Stay High & Dry at Home: Try These Flood Prevention Tips
Flooding. Most homeowners don’t think about it much, mainly because it’s not a pleasant topic to think about. One way to help you think and worry about it even less is to consider these ways you can prevent a flood occurrence from happening…
First and Foremost: Flood Insurance!
Most homeowners mistakenly think that their insurance policy automatically covers floods—it doesn’t! Check with your insurance provider—if you live in a high-risk flood area, you may want to consider purchasing additional flood coverage.
Assemble an Emergency Kit
If you are in an area that’s prone to flooding or severe storms, it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit on hand. Your kit should include: extra clothes for you and your loved ones; insurance information (policy numbers, agent contact info, etc.); toiletries; and enough cash to last you for a few days.
Fix Your Foundation and Seal Windows
If you spot any cracks in your home’s foundation, cover them with mortar or masonry caulk that you can buy from your local hardware store. It’s also good to purchase sealants that you can apply to walls and windows to keep any storm water from penetrating into your home.
Consider a Battery-Powered Sump Pump
Sump pumps already protect your home from flooding by pumping water out, but of course they are rendered useless if your power goes out in a storm. That’s why a battery-powered sump pump is a great solution—be sure to keep it fully charged during the severe storm season.
Have Your Lawn Graded Properly
Make sure your lawn is graded so that water moves away rather than pools towards your home. Standing storm water near your home can easily seep into your basement windows and foundation. If you’re not sure about how to grade your lawn on your own, hire a landscaping professional.
If flooding causes damage to your home or property, follow these steps until professional help from our SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County team arrives.
Does Your Commercial Insurance Cover Fire Damage?
If a fire happened in your Southeastern Wisconsin business, the loss could be overwhelming. The good news? Commercial insurance policies do provide some type of coverage for fire damage.
What Type of Fire Coverage Does Your Commercial Insurance Policy Offer?
The coverage you have for your business depends on your insurance provider and your specific policy. Before you purchase or change insurance, be sure to discuss your policy with your agent so that you know exactly what is covered. Commercial Insurance typically covers these fire- related causes:
- Fire damage
- Smoke damage
- Damage from fire-extinguishing efforts: broken windows, water damage, etc.
- Fire-fighting fees incurred
Make sure your commercial insurance policy covers everything you would want to replace if damaged by fire. This includes the building itself, as well as any assets inside like equipment, machinery, and inventory. Keep in mind that there may be exclusions to your coverage, such as liability. This means your policy would not pay for damage to any surrounding homes or buildings caused by a fire originating on your property.
What Can You Do Before and After a Fire?
If your business experiences a fire, the first thing to do after it’s safely out is to call your insurance provider. Your agent will give you specific claim filing instructions. But before a fire or any other loss of any kind happens, here’s what you should do:
- Take inventory. Make a list of purchase dates and prices of equipment, software, machinery and everything else covered by your policy.
- Keep a record. List and take a video or photographic evidence of all the items. Keep the photos and list in cloud storage or in a secure off-site location.
After a fire, there are some important steps to help streamline your insurance claims process:
- Take photos or video. Before any repairs begin, make sure you do a walk-through to take photos or shoot a video of the damage, including as much detail as possible. In a video, it helps to narrate and explain what the damaged items are.
- Submit your records. With accurate records of the covered property before and after fire damage, you’ll be giving your insurance company the information they need to sufficiently reimburse you.
- Hire a cleanup and restoration professional. Commercial insurance may help your business recover financially, but you may also need professional help with cleanup and repairs. A certified restoration company like your local SERVPRO team can help you get your business back in business as soon as possible.
Want to know more about other cleaning and restoration services that your SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County teams offers? Contact us at your convenience.
What's That Smell?! Why You Should Call SERVPRO for Odor Removal
You enter your home or business and something smells. It’s an odor you don’t recognize as “normal” that seems to be lingering or getting worse. Our SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County experts weigh in on helping you identify and eliminate odors, once and for all.
The smell: rotten eggs or sulfur. The cause: a possible gas leak.
Gas leaks can come from your kitchen or near other appliances that use gas. The smell could indicate that a burner valve is slightly open or a pilot light that is out, which you can easily fix yourself. On the other hand, if a gas smell is not easily identifiable—or if you hear the hissing sound of escaping gas—leave immediately and call your gas company once you’re safely outside. Do not try to turn off any electric switches or appliances.
The smell: burning or fishy. The cause: a possible electrical fire.
When electrical wiring starts to overheat, it can emit a burning smell. Or some electrical components smell fishy when they’re exposed to high temperatures. Check if any of your outlets are sparking, especially if you smell this odor in a certain room or area. If the burning smell is strong and you can’t determine the source, exit immediately and call 911.
The smell: musty. The cause: possibly mold or mildew.
A musty smell in your home or business could be a sign that there is mold or mildew. If your home is excessively humid or experienced a water leak or flooding, mold can grow in as little as 48 hours. If you have a serious mold issue, it’s best to have a mold remediation professional assess the situation.
The smell: sewage. The cause: dried out drain pipe.
Every plumbing system has a U-shaped pipe called a P-trap that uses water to help keep the stench of sewage from rising up through your pipes. Once the pipe dries out (usually in a sink you don’t use often), that smell can waft up through your drain. Flushing your toilet or running water in the sink will usually fix the issue—if that doesn’t work, you may need to call a plumber.
Odor Removal, Whenever You Need It
Offensive odors that persist (but aren’t caused by any gas leaks of electrical issues), also need attention. That’s where our professional odor removal service comes in. Your local SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County technicians have the training and equipment to identify and eliminate these offensive odors. By identifying the cause of the odor, and determining the conditions where it contacts surfaces, the odor can often be removed over time without a trace. For fresher indoor air, contact us at your convenience.
How to Prevent and Put Out a Grease Fire At Home
Spring and summer in Wisconsin are notoriously outdoor grilling season, but there are still plenty of meals made inside your kitchen. And unfortunately, most home accidents happen in the kitchen. Of all those kitchen mishaps, grease fires are among the most damaging. Here’s what you can do to prevent a grease fire in your kitchen, and how you can put one out safely:
To Prevent a Grease Fire at Home
- Equip your kitchen with a Class B of K fire extinguisher. In fact, you should have three of these fire extinguishers in your home—one each in the kitchen, garage, and main living area.
- Keep anything that could start on fire away from the stove or cooking area—cookbooks, towels, paper towels, etc. These type of items can instantly fuel a grease fire.
- Keep your eye on a hot pan that’s cooking; leaving it unattended can be a recipe for disaster (pun intended).
- Heat oil gradually and add food slowly to minimize grease splatter. Since oil and water don’t mix, remove as much moisture as possible from food before submerging it in grease.
- Smoking grease is dangerously hot grease, as the flash point of a grease fire is 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Before it ignites, grease will smoke wildly—if grease starts smoking, turn the heat down immediately.
How To Put Out a Grease Fire
- If your pan does catch fire, smother it with an oven mitt and place the lid on top of the pan. Never throw water on the fire, or run it to the sink or outside.
- Turn off the heat source.
- If the fire is small and manageable, smother it with baking soda or salt.
- If necessary, spray the fire with a Class B or K fire extinguisher that’s suited for oil fires.
- Do not try to extinguish the fire with any cooking powders (flours, baking powder, etc.) or water.
- Do not try to move the burning pot or pan outside.
If you incur damage after a grease fire in your kitchen, rely on our SERVPRO team of cleaning and fire restoration pros. Call us 24/7 at (414) 421-3500.
Grilling and Bonfire Safety Tips for Homeowners
Warmer weather in Wisconsin brings us all outdoors to enjoy backyard grilling and time around a bonfire. But with that fire-time fun comes an added level of fire risk.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments from 2014–2018 went to an annual average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including 3,900 structure fires and 4,900 outside or unclassified fires.
To help you grill safer, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created a valuable grilling safety sheet filled with tips for all types of grills.
The NFPA also provides smart ways you can keep your fire pit safe throughout the bonfire season.
After a Fire, We’re On it
If your home or property has incurred fire damage, you can count on responsive repair and restoration here in your neighborhood through SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County. Contact us online or call anytime at (414) 421-3500.
4 Steps to Make Your Business Spring Cleaning Safe and Easy
After a typical frigid and goes-on-forever winter in Wisconsin, spring cleaning season is finally here. You’re likely already doing some seasonal chores around your home, but there are also ways you can get your business spruced up for the year ahead, too.
Our expert team at SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County has four suggestions to make spring cleaning for your business simpler and safer:
- Take inventory, then clean and organize your stockroom. Even with this year’s online or curbside orders, the busy holiday season has likely left you stockroom in disarray. Now’s a good time to take inventory, order any new merchandise, then clean and re-shelve everything in a more organized way that’s easier to find.
- Assess your look and layout. Consider a fresh coat of paint for the walls or rearrange some of your shelves, merchandise displays or tables if you own a restaurant. Perhaps there are ways to attract more customers and improve their buying or dining experience.
- Purge old records, processes, and passwords. This may not be a physical cleaning tip, but getting rid of old records you no longer need and resetting your passwords will help “clean” your operations going forward. Reviewing and revising your business processes is good too, since it works in tandem with improving how you operate. For example, perhaps there are miniscule tasks that you’re spending too much time on behind the scenes that don’t add value to your business or bottom line.
- Leave the deep cleaning to a pro. You don’t have time to worry about the common wear and tear that gradually soils your business. When grime, odor, and moisture challenges go beyond the scope of your regular janitorial staff, you should call a professional.
Whether it’s removing an odor problem or deep cleaning flooring or carpets, you can rely on SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County to make your workspace look its very best. Our cleaning services ranging from cleaning restaurant hoods to removing biohazard contaminants. We have the specialized training and products to get your property back to business. Our SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County lets you usher in a new standard of cleaning that ensures your business is healthy and safe.
Count on SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County in an Emergency, Too
When the unexpected happens to your business, you can rely on your local SERVPRO team, too. Immediate action is needed in many cleaning and restoration situations. That’s why we’re strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency. An immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs. Contact us 24/7 at (414) 421-3500.
Why SERVPRO? Let Us Count the Ways...
"Like it never even happened." These five words are so much more than our company tagline at SERVPRO—they define what every one of our thousands of locally owned and operated teams do every day. From air duct cleaning to water damage restoration, there are several ways and reasons why your neighborhood SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County is the only call you need to make for complete cleaning and restoration services…
Cleaning and Restoration is Our Specialty
SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage. SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County can also mitigate mold and mildew from your home or business. On top of that, we also provide a whole host of residential and commercial cleaning services—anything from carpet and upholstery cleaning, to vandalism and crime scene cleanup, to COVID-safe commercial cleaning.
Your Local SERVPRO Team is Highly Trained
Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes the following:
- IICRC Training: Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our professionals study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration, fire restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration courses.
- Employee Certification Training: After completing a comprehensive program, our employees earn certifications in crew training, fire restoration, water restoration, and carpet & upholstery cleaning.
- Initial Franchise Training: Our new franchise owners attend a 15-day , hands-on course covering many restoration topics such as fire restoration, water restoration, carpet & upholstery cleaning, and mold mitigation.
- e-Learnings: All of our staff have access to web-based training to keep them up to speed on industry standards and the professional quality you expect.
- Continuing Education Classes: SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County offers both credit and noncredit courses for insurance agents, insurance adjusters, real estate professionals, and franchise staff. These programs are designed to improve knowledge of emergency mitigation.
We Use Advanced Cleaning and Restoration Technology and Techniques
The past few decades has seen a rapid advancement in the technology and techniques used in the restoration industry. These advancements allow SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County Professionals to restore a property back to preloss condition quickly, reliably, and more effectively.
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets practical standards for restoration and cleaning. The IICRC S500 Water Damage Guide is a specific set of practical standards that incorporate the field of psychometry, which involves the manipulation of temperature and relative humidity to remove moisture and dry a property quickly and effectively. From specialized water extraction and mold detection to deodorizing, learn more about what makes our technology and techniques an industry “gold standard.”
We’re There Immediately in a Property Damage Emergency
Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays. You can expect an immediate response time, day or night.
Watch This Why SERVPRO? Video to Learn More
For an overview of who SERVPRO is and what our national company provides through our network of expert cleaning and restoration teams, check out this brief video.
You Know Why to Call Us—Here’s How
As we mentioned, your local SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County team is here for your cleaning and restoration needs 24/7. To learn more about our offerings, please contact us online or call us anytime at (414)-421-3500.
5 Ways to Protect Your Property from Storm Damage
Springtime in Wisconsin marks the start of storm season. You never know how severe the storms will be from year to year, but damaged property can be a costly consequence.
Luckily a little bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to minimizing the damage to your home or business. Here are five ways you can keep your property as safe as possible when a storm hits:
- Check for Dead, Decaying, or Untrimmed Trees
Any trees in your yard that are dead, hollowed, or decaying from disease are easy targets for strong winds and rains during a storm. Falling trees can cause significant damage to your property. If you have several trees in your yard, it may be best to hire a tree expert to inspect them.
- Inspect Your Foundation and Roof
Check your home or building’s foundation for any cracks or areas where storm water could seep in. It’s also wise to inspect your roof each year to make sure you catch any minor damage before it can get serious. Do it yourself if you have a proper ladder and safety equipment, or hire a professional. Check for any damaged or missing shingles; if you have siding, it’s good to check and replace any loose pieces, too.
- Clean Your Gutters
Dirty or clogged gutters are a main culprit of water leaks into your basement or home. Make sure they are free from debris so the storm water can safely flow away from your home or building’s foundation.
- Check You Water Flow, Sump Pump, and Shut-Off Situation
Make sure your property is graded to allow water to flow away from your home or building during a storm. It’s good to check that your sump pump is in working order; if it backs up it can cause basement flooding. Know ahead of time how to shut off utilities like your water or power to ensure you’re ready and safer during a severe storm.
- Seal Your Doors and Windows
Keep your doors and windows sealed, as they can be a gateway to major damage in the event of a storm. Severe winds from a tornado can cause a tiny opening in your windows or doors to enlarge and let enough wind inside to cause damage to your walls and roof.
After a Storm Hits, SERVPRO is Here for You
If your property incurs any damage or flooding after a severe thunderstorm or tornado, SERVPRO of Southeast Milwaukee County is here to help. Our team is dedicated to responding immediately to water and storm damage emergencies—this helps lessen the damage, limits further damage, and reduces your costs. Trust our 24/7 service whenever you need us at (414) 421-3500.
How basements can flood during the winter?
With the temperatures dropping and things freezing over, how is it that basements can spring leaks and flood still?
The most common causes of basement flooding and the resulting water damage during the winter months include ice floes and blocked drains due to snow. When a major snowstorm or ice storm happens, all of the surrounding area melts, and the water needs somewhere to go. If a portion of your yard has melted and the rest has not, the water might find its way into your basement or home as a result of the ice blocking typical drainage methods. Whenever a snowstorm happens, you should always make sure that gutters and drains are clear of ice so that all water can drain as it needs to.
the #1 priority is this still mitigating the damage and limiting the amount of restoration involved. As always, professionals should be called and involved as soon as possible.
February in Wisconsin and how to be ready
Winterize Your Home
Winter storms can range from a brief period of extreme cold temperatures, to days of snow, blowing wind and white-out conditions. Preparing in advance helps you tackle winter weather before it even begins. Two of the biggest safety issues as the winter season approaches is knowing how to deal with power outages in cold weather and understanding how to drive (or when not to drive) in snowy conditions.
Get Your Home Winter Ready
- Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic
- Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment
- Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing; Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside and kept clear
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts)
- Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out