Recent Posts

SERVPRO of South Elkhart County Knows No Damage Is Too Large Or Too Small!

9/13/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo For all Your Fire, Water and Restoration needs call (574)533-2500
What Can SERVPRO of South Elkhart County Do for Me?

Service Response Guidelines

  1. Within 1 hour from notice of loss, SERVPRO of South Elkhart County will contact you to arrange for services
  2. Within 4 hours SERVPRO of South Elkhart County will be on-site to start mitigation services.
  3. Within 8 business hours of on-site arrival, a verbal briefing of the scope will be communicated to you by SERVPRO of South Elkhart County.

SERVPRO of South Elkhart County  are qualified but not limited to the following

  • Fire, Smoke and Soot Cleanup and Restoration
  • Water Removal and Dehumidification
  • Crime Scene, Biohazard and Vandalism Cleanup
  • Mold Mitigation and Remediation
  • Contents Claim and  Inventory Services
  • Air Duct and HVAC Cleaning
  • Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaning and Care
  • Stain Removal, Stain Resistance Applications
  • Odor Identification and Deodorization
  • Upholstery and Drapes: Wet or dry Cleaning Methods

For all Your Fire, Water and Restoration needs call (574)533-2500 or go to the webpage www.SERVPROsouthelkhartcounty.com

Ask The Experts: After The Fire

4/21/2021 (Permalink)

A fire can be devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of South Elkhart County has specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition. They also can remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet.

Board-ups - In some cases firefighters may break windows and cut holes in the roof in order to vent the fire. It is extremely important to secure openings to your home or structure using sturdy, durable materials designed to protect it from both weather intrusion and intrusion by outsiders.

Types of Fire/Smoke/Soot

Wet Smoke – Plastics and Synthetics; Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood; Fast burning, high temperatures, dry, powdery, non-smeary residues.

Protein – Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.

Fuel Oil Soot – Furnace Puff Backs. Other Types – Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue.

What to do after a fire:

  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.

What NOT to do after a fire:

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting SERVPRO of South Elkhart County
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may damage garment further.

SERVPRO of South Elkhart County has what it takes to restore your home back to preloss condition.

Storms will come, but SERVPRO of South Elkhart is here for you

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

Wet spots on the floor or a rusted tank may signal a problem. If you are having a problem with your hot-water heater, contact a qualified plumbing contractor right away. Once you have called a plumbing contractor, contact SERVPRO of South Elkhart County to provide an inspection utilizing advanced technical equipment.

Upon inspection, if damages are determined, SERVPRO of South Elkhart County will address the water damage and provide a full repair service estimate. SERVPRO of South Bend has a 24-hour emergency service team that is highly trained and ready to help you at your home or business.

Contact SERVPRO of South Elkhart County at 574-259-8348 to help save your home or business.

If Storms Hit Your Business, Give SERVPRO of South Elkhart County a Call

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

When you know that a storm is likely to impact your business, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, focusing on storm preparedness before a disaster occurs can help to keep yourself, your staff and your property safe.


1. Document the Building’s State Before the Storm

When a building is damaged, it’s often important for property management to provide the business’ insurance company with documentation of the destruction. However, it may also be beneficial to have photographs of your property prior to the incident. By showing an insurance adjuster what the business looked like before it sustained damage, you can help to ensure your claim is accurate.

2. Establish a Line of Communication

Storms can come on suddenly, and in the event that the property needs to be evacuated, it’s useful to know how to contact all employees in a timely manner. As part of your storm preparedness plan, you may consider asking all staff members to provide you with a way to reach them quickly before a disaster. Since you may not be present in the building when an emergency occurs, it can also be wise to create a list of tasks that the last person to exit should perform. An example might include making sure all doors and windows are closed.

3. Inspect the Property

Inspecting the structure before a storm can help you prevent damage, because leaks or malfunctioning equipment may worsen any problems that do occur. An inspection will also allow you to observe any openings in the building, which can happen when roof shingles are cracked or missing. This may let rain get inside more easily. If you see signs of a problem, you should contact emergency restoration services to prevent additional issues.

As a property manager, storm preparedness can be an important element of your job. Documenting the building before a disaster, establishing a line of communication and inspecting the structure can help you to prepare your business for any situation.

So give us a call! We are faster to any disaster and are ready to help get things back to "Like it never even happened."

When Flash Floods Hit Your Home Or Business, SERVPRO Is Here For You!

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States. According to running up a $2.4 billion-per-year tab in average annual losses in recent years. While some of Mother Nature's more demonstrative displays, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, get more public attention, floods are the number one weather-related killer in the US. Flash floods are the most dangerous kind of flood, because they combine the nearly unstoppable force of a flood with deadly unpredictability and speed. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), more than half of all flash floods fatalities are related to automobiles. The truth is simple as it is tragic: Just six inches of fast moving flood water can knock a grown man off his feet, and just two feet of water can cause a car to begin floating. SERVPRO of South Elkhart County can help you to be equipped with tips to keep you safe. CallSERVPRO of South Elkhart County 24/7 at (574)533-2500 or go to our webpage at http://SERVPROsouthelkhartcounty.com

Ask The Experts: What Is Biohazard Cleanup

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

Dissecting Biohazard Cleanup: Understanding the Process and Reducing Risk

By Tim Reifsteck

When compared to a fire or water loss, property damage resulting from a suicide, murder or unattended death poses greater risk and complexity for the adjuster, the biohazard cleanup company, and of course, the policyholder. Many cleaning and restoration companies will offer bioremediation services, but only those that specialize in this area, like SERVPRO truly understand the science and intricacies of the bioremediation and decontamination process. In order to minimize risk for the insurance carrier and ensure the safety of the policy holder, it’s important to realize the inherent challenges of bioremediation and the processes and standards that every biohazard cleanup professional must adhere to.

Am I liable for an improper biohazard cleanup?

At some point in their careers, insurance professionals may have experienced sticker shock from a bioremediation claim. How could the biohazard cleanup of a single room cost more than recovering an entirely flooded home? It might be tempting to retain a trusted property damage restoration company at a lower cost, but doing so may put the insurer at risk for a lawsuit.

Consider a recent case where a general cleaning company was hired to sanitize a home after 600 pounds of deer meat rotted in a family’s garage due to a power outage. Following the cleaning, the homeowners reported that the rotting stench still remained throughout the house and that some family members became ill. Experts who were brought in to investigate the situation determined that the enduring smell and sickness resulted from inefficiencies in the cleaning process, such as the failure to seal concrete surfaces.

Why is bioremediation so complex?

Many biohazard situations pose grave health risks to policy holders and cleanup companies because of the potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens. One out of every 24 people has Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or HIV and these pathogens can survive in a deceased person for a considerable amount of time – up to 16 days after death, depending on the temperature and surrounding environment. Exposure to bloodborne viruses can occur due to direct contact with non-intact skin, accidental injury from biological fragments, inhalation and exposure from splashes of blood or bio fluid to the eyes, nose, or mouth. Considering the health risks, bioremediation specialists must follow stringent employee safety regulations and meticulous decontamination procedures that most cleanup crews are not accustomed to.

Separately, biohazard situations can lead to hidden dangers that an average property restoration technician might not even consider. For example, in a water damage emergency, floor boards and drywall might be removed because they are visibly warped and unsalvageable. Then the rest of the structure can be dried out. In contrast, blood can seep through grout and in-between floorboards, even through subflooring. There is no other way to clean the damage but to remove all affected materials – if new wood floors are installed over the blood spill or if tiles are simply wiped down, the remaining bio matter can spread disease, release odors and further damage the property.

How do I evaluate a bioremediation provider?

To determine whether or not a company is qualified to handle a biohazard situation, insurance professionals need a deeper understanding of proper bioremediation standards and what it takes to fully decontaminate a property. These are the key things to inquire about when choosing a vendor for a biohazard cleanup:

OSHA Compliance – These regulations are in place to protect the biohazard company employees and to prevent injury and potential liability for all involved. All supervisors and field technicians should be trained in the following OSHA programs: Bloodborne Pathogens, Personal Protective Equipment, Hazard Communication, Asbestos Awareness, Heat Illness, Fall Protection, Lift Safety, Lock Out – Tag Out, and Power Tool Safety. A common misstep among restoration companies is that they only comply with the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standards, instead of all the aforementioned areas.

EPA and State Environmental Agency Compliance – The disposal of medical waste must be in accordance with federal, state and/or local regulations. Not all biohazard remediation companies are licensed to transport or store medical waste so it’s essential to understand if/how they comply with the local and national standards. The cleaning company can incur hefty fines if medical waste is not disposed of properly. Also, employees need to be trained in the proper use of cleaning agents – this can be more complicated than it seems, as many agents will become inactive if not measured and diluted properly.

Reporting/Testing – A reputable company should be able to deliver a detailed report which catalogs every step of the cleanup process. This should include photos of the entire process as well, so the policyholder and adjuster understand why some structural materials needed to be removed, what was disposed of, why the employees went through a certain amount of protective equipment, etc. They should also have equipment available to check for non-visible but active biological fluids and other contaminants so that it is certain when an area is considered disinfected.

Sensitivity Training – Dealing with a flood or fire can be extremely traumatic, but it does not compare to the loss of loved one. During these traumatic situations, the family members often stay at home so it is imperative that the workers in their home are compassionate and considerate. The biohazard cleanup specialists at SERVPRO understand the need for the family to deal with only one point person in order to avoid confusion or conflicting updates. They have been trained to eliminate alarming language from their vocabulary and speak empathetically with the policyholder.

When it comes to biohazard remediation, there is no quick solution. The fact that there are no laws protecting policyholders through a biohazard cleaning process puts the responsibility on the insurance carrier to work with bioremediation specialists who follow strict safety standards and cleanup procedures.

If the insurance carrier directs the cleanup process and even one of the above points is neglected, they might be held liable for any further health and property damages resulting from the improper cleanup. It is important to remember that you can’t put a price tag on the peace of mind that a policyholder needs after a traumatic crime or death occurred in their home or place of business.

The Importance of a Professional for after the fire

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

Cleaning up a fire-damaged property is essential in restoring the preloss condition of the house by eliminating debris, soiling, and any odors left by the fire. Depending on how the fire cleanup is done, it can help reduce the number of items to replace during the restoration process.

Fire cleanup requires various inputs, ranging from clean water, detergents to specialized cleaning agents. For the best outcome, at a fair cost, there is a need to choose wisely. Our SERVPRO technicians assess the soiling prevalent in the affected area to help make the right choice. If we determine there are only hydrophilic residues, we can use plain water to clean the soiled areas. Other types of residues may require professional cleaning agents.

Agitation is a crucial aspect of fire cleanup, especially when dealing with massive or stubborn deposits. There are many ways to agitate a soiled surface, but it is crucial to choose the right one depending on the type of underlying material to avoid damaging it in the process. Our SERVPRO technicians utilize:

  • Air pressure
  • Water pressure
  • Rotating Brushes
  • Scrubbers
  • Blasting

We can also use different techniques simultaneously. For example, when cleaning carpets through hot water extraction, we utilize both air and water pressure to agitate the soiled areas. Options such as sandblasting are only feasible when eroding the material being cleaned does not damage it. Soda and sandblasting are useful when removing charring from frames and other unfinished surfaces.

Various solvents used in the cleaning process can leave permanent damages such as stains, discoloration, or fire damage to the physical qualities of the material. Our SERVPRO technicians take caution to avoid wetting surfaces, especially when cleaning porous materials. For surfaces made with specialized materials such as acoustic tiles, we use specialized cleaning techniques such as Peroxide-Active cleaning to safeguard the physical qualities of the tiles.

So give us a call at SERVPRO of South Elkhart County today at 574-233-8377! We are faster to any disaster and we are here to help get you back to "Like it never even happened."

How do I eliminate that smell!

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

There are times when one of the more significant challenges after a house fire is ensuring that there are no lingering odors from smoke and soot residue. Unless these particles get addressed using tried-and-true expert techniques, there is the potential to spread throughout the home and to become a constant reminder of the fire event. This is where our IICRC-certified technicians at SERVPRO are here to help!

What Can Be Done to Fight Smoke Odors?

When our skilled technicians get called to help with fire damage we pay close attention to the entire job. This means assessing the full scope of your loss, including any areas where soot particles and smoke residue settled. Even the smallest bit of residue left behind can cause odors to sprout up weeks or months down the road. This is why we have a series of carefully planned steps we take to execute a full restoration on your property.

How Do You Work Through the Damage?

Once you call us for fire restoration services, a fully equipped crew arrives at your property in as little as 4 hours or less. Our crew chief begins the assessment so that a detailed plan of action can get put into place. Addressing a fire loss with heavy smoke damage includes:

  •   Testing and Cleaning

Once your interior is deemed safe to enter, and the plan is formulated, we work to remove items that are too charred to salvage. This helps us to limit the amount of soot spread from one location to another while also lessening odors throughout the interior. Our technicians test the smoke residue, which allows us to select cleaning agents carefully. This ensures more efficient cleaning as well as cuts back on the potential for damage using incorrect cleaning measures.

  •   Residue Cleaning Options

We see two main types of smoke damage after a fire loss. Dry smoke requires careful cleaning because wet cleaning agents might drive the residue further into the surfaces. We take our time, using care to lift the dry smoke using sponges and soft cloths. With wet smoke, it often binds to surfaces. This calls for solvent-based cleaners to lift it for removal safely. The initial testing done helps ensure no marring happens on any surfaces.

  •   Content Cleaning

There will be items within your home covered in soot and smoke residue. We handle all of these items on a case-by-case basis, using a variety of methods to suit each item. Non-porous items can be cleaned using our specialized immersion method. This is when items get immersed in a cleaning solution that helps carefully remove the residue, restoring it to like-new condition. Fabric items and upholstery get tested to ensure no damage comes to the materials, with our technicians often using soft bristle brushes to remove particles. 

So give us a call today! We are faster to any disaster and ready to get you back to "Like it never even happened."

Ask The Experts: Help, my water heater stopped heating

4/14/2021 (Permalink)

Wet spots on the floor or a rusted tank may signal a problem. Your hot-water heater could have a leak or a busted valve. If you are having a problem with your hot-water heater, contact a qualified plumbing contractor right away.

Once you have called a plumbing contractor then contact SERVPRO of South Elkhart County to provide an inspection utilizing advanced technical equipment. Upon inspection if damages are determined SERVPRO of South Elkhart County will address the water damage and provide a full repair service estimate. SERVPRO of South Elkhart County has a 24 hour emergency service team that is highly trained and ready to help you at your home or business.

Contact SERVPRO of South Elkhart County at 574-233-8377. SERVPRO of South Elkhart County services all of the Michiana area.

 

Ask The Experts: Help, my basement is a swimming pool!

4/14/2021 (Permalink)

Last week this local commercial building suffered a large water loss. In this particular instance, SERVPRO was called after hours to respond to the unpleasant surprise for the local building. Our SERVPRO team responds day and night and is always "faster to any size disaster." 

In this case, the water affected a large portion of the basement is a massive building. The basement had concrete and carpet floors that were affected by the water. Unfortunately, some of the areas was an office building. Luckily, the SERVPRO team responds very quickly and they were able to minimize the water seeping into the carpeted area. 

The first night our SERVPRO team responded, the water level was higher than expected. But in just a few short hours our SERVPRO team had the water drained and were beginning to clean the area. After the water was drained, they could begin the drying process. Luckily, our team has all of the necessary equipment and we were out of there in just a few days!