Catastrophe Services, Inc. Blog

Catastrophe Prevention

• April 29, 2016 • No comments yet

At Catastrophe Services, we’re your restoration specialists in Columbia, SC.

When disaster strikes in Columbia, throughout South Carolina, or in the Augusta, GA, area, we’ll help restore your property – and your life – to its previous condition. But we’d rather you didn’t need us, so make sure you complete these essential maintenance tasks this spring. A little work now will save a lot of time and money later.

Clean your gutters. If we could repeat this ten more times, we would—clogged gutters are the source of massive amounts of water damage.

Prepare your air conditioner. Trim plants and shrubs away from your central air conditioning unit. Contact a professional to change the filter, clean the coils, and unclog blocked lines if necessary. (Depending on experience, you may be able to do this yourself.) Remember that window unit filters should be changed every 60-90 days.

Change your furnace filter. Why wait to get ready for fall?

Check smoke & carbon monoxide detectors. There should be at least one (preferably more) working detector on each level of your house. Replace batteries as necessary.

Re-stain & seal wood decks or outbuildings. It’s your best protection against rotting structures.

It’s a pleasure to be your Columbia, SC home restoration specialists—we take great joy in helping our neighbors recover from disaster. But we’d much rather keep disaster at bay, so click through above for more maintenance tips, and enjoy the spring!

• March 22, 2016 • No comments yet

The way to prevent fire damage in your Columbia, SC home?

Prevent fires! And since warm weather isn’t consistently with us yet, the biggest fire threat comes from heating sources. Read on for tips on how to keep your home safe, adapted from the National Fire Protection Association.

Be space heater smart. Put them on a flat, uncarpeted floor. Use according to manufacturer instructions at the lowest comfortable setting, and keep anything flammable at least three feet away. Steer kids and pets clear, too. Turn heaters off when leaving the house or going to bed.

Learn to extinguish your fireplace. Water isn’t enough. Stir and flatten the embers, then dump ash on them. When the fire is low, douse it with baking soda or sand. Wait to ensure the fire is out, then use water if necessary. After several hours, scoop the ashes into a metal container and store in a safe place outside your home.

Never use your oven to keep warm. No further explanation needed. Just don’t. Using an oven to keep warm is extremely dangerous.

Test smoke alarms monthly. All it takes is standing on a chair and pressing the test button. Batteries low? Don’t wait to replace them!

Catastrophe Services is your partner for fire damage repair in Columbia, SC. But we’d rather you didn’t need us, so click above for more fire safety tips!

• March 2, 2016 • No comments yet

It may feel like spring, but we’re not quite there yet.

Snow, ice, and damaging winter weather might not have the immediate impact of hurricanes, but winter can be just as damaging—so keep these tips in mind as we ride out the season.

Check your roof. Cold nights and warm days can push your roof to the breaking point. Replace buckled, broken, or missing shingles immediately, and make sure caulk is tight around chimneys, vents, skylights, etc. This is cheap and easy if you have experience working on roofs and the help to do it safely, but we recommend using a professional.

Manage your gutters. Are they clean? Do you have ice dams? (Large icicles often indicate dams.) There’s no substitute for getting up on a ladder to check, or having a professional do it for you. Watch for gutters that are leaky, dislodged, or improperly pitched, too. Downspouts should be extended 4-5 feet from the house.

Inspect the fabric. Look for cracks in foundations, driveways, window frames, and other places that get hammered by water. Unlike the problems above, they can wait to be fixed until warmer weather—but don’t forget!

Catastrophe Services is your partner for winter storm damage in South Carolina. When disaster strikes, we help you get your life back—but we prefer keeping it away entirely!

• January 15, 2016 • No comments yet

We normally devote this space to practical, hands-on disaster preparation and response—things like emergency kits and flood warnings. But since storm damage repair is expensive, and South Carolina has rarely faced such severe weather as we did in 2015, we’re going to offer a few tips on saving money.

Use windfalls wisely. Get a bonus from work? An inheritance or gift? Use a third to pay debt, a third for present costs, and save a third for the future.

Try to keep a slush fund. It’s easier said than done, but try to keep a slush fund handy—a money-market savings account specifically devoted to emergencies.

Lose the debit card. A radical step? Sure. But by making tiny purchases easy—think about all those late-night pizzas and candy bars—your debit card may cost your money. Figure out a cash budget for the week and stick to it.

Invest. Again, it’s not always easy. But investing 6 percent of your monthly income will leave you a good cushion for the future.

If storm damage strikes you, Catastrophe Services will work with you and your insurance company to restore your property to its previous condition or better. We’re cost-effective, and our record across South Carolina speaks for itself; but insurance doesn’t always cover doing the job right. Financial preparedness is the first step to a smooth storm damage repair process.

Do you have questions about storm damage repair in South Carolina? Call us. We’re here to help.

• January 1, 2016 • No comments yet

You are used to us sharing tips on coping with major disasters like fires, floods, and hurricanes. But are you prepared for the most common weather event of all?

Thunderstorms can cause catastrophic damage to life and property. Use these tips, adapted from the American Red Cross, to make sure you don’t become one of the countless people who deal with storm damage in South Carolina.

  • Understand warnings. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch means that storms are possible, while warnings mean they are in progress and imminent.
  • Stay indoors. Most lightning strikes occur in areas without rain. If you can hear thunder, you’re in danger from lightning.
  • Avoid electrical equipment as much as possible. Don’t take baths or showers during storms.
  • If you’re outside and can’t take shelter, avoid high ground, trees, and metal objects.
  • Keep trees and shrubs trimmed.
  • Install lightning rods only after consulting with your local fire department.
  • Assemble at emergency preparedness kit and keep it current in case evacuation is necessary.
  • Never drive through flooded areas.
  • Call 911 to report downed power lines or the smell of natural gas.

2015 saw severe storm damage across South Carolina. If it touched you, give Catastrophe Services a call—we heal homes, restore businesses, and help you get your life back on track.

• 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.

 

 

• 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

We’re not just your South Carolina storm damage repair specialists; we understand that restoration and reconstruction starts with your family. If you’re not safe and happy, nothing else matters. So this hurricane season, re-examine your emergency kit.

You do have one, right? Because with a storm on the horizon, packing the kids and pets in the car and heading for high ground doesn’t count as a plan. A few fresh, common sense supplies can make all the difference in your health and peace of mind, so read on for our tips on a strong emergency kit, adapted from the American Red Cross.

  • Cash
  • Vital documents: passports, birth certificates, Social Security cards, etc.
  • At least two battery-operated flashlights
  • A battery-operated radio tuned to your local news/weather station
  • One gallon of bottled water per day per adult. Try to budget for a week.
  • Canned goods, crackers, peanut butter, pet food, and other non-perishables
  • Clothing & blankets
  • Prescription drugs and other medicines
  • Sanitation: soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, etc.
  • Basic tools: hammer, duct tape, screwdrivers, pliers, knife, etc.
  • Entertainment: books, cards, board games, etc.

Select two places for your family to meet if separated; one in or near your home, the other a landmark like a school or church. Make sure each family member knows your plan, and ask neighbors to help your kids and pets along if necessary.

Remember that after a storm phones, ATMs, internet, and other electronic resources often won’t work for days or weeks, so your emergency kit should be enough to sustain your family until you can return home or relief efforts begin.

Storm damage cleanup in South Carolina a long and often complicated process. We hope you don’t need your hurricane emergency kit, but if so make it strong enough to lean on while we help restore your property and reconstruct your life.

Got hurricane or other disaster restoration questions in South Carolina? Give us a call at 1 (800) 952-6106. We look forward to hearing from you.

© 2014 - Catastrophe Services, Inc.