Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve is always a time for reflection -
 looking back over the good, the bad and the ugly of the past year. 

As for the good, we are grateful for all our customers, employees, vendors and business partners who have been part of our success this past year. Every contact and relationship is important to us.
Here are just a few of the good memories this year with our employees:
Halloween Party

Summer Picnic

Of course, when we talk about the bad, it is always the situations in which many of our clients find themselves that leads them to contact us.  This is an inherent part of working in the field of disaster restoration.  However, it is our mission to take the bad and turn it into something good for our customers.  Here is a picture that a customer sent to our company owner on Christmas morning.  They are living in temporary housing while their house is being repaired after a fire.  The day before Christmas eve, she asked if someone could find their stockings which were packed away and stored in our warehouse while their house is being restored.  One of our contents technicians was able to find them and get them to the family in time to be filled with Christmas treats.

Last but not least, we must discuss the ugly.  Or better yet - let's just take a look:
  1. Ron Burgundy: Mmmmm... I look good. I mean really good.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

From all of us at Restoration Professionals,

May Peace, Joy, Hope and Happiness 
be yours during this Holiday Season 
and throughout the New Year

Friday, December 6, 2013

Brrr - It's cold out there.

When it gets this cold outside, it is important to protect yourself against the elements but it is also important to protect your home from damage that frequently accompanies this type of weather.  The most common cause of water damage that we see this time of year is from frozen burst pipes.  When water freezes, it expands.  As it expands, it can cause pipes and other water conduits to burst.  However, you may not realize you have a broken or leaky pipe until it warms up a little and the ice thaws and water starts flooding your home.

Here are a couple of things you can do to prevent or minimize costly damage to your property:
By this time, you should have put away garden hoses and turned off  the water supply to all outside faucets. You should also check crawl spaces and other boxed-in areas where water pipes are located to make sure there is adequate heat supply and good warm air flow around pipes.
When planning to be away from home for more than a day, have someone check your house to make sure the furnace is working properly.  We had many calls from property owners who return from vacation to find their furnace stopped working and their entire home is an icy disaster.

If you do suspect you have a frozen pipe, your best bet is to call a plumber.  Attempting to thaw the pipe yourself can result in more damage.  Open flames and torches can cause further damage to pipes and are a fire hazard.  The plumber can also check to see if there are leaks before the ice melts and starts causing more problems.

If you have a burst pipe, Restoration Professionals provides 24 hour emergency water damage mitigation. We can extract the water, set-up drying equipment and also check walls, ceilings and floors for moisture and further water intrusion.
Most homeowners insurance polices will cover water damage from burst pipes. Restoration Professionals has the knowledge and expertise to assist with your insurance claim.  Put the Pros on your side!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Who are You?

Recently I was looking for a specialty contractor to do some work in my home and I turned to the internet and Google to find someone to do the job.  One thing I noticed in browsing the websites of the companies that came up in the search results was the lack information. By lack of information, I mean who owned these businesses or where they were located. If I am going to call someone and let them into my home, even just to come and give me a bid, I want to know who they are and/or who they work for.

This got me to thinking about the Restoration Professionals website.  The first picture that you see when you go to restpro.com is of our owners, Tim Labey and Ed Strom.  They are two St Paul, MN natives who are involved with the daily management and operations of our company.  You will find them on job sites, visiting customers or in the office, dealing with our customers and employees on a personal level.

When not working, you will find them spending time with their families.  Ed has three kids and Tim has three grown daughters and four grandsons.  Ed likes to hunt and Tim plays handball in his spare time.  

I started browsing some of our competitors websites, including both water and fire damage restoration and carpet cleaning companies.  Very few of them tell you who they are.  Of course most of them have the typical "we are the best restoration company in town because..."  on their About Us page but other than that, they give little information about who they are.

We are Restoration Professionals, a locally owned and operated company!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Importance of Renters Insurance

Many times when we are called out to fire-damaged apartment buildings, we encounter tenants that do not have renter's insurance.  The fire may not have affected their unit directly but their belongings may be affected by smoke damage and/or they need to move out of their apartment in order for building repairs to be completed.

Typically the cost of moving, cleaning and/or replacing their belongings, as well as temporary housing during
repairs, is the tenant's responsibility, not the landlord's.  If the tenant does not carry renters insurance, this can be a costly expense in the middle of an already stressful situation.

Renters insurance is a fairly inexpensive investment with most policies costing between $100-$300 per year. Most policies will cover the following:
  • Personal property -This includes loss due to theft or destruction in the event of fire, storm or other covered peril.  Think of items you use on a daily basis that you would need to immediately replace if your residence was destroyed - clothing, cell phone or even eyeglasses.
     Also, many policies will cover your belongings even when you are not at home - for example, if your bike is stolen from the bike rack at work.  
  • Housing costs - If the property you are living in is damaged and needs to be repaired and you need to find temporary housing, it is typically more expensive.  Also, some leases may require you to continue paying your regular rent during repairs.  
  • Liability - If someone is visiting you and gets hurt while in your apartment or rental home, you may be held liable for their medical expenses.  This also covers damage to your neighbor's property you may be responsible for.  

Spending a few hundred dollars now can save you thousands down the road if something unexpected happens.  

But it won't happen to you, right?
That's what this guy thought:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

As daylight savings time comes to an end this weekend, it is a good time to be reminded of some winter home safety tips.  

First of all, when setting your clocks back this Saturday night (or Sunday morning if you are like me and forget), you should also perform tests on your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.  Change the batteries in the ones that are not hard-wired to your home's electrical system.  

It is also a good idea to have your home heating system checked out by a qualified HVAC service provider.  Chances are, if your furnace or boiler is going to have problems this winter, it will most likely happen after hours or on the weekend when you will pay big $$ to have someone come fix it.  A preventative maintenance check-up at the beginning can help you avoid this expense.  A check-up can also help ensure your heating system is functioning safely and efficiently.  

And one final tip that many people don't think about: if you are planning a winter get-away to warmer climes, turn off your water and have someone stop in and check your home every few days.  Many of our water damage  jobs in the winter come from frozen pipes in houses where the residents are out of town, the heating system goes out and pipes freeze, burst and water runs for days before anyone realizes.  
You don't want to come home from vacation to this...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A fire in the home of one of my relatives got me thinking about house fires and fire safety.  Restoration Professionals deals with fire and smoke damage all the time and we hope you never have to become one of our customers due to a fire in your home.

Here are a few tips to help prevent fires, and if you do have a fire in your home, some advice that could save you or a family member's life.

1. Smoke Alarms - Sounds like a pretty basic concept but there are many homes and apartments that do not have working smoke detectors.  They should be installed on every level of your house, especially near bedrooms.  You should test them twice a year (when you change your clocks for daylight savings time in the spring and fall).  I actually check mine more often than that (when I use my oven to cook a new dish that gets a little smoky; I won't go into detail...)

2. Fire Extinguisher - Have one installed in or near your kitchen.  Grease fires can be difficult to put out and burn very hot.  They can rapidly spread to surrounding cabinets.  A dry chemical extinguisher can put out a grease fire.  A small extinguisher can be purchased for around $20 at Home Depot or Menards.  I keep mine under the sink.

3. Practice fire safety with your kids.  The US Fire Administration has a great website that teaches kids about fire safety: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/kids/flash.shtm.  This site has games, puzzles and quizzes that help educate children in a fun, engaging manner.

4.  Use caution with candles - 55% of candle fires start because of close proximity to combustible material such as curtains or bedding.  Never leave a burning candle unattended.  Sounds like common sense but 20% of candle fires start from unattended candles.

5. Establish multiple escape routes from your home and practice them with your family.  Determine a meeting place outside so you can account for all family members.  This will not only be important during a fire; it will also make your neighbors wonder what kind of family activity you have going on that involves climbing out of windows and standing together under the maple tree in the front yard!

These are just a few reminders to keep you and your family safe.  More information can be found at http://www.usfa.fema.gov/index.shtm and through your local Fire Department.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hiring a Restoration Contractor

When a disaster such as flood or fire strikes, it is overwhelming to deal with the prospect of cleaning up and rebuilding.

Adding to the stress is the fear of being taken advantage of by shady or inexperienced contractors.  

When choosing a restoration contractor, there are a few questions every homeowner should ask before choosing a service provider.

1.  Are you licensed?  The State of Minnesota requires anyone who contracts or offers to contract with a homeowner to construct or improve residential real estate must be licensed as a residential building contractor.  Reconstruction of a property after a flood or fire is considered an improvement.  
As part of the licensing process, companies must prove that they carry the necessary insurance to protect not just you as the homeowner but the contractor's employees and the contractor if something unfortunate should happen during your project .  
An additional protection offered by hiring a licensed contractor is that you are then eligible for the state Contractor Recovery Fund which reimburses a homeowner should they incur a financial loss due to misconduct or nonperformance of contractor.  
Restoration Professionals is licensed as a residential building contractor in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

2.  Are you experienced in handling insurance claims?  It is important that you hire a contractor who is able to estimate, document and coordinate your insurance claim.  
Many home remodelers that have gotten into the restoration industry in recent years do not have the experience needed to deal with insurance claims and are unaware of the steps and documentation necessary for you to recover all insurance proceeds in order to restore your property to a pre-loss condition.  
In addition, there are specific procedures and processes that should be performed on your property to eliminate the possibility of mold or lingering smoke odor once your home is restored.  Restoration of a fire, smoke or water damaged property can be more complex than a regular remodel. 
Restoration Professionals has been handling insurance claim projects since we started our business and as the name implies, we are professionals at restoration work. 

3. Is it safe to let your employees into my home? After a disaster happens, you may feel especially vulnerable.  Letting complete strangers into your home and giving them access to your personal property can be daunting.  It is important to make sure your contractor performs background checks on employees and provides adequate training on handling customer's personal property.  
Restoration Professionals performs background checks on employees and provides continual training as well as restoration industry certifications.  

Know the right questions to ask to protect yourself, your property and your financial well-being if a misfortune strikes your home.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hello and Welcome to the Restoration Professionals blog.  
Let me introduce myself - I am Patty Miranda, Director of Marketing for Restoration Professionals or, as we like to call it, RestPro.  
We are a full-service water and fire damage emergency services and restoration contractor and we offer a variety of other services including carpet cleaning, mold remediation and bio-hazard clean-up, to name a few.  
We will be posting various things on this blog including helpful hints and articles for our customers and trade partners as well as more information about our company.  We will also try to throw in a little fun and trivia just to mix it up a little, so stay posted.