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Steps to Prevent Commercial Kitchen Fires

1/9/2023 (Permalink)

People escaping through an exit door Make sure everyone knows where their designated exits are in case of an emergency

Cooking is one of the most common causes of fires in commercial kitchens. With proper training and planning, you can reduce the risk of a fire by keeping your kitchen clean and maintaining your equipment.

Make Sure All Cooking Equipment is in Good Condition

To prevent commercial kitchen fires, you should make sure that all cooking equipment is in good condition. This includes checking the age of the equipment and making sure it hasn’t been damaged by heat or water damage. You should also check that it operates properly and has been maintained properly. It should have proper safety features such as automatic shut-off switches or flame detectors, as well as fire protection features such as sprinkler systems or fire walls between areas where combustibles are stored and cooking areas.

Have Your Equipment Serviced Periodically

You will also want to perform regular maintenance on your equipment. Many cooks choose to have their gas ranges serviced annually, as this can prevent common issues like carbon buildup and clogged pilot lights. If you are using a wood-burning oven, it is recommended that you have it inspected every two years by a professional.

Other than having your equipment serviced, there are several steps that you can take in the event of an actual fire in the kitchen:

  • Call 911 right away if the issue is too big for yourself or someone else to handle on their own.
  • If possible, put out small fires with baking soda or salt — remember that water may cause electrical fires!

Keep the Kitchen Clean

Cleanliness is an important part of keeping your kitchen safe. Wiping down surfaces, especially those that are near grills or ovens, can help prevent fire from starting in the first place. It's also important to keep your grease traps clean and free of debris like food scraps and paper towels; if they get clogged with debris and start building up grease, you might end up with an even bigger mess on your hands. Make sure to regularly clean out any grease buildup in drains as well; this will help prevent fires from starting because there won't be enough room for excess oil when it drains down into the sink. Finally, make sure all exhaust fans are functioning properly so that smoke escapes but doesn't build up in your kitchen space.

Train Staff

Train staff on how to deal with fire emergencies. It's important that your employees know what to do in the event of an emergency, such as a fire alarm or kitchen fire. This includes evacuating people from the building and calling 9-1-1 for help.

Train staff on how to respond to fire alarms. Make sure everyone knows where their designated exits are in case of an emergency, including which doors should be opened first if there is smoke or other obstructions in the way.

Train staff on how to evacuate the building during an actual fire. If there truly is a kitchen fire, all employees should know exactly where they are supposed to go in order not only provide them with enough information but also make sure they're safe as well!

Create an Emergency Plan

An emergency plan is a formal document that details the procedures for handling an emergency. This includes identifying the different types of emergencies that could occur in your commercial kitchen and knowing what to do in each type of situation.

The plan should also include a section on evacuating the building and contacting fire department, police, or ambulance if needed.

A kitchen fire can be a dangerous and costly event. But if you follow these steps, you can prevent it from happening in your own commercial kitchen.

10 Ways To Prevent Home Flooding & Water Damage

12/16/2022 (Permalink)

Hand with glove cleaning a gutter Keep your gutters clean.

Prevent Home Flooding & Water Damage

If you're reading this, you're likely aware of the risks of flooding, especially if you live in an area that's prone to it. But even if your home isn't in a flood zone, a sudden storm or burst pipe can cause major damage and lead to a costly clean-up bill. To protect against water damage, it's important to take preventative measures like checking your gutters and windows regularly — and knowing when to call in the experts. Here are 10 steps that every homeowner should take to keep their property safe from flooding:

Check Your Gutters

Gutters are an overlooked part of many home maintenance routines. That's unfortunate, because when your gutters are clogged, damaged or leaking, you're at risk for water damage and other costly problems. A quick glance around the exterior of your home can tell you if there is any damage to the gutters that needs repair before winter hits.

Gutter guards can help keep leaves out of your gutter system and prevent clogs from forming. The best way to deal with them is by calling a professional who has experience working with this type of installation so they know where to place guards that will give you full protection during rainy season.

Check Your Windows

Check for cracks in the window frame. If you find any, replace them immediately to prevent water damage and mold growth inside your home.

  • Look for condensation on the inside of the window. This might indicate that it's time for a change of season or that there's a leak somewhere nearby — and if it's not just condensation, it could indicate a problem with the sealant around your windowsills or frames that needs to be fixed before too long.
  • Inspect each window gasket for leaks around its edges and make sure they're in good condition (if they are old). This will help keep water from entering your home through cracks as well as keep out moisture from inside when it gets cold outside.
  • Finally, check for stains on exterior walls near windows; these can indicate leaks onto exterior surfaces which may have occurred years ago but are still visible today!

Install a Sump Pump

You'll want to install a sump pump in the lowest point of your home. This can be in the basement or even an unfinished attic. It should be installed in a dry and accessible location so you can easily access it if it needs repair or maintenance. A sump pump will remove water from your basement, but you may also want to consider installing flood gates or other types of protection against flooding, depending on how much damage flooding has caused in the past and how often it occurs.

Seal Your Foundation

If you don't have a basement, you can still get water damage when it rains. Water enters through any gaps or openings in the foundation and can seep into the walls, causing mold and rot to form. To prevent this from happening, install a waterproofing sealant around window frames, doorways and other openings that are not fully covered by siding or brickwork. A professional will be able to help you determine whether your home has been adequately sealed against water intrusion — and if not how best to remedy the situation.

Seal basement windows with putty tape (also called caulk) after caulking around all door frames inside your house as well as outside window frames where they meet drywall walls (this includes any area where moisture could enter from outside).

Upgrade Old Appliances

  • Replace old appliances.
  • Check the energy efficiency of your appliances.
  • Replace your water heater with a more efficient model.
  • Check the efficiency of your refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine.

Insulate Water Pipes

Water pipes are a common source of water damage in the home, particularly during the winter when they are prone to freeze. To prevent this, you can insulate them. Insulating hot water pipes will reduce your energy consumption and help make your home more comfortable in the winter months. Hot water pipe insulation is very easy to install and can be done in just a few hours. If you have an attic, it's best to add insulation there because this is where most of your water pipes are located.

Protect Against Sewer Backups

Install a backwater valve. If you live in a high-risk area, it’s important that you have a backwater valve installed on your property. It will prevent sewage from backing up into your home if there is heavy rain or flooding in the area, which can lead to water damage and mold growth.

Assess Your Risk for Flooding

Before you do anything else, it's important to assess your risk for flooding. If you live in an area that is at risk for flooding, then it's essential that you familiarize yourself with what may happen and how to prevent it. The best way to protect yourself from flood damage is by knowing the signs of possible water damage and taking preventative measures before any actual damage occurs.

Check Your Local Weather Forecast

The first thing that you should do is check your local weather forecast. If heavy rains are on their way and predicted to occur within 24 hours or less, then this could be an indication that a storm drain system might overflow into your home due to high water levels in the streets. This can be especially problematic if there isn't proper drainage around your home (like gutters).

Elevate Appliances & Furniture

If there's a chance your couch could get wet in an apartment flood, place it on top of some plywood so that its legs don't get submerged. A heavy-duty plastic cushion can protect the fabric from moisture while keeping it elevated above any potential floodwaters on the floor below.

If your rugs or area rugs are susceptible to water damage, move them off-site until they're needed again.

Buy Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is a type of insurance that covers damage to your property due to flooding. It also covers contents that were damaged in the flood and any additional living expenses incurred while repairs are made or if you need to temporarily move out of your home. If a flood occurs and you don't have flood insurance, you will be responsible for paying all costs associated with the cleanup and repairs yourself.

The good news is that many homeowners’ policies do include some coverage for flooding, but it's usually not enough to cover all the damages that can occur from this type of event. To get adequate coverage, you'll need to purchase separate flood insurance through an independent provider such as NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program).

We hope that this post has helped you better understand what you can do to prevent water damage in the home. When it comes to your property, it’s important that you take steps to protect it. And while prevention is always better than cure, if something does happen, don’t panic! We have a team of experts at SERVPRO of Nantahala who can be there within hours with all the equipment needed for any type of emergency — and we promise we won’t leave until everything is back in order again.

How Do You Prevent a Water Damage?

11/1/2022 (Permalink)

Floor mats on wooden floor, equipment that extracts water Water damage in Franklin, NC

How Do You Avoid Water Damage?

Water damage is one of the most common disasters in homes. It can happen to anyone at any time. However, there are many ways that you can prevent water damage in your Franklin, NC home.

First, do your water damage prevention upfront before you even buy your home.

The first thing you should do is to check your property for leaks. If there are any, they must be fixed before you move in.

After that, check the property for mold and water damage. Make sure that there are no signs of flood damage as well. This can often be a problem with properties located near a creek or river in areas prone to flooding during heavy rainfalls and spring thaws.

If you notice any of these signs, contact an inspector immediately before buying the home so that they can determine whether there is anything structurally wrong with it (and thus something worth fixing prior to purchase). You’ll also want to make sure that any necessary repairs have been done already (you don't want to buy a house only after finding out there's mold growing everywhere) and that proper measures have been taken against future damage by ensuring insulation around pipes or other essential household.

Second, call SERVPRO of Nantahala and have them come out and inspect your home.

The second thing that you can do is to call SERVPRO of Nantahala, or another water damage restoration company and have them come out and inspect your home. They're going to be able to see all the damage that has occurred and then they'll give you a free estimate on how much it will cost to dry out your home. Once they have inspected your property, they can help you get started on getting things repaired quickly so that you can move back in as soon as possible.

Third, have some sort of insurance in place.

Number Three is to have some sort of insurance in place, whether it's through your homeowners policy or a different policy that can protect you from water damages as well as fires.

Talk with your insurance company about what kind of coverage you have and how much coverage you need. The more assets that require protection against water damage and fire, the more coverage will be needed. If there's any doubt about whether your home has adequate fire or flood insurance, contact an agent today!

Fourth, check the pipes in between the furnace and the hot water heater.

  • Now if you've got an older home, those pipes can get cold. And if they're not insulated properly or they are touching each other, then you can get a freeze there and then when that happens it'll burst your pipe. So, you want to make sure that there's plenty of space between them so it doesn't happen again.
  • Also make sure there isn't any water around those pipes because if there is, then it's going to freeze during those cold winter months and burst your pipe too. So, we recommend having an electric heater running down here too just so that keeps everything nice and warm so nothing freezes up on us when we're not looking for these things!

Fifth, make sure that your hot water heater is protected and up to code.

One of the most common causes of hot water heaters bursting is when they're not properly protected. So, generally, you should make sure that:

  • The shut off valve on your hot water heater is in good working order and that it's located near where the tank is installed. This will allow you to easily turn off the flow of water if there's a leak or other problem with your unit.
  • Your drain for draining out excess water from your tank has a trap and isn't connected to any sewer pipes—this can cause serious problems if not done correctly!

How Do You Prevent a Water Damage?

You know how to prevent a water damage, so now you can put your new knowledge to good use. The next time you see those pesky puddles forming in the bathroom or kitchen, don't panic! Instead of reaching for the phone and calling SERVPRO of Nantahala NC, follow these 3 tips:

  • Check the pipes between the furnace and hot water heater.
  • Make sure your hot water heater is protected and up to code.
  • Have insurance in place.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how to prevent water damage. As you can see, there are many things you can do to protect your home and prevent water damage from occurring.

Should You Choose the Mitigation Company to do the Rebuild?

10/7/2022 (Permalink)

two green trucks and two truck box on the road SERVPR of Nantahala can handle any job.

What's Involved In the Mitigation and Reconstruction Process

Restoration after a flood or other natural disaster can be a daunting process, especially if you don't know where to start. This guide will help you understand what's involved in the mitigation and reconstruction process.

There are many unknowns that can impact how long the reconstruction process takes to complete.

The reconstruction process is unpredictable. It depends on many factors, including the extent of damages and your insurance company's decision-making process. You should also consider that there are other unknowns that may impact how long it takes to complete the reconstruction project:

  • The company you hire to do your rebuild may make mistakes during the rebuilding process, which can delay completion.
  • If there is structural damage from high winds or flooding, then additional steps must be taken before reconstruction begins (such as removing debris).

The first thing you'll need to consider is the insurance claims process.

The first thing you'll need to consider is the information you receive from your insurance claims adjuster.

Generally speaking, insurance companies are big, impersonal corporations. They're used to dealing with claims on a large scale and don't want any trouble from their customers. If they think that you might cause them problems (for example, if they think your claim will be more complicated than others), they'll likely give your case the cold shoulder or send a low-level employee who doesn't have the authority to make decisions about it. If this sounds familiar, SERVPRO of Nantahala can help!

Another thing you'll want to decide on is whether you'll use a mitigation company that does both the cleanup and reconstruction services.

When choosing a mitigation company, you should make sure that it does both the cleanup and reconstruction services. If your home was damaged beyond repair during a flood or other natural disaster, then you'll want to ensure that your contractor can rebuild it in such a way that it's resistant to future weather conditions and damage. This means they should offer materials with high performance ratings (such as those from Shake-R-Dry) and have experience building homes in your area's climate.

Another thing you'll want to decide on is whether you'll use a mitigation company that does both the cleanup and reconstruction services. If so, consider these things:

  • The company’s reputation—you need someone who has successfully completed projects like yours before.
  • Their track record—does their work stay on time? Does their work stay within budget?

Choosing a one-stop-shop for the entire restoration process will go a long way toward speeding up your final walk through with the insurance adjuster.

The idea of doing everything yourself is appealing, but it can be a daunting task. It can ultimately cost more in time and money for you to try to do everything yourself than if you had hired a professional from the beginning.

A second benefit of choosing one-stop-shop companies is speedier assistance when dealing with your insurance company adjuster. Because they have already done much of the work required on their end, they are better prepared when it comes time for them to negotiate with your adjuster or assist during inspections or final walkthroughs. This allows them to move things along faster and get everyone paid faster!

With so much to think about and plan for, it can be hard to know which decisions are the right ones for your disaster recovery. If you're still unsure about any of these issues, consider getting in touch with a professional restoration company like SERVPRO of Nantahala first. We have decades' worth of experience helping others who've been through similar situations. Let us help guide you through this process with as little stress as possible!

How To Become a Preferred Vendor

8/12/2022 (Permalink)

Concept of business negotiation agreement Did you know that we are a Preferred Vendor for many insurance companies.

Getting Started as a Preferred Vendor

Not all restoration companies are created equal. Your company needs help to restore your business space after a disaster in Murphy, NC, and you want to make sure that your first pick will be easy to work with, reliable, and provide superior service. Your insurance agent will provide you with a list of preferred vendors, but how can you know that you're really getting the best? At SERVPRO, you'll find some of the most stringent standards in the industry that ensure your project will be completed with excellence every time.

1. Quality Checks
When your insurance agent recommends a local franchise to complete your project, the SERVPRO vendor program has 21 guidelines that franchise owners must adhere to in order to earn jobs when you, the client, call the restoration hotline. These guidelines include conducting background checks for all employees, submitting to internal auditing for quality assurance, and maintaining all proper insurance coverage.

2. Rigorous Documentation
From the moment the customer contacts the restoration hotline, your case will be tracked every step of the way. You will be presented with information about which local franchise you were connected to, the amount of time it took to respond, the cause of the claim, and each step that was taken to complete your project.

3. Project Validation
Restoration companies have standards that must be followed when completing a project. You'll never have to wonder if your site was cleaned properly because you can request that drying validation be a part of your project documentation. You as the business owner can see the standards that the company promises and the tools that are to be used; there are no industry secrets. This transparency can provide you peace of mind, knowing that your restoration project was done to the highest standard.
When your insurance agent provides a preferred vendor list that includes a local SERVPRO franchise, you can be confident that your restoration project will be backed by high industry standards.

How To Use a Fire Extinguisher

7/28/2022 (Permalink)

Young Man Using Red Fire Extinguisher To Stop Fire Coming From Oven In Kitchen Learn how to use a fire extinguisher in your home

A Guide to Fire Extinguisher Use

A home fire can have many causes and can happen at any time. It's important for homeowners in Franklin, NC, to keep a fire extinguisher handy inside the home so a fire can be extinguished before it gets out of control. While the majority of homeowners have an extinguisher inside the home, research shows less than half actually know how to use one.

Being Prepared
A homeowner should not only be prepared to use a fire extinguisher at a moment's notice, but they need to know where to find it. If an emergency does arise, you'll be quicker to act on it. Situations in which you might need a fire extinguisher include:

  • When the fire is contained to one object
  • You feel confident in using the extinguisher
  • You have the right extinguisher type

While you should always call the fire department before using an extinguisher, you should get out of the structure if you're aren't confident in how to use the device. It's always best to put safety first, and during a fire is not the time to try to learn how to use an extinguisher. Fire damage can always be reversed during restoration.
Extinguishers are made for different types of fire. Some extinguishers are water-based, and made for common products such as wood, cloth, plastic, or paper. The majority of homeowners will only have a class A extinguisher. You wouldn't want to use a class A extinguisher on a gas burner during a kitchen fire.

Using the Extinguisher
You'll be confident in using your extinguisher if you remember the acronym P.A.S.S. This stands for pull, aim, squeeze and sweep. First, you pull the pin, then you aim the extinguisher, squeeze the handle and sweep from side to side.
If a fire happens, always think first. A fire extinguisher can be a powerful tool against devastating damage, but only when you know how to use it properly. It's a good idea to periodically refresh yourself on fire safety and proper usage of the extinguisher in your home.

3 Steps to Take After a Toilet Floods Your Office Building

7/19/2022 (Permalink)

Overflowing broken toilet A flooded toilet could cause major problems for your whole building.

Three Things to Do If a Toilet Overflows in Your Office Building

Office toilets are utilized with much greater frequency than a standard residential toilet. If you're an office manager in Nantahala, NC, it is important to have your bathroom facilities checked and maintained regularly because a flooded toilet could cause major problems for your whole building, not just your floor. If you have discovered that damage has occurred on multiple floors, there are some steps that you should take to clean up quickly and completely.

1. Call Your Insurance Company
Insurance policies differ in their coverage of sewer damage, so it's important to know what your policy states. A backup and an overflow are not the same thing, and therefore, may be expressed uniquely in your policy, or one may be covered while the other isn't.

2. Assess the Extent of the Damage
Communicate with any offices on the floors below yours. Have they experienced any problems, including leaks or bad smells? Water can soak into the floors and walls and can damage electrical wiring. Sewer damage can also cause health hazards, so if you see any obvious signs of problems or you're worried that there might be, close off the area until a professional can come to assess the damage and better inform you of any dangers.

3. Hire a Water Damage Repair Company
The more time spent on cleanup and repairs, the longer the loss in productivity will be, and the more difficult it is to take on new clients. Hire a water and sewage company that will not only assess the damage but will disinfect the areas before repairing them so that you and your coworkers can have a healthy work environment.
Sewer damage can be costly and time-consuming. Ensuring that you have an up-to-date insurance policy that covers various types of toilet-related water damage and maintaining your office's facilities can save you a headache in the event of a flooded toilet at your office.

Water Damage: 4 Steps for Drying Out Your Commercial Property

7/12/2022 (Permalink)

Drying equipment placed in area that has been damaged by water Water cleanup in a Sapphire, NC commercial facility.

Four Water Damage Tips

Many property owners are understandably upset and overwhelmed when water disasters occur. However, in a crisis involving pipe breaks or leaks, a quick response is necessary to avoid further problems. The four damage tips below will help you understand the appropriate steps to take following a water disaster.

1. Remember Safety First

No amount of cleaning tips will help if you ignore the number one safety rule: turn off the electricity. It does not matter how extensive the flooding is, power should be shut off to avoid shock or electrocution. While the water levels may not be above outlets, if a pipe bursts in a ceiling or behind a wall, water may have infiltrated outlets or conduits. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

2. Clear Debris and Remove Standing Water

The second of the four damage tips is to clear away all debris and remove all standing water. Debris does not have to mean rubbish or trash; it can also refer to any salvageable items and materials that need to be dried and cleaned. Also, while there may not be a lot of standing water, it is essential to remove any excess water to avoid problems like mold and mildew.

3. Ventilate and Dry Affected Areas

Once you have cleared the area and removed the water, you can ventilate and dry the area. Opening windows and doors is a great way to help circulate air through the property, but the use of industrial air movers is likely a quicker and more effective way of drying the area. A pipe burst can lead to extensive water damage, which is why it is necessary to dry the area as fast as possible.

4. Sanitize and Clean

Once dry, you can clean and sanitize the property. You may call a disaster restoration specialist in the Sapphire, NC, area to help you with this process, as they possess both equipment and expertise in water remediation.

The damage tips above can help you mitigate a pipe break or leak. However, if you wish to expedite the process, a restoration specialist may be more equipped to handle these types of emergencies.

Avoid Water Damage Claims With These 4 Maintenance Tips

6/25/2022 (Permalink)

Office furniture in the corridor of a building, floor is wet and with mud Water damage in a building in Whittier, NC.

Four Ways To Avoid Water Damage Claims

Filing a business claim after any water-related incident can help cover the costs while your Whittier, NC, location is repaired. However, there is a chance you may not qualify and still need to pay part of the bill. Additionally, the damage can interrupt or slow down your normal operations. Continue reading to learn how to prevent these events.  

1. Shut Off the Valve After a Pipe Break
While a fast response to excess humidity or water is necessary, a leaking or broken pipe can quickly escalate to flooding. You and your employees should know where to locate and how to operate the building's main shutoff valve. Shutting off the valve can temporarily stop the water flow until the problem is resolved. 

2. Keep Your Drainage System Clear 
Your building's drainage system is essential for diverting precipitation towards a safe location. When leaves, branches and other debris block it, the water can build up and damage the roof and walls, necessitating a business claim. Regular inspection and cleaning of your gutters, downspouts and other drainage paths by experienced professionals can effectively prevent these situations.

3. Seal All Visible Cracks and Holes 
The foundation of your building is not immune to cracks, gaps, and holes. These unplanned openings can allow water and high humidity to enter the building and affect anything inside. Additionally, freezing air can enter and damage the pipes, leading to more damage. Seal these breaches with caulk, foam insulation and weather stripping to protect your business. 

4. Maintain the Building's Rooftop
A strong rooftop is crucial for the well-being of your property. Accumulated water or snow can weaken the structure and seep into the building, while the formation of ice dams can block your drainage and create further problems. Schedule inspections and maintenance by roofing professionals and keep track of the roof's load limits. 
Although you will need a business claim to obtain help from a water damage remediation team, it is ideal to prevent this scenario. Enact the necessary strategies to keep your property safe from destruction. 

What You Should Know About Buying Shutters for Your Home

6/14/2022 (Permalink)

Colonial shutter on a home Protect your property from high winds.

Protect Your Property from High Winds

While there’s no doubt that window coverings impact the appearance of your residence, they also can serve an important function, especially in areas that are prone to high winds, such as coastal states that may experience hurricanes. Shutters help protect the windows of your home in Robbinsville, NC, during windstorms and hurricanes. The cost to repair windows averages over $8,000 post-disaster, considerably more than the $3,500 estimated average for shutter installation.

Exploring the Costs of Storm Shutters

There are various types, each with a different cost per square foot:

Aluminum accordion: Lightweight and strong, up to $30 per square foot
Roll-up or roll-down: Mechanically or automatically controlled, $25 to $60 per square foot
Bahama or Bermuda: Aesthetic and offers shade on sunny days, $20 t0 $35 per square foot
Colonial hurricane: Timeless style, $25 to $35 per square foot
Motorized or electric hurricane: $6,360 to $10,560 for the entire home
Storm panels: Removable, $10 to $20 per square foot
Clear polycarbonate: Can stay in place without obscuring views, $10 to $15 per square foot
Fabric: Removable, $5 to $15 per square foot

Average installation costs range from $45 to $100 per hour. Consider the labor rate and the total time of installation when budgeting to protect your property from high winds.

Considering Other Benefits
Other than the visual impact of these window coverings, consider these advantages. Some options also help reduce your energy costs thanks to the added insulation. They also improve privacy. If you live in an area that’s prone to high winds and hurricanes, your insurer may offer a discount on your homeowner’s insurance.
A good homeowner knows to contact damage restoration professionals to make repairs after a disaster. A good homeowner also knows that preparation is important as well. Adding window coverings to your home protects your windows ahead of storms.