Recent Posts

What to Consider Before Filing a Commercial Fire Damage Claim

1/20/2022 (Permalink)

If you’ve just experienced commercial fire damage, you’ve probably already filed a claim with your insurance company. Before you get too far into the claim process, there are some important points to consider.

There’s a lot of “fine print” in the handling of these situations that some insurance companies won’t necessarily bring to your attention on their own. Having a solid understanding of the process, will help ensure you protect your own interests in the commercial fire damage claim.

Below are 8 important points to consider:

1. Normally for water damage you send the insurance company documentation of the damages. But how do you do this for items or property that has been destroyed by fire damage? Are there good “before” pictures of the same space, on your phone or website, that you can compare with the “after” photos of the damage? Does your bank have record of the blueprint from when they helped you finance the property?

Does your business account have record of furniture, equipment, etc. that you purchased for the space? These would be good places to start, but you’ll want to ask your adjuster/agent for more specific protocol and requirements.

  1. Is it a good idea to make repairs and restorations yourself? Your insurance company will pay less, but your premium may not increase as much. Weigh the costs and benefits of each option.
  2. How did smoke or water from fighting the fire affect your electronics, equipment, and structural integrity. How do you claim those damages to trigger better coverage?
  3. When making repairs, make sure your insurance company does not cut corners by using companies or contractors that repair with materials containing lead and asbestos. That could lead to greater costs and health risks down the line
  4. Find out how your policy addresses code coverage and Green building upgrades.
  5. If your coverage is limited, what can you do about it? How can your agent or a public adjuster help?
  6. During the claims process, your insurance provider may engage a forensic accountant. Find out their role, which financial statements you are required to produce, and why. You should also ask if you can, and should, recast your financial statements. Don’t hesitate to get input from an accounting professional you trust, as well as your agent.
  7. Find out what can be included as extra and expediting expenses, and what the difference is.

Commercial Fire Damage? Call Us Today – 253.896.3000

Driving After Heavy Rain

1/20/2022 (Permalink)

Heavy storms are an inevitability during the summer season.  Rainfall can accumulate quickly, which can lead to property damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles.  This can also cause adverse travel conditions.  While you should avoid driving in flood conditions, you may already be on the road when this weather occurs.  Keep these tips in mind so that you can stay safe under these hazardous conditions.

Avoid Pooling Water

Do your best to drive around areas of the road where water has begun to accumulate.  When the depth reaches .5 inches or more, hydroplaning becomes a very real risk.  Your car can even begin to float in six inches of water, especially if it is moving water.

Drive Slowly

This seems like an obvious tip, but many people don't realize just how slow they need to go to avoid losing traction on the roadway.  A maximum of five miles per hour is recommended to maintain control of your vehicle.  Slower speeds, such as one or two MPH, should be used when entering or exiting a roadway.  This is because during acceleration and deceleration, the risk of losing control is greater.

Drive Where The Water Is Most Shallow

Most paved roads have a slight grade in them to help rainwater and other debris flow off of the surface.  This can be used to your advantage during heavy rainfall and roadway flooding.  Drive as close to the center of the road as possible, as this is where the water will be the least deep.

If the heavy rainfall and water happen to also affect your home or business, SERVPRO of University Place / Lakewood West can help return you to preloss condition.

Clean Your HVAC Machine NOW!

1/18/2022 (Permalink)

Yes, you read that right. If you haven't had your ducts or HVAC cleaned in a while, it is probably time to get it done. Air quality is very important for employees’ overall health, and has only become more important over the last 12 months.  Having clean ductwork goes a long way to improving air quality inside your office or building.

But why is it so urgent?

  • You will improve the air quality immediately
  • You may save money, as clogged ductwork is less efficient, and may require expensive repairs if left for too long.
  • Your office will smell better
  • Your office will look cleaner, as more dust particles will be sucked into the ducts and out of the building.

Signs that you need a cleaning:

  • Foul smells with no known origin
  • Excess dust buildup around the building or office
  • You have just recently completed construction
  • It has been more than five years since your last cleaning 

Now you know that time is of the essence for improving air quality by cleaning the ducts in your business. Protect yourself by calling SERVPRO of University Place / Lakewood West. You can reach us at 253.896.3000 at any time for immediate assistance.

Have a Fire Action Plan

1/18/2022 (Permalink)

Once someone knows how to properly operate a fire extinguisher, they should then also be trained to follow fire safety protocol. Such training should enable anyone to be able to:

A fire action plan is crucial for any home or business in the event of a fire.  It can save lives.  Take the time to make sure that everyone is on the same page, and knows what the plan is when danger occurs.  This is especially important when children are involved.

  • Alert others
    • If you are at work, pull the fire alarm.
    • If you are at home, make sure that others in the house are aware of the danger
  • Call the fire department
  • Assess the situation
    • If the flame is small, you can attempt to put it out with a fire extinguisher. If the flame is large, or multiple areas are affected, get everyone out immediately. 
  • Evacuate the building
    • Plan an evacuation route in advance.  If this is for your home, you can put in on the fridge, so that kids see it often.
  • Wait until the fire department clears you to go back inside

SERVPRO of University Place / Lakewood West is here to help with any fire damage that you may have at your home or business.  We pride ourselves on around-the-clock service and quick on-scene response time.  Give us a call at 253.896.3000 to learn more or get assistance.

How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher

1/18/2022 (Permalink)

Whether at home or at work, the occurrence of a fire is more common than you think. Similarly, a really great way to be prepared in both places is to have a fire extinguisher, and have the knowledge to use it. A commonly taught (and easy to remember) method is the P.A.S.S. method.  Each letter corresponds to an action that leads to proper use.

(P)ull the pin on the extinguisher. This will break the anti-tampering seal.

(A)im the nozzle of the hose.  You want to aim for the base of the flames.

(S)queeze the handle.

(S)weep the nozzle from side to side.  Hit all base areas of the fire.  If the flames are not extinguished, aim and squeeze again. 

In the event that a fire becomes too large, you need to call 911 to get immediate help.  Once a fire gets out of hand, safety is the only concern.  Get you and your family or coworkers out of the building as soon as possible.

An important thing to note is that fire extinguishers don't last forever. A good one will last between 5 and 15 years. Make sure to keep one that is safely within these ranges on hand.

SERVPRO of University Place / Lakewood West is here to help with any fire damage that you may have at your home or business.  We pride ourselves on around-the-clock service and quick on-scene response time.  Give us a call at 253.896.3000 to learn more or get assistance.

How Storms can Lead to Water Damage

12/17/2021 (Permalink)

When we get a call to help with flood damage, we can never be certain how serious it is until we show up to assess the circumstances. Various levels of rising waters influence the restoration techniques that we use. We search for the following indications of destruction to decide how broad the issue is. A predictable marker of most extreme flood damage is the existence of standing water. At the point when water stays in your home, and does not drain, it can start to cause costly and lasting harms to the structure. The water will almost immediately seep into flooring, but there are other forms of damage that may result if the issue is not addressed promptly. 

Waterlogged Walls 

We always anticipate that ground surface materials will be drenched because of flood damage, yet when the walls of your home have suffered critical harm, this might be an indication of extra issues that require an increasingly intensive examination to find and eliminate. Some of the time, when water pours in quickly and later subsides, it can leave dampness in the walls.  This can lead to mold growth and misshapen materials. SERVPRO professionals utilize the latest techniques and specialized equipment to remove the moisture.

Outside Destruction 

Despite the fact that the outside of your home may be considerably more impervious to the impacts of flood damage than inside spaces, it can still take on water. This can lead to roof leaks, flooded basements, and weaknesses in siding. We can help with identifying these issues, as well as remediating the damage that has been caused by the flood waters.

Call us if any standing water is present in your home or business. SERVPRO of University Place can assist you with recouping from flood damage (253) 896-3000

Pet Safety During Storms

12/17/2021 (Permalink)

Our furry friends are very important to us, and it goes without saying that we hold their wellbeing and happiness similar to one of a family members'. When storms occur, animals can be especially vulnerable. Use the following tips to keep your pets safe during these events:

  • If your pets are outside, thunder and lightning may cause them to scare and run. Make sure that they are all microchipped and tags are current.
  • If you know that a storm is coming, keep pets indoors if possible
  • Dry pets off if they get wet to prevent chills and illness
  • If you have outdoor pets, ensure that enclosures and cages are insulated from wind and rain
  • Make sure that no trees are close to enclosures in the event that they fall down
  • Keep in mind that older and smaller pets are more sensitive to cold temperatures and dampness
  • Make an emergency kit for your pets with items like extra food, toys, and a blanket
  • Bring your pets with you if you leave your home

If storm damage hits your home, call SERVPRO of University Place (253) 896-3000. We are ready to respond quickly to help.

What could a Water Leak be Costing You?

12/17/2021 (Permalink)

While some leaks are very obvious and easy to discover, smaller leaks are often left undetected. Even when you're aware that there might be a problem, leaks behind walls, or in the ceilings or floors can be difficult to find. There are many ways a water leak in your building in University Place could be costing you money.

On Your Water Bill

The most obvious and direct way a water leak can cost you money is on your water bill. A slow dripping leak can waste between seven to ten gallons of water per day. Severe leaks can waste closer to ninety gallons per day. This all adds up to your water bill. By not addressing small leaks, you are wasting money. Take the time to fix leaks as you discover them. The cost of the repair will likely be less than the amount of money wasted by allowing it to continue to leak.

In Equipment Repairs or Upgrades

Leaks left unaddressed could lead to the need for pipe repairs and plumbing upgrades sooner than you would have needed them. A small leak can lead to a pipe break if allowed to go on long enough.

In Damages

Broken or leaky pipes can lead to damage to the structure of your building. Pipes are generally hidden behind walls or under floors. When a leak goes undetected, this allows time for the water to seep into the building materials. Water-soaked floors and walls can be susceptible to mold, often requiring extensive cleanup and repairs or rebuilding. Water damage specialists can help you recover from large leaks that cause major damage.

In the age of bills being automatically paid or deducted from bank accounts, it is still a good idea to review monthly charges for utility bills. A sudden spike in your water bill could be a clue that you have a water leak hidden somewhere. Consult a plumber to help locate the source of the leak and fix it as soon as possible to avoid wasting more money.

Call SERVPRO of University Place (253) 896-3000 if you have any questions about water leaks / damage in your home. 

What To Do When Your Toilet is Leaking

12/17/2021 (Permalink)

No one enjoys a leaking toilet. If you find one in your University Place home, it's imperative to fix the problem quickly. So, here are a few steps to take when you find a leaky toilet in your house.

Locate the Leak
First, you'll need to figure out where the leak is emanating from. The location can tell you a lot. If it's coming out of the top, there's a good chance that you'll able to engage in toilet repair. Unfortunately, a leak that begins from underneath the toilet points to larger issues. Here are some other places to check for leaks:

  • The feed line
  • The gaskets
  • The bowl (in case of any cracks)

You may be able to simply tighten the applicable bolts with a screwdriver or a similar tool. If it comes to pass that the leak can't be fixed, you'll probably need to replace your toilet.

Call Experts
Before going any further, it's wise to seek out help. Restoration experts can help you determine whether your leaking toilet is repairable, thus saving you substantial funds. If not, the professionals can handle the replacement process with care. Otherwise, you could end up severely damaging your house and your belongings.

Turn Off the Water
The last thing you want is to start a flood in your house, especially when it consists of water from an old toilet. In order to avoid this, turn off the water. There should be a shutoff valve somewhere behind the toilet. Try to drain the remaining water as well, especially if the toilet is being removed. This can prevent further leakage during the cleanup process.

Clean Up Surrounding Water
A toilet leak is bad enough without adding in a mold problem. One of the most essential things to do after discovering a leak is to mop up the water surrounding your toilet. If you don't want to ruin your towels, you can use paper towels and any available buckets.
A leaking toilet may certainly be a nuisance, but it can be dealt with efficiently. Just to remember to stay calm and act quickly.

Call SERVPRO of University Place (253) 896-3000

12 days of Christmas fire safety

12/2/2021 (Permalink)

With the lights around the Christmas tree twinkling, the candles burning bright, and the glow of the warm fireplace, your home is never quite as cozy as it is during Christmastime. It can feel downright magical this time of year. However, while your home may look prettier than ever during the holidays, those warm and fuzzy additions also bring an increased risk of fire to your humble abode. But with these expert-backed Christmas fire safety tips from former firefighters and other safety professionals, you can still make your home festive, while also keeping it safe this holiday season.

Don't use your oven for storage or heat.

Though many people place their cookie sheets and other bakeware in their ovens when they're not using them, it's never a good idea to use the appliance as storage space. Fire Department’s explicitly warns against it, noting that something flammable could accidentally be left behind and cause an oven fire.

Also, even when it gets extra cold this Christmas season, think twice before using your oven or stove as way to provide some extra heat to your home. Chuck Roydhouse, a retired professional firefighter, says that although this is not uncommon for people to do, ovens and stoves are not specifically set up for heating purposes, so it is unsafe to use them as such.

Water your Christmas tree if its real.

The quickest way to accidentally make your tree go up in flames. Let it go unwatered. Harry Knowles, home safety expert with My Handyman Services, warns homeowners with real Christmas trees to frequently check that their trees don't have "any tinder-dry areas." Just one spark anywhere near dry wood can start a fire in a mere 30 seconds, he says.

Don't throw wrapping paper in your fireplace.

It's easy to get caught up in the joy and excitement that comes with unwrapping new goodies on Christmas but be sure to monitor exactly where all that ripped wrapping paper is going—and definitely don't dispose of it by throwing it in the fireplace.

"On Christmas morning, don't make the mistake of throwing the wrapping paper from the gifts in the fireplace," says Roydhouse. "Wrapping paper creates way too much heat, and it's quite easy to have a chimney fire that way. It puts too much heat in the chimney, and if you have any combustibles in there, that heat will ignite it."

Follow the "rule of three" when it comes to power strips.

With Christmas lights, space heaters, and all the electronics of everyday life, there's a lot to be plugged in during the holiday season. And with electrical fires being a real concern, you need to follow the proper precautions. The experts at Mr. Electric, a residential electrical service throughout Canada and the U.S., recommend following the "rule of three" when it comes to power strips, meaning no more than three electronics should be plugged into a single strip at one time.

Never use an extension cord or power strip with your space heater.

When it comes to space heaters and extension cords, the two should never meet. "When you buy a space heater, it will come with a certain length of cord, and you never want to extend that by using an extension cord," says Roydhouse. "When you extend the cord length, you overload the cord, and it gets hot. As a result, it can burn through a rug or the insulation and set something on fire or create an electrical shock. And you never want to plug a space heater into any type of multi-socket power strip—you want to plug it directly into the wall."

Make sure your home is equipped with functioning smoke alarms.

Having a working smoke detector in your home can mean the difference between life or death when it comes to a holiday home fire. The experts at First Alert note that "smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, inside every bedroom, and outside sleeping area." They also recommend you "test alarms every month and change batteries every six months."

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17 Christmas Fire Safety Tips from Firefighters and Other Safety Experts (