Wisconsin Flood Awareness Week
March 6th to the 10th is Flood Awareness Week in Wisconsin. A flood plain is “an area of low-lying ground adjacent to a river, formed mainly of river sediments and subject to flooding.” That said a flood can occur just about anywhere given the right conditions. A flood is “the temporary overflow of water onto land that is ordinarily dry.”
This time of the year can be a particular problem for flooding when heavy rain falls on still frozen ground. It is not uncommon to see water flow across frozen ground in search of the lowest point to settle. If your home or business is in the path of that flowing water, you will have water damage.
What can you do to prevent this? Proper grading around your home or business is essential to keep the water flowing away instead of towards. Following is a great article on what needs to be done and why. Yard Grading 101: Everything you need to know (thisoldhouse.com)
National Repeat Day
June 3rd is National Repeat Day. Having to call SERVPRO to help clean up after a disaster is not something most people want to repeat. So today might be a good day to assess your property and determine if there is anything you can do to prevent that from happening.
While we typically think about cleaning our gutters in the fall, ideally gutters should be cleaned twice a year. Spring and early summer is another great time to clean your gutters. Keeping your gutters clean will allow rainwater to flow through them and away from your home’s foundation, helping keep your basement dry.
It is also a great time to check the slope around your foundation to ensure that rainwater running across the surface of the ground, because of heavy rain or frozen ground, will flow away from your home and not into it. Following is an article to help you determine if you have the proper slope around your foundation. If not, summer is a great time to make those adjustments so that next winter when we have rain on frozen ground, you don’t find water flowing into your basement. If you’ve ever had that happen to you, we’re sure it’s not something you want to repeat, especially since that type of flooding is typically not covered under your homeowners insurance policy.
How Much Slope You Need Near a House in Land Grading (thespruce.com)
Firework Safety Month
June is firework safety month. According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Fireworks caused an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. Five deaths resulted from fireworks-started fires, along with 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage.” And this doesn’t include the injuries the fireworks themselves directly cause to individuals. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year 10,000 people are injured due to fireworks. In 2017 alone, 12,900 individuals were injured, with eight people dying. About 50% of all reported injuries are of children and young adults under 20. Out of this, 45% of the affected children are under the age of 14.”
With numbers like these it’s easy to see why it’s probably best to leave the fireworks displays up to the professionals. But if you are going to use fireworks this summer, here are some safety tips from the National Safety Council:
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks
- Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
- Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
- Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
- Never light them indoors
- Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
- Never ignite devices in a container
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
- Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire
- Never use illegal fireworks
We are in the heart of severe storm season in Wisconsin. Severe thunderstorms can occur any time of the year and any time of the day. But they occur most often between April and August, and in the late afternoon and early evening hours. This is because of the heat that is generated during these times. Thunderstorms usually develop in areas of high humidity. Moisture in the air that rises into the atmosphere in conjunction with warm temperatures causes a thunderstorm to form. Summer air has a greater potential for bringing on a thunderstorm because warm air can hold a lot more water vapor than colder winter air. And late afternoon and evening is typically the warmest time of the day, making it the perfect time for thunderstorms to develop.
Thunderstorms pose a wide variety of risks to your home or business. A lightning strike can cause a fire. High winds can blow shingles or other roofing materials off your roof making the structure vulnerable to water damage from the heavy rains that often accompany these thunderstorms. Lost power can mean a nonworking sump pump resulting in water in your basement.
Not much can be done to prevent these things. But a quick response can help limit the damage and prevent secondary damage. Be alert for threatening conditions and protect yourself first and foremost. But as soon as the storm passes, call SERVPRO to help you clean up. We can make it "Like it never even happened."
Do you rent the property you live in? If so, do you have renter’s insurance? It’s not uncommon for renters to think they don’t need insurance, especially if the property owner has adequate coverage. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t true, and renter’s find themselves wishing they would have gotten renter’s insurance. Here’s why.
In general, the property owner’s insurance covers damage to the structure, while the renter’s insurance covers what we call “contents”, or the renter’s personal property, things like their furniture, clothing, shoes, electronics, accessories etc…
Let’s look at a specific example. Let’s say you are renting an apartment, and the tenants in the unit above you forgot they left the water running in their tub, it overflows, and water pours into your unit destroying your big screen tv and getting your couch all wet and dirty. The property owner’s insurance will cover the drying and repair of the structure itself, the carpet or flooring, the drywall, the light fixtures etc.. But it will not cover your big screen tv or couch. Those items would be covered under renter’s insurance.
An added benefit of renter's insurance is that because the coverage is for your personal items and not the residence, your belongings are typically covered due to theft and other covered losses when you travel away from home.
Renter’s insurance can also cover expenses like hotel and meals should your residence be uninhabitable from a loss. And it can also provide liability coverage should someone other than you get hurt on your property and attempt to sue you.
If you are a renter, and you don’t have this very important coverage, we highly recommend reaching out to your insurance agent today. A renter’s insurance policy can be as little as $10-$15 a month and is well worth the investment.
Commercial Construction Fire Hazards
Commercial properties often have fire safety and prevention systems in place. An effective system will incorporate three main elements: detection, control, and extinguishing. Components of these three things can include but are not limited to: fire & smoke alarms throughout the building, fire extinguishers throughout the building, sprinkler systems, fire/smoke curtains that drop down and contain smoke to certain areas and help hinder spread of the fire.
However, when a commercial building is under construction, these things do not yet exist. This means that commercial buildings under construction can be at increased risk of fire. In addition, according to the U.S. fire Administration, “Buildings under construction or renovation are at their most vulnerable and weakest condition. Accumulation of waste combustibles, limited access, minimal water supply and hazardous operations increase the challenge. Add to this the effects of firefighting operations, increased water weight, weakened metal and support structures, and hidden hot spots, and you have a formula for disaster waiting to happen.” For tips on fire prevention at buildings under renovation or construction visit:
Fire prevention at buildings under renovation or construction (fema.gov)
IICRC Triple Master
IICRC Triple Master Beau Baumgartner
SERVPRO of Appleton is pleased to announce that our very own Beau Baumgartner is now a Triple Master, holding IICRC Master Certifications in all 3 available areas:
- Fire & Smoke Restorer
- Water Restorer
- Textile Cleaner
IICRC stands for “Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification”. The IICRC is a certification and standard setting non-profit organization for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. They develop health and safety related industry standards, as well as common, industry-accepted language and terminology.
IICRC offers over 20 certifications. Each certification requires candidates to successfully complete a course and get a passing grade on a standardized examination. Becoming a Master in each category is a long and labor-intensive process. It requires candidates to get all certifications related to that category in stages, as well as years of experience in the field and a final master exam. The first step is to get multiple certifications in the specific category as well as a minimum of 12 months working in the field for Journeyman status. Once that is achieved there are more certifications and a minimum of 3 years in the field before qualifying for the Master Course and exam. Only 3.7% of IICRC’s constituents have attained this prestigious designation. And we are fortunate to have one of them working for us!
“According to the Association of Records Manager and Administration, about 60% of businesses that experience a major disaster such as a fire close within two years. According to Labor Department statistics, over 40% of all companies that experience a disaster never reopen and more than 25% of those that do reopen close within two years.
With numbers like this, it’s easy to see why hiring a good restoration company that can get your business back up and running as quickly as possible is vital. We have the staff and resources to do that. And we know exactly what you’re feeling and what you need. In March of 2014 we experienced a fire at our own shop when one of our trucks started on fire after being towed back to the shop after hitting a pothole. For over 2 months we operated our business from temporary rented space while our shop and office were being restored. As a result, we truly appreciate what you are experiencing, and our top priority is getting you back to business as usual. Your business depends on it.
ERP's & Hotels
Due to their nature, having so many bathrooms per square foot, hotels are at greater risk for water damage than most commercial properties. Each toilet, tub, and sink presents a risk of overflowing, a burst or leaky pipe etc… And when these water damages happen, the scope of the damage can be vast. With many floors/stories, there are plenty of places for the water to travel. As a result, a quick response is essential and can limit damage. To that end, an ERP (Emergency Ready Plan) from SERVPRO can be helpful, especially when a water pipe has burst.
What is an ERP? An ERP is a quick reference of important building and contact information. Information like where the water shut off valves are, the name and contact information for the building’s alarm system management company, and so much more. And your ERP can be loaded as an app on a phone for anyone who might need it, making it conveniently accessible anywhere or anytime, day or night. If your hotel or business would like a personalized ERP at no cost to you, call our office at (920) 832-1110 and ask for one of our sales representatives, Joe or Jamie. They would love to help you out.
Olympic Gold Medalist in the SERVPRO Extended Family
Growing up in the Michigan Upper Peninsula near a ski hill, our own Beau Baumgartner and his four siblings worked and spent a lot of their free time at the ski hill. For brother Nick, that turned into a career in snowboarding, with gold & silver medals at 2 Winter X Games, and 4 trips to the Olympics, culminating in a gold medal at the recent Beijing Olympics in 2022.
At the age of 40, Nick competed in the Beijing Games as the oldest American Snowboarder in Olympic history. But that distinction brought him gold. Nick and his partner Lindsey Jacobellis, 36, won the first ever Winter Olympics mixed team snowboard cross event. A mixed team snowboard cross consists of one man and one woman. In each round the men go down the hill first in groups of four. When the men cross the finish line, their times are transferred to their teammates. The women then take off in a staggered format based on the time difference. The first woman across the line wins.
We here at SERVPRO of Appleton are lucky to have Nick’s older brother Beau working for us. Beau joined us in the July of 2021 bringing with him 12 years of experience in the restoration industry with Service Master. Beau has been a huge asset to us. It is clear to us that Robert and Mary Baumgartner raised some very hard-working boys.