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Emergency Preparedness Plan in Pittsburgh, PA

6/28/2017 (Permalink)

Procrastination is a huge issue these days.

The world we live in is full of so many distractions that keep us from doing what we know needs to be done. Social media as well as other forms of entertainment steal much of our time. We are constantly putting things off that need our attention.

We have all heard the famous Philip Stanhope quote; “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”, but most of us LIVE by Mark Twain’s quote: “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow”.

Preparing for an emergency is one thing we never want to put off.

Do you check your smoke alarms regularly to make sure they are working properly? Do you know important phone numbers without counting on your smart phone? How about an emergency plan; do you have one in place? 

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh can help you get prepared NOW!

Our Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) can keep you prepared in the event of an emergency. You will have all the important information you need all in one convenient place. Things like phone numbers, locations of shut-offs for utilities, hazardous material list and locations and so much more.

The ERP is available as an App, desktop version and even can be printed and kept in a secure location off site to be accessed when electronics are not working properly. https://ready.SERVPRO.com/

The best thing about our ERP is that we create it at absolutely no charge to you.

As our Dads would say back in the day; “So, what are you waiting for, Christmas?”

Call 412-825-5480 to schedule your Emergency Ready Plan today.

Summer Grilling Safety in Pittsburgh, PA

6/28/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Summer Grilling Safety in Pittsburgh, PA #SERVPROsummerFACTS

Grill Safety to consider when breaking out your inner backyard culinary skills.

June and July are peak months for summer grilling fires.  The Memorial Day weekend is approaching quickly, it’s time to dust off the grills and let the inner backyard culinary skills to work.  As exciting as it is to break out the grill for the official start of the summer season right, we have to always consider the safety that needs to be taken when preparing to light up the grill.

NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) says that the U.S. fire department responded to an average of 8,900 home fire that involved the use of grills, hibachis, or barbecues per year.  These 8,900 fires caused annual averages of 10 civilian deaths, 160 injuries, and $118 million in direct property damage. Almost all the losses resulted from structure fires. The leading causes of grill fires were a failure to properly cleaning of the grill, placement of the grill because it was placed to close to a structure, and leaving the grill unattended. Five out of six (83%) of grills involved in home fires were fueled by gas while 13% used other sources of fuel.

Precautions to take while grilling

Propane:

  • Stay alert when grilling. Avoid grilling when you are tired or have consumed too much alcohol.
  • Do Not leave your grill unattended.
  • Keep the grill in a place that is free from flammable items and away from porch rails, and low lying branches.
  • Keep children and pets as far away from the grill as possible
  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.

NOTE: A light soap and water solution applied to the hose is a great way to check for leaks. You can often smell a propane leak, but propane will also release bubbles when the soap and water solution is applied. If you detect a leak, turn the gas tank and grill off. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.

  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before igniting.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately move away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
  • If the flames go out for any reason, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15 minutes before re-lighting it.
  • Keep your grill clean by regularly removing grease or fat buildup from the grates and trays below.

Charcoal grill safety tips to consider:

  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquid to the flames.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Electric charcoal starters do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container with a lid.

Understanding The Three Categories of Water

6/28/2017 (Permalink)

When dealing with water damage in your home or business, there are three different types or classifications of water that we use: Clean, Gray, and Black water.

Clean Water: This is water that does not contain contaminants. It includes broken water lines, malfunctioning appliances, toilets holding tanks, snow melt and rainwater. Overtime however, clean water can progress and become gray water within 48 hours, if left untreated.

Gray Water: Gray water does contain slight chemical or biological contaminants, and may pose a health risk. Gray water can discharge from dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, showers, aquariums and waterbeds, or come from a clean water source that leaked through a ceiling. It can also be clean water that was left untreated (and became gray water). Gray water can also progress to the next stage (Black Water) if left untreated within 48 hours.

Black Water: This water is a positive health risk as it is highly contaminated. Black water is presumed to contain multiple potentially harmful contaminants including fungi, bacteria, chemicals, viruses, and more. Black Water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding, or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be treated by a trained and certified professional.

For any type of water damage, it is always best to treat it quickly so as to avoid further contamination and risk mold growth. Call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh if you need services in your home!

Available 24/7 

412-825-5480

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh is an IICRC certified firm.

Storm Damage? Call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh

6/28/2017 (Permalink)

When Pittsburgh businesses suffer serious damage after storm events, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh will work around the clock to clean up any debris and to restore the property to preloss conditions. We understand that commercial storm damage can be very costly in terms of productivity; that is why it is always our goal to get your business back up and running as quickly and as seamlessly as possible. 

We Have the Resources to Handle Large Commercial Storm Damage

When a storm hits Allegheny County, we can scale our resources to handle large-loss commercial restoration projects. We have access to equipment and personnel from a network of over 1,600 Franchises across the country, as well as elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

If your business is ever damaged by severe floods or storms, call us right away at 412-825-5480. Disaster can strike when we least expect it, but SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh will be there to help you weather the storm.

Be Prepared, Pittsburgh!

6/28/2017 (Permalink)

We’re thrilled to be partnered with the American Red Cross as a Disaster Responder because here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh, we’re always “Ready for Whatever Happens” and we want you to be too! You never know when a disaster may strike, so it is important to have an emergency preparedness kit ready to go at a moment’s notice to use at home or to take with you in the event you must evacuate.

According to our friends at the American Red Cross, you should, at minimum, have the basic supplies listed below:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
  • Flashlight
  • Battery powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Maps of the area

You should also consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit as needed. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Additional supplies to consider keeping at your home or in your emergency supply kit:

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

You never know when a disaster might arise.

Keep your Emergency Kit somewhere easily accessible for if and when the time comes that you need it. You should also practice fire drills with your family and plan out multiple evacuation routes should you ever need to evacuate your home.

Make sure that everyone knows what to do in case of emergency. Whether it’s the Big One, a house fire, or an unexpected storm, we want you to be “ready for whatever happens!”

What To Do After a Fire

6/28/2017 (Permalink)

The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings. SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh provides timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal to contents claims inventory and document restoration. These services help ensure your property, belongings and memories are restored to preloss condition when possible.

What You Can Do Until Help Arrives

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.
  • Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
  • Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces.
  • Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery.
  • Do not clean any electrical equipment.
  • Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to help you regain control quickly. Give us a call at 412-528-5480

Does Your Pittsburgh Property Contain Lead?

6/28/2017 (Permalink)

Older homes, older child care facilities, schools and other buildings are more likely to contain lead-based paint. Homes may be private, government-assisted or public housing. Schools are preschools and kindergarten classrooms. They may be urban, suburban or rural.

Percentage of homes likely to contain lead:

    • Built between 1960-1978 = 24%
    • Built between 1940-1960 = 69%
    • Built before 1940 = 87%

What can you do to protect your family from lead in pre-1978 homes?

  • If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.
  • Clean up paint chips immediately.
  • Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces. Use a mop, sponge, or paper towel with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead.
  • Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas.
  • Wash children’s hands, bottles, pacifiers and toys often.
  • Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces.
  • Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh follows the EPA's strict guidelines for lead paint

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools be certified by the EPA. These firms also must use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices.

According to EPA requirements (40 CFR Part 745) contractors must use lead-safe work practices and follow these three simple procedures:

  • Contain the work area.
  • Minimize dust.
  • Clean up thoroughly.

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh technicians always take the necessary precautions according to current laws. Our technicians have been trained and certified to follow lead-safe work practices while performing renovation and repair projects in your area. 

Severe Weather and the Toll it Takes on Your Home or Business

3/1/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Severe Weather and the Toll it Takes on Your Home or Business Heavy Winds and Rain Can Cause a Major Toll on Your Home or Business. Call (412) 825- 5480 if you need immediate assistance from storm damage.

Severe weather can take a toll on your home. It’s not unusual for storm damage to affect your home’s exterior, leading to serious problems in the aftermath of the weather. SERVPRO of South Hills provides 24-hour restoration services for weather-related damage to homes.


When a storm strikes, it’s important to be aware of the potential problems that can develop. You can’t control the weather, but you can control how you respond in the immediate aftermath. Here are three of the issues that could afflict your home after a storm hits:



  • Roof Damage: Roofs are susceptible to damage during any major storm, from heavy winds and torrential rains to snowstorms. Moisture can weaken already vulnerable areas of the roof, and strong winds can knock down loose shingles or cause visible damage to them. You may notice a leak in your attic or ceiling if a storm damages your roof.

  • Windows Are Vulnerable: A thoroughly sealed and weather-stripped window is unlikely to suffer severe storm damage, but old windows that haven’t been catered to recently could develop problems if it rains. For example, the moisture can seep into openings around the window, causing a leak inside the house. Rain can also cause wood to rot and mold to develop in the window’s vicinity. Rugs and carpets in the area could also be susceptible to water damage. Windows in the basement are extremely vulnerable if they aren’t protected, which leads to flooded basements and potentially damaged property. 

  • Gutters Can Become Clogged: Gutters aren’t immediately obvious problems because you have to inspect them to see if they’ve become clogged after the storm. Rain can wash all kinds of debris into them, and once they become congested, they no longer filter water away from your home. The result could be water damage to your property, and the gutters could also suffer damage later since the excess weight of debris can cause them to sag.


Storm damage affects more than just the trees around the house. It can also have an impact on your home’s foundation. After a major storm, take a close look at your home and investigate for problematic signs. If you discover anything, call the restoration service team at SERVPRO of South Hills at (412) 825-5480. They’ll manage the situation and restore your home back to normal. 

Your Air Ducts Could Be Making You Sick

11/21/2016 (Permalink)

WINTER is coming quick, which means spending more time indoors, and if you have poor air quality, that could mean spending the season breathing in allergens and toxins. In a typical six-room home, up to 40 pounds of dust is created annually through everyday living!

In America, 22.9 million people are affected by asthma and 6.8 million of these are children. These symptoms are often triggered by poor indoor air quality like dust mites, pollen, and other issues like pet dander. Each year over 2 million people end up in the emergency room due to an asthma attack. Regular cleanings of carpets and HVAC systems can help prevent your family from becoming a statistic. 

In addition to the regular irritants found in the winter months, there are several other factors that can increase the need for regular cleanings:

  • cigarette or cigar smoke
  • water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
  • home renovation or remodeling projects

So what's the process you ask??

When a homeowner calls asking about our duct cleaning process it gives us the opportunity to talk about what we do and how we do it. Below we've listed some steps SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh uses during a routine Duct Cleaning Process:

  • Patented equipment includes using air powered agitation systems which automatically adapt to the duct shape, removing debris and filth.
  • A powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the duct to a 16-gallon container
  • Clean air is filtered through a HEPA filtration, removing 99.97% of particles before it returns to air-wash the duct
  • Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove any odor and dirt

 There's more...It can save you money!

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted. Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use.

When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn't have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.

'Tis the Season for Fire Damages in Metro Pittsburgh

11/21/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 'Tis the Season for Fire Damages in Metro Pittsburgh Don't let a fire ruin your holiday spirit- Call SERVPRO Metro Pitt to cleanup & restore.

Smoke residue comes in different varieties, and some are easier to clean than others. Dry, wet, protein and fuel oil smoke residues are all important to know how to remove. Take the guesswork out of cleaning and restoring your fire damaged property in South Knoxville by hiring our expertly trained technicians today. We're here to help you through the situation and return your property to its pre-damage condition. Our SERVPRO technicians understand that as a fire progresses through its stages, it can produce both wet and dry smoke. A different cleaning approach is needed to handle each type of residue left over by an event.

The smoke residue left behind depends on the rate of combustion, the amount of oxygen and kind of material or substance that burns throughout the entire fire. While we understand that if the event is fast-burning and oxygen-rich, it will produce dry smoke, while the fire is oxygen-starved, it will produce slow-burning, smoldering wet smoke. Natural Materials such as wood, paper, cork and other natural fibers create dry, small powdery residues that don't smear. However, synthetic materials like plastic and rubber often produce large easily-smeared particles.

SERVPRO technicians are trained to determine the conditions of a dry versus wet smoke event and apply the proper cleaning procedures to handle each particular situation.

Cleaning Dry Smoke Residues - These types of residues can be easier to clean. Dry smoke only contains a few aerosols that deposit small, dry particles on surface areas and usually don't stain as deeply as wet smoke. Meaning that the residues and odors left behind by dry smoke take less aggressive cleaning tactics to remove. However, dry smoke fires tend to burn hotter and therefore cause more heat damage than others do.

Cleaning Wet Smoke Residues - This type of residue consists of a large concentration of aerosols including varnishes, solvents, and other liquids. With these slow-burning fires, air currents aren't as high and give the wet smoke more time to creep into crevices and small enclosed areas that typically avoid damage in faster-burning fires.

We often run into circumstances at SERVPRO where many items exposed to wet smoke aren't restorable even though damage appears minimal. The aerosols end up penetrating surfaces and are absorbed into different materials, leaving large black particles behind and stripping stained finishes. Taking a minute to understand the possible reasons behind the causes of losing items in a fire is only one reason to hire us. We take a lot of pride in the work that we do for you and want to assist you during this trying time. Contact SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh (412) 672-5400