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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

What Is an Electronic Claims Service?

6/2/2022 (Permalink)

A service for storing and accessing claims electronically makes it easier to access data related to an insurance claim in progress. The following features of the SERVPRO Claims Information Center facilitate communication between mitigation and restoration professionals and insurers.

A Portal to Claim Information

An insurance agent can log onto a claim service to view an estimate for damage cleanup and restoration. This information will be based on an on-site visit to a residence and should account for several factors:

Type of damage
Extent of damage
Cleaning and restoration methods

All of this information is important for an agent processing an insurance claim. Other types of useful information are also available through this service.

A Resource for Comparing Claims

Agents may also find it useful to be able to compare the amount of a claim to other claims in a region or nationwide. The Claims Information Center also makes it easy for insurers to access other collected data:

Causes of loss
Claim types
Job costs
Response times

It may also be possible to compare these types of data and other metrics for franchises and companies. All of this information can help an agent or adjuster determine whether an estimate is accurate and reasonable.

A Communication Tool

One of the best features of an electronic claims service is that it can reduce communication-related delays. Rather than having to schedule calls, mitigation and restoration franchises can simply upload estimate information and more data on the progress of a job for an agent or adjuster to review on his or her own schedule.

These features make the Claims Information Center and other electronic claims services a useful resource for insurers and restoration vendors. Shortly after SERVPRO experts assess the extent of damage at residence in Austin, TX, an estimate will be posted on this service to expedite the processing of an insurance claim.

Why You Need an Immediate Response to Water Damage

6/2/2022 (Permalink)

When flooding and other water disasters affect your Austin, TX, home and family, you don't want to wait several hours for regular business hours. You need solutions immediately. SERVPRO water damage mitigation professionals offer 24-hour emergency response services. This means that if a pipe bursts on a holiday, technicians are available to respond. If heavy storm damages leave your home exposed to flooding, a fast response could prevent further harm.

You Can't Wait a Single Day

The first hours after your home is affected by water damage, many things begin to happen.

  • Furniture swells and breaks down.
  • Metal items tarnish and rust.
  • Fabric and paper items become stained.
  • Mold or mildew takes hold.
  • Drywall weakens and swells.

An immediate response puts the progression of damage on hold while a corrective course of action is put into place.

It's Expensive To Delay

Many situations requiring cleaning and restoration must be addressed immediately. This is because water damage takes place within minutes. Within a short 60-second period, walls, floors, and upholstery absorb water. Finishes on tables and chairs begin to bleed. Cherished photographs start to warp and discolor. If you have to wait more than a 24-hour period for professionals to arrive, the damage becomes much harder to address.

If you have to wait just two days for services, mold may begin to spread. Important framing may warp. Metal fixtures begin to corrode. Paint blisters and wood flooring swells. As damage increases, the efforts and cost of restoring your home increase rapidly. In some cases, the structural safety of your home could be affected.

What a Quick Response Looks Like

SERVPRO franchises in Austin , TX, are always open, so technicians are ready to respond within a single hour. Before four hours pass, professionals will be at your home. Within eight hours, a plan of action will be in place, and you will be well on your way to getting back on track. A fast response to flooding is crucial; take advantage of 24-hour availability for the protection of your home.

How To Effectively Control Mold Damage Until Help Arrives

6/2/2022 (Permalink)

If you come across black mold in your Austin, TX, home, the best first step is not to panic. While it’s important that you contact experienced mold remediation specialists to inspect and restore your home properly, there are certain actions you can take to help impede any mold growth or prevent a moisture problem from spreading. Here are three ways you can help protect your home from greater mold damage even before help arrives, creating a plan of attack to keep your mind occupied and focused on the task at hand.

1. Shut off the water supply system in your home. Before anything else happens, it’s important to shut off what could be the main culprit in creating water damage, which thereby feeds the mold. Turn off your main water supply for the time being so any leaks can be stopped in their tracks, or high-moisture areas can begin to dry out on their own.

2. Turn off your home’s HVAC system. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with black mold, it’s not only the visible growth you need to address. Mold spores can easily travel through the air without being seen directly through your HVAC system, so shutting off any airflow halts the distance that these spores can travel, helping to secure the affected areas.

3. Stay away from any moldy surfaces so you don’t disrupt them. Coming into contact with mold can be dangerous on its own, but even attempting to move any moldy materials can allow for dusty spores to spread a greater distance. For your safety and to keep the contamination from spreading, simply close off the doors and windows in the affected rooms and wait for the professionals to arrive.

Although panicking is a common reaction to the sight of black mold, gaining control of yourself by focusing on how to proceed is the best course of action for your Austin, TX, home. Mold cleanup and water damage restoration can be properly handled by highly-qualified technicians, and should therefore be left for them to manage in a safe and appropriate manner.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

5/4/2022 (Permalink)

24 Hour Emergency Service
Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of North Central Austin 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.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 512-579-0189
Faster to Any Size Emergency
In many cleaning and restoration situations, immediate action is needed. With over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency. An immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Water is particularly invasive, quickly spreading throughout your property and being absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, etc. SERVPRO of North Central Austin arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately.

SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile

4/13/2022 (Permalink)

While we only hope to see good things come about in a new year, it is always a good idea to plan ahead for the not-so-good things—like fire or water damage—that are always an unexpected and unwelcome disaster. This year, take the time to be "Ready for whatever happens." Preparation and Review will help get you through anything in 2022! The SERVPRO Emergency READY Plan (ERP) will help you ensure you and your facility are prepared. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shutoff valve locations and priority areas. In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. Whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood, having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster. Don’t wait until disaster strikes—resolve to be READY.
Prepare & Review for 2022!
Call the SERVPRO of North Central Austin professionals to establish your Emergency READY Plan now!
Advantages of the SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile®
• A no-cost assessment of your facility.
• A concise profile document containing only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
• A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
• Establishes your local SERVPRO franchise professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
• Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
• Provides facility details such as shutoff valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information

Dangers of Extreme Cold

4/13/2022 (Permalink)

While your home can be damaged due to winter weather and extreme cold, your personal health is also at risk. Fifty-three people died and three were injured due to extreme cold in 2015. It is important to be aware of the effect extremely cold temperatures can have on you. The two main conditions to be aware of are frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is caused when your skin is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Physical symptoms are white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm, or waxy numbness. Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature falls to an abnormally low temperature, caused from long exposure to cold weather. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. If someone’s body temperature is below 95°F, seek medical attention immediately. To avoid these conditions, stay indoors if possible. If not, dress warm in layers and try to keep dry.

SERVPRO Easter Marshmallow Bark

4/13/2022 (Permalink)

◊ 1 bag of white chocolate chips (12 oz)
◊ 3 cups mini rainbow marshmallows
◊ 1 TBSP shortening (optional)
◊ Easter sprinkles
Line an 8x11 baking dish or half-sized cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Put chocolate chips and shortening in a medium glass bowl and melt in the microwave for one minute. Give it a stir, then return to the microwave in 30-second increments until the chocolate is completely melted.
Add marshmallows to melted chocolate and stir to coat. You'll want to do this step quickly! If you take too long, the marshmallows will begin to melt (which you don't want.)
Transfer the chocolatey marshmallows to your prepared baking dish or pan using a rubber scraper. Make sure the marshmallows extend to the edges. Press down slightly to make it all somewhat even. Top with as many sprinkles as you like!
Put the bark in the freezer for at least 20 minutes until it sets. (You'll want to use the freezer so that the mixture cools as quickly as possible.)
Remove from the freezer and let it sit out to return to room temperature. Cut the bark into pieces by either breaking it apart or using a cookie cutter. (Pro Tip: Use an Easter egg shape!) If you use a cookie cutter, use a metal one and spray the edges with cooking spray prior to cutting. Enjoy!

Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Cold-Weather Killer

4/13/2022 (Permalink)

Carbon monoxide is a gas you cannot see, taste or smell. According to ready.gov, an average of 430 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Oftentimes, it is the result of faulty, improperly used/vented consumer products like furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters, and engine-powered equipment (such as portable generators). However, there are precautions you can take to help protect yourself, your family, and your employees from deadly CO fumes. Reduce the chance of CO exposure in your home by performing regular maintenance on equipment and appliances that can produce CO. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home, including outside of all bedrooms. Consider having all fuel burning heating equipment and chimneys serviced annually by a professional. Use portable generators only in well ventilated areas away from doors, windows, vents, and any other openings to prevent fumes from entering the home.

HOW TO MASTER Spring Cleaning Season

4/13/2022 (Permalink)

April showers bring May flowers, and a chance to tackle some spring cleaning! Spring is a great time to sweep those winter blues away and freshen up your environment. Luckily, SERVPRO is a pro in home cleaning. We know how it is. Sometimes things just happen: spills on the carpet, pet accidents, and the general wear and tear of everyday life. These things take their toll on your carpets, upholstery, and other items. Sometimes you just need a deeper clean for your home than you can do yourself. You need a professional cleaning company that can provide heavy duty cleaning services. That's when you can call the certified professionals at SERVPRO. We can clean carpets, upholstery, drapes, blinds, window treatments, ceilings, floors, and walls. SERVPRO offers specialty cleaning services too, including HVAC/air duct cleaning, biohazard/crime scene cleanup, document restoration and odor removal. So many of our restoration services, such as mold remediation and fire damage, involve the quality of the air in your home. When you call SERVPRO for your home's HVAC and air duct maintenance, we bring that experience and professional training, just as we do to any other restoration or cleaning project. When you find your home has been invaded by a serious, persistent odor like smoke, pet, or sewage stench, it can be a challenging situation. Our team is trained to identify and eliminate offensive odors, whether they come from an inside or outside source. We won't simply mask odors but will use professional odor removal techniques to tackle the cause of the
problem. If you need a little spring cleaning help, don't worry! SERVPRO of North Central Austin’s residential cleaning services will not only ease the burden of the constant maintenance
of your home, but will also create a safe, clean, and comfortable living environment for your family.

We are Cleaning Experts

2/1/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

Kitchen/Food Areas
Bathrooms
Schools/Classrooms
Offices
Retail Spaces
Water Fountains
Shelving/Racks
Sales Counters
Carpets and Rugs
Stair Handrails
Elevator Cars
Playground Equipment
Fitness Equipment
Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of North Central Austin, 512-579-0189

3 Tips for Removing Cigarette Odor from Your Home

1/24/2022 (Permalink)

Has your home in Austin, Texas suffered a cigarette fire? Besides the damages, getting the smell of smoke out is a nightmare. There are some tips that aid in this process.

1. Charcoal and White Vinegar
This method is by far the cheapest of many options as both charcoal and white vinegar are easy to come by from your local grocery or hardware store. By keeping open containers of either charcoal or white vinegar in your home, the cigarette smell is slowly absorbed out of the air. Keep in mind that this method only works for milder pockets of odor, so you might need something more heavy-duty if you've suffered a large ashtray fire.

2. Air Filters
If the solution above isn't as fast or as effective as you require, you might try an air filter. Since you're dealing with a very complex pollutant composed of many particles and gases of varying sizes, your best option is a HEPA filter. There are different ratings of filters based on what size particle you want to filter. Each filter is rated on a scale of 1 to 20 called a MERV rating. This tells you what size particle a filter effectively removes from the air. The higher the rating, the smaller particles it is capable of filtering. With a cigarette fire or odor, you should use a filter with a MERV rating of 18 or higher.

3. Contact a Professional
If these DIY tips aren't solving your issue, it's time to contact a fire cleanup and odor removal specialist. These experts come with equipment that's designed exactly for this job, and they know how to use it with efficiency. One piece of tech many pros use is a hydroxyl generator. This device produces a harmless charged variant of water particles to break up odor molecules. This helps deal with the smell, and more advanced filters are used to deal with the pollutants.
Don't suffer from a lingering cigarette fire odor. Implement these tips and breathe easier.

How to Handle a Roof Leak

12/30/2021 (Permalink)

Slight discoloration or a slow drip of water from the ceiling can quickly put a stop to everything else you had on your schedule. This is because the most likely cause of those unwelcome signs is a roof leak, and you know that leaks could lead to extensive and expensive repairs. What should you do when you see water stains running down the walls or a spot on the ceiling that doesn't seem quite right?


Common Damages

Perhaps one of the most important things to do at this point is to understand the risks. Even tiny leaks could eventually lead to really big problems, including

  • Soggy insulation
  • Rotted framing
  • Ruined drywall
  • Damaged ceilings
  • Pooled water inside walls
  • Mold and mildew growth

Exterior Repairs

How do you clean up a leaking roof once you've found it? Gather up all of the tools and supplies you'll need. These may include a cordless drill, a pry bar, hammer, caulk gun, putty knife, and tin snips, if you have them handy. Next, separate tasks into those you can handle on your own and those that require professional attention. Replacing missing shingles or damaged flashing could be dangerous because of slick conditions.

Interior Repairs

The roof leak work on the inside of your building will go a bit differently. You may need to release water from a bowed ceiling. To do this, poke several small holes in the area with buckets below for catching the released water. You'll probably need to pull out sections of wet materials before you begin the drying process. Ask water removal specialists for advice regarding disinfecting water-affected materials.

Turn to Professionals

When you've done as much of the work as you can complete on your own, it will be time to turn the restoration of the roof and ceilings over to a professional in Austin, TX. Remember to contact your insurance provider before you get started to be sure that your claim will be covered.

The 5 Best Storm Preparation Tips

12/30/2021 (Permalink)

Preparing for a storm in advance can help you be ready when high winds, rain, or flood water arrive. These five storm preparation tips can help you stay safe and limit wind and water damage to your home in Austin, TX.

  1. Trim Trees To Clear Your Yard

Pruning trees and shrubs can keep heavy branches from falling and damaging your roof or becoming dangerous wind-blown debris. Bring in items kept outside to prevent them from sustaining or causing damage.

  1. Cover Windows With Secure Shutters

Cover the windows if high winds and flying debris are expected. Board up openings right before a major storm or have storm windows or shutters installed if you live in an area with frequent tempests.

  1. Assemble an Emergency Preparedness Kit

Make a plan that accounts for every member of your household. Gather non-perishable items of food, a first aid kit, flashlights, hand cranked or battery-powered radio, and extra batteries. You will need at least one gallon of water per person and enough food for at least three days; in addition, throw in some garbage bags and moist towelettes for sanitation.

  1. Anticipate Power Line Outages

Have flashlights and batteries on hand and make sure you know how to shut off the power to your home. Turn off the electricity if you see rising flood water, downed power lines, or need to evacuate.

  1. Prepare a Go-Bag for Evacuation

Fill your vehicle up with gas and prepare a go-bag car kit with more non-perishable food, jumper cables, flares, maps, tools, a first aid kit, sleeping bags, flashlights, and batteries. Collect important papers in a secure box that you can grab if you need to flee a flooded building.

Prepare for adverse weather in Austin, TX, by following these five steps. If your home sustains damage from wind or water damage from flood water, contact a residential damage restoration company.

What Should You Do If You Have a Leaking or Broken Pipe?

12/30/2021 (Permalink)

Gone are the days when homeowners had to trek to a well to draw water. Nowadays, with just the turn of a bathroom or kitchen faucet, water flows freely. Hidden in the walls and floors of your home are a series of pipes that supply water to your entire home. Unfortunately, broken or leaky pipes can cause your house to flood. If your Austin, TX, home has sustained damage, you must have a strategy for dealing with it.

Find the Leak
When a pipe bursts, the source of the flood is often obvious. For leaky pipes, however, finding the root of water damage can be tricky. Still, before you can fix a broken pipe, you must locate it. If you don’t have plumbing skills, you may not be able to go it alone. Instead, you must rely on a licensed plumber to find the leak. When you do, expect the plumber to take the following actions:

  • Ensure no legitimate water is flowing inside or outside the home
  • Check the water meter’s leak indicator
  • Compare water meter readings
  • Look for signs of water damage
  • Examine pipes
  • Contact the Insurance Company

Many homeowners are surprised to learn that their insurance policy covers damage caused by leaky or broken pipes. Whether you have a flood or just a bit of moisture, you should contact your insurance company. An adjuster can advise you on which restoration and repair costs are included in your insurance coverage.
As you probably know, a flood can destroy your home. Not only do floods often cause short-term damage, they usually leave behind long-term remnants. To preserve the comfort, value and appearance of your dwelling, you can’t leave your house’s recovery to chance. Instead, consider working with a reputable restoration service in Austin, TX. Simply put, you can’t overestimate the importance of having the right expertise, equipment and skill in restoring the condition of your home.
When Water Damage happens; turn to the pros at SERVPRO of North Central Austin to make your home "Like it never even happened."

How To Clean Up Sewer Damage

12/30/2021 (Permalink)

You walk into your home in Austin, TX, and immediately you smell it. The telltale odor of sewer backup permeates the air. You find the problem and call restoration experts who specialize in sewer cleanup. After doing so, you should shut off the water and power to the area and then leave the space to keep you and your family safe from the contaminated water. When the professionals arrive, this is the process they are likely to follow.

Containing the Sewage
The first step of the cleanup process is stopping the spread of the contamination. There are several parts to this step:

  • Technicians don protective gear to keep themselves safe.
  • Remove and bag any affected items.
  • Identify the perimeter of the area the contaminants have reached.
  • Seal off the area so that microbes and bacteria do not go any further.

Removing the Water
After the damage from the flooded toilet has been identified and contained, the next step of sewer cleanup is water extraction. Using industrial pumps, technicians remove as much of the water as they can from the area. The faster water is removed, the faster the actual cleaning process can begin.

Assessing Items and Materials
Certified experts are trained to recognize which items can be cleaned and which items need to be discarded. After the water is removed, they discard unsalvageable items and put others aside to be restored.

Drying the Area
At this point, nothing remains that can't be dried and saved, so the intense drying process begins. Technicians increase airflow and use dehumidifiers to completely dry the area and prevent mold growth.

Disinfecting Items and Materials
Even though the area is dry, it is still not clean. Bacteria may still be on the remaining floors and walls, so they need to be professionally disinfected. Salvageable materials and items are restored and returned to the area.

At this point, everything is dry and clean. The sewer cleanup process concludes with walls, floors and other essential items that had to be discarded being replaced.

Are Water-Related Losses Covered by Insurance?

12/30/2021 (Permalink)

Many businesses in Austin, TX, face steep costs to repair water damage. Water from damaged pipes and other sources can cause a lot of damage that needs to be repaired by water restoration professionals.
Freezing
Many damage claims are caused by frozen pipes. When a frozen pipe occurs, water may slow down or not flow through it at all. This causes pressure to build up and the pipe to burst. Unfortunately, this event is typically not covered by insurance companies. However, there are certain exceptions. Here are the times when frozen pipes are covered:

  • There is damage to fire protective systems
  • You did your best to maintain heat in the building
  • You don't maintain heat, but you do drain all the pipes in the winter

Sudden Water Damage
Suddenly damaged pipes and appliances are covered under most policies. For example, you leave for the weekend without leaking pipes and return to find one has ruptured and water is pooled on your floor. This has caused extensive damage to your flooring. Because it was sudden, you can expect to have the repair costs covered. Additionally, you can expect any damage caused by a sudden rupture of your fire protection system to be covered. This type of coverage includes the costs of repairing your building. It also generally covers the cost of replacing equipment and furniture.
Fire Protective Systems
Damaged pipes to your appliances are generally not covered under your insurance. However, any damage caused by water released by a fire protection system will be covered. Additionally, the cost to repair or replace the system is covered.
Flooding and water damage comes with great costs for a business. Fortunately, many of these events are covered under standard building insurance. Therefore, business owners should know what is covered under their policies.

3 Steps To Fix a Leaking Kitchen Sink

12/30/2021 (Permalink)

A leaky kitchen sink may seem like a minor issue, but an ongoing leak could have serious consequences. Homeowners or occupants may be able to fix a malfunctioning faucet, drain or drain seal at a residence in Austin, TX. A leaking supply line or other plumbing problems that could cause flooding to require expert repair. 

  1. Find the Source of a Sink Leak

A leaky or broken water supply line may visibly drip or spray water in a home. A P-trap or sink drain leak may only be evident after water has run through the sink. If you cannot locate the source of a leak, shut off the water supply and contact a plumber.

  1. Fix the Faucet, Drain or Seal

A leaky faucet is relatively easy to replace, along with one or two washers or gaskets. A P-trap leak may require clearing a blockage, tightening connections, or replacing a corroded trap. A sink drain leak may need to be unscrewed and repacked with plumbers putty. A broken supply line is more likely to cause Category One  or flooding and require expert repair.

  1. Contact a Plumber If a Leak Continues

If the kitchen repair measures you take to stop a leaky sink are not effective, it is a good idea to call a plumber sooner rather than later. The longer an under-sink cabinet or other areas remain wet, the higher the risk of major damage.

A leaking sink often starts off as a drip, but a problem that goes unaddressed could end up flooding a home kitchen in Austin, TX. If you cannot resolve the underlying cause, contact a plumber to minimize primary damage. An under-sink cabinet that has been exposed to water for a long period of time or repeatedly may suffer primary and secondary damage.

We Help Everyone

12/27/2021 (Permalink)

We Help Everyone!

Whatever the situation of your home or business, we professionally clean up water damages, fire damages, mold damages, etc. If you need help, we will help.

Professional and non-judgmental.

House keeping situation, fix-it skill level, lifestyle, address, religion, political viewpoint, vehicle you drive...just doesn't matter.

The facility with the fence pictured needed help with a fire extinguisher discharge incident inside the building. That stuff goes everywhere you know. The facility was cleaned well in a timely manner.

The Sprinklers

12/27/2021 (Permalink)

Is there always someone present in your business/facility during working hours who knows how to turn off the sprinkler system should it suddenly open up?

Even just one sprinkler head will put out an enormous amount of water very quickly...and over a pretty good sized area.  In a fire, that is exactly what you want.

Sometimes the sprinkler system can go off for other reasons, or a very minor fire.  When they do, they need turned off quickly.  15 or 20 minutes to figure out where and how to turn them off will be a soaking disaster.

It is kind of easy to forget who knows, especially if there is some normal turn over in personnel.

Can even happen when the boss, or whoever, is out of the building briefly.

It kind of goes in there with knowing how to cut the water off to the whole place and cut the power off.  It is a fine line to be sure the facility is safe from someone using these for harmful purposes and still be sure the utilities can be stopped quickly in an emergency.

It may come down to who also knows where the keys are if locking the utilities is deemed necessary.

Knowing where and how to turn off the water can be a big deal in even small offices/facilities if things go haywire suddenly.

SERVPRO of North Central  Austin has helped folks get this type of water damage cleaned up quickly and their businesses to keep running or re-open quickly.

3 Facts Every Company Owner Should Know About Business Insurance

12/27/2021 (Permalink)

Hand Pointing at paper that says Insurance Policy Finding the correct commercial insurance for your company can be difficult.

Protecting your Austin, TX, business from fire, flooding and other disasters with commercial insurance is probably a high priority for you and one of the most effective ways to guard your investment. However, if you only recently stepped into the world of entrepreneurship, you may not be familiar with business insurance or how to purchase a policy that suits your company’s needs. Before you sign on with an agent, you may want to first understand some important facts about coverage so you can make the best policy choices possible.


1. Location Matters

When you first start to browse insurance for your business, it is important to consider the building’s location. Crime rate, the availability of fire crews and possible flood risk may all be factors in what you pay for your policy. For example, if your building is in an area at or near sea level or near a large body of water that is capable of flooding, your policy may be costlier than one for a building with a lower risk.

2. Consider Your Building’s Construction

The overall construction of your building can affect the details of any commercial insurance policy you are offered. If you have only recently purchased a building and want to make some improvements and additions, it is important to discuss them with your insurance agent first. Using flame-retardant material and having your building’s fire risk gauged by a fire damage and restoration company can lower the cost of your premiums.

3. Employment Risks May Affect Premiums

The type of business you run may affect the type of coverage available to you. For example, if your employees perform high-risk work with machinery, such as a deli, you may need to buy additional insurance to cover them as well as the building. You may want to let your agent know about any possible dangers so you can purchase coverage that suits you.

Finding the right commercial insurance for your Austin, TX, business can be a challenge. However, when you understand a few basic facts about how to find the right policy, you can have peace of mind that your building and property are covered.

Dangers of Extreme Cold Weater

12/27/2021 (Permalink)

While your home can be damaged due to winter weather and extreme cold, your personal
health is also at risk. Fifty-three people died and three were injured due to extreme cold in
2015. It is important to be aware of the effect extremely cold temperatures can have on
you. The two main conditions to be aware of are frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is
caused when your skin is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Physical symptoms are
white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm, or waxy numbness. Hypothermia
occurs when your body temperature falls to an abnormally low temperature, caused
from long exposure to cold weather. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion,
confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. If someone’s
body temperature is below 95°F, seek medical attention immediately. To avoid these
conditions, stay indoors if possible. If not, dress warm in layers and try to keep dry.

Advantages of the SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile

12/27/2021 (Permalink)

While we only hope to see good things come about in a new year, it is always a good idea to plan ahead for the not-so good things—like fire or water damage—that are always an unexpected and unwelcome disaster. This year, take the
time to be "Ready for whatever happens." Preparation and review will help get you through anything in 2022! The SERVPRO Emergency READY Plan (ERP) will help you ensure you and your facility are prepared. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shutoff valve locations and priority areas. In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. Whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood, having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster. Don’t wait until disaster strikes—resolve to be READY.

  • A no-cost assessment of your facility
  •  A concise profile document containing only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO franchise professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin. •
  • Provides facility details such as shutoff valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.

Call SERVPRO of North Central Austin at (512)579-0189 to establish your Emergency READY plan now!

Are Candles the Right Choice for your Home?

12/27/2021 (Permalink)

A candle can make your home in Austin, TX, feel extra home sweet home. There is something about the flame and fragrance; nostalgia, maybe? Despite its beauty, a candle flame is a fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a candle fire accounted for 2 percent of reported residential fires (averaged over five years). Placement of candles also makes a difference; just over a third of candle fires began in bedrooms. Rather than worrying if you extinguished your candle, your family can rest easy by looking into candle alternatives.

Candles Alternatives

Thanks to innovative thinkers, candle lovers have many safe options that look and even smell like real candles, without the candle fire hazard. It is also important to ensure your family has flameless options available for power outages.

For Beauty and Scent

• There is a variety of flameless candles, such as LED Flameless wax pillar candles. There are myriad scents, shapes and sizes available. Some even have timers.
• Try using electric warmers for candles, oil or wax.
• Himalayan salt lamps do not produce any scent, but they can give any room a beautiful ambiance. Then you can use air fresheners or plug-ins for smell.
• Treat yourself to a little aromatherapy by using an essential oil diffuser.

When the Lights Go Out

• There is nothing wrong with using good old-fashioned flashlights or buy some with LED bulbs that last longer than regular ones.
• Camping lanterns are battery operated, and many can hang and use LED bulbs.
• Book lights are small, but many can clip to objects and are flexible.

If you use candles, ensure your family has smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher and an escape plan. A candle fire (or any fire) can cause significant smoke damage. Also, know that due to the nature of soot, it can sometimes be impossible to remove from surfaces. If your family has the unfortunate experience of a fire, call a professional who knows how to handle the smoke cleanup. If you decide to use the flameless route, then happy hunting for the best safe options for your family.

Four Tips for Preparing Pets for a Fire Emergency

12/27/2021 (Permalink)

Tan dog on fire truck with fire suit and glasses Because you love them like Family; Prepare them for the Unexpected

You should have a fire emergency plan set up for your family. This plan should contain many components, including pet preparation. Things will get hectic if a fire ever breaks out, and you do not want your furry friend to be left behind. Pet safety is critical during emergencies, and here are some points to keep in mind.

1. Have Pet Supplies in Your Disaster Kit

Your disaster kit should contain supplies to help you and your family while you wait for your house to be habitable once again. It should contain food, medications and water. It also needs to contain supplies for your pet. Have enough pet food to last for five days, medications if your pet is on anything and records of ownership and vaccinations.

2. Get Your Pet Microchipped

During a fire emergency, your pet may panic and flee. This can be extremely disheartening. In addition to dealing with fire remediation, you now have to locate your animal, too. However, if you get your pet microchipped well in advance, then finding it will become much easier.

3. Find Pet-Friendly Accommodations

While your house is being repaired, you may need to stay at a hotel in Austin, TX. Look at hotels in your city to see which ones allow pets. It will save you a lot of hassle if the time ever comes. You can also ask friends or neighbors if you can stay with them during this time and if they would be all right with having a dog or cat around for a week.

4. Keep a Pet-Alert Sign in Your Window

You want firefighters to be able to locate your pet in the event of a fire emergency. If you need to evacuate, then you may not be readily accessible to tell the firefighters this information. Keep a sign in your window to inform firefighters there is a pet in this house.

Winter Storm Preparation

12/16/2021 (Permalink)

Winter storm 2021 left 70% of Texans without electricity with nearly 4.5 million homes and businesses without power causing an estimated $295 billion in damage across the state. If the storm taught us anything, it was to prepared for the worst. Here are some tips to help you prepare before 2022 potentially hits.

-Consider purchasing a propane cook stove. While you can’t cook with them indoors due to the carbon monoxide produced, they are a great alternative for when the power goes out to cook regular meals and can be used throughout the year for camping. They are also small enough store in a closet.

-Make sure to have at least one gallon of water per person, per day.

-Always have backup cash. While credit and debit machines may be down, most places can still take cash payment for essential items.

-Cell phone chargers and back up battery packs. Backup battery packs have become affordable and are great for an emergency to make sure you always have emergency power and outreach.

-Baby wipes. During any sort of power outage, they are the perfect wipe down in a pinch that’s also gentle on skin

-Kitty litter, sand or rock salt. Another multiuse item is kitty litter and sand. Salt isn’t always readily available in the south but kitty litter is usually easily obtainable and great for creating safe, walkable pathways through ice covered sidewalks.

-A 7-day supply of medications- While pharmacies may be open, roads may be too treacherous to obtain them or mail and other delivery services may be unavailable.

-Make sure to have extra pet food and supplies. If you’re cold, so are your pets. Make sure to keep old towels or extra blankets to keep pets warm but also stock up on food, water and medication, just like you would do for yourself along with a leash or pet carrier in case of potential relocation or evacuation.

-Extra coats, blankets, sweats or any sort of clothing that can be layered for everyone in the home. Layering helps maintain your core body temperature and adds an extra, easily removable layer from the snow and wind.

-Emergency contact information written down for each family member along with copies of health insurance information. If separated, having individual copies makes easy access for emergency personnel and you aren’t reliant on electricity for access.

- Emergency food supply. While a 3-day supply is normally recommended, winter storm 2021 taught us that a week may be necessary. Things like instant potatoes can be made with warm water, meals ready to eat are high in calorie and keep a long shelf life with no cooking necessary or canned items may be eaten without even needing to warm them. Things like tuna fish in a pouch are higher in protein and easy to carry in an evacuation.

-Extra batteries. Always make sure to have extra batteries for a portable radio, lights and lanterns.

-Lights and lanterns. Candles should be a last resort when the electricity goes out because of a fire hazard. Lights and lanterns are also more effective and safer to check breaker boxes in case of an electrical malfunction when electricity is restored.

-Extra hygiene and sanitation supplies. Things like no rinse body wash, dry shampoo and baby wipes are all great options to keep on hand with no electricity or water available.

-Fire pit or alternate heating method. Fire pits aren’t just great for the summer backyard entertaining but can also multitask for outdoor eating and heating for a winter storm. Make sure to get a model with a grill and rated for cooking to prevent damage and to only use it outdoors and at least 6 feet from anything flammable.

-Make sure to have your chimney cleaned and inspected now before winter weather occurs and should be done yearly.

-Make sure to have an emergency supply kit along with emergency contact information in your vehicle. While Texans usually get a warning, winter weather can strike at an instant and Texas roads are not made for it, leaving you potentially stranded until emergency personnel can respond.

-If traveling becomes necessary during or right before a winter storm, make sure to have a full gas tank. Traffic 48 hours before winter storm 2021 became highly congested and extended even the shortest trips, last winter.

-Check the caulking around windows and doors and keep extra towels to put at the base of doors. It’s a simple way to make sure your home stays well insulated and should be checked once a year for basic home maintenance.

-Keep a roll of plastic for emergency insulation. Placing it over windows can help keep cold air out without breaking the bank.

-Molasses in water for outdoor animals- A small amount in a dog’s bowl can prevent water from freezing, just make sure to avoid artificial sweeteners. ½ a cup of molasses added to 50 gallons of water can also help prevent sheet ice from forming in water for larger animals like horses and cattle. The key is to mix it with a few gallons of warm water. The sweetness encourages them to drink water during colder weather and makes fiber in feed more digestible while preventing colic. As always, make sure to check with your veterinarian before adding any supplements to food or water for your animals.

Need emergency water restoration services? Call SERVPRO® of North Central Austin 512-579-0189

Fire Pit Safety

12/16/2021 (Permalink)

Fire pits have become the backyard must have item this fall season. They provide warmth and add ambience to any outdoor space. The best part about them is they require minimal maintenance and can bring you years of enjoyment. Here’s a few safety tips to keep in mind when considering a fire pit.

-Only use your fire pit outside and in an open space. Keep it away from low hanging foliage or anything flammable. It’s also recommended that you keep it 6-feet away from a home, deck, fence or anything flammable. The circle of safety!

-Never use or burn plastic materials in your fire pit. Plastic releases toxic fumes into the air and can ruin the surface of a fire pit.

-For wood burning fire pits, only use dry split wood in the fire. Hardwoods like oak, birch and maple are great for longer fires and stay hotter longer while softer woods like cedar and pine have a higher tendency to spark, create more smoke and may burn faster.

-Just like children and pets, never leave the fire pit unattended.

-Never cook on your gas fire pit. While it may seem like a great alternative to a grill, fire pits are made differently and food can damage expensive burner components.

- Make sure to read your owner’s manual and find the best method to extinguish the flame. While the fire may appear to be out, embers can reignite for up to 12 hours. A spark screen is a great addition to any wood burning fire pit.

-Regularly inspect the gas line, fitting, burners or any other components on your gas fire pit.

-Consider purchasing a cover for your fire pit or storing in a covered area during inclement weather. If it does get wet, make sure to drain all of the water and let it dry before igniting.

-Check the owner’s manual for recommended cleaning products and procedures but most fire pits can be cleaned with a soft cloth and mild soapy water.

-Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency. Sand is also a great way to quickly put out a fire without damaging a fire pit. Avoid using water which can weaken and potentially crack a fire pit.

Need fire restoration services? Call SERVPRO® of North Central Austin (512)579-0189

Water Heater Maintenance

12/16/2021 (Permalink)

Water heaters should last anywhere from 6 to 13 years with most warranties covering the tank and parts for 6 years. With a little basic maintenance, you can ensure your water heater last as long as possible. Here are a few tips on maintaining your water heater.

-Check the Pressure Relief Valve or Temperature Pressure Relief (PRV or TPR). Turn off the electric or gas, depending on your water heater, and the cold-water inlet. Put a bucket underneath the discharge pipe and lift the lever on the valve. If water isn’t released when you lift the lever, then replace the valve. If water continues to flow after testing then you’ll need to replace the valve as well. Replacement is as simple as draining the tank, unscrewing the valve and replacing the old one while making sure to sure use Teflon tape on the threads.

-Drain the tank and check for sediment. Let the tank drain until it is running clear and is clear of any sediment. Sediment can cause clogged lines and reduce the life and efficiency of a water heater. Check and make sure there aren’t any additional leaks around the drain valve and that it’s not loose or spinning. If so, completely drain and replace the valve.

-Check the temperature. You can save money on your energy bill by lowering the temperature as little as 10 degrees. Simply remove the temperature dial cover and adjust the dial to 120 degrees with a flat head screw driver. Most water heaters come set at 140 degrees. It’s recommended that you adjust the dial to the lowest setting if leaving for more than a few days.

-Insulate your water heater. A ridged piece of insulation, or bottom board, can save you anywhere from 4-9% off of your energy bill. To know if you need to insulate your water heater, check the R value on the water heater sticker. If the value is below 24 then it needs to be insulated. An insulating blanket is the simplest solution and comes with easy installation instructions.

-Check the anode rod. The anode rod is the long metal magnesium, aluminum or aluminum/zinc alloy that attracts corrosive elements in the water. While it’s recommended that you check the anode rode, realize that by changing it yourself, you may void the warranty. Before replacing make sure to check your warranty or contact the manufacturer before trying to change it yourself. Most anode rods need to be checked every one to three years and replaced when it is consumed more than 50 percent. By checking the rod, you avoid corrosion inside of the tank and can extend the life of your water heater up to double the expected lifespan.

Water heater leak? Need water mitigation services? Call SERVPRO® of North Central Austin (512)579-0189

Happy Holidays from SERVPRO of North Central Austin

12/16/2021 (Permalink)

Pretty lights, candles and decorations are
just a few of the items bringing charm
and cheer to the holiday season—however, if
they are not used carefully your holidays may go
from festive to frightening.
The American Red Cross offers the following
safety tips to help greatly reduce the fire risk in
your home or business this holiday season.

  • Place Christmas trees, candles and other
    holiday decorations at least three feet away
    from heat sources like fi replaces, portable
    heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Make sure that light strings and other
    holiday decorations are in good condition.
    Do not use anything with frayed electrical
    cords and always follow the manufacturer’s
    instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights
    before leaving the property or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
    Always extinguish candles before leaving
    the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to
    tip over. Keep curious pets and children
    away from Christmas trees.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fi re—pot
    holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils,
    paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and
    towels or curtains—away from your stove
    top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your property to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

SERVPRO® of North Central Austin Professionals
wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

SERVPRO of North Central Austin will Deep Clean your Resturant

12/13/2021 (Permalink)

Now more than ever, it's important for restaurants to be clean and sanitary. Obviously, a restaurant's preparation areas should be kept clean. But, besides the everyday cleaning of kitchen equipment and appliances, it is necessary to perform a deep cleaning of kitchens at least once to twice a year.

Appearance

A restaurant's: atmosphere, attention to detail, and well-kept facilities are important for a customer's good first impression. The appearance of a restaurant's kitchen can bring in clients as well as scare them away.

Safety

A messy and unorganized look will affect guests' appetites as well as employee productivity. Daily mopping sustains a clean floor, but will not scrub deeply enough to remove certain bacteria. Sticky floors and unwanted objects can cause personnel or guests to slip. For a truly clean floor, it is important to remove: grease, oil, gum and even mold.

For a deep cleaning of your restaurant, please call SERVPRO® of North Central Austin today!

Why is My Refrigerator Leaking Water?

12/13/2021 (Permalink)

If your refrigerator is leaking water and causing water damage to your flooring it’s usually because of one of two reasons.

Reason #1 your fridge is leaking

A blocked defrost drain is one of the most common causes of water leakage. This happens when food particles or other debris clogs up the drain hose, which can lead to ice buildup and, eventually, water leaking out of the freezer and refrigerator.

Fix: First, try flushing the drain from inside the freezer with warm water, using a turkey baster or a small funnel. You can also try using a pipe cleaner or a straightened coat hanger to forcibly remove the clog. If this doesn't fix the problem you may need to manually remove the debris that is clogging the check valve at the end of the drain hose.

Reason #2 your fridge is leaking

From time to time, a clogged or frozen water supply line will cause water to puddle beneath the refrigerator. It will also affect ice production from the ice maker and slow or stop water flow from the dispenser.

Fix: First, unplug the refrigerator and locate the shut-off valve, typically underneath the sink, behind the refrigerator, or below the refrigerator in the basement. Make sure this valve is closed, and look for any leaks, kinks, or clogs in the plastic supply line

Contaminated Water after a Storm

12/13/2021 (Permalink)

Should you experience a flood in your home after a storm, our team of technicians will inspect your home or business to determine the appropriate plan of action for the type of water encountered.

Category 3: "Black Water"

Category 3 water is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death if ingested and any contact should be avoided. Examples include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.

May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup
24 Hour Emergency Service

Water contaminated with sewage backup should be considered an emergency situation and dealt with as quickly as possible. Our technicians at SERVPRO® of North Central Austin are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for any emergency situations that arise.

When Is It Safe to Return to Work After a Flood?

11/17/2021 (Permalink)

After a flood, many employees and business owners want to know when they can get back to work, but that depends on the severity of the damage and whether the flooding was caused by black water. In either case, most restoration specialists from Austin, TX, follow a similar process to ensure your business returns to normal as soon as possible, but most phases are not conducive to safe operations.

  1. Cleanup
  • During a flood cleanup, it is not wise for employees to be present because, depending on the water classification, they may become severely ill. Black or gray water is common after flooding, and it is often contaminated with chemicals and bacteria that present serious health risks to all. It is best that all personnel who are not trained or certified in disaster cleanup stay away from the facility during the initial cleanup phase.
  1. Demolition
  • During the demolition phase, the restoration company you have hired will remove any elements that may have been contaminated by the black water. This phase will likely require the removal of carpets, drywall, insulation, other furniture, and porous items. The facility will not be conducive to regular business operations at this time, and therefore employees and personnel should stay away.
  1. Sterilization
  • The last phase before restoration is sterilization and may be combined with the previous stages. During this phase the entire affected area is scrubbed and disinfected, ensuring a sanitary environment for the restoration efforts. As this phase encompasses the use of strong commercial and chemical cleaners, it is advisable to remain clear of the facility.
  1. Restoration
  • During the restoration phase, the company you hired will be replacing walls, carpets and other essential elements. While it may be challenging to operate depending on the significance of the restoration, you and your employees can return to work during this phase.

As flooding can produce both gray and black water, employees and business owners should allow professionals to handle the cleanup and restoration of the property. During the initial phases of cleanup, demolition and sterilization the business should remain closed, and employees should stay clear, only returning to work when restoration begins.

Trust your SERVPRO of North Central Austin to get the job done and make your business "Like it never even happened."

Ensure Your Washing Machine Is Mold-Free

11/17/2021 (Permalink)

Laundry is likely a routine item on your to-do list, and it’s something many of us do without giving it a second thought. Could this mundane task be giving your Austin, TX, home trouble? One hidden part of this chore involves mold growth. Your washing machine could have an intruder lurking — one that is causing that unpleasant odor and those unappealing colorations on your appliance. Follow the steps below to ensure your machine is clean and mold-free.

  1. Scrub, Scrub, Scrub

The first step may seem apparent, but it can be easy to forget about the needs of a washing machine once it's done its job. Plus, it may not occur to most of us that a machine that involves soap and a rinse cycle needs regular cleaning. Without maintaining your machine, fungus can develop, and the mold smell has a way of lingering. Pay attention to grime buildup in sneaky spots and clean them right away. Perhaps a regular cleaning routine is all your machine needs to stay mildew-free.

  1. Consider Your Detergent

That laundry detergent might have been the best deal at the grocery store, but is it best for your washer? No matter how much dirty laundry has piled up, it is essential that you use the appropriate detergent for your type of machine. For example, front-loaders generally require detergents specifically suited for high-efficiency appliances. The incorrect detergent for your machine may leave a residue that creates an environment where mold can thrive.

  1. Keep Things Dry

After you’ve pinpointed what type of detergent is best for your appliance, the main focus should revolve around keeping your washer dry. Avoid letting the drum of your machine stay damp for hours or days on end; instead, remove finished laundry immediately and keep the door open after the completion of a cycle.

Making sure your washing machine stays clean and dry between uses can work wonders when it comes to keeping your clothes smelling fresh. Taking these steps will make it less likely that fungus can grow and thrive and cause a mold smell to develop.

Portable fire extinguishers

11/16/2021 (Permalink)

Portable fire extinguishers can be life and property saving tools when used correctly. In order to operate an extinguisher, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests remembering the word PASS

Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.

Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out. Remember, extinguishers do have limitations. It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your facility. To find more information on choosing the appropriate class of extinguisher, please visit the NFPA websitehttps://www.nfpa.org/

Smoke Detector

11/16/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. In office and commercial environments, check your state requirements or contact your local Fire Marshall to help ensure all codes are met. Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA). In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke alarms offer benefits such as not needing to be tested as often and activating throughout the entire building if smoke is detected in just one area (NFPA). If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross. Be sure your home or workplace has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills. For more information on Emergency Preparedness, contact  SERVPRO® of North Central Austin and visit https://nfpa.org/ for more tips on Fire Safety and Precautions.

Happy Thanksgiving From SERVPRO of North Central Austin

11/16/2021 (Permalink)

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your happy holiday could quickly become hazardous in a blink of an eye. According to the NFPA, cooking is the main cause of home fires and injuries, with the Thanksgiving holiday being the peak day for cooking-related fire emergencies. Review the following safety tips to help ensure you can enjoy a safe holiday. 

  •  Never leave cooking food unattended—stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove. 
  • Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while kitchen equipment is in use. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
  •  Keep small children away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove and oven.
  •  Keep anything flammable like pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels away from the stove, oven, or other appliances in the kitchen that generates heat. 
  • Do not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  •  Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease build-up. 
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen year round. Contact the local fire department for training on the proper use of fire extinguishers if you are unsure. 
  •  Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all kitchen appliances like stoves, ovens, and toasters are turned off. 
  • Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside of bedrooms. Use the test button to check it is working properly every month. Replace the batteries at least once a year.

 SERVPRO® of North Central Austin wishes you a safe and happy Thanksgiving and holiday season.

Are you prepared for the upcoming cold weather?

11/16/2021 (Permalink)

Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not ready for it. From heavy rain and freezing temperatures to damaging winds, sleet, or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of winter weather. To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the following precautions to protect your property before colder weather hits.

  • Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Wind, heavy rain, ice, and snow can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
  •  Roofs, water pipes, and gutters should all be inspected to help ensure they are in proper order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from your building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
  • Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate a potential flood hazard.
  •  Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
  • Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open, allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawl space. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.

When winter weather strikes, call SERVPRO® of North Central Austin  professionals to strike back and help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fire and Smoke Damage

11/16/2021 (Permalink)

The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior of smoke. There are two different types of smoke—wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire.
SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration and know the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and its contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows your local SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals to focus on saving your precious items.
SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals know smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Their knowledge of building systems helps them investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. The following points are additional facts you may not know about smoke.
Types Of Smoke:
Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Wet Smoke. (Plastic and Rubber) Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, and smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke. (Paper and Wood) Fast-burning, high temperatures; heat rises, therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue. (Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire) Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. n Fuel Oil Soot. (Furnace puff backs) While “puff backs” can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO® franchise professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
Other Types. (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue) Special loss situations require special care.
SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals are trained to handle even the toughest of losses. If your home or business suffers fire or smoke damage, SERVPRO® of North Central Austin to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Being Proactive

6/25/2021 (Permalink)

ERP SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile

For a business owner and homeowner, a worst-case disaster scenario involving fire or water damage can seem unthinkable until it suddenly becomes a reality. In the aftermath of a disaster, a quick response time by a disaster recovery company such as SERVPRO® of North Central Austin can help minimize property damage. 

Owners need to have a quick and convenient emergency disaster plan that connects them with vendors, necessary contacts, and pertinent information when disaster strikes. The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) is a respected industry tool during a disaster event. An ERP is so valuable, that in the midst of the confusion and panic that often surround a disaster, an owner or manager can be provided a sense of calm and clarity in reaching out for expert help.

When building an emergency plan, there are four keys to remember:

  1. Identify your facility’s greatest threats in order to assess the overall severity of the event. During this discovery mode, what are your greatest threats (i.e. fires, tornadoes, floods, etc.)? Look at your locations. Do you have any that would be in a “tornado alley,” at risk for hurricane damage, or subject to deep freezing temperatures? Try to think outside the box, without becoming a doomsday prepper!
  2. Document all vital information and establish clear communication activities. An ERP needs to contain critical property information that can help speed up response time after a disaster occurs. Consider including any documented prior loss history, identify and label utility shut off locations, and prioritize your key contacts. Prior loss history can provide first responders and restoration vendors with historical information on your facility’s condition. Proper utility identification will allow for quicker response times for emergency shut off, requests and key contact information is vital to starting the recovery process, allowing you to quickly contact key personnel and answer priority questions.
  3. Practice! Practice! Practice! There is no “textbook” event, so expect the unexpected. You should conduct practice sessions to make sure everyone is clear on the process. Always have clear evacuation routes in your ERP, and set a distribution chain for your disaster recovery plan amongst key contacts and various locations.
  4. Keep it updated, and have all necessary information communicated with your insurance company and emergency restoration vendors. The best way for the recovery to begin is remaining proactive by always keeping your ERP updated. Your SERVPRO representative can help keep your ERP up-to-date. People will come and go, updates will be made to the facility, and utilities can change. This should be a dynamic document that changes as your business does. If you don’t keep it updated, you’ll be several steps behind when disaster strikes.

The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile is a start up approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information. By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.

Call Us Today To Get Started!

The Right Tools

6/22/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® Tools SERVPRO® Professionals

It’s the water you don’t see! Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time. 

The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals have the equipment, training, and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss.

When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform.  SERVPRO® of North Central Austin  professionals will answer your call with fast action and a full arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools used by our SERVPRO® professionals.

Moisture Sensors-  Used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls. 

Moisture Meters- Used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing us to monitor the drying process.

Thermohygrometers- Measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, we here at SERVPRO® of North central Austin can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure must also be disinfected and often deodorized. 

Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers- Atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas. 

Thermal Foggers- Dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solutions that attach to and neutralize odor-causing particles to deodorize structures, garments, automobiles and other places where cleaning cannot reach. 

The bottom line? SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals have the training and equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Navigating COVID-19

6/15/2021 (Permalink)

Professional COVID Cleaning Service Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Coronavirus has changed the social landscape more than we could have imagined. The terms social distancing and the new normal have become indoctrinated in our vocabulary. The interaction with family, friends, and business associates has been directly impacted. The traditional handshake is now riddled with fear. Instead it’s better to tap feet or “elbow bump.”

As in the years following World War II, great effort was spent putting measures in place to reduce the likelihood of another global conflict. Likewise, prevention of future viral pandemics is top of mind for most of the world’s governments and security services for the immediate future. SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals are uniquely prepared during this unprecedented time to clean and disinfect your business according to the protocols set forth by the CDC. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

SERVPRO is being called on by numerous businesses and community leaders to perform the necessary bioremediation services to clean, disinfect, and sanitize their properties. SERVPRO uses EPA-approved products and follows the CDC guidelines for cleanup practices. 

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line meet this standard and carry the ERA-registered emerging pathogens claims.

As we return to normalcy SERVPRO® of North Central Austin will be there for your business, and your customers. We are in this with you and proudly stand beside our first responders in fighting this silent enemy. 


Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

Professional COVID Cleaning Service

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program that goes beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning, it’s a higher standard of clean. This is proactive viral pathogen cleaning that helps ensure the cleanliness of the restaurants, businesses and public spaces in the communities we all call home. Our SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills - always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities.

SERVPRO® of North Central Austin offers free quotes for our Commercial Services, and Consumer Cleaning Services.

Flooding Can Happen ANYWHERE

6/10/2021 (Permalink)

Professional Water Damage Mitigation

According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), “Approximately seventy five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding.” NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as:

  • Flash Flooding
  • River Flooding
  • Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems
  • Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)
  • Ice/Debris Jams
  • Snowmelt
  • Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
  • Dam Breaks/Levee Failure

Just because you haven’t experienced a flood doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the U.S., and commercial flood claims average more than $75,000 (NFIP).

Understanding Water Types

When your home or business suffers water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup. There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals. Consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.

Damage from Clean Water:

  • Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock. Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
  • Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place.
  • Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining.
  • Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water. damage from

Damage From Contaminated Water:

  • Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.
  • Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
  • Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
  • Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
  • Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.

When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO® of North Central Austin Professionals can help. We can respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get you back to your daily life or in business as soon as possible.

SERVPRO® of North Central Austin Professionals are ready to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

After The Storm

6/7/2021 (Permalink)

Image of SERVPRO employee in PPE Mold Remediation and Restoration

Texas is still in the recovery process from one of the most damaging natural disasters in recent history. In February 2021, the southern state and its surrounding neighbors fell prey to Winter Storm Uri – a deep freeze event that saw temperatures plummet as low as -18C. The storm toppled the Texas electric grid, leaving thousands of homes and businesses without power and triggering a record-breaking number of burst pipe and ice dam property damage to homes and businesses because people simply couldn’t heat their properties.

As we rebuild our homes and places of business Mold has become another one of nature's elements that requires our attention. SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals handle water damages every day and know prompt action is required to prevent mold growth. If there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, be alert for:

  • The presence of visible mold.
  • Strong musty odors, which may indicate mold is present.
  • Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth.
  • Excessive humidity.

These conditions may require the expertise of a qualified indoor air quality/environmental professional to inspect the building for mold growth and water damage problems.

When there’s a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business. Mold can cause health effects and can also cause significant damage to your property. Fortunately, your local SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals have the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem. Although every mold damage scenario is different requiring a unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same. The following steps illustrate a “typical” mold removal process.

  Call the Team in Green- The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call your local SERVPRO® franchise professionals. A representative will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel needed. 

Inspection and Damage Assessment- Your property will be carefully inspected for signs of mold using technology designed to detect mold and hidden water sources. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view. 

Mold Containment- Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold and isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process.

Air Filtration- Specialized filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air. SERVPRO® technicians utilize powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress.

Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials- The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.

Cleaning Contents and Belongings- SERVPRO® of North central Austin professionals clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, and other restorable items affected by mold. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. They are also trained to remove odors and deodorize using fogging equipment.

Restoration- Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals understand mold and mold growth and have the training and equipment to remediate mold in your home or business.

Extreme Heat

6/3/2021 (Permalink)

Kidsandcars.org Did You Know?

As summer approaches, it is time to consider safety precautions for extreme heat in the coming months. Heat affects all people, but especially the young, elderly, sick, and overweight. Urban area residents also have a greater chance of being affected than those who live in rural areas due to the heat island effect.

According to the EPA, “the sun can heat dry, exposed urban surfaces, such as roofs and pavement, to temperatures 50–90°F hotter than the air, while shaded or moist surfaces—often in more rural surroundings—remain close to air temperatures.” These surface heat islands are strongest during the day when the sun is shining, while the atmospheric heat islands are more likely after sunset “due to the slow release of heat from urban infrastructure.”

Whether you are in an urban or rural area, there are several things you can do to prepare for and prevent extreme heat from affecting you. If possible, stay indoors in air conditioning. Be sure to check on your pets who may be outdoors or bring them inside. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol and caffeine intake.

If you must go outside, wear loose fitting, light-colored clothing and be sure to apply sunscreen often. Pay attention to signs of heat exhaustion, which are heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, and clammy skin; nausea or vomiting; and fainting, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is life threatening. Signs of heat stroke are a high body temperature (103°+), rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness. If you think someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately and move the person somewhere cool. Reduce body temperature with cool, wet cloths or a bath. Do not give a person with heat stroke fluids and treat the situation as a serious medical emergency (CDC).

If you live in a humid climate, be aware of the heat index. The heat index factors in the humidity, which can make the temperature feel 15° hotter.

Extreme heat is a serious danger. For more information on preparation and prevention, visit ready.gov or cdc.gov.

Extreme Heat Safety Tips to Prepare Your Home

  • Install window air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
  • Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
  • Keep storm windows up all year.

COMMERCIAL BIOHAZARD, CRIME SCENE, AND VANDALISM CLEANUP

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

When the Unexpected Happens - image of police tape CRIME SCENE, AND VANDALISM CLEANUP MAY BE NEEDED!

Recognized as a leading fire and water cleanup and restoration provider by hundreds of insurance companies, SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals also offer fast, reliable biohazard and crime scene cleanup and restoration services to commercial property owners.

Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences for building occupants, employees, customers, and owners. A failure to properly handle and safely remove such hazardous substances can contribute to unhealthy and even dangerous environments.

SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals are trained to safely and effectively remove biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA, state and local health regulations.

Equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products, we help turn unsafe environments into clean, safe places of business.

SERVPRO® of North Central Austin professionals can help with the following issues:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Methamphetamine Labs
  • Crime Scene Residues
  •  Arson
  • Vandalism
  • Sewage Backups
  • Black Water Intrusions
  • Mold Mitigation and Remediation  

Contact your SERVPRO® of North Central Austin today for 24-hour emergency service. 

24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service

4/21/2021 (Permalink)

When the Unexpected Happens - image of overflowing dishwasher SERVPRO of North Central Austin provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration services to Austin and surrounding neighborhoods.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today – 512-579-0189

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information.
  • Your insurance information. (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business.
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?
  • Size of home and portion affected.

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Certifications

  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
  • CDS - Commercial Drying Specialist
  • ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program
  • FSRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician
  • IICRC Certified Firm
  • OSHA - 10-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program
  • RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation
  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician

Affiliations

  • Austin Association of Facility & Maintenance Engineers - AAFAME
  • Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification - IICRC

IICRC Certified Firm

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

Learn more bout IICRC Certified Firms at IICRC.ORG IICRC.Org

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

IICRC.ORG

We are Cleaning Experts

2/3/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of North Central Austin, 512-579-0189

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

Water Damage Help Day or Night

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

Exterior of a house at night with a single window lit When you have a water emergency, SERVPRO of North Central Austin is here to clean it up. (Photo by Yan Berthemy)

Water emergencies happen at any time and when they do, immediate action is crucial. That’s why SERVPRO of North Central Austin is on-call 24 hours a day.

We’re here for all kinds of restoration projects, but we know that with water events, especially, a delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

Home emergencies can leave you feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. Most of us, thankfully, don’t get a lot of experience with crises like flooding. An expert restoration team like SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. 

What to Expect

When you first call us, we’ll ask a lot of questions about your water damage emergency. This helps us determine what equipment and resources to bring, and how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Questions include

  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • When the flooding or water damage occurred
  • What caused the water damage (if known)
  • If there is electricity available onsite

If you’ve experienced flooding, leaking, sewer backups, or any other kind of water damage, call SERVPRO of North Central Austin. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

A Guide to Our Certifications

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

Young adults sitting in a classroom For SERVPRO technicians, learning never stops (Photo by Sam Balye)

We always want to work with the best, but when you’re choosing a contractor to partner with your business, you know that the company you choose will be reflect on you. 

At SERVPRO of North Central Austin, we understand that. We know how important it is to partner with capable and reliable companies because as an independently owned and operated franchise, we’re right there with you. That’s why we make sure our technicians receive continuing education throughout their employment—not just at hiring—and we make sure we qualify for all the certification programs that are important in the restoration industry.

So that you can see at a glance that we’re serious about quality, here’s a quick guide to our certifications:

IICRC

  • ASD—Applied Structural Drying Technician: Teaches the process and techniques for drying water-damaged structures and contents.
  • CDS—Commercial Drying Specialist: Focuses on repairing water-damage in a commercial or industrial environment
  • FSRT—Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician: Teaches the technical procedures for dealing with fire and smoke damage
  • WRT—Water Damage Restoration Technician: Covers water damage, sewer backups, and mold contamination

OSHA
10-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program: Course teaches general safety and health practices that everyone in the construction industry needs to know.

EPA
RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation: Covers how to inspect the risk of lead-based paint and how to safely deal with it.

In addition to all these certifications, SERVPRO provides its employees at every level with continuing education so that we can be the most effective restoration team around.

You can trust our training. No matter what the disaster, SERVPRO of North Central Austin will make your business "Like it never even happened."

Fire Drill Tips for Management

11/27/2020 (Permalink)

White wall with exit sign over door. Are your office's fire drills as effective as they need to be? (Photo by Michael Jasmund)

Most businesses are required by OSHA and fire department codes to conduct regular fire safety drills. And most employees have grown to hate these interruptions on a personal level. A team that would never mind gathering in the parking lot to discuss the latest bingeable series will despise the opportunity as soon as it’s mandated by a ringing alarm.

Maybe it’s because we all practiced them in school or maybe it’s because of the inferred condescension, but employees really hate fire drills. They’ve developed a reputation as a sort of juvenile exercises. Regardless, these are not just a pointless requirement but are genuinely important to the safety of your office.

We spoke to Peter Butler, a General Manager for a local Austin customer contact center, to find out how he helps keep fire drills effective.

  1. Take them seriously. “Your team won’t take it seriously if you don’t,” Peter told us, “Don’t warn your employees that a drill is coming, and don’t blow it off when it happens.”

  2. Prepare your team ahead of time. While Peter advises against giving your team advance notice of the drill, he does recommend occasionally reviewing the fire safety plan with your team.

    “You can do it in a team meeting. Make a little field trip out of it and walk everyone through the process. Physically walking everyone to the meeting spot is more memorable than pointing to a map.”

  3. Create a script for customer-facing roles. Many of the employees at the contact center Peter works for spend their days on the phone with customers. He provides his teams with a couple bullet points to explain that 1) due to a local emergency the call must be disconnected and 2) the customer should call back at their convenience for continued assistance.

    “Usually the customers can hear the fire alarm going off in the background, so they generally seem to understand the situation.”

The most important part of a fire drill is remembering why you’re doing it and whom you’re doing it for. You’re not just exiting a building to check off a box, but to ensure the safety of the people you’re responsible for. Keep that in mind and make each fire drill matter.

How to Help Home Fire Survivors

11/18/2020 (Permalink)

Fire department caution tape with blurry firetrucks in the background How can you help when someone in your community loses everything to a fire? (Photo by Malachi Brooks)

As restoration professionals, we at SERVPRO of North Central Austin frequently work with homeowners going through the worst disasters of their lives. We’re proud to be able to help and to fix what’s been damaged. We know the joy of making homes “Like it never even happened.” But what do you do when someone’s home is actually destroyed by fire?

How can we as a community step up when a family loses everything in a fire? If you know the family, the simplest way to help is to give your neighbors the items that survivors of house fires need the most:

  1. Immediate necessities. Imagine walking into a hotel room with no bags. What do you change into after your shower? How do you brush your teeth? Gently used clothes from your own closet are generally considered appropriate since they’re immediately available and don’t require the time and effort of wardrobe shopping. But on your way to deliver them, stop by Walmart or Target and grab some new socks and underwear.
  2. Short-term basics. Now imagine moving into a new apartment with no boxes—no towels to put in the linen closet, no dishes to put in the cabinet. As you’re preparing to help a neighbor in need, mentally walk through your day and think about all the things you use daily. 

    According to Danielle Fox of ElleDecor.com actual possessions are more useful than cash or gift cards because "if you have insurance policy you ultimately get the cash, but you need time and work and help.”

  3. Long-term help. Now if you really know the family, work with them to provide assistance as they go through the process of recovery. Are you good with organizing? Maybe you can help them work with the insurance companies? Do you know their kids? Suggest a playdate while the parents work their to-do lists? Create a meal calendar for their friends or just take them out and let them talk.

If you don’t know the family affected by fire damage (or if it’s a community-wide disaster you’ve seen on the news) the best way to help is to donate money. You can give through gofundme.com or local charities, but the Red Cross is a consistently reliable organization with years of experience helping in exactly this sort of situation.

No one can know exactly what it's like to survive a house fire, but we know enough to know that we're needed and that's where we need to start. 

If you've experienced fire damage and would like to find out what our restoration professionals can do for you, call SERVPRO of North Central Austin at 512-579-0189.

What's an ERP?

11/12/2020 (Permalink)

shallow focus picture of raindrops on window with brick buildings in the background Facility managers must always be prepared for unknown. A SERVPRO ERP can help. (Photo by Max Sandelin)

Are you familiar with the SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP)? This tool can make one very important part of your facility management responsibilities easier.

Every facility manager knows they should have a detailed disaster plan, but coming up with one from scratch can be a time-consuming task. It’s tempting to put this job to the side and deal with the many metaphorical fires you have to deal with every day than prepare for a real, but hypothetical fire in the future.

That’s what’s great about the ERP. One of SERVPRO of North Central Austin’s representatives can come to you and walk you through creating a reference document that details the important building and contact information for your property. 

The ERP can be used as a standalone document or as a supplement to any existing preparedness plan. Thinking through what to do and who to call in advance is the key to timely mitigation, which minimizes the effects of any weather-related disaster, water, or fire damage to your business.

No matter where you live, it is important to be informed and prepared for any disaster that may occur. Though Mother Nature's is often unpredictable, the ERP is one thing we can do to help you take control before disaster strikes.

Contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin to establish an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your property. SERVPRO's ERP serves as a quick reference document, In any emergency, make sure you have experienced professionals on the line. No matter how big or small, SERVPRO of North Central Austin will be ready to help make your property damage "Like it never even happened."

New Flood Tracking Tool from USGS

11/9/2020 (Permalink)

Screen shot of the National Water Dashboard showing a map of Austin with colored symbols scattered around The USGS released its new mobile flood-tracking tool last month.

There’s been a lot of news coming out of the federal government lately, but one little press release snuck out at the end of October without garnering a lot of attention. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a mobile flooding dashboard.

This new tool, located at https://dashboard.waterdata.usgs.gov/, allows users to view a map of their area with flood and weather information layered on top. You can view the flood rate detected at USGS stations, the weather conditions around the United States, or a map of all the United States’ hydrological features. When combined, this tool can give you a potentially invaluable way to prepare for (or even avoid) flooding scenarios.

Some floods you can see coming. When a hurricane comes your way, you know what to prepare for. But for most Americans, the weather-related floods that damage the most are unexpected—that river that never flooded before, that watershed you didn’t realize you were living in. If it proves effective, the National Water Dashboard could give Americans (in the lower 48 at this time) a view of where flooding danger could come from.

The USGS takes great pains to let you know that the National Water Dashboard is experimental —in fact, the word “EXPERIMENTAL” is plastered on the screen in red letters—but why not put the tool to the test. Play around with it and see what you learn about the hydrology or weather in the Austin area. 

If you do experience water damage, from a natural flood or a home accident, SERVPRO of North Central Austin is here to help. Call us to find out how we can make your home “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Extinguisher Readiness

11/6/2020 (Permalink)

Fire extinguisher on teal wall Do you know how to use your fire extinguisher? (Photo by Piotr Chrobot)

It’s November—time for Thanksgiving dinners and cozy fires in the hearth. It’s also a great time to review your fire extinguisher knowledge. 

  1. Do you have a fire extinguisher? Do you know where it is?
  2. Do you know when your fire extinguisher expires? “You can tell the difference between the two by the head; a rechargeable extinguisher has a metalhead with a gauge that reads Charge/Recharge, and a disposable extinguisher has a plastic head with a gauge that reads Full/Empty.” (Keystonefire.com
  3. Do you know how to use your fire extinguisher? The time to read the instructions is not when you reach for it in an emergency.

You should always familiarize yourself with the instructions for your specific extinguisher, but there are four basic steps to follow with a standard foam model. You can remember them with the acronym PASS:

  • P—Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher. 
  • A—Aim the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire. Keep a safe distance away. 
  • S—Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing materials.
  • S—Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

Continue directing the foam at the base of the fire until it is completely extinguished.

If you have experienced fire damage, call SERVPRO of North Central Austin to find out how we can help you make it “Like it never even happened.”

Can I Clean Smoke Damage Myself?

10/28/2020 (Permalink)

A singed magazine with a picture of a horse on the page laying on a charred wood floor. Smoke damage is far more complicated than you probably imagine.

When we talk about fire damage to our homes or offices, we usually think about about flames eating up our most beloved objects. Combustion is dangerous and is easily the scariest part of a fire, but when rebuilding after a disaster, the most complicated restoration and cleanup comes from the damage done by smoke and soot.

Smoke is the incomplete combustion of material in a fire. It’s actually made of tiny pieces of the burning thing floating around in the air. This means the chemicals that make up the burning objects are also being carried around your building, making it toxic to people and possessions.

Smoke damage can occur in buildings that aren’t even directly affected by fire. Homes or offices near a burning building or a wildfire, can be contaminated by smoke and soot. If your building was never even touched by the fire, it’s tempting to think of smoke cleanup as a simple DIY, but these are complicated and technical restoration jobs, so take the following elements into consideration before you try to clean the problem area yourself: 

  • What type of smoke are you working with. There are several different types of smoke: wet smoke, dry smoke, plastic or rubber smoke, protein smoke, furnace soot, and candle smoke. Has organic material been burned? What about plastics? Different materials will produce different types of smoke with different effects
  • What are you trying to clean? How valuable is it to you? Electronics are uniquely vulnerable to smoke damage—in addition to causing corrosion, smoke can also be electrically conductive, causing short circuits. Because of this, electronics should always be cleaned and refurbished by technical professionals

  • What sort of metal fixtures are in the room that experienced damage? Brass and copper can be etched by smoke within 24 hours of depositing.

Because of the complex nature of smoke, cleaning up after a fire is not a DIY project. Fortunately, the IICRC certified technicians at SERVPRO of North Central Austin have the experience and training to handle this type of restoration and make it “Like it never even happened.” Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

What’s a Flash Flood Warning?

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

A couple walking under an umbrella next to a river in the rain Flash flood warnings are nothing to ignore.

When rain begins falling in Austin, we’re all prepared for two things—bad drivers and the inevitable flash flood warning on our phones. In an area of the state that is so prone to drought, we know that when it rains, it pours. Some of us have gotten so used to these alerts that we really don’t even notice them any more. 

So what is a flash flood warning anyway? When I was growing up, I always imagined a wall of water bearing down on our neighborhood when I heard the term “flash flood.” The reality is less dramatic, but more insidious

According to the National Weather Service, flash floods are those that begin within six hours of heavy rainfall. The Texas Hill Country has been nicknamed “Flash Flood Alley.”

"Leading the United States in the number of flash and river flooding-related deaths annually (an ominous honor), Texas, specifically the Hill Country, is the most flash flood-prone region found in North America." (Sault, Spring. “Why the Hill Country is A.K.A. ‘Flash Flood Alley,’” Texas Hill Country, June 3, 2016)

To determine when a flash flood warning should be issued, the City of Austin has uses the Flood Early Warning System—a network of 130 rain and creek gauges that are constantly monitored. (You can read about the history of this system in a great Government Technology article.)

We love living in the Texas Hill Country and a little flooding now and then isn’t going to scare us away from the best city in the country, but we know that makes sense to pay attention to those inevitable flash flood warnings when they come through. (Also, drive safely when it rains. No one wants to get stuck on the side of MoPac in a  fender bender on their way to work.)

If you’ve experienced any water damage due to a recent storm, give SERVPRO of North Central Austin a call and we’ll come out to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Know Your Hurricane Categories

9/9/2020 (Permalink)

Crashing waves in an ocean with a dark sky above Hurricanes are a fact of life in Texas. Take a minute to learn more about them.

It’s hurricane season. For those of us who are fascinated with weather (which includes a lot of us here at SERVPRO of North Central Austin), it’s a time when we watch weather reports the way other people watch the sports news. 

Here in Austin we’re a little removed from the immediate effects of such massive weather events, so it’s easier to watch hurricanes come and go without having our own lives upended. Because we don’t have to worry about hurricanes, we aren’t all familiar with the differences in hurricane categories. But even just living in a gulf-coast state, it’s a good idea to know what’s coming when we hear about a category 2 or a category 4 storm headed for our lone star beaches.

We’ve compiled a handy reference guide to put the different types of hurricanes into perspective

Tropical Storm

  • Tropical storms have a wide range of speeds. Winds can blow at anywhere from 39-72 mph.
  • That's about the range of speeds that you'll use when driving down I-35, depending on the time of day.
  • The most recent tropical storm to hit Texas was Imelda. It landed a year ago at Freeport on September 17, 2019. 

Category 1

  • Category 1 hurricanes travel at 74–95 mph.
  • That's the speed of the average college fastball pitch
  • Texas' last category 1 was just this summer when Hurricane Hanna hit Padre Island on July 19th.

Category 2

  • Category 2 hurricanes have a speed of 96–110 mph.
  • That's roughly the speed of a human sneeze. (Gross.)
  • Our last category 2 hurricane was Ike, which hit Galveston on September 13th, 2008.

Category 3

  • Category 3 hurricanes go about 111–129 mph.
  • That's the speed of a falling skydiver.
  • Hurricane Rita was Texas' last category 3 hurricane. It landed near Port Arthur on September 23, 2005.

Category 4

  • Category 4 hurricanes travel at 130–156 mph.
  • That's the speed of the average LPGA tour drive
  • Texas' last category 4 hurricane was Harvey. On August 25, 2017 it landed in Rockport.

Category 5

  • Category 5 hurricanes have winds 157 mph or faster.
  • The how fast a golden eagle flies. (Check out this video filmed from the back of one of these amazing birds.)
  • Thankfully, Texas has never been hit by a category 5 hurricane.

One of the reasons we’re proud to work for SERVPRO is knowing that no matter how big or how small a storm is, there is a nation-wide team of franchises ready to respond in the moment of crisis. So even though we aren’t all hit by hurricanes, we’re all here to help those who are.

We can do the same for you. 

What is a Moisture Meter?

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

Technician reading a moisture meter on a wood floor What's actually happening when a technician puts a moisture meter on a wet floor?

If you’ve ever had a restoration team repair flood damage to your home, you’ve probably encountered some sci-fi looking devices that the technicians pulled out and occasionally told you were saying something significant. It’s understandable if you wondered whether these are actually high-tech tools or just gimmicks meant to fool you into paying a contractor.

One of these mystery tools is called a “moisture meter” and today we want to explain them a little better so you know what our technicians are looking at. 

Obviously we can only vouch for our own technicians’ honesty, but we can re-assure you that moisture meters are a legitimate piece of technology used throughout the industry. In fact, consumer-grade moisture meters are widely available at hardware retailers or online.

How Do Moisture Meters Work?

There are two main types of moisture meters: resistance meters (pin meters) and capacitance meters (pinless).

Pin meters have two small sharp detectors that are inserted into wood. They detect moisture by measuring the electrical current that travels between the pins. This is a fast and proven method of measuring moisture in wood, but it will slightly damage the material that’s being inspected.

Capacitance meters are good for using on materials that can’t or shouldn’t be penetrated with pins. They work by creating an electromagnetic field that is affected by the moisture in the material.

How Do Technicians Use Moisture Meters?

Your SERVPRO technicians will make an initial moisture reading during their first visit to your building. At that time they’ll make a determination about the best drying method depending on the moisture level and material that’s being restored, and then they’ll get the restoration process started.

Every day after that, a technician will visit your site to take follow-up readings. They’ll use the same moisture meters on the same material to ensure consistency, so if they used a capacitance meter on the wall during the initial inspection, they’ll use a capacitance meter in every other reading.

If you have experienced water damage, contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin and let us know how we can help you

After a Storm

8/27/2020 (Permalink)

What should you do after a storm floods your home? After a significant weather event, you may find yourself dealing with conflicting impulses. On one hand, you'll be eager to start the cleanup process right away. On the other hand, you'll probably feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start. While it’s best to have a restoration professional working through the process on your behalf, there are certain steps you can begin while you wait for help to arrive.

Safety First

The first and most important thing to know is how to re-enter a building safely. Never begin damage mitigation until a building has been cleared as safe. 

  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet yourself or standing in water.
  • Don’t walk through floodwaters. Water can be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage or possibly even be electrically charged. (See our earlier blog post on water contamination levels.)
  • Turn off electricity to any rooms that are affected by flooding.
  • Don’t operate any electrical equipment while standing in wet or damp locations.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
  • Wear protective clothing such as boots, long pants, and gloves when entering your home or dealing with flooded areas. I realize this is going to be uncomfortable in Austin since storm season is generally in the late summer heat, but it’s not worth the risk of injury to wear shorts in a flood clean-up.

Next Steps

Once you get into your building, notify your insurance agent. Your policy guidelines will influence your next steps and your agent should be able to recommend a trusted water restoration team in your area. To make sure that your agent has an accurate assessment of the damage, take photos or video to record the condition of your building and possessions. Don’t move any objects or collections without documenting their condition.

At SERVPRO of North Central Austin, we’re ready to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but there are still some steps you can take the moment you get back home while you’re waiting for our team to arrive.

The faster you act, the more effective the restoration process will be and the better your chances are of saving water damaged possessions.

  • Remove any paintings, art objects, documents and other sensitive materials to a safe, dry place.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Raise wooden furniture out of standing waters and place on blocks if possible.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. 
  • Move large furniture away from walls for better air circulation.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.

Tips for Carpet Care

If the affected room is carpeted, there are a few things you can do to prevent further damage to your carpet that might not be obvious if you’ve never been through a flood before.

  • Place aluminum foil between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Remove books, newspapers, magazines, or other colored items from wet carpets.
  • Do not leave colored area rugs on wet carpets (or white rugs on wet colored carpets). Color transfer from one can stain the other.

Let Us Help You

Most people only ever have to recover from a flooded home once in their lifetime. When it does happen, it’s good to have a partner who has been through this before. At SERVPRO of North Central Austin, we have years of experience and the backing of the SERVPRO system to draw on and help make your home "Like it never even happened."

If you are dealing with flood damage, call us for help at (512) 579-0189 or request help online today.

Why SERVPRO? Our Technicians

8/24/2020 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO technician wearing a tyvek suit and face mask for a bioremediation job Our technicians make us who we are.

When we call our employees “technicians,” it’s not just flattery. Our team members are trained in the science of restoration. One example of this training is psychrometrics

I must confess that I wasn’t familiar with this term before I came to work for SERVPRO of North Central Austin. Psychrometrics is the study of air and its properties. Technicians must measure the thermodynamic properties of temperature, humidity, vapor pressure, and dew point to evaluate how these properties will relate to the effect the moisture has on various structural materials and contents. When they aren’t favorable, the technician has to intervene to prevent damage to materials. 

Since they don’t only work with water loss restoration, our technicians have to learn fire theory as well. Technicians are trained on the components of combusion, how protein residues can affect kitchen fires, and how ionization from burning plastics can react with smoke, just to give a few examples.

Our technicians put in hours of continuing education training and receive numerous IICRC certifications every year. This expertise is one of the reasons why we believe in our company and in our team.

Flood Water Contamination Categories

8/10/2020 (Permalink)

Two technicians and two homeowners examine a leak in the background while water sits on a floor in the foreground How clean is the water flooding your room?

When you have flooding in your building, how safe is it? What is it carrying throughout your room? In the restoration industry, we have categories that we use to describe the type of water involved in a flood.

Category 1

Category 1 water is clean. This water must come from a sanitary water source. When a water supply line breaks, a tub overflows, or fresh rain leaks through a roof, the water starts out as a category 1. Once the water picks up debris or chemicals from the walls or ground or begins to grow bacteria from sitting in place, this categorization can change, but as long as it’s in category 1, water is considered safe.

Category 2

Category 2 water is also called “grey water.” This water carries chemicals or biological contamination. Examples of grey water include flooding that comes out of washing machine or dishwasher (as compared to flooding that comes from the water source into the machines). This water may appear either clear or dingy, but still contains chemicals, soap, or particulate from the dishes or laundry.

Category 2 water can also be created as clean water sits and deteriorates. As mold forms in the water, it changes the contamination level of the flooding.

While grey water isn’t safe for humans to drink or wash in, it isn’t totally useless. Don’t forget that category 2 water is still safe enough to water plants or wash a sidewalk.

Category 3

Category 3 water is often called
black water." This is water that has been grossly contaminated beyond any safe use. Water can become category 3 if sewage backs up or if there is runoff that contains pesticides or toxic chemicals. Wind-driven rain from storms or rising water from flooding bodies of water are also considered category 3.

Just because water is considered “black” does not mean that it will actually appear dirtier than the other categories. It’s always important to take precautions when entering a flooded area, whether it looks dirty or not.

Partner with Professionals Who Know Water

When you’re experiencing water damage, you should always feel comfortable asking your restoration team any questions you have about the water contamination and its effect on the repair process. A good and compassionate professional will take the time to explain what you’re dealing with in your building.

If you have water damage and would like SERVPRO of North Central Austin to evaluate your needs, call us at 512-579-0189.

What Is a Flood Cut?

7/31/2020 (Permalink)

A bathroom with the bottom of the walls removed, exposing pipes and wall studs While scary looking, a flood cut is an important step in getting your room back to the way it was before the flood happened.

If you’ve recently experienced flooding in your home or office, you’ve probably been told that you need to have a "flood cut" to your walls. You may have been told that the technicians will need to cut the bottom four feet off of your drywall.

This might seem a little excessive when you first hear this news, so let's talk a little about this procedure and give you the background you need to understand why it's being suggested.

Flood water always carries contaminants into a room. Even when water looks clear, it will carry bacteria and chemicals from the ground inside and outside your building. While there are various techniques for cleaning floors and upholstery, the best way to ensure that your walls are clean is to remove the drywall completely.

Let us reassure you that a flood cut is standard procedure when a room has been flooded. It may seem extreme, but if done properly, this first step will make your reconstruction process more effective in the long run.

A flood cut is what happens when a restoration or cleanup team removes all the drywall and baseboards below the four foot mark. This is an industry standard height no matter how high your flooding was because it’s the standard size that drywall is sold in. You may occasionally have a lower cut recommended, but be aware that if you use this height, you’ll have to cut the drywall you purchase down to size.

The flood cut isn’t only standard, but also a very important first step in restoring a flooded room.

If you've experienced flooding in your home, contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin and let us give you a recommendation for restoration.

Preparing for a Flood

7/22/2020 (Permalink)

Bridge crossing a river next to a white building Prepare now for flooding this fall.

Right now, Austin is in the middle of summer. At this time of year, we’re usually more worried about fires than floods, but that’s exactly when we should prepare our homes and families for autumn rainy seasons.

Assess Your Flood Vulnerability

The most conclusive way to find out if your home or office is vulnerable to flooding is to check a flood map

If you’re having trouble interpreting the flood map or figuring out what your actual risk is, call on the experiences of your neighbors. Ask neighbors who’ve lived on your street for years whether they’ve seen high water nearby. Post a question on a community group asking about the worst storm that anyone in that area has experienced.

Finally, explore your neighborhood and take note of creek beds that could become low water crossings. The next time it rains, take a drive over to them and see how close the water gets to the road.

Make a Plan

Flooding can happen fast in many environments. You need to have an evacuation plan ready and an emergency bag packed before water begins to rise.

You should already be aware of which roads in your community are likely to flood first. Plan a route to higher ground that doesn’t use any potential low water crossings. Talk to friends or family members and arrange for a place to go during a storm if an evacuation is ordered. If you think you might need it, put aside an envelope of literal “rainy day” cash so that you’ll have the funds to use if you need to spend the night at a hotel.

Your evacuation bag should contain everything you’ll need for a couple nights away from home. For example

  • Medication
  • Sanitary items
  • Pet or baby equipment and supplies
  • A change of clothing
  • Emergency blanket
  • Maps of the area (don’t rely on your phone’s map. If power goes down, you’ll need a map even after your phone dies).
  • Paper copies of important documents, such as medical information, deed or lease to your home, and insurance information.

You should also have some supplies set aside in case you're stranded in place. 

  • Food and water for three days
  • A flashlight and extra batteries
  • A battery powered (or crank-powered) radio
  • First Aid supplies

Plan Ahead for Potential Home Repairs

Finally, take time to create a plan for repairing your home after a flood occurs. Talk to your insurance provider about the flood insurance you might need. Talk to others in your community who have been through home repairs and get names of contractors they’d recommend (or recommend you avoid). 

Educate yourself about flood damage. The more informed you are about what to expect, the less scary it will be to deal with the aftermath of a flood.

It’s always intimidating to plan for any natural disaster. It’s important to realize that even though you may never have experienced a flood, you’re not alone in the process.

While most homeowners may never have to deal with a flood, professionals in the restoration, insurance, and local and national governments have years of specialized experience with these disasters. You can benefit from their experience before the rain even begins to fall.

Celebrate Safely at Home

7/1/2020 (Permalink)

Red, white, and blue confetti How are you going to celebrate safely this weekend?

With many central Texas communities cancelling their July 4th fireworks displays, Austin families are looking for ways to recreate the excitement of these celebrations at home. The problem is that fireworks are a notoriously dangerous and destructive activity for nonprofessionals. Even the simplest fireworks require diligent supervision—25% of firework-related emergency room visits are from sparklers alone (National Safety Council).

So what do you do with your family when you want to have a colorful, but safe holiday? We reached out our neighbors to see what suggestions they had.

Looking for something to shoot into the air that is safe to do right in your back yard? Debbie suggested silly string, bubbles, or confetti. Don't forget to use recycled confetti if it's available. (Debbie Smith, The Kenzie at the Domain)

Laura suggested some interactive games you can play with the family. Replicate the popping of firecrackers with a bubble gum contest. You can give away a prize for the biggest bubble or loudest POP!

After the sun sets, hide glow sticks around the house or yard, turn off the lights and have a hunt to see who finds the most. (Laura Vivion, Bosworth & Associates)

Celebrate the spirit of fireworks by drawing on the sidewalk in colorful chalk. Everyone can draw a firework explosion, no matter what your age or skill level. Bonus points for getting to share your art with your neighbors (who are probably just as frustrated with the cancellations as you are). (April Laws, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois)

Whatever your friends and family end up doing this weekend, we hope you have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Customer Loyalty in the New Normal

6/17/2020 (Permalink)

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned sticker on a business window What changes are you making to keep customers loyal during a time of social distancing restrictions?

COVID-19 has been an unprecedented experience for most business owners. Almost no one expected at the beginning of the year that we would have to shut our doors and go virtual for three to four months. For some of us, this was an easier prospect than for others. 

Those who already had a strong online presence were hurt far less than those whose services require person-to-person interaction. As we try to recover, we must admit that the pandemic has not been beaten yet. Unlike in a movie, there was no press conference announcing a cure and no all-clear announcement. We have to adapt to a new normal.

Going forward, businesses will have to plan for the ebb and flow of the COVID-19 rates in our community the way we do for other natural disasters and events that are beyond our control.

Do you have a plan for reassuring customers that their safety is your top priority? How can you communicate this? When a customer walks through your door and is greeted by a cheerful, but mask-covered smile, it tells them that you care enough to put their safety over your comfort.

When you allow for social distancing either by providing online ordering options or by reducing the capacity of your building, it tells your customers that you put their safety over profits.

When you have a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned sticker on your door, it shows your customers that you didn’t hire just any cleaning service, but that you cared enough to have a professional bioremediation consultation and the date that the cleaning was performed. 

These small steps can keep your customers loyal through whatever may come over the next several months as we deal with our new normal.

Laundry Room Safety

6/11/2020 (Permalink)

An under counter washer/dryer with laundry in a hamper Property dryer maintenance can make the difference between a helpful tool and a potential hazard.

When you’re thinking about household fire hazards, you probably think about your kitchen, fire place, or electrical system. But do you ever think about your laundry room? According to U.S. Fire Administration, home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss.

The most common reason for these fires by far is dirty or congested dryer vents and ducts. To reduce the risk of these fires happening, hire a professional cleaning and restoration company like SERVPRO® to clean your ducts when you notice your clothes are taking longer than normal to dry.

Other safety tips for your dryer from the National Fire Protection Agency include 

  • Cleaning the lint filter before and after each load. Purchase a vent brush (it’s like a giant bottle brush) to use between professional cleanings.
  • Making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not blocked by a bird’s nest or other potential obstacles
  • Keep your laundry room tidy. Don’t leave laundry or old lint near the machine where they could be ignited by an overheating machine.
  • Never run the dryer while you’re sleeping or away from home. 

For more information on cleaning dryer vents contact SERVPRO® of North Central Austin at (512) 579-0189. We are always here to help!

Safer Outdoor Cooking

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

sausages cooked over a portable charcoal grill With proper safety precautions, cooking outdoors is one of the highlights of the summer season. (Photo credit: Kristy TG)

Summer is a great time to enjoy cooking outdoors with your family and friends, but that means it’s also time to remind ourselves of fire safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), non-gas grills were involved in 1,300 home fires per year. That’s why they’ve offered the following tips for using outdoor grills or fire pits.

Starting Fires

  • Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire. 
  • Place an outdoor grill six feet from your home on level ground.
  • When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills, never gasoline or other accelerants
  • Store liquid fire starter  away from your tent and campfire, and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.
  • Never add starter fluid to charcoal or kindling that is already on fire

Extinguishing Fires

  • Fully extinguish fires before leaving a campsite or going to bed. Start by dousing the fire with water, then gently spread the ashes out to cool. Only leave a fire site once the ashes are cool to the touch
  • Keep something on hand in case the fire spreads. A fire extinguisher is obviously the most effective tool, but a spray bottle of water or garden hose can work if you’re grilling in your yard. If you’re camping, a bucket of sand is a helpful tool to keep near a camp fire.
  • Never empty used coals directly into a trash can. Designate a metal container (with a lid) just for the purpose of disposing of coal.

For more information on fire safety, follow the NFPA on Facebook and Twitter.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin wishes you a safe and happy summer!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned—A defensive cleaning program

5/31/2020 (Permalink)

 Table tent signs describing the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program on top of a wooden table. Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard—you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned. Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills— always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult—Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean—Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials. In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify—Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help —24 hours a day, seven days a week—until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.

Call SERVPRO of North Central Austin today at  512-579-0189 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.

* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience. Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.

Destroy Odors with Deodorization

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

skunk walking on grass Don't let odors interrupt your business. (Photo credit: Bryan Padron)

A Common Problem

We’ve all experienced it. You walk through the door and run right into a wall of odor. Sometimes, it’s when you’re returning to your building after a damaging event. Sometimes it’s when you’re moving into a facility with a pungent past. 

Don’t live with a smell that can turn away customers or guests. When SERVPRO® says that we make it “Like it never even happened,” that includes odors. 

Even a small fire or flood can leave odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard-to-reach places that could cause odors for years to come.

A Science-Based Solution

A prompt, professional cleaning will remove these residues and prevent permanent odor. SERVPRO® technicians don’t cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the source of the odor. Once the source is found, SERVPRO’s own proprietary line of cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning.

Any restorable item in the affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts and more.

If your home or business has suffered a fire or some other accident, don’t live with the damage. Call SERVPRO of North Central Austin at (512) 579-0189 to find out what we can do for you. We’re here to help.

Why SERVPRO, Part 4: Chris & Jill

3/19/2020 (Permalink)

A family of five standing in front of mountains The von Schweinitzes in Colorado.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin was established in 2010 by Chris and Jill von Schweinitz. Our owners have proved to be authentic and caring leaders so we talked to them about their choice to work in the restoration industry with SERVPRO.

Why did you choose to open a SERVPRO franchise?

Chris: Jill and I had done tech startups before and we wanted to start something that was aligned with our faith by giving us the opportunity to help our customers and help our employees.

Jill: We’re service oriented and loved SERVPRO's culture of servant leadership and accountability. 

What sets SERVPRO apart from other organizations you’ve been part of?

Chris: There’s a camaraderie that’s unparalleled. I feel supported by the other franchise owners.

Jill: We really liked the other owners. I’ve never seen support like SERVPRO owners provide each other. And the support we received from headquarters was unheard of.

What skill or experience is most important to success in the restoration industry?

Jill: Customer service. You want the people who care about the customer’s home.

Chris: You also have to be competent to handle any situation. We run into some really weird situations, but one of the things that SERVPRO does better than any other organization is the training they provide.

Finally, what’s your favorite thing about Austin?

Jill: I love Austin’s cultural diversity. I grew up over seas so for me that’s a very big thing.

Chris: It’s one of the friendliest cities. The customers, partners, and subcontractors we work with are all great.

Why SERVPRO, Part 3: Compassion

3/19/2020 (Permalink)

golden dog laying on gray chair Your home is the place where you can be most comfortable. (photo credit: Amy Humphries)

It’s a very traumatic experience when someone has a flood, fire, or crime in their home. Our homes are a refuge. They're the places we’re most comfortable and our daily routines are built around our homes.

When a disaster (large or small) happens to your home, your stress can be compounded by the restoration process. Nobody looks forward to strangers coming through their home and messing with their things. At SERVPRO of North Central Austin, we understand this.

When someone calls on us for our services, we know we have the opportunity to help them physically, emotionally, and spiritually in their time of need.

When we start work on your project, we’ll spend time explaining what’s going on. We want you to know that it’s still your home and you're in control. As the experts, we’ll be here to advise you in your choices, but we never want you to feel like we’ve taken over.

We can reassure you that this, too, will pass. Let SERVPRO make your home “Like it never even happened,” and it will be your refuge once again.

We are Cleaning Experts

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

gloved hand cleaning surface SERVPRO of North Central Austin has years of experience cleaning biological contaminants.

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today—SERVPRO of North Central Austin, 512-579-0189

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

Why SERVPRO, Part 2: The Strength of SERVPRO®

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

digital clock that reads 24:07 instead of the time SERVPRO of North Central Austin is here to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is a locally-owned franchise. This means that we’re owned by your neighbors, we’re managed by your neighbors, and we’re staffed by your neighbors. But it also means that we have the power of a nation-wide business standing behind us.

SERVPRO® headquarters employs experts for every aspect of restoration and remediation. We have meteorologists to track potentially destructive weather events. We have chemists to develop and test our proprietary cleaning products. As a part of the SERVPRO® network, we have access to equipment and specialists that would be unavailable to most small businesses.

In addition to the support of SERVPRO® headquarters, we have the support of the SERVPRO® network. SERVPRO of North Central Austin is one of over 1,700 franchises. There really is no disaster too big for us to handle. When a natural disaster or large loss occurs, SERVPRO® teams from around the region can come together to help the make the community “Like it never even happened.”

Choose a restoration team that is small enough to know their neighbors, but strong enough to take care of them. 

If you’d like to talk to us about a current restoration need or would like help creating an Emergency READY Profile, call (512) 579-0189 or email wecare@SERVPROnorthcentralaustin.com

Why SERVPRO, Part 1: The Emergency READY Profile

3/11/2020 (Permalink)

Two people meeting at a table Let a restoration professional help you design an Emergency READY Profile. (photo credit: Nik MacMillan)

We know that your company has options when choosing a restoration professional to partner with. We want to take the next few days to let you know what makes SERVPRO of North Central Austin the right choice.

One of the best services that SERVPRO offers is one that’s free and can be done before any damage even takes place. The Emergency READY Profile is an assessment of your building, facilities, and emergency contacts that will strengthen your existing contingency plan.

Here are a few features of the Emergency READY Profile that can benefit your business.

  • A concise profile document containing the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • Detailed facility descriptions, such as shut-off valve locations, priority service areas, and priority contact information.
  • A designated restoration contact from SERVPRO of North Central Austin to help you after a disaster.
  • A guide to help you getting back in your building and getting you back in business.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing restoration work to begin.

The best part about the Emergency READY Profile is that it is all manageable through a mobile phone app.

If you want to schedule an Emergency READY Profile assessment, email wecare@SERVPROnorthcentralaustin.com. If you’ve already experienced damage in your facilities, you can call (512) 579-0189 for immediate assistance. We’re here to help 24 hours a day.

Document Drying

2/5/2020 (Permalink)

When you walk into a flooded room, your first concern may not be damp paper, but once you’ve cleared the room, you may find that to be one of the tricker problems you face. After all, a towel can dry your filing cabinet, but what do you do with all the files inside?

First Steps

The most important step to take is to freeze your documents immediately. Freezing halts the destruction of the paper—it won’t undo damage, but it prevents any further deterioration by the physical effects of water or the growth of bacteria and mold. This will work whether you have cabinets full of client files or just family photos that you’re trying to preserve.

At this stage, it is important to pack the documents as carefully as possible. If you throw them in the freezer while folded or rolled, they will remain in that shape even after drying and cleaning. Make sure that they’re flat enough to put in a file folder once you get them back.

When you call SERVPRO of North Central Austin and ask for help, we’ll transport the paper in its frozen state to our document restoration center. 

Safely Drying Documents

SERVPRO uses sublimation to dry water damaged documents. This is the physical process that happens when the water in an object goes from solid straight to gas without becoming liquid in between. This prevents paper from being re-damaged once it thaws.

This is the only method for document drying that is approved by both the National Archives and Records Administration and the General Services Administration

SERVPRO Document Restoration Services

SERVPRO of North Central Austin can provide you with document restoration services beyond just drying. We can decontaminate papers that are exposed to hazardous conditions, such as a sewage spill. We can digitize documents if your office decides that you want a backup in case anything happens again. If you decide that you don’t need the documents back, we can securely destroy them and provide you with a certificate of destruction.

Most importantly, we and all members of the document restoration team are HIPPA Master Certified, which means that patient records and private information are in a secure chain of custody while they are being restored.

At SERVPRO of North Central Austin, we want to make it “Like it never even happened,” after an emergency. From the floors to files, we’re here to help.

Preventing Your Small Business from Becoming a Statistic

1/30/2020 (Permalink)

Blue open sign on door How will you keep your small business open after an emergency?

Austin loves small business. We love patronizing our homegrown stores and restaurants, and as a locally-owned franchise, SERVPRO of North Central Austin can appreciate that love. We also understand the risk involved with opening the doors of your own business. It doesn’t take much to close those doors again.

According to FEMA 25% of small businesses that shut down operation due to a disaster never open them again. That’s a mind-boggling percentage! 

We may not be able to stop disasters from happening, but we can prepare ourselves so that they’re less disastrous.

Plan

Take time before a destructive event happens to think about what needs to be done if things go wrong. If the pipes burst, if a fire breaks out, or if a storm strikes, what steps need to be taken and who will take them? There are multiple tools available to guide you through these questions.

Research

Talk to your insurance agent to learn the details of what is covered and what isn’t. Find out what information you will need to have on hand if you need to file a claim.

This is also the time to find out what companies are available in your area to restore your business after something goes wrong.

When an unexpected event forces your business to close, time is of the essence. FEMA statistics tell us that if a business is closed for more than 5 days, there is a 90% chance that it will fail within a year. It’s important to know who you can trust before you know you even know you need them.

Maintain

Prepare your facilities as well through maintenance. Make a checklist of every element in your building that could compromise service—plumbing, electrical, structural—and routinely review your assets to make sure that they’re fully functioning.

Your time is valuable, but your business is worth the investment. Prepare now for a disaster later.

Winter Storm Preparation

1/15/2020 (Permalink)

Frozen tree branch When icy weather hits North Austin, will you be prepared? (Photo by Rafa G. Bonilla)

A Beautiful Austin January

This winter has been beautiful in Austin. Kids are playing in Walnut Creek Park, the Domain is filled with strolling shoppers, and restaurants still have diners choosing the patios. 

It’s a refreshing change of pace considering January is traditionally a rough month for Austin weather. If you’ve forgotten what Austin is like during a winter storm, check out these articles from austin360.com and Texas Hill Country for a quick reminder of how quickly we Texans begin to lose our cool when an ice storm rolls into town.

Ice Storm Preparation

But don’t let the sunshine and clear roads give you a false sense of security. Use this as an opportunity to prepare for when a storm does come into town. There are three important steps to preparing for an event that forces you to go without electricity, water service, or a supermarket:

  1. Get a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care until you can get back out on the roads or HEB is restocked: water, non-perishable food, first aid, prescriptions, and a flashlight.
  1. Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. For homes, work together with your families and neighbors to help build community plan. For companies, contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin to develop an Emergency Ready Profile ® to get you back in business after a storm.
  1. Be Informed: Free information is available to assist you at ready.gov and redcross.org. In a situation where roads are dangerous or phone lines are down, it can take longer for emergency services to reach those in need quickly. We all need to know how to take care of a sick or injured person until help arrives.

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin has been specializing in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after storms since 2010. In good weather or bad, we’re Here to Help®.

Water, Water, Everywhere!

12/4/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage in a home Water from a flooded upstairs bathroom damaged this whole house. Leaking through the ceiling, dropping drywall on furniture, electronics, and clothes.

An Unwelcome Surprise

Imagine coming home from vacation, opening your front door, and seeing water on the floors and drywall scattered across your furniture and electronics as the ceiling is crumbling down. As you walk through your home, going up squishy stairs, you realize your whole home is flooded.

Your home is where you take refuge from the world. Home is where you're surrounded by memories. When your home is threatened by water damage, it can be a traumatic event. What do you do next? 

When we asked SERVPRO customers to describe our team, the one word that kept coming up was “hero.” We are here to help, with compassion, expertise and urgency.

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is a full-service restoration company.  We provide emergency 24/7 mitigation services and complete reconstruction services. We make it “Like it never even happened.”  So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. No matter what size disaster, from single story and a complete high-rise, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge and resources to restore your property.

Apartment Grilling—Know the Rules, Follow Them

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

Apartment building with flames coming from balcony Apartment grilling—know the rules.

Safe Grilling Practices

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than one-quarter of grill structure fires started on an exterior balcony or open porch. 

According to an Austin Fire Department captain, if you want to grill here are the rules:

  1. The apartment management must allow tenants to have their own grills in the first place
  2. If the apartment management is allows you to have a grill, it must be used and stored at least five feet away, horizontally, from the nearest part of the apartment building at all times. Essentially this means that balconies are a no go and the apartment needs to be on the ground floor. See city ordinance that covers the Fire Code, section 308.1.4.

  3. If you're grilling below any portion of your building (for instance, if there's a balcony above your grill), the grill must be used (and stored!) at least 15 feet away from the nearest point of this overhanging portion at all times.
     
  4. Someone must be near the grill at all times when it's in use.

  5. If it’s a propane grill, the propane tank can never be inside the apartment—not even for storage.

  6. The grill also can’t ever be inside the apartment unless it is taken apart and in boxes. Unfortunately, this means it can’t be easily reassembled for use.

In Texas, most apartment balconies are tinder for a fire. We have seen fires from grills and even cigarettes. 

The short advice is don’t grill your apartment balcony; however, there are solutions. Several apartment complexes provide grills around the swimming pool or park areas. Thanks to George Foreman and others you can use Contact Grills (not completely the same, but certainly safer).

If a cooking fire does go awry, give us a call. We are experts in deodorization and fire restoration. Also, SERVPRO of North Central Austin is a full-service restoration company. We provide 24/7 emergency mitigation services and complete reconstruction services, making it “Like it never even happened.” 

When an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. No matter what size disaster, from single story home and a complete high-rise, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge and resources to restore your property.

Deep Fried Turkey, Traditional as Football on Thanksgiving

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

Video still of a turkey fryer on fire Thanksgiving is the peak day for cooking fires.

A Dangerously Delicious Meal

It's is one of the pleasures of get-togethers during the holidays—cooking with your family—but cooking fires are more apt to happen when at just these times.  

One American tradition is fried turkey, but just because it's a common practice doesn't mean you can take its risk for granted. Because oil is involved, frying turkey requires care and caution.

Look at this compilation of frying fails.

In terms of safety, the National Fire Protection Association gives the best advice: Don’t do it. The deep-frying process is “not suitable for safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer.”

However, deep-fried turkey is as much a part of the fabric of America’s day of thanks as canned cranberries and football, so here are some tips from FEMA.GOV:

  1. Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot oil across a large area. Use your turkey fryer only outdoors on a sturdy, level surface, well away from things that can burn. Make sure to have a “3-foot kid- and pet-free zone” around your turkey fryer to protect against burn injuries.

  2. An overfilled cooking pot will cause oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside. Determine the correct amount of oil needed by first placing the turkey in the pot with water.

  3. A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed before you fry it.

  4. Turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire. Check the temperature often with a cooking thermometer so the oil won’t overheat.

  5. The pot, lid, and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries. Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle these items.

If a cooking fire does go awry this holiday season, give us a call. We are experts in deodorization and fire restoration. Also, SERVPRO of North Central Austin is a full-service restoration company. 

We provide 24/7 emergency mitigation services and complete reconstruction services, making it “Like it never even happened.” So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. No matter what size disaster, from single story home and a complete high-rise, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge and resources to restore your property.

Restoring an Austin High-Rise Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

Austin City Skyline Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges

Imagine having an Austin high-rise experience a water damage event during a uniquely Austin perfect storm. For Austinites, music festivals are sell-out events, leaving hotels and Airbnbs are 100% booked. Being a national political center as well, we often have visits from presidents, vice-presidents, and candidates.

The building and selling of Austin condos in these high-rises is competitive and getting to market quickly is key. When a high-rise experiences water damage, business resumption is paramount.

In other words, get rooms back in service, get condos back to closing, and make money.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is a full-service restoration company.  We provide emergency 24/7 mitigation services and complete reconstruction services. We make it “Like it never even happened.” 

So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. No matter what size disaster, from single story and a complete high-rise, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge and resources to restore your property.



Austin Movie Theater Has Flooding Ahead of Frozen 2 Release

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

Actors in a stage performance of Frozen Production of Frozen at Sam Bass Theater in Round Rock, TX

You are managing a large movie theater complex and every little girl is excited about Frozen 2. Then the unexpected happens—the supply line in the women’s bathroom breaks, flooding bathrooms, hallways, and theaters. 

Theater Culture in Austin

This theater wasn't just preparing for the release of a blockbuster family movie. As is the Austin cultural experience, this theater had also one screen dedicated to streaming an opera event.

Austin has 19 movie theaters per 100,000 people.  That is the highest in the nation and the highest in the world.

It's fun to be a movie fan in Austin, but for theater managers, it is vital that emergency damage can be fixed without an interruption of that fun.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin was able to address the water damage quickly, working through the night. Our team took into consideration the safety of patrons by taping down cords and securing affected areas. Additionally, we worked around the theater's schedules to minimize business interruption.  

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is a full-service restoration company.  We provide emergency 24/7 mitigation services and complete reconstruction services. We make it “Like it never even happened.”  So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. No matter what size disaster, from single story and a complete high-rise, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge and resources to restore your property.



Allow us to stress your small stuff.

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

green SERVPRO van in parking lot with water standing Give SERVPRO of North Austin a call, and leave the water restoration to us!

Damaged structures can lead to severe and complicated problems, especially if they are not treated promptly and professionally.

When your business or your home is ankle-deep in water, you don’t want to hear about problems. You want solutions.

Allow SERVPRO of North Central Austin professionals to be your solution. With over 40 years of leadership in the cleaning and restoration business, SERVPRO can help get homes and businesses back in working order, helping to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Due to the potential risk associated with water-related damage, moisture and water should be handled by properly trained, equipped and experienced professionals to ensure complete and necessary drying. Proper and professional cleanup and restoration can help prevent future harm, extensive structural damage and possible contamination. So the next time a water disaster strikes, whether it be your home or business, leave it to SERVPRO of North Central Austin to handle it promptly and professionally. We have all the experience and equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.”

The Do’s and Don’ts with Fire and Smoke Damage.

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

multiple high rise buildings with black smoke rising from top SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in Fire restoration.

Fire damage can be scary , until help arrives here are some tips to help minimize damage.

Do’s:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Wash both sides of leaves on the house plants.
  • Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

Don’ts

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of North Central Austin.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO.
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, Radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
  • Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.

Summer brings risks of some serious storm. Pt. 1

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

A storm rolling in , big dark clouds. Summer Storms are dangerous too.

While the spring season is known for the potential for severe weather, the threat exists throughout the summer months as well. In fact, the potential for severe weather even increases in some areas. Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1st and runs through November 30th. The Eastern pacific hurricane season begins May 15th also ending on November 30th .

While it may be difficult to prepare for the unpredictable, there are steps you can take now to ensure you are ready when disaster strikes. SERVPRO of North Central Austin can provide tips and tools to help. Here are a few tips to consider when preparing for an approaching storm.

Before the Storm:

  • Build an emergency supply kit and develop a communication plan.
  • Unplug any electronic equipment before the storm arrives.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • If you are outdoors, get inside a building, home or hard top vehicle (not a convertible).
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, closer window blinds, shades or curtains.

Summer brings risk of some serious storms. Pt. 2

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Approaching. Dark dangerous clouds Summer Safety is important too!

During the Storm:

  • Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates.
  • Avoid contact with corded phones. Cordless/Cellular phones are safe to use.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • Unplug appliances and electrical items, like computers. Power surges from lightening can cause serious damage.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.

After the Storm:

  • Never drive through a flooded roadway.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
  • Call 9-1-1 if you need immediate assistance or if anyone is hurt. (Keep in mind they are probably getting multiple calls.)

Why take the risk? Call SERVPRO of North Central Austin. Where the professionals are always working to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Being prepared for a Storm and Flood.

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

Hard rains tearing shingles off of a roof Storms, Flood or any kind of damage. Call the professionals at SERVPRO of North Central Austin.

Sometimes a storm can bring some serious water damage, even a flood. Are you prepared for a flood? Most people aren’t, so here are a few tips to be storm and flood ready!

  • Water (A 3+ day supply; one gallon per person per day.)
  • Food (3+ day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food.)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medications (7 – day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation/personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact info
  • Extra Cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Camera for photos of any damage

Are you prepared?

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is always here to help!

The National Weather Service (NOAA) has listed the most common flood hazards in the United States.

Check them out below and make sure your home is always safe!

- Flash Flooding

- River Flooding

- Burn Scars/ Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)

- Ice or Debris Jams

- Melting Snow

- Dry Wash ( Heavy Rainfall in Dry areas)

- Dam Breaks and or Levee Failures

- Storm Surge

- Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non- Tropical Systems

Are you prepared?

Did you know that 20% of all claims paid by the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) were for policies in Low-Risk communities?

SERVPRO of North Central Austin can help you stay prepared with an ERP or Emergency Ready Program. Call us today to get more information! We do more than just Water damage. We can help you with any size disaster. Give us a call at 512-579-0189! We’re SERVPRO , and were always here to help!

What about Lightning?

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

Stay prepared for any disaster!

During a storm, a lot of things have the potential to cause some pretty serious damage.

Besides wind driven rain, a few other things can play a role.

Today, let’s talk lightning!

Some people think lightning never strikes the same place twice. However, lightning often strikes the same place twice, especially if it’s a tall, pointed object. Reportedly, the Empire State Building is struck nearly 25 times a year!

It is also believed that lightning only poses a threat when it is cloudy or raining. The truth is lightning often strikes more than three miles outside of a storm and has been known to travel as far as ten to fifteen miles before it even strikes the ground.

Many people are confused by the term “heat lightning” and think it only occurs as a result of a very hot summer day. The term “heat lightning” is used to describe lightning from a thunderstorm too far away to be heard.

Lightning can be scary and has the ability to do more than just make a loud noise. Keep SERVPRO of North Central Austin in mind the next time a storm comes your way!

What kind of Water Damage do you have?

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

We can help with any form of water damage.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin helps meet the real needs of insurers and property owners by supplying reliable and consistent service. The first steps taken in a disaster situation can mean the difference between recovery and total loss.

So when facing a water damage, it is important to understand what type of water you are dealing with to ensure proper cleanup. There are three types of water: Clean Water, Gray Water and Black Water.

Clean Water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean.

The term Gray Water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated. Bacteria and other contaminants begin growing making the water hazardous.

Black Water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals.

When you have water damage, don't leave your property to chance. Call SERVPRO of North Central Austin.

Celebrate safety

5/31/2019 (Permalink)

Have fun but be safe!

The fourth of July is a time to celebrate with friends and family. In order to celebrate safely, consider the following tips provided by the U.S. Fire Administration:

The best way to enjoy fireworks is to view public fireworks displays put on by professionals.

If you plan to use fireworks, ensure they are legal in your area. Only buy legal consumer fireworks from a licensed store, stand or tent. They typically have brightly colored labels with the manufacturer’s name, directions and warnings. Always read the directions and warning labels on fireworks. If a device is not marked with the contents, directions and a warning label, do not light it.

Always have an adult supervise children around fireworks activities at all times, especially with sparklers.

Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks. If a firework does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire, and to douse used fireworks before discarding in the trash.

Stay safe in the summer months.

5/29/2019 (Permalink)

Stay safe

Every new summer, families and friends across the country enjoy the summer months with barbecues, camping trips, or by cooling off in a pool or lake. In order to enjoy these occasions, it is important to keep safety on top of the mind to help ensure you have fun in the sun while maintaining safety procedures.  

According to the United States Fire Administration, nearly 8,600 Americans are injured by fireworks and almost 5,000 are injured by grill fires, annually. A grill should always be supervised when in use. Keep children and pets a safe distance from the grilling area to prevent accidental burns or tipping of the grill.

If you enjoy lounging by the pool or going for a boat ride to cool off from the summer sun, make sure you exercise caution, especially when children are present. Only swim in approved areas and supervise children at all times when near the water.

Be prepared for the unexpected.

5/27/2019 (Permalink)

Call the CLEANUP TEAM that’s faster to any size disaster.

While the spring season is know for the potential for severe weather, the threat exists throughout the summer months as well. In fact, the potential for severe weather even increases in some areas. Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1st and runs through November 30th. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15th also ending November 30th.

While it may be difficult to prepare for the unpredictable, there are steps you can take now to ensure you are ready when disaster strikes. Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can provide tips and tools to help. Here are a few tips to consider when preparing for an approaching storm.

Before the Storm

  • Build an emergency supply kit and develop a communication plan.
  • Unplug any electronic equipment before the storm arrives.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • If you are outdoors, get inside a building, home or hard top vehicle (not a convertible)
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.

During the Storm

  • Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates.
  • Avoid contact with corded phones. Cordless/cellular phones are safe to use.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • Unplug appliances and electrical items, like computers. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Avoid contact with plumbing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.

After the Storm

  • Never drive through a flooded roadway.
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.

Let us help you minimize and prevent further water damage.

5/21/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage is no fun for anyone!

There’s no such thing as a small disaster, especially when you have water damage in your home. Water damage can affect the value of your property and if not cleaned properly, may cause major problems over time. Don’t leave your property to chance, call SERVPRO of North Central Austin. Consider the following steps to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.

Damage from Clean Water

  • Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
  • Remove as much excess water possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture to a safe place.
  • Do not enter rooms with standing water; electrical shock hazards may exist.
  • Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets as they may cause staining.
  • Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

Damage from Contaminated Water

  • Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.
  • Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air. Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
  • Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to contaminated areas.

Stay prepared for any disaster.

5/21/2019 (Permalink)

Stay prepared!

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself, your family or your employees is by having a weather radio in your home or office. Did you know having a NOAA Weather Radio in your office is just as important as having a fire alarm.

A weather radio is the most reliable source for weather alerts. It is designed to alert you to dangerous weather situations such as an approaching tornado, allowing you to be warned ahead of approaching storms providing time to seek shelter. In 2012, a new nationwide text emergency alert system was launched, called Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). The WEA system is a huge step toward keeping our nation informed in crisis situations, however it does not alleviate the need to own weather radios. The new WEA system relies on cell towers to send alerts – if cell towers are knocked out during bad weather or are no longer sending a signal, you will not receive alerts. Television and radio broadcasts can also go down during a destructive event. Having a back-up such as a weather radio is critical to ensure you still receive information in the even media outlets can no longer broadcast or you are unable to receive the broadcast.

Property disaster? "We are always here to help."

5/20/2019 (Permalink)

Your problem, our solution!

Faster to any size disaster. This is not just another catchy tag line for SERVPRO. It is a commitment from each SERVPRO Franchise professional to be there when you need them most. 

Whether you are a small business or home owner facing minor fire or water damage, or property manager dealing with a widespread disaster, the SERVPRO system has the resources to respond quickly and efficiently. The sooner help arrives, the sooner restoration begins and the sooner you can resume life and business as usual. SERVPRO of North Central Austin is just the tip of the iceberg.

If a fire, water or mold damage strikes, no matter the time, call SERVPRO of North Central Austin. We will help make your property disaster "Like it never even happened." Call on a restoration system serving insurance companies and their insureds, as well as thousands of commercial property owners in North America. You can trust the SERVPRO brand, too! 

Pre-Vacation Checklist

5/3/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is always here to help!

Going on vacation is always exciting! Before you go look over this check list and make sure all is well with your home or business before taking off!

  • Suspend mail and newspaper services
  • Arrange for lawn care services while you're gone
  • Install Exterior lighting or motion detectors to deter burglars.
  • Wait to post vacation pictures on social media until you have returned
  • Check the batteries in home or business security devices, including motion detectors, cameras, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace them if necessary.
  • Shut off the main water supply. If you would like to leave the water on for an automated sprinkler system, then at least turn off the water supply to the dishwasher, washing machine, and to each toilet. 
  • Switch your water heater to vacation mode or turn it off completely.
  • Set your thermostat to either four degrees above or below your normal temperature. For summer months, set the thermostat in the upper 70's. For winter months, set the thermostat in the upper 50's.
  • Prevent a power surge by unplugging your electronics or make sure they are plugged into a surge protector.

The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

We do Duct Cleanings too!

According to FEMA, failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.

To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your or your insured’s home or business, SERVPRO® can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup.

Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest or other potential obstacles.

For more information on cleaning dryer vents contact SERVPRO® of North Central Austin Franchise Professionals. We are always here to help!

Destroy Odors with DEODORIZATION

4/5/2019 (Permalink)

Anything you need, were here to help!

Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke and soot damage in your business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems.

As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces

and in hard-to-reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken,

these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.

With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals provide specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the source of the odor. Once the source is found, SERVPRO’s own proprietary line

of cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable item in affected areas will also be professionally cleaned

and deodorized, including furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts and more.

Ask SERVPRO® of North Central Austin Franchise Professional to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you.

If you or a customer suffer a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services, contact SERVPRO® of North Central Austin Franchise Professionals. Whether it’s fire, water, or mold damage or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we’ll help make it “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of North Central Austin knows the Science of Drying.

3/19/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know, there is actually a science behind the process of drying? The knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a fan or two around the damaged area, SERVPRO of North Central Austin’s professional team is trained in the science if drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages. If your business suffers a water damage, SERVPRO of North Central Austin professionals will:

  • Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet, to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
  • Measure how much moisture is in wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
  • Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.

What exactly does “Speed up Mother Nature” mean? A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air is, indeed, drier. The only problem is, nature takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin has been trained to use top-of-the-line equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces inside walls, and much more. SERVPRO of North Central Austin also uses state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, and proven scientific process to help speed the drying of your home or business.

The bottom line? SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the training and equipment to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Why SERVPRO of North Central Austin?

3/19/2019 (Permalink)

We do it all!

SERVPRO is a franchise system with 45 years of leadership in cleanup and restoration. Our track record of results has earned us the trust of the insurance industry, countless homeowners, and in one unforgettable instance, even the Pentagon.

We are quietly taking to the streets, every hour of every day, proving that whenever there is a house full of water or an office full of smoke, there is also a van full of clean and workers that are going to make it look like it never even happened.

So what services does SERVPRO of North Central Austin offer? We offer the following;

Restoration:

  • Fire, Smoke and Soot
  • Water removal and Dehumidification
  • Mold Mitigation and Remediation
  • Catastrophic Storm Response
  • Move Outs and Contents Restoration
  • Electronics and Equipment
  • Document Drying
  • Contents Claim Inventory Service

Cleaning:

  • Air Ducts and HVAC
  • Biohazard, Crime Scene and Vandalism
  • Carpet, Upholstery, Drapes and Blinds
  • Ceilings, Walls and Hard Floors
  • Deodorization

We also offer Reconstruction services. Give us a call today to get an estimate or learn more about what we do!

Call the cleanup team that is faster to any size disaster.

3/18/2019 (Permalink)

The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing damaged property and personal belongings. Rapid response and timely mitigation can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin Franchise Professionals understand returning to normal is your primary concern. SERVPRO Response Teams are trained in caring for both you and your property. By responding quickly with a full line of fire cleanup and restoration services, SERVPRO of North Central Austin franchise professionals can help you get your home or business back up and running quickly and help protect your property and belongings. If your home or business suffers a fire damage, contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin franchise professional to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Cold-Weather Killer

3/18/2019 (Permalink)

Stay safe from all dangers. Call SERVPRO of North Central Austin today!

Carbon monoxide is a gas you cannot see, taste or smell. According to ready.gov, an average of 430 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Often times, it is the result of faulty, improperly used or vented consumer products like furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters and engine-powered equipment, such as portable generators.

However, there are precautions you can take to help protect yourself, your family, and your employees from deadly CO fumes.

Reduce the chance of CO exposure in your workplace by performing regular maintenance on equipment and appliances that can produce CO. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home, including outside of all bedrooms.

Consider having all fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys serviced annually by a professional. Use portable generators only in well-ventilated areas away from doors, windows, vents, and any other openings to prevent fumes from entering the home.

For additional CO safety information, visit usfa.fema.gov or osha.gov.

We are SERVPRO and we're always here to help!

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

We're here 24/7

SERVPRO’s network of more than 1,700 Franchises is ready to help in the event a fire, water or mold loss occurs. Call on a restoration system serving insurance companies and their insureds, as well as thousands of commercial property owners in North America. You can trust the SERVPRO® Brand, too!

Were always here to help!

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

Faster to ANY size disaster!

According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), “Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding.” NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as:

  • Flash Flooding
  • River Flooding
  • Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems
  • Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)
  • Ice/Debris Jams
  • Snowmelt
  • Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
  • Dam Breaks/Levee Failure

Just because you haven’t experienced a flood doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the U.S., and commercial flood claims average more than $75,000 (NFIP). When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can help. They can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile® (ERP), or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get you back in business as soon as possible. SERVPRO® North Central Austin Franchise Professionals are ready to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Plan Ahead

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

We're always here to help.

With each year, many people resolve to better themselves or some part of their life. This year, make a plan to be READY. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can prepare for it. The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) will help ensure you are “Ready for whatever happens” this year and years to come. In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. The ERP also establishes SERVPRO® of North Central Austin Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to over 50 years experience and a System more than 1,700 Franchises strong. The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save you time and money in the future. By downloading the free SERVPRO® READY App, this information is stored electronically and can be accessed using your mobile device putting help at your fingertips. Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster. Don’t wait until disaster strikes—resolve to be READY. Call SERVPRO® of North Central Austin Franchise Professionals to establish your Emergency READY Profile®, and be “Ready for whatever happens” in 2019.

Advantages of the SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile®

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

Emergency READY Program

Here are a few reasons to have the Emergency READY profile.

  • A no-cost assessment of your facility.
  • A concise profile document containing only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
  • Establishes SERVPRO® of North Central Austin Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.

Stay in Business after a storm!

2/6/2019 (Permalink)

You can't predict a disaster, but you can be prepared for one.

As a business owner or manager, you are a leader in your community, and have the opportunity to set an example for your employees, customers, and community to follow.

This year, join your community in preparing for emergencies and disasters of all types, and leading efforts to encourage the community as a whole to become more prepared.

Disasters not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities, including businesses of all sizes. As an employer in your community, having a business continuity plan can help protect your company, its employees, and its infrastructure, and maximizes your chances of recovery after an emergency or disaster.

Ready Business asks companies to take three simple steps: - Plan to stay in business - Encourage your employees to become ready - Protect your investment

Ready Business, an extension of the Ready Campagin, helps business owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses to prepare their employeees, operations, and assets in the event of an emergency. At ready.gov/business, companies can find vital information on how to get started preparing their organization and addressing their unique needs during an emergency.

We can help you take back control when water damage takes over!

2/6/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is equipped to help you recover from any type of water damage.

According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), "Approximately 75% of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding." NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as: - Flash Flooding - River Flooding - Burn Scars/Debris Flows (caused by wildfires) - Ice/Debris Jams - Snowmelt - Dry Wash (caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas) - Dam Breaks/Levee Failure - Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems

Just because you haven't experienced a flood doesn't mean you won't in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the United States.

When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO of North Central Austin can help. We can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile, or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get you back into your home as soon as possible. We are ready to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Tips for Leasing a Commercial Space

2/6/2019 (Permalink)

When planning on leasing a commercial property, make sure you ask the right questions.

Here are some helpful things to consider, as provided by Austin Tenant Advisors, before leasing a commercial space: Many times business owners and companies lease commercial space BEFORE finding out critical information that could have a negative impact on their tenancy later on.  On this post I have outlined the top 10 questions that should be asked before signing on the dotted line. I've also included a few other posts that you might find useful as you plan for the year.

  1. 10 Questions you must ask landlords before leasing space
  2. How to save money when renting office space
  3. Top office space design trends to drive employee productivity
  4. How to find office space on your own
  5. How to renew an office lease
  6. 5 Tips on Negotiating office lease renewals
  7. Austin office space sublease listings

If you have any questions feel free to contact us.   Need help finding office space? Contact Austin Tenant Adivisors today. 512-861-0525

We can help restore your commercial property!

2/6/2019 (Permalink)

We're here to help

Flooding and water damage events at Austin commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Meet Our Crew!

Certifications:

  • SRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician
  • IICRC Certified Firm
  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
  • CDS - Commercial Drying Specialist
  • RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation
  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician
  • ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program
  • OSHA - 10-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program

We're Always Here to Help!

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

When tragedy strikes, we're Here to Help®

The flood in Austin on Halloween 2013 was devastating for hundreds of families and for many businesses. This was also a time when we were able to live out our mission: "We are a team committed to helping people physically, emotionally, and spiritually in their time of need."

While the physical part of what we do is evident, helping people emotionally and spiritually is expressed in our values. We ask and listen to what people are most concerned about. Is it a precious heirloom, financial fears, or the uncertainty of what to do next?  

We take the time to guide and explain. For many, we have found that this helps people cope with what is in front of them. "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Chris VonSchweinitz Owner

Fire Damage? Here's some things to avoid doing before we arrive!

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

When faced with fire and smoke damage, we're Here to Help®.

If you experience fire or smoke damage in your home, here are some things that you should NOT do while waiting for your remediation team to arrive.

Don't:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of North Central Austin.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO of North Central Austin.
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat, or water (they may be contaminated).
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create a secondary damage.
  • Send garments to dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.

Fire Damage? Here's some things to do until we arrive!

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

When faced with fire and smoke damage, we're Here to Help®.

If you experience fire or smoke damage in your home, here are some things that you can do until your remediation team arrives.

Do:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim, and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Wash both sides of leaves on house plants.
  • Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

Here's some helpful tips for leasing commercial property.

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

When planning on leasing a commercial property, make sure you ask the right questions.

Here are some helpful things to consider, as provided by Austin Tenant Advisors, before leasing a commercial space: Many times business owners and companies lease commercial space BEFORE finding out critical information that could have a negative impact on their tenancy later on.  On this post I have outlined the top 10 questions that should be asked before signing on the dotted line. I've also included a few other posts that you might find useful as you plan for the year.

  1. 10 Questions you must ask landlords before leasing space
  2. How to save money when renting office space
  3. Top office space design trends to drive employee productivity
  4. How to find office space on your own
  5. How to renew an office lease
  6. 5 Tips on Negotiating office lease renewals
  7. Austin office space sublease listings

If you have any questions feel free to contact us.   Need help finding office space? Contact Austin Tenant Adivisors today. 512-861-0525

The Remediation and Mitigation of Mold (Part 1)

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is equipped to help remediate your mold situation, should you find yourself facing one.

When there's a water intrusion, like a roof leaking, or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business. Mold can affect your health, and can also cause significant damage to your property. Fortunately, SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem. Although every mold damage scenario is different, requiring a unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same. The following steps illustrate a "typical" mold removal process:

Call SERVPRO of North Central Austin

The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call us. A representative will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel needed.

Inspection & Damage Assessment

Your property will be carefully inspected for signs of mold using technology designed to detect mold and hidden water sources. Mold feeds on cellulose and water, which can be hidden from plain view.

Mold Containment

Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold, and isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the clean up process.

For more information, see Part 2

The Remediation and Mitigation of Mold (Part 2)

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is equipped to help remediate your mold situation, should you find yourself facing one.

When there's a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business. Mold can affect your health and can also cause significant damage to your property. Fortunately, SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem.

Continued from Part 1

Air Filtration

Specialized filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air. SERVPRO technicians utilize powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress.

Removing Mold & Mold-Infested Materials

The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.

Cleaning Contents & Belongings

SERVPRO of North Central Austin professionals clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, and other restorable items affected by mold. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean the sanitize your belongings. They are also trained to remove odors and deodorize using fogging equipment.

Restoration

Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet, or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin understands mold, mold growth, and has the training and equipment to remediate mold in your home or business.

Restoring your Commercial Property? We're here to help!

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

We're here to help!

Flooding and water damage events at Austin commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Meet Our Crew!

Certifications:

  • SRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician
  • IICRC Certified Firm
  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
  • CDS - Commercial Drying Specialist
  • RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation
  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician
  • ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program
  • OSHA - 10-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program

Water Problem? Let us be the solution!

8/18/2018 (Permalink)

A pipe bursts. A water heater leaks. A bathtub overflows. Flood waters rush in. A sprinkler system malfunctions. Water damage can happen in any number of ways. But, if your business or home is under a few inches of water, everything else takes a backseat. Only one thing matters when your business can’t operate, and there is just one thing on the mind of the water-logged resident: A solution.

Your local SERVPRO Professionals are that solution. Equipped with the knowledge, the experience, and the training to help make your water damage “Like it never even happened.” SERVPRO Professionals will start helping the moment you call. Backed by more than 40 years of experience, your SERVPRO Professionals will help put your worries at ease, because they understand the sciences of drying.

When water damage strikes, give SERVPRO of North Central Austin a call; they will help to make things right, make things dry, and make it “Like it never even happened.”

Storms or Floods on the way to Austin? SERVPRO is ready!

8/13/2018 (Permalink)

Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to storm or flood damage in Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Austin, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 512-579-0189

Be prepared for a disaster!

8/13/2018 (Permalink)

Put an emergency readiness plan in place for your family's safety!

The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency or disaster. While each situation is unique, your family can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. The following are measures you and your family can take to start getting ready. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your family, home, and the community. Review the following questions to learn if your family and home is prepared.

Be Informed Do you know what kind of emergencies might affect your home or daily life? Do you know what you and your family will do in an emergency situation?

Prepare Your Emergency Plan Do you have an evacuation and shelter-in-place plan? Do you have a plan to communicate with your family before, during, and after an incident? Do you have an emergency supply kit?

Practice the Emergency Plan Have you practiced your plan recently? Does your family know where to go in the event of a natural disaster? Have you reviewed your plans in the last 12 months?

Review Insurance Coverage Have you reviewed your insurance coverage recently to see if you’re covered in a disaster?

Secure Your Home Have you conducted a room-by-room walk-through to determine what safety measures can be taken?

Improve Cyber Security Have you installed a firewall on your computer? Do you regularly update your antivirus software? If you answered “No” to any of these questions, visit ready.gov and learn how to better prepare your family and home for an emergency or natural disaster.

Disaster is never easy but the SERVPRO Mobile app is!

8/10/2018 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO Ready Plan mobile app provides home and business owners with a quick and convenient way to call on SERVPRO for help when disaster strikes.

For a property owner, a disaster scenario involving fire or water damage can seem unthinkable, and then, suddenly, become a reality. In the aftermath of a disaster, quick response time can help minimalize property damage as well as inventory or contents loss.

The SERVPRO Ready Plan mobile application provides home and business owners with a quick and convenient way to call in your SERVPRO Professionals when disaster strikes.

The Ready Plan app is a free emergency preparedness tool offered by SERVPRO and can be downloaded on your Adroid, iPhone, or Blackberry.

The application allows both residential and commercial property owners and managers to create an Emergency READY Profile containing critical facility information that can help speed up response time after fire or water damage occurs. In addition to property details, the application tracks prior loss history, utility shut off location, and key contacts; stores photos of the damage; and integrates local weather forecasts and more, including the address and contact information for the user's local SERVPRO Professionals.

Through the application, the user can quickly call SERVPRO of North Central Austin, or submit an electronic "First Notice of Loss" to the SERVPRO National Call Center, setting the wheels of recovery in motion. Rapid response from a disaster cleanup and restoration specialist can help the property owner evaluate options, start the insurance process, and take the right steps from the beginning to bring their property back to normal, "Like it never even happened."

The SERVPRO Ready Plan mobile app places a convenient preparedness tool right at your fingertips. Disasters are unpredictable and frequently strike without warning. That is why SERVPRO's Ready Plan mobile app is so valuable. In the confusion and panic that often surround a disaster, a property owner or manager can reach out for expert help right from the scene, using their cell phones. For more information on the SERVPRO Ready Plan mobile app and how it can help you be more prepared, contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin at 512-579-0189

Have a Fire Escape Plan!

8/9/2018 (Permalink)

Make an emergency evacuation plan for your home.

Every second counts during a fire. Fire experts agree, people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out.*

In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared with an escape plan in place. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical that everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. Increase your chance of surviving a fire by ensuring you have working smoke detectors in place, building an escape plan, and then practicing the escape plan. The following are a few steps to help you develop an emergency escape plan:

Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily.

Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Store them near the window where they will be used.

Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance from your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to mark the meeting location on your escape plan. Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them. Plan for everyone in your home with special considerations for elderly or disabled individuals. Practice your fire escape plan at night and during the daytime. SERVPRO of North Central Austin wants you to stay safe and prepare now to ensure you are ready for any disaster. *Tips provided by American Red Cross and National Fire Protection Association

Do you have a mold problem?

8/8/2018 (Permalink)

In Austin, mold can spread through a home in as little as 48 hours.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 512-579-0189

Smoke and Soot

8/7/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of North Central Austin will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us Today – 512-579-0189

Vandalism Clean-Up

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

We are able to handle various types of restoration situations: fire, mold, water damage, spray paint, and more!

Jackie Vega of KXAN Austin wrote an article in June of 2015 about a commercial client we helped clean up from a vandalism situation. Read the original article here, or read below:

"AUSTIN (KXAN) — The search is on for the vandals who broke into a newly renovated early childhood development center geared toward helping low-income families in Southeast Austin. The vandals also brazenly took the time during their mischief to munch on a few bowls of cereal before taking off.

“Instead of arriving Monday morning to a newly renovated Child Inc. Palomita Early Childhood Development, Center Director Rachael Salazar was greeted by complete chaos,” said spokeswoman Edith Gray. “Vandals had broken in overnight with the intent of destruction.”

Gray says they found furniture overturned, paint sprayed on walls, rugs, toys, books and computers. They say two laptops were stolen.

“Food from the kitchen used to prepare healthy meals for our most vulnerable children [was] thrown everywhere,” said Gray. “It also appears the vandals helped themselves to a few bowls of cereal. Gang signs were sprayed on the walls. Then again last night, another window broken and another break-in.”

Gray says they need the community to help put a stop to this pattern — a type of crime she says impacts low-income families in the area.

The center says they hope to have everything clean by next Monday."

These sorts of incidents are always challenging, and come with a lot of decisions and clean up to get things back to normal. SERVPRO of North Central Austin was ready and equipped to help, and able to work with this business to get things "Like it never even happened."

Is your business emergency ready?

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

Help Your Business Be Ready in Case of Emergency

How quickly your company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. The following are basic measures business owners and managers can take to begin preparing. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, local economy, and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.

Develop a Business Continuity Plan Your organization's risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope, and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flow chart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management.

Review Insurance Coverage Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed, or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage, and business interruption. Understand what your policy does and does not cover.

Prepare Your Emergency Plan Your employees and co-workers are your businesses' most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during, and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and/or other communication tools.

Practice the Emergency Plan Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, consumers, and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.

Secure Your Facility and Equipment Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant, or store is not usable. Secure valuable equipment.

Improve Cyber Security Protecting your data and information systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don't open emails from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known as patches regularly.

Let us be the "Light" after the storm.

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

Uprooted tree

KXAN's Chris Sadeghi published an article back in May of 2015 about one of our clients who was a victim of the Memorial Day Floods. See the original post here, or read below.

"WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — A Hawaiian vacation was just hours away for Joan Jenkins when she received a phone call that her Wimberley home was flooded. So she turned away from paradise and returned to a very harsh reality.

“When we rounded the corner, I just burst into tears because our house has never flooded and we have owned it for 40 years,” she said Friday as she sorted through her water-soaked belongings. Though her home was damaged and many possessions destroyed, it was what sat in the backyard which may have painted the most clear picture of what the community lost.

“It was a tree we called ‘Strong,’” she said. “We figured it was 400-500 years old and it is gone. It makes you think that nothing is permanent.”

That inevitability is one Texans have faced many times in the aftermath of May flooding which has ended lives, taken homes, and devastated neighborhoods.

Nothing is permanent. Not even sadness.

“You cry some more and then you get back to work,” said Jenkins.

As the sunshine shone bright on Friday, Jenkins, her friend Marilyn, and her daughter Jessica managed to find the bright side in a lot of things. While looking over what was lost, Jenkins found something.

“I found a love letter from my old boyfriend,” she said with a laugh as she stared at the piece of paper with the words “I love you” written repeatedly to take up the entire page. “I might call him and tell him he made my day!”

The three women even found it in them to crack a few jokes about how the upcoming Christmas might be the best in years.

“People tell me they never know what to get me because I have everything. Well, problem solved,” said Jenkins.

But the biggest silver-lining, according to Jenkins, has been the goodwill pouring into Hays County and Texas from volunteers and donations all over.

“It has been inspiring.”

It could be years before the area fully recovers from the damage, but for Jenkins it starts with a simple purchase. Herself, Jessica, and Marilyn wear all wearing the same burnt orange Texas Longhorns t-shirts on Friday.

“We are wearing identical shirts. Our $4 Academy t-shirts as we clean up,” she said. “As a team.”"

Stories like this give us hope that we can continue to help those who need it piece their lives back together after storm damage. If you have experienced water damage due to the recent rains, please call us 24/7 at 512-579-0189. We're here to help.

Take steps to prepare for Emergencies.

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

Emergencies are unplanned, but not unexpected; here are some tips to be prepared when caught off guard

In recent years, many forms of disasters have affected the United States. Flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and blizzards are natural disasters that can threaten your home, business, and community.

If you've seen the news, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. We've seen tornado outbreaks, river floods, flash floods, historic earthquakes, tsunamis, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities affecting millions of people for days at a time.

Here are three steps to help you prepare and plan in the event that you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services:

  1. Get a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care - water, non-perishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, battery-powered radio - for a checklist of supplies, visit www.ready.gov
  2. Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. For sample plans, see www.ready.gov- Work together with neighbors, colleagues, and others to help build community resilience.
  3. Be Informed: Free information is available to assist you from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial resources. You can find preparedness information by:

- Accessing www.ready.gov to learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency.

- Contacting your local emergency management agency to get essential information on specific hazards to your area, local plans for shelter and evacuation, ways to get information before and during an emergency, and how to sign up for emergency alerts if they are available.

- Contacting your local firehouse and asking for a tour and information about preparedness.

Police, fire, and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly, such as if trees and power lines are down, or if they're overwhelmed by demand from an emergency. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover.

As FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate reminded us, "Individuals and families are the most important members of the nation's emergency management team. Being prepared can save precious time if there is a need to respond to an emergency." For more information on NPM, and for help getting prepared, visit www.ready.gov, or call 1-800-BE-READY, 1-888-SE-LISTO, and TTY 1-800-462-7585 for free information.

Next month (September) is National Preparedness Month, and SERVPRO of North Central Austin wants you to be aware of the steps to take to help prepare for a natural disaster. For more information on disaster preparedness, visit www.ready.gov, or call SERVPRO of North Central Austin; our professionals can help your business prepare for the unexpected by offering an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP). The profile is designed to be a quick and easy snapshot of your business, providing critical facility information needed for detailed emergency preparation. For a customized Emergency READY Plan, contact us at SERVPRO of North Central Austin today, at 512-579-0189.

Emergencies are unplanned, but not unexpected; here are some tips to be prepared when caught off guard

Commercial Fire Damage? We can help!

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week, we are SERVPRO ready to help.

A home or business fire can be a very stressful event for the property owner. Damage to personal belongings and the contents of the building is just one concern. Timely mitigation is the key to controlling damage, while reducing downtime and recovery costs. SERVPRO of North Central Austin understands how disruptive fires can be for business owners, their tenants, and even their customers. That is why SERVPRO offers 24-hour emergency response. SERVPRO's Service Response guidelines can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems. Under normal circumstances, a SERVPRO Professional will be on-site of a fire damage within four hours to begin emergency mitigation services.

The rapid response and the training of our professionals will help limit damage and get your facility back in operation quickly and help make it, "Like it never even happened."

24 Hour Emergency Services

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration service in Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We answer the phone ready to help! Call Today - 512-579-0189

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Meet Our Crew

Smoke Alarms; Safety Tips.

7/20/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms help keep residences and businesses safe in the case of a fire.

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives and, when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.*

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees, or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation.

Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance. For more on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin.

- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.

- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.

- Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.

- Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps," the battery is low and should be replaced right away.

- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

JUST THE FACTS: Smoke Alarms

- Three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or when the alarms are not working.

- Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.

- More than one-third (37 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.

- The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

*Statistics and tips provided by National Fire Prevention Association

The Dangers of Mold

7/20/2018 (Permalink)

Mold comes in various forms and types. We are here to help if you need us.

FROM THE ORDINARY... Fungi and mold naturally occur in the environment, and they produce some very useful results. For example, yeast is a type of fungi used in preparing breads and other food products. Blue cheese's unique flavor is attributed to mold, and life-saving penicillin is a product of mold.

...TO THE UNHEALTHY Even though some forms of mold can add value to our lives, other forms can be harmful. Excessive amounts of mold, different types of mold, and extended exposure to molds may present health concerns for some people.

Any water intrusion into your office or your home can result in mold growth. This intrusion of water can result from storm damage, plumbing or equipment failures, long-standing leaks, and poor humidity control. When these issues are not addressed, the resulting damage can present increased risk of harmful mold growth.

Some amount of mold spores are normally present in most environments but, if the humidity and moisture levels in a water-damaged environment are not promptly returned to normal, mold spores may grow and multiply to a harmful level.

Organic materials found inside a building, such as wood, paper, drywall, and insulation, provide food sources for mold to flourish. Excessive mold growth can lead to indoor environmental conditions that may pose a health threat.

TAKE PRECAUTIONS If there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, be alert for: - The presence of visible mold. - Strong, musty odors that may indicate mold is present. - Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth. - Excessive humidity.

HELP IS HERE If you think you or your customer might have a mold problem, call SERVPRO of North Central Austin at 512-479-0189; we are trained in mold remediation.

Learn about ERP

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

Establishing an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) to make sure you're ready for whatever happens.

No matter where you live, it is important to be informed and prepared for any natural disaster that may occur. Natural disasters often strike without warning, leaving behind a trail of destruction and devastation. Though Mother Nature's disasters are often unpredictable, there are steps you can take to ensure you are prepared.

Contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin to establish an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your property. SERVPRO's ERP serves as a quick reference document, detailing important building and contact information for your property in the event of an emergency. The ERP is an ideal supplement to any existing preparedness plan, or may be used as a standalone document. Knowing what to do and who to call in advance is the key to timely mitigation, and can minimize the effects of any weather-related disaster, water, or fire damage to your business.

When disaster strikes, make sure you have experienced professionals on the line. No matter how big or small, SERVPRO of North Central Austin will be ready to help make your property damage "Like it never even happened."

Be Hurricane Ready!

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

Hurricane readiness information

For the Atlantic, hurricane season begins June 1st and runs through November 30th. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins in mid-May, and also ends November 30th. Hurricanes can be life-threatening, as well as cause serious property-threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds, and tornadoes. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Plan an escape route, take inventory of your property, and take steps to protect your home or business.

As a leader in storm and water damage restoration, SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the specialized training and expertise to restore your home back to its pre-storm condition. Our restoration process puts an emphasis on scientific drying techniques, progress monitoring and documentation.

In addition to our own resources, we can access equipment and personnel from over 1,650 Franchises across the state and country. We can even call upon strategically located Disaster Recovery Teams for catastrophic storms and major events.

For more tips and preparation details, visit the Ready campaign website at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

Secondary Damage

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

Let SERVPRO of North Central Austin help assess water damage to identify and treat secondary damage before it gets worse.

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.

The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the equipment, training, and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. SERVPRO of North Central Austin will answer your call with fast action and a full arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools they use:

- Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards, and walls.

- Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing SERVPRO of North Central Austin to monitor the drying process.

- Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, SERVPRO of North Central Austin can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure must also be disinfected and often deodorized.

- Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas.

- Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor-causing particles.

The bottom line? SERVPRO of North Central Austin have the training and equipment to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Are you prepared for a flood?

7/3/2018 (Permalink)

Follow these tips before and after a flood to help yourself to be SERVPRO ready!

When floodwaters are on their way, it's easy to feel powerless. Sometimes, there isn't much to do other than get to safety. Here are some tips for what to do before and after a flood to help keep you and your property safe, or minimize damgage:

BEFORE A FLOOD

If an advanced Flood Warning has been issued, there are several precautions that can be taken to help minimize damage to certain areas of your business: - Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. - Disconnect electrical equipment and appliances.- Move vehicles out of low-lying parking garages. - Raise elevators from bottom floor. AFTER A FLOOD

Safety first! - Account that all employees are safe by establishing evacuation plans in advance, identifying areas outside the building that are designated meeting places. - Assign select individuals to keep a list of their assigned team's names and contact numbers in order to account for their whereabouts. - If water enters the building and evacuation becomes impossible, move to an upper floor, and wait for rescuers. While evacuating, avoid attempting to drive through floods or rising water, nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto-related. - Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet, or standing in water. - Do not walk through moving water. Even six inches of moving water can make you fall. - Use no open flames (there may be gas escaping from ruptured mains). - Avoid floodwaters. Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged. - Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters. - Listen for news reports to learn if the community's water supply is safe to drink. - Return only when authorities indicate it is safe.

Secure the Property - Contact local emergency officials. - Secure main entrances to building. - Alert security company and alarm company of the situation.

Stabilize the Property - Shut off the source of water if possible, or contact a qualified party to stop the water source. - Give priority to the protection of power plant and fire pumps, keeping them in service if at all possible. - Open basement or low-level windows to equalize water pressure on the building's foundation and walls. - Begin water damage mitigation steps only if local emergency officials deem the structure safe to enter. - Notify your insurance agent or Risk Manager to determine insurance policy guidelines and steps to take.

SERVPRO - Contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin to activate your Emergency READY Profile. - Ensure availability of key decision maker to authorize mitigation work to begin.

Mitigation Tips: (Perform only when structure has been cleared as safe) - Wear protective clothing at all times. - Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. - Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items. - Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying. - Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting. - Remove any paintings, art objects, documents, and other sensitive materials to a safe, dry place. - Take photos or video to record conditions of collections and structure. Make sure images clearly record damage. - Appoint a media liaison to report conditions and need for help/volunteers. You may have to limit access to collections. - Do not enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist. - Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining. - Do not leave Oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining. - Do not use TVs or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors. - Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water. - Do not turn on heat unless required for human comfort. - Do not move objects or collections without documenting their condition.

Tips to prevent flood damage.

7/3/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is here to help you through fire, rain, or shine.

Floods rank as one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether you live near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river, or even in the desert, there is a potential for suffering flood damage. In fact, nearly 25% of last year's claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in moderate to low-risk communities.

On average, floods cost $6 billion in annual losses in the U.S. Flooding can also result from plumbing failures, frozen pipes, and damaged structures. Flood damage can affect your business operation in a variety of ways, and can range from being isolated to a single room to entire floors being fully submerged.

Knowing how to prepare and deal with potential flooding in advance can affect how much of your property can be restored, and how much has to be replaced.

FLOOD PREVENTION TIPS:

- Determine if your property is in a floodplain. - In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials. - Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. - Plan what you will do if your building, plant, or store is not accessible. This type of planning is often referred to as continuity of operations plan, or COOP, and includes all facets of your business. - Plan for payroll continuity. - Review your emergency plans annually. Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs. When you hire new employees, or when there are changes in how your company functions, you should update your plans and inform your people. Visit: www.ready.gov/america/local/index.html for a comprehensive plan, and to learn about emergency plans for your state.

Are you flood ready?

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

Here are some helpful tips from The American Red Cross to get prepared for a flood.

Flooding can happen fast in many environments. The American Red Cross recommends having the following list of items packed and ready to go in the event of an evacuation due to flooding:

  • Water: 3+ day supply; one gallon per person, per day
  • Food: 3+ day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Medications (7 day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, cane)
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation/personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Extra clothing, hat, and sturdy shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Camera for photos of damage

Mold - Part 1

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

Knowing how to identify and respond to mold can help you avoid issues in your home or business!

Mold can be found almost anywhere; it can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. Molds reproduce by making spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on. Bacteria can start to grow within hours and mold can start to grow within days. Mold spores can lay dormant for years until an ideal growing condition develops, in which they start to flourish. Especially during the summer, the warm humid conditions are a perfect microenvironment for mold growth. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur--particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores in an indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture. Many types of molds exist. All molds have the potential to cause serious health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to it. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate and clean any existing mold growth indoors.

Mold - Part 2

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

Knowing how to identify and respond to mold can help you avoid issues in your home or business!

The purpose of mold remediation is to remove the mold to prevent human exposure and damage to building materials and furnishings. It is necessary to clean up mold contamination, not just kill it. Dead mold is still allergenic, and some dead molds are still potentially toxic! Applying the appropriate restoration procedures within the first few hours of a water loss can save thousands of dollars in secondary damage. Before the growth of mold becomes visible, there will be a faint musty or earthy smell. In time, mold will appear on the outside of the wall as a stain or discoloration. In a standard situation, SERVPRO of North Central Austin would examine the structure for any visible signs of mold, and remove the mold growth and excess spores, returning the area back to normal levels. Some situations require the assistance of an Indoor Air Quality/Environmental Professional (IEP) with specialized equipment and services needed to assess and/or repair the structure. IEPs can test and clear a structure for mold by collecting air and surface samples. Then they can determine whether the mold has been successfully decontaminated. Please call SERVPRO of North Central Austin 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if you suspect you have a mold problem in your home or business. We handle mold remediation work on a daily basis, and know when prompt action is required to prevent further mold growth. In the event mold is found on a property, the homeowner or business owner will be asked to approve and sign a work authorization form prior to remediation and clean up work beginning. If extensive mold growth is present, it may be recommended that occupants leave the affected area until the containment process is safely and successfully completed. SERVPRO of North Central Austin professionals are trained to control microbial problems in structures by promptly drying wet or damp materials according to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) standards and removing or replacing wet or damp porous materials, like drywall, that have visible mold growth.

Real SERVPRO Customer reviews

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

Do you know what to do if a pipe bursts in your business or home?

"I want to thank SERVPRO for the service provided to me for a flooded duplex due to a broken pipe. The damage was extensive, and even though I have built a couple of houses for myself years ago, I did not have the time or contacts to proceed with the mitigation and restoration work. I was worried about the displacement of my tenants and completely losing them. SERVPRO was on the scene within an hour. From the day of damage until the job was completed, it only took four weeks. This was no easy task. I lost almost all the sheetrock downstairs. All the flooring throughout the unit needed to be replaced. The subflooring upstairs was buckled and ruined. The trim had to be replaced, the kitchen cabinets had to be pulled. Even the garage needed new sheetrock. Thank you for the great service. You saved my duplex, kept my tenants, and helped me make peace with the insurance company. I've got you guys on speed dial. Thank you very much." - David R., Iowa

Is your property in need of board-up services? SERVPRO can Help!

6/8/2018 (Permalink)

We can help you pack up and board up your property to help make the clean up even easier.

Whether it is after a fire, storm, or other structural disaster, boarding up damaged commercial or residential property is a burden that no one should ever have to go through - especially if it is your property that has been damaged. Boarding up damaged property incorrectly could, in fact, cause secondary damages such as moisture or animal intrusion, making an already bad situation even worse. The actual process of boarding up after an unexpected damage can also be as dangerous as the damage itself. SERVPRO of North Central Austin can handle boarding up your damaged commercial or residential property, as well as mitigate and remediate the original damage caused, providing you with a peace of mind while helping make your loss "Like it never even happened."

Customer Satisfaction

6/8/2018 (Permalink)

With a long history of customer satisfaction, we have been here, and will continue to be here, for you!

"There are not enough good words to describe SERVPRO's service and the technician who took care of us after our entire living room flooded after the heavy rains. What a blessing he was! Our insurance denied the claim, since we had no flood "coverage." Our technician came in, studied the situation and got right to work! He answered all questions we had and quoted a reasonable cost. He returned yesterday to remove the equipment, and, again, he was very punctual, professional, and compassionate! Yes, compassionate, which is often hard to find in a service industry and in a man so young! “I want y'all to know that our tech was the voice of calm in this crisis (or what felt like a crisis to us)! Thank you so much for your high-quality work, the reasonable pricing, and especially for our technician. We will be more than happy to refer anyone to SERVPRO!" - Steve and Susan, Texas

Restoring Your Commercial Property

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

We're here to help

Flooding and water damage events at Austin commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Meet Our Crew!

Certifications:

  • SRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician
  • IICRC Certified Firm
  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
  • CDS - Commercial Drying Specialist
  • RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation
  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician
  • ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program
  • OSHA - 10-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program

Remediating and Mitigating Mold (Part 1)

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is equipped to help remediate your mold situation, should you find yourself facing one.

When there's a water intrusion, like a roof leaking, or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business. Mold can affect your health, and can also cause significant damage to your property. Fortunately, SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem. Although every mold damage scenario is different, requiring a unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same. The following steps illustrate a "typical" mold removal process:

Call SERVPRO of North Central Austin

The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call us. A representative will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel needed.

Inspection & Damage Assessment

Your property will be carefully inspected for signs of mold using technology designed to detect mold and hidden water sources. Mold feeds on cellulose and water, which can be hidden from plain view.

Mold Containment

Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold, and isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the clean up process.

For more information, see Part 2

Remediating and Mitigating Mold (Part 2)

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem.

When there's a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business. Mold can affect your health and can also cause significant damage to your property. Fortunately, SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem.

Continued from Part 1

Air Filtration

Specialized filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air. SERVPRO technicians utilize powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress.

Removing Mold & Mold-Infested Materials

The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.

Cleaning Contents & Belongings

SERVPRO of North Central Austin professionals clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, and other restorable items affected by mold. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean the sanitize your belongings. They are also trained to remove odors and deodorize using fogging equipment.

Restoration

Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet, or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin understands mold, mold growth, and has the training and equipment to remediate mold in your home or business.

Summer Safety Tips

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Summer fun with less risks!

Summer is a time to enjoy the great outdoors, but it is also important to keep safety in mind. Consider the following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association to keep you and your family safe all summer long.

  • When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
  • When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
  • Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire. Extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite.
  • Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire, and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.

SERVPRO of North Central Austin wishes you a safe and happy summer!

SERVPRO is "Ready for whatever happens."

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team is always on standby to help SERVPRO of North Central Austin handle even the largest of jobs.

When a storm or disaster strikes your home or business, SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team is poised and "Ready for whatever happens." With a network of more than 1,700 franchises nationwide, the SERVPRO system strives to be faster to any size disaster. Strategically located throughout the United States, SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team is expertly trained and readily equipped to handle the largest storms and highest flood waters. Providing experience, manpower, equipment, and other resources, the Disaster Recovery Team is always on call and available to assist SERVPRO of North Central Austin. SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team has responded to hundreds of disaster events. In the aftermath of a disaster, there is only one objective: to help you make it "Like it never even happened."

Five Dangers of Deep-Frying a Turkey

11/20/2017 (Permalink)

Deep-frying a turkey? Here are some things to keep in mind.

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires. Especially dangerous is deep-frying your turkey. Here are five things to be aware of when considering using a deep-fryer:

  • Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
  • An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot.
  • Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
  • Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
  • The sides of the cooking pot, lid, and pot handles can get dangerously hot.

Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Killer

11/7/2017 (Permalink)

Change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least once a year!

You can't see or smell carbon monoxide, but, at high levels, it can kill a person in minutes. Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide, or CO, is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, and propane) burn incompletely.

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning. It is estimated another 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning. All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning, with some groups— including unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems— being more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide.

An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or idling cars left running in garages.

Taking some basic, precautionary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protect yourself by reviewing the following tips, provided by the United States Fire Administration:

  • Have fuel burning appliances, like oil and gas furnaces, gas or kerosene heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves inspected by a trained professional every year.
  • Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace. Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice, or other materials.
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
  • Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.

We Really Care

10/24/2017 (Permalink)

When tragedy strikes, we're Here to Help®

The flood in Austin on Halloween 2013 was devastating for hundreds of families and for many businesses. This was also a time when we were able to live out our mission: "We are a team committed to helping people physically, emotionally, and spiritually in their time of need."

While the physical part of what we do is evident, helping people emotionally and spiritually is expressed in our values. We ask and listen to what people are most concerned about. Is it a precious heirloom, financial fears, or the uncertainty of what to do next?  

We take the time to guide and explain. For many, we have found that this helps people cope with what is in front of them. "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Chris VonSchweinitz
owner

What to DO Until Help Arrives: Fire & Smoke Damage

10/24/2017 (Permalink)

When faced with fire and smoke damage, we're Here to Help®.

If you experience fire or smoke damage in your home, here are some things that you can do until your remediation team arrives.

Do:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim, and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Wash both sides of leaves on house plants.
  • Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

What NOT TO DO Until Help Arrives: Fire & Smoke Damage

10/24/2017 (Permalink)

When faced with fire and smoke damage, we're Here to Help®.

If you experience fire or smoke damage in your home, here are some things that you should NOT do while waiting for your remediation team to arrive.

Don't:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of North Central Austin.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO of North Central Austin.
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat, or water (they may be contaminated).
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create a secondary damage.
  • Send garments to dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.

Rebuilding Louisiana

5/26/2017 (Permalink)

When storms in Louisiana caused record flooding, SERVPRO was there to help.

In August of 2016, Louisiana experienced one of the worst flooding events in state history. A mesoscale convective complex stalled over the gulf state, contributing to rainfall rates of two to three inches per hour -- dumping over two feet of total rainfall in some areas. The devastation was widespread, as several rivers reached major or record flood stage. This flooding event has been categorized as the worst U.S. natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. As a result of this flooding, over 60,000 homes were impacted, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Due to the sheer volume of customers in need, local franchises in the Baton Rouge and Lafayette Parishes requested the assistance of the SERVPRO Storm Team. Although it was large, the Louisiana flood was not an all-call event. The number of franchises responding totaled 83, resulting in over 180 production crews. Over 6,000 opportunities were logged, with three-quarters of that number coming straight from the local impacted franchises. Due to some legal hurdles that needed to be addressed before work could start, some jobs were started anywhere from five to seven days after the water receded; so mold remediation was a primary concern. With the help of a "fast-track" mold certification program, our responding Storm Teams were able to help rectify that issue. We hope to build on SERVPRO's positive relationship with the State of Louisiana for future events in that state. Our approach throughout the flooding event was "Do the Right Thing," and we believe it paid off.

When Water Damage Takes Control of Your Life, We Help You Take It Back

5/26/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is equipped to help you recover from any type of water damage.

According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), "Approximately 75% of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding." NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as:
- Flash Flooding
- River Flooding
- Burn Scars/Debris Flows (caused by wildfires)
- Ice/Debris Jams
- Snowmelt
- Dry Wash (caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
- Dam Breaks/Levee Failure
- Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems

Just because you haven't experienced a flood doesn't mean you won't in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the United States.

When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO of North Central Austin can help. We can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile, or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get you back into your home as soon as possible. We are ready to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Commercial Services

4/27/2017 (Permalink)

No job too big or too small

Cleaning and restoring commercial properties require a unique blend of training, experience, and equipment. SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the resources and expertise to give you excellent results while minimizing the disruption to your clients. We can help make it “Like it never even happened.”

  • Small Office Buildings
  • Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
  • Apartment Buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel/Motels
  • Small Retail Stores
  • Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
  • High-Rise Residential
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Government/Military

SERVPRO of North Central Austin responds quickly to your Austin fire, water, or mold damage emergency, 24 hours a day. Whether the damage occurs in a small business building or a big box store, we have the training, experience, and equipment to handle the situation. Our national network of 1,700 Franchises gives us access to personnel and resources to respond to any size restoration emergency.

Spring Cleaning Time is Here!

3/21/2017 (Permalink)

Get your floors and your house squeaky clean, with help from our team!

Life happens. Kids spill drinks, pets have accidents, and homes get dirty. SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the expertise to provide a deeper clean than your basic house cleaning service. Our residential cleaning services will ease the burden of the constant maintenance cleaning of your home, but will also create a safe, clean and comfortable living environment for you and your family.

You know SERVPRO as a leader in Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration, but our professional residential cleaning services can also make a dirty carpet "Like it never even happened."

Trying to get your home "spring" clean? How about SERVPRO clean? You can see what services we provide at our website, or call us 24/7 at 512-479-0189. Our team will gladly work with you to get your home fresh and clean for spring!

Holiday Fire Safety

1/2/2017 (Permalink)

Pretty lights, candles, and decorations are festive, not frightening, when used properly!

Pretty lights, candles and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season— however, if they are not used carefully, your holidays may go from festive to frightening. The American Red Cross provides the following safety tips to help greatly reduce the fire risk in your home or business this holiday season:

* Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents, and candles.

* Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

* Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.

* Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

* Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.

* Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.

* Designate one person to walk around your property to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave. SERVPRO of North Central Austin wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!

Holiday Fire Facts

1/2/2017 (Permalink)

Holiday Safety Facts to Consider

Holiday Fire Facts


Here is some information to keep in mind as the holidays approach, so that you will be more aware of ways to keep your home and loved ones safe.


* One of every three holiday home fires involving Christmas trees is caused by electrical problems.


* Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be quite serious. On average, one of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death, compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires.


* A heat source too close to the tree is the cause of one in every four of Christmas tree fires.


* Two out of five home decoration fires are actually started by candles.


* One-third of all candle fires at home start in the bedroom.


 


(Facts provided by the U.S. Fire Administration)

Summer Grill Safety

6/27/2016 (Permalink)

Summer Safety Tips to Keep the Fire in the Grill

Summer is synonymous with barbecues, parades, and firework displays; but, along with all the festivities are plenty of visits to emergency rooms, especially during July. Each year, an average of 230 people are injured badly enough to require medical treatment after firework-related incidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition to causing injury, fireworks are also responsible for thousands of house fires each year with millions of dollars in property damage.

There is nothing like firing up the grill during the summer months? Did you know, July is the peak month for grill fires? A backyard barbecue can become dangerous if safety precautions aren't considered. Your local SERVPRO Professionals want you to have an enjoyable and safe summer. Consider the following tips to ensure your summer celebrations are disaster-free!

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors
  • The grill should be placed away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • When using a charcoal grill, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire.
  • Children should never pick up leftover fireworks as they may still be active.
  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals.

Tips and information provided by the National Fire Protection Association.

For Immediate Service in Austin, Call SERVPRO

4/3/2016 (Permalink)

Austin residents, we provide immediate service, day or night!

SERVPRO of North Central Austin provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in the greater Austin area. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.

  • 24-Hour Emergency Service
  • Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
  • Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
  • A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
  • Locally Owned and Operated
  • Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment 

Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 - (512) 579-0189

Residential Services

Whether your home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us.  Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:

  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Mold Remediation
  • Storm Damage Restoration
  • Cleaning Services
  • Building/Reconstruction Services

Commercial Services

There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. Learn more about our commercial services:

  • Commercial Water Damage Restoration
  • Commercial Fire Damage Restoration

IICRC Certified Firm

4/3/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is an IICRC firm

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of North Central Austin

4/3/2016 (Permalink)

Christopher and Jill VonSchweinitz, owners of SERVPRO of North Central Austin

SERVPRO of North Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Meet our crew!

CERTIFICATIONS:

  • SRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician
  • IICRC Certified Firm
  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
  • CDS - Commercial Drying Specialist
  • RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation
  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician
  • ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program
  • OSHA - 10-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program

We live and work in this community too; we might even be neighbors. As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of North Central Austin is close by and ready to respond to your damage, whatever the kind. We are proud to be an active member of the Austin community and want to do our part to make our community the best it can be.

Valero Texas Open 2016

2/24/2016 (Permalink)

Purse: $6,200,000 • Winning Share: $1,116,000

As stated on the Valero Texas Open's website, "The Valero Texas Open, first played in 1922, is the third oldest PGA TOUR tournament. It's only younger than the Western Open (1899) and Canadian Open (1904). If you include the U.S. Open (1895), managed by the PGA of America, then the Valero Texas Open is the fifth oldest professional tournament in North America. The Valero Texas Open is the oldest Professional Golf Tour tournament to have been held in the same city its entire existence. Every tournament (86) has been played in San Antonio Texas."

In 2016, the event will be held Thursday, April 21st through Sunday, April 24th, and SERVPRO of North Central Austin will be there every day. We are a proud sponsor in helping to raise money for charities!

The Valero Texas Open, first played in 1922, is the 3rd oldest PGA TOUR tournament. It’s only younger than the Western Open (1899) and Canadian Open (1904). If you include the U.S. Open (1895) managed by the USGA, and the PGA Championship (1916) managed by the PGA of America, then the Valero Texas Open is the fifth oldest professional tournament in North America. The Valero Texas Open is the oldest Professional Golf Tour tournament to have been held in the same city its entire existence. Every tournament (86) has been played in San Antonio, Texas. - See more at: http://www.valerotexasopen.com/overview/#sthash.2eUtIwWO.dpufThe Valero Texas Open, first played in 1922, is the 3rd oldest PGA TOUR tournament. It’s only younger than the Western Open (1899) and Canadian Open (1904). If you include the U.S. Open (1895) managed by the USGA, and the PGA Championship (1916) managed by the PGA of America, then the Valero Texas Open is the fifth oldest professional tournament in North America. The Valero Texas Open is the oldest Professional Golf Tour tournament to have been held in the same city its entire existence. Every tournament (86) has been played in San Antonio, Texas. - See more at: http://www.valerotexasopen.com/overview/#sthash.2eUtIwWO.dpuf

Happy New Year!

2/5/2016 (Permalink)

We are a team committed to helping people physically, emotionally, and spiritually in their time of need.

Imagine waking up New Year's Day, after a night of celebration, to see that your fireplace has caught your home on fire. We worked New Year's Day to carefully pack up and salvage this family's belongings.

While their home was being rebuilt, baseball season began. We were able to pull out their son's baseball gear from our warehouse so he could start. That's why we have a detailed inventory and photography system. We care, and it is sometimes the little things that show it the most. 

Real customer Trisha says it best, "SERVPRO employees are all courteous, sincere, concerned, and professional. I can't recall ever being treated with this much care. I have told everyone how great SERVPRO is."

While we only wish people the best, if you do need us, give us a call. We would love the opportunity to help. Here are some tips of what to do until we arrive to help: 

SERVPROnorthcentralaustin.com/fire-damage-tips

We're Hiring

2/5/2016 (Permalink)

We are a team committed to helping people physically, emotionally, and spiritually in their time of need.

We are hiring for several positions at our company. If you are interested, or have a lead on someone that we should contact, let us know; We do provide training for these positions.

1) Sales and Marketing Representative - full time sales position

2) Crew Chief and Crew Technician - full time positions. A crew is one Chief and one Technician. They help clean and restore businesses and homes after a water, mold, or fire damage.

3) Cleaning - on occasion, we need people to help clean people's household items at our warehouse, or in their home or business after a fire.

To learn more about our business visit: SERVPROnorthcentralaustin.com

If interested, call our office 512-579-0189 (ask for Recruiting) or email at jobs@SERVPROnorthcentralaustin.com 

We are an equal opportunity employer. This company does not and will not discriminate in employment and personnel practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, age, national origin, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

A Smoke Free Texas

2/18/2014 (Permalink)

Doing our part for a "Smoke-Free Texas"

SERVPRO of North Central Austin is a supporter of "Smoke-Free Texas" (www.smokefreetexas.org) who is, in their own words, "a broad coalition of organizations and individuals who believe all Texas employees and customers have the right to breathe clean indoor air. Because science tells us secondhand smoke kills, we support a statewide smoke-free indoor workplace law to protect Texans from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure in workplaces, including bars and restaurants. All employees should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace." To that end, SERVPRO of North Central Austin partnered with Create A Cig (www.createacig.com), an Austin born company, to provide Vapors & Electronic cigarettes to our employees, allowing us to be a smoke free, stink free, healthy workplace. We're doing our part to keep our employees happy and healthy, and our city beautiful!

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