Raining indoors, a water damage.
We moved from a “fixer upper” into a new development home back in 2016. We had lived in our sweet home for about ten years and needed a little more space. Two kids later we discovered how quickly you can outgrow a space. We fell in love with a model home in a new development in our city. We couldn’t wait to move in. A brand-new home, this was a first for us and we were eagerly anticipating a smaller yard with less up keep, and “new” everything that wouldn’t need a ton of consistent attention.
The first two weeks were bliss, until our first bubble bath in our master bathroom. Heating the water was a little different from our last home and it took a little getting used to. So much so, that we filled the tub and added more hot water to the tub, relying on the drain to release the excess water. While this is happening, I noticed my husband was yelling- not his typical trait. I left the bathroom to hear better what the commotion was about, and as it turned out the kitchen ceiling was raining! He was yelling to tell me to stop filling the tub. I was confused, how was the water coming from our bathroom tub to the kitchen?
As it turns out, when the tub was installed they forgot to caulk the drain. It was somehow overlooked, and it caused this large water loss in the first two weeks of being in our brand-new home. Our kitchen floor had buckled rapidly, the water effected the base boards and drywall all within an hour or so. Thankfully under our year warrantee it was fixed but that too came with its ups and downs.
As a business owner of a water restoration company and a homeowner with a water damage, it was not a smooth sailing process to get our kitchen back to new. Keep in mind this all happened as we were expecting to have a holiday company party within the month. The holidays were in full swing and we all know that added confusion that can add to daily life in general. The replacement floor was replaced by someone who is color blind and installed the wrong color flooring. The dry wall was uneven and didn’t get painted until much, much later. It was a nightmare.
I could empathize and relate with customers who have not had the smoothest experience with our services. Hiccups happen, and it taught me to understand that some things are not in my control. Here at SERVPRO of Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma we do our best to perform in high standards and quality. We also understand that this may not be what a customer expects, but we also will work until we fix what is wrong to ensure the customers upmost satisfaction. Our managers and techs work closely to communicate the process and time length expected to perform our job. Our goal is your happiness and to truly make sure your damage is “Like it never even happened.”
Summer is the best, I personally look forward to record breaking heat waves and lounging in the sun while soaking up all the Vitamin D that I can. This may not sound appetizing to 99% of you. While rustling and bustling during this busy season, here are a few things that we can bring to your attention.
While traveling, be sure you take the steps to prepare your home. Do you live in a busy neighborhood? Are your neighbors friendly enough to keep an eye out for you? Make sure if you have packages arriving that someone can retrieve those for you, the last thing you need is your Amazon or Nordstrom package on your porch for a week and a half. Much less someone who is not so friendly to take your package and extend the favor into taking all valuables from your home. Keep a car in the driveway, its best to make it look like nothing new is going on.
When leaving town, DO NOT post on social media. This is like posting a “FREE LIQUIDATION SALE AND ALL ITEMS ARE FREE,” on your lawn. If you have someone housesitting or live in a gated community you may have a little more security, but anything can happen if the opportunity is given.
We understand that summer months the heat is super uncomfortable for those who don’t have air conditioning. Sometimes the best way to cool down your house is to have windows open all day and all night. Take certain steps to make or place dowels in the window track to keep windows from sliding all the way open for easy bodily access. Fans are great, but not if they are the high industrial fans from the 60’s, 70’s. Check cords and make sure wiring isn’t exposed, this could lead to a potential electrical spark that could result in a major fire damage. Whatever you do, do NOT use a power strip, these are not made to handle that kind of electrical output.
Here in the Northwest, Summer time is a great time to get to know your neighbors and explore the beauty of our surroundings. I have two little girls and when we drive to new places I try to make sure we always have a first aid kit in the car and a mini one in my bag. I try to take a few plastic bags along as well for a make shift trash bag and in case of the rare stomach ache, if you know what I mean? Also, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The heat is not new, but its easily forgotten how it can sneak up on us and make us dehydrated. And don’t forget to apply your choice of sunblock if out in the sun for an extended time.
Help us help you avoid the above helpful hints. Take care and stay cool. Enjoy what’s left of the summer and all it has to offer us. Remember here at SERVPRO of Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma we are always striving to hit our motto, Like it Never Even Happened.
Biohazard Clean up
We get an occasional biohazard call: homicide, suicide, unexpected death, animal infestations or medical accident. Biohazards must be handled correctly and professionally. Bloodborne pathogens can be dangerous, and we handle these situations with the most discrete and delicate of manner. We have special certifications and training for these unfortunate events. Statistics show that 1 out of 24 people have Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV. Depending on the environment our biohazard is in, these diseases can survive up to 16 days in the effected person. It’s not something we enjoy doing but we are proficient and courteous to our customers during this difficult time. Our protocol for this Is the following:
Call: we get your call and send a certified technician to the site within one hour depending on your location. Our technicians are professionally trained and are also empathetic to the type of situation we could be working with.
Evaluation: our tech(s) evaluate the extent of this damage. Our techs wear special bio uniforms and respirators. This is to protect them from any kind of disease that could spread while cleaning. As mentioned above these diseases can survive up to 16 days in certain biohazard environments. Exposure can happen with any kind of open skin, scrape or wound, sharp fragments that may puncture while cleaning, inhalation, or potential splatter resulting in exposure through the nose, eyes or mouth.
Restoration: restoration to floors are much like a water damage. Carpet is pulled away and the sub floor is treated and sealed. Carpet padding is replaced and the carpet itself is cleaned on the underside and top. Any kind of dry wall exposure is cleaned and sealed. Depending on the situation some drywall may need to be replaced all together. Each damage is unique and requires special care and evaluation.
To perform biohazard cleanups its highly recommended that the professional you have cleaning is OSHA certified. What is OSHA?
Rest assured that our techs are OSHA (Occupational Safety and Hazard Association) certified and trained. Anyone who is not OSHA certified, is fined heavily. When looking for a company it’s important to know if they are certified and aware of the OSHA requirements. We take all the extra steps needed to qualify for this certification.
As mentioned above, not all biohazards are human related. Animal infestations are more common than you would think. Rats, squirrels, otters, birds, etc. Pests are not hygienically clean, they carry many diseases. Rats alone can directly transmit the following: Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome, Lassa Fever, Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM), Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever, Plague, Rat-Bite Fever, Salmonellosis, South American Arenaviruses (Argentine hemorrhagic fever, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, Sabia-associated hemorrhagic fever, Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever), and Tularemia. That is just rats alone, not including the other above-mentioned animals.
If in doubt, let a professional check it out. Our professionally trained and certified techs take care of it all for you. Let us save you the headache and stress. Here at SERVPRO of Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma we are happy to help and make your biohazard “Like it never even happened.”
Call us today @ (253)851-6711
Spring Fever and Easter Sunday
Spring is finally in the air, with the recent Groundhogs day news of 6 more ongoing weeks of winter. We are finally anticipating more sunshine, flowers, new life and a light at the end of our cloudy and endless rainy tunnel.
Here in the PNW we have 9 months of brutal weather and it can dampen ones spirit. Spring gives us that small reprieve of what's to come. It also helps us gear up for Summer: family vacations, constant activity, outdoor projects, etc.
With that said, Spring is a great time to assess your outside perimeter and observe projects that can be done before the hustle and bustle of Summer and before Autumn and Fall months. Its a great way to stay on top of your house but also see how you can prepare and avoid those nasty disasters and damages that are an everyday threat in Winter months.
Here at SERVPRO Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma we want you to be proactive not in a pickle.
Take time to enjoy the sun and warmth as it fast approaches us.
Our sweet little harbor is starting to ramp up in their community activities. Mark your calendars for the Maritime Festival the 1st Saturday of June. Where you can enjoy our one and only parade purely devoted to Pirates and harbor spirit. That same weekend also kicks off our Trolley system.
Relay for Life is approaching May 5th in our Uptown shopping center in Gig Harbor.
This coming weekend is Easter weekend, the official kick off to Spring. If you are looking for a place of worship this Sunday simply search Easter Services for the city in which you plan to attend. Some larger churches try to get a RSVP to account for larger services. We would also suggest showing up 10-15 minutes early for parking and getting situated for Sunday school.
Here at SERVPRO of Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma we hope you enjoy what's to come in your sunny future. Leaving these winter months in our dust and treating them "Like it never even happened."
Odors and how to conquer them
Here at SERVPRO Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma we help conquer some of the most difficult challenges. Such as: fire damage, water damage, mold remediation, bio hazard clean ups, etc. In these circumstances odors can be an obstacle that is the last Hertel to jump.
Odors: An odor can be caused by one or more volatilized chemical compounds, generally at a very low concentration.
Here are some examples of odors that we as a company run into on a weekly basis: smoke damage, mold or mildew, animal urine, biohazards, nicotine, and rodent/animal infestation odors. We have seen it all and worked with it all. As professionals we have the knowledge, equipment and trained staff to tackle your smelliest of odors.
Smoke odor: When it comes to smoke damages, soap and water won’t always do the trick. Furniture has pores and odors basically attach themselves within these pores. Here in our facility, we have an Ozone room which allows us to place furniture or household products within, the room is heated up to trigger the pores to open. The oxygen molecule breaks off and attached to the odor, this then dissipates the odor.
Water/Mildew odor: Have you ever forgot about your laundry in the washer for a few days? When you finally remembered you dread opening that door to the musty smell you encounter. Imagine that same smell and amplify it times 50. Concentrated mildew odor will breach into fabrics and other porous surfaces, which makes it hard to remove successfully. Our plan of action for odor removal varies by the material that we are trying to remove. For fabrics like couches and chairs we upholstery clean with a hot water extraction and a sanitizer. Things like raw wood if not directly affected by mold can be scrubbed down with soapy water and ozone. If it were affected it can still be scrubbed but it would need an additional environmental coating.
Animal urine: Oh, the joys of being a pet owner sometimes. Pets are great to have but let’s face it, they are not perfect and will have an occasional accident at some point. Cats and dogs have ammonia in their urine, this can discolor to the surface effected but can also seep into pores of concrete, wood floors, subfloor and its super difficult to get rid of. If drywall were sprayed by said pet, it can be sealed with a primer and painted to seal odors in. Carpet, if your pet has a favorite spot on the carpet, the carpet can be pulled back, the pad removed and seal the urine in the sub floor with a primer to lock in the odor. After the pad is replaced the carpet should be steam cleaned on the front and back to ensure that the urine is removed.
Nicotine: Nicotine odors are extremely hard to get rid of. Affected dry wall needs to be sealed and painted. In light nicotine circumstances the carpet can potentially be saved, remove the pad because it absorbs the odor and steam clean the carpet. Plastic items retain smell, so they should be replaced. Cabinetry can be cleaned and ozoned. If these steps have been completed, and odor remains then removal of the attic insulation should be disposed of.
Odors are a part of our everyday life, not all are bad and not all are good. It is important to know the process of removing them from the above. If you have any questions or concerns of an affected area, give us a call. Our employees are knowledgeable and helpful. We want those odors to be “Like it never even happened.”
Cold weather seems to be looming over our heads, it came in like a bandit overnight and robbed us of our 100-degree weather. Granted we have had some beautiful sunny days, its been hard to adjust back to rain and cold, after what seemed to be the most brutal winters I’ve endured since living here.
What we tend to forget about are the dangers our wood fires, candles and fireplaces can pose during the colder months. These are things I gravitate towards when keeping our home warm and inviting during these gloomy winter months.
Did you know that 9,300 structural fires were started by candles in-between the years 2009-2013? This is based on stats here in the US, from fire departments.
9,300 structural fires resulted in: 86 deaths, 827 injuries, and over $370 million in property damages.
More than half of these reported home fires happened with combustible material(s) left too close to the candle. That’s 58%!
December is a peak time of year this occurs more. Think about it for a second, how many of us pull a Clark Griswald and try to put way too many lights into one outlet? Most of those decorations are highly flammable. Take extra care and precautions when decorating. Timers are a great way to monitor that energy output.
The above stats are things we tend to overlook, and the causes are results of pure absentmindedness on our part.
Wood stoves/Fireplaces- here are some of the dangers these pose and what to watch out for. Maintain and clean your chimney, keeping this clean will reduce chances of creosote. Creosote is the property that can cause fires from smoke build up.
Fire Logs- if you are a fan of burning these please read these tips. Always have a screen in front of your fireplace, these logs tend to ‘spit’ while burning. Fire logs are a petroleum based product, so water won’t work when trying to extinguish a fire that gets out of hand. It will in fact spread more quickly. IF a Fire Log were to get out of hand, be sure to keep a dry-chemical fire extinguisher or sand nearby. Yes, packaging will state that Fire Logs are “clean burning” they have had experience in creosote buildup in the flue. More so than burning wood.
Make sure your fireplace is inspected annually by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep
Candles- keeping candles in contained candle holders. Never leave a candle unattended, I am very guilty of this.
If you are one to forget, I think the safe bet is to not burn candles. Or if you have a special occasion, tea lights are great, they are small and fit into any kind of candle holder and their burning time is 3-4 hours. Votives last a little longer than that, and pillars are the long-lasting candles. Those are the ones I personally tend to forget about.
If this article has scared you out of using candles forever, there are awesome alternatives these days. Battery operated candles that look very realistic are great and easy to find.
With the holidays just around the corner, here at SERVPRO Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma we hope that this article can serve as a reference guide when warming your home for the winter. Getting those decorations out, we hope you have a new awareness of what is a hazard and what isn’t, that is our goal. At the end of the day it’s not fun to clean up fire damages, to see personal loss, especially during a time of year that brings so much joy and love.
Commercial Building Insurance Claims
A commercial property insurance claim is a formal request to an insurance company asking for payment based on the terms of that company’s policy. The insurance company will review the claim for validity and then pays out to the insured or the requesting party (on behalf of the insured) once approved. Payment will be determined by the bill submitted by the mitigation company, and the estimate for repairs prepared by the general contractor selected for the repairs.
A commercial building can have multiple different types of property insurance claims. In a survey conducted by the Hartford, about 20 percent of small business owners filed a claim for burglary and theft in the previous five years. Water and freezing damage is also a frequent claim. About 15% of small business owners filed a claim against their policy for this type of damage. You may have filed a claim for wind and hail damage if you work in an area near a storm’s frequent path. Fire is a large risk to any building structure. It is also a claim about 10% of small business owners have filed in the previous five years. Something to take into consideration when dealing with a fire loss is that you may have more water than fire damages from the sprinkler systems and the fire department. Fire losses can range widely in terms of value, and can start from something as simple as a space heater left on after leaving the office for the day.
Every city has large commercial buildings, do you manage or work in a large commercial building? Consider having SERVPRO prepare an emergency readiness profile in place for your commercial building in the case of an insurance claim.
When the manager on duty or the facility coordinator determines that the damages are beyond their own employee’s capability it is time to file an insurance claim. This is when SERVPRO’s emergency readiness profile can come into play. The profile will create a plan that any employee can start implementing, it includes emergency contacts, utility contacts, locations of shut offs, etc. This will get the mitigation process started immediately. When the call is made to the insurance company informing them of the loss,SERVPRO will alreadybe responding to the loss and have the buildings information at hand in the emergency readiness plan.
Our SERVPRO technicians and managers are prepared to handle these insurance claims 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our managers are skilled communicators, explaining the entire process so you feel comfortable understanding the process. We take pride in our technicians training process and their thorough knowledge in the field. This may be your first commercial insurance claim, but with SERVPRO you get our experience along with all our franchises resources so we can handle any size of loss.
If you’d like to have a service agreement prepared between SERVPRO and your company, call us today and we can come out prepare an emergency readiness plan and review a service agreement. Here at SERVPRO Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma it is our goal to make sure its “Like it never even happened.”
Gearing up for Halloween
Halloween is just around the corner and we will be surrounded by trick or treaters in your work offices and neighborhoods. Who doesn’t love seeing cutie patooties running around in cleverly thought up costumes, polyester fabric as far as the eye can see, sugar crashes for the next two to three weeks? I mean, who doesn’t love paying for the rest of the year in cavities one incurs on this evening of candy? I do enjoy hearing what my littles want to be next year for Halloween before we even say good night on Halloween.
As a parent, Halloween isn’t all about sneaking my favorite candies while my kiddos dream of next year’s costume possibilities. I get extreme fear and anxiety over all the potential threats our children face in this short 24-hour period. So please take a cautionary moment to read my forewarnings. There is a chance it may not happen BUT if it were you can say you are prepared.
- Tip #1- your child may not be the only “Darth Vader” or “Belle”- surprise, I know. If your little one chooses a popular costume for this year, make sure they have a name and contact number somewhere on their costume or for one night written on their arm. You can also put it on their candy bucket or pillowcase, whatever their collection bag of choice is.
- Tip# 2-Make sure if they are wearing dark colors or a lot of black and you may be out- please be sure to invest in some reflectors or glow sticks to be able to catch drivers eyes.
- Tip #3- If you have a large landmark you can appoint for a meet up in case you get separated.
- Tip #4- After your sugary loot is collected and accounted for, as parents we need to make sure it all looks legit and not shady. Check for sharp objects, choking hazards, or maybe some candies that look like they have been previously opened. And as a parent who has had to deal with food allergies, you know to check for any potential anaphylactic producing candy.
- Tip #5- Try to stay on the sidewalks as much as possible. If this isn’t an option, make sure an adult is walking on the outside of where cars are passing.
- Tip #6- If all of this seems way to daunting to even leave the house for the day, there are many day time ‘Trick or Treating’ opportunities. The best thing about this, they are typically blocked off from traffic or are indoors. Score!
Trick or Treat without the all-night expense:
- Chapel Hill Preschool Park- Thursday October 26th 10-12:00pm: Great for the littler kids who may not make it past 7:00pm. Wear your costume, meet other Gig Harbor Mommas, no candy but there is usually a plentiful supply of Goldfish and water. Suggested $1 donation for the family.
- Sehmel Park Scarecrow Festival- October 6th (I know this one has passed but it’s a great one to mark your calendar for next year.)
- Macaroni Kid here in the Harbor is advertising the 1st annual Trunk or Treat- Saturday October 21st 4:00-8:00pm @ Gig Harbor High school. Canned donations are being collected. Come in costume and ready to get candy.
- Trick or Treat in the Harbor Tuesday October 31st 3:00-6:00pm: Trick or treat on our local business strip. Businesses close to hand out candy to our community kids, the fire department and police station represent as well. Grab a coffee and stroll with your kids and enjoy a stress-free Trick or Treating experience.
- And there is always the easy and most comfortable route: dress like an old person in their jammies and hand out candy to young whipper snappers until 5:00pm. Then it gets dark and it’s time to nestle up to the fire place with the candy you failed to give away and watch your favorite Halloween themed movie.
We hope this article is of some use to you this Halloween season. Take care, be safe, eat candy in moderation, or don’t. We won’t judge but unfortunately, we cannot make those calories or cavities “Like it never even happened.”
The Red Cross and SERVPRO
Did you know that SERVPRO is a National sponsor with the Red Cross? Allow me to elucidate. The Red Cross is an organization that assists in emergency disaster relief. Here at SERVPRO we have an understanding when it comes to disasters and how to attend to them. Like Red Cross, we too are here to act and aid others in times of need. Our relationship with the Red Cross is to focus on the good- our partnership is surrounded by the idea and intention to help others in a time of need, not to appear opportunistic.
The Red Cross has been serving others in the US. Locally and globally for over 130 years. It is the largest humanitarian network in the world. They are the first to jump into action and aid those who are in serious need. Here at SERVPRO, we act very similarly- we have techs on duty 24hr, 365 days a year. No matter the type of disaster, we are prepared. You and your situation don’t have time to wait for Monday when your “water damage” or “fire damage” happened on Friday evening. We take your call and are out to your property within 1-2 hours with equipment to start right away. Our techs are knowledgeable, attentive listeners, hard workers and sensitive to this type of loss.
Our nation has been struck hard with natural disasters: Texas hurricane Harvey, Florida Irma and Jose, and fires in Montana, Oregon and Washington. It feels like nature is hitting and she is hitting us hard. The Red Cross not only aids those in need but they also have a Ready Rating program. This program is a free online tool to help schools, organizations and businesses to prepare for emergencies. If you’d like more information on this program please visit: readyrating.org
Here at SERVPRO Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma we love to help you prepare for the “What-if’s.” In fact, we will be present at this month’s Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Coalition Fair. This event will feature many booths to help educate you and your family on readiness. Stop by our booth and we are happy to give you check lists or handouts to help you and your family, business, school, or commercial building be ready.
We are proud partners with the American Red Cross and want our brand to be as recognized and appreciated for the type of work we do, such as the Red Cross. SERVPRO wants to aid, help, repair and make your natural disasters “Like it never even happened.”
If you’d like to make your contribution to the American Red Cross to help our Gulf Coast, they are working endlessly to help this effected area. Please consider donating at https://www.redcross.org/donate/cm/SERVPROindustries-pub
Fall into September Preparedness
September Is Preparedness Month
Welcome to September! It’s getting a tad chillier outside, the leaves are turning, school is back into swing, and I don’t know about you, but I am getting back into a schedule. After three months of soaking up the sun and being gone to make the best of summer with the family, I am ready to get back to a somewhat normal routine. Think of this as a syllabus for the upcoming fall and winter semester. Use this as a checklist or a “to-do” reference.
With the impending cooler months ahead of us, it’s time to take advantage of the nicer weather and make your rounds. Meaning, walk the perimeter of your home, check crawl spaces, outside hose spouts, gutters, roof, windows, etc.
Your crawl space is an easy place for critters to escape into. It has insulation, so it’s a little warmer than outside, and it’s easy to access. These pesky critters will take apart your insulation and make nice beds and homes out of this, lucky you!
Outside spouts, be sure to make sure they are not leaking. With freezing months, this is cause and effect of a burst pipe. That is not a pretty or easy clean up.
Let’s take a trip- safely- up to your roofline. Walk your roof and examine any nearby trees. Are their limbs hanging over your house? Should they be trimmed? The answer is Yes. Big branches tend to break with our windy winter months, leading to a temporary sunroof in your upstairs bedroom. Branches also serve as a type of highway for those great critters we mentioned above. They can come and go from their tree, onto your roof and into your attic space. Darn those furry nuances! How are your roots looking for your trees? Are they protruding from the ground, are the roots dead? These are some things that should be looked at and possibly evaluated by a professional.
While you’re up there, peek into your gutters and examine, if you can…are they clear? Or are they full of foliage and muck? Keeping gutters clean and clear is kind of important. Okay, really important. If your excess rain water can’t filter into the downspout it will cause over flow and you’ve now got a water damage waiting to happen.
Your windows are the gateway to moisture and mold. Have you noticed any condensation on your windows and wonder if those little black specks are pepper or maybe small signs of mold? Remember not all mold is bad, and not all mold needs to be cleaned by a professional. You can take the proper steps to procure that.
I know this is a lot of information and it is a little bit of work. Trust me when I say this, this little bit of follow up in and around your home is worth it to avoid a damage that would take time for a professional to come and clean up the true unfortunate disaster.
If your still unsure how to go about preparing for fall and winter, I have got a great opportunity for you.
Learn, prepare, protect yourself and your family at the Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Coalition Fair.This event features: classes, booths with materials, samples and hands on demonstrations, suitable for adults and children of all ages.
Learn to prepare, protect you and your family from some of the below options:
* First aid
* Insuring against disaster
* Emergency food store(s) venders
* Women's self-defense training
AND much more.....
**FREE to the public**
Saturday September 30th, 2017
Gig Harbor High School
5101 Rosedale St. NW
Gig Harbor WA 98332
Follow them on Facebook: @PEP-C Gig Harbor
SERVPRO will have a booth there. We look forward to seeing you there.