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Defensible Space & Why It's Important | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

a gated long brown pebble driveway tucked next to a large brick home If your home is damaged by fire or any other reason, SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall is ready and able to repair any damage.

When you think of house fires, wildfires probably don’t come to mind as a potential cause. But the reality is: They’re more common than you think, even here in our area.

According to the National Park Service, wildfires are started by humans 85% of the time. Some accidentally from carelessness and other time deliberately by arsonists.

We can help control the number of fires caused carelessly by humans simply by being more careful when we’re around fire. But there’s more that you can do when it comes to protecting your property.

Understanding Defensible Space

While defensible space can be thought of as a military term, it is also used to define space around your home where combustible materials have been removed to create a fire break.

By adding flame-resistant hardscape around your home and utilizing responsible planting and pruning practices, you can reduce the risk of house fire posed by the wildfire.

By removing combustibles from around your home, you are creating a barrier between the wildfire and your house. This space also give firefighters a chance to slow or stop the wildfire before it damages your home.

Required by law in some states, it’s simply good practice in Alabama.

The Rising Risk of Wildfires

We often think of wildfires as a Rocky Mountain or Pacific Coast problem, but wildfires happen everywhere. In 2020, there were over 59,000 wildfires across the United States in 2020.

California has the distinction of having the most wildfires. They account for over 17% of the wildfires in the United States. But even if we take California fires out of the equation, the average number of wildfires per state in 2020 was still right under 1,000!

Here in Alabama in 2020, we experienced 836 wildfires, burning more than 20,500 acres of land. That’s a lot of destruction.

You can help prevent damage by taking prudent precautions to slow or stop wildfires. Creating defensible space is a great place to start.

If your home is damaged by fire of any sort, wild or not, SERVPRO is ready and able to repair the damage caused. Get in touch today to get the pros on your team.

Weather Is Making a Financial Impact Across the Country | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

a large yellow warning sign stating that there is stormy weather ahead When storms do damage, we go to work to make things right. Contact SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall to start the restoration process.

The COVID-19 Pandemic dominated most of the news coverage in 2020. This left little room for coverage of the ever-increasing weather disasters that occurred.

But financial losses in the year related to inclement weather set new records. 2020 will go down in history as the year that generated the single largest financial loss from adverse weather.

When a storm generates losses that exceed $1 billion, it is classified as a disaster. The United States has 22 of these last year!

Keep in mind, most storms didn’t generate the billion dollar limit to be counted as a disaster. We had so many named tropical storms last year the NWS had to reach into the Greek alphabet to generate more names.

Hurricanes Not the Most Costly Type of Storm

It’s easy to surmise that hurricanes cause most of the property damage in the United States due to their size and the sustained high winds over an extended period of time. However, that’s not the case.

The facts tell us the severe storms are responsible for more property damage, and this directly relates to financial losses as well. Storms and tornadoes were responsible for more damage last year than hurricanes. Severe thunderstorms accounted for 14 out of the 22 declared disasters last year.

Ever hear of a derecho? In 2020, the United States experienced one! A derecho is a global weather phenomena that rarely occurs. But when they do they leave a tremendous amount of destruction in their path.

The United States sees one or two of these storms per year. Primarily occurring in the Great Plains, they can happen anywhere. Compare this to tornadoes, of which we see over a thousand in one year.

Over 10 million acres of corn were damaged during a derecho last year in Nebraska. That’s 11% of the United States production of corn and over half of Nebraska’s crop.

Storms Are on the Rise

Storms have always been with us. Most of the time, they cause little damage and bring much-needed rain showers across the country. But last year was a milestone as it marked the tenth year in a row of having at least eight billion-dollar weather related calamities.

As long as the weather changes, we should prepare for these changes. Everyone benefits from storm prep when storms are in the forecast.

Occasionally, property damage can’t be avoided. We’re here to help you recover when you have storm-related damage. We can help get your property restored to "Like it never even happened."

Do you have storm-related damage? We can help get your property back to its original condition. Reach out today to see how we can help.

Grilling Safety Tips For This Summer | SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County

6/28/2021 (Permalink)

a man adding seasoning to food cooking on a grill SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County is always #HereToHelp.

Every summer hundreds of thousands of grills get fired up in the United States. Each person has a preference for which style they like such as open top, smoker, gas, wood pellet, hibachi, egg and more. And for some it depends on what is being cooked as to what type of grill is used. 

As these grills are used there are a few key safety tips to keep in mind. 

  • Never use a grill indoors.
  • Keep a safe distance from structures and overhangs to prevent the fire from spreading in the event of a flare up of flames.
  • Keep kids and pets a safe distance from grills to prevent burns.
  • Inspect propane tanks before use to ensure there are no holes or defects that can cause a hazard.
  • Keep loose clothing away from the grill. No one wants their dress or shirt to accidentally catch fire when the wind shifts. 
  • Clean your grill before and after use to prevent grease build up that can cause flames to flare up.

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) estimates over 10,000 fires are reported from various types of grills each year. Over 4,000 of these fires cause damage to a structure, many of which are homes. Following the above safety tips can reduce the risk of structure fires from grill related incidents. 

Beyond Clean—Experience the SERVPRO Difference | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County

6/18/2021 (Permalink)

a SERVPRO employee placing a CSC sticker on building glass If you’re business has sanitation and cleaning needs, get in touch with the SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall team.

Throughout the country, as well as in Alabama, all areas are experiencing decreasing cases of COVID-19. Consumers are returning to outdoor activities, eating out, shopping in person, and kids are getting back to school.

As we begin this return to some sense of normalcy, there are some new considerations for businesses.

Customers have choices when it comes to shopping! They are paying attention to the mitigation strategies of businesses and watching to make sure business are providing a clean environment to shop or eat in.

Your customers deserve a sanitized shopping experience and it’s important to offer them that piece of mind. Is your business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned?

The Process of Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

To get that extra level of clean, your business needs to experience our certified cleaning program. After your business achieves this elite designation, customers and employees can rest easy that they are entering a sanitized establishment.

Advanced biohazard cleaning processes are utilized to provide your business with a clean and safe environment, going well beyond a basic clean.

Here’s how the program works:

Consult. We’ll customize a plan that fits your business. Because our business is locally owned and operated, we are familiar with the uniqueness of the area. But we’ll also sit down to talk with you about the things that make your business unique, including the size of the facility, the type of work you do, and the people who are in your building often.

Clean. Now that we have a plan, it’s time for the cleaning to begin. The custom, hospital-grade cleaning solutions we use are unique to SERVPRO. Your business will receive a level of cleanliness that is unparalleled among our competitors. CDC standards are always followed or exceeded, and help protect your employees and customers from many viruses and bacteria, not simply COVID-19.

Certify. Display the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned shield in your business and on your front door. We will also provide you a digital shield to be used online so when customers visit your website or social media profiles, they know your business has been professionally cleaned.

If you’re ready to get serious about sanitation and have your business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, get in touch today to get the best team in cleanup and restoration on your side.

Fire Safety for the Warmer Months | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

flames and smoke from a bonfire Restoring fire and smoke damage is one of our specialties. Contact SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall to learn more.

Seasons change and winter leads to spring. It’s a time of renewal as trees start to bud and grass begins to grow after the “cold season.”

Everything feels fresh and new and the warner weather certainly leads to more outdoor activities. Cookouts, family get-togethers, graduation parties and trips to the lake can all lead to an increased risk of fires.

In fact, more daily fires occur in the spring, on average, than any other time of year. But with a little awareness, you can do your part to avoid fires at home this season. Let’s start with these:

These 3 Areas Deserve Special Attention

The grill. Grills get the most blame because they represent the greatest risk. Having a combination of heat, flame, grease and fuel in close proximity creates the right conditions for an unexpected fire. Grills should be properly maintained and cleaned after every use. Keep the grill away three feet away from your house and other flammable items. Pay special attention to cleaning—almost 20% of grill fires are due to inadequate cleaning.

The fire pit. Fire pits on a cool spring evening can attract friends and family. Keep these safety tips in mind regarding fire pit safety. Kids should never be left unattended around a fire pit with a fire. Have a water source handy in case the fire get to big or out of control, preferable a hose but at least a bucket. Don’t add anything else to the fire, except for wood. Tossing on cardboard or paper could cause embers to be picked up and relocated with the wind. Advice: If you roast marshmallows, avoid roasting over the flame, use the embers instead to get that “just right” roast.

The dryer vent and the chimney. While chimneys are not a huge issue in Alabama, dryer vents could be. Seasonally inspect your chimney for obstructions and creosote build-up and if necessary, have them professionally “swept.” There is more than just cleaning the lint filter after every use of the dryer. Over time, lint can build up in the dryer vent pipe. The longer the distance, the more opportunity for clogging. Dryer vents should be checked and cleaned periodically, but always at least once a year.

Our trained experts are on hand 247 for emergencies. If you have smoke, fire or water damage in your home or business, we can be there quick and get it cleaned up fast. Call or click today and experience the SERVPRO difference.

What Are the Top Signs of Basement Water Damage? | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County

5/20/2021 (Permalink)

a grey basement showing signs of water damage SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall is a full restoration company. Our restoration experts are on call and ready to help you determine the best

A basement can be a wonderful part of many homes. Not only is it great for storage, but it also provides a safe place for families when storms come, and it can be used as extra living space with some additional finish work.

However, the odds are overwhelming that at some point, because it’s built underground, your basement will experience a water leak.

You could get lucky, but if your home does have a basement, water damage is something you will want to be extra vigilant about just in case it becomes a problem in time.

Below, we will look at some of the signs that water damage is present in your basement—and should you need someone to investigate, our water restoration technicians are always here to take your call.

The Most Common Water Damage Signs

Unpleasant, musky odors. The water that gets into the basement isn’t necessarily dirty, but after it settles in, the scent can turn pungent and unpleasant after time. Many people assume that all basements smell musty, but this really should not be the case. This smell will only arise when mold and mildew are present in the environment, and while these are often hard to see, they are easy to smell.

Flaking paint on masonry or walls. Homeowners often use waterproof paint to mask a burgeoning water issue. Unfortunately, this paint will simply mask the problem for a while and then lead to a compounding issue down the road. Incoming water will eventually work its way through the paint, leading to peeling, cracking or bubbling on its surface.

Foundational cracks. While many homes do shift over time, cracks in the foundation are not normal and can be indicative of water damage. You may notice these telltale cracks in your ceiling, on the floor or on interior walls. These often signal that water is putting pressure on your structure in a way that is liable to cause cracking. Hairline cracks are nothing to fret over, but if they become any larger, call us immediately.

If you notice any of these signs in your basement, let us take a look. Our expert water restoration technicians can help you determine what is causing these issues and how to treat it properly. Contact us today to learn more.

The Dangerous Elements a Thunderstorm Contains | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County

5/7/2021 (Permalink)

a large lighting strike just in front of person driving down road Thunderstorms can pop up at any moment. Contact SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall today if you are dealing with any damage.

Though they occur quite often when the weather is warmer, thunderstorms are a serious weather occurrence every single time.

It is easy to grow complacent about the threats they cause, but every thunderstorm should always be taken seriously. Between lightning, hail, high winds and flooding risks, there are many serious threats a thunderstorm can pose.

Thunderstorms are classified as such because they contain thunder and lightning every time they occur, even if you do not hear claps or see strikes. When a thunderstorm is considered severe, it will contain winds over 58 miles per hour and hail larger than one inch, making it an even more threatening event.

The Threats That Occur During a Thunderstorm

Damage and injury from lightning strikes. Lightning strikes are extremely dangerous, and because they are an element of every single thunderstorm, it is highly likely that one will strike during every storm. Lightning is responsible for at least 300 bodily injuries every year, which does not include the property damage they can cause due to felled trees and fires. Even if it is not visible, any time you can hear thunder, there is lightning in the vicinity.

Property damage due to hail. Hail is an interesting phenomenon, as it can fall even when the surface temperature is quite high. Not only is hail frightening due to the noise that it makes, but it is also extremely dangerous. Large hail can cause injury to anyone that is without shelter when it comes through, and it can also dent cars and cause water damage to homes by impacting roofs and creating vulnerabilities in siding.

Harm from flash flooding. While flooding might be something people are not concerned with if they do not live near a body of water, the frequency with which flash flooding occurs is quite surprising. Flash flooding can occur during periods of heavy rain for many reasons, such as backed up storm drains or overwhelmed drainage ditches. Floodwaters can be extremely hazardous, carrying away cars and sweeping people off of their feet.

Thunderstorms are dangerous and can cause significant damage to homes or commercial spaces. If you have damage due to a thunderstorm, you can count on us to help. Contact us 247 for more information about our storm restoration practices.

Be Sure You’re Choosing a Certified Team of Restoration Experts | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County

4/20/2021 (Permalink)

insurance document, pen and blue book sitting on black tabletop Contact SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall today. We work with you and your insurance company to get things back to normal quickly.

Let’s be honest. No homeowners like to think about needing the type of services we provide. But when they do, it’s because their homes have been severely damaged by fire, flooding or accidents.

The type of help homeowners needs when we are called home restoration. And its goal is to get the home back to its original state. While sometimes a mop, bucket and elbow grease are enough, in other circumstances, you need a team of experts to ensure your home can be restored.

When that happens, it’s important to understand the home restoration process—and why choosing the right team can be vital to you being happy with your results.

Damage Claims Are Common

According to the Insurance Information Institute, about one in 20 homeowners will need to file a home damage insurance claim every year. The statistic includes all causes of damage and doesn’t separate the claims based on whether they need restoration services.

We also have some statistics about individual types of disasters and issues, though. For example, about one out of every 350 American homeowners will deal with a fire damage claim each year, from causes ranging from storm and lightning damage to furnace fires.

When you think about the United States’ entire population, that statistic translates to millions of families. Some of these people will need to get help from a professional team. That’s when choosing a quality restoration company will make all the difference for you.

Our Training Matters

Beyond the training offered by SERVPRO at a national level, our technicians earn valuable certifications through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. This non-profit group provides various certifications to ensure restoration and cleaning technicians can use the latest proven techniques when restoring your home.

If your home is damaged due to a fire or any other cause, you can always count on us for restoration assistance. We have teams who are available 247 in the event of an emergency. Contact us at any time to learn more about our restoration services and how we can help your family.

Keeping Your Gadsden Home Dry During Heavy Rains | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

bright blue rain splashing into a pool of water If you need help dealing with any damage caused by water, contact SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall today.

You might be surprised by the number of ways water can damage your home. Many people know that flash flooding, strong thunderstorms or interior accidents (like a burst pipe or malfunctioning washing machine) can produce enough water to damage your home.

But there’s another significant threat that is actually much more common to find in your weather forecast—heavy rains. These drenching storms are prevalent during the spring and summer months. And if your home isn’t prepared, it can be damaging.

Water Damage by the Numbers

Did you know that millions of water damage claims are filed every year? Experts in the insurance industry estimate that as many as one out of every 50 homeowners will file a claim over the next year to cover water damage to their home.

Depending on how many people live in your neighborhood, that can mean someone you know will have to deal with water damage this year.

Sometimes water damage is unavoidable. For example, if a flash flood impacts your entire neighborhood, your house might suffer damage. Or if a storm or tornado impacts your community, the storms may leave you with water damage to your home.

But you can do things to ensure your home is ready to withstand some types of water damage.

Getting Ready for Wet Weather

Our technicians are pros at repairing water damage. That means we see many of the issues that cause the damage in the first place.

We’ve put together a few ideas to help you spot ways to make your yard and home safer this spring and summer:

Evaluate your yard. Understanding the way your yard drains and how that impacts your home is vital. If you notice that your yard is draining toward your home, then you might want to connect with a landscaping expert to look for ways to protect your yard.

Invest in helpful landscaping. Many people don’t realize that the right landscaping at your home can make a big difference when it comes to preventing water damage. Native plants, trees and bushes can be vital in protecting your home from water damage. Talk with landscaping experts in the area or visit a native plant sale for tips and ideas.

Look into sealing your roof. Experts estimate that almost 95% of damage is caused by water finding its way through gaps in your shingles, which can be prevented with this step. It’s definitely worth considering.

If you need help dealing with damage caused by water, fire or any other issue, we’re here to help you restore your home. We have crews who are available 247 in the event of an emergency. Contact us at any time to learn more about us and how we can help you restore your home to its original state.

How Gadsden Business Owners Can Navigate Uncertain Times | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County

3/17/2021 (Permalink)

a crew of SERVPRO employees in PPE gear walking inside commercial building If you need cleaning assistance at your business, we’re here. Contact SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall to learn more.

Your SERVPRO is locally owned and operated. That means we’re here to help Gadsden business owners like you, and we’re invested in your (and our community’s) success.

We also get how hard you work to ensure your business is successful. It takes a lot to research and plan your business. And there’s a lot more work that goes into actually operating your business once it’s open. Then, as it grows, you want to be sure you’re prepared to expand, meet your customers’ needs, and operate at your best potential.

Sometimes situations come up that you can’t control. That’s one of the biggest issues business owners face right now, operating and succeeding during a global pandemic. You’ve spent a lot of time lately looking for new ways to reach and service your customers.

Many businesses have already opened their doors again, and others have found new ways to work remotely or offer products and services digitally. Regardless of how you and your employees have decided to move forward, there’s help out there for you.

Tips to Help You Succeed

You can find great tools with more information about business loans and tips, advice, and more from sources you can trust. These can help you operate during uncertain times.

Ensuring that your business is clean and safe for everyone is another important step. That’s where we come in.

Our teams are ready to get your space “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.” What does that mean? Let’s take a closer look at the cleaning services we offer.

First, we’ll consult with you. You can use our one-on-one advice and support to ensure that the plan we come up with will work for you.

Then a team of experts will clean your business. They’ll use a high-level system to ensure you’re ready for customers to come back. Our teams work with proprietary EPA-Approved Hospital-Grade cleaning solutions. Plus, we use cleaning and decontamination standards directly from the CDC.

Finally, our teams certify your space. That means you can rest assured that you’re ready to be open for business.

If you need cleaning assistance at your business, we’re here. We have crews who are available 247 in the event of an emergency. Contact us at any time to learn more about our cleaning services and how we can help you.