Recent Posts

SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville Celebrates 10 Years of Serving the Community

9/20/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville is celebrating 10 YEARS of being the trusted, leading restoration company in our community. Our number one goal continues to be making any size disaster seem "Like it never even happened." so that your life can go back to normal as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our team is here to help before, during, and after a disaster. And we're going to be here for a long time. 

Over the past decade, we have helped thousands of homeowners and business owners not only clean and restore their properties following a disaster, but we have also built partnerships with many other locally owned and operated businesses in St. Tammany and Orleans parishes. We want to thank everyone who has supported us throughout this past decade. We're looking forward to many more decades of working together! 

The 3 other disturbances in the Atlantic to keep an eye on

9/6/2019 (Permalink)

Dorian, which made landfall in North Carolina on September 6th, isn't the only thing forecasters are watching.

According to CNN, there are three other disturbances in the Atlantic:

  • Gabrielle is a post-tropical cyclone in the middle of the ocean.
  • Off the coast of Africa, there's a disturbance that has a 20% chance of a cyclone forming in the next 48 hours.
  • There's another could-be cyclone closer the Caribbean. That one has only a 10% chance of forming in the next two days.

Generally, the Atlantic hurricane season reaches a peak in the eight weeks surrounding September 10th. 

Two-thirds of all the storms produced in a typical season occur during this period.

Conditions in the tropics become ideal for storm development during this time. By the end of August, water has typically warmed to the mid-80s in many parts of the region.

For those affected by Hurricane Dorian seeking assistance please visit https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-dorian

National Preparedness Month 2019

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

2019 National Preparedness Month Logo. It says prepared not scared and has a picture of an emergency kit full of supplies. 2019 National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month, recognized each September, provides an opportunity to remind us all to prepare ourselves, our families, and our businesses for each kind of disastrous situation we may have to endure. The overarching theme for this year is “Prepared, Not Scared" and each week we are encouraged to focus on specific emergency preparedness tasks. 

Week 1: September 1st - 7th

Save early for disaster costs.

  • Review your insurance documents to make sure you’re properly protected following a disaster. If you do not have flood insurance, then make an appointment with your insurance agent to discuss your options. Remember, many who believed their home would never experience flooding were surprised in 2016 when massive amounts of rain caused heavy flooding in Baton Rouge, Covington, and other cities throughout Louisiana.
  • According to the Federal Reserve, 40% of Americans do not have $400 in savings. Are you financially prepared in case of an emergency? Visit https://www.ready.gov/financial-preparedness to learn helpful disaster financial planning tips. It is also a good practice to keep some cash on hand during an emergency in case ATMs or your local bank are affected by the storm.

Week 2: September 8th – 14th

Make a plan to prepare for disasters.

Write down your emergency plans. Create one emergency plan for your family that is inclusive of their specific needs. Families with special needs may require additional planning. Discuss and practice the plan with your family members.  

Your family emergency plan should answer the following four questions:

  1. How will I receive my emergency alerts and warnings?
  2. What is my shelter plan?
  3. What is my evacuation route?
  4. What is family/household communication plan?

Also, part of your home plan should include making an emergency supplies kit. Be prepared for a power outage by having at least three days’ worth of food and water for each person.

Create an additional plan for your office and practice it with your employees. As a business owner or an office manager, your plan should include contact information for each employee and identify whether the employee plans on evacuating during a storm.

Week 3:  September 15th – 21st

Teach youth to prepare for disasters.

Discuss ways your children can be prepared for an emergency while at home and when away from home. If your child has a cell phone, then make sure they are signed up for local emergency alerts. Visit https://www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness for more information regarding youth preparedness.

Week 4: September 22nd – 30th

Get involved in your community’s preparedness.

Every community and major city have volunteer organizations focused on disaster response and emergency planning. To locate an organization in your community visit the websites:

https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html

 http://gohsep.la.gov/PREPARE/CITIZEN-CORPS

https://www.nvoad.org/

Frequently Asked Questions Following a Home Fire

8/19/2019 (Permalink)

We understand the stress and worry a homeowner may feel following a fire event in their home. Our fire damage restoration team has the knowledge and experience to help ease your worries during the restoration process. We do this every day and our purpose is to not only make it "like it never even happened", but also to be a resource for your during the claims process. Below are some frequently asked questions during the beginning of the claims process. 

How long will this take?

A complete recovery from a fire event at your home or business can take weeks or months depending on how extensive the damage is. How badly was the property’s structure affected? Does the roof need to be repaired? How much of the structure needs to be removed and replaced? The answers to these questions and several others will determine a clearer project timeline. Before beginning the restoration process, we will give you an estimated project completion date and update you along the way if any changes need to be addressed. 

How do you determine what was affected by the fire?

The fire may have been contained to one room in your home or business, but soot can travel via your air conditioning system to several other areas throughout the property. Soot is often hard to detect with the naked eye, but with time acidic soot will lead to discoloration and erosion of materials. Our fire project manager will utilize dry sponges to test areas in your home or business for hard to see soot. Therefore, if soot is discovered in a certain room, then the structure and contents of that room must be cleaned. 

How much will this cost? How do you write the estimate?

We use Xactimate to create our estimates. Xactimate is a software program used by all insurance companies for restoration project estimation. The prices for each line item are set within the program and accepted by insurance companies. All estimates include labor, time, and materials required. Again, we will send final estimate and any required supplements directly to your insurance company. The estimation process is exceptionally detailed, tedious, and dependent upon services rendered. That being said, a conclusive estimate can only be completed once the project is finished due to the nature of the restoration process. 

What is subrogation?

Subrogation occurs when the insurance company believes a third-party is responsible for the damages and seeks legal action to recover costs for the claim. When subrogation is necessary, the insurance company may not allow anyone to work in the affected area while the investigation is pending. The investigation process may greatly affect our ability to perform services and extend the projected completion date. Our team will have no control over this. Please refer to your insurance company for any questions regarding subrogation.

What should I do now?

If an insurance claim has not already been opened, then calling your insurance company and doing so is the first step. Request a copy of your insurance policy declaration page from your insurance agent or claims specialist to review your coverage. Learn how much coverage you have for structure (labeled dwelling) and for contents. You may need to find another place to stay during the cleaning process. Read your policy or ask your insurance agent to help you understand what is covered under the additional living expenses (ALE) or “loss of use” section in your policy. Ask your insurance company to give you a list in writing of what is commonly covered under these sections. We are not your insurance company and do have any control over your policy limits.

How do I know which items can or cannot be cleaned? 

Our fire project manager will help you understand which items are generally able to be cleaned after a fire and which items we suggest discarding of. Some insurance companies may not be willing to pay for our team to create an inventory list of your contents. If your insurance company will not cover the expense of our team inventorying your contents, then we will help instruct you as best as we can. You will want to create a list of all items that need to be discarded and take pictures of each item. Depending on your policy, your insurance company will either pay for the replacement cost of the items or an actual cash value. It will be your responsibility to negotiate an amount for your contents with your insurance company. One tip is to take the list of items needing to be replaced to a large box store and create a registry to show the total of those items. 

What is the adjuster’s role in this process?

The adjuster assigned to your claim is working for the insurance company either as an employee or a hired contractor through a third-party claim management company. The adjuster will create an estimate of the needed repairs and your claim will be awarded that amount. We will communicate our restoration plan and share any suggestions or necessary supplements with the adjuster. 

Who can help with the rebuild portion of my claim?

Our purpose as your trusted restoration vendor is to clean and/or remove materials affected by the claimed event. We work to mitigate damages to prevent any further damages from occurring in a timely and cost-efficient manner. We are only allowed to remove what is necessary for proper mitigation. Restoration and rebuild are two separate portions of your claim. Following our cleaning process, you will need to hire a contractor to finish repairs. We recommend our partner company Complete Restoration Services and would be happy to have someone contact you with more information. 

To learn more about our fire restoration process or for assistance with your home, please send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com

3 Home Maintenance Tips to Help Prevent Water Damage

8/16/2019 (Permalink)

Wood flooring buckling following a water damage event.

While sometimes water damages are caused by an accident, like a water supply line break or a water heater malfunctioning, some water damage is due to improper home maintenance. Follow these tips below to help protect your home from incurring water damages:

  1. Make sure gutters are cleared of debris and properly working to divert water away from your home. When gutters are clogged rainwater can accumulate around the foundation of your home and cause water damage. You should clean your gutters at least twice a year. The best times to do this are right before hurricane season begins in June and one day in November as fall is ending. Downspouts should be positioned 5”-10” from house.
  2. Hire a roofing professional to examine the condition of your roof once a year and after each major storm. You may be able to notice some major damages yourself without the help of a professional. However, a roofing specialist will be able to detect issues only a trained eye will notice, like shingles that should be replaced or faulty flashing around your chimney. Immediately repair any damages you may find. Often a roof leak may go unnoticed for a significant amount of time and lead to mold or mildew growth inside of the home.
  3. Check for water leaks underneath sinks, around window casings, and behind your refrigerator. Again, slow, persistent leaks can lead to mold and mildew issues. Water damages also attract termites and carpenter ants. If you notice any leaks, then find the source and correct the issue immediately. After, dry the wet materials or remove all materials that are damaged beyond repair. Our water damage restoration team is available 24/7 for any water damage emergencies.

Ethics Continuing Education Class

8/13/2019 (Permalink)

Attention all local insurance agents and insurance adjusters:

By popular demand, the next continuing education class we will be teaching will be Ethics on September 12, 2019. This is a three hour class that will be taught at our office located at 68424 James Street in Mandeville. Registration will begin at 8:00 am. The class will begin promptly at 8:30 am and end at 11:30 am. There is no charge to attend the class. We are also happy to provide breakfast and coffee for attendees. After the class, your credits will be filed with the state within the week. 

This class is limited to thirty insurance professionals. To reserve your spot or for more information, please send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com

Blood Drive at SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville Office

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and just one donation can potentially save up to 3 people. Did you know our community is currently in dire need of blood donations? If you're able to donate blood, then please swing by our office on August 23rd to do so. The Blood Center's Bloodmobile will be parked in our parking lot from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm taking donations. We will provide snacks and drinks for those donating. 

Four Mold Myths Debunked

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

Myth #1: Your house and business can and should be totally free of mold. 

Truth: Microscopic spores are all around us, both indoors and outdoors. Tiny, invisible to the naked eye mold spores enter our homes and businesses through open doors and windows, heating and air conditioning systems, and can even be carried in by our pets. If you were to have an indoor air quality professional or an industrial hygienist conduct a mold test in your home or business, then you would learn every indoor space has an acceptable or natural mold spore count. The problem arrives when you have an elevated mold spore count or see visible mold growing on materials inside your property. In those cases, you should contact us immediately for mold remediation services. 

Myth #2: Black mold is toxic.

Truth: Thousands of different mold species have been scientifically identified in the United States. Some molds appearing to be black are actually a dark green color. The most commonly known dark green mold species associated with health concerns is Stachybotrys chartarum. However, not all dark green or black colored molds are Stachybotrys. Regardless of which specific species of mold you may have in your home or business, you should have it removed. Also, despite the particular species, all microbial growths should be remediated using the same method: position containment around the affected area, stabilize the environment, removed affected porous materials, clean and disinfect remaining nonporous materials, and "scrub" the contaminated room with a HEPA air scrubber. Please note, the source of the issue must first be identified and resolved.

Myth #3: Bleach kills mold.

Truth: Bleach does not kill microbial growth. Bleach will discolor the mold spores for a short period, but the mold will continue on growing. Eventually, you will notice colored microbial growth again. Also, as previously stated, microbial growth is caused by a moisture problem and the original source must be corrected. Applying bleach to the affected material will only amplify the moisture problem. 

Myth #4: You can remediate mold yourself.

Truth: While you may be very capable of removing affected materials, like drywall and carpet yourself, without the necessary professional equipment and expertise you risk spreading the microscopic mold spores throughout more rooms in the property. Remember, the first few steps in our mold remediation process are to set up containment around the affected area and to stabilize the environment. Our protocol works to prevent the spreading of microscopic spores by protecting the unaffected areas. By utilizing negative airflow and air scrubbers with HEPA filters, our mold remediation technicians can not only remove microbial growth but also protect the rest of your home or business. Our mold remediation technicians are trained and certified to properly remove microbial growth. Trust our professionals. 

For questions regarding indoor microbial growth issues or for a mold remediation quote, please contact our office by dialing 985-871-5375. 

How to Prevent Mold From Growing in Your Bathrooms

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

One of the most common rooms in a home conducive for microbial growth is the bathroom. Mold only needs three things to grow: moisture, a food source, and time. Bathrooms are naturally more humid environments and grime left after baths and showers contribute as a regular food source for microscopic mold spores to feed on. To prevent mold from growing in your bathroom make sure to alleviate as much moisture as possible following each use. Use the vent while showering and leave it on for an extra five minutes or so when you leave. If you do not have a vent in your bathroom, then consider installing one or open a window or door during shower time. If it isn’t more humid outside, then this should help. However, this certainly wouldn’t be helpful during summertime in Louisiana. Installing and regularly using a vent is the best preventative action. Another way to remove moisture from your bathroom is to wipe down or use a squeegee in the shower, tub, and basin after each use. This may prove to be tedious but trust us it’s less of a headache than having to renovate your bathroom because of a mold problem. If you have recently discovered mold growing in your bathroom, then please give us a call now to schedule an appointment with one of our mold remediation technicians. Our office number is 985-871-5375.

Pet Fire Safety

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Pets are a part of your family and should be included in your family's home fire safety and escape plans. Follow the tips below to help prevent your pets from starting fires and to help protect them during an emergency. 

Preventing Fires

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners' pets.  The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have joined forces to provide the following tips to help prevent pets from starting fires:

  • Extinguish open flames - Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Do not leave your pet unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flames before leaving your home.
  • Remove stove knobs - Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house - a stove or cooktop is the number one piece of equipment involved in fires started by pets.
  • Invest in flameless candles - These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
  • Secure young pets - keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.

Preparing for a Fire

  • Include them in your escape plan - Include your pets in the exercise when practicing your fire escape plan with your family.  Practice calling for your pets while existing your home. Teach young children to focus on existing the home as quickly as possible and to never reenter the home to search for a pet. Teach them the firefighters will help search for pets once it is safe to do so. 
  • Help firefighters help your pets- Put a decal on your home's front window showing the kind and number of pets you have. 
  • Make sure your pet can be found - During a fire emergency it may be hard to locate your pet if they run off. To prevent your pet from getting lost, make sure their collar has updated information on it. Also, having your pets microchipped will help relocate them if they do become lost. Keep leashes by your front door for easy access as your escaping your home. 
  • Use smoke alarms connected to emergency responders - Install a smoke alarm that will alert the local fire department in case no one is home.