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Disaster Preparedness: 40% of Small Businesses go out of Business After a Disaster

1/11/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Disaster Preparedness: 40% of Small Businesses go out of Business After a Disaster Let SERVPRO help assist you in creating a disaster preparedness plan

It’s a harsh reality of opening a small business.  Most of the owners efforts are focused on the opening and consequent upkeep of their small business.  Many of them don’t find much necessity in focusing on more unlikely and uncontrollable disasters that can affect their business.  With this oversight comes a high cost; 40% of small business are never able to open their doors again after suffering a disaster (as reported by CBC & SurveyMonkey’s Small Business Survey). 

With the life changing altering consequences a disaster can have on any business, it’s important to be prepared in the event of a disaster.  It’s a case of “better to be safe than sorry”.  This is why it is important to have a ready-made plan to follow through with when confronted with the unexpected. Having a disaster readiness plan can’t always prevent a disaster from occurring but it can increase the chances that your business reopens, and stays open, successfully.

Do yourself a favor to prepare for a disaster now, to give yourself a greater sense of peace of mind in the future.  Here are five helpful tips to consider for all small business who are wanting to prepare for the unexpected.

1) Keep you Company Records in the Cloud

This one may seem obvious given our societies current reliance on electronic technology and the internet.  Though this doesn’t apply to all businesses; especially small businesses with tighter budgets.  Most cloud based services will give you a limited amount of space to use for free on their service.  This is great for newly started businesses or businesses whom are starting to transfer their information from physical copies to the cloud.  Once this storage is fully used then it’s time to consider buying more cloud storage.

Having all of your data stored to the cloud doesn’t mean you have to stop keeping physical records, instead it works as a safety net in the event of a disaster.   It also give you the ability to access all of this information from anywhere, not just your office. This is the one tip that is most versatile for all of the different things it can do for your business.

2) Have a Plan to Communicate to Employees, Vendors, and Customers

When preparing for a disaster it’s best to prepare for the worst case scenario.  If your physical location is out of commission make sure to have a separate plan to address all employees, vendors, and customers. The reason you have a different plan for each is because each set of people have different needs when dealing with your company. 

You should always address your employees first.  They should be properly trained and aware of how to proceed, otherwise they won’t be able to effectively communicate and help with all vendors and customers.  They are the foundation of your business and will be crucial to making sure business will continue as smoothly as possible during this turbulent time. 

Additionally, your employees will be wondering if they will be out of a job or if they need to worry about finding another source of income while the business gets up and running.  This can cause all employees to stress and lead to them leaving the company due uncertainty.  If they are well informed of what to do during a disaster this can not only put them at ease, but also make sure they still have work to accomplish, knowing they will still be able to get the money they need to provide for themselves and their family.

With vendors it’s important to contact them to work out an arrangement until you can get your business back on its feet.  This way vendors won’t send you products you can’t store, sell, or pay for.  The vendors will respect this and know that if they can work with you they can keep you as a customer, therefore working in both of your favors.  This can help grow your relationship with a vendor and help you during your comeback.

Lastly, it’s important to contact your customer and inform them of your situation.  No need to leave them in the dark and risk them going to a competitor.  Transparency is crucial.  Alert them as to how long and why you will be closed.  Additionally, this also means that you must alert them as to when your “grand re-opening” occurs.  Especially with your most best, most loyal customers you don’t want to leave it up to social media to alert them, you want to get in front of them as directly as possible.  If you put forth the effort for them, they are more likely to give you their word of mouth and business.

3) Develop a Plan to Keep Operations Running During the Repair Process

This step goes hand in hand with communicating with your employees.  Make sure all involved in your business are prepared to keep the business running.  If you have an online store, consider shipping any undamaged products or talking to your vendor and getting products drop shipped.  Finding creative ways to keep your business running while your physical space is getting repaired is important in not allowing your business to close.

4) Analyze Potential Threats

As stated earlier, it’s best to assess and prepare for all potential disasters.  When preparing, do be smart about what disasters you prepare for.  For example, in New Mexico, there’s no use in preparing for a hurricane but there is value in preparing for a fire, flooding, even tornadoes; these are some of the most common natural disasters experienced around the state.  So while it’s recommended you prepare for all disasters, be smart about where you are located and what type you prioritize.

5) Actively Practice Drills

Once a preparedness plan has been created and is ready to be put into effect don’t allow it to sit there and gather dust in a folder.  Train employees on exactly what to do and how to use the preparedness plan.  Once all employees have been trained and know their specific responsibilities, practice.  Practice implementing the preparedness plan much like a fire drill is practiced.  If people learn it once and don’t have to use it for years to come, they will forget what to do; making all of the hard work it took to create a plan for naught.

 It may seem unlikely and a waste of time, but in the unfortunate event that you need to use the plan, it can prove to be a business and job saver for many.

Drought Forming in Parts of New Mexico

1/9/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Drought Forming in Parts of New Mexico New Mexico drought map courtesy of "U.S. Drought Monitor"

New Mexican’s may not be used to a white Christmas but there is generally a little bit of snow around to satisfy their cravings.  This year that hasn’t been the case.  For example, Ski Santa Fe has only received 7 inches of snow so far this year; shocking when compared to a seasonal average of 225 inches of natural snowfall.  The warm temperatures are also making it hard to sustain manmade snow, even at the higher elevations near the mountains peaks.  This has all lead to a new drought that is just starting to take effect.

Symptoms of a drought are beginning to form around the state.  This is unwelcomed news since just three and a half months ago the entirety of New Mexico was drought free for the first time since the USDA Drought Monitor started in 1999. Even with the weather recently turning positive in New Mexico, having drought symptoms isn’t anything new to the residents of this state.  New Mexicans know the conditions all too well and how important it is to take preventative measures to ensure no fires ignite.

Here’s a friendly reminder to all, be aware of precipitation and weather conditions wherever you reside in the state.  Don’t do anything reckless or careless when dealing with fires, grills, stoves, chimneys, or any other heat sources.  Be smart and take proper procedures to ensure the safety of yourself, your family, and your community. 

If any accidents do occur, don’t hesitate to call us at SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque, our immediate response team will be on the scene ASAP!  Our number is (505)-828-3567, we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Product Watch: EasyDECON

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Product Watch: EasyDECON Welcome to Product Watch! Today we’ll be discussing EasyDECON.

Hello and welcome to the first edition of Product Watch!  This is where we will aim to inform you, our reader, about interesting products in the remediation and construction industry. For this inaugural post we are going to learn about a product called “EasyDECON”.

"EasyDECON", also branded under the name “Crystal Clean”, is a decontaminate/disinfectant offered by Intelagard.  It was originally developed in response to the Tokyo train scare of March 20, 1995.  After which it was commissioned by the U.S Department of Defense and developed by the workers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

It has since been used by the U.S. government in the 2001 anthrax scare; as well as the Ebola virus pandemic in 2014.  It even found its way into cleanup crews’ equipment for the Boston Marathon bombing.

Currently the U.S. Special Forces/Special Operations units use it to assist them with the destruction of biological and chemical weapons in all areas of the world. Other government agencies, such as the FBI, also use "EasyDECON" as their main decontaminate product.

"EasyDECON" is used by the government due to its greater effectiveness when compared to more common bleach products.  Not only does it allow better penetration into porous materials it also requires less applications to fully remediate an effected area.  Perhaps the most unique thing about "EasyDECON" is it’s ability to be utilized in 3 different states of matter which includes: liquid, foam, and fog.  This help to increase effectiveness of the product for all different type of jobs.  For example, when dealing with an area that has a lot of airborne mold, using the solution in fog form is most effective for remediation.

Not only is "EasyDECON" being used by the government for its originally intended purpose, to help in response to biological and chemical terror attacks, it has more recently gaining use with more local tasks.  For example firefighters are using it to disinfect their protective suits, aka bunker gear, of cancer causing toxins.  This hints at the ability to help in cases of fire remediation.  Additionally, it is more effective than bleach in mold remediation, as well as more efficient as it requires fewer applications for remediation. Both of these hint at the possibilities this product could have to cross over into the commercial/residential remediation industry.  It’s quite possible "EasyDECON" could become a go-to product in the remediation industry. 

Stay aware and keep watch, until next time!

Reducing Fire Risk

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

As temperatures rise, especially in dry, warm climates, fire risk increases as well. Entire communities need to work together, especially those in fire-dependent ecosystems, creating fire-wise solutions that will help to prevent fires from happening, and to ensure that when they do, that fire fighters can effectively extinguish them.

Follow these tips to help reduce the risk of fire, and when fire does occur, that it is possible for firefighters effectively combat them.

Check smoke detectors 
Working smoke detectors can save lives. What may start as a small kitchen fire can quickly spread. Make sure to keep smoke detectors fully charged and operational.

Have an EDITH 
EDITH stands for: Exit drills in the home. Cal Fire suggests sketching a floor plan of the home, and then creating an escape plan with arrows that map out the primary and secondary escape routes. Then, have a drill and test out the routes.

Create a firebreak around your home 
A firebreak is a gap in vegetation that will stop or slow the spread of a wildfire. Having flammable vegetation directly surrounding a home will make it extremely difficult for fire fighters to save it.

the following standards for clearance requirements of vegetative growth:

a) Maximum height of 4 inches 
b) Located within 100 feet of any building or structure, or to the property line, whichever is nearer 
c) Located within 50 feet from the edge of any improved roadway 
d) Located within 50 feet from each property line 
e) Located within 10 feet on each side of driveways

Firewise landscaping 
Replacing plants that are prone to fire with plants that are more fire resistant can dramatically reduce the risk of fire around a home. Some fantastic fire resistant plant options include: all species of iceplant, wild strawberry, carnations, and all succulents. In general, look for moist, supple leaves, and plants with little sap production. Keep in mind that fire resistant plants can still ignite, but they can reduce the risk of fire and make it easier for firefighters to access the home during the event of a fire.

Why Commercial Business Should Take Mold Remediation Seriously

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

What Kills the Mold?

There are thousands of species of fungi and mold that are in existence in commercial establishments. They are present in almost any environment, but warm and damp settings boost their growth. If you are aware of the main source of mold growth in your business property, and if you think it is not yet largely spread, cleaning the area and fixing the problem by means of mold remediation usually do the trick.

There are several cases in which it is really difficult to find the origin of the infestation, even though the awful odor of the mold cannot be ignored. The mold growth may likely have spread to a vast area in the office building, which makes it extremely difficult for someone to locate it without having professional assistance.

What Kills the Mold?

You can find lots of professional service providers that are qualified enough to give an effective mold remediation to this particular problem. However, because a mold infestation is a serious matter, it is advisable to do an in depth research and go for an agency whose work speaks for the credibility of the company.

Generally, mold infestations are formed on the moist parts of the buildings, particularly during the rainy seasons. This mold growth is commonly found on the flooring, basement, drywall, bathroom tiles, and many others. These grubby patches can make your commercial business look dirty, and it can also make a person at risk of health problems.

Certain mold species give off biologically active compounds known as mycotoxins, and being exposed to these chemical substances can easily make you susceptible to various diseases. Aside from causing various health issues, these kinds of infestations can seriously damage the structure of the building, if left without treatment for a long period of time.

Extent of Infestation

You can get rid of minor mold infestations by using a mold killer and a scrub brush, which can be purchased from retail stores. Keep in mind though that you need to hire the experts to get rid of major mold infestation in vast locations. Also, the severity of the infestation is a major factor that determines the cost of the mold remediation.

If your office building is infested with mold, follow some tried-and-tested treatment methods for the removal of mold, or simply call the professionals to do the mold remediation. Ultimately, take the precautionary measures so that you can prevent such a problem in the future.

Source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2881943#ixzz44Jzo9mJN

Protecting Your Home From Storm Damage

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Rain isn’t the only thing leaving its mark on our homes. Springtime may have just passed, but storms are still whipping through cities causing power outages and home damage. According to the National Storm Damage Center (NSDC), damage caused by trees during severe weather account for over $1 billion in property damage. Broken limbs or trees can cause mass amounts of damage to your property if they make contact. Such damage can be done to roofing, siding, windows and even structure to the home, causing lots of expensive repairs. Unfortunately there is no way to stop the unpredictable weather, but there are ways to prevent damage from happening to your home.

Assessing your tree

The National Storm Damage Center insists on trying to keep trees healthy and surviving as long as they’re not posing an immediate threat, but how do we know if the tree is ready to be taken down or not? There are different ways that a tree can be assessed to give you a better answer to that question.

Broken limbs – the larger amount of large limbs that are broken on a tree, the less likely it is to survive or recover from storm damage. This tree is unfortunately probably ready to be taken down.

Amount of limbs broken – A tree showing more than 50% of its limbs broken or damaged means that it will most likely have a difficult time producing leaves in the upcoming season, therefor making it harder for it to survive.

Leader branch – Is the upward-trending branch at the top of the tree broken? Without this branch being intact, it is likely that the tree’s growth will be stunted, making it less likely to survive.

Location – Last, but not least is location. Saving trees is important for our environment, but keeping lives safe is obviously more important to us. The biggest decision on whether to keep a tree in your yard or not is purely the location of the tree. Is it in a location that could cause damage or injury to your home, car or family if it were to break? If so, it is better to be safe than sorry and get it removed before a storm comes through.

If the unthinkable happens and you have a tree or storm damage, call SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque today!

Saving Water Damaged Carpet

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

It takes less than an inch of water to cause serious water damage to the carpeting in your home.  Not only is the carpet itself soaked, but the padding beneath is ruined, and the flooring and drywall may also end up warping or cracking.  Basically, it makes for a lot of problems. 

In almost every case, the easiest thing to do would be to simply throw the damaged carpet out and start all over again with new, but for some reason, there are folks who exist in this world who feel it necessary to do all they can to save their carpeting.  The good news is, it can be done.  The bad news is, once you do it, you may find yourself convinced that throwing it out should have been your first choice.

But I digress.  Water damaged carpets can be cleaned, provided that they have been soaked for less than 48 hours, and provided that the water in question is not sewage based.  If you have a sewage problem, skip the rest of this article and just throw the carpet out.  You’ve got far more serious issues to contend with.  Trust me on this one.

When it comes to cleaning a water damaged carpet, the first thing to do (as with any kind of water damage) is to locate the source of the water and shut it off.  This prevents more water from coming in, but it also allows you to determine what kind of water you’re dealing with.

The excess water damage will need to be removed from the carpet.  Usually this is accomplished through the use of a wet dry vac unit or pump.  Most of the water can be removed during this process, but not all of it.  The bad news is that the carpet will still retain a good bit of moisture, not to mention that found beneath the carpet or in the walls.  The good news is that the carpet should now be light enough to lift.

Yes, children, I said lift.  The carpet will need to be taken up and moved outside to completely dry, preferably somewhere that it can be laid flat, such as a patio or driveway, and in direct sunlight.  You can also use fans or blowers to help speed the process along.  Laying the carpet out flat is imperative…..otherwise it may dry unevenly and may not even fit back into the room from whence it came. 

Once the carpet is dried out, it will need to be clean, disinfected, and sanitized…..twice.  That’s right, once it’s all done, do it again for good measure.  You want it to be as clean and fresh as it can possibly be before putting it back down.

While the carpet is drying, don’t neglect the flooring.  Chuck all the padding out the door and replace it with new padding.  Trying to repair damaged carpet padding is an exercise in futility.  Don’t put yourself through it.  Make sure the flooring is dried out, cleaned, disinfected, sanitized, you know the drill.  All surfaces must be completely dry before the carpet is put back down, or else you’re inviting mold to start growing. 

Depending on the depth of the water, check the surrounding drywall for the telltale stains or swelling that usually accompany water damage.  The drywall may have to be cut and either partially or wholly replaced. 

Remember, the operative word in the whole operation is “dry”.  Everything must be completely dried out in order to prevent subsequent problems from materializing. 

Again, my advice would be to call in an airstrike and start all over again, but if you are one of those folks who believe that your carpet can be saved, and that we have the technology, etc etc……then the good news is that it can be done, provided you act swiftly and thoroughly.

New Mexico and Monsoon Damage

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

The intense rains and high winds of monsoon season in the Southwest here. The high concentration of moisture and very real flash flooding risk during monsoon months can wreak havoc on the exteriors of homes and other buildings.

If you find yourself requiring assistance with roof leaks or water in your home or business, contact us today.

SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque specializes in providing ‘round the clock flood restoration services during monsoon season, and any time that we are needed. Deferred maintenance only exacerbates the consequences of heavy rainfall, so don't hesitate to contact us at the first signs of water damage. Safety and prompt attention to detail are top priorities with our company.

We react quickly and are licensed, bonded, and insured. Our IICRC certified team understands the safety measures to take when addressing hidden flooding dangers that become apparent during severe weather. Heavy rainfall can cause unexpected emergency leaking and flooding situations, and it is important to know who to turn to when immediate assistance is required.

SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque boasts an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and is the top choice for flood restoration services. Again, deferred maintenance will only cause further damage to both the structure and integrity of any building impacted by monsoon season. In addition to keeping up to date with weather trends and forecasts, have the American Restoration phone number handy with your disaster supply kit and supplies— 505-828-3567. We are available and capable to quickly respond to any monsoon emergency that you may experience.

Beware of Pipe Corrosion in Your Home or Business

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Property owners should understand that water supply lines or pressurized toilet tanks can create flooding dangers inside a residential or commercial structure, leading to significant damages to a building’s materials and structure. To prevent a flooding incident that can cause serious damage to a structure’s walls, floors or ceilings, at SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque, we recommend checking all of a building’s plumbing fixtures inside and outside of a building frequently.

Some signs that a line is degrading is seeing metal corrosion or drops of moisture near the item, and if there is damage to the lines, then property owners should arrange an immediate repair.

However, if the lines do break our customers should move away from flooding dangers such as slippery floors or wet electrical wires, and contact us immediately anytime of the day or night for prompt remediation services. Because our technicians have IICRC certification, we are able to remove the clean moisture from broken water lines in addition to the dirty wastewater from a failing pressurized toilet tank. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification organization helps to train our technicians to make expert flood restoration repairs.

At SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque, we are ready to assist homeowners or business managers with flood restoration repairs after water supply lines degrade, leading to damage inside a building from the invading moisture. Located in Albuquerque, our technicians have IICRC certification, ensuring that our customers receive the most specialized repairs after a business or home flooding incident. Contact us for fast remediation services at 505-828-3567

DIY Mold Remediation

12/11/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation

In the right environment and conditions, the mold will develop on wood surfaces, garments, drywall, inside air channels, on deck, and roofs. Much of the time, the mold develops in territories that are clammy and sodden and require an ideal temperature, and additionally oxygen. The restroom is the place a ton of dampness is regularly found. On the off chance that you have an unventilated restroom, it is recommended to leave open windows and entryways after every shower. By lessening the stickiness in the home and keeping up a level of 50 percent or lower, will forestall organism development. Washing the shower window much of the time keeps the development of mold, yet in the event that conceivable, put resources into a mold safe shower shade. Evacuate toys, void cleanser jugs and other shower things and keep them perfect and dry.

Mold Prevention

To confine the development of mold, the home must have satisfactory ventilation and consideration ought to be given to any harmed funnels, window seals, and surface waste around the home. Unfinished cellar territories are infamous for organism development, this is on account of they are normally sodden and go unattended considering the region is for the most part utilized for capacity. Assessing under the sink or any funneling for breaks can avert over the top dampness in your home. Although entering a flooded room because of a leak in the washing machine is not pleasant, the clean-up process to prevent mildew can be even more frustrating.

Mold Removal

Normal items have been effective in evacuating growths, for example, refined vinegar, Tea Tree Oil, and cleanser and-water. Obviously, there are a few business items available. Despite the procedure picked, cautious consideration ought to be given to the headings to appropriately blend the arrangements. Moreover, you will need cleaning materials, for example, cleaning fabrics, basins, gloves, garbage sacks and receptacles. Despite the fact that ventilation is unequivocally proposed, you ought to abstain from utilizing a fan, so that the mold spores are not released into the air and blown to different territories of the home, expanding wellbeing dangers.

When in doubt call SERVPRO of Northeast Albuquerque at 505-828-3567. Well sort it out, “Like it never even happened."

Sources:

http://blackmold.awardspace.com/where-mold-grow.html

http://www.survivingmold.com/mold-symptoms/common-mold-sickness-misdiagnoses-is-this-really-my-illness-1

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fniah-spnia/promotion/public-publique/home-maison/mould-moisissure-eng.php

http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/bathrooms/bathroom-mold/

http://www.medicinenet.com/mold_exposure/article.htm