Recent Commercial Posts

Restoring Your Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response.  Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area.  In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Document Restoration

6/3/2021 (Permalink)

As a leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO® knows timely mitigation is the key to reducing severity and recovering damaged items. Water– or smoke–damaged paper can rapidly deteriorate. Without proper handling, valuable files and irreplaceable documents could be lost forever. Let SERVPRO’s Document Restoration Team help you recover your damaged paper goods before it is too late.

SERVPRO’s technicians are trained to use the most advanced technology available for document recovery and drying; in fact, the Document Restoration Team uses the same technique the Library of Congress uses to dry water-damaged books.

Vacuum Freeze Drying?

Vacuum freeze drying is the most efficient and effective way to salvage water-damaged documents. The Document Restoration Team uses
sublimation—turning a solid directly into a vapor, skipping the liquid stage to avoid causing more damage to the documents. This process can recover even the most delicate items—from documents to photographs and x-rays, to entire business archives.

All employees of the Document Restoration Team are HIPAA Master certified and once your items arrive at the SERVPRO® facility, 24/7 video surveillance is guaranteed.

Digitizing

With the new age of technology, digitizing records and documents has become a standard practice in most industries. This eliminates the need to have massive file storage rooms and allows us to access records at the click of a button. If your file room was damaged by water or smoke and needs to be cleaned, dried or decontaminated, digitizing might be a good choice to eliminate the need to have hundreds or even thousands of documents and records in storage.

Gamma Irradiation

Gamma irradiation is a process used for cleaning/disinfecting and decontaminating documents or other consumer goods.

In a CAT 3 situation (sewage or flood water), documents are not only deteriorating but are also infected with all types of bacteria. In most storm situations, you are dealing with CAT 3 water; therefore, most of the affected documents you encounter will be contaminated.

If this is the case, decontamination is always a must. In living cells, these disruptions result in damage to the DNA and other cellular structures. These photoninduced changes at the molecular level cause the death of the organism or render the organism incapable of reproduction. The gamma process does not create residuals or impart radioactivity in processed products.

Certified Destruction

Unfortunately, many businesses and government agencies have to dispose of counterfeit, faulty, expired or contaminated materials. All entities need to be certified that their products and materials are destroyed. The guarantee of certified destruction is to protect one’s liabilities, brand image or proprietary information. We guarantee certified destruction to give you peace of mind that your documents are disposed of properly.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

COVID-19 - Still Here and Still Challenging The Norm

5/12/2021 (Permalink)

Technician in PPE SERVPRO is trained and prepared to provide fully compliant COVID-19 / Coronavirus sanitizing and disinfecting services.

We first posted our COVID-19 Back To Business Plan blog last year.  At that time, we envisioned it would be a thing of the past.  A challenge we could look back at as bad times gone.  But, sadly, this is not the case, so we are re-posting our blog as businesses continue to re-open.

COVID-19 Back to Business Plan

With all the changes that a person or business encounters after any type of local, national, or global scale disaster we ALL need a plan to get back to business! Without it you will feel the impacts long after the event. We are here to help with some important steps and ideas for you to consider so that you can start off on the right path of getting back to your business normal confidently!

At SERVPRO we have over 50 years of proven experience working to make it "Like it never even happened."® A big part to achieving that has been by educating and empowering people and businesses in our local communities with tools they can use to recover or reopen or after a small or large disaster.

With re-opening dates for businesses coming up let us help you!

Pre-reopening and biological contamination prevention suggestions:

  • It is crucial to have an Employee Safety/Outbreak Response Plan in place if you don’t already.
  • Fogging and high touch cleaning recommended for businesses before reopening to give peace of mind to your employees and customers, so they feel secure coming back to work or shop. (Please be advised SERVPRO personnel adhere to protocols set forth by the CDC and we have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform daily).
  • Set up scheduled cleanings in the future to be proactive instead of reactive.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for employees such as face masks and gloves.
  • Temperature Checks as warranted.
  • Shift Management / Space Separation / One Way Aisles.
  • Regular Hand Sanitation and Hand Washing.

Educating Employees in the Workplace

It’s important to prepare a Healthy work environment and educate Employees on how to safely return to work. It gives peace of mind where there could be fear and educates all employees of new policies and procedures moving forward.

  • Practice Good Hygiene! Stop shaking hands – use other non-contact methods of greeting. Clean hands with sanitizer or wash hands frequently. Avoid touching your face and cover coughs and sneezes. Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, keyboards, phones/tablets, light switches and bathroom fixtures regularly. Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning.
  • If any employee is feeling sick, they should stay home.
  • Under the revised EEOC guidelines as of March 2020, if an employee arrives at work displaying symptoms of respiratory illness the employer may check employee temperature. As with all medical information, the fact that an employee had a fever or other symptoms would be subject to ADA confidentiality requirements.
  • Business owners cannot require employees to have a vaccine if it becomes available.
  • Limit food sharing in the workplace.

Back to Business Basics

As professionals and business owners alike, it is important to quickly adapt to our current business climate.

  • Consider implementing physical distancing policies and practices.
  • Schedule videoconferencing for meetings when possible, when it is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
  • Business travel should be assessed case-by-case as to necessity.
  • Employers must maintain the confidentiality of any employee with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or other sickness. There should be a system and process in place to protect their identity. However, you should inform employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 or other sickness because employees have the right to know there is a risk in their workplace. Those employees then can do their own risk assessment of their potential exposure based on guidance from the CDC.
  • Introduce supportive and more flexible sick leave policies that are consistent with current health guidance.
  • Be mindful that not all employees and customers may display symptoms and it is important to follow set guidelines.

We, at SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County, are experienced in all verticals, and our experts can work with your risk management and/or operations teams to provide consulting and best practices!

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Business Interruption Insurance

3/10/2021 (Permalink)

It's common practice to maintain commercial property insurance policies to repair and replace your assets in the event of a covered peril.  In fact, for its cost, it's extremely risky to even consider not carrying this insurance.  Commercial Property Insurance can pay your repair or replacement costs if your business property gets damaged or destroyed from a fire, theft or other covered loss.

However, when your business is impacted by an event which forces closure, the impact of lost revenue and the burden of ongoing costs can be crippling.  Few consider adding Business Income (interruption) coverage.

Business Income Coverage (BI) can help with operating expenses during the restoration period, until the business can resume normal operations.  This coverage can include:

  • Lost Net Income
  • Mortgage and Lease Payments
  • Employee Payroll
  • Taxes
  • Loan Payments

As with any coverage policy, you need to consider reasonable terms when establishing the policy.  After a major disaster, it can take more time than many people realize to get “back in business.” Business income coverage likely has a "restoration period.” This is the length of time that a policy will help pay for lost income and extra expenses while the business is being restored.

So, this then begs the question of "how much BI insurance coverage is needed?".  The general rule is to use gross earnings and projections to help determine future profits.  This will assist in determining the right amount of coverage.

What is NOT covered by BI Insurance?  Typically, the following is not covered:

  • Broken items resulting from a covered event or loss (such as glass)
  • Flood or earthquake damage, which are covered by a separate policy
  • Undocumented income that’s not listed on your business’ financial records
  • Utilities
  • Pandemics, viruses, or communicable diseases (such as COVID-19)

BI Insurance may also include extra expenses which will cover anything beyond the normal day-to-day expenses, while the business recovers.  This includes:

  • Renting a temporary place of business while the original place of business is being restored
  • Replacement of hardware, technology and furniture
  • Paying overtime for employees or hiring more employees
  • Leasing equipment

Speak with your Commercial Insurance Agent to discuss BI insurance and other policies which could protect the business during unplanned outages of all types.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Be Proactive and Reduce Covid-19 Business Liability

12/15/2020 (Permalink)

You likely have workplace safety policies in place.  But you probably never contemplated the Covid-19 pandemic and the fluid, constantly changing landscape of NJ state-wide employer requirements.

Governor Murphy recently implemented Executive Order 192 to "Protect New Jersey's Workforce During the Covid Pandemic".  In short, this order requires New Jersey businesses to document the health conditions of all workers on a daily basis and to restrict access of those workers if they show symptoms.

Taken from an article found in New Jersey Business, "Being Proactive Can Reduce COVID-19 Liability", written by Joe Cavaluzzi, it takes a lot of thought to come up with workplace safety policies that address COVID-19’s threat to workers and protect a company against liability claims. 

Additionally, this article states, a change in New Jersey’s Workers’ Compensation law, which is retroactive to March 9, created the presumption that coronavirus contracted by those whose jobs expose them to COVID-19 is work-related and fully compensable. The New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) has suggested that the law puts an added burden on companies already struggling with lost business, although labor attorneys say the new law provides protection from increased insurance premiums. 

Joe states, the best protection, however, comes from being proactive with comprehensive policies that address the safety of workers – even those working from home – and vigilance to make sure they are understood and followed. 

The key points raised by the article are:

  • Setting Policies that Protect Workers and Employers - Recommending 4 Policies

    • Telecommuting Policy
    • Containment Policy
    • Health Screening Policy
    • Travel Policy
  • Liability When Employees Get Sick 

    • Although state policies are fluid and change frequently, act promptly when a worker comes down with the virus. 
    • Ask workers to sign an acknowledgement form confirming compliance with COVID-19 workplace practices.
    • Document contact tracing with other employees when an employee becomes ill.
  • Changes to Workers’ Comp Law 

    • Will raise concerns for workers and employers

One final note: Gov. Murphy signed S-2380 into law which creates a presumption that COVID-19 infections occurred at the workplace for certain essential employees.  This law leaves it up to the employer to prove that it didn’t.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

What You Need to Know About Air Duct Cleaning

12/4/2020 (Permalink)

Air duct cleaning is a misnomer. In actuality, the entire HVAC system should be cleaned. Failure to clean all components of the system can result in recontamination of the entire system, thus minimizing the benefits of cleaning.

Just as you wouldn’t clean only half of your living room floor, you also would not want to clean only part of your HVAC system. NADCA recommends cleaning the entire HVAC system, including the following components:

  • air ducts
  • coils
  • drain pan
  • registers
  • grills
  • air plenum
  • blower motor and assembly
  • heat exchanger
  • air filter
  • air cleaner

There are two key components to HVAC cleaning: breaking contaminants loose, and collection of contaminants.

Breaking Contaminants Loose

Properly cleaning HVAC systems requires removing the sources of contamination. Source removal begins with the use of one or more agitation devices designed to loosen contaminants from the surfaces within the heating and air conditioning system. Examples of agitation devices include: brushes, air whips and compressed air nozzles or “skipper balls.” Agitation can also be achieved through hand-brushing or contact vacuuming.

Collection of Contaminants

During cleaning, the entire HVAC system is placed under continuous negative pressure (a vacuum) to prevent the spread of contaminants. Continuous negative pressure allows very fine particles to be removed from the system as they become airborne, ensuring that these particles are not released into the living space when the system is turned on after cleaning. This negative pressure also serves to extract the loosened contaminants, which are collected and removed from your home.

System Access

HVAC system cleaning is not a complex process, but each job is unique. Where possible, access to duct interiors should be made through existing openings such as supply diffusers, return grills, duct end caps and existing service openings. Cleaning technicians may need to cut access holes in the duct work in order to reach inside with various cleaning tools. Creation of these service openings, and their subsequent closure, requires craftsmanship and professional skills.

Equipment Requirements

There is a wide variety of equipment available to HVAC cleaning professionals. Both truck-mounted and portable vacuums can be used to stop the spread of contaminants and get the system cleaned to the NADCA Standard.

Antimicrobial Chemicals

Antimicrobial chemicals include sanitizers, disinfectants and deodorizers that can be applied to nonporous surfaces in HVAC systems to address microbial contamination and help control odors. Only chemicals registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be used. These products should only be considered after mechanical surface cleaning has been performed and if the need for such treatment has been deemed necessary. Review the NADCA White Paper on Chemical Applications in HVAC Systems for more information. 

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Crisis Communication

10/2/2020 (Permalink)

Crisis Communications – Engaging Stakeholders During an Incident

Courtesy of The American Red Cross.

Our current "new normal" demands a new way of doing business, of communicating, with our employees, vendors and most importantly, our customers.  If businesses are to survive, it is imperative to make changes in how we operate.

Trust is the foundation of relationships. When your organization faces an emergency, communications (or the lack thereof) to your employees, customers, and other stakeholders can support or erode that foundation. Protect your organization’s reputation and relationships by being prepared to communicate in a crisis.

In an event, you need to know who to communicate to and how and when to do so. This requires pre-planning. Make sure your emergency response plans have a communication component so you will know how to respond to each risk your organization faces. Essential components of a crisis communication plan include:

  • Stakeholders: Identify the individuals and public or private groups your organization interacts with. Internal stakeholders include employees, volunteers, members of the board of directors, etc. External stakeholders include customers, suppliers, service providers, vendors, public and regulatory authorities, and the media. Think about what information each group would need to know from you during a crisis and what you would need to know from them.
  • Spokesperson: Identify a single individual or small team that will handle dissemination and receipt of information from stakeholders.
  • Strategy: Transparency and timeliness of communications are critical during an incident. Plan in advance what and how you are going to communicate with internal and external stakeholders, including alternate ways of accessing and sharing information. General statements, also called holding statements, can be prepared in advance and are released to stakeholders during an incident before detailed facts come in. For example, an organization operating in an area affected by a hurricane would release: “Our thoughts are with those who are in harm’s way and those responding to the storm. We have implemented our crisis plan and will be supplying additional information as it becomes available.” Review and revise these statements on a regular basis to make sure they remain timely and appropriate.

In developing your communications strategy and holding statements, consider the unique environment your organization operates in. For example, is litigation a concern? If so, it is prudent to include your legal counsel.

Once you have your communications plan, make sure it is part of your emergency preparedness training. The spokesperson or communications team should practice drafting communications when plans are exercised.   

When the unexpected does occur, craft a message that is honest, clear, and concise. Foremost, assess the situation and collect facts. Your communications to stakeholders should be fact focused and not prospective. Explain what went wrong, commit to addressing the situation.

Be empathetic in your communications by including expressions of concern for those involved in the incident, your stakeholders, and the community. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ but be willing to go find the answer where appropriate. Your concern and honesty will support the trusting relationship you want to preserve through the crisis.

For more information on stakeholder identification and crisis communication, refer to Guidance on Crisis Communications and Emergency Response Notification Procedures at ReadyRating.org.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

CDC Update Regarding the Transmission of COVID-19

6/3/2020 (Permalink)

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned When the stakes are this high, you want a SERVPRO partner who has developed an industry-leading and proprietary training. program.

Authored by: Scott Gettelfinger

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated information regarding the spread of coronavirus from contaminated surfaces. Read the updated guidance and suggestions when marketing and producing coronavirus cleaning jobs.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance clarifying that coronavirus may indeed be spread by touching infected surfaces. Per the CDC's updated information:

  • “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.”

“Routinely cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces” continues to be recommended in the new guidance as a key precaution individuals can take to protect themselves and others from the spread of the virus. “COVID-19 is a new disease, and we are still learning about how it spreads…”

The first tenet of the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program is to Consult. In discussions with key decision makers, it is always encouraged to understand their key drivers, unique needs, and their current business environment when making a cleaning recommendation. Is their main concern employee safeguards in returning to the office? Is it customer confidence in reestablishing business relationships? Or is it simply establishing a new normal?

The key question in all these decisions is, "Why take the risk?"

The tools provided by the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program allow a business owner to easily show how they have made a difference to reduce overall risk for their employees and customers. CSC allows them to take one more variable off the table of restarting their business today!

As it is important to be up-to-date on the latest expert guidance, read the CDC's updated recommendations here.

We, at SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County, are experienced in all verticals, and our experts can work with your risk management and/or operations teams to provide consulting and best practices!

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

COVID-19 Back to Business Plan

5/12/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Coronavirus Sanitizing SERVPRO is trained and prepared to provide fully compliant COVID-19 / Coronavirus sanitizing and disinfecting services.

With all the changes that a person or business encounters after any type of local, national, or global scale disaster we ALL need a plan to get back to business! Without it you will feel the impacts long after the event. We are here to help with some important steps and ideas for you to consider so that you can start off on the right path of getting back to your business normal confidently!

At SERVPRO we have over 50 years of proven experience working to make it "Like it never even happened."® A big part to achieving that has been by educating and empowering people and businesses in our local communities with tools they can use to recover or reopen or after a small or large disaster.

With re-opening dates for businesses coming up let us help you!

Pre-reopening and biological contamination prevention suggestions:

  • It is crucial to have an Employee Safety/Outbreak Response Plan in place if you don’t already.
  • Fogging and high touch cleaning recommended for businesses before reopening to give peace of mind to your employees and customers, so they feel secure coming back to work or shop. (Please be advised SERVPRO personnel adhere to protocols set forth by the CDC and we have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform daily).
  • Set up scheduled cleanings in the future to be proactive instead of reactive.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for employees such as face masks and gloves.
  • Temperature Checks as warranted.
  • Shift Management / Space Separation / One Way Aisles.
  • Regular Hand Sanitation and Hand Washing.

Educating Employees in the Workplace

It’s important to prepare a Healthy work environment and educate Employees on how to safely return to work. It gives peace of mind where there could be fear and educates all employees of new policies and procedures moving forward.

  • Practice Good Hygiene! Stop shaking hands – use other non-contact methods of greeting. Clean hands with sanitizer or wash hands frequently. Avoid touching your face and cover coughs and sneezes. Disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, tables, desks, keyboards, phones/tablets, light switches and bathroom fixtures regularly. Increase ventilation by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning.
  • If any employee is feeling sick, they should stay home.
  • Under the revised EEOC guidelines as of March 2020, if an employee arrives at work displaying symptoms of respiratory illness the employer may check employee temperature. As with all medical information, the fact that an employee had a fever or other symptoms would be subject to ADA confidentiality requirements.
  • Business owners cannot require employees to have a vaccine if it becomes available.
  • Limit food sharing in the workplace.

Back to Business Basics

As professionals and business owners alike, it is important to quickly adapt to our current business climate.

  • Consider implementing physical distancing policies and practices.
  • Schedule videoconferencing for meetings when possible, when it is not possible, hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces.
  • Business travel should be assessed case-by-case as to necessity.
  • Employers must maintain the confidentiality of any employee with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or other sickness. There should be a system and process in place to protect their identity. However, you should inform employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 or other sickness because employees have the right to know there is a risk in their workplace. Those employees then can do their own risk assessment of their potential exposure based on guidance from the CDC.
  • Introduce supportive and more flexible sick leave policies that are consistent with current health guidance.
  • Be mindful that not all employees and customers may display symptoms and it is important to follow set guidelines.

We, at SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County, are experienced in all verticals, and our experts can work with your risk management and/or operations teams to provide consulting and best practices!

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

SERVPRO Urgent Professional Disinfecting Services

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County offers cleaning services including the removal of biohazard contaminants. We have the specialized training and products to get your property back to business.

About Coronavirus
The CDC is responding to an outbreak of a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has spread to 60 locations internationally (as of this publication), including cases in the United States. The virus known as “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”) is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Scope of Cleanup Protocol
SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County can perform a proactive cleanup that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection where the customer states that there is no active known threat of COVID-19 contamination or exposure. The customer will be required to acknowledge that cleaning and disinfecting will only apply to the current state of the structure and contents. The structure would not be protected from future COVID-19 contamination if an infected person was to enter and occupy the building.


Cleanup Scope of Work and Planning
The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables at a minimum. These same surfaces are mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces as well, including:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving and Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Cleanup and Disinfecting Procedures
Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of waste.

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar type organisms to COVID-19.

SERVPROXIDE™, SERVPRO’s proprietary disinfectant, is a hospital-grade disinfectant that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 on hard, non-porous surfaces. In addition, SERVPROXIDE™ currently has dozens of EPA-approved claims including Feline coronavirus, Canine coronavirus, Staphylococcus (MRSA), E. coli, Salmonella, Rotavirus, Swine flu (H1N1) and more.

Porous surfaces that are not water-sensitive, such as carpet and other fabric material, cannot be disinfected but can be sanitized using SERVPROXIDE™.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Business Continuity Plan

2/2/2020 (Permalink)

Source: ready.gov

When business is disrupted, it can cost money. Lost revenues plus extra expenses means reduced profits. Insurance does not cover all costs and cannot replace customers that defect to the competition. A business continuity plan to continue business is essential. Development of a business continuity plan includes four steps:

  • Conduct a business impact analysis to identify time-sensitive or critical business functions and processes and the resources that support them.
  • Identify, document, and implement to recover critical business functions and processes.
  • Organize a business continuity team and compile a business continuity plan to manage a business disruption.
  • Conduct training for the business continuity team and testing and exercises to evaluate recovery strategies and the plan.

Information technology (IT) includes many components such as networks, servers, desktop and laptop computers and wireless devices. The ability to run both office productivity and enterprise software is critical.

Therefore, recovery strategies for information technology should be developed so technology can be restored in time to meet the needs of the business. Manual workarounds should be part of the IT plan so business can continue while computer systems are being restored.

Business Continuity Impact Analysis

Business continuity impact analysis identifies the effects resulting from disruption of business functions and processes. It also uses information to make decisions about recovery priorities and strategies.

The Operational & Financial Impacts worksheet can be used to capture this information as discussed in Business Impact Analysis. The worksheet should be completed by business function and process managers with sufficient knowledge of the business. Once all worksheets are completed, the worksheets can be tabulated to summarize:

  • the operational and financial impacts resulting from the loss of individual business functions and process
  • the point in time when loss of a function or process would result in the identified business impacts

Those functions or processes with the highest potential operational and financial impacts become priorities for restoration. The point in time when a function or process must be recovered, before unacceptable consequences could occur, is often referred to as the “Recovery Time Objective.”

Resource Required to Support Recovery Strategies

Recovery of a critical or time-sensitive process requires resources. Business Continuity Resource Requirements should be completed by business function and process managers. Completed worksheets are used to determine the resource requirements for recovery strategies.

Following an incident that disrupts business operations, resources will be needed to carry out recovery strategies and to restore normal business operations. Resources can come from within the business or be provided by third parties. Resources include:

  • Employees
  • Office space, furniture and equipment
  • Technology (computers, peripherals, communication equipment, software and data)
  • Vital records (electronic and hard copy)
  • Production facilities, machinery and equipment
  • Inventory including raw materials, finished goods and goods in production.
  • Utilities (power, natural gas, water, sewer, telephone, internet, wireless)
  • Third party services

Since all resources cannot be replaced immediately following a loss, managers should estimate the resources that will be needed in the hours, days and weeks following an incident.

Conducting the Business Continuity Impact Analysis

The worksheets Operational and Financial Impacts and Business Continuity Resource Requirements should be distributed to business process managers along with instructions about the process and how the information will be used. After all managers have completed their worksheets, information should be reviewed. Gaps or inconsistencies should be identified. Meetings with individual managers should be held to clarify information and obtain missing information.

After all worksheets have been completed and validated, the priorities for restoration of business processes should be identified. Primary and dependent resource requirements should also be identified. This information will be used to develop recovery strategies.

Recovery Strategies

If a facility is damaged, production machinery breaks down, a supplier fails to deliver or information technology is disrupted, business is impacted and the financial losses can begin to grow. Recovery strategies are alternate means to restore business operations to a minimum acceptable level following a business disruption and are prioritized by the recovery time objectives (RTO) developed during the business impact analysis.

Recovery strategies require resources including people, facilities, equipment, materials and information technology. An analysis of the resources required to execute recovery strategies should be conducted to identify gaps. For example, if a machine fails but other machines are readily available to make up lost production, then there is no resource gap. However, if all machines are lost due to a flood, and insufficient undamaged inventory is available to meet customer demand until production is restored, production might be made up by machines at another facility—whether owned or contracted.

Strategies may involve contracting with third parties, entering into partnership or reciprocal agreements or displacing other activities within the company. Staff with in-depth knowledge of business functions and processes are in the best position to determine what will work. Possible alternatives should be explored and presented to management for approval and to decide how much to spend.

Depending upon the size of the company and resources available, there may be many recovery strategies that can be explored.

Utilization of other owned or controlled facilities performing similar work is one option. Operations may be relocated to an alternate site - assuming both are not impacted by the same incident. This strategy also assumes that the surviving site has the resources and capacity to assume the work of the impacted site. Prioritization of production or service levels, providing additional staff and resources and other action would be needed if capacity at the second site is inadequate.

Telecommuting is a strategy employed when staff can work from home through remote connectivity. It can be used in combination with other strategies to reduce alternate site requirements. This strategy requires ensuring telecommuters have a suitable home work environment and are equipped with or have access to a computer with required applications and data, peripherals, and a secure broadband connection.

In an emergency, space at another facility can be put to use. Cafeterias, conference rooms and training rooms can be converted to office space or to other uses when needed. Equipping converted space with furnishings, equipment, power, connectivity and other resources would be required to meet the needs of workers.

Partnership or reciprocal agreements can be arranged with other businesses or organizations that can support each other in the event of a disaster. Assuming space is available, issues such as the capacity and connectivity of telecommunications and information technology, protection of privacy and intellectual property, the impacts to each other’s operation and allocating expenses must be addressed. Agreements should be negotiated in writing and documented in the business continuity plan. Periodic review of the agreement is needed to determine if there is a change in the ability of each party to support the other.

There are many vendors that support business continuity and information technology recovery strategies. External suppliers can provide a full business environment including office space and live data centers ready to be occupied. Other options include provision of technology equipped office trailers, replacement machinery and other equipment. The availability and cost of these options can be affected when a regional disaster results in competition for these resources.

There are multiple strategies for recovery of manufacturing operations. Many of these strategies include use of existing owned or leased facilities. Manufacturing strategies include:

  • Shifting production from one facility to another
  • Increasing manufacturing output at operational facilities
  • Retooling production from one item to another
  • Prioritization of production—by profit margin or customer relationship
  • Maintaining higher raw materials or finished goods inventory
  • Reallocating existing inventory, repurchase or buyback of inventory
  • Limiting orders (e.g., maximum order size or unit quantity)
  • Contracting with third parties
  • Purchasing business interruption insurance

There are many factors to consider in manufacturing recovery strategies:

  • Will a facility be available when needed?
  • How much time will it take to shift production from one product to another?
  • How much will it cost to shift production from one product to another?
  • How much revenue would be lost when displacing other production?
  • How much extra time will it take to receive raw materials or ship finished goods to customers? Will the extra time impact customer relationships?
  • Are there any regulations that would restrict shifting production?
  • What quality issues could arise if production is shifted or outsourced?
  • Are there any long-term consequences associated with a strategy?

Manual Workarounds

Telephones are ringing and customer service staff is busy talking with customers and keying orders into the computer system. The electronic order entry system checks available inventory, processes payments and routes orders to the distribution center for fulfillment. Suddenly the order entry system goes down. What should the customer service staff do now? If the staff is equipped with paper order forms, order processing can continue until the electronic system comes back up and no phone orders will be lost.

The order forms and procedures for using them are examples of “manual workarounds.” These workarounds are recovery strategies for use when information technology resources are not available.

Developing Manual Workarounds

Identify the steps in the automated process - creating a diagram of the process can help. Consider the following aspects of information and work flow:

Internal Interfaces (department, person, activity and resource requirements)

  • External Interfaces (company, contact person, activity and resource requirements)
  • Tasks (in sequential order)
  • Manual intervention points

Create data collection forms to capture information and define processes for manual handling of the information collected. Establish control logs to document transactions and track their progress through the manual system.

Manual workarounds require manual labor, so you may need to reassign staff or bring in temporary assistance.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

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FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM FREEZE FAILURES

12/4/2019 (Permalink)

Source: https://county-fire.com

A Sprinkler Freeze Failure Scenario

Sprinkler systems can malfunction when temperatures drop. When any portion of a sprinkler system is exposed to freezing temperatures, water in the piping can turn to ice, expand in volume, and produce thousands of pounds of pressure. The pressure can force sprinklers to operate and break fittings. As a result, water leaks or is discharged from the system when the ice thaws. Normally sprinkler system failures, due to freezing, aren’t discovered until after the water starts to cause damage because it is discharging.

After a water discharge from a sprinkler system, building owners face property damage, business interruption, and irate tenants and customers. Most fire sprinkler contractors have the ability to eliminate the chances of a freeze failure with proper installation, but to make sure it never happens, building owners also need to be involved.

Wet System Freeze Failures

Most sprinkler systems are wet pipe systems, meaning that the piping is normally filled with water. A wet system freeze failure has two primary causes:

  1. The system lacked adequate heating
  2. The system lacked adequate insulation

Installation standards define how and where wet piping systems are supposed to be installed, but part of the responsibility rests with building owners and operators. According to NFPA 25, paragraph 4.1.1.1, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems:

“The building owner shall ensure that all areas of the building containing water-filled piping shall be maintained at a minimum temperature of 40°F (4.4°C) and not exposed to freezing conditions.”

A wet system freeze failure can occur in an area where a building used to be heated, but is now left cold or where a piece of insulation is disrupted, leaving piping exposed. In either scenario, the building owner has the ability to prevent the freeze failure with regular maintenance and inspection.

Dry System Freeze Failures

Dry sprinkler systems can also have failures due to freezing in cold conditions. A dry pipe sprinkler system is a specialized type of fire sprinkler system that is typically installed in areas of a building that is exposed to freezing temperatures. The pipes are normally dry and charged with compressed air. The compressed air holds the dry valve closed and prevents water from entering the system. When a sprinkler activates, the compressed air leaks out, the valve opens, and the system piping is filled with water. If the dry system is properly installed, the water will drain, but that doesn’t always happen.

In addition, if a dry system’s pipes are not sloped back towards the source or an auxiliary drain, the water will pool within the piping. When winter comes around, the uninsulated piping freezes, creating problems just like a wet system freeze failure. In buildings where there is a low quality of construction, this is a common scenario. Residential buildings, where construction is fast and lacks proper oversight, are particularly prone to dry system freeze failures.

How To Prevent Fire Sprinkler Freeze Failures

Ideally, all sprinkler systems would be properly designed and installed for their environment. Dry sprinkler systems would properly slope in order to drain and wet systems would be properly insulated in areas that drop below 40°F. Unfortunately, the ideal situation isn’t always a reality and you can’t just turn off a fire protection system every time it gets cold to prevent potential freezing problems.

Every year, we find dry pipe systems that are improperly installed and do not drain as a result. Building owners don’t have much control over the slope of their dry pipe systems, but they can make sure the systems are otherwise properly drained before freezing weather arrives. In a wet system, building owners and operators can ensure the pipes remain heated and insulated enough to not freeze.

To prevent a pipe freezing scenario, building owners and operators should take preparations before cold weather, routine actions during cold weather, and special precautions when a building might be unattended for an extended period of time.

What To Do Before Cold Weather

In wet sprinkler systems:

  1. Annual servicing of your heating systems will help to ensure dependability when the temperature drops. As it becomes colder, heating systems play an important role in preventing wet system freeze failures.
  2. Check all piping to verify insulation is intact.
  3. Make sure there are no major leaks or blocks (like broken ventilation) in building openings.
  4. Verify system performance and monitoring.

In dry sprinkler systems:

  1. Check air sources/air pressure.
  2. Check and operate low point drains to ensure there is no residual water in the system piping.
  3. Test low temperature and system air pressure monitoring devices.

County Fire Protection strongly recommends that all work on fire sprinkler systems be performed by trained, experienced individuals who are employed by a professional fire protection company.

What To Do During Cold Weather

Freezing of water-based fire protection systems is avoidable. Many sprinkler freeze failures occur due to inadequate building heat. Building owners who actively monitor and maintain building heat will help to reduce many fire system freeze failure impairments.

In cold building spaces where wet sprinkler systems are located, like above the ceiling, you can install thermometers that can be checked remotely. If a wet system freezing is a major concern, you should consider replacing it with a dry system. A dry system is less likely to freeze, but they still require monitoring and maintenance.

During extended periods of cold weather or vacancy, building owners should safely increase heat in all building spaces and turn off energy savings settings. Extended idle periods occur when building occupants leave for a long weekend or holiday. During these periods, building owners need to make sure suitable means of heat loss detection are maintained. Where building temperatures are detected at or below 40°F, prompt action by the building owner is needed. Every sprinkler system has a control valve. Building operators should know where the sprinkler valves are in order to turn them off in the event of a system failure.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

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Workplace Fire Prevention

10/15/2019 (Permalink)

A fire can happen anywhere and anytime. Every business MUST be prepared, for the safety of their employees.

Here are some tips on things we can do to help prevent a fire in the common workplace.

  1. Accessibility
    Always ensure accessibility to electrical control panels. Material or equipment stored in front of the panels would hinder the shutdown of power in an emergency. Also, never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment or emergency exits and observe clearances when stacking materials.
  2. Good Housekeeping
    Clutter not only provides fuel for fires, but also prevents access to exits and emergency equipment. Keep your workplace as clutter-free as possible.
  3. Proper Waste Disposal
    Discard fire hazards like oily rags by placing them in a covered metal container and emptying it on a regular basis.
  4. Maintenance
    Make sure the machines in your workplace are properly maintained to prevent overheating and friction sparks.
  5. Report Electrical Hazards
    Unless you are qualified and authorized, you should never attempt electrical repairs. Faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment are key contributors to workplace fires.
  6. Safe Chemical Use & Storage
    Always read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheet to assess flammability and other fire hazards of a substance. When using and storing chemical materials, always do so in an area with adequate ventilation.
  7. Precautions In Explosive Atmospheres
    Follow all recommended and required precautions to prevent ignition in potentially explosive atmospheres, such as those containing flammable liquid vapors or fine particles. These precautions include non-sparking tools and proper static electricity control.
  8. Maximum Building Security
    To help prevent arson fires, always lock up as instructed, report suspicious persons or behavior and never leave combustible garbage outside near your building..
  9. Smoke Areas
    Always ensure that there is a smoke area available and that all workers who smoke on the job are using it. Proper extinguishing of smoking materials should always be enforced.
  10. Fully Charged Fire Extinguishers
    Check fire extinguishers often by looking at the gauges and making sure they're fully charged and ready for use. If they're not fully charged or if the attached tag indicates that the last inspection occurred more than a month ago, call for maintenance. Also, encourage all workers to learn how to use a fire extinguisher.
  11. Emergency Numbers
    Emergency phone numbers, as well as your company address, should be posted by the phone station for quick access.

11.5 OSHA Guidelines
Adherence to OSHA's fire safety guidelines is crucial for fire prevention. Read through these regulations and make sure your workplace is in compliance.

Making sure your workers return home safely is our mission and passion. Take these 11.5 tips to your workplace and practice true fire safety, which begins before the fire even ignites.

When fire or water damage strikes, you need professional help to get your property back to preloss condition.  SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster.  Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.??

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

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Crisis Communications – Engaging Stakeholders During an Incident

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

Courtesy of The American Red Cross.

Trust is the foundation of relationships. When your organization faces an emergency, communications (or the lack thereof) to your employees, customers, and other stakeholders can support or erode that foundation. Protect your organization’s reputation and relationships by being prepared to communicate in a crisis.

In an event, you need to know who to communicate to and how and when to do so. This requires pre-planning. Make sure your emergency response plans have a communication component so you will know how to respond to each risk your organization faces. Essential components of a crisis communication plan include:

  • Stakeholders: Identify the individuals and public or private groups your organization interacts with. Internal stakeholders include employees, volunteers, members of the board of directors, etc. External stakeholders include customers, suppliers, service providers, vendors, public and regulatory authorities, and the media. Think about what information each group would need to know from you during a crisis and what you would need to know from them.
  • Spokesperson: Identify a single individual or small team that will handle dissemination and receipt of information from stakeholders.
  • Strategy: Transparency and timeliness of communications are critical during an incident. Plan in advance what and how you are going to communicate with internal and external stakeholders, including alternate ways of accessing and sharing information. General statements, also called holding statements, can be prepared in advance and are released to stakeholders during an incident before detailed facts come in. For example, an organization operating in an area affected by a hurricane would release: “Our thoughts are with those who are in harm’s way and those responding to the storm. We have implemented our crisis plan and will be supplying additional information as it becomes available.” Review and revise these statements on a regular basis to make sure they remain timely and appropriate.

In developing your communications strategy and holding statements, consider the unique environment your organization operates in. For example, is litigation a concern? If so, it is prudent to include your legal counsel.

Once you have your communications plan, make sure it is part of your emergency preparedness training. The spokesperson or communications team should practice drafting communications when plans are exercised.   

When the unexpected does occur, craft a message that is honest, clear, and concise. Foremost, assess the situation and collect facts. Your communications to stakeholders should be fact focused and not prospective. Explain what went wrong, commit to addressing the situation.

Be empathetic in your communications by including expressions of concern for those involved in the incident, your stakeholders, and the community. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ but be willing to go find the answer where appropriate. Your concern and honesty will support the trusting relationship you want to preserve through the crisis.

For more information on stakeholder identification and crisis communication, refer to Guidance on Crisis Communications and Emergency Response Notification Procedures at ReadyRating.org.


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Why Air Scrubbers Should be Used on Every Water Damage Job

9/17/2019 (Permalink)

Source: https://www.randrmagonline.com

Any water loss poses a significant opportunity for particle contamination and for microscopic bio-pollutants such as fungi (molds) and bacteria that thrive in wet indoor environments to proliferate. Even smaller water leaks or overflows of sanitary water can ultimately trigger fungal growth if wet materials are not promptly identified and thoroughly dried. 

It is very important to note that the very activities undertaken to remediate the problem can increase the risks of air contamination. For example, as forced-air drying evaporates water from surfaces, carpet and other materials, contaminants such as fungal spores and ultra-fine dirt and dust particles are likely to be released into the air. Once aerosolized (suspended in air), workers exposed to these pollutants can inhale them. Particles stirred up during remediation also create housekeeping and cleanup issues that can increase the cost of the cleanup. 

Types Of Indoor Air Pollutants

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) places air pollutants into three general categories: particulates, bio-aerosols, and volatile organic compounds (VOC), all of which may be released into the air during or following a water loss event. 

  • Particulates from building materials are primarily released into the indoor air after the event or during the remediation process as opposed to during the water loss event itself. These commonly include dirt, drywall, VCT and concrete dust, fiberglass, carpet and asbestos fibers, sawdust, smoke particles, and metal fumes.
  • Bioaerosols are particulate remains from living matter, including microbial pollutants such as bacteria, fungal spores (molds, mildews and yeasts), arthropods (dust mites), algae, insect remains, pet dander, and pollens. With the exception of plant spores and pollens, virtually all bio-aerosols fit into the 10-micron or smaller category, ranging from 0.01 microns (four one-millionths of an inch) up to one to 10 microns (four ten thousandths of an inch).
  • Volatile organic compounds are potentially harmful or irritating gas-phase derivatives released into the air when chemicals containing alcohols, ketones, hydrocarbons and aromatics vaporize. VOC are also ‘off­gassed’ from man-made materials such as carpeting and composite wood products, especially when new. Formaldehyde is one of the most frequently encountered VOC, commonly found in adhesive or bonding agents and in materials used in households or offices such as carpets, upholstery, particleboard, and plywood paneling. When released into the air it may cause health problems such as coughing, eye, nose and throat irritation, skin rashes, headaches and dizziness. 

    Using Portable Air Scrubbers to Meet IICRC S500

Air filtration devices (AFD) are one of the most versatile and important tools available for any remediation project, including water losses. They should be among the first pieces of equipment on the job and among the last to leave.


A more complete listing of the functions AFD may be required to fulfill during the water damage remediation process would include:

  1. Removing airborne particles including harmful tiny particles and bio-pollutants by continuously filtering the air in the affected environment six to eight times per hour. Six to eight air changes per hour (ACH) or more is essential to ensure proper air cleaning.
  2. Reducing job cleanup time and the potential for re-contamination of clean areas by capturing particulates that can eventually drop out of the air and settle onto surfaces.
  3. Protecting against more widespread facility air contamination by exhausting HEPA-filtered air from a contained work area at a rate sufficient to maintain negative (lower) pressure in the contained area than in adjacent areas, thus ensuring that any barrier leakage will be inward, not outward (negative pressure containment).
  4. Removing unpleasant odors and low concentrations of VOC and other gas-phase contaminants where necessary, using heavy-duty activated carbon filters and/or germicidal UV lamps.

Conclusions

Failure to properly clean the air can ultimately lead to higher facility remediation costs, worker health issues, lingering occupant health issues and complaints when the facility is reoccupied, lower job quality, and even legal actions. Any construction or restoration job inside of buildings or homes, including Category I “clean water” jobs, has the potential to release potentially harmful pollutants, allergens and toxins into the indoor environment. 

Portable Air Scrubbers are a valuable and essential tool for any water project, and very economical to use in comparison to the benefits derived by contractors, insurers building owners and occupants. They can improve safety and hygiene both during and after the remediation process, reduce job cleanup time, and help ensure that the facility can be safely reoccupied.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

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Destroy Odors with DEODORIZATION

8/16/2019 (Permalink)

Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke and soot damage in your business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems.

As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard-to-reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.

With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO® Professionals provide specialized services that can rid your business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® Professionals do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the source of the odor. Once the source is found, SERVPRO’s own proprietary line of cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable items in affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts and more.

Ask your SERVPRO® Professional to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you. If you or a customer suffer a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services, contact  SERVPRO®. Whether it’s fire, water, or mold damage or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we’ll help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

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Document Restoration

2/3/2019 (Permalink)

As a leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO® knows timely mitigation is the key to reducing severity and recovering damaged items. Water– or smoke–damaged paper can rapidly deteriorate. Without proper handling, valuable files and irreplaceable documents could be lost forever. Let SERVPRO’s Document Restoration Team help you recover your damaged paper goods before it is too late.

SERVPRO’s technicians are trained to use the most advanced technology available for document recovery and drying; in fact, the Document Restoration Team uses the same technique the Library of Congress uses to dry water-damaged books.

Vacuum Freeze Drying?

Vacuum freeze drying is the most efficient and effective way to salvage water-damaged documents. The Document Restoration Team uses
sublimation—turning a solid directly into a vapor, skipping the liquid stage to avoid causing more damage to the documents. This process can recover even the most delicate items—from documents to photographs and x-rays, to entire business archives.

All employees of the Document Restoration Team are HIPAA Master certified and once your items arrive at the SERVPRO® facility, 24/7 video surveillance is guaranteed.

Digitizing

With the new age of technology, digitizing records and documents has become a standard practice in most industries. This eliminates the need to have massive file storage rooms and allows us to access records at the click of a button. If your file room was damaged by water or smoke and needs to be cleaned, dried or decontaminated, digitizing might be a good choice to eliminate the need to have hundreds or even thousands of documents and records in storage.

Gamma Irradiation

Gamma irradiation is a process used for cleaning/disinfecting and decontaminating documents or other consumer goods.

In a CAT 3 situation (sewage or flood water), documents are not only deteriorating but are also infected with all types of bacteria. In most storm situations, you are dealing with CAT 3 water; therefore, most of the affected documents you encounter will be contaminated.

If this is the case, decontamination is always a must. In living cells, these disruptions result in damage to the DNA and other cellular structures. These photoninduced changes at the molecular level cause the death of the organism or render the organism incapable of reproduction. The gamma process does not create residuals or impart radioactivity in processed products.

Certified Destruction

Unfortunately, many businesses and government agencies have to dispose of counterfeit, faulty, expired or contaminated materials. All entities need to be certified that their products and materials are destroyed. The guarantee of certified destruction is to protect one’s liabilities, brand image or proprietary information. We guarantee certified destruction to give you peace of mind that your documents are disposed of properly.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

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Commercial Winter Weather Guidance

12/5/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

Among the biggest weather events of the winter are the recurring monster snowstorms that wallop the Northeast and wreak havoc on travel throughout the U.S. during a 6-week period from late January to early March. Frequent snowfalls are accompanied by persistent cold temperatures that prevent melting. When it is all done businesses throughout the region experience roof collapses, frozen pipes, and the logistical challenge of getting employees to work when neither roads nor transit systems can keep pace with the snow.

While these “snowpocalypse” storms receive the most attention, winter cold and storms pound many parts of the U.S. during the past year; the lessons learned from these heavy storms can help businesses elsewhere prepare for and respond to snow, ice, and freezing temperatures in 2018 and beyond. With this goal in mind, following is guidance on severe winter weather and business protection.

Use Social Media to Communicate Before, During, and After a Major Storm

Winter storms launch a “blizzard” of social media, as people across the Northeast post photos, videos, and personal anecdotes about the snow. While many of these posts help inject humor into a difficult and sometimes dangerous weather event, they also helped strangers isolated by the storm come together and commiserate. At least as important, social media serves as a way for emergency management officials to warn residents about approaching weather conditions (including how to prepare and what to do during and after a storm), and some businesses use it to stay connected with employees, customers and business partners. This allows them to communicate quickly, widely and accurately—providing such information as the opening status of the business, whether employees need to report to work, any delays in the provision of goods and services, and when updated operational information would be available. Importantly, while these same social media tools that employees use in their personal lives can be applied to post-disaster business communications at little or no cost, planning ahead is essential to finding the specific social media platforms that will work best. 

Telecommuting Should Be Part of Every Winter Weather Business Continuity Plan

Due to the rapid and heavy snow accumulation last winter in the Northeast, a number of states and localities issued widespread travel bans. Even after the bans were lifted, many roads remained impassable, and Boston’s public transit system was incapable of transporting its usual 1.2 million daily riders. For many employers, telecommuting became a vital option that allowed them to avoid a shutdown while keeping employees off of clogged or dangerous roads and stalled mass transit systems. However, for telework to be successful, employers need to plan ahead by identifying telecommuting strategies, documenting a telecommuting policy, putting in place an I/T structure to support the program, and testing the system prior to a blizzard or other emergency. 

Keep the Power On and the Business Running with Generators

Snow and ice have the potential to weigh down tree limbs and pull down power lines, causing widespread and long-lasting power outages. Although power outages associated with winter storms are not as severe as anticipated (due to the powdery light snow that falls in most areas), that is not always the case. In fact, one of the worst storms in this regard was the unprecedented 2011 Halloween nor’easter which hit when many trees were still in leaf, resulting in tree and branch collapses that caused an estimated 3.2 million commercial and residential power outages, some lasting long after the snow had been removed or melted. A commercial generator can help businesses minimize disruption when faced with such a situation, but only if one is purchased, installed, and maintained prior to the time of need. It is also critical to have effective generator safety practices in place to minimize risks to people and property, including fire, damage to electrical equipment, and, most tragically, carbon monoxide poisoning. It is also important to have contracts in place with reliable vendors  to ensure delivery of generator fuel and other critical supplies. 

Snow Removal is Essential to Keep a Clear Path to Your Business

After snowfall, it is important to clear parking lots, driveways and sidewalks to provide safe access for employees, customers and suppliers. In some jurisdictions, there are legal requirements for snow removal; but even if that is not the case, promptly removing snow and minimizing icy surfaces is important for reducing the likelihood of slips and falls, and shows customers you are open for business. Smaller snow amounts can be handled by maintenance staff (assuming the right snow removal equipment is on hand), but large accumulations generally require professional snow removal contractors. These crews are in heavy demand after a storm, so it is critical to have outside service contracts in place prior to the first snowfall of the season. When selecting a contractor, it is important to make sure the people who remove your snow/ice will show up as anticipated, do a thorough job, and work within previously negotiated price guidelines.

  • Make sure the contract covers all of your needs (e.g., parking lots, driveways, walkways, roofs).
  • Look for an established, licensed and bonded professional.
  • Check references.
  • Ask to see the contractor’s certificates of insurance. Make sure coverage for liability and workers’ compensation insurance is current.

Beyond the big headline blizzards, severe winter weather can occur in many parts of the U.S. from late fall until early spring. By the time these storms are broadcast by local forecasters, it may be too late to put in place the measures needed to remove heavy snow and ice, protect roof systems and water pipes, and keep employees and operations productive. With advance planning, businesses can minimize “snowpocalypse” disruption as they wait for warmer weather to arrive.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

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Last-Minute Winter Weather Checklist

10/24/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

Prepare for a Power Outage

Heavy snow and high winds are a recipe for widespread power outages. It’s important to prepare a plan now before a possible outage.

Prevent Roof Collapse

If heavy snow begins to accumulate on your roof, remove the snow with a snow rake and a long extension arm that will allow you to remove the snow while standing safely on the ground. Find additional guidance at disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/prevent-roof-collapse.

Stay Safe and Warm

Inspect your source of heat for any damage which can cause a fire and result in costly property damage. Also, remove combustible items placed near a heat source. For more information, check IBHS’  guide on alternative heating at disastersafety.org/wp-content/uploads/alternative-heating.pdf.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Prevent costly water damage caused by frozen pipes by:

  • providing a reliable back-up power source to ensure continuous power to the building;
  • insulating all attic penetrations;
  • ensuring proper seals on all doors and windows; and
  • sealing all cracks and openings in exterior walls.

Additional guidance is available at disastersafety.org/wp-content/uploads/Freezing-Bursting-Pipes_IBHS.pdf.

Know Your Winter Weather Alerts

When severe winter weather is on its way, it’s important you know and understand what each alert means so you can respond accordingly. Learn more about alerts at disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/finding-meaning-in-winter-weather-forecasts.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Reduce Flood Damage to Businesses

10/6/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

Your plan for disaster preparedness should include flood information and outline how to prepare for floods. Read on for information about floods and flood safety tips, and how to make them part of your emergency preparedness plan as you prepare for a flood.

Types Of Flooding

Topography and weather conditions play a prominent role in the impact different types of flooding have on specific locales. The following are some examples of specific types of flooding.

  • Rising water may be the greatest risk to inland areas away from a river bed after a heavy snow pack begins to melt or after heavy rainfall.
  • Moving water is a serious risk in areas near rivers or in coastal storm surge areas because it creates significantly larger lateral forces on a building.
  • Overtopping, breaching or opening of dams, levees, and other flood control mechanisms, which are designed to divert the flow of water to provide protection, can lead to flood damage that may be more significant than if the levees were never installed. The Mississippi and Missouri River floods of 2011 included breaches of levees, as well as controlled flooding by the opening of various flood gates on levees. The result was thousands of acres of farmland, crops, livestock and fish farms being destroyed to protect urban areas.
  • Flash flooding can occur in every region as a result of slow-moving thunderstorms or excessive rainfall from any storm system.
  • Large, slow-moving tropical storms can dump excessive amounts of rain on coastal locations and then move inland to continue the devastation, resulting in widespread flood damage.

Floods can occur anywhere, often with little or no warning, and with devastating consequences. Protecting the bottom line in order to remain open, or to re-open quickly after a flood disaster, requires taking steps now to prevent or reduce flood damage should your business be in the path of rising water. Below is a brief overview of issues that small businesses must address to reduce the likelihood of flood damage and to prepare financially and operationally should a flood occur. Many of the topics covered here involve complex issues that are best addressed by hydrological, engineering, regulatory or insurance experts; the goal here is simply to outline the basics in order to help business owners understand why they need to mitigate against flood risk and some of the challenges they may face.

Tropical Storm Allison (2001): A Case Study in Flooding

Often, businesses and homeowners let down their guard when a tropical weather system does not result in hurricane-force winds. Tropical Storm Allison is a good example of how rains associated with a tropical system can be equally devastating. The storm dumped approximately 32 trillion gallons of rain (enough to meet U.S. water needs for an entire year), according to the Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project. This included 28 inches of rainfall during a 12-hour period just northeast of downtown Houston, and rainfall amounts ranging from 10, 20 and 30 inches in locations throughout the Southeast—earning Allison the infamous distinction as the costliest tropical storm in U.S. history.

Understanding Your Flood Hazard

There are several flood principles that should be considered to determine your facility’s exposure to flood waters and the type of protection to be deployed:

  • Duration: It is important to know if flood waters are expected to recede quickly or may be trapped due to the slope of the land. The longer a facility is exposed to flood waters, the greater potential for flood-proofing failures due to a breach in the protection.
  • Depth: Flood waters greater than 3 feet create hydrostatic pressure on walls that can cause cracks in masonry and greatly increase the potential of collapse to unreinforced masonry. When estimating the potential depth of flood waters, it is always best to include a safety factor to account for inaccuracies in the estimate.
  • Velocity: As flood water velocity increases, so does the pressure exerted on flood protection. River flooding can be very fast moving water at first and then may settle down. Coastal locations may be exposed to wave action from storm surge.
  • Water Condition: Many times flood waters are dirty, brackish or contaminated with biological and chemical materials including waste water, sewage, pesticides, industrial waste, toxic and non-toxic chemicals, or oils. Debris that is churning in the water can impact buildings and flood protection systems, create breaches in the protection and cause extensive damage.

Location, Location, Location

Proximity to water is the number 1 risk factor for flooding, but property owners should not assume being out of the floodplain will help you entirely avoid the possibility of flooding. It is always a best practice to locate your property as far away from bodies of water as possible. Flood maps available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identify 100-year and 500-year flood zones throughout the United States. The flood zones also delineate participation in the NFIP, as well as permitting and other requirements that communities adopt in order to meet NFIP standards and qualify their citizens for lower flood insurance rates. By definition, the 100-year and 500-year flood zones mean there is a 1 (.20) percent chance of flooding annually in an area based on topography and historical data; it does not mean that flooding will occur only once in a century (or 500 years). There also are other important points to consider.

  • Floods can and very often do occur outside the 100-year flood zone. In fact, approximately 25 percent of all flood damages occur in relatively low risk zones commonly described as being “outside the mapped flood zone.”
  • Specific boundaries on some flood maps may be arbitrary or include inaccuracies. For example, a property lying just outside the 100-year flood zone is almost equally likely to be flooded as one just within.
  • Obstructions or landfill can change the topography, storm-water drainage patterns, and flow of water over natural floodplains. Although permits are required for flood zone fill (and must be based on engineering assessments demonstrating “no impact”), it is possible that non-permitted work has occurred near your property.
  • Floods show no respect for the estimated probabilities. As Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Craig Fugate observed following a spate of natural disasters, “It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves. The term ‘100-year event’ really lost its meaning this year.”

The Importance of Elevation

When it comes to flooding, there really is no better solution than adequate elevation, aside from choosing a location well outside of a 500-year flood plain. If such a location is not possible, the best way to increase the safety margin against flood damage is to raise the elevation of your building above the 500-year flood elevation. Flood-proofing your building is another option to reduce damage. Through the NFIP, there is extensive regulation of floodplain development at the community level.

Permits are needed for a wide range of activities including construction of new buildings, additions to existing buildings, and substantial improvement to the interior of existing buildings that are within the most hazardous flood zones. Part of the permitting process involves whether your building site is higher than the base flood elevation (BFE), which is the elevation at which your property has a 1 percent chance of flooding annually, as indicated on the NFIP flood maps. Major storms and flash floods can cause waters to rise higher than the BFE—therefore, it is always a good investment to build in a safety factor several feet above the BFE. This safety zone is called “freeboarding.”

 

For example, IBHS’s FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ Standards, a package of enhanced voluntary construction standards that greatly increase a new light commercial building’s durability and resilience to natural hazards, requires FORTIFIED buildings to be at least 3 feet above the BFE or above the 500-year flood elevation. There are also ways to retrofit your existing building so that it meets or exceeds BFEs. While only a structural engineer/design professional can determine what is right for your property, the options include raising foundation onto pilings or columns or adding landfill, as long as “no impact” floodplain requirements are met.

  • When elevating a building so that the walking surface of the lowest floor is at the minimum elevation, areas under the BFE can be used only for parking and limited storage—under-floor bathrooms, utilities, and ductwork are not allowed.
  • Equipment, utility connections and all interior utility systems including ductwork must be elevated above the BFE. In addition, fuel and propane tanks must be properly anchored, since they can become buoyant even in shallow water.

What is “Dry Flood-Proofing”?

Sealing a building so that water will not enter is called “dry flood-proofing” or “flood-proofing.” Flood-proofing protects your building by coating the exterior with a membrane to prevent flood waters from entering. NFIP regulations allow flood-proofing as an alternative to elevation above the BFE for newly constructed or substantially improved non-residential structures only—new and improved homes must be elevated above the BFE to meet NFIP requirements. It is important to determine whether dry flood-proofing will provide the protections your property needs before choosing this option. This also applies if your business is located outside the 100-year flood zone, but you want to invest in additional flood protection. Dry flood-proofing is a complex procedure that should be done by professional experts. If done incorrectly, it may not protect your property and can lead to decay, mold, or termite damage:

  • As a general matter, dry flood-proofing is best suited to areas with clay soils where floods are short in duration and less than 3 feet deep.
  • Buildings in poor structural condition should not be dry flood-proofed, as the exterior walls will be under extreme pressure during a flood.

There are a variety of dry flood-proofing measures; a professional can help to determine whether any of them are right for your situation:

  • Applying a waterproof coating or membrane to exterior walls
  • Sealing all wall penetrations including where utilities enter the building
  • Installing waterproof shields over all openings, including windows and doors
  • Anchoring the building to resist flotation
  • Strengthening walls to withstand flood water pressures and flood debris

The Vulnerable Basement

Even above the BFE or outside the floodplain, basements are prone to floods because water may flow down into them. They also may have an increased hydrostatic pressure exerted upon them when the surrounding ground is saturated. Recognizing that elevation is the best form of mitigation, there are a number of additional measures business owners can take to reduce the likelihood and scope of basement flood damage.

  • Thoroughly inspect your basement and the surrounding property for evidence of water entry and sources of water flow and leakage.
  • Correct potential problems—for example, extend and redirect downspouts, re-grade sloping landscape, and caulk any interior wall cracks.
  • Basement walls should be designed to resist hydrostatic pressure.
  • Use flood-resistant materials where possible, including floor coverings, wall coverings, and wall insulation. Most flood-resistant materials can withstand direct contact with water for at least 72 hours without being significantly damaged.
  • Do not store valuable equipment, documents, or inventory in any crawlspace or basement where flooding is possible.

The “Green” Factor

In addition, there are steps you can take now to reduce health and environmental damage should a flood occur.

  • Anchor fuel and propane tanks to prevent them from being swept away. When they break away, the contents may leak, creating fire, explosion and pollution risks that can adversely affect health and the environment.
  • Install sewer backflow valves to block drain pipes from sewage back-up, which can occur if there is flooding in your area.
  • If you are supplied by well water, protect your well from contamination. A licensed well drilling contractor can inspect your well and suggest improvements.

Financial and Operational Protections

The NFIP makes flood insurance available to commercial owners and renters. As is the case with residential property, costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk. NFIP coverage limits are up to $500,000 for a commercial building, and up to $500,000 to protect its contents. Insurance coverage also may be available from private insurance companies, depending on your business’s location, building and business characteristics, and property value.

The best way to learn more about flood insurance benefits, costs, and options is to contact your insurance agent. Finally, take steps now so you can quickly resume operations should a flood or other hazard damage your property. Although flood insurance may cover losses to your structure and contents, many businesses that are severely damaged never fully recover financially due to the loss of management focus, employees, and market share. IBHS’ Open for Business® planning tool helps small- and mid-sized businesses resume their critical business operations and work processes and deliver the goods and services expected by customers or clients–consider it a vital part of your flood preparation planning and practice.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

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Is your workplace prepared in the event of a fire?

10/6/2018 (Permalink)

Source: http://www.huffinsurance.com

Author:  

What would you say is the biggest cause of workplace fires? It's not equipment failure. It's not electrical faults. It's not storms or natural disasters. It's people and carelessness.

Every year, in more than 70,000 workplace fires across North America, an average 200 people die, thousands are injured and many firms are either put out of business or severely disrupted.

October is Fire Protection Week in the US and Canada, so now is a good time to review and remind employees of safety rules. A few simple steps will help identify and reduce risks. Things like:

  1. Assessing your buildings for risks -- I'd make that a visual inspection tour
  2. Reducing clutter and keeping escape routes clear
  3. Storing flammable chemicals under lock and key
  4. Locating heat-producing equipment, even coffee-makers, away from flammable material
  5. Checking building security to prevent possible arson fires
  6. Enforcing no-smoking or designated area rules
  7. Checking fire extinguisher service and replacement dates
  8. Ensuring employees know how to operate extinguishers
  9. Enforcing rules for the use of spark - and fire-producing equipment
  10. Conducting permitted, controlled burning/fires a safe distance from buildings
  11. Checking operation of fire and smoke alarms

It's even more important that employees know what to do if fire does break out. Even if it's not mandatory, you should have a written emergency action plan that includes details of evacuation routes, location of assembly points, procedures for raising the alarm and, if appropriate, a written list of individuals and their responsibilities.

As much as everyone loathes them, evacuations should be practiced at least once a year. It's a good idea to alert employees of an intention to have a practice drill but not to tell them exactly when it will happen.

Here are a couple of documents you may find useful in drawing up or reviewing your plans:http://tinyurl.com/fire-evac-1 and http://tinyurl.com/fire-evac-2

And if you'd like to know more about Fire Safety Week or get other information about fire safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association, a US-based global organization, at www.nfpa.org

Finally, please make sure you have adequate insurance in place, not just against property damage and liability arising from fires but also coverage to protect you against income losses arising from business disruption.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Fire Safety - The Escape Plan

8/17/2018 (Permalink)

Source: http://www.huffinsurance.com/blog/entryid/3927/fire-safety-the-escape-plan

Author: 

Whether it was at school, or at work in an office building, we have all been through fire drills numerous times during our lifetimes.  But let me ask you this.  Have you ever had a fire drill at your home?

I bet if I put this poll out there to the public, the “NO” answer would win by a staggering majority.  And at this point, I admit that I would be in the majority with my answer.  But after reading up on this subject, that will change in the not so distant future. 

The first few steps of the plan involves preparation.

  • Make sure that you have smoke alarms in the right areas of your home and that testing them to make sure they are functional.  The old adage of having one alarm on each floor does not apply anymore.  You should have one alarm in each bedroom, one outside of each bedroom, and at least one on the other floors in the home.  And it is best to have interconnected alarms throughout the home, so when one alarm is triggered, all of the alarms sound at once.  
  • Make sure your house number is CLEARLY visible from the road.  You do not want to delay the fire department from getting to your home.
  • Make sure everyone knows the emergency numbers to call, even small children.  
  • Then you need to pull your household members together and make a plan.  Start by walking through the home and locating ALL possible escape routes.  IF you have younger children, you may want to consider drawing up a floor map with the exits clearly mapped (we have all seen these types of maps in hotels before).  
  • Make sure each room above ground level has an escape ladder and that everyone is trained and knows how to use the ladders.  During a fire, a window might just be the only way out, and you do not want to learn on the fly during a fire.
  • Designate an outside meeting place for to gather after evacuating the house.  And make sure you mark the meeting place on your escape plan.  This is the best way to account for all household members during the hectic emergency event.
  • If there are infants, small children, or adults with mobility problems, make sure the plan designate who is responsible for getting them to safety, with backups designated.  The last thing you want to happen is to assume someone else is getting them and then get outside to realize that no one did.
  • Go over your plan on a regular basis to make sure everyone understands their responsibilities and know the best way out should a fire occur.

Putting your Plan to the test:

  • Practice your plan at least twice per year.  And make the drill as realistic as possible, including having a drill in the middle of the night occasionally.  This is important so you can see if there are household members who will not be awakened by the smoke alarms.  This needs to be noted so responsibility can be assigned to get them up and out should there be a fire in the middle of the night.
  • In a fire, you will not always be able to just walk out of the front or back doors.  So practice exiting the house from the windows.  And if you have more than on floor, practice using the escape ladders from the second floor windows.
  • Fires happen and the can be devastating, so having a plan and knowing what to do beforehand and make a difference between making it out safely and not making it out.  Sadly, no plan can ever guarantee that you will make it out safely, but having plan and practicing the plan, will increase your odds of doing so.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Is your workplace prepared in the event of a fire?

7/30/2018 (Permalink)

Source: http://www.huffinsurance.com/blog/entryid/11552/fire-safety-and-preparation-for-the-workplace

Author: Jerry Nicklow

What would you say is the biggest cause of workplace fires? It's not equipment failure. It's not electrical faults. It's not storms or natural disasters. It's people and carelessness.

Every year, in more than 70,000 workplace fires across North America, an average 200 people die, thousands are injured and many firms are either put out of business or severely disrupted.

Now is a good time to review and remind employees of safety rules. A few simple steps will help identify and reduce risks. Things like:

  1. Assessing your buildings for risks -- I'd make that a visual inspection tour
  2. Reducing clutter and keeping escape routes clear
  3. Storing flammable chemicals under lock and key
  4. Locating heat-producing equipment, even coffee-makers, away from flammable material
  5. Checking building security to prevent possible arson fires
  6. Enforcing no-smoking or designated area rules
  7. Checking fire extinguisher service and replacement dates
  8. Ensuring employees know how to operate extinguishers
  9. Enforcing rules for the use of spark - and fire-producing equipment
  10. Conducting permitted, controlled burning/fires a safe distance from buildings
  11. Checking operation of fire and smoke alarms

It's even more important that employees know what to do if fire does break out.  Even if it's not mandatory, you should have a written emergency action plan that includes details of evacuation routes, location of assembly points, procedures for raising the alarm and, if appropriate, a written list of individuals and their responsibilities.

As much as everyone loathes them, evacuations should be practiced at least once a year. It's a good idea to alert employees of an intention to have a practice drill but not to tell them exactly when it will happen.

Here are a couple of documents you may find useful in drawing up or reviewing your plans:http://tinyurl.com/fire-evac-1 and http://tinyurl.com/fire-evac-2

And if you'd like to know more about Fire Safety Week or get other information about fire safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association, a US-based global organization, at www.nfpa.org

Finally, please make sure you have adequate insurance in place, not just against property damage and liability arising from fires but also coverage to protect you against income losses arising from business disruption.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile - It Works!

7/3/2018 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile has been adopted by many of our clients, and in some cases, has shortened the response time of our services, saving our clients downtime and secondary damage costs.

It's simple and easy to implement, securely placing critical business information in a cloud location available to our client and SERVPRO.  Information that is available when access to your business is not.

When you consider you business continuity plan, consider implementing the SERVPRO ERP.

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile 

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile is a startup approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information.  By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business can receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage:

  • 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 SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. – You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and is 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.” 

The Best Way to Reduce Business Interruption Following a Disaster is to Plan For it NOW.

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 help to minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do, who to call and what to expect in advance is helpful in receiving timely mitigation and can help minimize the effects water and fire damage can have on your business.

Are You Ready?

Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself, are you ready for whatever happens?

Call Today to Get Started!

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

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WHEN DISASTER STRIKES

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

When a storm or disaster strikes, SERVPRO’s
Disaster Recovery Team® is poised and “Ready for whatever happens.” With a network of more
than 1,700 Franchises, the SERVPRO® System strives to be faster to any size disaster.

Strategically located throughout the United States, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team® is trained and equipped to handle the largest storms
and highest flood waters. Providing experience, manpower, equipment, and other resources, the Disaster Recovery Team® assists local SERVPRO® Franchises. SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team® has responded to hundreds of disaster events. In the aftermath of a disaster, there is only one objective: to help you make it
“Like it never even happened.”

2016 East Tennessee Wildfires: One of the largest in the history of Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains wildfires burned more than 17,000 acres and about 2,500 structures in November 2016. The 12 crews that were dispatched worked a total of 78 jobs, where they mitigated over $1 million in damages. 

2016 Hurricane Matthew: Following the East Coast from Florida up to North Carolina, this hurricane caused major flooding, primarily as rivers rose in Eastern North Carolina. SERVPRO® had 169 crews dispatched. These crews took on more than 1,050 jobs and over $7.5 million in damages.

2016 Louisiana Flooding: Catastrophic flooding occurred in Southern Louisiana where rainfall measured 20 inches or more total, falling at a rate of more than 2-3 inches per hour in some places. This caused rivers and inland waterways to rise to record levels. The Disaster Recovery Team® responded to over 830 jobs with 185 crews.

2016 Houston, TX Flooding: In April, a nearly stationary mesoscale convective system developed over Houston, resulting in widespread rainfall rates of 2-4 inches per hour. This was a historic flooding event for Harris County, which saw a total of nearly 18 inches of accumulated rainfall. The Storm Team dispatched 81 crews to over 360 jobs, mitigating over $3 million in damages.

2015 Siberian Express: Record sub- zero temperatures caused major problems for a large portion of the country stretching from Florida to Maine. The Midwest also experienced record- breaking low temperatures, resulting in frozen pipes and ice dams causing major problems for residents. The Storm Team dispatched a total of 257 crews from 108 Franchises to assist local SERVPRO® Franchises completing nearly 2,000 jobs.

2014 Mid-Atlantic Flooding: Rainfall rates up to 2 inches per hour caused major flash flooding stretching from Northeast Ohio all the way to Portland, Maine. Eastern Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland, were also impacted, creating over 1,381 jobs for the Storm Team to produce. A total of 82 SERVPRO® Franchises and 173 crews mitigated over $4.3 million in damages while assisting the local Franchises.

2014 Polar Vortex: Record low temperatures caused by a break in the North Pole’s polar vortex resulted in an WHEN DISASTER STRIKES unprecedented freezing event, spanning from east of the Rocky Mountains to as far south as central Florida, affecting all or part of 39 states and 70% of the SERVPRO® Franchise System.

2013 Colorado Floods: Heavy rainfall, with amounts up to 17 inches in some areas, resulted in widespread flooding in Fort Collins, Boulder, and surrounding Colorado mountain communities. The Disaster Recovery Team® responded with 109 crews from 48 Franchises to assist the local SERVPRO® Franchises in the emergency response.

2012 Hurricane Sandy: Affecting more than 20 states, Sandy left widespread damage and flooding from Florida stretching the entire eastern seaboard to Maine. The Disaster Recovery Team®
placed nearly 1,000 crews in affected areas, representing over 300 SERVPRO® Franchises from across the country. Teams traveled from as far as Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

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Proper Air Duct Cleaning in Businesses

10/6/2017 (Permalink)

What You Need to Know About Air Duct Cleaning

Air duct cleaning is a misnomer. In actuality, the entire HVAC system should be cleaned. Failure to clean all components of the system can result in recontamination of the entire system, thus minimizing the benefits of cleaning.

Just as you wouldn’t clean only half of your living room floor, you also would not want to clean only part of your HVAC system. NADCA recommends cleaning the entire HVAC system, including the following components:

  • air ducts
  • coils
  • drain pan
  • registers
  • grills
  • air plenum
  • blower motor and assembly
  • heat exchanger
  • air filter
  • air cleaner

There are two key components to HVAC cleaning: breaking contaminants loose, and collection of contaminants.

Breaking Contaminants Loose

Properly cleaning HVAC systems requires removing the sources of contamination. Source removal begins with the use of one or more agitation devices designed to loosen contaminants from the surfaces within the heating and air conditioning system. Examples of agitation devices include: brushes, air whips and compressed air nozzles or “skipper balls.” Agitation can also be achieved through hand-brushing or contact vacuuming.

Collection of Contaminants

During cleaning, the entire HVAC system is placed under continuous negative pressure (a vacuum) to prevent the spread of contaminants. Continuous negative pressure allows very fine particles to be removed from the system as they become airborne, ensuring that these particles are not released into the living space when the system is turned on after cleaning. This negative pressure also serves to extract the loosened contaminants, which are collected and removed from your home.

System Access

HVAC system cleaning is not a complex process, but each job is unique. Where possible, access to duct interiors should be made through existing openings such as supply diffusers, return grills, duct end caps and existing service openings. Cleaning technicians may need to cut access holes in the duct work in order to reach inside with various cleaning tools. Creation of these service openings, and their subsequent closure, requires craftsmanship and professional skills.

Equipment Requirements

There is a wide variety of equipment available to HVAC cleaning professionals. Both truck-mounted and portable vacuums can be used to stop the spread of contaminants and get the system cleaned to the NADCA Standard.

Antimicrobial Chemicals

Antimicrobial chemicals include sanitizers, disinfectants and deodorizers that can be applied to nonporous surfaces in HVAC systems to address microbial contamination and help control odors. Only chemicals registered with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can be used. These products should only be considered after mechanical surface cleaning has been performed and if the need for such treatment has been deemed necessary. Review the NADCA White Paper on Chemical Applications in HVAC Systems for more information. 

When fire or water damage strikes, you need professional help to get your property back to preloss condition.  SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster.  Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.??

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

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Workplace Fire Prevention

10/6/2017 (Permalink)

A fire can happen anywhere and anytime. Here are some tips on things we can do to help prevent a fire in the common workplace.

  1. Accessibility
    Always ensure accessibility to electrical control panels. Material or equipment stored in front of the panels would hinder the shutdown of power in an emergency. Also, never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment or emergency exits and observe clearances when stacking materials.

  2. Good Housekeeping
    Clutter not only provides fuel for fires, but also prevents access to exits and emergency equipment. Keep your workplace as clutter-free as possible.

  3. Proper Waste Disposal
    Discard fire hazards like oily rags by placing them in a covered metal container and emptying it on a regular basis.

  4. Maintenance
    Make sure the machines in your workplace are properly maintained to prevent overheating and friction sparks.

  5. Report Electrical Hazards
    Unless you are qualified and authorized, you should never attempt electrical repairs. Faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment are key contributors to workplace fires.

  6. Safe Chemical Use & Storage
    Always read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheet to assess flammability and other fire hazards of a substance. When using and storing chemical materials, always do so in an area with adequate ventilation.

  7. Precautions In Explosive Atmospheres
    Follow all recommended and required precautions to prevent ignition in potentially explosive atmospheres, such as those containing flammable liquid vapors or fine particles. These precautions include non-sparking tools and proper static electricity control.

  8. Maximum Building Security
    To help prevent arson fires, always lock up as instructed, report suspicious persons or behavior and never leave combustible garbage outside near your building..

  9. Smoke Areas
    Always ensure that there is a smoke area available and that all workers who smoke on the job are using it. Proper extinguishing of smoking materials should always be enforced.

  10. Fully Charged Fire Extinguishers
    Check fire extinguishers often by looking at the gauges and making sure they're fully charged and ready for use. If they're not fully charged or if the attached tag indicates that the last inspection occurred more than a month ago, call for maintenance. Also, encourage all workers to learn how to use a fire extinguisher.

  11. Emergency Numbers
    Emergency phone numbers, as well as your company address, should be posted by the phone station for quick access.

11.5 OSHA Guidelines
Adherence to OSHA's fire safety guidelines is crucial for fire prevention. Read through these regulations and make sure your workplace is in compliance.

Making sure your workers return home safely is our mission and passion. Take these 11.5 tips to your workplace and practice true fire safety, which begins before the fire even ignites.

When fire or water damage strikes, you need professional help to get your property back to preloss condition.  SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster.  Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.??

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Why Regular Carpet Cleaning is Important

8/25/2017 (Permalink)

Why Regular Carpet Cleaning is Important

Carpet cleaning can be a bothersome chore. However, the reward of restoring the freshness and beauty back to our carpets is very often worth the efforts. Carpets without proper cleaning quickly lose its beauty in due time. The soiling of carpets can unfold rather fast, even with regularly vacuuming and spot cleaning. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why carpet cleaning is so important.

It prolongs the life span of the carpet.

Vacuuming does help but there are dirt and grime that sinks deep within the fibers. They become hard to clean. They even make the carpet look old and discolored. Regular carpet cleaning in intervals of 12 to 18 months sustains longer life span. It also maintains the beauty of the carpet as if it is only several months old since purchased.

It removes stains, restoring the carpet back an unblemished state.

Carpet stains often mar the look of a carpet and make our living space less pleasant-looking. Carpet stains appear all the time from the dirt carried inside from the soles of shoes, to spilt coffee, wine and other drinks, to pet accidents and more. Deep carpet cleaning can separate the dirt from the carpets, bringing it back to an unblemished and pleasant-looking state.

It lessens pollutants.

The carpet is an effective trap of various particles. Dirt, dust, pet dander, and insect allergens are regulars of home carpet. Regular carpet cleaning helps lessen or completely eliminate these pollutants. The use of special sanitizers like carpet shampoo kills the bacteria from these particles. Would you believe that the average home toilet seat is cleaner than the average home carpet?

It prevents insect infestation.

There are insects that are hard to notice when they are on the carpet’s surface. Sometimes, adaptive coloration makes cockroaches and mites to stay on it until they release eggs. They also leave body fragments like shed skin. With regular carpet cleaning, you do not clean the carpet alone but also kills insects and prevents possible infestation.

It eliminates bad odor.

The dust, insects, urine and various pollutants on the carpet emit foul odor. They also increase the chances that some organisms like bacteria and fungi will soon thrive on the carpet. The bad odor is itself a sign of an unhealthy environment. Regular carpet cleaning will not only eliminate bad odor. It will also hinder these harmful organisms from being carpet mainstays.

It contributes to overall home appeal.

A well-maintained and regularly cleaned carpet is a sign of a well-maintained home. It leaves an impression that the homeowner is careful and meticulous of how his house looks and appeals to his guests. More often than not, a clean home carpet reflects that other things and other parts within the house also shows equal cleanliness.

It protects your investment

Regular carpet cleaning treats your carpet as a great investment. It doesn’t matter how cheap or how expensive you’ve bought it. This is an effort that maintains beauty, color, and the pattern or designs of your carpet longer than you could imagine. It can even make your carpet a legacy passed to your children.

Summary & Next Steps

Regular home carpet cleaning should not be taken for granted. Summing up, the importance it brings comes down to adding beauty wherever that may be.

Manual (hand wash) carpet cleaning of homes can be a tedious, if not impossible process. Fortunately, there are many models of home carpet cleaning machines that allow the process to be much easier.

On top of your own carpet cleaning routines, you may also consider engaging qualified professional cleaning services for an expert review of your carpets. Here at SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County we have the most up to date equipment to do a job well done. You can always give us a call for professional advice on the matter at hand.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

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Why Carpet Maintenance is Important in The Workplace

8/11/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO can remove most staining from carpets.

Maintenance Protects your Investment Flooring is a substantial investment —one you’ll want to protect for years to come. After all, the longer your flooring lasts, the less it costs. The initial cost for floor covering materials and installation does not fully encompass your total floor covering investment. The life cycle cost also factors in life expectancy of the carpet, costs for removal/disposal, lost revenues during renovations and maintenance costs over the life of the carpet.

Good maintenance helps protect your total flooring investment.

Maintenance Helps Carpet Last Longer and Cost Less Proactive, regularly scheduled maintenance removes soil before it can build up and damage carpet fibers. This can actually extend the life of the carpet, reducing the costs of restoration, replacement and disposal. Reactive maintenance cannot fully restore a carpet to a like-new appearance. This results in shorter carpet life and higher carpet life cycle costs.

Maintenance Is Good for the Environment

Our life cycle analysis of carpet shows that the overall environmental footprint of carpet is reduced by increasing the amount of time a carpet remains on the floor. A consistent, proactive maintenance program can significantly improve the appearance retention throughout the life of the carpet. Less carpet waste going to landfills is always good for the environment.

Creating a Carpet Maintenance Program

Once the importance of proper carpet maintenance is understood, we can create a comprehensive maintenance program for you.

Step 1: Make Preventive Maintenance a Priority Preventing soil from entering the environment is easier and less expensive than removing it from the carpet.

Here are five simple but important steps in a preventive maintenance program:

Keep Outside Areas Clean Outside maintenance helps minimize immediate sources of soil. The cleaner you keep sidewalks, parking lots, garages and other areas around the perimeter of your building, the less dirt that will be tracked inside.

Use Soil Barriers Walk-off mats, grates and removable elevator carpets help collect soil before it can be tracked throughout the building. Be sure soil barriers are large enough to allow for at least five steps across.

Vacuum daily, clean frequently and change often for best results. Protect Desk Areas Chair pads under desk chairs prevent casters from crushing carpet and grinding in soil. Specify eating, drinking and smoking areas By restricting these activities to limited areas, you can help confine certain difficult kinds of soil.

Maintain your HVAC System To remove many airborne particles before they are recirculated, regularly replace or clean filters on air-handling equipment. Airborne soil includes industrial wastes, auto emissions, tobacco smoke and pollen.

Step 2: Manage Soil with Regular Vacuuming Vacuuming is the most important dry soil management procedure. Effective vacuuming removes dry soil so that it cannot spread to other carpeted areas.

The level of effective vacuuming has two components: frequency and equipment type. Vacuuming Frequency

• Heavy- to moderate-traffic areas (entrances, elevator lobbies, reception areas, busy corridors, cafeterias, vending machine areas, employee lounges) should be vacuumed daily.

• Light-traffic areas (offices, conference rooms) should be vacuumed at least two to three times per week. Equipment Type

• Dual-motor vacuums are very effective machines for thoroughly cleaning heavy- to moderate traffic areas. This vacuum uses two motors to clean. One motor drives a beater-brush bar that knocks dirt loose, while the second motor provides suction that pulls dirt into the vacuum bag.

• Single-motor vacuums can be very effective machines depending upon their design. For the most part, they should only be used in light-traffic areas. They are generally less powerful than dual-motor vacuums, but easier to maneuver around furniture.

• Detail vacuums can be used to clean around the edges of a room or in confined areas around furniture.

• Carpet sweepers may be used to remove larger particle-sized surface dirt and small litter in high-visibility areas during the business day. However, they are not an effective cleaning method and should not take the place of thorough vacuuming.

The Carpet and Rug Institute has identified vacuum cleaners that meet industry criteria for removal efficacy, particulate emission and carpet damage.

Step 3: Promptly Remove Spills and Stains Although spills are inevitable, permanent stains do not have to be. Most stains can be avoided or removed by immediate, or at least same-day, treatment. It is good practice to have spot and stain removal products and equipment on hand for immediate use.

Correct identification of spots and stains is the first step in proper removal because some types of spills may require special cleaning solutions and techniques.

But for most spills, the basic removal procedure is the same:

1. Blot as much of the spill as you can with an absorbent towel. Always work toward the center of the spill. Do not rub! If the spill is solid or semisolid, gently scrape off what you can using a dull knife.

2. Apply a general-purpose carpet spotter to the spill. This is a detergent solution that is specially made for use on carpets. Never use other kinds of cleaning solutions, such as bleach. These may permanently damage the carpet.

3. Tamp or pat in the carpet spotter with a tamping brush.

4. Wait three minutes, then blot again.

5. Rinse with clean water, then blot as dry as possible. If the stain remains, repeat the entire process. If the stain persists after the second time, contact us here at SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County.

Step 4: Renew your Carpet with Proactive, Periodic Cleaning Even the most effective, consistent vacuuming may leave some soil behind.

Periodic cleaning improves the appearance and extends the life of carpet. Periodic cleaning also removes oily, sticky soil from the carpet that attracts and holds additional soil. Depending on soiling conditions and other factors, there are a number of available cleaning methods. Your choice of method should be based on what will be the most effective and compatible with your carpet and its traffic levels.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile Continues To Improve

8/11/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO's Emergency READY Profile

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile 

SERVPRO Industries continues to make improvements to its already successful Emergency READY Profile.

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile is a startup approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information.  By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business can receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage:

  • 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 SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. – You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and is 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.” 

The Best Way to Reduce Business Interruption Following a Disaster is to Plan For it NOW.

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 help to minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do, who to call and what to expect in advance is helpful in receiving timely mitigation and can help minimize the effects water and fire damage can have on your business.

Are You Ready?

Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself, are you ready for whatever happens?

Call Today to Get Started!

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Crisis Communication

10/21/2016 (Permalink)

Business Crisis Management

Crisis Communications – Engaging Stakeholders During an Incident

Courtesy of The American Red Cross.

Trust is the foundation of relationships. When your organization faces an emergency, communications (or the lack thereof) to your employees, customers, and other stakeholders can support or erode that foundation. Protect your organization’s reputation and relationships by being prepared to communicate in a crisis.

In an event, you need to know who to communicate to and how and when to do so. This requires pre-planning. Make sure your emergency response plans have a communication component so you will know how to respond to each risk your organization faces. Essential components of a crisis communication plan include:

  • Stakeholders: Identify the individuals and public or private groups your organization interacts with. Internal stakeholders include employees, volunteers, members of the board of directors, etc. External stakeholders include customers, suppliers, service providers, vendors, public and regulatory authorities, and the media. Think about what information each group would need to know from you during a crisis and what you would need to know from them.
  • Spokesperson: Identify a single individual or small team that will handle dissemination and receipt of information from stakeholders.
  • Strategy: Transparency and timeliness of communications are critical during an incident. Plan in advance what and how you are going to communicate with internal and external stakeholders, including alternate ways of accessing and sharing information. General statements, also called holding statements, can be prepared in advance and are released to stakeholders during an incident before detailed facts come in. For example, an organization operating in an area affected by a hurricane would release: “Our thoughts are with those who are in harm’s way and those responding to the storm. We have implemented our crisis plan and will be supplying additional information as it becomes available.” Review and revise these statements on a regular basis to make sure they remain timely and appropriate.

In developing your communications strategy and holding statements, consider the unique environment your organization operates in. For example, is litigation a concern? If so, it is prudent to include your legal counsel.

Once you have your communications plan, make sure it is part of your emergency preparedness training. The spokesperson or communications team should practice drafting communications when plans are exercised.   

When the unexpected does occur, craft a message that is honest, clear, and concise. Foremost, assess the situation and collect facts. Your communications to stakeholders should be fact focused and not prospective. Explain what went wrong, commit to addressing the situation.

Be empathetic in your communications by including expressions of concern for those involved in the incident, your stakeholders, and the community. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ but be willing to go find the answer where appropriate. Your concern and honesty will support the trusting relationship you want to preserve through the crisis.

For more information on stakeholder identification and crisis communication, refer to Guidance on Crisis Communications and Emergency Response Notification Procedures at ReadyRating.org.

Commercial Post Construction Cleaning

8/18/2016 (Permalink)

Post construction cleaning results of a commercial office lobby.

Structural integrity, materials, labor, safety, customer satisfaction and deadlines - the list goes on and on when building a commercial facility. The bottom line, however, is you are responsible for getting the doors open on time.  SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County Professionals can help you meet your deadlines by providing thorough post-construction services in a timely manner.  These services include:

Post Construction Cleaning

Once the floors are down and the drywall is up, it’s time to remove the debris and dirt in order to lay carpet, paint and decorate. SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County Professionals can provide the debris removal services to prepare the building for interior design.

Dehumidification and Drying

During the construction phase, a building can trap moisture. Excessive moisture could result in mold growth. If you think one of your projects may have a moisture issue, rely on SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County Professionals to provide the help you need eliminating moisture and preventing the potential for mold growth.

Final Cleaning

You want the facility to look its best when the doors open. Your local SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County Professional provides cleaning services to give the building that extra shine. Services include:

  • Carpet, resilient and non-resilient floor prep and finish
  • Ceiling, walls and fixture cleaning
  • Deodorization
  • Air Duct Cleaning
  • Debris Removal (if necessary)
  • Window Cleaning

To learn more about all of the SERVPRO® services, visit our website.

Restoring Your Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

6/24/2016 (Permalink)

Don't let a water damage control your business.

Flooding and water damage events at commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response.  Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area.  In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County

SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile

11/21/2015 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile 

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile is a startup approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information.  By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business can receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.

The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage:

  • 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 SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. – You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and is 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.” 
  • The Best Way to Reduce Business Interruption Following a Disaster is to Plan For it NOW.

    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 help to minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do, who to call and what to expect in advance is helpful in receiving timely mitigation and can help minimize the effects water and fire damage can have on your business.

    Are You Ready?

    Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself, are you ready for whatever happens?

    Call Today to Get Started!

    or visit SERVPRO.com/Ready 

    Dry Ice Blasting

    11/20/2015 (Permalink)

    What Is Dry Ice Blasting

    Dry ice blasting is a revolutionary blasting method that uses dry ice pellets (CO2 in solid form) as the blasting material. The process is very environmentally friendly and provides a fast and effective alternative to traditional methods of cleaning industrial production equipment.

    Dry Ice Blasting Is A Three-Step Process

    Kinetic: When dry ice pellets are accelerated in a jet of compressed air and strike a surface at the speed of sound, they crack and loosen the coating of the surface being treated.

    Thermal: The low temperature of dry ice pellets (-79oC/-110oF) makes the coating brittle, cracks it and loosens it. This allows dry ice to permeate the coating.

    Sublimation: Dry ice penetrates the coating and immediately sublimes (passes directly from solid to vapor state). This results in a 700-fold increase in volume, an explosive effect that lifts the coating off the surface.

    The Benefits Of Dry Ice Blasting

    A Dry Cleaning Process: Dry ice blasting is a completely dry process because dry ice pellets consist of CO2 and vaporize immediately on contact with the surface to be cleaned.

    No Waste Disposal: The system produces no waste products. Only the coating that has been removed remains to be disposed of, and this can usually be swept or vacuumed from the floor.

    Environmentally Friendly: Dry ice blasting is completely non-toxic and no hazardous chemicals are used. Costs connected with the disposal of blasting materials and solvents are saved.

    No Abrasion: Dry ice blasting is non-abrasive and therefore surfaces are treated very gently. Wear and tear resulting from the use of steel brushes, scrapers and other blasting materials is avoided.

    Improved Production Quality: Dry ice blasting often allows for your production equipment to be cleaned while in operation without a need for dismantling or costly downtime.