Recent Posts

When Summer Storms Strike: Lightning Safety

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

Not a year goes by that we don’t come face-to-face with at least one forceful, severe summer storm. Storms in the summer months can take the form of short rain showers, severe squalls, and everything in between. Regardless of the type of storm that hits your area this summer, it is critical to understand the severity of damage that storms can bring to homes as well as commercial buildings. Because our goal here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is to help our customers be prepared for severe weather such as summer storms, we like to compose blogs dealing with storm topics such as flash flooding and hurricane preparation every summer. In this blog, we want to focus on lightning safety and the dangers of lightning, which are often overlooked. Lightning presents a wide range of risks to buildings, including fire damage, considerable structural damage, and electrical surges. For more information about the repercussions of lightning strikes and a plan detailing what to do in the event that lightning strikes your home or business, be sure to continue reading.

Types of Lightning Damage

When lightning strikes, homes and businesses become vulnerable to not just fire damage, but structural damage and devastation to personal belongings as well. Fires that ignite as a result of a lightning strike most frequently occur in the top floors or attics of buildings, as those areas are the closest to the roof. These fires can then spread to other areas of the home or business when the electrical current from a lightning strike travels through electrical wires. In the wake of fire damage, structural elements of homes and businesses, including attics and roofs, can sustain significant damage or even be destroyed completely through fire. Often overlooked when considering lightning damage are personal belongings or important objects that are found inside of homes and businesses of all kinds. From important papers and artwork to electronic devices like computers and appliances, a wide range of personal belongings can be negatively impacted by the aftermath of a lightning strike.

I Think That Lightning Struck My Building- What Should I Do?

You may be wondering how to decipher between a distant crack of lightning and a direct strike to your home or building, as distant lightning strikes are sometimes so loud that it seems possible that they have hit our home or building when in reality, they have not. The bottom line is that the level of noise resulting from a direct lightning strike will transcend the usual volume of a distant crack of lightning. Therefore, it will be immediately apparent if lightning strikes your home, commercial business, or property. While there is a low probability that lightning will strike a building directly, it is always a good idea, in order to best minimize damage, to develop a plan of action in the event that it occurs. First on the to-do list if you believe that your home or building has endured a lightning strike is to make sure that no fires have ignited. Only once it is certain that there is no fire, you can check for signs of electrical damage in breakers as well as damage to piping, which may be evident in leaks or flooding. At the first sign of damage of any kind, it is best to immediately contact a professional who can diagnose the problem.

SERVPRO Is Here to Help

Our storm damage professionals here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East are equipped with the resources and experience necessary to guide you through the entire restoration process after lightning damage or any other type of storm damage. As soon as you call us at (412) 672-5400, our crews will arrive quickly, ready to help your home or building pick up the pieces. Trust our professional Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration Services to make your storm damage “Like it never even happened.” We also offer many other services that may benefit your home or business depending on your unique situation. For commercial business, we offer specific Commercial Storm Damage Remediation Services. For homes and businesses alike, we offer a catalog of Building Services like Roofing Services that may be beneficial if your roof has been damaged due to lightning or a severe storm. If your storm damage resulted in fire, water, or mold damage, our Fire Damage Restoration Services, Water Damage Restoration Services, and Mold Remediation Services are available to you. No storm is the same and neither is the specific destruction that homes and commercial businesses endure in the aftermath of severe storms. Therefore, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East strives to tailor all of our services to our customers’ unique needs, supporting you from the beginning to the end of the remediation process and restoring normalcy after any disaster.

HVAC System Warning Signs

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

HVAC units, which stand for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, facilitate the functioning of commercial businesses, day in and day out. While HVAC systems are costly, they are a necessity in commercial businesses of all kinds in order to make employees’ work spaces comfortable. With frequent and effective maintenance, your commercial business can preserve its HVAC unit for many years. Through a discussion of common warning signs associated with HVAC unit malfunctioning, we will learn about ways in which commercial business owners can know when to contact a professional and keep their buildings safe from HVAC unit failure.

3 Common Warning Signs: What Do They Mean?

  1. Odor

Sometimes, an unpleasant odor may show its face in a commercial business. This is the first of three common warning signs in HVAC systems. If the smell resembles that of a dirty sock, your business may be experiencing a phenomenon known as “Dirty Sock Syndrome.” Various issues can lead to such strange odors. For example, a lack of regular maintenance of HVAC units often creates a prime location for mold growth. In units that have not received sufficient maintenance, evaporator coils can become infested with bacteria and dirt, as well as mold or mildew. With all of these substances congregating inside of HVAC units, which circulate air throughout buildings, bacteria, dirt, mold, mildew, and their unpleasant odors can also be carried throughout the building.

  1. Weird Sounds

A soft hum coming from your HVAC unit is not unusual. Any type of loud or harsh noise, however, may be the sign of a problem. The compressor may be malfunctioning or parts of the unit may be loose if your HVAC is emitting rattling sounds. In the event that you begin to hear these types of peculiar noises, it may be beneficial to pick up the phone and call a professional, who can assess the situation.

  1. Increasing Cost

HVAC units alone are costly, but the benefits to employees and other occupants of commercial buildings, who rely on HVAC units for safe and congenial workplace conditions, make it worth the while. It is understandable, therefore, if any unexpected spike in your HVAC bill creates concern both for monetary purposes as well as functionality of the unit itself. Unexplained, increased cost often indicates that the HVAC unit is malfunctioning, as the rise in cost is likely due to the unit working harder than it should to do its job. Sometimes, HVAC units must work extra hard when filters become clogged or dirty. Attempting to push through such obstruction, the unit’s exertion can cause your HVAC bill to skyrocket.

Trust SERVPRO’s HVAC Services

Odor, strange sounds, and escalating HVAC costs all emphasize the cruciality of preserving the condition of your business’ HVAC system. If you detect these warning signs in your HVAC unit, do not wait to contact a professional in order to prevent further damage to your building. Start by picking up the phone and giving SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East a call at (412) 672-5400 to learn about our HVAC Cleaning Services. Know that our team of HVAC system experts will guide you through the process of resolving the issue from start to finish. Our team will work quickly to make it “Like it never even happened,” after any disaster, striving to minimize any disruptions to your commercial business. Be sure to also take a look at the many Building Services that we offer, as well as our Commercial Cleaning Services and Commercial Restoration Services for anything that your commercial business might need.

Mold Remediation 101

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

The risk of mold growth, in both commercial businesses and residences alike, is ever-present. In order to prevent mold growth as effectively as possible, it is beneficial to understand the prime conditions for mold growth in addition to preventative measures that you can take to decrease the possibility of such conditions arising. Here at SERVPRO, we offer a plethora of Mold Remediation and Restoration Services. Keep reading to gain a deeper understanding of mold’s spread and as well as what we can do to protect your home or business from its harmful effects.

The Biology of Mold

Mold is scientifically classified as a fungus called saprophyte. Even though it is not clear as to the exact number of mold species, scientists believe that there are over 20,000. Decomposing organic matter serves as the primary food and nutrient source for mold and it can grow on virtually any surface. The spread of mold is made possible by hyphae, which are branches of mold.

Common Types of Mold in Buildings

Five varieties of mold, including penicillium, aspergillus, chaetomium, cladosporium, stachybotrys, are the most common types of mold found in commercial buildings. Blue or green in color, penicillium possesses a texture that mimics velvet. In environments that are rich with oxygen, aspergillus is capable of growing. Chaetomium can be identified by its cotton-like texture. Cladosporium is a frequent concern for mold growth on fabric surfaces. Areas that are high in humidity and moisture are especially vulnerable to stachybotrys.

Containing the Spread of Spores

The concept of eradicating mold from the environment of any home or business is fictitious, as mold is a naturally constant presence in the air as well as on surfaces. Instead, our focus lies in containing mold spread and preventing dangerous possibilities of mold infestation. The structure of mold spores, even though they begin as minuscule spores, can eventually allow for the possession of thousands of spores. Spores can travel to other areas through the process of aerosolization, which facilitates the spread of mold. Therefore, we place special emphasis on the containment of mold, eliminating the possibility for mold to contaminate other, previously unaffected locations of the home or business. Using containment resources like negative air chambers, we craft physical barriers to block off contaminated areas and protect other areas of your home or business.

Why Should We Be So Worried About Mold?

Health Effects

Some types of mold, like Penicillin or bleu cheese, are not a cause for concern. Bad molds, on the other hand, can be harmful. Additionally, while large colonies of mold become visible to the eye, mold is generally an enemy that we cannot see, making it difficult to know if materials in your home or business are contaminated.

Beyond human health effects, mold can negatively affect structures, such as buildings and homes. Mold is an invisible threat until it grows into larger colonies. It is not until this point that one can fully understand the scope of their home or business’ level of mold contamination.

Mold in Buildings

Mold growth in buildings can lead to a phenomenon known as “sick building syndrome,” or SBS. This term is used to describe the health effects on building occupants that are not the result of outside factors. Health consequences can worsen if air circulation is lacking or the building is not being efficiently provided maitenance. HVAC systems serve as the source of mold growth in many buildings. The malfunctioning of drain pans, piping, and filters cause HVAC units to accumulate mold and due to HVAC systems’ function as air circulation systems, mold can easily spread to other areas.

Mold Growth Requirements

Without mold spores, temperatures between 32 and 122 degrees fahrenheit, moisture, as little as 48 hours of time, and organic matter as a food source, mold is incapable of thriving. Food sources of organic matter for mold can range from wood and drywall to painting and insulation.

Preventing Mold Growth

In order to effectively control and contain mold growth in any home or business after it has sustained water damage, it is critical to maintain low moisture levels. In an effort to avoid mold growth, homeowners and business owners can survey ignored areas, such as the connections of ice makers and washing machines, as well as shower doors and the space behind dishwashers. Check these areas frequently and be sure to replace washing machine connections about every five years. Reducing food sources, decreasing moisture, utilizing biocides and fungicides, and increasing air circulation and ventilation are all preventative measures that homeowners and business owners alike can take to protect their respective homes and commercial businesses.

Mold Remediation Basics

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification details their S52O Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation, which directs our own mold remediation services here at SERVPRO. Mold condition levels fall under three categories: Normal Fungal Ecology, Settled Spores, and Actual Growth. Indoor environments that contain mold spores or mere traces of mold characterize a Normal Fungal Ecology. Settled Spores of Condition 2 entails secondary settled mold spore contamination in indoor environments. Finally, an indoor area meets the standards for Condition 3, Actual Growth, when mold contaminates the indoor environment.

Our 5 Principles of Mold Remediation

Our five principles of mold remediation here at SERVPRO center around the objective of containing mold and inhibiting its spread. Tools like negative air chambers help us to create physical barriers that assist us in doing so. Our five mold remediation principles include, in order from first to last, Safety and Health, Documentation, Control Containments, Remove the Contamination, and lastly, Correct the Moisture Problem. After completing all of these steps, we bring in an Indoor Environmental Professional, known as an IEP, to carry out a final clearance test, which assesses our work and ensures that the condition of the affected area has returned to that of Condition 1, according to the IICRC S250’s standards. In this way, we can be certain that it is safe to extract our physical barriers.

Have a Mold Problem? Call SERVPRO

To gain a deeper understanding of our Mold Remediation and Restoration Services, be sure to check out the mold resources on our website, which include our Mold Restoration Process and Commercial Mold Remediation. Call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East right away at (412) 672-5400 in the event that you discover mold growth in your home or commercial business. With SERVPRO’s help, you can make sure that your home or commercial business receives the professional and trustworthy services that will protect against the dangerous growth and spread of mold.

Three Locations, Stronger Together

5/19/2021 (Permalink)

Not a day goes by that SERVPRO Team Wall’s three locations in Metro Pittsburgh East, Harrisburg West, and Hunt Valley and Harford County don’t interact in some way. We are truly a team and from time to time, we’re given the chance to come together for large-scale projects that allow us to unite our resources. In conjunction with SERVPRO Team Bowen, the three offices of Team Wall traveled to Fort Sill, a historic military base in Oklahoma, for our largest job to date after March’s deep freeze resulted in roughly 200 burst pipes.

What Is Fort Sill?

Spanning 94,000 acres, National Historic Landmark Fort Sill is the United States’ largest field artillery complex. Many notable historical figures, including the “Buffalo Soldiers”, have been stationed at Fort Sill since its completion in 1869. Today, you can find the gravesite of Geronimo, a Chiricahua Apache religious and military leader. Although the U.S. Army is primarily stationed at the base, Fort Sill also hosts members of the United States Marine Corps. To put it simply, many people were relying on our team to quickly and efficiently restore Fort Sill to its preloss condition.

Combining Our Resources

In order to complete this job, which, due to the sheer scope of the work that needed to be done, teamwork and coordination between our three locations were absolutely essential. 110 buildings were surveyed with thermal imaging cameras and moisture meters in order to detect which buildings had been impacted by moisture. Around 50 buildings were found to have been affected by a burst pipe, if not multiple. Combining our resources, we had anywhere from 70 to 100 crew members working with eight crews supervising. These crew supervisors were instrumental in monitoring equipment used and overseeing the processes of demolition and drying. The equipment utilized by our team ranged from small format equipment to four tractor trailers worth of resources, which included roughly 1,000 air movers and 200 dehumidifiers. For 17 days, teams from Team Wall’s three offices remained busy, working to supply dehumidifiers, climate control, descants, and temporary power to a total of six buildings simultaneously. While the to-do list was long, the combined force of team members from our three locations handled everything without a hitch.

Trust SERVPRO Team Wall’s 3 Locations for Your Storm Needs

All three of our locations work together in some way every day and together, our teams form a community that has each other’s backs, just as we support our customers. Even though our everyday collaboration is not always as visible as our teamwork on the Fort Sill restoration project, cooperation between our three locations makes monumental differences in every job that we take on here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East. No matter the size of the storm or the scope of the damage it leaves in its path, you can trust SERVPRO to be standing by, ready to lend a hand. After any storm, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East’s professional storm remediation services, as well as the resources of our other two locations in Harrisburg West and Hunt Valley and Harford County, are at your disposal. Pick up the phone and give us a call at (412) 672-5400 right away. For more information about our storm services, take a look at our website’s storm pages, including our Water Restoration Process, our Storm and Flood Services, our Mold Remediation and Restoration services, and much more.

Understanding Guidelines: Practicing Electrical Fire Safety

5/12/2021 (Permalink)

We’ve all been there. We’re grasping a device whose battery is on the brink of running out in one hand and a plug in the other, staring at an outlet and wondering, “Would it be safe to plug this in here?” It may be surprising to learn what kind of damage just one extra plug can do when an outlet becomes overloaded. The guidelines for electrical outlets are a bit fuzzy, which makes electrical fire safety difficult. The National Fire Protection Agency reports that from 2012 to 2016, electrical conundrums were the second most common cause for the ignition of electrical fires in homes. Therefore, it is crucial that we get to the bottom of the electrical outlet guideline debacle and understand how to best protect our homes against electrical fires.

Statistics About Electrical Fires

First, we must become aware of the most frequent instigators of residential electrical fires. FEMA published a report on Residential Building Electrical Fires in 2018, which discovered that between the years of 2014 and 2016, electrical fires served as the catalyst of most electrical fires occurring in homes. It is also important to note that receptacles and outlets were the source of 12 percent of such fires. 5 percent of electrical fires also emanated from extension cords. With this information in mind, be sure to exercise caution when handling electrical wires, cords, and outlets.

Guidelines

Outlined in the FEMA report are a large number of guidelines that relate to fire safety practices when encountering appliances, outlets, and extension cords.

Appliances

Appliances like microwaves, washing machines, and refrigerators, according to FEMA, must always be directly plugged into wall outlets. Keep an eye out for signs of damage on appliances’ wires and cords. Loosening and cracking can often lead to malfunctions and, ultimately, electrical fires.

Outlets and Extension Cords

Because they provide a quick and easy solution to the issue of having a greater ratio of cords to wall outlets, it can be tempting to overload extension cords. When extension cords are overwhelmed, however, there can be an increased risk for the ignition of an electrical fire. Usually, you can find an extension cord’s maximum capacity detailed on its packaging and be sure to never overload extension cords with more than they can handle. Internal overload protection is an important characteristic to consider when deciding what kind of extension cord to utilize. It is equally important to avoid overwhelming wall outlets with too many plugs. Be sure that you do not force three-pronged plugs into outlets that are designed for two-pronged plugs.

Where SERVPRO Can Help

We can take preventative measures to protect our homes against electrical fires, but accidents can still happen. That’s why we here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, we provide 24/7 Emergency Services and professional Fire Damage Restoration Services that will help you make an electrical fire “Like it never even happened.” For more information about the fire services that we provide, be sure to check out our website, which includes everything from a detailed explanation of our Fire Restoration Process to our expert Fire Damage Tips. For immediate help, call us at (412) 672-5400 and let us handle the rest.

Employee of the Quarter: AJ Clark (Q1 2021)

5/5/2021 (Permalink)

Every quarter, we like to highlight one of our outstanding team members who embodies the qualities of an exemplary SERVPRO employee day in and day out. This quarter, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is excited to present AJ Clark with our “Employee of the Quarter” title.

AJ Clark

A member of our team for over five years, AJ is a knowledgeable and outstanding member of our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East team. As a Production Technician, AJ exemplifies our company’s 7 Pillars on an everyday basis, which include Consistency, Persistence, Team, Accountability, Hustle, Solutions, and Quality. AJ can be described as someone with tremendous work ethic, always performing each task to the best of his ability. His fellow team members know him as someone who arrives at work early, with a smile on his face, and willing to work overtime in order to get the job done. Words can’t describe just how grateful our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East team is for all of his efforts. Thank you, AJ!

Owners Corner: 1st Quarter 2021

4/21/2021 (Permalink)

Photo Of Jim Wall & James Wall From Left to Right: Jim Wall Jr. (Our Owner) and His Father Jim Wall Sr.

This article is an excerpt from our newest Quarterly Newsletter:

It was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences of my life. I watched as my husband, his brothers, and their wives circled around my mother in-law, comforting her as she communicated her final goodbyes to her husband. They had been married for 48 years. This scene will never leave me and it opened my eyes to the magnitude of the footprint that a life lived to the fullest can leave behind.

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ~ Shannon L. Alder

I had only been dating Jim for a handful of weeks when I became acquainted with the man who would become my father-in-law. Over dinner, he quizzed me about my college GPA and my salary (you can insert the shocked, wide-eyed emoji right here). Yeesh! In retrospect, seventeen years later, I recognize that his behaviors that night were just Dr. Jim Wall’s way. For each of his children, Jim Sr. cared fiercely, doing everything in his power to give them a good life. This included, from time to time, vetting potential girlfriends.

The impact that Jim Sr. had on my husband is indescribable. He was unaware of the awe-inspiring number of strangers’ lives that the direction and guidance that he gave his son would reach.

From a young age, my husband displayed natural leadership skills, which Jim Sr. and his wife, Jane, picked up on right away. Jim Sr. himself was an entrepreneur and recognized his son’s potential in the field. My father-in-law did not force his son into an entrepreneurial career, but to say that he encouraged it would be insufficient. Instead, the intentions of Jim Sr. fell somewhere in between, which, for to anyone who knew him, would make perfect sense.

Jim Sr. emphasized that one’s work and goals would not always form a harmonious relationship. He also taught his son how to be frugal, while still treating oneself here and there. It was also thanks to Jim Sr. that my husband learned to live life to the fullest, which led to his incubator idea and the five subsequent baby chicks that now share my house. Another important lesson that he passed down to his son was to value curiosity, learning from others, and never shying away from asking questions.

These aforementioned lessons in the soft skills, alongside Jim Sr.’s actions inhabiting the middle ground between “encouragement” and “force”, laid the groundwork for my husband’s success. With his father's consistent voice in the back of his mind, he went on to graduate with a degree in Accounting from a top college and master fluency in a second language, preparing him in every way to chase his entrepreneurial dream.

To summarize all that followed: Everything came together. Dozens upon dozens of ideas for small businesses floated around in Jim’s head from the time he was in high school through his early 30s. The time was ripe in 2009 to finally grab hold of that dream when Jim and I opened the doors of our first SERVPRO franchise in Hunt Valley, MD. Over the course of the next 12 years, our business grew even more as we expanded our geographical reach by opening a franchise in Pittsburgh and another in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Our team continues to grow internally as well, as we’ve taken on 3,100 jobs, 12 franchise licenses, and 133 new employees in just this last year. These numbers illustrate that rippling effect of Jim Sr.’s impact on his son that I talked about earlier. Thanks to one dad who believed whole-heartedly in his son and encouraged his dream, we here at SERVPRO Team Wall have had the opportunity to help our customers, create jobs, support families near and far, and touch countless lives.

We often underestimate just how significant of an impact that we can have on the lives of others. Long after we’re gone, our words and actions live on, leaving behind a footprint. I would consider myself lucky if my footprint ends up being even a fraction of the size of my father-in-law’s.

Words cannot express how much we miss him, but we know that our family, as well as our SERVPRO family, will remember Dr. James R. Wall’s legacy for years to come and keep marveling at the ripples he created as they continue to reach people across the country.

Winter Storm Uri: A Storm Recap

4/14/2021 (Permalink)

This February, our team embarked on the trek to Texas and Oklahoma in order to combat the extensive damage left behind by Winter Storm Uri. In this article, we would like to share a few experiences from the Uri job sites, as well as a handful of testimonials from our team members that capture their feelings surrounding the experiences.

“After Winter Storm Uri ripped through Texas and Oklahoma, we felt overwhelming gratitude to be able to lend a hand to residents, local franchises, and businesses. Our success in the storm restoration process was dependent upon cooperation between all three of Team Wall’s offices. Therefore, teamwork between our crew members on the job site and our team members in our offices at home were paramount. Our One Team ideology was easy to recognize, despite our distance from home. Long hours and hard effort were vital in order to successfully restore not only homes and businesses to their preloss conditions, but the lives of those who live and work in them as well. The combined efforts of our traveling teams and those who remained at home to support local businesses were key to the success of the Winter Storm Uri jobs. My feeling of pride for Team Wall is indescribable.”

- Jim Wall, Owner

“It is always gratifying to get out and help people, no matter the nature of the storm. The most meaningful aspect of the job is always our ability to lend a helping hand after storms like Uri leave businesses and homeowners at a standstill.”

- Vinny Matthews, Resource Coordinator

“Ultimately, we feel satisfied when our clients are content and happy with our work. SERVPRO as a brand truly provides us with support in all directions. In order to be there for our clients in their darkest hour, our team excels in cooperation and teamwork, joining forces to do all we can.”

- Brian Barry, Fire Production Manager

We are grateful for every opportunity to help our clients pick up the pieces after any shape or size disaster that comes their way. If your home or business has been the victim of storm, fire, mold, or water damage, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East immediately. As soon as you call us at (412) 672-5400, we will be with you every step of the way, from beginning to end. Our well-known Storm Damage Restoration Services and Commercial Storm Damage Services will be on your side. We also offer professional Building Services that cover any rebuild work that your home or business may need. That way, you don’t have to waste time looking for another company to finish the job. Here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, we’re standing by, ready to be of assistance after any emergency.

2021 First Quarter Job of the Quarter

4/7/2021 (Permalink)

Pittsburgh is no stranger to freezing cold, intense storms during the winter season. Texas, on the other hand, does not usually experience deep freezes or severe winter weather. That’s why, when February hit Texas with Winter Storm Uri, business owners and homeowners didn’t know where to turn for assistance. Our job is to dive headfirst into situations just like these, prepared to help overwhelmed homeowners and businesses pick up the pieces. As soon as the call came in about the storm damage sustained at the Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Denton, we loaded up our specialized storm damage restoration equipment and hit the road for Texas. Our crew began difficult work 1500 miles from home, unsure of when they would be able to return, which makes their successful job well done all the more admirable and worthy of being deemed our “Job of the Quarter.”

Storm Damage at the ICCS

We received a call one Friday morning in February from an adjuster, relaying information about the Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Denton, Texas and the storm damage inflicted upon the school by Winter Storm Uri. Even though the school was more than a twenty hour drive away from home, we knew that the ICCS was in need of immediate help. We had a significant number of tasks on our plate, ranging from removing over one-inch of water damage and installing drywall and carpeting in classrooms and hallways to fixing broken pipes. The most daunting task, however, would involve removing and replacing the entire gym floor, which had sustained water damage. In order to meet every one of the school’s needs, we utilized our specialized storm damage remediation equipment, which included two desiccant humidifiers and fifty fans, in addition to enlisting the help of ten temp workers to further strengthen our team. We knew that the road to the finish line wouldn’t be easy, but our crew kept chugging along, illustrating their hard work, flexibility, and resilience.

Challenges Faced

We strive to make it “Like it never even happened,” for our customers and, in order to do so, we are dedicated to working quickly. In the case of the ICCS job, our need to complete the job as quickly as possible was further emphasized by the fact that the school was still in session throughout the entire process. In order to complete the job in a timely manner, eight to twelve members of our crew were working tirelessly every day that we were onsite. In this way, we were successful in managing our time, completing our processes of demolition and drying within eight days. This feat was even more impressive considering that we were tasked with relocating six classrooms worth of contents to makeshift storage solutions and, throughout the process, our team took measures to minimize the noise levels of our work.

Our Team Is Resilient

Placing such difficult and physically demanding work on our crew members’ to-do lists, the ICCS job was challenging, especially when considering that we were 1500 miles from Pittsburgh and unsure of when we would be able to return home. Considering the obstacles that our team encountered, their ability to meet SERVPRO’s high standards was commendable and deserve celebration. We’d like to give a special shoutout to Jamie for his leadership in production after initial evaluations were completed. He was meticulous in taking inventory of the school’s storm damage and cataloging the team’s work. With Jamie’s oversight, our crew members kept on top of the mitigation and demolition processes and we were able to meet the school’s specific needs.

Trust SERVPRO’s Emergency Storm Response

Our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East team is here for you or your customer, whether your storm damage is large-scale like the ICCS job or something smaller. With our years of experience traveling across the country and remediating storm damage of all kinds, we have seen the extent to which storms can wreak havoc on not only homes and businesses, but also on the lives of those who live or work in them. We understand the need to react quickly in order to minimize damage, which is reflected in our motto, “Faster to Any Disaster,” and our 24-Hour Emergency Services. Give us a call immediately at (412) 672-5400 for our trusted Storm Restoration Services, as well as professional Rebuild Services. As a member of SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team, which pools together the resources of SERVPRO franchises nationwide, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is capable of responding to storm damage emergencies across the country, no matter the size or scope. We do not wish for another storm comparable to Winter Storm Uri, but in the event that you or your customer experiences storm damage, remember that SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is standing by and looking forward to the opportunity to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Why Is Demolition a Necessary Treatment for Smoke Damage?

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

There’s no questioning the destructive nature of fires in both homes and businesses. All the while, we often forget fire’s often invisible accomplice, smoke, which can do just as much damage. Even though we may not be able to see the effects of smoke damage, it is important to understand that smoke is an invasive substance that merits more restoration efforts than what initially meets the eye. By learning more about smoke’s invasive nature, you can better understand the dangers it poses to homes and commercial business.

Why Is Smoke Invasive?

Seeping into cracks and crevices, smoke has many hiding places. For that reason, attempts at cleaning surfaces will only cause soot particles to smear. The porous quality of drywall also makes for another place in which smoke can hide. When smoke makes its way into drywall, it can also infiltrate insulation, which often results in a need for demolition work in order to eradicate smoke odor in the affected areas. Based on the nature of the affected contents, as well as their proximity to the fire’s source, the intensity of smoke damage may vary.

Surprising Effects of Smoke Damage

After a fire, you may discover shapes resembling spider webs on the walls and ceilings of your home or commercial business. These are not spider webs, but smoke and soot residue left behind by the fire. In this case, smoke damage is visible. However, this is not always the case. For example, the aftermath of protein fires is characteristically invisible, as they do not leave a trail of smoke or soot. This does not mean that they do not leave behind damage. Instead, there is still a lingering smoke odor and soot, which is acidic, can corrode metal objects over time, risking long-term damage.

Why Is Demolition Necessary?

While smoke damage is sometimes invisible, it is important to consider that areas of homes or commercial businesses that have endured smoke damage may still require demolition for a thorough restoration. Demolition work is frequently necessary because scrubbing surfaces does not combat the hidden aspects of smoke damage. Smoke, soot, and smoke odor often take refuge in small cracks and crevices. Additionally, these substances can also sneak into the gaps separating drywall and interior firewalls in homes and businesses. Specifically, smoke odor may infiltrate insulation and hot, humid weather can cause the smell to re-emerge. Scrubbing only scratches at the surface of the much larger issue of invasive smoke damage.

How Do We Combat Invasive Smoke Damage at SERVPRO?

As soon as we arrive onsite at the scene of the fire, we immediately get to work removing charred or burned materials. Additionally, we “chase” the smoke through open areas in an effort to identify every room of the home or business to which the smoke has spread. In this way, we can take thorough inventory of every area requiring smoke damage restoration services. Because water frequently accompanies smoke damage, we also prioritize extracting water and drying the affected area. Continuing the restoration process, we utilize our specialized equipment in order to eliminate the smoke odor. The final step of our process involves sealing off small, difficult-to-reach cracks and crevices that contain lingering smoke odor, using a sealant.

Trust SERVPRO with Smoke Damage

If your home or business has endured a fire that has resulted in smoke damage, be sure to call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East right away at (412) 672-5400. Our 24/7 Emergency Services can guarantee that your smoke damage will be addressed immediately in order to reduce the spread and invasion of smoke. Our professional team or smoke damage specialists will arrive onsite quickly and get to work combating the issue, using our tried and trusted restoration techniques. From deodorizing affected areas to cleaning contents, we are capable of handling the entire job from start to finish. This means that, in addition to our renowned Fire Damage Restoration Services, we also offer our customers Building Services that range from drywall installation and roofing services to painting and hardwood floor repair. You can trust SERVPRO to have you covered throughout the restoration, demolition, and rebuild processes.