What Does It Take to Work in the Water Damage Restoration Field?
Water Damage Restoration companies vary from large corporate companies (such as SERVPRO) to small mom and pop shops. The industry is growing and developing new technology every day. In 2019 SERVPRO was valued at $1 billion dollars making it one of the largest restoration companies in the world. Let’s examine what it takes to work in this fast-paced, complex industry!
The Restoration Industry as whole is unique; it requires technical skills, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills to interface with a variety of customers, clients, and subcontractors. Communicating clearly and effectively with all parties involved is the key to success. Teamwork in a fast-paced environment is key to success. Emergencies happen in the middle of the night, on holidays or at inopportune times so being flexible and efficient is important. Having compassion and maintaining professionalism will put customers at ease. Most customers find themselves in a very stressful, upsetting situation. It is important for the Restoration Professional to be the “hero” customers need for making it through a difficult time.
Familiarity with restoration technologies is another important factor. Aside from the basic hand tools and power tools, restoration professionals also operate specialized equipment. These include thermal imaging, mold sensors, water pumps, industrial-quality fans, high-powered dehumidifiers, and air movers. Many restoration companies use complex software systems for sketching floor plans, validating equipment placement and for inventorying during packing and moving. Learning these systems will help you be more successful on the jobsite.
At SERVPRO of Edmonds we take pride in training and developing quality personnel who go above and beyond for our customers and have a vast array of industry knowledge. Our programs are well structured through our corporate office who provide an array of interactive training videos, knowledge testing and on the job training experience.
If you think you have what it takes to be a part of the SERVPRO of Edmonds team give us a call at 425-775-5723. We would love to meet with you and discuss opportunities with our team!
5 Steps To Prepare Your Workplace From Natural Disasters
Wildfires, hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes, and hail storms are just some of the natural disasters that hit the United States each year and unfortunately some of this is due to recent climate change. While it is impossible to be 100% prepared there are many steps that can be taken to limit damage and keep personnel safe in your workplace.
- Analyze Your Current Resources
Resource management is essential to disaster preparedness. Analyze what resources are available internally and in your community. Do you meet building standards? Have you had your routine maintenance? What vendors and supplies will help get your back on your feet?
- Estimate the Disaster Risks In Your Area
What kind of risks are most common in your area? Analyze and plan accordingly. Discuss what coverages you have with your insurance company to make sure you are properly prepared.
- Create A Disaster Preparedness Plan
Assess your risks and follow tips to create a thorough plan for all. This includes updating work safety procedures. Create a communication and disaster plan. Designate a temporary workplace and have an emergency services vendor (such as SERVPRO of Edmonds) ready to help.
- Prepare Your Facility
Emergency supplies in the workplace should be stocked and accessible to all. Create a checklist and update as needed. Some items may expire.
- Food supplies
- Shelter supplies
- Emergency lights, fire extinguishers, and emergency radios
- Emergency kits (Including first-aid supplies)
- Search and rescue supplies
- Sanitation supplies
- Prepare Employees
There are several measures you can take to prepare employees such as conducting a preparedness class and actively testing out a plan. This ensures personnel is all on the same page and feels confident in the correct steps to take.
Home Inspection Tips: What to Check For When Buying A Home
SERVPRO of Edmonds is available for your home inspection concerns!
Home Inspection Tips: What to Check For When Buying A Home
The housing marketing in Washington state and in many cities around the country is currently very competitive with low inventory and high asking prices. Homes are selling for record highs.
Many people are forgoing inspections or making offers, sight unseen. These can be risky choices as some homes may have hidden issues that could turn into larger problems down the road if not properly addressed. Termites? Mold? Leaky pipes? Foundation Issues? Many of these problems linger below the surface and are not immediately visible.
If you are hiring an inspector to examine your possible purchase, consider their knowledge and qualifications. Have them examine the following:
- Roof Health: this can become a very expensive component and roof systems are complicated and costly to replace.
- Siding Integrity: Siding take up a large part of the home. Is the siding in good health?
- Plumbing function and effectiveness: Ensure there are no leaks!
- Wiring and Electrical: Older homes with original electrical wiring may need updates as technology has changed over the years. Consider the age of the home and what updates have been made.
- Expansions: What updates have been made and were they done by a licensed professional? Oftentimes DIY projects can turn into disasters later down the road.
- Drainage: The drainage system, sloping and grading of the home should all be considered. Is the home in a flood zone? Has it experienced water intrusion?
Additional Issues to Consider Include the following?
- Does the home suffer from pest damage such as rodents or invasive insects?
- Does the home need mold testing or air quality testing?
- Is the foundation strong with no cracks or sloping?
- Do you know exactly where the lot begins and ends?
- Is the chimney sound?
- How is the water quality of the property?
If you face any issues related to mold, water leaks or deodorization issues SERVPRO of Edmonds is happy to help! We work closely with real estate agents and home inspectors to make sure your new home purchase is right for you.
How To Operate A Fire Extinguisher Correctly
Choose the Fire Extinguisher That Is Right For You!
It is important that all adults know how to operate a fire extinguisher. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) believes that children should not be trained how to operate portable fire extinguishers as they may not have the maturity or physical ability. Make sure you have extinguishers inspected annually to ensure they are working properly. Only use a portable extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area. Utilize the widely known PASS method:
- Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
For a residential home select a multi-purpose extinguisher which can be used on all types of home fires. It should be large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings; check out what is available in your community.
Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately to prevent smoke inhalation.
Fire extinguishers are just one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms. If you experience a fire in your home or business call the professionals at SERVPRO of Edmonds to assist with clean-up and restoration. We are available 24/7 for any emergency!
Commercial Property Maintenance Tips
If you are a property manager or commercial building owner in need of preparedness planning for your structure call SERVPRO of Edmonds at 425-775-5723. We can assist you with a complimentary preparedness walk-through! Check out the following preparedness tips to keep your building safe and hazard-free.
- Walk Your Landscape. Here in the Pacific Northwest large tree branches and limbs can become serious issues for your roof if they are too close to your structure. Trim trees and bushes back from buildings to minimize risk. The condition and health of large trees and limbs should also be inspected to determine if they are likely to break and fall during strong winds. If your property contains many large trees, the services of a certified arborist might be in order. Check your insurance coverages to see what your policy does and does not cover.
- Check Your Electrical & Alarm Systems. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, electrical issues, including electrical, heating, appliance, and equipment malfunctions, are one of the top causes of fires in non-residential buildings, accounting for 24.5% of all reported fires. An annual inspection by a professional electrician can ensure your wiring, breakers and appliances are in good working order. Additionally, most inspectors can check your building’s smoke alarms and fire-retardant systems.
- Inspect the exterior foundation of your property. Visible cracks as well as cracks between bricks, cracks in the mortar, and separation between adjoining walls could indicate trouble. Inside, if you notice windows and doors that aren’t working properly, cracks where walls and ceilings meet, or any irregularities in your flooring such as cracks, warping or sloping, you might be looking at potential foundation issues which could mean water intrusion.
- Mark all of your shut-offs. SERVPRO of Edmonds has free gas and water shut-off tags for your properties. We recommend placing them on all of your shut-offs and briefing staff or on-site personal how to locate and turn them off. If you have a water or fire emergency or general questions about preparedness call SERVPRO of Edmonds at 425-775-5723.
Safe Barbecuing Tips from SERVPRO of Edmonds
As the weather is heating up in Edmonds, WA more people are firing up their barbecues to cook dinner and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Keep in mind there are several safety precautions that should be taken to ensure your barbecue is working properly and safely. Barbequing can also become very dangerous if you are careless and leave your barbeque unattended. Always practice fire safety!
- Check for gas leaks. To check rub water and soap along the connections and hoses, turn on the gas and look for bubbles. If you see bubbles start to appear then you have found a gas leak and you must repair it before doing any barbequing.
- Keep a spray bottle or extinguisher near the grill. If you start to see flames get out of control give it a spray to instantly calm down the flames before it gets out of hand.
- Keep items like decorations and foliage away from the grill. Decorations are mostly made of artificial fibers that catch fire very easily.
- Never turn on the gas while the barbecue lid is closed. This will cause gas to buildup and could cause someone serious injury when it comes into contact with a spark.
- Never overload your grill with fatty meats. This could cause too much fat to drip down and cause the flames to become out of control. You do not want the grill to catch fire.
- Never leave a grill unattended. Fires double in size every minute and it could be too late if you don’t notice a fire in time.
- Make sure your grill is 10 feet away from your home. This distance includes porches and garages as well.
We hope these tips help you prepare for many days of sunny summer grilling ahead. Remember, if you experience any issues related to a grill fire call the experts at SERVPRO of Edmonds, 425-775-5723.
Summertime Natural Disasters
While Edmonds, WA does not experience many ‘natural disasters’ it is important to know what kinds of disasters could be coming regionally and nationwide, especially in summertime which is peak season for wildfires and hurricanes. The National Disaster Education Coalition states every person, no matter where they live, should learn what disasters could impact their area (natural and man-made), make an emergency disaster plan, create a list of emergency contacts, make sure they are properly insured and have a pre-made disaster kit.
Summertime Natural Disasters: Wildfires
In 2020 the Western United States experienced a series of major wildfires fueled by winds and hot, dry terrain. More than 10.2 million acres were burnt costing approximately $16.5 billion in property damage.
Summertime Natural Disasters: Hurricanes
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active and the fifth costliest Atlantic hurricane season on record. Of the 30 named storms, 14 developed into hurricanes, and a record-tying seven further intensified into major hurricanes. This caused a great amount of damage, again costing millions of dollars in damage and displaced families.
The national hurricane center encourages residents to invest in emergency supplies before a disaster hits to save you money as products are still readily available and not as in high of demand.
For all emergencies it is important to remember the following;
- The safest and (unsafe) rooms in your home
- Know the escape routes out of your home, city, county and state
- Appoint a person to be single point of contact that everyone can call in the event of an emergency. This person should not live in the same state as you.
- Know what you are going to do with your pets in the event of a disaster
- Post emergency numbers near home phones and teach your children how to call 911
- CPR and first aid
- Preparing now will save you money, heartache and stress should the unthinkable happen.
Possible Signs of Mold in Your Residential Home
If you think you have mold in your home the most important thing is to not panic. There are many steps you can take to fix your possible mold issue, such as calling a specialist to come and inspect. SERVPRO of Edmonds performs mold cleaning based off of an Industrial Hygienist’s recommendations.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Do you visibly see mold spores? If you see dark fuzzy spots growing on porous surfaces you could be looking at visible mold growth.
Do you notice a musty or damp smell? Some mold species cause noticeable odors. If you detect an uncommon odor it could be because of a mold issue.
Did you experience a water leak in your home? Places in your home with elevated moisture are more prone to growing mold. If you have had a past leak examine those areas carefully. You may even need a leak detection specialist.
Have you consulted a professional? An Industrial Hygienist (certified mold specialist) will help determine whether you are facing a mold issue or something entirely different. They will provide you with appropriate recommendations.
Emergency Supply Checklist For Your Vehicle
SERVPRO of Edmonds is passionate about emergency preparedness and personal safety. You may hear many disaster preparedness warnings about what emergency supplies to keep in your home, but what about your vehicle? Some things to consider:
- How much time do you spend in your vehicle?
- Do you take extra supplies for long trips?
- What would you do in the event of poor weather, car trouble or a flat tire that may cause you to become stranded?
The National Safety Council recommends an array of items to keep in your vehicle and much of this depends on your distance and landscape traveled. Every vehicle should have an emergency supply kit located in the trunk. Kits should be checked every six months, and expired items should be replaced to keep it up to date. Vehicle emergency supply kits should include:
- A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack
- Jumper cables
- Tool kit and/or a multipurpose utility tool
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
- First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, nonlatex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers and instant cold compress
- Nonperishable, high-energy foods, such as unsalted nuts, dried fruits and hard candy
- Drinking water
- Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help
- Car charger for your cell phone
- Fire extinguisher
- Duct tape
- Rain poncho
- Additional items for cold weather include a snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter for traction and blankets
It's also a good idea to keep family and emergency phone numbers, including your auto insurance provider and a towing company, in your phone and even on paper in case you lose phone battery/power. Equip your vehicles and stay safe- always expect the unexpected!
Re-Entry and Re-Occupancy of Commercial Buildings in King County
SERVPRO of Edmonds enjoys supporting several professional associations related to the property management and building management sectors. Not only are the associations beneficial in keeping up with educational updates they are fabulous sources for networking among our industries.
One of our favorite associations is BOMA (Building Operations Management Association)
Recently a popular topic of conversation at BOMA has been regarding the re-entry of tenants to commercial buildings. While BOMA does not endorse any specific policy, they discuss a list of helpful considerations for property managers as they develop their own re-entry protocols. Each property is unique and while there will be some commonalities across different properties BOMA recommends each property team should seek their own legal counsel.
Property managers have a difficult position as they should not be required to perform compliance authority with tenants and visitors. While building managers will work to enact measures that encourage social distancing protocols, compliance rests with the personal responsibility each person has to safeguard their own health. Tenants and tenant businesses should remain responsible for all compliance.
Some Re-Entry Protocol Ideas Include:
- Some buildings might reduce entry points, but not if this causes people to gather or jam up at choke points where they cannot maintain distancing.
- Greater security staffing at entry points as needed.
- Installing shielding paneling at concierge and greeting desks
- For some properties, a requirement for tenants to meet and escort visitors or report their expected arrival to security
- Consider an elevator lobby patrol person during peak foot traffic times whose presence will encourage social distancing practices
- Adding touchless options for opening doors
- Require vendor firms to maintain adequate supply of personal protection equipment for their staff. Amend vendor contracts as necessary.
- Create a cost profile and confirmation within vendor to clean, disinfect and/or sanitize space where future cases of an infected worker having been present are identified. Call SERVPRO of Edmonds for COVID decontamination questions or service!
- Building management maintains adequate supply of PPE for their staff.
- Building personnel trained on proper use of personal protection equipment and protocols
- Social distancing signage in all gathering spaces
- Hand sanitizers in more places with discarding containers
- Air circulating and filtration system adjustments - such as operating at maximum to ensure clean air
If you have questions about sanitizing and disinfecting your commercial property call the professionals at SERVPRO of Edmonds: 425-775-5723.