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3 Ways To Prepare Your Sprinkler System

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

Automatic ceiling Fire Sprinkler at the Office Don't allow your fire sprinkler system to be forgotten

Three Things To Do To Ensure the Safety of Your Staff and Your Building

As a new business owner in Clearwater, MN, you made sure that a sprinkler system was installed. When did you last think about it? Unfortunately, sprinkler systems often get left off of the yearly maintenance to-do list because they don't malfunction like an HVAC system where people notice if something is wrong. In the event of a fire at your business, you want to feel confident that your fire sprinkler system is going to do its job. 

Plan to periodically check your sprinkler system for obvious issues. Perhaps one of the sprinklers was damaged when a piece of equipment bumped it, or a pipe was bent during some type of maintenance. If you notice anything like that, call your fire suppression system contractor to come and replace the parts. Check too for dust build-up or rust.

The National Fire Protection Association sets standards for regular maintenance, inspection, and testing of fire sprinkler systems. Following these regulations keeps your business up-to-code and ensures that your system is ready if it's needed.
You don't have to set off the sprinkler system in your building to test it. Completing the main drain test will likely fall under the scope of a whole system inspection, but if for any reason you're concerned that your sprinkler system may not be working properly, you can test it yourself.
In the event that your sprinkler system does go off due to a fire, it is important to contact your system contractor to reset the sprinklers promptly. Then, follow up with a local fire and water remediation team that will assist in the fire sprinkler cleanup process as well as with soot and smoke damage mitigation.
Don't allow your fire sprinkler system to be forgotten. Regular maintenance, inspection, and testing will keep your business and employees safe.

4 Essential Steps to Take When Filing a Water Damage Insurance Claim

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

Insurance claim form Filing an insurance claim, while daunting, may save you a substantial amount of money

4 Essential Steps to Take When Filing a Water Damage Insurance Claim

Dealing with water damage in your Monticello, MN, home is hard enough without adding insurance policies. Unfortunately, filing an insurance claim is an essential task for avoiding monetary loss. In order to make it easier, here are four essential steps to take when you're filing a water damage claim.

1. Contact Your Insurance Providers
Ignoring the existence of your insurance company can sound tempting. However, you must stay in contact at all times. First, make sure you understand your policy completely. Call the organization if you have any questions, no matter how minor. These are some possible queries to bring up:

  • What's the timeline for filing an insurance claim?
  • What are the mandatory steps to take?
  • Will my damage be covered?

Next, make sure that your providers are taking the right steps. If you experience any problems, now isn't the time to let anything slide.

2. Document Damages
In order to prove the need for monetary reimbursement, you'll require proof. Specifically, every spot in your home that's damaged must be documented. Take photos of items with visible flood damage. When an adjuster comes, be sure the individual inspects every problematic area. This can protect you from any claims of fraud or denials of your predicament.

3. Keep Monetary Records
Another important step in getting reimbursed is documenting your financial losses. Any money spent on remediation experts and replacements should be written down and presented to your providers. If there's a way to get proof of purchase, do so.

4. Fill Out Necessary Forms
Paperwork isn't exciting, but it's vital to fill it out as quickly as possible. The sooner you get your claim done the sooner you can recover after, for instance, a pipe burst. Make sure that you fill out each form with complete accuracy.
Filing an insurance claim, while daunting, may save you a substantial amount of money. If you stay thorough at every step, your home may be back to normal in no time.

4 Tips for Flood Proofing Your House

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

Clear standing water in a utility room Stormwater in a Maple Lake, MN home

Steps You Can Take To Enjoy a Bit of Flood Safety

Floods are some of the most common and most damaging disasters that U.S. homeowners face. However, there are some steps you can take to enjoy a bit of flood safety.

Prevent Electrocution

When flood water meets your electrical outlets, furnace, and other electrical equipment, there's a significant risk of electrocution. Even a tiny amount of water, combined with electricity, can cause serious injury. Reach out to a licensed plumber or experienced water damage remediation pro to determine your probable flood level and then move circuit breakers, sockets, and wiring above that level. Make sure your water heater and other equipment are located above that level as well. Steering clear of water and electricity is one of the most important safety tips you can follow.

Block Sewage Backups

When storm water overwhelms that sewer system, that system could back up into your home. Some expert recommendations include installing gate valves on every pipe that enters your home. A backflow valve, at the interior or exterior of your home, is a good option for keeping sewage out when flood waters rise.

Maintain Water Management Systems

Check the downspouts, drains, and gutters around your home. Are they free of debris, so water can easily flow through? These systems are meant to keep water away from your foundation, so it's vital that you keep them clear and in good condition.

Elevate Outside Equipment

If you have appliances outside, such as air conditioners, fuel tanks, and generators, store these in an elevated position, such as on flood-proof cement blocks. Make sure this equipment is anchored in place, so rushing water doesn't carry them off. This flood safety tip prevents you from some financial losses and also protects the community around you.
Before there's any risk of flood, take a look at how water moves around your Maple Lake, MN, house. Does the ground slope near your foundation causing puddles to form? Is there a lot of standing water in your street? Flood safety starts before the storms roll in; do what you can today to prevent flooding in the future.

3 Tips To Prevent Mold Growth In Your Building

1/7/2021 (Permalink)

Humidity control icons Monitor humidity levels

Mold Prevention Tips

The air in Buffalo, MN, is filled with mold spores. When mold spores encounter a moisture source, typically from a leak or other water damage, they begin to grow into mold. Excessive mold growth can cause serious structural damage to your building, not to mention cosmetic issues. These mold prevention tips can help you avoid a mold problem before it starts.

1. Monitor Humidity Levels
High humidity levels make the interior of your building an ideal breeding ground for mold. Increased humidity means more moisture in the air, the walls, and the carpeting. High humidity is also more likely to cause condensation to form on windows, plumbing fixtures, supply lines, and HVAC ducts. What’s more, high interior humidity could be a sign of a hidden leak somewhere in the building. Hygrometers, which measure humidity levels, are inexpensive and available at most hardware stores.

2. Correct Water Damage Immediately
If you notice any signs of leaks or other moisture-related damage in your building, always act immediately. Time is of the essence for controlling mold growth, as colonies can begin to form and spread in as little as 24-48 hours after the damage occurs. Act quickly to remedy any leaks or condensation. If major damage takes place, consider calling a professional water restoration service.

3. Ensure Adequate Airflow
Proper ventilation and airflow are essential to regulate the temperature and moisture levels in your building and to prevent mold growth. Keep doors between rooms open, especially during cold weather, and open doors to unheated rooms or closets. Move furniture away from walls to encourage proper air circulation. Ensure that your building has adequate ventilation to move fresh air in and moist air out.
Routine maintenance and inspections can go a long way toward preventing a mold outbreak in your building. Of course, sometimes accidents happen. By acting quickly after water damage and ensuring that proper mold remediation takes place, you can avoid a mold problem in your building.

How To Get Your Business Ready for Spring

1/7/2021 (Permalink)

Roof Gutter Cleaning Tips. Clean Your Gutters. Gutter Cleaning. Make sure to keep your gutters clean

Steps To Prepare Your Commercial Building For Spring

Spring, with its birds and flowers, can be beautiful. However, the season also brings challenges, including flooding from either snowmelt and heavy rains. The following are four steps you can take to prepare your Albertville, MN, commercial building for spring.

1. Clean the Gutters
The gutters on your building are responsible for diverting water away from the structure. Make sure they are clear of any debris so that they function their best.

2. Clear the Snow
If your business is located in an area that receives heavy snowfall, the snowmelt is likely to cause a spring flood. Remove the snow from the roof and from around the foundation. If the snow is unevenly distributed around the property, try to spread it out. Doing so will help prevent large pools of water from forming when the temperatures rise.

3. Make Sure the Sump Pump Works
If your business experiences flooding, whether from heavy rains or a frozen pipe burst, a sump pump can help. If the building has a sump pump, it will be located in either the basement or the crawl space. To test it, simply pour in enough water to activate the pump. While you're working with the device, it is a good idea to clean out any debris that may have built up.

4. Protect Documents and Other Important Items
No one expects their company property to incur water damage. Still, anticipating disasters can help you avoid future stress and headache if you do your best to protect your building’s contents before it happens. Although an experienced restoration service can usually help you get your business back to preloss condition, it is generally easier to prevent damage in the first place. Make sure there are electronic copies of all critical documents. Move important equipment to higher ground. Put smaller items in waterproof storage bags.
In many cases, flooding happens without much warning. Spring floods, however, are often predictable. This gives you the opportunity to be proactive in protecting your business.

Let Professionals Clean Fire-Damaged Electronics

1/7/2021 (Permalink)

Background of an electronic damaged by fire with the LOGO of SERVPRO How does smoke damage electronics?

Let Professionals Clean Fire-Damaged Electronics

After a fire in your Monticello, MN, home, pretty much everything inside and many of the things you have outside will be affected and damaged in some way. When it comes to your electronics, you need to be very careful:

  • Smoke and soot contain chemicals that cause the delicate workings of computers, appliances, and other electronics to corrode.
  • Smoke causes electronics to overheat. This happens when smoke reaches the wiring and other components inside your devices. A coating develops that insulates parts, and eventually, the smoke's magnetic charge leads to overheating.
  • As firefighters combat flames, they use water and fire-retardant products. When these substances get into devices, further damage could occur.

As the fire cleanup process begins, remember that fire-affected electronics could pose a safety hazard for you and those in your family. It's best to turn this part of the cleanup effort over to professionals.

Protect Your Home and Devices Before a Fire Happens
You can take proactive steps to protect the information on your computer. You can use an external backup program that saves to the cloud, so you have a second copy of the important files and photos on your hard drive. You can also use an external hard drive that you keep in a second location.
Another way to protect your appliances from fire is to use outlets, cords, and extension cords appropriately. By not overloading the outlets, you decrease the risk of fire. If you're not sure that your outlets are suitable for the load of many devices, contact an electrician or fire professional for advice.

Allow Professionals To Lead the Cleanup Efforts
There are many steps you can take to save money after a home fire, but cleaning and using your television, stereo, computer, and other devices can cause more harm than has already occurred. It's best to allow fire and smoke damage restoration technicians to take care of electronics. When fire cleanup efforts are supervised by technicians, you can be confident in the results.

What to Do When Making an Insurance Claim After Water Damage

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

Blue ballpoint pen, two antique brass keys and a home insurance claim from on a plywood clipboard. It is important to start your insurance claim as quickly as possible

Take The Following Steps If You Find Yourself In This Situation

Whether it comes from bursting pipes, a broken appliance or a leaky roof, water can cause significant damage to your St Michael, MN, home. It can damage building materials, cause mold growth and ruin electronics. Homeowners insurance can help you pay for repairs. Take the following steps if you find yourself in this situation.

1. Call Right Away
It is important to start your insurance claim as quickly as possible. Not only will this result in completing the process sooner, but it will also help ensure that your claim isn’t affected. Some policies require you to report water damage within a certain time. If this is not done, it can reduce the amount you receive or can result in your claim being denied.

2. Document the Damage
Your insurance adjuster will need information on the areas of the house that were damaged, including whether there are bursting pipes and flooding, as well as any belongings that may need to be repaired or replaced. You should provide a list with pictures and the estimated value of included items.

3. Perform Mitigation
Mitigation is the process of preventing damage from spreading and worsening. This should be done quickly to reduce the amount of time and money needed to make repairs. An emergency cleanup and restoration company can inspect your home, fix broken pipes, remove water and repair the building along with damaged belongings.

4. Go Over Your Policy
Because individual insurance policies will vary, you should read over yours carefully. Make sure that you are familiar with anything that is required of you while making a claim as well as what is covered by your insurance. This will help the process go more smoothly.
Bursting pipes and other causes of damage can be frustrating to deal with. Making an insurance claim can also be stressful if you are unprepared. Following these steps can help you get through the situation more easily.

Common Questions About Black Mold

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

Cabinets affected with mold Mold affected cabinets

Read On To Have Your Most Common Questions Answered

If your home in St Michael, MN is experiencing unwanted fungal growth, black mold is most likely the culprit. If you're unsure which type of mold you're dealing with, then it's a good idea to have a professional mold inspection conducted, even if it only serves to confirm your suspicions.

1. What Does Black Mold Look Like?
Much like the name implies, this fungus appears black or dark green in color. When you find it, it looks like a dark stain spreading across the surface of the affected area. In some cases, it may even have a fuzzy or a slimy texture.

2. Where Does it Typically Grow?
This specific variety of mold needs water in order to thrive. As such, you can typically find it growing in areas of your home that come into contact with a lot of water, such as your kitchen, bathroom, basement, laundry room and garage. It's not uncommon to discover it growing in areas that have recently suffered from water damage as well.

3. How Do You Get Mold?
House mold is a result of excessive moisture. This can come in the form of especially high indoor humidity levels, excessive amounts of condensation or simply neglecting to clean spills and puddles for too long. Mold growth is also a form of secondary damage after a flood. If your home has recently suffered any type of water damage, then you should have a professional mold inspection conducted.

4. How Can You Get Rid of Mold?
The good news is that you should be able to solve the majority of mold problems by yourself, provided they haven't gone unnoticed for too long. You can use commercial mold cleaners to do the job, or create your own non-toxic cleaner using equal parts white vinegar and water.
Always make sure to call for a professional mold inspection if you're unsure of the situation. Likewise, you should contact mold remediation experts if you find that your home's mold issue is too large for you to handle by yourself.

3 Huge Expenses That Only Flood Insurance Will Cover

11/12/2020 (Permalink)

Flood insurance form on a table with a book. A commercial flood insurance policy could be a wise investment

Without Flood Coverage You Could Be Paying These Costs Yourself

Most business owners carry property insurance for commercial buildings, but the majority are not insured against flood damage. For insurance purposes, “flood damage” refers to damage caused by storm winds or storm surges, mudslides or flash floods, or overflowing lakes and rivers. This kind of damage is covered exclusively by commercial flood insurance; it is never covered by any other type of policy. 

1. Restoration and Repairs
Without a flood policy, you’ll be on the hook to pay for the initial cleanup and debris removal, the cost to repair or replace damaged ceilings, walls, floors, and/or major systems like plumbing or electrical. Also, since floodwater is filled with contaminants like mold and bacteria, you’ll need to pay for professional decontamination and other remediation and restoration expenses. Furthermore, if floodwater damages any inventory, equipment, tools and machinery, furniture, or electronics, these losses are not covered by commercial property insurance.

2. Compliance Upgrades
If flood damage to your building requires substantial repairs, the local code enforcement for Rockford, MN, will likely oversee the work and issue the necessary permits. However, if the relevant codes or building standards have changed since your building was built, you’ll have to upgrade the building to comply with the new standards. Only flood insurance policies include “Increased Cost of Compliance” coverage, which covers the costs of these necessary upgrades.

3. Preventative Measures
Flood coverage is the only kind of commercial insurance that will pay for the cost of placing sandbags or boarding up windows before a predicted storm or flood event or cover the cost of moving valuables and storing them offsite ahead of a storm.
Some locations are at a higher risk for flood damage than others, although roughly one-third of all flood damage claims each year occur in low-risk areas. If you’re not prepared to pay for the costs of flood damage out of pocket, a commercial flood insurance policy could be a wise investment.

How To Treat Burns in the Workplace

11/5/2020 (Permalink)

First Aid Training - Burn injury. First aid course. Once everyone is out of the building, administer any necessary burn first aid

You hope that your commercial property in Clearwater, MN, never sustains fire damage. Unfortunately, fires can occur without warning.
Since fires frequently take place when workers are present, you need to prepare your employees accordingly. You should thus create an emergency kit. You and your employees should also learn basic first aid. Everyone in your building should know these basic tips for treating burns in the workplace.

Identifying the Burn

First, you must determine if the burn is major or minor. A major burn:

  • Makes the skin look leathery and dry
  • Covers the feet, groin, face, hands or buttocks, or is at least three inches in diameter
  • May have brown, black or white patches
  • Appears deep

A minor burn, meanwhile, is typically red or blistered. It can be painful but may not require emergency care.

Treating Major Burns
If one of your workers suffers a major burn while escaping the fire damage, you need to cover the burn with a clean, cool cloth or bandage. Elevate the burned area and remove any restrictive items such as belts or jewelry. Make sure the employee is breathing well, as shallow breaths could be a sign of shock. Finally, avoid immersing large severe burns in water, as this increases the risk of hypothermia.

Treating Minor Burns
Minor burns should still be addressed immediately. Put a wet compress on the burn or hold the burned area under cool water. Then apply a lotion with moisturizer or aloe vera. Finish by covering the burn with a gauze bandage. Do not wrap the bandage too tightly. Otherwise, you may put excess pressure on the burn.
Keeping your workers safe should be a top priority during and after a fire. Once everyone is out of the building, administer any necessary burn first aid. Then make sure that the employees stay away from the property until the first responders or fire damage restoration professionals say it is safe to re-enter.