How To Operate Your Business During a Power Outage: 3 Tips
Generators can be used for power outages in your New Orleans business
When storms pound New Orleans, LA, they can affect your business. One of the most common issues is a loss of power, especially during thunder and wind storms. Dealing with a power outage can be frustrating, but there are a few strategies you can use to continue daily operations when bad weather tries to interrupt them.
1. Be Prepared With a Generator
Having a portable generator on hand can help you keep your business operating during a storm. This can be especially useful when you have a store full of customers. A generator can keep the lights, heat or air conditioner on. If you own a restaurant, a generator can keep your fridge and freezers running to avoid food spoilage.
2. Find Nearby Wi-Fi
If you own a small business, you can move your operations to a nearby café or coffee shop to take advantage of free Wi-Fi services. Consider using the downtime to hold a meeting there or catch up on invoices. You can also contact a storm damage and cleanup service from your laptop if your phone service is down and you do not have access to a cell phone.
3. Connect at Home
If a power outage forces you to temporarily shut down your building, you can save time by working from home and connecting with your employees from there. Have your social media manager work on new infographics and inform your followers of the temporary closure. Your content writers and bloggers can write from home and send you their articles via email. While this is not the most ideal way to operate, it may help you avoid a complete shutdown until the power returns.
When strong storms cause a power outage in New Orleans, LA, it can be frustrating for you as a business owner. However, being prepared and having an outage plan in place may prevent a loss of time and money.
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What You Should Know About Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are convenient when the need arises, but only if you know how to use them. If you’ve never held an extinguisher before, this article can give you a general knowledge of how to use one along with a few handy tips that can help you during a disaster.
How the Extinguisher Works
The extinguisher is basically a giant hairspray can. Depending on the solid, liquid, or gas used in the extinguisher, you can properly put out the flames. Whichever substance is in the can gets propelled out of the extinguisher with the help of a high-pressure chemical. The three types of fire extinguishers include the following:
• Dry chemical extinguishers - Foam or dry powder spews out and smothers the fire.
• Water extinguishers - Water gets pushed out and removes the heat from the flames.
• Carbon dioxide extinguishers - The gas expands, cools, and overpowers the heat.
Extinguishers are also classified by the kinds of fires that are dealt with. There are five different kinds that are used for specific fires.
How To Use a Fire Extinguisher
These handheld machines were made to be simple. Be sure to choose the right extinguisher for the fire, and then pull the pin in the handle. Move the nozzle and aim at the bottom of the flames and slowly pull the lever. Move the nozzle slowly back and forth to fully extinguish the fire.
When You Should Call the Fire Department
Not every fire should be put out with an extinguisher. If the fire is taller than you, it’s time to evacuate and call 911. Be sure to activate the fire alarm and help others escape the building safely.
Not every building will have the right fire extinguisher for the situation. If a kitchen fire is grease-based, your extinguisher may not be the right one to put it out. As a precaution, learn about the different classes of extinguishers and which ones your business in New Orleans, LA, owns. By doing this, you can prevent fire damage and protect your employees from serious injury or harm.
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Prepare the Inside of Your Home To Avoid Water Damage
Take preventative action in your home to avoid water damage
Finding water in the home is an unfortunately common occurrence, but you can still take steps to try to avoid it. Here are some things you can do in New Orleans, LA, to prevent broken pipes and other typical water damage issues.
Tips and Tricks To Prevent Plumbing Problems
Use this checklist to take preventative action in your home. Some of these suggestions are helpful habits to incorporate into your day-to-day life. Others only need to be done once or twice a year.
• Instead of pouring grease down the drain, pour it into a can or jar to either upcycle or dispose of when full.
• Don’t use chemicals to unclog drains. The same ingredients that help to eat away at your drain blockage can also chew through your pipes. Instead, use some type of drain snake or augur for your pipe cleanup.
• Look up at your ceilings and even go up to your attic. Look down at the floor near your water sources such as sinks, toilets, and bathtubs. Take note if any of these areas are prone to moisture or water in your home.
• Keep up with the maintenance for your major appliances such as sump pumps, dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, and water heaters. Slow leaks can sometimes do as much damage overall as a broken pipe.
• Pay attention to your average water bill. If it starts to climb or abruptly rises without reason, check for a leak. This is an easy way to be alerted to potential issues where you can take preemptive action prior to a full pipe cleanup.
Even after preparing for water in home spaces, it is possible that something unforeseen can happen. When water damage happens, don’t fret. Consult your local restoration specialists and refer to the tips and tricks checklist to see if there is further preparation that can be done to avoid future issues.
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The Unintentional Skylight: Mitigating Roof Damage After a Storm
Tree damage after a storm leaving a large hole in the roof
The storm is over, and there is a moment of relief before you realize that your living room has a new skylight, courtesy of your neighbor’s intrusive maple. Overwhelmed, it is easy to write off the incident, walk away, and let your homeowner’s policy take care of the mess. You have protection against wind damage and roof damage, so why not?
The problem is that insurance companies may not cover damage that occurs after a storm, meaning that if any further damage occurs because of a gaping hole in your ceiling and that dangling tree limb, you could be liable. Therefore, it is up to you to prevent further damage, or to mitigate that damage. There are three steps to follow after a storm has caused damage: remove debris, clean and dry the damaged area, and cover/protect the area to prevent further damage.
1. Remove Debris
It is important to remove debris after a storm to prevent both further roof damage and potential physical injury. For instance, the weight of a heavy tree limb can continue to put pressure on a compromised roof, opening a hole further or collapsing the roof altogether. By removing the tree limb, you mitigate the risk of further damage to both the roof and yourself.
2. Clean and Dry the Damaged Area
Water damage can cause many problems, including mold, which is why it is important to clean and dry damaged areas thoroughly. After major storms, it can take insurance adjusters weeks or more to review your case, and that is not time you can afford to waste.
3. Cover and Protect To Prevent Further Damage
After removing debris and cleaning the damaged areas, it is important to cover any openings to protect the inside of your home. The most cost-effective option is to use either tarps or plywood to cover exposed areas. There are local restoration specialists in the Slidell, LA, area that can help with large or dangerous mitigation jobs.
Storms can be frightening, and their aftermath devastating. Nevertheless, most insurance companies require homeowners to mitigate further home and roof damage by taking the above steps, so be safe and be prepared.
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Tips for Making a Claim After a Fire
This damage was caused by a fire starting in the attic of the home
When a fire damages your home in Slidell, LA, you may not be in the right frame of mind for making good decisions. The decisions you make regarding your fire insurance claim, however, can affect how much of the fire restoration is covered by your insurer. Here are three tips to help you think through the process rationally and hopefully get the settlement you need to restore your home.
1. Call Insurance Company
One of the first calls you make after a fire has ravaged your home is to the insurance company. Timely reporting is essential to getting your claim processed and approved. As soon as the company receives your call, an assessor can be sent to review the damage and substantiate your claim.
2. Call Professional Restorers
After a fire, your home is likely permeated with the odor of smoke and soot damage. Firefighters probably had to use a lot of water to put out the fire, resulting in water damage as well. Certified fire restoration specialists offer both smoke cleaning and water damage remediation to fix the problems in your home. They often offer board-up services to secure the house during the restoration process, and they can give you an estimate on what the repairs are going to cost, which can back up your claim with the insurance company.
3. Don't Touch Anything
Once you have made the necessary calls and the waiting begins, you may be tempted to start cleaning up the damage yourself. Fight the urge to do so. The insurance agent that comes to assess the damage needs to see it as it is, and without the knowledge and skills of the specialists, you may cause more damage. While you wait, it is a good idea to take pictures of the damage as long as it is safe to do so.
You may feel powerless when your home suffers fire damage. By calling the appropriate professionals and waiting on their guidance, however, you can speed up the fire restoration process.
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Expand Your Knowledge on Tax Relief for Fire and Storm Damage
You built your business in West Bank, LA, from the ground up. You prepared it with disaster contingency plans, but all the planning in the world won't stop nature. Of course, you make the repairs and you hire restoration specialists to do the cleanup, but did you know that everyone’s favorite uncle, Uncle Sam, can help you with a little financial relief from fire or storm damage?
- Determine if you have a casualty loss, as defined by the IRS. A casualty loss occurs when property is damaged from unexpected events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and fires. You need to provide proof that you own the property and that the loss was due to a casualty event, as well as the date of the event.
- Determine if you have disaster area losses. Sometimes events, such as hurricanes or wildfires, cause damage in places that are then declared federal disaster areas. The IRS website lists information on special tax relief for storm damage in these areas. The IRS often provides filing extensions or even allows taxpayers to file an amended return for the year preceding the disaster, which often results in a refund.
- Calculate your casualty loss. The tax deductible casualty loss is the lesser of the decrease in fair market value (FMV) or the adjusted basis of your property, minus any insurance reimbursements. Instead of getting an appraisal on your property, you can use the amount of money you spent on restoration costs to determine the FMV. Think of the restoration costs as the amount you must spend fixing up your property to get it back to its condition as it was just before the event occurred. When using cleanup costs as a factor, it is important that the work actually be completed.
Casualty losses for business property are not required to be reduced by the same rules as those used on personal property. Be sure to consult IRS Publication 547 and Form 4684 for detailed rules and examples for determining your loss from storm damage.
3 Reasons to Replace Polybutylene Pipes
Broken Pipe in the West Bank of New Orleans.
Polybutylene pipes were a popular plumbing solution from the 1970s through the 1990s. In fact, millions of buildings had them installed during this time. Unfortunately, they’ve since been shown to be unreliable and prone to leaks and failure. If your West Bank, LA, business is in a building with this type of plumbing, there are a few reasons you should consider replacing it.
1. It’s a Matter of Time
When this piping was first unveiled in the 1970s, it was seen as the future of plumbing. The plastic resin pipes are lower cost and easier to install compared to traditional copper pipes. Over time, however, the plastic degrades, which makes it prone to cracks. Leaks can be extremely costly to businesses, as water damage leads to lost work time and possible closures.
2. It Isn’t Up to Code
There are no regulations that mandate the replacement of polybutylene piping. Still, because there have been so many issues, it is no longer accepted by building codes in the United States and Canada. If it is not good enough for today’s building codes, it might be a good idea to replace the plastic pipes.
3. It Can Fail for Multiple Reasons
While there is not a confirmed scientific reason for the massive failure of these pipes, there are a couple of possibilities. The first is that the chemicals used to treat water in the United States, such as chlorine, degrade the plumbing over time. Some people also attribute the failure to faulty installation, but this cannot be accurately assessed without looking at the entire system.
If your business has polybutylene pipes, it may only be a matter of time before leaks start. A licensed plumbing expert can evaluate the age, material and quality of your building’s pipes. Replacing the pipes with a more reliable solution can save your business time and money in the long run.
How To Prevent Home Flooding
Flooding in New Orleans home.
For many homeowners, stormy weather, sewer backups, broken pipes, and the flood that follows are inevitable nuisances. And when water damage is added into the mix, that nuisance can become a budget-breaking disaster. While there are plenty of great services in West Bank, New Orleans, that help homes recover, and insurance coverage may take care of some water damage, it’s always better to be preemptive with home maintenance. With these three practices, anyone can prevent most water damage.
1. Have Regular Plumbing Checkups
Taking a few hours for an inspection of a home’s plumbing is a great way to ensure its fidelity. It is unnecessary to call in a professional, especially if there aren’t any previous signs of leakage. However, if there are signs, it’s vital to call in someone to fix the broken pipe. Catching the problem in its early stages is the best way to prevent a serious flood. This step is particularly important in winter when pipes tend to freeze.
2. Examine Nearby Sewer Systems
Sewer backups, becoming more common in recent years, are something else a homeowner needs to keep an eye on. Contacting the local officials in New Orleans, LA, is a good way to learn more information about the septic system a home is based upon. Ensure that the system up to code, and make sure it is clear of debris or refuse.
3. Be Aware of the Environment
A great way for a homeowner to care for his or her property is paying attention to the environment. Tree roots, when left to their own devices, can tear apart metal pipes. In the event of cold weather, the water within pipes can freeze. A broken washing machine can cause flooding in a laundry room, and an unsealed basement can become a lagoon after heavy rain. Keeping an eye on all of this can prevent water damage.
To sum it all up, a home flood, and the water damage that follows, can be prevented by simple home maintenance. Still, if there are concerns, contact a professional. We're Here to Help.
How To Find Mold Lurking Behind Walls
Mold Damage lurking behind walls and on flooring
Whether you're the owner of a big leaky warehouse, an apartment building, or another rental property in Slidell, LA, it's essential to ensure areas used frequently by people are mold-free to maintain a healthy environment as well as structural integrity. Even with no visible signs, mold may still be lurking behind walls or in the floors. Have you noticed a mold smell—that familiar musty scent found in many basements and attics? Gasses called microbial volatile organic compounds are released by mold, causing this familiar fungus smell.
If you suspect there is mold in your building, it's better to take care of the mold now before it has time to spread and cause further harm. Here are some ways to determine where moisture might be leaking in and how bad the damage may already be.
1. Utilize Scent-Detecting Dogs
Believe it or not, some dogs are trained to track mold smell. However, they cannot tell you the quantity or what species is present. Air samples may still need to be collected and sent to a lab to determine how dangerous the situation really is.
2. Remove Drywall
If you're gutting a building, you'll already be removing drywall. Even so, a visual inspection of drywall is not very accurate, as mold isn't always visible to the naked eye. If you detect mildew smell in your home, contact a professional to avoid unnecessary cuts in your walls or spreading of spores.
3. Use a Thermal Camera
Using a thermal camera is the most efficient and cost-effective strategy. Having thermal images taken and interpreted in Slidell, LA, can save you a lot of time and hassle while giving you a complete overview of the entire building. These cameras can "see" moisture through walls and floors because it has a lower temperature than the building materials.
Mold might seem like a headache, but it can be managed. Utilizing these methods, you can get that mold smell out of your life in no time!
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Fire Preparation Tips Every Business Owner Needs To Know
Every business should have a Fire Evacuation Plan
A commercial fire can wreak havoc not just on a business's property, but on a business's revenue as well. Fire damage often involves three types of damage: fire, smoke and water damage. For this reason, fire restoration efforts often take much longer than other types of restoration labors—and cost three times as much. Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent such a huge financial hit with the right fire preparation efforts. Here are a few steps you can take to minimize damage and losses:
• Perform a disaster risk analysis.
• Devise and practice emergency and recovery plans.
• Invest in the right coverage.
• Back up important files.
• Take inventory.
Perform a Risk Analysis
If you don't know your risk, you cannot adequately prepare for it. For instance, if you live in a fire prone area, fortifying your building against flooding and earthquakes may not save you. Disaster preparation only works if you prepare for the right kind of disaster. In addition to protecting your building against the right kinds of disaster, you should also assess how each type of disaster would impact your business and what you can do to mitigate the costs.
Develop a Fire Preparation Plan
Safety should be your utmost concern, even above cost. In addition to taking measures to protect your building, you should also implement a plan that will ensure all building occupants can exit easily and safely in the event of an actual fire. Assign roles to capable and willing employees and hold drills to ensure that everyone knows how to respond in the event of a real emergency.
Invest in the Right Coverage
You can do everything in your power to prevent a fire, but that doesn't necessarily mean one won't happen. If a fire does result in a full or partial loss, the cost can be great to your business. The right coverage can help shoulder the financial burden and even reimburse you for losses that stem from business interruption.
If you don't have a fire preparation plan, it's time to build one. Talk to your New Orleans, LA, fire restoration team about the elements of a sound safety plan.
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