The Importance of a Disaster Plan for Your Business - Part 1
We hear news every day about everything from floods, hurricanes and tornadoes to wildfires and earthquakes. In order to survive these devastating events, the key to being able to roll with the punches, so to speak, is to be prepared for a multitude of worst-case scenarios.
Being prepared for those scenarios means creating a natural disaster plan for your business. This blog will discuss some of the aspects to consider when designing that plan.
What to Include in a Disaster Plan
There are many things and areas you will need to consider when putting together a disaster plan for your business.
Included in those considerations should be:
- Providing protection for your employees - Part 1
- Securing your assets - Part 2 will follow in future blog
- How to get business up and running again - Part 2 will follow in future blog
Many checklists have been compiled by sources like the Red Cross, FEMA and Ready.gov to help you identify areas that need to be included in your natural disaster preparedness plan. These sources can also let you see how prepared you truly are.
Safety Planning for Your Staff
If a disaster were to strike without warning, people come first. Having a plan that lays out procedures and safety measures for employees and visitors will be of the utmost importance.
Ask yourself questions like are evacuation routes and exits from your facility properly marked, is there an area that can serve as a shelter space, is there a need to install emergency lighting, and do I have a volunteer team in my staff designated as “safety wardens” who are properly trained and ready to aid in all emergency efforts?
When choosing a space for a shelter, investigate using a basement or storm cellar in case of tornadoes or other high-wind situations. If there is no basement space, find a small interior room on the lowest level of the building, such as a closet or interior hallway.
With SERVPRO® of North Huntington, you can count on us to get to the disaster faster and make it "Like it never even happened." Our training and expertise have prepared us to help with water damage, storm damage, fire damage and mold remediation quickly and effectively.
Understanding Mold and Mold Spores
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors.
It is impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
Water Damage Culprits in Your Home
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the leading causes of water damage are:
Plumbing supply system failures. This happens when frozen pipes burst due to the buildup in water pressure caused by freezing water or when the supply system material fails resulting in a leaking or bursting pipes. According to IBHS, plumbing supply system failures are the leading source of residential water losses, costing an average of $5,092 per incident after the deductible. Homes 16 to 40 years of age made up a larger group of supply system material failure claims, also according to IBHS.
Plumbing drain system failures. This situation occurs when sewer drains back up and overflow into a home or from construction material performance issues. In its study, IBHS found that 52% of drain system failures were caused by sewer backups and 37% were related to material performance issues. Southern state claims were found to be more expensive than northern state claims according to IBHS.
Toilet failures. Toilets are the second highest source of residential water loss after plumbing supply systems. Anything from faulty fill valves or clogged drain lines can cause toilets to malfunction and cause water damage and, according to IBHS, toilet failures on the first floor of a home resulted in more extensive claims than those that occurred in basements or upper floors.
Water heater failures. Water heaters reaching or passing their life expectancy begin to rust and corrode, which can result in leaking or bursting issues. IBHS found that 69% of all water heater failures resulted from a slow leak or sudden bursting and, on average, cost $4,444 per incident following the deductible.
Washing machine failures. Machines overflowing, supply hose failures and drain line failures are typically the causes of washing machine failures and are one of the top 10 sources of residential water losses. Per IBHS, supply hose failures were to blame for over half of all washing machine-related losses.
Water Damage and Insurance Claims
If your home has experienced any type of water damage, the team at SERVPRO® of North Huntington is available 24⁄7 to help with cleanup and restoration and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Severe storms and water damage. It’s one of the first things that comes to mind for many, but while severe storms and flooding can cause extensive water damage, they are often not the main culprits.
Were you aware that various items in your home could be responsible for many situations that result in water damage?
Water Damage Is a Major Threat for Homeowners
Homeowners may at some time face water damage as it is the third most common reason that homeowners filed homeowners insurance claims between 2011 and 2015, with an average payout per claim of $8,861.
Understanding the difference between water damage and gradual damage and how they can impact insurance claims is important. Examples of gradual damage are things that have been happening over time, such as plumbing issues in the walls causing damage to the walls, ceilings or floors, or water damage caused by cracks in the foundation. Some aspects of gradual water damage are not covered by homeowners insurance, unfortunately, while some storm-related water damage is.
Protect Your Home From Fire
Experiencing a home fire is a nightmare scenario.
For many Americans, experiencing a home fire is a nightmare scenario that has become a reality. Each year more than 350,000 house fires occur in the U.S. Fortunately, you can take steps to help protect your home from fire by learning about and watching for fire hazards within it.
The primary cause of house fires is cooking, but smoking is the primary cause of home fire deaths. An estimated 17,200 house fires were reported in 2014 due to smoking materials such as cigarettes, pipes and cigars.
There were 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in property damage from those fires, according to the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes.
If you smoke, it is safest to smoke outside, as most deaths resulted from fires which started in living rooms or bedrooms. Fire-safe cigarettes are the best option, and using a deep, sturdy ashtray is safest.
SERVPRO of North Huntington is always here to help should you experience fire or smoke damage.
Candles Require Caution!
Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to homes, and in many circumstances, can be accompanied by the water damage from firefighting efforts.
Candles Require Caution
The National Fire Protection Association found that fire departments in the U.S. were called to an estimated 8,700 home structure fires a year that were started by candles during a five-year period from 2011 to 2015. These fires resulted in 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in direct property damage.
Candles were reported to have caused 2 percent of home fires, with 3 percent resulting in death and 7 percent with injuries. There were an average of 24 home candle fires reported per day during those five years, with December having the highest amount of calls for the year.
Candle fires during this time span were responsible for 37 percent of bedroom fires and 36 percent of the associated deaths and 51 percent of the associated injuries.
Things to remember when using candles:
- Keep lit candles at least one foot away from flammable materials.
- Always use a sturdy holder that won’t tip over.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Don’t go to sleep with a candle burning.
- Do not use candles if oxygen is being used in the home.
SERVPRO of North Huntington is here to help restore your home to pre-fire condition. 631-423-1734
Severe Storms Cause Damaging Winds
There are many concerns that come with severe storms, with one of those being the threat of damaging winds. These winds can come with little to no notice and can cause long-term structural impacts.Concerns About High Winds
Tornadoes and hurricanes are probably what first comes to mind when thinking about damaging winds. However, those are not the only ones to be concerned about.
Traditionally, damaging winds are those with wind speeds exceeding 50–60 mph and can be the result of a strong thunderstorm. You will commonly hear damaging winds referred to as “straight-line” winds, which differentiates from the damage from a tornado.
The damage from these winds can be especially destructive. Straight-line winds can cause loose articles to become projectiles. Windows and the roof can take a beating from straight-line winds, and if it’s extensive enough, water damage can result as the outside elements come indoors.
Anyone who lives in a thunderstorm-prone area is at risk from damaging winds. Many structures can suffer from damaging winds, but there is one structure in particular that is especially at risk. For example, even mobile homes that are anchored can become a victim of wind gusts over 80 mph.
If your home has been hit by damaging winds and resulting water damage, our highly trained specialists at SERVPRO® of North Huntington are here 24⁄7 to help with cleanup and restoration of your home.How to Protect Your Home
There are a number of ways you can help protect your property from damaging winds. Some are listed below, but keep the “Two R’s” in mind: reinforce and remove.
Have your garage door reinforced by a professional.
Remove or anchor loose items on your property that could be blown around and tossed by the wind. This includes trash cans, grills and outdoor furniture.
Hire a professional to remove any large or dying trees and branches that could be blown over onto your home.
We don’t always receive advanced notice about straight-line or damaging winds. But, as we all know, being proactive with some of the above preventive items may just protect you from damage.
Also, if you are building a new home or renovating an older home, make sure that the windows, walls and doors are meet the building code for your area.
We pride ourselves in being an IICRC certified firm.
The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry
The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for the restoration industry. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.
If you would like more information or have questions regarding our credentials, please contact our office. 631-423-1734
We Are Ready to Help You 24/7!
SERVPRO of North Huntington is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small.
We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business. We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of North Huntington has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help You 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a week!
Call Today - 631-423-1734
When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage. Call now for more information!
We have the answers to your commercial property questions!
About SERVPRO of North Huntington
SERVPRO of North Huntington specializes in the cleanup and restoration of 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.
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of North Huntington has the specific training and experience to help you through this tough time.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the damaged business
- When did the damage occur?
- What caused the damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?