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Involve Your Insurance Company for a Water Damage Claim

9/23/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a room full of water and personal belongings floating. Water damage can be due to a bursting pipe or heavy rainfall.

When your home has flooded because of a pipe burst situation or heavy rainfall, filing an insurance claim may not be one of the first things on your mind. However, the sooner you file your claim, the better the results for your home and your claim. Don't start cleaning up the water or moving your belongings around until after you have spoken to an agent. You may actually cause more damage or hurt the outcome of your case by jumping straight to cleanup and repairs.

3 Steps To Follow After Suffering Water Damage

1. Immediate Water Damage Response

Contact your agent as soon as possible because a quick response to water damage is vital. You'll need the following information to share with the insurance company:

  • A copy of your insurance policy
  • Details of the water damage (avoid using the word "flood")
  • An inventory of your damaged property
  • Contact information for anyone involved
  • Questions about how to proceed


In some cases, your insurance agent may have recommendations about who to contact for water damage cleanup and repair.

2. Your Next Steps

After contacting the necessary professionals to start the insurance claim process, there are several more steps you can take. These involve taking pictures of the damage and creating a safe place to store receipts and documents relating to the damage. You may also want to contact an adjuster for a second opinion regarding the costs of damage, losses, and repair.

3. Mitigation Steps

During your conversation with insurance professionals, you may be advised to start removing water, boarding up holes, and other preventative steps. If you fail to complete these tasks, further damage may occur, and the new damage may not be covered by your insurance. Remember to save receipts and make notes about any new information you discover.

Most of the time, you'll have better success with your insurance claim if you involve restoration experts in the cleanup and repair of your home in White Bear Lake, MN. These experienced professionals may also help you work with the insurance company for better results. Keep communication lines between all parties open and respectful for the very best results.

How To Prepare Against Flood Damage

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a flooded street with a barrier placed. You can prevent most storm damage caused by flooding by placing a temporary barrier.

How prepared are you for the fall weather? This time of year brings about some of the most severe weather patterns, which can leave your home vulnerable to flooding and other storm damage. Instead of worrying over the possibility of damage, contact a storm mitigation company in North St. Paul, MN, to help you plan for prevention. Most companies will suggest at least three methods for reducing or eliminating the risk of a flood.

3 Methods For Reducing The Risk Of A Flood

1. Secure Loose Yard Items

While water is a prominent part of flood damage, many people forget about loose debris that may collide with your windows or other vulnerable entry points. Therefore, one of the first things you should do if worried about floods is to secure any loose lawn ornaments or furniture. While some items may be heavy enough not to float away, others can lead to extensive issues. You can secure items with long stakes and ties, or even by placing cinder blocks or other heavy objects on top of the things. It may also be a good idea to secure the item in a garage or other outdoor building where it cannot cause damage.

2. Elevate Sensitive Materials and Appliances

While flooding poses a significant risk to your house's structure, it also poses a threat to your sensitive documents and appliances or devices. If you are aware of a flood threat, then make sure that all items are raised above the estimated flood level.

3. Place a Temporary Barrier

You can prevent most storm damage caused by flooding by placing a temporary barrier. Use sandbags stacked above the estimated flood line to create a blockade from water. You may need to set pumps inside the border to prevent the water level from rising on both sides, but a pump and barrier can protect your property.

Fall is a season for severe weather. If you are concerned about potential flooding, then contact a local mitigation company to discuss preventative steps.

Understanding Fire Safety Protocols

9/15/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a building's lobby with a fire extinguisher placed properly Every person in your building needs to know how to use an extinguisher.

Safety is an important aspect of every building's established procedures. It's not enough to have your protocols written down in a manual and tucked away on the shelf, though. You must make sure that every employee knows the fire safety practices for your building in White Bear Lake, MN. At minimum, everyone needs training on how to use a fire extinguisher and what to do in the event of an emergency.

Fire Safety Practices That Every Employee Should Know

Extinguisher Usage

Every person in your building needs to know how to use an extinguisher. According to fire damage experts, correct usage follows the P.A.S.S. method:

  • Pull the pin to break the seal.
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the handle to release the contents of the canister.
  • Sweep the spray back and forth along the base of the fire.


Not every flame requires calling emergency services. Often, a small fire can be doused with the tools you have on hand. For example, a small kitchen fire in your break room should be easy to put out with a fire extinguisher. If the canister is emptied and the fire still persists, however, it is time to get the professionals involved.

Emergency Assessment

If a fire is too big to put out with an extinguisher, evacuation procedures should be immediately put into action. Everyone in the building should have the training necessary to know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency. In addition to regular training and fire drills, evacuation routes should be posted in prominent locations on every level throughout the building for easy reference.

Understanding fire safety practices such as using a fire extinguisher and when to evacuate the building is essential for everyone who works in your building. The more people know about the protocols you have in place, the more likely they are to be able to get themselves and others to safety should a fire occur.

What is a Category 3 Water Damage?

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

Removed Drywall after Sewage Sewage Damage needed to be removed from this home. The drywall, carpet, and pad will all be replaced.

What is a biohazard? The term biohazard refers to any biological materials (microorganisms, plants, animals, or their byproducts) that pose a threat to the health of living organisms.

By IICRC water categories, sewage is considered a category 3 "Black Water"

Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact should be avoided. Examples include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.

  • May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
  • Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup

Sewer backups should be considered an emergency since the water may contain viruses, bacteria, and other microbes that cause serious illnesses. SERVPRO Professionals have specialized training and equipment to quickly and safely clean contaminants like sewage.

Don't wait for the damage to get worse. Call us today to have your home cleaned from Category 3 Water Damage. 

Bathrub Overflow Water Damage

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

Sloughing Paint from Water Damage Paint coming off the wall because of the water leak in the upstairs bathroom.

Water Damage Caused By An Overflowing Bathtub

Water damage causes the most home insurance claims. Torrential rains, bursting pipes and bathtub overflows are just a few potential causes for water damage. In fact, water damage is often caused by an overflowing bathtub. There are several reasons why this can happen, but no matter the cause, a professional water remediation company will need to step in to help you with the mitigation process.

No matter the cause for your bathtub overflow and water damage, you should know the six major reasons why this event can cause damage to your home in Saint Paul.

Leaky Ceilings
If your bathtub is on the second floor, even if the overflow is quickly caught it could make small bubbles in your downstairs ceiling. Water could begin leaking, and you can have discoloration. If the amount of water is large, it could make your ceiling sag. Avoid entering the room if this happens, since more water or debris could fall and hurt you. Keep everyone out of the area until you have it fixed by an experienced technician.

Wet Drywall
An overflowing tub can easily damage drywall. It can weaken so badly when wet that you cannot fix it, and must be replaced. If there is a significant amount of water running down the walls, you should shut off the electricity. An electrician and plumber will need to check out the damage in this case along with SERVPRO professionals to ensure the leak is fixed and your home is safe and restored.

Ruined Flooring
Your floors can be ruined as well, especially wood or linoleum.

Damp Carpets And Furniture
Water coming through the ceiling can damage appliances and furniture. Mold can start to grow in your furniture and carpeting and can create a bad smell.

Bacteria Growth
Even if the water is clean, it can still cause bacteria to grow that could be harmful. This threat can develop when a significant amount of time passes before you get it cleaned up. The bacteria can grow with warm temperatures and time.

If your bathtub overflows, shut the source of the water off right away and give SERVPRO. We understand how damaging water can be and will be out to your property as quickly as possible to prevent more damage.

Preventing a Worse Water Damage

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

Ceiling Damage from Upstairs Water Damage Water from above caused the ceiling damage to this White Bear Lake home.

Removing surface water can help prevent more extensive damage. However, water intrusions invade floors, ceilings and walls to find the lowest point in your home. Standing water from an overflowing bathtub or other water incident will search for pin hole crevices and cracks in your floors and walls looking for a way to travel downward. Surfaces such as wood, drywall and carpet pull water away from plain sight and into the interiors of your home. Below is what you can do as you wait for the professionals from SERVPRO to arrive:

  • Shut off the water source if possible or
    contact a qualified party to stop the
    water source.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the
    building, if access to power distribution
    panel is safe from electrical shock.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping or blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture
    after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery
    cushions for even drying.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks
    between furniture and wet carpeting.
  • Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings,
    art objects, computers, documents and
    other materials that are valuable or sensitive
    to moisture.
  • Do not enter affected areas if electrical
    outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical hazards.
  • Don’t use a household vacuum to remove
    water. This could cause electrical shock or
    damage to the vacuum.

Filing a Flood Insurance Claim

8/26/2020 (Permalink)

Image of flooded basement. All personal belongings are damaged by the water. Flood Damage in a White Bear Lake, MN, home.

While making a flood claim may sound like an intimidating process, any storm remediation professional in White Bear Lake, MN, can tell you the process is straightforward. After the flood, there is a standard four-step process you can follow to protect your claim and ensure its approval.

  • Call insurer
  • Mitigate loss
  • Clean
  • Compile proof of loss

4 Steps to Filing a Flood Insurance Claim


Call Insurer

You will first want to call your insurance representative and explain the cause of the disaster and when it occurred to get the insurance claim process moving. The sooner you can notify the insurance company, the better because they need to schedule an adjuster to come out and assess the damage to your property. Most adjusters have a busy schedule, which means they may not visit the site for a few days or more.

Mitigate Loss

A significant portion of the flood claim process will rely on the homeowner and the remediation company they hire. The primary aim before the adjuster gets to the property is to mitigate further loss. You will want to cover holes and excavate excess water. Also, dehumidifiers, fans and pumps may be used to speed up the drying process.

Clean

While waiting for the adjuster to visit, you can begin cleaning your house. However, do not be too quick to dispose of damaged or insured items. You will need a record for the insurance agent when they arrive. Cleaning the property allows the adjuster to walk the premises and spot damage more easily.

Compile Proof of Loss

You may want to organize damaged items for the adjuster to inspect. Also, it is an excellent idea to compile any receipts you may have for the items to help in the valuation process.

A flood claim need not be a confusing or overwhelming process. If you organize the mitigation and cleanup, remediation and claim procedures are more approachable. Talk to a remediation specialist for greater insight into the claims process.

Space Heater Safety Tips

8/25/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a white space heater Space Heater Safety

The small appliance you use to keep your feet toasty on cold nights in North St. Paul, MN, may seem harmless. A burned space heater, however, can lead to a bigger fire that causes significant damage to your home. Follow these tips to avoid such a disaster.

4 Tips To Avoid Space Heater Fires


Buy a Safe Product

Good fire safety starts with the machine itself. There are several safety features you should look for when buying a space heater:

  • Automatic shutoff
  • GFCI plug
  • Long cord
  • Certified testing seal


Buying a quality product with built-in safety mechanisms can help prevent fire.


Replace Filters

Dust that gets caught in any electrical appliance can easily lead to the need for the services of smoke cleanup professionals. The manual that comes with your space heater can tell you how often the filter needs to be cleaned or replaced. Make sure you heed the manufacturer's instructions to avoid having a burned space heater.


Give It Room

Your heater needs a lot of personal space. Make sure you keep a radius of three feet around it at all times but especially when it is in use. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets. Not only can its hot surface lead to burns, but if they knock it over while running, it can ignite flammable items on which it falls.


Turn It Off

A space heater is not meant to take the place of your home's HVAC system. It is designed to provide supplemental warmth on a temporary basis. Do not leave a space heater on when you leave the room or while you sleep. As a general rule, if you are not able to pay attention to it, it should be off and unplugged.

Extra heat is a nice luxury, but a burned space heater causes more problems than it resolves. Get the most out of your heater by following safety protocols carefully.

SERVPRO Is Faster to Any Size Disaster

8/20/2020 (Permalink)

Image of a hand holding a watch SERVPRO Is Faster to Any Size Disaster

When a catastrophe happens at your commercial property, it makes no difference if it’s a fire, flood or storm. What matters is how quickly you can recover your building. SERVPRO is faster to any size disaster.

More Services

SERVPRO offers a wide range of commercial assistance. If your building was recently hit by extreme weather or a similar disaster, SERVPRO can have a team on the scene immediately to provide an array of services:

  • Fire damage restoration
  • Water damage restoration
  • Flood recovery
  • Mold mitigation
  • Storm damage restoration


SERVPRO can also lend a hand if your facility needs a thorough, professional cleaning. From chemical spills to biohazardous materials, your local recovery team has the tools and training required to safely disinfect and sanitize your space in keeping with the most up-to-date regulations and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. SERVPRO also offers defensive cleaning perfectly suited for restaurants and similarly high-traffic public spaces.

More Locations

SERVPRO is faster to any disaster for two reasons. First, it has over 1,7000 franchises across the United States. Finding the location nearest to White Bear Lake, MN, is as easy as calling 1-800-SERVPRO or clicking the "Locate a Local Franchise" button on the SERVPRO website.

Second, the professionals at your local SERVPRO office are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days each year. Teams of skilled men and women are perpetually standing at the ready to begin the recovery effort at your commercial property.

More Credibility

The majority of insurance companies in the United States prefer SERVPRO. Your local franchise makes filing an insurance claim simple and stress-free. Pretesting, for example, is just one way that SERVPRO helps keeps costs down. Whenever possible, SERVPRO teams restore or repair instead of replace. They can also create detailed inventories and submit claims electronically for fast, accurate results.

SERVPRO is a local company with a national network. When the unexpected happens, it’s reassuring to know that you can count on its recovery teams to be faster to any disaster.

What does it mean to be #OneTeam?

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Jessica Performing Demolition Demolition in the basement of a Commercial Building

“We all started out sweeping out the back of the truck…” is a prelude to the #TeamValdez story that I have heard more times than I could count.

Sweeping out a van is something I could conceptualize – broom, van, done – I have in fact seen our guys do it every day. However, what goes on after the morning job board meeting and before the “sweeping out the van” has always eluded me. Sure, conceptually, I know what the production crew does, but practically, I have no idea.

What it means to be Team Valdez

#TeamValdeaz has always prided itself on being a true team, and with SERVPRO’s #OneTeam initiative and our new franchise purchase, I got he chance to (literally and figurative) get my feet wet. I have spent the last couple of weeks in Minnesota at our North St. Paul / White Bear Lake location and have learned more than I could have ever anticipated. While we have been staffing our crew here, I told our guys that #TeamValdez was #OneTeam, and to let me know what they needed – I had their back.

Well let me tell you, I got the chance to put my words to action. Just over a week ago, we received a commercial water loss, and I was one of the crew members that responded. I helped with stabilization, contents, and today – demolition!

#OneTeam means doing what you need and not letting your teammates do it alone, putting down the calculator, picking up the crowbar and hammer, putting on some demo tunes, and getting dirty together!

It has been so exciting and insightful to see the whole process, from getting the call to seeing the production side through, and has allowed me to gain a better big picture view to help in my everyday role with #TeamValdez!