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3 Tips for Preventing a Fire in and Apartment Complex or Multi-Family Residential Property

3/24/2020 (Permalink)

caution tape across open apartment door where contents show fire damage SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville specializes in fire damage restoration for apartment complexes and multi-family residential properties.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2018 there were 86,500 apartment fires. While this number has significantly decreased from the previous three years that each totaled 95,000 apartment fires, the losses equate to over 1.5 million dollars  in property damages and 360 deaths. The modern apartment complex stouts five to ten buildings with three or four floors each. If a single building were to catch on fire, then dozens of families could potentially be affected. Residents renting a unit in an apartment or multi-family residential property, like a townhome or duplex,  should practice fire safety precautions to protect themselves and their neighbors. Property owners and property staff, such as property managers, leasing agents, and maintenance crews, should also do their part in preventing a fire disaster. Below are a few tips to help safeguard property and people living in multi-family residential properties from fire disasters.  

Ensure fire safety equipment is functioning properly

Fire safety equipment includes smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, fire suppression systems. 

  1. Smoke alarms should be tested once a month, the batteries should be replaced once every six months, and alarms should be replaced every ten years. For more information on smoke alarms, watch our video "How and When to Test Smoke Alarms"
  2. Fire suppression systems (a.k.a. fire sprinkler systems) should be tested on an annual basis according to NFPA code 13. 
  3. Fire extinguishers should be present in every unit and should be easily accessible. Because most residential fires are caused by cooking, having an extinguisher in the kitchen is best. 

Create and communicate fire escape plans. 

Residents and staff should be properly prepared for any emergency. 

  1. Give a list of important contacts to each tenant and have one displayed in the main office. The list  may include contact information for property after-hours emergency personnel, property managers, nearest fire department, local police station, approved vendors, like plumbers, HVAC professionals, and SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville. 
  2. Each building should have maps identifying fire escape routes for that specific property clearly marked throughout common areas on each floor. 
  3. Suggest residents create fire escape plans with their households and practice the plan regularly. In the event of a disaster, everyone should feel prepared to take the appropriate actions, especially young children. Visit our blog for fire safety tips for kids

Help educate residents about fire safety practices. 

Most residential fires can be easily avoided by understanding certain dangers and taking extra precautions. 

  1. Since cooking is the number one cause for home fires, remind residents not to leave food cooking on the stove unattended. Turning the burner off when stepping away from the stove can be lifesaving. Any items that could easily catch fire, like pot holders and grocery bags, should be kept away. 
  2. Candles are another cause of accidental fires. Encourage residents to blow out candles when exiting a room or to invest in flameless candles.
  3. Sleeping with the bedroom door closed will slow down the spread of the fire and allow household members to find another way out of the room. 
  4. Never create an open flame or cook on patios or balconies. Only utilize portable cooking equipment in designated areas. 

Our team is happy to help any owners and managers of local apartment complexes and multi-family residential properties create an emergency plan tailored to their needs. For more information, please send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com

More more fire safety resources please visit:

To locate your local fire department visit our blog about testing smoke alarms

SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville Remains Open to Provide Essential Emergency Services for the Community

3/23/2020 (Permalink)

five guys and one woman in black SERVPRO shirt and khaki pants standing on balcony with American flag and SERVPRO sign SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville is committed to serving our community by providing emergency services.

In these unprecedented times, what constitutes business as usual changes almost on a daily basis. Last night, Governor Edwards mandated a statewide stay-at-home order. The order, going into effect at 5:00 pm tonight, allows for only essential critical infrastructure workers to continue operating while heeding precautions as necessary. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors. As a provider of emergency services, including hazardous material removal, cleaning and sanitizing services, and other services that ensure the operation of both residential and commercial properties, our team will continue to respond to the needs of this community. 

We have instituted the following measures for the safety and well-being of both our team and our customers:

  • All employees responding to emergencies where they must enter a home or business are to have their temperature taken at the beginning of the day. 
  • Any employee feeling sick or experiencing symptoms is to stay home. 
  • Employees are to clean and sanitize tablets before and after having a customer utilize them for electronic document signing. Customers will be offered gloves as well. 
  • Before our team arrives, we are asking all customers if they or anyone at the property is feeling ill or has been exposed to someone with the virus Our protocol will change if a known risk is discovered.
  • Employees will clean and sanitize high touch areas, like light switches and door handles, upon leaving a residence or business.

SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville is committed to helping our friends and neighbors in this time of need. Please call our office with any questions or concerns. Our phone number is 985-871-5375.

6 Tips for Preventing Water Damages in Apartment Complexes and Multi-family Residential Properties

3/19/2020 (Permalink)

drying fan with yellow hoses stretching to ceiling in white apartment SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville utilizes commercial drying equipment to properly dry apartment ceiling affected by water damage.

Throughout the past couple of decades, many Greater New Orleans region natives, including both East Bank and West Bank locals, decided to move to the Northshore. A large wave of families moved after Hurricane Katrina either damaged or destroyed their homes and businesses. Many other families have slowly found their way to the north side of Lake Pontchartrain for a variety of other reasons, including the award-winning St. Tammany Parish school system, ample outdoor recreational activities, and the benefits of living in smaller, less crowded cities. And now that St. Tammany Parish industry is thriving, our population is growing exponentially. 

In Covington, several apartment complexes have been built to accommodate the growing residential demand. Multifamily unit properties can present a higher risk for catastrophic damages, be that fire, water or mold damages. Water damages like those caused by broken pipes under kitchen sinks and overflowing toilets seem to be the most common. Apartment complex and multi-family residential property owners and property managers should take additional measures to help protect their property and save money in restoration costs. 

Tips for Preventing Water Damages at Apartment Complexes and Multi-family Residental Properties

  1. Inspect buildings regularly and address any needed repairs immediately. Roof damages and faulty window sealings are common causes for slow water and moisture intrusions. Have a maintenance manager or hired professional inspect around the buildings a few times a year. Before and after hurricane season are two important times to do this to minimize storm damages. 
  2. Check on vacant units once a week to detect any issues early on. Both time and money can be saved by quickly discovering accidents like a broken pipe leaking water or a water heater that has exploded. Open cabinets under sinks and inspect areas around water sources to uncover any slow water leaks. If a problem is found, then stop the water source immediately. 
  3. Clearly mark all water supply and fire suppression system shut off valves. Make sure tenants are aware of their locations and how to properly turn them off in the event of a water leak or system ignition.
  4. Notify tenants of any potential issues, like a sensitive sewer system or hidden water supply lines. Our team once received a call for help because an apartment resident had accidentally nailed into a fire suppression line while trying to hang a photo on the living room wall. The tenant assumed the fire suppression line ran horizontally and not directly down the center back living room wall. Thankfully, our team was able to able to respond quickly, drying the affected materials within a few days. 
  5. Remind tenants not to flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilets. This is a common cause of sewage backups resulting in overflowing toilets. 
  6. Have a clear emergency response plan and communicate this with your tenants. Revise the plan as needed and update tenants once a year. Tenants should know how to respond quickly and efficiently in an emergency. 

Please send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com for assistance with creating an emergency plan for your property or for water damage restoration help.

SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville is Here to Help

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

image of virus graphic with words here to help layered on top SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville is here to help.

SERVPRO® professionals are trained in adhering to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.
SERVPRO® of Greater Covington and Mandeville professionals offer 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”)i 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 professionals 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™.

Works Cited: 
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html


https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html


https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html


https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

Apartment Complex Fires in Mandeville and Covington

3/3/2020 (Permalink)

female emoji dressed like firefighter with text of fire safety tips Please practice fire safety tips with your family.

In just a matter of days, there have been two major apartment complex fires on the Northshore, Cypress Lakes Apartments in Mandeville, Louisiana and Maple Ridge Apartments in Covington, Louisiana. The causes of both fires have yet to be determined, but we want to remind the public to practice fire safety. We also want to say thank you to our local fire departments that responded quickly and efficiently to the fires, limiting damages and saving lives. 

Fire Safety Tips:

  • Make a home fire escape plan and practice it with your family 
  • Teach children fire safety tips 
  • Include pets in your fire safety plans and take precautionary measures to prevent pets from starting fires
  • Test smoke alarms every month and change the batteries in your smoke alarms once every six months 
  • Never leave unattended food on the stove when cooking
  • Do not overload power strips or outlets
  • Do not plug space heaters into power strips
  • Blow out candles when exiting the room
  • Make sure there is a properly working fire extinguisher in your kitchen
  • Do not throw water on a grease fire
  • Keep flammable items away from the stove and fireplace

For more fire safety resources, please visit https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education

Congrats to two of our SERVPRO rock stars!

2/27/2020 (Permalink)

male SERVPRO water damage technician holding certificate and female SERVPRO administrative coordinator Courtney and John celebrated their three year work anniversaries with us in February.

In February, two of our rock stars celebrated their three year work anniversaries with us. As our administrative coordinator, Courtney is the first friendly voice our customers hear when they ring us for help. Courtney assists by connecting each client with the appropriate department manager and initiates the job documentation process. She also works closely with our water damage restoration team to ensure customer satisfaction and help meet an array of standards unique to each insurance company. John Joyce was recently promoted from lead water technician to manager of our water damage restoration team. Any time or day, John is the leading hero for our customers when they experience a water damage event in their home or business. From efficiently managing multiple projects to strategically applying the science of drying for a fast recovery, John can make any size disaster seem, "Like it never even happened." Both John and Courtney are certified water damage restoration technicians through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, a non-profit organization that governs industry cleaning and restoration standards.

Keeping an Eye on the Rising Pearl River

2/18/2020 (Permalink)

The St. Tammany Parish Government Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is currently monitoring the forecast along the Pearl River via the National Weather Service. We are also keeping an eye on the situation and reaching out to our clients who may be affected. At this time, we urge everyone along the river to consistently monitor the river gauges and take precautionary measures to protect lives, pets, and properties. Our disaster response team is on standby with the necessary equipment to respond quickly and efficiently to any size disaster. We have a local team of highly trained and experienced water damage restoration technicians, as well as access to resources from nearby SERVPRO large-loss disaster recovery teams. For immediate assistance, please call our office by dialing 985-871-5375. 

How to Prevent Common Water Damage Disasters in Your Home

2/17/2020 (Permalink)

According to the Insurance Information Institute, about one in every fifty insured homes has a claim related to water damage or freezing temperatures each year. It may surprise you that most of these water damage claims are not related to natural disasters but are caused by ordinary accidents. Some common causes of water damage events in homes include old cracked water pipes, broken frozen pipes, sewage system failure, and issues with major appliances. It’s shocking how common it is for either a washing machine to overflow or for a water heater to explode. Both of said events can cause significant water damage in a home. In order to escape having an incident at your home, you should keep up with regular home maintenance repairs and do a complete walkthrough once a month to inspect appliances for any problems. Check under kitchen and bathroom sinks to make sure no water is slowly dripping from a cracked or ill-fitted pipe. Pull out your refrigerator once a month to see if the water line is properly connected and if there are any mold surprises growing behind it. This is a relatively common issue that most homeowners don’t discover until it’s a big mess. Another helpful tip for catching water damage problems before they are huge disasters is placing water detectors underneath sinks, in the water heater drip pan, and in other areas prone to water damage. When water is detected the alarm sounds to alert you to locate the issue and fix it promptly. If a water damage event has occurred in your home, then our water damage restoration technicians can help extract the water and properly dry any wet materials. Our highly experienced and knowledgeable team is available 24/7 every day of the year. For assistance please contact our office by dialing 985-871-5375.

January Employee of the Month

2/5/2020 (Permalink)

orange image with picture of lady in circle shape, words read employee of the month Congratulations to our employee of the month for January, Cicerona!

Our employee of the month for January is Cicerona! She joined our fire damage restoration team in August of 2017 and has exemplified the spirit of a SERVPRO hero since day one. Cicerona always has a bright smile on her face and works hard to make sure our customers are well taken care of. As a part of our fire damage restoration team, Cicerona is responsible for cleaning and restoring contents that have been damaged by fire, smoke, or soot. She also assists with cleaning fire damages from the structure of a building, including top to bottom cleaning of the inside of property. Her job is extremely tedious and requires a meticulous, conscientious person. We are lucky to have her on our team and are excited to watch her grow. 

Edge of the Lake's 2020 Readers' Choice Award Winner

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

purple logo that reads "Edge of the Lake 2020 Readers' Choice Awards" in white font Edge of the Lake's 2020 Readers' Choice Award Winner

We are so excited to announce that our team has received Edge of the Lake's Readers' Choice award for best emergency restoration service provider! Thank you to all who voted for us. Over the past ten years, SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville has committed to being the number one trusted emergency restoration resource for both homeowners and business owners on the Northshore. Our goal is to make any size disaster seem "Like it never even happened", and we're thrilled to hear our community knows we can. Offering an array of services, such as water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, bio-hazard cleanup, and rebuild, SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville truly is your one-stop shop for restoring your property quickly and efficiently. Please feel free to contact us anytime with questions regarding restoration or remediation projects.