Disasters come in all shapes and sizes and can stay in the news headlines for months at a time. In comparing potential disasters that communities, business owners and homeowners are likely to experience there is little doubt that earthquakes are the most worrisome. The largest challenge that an earthquake presents is that there are often no warning signs to help steer people to safe spots. Following the recent disasters in Haiti and Chile it is clear that signals that a potential earthquake could strike are often hard to find. In a disaster, any prior warning weather it is hours, minutes or even seconds could greatly improve the possibility of saving lives.
The devastation that an earthquake has the potential to cause is almost unparalleled in comparison. While most earthquakes may last only a few brief seconds, it is often the multiple aftershocks that can do the most damage. Earthquakes which are measured on a scale of one to ten have occurred in every continent across the globe. Scientist have been able to identify areas which have a higher likelihood (California) of experiencing an earthquake due to their proximity to fault lines of the earths surface.
The National Earthquake Information Center was created to be a guide to tracking and warning of potential earthquakes. As part of the US geological society, the NEIC has a mission to try and provide advance warning to help reduce devastation from hurricanes. In partnership with Earthquake Country, they have compiled a seven step action list to help prepare for and react to an emergency disaster from earthquakes
1. Make a Plan
2. Tie it down â€“ when possible secure items that could fall from shelves or off of walls
3. Create disaster recovery kits, including food, water, shelter and first aid
4. Analyze if your home or business is safe, study the infrastructure and items in the property and visualize the worst destruction
1. Drop and cover your head under table or in a bathtub when possible hold onto something that is permanently attached
1. Check for injuries, review the infrastructure of your property, avoid electrical lines and contact a professional restoration contractor to examine your property damages.
2. Be a good neighbor and citizen, check on members of your community to see if anyone needs help.
Certainly we all hope to never experience an earthquake or be caught in a natural disaster. Reaction and planning are often the most critical items that can help save lives and reduce injuries. Consider visiting the RedCross to make a charitable donation to help victims of the recent tragedies in Chile or Haiti.
With water and sub zero temperatures comes ice, which has the potential to do significant amounts of property damage. In St Clair County Michigan, large amounts of ice have the potential to unleash a substantial amount of flooding this spring. The St Clair River has large chunks of ice that are at their worst levels since 1984 according to a recent report from the U.S. Army Core of Engineers.
The large amounts of Ice in the river could pose a number of problems for local area residents. The ice has created a log jam that has put the water levels within the river out of proportion. As the level of differentiation grows within the river, the potential for a larger scale problem can arise. One of the concerns that the Army Corps of Engineers may have are the consequences from a rapid increase in temperatures that could quickly cause the river to swell in areas. Homeowners who have properties in and around the Marysville, Port Huron and St Clair County areas should take precautions if their home is located near the river or resides in a low elevation area.
Ice alone can create damage as the weight can bring down tree limbs, break power lines and cause roofs to collapse. Large scale storms such as the ones that the East Coast have experienced over the last week can quickly lead to disaster for communities that lack the necessary equipment to cleanup the snow accumulation. Homeowners who allow for the excess snow to remain on their roof tops also run the danger of creating damage to their homes from the excess weight and water damage after the snow begins to melt. Winter weather has been very hard on communities in the East Coast, but has been relatively mild throughout the Midwest to date. Proactive measures to protect your home and business from severe weather changes are always advisable to help minimize property damages.
Jarvis Property Restoration is headed to Grand Rapids this week to participate in the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents expo at the Amway Grand Hotel February 23-25th. The three day conference will host a variety of seminars and events for insurance agents from across the state of Michigan. Jarvis will be hosting an informational booth (#18) in the exhibit hall and will have information on the services we offer including fire and flood damage restoration. As one of the State of Michigan’s largest property restoration firms, Jarvis works with over one hundred insurance carriers and has experience with residential and commercial insurance restoration projects. Please feel stop by our booth for additional information and a chance to meet representatives from our company.
Fire Service News
Official Publication of the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs
Volume 34 November/December 2009
Interview with Bill Jarvis
By Chief Fred Cowper
This is the second in a series of interviews of people who are a part of or impact the fire service community. In this issues, we will be highlighting Jarvis Property Restoration (â€œJarvisâ€), a company who is both a vendor and a huge supporter of the MAFC. Based in Harrison Township, Jarvis provides emergency response, property restoration and disaster mitigation services to its customers from offices located throughout Michigan, Iowa and Florida. In conjunction with Jarvisâ€™ 30th Anniversary, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Jarvis, owner of Jarvis and Rosanne VerVaecke, his executive assistant:
What services do you offer?
We offer 24-hour emergency services for residential, commercial and industrial buildings. We specialize in fire, smoke, wind and water repair. This includes structural drying, water mitigation, contents cleaning and storage, painting (interior and exterior), electronic restoration, document drying, construction repair services and carpet cleaning.
How can you help the customer?
Jarvis minimizes the damage by quickly responding to the emergency and providing a complete and comprehensive assessment of the situation. We immediately educate the customer as to the proper course of action, ensuring that we are addressing their concerns in this process. Jarvis number one priority is our customers and we focus on what the customer needs firstâ€¦.today, tomorrow and moving forward. Once we have determined the necessary scope of repairs and have informed the customer of the appropriate course of action, Jarvis brings a team of experts who are properly trained and certified in the areas in which they are providing services. Each of the team members meet with the customer, explain their roles and the services which they are providing, and provides the customer with telephone numbers and email addresses so that the customer can contact the team members individually. Our goal is to ensure that the customer is fully educated and informed throughout the entire restoration process.
What training and certifications do your employees hold?
Jarvis recognizes the importance of value in employing highly skilled and trained professionals. Our employees are trained to follow OSHA Safety Standards and are certified in water mitigation, electronics restoration, document drying and restoration, reduplication, mold remediation, trauma remediation, sewer backup, and in preventing electrocution. We take all necessary precautions so as not to disturb cause and origin areas until all parties involved have released the affected area. Because we have a training facility in our building, we conduct monthly and yearly training classes in order to keep our employees informed of the most up to date advances and changes in the industry.
Do your employees go through a background check?
Jarvis conducts a thorough background check prior to any offers of employment. In addition, Jarvis also conducts annual background checks on any employee who responds to an emergency or is required to enter the premises or residence of a customer.
What hours are you available?
We are available to meet the needs of our customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
If you board up and there are unsatisfied customers, what do you do about it?
Our first priority is to provide excellent service so that we can avoid such situations. Jarvis stands behind the quality of its workmanship. However, in the event that a customer is dissatisfied, we immediately assess the problem and develop a solution that meets the needs of the customer. Our business depends upon customer satisfaction, which is why it is our number one goal.
What number should people call when they need your services?
Are there limitations to the emergencies you will assist with?
No. Jarvis is equipped to handle any emergency or disaster; whether it is a commercial building fire, a residential flood or a broken basement window. Jarvis also welcomes requests for consultations and restoration advice. Moreover, Jarvis can provide services both locally and nationally. The sooner that Jarvis can begin to minimize the damage, the faster we can begin to restore the premises.
If you are called to do a residential board up form a fire with significant damage and the homeowner doesnâ€™t have insurance or money to pay the cost, what do you do?
If called by a fire department to provide residential board-up services, Jarvis will provide such services irrespective of whether the homeowner has insurance. For those homeowners who are having difficulty paying for such services Jarvis will use every effort to make the payments easier, such as payment plans, etc.
If there is potential for structural collapse when a fire investigation needs to be completed, how can you help?
If requested, Jarvis has the capability to assist the fire department in shoring up or securing the premises with the necessary equipment such as heavy machinery, beams and lumber. Jarvis has access 24/7 to structural engineers if needed. However, our staff is trained not to enter or access the premises until it has obtained clearance from the fire department and/or the agencyâ€™s involved in responding to an investigating the emergency situation. We work hand in hand with the fire departments to ensure the safety of responders and the protection of the premises.
What experience do you have with crime scenes, biological or hazardous material incidents and decontamination?
Jarvis can provide technicians certified in blood bourne pathogen remediation. In addition, we have employees with haz-mat certification, as well as certification in asbestos and mold abatement. All employees are provided with proper equipment and clothing for their protection.
Can you give an example of a major disaster that you assisted with?
In June of 2008, the City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa experienced a catastrophic disaster when the Cedar River flooded. Jarvis was a first responder at the scene which required us to immediately take control of the situation and assist in the mitigation of the losses. Our goal was to mitigate the damage as quickly as possible so as to decrease the impact and effect on local businesses and government. Due to the extensive nature of the flooding we were retained to restore 35 city and county buildings including the Sherriffâ€™s Department, Administrative Building, Police Department and Jails, as well as assist in the relocation of government offices.
How many employees do you have?
We have over 150 full time employees employed in three states. In addition, we have relationships with subcontractors that can be utilized in the event of a large scale disaster. Jarvis has at its disposal more equipment than any other restoration contractor in Michigan, with over 20 full loaded semi-trucks ready to go at a moments notice.
How can you ensure security of a scene?
Jarvis recognizes that most customer are very concerned about security and confidentiality. Recognizing that fact, Jarvis is equipped to provide badge security systems at emergency sites. This technology allows Jarvis to monitor those accessing the site and preclude any person without clearance from entering the premises. Further Jarvisâ€™ employees wear company clothing to identify their affiliation with Jarvis.
What direction is your business headed?
Looking forward, our goal is to have 15 offices throughout Michigan. While Jarvis provides services nationwide, our home is here in Michigan. More importantly, we want to remain the leader in the industry and will do so by providing complete customer satisfaction. We strive for life-long trusted relationships with our customers who then continue to use our services and refer them to others.
Look for Jarvisâ€™ presentation at the Michigan Chiefâ€™s Winter Conference this February.
A major responsibility when interviewing a property restoration firm is to ensure that they are fully equipped to properly clean and restore your property as well as the interior contents. Following an unexpected disaster from a floor or fire, your property will likely need to be repaired by an emergency service contractor to cleanup and potentially rebuild the structure. Your interior possessions (furniture, clothing, and electronics) may have been damaged during the catastrophe and will likely need to be cleaned or repaired if they are salvageable.
One of the major differences between Jarvis Property Restoration and many local restoration or repair companies is that Jarvis offers a full service contents restoration division that includes electronics, documents and household items. We have a 40,000 square foot disaster recovery center that features vaulted storage and state of the art Ozone and Thermal Fogging cleaning rooms as well as a state of the art electronics cleaning center. Our ability to clean and restore household items has the potential to save you and your insurance company thousands of dollars following an unexpected property disaster. Family heirlooms, antiques and irreplaceable childrenâ€™s toys can be cleaned and restored by our certified technicians.
Jarvis now offers a complimentary monthly newsletter covering the content restoration marketplace as a resource tool for homeowners, insurance agents, adjusters and local restoration firms. You can contact are local office in Harrison Township at 586-954-5400 to schedule a complimentary tour of our facilities and learn how we help restore properties following an unexpected disasters. You can access our monthly newsletter by clicking on the image below.