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The Top Causes of Commercial Damage | SERVPRO® of Billings

6/17/2022 (Permalink)

a large commercial building with extensive damage to roof and siding SERVPRO of Billings is your local commercial disaster team. Contact us to learn more about our commercial damage restoration services.

Businesses make our country thrive. It’s likely you don’t often go a day without utilizing a business of some sort.

When you own a business, you have a lot on your plate simply managing the day-to-day, and when a disaster strikes, it can be completely devastating.

Damage caused by natural disasters has been increasing steadily recently in the United States. Over the last five years, our country has experienced close to $153 billion worth of damage annually, which is substantially higher than previous periods.

Living in Montana means that we can face a variety of extreme weather, with the top two natural disasters stemming from wildfires and flooding. It is also well-known that Billings is cold and receives high amounts of snow each long winter.

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are also possible in our neighborhoods. While this year’s snowpack is on track to fulfill our water supply with minimal potential for flooding, we all know well that as the weather warms up, snow melt and heavy rains can quickly spell disaster. This fine line means that we need to be ready to handle anything that Mother Nature brings our way.

The more we learn about the potential disasters our businesses could face, the better we can prepare.

Water Damage

Water is one of the top causes of damage to businesses around the country. This can stem from severe weather or something internal like an appliance failure, and either way, it can cause extreme damage to your property.

Exterior flooding from excessive rains or overflowing rivers can seep through floors and the seals on your doors, which can lead to damage to your foundation. If the exterior of your building allows it, landscaping can be strategically placed to divert water away from your building as a preventive measure. This is especially essential in our towns when snow and ice begin to melt.

Damage can also occur from interior sources when a leak is allowed to drip for an extended amount of time. Plumbing in your building should be regularly checked for signs of water damage, including warping and discoloration on the walls and flooring.

When you stay on top of routine maintenance now, you can prevent costly repairs later.

Storm Damage

Destruction from storms is be very common for commercial properties and can devastate an entire section of businesses or rip only a single roof tile, seemingly at random. Even a power outage or downed trees can cause an unwelcome disruption and keep you away from work longer than you want.

A powerful storm can rip off a roof or cause structural damage that could be irreversible. These storms can bring winds of over 100 mph that can knock over freight trucks and uproot trees as if they were twigs.

There are steps you can take to protect your business. While some more expensive choices like storm-protective window covers and updates to your roof can be highly effective, even low-cost actions can help.

Check the seals on your windows and doors. Inspect your building regularly for weak areas and keep up with regular maintenance to avoid costly repairs later. If you have space outside your building, clear debris and ensure furniture is properly anchored before a storm moves in.

Know Who to Call

Your commercial property can be damaged in a number of ways, but water and storm damage are the two most common. These events can be completely devastating and force a business to close for an extended amount of time or even permanently.

Thankfully, SERVPRO is available 247 to respond quickly to any disaster you may face. Our experts are your neighbors, and it is our goal to build a plan that will get you back in action faster.

If you have experienced damage to your business or want to learn more about our commercial damage restoration services, contact us today. We’re here to act fast, 247.

Plan Ahead with SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Plan | SERVPRO® of Billings

6/6/2022 (Permalink)

Three SERVPRO employees unloading equipment out of a green van. Does your business have a plan in place to prevent extended downtime? Contact SERVPRO of Billings to learn about our Emergency Ready Plan.

If you run a business you know that it is a more-than-full-time job. You likely often work overtime maintaining your staff, payroll and your social media presence all while navigating an ever changing business landscape. Juggling it all is a very tight rope to walk!

It only takes one business disruption to throw your company off track for good. In a recent report, FEMA notes that 40% of small businesses don’t reopen after a natural disaster, and another 25% of those that do reopen are closed within a year.

And now in a world still stinging from the memories of pandemic shutdowns and uncertain futures, it is more important than ever for your business to have a plan in place in the event of an emergency or disaster. Three-quarters of all small businesses don’t have a plan in place. That is something we would like to see changed.

SERVPRO prides itself in helping businesses in Montana always be prepared by creating an Emergency Ready Plan. We will walk with you to create a plan that fits your individualized needs.

We can cover everything from natural disasters to recovering and backing up your data. It’s our goal that if your business is faced with any kind of interruption you can hit “go” and your plan kicks into gear.

You and your crew will know the chain of command, when and what to do, alternate work locations and vendors you can rely on. With our snowy winters here in Billings, this is especially important to keep all of us on track through even our toughest seasons.

Don’t let lack of planning add to your already-overloaded business road. We are locally owned and operated here at SERVPRO of Billings, and as your neighbors, we want to keep your business on track with an Emergency Ready Plan. We want the small businesses that make up the heart of our community to survive any disruptions that come our way.

When your business is ready to prioritize planning and safety to prevent extended downtime, contact SERVPRO to get the Emergency Ready Plan underway from the folks who know all there is to know about disaster and recovery.

Easy Steps to Prevent Fire in Your Home | SERVPRO® of Billings

5/23/2022 (Permalink)

interior view of a room with items completely destroyed by fire If your home is damaged in a house fire, SERVPRO of Billings is here to help. Contact us for any fire restoration needs.

The American Red Cross has responded to more than 20,000 house fires in 2022, and that is only a small amount of the total number of fires the United States has seen so far.

Smoke detectors will always be the top way to protect your home and your life, but there are other preventive measures you can take, even as simple as cleaning your home.

Clear the Clutter

Excessive clutter in our home can be an issue of its own, but allowing stairwells, hallways and utility spaces to hold unused materials can be a fire hazard. Cloth items such as loose clothing, extra blankets and pillows can act as fuel to a fire.

Clothing left near a water heater can actually start a fire when the water heater turns on. With our cold climate, it is likely you have a space heater in your home, and allowing items to pile up near it can create another fire hazard.

Space heaters should never be near drapes or furniture, and should always be in an open area of your home. Clean your space heater before you store it for the warmer months, and be sure to check it for dust before the next use as well.

Make sure your space heaters or any other warming device you use is plugged into a unit that is not overloaded. Overloaded extension cords are another source of fire in your home. Put away electrical appliances you don’t use, and unplug anything you don’t use often.

Always leave room between furniture and wall outlets to avoid overheating and allow for proper air flow.

Create a Defensible Space in Your Yard

The landscaping in your yard can play a key role in protecting your home from fire that starts outside. Laying out your landscape in intentional ways both slows a fire and allows space for firefighters to work in the event of an emergency.

Intentional landscaping for fire safety is known as creating defensible zones. States like California have actually imposed specific requirements for zoning in yards, but this type of prevention is useful everywhere.

This doesn’t mean you can’t plant what you want; instead, it requires strategic placement of plants and trees to protect your home. You also need to keep your yard clear of dead leaves and limbs, as this can fuel a fire. With as common as maple trees are in Montana, that can mean a lot of raking!

Keep It Clean & Keep It Safe

Clearing out your home and yard isn’t the only cleaning that can prevent fires. Your chimney and stove are two other areas with a high risk of fire, and regularly cleaning them can make a big difference.

Lowering the fire risk doesn’t just mean deep-cleaning either. Dusting your home is actually an act of fire prevention, particularly dusting around electrical appliances and outlets. So attack those dust bunnies with the pleasure of knowing you are protecting your home and loved ones!

Our homes are more than a sanctuary these days—they also serve us for work, play and even schooling. Keeping your house clean is the best way to prevent the devastation a fire would cause.

If you have experienced fire damage or want to learn more about our fire damage restoration services, contact us today. We’re here to act fast, 247

4 Steps to take while the SERVPRO of Billings team is on the way

5/23/2022 (Permalink)

tree fallen through roof of home due to wind storm SERVPRO of Billings is committed to being on-site right away if you have experienced a disaster of any kind.

SERVPRO of Billings is committed to being on-site right away if you have experienced a disaster of any kind. Our motto is that we are “Faster to any-sized disaster!” We’re committed to ensuring that you and those you work with and care about are safe, as well as that you experience the least amount of loss possible to your premises, buildings, and belongings. 

While you are waiting for us to arrive on the scene, there are some things you will probably want to do. 

  • You will, of course, have already made sure everyone is safe. If you have had to call an ambulance for an injury, keep the person warm and dry to guard against shock, and provide any first aid, you feel comfortable giving. 
  • Contacting your insurance provider is an excellent next step. Take photos and videos of damage so that you have a record of what has occurred only if you can do this safely. If your insurance policy is accessible and you have time, go over it to understand what your coverage is and what requirements you may need to fulfill. 
  • If any of the utilities in your home or business have been affected, contact the appropriate utility company so that they can come out and do whatever needs to be done to get your services back online. They will also know what to look for as far as safety issues and equipment failure. 
  • If your business has been affected, you’ll want to take steps to alert your clientele and business partners of what has occurred. If you cannot use your social media to make a statement, you can make some phone calls to the businesses you interact with to stop deliveries, for example. 

SERVPRO Is On The Way

SERVPRO of Billings is a team of professionals that maintain all the up-to-date training and equipment needed to get you back to normal as soon as possible. We manage fire damage, water damage, mold prevention and remediation, damage from vandalism, biohazards, and more. Ask us how we can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Restoring Your Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

5/18/2022 (Permalink)

Ceiling demolition due to water damage Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges.

Flooding and water damage events at Billings, Montana 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 Billings

SERVPRO of Billings 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.

Make Your Storm Safety Plan Today

5/5/2022 (Permalink)

A dark stormy sky with lighting strikes in the background. SERVPRO of Billings is your 24/7 storm damage expert. Call us right away if you need immediate service.

Every year, there are close to 100,000 thunderstorms across the United States. These frequent weather events can quickly become frightening, bringing strong winds, lightning, hail and intense rain, all of which can cause personal danger and physical damages.

Our cold temperatures may mean we see more snow than any other weather event, but it does not exempt us from the threat of storms. In the month of May, we see our greatest amounts of rainfall, and throughout the rest of the year, we experience dry thunderstorms that can include an extreme amount of lightning.

These events can lead to flooding and other dangers in our area, a strong reminder that we should always be prepared. Creating an emergency weather plan to include communication strategies, emergency kits and preparations for afterwards can be lifesaving, as well as minimize the potential of damage.

Your Severe Weather Communication Strategy

In the event of severe weather, communication is one of the most important pieces of your emergency plans. The first step in establishing that plan is understanding the differences between a watch and a warning so that your entire household knows when to take shelter.

You should have multiple ways to receive alerts from weather outlets. Two devices are recommended, including your cell phone and a weather radio with different power sources.

A communication process for the entire family is important so that everyone in the household knows what to do and how to check in. Everyone should know where the designated safe space is in your home, generally a bathroom or a basement. Be sure to have a plan for those family members that may not be home during the storm so that everyone can be accounted for.

Your Severe Weather Emergency Kit

Creating a kit with emergency supplies is an important part of your weather plan that you can create now and update throughout the year. This should include food and water for each member of your family that can last up to 72 hours.

Flashlights, batteries and first-aid supplies should also be included in this kit, as well as some calming items to make the weather experience more comfortable.

Your Severe Weather Aftermath Checklist

Once the storm is over, you will need to have a clear plan about what to do next. As soon as it is safe to do so, you should walk your property to assess any damage that may have occurred.

You will want to pay close attention to windows, doors and your roof. These areas have the highest rate of water intrusion, and you will want to watch for any incoming moisture.

If your home is damaged, call us at SERVPRO of Billings right away. We are available 247 and can offer you calm after the storm as we tackle your restoration and get you back in your home faster.

Once the storm is gone and restoration and cleanup have begun, communicate with your family about how your emergency plan worked. Did they all understand where to go and when? Did your emergency kit have enough for each person? How can you change your plan together in order to make sure everyone stays safe and comfortable?

Your emergency plan should be something you revisit and practice continuously so that you are all ready for the next storm.

If you discover storm damage to your home or business, you can count on SERVPRO to handle the restoration. We’re here 247 to spring into action—get in touch with us today.

How Water Damage Worsens Over Time

4/27/2022 (Permalink)

A bathroom sink showing signs of a water leak. No matter the damage sustained, SERVPRO of Billings has the tools and team to help your home return to a normal state quickly.

A dripping faucet or a little water spot may not seem like a big deal, but you should never underestimate the amount of damage moisture can cause. On average, a household leak can lose up to 10,000 gallons of water per year.

Water moves quickly and damages most everything in its path, including floors, walls and any soft surfaces. Response time matters, and the faster an issue is addressed, the better your results will be. Here is a timeline of water damage and what you need to know to mitigate it.

In the First 24 Hours

There is a one in four chance that your household will experience flood damage within 30 years of living in a high-risk area. Knowing what to do once you have spotted water is essential.

The first two days after water damage or flooding occurs are crucial. Some items in your home will fall victim to destruction immediately.

Upholstery and other soft furnishings absorb water and become soaked through, while wooden structures can swell from moisture. Personal belongings like photos and books are susceptible to warping and other damage rendering them ruined. Mold can also begin setting up within the first 24 to 48 hours. Quick action can start to limit damage and save your property.

SERVPRO wants to restore rather than replace your personal items, saving you money. Any materials that cannot be restored will be communicated to you and we will handle any required removal in order to continue the drying process.

Within the First Week

After the first 24 hours have passed, water damage progresses quickly. The spread of mold takes off like wildfire in an environment with excessive moisture. Mold can even set in to the very structure of your home or business.

In addition to the mold spread, any porous surfaces like wood or walls become more and more compromised while metal surfaces start corroding.

After One Week

Moisture should not be allowed to sit for any length of time as the effects could be irreversible and catastrophic. As time passes, restoration cost and efforts increase greatly, while the risk and damage to structures gets worse.

How SERVPRO Will Help

Our restoration process begins the moment you call us, hopefully within the first 24 hours of water intrusion. SERVPRO generally begins our service with a complete extraction of water. This stops the spread of water within your home and reduces overall drying time.

Once the majority of the water is removed, our highly trained team will use industry-leading drying equipment to remove unseen water. Floors, furniture and other belongings will likely require cleaning, sanitizing and deodorization.

After these steps are finished, construction work may be required in order to restore your home or business back to preloss condition. This could mean minor repairs or the complete rebuild of an entire area.

SERVPRO is a full-service restoration company that can simplify your recovery by completing each step required to get you back in your home faster. We will keep you aware of each step’s progress and let you know the moment you can get back to normal.

Regardless of the type of water damage sustained, SERVPRO has the tools and teams to help your home or business recover. Contact us 247 when you need a dependable team to help you recover.

How Hail Can compromise Your Roof

3/28/2022 (Permalink)

Circles on a roof with chalk, hail damage on a roof Following a hail storm, it is necessary to conduct a roof inspection and look for more subtle damage signs.

A healthy roof can protect your commercial property from storm damage in Billings, MT. Roof damage from a severe storm requires you to act quickly to avoid costly consequences.

How Can Hail Affect Your Roof?

Hail storms are typically not long-lasting, but they can severely compromise your roof depending upon various factors, including:

  • Stone size
  • Stone weight
  • Stone shape
  • Speed at Impact
  • Roof material

Hailstones can have diameters up to three inches and weigh as much as a pound. They can form with jagged edges and travel over 100 miles per hour from thousands of feet above the ground. Damage occurs if these large stones land on your roof and puncture a hole through it.

How Can You Identify Hail Damage?

Roof damage following a hail storm is not always easy to recognize if it doesn't leave a gaping hole. Following a hail storm, it is necessary to conduct a roof inspection and look for more subtle damage signs. Your roof may have damage if your gutters are out of place or dented or if they are not draining properly due to clogging from trapped hail particles. Dents in your building's siding following a hail storm are another good indication that your roof also has damage.

What Are the Consequences of Ignoring Roof Repairs?

Delaying roof inspections or hail damage repairs can lead to other issues affecting your building's interior. For example, a small hole in your roof can grow bigger if it remains unrepaired. As a result, water from the next rain or snowstorm could make its way inside. The result could be an obvious flood, water-soaked insulation or an accumulation of water within your building's interior walls. These scenarios can lead to secondary mold damage that would require immediate attention from a mold remediation service to decontaminate your premises.

If roof damage causes flooding at your building in Billings, MT, a disaster recovery service can undertake proper cleanup and sanitization.

Read This if Your Dryer Lint Screen Is Dirty

3/28/2022 (Permalink)

Cleaning a lint trap Clean that lint screen fully.

How To Prevent a Lint Fire

Your dryer's lint screen is chronically dirty. There are traces of lint stuck to the sides. In fact, there are areas of your dryer that you didn't even know needed to be cleaned. Read on to find out how to easily prevent a lint fire.

1. Clean That Lint Screen Fully

Most people either ignore the lint screen until it's overflowing, or they cleanse it sporadically. Neither of these methods is effective. Proper lint screen cleaning includes:

  • Accessing the lint screen
  • Rubbing your hand or a brush over it
  • Using the balled lint to gather any remaining particles
  • Dispensing properly

Place the gathered lint far away from any source of heat. Make sure you follow the above steps each time before a new drying cycle. If the screen is looking especially linty, rinse it with water and some soap. Fuzz will also gather in the lint trap, so vacuum it to prevent clogs.

2. Deep Clean the Entire Dryer and Exhaust Hose

This isn't a fun task, but it only has to be done about twice a year. Unseen materials can also start a lint fire. Every 6 months, make sure to give your drying machine a deep clean. Always remember to unplug the appliance before doing so.
Pull the machine away from the wall, and remove the back panel. This will expose the exhaust hose and interior, giving you access to any clogs or debris to wipe away. Reposition all parts before restarting the dryer.

3. Call Forth the Pros

There are around 2,900 dryer fire emergencies reported each year. Not keeping on top of your dryer's cleanliness can be dangerous and costly. That's why it's best to call your local experts in Laurel, MT, and get that dryer fully inspected. The professional cleaning and remediation team can determine the exact regimen for your particular make and model. The right tools will also be brought in.

If you don't have the time or ability to clean your dryer properly, it's best to call in experts. They will know the best route to prevent a lint fire. If fire damage does occur, make sure you picked the right team that can handle the aftermath, as well.

How to Clean Up After Your Business Is Flooded

3/7/2022 (Permalink)

ceiling damaged by water loss Water damage in Acton, MT.

Cleaning Up a Flooded Company

Water damage to businesses in Acton, MT, is a big deal. Cleaning up a flooded company is a complex procedure with four main components:

  • Steps for safety
  • Steps during the flood
  • Steps after the flood
  • Steps for cleanup

Unfortunately, it’s common for managers and property owners to skip over some of the recommended strategies. However, if you follow this simple plan, you’ll save yourself a huge amount of stress and possibly thousands of dollars.

Step One: Get Out

If floodwaters are approaching, shut off the electricity and gas if you can safely do so. If you have advanced warning, remove anything you can, especially porous personal items. However, don’t waste time if the water is approaching. If it’s a broken pipe spewing clean water, it won’t have toxic elements, especially if you shut off the water quickly.

Step Two: Stay Out

Never enter a flooded company! Floodwaters are considered a major hazard since sewage and chemicals are often mixed in. Also, the water can eat away the dirt below the foundation and cause major structural damage which could collapse the building.
Once the flood has happened, do not reenter until a professional flood restoration company has approved reentry. They can also help with insurance and the cleanup.

Step Three: Get the Water Out

After a big flood, everybody in the area will call the flood restoration companies. As soon as the water reaches your business, you should call your flood restoration professionals to get the fastest service.
You need to get the water out as fast as possible. Every hour the floodwater sits in your building, it’s eating away at materials. Professional restoration companies have special air movers that squeeze the moisture out of your building.

Step Four: Get the Damage Out

Porous materials, such as drywall and carpet, must be removed immediately. The area behind walls and any crawlspaces must be inspected. Washable fabrics can be cleaned by you, although some require dry cleaning.
A flooded company is always a disaster. However, following these simple steps can help mitigate the damage and get you reopened much more quickly.