Be Severe Weather Ready
Have a plan ready to stay safe in a severe storm!
Severe weather can happen any time, anywhere. Each year, Americans cope with an average of the following intense storms:
- 10,000 severe thunderstorms
- 5,000 floods or flash floods
- 1,000 tornadoes
- 2 landfalling deadly hurricanes
Approximately 98% of all presidential declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage.* Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.
Know Your Risk
The first step to being weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and obtain a NOAA Weather Radio. Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.
Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communications plan for your home and business. Put together or purchase an emergency kit. Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.
Be an Example
Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter. Your preparedness story will inspire others to do the same. Contact your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals for more readiness tips and tools and be “Ready for whatever happens!”
What You Need to Know About Air Duct Cleaning
Air duct cleaning is a misnomer. In actuality, the entire HVAC system should be cleaned. Failure to clean all components of the system can result in recontamination of the entire system, thus minimizing the benefits of cleaning.
Just as you wouldn’t clean only half of your living room floor, you also would not want to clean only part of your HVAC system. NADCA recommends cleaning the entire HVAC system, including the following components:
- air ducts
- drain pan
- air plenum
- blower motor and assembly
- heat exchanger
- air filter
- air cleaner
There are two key components to HVAC cleaning: breaking contaminants loose, and collection of contaminants.
Breaking Contaminants Loose
Properly cleaning HVAC systems requires removing the sources of contamination. Source removal begins with the use of one or more agitation devices designed to loosen contaminants from the surfaces within the heating and air conditioning system. Examples of agitation devices include: brushes, air whips and compressed air nozzles or “skipper balls.” Agitation can also be achieved through hand-brushing or contact vacuuming.
Collection of Contaminants
During cleaning, the entire HVAC system is placed under continuous negative pressure (a vacuum) to prevent the spread of contaminants. Continuous negative pressure allows very fine particles to be removed from the system as they become airborne, ensuring that these particles are not released into the living space when the system is turned on after cleaning. This negative pressure also serves to extract the loosened contaminants, which are collected and removed from your home.
HVAC system cleaning is not a complex process, but each job is unique. Where possible, access to duct interiors should be made through existing openings such as supply diffusers, return grills, duct end caps and existing service openings. Cleaning technicians may need to cut access holes in the duct work in order to reach inside with various cleaning tools. Creation of these service openings, and their subsequent closure, requires craftsmanship and professional skills.
There is a wide variety of equipment available to HVAC cleaning professionals. Both truck-mounted and portable vacuums can be used to stop the spread of contaminants and get the system cleaned to the NADCA Standard.
Antimicrobial chemicals include sanitizers, disinfectants and deodorizers that can be applied to nonporous surfaces in HVAC systems to address microbial contamination and help control odors. Only chemicals registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be used. These products should only be considered after mechanical surface cleaning has been performed and if the need for such treatment has been deemed necessary. Review the NADCA White Paper on Chemical Applications in HVAC Systems for more information.
The Benefits of HVAC cleaning for your Business
Our SERVPRO staff are trained to take on even the biggest tasks. SERVPRO provides cleaning services to commercial buildings no matter the size.
For those with HVAC Systems, it is very important to do routinely maintenance. This has many benefits including better air quality and less energy wasted.
HVAC systems can get dirty over time and they have the potential to contain large amounts of dust and particulates. Although this does not mean that the air is unhealthy, it may contribute to health issues for people with respiratory health conditions or allergies. Indoor air quality is crucial and is one of the main concerns that building managers and building inhabitants have when they decide to investigate HVAC system. Normally, commercial buildings generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. This re-circulation can cause a build-up of contaminants in the ductwork overtime.
Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.
When it comes to your commercial property, we mean business. You need a company that can minimize the disruption to your clients while delivering superior results. Whether you need professional cleaning to make your business shine, or emergency water restoration services, SERVPRO of Central Union County has the training and expertise to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
- Small Office Buildings
- Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
- Apartment Buildings
- Small Retail Stores
- Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
- High-Rise Residential
- Manufacturing & Industrial
Commercial Building Cleaning Services
Whether your need is removing an odor problem or deep-cleaning flooring or carpets, you can depend on SERVPRO of Central Union County to get the job done right the first time. We’ll respond promptly and make your work space look its very best. Learn more about our commercial cleaning services.
Commercial Building Restoration Services
SERVPRO of Central Union County is available 24 hours a day to restore your property and get you back to business. We have the expertise, equipment, and highly trained personnel to handle your commercial water, fire, or mold damage. We can also access the resources of our national network of 1,700 Franchises to handle large commercial projects and major storm events. Learn more about our commercial restoration services.
Give us a call we can help
What to Expect When You are Expecting a Contractor
Everything you should know when you are working with a Contractor.
Looking for a commercial or residential construction company can be exhausting. You want to ensure that whoever you hire is the best company for the job at hand.
Know What You Want
As the client, you are the one driving the process. Before speaking with Contractors, spend time thinking about your goals for the project -- what it might look like, the amenities you want, and so on. If you don't know how to translate your goals into specific features or products, hire a design-build firm that can offer that service too.
Why Contractor Quotes Vary Drastically
Contractors cannot offer a correct fixed price because there are too many unknowns about the job, so try to eliminate as many of the unknowns as possible. For example, have them open up a wall to examine the skeleton of your house where the add-ons would happen.
Request to define the project specs to include only what he expects to do with the mutual understanding that if additional work is needed, you will get a change order — a written mini-bid for new work after the project has been started. This is common in the construction industry and it is the reason quotes vary by thousands of dollars. The cheapest quote also means they are not being conscientious of the realities that may come later to blow your budget when you were not prepared for unexpected expense(s).
Costs for all of the various elements of the job should include:
- Demolition and hauling trash
- Electrical work
- Tiling and floor covering installations
- Lighting fixtures
- Drywall and painting
- Finish carpentry
- Clean up
Contractors will often give you a fixed bid, but some work may be on a "cost plus" basis, charging you for materials, time/labor, and an administrative or overhead fee for their time managing those aspect of your project. “Cost plus” is sometimes a legitimate alternative, but it should have a cap or some provision to contain cost overruns that exceed your max budget.
Reputation Has More Value Than Price
Reputable and therefore trustworthy Contractors in trade locally for five or ten years will have an established network of subcontractors and suppliers in the area and a local reputation to uphold. That makes them a safer choice.
Ask for a business card with a real street address, not just a post office box, and get references from one or two early projects and some current customers. This will help you verify consistency and honor.
You should also vet their background by verifying their credentials and insist on a detailed contract before making a hiring decision.
Personality Is Prettier Than Price
You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this contractor, so when you make your decision, think about whether you feel comfortable with their personality, background, methods, and communication skills. Is everyone clear about the project at hand and on the same page? If not, you could end up disappointed, frustrated, and possibly out several thousand dollars beyond what you budgeted for.
Set Job Site Boundaries
Let the company know you expect routine precautions. Also, establish some ground rules about parking, bathroom use, smoking, and other issues that might concern you.
Have A Resolution Strategy
Any contractor you hire will become part of your life for at least the duration of the project. Make sure you pick someone with whom you can communicate, and trust your gut if first impressions leave you feeling uneasy. Reputable professionals will insist on clear written agreements in order to protect both parties.
During initial meetings, ask how unexpected issues or differences might be handled. This can include change orders (these should always be in writing, with cost issues directly noted) or more serious disputes, such as unintended damage or a failure to meet legal or reasonable standards.
Is your Business ready?
Preparation is a vital component for making it through a disaster, whether it's a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time to plan for these events is well before they happen. No one ever plans a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself and fellow employees, "Are you Ready for whatever happens?"
SERVPRO of Central Union County offers the Emergency Ready Profile as a startup approach that provides the important information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It was created to help as a quick reference guide of the buildings most important information.
The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile Advantage:
- A NO COST assessment of your facility
- This means you do not need to appropriate any funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
- A Compact Profile Document that contains only the important information needed in the event of an emergency.
- It will only take a short time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. Most importantly it will save you a lot of time if ever needed
- A guide to help you get back into your building after a disaster.
- This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action
- Establishes SERVPRO of Central Union County as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
- You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader close by.
- 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.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas, and priority contact information.
- Having quick reference guide provides solutions in the advance of a disaster, so that during a disaster you are "Ready for whatever happens."
Call Today to Get Started!
Fire Damage and Safety Tips| American Red Cross
Follow these tips to protect yourself from a fire in your house.
Did you know that if a fire starts in your home, you may have just two minutes to escape?
The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. Sixty percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.
Fire Safety Tips
If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL for help.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
Test smoke alarms once a month, if they’re not working, change the batteries.
Talk with all household members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
What to do after a Fire
Now that the fire is out, there are a few things you need to know. Here is a check list to follow:
Step 1 - Securing the site
- Protect the fire site from any further damage by weather, theft or vandalism. Do not leave the site unsecured.
- If you are the owner it is your responsibility to see that openings are covered against rain and entry. Make sure outside doors to the property can be locked and secured. The Fire Department will help secure the premises until responsibility can be handed over to the tenant or insurance company.
- If you are the tenant contact your real estate agent or landlord and inform them of the fire. If you cannot contact them and you need professional assistance in boarding the premises, a general contractor for or fire damage restoration firm can help. Check your telephone directory.
- If you plan to leave the site, try to remove any valuable remaining in the building.
- Contact your own insurance agent to report the loss.
Step 2- Cautions
- Household wiring which may have been water damaged should be checked by a licensed electrician before power is turned back on.
- Check for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be weakened. The local Council's Building Inspector may be able to help.
- Food, drink and medicines exposed to heat, smoke or soot may be discarded in the appropriate manner.
- Refrigerators and freezers left unopened will hold their temperature for a short time. However do not attempt to refreeze thawed items.
- The Fire Brigades will call for the services of the local gas, fuel and electricity suppliers to disconnect services before they leave the site.
- If a utility (gas, electricity or water) is disconnected, it is your responsibility to have the services checked and reconnected by a licensed trade person. Do not attempt to reconnect the service yourself.
- Start collecting receipts for any money you spend. These are important because you can use them to show the insurance company what money you have spent relating to your fire loss and also verifying losses claimed.
Step 3 - Insurance Claims
- Make personal contact with the insurance claims manager.
- Advise the claims manager of loss or damage and give him, or her, a forwarding address and telephone number if the circumstances have forced you to leave the damaged fire building.
- The sooner the insurance company is alerted, the quicker the insurance claim can be processed, as the company has to alert the insurance adjuster to carry out the inspection.
- Try to form an inventory, as soon as possible, of household items either inside or outside the buildings which have been damaged by fire. The inventory of damaged items will further speed the claim when the loss adjuster makes contact. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after the inventory is made by the insurance adjuster.
Step 4 - Leaving your home
- If you have to leave your home because the fire has left it unsafe, contact the local police. They can keep an eye on the property in your absence.
- Check with your insurance company to find out whether you are entitled to stay in hotel as part of a temporary housing clause in your policy, or how soon you might get an advance on your eventual insurance claim settlement.
- Provided it is safe to do so, try to locate the following to take with you:
- Vital medicines, such as blood pressure regulating drugs or insulin.
- Eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetic devices or personal aids.
- Valuables such as credit cards, check-books, insurance policies, savings account books, money and jewelry.
Notify these people of your new address
- Your employer.
- Family and friends.
- Your children's schools.
- Your Post Office. Have them either hold or forward your mail, depending on the length of time you expect to be relocated.
- Delivery services like newspapers and milk.
- Telecom and the suppliers of gas, electricity and water.
SERVPRO of Central Union County at 908-233-7070
We will help to get your life in order after this catastrophic event.
How to Stay Safe in a Thunderstorm
Follow these tips to stay safe in a thunderstorm.
SERVPRO of Central Union County cares gratefully about the safety of our customers. Thunderstorms can be a scary and overwhelming event. Here are some safety precautions that can be taken to insure your well-being.
- Keep yourself updated with news reports by listening to your local weather radios.
- When inside, stay off corded phones, computers, and other electronic equipment that put you in direct contact with electricity or plumbing.
- Unplug any appliances or electrical items such as TVs, computers, and air conditioners. If you are not able to unplug, turn it off.
- Secure any doors and shutters. Make sure that you remove any dead or rotting branches from trees that could potentially fall and cause damage to your home or anyone.
Remember, Storm damage is likely to occur depending on the intensity of the storm. For any services you may need whether an emergency or a quote, please feel free to give us a call at (908) 233-7070
Understanding the Basics of Damaging Winds
Damaging winds are one of the threats that comes with severe storms. These winds can catch you off guard and be problematic due to long-term structural impacts.
Why Damaging Winds Are Such a Major Concern
Tornadoes and hurricanes are not the only times damaging winds occur. Damaging winds are considered winds with wind speeds exceeding 50–60 mph and can be produced by a strong thunderstorm. Often, you will hear damaging winds referred to as “straight-line” winds to differentiate the damage from tornado damage.
The damage from straight-line winds can be especially destructive, often causing unanchored objects to become projectiles. Any windows or roof can take the brunt of this damage. If the damage is extensive, it can result in water damage to the home as outside elements come indoors through broken windows or damaged roofs.
Anyone who lives in a thunderstorm-prone area can be at risk from damaging winds, but there are some structures, such as mobile homes, especially at risk. Mobile homes, even those that are anchored, could sustain serious damage in winds gusting over 80 mph.
Ways to Prepare Your Home
There are a number of things you can do to protect your property from damaging winds, but there are two things to remember, keeping the “Two R’s” in mind: reinforce and remove.
Look into having your garage door reinforced by a professional.
Ensure that any loose objects on your property that could become wind-borne are properly stored or anchored. Remember that trash cans, grills and outdoor furniture are easily picked up by strong winds.
Larger, older decaying trees and branches should be professionally removed, which will ensure they cannot be blown onto your home.
Remember, high winds can occur without advanced notice. By taking some, or all, of the above actions, you can be prepared on a moment’s notice.
Also, if you are building a new home or renovating an older home, be sure windows, walls and doors are up to code for your area.
If your home has been hit by damaging winds and resulting water damage, the highly trained specialists at SERVPRO® of Central Union County & SERVPRO® of Western Essex County & are here to help with the cleanup and restoration of your home.