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How to Properly File a Fire Claim

10/12/2019 (Permalink)

A family room burned Fire damage in New Caney, TX

Dealing with the effects of a house fire can be one of the most challenging, stressful events of a person’s life. Even if everyone in your New Caney,TX, home makes it out safely you could still face the prospects of losing valuable, meaningful possessions. Fortunately, with fire restoration efforts and insurance coverage, you can recover many items and start to rebuild your life. It’s important to know the right way to navigate this process.

Post-Fire Response

To minimize loss and preserve your safety, it’s crucial that you handle a fire emergency correctly. There are some essential steps you must take to ensure you get good coverage and prompt cleanup.

  • Call 911 and get out safely.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • For smoke cleaning and rebuilding, contact a professional fire restoration company.

Discuss the Incident

For your insurance agent to process a fire damage claim, you must recount the event. Tell your agent where the fire occurred, how it started, what it damaged and whether there were any injuries.
Take Photos but Don’t Disturb the Scene
It will be helpful to provide your insurance agent with as much information as possible about the fire. If it’s safe to do so, take pictures of the damage and the extent of the loss you have suffered. While you do this, be careful not to touch anything. You want the insurance adjuster to look at the aftermath in the exact state it was left following the fire.

Get Restoration Teams Involved

The sooner you can hire a fire cleanup company, the faster your fire insurance claim should go. These two parties will work hand in hand so you can get prompt, thorough service. The cleanup team will board up windows and any holes in the siding or roof. This will prevent further damage and looting.
The fire restoration process on your damaged home will go much more smoothly when you file an insurance claim correctly. Adhere to these critical steps, and you can get back on your feet soon.

How Do I Maintain Fire Sprinklers in My Building?

9/28/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial fire sprinkler system Commercial fire sprinkler system in Egypt, TX

Most people expect sprinkler systems to work as expected, but malfunctioning sprinklers can cause water damage to your business. Without proper sprinkler maintenance, sprinklers can go off unexpectedly and damage assets such as carpets, drywall and important documents. Even worse, unmaintained sprinkler heads may not work properly if there is an actual fire in the building. If you own a business in Egypt,TX, it is important to protect yourself by performing some routine safety checks.

Cleanliness Is Key

Keep the fire sprinklers and the area around them clean and neat. Fire sprinkler heads should be cleaned periodically with a mild degreaser solution. This is especially important in areas where grease builds up, such as kitchens. The area around the sprinkler heads should be kept clutter-free so that nothing is in the way of the path of the water. There are several common items that could be blocking the flow of water and should be checked to ensure proper sprinkler maintenance:

  • Tall plants
  • Unattended ladders
  • Tall storage cabinets
  • Tall bookshelves

Inspections Are Necessary

You should have a professional perform an inspection at least once per year, more often in certain situations. They will check control valves and water pressure to make sure everything is in the on position and that there is enough pressure for the water to reach all the designated areas. They will also check the system for leaks or corrosion and make sure everything is properly calibrated. It should be noted that if you have manual control valves, you should check these weekly to make sure they are in the open position. Regular inspections can save your business from lost revenue and restoration bills.
A lack of sprinkler maintenance can be a costly mistake if damage occurs. You should check your systems often and have them regularly inspected by a professional. If you end up with water damage from fire sprinklers, you may need the help of a professional restoration service.

How To Begin the Insurance Claim Process After Water Damage

9/25/2019 (Permalink)

flooded bathroom of a facility First, contact a professional water repair and remediation service to remove the water.

An insurance policy is a document that lists the conditions, terms, and details of a contract between you and your insurance company. The contract can protect you by clearly outlining your obligations when you are ready to file an insurance claim in The Woodlands, TX. On the other hand, the contract also clearly states the terms under which the policy becomes void, and the insurance company does not have to pay. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you follow the terms of your contract.

Insurance Company Requirements

The first step in protecting your interests may be to review your insurance policy and note your legal obligations. If the pipe burst damage requires a police report, speak to law enforcement officers. Most insurance companies ask for a copy of the report if the flood or water damage is a result of:

• Burglary
• Vandalism
• Theft

The next step may be contacting your insurance company to report the insurance claim. Please note that reporting a claim and filing a claim are not the same. When you report the damage to your agent, you are notifying him or her of the damage and asking for an adjustor to review the situation.

Homeowner Insurance Obligations

Protecting your interests can also include documentation. First, contact a professional water repair and remediation service to remove the water. Ask the team to document their efforts, if possible. You may want to record the damage as well. Although your policy will probably not require you to take pictures of the damage, doing so can help you establish a solid claim.

To begin the actual claim process, fill the claim forms out and promptly return the papers to your insurance company. Make copies for yourself in case the documents get lost in the mail.

Beginning the Legal Process

Once you fill in the insurance claim forms, you are starting a legal process that is clearly defined by the terms of your insurance policy. If you fulfill the terms of the policy, the insurance company is legally required to pay. It’s the law.

Visit http://www.SERVPROthewoodlandsconroe.com/ for more information on water damage. 

What's the Difference Between Mold and Mildew?

9/19/2019 (Permalink)

Mold damage in garage Mold growth in a Rayford, TX garage

Difference Between Mold and Mildew

No homeowner in Rayford,TX, ever wants to hear that he or she has mold damage. Fortunately, mold is often confused with its significantly less destructive cousin, mildew. Before you suspect the worst, read this quick primer on the differences between the two.

Where Are Mold and Mildew Found?

Mold and mildew tend to hang out in different places, although they both generally thrive in warm spots with plenty of moisture. Mold growth is most commonly found in the following areas:

  • Garages
  • Sheds
  • Attics
  • Crawl spaces
  • Basements

Mildew growth, meanwhile, is most commonly found in those areas of the home that are regularly exposed to high humidity, such as the bathroom. It's typically spotted on the floors, walls, and ceilings. It can also take hold on damp surfaces, such as fabric and leather, as well.

What Do They Look Like?

The types of mold most typically found in the home are green or black in color. Texture-wise, they may be slimy or fuzzy, and they prefer to take root underneath wet surfaces, such as below a sink or behind drywall.
Mildew instead sticks to the surface — literally — and has a powdery, feathery, or fluffy appearance. It's usually gray, white, or yellow.

What Do They Do?

Of the two, mold damage tends to be more severe. It can cause serious harm to building materials, entire houses, and even cars. For that reason, it's always wise to leave black mold cleanup to the professionals. They have the equipment and expertise needed to restore affected areas promptly and thoroughly.
Mildew is generally less destructive, invasive, and tenacious than mold. While mold cleanup is almost always a job best left to experts, mildew cleanup can often be sufficiently managed in, for example, a bathroom shower with some household cleaner and a little elbow grease.
If you suspect you have mold damage, the first thing to do is verify that it is actually mold. Once you've confirmed that it is, your next step should likely be to enlist the help of experienced mold remediation professionals — or, even better, leave that verification process to the pros, too.

3 Ways to Prevent Mold Growth After a Flood

9/13/2019 (Permalink)

Walls of a home and the floor is covered with mold after flooding Mold growth after a flood in Conroe, TX

3 Ways to Prevent Mold Growth After a Flood

Mold growth after a flood in Conroe,TX, is a common problem that can affect many homeowners. Because this fungus grows easily in moist environments, this is the perfect opportunity for colonies to form. There are, however, some things that you can do to prevent or limit the damage done to your house.

1. Remove Water and Moisture From the House

Perhaps the most important step in mold growth prevention is removing the water from the building. It can take less than a day for mold to begin growing after water damage, so this should be done as soon as possible. Even small amounts of moisture can contribute to the spread of this fungus, so be sure to allow everything to dry thoroughly. Fans, open windows and dehumidifiers can speed up the process.

2. Clean and Sanitize Everything

Flooding can bring bacteria, mold spores and other contaminants into your home, so you should clean the area well. This can kill the fungus before it has a chance to spread. Scrub down hard surfaces and clean anything you can in the washing machine. Dry-cleaning may work for some materials, but severely affected items, as well as some carpeting and drywall, may need to be replaced.

3. Hire a Professional to Perform an Inspection

Sometimes, a mold growth can form in an area that is difficult for you to see, whether that’s a hidden corner in a closet or inside the walls. In some cases, the only sign of mold will be a musty odor. If you notice this, it is a good idea to hire a professional to inspect your house. They can perform tests to determine if there is an extensive amount of mold and where it is located.
If you are not quick enough to prevent mold from growing, a mold removal specialist can help. With their training and equipment, they will be able to remove it safely and effectively. Once this has been done, clean your home regularly and keep moisture levels low to keep the fungus from returning.

How To Protect Your Commercial Property After a Fire

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

A blue tarp on a roof Roof with a tarp in The Woodlands, TX

Here Are Three Ways To Protect Your Commercial Property After A Fire

There are a host of reasons why a fire at your commercial property can be stressful. How quickly can the remediation process begin? Should you install a temporary security fence? What will insurance cover? Here are three ways to protect your property — and your peace of mind — immediately after a fire.

Yes, You Should Put Up a Fence

After a fire, it's time to start the remediation process. When the fire cleanup team leaves for the day, however, your property will be unoccupied, no matter what state of repair it's in. Installing a fence can protect the premises from the following:

  • Liability
  • Looters
  • Vandalism

When the fire cleanup professionals leave for the day, you'll be responsible for the property and what's on it. That means that if an employee sneaks by to pick up a personal item and slips on some water or steps through a weakened floor, you could be held liable for his or her injuries.
Installing a temporary security fence can also prevent your property from more ill-intentioned individuals who may want to steal items from your business, take building materials, or destroy and deface property. It's worth noting that if intruders are harmed on your property, you could be found responsible for their injuries as well.

Cover the Roof With a Tarp, Too

Humans are only half of the equation when it comes to protecting your building during fire cleanup. You'll likely have the weather to contend with as well. Employ tarps to shield holes in the roof from rain, sleet, snow and hail.

Board Up Any Temporary Openings

An open window or door invites intruders — and not just teenage vandals or thieves looking to snag a slightly singed computer. To prevent animals from temporarily joining your workforce, board up any opening that wouldn't normally be there. Like the roof tarp, these barricades will keep out high winds and other inclement weather as well.
A fire at your commercial property in The Woodlands,TX, can be overwhelming. Protect the premises from the get-go with a security fence, tarps and boards, and you can begin decreasing your stress levels just as swiftly.

The Basics of Your Storm Policy

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

A man holding a sheet with his left hand, on top of the sheet it says "Insurance" with his right hand he has a pen It is important to know the kind of coverage you have

During storm season in Conroe,TX, your commercial property may sustain some damage. Having storm insurance may help cover most of the costs of repairs. How much your policy covers depends mainly upon the kind of deductible you have and whether the damage is the result of a trigger event.

Deductibles

The deductible on an insurance policy is the amount you have to pay before your insurance coverage takes over. There are several types of deductibles a storm policy could have:

  • Mandatory, in which a specific amount is set by laws, regulations or the insurer
  • Dollar, in which a set dollar amount is stated in the policy
  • Percentage, in which the amount is equal to a certain percentage of the building's value

A lot of the insurance coverage for hurricanes and other storms that produce high winds and the potential need for extensive water damage repair requires a percentage deductible. If your building is worth $1,000,000, and you have a 5% deductible, you have to pay for $50,000 of the damage before your insurance company pays a dime. Some business owners opt for a higher monthly premium for their insurance policy in order to have a dollar deductible that would be more manageable in a time of crisis.

Triggers

In order for your storm insurance to kick in, there has to be a trigger event. In other words, the National Weather Service has to issue a warning or name a specific hurricane or tropical storm. A regular rainstorm that doesn't merit an official measure of intensity is not likely to be covered under this particular policy. Read your policy carefully to learn exactly what circumstances must occur for damage to your building to be covered.
It is important to know the kind of coverage you have. Understanding the terms of your storm insurance policy can help you prepare financially for potential threats.

How To Clean Water-Damaged Clothes

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

Wet clothes Water damaged clothes in a Shenandoah, TX home

When people deal with unexpected water in the home, their first thoughts are usually of carpets and floors, walls, or furniture. Clothing doesn't usually come to mind right away, but you should consider how expensive a wardrobe can be. Yes, the carpets, walls, and furniture are important, but it is also important to know how to clean water-damaged clothes in Shenandoah,TX.

Decide Which Items You Want to Save

Before you start calculating the costs of dry cleaning for each of your water-damaged items, determine which ones are worth spending the money to save. You'll want to avoid:

  • Anything touched by sewage water
  • Anything that has large stains on it
  • Anything that seems to have a lot of discoloration
  • Anything covered in mold or mildew

In addition, if the items are extremely worn, or if cleaning them will cost more than you spent on the item in the first place, it is a good idea to get rid of them. Once you decide which pieces of clothing you want to salvage, separate the wet items from each other to prevent colors from running and allow them to start the drying process.

Begin the Washing Process

After fixing a broken pipe and starting the cleanup of water in the home, it is time to start washing the clothes you'd like to keep. The water restoration company you work with can tell you if it is safe to use your washer. If it isn't, you can head to a local laundromat. However, note that it is often more cost-effective and safer to hire a dry cleaning service to try to salvage your water-damaged clothing. A professional's machines and chemicals are much more powerful.

Whether you're dealing with a broken pipe or another reason for having water in the home, don't forget about saving as many of your clothing items as possible during the cleanup process. Clothing may or may not be covered in your flood insurance policy, so salvaging a wardrobe will likely help you to save money.

The Woodlands and Conroe Home Care: What to Expect After a Fire

8/12/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Fact: A candle flame typically burns at around 1000 degrees Celsius (1800 Fahrenheit).

What To Expect After a Fire

One of the greatest human fears is off the unknown. Before stepping into your home after a natural disaster or fire, it is natural for your mind to wander into the worst-case scenario. Throughout the Houston area, countless families experience the devastating effects of damage to their home, and there are resources available to help you regain your footing, and assist you with the process. For The Woodlands and Conroe fire damage restoration, call SERVPRO to start the process of reclaiming and restoring your home.

1.      Damage to walls, windows, and the roof. When firefighters are trying to knock down the fire, often they will have to break through walls and the roof, even in areas where there were no flames. Also, expect windows to be broken, either from the firefighters needing to gain access or from the heat of the fire. Remember, the structural damage can be easily repaired.

2.      Damage to personal items and furniture throughout the home. In addition to the structural damage caused by the fire and firefighting, other items in your home will likely be damaged by the smoke and water. Many people are not prepared for the layers of muck throughout the home after a fire. Thankfully, with the proper tools and expertise, Houston SERVPRO can salvage and restore furniture, clothing, artwork, photographs, and other personal items. The key is to call us immediately; the sooner we start the better.

3.      A strong odor.  While the smell of smoke is expected after a house fire, many people are shocked by the acrid smell that permeates the air, clothing, and furniture. This odor can change and worsen over time if mold takes hold. It is imperative that proper cleaning commences as soon as possible.

4.      Precious items may be lost. There is no getting around the fact that you will likely lose belongings that are valuable to you and your family. However, many things that may look damaged by water and smoke can be restored. Our team at The Woodlands-Conroe SERVPRO can quickly identify those that can be saved, and start the restoration process immediately.

5.      Insurance claims will take longer than expected. The speed in which your homeowner’s insurance claim is processed is dependent upon your insurance company as well as your ability to provide an inventory of items destroyed or damaged. Hopefully, you have photos or videos of your home to help you create the inventory list; if not, visualize each room that was affected by the fire, and notate all the items that you can remember for your insurance claim filing. Keep in close contact with your insurance adjuster, and voice any concerns that you may have.

6.      Emotions will be high. Losing a home to fire or a natural disaster is traumatic. While adults have to deal with the insurance, the cleaning, and restoration, as well as the financial implications, children have to deal with a fear for their personal safety. While it will affect everyone in the home in some way, children respond to disasters differently than adults. They may start to have nightmares, act out at school, or become withdrawn. Keep a close eye, and seek professional counseling to help them through this difficult time.

Finally, and most importantly, do not feel you have to recover from The Woodlands and  Conroe Fire Damage alone. SERVPRO is proud to be a member of this community, and our team stands at the ready to assist you throughout the cleaning and fire restoration process. Call on us if disaster strikes; we are here to help you and your family get back into your home as quickly as possible.

The Woodlands Mansion Fire Cause Still Unknown

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

The Woodlands Mansion Fire Cause Still Unknown

A 10,000 square foot mansion home fire in The Woodlands luckily caused zero deaths and only two reported injuries to two painters that were working in the home before the fire ignited. The palatial French-style home in The Village of Cochran’s Crossing caused a stir in The Woodlands, however the cause of the fire is till unknown.

Interim Fire Chief Doug Adams of The Woodlands Fire Department reported that the fire was called in by neighbors who noticed smoke pouring out of the mansion. More than 60 fire fighters were dispatched to the scene to fight the fire. 

“We had no firefighters hurt. We had a total of eight fire trucks on scene and there were four ambulances,” Adams said. “(The fire) Had a major headstart before we arrived. (The home) Was fully involved by the time we got there. There is a gate (at the community) and that slowed us down…we have access, but it does slow us down a bit.”

Several curious neighbors migrated to the neighborhood to watch the fire ravage the mansion that included a swimming complex and tennis courts.  

The cause and origin of the fire is still unknown.  Investigators will continue to analyze what happened based on the fire patterns.  The home was undergoing interior painting and remodeling prior to the fire.  

“We have spent the day there,” Williams said late Friday afternoon. “The structure is still unstable, so we couldn’t do much. Commissioner (James) Noack’s office assisted us with some heavy equipment today, and that really helped us be safe.”

“Both men were initially transported to Memorial Hermann (The Woodlands), then a Lifeflight (helicopter) took the guy with severe burns to the Texas Medical Center,” Williams added. “The second guy was taken to Texas Medical Center by ambulance.”