Story c/o vernonmatters.ca
“The best way to deal with an emergency is to avoid it altogether.” Flood… fire… wind damage… For nearly three decades, Okanagan Restoration Services has been helping locals through disasters like these. Their extensive expertise includes ways to prevent potential damage to your property, and they shared the following tips with us.
• Disconnect outdoor hoses in the winter.
• Keep your gutters clean of leaves and debris.
• Direct downspouts three to four feet away from the building’s foundation.
• Check the age of your hot water tank.
• Only use your dishwasher and washing machine while you’re home and awake.
• Know where your water main and shut-off valve are.
• Have someone check your home while you’re away to as per your insurance policy agreement
• Watch the forecast for extreme weather.
• Make sure all trees close to your house are healthy.
• Secure outdoor items including furniture, barbeque, sports equipment, tools, etc.
• Close your window coverings during a windstorm to help prevent shattered glass from spreading inside your home if something breaks through the window.
• Ensure you have a working fire alarm by testing it monthly.
• Check the age of your smoke/fire alarm and install new batteries at least once a year.
• Look for safety features in your alarm. For hard of hearing and children, some fire alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
• Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher in your household that’s classified A, B, or C (or a combination of these).
• Know how to use a fire extinguisher: Pull the pin out, aim low at the base of the fire, squeeze the lever below the handle, and spray in a sweeping motion.
• Do a safety check of the laundry room.
1) Look for dryer lint build up.
2) Check if your dryer’s accordion-style duct is sinking or sagging and fix to avoid lint build-up.
• Increase the safety of electrical cords and plugins by either sealing or safely disposing of frayed wires.
• Be smart and safe whenever you light a candle.
Of course, even with the most meticulous maintenance, accidents can still happen. And when they do, the team at Okanagan Restoration Services responds.
Sarah Moorhouse with Okanagan Restoration Services says those who have never needed restoration work may not realize how comprehensive their services are. As an example, she mentions one of their team members who tackles saving clients’ contents from permanent water damage. With a combination of patience, compassion, and an arsenal of tricks and tips, she rescues important documents, photos and other irreplaceable items.
Sometimes content saving begins a step earlier with retrieval. Okanagan Restoration Service’s team has sifted through ash and rubble for items like wedding bands. Moorhouse says “We understand that a home is about more than the building’s physical components. A $100 ring might actually be priceless to someone, and in that case, finding or saving something like that becomes as important to us as replacing the drywall or repairing a roof.”
We’ll go to every single thing we get called to. We never say no, because it’s super important to us to be there for people.
She goes on to explain this commitment to treating people with compassion when they’re experiencing a crisis. “Yes, we’re a business and these are customers, but this also is our community and these are people, they’re members of our community. Even if we’ve never met them, they’re our neighbours. We live here, we play on sports teams, volunteer for events, and support local organizations. We’re a local company made up of people who care about the individuals who live here.”
So when a fire department calls in the middle of the night, Okanagan Restoration Services’ team takes the call and heads out to put up security fencing to protect the home or building until the next step.
And it doesn’t have to be the fire department. Anyone faced with the aftermath of a fire, flood, vandalism or other damage to their property can call, and a real, live honest-to-goodness person will answer, take your basic info, and put you through to on-call Okanagan Restoration Services personnel. And because emergencies don’t happen only during regular business hours, their emergency line is answered anytime of the day or night every day of the year. Moorhouse says “We’re always ready. We’ll go to every single thing we get called to. We never say no, because it’s super important to us to be there for people.”
The best-case scenario is that by following the tips above you’ll avoid needing a restoration company. But if you ever do, you’ll know who to call.