How SERVPRO of Missoula makes commercial fire damage “Like it never even happened”
A fire in your business can make you feel hopeless, but SERVPRO of Missoula can make it “Like it never even happened!”
If you own a business, your priority is keeping the doors open. When something unexpected, like a fire or smoke damage from a nearby fire—occurs, one of your primary concerns is how long the damage will take to fix. So, when you search for a restoration company to help get your business back to normal, and to get the job done, thoroughly and efficiently. That’s where SERVPRO of Missoula comes in.
Here at SERVPRO of Missoula, we’re committed to making that damage “Like it never even happened.” But what does efficient, thorough fire restoration look like? If a fire causes structural damage, a structural engineer will be called in to monitor the project. Next, our technicians will place air scrubbers throughout the affected area to filter smoke and begin purifying the air. Salvageable textiles will be sent to fabric restoration professionals while SERVPRO of Missoula technicians secure the necessary commercial permits to begin removal of all charred material within your business, and complete HEPA vacuuming and cleaning. Final deodorization takes place using an ozone or hydroxyl generator, and from there our experienced project managers will create a scope of work for any necessary repairs. Throughout the entire fire restoration process, your SERVPRO of Missoula project manager will always be available to answer questions and notify you of the job’s progress, so you can rest assured that everything is being done to make your commercial fire “Like it never even happened.”
What to do during and after a Missoula winter storm
Montana winters are unpredictable, but having an emergency plan means never being caught off guard!
With winter storms closing in so quickly, hopefully by now you’ve done all your winter prep work—your pantries are stocked with non-perishables, and your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have been recently checked. But what do you do when the words “Winter Storm Warning” actually appear on the forecast?
According to the American Red Cross, a Winter Storm Warning means “life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.” When you see one go into effect on your local broadcast, the first thing you should do is get yourself, your family, and your companion animals to a safe place and remain indoors; avoid travel unless it is necessary (and even then, use public transport whenever possible). If you have livestock, make sure they have access to shelter and non-frozen water. Then, stay updated; keep a battery-powered radio tuned to your local news broadcast or NOAA station to get live updates on weather conditions.
Winter storms can last for several hours or even days, which is why it’s so important to have that emergency kit well-stocked and accessible. While you and your family are hunkered down, make sure everyone keeps hydrated (this means avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which can both lead to dehydration) and eats regularly, as the body needs energy to produce heat. Storms often put stress on power systems, so conserve energy by closing doors to unused rooms and by setting your thermostat to 65°F during the day and 55°F at night.
If you must go outside during a storm, wear layered clothing, gloves, and a hat, and cover your mouth. Avoid talking and taking deep breaths to protect your lungs from frigid air, and avoid overexertion; shoveling snow is a leading cause of heart attacks in the winter, and sweating in freezing conditions can lead to hypothermia.
Even after a winter storm has ended, it’s important to stay warm and tune in to local news for travel conditions. Always think about safety first! For more details on what to do during and after a winter storm, check out https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies.html
Trimming the Christmas tree with SERVPRO of Missoula
Prevention is the key to a merry, bright, and fire-free holiday season.
Here at SERVPRO of Missoula, we’re committed to fire preparedness, which is why we’ve previously covered topics such as the importance of checking your smoke detectors routinely and having + knowing how to use a home fire extinguisher.
That said, prevention is the most effective tool against home fires, especially during the holiday season. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), approximately 160 Christmas tree fires and 780 decoration fires are reported each year, with candle fires in particular reaching their peak on Christmas and Christmas Eve. With these facts in mind, there are several preventative steps you can take to decrease the risk of a holiday fire in your Missoula home:
- Never leave a stovetop unattended when cooking
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything flammable
- For string lights, read the manufacturer’s instructions to find the maximum number of strands to connect
- Replace string lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections
- Make sure your tree is at least three feet away from any heat source or vents and that it does not block exits
- Water your Christmas tree daily
- Remove your Christmas tree as soon as it dries out
- Turn off string lights and blow out candles before leaving your home or going to bed
By working these preventative measures into your holiday routine, you can ensure your home stays merry, bright, and fire-free this winter.
The SERVPRO of Missoula team wishes you and yours a safe and joyous holiday season!
Winter is Coming to Missoula: Winter Storm Preparedness
It’s important to prepare for winter storms before severe weather strikes.
Like those Christmas decorations in the department store, it may seem a bit early to think about winter storms, much less prepare your home for one. However, the middle of a blizzard is hardly the time to wonder when your heating system was last serviced. By taking action now, you can head into the holiday season comfortable with the knowledge that your home and family will be safe in the face of severe winter weather.
Before those nightly temperatures plummet, you’ll want to take preventative measures to keep your pipes from freezing (stay tuned for another post with more info) and help your home retain heat by weather-stripping doors and windowsills and replacing your heating system’s filter. Then, you might consider buying emergency heating equipment (and fuel) or a portable backup generator—but not before checking that your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector are in good working order! And in case you’re unable to leave your home for a prolonged amount of time due to weather conditions, having a stock of non-perishable food items in your pantry is always a good idea.
While you can hopefully avoid the roads entirely during a winter storm, in the event that you’re caught traveling or need to evacuate an area when a storm strikes, you also want to be sure your vehicle is winter-ready. The American Red Cross recommends having a maintenance check and tire evaluation in autumn so that any necessary maintenance can be completed before winter arrives, and having an emergency road kit with the following provisions: a windshield scraper, a small sack of sand (for generating traction), matches in a waterproof container, tire chains or traction mats, a bright red cloth to tie to your antenna, warm clothing, water, and snack food, and a battery-powered radio.
It’s never too early to think about emergency preparedness—for more ways to get started, check out the free SERVPRO Ready Plan App in the app store or at https://ready.SERVPRO.com/.
Fall is upon us, Missoula! Time to break out the rake!
Raking fallen leaves early and often can help keep mold growth to a minimum in your yard.
With the sudden cold snap we experienced here in the Missoula Valley, leaves have begun to drop from the trees at a rapid rate. Add in all that rain we’ve been getting, and your yard becomes a potential breeding ground for mold. That’s because freshly fallen leaves still have a fair amount of minerals and nutrients in their system, which promote mold growth under the right conditions. For the ‘right conditions,’ look no further than that perpetually shady, dew-covered spot under the tree in your yard or created by the shadow of your house. In other words, mold thrives in moist, dark environments.
However, there is a simple solution to preventing this: rake early and rake often. If you don’t allow those leaves to sit and collect moisture, they’ll have less of a chance to grow mold. That also means bagging and disposing of leaves once they’re raked, instead of leaving large piles in your yard. Leaf mold isn’t all bad, though! If you’re a gardener, you can look into repurposing those leaves as mulch; this gets the leaves off your lawn and puts them to work for you. Or if you’re looking for other ways to keep your home mold-free this autumn, you can also make sure that all of your gutters and water drainage systems are draining away from your foundation and clear those gutters of leaves and blockages.
SERVPRO of Missoula asks: are your pets in your fire safety plan?
Your pets are a part of your family – include them in your family’s fire safety plan!
In our ongoing effort to encourage Missoula families to create emergency preparedness plans, this week, SERVPRO of Missoula specifically challenges you to consider how your pets fit into your home’s Fire Safety Plan, and we have some tips to get you started:
- Include your pets in family evacuation drills. This means keeping a leash or other necessary equipment close to the main exit, and including pet necessities in your emergency supply kit. Training your pets to come to you when you call can also save valuable time in an emergency.
- Prevent your pets from starting fires by never leaving a pet unattended around an open flame, and securing pets away from fire hazards when you leave them home alone.
- When leaving pets at home, ensure firefighters can easily evacuate them in the event of a fire by keeping them in rooms or areas close to your home’s entrance. You can also put a pet alert sticker in a front window to let rescuers know the number and types of pets in your home (be sure to update this when necessary).
Discussing emergency preparedness is an activity that the whole family can (and should) participate in together and is definitely worthy of some home-schooling time! For more emergency planning tips, check out the blogs in our “Fire” and “Storm Damage” categories.
What to do when a lightning storm strikes Missoula
When thunder roars, go indoors!
Just as snow is expected, during a Montana winter, so are thunderstorms expected during a Montana summer. Here in the Missoula Valley, it is not uncommon for hundreds of lightning strikes to occur over the course of a single stormy weekend. And while lightning against the backdrop of the Bitterroot Mountains can offer some of the most stunning sights of summer, they are also cause for education and preparation.
The National Weather Service estimates that 49 people are killed by lightning in the United States each year, and thunderstorms are also often accompanied by harsh winds, hail, and even flash flooding. For these reasons, it’s important to remember the slogan “When thunder roars, go indoors!” Take refuge in a car or building for the duration of the storm, check for alerts and updates from local authorities, unplug appliances, and do not use landline phones. Once it’s safe to go outside, be on the lookout for downed power lines and trees, and report them immediately.
To better prepare your home and your family for future thunderstorms, Ready.gov recommends signing up for emergency alerts, cutting down or trimming trees that could fall under the force of powerful winds, and buying surge protectors to protect your appliances and electronics from power surges.
And if your home suffers damage from a lightning-caused fire or water damage from a flash flood, call SERVPRO of Missoula to make it “Like it never even happened.
Spring river flooding in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys
Springtime can mean spring river flooding – is your home prepared?
Spring has finally arrived in earnest here in Western Montana, and though that brings the joys of songbirds and green foliage, it also often brings rain, run-off, and the risk of flooding. The Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys are particularly vulnerable to rising waters in the Clark Fork and Bitterroot Rivers, and while there is nothing, we as individuals can do regarding water levels, there are things we can do to protect our homes against flooding:
- Know if your home is at risk! FEMA provides Flood Maps on its website that can help you determine if your home is in a flood zone. Another great resource is your local news station’s online archive, where you can find out where floods have occurred in the past.
- Know your coverage. Flood insurance is not covered in most standard homeowners’ policies, and according to FEMA, nearly 25% of flood insurance claims come from outside “high-risk” flood zones. If you have any reason to fear flood damage to your home, you may want to speak to your insurance agent about your options.
- Be diligent about shoveling snow away from your foundation, and make sure water is able to drain away from it, as well.
- Have a plan. Check out our “Steps for an Insurance Home Inventory” in the Why SERVPRO category for more tips that can help in the event of a flood.
Emergency planning is an activity that can—and should! —involve the whole family. And don’t forget, if your home experiences water, fire, or mold damage, SERVPRO of Missoula is always here to help.
Training Matters: SERVPRO Certifications and Commitments
SERVPRO technicians have the training to get the job done!
The SERVPRO of Missoula website has a lot to say about the training our technicians and project managers receive. This is because when the need for a remediation and restoration professional arises, the need is often urgent, and we want our customers to know right from the start that our technicians have the training to get the job done right.
We often specifically mention IICRC and RIA certifications. And why are these important? The IICRC—the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification—is a non-profit organization that has provided the most utilized information for the cleaning and restoration industry in the U.S. for more than forty years. The RIA—the Restoration Industry Association—is the oldest restoration trade association in the country and works with the IICRC to develop industry standards. The training our team leaders receive from these two organizations, in conjunction with specialized training provided by our corporate training facility, equip them with the expertise to address water, fire, or mold damage of any scope or scale. This is due to vigorous courses in all aspects of remediation—from advanced safety training to classifying categories of water damage to understanding microbial growth.
When we speak of our highly trained team here at SERVPRO of Missoula, it isn’t just idle chatter. Our team members are trained not only at the beginning of their SERVPRO careers, but via additional and refresher training throughout each year to ensure that we can deliver on our promise to make the water, fire, or mold damage in your home or business “Like it never even happened.”
Smoke Damage in Your Missoula Home
When a fire occurs in or outside your home, visible damage to your property is often your first concern. While this instinct is understandable, even materials completely untouched by flames can pose health risks and be permanently damaged if left unaddressed.
Smoke and soot damage ranges in severity, but most often leave items in your home discolored and odorous. Because smoke is acidic, it affects the majority of household materials, from fabrics to wood to metal surfaces. The fact that smoke and soot particles can also get into your HVAC system and be redistributed throughout your home makes this kind of damage particularly insidious. According to the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification), cleaning within the first few weeks post-fire is crucial to removing odor, stopping the discoloration process, and minimizing the need for the replacement of belongings. Improper cleaning can push soot further into porous materials, and using the wrong cleaners on hard surfaces will only move hazardous particles around without eliminating odor or discoloration.
The last thing you’ll probably think about in the days immediately post-fire is whether or not your household vacuum is HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) certified. So, while you’re making other important arrangements, let us worry about that! The technicians here at SERVPRO of Missoula are IICRC certified and travel with equipment—like air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums, and deodorization agents—that will make smoke damage “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO® of Missoula wants the residents and commercial businesses in Missoula to know that we are Here to Help. ®
Our team of highly trained fire restoration technicians are some of the best in the state and are certified in:
- Fire and Smoke Restoration
- Odor Control
- Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning
- Water Damage Restoration
All fire damage calls follow the same general process:
- Emergency Contact
- Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
- Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service (if needed)
- Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
- Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
- Cleaning and Repair
No matter how big or small your fire damage emergency may be, SERVPRO® of Missoula is ready to help the Missoula community. Call us today at 406-327-9500. We’ll clean and restore your fire damage “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO® of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.
For more fire safety tips, head to Red Cross