Fire Safety: Unplug Household Appliances
The consumption of household appliances worldwide is forecast to generate nearly 590 billion U.S. dollars in revenues by 2020.
With electric appliances being so common in modern homes, it's easy to forget that there are very real risks and hazards associated with their use and even non-use.
Being safe when using electrical appliances, extension cords, light bulbs and other equipment is easy. It only takes one mistake to spark an electrical fire, but simple prevention measures can be effective solutions.
These safety tips can help keep all appliances operating safely and help you prevent unexpected fires in the home:
- Ensure any appliances you purchase are approved by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or another reputable consumer laboratory.
- Unplug unused appliances and store cords safely out of reach of pets, young children or hazardous situations.
- Appliances that generate heat, such as clocks, televisions and computer monitors, should be given several inches of clearance all around for good air circulation and cooling.
- Do not attempt amateur repairs or upgrades.
- Keep all electric appliances away from water such as sinks, bathtubs, pools or overhead vents that may drip.
- Do not operate any electrical appliance with wet hands or while standing in water.
- Keep clothes, curtains toys and other potentially combustible materials away from radiators, space heaters, heating vents and other heat sources.
Source: Stephanie Sage of Sage Restoration
To read more on this subject, click here.
Have Questions about Fire Safety? Do you have fire damage? Call Us Today – (330) 677-4483
Faster to Your Portage County Water Damage
SERVPRO of Portage County provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration service in Kent, Ravenna, Streetsboro and surrounding areas.
Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Portage County, OH provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.
Faster To Any Size Disaster
Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Portage County arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.
Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 330-677-4483
Water Damage Timeline
- Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
- Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
- Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
- Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.
Hours 1 - 24:
- Drywall begins to swell and break down.
- Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
- Furniture begins to swell and crack.
- Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
- A musty odor appears.
48 Hours to 1 Week:
- Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
- Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
- Metal begins to rust and corrode.
- Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
- Paint begins to blister.
- Wood flooring swells and warps.
- Serious biohazard contamination is possible.
More Than 1 Week:
- Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
- Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.
About SERVPRO of Portage County
SERVPRO of Portage County, OH specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property
Hotel Chain Suffers Water Loss: What Will the Carrier Pay?
The extent of the destruction will be the most determining factor when calculating price. Most restoration companies bill by the square foot.
Inside a Property Casualty article discussing property damage repairs and what the carrier will cover in replacement costs, there is a question regarding a water loss at a hotel chain with a replacement cost policy. Read below:
Question: Our insured is a hotel that suffered water damage to some of its rooms. The insured is a franchisee and has an agreement with the hotel chain that requires replacement of damaged decor with current decor; all of the rooms on the same floor must be updated to the current decor. The hotel has a replacement cost policy, but the other furniture was not damaged. The carrier's position is that it is not responsible for the non-damaged rooms. What should the carrier pay?
Answer: This scenario differs from the matching issue, about which we often receive questions. The carrier is correct in not paying to bring all of the rooms up to the current decor. There is no loss or damage to the other rooms, and while the rooms would not match each other, this is not something that would be apparent to guests. Nothing in the self-contained rooms themselves would be mismatched.
If the chain requires franchisees to maintain a uniform look to all rooms on a floor, that falls more under the cost of doing business. If the rooms themselves are not damaged, it is not an insurance matter to bring them up to speed with the other rooms.
If items in the rooms themselves are not matched, that would be a different matter. For instance, if a headboard needed to be replaced on one bed but a matching one could not be found, then both headboards should be replaced.
Does your commercial property have water damage? Call our 24/7 Emergency Service number, 330-677-4483, or ask for help online.
Read more on our Commercial Restoration Services.
The Basics of Sewer Backup Insurance
Our Professionals are trained to regular IICRC industry certifications, Employee Certification Training, Initial Franchise Training & Continuing Edu.
While shopping for home insurance, it's important to anticipate all the headaches that can go along with home-ownership, including sewer backup.
When sewage flows into your home, it can cause thousands of dollars in damage, and typical home insurance and flood insurance policies won't cover those expenses.
If your sewer's system's pipeline combines storm water and sewage, it's more likely to become overloaded during harsh weather. Tree roots can enter your pipes and cause blockages, or improperly disposing of cooking grease or flushing inappropriate objects down the toilet (diapers, feminine hygiene products or paper towels).
Many homeowners may not realize they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the pipeline between the city sewer main, usually located in the street, and their house.
Sewage backup coverage is available from most insurers as a rider to a home insurance policy. Coverage for $5,000 to $10,000 in damages can run about $75 to $150 a year, according to FEMA, and there's usually a deductible.
If sewage seeps into your home, not only does the spill itself need to be addressed, but your plumbing may need to be flushed or replaced. Duct-work carpets, drapes and walls may be soiled, possibly beyond repair. Ewser backup insurance helps pay for incidental damage, such as cleaning contents, walls and furniture and some policies may cover work on plumbing.
To get the maximum claims payment to which you're entitled, make sure you have photos on hand of what your home looked like before the damage took place. That way, you can provide your claims adjuster with "before" and "after" pictures. Be sure to itemize property losses and save all receipts for repairs and cleaning.
Do you have water damage in your home?
For help restoring your home after a water loss, call our 24/7 Emergency Service team at 330-677-4486
Water Damage After a Major Storm
We have the storm damage restoration experience and specialized equipment to restore your home or business back to pre-storm condition.
When a major storm passes close to the house, the home may suffer water damage that is difficult to repair.
There are many things a family can do to begin repairing any destruction, but a certified professional will likely be needed to get rid of any serious health or structural threats. Contaminated storm surges or floods can carry pathogens and become a breeding ground for mold. If allowed to fester, these mold spores can spread throughout the building and become even more difficult to remove. In many cases, governmental agencies could condemn the structure if the microbial threat is too great.
The main reason a home is sensitive to water damage is because moisture is difficult to detect once the floods recede. Standing liquids can encourage microbial growth within 24 hours and can saturate all kinds of textiles and seep through drywall. Moisture may collect behind the walls, where mold and bacteria may multiply out of sight.
Professional restoration services can quickly identify what items in the home are compromised by water damage. Normally, anything that is porous may need to be discarded if it has come in contact with contaminated fluids. These items, like mattresses, box springs, pillows and particle board, trap more moisture than other materials and foster the growth of microbes.
A family can prepare for professional cleaning by getting rid of these items before the technicians arrive, but be sure to properly record and itemize the items for insurance purposes prior to disposing. Once professionals arrive at the building, they will be able to track down any pockets of excess moisture and remove them.
It’s important for a family to hire professionals that are certified through a reputable organization. Technicians trained in this area know how to find compromised areas and do what it takes to restore them.
Flood damage in your home or business? Call SERVPRO of Portage County today at our 24/7 Emergency Service Line - (330) 677-4483 or at our Online Help Line.
Why a Fire Restoration Contractor is the Way to Go
SERVPRO of Portage County has specialized equipment, specific training, and certifications that allow us restore your home to pre-fire condition.
A fire restoration contractor can help you restore your home properly after a house fire.
When you hire a fire restoration company, it dispatches several fire restoration contractors, each of whom has the knowledge to use the tools necessary to complete the job. Their skills vary, from reducing the dangers in your home after a fire to preventing secondary water damage. Hiring a fire restoration contractor is an excellent idea because it allows the experts to work on many different things at once, which lets you focus on other things like insurance matters.
A Fire Restoration Contractor’s Equipment
A fire restoration contractor has a variety of tools and the knowledge necessary to use them effectively. One example of this is an ozonation machine. This machine generates ozone, a toxic gas, which fills the house and can partially reverse the effects of smoke odor from embedding itself in everything. These machines are expensive and dangerous, and only a qualified professional should use them.
Getting a referral from your insurance provider is an excellent idea. This ensures that the company you hire has contractors that actively implement sound business practices and can restore your home properly and in accordance with any applicable laws. In addition to this, this method allows you to be sure that the contracting company and your insurance provider can work well together and agree on an appropriate settlement.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 330-677-4483
Overcoming Hoarding: 12 Tips
There’s obviously the assault on your eyes of the quantity of the clutter, then there’s the appreciation of what a mishmash the clutter is. -WebMD
Compulsive hoarding, also known as hoarding disorder, is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them, according to MayoClinic.org. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of value, occurs.
People with compulsive hoarding may not see it as a problem, and this makes treatment challenging. Below are some tips to overcoming hoarding, pulled from Oprah.com:
- Just because you can think of a use for an object, doesn't mean you need to keep it. If you haven't used an object in over a year, if you didn't know you had it until you found it, you can probably live without it.
- More is not necessarily better. Try to get rid of the extras.
- Categorize items into piles. A pile of things to keep, to donate, to sell or give away, and to throw away, but don't make too many piles and stress yourself out.
- Don't overthink. If the decision takes you more than a couple of minutes for a particular object, you're making it too complicated.
- Learn to get past the imperfections- you don't have to do a perfect job, just a good enough job.
- Only Handle It Once (OHIO). If you pick something up, make a decision and put it where it belongs.
- Be brave. The people who gain the most are usually those who are willing to risk the most.
- Understand what you're afraid of, and recognize when your fears are irrational. Ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen if I throw this out? How bad would that really be? Then discard it and watch for whether or not that bad thing happened.
- Be patient. No one overcomes compulsive hoarding overnight. Take it one room at a time.
- Keep the ball rolling. Clean things as they come along before they become overwhelming problems. Once you start, don't stop. Create a pattern, 5 minutes a day, 30 minutes...
- Be strict with yourself. Promise yourself a reward for doing it.
- Know when to ask for help. Compulsive hoarding is a potentially serious mental health issue. If you can overcome it on your own, great. If you can't, get help from someone who has experienced it.
For further information, visit WebMD.
Winter is Coming: Prepare Your Business for Winter
A winter storm can bring with it sleet, ice, high winds, and heavy snow, which can result in sudden unexpected commercial property damage.
September has arrived and before we know it so will Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then the holidays. Is your business ready for the frigid temperatures, the heavy snowfall?
According to Leavitt Group's article, Prepare Your Business for Winter Weather, In the past five years, 15 percent of small businesses have experienced damages caused by water and freezing. The average cost of these claims is $17,000.
Leavitt Group also discusses common types of winter-related damages, including:
- Damage to contents, inventory and equipment caused by significant temperature changes.
- Water damage caused by pipes freezing and bursting.
- Wind damage to roofs, buildings and landscape.
- Fire suppression efforts delayed by inaccessible fire hydrants (covered by snow or ice)
- Frozen fire suppression sprinkler pipes, resulting in flooded rooms and malfunction of system.
- Ice damming, resulting in damage to roof and gutters.
- Injury to guests and employees.
- Loss of revenue (business interruption).
Taking preventative actions now while the weather is still warm is incredibly important and could save you business a lot of time and money. Here are some maintenance tips Leavitt Group suggests in preparing your business for winter:
- Drain water from all systems and equipment not needed in winter months, including landscape sprinklers and air conditioning units
- Check for and repair damages to the roof. Make sure roof drains are clear and in good condition. Clear rain gutters to ensure proper drainage and make sure downspouts are intact and draining in areas away from foot traffic
- Inspect the exterior of the building for gaps and seal appropriately to prevent weather and critters from getting inside
- Trim tree branches and lanscape that might come in contact with the building in the event of heavy snowfall and ice accumulation
- Make sure the heating system has enough fuel for unexpected conditions and a back-up in case of emergency
- Maintain a temperature of at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit in unoccupied facilities, attics and basements
- Make arrangements for snow removal with a reputable company before winter starts- don't wait until the storm hits and you are buried under a pile of snow. Discuss snow removal from the roof. To avoid damages from snow removal equipment, mark curbs, fire hydrants, drains, speed bumps and other features that may not be visible under a layer of snow
- Make sure you have sand, ice melt and shovels on hand for winter maintenance that won't be covered by your snow removal contractor
Begin checking off your maintenance needs while the weather still allows for it. Stay tuned for our next blog for commercial property owners, "Developing a Business Continuity Plan for the Winter Weather."
Have questions? Call our office at 800-648-1212 or our 24/7 Emergency Service number at 330-677-4483.
Storm Damage: Validating Claims Through Weather Data
In the past year, the U.S. was hit with 8 major storm and climate-related events that each caused more than a billion dollars in property damage.
Data and analytics can go a long way in improving inefficiencies and processes, weather data, to be specific, holding a significant value.
Extreme weather events will always occur and certain areas of the country are more susceptible than others. For the insurance claims industry, this data is especially critical to verify claims following an extreme weather event.
3 ways to validate claims through weather data | PropertyCasualty360
According to Aite Group, "79% of insurers believe that data and analytics will have a significant impact on meeting the needs of [property and casualty] (P&C) customers."
Insurers have several options in capturing data to enhance insurance claims. Drone assessment is among the list for property damage assessments. Pairing weather data with drone services and their accurate imagery of a site could add validity to a claims decision.
Lightning and hail data and additional advanced weather data technologies are imperative for insurance companies in improving internal efficiencies as well as customer operations.
Do you have storm damage? Call us at our 24/7 Emergency Service number, 330-677-4483.
Cybercrime From An Insurance Perspective
MyDoom is considered the most expensive virus in the world and in cyber security history, having caused an estimated financial damage of $38.5B.
We've heard the stories. Cyber hacks influencing the presidential election, ransomware attacks across the globe. We might even think the hackers are winning the war- the cyber war, that is.
Insurance Business America discusses this matter with an insurance perspective in a recent article, interviewing James Shaheen, cyber risk practice leader at Integro.
According to Shaheen, with every attack, our cyber security experts learn something new, and counter every attack with a defense. It will take us some time, though, to figure out what we need to implement, where the gaps are in the security, to fully protect our data.
When it comes to insurance, Shaheen believes we are doing well in the protection of Protected Health Information (PHI), Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and the Payment Card Industry (PCI), but the concern is what he calls "second-tier data."
Second-tier data, or trade secrets, is what drives businesses, and is also what is not well protected by insurance from these cyber attacks.
Shaheen claims at Integro this is an issue being addressed and developed. How much would such a development be worth to your business?
To read Insurance Business America's article and for related stories, click here.