Frequently Asked Questions 2017-06-27T14:01:45+00:00

Emergency Services

Disaster Preparation

Learn how to be ready for the next big storm and what you can do to safeguard your home and family.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners “Creating an inventory and storing it in a safe location away from home is one of the most basic – and effective – disaster preparedness steps you can take to help protect yourself and your financial future. A home inventory can save you time and headaches when filing a claim following a disaster.”  Read more from the NAIC about disaster preparedness.

Five Important Documents to Secure (Source  

  1. Annual tax returns: While you can get rid of supporting documents after three years, your annual tax returns you should keep forever. The IRS only has three years to perform an audit so once that time passes, it’s ok to toss the rest of the documents.
  2. Passport: Before you leave on vacation, make a copy of your passport and keep it with you, in case your passport is stolen while you are traveling. At home, be sure to lock the passport up.
  3. Will: Likely, your original will is kept with your attorney, but you should have received two copies. Keep one copy in a safe deposit box and another in a locked safe at home.
  4. Birth certificate: Every family member has a birth certificate. Make copies to keep in your files at home and keep the originals in a safe deposit box. You may need to access the information on birth certificates, so keeping a copy close by is a good idea.
  5. Social security cards: Keep your social security card locked up in a safe at home. Don’t carry it around with you in your wallet, as that’s an easy way to have it, and your identity, stolen.

Water Damage

Our team of certified experts will…

  • Scope extent of water migration within living space
  • Extract water from flooring, if needed
  • Remove affected carpet pad and/or laminate flooring, if needed
  • Contain affected area from non-affected living space and set negative HEPA filtration
  • Test for asbestos ­contamination/spill, if needed
  • Remove affected carpet, pad, laminate flooring, trim and drywall – if sewage water
  • Clean, sanitize and treat with “green” anti­microbial agent – if sewage water
  • Set drying equipment
  • Monitor and record drying process until dried to standard
  • Write estimate for emergency services and submit the same to insurance company

“In high-risk areas, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.”  –

  • Locate the source of water escape and have the problem repaired immediately by shutting off the main water supply
  • Make sure all drains are clear
  • Remove any excess water with appropriate water extraction equipment
  • Remove any possessions in the path of the water. Wipe water from any affected possessions and move onto protective sheets to minimize further damage
  • In the summer, turn on the air-conditioning to maximize drying potential.
  • Do not utilize any electronic appliances
  • Do not consume food items exposed to water
  • Move all pets to a clean environment

Source: First General Services – Corporate

Our team of certified experts will…

  • Scope the affected area to determine the type and source or odor
  • Write estimate and submit for approval
  • Perform deodorization protocol on­site or bring items to deodorization chamber
  • Return items to owner, if items were taken off-­site for cleaning

An ice dam is an accumulation of ice that forms at the edge of a residential or commercial sloped roof and prevents the underlying water (melting snow) from properly draining off the roof.  The built up water finds itself behind the dam (an extremely cold spot) which eventually leaks into a home and causes substantial and costly damage to ceilings, light fixtures, walls, and insulation. If your roof or gutters are damaged from ice dams and are in need of repair, we do that too.

“It’s reported that according to Death in Society Research Foundation around 15 people in the US die each year due to icicle-related incidents. The numbers of injured people are relatively larger in Northern countries where the snowfall is much heavier and lasts longer, making icicles a greater danger. In Russia for example, approximately one hundred people each year die from falling icicles.”

Our team of certified experts will:

  • If possible, remove snow/ice from affected roof area
  • Scope extent of water migration into living space
  • Extract water from flooring, if needed Set drying equipment
  • Monitor and record drying process until dried to standard
  • Write estimate for emergency services and submit the same to insurance company

There are underlying issues when electronics have suffered fire/smoke/water damages. It takes a specialist to inspect and scope out the damages to determine the most cost effective salvageable item.  They are then taken for a full evaluation and estimate of for either cleaning or restoration.  If there is an indicator of asbestos within the electronics it is recommended to dispose safely, which we are able to do for you.

Our team of certified experts will:

  • Inspect and scope to determine what is cost ­effectively salvageable and non-­salvageable
  • Inventory non­-salvageable items and dispose of the same
  • Inventory and take salvageable items for full evaluation and estimate for cleaning and/or restoration
    (except asbestos spill situations)
  • Once restoration is complete, store or return items

Fire Damage

Our team of certified experts will…

  • Barricade if needed
  • Tarp and/or securely board-­up or shore-­up affected areas
  • Test for asbestos ­contamination/spill, if needed
  • Contract engineer, if needed
  • Scope to determine all affected areas
  • Evaluate contents for salvageable and non-­salvageable items
  • Inventory non-salvageable contents and dispose of the same (except items of sentimental and/or heirloom consideration)
  • Pack­out salvageable contents for cleaning, possible drying and storage
  • Scope extent of water migration due to extinguishing the fire
  • Extract water from flooring, if needed
  • Set drying equipment
  • Monitor and record drying process until dried to standard
  • Remove all burned/charred building material under controlled demolition
  • Clean all affected areas of dwelling
  • Deodorize entire dwelling
  • Write estimate for emergency services and submit the same to insurance company

Harmful smoke damage during a small or large fire, and when extinguished, permeates the air and property. The pungent, bitter and unpleasant smells of burned wood, gases, paint, plastic, paper, electrical, takes hold, spreads and needs attention immediately and professionally.

Negative Ventilation and dehumidification processes are put in place to insure that the persistent odors do not linger. When there is fire, there is smoke, with our extensive field experience and knowledge, makes us the experts with both.

“According the Insurance Research Council’s Trends in Homeowners Insurance, 2015 Edition, from 2009-2013, Colorado experienced a 179% increase in the average claim payment per insured home compared to the previous 12 years—the largest percentage increase in the U.S. In fact, 54% of Colorado homeowner’s insurance claims were catastrophe-related.” 

“60% of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms” According to the American Red Cross.

View Fire Safety Tips, and Fire Prevention from American Red Cross and National Fire Protection Association 

  • Make sure ventilation system is off except when temperature is below freezing (32F)
  • Wipe off any polished surfaces affected by smoke
  • Open windows to ventilate if possible
  • Move all pets to a clean environment
  • Do not use any electrical appliances or devices until they have been cleaned and checked
  • Empty your refrigerator or freezer completely if the electricity is down
  • Do not attempt to wash surfaces
  • Close doors in affected areas to localize smoke odors
  • Do not consume food items exposed to fire or smoke
  • When temperatures are below freezing (0C) pour anti-freeze in toilet bowls, sinks and tub if heat is off
  • Stay out of all impacted rooms until safety is assured

Source First General Services – Corporate

Advice from a local firefighter, “Trust me this works on all my uniforms.  Use either one cup of vinegar or two cups of vodka in your wash cycle, along with your usual detergent.  There are products that are made to remove the smell, I’ve tried them all–most of them leave your clothes smelling like air freshener and smoke. The above was discovered by an accident. I’d stained one of my shirts and washed it with vodka and wow the smoke was gone (so was the stain)!!”

Easy Steps to Rid the Smoke Smell from washable items in the washing machine: 

Step 1:  Fill washing machine with water and add detergent as always.

Step 2:  Add one cup of white vinegar to filled machine.  The acetic acid in vinegar breaks down the smoke molecules that cause the smell.

Step 3:  Add the affected pieces and continue a normal wash cycle.

Step 4:  After wash, you may notice a slight vinegar smell, don’t worry, it dissipates very quickly

“Soot is not simply a form of dirt that needs to be removed from an article. Soot can be a respiratory or skin irritant, and there may be chemicals or metals riding on the soot particles that are small enough to enter into your lungs.”
– American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works  


Our team of certified experts will…

  • Scope extent of microbial damage and migration
  • Test for asbestos ­ contamination/spill, if needed
  • Write estimate (based on mold report protocol) and submit for approval
  • If positive for ACM, re­write estimate to remediate under abatement protocols
  • Set containment, critical barriers and put under negative HEPA pressure
  • Remove all mold­ affected non-structural materials under controlled demolition and dispose of the same HEPA vacuum, treat with anti-microbial agent and wipe down
  • HEPA vacuum again all affected structural lumber
  • Remain under negative HEPA pressure for additional 24­ hours
  • Third ­party post ­remediation clearance, if desired or in protocol
  • Use mold inhibitor paint if needed

“Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors.”  – CDC

The key to mold control, is moisture control. Please visit United States Environmental Protection Agency to learn more.

Learn more about signs and symptoms of mold exposure.

Learn more about mold and your health from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Storm Damage

Severe weather with wind gusts exceeding 50mph uprooting trees, causing an exorbitant amount of destruction are not a rare occurrence in Colorado. Storms containing hail, the size of golf balls can cause both exterior and interior property damage.  Icy conditions may lead to vehicle accidents that literally hits home or business.  Our experts are skilled in bringing back the sunshine to your lives after a storm has hit.

Our team of certified experts will:

  • Scope extent of damage to exterior of dwelling
  • Test for asbestos contamination/spill, if needed
  • If necessary, tarp and/or board up affected areas and barricade
  • Scope extent of possible water migration into living space
  • Contract engineer, if needed
  • Trim or cut down and remove damaged tree debris
  • If necessary, set drying equipment
  • Write estimate for emergency services and submit the same to insurance company

  • Use all resources to find trained professional to help
  • Exercise patience as there are many others just like you in the same situation

Source First General Services – Corporate

Board & Tarp Up

Keeping your property secure to discourage illegal activities, including looting, is a priority and a necessity. In addition, boards and tarps help control debris and trash.  If boarding up, tarping and temporary fencing is what is needed to protect your unattended property during any project, we can serve you.

Our team of certified experts will:

  • Barricade if needed
  • Scope to determine all affected areas
  • Test for asbestos ­contamination/spill, if needed
  • Tarp and/or securely board-­up affected areas
  • Clean­up damage debris
  • Write estimate for emergency services and submit the same to insurance company

Clean Up

“Criminal mischief is defined as knowingly damaging the property of another or property owned jointly with another.”  Although there are serious consequences and legal ramifications for this destructive behavior—it still happens. Defacing, destroying property with graffiti (painting, drawing, tagging), can be a tedious process to clean-up.  We offer the best removal methods, by determining the amount the vandalized surface covers and the location. Our abatement personnel will use environmental safe products when available.

Our team of certified experts will:

  • Barricade if needed
  • Clean­up of graffiti, using “green” products, when possible
  • Specialized cleaning, if necessary

Deciding which personal items and contents of your home or business are worth saving, and those that are not salvageable is an immense undertaking. Our skilled professionals are trained and compassionate, and can help you with this tiresome process.  They use the proper equipment and a variety of green products to the restorable items to pre-loss condition.  Storage options are discussed for those items that are salvageable. We are diligent about packing up and taking a thorough inventory of those items that are salvageable, as those that are not are disposed of properly.

Our team of certified experts will:

  • Evaluate contents for salvageable and non-­salvageable items
  • Inventory non-­salvageable contents and dispose of the same (except items of sentimental and/or heirloom consideration)
  • Pack­out salvageable contents for cleaning, possible drying and storage
  • Write estimate for emergency services and submit the same to insurance company

A disaster is bad in itself, compound the inability to produce documents necessary to recover from that disaster increases insult to injury. For those documents that are salvageable after inspection, we have drying systems to help you recover those important papers, and then create digital copies for your records.  Restoration can include major or minor repairs, we are available to do either. Our goal is to get your residence or business back to pre-fire condition, perhaps even make it better.

Our team of certified experts will:

  • Inspect and scope affected documents to determine whether they are salvageable
  • Write estimate and submit for approval
  • Air­ dry or freeze dry, separate and create digital copies of damaged documents where originals are not absolutely needed
  • Return salvageable documents and digital copies to owner
  • Write estimate for emergency services and submit the same to insurance company

Whether it’s a result of fire/smoke on your own property, or from smoke damage from an adjacent property, our belongings especially clothes/textiles hold on to odors.  In fact, if the exposure is prolonged, it worsens, as chemicals in the smoke build up on textiles. Airing out and excessive washing may be a challenge to remove stubborn smoke odors.  Our experts know what to do to help to find those salvageable textiles, and are able to recommend the best ways to “rid” the smoke odor, and restore your clothing.                  

Our team of certified experts will:

  • Inspect and scope to determine what is salvageable and non-salvageable, and what can be machine washed and what needs to be dry cleaned.
  • Inventory non-salvageable textiles and dispose of the same (except items of sentimental and/or heirloom consideration)
  • For emergency situations, especially in fire/smoke situations, inventory and take machine washable textiles for 24 ­hour turnaround cleaning
  • Inventory and take dry clean ­only textiles for cleaning and possible storage
  • Return all salvageable textile goods to owner

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Look at these creative graffiti ideas.

Consultation & Management

Sometimes a second opinion or 3rd party project oversight is needed and welcomed. Oddly enough, water damage insurance claims trump other insurance claims such as; storms, fires or theft, according to various surveys. Water damage claims cause the most financial expense to insurance companies, and as property owners, an enormous amount of frustration and grief.

A flooded basement can permanently ruin lifetime of collected photo albums, or a fire can burn treasured and irreplaceable possessions beyond recognition. Our licensed, caring professionals with over 31years of field experience, are here to help 24/7.

Property owners should be diligent to check washing machine hoses, water heaters, outdoor faucets, kitchen and bathroom sinks, toilets, refrigerator/ice machine water connections, making sure there are not any cracks and or kinks in the lines, or any excess moisture on walls or floors.

Obviously we do not have control over water damage from the all mighty “mother nature”, however– we do have control over how we respond.  Do not wait to call our professionals, as leaks left unattended will create a perfect breeding ground for mold in a matter of 48 hours, and additional expense that perhaps is not covered by insurance.

What to do before anything happens. Take home inventory.

Before a catastrophe strikes and you’re faced with a loss, make a home inventory – lists, pictures or a videotape of the contents of your home. After all, would you be able to remember all the possessions you’ve accumulated over the years if they were destroyed by a fire? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.

Abatement Services


When disturbed, damaged or handled, asbestos can break into microscopic-size particles that become airborne and are easily inhaled.  Long term exposure to airborne asbestos particles can lead to life-threatening illnesses such lung cancer and mesothelioma   Learn more about asbestos on the CDC website

Lead Based Paint

What you need to know about mold and your health on the CDC website
In 1992 Congress passed the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act that requires the disclosure of known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before the sale or lease of most housing built before 1978.  Read more about lead disclosure rule.

Construction Services