Catastrophe Services, Inc. Blog

• December 29, 2014 • No comments yet

Columbia homeowners should think of safety first this holiday season. Review these easy and helpful tips from Catastrophe Services, Inc for avoiding fire damage repair in Coumbia this holiday.

Start with a state of mind. You hear the holiday fire tragedies every year. Someone left a wood stove unattended after stoking it too hot. Or electrical wires were left exposed and a fire starts. Or someone falls asleep smoking. And we feel a sense of sadness, perhaps incorrectly tinged with the self-confident sense that it just wouldn’t happen to me.

Being less confident could save your life. With 5 minutes of forethought you might be able to identify 5 or 10 things that could make the difference between life and death if a fire ever got started. Here are a few tips. How about extra smoke detectors? If you’re reaction is, “what do you mean ‘extra’, get out there quick and get some tonight!

If a fire did start, what’s your plan? Make sure you have one, everyone in the family knows it, and create a drill to practice. In a fire, there’s lots of distraction. By practicing a fire drill, you can eliminate a big one, the question, “What do I do now?” Consider asking your fire department for help in creating a drill.

Think about your wiring. Does it need inspecting? How about wires you can see—do you have any extension cords that have…more extension cords? That’s a hazard.

Do you heat with space heaters? Can they fall over? What happens if they do? They should be built to shut off immediately. If they don’t, replace them  Place some fire extinguishers near where fires might start, like the kitchen, the fireplace, etc. And replace extinguishers that are too old.

Holidays and candles go together. Set some simple rules: don’t leave a candle burning in a room alone. Keep them in candleholders, and the big squat ones on plates. And before you light one, answer this question: what are you doing with the match after it’s blown out? Make sure it’s really out by wetting it.

Be mindful of the odd tragedies that should never have happened as a way to keep your guard up. A few years ago, someone emptied a wood stove and left the bucket of ashes, with embers, close to the house. The house caught fire from wind blowing the embers and several family members who were asleep that night lost their lives in the fire.

The point is, if you keep asking, how can I prevent even unlikely fires from starting, you’ll have a safer holiday season.

It’s strange to say given that we are in the business of fire damage repair in Columbia, we are here for you, but we hope you never need to call us. Have a safe season.


• December 9, 2014 • No comments yet

Before you contact a home restoration company, there are some important things you need to know. Learn the facts about storm damage in Columbia, SC.  One good place to start assessing things is to categorize the damage. “Storm damage” encompasses a lot of different kinds of damage, all of which require a different approach.  Water damage is usually a factor in storms. There the goal is to wring it out and sort it out and sometimes throw it out with a variety of techniques and equipment.  Right on the heels of that same water damage can be mold growth. Removing it can look easy—just scrape it off, many will think. But if the goal is to remove it so it won’t grow back, and to get back to a surface that can be pained without showing stains, it’s a little more complicated.  Another type of storm damage in Columbia, SC, is structural. This can be caused by water, of course, but also by falling trees and other debris that can be hurled around in high wind storms.  When storm damage hits home in Columbia, SC, assessing how much damage you are facing can be more easily done by thinking along these types outlined here: water drying, mold removal, and structural damage.  Need a hand assessing the size of what you are confronting? Give us a call; we’ll be right over.

• December 9, 2014 • No comments yet

What’s the most important tip you can use when needing water damage repair in Greenville, SC—or anywhere? It’s simple: take 5 minutes and resist the urge to plunge in—yes, we know there is debris everywhere; we’ve been where you are at many times, or where you might find yourself one day, if you are reading this in preparation. Take the five minutes and do two rough calculations: how much will it cost me to do it myself, or if in a business, with my employees? The second question is, if you’re in a business, how much opportunity will I lose by focusing on damage repair instead of letting professionals do it?

We think of our job as not just water damage repair but as helping the customer put the mess behind them so they can get on with their business, their life, whatever they should be focusing on or enjoying, just as it was before the calamity happened.  Of course, you can do a great deal yourself—and we can supply equipment to help. But to get back on track, the first tip is to consider using professional muscle power behind the project, to get it over and done with fast.  But there also is a lot you can do to help, even if you rely on us. Think safety first—switch off the circuit breaker(s) in the area. Don’t use electrical equipment that’s designed to be in a dry place.  Make sure the source of the problem that’s causing the damage is blocked—a broken pipe, perhaps. If it’s not possible to stop the water coming in, call us quick.  Next, think about what you can save from damage or further damage. Time is critical; the longer things sit in water the worse it gets. Don’t trust your carpet. You might think it’s just damp, no big deal. But anything sitting on it like chair legs of furniture can wick up the water and get damaged. Move what furniture you can, put tarps under anything you can’t. And get inventive: try coasters under chair legs, or cups or anything that will create a barrier to the water in the carpet.  Soak up what you can—every wrung out towel helps get you just that much closer to dry.  Lastly, be ruthless. Toss what can’t be saved, quickly, to get it behind you emotionally. Make a record of what is lost for insurance purposes or other record keeping needs.  Homeowners who need water damage repair in Greenville, SC, can count on Catastrophe Services, Inc. CSI offers full service restoration and reconstruction throughout South Carolina and in parts of Georgia through our Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, SC and Augusta GA offices.

Call today for more information!

• October 31, 2014 • No comments yet

Storm damage repair in South Carolina can involve a wide range of skills – and equipment. If you’ve done this before professionally, then you’ll know what equipment to rent -and we’ll be glad to supply it; we have it all. But if you are new to this, you’ll want to consider a few things before plunging in.

At the top of the list: who can do this safely? Usually that’s a crew with a lot of experience under their belt. They know what they have to do before they start (make sure the electricity is disconnected, for starters), and they assess what they will need to get the job done. For example, will a cherry picker truck be needed to get to that damaged tree safely?

You’ll also want to consult with your insurance agency. What is covered, what is not covered, and is there a clause that prohibits you from doing some aspects of the work yourself if you expect the insurance company to pay?

You’ll also need insured professionals—a company that won’t be going after you if an accident happens.

It’s important to look at the company’s affiliations. Are the registered with the Better Business Bureau? Do they have an affiliation with the US EPA? And so on.

Lastly, a reason why so many people find hiring experts compelling is the speed with which they can get the job done. You don’t want to live in a restoration project as it drags on and on while you juggle a busy life on top of trying to fix everything. You want to live in your restored home. We’ll help you reach that point quickly.

As restoration specialists, Catastrophe Services, has been serving the area since 1989. If you need storm damage repair or cleanup in SC, please call us at 803-788-1800.

• October 31, 2014 • No comments yet

Looking for mold remediation in Columbia, SC? Catastrophe Services has the experience it takes to remove mold from your home safely. But how do you know what to look for in a mold remediation company?

Mold has been around from the dawn of time—and so have we. Not quite, but we’ve been at this for over 30 years, and that’s one thing you want to check for. Make sure your company has experience. Chances are you’re looking for mold remediation in your home or place of business, places you care about deeply. It has to be done right.

One thing they’ll be clear on is the steps in the sequence. Removing mold isn’t the first one. It’s essential to address whatever the moisture source is that’s feeding the mold—mold won’t grow if things are tinder dry. Mold removal only makes sense after that’s done—so the problem doesn’t recur.

Your ideal company will be honest, clear, upfront and fast. Clarity comes from providing an accurate assessment of what your problem is and how it needs to be addressed. By upfront, we mean give you a quote so you know what you are getting into. And speed is essential. Mold is almost always a growing problem that needs to be nipped in the bud—or as soon as possible.

How do you know a company will be fast? Look at their body language. By that we mean notice the little things: do they answer the phone 24/7? Do they arrive on time? Do they offer an estimate that includes a timeline? Do people who have used them before say they are prompt? If you’re looking for mold remediation in Columbia SC—do they know where you are?

Finally, listen carefully for what they plan to do at the end of the process. Will they do clearance testing so they can demonstrate both to their own satisfaction and yours that the job has been completed properly? Actually—that was a trick question. The answer it is highly recommended to have the remediation and the testing done by two different companies.

How do we stack up? That’s a great question. For our answer, call us at 803-788-1800.

• September 17, 2014 • No comments yet

It’s astounding how many people believe they’ll never need to prepare or recover from a Hurricane in Charleston, South Carolina.  The average length between direct hits here is 10.9 years.  So, why worry?  It’s worth a little worry – and maybe a lot of prep – because with that kind of frequency, we know we will get hit again.  And the average length of time between indirect hits, which can still deliver a wallop, is less than 4 years.

Prepare for a Hurricane

Do we really need to worry, as long as we stay off the beach? It doesn’t matter if you worry; it only matters if you prepare.  We’ve been hit repeatedly since records started being kept—in 1752.  The average wind speed of a hurricane that hits Charleston directly is a sustained 94 miles an hour.  Not gusts, but sustained.  That’s enough to kill—and enough to inflict serious damage on your home.  There’s absolutely no excuse for doing some of the most effective prep that is also the easiest:  Stick our phone number in your wallet.  It’s 800-952-6106.

Create a Plan

Here’s a second easy step, and no, it’s not sandbagging the basement or taping the window.  (You don’t want tape the windows months in advance anyway. Ruins the view!)  That easy step is to create a plan where you and your family will meet in the event of a crisis like this.  Is it your home?  A family member’s place of work?  A church?  It’s vital that you have one so that, whatever comes next, it doesn’t involve hours of fruitless searching for those you love the most.  You might think, I’ll just call them.  That might or might not work depending on whether cell phone service is still working.  It is best to have a meeting plan.  Just those two things, having a meeting plan and having our number, can give you a path forward, even if there’s no time for other prep.

• September 17, 2014 • No comments yet

No that’s not a typo: we do get ice storms in South Carolina, as anyone who was around earlier this year can attest to that.  But, why bother preparing for these freak storms?  First, they may not be as infrequent as we’d like.  Perhaps we won’t see another one for years, but there is always a chance we could get another one this winter.  But, here’s the real reason why prepping for an unlikely ice storm in Charleston, South Carolina makes sense.  Those storms deliver a wide variety of damage—flooding, fire (from shorted power lines), and serious storm damage.  Prepare for an ice storm and you’re prepared for many different disasters.

Contact the Disaster Experts

One of the most important steps is the easiest. Grab our phone number, 800-952-6106 and keep it handy.  We’ll help you bounce back fast because that’s the only thing we do.  We get people back on top of the impossible. We’ve done flood, fire, storm, mold and everything in between. And, we’ve been helping people and business for decades.

Preventing Storm Damage

If you’ve looked at the damage done this spring and are saying, “never again,” there’s much more you can do.  First, inspect power lines to make sure they are not near trees, and arrange to have any trees that are too close cut back or cut down in advance.  The more likely you are to have power throughout the storm, the easier it is to mitigate other damage.  Second, buy some fire extinguishers so you can react quickly.  That expression about saving money for a rainy day has stuck with us for a reason: storm damage costs money, for repairs or and replacing anything that isn’t fully covered by insurance.  Spending a small amount of money now on a fire extinguisher could save you an incredible amount of money from fire damage in the future.

Play it Safe in a Storm

Most important, stay out of the storm when it hits, whatever the storm may be: severe thunder, ice, tornado, it doesn’t matter. Keep safe.  One last prep step for a storm in Charleston, South Carolina:  Put a smile on your face. If the storm never hits, it means you’ve over prepared.  But you get to sleep better at night.  We’re the company that hopes we never hear from you because you’re so well prepared.  But we’re also the company that has your back in the toughest of times. Don’t hesitate to call.

• August 18, 2014 • No comments yet

People blow hot and cold on whether climate change is happening, but this much we can agree on: it’s been a tough winter. This year, spring cleaning is about a lot more than raking old leaves and planting our peas. From burst pipes to flooding and more, Catastrophe Services is having a busy season helping to clean up the mess and repair burst pipes and other damage.

For over 25 years we’ve been doing restoration work, water extraction, plumbing, you name it, to get properties back up to standard and put the smile back on owners’ faces.

Experience is crucial, along with a commitment to constantly improve what we do. We are a licensed EPA certified family business and the only restoration company in South Carolina to have a Certified Restorer (CR) and Water Loss Specialist (WLS) at every executive position.

A lot of our secret, beyond the years of know how, the latest equipment, and the drive to make it better, is getting the simple things right. Like being available 24/7—disasters rarely happen in the middle of sunny days, and they’re never cleaned up by 5 PM. So we are prepared to jump on any emergency at any time. Another secret—and this sounds so obvious once you hear it—is that we do it all, from fire to flooding, from wind damage to mold.

Contact us or call immediately at 800-052-6106, and our award-winning team can help you get out of the mess, get out of overwhelm, get back in control, and get back to where you need to be.

• August 12, 2014 • No comments yet

Mold requires moisture to grow. But it can start quickly, just 24 to 48 hours after moisture appears, and grow fast, becoming a real health problem before you know it. To nip this in the bud, you can cure straightforward instances yourself—wipe it up and dry it out.
But sometimes its more complicated, and our professional services can help. First, how did the water get here? If it’s the result of leaks in the roof, plumbing problems or flooding, cleaning up can be a futile measure at best and a recurring nightmare at worst. We can help locate where the water is coming from if you have persistent mold.
Then you have to repair any areas that are either weakened by the water damage or unlikely to dry out in any timely manner. We can help identify and repair those as well.
Finally, you have two more steps: kill the mold and dry the area out really well. We are the experts on killing mold. In terms of drying, it’s so tempting to let nature take its course—won’t simple evaporation cure it all in the end? Maybe. But if you have a moldy basement, intervention is required. If you have a carpet that just won’t dry out for weeks, that means not only are the mold colonies growing in that time, but the floor under the carpet may be suffering irreparable damage.
Sometimes our most invaluable role is our simplest: we help you decide just when to cut your losses. When do you dry out that carpet vs replace it? Just how extensive do your plumbing or roof repairs need to be? It’s hard to bite the bullet without professional advice. On top of all our expertise, muscle power, equipment and experience, one thing we bring to the table is the experience of the customers who came before you. When you hear the stories of others who decided to do everything that was necessary to get rid of the mold once and for all, and you hear how they feel about it later, making the best choices can suddenly be easier.
Give us a call. We’ll help you clarify, make the easy and tough choices, and get this behind you as fast as possible.
Mold? Be bold.

• August 12, 2014 • No comments yet

The trick with water damage is to see it as an event that continues to unfold after the flooding has stopped, after the water has been mopped up. By far the most damaging element in most water damage situations is procrastination. To win requires action sustained long after the mop up. Consider five factors of speed in flooding restoration. First is availability: you have to have a company that is ready to respond, that picks up the phone with a team at the ready, no matter when it rings. Second, the team you work with has to know what its doing. It has to conduct an assessment that builds on years of doing this and not get tricked into thinking, “If we remove the water we are done.” At CSI we bring over 25 years of experience to the table. Third, your team needs equipment. That can be everything from tiny kits for mold testing to large pumps for removing water. Dehumidifiers are often a must for a quick bounce back, for example. Another element is the ability to understand the crisis in context. Fourth is the water damage a result of putting out a fire or from natural flooding? The answer can determine several aspects of the course of action. Finally, maybe most importantly, you need an ally. You need a company you can trust that provides up front estimates, who is determined to use their expertise to put you in the driver’s seat, so you can make the best decisions fast. Can we squeeze one more in? Know who you’re going to call—before disaster strikes. When it hits, you don’t want to be reaching for the yellow pages but contacting people you already know you trust. We service the Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, SC & Augusta, GA metropolitan areas. Call now for expert help!

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