Recent Posts

Endless Summer

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Large bonfire beside a large lake. Large bonfire on the side of the lake.

The other day someone said, “This is beautiful weather for July 71st.” It was intended as a little joke but in reality it is a very serious condition that we find ourselves in. As we flip our calendars to October we are generally thinking about jackets and pumpkin spice but this year has been an exception. This has been an unusually warm and dry late Summer and with that comes an increased risk of fire. As the leaves begin to fall at a more feverish pace, with no rain or cool weather to subdue their volatility, the danger of a catastrophic loss goes up exponentially. With that in mind, there are few ways to keep your family and business more protected during this endless summer.

Do not burn trash, leaves or brush outdoors.

When weather conditions produce the extreme threat of damage to life and property, the state can issue a burning ban to help reduce this risk. If the extreme weather persist the State can also place the area under a state of emergency that places stricter guidelines for burning and water usage. Debris burning can spark wild fires, as well as the fires that are intentionally started. Fire's spread fast in these types of conditions. So please heed the warnings.   

Create a Safety Zone.

Maintain a 30-foot or greater safety zone around your home that is clear of brush, tall grass, and other flammable vegetation. Fire moves more quickly up steep hills so extend that fire safety zone if your home is situated on a steep slope.

Do not Park on Grass. 

Do not park vehicles and other motorized equipment on dry grass or near shrubbery. Exhaust systems can far exceed the 500 degrees it takes to start a summer brush fire. If you need to pull off to the side of the road during a road trip, stay on the paved shoulder or find a nearby parking lot or rest stop.

Following these tips can help reduce the risk of a fire but in these conditions there is no full proof plan. We hope you never need us, but if do, SERVPRO of North Kanawha and Teays Valley has the manpower, experience and resources to make it like it never even happened.

Were Not In Kansas Anymore!

10/9/2019 (Permalink)

Tornado with a snapped tree Large tornado after it has destroyed a tree.

When people think of areas that are prone to tornado's, the Appalachia is not the first place that may come to mind. The hills and mountains in our region generally protect us from the risk of these types of strong storms. The reason tornadoes are not as frequent, has to do with the fact that we have cooler, more stable air (which is not favorable for severe weather development) which is generally found at higher elevations. On June 24, 2019 the shocking reality of our vulnerability to these storms was exposed. Survey teams with the National Weather Service said the storm that moved through Kanawha County was an EF1 tornado that traveled for 11 miles leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

Tornadoes often strike with little or no warning. In areas that are not expecting them the warnings may not even be heeded. Just minutes before the storm in June fire departments sounded their area wide sirens. Many people were not aware of why the alarm had been raised, and in the following minutes havoc was reaped. Giant trees that have stood for hundreds of years we uprooted and tossed around like matchsticks. People who had lived in the area for their entire life were now witness to damage like they had never seen, even a few unfortunate victims suffered trees falling on their houses. Full-grown oaks trees can weigh as much as 50 tons and cause a tremendous amount of damage when they land on a roof. The physical damage that is caused by a tree fall is multiplied by the water damage that can ensue. 

If you become one of these unfortunate individuals whose home is impacted by extreme weather such as tornado's or other unexpected storms, SERVPRO of North Kanawha and Teays Valley are ready to descend on your property to mitigate these damages. The sooner help arrives the better chance you may have at reducing the chances of secondary damage. Calling SERVPRO at 304-755-9510 can be like clicking your heals and waking up from the nightmare.

Making it "Like it never even happened."

2019 Day of Caring

10/1/2019 (Permalink)

Front of KISRA Building with building sign and United Way sign Day of Caring 2019 United Way Day of Caring. The SERVPRO team partnered with the United Way to assist KISRA at their office.

For the last several years, SERVPRO of North Kanawha Valley and SERVPRO of Teays Valley has partnered with United Way in helping local non-profit organizations.  This Day of Caring helps in five separate counties around West Virginia and is one of the largest one-day volunteer events in the region.  Every year we are re-energized with the feeling of community and serving others as we volunteer and work within our abilities to help these organizations with up keep to their building. 

This year we were able to assist KISRA. KISRA programs offer areas of HEAL: Health, Employment, Asset Development, and Learning.  KISRA wants to work towards healing and strengthening families.  We were assigned with such tasks such as up keep to flower beds, painting, pressure washing and carpet cleaning.  When the day was done we were able to see how much they appreciated the hard work.   What a great feeling to give back to KISRA who give every day to help those whether less fortunate or just need extra help getting back on their feet. 

Per the United Way website The Day of Caring (https://www.unitedwaycwv.org/day-caring):

  • Promotes the spirit & value of volunteerism
  • Demonstrates the power & impact of United Way’s mission
  • Generates positive community relationships
  • Helps to develop contacts between volunteers, agencies & workplaces
  • Gives each of us an opportunity to roll up our sleeves and work together to make a difference

We at SERVPRO couldn’t agree more with these ideas.  We are daily striving to help achieve success by giving to our customers to make sure their home or business is restored to preloss conditions.  We strive to give, whether it is by volunteer efforts or just in your everyday interactions with others.  Albert Einstein said “Only a life lived for others in worth living”.  What a great reminder for each of us.  Be on the look out to serve or volunteer today.  It will be a decision you won’t regret.  Please check out both the United Way of Central WV and KISRA's  website to see the programs they offer.  There just might be an opportunity for you to either refer someone you know or to volunteer yourself. 

https://www.unitedwaycwv.org/

https://www.kisra.org/

How to be Ready

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

Green folder laying on desk labelled Emergency Ready Plan Emergency Ready Plan folder

Catastrophic weather is nothing out of the ordinary anymore for us.  Recently the United States have been affected by many different types of disasters.  Flooding, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards threaten homes, businesses, and communities.  Statistically as many as 50% of businesses may not recover following a disaster, this is according to recent industry research.  The businesses that do survive a disaster the majority of these businesses were prepared and had a preparedness plan in place.

Pre-planning can serve as an additional insurance policy aimed at peace of mind.  By developing a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action.  Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire can affect your business!

Preparation is an important component in making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire, or flooding as we have recently experienced in Charleston, Sissionville, Saint Albans, and Cross Lanes, WV.  The best time for planning for such events is not when the disaster happens, but well before it happens it happens.  Contact your local SERVPRO of North Kanawha Valley Professionals to establish your Emergency Ready Program.

Emergency Ready Program

 

·   A no cost assessment of your facility.

(This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.)

·   Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.

(Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.”)

·   A concise profile document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.

(It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects, but it will save a lot of time if ever needed.

·   A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.

(This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.)

·   Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.

           (This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.)

P.A.S.S.

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Independence Day is here. That comes with the chances of fire hazards, accidents, and injuries resulting from putting those fires out.

Ask yourself these questions and check the following to ensure that you and your fire extinguisher are ready, in case something happens to goes wrong.

When is the last time you checked your fire extinguisher?

How old is it? You will find an expiration date at the bottom of the label. If it is more than ten years old, it should be replaced. The pressure could be gone or it simply could not work.

Check the gauge to be sure it is pointing to the green area on the gauge.

Does it have a UL listing on the label to verify that it is certified and ready to go?

After you have verified that your fire extinguisher is in working order make sure you know the location of your extinguisher in the home. Familiarize yourself with how to operate it as well.

To help you to remember, you can use the acronym P.A.S.S.

  • P-Pull Pin
  • A-Aim at the base of the fire
  • S-Squeeze trigger
  • S-Sweep from side to side

If there is more than one person in the home, have one call 911 and the other use the extinguisher.  A fire can quickly become unmanageable, it is important that you leave the house as soon as possible. 

TIP: Never add water to put out a grease fire. It could cause an explosion or make the fire even bigger. Try to smother with a lid, pizza pan or cookie sheet. Do not try to remove the pan from the stove. Turn the heat off and smother.

CELEBRATE OUR INDEPENDENCE BUT ABOVE ALL STAY SAFE.

Blog with a Twist

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

Power company truck and worker repairing power lines after tornado on rural road EF1 Tornado that impacted the Kanawha Valley on Monday June 24, 2019.

On the evening of June 24th, a tornado touched down in Kanawha County, West Virginia. With the tornado came damaging winds and destruction to the affected areas. Thousands are still without power, including hundreds of business owners. Being prepared for a devastating storm like this one is key for a business owner. As someone in charge of not only the structure itself but all of the lives within the structure, a tornado warning should not be taken lightly.

You must know the warning signs of a tornado so that you can be sure you and your employees know what to expect, and how to best prepare. A tornado is a narrow and violently rotating cloud that is only easily visible if it has formed a condensation funnel. Debris and dust will swirl around under the cloud base. If a tornado warning has been issued in your area, you may hear a loud roar that does not fade as thunder would.

If you see the warning signs common with a tornado and a tornado warning has been issued, take heed to the warning and find shelter immediately. Get to the lowest level of the structure and find an interior room. Stay in the center of the room and stay away from doors, windows, and walls.

After a tornado affects the area your business is in, you may have to make your employees aware of hazards brought on by the storm. Be aware of any gas leaks, structural damage, or electrical dangers. Be sure that your employees know not to touch down power lines under any circumstances. Leave the electrical work to the professionals. Be careful around any sharp objects and use precaution when operating generators.

The best way to make sure your employees know how to react when a tornado touches down near you is to make and stick to an emergency plan. In addition to your Emergency Readiness Profile, create a step by step preparedness plan that goes over different scenarios and storm situations.

Here are a couple of great resources to refer to when preparing yourself and your business for a tornado disaster:

Click HERE for an article that discusses how to create a tornado preparedness plan for your business. 

Click HERE for helpful tips from the American Red Cross on tornado safety. 

DON'T WAIT!

6/28/2019 (Permalink)

Residential fire in Kanawha County.

A house fire can be one of the most challenging things to have to process.  No matter how big or small the fire damage may be, it is overwhelming.  It is important to contact a professional to handle your fire damage.  It is always our goal to try and save your belongings verses have to have them all replaced causing a tremendous amount of stress and cost.  There a number of things that can help minimize the stress, as well as the cost during the process of returning your home back to preloss conditions.  SERVPRO® of North Kanawha Valley and Teays Valley are here to help with a few helpful tips.

Saving Fire Damaged Possessions

Fire damaged property that may look like it needs to be replaced may actually be recoverable. SERVPRO® of North Kanawha Valley and Teays Valley can save many of your heirlooms. But act quickly. Prompt fire cleanup and restoration are important because the items found in your home—heirlooms, photos, collectibles, furniture, carpet, walls, drapes, and even ceilings—can absorb smoke. If too much time lapses between when the fire damage initially occurs and when fire cleanup occurs, the effects of smoke damage can last for months.

Time Can Cost You Many Possessions

The more time between the fire and restoration the more costs you incur and the fewer items you can restore. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, you may be able to save clothing, leather, books, photographs, kitchen items, furniture, and more.

Restored To Pre-Loss Condition

SERVPRO® of North Kanawha Valley and Teays Valley cleans and deodorizes restorable items, sometimes to preloss condition. So don’t throw anything out until you’re certain it must be replaced. By saving your property and you save money. Now that’s a win/win!

Call SERVPRO® of North Kanawha Valley and Teays Valley to discuss how we can help to get you back into your home as quickly as possible. Locally owned and operated in Nitro, WV we are able to help you with all of your Fire and Water restoration needs.  Whether you are in centrally in the Kanawha and Putnam county areas or in the neighboring counties.  We are here to help.  Call today 304-755-9510.

Misconceptions of renters insurance

6/27/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damaged bedroom with smoke and soot covered walls, window and bedding https://closeyourdoor.org/

Misconceptions of fire damage in your rental home

Renting a single family home, apartment or condo may be the way that you personally choose your housing.  There are many perks that people really like about renting.  The biggest perk is that you are not typically responsible for the major incidents that may occur within those four walls like an electrical fire, busted frozen water pipe, roof leak, or even when that 15 year old furnace decides it has served its purpose.  While those are great perks, you still have the responsibility of your own personal property that may become damaged due to a number of issues that may arise while living in a home you personally do not own.  Many renters mistakenly assume that their landlord's homeowner's policy will cover them if disaster strikes.  I too felt that way at one point, until I ended up on the restoration side of the disaster.  I thought, well if the homeowner/condo owner neglected issues like water pipes, electrical and even the roof.  There is no way that their insurance wouldn't cover my personal property.  How in the world could I be responsible for something I had nothing to do with?  This was my personal theory until I began doing the work I do now.  

I truly didn’t have a full understanding of how important that renters insurance was until I was working an apartment complex fire.  The flames were contained to the one apartment, but that wasn't the biggest issue.  It was the smoke and soot that affected nearly 20 apartments throughout 7 floors.  The smoke and soot got into apartments on the other side of the building.  Here's the thing, one smoke particle is half the size of bacteria, 1/8 the size of a red blood cell neither one of those are visible to the naked eye.  Smoke and soot will find little pathways to follow holes around plumbing, and also find its way to your second floor or cooler parts of the home.  So essentially we had to pretest every apartment within that building.  A good majority of the condo renters didn't understand how they were going to have to pay for the smoke and soot cleanup within their apartments when it was a single condo that was the source of the smoke and soot.  

Unfortunately, that was the case for quite a few people within that complex.  They ended up having to attempt to clean their contents themselves, even when the owners of that condo were able to have their structure cleaned professionally.  The cleaning of smoke and soot can be very tedious and time consuming even for professionals like SERVPRO of North Kanawha Valley & Teays Valley.  Our technicians are trained and certified to identify and remediate smoke and soot properly.    

There are four types of soot: 

  • Dry smoke residue: Powdery, dry small and non-smearing particles resulting from fires that burn quickly at a high heat
  • Wet Smoke residue: Smearing, sticky and strong-smelling particles caused by fires that smolder at low temperatures, resulting in smoke webs that may be challenging to remove.
  • Fuel oil soot: Dispersed by puff backs from furnaces
  • Protein Residue: Very strong-smelling, but practically invisible residue that can ruin the color of varnish or paint. 

Renters insurance is typically covered for a small monthly premium, the average renter’s policy has a $20,000 - $25,000 worth of coverage for your contents.  There are even rider policies (Which is coverage for things that may be worth more than the per-item limit on your renter’s insurance policy).  The value of your personal contents can add up quickly.  The most important aspect of renters insurance is deciding whether to purchase replacement value or actual cost value coverage.  While renters insurance is important for smoke and soot, it also covers many other things.

  • Fire, lighting
  •  Windstorm, hail
  • Explosions
  • Riots
  • Damage by aircraft
  • Damage by vehicle (As long as it's not your own because you fell asleep in the driveway.)
  • Damage from smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Volcanic eruption (Hopefully not needed in the Kanawha and Putnam counties)
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of snow, ice, sleet
  • Damage from steam- heating/water-heating appliances/systems
  • Leakage or overflow from water or steam
  •  Freezing of plumbing, heating, air conditioning
  •  Short-circuit damage caused by electrical appliances.

Bottom line renters insurance is essential and relatively inexpensive so call you friendly insurance agent and get a

Give Me Closure

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

Fire in local restaurant in Charleston, WV

When you are dealing with grief, divorce, or any other loss in your life we have to sometimes search for closure. This closure involves healing and brings about the ability to move on in life. In most cases, people want closure in times of tragedy, but today we will look at a different kind of closure that nobody wants to experience.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of all small businesses will close in their first year and about 50% of small businesses will close by their 5th year.  Although there may be many different reasons for these businesses to close, you can be sure that it is not an easy thing to go through.

With the odds already stacked against a business being able to survive in normal circumstances, you throw an unexpected tragedy such as a fire, or water loss and you really up the odds for a permanent closure. It is estimated that over 50% of businesses that sustain a catastrophe will not recuperate from it.

That is why SERVPRO came up with its Emergency Ready Plan for businesses. Knowing as much as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster and with the businesses that do actually survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place we saw the need for pre-planning. Our “ERP” can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind by knowing you are "Ready for whatever happens." Having a SERVPRO “ERP” along with other contingency plans can speak trust to your clients and employees that in the event your business is affected by a disaster, they don’t necessarily have to be affected by it. You can get help quickly and start the recovery process faster.

Our Commercial Restoration Consultants are trained to look for potential safety issues at you Charleston, WV area business and will create an Emergency Readiness Plan with emergency contact information. We will even tag all of your properties main shutoffs as well as deliver an emergency escape plan for the building occupants. Our ERP only takes about 30 minutes of your time, but supplies many years of comfort in knowing you are ready if disaster ever strikes your business. The best part of SERVPRO’s ERP is that we offer it at absolutely no cost to you.

Reach out to us and schedule your complimentary Emergency Ready Plan today because we truly don’t want you to have to search for closure because of a closure.

All up in your grill about safety!

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

Back yard campfire

All Up in Your Grill About Safety

The crackling sound of a campfire, the smell of hot dogs on the grill, marshmallows turning into little fireballs on a skewer… all of these are things that make summer fantastic.  If you are planning on spending summer indulging in one of these classic activities, it is a good idea to be aware of campfire/grill safety. Whether you are using a propane grill, a charcoal grill or a campfire, there are some basic safety guidelines that the whole family should be educated on to protect themselves and their homes.

For the grillers (that’s you, dad):

  1. If you are using a grill be sure that it isn’t defective in any way.
  2. For propane, check the tank before use to make sure it isn’t damaged.
  3. When using a charcoal grill, let the starter fluid soak into the coals for a minute before igniting them to allow the explosive vapors time to dissipate.
  4. If you are grilling using an electric grill, never use lighter fluid or other combustible materials.
  5. Do not use grills close to the house where it has the potential to catch the structure on fire

For all of the campers and s’mores connoisseurs out there, here are a few campfire safety tips that will help keep you, your families and our forests safe:

  1. Never build a campfire somewhere that it could easily spread. Steer clear of areas with large amounts of dead leaves and dry brush
  2. Do not keep flammables around the campfire. This includes lighter fluid and gasoline
  3. Keep the campfire to a size that is easy to control. Do not build one so large that it will get out of hand and spread
  4. Keep water or a shovel or both nearby so that the campfire can be extinguished if needed
  5. Keep tents and sleeping bags a safe distance from the fire
  6. Be sure that everyone at the campfire knows to stop, drop, and roll if an article of their clothing catches fire
  7. Extinguish correctly when leaving the fire (here is a great resource that demonstrates how to properly extinguish a fire https://www.smokeybear.com/en/prevention-how-tos/campfire-safety/how-to-maintain-and-extinguish-your-campfire)