Bill Shouse & Robert Williams discuss a variety of topics such as: What kind of weather Oklahomans can expect this winter, ways to protect our homes and businesses from frozen pipes and other disasters, and how Burggraf Disaster Restoration gives back to the community.
Interviewer: Have you guys heard any words about, you know, kind of what this winter is going to be looking like? You know, you’re saying the past few years have been pretty rough, but is it going to be much the same this year? You know, what can Oklahomans kind of expect?
Bill: My opinion is we’re due for a big snow. You know, I think we’re probably going to get a big snow or two this year. It’s been a minute since Tulsa has had a big snow. I think we’re probably due for that.
Don’t know about the cold, extreme cold weather. You know, the biggest thing about the cold weather is the wind-driven cold temperature. The wind chill, if you will. That’s what is the biggest issue in Oklahoma. You can get it down into the teens or even the high single digits, most places are just fine. When you get it wind-driven, that’s when you start getting the freezing pipes and the frozen fire suppression and all that kind of thing.
So that’s the hardest thing to predict is just how much wind-driven cold you’re going to get. And try to get people prepared for that. And if you’re not prepared, we got to make sure we’re prepared.
Robert: Yeah. You know, we do try to keep a real close eye on the weather because, I mean, we are a weather-driven industry for sure. And we do talk with some meteorologists about trying to, you know, predict some forecasting. And from what I’ve gathered so far this year, they’re saying that we’re going into an El Niño winter this year, which for the last three years we’ve had the La Niña winters, you know, which is a lot more moisture than the El Niño.
El Niño has a lot more warm climate, moist air coming up from the south. So they’re saying that if that warm south air clashes with any of the north air coming from the cold fronts, then we could see some pretty heavy snows.
Bill: Which I like, by the way.
Interviewer: I like it. I guess I don’t mind the snow. I lived in Colorado for a year, so it’s just the ice and everybody. Yeah.
Robert: It’s supposed to be a little bit warmer of a winter, they’re saying than in the previous, just because the last three have been a La Niña. And this year being an El Niño, then it’s supposed to be a warmer climate, but it is Oklahoma. Who knows.
Interviewer: That’s good information. I didn’t realize that you guys did confer and talk with meteorologists. Really good preparedness, you know. And Bill, your point about, you know, the wind chill because, you know, I didn’t even think of that. I think, you know, I’ll log in every day, you know, I’ll check the weather, News on 6, and I’ll see what’s going on. But I don’t consider the wind chill, high 40 or a low 30, you know. Okay. You know, if that low is above freezing, “Oh, I should be good.” I don’t even consider the wind chill.
Robert: Once you get below 24 degrees is when you, you know, start having to pay attention to everything. That’s usually the freeze point is like 24 degrees. So then you add a wind chill on top of that, you know, then yeah, it could be disastrous sometimes.
Bill: Yeah, the thing you gotta look for, too, is the speed of the wind. You know, you get 10 or 12 mile an hour wind or even higher and it drives it. The wind will drive the cold further into a building or a home. And that’s what causes issues as far as frozen pipes, especially on the north side, north and west sides, that’s usually where you’ll have your issues with frozen pipes.
Interviewer: That’s good information, you know. What should homeowners or business owners be on the lookout for, you know, on how to kind of prepare for this, for this kind of weather?
Bill: If we do get a forecast for a hard cold freeze, that is going to have a wind drive, a wind-driven chill in it that, you know, the best thing you can do is open up cabinet doors on the north side of your buildings or homes. Open up your ceiling spaces, if you have a drop ceiling. Take a ceiling tile or two out and let the warm air get up into those pipes in that area. That’s one of the biggest things that really helps is to try and keep some air movement, some circulation with a little bit of heat in those areas. It’s not going to guarantee that it doesn’t freeze, but it’ll definitely help.
Interviewer: Oh, good information. Robert, is there anything you want to add to that as well?
Robert: Yeah. No, I mean, he’s absolutely correct. A lot of commercial properties, you know, you have the interior space, there’s a lot of ceiling tiles and there’s no insulation above those, you know, but there’s a lot of mechanical above that ceiling tile, plumbing and everything, you know. And if you can, if you can get some warm air moving into that airspace, it definitely, definitely helps. That’s the biggest thing we see in the winter months, is frozen pipes and sprinkler heads, you know, in commercial properties.
And on residential, it’s the same thing. You know, try to keep warm air flow going the best you can, you know, under cabinet spaces and anywhere where you may have plumbing, you know.
Interviewer: That’s good, that’s good. Gosh. Is there anything else that you guys may want to add just for, for businesses as we head into this? Because I know when we last talked, we last spoke, you guys mentioned about coming up with an emergency response plan and walking through the building. Man, that seems like it’d be something super essential as we get into pipe-breaking season.
Robert: Yeah. And we still promote that, you know, and we do our, you know, our due diligence the best we can to touch base with core customers that have commercial properties that we work for in the past, you know, just to kind of stay in front of them. Make sure that they’re aware that we’re still here and available, you know, as needed. And we offer that ERP program to anybody and everybody available.
Interviewer: That’s pretty good. Is there anything else that you guys would want to add as far as, like, heading into these winter months and heading into the cold weather? As far as, like how you guys are preparing or about, you know, any advice or tips you can give for people who are going to be dealing with some of this stuff?
Bill: One thing I would tell people is you don’t want to wait until that emergency happens to try and find a phone number. Get that phone number plugged into somebody’s phone. (918) 584-3737. Get that in there today so that you have it. You don’t have to try and find it.
Interviewer: Good. That’s good. Because, boy, I’ll tell you someone who’s been through it more times than I would like.
Robert: You know, I’ve been in this industry for almost 20 years now on the mitigation/restoration side, anyway. And if I knew back then what I knew now, I would probably have a, you know, a restoration contractor on speed dial on my phone.
Because not only are we available to do, you know, water damage, fire mitigation, odor abatement, all those things, but in the winter months coming up, we’ve even been hired to go out and put salt in parking lots in order to remove the ice and try to be, you know, proactive so nobody does have injuries or there’s no wrecks or anything in that area. So, there’s multiple things that, you know, that we’re available to do other than just water damage.
Robert: Currently, you know, this is kind of a slow time of the year for us. We’re pretty much caught up. A lot of the jobs that we’re doing right now are just our, our normal, you know, day-in, day-out business that we do. We haven’t had anything really, really huge come up in the last recent weeks anyway. Um, we’ve got a few good projects going on though. Um, we just finished doing a little work for Make-A-Wish Foundation. Every year, right before Thanksgiving, they will, um, put up a tent here, downtown Tulsa, actually. So we’re off 51st and Yale, and they set up their activities for people to come and make donations and everything. And we donate heaters and generators and everything else for the week, and just got through wrapping that up last week for them. So that’s always something nice every year that we try to take care of.
Bill: We’ve been doing this for ten years or so, Robert?
Robert: Something like that. Yeah. Yeah, it’s for a good cause.
Interviewer: Why is it important for you guys, for Burggraf to be involved in helping the community in that?
Bill: It’s a huge thank you from Make-A-Wish. You know, we appreciate them as much as we do anybody. And we try to give back to the community. And that’s just one of the small ways that we can give back and help. You know, our community is sponsored by KRMG there, and we deal with the same person every year over there. And it’s just a wonderful and great way to give back to the community and help somebody out. There’s definitely a need and get our name a little bit exposed. It’s not so much about having our name out there, but it is more about being a help in the community and being able to help someone in need.
Interviewer: That’s excellent, man. I feel like you guys already do so much just with helping people, like, you know, during one of probably the worst days ever, having just extensive water damage. So it’s cool to see that you guys are even going further and more. That’s awesome.
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At Burggraf Disaster Restoration, we are your one-stop-shop for 24/7 emergency water damage services in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the surrounding regions. Call us at (918) 584-3737 and we’ll be on your premises in no time.