A big shout out to SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac's Scottville crews of David, Victoria, Donnie, Cody, Johnathon. They spent most of last week in full PPE (Tyvek suits, rubber suits, boots, gloves, and full-face respirators) under a local home after a sewage spill flooded the crawlspace. The job involved scooping the "solids and liquids" into pails, sliding them on a sled to the access door, and transferring them to goose neck bags for proper disposal. Working all day on your knees in a crawlspace filled with sewage is not fun but they did a great job making the home safe for the owners and their children.
If you Google sewage you will get lots of advice on how to clean it up. It ranges from soaking it up with kitty litter, covering it with lime, covering it with plastic and dirt, and a whole list of fixes that are just dangerous. I'm sure if you look far enough someone will even have a recipe for mixing white vinegar and baking soda to make it as good as new. Nope. Two words, source removal. You must get it out of there. Hire a septic cleaning company to pump out any standing water. You can do it yourself if you have access to a sanitary sewer to properly dispose of the sewage water. Note: it is illegal to put it down the storm sewer. If you get caught, it will be expensive.
Once the standing water is gone, the feces and solids must be mucked out and disposed of properly. Be careful who you hire for this portion of the project. Make sure the company you hire is insured and requires their employees to wear safety gear (PPE). If the employees get sick or injured, you could be liable for any costs. The solids must be also be disposed of properly. Some cut-rate businesses have been known to toss the sewage in the woods and ditches. Again, you are liable if your sewage is disposed of improperly. Once the solids have been removed, you will also need to remove at least some of the contaminated soil.
Replace it with fresh sand and apply an EPA registered disinfectant to retard bacterial and microbial growth. Place a fresh layer of 6 mill black plastic over the affected area and clean any splashes off the structural portions of the home. You are now ready to dry the structure. Dehumidifiers and air movers may require returning the walls, floors, and joists to preloss condition and dry to below 16% moisture content to prevent mold growth.
As with any disaster time is critical. If you smell any unusual odors coming from your homes' crawlspace, check it out immediately. Then call the professionals at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac to make it Like It Never Even Happened.
Are you aware if you have flood insurance coverage?
Do you need to buy National Flood Insurance from the NFIP (FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program) if you live in Western Michigan?
If you have a flood, your home insurance is probably not going to cover anything. Most home policies covering water damage require that the source of the water originate inside the structure. If ground water comes up from the floor or through the walls you are probably not covered. If it runs down your driveway and into your new egress window into the basement bedroom, no coverage. If it bubbles up from the city sewer, no coverage. If your sump pump quits and groundwater floods your basement, probably no coverage (unless you bought a limited sump pump policy rider).
There are a few exceptions. Often the homeowner’s policy covers sewage back up if it comes from your septic tank system (some policies consider the tank, drain field, and lines part of the homes plumbing). A few sump pump policies will cover you from sewer backups on your portion of the line to the city system. Read your policy carefully. You should have coverage if a tree falls on your home and damages the roof or high winds damage the home and allows rain to enter. Ice dams are usually covered. Other than these few exceptions the answer is usually “no coverage”.
According to FEMA, the average cost of one inch of water in your home approaches $25,000. USA Today says only 10-20% of North Carolina coastal homes and less than 3% state wide have flood insurance. The main reason obviously is cost. A policy in a high-risk area can easily exceed $10,000 a year. This cost is established by the government based on the risk assessment maps produced by FEMA. Much of western Michigan has been mapped and you can view your area by entering your address at the FEMA Flood Map Service Center. Most of our area is listed minimal or low risk of flooding which drastically reduces the annual premiums.
But flooding can and does happen. According to FEMA more than 20% of flood claims come from properties outside high-risk flood zones. If you live in a marginal flooding area of western Michigan, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac recommends that you check the pricing on these low risk area policies. And please, read the policy carefully to determine exactly what is and is not covered. Also, do not hesitate to contact your local homeowner’s insurance agent and get his advice on protecting what is probably your most valuable asset.
Far too often SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac gets called to help flooded homeowners in Western Michigan and we must tell them to call their agent, but that they probably do not have coverage. Don't let that happen to you.
The most helpful resource tool
Did you know that 50% of businesses never re-open following a disaster? SERVPRO offers a no cost, no obligation service called an Emergency Ready Profile or an ERP. This proactive resource tool is to better prepare yourself, home & business for any of life's unexpected disasters. When you make the choice to have an ERP done on your business or home, one of our marketing representatives will walk through your business with one of your trusted employees. Your employee will show our marketer where all of your major shut offs are located and all contact information for the company. This 14-page portfolio will allow the SERVPRO employees to answer most questions on whereabouts for things, complete with descriptions to the shut locations and accompanied by pictures. This folder will also have work authorization contact info, insurance information and any other special regards that will help SERVPRO in the event of a disaster. When the ERP is presented, the marketer will also walk the representative from your company through downloading our free app that will already have all of this important information uploaded onto it. An ERP is an essential tool to help when life throws one of their unexpected disasters at you.
National volunteer week
With National Volunteer Week taking place the week of April 15-21, it's important that we recognize those putting their lives on the line everyday. Did you know that many fire fighters and EMTs are volunteers?
There are more than 29,700 fire departments with over 1 million total fire fighters. Of those many are volunteer. Same goes for EMTs. There are more than 245,000 EMTs and paramedics. So many of our local heroes are out everyday risking their lives to save ours and doing it all out of the goodness of their heart.
So the next time you see someone in uniform or those red lights flashing in your rear view mirror, give then a nice hand shake and move to the side of the road.
Do you have mold
Most of us know that fungi can naturally happen all around us. In fact, there are over 100,000 different kinds. Even though certain types of mold can add value to our everyday life, there are many kinds that can be extremely harmful and can present concern for your health.
Water or moisture can be a breeding ground for mold. Moisture can very easily make it's way into your home without you even knowing. When not taken care of promptly, is when the growth of mold spores may start and quickly multiply.
SERVPRO professionals handle water damages on a daily basis and are thoroughly trained in mold removal and the proper way to handle and rid the home or business of the mold issue. SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac can efficiently restore your building back to a safe and healthy environment. For any questions, please head on over to http://www.SERVPROmanisteeludingtonandcadillac.com for other questions you may have or give us a call at 231-723-4870 to speak with one of our trained professionals today!
April fools day
April 1st, also known to many as April fool’s day, is a day filled with harmless jokes and pranks but where did the April fool come from? Who was this person and where did he live? And what exactly made him so foolish?
According to history.com, April fool’s day is thought to have originated back in 1582 when the French switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. It is thought that some people did not want to recognize or failed the knowledge of the new year being moved to January 1st, so they continued to celebrate the last week in March through April 1st. That then brought on jokes for those who did not recognize that the holiday had been moved.
The jokes that were played on one another back then were a far cry from the kinds of jokes and pranks played on people these days. One of the most popular jokes was someone putting a paper fish on your back. The paper fish was known as poisson d'avril also known as April fish. This fish was thought to symbolize an easily caught fish or a gullible person.
During the 1700's, the April fool’s popularity grew. English pranksters were at the foot of the popularity and spread the jokes of the day through their land.
Through all the speculation, the actual origin to April fool’s day is still a mystery. But that sure doesn't stop people of all ages enjoying pulling a friendly joke or harmless prank on someone for a good old belly laugh!
The facts about smoke alarms
We all know that smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives when installed and maintained correctly so why is it that 37% of home fire deaths result from fires in which no working smoke alarm was found to be present?
SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac has a few tips to ensure the safety of your home by installing smoke alarms. Aside from installing them on every level of your home, they should also be installed away from the kitchen at least 10 feet to prevent false alarms. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house including the basement.
Test your smoke alarms at least once a month along with changing out the batteries every 6 months. If you hear the alarm chirping, that is an indication that the batteries are running low and you should change them as soon as possible. In addition to batteries, all smoke alarms should be replaced at least every 10 years.
Three out of five fire deaths occur in home where no working smoke alarms or no smoke alarm at was found. The scary part is the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half with homes that have working smoke alarms.
For more questions about your smoke alarms, please contact SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac and we would be happy to help you and answer any questions that you may have.
The month of March brings many things. It may bring the sunshine and the taste of spring. If you live here in Michigan, it may bring the last snow fall for the year but the month of March is very significant to the charity world as it is the American Red Cross month.
The American Red Cross is a charitable organization founded in 1881 that relies on donations and volunteers to carry out their mission of helping people.
The American Red Cross is committed to helping people in need. Whether it is disaster relief, blood donations, first aid and CPR training, life guard training and something that hits close to many of our hearts, military family support.
The American Red Cross is part of the Global Red Cross Network. It is the world's largest network for volunteering. It is found in 187 different countries, so if you're interested in volunteering, it's not to find a local American Red Cross.
To learn more about the American Red Cross, visit redcross.org.
Flooding is one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in America. Fema has reported that in the last 5 years, every state in the United States has experienced floods or flash flooding. 20% of all flood insurance claims come from a low to moderate risk area.
According to the American Red Cross, flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other natural disaster that is weather related. On average, a home that has 1 inch of flood damage can cost about $27,000.
In the event that a flood strikes your home or business, SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac is here to help. With 24 hour 7 day a week service, we will have you back in your home or business in no time.
Lead paint clean-up inside your home
If your home was built before 1978, it may have lead based paint located somewhere in the home. If your home happens to have lead based paint there are a few requirements that the Environmental Protection Agency or the EPA, requires to safely and efficiently renovate the interior of the home.
SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington and Cadillac is certified for lead based paint clean-up so to help, here are some handy tips to ensure the safe removal of lead based paint in your home. Collect all of the paint chips and debris. Seal these in a heavy duty plastic bag. Mist, remove and fold, with the dirty side in, and tape or seal any protective sheeting.
Always place plastic sheeting between non-contaminated rooms. All work areas must remain in place until after cleaning and removal of other sheeting has been done.
The area must be vacuumed by a HEPA vacuum and or the walls wiped from high to low with the appropriate wet wipes. Following the wiping, the room must then be vacuumed by a HEPA vacuum again and wipe the room down again with the appropriate wet wipe or damp cloth.
When cleaning, clean out at least 2 feet beyond the contaminated and contained work area.
As always, use disposable wipes and change clothing frequently.
If you are cleaning a room that has a rug or carpet, use a HEPA vacuum with a beater bar for the best and most efficient results. For all hard floor not bearing carpet, use a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop for the best cleaning results.
As always, were here to help, so for any questions concerning the clean-up of lead based paint, please visit www.SERVPROmanisteeludingtonandcadillac.com.