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Different Kinds of Storm Damage | SERVPRO® of Billings

10/3/2022 (Permalink)

a large lightning strike off in the distance of a dark sky When you suffer storm-related damage to your home or business, make SERVPRO of Billings your first call.

When you own a home, you likely always feel a twinge of fear when severe weather is rolling through. While homes are typically built to withstand a good deal, when a crazy storm hits, any property could suffer damages.

Strong winds that can carry debris across entire communities, winter storms, freezing rains and even just a mild thunderstorm are all a threat to your property throughout the year. These events can sometimes be so strong the very structure of your home is affected.

Each weather system presents a different level of risk to your home, but there are other factors to consider as well. The geographic location of your property, your landscaping and the strength of the building materials are all indicators of how much damage you may or may not receive. Even with every consideration, sometimes weather has a mind of its own and how you fare in a storm simply comes down to luck.

While we have just about every variety of weather here in Billings, we commonly see thunderstorms that can drop large hail in the summer and intense snowstorms in the winter. This past July, several counties endured a storm that came with baseball-sized hail and left a wake of damages. Preparing our homes and our lives for these weather extremes is incredibly important.

If your home is damaged in a storm, make sure you seek a professional opinion when you decide to stay or go. While most storm damage is pretty obvious, sometimes the structure of your home could be unstable with little outward evidence.

Preparing for the most common kinds of storm damage will always be the best way to mitigate your risks and ensure your safety. “The more you know,” right?

Wind

Wind damage can happen quickly, particularly when violent sustained winds batter an object at a high velocity. Tornadoes and hurricanes will always come with extreme winds, but even a mild thunderstorm can produce gusts of up to 100 mph and induce damage.

Winds at this strength can fling debris into your home or vehicles and topple trees. If you are sheltering in place during a storm, make sure you are in an interior room away from exterior walls and windows. When limbs and rocks are picked up, they can pierce walls and break glass, so stay inside and stay safe.

You can take preventive action and avoid some damages caused by strong winds. Pick up and dispose of loose limbs on a regular basis, and make sure large rocks are far away from your home.

If you have furniture outside, find some way to secure it so that it can’t go flying. Trim trees and remove any that are dying before they can fall over. The less loose items a storm can pick up, the less damage you will receive.

Water

Water is one of the most common forms of damage that occurs across the United States. Even in an area that is not flood-prone, a heavy rain can cause accumulating puddles or flash floods that can enter through doors and windows.

If an extreme amount of water gathers, it can actually seep through your foundation, which over time will lead to structural damage. As our weather warms up late in spring, snowmelt can lead to ice dams and overflowing bodies of water that pose a risk to the properties in our area.

Fortunately, the area outside of your home can play a key role in protecting your property. Be strategic with your landscaping to ensure there is a slope away from your house so water flows where you want it.

You can also consider installing a rain garden that not only will add curb appeal to your home, but is also very effective in absorbing moisture before it has a chance to intrude into your property.

Keeping your gutters cleaned is another way to ensure that water flows away from your home without pooling up. When water is unable to flow cleanly, your gutter system can quickly become overwhelmed, which can lead to water entering your home through your roof. This can mean damage to every level of your home.

Impact

When a tree falls onto your home or other property or a piece of debris flies into something, it is considered “impact damage.” This kind of damage can bring down entire buildings and can be completely catastrophic.

The best way to prevent impact damage is trimming and removing trees that are no longer healthy or that have grown too close to your home. While this can be costly and time-consuming, it can also be life-saving.

In 2021 alone, weather caused nearly $145 billion in damages across the nation. The more you prepare yourself and your property, the more you can lower your overall risk and rest easy knowing your home is a safe environment no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.

If your home is damaged in a storm, call SERVPRO of Billings as soon as possible. Our professionals are available 247 and come with years of experience and top-of-the-line equipment. It is our primary goal to get your home back to exactly as it should be as fast as possible.

When you suffer storm-related damage to your home or business, it’s important that you know who to call! Contact us today to get your storm damage restoration started faster.

Flooding Protection for the Inside & Outside of Your Home | SERVPRO® of Billings

10/3/2022 (Permalink)

A group of residential homes with major flooding in back yards Experienced water damage in your home? Call SERVPRO of Billings to get the restoration process started right away.

Regardless of where you live, it is important to make sure you are protected from floods. As little as an inch of water can cause damage and cost any property owner quite a bit in repairs.

If you do not live in an area that has frequent flooding, you may not qualify for a lot of financial help through insurance or other sources. This means that every preventive measure you can take is crucial.

Flooding is a fairly common occurrence for us in Billings and our surrounding areas. In the warmer seasons, the rivers around us are consistently challenged by heavy rains. This makes it essential to know your risks so that you can properly prepare your home and ensure your family’s safety.

Protecting Your Home From the Outside

Flooding cannot always be anticipated with a great deal of time to prepare. Pop-up storms can dump huge amounts of water in a short amount of time that causes puddles to form around your home and overwhelms your gutter systems.

Protecting your home starts with preparing from the outside.

Clean gutters are crucial in ensuring water flows away from your home. With the heavy rains we can frequently experience in June and July, adding an extended downspout to your gutter system could be helpful to prevent overflow and puddling.

You can also use landscaping to protect the bottom level of your home. Gardens pull water down into soil and roots, which means heavy rains are absorbed faster and puddles are avoided.

Organic materials like mulch are also helpful when added to the area immediately outside of your home. Create a slope with these materials to force water away and avoid wet basements or bottom floors.

There are a few upgrades you can consider to protect your home in extreme weather as well, including elevating electric outlets and anchoring fuel tanks if you use one. While those may seem like high-end additions, adding an inexpensive rain barrel that catches water directly from one of your downspouts can be a helpful way to prevent water gathering. And bonus: It means saving money when you water all your beautiful plants!

Flood Protection From the Inside

Two of the best ways to protect the inside of your home are sealing your basement and tackling any cracks in your foundation.

A sump pump in the basement that kicks in when water enters can also be a helpful tool in keeping your home dry. If you live in a high-risk area, a battery-operated pump might be the best idea so you are ensured it will work even if the power goes out.

For flooding that doesn’t start outside, there are a few ways to protect your home with basic home maintenance.

Plumbing is one of the biggest sources of water damage inside the home, particularly pipes that are aged or failing. If you have a leaky faucet, get it fixed quickly and make checking all of your plumbing a regular habit so that other leaks don’t start.

You can also consider adding a leak sensor that will tell you if water is suddenly somewhere it shouldn’t be. Home security systems will sometimes offer this as an add-on or upgrade, so if you were considering having a new system put in, spring for this addition and rest a little more peacefully.

No matter where it comes from, water will damage paper goods and photographs immediately. Store irreplaceable items on high shelves or in a water-tight container.

Make sure you also know where your emergency contacts are stored, and consider adding SERVPRO to the list. The faster you call us, the sooner your recovery starts.

Experienced water damage in your home? Call SERVPRO today to get your restoration completed faster.

Our Highly Trained Restoration Specialists can restore your home

10/3/2022 (Permalink)

IICRC Emblem We are an IICRC Certified Firm

SERVPRO of Billings is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Billings

SERVPRO of Billings specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: 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.

Staying Safe When You Have a Backyard Fire | SERVPRO® of Billings

9/27/2022 (Permalink)

a close up view of a bright campfire burning at night If you have experienced fire or smoke damage, contact SERVPRO of Billings.

Sitting around the fire telling scary stories and roasting marshmallows is a backyard pastime that everyone loves. Gathering the family around means family memories you won’t soon forget.

We use fire for multiple reasons, including clearing out yard debris, controlling the bugs and cooking our dinner. Even what we consider the safest of fires, though, can quickly become dangerous. The National Park Service recently found that 85% of wildfires are started by humans.

Across the state over the last two years, we have seen Montana’s fire risk growing. 2021 saw some of the most destructive fires our state has ever seen, and 2022 is predicted to have a fire season well above average. Now more than ever, we need to be as fire-aware as possible.

That doesn’t mean you have to skip the pastime all together—you can still grill, roast and toast as regulations permit. Take the time to put safety measures in place each and every time you burn and enjoy your backyard memory making safely.

Recreational Fire Hazards

Open flames will always carry risks, but grills, fire pits and fireworks are some of the top ways that outdoor fires can start. Each year, an average of 8,800 home fires are started by grills that are used improperly. Check your propane tank or gas line before you turn your grill on, and never leave a hot grill unattended, even after you are done cooking.

When you build a campfire, locate a spot a safe distance away from structures or vehicles, and only light the fire with a match or lighter. Once the campfire is going, stick with wood as your fuel source, and keep watch even over the embers after you have extinguished all the flames and eaten all the chocolate.

Fire pits have become a backyard standard over the last few years, offering the camping feel in the comfort of your own home. This piece of equipment should still be used with the same cautions as a regular campfire, and even if it is portable, you should never place one on a wood deck or any area with an overhang.

Your fire pit may seem like an easy way to get rid of excess construction materials or household wastes, but you should only burn approved firewood.

Fireworks are banned in Billings city limits, but you have lots of options to enjoy public shows throughout most of the summer. If you are outside of city limits, ensure you have plenty of room to light fireworks away from structures and trees. Fireworks can still ignite a fire even after they have exploded, so ensure they are landing in an area free of dry grasses and debris.

Other Outdoor Fire Hazards

Despite the risks that exist, backyard fires still serve several purposes. When the maple leaves start falling, burning them may be one of your only cleanup options if you are in an area that does not offer street pickup.

Don’t start a debris fire before first checking burn regulations. Permits are required, and open burning is only allowed during daylight hours. There is a slight cost for permits in some areas, and your city office should be notified prior to starting.

Cleaning your yard up is essential in the fight against wildfires along with landscaping in order to protect your home. Make sure you understand what is safe to burn and follow all guidelines for fire safety.

If you keep gas or other combustible materials in your shed or garage, make sure you store them in approved containers and away from young hands. Gas should only be used for its intended purpose, which means making that campfire just a little bigger is a no-go.

Before you light any kind of flame outdoors, make sure you check the weather and local ordinances. If the winds are high or we have had a long stretch of dry weather, skip the fire and save the marshmallows for better conditions.

If you do experience fire damage to your home, call us. SERVPRO is trained to handle every aspect of fire damage, and we make it our goal to restore rather than replace as much of your property as possible.

Burn safely outdoors. And save some chocolate for us! If you have experienced fire or smoke damage, contact us today to get restoration started faster.

Let SERVPRO Complete Your Restoration | SERVPRO® of Billings

9/6/2022 (Permalink)

a group of employees with restoration tools walking away from SERVPRO van No matter what type of disaster you face, SERVPRO of Billings is only a phone call away.

As local business owners, we understand the difficulties that can come with the day-to-day operations of running a business. You are handling multiple things while you seek to make your company successful, and a disaster striking could be the worst thing that happens.

While you can’t prevent and oftentimes can’t even predict a natural disaster, you can take steps to be prepared.

Disasters don’t just damage businesses either, of course; your home is also vulnerable to unexpected storms. No matter where your damage is, cleaning up can be completely overwhelming.

In order to get your home prepared, start creating an emergency plan. In order to know everything you will need in your plan, you must first understand the kind of disasters we face in Montana.

There is a great resource for general knowledge of a wide variety of disasters that can happen across the nation in the American Red Cross website. You can also reference some of the local websites we have including Montana.gov for statewide information and Yellowstone County’s emergency page for emergency management information.

Whether it’s at home or at the office, any kind of damage you experience should be addressed as quickly as possible. Fast response means less damage, and no one is faster than SERVPRO.

Why Choose SERVPRO?

No two situations will ever be the same. The need for restoration is common across the United States, but each situation is different.

Flooding provides a great example. While annually more than 14 million homes are at risk for taking on floodwaters, the damage that happens to each home will be completely different.

That is why our professionals are continually training to handle a variety of damage. We take each project one step at a time and consider the unique needs in order to ensure everything is completely dry.

We have 247 availability, 365 days a year. Timing will always matter when it comes to restoration, regardless of the kind of damage you have. To get your home or business back on track, restoration needs to begin soon as possible so damage doesn’t get worse.

When flood waters enter a home, soft fabrics, furniture and painted surfaces can be damaged immediately. If water is allowed to sit for an extended amount of time, mold and mildew can set in and affect the structure of your home. The faster you call us, the sooner we can stop damage in its tracks.

We are full-service. Not only can we restore immediate damage caused by disaster, but we can take over the entire project and finish everything required.

We can help you pack up items that have not been affected, work with your insurance agent to get claims started and even tarp your roof if it needs it. We want to make recovery easy for you, and aim to cover every step.

Whatever disaster comes your way, SERVPRO of Billings has you covered. We have been around for years and have the knowledge and equipment needed to get your home or business back to just the way you want it, all as fast as possible.

When you suffer damage to your home or business, it’s important that you know who to call! Contact us today to get restoration started faster.

When Storms or Floods hit Billings and it's surrounding areas, SERVPRO is ready!

8/2/2022 (Permalink)

lightning storm above a city Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to storm or flood damage in Billings Montana and surrounding areas.

SERVPRO ofBillings specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Billings and it's surrounding areas, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today

Preparedness Planning for Your Commercial Business

8/2/2022 (Permalink)

Emergency exit door How quickly your company can get back to business after a storm, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today.

How quickly your company can get back to business after a storm, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies.

The following are common sense measures business owners and managers can take to start getting ready. A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers and the community. It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.

Review the following questions to learn if your company is prepared.

Be Informed
Do you know what kind of emergencies might affect your company?

Do you know what you
will do in an emergency situation?

Develop a Business Continuity Plan 

Do you know which staff, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep operating?

Do you have backup plans for those operations?

Do you know what you will do if your building or plant is not accessible?

Do you know what you will do if your
suppliers are impacted by a disaster?

Are you ready for utility disruptions?

Prepare Your Emergency Plan

Do you have an evacuation and shelter-in-place plan?

Do you have a plan to communicate with employees before, during, and after an incident?

Do you have copies of building and site maps with utilities and emergency routes marked?

Are your employees trained for medical emergencies?

Practice the Emergency Plan

Have you practiced your plan recently?

Do you practice and coordinate with other businesses in your building or industrial complex?

Have you reviewed your plans in the last 12 months?

Review Insurance Coverage

Have you reviewed your insurance coverage recently to see if you’re covered in a disaster?

Secure Your Facility and Equipment

Have you secured all the ways people, products, and supplies get into your building?

Have you conducted a room-by-room walk-through to determine what can be strapped down?

Improve Cyber-security

Do you regularly install patches to your software?

Have you installed a firewall on your computer?

Do you regularly update your antivirus software?

Promote Family and Individual Preparedness

Do you encourage employees to have a personal emergency supply kit and a family communication plan?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, visit ready.gov and learn how to better prepare your business.

Faster to your Yellowstone County Water Damage Event

7/18/2022 (Permalink)

flooded laundry room SERVPRO of Billings provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration service in Yellowstone County

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Billings provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Billings arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 406-252-0859

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Billings

SERVPRO of Billings specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or 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.

What Storm Alerts to Understand and How to Stay Safe | SERVPRO® of Billings

7/12/2022 (Permalink)

a red and white severe weather alert sign If you suspect any damage to your home from a recent storm, call SERVPRO of Billings.

When it comes to weather alerts, there are at least 42 different kinds from seven different categories. That can be an awful lot of information to digest, especially as dark clouds are rolling in.

Learning what warnings or advisories mean for us here in Montana means we can quickly move to safety when it is necessary. It also means you can take steps now to protect your home and property.

General knowledge of all kinds of weather situations is helpful, but it is essential to understand the weather that we will face right here at home.

How Alerts Are Issued

Weather forecasts are just predictions, so how are alerts issued in the first place? How does the severity, location and length of a storm get monitored? There are actually several factors that work together to make the most accurate decisions.

The National Weather Service is responsible for both weather forecasting and issuing alerts. There are six regional offices and a little over 100 forecasting offices, which means we are receiving localized forecasts and warnings. Our weather alerts come from right here in Billings.

Personnel and meteorologists associated with the NWS access multiple forms of scientific data in order to create a forecast. This includes satellite radar, seismic activity, solar activity and various other sensors. The type of data used varies according to the weather event happening, but the end goal is always to be as accurate and thorough as possible.

The Most Important Alerts to Understand

Watches and warnings are used in almost every type of weather alert, including thunderstorms, flooding and winter storms. Everyone should understand the difference between these two kinds of alerts.

When a watch is issued, it means to begin preparing for a storm to move in that could become severe. A warning however, means that a dangerous storm is imminent and you should take cover immediately. Watches are issued for large areas, while warnings are more pinpointed to include only the county or city where the most danger will be.

Our local community can experience a pretty wide range of severe weather, including thunderstorms, tornadoes and strong winds. Our most common weather alerts come in the winter with our extreme amounts of snowfall. It is essential to understand the different kinds of cold weather warnings we may experience, including winter storm warnings, ice storm warnings and freeze warnings.

Protecting Your Home During a Storm

Heeding weather alerts properly is the best way to protect your property and your loved ones during severe weather, but there are a couple of other preventive measures you can take now to mitigate damages later.

Keeping your gutters clean and your outdoor furniture secured can prevent flooding and exterior damage to your home.

You can also create a safe space in an interior room or basement stocked with supplies to comfortably ride out a storm. When it is not safe to stay in your home during a weather event, make sure you have an exit plan that the entire family is familiar with.

Once the storm is over, survey your property and take photos of any damage you may have received. Give SERVPRO a call right away as well. We are available 247 to start your restoration process quickly and get you back home.

Learning about our Montana weather means that we can stay safe no matter what Mother Nature has to hand us. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the different alerts that can be issued around you so that you can handle the next storm well.

Experienced storm damage to your home or property? Contact us today for a quick response!

Smoke and Soot Cleanup with SERVPRO of Billings

7/7/2022 (Permalink)

fire damage in kitchen Fire damage to your home or place of business? Call us today!

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Billings will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call SERVPRO of Billings
today!