Recent Posts

Commercial water damage cleanup

7/23/2019 (Permalink)

When flooding and water damage occur at a commercial property, there is often the need for well trained individuals that can respond in a timely manner.  Whether it is a small water damage cleanup or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the affected area. Generally, we are able to allow the inhabitants to continue to operate there business in assigned areas while we work on preserving, protecting and stopping further damage from occurring in the facility.

Recently, we had a severe thunderstorm pass over Gloucester county, dumping vast amounts of water in a very short amount of time.  Several commercial buildings were impacted by water and sewage. 

A call came in at approximately 7:30 PM on a Sunday.  Our crews were onsite by 8:45 PM.  They immediately got to work extracting water from the space.  This continued until approximately 1:00 AM.  We then started the necessary demolition.  Our team removed the affected ceiling tiles, wet drywall, and wet insulation to allow us to properly dry the building.   The space was large – approximately 2,300 square feet – so we set up more than forty air movers and six extra large dehumidifiers. 

We worked with the occupants around there schedule.  We worked in areas that they were not working in to allow them to continue to operate there business to avoid any additional lost revenue and/or productivity.  After three days, we began to remove some of our equipment, but the drying process was still in progress.  Everyone was grateful that we were able to assist them and allow them to keep their company doors open. 

About SERVPRO of Washington / Woolwich

SERVPRO of Washington / Woolwich specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our highly trained staffed are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification in Water Damage cleanup. 

Water damage in Sewell NJ

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Water damage in Sewell NJ Commercial Properties Need Fire Sprinkler Systems for Safety

It is common knowledge that most commercial buildings have fire sprinkler systems that work to prevent fire damage. However, many do not realize how important these fixtures are in the case of fire. In fact, mounting evidence shows that this form of fire protection is more effective than many give it credit for.

If you are thinking about investing in new fire sprinkler systems, consider the ways that commercial sprinkler systems can benefit your building in case of fire:

Sprinkler Systems Are Virtually Fault-Free

In a recent study conducted on fires, the researchers discovered that fire sprinkler systems operated during 91% of all reported structure fires large enough to activate the systems. Ultimately, nine times out of 10, the sprinkler systems worked. Typically, the reason sprinkler systems stop working due to a lack of maintenance. This fact drives home the importance of regularly repairing your commercial fire sprinkler systems and replacing them if necessary.

Fire Sprinklers are Capable of Cutting Potential Losses in Half

It’s no secret that fires can result in devastating damage to both the structure of the building and the people that are trapped inside. Another recent study found that when paired with early warning systems, automatic fire sprinklers help to reduce property damage, injuries, and loss of life by over 50%. Those are numbers you just can’t ignore!

Fire Sprinklers Help Save Lives

Perhaps one of the most important things that fire sprinklers do is help to lower the risk of death and injury during devastating structure fires. According to a study from the National Fire Protection Association, there has been no record of more than two lives lost inside of a building with a full sprinkler protection that was well maintained and fully functioning.

As you can see, having a full system sprinkler system is a crucial part of fire protection for commercial buildings. If you already have a sprinkler system in place, make sure your fire alarm inspections are up to date and your fire protection equipment is functioning properly. Fire alarm inspections can mean life or death — make sure your equipment is working when it counts.

Storm Damage, Property Insurance Tips, Prevention, and Co

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Insurance Overview

Many homeowners have already experienced a severe hailstorm and witnessed the damage hail can cause to homes, automobiles, businesses and other property. When a hailstorm hits, it does the greatest amount of damage to the exterior of your home or property. Common types of damage caused by hail are: roof damage, siding damage, shingle damage, window damage and automobile damage.

Thunderstorms

Most standard homeowners policies, also known as HO-3 policies, cover both your home and its contents. Typically, you are covered against storm damage, theft, pet damage and some major disasters, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and hail.

Earthquakes and floods are usually not covered under most standard insurance policies and require a separate policy. Remember, home insurance policies do not cover poor maintenance or normal wear and tear, so it is a good idea to make sure your home is always properly maintained.

What to Do Before You Talk to an Insurance Agent

Before buying homeowners insurance, the first thing you need to determine is the replacement cost of your home. The replacement cost reflects the total cost to replace the structures on your property. This is typically different than the market value, or sales price of your home, which takes into account other factors including the value of your lot.

An easy way to figure out your replacement cost is to multiply the building cost per square foot of your home, with the number of total square feet. If you don't have a good sense of building costs for your area, any local contractor should be able to give you a good idea of average building costs in your area.

Once you know your replacement cost, you'll have a good idea of what your insured liability limit should be. Liability limit is the amount of coverage you have if something, such as a tornado or other serious storm, destroys your home. Most experts recommend liability limits equal to the replacement cost, so if your home is totally destroyed your insurance will cover the costs to restore or rebuild your home, including living expenses if you are unable to inhabit your home.

If you live in an area prone to flooding, make sure you obtain flood insurance, which is typically a separate policy. If you have questions about your coverage, check with your insurance agent and make sure you have a solid understanding of your coverage, especially as it relates to serious storm damage or other catastrophic losses.

In states where a severe tornado not only threatens your home and its contents, it is important to understand the difference between actual cash value insurance and replacement value insurance. Actual cash value insurance compensates you for the actual, depreciated value of the items in your home. So, if you have a TV that originally cost $500, but is now worth $100, your insurance will pay you $100 if it is destroyed.

For homeowners with expensive electronics, art, and other furnishings, replacement value insurance is a smart way to go. Replacement value pays you the full amount it would cost to replace a broken, damaged or missing item. So, if a storm destroys a $4,000 plasma TV inside your home, your insurance will cover the full $4,000 replacement value of your TV, and whatever else is damaged inside your home, minus the cost of your deductible, up to the limits of your policy. If you own very expensive individual items, such as original art, or valuable jewelry, you might consider insuring those items individually, under a separate policy.

Whatever type of insurance you choose, it's always wise to take an inventory of the items in your home. If your home is completely destroyed, you will not be able to remember all of the items you own, unless you have a detailed inventory and pictures of what is inside. It is always a good idea to store your inventory list and pictures in a separate, secure location, such as a bank safety deposit box. If you have a digital camera, take pictures and email them to yourself, along with your inventory list.

A deductible is the amount you are required to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Typically homeowners insurance deductibles range from $250 to over $1,000. So, if your home is damaged by a hailstorm and incurs $10,000 in damages and you have a $500 deductible, the insurance company will pay $9,500 towards your repairs. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be.

When deciding on a deductible, make sure it's an amount you can come up with easily, that won't create a financial strain or hardship. Some companies are now offering policies with high deductibles, including deductibles that are calculated as a percentage of your home's value. For example, if your home is worth $200,000 and you have a 2% deductible, you will have to come up with $4,000 before your insurance pays anything. While these types of policies can offer a lower premium, make sure you are able to cover the cost of the deductible, in case a severe storm or disaster hits your area.

Shopping for Homeowners Insurance

When shopping for a homeowners policy, it is smart to check out several different insurance companies. Different insurance companies offer a wide range of coverage levels, discounts and prices. Don't just shop the companies you know best, but search for the policy that works best for your situation. If you come across a policy that looks good, but is offered by a company you haven't heard of, it's easy to check out their background. Here are three websites you can use to investigate the financial strength of an insurance company:

When selecting a policy, start by researching your area. You'll want to have a firm understanding of the storm damage history of your neighborhood related to:

  • Hailstorms
  • Tornadoes
  • Wind Storms
  • Flooding
  • Earthquakes
  • Natural Disasters

Make sure the insurance policy you select adequately covers storms and natural disasters in your area. Watch out for insurance companies known for unfairly denying claims. Every year, the American Justice Association publishes a list of the 10 Worst Insurance Companies. If your insurance company is on the list and your insurance claim has been denied, make sure you connect with a reputable contractor with the experience to fight for your rights.

Saving Money on Homeowners Insurance

There are many factors insurance companies take into account when determining the price of your insurance premium. Some factors that affect the cost of your premium may include:

  • History of a severe storm or disaster in your area
  • Neighborhood crime levels
  • Quality of building materials in your home
  • Building costs in your area
  • Size and overall condition of your home
  • Distance from a fire station

You may be eligible for a discount on your insurance premium by making certain improvements to your home, which can add up to significant savings. The following list of improvements will not just result in savings, but will make your home safer as well.

  • Impact resistant roofing shingles
  • Shatterproof windows
  • Storm shutters
  • Reinforced tile or slate roof

Most states prohibit insurance companies from canceling your insurance policy or singling you out for a rate increase for filing a storm damage claim. If you live in an area with a high propensity for severe storms or other natural disasters, you should expect premiums to be higher.

Insurance companies can raise rates for everyone living in a storm prone area. If this is the case, your rate will increase whether or not you file an insurance damage claim. So, if your home has been damaged by a tornado, hailstorm, severe wind, or other type of natural disaster, it is in your best interest to file an insurance claim to pay for the damage. If you fail to file a claim, your increase in premium will pay for everyone's repairs except for yours.

If you have storm damage to your home or commercial building, then you may need to file an insurance claim.

What to Do After the Storm

6/27/2019 (Permalink)

After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

What To Do After Flooding

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

What NOT To Do After Flooding

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

Then Call a Certified Water Damage Restoration Contractor, for Proper Drying, Dehumidifying, Possible Demolition and Clean Up!

Emergency Response Plan

6/26/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know as many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research? Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. And knowing you are "Ready for whatever happens" speaks trust to your clients and employees that in the event your business is affected by a disaster, they don’t necessarily have to be.

I just want to introduce myself and let you know what SERVPRO of Washington/Woolwich can do for you and your business. My name is Kathy Attilio and I want to make sure that in the event of a disaster you are ready for whatever happens and ready to move forward in a positive way. That is why we offer our clients a free Emergency Ready Profile. By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile business interruption can be minimized by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help lowering effects of water and fire damage to your business.

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantages:

  • A no cost assessment of your facility.
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
  • Establishes SERVPRO of Washington/Woolwich as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.

No one plans for a disaster but you can be “Ready for whatever happens.”

Commercial water Damage

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

When flooding and water damage occur at a commercial property, there is often the need for well trained individuals that can respond in a timely manner.  Whether it is a small water damage cleanup or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the affected area. Generally, we are able to allow the inhabitants to continue to operate there business in assigned areas while we work on preserving, protecting and stopping further damage from occurring in the facility.

Recently, we had a severe thunderstorm pass over Gloucester county, dumping vast amounts of water in a very short amount of time.  Several commercial buildings were impacted by water and sewage. 

A call came in at approximately 7:00 PM Thursday night.  Our crews were onsite by 8:15 PM.  They immediately got to work extracting water from the space.  This continued until approximately 12:00 AM.  We then started the necessary demolition.  Our team removed the affected ceiling tiles, wet drywall, and wet insulation to allow us to properly dry the building.   The space was large – approximately 2,300 square feet – so we set up more than forty air movers and six extra large dehumidifiers. 

We worked with the occupants around there schedule.  We worked in areas that they were not working in to allow them to continue to operate there business to avoid any additional lost revenue and/or productivity.  After three days, we began to remove some of our equipment, but the drying process was still in progress.  Everyone was grateful that we were able to assist them and allow them to keep their company doors open. 

SERVPRO of Washington/Woolwich

We Can Help Before a Disaster Happens.

6/12/2019 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage

As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. And knowing you are "Ready for whatever happens" speaks trust to your clients and employees that in the event your business is affected by a disaster, they don’t necessarily have to be.

By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

  • A no cost assessment of your facility.
    This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
     
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
    It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
     
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
    This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
     
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
    You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
     
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
    This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
     
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
    Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."

Crime Scene Cleanup and Biohazards

4/2/2019 (Permalink)

Crime scene cleanup is a term applied to cleanup of blood, bodily fluids, and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). It is also referred to as biohazard remediation, because crime scenes are only a portion of the situations in which biohazard cleaning is needed. Such incidents may include accidents, suicides, homicides, and decomposition after unattended death. It could also include mass trauma, industrial accidents, infectious disease contamination, animal biohazards (e.g. feces or blood) or regulated waste transport, treatment, and disposal.

Types of cleanups

Crime scene cleanup includes blood spills following an assault, homicide or suicide. There are many different sub-segments, named primarily after additional collateral, contingency, or preconditions, regarding the presence of non-blood borne organics, toxic irritants (e.g., tear gas) or disease vectors. However, it is the legality of charging a fee for mitigating potentially harmful biohazard situations that differentiates a registered crime or trauma practitioner from any general restoration, carpet cleaning, janitorial or housekeeping service.

Business

Crime scene cleanup began primarily as a local or regional small business activity but maturity and consolidation has created some larger entities in the industry; only a few nationwide companies exist, although some national carpet cleaning and restoration companies franchises have added crime scene cleanup and biohazard removal to their services. Due to the legal and ethical complications crime scene cleanup is often its own business entity or a separate division.

Regulatory requirements

While the field of crime scene cleanup is not specifically regulated as a class, most if not all of the activities performed by biohazard cleanup teams in the United States are regulated or fall under best practice guidelines from governing and advisory bodies such as OSHA, NIOSH, DOT, and EPA. Those who hire a crime scene cleanup company should make sure that they are properly trained in applicable federal and state regulations and can provide documentation of proper biohazardous waste disposal from licensed medical waste transportation and disposal companies. If in California or Florida the client should confirm that the company is registered with the state Department of Health. A few states such as California, New York and Florida are the only states that explicitly require registration or licensing for crime scene cleanup. Other states may require biohazardous waste transport permits from the DOT.

Methods

The crime scene cleaners' work begins when the coroner's office or other official, government body releases the "scene" to the owner or other responsible parties. Only when the investigation has completely terminated on the contaminated scene may the cleaning companies begin their task.

Standard operating procedures for the crime scene cleanup field often include military-like methods for the decontamination of internal and external environments. Universal precautions recognized worldwide are the cautionary rule-of-thumb for this field of professional cleaning.

In popular culture and the media

In video games and visual media, crime scene cleanup takes center focus as the main objective in the game, Viscera Cleanup Detail.  Viscera Cleanup Detail is a PC game distributed through Steam that enables players to clean up blood and body remains after a Sci-Fi battle has occurred on a space station. Another example of crime scene cleanup in video games is Safeguard. Safeguard takes a more realistic and educational approach, enabling users to learn about the hazards of crime scene cleanup, as well as the equipment and tools used.  Safeguard also uses virtual reality to immerse users in the crime scene environment.

Somebody's Been Messing with our Head

4/1/2019 (Permalink)

Community Somebody's Been Messing with our Head April Fool's

SERVPRO of Washington/Woolwich attended a great job fair on Friday.  At Rowan University at Gloucester County.  There was 175 vendors there and a really good turn out of job seekers.  This is one of the biggest job fairs in this area and it was our honor to be asked to be a part of it.

When posting this picture, I noticed that the heads of the bobble heads were on the wrong bodies, Stormy was on Blaze and Blaze was Stormy!!  April fool's joke?  Maybe, but I found it and it won't happen again on my watch.

6 Disasters, Home/Property Insurance Won’t Cover!

3/28/2019 (Permalink)

When disaster strikes your home, Property Insurance, is supposed to be there to help you pick up the pieces. Most of the time, it does.

A Bank rate survey found that 81 percent were aware flooding is not covered by regular homeowners insurance. You may have heard earthquakes also require special coverage. Yet you may not know that there are other types of damage that are excluded from most policies as well:

Mold

At least 1,000 species of mold are common to the United States, according to the New York-based trade group the Insurance Information Institute.

Despite the threat, a standard homeowners insurance policy generally either limits coverage for mold damage or outright excludes it.

Some insurers offer an endorsement to expand coverage limits for mold claims but only if you are willing to pay more for your insurance, she says.

The best cure for mold is to prevent it from growing in the first place. If the basement floods after a rainstorm or a pipe is leaking, eliminate the moisture promptly.

Sewer backup

America’s sewer lines are rapidly aging, with some more than 100 years old. As more homes have been connected to these out-of-date lines, sewage backups have followed.

Other sources of backups include pipelines that handle both storm water and raw sewage — and become overwhelmed in rainstorms — and blockages from tree roots that work their way into sewer-line cracks.

When a sewer backs up into a home, it can damage floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems. Standard homeowners insurance does not cover sewer backups.

The Insurance Information Institute says sewer-backup damage often can be covered for an additional premium of just $40 to $50 per year.

Sinkholes

Sinkholes can seem like something out of a horror movie. For example, there was the Florida man who was swallowed up in early 2013 when a sinkhole opened without warning beneath his bedroom.

Sinkholes are sudden gaps in the earth’s surface that occur after groundwater gradually dissolves rock such as limestone and carries bits of it away, creating large pores and cracks in bedrock. Once large cavities form underground, the land above it may suddenly settle or collapse, creating the sinkhole.

In the United States, sinkholes tend to cause the most problems in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Most home insurance policies will not cover damage associated with “earth movement,” such as an earthquake or sinkhole.

Florida is the only state in which insurers are required to provide coverage for sinkhole damage

Florida insurers must include insurance for “catastrophic ground cover collapse” — which refers to damage so severe, the home is uninhabitable — as part of standard homeowners insurance.

In every other state, earth movement is excluded from the insurance policy.

Termite infestation

Colonies of anywhere from a few hundred to several million termites can quietly and methodically devastate your home.

Wood, paper and dead plant material that is in contact with soil near the house provides termites with a ready source of food and an entry. And moisture accumulated around foundations and in poorly ventilated crawl spaces gives termites a source of water they need to survive.

Over time, termites can damage or destroy support beams and other wood features in a house. The National Pest Management Association estimates that termites cause $5 billion in damage in the U.S. each year.

If these unwanted guests cause wear and tear to your home, do not expect your insurer to bail you out.

Homeowners policies do not pay for termite damage.

Homeowners can avoid structural damage with early intervention.

Nuclear plant accidents

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, says nearly 3 million Americans live within 10 miles of an active nuclear power plant. If an accident at a nearby reactor leaves your home uninhabitable, standard homeowners insurance will not cover the claim. But that does not mean you will be unprotected.

A 1957 federal law called the Price-Anderson Act compensates people in the United States for any damage or injuries resulting from a commercial nuclear accident.

The law was called upon after the nation’s worst nuclear accident, at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pa., in 1979.

The insurance paid for the living expenses of families who decided to evacuate.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says an insurance pool of more than $12 billion is available to pay out claims.

Claims covered under Price-Anderson include:

  • Bodily injury.
  • Sickness.
  • Disease resulting in death.
  • Property damage and loss.

In addition, individuals evacuated from an affected area can expect reimbursement for reasonable living expenses beyond what you ordinarily pay. The coverage does not pay your mortgage, does not pay for your normal food bills.

Some acts of terrorism

The recent Boston Marathon bombings were a reminder that terror can strike at any moment.

The Insurance Information Institute says terrorist attacks using nuclear, biological, chemical or radioactive weapons are considered “acts of war” that are fundamentally uninsurable. Standard home insurance policies do not specifically reference terror attacks.

However, the policy does cover the homeowner for damage due to explosion, fire and smoke, these are the most likely types of damage a home would suffer in a terrorist incident.

If you own a condominium or co-op, the policy you carry on your individual unit will protect your structure and possessions from damage related to a terrorist attack.

However, damage to common areas — including the roof, basement, elevator, boiler and walkways — is not covered unless your board purchases separate terrorism coverage.