Recent Posts

Avoiding Higher Insurance Rates When Filing Claims

7/30/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a girl floating around a flooded kitchen. If you experienced significant flooding, contact a local mitigation company.

It is not uncommon for homeowners to worry about their insurance rates after having to file an insurance claim because of sudden water damage or a home flood. Unfortunately, regardless of the reasoning for the claim or loss, a rate hike is always a possibility after filing. However, some considerations may limit or exacerbate your risks.

3 Considerations To Limit Or Exacerbate Your Insurance Rates

1. Filing Too Many Claims

While your insurance company is there to protect you against financial losses due to unpredicted damages, they still do not want to pay out more than they have to. If you are a client who continuously files claims, then the insurer will likely raise your rates to reduce their expenses. Every insurer uses algorithms to predict the average level of payouts for any given year or client; when a client surpasses those expectations, an insurer must make adjustments to protect other clients and their interests. Unfortunately, some policyholders who file too many claims may even lose their policy.

2. Purposeful or Neglectful Damage

If the damage to your property is a result of intentional damage or neglect, then your insurer will almost certainly raise your rate. An intentional incident that causes an insurance claim may cause your insurer to see you as a financial risk to the company.

3. Accidental Damage

Most insurers will not penalize a good client when damages are accidental or unpredictable, especially if they do not routinely file claims. When an accident occurs, your insurer will want you to work with an accredited mitigation company in North St. Paul, MN, and they will follow the process closely.

While it is natural to worry about rate hikes after water damage, you still may need to file an insurance claim for extensive damage. Water loss can be costly, and many homeowners cannot afford to go it alone. If you experienced significant flooding, contact a local mitigation company to find out more about the restoration process and how to work with your insurer.

Basic Disaster Preparedness Steps

7/24/2020 (Permalink)

Image of letters that apply to disaster preparedness. for example: Crisis, emergency, mitigation, etc. Disaster Preparedness can help you avoid a crisis during an emergency.

Natural disasters present a lot of pressing challenges to business owners, and it can be difficult to determine the best route for disaster preparedness. After all, the preparedness plan must include answers to many potential scenarios:

  • What if roads are blocked and your employees or suppliers can't get through?
  • What if winds knock down power lines?
  • What should happen if your building is damaged by wind, rain, flooding, or other natural elements?
  • How will you respond if employees are injured during the disaster?

These and other concerns must be addressed by your business preparedness plan. Here are a few basic steps you can take to get started:

3 Steps For Disaster Preparedness

One: Plan for Employee Safety

This should include installing fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and other safety equipment. Don't forget to create and practice an evacuation plan. You may also want to put together a phone tree for maintaining communication with staff and employees. Write up a contact list with customers, disaster cleanup professionals, employees, insurance providers, and suppliers.

Two: Purchase Appropriate Insurance Coverage

Not only does this step give you peace of mind knowing that any damage will be covered financially, but it also gives you access to valuable disaster preparedness and risk-avoidance advice. An experienced insurance professional will give you tips that are specific to your White Bear Lake, MN, business.

Three: Establish a Second Location

During a major storm, it's often possible to remain operational by setting up a temporary workspace. You could also set up your software, programming, and other data in a cloud service, so employees can do their work from home.

Of course, there are many other things to consider, such as protecting your building from damage and how to determine when it's safe to return to your building. Fortunately, there are many valuable resources online, through your local government agencies, from your insurance provider, and through local emergency authorities, such as the fire department. Make time today to begin your plan or to update your existing disaster preparedness plan.

Tips for Effectively Using Security Fencing After a Fire

7/21/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a fence A security fence is important after a fire at your North St. Paul, MN, commercial property.

When your North St. Paul, MN, business has suffered fire damage, putting up a security fence may not be the first thing you think of. After all, what do you have to lose when your building and its contents have been burned up? There are several reasons to put up this layer of protection around your property:

  • Damaged buildings tend to attract people with vandalism or theft on their minds.
  • You could be held liable if intruders are injured while in your fire-damaged building.
  • If people wander around inside your building, they could cause further damages that won't be covered by your insurance policy.
  • The insurance company could require fencing as a preventative step.

When you hire a fire damage remediation company to board up holes in the roofing, ask them to put up fencing as well.

Maintain a Secure Barrier

Once you've recognized the need for a security fence, use the following tips to make sure the barrier is effective:

  • Make sure there's a clear view of the fence. If there are bushes or trees close to the fence, trespassers will use these areas to get over the fence without being seen.
  • If your building is located in an area without streetlights, consider installing some lights around the perimeter of the fence. Position your lights inside the fence where they can't be disabled by anyone with criminal intent.
  • Keep up with maintenance on the fence. If the fence belongs to the fire damage remediation company, you won't have to worry about this step. However, you can make sure the fence is protected from pests, weeds, and other natural elements.
  • Recognize that the gate is the weakest point of the fence. Use a strong lock to keep the gate shut and make sure there's plenty of light focused on this spot.

Work closely with the professionals who are handling the fire cleanup and damage remediation to make sure the fence is an effective barrier.

Security Reduces Losses

A security fence is an important step in cleaning up and moving on after a fire at your North St. Paul, MN, commercial property. This security step can end up saving you a lot of time and money throughout the fire restoration process.

The Importance of the Mold Remediation Process

6/29/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a professional with proper and equipment removing mold from the wall of a residential home. The crew you hire will need to take proper precautions to remove mold safely.

Too many homeowners believe that mold growth can be handled in typical DIY fashion, but that is a mistake. There are several mold varieties that a person should not expose themselves to unless they have the proper training, which is why a remediation company in North St. Paul, MN, is strongly recommended for the removal process. The standard method involves five steps.

  • Safety
  • Containment
  • Waste removal
  • Cleaning
  • Restoration

5 Steps Involved in The Standard Method for Mold Remediation

1. Safety

Depending on the mold species, the crew you hire will need to take precautions. On the first day, they will collect samples of the mold damage and send those samples to a lab for identification. If the mold is a toxic variety, then the crew will need to wear full protective units, gloves and ventilators. For more docile species, a face mask and gloves will suffice.

2. Containment

The remediation company may seal off the affected area to prevent further exposure. It is also common for the team to spray down the mold with water to prevent mold spores from escaping to other areas of your home while being disposed of and collected. The team will also resolve any issues of water damage.

3. Waste Removal

For generic mold growth, waste removal is straightforward, but toxic species require more preparation and caution. Teams will seal the collected pieces in airtight bags before walking them out of the infested space.

4. Cleaning

Once the mold is removed, the remediation company will begin cleaning the affected space. They will use several commercial cleaners and disinfectants to kill any remaining spores before moving on with the restoration of your home.

5. Restoration

During the restoration phase of the process, the team will replace any drywall and insulation they removed. They will also make sure that the wall studs are structurally sound. The objective is to restore your home to predisaster conditions.
Mold growth can be devastating to homeowners.

A mold remediation company is essential to freeing your space of the infestation. Do not attempt to do it alone.

4 Steps To Resolving Water In a Light Fixture

6/24/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a woman with a light bulb behind full of water. Water in light fixtures is not uncommon.

While finding water in light fixtures may be a weird site, it is not uncommon, especially in multiple story homes. However, it is not safe to leave water dripping into fixtures, so it is essential to resolve the problem quickly by contacting a water mitigation professional in White Bear Lake, MN. There are four steps you can take.

  • Shut off the breaker
  • Call a specialist
  • Resolve the issue
  • Restore the property

Shut Off the Breaker

Before you concern yourself with ceiling damage, shut off the breaker to the affected light fixture. Water and electricity do not mix, and if left unattended can cause significant safety risks. Your breaker panel is likely found in your home's mechanical closet or basement.

Call a Specialist

After you shut off the breaker for the affected fixture, you can address the water in light. However, you may want to call in a water mitigation company to assess the problem. Your house likely has a leak above the light fixture, and you will not know how bad the leak is until someone inspects the area thoroughly.

Resolve the Issue

When the mitigation crew arrives, they will inspect the area and offer an estimate for their services. Once you agree to the terms, the team will disassemble the light fixture and cut access holes into the ceiling. They will find the underlying leak and resolve the problem.

Restore the Property

After fixing the leak, the mitigation company will restore your property. They will patch any holes and replace all insulation and drywall affected by the leak. Finally, they will replace the light fixture and make sure that everything works as intended.

Almost no one expects to find water in light fixtures in their home, but it does happen. If you happen upon this type of damage, then turn off the electricity and contact a mitigation company for help. After all, there is no need to risk your safety.

5 CDC Recommendations for Reducing COVID-19 Exposure at Work

6/19/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a person sitting in front of office desk holding a mask To reduce COVID-19 exposure within your workplace, it's important that all employees wear masks.

When faced with a virus that passes very easily from person to person and from surfaces to people, how can you keep your employees safe from coronavirus exposure? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have some recommendations:

1. Implementing Procedures for Social Distancing

The CDC recommends maintaining about six feet between individuals. This is because respiratory droplets can spread from one person to another through normal talking during conversations. The six-foot distance reduces the chance for droplets to get into the mouth or nose of the other person.

2. Encouraging Employees To Wear Masks

When infected people wear a mask, they reduce the spread of their droplets onto surfaces or other people. Because it isn’t always clear when a person has been infected, it’s important that all employees wear masks or other cloth face coverings.

3. Improve the Ventilation System

Droplets carrying the virus can be circulated through the building when heating or cooling systems aren’t appropriately filtered. Limit coronavirus exposure by updating and improving the ventilation system in the workplace.

4. Hire Professionals To Clean and Disinfect

Choose a commercial cleaning firm with experience, training, and the personal protective equipment necessary to adhere to FDA-approved guidelines and safety procedures. These professionals should also have access to the disinfectants approved by the FDA for use in coronavirus cleanup efforts.

5. Encourage Correct Handwashing Procedures

Post charts or memos that encourage employees and clients or customers to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water. When soap and water aren’t available, provide hand sanitizer, such as near computers.

Your Efforts Affect Communities

These steps can go a long way toward reducing coronavirus exposure in your workplace. The more you know about how the virus spreads and what is involved in covid-19 cleanup efforts, the better you can protect your employees, clients, customers, and families from getting the virus and spreading it throughout the community.

Tips to Securing Your Building After a Fire

6/17/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a building with boarded windows. Board up doors and windows, as many of these have likely been compromised due to the fire.

The effects of a fire in your office building can be devastating. Even minor fire damage can become a burden on your business. In severe cases, you won’t be able to enter your building until cleanup and restoration crews make it safe to do so. In the meantime, it’s important to secure your facility to prevent mischief or thievery.

The Rationale

You’re already facing turmoil and stress having to relocate your business and pick up the pieces after a terrible ordeal. You don’t want to have to add insult to injury by dealing with people breaking into your building. Looting is common in temporarily closed buildings.

  • Your insurance company will probably require you to secure your facility.
  • Emergency services personnel will direct you in how to best secure your building.
  • Do not attempt to go inside your building without permission from emergency services.

Close all Entrances

During normal operating situations, you’ll lock your doors and may even have an alarm system deterring suspicious activity around your building. However, fire damage may make these protective measures obsolete, and looters may see a golden opportunity. Board up doors and windows, as many of these have likely been compromised due to the fire.

Board up Other Possible Entry Points

Looters won’t hesitate to find other ways to get inside your building. After the fire, there are likely gaps and holes in the structure where someone could access the facility. Look for any other spots you need to board up and make sure they are secure.

Consider Security

One of the best ways to keep people away from your White Bear Lake, MN, building during the fire cleanup and restoration process is to place a security guard or two on site. This extra cost will be well worth your efforts.

Fire damage can be difficult enough to contend with; you don’t want people breaking in your building. Make sure you follow these guidelines to ensure items inside your office remain untouched.

Why Can Storms Mess Up a Septic System?

6/17/2020 (Permalink)

Image of backflowing sewage Sewer backup can be prevented, but it requires action before any storm strikes.

Wet storms in White Bear Lake, MN, often lead to a variety of water damage. In the event of a sewer backup, a storm can play a huge part in unwanted black water making its way into your commercial property. To prevent major damage to your business, it is crucial to know how to identify and prevent this type of secondary storm damage.

How Septic Problems Happen During Storms

Most problems with backflowing sewage come from the ground absorbing too much moisture from rain water and blocking any further flow. Certain circumstances increase the likelihood of having a sewage problem during or after a storm:

  • Increased blockage from storm debris such as fallen trees or their branches
  • Pipes designed for both waste and storm water flooded with water over the capacity
  • Old or defective sewer lines connected to your business
  • Trees growing roots deep into a sewage system and limiting the water flow when needed most

Once any preexisting problems are dealt with, you should consider enacting preventative maintenance.

Stopping the Problem Before It Happens

Sewer backup can be prevented, but it requires action before any storm strikes. Regular inspections of the septic system connected to your business are a good way to prevent issues. Any untreated problems with the system may become an increased likelihood of backflow. The system may seem to function normally, but it may be unable to withstand the increased water flow of a storm.

The soil in your business’ drain field, an area where sewage equipment is located, should be kept clear of unnecessary water. Any runoff pouring into the area compromises the efficiency and capacity of the system when you need it.

Treating the Aftermath

Sometimes, despite best efforts, water damage from both black water and rain water cannot be avoided. A local storm damage restoration company can help recover your commercial building and assets damaged by a storm. With proactive actions to reduce the risk of a sewer backup and lessen this damage, you can stop your business from going under water both figuratively and literally.

Do You Have an Emergency Preparedness Plan for Your Pet? You Should!

6/17/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a dog and behind the family members sitting on a couch Keep your pets safe

Pets are family too, and as such, they need to be included in their families' fire emergency preparation plans. If you have a furry friend, you need to establish a pet preparation plan that guides you and your other family members on what to do in the event of an emergency to ensure that your canine, feline or other pet makes it out of the home safely, too.

Preparing Your Pets for Fire Emergencies

Some considerations to make when devising your plan are as follows:

  • How to keep your pets from causing fire emergencies
  • What supplies your pet will need in the event of an emergency
  • How often you should practice your pet safety plan
  • What to do if you are forced to evacuate

By taking each of the above into consideration ahead of time, you can devise a plan that will better help you respond in the face of a real fire emergency.

Prevent Your Pets From Starting Fires

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that approximately 1,000 house fires are started by pets each year. You can prevent your pets from starting fires by practicing the same safety measures as you would with your children. Remove stove knobs, extinguish open flames, use flameless candles and secure young pets when you leave the house.

Know What Supplies You'll Need, and Practice!

To increase your response time, have an emergency bag ready to grab and go in the event of a fire. This bag should contain everything your pet will need to stay comfortable and healthy while away from home, such as canned dog food, medications, identifying tags and the like.

In addition to preparing a bag, practice the plan. Train them to come when you call that way you're not looking for them when you should be running out of the house.

Prepare for Evacuation

Evacuation in the event of a fire is a very real possibility. Have a safe place to where you and your pet can go until it is safe to return to your home.

Your fire emergency plan should provide for what to do with your pet in the event of an emergency. If it doesn't, work with your White Bear Lake, MN, fire safety team to devise an effective plan today.

A Country-Wide Disaster Recovery Effort

5/29/2020 (Permalink)

Image of flooded street. SERVPRO is ready to respond Faster to Any Size Disaster

When major disasters affect communities, SERVPRO is ready to respond Faster to Any Size Disaster and will get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. Each disaster recovery team in North St. Paul, MN, has access to heavy equipment and commercial-grade supplies through the support of corporate leaders nationwide. When many residential customers are affected by widespread flooding, storms, or other disasters, national operations managers offer vital support:

  • Seamless communication
  • Increased help through temporary labor
  • Strategic placement of additional equipment

Some of the best restoration professionals in the industry work with corporate teams to ensure timely mitigation and recovery.

Valuable Experience and Training

Residential customers throughout the country have been assisted through SERVPRO's storm response efforts. Teams of technicians have worked to help communities recover from California wildfires, hurricanes, major flooding such as the 2007 Chicago situation, and the Polar Vortex of 2014. There's a lot of reassurance possible with the knowledge that disaster recovery teams have dealt with all of the most common types of disasters.

Strategic Placement of Teams

Throughout the years, a network of storm response teams has been established to cover the country. These emergency response teams are ready to go every hour of the day and every day of the year, including holidays. Franchise professionals have also participated in trainings to prepare for unpredictable situations. This is particularly valuable when natural and criminal forces (such as major floods that force people away from their neighbors and leaving homes vulnerable to looters) combine to cause widespread uncertainty.

A Timely Response

A fast response is vital to preventing lasting storm damage. It doesn't take very long for building materials, upholstery, and carpeting to absorb floodwaters, along with any contaminants picked up by the water. If allowed to sit for more than a day or two, mold, mildew, and contaminants can cause long-lasting damages and destruction.

During large storms and their aftermath, SERVPRO corporate helps local franchises provide disaster recovery. Training in most types of emergencies is provided to franchise teams. Equipment and personnel are placed strategically throughout the country to ensure an appropriate and timely response from some of the best recovery technicians available.