Recent Posts

Finding the Brightside

9/6/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Finding the Brightside Uprooted tree

KXAN's Chris Sadeghi published an article back in May of 2015 about one of our clients who was a victim of the Memorial Day Floods. See the original post here, or read below.

"WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — A Hawaiian vacation was just hours away for Joan Jenkins when she received a phone call that her Wimberley home was flooded. So she turned away from paradise and returned to a very harsh reality.

“When we rounded the corner, I just burst into tears because our house has never flooded and we have owned it for 40 years,” she said Friday as she sorted through her water-soaked belongings. Though her home was damaged and many possessions destroyed, it was what sat in the backyard which may have painted the most clear picture of what the community lost.

“It was a tree we called ‘Strong,’” she said. “We figured it was 400-500 years old and it is gone. It makes you think that nothing is permanent.”

That inevitability is one Texans have faced many times in the aftermath of May flooding which has ended lives, taken homes, and devastated neighborhoods.

Nothing is permanent. Not even sadness.

“You cry some more and then you get back to work,” said Jenkins.

As the sunshine shone bright on Friday, Jenkins, her friend Marilyn, and her daughter Jessica managed to find the bright side in a lot of things. While looking over what was lost, Jenkins found something.

“I found a love letter from my old boyfriend,” she said with a laugh as she stared at the piece of paper with the words “I love you” written repeatedly to take up the entire page. “I might call him and tell him he made my day!”

The three women even found it in them to crack a few jokes about how the upcoming Christmas might be the best in years.

“People tell me they never know what to get me because I have everything. Well, problem solved,” said Jenkins.

But the biggest silver-lining, according to Jenkins, has been the goodwill pouring into Hays County and Texas from volunteers and donations all over.

“It has been inspiring.”

It could be years before the area fully recovers from the damage, but for Jenkins it starts with a simple purchase. Herself, Jessica, and Marilyn wear all wearing the same burnt orange Texas Longhorns t-shirts on Friday.

“We are wearing identical shirts. Our $4 Academy t-shirts as we clean up,” she said. “As a team.”"

Stories like this give us hope that we can continue to help those who need it piece their lives back together after storm damage. If you have experienced water damage due to the recent rains, please call us 24/7 at 512-579-0189. We're here to help.

Commercial Vandalism Clean-up

9/6/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Commercial Vandalism Clean-up We are able to handle various types of restoration situations: fire, mold, water damage, spray paint, and more!

Jackie Vega of KXAN Austin wrote an article in June of 2015 about a commercial client we helped clean up from a vandalism situation. Read the original article here, or read below:

"AUSTIN (KXAN) — The search is on for the vandals who broke into a newly renovated early childhood development center geared toward helping low-income families in Southeast Austin. The vandals also brazenly took the time during their mischief to munch on a few bowls of cereal before taking off.

“Instead of arriving Monday morning to a newly renovated Child Inc. Palomita Early Childhood Development, Center Director Rachael Salazar was greeted by complete chaos,” said spokeswoman Edith Gray. “Vandals had broken in overnight with the intent of destruction.”

Gray says they found furniture overturned, paint sprayed on walls, rugs, toys, books and computers. They say two laptops were stolen.

“Food from the kitchen used to prepare healthy meals for our most vulnerable children [was] thrown everywhere,” said Gray. “It also appears the vandals helped themselves to a few bowls of cereal. Gang signs were sprayed on the walls. Then again last night, another window broken and another break-in.”

Gray says they need the community to help put a stop to this pattern — a type of crime she says impacts low-income families in the area.

The center says they hope to have everything clean by next Monday."

These sorts of incidents are always challenging, and come with a lot of decisions and clean up to get things back to normal. SERVPRO of North Central Austin was ready and equipped to help, and able to work with this business to get things "Like it never even happened."

Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed: Emergency Preparedness

9/6/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed: Emergency Preparedness Emergencies are unplanned, but not unexpected; here are some tips to be prepared when caught off guard

In recent years, many forms of disasters have affected the United States. Flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and blizzards are natural disasters that can threaten your home, business, and community.

If you've seen the news, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. We've seen tornado outbreaks, river floods, flash floods, historic earthquakes, tsunamis, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities affecting millions of people for days at a time.

Here are three steps to help you prepare and plan in the event that you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services:

1. Get a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies on hand for you and those in your care - water, non-perishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, battery-powered radio - for a checklist of supplies, visit www.ready.gov

2. Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. For sample plans, see www.ready.gov - Work together with neighbors, colleagues, and others to help build community resilience.

3. Be Informed: Free information is available to assist you from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial resources. You can find preparedness information by:

- Accessing www.ready.gov to learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency.

- Contacting your local emergency management agency to get essential information on specific hazards to your area, local plans for shelter and evacuation, ways to get information before and during an emergency, and how to sign up for emergency alerts if they are available.

- Contacting your local firehouse and asking for a tour and information about preparedness.

Police, fire, and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly, such as if trees and power lines are down, or if they're overwhelmed by demand from an emergency. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover.

As FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate reminded us, "Individuals and families are the most important members of the nation's emergency management team. Being prepared can save precious time if there is a need to respond to an emergency." For more information on NPM, and for help getting prepared, visit www.ready.gov, or call 1-800-BE-READY, 1-888-SE-LISTO, and TTY 1-800-462-7585 for free information.

Next month (September) is National Preparedness Month, and SERVPRO of North Central Austin wants you to be aware of the steps to take to help prepare for a natural disaster. For more information on disaster preparedness, visit www.ready.gov, or call SERVPRO of North Central Austin; our professionals can help your business prepare for the unexpected by offering an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP). The profile is designed to be a quick and easy snapshot of your business, providing critical facility information needed for detailed emergency preparation. For a customized Emergency READY Plan, contact us at SERVPRO of North Central Austin today, at 512-579-0189.

Do You Have a Plan?

9/6/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Do You Have a Plan? Help Your Business Be Ready in Case of Emergency

How quickly your company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. The following are basic measures business owners and managers can take to begin preparing. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, local economy, and even the country. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.

Develop a Business Continuity Plan
Your organization's risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope, and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flow chart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management.

Review Insurance Coverage
Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed, or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage, and business interruption. Understand what your policy does and does not cover.

Prepare Your Emergency Plan
Your employees and co-workers are your businesses' most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during, and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and/or other communication tools.

Practice the Emergency Plan
Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, consumers, and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.

Secure Your Facility and Equipment
Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant, or store is not usable. Secure valuable equipment.

Improve Cyber Security
Protecting your data and information systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don't open emails from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known as patches regularly.

Understanding the Dangers of Mold

7/30/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Understanding the Dangers of Mold Mold comes in various forms and types. We are here to help if you need us.

FROM THE ORDINARY...
Fungi and mold naturally occur in the environment, and they produce some very useful results. For example, yeast is a type of fungi used in preparing breads and other food products. Blue cheese's unique flavor is attributed to mold, and life-saving penicillin is a product of mold.

...TO THE UNHEALTHY
Even though some forms of mold can add value to our lives, other forms can be harmful. Excessive amounts of mold, different types of mold, and extended exposure to molds may present health concerns for some people.

Any water intrusion into your office or your home can result in mold growth. This intrusion of water can result from storm damage, plumbing or equipment failures, long-standing leaks, and poor humidity control. When these issues are not addressed, the resulting damage can present increased risk of harmful mold growth.

Some amount of mold spores are normally present in most environments but, if the humidity and moisture levels in a water-damaged environment are not promptly returned to normal, mold spores may grow and multiply to a harmful level.

Organic materials found inside a building, such as wood, paper, drywall, and insulation, provide food sources for mold to flourish. Excessive mold growth can lead to indoor environmental conditions that may pose a health threat.

TAKE PRECAUTIONS
If there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, be alert for:
- The presence of visible mold.
- Strong, musty odors that may indicate mold is present.
- Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth.
- Excessive humidity.

HELP IS HERE
If you think you or your customer might have a mold problem, call SERVPRO of North Central Austin at 512-479-0189; we are trained in mold remediation.

Hurricane Season

7/30/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricane Season Hurricane readiness information

For the Atlantic, hurricane season begins June 1st and runs through November 30th. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins in mid-May, and also ends November 30th. Hurricanes can be life-threatening, as well as cause serious property-threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds, and tornadoes. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Plan an escape route, take inventory of your property, and take steps to protect your home or business.

As a leader in storm and water damage restoration, SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the specialized training and expertise to restore your home back to its pre-storm condition. Our restoration process puts an emphasis on scientific drying techniques, progress monitoring and documentation.

In addition to our own resources, we can access equipment and personnel from over 1,650 Franchises across the state and country. We can even call upon strategically located Disaster Recovery Teams for catastrophic storms and major events.

For more tips and preparation details, visit the Ready campaign website at www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

7/30/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke Alarms Save Lives Smoke alarms help keep residences and businesses safe in the case of a fire.

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives and, when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.*

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees, or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation.

Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance. For more on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin.

- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.

- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.

- Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.

- Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps," the battery is low and should be replaced right away.

- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

JUST THE FACTS: Smoke Alarms

- Three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or when the alarms are not working.

- Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.

- More than one-third (37 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.

- The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

*Statistics and tips provided by National Fire Prevention Association

Emergency Ready Profile (ERP)

7/30/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) Establishing an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) to make sure you're ready for whatever happens.

No matter where you live, it is important to be informed and prepared for any natural disaster that may occur. Natural disasters often strike without warning, leaving behind a trail of destruction and devastation. Though Mother Nature's disasters are often unpredictable, there are steps you can take to ensure you are prepared.

Contact SERVPRO of North Central Austin to establish an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your property. SERVPRO's ERP serves as a quick reference document, detailing important building and contact information for your property in the event of an emergency. The ERP is an ideal supplement to any existing preparedness plan, or may be used as a standalone document. Knowing what to do and who to call in advance is the key to timely mitigation, and can minimize the effects of any weather-related disaster, water, or fire damage to your business.

When disaster strikes, make sure you have experienced professionals on the line. No matter how big or small, SERVPRO of North Central Austin will be ready to help make your property damage "Like it never even happened."

It's the Water You Don't See

7/30/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation It's the Water You Don't See Let SERVPRO of North Central Austin help assess water damage to identify and treat secondary damage before it gets worse.

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.

The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO of North Central Austin has the equipment, training, and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. SERVPRO of North Central Austin will answer your call with fast action and a full arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools they use:

- Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards, and walls.

- Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing SERVPRO of North Central Austin to monitor the drying process.

- Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, SERVPRO of North Central Austin can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure must also be disinfected and often deodorized.

- Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas.

- Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor-causing particles.

The bottom line? SERVPRO of North Central Austin have the training and equipment to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Flood Prevention Tips

7/23/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flood Prevention Tips SERVPRO of North Central Austin is here to help you through fire, rain, or shine.

Floods rank as one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether you live near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river, or even in the desert, there is a potential for suffering flood damage. In fact, nearly 25% of last year's claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in moderate to low-risk communities.

On average, floods cost $6 billion in annual losses in the U.S. Flooding can also result from plumbing failures, frozen pipes, and damaged structures. Flood damage can affect your business operation in a variety of ways, and can range from being isolated to a single room to entire floors being fully submerged.

Knowing how to prepare and deal with potential flooding in advance can affect how much of your property can be restored, and how much has to be replaced.

FLOOD PREVENTION TIPS:

- Determine if your property is in a floodplain.
- In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
- Carefully assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
- Plan what you will do if your building, plant, or store is not accessible. This type of planning is often referred to as continuity of operations plan, or COOP, and includes all facets of your business.
- Plan for payroll continuity.
- Review your emergency plans annually. Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs. When you hire new employees, or when there are changes in how your company functions, you should update your plans and inform your people.

Visit: www.ready.gov/america/local/index.html for a comprehensive plan, and to learn about emergency plans for your state.