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Serving South Bend, IN and Surrounding Areas.
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

Meet Susanna Maines, Contents Restoration Technician

Susanna is one of First Response’s finest contents restoration technicians.  She is great working with our customers in helping them know and trust that they are in good hands.  It’s a difficult task to give someone full control of your belongings after a disaster, Susanna helps make that process easier and takes great pride in knowing that she is making a positive impact during a stressful time in someone’s life.  Susanna also helps our water department by being on call and assisting when large losses occur.

In her free time Susanna loves to spend time outdoors.  She is extremely active and would love to one day be able to compete in the Boston Marathon!

Meet Dave Williams, Carpenter at First Response

Dave Williams is a jack of all trades. Whether it is fixing broken machines or swapping out new parts, Dave Williams can do it all. Dave started at First Response out in the field as a Carpenter and has now taken over the role of working at Corporate doing just about anything that needs to get done. If you ever need help with anything, Dave is your guy! His outgoing and friendly personality can light up a room and his efficiency and demeanor always reaffirm he is the right guy for the job.

In his free time, Dave enjoys spending time outside. He is able to relax best when he is out gardening or painting and loved attending his grandchildren’s ballgames. If Dave had one superpower he would wish to bring peace on Earth. If you ever have the privilege to meet Dave, you will understand his passion right away.

Meet Bill Rosencrantz, Carpenter at First Response

Meet Bill Rosencrantz, Carpenter at First Response

Bill, better known at “Bomber Bill” at the South Bend Motor Speedway, is a jack of all trades.  Bill has worked at First Response for years doing a variety of different types of work. Whether it is getting a board-up call at 2am or working outside building an additional living space, Bill can do it all!  People like Bill are what make First Response such a great place to work.  People are genuinely interested in each other and that carries over to caring for our customers.  Bill and everyone else at First Response are proud to be helping our community.

In his free time, Bill loves to race at the South Bend Motor Speedway.  You can find him under the title, “Bomber Bill,” and he really enjoys the atmosphere and food offered at the Speedway.  Bill’s love of racing also applies to the horse track as Bill would love to one day attend the Kentucky Derby.

Meet Heather Hattery, Contents Restoration Technician at First Response

If you have experienced a fire or damage to your contents in your home or business, odds say Heather has played a large role in ensuring your belongings get restored properly.  Heather works in our contents department in all phases meaning she will help pack-out your home, clean your contents as well as help return them when the construction is complete.  Heather has been known to treat every item like it is her own and has received high praise from many of our customers

When Heather is not working with our contents department you can most likely find her spending time with family and friends outside.  Heather enjoys going to her kids sporting events and floating on the river.   Heather would love to travel the states with her husband in an RV and visit the Bahamas.

Meet Tony Davis, Water Department Field Tech Supervisor

If you have experienced a flood or broken pipe in your home, odds are you have had the opportunity to meet Tony Davis. Tony is the Field Tech Supervisor for our Water Department and he is involved in nearly every aspect of the job from start to finish. Whether it is working directly with the customer, figuring out the quantity and placement of drying equipment, filling
out paperwork or performing water mitigation, Tony has mastered it all.

Tony has successfully completed the Water Damage Restoration, Applied Microbial Remediation and Applied Structural Drying courses by the IICRC.

Tony has a full house at home as he and his wife were blessed with triplet daughters. Tony hopes to one day take his family to Walt Disney World and his favorite place to eat in Michiana is his kitchen table!

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