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BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING

10/15/2018 (Permalink)

Fire and water damage can impact your local Long Beach business in a variety of ways. Some of the most evident ways include infrastructure damage, property damage, employee injuries, and loss of revenue. How can you ensure that your business continues running smoothly, even in the event of a sudden emergency? We at SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill have compiled information to create a business continuity plan that will keep your businesses running in the event of a disaster.

Business continuity planning is the creation of an emergency plan by recognizing threats facing the company and ensuring that personnel and assets are protected and functioning in the event of a disaster. For example, a finance company based in a major city might back-up its computer and client files offsite, providing satellite offices access to important information in the event of an emergency. Once critical business functions are identified and a recovery system is in place, it’s a good idea to coordinate a trained team to manage business disruption.

An area that is often overlooked is damage to a business from a fire within the supply chain. If your business relies on a sole supplier for goods or services, a fire within their building is likely to have an adverse effect on your business. As a supplier, dividing operations will lead to partial damage instead of total loss.

Businesses can protect themselves in the following ways:

  • Securing vacant or easily accessible areas to prevent thieves from breaking in
  • Implementing a safety team to prevent accidents caused by neglect, poor housekeeping, hot work equipment, hazardous chemicals, or unsafe work practices.
  • Providing fire safety training and routinely checking fire alarms and fire extinguishers
  • Practicing an evacuation plan

A business continuity plan offers several benefits. It improves public perception and acceptance of the company. By displaying a proactive attitude and preparedness, the public will have a positive impression of the organization, leading to more trust and business. Additionally, it will boost your employees' morale and command loyalty by offering them more assurance and stability. Shareholders and partners will gain added security by investing and collaborating with a business that makes every effort to prepare for the unexpected. Lastly, overall efficiency improves, allowing the company to respond quickly and keep losses to a minimum.

With a well-designed plan, we hope to see your Long Beach commercial business running smoothly, regardless of the circumstances. Even with preparation, SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill recognizes that emergencies happen routinely, and we are here to help restore your commercial building and keep your business flowing.

JOIN THE RED CROSS "SOUND THE ALARM" CAMPAIGN

10/10/2018 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we do our best to advocate emergency preparedness and safety. Our professional restoration services will help aid you when disaster hits, but did you know that you can also promote safety and make a difference in your community?

Every day, seven people die in home fires and 36 suffer injuries, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately become the victims. The American Red Cross sought to improve the odds and save lives by creating the Home Fire Campaign in 2014. A critical part of the campaign is “Sound the Alarm”, a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. Together with fire departments and other community partners, Red Cross volunteers canvass at-risk neighborhoods, install free smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms, and provide fire prevention and safety education.

The Red Cross will install a limited number of free smoke alarms for those who cannot afford them or are unable to install them, including specialized bedside alarms for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. To identify your local region office, please visit RedCross.org (or call 1-800-REDCROSS). Depending on where you live and other factors, partner organizations may assist in creating an appointment for your house alarm. If you are able to purchase and install your own smoke alarm, but would like information on home fire safety and smoke alarm installation, you can visit redcross.org/homefire.

In just three years, the home visits have installed more than 1 million smoke alarms and prepared more than 1 million people against house fires. So far, 472 lives have been saved and 600,000 homes have been made emergency ready. In the LA region alone, the Red Cross and its partners have accomplished the following:

  • Served 29,396 people
  • Canvased 19,148 homes
  • Conducted 8,017 home visits
  • Created 6,694 evacuation plans
  • Witnessed 3,854 volunteers attend events

There are five ways you can get involved.

1. Get Prepared at Home: Learn how to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover after a home fire. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, test smoke alarms every month, and talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.

2. Teach Fire Safety in Your Classroom: The Pillowcase Project is a preparedness education program for grades 3 - 5, which teaches students about personal and family preparedness, local hazards, and basic coping skills. You can contact your local Red Cross to find out more.

3. Volunteer to Help Others: Join your local Red Cross to install smoke alarms, educate your community about fire safety, or help others after a fire. Volunteers carry out 90% of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross.

4. Make a Donation: Help families prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from home fires by making a small donation. A little goes a long way.

5. Sound the Alarm. Save a life: You can help this spring by installing free smoke alarms in your community. In 2018, 100,000 smoke alarms were installed and 28,000 volunteers raised $15,000,000!

To view upcoming volunteer opportunities, in the Los Angeles area, you can visit https://www.redcross.org/local/california/los-angeles/about-us/our-work/home-fire-safety.html

IMMEDIATE RESPONSE AND THE SERVPRO EMERGENCY READY PROFILE

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to our local communities. You can expect an immediate response time, day or night, if you experience an emergency in the greater Long Beach area.

In many cleaning and restoration situations, immediate action is needed. Fortunately, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency. If you find yourself outside of our serviceable area, you may contact over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian franchise locations. Our immediate response helps to minimize the damage, cleaning, and restoration costs.

Many emergencies that we encounter include some type of water damage. Water is particularly invasive, quickly spreading throughout your property and permeating floors, walls, and furniture. SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately.

Within minutes, water quickly spreads throughout your property. It saturates everything in its path, absorbing into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings. Between 1 and 24 hours, drywall begins to swell and break down, metal surfaces begin to tarnish, and furniture begins to crack. Within 48 hours to a week, mold and mildew may grow and spread, and doors, windows, and studs start to warp. Metal begins to rust and corrode, and furniture distorts, showing signs of mold. After a week, restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.

Even though disaster strikes unexpectedly, you can always plan ahead of time. By utilizing the SERVPRO Emergency READY Program for your business, you can create an Emergency READY Profile for your establishment, at no charge. You can work with SERVPRO to gather and document information that will become critical if a disaster strikes. Once the profile is created, you will have access to your information 24/7 online and by using SERVPRO’s free smartphone app.

With proper planning, you can land back on your feet faster than ever. Don’t incur more damage and expense by waiting to contact a professional. SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill is ready to respond any time or day of the year.

CLAIMS RESPONSE AND SERVICE

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

As an agent or adjuster, you have a responsibility to keep claims costs down while still providing the best services possible for your customers. At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we understand your situation and are uniquely qualified to help. Our results create a noticeable difference and make your job easier.

Our job is to reassure the customer, perform quality service, and to report to you quickly. We know your job is to interpret the policy and adjust the claim, and not to deal with problems from vendors. Working together we strive to save you time so you can focus on priority files, while having complete control of every loss you are assigned. Damage mitigation, loss assessment, and an electronic file are available to you within hours. Our documented, measured performance increases value to you and your shareholders, managers, and customers.

If you call SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we will use only qualified vendors to service your customer. That commitment resulted in an implementation of best practices and job process programs, crew and vehicle standards, and insurance requirements. Our file documentation requirements and quality assurance program will also guarantee service at the highest standard.

Some of the services we provide involving claims include the following:

  • Emergency Response to Claims: Restoring property is our first priority. Your customer will appreciate the immediate response and you will know everything is being done to limit the damage.
  • Pretesting Reduces Claims Expense: Restoring property is less expensive than replacing property. Claims professionals know the rule is, "Restore whenever possible, replace only when necessary." At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we make sure pretesting is completed on every loss to determine restorability.
  • Claims Inventory Service: We can provide an itemized loss inventory. You will receive an Excel formatted report and pictures of important items.
  • Electronic Claims Information: Our Claims Information Center provides fast, accurate information you need to make sound decisions, including a complete electronic job file, online access to all files, informative reports to improve results, and performance comparison to the industry standard.

Hard-earned results have made SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill leaders in the fire and water cleanup and restoration industry. Our system is geared to achieve customer satisfaction and mitigation results, adding to your company’s competitive advantage.

EXCEPTIONAL TRAINING AND STANDARDS

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, effective training is the best way to ensure our customers receive the service they deserve. Franchise owners and industry employees may learn a wealth of restoration and mitigation skills at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility.

At the facility, new franchises must participate in a 15 day in-house, hands-on training program covering fire restoration, water restoration, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and mold mitigation. Employees may learn at their own pace and take advantage of video and web based training modules. Continuing education about emergency mitigation services is also offered in the form of credit and noncredit courses.

Our responders are trained to standards set forth by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and complete various year-around education courses at the highest degree. Developed in 1972, the IICRC sought to set standards for the cleaning, inspection, and restoration service industries. The group boasts 53,000 active certified registered technicians and 6,000 certified individuals and firms, making it the premier certification and standard-setting body for the industry.

In order to obtain certification, technicians must first attend specialized classes in the field of cleaning, inspection, and restoration and pass a standardized test. After achieving certification, technicians must remain knowledgeable on current trends in their field and learn how to overcome new challenges by earning continuing education credits. The title of master technician can be only be acquired with additional training and 3 to 5 years of experience.

The scope of IICRC certifications qualifies a remediation and restoration company to adequately and safely restore a home. While not mandatory, this accreditation offers confidence and guarantee to homeowners and businesses affected by floods, fires, and other disasters. Rest assured, these technicians possess the training and expertise to work with specific machinery and products needed for comprehensive restoration.

SERVPRO has developed the most extensive performance guidelines in the industry. These guidelines assure you receive the best restoration service in the industry. At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we maintain proper guidelines for business. From insurance to background checks on employees, each requirement is maintained continually to help ensure you get the best possible service providers.

NO STORM IS TOO LARGE

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

What happens if you find your Long Beach business or home in the middle of a storm? At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, we recognize that buildings are not always adequately constructed to handle changing weather conditions. We are here to help with damage caused by wind or water in the event of a storm.

In September of 2015, the remnants of Hurricane Linda brought localized downpours from Santa Barbara to San Diego, California. That month, Los Angeles received 2.39 inches of rain, making it one of the wettest September days since 1877. Many older homes and businesses in L.A. County found themselves overwhelmed and unprepared.

In a storm such as this, torrents of black water, sewage water containing bacteria, mold, and viruses, begin to devastate businesses by first permeating through the floors, walls, and ceiling. Here the water can infiltrate through coating breaks, between seams, and under baseboards. If combined with dirt, mold may even begin to develop. When exposed to this kind of water, complete removal and replacement of contaminated areas is recommended. If restoration is an option, it is important to note how the wooden floor boards begin to expand and warp. Cupping occurs when the edges of floorboards begin to rise and can be sanded down by our SERVPRO technicians. Unfortunately, if the floor boards begin to crown due to an oversaturation of the top layer of wood, sanding is not an option and complete removal might be the best course of action.

Strong winds can cause adjacent trees to become a hazard to your home. A single branch from a large tree could have enough weight to collapse a roof or create an opening in the side of your house. As a result, runoff of torrential rains may begin to flow into your Long Beach home. In this situation, SERVPRO technicians can use penetrating moisture meters and special equipment to recommend the best course of action based on the amount of damage incurred.

Across the nation, SERVPRO has you covered with the Commercial Large Loss Division and the Disaster Recovery Team. With the ability to mobilize local command centers, along with the resources of more than 1,700 franchises nationwide, no disaster is too big. Every large loss is supervised by a commercial operations manager to help ensure seamless communication and timely mitigation. If you find yourself in a situation too big to handle, call SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill for immediate and professional service.

ADVANCED EQUIPMENT AND TECHNIQUES

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Within just the past few years, technology and techniques within the restoration industry have evolved rapidly. These advancements allow professionals at SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill to restore properties back to preloss conditions more effectively than ever before.

Following guidelines and standards set forth by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), our technicians use their skills and equipment at the highest caliber for all restoration and cleaning services. Following the IICRC S500 Water Damage Guide, we incorporate the field of psychometry, which involves the manipulation of temperature and relative humidity to remove moisture, and dry a property effectively.

Water can easily saturate your Long Beach residence in undetected areas and damage begins faster than you realize. Our technicians rely upon specialized moisture and measurement equipment to detect, measure, and monitor a property’s moisture levels. Infrared cameras can help detect water through a wall, ceiling, or floor, allowing for thorough water removal. Moreover, sensitive moisture detectors, hygrometers, and other meters measure the extent of moisture saturation.

Powerful water extraction equipment speeds the drying process by removing the majority of the water from your Long Beach home or business. Submersible and gas-powered pumps for continuous pumping of high-level water are utilized for the most difficult jobs and provide efficient clean-up. Furthermore, truck-mounted and portable extraction units allow for rapid water removal and water displacement.

Once the water has been pumped out, industrial strength air movers and dehumidifiers are needed to remove the remaining moisture from ceiling, walls, and floors of your Long Beach home or business. Proper drying helps to prevent swelling and warping of floors, walls, and furniture, and high-speed air circulators cause moisture to evaporate at a faster pace. Industrial grade dehumidifiers pull the water vapor from the air, allowing for faster drying.

Water and fire damage often causes powerful odors. The machines we use remove airborne contaminants and control the air quality during the restoration and cleanup process. Air scrubbers, thermal foggers, and deodorization agents create cleaner air for you and your family to breathe. The use of OSHA-approved cleaning agents may also be needed to clean and remove odors or contaminants on your property. Deodorization products control odors from excessive moisture, and disinfection products stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, mildew, and other harmful microorganisms.

You can trust SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill to use the best equipment to bring your life back in order. Whatever the job requires, we have you covered. Call us now, and we will be happy to gather the proper equipment for your specific needs.

CAN YOU GUESS THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF HOUSE FIRES?

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage CAN YOU GUESS THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF HOUSE FIRES? Fire damage to contents in a home in Santa Barbara

There are many situations that may cause a fire, but can you guess the most common causes of house fires? It may happen in ways you least expect. Take precautionary measures now to protect your home from the following fire instigators. If an accident occurs, SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill has you covered.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking equipment is the number one cause for house fires. Pots and pans can quickly overheat when left unattended or mishandled. Be sure to turn handles towards the middle of the stove to avoid children from accidentally grabbing it from the burner. When leaving the house, remember to turn off stove-top burners and ovens.

Moreover, smoking in bedrooms should be avoided at all costs. A cigarette butt can stay lit for hours and cause a flame after coming into contact with clothes or furniture. Open flames such as candles also pose a danger for many residents. While they may have an attractive look and smell, candles should always be blown out before you leave a room.

Furthermore, older lampshades and light fittings may build up heat, and weak bases could pose a tipping hazard. Electrical equipment such as these should be checked for faulty cords, and the power point must not be overloaded with double adapter plugs. Also be mindful of flammable liquids such as petrol, kerosene, or methylated spirits around the house. These should be kept away from heat sources and stored properly according to their label.

If you experience a fire, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Examine you and your family for injuries and seek medical help
  • If you can’t find a place to stay, your local Red Cross can help provide food and provisions
  • Notify your insurance company about the fire
  • Do not re-enter your home until instructed to do so. Talk to firefighters about what can be salvaged instead
  • Once you are cleared to enter the building, check for important documents and keepsakes
  • Make a list of your possessions and note damaged goods
  • Keep track of receipts for expenses as a result of the fire

Nobody wants to come home to a irreparable damage. By knowing these common causes of house fires, you and your neighborhood can live a little bit safer. When accidents happen, SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill is here to clean fire damage and restore your home quickly and professionally.

IMPACT OF SMOKE DAMAGE

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO IMPACT OF SMOKE DAMAGE Smoke damage can have devastating affects to health and property. SERVPRO can help!

At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, fire restoration and clean-up is one of our specialties. Smoke, comprised of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and soot, affects a building’s structure in unexpected ways. Depending on temperature, the environment, and air flow, smoke can distribute in many different areas and cause more damage than you realize. To protect your health and preserve your property investment, count on SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill to restore your building back to new.

Because hot air rises, smoke residue is most commonly found on the ceiling directly above the source of the fire. Soot can also extend to the inside perimeter as cold air below opens a path for smoke to travel to exterior walls and windows. Because of this, noticeable staining and odor remains present throughout.

Furniture, decorations, and enclosed spaces interact with the smoke in unusual ways. As molecules become excited in warmer air, they move from hot areas to colder areas of the room, falling out of the air and onto relatively enclosed areas. These particles rest behind cool drapes or under shades, and they travel into drawers, closets, and cavities. Since smoke particles are often ionized (possessing an electrical charge), smoke damage may also occur on surrounding nail heads in the ceiling and synthetic materials such as vinyl, due to their greater ionization characteristics. You may also witness cobweb-like shapes in the corners of the room caused by the strong charge of burning plastics.

Furthermore, air currents may carry smoke away from the fire, causing damage in surprising areas. First, the smoke will find its way into the cool ductwork, damaging rooms located away from the fire. Airstreams may then carry it around doors, like water passing objects in a stream. As a result, residue builds on the far side of door openings with the pattern diminishing further away from the fire. Understanding the physics takes mystery out of stressful situation.

Smoke resulting from fire can behave in unintended ways. It permeates a house as it seeks new places to settle. The resulting effects can be long lasting and have an impact on your health. Until professionals repair the damage and replace smoke stained areas, the room is virtually uninhabitable. If you find yourself in such a situation, SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill will have you breathing better.

MONDAY MORNING FLOOD DAMAGE

8/29/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage MONDAY MORNING FLOOD DAMAGE SERVPRO techinician extracting water in a flooded Long Beach business

Monday Morning Flood Damage

Water damage may occur unexpectedly, through no fault of your own. For example, when a fire hydrant, adjacent to a commercial building, became sheared by a vehicle, it flooded the business without warning and without the occupants’ knowledge or involvement. Did you know a hydrant can gush 5,000 to 180,000 gallons of water, shooting 50 or 60 feet into the air? The amount of water lost depends on response time, hydrant type, and system pressure. If this type of catastrophe occurs, local businesses and residences must be prepared to mitigate a potential flood. On August 27, 2018, one such incident occurred, and SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill was quick to arrive on the scene.

On Monday morning, firefighters began pumping water out of a downtown loading dock after a truck driver accidentally sheared a fire hydrant off its base. A big-rig hit the hydrant around 5 a.m. on Long Beach Boulevard, just south of Fourth Street. Fortunately, it activated a fire alarm in the nearby Chuck E. Cheese’s, alerting authorities. That same morning, SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill was called to the scene to complete the water remediation in a nearby business affected by the accident. After an assessment of the situation, the SERVPRO crew was quick to suction water out of the floors and carpets, insuring that the facility was thoroughly and professionally dried down. Due to the extent of water damage, impacting numerous offices, computer room, and common area, the entire job was estimated to take about five days.

If your business becomes flooded, there are a few steps you can immediately take to reduce damage before SERVPRO arrives at the scene.

  1. Turn off power to affected rooms, and walk carefully while avoiding sagging ceilings.
  2. Find and stop the source. Turn off the valve attached to the leaking fixture, or locate the main water supply valve to the building. If you cannot find the valve, notify a plumber or in some cases, the fire department.
  3. Remove as much standing water as possible, but only if you’re certain that the water is clean. Do not use a household vacuum cleaner. Instead, use a professional wet/dry vac or towels and linens to prevent the water from entering unaffected areas.
  4. Remove clothing, documents, and objects in the affected area, and place plastic underneath furniture to prevent further water damage. Wooden blocks or Styrofoam can help protect furniture with a solid base, and curtains can be hung to dry.
  5. Remove pictures from wet walls and open drawers on wet furniture. Prop up cushions and remove rugs carefully as they may bleed onto other surfaces.

Unexpected flooding is stressful and places your business in a standstill. Whether the source of flooding originated in your building or your neighbor’s, SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill is here to help in any emergency, 24/7, and get your business up and running.