Recent Posts

Missoula County Emergency Alerts

5/26/2022 (Permalink)

A black and white photo of an emergency call box on a college campus. You have to know about an emergency before you can react to it; check out your local alert options today!

Here at SERVPRO of Missoula, we discuss emergency preparedness quite often—how to prepare for emergency situations, what to do during an emergency, and steps to take after an emergency has occurred. But how do we know when to put all this preparation into action? Not all emergencies are immediately obvious to us as a kitchen fire or flooded home might be; sometimes situations develop outside our sphere of awareness that still necessitates emergency action, like evacuating or sheltering in place. That’s why it’s important to be aware of emergency alert systems and make sure each member of your household is set up to receive alerts in a way that’s best for them.
Almost all (>99%) of wireless subscribers get messages via the WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) system, which sends location-specific messages about extreme threats. For instance, residents in an affected area may be notified about an AMBER alert, a hurricane warning, or a terror threat via a WEA message. Local law enforcement agencies often have emergency alert systems, as well. If you live in Missoula County, you can sign up for smart911 to receive information about local emergencies via text, email, and/or voice message; if you live in Ravalli County, you can sign up for Hyper-Reach and choose from the same notification options. FEMA and the American Red Cross also have mobile apps with customizable emergency alert options, with the latter offering a “Family Safe” feature that allows you to send alerts to family and check in with them during an emergency. Most of these apps are available in Spanish as well as English, and offer TTY/TDD compatible messaging.
The sooner you know about an emergency situation, the sooner you can put your emergency preparation into action and ensure your and your family’s safety. Head to your city or county’s official website today and check out your options for being in the know!

The Danger Slow Leaks Present to your Missoula Home

5/19/2022 (Permalink)

Bubbled plaster due to long-term water damage. Long-term water damage can lead to warped walls, discoloration, and mold.

Water damage caused by a long-term leak or other sources of moisture accumulation over time is scary for homeowners for multiple reasons. In many cases, homeowners have no idea a leak is there. We often think; that insurance is supposed to cover sudden and accidental damage. However, long-term water loss claims are often denied, Long-term water damage also regularly leads to secondary damages like mold.
As a homeowner, the best way to deal with long-term water damage is to prevent it. Like any other part of your home, pipes experience wear and tear, and regular maintenance and periodic replacements may be necessary to keep things running smoothly. Scheduling an annual or bi-annual plumbing inspection can help determine if any repairs are needed. For instance, a plumber can check to see if your water pressure is too high or if your water has a high mineral content—both of which can stress your pipes and reduce their lifespan—and recommend an appropriate fix.
If an out-of-sight leak does occur, how can you know? There are a few common signs to watch out for: your water bill is significantly higher than usual; decreased water pressure in your home; wet spots around sinks, toilets, or tubs; warped, discolored, or wet walls; a persistent mildew smell. If you can see or smell signs of water damage in your home, or if your plumber discovers a long-term leak, call SERVPRO of Missoula as soon as possible. Our technicians can be onsite within the hour to begin mitigating the damage. If insurance coverage ever becomes an issue, your project manager will be able to get you a quote directly.

Missoula Dryer Fires: Clean Lint Traps Save Lives

5/12/2022 (Permalink)

A hand removing lint from a dryer’s lint trap. A clean lint trap saves lives!

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an average of 2,900 residential dryer fires are reported each year, and nearly 1,000 of those (34%) are caused by a failure to properly clean either the lint trap or the vent ductwork. The good news is: that it takes just a few simple steps to keep your clothes dryer clean and protect your home from a dryer fire.

The most important step that you and your family can take in preventing dryer fires is to clean the dryer’s lint trap – not once a month or once a week, but every day, after every single drying cycle. Not only will a clean lint trap reduce the risk of a dryer fire in your home, but it will also help keep your dryer running efficiently to dry your clothes in less time. Then, do a quick check of the following areas at least once a month: the back of the dryer for lint built-up; the venting system, to ensure it isn’t damaged or restricted; and the outdoor vent covering, to ensure it is unobstructed and opens when the dryer is in use. Once a year, clean the vent system.

If a fire—dryer or otherwise—does occur in your Missoula home, call SERVPRO of Missoula to help. Our team of highly trained fire restoration technicians can help make it “Like it never even happened."

How SERVPRO of Missoula makes commercial fire damage “Like it never even happened”

5/5/2022 (Permalink)

A fire fighter stands outside a burned-out restaurant façade. A fire in your business can make you feel hopeless, but SERVPRO of Missoula can make it “Like it never even happened.”

If you own a business, your priority is keeping the doors open. When something unexpected—like a fire or smoke damage from a nearby fire—occurs. One of your primary concerns is how long the damage will take to fix. So, when you search for a restoration company to help get your business back to normal, you look for one with a reputation for being able to get the job done thoroughly and efficiently. That’s where SERVPRO of Missoula comes in.
Here at SERVPRO of Missoula, we’re committed to making that damage “Like it never even happened.” But what does efficient, thorough fire restoration look like. It starts with clearance from the local fire department to ensure that the structure is safe to work. If a fire has caused structural damage, a structural engineer will be called in to monitor the project and keep everyone on the job site safe. Next, our technicians will place air scrubbers throughout the affected area to filter smoke particles and begin to purify the air. Salvageable textiles will be sent to fabric restoration professionals. While SERVPRO of Missoula technicians secure the necessary commercial permits to begin the removal of all charred material within your business and complete HEPA vacuuming and cleaning. Final deodorization takes place using an ozone or hydroxyl generator, and from there, our experienced project managers will create a scope of work for any necessary repairs. Throughout the whole fire restoration process, your SERVPRO of Missoula project manager will always be available to answer questions. They will notify you of the job’s progress, so you can rest assured that everything is being done to make your commercial fire “Like it never even happened.”

Mold 102: Causes and Prevention

4/27/2022 (Permalink)

A close-up of a hygrometer. High humidity can lead to mold growth in your home. Check out these tips to decrease the risk!

If you don’t have visible or suspected mold growth in your home, you probably don’t want to think about the topic. After all, out of sight-out of mind. But, the truth is, the best time to think about mold is when you don’t have a mold problem. That way, you can pinpoint potential mold danger zones in your home and take preventative action.

In a previous blog (Mold 101), we talked about steps you can take if you discover visible mold growth in your home. But what about steps you can take to get ahead of mold growth? Those all come down to understanding what causes mold. Like we said in that previous blog, mold “can grow anywhere moisture, oxygen, and organic material are present.” Well, that’s pretty much your entire home. But don’t be discouraged—the key is to limit excessive moisture as much as possible. Excessive moisture occurs when a dwelling is overly humid—the EPA recommends that homes maintain 30-60% humidity and have poor ventilation or moisture-causing activities such as cooking, bathing, and washing clothes. These all increase the indoor humidity level. Of course, excess moisture can also be caused by a leaking pipe, a roof leak, or flooding.

Luckily, taming excess moisture indoors can be done with simple at-home actions. Open windows to let steam outside when showering or cooking on a stovetop, and vent clothes dryers outdoors. To facilitate airflow through your home, so that moisture doesn’t settle on surfaces, leave doors open between rooms and use ceiling fans if available. To monitor humidity, you can purchase an inexpensive hygrometer at most hardware stores and of course, clean up leaks and spills as soon as they occur. If you live in a particularly humid area or have recurring mold problems, you may want to consider more intense actions like purchasing a dehumidifier. In general however, the above steps are a great start to lowering the risk of mold growth in your home!

How SERVPRO of Missoula makes residential fire damage “Like it never even happened.”

4/22/2022 (Permalink)

Two SERVPRO technicians cleaning smoke damage off a ceiling. SERVPRO of Missoula will clean your home top to bottom to make fire damage “Like it never even happened.”

The extent of damage that occurs during a residential fire can vary greatly, but SERVPRO of Missoula brings the same restoration expertise to every individual case. Whether your home experienced a small fire that got put out quickly and caused mainly smoke damage, or a large fire that charred multiple rooms, SERVPRO of Missoula is always there to help with damage mitigation and restoration every step of the way.
In our commitment to making your residential fire “Like it never even happened,” our technicians will perform a complete pack-out of all the items in your home so that every single salvageable item can be cleaned and inventoried, and so that the entire structure can under-go air purification and deep cleaning. If any areas of your home need to be repaired due to extensive fire damage, our in-house carpenter will erase any evidence of the fire right down to the base trim!
Though fire restoration can be a long process, our project managers will give you daily updates on job progress and answer any questions or concerns you may have along the way. And when you move all of your cleaned and inventoried belongings back into your newly smoke- and fire-damage-free home, you’ll be glad you put SERVPRO of Missoula on the job!

Spring river flooding in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys

4/6/2022 (Permalink)

High river water rushes around the base of a bridge. Springtime can mean spring river flooding – is your home prepared?

Spring has finally arrived in earnest here in Western Montana, and though that brings the joys of song birds and green foliage, it also often brings rain, run-off, and the risk of flooding. The Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys are particularly vulnerable to rising waters in the Clark Fork and Bitterroot Rivers, and while there is nothing, we as individuals can do regarding water levels, there are things we can do to protect our homes against flooding. So, while you’re sheltering-in-place, consider taking these steps to prepare your home for the possibility of spring flooding:

  • Know if your home is at risk! FEMA provides Flood Maps on its website that can help you determine if your home is in a flood zone. Another great resource is your local news station’s online archive, where you can find out where floods have occurred in the past.
  • Know your coverage. Flood insurance is not covered in most standard home owners’ policies, and according to FEMA, nearly 25% of flood insurance claims come from outside “high risk” flood zones. If you have any reason to fear flood damage to your home, you may want to speak to your insurance agent about your options.
  • Be diligent about shoveling snow away from your foundation, and make sure water is able to drain away from it, as well.
  • Have a plan. Check out our “Emergency Readiness at Home: Evacuation Plan” and “Emergency Alerts” blogs in the Storm category and “Steps for an Insurance Home Inventory” in the Why SERVPRO category for more tips that can help in the event of a flood.

Emergency planning is an activity that can—and should! —involve the whole family and is one way we can feel more in control during these crazy times. And don’t forget, if your home experiences water, fire, or mold damage, SERVPRO of Missoula is always here to help

Trying to sell your Missoula home? Call SERVPRO of Missoula for a professional cleaning!

3/30/2022 (Permalink)

A home owner and a SERVPRO employee standing next to a “Sold” sign. Clean homes sell faster – SERVPRO of Missoula can help!

It should go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway: clean, fresh smelling homes sell faster than dirty, musty homes. Unfortunately, though, not all homes are maintained in the same way, and nearly all realtors are eventually faced with a difficult listing to show. If you’re getting ready to sell your Missoula-area home, make the whole process easier for yourself (and your realtor!) by scheduling a professional cleaning. Not only will a clean home lead to a shorter list-to-sale conversion time, but it could actually increase the market value of your home.

SERVPRO of Missoula offers a variety of services that can help revive your home, ensuring that it is ready to show and ready to sell. Our services include the following:

  • Carpet, Upholstery, Drapes and Blinds
  • Ceilings, Walls and Hard Floors
  • Air Ducts and HVAC
  • Deodorization
  • Mold Mitigation and Remediation

Our technicians have the training and equipment to help identify the source of offensive odors, and specialized products capable of penetrating surfaces in order to thoroughly neutralize them. You probably know SERVPRO as a leader in fire and water cleanup and restoration, but our professional residential cleaning services can also make a dirty home "Like it never even happened." Give us a call at 406-327-9500 to schedule your professional cleaning.

Emergency Readiness: Shelter-in-Place at Your Missoula Business

3/23/2022 (Permalink)

Servpro ERP Logo. Every business is vulnerable to risks. SERVPRO of Missoula can help you come up with a plan for combating them!

If you manage a business or own a commercial space, you expect your employees to report to work per their schedule and fulfill their job duties in a timely manner. Your employees expect you to provide them with a safe environment in which to do their job. Most of the time, these expectations are met without incident. Every commercial space is vulnerable to risk, however, and it’s important to have plans in place to protect your staff when something out of the ordinary occurs.

Some regional risks for businesses in Western Montana include forest fires, earthquakes, and winter storms. Then, health hazards, vehicle or machinery accidents, acts of violence, and power outages or equipment failure are risks that should be included in every Emergency Response Plan no matter your geographical location. In certain emergency situations, evacuation is the safest course of action (scroll down for our previous post, Emergency Readiness: Evacuation Plans). In others—like in the instance of nearby chemical spills or a fire across the street—it’s safer for employees to remain in the building until emergency services say otherwise. For these situations, your business should have a Shelter-in-Place plan.

Shelter-in-Place plans need not be elaborate. To start creating one for your business, designate an area near the center of the building where employees can congregate; this area should be away from windows, and on the second or third floor if available. In the plan, a specific employee should be assigned to shut off the building’s air intake system. As with evacuation plans, your Shelter-in-Place plan should be triggered by an alarm or other alert system recognizable to your employees, and your staff should run practice drills no less than once a year.

Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place plans help keep your employees safe in the event of an emergency, and give them peace of mind all year round. Other ways to improve your business’s emergency preparedness include consulting local law enforcement in creating a Lockdown Plan (some departments even provide training) for our facility, and writing a Crisis Communication Plan, which lets your employees and your customers know exactly when and in what form they can expect contact from you about returning to work after a crisis.

If you’re interested in preparing a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan for your business, call SERVPRO of Missoula for more information!

What to do if you find mold in your Missoula home

3/18/2022 (Permalink)

Mold along a baseboard in the corner of a room. Finding mold in your home can be scary business, but it’s our business to make it “Like it never even happened.”

If you find mold in your home or business, several worries are likely to race through your mind—you may wonder ‘Is this affecting the health of my family or employees?’ ‘How extensive is it?’ or ‘How do I even begin to get rid of it?’—but it’s important not to panic. Mold spores get released into the air when they’re disturbed, so if you discover mold, the first step you should take is to back away from whatever project exposed the mold, and to not disturb it further.  

Second, because mold is caused by excess moisture, it’s important to figure out where the moisture came from. If you discover an active source of moisture, such as a leaking pipe, fix the leak or eliminate the source as soon as possible. Once you’ve cut off the source of moisture to the area affected by mold growth, it’s time to call insurance and see if mold damage is covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Your agent will also be able to recommend next steps based on the size and scope of the damage. In most cases, but certainly if the affected area is larger than 10 sq. ft. (approximately 3 ft. by 3 ft.), the most reliable way to remediate the mold in your home is to call in remediation professionals. This is because many popular home remediation methods, such as the use of bleach, may not fix the problem and can make it likely for the mold to return. SERVPRO of Missoula uses advanced methods of containment and air filtration, as well as specially formulated cleaning products to remove mold and recreate a healthy environment for your family.