Happy Thanksgiving from SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito! We hope you have a safe holiday break with your families. We are thankful to be able to serve our community and help restore your homes and/or businesses.
We support our local nature center, you should too!
Nature center fundraises money to support their conservation efforts!
SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito's team supports the conservation efforts of the Weslaco Nature Center. The "Brew in the Woods" community event fundraises money to support native wildlife and promote community awareness and education of Rio Grande Valley biodiversity and ecological health.
Spreading Breast Cancer Awareness
La Feria firefighters wear pink with SERVPRO of Harlingen/ San Benito!
Our team at Harlingen/San Benito would like to share some information on Breast Cancer in South Texas. Please feel free to share! UT Health Science Center:
- There is an incidence of 104.1 cases of breast cancer per 100,000 women.
- Hispanic female population in South Texas have a higher incidence of breast cancer (83.5/100,000) compared to Hispanic female population in Texas.
How can we help? Get informed, spread awareness, and join the fight!
2019 Hurricane Season Prep (Pt. 4)
Hurricane flooding Evac
Rey Luna – Sales & Marketing
This blog post concludes the 4th and final portion of our Top 20 Hurricane Prep Tips.
We’ve covered a lot about what to do in the first 3 portions (1-15), so for our final 5 points, I’d like to cover specifically what NOT TO DO during storm time.
Some of these should be fairly common sense, however, I have an uncle who’s done one of these, not just once, but twice! So, this one’s for you, Tio Ben! Lol.
Approaching downed power lines.
At first glance, one can say that this point is pretty obvious. True. If we see a broken line, I’m sure we’ll stay clear. But sometimes the damage is not so easily seen, and that can be extremely dangerous. As a rule of caution, DO NOT touch any large metal objects outside as they could be touching a power line that you may not be able to see.
Driving/walking in flood waters.
Again, another seemingly obvious point, but ask my aunt Linda how many times they’ve had to replace their car because my uncle thought he’d make it.
So, with that being said… let’s go over the reasons why.
Number 1 is easy! You can ruin your car!
Number 2 is a little more complex. You can’t see what’s lurking in the water. Maybe a dangerous animal or just as deadly… bacteria. You may have just recently shaved and left open pores on your skin leaving room for bacteria to enter. Or you may have a small cut, again allowing bacteria to enter. It’s very unfortunate to have to lose a limb to amputation from a severe staph infection because you couldn’t wait to take the proper precautions.
DO NOT Empty in-ground pools.
You may feel like this is a good idea because you’re trying to avoid the pool overflowing… BUT… with extreme rain, such as in a hurricane, the water table (amount of water held in the ground) can rise. And without water to hold down the pool, this can even put enough force for the pool to literally be pushed up out of the ground.
As I’ve been during research and looking at some of the other suggestions by other blogs, I’ve seen repeatedly the suggestion for using candles.
This has to be some of the worse advice for storm time. Especially if you have small children or pets that don’t really stay still. You’re already dealing with one disaster, the last thing you need is for a candle to be accidentally knocked over and start a fire.
Approaching wondering animals.
It seems like almost every day I see a growing amount of animal lovers. Which really warms my heart, honestly. But one thing to keep in mind at the end of the day, as much as we want to help our furry friends, sometimes they are not capable of reason and therefore are nervous and confused.
If you happen to come across an animal that you may feel needs assistance, call a professional. Do not approach a scared/nervous animal as they are more likely to show aggression rather than appreciate your help. Remember, they’re scared and possibly misplaced from home. They can and will bite if they feel uneasy.
This concludes our list of Top 20 Hurricane Prep tips.
We hope that we’re not faced with a major storm this year, but should unfortunate events transpire, know that SERVPRO has your back.
2019 Hurricane Season Prep Top 20 (Pt. 3)
One other thing to be sure to have on hand would be a camera. If the damage is significant, you may be having to file an insurance claim. If this is the case, then they would require photos of the damage done to your home. So, before any repair or clean up work is done, make sure to snap several photos to document anything that may need repairs.
We don’t want a repeat of the RGV Gas Shortage of 2017. It’s best to make sure you never go below a half-tank of gas in your vehicles. Top ‘em off as often as possible. You’re not actually spending more money on gas; you’re just replenishing as you go. This will make sure you’re always full and never caught off guard. If you have any gas drums or spare gas tanks, be sure to fill those up as well so that you have a backup supply. You never know when you or someone you know may need an emergency refill.
Something else to make sure you’re topping off every now and then is your on-hand cash supply. This is something that you don’t want to have too much of, as it can be difficult to keep track of and can be more of a risk. The needs of every family are different, but maybe just a couple hundred bucks would be useful to get you out of a bind or purchase last minute/emergency supplies is all that’s needed.
In the event of an emergency road trip, you’re going to want to make sure that your vehicle is running 100%. The last thing you want is another unexpected tragedy once you’re on the road away from home and away from friends or family that can help.
Be sure to have a means of communication in the event that cell phones are no longer an option. You may have figured out a way to keep them charged, but if cell towers have been disrupted or damaged, then we lose connectivity. 2-way radios could be an option for you or consider trying Bluetooth antennas. If you’re tech-savvy, this could be an interesting option for you.
One Year Anniversary of the Great June Flood of 2018
Drone Photo by the National Weather Service.
According to the National Weather Service, the damage caused by the rains brought on by severe thunderstorms last year could be compared to the damage brought on by Dolly in ‘08, the last major hurricane to hit our area.
As of June 25th, State of Emergency Declarations were issued for Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy County.
Although the most affected area was Weslaco, other RGV cities were not immune.
The following timeline provided by the Mid Valley Town Crier gives a breakdown of the weather events that happened last year.
June 15th & 16th - Meteorologists observe moisture moving across the Gulf of Mexico towards the RGV
June 18th - Pre-dawn storm drops 2-3 inches in Los Fresnos and Harlingen
June 19th - More than 12 in. fall over Duval, Jim Wells & Brooks counties
June 20th - Much of Weslaco became submerged after 16-18 in. of rain fell in less than 12 hours. Brownsville and Los Fresnos we also hit by more rain.
June 21st – Starr County arroyos overflowed their banks when more than 7 inches fell over Rio Grande City. McAllen had rainfall between 6 - 8 inches.
June 22nd - 3 more inches of rain topped of Los Fresnos once again and the McAllen/Mission area.
Mid-Valley Airport grounds reported 11.36 inches of rain in just 3 hours.
Similar situations were seen throughout the entire Valley… large amounts of rainfall in a very short period. That formula was perfect for overwhelming draining systems and causing mass overflows.
Most of the damage was in large part due to the failure or lack of current infrastructure. Plans were immediately made to improve drainage in the areas that were most affected.
In total, the damage counts amounted to
- 2500 homes
- 100+ businesses
- 2500 vehicles
Let's Prepare Now!
Hurricane Season has already begun. Spanning from June 1st to November 31st. This means we are to be on the watch for half the year. Plenty of time to prepare and not get caught off-guard.
Let’s take these learning experiences to heart and get ahead of the situation before it becomes a problem.
Should the worst arise, know that you have a neighbor in your pocket with all the resources imaginable to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Why hesitation leads to Mold Growth in the RGV.
A water loss from a faulty pipe can lead to mold if not handled properly.
Rey Luna - Sales & Marketing
Every day I walk into the office and pop in on our crew during their morning meeting to say, “Good morning” and every day, they’re responding to a new emergency.
SERVPRO professionals handle water damages on a daily basis and the most important thing to them is to take action as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.
Mold is likely to spread in an environment that has been subject to moisture for an extended period of time. If your property has sustained recent water damage, it is vital to extract any excess water/moisture and dry out the structure right away.
In an area like ours, down here in the RGV, quick action is especially critical. Since we have a warmer climate, combined with almost 100% humidity pretty frequently, it is crucial that we respond without any hesitation.
Here is a list of things to be on the watch for once you notice that there is moisture present:
- The presence of visible mold,
- Strong musty odors which may indicate mold is present.
- Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth.
- Excessive humidity.
- Stagnant or “stale” air.
Certain conditions may even require the expertise of a qualified Indoor Air Quality/Environmental Professional to inspect the building for mold growth and water damage problems.
Now, after seeing just how much effort goes into mitigation work, it’s clear to see why these are situations that require special professional attention.
Commercial Services For Rio Grande Valley Business Owners & Managers
Commercial clean up
Rey Luna – Sales & Marketing
There is no job too big or too small for our SERVPRO team.
Our services are available those in property management, retail, education, healthcare, hospitality, food services, government/military, manufacturing/industrial and many more!
For our commercial customers, we offer a myriad of services such as
- Water/Fire restoration
- mold remediation
- storm and major events
- disaster recovery
SERVPRO of Harlingen / San Benito offers cleaning services ranging from cleaning restaurant hoods to removing biohazard contaminants. We have the specialized training and products to get you back to business in no time at all. Our cleaning services include the following:
- Air Ducts and HVAC
- Biohazard and Sewage
- Trauma and Crime Scene
- Carpet and Upholstery
- Drapes and Blinds
- Ceilings, Walls, and Hard Floors
- Odor Removal and Deodorization
If you or someone you know would benefit from our services, feel free to call SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito at (956) 277-0645.
*Remember: call direct and avoid the lines!
We are also offering No Cost Assessments and No Cost Emergency Response Plans. Our services are available 24/7/365 and we will always execute our jobs with promptness and professionalism.
Find and like our page on Facebook at SERVPRO Facebook.
Who is SERVPRO and Why choose us?
SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito.
Rey Luna – Sales & Marketing
I’m greatly enjoying my new position here at SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito. I’ve always been in the marketing and advertising field, but never for the restoration sector. One of the things I enjoy the most is sharing all the information I’m constantly learning, from specialized certification courses, or from watching our experienced techs in the field.
I will never look at construction the same way again!
I always get the same reaction every time I’m telling my friends and family about what I do… “I should’ve called you guys!”
The fairly typical scenario we’ve probably all had the misfortune to witness: broken/leaky pipe. It’s more of a common occurrence than I first believed. It’s a major pain to deal with. More so out of inconvenience than anything else. It’s not really that large of a situation to call up your insurance company and file a claim.
The last thing you want to have to do is file a claim and mess with your insurance. So, what do you do?? Guess you grab some towels and buckets and cancel your weekend plans, right?
Guess again! Not so fast!
You may ask: “Well what’s the harm in picking up the mess? It has to get done, right?”
The issue is really about all the things that are lying beneath the surface… behind the walls, under the carpet/tile. The things we don’t see.
- Do you have pets? No matter how well you’ve cleaned up after them, they leave behind all kinds of germs and bacteria, and when they come back into contact with water, those harmful toxins are reactivated and can leave foul odors/stains, or even worse… get you and your family sick.
- What year was your home built? This may seem like a pointless question at first, but it really helps us find out what tools we’re gonna need to get the job done the right way. See, in the early ’90s, there was a large amount of Chinese Dry Wall being used in home construction. The difference in this type of drywall is that it is a lot more dense, heavier and may even contain metal. This plays a big role in how long we’d need to leave drying equipment set up.
The type of insulation of your home is another factor to consider. Carpet? Type of carpet pad? Type of tile? Ceramic? Subfloor? Plank wood floor? You get the idea.
- Relative Humidity. Well you can just open a window, right? That’ll dry it out, right? Relative Humidity. That’s the difference between humidity in the home vs. outside the home. And the difference in whether you might get mold or not. Unless you have the equipment to test the moisture levels in the air, then it may not be the best idea.
You may be able to mop up the surface, but that’s as far as most will be able to reach. It’s the water you don’t see that becomes the problem. Can’t exactly mop behind your walls, or under your tile. A few weeks may go by and you’ll notice a funky smell that never really goes away… and that’s when you’ll know: mold.
Although at first thought, it may seem like unnecessary, fancy solutions to a simple problem… it’s honestly way more than that. Getting in front of the problem to prevent secondary damage is what SERVPRO does best.
So next time you experience any kind of unexpected mishap, test us out and see what SERVPRO of Harlingen/San Benito can do for you.
2019 Hurricane Season Top 20 PREP TIPS (pt. 1 of 4)
Get ready now! Don't wait until you have to!
Springtime is officially wrapped up here in the RGV and we bring in another HOT, HOT Summer. But along with the warmer weather is the higher risk of adverse conditions. Enter HURRICANE SEASON.
Every year we see the same suggestions and preparation steps needed to get ready.
However, instead of waiting until there’s an actual hurricane, there’s really no reason why these steps can’t be started ahead of time so that you’re not at the store looking for supplies with nothing but aisles and aisles of empty shelves.
This is where you’ll discuss your plan of action. Make sure everyone is aware of the evacuation routes just in case of the rare event that some become separated. It’s also a good idea to assign different roles and tasks to each person and make sure everyone is aware of the duties that are left in their care. Make plans to tackle the rest of the list together early during the summer so as to not be caught off guard. Perhaps setting aside a weekend together as a family to prepare the yard or go over inventory and supplies.
In your preparation, you should be sure to include any supplies or special gear you may need. Battery powered tools, chargers, and any necessary medications for your family and/or pets. Included in his list will be extra clothes, food (preferably non-perishable), first aid kits and anything else you think you’d need for at least a 1 week stay out of town if necessary.
Once out on the road, one can forget that there’s more than just tools and gear you might need. Special documents, cash, and other important information may be especially necessary. It’s important to keep these particular items safe because they are easily lost or damaged. To avoid this, pack a firebox or small fire safe along with your belongings. These are very inexpensive and are also waterproof most of the time. Take extra precaution by taking pictures of those documents so that you have a digital copy easily accessible on your phone or tablet.
Keep in mind the furry members of the family. Animals really can’t prepare like we can so they’re gonna need our help to stay safe. If you have your pets outside, you’ll have to make arrangement to temporarily house them inside and out of the elements. Just like humans, they need food, water and shelter. Make sure you pack an emergency kit for them as well. If you need to evacuate, then you’ll want to keep in mind that you’ll have extra companions. And no… the back of the pickup truck is not a very safe place for them to ride, unless they have a proper kennel secured in place.
Board up those windows early! Can’t stress this enough… prep supplies run out quickly once a storm is announced to be heading our way. Don’t wait! You don’t have to necessarily install everything now, but it’s a good idea to at least buy what you need, and have it set aside ready for when you do need it. There are many ways to go about prepping your windows. Plywood is effective and very cost effective, but, you’re definitely gonna need some help to get the job done. Hurricane Shutters are a nice addition to the home, they add appeal to your home and it’s a lot easier prep your home every year. But this method is more costly. However you chose to go about it, make sure it’s done well in advance!
Keep these tips in mind as you prep for the season and stay tuned for Parts 2, 3 and 4 coming soon!