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Hurricane and Severe Storm Damage for Commercial Properties

Preparedness in the Workplace during a Major Storm or Hurricane

As the tropics are heating up with activity, Hurricane Preparedness is a topic of discussion. People usually remember to be prepared at their home with supplies, however will forget the workplace. Hurricane winds or flood waters from a major storm will harm any property in it’s path.

As a result, pre-planning leads to better protection for the employees, property, and equipment. Follow the steps below to lessen damages to your commercial property.

  1. Pre written action plan for emergencies

    – Employers need to have a pre written action plan for employees. This plan can be given to the employees to take action within their space before leaving the office.

Examples include:

  • Secure loose items such as scissors, staplers, reams of paper, etc.
  • Contain valuables in a safe or locked area.
  • Turn off computers and other equipment.
  • Remove items from the refrigerator.
  • Place customer files into a locked area.
  1. Assign a group to be the emergency task force.

    By assigning 2-5 people, depending on the size of your company, you will have a few people that can perform and oversee other precautions are taken before the major storm or hurricane.

Examples include:

  • Take a photo inventory of the various offices, assets, and equipment.
  • Check there are batteries, flashlights, and other emergency supplies in the office.
  • Secure doors and windows in the event of an emergency.
  1. Remove items from floor, if possible.

    As storm waters rise, the office may flood. By lifting items such as plants, boxes, and chairs off of the floor, it will  alleviate further water damages to those items.

  2. Send staff home. Their safety is a priority.

    After the commercial property has been prepared for the severe storm or hurricane, remember your staff will need time to prepare their own properties.

Take the time to plan ahead of the storm, use your staff, and keep emergency supplies on hand. The right preparation leads to very little effort and thirty minutes to an hour of time right before the storm. Not only will this help before the storm, but will get your business back up and running in no time! Be prepared and not scared when a storm is nearby!

national volunteer week, water damage, fire clean, panama city, bay county, pet, american red cross, american cancer society

National Volunteer Week – Giving Back to our Community

Disaster Response Team Gives Back to the Community

This week is known as National Volunteer’s Week. Disaster Response Team’s goal is to better the homes and the community around us. Therefore, volunteering is something that is a core value of our company.

American Red Cross Community Partner

One community project that is near to our hearts is being an American Red Cross Community Partner. As a community partner, our company, closely work with the Central Panhandle American Red Cross throughout the year. Being a restoration company, we see the terrible destruction that a disaster leaves. Therefore, from witnessing the disaster first hand, our company wanted to be able to assist in more ways. The American Red Cross’ mission is to provide compassionate care to those in need.  From the owner volunteering on the board for the American Red Cross, to our marketing director assisting with major fundraising events, and even our office manager is able to use her talents with digital design; our entire team is dedicated to helping the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

American Cancer Society – Making Strides against Breast Cancer

Also, another volunteering project that is important to our company is the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk for the American Cancer Society. Cancer has affected some of our employees and their families. There are many reasons our team takes pride in being a part of this great event. Each year we look forward to raising awareness about breast cancer and fundraising for the programs the American Cancer Society offers those who have cancer. This walk normally is hold at Aaron Bessant Park in Panama City Beach, FL in October.

Bay Humane Society

Our company also likes to support the Bay Humane Society. Disaster Response Team offers a very prepared pet program. Due to fires, floods, and hurricanes, there are many pets who are lost or harmed each year. Many homeowners have plans for their family and their home, but often do not remember to include their pets when planning. Disaster Response Team offers free window clings in the event of an emergency that shows how many pets are in the home. Additionally, we have free pet disaster plans to ensure your pet is prepared in case of a disaster. The disaster plan walks through preparation before a major storm such as a hurricane all the way through if the power is out. We support the Bay Humane Society in their effort to rescue unprepared pets in their mission to find their new forever home.

 National Volunteer Week

As this week comes to a close, our company thought about how much of an impact one company can make. As a result, volunteering our time and efforts, we are able to impact so many lives. We are proud to be able to give to our local community. Futhermore, our company would like to not only thank our staff, but to the places we serve. The American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, and Bay Humane Society have given so much time and resources to help the people and pets in Panama City, Panama City Beach, and all of our local community.

Fire Damage, Restoration, Panama City, FL

Fire Damage Restoration Tips

Fire damage is devastating to a home and its occupants. Once the flames are out, there will be a lot of things you’ll need to do as the homeowner to minimize the damage to your personal belongings and start the restoration process.  Here are a few tips to help you get started getting your home back in order.

You should not enter the property until the fire department confirms that the fire is out and it is safe to go inside.  Embers can smolder for days and rekindle if not properly extinguished. When it is safe to return, grab any important documents such as birth certificates, insurance papers and mortgage information.   Be sure to take any medications you will need and any valuables you can carry. Anything in a fireproof safe will probably be fine.

The next step is to call a certified fire restoration company, such as our company, for clean up and restorative services. There will be lingering smoke and soot on everything and you may want to stay in a hotel for the duration of the cleanup.  You will most likely not be allowed inside during the restoration process due to the environmental safety risks associated with smoke inhalation and chemical exposure. The cleanup crew will be wearing protective clothing and masks to protect them while they are working.

Important Tips:

  • Do not use any electrical appliances
  • Do not turn on any lights, use a flashlight [electrical wiring could be damaged]
  • Do not attempt to clean anything
  • Do not turn on your furnace or heat source

 

  • Open windows for ventilation to get smoke out of the house
  • Remove animals from the house [they are affected by smoke inhalation also]
  • Limit the number of people going in and out of the home to avoid tracking soot
  • Call a plumber or HVAC Technician to turn off the gas and drain the water heater.

Contact  Disaster Response Team immediately if you have been the victim of fire damage.  Our staff is available 24/7 to respond to emergencies. We know that time is very important and will there within minutes of your call securing everything for your safety and to contain the mess.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mold And Mold Cleanup

Mold, every home owner’s worst nightmare. Not only does it look unsightly, but a mold infestation can be detrimental to your family’s health. In this FAQ we will answer common questions about how it grows, who it affects, and how to get rid of it.

So.. What Is Mold Exactly?

Typically seen mold is a form of multi-celled fungus which is constantly present in the atmosphere in the form of fungus spores. These spores can make themselves at home with you, so long as they have a cozy environment such as a moist, generally undisturbed area. Additionally, they require a food source such as paper, wood, fabric fibers, dead skin cells, and more.

That Sounds Kinda Gross! What Impact Does It Have On Your Health?

Touching or inhaling the mold can affect anyone in the household. However, some people are more sensitive to the mold spores than others. Infants and the elderly, people with allergies, suppressed immune systems, and those suffering from asthma feel more effect from the mold spores. Typically they will experience inflammation of the sinuses, sneezing, runny nose, cough, congestion, itchy eyes, and skin rashes.

Yikes! Isn’t Mold More Of A Warm Weather Problem?

While it’s true that mold thrives in warm and moist environments, many onsets of mold occur in the home due to winter conditions. During the winter months, homes are less ventilated and water vapor will condense on cold surfaces such as windows and walls.

What Can I Do To Prevent Mold From Growing In My Home?

The best way to help prevent the growth of mold in your home is to minimize humidity inside the home. Spilled liquids should be cleaned up promptly, and damp clothing which cannot be laundered right away should be hung outside to dry. Ensure that your A/C drip pans are empty and the filters cleaned. Open windows to encourage ventilation in rooms such as the bathroom and kitchen. Also, be sure your appliances such as your dryer are properly vented outdoors.

I Think I Already Have Mold In My Home… What Can I Do?

The first thing to do is begin eliminating the sources of moisture in your home. If possible, open windows and doors while running fans to dry out the moldy area. When cleaning, never touch mold with your bare hands, always wear rubber gloves and a face mask.

If the mold damage is too extensive, you should seek out the help of a professional. They can inspect the property and give you an accurate estimation of what the cleanup will cost and how extensive it should be. If you would like to know more, feel free to visit our website.

Why You Must Act Quickly to Clean the Devastation Caused by Wind Damage

When a storm or other serious weather conditions cause wind damage, it is imperative to contact Disaster Response Team immediately. This is especially true if heavy winds damaged the roof or walls of your property and left it further exposed to the elements. Your home or business is even at risk if only your windows were broken.

As soon as we arrive on the scene, we evaluate the damages and come up with a plan to ensure that you and your family or employees are safe. Next, we procure the equipment we need to start cleaning up right away. This may involve temporarily boarding up part of your home or business until you can get it permanently fixed. We may also use a tarp if the situation calls for it.

Ensuring Safety Inside the Property

Due to the recent storm, the high winds may have blown rainwater, dirt, miscellaneous debris, and several allergens into your home. If you or a family member suddenly has difficulty breathing, this is the most likely cause. Our disaster response experts use humidification and total structure drying to remove allergy triggers from your indoor environment. We also use thermal imaging and diagnostics to see if there are additional problems that we also need to address.

Another common problem caused by wind damage is that it allows moisture to settle permanently into the foundation of your property. This leaves you extremely vulnerable to mold. Our team searches for any evidence of mold and removes it before it becomes a permanent health hazard.

Always Available

Disaster Response Team understands that natural disasters can happen at any time and often come on with little warning. While we can’t control the weather, we can get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Our crew is prepared to respond to a call for emergency clean-up 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

7 Facts About Disasters and Why Disaster Response is Important

We live in a world where natural disasters are unfortunately common occurrences, so it is extremely important to always be prepared for them. Get familiar with what kind of natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, landslides, etc.) affect the region you live in and make yourself aware of different distaster response options you have. These services exist to be on-call and offer assistance when you experience an earthquake, house fire, or any other unexpected disaster event. Below are seven facts you should know about disasters.

  • In 2012, 905 natural disasters struck worldwide including tornadoes, droughts, earthquakes, hail storms, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires.

 

  • It is important to devise a disaster response plan with the older adults in your life. With Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, over half the victims of both catastrophes were senior citizens.

 

  • Within one decade, from 2002 to 2012, there has been over $1.7 trillion in damages related to disasters. These disasters have affected approximately 2.9 billion people.

 

  • In 2012 alone, almost 50% of disaster-related fatalities were caused by hydrological events including mass movements and flooding.

 

  • Hurricanes can reach wind speeds of over 160 miles an hour. Often, these hurricanes can unleash 2.4 trillion gallons of rain in a day causing massive flooding and horrendous wind storms.

 

  • Floods are the most common natural disasters. In the United States alone, the President declared that over 90% of natural disasters were flood related.

 

  • Too large of a percentage of homeowners do not have a disaster preparedness plan. A survey conducted showed that 80% of people do not have a home evacuation drill and an additional 60% were not aware of what their town’s evacuation route was.

Mold Inspection Specialist Clears the Air on All Things Cladosporium

Interstitial lung diseases, phaeohyphomycosis, chromoblastomycosis, allergies, hair loss and scalp infections are all known to be caused by exposure to cladosporium. It is a genus of fungi that our mold inspection specialists have encountered during examinations of water damaged homes. So we are encouraging all people in our service area that suspect that their buildings may be harboring colonies of cladosporium to read today’s blog and reach out to us right away.

Upon visual inspection, patches of cladosporium will appear either black, dark brown or olive-green in color. In sufficient number, they are known to give off odorous, volatile organic compounds. Consequently, that’s why the colonies are typically associated with interstitial lung diseases and airborne allergies. It can also transfer from one area to another by physical contact with an affected surface. As such, it could find an opening and make contact with dermis and subcutaneous layers of tissue or irritate the epidermis. In those instances, contact dermatitis, hair loss, scalp infections, chromoblastomycosis and phaeohyphomycosis may occur.

The list of place where cladosporium may show up in a building may be fairly long depending on whether or not the interior environment has a relative humidity level greater than 50% and lots of cellulose surfaces. The list of surfaces and locations includes, but isn’t confined to the following:

  • Variety of Window Sill Materials (e.g. Oakwood and Bamboo)
  • Drapery and Other Window Treatments
  • Bathroom and Kitchen Tile Grout
  • Upholstered Furniture
  • Carpeting and Area Rugs
  • Sheetrock and Plywood
  • OSB furniture and Shelving
  • Subfloors and Tile Floors

To learn more about cladosporium and other genus of fungi best handled by a mold removal specialist, please contact us at Disaster Response Team. We are certified, licensed and recognized by some of the best mold inspection/removal industry entities, including the IICRC.

Mold Cleanup: One Subject Families and Individuals Must Take Seriously

According to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s research, the presence of fungi in indoor environments may cause the buildings’ human inhabitants to experience infections, allergic reactions and premature death. Although we have to say that accidental death due to mold exposure is extremely rare these days. It’s generally confined to populations with existing, life threatening health problems or weakened immune systems. Further proof of fungi toxicity may be found in scholarly articles published in periodicals like the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Journal of Occupations Environmental Medicine. With that said, it’s imperative that Americans take the subject of mold cleanup seriously.

All mold remediation efforts should include plans that help to keep the affected building’s occupants and fungi removal experts’ safe from start to finish. They should also cover issues related to mold containment, prevention, safe removal and post-cleanup. That’s why people who hire mold remediation specialists often notice them wearing personal protective equipment and using one of several, effective, efficient cleanup methods. By the way, the list of professional cleaning methods utilized to remove mold includes, but isn’t confined to wet vacuums, HEPA vacuums, sanitizing wipes and double bags safe enough to hold pathogens.

The one used will be largely determined by the type of indoor mold present and the amount in a given space as well as the lifestyle of the property’s occupants. For example, small mold problems tend to cover less than 11 square feet of indoor space. Moderate problems are normally confined to 100 square feet and anything above that is typically considered to be the basis for a major mold problem. As for the mold type, the ones most likely to hurt children and people with destabilized immune systems are cladosporium, stachbotrys, alternaria and aspergillus.

To discover more about them and obtain information on mold cleanup today, please contact us. At Disaster Response Team, combating unwanted mold is our specialty.

mold, mold growth, mold damage, property damage, insurance, panama city, fl

The Effects of Mold on your Health and Property

Mold and your Health

Mold is ever-present in our world. It contains tiny spores that commonly grow within household dust. When these mold spores become greater in quantity, they pose a health hazard to humans. As a result, humans face serious health hazards such as respiratory issues and allergic reactions.

They may also manifest something called mycotoxins.  High exposure to these types of spores can cause serious health concerns such as neurological problems.

Since the spores are toxic to humans, a variety of harmful health problems can develop over time. Some people are more sensitive to the spores than others. Consequently, there is a higher risk for people with any sort of chronic lung illnesses, which will result in more caustic reactions when they are exposed to mold.

Some other troubling health concerns include:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion, with a constantly runny nose.
  • Eye irritation, including itchy, watery eyes.
  • Wheezing, difficulty breathing and chest tightness.
  • A lasting cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Skin irritation, often a rash.
  • Headaches.
  • Sneezing.

In most properties, the air conditioner will act as a dehumidifier, removing the moisture from the air. Basements, closed in porches, and crawlspaces need to have moisture removed from it different since air conditioning does not reach these areas in most cases.

Mold Prevention

Any water damage that occurs in a building needs to be treated quickly. The spores can grow quickly in right conditions.  Mold will begin to grow within 24-72 hours once moisture and contaminants are present. As soon as water is found, remove the source of the water. If the roof is leaking, place a tarp over the roof. If a pipe is leaking, change the pipe. After the source is stopped, drying the property can take place. Most of all, it is highly important to have a certified and trained water damage technician be the one to dry it. When moisture spreads, it goes to places that are unseen. A trained technician will know the right method to dry all of the affected areas.