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Wise Storm Preparedness Tips for Property Managers

6/10/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded basement, wet drywall, drywall covered with mold Basement flooded due to severe storm in Rockland, WI.

As a property manager in Rockland, WI, one of your major duties is storm preparedness. Neglecting this responsibility means that bad weather may have a particularly negative impact, creating even more damage than there might otherwise be. Thankfully, there are commercial property restoration professionals that can fix almost any type of structural catastrophe. Here is some advice regarding how property managers should react to and prepare for bad weather.

Weather Disaster Responsibilities of Property Managers

Those in charge of residential properties shoulder many obligations after a storm, including:

  • Checking the grounds for downed power lines
  • Examining windows for cracks and gas lines for leaks
  • Erecting security barriers so that vandals and thieves cannot enter

The effects of weather damage can compound a property manager's post-storm responsibilities, making storm preparedness an essential strategy for keeping your premises running smoothly.

Weather Disaster Preparation for Property Managers
Your primary concern when it comes to storms is keeping tenants safe. Assess your complex for the best escape options. Share your analysis with everyone who could benefit. A more expensive yet potentially lifesaving option is to create a safe room built to FEMA specifications.
High winds can knock over grills and start fires. Mandate that barbecue equipment is immediately brought inside after use. Additionally, using fireproof materials, such as fiber cement siding, helps reduce the odds of an accidental blaze.
Property management requires fast action under pressure. Have emergency numbers handy so that you can quickly call the authorities even when you feel panicked. Write these contacts down so that they may be easily accessed even if a power loss means your computer won't turn on and your phone's battery is drained. Keep a flashlight nearby so you are able to read your list in complete darkness.
Storm preparedness keeps residents safe, reduces building damage, and makes your job easier. Employ these recommendations if you are responsible for any type of residential property.

Mold 101

6/10/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth in a bathroom Mold growth in a bathroom

Understanding Mold Growths Cycle

When you start noticing a musty smell, you know your home in Holmen, WI, has been infected with mold. While you can count on black mold remediation and restoration expert to take care of the problem, avoiding mold cleanup is always preferred. While it may not always be avoidable, understanding its growth cycle and taking preventive measures may help reduce the chances of an infestation.

Life Cycle
Mold is everywhere. Luckily, it requires the right conditions to grow in your home. When the temperature is just right, there is excess moisture and plentiful food—organic materials found throughout a home—black mold has the ability to start its growth cycle within 24 to 48 hours. These fungi have four stages in their life cycle:

Hyphae Growth: When ideal conditions come together, so do the mold’s cells. Hyphae are thread-like cells that take in all that nourishment and release enzymes, which is often where the odor comes from. They eventually grow in numbers and become mature mycelium, which is when the mold becomes visible.
Spore Formation: Spores eventually start to grow on the ends of the hyphae.
Spore Dispersal: After they are completely developed, they become airborne. They spread in search of new locations to start the process anew.
Spore Germination: Once they find a new ideal location, they begin to germinate and start the cycle over. Unfortunately, they can remain dormant for extended periods of time.

Prevention Tips
Any kind of moisture problem can bring spores back to life. Below are some tips to keep the right conditions from happening:

  • Keep humidity levels below 50%.
  • Ensure your home is well-ventilated, especially in the bathroom and kitchen.
  • If any leak appears, fix it immediately to minimize water damage.
  • Consider using mold-resistance materials when making repairs.
  • Items that sustain water damage should be replaced.

While black mold may be lurking in the shadows, it doesn’t have to become a reality. Understanding its life cycle makes it easier to take steps to avoid it.

5 Essential Components of a Fire Escape Plan

4/27/2021 (Permalink)

fire ashes on store shelves Fire damage to a store in Bangor, WI.

Five Essential Parts That Need To Be Included In A Fire Escape Plan

Responsible business owners in Bangor, WI, know the importance of having fire alarms, extinguishers and other tools to minimize the effects of an unexpected fire. The damage to the building can be repaired by a fire damaged and restoration company, so the safety of everyone in the building needs to be the top priority. To ensure that happens, businesses should establish a fire escape plan. Below are five essential parts that should be included.

1. Identify Hazards
Although the unexpected happens, taking a tour of the building enables you to discover potential high-risk areas. From overused power strips to personal heaters, discovering them early may reduce the risk of a fire breaking out. It also provides an opportunity to communicate safety standards with employees.

2. Have Established Roles
If you want your fire escape plan to work, a clear chain of command should be determined. This may include a chief fire warden, route guides, floor monitors and fire extinguishers who have precise roles to follow. Backups should also be established in case the main person is off-site.

3. Plan and Map Routes
Along with a primary escape route, secondary routes need to be established. Once that is completed, maps should be posted so that everyone in the building knows where to go. A safe place should also be established for assembling once out of the building.

4. Communicate the Plan
An emergency escape plan only works if people know what it is. Ensure that every team member knows who is part of the emergency team and has an understanding of what to do and where to go if an incident happens.

5. Practice Makes Perfect
While communication is essential, practice is even more important. Like in school, physically going through the process of what to do helps people remember it better. It also gives them a chance to see the people assigned to lead emergency procedures.
While everyone hopes a fire won’t happen, there is always a risk. Establishing a fire escape plan helps ensure a smoother evacuation during a chaotic situation.

How to Prepare Your Commercial Property for a Flood

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

floor with dirt from dirty water, broom, boxes. Concept water damage to an office building Flood damage in New Amsterdam, WI.

Ways To Prepare Your Commercial Property For a Flood

It is not uncommon to experience flooding in New Amsterdam, WI, due to inclement weather. Thanks to technological advances in storm detection devices, it is possible to warn citizens where floods are more likely to happen. You can prepare in advance for floods by:

  • Checking for flood zones before building
  • Knowing the climate patterns in your area
  • Watching for flood advisories and warnings

Here are a few tips to prepare your commercial property for floods and prevent flood damage.

Clean the Gutters
Gutters keep your property safe from downpours by redirecting the rainwater away from buildings. Make sure the gutters are clean to prevent a small flood around your property. Debris, such as leaves, bird nests, and needles from pine trees can clog the holes in your gutters. This can cause water to accumulate around your property during a downpour creating a small flood that erodes and exposes the foundation of the building.

Design Your Building to be Flood Resistant
If you are building new construction on or near a flood zone, design the building to be flood-resistant. This can be done by designing the lowest story to be above the flood zone. You can also make sure installations such as furnaces and circuit breakers are elevated to prevent damages from flooding.

Stack Sandbags Around Your Property During Flood Advisories
A way to increase protection from storm damage during a flood advisory is to stack sandbags against the property. Fill sandbags halfway and stack them as you would bricks. It is important that the sandbags are laid against the building that you want to be protected. Do not leave a gap between the building and the sandbags. This will create a puddle that erodes the foundation of your property.
If you have experienced flooding in your area and are in need of cleaning services, contact a water damage restoration service to aid in the cleaning efforts. Though a flood is not preventable, you can take steps to protect your property in times of inclement weather.

How To Keep Your Home Safe From Fire

3/19/2021 (Permalink)

Man Installing Smoke Or Carbon Monoxide Detector Maintain and inspect smoke detector.

Fire Preparation Measures

Discovering a fire in your Midway, WI, home could be one of the scariest things you ever experience. Nothing is guaranteed, but there are fire preparation measures you can take that go a long way in helping prevent a home fire.

1. Use Caution With Home Heating
Never use space heaters unattended and unplug them when they're not in use. Make sure that space heaters have an automatic shutoff for overheating or tipping over events. Keep anything flammable at least three feet from any sources of heat or flames.

2. Be Careful With Open Flames
Never leave candles or other open flames unattended (e.g., when you are out of the room, asleep or away from home). Use sturdy candle holders and keep them out of reach from children and pets and out of high traffic areas. One of the most critical fire safety lessons is never using an open flame where medical oxygen is used, even if the machine is turned off.

3. Maintain and Inspect Smoke Detectors
A critical part of your fire preparation is regularly maintaining and inspecting your fire alarms to ensure they're in good working order. You'll need to replace the batteries at least once a year and replace the units themselves every 10 years. Vacuum or dust off the units a couple of times per year to ensure the sensors are clear of debris.

4. Practice Safe Cooking
Stay in the kitchen to monitor food cooking on the stove, broiling in the oven or cooking in the toaster oven. Prevent hot pots and pans from falling off the stove by turning their handles toward the back of the stove. Fire damage restoration experts will advise you to keep a pot lid and fire extinguisher at hand's reach to snuff out flames if need be.
Avoid a disaster by putting a fire preparation plan together as soon as possible. Then, go over it with your family to make sure everyone knows about fire safety.

3 Possible Causes of a Flooded Basement

3/4/2021 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. A visible line is showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. If your basement is flooded quick and decisive action must be taken.

3 Possible Causes of a Flooded Basement

In the event that you experience a basement flood in your West Salem, WI, home, quick and decisive action must be taken. One thing that can help the restoration process go faster is knowing why the flood occurred. If you're unsure about how this could happen, here are three possible causes of a flooded basement.

1. Ineffective Sealing
If your basement's tiling wasn't properly sealed, water can easily leak into your home. This is particularly relevant if you live in an area that's prone to events such as these:

  • Hurricanes
  • Snow storms
  • Wind storms
  • Rain storms

In the event that your basement is continually flooded during large storms, ineffective sealing is likely to be the reason for it. Be sure to get the seal inspected and fixed immediately.

2. Eavestrough Blockage
Eavestroughs are gutters that line the perimeters of roofs. The purpose of these troughs is to direct water away from your roof and through the downspout. However, an eavestrough can malfunction if debris begins to plug it up. This is especially possible if you live near several trees. In this event, the overabundance of water may create a leak that starts a basement flood. If this is the issue, all you need to do is have the eavestrough cleaned.

3. Wrong Home Location
This problem may have a simple answer - your home was built in an inappropriate location. Generally, houses are built on a slope so that water will move away from the structure. Your house may have been built near the slope's bottom, which would result in the draining water creating a basement flood. Unfortunately, there's not much to do if this is the case. Try to put up barriers and wait for erosion to rectify the issue.
Dealing with a flooded basement requires some investigation. If the flood's cause is discovered, the water damage restoration process may be able to move faster.

Benefits of Hiring an Emergency Restoration Service

2/23/2021 (Permalink)

green van SERVPRO of Onalaska, WI will have your business running again in no time.

Benefits of Hiring an Emergency Restoration Service

Water damage can halt your business operations, causing you to lose profit. SERVPRO of Onalaska, WI, is Faster to Any Size Disaster, and they'll have your business up and running again in no time. They'll arrive fast to mitigate damage and start repairing your building right away, saving you time and money.

Fast Response
Calling an emergency restoration service that's Faster to Any Size Disaster is important for many reasons:

  • Stopping the source of the flooding
  • Containing water to one location to prevent further damage
  • Fully drying the area to prevent structural damage
  • Sanitizing surfaces to stop mold growth

All of these things can save you time and money that would be spent on repairs if the problem is not addressed quickly.

Flooding can be dangerous for the building's inhabitants. The water can contain harmful pathogens if it is contaminated by substances such as sewage. These pathogens can spread through the air or by contact with the water if you aren't careful. Even if the water is not contaminated, there is a risk of electrocution if it is in contact with any electrical circuits. If the flooding is not properly cleaned, harmful mold could grow on moist surfaces. Lastly, if the water is not dried quickly, it can damage building materials such as wood or drywall. A professional restoration surface will be able to contain and kill harmful pathogens, shut off the power to prevent electrocution, prevent mold growth and repair structural damage.

A prompt response from an emergency restoration service can minimize damage. That makes your repairs less expensive, meaning your insurance claim will be smaller. They can also list all of the damaged property and create a restoration plan that will help your insurance provider determine how much capital you are owed.
When flooding occurs, an emergency restoration service in Onalaska, WI, that's Faster to Any Size Disaster will help keep you safe and minimize damage.

What Is Pollution Liability Coverage and Does It Cover Mold?

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

Man holding a portfolio with an insurance form Call your agent to find out if you are covered.

As a contractor in La Crosse, WI, it's important to you to maintain your reputation as a professional. Of course, your reputation is built primarily on your skill and communication during a project, but one element that has a big impact is how you conduct yourself when something goes wrong. When something goes wrong is when insurance companies get involved, and for contractors, it's important to have the right type of coverage that will protect your business as well as give you the means to do right by your client. Since many General Liability policies don't cover a mold claim that requires inspection or remediation by a mold remediation specialist, you need to make sure that you have the right kind of coverage. What is it and how does it work?

Pollution Liability Coverage

Pollution liability covers you in the event that your client claims that they sustained damages from pollutants caused by your work. In most GL policies, any mention of mold insurance claims triggers the mold exclusion policy. Adding pollution coverage can protect you in a few ways.

Covers Gaps in Your GL Policy

When you get a pollution policy that specifically covers mold, you are protecting yourself from at least some of the exclusions that are often found in general liability policies. This will also protect you while you work at a job site other than your office.

Customizable for Your Business

If you regularly work with any sort of contaminants, this extra policy can be written specifically with your job type in mind. You can include enhancements such as coverage while loading and unloading materials, while on the road, and during storage.

Works with Other Policies

You don't have to stop with general and pollution policies. Other types of environmental liability insurances and umbrella policies can all work together to protect you from mold insurance claims. Consider obtaining all your policies through one company to avoid any back and forth when submitting a mold claim.
Mold insurance claims can be daunting when you don't have the proper coverage. Review your policies on a regular basis to ensure that your business is well protected.

How To Prepare a Business Continuity Plan

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

Business Continuity Plan Concept If you own a business in La Crosse, WI, creating a business continuity plan is critical.

Here Are A Few Critical Steps For Developing Your Plan

If you own a business in La Crosse, WI, creating a business continuity plan is critical for protecting your organization in the event of a major disaster, such as a hurricane or fire. Having a well-documented plan will ensure that your business can continue during difficult times and that you can mitigate losses.

1. Perform an Analysis
One of the first steps for creating a business continuity plan is taking a step back and conducting a Business Impact Analyst to determine the impact that a catastrophic event could have on your business. While performing this analysis, you should identify the critical functions of your business and the necessary resources and to support them. Use surveys and questionnaires to gather this information.

2. Create and Document Recovery Strategies
Using the information from the BIA surveys, you should record and document all essential processes needed to keep your business operating. These strategies are should take all necessary equipment, materials and people required to maintain operations into consideration. Facilities and technical resources should be included as well. Conduct a gap analysis to identify the gaps between the current state and your business’s capabilities in a recovery state.

3. Develop a Formal Plan
Compile all information into one formal document that includes an emergency response plan, any relocation plans, and disaster recovery procedures. Any recovery teams that have been formed to execute this plan should be outlined in the document, in addition to the contact information of any vendors required to assist with recovery, such as professional flood cleanup services and electricians.

4. Conduct Training Exercises
Once the plan is developed, create a training and testing plan. Disaster simulation exercises can help familiarize employees on how to respond in the event of an emergency.
You cannot always predict when a major disaster will strike. You can, however, control how you respond when it does. Having a thorough business continuity plan will help ensure your business stays protected and mitigates any major downtime.

Do You Have a Small Business Claim Waiting To Happen?

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

Business Insurance. Business Concept on Clipboard. Composition with Clipboard, Calculator, Glasses, Green Flower and Office Every business insurance policy is different

Ways You Can Lower The Risk Of Damage

You rarely think about the structures behind your walls, but have you ever considered what would happen if a pipe burst inside? According to a study by The Hartford, water and freezing damage is the second most common type of business claim made by small business owners. 

1. Check for Indoor Risk Factors
Prepare your indoor space by covering pipes in areas exposed to extreme temperature changes. The added protection can prevent them from bursting in freezing temperatures. Move valuable items to shelves a few feet off the floor to prevent water damage from flooding, and make sure you know how to shut off the water main in case of emergency. Finally, keep the indoor temperature above 55 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.

2. Check for Outdoor Risk Factors
Outdoor hazards are another source of damage that may cause you to file a business claim. While you can’t prevent storm runoff or sewer backups, you can lower your risk by preparing in a few different ways. Inspect the property for cracks in the exterior and foundation and seal them. Check gutters and drainage areas for blockages and clear them of debris. If snow and ice are frequent in your area, learn how to remove it from the roof.

3. Check Your Insurance Policy
Every business insurance policy is different. Don’t assume you have coverage for every type of water event that may happen in Mindoro, WI. For instance, a policy may cover a pipe break but not storm runoff. Ask your insurance agent if there are any exclusions in your policy. If so, you may be able to purchase an add-on that will augment your existing coverage. You should also ask if your policy covers emergency restoration services.
Experiencing an event that requires filing a business claim is never ideal. By following these steps, you can minimize the risk of water or freezing damage to your business and get back to normal as soon as possible.