No matter how large, SERVPRO is here to help
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
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.
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
When you call one of our offices in Manistee, Ludington, or Cadillac with a water loss we will ask you a series of questions:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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."
Ready for winter weather?
SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac has been helping customers in Mason, Manistee, Lake, Oceana, Wexford, and Osceola counties survive winter in west Michigan for nearly 20 years. Because the list of things that goes wrong never really changes, SERVPRO would like to remind you of things to check to prevent having to call us for help.
If you have a seasonal home that you are closing for winter and leaving the heat on:
- Have you checked your propane tank and arranged to have it kept full?
- Have you arranged to have the road plowed so the propane company can get to your tank?
- Have you marked your driveway for the plow driver and marked your drain field, sprinkler heads, outdoor hydrants and other potential issues?
- Do you have someone locally who can check on the home? They need to check for open doors and windows, suspicious tracks, heavy snow build up, and fogged or frosted up windows indicating water damage or heat loss.
- Do they have a key or know where it is hidden?
- Have you removed the outside hoses and made sure the frost free shut off valve is clear
- Have you notified the local authorities that you will be gone? They are happy to check on your home for you if you let them know.
- Have you changed the thermostat battery? It is a leading cause of furnace failure in unoccupied homes.
- Consider turning the water off at the well. (Unless you have a boiler that requires make up water) Even if a line freezes, it will not flood your home.
- Open doors to cabinets and vanities that contain water lines to allow heat to circulate.
Have you winterized the home if you are going to turn the heat off?
- If you drain your water heater, remember to turn the power off first to prevent burning out the heating element.
- Have you checked with your insurance company to verify that you still have coverage even if you are not living at the home? (Note: some insurance companies do not insure vacant homes)
- Never leave a temporary heater running in an unoccupied home. They start countless fires every year.
Even though you try to do everything right to prevent a loss, accidents still happen. If you have a loss don’t hesitate to call the local professionals at SERVPRO. Our crews at the Scottville, Manistee, and Cadillac shops can quickly respond to your emergency and help you make it “Like it never even happened.” Give us a call at 877-350-4872 and we will get a crew to your home within an hour.
Here for all your COVID-19 cleaning needs
As everyone who hasn’t been living in their parent’s basement knows, COVID-19 has changed everything. One of the big changes at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac is the number of proactive and positive COVID-19 cleanings we are now asked to do. For the most part, a business’s normal cleaning crews can handle daily and weekly cleaning of offices and businesses. However when a positive COVID-19 exposure shuts them down, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can get you up and running quickly and at a surprisingly low price. Most private cleaning companies do not have the skills, PPE, and specialized equipment and products to safely clean COVID-19 issues.
A recent study by SERVPRO Corporate found:
- 71% of consumers expect your business to be cleaner than their home
- 76% say the cleanliness of a business is a good indicator on how well a business is run
- 68% respond that COVID 10 is constantly on their mind
- 59% are worried about touching a surface that has not been professionally cleaned.
Anyone who has received the call from an employee saying “I have been exposed” knows the “Now what do I do?” feeling. Give us a call and we can make it “Like it never even happened”. The crews at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can fog your business with the only EPA registered food grade disinfectant on the market. This proprietary SERVPRO product allows fogging and wet cleaning of all touch points with no rinsing necessary. This drastically reduces cleaning time and cost.
SERVPRO can fog your business and have you back running in a few hours. No need to reclean every item on the shelves or desks. We have been getting many calls from convenience stores and small businesses as well as private homes. Getting small businesses back running quickly is always a priority. In many cases at a private home, the customer has a loved one who has tested positive or is in the hospital and they want the home cleaned before it is reoccupied. We can help. Give the experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac a call at 231-723-4872 to schedule a time to take care of all your proactive or positive COVID-19 issues.
But what about fire losses?
As anyone who has suffered a water loss and called SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can tell you, SERVPRO's response can be amazing. The phone is answered 24/7 by a trained operator, managers return your call within one hour, and a crew is onsite within 4 hours. But what about fire losses? The first part of the experience is the same and if needed a crew can be onsite boarding up and protecting your home within hours. But fires are different. Often the fire department and maybe a fire Marshall must clear and release the scene before anyone is allow inside the home. Sometimes a C&O (Cause and Origin) representative from the insurance company gets involved. It is not unusual for the home to not have power or water.
Unlike water losses, your insurance adjuster or C&O expert may want to see the scene before it is disturbed and cleaning started. Usually the insurance company will want at least a preliminary estimate before work starts. If there is structural damage, local building inspectors may get involved to check for code upgrades. Getting the utilities turned on can be a challenge. If subcontractors are needed it may be necessary to wait for their estimates. After hiring SERVPRO none of these possible events are your problem. The highly trained managers and crews at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac have seen and handled these issues countless times. You can trust them to help you make it “Like it never even happened." If you have had a loss, give us a call at 877-723-4872 to have a manager from either our shop at Manistee, Ludington, or Cadillac meet you at your home to start the process.
Cooking fire prevention
This past week was the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Prevention Week. Their campaign “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen” focused on three main goals to reduce kitchen fires.
- Never leave cooking unattended
- Do not leave flammable items near the stovetop.
- If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the stovetop.
In this time of COVID 19 and social distancing more meals are being prepared at home. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires and 49% of all home fires start in the kitchen. Oven mitts, wooden utensils and towels and curtains top the list of items that can cause fires if left near the flame. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case you have a stove fire. Be very careful with loose clothing. Clothing fires cause 14% of all home fire deaths.
Other hints include always cook with a lid ready to slide over the pan if flames erupt. Resist the urge to check under the lid…let the pan cool completely as the fire could re-ignite. Never throw water on the fire. Baking and soda and salt work to smother fires but never use flour as it can explode. Heat oil slowly when frying and sautéing. Be especially vigilant around the holidays. The top 3 days for kitchen fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Make sure everybody in your home knows the quickest way out of the home and practice your fire escape route.
If you do have a kitchen fire, remember the experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can help make it "Like it never even happened." Give us a call at 887-350-4872 24/7.
Once again it’s hurricane season in the southern United States. Luckily western Michigan doesn’t get hurricanes but we do get storms that can knock out power for several days at a time. When this happens people often turn to generators. The news from the gulf coast last week says that Hurricane Laura killed more people from carbon monoxide poisoning from generators than died from the storm. This is sad since it is totally preventable.
Although using power generators is useful and often necessary to prevent food spoilage, provide lights, and water, it must be done safely. Never use a generator inside a building or partly enclosed area such as a garage or covered deck. Keep generators away from open windows and doors. Wind can force the exhaust back into your home. Keep generators dry and out of the rain and be careful how you cover them. Try to keep them at least 5 feet from any combustible materials (including tarps).
Never start or stop a generator without first unplugging all cords and making sure there is no load on the unit. Use proper fuel, never leave them unattended, and keep children away from the units. Make sure you don’t overload the generator, do use heavy duty (outdoor rated) extension cords, and let the unit cool completely before adding fuel. Store fuel away from generator if possible.
Carbon monoxide gas is colorless and odorless. You will not even know it is there until it is too late. The experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can help with the storm damage, but the only thing we can do about generator safety is to remind you to be careful. Call our crews located at our offices in Ludington, Manistee, and Cadillac at 877-350-4872 for 24 hour help.