the customer states that there is no active known threat of COVID-19 contamination or exposure. The customer will be required to acknowledge that cleaning and disinfecting will only apply to the current state of the structure and contents. The structure would not be protected from future COVID-19 contamination if an infected person was to enter and occupy the building.

Cleanup Scope of Work and Planning:

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables at a minimum. These same surfaces are mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces as well, including:

• Kitchen/Food Areas

• Bathrooms

• Schools/Classrooms

• Offices • Retail Spaces

• Water Fountains

• Shelving and Racks

• Sales Counters

• Carpets and rugs

• Stair Handrails

• Elevator Cars

• Playground Equipment

• Fitness Equipment

Cleanup and Disinfecting Procedures:

Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for the cleanup process, and disposal of waste.

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

During this tough time, we just want you to know that SERVPRO of Ames is here to help residents and businesses in Ames, Boone and surrounding areas. Call us with any questions or concerns at (515) 233-4544.

How to Help Yourself and Your Loved Ones During COVID-19

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. 

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  

How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

For any concerns with keeping your areas clean and preventing any spreading of viruses in your own home, give us a call at (515)233-4544. We are here to help you all throughout this tough time.