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Death Scene Cleanup Experts: SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque

5/21/2018 (Permalink)

One of the most horrifying and challenging restoration projects is a crime scene cleanup. This is not for those weak of stomach. In fact, it takes a team of experts to tackle all the regulatory and professional requirements to meet the specifications of getting the site back to “Like it never even happened.”® Fortunately, the specialists over at SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque are here to help. Here are a couple pieces of background and information that are good to know when a death scene cleanup event like this occurs.

  1. Unattended Deaths

The sooner a death scene cleanup is reported the easier the restoration process will be. Obviously, this isn’t always the way things happen. The professionals at SERVPRO have the complete guide and over 25 years of experience to tackle the hardest of challenges.

  1. Step 1: Assessment

It is our pleasure to come out and do a free estimate and assessment to see what the scope of work is and how to best approach the restoration.

  1. Step 2: Contain and Section Off

The first step of a death scene remediation is to establish a control zone so that no further areas of the property are contaminated and damaged. There are a number of certified protocols SERVPRO follows to ensure the highest safety in our working environments.

  1. Step 3: Disposal

Once a death scene cleanup site is sectioned off and under control, the real work begins. Removing any contaminated belongings in the safest manner is key to ensuring the property is restored to its original state while not tainting any other aspects of the residence.

  1. Rinse, Lather, Repeat & Restore

The aesthetic restoration is only half of the remediation process. Making sure air quality and health standards are met is where we excel. Here at SERVPRO, we make it easy by being a one-stop-shop in the whole process. This saves both time and money in getting the property back up to living conditions.

  1. Does my insurance cover this?

Working with insurance agencies to help streamline the process is one of the things our customers appreciate most. Even if the property owner doesn’t have insurance, we make it as cost effective by being a GB-98 contractor. We can lower restoration costs by providing all the required services under one roof. So whether you have a residence or a commercial property, SERVPRO is here to help!

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/textexin/3612094774/in/photolist-6vbVW7-qbefwo-74EAp4-bPBgcv-bPBgcr-8EfJBf-8qyZiK-9m1wJs-8qC6Lo-oi137T-5hivnE-azZJUn-9NCAFu-n1696B-7hcnvi-a3SDzz-8jYmUX-goXcy-eys5Ps-8N4nvg-55RvMA-5eDQVU-7CoWER-8uNpyx-8EfHV3-z5HAY-8GTfhw-217PjvQ-63m37Q-nP31rn-5pnuKB-C8sLZ1-dZiCv6-fYuMju-5MvNFv-wjWtwY-7dc2CU-fjZSou-4mvKnw-eL4quU-SVxd1Y-dy7gzx-mHGa8-btdVEt-rfXgYy-8F3bof-d76too-9Hzymm-haVocF-dZpTdu

Water Damage To Your Rental From Recent Storm?

5/17/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage To Your Rental From Recent Storm? Water Damage Repair For the Landlord and Tenant

Has the recent storm we experienced caused water damage to your property?

The sooner water damage is addressed, the less likely other problems like mold will appear. There are a couple things that should be addressed for both the property owner and tenant.

Issues around repairs are a standout amongst the most well-known problems occupants bring awareness to respective property owners, says Senior Officer with the Tenants Union of NSW Leo Patterson Ross.

As an occupant, you have to recognize what sort of support a landowner is relied upon to care for and how to ensure the place you call home doesn't fall into disrepair under your supervision.

A genuine rooftop leak is viewed as a critical repair. A rooftop repair is viewed as a top priority repair.

Who is responsible for the repair?

Property managers need to keep the premise in a sensible condition of repair in relation to the age of the property, the measure of lease you are paying and the planned existence of the premises. In addition, they have to follow building, health and safety laws.

While you're in charge of things like yard maintenance and light fixtures, the landowner needs to take care of breakdowns of provided accommodations like cooking and hot water appliances, as well as damage from bad weather, a burst water pipe or other water damages.

Patterson Ross says every state has extremely strong occupant repair rights backed into laws and codes. In case you're uncertain, telephone your property administrator and get their information. They ought to be up to speed on who is in charge of what.

Contact your property director or landowner quickly

Property director Brenda Wayman of Wayman Real Estate says it's a smart move to inform the property supervisor or landowner about maintenance issues when they emerge.

"A great deal of renters would prefer not to report repairs since they feel that next time it comes around to a rent reestablishment, the lease will go up, yet that is not the situation," she says.

"We'd rather know everything that is going ahead in the place and keep it all around kept up, just increasing the rent when the market permits."

Wayman calls attention to that if an occupant doesn't report damage and it creates even more of a problem, it can be thought about as carelessness.

"The renter could then wind up with a court order to pay the landowner's insurance increase since they didn't report an issue," she says.

Record and hold on to all documents

It's essential to monitor all correspondence around your repair issue. Put all communications and moves in written documentation, says Wayman, so there's no questioning about who said what.

Keep a record of telephone calls, including the date and who you addressed, and where fitting take photographs of the thing requiring consideration and forward them to the property director or landowner.

Patterson Ross says the greatest hurdle for occupants to get repairs followed through with is the apparent danger of a "no grounds" lease cancellation.

"Inhabitants are stressed over being viewed as troublesome occupants," he says. "Somewhere in the range of occupants are being told they're being kicked out on the grounds that the proprietor wouldn't like to manage them any longer."

Patterson Ross says while these rent terminations do happen, they're not normal, and renters should continue with their endeavors to have repairs finished.

Work with your property director

Wayman says most property directors would like to give great support to their renters and landowners and their main work responsibility is to ensure repairs are made in a convenient way.

"I say to my proprietors on the off chance that you don't keep up your property you'll wind up with less desirable occupants, and the last thing you need is individuals that won't take care of your property," she says, calling attention to that repairs are typically charged to the deductible.

On a few events, it's the property supervisor who gives repairs a chance to slide. Wayman assumed control over the administration of a Sydney property where water damage was left unattended for over a year in light of the fact that the past property director never got around to procuring a tradesman to settle it, notwithstanding having the thumbs up from the landowner.

The miserable occupants wound up leaving and Wayman was entrusted with restoring the property to great condition before she could rent it out.

In the event that it's your property administrator that is letting the side down, endeavor to contact the proprietor straightforwardly with your worries.

No activity? Bring in the repairman!

On the off chance that your property director or proprietor is inaccessible, there are conditions where you can sort out a repair yourself.

With a specific end goal to be repaid for any critical repairs you should have the capacity to demonstrate the repair was not your blame, that you attempted to contact the landowner or property manager and that the repairs were completed by an authorized tradesperson.

You can likewise visit the site of the Tenants Union or proportional in your state for support, report sheets and documentation that you can download, edit and send off.

If all else fails you can apply to your local authorities in your city/state for a request for the repairs to be finished.

"The legal costs inhabitants time and cash, so on the off chance that you can resolve a repair issue without them it's eventually better, however it's the best way to get binding requests," says Patterson Ross.

"Contingent upon the type of repair, you might be qualified for a lease decrease until the point when the repair is finished. This can be a decent inspiration for the landowner to finish the repair."

Pressing repairs a landowner needs to settle as quickly as possible

  • Burst water pipe or a severe water leak
  • Backed up or damaged toilet
  • Roof Repairs
  • Gas leak
  • Water damage
  • Electrical short circuit fire
  • Flooding damage
  • Natural events/storms
  • Fire damage
  • Hot water heater leak
  • A/C heater damage
  • Overall property maintenance/safety

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dvids/5881176150/in/photolist-9XGyLN-26FS6Wx-q1AVdV-9o3GNk-5m5Pz3-ctwL97-eSoWAu-8EVRmL-5wBq3U-au2E3G-7xzS3

A Thank You to all Firefighters

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Community A Thank You to all Firefighters Firefighters, real life heroes in our communities. Thank you for you all that you do.

On May 4th, 2018 we will be celebrating International Firefighters Day (IFFD). It is a day to pay our respects to all the firefighters of the past and present who have, and continue to risk their lives.  Every firefighter, man or woman, deserves recognition.

The job of a firefighter is an extremely selfless job.  Often, the rewards a firefighter gets are not that of material possession.  It is an intangible reward.  It can be something as simple as the look in a survivors eyes whom they’ve helped rescue. Or a grateful, joyous smile of a child as a family is reunited, safe and sound.

As a firefighter, it can be a self-esteem boost to know that your actions have made a positive impact in another person’s life.  Few things can compare to the sense of pride in one’s community, to know that their constant efforts help to protect the community that they endear. This profession helps to create strong, informal leaders of mankind, and a parental figure to those in a time of need.

Although these rewards are not a physical possession to be held, they are much harder to obtain than diamonds. The value of such an internally personal reward cannot be measured by any current system in existence.  This is why we must take the time to pay homage to all of the men and women who constitute the firefighter departments around the world. For although we may not be able to give them anything of material possession, a showing of gratitude, respect, and a sincere appreciation is the least we can do for these extraordinary members of our society, whom help protect human lives all around the world.

So on behalf of all of us at SERVPRO: thank you to all of the men and women who serve and protect their communities all over the world.  Please enjoy this poem by Nadia De Levea:

Thin Red Line

by Nadia DeLevea

Though flames may roar,

And raging fires sore.

When fear stricken heart,

We always play our part.

The bleak unsure smoke rises dense and dark,

Each moment grows longer with each little spark.

No matter the struggle we keep fighting through,

Alert and aware we know what we must do.

Blink to a hand just before

our face,

Against the clock we must quickly race.

For when it gets down to the last desperate wire,

Swift and efficient we will put out that fire.

Though the chances are we’ve never met,

When needed a savior you can always expect.

While echoed sirens may blare and ring,

We hear the muffled night cries sing.

There’s no such thing as simple routine,

Ignoring monotony that lies in between.  

Very real consequences we are more than aware,

From possible situations beyond any compare.

Not a second allowed for one breath of fear,

Never a moment to shed a single silent tear.

Because when you’re in desperate dire need,

We will always strive our very best to succeed.

Blood flowing in Red, White and Blue,

We’re Brothers dedicated in all that we do.

In death’s darkest shadows we may dare to roam,

Yet we know that we may each not always come home.

This is our deepest heartfelt desire,

Given to us from a place so much higher.

In all that we do each risk taken for you,

Our passion runs deep we’re dedicated and true.

Some tend to forget that this is our real life,

That we also have children, friends and our wife.

We walk the thin line though it sometimes narrows,

In this world we are someone’s real life superheroes.

In case you forget dear when you leave in the morning,

I ask you darling to please head my forewarning.

When overcome with adrenalin I remind you to fight,

To come home yourself dear at the end of each night.

Poem sourced from: https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2058863/thin-red-line/

Power Outage Preparedness

4/25/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Power Outage Preparedness Don't be left in the dark, be prepared for power outages.

Before the Outage

  • Create an emergency preparedness kit.  This should include a flashlight, batteries, and first aid supplies.
  • Keep a spare power source available to charge cell phones and any other important devices that require power. 
  • If you have an electric garage door opener, make sure you know where the manual release lever is located and how to operate it.
  • Use ice and frozen water bottles to help keep perishable food cold.
  • Keep your vehicles gas tank full to make sure it’s available for immediate use.  Additionally, if you use your vehicle to charge your phone or other devices, don’t keep your car running in a closed space (such as a garage) as this can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Learn and keep copies of your communities pre-established emergency preparedness plans.  These can help you locate available shelters to help keep you warm/cool and provide assistance as needed.
  • Create a backup plan for any essential, power dependent medical devices that you rely on. 

During the Outage

  • Prioritize the use of flashlights for emergency lighting over candles.  If not careful candles can cause fires.
  • Don’t open refrigerator and freezer doors closed unless absolutely necessary.  An unopened freezer can keep cold for approximately 48 hours; while an unopened refrigerator can keep items cool for approximately 4 hours.
  • If it’s cold outside, layer up with warm clothing.  Never attempt to burn charcoal indoors to keep warm or cook food with.  Never use an oven as a source of heat.  If the power outage is for an extended period of time, make arrangements to go to another house or public facility that has a reliable form of heat to keep warm.
  • If it’s hot outside, drink plenty of water to help you stay cool, even if you don’t feel thirsty.  Consider going to a cooling shelter, movie theater, or shopping mall that might be open around you.  If you decide to stay at your own home, move to the lowest level of your home since cool air falls.  Additionally, wear lightweight light colored clothing.
  • Consider using surge protectors in the event of a power surge; otherwise unplug your electronics as a sudden power surge can cause permanent damage to your electronic devices.
  • Talk to an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing a generator for your home
  • Make sure any generator you use is away from your house and don’t connect it to your homes electrical system for use inside your home.

After the Outage

  • If you have any perishable food that was in 40°F for more than at least 2 hours, has non-normal odor, color, or texture, dispose of it immediately.  Better to be safe than sorry!
  • If food in your freezer is colder than 40°F but still has ice crystals on it, it can still be frozen again and recovered.
  • Fully restock your emergency kit with all new supplies.

How to Remove Mold from Carpets

4/17/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation How to Remove Mold from Carpets If your carpet looks like this, look no further for mold removal services.

Carpets, old and new, are a common source of mold growth.  They fit all the requirements needed for mold to grow — moisture, a food source, and a surface to grow on. As dust builds up in the crevices underneath carpets all it takes is exposure to water for mold to begin growing.  Both area rugs and wall-to-wall carpets are at equal risk to mold growth.  High-risk areas inside homes include: ground-floor or basement carpets in warm-climate homes, such as those in the Albuquerque area.

If you have any carpet mold damage, contact SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque to have it completely remediated — give us a call at (505)-828-3567 to schedule your mold removal.

Identifying Carpet Mold

Touching mold or inhaling airborne mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including flu-like symptoms, skin rash, and asthma attacks. Mold allergies are common and can be immediate or delayed. Even non-allergic individuals may being experiencing irritated eyes, nose, throat, and lungs when exposed to mold.  It’s important that you identify carpet mold as quickly as possible.  Some things to look for include:

  • Visible growth:  Often times the worst sign of mold growth.  If the mold is visibly growing through the carpet fibers its likely you will need to replace the carpet.  Mold growth is most commonly only on the underside of the carpet, which can only been seen when the carpet is pulled up. 
  • Discoloration: Carpet fibers can begin to change colors if mold has been growing there. 
  • Musty odor: Before you begin to see visible mold infestation the infected area will begin to smell.  It will be a stuffy, musty smell that lingers even after you clean.  Instead of trying to cover up the smell, get it checked for mold.  
  • Moisture: The source of all mold damage. If you experience any flooding, pipe leaks, or any other water damage make sure to dry it fast.  If the area is dried within 24 to 48 hours your chances of mold growth are drastically decreased.

How to Remove Carpet Mold

The severity of the mold damage in your carpet will determine if you can clean it yourself or if a mold remediation specialist, like SERVPRO, is needed.  By the time it is visible, mold damage has most likely grown to a point where a specialist is highly recommended.

  • Steam cleaning: For smaller areas of carpet that has been infected using a commercial steam cleaner filled with water and detergent can help clean the affected area.  It’s important to make sure the carpet is completely dried after cleaning to prevent recurring mold damage.
  • Use stronger cleaning agents: This is where it’s recommended to call a mold remediation specialist, as they have easy access to specialized cleaning agents to take care of mold damage.  They can help determine what type of mold is growing in your house and use the correct strength of cleaning solution to properly clean your carpet.
  • Replace the damaged area:  If the mold growth is severe enough or past cleaning attempts have proved ineffective, the most full proof action is to replace the rug.  Once the rug is pulled up it will help expose the full problem area.  This will allow the mold to be cleaned at its source before putting in a new carpet.
  • Clean area rugs: Take any area rugs that have mold growth on them outside; clean them with a mold cleaning solution and scrub thoroughly.  Fully rinse all the solution out of the rug and let dry in the sun.  To speed up the drying process you can use wet vacuum to help take out all moisture.  Make sure the rug is completely dry before putting it back into your house.

Schedule Your Mold Remediation Today!

Even with these tips to remove mold in carpet, remember that the most effective method is to hire a professional.  SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque has the expertise, knowledge, and equipment to perform any mold remediation you may have, on carpets or other areas.  Contact us today at (505)-828 -3567 to start the cleanup process without delay.

Learn Wildfire Safety Tips

4/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Learn Wildfire Safety Tips Would you know what to do in the event of a wildfire?

Wildfires are usually preventable because many originate from human error.

 ABOUT WILDFIRES

Unlike many natural disasters, most wildfires are caused by people—and can be prevented by people, too. Meteorologists are not yet able to forecast wildfire outbreaks, so people in fire-prone areas should plan ahead and prepare to evacuate with little notice. Here are some tips on how to prevent wildfires and what to do if you're caught in the middle of one.

HOW TO PREVENT A WILDFIRE

  • Contact 911, your local fire department, or the park service if you notice an unattended or out-of-control fire.
  • Never leave a fire unattended. Completely extinguish the fire—by dousing it with water and stirring the ashes until cold—before sleeping or leaving the campsite.
  • When camping, take care when using and fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters. Make sure lighting and heating devices are cool before refueling. Avoid spilling flammable liquids and store fuel away from appliances.
  • Do not discard cigarettes, matches, and smoking materials from moving vehicles, or anywhere on park grounds. Be certain to completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them.
  • Follow local ordinances when burning yard waste. Avoid backyard burning in windy conditions, and keep a shovel, water, and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check. Remove all flammables from yard when burning.

EVACUATION TIPS

  • If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Know your evacuation route ahead of time and prepare an evacuation checklist and emergency supplies.
  • Wear protective clothing and footwear to protect yourself from flying sparks and ashes.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE, PREPARE YOUR HOUSE

  • Remove combustibles, including firewood, yard waste, barbecue grills, and fuel cans, from your yard.
  • Close all windows, vents, and doors to prevent a draft.
  • Shut off natural gas, propane, or fuel oil supplies.
  • Fill any large vessels—pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, or tubs—with water to slow or discourage fire.

IF CAUGHT IN A WILDFIRE

  • Don't try to outrun the blaze. Instead, look for a body of water such as a pond or river to crouch in.
  • If there is no water nearby, find a depressed, cleared area with little vegetation, lie low to the ground, and cover your body with wet clothing, a blanket, or soil. Stay low and covered until the fire passes.
  • Protect your lungs by breathing air closest to the ground, through a moist cloth, if possible, to avoid inhaling smoke.

Sourced: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/natural-disasters/wildfire-safety-tips/

Spring Cleaning List for Businesses

4/3/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Spring Cleaning List for Businesses Not sure where to start your spring cleaning? Here's a spring cleaning list for businesses to help you out!

Spring time has become a staple time of year to undertake deeper cleaning projects.  Although this is commonly associated with residential homes, it is just as much needed for workplaces as well as homes.  The cold winter months keep everyone cooped up inside and messes start to grow.  A good cleaning helps to give workers a more open and less hectic environment; additionally, a clean and welcoming place of business helps to attract customers.

Unless you’re an archetypal Danny Tanner or Monica Geller, chances are cleaning isn’t near the top of your to-do-list.  Lucky for you, we are here to help make that part just a tad bit easier with a list of some important areas to inspect during your spring cleaning.  

OUTSIDE

  • Windows

Windows are one of the simplest yet crucial areas to clean.  Beyond making sure you have squeaky clean windows, check to make sure they have tight seals.  Small gaps in window seals can cause cool air to seep out (and warm air in the winter months), as well as allowing water to trickle in. Checking caulking and weather stripping remains intact and up to par can save you money in the long term.

  • Landscaping

This is very important for the presentation of your business.  Now the grass, flowers, weeds and other plants are starting to grow, it’s important to start grooming your landscape.  Don’t wait till your plants get out of control, hire someone now or take some time yourself to pull the weeds, mow the grass, and trim any trees or bushes.  Additionally, this is a great time to plant some flowers if you want to spruce up your place of business.

  • AC/HVAC

When converting your buildings air flow system from heating to air conditioning now is the best time to quality check your system.  Test your system by running it for a while to make sure it’s working properly, check any old or out of date parts that might need replacing.  Clean out the ventilation system by removing dust particles and any other debris lying inside.  Ventilation systems are rarely cleaned, which is why lots of building owners tend to find pest infestation or mold problems when cleaning their vents/ducts.  It’s best to take these precautions while the temperature is in a transitioning period. 

  • Pest Maintenance

Along with the rebirthed trees and plants, spring also brings back hordes of pests.  Ants, spiders, termites, mosquitoes, and even bed bugs can become a problem.  It’s best to take preventative measures to ward off pests instead of being forced to shut the business down for a couple weeks in order to fumigate for pests.  Keep in mind your locale because different areas attract different pests, this will help inform you what to spray for. If you’re located near a ditch you’ll have more mosquitoes, among other pests, than a more urbanized area. Lastly, if you are continually having the same pest problems year after year, try to identify exterior factors that might be attracting those pests and any defects in your building that might be letting them in.

INSIDE

  • Dusting

Simple and effective.  Even if you already dust on a regular basis now’s a good time to dust those harder to reach, and often ignored, areas. 

  • Flooring/Carpets

As people come in from the rainy times and wipe their feet on your carpets, dirt begins to build up.  Don’t let this grime buildup in your building; buy some strong cleaning products for your floors and a top quality vacuum for carpets. In addition to constantly maintaining floors and carpets, now is a great time to hire a professional carpet and floor cleaner to give your floors a deep clean.

  • Reorganization

Reorganizing comes in two parts.  The first is the organizing of all the previous years files into a consolidated area for ease of access.  Best practice is to do this at the beginning of every year so that your files are neatly organized and easy to find when needed.  The second is the reorganization of the office itself.  This is more to keep a clean and presentable workplace.  Ideally this is a continuing process year round.  If the office has gotten out of hand this can be a good time of year to tidy up the office and breathe some fresh air into the workplace. 

Depending on your type of business will help determine what type of spring cleaning takes priority.  For example, if you are in a retail business many of these basic cleanings, such as windows and organization, might already be factored into your weekly/monthly workflow.  Although it never hurts to go over all areas to make sure everything is getting done properly and efficiently.  Additionally, there will be some other more industry specific actions that require priority over window cleaning.  Remember, it’s most importantly to consider your specific business and the area in which you are doing business when prioritizing your spring cleaning.

No End in Sight to Drought in Southwestern U.S.

3/21/2018 (Permalink)

The amount of moisture received across the United States’ southern high plains since October has been ridiculously low, and forecasters warned Friday that the intensifying drought has resulted in critical fire danger and some winter wheat crops being reduced to stubble across several states.

Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said during a national briefing that some areas in the region have received less than one-tenth of an inch of rain in the past five months and that’s perhaps the longest period of time these areas have been without rain since record-keeping began decades ago.

The lack of rain combined with above-normal temperatures across parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas have left livestock watering tanks dry, agricultural fields wind-blown and rangeland charred.

“Of course, you can never predict something this severe several months in advance, but we did know going in it was going to be a challenging cold season for the southern plains,” Nielsen-Gammon said.

He showed satellite images of smoke and dust plumes moving across the region and warned that the warm and dry weather is expected to continue through the spring. That could mean continued crop damage, dwindling irrigation supplies and more fires.

“Any precipitation that does fall over the next three months is likely to evaporate relatively quickly at the same time that crops and forage are requiring more water because of the high temperatures,” he said. “That means if and when the rains do return, drought recovery … will proceed slower than expected.”

Due to the dry conditions, the National Weather Service issued fire warnings Friday for most of Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, southern Kansas, northeastern New Mexico, southeastern Colorado and southeastern Missouri.

Oklahoma Forestry Services already has requested and received firefighters and equipment from Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana because of the fire threat. Additional firefighters and equipment from Georgia and Mississippi are on the way.

Oklahoma Forestry Commission spokeswoman Michelle Finch-Walker said early to mid-afternoon is the time many fires begin.

“We call that the witching hour. It’s getting warmer, the humidity is dropping and wind gusts are picking up,” she said.

For Oklahoma, this marks the first time exceptional drought – the worst category of drought – has made an appearance since May 2015. Several counties in the northwest and the panhandle have gone 155 days or more with less than one-quarter of an inch of rain, marking just a fraction of average precipitation for this time of year.

The latest map shows swaths of red – indicating extreme to exceptional drought – covering the southern high plains and the Four Corners region where the borders of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah meet.

In New Mexico, the lack of water and an unseasonably warm winter have already resulted in a high demand for hay, and some livestock owners have been forced to trim their herds. The last time this much of the state was grappling with extreme drought was July 2014.

Winter wheat crops in Texas are also struggling. Officials there say almost one-third of the crop is rated as poor.

Wildfires in Kansas have already burned thousands of acres, and agricultural officials were prepared to move hay to ranchers who need it most or work with the federal government to access additional grazing land.

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer declared a drought emergency last week, citing the persistent dry conditions and growing fire hazards.

That state’s average precipitation over the past six months was only two-thirds of the normal rate, and in January and February the statewide average precipitation was even less, at less than half of normal.

sourced: https://www.abqjournal.com/1146809/drought-marches-across-us-southern-high-plains.html

Fighting to Help Homeless – Not Criminalize Them

3/6/2018 (Permalink)

The pending lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the City of Albuquerque has halted the implementation of the new Pedestrian Safety Ordinance (PSO).  This ordinance was passed by the city council on November 6th, 2017. 

The ACLU held private conversations with the city where they persuaded them not to begin implementation of the PSO until the litigation has been resolved.

The PSO makes it illegal for “physical interactions or exchange with a pedestrian” at specific locations, such as street medians and highway entrances.  This makes it illegal for both parties to engage in interactions; prohibiting people from giving food, money, and health products to those in need. 

The ACLU banded together to sue the City of Albuquerque, claiming this ordinance criminalizes free speech in public areas, siting the broad language of the ordinance.  The areas cited in the document are commonly used for political speech and protests, in addition to homeless men and women looking for aid.

Back in 2015 New Mexico was at the heart of a positive new program that continues to combat homelessness by assisting these individuals instead of criminalizing them.  This has been the objective of the “There’s a Better Way” initiative (see: http://bit.ly/2D5N8Qk).  Cities around the United States have looked toward Albuquerque’s initiative when creating their own policies in combating homelessness. 

Instead of trying to criminalize and incarcerate homeless people, “There’s a Better Way” seeks to assist the homeless by giving them shelter, food, and helping them find work. 

In 2016 The University of New Mexico’s Institute for Social Research followed Albuquerque’s Heading Home initiative (AKA “There’s a Better Way” program) and reported that for every dollar invested into this initiative, taxpayers saved $1.78.

Other reports indicate similar savings when addressing the problem of homelessness by attempting to assist them instead of trying to punish them.  Central Florida’s Commission on Homelessness researched their region and discovered “the annual cost of leaving people homeless – the costs of policing them, throwing them in jail for largely non-violent offenses, and providing medical care – were three times as expensive as providing them with permanent housing and caseworkers.”

It’s becoming more and more prevalent that instituting programs to assist the homeless works better not only from a humanistic standpoint, but also from an economical one. 

Still the practice of housing first programs has largely been swept under the rug from a political standpoint. This may be in part because of the prevalent, negative stigma surrounding communities of homelessness.

Eliminating this negative stigma is no easy task.  It starts by not initiating more backwards thinking programs like the Pedestrian Safety Ordinance, but instead; implementing programs of positive change in mentality and action, like the “There’s a Better Way” program.

As we are seeing with the PSO, lazy, backwards thinking lawmaking can begin to imperil the basic rights of communities like Albuquerque. These lawmakers may be trying to solve a serious problem, but the negative stigma given to the homeless perpetuates the lack of critical thinking in solving the problem of homelessness.  As long as our laws continue to push the stigma that homeless people are criminals, true progress and change cannot be accomplished on a massive enough scale for it to begin to truly make a dent in this nationwide problem. 

Luckily there is a strong if not small contingent of people, like those in the American Civil Liberties Union and the Heading Home foundation, who continue to fight for a more holistic solution.  Change of this nature is often sparked by a close knit group of people working for a better tomorrow, a tomorrow for all.

Works cited: https://shadowproof.com/2018/03/05/albuquerque-wont-enforce-draconian-anti-panhandling-ordinance-aclu-lawsuit-pending/

SERVPRO Earns Top Restoration Services Franchise

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

Community SERVPRO Earns Top Restoration Services Franchise SERVPRO Named Top Restoration Services Franchise

As one of over 1,700 individually owned and operated SERVPRO franchises, we are proud to acknowledge the achievements of the corporation we belong to.  This year, 2018, marks the 15th consecutive year SERVPRO has been named the top franchise opportunity within the restoration services category by Entrepreneur Magazine. 

When looking beyond just the restoration services industry, SERVPRO ranks as the 12th best Franchise opportunity, just behind Jimmy John’s Gormet Sandwiches and right above Culver Franchising System Inc.  McDonald’s is at the top of the list followed by 7-Eleven Inc.; Dunkin’ Donuts, The UPS Store, and RE/MAX LLC round out the top 5.

Entrepreneur Magazine is diligent in creating a ranking system that maintains objectivity, through quantifiable metrics, to best inform readers.  Their system is called the “five pillars of the Franchise 500”.  Included underneath each pillar, as bullet points, are the key factors which makeup that pillar.

Costs & Fees

  • Franchise fee
  • Total investment
  • Royalty fees

Size & Growth

  • Open & operating units
  • Growth rate
  • Closure

Support

  • Training times
  • Marketing support
  • Operational support
  • Franchisor infrastructure
  • Financing availability
  • Litigation

Brand Strength

  • Social media
  • System size
  • Years in business
  • Years franchising

Financial Strength & Stability

  • Franchisor’s audited financial statements

SERVPRO surely excels in the areas of “brand strength” and “support”.  The bright orange and vibrant green colors allow for a strong, impactful, and recognizable brand.  In addition, with over 1,700 franchises, SERVPRO’s brand impresses with a depth of industry knowledge and experiences shared between all past and existing franchises. 

With so many franchises many areas are home to multiple SERVPRO’s.  At the corporate level SERVPRO has a well-defined territory map that allows all franchises to not compete against one another, but support one another.  This allows SERVPRO franchises to share jobs as well as industry knowledge. 

Corporate headquarters is also very responsive and always available to assist franchises with any new obstacles encountered.  When trying to contact corporate headquarters they don’t encumber you with automated answering services, multiple phone transfers, or constantly referring you back to the website for help.  You often end up talking to many of the same people, which helps build a more personal and honestly helpful communication structure. This all leads to a truly helpful support system that flows from the top down.

 Here at SERVPRO of NE Albuquerque we’ve been in business for 20 years now.  We can testify for the longevity of opening up a SERVPRO franchise.  We’ve been able to grow locally over this time along with corporate nationally.  We are just one of over 1,700 different entrepreneurs whom have benefited from the top quality franchisor that is SERVPRO. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in getting into the restoration industry with their own business, we highly recommend considering franchising with SERVPRO.  The help and brand name recognition gives benefits in the short and long term. 

As one of the many limbs that makeup the franchise, we are proud to share in the announcement of SERVPRO’s award.