Recent Posts

The “A-B-Cs” Of “Gamma-Delta-Lambda” For SAFELY Managing Public Spaces

8/31/2021 (Permalink)

All of the COVID variations may be “Greek” to property managers, and how to respond can be equally confusing. Do the COVID strains feel like “Greek to you”? Managing commercial properties in this pandemic landscape can be overwhelming…and why you need PROS!

Honestly, it’s hard to keep up with the constantly evolving local, state and federal mandates – not to mention the varying recommendations from health authorities – when navigating the COVID landscape. Now, with the school year starting again and students from preschoolers to college post-grad academes returning to classroom learning (some after more than 18 months), the pressure is not only the kids socially and mentally, but also on teachers AND institution administrators to balance an educationally nurturing yet clinically “sterile” environment. Quite an undertaking!

And that’s just one facet of creating new protocols for people returning to public spaces – despite the Delta surge – making the idea of staying safe once again a “top-of-mind” issue. With reported vaccination breakthrough Delta-strain cases, (as well as the growing number of cases among the unvaccinated), we’ve begun to hear talk of a possible Lambda variant…and who knows how far this mutating virus will progress down the Greek alphabet.

Even if you participated in the Greek system (or actually studied the language itself), this parade of mutations has still left many people saying, "It's all Greek to me!" Compounding THIS confusion are the "fluid" legal and civil mandates on safety protocols – especially within our schools, offices, retail and entertainment venues. Mask or no mask? Vaccination passports? Social distancing both indoors and out? Daily or weekly testing? It all has to leave those responsible for any “public” space feeling totally overwhelmed, and asking “So what steps CAN we take to protect our buildings – and the workers and visitors who inhabit these spaces daily?!?”

Well, you have experts for keeping your HVAC systems humming along, and professional security services (and even possibly on-site personnel) for protection, not to mention skilled landscapers to maintain your building exteriors, because you certainly don’t have the time or expertise to do this personally! The same holds true when dealing with a virulent biohazard like COVID.

YES, the COVID virus IS a biohazard! Normally, we think in terms of toxic chemicals or weapons; we’ve all seen those movie scientists in specialized biohazard suits, who arrive in those state-of-the-art mobile units ready to deal whatever mutant organism may be threatening the population. But, if you think about it, this could also describe a lot of what we’ve seen on the news over the past 18 months. So let’s break down this whole “biohazard” thing as it relates to our current COVID circumstances. "Bio" signifies any living organism, which definitely includes viruses. And, well..."Hazard" is pretty self-explanatory.

But you CAN take steps in the face of this new Delta surge…and whatever may be coming down the Greek alphabet line. And it all starts by calling in trained, certified biohazard experts – like SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio. With our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned medical-grade process, you don’t have to decipher the Greek. You can just trust the pros to give you the peace of mind that YOUR commercial space is safe!

"FIRE" Is Just The Starting Point For Firefighters!

8/31/2021 (Permalink)

The sacrifices of 9-11 firefighters are prime examples of how they go well beyond the job description of “fighting fires.” You need look no further than the sterling examples firefighters nationwide set as they dealt with the aftermath of 9-11…and so much more!

With summer outdoor activities beginning to wind down, we see more and more people return to the gym for their fitness workouts. However, aside from the aforementioned seasonal influx, we also see an increase in another group – wearing surprising outfits – on treadmills and stair climbers around this time of year. These individuals aren’t sporting sweats or joggers or even fashionable Lycra; they proudly wear up to 77 pounds of firefighter equipment!

Photographs, videos and news stories features these dedicated first responders, as well as the family and friends, who choose to symbolically honor the memory of those who fell in the wake of 9-11. Many wearing full firefighter gear, and others who may just be physically unable to bear the additional weight, ALL nonetheless commit to replicate the steps of those who climbed the 110 STORIES of the World Trade Center towers on that fateful day. Some even make it an annual ritual, which will be all the more poignant this year as we mark the 20th anniversary of the national tragedy.

We all watched in rapt horror as the events unfolded in real time, observing the surreal scenes as if it were something out of a movie…and saw the altruistic bravery of those first responders whose sole focus was saving lives, too often at the price of their own lives. And in the intervening years, we see this same selfless dedication time and again at the sites of both natural and man-made disasters.

When we hear the term “firefighter” normally we picture someone racing into a burning building or maybe someone in an ambulance or even a friendly “helper” who rescues kittens from trees. And all would be correct…but by no means complete! Yes, “fire” may be their initial reason for existence. However, these days it seems no matter the scope or nature of disaster, you will find “firefighters” among the first responders on the scene. In fact, the phrase “first responder” now immediately brings to mind fire department members.

“First responders” to the recent tragic collapse of the Miami Surfside condominium? Firefighters. “First responders” to the deadly Tennessee floods? Firefighters. “First responders” to the deadly California Montecito mudslides? Firefighters. And just this week…”first responders” to the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast in the path of Hurricane Ida? Yep – firefighters. And, of course, there are those actual fires, too, like the on-going Pacific Northwest infernos. And in each of these search-and-rescue operations, or disaster responses, they not only WILLINGLY walk (or, more aptly, run) into these situations, they do it wearing anywhere between 60 and 77 extra pounds of specialized equipment!

As disaster remediation and recovery specialists at SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio, we’ve seen this dedication more times than we can count! And the upcoming 20th anniversary of 9-11 hits particularly close to home for one of our franchises – who actually were a part of the Pentagon restoration team after the Sept. 11th attack!

And although we frequently say we meet people on one of the worst days of their lives, our encounters can’t hold a candle to what firefighters see EVERY day. In our restoration work, we literally SEE what these first responders had to fight before we’re ever called. Thanks to our specialized training and equipment, in most of these scenes we really CAN make it “Like it never even happened.” However, as we prepare to commemorate the 9-11 firefighter sacrifices, we also honor those lives that can never be truly whole again…with our heartfelt thanks!

The “Hurricane Diaries” – Part VI

8/30/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded streets and cars – along with the water damage aftermath – could be the poster image for ANY hurricane. While our journalists DID drive through flooded streets to document the hurricane damage, it doesn’t mean they SHOULD have!

As Category 4 Hurricane Ida roared ashore in Louisiana this past weekend – on the 16th anniversary of Katrina, no less – we once again visit our team member’s storm memories. A veteran of hurricanes since her preschool days, she has chronicled some of her experiences as both a Gulf Coast resident and later, as a working journalist.

We honestly couldn’t imagine a more timely moment for another installment of her recollections in “The ‘Hurricane Diaries’”…and invite you to revisit some of her earlier chapters (Part I, II, III, and IV) and be sure to check out the first part of this particular experience in Part V before jumping into this latest continuation of her Hurricane Alicia story:

“So, there we were – me (the team hurricane Sherpa), Stephen and Chuck, along with my former editor Betsy Webber and her EXTREMELY flatulent dog – riding out the storm in the Galveston Daily News building on the edge of the island. For those who have had limited (if any) hurricane experience, it seems like these newsworthy storms tend to make landfall at night. Who knows why, but that has been my experience more times than not.

“But, in the meantime my fiancé Stephen had reconnected with several of his wire service comrades and negotiated use of their photo transmitter equipment. Mind you, this was before the internet as we now know it, pre-fax machines, so having access to a “drum” transmitter was like hitting the mother lode for a photojournalist. Reporters could use the newspaper landlines to call in their stories (yep…no cell phones or even pagers!) to their respective publications and agencies. But without the ability to send photographic evidence of the personal and property devastation, visual journalists were literally up a creek without a paddle!

“Now the REAL work could begin, as we took to the streets. Mind you, we were exhausted, soaked to the bone and had to ‘charm’ our way past roadblocks and first responders trying to protect the public. They definitely were not catching us at our best! But for journalists, this was the opportunity to shine…careers could be ‘MADE’ by coverage of a hurricane like Alicia. After all, Dan Rather earned his stripes covering Hurricane Carla decades before along the Texas coast!

“Armed with camera equipment and the ubiquitous reporter’s notebook, we documented storm surge, destroyed landmarks, streets flooded with water and random bits of debris, along with a list of evacuation shelters we braved the weather. And while the going was laboriously slow – first finding passable routes and then literally inching our way along roads that normally would have taken us to our destinations quickly, now consumed too many precious minutes – we were fueled by journalistic zeal. And not a lot of common sense! Let’s face it, heading out in a major Category 5 storm would not be considered a ‘smart move’ by most sane people.

“That’s when the full impact of Alicia REALLY hit home…especially seeing the crumbling walls on venerable Seawall buildings that had weathered many previous hurricanes. Yes, cyclonic activity and 150+ MPH winds most definitely can leave a trail of devastation in their wake, but the power of water should never be underestimated. The effects of the sheer force volumes of water, rushing over buildings and through streets, will leave the uninitiated dumbfounded!

“So, with no regard for the well-being of either ourselves or Stephen’s car, we collected insightful images and personal accounts for hours on the stormy streets. Periodically, we returned to the GDN building so Chuck could call in his stories to the Caller-Times and Stephen could develop his film and make prints in the newspaper darkroom. This was followed by the inordinately tedious task of sending out each picture INDIVIDUALLY across the AP and UPI wires…complete with his photo credit. A real career coup for a photojournalist – and yielded impressive additions to his professional portfolio!

“After about a day-and-a-half we were FINALLY able to reach our water-soaked room on the Seawall. Remarkably, some of our clothing was actually dry enough to wear. So we collected our belongings and returned to the Galveston newspaper to finish up our coverage of the storm…relieved to be wearing DRY underwear again! However, in the post-storm light, we noticed SIGNIFICANT ‘seepage’ of storm water inside Stephen’s car…even though it had been safely parked on the ‘protected’ side of the large GDN building during the worst of the storm.

“And the SMELL, once it actually started to dry out, was something ‘special!’ After we made our way back to Liz in Houston, we assessed the real water damage…and it was noticeably worse than any of us had imagined. Eventually, Stephen’s insurance company officially ‘totaled’ the vehicle, even though it was still drivable. That soaked interior and instrumentation were beyond help, and we never did get rid of that ‘storm water’ smell!”

Today, we know MANY people along the Louisiana, upper Texas and Mississippi coast are currently in the midst of similar experiences. And SERVPRO teams nationwide are already mobilizing to assist with the recovery from Hurricane Ida. If only our “Hurricane Diaries” folks had known that SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio actually has specialists in vehicle water damage remediation and restoration! It could have saved the car…although it would have made for a less engaging story!

The “Hurricane Diaries” – Part V

8/11/2021 (Permalink)

A hurricane evacuation roadblock usually acts as a deterrent to people in most flood-prone areas! When a hurricane landfall is predicted, MOST folks would let something like roadblocks deter them from heading INTO a storm…but not our journalists!

It was only a matter of time before a new tropical storm hit the 2021 weather radar, and we’ve got Hurricane Fred warming up in the Caribbean bullpen now. This comes as no surprise, with an active season still predicted by the National Hurricane Center branch of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coupled with Hurricane Elsa already earning the distinction of being the earliest fifth-named storm on record.

 So, we’re presenting another installment of “The ‘Hurricane Diaries’” from our team member, who has seen more than her fair share of major storms, and shared her past first-hand experiences in “Diary” entries Part I, II, III, and IV. We encourage you to check out these accounts, as we dive into the fifth chapter:

“As I’ve mentioned before, in the early days of my career I was a working journalist and that meant following the story…regardless of the circumstances. And to be honest, usually this took us into the worst possible situations and put us in the position of encountering people on their worst days. Not only did we take these rubble-strewn – and often dangerous – paths, but we did so willingly! Eventually, some of us (like me) chose a less perilous and “grimy” career trajectory.

“However, I heartily admire those journalistic colleagues who devoted their entire professional life to continuing to ‘follow the story.’ In fact, one of the featured characters in this particular Diary entry recently finished up his career – having worked for newspapers for over 40 years. Kudos, Chuck Yarborough! But, I digress…

“It was August of 1983 and my friends (who worked at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times newspaper), along with my fiancé (an award-winning photojournalist also on the C-T staff), had all gathered in Houston to attend an extraordinarily rare reunion concert of Simon & Garfunkel at a local venue…the now-defunct Astrodome. At the time, these were the most we had EVER paid for tickets, and we were understandably excited. So there was no way we would let the “possibility” of a hurricane dampen our enthusiasm!

“My friends had even used precious vacation time for this event, and arranged a babysitter for their toddler daughter. Even reports of Hurricane Alicia heading our direction failed to deter us and we continued to make plans – even though landfall was imminently predicted for that night. Unlike those of us who grew up on the Gulf Coast and were accustomed to hurricanes, the venue and artist management teams made the decision to cancel the concert during their afternoon sound check.

“So here we were, literally all dressed up with nowhere to go. While Liz decided to go hang out with her mother (who was gladly serving as a sitter for little Brandi), the rest of us made the choice to go cover the storm. So Chuck (Liz’ husband), Stephen (my fiancé) and I packed up Stephen’s new-ish Pontiac Phoenix and headed for the ‘action’ in Galveston. Let the adventure commence!

“Now, although Stephen had covered other hurricanes and Chuck had lived in the greater Houston metro area for a number of years, I represented the sole ‘local’ member of our group…and seasoned veteran, having experienced NUMEROUS hurricanes since a toddler. My job on this particular expedition was to serve as a ‘Sherpa’ of sorts, since I knew every ‘alternate’ route covering the area from Conroe to Freeport, and also had numerous resource connections. So off we went, heading straight into Alicia’s path.

“Having gotten authorization from the Caller-Times management to cover the hurricane – since they were in town anyway (and newspapers of the era were notoriously ‘thrifty’) – Stephen and Chuck now had ‘official’ sanction to risk life and limb to, yes, ‘follow the story.’ Taking back roads to reach I-45, otherwise known as the Gulf Freeway, we emerged just north of the main causeway leading into Galveston.

“Now, a piece of hindsight advice might be to question the wisdom of being one of the ONLY cars – aside from official police and militia vehicles – heading the opposite direction of thousands of other cars and trucks! In fact, we encountered several checkpoints and had to not only display our press credentials but do some fancy talking to be allowed to proceed TOWARD the danger. Even then, it did give you a bit of a gnawing feeling to see everyone else headed in the opposite direction. But WE were intrepid journalists!

“Flooded roads? Driving rain? Storm surge? Pffft…nothing to worry about! Yeah, we were young and felt invincible – especially when fueled by journalistic adrenaline. We would learn several lessons the hard way over the next few days!

“Our first stop was at Chuck’s old stomping ground, the Galveston Daily News where I knew the News Editor who I had worked under for several years prior to her move to the GDN. Just a note on ‘Hurricane 101’ – establish a good base of operations in any area where you will be covering a disaster. So while Stephen and I began to make inroads at the newspaper, Chuck went to secure us accommodations. And that’s where things first began to ‘head south’ for our little expedition party!

“Not having actually lived and worked in the area during a major hurricane, Chuck was wholly unaware of exactly HOW powerful such a storm could actually be. So, seeking a prime vantage point, he got us a room right on the Galveston Seawall. We were right up the street from the historic landmark Flagship Hotel…the first hotel in North America located entirely over the water. The perfect spot to document all the mayhem. Yeah, this was the first mistake!

“Rising tides, torrential rains driven by hurricane-force winds, and debris already floating down major thoroughfares could not be stopped by simple brick walls or windows. Not only did our room (and ALL possessions – including changes of clothes) get soaked, but shortly after Alicia made landfall the entire façade of the Flagship began to DISINTEGRATE like a slow-motion disaster movie sequence. Yes…water can do that!

“Additionally, we were unable to even make our way back to the room to retrieve anything for DAYS! So there we were, trying to find someplace to just wait out the storm that night in the cavernous newspaper building while the electricity continued to fluctuate before going out completely. Fortunately, the GDN had back-up power and the business of journalism continued.

“We watched the building’s huge glass windows with trepidation, and found shop rags and anything else available to absorb the water seeping through the walls. And we waited until we could finally spring into action.”

We’ll pick up Debbie’s story in the next installment of The “Hurricane Diaries” next week to see how they weathered the floods, and how SERVPRO could have been of service to these young waterlogged journalists!

Are You SURE You’ve Covered ALL Your Business Bases?

7/28/2021 (Permalink)

Commercial properties that lack adequate protection from a storm or damage Even if you THINK you’re covered for everything involved in doing business, are you REALLY sure…because one simple omission can cost you BIG!

Let’s get real for a minute; sometimes being a “grown-up” sucks, totally overwhelmed with everything an adult is actually supposed to be responsible for. Then, compound that with being responsible for not only yourself (and your family), but also everyone supported by your business if you’re an entrepreneur. So, we suck it up and do the “adult” things as we go about our daily lives.

And this starts with our conditioning – as responsible adults – to make sure we schedule all of those preventative check-ups. Health check-ups... vehicle check-ups... financial planning check-ups... and who knows how many others may apply to your life! So we don't want to add to your already-full plate, but when was the last time you did a business property and liability insurance check-up?

As a company who works daily with insurance companies, our team at SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio too often sees the heartbreaking results of failing to update property coverage. Sure, you've PROBABLY covered all the bases when it comes to disasters like flood and fire. But even though you ticked all those boxes, you MAY have overlooked some vital areas!

Did you do any remodeling during the lockdown...or planning to now? The cost to recreate that new interior or façade or signage has ALSO probably increased; but have you updated your coverage to accurately reflect these financial investments? You also need to consider any equipment or facility upgrades, due to shifting business models as a result of the ever-changing COVID-related protocols. And, of course, those new pandemic electronics ALSO call for additional replacement cost coverage.

Now, when it comes to construction – whether a remodel, expansion, build-out, or breaking ground on an entirely new facility – this brings additional insurance shortfalls which can easily be overlooked…especially since it’s all going to be “temporary.” Let’s start with everyone who is actually doing the work and bringing your plans to life.

Do you have additional liability coverage for all those trades working on your property? If this is being done in conjunction with a landlord/tenant agreement, VERIFY who bears the burden for insurance coverage during this period. And if this is your building or construction site, then triple-check to make sure EVERY possible scenario has been anticipated – and covered! Additionally, you may need “interim construction” insurance since appraisals on something that does not yet exist would be guesswork, at best.

This type of insurance provides protection for theft of materials and equipment (including any on-site tools, etc. belonging to subcontractors). Nothing can be more disheartening than discovering your new plumbing and fixtures were stripped for copper, or your beautiful new walls and exteriors vandalized by graffiti…or worse. It also helps you to maintain good relationships with these skilled professionals, who you will probably be using again for either repairs or future construction.

Oh...let's not forget your landscaping and outdoor upgrades. This can span everything from a fancy flagstone sidewalk and entrance, to a new blacktop coating, stripes, bumper blocks and designated space signs in your parking lot. Added covered parking? That cost money, too – and may require a special policy rider since these outdoor improvements may NOT be covered since they are outside your actual office or structure!

And this is just a starting point...so maybe it's time to get an insurance check-up on your schedule NOW! As we’ve seen demonstrated so comically in the new Rocket Mortgage commercials featuring Tracy Morgan, “pretty sure” may NOT be good enough – especially when it comes to your business, you want to be REALLY sure!

Hey – WE Gotta Guy...Do YOU? 'Cuz Everyone WILL Need "A Guy!"

7/27/2021 (Permalink)

Two people offering a referral, because everyone needs one sometimes If you don't know how to do something, then you gotta have "a guy" who CAN. It feels good to have an "inside" connection when you REALLY need it!

An important life lesson we all learn at some point: If you don't know how to do something, then you gotta have a "guy" who DOES...or at least friends who "know a guy." Admit it, it feels good to have some sort of "inside" connection when you REALLY need something!

Whether it's someone who can get you deals on cars or appliances or jewelry or even a vacation, it gives us a sense of control when we can pick up the phone – or even just pop by – and know you will get both VIP treatment and a "special friends" rate. And especially in those time-sensitive or urgent situations (when we're most likely to feel as if we have absolutely ZERO control), it's comforting to know "a guy" or “gal”…right?!?

So while we've posted about being prepared for storm season AND building relationships, one of the SMARTEST moves any business owner can make is to establish their own personal "go-to" list of folks. And if you don't have pros who are experts, NOW is the time to connect...BEFORE you need them!

Now, as the "go-to" team for disaster mitigation, remediation and restoration, even our SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio has our OWN list of "guys" (and "gals") because we know nothing beats knowing your own pros. And the best part about having reliable network is not only our ability to call on them at a moment’s notice – BECAUSE we have that established relationship – but also to have a trusted list of experts to which we can proudly refer our customers!

This allows us, as business owners, to enhance our customer service offerings which translate into company growth and glowing reviews. However, it also serves us well “when the going gets tough.” Yes…we have emergencies, too! And during those times, it gives us a “life preserver” so we can get back to business serving OUR clients more quickly. And THIS is one of those “priceless” commodities in business.

We’ve seen the value of having “a guy” at our fingertips, as well as the tangible benefits for OUR business, SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio. And we also know any business owner will, too…because you NEVER know when you’ll need THAT “guy!”

When Making Your Home “Next Level” Don’t “Level-Up” Your Fire Risk!

7/14/2021 (Permalink)

Updating cosmetic features, and making your home more “user-friendly” frequently also requires electrical upgrades. As more people invest in taking their homes to the “next level,” many overlook a lurking fire hazard if they didn’t “level-up” the electrical system!

We know there are “glass-half-full” and “glass-half-empty” people, and we choose to be those “half-full” folks, trying to find the silver lining behind every dark cloud. And, let’s face it, the past 18 months have been a GIGANTIC thunderhead! Yet, we’ve managed to see some positive effects, such as appreciating time with our families, discovering new hobbies and interests, and taking our personal spaces to the “next level.”

Some of it could be attributed to binge-watching all of those HGTV design shows, while a lot of it could be for purely practical reasons as our homes became offices and schools and gyms and… So renovation fever swept the nation, and as things now begin to slowly open up, we continue to make improvements as many “post-COVID” lifestyles have evolved from what used to be “normal.”

It may have begun with a fresh paint color or a few new accessories, then progressed to some updated lighting fixtures and a few built-ins. The next thing you know, you have a smart home with state-of-the-art “connected” appliances and integrated entertainment systems…complete with a new wet bar, wine cooler and built-in beer tap.

Hey, you deserve it; and let’s get real, sometimes it’s a lot more enjoyable to be able to spend an evening – complete with entertainment or a meal from your gourmet kitchen – with a few friends, in the comfort of your little cocoon. No traffic, no parking, no crowds of strangers, no waiting in lines, and no expensive price tag…c’mon what’s not to like?!? And considering that your home is probably your single biggest investment, it’s never a bad idea to enhance its livability and value.

And especially if your work has remained partially (if not fully) remote, you really did need a functional dedicated space. After all, the kitchen island or dining room table could (or should) never be considered a permanent, full-time office! But, with a little home improvement wizardry, you now have a built-in desk and shelves, space for your laptop, external monitor and printer, and now, halo light, upgraded microphone and web cam for all of those remote conferences.

Now you’ve created your perfect sanctuary…ideal for work and play! However, have you also created the “perfect storm” for an electrical fire? We’re the first to admit, all of that talk about amps and wattage (aside from those tables on the side of microwave packages with time/watt instructions), leaves us pretty confused. But, one way to understand this concept actually comes from the movie Apollo 13…no kidding!

If you’ve never seen it, we highly recommend this gripping account of the ill-fated mission to the Moon. Anyway, the ground crew must find a way to power the astronauts’ safe return to Earth with a severely limited battery supply. They add and remove different items to arrive at the perfect mathematical amperage formula, while still ensuring the crew has enough power to perform the necessary functions for a successful re-entry. SPOILER ALERT: They do it!

Well, the electrical box for your home works in much the same way. Different appliances and electrical items in your home pull varying wattages and amps. If you’ve ever had to flip a breaker switch because it became overloaded, this is exactly why…that appliance exceeded the safe limit. The breaker switch does just what its name implies; it breaks the electrical connection to prevent it from becoming a hazard. Overloaded circuits can overheat and spark – all out of sight behind your walls.

So that spare bedroom, which transformed beautifully into a practical home office, may have only been wired for a couple of bedside lamps, maybe a small TV and alarm clock. Now you’re running computers and high-tech gadgets galore on circuits NEVER designed to carry that kind of load. And chances are, this may also be the designated space for your home’s modem box and other internet connectivity hubs. Even something as "little" as a couple of added power strips may be all it takes to push the limits of your existing electrical system.

Of course, that added wine cooler and drawer-style microwave and smart refrigerator or mesmerizing new electrical fireplace with integrated smart TV and speaker system built-in above it, have definitely enhanced your life and home. However, they may also be drawing a LOT more amps than your previous kitchen or family room. Who knows, you may have been pushing the limits of your current electrical box BEFORE…so imagine what it could be now! 

Depending upon when your home was initially built, it may be time to take your electrical system to the “next level” to keep up with all of your improvements. Every time you have to run and flip the break switch, take that as a warning that something caused it to flip – and poses serious danger to you and your loved ones. For your peace of mind, start with a little detective work. If your switches are not labeled, take the time to find out which switch controls which circuits in your home – then carefully label them. Now you can pinpoint the culprit.

It could be something small, which just requires moving the offending item(s) to a different electrical switch point. Or…it could save your life! As specialists in fire damage mitigation, remediation and restoration, our SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio team has seen the heartbreaking aftermath of an electrical fire. And that’s why we would MUCH rather sow an ounce of prevention, than for you to have to call us for that pound of cure. That’s how WE take our business to the “next level”…by “leveling up” our customer service and compassion!

Are YOU Prepared To “Go With The Flow?”

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

It doesn’t take a hurricane to cause devastating flooding, and recent storms left damaged homes & businesses in their wake. Those legendary “April Showers” can’t hold a candle to the unprecedented summer rains we’ve experienced…and caught many people completely off-guard!

In Texas, we’re used to “rolling with punches” – so to speak – when it comes to summertime weather. We take the seemingly endless humid heat “like a champ”…in temperatures that have left those in the northern regions literally scorched this summer. We know how to “batten down the hatches” when multiple hurricanes place us in their diverse (yet deadly) paths. We DO have a lot of coastline, after all. And some summer thunderstorms – even those that may carry cyclone activity – are just “par for the course.”

However, these recent and unrelenting thunderstorms have left many completely stymied when both residential and commercial properties have suddenly had to learn how to “go with the flow.” And in the aftermath of these unheard of rains, many worry about what will happen when the 2021 hurricane season REALLY hits! With predictions showing another active tropical storm season and with the first named hurricane (Elsa) already in the books early in July, the prognosis for the next few months is anything but a “rosy outlook.”

Clichés aside, the adage “forewarned is forearmed” might actually be quite applicable in these circumstances. If we look at the recent home, apartment and business floods as a “dress rehearsal” for a hurricane, then we can gain some valuable knowledge which could come in quite handy in the future. And our SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio team saw the quickly escalating flood water situations, and immediately mobilized. But, just as with the “Polar Vortex” in February – even with our specialists literally working around the clock (despite many being personally affected) – there were still only 24 hours in a day.

So, as in any emergency, there IS a triage process. And knowing how to prepare beforehand can lessen the physical damage and trauma associated with any disaster, while you await the arrival of the cleaning, remediation and restoration specialists. With a proven track record as the leading response team nationwide, SERVPRO can be on the scene ready to make it "Like it never even happened,” from simply an inch of water in a garage or storage unit, to a fully-flooded house or business, we definitely have the knowledge and industry-leading equipment to help us “go with the flow” – no matter how torrential! 

And once again, we had the chance to prove it when every corner of Bexar and the surrounding counties was under water. Not only did we mitigate the water damage, but also saved many of the possessions of those affected by the recent flooding storms…and gained the respect of those residents and businesses we jumped in to help.

We’re not in this business to just “do business;” we’re in this to contribute to the well-being, safety, health and prosperity of our entire community. And while we can DEFINITELY “go with the flow” we also KNOW “you do well, by doing good!”

Just Starting Out? Start With SERVPRO!

7/4/2021 (Permalink)

With a wealth of diverse career opportunities, SERVPRO could be the “right” step for recent grads. New grads may be pondering a possibly uncertain future…but regardless of the education path, SERVPRO could be your perfect step into the "real world!"

While most people may be winding down from their long holiday weekend activities, some could even be thinking about the week ahead. However, for recent grads, realizing they are now expected to join the "real world" and be "grownups" might be causing some sleepless nights and not a small degree of “So what am I supposed to do NOW?!?”

Those carefully nurtured career aspirations –involving years of study – must now translate into REAL jobs! And that can feel like a daunting task for someone just emerging from an academic cocoon. Don’t panic, yet. Believe it or not, we've all been there at some point. But, have you ever considered a future as a member of the SERVPRO family?

As a respected national company – started as a family enterprise – SERVPRO offers opportunities that would beautifully dovetail with a variety of professional goals. Headquartered in Gallatin, Tennessee (supporting coast-to-coast franchises), regardless of whether your classroom pursuits followed a creative, analytic, mechanical, sales, engineering, marketing, IT or some other service-oriented passion, SERVPRO could be your perfect step into the "real world!"

With a nationwide infrastructure of state-of-the-art web support for literally over a thousand of individual franchise sites to oversee, along with marketing materials and brand consistency creative, not to mention the constant innovations in our cutting-edge equipment, processes and materials, or the precise administrative oversight needed to ensure will always be ready to respond to ANY situation, it’s easy to see why SERVPRO represents a wealth of career paths!

Or perhaps you have a more entrepreneurial spirit? Guess what...so did OUR owners and that's why they started SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio more than 21 years ago. Offering the ideal work-life balance (with the financial ability to support their growing family of three boys), Greg and Tammie Hall will gladly tell anyone they made the RIGHT step for their careers and family. But whether a first step, or a second or third...taking the step to join the SERVPRO family is never a wrong step!

It’s NEVER Too Early To Be Prepared!

5/31/2021 (Permalink)

Having an emergency checklist, and a “go-bag” of supplies ready, makes good sense ANY time of year…but especially NOW! Whether hurricane, polar vortex or any other natural disaster, it’s ALWAYS a smart idea to be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws our way!

It’s THAT time of year…again! It hardly seems like a year has passed since we faced the start of another hurricane season here in Texas. Yet, once again, the first of June has rolled around and we can only hope the 2021 season doesn’t try to outdo LAST year!

Honestly, we cannot recall working our way through the entire alphabet of names and then moving into GREEK letters! But from OUR standpoint, we sure know it was memorable…and considering the stats, this comes as no surprise:

“The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was the most active and the fifth costliest Atlantic hurricane season on record. The season also had the highest accumulated cyclone energy since 2017. In addition, it was the fifth consecutive above-average season from 2016 onward. The season featured a total of 31 tropical cyclones, all but one of which became a named storm. Of the 30 named storms, 14 developed into hurricanes, and a record-tying seven further intensified into major hurricanes. It was the second and final season to use the Greek letter storm naming system, the first being 2005. Of the 30 named storms, 11 of them made landfall in the contiguous United States, breaking the record of nine set in 1916. During the season, 27 tropical storms established a new record for the earliest formation by storm number. This season also featured a record 10 tropical cyclones that underwent rapid intensification, tying it with 1995.”

Maybe because of everything ELSE Mother Nature threw at us after that interminable hurricane season ended, it just feels like we’ve hardly gotten a respite. However, the extended polar vortex, combined with tornadic windstorms and torrential flooding rains DID give us plenty of insights and hard-won experience in being prepared! So it’s time to gird our loins – armed with valuable knowledge – and face the 2021 hurricane season head-on.

And the best way to make sure you can “weather” whatever shows up on the radar, is to be prepared BEFORE disaster looms! Even if you never need it (fingers crossed), having an Emergency Checklist and “go-bag” of everything you need, will save you valuable time – along with a bit of sanity – IF the worst-case scenario does happen.

Now this will look different for every family and household. But, everyone should have the “bare necessities” handy and either pre-packed or easily accessible if the need arises. Emergency preparedness can range from a few “well, of course” items full-on “survival in the wild” supplies. So we’ll start you off with some basics and over time (and with some “experiences”) your personal checklist and supply stockpile will evolve to suit your particular family and needs.

  • Water (3 gallons/person per day)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medications (prescription & OTC)
  • Pet Supplies (meds, bowls, collars/leads/carriers, shot records – some shelters won’t take pets without proof of vaccinations)
  • Non-Perishable Foods
  • High-Energy/Stress Foods (energy bars, nuts, and of course, candy)
  • Basic Tools (hammer, screwdrivers, wrench, pliers, utility knife, scissors)
  • Important Personal Documents (including insurance, IDs, proof of address, medical records)
  • Emergency Contacts List
  • Candles, Lanterns, Matches, Flashlight(s), Batteries, Sterno, Flares/Glow Sticks (they’re not just for kids or concerts!)
  • Paper Goods (toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates)
  • Spare Keys/Glasses/Contacts
  • Manual Can Opener, Cooking/Eating Utensils
  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing (at least one change/person per day)
  • Water Containers
  • Portable Radio & Electronic Device Chargers
  • Personal Hygiene Products
  • Blankets, Tarps, Heavy-Duty Trash Bags
  • Whistle (devise a signal for your family, i.e. three short blasts, long-short-long)
  • Cash (remember, ATMs will probably not have power)
  • Hand Sanitizer/Bleach/Gloves
  • Maps (again, GPS may not be available)
  • Entertainment (YES, this is important for adults & kids since cable/devices may be offline)
  • AND…the cure for a million ills, DUCT TAPE!

Certainly this is NOT an exhaustive list and you will have other items specific to your particular household and life. But it does give you a good starting point. And since many of these items have an extended “shelf life” you can pack them away and have them ready to go in case of an emergency – whether evacuating or just hunkering down and trying to make the best of things in your own home. Then, after whatever “disaster” has passed, remember your local SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio is ALSO prepared to deal with whatever Mother Nature did to your home and possessions!