Sheltering-in-place in your Missoula home
SERVPRO of Missoula provides disaster response after sheltering-in-place events.
In the age of COVID-19, Americans have become experts at prolonged sheltering. Ready.gov defines three different types of sheltering, of which Stay-at-home is the most familiar to our community at this moment in time, and means only leaving your home for essential activities. Mass Care Shelters are another type of sheltering that you may have to utilize in the event of a natural disaster (hurricane, flood, fire, etc) that affects your home. While these shelters are meant to provide essential supplies to those sheltering there, you should also bring along your own emergency kit with food and water for everyone in your family for at least three days, and any necessary medication (see the full emergency supply list at https://www.ready.gov/kit).
When a dangerous situation unfolds outside, immediate Sheltering-in-place may be necessary. While this can happen for a number of reasons—a chemical spill, an explosion, an act of violence—all of them are unpredictable. In these situations, Ready.gov says to “use common sense and available information to assess the situation and determine if there is immediate danger.” If there is, find an indoor space nearby that you can safely stay for several hours if necessary. Lock doors and windows, seal air vents and shut off air systems, and monitor local news to determine when it is safe to leave your shelter.
SERVPRO of Missoula is prepared to help in the aftermath of any sheltering-in-place event, be it a full home cleaning following quarantining, or flood or fire restoration after a natural disaster – call SERVPRO of Missoula at 406-327-9500.
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 song birds 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 home owners 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 “Emergency Readiness at Home: Evacuation Plan” and “Emergency Alerts” blogs in the Storm category and “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.
SERVPRO of Missoula is with you every step of the way
From mitigation to repairs to final cleaning – we handle all the steps to making your loss “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO isn’t the only restoration service out there, and not even the only restoration service in Missoula. With a few options to choose from, you may ask “Why should I choose SERVPRO of Missoula in the event of water, fire, or mold damage in my home?”
The answer lies not only in our highly trained team and specialized technology, but also (and perhaps more so) in our commitment to our customers from the very first call all the way through to final repairs and cleaning. Our promise to make water, fire, and mold damage “Like it never even happened,” is not an empty one.
SERVPRO of Missoula technicians are on call to respond to emergencies 24/7, because we know emergencies rarely occur at a ‘convenient’ time. If you have a flood in your home, our team will be onsite that same day to extract water and begin drying out affected materials. Once your home reaches dry standard, we don’t just leave you to figure out the rest. SERVPRO of Missoula also works with your insurance company to make the process as easy for you as possible, and provides repair services as well as contents cleaning; our team’s collective experience ensures that we’ve covered all the small details, so you don’t have to
SERVPRO of Missoula isn’t only a restoration company; it’s a residential and commercial mitigation, repair, and cleaning company ready to take on a project of any size; and in the event of a loss in your home or business, it’s also a support system. If you call SERVPRO of Missoula for water, fire, or mold damage, you can rest assured we’ll be with you every step of the way.
Emergency Readiness at your Missoula Business: Shelter-in-Place
Every business is vulnerable to risks. SERVPRO of Missoula can help you come up with a plan for combating them!
If you manage a business or own a commercial space, you expect your employees to report to work per their schedule and fulfill their job duties in a timely manner. Your employees expect you to provide them with a safe environment in which to do their job. Most of the time, these expectations are met without incident. Every commercial space is vulnerable to risk, however, and it’s important to have plans in place to protect your staff when something out of the ordinary occurs.
Some regional risks for businesses in Western Montana include forest fires, earthquakes, and winter storms. Then, health hazards, vehicle or machinery accidents, acts of violence, and power outages or equipment failure are risks that should be included in every Emergency Response Plan no matter your geographical location. In certain emergency situations, evacuation is the safest course of action (scroll down for our previous post, Emergency Readiness: Evacuation Plans). In others—like in the instance of nearby chemical spills or a fire across the street—it’s safer for employees to remain in the building until emergency services say otherwise. For these situations, your business should have a Shelter-in-Place plan.
Shelter-in-Place plans need not be elaborate. To start creating one for your business, designate an area near the center of the building where employees can congregate; this area should be away from windows, and on the second or third floor if available. In the plan, a specific employee should be assigned to shut off the building’s air intake system. As with evacuation plans, your Shelter-in-Place plan should be triggered by an alarm or other alert system recognizable to your employees, and your staff should run practice drills no less than once a year.
Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place plans help keep your employees safe in the event of an emergency, and give them peace of mind all year round. Other ways to improve your business’s emergency preparedness include consulting local law enforcement in creating a Lockdown Plan (some departments even provide training) for our facility, and writing a Crisis Communication Plan, which lets your employees and your customers know exactly when and in what form they can expect contact from you about returning to work after a crisis.
If you’re interested in preparing a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan for your business, call SERVPRO of Missoula for more information!
Missoula Mold 102: Causes and Prevention
High humidity can lead to mold growth in your home. Check out these tips to decrease the risk!
If you don’t have visible or suspected mold growth in your home, you probably don’t want to think too much about the topic. After all, out of sight out of mind. But the truth is, the best time to think about mold is when you don’t have a mold problem. That way, you can pinpoint potential mold danger-zones in your home, and take preventative action.
In a previous blog (Mold 101: What is it? Where is it?) we talked about steps you can take if you discover visible mold growth in your home. But what about steps you can take to get ahead of mold growth? Those all come down to understanding what causes mold. Like we said in that previous blog, mold “can grow anywhere moisture, oxygen, and organic material are present.” Well, that’s pretty much your entire home. But don’t be discouraged—the key is to limit excessive moisture as much as possible. Excessive moisture occurs when a dwelling is overly humid—the EPA recommends that homes maintain 30-60% humidity—and/or has poor ventilation, so that moisture-causing activities such as cooking, bathing, and washing clothes increase the indoor humidity level. Of course, excess moisture can also be caused by a leaking pipe, a roof leak, or flooding.
Luckily, taming excess moisture indoors can be done with simple at-home actions. Open windows to let steam outside when you’re showering or cooking on a stovetop, and vent clothes dryers to the outside. To facilitate air flow through your home, so that moisture doesn’t settle on surfaces, leave doors open between rooms and use ceiling fans if available. To monitor humidity, you can purchase an inexpensive hygrometer at most hardware stores, and of course, clean up leaks and spills as soon as they occur. If you live in a particularly humid area, or have recurring mold problems, you may want to consider more serious actions like purchasing a dehumidifier. In general, however, the above steps are a great start to lowering the risk of mold growth in your home!
How SERVPRO of Missoula makes residential fire damage “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO of Missoula will clean your home top to bottom to make fire damage “Like it never even happened.”
The extent of damage that occurs during a residential fire can vary greatly, but SERVPRO of Missoula brings the same restoration expertise into every individual case. Whether your home experienced a small fire which got put out quickly and caused mainly smoke damage, or a large fire that charred multiple rooms, SERVPRO of Missoula is there to help with damage mitigation and restoration every step of the way.
In our commitment to making your residential fire “Like it never even happened,” our technicians will perform a complete pack-out of all the items in your home, so that every single salvageable item can be cleaned and inventoried, and so that the entire structure can under-go air purification and deep cleaning. If any areas of your home need to be repaired due to extensive fire damage, our in-house carpenter will erase any evidence of the fire, right down to the base trim!
Though fire restoration can be a long process, our project managers will give you daily updates on job progress and answer any questions or concerns you may have along the way. And when you move all of your cleaned and inventoried belongings back into your newly smoke- and fire-damage-free home, you’ll be glad you put SERVPRO of Missoula on the job!
Emergency Readiness at Home: Your Missoula Evacuation Plan
Disasters are scary, but having a plan makes them less so.
Disasters happen. It’s frightening to think about the possibility of having to flee your home due to a widespread emergency, but it’s even more frightening to think that you would be completely unprepared for such a situation. By making just a few considerations now, you and your family can be ready for an evacuation in the future.
If a local emergency triggers an evacuation, your family will need a place to go. That’s why the first step in your evacuation plan should be designating two or three out-of-town locations in separate directions where you could go. These locations could be hotels or houses of friends or family, and if you have pets it’s important to make sure they can shelter your pets, too. Then make sure you’re familiar with alternate routes away from your home, and means of public transportation in case driving your personal vehicle isn’t an option.
With many weather events and some natural disasters (like forest fires), there may be forewarning that you’ll need to evacuate. In these cases, make sure to keep your gas tank full and to create a “go-bag” of essentials that you can pick up and take with you at a moment’s notice. When local officials give the word to evacuate, take as few cars as possible and stick to recommended evacuation routes as shortcuts could be blocked. Before you leave, it’s also best to unplug electrical equipment (though it’s only necessary to unplug refrigerators and freezers if there’s a risk of flooding), lock all of your doors and windows, and activate your family communication plan by letting an out-of-town family member know where you’re going and when you arrive. Only return home once local officials have said it’s safe to do so.
Overall, when a local emergency that necessitates evacuation has occurred or may occur, the most important steps to take are to keep updated with local news radio, and to always follow local officials’ instructions. For more information on emergency preparedness, check out the other blogs in the “storm” category, and ready.gov/plan
Fast Emergency Response Time in Missoula?
We are on-call 24-hours a day to respond to fire and water damage emergencies in Missoula.
Faster to Any Size Disaster in Missoula
When disaster strikes your home or commercial business, fast response to your call means everything. As one of our customers, Coleman, relates on our testimonial page, he called us in because snow had melted into his in-law’s house basement, causing water damage. We answered his call within two rings, arrived within two hours of his call, and immediately extracted the water, removed all of the water-saturated drywall, and began the drying process. As Coleman states in his testimonial, he was very pleased with our customer service, and how responsive we were throughout the restoration process.
One, Four, Eight Rule
SERVPRO® of Missoula follows the one, four, eight-hour rule. This means we will respond to your call in one hour or less, arrive on-site within four hours, and contact your insurance adjuster within eight hours. When dealing with any fire or water damage emergency, time is critical because the damage can worsen over time, and the restoration time and the cost of restoration can increase significantly.
Call Us Today!
Every minute counts when responding to a water or fire damage emergency, and SERVPRO® of Missoula is ready to respond to your call 24-hours a day. Call us at 406-327-9500. We’ll restore your property damage in Missoula, “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.
The Effect of Snowmelt and Hydrostatic Pressure on your Missoula Home
Hydrostatic pressure is hard to see. Instead of waiting for signs of damage, protect your home’s foundation with preventative steps!
Another Groundhog Day has come and gone and as usual, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. That’s supposed to mean six more weeks of winter, and here in Western Montana, it looks like we’re getting every bit of it.
As hard as it might be to believe right now, all this snow we’re getting will eventually melt. Snowmelt, while an important part of the annual water cycle, can spell trouble for your house’s foundation or basement. The potential trouble stems from a phenomenon called hydrostatic pressure, wherein excess water creates soil expansion as it seeps into the ground. A house’s foundation then blocks that water from where gravity wants it to travel—downhill—and it so the water exerts pressure on the foundation instead. At greater depths, hydrostatic pressure combined with the force of gravity and the weight of the earth itself can begin to compromise foundations and basement walls, leading to fissures and leaks.
Obviously, there’s not much homeowners can do about weather patterns or the occurrence of snowmelt. But there are steps you can take to protect your foundation from the insidious effects of hydrostatic pressure. As is often the case, prevention is the best way to deal with water damage in your home; installing a sump pump is one way to protect against excess water finding its way into your basement or crawlspace. Then, regular inspections and maintenance of your outdoor water drainage systems can help ensure that clogs aren’t creating unnecessary additional pressure and sending water down unintended paths. Finally, if you do notice a crack in your basement wall or around your foundation, seal it immediately. And of course, if you see that water has made its way in, contact SERVPRO of Missoula so we can help make it “Like it never even happened.”
Training Matters: SERVPRO of Missoula's 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 that 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 trainings 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 trainings 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.”