Recent Posts

Top 4 causes of home fires in the United States - Part 4

6/28/2021 (Permalink)

Smoking and candle use are another leading cause of death in home fires. You may be surprised to learn that most smoking fires were started on an exterior balcony or open porch. Many smoking fire deaths were also related to the use of medical oxygen while smoking. Three of every five candle fires involved the candle being placed next to combustible materials. Another hint is do not smoke in bed or after taking medicine that makes you tired. Your friends at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac hope you never have a damaging fire but if you do give us a call at 877-350-4872 and we can help you.

Top 4 causes of home fires in the United States - Part 2

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

The next largest group of fires were caused by heating equipment. Space heaters led the list causing 44% of heating equipment fires. Failure to clean chimneys and heating units, mechanical failure, and heaters to close to combustibles were the top three dangers of heating equipment. The NAPA (National Fire Prevention Association) reports that stationary or portable space heaters were by far the most dangerous being involved in 81% of the home fire deaths. If using portable space heaters, whether electric, gas, kerosene, or other fuel you need to carefully read the instructions and follow them exactly.

Stay tuned for the third part of this blog but in the meantime should you need us give your friends at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac a call at 877-350-4872.

Top 4 causes of home fires in the United States - Part 3

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

The third largest cause of home fires are electrical and lighting fires. The top three in this group are wiring, lamps and lights, along with cords and plugs. A big problem with these causes is they are often hidden in walls, attics, or under rugs and furniture and are not easily visible. Tips include; have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician and follow local electrical codes. Do not overload receptacles and never use extension cords for major appliances such as refrigerators, microwaves, washers, stoves, or AC units. Use and test ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI’s) at least once a month.

Stay tuned for the fourth and last part of this blog but in the meantime should you need us give your friends at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac a call at 877-350-4872.

Top 4 causes of home fires in the United States - Part 1

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

Cooking tops the list with unattended cooking causing 471 fires a day. Cooking also leads the list of injuries with over half of fire homeowners hurt or burned trying to fight the fires themselves. This is why all fire departments start their training with “Call 911 and get out”. Stuff can be replaced, people can’t. Once again, ranges cause the largest share of fires with frying ranking as the greatest risk. Two thirds of home cooking fires started when food and other cooking materials started on fire while unattended. Most of these fires could be avoided if people just stayed alert and did not leave the room when cooking.

The next largest group of fires were caused by heating equipment. Space heaters led the list causing 44% of heating equipment fires. Failure to clean chimneys and heating units, mechanical failure, and heaters to close to combustibles were the top three dangers of heating equipment. The NAPA (National Fire Prevention Association) reports that stationary or portable space heaters were by far the most dangerous being involved in 81% of the home fire deaths. If using portable space heaters, whether electric, gas, kerosene, or other fuel you need to carefully read the instructions and follow them exactly.

Stay tuned for the second part of this blog but in the meantime should you need us give your friends at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac a call at 877-350-4872.

Can SERVPRO tell you if your loss will be covered by your insurance company

5/10/2021 (Permalink)

The short answer is no. You need to look carefully at any restoration company that answers yes to that question. Coverage depends on what your policy says is and is not covered. Your policy is a contract signed by you and your agent (by extension: your insurance company). In signing it, you agree to pay a fixed amount of money every month or series of months and they agree to cover your home for all listed losses. And listed is the key point. If it doesn't say it is covered, it probably isn't covered. 

You also agree to maintain the home (maintain heat (or winterize), repair windows and roofs, cut overhanging trees...whatever) Note: maintaining heat does not mean you don't have coverage if your furnace fails, as long as you provided fuel and power. Every policy is different and every insurance company is different. Not maintaining the home can void the policy and turn something that is usually covered into a non-covered loss. The only way to answer your coverage question is to carefully read your specific policy. Your agent can often give you clues about what he sold you but the final interpretation of coverage usually lies with the adjuster. He is trained to read your policy and probably is the only one who actually understands what it says. 

Having dealt with insurance companies for over 19 years and having seen literally thousands of claims files, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can often predict if coverage is available, but your adjuster (or the legal system) makes the final decision. We can also help you decide if you should even file a claim. (especially if the loss is small and will not hit your deductible). Give the experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac a call at 877-350-4872 to see if we can help you.

No matter how large, SERVPRO is here to help

4/6/2021 (Permalink)

Late this winter, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac was slammed with several major fires in western Michigan. Because few temporary workers were available, we requested and received crews from our sister SERVPRO's in Mt. Pleasant and Grand Rapids. These franchises sent multiple crews to our area, working 12 hour days and weekends. Along with the highly trained local SERVPRO cleaning technicians, we were able to complete the jobs and help get the homeowners one step closer to moving back into their homes. Then the 2021 version of the Polar Vortex, followed by the power mismanagement, caused heat outages and frozen pipes in most of Texas.

These same franchises then needed to send their crews down south to help put peoples lives back together. Unfortunately, this left Clare and Grand Rapids short handed in Michigan. No problem, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac helped out by sending our crews to their local jobs to help them keep up. This is one of the biggest benefits of the SERVPRO Franchise system. It doesn't matter who is overwhelmed, another franchise will send workers with little or no notice, because we are all after the same goal, getting our customers back in their homes as quickly as possible. If you have a loss, no matter how large, be assured that the experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac, with the help of our friends if needed, can make it "Like it never even happened." Call us at 877-350-4872.

Improper disposal and extinguishment of smoking materials

4/2/2021 (Permalink)

A few weeks back a northern Michigan Fire Department reported their 6th fire in the past year caused by improper disposal and extinguishment of smoking materials. This alarming statistic comes as the percentage of smokers has fallen from 33.2% in 1980 to 15.5% in the last year records are available. The National Fire Prevention Association reports that during 2012-2016 over 108 thousand home fires were caused by smoking materials, killing over 3,500 people.  As more and more indoor smoking bans are put in place of the area of origin for home smoking fires has moved to exterior balconies and open porches.

SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac urges you to be very careful where you smoke. It doesn’t matter if you smoke cigarettes, pipes, cigars, or even  e-cigarettes in oxygen enriched environments, the potential for fire exists wherever there is smoke. Garages are another dangerous place to smoke due to the storage of fuels such as gas, oil, paint removers and thinners, and cleaning supplies. Your friends at SERVPRO remind you to be careful and if you do have a fire to give us call at 877-350-4872.

Grass fires

4/2/2021 (Permalink)

As spring approaches northern Michigan and the snow is melting in the fields, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac is noticing multiple reports of grass fires daily. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) reports that debris burning is the number one cause of grass fires. After being confined to the house for the winter months (along with COVID rules) everybody wants to get outside and cleaning up the yard is a great excuse. You do need to be careful as the ground may look wet and muddy, but the dry dead grass is perfect fuel for a run-a-way fire. Remember, after the snow is gone a burning permit is required for nearly all fires. 

Another major source of fire ignition is exhaust emissions from small engines from all-terrain vehicles and lawn mowers. Even a spark from a chain saw hitting a wire or stone can cause a fire in the ultra dry grass. One handy way to see if it is legal to burn is to check the map at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit. Remember the #1 rule about fires, whether it is a campfire or leaf and debris burning: "Never leave the fire unattended". When in doubt wait until after a rain or the inevitable late snow that will come to northern Michigan. If you do have a fire, call 911 and then give your friends at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac a call at 877-350-4872 so we can help with the clean up.

When you call one of our offices with a water loss

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

When you call one of our offices in Manistee, Ludington, or Cadillac with a water loss we will ask you a series of questions:

Customer information:

  • In the first group is the standard name and address.
  • Preferred contact info (home, office, or cell phone). Some customers actually prefer email or text messages
  • Loss site info: this may be different from the callers contact info and we need to know where to send insurance and/or billing information.
  • Self-pay or insurance company. This gets important if you are going to file a claim. We deal with hundreds of insurance companies and much of the information they collect is not industry wide standard. If we know the insurance company, we can collect everything they need up front without going back and redoing their specific forms.

Loss information:

  • Type of structure. This tells us what we are likely to find on site. Is it a home or office, do people live or work there, and often tells us how the building was built.
  • How old is the loss site. This tells us if we are likely to find lead paint, asbestos, or other harmful items.
  • How many rooms are affected. The size of the loss lets us get enough technicians on site to get it under control and help make it "Like it never even happened."
  • Are power, heat, and water available? Again, allows us to bring whatever is needed to attack the problem.

Claim information:

  • Date of loss. If we know how long the problem has existed it allows us to determine if it is an emergency, is it likely mold has developed, will the insurance company pay after hours charges, or are we likely to run into biohazard issues?
  • Adjuster information.  If you have filed a claim, we can contact the adjuster immediately and get permission for items that may be of concern to your insurance company.
  • Agent information. Often your agent would like to be kept informed on the process and progress of working on the claim.
  • When you would like a crew on site? Sometimes homeowners are out of town and do not have access to the building until they drive up to the loss. Or maybe do not want anyone onsite until after closing hours.

The last thing we may ask is how you found us. This allows us to fine tune our marketing so our customers can find us when they need us, whether by using references, Internet, phone book,  or social media.

It seems like a lot of information. But information we get up front really helps the process go smoother for you, your agent, your adjuster, and your insurance company. If you can’t answer all the questions, don’t worry. You can still call your friends at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac at 877-350-4872 and we will still send a crew and begin to make it "Like it never even happened."

Preventing frozen pipes

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

It's February in Michigan. That means it's cold. With the "2021 version of the "Polar Vortex" firmly over us, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac is starting to get the annual frozen and burst pipes calls at the offices. While there isn't much we can do about the temperatures outside, we can pass along some hints we saw in the DTE Energy Smarts for Michigan Small Businesses Winter 2021 issue. They list 7 top things you can do to save money and keep your home or business warmer this winter.

  • Your HVAC really does need an annual tune up for several reasons. Cleaning and maintaining the system will make it run more efficiently as well as help prevent breakdowns when you need it most. Do it before it breaks and the HVAC guys will really appreciate not having their 5thcall of the night when it’s 20 below.
  • Install a programmable thermostat can save you a ton of money. Just remember to replace the battery every year as the thermostats aren’t usually hardwired and if the battery fails, so does your heat. And if you are in Florida when that happens, you will be calling SERVPRO for frozen pipes.
  • Change your filters. This goes along with the annual tune up but it is one of the most cost effective ways to keep your HVAC system running efficiently. If you hold the filter up to the light and cannot see light, it needs changed.
  • Use the sun. If you are home, opening and closing blinds and curtains can really help your furnace and can save money. Insulated drapes will pay for themselves in just a few years.
  • Keep registers and vents clear. Do not block them with furniture, rugs, or debris. If the air cannot circulate, your furnace will need to run much longer to heat your home and that means more money out of your pocket.
  • Look into upgrading your system. Modern improvements have made HVAC systems much more efficient. They really do pay for themselves in just a few years.
  • Finally, their list included lighting upgrades. While that is mainly a safety issue, motion sensors and timers can also save money.

The experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac would be happy to help if you have frozen pipes, but keeping them from freezing makes us smile also. If you do have issues give us a call at 877-350-4872 and let us make it "Like it never even happened."