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SERVPRO of Ames helping fight

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

A microscope level image of a virus cell We here at SERVPRO of Ames are here to help during this tough time, help us 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.

Throughout this tough time, we just want you all to know that we at SERVPRO of Ames are here to help you all. Any questions or concerns call us (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.

Weatherproofing Your Home for Storm Damage Prevention

3/13/2020 (Permalink)

When houses are built, they are designed to stand strong against the weather elements initially, but over time, their built-in protections need updating to stay effective. Considering that around half of homeowners’ insurance claims are related to weather damage, making the effort ahead of time to make sure your home is resilient is worth the time and effort.

Speaking of time and effort, weatherproofing is a fairly simple task that can generally be done in a weekend. By investing a small amount of time and money into the following weatherproofing tactics, you can protect your home and prevent storm damage from seeping in.

Reducing Storm Damage Through Weatherproofing

Keep Your Shingles in Shape
There are many different ways a roof can start leaking on a home, and keeping an eye on your shingles is one of the best ways to tell how at-risk your home is. Peeling, cracked or missing shingles are something that homeowners should pay attention to right away in order to stop leaks before they get out of hand.

Beat the Weather With Weatherstripping
Adding weatherstripping to your windows and doors keeps out both water leaks and air drafts, saving you money in multiple ways. Weatherstripping is simple to install and has multiple benefits, so it is a wise choice for homeowners.

Gut Debris From Your Gutters
It is recommended to clean out gutters both in the spring and fall to prevent a build-up of leaves and debris—and even more frequently if your home is surrounded by many trees. Signs that your gutters may be struggling include water pooling underneath or around your home, as well as visible cracks and sagging in your gutter line.

Pick the Right Paint
Repainting your house can be a nice way to boost your curb appeal, and with the new technology in different exterior paints, it can also help your home be more resilient to the weather. Many paints now have waterproofing abilities and are resilient to fading from sunlight, so repeated exposure will wear your home down much more slowly than before.

If you have issues with storm damage to your home, we are always here to help. Contact us 24 hours a day for a rapid response.

A Guide to Workplace Fire Preparedness

3/13/2020 (Permalink)

For business owners, taking note of the risks your business is likely to face is wise—especially when it comes to emergencies such as fires. Workplace fires are a common occurrence that can cause a serious headache for your business, especially if you and your staff are underprepared.

Handling an emergency scenario such as a fire efficiently is key for lowering your risks and keeping your staff safe. By understanding common fire starters, evacuation practices and equipment requirements, you can increase the safety of your workplace and work toward a quicker recovery in the aftermath.

How to Prepare for Fires at Your Business

Follow code guidelines and inspection schedules. Your business should be up to date on fire codes set forth by the National Fire Protection Association regarding fire equipment and testing. Make sure you know when to perform your monthly tests of alarms, as well as when to work with your local fire department for more in-depth inspections.

Identify your specific risks. There are many fire risks that can be present in any commercial building, and certain industries carry far more dangers than others. As a business owner, it is smart to assess both your office space as well as any warehousing or any special equipment you may have that could contribute to your overall fire risk profile.

Create (and practice) a fire evacuation plan. Being able to get out quickly in case of a fire is key to keeping everyone as safe as possible. Designate at least two exit paths from each area of your building and host fire drills with your staff frequently. By helping everyone be adequately prepared, you can reduce panic in a real-life scenario and ensure no one is injured in the process.

Have regular fire safety seminars with staff. Bringing the staff together for fire safety demonstrations will make sure everyone is practicing fire safety tips in their daily tasks. Go over safety in the staff kitchen, storage locations of fire extinguishers, and when and how to activate the building’s fire alarm in case of an emergency to increase everyone’s safety in the workplace.

If your business has experienced a fire, we’re here 247 to respond and begin restoration. Call us today to learn how we can help you.

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.

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.

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.