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Serving South Bend, IN and Surrounding Areas.

How a Flood Damages More Than Just Drywall – Water Damage Restoration

When a flood occurs, it can cause severe property damage. While most people think about the drywall and the damage that happens to it, a flood can cause more harm than that. If you’re experiencing a flood, it’s vital to understand what could happen to your home. Let’s discuss how a flood damages more than just drywall. 


When you know more about the damage that can occur, it’s easier to make sure you’re hiring the right water damage restoration company to complete different tasks. This is how a flood damages more than just drywall! 


1. Damage to the Floors


When a flood occurs, it can cause damage to the floors. Whether you have carpeted floors, hardwood floors, or even tiles installed, the materials may need to be replaced after the water is extracted from the property. 


  • If the water continues to sit for an extended period of time, it will continue to damage the materials. As a result, you’ll more than likely need to get the materials removed and replaced with new ones.
  • If you hire the RIGHT water damage restoration company, they’ll work fast to get to your property with the proper equipment to extract the water from each room. 


Professionals will use high-powered fans to start drying these damp areas. It’s necessary to dry each room in the home to eliminate the moisture. Otherwise, you could end up with additional problems. It’s safe to say that a flood damages more than just the drywall and flooring of a home. 


2. Mold and Mildew


As water sits and creates moisture in different parts of the home, such as the bathroom, kitchen, and even the living room, mold, and mildew start to develop. It becomes a breeding zone for mold and mildew to grow and spread like wildfire. 

Unfortunately, it’s a bad thing because mold is toxic and can have a negative impact on your health. The goal is to fix the problem before mold and mildew have the chance to appear in the home.  If it’s already starting to appear, you’ll need help with mold remediation before moving back into the property with your family.


Don’t Sweep a Minor Flooding Problem Under the Rug 


Many people don’t put much thought into the possibility of mold growth, but it’s a severe problem that can happen faster than you might realize. If you’d like to make sure that it isn’t a problem for you, contact the water damage restoration professionals as soon as you notice the flooding. Even if it doesn’t seem like it’s that big of a flood, it’s still wise to get professional help for the problem.


4. Rusted and Damaged Pipes


The water that floods a home can eventually cause pipes to rust and become damaged. The damage isn’t always visible, especially if these pipes are in the walls and under the floorboards. 


It’s a good idea to get the pipes inspected for any signs of damage after getting the water removed from your property. You want to ensure that the flood didn’t cause excess damage that could lead to a burst pipe or other issues with your plumbing system in the future.

Have all Your Pipes Inspected and Repaired by a Professional  


Sometimes, the flooding occurs because of an old, broken pipe. In that case, you’d need to get the pipe replaced with a new one while having the rest of your pipes carefully inspected by a professional. You wouldn’t want to end up dealing with more flooding in the home because then you’d have to spend more money to get everything fixed all over again, leading to a lot of frustration.


5. Structural Damage


In some instances, the flooding is so severe that it causes structural damage to the property. The pressure of the water flooding through the property can weaken the materials used to create the structure. 


It can lead to rotting wood that would need to get replaced. It’s one of the worst things that can happen after a flood. Structural damage is also why you should act quickly to get help with removing the water from the property and drying each room to prevent such dangerous issues from developing.

6. Handling the Damage Caused by Floods


When a flood occurs, homeowners often worry most about the drywall because they know the excess water can destroy it. While drywall often needs to get replaced after a flood, it’s not the only thing that can get damaged by the water. 


A flood can damage the floors and overall structure of the home. It can also lead to mold and mildew growth that could become dangerous for anyone living inside the property. Because of these issues, hiring the right water damage restoration company is a must. 

How do you get your home back in excellent condition?


You’ll want to make sure you follow these tips to ensure you get your house back. Floods have the power to damage more than just drywall! Have you ever considered how a flood damages more than just drywall? 


You’ve Had a House Fire, Now What Do You Do?

Have you gone through the traumatic experience of dealing with a house fire? It’s frightening, unfortunate, and downright difficult to go through such a severe disaster. Now that the fire is out, you’re probably wondering what steps you’ll need to take to improve the condition of your home. 


The type of work you’ll need to have done will depend on a few factors, including the extent of the fire damage, along with the number of rooms impacted by it. Check out this list of some of the steps you’ll need to take with help from a fire/smoke damage restoration company.


1. Water Extraction


When a fire occurs, the firefighters use water to put it out, leading to some water inside the home. Although it’s essential to use water to get rid of the fire, the water becomes a problem because it can damage the floors, walls, and furniture inside each room. 


So, before getting started with the water extraction process, staff members from the restoration company will move any furniture from the floors. 


They’ll then use extraction tools to quickly and carefully remove water from different places, such as the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room. It’s one of several things they’ll need to do to get the home back to normal again. Not everyone realizes that water extraction must happen when there is a house fire. 


2. Soot and Smoke Damage Removal


Besides water from putting out the fire, you’re likely dealing with soot and smoke damage inside the property. Getting rid of soot is a must. It’s not safe to live in a home where you’re breathing in toxic fumes. It could trigger asthma, lead to irritation, and cause inflammation of the lungs over time. 


The restoration professionals will wear protective gear, including face masks that protect their nose and mouth from breathing in the smoke and soot while they’re cleaning it. There are a few different tools commonly used to get rid of soot and smoke damage, including:


  • Soot Cleaning Chem Sponges
  • Heavy-Duty Soot and Dirt Remover
  • Air Purifiers
  • Un-smoke Wall Wash Cleaning Agent


These are a few of the many products you might see the professionals using when working on getting rid of both smoke and soot from your home.


3. Odor Removal


You’ll notice after a fire that the smell of smoke lingers around the home. It might smell similar to a campfire, but it’s not good to breathe in or deal with for too long. 


Not only is it essential to get rid of visible soot and smoke damage, but it’s equally as important to handle the odor left behind from the fire. It all begins with removing smoke-damaged items from the property. They’ll need to get cleaned outside of the home if they’re salvageable. 


After removing those damaged items from the building, it’s time to open the windows and start the heavy-duty fans to get air circulating. It’s common for professionals to use air purifiers to clean the air and eliminate those unwanted odors for good. This is an important part of dealing with a house fire. 


4. Carpet Cleaning


If you have carpeted floors, you’ll need to get them cleaned. It’s common for soot to fall on the floors during the cleaning process, especially when wiping down the walls to get them clean. The best way to clean the carpets is to thoroughly shampoo them and use circulating fans to get the floors to dry with ease. 


It’s important to have this done in any room with carpets on the floor. If the damage is too bad, you might need to get the old carpet ripped out and replaced with a new carpet. Again, it’s going to depend on how quickly the fire spread. It’ll also depend on whether the fire started on the floor or somewhere else inside the home.


5. Repairs


Besides getting rid of the soot, smoke, water, and odors, you’ll likely need to have some repairs done to get your home into better condition. For example, if you’re dealing with damaged drywall, it’s often best to get those pieces of drywall removed and replaced. The restoration professionals can perform a complete inspection of the home to check for signs of damage that you need to be aware of before moving back into the place. 


Dealing with Damaged Floors 


There’s always a chance that you’re dealing with extensive damage to your floors, which means you’d need to select new flooring materials and get them installed after removing the old materials and disposing of them. The specific repairs required vary from one property to the next and depend on the severity of the fire damage.


If you’ve had a house fire, you’re going to need professional help to get your home back into liveable condition. It’s vital to take care of fire/smoke damage restoration as quickly as possible instead of waiting. The easiest way to get the job done is to hire professional help. First Response is an established company known for providing extensive restoration services. They’ll work hard to take care of the damage. Have you ever dealt with a house fire?


Disaster Restoration team south bend Indiana

What You Should Look for in a Disaster Restoration Company

When dealing with a disaster while living in or around the South Bend area, knowing how to choose the right disaster restoration company is a must. You want to find a reliable and trustworthy company that will help you handle the situations as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you know what to look for in a good company, you can hire the right people to help you recover from the disaster.


1. Good Reviews

Be sure to check out the reviews for any disaster restoration company that you’re thinking of hiring to help you restore your property. While not all reviews are accurate, they’ll give you an idea of what other people have to say about the services provided to them. 


If a company has nothing but bad reviews, it’s evident that they’re not the best choice. However, if you see a company receiving outstanding reviews from past customers who’ve had great experiences, it lets you know that’s the kind of company worth hiring to help you.


2. Quick Response

There’s nothing wrong with contacting different companies to ask questions and even get a price quote for the disaster restoration services. Pay attention to how quickly these companies respond to you. When you’re dealing with a significant disaster, there isn’t much time to waste. You want to hire a company with professionals who understand what you’re going through and are ready to help you. 

Go with a Company With Top Qualities 

Having professionals who quickly respond, listen to what you have to say, and provide practical information to keep you well-informed on the situation is the absolute best. A company that leaves you waiting and in the dark about things isn’t the right company to select for your disaster restoration needs.


3. Detailed Explanation of Services Provided

While you’re researching the different disaster restoration companies in your area, visit their websites and see if they explain the services they’re offering to their clients. You don’t want to work with a company that can’t help you with what you need because then it’s a waste of time and money. A decent restoration company will have its services listed with a description of what these services entail to help their potential clients understand what they can do for them. 

Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions


If you have specific questions that you’d like to ask that weren’t answered on the company’s website, contact them to see if they’ll provide you with those answers. It’s an excellent way to find out if the company is right for you based on what you need them to do. 


After all, not all disasters are the same. Whether you’ve experienced a fire, flood, or something else severe enough to damage your property, you want to know that you’re hiring skilled people to assist you.


4. Licensed and Bonded

Don’t work with a company that isn’t licensed and bonded. If they’re not insured, bad things can happen, and they won’t even have the coverage to protect your property! You don’t want that to happen. 


No company should have an issue with you asking if they’re licensed and insured. If they’re irritated by the question, they’re not the people you want to hire to help you with the disaster restoration process.


5. Use of High-Quality Equipment to Get the Job Done

Make sure you’re asking about the equipment used to complete the disaster restoration process. You need to make sure you’re hiring a company with professionals who use high-quality equipment that gets the job done. 


When using updated equipment, it’s easier for professionals to extract excess water from properties, remove odors, and even dry the walls and other areas of the home to prevent mold from appearing. If the company cares about its clients and wants to help them recover from the disaster, they’ll have the best equipment available to use.


Why Should You Choose First Response?

If you’re in the South Bend area and need disaster restoration services, First Response is one of the best companies to hire. They are skilled and have experienced staff members that work hard to help clients when dealing with all kinds of disasters. 


First Response will arrive at the property on time with the best equipment possible to complete the many steps involved in the restoration process. The company’s goal is to get the property back in good shape after such a severe disaster.


Here is what First Response focuses on:


  • Water & Flood
  • Fire & Smoke 
  • Mold 
  • Sewage 


Have questions? Contact First Response here

When to hire a repair team for water damage

8 Questions To Ask Before You Hire A Water Damage Restoration Company

If your home or business has experienced water damage, time is of the essence. Hiring the right restoration company to help address your issues and prevent further damage can help you save time, money, and headache. 

Unfortunately, not all water damage restoration companies are built the same. When it comes to hiring the right company that will take care of your property with care, you need to come prepared before you sign the dotted line. If you are wondering how to find the best restoration team to help you alleviate your water damage problems, here are eight questions you should ask in your first call or face-to-face meeting:

1. “Do you have experience in water damage restoration?”

If you are concerned about potential water damage at your property, this may be one of the most important questions you can ask. By ensuring that your potential water damage restoration team is experienced working with a variety of water damage issues, you can trust that they will know how to handle any issue that may be present with your home or business.

2. “Are your restoration technicians trained?”

Not only should your potential water damage restoration team be experienced with working with properties facing moisture issues, but they should also be trained. By asking to see the training credentials of any restoration team, you can take comfort knowing that those coming to treat your property have been educated in how to treat water damage in a way that remedies any damage while ensuring long-term solutions.

3. “Do you use leading cleaning and restoration supplies that are safe and effective?”

Water damage restoration tools and solutions have been modernized to help restore your property to its pre-damaged state as well as possible. Make sure that you benefit from the latest in cleaning and restoration supplies by asking any water damage team to show you the products that they use. This will help you ensure that you know what a particular company is using, as well as the results you should expect from their services.

4. “Do you offer emergency services 24/7?”

With water damage, the unexpected can strike at any moment. This means that you need a water damage restoration team that is ready to respond to any issues at a moment’s notice. Ask your potential company if they are ready to answer your call should a water issue arise in the middle of the night. Most companies are trained and ready to offer emergency services every day of the week to treat most water damage problems.

5. “Do you work well with insurance companies?”

Most water damage will end up involving your insurance company. When you hire a company to come in and do disaster restoration, you need to make sure that they are ready to work with most insurance companies. 

Ask them their process for handling claims and payments, and if there are any issues that they have experienced in the past working with insurance companies. You may even submit your insurance carrier in order to see if they work with your insurance in particular.

6. “Is your team bonded and insured?”

Not only should you ask about how they handle insurance, but you should ask if they themselves are insured for their work. Most states require that water restoration companies be bonded and registered, helping ensure that any legal issues that arise are handled properly and with care. Should a member of the restoration team be injured on the job, or if an issue arises due to poor work, you can rest easy knowing that your project has been insured against any potential problems.

Most states throughout the U.S. require restoration companies and contractors to register with them. Therefore, if a legal matter arises during the property restoration process, the client has the means to handle the dispute with the company.

7. “Can you show me your references?”

Sometimes a restoration team’s word isn’t quite enough. To get a real feel of the satisfaction of other water damage clients, make sure to ask for a list of references. This can give you an idea of how a team’s past work has held up. If they are slow to offer references, this may be a sign that they may not be the best choice.

8. “How do you determine your project timeline?”

It is essential for you to ask your potential contractor their usual scheduling and timelines for any water restoration projects. Many companies will offer you a rough estimate of the time that they believe the process will last depending on the issues at hand. This can help you better plan for a particular restoration project’s duration and budget.


Trust South Bend’s Premier Water & Fire Restoration Service

Ensuring that you work with the best company can help you move forward confidently following a water damage issue. Any amount of water damage can lead to long-term damage that is costly and long-lasting.

If you are afraid that you may have fallen victim to water damage, contact the team at First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists today. Our team of restoration experts are Better Business Bureau-accredited and skilled to help you handle a variety of water damage issues. We are proud to offer South Bend customers with a variety of emergency restoration services — including water damage restoration to odor control, carpet cleaning and upholstery and fabric recovery.

We are proud to have been recognized as South Bend’s Regional Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year – and we are committed to serving the South Bend community with excellence no matter the water damage issues.

Contact our team today to learn more about water damage and other restoration services for homes in South Bend and the surrounding region.

Concrete Slab Leak

5 Symptoms Of Concrete Slab Failure – & When To Hire A Water Damage Expert

As a South Bend homeowner, there is nothing more concerning than finding water pooling around your property or moisture seeping into your home.

For many homeowners in Indiana, water damage problems can be traced back quickly to a problem with a concrete slab foundation. If your home is built on a concrete slab, any water-related issues can bring to mind nightmare scenarios. You may be picturing a costly future of cracked foundations, water leaks, and expensive repairs. 

While concrete slab leaks can be a leading cause of many water damage issues in South Bend homes, a bigger issue is the ignoring of potential signs of problems. 

To learn more about concrete slab leaks and how they may be leading to your home’s water damage, read below.

What Is A Concrete Slab?

You may have heard that your South Bend home is built on a concrete slab, but you may not know what that means. So what exactly does it mean when your home is built on a slab foundation? 

A concrete slab is exactly what it sounds like – a large slab of concrete at the base of the home that makes a solid foundation for a home. 

A concrete slab can range in size. Some may be 4 to 6 inches in thickness, with the center of the slab often being the thickest part of the concrete. In order for slabs to have their shape and strength, concrete is poured in one setting and is fortified with steel rebar and post-tension cables. This will help ensure that all of the concrete sets evenly throughout a single slab. This will ensure that the slab has extra durability to withstand the weight of the structure on top. 

Want to know a fun fact about slab foundation homes? They don’t have crawl spaces or basements.

In fact, directly below the concrete slab is the ground where the slab was laid. Because of this, it is essential that the soil has been graded properly prior to pouring and setting the slab foundation. 

To ensure that there is proper drainage, a layer of sand will often be set just below the concrete slab. The sand acts as a necessary cushion for the slab and allows for safe space and room should the ground shift and settle over time.

Piping is often run under and through concrete slabs when they are laid. This allows for the installation of plumbing in the home. Unfortunately, this piping can spring a leak that may not be noticed quickly as the plumbing is under the slab. 

When left untreated, these leaks can potentially lead to costly damage to your home, slab, and bank account. 

5 Signs You Have Water Damage From A Slab Leak

1. Your Water Bill Suddenly Jumps

One way to notice that something is wrong with your plumbing and that you may be dealing with water damage is a sudden rise in your water bill. 

This is especially true with concrete slab leaks. As a plumbing leak continues untreated below the slab, water will continue to flow. This will lead to your water bills coming in higher and higher. 

Notice your utility bill is skyrocketing and can’t find any reason to explain the rise? You may need to check for a slab leak – and potential water damage due to the leak.

2. Your Home Has A Loss Of Water Pressure

If you notice that your plumbing has lost the pressure power it once had, you may be dealing with a bad slab leak. 

As a concrete slab leak continues to flow, water pressure will decrease across other parts of your home. If no other faucets are flowing and the pressure is still low, you may have a slab leak hidden below the surface. This can mean that water is rising up and through your slab into the interior of your home – a bad sign for potential water damage.

3. A Mold Or Mildew Smell Fills Your Home

Any water damage is often accompanied with a bad smell that cannot be located. The same is true when a concrete slab leak occurs.  As moisture begins working its way up through the pores in a concrete slab, the water content can build up and allow mold and mildew to grow at the foundation of your house.

This is when out of sight doesn’t equal out of mind! If you begin to notice that your home is taking on an unexplained odor, you may be dealing with a slab leak mildew mess! This type of water damage can be incredibly costly and painful to deal with.

4. Your Flooring Is Damp Or Damaged

A concrete slab leak can also lead to wet or damp floors.

Take note of the flooring directly above your concrete slab. If it begins to feel wet or damp without reason, this may mean that you have potential water damage. Concrete slab leaks can often force water into your home due to the pressure differentials – and can lead to unfortunate water damage problems.

5. You Are Finding Water Collecting Outside Your Home

Concrete slab leaks can lead to water pooling outside your home. The reason so few homeowners notice this as an issue is due to assuming the water is weather-related. Unfortunately, if there is no reason for the water to be pooling, it could be occurring due to a slab leak below the surface of your home.

Concrete slab foundations are often poured wider than a home’s length. If water is pooling around the sides of your home outside of weather or watering-related reasons, you may be seeing water collecting as it leaks out and up from the slab.

Letting slab leaks continue without treatment can lead to severe damage to your home and foundation. The moment you begin to notice the presence of one or several of the above symptoms of a slab leak, it is time to contact your South Bend water damage experts.

Worried About Slab Problems? Call South Bend’s Water Damage Team

When it comes to concrete slab water issues, you need the experience of a skilled team to come and help you address the problems. At First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists, our team will help you identify potential water damage and find the source of your problems quickly. 

Not only will our team examine your foundation with a trained and experienced eye, but we can offer guidance on the steps you should take to fix any slab leaks with long-lasting results.

If you would like to learn more about water damage issues with South Bend homes, contact our team today. We have been serving the South Bend community for years with high-quality restoration services, and are ready to help you fix any water damage concerns you may have.

Contact our team today to learn more about water damage and other restoration services for homes in South Bend and the surrounding region.

Water Pooling Water Damage South Bend Indiana

Do I Have Water Damage?

One of the worst scenarios you can face as a South Bend homeowner is potential water damage. Whether due to a busted pipe or unexpected weather conditions, water can easily sneak into your home and cause costly damage. 

The presence of water in your home can lead to irreversible damage to your home’s structure, as well as potentially ruin your belongings. In some cases, water damage can lead to dangerous mold growth that can cause nasty smells and unhealthy air conditions. 

While some water damage can be seen immediately, such as standing water in a basement or spots on the ceiling, some damage can be unseen until the real damage has been done. Unfortunately, even the smallest amount of water damage can lead to expensive repairs and replacements.

Wondering how you can spot potential water damage before it’s too late? Here are six characteristics of water damage to look out for. Should you notice any of these elements present in your home, it’s time to contact a professional water damage specialist to help you determine the problem and help prevent further issues.

Six Signs You May Have Water Damage

1. Dark & Wet Spots On Your Walls & Ceilings

One sign of water damage is the sudden appearance of dark, discolored spots on your walls and ceiling. This can be the first visible sign of water damage in your home. Not only will these spots appear darker than the paint around them, but they will often feel loose and damp if the water damage is recent.

2. Cracking, Bubbling, & Flaking Of Paint

Not only will water damage discolor your walls and ceiling, but it will damage the paint and drywall. One sign of damage is that the materials of the wall or ceiling have begun to bubble, come loose from the drywall, or flake away. When the water interacts with the paint or materials of your ceiling, it will deteriorate the structure and begin to impact the look and feel.

3. Pooling Water & Damp Floors

The presence of pooling water around your property near the walls can be a sign of spots where water may potentially reach inside the home. If you begin to notice pooling water anywhere inside or outside your home, check for potential water damage quickly.

Wherever water is entering the home, you will often find damp floors. If there is not a noticeable spot where water is coming in and down the walls of your home, you may also be dealing with a water issue from below that can potentially damage your floors.

4. The Unexpected Sound Of Running Water

Another tell-tale sign of potential water damage is the sound of running water where it shouldn’t be heard. The sound of dripping, running, or rushing water is a surefire sign that something is wrong behind the structure of your home. 

It is important to note that running water doesn’t necessarily equal water damage. Take care to notice if there is anything unusual to the sound or location of running water. Sometimes running water is just a normal part of your plumbing. However, you will likely notice if something is off within your walls.

5. A Sudden Increase In Your Utility Bills

One of the fastest ways to notice that you may be facing water leaks and potential damage is a sudden and unexpected rise in your utility bills. This is most common when you are having plumbing problems such as burst pipes.

As the leak continues unabated in your home, the water will continue to flow – which will result in higher water bills. If you notice your utility bill is rising without reason, you may have a leak present in your home that will likely lead to water damage if not handled properly.

6. A Damp, Musty, & Moldy Smell

If you are having water leaks in your home, that moisture will begin to pool in various places around your property. When untreated, that moisture will build up and allow mold and mildew to grow within the walls and floors of your home.

A final sign of water damage in your home is a moldy or mildew smell filling your home. This smell is often unmistakable and not pleasant, so you will want to take mitigation measures to restore your home where the water damage is present quickly.

How To Prevent Water Damage 

When you think of water damage, you might picture the videos or images that emerge from natural disasters such as floods and severe storms. While some residential water damage is unavoidable due to acts of nature, most can be avoided with the proper care and home maintenance. 

The American Insurance Association estimates that 90% of water damage claims that are filed are caused by small problems that turned into huge damage. As seen above, once you can see the water damage, it may be too late. 

When it comes to preventing water damage in your home, the best offense is a great defense. Schedule times yearly to inspect and check all of your home’s plumbing for potential issues, and bring in a trained professional to help you inspect your home for problems. Always check areas of your home that may be at risk of water intrusion, and take steps to mitigate issues before you face expensive restoration costs. 

Stop Water Damage In Its Tracks With South Bend’s Water & Fire Restoration Service

Water damage can quickly cause long-term, costly damage to your home that will leave you with more than a wet floor and unwanted smell. In severe cases, water damage can cause homes to be declared unlivable, and can greatly reduce your home’s resale value. 

If you are afraid that you may have fallen victim to water damage, contact the team at First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists today. Our Better Business Bureau-accredited restoration company features professionals that are experts in a wide range of emergency restoration services — including water damage restoration to odor control, carpet cleaning and upholstery and fabric recovery.

We stand by our water damage repair and restoration work. Our water damage services in South Bend have been recognized as the Regional Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year – and honor that shows our commitment to serving South Bend community with excellence. 

Contact our team today to learn more about water damage and other restoration services for homes in South Bend and the surrounding region.

First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists Awarded GSA Contract

First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists Awarded GSA Contract

South Bend, February 10th, 2021 – First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists, the leading restoration contractor in Michiana, announced today that it had been awarded a five-year U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) for restoration and remediation services.  This contract included (3) 5-year renewal periods for a potential contract term of 20 years.  Through this GSA Contract, federal, state, and local governments now have the ability to utilize First Response’s services when a need arises.


“First Response has a long history of delivering exceptional service to the Michiana community whether it be fire restoration, water mitigation or mold remediation.  You know you are getting the BEST when you call First Response,” said Tony Sergio, Founder and Owner of First Response.  “We are proud to offer these services to support military and government agencies through this new GSA contract.”


Along with the MAS, it is not easy to obtain a government contract but going through this process verifies that First Response is capable of responding to any disaster.


With this announcement, First Response recognizes the work of many of their veterans who were instrumental in the success of First Response and ultimately achieving this GSA contract.  “We thank all our veterans for their contributions,” added Tony Sergio, “and look forward to bringing our expertise and high-quality services to our government partners.”


About First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists:

First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists is Michiana’s premier full-service contracting company that has years of experience in providing property owners restoration services that are unsurpassed and unmatched throughout the Michiana area. First Response is a nationally recognized restoration contractor whose mission is to provide their clients with the highest-quality mitigation services. Regardless if your property is residential, commercial or industrial, their expert technicians can restore your home or business back to pre-loss condition.

Mold Removal Services - First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists

5 Signs You May Need Mold Removal Services

Mold is a common issue in residences that can potentially cause structural damage if left untreated. From smelling something funny to feeling under the weather, there are many signs you can keep an eye out for that may indicate the presence of mold in your home. If you find signs of mold or any damage, it is important to call in the help of mold removal services as soon as possible. A mold infestation left to fester can cause irreversible damage to your home. 

When residents and business owners of South Bend need to call in mold removal specialists, their first thought is to call First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists. You’ll struggle to find a better option in South Bend, as our experienced and reliable contractors have been honing their mold remediation skills for years. Here are 5 signs you should call First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists for mold removal services.

1. You’ve had cold or flu-like symptoms for an extended period of time.

The longer a person is exposed to mold spores, the higher their chances are of developing serious health issues. If you’ve had more nosebleeds, headaches, or cold/flu-like symptoms recently, you may have mold present in your home. One of the best ways to test whether or not the sickness you feel is related to the house is to leave for a few days and then come back. Of course, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel is a bit more complicated than usual; if travel is safe and possible, though, it is worth experimenting. If you find that your symptoms ease up while you’re gone and get worse when you come home, it’s entirely possible there is mold present in the home. In that case, it’s time to reach out for mold removal services.

2. Your home smells damp, musty, or dingy.

A damp smell is a telltale sign that mold has been growing inside your home. If you’ve noticed a strange smell or there’s an odor coming from a particular room, it’s definitely time to call in the help of mold remediation professionals. When you hire us, we have an independent third-party environmentalist visit your property to make sure the air around you is clear of spores.  It is always important to have different companies perform the mold testing and the actual mold remediation. This creates accountability and doesn’t allow one company to tell you that you have a mold problem, clean the mold, and then ask for payment after they tell you how great of a job they did. When it comes to your health and safety, you always want an independent party confirming that the mold was removed properly. 

Wondering what mold smells like? Many different mold species have different odors, so it is difficult to pinpoint the exact smell. According to Bioclean, some people have described it as “earthy, meaty or resembling the odor of wet socks or rotten wood.” It’s definitely not a pleasant smell. If you notice any unusual odor, especially in areas of the home that are more prone to moisture such as the kitchen or the bathroom, you should reach out to the professionals at First Response

3. There are visible mold spores on the walls or floors.

Unfortunately, if you see a ton of visible mold, you probably have a big problem on your hands. Mold can show up in many different ways. If you see any of these indicators, you should call First Response Disaster Restorations immediately to schedule mold removal services. 

If you see a greenish-black slimy substance, you’re unfortunately dealing with the evil “black mold.” You’ll typically also feel upper-respiratory symptoms or have an allergic reaction. This is typically regarded as the most serious kind of mold; if you suspect you have black mold present in your home, please call First Response right away.

Do you see a velvety-textured green mold with brown and green “hairs?” This is Alternaria, and it can also cause allergic reactions in many individuals. It is most often seen growing in the shower or near damp areas. 

In water-damaged areas, the musty odor that is commonly associated with mold damage and dank basements is caused by the mold species Chaetomium. It can grow in areas like your roof, the foundation of your basement, or around leaky pipes. Cutting off the moisture problem at the source and repairing the water damage will prevent this mold from reoccurring. Reach out to First Response to end the cycle of mold in your home today.

4. You may need mold removal services more often if you live in an area prone to flooding.

If you know that homes in your area have flooded in the past, you may want to check common areas for mold within your house, even if you haven’t seen any mold yet. It could be lurking under the surface waiting to be discovered. For homes with a history of flooding, it is recommended to check for mold more frequently than homes without a history; there could be underlying issues from long ago that get disturbed and begin to cause trouble later on. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

5.  Pre-existing water stains in your home indicate that you’re more likely to need mold removal services.

Past flooding could lead to mold issues later on. In homes with a history of water damage or flooding, it is more common to see growth of mold in the walls or floors. Once the mold damage is visible, you’re more likely to have a structural problem, and it’s definitely time to get professional mold removal services. Although there are second chances in mold cleanup, they are usually costly. It’s vital to finish the mold extermination correctly on the first attempt, ensuring the infestation doesn’t spread throughout your house’s structure. Additionally, the effects of mold last long after the mold first infests the area. It’s important to take action as early as possible. 

If you believe your South Bend area property may have a mold hazard present, contact us immediately. When you call us, you get to reap the benefits of mold services from true professionals in South Bend. You’ll struggle to find a better option in South Bend, as our experienced and reliable contractors have been honing their skills for years. Don’t allow mold to ravage your property – call First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists today!

"How Is Insurance Involved In Your Emergency Clean Up?" Cover

How Is Insurance Involved in Your Emergency Clean Up?

When disaster strikes, there are so many questions and concerns that may be running through your mind. Between the damage to your home, calling an emergency clean up crew to take care of the scene, and the emotions of it all, you may be overwhelmed when you begin to think about how your insurance company may be involved in the situation. 

Our team at First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists has had plenty of experience working with insurance companies and families who have experienced disastrous events. We’d love to help ease your mind about your insurance obligations. Here are some frequently asked questions about insurance and guidance for how you might proceed. Feel free to call the team at First Response with any further questions. We’d be more than happy to help you out! 

Should you call your insurance company before or after you call emergency clean up specialists? 

Your emergency clean up team should be at your location fast. Therefore, it makes sense to call your disaster restoration team before calling your insurance company so they can provide their assistance as quickly as possible. Then, after you call the disaster restoration company, dial your insurance company’s number; give them as accurate of an account as possible of what happened. If you wait too long to call, your claim may be denied, so it’s better to do it sooner rather than later.

What happens if your home is no longer livable after a disaster?

The insurance may reimburse you if you are displaced from your home after a disaster; usually, this occurs when the property is deemed “unlivable.” This can occur if your bathroom is unusable or otherwise out of commission. If you aren’t able to use your kitchen, make sure to save any receipts from eating out. When they have provisions for your particular situation, you definitely want to know about them!  Ask about this during your initial phone call with the insurance company.

Are you covered for _______?

The first question most homeowners have for their insurance company is, “am I covered for this?” Unfortunately, it’s hard to say. Insurance policies vary widely, and many policies will cover water damage inside the home but not cover flooding, mold, or wear and tear. These distinctions will be outlined in your policy. It’s important to make sure you know what you are and aren’t covered for! If you have a good insurance agent, they should understand your policy well enough to tell you all about your coverage. 

After that, homeowners usually wonder how much of the disaster they’ve just experienced will be covered. This will be determined based on the specifics of your situation; estimates, adjustments, evidence, and many other factors go into this. In one respect, you could say that many insurance policies will cover all of the damage…but that’s not the same as being totally reimbursed.

For example, if your big screen TV were to burn down in a fire, the insurance company would cover it. However, they would negotiate a cost based on how much the TV has depreciated during the time you’ve had it. Essentially, you’ll be paid what the TV is deemed “worth” at the time of your emergency.

How long does it take to resolve your insurance claim?

Sadly, the insurance process can take a long while. Many claims do get resolved within two to six weeks, but unfortunately, it can sometimes take longer than that. This is one of many reasons why you want a good emergency clean up company like First Response working on your side!

The restoration professionals at First Response have been dealing with insurance companies every day for years upon years. We just so happen to know the claims and restoration processes pretty well! If you have any unanswered questions and would like to talk to one of our experts, feel free to reach out at any time.

When you’re in need of emergency clean up services, reach out to the incredible team at First Response Disaster Restoration Specialists. We proudly provide a wide range of restoration services to local, regional, and national clients in the continental United States. Our team strives to provide the highest quality of service to customers at the lowest cost possible. Give us a call!

Certified Renovator Training

Certified Renovator Training

First Response takes great pride in the training and national certifications of their employees.  The world of restoration is constantly changing and evolving and if you get in the mindset of “this is how we have always done it,” you are going to be left behind or frankly do an injustice to your clients.  It is important to stay on top of industry changes and help ensure our employees are prepared and equipped for any situation they might encounter while on the job.

First Response would like to congratulate six of our employees for becoming Certified Renovators by Greentree Environmental Systems Inc.  This was a full hand-on training to help them assess the ever important and dangerous lead issue they might encounter.  We are seeing more and more older home with issues that have lead present and felt it was important to increase our awareness and safety precautions for these situations.  Great job TEAM!

If you ever encounter a disaster, there is no company better prepared to assist you than First Response!

First Response Healthcare Training

First Response Healthcare Training

Congratulations are in store for our eight employees who successfully completed their Construction Infection Control Training Institute (CITCI) course to become a Certified Healthcare Technician!  We work with a number of different healthcare providers in the area and want to make sure our technicians are prepared for any and every situation they may encounter.  WAY TO GO TEAM!!

Meet Jake Lyon, Water Restoration Technician at First Response

Jake has been with First Response for a little over a year after moving to the Michiana area from Fort Wayne.  Jake works in our Emergency Services department and primarily works with our water mitigation and mold remediation team.  This gives him the opportunity to learn a number of different skills and he enjoys the ability to do different work each day.

In his free time Jake loves the outdoors and exploring new parks.  He has a rather unique bucket list item as one day he hopes to be able to ride an emu.  Best of luck accomplishing that task Jake!

Meet Reid Barnbrook, Water Restoration Technician at First Response!

If you have ever encountered a water loss, odds are you have had the pleasure of meeting Reid.  Reid works in our Water Department and primarily assists with any of our emergency services.  Reid is someone who is willing to go the extra mile to help our clients and is a great calming influence in what can usually be a stressful situation.  Part of this calming nature is relevant when Reid wishes he had the ability to teleport so he could arrive to an emergency faster. 

In his time away from work, Reid enjoys working with film, video and photography.  He has worked with a number of large TV stations such as ShowTime and A&E to help film and produce “A Season With Notre Dame Football” and “Married at First Sight.”

Meet Manny Gonzalez, Carpenter at First Response!

Manny Gonzalez has one of the more outgoing personalities you will ever meet.  He genuinely enjoys meeting new people and learning their story.  Manny takes great pride in being able to help people and that is why doing restoration work is the perfect fit.  Whether he is going to your home at 2am to secure your property after a disaster, or working more “normal hours” with the reconstruction, Manny always does it with a smile knowing he is helping those in their time of need.

Outside of work you might see him eating at The Nugget in Niles before walking down the street to catch the latest movie.  One day Manny would like to travel overseas for Missionary Work.  If you see Manny out in the field, be sure to say “Hello.”

Meet Carla Wiegand, Administrative Assistant at First Response

Carla joined the First Response Team in 2017 as an Administrative Assistant in the Accounting Department.  Some of Carla’s responsibilities include answering and directing incoming calls and being available to help the various departments with any administrative duties or needs that may arise. 

She and her husband live in North Liberty.  They have three children and their first grandbaby on the way.  In her free time, Carla enjoys pottery, arts, crafts, cooking/baking and is very active in her church.

Meet Perry Workman, Water Restoration Technician

Perry works within our Emergency Services division. If you have water damage or are in need of mold remediation, you are in good hands when Perry arrives. Perry has years of experience and is able to rely on his nationally certified training and problem solving to help remedy any situation.

In his free time, Perry enjoys playing guitar and going fishing.  He recently purchased a new home as well which he will enjoy working on.

Meet Gary Sherwood, Carpenter at First Response

Gary is a lead carpenter at First Response. Gary does a fantastic job of leading crews on the jobsite and making sure work stays on track and gets done right. Gary has a vast amount of experience and expertise he is able to rely upon to help combat any situation.

In his free time, Gary enjoys spending time in the outdoors. He enjoys fishing and traveling as he once day hopes to visit all 50 US states. If he could have one super power, he would love the ability to fly. This would reduce the amount of traffic and also offer some beautiful views.

Pink Heals Tour Touches First Response Family

What a great cause and visit by the Pink Heals Tour! Tank you for all you do and for visiting Jackie, the wife of one of
our employees. Jackie is currently battling breast cancer and she is always in our thoughts and prayers! Stay Strong!

Pink Helas Tour puts volunteerism and labor of love to work for the people in the community. According to their mission the money raised by your community efforts, be it individuals, public servants, or local businesses, should stay local – in your community, county or state. Pink Heals is health care support at a grass roots level and visionary leaders across the country are implementing Pink Heals at a rapid pace.

Pink Heals is a program that partners with Public Safety, local businesses and families to bring a community together. It is a program that provides home visits to show individuals that they are loved, cherished and important to others. Pink Heals brings back the human element by celebrating people, not causes.

For more information on Pink Heals Tour visit: www.pinkfiretrucks.org

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