Catastrophe Services, Inc. Blog

• December 5, 2015 • No comments yet

Temperamental states such as South Carolina mean there’s always a chance for unexpected danger. But no one anticipates potential hazards during the holidays. The Catastrophe Services team, however, does.

Our last post wasn’t enough to cover everything you need to remember this holiday season, so read on for more seasonal safety tips to help you avoid disaster over the holidays.

  • Never use electronics near water.
  • Don’t sleep with electronics under your pillow.
  • Keep loose batteries away from kids.
  • Don’t run cords under carpets, rugs, furniture, or out of windows.
  • Stick to one power strip or extension cord. Don’t string extension cords together or overload outlets.
  • Using an extension cord outdoors? Make sure there’s an “outdoor use” label from the manufacturer.
  • Don’t leave space heaters unattended or place them on rugs or furniture. Make sure they’re on a flat, level base. Plug them directly into the wall.
  • Never use kerosene heaters indoors.

Catastrophe Services performs disaster restoration across South Carolina. When the unexpected happens, we help you get your life back—but first we’re devoted to keeping you safe.

Got questions about safety tips or disaster restoration in South Carolina? Ask us!

• December 5, 2015 • No comments yet

The holidays are about joy. As the temperature drops, we reconnect with family, friends, and the magic of giving. It’s a time for tradition and storytelling, parties and peace, when life slows down and we all feel like kids again.

Unfortunately, the holiday season also presents unique fire hazards. Use these tips, adapted from the American Red Cross, to keep your home safe from fire this holiday season.

  • Keep trees, candles, and other decorations at least 3 feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, vents, heaters, radiators, and appliances.
  • If purchasing a real tree, make sure it’s green and moist, with sturdy needles. Water it often. Ensure that artificial trees are flame retardant.
  • Never use frayed electrical cords or light strings.
  • Always blow out candles and unplug lights, decorations, and appliances before going to bed. Designate one person to make sure all candles, lights, etc. are out.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
  • Use sturdy tree stands. Keep pets and very young kids away from trees.
  • As always, keep flammable objects away from the stovetop.
  • Got smoke alarms on every level of your home? Test them, replace batteries if necessary, and make sure your family knows what to do in case of fire.

Stay tuned for more tips to keep your South Carolina home safe from fire this holiday season. We at Catastrophe Services wish your family safe and happy holidays.

• November 25, 2015 • No comments yet

Winter is coming, South Carolina. Which as disaster restoration pros (unfortunately!), you already know means a lot of storm and cold weather preparation. And, a danger of frozen pipes. The time to ensure their safety is now—not when the frost hits.

These pipe winterization tips, adapted from the American Red Cross, will help ensure your pipes make it through the winter.

  • Inspect exposed pipes once a year. Call a plumber if insulation looks thin or frayed. Newspaper, “heat tape,” etc., can provide some degree of insulation, but consulting a professional is always good idea. Pay close attention if you’ve moved in the past few years, as there may be pipes you’ve missed.
  • During cold weather, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let air circulate around the plumbing. If there are water lines in the garage, keep the door closed.
  • If cold is severe, lets faucets drip.
  • Keep temperature constant all day.
  • If going away, set the temperature no lower than 55 degrees F.
  • Drain sprinkler pipes, swimming pools, etc. according to manufacturer specifications only. Never put antifreeze into appliance lines.
  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe and take quick action:
    • Leave the faucet open.
    • Apply heat to the exposed pipe using a hair dryer or heating pad.
    • Keep applying heat until pressure is restored.
    • If the frozen area isn’t accessible or pressure doesn’t come back, call a plumber.

Catastrophe Services is your disaster restoration specialist in Columbia and across South Carolina. We help you get your life back following a disaster—but it’s better to prevent them. Watch this space for more tips on South Carolina home safety.

 

 

• November 25, 2015 • No comments yet

Last month, South Carolina experienced historic flooding that disrupted lives for several weeks and interrupted the basic fabric of life across the state. Homes, businesses, and loved ones were lost leaving a record number of people desperate for access to flood relief information and services.

On October 22, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which coordinates disaster relief, published this flood relief tip sheet for South Carolinians affected by flooding to get legal, financial, and mental health assistance.

Here’s a summary:

Unemployment Assistance

Flood survivors who lost jobs or businesses in federally-designated disaster areas are eligible to apply for unemployment assistance. Deadlines vary by county, but all occur during November; click through above for a full breakdown. Apply by using mybenefits.dew.sc.gov or call (866) 831-1724.

Call (888) 834-5890 for general information on flood-related unemployment assistance.

Free Legal Assistance

If you have flood-related legal issues but cannot afford a lawyer, call (877) 797-2227 ext. 120 or (803) 576-3815 between 9 am-5 pm Monday through Friday.

The service is provided through a partnership between the American Bar Association, the South Carolina Bar, and other state legal associations.

Free Crisis Counseling

Mental health professionals are available to help you cope at crisis centers across South Carolina. Call (800) 621-3362 or go to fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers.

Disaster Recovery Assistance

Flood survivors who sustained losses in federally-designated disaster areas are eligible to apply for assistance. Click here for a list of counties; call (800) 621-3362 or go to DisasterAssistance.gov to apply.

Again, this is only a summary; click through to FEMA’s website for full information on flood recovery in South Carolina.

The recent floods are one of the worst disasters South Carolina has faced in decades. Catastrophe Services looks forward to working with you, our insurance partners, and federal, state, and local agencies to help you get your life back on track.

• October 13, 2015 • No comments yet

Catastrophe Services, Inc. – CSI has mobilized teams of certified trained Techs, and manager to access damage in the affected areas due to the historic flooding. We are available for consultation on steps that you need to take to restore your property. We are offer a variety of service packages, from clean up, to equipment rental, to certified drying. Please contact local experts that have a track record for this kinda work and can restore your property. We have crews and plenty of drying equipment on hand.

• September 30, 2015 • No comments yet

Sewage backups are messy, unpleasant, and dangerous. Property damage aside, few catastrophes outside fire are such a direct threat to your health.

If you experience a sewage backup, keep these tips and facts in mind before contacting a South Carolina restoration professional:

  • Leave the building immediately. This goes for everyone, but is especially important for those who are under age 2 or over 60, pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on chemotherapy or prescription drugs, or HIV/AIDS patients.
  • Don’t attempt to clean up—the untrained will endanger themselves and others. Only restoration professionals should attempt sewage remediation.
  • Understand that absorbent sewage-saturated materials (bedding, carpet, upholstery, drywall, insulation, etc.) that can’t be washed in hot (130° F) water for at least 10 minutes must be contained as hazards and destroyed. Drying in place will compound the health risk.
  • See your doctor after sewage exposure to update your vaccinations, including Hepatitis B.

After sewage remediation make sure a third-party indoor environmental professional verifies that the building is safe to occupy.

Got questions about disaster restoration in Columbia or elsewhere in South Carolina? Catastrophe Services is here for you. Give us a call at [NUMBER]—our business is helping you get your life back.

• August 5, 2015 • No comments yet

Whether it’s a broken pipe or storm runoff, dealing with a water damage basement cleanup is serious business.

Significant standing water calls for immediate professional help, of course; we’ve covered what to do in an emergency. But we want to emphasize that any flooding event carries the risk for mold that you can’t see. That’s why it’s important to consult your insurance company and a disaster restoration specialist.

During water damage basement cleanup in Columbia or elsewhere, Catastrophe Services will look for mold in out-of-reach places like inside walls, ceilings, and ductwork and underneath cabinets or sub-flooring. If we suspect mold, we’ll test air quality to gauge the severity of the problem and then later to ensure it’s been eradicated.

Again, mold can grow from even minor flooding events—and quickly become a serious structural and health threat. Keep mold at bay by consulting your insurance company and a disaster restoration specialist for water damage basement cleanup.

Got questions about water damage basement cleanup in Columbia or elsewhere in South Carolina? Give us a call. We’re happy to hear from you.

• August 3, 2015 • No comments yet

As the storm approached, you did all you could to get ready.

You secured loose objects, turned off natural gas, and rehearsed a communication strategy. Your emergency kit helped keep your family safe, dry, and healthy while your home or business was in the storm’s path.  Now it’s time to assess the damage. Here’s a checklist on how to get started with storm damage repair in South Carolina:

Look closely. Are there fuel or gas leaks? Are pipes broken or foundations damaged? What about live wires? Leave the property immediately if you see any of these conditions.

Call the experts. An experienced disaster relief specialist will secure the scene quickly and safely, paying special attention to fire, air quality, and other hazards.

Help out. If the scene is safe, cover broken windows/torn roof coverings and clean drains as possible. Take damaged goods away—they may be combustible.

Catastrophe Services is one of South Carolina’s premier disaster relief specialists. As your neighbors, we understand what storm damage means to South Carolina, and it’s our mission to help you get your life back quickly and safely.  Storm damage repair is one of our specialties.  Take a look around the site for more on how we do it, or give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.

• June 17, 2015 • No comments yet

Hurricane season has officially begun, leading home and business owners across South Carolina to step up their emergency preparations. If you’ve yet to set forth a plan for minimizing storm damage or begun stocking your home and car with essential items in case of road shutdowns or evacuations, the team at Catastrophe Services encourages you to make this a priority. Because when facing severe weather, hoping for the best only works if you’re prepared for the worst.

As disaster restoration specialists in South Carolina, we cover storm damage, fire damage, water damage, mold damage, biohazard cleanup, reconstruction, and everything you need to restore your life and property.

When you contract us, we work with you and your insurance company to restore your damaged property to its previous condition or better. Though we’re licensed general contractors, restoration is all we do. Our experience delivering fair estimates and safe, on-time work has settled insurance claims across South Carolina and helped countless families and businesses return to normal after storms, fires, and other catastrophes.

Though our ultimate responsibility is to customers with damaged property, the insurance company usually determines the specifications and scope of work. Most insurance policies don’t quantify the adjuster’s role, and it varies based on the circumstances.

But since we’re South Carolina fire damage, mold damage, storm damage, and water damage specialists, Catastrophe Services works with you and your adjuster to implement fair, rapid, and cost-effective restoration solutions that get your life back on track.

A family business, we’re backed by the Restoration Industry Association (RIA), the oldest and largest nonprofit industry group dedicated to providing impartial, science-based restoration best practices.

If you’re affected by a disaster in South Carolina, get in touch with Catastrophe Services. We look forward to helping you regain your peace of mind.

• June 3, 2015 • No comments yet

People often underestimate the power of water damage.

Wind topples trees, fire devours homes, but water isn’t so violent. Things dry out, right?

If only it were so easy. A small amount of floodwater can render your home uninhabitable for weeks, months, or more. Even if your possessions escape damage, mold can invade your walls and foundation, posing a serious health risk.

Mitigating water damage requires quick action. Here’s what you should do (and what to avoid) while waiting for a Catastrophe Services Water Damage specialist to arrive:

  • Ventilate wet areas. If no mold is present, use air conditioning.
  • Use sponges, towels, or other means to soak up standing water from flat surfaces.
  • Remove carpets where wood floors are at risk.
  • Spread out wet fabric to dry.
  • Unplug and blow-dry appliances.
  • Freeze books and paper to kill mold.
  • Open drawers, closets, and cabinets.
  • Raise furniture from the floor to prevent stains.

Proceed with caution:

  • Never enter rooms with sagging ceilings.
  • Don’t operate appliances on wet floors.
  • Only use heat drying in ventilated spaces.

Taking these steps ahead of a Catastrophe Services Water Damage Specialist will help ensure a quick, successful water damage restoration.

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