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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

SERVPRO Is Here to Help During This Time of Need

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Brown County at (920) 434-8224

SERVPRO of Brown County Specializes in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration for Your Property

3/13/2020 (Permalink)

Spring has sprung into motion. The ground thawing process around the Brown County area is underway, leaving some residents concerned about flooding in and around their residence.

Since every flood and water damage scenario is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored to the specific conditions. However, the overall water restoration process remains the same. SERVPRO uses the necessary steps below detail our restoration process for the typical water-damaged property.

Emergency Contact, Inspection and Damage Assessment, Water Removal/Water Extraction, Drying and Dehumidification, Cleaning and Repair, and Restoration.

Our SERVPRO of Brown County professionals must first identify the category and classification of water damage to ensure a precise way to restore your property based on industry guidelines. The level of contamination of the water will affect the specific restoration processes we use.

There are three types of water: clean, gray, and black.

Clean water is water that comes from your faucet or showerhead that you can drink safely. It is also considered rainwater or snowmelt. With water damage to your home, it can come from a broken water line, a busted toilet tank, a leaky washer, refrigerator, rain or snowmelt entering into your home or basement.

Gray water is water that may contain chemicals or contaminants that may be harmful to your health. Gray water can come from the shower and sink drains, the washer drain, the dishwasher drain, and aquariums. Gray water can cause even more damage than clean water and can evolve into black water within 48 hours, causing even further damage and health risks. 

Black water is contaminated water from floodwaters and sewage waters. Blackwater can come from a flooded river or a backed-up toilet or a backed-up sewage line in your home. Black water can contain all types of harmful contaminants like bacteria, mold, and viruses that can be extremely harmful to humans. This particular type of water is known to cause diseases and illnesses like cholera, hepatitis, and norovirus.

If your home or business suffers water or flooding damage, you need to take immediate steps to dry out the property as quickly as possible. Even with clean water, if you do not completely dry the areas that were damaged, the clean water can soon turn into gray water, which can turn into black water just as quickly. 

At SERVPRO of Brown County, our technicians know how to appropriately oversee each water category and classification that takes place in your home or business. It is our mission to ensure your property is appropriately extract the water, dried, clean as if the water damage never transpired. Call us at (920) 434-8224.

We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer the call should you need our assistance.

Is Your Commercial Property at a Higher Risk of Flooding?

3/6/2020 (Permalink)

The recent warmer temperatures we've been experiencing this week serve as a gentle reminder to Brown County residents that Spring is just around the corner. Those tall mounds of snow strategically piled across the parking lots throughout the winter months will soon begin to melt at an even faster rate. A high level of unwelcome water could affect how the traffic flows into and out of your Green Bay business, possibly leaving a severe dent in your day-to-day establishment's profits.

The probability of flooding in the vicinity or inside of your building greatly increases during the snow melting phase.

Did you know there are three categories of flooding?

Fluvial floods (river floods)

  • A fluvial, or river flood occurs when the water level in a river, lake, or stream rises and overflows onto the surrounding banks, shores, and neighboring land. The water level rise could be due to excessive rain or snowmelt.

Pluvial floods (flash floods and surface water)

  • A pluvial flood occurs when an extreme rainfall event creates a flood independent of an overflowing water body. 

Coastal flood (storm surge)

  • Coastal flooding is the inundation of land areas along the coast by seawater. Common causes of coastal flooding are extreme windstorm events occurring at the same time as the high tide (storm surge), and tsunamis.

The Green Bay area tends to be affected mainly by fluvial and pluvial flooding. Chances are, you already researched to know whether your property is subjected to flooding. If not, FEMA provides a local flood map. Visit FEMA's Flood Map Service Center or by contacting your city or county government. Note: Flooding can occur outside of high-risk flood areas on the flood map. Learn more at floodsmart.gov.

Business owners have enough to worry about daily. There are a few ways to put your mind more at ease about any future flooding situations with the following suggestions from DisasterSafety.org:

  • Learn the base flood elevation (BFE) for your property and determine whether the elevation of your building's lowest floor is above or below the BFE.
  • Purchase flood insurance, especially if you find you are in or near a high-risk flood zone (Special Flood Hazard Area). Flood insurance is provided through the federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and can be purchased through private insurance agents and companies.
  • Use flood-resistant materials where possible, including floor coverings, wall coverings, and wall insulation. Most flood-resistant materials can withstand direct contact with water for at least 72 hours without being significantly damaged.
  • Check downspouts by ensuring they funnel water away from the building to prevent rainwater from accumulating near the building's perimeter.

If your business experiences a water-related loss, SERVPRO of Brown County is ready to answer the call. Our technicians strive to be your heroes when unwanted water strikes, drying your property, and cleaning it up as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

We have technicians on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to go into action when they are needed. Call us any time at (920) 434-8224.

In the News: March Is Proclaimed #RedCrossMonth

3/5/2020 (Permalink)

The Aftermath of any natural disaster can leave your family seeking emergency assistance from local or national organizations equipped to handle catastrophic matters.

One well known humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and disaster preparedness education in the United States is the American Red Cross.

When disasters strike anywhere in the nation, you can almost always count on the fact volunteers from the American Red Cross will mobilize in that distressed area to help with recovery.

Did You Know:

  • The American Red Cross is a charitable organization, not a government agency. It depends on volunteers and the generosity of people like you to perform our mission.
  • An average of 90 cents of every dollar the American Red Cross spends is invested in delivering care and comfort to those in need. 
  • The American Red Cross is part of the world's largest volunteer network found in 187 counties.

With the recent tornadoes that hit the central, southeastern parts of the U.S. earlier this week, our team at SERVPRO of Brown County would like to send our thoughts out to the people affected by those devastating storms.

We would also like to acknowledge that March is proclaimed as "Red Cross Month."

President Franklin D. Roosevelt put forth the first proclamation in 1943 as a way for people to rededicate themselves to the splendid aims and activities of the Red Cross.

Every year since then, the president of the United States proclaims March "Red Cross Month." It's a great way to honor and celebrate the everyday heroes who help us fulfill our mission than to use this month to honor and celebrate them.

For more information on the Red Cross and how you can get involved, you can visit redcross.org.

SERVPRO of Brown County Offers 24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

Our SERVPRO green floor dryer is working on drying the beige carpeting in this home with water damage SERVPRO of Brown County provides 24-hour fire and water damage restoration service in Green Bay and the surrounding areas.

SERVPRO of Brown County is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Brown County has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Brown County

SERVPRO of Brown County 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.

Do not hesitate to give us a call with any questions you may have or for our emergency services at (920) 434-8224.

3 Proven Tips on How to Keep Your Apartment Warmer This Winter

2/21/2020 (Permalink)

Another winter is upon us in the Brown County area which means keeping as warm as possible during those blistery days.

If this happens to be your first winter in your apartment, you might not realize what you are up against. Your responsibilities as a tenant could vary based on your rental agreement. Most landlords or property managers require notification in a prompt manner will allow enough time to perform the appropriate maintenance to ensure your residence remains heated throughout the colder months.

The following things you should observe as soon as the temps begin to drop are:

Test out your heating systems

Having your heating system be in working order before the cold weather hits is instrumental in preparing your apartment for the winter. Whether you have baseboard heating from a boiler or central heating through vents, you need to ensure they are in fact working. This is as easy as testing it for a day or even a few hours to ensure it is successfully heating your apartment. If they aren’t working or not working as good as they should be, you need to speak to your landlord or property manager ASAP to make sure it is fixed before the really cold weather hits and you are left with no heat. While you won’t have to pay for the fixes, it can still be quite annoying to deal with the repair process.

Windows

These are infamous for allowing cold air into your apartment. If your windows are inviting air to seep in, heating your apartment will become very difficult. Doing a close-up inspection on your windows will conclude if there are any unwelcome drafts. Maintenance may require something as minor as a new seal or lead to a new window in place of the current one. The earlier you address this issue could end up saving you and your landlord money in the long run.

Cold Walls, Floors and Ceilings

Do the touch test. The interior ceilings, walls and floors in your home should feel warm and dry. When drywall and paneling inside an apartment feels damp or cold, there is not enough insulation. Alternatively, when touching an exterior wall, it should feel cold because insulation is keeping warm air inside a home. Also, keep an eye out for higher than usual energy bills. That is a good indicator there is an even bigger issue that you will need the landlord or property managers involvement on.  

Our team at SERVPRO of Brown County hope you stay warm this winter. If your property manager or landlord where to ever mention they’re looking for a reliable restoration company, please consider mentioning our franchise to them.  

Our technicians are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are highly trained and ready to take on any project to get any property back in order.  We also have the SERVPRO network and resources to handle even the largest jobs imaginable.

We are located in the Green Bay area to be able to conveniently assist our customers in the surrounding areas better. The best number to reach us at is, (920) 434-8224.

SERVPRO of Brown County Offers Emergency Board Up and Tarp Services for Your Commercial Properties

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

As a business owner, you are aware of the various circumstances that could unexpectedly affect how your company goes about doing its day-to-day routine. In the winter months, two potential hazard factors could arise in the place of work: fires and storm damage.

A common workplace fire threat is the frequent use of space heaters being utilized by employees as the temperatures drop outdoors. Chances are those portable heated sources sit near a highly flammable item or, worse, accidentally left on after hours. 

The other threat to your work environment would be weather-related. Mother nature unleashing her fury with damaging winds or substantial amounts of snowfall could leave your commercial property with extensive damages to its buildings' structure and vulnerable to the outdoor elements.

If either of these unfortunate incidents was to occur, you want your commercial property to have someone that is both prompt and knowledgeable in emergency board up and tarping practices.

Our team at SERVPRO of Brown County is ready to step in to assist your business by offering our services. In most instances, within an hour of being contacted, we will be out to the area where the destruction struck your building. 

Why is it important to board up or tarp your business after a disaster?

  • Protection from the Elements - During a human-made or natural disaster, your business can take quite a beating from high winds, torrential rain, and debris. Broken windows, damaged roofs, and walls can let in rain, snow, and wind to cause more damage to your interior and its contents. Water buildup, especially as the snow melts, could ruin flooring and carpet as well as destroy electronics. Mold starts growing within just a few days, creating even more damage.
  • Protection from Wildlife - All it takes is a small broken window for unwanted guests to enter into your premises. Dogs, raccoons, rats, and other pests can wreak havoc inside a building. Not only will they track dirt everywhere, but they'll tear up furnishings, urinate and defecate all over the place.
  • Protection from Vandals – As if you didn't need any more issues as a business owner, the fact of the matter is people will find the most suitable time to take advantage of your current situation. Someone could easily vandalize your establishment or to go as far as to steal whatever they can lay their hands on from electronics, money, and other essential items of great value. 

If you find yourself in need of emergency board-up services in the Green Bay or surrounding areas, our highly trained professionals at SERVPRO of Brown County will arrive quickly with all the necessary equipment to stabilize and protect your business structure. We also have experience with handling damages on larger scales of commercial properties. 

Give us a call with questions or to have our immediate services at (920) 434-8224.

Winter Weather: What do You Know About Recovering Damages to Your Residence?

2/13/2020 (Permalink)

The Green Bay area has received a relatively decent amount of snow over the past few months. As we make our way through February, the temperatures continue to drop in the early morning and late evening hours making some residents rethink if their property is capable of withstanding any of unexpected shifts in weather.

It may be necessary for some homeowners to take extra precautionary measures during the upcoming wintry weather months, especially when the temperatures plummet, and the amount of snow continues to accumulate on the home's structure.

With that in mind, it is easy to assume if your residence has homeowner's insurance; the burden on any climate hardship to your house is not an issue you have to spring into action over. In most cases, you would call in the storm-related incident in for a claim, and the rest would be taken care of with little or no effort on your end.

But what is your responsibility as the property holder? How about if your neighbor's tree breaks then fall on your house due to heavy snow or strong wind?

Here is a short quiz by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) to test your storm knowledge.  

1) Homeowners insurance generally covers damage caused by wind, snow, severe cold and freezing rain.

 True

 False

2) If my neighbor's tree falls and damages my home, my neighbor's homeowner's insurance will pay for the damage.

True

False

3) Winter storms are an inconvenience, but they rarely result in significant property damage.

True

False

4) I don't have to worry about flooding in the winter, and if it did occur, my homeowner's insurance covers damage caused by floods.

True

False

4) Nearly half of all home heating fires occur in Dec., Jan., and Feb.

True

False

How do you think you did on this quiz? Check at the end of this blog post to see if you were able to come up with all the correct answers.

A few more suggestions to help your household be storm ready are:

  • Prepare an emergency travel kit for your car and/or home.
  • Keep gutters clear and remove ice and snow from the driveway and sidewalk.
  • Ensure attic and pipes have proper insulation.
  • Get into contact with your insurance agent or company to review and understand your coverage.
  • Trim tree and branches.
  • Update your home inventory of personal possessions.
  • Made sure your heating system and chimney have been cleaned and inspected.

At SERVPRO of Brown County we make it our priority to respond to storm damage immediately. If your property’s been hurt by a storm or natural disaster, we will work quickly and efficiently to fix the problem and get your life back on track. Call us today at (920) 434-8224.

Our team has the training and expertise to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Answers:

  • True - Standard homeowners’ policies generally provide coverage for damage caused by wind, snow, severe cold and freezing rain. It is a good idea for homeowners to call their insurance company or agent at least once a year to review their policy and discuss coverage questions.
  • False - Generally speaking, your homeowner’s insurance coverage will pay for the damage to your home or other insured property if your neighbor's tree falls on your property.
  • False - Winter storms can cause significant damage for motorists and homeowners. Last year winter storms caused $3.5 billion in insured losses. They are the third largest source of catastrophic losses, behind tornadoes and tropical storms.
  • False - Flooding can happen during any season. Winter can produce flooding, particularly due to snow melting and ice jams. It is important to understand that flood damage is not covered by the standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Flood coverage must be purchased through a separate policy administered by the National Flood Insurance Program. Homeowners should consider purchasing a separate flood policy.
  • True - Fire officials and insurers recommend keeping anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment. Nearly half of all home heating fires occur in Dec., Jan., and Feb.

SERVPRO of Brown County Is Knowledgeable and Reliable on Issues With Mold

2/12/2020 (Permalink)

Last month our SERVPRO of Brown County franchise hosted a Continuing Education Course for our area Insurance Adjusters, Agents, and Property Managers to obtain their CE requirements. 

Every state has its license renewal and continuing education requirements. Although some states give professionals with more experience more flexibility after an extended period in the insurance industry, other states require a certain number of continuing education hours before the renewal of the license. 

The most typical requirement is 24 hours of continuing education, with three of the 24 hours of ethics. 

In the case of Wisconsin, renewal requires 24 hours of CE (including 3 in Ethics), the licenses are to be renewed every two years on the last day of the licensee's month of birth, excess CE credit hours are not to be carried over to subsequent license renewal periods, and the courses cannot be repeated for credit within one renewal period.

Although it was not a requirement, the marketing team and owners were in attendance as the instructor educated attendees on Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry. 

After listening to the facilitator share intriguing facts on mold, we wanted to see where everyone else's knowledge was on the matter.

Here are a few questions courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

Question 1: Mold spores are usually found in indoor air. 

  1. True 
  2. False

Question 2: The most important factor influencing mold growth indoors is: 

  1. Temperature 
  2. Light 
  3. Moisture or water 
  4. Organic matter 

Question 3: Molds can grow in cold places. 

  1. True 
  2. False 

Question 4: Dead mold is allergenic. 

  1. True 
  2. False 

Question 5: All mold is black. 

  1. True 
  2. False 

To see if you are an expert on mold, check your answers against the EPA's at the end of this post.

If you ever find yourself questioning an unexpected mold situation in your residence or commercial property, SERVPRO of Brown County is here to address any of those concerns you may have. Our team is prepared to find the mold quickly and clean it up as effectively and efficiently as possible. Your health and wellbeing are of utmost importance to us. We have the expertise and equipment to ensure any mold remediation job is done right.

For your convenience, we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer the call should you need our assistance. Our franchise contact phone number is, (920) 434- 8224.

Answers

Question 1: Answer:" A" TRUE 

Mold spores are ubiquitous; they are found both indoors and outdoors. Mold spores cannot be eliminated from indoor environments. 

Question 2: Answer: "C" Moisture and water 

To grow indoors, mold needs moisture and food. Moisture is the most important factor influencing mold growth indoors. Controlling indoor moisture helps limit mold growth. 

Question 3: Answer: "A" TRUE 

In most cases, temperature is not an issue; some molds grow in warm areas, while others prefer cool locations such as bread stored in a refrigerator. 

Question 4: Answer: "A" TRUE 

Mold does not have to be alive to cause an allergic reaction. Dead or alive, mold can cause allergic reactions in some people. 

Question 5: Answer: "B" FALSE 

Molds come in many colors including white. "Black mold" is not a species or specific kind of mold, and neither is "toxic mold." 

Keeping Your Pets Safe in Natural Disasters and Everyday Emergencies

2/12/2020 (Permalink)

Our team at SERVPRO of Brown County want your loved ones, which for some people includes family pets, to remain safe during a natural disaster crisis. For some individuals, an abrupt evacuation may be required to sustain those secure measures.

From flooding or fires caused by violent storms, mapping out an emergency plan that is specially designed for your pets will help to make it easier for you or first responders to transfer your domesticated animals promptly safely.

Here are a few tips to help your family's pet have adequate arrangements during a disaster-stricken period:

  • Look to prepare ahead of time for a family member or friend to temporarily board your pets. Even ask if there's an area within their residence available for you to store the necessities your pet may require during their brief stay with them. 
  • If you're unable to leave your pet with a family member or friend, know which hotels and motels along your evacuation route will accept pets in an emergency. Call ahead for reservations if you know you may need to evacuate. Ask if no pet policies could be waived in a crisis.
  • Include your pets in evacuation drills so that they become used to entering and traveling in their carriers calmly.

For some reason you are unable to get to your pets safely, there are effective ways to help first responders locate them. Just like you would use a rescue sticker for the children in your home, the same can be applied for pets. You could order this sticker online or ask your veterinarian if they have them available. Make sure to write the types and number of pets in your household and your veterinarian's phone number. Remember, visibility is of high importance to rescue workers. By doing these extra steps, this increases the chances of a safe and speedy return of your pet to the family. 

Being unexpectedly forced to leave your house unattended due to moderate or severe storm damage can be frustrating. Know that the trained professionals at SERVPRO of Brown County are here to respond immediately. We are storm and water damage specialists who get started promptly to get your property dry and back to pre-storm condition. 

We are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Give us a call at, (920) 434-8224.

SERVPRO of Brown County Fire Emergency Tips for Homeowners

2/5/2020 (Permalink)

As the temperatures continue to drop, we find ourselves utilizing our heat resources more often. With running your space heaters, furnaces, or wood stoves at all hours of the day, the potential of fire rises. The team from SERVPRO of Brown County recommends compiling a list of emergency contacts in the event of any accidental disasters. Taking this action not only could save a lot of stress off of you and your entire household but have you more prepared if there were to be an unfortunate turn of events due to a fire emergency.

Some of the essential information you could include in your emergency contact information list are the following:

  • Names, ages and birth dates of each family member: to eliminate any confusion about first responders wanting to ensure every person is accounted for.
  • Home address and telephone number: include the address of the where the list resides, include full street address, and your phone number with area code.
  •      Names and Phone Numbers for your insurance agency: the agent you have your policy through or company that would deal with any claim that needed to be filed.
  • Local contact: someone close-by-neighbor, relative, or landlord.
  • Relative or person who would be designated as an emergency contact: this person could make vital decisions for you if necessary.
  • Work contact: your boss or supervisor, or a close co-worker.
  • Family Physician and hospital: your doctor’s full name and office number with an after-hours office or pager number as well, plus a non-emergency number for your local hospital.
  • Police/Ambulance: 911 in most locations, but it may be different; it also includes non-emergency numbers.
  • Fire department: 911 in most locations, but that may be different in your area; include non-emergency numbers.
  • Gas company: contact information for emergencies.
  • Electric company: contact info for emergency situations.
  • Other utility companies: emergency contact information
  • List of Special conditions and equipment/medication: list (by a family member) special medical conditions, including allergies, and specific medications such as insulin, inhalers, Epi-pens, etc., as well as important and necessary medical equipment such as blood pressure monitors, blood glucose testing machines, CPAP machines and such.
  • Health care / health insurance information: contact info for your insurance company or provincial/state health coverage providers, as well as personal health numbers (PHNs), insurance policy and group numbers for each person in the home.

Another great resource to have on hand is the American Red Cross Picking Up the Pieces After a Fire Guide. They highly suggest the following tasks be done immediately after a home fire.

  • Call 9-1-1. Give first aid where needed; cool and cover burns to reduce the chance of further injury or infection.
  • Let friends and family know you’re safe.
  • People and animals that are seriously injured or burned should be transported to professional medical or veterinary help immediately.
  • Stay out of fire-damaged homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter.

Fires are capable of destroying anything in its path, but there are also times that the damage is manageable, especially with the help of the right restoration professionals.

After the fire trucks leave, your home likely suffers from fire and smoke damage and extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of Brown County has the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home to pre-fire conditions.

We have technicians on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to go into action when they are needed. Give us a call at (920) 434-8224.

What Areas Does SERVPRO of Brown County Serve?

2/5/2020 (Permalink)

The moment a water or fire emergency emerges is usually the time most people are frantically searching online or turning to a trusted family member or friend to inquire about companies that take care of residential restoration work.

With the name “SERVPRO of Brown County,” you might think we only serve the Brown County Community, but we are pleased to share our team goes far and wide to help you recover from water, fire, mold and biohazard damage.

We cover a 70-mile radius around the Green Bay region. Some of these areas include:


· De Pere
· Suamico
· Wrightstown
· Pulaski
· Oconto
· Denmark
· Marinette
· Two Rivers
· Manitowoc
· Kewaunee
· Sheboygan
· Luxemburg

If you fall into a different location and need help, but are unsure if we could assist you, do not hesitate to give our office a call at 920-434-8224 to find out. If we can’t help you, we will gladly refer you to a different, local SERVPRO franchise that can!

We strive to be the premier restoration company in Northeast Wisconsin. SERVPRO franchises are all locally owned and have the backing of that strong, national, corporate brand. When disaster strikes, SERVPRO is ready to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Meet Tina Almaguer: Social Media and Marketing Coordinator for SERVPRO of Brown County

1/27/2020 (Permalink)

A female employee with medium brown hair, smiling in front of the office of the Senator from Wisconsin in Washington, D.C. SERVPRO welcomes new employee, Tina Almaguer as the Social Media and Marketing Coordinator for the Brown County franchise.

Tina Almaguer is one of the newest employees at SERVPRO of Brown County. She's worked as the Social Media and Marketing Coordinator for a little over 3 months now. Her favorite part about Social Media and Marketing is the challenge it provides and the opportunity to learn something new every day.

Tina's responsibilities are managing our franchises social media accounts. She takes care of updating their website with new blogs, photos, and videos. She also attends monthly meetings throughout the Green Bay Area and participates with trade shows for the company.

Working for SERVPRO gives her a chance to do the one thing she enjoys the most; writing.

In her spare time, Tina is as a freelance writer and does media coverage at events like the NCAA Final Four and comic cons. You can find some of her work on the Today Show Parenting Team website where she's been a contributing writer for the past three years.

One thing Tina is very passionate about is her role as a patient advocate. You’ll find her around the community volunteering for the American Heart Association of Northeast Wisconsin. In addition to her role with AHA, she volunteers as representative from the State of Wisconsin for the following organizations: National Headache Foundation, U.S. Pain Foundation, Global Healthy Living Foundation, and American Migraine Foundation.

This former Texas Native moved to Wisconsin 21 years ago and loves being able to experience all four seasons. Fall is her favorite time of the year. It means football, crisp autumn air, and driving to Door County to observe all the colorful foliage.

Tina is a huge sports fanatic! You'll catch her cheering on the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and her alma mater Texas Tech University. She loves the outdoors — kayaking, fishing, and camping are a few of her favorite activities. The one thing Tina looks forward to the most is taking road trips across the country with her three kids: one girl and two boys.

Tina is excited about joining SERVPRO of Brown County and looks forward working with their marketing team.

Best of The Bay 2019 Award Winner Finalist

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

Plaque hanging on wall showing SERVPRO as Finalist for an award SERVPRO of Brown County receives an award for being a winner finalist during the 2019 Readers Choice Best of The Bay in the Best Restoration category.

We are happy to announce that SERVPRO of Brown County received an award as Winner Finalist for the 2019 Best of The Bay.

Best the Bay is an annual locally driven contest where the public nominates and votes for their favorite restaurants, shops, services, and more to determine who will win the prestigious title.

The "Best of the Bay Readers' Choice Awards" is sponsored by the Press-Gazette. Voting started on March 10, to be exact, and ran through April 14. The list of nominees was available online to give people an easier means to cast their votes.

The request for individuals voting was for them to do so in each survey daily — only one submission from each of the category ballots per day of the voting period online. Voters were asked to select from businesses and individuals that transact business in Brown, Oconto, or Kewaunee Counties in the relevant ballot category.

This year, the Press Gazette presented over 100 categories to vote in.

SERVPRO of Brown County was among 16 entrants listed in the Best Restoration category. Although we did not receive a win, our team is none of the less thrilled that we were nominated and voted for to earn a spot as one of the finalists.

Our SERVPRO team would like to thank those who took the time to vote for us.

We take pride in our employees. They make it their mission to offer exceptional service in your time of need. No one ever wants to experience flooding, fire, or natural disaster in their home or business, but our team will be there for you if the worst happens, making the damage "Like it never even happened."

Continuing Education and Renewal Requirements in Wisconsin: Insurance Agents

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

Providing quality service to insurance customers rests on the ability of the Insurance Agent. They need to be able to offer the right products and knowledgeable service while abiding by the laws and regulations defined by their home state. This includes understanding the products and needs of the customer, as well as keeping current with the state's current laws and regulations.

The sole purpose of continuing education helps insurance agents to update their industry expertise persistently. The license terms typically last only two years and require renewal upon expiration.

Wisconsin Continuing Education

  • Wisconsin renewal requires 24 hours of CE (including 3 in Ethics).
  • Licenses renew every two years on the last day of the licensee's month of birth.
  • Excess CE credit hours cannot carry over to subsequent license renewal periods.
  • Courses may not be repeated for credit within one renewal period.

Every state has its license renewal and continuing education requirements. Although some states give professionals with more experience more flexibility after an extended period in the insurance industry, other states require a certain number of continuing education hours before the renewal of the license. The most typical requirement is 24 hours of continuing education, with three of the 24 hours pertaining to ethics.

Wisconsin Renewal Requirements

  • 24 hours of CE are required every two years.
  • 3 of the 24 hours must be in Ethics.
  • Any courses approved for CE in Wisconsin may be taken for credit.
  • Online, textbook, or classroom courses are acceptable.
  • You must pass your course completion examination with a 70% or better.
  • Excess credits cannot be carried over to the next renewal period.
  • Courses cannot be repeated for credit in one renewal period.
  • Courses completion exams must be taken with a proctor and are not open book.

SERVPRO of Brown County has an opportunity for the Insurance Agents in our area to take our continuing education classes.

Two courses, Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry and Ethics are going to be held on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, at the Marq on French Road in De Pere. The cost is $10.00 per attendee. The class size is Limited.

For the complete details on how you can register to attend our seminar, check our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/pg/SERVPRO10198/events/

We hope to see you there!

How Prepared Is Your Cottage for Winter?

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

Owning a cottage as a secondary residence could come with responsibilities you may not have with your primary home. If you only frequent your place during certain times of the year, there are several things you can do as the owner to ensure a successful winterization of your property. 

Although we are past the first month of winter in the Brown County area, here are a few valued tips recommended by insurance agents to cross-reference with your checklist; in case you may have overlooked an important detail.

  • Shut off the water supply, drain the pipes and hot water tank, and leave taps open to allow them to breathe. Toilets should be turned off and flushed, and then any remaining water bailed out. Alternatively, pour antifreeze into the bowl to protect the lines; be sure to use RV (pink) antifreeze or another environmentally friendly product.
  • Unplug all electrical appliances and electronic devices. Many modern electric and electronic devices continue to draw a small amount of power even when turned off; over a winter, it can add up to an expense you don't need.
  • Thoroughly clean the kitchen and remove any food. During the winter, rodents and even bears can sniff it out. This could create a considerable amount of structural and financial damages causing you to dig deep into your wallet.
  • If you can, remove valuables, such as TVs and stereos, and take them down to the city. If any valuable items left at the cottage, make sure windows are covered so that thieves can't see in and become tempted to break in, leaving your cottage exposed to those cold weather extremities. 
  • Install a cover over the chimney opening to prevent raccoons or other furry tenants from moving in. Inspect the exterior of the cottage, looking for other small openings that could be co-opted for an animal home – including under the deck, at the foundation, or under eaves.
  • Arrange to have a local snow removal company come at least once over the winter to remove snow and ice build-up from the roof. Even a relatively small load, such as a foot or so, can become dangerously heavy if there's a period of rain followed by a freeze-up. Put boxes over vents or skylights to protect them from snow loads or accidental damage by an over-eager person with a shovel.
  • Consider hiring the same company or someone to maintain the road and walkways around the cottage over winter. This allows access in case of an emergency such as a fire. Keeping the paths and driveway shoveled also makes the cottage look more lived-in, which is a security advantage.
  • Hire someone or ask a friend who lives up there year-round to check on the cottage periodically to make sure everything is okay if, for some reason, you are not able to get up there yourself. If something unfortunate has happened, from a break-in to a fire, to a roof cave-in, the sooner you are made aware and can deal with it, the better.

At SERVPRO of Brown County, our business is helping people recover after any natural or human made disaster. Water recovery is one of our specialties. We know that every water damage situation is a little different and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. Our trained professionals are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays to help take care of your emergency circumstances.

If you unexpectedly find yourself in need of our water restoration services for your cottage, feel free to call us, day or night, at 920-434-8224.

Meet Starr Lambie: The latest Addition to SERVPRO of Brown County

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

Female employee with short brown hair smiling next to our SERVPRO logo SERVPRO of Brown County welcomes our latest addition, Starr Lambie to the front office staff.

As the new year begins, we like to take the time to share how our SERVPRO family continues to flourish by employing dedicated and friendly people to serve the Brown County area better.

Towards the end of 2019, two new team members were added to the team SERVPRO front office staff. One of those employees is Starr Lambie, a long-time resident of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

She is our office assistant with the friendly voice you'll hear answering our phones or greeting our customers with a smiling face as you enter the doors to our Pamperin Road establishment.

Her role with the company involves general office functions, along with helping ensure our accounts receivable are appropriately managed.

Starr has a Shih-Tzu fur baby named Alfie. In her spare time, she enjoys scrapbooking, card making, and crocheting. Her favorite season is Winter. Starr loves the holiday season, especially Christmastime, where she gets to binge-watch all her favorite Christmas movies.

An interesting fact about Starr; it's a dream of hers to attend the Kentucky Derby.

Starr is happy to be a part of the SERVPRO family and looks forward to learning more about storm restoration.

Professional Carpet Cleaning Services for Your Brown County Area Business

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

There seems to be a debate among business owners over which time of year is the best to have your commercial property carpets professionally cleaned. Most proprietors base this decision on the amount of foot traffic your company sees daily. Ideally, that would factor into selecting a time to have your property serviced; however, there are other factors to take into great consideration.

Easier Scheduling

Come springtime, professional carpet cleaners become extremely busy as everyone sets up appointments to remove winter buildup. However, that buildup exists all through the winter, and when you call during the colder months, it’s easier to schedule professional carpet cleaning. Waiting until the last minute before an important event to have your carpets cleaned is unwise, as appointments may not be available for weeks. Having your carpets cleaned in the winter avoids the rush while freshening your business.

Eliminate Allergens

Despite the potential to track in wet and snow, your carpets may stay cleaner for a more extended amount of time in the winter because they won’t accumulate as many allergens. During the warmer months, pollen, dust, and airborne pollutants enter your home through open windows. If you didn’t have your carpets cleaned in the fall, all of that contamination makes an unhealthy indoor environment. When you seal everything up for winter and keep doors and windows closed, everything stays trapped inside, and your carpet holds it all, adding to the polluted air. Professional cleaning of the carpets in your business reduces and eliminates those spring and summer pollutants and makes it easier for your employees to breathe when they’re inside.

Faster Carpet Drying 

It’s easy to believe that freshly cleaned carpets dry faster in the warmer weather, but that’s not always true. Carpets may dry slightly quicker in the winter due to lower humidity that helps moisture evaporate more quickly. Professional carpet cleaners also have high-powered fans to help dry your carpets so you can enjoy your clean carpets and revel in the warmth and insulation they bring to cold winters.

Keeps Value Longer

Regular professional cleaning extends the life of your carpet. Even if you can’t see the stains, soil, and pollutants on your carpet, there’s a tremendous amount you don’t see that is slowly but surely wearing away at your carpet.

Cleanliness Impresses Your Clients 

You’ve heard of saying, “Dress to Impress.” Well, the same goes for how your company looks to your current or potential clients. With your lobby being the place where people enter and exit your business, chances are it is one of the highest traffic areas in your business. As a result, the floor and carpet in your lobby gather even more soil and grime than other areas in the business. To ensure you’re generating the best impression possible, make sure you clean high traffic areas more frequently.

Something to also keep in mind is the longer you hold off on carpet maintenance, it could end keeping the fibers from being adequately restored to its former appearance.

SERVPRO of Brown County offers state-of-the-art equipment that is handled by our highly trained professionals to get the job done right. Whether it’s removing an odor problem or deep cleaning flooring or carpets, you can rely on us to make your workspace look its very best.

Give us a call today at (920) 434-8224.

We Offer Solutions for Your Mold Issues

1/9/2020 (Permalink)

Before and After mold covered cardboard tubes on a freight trailer and pallet Our team took on a restoration job that involved a 18-Wheeler freight trailer carrying mold contaminated cardboard tubes.

No surface is safe from mold.

That includes metal. Since metal is not porous, removing mold from its surface is not difficult. Metal items are usually salvageable. The sooner you remove the mold, the fewer the chances it will spread to contaminate other, less durable items.

The team at SERVPRO of West Brown County received a mold restoration job involving an 18-wheeler freight trailer full of pallets with cardboard shipping tubes, each filled with various metal components. Our highly trained technicians were more than ready to tackle this task effectively and efficiently as possible.

Typically, we deal with residential and commercial mold infestations but have handled many requests for services that require a professional restoration company to make sure the job is done up to health code standards.

The process of adequately handling mold begins with an inspection and damage assessment. In this instance, the mold was visible. It was our job to detect how many items inside the freight trailer was affected in order to begin the next stage, which is containment.

There are several measures we take to prevent the spread of mold. Again, this was not a typical job we see every week. However, it is still essential to follow the proper protocol, which is to isolate the contaminated area to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process.

With our extensive line of SERVPRO cleaning products, our team carefully handled each medal piece to eliminate mold colonies and took precautionary measures to prevent new colonies from forming on the parts. 

Mold cannot be removed entirely from cardboard. In this instance, the solution was to prevent further spreading of the mold by eliminating all of the contaminated cardboard tubes. Once we discarded each tube, the metal parts were inserted into a new cardboard cylinder then placed onto one of our pallets.

As you can see from the pictures, our team members did a great job of handling this customer's mold dilemma.

If you ever find yourself with a unique mold situation and have questions regarding the issue, feel free to contact SERVPRO of West Brown County at (920) 434-8224.

Biohazard Clean Up: Tear Gas

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Tear gas is a chemical that stimulates pain, tearing, and burning in the eyes and skin that is commonly used by law enforcement and the military. 

Once tear gas is dispersed into a residence, if proper treatment is not implemented promptly, there is the potential of permanent damage to your property’s structure and personal items within the home and can pose a severe health hazard to you and your family. 

What exactly is tear gas made of?

Today’s tear gas formulations include several different compounds:

  • Chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS)
  • Chloroacetophenone (CN)
  • Dibenzoxazepine (CR)
  • Oleoresin Capsicum (OC or pepper spray)

Chlorobenzylidene is not technically a gas. It is shot or thrown in canisters that contain a solid material that turns to a gas when exposed to air and moisture. The resulting chemical reaction makes the canister hot and fills the air with a noxious gas.

Tear gas is complicated to remove as it is developed to disperse and stick to surfaces. After the initial dispersion, the tear gas settles on all surfaces. The oily residue must be removed from all areas of the home, including walls, countertops, floors, and contents. If any vicinity is left untreated, it will continue to off-gas, irritating the eyes, nose, and respiratory tract.  

When law enforcement utilizes tear gas into a residence, it is a last resort. Any size of tear gas cleanup needs to be performed by a company trained in the proper techniques and solutions which neutralize the irritants. As a safety measure, our technicians must wait for law enforcement to deem the affected area stable enough to enter, which can typically take up to about 4-5 days.

To ensure each employee does their job up to company and regulation standards, they receive ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • Initial Franchise Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

If your home or business experiences a biohazard situation, our team is here for you. Our technicians are fully trained to perform cleanup measures that will keep you safe. The techs comply with all OSHA and health regulations. 

If you ever find yourself in need of our biohazard services, give us a call at (920) 434-8224.

Test Your Knowledge: Frozen Pipes

12/26/2019 (Permalink)

Winter is in full swing in Brown County, which means a higher probability for frozen pipes within your home or business.

A burst pipe can be costly and time-consuming to remediate. Protect your prized personal possessions or essential business equipment from damage by preventing frozen pipes.

Do you know how to prevent pipes from freezing, or could you manage pipes that are already frozen? 

Let's test your knowledge with these five questions.

  1. Prevent pipes from freezing by setting your thermostat no lower than:

A. 32 degrees

B. 55 degrees

C. 68 degrees

  1. Pipes actually freeze when the temperature reaches 32°.

True

False

  1. If it is extremely cold outside, you should keep water faucets running.

True

False

  1. When pipes freeze, they always burst.

 True

 False

  1. What should you NOT do if you suspect you have a frozen pipe?

A. Shut off the main water valve.

B. Leave faucets open until repairs are made.

C. Get a hand-held torch and start thawing the pipe.

The correct answers for this quiz are listed at the end of the blog post.

Now that you tested your knowledge of frozen pipes, here are a few more signs to look for whenever the temperature drops.

There Is Frost on the Pipe

For pipes that can actively be seen, such as those under sinks, you may be able to see frost that has accumulated on the exterior of the pipe. This can serve as a warning sign that the pipe is frozen before you ever try to turn on the faucet.

Strange Smells

Another potential sign of a blocked pipe is an odd smell coming from a faucet or drain. If the pipe is partially or entirely blocked, the only way the odor can escape is back up in the direction of your property.

Once you are aware that a pipe is frozen, act quickly to thaw the pipe. Depending on the location of the pipe and your level of expertise, you can attempt to thaw the pipe yourself. If you still feel uncertain about the process, it's best to contact a licensed plumber to thaw the pipe for you. It is imperative to thaw the pipe as soon as possible to avoid it from bursting and causing extensive damage to your property.

As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of West Brown County is strategically located to respond quickly to your water damage event. Our trained technicians receive ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications to give your residential or business property the attention it deserves. 

If you unexpectedly find yourself in need of our services over the holiday season, give us a call at (920) 434-8224.

ANSWERS

  1. 55 degrees - For most homes and businesses, setting the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees assures that warm air circulates throughout the building, protecting your pipes from freezing.
  2. False - No, they won’t. Pipes freeze when the heat is transferred from the water inside the pipe to the surrounding air. This means that the surrounding air temperature has to fall well below 32° for the pipes to freeze.
  3. True - Always keep one or two faucets running slowly. Water moving through the system should prevent the line from freezing.
  4. False - Pipes can freeze without bursting. You can reduce the likelihood of a frozen pipe bursting by shutting off the main water supply valve and draining the system by opening faucets throughout the house or office.
  5. Never use a torch, gas heater, candles, or anything with an open flame to thaw pipes. 

Continuing Education Classes Set for January 2020

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

With the New Year just around the corner, our goal is to provide the best service not only to our customers, but to companies that want to help themselves or their employees grow within their line of work.

SERVPRO of West Brown County is here to provide continuing education classes for the 2020 year to individuals that work as Property Managers, Insurance Agents or Adjusters and are also looking to keep their licenses up to date.

Two classes will be held on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 at the Marq on French Road in De Pere.

The first seminar deals with Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry and will run from 8:00 a.m. through 12:00 p.m. Registration for this course starts at 7:15 a.m. and goes until 7:55 a.m. In order to receive CE credit for this course 100% attendance is required. Attendee will then receive 4 Insurance credit hours after completion.

The second seminar deals with Ethics and will run from 1:00 p.m. through 4:00 p.m. Registration for this course starts at 12:45 p.m. In order to receive CE credit for this course 100% attendance is required. Attendee will then receive 3 Insurance credit hours after completion.

The cost to attend these seminars is $10.00 which is the state credit processing fee per person.

Breakfast will be provided by Smoke-Out Cleaners and lunch will provided by Electronic Restoration Service.

Class size is Limited. Please confirm guests attending by making reservations either by contacting our West Brown County office at (920) 434-8224 or send an email to our Marketing and Sales Manager, Jim Knopf at jknopf@SERVPROgreenbay.com.

We look forward to seeing you there in January!

Winter Preparations: How Prepared Is Your Business for the Cold Temperatures?

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

As a business owner, you have an array of responsibilities throughout your organization that requires your constant attention. Sometimes you forget with the many modifications continually going on in your office, other pressing matters could become problematic and cost your company production losses.

One of those commonly overlooked issues is weather preparation for your business property.

If your business is located in the Brown County region, then you know winter can create one major dilemma after another. First, it’s frozen pipes the next a backed-up toilet. Sometimes it’s an even bigger nightmare like a flooded facility.

As we enter the winter months, how prepared is your business for the freezing temperatures?

Here are some great tips offered by The Disaster Safety website on how you can prevent frozen pipes from happening in your business.

Seal openings

  • Seal all windows, doors, and other openings on exterior walls with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating the wall cavity.

Seal cracks and penetrations

  • Seal all wall cracks and penetrations, including domestic and fire protection lines, electrical conduits, and other utility service lines.

Insulate and seal attic penetrations

  • Insulate and seal attic penetrations such as partition walls, vents, plumbing stacks, and electrical and mechanical chases.

Insulate recessed light fixtures

  • Insulate recessed light fixtures in the ceiling to reduce the heat entering the attic. Look for visible light inside the attic. If present, insulate or seal. If the space above a suspended ceiling are conditioned, there is no need for added insulation or sealing.

Run faucets

  • Let all faucets drip during extremely cold weather to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipe, and if freezing does occur, to relieve pressure buildup in the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet.

Install a monitoring system

  • Install a monitoring system that provides notifications if the building’s temperature dips below a predetermined number. Never set your thermostat below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Insulate pipes

  • Insulate pipes most vulnerable to freezing by using pipe insulation.

Install an automatic excess flow switch

  • Install an automatic excess flow switch on the main incoming domestic water line to monitor and provide early detection of a broken pipe or valve. Use wireless sensors near water sources.

Monitor sprinkler systems

  • Monitor sprinkler systems using a central station to provide early detection of a pipe failure and heat unheated sprinkler control rooms.

Provide backup power

  • Provide a reliable backup power source, such as a standby generator, to ensure continuous power and heat to the building.

At SERVPRO, we want your business to avoid any loss. That is why our team of trained professionals is ready to take on your particular restoration situation. We know that water is particularly invasive, quickly spreading throughout your property and absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and other items of high value. Our team is ready to start the water extraction process almost immediately.

When minutes matter, know that we are here to oversee your water loss leaving your primary focus on serving your customers with little to no interruptions in your businesses’ productivity.

If you find yourself in need of emergency services or have any questions regarding our water restoration process, give us a call at (920) 434-8224.

Candle Safety Tips to Avoid Holiday Mayhem

11/29/2019 (Permalink)

A red candle sits in the center of a clear glass holder on top of a countertop A clear glass hurricane candle holder with a red candle and holly berry wreath serves as a holiday centerpiece.

Did you know the top 3 days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve?

As enjoyable as it is to decorate during the holiday season, utilizing candles to add more seasonal flare throughout your home or for ceremonial/religious practices could potentially put your home at a higher risk for a fire.

From a statistical standpoint, on average, 23 home candle fires are reported each day. What’s even more alarming is from 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 8,200 home structure fires that were started by candles per year. These fires caused 770 injuries and $264 million in direct property damage.

There are a variety of ways to avoid becoming one of those startling statistics.

The following are helpful tips on how to avoid a fire mishap from happening in your residence.

  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 1 foot (30 centimeters) away from anything that can burn.
  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell, and feel like real candles. 
  • If you do use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be knocked down easily.
  • Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.

When it comes to candles, never under any circumstances, leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle. Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s reach in a locked cabinet. Their curious little minds tend to be attracted to the colorful flames. Supervision is vital for them not to burn themselves or to cause an unexpected fire hazard in your home.

Decking the halls should be fun, but always remember to exercise more caution when using candles.

The team at SERVPRO of West Brown County knows all about the aftermath resulting from accidental fires. That is why you need to know the place your family calls home is in great hands when we get involved in the restoration process.

As a locally owned and operated business, we are strategically located to respond quickly to your smoke or fire damage event. If you have any questions about our services or need immediate assistance, call us today at (920) 434-8224.

Preparing for the Holidays: Decorating with Christmas Lights

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

The holidays are upon us once again. With more people living a hectic lifestyle, decorating for the Christmas season tends to happen earlier within the year. Whether you decide to be several festive months in advance by putting up your tree or the week leading up to Christmas, it is always good to remember how to keep your home safe against unexpected fires.

These are some helpful suggestions offered by the Christmas Tree Association:

  • Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn’t be shedding its needles readily.
  • Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.
  • Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety and throw out any damaged lights.
  • Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle.
  • Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor.
  • Bedtime means lights off! ­ Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.

Do keep in mind, the earlier you display your freshly cut Christmas Tree, the more maintenance is required to keep your evergreen looking full and lively. Water should be added to the tree stand every day. Gently shake the tree to see if any needles fall off; if many do, the tree isn’t getting enough water. Let the needles and the branches be your guide on whether your tree is too dry and needs more watering.

An unwatered Christmas tree can set an entire room ablaze in less than 20 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  

At SERVPRO of West Brown County, we know a fire can be one of the most devastating events a homeowner might face. Flames often start suddenly, move quickly and cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time. We also understand how a fire can throw a person’s entire life into chaos. That’s why our team is prepared to help in your time of need.

If a fire devastates your home, give us a call at (920) 434-8224.

As always, our goal is to make it, “Like it never even happened.”

Appliance Safety for the Thanksgiving Holidays

11/12/2019 (Permalink)

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. That means it time for those holiday dishes to make their appearance across dining room tables everywhere.  While most people are concerned about having enough food to feed their guests, they tend to forget about paying attention to other details like putting a larger than usual strain on the appliances used to cook their holiday feast.

Chances are your oven will be the one appliance with an increased workload.

Other common appliances like your microwave or slow cooker may also play some role in food preparation.

Whatever you're baking, you'll want to make sure all of the electrical connections have been inspected to ensure proper functionality. Always make sure the power is off and use caution when working near anything electrical.

By taking the time to do a quick inspection, like looking over the oven coils, you could save a kitchen disaster from happening over the holiday season. Even after your family and friends have feasted on your Thanksgiving meal, you'll want to be sure that the coils didn't take any damage.

Depending on your setup, your stove may be right above your oven, or it may be on the other side of the kitchen. It's a good idea to go ahead and make sure all four burners are in good working order, whether they're gas or electric. If you ever suspect a gas leak, it's always best to call a professional to get this fixed immediately!

Everyone's cooking habits and skills are different, but one thing is certain. The microwave gets used regularly to save time. Just like your oven, there are a few things you'll want to check to get ready for the holidays.

As with the oven, inspect all electrical connections to be sure nothing is loose. It's possible one or more of these connections could have come loose during use. After you've checked for loose connections, take a look at the door of the microwave, as well as the turntable. The door should not be loose, and it should close properly. If your door is falling off, or not shutting completely, it is probably time to get a new microwave. Your turntable should be free of any damage and shouldn't wobble when it's rotating.

When it comes to your slow cooker, make sure to check both ends of the cord for any frayed or exposed wires. If you spot any, cut the cord and dispose of your appliance immediately — black tape is not a safe remedy. Though slow cookers have been around for a long time, technology has improved a lot in recent years — older models don't offer modern safety features like auto-shutoff. If you notice any off odors or see that the exterior of your slow cooker feels hotter than it should when in use, unplug it right away and toss it. If there's a chance your slow cooker has spent time in someone's garage, you should probably consider upgrading.

SERVPRO of West Brown County wants you to have a worry-free Thanksgiving. In the event a faulty appliance causes an unexpected fire emergency in your home, know that we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer the call should you need restoration help following fire damage.

Our technicians are highly trained and ready to take on any project to get your life back in order. Give us a call us at (920) 434-8224.

Teaching Kids the Essentials of Fire Safety and Extinguisher Use

11/7/2019 (Permalink)

With the holiday season in full swing, most kids and teens will be spending a few days at home during their Thanksgiving school break.

Teaching adolescents to prepare and cook their meals with various kitchen appliances like a toaster oven or microwave shouldn’t cause too much concern for parents; however, there are those unexpected moments when things could go suddenly wrong. Whether its siblings watching out for one another or a babysitter caring for your kids during that vacation break, it is essential to go over emergency procedures with any individuals that will be in your household in the event of an unexpected fire.

The very first step towards fire prevention is awareness about fire and precautionary measures. It’s not enough if you alone learn about fire prevention. Children need to possess a basic knowledge of dealing with fire breakouts. They need to learn about the different types of firefighting techniques, especially those adopted for small homes. Dousing the flames with the right kind of fire extinguisher is also essential. For instance, you can’t extinguish electrical fires with water and would instead need a Class C rated fire extinguisher.

The ability of your kids to help you douse the flames and at times, even handling fire extinguishers all by themselves is subject to proper training and awareness about firefighting. You can’t leave your kids to the mercy of any size of flames. Instead, train them to deal with fire breakouts by learning about fire prevention. Your kids need to learn about the PASS method for handling small fire and dousing the flames with home fire extinguishers. Here is a training method developed to deal with fires.

Your kids need to remember the PASS method while using the fire extinguisher:

P – pulling the extinguisher pin
A – aiming the fire extinguisher low
S – squeezing the handle
S – sweeping the extinguisher sidewise

Besides just using your home fire extinguishers, you need to train your kids on how to prevent fires, as well. You need to inform them about not leaving any flammable items like gas cylinders in front of flames or fire and ensure that the easily accessible appliances they use are switched off and unplugged before it is left unattended. You also need to tell them to call the emergency fire service; they notice flames in any corner of your residence.

Avoiding scenarios that could lead to fires breaking out minimizes the chances of an actual fire taking place. Your kids can play a vital role in preventing accidental fires just by learning about the prevention techniques and even handling home fire extinguishers efficiently.

At SERVPRO of Brown County, we know that despite taking precautionary measures to avoid a home disaster from transpiring, fires still take place.

Certain circumstances require someone knowledgeable in various levels of the restoration process. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our team is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • Initial Franchise Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

If you have any questions or need our services, give us a call at (920) 434-8224.

Fire Prevention Month: What Should You do After a Fire Disaster Affects Your Residence

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

An unexpected house fire in the West Brown County area could be a very traumatic and unsettling experience for your family. Having to deal with the aftermath can leave anyone feeling uncertain about the future of the place they call home. Where does one start once the smoke as settled, and are now faced with making decisions you never thought possible? 

One of the critical factors about your living quarters is knowing whether it is safe to enter after a fire. As a rule of thumb, it is best to wait until the professionals called in to extinguish the fire and inspect the structure, state it is fine to do so. 

Knowing who to call after a fire is equally important. Don't assume that someone is going to contact your insurance. This will not only enable documentation of the event and set in train the insurance claim, but your insurer will be able to talk you through emergency lodging and living expenses. Remember to retain all receipts to make a claim. The insurance company will also assist with clean up options.

Depending on your housing situation, you may need to contact additional people, especially if you are a tenant. The owner/landlord needs as much information that you can offer them for their insurance company to process the claim that will get you back into the place you call home sooner than later.

If your place only sustained damage rather than being destroyed, an interior cleanup will be required. Be aware that destruction to the property often goes beyond what the eye can see. Some of those damages include soot, ash, charring, smoke, and odor.

The smoke alone is known to leave an undesirable odor on items from treasured belongings, to all thing's upholstery, and your clothing. Also, be aware that soot and smoke damage might be significant. It often creates a film on the walls. There will also be residue from the extinguishers used by the fire crew.

Do keep in mind, water damage is typical if water hoses were used to put out the fire. Your possessions could end up soggy. Anything you want to preserve, or reuse will need careful cleaning. When you have a critical cleanup situation, it is best to take immediate action and hire professionals that specialize in both fire and water restoration services. 

SERVPRO of West Brown County specializes in fire and water restoration. We've received advance training in restoration techniques, and we have the experience and specialized equipment to restore your property quickly.

Our Technicians train in the following areas:

  • Fire & Smoke Restoration 
  • Odor Control 
  • Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning
  • Water Damage Restoration Technician

We are a locally owned and operated business that is strategically located to respond quickly to your smoke or fire damage event. If you have questions about fire, smoke, or soot damage, call us today at (920) 434-8224.

Fire Prevention Month: Wood Stove and Fireplace Safety

10/28/2019 (Permalink)

The climate in Wisconsin usually feels a handful of freezing temps a few short weeks before winter finally decides to set up camp in the Midwest and stick around for an extended period of several months.

Using a modern-day wood stove has many advantages over traditional models. The newer models use high-grade glass-ceramic on the front, which can withstand higher temperatures than other materials.

Even with a wood stove, people still enjoy the warmth generating from a fireplace. Whether it’s your primary or secondary source of heat, it’s important to always take extra safety measures against any fire emergencies.

To help you with some of those precautionary tasks, here are a few essential safety tips you can implement while using your fireplace or wood stove this winter.

Fireplace Safety:

  • The best tactic for making sure your fireplace is safe to use for the winter season is to have regular visual inspections – both inside and out.
  • If using a gas fireplace, make sure the flame burns blue. A yellow or orange flame is a sign that something is wrong, and that you need to contact a licensed technician immediately.
  • Finally, always open the damper before lighting a fire. Don’t shut it until the ashes are cold to avoid the risk of a burn.
  • Proper fireplace ventilation is essential to fireplace safety. When looking outside, be sure to inspect the chimney cap, since it keeps foreign objects out of your home while preventing hot embers from flying out of your chimney and on to your roof. You should also check above your fireplace to assess whether the mortar is intact and to ensure there is no physical damage.
  • Check the integrity of the chimney plumb on the roof to make sure it has not begun to tip to one side. A tilting chimney is a sign of a bigger structural problem and requires immediate inspection.
  • If you have household equipment that vents carbon monoxide, be sure not to run it while using your fireplace. Make sure the vents in each room of your house are open, as well. This will prevent any gas or fumes from getting trapped and accumulating inside a single room. 
  • Consider getting a fire screen. These areinexpensive and don’t require installation. Purchase your chosen screen and stand it in front of the fire. It’s a simple item, but it plays a considerable part in fire safety by shielding people, furniture, and carpets from errant sparks.

Wood-burning Stove Safety:

  • Proper wood-burning stove maintenance is essential. One tip is to make sure to clean the wood stove properly to remove all ash before you use it for the first time in the winter, as well as before each subsequent use through the season.
  • The chimney used with a wood-burning stove must be mason-built or manufactured in a factory. You cannot use metal chimneys or single-brick chimneys as they deteriorate and may pose a fire hazard over time. Older homes that have double-bricked chimneys should be inspected for any deterioration in the lining or loose mortar before using a wood-burning stove.
  • If using coal in your stove, do not use a metal chimney as the fumes from that particular resource will corrode the metal almost instantly. In this case, your metal chimney will need to be uninstalled and inspected.
  • Do not under any circumstances use a smoke duct that has previously been used with an oil burner. The unburned vapors will ignite backward into the wood-burning stove and your home.
  • Your stove should always be on a stable surface.Unlike fireplaces, stoves can be positioned wherever you like. It’s crucial to position stoves on a durable, fireproof surface. Brick and tile are ideal places for a stove to rest. Regular maintenance, cleaning, and sensible precautions when choosing the wood and starting a fire, all contribute to fire and stove safety.  

One last important matter is to make sure you are disposing of the ashes correctly. Many home fires are started because of fireplace ash. A buildup of ash can also shorten the life of the fireplace. Ashes must be raked out regularly – always use an ash shovel. If possible, wait 24 hours from when the fire burned out before raking the ashes. Store ashes in a metal ash bucket outside of the home, and away from fallen leaves, wood or kindling. Only transfer ashes to the trash when they have cooled down.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County, we understand with all of the precautions you take to ensure a safe environment within your home, unexpected emergencies can happen. If you end up with fire, smoke, or soot damage in your residence our trained technicians use the appropriate equipment, expertise, and experience to restore things.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at, (920) 434-8224.

Fire Prevention Month: Keeping Your Home and Pets Safe from Electrical Fires

10/17/2019 (Permalink)

Having a cat or dog in your home means taking the time to safeguard certain areas of your residence to avoid your furry friend’s curious nature. What we view as an everyday household item, they tend to see as something to play with or a chew toy. A hyperactive dog or inquiring cat can easily cause an electrical hazard or fire in ways you may not have considered. 

Here is a checklist to help you protect against your pets being in any danger of being hurt.

  • To avoid any temptation on their part, keep electrical cords away from your pets, so they don’t chew on them and receive a severe shock. Cover the cord with a heavy plastic sleeve. Ask your pet store for a bitter-tasting product you could put on the cord.
  • Check that your nightlights and appliances are completely plugged into wall outlets. Small paws, or tongues can easily find partially unprotected prongs and are a hazard for curious children, puppies, and kittens.
  • Halogen lamps should never be used in play areas. Halogen bulbs can reach very high temperatures, and if knocked over during play, could quickly start a fire.
  • All appliances near sinks or bathtubs should be plugged into an outlet equipped with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). Playful pets can knock radios, curling irons, and other items into the water, creating a dangerous situation. GFCIs stop the flow of electricity instantly if there is a problem, and when properly used, can save lives.
  • Do not allow pets to curl up for a nap behind warm computer equipment. They need to learn to stay away from all electrical connections. If your pets are reluctant to cooperate, consider investing in baby gates to keep them away from your equipment.

The team over at SERVPRO of West Brown County wants your fury friends and house to remain safe at all times. If the unfortunate circumstances of an electrical fire arise, know that we respond quickly to your smoke or fire damage.

As a locally owned and operated business. We are strategically located to respond quickly to your emergency needs. Call us at, (920) 434-8224.

Fire Prevention Month: Basement Fires

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Now that Fire Prevention Month is underway, SERVPRO of West Brown County would like to remind you there are several ways to prepare your household for unexpected fire emergencies.

This week's focus is on ways you can fire-safe your basement.

The basement is a room in the house that most people use as a secondary area to entertain guests, living quarters, or a site to store seasonal items. It could also be the one place in your house you may not spend that much time in; therefore, it would be a good idea to inspect the room for certain safety features that could contain a fire if one were to break out unexpectedly.

The following tips are helpful suggestions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

Early Warning Devices

  • Install a smoke alarm in the basement. Test the alarm each month and clean as needed. The basement smoke alarm should be connected to other smoke alarms in your home.
  • If you have oil, gas or wood-burning equipment in the basement, you should also have a carbon monoxide alarm installed in the basement.

Utilities

  • Maintain easy, quick access to your fuse box or circuit breaker panel.
  • Keep the burner access doors on gas water heaters and gas furnaces closed to prevent flames from escaping and starting a fire.

 Housekeeping

  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from the furnace, oil burner, wood stoves, water heaters, and other heat-generating equipment.
  • Keep oily rags in airtight containers and away from heat sources.
  • Trash should not be stored in the basement.
  • Washers and dryers should be plugged directly into wall outlets.
  • Clean lint filters every time you use the dryer.
  • Clean the dryer vent ductwork every year.
  • Keep stairs free of clutter and safe for quick exit in an emergency.

The best thing you could do for your home and family is to practice these precautionary measures several times throughout the year.

In the event your basement was to catch fire, chances are certain areas of your home could also suffer from fire and smoke damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of West Brown County wants you to know we have technicians specialized in fire restoration training that is needed to restore your basement to pre-fire conditions. 

We have technicians on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to go into action when they are needed. If you have questions about fire, smoke, or soot damage, call us today at (920) 434-8224.

October Kicks off Fire Prevention Month

10/4/2019 (Permalink)

Every month SERVPRO of West Brown County offers helpful tips on how your family can navigate through various emergencies.

October is nationally known as Fire Prevention Month. This month's prevention initiative intends to raise awareness about fire safety and home safety to help ensure your home and family are prepared in the case of an emergency. Think of this as a perfect opportunity to review the current plans your household has in place for any fire emergency that may unexpectedly arise.

Some interesting facts shared by First Alert include:

• 3 of every 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no working smoke alarms.
• Less than 50% of homeowners have an escape plan.
• Carbon monoxide (CO) is the #1 cause of accidental death.
• 60% of consumers do not test their smoke and CO alarms monthly.
• Only 47% of people report having CO alarms in their homes.
• Just 43% of homeowners have an escape plan.

These are some pretty alarming statics!

The best way to get started on the process to protecting your loved ones is to do a thorough inspection and inventory of all of your fire extinguisher and smoke detectors. By checking your alarms, testing the alarms regularly, and adding reliable protection when replacing expired alarms urges the household to improve your home's safety.

It is not that all uncommon for anyone living under your roof to easily forget where each of these essential items are found. Making a detailed layout, then printing multiple copies to leave in designated areas in your house, is an excellent way for family members to refresh their memories on where each of these resourceful items resides. For the younger members of your family, consider using colorful graphics for them to relate to. A house scavenger hunt would be a fun way to educate and prepare your little ones to not be afraid in the event of a fire crisis.

Don't forget your pets! Include them in all of your emergency plans. Do this by having one or two members of your family designated to help your pets safely vacate your property.

Did you know SERVPRO of West Brown County's staff are highly trained in property damage restoration?

From the initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes the following:

• IICRC Training
• Employee Certification Training
• Initial Franchise Training
• e-Learnings
• Continuing Education Classes

Let us be the ones you turn to for all of your fire restoration needs. Give us a call at, (920) 434-8224.

Jim Knopf Speaks with Local Schools About the Golden Apple Awards

10/1/2019 (Permalink)

Male employee speaks with classroom full of students on award nomination process Marketing & Sales Manager Jim Knopf visits a local elementary school to share how students nominate teachers for the Golden Apple Awards

SERVPRO of West Brown County knows how hard our employees work to give our customers the best possible service. Seeing a member of our team go the extra mile to volunteer their time in the community is something we are proud to acknowledge.

This week, we want to share what our Sales and Marketing Manager, Jim Knopf has been up to in the Green Bay area. 

As most of our West Brown County customers know, Jim enjoys his role as one of the Ambassador for the Greater Green Bay Chamber. His involvement with the Chamber extends from answering questions about the Chamber to helping promote member businesses through Chamber functions. 

Chamber Ambassadors recently began speaking with local schools to influence students to nominate their most inspirational educator for the prestigious Golden Apple Award.

The Golden Apple Awards is a yearly program that improves community awareness of the quality of education in the Greater Green Bay area by recognizing high standards of professionalism, leadership, and innovation in teaching with the Golden Apple Awards.

Eight recipients (individuals and/or teams) are selected annually through a multi-level screening of anonymous applications and personal interviews. Selection criteria are based on the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, which identify the essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions expected of experienced, quality teachers.

The following information is the process of how the events will unfold:

  • Nominations are due October 31, 2020.
  • Nominees for the Golden Apple Awards will be announced on January 5, 2020. 
  • Teachers of Distinction will be announced on January 26, 2020.
  • The full list of recipients will be announced on February 2020.

 The 27th annual Golden Apple Awards ceremony is scheduled for April 15, 2020. This event is held at Radisson Hotel & Conference Center and goes from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

You can obtain a nomination forms for the 27th annual awards program on the Greater Green Bay Chamber's website.

National Preparedness Month: Keeping Important Documents Safe from Water Damage

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

Wisconsinite's experienced severe thunderstorms throughout this summer leaving many residents stuck with the grueling job of doing house repairs themselves or filing claims with their homeowner's insurance agencies. 

With the amount of flooding that took place over parts of West Brown County, both the interior and exterior parts of homes endured various levels of water damage. Sometimes the living quarters and furniture are not the only things of importance that undergo destruction. Essential documents might have become ruined as well. 

As we near the end of National Preparedness Month, it is important to remember being prepared for the unexpected should be a year-long practice. One of the most vital pieces of information to your family's existence is documented mostly on legalized forms. Replacing a lost or damaged document can be rather time-consuming or in some instances, difficult if you do not have all the appropriate required documentation on hand to request new records.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests making copies and arranging safe off-site storage for the following important documents.

Vital Personal Records

These include photocopies of personal identification such as drivers licenses, birth certificates, and Military I.D. cards, if applicable. Social Security cards, passports, and marriage licenses should also be copied.

Insurance Policies

Keep copies of your homeowner's and flood insurance policy. Also, include health and life insurance coverage information as well as contact information for your local agent.

Financial Information

Record relevant account numbers for all financial matters. Include bank contact information as well as investment firms such as brokerages, retirement accounts, and credit card companies.

Property Records

Copy the deed to your home or the mortgage documents provided by the title company. These should state the value of the house at the time of purchase. If you are a renter, retain a copy of the lease or rental agreement. Also duplicate all automobile, boat and R.V. titles and registration papers.

Medical Information

Make copies of all ongoing prescriptions plus records of immunizations, health insurance I.D. cards, and names and contact information for primary physicians. If you have a living will include that as well.

Estate Documents

Include a copy of your will, instructions for a funeral, documents for power-of-attorney designation, and contact information for your personal attorney.

Once the worst has passed and you're able to take a moment to check on all of your personal belongings for damages, remember SERVPRO of West Brown County is always here for you.

We are a trusted leader in the water restoration industry that is locally owned and operated. If you are looking to have a stress-free claim process, SERVPRO works with your insurance to help manage the insurance process and paperwork. 

If you have water or flood damage, give us a call at, (920) 434-8224.

National Preparedness Month: Storm Damage and Power Outages

9/20/2019 (Permalink)

Dark clouds surrounding a field of power lines An incoming storm surrounds an open field with power lines

Wisconsin experienced a high volume of tornadoes this past July. According to the National Weather Service, 16 touched down in just three days. These widespread storms forged through our state with winds speeds ranging from 90 to 120 mph. The damage in most areas was catastrophic.

One of the biggest factors preventing residence from the task of recovering and assessing their property damage was the power outages. Being without power for a short or extended period can be a costly factor for some homeowners. Knowing how to prepare for a power outage can help your family salvage more of your resources.

There are several ways you can keep your homestead functioning as well as you possibly can if the power were to go out unexpectedly.

Prepare in advance for a power outage:

  • Invest in flashlights, a battery-operated radio, and, of course, extra batteries. There are even lanterns used for camping that double as a phone charger. Remember to check your items occasionally to ensure they're all functioning and store them together for easy access.
  • Always have bottled water and a variety of snacks that do not require refrigeration.
  • An easy-to-miss but crucial consideration: if you have medication that needs to be refrigerated, remember to ask your pharmacist for information on storing it during a power outage.

Tips for your family once the power is out:

  • Don't open the refrigerator or freezer door if you can help it. Refrigerated food can stay cold (and safe for consumption) for up to 4 hours, while frozen food can last up to 48 hours if the freezer is densely packed (or 24 hours if it's not as full). For more on food safety in an emergency, check out these guidelines from the USDA.
  • To avoid a power surge when the electricity returns, turn off computers, TVs, and other nonessential electronics. But be sure to leave a light on so you'll know when the power is restored.
  • If someone has medical equipment that requires electricity, call for help or get them to a place where the power is working.

In the aftermath of a power outage due to harsh weather, practice extreme caution if you go outside to survey the damages after a storm.

Remember that fallen trees or other wreckage can hide downed or hanging electrical wires. Always assume that a downed line is a live line and highly dangerous.

SERVPRO of West Brown County knows your family's well being is your number one priority and wants everyone to be safe. Allow us to be there with helping eliminate some of the burdens you're facing in the aftermath of any storm destruction inflicted upon your home.

We have technicians on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to go into action when they are needed. If flood waters hit your home in the middle of the night, or a fire breaks out on Christmas Day, our technicians will be there for you to start the recovery work immediately.

If you need emergency clean up or restoration work in the West Brown County area, call us any time at, (920) 541- 2128

National Preparedness Month: Preparing Your Kids for Natural Disasters

9/16/2019 (Permalink)

Children wearing rain boots outside A group of four children standing outside wearing coats and rain boots

Brown County experienced more than its fair share of storms throughout this summer. 

As an adult, we tend to develop ideas over the years of how we should prepare our place of residence for natural disasters that commonly frequent the State of Wisconsin. One important matter that may get overlooked during the preparation process is forgetting to include the younger members of the family as part of that procedure. 

Kids and teens should learn invaluable techniques to better equip them for a variety of severe weather disturbances or everyday household disasters. Taking the proper precautionary steps to formulate an emergency plan could help reduce any occurrence of anxiety when such unexpected events transpire.

Some helpful tips on how to prepare your children for natural disasters include:

  • Offer them facts on the typical weather developments for our region or emergencies that would generally involve first responders being dispatched. 
  • Focus on types of hazards that could affect the home: a place to seek immediate shelter in the event a tornado develops or prompt evacuation as a result of a fire
  • Create then test out your family disaster plan. Just as your child practices fire drills at school, disaster drills at home are an excellent way to review what to do during a crisis. Model the exercise for your children and then have them participate either monthly or every few months to see if revisions should be made to your established plan.

These above examples are one way to assure your loved ones every precautionary measure is being made to keep them safe during what could be an incredibly disastrous period. 

Another thing you may want to implement into your planning process is a backup plan where the younger members of the family know how to best assist you if you’re distracted by certain emergency matters. You may have your hands full with trying to divert water from overflowing in your basement or distinguishing a fire that suddenly erupts from an electrical matter. Other times you may become injured and need some type of medical assistance. Knowing your kids have the right resources in place could not only help get your household back on their feet but ease their mind because you prepared them for such events.

Your families primary focus should be more on keeping everyone safe. Let the trained technicians at SERVPRO of Brown County take some of the worries off your hands by clearing out the damage to your residence. 

SERVPRO of Brown County offers:

Restoration work following storms or interior damage to your home is a cornerstone of the SERVPRO business. Give our trained technicians a call at, (920) 434-8224.

Preparedness Profile: Devise a Business Continuity Plan That Will Benefit Your Company and Employees

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

flames engulf the outside of a Building A the outside wall of a commercial building is engulfed in large flames

Natural disasters typically occur with little to no warning. Often the economic impact of a company can be just as devastating as the destructive aftermath the storm leaves behind. Preparation is the best defense against these disasters.

As a best practice, all businesses should have a continuity and disaster recovery plan to address these unforeseen forces of nature.

A few considerations for compiling a well-executed Business Continuity Plan may include the following:

Assemble a Team

Build your team, so each member is aware of their roles and which recovery task they're responsible for. This team should be able to address all your plans from preparation to completion. 

Devise a Plan

One of the essential components of a business continuity plan is mapping out a strategy. Use this opportunity to classify critical procedures and people that keep the business running. 

  • Make a list of all the disruptions that could potentially hinder your operations. 
  • Determine the functions that are most critical to everyday business processes.
  • Express practical recovery strategies for each probable disaster scenario.

Educate and Train

  • Your employees should know the objectives, requirements, and critical components of your plan, then create a training program that helps them develop the skills needed to execute that strategy.

How Your Business Could be Impacted

Once you've identified all the potential threats to your daily operations, it's time to analyze the impact of those threats. 

  • Depending on your set-up and geographical location, you may need to think of an extensive list.
  • This could include flood, fire, hurricane, or earthquakes.
  • The probability of some of these natural disasters transpiring may hit once in a lifetime.
  • There are others which have a higher likelihood of that situation happening. In that case, spend more emphasis on those matters. 

A flood could easily cause water damage that requires replacement of servers and other equipment, while a fire could result in a situation where you're forced to shut down. 

Did you know that SERVPRO of West Brown County specializes in fire damage, especially devastating for a business or commercial property?

In addition to the fire and smoke damage, significant water damage from firefighting efforts and fire suppression systems may occur. Every hour spent restoring your business back to pre-fire condition is an hour of lost revenue and productivity.

In the unfortunate event your business experiences a fire loss, call the fire and water damage restoration experts and we’ll respond immediately to get you back to business.

Services we offer our business or commercial property owners:

  • 24 Hour Emergency Service
  • Faster to Any Size Disaster
  • A Trusted Leader in the Fire and Water Restoration Industry with over 1,700 Franchises
  • Highly Trained Fire and Water Damage Restoration Specialists

It is important to test and update your business continuity plan annually. The purpose of testing is to run simulations that allow you to evaluate your team's level of preparedness. Those test results can be used to tweak and update your plan over time.

Business continuity planning ensures that disruptions have minimal impact on day-to-day operations. 

When you are in the process of testing your company’s level of preparedness, don’t forget to include SERVPRO of West Brown County as part of that procedure.

Give us a call at, (920) 434-8224, and a trained commercial property team member will see how we may better serve your business needs.

Storm Damage in West Brown County: SERVPRO Is Always Here for You

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

rain gutters filled with water A residential building with rain gutters full of rain water during a storm

When you live in the State of Wisconsin, you learn to adapt to the way the seasons change faster than you can blink. One moment you're bundled up in a winter coat with at least three layers underneath it. Then the next minute, you are cranking up the air conditioner trying to keep cool because the temps reached a record high in a month that we typically experience freezing temps.

Just think about all that your house endures with those swift climate changes. We want the dwelling we live in to withstand any natural disaster. Our treasured belongings stay stored within those walls, as well as those mementos occasions we create with loved ones. Not taking all of the proper precautions to keep our home up to code could leave us without those cherished keepsakes, making new memories and at a substantial financial loss. 

While various factors can damage our home's foundation - earthquakes, extreme temperatures, tree roots; moisture is the number one culprit that weakens and compromises the home's base. 

Once water collects around your house from rain, snow, or burst pipes, the saturated soil around the foundation expands and shift — the pressure on the foundation walls increases and results in cracks. Leaks form allowing water to penetrate the foundation and cause electrical hazards, mold growth, and structural damage to the house.

There are a few precautionary measures you could take to lessen the chance of your home enduring such structural damages.

  • Clean rain gutters: Inspect your gutters or schedule a licensed professional to clean them annually. A clogged rain gutter can send water cascading down the exterior wall, which can result in water entering the interior walls.
  • Roof maintenance: Where rain is concerned, the roof is the first line of defense. Regular maintenance can preserve the life expectancy of your home's roof. 
  • Window repairs: Proper window installation and maintenance is imperative. Leaks in your windows could be the result of poor maintenance or missing caulking.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County, we make it OUR business to respond to storm damage immediately. If your property is struck unexpectedly by a storm or natural disaster, we will work quickly and efficiently to fix the problem and get your life back on track.

In the event of your house sustains significant weather-related damages, call our trained technicians at West Brown County SERVPRO.

 We're available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 920-434-8224.

SERVPRO of West Brown County is here to help with storm damage

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

A couple of months ago, a storm spread across our region and caused some damage in our area. Fierce winds and heavy rain left thousands without power and damage to homes. According to the WE Energies website, it was estimated that more than 70,000 customers were affected and out of power in the Green Bay area. After a storm, you may want to inspect the damage. What exactly should you look for? How can we stay safe while assess a property?  Check out the tips we have provided below:

Staying safe after a storm

After a storm, you may want to evaluate the damage a storm has done to your property, here’s some tips on staying safe:

  • Watch out for broken glass and nails
  • Be careful of power lines, always stay at least 10 feet away and alert police and the local utility company
  • It is advised that you use a flashlight instead of an open flame such as a candle

Inspecting damage on your property after storm damage

  • Look for fallen branches and/or trees
  • Holes in the roof
  • Missing shingles
  • Check your property’s windows for any cracks, dents, etc.
  • Check your gutters

If you experience any type of water damage it is important to call the experts as soon as possible. SERVPRO of West Brown County is ready to restore your home or commercial property. The sooner you call us, the more we can restore such as important documents, furniture, etc.

SERVPRO of West Brown County is faster to any sized disaster

SERVPRO of West Brown County is a locally owned company so we’re also a part of the Green Bay community and we take great pride and joy helping our neighbors recover from storm damage (and other clean-ups and restorations). We’re equipped with the proper equipment to handle any disaster both in your home and commercial property.

Call us today if you need help, we’re here for you, (920) 434-8224

Preventing Water Damage

8/22/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage can be a frustrating event that one can experience. Although we hope you never have to experience such an event, SERVPRO of West Brown County is always ready to help you with any water damage needs you may have. We are able 24/7 365 days a year! Luckily there are a few things homeowners and business owners can do to prevent water from happening in the first place.

Inspect your roof

Your roof is constantly exposed to sunlight, rain, and many other things. You should inspect your roof regularly especially after a heavy thunderstorm. Look for shingles that are missing or loose, or any heavy wear.

Clean your gutters

 You should clean your gutters regularly to ensure proper drainage. If you put off cleaning your gutters, in a worst-case scenario, your foundation could settle cracking your basement walls.

Test your sump pump regularly

Sump pumps are incredibly important devices that help keep your home safe from any water damage. You should check your sump pump at least yearly, ideally, you’d want to check your sump pump after heavy storms to ensure it is properly working.

Check for leaks

Check your pipes regularly to make sure there are no leaks. You should have your pipes repaired as soon as possible to avoid any further problems such as mold.

Bonus tip:  Check your water bill

If you notice your water bill is higher than usual it might be a cause for concern. There could be a potential leak, or something is just not right. Check it out before any more damage occurs.

Call in the professionals

If water damage does happen in your home or business, rest assured that SERVPRO of West Brown County is ready to help you. We are available at any time or day, and since we’re local, we’re faster to any sized disaster!

Call us, we are here for you at (920) 434-8224.

August is Water Quality Month

8/19/2019 (Permalink)

August is national water quality. With the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we often don’t think about how great it is to be able to turn on the tap and have clean water run through. This month is National Water Quality month, which means it’s a perfect time to educate ourselves on how we can continue to maintain great water quality.

Use a trash can, not the sink

While you may think throwing trash in the sink is a good idea, it might not be. Avoid tossing motor oil, medical prescriptions, paint, etc. We certainly don’t want products like those in our water. Harmful contaminants can leak into our water system.

Don’t use pesticides or fertilizer

Fertilizers and pesticides can run off the soil and contaminate our waterways that provide us our clean drinking water. Being exposed to the chemicals that pesticides and fertilizers contain, can be harmful to both humans and animals.

Use the car-wash

If possible, you should avoid washing your car in your garage or driveway. Washing your vehicle in your driveway can flush contaminates down the drain and seep into our streams and lakes. Instead, you may consider washing your car through the car wash. A professional car-wash is required to drain their water to the sewage system.

Pick up pet waste

Animal waste can contain harmful bacteria. It’s important to pick up after our pets so that their waste does not run into our water supplies and drains. Instead, consider throwing your pet’s waste in a recycled plastic pet waste bag and in the trash can.

Clean up

To keep enjoying our safe and clean water, you may want to consider joining a community cleanup crew. Educate yourself and learn from others to continuing keeping our water and environment clean!

SERVPRO of West Brown County Cares

SERVPRO of West Brown County cares about our community. Whether you’ve experienced water damage or fire damage, we are here to help to make it seem “Like it never even happened.”

Common causes of a house fire

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Homeowners in our Green Bay community can do many things to prevent a house fire. In fact, most house fires can be prevented. When a fire occurs, it can damage and destroy many personal items as well as costing homeowners thousands in structural cleaning, deodorizing, and repairs. So, what are the most common cause of house fires and how can we prevent them?

Common causes of a house fire

Cooking

Most kitchens can become a potential fire hazard if left unsupervised. According to the National Fire Protection Association, unattended cooking was the leading cause of cooking fires and casualties. It’s a smart idea to always stay in the kitchen when frying, broiling, or grilling. Make sure loose clothing and towels are secured prior to cooking.

Smoking

Careless smoking is a real danger inside a home. You should not smoke if you are drowsy or taking a medication that affects your judgment. Make sure your cigarette is completely put off before throwing it away. A still lit cigarettes can easily start a fire. If you must smoke indoors, make sure your ashtray is deep and away from items that are flammable.

Candles  

While candles are fun and smell nice, they are an open flame. You should always be in the same room if you have a candle burning. Never leave a candle burning when you are not home. Always keep candles away from children and pets. You may want to consider switching to candles powered by LED lights.

 Did you know? The top three days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

Heating equipment

Ideally, you should have your furnace (and chimney if you have one) equipment inspected yearly by a qualified technician. Out of all the heating equipment, space heaters are the leading heating equipment that cause fires. Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from items such as curtains, bedding, or paper products. Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are properly working by pushing the ‘test’ button on the alarm. Having a smoke alarm that is working can alert you and increase your chances of surviving a fire.

Here to help

A fire can be an emotional time for any homeowner, but we are here to help you through the process. We have the experience, knowledge, equipment and processes needed to effectively recover from a fire and it’s soot, smoke odor, and damage.  SERVPRO of West Brown County ensures that you will be taken care in a time of need should a fire start in your home. You can call at any time (920) 434-8224.

Staying safe in higher temperatures

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

We are definitely feeling the temperatures rise in Green Bay (and our surrounding areas) this week! Not only can it be miserable and uncomfortable if you stay outside for several hours, but it can also cause potential dangers in extreme heat situations.

You can prepare yourself and your home ahead of the heat with these tips provided by ready.gov:

Keep your home cool by doing the following:

  • Cover windows with drapes or shades.
  • Weather-strip doors and windows.
  • Use window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
  • Add insulation to keep the heat out.
  • Use attic fans to clear hot air.
  • Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.

If possible, postpone any outdoor activities to prevent heat stroke and exhaustion.

If you suspect a person is suffering from a heat stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately, and move that person to a safe cool location. 

If you must be outside, ready.gov has provided some helpful tips for dealing with heat stroke:

  • Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle
  • Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.
  • If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Avoid high-energy activities.
  • Check yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.

Use caution when using electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees, as this could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.

SERVPRO of East Brown County cares about our community. If experience fire damage, water damage, or storm damage we are ready to help. We are only a call away if you need us!

Call us today (920) 434-8224.

Flood insurance, do you need it?

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, affecting every single state. While hurricanes are mostly responsible for massive flooding disasters, other causes of flooding from outdoor sources can include snow melting and heavy rain. While many homeowner insurance policies cover flooding from sources inside your home like a broken pipe or leaky water heater, they typically do not cover flood damages from outdoor sources. It may be a wise idea to purchase a flooding insurance policy, even if your home isn’t in a high-risk area. Just one inch of flood water can cost thousands of dollars! Purchasing a flood insurance policy may save you time and money, helping you and your family recover faster. 

When should I purchase a flood insurance policy?

Your home does not need to be in a high-risk area to experience flooding. Floods can happen anywhere.  More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside the high-risk flood zone. It is wise to look at your neighborhood and talk to longtime residents about the frequency of flooding.  If there is a pattern that is concerning, it may be a good investment to obtain a flood policy.  So, when exactly should you purchase a flood insurance policy? A flood insurance policy typically takes 30 days to go into effect. Any damages that occur before the 30 days, will not be covered. Essentially, now is the right time to purchase a flooding policy if you need one.  

What is covered by a flood insurance policy?

A flood insurance policy covers outdoor flooding sources on two types of property: the structure of your home and the contents within it. Remember, each has their own deductibles. The coverage for the structure of your home typically includes:

  • Water heaters
  • Electrical and plumbing
  • Central air systems and furnace
  • Foundation
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves and built-in appliances, etc.
  • Damage done to walls and floors etc

Contents covered under your flood insurance policy can include:

  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Electronics
  • Washer/dryer
  • Curtains, wall hangings, and other personal items.

How Do I buy flood insurance?

Speak with your insurance agent, to learn more about the government assisted flooding insurance and private insurance policies. Your insurance agent well know what insurance policy is best suited for your home or business.

SERVPRO of West Brown County is ready to cleanup water damage

Cleaning up water damage is critical to prevent any mold growth and further damages. Hiring a professional company can make things easier for residential and commercial property owners. Here at SERVPRO of West Brown County, we pride ourselves with being able to handle any-sized disaster, both commercial and residential.  Call us today! (920) 434-8224.

Fire prevention: kitchen safety

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

Any kind of fire can be a devastating event. According to the National Fire Protection Association Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. Kitchen fires can start rapidly but knowing what to do in case of a fire can help minimize further potential damage.

Here’s a few tips that can help prevent a fire:

  • Stay in the kitchen

If you’re boiling, or frying or cooking with high temperatures, you should stay in the kitchen to prevent any mishaps. Many fires we deal with are the result of people forgetting they have something cooking on the stove.  Most fires start with a high temperature, if you notice smoke or the grease begins to boil, turn off the burner immediately.

  • Clean your oven and stove top

Any lingering grease or foods can easily spark a fire. Make sure your stove top and oven are clean before cooking.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher near

If a small fire has started, you may be able to control the flames with a small fire extinguisher. Also, keep a large pan lid around in case of a fire occurring. You may be able to snuff out a small fire in a pan by covering it with a lid to starve the fire of oxygen and put it out.  If you feel like the fire is uncontrollable, evacuate everyone in your home and call 911.

  • Double check your smoke alarm

Double check that your smoke alarms are functioning properly by testing them every six months.  A good practice is to test the units and make sure the batteries are good or replaced when you adjust the clocks for daylight savings time in the spring and fall.

SERVPRO of West Brown County handles fire damage

By taking precautions now, you can help prevent future fire from happening in your home. SERVPRO of West Brown County is ready to help in case of any fire in your home and clean up any remaining soot and odor. SERVPRO of West Brown county will make your home look “Like it never even happened.” after a kitchen fire.

SERVPRO of West Brown County offers storm damage restoration

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

Wisconsin weather can sometimes be unpredictable. Weather in our community can range from a sunny day, to a downpour with heavy winds, to freezing weather and a heavy snowfall. You can go from wearing shorts, to putting on a coat. Since our weather can be unpredictable, it’s important to know what damages severe weather can cause to stay prepared.

What is a thunderstorm?

A thunderstorm is a storm in which you hear lightening. But what is the scientific definition of a thunderstorm? For a thunderstorm to be considered a “thunderstorm” there are three basic things required:

  1. Moisture
  2. Rising unstable air
  3. Lifting mechanism

If you see a thunderstorm approaching, you should immediately seek shelter.

What kind of damage can a thunderstorm cause?

A thunderstorm can cause a lot of damage to communities. Heavy rain, flooding, hail, strong wind gusts and lightening are all potential dangers of a thunderstorm. Rainfall from thunderstorms can cause flash flooding. Flooding can be a hazard to basements if the sump pump suddenly stops working or can’t keep up with the amount of water, thereby flooding a basement. Depending on its size, hail can cause damage to vehicles, homes and even injure animals.  Strong wind gusts can blow debris, topple trees and heavy objects around causing damage to homes and businesses.

Fun fact: Light travels faster than sound so we see lightning before we hear thunder

SERVPRO of West Brown County offers storm restoration

SERVPRO of West Brown County offers storm restoration for your home or business. We’re faster to respond to an unfortunate event since we are local and open 24/7/365. You can trust the SERVPRO of West Brown team to clean up any storm damage in your home or business and make it look “Like it never even happened.”

Preparing for a storm in our Green Bay Community

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

Floods can be unpredictable and destructive. Whether a flood occurs from excessive rain, a storm, or snow melting, staying prepared can help avoid any further damage. SERVPRO of West Brown County is ready to help in case of a flood emergency in your home or business.  Here are some tips to prepare ahead of a storm.  

Preparing for a storm

If you think a storm may be approaching, turn on the TV to the appropriate channel to watch for weather alerts. You can also sign up for text weather alerts sent to be sent to your phone. Do not drive on flooded roadways. If a road is flooded, or starting to flood, remember “Turn around, don’t drown!” If you hear thunder, seek shelter immediately.

Consider an emergency kit

You may want to consider organizing your family an emergency kit. Here’s a list of things you may want to include in your emergency kit:

  • First aid kit
  • Prescriptions and important medicines
  • Credit cards and cash
  • A change of clothes
  • Important documents
  • Battery powered flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Blankets
  • Water
  • Nonperishable food

Fast Response

Whether your basement has flooded, or you have a broken pipe, SERVPRO of West Brown County is ready to help. A fast response with a company who has years of experience and specialized equipment is what you can expect of SERVPRO of West Brown County. We are also open 24/7/365- even on holidays!

Fire prevention: keeping our pets safe

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

As much as we try to prepare ahead for the unexpected, an emergency may still happen. An estimated 500,000 pets are affected by fire annually. Thinking of all individuals in our family including pets can help minimize damage. Here at SERVPRO of West Brown County, we want to make sure your pets stay safe. We’ve gathered some helpful tips to make sure your pet stays safe ahead of a fire.

  • Note where your pets like to sleep or nap. If there’s a fire and you cannot locate your pet right away, you may want to check the area where your pet loves to hang out or likes napping.
  • Keep the address and phone number of your pet’s vet handy. If your pet does get hurt or injured, you’ll know exactly where to call.
  • Pack your pet’s supplies in your emergency kit. If your family already has an emergency kit (a kit with all your family’s important items) don’t forget to add your pet’s id tags and any important documents concerning your pet.
  • Pet proof your home. Most fires can be preventable. You can also help prevent a fire by keeping your pet away from fireplaces, stove tops, and candles.
  • Make sure your smoke detectors are working. Double check that your smoke detectors are working as they should be. Keep extra batteries as a backup.

Fun Fact: Did you know July 15 is National Pet Fire Safety day? 

Contact Us for your Fire Damage Needs

Here at SERVPRO of West Brown County, we love our pets. Boo, our owner’s pet loves to stop by occasionally to check in on employees. Checkout our Facebook page “SERVPRO of West Brown County” every Tuesday for updates on #BooDayTuesday!  Remember if fire strikes your home, SERVPRO of West Brown County can help you recover and get back on your feet and make it look “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of West Brown County Offers Emergency Plans for Business Owners and Property Managers

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

From reaching sales goals to launching new products, you’re already busy solving everyday problems as a business owner. But what happens when the unexpected happens? Is there a way to prepare for the unexpected?

What is an ERP

It is estimated that 50% of businesses never recover following a natural disaster. Those business that do survive, had a plan of action on what to do in case of the unexpected. SERVPRO of West Brown County offers commercial (or business) owners an Emergency Ready Profile (also known as an ERP).  An ERP is a profile document that contains critical information needed in case of an emergency. An ERP will include a list of your preferred vendors, such as plumbers and electricians, as well as documenting and marking locations of important utility shut offs.  SERVPRO of West Brown county offers ERP’s at no cost!

Why your business needs an ERP

Our number one goal is to help business owners stay open and do business with minimal issues while SERVPRO of West Brown County handles the rest. SERVPRO of West Brown County wants to make sure you are still making revenue and operating as if nothing ever happened. As mentioned above, ERP’s are offered at no cost and take less than an hour to complete. An ERP serves as a guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.

Contact us today to schedule an Emergency Ready Profile

As a business owner you already wear many hats. By scheduling an ERP, you are ensuring the productivity of your business when a disaster strike’s. Remember SERVPRO of West Brown County is available 24/7/365 for when disaster’s strike.

Restoring Your Green Bay area Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

4/17/2019 (Permalink)

Our team cleaned up flooding at this Green Bay area nursing home.

Flooding and water damage events at Green Bay area commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of West Brown County

SERVPRO of West Brown County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Green Bay Area Smoke and Soot Cleanup

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

Our team cleaned up this Green Bay area home after a severe fire.

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 West Brown County 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 Us Today –
920-434-8224.

Green Bay area residents: we provide immediate service day or night!

4/3/2019 (Permalink)

We helped clean up this commercial property after flooding in the Green Bay area.

SERVPRO of West Brown County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in the Green Bay area. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.

  • 24-Hour Emergency Service
  • Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
  • Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
  • A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
  • Locally Owned and Operated
  • Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment 

Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 – 920-434-8224

Residential Services

Whether your Green Bay area home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us.  Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:

  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Mold Remediation
  • Storm Damage Restoration
  • Cleaning Services
  • Building/Reconstruction Services

Commercial Services

There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your Green Bay area commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. 

When Storms or Floods hit the Green Bay area, SERVPRO is ready!

3/27/2019 (Permalink)

This photo shows storm damage our team helped clean up in the Green Bay area.

SERVPRO of West Brown County 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 the Green Bay area, 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 920-434-8224.

SERVPRO of West Brown County knows what to do if mold grows in your home.

3/20/2019 (Permalink)

Mold growth in the crawl space of a Green Bay area home.

It’s estimated that more than 1 million types of mold exist, yet less than 10 percent have actually been named. This means mold is very common in both indoor and outdoor environments. While mold and humans can sometimes co-exist without issue, there are certain species of mold that can cause health effects for some people.

If the right conditions exist, mold will grow.  Those conditions include:

  • Water - Different mold types require varying amounts of liquid before growth begins.   
  • Temperature - Normal indoor temperatures will promote mold growth.
  • Time - Initial mold colonizers can take hold within one day after being exposed to an adequate water supply.

Mold growth can occur in any home, so it’s important to keep an eye out for situations that might promote mold activity. Roof/chimney leaks, wet basements, or condensation from ducts that dampen surrounding insulation are just a few examples of issues that make a house a prime target for mold growth.

If you suspect mold in your home, call SERVPRO of West Brown County to assess the situation. We have the knowledge, tools and track record to effectively remediate mold in your home or business.

If you suspect mold, call us today at 920-499-7050.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of West Brown County for mold remediation services.

Green Bay Area Residents: We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

This basement in the Green Bay area flooded after snowmelt sent water gushing into the basement windows.

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your Green Bay area basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Sanitary sewer backup
  • Foundation drainage failure
  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today - 920-434-8224

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of West Brown County and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week
  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained  in Water Restoration Techniques
  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards
  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Basement Flooded? Call Us Today – We’re Ready To Help 920-434-8224.

Flooding Can Happen Anywhere

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Flooding photo courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Did you know all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods in the last five years? That’s according to floodsmart.gov. The National Weather Service (NWS) says flooding is one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States.

Flooding can happen anywhere, even if you don’t live in a flood zone, or on a body of water, a flood can hit your home or business and cause serious damage.

According to the NWS, about 75% of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) says floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses nationwide each year, with commercial flood claims averaging more than $75,000.

Long story short: floods happen a lot, causing a lot of damage, costing a lot of money.

And like we said earlier, you can experience flooding even if you’re in a “low-risk” area. That’s because there are many different flood hazards that exist. The NWS lists the following hazards:

  • Flash Flooding
  • River Flooding
  • Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems
  • Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)
  • Ice/Debris Jams
  • Snowmelt
  • Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
  • Dam Breaks/Levee Failure

Obviously, we don’t face all those hazards here in the Green Bay area. We do face some of them though, and spring is a notoriously bad time for flooding around here.

So, Team SERVPRO of West Brown County advises homeowners out there to be aware that flooding is possible and take steps to prevent it.

We advise the same for business owners. Our team is also able to go a step further for businesses by performing an Emergency READY Profile, or ERP, to ensure your commercial property is “Ready for whatever happens,” including flooding.

Call us any time with questions about flooding, water loss restoration and ERP’s at 920-434-8224.

March is American Red Cross Month

3/5/2019 (Permalink)

Courtesy: American Red Cross

When disasters strike anywhere in the nation, you can almost always count on the fact volunteers from the American Red Cross will mobilize there to help with recovery.

The United States honors the organization every year when the President declares March National Red Cross Month.

The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 and is a charitable organization that relies on donations and volunteers to carry out their mission.

Red Cross volunteers travel near and far to help people who’ve been affected by natural disasters like fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

The organization is also well known for other work like collecting blood donations, offering military families support and training for certifications in fields like CPR, lifeguarding and first aid.

The American Red Cross is part of the Global Red Cross Network, which is the world’s largest volunteer network. There are Red Cross organizations in 187 individual countries.

This month, we honor those Red Cross volunteers who help carry out the organization’s mission. They are “everyday heroes,” who are making the world a better place.

For more information on the Red Cross and how you can get involved, you can visit redcross.org.

Team SERVPRO of West Brown County is "Faster to Any Size Disaster"

2/26/2019 (Permalink)

We have a saying here at SERVPRO of West Brown County, that we’re, “Faster to any size disaster.”

Well, to be fair, this is a saying the ENTIRE SERVPRO franchise system lives by, but that fact only adds to the importance of the overall message: no matter where you are, if you need our help, we will be there for you ASAP.

If your home floods in the middle of the night, or you have a business fire on a holiday and need board up services, we will be there for you.

There is always someone to answer our phones, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you have an emergency, we always have a team of highly-trained, expert technicians on call. They will come to you when you need them for any disaster large or small.

And because SERVPRO itself is a large system, with more than 1,700 franchises nationwide, we can be there when needed for large-scale disasters as well.

If a natural disaster causes widespread damage across the Green Bay area, our team will be there to help, but we can also call on other teams from around the country to come in and help as well. We are able to share manpower and equipment when the situation is dire.

In that same way, our local techs will sometimes go to other areas to help out when there’s a great need.

The goal is to help people get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible, while providing the very best service.

Don’t forget, we offer help for cleanup after floods, fires, storms, mold and biohazard events. We can help with disasters large and small, because we know what even a “small issue” can seem very large when you’re the one living through it.

Call us when you need us at 920-434-8224, because we are the ones who are “Faster to any size disaster.”

Winter Weather in Wisconsin

2/21/2019 (Permalink)

If you’re a Northeast Wisconsinite we don’t have to tell you the weather this winter has been a bit, shall we say, crazy?

We’ve experienced snow storms one day, sub zero temps the next, temperatures rising to the forties, snow melting, freezing and falling again. It’s enough to make your head spin!

February has been particularly bad in terms of snow storms. It’s as if we barely shovel out from one storm and the next has already begun.

While Wisconsinites are no strangers to the season, the wintry weather can pose serious challenges to your home or business. Your property can be damaged by the heavy snow, winds and water that come with the rapid changes in weather.

This blog contains a few reminders about the hazards of the season and what you can do to prevent any damage.

First off, frozen, bursting pipes are a big concern as temperatures rise and fall rapidly. Pipes are likely to freeze when the temperatures drop below 20 degrees and Team SERVPRO of West Brown County has answered MANY calls for flooding thanks to frozen pipes over the last few weeks.

Pipes are more likely to freeze if they are not insulated and if they are in colder areas of your home or business, like the basement, or even outside.

Outdoor pipes most likely to freeze include:

  • Outdoor hose bibs
  • Swimming pool supply lines
  • Water sprinkler lines

Pipes in unheated or partially heated areas are also at risk of freezing, including:

  • Basements
  • Crawl spaces
  • Garages

So, now is the time to make sure you’re keeping those pipes warm, running water through them or insulating them if need-be. If you notice water pressure dropping, that’s a sign a pipe is in trouble. Take care of it immediately, because the damage a burst pipe causes can be very serious.

We’ve also warned you about ice dams and now is a good time to remind you about those. Ice dams form on your roof when snow melts on your warmer attic and then freezes on your colder gutters and eaves. Those frozen dams can damage your roof and gutters and/or push water into your home, causing flood damage.

One good way to prevent ice dams is to use a snow rake to pull ice and snow off your roof before it has the chance to cause any damage.

That brings us to our third reminder, snow itself can simply become too heavy as it builds up and cause your roof to crack, lose shingles, or even collapse.

A snow raking will help prevent this too!

Some winter storms come with high winds, which can obviously pose problems to your properties. Whether the wind causes direct damage to your home or business, or sends debris like tree limbs into your home or business, there is the potential for issues there.

And finally, when the temperatures rise again, all the snow we’ve gotten (and continue to get!) will melt and that extra water has to go somewhere. Six inches of snow will create about one inch of water once melted and that can cause trouble.

The excess water can make lakes and rivers rise, which can cause flooding. The water can also make its way into your basement all on its own.

So, now is a good time to make sure your sump pump is working. You can also work to clear the snow from around your foundation before it melts and make sure your gutters are clear and draining away from your home or business!

Team SERVPRO of West Brown County cleaned up a lot of flooded basements in the Green Bay area when we had those few days of rain and snowmelt a few weeks back. We know how fast damage can happen, so if you can take a few steps to prevent that damage, it’s definitely a good idea.

However, if something goes wrong and you need our help thanks to old man winter, we are here for you. Call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 920-434-8224.

SERVPRO and that 'New' Car Smell

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

According to AAA, the average American driver spends 17,600 minutes in their car per year. Breaking down the math, that is a little more than 290 hours, equaling about 12 days total. 12 days out of every year! That’s more days than the average American worker gets for paid vacation each year.

That being said, you probably want to be as comfortable as possible in your car. From the seats to the steering wheel, the sound system to the…smell?! Well, sure, why do you think they make car air fresheners?

Of course, the “new car smell” is very famous and popular, but what about the drivers out there who have pre-owned vehicles? It’s tough to control the scent in those cars…but team SERVPRO of West Brown County can!

We can provide very in-depth odor removal. If you’re a seller or a buyer dealing with issues like cigarette smoke, spilled food and drinks, or pet smells in a pre-owned vehicle, that is something our technicians can take care of.

The techs do that by using our ozone technology to eradicate those odors instead of covering them up.

As a reminder, ozone is a gas that’s made up of three oxygen particles (differing from the O2 we breathe, which is two oxygen particles). The ozone changes the chemical makeup of smoke particles (or bacteria, or whatever else is causing a bad smell) through the oxidation process, causing the odor to disappear.

The team will use our ozone machine to get rid of any bad scents and also do a deep clean of the car. The ozone process can be drying to the materials in the vehicle, so our technicians will make sure to wipe down the inside with a protectant to ensure nothing is damaged during that process.

All of this work can help ensure your return to the driver’s seat is as pleasant as possible! If you’re going to spend 17,600 minutes in your car this year, we want to make sure each one of those minutes is enjoyable.

Calls us all any time of the day or night at 920-434-8224.

Explaining Winter Weather Alerts

2/13/2019 (Permalink)

National Weather Service Logo

The weather this winter has been nothing short of wild. Wisconsinites have dealt with snow storms, rain and plunging and rising temperatures.

Since winter conditions can be dangerous, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the forecasts and make any preparations you can to stay safe.

But, in order to know how to prepare, you need to know what the forecasts are telling you. That’s where things like watches and warnings come into play.

We learned just what each watch and warning means from the National Weather Service (NWS) and we’d like to share that info with you!

According to the NWS there are Winter Storm Watches and Warnings, Winter Weather Advisories, Blizzard Warnings and Ice Warnings. Here’s what they mean:

  • Winter Storm Watch – the NWS says, “A Winter Storm Watch is issued when there is the potential for significant and hazardous winter weather within 48 hours. It does not mean that significant and hazardous winter weather will occur...it only means it is possible.” (That hazardous winter weather can include snow, ice, sleet, blowing snow or a combination of these hazards.)
  • Winter Storm Warning – according to the NWS, “A Winter Storm Warning is issued when a significant combination of hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent.”
  • Winter Weather Advisory – the NWS explains this as, “A Winter Weather Advisory will be issued for any amount of freezing rain, or when 2 to 4 inches of snow (alone or in combination with sleet and freezing rain), is expected to cause a significant inconvenience, but not serious enough to warrant a warning.”
  • Blizzard Warning – the NWS says, “A Blizzard Warning means that the following conditions are occurring or expected within the next 12 to 18 hours: snow and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less for 3 hours or longer and sustained winds of 35 mph or greater or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater.”
  • Ice Warning – According to the NWS, this is when ¼ inch accumulation or more of ice is expected.

All of these alerts can signal dangerous conditions. So, if you see them in the forecast, take precautions! Winter isn’t over yet. Be safe.

The Science of Deodorization

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

When you’re dealing with a bad smell in your home or office, it can be downright distracting.

And depending on what’s caused the smell, it might be really tough to get rid of it. If the odor was caused by a fire and/or smoke damage, for example, the scent can linger for months, if not years.

If this is something affecting your home or business, you might be tempted to spray an air freshener and try to forget about it, but we have some bad news: you won’t be able to forget. The air freshener won’t make the smell go away.

The good news is, team SERVPRO of West Brown County has the equipment and scientific know how to eradicate those bad odors. And we mean ERADICATE them. We don’t try to cover up the smell with perfumes, we use scientifically proven methods to get rid of them.

Here’s a few of the odors we can deal with:

  • Cigarette Smoke
  • Pet Odors
  • Decomposition
  • Mold

And we deal with those using a few different methods. One is by using a piece of equipment called an “ozone generator.”

An ozone generator works by pumping ozone into the affected area. Ozone is a gas that’s made up of three particles of oxygen. (Ozone is different from the “oxygen” or O2 humans need to breathe, which is made up of two oxygen particles). When the ozone comes into contact with the particles making the bad odors, whether they be smoke, bacteria, etc., the ozone will literally change the chemical makeup of those particles through oxidization. Changing the odor-causing particles’ chemical makeup destroys the smell. After use, the ozone then turns into O2, which we’re eventually able to breathe.

Another method our technicians use to destroy stinky smells is thermal fogging.

Through this method, a deodorizer is put through a machine that turns it into a fine fog. That deodorizer fog can then get into every nook and cranny of the affected area, even the smallest, most porous spaces. The fog is even able to reach under floors, into ceilings and behind walls. The fog is then able to alter the particles causing the bad odors and destroy them.

Both of these methods are extremely effective for ridding homes and businesses of bad smells. And both methods take a lot of knowledge and skill to perform correctly. Our technicians have the knowledge and the skills. We’re ready any time you need us, just call 920-434-8224.

Meet Sue: Crew Chief at SERVPRO of West Brown County

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

Sue

For this Profile Friday, we are pleased to introduce everyone to Sue, one of our crew chiefs here at Team SERVPRO of West Brown County.

Sue has worked here for four years, but she has 20 years of experience in the restoration business.

Sue leads teams of our production technicians on jobs of all kinds for SERVPRO. She handles just about any projects from fires to floods, to mold to biohazard.

Sue says she enjoys her job because this line of work is exciting. There is always something new to do or learn. No job is ever the same and every day is different too. Sue says she is never bored. The job is challenging and rewarding.

Sue was born and raised in the Green Bay area and she still lives here. She has two children and, fun fact, her son Zac actually works with team SERVPRO of West Brown County too!

Sue says she likes living in Wisconsin because we enjoy all four seasons here. In her free time, Sue likes to do things like go camping and spend time with her friends and family.

Project Profile: Garage Fire

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

Photo of garage fire.

A garage fire can be a devastating event. Flames can start fast, tearing through the garage itself and then, if it’s an attached garage, move just as quickly into and through the home. And even when the blaze keeps to the garage, soot and smoke damage can get into the house.

SERVPRO of West Brown County recently cleaned up after a garage fire in the Green Bay area. Luckily, in this case, the flames stayed contained to the garage.

The flames did cause severe damage in the garage. Pictures show soot and smoke damage left behind on just about every, single inch of the building. The damage was not limited to the structure itself, but also affected items stored in the garage like tools.

To start the cleanup, our technicians removed all the contents, threw away anything damaged beyond repair (after getting the client’s consent). Techs also photographed any non-salvageable items to ensure full documentation for the insurance company.

The crew then worked quickly to tear out and remove any severely damaged structural elements like drywall and insulation. Then the techs were able to clean the smoke and soot off the walls, ceilings and floors.

The team also took the damaged contents back to our shop to clean them individually, returning those salvageable items back to the property owners after cleaning.

At the end of cleaning we deodorized and ozoned the area to counteract smoke molecules and dissipate them to eliminate any remaining odor.   

In this case it took us a couple of days to make the garage fire, “Like it never even happened.”

And if the blaze had been bigger, getting into the home, we would have been able to clean that up as well, taking care of any soot and smoke odors left behind too.

Our team works quickly, carefully and efficiently to clean up and restore any property damaged by a disaster.

If you need our help, call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 920-434-8224.

Get an Idea of the Areas We Serve

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

With the name “SERVPRO of West Brown County,” you might think we only serve West Brown County…BUT that is NOT the case.

Our team is able to go far and wide to help you recover from water, fire, mold and biohazard damage.

Let us paint a picture of our service area:

We cover a 70-mile radius around the Green Bay area that includes (and is NOT limited to) Shawano, Oconto, Menominee, and Marinette counties. Our sister franchise SERVPRO of East Brown County handles Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Calumet, Kewaunee, and Door counties.

If you’re in a different location and need help, but you’re unsure if we can serve you, give our office a call at 920-434-8224 to find out. If we can’t help you, we will gladly refer you to a different, local SERVPRO franchise that can!

SERVPRO franchises are all locally owned and staffed, but have the backing of that strong, national, corporate brand. When disaster strikes, SERVPRO is ready to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Meet Boo: Office Dog for SERVPRO of West Brown County

1/31/2019 (Permalink)

Boo hard at work!

Most of you are already a little bit familiar with our office dog Boo, thanks to #BooDayTuesday, but allow us to tell you more about him in this week’s Profile Friday!

Boo is a four-year-old “shorkie,” which means he is a half shih-tzu, half yorkie. Franchise owners Mike and Georgia Bogenschuetz have owned Boo since he was a pup and he’s been coming into the office ever since.

At work Boo brightens everyone’s day by being absolutely adorable. He’s also our office mascot, greeting people as they come in. That’s about the extent of his responsibilities, although he does enjoy the occasional nap on a desk or treat from a human.

When he’s not hard at work in the office, Boo has a lot of activities he enjoys in his free time. He likes to go outside when the weather is nice and lay in the sunshine or go for walks in the woods. In the summer, Boo likes short (and SLOW) ATV rides, as well as kayak trips. When he has to stay inside, Boo is content watching the squirrels and birds from the window, and playing fetch with his toys.

Mold Containment Keeps You Safe

1/30/2019 (Permalink)

Mold containment setup

Team SERVPRO of West Brown County is trained and ready to take on any mold remediation projects at homes and businesses across the Green Bay area.

Along with the right training and equipment, our technicians make sure to perform mold clean up in the safest way possible.

As we know, there is evidence that mold can create irritants and allergens that can have an impact on people’s health. Remediation can cause mold spores to spread in the air, so that means an increase risk in those irritants and allergens spreading as well.

To prevent the spread of those spores, our technicians set up what’s called containment while cleaning to keep the spores to the affected areas.

First, techs will make sure all heating and cooling systems are turned off during the remediation process, to keep moving air from blowing the spores around.

Then, our techs will build physical barriers using plastic sheeting. They will also used advanced techniques like creating negative air chambers to keep the mold spores within those physical barriers.

Our team is also trained to use specialized air filtration equipment like HEPA vacuums and air scrubbers to keep the air clean.

Your safety is always our number one priority and by setting up containment on each and every mold job we do, we are ensuring your safety.

If you need help with a mold issue at your home or business, call SERVPRO of West Brown County at 920-434-8224.

Meet Sage: Production Technician for SERVPRO of West Brown County

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

Sage

Team SERVPRO of West Brown County is proud to introduce you to one of our newer production technicians, Sage. Sage has worked with us since September of 2018.

Sage started out mainly assisting with fire contents and structure cleaning projects. She has continued to grow her skills during her time on the team and now works on a wide variety of cleaning and restoration projects.

Sage says she enjoys working for SERVPRO, because the job allows her to be physically active and provides a lot of variety. She says it’s nice to be able to work on something different every day.

Sage is originally from Green Bay and she now lives in the De Pere area. She says winter weather can make it tough to love living in Wisconsin, but that it’s great to live here because her whole family is here.

When she’s not hard at work, Sage enjoys going out with her friends.

The Danger of Ice Dams

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

Ice Dam

This time of year, icicles can certainly make for a lovely sight hanging off gutters and roofs. However, those shimmery shards can be a sign of something serious: ice dams.

Ice dams are solid ridges of ice that form along the eaves of your home and can form on your roof during cold, snowy weather in the same way icicles do. Those dams can cause major damage to your roof, sometimes tearing off shingles and gutters. They can also force water to back up and spill into your house, causing water damage to your property.

Ice dams are created when heat from your home keeps much of your roof warm. That heat, however, does not extend to the eaves of the roof and those stay cold. So, when it snows, the snow will melt on the area of the roof that is warm and then that melted snow freezes on the cold eaves. That is an ice dam. And then, when it snows again, the snow will melt again on the warm part of the roof and then back up behind the ice dam, sending water under the shingles and into your home.

We don’t have to tell you what happens when water floods into your home. It’s not good.

If you’ve noticed ice dams forming on your roof, there are some quick fixes you can try to prevent damage.

We got these tips from thisoldhouse.com:

  • First, you can rake the ice and snow off your roof using an ice rake.
  • You can purchase heated cables and attach them to the eaves of your roof to melt the ice that’s formed there.
  • Blowing cold air onto your roof is also an option. You can place a box fan in your attic and aim it at the warmer parts of the roof to keep them cooler.
  • You can also try to de-ice the eaves by filling pantyhose with ice melt and placing them on the icy areas of the roof.

These are just quick fixes for ice dams, but there are also steps you can take to solve the problem long term. If you notice ice dams have formed on your roof, you should take photos of the troubled areas of your roof and attic and show them to a professional roofer. They will be able to help you figure out what to do to prevent the dams in the future.

And if you have an issue with ice dams that have sent water into your home, SERVPRO of West Brown County can clean up the mess. Call us at 920-434-8224.

We're Here for Your Commercial Restoration Needs

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Photo of a commercial restoration project we worked on in the Green Bay area.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County we know when disaster strikes it can strike anywhere. That means we need to be prepared to take on restoration and cleaning projects for homes AND businesses across the Green Bay area.

And we are. Team SERVPRO of West Brown County can take care of any commercial disaster recovery project large or small.

Because we’re a locally owned business, we understand that working time lost because of a disaster means money lost. Since we have that understanding, we strive to perform any commercial cleanup needs as quickly, efficiently and effectively as possible. Our number one goal is to make sure to get your business back to work as soon as possible. That way you can take care of your clients and your bottom line.

As we said, our technicians are trained and ready to take on any kind of disaster clean up like flood damage, fire and smoke damage, mold, biohazard situations and even crime scenes like break ins or vandalism.

Our techs can also help with more general tasks like carpet cleaning.

Here’s a list with examples of just a few of the commercial properties our team is ready to tackle:

  • Small Office Buildings
  • Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
  • Apartment Buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel/Motels
  • Small Retail Stores
  • Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
  • High-Rise Residential
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Government/Military

Another service we provide to local businesses is an Emergency Readiness Profile, or ERP. The ERP is a document that you can refer to in a disaster situation to know things like the first responders you need to contact, the areas of the building that might be affected by a particular incident and the chain of command in an emergency. Our marketing team will complete ERPs for Green Bay area businesses completely free of charge. It only takes about an hour of a business owner’s time.

If you need our services to help your business recover after a disaster, or if you’re interested in setting up an ERP appointment, call us at 920-434-8224.

Protecting Your Property with Board Ups

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

This photo shows one of the board up projects our team performed in the Green Bay area.

Imagine a tornado has ripped through your town. The wind was strong enough to rip the roof off your home. The cleanup alone is overwhelming and now you also have to deal with your property, your belongings being exposed to the elements.

That’s where SERVPRO of West Brown County can be your hero. Our team of qualified technicians can come in and help calm that chaos.

The techs will first board up the opening left behind by the storm. They will use different materials like boards, plywood and/or tarps, depending on the size of the hole, the surrounding damage and the weather.

The techs will then clean up and remove any debris left behind.

But we know the board up is just the start of the recovery. We are able to provide reconstruction services as well, to rebuild your property. Our master carpenter can bring your home back to its original glory.

And this imaginary scenario is not the only one our team can help with. If you have a fire in your home that leaves a hole in the wall, we can help there. If your business experiences storm or fire damage that leaves it open to the elements, we can help there too. Basically, if ANY of your property is damaged and you need it protected right away, we are there for you.

A board up will ensure that there is no further damage to your property and it will help the cleanup and recovery process go much faster. That way life can get back to normal sooner, meaning less stress for you.

If you should need these services, at any time, we are here for you. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.

Meet Josh: Production Technician with SERVPRO of West Brown County

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

Josh

In this week’s Profile Friday, we are introducing Josh, who is a production technician for SERVPRO of West Brown County. Josh has been a part of the team for a little more than a year now.

Josh helps in any cleanup or restoration work we do, including water damage, fire damage, mold, biohazard and more. He has a background in landscaping, having worked in that industry for about 10 years. In addition to that, Josh does have previous experience in cleaning and building maintenance.

Josh really enjoys the variety of the work at SERVPRO. He says there the job is different every day and that keeps things exciting and interesting.

Josh comes to us from across the pond! He is originally from the Cotswolds in England. He now lives in the Green Bay area. He says he enjoys living here because of all the fun bars Wisconsin has to offer.

Josh married his wife Hollie in April of 2018.

In his free time Josh enjoys cultural activities like going to museums and aquariums and learning about history.

Meet Trevor: Production Technician for SERVPRO of West Brown County

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Trevor

Trevor is a production technician at team SERVPRO of West Brown County. He has been part of the team for a little less than a year now.

Trevor has a background in cleaning and building maintenance and uses those skills now to work on water, fire, mold and bio-hazard mitigation projects.

Trevor says he likes working at SERVPRO because no two days are alike. He says, “you could have two water losses and they will be completely different.” He says the differences in projects are challenging, which keeps the work interesting.

Trevor is originally from Carthage, Mississippi. Now he lives in Green Bay and says he enjoys living in the north. He explains what he enjoys most about Wisconsin life is the food!

Trevor has been married to his wife Janet for a little more than a year. Trevor and Janet have three children: two boys and one girl.

In his free time, Trevor’s favorite thing to do is travel. He is a big fan of tropical locations like Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Belize.

SERVPRO Products Set Us Apart

1/8/2019 (Permalink)

When team SERVPRO of West Brown County comes to clean up your home or business, we have a secret weapon that ensures we can make any disaster “Like it never even happened.” Well, make that DOZENS of secret weapons.

SERVPRO stands out among its competitors, because we use our very own line of proprietary cleaning products. Those products are made to handle restoration work from fires to flood damage, biohazard to mold.

By using our own cleaning agents, we know the exact ingredients in each one. This means our technicians can ensure they perform cleanup work safely and efficiently, with the very best results.

A team of chemists and blenders creates 95 of these cleansers in-house at our corporate facility in Tennessee. The team relies on outside vendors to concoct about 45 more products. Those products from outside vendors still carry the SERVPRO guarantee of Quality Assurance and Quality Control, of course.

Here is a list of the types of products our team uses:

  • Spotting Agents
  • Carpet & Upholstery Products
  • Wood & Leather Care Products
  • Decontamination Products
  • Deodorization Products
  • Ceiling & Wall Cleaning Producs
  • Hard Floor Care Products
  • Specialty Products
  • Coatings & Sealant Products

SERVPRO has even created a line of environmentally friendly or “green” cleansers as part of the company’s efforts to better serve our clients and community.

And while the products are created by SERVPRO’s corporate team, they’re used locally by our team here in the Green Bay area. Our technicians are trained to use each product in the safest, most effective way possible. Whether we’re simply cleaning your carpet, or cleaning up after a major sewage spill, you can rest assured we’re using the best possible tools to get the job done right.

Call us day or night at 920-434-8224 and we’ll make any disaster, large or small, “Like it never even happened.”

Winter Prep Profile: Your Car

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Graphic courtesy of clearroads.org.

It’s no secret winter driving conditions can be downright hazardous in Northeast Wisconsin. So, it’s best to play it safe if you plan on hitting the road during any storms this season.

SERVPRO of West Brown County wants you to arrive at your destination safely and that’s why our first piece of advice is to make sure your car is in good condition (if you haven’t already, of course!). That means ensuring everything is working properly from your brakes to your windshield wipers. If you’re not much of a mechanic yourself, it’s a good idea to have a professional check everything out for you, just to be on the safe side!

Now, making sure your vehicle itself is winter-ready is only the first step in seasonal car preparation. This is the time of year you should have an emergency kit in your car at all times. Unsure of what goes in an emergency kit? The American Red Cross has this handy checklist (make sure to bring enough of all of these supplies for every person you’re traveling with):

  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Rain gear and extra sets of clothing like socks, mittens and hats
  • Newspapers for insulation
  • Plastic bags for sanitation
  • Non-perishable food items, like granola bars and nuts
  • Bottled water
  • A charged cell phone
  • A full tank of gas

The Red Cross also advises driving during daylight hours, leaving your headlights on, leaving plenty of space between your car and the other vehicles on the road and taking your time.

If the worst happens and you become stranded during winter weather, the Red Cross asks you to be safe and smart until help arrives. Here are steps you should take:

  • Call for help and stay in your car until help arrives.
  • Hang a brightly colored cloth on your antenna (preferably red).
  • Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes every hour.
  • Leave the overhead light on when you have the engine running, in order to be seen.
  • Do light exercises to keep your circulation moving.
  • If more than one person is in the car, take turns sleeping.
  • Huddle together for warmth.
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • Avoid overexertion. Wait for help instead of shoveling snow or pushing your car.

In Northeast Wisconsin we’re not strangers to the dangers of winter weather. But, that doesn’t mean we’re always prepared for unpredictable conditions. As always, Team SERVPRO of West Brown County asks you to be safe!

Winter Prep Profile: Your Pets

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Photo courtesy of the American Red Cross.

Our final Winter Prep Profile for the month deals with our four-legged friends. Yes, we’re talking about the furrier members of our families, our pets!

It’s no secret that at SERVPRO of West Brown County we consider our pets family, and we know many of you do too. So, it’s important to consider how to keep them safe and sound during the winter months.

Even though most pets like dogs and cats come equipped with their own fur coats, they can be susceptible to the cold, just like us humans. The American Red Cross says it’s important that you prepare your pets if they have to go outside, even for a little while. The Red Cross advises pet sweaters and booties for long walks to keep them warm and brining any outdoor pets inside during especially cold or snowy days. Booties are also a good idea to keep your pets paws safe from salt and other snow-melting chemicals. If your pet gets snow-melt on their paws, wipe them off before they lick their paws.

If you cannot bring an animal inside, you must ensure it has a proper shelter. According to the Red Cross, the shelter must reach these specifications:

  • The enclosure must be dry and draft-free.
  • The enclosure must be large enough for the animal to turn around and lie down, but small enough to hold its body heat.
  • The floor must be raised a few inches off the ground.
  • You should cover the floor with clean blankets, wood shavings or straw for added warmth.
  • Ensure the animal has unblocked access to food and water (make sure the water does not freeze!).
  • Keep the enclosure turned away from the wind.
  • Cover the door with heavy plastic or burlap.

Wisconsin’s winter weather can become down-right dangerous if we’re not careful. So, SERVPRO of West Brown County asks you to please protect yourself and ALL the members of your family this time of year!

Winter Prep Profile: Preventing Frozen Pipes

12/12/2018 (Permalink)

Photo of a frozen pipe courtesy of the American Red Cross.

In last week’s Winter Prep Profile Team SERVPRO of West Brown County gave you a rundown of steps you can (and should!) take to prepare your home and/or business for the winter weather to come. One of the most important of those steps is preventing your pipes from freezing!

And, as we said last week, this is such an important step, we feel it deserves its very own profile.

As you probably know, freezing weather makes water freeze and when water freezes it expands. That means if water freezes in a pipe, whether that pipe is made of metal or plastic, that frozen water can be strong enough to break that pipe. And if a pipe breaks, that can lead to serious consequences like flooding and water damage in your home or business.

SERVPRO of West Brown County does not want to see you experience any of that damage this winter. So, we’re sharing the American Red Cross’s advice for preventing frozen pipes. First, here’s a list of the pipes the Red Cross says are most likely to freeze:

  • Any pipes that are outside and exposed to severe cold. These include outdoor hose bibs, sprinkler lines and swimming pool supply lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that run along exterior walls with little or no insulation.

To prevent these pipes from freezing the Red Cross advises the following:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Consider running water (even a drip) through faucets served by exposed pipes on extremely cold days.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both day and night.
  • If you leave for an extended period of time, keep your thermostat at at least 55 degrees.

According to the Red Cross, if you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, you likely have a frozen pipe. You can try to fix the problem by taking the following steps:

  • Keep the faucet open. Running water will help thaw the pipe. You will also be able to tell when the problem is fixed when water starts running normally again.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • If you cannot find the frozen area or fix the problem on your own, call a licensed plumber right away.
  • If you have one frozen pipe, check other faucets in your home to see if you have others.

And remember, if worse comes worst and you do experience a frozen pipe that leads to water damage at your home or business, you can call us any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (even on holidays!) at 920-434-8224.

Continuing Education Classes Coming Up

12/12/2018 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of West Brown County, one thing we take great pride in is providing continuing education classes. These classes are aimed at our friends in the insurance business and help keep their licenses up to date!

This coming March 12th (of 2019), we will be holding two seminars at the Marq on French Road in De Pere.

The first seminar will deal with ethics and will run from 8:00am through 11:00am. Registration for this course will start at 7:15am. 100% completion of this course will result in three insurance credit hours.

The second seminar will deal with biohazard cleanup and will run from 11:30am to 1:30pm. Registration for this course will start at 11:15am. 100% completion of this course will result in two insurance credit hours.

The only cost to attend these seminars is a $5.00 state credit processing fee per attendee.

Continental breakfast will be provided by Sherwin Williams and lunch will be provided by Electronic Restoration Services.

To reserve your spot or ask any questions, reach out to Jim Knopf at 920-434-8224 or at jknopf@SERVPROgreenbay.com.

We hope to see you out there!

Winter Prep Profile: Your Home or Business

12/5/2018 (Permalink)

We’re officially into December and with a new month, comes new Profile Friday subjects!

This month we’re focusing on how you can prepare for the deep winter months to come.

At this point, we’re not even officially into winter yet, but we’re already experiencing wintry conditions. So, it’s good to take the necessary precautions now before conditions get worse.

In this profile, we’re going to talk about steps you can take to ensure your home and/or business is ready for the season. (Most of this advice can be used in either your home or business!)

The American Red Cross recommends the following advice:

  • Protect your pipes from freezing (this is such an important step, we’re going to do an entire blog on it in our profile next week!)
  • Make sure your home heating sources are installed properly and are clean and in good, working condition.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated.
  • Caulk or weather-strip any drafty doors or windows.
  • Install storm windows.
  • Consider buying back up heating sources like a wood stove or space heater. Make sure those heating sources are properly cleaned and maintained.
  • Make sure to keep extra fuel for heating sources on hand in case of storms. (But, make sure to take caution with extra fuel sources to protect against fires.)
  • Consider installing a portable generator.
  • Ensure you have carbon monoxide detectors installed on every level of your home and in every bedroom.
  • Consider buying flood insurance. Flood insurance is not part of a home-owner’s policy, but is purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Clean your gutters.
  • Look for loose tree limbs and other debris in your yard that could be blown around during a storm and get rid of them so they don’t cause damage to your property.
  • Make sure your sump pump is working.

It’s also a good time to remind you about Winter Storm and Blizzard Warnings. According to the Red Cross, a Winter Storm Warning means that life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin in the next 24 hours. The Red Cross says a Blizzard Warning means there will be sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater, plus considerable falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile, expected to prevail for three hours or longer.

If severe weather is in the forecast, make sure to prepare your home with the supplies you need to ride out the storm. It’s also a good idea to stay home during bad weather if you can! If you must be on the road, take precautions and look out for our winter prep profile about safety in your car!

Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army

12/5/2018 (Permalink)

Jim and Bill bell ringing

It’s become a tradition for SERVPRO of West Brown County employees to volunteer as bell ringers for the Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay’s annual Red Kettle Campaign.

This year the marketing team, which includes Jim, Bill and Alex have been ringing for donations at the Festival Foods in Suamico on Tuesday afternoons.

The trio has been having a lot of fun getting out in the community for a good cause. They’ve been singing and ringing, talking to people and handing out candy.

It’s not just about having a good time though, the money raised through the Red Kettle campaign will go on to help thousands of families in Brown County throughout the year. The local Salvation Army provides all kinds of services to those in need from serving hot lunches every Monday through Friday, to organizing toy and coat drives, to assisting families with energy bills, to distributing food to the hungry.

The Salvation Army does a lot of good work, both locally and internationally and we are so happy to play a teeny tiny role in that great mission.

We recommend anyone who’s interested to consider bell ringing, even an hour of time can make a difference! The Salvation Army has a lot of hours to fill with ringers and the red kettles fill up much faster when there is someone ringing.

For more information on how you can volunteer, check out the Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay website here: https://app.betterimpact.com/PublicOrganization/b946a969-edef-41a4-a666-fd4cf1e93bc8/3.

And if you see the SERVPRO team out there, stop, say hello and ask for a song in exchange for your donation…they will definitely sing for you!

Holiday Prep Profile: Christmas Trees

11/27/2018 (Permalink)

Photo of a decorated tree courtesy of the American Christmas Tree Association.

As we reflect on our Thanksgiving and look forward to the rest of the holiday season, for many of us, this time of year would not be the same without a Christmas tree.

It’s likely you’ve already started to see lots full of trees popping up all over town, maybe noticing the well-lit evergreens appearing in your neighbors’ windows, or, possibly, you’ve even set up your own tree! These festive firs bring back fond memories for many of Christmases past.

And while the tree if often the centerpiece of the Christmas decorations in many homes, the holiday symbol does come with dangers. We do hate always being the bearers of bad news here, but according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Christmas trees are responsible for about 210 home fires each year in the United States, leaving behind about $13 million in damage.

So, what can you do to ensure your Christmas tree is safe for the season?

First, the NFPA, advises using a modern, artificial tree from a reputable company. These artificial trees are less likely than live trees to start a fire (although you should still make sure to use proper lights on artificial trees and to turn off the lights when you go to bed or leave your home).

However, if you cannot imagine an artificial tree in your home and a real, live tree is the only one for you, there are precautions you can take to lessen your fire risk. The NFPA advises the following:

  • Choose a very fresh, green tree with needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet from any heat source like fireplaces, candles or heat vents.
  • Make sure to water the tree daily.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking any exits.
  • Use only lights from reputable companies that have been independently tested.
  • Replace any lights with damaged bulbs or cords.
  • NEVER use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas, or as soon as it starts to lose its needles.

Please keep these safety measures in mind as you get into the holiday spirit this year.

Enjoy the holidays, be safe and, remember, you can call us any day of the year, at any time of the day at 920-434-8224.

Holiday Prep Profile: Christmas Lights

11/20/2018 (Permalink)

Christmas lights courtesy of NFPA.

Thanksgiving has just passed and we here at SERVPRO of West Brown County in Green Bay hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday!

As you recover from turkey and pumpkin pie overload, you might already be starting to look ahead to what’s next…we’re talking the big one…Christmas!

It might seem early to some, late to others, but for many it’s time to start planning your holiday decorations, including lights! As always, we’re here to help…well, we can’t come hang your lights for you, but we HAVE compiled a list of helpful tips to keep you safe while you turn your home into a winter wonderland!

Christmas lights are beautiful, but they do come with safety concerns whether they’re hanging inside or outside your home. They can be responsible for fires and injuries during the hanging process. According to the National Fire Protection Association, holiday decorations cause 860 house fires each year (that number does NOT include fires caused by Christmas trees).

So, please, take this advice and be safe.

Starting with indoor Christmas light decorations, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) advises the following:

  • Use LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than incandescent lights.
  • If you DO use incandescent lights, never connect more than three strands together.
  • Plan your light displays according to the outlets in your home.
  • Carefully inspect each electrical decoration.  Cracked or damaged sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
  • Follow all the manufacturer’s directions for displaying lights.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets.
  • Make sure wires and chords are not pinched in doors, windows or under anything heavy. Ensure wires are not twisted.
  • Turn off all decorations before leaving the house or going to sleep.

Now that we’ve taken a look inside, let’s take a look outside. The ESFI recommends these steps when hanging holiday lights outdoors:

  • Make sure any lights or extension cords you plan to use are marked for outdoor use.
  • Match power needs (amperage) of electrical products with amperage rating of extension cords.
  • Outdoor electric lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). 
  • Inspect all lights, decorations and extension cords before using.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, the house, or other firm supports to protect them from wind damage, but take care not to attach the lights in a way that could damage the cord’s insulation.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices. They can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Do not mount or support light strings in a way that might damage the cord’s insulation.
  • As with the indoor lights, turn off all outdoor lights before leaving home or going to bed.

And finally, make sure you get the lights up without hurting yourself. To do so, ESFI says:

  • Inspect ladders for loose or missing screws, hinges, bolts, and nuts before using.
  • Use wooden or fiberglass ladders. Don’t use metal ladders, as they conduct electricity.
  • Use the correct ladder height, ensuring the ladder extends beyond the height of the roof by at least 3 feet.
  • When decorating keep yourself and your equipment at least ten feet away from powerlines.

Have fun and get creative this holiday season, but make sure, as always, to keep yourself, your family and your home safe!

And should you ever need us for holiday mishaps, like fire damage, water damage, mold and more, call us anytime (even on Holidays themselves!) at 920-434-8224.

Holiday Prep Profile: Deep Frying a Turkey

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Turkey photo courtesy of NFPA.

We’re less than a week away from one of the most delicious holidays of the year. That’s right, Thanksgiving is almost upon us.

Most people who plan to host family and friends this year already have a plan in place for what they’re going to cook: what sides they’ll make, what dessert they’ll serve and how they’ll prepare the main dish, the turkey.

And while most home chefs will probably put old Tom Turkey in the oven for the traditional roasting, some cooks will likely try something more adventurous: deep frying.

Deep frying a turkey can certainly create something delicious, but it is one of the most dangerous activities of the holiday.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are five major concerns when it comes to turkey frying:

  1. Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
  2. An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when you put it in the pot.
  3. Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
  4. Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
  5. The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.

So, if you’re planning to try out deep frying a turkey this year, you need to be prepared and take serious precautions to avoid any of those above concerns.

State Farm Insurance Company has a long list of safety steps you should take:

  • Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and away from trees and bushes.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry before frying to keep oil from splattering.
  • Do NOT operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
  • Place the fryer on a level surface and don’t move it once it’s in use.
  • Follower the manufacturer’s directions to avoid overfilling the oil.
  • Choose a smaller turkey, between 8 and 10 pounds for frying.
  • Never leave fryer unattended.
  • Use a fryer with temperature controls. Watch the controls to make sure the oil does not get too hot. If the oil starts smoking, turn off the fryer.
  • Turn off the burner before putting the turkey in the fryer. Once the turkey is in the fryer, turn the burner back on.
  • Wear goggles and over mitts to protect your eyes and arms.
  • Keep an ABC-rated fire extinguisher (one that can be used on grease fires) on hand. Never try to put out a grease fire with water.
  • Keep children and pets away from fryers at all times.
  • Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner. Allow the oil to cool overnight before disposing of it.

Keep in mind that, even if you follow all the safety tips, frying a turkey still comes with risks. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association and State Farm recommend using an oil-less fryer, one that uses infrared heat instead of oil, to fry your turkey. Both organizations say that is the safest option.

Whatever you decide for your Thanksgiving celebration, we wish you a very happy one!

And if you should even need our help with fire damage restoration in the Green Bay area, we’re just a phone call away at 920-434-8224.

Mold and Cold: What You Need to Know

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Photo of mold inside a home.

We’ve written and posted many times about mold in the past.

So, by now you probably know that it’s a sneaky fungus that grows given three optimal conditions: a food source, moisture and an ideal temperature (70-90 degrees are most conducive to mold growth, but the spores can thrive anywhere from 32 to 120 degrees).

But as much as you might know about mold, did you know the cold, late fall and winter months can be ideal times for mold to grow in your home?

This may come as a surprise since we know mold likes those warmer temperatures. However, despite the cold air outside and dry air from heating systems inside, certain areas of the house may be more prone to warm, humid air than they would during other times of the year.

Bathrooms and kitchens are two areas that get a lot of hot, steamy air and they may not have the proper ventilation to let that steam out. This can be a particular problem in winter, because you’re less likely to have any windows open when the weather outside is frightful. Mold will take any chance it can get to start growing in that nice, humid environment.

And as the cold air from outside hitting windows and doorways meets hot air from inside the home, condensation will likely develop around those windows and doors. Mold loves to grow where condensation exists.

Another concern with cold weather and mold is that the fungus can and does flourish in dead vegetation (like those leaves that may be covering your yard as we speak!). Even a frost is unlikely to kill mold spores, so when you walk through those dead leaves and then into your house, the spores can hitch a ride on your shoes or clothes. The more spores that make it inside, the more likely you’re going to have a mold problem.

No matter the season, it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for mold in your home. If you see it growing, you can always count on SERVPRO of West Brown County for help with mold remediation. Call us any time at 920-434-8224.

Holiday Prep Profile: Fire Extinguishers

11/6/2018 (Permalink)

Fire extinguisher photo, courtesy of OSHA.

It is officially November!

Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are still ahead, and while it might be too early for some to hear Christmas carols on the radio and in the stores, it’s NEVER to early to do some safety prep for the holiday season.

On Fridays this month we will take a look at some different safety considerations you might want to take before your celebrations begin.

For our first Holiday Prep Profile, we’re going to talk about fire extinguishers.

Why fire extinguishers? Well, according to the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA (one of our favorite sources, don’tcha know!), cooking fires peak during the holiday season. The NFPA says the most cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving, then Christmas Day, then Christmas Eve. Oh, and cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires.

So, all those statistics are certainly reason enough to consider getting a fire extinguisher for your home before the holidays AND learn how to use it properly.

First and foremost, you’re going to want to choose the right fire extinguisher. There are several classes of them, which the NFPA describes:

  • Class A – this is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires on cloth, wood, rubber, paper and many plastics.
  • Class B – this is used on fires involving flammable liquids like gasoline, grease and oil.
  • Class C – this is used for fires that involved electrical appliances and tools that are plugged in.
  • Class D – this is used on flammable metals and is typically only found in factories that work with those metals.
  • Class K – this is used on fires that involve oils and animal fats INSIDE cooking appliances. These are typically only found in commercial kitchens; however, they are on the market for use in homes.

The NFPA advises choosing a fire extinguisher for your home that is multi-purpose and large enough to put out a small fire, but not so large that it is difficult to handle.

The association also recommends reading all of the fire extinguisher’s directions and becoming familiar with it as soon as you buy it. This way you’ll know how to use it if you need it.

And when it comes to using it, remember the acronym PASS:

  • P Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle away from you and release the locking mechanism.
  • A – Aim Low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • S – Squeeze. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • S – Sweep. Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

The NFPA WARNS a fire extinguisher should ONLY be used if the fire is contained to a SMALL area, is NOT growing and the room is NOT filled with smoke. Otherwise, it is far too dangerous to try to put out a fire using an extinguisher and you should leave the home immediately. And, the NFPA says, you should always call the fire department.

A fire extinguisher is certainly a good tool to have in your home, particularly around the holiday season. However, it is not the be-all or end-all for fire safety. Take care of yourself and always put your safety first.

Fire Prevention Profile: What to Do Until Help Arrives

10/31/2018 (Permalink)

Damage from a fire in the Green Bay area.

October has come to an end and, with it, so has Fire Prevention Month. However, you are in luck, as we have one more, bonus prevention profile to share! (And, let’s be honest, it’s never a bad time to talk about fire prevention.)

Aside from the obvious dangers house fires present, even the smallest blazes can bring big headaches. Meaning, even fires that are put out quickly without injury can leave soot, smoke damage and other nasty problems.

That’s where SERVPRO of West Brown County comes into the picture. After the you or firefighters have done the heavy lifting of putting out the flames, our technicians come in to clean up the damage left behind. We have the expertise and equipment to make a fire “like it never even happened.”

There are some things you can do to make that recovery process go smoothly and ensure the damage doesn’t get any worse before our team arrives.

SERVPRO advises these DOs:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can cause further damage to upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpeting.
  • Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances. Then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Change HVAC filters; leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop soot particles from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

And along with those DOs, there are a list of DON’Ts:

  • Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO professionals.
  • Don’t attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstery without first contacting your SERVPRO professionals.
  • Do not attempt to clean nay electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first contacting an authorized repair service.
  • Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as they may be contaminated.
  • If ceiling is wet, do not turn on any ceiling fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may cause secondary damage.
  • Don’t send garments to dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in odor smoke.

Hopefully you never need this advice, but if you do, the steps are simple ones to take to ensure your property can be restored as easily as possible.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County we know a fire of any size can be a traumatic event and we know the damage left behind, the sights and smells of soot and smoke, can amplify and prolong that trauma. It is our goal to take care of that damage quickly and efficiently to help minimize the trauma and get your life back in order.

We are always just a phone call away at 920-434-8224.

Fire Prevention Profile: Home Heating Safety

10/25/2018 (Permalink)

House fire photo, courtesy of FEMA.

As October comes to an end, we can all start to feel that chill in the air.

Fall is a time known for “sweater weather,” a time of year to get cozy. And as we get deeper into autumn, we know old man winter is not far behind.

When winter arrives, the sweaters are no longer enough to keep us warm and snug and we all start to rely on home heating to get us through the bitter months (honestly, some of us have already turned on our thermostats!).

However, when it comes to home heating, the threat of fire is never far behind. In fact, according to FEMA, heating is the second leading cause of home fires after cooking.

Furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces and woodstoves all have the potential to cause a blaze. So, it’s important to follow some safety rules when using any of these.

FEMA has a list of advice for each piece of equipment we listed:

  • Furnaces:
    • Have your furnace inspected each year by an HVAC professional.
    • Keep anything flammable at least three feet from your furnace.
    • Keep anything flammable away from implements like heat registers too.
  • Woodstoves/Fireplaces:
    • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year.
    • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from your fireplace or woodstove.
    • Do not burn paper in your fireplace or woodstove.
    • Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave the house.
    • Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least three feet away from your house.
    • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to keep sparks and embers from jumping out.
  • Space Heaters:
    • Again, keep anything flammable or that can burn, at least three feet away from the space heater.
    • Make sure the heater has an automatic shut off on the event it falls over.
    • Turn heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
    • Plug portable heaters directly into wall outlets, never into extension cords or power strips.
    • Only use space heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.

These are some easy tips to follow and they’re also very important. According to FEMA, 75% of home heating fires are “confined,” meaning they are confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners (so get those chimneys cleaned!) and 29% of heating fires that are not confined are caused when something flammable is left too close to a heat source.

It’s also important to note that, as FEMA reports, home heating fires peak in January (that’s the month when 21% of those blazes occur) and those fires peak between the hours of 5:00 and 9:00 p.m.

So, be sure to stay warm and cozy and SAFE during the cold months ahead!

Cleaning in the Community

10/18/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO crew after road clean.

As we’ve written in the past, SERVPRO of West Brown County is invested in making the Green Bay area a better place and that includes doing adopt-a-road clean up!

We recently completed our second volunteer road clean of 2018 in Howard. The village assigned our team Pamperin Road and part of Velp Avenue at the start of the year.

A group of about 20 volunteers from team SERVPRO (along with some of our friends and family members) hit the streets for our first clean last spring…and phew, let us tell you, there was a lot of garbage that needed picking up!

We were out there for more than three hours and we collected more than forty very large bags full of trash.

As part of our commitment to the village, we’ve agreed to do this clean up twice a year: one in spring and one in fall.

So, last weekend, another group of SERVPRO volunteers set out, pounding the pavement, to clean up our streets.

We were in for a very pleasant surprise: the roadways were MUCH cleaner this time around! Thanks to the spring clean, our fall clean was a breeze. It took us about two hours this time and we collected about 15 trash bags full and while 15 bags is an improvement over 40 bags, we still hate to see even that much trash on our roadways.

Our crew certainly enjoys helping make the community a bit cleaner and brighter, and we recommend any local business or team get together and adopt a local road of their own. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really a great time. You get out, enjoy some nice weather and get to know your co-workers a little bit better.

And although we really do have a good time volunteering, we must ask all the drivers out there to please not litter! It takes everyone, working together, to make the community the best it can be.

Fire Prevention Profile: Electrical Fires

10/18/2018 (Permalink)

Picture courtesy of FEMA.

As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, we all start to rely more heavily on our lights and other electronic devices to keep our homes bright and warm. But, along with the increased use of electricity comes a greater risk of electrical fires.

And since October is fire prevention month, now is a great time to ensure your home is safe from this risk before we get into the bitter winter months.

According to FEMA there are more than 45,000 home electrical fires each year in the United States. Half of those are caused by lighting equipment or home electrical wiring. FEMA says the peak months for these fires are December through March and deaths caused by these blazes peak between the hours of midnight and 6:00 in the morning (a very good reason to have working smoke detectors in your home!).

There are some very easy steps you can take immediately to prevent electrical fires. FEMA has an easy to follow checklist for you:

  • Always plug appliances (especially major appliances like washers, dryers and refrigerators) directly into wall outlets.
  • Never use an extension cord with those major appliances, as the cords can overheat quickly and cause a fire.
  • Unplug small appliances when not in use.
  • Plug only one heat-producing appliance (like a coffee maker or microwave) into an outlet at a time.
  • Never use an extension cord with a heat-producing appliance.
  • Keep light fixtures and lightbulbs away from anything flammable.
  • Use lightbulbs that match the recommended wattage of the light fixture.
  • Check the cords on appliances often. Replace any cracked, damaged or loose cords.
  • Do not overload wall outlets.
  • Insert plugs fully into sockets.
  • Never force a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet.
  • If you have young children, be sure to install tamper resistant outlets.
  • Replace old, worn or damaged extension cords right away.
  • Use extension cords for temporary purposes only.
  • Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched (like in heavy traffic areas where they might be stepped on).
  • Do not overload power strips.
  • Only use power strips with internal overload protection.

Now that you have this list, we recommend you go through your home and check off every bullet point on there (What are you waiting for? Do it now!). Doing so can help protect you, your family and your property, while keeping things bright this winter.

Fire Prevention Profile: Kitchen Fires

10/10/2018 (Permalink)

A stove that caught fire in the Green Bay area

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires in the United States and the dangers only rise as we get into the holiday season. So, (since October is Fire Prevention Month) now is a good time to learn more about these incidents and what you can do to prevent them.

The statistics when it comes to kitchen fires are stark. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking accounts for about 47% of home fires, 20% of fire-related deaths and 45% of the fire-related injuries reported across the country each year. The NFPA says Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and then Christmas Eve.

Luckily, there are many simple steps home chefs can take to avoid these fires. One big step? Always watch what you’re cooking. The NFPA tells us one third of kitchen fires happen when a person leaves the equipment they’re using unattended. So, particularly if you’re using the stove top, stay in the kitchen and watch closely. If you’re using the oven, experts advise checking in regularly.

It’s important to remember, kitchen fires don’t just happen when food burns, anything flammable can catch fire if it’s too close to the heat. So, keep anything like oven mitts, dish cloths and paper towels AWAY from heat sources.

We have saved the BIGGEST culprit of cooking fires for last: frying. The NFPA says frying dominates the cooking fire problem. So, the Association has some advice you’ll want to follow this holiday season (and, of course, all year long):

  • Always stay in the kitchen when frying.
  • If you see smoke coming off the food you’re frying, turn off the burner or safely remove the pan from the burner. Smoke it a sign the oil is too hot.
  • Slowly heat the oil to the temperature you need.
  • Add food to the oil gently so that it does not splatter.
  • Always keep a lid beside your pan. If the pan does catch fire, cover it with the lid and turn off the banner. Let the oil cool before removing the lid again.
  • NEVER put water on a grease fire. If a fire starts to spread, leave the house immediately and call 911.

Now you know a little bit more about how to stand the heat and stay in the kitchen SAFELY. Team SERVPRO of West Brown County wishes everyone in the Green Bay area and beyond a very safe and happy holiday season!

Fire Prevention Profile: October is Fire Prevention Month

10/4/2018 (Permalink)

October is Fire Prevention Month

October is National Fire Prevention Month and we at SERVPRO of West Brown County want to ensure you are staying safe this month and all year long.

And in that spirit, we will be posting Fire Prevention Profiles each Friday in October.

For this first profile, we will provide some general prevention tips. The second week we will talk about preventing kitchen fires, the third week we’ll cover electrical fire prevention and the final fire prevention profile will discuss home heating safety and how that relates to fire prevention.

So, diving in to this week, the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, provides a theme each year for fire prevention and 2018’s theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”

So here is what the NFPA advises:

  • LOOK – look for places in your home fires could start. Identify any possible hazards and take care of them.
  • LISTEN – listen for the sound of your smoke alarm. If you hear the smoke alarm, leave the building immediately. You only have minutes, sometimes seconds to escape the smoke and flames safely once you hear the alarm.
  • LEARN – learn (and teach your family) two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.

This is also a great time of year to PREPARE for emergencies! In case you didn’t see our Preparedness Profiles from last month, they are all still in our blog archives, which you can find easily on our website and our social media pages. You can find out more about preparing for evacuations, pet safety in emergencies and proper use of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

And always remember, if a fire should damage your home or business, SERVPRO of West Brown County is always here for you. You can reach us, day or night, at 920-434-8224.

Preparedness Profile: Emergency Finances

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

It's a good idea to have an emergency "piggy bank."

For our final Preparedness Profile as September (AKA National Preparedness Month) comes to an end, we’d like to talk to you about emergency finances.

Being ready for a disaster doesn’t just mean having a plan in place, or creating an emergency kit, it means making sure your bank account and insurance policies are ready if worse comes to worst.

Having your finances in place is so important, because disasters can be devastating financially. For example, Ready.gov, says that just one inch of water in your home during a flooding situation can cause $25,000 worth of damage.

Now, it’s unlikely that you have (or can get) a spare $25,000 in your bank account on short notice and that’s why it’s so important you make sure you have any insurance coverage you might need. Have a conversation with your insurance agent about your policy. What possible holes exist in your coverage? What might you need if disaster strikes?

There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to insurance that only a professional can help with. For example, did you know that most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance does NOT cover flood damage? You often need an additional flood insurance policy. Even if you don’t live near a body of water, the experts say, anywhere it rains it can flood.

In addition to having the right insurance coverage, it’s also a good idea to have SOME money set aside for a disaster, or emergency situation. This will ensure you can still care for your family if something prevents you from working.

Ready.gov advises putting aside a little bit of money each month in a savings account that is only to be used in case of emergencies. The website also advises you have any paychecks or benefit checks directly deposited into your bank account to ensure you continue to receive your money in the midst of any disasters.

In addition, Ready.gov has a list of identifying and financial documents you’ll want copies of in case of emergencies. Those documents include:

  • Photo ID
  • Birth certificates for all household members
  • Social Security card
  • Any military ID
  • Pet ID tags
  • Housing payment records
  • Insurance policies
  • Proof of income
  • Tax documents
  • Health records
  • Health insurance documents
  • Immunization records
  • Prescriptions

It’s likely no surprise disaster situations can be costly, but if you plan ahead you can offset those costs and ease any burdens that might come your way.

Jim Knopf Named 'Ambassador of the Year'

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

Jim gives a speech after receiving the award for 'Ambassador of the Year.'

At SERVPRO of West Brown County we love to highlight the good work our employees do both on and off the clock. And you’ve probably noticed we spend a lot of time talking about our Sales and Marketing Manager Jim Knopf.

Jim is constantly volunteering with community organizations to make the Green Bay area a better place.

One project that is particularly important to Jim is his work as an Ambassador for the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce.

As an Ambassador Jim volunteers his time to help the Chamber reach out to current and new members and to make sure Chamber members are getting the most out of their membership benefits. You can also see Jim out and about in his green jacket helping at ribbon cuttings and other big Chamber events.

Last week the Chamber recognized the great work Jim does by honoring him with the “Ambassador of the Year” award. This is so exciting for us and we could not be prouder of Jim’s commitment.

Renae Schlies, the Vice President of Membership for the Chamber, spoke with us about why Jim was chosen for this honor.

Schlies explained that the top six Ambassadors were chosen on a point system and they were asked to fill out an application to be Ambassador of the year. From there, the Chamber’s membership committee used a scoring rubric to vote on the best candidate.

Schlies told us what makes Jim a good Ambassador, writing in an email, “Jim is a great ambassador for many reasons.  He is very giving of his time to the chamber.   He comes to almost all of the ribbon cuttings and events. We can always rely on him to support our members and our overall mission.  He often refers people to the chamber and bringing in new members.  He helps organize the ribbon cuttings and makes sure that everyone feels welcome at events such as the Business After Hours.  He is also very giving of his time in the community for other non-profits.  He is a very valuable volunteer/advocate for the chamber. We are fortunate to have him as part of the ambassador group.”

As for Jim, he was thrilled with the recognition. He is very excited and extremely thankful for the award and said that every one of his fellow Ambassadors who were up for it were more than worthy.

In his own words Jim said, “Winning the Ambassador of the Year Award is not just about winning the title, it makes me realize the work I do as a volunteer is a huge privilege, I have the backing of my company (SERVPRO of East/West Brown County). I get the opportunity to network with new and existing companies on behalf of the Chamber and, at the same time, get a chance to talk about what I do.  I feel connected to my community and that I am making a difference through this work.”

SERVPRO of West Brown County is so proud of Jim and the team members are so lucky to call him a co-worker. We have no doubt he will continue this great volunteerism for years to come.

Preparedness Profile: Sound the Alarm

9/19/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke alarm photo courtesy of the CDC.

There is no reason to be alarmed by this week’s Preparedness Profile! We’re simply talking about some of the important alarms/detectors you should have in your home to ensure your family’s safety.

Those include: smoke, carbon monoxide and radon detectors.

At this point, it’s likely you have at least one smoke detector in your home. These are designed to sound an alarm when smoke is in the vicinity of the detector. However, one alarm is not enough to ensure your safety, especially if that device is not working.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a few tips when it comes to installing and maintaining smoke alarms in your home:

  • Install smoke alarms in each bedroom.
  • Install smoke alarms outside each sleeping area.
  • Install smoke alarms on each level of your home, including your basement.
  • On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in living rooms or dens and/or at the bottom of staircases.
  • Smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or on ceilings.
  • Smoke alarms should be at least 10 feet from any cooking appliances to prevent them being set off by cooking.
  • Test your alarms once a month to ensure they’re working.
  • Change batteries at least once a year. If you have ten-year battery-operated alarms, make sure to buy new ones every ten years.
  • The alarms will chirp if the batteries are low.
  • Keep alarms clean and follow all manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance.

According to the NFPA, about 3 out of every 5 fire-related deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms.

The bottom line: smoke alarms save lives. So, make them a top priority in your home.

Now we move on to carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is known as the “invisible killer.” The NFPA says the deadly gas is created when fuels like wood, propane and gas burn incompletely.

A large amount of carbon monoxide can kill a person in a short amount of time, while a small amount of the gas can kill a person over a longer amount of time. This is why CO detectors/alarms are so important for your home.

The tips for CO alarms are similar as those for smoke alarms. The NFPA advises:

  • Install CO alarms in a central location outside each sleeping area.
  • Install CO alarms on every floor of the home, including basement.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for installations and placement.
  • Test batteries once a month, replace yearly (or if the alarm chirps, signaling low battery)
  • If the alarm sounds immediately move all people and pets out of the home and call for emergency responders.

Remember: because carbon monoxide is invisible to the senses you will not be able to tell if It’s in your house. That means you need an alarm to do that for you!

And finally, we are talking radon. Radon is probably the least talked about behind smoke and carbon monoxide, but it poses significant dangers too.

According to the CDC, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking, resulting in about 20,000 deaths every year.

Like CO, radon is a colorless gas that you cannot see or taste. The CDC explains that radon occurs naturally in the ground and is created when radioactive metals like uranium, thorium, or radium break down. The gas can then seep into your home through cracks and crevices.

The CDC says you should test your home for radon levels. You can do so using a kit, which you can buy online or in most home improvement stores. If your test shows high radon levels you can make changes to your home to lower those levels, like sealing up cracks. The CDC does recommend hiring a professional to make those changes, however, if you’re not an expert yourself.

These are just three easy things you can do to ensure your home is safe for you and your family. So, take the opportunity to get into the spirit of National Preparedness Month and make sure you have all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors your home needs and do a radon test for good measure!

Remember, you’ll have a lot less cause for alarm in the future if you take the steps to prepare now!

Reminders for Farm Safety Week 2018

9/18/2018 (Permalink)

Farm Safety Week

At SERVPRO of West Brown County, we serve more than just Green Bay and the surrounding cities. We know our community includes a lot of rural and farm areas. That's why National Farm Safety Week (September 16th-22nd, 2018) is so important to us.

And knowing that, we would like to take a moment to talk about safety on the farm. Farmers are some of the most hard-working, conscientious people out there and we understand they take safety very seriously each and every day. However, it never hurts to go through some of the big safety issues every once in a while!

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has a lot of great information for farm workers to stay safe and healthy while on the job. The NFU provides advice for several, potentially, dangerous situations on the farm.

Here are a few of those situations, with some safety reminders:

  • Grain Bins – According to the NFU, Grain Bins accidents are a leading concern on farms. People can sink into, or become trapped by grain, leading to suffocation and other injuries. The NFU advises:
    • Drying and cooling grain properly to ensure it stays in good condition, flowing smoothly.
    • Be knowledgeable about proper grain bin entry procedures.
    • Stay clear of grain augurs in operation.
    • Use lock out mechanism to shut off power to augurs.
    • “Tag Out” to ensure other works know someone is in the bins.
  • Tractors – Tractors are an essential tool of the trade for farmers, but they can pose risks from accidents and rollovers. So, it’s important to take this advice:
    • Ensure rollover protection structures are installed on all tractors (particularly those predating 1985).
    • ALWAYS wear your seatbelt.
  • ATVs – Like tractors, ATVs are often essential for farm work. They help workers get from point a to point b in an efficient manner. However, they also pose accident and rollover risks. So, remember:
    • Children under 16 should never operate ATVs with engines over 90 CC.
    • You must follow all the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.
    • Single riders only…do not carry passengers.
    • Wear a helmet.
    • Ensure the ATV has lights and reflectors on it to ensure visibility.
  • Livestock – Many Northeast Wisconsin farms are home to livestock like cows and pigs. These animals bring hazards with them, just like equipment can. The key is knowing how to handle them.
    • Make sure to provide all herding animals with gentle guidance. Be a dominant, gentle leader. The NFU says cows, for example, follow simple commands like a hand on the back.
    • Respect an animal’s “flight zone.” This is the area of personal space in which the animal is comfortable. It’s often 5-25 feet around the animal, depending on how often it’s handled.
    • NEVER trust a bull. Always be on alert around bulls and work with the in two-person teams.
  • Chemicals – Handling different chemicals often comes with the territory on farms. So, to avoid illness or injury, follow the NFU’s guidelines for doing so safely:
    • Get proper training on the chemicals.
    • Read any relevant safety material.
    • Wear protective equipment like gloves and goggles, when necessary.
    • Store chemicals safely.
    • Always wash your hands after handling chemicals, even if you were wearing gloves!
  • Fatigue -According to the National Farmers Union, the number one danger on a farm is fatigue. Being over-tired paves the way for accidents and injuries that might not happen otherwise. So be sure to get your rest!

So, during Farm Safety Week (and always), we ask that our local famers stay safe out there and know that we appreciate all you do!

Preparedness Profile: If Disaster Strikes, Will You Be Ready?

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

Be prepared.

In our line of work we know disasters can strike at any time and they can often leave devastation behind.

So, in this week’s Preparedness Profile, we’re asking you this question: If Disaster Strikes, Will You Be Ready?”

We know it’s not always easy to answer ‘yes’ and mean it fully, but there are some easy steps you can follow to be as ready as possible:

  • Sign up for local alerts – You can get often get text messages, emails or phone calls about emergencies from your city or county. You can also sign up for alerts or download smart phone apps from organizations like FEMA and the National Weather Service.
  • Develop and test emergency plans – Know how your family will get out of the house in case of a fire or flood, know where your family will meet if you can’t go home, talk with neighbors about how you can work together. Run drills of all of these plans.
  • Assemble emergency supplies – Have a kit ready with things like non-perishable food, water, medications and important documents.
  • Know your local hazards – What are the risks where you live? How can you prepare for those specific risks? For example, in Wisconsin we experience natural disasters like blizzards, tornadoes and floods. How would you react in each of those unique situations?
  • Collect and safeguard critical documents – Have copies of documents like birth certificates, passports, car titles and house deeds in a safe location, out of harm’s way. Know where they are so you can grab them and go at a moment’s notice.
  • Protect your property – Take photos of your property and valuables for insurance purposes, make any necessary improvements to your property to make it safer in case of disaster and make sure you have all the insurance coverage you need.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County our business is helping people recover after disasters of all kinds from storms, to fires, to floods. We want you to stay safe and protect your family and property.

If the worst happens and you need our help in the wake of any emergency, remember we are a locally-owned business with the backing of a billion-dollar brand. There are 1,700 SERVPRO franchises and they are ready to assist us and you, should the need ever be that great.

Be safe. Be prepared.

And know you can get in touch with us, day or night, at 920-434-8224.

Hard Rain Means Hard Work

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

A photo from just one of the businesses our team has been working at during the rain storms.

If you live or work in Northeast Wisconsin, you’ve no doubt been affected in some way by the recent, intense rain storms we’ve been experiencing. Whether it’s a slow commute due to flooded streets, or worse, flooding in your own home or business, it’s been a difficult few weeks for everyone in the Green Bay area.

It’s no surprise that, in our line of work, the SERVPRO of East Brown County Team has been faced with a lot of hard work thanks to the extreme weather.

We have received numerous calls each day since the end of August from people across the area asking for help with flooding in homes and businesses. Our technicians have been working around the clock to help those who need it. While many enjoyed end of summer barbecues and parties over the Labor Day weekend, we had crews drying up flood waters without a day of rest.

The schedule became so hectic at times that even the office workers AND the franchise owners have been working alongside technicians to get the jobs done. At those times, the only person left in the office was our office manager who stayed behind to answer the never-ending calls and solve the maze of scheduling issues.

At one point we even had to request additional drying equipment, like fans, from out of state to keep up with the demand. This is due to the fact all of Wisconsin has been experiencing flooding, with southern parts of the state even worse off than our own.

And even with all this labor, we have a waiting list of people who still need help. Believe us, if you are on that list we have not forgotten about you. We are doing our very best to ensure we can assist as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, without sacrificing any of the quality of our work.

We know that as hard as our crews are working, the emotional and physical toll this devastation has taken on our clients is even harder to deal with. We want those who are struggling right know to know that we are here for you. We will do our very best to see you through this extremely difficult time and get your life and property back to normal again.

We are not sharing this story to complain about the job our team needs to do right now, because our team doesn’t complain. We tackle each project in front of us until it is complete, because we love the work we do. We love helping people who need it. We’re in the business of being there for you when you need us most.

Preparedness Profile: Business Continuity Plan

9/5/2018 (Permalink)

A flooded office space.

September is National Preparedness Month all across the United States. In an effort to help you be more prepared, we’re putting together a different “Preparedness Profile” each week this month.

For the first week, we’re talking about how business owners can plan and be prepared in the event of a disaster. Just like a family needs to plan for things like fires and floods: how they will get out of the house if dangerous conditions occur, what items they will need in an emergency and what insurance they might need to cover any losses; a business needs to do the same.

The key to taking care of your investment and employees is to create a business continuity plan. The SERVPRO team cannot recommend this enough. Having a plan will ensure everyone’s safety and ensure that you can get back to work as soon as possible. This also helps ensure you will lose as little productivity as possible.

According to ready.gov, there are four main steps to creating a business continuity plan:

  • Do a Business Impact Analysis
    • Ask how a disaster would affect your business’s ability to function.
    • Would there be a loss of production? How long? How will that loss affect the bottom line?
    • What equipment (like computers or machinery) might be affected? How can you protect those ahead of time.
  • Come up with Recovery Strategies
    • What resources can you fall back on? Do you have another location to work from, for example?
    • Who will you turn to for help in the recovery? Will you call on SERVPRO to clean up, for example?
    • Can work be done remotely?
  • Develop Your Plan
    • Organize a recovery team among your employees.
    • Make sure you have any necessary insurance to replace what could be lost.
    • What resources will your business need during the recovery process, in the hours, days, weeks and months that follow a disaster?
    • Create a relocation plan, if necessary.
  • Test Your Plan
    • Run emergency drills with your employees to ensure they know what to do in the event of unsafe conditions like fire or biohazard spills.
    • Encourage your employees to consider how they would react and work after a disaster.
    • Run through your plans. Will they work? If not, come up with a new plan.

At SERVPRO we ask that, as a business owner, you plan to stay in business, encourage your employees to be ready and protect your investment. Planning ahead can help make all of this possible.

As a business leader, you are a community leader. You can set a good example for your community by having a disaster plan. If you do it, that will encourage others to do it too. And that will make everyone safer.

And SERVPRO of West Brown County can help you in all of this planning by doing an Emergency Readiness Profile (ERP) for your business, free of charge. The ERP is a document that you can refer to in a disaster situation to know things like the first responders you need to contact, the areas of the building that might be affected by a particular incident and the chain of command in an emergency.

Call us anytime to schedule an ERP at 920-434-8224 and make sure you are prepared for the worst.

Heading Back to School Safely

8/28/2018 (Permalink)

School Bus photo courtesy of FEMA

As the nights grow cooler and the leaves begin to turn, it’s hard not to notice more school buses and backpacks out and about.

August is winding down and it is, of course, back to school season! Depending on who you are it’s a time of year that brings joy or dread, but either way it’s here.

And as the students of all ages head back to the classroom, we wanted to provide some safety reminders for this incredibly busy time of year.

For students, parents and anyone else who will be out and about, it’s important to remember traffic on the roads and sidewalks will be increasing very soon! So, be sure to pay extra close attention. Here are a few tips from the National Safety Council (NSC):

  • For Children Walking to School:
    • Walk on the sidewalk. If you must walk on the road, walk facing traffic.
    • Look both ways before crossing the street.
    • Do not walk and text or talk on the phone.
    • Do not run out in front of parked cars.
  • For Children Biking to School:
    • Always wear a helmet.
    • Follow the rules of the road: obey stop signs and lights, ride single file on the right side of the road, stop before crossing the street and walk the bike across.
    • Use hand signals when making turns.
    • Wear bright/reflective clothing.
  • For Children Riding the Bus:
    • Stand at least six feet away from the curb while waiting for the bus.
    • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching it.
    • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before standing to exit.
    • If you must cross the street in front of the bus, walk far enough in front of it to be able to see whether traffic from the other direction has stopped.
  • For Drivers:
    • Don’t block crosswalks.
    • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
    • Take extra care and slow down in school zones.
    • Never pass a vehicle stopped to pick up pedestrians.
    • Never pass a school bus that is picking up or dropping off students.

Getting to school poses dangers on the road, but parents will want to be aware of possible dangers during the school day itself. For example, the NSC asks parents to be sure to buy their children proper backpacks to avoid any back pain or injuries. The council also advises parents run through playground and recess safety reminders with their young children.

From all of us at SERVPRO of West Brown County, we wish you a very safe, fun and happy back to school!

Meet Scott Coates: Production Technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County

8/22/2018 (Permalink)

Scott Coates

For this week’s profile for team SERVPRO of West Brown County, allow us to introduce production technician Scott Coates. Scott has worked here for about two years.

As a production technician, Scott is part of the team that will help clean up and restore properties following disasters like fires, floods, mold and biohazard incidents. Scott also performs general cleaning at corporate locations. His specialties are in demolition and cleaning.

Scott says he enjoys working for SERVPRO of West Brown County, first of all, because of the people he works with.  He says it’s a really good team of co-workers. Scott also enjoys the work itself and getting to help customers who are going through tough times.

Scott is originally from Green Bay and he still lives here with his wife Tammy and four stepchildren. Scott and Tammy have been married for almost five years (they’ll be celebrating their anniversary in November)!

When he’s not working, Scott likes to hang out at home, watching sports like football. You’re also likely to see him out taking his dog for a walk.

Scott says he likes living in Wisconsin, because his family is here.

Continuous Training for SERVPRO Team

8/22/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO fleet with mascots Stormy and Blaze

The idea of training is certainly something anyone in any field can relate to: you’re hired into a new job, you get training to learn that job. It’s a pretty similar situation across the board.

What sets the SERVPRO of West Brown County team apart from some, however, is that our training never stops. New employees are trained and so are veterans. Our industry is always changing, so there is always something new to learn to make our work better. And our technicians also benefit from refreshers on the topics that don’t change!

When it comes to training, there are several kinds our techs go through. The big training comes from the IICRC, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. The IICRC is an international, governing body that sets the standards for best practices in restoration and remediation work.

Our technicians and attend IICRC classes and receive certifications across a range of topics including water restoration and mitigation, fire restoration and mold remediation.

But the training does not stop with the IICRC. Our team goes through weekly training sessions in house, right in our Howard location.

Once a week, techs will learn about a different production subject to ensure they’re knowledgeable about the latest and greatest techniques.

Techs will also go through a safety training session on a different topic each week. This ensures our team stays safe while working in your home or business. Safety training also ensures our team members keep you, the client, safe while working in your home or business.

If you ever need our services in the Green Bay area, you can trust our team will be well-trained and well-informed. Call us any time at 920-434-8224.

On the Road Again: Sales Routes and SERVPRO

8/16/2018 (Permalink)

A Sales and Marketing car

If you live in Northeast Wisconsin, you may have noticed SERVPRO’s bright green trucks and cars out on the roadways.

You may assume those vehicles are filled with expert technicians and equipment on the way to help clean up and restore a home or business.

Much of the time you’d be right in that assumption. However, there are other SERVPRO of West Brown County team members who hit the road every day: the sales and marketing staff.

Business owners, managers and those in the insurance field are the most likely to run into Jim, Bill or Alex out and about.

Those three SERVPRO employees complete what are called “sales routes” during the weekdays as part of their jobs. Who you see depends on what kind of business you’re in. For example, if you work in insurance, you’re going to see Jim; if you work in property management, you’re going to see Bill; and if you’re a small business owner of, say, a café or veterinary hospital, you’re probably going to see Alex.

The goal of the sales routes is for our marketing folks to stop into specific businesses and explain the work SERVPRO does. It’s a way for you to get to know us before you need us. One day they might come to talk to you about flood damage recovery. Another day they might come in to talk to you about mold prevention.

You’ll probably only see them stopping in once every few months to say hello and bring you some new information. If you’re busy the day they stop by, Jim, Bill or Alex will simply leave the information on your desk (as well as a little present or two!) and get out of your hair so you can get back to work. If you’re not busy and you want to stop and chat, they’d love to talk about SERVPRO, of course, and fun things like the events your business has planned or your families and pets!

So, be on the lookout for the SERVPRO sales and marketing staff and if you see them out in the community, please say hello!

If one of those three does not already come to visit your business, but you’d like them to visit, or at least learn more about the work our team of technicians do, you can call SERVPRO of West Brown County any time at 920-434-8224! Just ask for Jim, Bill or Alex and one of them will help you out!

It's the Water You Don't See

8/14/2018 (Permalink)

It's the Water You Don't See

When your home or business experiences a major flood, chances are you’ll notice it.

A few inches of water in your basement, an overflowing toilet or a broken sprinkler are tough to overlook and so is the damage they cause.

However, there is a culprit that might not make a big splash, but can cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues: the water you don’t see.

Sometimes you might have hidden leaks or humidity issues that can start small and grow large in their destruction over time. The little leaks might turn into large deluges or wear away at structures, the humidity could make conditions right for mold growth and bad odors.

As a home or business owner, you want to be on the lookout for these sneaky sources of water loss. You also want to make sure that, if you do experience a large flood, to get it cleaned up properly. Improper water cleanup can leave those hidden problems behind.

This is where SERVPRO of West Brown County comes into the picture. We have the knowledge and experience clean up water damage of any size and get it done right the first time.

We also have the proper equipment to find any moisture lurking out of sight and do away with it.

For example, we have moisture sensors, which are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls. We have moisture meters that we use to test the actual moisture content of materials. The meters allow our technicians to accurately monitor the drying process. Our team also has thermohygrometers on hand to measure temperature and relative humidity, which ensures techs can calculate and create an environment that is most conducive to drying.

And if hidden water leads to bad odors in your business, we have the tools necessary to take care of those as well.

Some examples are ultra low-volume foggers and thermal foggers. The ultra low-volume foggers atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can penetrate the site where odor-causing residues accumulate. The thermal foggers dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor-causing particles.

The lesson here is to be aware that water losses can be hiding in your home or business and if you find them, you can count on us to fix them.

Call SERVPRO of West Brown County at 920-499-7050.

Come See What Howard-Suamico Has to Offer

8/8/2018 (Permalink)

HSBPA Sidewalk Sale

At SERVPRO of West Brown County, we love being a part of the Howard community. As part of this community, we like to be in the know about fun, local events. And we want to help keep you in the know too!

So, in the spirit of keeping you in the know…the Howard-Suamico Business and Professional Association (HSBPA) is holding its annual sidewalk sale this week!

More than 20 local businesses will take part throughout Howard and Suamico from Thursday August 9th through Saturday August 11th. Those businesses will be offering deals, free samples and demonstrations during all the days of the events.

Whether you live here, you’re new to the community, or you’ve never been to the Howard-Suamico area, the sidewalk sale is a great time to come out and see what the local businesses have to offer.

Our sales and marketing manager Jim Knopf is on the board of directors for the HSBPA so he’s seen first-hand how this event has grown. He says it’s incredible to see so many businesses get involved in the event and to see how the community itself has grown over the last few years. Visiting the sidewalk sale is a great way to see for yourself the growth that’s taking place!

For more information on the event, participating vendors and demonstration times, visit the HSBPA website here: https://hsbpa.org/sidewalksale/.

And if you do head out to the sidewalk sale, come say hello to us in Howard on Pamperin Road! We always like to meet new friends.

Meet Marc Seelye: Shop Steward for SERVPRO of West Brown County

8/8/2018 (Permalink)

Marc Seelye

This week we are pleased to present a profile on Marc Seelye! Marc is the shop steward for SERVPRO of West Brown County.

One of the newer employees to the join the team, Marc has been working here for about six months (as of August, 2018!).

As shop steward, Marc is responsible for making sure the shop is clean, organized and that all the equipment is ready to go at a moment’s notice. Marc not only maintains the equipment, he also ensures the supply shelves are always filled. This way the technicians don’t have to waste valuable time looking for what they need, which is particularly important if and when emergency calls come in.

Marc says he enjoys working at SERVPRO, because he gets a lot of independence. He is given a list of tasks to complete and says he likes that he is trusted to get them all done.

Marc is originally from Boyne City, Michigan. He now lives in Sobieski. Marc explains that he likes living in Sobieski because he can be out in the country, while staying close to the larger metropolitan areas.

Marc has been married to his wife Cindy for 34 years. They have three children: two girls and a boy.

During his free time Marc enjoys hunting, fishing, gardening, woodworking and cooking.

The Water is Dry...Now What?

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

This photo is from a home that experienced flooding. You can see our technicians has remove floorboards, baseboards and sheetrock.

When a home or business experiences floods, leaky pipes, or sewer backups, drying up the water is only half the battle in a recovery story.

As part of the drying process, the SERVPRO team often has to do a bit of deconstruction to properly find and dry all of the water.

Depending on the amount and type of water and how long it sat, our technicians may need to remove things like wet carpet pad, floorboards, baseboards and even sheetrock. This is to ensure all the water damaged materials have been removed and that mold can’t grow on any materials left behind.

For example, our team recently handled a major water loss at a Green Bay area home. The water line to a refrigerator broke, flooding several rooms on the first floor of the home and even seeping into much of the basement. The owners were on vacation when this happened, so the water sat for almost a week.

Because of the extensive damage, our team had to pull up carpeting, remove some wooden floorboards and cut out several inches of sheetrock, among several other steps.  Fans and commercial dehumidifiers then dried the remaining structural components back to pre loss condition.

Now, the water is gone and the structure is dried out but the story is not over.

Our reconstruction project manager now steps in to put the home or business back together.  It is a process called reconstruction. It is up to the reconstruction project manager to figure out what needs to be done and put an estimate together. Insurance also plays a big part at this stage (as you might expect!).

The adjuster and our project manager will negotiate on the estimates along with the home owner.

Once everyone is in agreement on coverage and the scope of reconstruction, it is up to our reconstruction project manager to schedule the work and make sure our team gets that work done ASAP.

The ultimate goal is for SERVPRO of West Brown County to make that flood seem “like it never even happened,” bringing that story to a happy ending.

If you need our help with a water loss and reconstruction, you can call us any time at 920-434-8224.

Northeastern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial

7/31/2018 (Permalink)

An earlier concept picture showing the reflecting pool and monument.

For several years there have been plans to build a veterans memorial in the Village of Howard.

This is a project that’s close to our hearts at SERVPRO of West Brown County. That’s because, not only, are we located in Howard, but also because our Sales and Marketing Manager Jim Knopf is on the Northeastern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Board.

The plan is to build a memorial on two acres of land at Howard’s Memorial Park. This specific memorial would honor veterans from 17 different Wisconsin counties.

On Wednesday, Brandon Bauer, an associate professor of art at St. Norbert College, presented a revamped design concept to the Northeastern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Fundraising Cabinet. (Our Jim Knopf is also a part of this cabinet!)

Bauer’s proposal took the original concept, which was a very linear design, and made it more interactive and educational.

Bauer’s design includes a central monument, a reflecting pool, an education center, an open-air amphitheater, an eternal flame, a nature observation deck, a gazebo and several individual conflict memorial sites interspersed throughout the park. Those individual conflict memorial sites would each be devoted to a specific war, like, say World War II. Each site would have information about that specific war, such as the names of the Wisconsin service members who lost their lives in that conflict.

Of his concept Bauer said, he thought about “really making this a destination,” meaning he wanted to incorporate as many elements as possible to draw in visitors and to give those visitors a good, educational experience.

At this point, the memorial is still in the early planning phase. So, it’s unclear what the ultimate cost could be. However, the Northeastern Wisconsin Veterans Board had previously set a fundraising goal of a little more than one million dollars. To date about $170,000 has been raised. The board is accepting a mix of public money and private donations and sponsorships to bring the memorial to life. Board members say they will also seek out grants to help with funding.

The next steps in the process are for the full board to review Bauer’s concept and for the Village of Howard’s engineering department to come up with a rough estimate of the cost of that concept.

The board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday August 1st at 9:00 in the morning.

For more information and to find out how you can donate, you can visit the memorial’s website here: http://newivetmemorial.org/.

Meet Mike Miller: Reconstruction Project Manager for SERVPRO of West Brown County

7/31/2018 (Permalink)

Mike Miller

It is Profile Friday once more and this week we’re pleased to introduce our newest employee (as of August 2018), Mike Miller!

Mike started as our new reconstruction project manager on July 23rd, 2018.

As the reconstruction project manager, Mike is in charge of any reconstruction jobs our team takes on following mitigation or remediation work. He comes up with the estimates for reconstruction costs and ensures that reconstruction work gets done in a cost-effective and timely manner.

Mike comes to us with more than three decades of experience in carpentry. He says carpentry and construction work are in his blood and that he enjoys the work because he gets to see a project through from start to finish.

Mike is originally from Chicago, but he has lived in Clintonville for more than 20 years.

Mike has been married to his wife Kirsten for 36 years. They have three children: a girl and two boys.

In his spare time Mike enjoys being musical. He plays the guitar and sings. Mike is also active in church worship.

Mike says he likes living in Wisconsin because it’s a beautiful state.

Lobbying for Local Businesses: Talking with Jayme Sellen of the Chamber

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

Jayme Sellen

For the business owners out there, it’s no surprise that local, state and federal governments have a huge impact on the work they do. It MAY be a surprise for some, however, to find out there is a lobbyist working with the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce to ensure lawmakers make decisions that impact local businesses in a POSITIVE way.

That lobbyist’s name is Jayme Sellen. Sellen is the vice president of governmental affairs and community relations for the Greater Green Bay Chamber. She has been a registered lobbyist in Wisconsin for 15 years. She has worked at the chamber for 5 years.

Sellen’s position comes with a lot of responsibilities. For one, she helps member businesses get through government red tape when obtaining things like permits.

Sellen works to get legislation passed that would benefit local businesses, including measures like tax reform, regulatory reform and workforce development.

Sellen is also responsible for helping member businesses understand the political process and for keeping those business owners up-to-date on decisions being made at the local, state and federal level.

Sellen says business people are often too busy with their own work to be able to pay close attention to what the government is up to at all times. So, it’s up to her to scrutinize what lawmakers are doing for them.

Sellen tells us, “Government can impact you more than anything…they impact every aspect of your business.” And that’s why she says her job is an important one. She also says that’s why it’s crucial for business owners to get involved in the political process when they can.

Some projects Sellen and the chamber are working on include getting a second bridge in De Pere to ease congestion and enhance safety; focusing on early training for students to get into the workforce as soon as possible and making K-12 funding more equal across the board.

If you have questions for Sellen, she encourages you to contact her at 920-593-3428 or at jsellen@greatergbc.com.

What's that Smell? Talking Odor Removal

7/24/2018 (Permalink)

Photo of Smoke courtesy of the NFPA

While a fire can happen in the blink of an eye, the damage it leaves behind can go on for ages.

This is true when it comes to the severe, physical damage flames cause. It’s also true when it comes to something unseen, but no less tangible: the smell. Odors from smoke can and will linger for years, especially if they’re not dealt with quickly.

Smoke, soot and ash are made up of tiny particles that move around easily and get into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Those little particles are very clingy and stick to surfaces of all kinds, the more porous the better.

The good new is, SERVPRO of West Brown County can destroy those odors left behind by a fire.

And when we say “destroy,” we mean it.

Many people think that getting rid of bad smells simply means covering them up with some sort of perfumed product. That will NOT do the trick. The odors must be completely eradicated.

That’s where trained SERVPRO technicians come into the picture. They will seek out and remove the SOURCES of the smells. The techs are trained to remove those sources using deodorization techniques and equipment like ozone machines and hot thermal fog.

We understand that fires are traumatic events that can have a long-lasting effect on a person’s emotional and mental state. Having the smell around only serves as a reminder of what happened and can make that trauma even worse for a person.

We’re here to help you make things better.

And we can help you in other situations where unpleasant smells are making your home or office miserable.

These are just a few of the other odors we can clean up:

  • Cigarette Smoke
  • Pet Odors
  • Decomposition
  • Mold

If you need to breathe a little easier, we’re here to help clear the air. Give us a call at 920-434-8224.

Meet Elaine Pena: Production Technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County

7/19/2018 (Permalink)

Elaine Pena

Elaine Pena is a production technician who has been working at SERVPRO of West Brown County since March of 2018.

Elaine joins the team with several years of experience working in the restoration business under her belt. She is certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification in Fire and Smoke Restoration and Odor Control.

Elaine works on just about any job that comes our way including water, fire, mold and biohazard restoration and cleanup projects.

Elaine says she enjoys working for SERVPRO because it’s a challenging job. She like getting to do something different each day and overcoming the new challenges that come with each project.

Elaine is originally from Neopit on the Menominee Reservation here in Wisconsin. She currently lives in Green Bay.

Elaine has been married to her husband Vince for four years. She has three children: two girls and one boy.

When she’s not working, Elaine likes to get outside and do things like go swimming, boating, four-wheeling and, in the winter, snowmobiling.

Elaine says she likes living in Wisconsin because there is so much to do outside!

Celebrating an Anniversary

7/17/2018 (Permalink)

Outside of the SERVPRO of East/West Brown County building in Howard.

Five years ago, this summer Mike and Georgia Bogenschuetz took ownership of SERVPRO of West Brown County.

When they bought the franchise, it had already been serving the Green Bay area for 20 years. So, we’re also celebrating more than a quarter of a century in business.

As Mike reflects on the last five years he says the franchise has made significant growth. He says he owes it to the team that works here.

From the technicians to the project managers, the office manager to the sales people, Mike says everyone plays their part in making the business successful. He explains that the employees working here are extremely loyal and hardworking.

The business has grown so much since Mike and Georgia took over that, in 2015, they had to move operations to a larger facility in Howard to accommodate all work the employees do and the equipment they need to do that work.

Mike thanks, not only the SERVPRO team, but the entire community for supporting their success so far.

He says it will always be his and Georgia’s goal to be the number one restoration company in Northeast Wisconsin.

And at this point, Mike says, the future looks very bright.

An Introduction to Document Drying

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

An office in the Green Bay area that experienced a broken sprinkler.

When a business experiences flooding, the work flow can be thrown completely out of whack. The facilities, floors and furniture may be wet AND so might important documents and paperwork.

To help get your business back to work as fast as possible, SERVPRO is able to offer document drying services.

Our team is capable of drying content of all kinds including:

  • paper documents
  • books and magazines
  • manuscripts and files
  • photographs, films, negatives, and microfiche
  • x-rays
  • blueprints and maps
  • parchment

How do we do it? We use state-of-the-art technology, that’s how. That includes using the same freeze-drying methods used by the Library of Congress to dry valuable historic documents and books. Our vacuum freeze-drying process is the only method approved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the General Services Administration (GSA).

The freeze-drying process is done at SERVPRO’s corporate facility in Tennessee. Our local franchise team would send your documents there securely, packaged with dry ice. Once they arrive at the facility, the documents are handled by The Document Restoration Team. They are highly trained in the vacuum freeze-drying technique. The team is also HIPPA Master certified, so you can trust them with any sensitive information your documents might include. It takes about 7 to 10 days to dry everything out.

The SERVPRO team can also disinfect and sterilize any documents we dry too. We do that by using a process called gamma irradiation. Gamma irradiation is the same process used to sterilize certain medical equipment.

In addition, SERVPRO is able to digitize any documents that we dry. That way you won’t have to worry about those contents being lost or damaged in the future.

This service is NOT just for businesses. If you’ve experienced a water loss or flooding in your home we can help dry and restore any important papers or beloved photos that might have gotten wet.

If you should ever need document drying, SERVPRO of West Brown County is just a phone call away. Just dial 920-434-8224, any time day or night!

Meet Scott Berendsen: Master Carpenter at SERVPRO of West Brown County

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

Scott Berendsen

We are pleased to introduce you to our Scott Berendsen this week! Scott is the master carpenter for SERVPRO of West Brown County.

Scott has worked here for three and a half years. He is in charge of any reconstruction projects we perform. That means once our technicians have finished any mitigation work, Scott comes in and rebuilds the property, taking it back to its former glory.

Scott says he enjoys his job, because he loves carpentry and working with his hands. He has been interested in woodworking his entire life. According to Scott, it’s extremely satisfying to build something yourself. He also says he likes working for SERVPRO, because he never tackles the same project twice, which keeps work interesting!

Scott is originally from Green Bay and he still lives here. He is engaged to his fiancée Amy and, between the two of them, they have four children.

Outside of work Scott enjoys being outdoors and hunting, particularly “up north.”

Take Precautions During Extreme Heat

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

Extreme heat graphic from the CDC

In the Green Bay area, we are certainly feeling the heat as we get into the dog days of summer.

With the one-two punch of high temperatures and humidity, the weather can feel downright miserable. But, besides just being uncomfortable, the heat can present a lot of dangers as well.

According to the CDC, prolonged exposure to extreme heat can lead to heat exhaustion, which can lead to heat stroke, a potentially life-threatening condition. The signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale and clammy skin; nausea or vomiting; and fainting. The CDC says the signs of heat stroke are a body temperature of 103 degrees or higher, rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness.

If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke or exhaustion, you must call 911 immediately and move that person to a cool location.

You can take several steps to prevent heat stroke and exhaustion. The first is to stay inside a cool location, if possible.

If you absolutely must be outside in the heat, experts advise wearing loose and light-color clothes, staying hydrated, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and applying sunscreen often.

Ready.gov also advises you follows these tips to prepare your home for extreme heat conditions:

  • Install window air conditioners snugly.
  • Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
  • Install temporary window reflectors to reflect heat back outside.
  • Weather-strip doors and windows to keep cool air in and hot air out.
  • Cover windows with drapes, shades or awnings.
  • Keep storm windows up year ‘round.

If you can, try to check on anyone you know who is homebound to ensure they’re safe when the heat rises.

And remember, pets face the same dangers we do when it’s hot outside. So be sure to check on them, keep them inside and give them plenty of water.

Summer is a fun time of year, so enjoy it, but keep yourself and your loved ones safe!

Jim Knopf Volunteers with American Cancer Society

7/5/2018 (Permalink)

Jim Knopf

Anyone who knows our Sales and Marketing Manager Jim Knopf knows he is extremely devoted to his community. Jim is a part of non-profits across the Green Bay area and spends much of his time outside of SERVPRO doing volunteer work.

Jim’s latest endeavor is working with the American Cancer Society. Jim will be raising money to be a part of the “Real Men Wear Pink Green Bay” campaign.

By taking part Jim has pledged to raise at least $3,000 for “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.” He has also pledged to wear (at least a little bit of) pink every day for the month of October.

If Jim is to qualify to become a NATIONAL “Real Man” candidate, he must raise a minimum of $2,500. So, he definitely has some work to do!

Luckily, Jim is not afraid of a little hard work.

He cares deeply about this cause, saying “the American Cancer Society is an amazing and worthwhile charity” he believes in very strongly.

Jim lost his mother and brother to cancer. He also has friends who have fought and who are fighting the disease. These experiences have left him with a passion to do all he can to help find a cure.

Every donation adds up for “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.” As little as $15 can provide a breast cancer patient with a ride to treatment. The money raised during this campaign will also help patients get the information and support they need, as well as help pay for things like lodging for overnight travel to treatment.

If you’re interested in helping Jim reach his fundraising goals, he would love to hear from you! You can reach him by email at jknopf@SERVPROgreenbay.com.

Fireworks: Play it Safe this 4th of July

7/3/2018 (Permalink)

Fireworks photo from the CDC

As we celebrate our country’s birth and Independence Day, we know a lot of fun comes with that celebration. However, sometimes that fun comes with dangers.

We’re talking about fireworks. The explosions in the sky are synonymous with the 4th of July, but, if not used properly, they can cause fires and severe injuries.

The best advice to remember is that fire officials, both locally and nationally, advise you leave any exploding fireworks displays to the professionals. They say you should go see your local community’s fireworks show and enjoy it!

When it comes to trying out your own, personal pyrotechnics, however, there’s a lot more you need to know.

First of all, fireworks that leave the ground and/or explode may not be legal, depending on the community you live in. You must check in with your local municipality to see what is or is not legal, or else face punishments like heavy fines.

When it comes to the fireworks that ARE legal, if you want to put on your own show, the National Council on Fireworks Safety has a list of reminders for you to avoid any mishaps:

  • Read all cautionary labels before lighting fireworks.
  • A responsible adult should supervise all activities.
  • Do NOT drink alcohol while using fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and walk away from it.
  • Use fireworks outdoors in an area clear of buildings and trees.
  • Always have a water source nearby.
  • Never relight a “dud.”
  • Soak any used or dud fireworks in water and throw them away in a metal trash can.
  • Remember, even sparklers get EXTREMELY hot.
  • Veterans groups ask that you consider your neighbors. If you know your neighbor is a combat veteran, check with them before putting on any pyrotechnics.

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, an average of 280 people go to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries each 4th of July. Of those injuries, 53% are burns and 14% come from sparklers. The commission says the age group reporting the most injuries includes people between the ages of 25-44-years-old.

Fire officials say it’s important to remember your pets this time of year too. According to the Wisconsin Humane Society, more pets are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year. Experts say this is because pets can become frightened by the loud noise of fireworks and run off. They advise keeping your pets inside and safe during any displays.

And if something should go awry because of fireworks this holiday, remember, SERVPRO of West Brown County is here for you to help recover from any fire damage. You can call us at 920-434-8224.

Pet Evacuations: What You Need to Know

6/28/2018 (Permalink)

Boo Bogenschuetz

We recently wrote a blog post about keeping your pets safe in case of house fires. In this post we’re taking a look at what you need to know and how you can prepare in the event you and your pets need to evacuate your home.

There are many reasons you might need to evacuate your home including fires, floods and storms.

If you must leave and go to a shelter it’s important to understand, you most likely will not be able to bring pets with you to a public shelter. There are usually separate shelters set up for pets.

Regardless, it’s a good idea to prepare an emergency evacuation kit for your pets in case you need to leave your home quickly.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a list of items you will want to include in your pet’s evacuation kit:

  • Copies of Vaccination Records
  • Medication or a List of Needed Medications
  • Lists of Any Special Needs or Allergies
  • Ownership Records (things like adoption paperwork, microchip paperwork registration papers, or at least photos of you with your pets)
  • Leashes, Harnesses, Collars and/or Carriers
  • Pet Food and Treats (enough for each pet for 3 to 7 days)
  • Water (enough for each pet for 3 to 7 days)
  • Bowls
  • Cat Litter and Box
  • Dog Waste Bags
  • Toys
  • Blankets
  • A Pet First Aid Kit (including cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, medical-type gloves, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution)
  • Cleaning Supplies (in case your pet has an accident)
  • List of Important Phone Numbers (including your veterinarian, local animal shelters, local pet-friendly hotels, local animal control, local pet boarders)

The NFPA advises keeping all of this in a large, waterproof, plastic tote in a convenient place. You’ll want a spot that stays at a stable temperature to prevent food and water from freezing or spoiling.

The NFPA says you should also keep track of any possible natural disaster predictions in your area and ensure you know where your pets are in case disaster strikes and you need to leave fast.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County, our pets are our family and we know it’s the same for many families in the Green Bay Area. Be sure to plan ahead to keep those four-legged family members safe!

An Introduction to PPE: Personal Protective Equipment

6/27/2018 (Permalink)

A photo from SERVPRO corporate of technicians wearing PPE

When it comes to SERVPRO of West Brown County, our number one concern is safety: the safety of our clients and the safety of our employees.

To make sure the job is done right, employees need to take proper precautions when working in specific situations. Each job comes with its own safety concerns. For example, flood waters can come with contaminants from things like sewage; mold remediation jobs come with possible irritants to people’s eyes, skin and lungs; fire damage can come with worries like smoke inhalation and possible falling debris; and biohazard incidents can come with exposure to dangerous chemicals and bodily fluids.

SERVPRO teams are given the proper training and personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure they are prepared to safely handle each one of those incidents and a wide range of others. They follow specific guidelines laid out by our company and by the National Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Some of that PPE includes the following:

  • Tyvek Suits and Booties: which are made of a strong, but lightweight material that can protect a person from contaminants in the air. These suits cover a person from head to toe (except the face).
  • Dust Masks: which are lightweight masks worn around the nose and mouth to keep out less serious contaminants like typical, household dust.
  • Full Face Masks: which are more heavy-duty, plastic masks, seal off the entire face and include respirators. These are used in more dangerous conditions. The respirators filter out any harmful airborne pathogens and mold spores.
  • Gloves: different kinds of gloves are used depending on the situation. Nitrile gloves are used to protect from certain contaminants like bodily fluids. Whereas, stronger rubber gloves are used to protect when handling sharp or rough objects.
  • Goggles: are used to protect the eyes in dangerous conditions.
  • Hard Hats: are used to protect employees in situations where there is a risk of building collapse or falling debris.

By ensuring their own safety in the field, our team members are better able to ensure your safety and the safety of your home or business.

Remember, if you experience an incident that requires restoration work, you can count on SERVPRO of West Brown County to get the job done in the SAFEST and most efficient way. Call us any time at 920-434-8224.

Biohazard and Crime Scene Cleanup

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

Biohazard symbol from the CDC

The SERVPRO team is well known in the Green Bay area for our work with fire, water and mold damage restoration, but our technicians’ skills go well beyond those subjects. Did you know they’re trained to handle biohazard, crime scene and vandalism cleanup as well?

Hazards like biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health risks to people and animals. If you experience an issue with these kinds of contaminants, you can put yourself in danger trying to handle the cleanup on your own.

SERVPRO professionals are trained to safely, efficiently and effectively remove these biohazardous substances. They have the necessary equipment and cleaning products to ensure your home or business will be clean and safe once more.

It’s important to note, SERVPRO teams are trained to meet all OSHA, EPA, state and local health regulations.

A few examples of the biohazards our technicians can take care of include:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens – Techs are trained to remove and dispose of bodily fluids, tissue and other pathogenic substances that may result from accidents, trauma, crimes or deaths. The technicians will thoroughly clean, disinfect and deodorize following any such incident.
  • Methamphetamine (Meth) Labs – The chemicals that go into the meth making process can be volatile and dangerous. Such chemicals are often left behind after a meth lab is found. SERVPRO professionals follow state and federal guidelines to properly clean these up.
  • Crime Scene Residues – Our techs are able to clean up anything from fingerprint power to tear gas and pepper spray residues, ensuring safety and cleanliness.
  • Vandalism – SERVPRO’s team can clean up vandalism like graffiti.

The technicians are not limited to those four categories, some more biohazard incidents they’re prepared to handle include:

  • Arson
  • Sewage Backups
  • Animal Waste
  • Certain Chemical Spills
  • Black Water Intrusions

SERVPRO of West Brown County is here for any home or business owner with biohazard, crime scene or vandalism cleanup. Simply give us a call, any time day or night, at 920-434-8224.

Summer Safety for Hot Cars

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

Graphic from NHTSA

Our final installment in this early summer safety series with Jason Weber is all about hot cars. The bottom line of this blog? Do not leave children or pets in a car when the weather is warm.

As a reminder, Jason Weber is the Vice President of the Wisconsin Crime Prevention Practitioners Association. He shot a brief video with SERVPRO of East Brown County recently, just reminding people that it is extremely dangerous to leave ANYONE in a hot car, even for a few minutes.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 744 children have died in hot cars since 1998. The NHTSA says about 3 in 10 heat stroke deaths happen when children gain access to unlocked cars on hot days.

So, it’s a good idea for parents and caregivers to always keep their cars locked to ensure children don’t climb inside and get locked in. The NHTSA also recommends parents with children in car seats take a stuffed animal along for car rides, leaving it on the front passenger seat as a reminder there is someone in the car seat in the back. Always check to make sure everyone is out of the car!

Weber says even if you’re only planning a quick stop, take your child or pet inside. The temperature inside a car can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes. On days that are around 60 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach above 110 degrees. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

Even though the Green Bay area is known as the “Frozen Tundra,” our summers can get very hot and humid. So, please make sure you children and pets are safe when it comes to hot cars!

Fire Safety for Four-Legged Family Members

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

Boo, the SERVPRO of West Brown County office dog

We at SERVPRO of West Brown County consider our pets to be part of our families. We suspect most pet owners feel the same way. So, it’s important to consider your four-legged friends when planning for emergency situations. Top among those emergencies are house fires.

According to the United States Fire Administration, about 500,000 pets are affected by fires each year.

The Red Cross says the easiest and most important way you can protect your pets is by including them in your fire plans. That means practicing your escape routes with your pets and training them to come when you call.

As important as our furry friends are, however, you should NEVER waste time during a fire to go looking for your pets. Do NOT put your life or your families lives at risk.

Luckily, there is more you can do to ensure your pets’ safety. You can help firefighters find them by putting a pet alert cling in your front window with the accurate number and types of pets you have written on it. Your local fire department likely has these clings available.

You can also make sure to keep any crated pets close to the door to help firefighters find them right away. In addition, keeping leashes or carriers near the door can help too.

Aside from planning for your pets, the Red Cross says you should also make sure to keep your four-legged friends from STARTING fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 1,000 pets are responsible for starting house fires each year.

The Red Cross recommends you follow these steps to help prevent a similar situation in your home:

  • Keep pets away from open flames like candles or fireplaces. Cats and dog tails can easily knock over lit candles.
  • Invest in flameless candles or air fresheners.
  • Take knobs off the stove when you’re out of the home.
  • Block pets, particularly young pets, from any possible fire-starting materials with crates or baby gates.

We know how much you love your pets. So never underestimate how important it is to make family plans for emergencies and include the furballs in those plans.

And should fire damage ever strike your home, we are here to help you recover. You can call us, day or night, at 920-434-8224.

Explaining the ERP: Emergency Readiness Profile

6/12/2018 (Permalink)

It’s estimated 50% of businesses that are hit with a disaster never reopen. And you can never predict when or where a disaster will strike. That’s why preparing for the worst can be such a valuable step to take.

One of the services our marketing team provides can help you prepare your business for the worst. That service is called an “Emergency Readiness Profile, or ERP.” It’s FREE and doesn’t take much of your time.

The goal of the ERP is to compile a long list of information that you will need following a disaster like, let’s say, a tornado that damages your business and causes flooding. The information compiled includes emergency phone numbers to call, locations in the building to turn off (or on) water and electrical supplies and steps to take to start cleaning up the damage. The profile also includes photos that go along with the information showing exact locations of things like entrances and exits, locations of water and electrical shut offs and any security codes.

SERVPRO’s marketing team members will walk through your business with you to perform the ERP free of charge. It takes just an hour or two of your time.

Once the ERP is complete, SERVPRO will be able to provide you with digital copies (via email or flash drive), as well as a hard copy. This way it will be accessible the moment you need it.

The idea behind the ERP is that it will jumpstart the cleanup and recovery process so that business downtown is at the bare minimum. (SERVPRO’s contact information will also be in there so we can get to the scene ASAP, should the damage require our services!) The goal of the ERP is to ensure YOUR business is in the 50% that DO reopen should the worst happen.

If you’re interested in an ERP, please give SERVPRO of West Brown County a call at 920-434-8224!

Meet Brandon Sweeney: Production Technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County

6/12/2018 (Permalink)

Brandon Sweeney

For this week’s profile feature, we are pleased to introduce production technician and crew chief Brandon Sweeney. Brandon has worked at SERVPRO of West Brown County for about a year and a half.

Brandon is one of the people you may meet if you need our help at your home or business. He is qualified to do just about every job you can imagine: from cleaning up after water losses and fire damage, to carpentry, assisting in reconstruction after a clean up job. Brandon describes himself as a ‘jack of all trades!’

Brandon says he likes working here because of the people, most of all. He says the SERVPRO team is made up of “really good people,” who are great to work with.

Brandon has some very exciting news! He just married his (now) wife Tierney about a week ago in a beautiful ceremony at Heritage Hill. Brandon and Tierney have a three-year-old daughter.

Outside of work Brandon says he most enjoys spending time with his family.

Brandon is originally from Green Bay and says he loves living here because of the Packers!

Meet Brandon Selisson: Production Technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County

6/12/2018 (Permalink)

Brandon Selisson

It is our pleasure to introduce you to SERVPRO of West Brown County team member Brandon Selisson. Brandon has been a part of the team for about a year.

Brandon is one of the friendly faces you may see doing restoration at your home or business. Brandon performs just about every task we cover: from water and fire restoration to mold remediation, biohazard to crime scene clean up.

Brandon says he enjoys working here, because he gets to help people every day. He gets to come in and clean up after disaster strikes, setting everything right again. Brandon says he especially likes seeing how he and his teammates can take something that was destroyed and make it beautiful again.

Brandon is engaged to be married next year to his fiancée Kayla. He has two daughters, a step-son and a step-daughter.

Brandon was raised in the Green Bay and Oconto areas and says he loves living in Wisconsin because of at least three of the seasons (we’ll let you guess which one he doesn’t love so much)!

In his spare time Brandon enjoys getting outside, doing activities like fishing and grilling.

Meet Alex Ronallo: Sales and Marketing Coordinator for SERVPRO of West Brown County

6/6/2018 (Permalink)

Alex Ronallo

In this profile we’re introducing Alex Ronallo. Alex is one of the newest employees at SERVPRO of West Brown County. She has worked here as our Sales and Marketing Coordinator for a little more than two months.

Alex’s responsibilities are mostly internet-based. She is responsible for keeping our website updated with new blogs, photos and videos. She also runs all our social media accounts. In addition, Alex helps the marketing and sales department as needed.

Alex says she likes working here, because this is a new environment. She used to be a news reporter, so she likes being able to continue using her writing and social media skills. Alex also likes the fact that she gets to learn something new about the restoration business every day.

Alex is originally from a small town in Pennsylvania called Oxford. She has lived in Wisconsin for about 8 years and says she enjoys living in this state because the people are so nice, the food is great and the summer weather is the best!

Alex has been married to her husband Tyler for 4 years. They live in Appleton with their cat Warren and their dog Ladybird.

In her spare time, Alex enjoys activities like cooking, reading and writing.

Summer Safety for Keeping Your Property Safe from Theft

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

We’re into our third week talking with Jason Weber, the Vice President of the Wisconsin Crime Prevention Practitioners Association. This week, Jason has some advice for folks to keep their property safe from theft this summer.

Jason says the warm weather can bring with it a rise in so-called “crimes of opportunity.” Those tend to be thefts from unlocked cars, garages and homes. He tells us many thieves won’t waste time or energy trying to break into a locked vehicle or building, rather, he says, those thieves are much more likely to go for an easy (unlocked) target.

So, a simple solution is making sure you lock up every, single time. Lock your car doors when you’re out and about, lock your car doors when you’re at home. Also, be sure to close and lock you garage. In addition, Jason advises always locking your house doors and windows, and having some outdoor lights on at night to deter thieves.

Jason says it’s a good idea to take things a step further and remove all temptation for would-be thieves. This means taking any valuable items out of your car, or at least hiding them in the trunk. He tells us it’s a good practice to also try to avoid having any valuables in plain sight in your garage or home.

As the weather warms up, be sure to play it safe with your property this summer!

Water Damage Timeline

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage at a home in the Green Bay area

When flooding or water damage happens at your home or business, time is of the essence. The faster you call team SERVPRO for help, the less damage that unexpected water will be able to do.

According to the American Insurance Association, 37% of all homes will suffer water damage each year. Of the water damage that occurs, the association says 93% of that damage is preventable. According to the association, the first 24 to 48 hours are the most crucial when dealing with water damage.

SERVPRO has a timeline that lists the damage you can expect following a flood or water loss:

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.

The message here is that if water ends up where it does not belong, you should NOT WAIT to call for help. Getting someone on the scene ASAP will only save time and money in the long run.

We’ve heard before that people will sometimes not even realize they’ve experienced a water loss until days, maybe even weeks later. For example, they may have a basement they don’t go into very often that floods. So, we recommend checking those isolated areas on a regular basis and after any major weather event, like torrential rains.

There are some steps you should also take while waiting for help to arrive. SERVPRO recommends as follows:

  • Stop the source of the water: if, for example, you have a broken pipe, make sure to turn off the water supply to prevent anymore leaking.
  • Remove items of value: move any valuables and furniture away from the water, to prevent permanent damage to those items.
  • Prevent the spread of moisture: as best you can, try to soak up any water by toweling or mopping the area. This will be a good temporary help. (Only do this if the water is clean!)
  • Take notes and photos for your insurance company.
  • Stay Safe! Make sure to turn off any electrical connections that could pose a danger in the flooded area. DO NOT mop or towel up any water that may be contaminated, if it came from a sewer backup, for example.

As we have said, time is not on your side when it comes to water damage. So, the sooner you call for help, the better!

You can always contact us a SERVPRO of West Brown County at 920-434-8224. We’re faster to any size disaster!

Meet Alyssa Doubeck: Production Technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Alyssa Doubeck

For our latest team profile, we would like to introduce you to Alyssa Doubeck. Alyssa has been working as a production technician at SERVPRO of West Brown County for about a year.

Alyssa has past experience in restoration and content cleaning. She works on all the jobs our team encounters out in the field from water and fire damage to mold remediation and general content cleaning.

Alyssa says she likes working here because she does something different every day. No two jobs are the same and that helps keep things interesting!

Alyssa is originally from Green Bay and says she likes living here because this is where her family is.

Alyssa has three sons, who certainly keep her busy outside of work! When she does have spare time, Alyssa enjoys spending it with her sons, doing things like going to the beach and having picnics.

Alyssa is one of the people who might come to your home or business if you need team SERVPRO’s help someday!

Summer Safety for Playing Online

5/30/2018 (Permalink)

Summer break is just around the corner for school kids of all ages and that means many will have a lot of extra free time on their hands.

With that free time, children and teens may find themselves turning to their phones and other electronic devices, spending more time online.

This week, Jason Weber, the Vice President of Wisconsin Crime Prevention Practitioners Association spoke with SERVPRO of West Brown County about online safety for the kids this summer.

Jason says, first of all, it would be ideal if parents can have their children limit their screen time. He says it’s great to get online, talk with friends and play some games, but that it is important to be active as well. Jason encourages getting outside to play.

Jason advises that when you do get outside, leave the phone alone. He says too often young people are so distracted by their phones when they’re out and about they can injure themselves by walking into things like trees and trashcans, or even into traffic.

When it comes to online activity, however, Jason says there is really one rule above all that EVERYONE should follow. That is only speaking to or playing games with people that you know. Children, in particular, should only interact with friends they’ve met in real life or family members.

There are too many people out there with ulterior motives. Jason says making sure your kids know who they’re talking to can cut down on the danger significantly.

However, Jason reiterates, that it’s a good idea to limit screen time this summer and get outside and enjoy the great weather!

On the Scene of a Water Loss

5/29/2018 (Permalink)

Water loss scene

A very common call in our line of work is for water in basements.

And a very common way water gets into basements is when sump pumps stop working for various reasons. Broken sump pumps allow ground water to rise and seep into the cracks in the concrete floors. So, often, you’ll notice water does not come up evenly, but tends to gather in certain areas where the foundation is lower.

We recently had a call for a broken sump pump and water loss in a finished basement in a home in the Green Bay area.

The first step we take when this happens is to go to the home and assess the damage. We inspect the situation, see what’s gotten wet and speak with the client about what we’ll do to remediate the water loss and what they can expect when it comes to the process, insurance and the work in their home.

After that our team gets to work.

In this recent situation, the finished basement had several rooms that were carpeted, as well as storage rooms that were not.

The first move the technicians made was to get any furniture and personal belongings moved off the wet floor and carpeting. They blocked up anything that got wet from being in contact with the wet floor to allow it to dry.

The next step was to do what’s called ‘extraction’ on the carpeting. That means using a machine to, in a sense, vacuum water up out of the carpet. (It is a labor-intense process, but very important to kick start the drying!)

After that, the technicians pull up the edges of the carpeting and then rolled the carpeting back to expose the padding underneath. They then cut out and removed all of the wet padding, throwing it away. This is because according to IICRC standards, sump water is contaminated water and is considered category 2 water.  The standards say the carpeting can be cleaned and disinfected but the pad cannot be and needs to be replaced.

Once the padding was gone, the technicians put an antimicrobial spray on the floor to kill any germs or bacteria that may have been left behind by the water. Afterward, they rolled the carpet back down across the floor, extracted the carpet once more to make sure as much water is removed and then put antimicrobial spray on top of the carpet.

The technicians repeated this process several times over in several carpeted rooms in the basement.

They also removed the baseboards from walls that were affected by the water.  ¾” holes are then drilled in the drywall every few inches where the baseboard was. That ensures that walls will dry fully and mold has nowhere to hide and grow in the future.  These holes will later be covered fully when the baseboards are reapplied to the drywalls.

Finally, the techs set up dehumidifiers and fans to really get the drying process going. They did a process called “floating the carpet,” where they put a few fans blowing underneath the carpeting, making it float and flutter slightly. This helps the drying process along more quickly.

The drying process can take several days to complete and our team will go back to monitor the process. When they monitor, the techs use equipment to measure the temperature and humidity in the room to see how things are coming along.  They also directly measure the moisture content in affected wood and drywall to determine when the materials have reached dry standards.

Once the drying process is complete in any water loss case, the SERVPRO team will put the property and belongings back together. We are also able to provide reconstruction services for anything that needed to be torn out during the remediation, like the pad in this recent case as well as having the carpet re-stretched in place and the baseboards reapplied to the walls.

SERVPRO of West Brown County is just a phone call away (920-434-8224) if you need our help following a water loss at your home or business. Give us a call anytime!

Summer Safety for Playing Outside

5/23/2018 (Permalink)

We at SERVPRO of West Brown County have teamed up with Jason Weber to put together some summer safety video and blog reminders. Jason is the Vice President of the Wisconsin Crime Prevention Practitioners Association.

For our first topic Jason spoke with us about safety for children playing outside this summer.

Jason says the first and most important thing for kids to do is to let their parents and/or guardians know where they’re going. If they’re headed to the park, tell mom and dad where and when they plan to leave and plan to get home.

Jason tells us it’s also very important for children to use the “buddy system” when they head out to play. That means going with at least one friend, because there is safety in numbers!

Jason advises that children take note of the rules at parks and playgrounds and follow them to stay safe. If the rules say you shouldn’t climb up the slide, don’t do it! By following the rules kids can avoid injuries.

Jason has some advice for bike riding too. He says children need to make sure to follow the rules of the road on their bikes and try to ride on safe trails when possible. Wearing helmets is important to avoid serious injuries as well! Finally, Jason says, if a child is going to be biking late in the day, he or she should make sure to have reflectors and/or lights on their bike in case it gets dark!

Above all, we want to wish everyone a very safe and happy summer! Have fun out there!

Meet Jason Jilg: Reconstruction Project Manager for SERVPRO of West Brown County

5/23/2018 (Permalink)

Jason Jilg

It’s time to introduce you to another one of our team members at SERVPRO of West Brown County. Meet Jason Jilg.

Jason is one of our newer employees, as he started working here in February of 2018. He is our reconstruction project manager.

In his position Jason is responsible for managing the rebuild part of the projects our team performs. So, once any necessary tear down or clean up is complete, Jason figures out and manages how the team will rebuild and reconstruct the home or business.

Jason says he likes his new job because it’s fast paced and it’s different every day. There is not much downtime, so it never gets boring!

Jason is originally from Nebraska. His hometown is a small community called Broken Bow.

He says he is happy to be living in Wisconsin now because “the summer weather is amazing.”

Jason has been married to his wife Linda for nine years. Together they have two children, a boy and a girl.

When he has some spare-time Jason enjoys doing “anything outdoors,” including barbecuing, fishing and hiking.

An interesting fact about Jason is that he was a firefighter in the Navy for four years. He was stationed all over the world and, when asked where he was stationed said, “on every continent except for Australia and Antarctica.”

We’re thankful for Jason and his service.

Yes, Mushrooms CAN Grow Inside Your Home

5/22/2018 (Permalink)

Mushrooms growing out of floor

We recently did a big cleanup job at a Green Bay area home that experienced a water loss.

As with many water losses, aside from the damage the water itself caused, mold was growing all over the house. But something a little different with this case was that, along with the mold, mushrooms were growing out of the carpeted floors as well! That’s right, honest to goodness mushrooms were growing out of the floors. (In the photo we posted with this blog, you can see the mushrooms, they’re the brown spots on the floor)

What happened was the house was unoccupied and the boiler broke, which led to water and high humidity across many of the rooms. Because the home was not occupied, the situation sat for a long time before the owners found it. As the mold grew, so too did the mushrooms.

Like mold, mushrooms are fungi. They require moisture, a food source and oxygen to grow. Factor in the right temperature and they’ll grow. It’s actually not all that unusual for mushrooms to grow in a home when the conditions are just right.

SERVPRO of West Brown County was called in to clean up. We dried up the home and cleaned up and remediated the mold and mushrooms.

Unfortunately, when mold and fungi get to this point in a home, a lot of the building materials, like affected drywall and flooring, need to be fully removed to ensure all the water damage and the fungus growth is removed. Once the affected walls are down to the studs, we then make sure any mold on them is fully removed.  Then the surfaces are cleaned and all remaining surfaces are HEPA vacuumed to remove any traces of mold spores. 

Fortunately, once our cleanup was complete, the owner was able to have the home rebuilt and it is now in beautiful condition.

If you notice fungi of any kind growing in your home or business (mushrooms included!), we can help take care of that problem for you. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.

What Does the Chamber Do?

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

The Chamber logo

As a member of the Brown County and Green Bay area communities, SERVPRO of West Brown County likes to make sure it is fully involved in those communities. That means forming meaningful relationships with some of our fellow community organizations.

One particularly important and rewarding relationship is the one we have with the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce.

For those who are curious about the Chamber and what it does, we decided to get together with the organization’s director of membership and retention, Renae Schlies. In addition to answering some of our questions, Renae did a little video with us explaining the Chamber’s work. You can watch that video here on our website, or on our social media pages!

But back to the matter at hand, what does the Chamber do? Well, the short answer is…a lot!

Renae tells us there are several arms of the Chamber from government affairs, to economic development, to workforce development.

Perhaps most importantly, she says, the Chamber brings people and businesses together. The organization has nearly 1,200 member-businesses, representing about 86,000 people. That means there are many opportunities for networking and marketing business to business.

To help facilitate these connections, the Chamber offers several events throughout the month from a Power Networking Breakfast, to after hours get-togethers. The Chamber also promotes and facilitates ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings for members.

Under the government affairs arm, the Chamber has a lobbyist on board who can look out for local business interests as political decisions are made.

When it comes to economic development, Renae says the Chamber has a strategic plan for keeping the area business climate vibrant and growing. One example of the work it does is that it has an incubator program through Northeast Wisconsin Technical College for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

As for workforce development, according to Renae, the Chamber has a mission to keep good talent local and to attract new talent to the area. The Chamber works on this mission through programs like the Young Professionals group and the youth apprenticeships with area schools.

These are just a few examples of the work the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce does.

As for SERVPRO of West Brown County, we find being a part of the Chamber is beneficial to our team. Membership makes us more credible to potential clients. Customers know we’ll be able to provide quality work, because we have such a large network backing us up.

The connections and relationships we’ve been able to build with fellow, local businesses and organizations are extremely valuable. We are able to get our name out there and market ourselves, not only at networking events, but with every individual connection we make as well.

Our sales and marketing manager, Jim Knopf is very involved with the Chamber. He is actually an ambassador for the Chamber.

We spoke with Jim and Renae about the ambassador program and we’ll bring you a video and blog about that for this week’s Profile Friday. Be sure to check back in for that!

Meet the Chamber Ambassadors

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

The Chamber logo

Instead of introducing you to one of our employees this week, we’re profiling the Chamber Ambassadors.

The Chamber Ambassadors are a group of about 35 volunteers who work with the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce.

In a previous blog and video posting we spoke about the Chamber, what is does and why we’re members. This is an extension of that and you can also watch a video about the Ambassadors on our website and social media pages! For that video and for this article we spoke with Renae Schlies, the director of membership and retention for the Chamber, and with SERVPRO of West Brown County’s sales and marketing manager Jim Knopf, who is a Chamber Ambassador.

Schlies tells us the Ambassadors are a great asset to the Chamber, because they help keep the Chamber connected with its business members. Ambassadors are responsible for meeting with members, inviting members to events and encouraging members to engage with and invest in the Chamber. The Ambassadors ensure Chamber members are getting the most out of their membership by connecting members to all the resources the Chamber offers.

Schlies says Ambassadors also represent the Chamber at ribbon cutting, ground breaking and grand opening ceremonies.

Finally, the Ambassadors host the Chamber’s Business After Hours networking events and the annual Chamber Classic Golf Outing.

As we mentioned, our own Jim Knopf is an Ambassador.

Jim tells us he enjoys the volunteer gig and says it’s beneficial to SERVPRO of West Brown County and the work he does for us.

Jim says when he meets with other businesses or goes to a ribbon cutting, he’s representing the Chamber, but he’s also representing SERVPRO. So, he’s able to network and market our business during those calls and events.

According to Jim, having a Chamber Ambassador on our team and being a Chamber business member adds credibility to our name.

The Ambassadors wear signature green blazers when they’re out at official Chamber events, so you’ll know them when you see them! And if you happen to see Jim, tell him hello, he loves meeting new people!

How Mold Sneaks into Your House

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

Mold growing on a piece of furniture in the Green Bay area

As we’ve said time and time again, mold is a very tricky, sneaky fungus. It likes to infiltrate your home or business and grow where you might not expect or even be able to see it.

According to the CDC, mold spores are found pretty much everywhere: indoors and outdoors. With about 100,000 of varieties in existence, it’s no surprise we come into contact with molds of all kinds on a daily basis. Some of those contacts are more positive than others.

We don’t have to tell you, mold growing on walls or furniture in your home or office are on the negative side of things.

The CDC says outdoor mold spores can get inside through pathways like open windows and doors, as well as heating and air conditioning systems and vents. The spores can also hitch a ride on you, your clothing, shoes and even your pets!

The website homes.com also has a list of ten “unexpected” places mold can sneak inside and start growing. The site says a good rule of thumb is that “if it uses water, chances are it’s going to leak,” and if it leaks, chances are mold can grow there.

So, what are those ten places? Here’s the list:

  • The dishwasher
  • Icemaker connections
  • Washing machine connections
  • Hot water heater
  • Plastic “p-trap,” a connection under your sink
  • Toilet connections
  • Shower doors
  • Tub
  • Exterior hose bib
  • Outdoor sprinklers (these can spray water on your home at an angle that is optimal for mold growth)

The CDC says the way to prevent mold from growing in these places and spreading to more of your property is to keep them as clean as possible. The best advice is to try to control humidity levels in your home, promptly fix any leaky pipes or water connections (or leaks in roofs or windows!), and ventilate shower, laundry and cooking areas.

According to the CDC, there is evidence that links indoor mold exposure to certain health issues like upper respiratory tract reactions.

So, to keep the air clean and safe in your home, try to keep things as dry as possible!

And if you see or suspect mold growth in your home, give SERVPRO of West Brown County a call. Our technicians are trained to specialize in fast and efficient mold remediation. You can reach us any time at 920-434-8224.

A Different Kind of Cleanup

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

Our crew poses before the clean got underway

At SERVPRO of West Brown County we’re used to cleanups of all kinds, from fire and water damage to biohazard and mold remediation.

However, we recently took part in a clean of a different kind: we adopted a roadway in the Village of Howard close to where our office is located.

About 15 of our team members, along with a few friends and family, volunteered picking up trash along a few miles of roads near our building. We spent about three hours filling about 40 large trash bags full of garbage.

This was a great team-building opportunity for us to work together in a different kind of environment and do something good for our community.

At SERVPRO we appreciate how much this community does for us and we like to give back when we can. This road cleanup was just one way. We’re happy to help keep our hometown cleaner and greener.

It was hard work, but we were lucky to have spent a few hours outside, talking and laughing together…and we lucked out with great weather! (Oh, and the boss got us pizza afterward, so that was an excellent way to wrap things up!)

Next time you’re driving through Howard, maybe you’ll see our ‘Adopt a Roadway’ sign on Velp Avenue!

Navigating the Waters of Flood Safety

5/14/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding photo courtesy of Wisconsin DHS

Spring showers can bring a lot more than flowers this time of year. Depending on where you live those showers can also bring floods.

And just because it’s never flooded where you live before does NOT mean it can’t or won’t happen in the future.

According to Ready Wisconsin, flood risk is based several factors. Those include:

  • Rainfall
  • River Flow
  • Topography
  • Flood-control measures
  • Any changes due to building and development

So, depending on all of that, even if your property has been safe in the past, something could happen to put your home or business in danger of flooding.

FEMA advises buying flood insurance for just this reason. According to FEMA:

  • One inch of water in a home can cause $25,000 worth of damage.
  • Homeowners and renters insurance do not typically cover flooding.
  • More than 20% of flood claims come from properties outside high-risk flood zones.

Ready Wisconsin says a typical flood insurance policy will cost you about $700 a year, but that will, of course, depend on your location and the risk for flooding.

Now that we’ve talked about insurance to protect your property, let’s talk about protecting yourself.

Please remember to be safe if flooding is in the forecast and you’re going to be out and about. According to the CDC, over half of all flood-related drownings happen as a result of vehicles being driven into flood waters. AND, the CDC says, the next most common reason for flood-related drownings is when people walk into or near flood waters.

The experts advise staying away from all kinds of flood waters and any barriers or signs warning about flooding. It’s not worth the risk.

According to Ready Wisconsin, as little as six inches of rushing water can knock over an adult, and as little as two feet of rushing water can sweep away a vehicle as large as a pickup truck or SUV.

So, remember, take care of yourself and your property when floods are in the forecast.

And, as always, if a flood should affect your home or business, we at SERVPRO of West Brown County can help in the recovery process. You can reach us at 920-434-8224.

Clean Your Dryer Vents!

5/10/2018 (Permalink)

Photo of a dryer lint filter courtesy of FEMA.

A clothes dryer is one of those household conveniences most of us can’t imagine living without. But, if you’re not taking a few simple steps to ensure your dryer is safer, the machine could become a veritable tinder box.

Dryer lint is extremely flammable and if you’re not keeping your dryer clean and well-ventilated, you’re putting your home and yourself at risk.

According to FEMA 2,900 home dryer fires are reported yearly. Those fires cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property damage each year.

FEMA says 34% of those fires are caused by failure to properly clean the dryer.

Luckily there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent dryer fires.

FEMA advises:

  • Have the dryer installed by a professional in the first place.
  • Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry and in between cycles, if it needs to run more than once.
  • Clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up.
  • Clean lint out of the vent pipe once every three months.
  • If it’s taking longer than normal for clothes to dry, have a professional inspect it.
  • Ensure the venting system behind the dryer is connected and un-damaged.
  • Check regularly to make sure things like animal nests are not blocking the outside vent.
  • Keep anything flammable away from the dryer.
  • Do not leave the dryer running when you leave home or go to bed.

Something as small as a little bit of lint can be easy to overlook, but it can also have big consequences if you do.

So please keep your dryer clean and your home safe!

And should you experience a fire of any kind, remember, we are here to help with cleaning, recovery and reconstruction. Simply give SERVPRO of West Brown County a call at 920-434-8224.

Showing Compassion Every Day

5/8/2018 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of West Brown County we deal with disasters every, single day. We come in and perform clean up after traumatic incidents like fires, floods and crimes.

It’s not an easy job. However, we understand, as difficult as it is for us to see the aftermath of these tragedies, it is far more difficult for the home and business owners who have to experience them.

These kinds of events throw a person’s world into chaos. It’s our team’s goal of coming in and calming that chaos. We want to help people through the anxiety that comes with these situations.

In that spirit, it is so important that each and every member of our team shows compassion and empathy. That means everyone from the techs who perform the cleanups, to the people who answer the phones, to the sales team out on the road.

Owner Mike Bogenschuetz says he makes it a point to talk with employees about compassion and empathy and how they can show it to people who are going through very difficult times. He says it is an extremely important part of the job.

Mike says clients often compliment our team on their ability to show compassion and understanding. Clients will often tell us the team helped them calm down and better understand the cleanup process.

You can see some of those compliments in the testimonials on our website and in the online reviews on our Google, Yelp and Facebook pages.

It is our ultimate goal to help you recover from a traumatic event as quickly and inexpensively as possible. We want you to be able to get back to normal life.

We hope that you never need us, but we’re here for you if you do. Just call 920-434-8224.

Meet Bill Miner: Production Manager at SERVPRO of West Brown County

5/8/2018 (Permalink)

Bill Miner

This week, we at SERVPRO of West Brown County would like to introduce you to Bill, our production manager.

In November it will be Bill’s 10th anniversary working here and he does a lot to keep the business running on a daily basis. Some of his main responsibilities include: coordinating crews with the work they’ll be doing, completing initial walkthroughs of potential jobs and projects the crews will be taking on, and determining the types of equipment necessary to get the work done.

Bill says he enjoys working here because he likes the fact that no two days are the same so, ‘you never get bored.’ Bill also says he enjoys the work because he gets to help people who are sometimes in ‘very dire straits.’

Bill was born in Los Angeles, California; he grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and he’s lived here in Wisconsin for about 15 years. Bill says he enjoys living in Wisconsin, because there are a lot of great parks all across the state, so there’s always something fun to do outside.

Bill has been married to his wife Barb for 13 years. They have four children: three boys and a girl. He says in his spare time he enjoys ‘being a father.’

Putting it All Back Together Again

5/3/2018 (Permalink)

This photo shows the office after we removed the floorboards and before we got everything completely dry.

In Mid-April the Green Bay area was hit by a blizzard. The storm left about two feet of snow all over.

This led to many calls to SERVPRO of West Brown County for issues like broken sump pumps and water damage. However, one call was particularly interesting.

A commercial property was stuck with that wet, heavy snow on its roof. The challenge of holding that weight was too much for the roof and a section collapsed. That collapse caused a broken sprinkler head. Those combined led to water all over the building, including the office.

SERVPRO of West Brown County came in to take care of that water.

Our crews removed everything from the office: we took down cubicles and removed floorboards. Then the team brought in equipment, like our fans and dehumidifiers, and got everything dry. We also got rid of any debris from the incident.

After the drying process was done, we put everything back together again. That required rebuilding the office from, almost, the ground up. That entailed replacing the floorboards, putting the cubicles back together and moving all of the furniture and other equipment back in.

Once we were done the office was as good as new once more.

The entire process took only days. We were called in Monday morning for the water damage and everything was back in place by Friday afternoon.

This story is just one example of how SERVPRO of West Brown County works in an efficient, fast and professional manner. Our goal is to get your business, or home, back in order quickly and at the lowest cost with the best work possible.

For any type of water, fire, mold, storm, biohazard or crime scene clean up and/or restoration we are here for you. Reach us any time at 920-434-8224.

Meet Beki DeMoulin: Office Manager at SERVPRO of West Brown County

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Beki DeMoulin

It’s time for another profile to help you get to know the people who work at SERVPRO of West Brown County.

Today we’re introducing you to our office manager Beki DeMoulin. Beki keeps the day-to-day operations running smoothly.

Beki has worked here for three and a half years and, as the office manager, she is responsible for quite a lot. Among her responsibilities are: working with the SERVPRO corporate office, working with insurance companies, handling billing, ensuring all employees are following safety standards, ensuring that the business is compliant with all necessary guidelines.

It’s safe to say we would struggle to get everything done without Beki.

Beki says she likes working here because the job is never boring. She likes that every day is different because every project the team works on is “different, fresh and new.”

Beki is originally from West De Pere and says she likes living in her home state because of ‘the four seasons.’ She says it’s nice to be able to experience fall, winter, spring and summer, ‘sometimes in the same week!’

In what little spare time she has outside of work, Beki enjoys golfing, gardening, fishing and golfing. (She and her fiancé really enjoy golfing!

Beki recently got engaged and is the mom of twin sons who will be turning 24-years-old in June!

It's Easy Being Green

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of West Brown County we’re invested in being green and that goes for more than just our famous trucks.

Our interest in being environmentally friendly starts with the building we operate from. Our home base is an office and a large shop in the Village of Howard. On the roof you can see a few dozen solar panels.

Those panels produce the majority of the electricity we use here. The investment was a large one up front, but we’ve found it’s definitely worth it to produce clean electricity for our own use.

Outside our home base, we’re concerned with conservation as well.

When we work on a home or business that’s been damaged by an incident like a fire or flooding, we try hard to salvage as much of the items in that home or business as possible. We work on cleaning and restoring furniture, for example, instead of throwing it out. That way less trash ends up in the dump AND we’re able to save our clients money. If clients can keep their old belongings after an incident, they don’t have to spend money to buy new ones.

When we DO need to remove items that are beyond repair from a home or business, we make sure as little of those wind up in the dump as possible. That means we ensure whatever can be recycled is recycled and that all materials, be they metals or electronics, get to the right locations.

Being as environmentally friendly as possible is important to us. So is saving you money. Luckily there are a lot of times when those two goals go hand in hand and we take advantage of them when they do.

We’re all about being green and saving green at SERVPRO of West Brown County.

Wildfires: Watches and Warnings

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

National Weather Service photo of a wildfire

In our last blog post we discussed wildfires. We took a look at how you can help prevent wildfires and how you can protect your property against them.

Now let’s take a look at what you need to know when it comes to the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Watches and warnings for wildfires. Do you know the difference between a red flag warning and a fire weather watch? If not, it’s an important distinction.

Let us break it down for you:

  • Fire Weather Watch: According to the NWS, a Fire Weather Watch is when you need to PREPARE, because weather conditions over the next 12 to 48 hours are expected to create a critical risk for wildfires.
  • Red Flag Warning: According to the NWS, a Red Flag Warning is when you need to TAKE ACTION, because this is the alert that is sent out when fire conditions are ongoing or are expected to occur within the next 24 hours.
  • Extreme Fire Behavior: This is the alert the NWS will put out when an already ongoing wildfire is likely to rage out of control. To send out this alert, one of the following conditions must be met:
    • The fire is moving fast.
    • There is prolific crowning, meaning the tree canopy is catching on fire, or spotting, which means embers from the main fire are blowing to new areas, starting new fires.
    • Presence of fire whirls, which are like tornadoes of flame.
    • A strong convection column, which is a column of gases, smoke and ash that is rising out of the wildfire.

Don’t forget, the Wisconsin DNR is another resource you can turn to in order to find out more about the risk of wildfires in your area and how you can work to keep yourself safe.

And if a wildfire leaves its mark on your property, SERVPRO of West Brown County is here to help you recover and rebuild from any flame, smoke or soot damage. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.

Many Kinds of Mold

4/29/2018 (Permalink)

Photo of mold growing inside a home in the Green Bay area

Mold remediation is one of the most common jobs we help our clients with.

Because of that we’ve focused some recent blog posts on mold: where it’s likely to grow in your home, what to expect if you call us for help with remediation.

But did you know there are many kinds of mold that can affect your property?

We do know there are more than 100,000 species of mold that exist in the world. Not all of these can or will affect your home or office, but there are five main kinds you’re likely to encounter:

  • Alternaria – is a genus of mold, meaning there are several species that are contained within it. Alternaria tends to grow in thick green, gray or black colonies. According to health experts it can affect a person's health.
  • Aspergillus – is a genus of mold. One of the species is a main component of mildew. Health experts say some species of Aspergillus can affect a person's health.
  • Cladosporium – Is another mold genus. The species within Cladosporium grow in olive-green, brown or black colonies. Cladosporium is rarely known to have adverse health effects on people.
  • Penicillium – This mold genus contains over 300 species, some of which are used to make the medicine Penicillin, some of which are used to make cheese. However, some of those species can be commonly found growing in blue or blue-green colonies on plywood, carpet and inside walls. 
  • Stachybotrys chartarum – is the mold species the CDC considers ‘black mold,’ which you’ve likely heard of as ‘toxic mold.’ This species grows in greenish-black colonies and is actually NOT toxic. The CDC CAN have an effect on people's health, particularly those with weakened immune systems. (We wrote a full blog on this mold a few weeks back)

So now that we’ve told you a little bit about some of the different kinds of molds are out there, let us remind you that we can help clean up and mitigate ALL of them. So, if you’ve found mold growing in your home or business, reach out to SERVPRO of West Brown County at 920-434-8224.

Wildfire Awareness

4/26/2018 (Permalink)

Photo of a wildfire from the Wisconsin DNR

As Smokey Bear says, ‘only you can prevent wildfires.’

And, according to the Wisconsin DNR, spring is the riskiest time of year for wildfires across the state. Summer is a close second in that department.

The DNR says spring is especially dangerous once the snow melts, because even a few days without rain can lead to dry grasses, pine needles, and leaves. Combine those dry fuels with lower humidity, warmer temperatures and blustery winds and you have conditions that can easily create fast moving wildfires.

What Smokey says is certainly true too, because, according to the DNR, 98% of wildfires in Wisconsin are caused by people.

Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Burning debris
  • Using equipment and vehicles like lawnmowers and ATVs
  • Campfires
  • Fireworks
  • Railroads
  • Smoking
  • Power lines
  • Arson

There are some precautions you, personally, can take to prevent these fires:

  • Have water on hand any time you burn or build a campfire.
  • Fully put out a burn or campfire by drowning it with water, stirring it, drowning it again and feeling the area with the back of your hand to ensure it’s no longer warm. If it is warm, drown and stir it again!
  • Do not use equipment like lawnmowers on especially dry days as they can spark, leading to fires.
  • If you see smoke along the railroad tracks, call 911 and report it.
  • Do not throw lit cigarettes away outside.

Now, depending on where you live and play, your home or other property could be at risk from wildfires. The DNR says your property is especially vulnerable if it’s in a rural or wooded area surrounded by tall grasses or trees like pines and oaks.

The National Fire Protection Association has named May 5th, 2018 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. So, now is a good time to know the risk at your own property and take some precautions.

The DNR recommends:

  • Rake leaves away from your house and from under your deck.
  • Remove leaves and pine needles from your gutters.
  • Clear a five-foot zone around your building of any flammable materials.
  • Move firewood at least 30 feet from your home.

If you see a Smokey Bear sign in your community, take note of what it says. If Smokey says there’s a risk for fire danger, believe him and take precautions.

And if a wildfire should ever affect your Green Bay area property, SERVPRO of West Brown County is always here for you. We can help clean, restore and rebuild following any damage. Just pick up the phone and call us any time, day or night at 920-434-8224.

Meet Bill Kupsh: Sales and Marketing Representative for SERVPRO of West Brown County

4/25/2018 (Permalink)

Bill Kupsh

For this week’s profile, allow us to introduce Bill Kupsh. Bill is a Sales and Marketing Representative for Team SERVPRO of West Brown County.

Bill will celebrate his second anniversary with us this August. His job here is to develop new business and maintain current relationships with commercial accounts in the Green Bay area. Bill has decades of experience in the business world, even owning his own business at one point.

Bill says he enjoys working at SERVPRO because we “provide a much-needed service,” elaborating on that idea Bill remarks that we “help people out of situations that they don’t know there’s help for.” Bill likes being part of a team that provides that help when it’s needed most.

Bill is originally from a small town in Manitowoc County called Menchalville. He grew up on a farm! Bill says he likes living in his home state because he loves outdoor recreation of all kinds. Bill is an avid deer hunter, both with a bow and gun, and a devoted fisherman. He says it’s never boring in Wisconsin.

In his spare time, Bill tries to get outside to enjoy those recreational activities. He also enjoys doing small home projects and rummage sales.

Bill has been married to his wife Amy, a teacher, for nearly 21 years. They celebrate their anniversary in May. Bill and Amy have three children, a son and two daughters. The family also has a dog!

Bill says the key to his success in life is that he never stops learning.

The Mold Remediation Process

4/24/2018 (Permalink)

Mold growing inside a home in the Green Bay area.

Recently we posted a video about a process the team at SERVPRO of West Brown County works on a lot: mold remediation. We thought a good idea would be to expand upon that video with a blog post explaining what you can expect when you call us in to your home or business for a mold remediation project.

As we’ve said in the past, mold will grow on wet, porous materials. The longer something like drywall or carpeting is wet, the more likely it is to experience mold growth.

So, at the first sign of fungus, call us at 920-434-8224.

Once our technicians arrive, they will do a full check to see where the mold is growing. Then they will set up a containment space to ensure mold spores do not travel outside of the affected areas.

The techs will set up that containment space by creating a negative air chamber by putting up actual plastic barriers. Then they will run a high-efficiency air scrubber that will contain the mold spores and keep the rest of the air in the building clean.

Our team may need to remove some affected building materials like drywall and carpeting if they experience mold growth. Often, those kinds of materials are not salvageable after mold. The technicians will clean any structural materials that cannot be taken out with a mold stain removal product.

In the final step of the mold remediation process itself, team members will spray anti-bacterial and anti-microbial solution over the affected areas to ensure they’re as clean as possible.

Our employees can also perform any reconstruction or rebuilding that may need to be done as a result of the mold remediation process.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at the first sign of mold.

What Drives Us

4/22/2018 (Permalink)

This is the vision board we look at every day during our morning meetings at work.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County we do this work because we want to serve the community. We have a vision that drives us every day to do the best work we can.

To help you get to know us a little bit better, we thought we should share a little bit more about that vision. We recently posted a video talking about it, let’s take more of an in-depth look here on the blog:

First, what is our VISION?

  • “To be the premier disaster restoration and clean up company in Green Bay and the surrounding areas.”

So how do we achieve that vision? By completing the MISSION of “Bringing order to chaotic situations” by:

  • Providing excellent customer service
  • Using the latest restoration techniques
  • Utilizing industry certified professionals

And we complete that mission by following these CORE VALUES every, single day:

  • Integrity – Doing the right thing when no one is looking.
  • Team Player – We accomplish much more together when we combine our talents and have each other’s backs.
  • Positive Attitude – Leads to success and happiness.
  • Accountability – Own your actions and be proud of them.
  • Be Prepared – Start each day with the right tools, equipment and game plan.

SERVPRO’s philosophy is that we will only be successful by following all of these: the values, mission and vision. The idea is that all of them combined will ensure we are doing the best, most efficient and most cost-effective work for our customers.

Our team is ready and waiting to do any work you might need in the areas of mold remediation, water damage, fire damage and biohazard. We are available over the phone at 920-434-8224 all day, every day. Be a part of our vision by letting us be there for you.

Where Mold Could Be Hiding in Your House

4/20/2018 (Permalink)

This is a photo of mold at a Green Bay area home before we cleaned it up.

As we’ve said in the past, mold can be a very tricky fungus, sometimes growing behind walls and under carpets. But did you know there are areas all over your home mold could be hiding?

It’s true and it can happen even if you don’t experience a flooded home. Luckily, there are some things you can do to try to stop mold from growing.  Many of these good practices involve keeping materials dry and ensuring good air circulation.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of rooms you might find mold and advice for stopping it in its tracks:

  • The attic or roof: the EPA says not to ignore wet spots up here and have any leaks fixed ASAP. 
  • Bedrooms and closets: the EPA says not to ignore wet or flaking paint. Try to keep the humidity levels to between 30% and 60%.
  • Bathrooms: all the water and steam here can cause mold growth. Try to run the exhaust fan or open a window when showering.
  • Kitchen: leaking pipes can lurk under the sink, get them fixed! Cooking can also cause humidity, so run your kitchen’s exhaust fan.
  • Basement: keep a dehumidifier down here and ensure your clothes dryer is properly vented to the outside.
  • Yard: water pooling around the house can lead to moisture inside. Set up outdoor drainpipes at least five feet from the foundation and ensure land around the house slopes downward and away from the house.
  • Windows: condensation on windows can be a sign of high indoor humidity!

The EPA says mold can cause immediate or delayed allergic reactions and can also cause asthma attacks in people who suffer from asthma. In addition, mold can irritate the eyes, skin, throat, nose and lungs of people with and without allergies. According to the EPA, research into mold’s effect on people’s health is ongoing.

To help ensure healthy air quality, SERVPRO of West Brown County is fully prepared to handle mold remediation at your Green Bay area home or business. You can always reach us at 920-434-8224.

And be on the lookout for our next blog post where we’ll describe and explain the equipment and techniques our team uses to clean up mold. That post will go live in two days!

Keep Your Sump Pump Performing

4/19/2018 (Permalink)

Photo of a sump pump failure from a home in the Green Bay area

Only a week after experiencing an APRIL blizzard, Northeast Wisconsin is enjoying a warm up. And as about two feet of snow starts to melt rapidly, we at SERVPRO of West Brown County have been busy.

One issue that’s come up from several clients over the last few days is sump pump failure. When a sump pump fails, that can lead to water in your basement and other parts of your home. That rogue water can go on to cause property damage.

So, we thought now might be a good time to put out some friendly reminders about sump pumps!

First, what exactly is a sump pump?

Well, a sump pump, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a pump that’s often connected to your home’s electrical system. The pump is used to remove any water that collects in your home’s sump basin. The sump basin is typically in your basement to collect any water that makes its way inside thanks to issues like rain or ground water.

If the pump fails for whatever reason, any water that collects in the sump basin can eventually overflow into the basement and beyond. Because of that, some of the pumps come with battery-powered back-ups. HOWEVER, they don’t all have back-ups!!

And now is the moment we encourage you to check your sump pump to ensure it’s working properly! Here’s what you need to look for or do:

  • If it’s running and seems to be running smoothly, that’s good!
  • If the sump pump is not running, look a little closer to make sure it’s in good condition:
    • Make sure the pump is upright.
    • Check for any signs of damage, wear, or tear.
    • Clean any dirt or debris out of the sump pit.
    • You can test the pump by pouring a bucket of water into the pit. If the pump activates and the water drains quickly you’re in good shape.
    • If the pump does not activate or appears damaged in anyway, fix it or call for maintenance right away.

Now that you’re back from checking your sump pump, if you’ve found it quit on you leaving water where it doesn’t belong, give us a call. We are here for you at 920-434-8224!

If everything is in order, that’s great news! Enjoy the warm weather!

Either way, experts recommend giving your sump pump a checkup once a year, but it certainly can’t hurt to do so more often if rain storms, snow melts, or any surprise spring blizzards are in the forecast

What You Need to Know: Generator Safety

4/18/2018 (Permalink)

Photo of a generator from the Wisconsin Red Cross.

As we’ve been writing recently about severe weather season and preparing for any possible flooding or storms, we thought it might be a good idea to tackle generators.

Generators are always great to have as a backup if your home or business loses power during a storm, but they can pose serious dangers if you’re not careful.

According to the American Red Cross the biggest dangers generators can pose are fires, electrocution and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

The Red Cross has a long list of safety measures to take if you need to use a generator personally.

  • Turn the generator off and let it cool before refueling. Hot fuel can spark a fire.
  • Keep the generator dry. Do not use in wet conditions.
  • NEVER plug a generator into a wall outlet. That puts you and your neighbors at risk of electrocution.
  • Read instructions thoroughly to avoid overloading the generator. Also, stagger use to avoid overloads. Overloads can lead to over-heating, which can lead to fires.
  • NEVER use a generator inside your home or inside ANY partially enclosed space.
  • Don’t put your generator close to windows or vents to avoid letting CO inside your home.
  • Put CO detectors up in your home.
  • If the CO alarm goes off, leave the building, go outside into fresh air and call 911 for help. Stay outside until help arrives.

Hopefully you won’t need the help of a generator this spring or summer, but if you do, please remember this advice.

And, also remember that if you do experience any fire, storm or water damage issues, West Brown County. Call anytime at 920-434-8224.

Meet Jim Knopf: Sales and Marketing Manager for SERVPRO of West Brown County

4/18/2018 (Permalink)

Jim Knopf

In this week’s profile, we would like to introduce you to Jim Knopf. Jim is our Sales and Marketing Manager and he’s worked at SERVPRO of West Brown County for seven years.

Jim’s job is to travel around Northeast Wisconsin meeting with and calling on all sorts of clients from insurance agents and adjusters to property managers and business owners. Jim meets with these folks and explains the work SERVPRO does in terms of mold remediation, fire and water damage restoration, biohazard cleanup and more.

Jim says he enjoys working here because he likes his fellow employees and the atmosphere. According to Jim the restoration business is a competitive one and the SERVPRO team is always striving to be on top. Jim likes working hard to be number one in the business.

Jim is originally from Milwaukee and says he is happy to be in his home state (despite the spring snow storms!) because this is where his family and friends are.

Jim fills up his spare time by working in the community. He is a member of several organizations, both local and international, like the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Howard-Suamico Business and Professional Association and the International Facility Management Association.

Jim has been married to his wife Irma for 34 years. Together they have a son who lives in Hartford, Wisconsin and a daughter who lives in San Francisco. Jim and Irma are grandparents to two grandchildren.

In addition to everything else Jim has done for his workplace, his community and his family, Jim is an Army Veteran. He served during the Vietnam War. SERVPRO of West Brown County is grateful for his service and is lucky to have him on the team.

First Comes the Blizzard, Then Comes the Flood

4/18/2018 (Permalink)

Be sure to shovel snow away from the foundation of your property to try to keep water from getting inside as the snow melts.

As you travel around Northeast Wisconsin it’s impossible to miss the snow piles and drifts climbing several feet high. Thanks to a spring blizzard, communities across the area are dealing with the aftermath of about two feet of the pesky precipitation.

For the first few days, clearing snow from driveways and sidewalks has taken up most home and business owners’ time and concerns. However, with warmer temperatures in the forecast, the piles of snow will soon be turning into puddles, LARGE, FLOWING puddles of water.

If you’re concerned about the snow or the water damaging your property, SERVPRO has some advice to try in the coming days:

  • Prevent roof collapse: use a snow rake to clear your roof or hire a professional to shovel it.
  • Prevent ice dams: keep your attic cool, significantly cooler than the rest of your home, to ensure the roof stays cool.
  • Clear snow: shovel snow away from your foundation, sweep snow away from doors and windows.
  • Clear drains: unclog snow from drainage pipes and catch basins to ensure water can flow freely away from your property.
  • Check your sump pump to be sure it’s working properly.
  • Rearrange basement storage: clear areas around appliances, put anything valuable or that cannot get wet up off the ground.

SERVPRO of West Brown County has been busy this week responding to homes and businesses that have experienced damage thanks to the blizzard. Our team is ready to help you too if you experience any kind of collapse or water damage from the storm or the flood that is likely to follow. You can reach us 24 hours a day at 920-434-8224.

IICRC: A Certification You Can Trust

4/16/2018 (Permalink)

Our IICRC Certification Plaque.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County we are an IICRC Certified Firm. You may not know what that means just yet, but it’s a big deal when it comes to the work we do.

Here’s why:

IICRC stands for Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. It is an international, not-for-profit organization that sets the standards for “technical excellence” in our field.

The IICRC covers all aspects of the work SERVPRO does, including: fire restoration, water damage restoration, mold remediation and inspection, as well as floor and upholstery cleaning.

To become IICRC certified a firm like ours needs to employ a certain number of certified technicians AND the owner needs to be certified as well.

For an individual to become certified they need to attend classes in person then take and pass tests from the organization.

The IICRC has become so trusted in this industry, because it creates the standards we need to work under by gathering peer-reviewed, industry-accepted best practices from around the world to ensure certified technicians are working as safely and efficiently as possible.

We’re at a point where some insurance companies will refuse to work with firms that are not IICRC certified. That’s how important this is.

Our IICRC certification means you can rest assured in the knowledge that SERVPRO of West Brown County will do the best, safest work for you, at the best price and in a timely manner.

We are available any time day or night if you need us for help following a fire, flood, storm or mold growth in the Green Bay area. We’re also here if you need help cleaning up your home or office. Call us at 920-434-8224.

Spring into the Season Safely

4/14/2018 (Permalink)

A photo of a smoke alarm from the CDC.

At SERVPRO of West Brown County we know fires can strike at any time of the day or night. We also know how devastating, even deadly those fires can be.

One great way to protect yourself and your family is to make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home. The key word here is WORKING.

The National Safety Council (NSC) has a spring safety checklist for you to check off when doing your annual spring cleaning. Number one on the list? Check those smoke alarms.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) goes a step further saying smoke alarms SAVE LIVES.

An NFPA study shows:

  • A smoke alarm sounds in about half of U.S. home fires on average.
  • Three of every five home fire deaths occur in houses where there are no smoke alarms, or no working smoke alarms.
  • About 70% of the incidents in which the alarms do NOT sound the batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.

There are simple steps you can and should take this spring to make sure your smoke alarms are ready to go. The NSC advises:

  • Test your alarms at least once a month.
  • Change you alarm batteries at least once a year.
  • If an alarm is making a chirping sound, replace the battery immediately.
  • Put alarms up in each bedroom and common room on each floor of your home.

Going hand in hand with smoke alarms are carbon monoxide detectors. The NSC describes carbon monoxide (CO) as an “invisible, odorless gas, and it can kill you.”

The NSC has advice about protecting yourself from CO gas:

  • Anything that burns fuel can produce CO.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed outside each bedroom and on every level of your house.
  • You should test the batteries monthly and change them yearly.

As we get deeper into spring it’s a good idea to go through this checklist to ensure your family is as safe as possible when it comes to fire and carbon monoxide.

Please protect yourself and if a fire should affect your property, we are here for you. Our SERVPRO team is well-prepared to clean up and provide any necessary reconstruction services. You can reach us at 920-434-8224.

Water Damage By the Numbers

4/12/2018 (Permalink)

A photo of a water damage situation our team at SERVPRO of West Brown County handled.

At SERVPRO, we are prepared for any kind of water damage or flooding you might experience at your home or business.

However, not all water damage situations are created equal. There are several categories that these situations can fall into that determine how dangerous they are to you and to our teams doing the cleanup. They also determine the amount of work needed to do the mitigation. It’s important you know what we mean when we talk about these categories if you ever have a water damage situation of your own.

So, let’s consider the categories:

Category 1: “Clean Water”

  • Clean Water is any water that comes from a sanitary water source.
  • Clean Water does not post any substantial risks to people’s health.
  • An example of Clean Water would be any leaking from a water supply pipe.

Category 2: “Gray Water”

  • Gray Water is water that contains significant contamination.
  • Gray Water has the potential to cause people discomfort or sickness.
  • Some examples of Gray Water are leaks from washing machines, dishwashers and water beds.

Category 3: “Black Water”

  • Black Water is water that is grossly, or extremely contaminated.
  • Black Water can contain pathogens, toxins or other harmful materials.
  • Black Water can make people seriously ill.
  • Some examples of Black Water are sewage backups, flood waters, and backups from a toilet trap.

Outside of the three main categories there are also special situations where an expert besides SERVPRO might need to aid in clean up. Those special situations include water leaks or losses that contain regulated or hazardous materials like mercury, lead, asbestos, pesticides and fuels.

When it comes to those three main categories, SERVPRO of West Brown County is prepared to help you recover from whatever loss might occur. For the more serious categories our team members will need to wear protective gear, because those categories can be very dangerous to people’s health. Depending on the situation our team members will use different methods to clean up, like using antimicrobial products to ensure the environment is safe.

It’s very important for you to know that a category can change over time. For example, a Category 1 can turn into a Category 2 if the water sits around for a day or more or even a category 3 if it sits for more than 3 days or mixes with certain building materials or very dirty situations.

So, if you have any unwanted water issues, it’s best to reach out to us for help ASAP to keep damage and costs at a minimum. You can do that by calling us at 920-434-8224 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Meet Georgia Bogenschuetz: Owner of SERVPRO West Brown County

4/12/2018 (Permalink)

Georgia Bogenschuetz

In last week’s profile we introduced you to SERVPRO of West Brown County’s owner Mike Bogenschuetz, now we introduce you to his wife and the other owner of the franchise, Georgia Bogenschuetz.

Georgia and Mike have owned this franchise for five years this June. Over the years Georgia has been working in the office, taking care of bookkeeping and human resources matters. Georgia also makes sure to help Mike, her husband of 30 years come December, stay organized!

When asked why she likes being an owner and working here, Georgia responds that she loves the employees here. She says the team members are a dedicated and compassionate group of people who are wonderful to be around.

Georgia says SERVPRO “helps people who really need help,” people who’ve been affected by tragedies like fire and flooding. So, the employees must be understanding and compassionate. She says the people at SERVPRO of East Brown County go above and beyond what is expected in that regard and that’s why she likes being here.

Like Mike, in her spare time Georgia likes to get out in nature. The two own property with a lot of wooded area and they enjoy hiking and riding ATV’s through the woods. Georgia enjoys hiking so much she says most of the Bogenschuetz family vacations are to places where they can hike.

And like Mike, Georgia is very proud of their 24-year-old daughter Taylor, a recent graduate of UW-Madison.

Georgia is originally from Elkhart Lake. She says she enjoys living in her home state because “this is where family is.”

SERVPRO of West Brown County Dries Your Home or Business with Science

4/12/2018 (Permalink)

Drying your home or business with science!

Did you there is actually a science behind the drying process? Having the knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water-damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a fan or two around the damaged area, SERVPRO professionals are trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages. These processes include inspecting the building to detect every component that is wet, measuring how much moisture is in the wet materials, monitoring whether the materials are drying properly and speeding up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
The bottom line is SERVPRO of West Brown County has the training and equipment to help make water damage "Like it never even happened." Call SERVPRO of West Brown County at 920-434-8224.

'Tis the Season for Spring Cleaning

4/10/2018 (Permalink)

As spring arrives, nature wakes up. The world turns green again, flowers bloom and the birds build their nests.

And as all this happens, we humans start to think of our nests as well: our homes and offices.

SERVPRO of West Brown County has what business and home owners need to get spring cleaning done right. Our team can freshen up your surroundings with HVAC cleaning, for starters. We are also trained to use state-of-the-art equipment to get your carpets their cleanest and focus on stain removal. We can even help you out with tasks like drapery cleaning, hard floor cleaning and deodorization.

If you need help getting rid of unwanted clutter, we can use our muscle to haul away any trash or unwanted items like furniture. Get that garage or basement cleaned out for the season!

For the homeowner, you may want to tackle some spring cleaning at your abode on your own.

And for you, we ask (as we often do) that you consider your safety when making plans for a big clean.

If you’re going to be using chemical cleaners inside your home Consumer Reports has some tips to play it safe:

  • Open windows in your home to keep fresh air flowing.
  • Read labels on the products you use to see if anything is potentially harmful.
  • Make sure to NEVER mix ammonia and bleach.
  • If you need to move furniture and other heavy objects, get someone to help you.
  • Don’t do more than you physically can.

Of course, spring isn’t just a time to focus on our “nests,” it’s a time when a lot of us want to get out in our yards. Fall and winter can leave behind a bit of a mess and spring is a great time to make it beautiful once more.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has advice for getting the yard back in order safely:

  • Dress appropriately for the work you’re doing. If you’re going to use power tools, avoid loose-fitting clothes.
  • Walk around the yard or garden first to clear out debris like sticks, stones or even trash.
  • Use any necessary safety equipment like goggles or gloves.
  • Read all safety instructions and test power tools before using them.
  • Never work with electric power tools in wet conditions.
  • Handle gas cautiously, keep it away from spark or flame.
  • Be sure any extension cords are in good condition.

Use your best judgment as you sweep the winter blues out of your home and yard while the world turns green again.

With cleaning your home or office, keep in mind, we can help with a lot of the heavy lifting. We have the tools and experience to get your surroundings looking and SMELLING their best. So, if there is anything we can do to help give us a call 920-434-8224.

Getting Serious About Severe Weather

4/9/2018 (Permalink)

A CDC graphic with reminders about preparing for and staying safe during severe weather.

The term “severe weather” covers a whole lot of activity that can affect people across the country on any given day, at any given time.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Americans deal with thousands of these weather events yearly.

Here’s a quick look at some of NOAA’s numbers for an average year:

  • 10,000 severe thunderstorms
  • 5,000 floods or flash floods
  • 1,300 tornadoes
  • 2 land-falling, deadly hurricanes
  • Approximately 98% of all Presidentially-declared disasters are weather-related
  • 650 deaths
  • $15 billion in damage

To be prepared for severe weather, it helps to first know the hazards that can affect you, your family and your property.

In the Green Bay area, the National Weather Service (NWS) says we’re at risk for severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, flooding and, of course, winter storms. You’ve probably experienced a few of these in your time here (we know we have!).

At SERVPRO we recommend being prepared for the worst as we head into the warmest months of the year. According to the NWS, we’re much more likely to see those severe thunderstorms, floods and tornadoes during the spring and summer (although they can strike any time!).

To prepare we advise getting a NOAA weather radio and taking a look at the FEMA app, which we discussed in a previous blog post. That way you can hear about any watches or warnings headed your way and make sure to seek safe shelter.

It’s also a good time to come up with an emergency plan for your family and your business, put together or buy an emergency kit and keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.

SERVPRO also advises that you spread the word to your friends and family once you have your own plans in place. Post on your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter that you have plans for staying during severe weather. Your good example could lead others to do the same.

If storms or floods come your way, remember SERVPRO of West Brown County can always help you out in the aftermath. We are here for your storm and water damage recovery needs. Just pick up the phone and dial 920-434-8224.

Just please be sure to take care of yourself and your family first.

Illuminating: Lightning Safety

4/8/2018 (Permalink)

A photo showing a lightning strike from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Did you know lightning strikes occur in the United States about 25 million times each year?

That statistic is according to the National Weather Service, or NWS, and is especially important to think about this time of year. According to the NWS, lightning is more likely to strike during the summer months, although it can happen any time of year.

The NWS says about 47 people, on average, are killed by lightning strikes, with hundreds more being injured.

Fortunately, there are ways to keep yourself safe.

If you’re able, the first piece of advice is to find shelter, preferably inside your own home.

If you are at home, the National Weather Service has several tips to stay safe:

  • Stay off corded phones (you CAN use cell phones).
  • Avoid plumbing: do not take a shower or wash your hands.
  • Stay away from windows and doors.
  • Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.
  • Bring your pets inside.
  • Remember that typical surge protectors will NOT protect against surges caused by lightning strikes.

If you are unable to get to shelter, the NWS advises you take these steps:

  • Avoid open fields and hilltops.
  • Stay away from tall, isolated trees or objects
  • Stay away from water.
  • Try to get into a low-lying area or keep heading toward shelter.
  • If you’re in a group, spread out to avoid a strike hitting multiple people.

Lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun, reaching temperatures of around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

And that hot, hot heat CAN cause fires. About 24,600 fires are caused by lightning in the United States each year, according to the NWS. Of those, about 4,400 are house fires.

In our line of work at SERVPRO of West Brown County we know just how much damage house fires can do. They can be devastating for families.

It’s unfortunate we know the damage, but luckily, we also know how to fix a lot of that damage. Our crews have the knowledge and experience to help you recover if the unthinkable happens. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.

And always remember, despite the old saying, lightning can and often DOES strike the same place twice.

Preparing for the Worst: the FEMA App

4/6/2018 (Permalink)

A photo of the app from FEMA that shows the front page and the features it offers.

Spring has officially sprung (although some days the weather doesn’t quite feel that way!) and once spring has arrived, severe weather is often just around the corner. Are you prepared?

One tool we like at SERVPRO of West Brown County is the FEMA app. The cell phone app is free for iOS and Android devices and comes with a lot of cool features to help keep you safe in any kind of disaster.

The first feature provides weather alerts. You can input up to five different locations in the app to keep track of any alerts for severe weather watches or warnings in those areas.

The app also helps you get ready in the event a disaster should strike. It provides emergency safety tips and reminders, gives a checklist for building an emergency kit and allows you to set up an emergency meeting place with your loved ones.

Under the safety tips feature there is a laundry list of different topics the app provides information for. Just a few of those examples are tornadoes, house fires, floods and even cyber security.

If you end up experiencing a disaster, the app has more features that allow you to apply for assistance online, find a shelter and talk directly to someone at an area disaster recovery center.

The app also gives you the ability to share any disaster photos you might take, connect to FEMA’s Blog and call 911. The photos you share can help first responders and emergency managers in their recovery efforts.

With spring and summer often bringing severe weather, it certainly can’t hurt to be prepared and have prior warnings.

And while we’re on the subject of warnings, what’s the difference between a storm watch and a storm warning?

According to the National Weather Service, a severe thunderstorm or tornado WATCH is put out when there is a POSSIBILITY of a severe thunderstorm or tornado in that area. The WATCH does not mean the storms will actually happen.

The National Weather Service says a severe thunderstorm or tornado WARNING is put out when severe storms are actually occurring in that area, or tornadoes are imminent.

And if a disaster should strike, affecting your property. Remember, SERVPRO of West Brown County can help in the recovery efforts. We can repair storm damage and remediate any flooding or fire damage that might result. Call us anytime day or night at 920-434-8224.

Meet Mike Bogenschuetz: Owner of SERVPRO West Brown County

4/5/2018 (Permalink)

Mike Bogenschuetz

To help you get to know the people who work for our SERVPRO team, we’re going to be doing weekly profiles of the employees. This way you can know us before you need us to help in any restoration or remediation work.

For our first profile, we’re introducing you to Mike Bogenschuetz. Mike is the owner of the SERVPRO of West Brown County franchise. In June this year Mike will be celebrating five years as owner of this clean up, restoration and reconstruction business that was started in Green Bay.  The business is celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary!

After spending 32 years working in the corporate world, for a large company, Mike decided it was time to branch out and become a small business owner. He says he specifically got into the restoration and remediation work with SERVPRO, because it’s a business that is here to help people when they need it most.

When asked what he likes most about his job, he has two answers. First, he reiterates that this is a business that helps people. He says, “it’s great to know the impact we have on clients when we bring order to the chaos by helping restore a home or business that’s been hit with water, fire or mold damage.”

The second thing Mike likes most about this job is that, because he is running a small business, he is able to have a hand in everything that goes on and not have to deal with the bureaucracy of larger organizations. Mike gets to do a little bit of everything, which keeps him very busy.

However, in the free time that he does have, Mike enjoys getting outside in the Wisconsin seasons doing things like golfing, riding his ATV through the woods, kayaking and hiking.

Of course, any free time he has, he makes sure to spend it with his family. He has been married to his wife Georgia for 30 years this year. They have a 24-year-old daughter, Taylor, who just graduated from UW-Madison. And we can’t forget, the family loves their two dogs Bella and Boo as well!

Mike is originally from Sheboygan and says he loves living in his home state of Wisconsin because the people here are “down to Earth, kind and hardworking.” He is happy to be part of Green Bay community and is a year-round Packer Backer!

A Word About Black Mold

4/4/2018 (Permalink)

A photo of black mold growth from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

You’ve likely heard of black mold or, as some call it, “toxic mold.” The information about this fungus can be confusing and downright alarming, depending on what, exactly, you’ve heard.

According to the CDC, the term “toxic mold” is incorrect. The black mold, scientifically known as Stachybotrys chartarum, is not actually poisonous.

The CDC says there IS evidence, however, that black mold can cause “hay fever-like allergic symptoms” like coughing and wheezing. Studies show the people most at risk of having reactions are those with chronic respiratory diseases like asthma.

The mold will grow in wet environments. So, it can show up after flooding, water leaks, even severe humidity. It usually brings with it a musty smell.

And that is where the SERVPRO team comes in. We are trained and fully equipped to tackle black mold, or any mold variety you might be having trouble with in the Green Bay area.

After you’ve contacted us to do mold remediation at your home or business, there are a few things you need to do (or not do!)

  • Stay out of the mold affected areas.
  • Turn off HVAC system and fans.
  • Do NOT touch the mold.
  • Do NOT blow air across the moldy surfaces.
  • Do NOT try to dry the moldy surfaces yourself.
  • Do NOT try to clean up the moldy areas with bleach or disinfectants.

Our team is fully trained to use special techniques and equipment to handle the mold growth safely.

We will first inspect your property for any signs of the fungus, keeping in mind that it can grow underneath carpeting and behind walls.

Once we’ve identified where all the mold is, we will work to contain it to the contaminated areas. That means using negative air chambers to prevent the mold spores from spreading. We’ll also perform air filtration using “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums.

We will then administer anti-fungal and anti-microbial treatments on affected areas. This may require going so far as to tear out any affected materials like drywall and carpeting.

We can also clean and disinfect any salvageable personal items like furniture, clothing and curtains and remove any remaining odors from the mold using fogging equipment.

Finally, If SERVPRO did have to remove any structural materials like walls or flooring, we are equipped to provide reconstruction services to complete the job. We want to leave your property looking its very best.

It’s important to remember: significant mold growth can occur over as little as 24 to 72 hours. So, if you suspect you have a problem, call us at SERVPRO of West Brown County as soon as possible. You can reach us as 920-434-8224, 24 hours a day.

Hoarding: A Dangerous Situation

4/2/2018 (Permalink)

A hoarding situation we helped clear to assist in eradicating a beg bug infestation.

From time to time SERVPRO of West Brown County helps-out in a hoarding situation.

Recently we assisted someone who had a bed bug infestation, along with a hoarding issue in the Green Bay area. In that case we helped remove items to aid in the eradication of the bed bugs.

In a typical hoarding situation, we are called in to help a person who is ready remove some of the extreme clutter that’s taken over their home and, possibly, even their life. We are also often called in to deal with water or fire and smoke damage that has affected an apartment or home that has a hoarding issue which compounds the cleanup.

So, what exactly is hoarding? According to the International OCD Foundation, hoarding disorder, or HD, is “a mental health disorder where people have difficulty getting rid of possessions that are no longer useful.” In these cases, a person can feel extreme, emotional distress at the thought of getting rid of those possessions.

With hoarding disorder, the clutter can become so thick that it prevents a person from getting around his or her living spaces easily.

Hoarding can create serious dangers. Experts say stacks of items can increase the risk of fire. Those stacks can also collapse on a person or cause structural damage. Also, in the event of an emergency, it can be difficult for rescue workers to get through the residence to provide help. Those experts say injuries can be severe and even fatal.

According to the International OCD Foundation, or IOCDF, 2-4% of the population has hoarding disorder. There are signs you can look for that your loved one may be suffering with it. Here is a list of some of those signs from the IOCDF

  • Your loved one keeps parts of their home, or their entire home off-limits.
  • You and your loved one talk a lot about “the stuff.”
  • De-cluttering even a small area of the home is a major job that can take hours.
  • Your loved one has trouble finding things.
  • Your loved one puts off repairs to their home.
  • Your loved one’s garage is over-flowing.
  • Your loved one will not let you touch their possessions.

If you think someone you love might be struggling with hoarding disorder, it’s best to consult a mental healthcare professional to see how you can help.

If a decision is made to clear out some of the extreme clutter, SERVPRO of West Brown County can assist with that step. We will help you and your loved one sort through the items and help bring order back to the situation. You can always reach our team at 920-434-8224.

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

3/27/2018 (Permalink)

Photo of a bed bug from the CDC

Over the last week we handled cleanup at an apartment in the Green Bay area with a bed bug infestation.

We figured this would be a good time to tell you a little bit about the blood sucking critters and what you need to watch out for.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bed bugs, or Cimex lectularius, as they’re formally known, are small, wingless, reddish-brown insects. They feed on human and animal blood while the victims are sleeping.

The bite marks will often appear as slightly raised, reddish spots. They can sometimes appear in straight lines.

The CDC says the teeny-tiny vampires are mostly harmless to humans. If you have an allergic reaction it COULD call for medical care. The bites can certainly itch and may cause lack of sleep.

We’re hearing more and more about outbreaks of the bugs across the country and locally. Because they’re so small they’re able to hide and stow away in items like clothing, sheets and mattresses.

Some signs you’re facing an infestation are as follow:

  • Bugs or their exoskeletons appearing in your sheets or mattresses
  • Rusty brown stains on your sheets or mattresses
  • A sweet, musty odor

A professional exterminator can treat a bed bug infestation.

SERVPRO teams don’t treat the bed bugs themselves, but we do help clean up during an outbreak. That means removing the infested mattresses, carpets, etc.

The recent incident we helped at was made worse by the fact that it was also somewhat of a hoarding scene. Stacks of furniture and other belongings provide good places for the bugs to hide.

Our teams need to take serious precautions in these cases like wearing full Tyvek suits and wrapping the items we remove to ensure no bugs get out during the moving process. We then drive the items straight to the dump and bug bomb our truck at the end of the day.

If the bed bugs bite, SERVPRO of West Brown County’s team can help with any cleanup efforts you might have. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.

So you can sleep tight and…well, you know the rest!

Major Fire Restoration

3/27/2018 (Permalink)

Major fire damage to a home in the Green Bay area.

A fire can be a devastating event for anyone to experience. The team at SERVPRO of West Brown County understands that and we have seen just how bad that devastation can be.

This photo shows the damage to a home we helped to completely rebuild following a fire in the Green Bay area.

Just about everything was destroyed from the fireplace to the staircase, the dishes in the kitchen to the toilets in the bathrooms. Beautiful antiques were lost in the flames. Ash and soot even reached the parts of the home that were the farthest from the source of the blaze.

Early after the fire happened the homeowner debated whether to have the house demolished or to rebuild instead. They decided to rebuild and called SERVPRO in to do the job.

This was a large-scale residential fire project that required expertise in mitigation, restoration and reconstruction services.  The home was completely gutted of all drywall and plaster, flooring materials, cabinetry and all burned or charred structural materials.  We also dried out remaining structural components that suffered water damage when the fire department put out the flames with lots of water.  Then we replaced the burned and charred structural components, including part of the roof rafters.  The electrical and HVAC systems were redone followed by new drywall, paint, flooring, cabinetry, lighting and plumbing fixtures. We even added a new, stone fireplace. On the exterior, we installed new doors, hung new siding and put new shingles in place.

It took team members working tirelessly for several months to complete the restoration. In the end, the home is like brand new

We would never hope for a tragedy like this to affect you and your family, but we do hope if it does, that you’ll call on us to help on the mitigation, restoration and the rebuild. We understand what is lost when something like this happens and we’ll be there for you to lean on.

If you ever need us, please call us at 920-434-8224.

Never Stop Learning

3/21/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO continuing education class in Green Bay on March 13th.

As the old saying goes, ‘You learn something new every day.’ Here at SERVPRO of West Brown County we want to help you learn those new things when we can.

To do that we periodically offer free continuing education classes to our community partners. The topics of these classes can run the gamut from biohazards, to hoarding, to ethics.

Our most recent class was held on March 13th at The Marq in Green Bay. More than 50 people attended including insurance agents, property managers and realtors.

You can see a photo of the turnout right in this post.

SERVPRO taught two classes: one on ethics and one on restoration after mold.

Our friends at CRDN, the Certified Restoration Dry Cleaning Network, also taught a class. We can’t forget that ERS provided breakfast and Sherwin Williams provided lunch to all those who attended (a day of learning certainly works up an appetite!).

These classes are particularly important to those insurance agents. They need several continuing education credits each year to keep their licenses. That way clients can be sure they’re in good hands.

Property managers and realtors aren’t required to get these kinds of credits, but many want to take part anyway. They can learn more about providing tenants and clients clean and comfortable places to live.

So why do we at SERVPRO offer this education? We do this because we care about the community and we care about our partnerships here. We want to be sure we’re here for our partners AND our future customers.

We know any time you need us will be difficult. These classes help ensure you’re taken care of should that time ever come.

To learn more about what we have to offer at SERVPRO of West Brown County, give us a call at 920-434-8224.

SERVPRO Serves Communities

1/29/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of West Brown County is happy to serve our communities in time of need.

As new owners of SERVPRO of West Brown County 5 years ago, my wife and I were surprised at the emotional connection our employees would form with various customers in what is usually a high time of need and trouble in their lives.  It is the human element that is so very important at these times.   Whether it is flooding, sewage backup, mold, fire, smoke or biohazard cleanup, each client is facing an uncommon disaster to them that is typically affecting their home or business in a very negative way.  We get called in right after a fire that may have burned up many family possessions and memories.   We get called in after a sewage backup floods the entire lower level of a finished basement with harmful bacteria on the structure and possessions.  We get called in after a death in the family where the family is experiencing tremendous sorrow and grief. 

It is our job to comfort our customers with kindness, understanding, and professionalism.  It is our duty to take control of the disaster and put customer’s minds at ease knowing we have the knowledge and experience to pick up the pieces and put things back together.  It is our opportunity to serve those around us in our communities.  It is a pretty amazing business that we can help people on a daily basis.

Because we do get to do this daily in West Brown County and other communities like Green Bay,  De Pere, Pulaski, Shawano, and Oconto, we are humbled and grateful our communities depend on us 24 hours a day and 365 days a year and call us in their time of need.

SERVPRO Supports The Salvation Army

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Our Sales and Marketing Staff of SERVPRO of West Brown County, Bill Kupsh and Jim Knopf, joined forces with the Salvation Army to ring the bell for donations to this worthy cause. 

Because volunteers give generously of their time, talent and energy on behalf of the disadvantaged, the Salvation Army is able to help thousands of Brown County families, children, individuals and seniors each year. They rely on volunteers to help every day, from serving a hot lunch Monday through Friday, to the special gift of time during the busy holiday season when they need nearly 10,000 hours of support by bell ringers alone. 

Volunteers come to The Salvation Army as individuals, families or community organizations. Volunteer opportunities can be either short or long-term commitments. Much of the volunteer work is seasonal, helping with the many programs of The Salvation Army at Christmastime including toy, coat, and food distribution and bell-ringing. 

Services of The Salvation Army continue year-round because they are committed to Doing the Most Good for those in need. Ongoing volunteer opportunities include working with young people at The Salvation Army Corps Community Center, helping with feeding programs for people of all ages, lending a hand in The Salvation Army’s food pantry, staffing The Salvation Army Thrift Store, assisting in the Senior Program or being an on-call driver for various needs as they arise. 

The Salvation Army’s volunteer coordinator, works with groups and individuals to match their interests and needs with those of The Salvation Army. Our prayer is that volunteers experience joy and satisfaction as they continue to share their resources with others. If you are seeking a meaningful way to serve others, The Salvation Army would love to have you aboard.

Does Your Brown County Home Have A Mold Problem?

8/28/2017 (Permalink)

In Brown County, mold can spread through a home in as little as 48 hours.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 920-434-8224

SERVPRO Can Eliminate Odors in Your Green Bay Home

8/15/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO can eliminate odors in your Green Bay or surrounding area homes.

SERVPRO of West Brown County can eliminates odors from aLL sources including water, mold, fire, and bio hazard causes.  We have a wide variety of proprietary solutions that include many different types of deodorizers  that can be sprayed or ULV fogged in a room.   We also have ozone generators that are used to actually break down smoke molecules and thereby eliminate the smell of smoke and soot from structures, building materials, and contents of an effected room. ULV Fogging and ozone allows the deodorizer or ozone to get into all the nooks and crannies where the originating odor or soot and smoke got into so it effectively eliminates the odors. SERVPRO of West Brown County has the expertise, resources and people to handle all of your mitigation and restoration needs.  When disasters strike, you can turn to us.  We specialize in getting you back on track and making it seem "Like it never even happened".

SERVPRO Handles Large Commercial Building Flood in Green Bay

8/15/2017 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO large loss equipment was brought in to quickly clean up this flooded warehouse.

A water main break under the floor of a 200,000 square foot warehouse in Green Bay caused a heck of a mess as tons of sand and silt flowed with the gushing water and ended up throughout much of the building and accumulated as high as 6".  SERVPRO of West Brown County came in and started removing the dirt with a skidsteer and began extracting the muddy water with our extraction equipment.  We brought in reinforcements from our SERVPRO network that included labor, a whole building desiccant dryer and generator, as well as additional equipment so that the loss was cleaned up as quickly as possible.  This enabled the warehouse to keep working without much lost time.  Through our network, we can handle all job sizes, from residential to huge commercial losses.  You can count on us at SERVPRO to keep your operations going and get your home or business back on track "Like it never even happened".

Green Bay 24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service

8/14/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of West Brown County provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration service in Green Bay

SERVPRO of West Brown County is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help 24/7/365
Call Today - 920-434-8224

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of West Brown County has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of West Brown County

SERVPRO of West Brown County 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.

Meet Our Crew

Testimonials

SERVPRO of West Brown County is Ready to Help You Clean Up

8/14/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has the right equipment and personnel to do your job right!

SERVPRO of West Brown County is always here and ready to help you clean up whatever mess you have going on at your home or business.  We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.  Our goal is always for you to be able to talk to a honest to goodness live person when you call.  We have the highly trained personnel coupled with the right equipment to clean and deodorize smoke, soot and fire damage, clean and mitigate mold and water damage, and even clean and mitigate biohazard situations like death and crime scenes.  Whatever your situation is, if it calls for experts to help clean up, call SERVPRO of West Brown County today at 920-434-8224.

For Immediate Service in Oconto, Call SERVPRO

8/1/2017 (Permalink)

Oconto Residents: We provide immediate service day or night!

SERVPRO of West Brown County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in Oconto and surrounding communities. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.

  • 24-Hour Emergency Service
  • Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
  • Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
  • A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
  • Locally Owned and Operated
  • Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment 

Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 – 920-434-8224

Residential Services

Whether your Oconto home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us.  Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:

  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Mold Remediation
  • Storm Damage Restoration
  • Cleaning Services
  • Building/Reconstruction Services

Commercial Services

There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your Oconto commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. 

Restoring Your Green Bay Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

7/20/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges

Flooding and water damage events at Green Bay commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of West Brown County

SERVPRO of West Brown County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Meet our trained and professional employees http://www.SERVPROwestbrowncounty.com/employee-photos 

See our training certifications http://www.SERVPROwestbrowncounty.com/restoration-training-certifications

Brown County Residents: Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold

7/18/2017 (Permalink)

Be careful! Without proper training, you could be spreading mold throughout your home.

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of West Brown County for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of West Brown County specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 920-434-8224

When Storms or Floods hit DePere, SERVPRO is ready!

7/18/2017 (Permalink)

Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to storm or flood damage in DePere.

SERVPRO West Brown County 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 DePere and surrounding communities 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 920-434-8224

Saumico Smoke and Soot Cleanup

7/18/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Suamico Home.

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Suamico Home.

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 West Brown Countywill 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 Us Today – 920-434-8224

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