Wolgast Restoration Blog Page

Protecting Your Investment from Vehicle-into-Building Crashes

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Jul 06, 2022 @ 08:18 AM

Vehicle-ImpactWithout proper obstruction, motorists accidentally drive their cars into buildings 60 times a day in the US, causing damage and loss to businesses and homeowners.

The Storefront Safety Council is a group of volunteers that are “passionate about ending vehicle-into-building crashes.”  They have a variety of experts to help them address the causes and prevention of cars hitting buildings.  Members include architects, risk managers, parking specialists, lawyers, and perimeter safety professionals.  They have collected data from years 2014-2021 and have determined that there is an average of 60 vehicle/building impacts daily, 500 deaths annually, and 4,000 injuries each year.

The main cause of these accidents are operator error, happening 20% of the time.  The top impacted storefronts are retail stores – 29%, commercial buildings – 20%, restaurants – 19%, and the remaining 32% includes “other” buildings.

When a Vehicle Impacts Your Building:

It is critical to call 911 immediately to address the medical needs of any patrons, workers, pedestrians, or vehicle occupants.  Additionally, the fire department should be called on site in case any gas lines were effected, which could start a fire or explosion.  The emergency response report is also useful in your insurance claim for timing and dates.

Additionally, you will want to call your insurance company (after emergency units) to make a claim and so they can assess the damage.  Your restoration contractor, general contractor, and/or engineer should be your third call, so that board-ups can take place and structural support can be implemented.  Structural damage makes the building unsafe for any occupants.

The key is to protect people on site and also protect your investment in your building.  Preserving the least amount of damage will get you back to business faster.

Ways to Prevent Vehicle Impact:

The Storefront Safety Council recommends that keeping parking away from the building through space or barricade.  Even if it isn’t required through codes or standards, adding bollards, parking blocks, and guardrails can be beneficial in protecting your business.  Also adding sidewalks and landscaping between the parking lot and the building could add enough space to account for those who mistakenly push the gas rather than the break while parking.  When designing a new commercial building, it is a good idea to talk to your architect about features that can protect your investment from automobile users.

For those businesses and residents in Michigan, keep our 24-hour number 855-WOLGAST stored in your phone should you have an emergent need for board-up or structural support.  We can also design and restore your building if needed.

Topics: structural damage, commercial, business preparation, prevention

The Primary Natural Disasters Threatening Michigan Structures

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Jul 06, 2020 @ 11:20 AM

Property owners of Michigan, this map, credited to redcross.org1, suggests that Michigan has insignificant threat of any natural disaster compared to all the rest of the states.  Sure, we aren’t much effected by earthquakes, although we have felt aftershocks from time to time, and it’s unlikely that we will ever have hurricane force winds hit us, but the rain and lesser significant winds of hurricanes do reach us causing damage.  Though someone looking at the map may pat themselves on the back for choosing to live in the Great State of Michigan, there are definitely natural disasters and other mayhem for which we need to be prepared.

DisasterMapAccording to michigan.gov2, Michigan’s primary natural threats include floods, thunderstorms, tornadoes, wild fires, and of course winter weather.  Knowing a few details and statistics can help us prepare for disasters, even though most disasters are completely unpredictable.

Thunderstorms are the “primary source of summer rainfall” in Michigan according to (weather-us.com)3.  They are a heavy hitter possibly bringing heavy rain, flash flooding, wind, hail, tornadoes, and/or lightning.  Each of these hazards bring their own havoc to property, which we will discuss more below.  They occur mostly from May to September.  Michigan averages 28 – 40 thunderstorms per year in the Lower Peninsula and 20 – 30 in the Upper Peninsula (michigan.gov)2. Building owners also have to be prepared for power outages during these storms.

Ninety percent of damage caused by natural disasters in the US is from a flood event (iii.org)4. There is not a “flooding season” per say, but they historically have happened in the spring and summer in Michigan.  Additionally, Michigan’s potential for early spring flooding is higher because of the thawing of winter ice and snow makes lake and river levels rise.  Floods cause damage to foundations, drywall and contents within a building, and if not cleaned or dried properly can result in microbial growth that makes inhabitants sick.

In Michigan, most tornadoes occur between April and July.  Experts have even predicted that a tornado is more likely to occur between 3PM and 7PM.  An average of 16 tornadoes occur in Michigan each year (michigan.gov)5.  Tornadoes can cause massive damage to property through heavy winds and force.  Depending on the strength of the wind a tornado can break heavy branches or uproot trees that land on a building, push mobile homes off their foundation, tear off roofs, level well-constructed walls, or lift homes off their foundation.  Power outages are prevalent during tornado storms due to tree limbs and debris falling on power lines.

Hail is common in the spring season in Michigan (weather-us.com)3.  Most Michigan counties see an average of 2 hail events per year.  Hail can cause costly property damage to roofs and siding, resulting in insurance claims and restoration construction.

Wild fires have happened historically between March and October, and most commonly “during the driest part of the year”.  More than 75% of Michigan is covered in forested land in Northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula.  We see an average of 550 minor wild fire events a year (michigan.gov)2. Most people think that lightning is the main cause of the fires, but it is actually more commonly caused by debris burning.  The Michigan.gov document “MHA 2019 Full Update Natural Hazards” discusses creating a vulnerable structure to be “Firewise” to protect it from wildfires, which includes non-flammable exterior materials and removing vegetation surrounding the building to provide a barrier from wildfire flames and ash.

Winter weather is more hazardous to automobiles and the health of individuals driving or walking/recreating in Michigan.  However, our winter weather causes damage to property through ice dams, frozen pipes and heavy snow on roofs.  The Lower Peninsula averages 90-180 days of below freezing temperatures (michigan.gov)2.  Insulating pipes near outer walls and keeping the heat above 55 can help prevent the pipes from freezing.  Flooding from frozen pipes only occurs once the pipe starts to thaw creating quite a mess causing restoration of your pipes and the water damage remediated.  Ventilating your attic will help regulate the temperature and moisture in the space to prevent ice dams and water infiltration at the roof barrier. And flatter roof styles will need to remove snow built up on their shingles to protect from the weight, ice, thaw, and damage.

Natural-Disaster-ScheduleThe unpredictable behavior of Mother Nature makes it difficult to prepare your structure in some cases and still live daily life, so it’s most important to have a plan to protect yourself and have phone numbers ready to call your insurance provider and restoration contractor immediately after.  It’s a good practice to have needed items ready in case the power goes out, for example: a light source, charged energy source(s), communication device(s), food, drink, and important papers in a safe place.  Call Wolgast Restoration when a disaster hits your property.

24 HOUR HOTLINE: (855) 965-4278


1 www.redcross.org

2  https://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/MHA_2019__full_update_natural_hazards_653708_7.pdf

3 https://www.weather-us.com/en/michigan-usa-climate?f,in,in,mi#climate_text_4

4 https://www.iii.org/article/facts-about-flood-insurance

5 https://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp-tornado_tips_8781_7.pdf

Topics: wind damage, roof damage, disaster plan, fire damage, spring floods, frozen pipes, prevention

On-Site Precautions Make Wolgast Restoration Sites Safer and Completion Dates Quicker

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Jul 15, 2019 @ 02:57 PM

Safety-Director-1Properties that have been impacted by a fire, flood or other related weather loss, pose extra safety cautions.  Wolgast considers it as important, if not more, than you do to keep everyone who enters the site safe.  Property Owners, agents, workers, friends and neighbors may come and go during a restoration project, so explicit communication, signage, teamwork, proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and sometimes sanitization stations need to be available to protect site occupants.  Wolgast Restoration factors this into our project planning.

On any given site, we need to be prepared for a variety of issues that are associated with a loss, such as structural issues, airborne or water contaminants, sharp metal or exposed electrical wires to name a few.  Once restoration activity starts, there are additional safety impacts to prevent involving elevated spaces, trip hazards, construction equipment and tools, etc.  Our Field Employee-Owners have been OSHA Safety Certified as well as IICRC Certified.  Additionally, we have a safety incentive program whereby the monetary pool is funded by completing safety behavior and practices that our Safety Committee has determined will result in increased protection for all.  Daily safety planning, meetings, communication, documentation are among these actions.  The better the safety behaviors, the better the safety culture and the bigger the pool of money.  The money is used to supply staff members with gift certificates for steel toed boots, coats and gloves of their choosing that further protect them from elements on a construction site.

The point of this blog is that you won’t have to worry about further issues on your customer’s property when any loss already creates high stress.  And that is important when choosing a Restoration Company.  Additionally, being safe speeds up the restoration process, which is good for all of us.

Topics: prevention

Disaster Response Planning: 4 Ways to Save Time & Money during Property Disaster

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Sep 24, 2018 @ 11:07 AM

DRPFoxGlenAptsPlanning for a disaster is the best way to get through the mayhem faster.  However, how does a property owner or manager fully prepare their building for all types of disasters?  It can feel like a never ending and expensive task when you try to ward off a storm, flood, fire, vehicle impact, etc. without proper direction.  And rather than attempting to avoid all disasters, we recommend that the solution is a Disaster Response Plan (DRP) organized by a professional restoration company.  This plan will contain all the information needed to quickly react in an unforeseen incident involving damage to your properties.  Each DRP partnership is customized to a client’s specific business needs and building structure.

To provide more detail, a DRP is a record of documents that include all pertinent information about a building or campus that a restoration contractor would need to quickly mobilize appropriate equipment, along with the contact information for responsible parties of building functions.  This type of plan is highly beneficial for large, public buildings or entities responsible for multiple buildings, such as school districts, multi-family housing, or hotels for example, which can have a variety of risks to their separate structures.  Having a DRP on hand can lead to loss prevention, reduce the size of the loss, a quicker response time, and a faster restoration process. 

Loss Prevention: Identifying potential hazards that can preemptively be changed before disaster happens.

Reduce Loss Size: Knowledge of structures layouts and utility shut-offs once on site can minimize issues.

Response Time: Business owner or manager can make a quick call to their restoration partner and they are also placed on our priority list.

Faster Restoration Process: The partnership that happens in a DRP relationship authorizes us to start our process with the insurance company instantly and prior knowledge of the building allows us to be prepared as we come on site.  This can result in months of time savings in your business and building restoration.

For instance, if a pipe bursts in the middle of the night, your restoration contractor can mobilize and bring the right equipment or materials and contact the plumber before they even show up to your building, rather than getting there and assessing the situation and then taking action.

Working with Wolgast Restoration to develop your DRP means that we will already have knowledge of your facility in the event of an emergency and can react quickly to minimize the damage earlier and in turn save you time in the restoration process and lessen your business interruption.  If you have further questions or would like to set up an appointment to learn more about a partnership, please contact, Jeremy Wagner - Wolgast Restoration General Manager at 989-781-0173.

Topics: disaster plan, Restoration Contractor, prevention, restoration from start to finish

Household Fires: Common Causes and Prevention

Posted by Rich Droste on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 @ 12:47 PM

Cooking FireAs restoration contractors, we see hundreds of home disasters every year. But the one that has the most dramatic and devastating impact on families and homeowners is a house fire.

The reason household fires are so devastating, apart from the damage to property and belongings, is that most of them are preventable. This article briefly covers the most common causes of household fires and possible ways to prevent them from happening to you.


Cooking is the number one cause of all household fires. These fires are usually caused by leaving the stovetop or oven unattended while something is cooking, or from careless use of flammable cooking oils and grease.

Prevention: Never leave your home when something is cooking, no matter how long the dish will take to cook. There is always a chance that you could be delayed longer than expected, and by the time you get home, it’s too late. Also, never take a nap while something is simmering on the stove, or perform tasks around the home that will take you out of the kitchen for more than a few minutes. When preparing slow-cooked foods, set a timer every 15-30 minutes to remind you to check the oven or slow cooker. It doesn’t take long for a pot to over-boil and start a fire.

If you experience a grease fire, don’t panic. You can extinguish it easily by placing a lid over the flaming pan and turning off the heat. Do not use baking soda, flour or salt to extinguish the flames. This can cause the fire to flare up and burn you. It may also splash the burning grease onto towels, curtains, or other flammable materials nearby.

Never let children be in the kitchen unsupervised while your cooking, especially those that are too young to understand the fire dangers and risks involved with cooking.


Some of the deadliest fires are caused by the careless use of cigarettes, pipes and cigars. Most fires caused from smoking are usually the result of a smoker falling asleep and dropping their cigarette onto the floor or furniture, or leaving an unattended cigarette in an ashtray that falls onto a tabletop.

Prevention: Always make sure that the butts in an ashtray are completely extinguished before dumping it into the trash. Running water into the ashtray is the best method to put out any smoldering embers.

Never smoke in bed, especially if you have been drinking alcohol. Always extinguish smoking materials completely. If you have to smoke, try to smoke outside or in areas of the home where there are no flammable materials.


There are more than 14,000 clothes-dryer fires each year. The number one cause of clothes dryer fires is due to lack of maintenance and proper cleaning. Another cause is stacking laundry or storing combustibles near the dryer, especially around gas dryers that have open flames.

Prevention: Clean the dryer filter after every use. At least once every year, detach the exhaust hose from the back of the dryer and clean it thoroughly, or replace it if it has significant lint build-up that is difficult to remove. Keep combustible materials at least three to four feet away from any heat-generating equipment, including dryers, portable heaters, furnaces, and water heaters.


Candles cause more than 12,000 household fires annually. About half of those fires start in bedrooms. A burning candle can easily fall over and set fire to furniture, curtains, carpets or other combustible materials.

Prevention: Only burn candles in sturdy holders that won't tip over. Never assume that a candle in a glass container is safe. The glass may over-heat and shatter, spreading the hot wax and flame. When burning candles, always make sure the surrounding area is clear from flammable objects. Place the candle away from high traffic areas, but in plain sight. Never leave burning candles unattended and blow out candles before leaving the room, leaving the home, or going to sleep.


Most people assume electrical fires are caused by faulty wiring inside the walls of a home. While this is a common cause, most electrical fires are caused by wiring attached to household appliances. The most common cause resulting from too many appliances or electrical devices plugged into a single outlet, causing the wires to overheat and spark a fire.

Prevention: Only use one extension cord per outlet. Only use extension cords that have a UL listed label attached to them. When using power tools or appliances, check the operating manual for the proper extension cord size to use with the device.

Never run an extension cord under a rug or carpet. Wear and tear from normal traffic can damage the protective coating, exposing the bare wire and cause them to spark.

Do not use any old or suspect appliances. Do not use a malfunctioning electrical appliance. Sparks, noises, and odd smells are danger signs, and it should be repaired or replaced immediately. Always unplug appliances when they are not in use.

Never ignore any unusual activity related to the main power supply. Any flicker, fuse blowout, or sudden circuit breaker effect can be a major concern. Even a leaky pipe in the wall can saturate internal wiring and cause a fire. Be cautious, and call an electrician to inspect it.


Many people don’t realize that gasoline fumes are more combustible than the gasoline itself. Gasoline vapors can be ignited by a flame that is several feet away from the actual fuel container.

Prevention: Never store flammable liquids, such as gasoline, paint thinner or kerosene inside the home. These liquids should be stored out of doors in a protective building with adequate ventilation and low to moderate temperature levels.

Gasoline and other flammable products, such as paint thinner, should never be kept inside the house. Only use flammable liquids and fuels for their intended purposes. Never use gasoline as a cleaning agent.

Place rags that have been saturated with a flammable liquid in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid before throwing them away. A pile of flammable rags placed inside a garbage bag can ignite by themselves.

If you absolutely have to use any type of flammable fuel or cleaning agent inside the home, open doors and windows to ventilate the room and dissipate the fumes.

Always be sure your smoke detectors are in working order, and replace the batteries at least every six months. You should also have fire extinguishers in or near every room in your home that is susceptible to fire risk, such as kitchen, laundry, basement, garage, etc.

Topics: causes, Household fires, prevention, cooking, smoking, clothes dryers, candles, electrical wiring, appliances, flammable liquids