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Floods and FEMA

6/6/2017 (Permalink)

FLOOD LOSSES and FEMA

I know we have got past of the worst of the flood season, but with all the talk of earthquakes, I thought this could be helpful.

Catastrophe situations typically involve numerous flood claims, making for brisk business for restoration companies like SERVPRO of Hillsboro/Forest Grove. When a property owner states they have insurance, it would be wise to clarify if it is going to be a standard property claim, or insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is important to keep in mind that flood claims have to follow the rules of the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) and there are some fairly significant differences from a standard homeowner’s policy.

Knowing the flood program rules can keep restorers like SERVPRO of Hillsboro/Forest Grove from getting into hot water after a flood claim, especially if you are referred in by an agent. Nothing upsets a client or referring partner more than surprise charges the property owner must pay when, from the onset, everyone might have assumed it would be covered by the policy.
While restorers like SERVPRO of Hillsboro/Forest Grove know exactly what is required to be done to restore the property to preloss condition, it is imperative that they know these standard procedures are not always covered by the SFIP -- which the flood adjuster must adhere to. There is no wiggle room when it comes to the SFIP, and it is important that the insured read their policy and coverage and make sure they understand the coverage and limitations, or contact their agent. When a restoration professional knows the rules, life becomes easier for all involved. 

FEMA produced a lengthy memo outlining what is allowed and what is not when it comes to restoration expenses after a flood loss. The memo is titled W-13025a and a quick web search will produce it. With this in mind, the following list represents a portion of some of the major points every restorer must know before beginning work on a flood claim using an SFIP policy. Refer to the memo for a full listing.

  1. Water extraction from wet carpet is not covered by the SFIP. If your estimate lists water extraction as a line item, it will not be allowed for coverage. It is assumed the extraction cost is included in the cost to remove wet carpet, so restorers must include that cost in the removal line item.
  2. Restorers must provide complete daily drying logs with their invoice. This includes readings of affected and non-affected areas, equipment outputs, and material readings, documenting the drying process. Without proper drying logs, flood adjusters are only able to pay the reasonable costs that should have been incurred via calculations provided by FEMA.
  3. The SFIP will not pay for claims to dry building components that are typically removed as flood water is considered category three. The removal of carpet and drywall affected by flooding is a typical example. All wet materials must be removed prior to installing drying equipment or the equipment charges will not be allowed.
  4. Air scrubbers and ozone machines are not allowed by the SFIP.
  5. Contents manipulation charges are not allowed unless the property owner has contents coverage.
  6. Equipment cleaning charges are not allowed by the SFIP as they are “included” in the unit price.
  7. Charges for generators, negative air movers, air filtering equipment, and personal protection equipment are not allowed under the SFIP. Charges of this nature are to be included in removal charges.
  8. When a claim includes drying a salvageable item, the charge to apply a sealer or preservative on the same item is not allowed unless there is documentation that the sealer or preservative was applied before the loss.
  9. When a building’s electrical system is not operable the charge for a generator to power drying equipment is not allowed.
  10. Lastly, always keep in mind the SFIP only pays for structures and contents directly damaged by flood water, not secondary damages, unless access to the property was restricted for a prolonged time. If charges or services are deemed excessive, meaning it goes far above and beyond what is typically expected in an invoice, the invoice will be sent to a third party auditing company, which will review the claim and determine the fair practices and charges that should have been submitted and pay the claim based on that. This makes it imperative to practice fair drying techniques and when pricing is adjusted to accommodate the NFIP rules, make sure it is justified.

Knowing the rules up front not only saves a restorer like SERVPRO of Hillsboro/Forest Grove from complications at the conclusion of a claim, but further establishes them as a trusted expert at the onset of the claim.  

Sourced; from Restoration Remedies

For FEMA Earthquake information go to https://www.fema.gov/earthquake

WOW! What a Winter

6/6/2017 (Permalink)

Wow! What a Winter! 


Spring is just around the corner. Are you ready?
With spring comes more rain, as if we needed any more. That leaves only a few weeks to be ready for summer.
As we are all very aware, this has been a brutal winter. I recommend taking a close inspection of your facilities. With the winds, heavy rains, snow and the below normal cold there is good chance damage was done.  Preventative maintenance check list
• Door and window seals
• Rain gutters
• Rain gutter drains
• Roof
• Flashing around chimneys
• Roof drains
• Clear yard debris
• Clean parking lot drains
• Clear all exterior drains   When inspecting the roof, look for broken or missing shingles or any damaged components. Check the flashing around any pipes or vents that come through the roof. The rain gutters need to be clear of debris.
When inspecting the exterior walls of your building, look for any damage to the siding, deteriorated or missing caulking around the doors and windows, then make all necessary repairs.
Take a walk around the foundation, checking the condition of the vents, making sure the drain systems are free of debris and the grade allows the water run away from the building.  Preventative maintenance check list
• Foundation grading
• Leaking plumbing
• Missing insulation
• Clean the area around the sump pump
• Test the sump pump
• Check the foundation vents
• Make sure the vapor barrier is intact
• Check for pests
• Make sure the plumbing is properly insulated

Spend some time in the crawl space look for standing water, leaking pipes, pests or fallen insulation.
If you have any questions or need help in any of these areas, let me know and I will gladly be of assistance. As a FREE service, I would be happy to meet with you and your maintenance staff to discuss which areas to check, and the red flags that can alert you to issues before they affect your business. 
The Tip of the Month Quiz 
Lunch is on me for the first three correct answers I receive. 
1. When inspecting the roof what are you looking for?
2. Can mold form inside walls if moisture seeps in?
3. Can standing water under a building cause health concerns? 

When Storms or Floods Hit Hillsboro and Forest Grove SERVPRO is Ready!

12/27/2016 (Permalink)

 

SERVPRO of Hillsboro and Forest Grove 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 Hillsboro and Forest Grove, 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 24/7 866-888-3894

Are You Ready?

12/27/2016 (Permalink)

ARE YOU READY?

Guess What? The rain is here again! We are faced with the challenge of keeping the water outside of your structures. We need to be diligent with this as water will migrate in for though the smallest leaks in a building. These leaks can cause hundreds or thousands of dollars of damage and reduce the income to your business. The exterior envelope should have an annual inspection.

When inspecting the roof look for broken or missing shingles or any damaged components of the roof. Check the flashing around any pipes or vents that come through the roof. The rain gutters need to be clean of debris and if they are equipped with heated cables they need to checked. Make all the repairs before the rain, snow and freezing weather strikes.

When inspecting the exterior walls of your building look for any damage to the siding, deteriorated or missing caulking around the doors and windows. Make all the repairs.

Al Ahlberg and Handyman Bob!

9/7/2016 (Permalink)

Al's Interview with Handyman Bob!

Al Ahlberg the Owner had a chance to meet and explain a little more about what we do with a local Handyman who also has a great radio show surrounding handyman topics!  Take a listen in and find out just what caliber of professionalism, knowledge and expertise SERVPRO of Hillsboro/Forest Grove has to offer.  We were very excited and grateful for this opportunity.  Handyman Bob is a staple in the local industry for all projects around your home and office.  If there is anyone that knows what it takes to put a place back together again it is Handyman Bob!

Tip of the Month by John Lawrence

9/7/2016 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness Month

Disaster recovery specialist SERVPRO says a readiness plan is the key to business continuity when disaster strikes

GALLATIN, Tenn. (Grassroots Newswire) September 1, 2015 - September is National Preparedness Month, an annual awareness event sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Disaster recovery specialist SERVPRO says this is a great time for business owners to review their emergency preparedness and business continuity plans. SERVPRO points to startling statistics like this one to emphasize the importance of advance planning: according to FEMA, as many as 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a major flood disaster.

“Business owners who think they are prepared for an emergency because exits are clearly marked and fire or flood drills are parts of the regular routine really need to take another look at their preparations,” said Sue Steen, SERVPRO Industries, Inc. chief executive officer. “A comprehensive emergency plan also contains critical information about the location of shut-off valves, fire suppression system controls, and emergency contact numbers and more—information that can save emergency responders precious time and help contain damage and minimize injury.”

Because SERVPRO knows the time to create a disaster readiness plan is before you need it, they have developed the SERVPRO Emergency READY Program to help business owners create an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for their facility, at no charge. The business owner works with SERVPRO to gather and document information that will become critical if a disaster strikes. Once the ERP is created, business owners have access to their information 24/7 online and by using SERVPRO’s free smartphone app.

“For a business to survive and thrive, it needs to get back to business as soon as possible after a disaster strikes,” said Steen. “With an ERP in place, SERVPRO’s Disaster Response teams can immediately assess the situation and take the first critical steps to protect employees from harm and property from further damage setting the business on the road to recover

On a local note I had an opportunity to participate in a live evacuation drill at Columbia Care Center.  I was very impressed with how well the drill was planned and carried out. However, even with the entire advance planning, things can still go wrong. The evacuation was going smoothly until a bed ridden resident needed to be evacuated. It was only then that they discovered the bed was too large to maneuver around the corners of the evacuation route. This slowed the evacuation process to a crawl, losing precious time. This issue did not become known until the drill was performed live. This drill illustrated that planning and practicing is the best way to ensure safety for all the residents. 

Last winter, Kilchi’s House in Tillamook was evacuated due to severe winter conditions. Debbie, their Executive Director offers this advice, “Make sure the community is ready to go (With a cart) with pillows, blankets and comfort items for the residents as well as the staff and this cart should be on standby with the rest of your emergency supplies.”

Disasters will and do happen.

Locally, floods, mudslides, fires and even broken pipes have led to evacuations.

Is your property READY?

Tip of the Month by John Lawrence

9/7/2016 (Permalink)

ARE THERE RACCOONS LIVING WITH YOU

Last month’s Tip of the Month focused on the Hospitality Industry dealing with prevention of suicides.

From this discussion I learned there are a lot of people that don’t have a good understanding of what biohazards are and why they are dangerous to one’s health.

So what is a biohazard? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

A biological agent or condition that is a hazard to humans or the environment; also:  a hazard posed by such an agent or condition

Bio-Hazard threats can be found anywhere. Your work place, your health provider’s office, the grocery store, your child’s school or day care and even your own home!Biohazard’s should be handled with extreme caution.

What are some biohazard examples?

  • Human blood and blood products. This includes items that have been contaminated with blood and other body fluids or tissues that contain visible blood.
  • Animal waste. Animal carcasses, body parts, and feces or any bedding material used by animals that are known to be infected with pathogenic organisms.
  • Human body fluids. Semen, cerebrospinal fluid, pleural fluid, vaginal secretions, pericardial fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva, and peritoneal fluid.
  • Microbiological wastes. Common in laboratory settings, examples of microbiological wastes include specimen cultures, disposable culture dishes, discarded viruses, and devices used to transfer or mix cultures.
  • Pathological waste. Unfixed human tissue (excluding skin), waste biopsy materials, and anatomical parts from medical procedures or autopsies.
  • Sharps waste. Needles, glass slides and cover slips, scalpels, and IV tubing that have the needle attached.

Biohazard Safety Levels with Examples

There are 4 levels of biohazards, according to the Centers for Disease Control:

  • Biohazard Level 1: Agents that pose minimal threat to humans and the environment. E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Naegleria gruberi.
  • Biohazard Level 2: Agents that can cause severe illness in humans and are transmitted through direct contact with infected material. Examples include HIV, hepatitis B, and salmonella.
  • Biohazard Level 3: Pathogens that can become airborne and cause serious diseases. Examples include tuberculosis and Coxiella burnetii.
  • Biohazard Level 4: Pathogens that pose a high risk of life-threatening disease for which there are no treatments. Examples include the Ebola virus and Lassa virus.

If you find yourself face to face with a potential biohazardous situation that is too big or too dangerous for you to handle on your own, let me know and I will send our trained professional staff to give you the help you need.

Tip of the Month by John Lawrence

9/7/2016 (Permalink)

Taking Steps to Help Prevent Suicides in Hotels While working on the new “Tip of the Month,” I was talking to my wife about a hotel I once worked with in Idaho. 


A distraught man checked into the hotel and unfortunately the night did not end well. I later found that he had been turned away from another nearby hotel. The desk clerk at the first hotel sensed the man was psychologically unfit to stay at their hotel. My wife said, “Well, that was profiling.” Yes it was, but by doing so their hotel was spared from a tragic incident. 
Unfortunately, people will often choose a hotel to end their own lives. Once or twice a month we are called to clean up after a bio-hazard issue (a biological or chemical substance orsituation that is dangerous to human beings and the environment). I found the article below that gives good advice on this subjecthttp://lodgingmagazine.com/taking-steps-to-help-prevent-suicides-in-hotels/  Posted by: Valerie Neff Newitt in Featured, Good Advice, Smart Strategy July 21, 2014
Motels and hotels—from modest rooms to the most luxurious suites—are among the “lethal locations” described by suicide researcher Steven Stack, Ph.D., of Wayne State University, Detroit. “Lethal locations include any place, such as a hotel room, where there is no one around—like a loved one—to intervene and stop a suicide,” he explains. Even a resort full of vacationers, a high-rise bustling with business travelers, or a motel filled with weekend holiday-makers does not discourage a deadly sense of despair hidden behind a single locked door.
Neal Smither, owner of Crime Scene Cleaners Inc. states that;  "While most large hotel chains have protocols in place for handling suicides, smaller hotels often do not. They would be wise to take a lesson from their larger counterpart". 

Efi Patt is a risk management consultant at iJet, a global operational, travel, risk management, and intelligence company that handles about 250 hotel assessments and risk audits every year. “When I look at security procedures and crisis management, I want to see how hotels balance between security and preventing suicide and other events. Hotels must take into account fire regulations and other safety procedures while maintaining a welcoming and open environment for the public. After all, this is the hospitality business. It’s a juggling act.”
So while it might seem both obvious and suicide-preventative to lock exits to high ledges or seal doors to some hallways, it may not be allowable under certain fire and safety codes.
What, then, can a hotel really do to prevent the tragedy of suicide?
“Plenty,” Patt says. “I’m talking about early detection of potentially problematic guests. They might come without a reservation, without luggage, and pay in cash; that’s a clear red flag of someone who might have an immediate agenda—it could be suicide. Watch for guests displaying signs of agitation or extreme nervousness. If something seems amiss with how guests interact, try to communicate with them and draw out more information—something important might surface.” (See “Signs of Concern” above for more indications of trouble.)
Asked for his top suicide prevention strategy, Callaghan suggests a physical alteration to hotel properties. “Make sure windows only open four inches, wide enough to allow a breath of fresh air but not wide enough for someone to jump out,” he says. “That would be my No. 1 tip.”
Patt also recommends blocking access to rooftops, machinery rooms, and storage areas of chemicals or sharps of any type. “Common sense should be the driver,” he says, reminding that evacuation routes and emergency stairwells must remain open. As for atrium safety, some hotels are installing sheer netting that does not restrict the view but does support the weight of a falling body.
Overall situational awareness is the key to prevention, Patt says. “There must be a mechanism within hotels for staff to recognize signs of distress or problems and report them to central positions—security manager, office manager, general manager. If several signs merit concern about a guest, call in the authorities. It should be a requirement to take note of potential danger and take action. A hotel’s main focus must be looking after the well-being of the guest—individually and collectively—not just the property.”
Whether for the purpose of industry excellence or humanitarian interest, properties must sharpen their skills at preventing and dealing with tragic events on site. In the end, it is not only a hallmark of good business and an assurance for optimum guest experience but also a strategy for preserving the most precious of commodities—life.

Tip of the Month by John Lawrence

9/7/2016 (Permalink)

THE UNWANTED GUEST
I have seen a big ramp up for this year’s tourist season and by all indications it should be a good one. But this comes with some risk one of which is the subject of this month’s Tip of the Month.


The unwanted guest that nasty little bed bug. That hitchhiked in with a guest from abroad. I wrote an article about bed bugs a couple of years ago and with new staff on board and tourist on the way it is a good time to brush up on the issue.

So What Are They?
Bed Bugs are parasitic insects of the Cimicid family that feed exclusively on human blood. They are mostly nocturnal. They can cause skin rashes, allergic symptoms and psychological effects. They have been with us for thousands of years they were almost eradicated in the 1940’s in the developed world, but they have become resistant to pesticides and have made a comeback, they are here to stay.
We are all afraid of them.

Where Do They Come From
California and Washington have a high concentration of bed bugs this put us at risk of an outbreak here in Oregon. But as you can see from the map they can come from anywhere.

• How do we keep them out of our place of business
• Actually we can’t, but we can be proactive
• What about the guests that see them

These are all real issues and they carry a lot of weight. This problem must be properly addressed to avoid a negative outcome.

So Now What
As business owners and managers it is crucial to train your employees to know how to spot bed bugs as soon as they arrive. There needs be policies in place to deal with guests or residents that have encountered them. Have protocol call in place to get rid of them.

Bed Bug Prevention (Early Detection)
There is no way to stop bed bugs from being brought into your facility. New folks are arriving every day from all over the world, and bringing their potentially infested personal items with them. You can be bed bug free one day and infested the next.
So prevention relies on early detection. Bed bugs must be detected very quickly after they are brought in, hopefully before they bite someone.


We have the equipment to help you facilitate an early bed bug detection program to prevent an infestation. All employees in every department should receive bed bug identification training. Why everyone? Because your employees are located all over the facility and if everybody is looking for bed bugs there is greater chance that they will be discover quickly. Also keep in mind that guests are not the only people capable of bringing bed bugs into your facility.

How to Get Rid Of Them
Heat Treatments
Some pest control firms utilize specialized heating equipment to de-infest furnishings, rooms, and entire dwellings. The procedure involves heating up the infested item or area to temperatures lethal to bed bugs. Portable heaters and fans are used to gradually heat the air to 120 - 130°F while monitoring with strategically placed sensors. By carefully controlling the temperature, bugs and eggs are killed wherever they may be. When dealing with high temperatures it very important to check with the fire suppression company to make sure that you DO NOT EXCEED THE WORKING TEMPERATURE OF THE SPRINKLERS and remove all aerosol products.

Insecticides
While the former methods are helpful, insecticides are widely used by most pest control companies. A variety of EPA-registered materials are available formulated as liquids, dusts and aerosols. Baits used to control ants and cockroaches are ineffective in this case since bed bugs feed on blood. Professional-use insecticides such as Temprid®, Transport® and Phantom® tend to be more effective than bed bug sprays sold by retailers. Bleach, alcohol, cigarette lighters, etc. should NOT be used to control bed bugs. Besides being ineffective, such actions can result in fires and other dangerous outcomes.

Important Note
It is extremely important that no employee ever attempt to treat bed bugs themselves. Making pesticide applications in a facility when you are not a certified applicator is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Also, attempting to treat bed bugs when you have no experience will interfere with your pest management company’s treatment plan and potentially increase the bed bug problem. Always have bed bug infestations treated by an experienced pest management company. If your current company does not have bed bug experience, call us for suggestions or an inspection.

Sources for this article came from the following:
Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
Dini M. Miller, Ph.D., Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bed_bug

For More Info See:


http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2007-11-08/the-cost-of-bedbugsbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice


http://www.ndhealth.gov/Disease/Documents/faqs/Bed%20Bugs.pdf


http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7454.html


www.SERVPROyamhilltillamookcounties.com

Tip of the Month by John Lawrence

9/7/2016 (Permalink)

IS YOUR FACILITY AT RISK?

I found this Risk Assessment Questionnaire and I believe that it is good tool to use to help stay on top of the maintenance and operations of your facility.*

This assessment covers Fire Protection, Electrical, Plumbing, HAVAC, Operational Issues and Community Rooms.

 Over the years we have restored many businesses that had fallen behind on their maintenance and had AVOIDABLE DISASTERS!

Note: State and Local government generally establish inspection schedules as part of building codes. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establish requirements related to workplace safety. Use of this questionnaire should take into account the various regulatory requirements for inspection and testing. Also, a building’s use and occupancy, including visitors, may determine the level or risk—the presence of children and/or elderly or disabled persons may increase some risk.

Risk Assessment Questionnaire

FIRE PROTECTION

  • Is there an automatic detection system
  • Are there smoke and fire alarm systems
  • Are the systems inspected and serviced annually
  • Are there sufficient number of fire extinguishers of the appropriate class
  • Are the fire extinguishers readily identifiable
  • Are the fire extinguishers inspected and recharge annually
  • Are there automatic sprinklers and/or standpipe and hoses in the building
  • Are they inspected annually
  • Is the fire suppression systems tested according to the local codes

 ELECTRICAL

  • Are all of the breaker and fuses enclosed in metal cabinets that close securely
  • Are all circuits easily identifiable
  • Are all of the fuse or breakers sized for the equipment or lighting they control
  • Is the area in front of the panels assessable
  • Are there reoccurring problems with fuses or breakers being continually tripping
  • Do metal-enclosed switch gears receive scheduled preventative maintenance
  • Are ground fault interrupters (GFIs) utilized in potentially wet or damp areas
  • Are surge protectors used on phone systems, computers, and office equipment? They are generally required on leased equipment
  • Are extension cords use for permanent power sources in lieu of hard wiring or adding an outlet
  • Are space heaters being used to augment the HVAC system
  • Are tenants reminded not use extension cord as permanent power sources and not to use space heaters
  • Is there proper space around and above recessed lighting
  • If there is a back power supply is inspected and test on a regular schedule i.e. backup batteries or a generator
  • Are the electrical rooms and cabinets that accessible from common areas kept locked.

PLUMBING & DRAINS

  • Are water and drain pipes, seals, etc., inspected periodically for leaks
  • Are pipes properly insulated (this very important due to the fact we don’t have hard freezes)
  • Clear rain gutters annually
  • Clean and clear storm water run-off drains bi-annually

HVAC

  • Has the HVAC system been inspected and serviced with in the past year
  • Is the boil’s low water cutoff/water supply flushed out every month during the heating season
  • Dose the boiler meet fire code requirements concerning noncombustible material and proper fire rated doors and closers
  • Is the boiler room properly ventilated
  • Is the boiler room inspected periodically to ensure that no combustible materials are stored there
  • Are vents and chimney flues inspected annually for clear passage
  • Is there a program in place for cleaning ductwork and diffusers
  • Are windows checked periodically to ensure that they open and close properly and fasteners are in good operating condition
  • Are windows system checked periodically to ensure that they are not deteriorating
  • Is installed window-washing apparatus and/or scaffolding properly attached to the roof decking

        OPERATIONAL ISSUES

  • Dose the building have Emergency Ready Profile (emergency procedures manual)
  • Dose the building have a safety committee
  • Do building staff receive appropriate training related to blood borne pathogens, first aid, and other emergency response subjects 

        COMMUNITY ROOM

  • What is the maximum occupancy of your community room Is it posted
  • Are exits keep clear
  • When positioning furniture for functions, are clear aisles maintained for quick and easy egress in an emergency
  • Is the range and or microwave oven maintained in a clean and manner? Are orifices in gas ranges kept clear
  • Are there curtains or any other combustible material near the range
  • Is there a properly sized and vented range hood
  • Is grease periodically cleaned from the hood and ductwork
  • Has a Class B fire extinguisher been provided in the kitchen area
  • Are the coils on the refrigerator/freezer kept clean of dirt and lint

*Source DexerityDynamics