Minimize Impact of Disaster by Planning Ahead

Minimize Impact of Disaster by Planning Ahead.

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Minimize Impact of Disaster by Planning Ahead

Hurricane Sandy Damage

Sandy has already proved its deadly wrath, claiming at least 67 lives, 51 in Haiti alone, as it smashed through the Caribbean last week. For days, government and emergency management officials have been pleading with residents to be prepared, take precautions and heed warnings. “The last time we saw anything like this was never,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said Sunday. “I don’t know how to say it any clearer than that it is the largest threat to human life our state has experienced in anyone’s lifetime.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put it even more bluntly: “Don’t be stupid. Get out!” Newark Mayor Cory Booker told CNN early Monday: “My biggest concern is just people not taking it seriously and not taking the proper precautions. We still have some time for people to get ready. … We anticipate there could be many days without power afterward.”

Be prepared call ISC Services (888) 244-7337 or visit us on the web at www.iscservices.net

Disaster can strike at any time. In seconds, everything can change. Everything can be stopped, leaving your business in jeopardy. In any disaster, quick response draws a fine line between recovery and irreversible damage. The first steps taken in the aftermath of a disaster are the most critical.

At some point, your business will feel the effects of a disaster. By planning ahead and partnering with a restoration company, your business will experience less interruption and return to normal operations in a shorter period of time.

Why Have a Partnership?

Disaster recovery begins before the disaster. What you do beforehand will save time and money. Since disasters don’t always occur during the 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.work week, having recovery plans and authorizations in place can make a crucial difference when every minute counts. Without a formal partnership in place, you could be faced with flipping through the yellow pages at 3 a.m. after a disaster. At that point, it is difficult to decipher qualifications, and you could be left selecting a contractor that is not able to fulfill all the needs that your facility requires. Pre-selection of a multi-faceted emergency service contractor allows you assurance that your staff, clients and buildings will be in good hands. Selecting a contractor out of desperation could become more disastrous than the event itself. Additionally, having a partnership with a restoration company allows you priority over others during a large-scale or regional event. “We had more than 50 calls within 24 hours when a tornado hit the Saline/Dexter area earlier this year,” said John Johnson, Operations Manager of ISC Services, a property restoration company in Michigan.  “Once people were able to return to their homes and access damage,  there was a flood of more calls for emergency services. The resulting damage from these types of storms can be devastating.  At this point we took care of our customers that we had partnerships with first, and then handled all other calls on a first-come, first-serve basis.”

Consider the Event

Your business is more likely to be affected by smaller events causing fire, wind, water or smoke damage. Planning for both small and large events is vital.  What might be considered an annoyance to a corporation could be ruinous to a small business.

Consider the following and the effects they might have on your business: water, fire, wind, smoke, mold, frozen pipes, earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, winter storm, hazardous materials, explosion or vandalism. Water is the single most, long-term, Destructive substance in the indoor environment. All structural materials and personal property, of every description, deteriorate rapidly in the presence of excess moisture. A few inches of water on the floor will immediately soak into any porous materials. The humidity in the facility can rise to damaging levels within hours.

The problem worsens when cleanup and drying services are delayed.  The window of opportunity to prevent mold development is within hours of water damage, not days or weeks. Having a restoration company respond to a disaster in a timely manner can greatly mitigate your loss.

How to Choose a Restoration Company

Select an accredited organization that can handle all of your needs. Choosing a company that can manage a job from start to finish eases the transition from panic to possible. Focus on three key elements: expertise, capacity and experience. Look for a company that has expertise in the services that you would need in the event of a disaster. Do you keep vital records and documents in your facility? Then a company that has the technology in document restoration is essential. If you have asbestos or hazardous material on the property, you would need a company that is licensed to handle that type of substance. Electronics and machinery restoration might be a vital piece to your road to recovery. Make sure you choose a company that is full service and an expert in their field. The company must have the capacity to handle a large loss to your facility. Do they have offices that are located in reach of your facilities?  Do they have enough equipment and personnel to handle all types of losses? Ask for references and years of experience. Whether you have a commercial high-rise or historical landmark, find a company that fits your needs.

Pre-Planning

Many businesses have some type of emergency preparedness plan. A partnership with a restoration company will allow you to share the plan already in place or collaborate on the process of creating a plan. As with any plan, without practice and proper training, it will remain useless. Create building and site maps that indicate all utility shutoffs, alarms, fire extinguishers, exits, stairways, restricted areas, hazardous materials and high-valued items. Do a walk through with all employees and show them system locations and how to shut them off. Teach them to read and manage their fire alarm systems in the building. The most imperative thing is to know how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity at the main switches or valves. Sometimes shutting everything off may cost millions in production costs, depending on your business operations.  Also include any external resources that could be needed in an emergency.  In some cases, formal agreements may be necessary to define the facility’s relationship with the fire and police department, emergency medical services, utilities and insurance carriers. Just as all staff should have access to the emergency plan, so should your restoration company. The response and action taken during the first 24 to 48 hours after a disaster are critical to determining whether or not your business fully recovers. Effective pre-planning and partnership with a single source solution recovery company has never been as important as it is today. Whatever the cause, disasters are now an established risk to every business and must be prepared for in advance. What is your plan to go from panic to possible?

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PLAN BASICS

• Emergency telephone numbers for fire, police and emergency personnel

• Emergency evacuation procedures

• Comprehensive site map for utility shutoffs

• Easy access to appropriate tools and first aid kits

• A list of contacts for HVAC, plumbing, electrical, generators and other specialties particular to your building

• List of any hazardous materials on site (make sure your MSDS book is up to date)

• Partner with a full service restoration company like ISC Services (www.iscservices.net) call (888) 244-7337

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Fire Safety–Get Smart About Home Fire Safety

Fire Safety-Get Smart About Home Fire Safety

Home… It’s the place where you expect to feel safe. But more fire deaths and injuries occur in the home than in any other place. Don’t underestimate the danger of home fire. Get smart about home fire safety and make sure your family is in the know when it comes to house fire dangers.

Fire Safety 101

House fire is sinister. It can start in an instant and consume your home in just minutes. Luckily, there are steps you can take to educate yourself and your family about home fire safety so you are better prepared in an emergency situation.

House Fire Facts – How a House Fire Burns

The first step in family house fire safety is to understand how fire burns and the risks it poses. Only then can you properly protect yourself and your family against home fire.

A home fire – or any fire for that matter – requires three elements, both to ignite and to continue burning:

Heat – Common heat sources include a hot stove burner, a spark from a worn electrical wire or a burning cigarette.

Fuel – Just about everything in your home can fuel a fire — clothing, food, furniture, clutter, paper, plastics and more.

Oxygen – The oxygen in the air around us also fuels a fire.

As a fire burns, the heat it creates warms nearby items, making it even easier for them to start burning too. The bigger the fire gets, the more quickly it spreads. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can turn into a major blaze.

Because most people don’t realize how quickly a fire grows, they often overestimate their ability to extinguish it – and underestimate the amount of time they need to escape.

Remember, if a home fire starts, the smartest thing you can do for your own safety is to get out and stay out.

Knowing Home Fire Dangers: The Key to House Fire Safety

Poisonous Smoke

Fire creates poisonous smoke. Smoke’s poisonous gases spread quickly from where the fire begins and can overwhelm you long before you see any flames. Inhaling these gases can disorient you and slow your reaction time, making escaping the fire more difficult.

Two common deadly gases in any home fire are carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide displaces oxygen from the blood and carbon dioxide causes people to breathe more quickly and inhale more poisonous gas. Understanding the dangers of smoke inhalation is critical to home fire safety.

Intense Heat

Fire creates intense heat. In the first few minutes of a home fire, room temperature can reach 100ºF at floor level and 600ºF at eye level. This intense heat can cause serious injuries and death. The heat can melt clothing onto skin, causing severe burns. Moreover, breathing this superheated air causes rapid, severe lung damage, and unconsciousness follows in just minutes.

In just five minutes, the room temperature can reach 1100ºF — hot enough to ignite every combustible object in the room simultaneously. This event is called flashover. After flashover, conditions in a burning room deteriorate rapidly, making survival unlikely.

Remember, home fire safety is not something to be taken lightly. A home fire is a dangerous situation – and knowing the house fire facts is critical to your family’s safety.

Emotional Trauma

Fire creates emotional trauma. In addition to the physical dangers, fire takes a tremendous emotional toll on people and their families. Losing one’s home, treasured possessions and photographs is traumatic. Belongings collected throughout your lifetime or handed down for generations are impossible to replace.

Rebuilding and recovery can be overwhelming. Think about cataloging every item in your home. Now consider doing it without being able to see any of the possessions. Fire victims must recall, record and replace everything they own while coming to terms with the tragedy. They must do this while rebuilding their homes and their lives.

Preparing a home inventory well in advance is a good idea – and may be easier than you think. Learn how to make a home inventory.

When You Need Help

ISC Services (www.iscservices.net) can provide emergency services 24/7/365 with just a phone call to 888.244.7337

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Spring Storm Tips to Help Prevent Fire and Water Damage

The weather in springtime can be severe. Property owners should safeguard their families, homes and businesses from the potential disaster that can occur from tornadoes, lightening, thunderstorms, and flooding. ISC Services , a leading provider of water damage cleanup and fire damage restoration services for residential and commercial properties, offers the following safety tips to protect loved ones and property.

According to John Johnson, ISC Services Operations Manager, with the past month storms that devastated Dexter and the floods that left a mark on parts of southern Michigan over the last several years, a disaster plan and emergency kit should be in place along with a location in the house to meet, and knowledge of the nearest designated storm shelter if you have to evacuate.

The Basic Emergency Kit should include:

  • Water – one gallon of water per person and pets per day for at least three days.
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food for adults, children and pets, along with a can opener.
  • Battery-powered or hand crank commercial radio and a NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Cell Phone with charger.
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit – sterile dressings; antibiotic ointment; scissors; thermometer; non-prescription drugs such as pain relievers; prescription medications and supplies.
  • Copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in waterproof container.
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person.
  • Fire extinguisher

Below are some valuable tips for protecting your property from severe weather.

  • Clear yard of loose articles and debris. Keep yard tools, patio furniture, grills, garbage cans and toys stored when not in use.
  • Trim trees and shrubs to prevent branches from breaking off during high winds.
  • Inspect your roof and repair any loose shingles to prevent leakage from water and winds, and remove debris.
  • Repair siding, awnings, gutters, downspouts and brackets if loose or damaged.
  • Secure major appliances to the wall studs or foundation of your home using “L” brackets.

Contact ISC Services for more information at 888.244.7337 or email claims@iscservices.net.  Also, contact a licensed professional or restoration and emergency services company if storm damage to your home or business is significant. Qualified technicians are certified from The Clean Trust (formerly The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification -IICRC). For more information, visit the ISC Services website at www.iscservices.net

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Tips on How to Deal with Water Damage

If you’re ever the victim of water damage, the following practical tips can help you prioritize and allocate what’s best left to the services of a professional:

  • Call a professional at ISC Services (1.888.244.7337) as soon as you discover water damage. Bacterial growth begins immediately following a flood.
  • Do not vacuum wet floors or carpets; you’re placing yourself at risk for electric shock. Besides, the removal of water from floors and carpets requires specialized machinery. Vacuum cleaners are inadequate for the job.
  • If you encounter standing water in any room, do not enter if the electricity is still on. Wait until a professional arrives on the premises.
  • Turn on your ceiling fans, box fans and oscillating fans throughout the house to aid in the drying process. If your house has an air conditioning system, turn it on at the lowest temperature your utility bill can stand. If your water damage is incurred during the winter months, turn on your heating system.
  • Blot as much of the water as you can with large beach towels. Mop the floors to lessen the possibility of seepage and mildew accumulation.
  • If you own a dehumidifier, turn it on if the outside temperature is approximately 65 degrees or higher (and chances are, it is in these springtime months).
  • Lift saturated area rugs and other removable floor coverings, and place outside away from your home. Warning: Wet rugs are extremely heavy and will require more than one person to lift.
  • Survey all curtains and draperies throughout the house. If they’re skimming any wet floors, lift them and either tack them up or place them over a coat hanger hooked onto the curtain rod.
  • If you spot any wet fabrics throughout your home — whether it be sheets, tablecloths, blankets or other coverings — remove them and place them outside for drying.
  • Gather all precious valuables, such as important documents, family photos, paintings and/or sculptures, and family heirlooms to a dry, safe place. And make a mental note to buy a weather-proof safe for your smaller valuables and important documents.
  • Remove damp books, and spread them out to dry.
  • Hang damp clothes up to dry. Materials such as leather are particularly sensitive to outside weather variables, so it’s best to keep them indoors at room temperature.
  • If the outside temperature is approximately 65 degrees doors throughout the house, including bedroom doors and closet doors, to speed the drying process. Your rule of thumb should be to open anything that can be opened — whether it’s a drawer, cupboard, window or interior door — to maintain air circulation. As weather patterns change throughout the country, it often seems that springtime comes in like a lion and maintains a steady roar until the summer arrives. When it comes to water damage, there’s not much you can do proactively to protect your home, aside from purchasing a safe for your valuables. But knowing how to respond if and when you’re faced with such a situation can help minimize the damage to your home and protect your safety.

If you are experiencing a flood or other water damage please call our 24 hour emergency service line – 888-244-7337 or submit your claim on our website at ISCServices.net

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How to Protect Your Home From Moisture

We have had some pretty crazy weather around here lately. I am so thankful that we were not hit by any of the major storm systems others around the country faced. My heart goes out to the tornado victims throughout the midwest and southeastern United States.

All of the crazy storms and rain we have had made me think about common issues homeowners face-standing water in their yard, condensation on the interior of your windows, or worst case scenario…mold or moisture in the attic, basement or crawl space. I came across this article the other day and I thought it would be something good to share to help you prepare for the next round of rainy weather. I don’t see many homes with moisture, but the ones I do see–9 times out of 10 the issues could have been prevented by following some of these simple tips below. This article by Carla Hill is a great resource for homeowners!  A few extra comments-noted under her bullet points with a ** to share additional issues I have seen over the years that could have been avoided with a little time and extra care.

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Condensation in Your Home
by Carla Hill 

As we near the end of Winter (hopefully!) many areas of the nation are entering their rainiest season. What does this mean for the health of your home?

It all comes down to moisture and condensation. Many homeowner’s first instinct is to check windows and doors for leaks. Slightly askew installation can mean water accumulation, which will eventually turn to mold and rot.

“We often get calls from homeowners who are concerned that their windows are ‘sweating’ or leaking either inside or outside the home because they see moisture on the glass,” says Gary Pember, vice president of marketing at Simonton Windows. “In reality, that’s simply not the case. While condensation may collect on the interior or exterior of energy-efficient windows, the units are really doing their job by helping serve as a barrier in the home.”

Pember points out that windows do not cause condensation — they simply prevent the moisture in the home from escaping to the outside. “If the inside glass surface on double- or triple-glazed windows show excessive moisture, you can be reasonably sure that the moisture is also collecting on your walls and ceilings,” says Pember. “This means you should take steps to reduce the humidity level in your home by using exhaust fans and dehumidifiers.”

Here are some expert tips to help reduce moisture — and it’s negative effects — in your home.

  • Keep Bathrooms Ventilated. Between steamy showers, baths, and sometimes laundry this can be a very damp room in a very small space. Do your best to keep this area free of dampness. Keep windows open during mild months and be sure to use an exhaust fan and to properly vent your dryer. **Another area in bathrooms that can be missed are toilets. A small leak can cause damage to the floor below-which if left long enough can even rot the wood or framing beneath. Don’t wait on this repair-a wax ring and some caulk may be all you need:) I also have seen issues with showers/tubs where there may be a leak behind the wall at a loose faucet or handle that left for long periods of time can turn into an issue with the floor below-or even the ceiling if the bathroom is on the second floor. Make sure to inspect these areas to make sure all fixtures/hardware are secure and tight.
  • Use Kitchen Exhaust Fans. Steam from your pots and pans can damage walls and cabinets. A great way to prevent damage is to install an over the stove fan.
  • Prevent Damp Basements. Be sure that your existing sump pump is in good working order so that you don’t end up with a flood in your basement. **Most older homes did not require a vapor barriers in the crawlspaces by code-so if you have an older home without one, a vapor barrier can go a long way on preventing issues. Also keep in mind to inspect your flashing if you suspect a moisture issue as this could be a point of entry for water.
  • Inspecting  Older Homes. Older homes that haven’t been properly maintained can be a breeding ground for mold. Many molds are harmful to your health. Be sure to inspect your home or prospective home for mold. **Most inspectors can check moisture levels and recommend if a professional      moisture company needs to come inspect the home for mold and mildew.
  • Vent your Attic. Attics can also harbor moisture, especially if roofs are leaky. Fix any roof leaks immediately as well as open up vents for air flow. **Also make sure your gutters are in good working order and are directing water      away from home.
  • Windows.  Check windows that are fogging or have moisture between panes. This isn’t normal. Be sure to check seals on those windows. **Some times the window could simply have a broken seal…but there are times when there truly may be a moisture problem-so it is important to pay attention to even the little things around your home to make sure the little things don’t turn into BIG      problems.

Keeping the moisture at bay is just another important facet of home ownership. A beautiful and sound home is within reach to all homeowners who take time and care.

If you should experience the affects of moisture on your home or business contact ISC Services immediately.  ISC Services offers 24/7/365 emergency services and will respond within an hour.  Contact ISC Services via our website at www.iscservices.net or call 1.888.244.7337

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Midwest Storms and Damage to Property, Businesses and Homes

At  least 13 people died in powerful storms that raked Arkansas, Kansas and  Oklahoma yesterday; at least four powerful tornadoes touched down  in Oklahoma. The Oklahoman reports eight people were killed in that  state, including a child who died in a hospital.  The AP says most of the Oklahoma deaths occurred around Oklahoma City. In Arkansas, the Wall Street  Journal says storms pulled the roof off a rural fire house.

In Joplin, hundreds of searchers have swept the devastated town, hoping to find survivors. They located two survivors in the wreckage on Tuesday and plan to continue.

The National Weather Service has ranked the Joplin tornado as an EF-5 twister. That means the winds were in excess of 200 miles per hour. when the storm developed directly over the town. The Enhanced Fujita tornado scale goes no higher: an F5 is called “incredible”, while the F3 is described as “severe” and the the F4 is “devastating”.

The NWS says “The Joplin tornado is the deadliest since modern recordkeeping  began in 1950 and is ranked 8th among the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history.”  The Service continues, “The US tornado death toll through the month of May this year is the highest since modern record keeping began in 1950.”

Sudden storms and storm damage are a part of life in the Midwest, thousands are affected every year. ISC Services (www.iscservices.net) can be relied on 100% of the time. Usually we can be there within the hour. Our clients know that after 16 years this is a fact with which ISC Services has no equal. Live operators, well trained technicians and the appropriate personnel on site allows our customers the “peace of mind” to make informed decisions as to the next phase of their specific needs.

Insurance professionals, risk managers, and property managers have been able to rely on ISC Services to assist their mitigation needs. Emergency or mitigation services we provide include:

  • Water Extraction – Structural Drying
  • Board Up Services
  • Structural Shoring and Bracing
  • Site Security
  • Temporary Fencing
  • Investigation Support
  • Business Impact Analysis

Call ISC Services (1.888.244.7337)  today and get your home or business back to normal.

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