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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Practicing Fire Safety With Lithium Batteries

8/13/2021 (Permalink)

An assortment of batteries It is important to understand that lithium is a powerful substance that can create fire hazards in certain circumstances.

Lithium might ring a bell as one of the elements included on the periodic table or maybe even as the title of a classic Nirvana song. In terms of electricity, lithium tackles multiple different roles, including the power source for lithium batteries and lithium-ion batteries alike. The two different types of lithium batteries differ in their cell type and abilities to recharge, but they both allow electronic devices to run on portable energy. As a result, many of the electronic devices that we use on a daily basis employ lithium batteries. All the while, it is important to understand that lithium is a powerful substance that can create fire hazards in certain circumstances. Keep reading in order to learn more about the steps that you can take to prevent fire damage caused by lithium batteries in your residential or commercial building. 

Why Are Lithium Batteries Such a Concern?

While risks accompany lithium batteries, they are still safe for everyday use. Unless they short-circuit or overheat to a certain degree, both of which are rare occurrences, lithium batteries can be used safely on a regular basis. However, overheating and overcharging can both cause electronic devices to release a significant amount of heat, increasing the risk of fire. You may have seen recent news stories about cell phones and hoverboards going up in flames on hot days, but these circumstances are extraordinarily rare. As a matter of fact, the United States Postal Service categorizes lithium batteries as Class 9 hazards, a category consisting of miscellaneous hazardous materials that are only dangerous in transit situations. 

Preventing Lithium Battery Fires This Summer

In our everyday lives, lithium batteries and lithium-ion batteries play important roles by powering devices of all kinds, from electric toothbrushes to cell phones and laptops. During the summer season, the risk of fires resulting from overheating increases under the scorching summer sun. You can protect your residential or commercial property from an unwanted lithium battery fire this summer by adhering to fire safety procedures. One preventative measure is making sure that electronic devices are not left lying idle in hot environments such as hot cars or under the sun for prolonged periods of time. Additionally, it is a good idea to avoid charging electronic devices in hot environments. Charging your devices can be made safer by avoiding overcharging and utilizing a high-quality charger. It may also be helpful to purchase a strong case for your device that will effectively protect its battery from potential damage. 

Have You Experienced Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO 

Even if preventative measures are put in place, it is still possible for the unimaginable to happen. That’s why SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is “Ready For Whatever Happens” and always standing by in the event that an emergency occurs. Whether it’s a lithium battery or a different catalyst that causes a fire to ignite and cause damage to your property, SERVPRO can help. As a leading name in the fire damage restoration industry, we offer top-of-the-line Commercial Fire Damage Restoration Services and Fire Damage Restoration Services for residential properties. For immediate services and the best chance of preventing any further fire damage, call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East right away at (412) 672-5400. You can learn more about our Fire Restoration Process and other fire-related services, such as how we care for your fire damaged belongings by visiting our website. Trust SERVPRO and our 24-Hour Emergency Services to help you restore your residential or commercial property to its preloss condition in the event of a fire.

Convention Reflections: The Owner’s Corner

8/5/2021 (Permalink)

Convention photo The gears were turning as we traveled home, thinking of ways to encourage Team Wall’s growth and success.

The blog that follows is an excerpt from an article featured in our most recent newsletter: 

We hear the tagline “Independently Owned and Operated” almost every day, but does anyone really have a good understanding of all that it entails? 

When we think about businesses that we interact with on an everyday basis, such as the UPS Store, 7-Eleven, McDonalds, and even SERVPRO, many of them are franchised and independently owned and operated. Even though individuals manage the everyday ins and outs of the business, they receive guidance and support from their corporate team, founders, and central board. 

Data shows that a new franchise, on any given business day, is opened every 8 minutes.  It has also been found that individuals who open franchises have a success rate that is three times higher than that of small business owners. Having a business plan already outlined is certainly beneficial for franchise businesses, but it is not a guarantee for success. Franchise business owners must also be entrepreneurially-minded, gain the loyalty of customers, and cultivate a team that possesses constant hustle. 

A certain husband and wife team took a leap of faith in May 2009, during a difficult recession in our country, by opening a license franchise. This was the birth of SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall. At the time, questions of “What If?” and the idea of failure never crossed our minds, as we were young, first-time business owners. We were lucky to have successful paths forged by existing SERVPRO franchises to follow. The process of getting to where we are today was remarkable, but it was not without remarkably hard work. 

Here we are 12 years later, with Team Wall owning and operating, through 3 separate metro markets, a total of 12 franchise licenses. We wouldn’t be where we are without the blueprint provided for us back in 2009 when we were just getting started, but now, as “Multi-Market Owners” just beginning our new journey, we are excited to pave our own path. 

Multi-Market Ownership takes place when individual franchise owners operate several license franchises. This business model has been in use for years and examples, such as Dunkin Donuts, Subway, and Anytime Fitness, can be found almost anywhere in the world. In the food industry, for example, some multi-market franchise owners sometimes hold close to 300 licences. Within SERVPRO Industries’ service sector, it is a great privilege for Team Wall to be able to take part in the exploration of multi-market ownership alongside 20 fellow SERVPRO franchises.  

Our journey as Multi-Market Operators, which began during the fourth quarter of 2019, did not necessarily begin as planned. We dove into uncharted territory on the brink of the warmest winter in 100 years and a pandemic, which both threw us for a loop. Gee whiz! In hindsight, that portion of our journey is not one that we would particularly care to relive. Nevertheless, our hardship caused the week of July 20th, 2021, when we gathered for the 52nd Annual SERVPRO Convention, to be a true celebration. For the first time in over 2 years, we had the opportunity to see so many members of our SERVPRO family in-person instead of through a computer screen. 

Among our many takeaways from the convention were powerful inspiration, fellowship, and guidance. We headed back home having gained invaluable lessons in everything from marketing strategies and technology to key accounts and new relationships. Ultimately, we were excited by the prospect of utilizing all of this new information to maximize the services that we can offer our customers. 

At convention, we had the opportunity to bounce ideas off of our peers, discuss both the triumphs and challenges of the past year, and network. In the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

The collective enthusiasm of everyone at convention was infectious and, as a result, the gears were turning in our heads as we traveled back home, thinking of ways to encourage Team Wall’s growth and success. Being Multi-Market Operators within SERVPRO is a privilege for us and we can’t wait to work our hardest to take full advantage of the opportunity that we have been given. 

None of this would be possible without the unwavering support of our remarkable customers and we are forever grateful. The steadfast enthusiasm and dedication of our team members are equally humbling. Thank you for your support throughout the years and we cannot wait to see what the future of Team Wall will bring. 

With wholehearted thanks and profound gratitude,

Jim and Trish Wall

How To Prevent A Sump Pump Failure

8/5/2021 (Permalink)

Storm clouds Sump pumps protect buildings from the harmful effects of flooding and water damage from storms.

Sump pumps, drainage systems often employed in the basements of commercial buildings, protect buildings from the harmful effects of flooding and water damage from storms by pumping water out of the basement. The failure of a building’s sump pump can be catastrophic, threatening the safety of a commercial building’s important documents, objects, and furniture. Your commercial business can take actions to prevent your building from suffering a sump pump failure by understanding various reasons as to why sump pumps might fail in the first place. 

Causes

Infrequent Maintenance 

Your risk of a sump pump failure is heightened when your unit isn’t undergoing maintenance on a regular basis. Make sure to regularly check that your sump pump’s vents are working properly and consider running a vinegar solution through the unit for cleaning in order to keep things running smoothly. 

Old Age

It is also important to think about the age of your sump pump. Because sump pumps endure their fair share of wear and tear over the years, it is not uncommon for sump pumps to fail after 7-10 years. You can prevent a disastrous failure by keeping a closer eye on your sump pump as it nears this age range and consider replacing the unit if it begins to malfunction. 

Power Outage

Sump pumps are also at a greater risk for failure during hurricane season and the summer months due to turbulent summer storms. Storms can serve as a double-whammy for sump pumps, as they often bring large amounts of rain and occasionally, power outages. Without electricity, sump pumps will not be able to complete their job of pumping rainwater away from the building. Hooking your business’ sump pump up to a backup generator can help your sump pump continue to run smoothly and avoid a failure during a storm. 

Sump Pump Failure? Call SERVPRO

Sump pump failures can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that SERVPRO and our team of commercial water damage experts have your back. We are experienced in sump pump failures and will tailor our water damage restoration services to your business’ specific needs. For more information about our commercial water damage services, click here. To schedule your consultation, call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East today at (412) 672-5400 today.

Employee Appreciation: A Cornerstone of Our Company

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Office picnic Employees enjoy barbeque at our annual office picnic.

One of our SERVPRO team’s core values is employee appreciation. As Vince Lombardi, a legendary football coach, once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort- that is what makes a team work.” We believe that our company’s success depends upon the individual commitment of each of our employees to our collective goals. As a result, we place emphasis on celebrating individual team members. A few of our favorite employee appreciation activities will be highlighted in this blog. 

Annual Barbeque

Barbeques and crab feasts with friends are summertime favorites, which is why we hold an annual office-wide barbeque every summer. Our employees’ daily work can be incredibly stressful, so the barbeque aims to relieve stress and create a relaxing atmosphere for our employees. 

Department Outings

Department outings provide a great opportunity for team building outside of the office. Various teams within SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall enjoy department outings throughout the year. This summer, Big Truck Farm Brewery was the destination for our Sales and Marketing team outing. The afternoon was filled with great conversation, archery, and team bonding. 

The “Wall of Praise”

We also give our employees the opportunity to shout out their coworkers through our “Wall of Praise.” A play on our owners’ last name, “The Wall of Praise” consists of a custom-made decal on the wall of our main conference room. Employees can write positive messages about their fellow team members on sticky notes to add to the wall. Several of these notes are pulled each quarter and shared with everyone at our quarterly meeting. We are proud of the wall’s positive impact on employee recognition and its role in building support amongst our team members throughout Team Wall. 

Employee Highlights and Awards

Employee awards are presented at our quarterly meetings, which bring together our entire team. Various awards, including tenure awards, specific Sales and Marketing team awards, and the “Employee of the Quarter” award, are presented in front of the whole team. The quarterly meeting therefore provides the largest audience possible for employee recognition, which prevents our team members’ hard work from going unnoticed. The recipient of the “Employee of the Quarter” award is also highlighted in a dedicated article featured in our quarterly newsletter and on our blog, as well as on our social media accounts, sharing their success with an even wider audience. 

Trust Our Team

One of SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall’s “7 Pillars” is “Team,” which emphasizes teamwork and cooperation. All the while, the individual commitment and drive of our employees are integral to our overall success as a company. When you pick up your phone and call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East at (412) 672-5400, you will be working with a closely-connected, united team to restore your residential or commercial property. 

Employee of the Quarter: Brandon Decker

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Employee of the Quarter SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East would like to highlight our Job File Coordinator, Brandon Decker, who has been recognized as our office’s “Employee o

This quarter, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East would like to highlight our Job File Coordinator, Brandon Decker, who has been recognized as our office’s “Employee of the Quarter.” He has been with SERVPRO for 5 years, but he officially joined our team in Metro Pittsburgh East on March 1st of this year. He has experience working in many different roles within our company, as he has worked as an office manager, crew chief, marketing representative, and more during his time with SERVPRO.

Impressive Knowledge and Exemplary Characteristics

At our office, Brandon is a team player as our Job File Coordinator. Thanks to his experience in many different realms of SERVPRO, he is always ready and willing to help out his team members in any way possible, regardless of whether they are a crew chief or a member of the office or rebuild staff. Brandon also embodies our “7 Pillars” through his undeniable hustle that remains consistent even when his schedule is busy. He has even traveled to a job site to deliver equipment to crews when we were short-staffed. Since he joined our team in March, he has been a wealth of knowledge and a tremendous help to the office. Another one of Brandon’s talents is technology, as he possesses impressive tech skills that benefit the efficiency of our office.

An Essential Member of Our Team

Even though Brandon was only recently hired, he is already an integral member of our Metro Pittsburgh East team. He is incredibly observant, taking in all that he can in order to continue growing in his position with his new SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East family. Thank you, Brandon, for all that you do. We are so thankful that you are here!

What Can SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile Do for Your Home or Business?

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

Emergency Ready Profile Customizable, mobile, shareable, and secure are four words that we like to use when describing our Emergency Ready Profile.

Being “Ready for Whatever Happens” is one of our primary goals at SERVPRO. Furthermore, we strive to have our customers’ backs whenever and wherever disaster strikes. Two tools assist us in accomplishing these goals: The Emergency Ready Profile and SERVPRO’s Ready Plan App. To learn more about what each of these tools can do for your residential or commercial property, keep reading. 

Components of the ERP

Customizable, mobile, shareable, and secure are four words that we like to use when describing our Emergency Ready Profile. The ERP is customizable in that you select which features are included based on your unique needs. Whether it’s important emergency contacts, key details about your individual maintenance information, emergency shut off valve locations, or all three, your ERP can include whatever information is most pertinent to your property. Because our ERP is mobile, you will be able to respond immediately to emergencies with your mobile device. You are also able to share critical information about your property and emergency plan with other contacts in the event that you are unavailable, therefore minimizing response time. Finally, your Emergency Ready Profile is securely protected with encrypted data and passwords utilizing one-way hash, keeping your information safe. 

Check Out The SERVPRO Ready Plan Mobile App

The companion to our Emergency Ready Profile, the SERVPRO Ready Plan App, offers additional benefits to your property’s emergency procedures. The app can be downloaded from the App Store and, once installed, you will be able to access your Emergency Ready Profile at your fingertips. Be sure to select your preferred franchise location and register with your email and a secure password. 

Schedule Your ERP Walkthrough Today

Looking for more information about our Emergency Ready Profile? Call our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East offices at (412) 672-5400 for a 60-minute walkthrough of what you can expect from our Emergency Ready Profile. Additionally, we provide a sample, completed ERP for customers to view. Adhering to the highest security standards and providing risk management at no cost, SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile offers the best medium for designing your property’s unique emergency plan. To ensure that your property will be “Ready For Whatever Happens,” download SERVPRO’s Ready Plan Mobile App today. 

Water Damage at Home: Job of the Quarter

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded warehouse Approximately 1 inch of water enveloped the floor of our warehouse and was quickly spreading to several individual offices, our main hallway, and our

The following blog offers a sneak peak into our upcoming newsletter:

In the past, our “Job of the Quarter” articles have featured jobs that have sent our crews traveling across the country to help communities in need after any kind of emergency. This quarter, we are flipping the script by highlighting a job in which travel was hardly necessary. This June, we faced a water damage emergency at home with flooding that impacted our Hunt Valley and Harford County warehouse, individual offices, and main hallways.

The flooding was caused by strong thunderstorms that occupied the Baltimore area on the evening of Thursday, June 3rd. Our office manager, Tracy Summers, happened to be working later than usual in the office that night in order to answer an influx of calls from homeowners and business owners dealing with ramifications of the storm. Brian Rhodes, one of our Water Crew Technicians, was moments away from heading home when he stumbled across water that was entering the warehouse through its closed bay doors. Tracy and Brian had to act quickly in order to combat the fast rate of rainfall per hour during the storm and prevent any further water damage to our office. Crew members were called back to the office after hours to extract the water, restore the affected areas, and prevent a major disaster. 

Approximately 1 inch of water enveloped the floor of our warehouse and was quickly spreading to several individual offices, our main hallway, and our primary conference room. Therefore, we needed all the help we could get. The nature of the flood water itself posed an additional challenge, as it fell under Category 3 of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration’s categories of water. Category 3 water, which often contains “harmful pathogens” and is extremely contaminated, is dangerous to human health. As a result, our crew members working to extract the water needed to be especially careful in order to ensure safety while completing the remediation.

The water was discovered at 5 PM that evening and by 5:30 PM, our crew was assembled and ready to begin removing the water. Immediately following the water extraction, team members cut wet walls, removed damp insulation, and set up equipment necessary for the drying equipment. All of this work was completed by 10 PM that night due to the helping hands of approximately 20 crew members working overtime after a long day. In addition, several members of our rebuild team came in to finish drywall installation and paint affected areas. The entire job was completed by the next Tuesday and our warehouse, offices, conference room, and hallways appeared as though they had never been harmed by a flood the week before.

Making it “Like it never even happened,” and helping our customers return to life or business as usual are our primary goals whenever we take on a job. Our own business was interrupted during this storm due to the extensive water damage that we experienced. Calls were flooding in from customers who needed our help during the storm while we were working to remediate our own storm and water damage at home. The selfless attitude of our crew members that motivated them to drive back to work after returning home for the evening in order to restore our warehouse and office to their preloss condition was what made this job worthy of our “Job of the Quarter” title. Additionally, the job displayed our team’s embrace of Team and Persistence, which are two of SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team- Team Wall’s pillars that saved our office from disaster.

These qualities travel with us and are applied to every job that our team has the pleasure to undertake. Here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team- Team Wall, we are always capable and ready to come to the aid of customers in need, regardless of whatever challenges we face behind the scenes, as illustrated in this quarter’s “Job of the Quarter.” We understand firsthand the importance of working quickly to minimize interruptions to both life and business, so when you call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East at (412) 672-5400 after any kind of emergency, we guarantee a fast response. Let our professional Storm Damage Restoration Services and Water Damage Restoration Services ease your mind, as we are committed to making it “Like it never even happened,” for your commercial or residential property.  

All About Matterport

6/25/2021 (Permalink)

In a wide array of industry sectors, Matterport is known as the premiere technology for capturing 3D spaces, leading the way in digitizing and indexing the built world with spatial data. An exact, digital copy of any physical space can be created with the help of Matterport’s 3D platform, which promotes a more holistic understanding of the space. This leads to better building, design, operation, and promotion of physical spaces.

How Does Matterport Help Our Clients?

When it comes to Matterport technology, industry insurance professionals and our customers especially benefit from two specific aspects, which are accuracy and velocity. The days of using our hands and camera phones to document property damage are long gone. Matterport simplifies the process, detailing damage through digital measurements and photographs, as well as reducing human error so that that margin of error is limited to only 1%. As a result, there is no room for bias due to the objective 3D spatial data generated by Matterport technology. In this way, the claim settlement process is facilitated, which gets work started faster and ultimately helps customers return to normalcy as soon as possible.

Matterport In Action

Overcoming Pandemic Obstacles

Insurance companies and field adjusters came face-to-face with obstacles resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as many adjusters could not set foot on properties. Therefore, adjusters had to turn to other tools and methods in order to push through and continue their work. SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team- Team Wall’s partnership with Matterport in conjunction with our unparalleled services offered to mutual customers set their minds at ease.

Faster to the Finish Line

 The roof of a multi-family condominium experienced structural damage, which led to an engineer arriving onsite to inspect the damage and determine which repairs needed to be made. He was pleasantly surprised to find that an in-depth, 3D scan of the property had already been completed by SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team- Team Wall utilizing Matterport technology. This step made his job easier, as he was able to complete his report quickly, which in turn enabled our team to get to work faster. By minimizing the amount of time spent assessing the property damage, we were able to reduce the total turnaround time, making it “Like it never even happened.”

Caring for Your Belongings

After receiving a call about a residential fire, the task of documenting the total amount of damage to structure and personal belongings rested in the hands of Matterport. The health of our client limited the amount of time that she could spend on the job site, but thanks to Matterport’s digital scans of the property, she could stay in the loop with the restoration process and even lend a hand in documenting items that could not be salvaged.

SERVPRO and Matterport Are Here To Help

Superior customer service takes centerstage here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team- Team Wall. In order to improve the restoration services that we provide to both residential and commercial properties, we work in conjunction with advanced technologies, such as Matterport. Give us a call at (412) 672-5400 to learn more about our relationship with Matterport and the various services that we provide at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East. For additional information about our restoration services, visit our website’s pages dedicated to storm, fire, water, and mold services, as well as our Advanced Technologies like Matterport. In the event that your home or business experiences an emergency of any kind, know that SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, as well as Matterport, are standing by and are prepared to help.

Getting Familiar with the IICRC's 3 Categories of Water

6/16/2021 (Permalink)

When we hear the term “water damage,” we often think of leaks, flooding, or appliance overflows. These three different situations, while they are all common issues that often lead to water damage, are unique and each require different cleanup and restoration measures. One factor that sets one water damage incident apart from another is the category of the water involved. Three distinct “Categories of Water'' have been outlined by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification, a leading force in the restoration industry. Depending on the category under which the water involved in an affected area falls, different restoration measures will be necessary. As a homeowner or business owner, it is important to learn about the IICRC’s three water categories in order to understand the severity of any potential water damage situation, which will help you prevent further damage.

The IICRC’s 3 Categories of Water

The three categories are determined by contamination level. Taking into account both the water’s “originating source and quality after it contacts materials present on the job site,” the IICRC breaks down the differences between each category in their article, “S500 Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration.” Keep reading for our quick guide to their three water categories.

Category 1- Clean Water

The first of the categories is the kind of water that is commonly referred to as “clean water.” Its originating source is sanitary, which means that exposure to Category 1 water would not cause any harmful health effects. Rainwater falling from the sky, uncontaminated ice or snow, and leaking water from broken supply lines are examples of types of water that fit into Category 1. According to the IICRC, contamination levels can increase in response to exposure to temperature and time. As a result, Category 1 water can worsen in sanitation, slipping down into the more contaminated Category 2 water. An odor that accompanies the water is frequently a sign that “clean water” has transformed into “gray water.”

Category 2- Gray Water

When water has regressed to Category 2, it has gained significant contamination. Ingestion of or exposure to Category 2 water can cause adverse health effects in humans, ranging from discomfort to illness. Falling under the category of “gray water” is water from washing machine overflows, dishwasher discharge, and toilet bowl overflows. Some additional and unexpected types of water, including punctured water beds and broken aquariums, are also examples of Category 2 water. “Gray water” that undergoes further contamination can quickly develop into “black water,” which presents a dangerous situation.

Category 3- Black Water

The IICRC defines Category 3 water as “grossly contaminated.” This presents serious concerns for the health of humans, as it risks exposure to “harmful agents” like toxins and pathogens that may be present in the water. The types of water that are classified as Category 3 include sewage as well as runoff from seas or rivers and weather events like hurricanes and tropical storms. In order to effectively minimize health and safety risks, it is best to contact a professional for help when dealing with Category 3 water.

We Possess the Expertise That You Need

Here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, we are equipped with the expertise that you need to quickly and effectively restore your property after any water damage scenario. Each of our team members undergoes full training through an IICRC-approved school, SERVPRO Industries Inc. The services that we provide, therefore, align with the IICRC’s S500 standards for water damage and are specifically tailored to the category of water that has impacted your home or commercial building. As soon as you first notice water damage on your property, give us a call at (412) 672-5400 for expert water damage services. We offer numerous Water Damage Restoration Services with a variety of techniques, which are outlined in our Water Brochure. Specialized services, such as Sewage Cleanup, are also available. We know firsthand just how confusing and stressful water damage situations can be in residential and commercial properties alike, which is why our goal is to restore your property to its preloss condition, helping you get things back to normal after any disaster, big or small.

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.

Staying Safe During the Polar Vortex

3/24/2021 (Permalink)

We go running to find our puffy winter coats, warm hats, gloves, and scarves when the words “the polar vortex” pop up in the forecast. However, many of us only know the polar vortex to indicate frigid temperatures, when there’s actually quite a bit more to it. The National Weather Service defines the polar vortex as the zone of cold, Arctic air that finds its home at the north and south poles. That chilly air can journey south from the north pole, bringing the polar vortex to our neighborhood. Because the freezing temperatures of the polar vortex put us at risk for hypothermia and other hazards related to the cold, it’s essential that we bundle up. Just the same, it’s critical that we take actions to protect our homes and business in order to protect them from the dangers of the polar vortex.

For homes and business, the polar vortex can facilitate the formation of ice ridges on roofs and freezing pipes indoors, which can both lead to water damage inside. Ice ridges block melted snow from draining off of the roof, therefore increasing the risk of the water seeping down into the home or business and causing water damage. Freezing pipes also increase the risk of water damage, as pipes are more susceptible to bursting when the water inside of them freezes. The freezing water expands and can cause pipes to burst as they apply pressure to the pipes. Learn how to best protect your home or business from the dangers of the polar vortex by reading our guide to staying safe in the polar vortex:

Our Polar Vortex Survival Guide

Ice Dams

  • Ice dams form when snow and ice accumulate. Therefore, you can protect your home or business from ice dams by removing snow off of your roof immediately. If another snow storm is in the forecast, it is a good idea to remove snow before the storm hits. Additionally, it is beneficial to clear your roof during breaks in the storm.
  • Insulation is crucial in protecting your home from ice dams. Add an extra layer of insulation in your attic or top floor before a storm if your insulation is insufficient.

Freezing Pipes

  • The chances of pipes leaking and creating water damage when they burst is worsened by cracks and lacking insulation. Seal cracks before the cold weather sets in and make sure that your pipes are properly insulated.
  • It is important to make sure that your water doesn’t sit idle when temperatures drop, as still, cold water is more likely to freeze. By allowing your faucet to drip, you can decrease the chances of the water in your pipes freezing.

Trust SERVPRO This Winter

Though we can’t see into the future to know how this year will pan out, take comfort in the fact that SERVPRO will be here to help. If the polar vortex knocks on your door and causes water damage to your home or business this winter, call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East immediately at (412) 672-5400. Our wide range of water damage mitigation services and team of water damage experts will cater to your specific needs. This winter, trust SERVPRO to help you through whatever comes your way.

Trust SERVPRO for Your Next Hardwood Floor Repair

3/18/2021 (Permalink)

Protecting your commercial business’ hardwood floors is of the utmost importance considering the visible wear and tear that they can experience when exposed to various elements and emergencies such as fires, floods, and storms. Mother Nature is unpredictable, so it is often difficult to prepare for emergencies such as these. Learning about the common causes of hardwood floor damage can, however, can give you a better idea of what to expect from different types of damage to hardwoods and what kinds of remediation services are necessary.

What Causes Damage to Hardwood Floors?

Most hardwood floor damage can be traced back to heat and moisture exposure. This exposure may be the result of major disasters, like fires and floods, or factors as simple as high levels of humidity and heat in your commercial business. Significant damage usually calls for hardwood floor replacement, but minor abrasions can be restored through repair work. Keep reading to learn more about heat and moisture, as well as the ways in which they can impact hardwood floors in commercial businesses:

Heat Damage

Hardwood floor boards shrink when exposed to intense heat. The shrinkage can leave hazardous gaps in the flooring, which typically require hardwood floor replacement. Heat damage on a smaller level such as burn marks or smoke and soot damage, however, may only require hardwood floor repair work. You can protect your commercial business’ hardwood floors from experiencing damage due to intense heat by practicing fire safety and making sure that indoor temperatures stay cool.

Moisture Damage

While heat exposure can cause wood to shrink, subjection to moisture results in wood expanding. Hardwood floors, when exposed to water, absorb moisture, loosen, and can become deformed. They may buckle completely or curl upward or downward in two processes known as cupping and crowning. Another concern when dealing with wet hardwood floors is mold growth. Because mold favors moist and humid environments, hardwood floor boards that have been exposed to moisture can become prime locations for mold growth. You can decrease the risk of mold growth in your commercial business by lowering humidity levels indoors and facilitating air flow. In the event that your commercial business experiences mold growth on your hardwood floors, keep in mind that SERVPRO provides Commercial Mold Restoration services.

We’re Your “One-Stop-Shop”

SERVPRO has you covered if your commercial business is subjected to hardwood floor damage after a disaster. Whether your emergency is water, fire, storm, or mold related, we can take care of the restoration process and complete any additional rebuild or repair work afterward. By trusting SERVPRO to handle the entire job from start to finish, you will eliminate the need to jump through unnecessary hoops that may cost you valuable time and money. We love being our customers’ “one-stop-shop”, guiding them through the entire process until their business is restored to its preloss condition. SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is so much more than just an emergency fire and water restoration company. Check out our long list of Building Services for a better idea of the wide array of rebuild and repair services that we offer, from hardwood floor repair to fine art restoration. Call us today at (412) 672-5400 to ensure that your commercial business’ hardwood floors receive the thorough repair that they need.

Restoring Fire Damaged Curtains

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

The structure of both homes and commercial buildings, as well as the objects and belongings that they house, are put at serious risk during a fire. Therefore, it is pertinent that actions are taken to prevent fire damage and, in the event that a fire ignites, the cleanup process is initiated as soon as possible. When it comes to the cleanup process, it is likely that you’ve seen guides detailing methods of cleaning fire-damaged surfaces. You’re more unlikely to find those explaining how to clean fire-damaged textiles and fabrics, such as curtains and draperies, which are extremely flammable and therefore more susceptible to damage during a fire. You may be wondering: What should I do if I discover that my curtains have been damaged in a fire? On the bright side, you don’t need to immediately rush them to the garbage. They will likely require a bit of cleaning, but they can be salvaged. Keep reading to learn how to take care of your fire damaged curtains.

How to Care for Fire-Damaged Curtains

The destruction of a fire can leave behind two different varieties of fire damage, which include soot damage and smoke damage. It is possible that your curtains endured either one or both of these types of damage during the fire. Before the cleaning process begins, it is important to understand that each requires its own, specific cleaning procedure.

Soot Damage

When curtains are inflicted with soot damage, particles of soot, which are oil-based, infiltrate the fabric of the curtains. If these soot particles are not removed quickly, your curtains can become stained and undergo significant damage that is difficult to remove. Once the soot particles are gone, the cleaning process can begin. While you have a multitude of cleaning options, know that SERVPRO provides drapery cleaning services that can effectively cleanse your curtains of any remaining fire damage and, with the help of our specialized equipment, restore them to their preloss condition.

Smoke Damage

Like soot damage, immediate action is also necessary when it comes to smoke damage, as eliminating the odor that accompanies smoke takes precedence over all other steps of the cleaning process. Over time, the smoke odor can embed itself into the fabric and cause additional damage. For a quick and efficient smoke odor removal, look no further than SERVPRO. Your curtains can be salvaged with our trustworthy odor removal and deodorization treatments. Don’t forget that we also offer professional Drapes and Blinds Services that can handle the rest of the cleaning process for your curtains following the smoke odor removal.

Preventing Additional Fire Damage

In order to avoid additional fire damage during the cleanup process, be sure to be aware of actions of occurrences that could put your home or business at an increased risk. Touching fire damaged curtains without gloves is not advised. It is also important to acknowledge that curtains can oftentimes become saturated with water during the fire extinguishing process, which increases the threat of mold growth. However, you can reduce this risk by making sure that wet curtains are dried as soon as possible. Another beneficial, preventative measure is facilitating air circulation in your home or business, which can be achieved by opening windows. Additionally, if you are on the market to purchase new curtains, take into consideration the idea of investing in fire-resistant curtains, which may prove helpful in decreasing the chances that your curtains sustain damage during a future fire. It is crucial to never underestimate the importance of fire safety. Be sure to practice fire safety in your home or business and regularly replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Got Fire Damage? Protect Your Belongings with SERVPRO

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is standing by in the event that your home or commercial business is impacted by a fire. We offer an array of fire damage restoration services as well as contents restoration services that will help your home or business and its contents make a full recovery after a destructive fire. For professional restoration services that will protect your curtains and other belongings, call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East at (717) 510-6779 today. To learn more about our services, visit our Your Belongings and Fire Damage page.

What You Should Know About Black Mold in Your Shower

2/24/2021 (Permalink)

A tranquil, refreshing shower at the beginning or end of the day is your time to relax and destress, so mold growth is never a welcome discovery. Because mold grows best in moist, humid conditions, showers are not uncommon locations to find mold growing. One of the many different varieties of mold, black mold, is often depicted as a serious health hazard, taking on the nickname “toxic mold”. But is black mold actually worthy of its intimidating reputation? What does it mean if the mold that you discover in your shower is black mold? Keep reading to find out.

What is Black Mold?

In the next paragraph, we’ll provide a brief overview of black mold. You can visit our page “Black Mold, What is It?” for additional information describing black mold and its effects.

“Stachybotrys chartarum” is the scientific term for black mold, which is just one variety of mold. Medical News Today reports that mycotoxins, which are toxic substances, are released by black mold. These substances can result in a range of health effects. All the while, evidence that such symptoms result directly from the inhalation of black mold spores has been inconclusive. On the other hand, we do know that many varieties of mold cause health effects. Therefore, regardless of the type of mold that you discover in your shower, eliminating the mold immediately is of the utmost importance to the health of everyone in your home. Attempting to clean your shower on your own may appear to be helpful, but it can do more harm than good. Instead, seek professional black mold treatment immediately by giving SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East a call at (412) 672-5400. With our extensive training and equipment specifically designed to tackle any size mold infestation, we’re ready to make your shower’s mold growth “Like it never even happened.”

Black Mold Infestation in Your Shower

Now that you’ve learned some of the basics of black mold, you can make an educated guess as to whether the mold that you’ve discovered is indeed black mold. Usually, black mold will have a slimy texture and be either dark green or black in color. Remember, the shower can be a breeding ground for any type of mold, not just black mold. That’s why, regardless of the type of mold in your shower, be sure to call us right away.

Preventing Black Mold Growth

You may be wondering, “What can I do to prevent mold growth in my home?” One of the first things you can do is make it a habit to keep a fan running or a window open while you or anyone else in your home takes a shower. This will prevent mold growth by maintaining proper ventilation and decreasing humidity in your bathroom. In order to further reduce lingering moisture in your shower, you can wipe up the water that remains or use a squeegee on your shower walls after taking a shower. Lastly, it is important to be cognizant of pipes in your bathroom, as broken or leaking pipes can be a major source of moisture accumulation. In the event that you discover a leak or broken pipe in your bathroom, be sure to dry the moisture and repair the pipe as quickly as possible in order to avoid mold.

Don’t Waste Time: Call SERVPRO Immediately

With years of mold remediation under our belts, we’re no strangers to mold of all varieties here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East. If you call us about mold growth in your shower, we know how important it is that we get to work immediately in order to protect your home and those living in it. That’s why we offer 24/7 Emergency Service and promise a speedy response time. No matter the size of your shower’s mold dilemma, SERVPRO possesses the required training, expertise, and equipment to provide the unique mold and water remediation services that you need. If you spot mold during your next shower, don’t panic. Call us right away at (412) 672-5400 for our trusted black mold removal and mold remediation services. You can also learn more about the mold services that we offer by checking out our website’s mold resources, including our Overview of Mold Services and Mold Remediation Process

Hidden Locations of Mold Growth in Commercial Businesses

2/17/2021 (Permalink)

A groan-worthy sight, mold is always an unwanted guest in residential properties and commercial businesses alike. In commercial businesses, several hazards often accompany mold, including interruptions to business, dangers to the overall structure of the building, and health effects for employees. In their “Guide to Mold in the Workplace”, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration describes mold growth in commercial businesses and its dangers. In the article, the OSHA states that on “virtually any substance”, mold can not only grow, but thrive. Above all, the article seeks to warn commercial businesses that all indoor mold growth should be prevented. With an understanding of the most common areas of mold growth in commercial businesses, you can protect your commercial business from enduring an unwanted mold infestation.

1. Windows and Doors

One of the most common ways in which moisture enters commercial businesses is through doors and windows. The risk is especially high on days with high humidity levels or heavy rain. Additionally, condensation on doors and windows can present another risk for moisture accumulation inside commercial businesses. In the event that moisture accumulates around windows and doors, dry the moisture as soon as possible in order to prevent mold growth.

2. HVAC and AC Units

It’s rare to find a commercial business that doesn’t have either an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) unit or an air conditioning unit. While they’re incredibly common, they can become a cause for concern if they aren’t maintenanced or begin to malfunction. Mold can grow as a result of leaks or increased humidity levels throughout the building that stem from a malfunctioning HVAC or AC unit. Making sure that your business’ HVAC or AC unit receives the regular maintenance and inspections it needs can be beneficial in avoiding such problems. On a regular basis, be sure to also change your unit’s filter and clean its drip pan, as doing so is helpful in keeping your unit from becoming obstructed. If you notice mold growth in or around your business’ HVAC or AC unit, professional assistance is necessary. Be sure to get in contact with a certified commercial mold inspector to assess the situation. Additionally, consider our HVAC Cleaning Services to make sure that your commercial business’ HVAC unit receives the maintenance it needs. Learn more about our Commercial Mold Remediation Services here and give us a call for our 24 Hour Emergency Service.

3. Employee Areas

Often tucked away and out of sight in commercial businesses, employee bathrooms, kitchens, and other spaces can be at risk for mold growth. These employee areas include appliances such as sinks and toilets that involve water. If these areas are not inspected frequently, pools of water can accumulate and trigger mold growth. However, the risk for a mold problem in these areas can be decreased with regular cleaning and examination.

Remember: It Can Happen Anywhere

Even though we’ve described the aforementioned areas as vulnerable to mold growth, any surface or substance in a commercial business can be at risk for a mold problem. Preventing mold growth in your commercial business can be facilitated through frequent inspections. Be on the lookout for spaces with accumulating moisture, especially those that have previously experienced leaks, and if you discover moisture, thoroughly dry the surface as quickly as possible.

Call SERVPRO for Your Business’ Mold Remediation Needs

However, if you discover significant mold growth that is out of your control, pick up the phone and call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East at (412) 672-5400 today. After receiving your call, our team will arrive immediately, ready to hit the ground running. More information about our Mold Restoration Process can be found here. Here at SERVPRO, we are committed to protecting your business’ schedule, minimizing any disruptions to production and protecting both your employees and customers from the health hazards posed by mold. This is what sets us apart from other commercial mold restoration companies in Pittsburgh. While a mold infestation in your commercial business can be overwhelming, know that you can rely on SERVPRO and our team of skilled commercial mold remediation specialists to get the job done.

Pete Akey: Our Employee of the Quarter

2/10/2021 (Permalink)

Our “Employee of the Quarter” title goes to one outstanding employee every quarter. Here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, our selection was none other than Pete Akey! Read the following excerpt from our latest quarterly newsletter to learn more about Pete:

Meet Pete

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East’s “Employee of the Quarter” for Quarter 4 is Pete Akey! Since starting at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East as a Marketing Representative for the previous ownership in 2003, Pete’s role has changed drastically. During the transition between ownerships, Pete adapted to new challenges and has been integral to SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East’s success. Never hesitating or complaining, Pete has taken on multiple roles over the years in order to help the office grow and thrive. As Senior Operations Manager of the Metro Pittsburgh East office, he ran the show with admirable enthusiasm, devotion, and organizational skills.

Onto Even Bigger and Better Things

Pete’s passion for his job and the company is crystal clear to everyone who works with him. He’s the kind of employee who is always present and willing to chip in. Recently, Pete has taken on a new Program Specialist position, a role that will allow him to work with all three of SERVPRO Team Wall’s offices and share his 20 years of industry experience with others.

Thank You, Pete!

Pete is a tremendous asset to the company and we cannot even begin to thank him f

What Do I Do After A House Fire: Moving Forward

2/2/2021 (Permalink)

When a fire ignites in your home, your home and your personal belongings are placed in jeopardy. Fires can leave a path of destruction, complete with soot and smoke damage. In addition to the physical damage, a fire can alter and change your life as you know it, leaving you ready to do whatever you can in order to return things to normal. Before taking action to combat fire damage in your home, it is important to understand that just one wrong move can exacerbate the damage. There are two crucial pieces when confronting fire damage in your home: mitigating the damage and preventing future fires. For several of our expert Fire Damage Tips and steps that you can take to protect your home from future fires, keep reading.

Fire Damage Restoration Tips

With our many years of experience in mitigating fire damage and cleaning smoke damage, we have compiled a list of Fire Damage Tips. The following may be helpful in understanding the safest ways of dealing with your home’s fire damage:

  1. Decrease Movement

Even the act of placing your foot down on the floor can cause fire soot particles to jump up into the air and land on nearby objects, therefore imposing further damage. In order to best protect your home’s furniture, upholstery, carpets, and other objects from unnecessary damage, refrain from walking throughout your home as best you can and if you must move, be sure to exercise caution.

  1. Don’t Attempt to Clean Without Professional Guidance

More harm than good can come from unguided efforts to clean fire-damaged items and surfaces in your home. Rather, consult skilled fire damage cleaners prior to taking any actions to clean damaged objects. It is also wise to steer clear of any electronic devices or appliances in your home, as coming into contact with them after they have been exposed to intense heat, fire, or water can be incredibly dangerous.

  1. Keep Hands Clean

When cleaning and handling fire-damaged objects, be sure that your hands are clean in an effort to protect items from enduring any additional damage from soot particles or other substances. Wearing clean gloves throughout the fire damage cleanup process can be helpful in achieving this goal.

Preventing Future Fires

While restoring your home after a destructive fire, it is important to take the time to protect your home from a similar situation happening again. According to the American Red Cross, the following are a few preventative measures that are effective in preventing future fire damage or smoke damage to the home:

  1. Check on Your Smoke Detectors

Smoke detector batteries should be checked and replaced on a regular basis in order to keep smoke detectors functioning to the best of their ability. Be sure that your smoke detectors are located in different areas of your home so that they are able to pick up smoke from anywhere. By interconnecting the smoke detectors in your home, you can save valuable time, as all of the alarms in your home will sound when one detector senses smoke.

  1. Fire-Proof Your Home

There are plenty of options these days for fire-resistant home furnishings, from curtains to sofas. By investing in fire-resistant furnishings for your home, you can reduce the chances of any future fire spreading quickly.

  1. Limit Fire Risks

In even the most trivial activities, such as using electronic devices or heating rooms of your home, there are some steps that you can take to prevent a fire from igniting. Many residential fires ignite as a result of heating sources, so it is important to check that your stove tops, chimney, or other heating sources are clean before putting them to use. Lastly, it is imperative that old, frayed, or damaged electrical cords are not used, even if they still appear to do their job. Therefore, it is important not to wait to replace damaged cords.

Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO

Residential fires often leave homeowners overwhelmed and confused as to what comes next. This is where we come in. Pick up the phone and call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East at (412) 672-5400 for our professional restoration fire damage expertise and guidance. Our team will respond immediately and arrive onsite to assess the damage. SERVPRO has your back and is standing by, ready to lend a helping hand to give you peace of mind after any fire damage or smoke damage emergency in your home. For more of our Fire Damage Tips that can help you understand what you can do before help arrives, click here.

How to Prepare for a Polar Vortex

2/2/2021 (Permalink)

Every winter, the word "polar vortex" means to fit in our warmest winter coats, caps, and gloves. The Polar Vortex refers to a region of cold air which, according to the National Weather Service, gravitates towards the poles of the Earth. We feel the Polar Vortex as the air flows south through the jet stream during the winter, giving us our own piece of Arctic air. It causes almost intolerable, cold weather. It could come as a surprise to know that our homes and businesses, too, will suffer from the cold. Just like we need our thick coats and warm scarves, so do our homes and businesses.

Effects of Polar Vortex

Our homes and businesses can fall victim to the freezing of pipes and ice dams, all of which can lead to severe water damage during the "polar vortex" of winter. It is cold, Arctic temperatures will cause the water within the pipes to freeze and expand, which will cause the pipes to burst. On the roof, as snow and ice build-up, ice ridges will form and block melting snow from leaving the roof. This is called "Ice Damming" which allows water to leak through the roof and into the building.

How to Prepare

  • Clean snow off of the roof as soon as possible. Be sure to remove any lingering snow or ice from a previous storm off the roof first.
  • Be sure that your attic or top floor is properly insulated before a storm. If your amount of insulation is lacking, adding extra insulation may be helpful.
  • Before a storm, be sure that all pipes are insulated and any cracks are sealed.
  • When temperatures drop, let your faucets drip in order to keep water flowing.
  • Maintain consistent, warm temperatures inside of your home or business. Additionally, make certain that your insulation is sufficient throughout the home or building

The Phoenix Buildings Job

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

When we think of hurricanes, what comes to mind are strong, powerful forces of nature. The Scorpions’ 1984 hit rock song utilized the metaphor “Rock You Like A Hurricane” as its title for a reason. It’s left up to chance which cities are hit by hurricanes each year and the recipients of the destruction that hurricanes leave behind often find their lives turned upside-down, uncertain as to how to move forward.

When Hurricanes Hit

SERVPRO travels across the country to come to the aid of those who have been impacted. During a year in which the hurricane season proved to be too overwhelming for the English alphabet, our team couldn’t seem to find a break. Therefore, it’s fitting that our “Job of the Quarter” for this quarter was a storm job at the Phoenix Buildings in Orange Beach, Alabama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally, which made landfall in September. We choose one job each quarter that best reflects the strengths of our team to receive the title of “Job of the Quarter”. Out of the many jobs that we completed this quarter in response to hurricanes, the Phoenix Buildings job specifically deserves the “Job of the Quarter” title because it put three hallmarks of SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team Team Wall on display: teamwork between our three offices, our ability to serve as our customers’ “one-stop shop”, and our unbeatable turnaround time.

Hurricane Sally

The first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and it certainly made its presence felt in Orange Beach. When our phones rang with a call from Storm Team Wilson, alerting us of a condo building that had experienced significant water damage from the hurricane, our team immediately made the trip down to Orange Beach. At first, we were only working on one of the multiple Phoenix Buildings, but because we proved ourselves through our work on the first building, we were trusted to complete work on a second building, giving us the opportunity to help even more residents pick up the pieces.

While we were excited by the opportunity to work on both condo buildings, the job was not without its challenges. People were still living in the condos, so our team faced challenges in obtaining access to keys for each condo unit and disrupting our customers’ lives as little as possible. From the top to the bottom of each building, the condos underwent water damage as a result of Hurricane Sally’s driving rain, which entered through sliding glass doors leading to the units’ balconies. After a hurricane that was completely out of anyone’s control and brought such large-scale water damage, our customers needed efficient restoration services to get things back on track as quickly as possible.

Such a speedy restoration required our three offices to act as a united front, coordinating, cooperating, and compiling our combined resources. As a result of this cooperation, we were able to complete work on the two buildings within two weeks when those working on some of the other Phoenix buildings required two weeks to finish just one building. We pride ourselves on being a “one-stop shop” for our customers, which is made possible by our ability to take care of every step of the process, from restoration to rebuild. We save our customers valuable time and money by providing a wide variety of services, from installing drywall to repairing hardwood flooring, eliminating the need for our customers to find other companies to complete the job. SERVPRO can be trusted to handle the entire job, start to finish.

With the 2020 Hurricane Season Behind Us

We have some room to breathe, but we’re already beginning preparations for 2021’s hurricane season. We’re hoping that what lies ahead isn’t quite as aggressive as the 2020 hurricane season, but we’re looking forward to many more opportunities, like the Phoenix Buildings job, that will allow us to use our team’s strengths to best help those impacted by uncontrollable storms find much-needed relief. Regardless of the nature of the 2021 hurricane season, we’re excited by the prospect of helping you or your client make it “Like it never even happened,” after any storm, fire, or water event.

Owners Corner: A 1st Quarter Newsletter Excerpt

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

2020 was a year filled with challenges- no question about it. Scanning 2020’s Wikipedia page, which displays each event itemized by both month and day for your convenience, you can take a stroll down memory lane. Even logging into your social media platform of choice, you’ll find memes, vents or rants from friends, videos, and advertisements at your fingertips that make you contemplate whether we’ll ever find the light at the end of the 2020 tunnel.

This year, that sentiment seeped into holiday cards that we received from family and friends. The cards were adorned with everything from notes recapping the year to comical, staged photos and clever taglines. But that all came to a halt on January 2nd, 2020, the day that I opened my last card of the holiday season. 

What I discovered printed on the back were words that caught me off guard. As I was trudging into 2021, I was extremely thankful to read words so powerful that they inspired a change in my perspective:

“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

 ~Excerpt from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

From the curveballs that 2020 threw our way, Jim and I gained valuable lessons concerning the most essential elements of our lives:

  1. Family: It’s hard to keep up with how quickly our kids are growing. However, this year gave us the opportunity to increase the amount of time that we spent with them. Rather than racing our kids to the next sporting event in our separate cars, we were able to slow down and enjoy more time together. When it came time for dinner, we all sat down at the SAME time and at the SAME table. These family dinners became a time for deep conversations with our kids and a time to observe their developing personalities. Void of the distractions that we’d become used to in our everyday lives prior to the pandemic, we were even able to watch as our 12-year-old grew 6 more inches! Despite 2020’s many trials and tribulations, the opportunity for us to be present and make so many family memories was truly a blessing and something that won’t end with 2020.
  2. SERVPRO: The lesson of humility is one that is ongoing, but it took center stage in 2020. We can strategize and plan all we want, but in the grand scheme of things, there will always be circumstances that are out of our power:
  • 1St Quarter 2020: Our business went through a drastic change geographically in October 2019. That winter unfortunately happened to be the warmest winter recorded over the last 125 years. Business screeched to a halt, triggering distress and serious conversations about layoffs. In every sense of the phrase, this situation felt like a punch to the gut. Ultimately, it did do some good, as was a reminder that the world doesn’t revolve around us and our plans. Instead, our plans are always at the mercy of the rest of the world. This was the first, but certainly not the last, instance in which we had to “pivot” this year.
  • 2nd Quarter 2020: Where do I begin? 2nd Quarter saw COVID-19, anxiety, shutdowns, and fear. It also saw our business and team become “essential”. We found our fundamental service lines flipping from restoration to viral pathogen cleaning as we did our duty to “flatten the curve”. Working to keep businesses open, we strived to hinder the economic impacts of extended shutdowns, in order to preserve the peace of mind of our community members. This was an unforgettable period of time for us as entrepreneurs. While we had our fair share of fear as a result of so much uncertainty, the pride that we experienced, knowing that our team was working together, adapting to unfamiliar situations, and demonstrating our synergy, overpowered that fear. Our team truly embodied our tagline, “Here to Help”.
  • 3rd Quarter 2020: The 2020 hurricane season began normally with Arthur, but ended in record-breaking territory with Iota. Travelling across the country, making stops in Florida, Alabama, Delaware, Philadelphia, and Louisiana, our team got back to basics during 3rd Quarter, as we combatted Hurricanes Isaias, Laura, and Sally. Our latest “Job of the Quarter” blog tells the story of one of our favorite hurricane jobs of the season. Our “One Team” mentality was on display with this project, as well as the strength of both our SERVPRO franchise system and our team. Once again, we learned another lesson in humility this quarter. The old proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”, best articulates our takeaway.
  • 4th Quarter 2020: I heard the lyrics of Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” repeating in my head. The temperatures this winter were completely different than those of winter 2019. This winter’s frigid temperatures have also not been tremendously helpful in the curbing of COVID-19. Late October saw a dramatic increase in cases, which caused an increase in the number of COVID-19 cleanings for our team and this quarter, the number of COVID-19 cleanings that we completed surpassed 400. With the virus’ resurgence, our top priority shifted back to doing all we could to help our communities. After a plethora of experience with COVID-19 cleanings in the spring, we were relieved that we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, we only had to harness our experience, refine our process, and provide the best quality services for our community.

While the negative aspects of 2020 may stick with us, it is important to recognize that a lot of good came out of this year’s challenges. Celebrate the good because life is too short to dwell on the disappointments.

I think back to the final sentences on that last holiday card I read in 2020, “…it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” Could there have been more appropriate words to close out the year? As I fold up these sentences and tuck them into my pocket, I know that I am going to take them to heart in 2021. My wish is that you will, too.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Trish and Jim Wall

We Give Your Contents the Care They Deserve

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

To many, the word “home” means much more than its dictionary definition, which is “one’s place of residence” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Instead, what makes your house your home is the contents and belongings that lie inside. At SERVPRO, we’ve seen countless instances of emergency water events such as leaks and floods significantly damage homes and the cherished contents that they hold. We understand the value that you and your family place in your belongings, which is why our team strives to take the utmost care of your home’s contents after a water damage event, working to restore them rather than replace them.

We also know that every water loss is different and requires a unique plan of action. As a result, we offer multiple different types of contents restoration services that fit a variety of scenarios in order to provide the best protection for your belongings. Continue reading to take a closer look at the ways in which we look after and care for your home’s water-damaged contents.

Contents Restoration

Here at SERVPRO, we provide 7 types of contents restoration services in order to ensure that we have a service that will fit your needs, depending on the nature of the water damage that your home’s contents have sustained. Depending on the volume of residue, we may use dry cleaning or wet cleaning if the residue is light or moderate to heavy, respectively. In the event that the damaged contents cannot be restored with wet cleaning, spray and wipe or foam cleaning may be utilized. Foam cleaning is often appropriate for fabric items. Immersion cleaning or abrasive cleaning may also be a good option, depending on the type of items affected.

Move-Out and Pack-Out

When the amount of water damage to your home’s contents is significant, our move-out and pack-out services may be useful, as they help prevent your belongings from undergoing any further damage during the process of restoration. After the job has been completed, we also provide move-in day services, but these may vary depending on your insurance.

Electronic Cleanup

From T.V. sets to computers and DVD players, your electronic devices can become hazardous if they come into contact with water. If your home has experienced water damage, it is crucial that you stay away from your electronic devices and refrain from using them until they have been properly inspected because the combination of electricity and electronics can be deadly. Our team is experienced in caring for water-damaged electronics and we work carefully to properly clean the exterior of each device in an effort to prevent damage to their interiors. Finally, following our cleaning, a trustworthy electronics technician will inspect the device or devices in order to make sure that they are safe for use.

Document and Photograph Drying

Photos and documents often hold our most cherished memories, so it is critical that they receive the best care in the event that they come into contact with even the smallest drop of water. Our team will take every action to completely and thoroughly dry photos and documents. It’s not always possible to restore documents and photos to their pre-water loss condition, as water damage can sometimes be irreversible, but we are committed to preventing them from enduring further water damage. We offer 5 different drying services, vacuum thermal drying, vacuum freeze drying, freezer drying, dehumidifier, and air drying, so that we are able to dry any type of water-damaged contents. In this way, we strive to be able to provide drying services for as many of your belongings as possible.

Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS)

Because every water emergency is stressful, whether it’s a small leak or an overwhelming flood, SERVPRO’s Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS) is here to help. By compiling a detailed list of your home’s contents, complete with photographs and barcoding, you can keep track of your belongings. Included in the inventory is each item’s preloss value in addition to details describing any damage that they have sustained. The CCIS is a tool that will aid in relieving stress and restoring your peace of mind in a time in which you need it most.

Need More Information?

In the event that your home endures water damage and your contents are affected, don’t hesitate. Pick up the phone and call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East at (412) 672-5400 today to schedule a consultation and click here to find answers to any questions that you may have about the ways in which we care for your water-damaged belongings. Beyond caring for your belongings, we also offer many other types of water damage restoration services, which you can learn more about here. Here at SERVPRO, we understand the threat that water damage poses to your valued belongings. Remember that SERVPRO is only a call away and always ready to get to work caring for your home’s contents, making it “Like it never even happened.”

What is Sodablasting and Why is it Useful?

12/16/2020 (Permalink)

It is imperative for SERVPRO technicians to remain informed about technological advancesand techniques that can be used in the restoration industry. This is why SERVPRO is one of the leading water and fire mitigation businesses. Soda-blasting is one of our more case-specificcleaning methods and it couldbe just the service you were looking for when performing both minor and major restoration.


So What Is Soda-Blasting?
Sodablasting is a procedure that uses sodium bicarbonate to deeply clean surfaces as an abrasive material, similar to a power washer. Used generally on concrete walls and wood floors, soda blasting enables our technicians to clean the surfaces in question without excessively harming or damaging it. Contrary to ice-blasting, soda-blasts aim to keep the object it's being applied to, mostly intact. This is unbelievably useful for work on historic objects, beams and plastic and wooden material of all kinds, as the structural integrity of the object being cleaned is never seriously stressed.

Over the year 2020, it was important particularly in the case of a log cabin in HowardCounty Maryland, where this technique was used throughout almost the entire building after a large fire which singed about 80% of the interior walls and ceilings. We believe that this is one of the finest methods for cleaning wooden surfaces that are harmed by fire or mold since it thoroughly cleanses the surfaces and does not significantly harm the structural integrity of the wood.


Why Choose Us?
You want a teamwho investigates the problem and figure out what happened to prevent the situation from happening again. ,Within the first hour, our technicians can diagnose and identify the problem at hand and diagnose a solution tailored specifically to the situation. We consider that rarely is there aone-size-fits-all solution and every situation is special, so our crews must be as well-informed as to make the right choice for YOU.


We recognize the value of rebuilding and operating your company as soon as possible after exposure to fires, smoke and water. You can be confident thatSERVPRO and the clean-up service specialists for a clean person who will go above and beyond to make your needs heard.

An Overview of Our Fire Restoration Process

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

When a fire ignites in a home or business, SERVPRO is prepared to help make the fire “Like it never even happened,” by employing our 7-step fire restoration process. We’ve seen firsthand the effects that fires can have on properties as well as the lives of the people who live or work in them. It is of the utmost importance to us that we help our customers pick up the pieces and return to business as usual as soon as possible. Fires can be accompanied by distress and chaos, but by calling SERVPRO and trusting our thorough, 7-step method for restoring fire damage, you can relax. To learn more about each step of our fire restoration process, keep reading. It begins with your phone call.

  1. Emergency Contact

All it takes is one phone call to begin fire damage restoration services for your home or business. Make SERVPRO your first call after the fire has been extinguished so that we can design a plan of action tailored to your property’s specific needs. With this information in mind, we will make sure that we arrive on the site quickly, outfitted with the resources and equipment suitable for your home or business.

  1. Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

Upon arrival, our experienced fire damage team will examine your property in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the scope of the damage. When our team of fire damage experts arrives on the scene, they will survey the extent of the property’s fire damage. Depending on the scope of the fire, smoke, and soot loss, we will craft the most effective restoration plan for your home or business.

  1. Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Services

As a result of a fire, roofs, windows, and doors can undergo damage, which can compromise other areas of the property, leaving them susceptible to additional damage. Therefore, our team will place boards and tarps over exposed areas in order to further protect your home or business.

  1. Water Removal and Drying

Water damage can be the product of the process of extinguishing the fire with water. If your property has experienced this type of water damage, our team will make sure to thoroughly remove all of the water present. First, we will tackle standing water. Then, we will use dehumidifiers and air movers to get rid of the remaining water. Both of these actions will guarantee that your home or business will be thoroughly dried.

  1. Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

After a fire, there is often smoke and soot residue present on various surfaces, such as ceilings and walls. This step in our fire restoration process involves removing all traces of smoke and soot, which we accomplish with our specialized equipment.

  1. Cleaning and Sanitizing

Following the removal of smoke and soot, our focus is cleaning and sanitizing objects that have survived the fire. For every item that we can salvage, we will use our wide array of cleaning techniques to clean, sanitize, and disinfect them. We will also utilize our fogging equipment and industrial scrubbers to get rid of odors. Above all, we aim to provide your home or business with an exceptional clean.

  1. Restoration

The culminating step in our fire restoration process is completing any repair work necessary to restore your home or business to its condition before the fire. This work can range from minor repairs to major repairs. Minor repairs often entail anything from installing new carpet to replacing drywall or giving a room a fresh coat of paint. As for major repairs, we may rebuild or restore particular rooms or areas of the home or business that have been significantly damaged. In the end, we will have your property looking as good as new.

In Need of Fire Damage Restoration? We’re Only a Call Away

After a devastating fire, you need a team that you can trust to quickly and efficiently restore your home or business for a speedy return to normalcy. Remember that SERVPRO is ready to help and only one, quick call away. A fire can be stressful, regardless of whether it occurs in your home or your business. Our 7-step fire restoration process will ensure that every aspect of restoring your property is followed through completely. You can learn more about our fire restoration services by clicking here. If your home or business has experienced a fire, be sure to call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East today at (412) 672-5400.

Are You Familiar With These Hidden Residential Fire Hazards?

12/2/2020 (Permalink)

Residential fires, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, account for 27% of all fires. The residential fire hazards that first come to mind are likely the stove and electrical wiring, objects that involve an open flame or electricity. However, there are several fire hazards in the home that often go unnoticed. Here are 3 hidden, residential fire hazards that are important to recognize in order to protect your home:

  • Glassware

Remember the classic science experiment of starting a fire using a magnifying glass? While it is a rare occurrence, other types of glassware in the home, including vases and drinking glasses, can start a fire. All that’s needed for a fire to ignite is a focused ray of light to pass through a piece of glassware and focus on a nearby flammable object. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep glassware away from windows.

  • Laptops

The whirring sound of the fan kicking in, the surface of your desk becoming warm. These are the signs that your laptop is working hard and overheating. When your laptop is overheating, be sure to keep it on a hard surface instead of on a blanket, sofa, or any type of fabric, as they are flammable and could increase the risk of a fire starting.

  • Loose Outlets

Faulty electrical wiring usually comes to mind as a hazard when we think of causes of fires in the home, but it is beneficial to consider electrical outlets to be equally dangerous. If you’ve ever tried to plug a cord into an outlet and watched it immediately fall out, you’ve experienced the effects of loose blades inside of an electrical outlet. An electrical outlet’s blades naturally loosen over time and when they become too loose, they can conduct enormous heat, risking a fire. 

Residential fires, igniting and spreading quickly, can pose a serious threat to the safety of those living in your home and risk devastating fire damage. In order to protect your home from a dangerous fire, practice caution and keep hidden fire hazards in the back of your mind.

If a fire ignites in your home, leaving fire damage in its path, don’t hesitate. Call SERVPRO today. You can trust our fire damage experts and our fire, smoke, and soot restoration services to restore damaged areas of your home and make it “Like it never even happened.” Check out our Fire Damage Brochure and learn more about our fire damage restoration services here.

Chris's Interview Debrief

11/25/2020 (Permalink)

If you watched our latest Employee Highlight episode about Chris Hoeltke, you may know that Hoeltke is the kind of man who seeks adventure and newness, while valuing reliability and family. For this employee highlight episode, which you can find on our Facebook page, Chris Hoeltke caught us up on his life and work.

Besides running the warehouse at SERVPRO: Hunt Valley & Harford County, Chris has several passions. His love for fixing and repairing things stems from working on cars with his father as a child. Furthermore, his love for boats has been further proven by the sixteen he has owned in his lifetime.

Throughout our interview with Hoeltke, he filled us in on his job history. He explained he never stays at a job long. Often, he shows a pattern of working at any given job for five years or so, working his way to the top, then moving on.

“I get bored,” he explained. When Chris finds that a job no longer offers challenges, he finds it hard to feel the same excitement everyday.  He says this is why working as the Warehouse Coordinator for SERVPRO has been the ideal job. Chris never knows what to expect when he walks into the warehouse doors. It could be that equipment needs fixing, an out-of-state storm job may need his expertise, or a nearby job might need his guidance. Either way, whatever the jobs of the day are, Chris is happy to do them since they’re always different from yesterday.

During our interview with Chris, we also talked about his recent trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Back in late August, the town of Lake Charles was hit with Hurricane Laura. Unfortunately, shortly after, the town was hit once again with Hurricane Delta. Hearing of back-to-back destruction, SERVPRO: Team Wall’s Disaster Recovery Team traveled south to help businesses and families in need. Chris was part of this team. 

 “I was happy ‘cause I got to see my family,” Hoeltke stated. 

Before leaving for Lake Charles, Hoeltke had already spoken with Jim Wall, owner of SERVPRO Team Wall, about his family in that area.

“[Jim] let me go down a day early so I could spend a day in New Orleans… I got to see my parents who I hadn’t seen in 15-18 years.” 

Hoeltke was overjoyed by the visit to see his family. He talked of his mom’s home cooking, his newest nieces and nephews, and the way everyone got to catch up on the last decade and a half.

In all, we greatly appreciate the work Chris has done for SERVPRO. Thank you, Chris, for being such a valuable and friendly team member.

Asbestos Abatement - We Do That

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

Asbestos is a term that carries a lot of weight to it. You may already have seen commercials about it before, urging the public to check for asbestos within their homes due to the serious health risks linked with long and consistent exposure to the materials. Mesothelioma is the primary concern. It is characterized as a tumor of the tissues that line your lungs, stomach, and heart. It really is a serious concern and it’s important to know how to go about checking for asbestos.

Production of asbestos originally began in the early 20th century as a popular building material. It can be found in all sorts of things, to gaskets, roofing sealants, wall panels, ceiling panels, and more. It was well used in all sorts of things because of its natural fire retardant, sound absorbent, and insulative properties. Until the 1980’s asbestos could be found in just about every household until it was found that prolonged exposure could cause serious health risks.

It was found that when asbestos particles found their way into our bodies, they would get lodged in major organs, clogging them up and occasionally forming very harmful tumors. These tiny fibers could get stuck inside these organs forever, irritating healthy cells until health issues such as mesothelioma developed.

In the restoration and mitigation industry, exposure to asbestos is a very real threat our production team can be faced with as we go about our tasks job. Breaking down drywall, opening up air vents, taking apart plumbing, and then rebuilding it all. If not properly tested for, we aren’t doing our due diligence to keep us, the employees, or you the property owner, safe. Safety is always a top priority especially in our business, and our job first and foremost is to make sure our customers are safe and secure from the initial call to years after a job is completed. This is why we give you the information because knowledge and understanding is the first defense against any mishap.

Common Building Materials Containing Asbestos

As follows, but not limited to:

  • Resilient Floor Tiles (specifically vinyl sheet flooring and other adhesive tiles
  • Soundproofing or decorative material (i.e. popcorn ceilings)
  • Patching and joint compound for walls and ceilings
  • Textured paints
  • Asbestos cement roofing, shingles, and siding

Our team performs asbestos testing as commonplace practice before we start any demolition job as it is important to the safety of all involved. We utilize a third party Industrial Hygienist (WHO?) to perform testing on samples and compile a protocol for abatement (a term commonly used to describe the lessening of something) in the case of positive results.

In the past, we subcontracted with external Asbestos Abatement services needed to third party providers. However, since 2018, our internal teams have completed the training, testing, and certification processes required to perform Asbestos Abatement in house so that we can get onto the demo stage faster and enrich our teams with better knowledge in the process.

Example

In late 2020, we (Team Wall) completed an Asbestos Abatement at a large scale senior living facility in West Virginia. A kitchen fire had escalated into the attic space of a four unit townhome, two of the four units suffered extensive fire damage and were in desperate need of a quick demo and mitigation so that we could get to the rebuild stage and get those poor tenants back into their homes as soon as possible. Luckily, because of our certifications, we were able to get this done faster due to our ability to conduct this in house, where as other companies might take extra days or even weeks to get the O.K. to start demolition.

It’s a good thing we did too. When the asbestos test came back we found that the mastic underneath the tiles as well as the joint compounds used in the initial construction of the house came up positive for asbestos. Being trained, our team got to work in completing a full scale asbestos abatement in order to decontaminate the units and begin demoing’  with the end goal of replacing the whole unit with all new materials in mind.

At the time of writing this, our team received clearance a week ago and are now finishing up reconstruction services, whereas some other companies might now only have been on the demolition proves. On the exterior, we replaced windows, siding, and the whole roof. On the interior, we installed all new duct work, electrical wiring, plumbing insulation, all new kitchen cabinetry, countertops, appliances, drywall, flooring, trim, and finished it off with a fresh coat of paint, through ALL the units affected. Truly, we are a one stop shop.

Yep, we did that too.

SERVPRO is unfortunately though of as solely a water and fire mitigation company. People think, we go in, wipe some soot off of a wall and leave, but, as you can see, we are so much more than that and our services stretch far and wide. If your property has been affected, seemingly by anything, give us a call. If you need a team that can truly “be-all do-all”, you’re in the right place, and you’re in safe hands.

Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall

Halloween Fire Safety Tips

10/29/2020 (Permalink)

Whenever there's a reason to dress up at work, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East likes to really let it all out. It's not rare to see those of us here with devil horns or witch hats on as early as October 1. We don't fool around when there's any excuse for us to act a little "extra". Many of us here are currently decking our houses with massive lighting, animatronic corpses, fog machines, microphones, you name it, all in the spirit of the holiday. What does all of this need? Loads of energy and that kind of power, gone unchecked can cause massive power surges or even fires. If you're not careful, "Halloween Nightmares" could become an all too real thing, unlike the plastic animatronics and fake monsters. So, how do we prevent this?

  • Ditch the Harvest Crops

A common theme that many people can have when setting up their haunted houses is making it look a bit like a farmhouse. It's not uncommon to see dried out corn stalks, hay bales, or even just piles of wood sat out in front of people's houses. Generally speaking, leaving these things out around open flames or machines liable to cause fires, is not the greatest idea. 

  • Switch to Switches

Along with the previous statement. Who doesn't love a good jack-o-lantern. We sure do. Something to keep in mind is that most times, people will use open flames in jack-o-lanterns or in luminaries and this can be another huge fire hazard if you're not careful. We suggest switching these over to LED lights. They're reusable, safer, and come in a whole wide range of colors.

  • Keep An Eye on Your Costume

Another common problem is wardrobe malfunctions. Long draping sashes, Flowing Dresses, Acrylic hair pieces, bits of string, all of these things can get caught over an open flame, or stuck in some sort of machinery and cause some serious issues.

  • Always Check Your Equipment

We all might have that one person, maybe it's you, who decides to pull out some sort of heavy power tools or farm equipment and drop them in the front lawn. Always make sure to check your equipment before starting it up. Gas caps, saw blades, fuel lines, extension cords, make sure to practice proper safety if you decide to mess with heavy machinery on Halloween night.

  • Test Your Outlets

Especially those that are set outside exposed to the elements. We here at SERVPRO know a lot about "daisy-chaining" heavy loads of power and how to do it safely, it's part of the job, but it can get messy fast. Always make sure how much power you're putting in, and how much the outlet can take before you plug anything in, especially if your house looks like a death metal album cover.

Accident prevention is the key to making smart, calculated decisions that could cost you in the long run. We always strive to provide customers with solutions to everyday problems in hopes that they will never need our services again. We know how hard house fires can be for families and we will always be here to get people back on their feet in their time of need. If all else fails, remember, you can always call on your local SERVPRO for assistance.

Job of the Quarter (Q4 2020)

10/20/2020 (Permalink)

PrimeCare Medical Rebuild

It’s no secret that 2020 has thrown us many wide-ranging, strange challenges. In order to thrive this year, we’ve learned that embracing a “let’s figure it out” attitude by seeking alternatives and adapting to the curveballs that have been thrown at us is key. In fact, this kind of attitude isn’t just helpful in the face of unpredictability, but at any point in time.

We have “7 Pillars” that we value at Team Wall: Solutions, Hustle, Persistence, Team, Accountability, Consistency, and Quality. Every day, our team is expected to embody these 7 Pillars. They’re more than just buzzwords. They’re the very aspects of our customer service that set us apart.

What we look for when choosing the “Job of the Quarter” is an example of all 7 Pillars at work. This quarter, it was our work at PrimeCare Medical without question. In addition to displaying our 7 Pillars, this job also debunked a stereotype that SERVPRO “doesn’t do rebuild work”, which simply isn’t true. Here at SERVPRO, we handle everything, from the beginning of the job to the very end.

Our phone rang just after 3 AM with a request for emergency water mitigation services at a Harrisburg office building that had undergone a sprinkler head malfunction. As a result, the building had suffered water damage to its structure and a water discharge that affected over 2 dozen offices on the second floor. Our team arrived onsite and began work by 4:20 AM that same morning. We mean it when we say that our response time is second to none.

We met with the building’s ownership later that morning and finalized a plan to execute the rebuild as soon as we finished our mitigation and demo process. While that may sound like a quick conversation, a large portion was spent discussing the subject of “Rebuild” because the ownership wasn’t aware that SERVPRO carried out reconstruction work. Because of this, they were hesitant to put this job into our hands, but our lead time was what secured the job. We are able to begin reconstruction work just one day after the completion of mitigation services. When using several vendors, that turnaround time is difficult to match, especially in commercial work when as we all know, time is of the essence.

Our team finished the water mitigation and demo process for the contents and structure of the building throughout the following 3 ½ weeks with our trademark hustle. All the while, we were busy planning behind the scenes for the reconstruction work on the affected areas. We promised the ownership a 60-day turnaround time. In order to execute the job on time, we knew that planning and preparation would be critical.

We succeeded and fulfilled the customer’s requests, leaving the customer so pleased that they gave us additional repair work to put the finishing touches on the building’s restoration and rebuild operation. We committed to completing this additional repair work within 30 days in order to get the company back in their building as soon as possible.

Every job is unique, which is why we make it a point to communicate with our customers on a regular basis, ensuring that our work is meeting their specific needs. Throughout this job, we were in regular contact with the customer as well as key stakeholders, updating them on our progress.

After any disaster, SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall aims to be your “one-stop-shop”. Over the years, our Reconstruction department has grown into a strong, talented team that lives up to that famous SERVPRO motto, “Like it never even happened.” The opportunity to help companies such as PrimeCare Medical is something for which we are grateful every day and we look forward to future opportunities to do the same for you and your customers.

Running Towards the Storm

10/6/2020 (Permalink)

Have you ever experienced the eerie, strange feeling when you’re coasting down the highway, the sole person driving southbound out of all four lanes, but on the northbound side, you see cars sitting bumper to bumper and wonder, “What did I just miss?”

  Here at SERVPRO, that feeling arises often, but we don’t necessarily consider it eerie. It’s just what we do. Floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and natural disasters propel us toward the storm while everyone else is leaving town, and we arrive prepared to get right to work.

  Is this easy? Absolutely not. Easy will never be an adjective used to describe our storm response work. However, is it worth it? Yes, in every aspect of the word.

  Just this year, we were able to help businesses and homes in Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Saginaw, MI; Washington DC; Bear, DE; Cleveland, OH (again); and as of late, Orange Beach, AL and Pensacola, FL. And there are still 3 months left in the year.

  Our Vision Statement here at Team Wall is “Restore peace of mind to EVERY customer. EVERY day.” We keep this in mind every day at home, but it takes on a whole new meaning when we’re racing toward storms, getting ready to help people in need. Mother Nature, a force that’s completely out of anyone’s control, has the power to change lives overnight. Our experienced team members are sent to support those affected throughout each step of the restoration process. Every step, whether it’s demolition, drying, rebuild, or even insurance coverage and approvals, brings new challenges. Our job is to be the advocate and facilitator for our customers while they work through a life-altering event and it’s what we love to do.

  Our team that is currently responding to Hurricane Sally’s storm damage deserves a special shoutout. You are essential and we cannot even begin to thank you for your effort!

Preventing Dryer Fires

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Dryer Beyond cleaning out the lint filter before and after every use, there are several other steps that you can take to avoid a fire igniting.

It’s known that residential fires can be devastating, spreading to other areas of the home in the blink of an eye and inflicting serious damage in their wake. One cause of residential fires that may come as a surprise is your clothes dryer. Out of all residential fires that emanate from the laundry room, dryer fires count for an impressive 92%, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. We use our clothes dryers every day, so it is important to know how to prevent an unwanted fire in the laundry room. Let’s talk about what causes dryer fires so that you can use that information to keep your home safe.

Clean That Lint Filter!

The leading cause of dryer fires is not cleaning them, which is something that can easily be remedied. Every time that you use the dryer, lint accumulates in the lint trap, which in turn reduces airflow. Lint is highly flammable, so it is of the utmost importance that you clean the lint filter not once a week or even once every few days, but before and after every use. This simple action can make a huge difference in keeping your dryer working efficiently and decreasing the chances of a dryer fire.

Other Ways to Prevent Dryer Fires

Beyond cleaning out the lint filter before and after every use, there are several other steps that you can take to avoid a fire igniting.

  • Move Flammable Objects Away from the Dryer

Sometimes, the laundry room can become a storage area for household cleaning supplies and other flammable liquids. Be sure to keep these items away from the dryer in order to decrease the likelihood of a fire spreading quickly, should one ignite.

  • Pay Close Attention To Clothing Labels

Most fabric items, such as clothes, towels, and linens, include a tag that details specific directions for washing and drying. These drying directions can vary from “high heat” to “tumble dry low”. It is important to follow those instructions, as drying an item on “high heat” when it actually calls for “tumble dry low” could result in a fire.

  • Check the Outdoor Vent Flap

Clothes dryers have an outdoor vent flap, which enables hot air and lint to escape the unit. In order to prevent a fire, it is critical that the vent flap is not blocked by debris of any sort.

If Disaster Strikes…

Accidents happen. While dryer fires and any fire damage that they bring upon your home can be upsetting, remember that SERVPRO is always just a call away. Working quickly, our team of fire damage experts will restore your home, making your dryer fire “Like it never even happened.” Learn more about our residential fire damage services here and call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East for professional fire damage restoration today.

How to Prevent a Sub Pump Failure

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

Sump pumps, drainage systems often employed in the basements of commercial buildings, protect buildings from the harmful effects of flooding and water damage by pumping water out of the basement. The failure of a building’s sump pump can be catastrophic, threatening the safety of a commercial building’s important documents, objects, and furniture. Your commercial business can take actions to prevent your building from suffering a sump pump failure by understanding various reasons as to why sump pumps might fail in the first place.

Causes

Infrequent Maintenance

Your risk of a sump pump failure is heightened when your unit isn’t undergoing maintenance on a regular basis. Make sure to regularly check that your sump pump’s vents are working properly and consider running a vinegar solution through the unit for cleaning in order to keep things running smoothly.

Old Age

It is also important to think about the age of your sump pump. Because sump pumps endure their fair share of wear and tear over the years, it is not uncommon for sump pumps to fail after 7-10 years. You can prevent a disastrous failure by keeping a closer eye on your sump pump as it nears this age range and consider replacing the unit if it begins to malfunction.

Power Outage

Sump pumps are also at a greater risk for failure during hurricane season and the summer months due to turbulent summer storms. Storms can serve as a double-whammy for sump pumps, as they often bring large amounts of rain and occasionally, power outages. Without electricity, sump pumps will not be able to complete their job of pumping rainwater away from the building. Hooking your business’ sump pump up to a backup generator can help your sump pump continue to run smoothly and avoid a failure.

Sump Pump Failure? Call SERVPRO

Sump pump failures can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that SERVPRO and our team of commercial water damage experts have your back. We are experienced in sump pump failures and will tailor our water damage restoration services to your business’ specific needs. For more information about our commercial water damage services, click here. To schedule your consultation, call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East today at (412) 672-5400 today.

3 Common Sources of Water Damage in the Kitchen

9/1/2020 (Permalink)

Water Faucet The sink is probably the first kitchen appliance that comes to mind when you think of water usage.

No area of the home is completely immune to water damage; it can occur anywhere. The kitchen is particularly at risk for water damage due to the amount of water required for everyday tasks such as washing dishes and preparing meals. Because water damage can have devastating consequences, it is beneficial to understand which areas of the kitchen are at the greatest risk for leaks. Keep reading to gain more information about 3 areas of the kitchen that most frequently experience leaks that could lead to water damage.

  • The Refrigerator and Ice Maker

During the summer, a cold, refreshing glass of water makes all the difference on a hot day. The refrigerator and ice maker make this possible by producing ice, but ice makers seem to frequently generate leaks. From improper installation to parts becoming damaged or worn-out, ice makers can leak for a handful of reasons. Puddles of water on the floor beneath the fridge and ice maker are usually good indicators that there is a leak. To prevent water damage, be on the lookout for water on the floor and make sure that the refrigerator and ice maker undergo regular maintenance and inspection.

  • The Dishwasher

We load and unload our dishwashers in order to clean silverware, plates, and cups on a daily basis, sometimes even multiple times a day. The amount of water required to carry out this task is tremendous and combined with the fact that the dishwasher is used so frequently, dishwashers pose a significant threat to the kitchen. Dishwashers can create water damage by leaking or flooding as a result of using the wrong type of detergent, a bent or broken dishwasher door latch, or the dishwasher overfilling with water. Watch out for puddles of water underneath the dishwasher, as it may be the sign of a leak.

  • The Sink

The sink is probably the first kitchen appliance that comes to mind when you think of water usage. We use the kitchen sink to fill up a cup of water, wash our hands, and wash dishes, among many other tasks. Water damage can occur when parts of the sink become corroded or when the drain or faucet leaks. About every 6 months, it is beneficial to take a look at the pipes beneath the sink and check for leaks as well as damaged sink parts in order to prevent water damage coming from the sink.

Because of the often costly and devastating effects of water damage, such as structural damage and mold and mildew growth, it is important to do everything in your power to avoid water damage. However, if you do experience water damage in your kitchen, don’t worry. SERVPRO and our team of water damage specialists are here for you. We will arrive on the scene quickly with our advanced drying equipment and techniques in order to make your kitchen water damage “Like it never even happened,” and bring your kitchen back to normal. Call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East today at (412) 672-5400 and for more information about our water damage services, click here.

Taking it to the Streets (A Quarterly Newsletter excerpt)

8/17/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Hallway Are you ready for back to school?

The governors of Pennsylvania and Maryland announced way back in mid-March the statewide closures of public schools as a result of growing concerns over COVID-19. Students, parents, and teachers were forced to adapt to the new reality of virtual learning from home. With fall on the horizon, many are wondering: Will students make the return to school this fall or will virtual learning prevail?

Will Students Return to the Classroom?

A recent article titled “Superintendents say schools in Central Maryland unlikely to return to normal in the fall, published in the Baltimore Sun, outlines Maryland schools’ dilemma as superintendents of Baltimore-area schools assess an array of options for fall reopening. The chances of a return to “in-person classes five days a week” are, according to superintendents, slim (Bowie, 2020). The decision to hold entirely virtual classes this fall has already been made by Pittsburgh Public Schools and several Maryland counties. Meanwhile, many other schools and school districts have announced hybrid methods, providing students with a combination of virtual and in-person classes this fall, or completely virtual instruction.

Schools Consider Different Plans

Colleges and universities throughout the region are considering different hybrid methods of learning. However some institutions, such as Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, have decided that students will take classes online and not return to campus this fall. Both the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Maryland have announced plans to bring students back to campus this fall, though their schedules will consist mostly of virtual classes. In order for students to return safely, both universities have said that they will have safety precautions in place, including mandatory mask wearing and social distancing, as well as providing on-campus isolation facilities (coronavirus.pitt.edu, 2020; umd.edu, 2020). Though the universities’ safety protocols are extensive, will they be enough? That’s the million-dollar question.

SERVPRO Can Help

The models of learning that schools will put in place this fall will differ from institution to institution. Regardless of what decision is made, SERVPRO can provide a solution that fits: our “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program. “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” is a disinfectant cleaning program that can be included in your school’s fall reopening plan. The program guarantees a hospital-grade clean that uses EPA approved disinfectants. Through the CSC program, frequently contacted touchpoints in schools, including desktops and chair backs, and less frequently contacted touchpoints, such as the backs of desks and bathroom stall walls, will receive the highest standard of cleaning. Schools can receive defensive CSC cleaning on a regular basis or, if the school has a positive case of COVID-19, the program can be applied for immediate disinfecting. After undergoing a “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” cleaning, SERVPRO provides physical and digital signage so schools can display proof that they have received the highest standard of cleaning in order to give students, teachers, and parents peace of mind.

This fall will bring new challenges and its fair share of uncertainty, but you can make certain that your school is ready for anything this fall by integrating SERVPRO’s “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program into your individual reopening plan. 

Teaming up with SERVPRO of Frederick County

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

Our parent franchise SERVPRO Hunt Valley & Harford County was sent to a major fire loss that demanded the creation of a roof in order to prevent any incoming storms from seeping through the remaining condos below. We are always looking for the right technologies to provide all our consumers with the finest quality of operation. 

For more information, and progress photos, check out our Facebook post!

"SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County, along with SERVPRO of Frederick County were recently called to mitigate a devastating condo fire. The roof of the 12 unit building was completely destroyed. Check out these pictures to see the installation progress on the temporary roof and shrink wrap installed last week. This will protect the condo units through the restoration process until a permanent roof can be rebuilt. Isais didn’t stand a chance."

Owners Corner: 2nd Quarter 2020

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

The Owner’s Corner is a section of our quarterly newsletter in which our owners share their perspective on the past quarter. This quarter, one of our owners, Trish Wall, shared her thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on Team Wall:

Back in January, our last quarterly newsletter was published. That was six months ago. Here we are at the end of July with only our second “Quarterly” newsletter of this year. It doesn’t quite add up, does it? You’re not mistaken. I bet you’ll never guess the reason for this… COVID-19.

When I wrote the last Owner’s Corner article, it was New Year’s Eve and I was feeling a plethora of emotions as 2020 sat on our doorstep. I channeled all of my excited, pensive, anxious, and hopeful emotions when I summarized our 2020 strategy: “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable”. None of us could have imagined just how far-seeing this would be.

COVID-19 impacted everyone in this country in unique ways, both personally and professionally. Our team was challenged on a professional level to take on new, daunting challenges and take change by the reins. On March 11th of this year, we were a restoration company that offered cleaning services. The following day, after completing our first COVID-19 cleaning job, we became a cleaning company that offered restoration services. Nothing’s more uncomfortable than flipping your business model overnight.

Jumping in with both feet, our team immediately stepped up to the challenge. Our company had the tools and resources on hand to help “flatten the curve” and after all, we felt (and still feel) an enormous responsibility to serve our community. It’s been four months since our first COVID-19 cleaning and the efforts that we’ve made to help curtail the pandemic in our community have instilled a wonderful sense of pride in our team members.

The amount of pride that Jim and I hold for our team, however, is even greater. The John Maxwell quote, “Change is Inevitable. Growth is Optional”, comes to mind. When the uncertainties of life during the pandemic surrounded them, our team members consciously chose growth. It was a decision that leaves us in awe to this day.

As owners, we strive to instill a dual sense of continuing professional and personal growth in our team members. Seeing it play out right in front of us over the past few months has been deeply gratifying. During this turbulent time in our country, we are grateful to know that our company has been able to make a positive impact on our community. Even more, we appreciate our team for living out Team Wall’s vision statement, “Restoring peace of mind to EVERY customer. EVERY day”.

We hope that you stay safe, stay healthy, and keep growing!

Sincerely,

Jim and Trish Wall

P.S. Among my favorite podcast series is Entreleadership. In May, John Maxwell was featured as a guest in one episode and spoke on the topic of Personal Growth. We found it to be very impactful and think that it would be worth your time to give it a listen: https://www.entreleadership.com/blog/podcasts/john-maxwell-success. Here is one particular thought that I love from this podcast:

“I’m going to live til I die and I’m not going to get the two confused.”

Water Damage After a Toilet Overflow? Here's What To Do

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Toilet After assessing the situation, it is important to take action right away.

It’s safe to say that a toilet overflow is the last thing that anyone wants in their home. With an overflow comes a mess to clean up and a risk for water damage. The bathroom floor and other nearby surfaces are not the only areas that can experience damage from a toilet overflow, as leaking water may seep down into the ceiling below. In order to protect your home from the unpleasant and potentially devastating effects of a toilet overflow, it is important to learn about what causes toilets to overflow and what to do if a toilet overflows in your home.

What Causes a Toilet Overflow?

There’s no one, specific reason why toilets overflow. Instead, overflows can arise from a variety of complications. However, three instances that commonly cause toilet overflows include a blocked vent pipe, a clogged drain, and sewage complications.

Each time a toilet is flush, external air is needed, which is transported in via the vent pipe. An overflow can occur if the vent pipe becomes blocked, which hinders the toilet’s ability to flush properly. Unfortunately, a blocked vent pipe isn’t a quick fix and the help of an expert plumber will most likely be needed.

Another catalyst of toilet overflows is a clogged drain. When the toilet drain is clogged, water and waste cannot flush correctly, which increases the risk of an overflow. The good news is that this issue can usually be solved by plunging the toilet yourself.

Lastly, two different complications involving sewage systems, a clogged sewer line and a full septic tank, can cause your toilet to overflow. A sewer line can be blocked by debris, tree roots, and sanitary materials. When this happens, your home can be at risk for not just a toilet overflow, but for additional serious damage as well, which can require professional help. Some homes use septic tanks, which collect waste and release excess water into the ground. When a septic tank is full, water cannot be released and moves back up into your home, which has the potential of resulting in an overflow. This is why it is beneficial to have tanks emptied and replaced on a regular basis.

How to Clean Up

Your reaction upon first seeing a toilet overflow in your bathroom may be “oh no!” or “ugh why?”, but immediately after assessing the situation, it is important to take action right away. First, turn off the water and make sure that the overflow has stopped. The next highest priority should be to quickly clean up all standing water by using a wet vacuum, mop, or towels. If water is left sitting on a surface, your bathroom will be at risk for water damage and mold growth. Next, dry out the area to the best of your ability using a high-powered fan or opening windows. This will also help to prevent mold growth and water damage. Finally, be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect the bathroom.

We’re Water Damage Specialists

Water damage due to a toilet overflow can be minimized if you catch it right away, stop it quickly, and know how to properly clean up. However, it is possible that they may occur when no one is home, causing water from the overflow to damage surfaces. Remember that here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, we are water damage specialists. Our experienced team will work quickly to get your bathroom back in shape, making it “like it never even happened.” Learn more about our water damage services by clicking here.

How To Prepare For Hurricane Season

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Satellite View of a Hurricane If a storm strikes while employees are in the building, it is important that there is an emergency plan specific to your business that they can follow

As we near the end of July, we find ourselves almost two months into hurricane season in the United States, as it spans from June 1st to November 30th. It’s important to note that here on the east coast, August through October is usually the height of hurricane season. This year, we may be in store for a 50% more severe hurricane season than usual, according to a study recently published by Colorado State University. Hurricanes pose a significant threat to commercial business and small businesses in particular. So, as we approach the beginning of August, it’s critical that commercial businesses prepare and take action in order to prevent devastating hurricane damage.

Take Action Before The Storm

Many businesses have essential documents that house important information. During a hurricane, such documents have an increased risk of becoming damaged or destroyed. Keeping important documents in waterproof storage containers and making copies to keep off-site are two ways in which you can best protect essential information. Additionally, in an emergency, it is important to be able to contact employees. Because many employees may be working remotely instead of where they would normally be working, make sure that your business has updated contact information to reach them and confirm their safety during an emergency. To protect your business’ property, it may be beneficial to have your roof inspected for underlying damage so that if there are any issues, they can be resolved prior to the storm’s arrival. Additionally, purchasing storm shutters and sandbags can be useful in preventing damage from flying debris and flooding.

Have A Plan In Place

If a storm strikes while employees are in the building, it is important that there is an emergency plan specific to your business that they can follow. Put together a plan that indicates which stairwells and exits employees should use and make sure that the employees familiarize themselves with the plan. Posting copies of the plan with visuals around the building to serve as reminders can be incredibly helpful guidance during an emergency.

SERVPRO Is Here To Help

Taking these precautions can increase your business’ level of hurricane preparedness and decrease the probability of undergoing extensive storm damage, but can still bring unexpected devastation. This hurricane season, if your business succumbs to unforeseen damage due to a hurricane, look no further than SERVPRO. Our team of disaster recovery and storm damage experts are highly trained and ready to help your business return to its pre-storm condition as soon as possible.

Clean Your Business With Commercial Ice Blasting

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Before and After Ice Blasting Pictured is a shot of before (top) and after (bottom) an attic cleaning job, spliced together. About 80 years of soot and mildew damage came right off

Here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, we offer a number of solutions to your commercial business’ water, mold, or fire and smoke damage. One such cleanup service that can be used to successfully remediate all three types of damage is ice blasting. Continue reading as we dive deeper into our commercial ice blasting services to learn more about this exciting technique and the ways in which it could be beneficial to your commercial business.

What is Ice Blasting?

In the process of ice blasting, pellets of carbon dioxide in its solid form, better known as “dry ice”, are expelled and move at a high speed toward the damaged surface. When the pellets make contact with the surface, they undergo sublimation, in which the solid carbon dioxide converts into a gas. The reaction cleans the damaged surface, thereby ridding the surface from residue ranging from mold to soot.

How Can It Be Used?

Our ice blasting commercial services are versatile, as they can be used to combat water damage, mold growth, and fire and smoke damage. If your commercial business has experienced water damage from a leak or flood, ice blasting can be used to speedily remediate wet or damp surfaces and thoroughly eliminate any mold growth that may have occurred as a result of the water damage. If your business has a mold infestation, you can trust ice blasting to eliminate 99.9% of all mold spores and deodorize the impacted area. After a fire, ice blasting can clear out contaminants and soot, as well as remove any odors resulting from fire damage. Regardless of where the damaged surface is located, ice blasting can help, as it is able to clean hard-to-reach areas. Lastly, ice blasting is an effective cleanup agent on a wide array of surfaces. Our commercial ice blasting services support brick, concrete, and wood ice blasting, among several other surface types.

Why Choose Our Ice Blasting Commercial Services?

You may be asking, what makes ice blasting such a good choice? Aside from being a cleanup service that is both effective and time efficient, ice blasting offers a plethora of advantages. As it is a non-abrasive treatment, ice blasting guarantees that neither the affected surface nor its surrounding areas will sustain additional damage. Ice blasting also won’t add moisture to the affected area because it is an entirely dry cleanup process. Our commercial ice blasting surfaces are also environmentally-friendly, free from harmful chemicals, and don’t produce any secondary waste.

With so many uses and a long list of advantages, it’s clear that ice blasting is a great method for whatever restoration service your commercial business may need. If your commercial business has experienced water, mold, or fire and smoke damage, call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East today at (412) 672-5400. Trust our ice blasting commercial services to bring your business relief fast.

Clean Your Business With Commercial Ice Blasting

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Before and After Ice Blasting Pictured is a shot of before (top) and after (bottom) an attic cleaning job, spliced together. About 80 years of soot and mildew damage came right off

Here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, we offer a number of solutions to your commercial business’ water, mold, or fire and smoke damage. One such cleanup service that can be used to successfully remediate all three types of damage is ice blasting. Continue reading as we dive deeper into our commercial ice blasting services to learn more about this exciting technique and the ways in which it could be beneficial to your commercial business.

What is Ice Blasting?

In the process of ice blasting, pellets of carbon dioxide in its solid form, better known as “dry ice”, are expelled and move at a high speed toward the damaged surface. When the pellets make contact with the surface, they undergo sublimation, in which the solid carbon dioxide converts into a gas. The reaction cleans the damaged surface, thereby ridding the surface from residue ranging from mold to soot.

How Can It Be Used?

Our ice blasting commercial services are versatile, as they can be used to combat water damage, mold growth, and fire and smoke damage. If your commercial business has experienced water damage from a leak or flood, ice blasting can be used to speedily remediate wet or damp surfaces and thoroughly eliminate any mold growth that may have occurred as a result of the water damage. If your business has a mold infestation, you can trust ice blasting to eliminate 99.9% of all mold spores and deodorize the impacted area. After a fire, ice blasting can clear out contaminants and soot, as well as remove any odors resulting from fire damage. Regardless of where the damaged surface is located, ice blasting can help, as it is able to clean hard-to-reach areas. Lastly, ice blasting is an effective cleanup agent on a wide array of surfaces. Our commercial ice blasting services support brick, concrete, and wood ice blasting, among several other surface types.

Why Choose Our Ice Blasting Commercial Services?

You may be asking, what makes ice blasting such a good choice? Aside from being a cleanup service that is both effective and time efficient, ice blasting offers a plethora of advantages. As it is a non-abrasive treatment, ice blasting guarantees that neither the affected surface nor its surrounding areas will sustain additional damage. Ice blasting also won’t add moisture to the affected area because it is an entirely dry cleanup process. Our commercial ice blasting surfaces are also environmentally-friendly, free from harmful chemicals, and don’t produce any secondary waste.

With so many uses and a long list of advantages, it’s clear that ice blasting is a great method for whatever restoration service your commercial business may need. If your commercial business has experienced water, mold, or fire and smoke damage, call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East today at (412) 672-5400. Trust our ice blasting commercial services to bring your business relief fast.

Combining Our Powers for 2nd Quarter 2020's Job of the Quarter

8/4/2020 (Permalink)

Debris Chute he swift turnaround time needed for this job made everyone’s help necessary, so we recruited everyone from technicians to Jim Wall, one of our owners.

Selecting the job of the quarter is consistently a tough decision to make. On a daily basis, we are pleased to help customers with a wide array of needs. In the same vein, our team members display their dedication to their work and impressive customer service every day. This raises the question: How do you select just one exceptional job? This quarter, it boiled down to a powerful combination of cooperation and hustle.

Getting the Call

One sunny, Saturday afternoon in June, we received a call about a sizable fire loss at a 375,000 square foot logistics warehouse located in South Central Pennsylvania. The customer’s esteemed retail client required immediate service, as they couldn’t jeopardize overdue shipments, upset customers, or downtime. The customer enlisted the help of Team Wall in order to make it “Like it never even happened.” While we were eager to help, one problem stood in our way. Our after-hours production schedules were consumed with COVID-19 cleanings, leaving us short in resources. As a result, it was unlikely that one office would be able to complete the job to the customer’s desires. However, our labor and resource efficiency is what sets Team Wall apart from the rest and was exactly what we needed to tackle this job.

Combining Our Powers

This may sound cheesy, but do you remember Captain Planet’s catchphrase “our powers combined”? For SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team Wall, it’s the real deal. Because we have offices in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Harrisburg, we’re uniquely able to merge our equipment and labor resources and offer our services to customers across a wide range of geographical locations. Our Baltimore and Harrisburg offices joining forces was what made it possible for us to complete the job quickly and produce a final product that made the customer happy “beyond measure.”

Our Management and Production team members from both offices were onsite within just one hour of receiving the customer’s initial call. They immediately strategized a plan for mitigation and got to work extracting water, drying, and cleaning. The large fire loss required a team, 45 members strong, working hard from Saturday evening until Tuesday to keep the busy warehouse operating as usual.

All Hands On Deck

The swift turnaround time needed for this job made everyone’s help necessary, so we recruited everyone from technicians to Jim Wall, one of our owners. Jim can be seen installing a debris shoot up on a scissor lift in the photo above. It goes without saying that this was an all hands on deck kind of job.

Right from our start 12 years ago, the foundation of our business has been excellent customer service and hustle. Today, they are still of the utmost importance to us and we plan to always stand by those principles. We are so grateful to you and your customers for trusting Team Wall’s Disaster Recovery Team when you need it most. We are truly delighted to be “Here to Help” and appreciative of your support.

Employee of the Quarter (Q2 2020)

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

person in front of SERVPRO truck Holly Cope

Each quarter, we recognize one exemplary employee as our “Employee of the Quarter”. With so many incredible employees, you may be wondering: How do we choose the employee of the quarter?

Here at SERVPRO, we ask our employees to strive for our 7 “pillars”, which include: QualityPersistenceConsistencyTeamHustleSolutions, and Accountability. The employee of the quarter not only follows and models all 7 pillars, but also surpasses expectations. Congratulations to Holly Cope!

Holly Cope

Our employee of the quarter is the wonderful Holly Cope! Holly serves as Crew Chief at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East and she is a major contributor to the company’s success. She is always willing to help the team, which is evident in the fact that she’s always the first to volunteer when someone needs coverage for an after-hours shift. In her role as Crew Chief, she is consistent with her job documentation. Holly’s warm, shining personality never fails to comfort customers on their worst days. This quarter, Holly was involved in three storm events. We’re so lucky to have her as a part of our team.

Bathroom Mold: A Growing Concern

7/14/2020 (Permalink)

dark bathroom SERVPRO’s mold remediation specialists will work quickly to get your bathroom back to normal, “Like it never even happened.”

With their ever-present moisture and humidity, it’s easy to see why mold loves bathrooms. Moisture and humidity combine to generate optimal conditions for mold growth. In prime conditions, mold can grow and multiply in less than 24 hours, risking significant damage to the safety of your bathroom. In addition, mold infestations can compromise the health of those living in your home, as mold can trigger allergic reactions. Therefore, taking steps to protect your home’s bathroom against the harmful effects of mold is paramount. Understanding the reasons as to why mold growth occurs in bathrooms is a great first step.

Understanding the Causes of Bathroom Mold Growth

One of the top causes of bathroom mold growth is lacking ventilation. Moisture often lingers after baths and showers, which can lead to mold growth if it isn’t dried quickly. Bath towels, rugs, curtains, and other fabric accessories in the bathroom can be at risk for mold growth if they become due to a bath or shower. Lastly, moisture can accumulate as a result of leaking plumbing, increasing the risk for mold growth.

How to Prevent Mold Growth

While it’s impossible to eliminate moisture completely in your bathroom due to the prevalence of water, there are actions that you can take to protect your bathroom. After a bath or shower, it is beneficial to turn on your fan for at least 30 minutes in order to increase ventilation. Keeping the humidity level inside your home below 45% is also an effective way to make sure that your bathroom doesn’t become too humid. Damp bath towels, rugs, and other fabrics found in your bathroom can facilitate mold growth, so it is helpful to wash them frequently. Leaks stemming from sinks, toilets, or other plumbing contribute to a buildup of water in the bathroom. Check these areas regularly in order to catch a leak before it gets out of hand. To decrease lingering moisture on shower walls, consider using a squeegee after every bath or shower.

What to Do If You Spot Mold Growth

Mold can often go unnoticed due to its habit of thriving in dark, damp, and isolated areas such as in corners or between tiles. If you discover mold growing in your bathroom, it is important to remember the following:

First and foremost, don’t touch the mold. Doing so may trigger allergic reactions and jeopardize your health. Next, refrain from attempting to clean or dry out the mold yourself. While these actions may seem effective, they may actually set the mold spores in motion, sending them to other areas of the bathroom and worsening the problem. Lastly, even though a mold problem can be unnerving, remember to stay calm. SERVPRO has your back with our 24-hour emergency service. Call us today at (412) 672-5400 to schedule your mold inspection and damage assessment. SERVPRO’s mold remediation specialists will work quickly to get your bathroom back to normal, “Like it never even happened.” To learn more about our mold remediation services, visit https://www.SERVPROmetropittsburgheast.com/mold-remediation.

Flash Floods: Know Your Risk

6/24/2020 (Permalink)

Large Flooded Landscape In order to protect your home, it is of the utmost importance that you know the risk of flash flooding in your area.

In just minutes, summer rain showers can become dangerous. In flash floods, water builds rapidly, pathing a path of destruction in its wake, demolishing bridges, buildings, and homes. While it can occur at any time during the year, flash flooding is common during the summer due to the higher humidity and slower jet stream. In the United States, flooding is the second deadliest weather-related event and claims an average of 81 lives per year according to NOAA. In comparison with general flooding, flash flooding can be more dangerous, as it contains the same intense force of flood water, but develops and moves quickly. In order to protect your home from the dangers of flash flooding, it is highly beneficial to understand its origins.

Causes of Flash Flooding

The jet stream, which greatly affects weather patterns throughout the year, slows during the summer season. Subsequently, summer storms have a tendency to linger over one area for a long time, which leads to a large amount of rain falling over one area. This heavy rainfall can increase the likelihood of a flash flood developing. Overall, flash flooding requires two conditions, long duration and high intensity of rainfall. These conditions are met in several storm scenarios, such as severe storms (hurricanes or tropical storms) and slow-moving thunderstorms. Another element that affects flash flooding is topography, or the physical features of an area. The risk of flash flooding is higher in areas located in close proximity to rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. Though it may come as a surprise, urban areas are also prone to flooding and flash floods due to the prominence of concrete and subsequent lack of soil into which rainwater can be absorbed.

Know Your Risk

Oftentimes, early warning cannot be given when it comes to flash floods because they develop so quickly. The lack of sufficient warning can increase the chances of your home undergoing water damage or even structural damage as a result of flash flooding. In order to protect your home, it is of the utmost importance that you know the risk of flash flooding in your area. Be sure to stay alert when storms are in the forecast and put together an emergency flood kit if you live in an area that is at an increased risk. However, if a flash flood catches you by surprise and wreaks havoc on your home, know that SERVPRO has you covered.

Fire Up the Barbecue: Gas Grill Safety

6/5/2020 (Permalink)

Open topped grill with food ize that gas grills are a prominent fire hazard. It is estimated that an average of 8,900 home fires are the result of gas grills each year, according

The month of June is famous for backyard barbecues and cookouts. The grill is a staple for
these events and often, they are gas grills, which are usually powered by propane tanks or
cylinders. While grilling should be fun and enjoyable, it is important to recognize that gas grills are a prominent fire hazard. It is estimated that an average of 8,900 home fires are the result of gas grills each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. By understanding
how to safely go about each step in the grilling process, you can minimize the risk of a fire
igniting while keeping your summer cookouts enjoyable and safe.


Using a Propane Cylinder Safely

It is important to check your propane cylinder for damage, such as rust or dents, prior to use. If
you find that the propane cylinder is damaged, refrain from using that particular cylinder.
Additionally, make sure that the propane cylinder is not overfilled before firing up the grill.
Maintaining a distance of at least 10 ft between the propane cylinder and any combustible items
is crucial at all times. It is also extremely unsafe for children to be within close proximity to the
propane cylinder while it is in use. When not in use, propane cylinders should never be stored
inside. Instead, they should be kept in an outdoor location with sufficient ventilation in an upright
position. However, they should not be kept beside or underneath the gas grill.


Gas Grill Safety

Before any kind of cookout, be sure to check your grill for gas leaks. In order to do this, spray a
soapy water solution on the grill fitting and turn on the gas. Bubbles forming on that line
indicates a leak. Another important step is to check the hose that runs from the propane cylinder to the grill for any holes, which may leak gas. Also, be sure to remove any blockages that you find in the grill, which can range from bugs to old food grease, before you use the grill. Make
certain that the grill is located on a level surface in a ventilated outdoor space and don’t leave
the grill unattended while grilling. At any point while grilling you begin to smell gas, evacuate the
area and call the fire department from a safe distance. In the event of an emergency, it may be
beneficial to have a fire extinguisher on hand.
Once you’re finished grilling and the food is smelling wonderful, don’t forget to completely close the valve of the propane cylinder and turn off the grill’s burner controls. Before placing a cover over the grill, make sure that it has thoroughly cooled down.


In the Event of a Fire…

Adhering to safe grilling practices can reduce the chances of the ignition of an unwanted fire,
but regardless of how careful you are, accidents cannot be completely voided. If your home has experienced fire damage due to a gas grill mishap, be sure to call SERVPRO. From fire damage to smoke and soot damage, our team of skilled fire damage specialists will speedily remediate the damage so that you can continue to enjoy your sizzling summer barbecues and cookouts
this June.

Understanding HVAC Hazards

5/11/2020 (Permalink)

Air Conditioning Unit Are you in the know?

As the warm summer season approaches, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, better known as HVAC systems, will be working overtime to keep businesses cool. When HVAC systems are used frequently, they can become serious fire hazards. When we think of causes of commercial fires, complications with cooking equipment and electrical circuits or careless mistakes are usually the first to come to mind. Even though fires due to HVAC complications are not overly common, the damage that they impose can be disastrous. Therefore, in order to best protect your commercial business from experiencing devastating fire damage due to a malfunctioning HVAC system, business owners must gain an understanding of the most common fire hazards associated with HVAC systems.


Three Common Hazards
A leaking fuel line is one common HVAC fire hazard. Flammable fuels, such as gas, petroleum, and oil, which reside inside of HVAC units, can leak out of the unit if the fuel line experiences damage. These fuels can ignite easily after leaking from the unit, which can result in a fire. In order to protect your commercial business from this type of fire, make sure that your HVAC system experiences regular maintenance. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to notice a leaking fuel line, so it is crucial that your HVAC system’s condition is assessed on a regular basis in order to avoid a fire due to a leaking fuel line.
Another common hazard of HVAC systems is poor electrical connections in an HVAC unit. Electrical connections within HVAC systems tend to loosen over time, which can result in exposed or burnt wires. These wires can facilitate the ignition of a fire. Fires of this nature usually smell like burning plastic because the faulty electrical connection causes plastic coatings on wiring to melt. If a smell similar to that of burning plastic is emanating from your business’ HVAC system, this is most likely a sign that your HVAC unit has experienced damage to electrical connections.
Lastly, when your commercial business’ HVAC unit is surrounded by clutter, whether it be storage boxes and crates, cleaning supplies, or other types of equipment, your HVAC system can be at risk for damage and the ignition of a fire that can easily spread to other areas of the building. Because HVAC units often find their home in storage areas or closets, they can become surrounded by clutter. If an HVAC unit becomes damaged and a fire ignites, the unit’s proximity to other objects, especially those that are flammable such as cardboard boxes and paper products, increase the likelihood of those objects catching fire as well, making for a much larger fire that can spread to other areas of your business’ building and result in significant, widespread fire damage.

Experienced a Fire?
If your commercial business has experienced a fire loss and water damage from fire cleanup efforts, be sure to call SERVPRO. SERVPRO’s trained fire and water damage restoration specialists will work hard to quickly get your commercial business back up and running.

Spring Mold Prevention

4/10/2020 (Permalink)

Spring Cleaning Graphic If not handled correctly mold can reappear, or even spread.

As we enter April, we’re seeing the first signs of spring. With spring comes more pleasant weather, influencing us to open up our homes’ windows and doors to let in warm, fresh air. Doing so brings humidity and moisture into the home, thus increasing the risk for mold growth.

What Should I Look For?

Mold can grow anywhere that moisture is present on a wide variety of surfaces, including wood, carpet, and insulation. Mold needs to be remediated quickly in order to limit the spread and reduce its health effects on the people living within the home. Mold is capable of growing at any time of year, but the increased threat of mold growth during the spring raises the question: How can mold growth be prevented during the spring?
One of the most important methods of preventing mold growth during the spring is to keep air circulating so that warm air and moisture will not become trapped in certain areas of the home. This can be achieved through the use of fans and dehumidifiers. Indoor humidity levels should not exceed 45%. Look for areas in the home where mold could thrive if moisture becomes present, including cold and dark areas. In order to decrease the risk of mold growth in these areas, it may be beneficial to bring in natural or artificial light, as well as warmth.
It is also helpful to keep an eye on windows after it rains.

How Do I Deal With Indoor Mold Growth?

Rain is common in the springtime and moisture from rainwater can spur mold growth around windows and windowsills. If moisture is present on windows, dry the surface as soon as possible. During the spring, temperatures differ indoors and outdoors, so condensation can build on surfaces such as windows and doors. In order to prevent mold growth on areas with condensation, it is crucial to thoroughly dry the surfaces as soon as possible.

In the event that mold grows on a surface in your home, make sure to scrub the surface diligently with detergent and water. After the area has been cleaned sufficiently, it is important that the surface be thoroughly dried in order to lessen the risk of further mold growth.

Our Advice -- Call a Pro

On occasion, mold growth can get out of hand and require large-scale mold removal. If you have a major mold infestation in your home, call SERVPRO to inspect, assess, and quickly remediate your mold infestation.

Wha do Waffles Have to do With FEMA?

4/6/2020 (Permalink)

A storm roared through the East Coast many years ago, in 2004. FEMA went to work, doing what they could to assess the damage and to help the disaster-stricken communities. Around the same time, out of this slew of hurricanes would grow an informal measure which would confuse civilians for years to come. The Waffle House Index. What is The Waffle House List exactly? What does delicious fluffy syrup-ey goodness have to do with Emergency Management?     
Well, a researcher working for FEMA at the time found that by examining the actual operating state of Waffle Houses in the affected area one could potentially measure how serious a natural disaster was to the communities in the surrounding areas. When the store is open, green light, if the store is running on a small menu, yellow light, and if the store is shut down entirely, red light. Those were the key measurements.   Although the theory may have seemed strange, it turned out that FEMA could get a fairly good idea of the extent of the situation in a certain area. It began as a sort of joke until FEMA administrator Craig Fugate coined the word in May 2011 (https:/n.pr/2JznNEc).
Now, with the current epidemic, The Waffle House Index is being put to the test again but now on a nationwide scale. If we can take anything from this story, its that being able to support your community in its time of need is the most important thing one can do. Whether that's staying inside at all times, or gearing up and going out to help the good of mankind. Good risk management is one thing, but understanding how to prepare for any size disaster, and being able to hold the foundation of our communities because of our preparedness is a trait that we hold pride on as well. SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team-Team Wall, chooses to be that foundation for our community every day we put our boots on the ground. We are here to help. We are here to commit. We are here to serve.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, why not start at the Wikipedia page? If you're feeling so kind, they are in need of donations in order to stay running. All donations are appreciated. 

Proactive Cleaning Services

3/20/2020 (Permalink)

Here To Help Photo Anytime, Anytown, Anyway.

In light of the recent pandemic, many businesses have been asked to close their doors. However, because of the nature of our work, we're still open, we're still on call, we're still here to help.
SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East has a number of services to help all sorts of businesses in their time of need to catapult them back to their feet when it's time to re-open their store.
We are currently offering Viral Cleaning, also known as Proactive Cleaning, to ensure that your location is up to code and clean in the event of a viral outbreak in your building. By using Electrostatic Fogging, we can provide less expensive per square foot cost, more comprehensive coverage, and provide certified documentation that your facility has been cleaned by a trained IICRC certified company as opposed to traditional disinfectant and sanitizing services. In addition, the product we use is free of allergens and is so safe that it has been approved for human consumption.

If you are interested in this service, please contact us using the button above or, if you are so inclined, call us for more information. We're here to help, we're here to get our nation back on its feet, we're here to make it "Like it never even happened."

Three Ways to Prevent Wind Damage Due to Spring Storms

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

Booming thunder and howling winds that rattle your home are characteristics of severe storms, which are becoming more prevalent as we turn the corner into spring. Strong wind, in particular, can cause damage to homes by breaking shingles and sending tree branches flying.  Wind strength varies from storm to storm, ranging from calm wind with speeds below 1 mph to hurricane-force when the strength exceeds 73 mph. FEMA states that doors, roofs, windows, and garages are the most vulnerable areas of the home. If any of these four areas become damaged during a storm, the structure of your home may also be negatively impacted, which may require major repairs. To make sure that your home is protected from wind damage before a severe storm even appears in the forecast this spring, consider the following three tips:

Maintain Landscape and Trees

   Strong winds can wreak havoc on the area surrounding your home, resulting in fallen trees and broken tree branches, which can prove to be dangerous to your home if the trees are located close to your home. Be sure not to over-water trees because doing so can weaken the root systems of trees, decreasing their ability to withstand the overwhelming force of strong winds. Finally, be mindful of outdoor objects and equipment, such as outdoor furniture, grills, or sports equipment, as these objects can be moved or manipulated by strong winds, which can risk damage to your home. During storms with strong wind, keep such items either stored in a safe structure, such as a shed, or anchored to the ground if they must remain outside.

Inspect the Roof

   Damage to our roofs often goes unnoticed unless it creates a major problem because we cannot see it Therefore, it is important for roofs to be surveyed at least twice per year, during the summer and winter, in order to identify any damage and make sure that it is repaired. When surveying the roof, be on the lookout for loose or missing shingles and water damage in the attic. Hiring a roofing professional may be beneficial in this sense, as he or she may be able to spot hidden damage due to their experience, which could save your roof from devastation in the event of a storm occurring with strong wind. When it comes time to replace your roof shingles, consider choosing weather-resistant shingles that would be able to further protect your roof from wind damage.

Reinforce Windows and Doors

During storms with strong wind, different types of debris, such as tree branches or other outdoor objects, can pound against your home’s windows and doors. In combination with the power of strong wind gusts, these objects can inflict serious damage on vulnerable areas of your home, including doors and windows. To limit the extent of the damage to these areas, install storm shutters as a protective barrier between debris and the window or door. Storm shutters can either be purchased or makeshift storm shutters can be created with plywood. Garage doors are also a vulnerable area of the home during strong wind, so it may also be beneficial to purchase a garage door bracing kit in order to protect your garage door during severe wind and weather.

Proactive Cleaning Services

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

“The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic at a press conference on Wednesday leading to a cascade of new actions and measures taken around the world to combat the virus.” 

What once felt like a distant inkling of a possibility, is now feeling all too real and hitting close to home. Towson University, Loyola, Morgan State University, a few public schools in Prince George’s County, and many more are all taking precautionary measures and closing due to suspected exposure to COVID-19. After school activities, field trips, conventions, and public sporting events have been canceled. Grocery store shelves are empty and everyone is left wondering… what more?

It’s a time of uncertainty, and in those times, we take comfort in knowing something is being done to help. SERVPRO has a few key messages and “Here to Help” is the most important. Now more than ever, SERVPRO is out on the streets helping to curb the recently declared pandemic and minimize its effects.

The hardest hit facility to date, is in Kirkland, Washington at an assisted living facility. SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team is currently working to sanitize, disinfect, and clean this building from top to bottom using advanced cleaning and application methods. SERVPRO performs all cleanup and bioremediation in accordance with the guidelines provided by the CDC and local authorities.

It's important to understand that with this level of Bioremediation, cleaning methods need to be more advanced and efficient than simply wiping down hard surfaces with disinfectant. Safety comes first, and our teams adhere to OSHA and CDC guidelines with the use PPE and protective masks. We utilize fogging methods to disinfect more thoroughly. The hospital-grade disinfectant, SERVPROxide, is emitted from the fogger and its particles aggressively adhere to surfaces and objects. This application will ensure an even coating of all surfaces including walls, doors, floors and ceilings.  We then follow our initial fogging with a wiping of all surfaces, followed by another round of fogging. This is an intense and thorough method of disinfection and should be the standard when dealing with a virus threat of this magnitude.

Our team is prepared to help with Preventative or Post-Contamination cleaning in order to prevent business, school, and event disruption. We are defining “Proactive” as cleaning that takes place when there has been no person suspected of being exposed to COVID-19. This will be a lesser scope of work because there has not been a confirmed case.

If there was exposure in your facility to someone suspected of either positively testing for COVID-19 or being exposed to someone showing symptoms, we consider this “Post-Contamination” cleaning. The scope of work and safety precautions needed will increase in this situation.

 Eliminating exposure to this virus is the most important step we can take to diminish the spread of it throughout our country. To learn more about how to protect your business, employees, and building, please reach out to our team.

Contractor Connections - Golden Hammer Award

3/9/2020 (Permalink)

Contractor Connections Plaque Carrie Jackson is our Office Manager at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County. She accepted the award on our behalf.

We were graciously awarded Contractor Connection's Golden Hammer Award for Top Performance in the restoration industry for the year of 2018.

This award is given to those who exceed expectations in a number of different metrics such as Customer Service, Job Performance, Response Time, Estimate Turnaround, and Cleanliness to name a few. We would like to thank Contractor Connections for acknowledging SERVPRO Team Wall's hard work and dedication over the last year!

Contractor Connection is a national leader for home renovation and repair. They work with a  network of high-quality contractors (such as ourselves) in order to match clients with the best possible fit for their renovation and repair needs.  All contractors allowed access to be included in their network must undergo a background check, insurance, and licensing check, and must have outstanding credentials before being accepted into the network. SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is proud to be a network member for our outstanding Fire Restoration and Water Damage Restoration services.
 

Contractor Connections - Golden Hammer Award

3/9/2020 (Permalink)

Contractor Connections Plaque Carrie Jackson is our Office Manager here at SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County. She accepted the award on our behalf.

We were graciously awarded Contractor Connection's Golden Hammer Award for Top Performance in the restoration industry for the year of 2018.

This award is given to those who exceed expectations in a number of different metrics such as Customer Service, Job Performance, Response Time, Estimate Turnaround, and Cleanliness to name a few. We would like to thank Contractor Connections for acknowledging SERVPRO Team Wall's hard work and dedication over the last year!

Contractor Connection is a national leader for home renovation and repair. They work with a  network of high-quality contractors (such as ourselves) in order to match clients with the best possible fit for their renovation and repair needs.  All contractors allowed access to be included in their network must undergo a background check, insurance, and licensing check, and must have outstanding credentials before being accepted into the network. SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County is proud to be a network member for our outstanding Fire Restoration and Water Damage Restoration services.

Burst Pipes 101

3/2/2020 (Permalink)

Burst submerged pipe After a burst pipe creates water damage in your business, call on SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, we keep businesses running.

As we transition from February to March, spring is just around the corner. Spring brings warmer temperatures, but cold temperatures will linger for a while longer. With fluctuating temperatures, the risk of pipes bursting increases, as water within the pipes expands and contracts in response to different temperatures, resulting to increased pressure within the pipes, which can cause pipes to rupture and burst. The water damage that commonly results from burst pipes can have devastating effects on commercial businesses. Therefore, in order to best protect their commercial businesses, it is necessary for business owners to understand the ways in which burst pipes can be avoided, as well as how to effectively react in the event that pipes burst.

Prevention

   Protecting your commercial business with an insurance plan that covers water damage resulting from burst pipes is of the utmost importance, given that cleanup services are often costly. In terms of preventative measures, business owners can wrap pipes that are located outside or in unheated places in insulated sleeves. These insulated sleeves can keep pipes warm in cold temperatures, preventing them from freezing. If pipes do freeze, however, it may be beneficial to run water through the pipes in order to prevent them from rupturing. In order to catch leaking pipes before they burst, inspect pipes for small leaks on a regular basis.

If Pipes Burst…

In order to limit the amount of damage inflicted upon your business, be sure to turn off water, heating, and electricity systems immediately upon noticing burst pipes. Important items, such as physical documents and inventory, should be moved to a safe, dry place where they will not be exposed to water damage. In order to spot water damage, look for physical signs, which include discoloration or stains, musty smells, and mold or mildew growth. You can facilitate drying by opening doors and windows in your building, which will help to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. You can trust SERVPRO to work quickly and efficiently in order to remedy water damage caused by burst pipes in your commercial business, so as to avoid any major workplace interruptions.

Home Cooking Fire Safety

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Man surrounded by boxes Always abide by safe cooking practices.

Many people cook on regular, day-to-day basis in their homes. However, did you know that cooking accounts for the majority of household fires? While abstaining from cooking would effectively prevent such fires, that solution is simply unreasonable due to the importance of cooking in our daily lives. However, abiding by safe cooking practices can decrease the chances of an undesired fire igniting while cooking, thus saving your home from potential unwanted fire damage.

Before Cooking

Preparing the cooking space holds an incredible amount of importance in preventing an unwanted cooking fire. Make sure that any flammable items, such as paper towels, oven mitts, or wooden objects, are a safe distance from the cooking area. Because grease, oil, and food debris accumulate on cooking surfaces, including stove tops and the interiors of ovens, and such residue can easily ignite, it is crucial that cooking surfaces are cleaned prior to cooking. Not unlike cooking surfaces, pots and pans should also be cleaned before cooking, as grease and oil can build up on the insides and outsides, which can ignite while cooking.

While Cooking

Clearing the cooking space of flammable objects and wiping down cooking equipment are great preventative measures to take before cooking, but even so, many things can go wrong if you leave the kitchen unattended. Fires can start while food is cooking and if no one is present, the fire could grow quickly and become hazardous, as there would be no one present to smother the fire as soon as one ignites. Make sure to turn off the stove if you plan on leaving the kitchen while cooking in order to decrease this risk. In the event that you are cooking an item that must be roasted or baked for several hours, it would be unreasonable to attend to it the entire time that it is cooking. In this case, use a timer to make sure that you are checking on the cooking process regularly.

While taking preventative measures such as wiping down cooking equipment and never leaving items unattended while they are cooking lessen the chances of an unwanted fire igniting while cooking, emergencies can still occur. Having functional smoke alarms installed in your home and making sure that a fire extinguisher is always kept in your kitchen are two ways to protect your home in the event that a dangerous fire ignites while cooking. If a small fire ignites, it may be safe to smother it yourself, but if the fire grows quickly and becomes out of control, assistance may be needed. In this case, escape the house safely, make sure all other occupants have exited, and call 911. Once the fire has been put out safely, remember to call SERVPRO in order to make sure that any damage caused to your home by the fire is sufficiently repaired.

Preventing Basement Floods Due to Snowmelt

2/13/2020 (Permalink)

Stone Wall SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is always ready to tackle a new water loss in order to protect your property from further damage.

During rainy seasons, we often brace ourselves for basement flooding. However, did you know that basements can flood at any time of the year if moisture is present in the ground? Regardless of whether your basement has never flooded before or has flooded many times, all basements have the potential to flood, as they are commonly located below ground level. When moisture is present in the ground surrounding the basement, water can seep through basement walls. This moisture can result from rain, but during the winter season, the snow, ice, and other frozen precipitation that accumulates during snowstorms heavily saturate the ground upon melting, which increases the likelihood of basement flooding. This winter and spring season, protect your basement from flooding due to snowmelt by considering the following tips:

Remove Snow

Snow or ice that accumulate close to the perimeter of the home after significant snowfall can increase the likelihood of snowmelt seeping into basement walls after being absorbed into the ground. In order to decrease the chance of your basement flooding due to this occurrence, it is important to shovel a five-foot barrier between the snow and your basement. In addition, snow on roofs and overhangs should also be removed, as it can also accumulate around the perimeter of the home, which can contribute to basement flooding upon melting.

Fix Cracks in Foundation

Water can enter basements and cause flooding if there are cracks present in the basement’s walls or foundation. Water damage to objects such as nearby furniture, walls, and carpets often results from this, in addition to mold growth. The only way to decrease the risk of such damage is to repair cracks in order to prevent water from seeping into the basement. Filling cracks with epoxy can serve as a temporary solution, but professional assistance is usually needed for long-term repair. Basement walls and foundations that are free from cracks will significantly decrease the chances of your basement suffering from flooding as a result of snowmelt.

If Your Basement Floods…

Although one can take every preventative measure possible, there is always the possibility of an unexpected disaster. If your basement floods as a result of snowmelt, water must be immediately removed in order to minimize water damage, which can be achieved through the use of a wet vacuum and dehumidifiers. However, if the flood damage is overwhelming, professional assistance may be required. Calling SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East ensures that your basement will be restored quickly and thoroughly after flooding due to snowmelt, minimizing any further water damage that may result from the flooding.

Flooding In Iowa

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

Storm Be wary of all storms. Keep up to date with your local weather and call SERVPRO if you suspect your building might be at risk to set up an ERP.

Flooding in Iowa

13 inches of rain hit Burlington, Iowa by storm this May over a 2 day period, leaving the city flooded and in need of remediation. In addition to the rain, large hail, high winds, and tornadoes hammered the area, which resulted in flooding that swept through the city as well as the flooding of nearby rivers, such as the Missouri River. During February of this year, a remarkable 25 inches of snow blanketed Des Moines, Iowa. The melting of all that snow left the ground completely saturated with liquid, unable to hold any more water. Therefore, the 13 inches of rain spread across the ground just as it would across a cement or tile floor, flooding highways, roads, and homes in its path. SERVPRO received around 30 job files and three crews were sent to Iowa to restore what was damaged in the flood.

Flooding can result in the contamination and damage of drywall, support beams, and even the foundation of homes. The damage to homes ranged anywhere from wet finished basements of 500 square ft to 3,000 square ft to wet flooring, walls, and content. Mold is most likely to grow in the initial 24 hours of the flooding, which calls for swift action from restoration crews.

The most satisfying component of restoring flooded homes was the crews’ ability to help flood victims bounce back in addition to the gratifying feeling that emerged as a result of helping those affected by the floods.

Prevent Water Damage to Carpets

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

Cleaning A Carpet To be able to correctly react you must have the knowledge to act.

Preventing Water Damage To Carpets

How Can Carpets Be Damaged by Water?

Water damage to carpets is most commonly the result of plumbing issues such as leaky pipes and weather effects such as flooding or leaking after the buildup of water in areas that store water during storms such as attics or basements.

Warning Signs

Discoloration of the carpet is a visible sign of water damage. However, water damage can impact carpet without visible indicators. For example, another common sign of water damage is a putrid, musty odor that will not vanish after cleaning. Illness of those living in the house as well as amplified allergy symptoms may also signify the presence of water damage to carpets in a home.

Why You Should Act Quickly

Mold and mildew will grow in the damaged carpet the longer it remains untreated. In this case, the carpet will need to be completely removed, as mold and mildew cannot be destroyed through simple cleaning. The carpet padding and subfloor underneath the carpet can also be damaged if the area is not hastily cleaned. Finally, mold and mildew can cause detrimental effects to the health of those living in the home, as they can infiltrate the home’s ventilation system.

Precautions to Take

Any moisture in the carpet will need to be removed using a wet water vacuum. Surrounding furniture should also be checked to ensure that they have not also been contaminated. To prevent further mold growth, it may also be beneficial to scrub other carpets and walls in the room that was affected. Dry out the room and create better ventilation by opening windows and utilizing fans or a dehumidifier. To treat a specific area, sprinkle baking soda on top of the area and vacuum. Steam-cleaning the area will also help to destroy dead mold spores. When in doubt, call SERVPRO to guarantee a thorough and sufficient elimination of water damage in your carpet.

Preventing Fire Damage in the Home

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

Lit Match Fire Mitigation is important after you've experienced a devastating loss, however, knowing how to prevent it is incredibly valuable.

Preventing Fire Damage in Your Home

How Can Fires Start in Homes?

Several objects that are commonly found inside homes can cause fires including hair spray as well as other aerosol cans, shaving cream, hand sanitizer, and rubbing alcohol among others. It is necessary to be aware that these items are flammable in order to practice caution when handling them.

Electrical Dangers

Blown sockets as well as hot plugs and sockets can increase the risk of a fire igniting in the home. Flames can result from exploded wires that spark, however, a flame does not need to be present for there to be a chance of a fire starting.

Proceed With Caution When…

  1. Smoking Indoors

Careless smoking while indoors is the number one reason as to why fires start in homes, so extreme caution must be taken when smoking indoors. It is important to completely put out all cigarettes. Also, refrain from falling asleep with a cigarette still burning and using improper ashtrays.

  1. Burning Candles Indoors

While many of us burn candles inside regularly, it is still important to monitor them in order to protect against candle flames catching any other objects on fire. Candle flames can be blown by drafts such as those originating from open windows. If those drafts reach flammable objects, it can result in a larger and more dangerous fire. Also keep candles in proper candle holders in order to better constrict the flame.

Avoid These Combinations

Avoid placing certain household objects beside one another in order to decrease the risk of fire. Electrical appliances and water should not be placed within close proximity to one another, nor should grease be kept by an open flame or linens/clothes by a heater. Make sure to prevent flames from spreading to other objects from fireplaces by ensuring that it’s protected by a screen or glass doors.

5 Tips For Preventing Fires In Your Home

  1. Change out frayed wires for new ones
  2. Check the batteries in your smoke detectors every month
  3. Check heating devices in your home regularly
  4. Monitor objects placed on top of hot surfaces
  5. Store a fire extinguisher somewhere handy

How to Prevent Grease Fires

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

Fire in A Pot Grease fires can become out of control in a matter of milliseconds. Understand how to prevent grease fires.

How to Prevent Grease Fires

It might surprise you that grease is the common culprit when it comes to initiating the majority of kitchen fires. Grease fires can become uncontrollable in very little time, so it is necessary to prevent them from igniting in your kitchen. Be conscious of safe and dangerous practices alike for cooking with hot oil in order to best protect your home from grease fires.

Safe Practices

Be sure to remove any flammable objects from the cooking area before you begin cooking. If a grease fire were to ignite, leaving combustible items, including cookbooks or paper towels, on the cooking surface or even in areas surrounding the surface enhances the risk of the grease fire expanding, as those items would also catch fire. While cooking, make sure that you are monitoring the cooking space. Turning your back for even a few seconds can allow for a grease fire to ignite, so it is crucial to be as attentive as possible when cooking with hot oil and grease. Also, be sure to save any cocktails that you may be drinking before the meal until after you’ve finished cooking in order to prevent misjudgment or any mistakes from occurring that could cause a grease fire. In the event that a grease fire does ignite, however, keep a metal lid as well as some baking soda nearby, as both can be used to smother it. It is important to understand, though, that baking soda should only be used to smother small, isolated grease fires.

Dangerous Practices

Throwing food into hot oil would be an example of a dangerous practice when cooking with hot oil. Doing so can cause the hot oil to splash and potentially find its way onto the hot cooking surface, resulting in a grease fire. Instead, be sure to gently place the food into the hot oil. This is especially important to remember when cooking with frozen food. Allow those foods to thaw before cooking them in hot oil. Finally, refrain from throwing any type of liquid onto a grease fire if one were to break out, as doing so may cause the fire to grow instead of smother.

Upgrade Your Security Standards With the ERP

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Cover Photo Making sure your property is protected is an important priority. Call SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East to help facilitate your upgrade.

The SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East

Emergency READY Profile Advantage

Did you know as many as 50% of businesses never recover following a disaster? The majority of businesses that do survive had an emergency preparedness plan in place. Being fully prepared with proper planning can bring you peace of mind. When you are "Ready for whatever happens" this provides a solid level of trust with your clients and employees, so that if there is an emergency event and your business is affected by a disaster, you’ll be able to recover as quickly as possible.

By developing a SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

  • FREE Program!! We will provide an assessment of your facility at no cost to you.
    This is a high quality, digital profile with no need for you to allocate funds. This program provides exceptional value with zero cost.
     
  • A Profile Document containing critical information needed in an emergency.
    Completion of your profile will only take a little time to complete without taking you away from your current work projects, but it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
     
  • A Digital Guide to help you get back into your building after a disaster.
    Having a complete, updated Emergency Ready Profile can help minimize the amount of time your business is affected by a disaster by having an immediate plan of action.
     
  • Establishes SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
    You’ll have a go-to source with a provider recognized as the industry leader right around the corner.
     
  • Identifies the line of command for authorizing restoration work to begin.
    This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
     
  • Provides facility details such as electrical box and water shut-off valve locations, as well as priority areas such as entrances, exits, and priority contact information.
    Your team will be fully ready with a quick reference of who to call, what to do, and how to do it providing you with solutions in advance of an emergency situation so you’re "Ready for whatever happens."

Are You Ready to Get Started?

Sign up below and a representative of SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East will be in contact with you in the next 24 hours.   

For a consultation, E-Mail our ERP Coordinator, Colleen Kilchenstein @ Colleen@sphvhc.com with the following!

Your Name:
Company Name:
Location:
Dates and Time Available:

We thank you for your interest! Remember, creating an ERP isn't just establishing a plan for Loss Mitigation, it's establishing a Security Standard.

Job of the Quarter (Q4 2019)

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

Man in flooded hallway Flooding as low as this can still cause major damage to the walls surrounding it if not properly dealt with.

Baltimore was established in 1729, 47 years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It's an old city, in terms of the "new world."

Major advances in construction, engineering, and innovation have occurred in the last 291 years since the founding of the city. Sadly, the sewage system in Baltimore City has not made the necessary changes to get it to modern-day standards. An essay in www.cleanwateraction.org sums it up best:

“Baltimore City’s sewage system was designed with dozens of Sanitary Sewer Overflow Structures: intentional release valves that allowed sewage to overflow into streams, rather than streets or people’s basements. Although this was a best practice in the early 1900’s, using streams as open sewer pipes is a significant public health and environmental threat…”

“In 2002, Baltimore City finalized a Consent Decree… outlining how it would end the chronic sewage overflows into local streams that were fouling the Inner Harbor…”

“Between 2002 and 2016, Baltimore City completed half the work that was described in the Consent Decree - but backups of sewage into homes in Baltimore grew from a minor problem to a major hazard” According to an investigation by the Baltimore Sun, in 2004, the Department of Public Works responded to 622 sewage backups and by 2015, that number had hit nearly 5000.

 “When we closed those other 60 overflows that increased the number of basement backups that we saw in the city. Again, because the sewage has to go somewhere.” ~Department of Public Work’s General Counsel

At SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East, we see sewage backups quite regularly throughout the city and counties. At the beginning of November, we were honored to help multiple homeowners recover from a large sewage backup affecting the basements in all eight of their attached town row homes. We have decided to choose this job as our "Quarter Job" not only because of our speedy response to the completion timeline but also because it is a great example of our full-service capabilities.

The call came to our office early on Friday afternoon, and we had crews on-site within 30 minutes to start the sewage extraction from the basements of the row home. Because drywall wicks water as quickly as 1 inch per hour and sewage are classified as Category 3 water loss (water containing unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness), it was necessary to cut drywall and remove 2' insulation to allow proper drying and sanitation. All contents in the basement affected by the sewage have been removed and disposed of. Even with a few appliances. We are proud to be the "one-stop solution shop" for all our customers ' problems. We have managed to replace the appliances for these homeowners and have continued to provide even more timely solutions.

Many people don't realize that SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East not only mitigates your disaster, but we're going to put it all back together. "Like it never even happened," remember? That's exactly what we've done for the 8 row home basements affected by this mass sewage backup. Our mitigation teams finished and our rebuilding team moved in, replaced all the contaminated insulation, installed fresh drywall, and repainted the entire basement. Our team laid new carpets, tile floors, installed new kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, and tiled backsplashes in the kitchen. New doors and trim work were installed and painted and appliances were installed. All these times 8 homeowners and completed in a matter of 35 days.

Our team members have certainly signed up for a dirty, messy and labor-intensive job. But the pride they take in making people's lives come back together quickly and efficiently could not be greater. This is what we all love to do at Team Wall's SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team... we love being your "One Stop Solution Shop!"

Reduce Cost & Time Settling Claims

1/28/2020 (Permalink)

Man in burnt down house using Matterport The Matterport in action inside of a residential home.

Have you ever been frustrated with the amount of time an insurance claim takes to settle? If you’re an insurance or property management professional, you understand that time is money! The cost and time involved with settling a property claim are usually based on the professionalism and efficiency of the contractor performing clean up and repairs. Retention of your insured or tenant is at great risk when you hire a contractor that lacks the skills, training, and equipment to submit accurate estimates. However, when you hire the right professional to help settle the claim – you get pin-point accuracy with the estimate, quick turn-around time and quality work. In the end, your claim is settled in a professional, efficient manner and your insured or tenant is impressed with your service!        

Introducing Matterport! The most advanced three-dimensional camera ever produced. With over 2 million spaces captured, Matterport boasts of the largest index of 3-D files of structures in the world. The Matterport is a game-changer in settling claims more efficiently because of the high definition photos, accurate measurements with schematic floor plans and guided tours. Imagine if you could virtually walk through a residence or commercial structure to assess damage without ever having to even leave your office chair… now you can!

No more messing around with hand-drawn sketches and having to take your own measurements because you have no confidence in the contractor you hired to help settle the claim. As an insurance adjuster, agent or property manager, you can now view digital spaces from multiple angles to capture accurate measurements, experience three dimensional, self-guided tours, OBJ files, 4K print-quality photos, and schematic floor plans. As an immersive technology organization that has produced the first end-to-end digital capture system, Matterport has changed the paradigm of the restoration and reconstruction industry. So, how does a true professional contractor provide you with the cost-reducing, time-saving expertise that you need to settle your claim by utilizing the cutting-edge technology of the Matterport camera? One that understands time, money, loss ratio and ultimately customer service. When you have a property claim that needs to be settled with quality work in the most efficient manner – Call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East.

Employee of the Quarter (Q4 2019)

1/23/2020 (Permalink)

Short Haired Man Jon Dell himself.

The following is the official write up from SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East regarding Jon Dell's exceptional work as part of the team:

Jon Dell has worked for SERVPRO for about 5 years. With the new ownership this past October, he has embraced the change as a Production Crew Chief. He is always willing to help his team wherever he is needed, showing is devoted teamwork. When a loss comes in he is the first to jump at the chance of going, showing his hustle. He takes his time with jobs to ensure the quality and consistency of workmanship.  He communicates with customers and addresses their concerns as they come to light, showing accountability.  

Our goal is to provide all of our clients with this level of service and expertise every single visit.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you Jon for being an exemplary part of the team.

In The Know: Ice Dams

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Ice on Roof Always be wary of possible build-up on ice on your roof.

Many local areas have recently seen their first significant snowfall, indicating that we’re in store for more winter weather in the coming months. Alongside significant snowfall comes the possibility for winter weather to wreak havoc on your home or business. One of the most dangerous types of winter storm damage is ice dams. Ice dams are ridges of ice that form on below-freezing sections of a roof that prevent melted snow from draining off of the roof. When the melted snow cannot escape the roof, it will pile up behind the block of ice. This liquid can then leak down into attics, insulation, ceilings, and other walls within the building through cracks, risking serious damage.

Causes, Effects, and Prevention

After a significant snowfall, ice dams form due to roof temperatures that are not uniform. One factor that contributes to uneven roof temperatures is heat loss from the building. Without proper insulation, warm air from inside of the building can heat areas of the roof, causing snow to melt and contribute to ice dams. When the melted snow that sits behind the block of ice leaks down into the building, mold and mildew can grow on ceilings, walls, and other structures of the building, risking structural damage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AGU5wDO0cw

In this video, the formation of ice dams is demonstrated on a model roof, providing a visual explanation of the information above. The video also explains various techniques, both short-term and long-term, that homeowners or business owners can use in order to treat an ice dam. One short-term solution shown in the video is filling a sock with rock salt and throwing it up onto the roof in hopes of breaking up the ice. A long-term solution shown in the video is adding additional insulation in your attic or having a professional spray foam underneath of the roof in order to keep warm air inside of the building.

To avoid the risk of mold growth, it is important to prevent any formation of ice dams on your roof this winter. Should an ice dam form on your roof, call SERVPRO in order to take care of the problem as quickly as possible and spare your home or business from any further damage.

Winter Mold Growth Prevention

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Mold Understanding Mold itself is the best way to understand how to prevent it.

Since mold is usually a problem we tend to think about during the warm, humid months, it may be a surprise to many to learn that mold can still be prevalent during the winter months. A humid atmosphere can be created when cold air outside clashes with warm temperatures inside, creating the perfect conditions for mold growth. Mold can have a number of detrimental effects on your home and those who live in it. These can range from allergies to damage to your home’s foundational structure. In order to keep your home safe from mold during the winter months, it is important to understand the most effective methods of preventing mold growth.

What Can You Do?

Mold growth prevention during the winter follows many of the same guidelines as preventing mold growth during the summer, such the use of fans and dehumidifiers. During the winter, however, the need to keep an eye on doors, windows, and their surrounding areas, is more important. Moisture can compile in these areas when water leaks or cold air creates condensation, which facilitates mold growth when met with indoor heat. Clean these wet surfaces immediately in order to prevent mold from growing. It is also beneficial to monitor flooring near doors, as moist surfaces can also be created when wet shoes enter your home, after walking through rain or snow. Finally, during the winter, ice and snow tend to pile up on roofs, which can sometimes leak through. In order to prevent mold from growing in attics in the event that water or snow leaks through the roof, keep air circulating, which can be achieved by utilizing a fan.

Proper Fire Evacuation Routes

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Escape on Side of Building Always keep in mind all possible exits and openings when devising an evacuation route.

It's the holiday season, which means we're making more frequent visits to stores and shopping malls. The resulting influx of customers visiting commercial businesses emphasizes
the need for businesses to review the specifications of proper fire evacuation routes in order to keep
customers safe in the event of a fire.
The proper, general evacuation route should be continuous and remain unobstructed at all times.
Evacuation routes contain three different components. The first, exit access, is a path that leads to an
exit. The second is the exit itself, through which people can pass in order to escape. The final component
is the exit discharge, which is the section of the evacuation route that leads directly outside. Every
business should have at least two evacuation routes, but more may be required if the business contains
too many people to safely exit through two exits. Evacuation routes must be permanent parts of the
workplace or business area and should lead directly outside. Finally, exit doors must always be unlocked
from the inside and open in the direction of travel.
Evacuation routes specifically pertaining to fire must follow the same guidelines but should also be
protected from fire. Therefore, the exits, such as staircases, of fire evacuation routes must be protected
by fire-resistant materials. The material must have a one-hour fire-resistance rating if the exit connects
three or fewer floors within the building. However, if the number of floors exceeds three, the material
must have a two-hour fire-resistance rating. The fire evacuation route must have an approved fire door.
The route should also be free of flammable or explosive materials, such as curtains or paper
decorations, as, if they were to catch fire, they would pose a threat to the safety of the fire evacuation
route as well as customers.

Water Stain on Your Ceiling? Here’s What You Should Know

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Mold on Ceiling Don't hesitate. If you see something, say something.

An unwanted yellow ring or streak of discolored substance is undoubtedly one of the worst
discoveries to make when glancing up at the ceiling in passing. The visible markings of a water
leak, these stains indicate water damage in your ceiling, which can not be expunged with a new
coat of paint or averting your eyes from the stain. Ignorance will only cause the problem to grow,
facilitating the growth of mold and mildew. Therefore, it is crucial that the damaged area of the
ceiling is quickly remedied. However, before taking action, it may be beneficial to understand
the common causes of ceiling water stains.
Common Causes
With a solid understanding of the common causes of these stains, the root of your ceiling’s stain
can be determined, which can help identify the best course of action to take. Ceiling water stains
are primarily formed from three scenarios: clogged gutters, caulking issues, and leaky pipes. If a
heavy rainstorm has recently occurred, clogged gutters may be the cause of your ceiling’s water
stain. When gutters overflow, rain water can seep into your home and stain ceilings. If the ceiling
stain appears soon after a shower or bath was taken in your home, the stain may be due to a
caulking issue. Old caulking is prone to cracking and deteriorating, which can lead to leaks when
water escapes a shower or bathtub. Finally, water can leak from pipes that run throughout your
home. If a dishwasher, bathtub, refrigerator, or even an air conditioner are situated directly above
the stain on the next floor up, your ceiling stain may have been caused by leaky pipes. Take a
moment to recall the last time someone took a shower or bath, last week’s heavy rainstorm, and
the last time you ran the dishwasher. Your leak may have been connected to one of those
situations. Taking Action vs Calling a Professional

Drilling into your ceiling in order to verify the source of the leak can be a daunting task for many
homeowners. If you have any hesitation, calling a professional may be the right call. With the
tools, knowledge, and experience, a professional can remediate the water stain quickly and
effectively.

Owners Corner: 1st Quarter 2020

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Two People smiling in ski suits ontop of a mountain The top of Mt. Mansfield

The following is an excerpt from our quarterly newsletter. It is an anecdotal tale from our own Trish Wall, simply recounting her vacation, but leaves us all with a lesson about understanding and triumphing over our human nature. Fear and the unknown.

Without further ado, a journal entry by Trish:

It's 2 PM New Year's Eve, 10 hours left in 2019. In the last few days, my mind has been reflecting on what defined us in 2009 and what defines us now as we look forward into the next decade. After much thought, I'd love to share my "ah-ha" moment that set the tone for our second decade as entrepreneurs, leaders, and, most importantly, parents.
The word of the day today, Rumination.

"If you don’t step out of your comfort zone and face your fears, the number of situations that make you uncomfortable will keep growing."

When we begin to think back through the defining moments, heartbreaks, and pinnacles that we've lived through in the last ten years, it all can seem a bit dense. Ten years can seem like such a vast expanse of time, yet, at the same time, feel so short at the same time. It's ingrained in us to look back through our minds to see how far each of us as individuals has come. It's ingrained in the fabric of existence as a creature, the need to look back on our history and evolve from it. Constantly becoming a better version of ourselves. But, are we? How can 10 years; 3652.5 days (including leap year); and countless moments pass right by us, without any feeling of growth, or change sometimes. Maybe you've made strides towards it, but what's the secret to getting to the finish line? I'm not saying I have "THE SECRET", but my family vacation this week sure got me thinking.

Every year, like most families, we spend our Christmases the same way. Wrapping, presents, driving to see family, hosting family gatherings, cooking for so long that by the time you get to breathe the dishes left in the sink begin to resemble that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But this year we skipped all that. We decided to make a change in plans and instead drove 10 hours north into the heart of Vermont to try our hand at skiing. Are we expert skiers? No. Are we avid skiers? Again, no. Jim had taken our 3 boys for an afternoon YEARS ago, and me, I took a ski class in college. Yes, that's a real thing, and yes it WAS an easy A. However, it WAS new to me and it WAS 18 years ago. The mountain was a 500 ft. vertical drop, which was REALLY high thinking back on it. As we rolled closer into Stowe, VT I looked up at Mt. Mansfield, a monument to the ice that years ago, swept through and carved out all the mountains in view.

Day One: we dropped the kids off at ski school, awkwardly locked our skis into our boots and trudged up to the lift and took it to the peak of Mt Mansfield (which I later learned was the highest mountain in Vermont). We were above the clouds. THE CLOUDS. As I sat there, standing above the whispy heads of the clouds below, something crosses my mind, Tussey Mountain was DEFINITELY not above the clouds. Ol' Tussey was a 500-foot Vertical drop, I now stood two decades later, at the top of Mt. Mansfield, at a 2,360-foot vertical drop, with only one way down. I was...afraid...but what was going through my mind wasn't my sweaty palms or shaky legs, it was "Jim did it to me again" (along with a few other choice words).

It's what drew me to him at the start of our relationship. In fact, it's what brought me to be in that position in the first place. I had grown up very "stay in your lane"; adventure was something I saw in the movies; my risks were always HEAVILY calculated, and the most dangerous thing I'd ever done was riding my bike to Dairy Queen without my mom knowing. Which trust me, My mom could make Dirty Harry shake in his boots, it was a risky move.

Jim was the complete opposite. He was 27 when we met and he had already had more adventures than I could hope to have in a lifetime. And his visions for his future were filled with challenges and opportunities that would never have crossed my mind in a million years. “Stay in your lane”, remember? He’s pushed me past my comfort zone more times than I can count. I truly give him credit for giving me the drive and confidence to jump into uncomfortable situations and find my way out. And I have grown exponentially because of it. 

So let me bring you back to the top of Mt. Mansfield. Jim had done it to me again. He put me somewhere I was completely uncomfortable, forced me to jump in, figure it out, and hopefully have some fun along the way. And I did it. Twice. It wasn’t pretty and I won’t be considered for the Olympic Ski Team anytime soon, but I conquered my sweaty palms, frayed nerves, and Mt. Mansfield on skis. 

I wouldn’t say this “being comfortable being uncomfortable” is a personality trait Jim learned. It’s ingrained in his DNA. It’s who he is without thinking twice about it. But, I’d say for most of us out there, that is an anomaly. Who would want to live in a constant state of discomfort? Sounds like a prescription for Xanax to me. 

All kidding aside though, my “ah-ha” moment was looking over the crest of that daunting mountain, the 3,578th time Jim had pushed me to sink or swim. If we are looking for a life of comfort, we might very well miss the opportunities to become who we want to be. We will wake up on New Year’s Eve 2029… another decade passing us by… and have nothing to show for it. Don’t get caught in the trap of “staying in your lane”. Do what scares you. Find someone that pushes you. Move the things that make you uncomfortable to the top of your to-do list. I promise you, one day they will become second nature and you will probably wonder why on Earth you found them so scary in the first place? And then, most importantly, make sure to fill that list back up with more things that scare you. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Ready or not… ski down that mountain!

Team Wall is running into 2020 with this mentality and I hope you all will too. There are big things to conquer out there. Godspeed and go forth and conquer, my friends!

Sincerely,

Trish and Jim Wall

P.S. We are challenging our team members to submit 3 things that make them uncomfortable. In 4th quarter 2020, we will pass them out again to our team and see how far they’ve come in conquering their fears. Please feel free to participate! I’ll keep it confidential, but hopefully be someone to keep you accountable.

Urban Flooding

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

City Flooding Flooded city after a severe hurricane.

Urban Flooding

Urban flooding has become increasingly more prevalent as cities continue to sprout in areas around the world. With virtually no soil into which water can be absorbed, cities flood easily. This absence of soil requires excess water to be eliminated through a limited number of sewage and draining systems that are interspersed throughout cities.

Urban flooding, in particular, can flood city streets, blocking roadways in its path, and have other negative effects on day-to-day life. When water builds up in drainage systems, drain covers can lift off of the ground in an occurrence called “dancing drain covers”. In addition to dancing, the covers can shift or travel a distance from the drain itself, leaving massive holes in streets that could prove to be dangerous for cars or pedestrians traveling on the road.

Though the reputation of urban flooding isn’t quite as serious as that of the flooding caused by hurricanes, the damage may be comparable if the storm produces a large amount of rain. It is therefore important to recognize how likely flooding may be in your city based on its geography. The risk of urban flooding is increased in cities that are located by rivers due to their tendency to overflow or those situated by major bodies of water due to high tide and the potential for storm surge. If you live in a city that is of greater risk, it may be helpful to prepare an emergency flood kit, containing necessities such as snacks, water, flashlights, and batteries in case your city suffers from a severe flood.

Damage Caused by Lightning

Lightning can cause both physical and electrical damage to homes and businesses if the building is directly hit by lightning during a thunderstorm. Lightning can burn through roofs, rip shingles or gutters from the building, and even tear into attics. In terms of electrical damage, lightning can increase the risk of an electrical fire igniting. Electronic appliances inside of your home, such as computers and refrigerators, can be harmed or destroyed if left plugged into an outlet during a thunderstorm.

Damage Caused by Flash Flooding

When a flood strikes your home or business, especially one like that which dumped excessive amounts of rain on Frederick, Maryland, and Washington, D.C this past weekend, water levels can rise quickly and inflict a significant amount of damage. The floodwater can carry mud and sediment, therefore contaminating the water and whatever it touches in your home or business. From this water damage, mold can grow and spread if the affected area is not remediated quickly. Flood water commonly affects drywall, flooring, and electrical systems such as cooling and heating systems, so it will be crucial to assess these areas for damage after a flood. On a larger scale, flood water can move houses or buildings off of their foundation, so be sure to watch for signs of that as well.

What to Do After the Storm

Immediately following the storm, survey your home or building for any visible indicators of lightning or water damage. This includes making sure that electrical breakers, outlets, and light switches are still functioning, checking plumbing systems for any leakage, and looking for any visible signs of water damage to items within the house or building. While cleaning up any damage, be sure to turn off all water and electrical systems so that when the electricity is restored, the water and electricity do not react with one another, which would result in further damage.

Protecting Your Business From Summer Storms

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

Summer Storm Photo Storms can happen at any time, don't get "caught out in the rain".

Forming as a result of moisture and rising warm air in the atmosphere, severe storms are a common threat to property throughout the summer months. Along with rain, thunder, and lightning, summer storms can also produce large hail and gusty winds. As a business owner, you may be worried about the danger that these storms can pose to your property, and rightfully so. Major structural damage can be done by severe storms, with wind and hail shattering windows and pounding upon roofs. In order to avoid the hefty cost required to fix structural damage, it would be beneficial to develop a plan to utilize during emergencies that will limit the amount of damage imposed upon your business.

Before you begin to formulate that plan, however, make sure that your business has invested in business insurance. Covering the expenses of any property damage caused directly by the storm, business insurance can lift much of the financial burden. Taking matters into your own hands, a regular examination of the condition of your business’ roof as well as removing debris left by past storms in your gutters can prevent the damage from worsening. Impact-resistant glass can also be installed in an effort to prevent windows from shattering and sending glass flying across the inside of your business, potentially in the path of valuables. If you do have any valuables located near windows, be sure to move them to safer areas during storms just in case windows shatter. Safer areas can include any place that is elevated above the floor and distant from windows. Finally, keep outdoor equipment safe by fastening it to something stable.

Monitoring weather forecasts is a beneficial practice, especially if your business is located in an area that regularly experiences severe weather, as you will know when to expect storms and be able to prepare for them. With these guidelines in mind, you can protect your business as best you can from severe storms throughout the summer.

Frozen Rain

11/20/2019 (Permalink)

frozen house Icicles on a House

The Metro Pittsburgh East area has begun to see its first glimpses of snow and endure its first freezes of the season due to the recent colder temperatures. Along with colder temperatures in the air, ground temperatures are beginning to reach the freezing mark as well. When ground temperatures are cold but the atmosphere is still slightly too warm to produce snow, precipitation can fall as rain and instantly freeze upon impact with freezing ground temperatures on sidewalks, roads, or bridges. Freezing rain that creates ice on roadways can pose threats to the safety of drivers and pedestrians. The freezing rain can also form ice on trees and power lines, potentially damaging them in the process. Learning about the dangers of freezing rain and what to do in preparation for it can place you one step ahead when the forecast predicts freezing rain in your neighborhood.

   Unlike snow, which can be shoveled, the ice formed by freezing rain cannot be eliminated quite as easily. Ice requires significantly more time and effort for removal. In addition, the ice resulting from freezing rain often deceives drivers and pedestrians, as ice often looks like water on a roadway or sidewalk. This can pose serious threats to drivers and pedestrians, as they may not be able to see the ice or receive adequate warning before driving in it. Aside from roadways and sidewalks, freezing rain can also impact surfaces such as tree branches and power lines. Ice can form on these surfaces. Enough ice can weigh down upon branches and power lines, potentially causing them to fall or break. Fallen branches and power lines can deprive local homes and businesses of power and heat for unpredictable amounts of time. Homes and businesses can also be at an increased risk of damage if heavy, icy branches fall nearby.

   Taking precautions prior to a storm that is forecasted to produce freezing rain is a key step in ensuring your safety. The first of these precautions is purchasing salt, which can be sprinkled on outdoor surfaces such as sidewalks or driveways that will work to melt the ice faster. Another helpful practice may be to anticipate that branches may fall, damaged power lines may result in the loss of electricity, and the ice may deprive you of the ability to leave your home safely. Making sure that you purchase necessities, such as bottled water, toilet paper, batteries, flashlights, and blankets, before the storm will decrease the chances that you would need to leave your home while conditions are dangerous.

Space Heater Safety

11/20/2019 (Permalink)

Flaming Sofas Dangers of plugged in Space Heaters

The ability to return to a cozy, heated home after spending time outside will become increasingly important as temperatures rapidly drop during November in Metro Pittsburgh East. While many homeowners utilize central heating systems to maintain warmth in their homes, many seek additional heat through space heaters. Creating a warm environment, space heaters can be helpful in heating a specific room, but space heaters do not come without safety risks. Space heaters caused an estimated 25,000 residential fires and 300 deaths each year, according to a 2013 study by The Consumer Product Safety Commission. While this statistic is alarming, your home’s individual risk can be decreased and your family can be kept safe with a thorough understanding of space heater safety.

Combustible objects, such as curtains, rugs, clothes, or paper can ignite if they come into contact with a space heater. To prevent a fire from starting, remember to always keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from combustible items while in use. Additionally, you should also be conscious of keeping your space heater situated on flat, level surfaces and away from major walkways in your home, as a fire could ignite if someone were to trip over the heater, knocking it over onto an object. Always be sure to check your space heater, including its cords and plug, for damage prior to usage. Damage increases the space heater’s risk of malfunctioning and creating a dangerous situation. Therefore, if you discover that the space heater has sustained any damage, do not use the unit. Finally, space heaters should never be left unattended during use. A nearby person could most likely detect a fire early on from the smoke smell and initial flames, which would decrease the chances of the fire spiraling out of control and protect the home from potential destruction. Therefore, it is imperative that you power down the space heater and unplug the unit before leaving the room.

Despite your best efforts to use space heaters safely, accidents can still happen. Taking precautions such as installing smoke detectors on every floor of your home can therefore serve as beneficial backup plans and help to protect your home from destruction. Lastly, if you have children or pets in your home, be sure to keep a watchful eye while a space heater is in use, as they could burn or injure themselves if they get too close. If your home sustains fire damage as a result of space heater usage this fall, you can count on SERVPRO for all of your restorative needs.

Faster to your Metro Pittsburgh East Water Damage Event

10/31/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East provides fire and water damage restoration service in Metro Pittsburgh East.

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. Metro Pittsburgh East provides emergency cleaning and restoration services.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us at 412-672-5400

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.

  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.

  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.

  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.

  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.

  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.

  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.

  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.

  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.

  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.

  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.

  • Paint begins to blister.

  • Wood flooring swells and warps.

  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.

  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Fire Preparation

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire in a two-bedroom apartment building.

Summer time brings so much joy to children. After a long school year they finally get to relax and unwind. To parents and baby sitters however it leaves free time. A few tips on having children prepared in case of a fire:

  • Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.

  • Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from each room, and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.

  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.

  • Practice escaping from your house at least twice a year.

  • Make sure everyone knows how to dial 9-1-1.

  • Teach household members how to stop, drop and roll in case their clothes were to catch on fire.


For more tips and recommendation’s contact us. If an unfortunate event happens remember we’re here to help, and make it, "Like it never even happened."

Metro Pittsburgh East Residents: We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!

10/23/2019 (Permalink)

This Metro Pittsburgh East home’s basement unfortunately flooded.

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your Metro Pittsburgh East basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe

  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home

  • Storm sewer backup

  • Sanitary sewer backup

  • Foundation drainage failure

  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure

  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today – 412-672-5400

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24-hours/7 days per week

  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies

  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About

  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained in Water Restoration Techniques

  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards

  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Basement Flooded? Call Us Today – We’re Ready To Help, 412-672-5400

Promoting Fire Safety in the Workplace

10/22/2019 (Permalink)

Lutherville Charred Garage from a Fire Garage Fire

Promoting Fire Safety in the Workplace

   When it comes to home fire safety, many of know the basics: regularly testing smoke alarms, replacing batteries, and knowing the location of our fire extinguishers. Workplace fire safety, however, is a bit more of a grey area. However, informing employees of potential fire hazards, what to do if a fire ignites, and how to exit the office building can prove imperative in protecting your workplace from the potential consequences of a harmful fire.

   Taking preventative measures prior to a fire can decrease the probability of your workplace undergoing significant fire damage. Be on the lookout for damaged electrical appliances such as telephones, computers, and even desk lamps, as electrical complications can cause a fire to ignite. Upon discovering a faulty electrical appliance, remove it from the office space and replace it with a piece of equipment that functions properly. In addition, fires can also be prevented by informing office workers of how to properly utilize electrical equipment. Smoke alarms should also be installed throughout the workplace so that workers can be promptly alerted of a fire, allowing them enough time to escape the office. Just as you would in your home, check that the alarms are always working properly and regularly replace their batteries. These alarms should be dispersed throughout the workplace so that the alarm is audible to every employee, regardless of their location in the building.

   While it is important to take preventative measures, it is also crucial to have an emergency plan in place that can be implemented in the event of a fire. Employees should know the ins and outs of the plan, including which exit to use and where to meet outside of the building. If employees understand this plan prior to an emergency, exiting the building as efficiently as possible will be a more feasible task. Lastly, all employees should know the location of fire extinguishers in the office and be able to operate them in the event that they are faced with a fire.

   Taking preventative measures, always looking for fire safety hazards, and understanding the office’s emergency escape plan can protect your workplace from a potentially devastating fire.

Common Causes of Fires

10/16/2019 (Permalink)

Helping make fire damage, "like it never even happened."

The top 5 most common causes of house fires and safety tips:

  1. Candles

  • Never leave a candle burning near flammable items or in a child’s room.

  • Make sure candles fit securely into candleholders so they do not tip over.

  • Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep.

  1. Smoking

  • If you smoke, consider smoking outside.

  • Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.

  • Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they cannot be seen.

  • Do not smoke in bed, when you are tired or around medical oxygen.

  1. Electrical & Lighting
  • Do not overload outlets or electrical cords.

  • Make sure you have the right cord for the job. Inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use.

  • Do not leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.

  • Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring.

  1. Dryers & Washing Machines

  • Clean the lint screen frequently and do not run the dryer without it.

  • For gas and propane dryers, make sure there are not any leaks in the lines.

  • Check the vent of the dryer, outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.

  • Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.

  • Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.

  1. Lightning

  • Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.

  • Do not use computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.

  • Unplug major electronics: TVs, stereo equipment, computers and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.

  • Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets during a thunderstorm.



The overall ideas are thanks to the National Fire Protection Association.

National Preparedness Month and Fire Prevention Week

10/9/2019 (Permalink)

This house fire required the staff to demo the inside of the house. Burned out lumber was replaced and cleaned. The structure was painted and rebuilt.

It is unfortunate that different types of disasters and emergencies happen in communities across the country, but there are key steps that every household can take to better prepare for them. If you do nothing else this month, take time to create a disaster plan including an emergency escape plan.

Make a clear plan of what to do in an emergency and in case of an evacuation. Identify clear roles for everyone in the house.

Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that can happen at home, work and school.

Make a list of all the important things you may forget when in an emergency.

Have a disaster kit assembled for everyone in the house.

Have an out of the area emergency contact person noted. 

Practice evacuating your home twice a year, especially if you have kids or pets. This makes it a routine and can make a real emergency situation less stressful.

The Red Cross provides one of many helpful apps for phones and tablets to help with emergencies. 

http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps

Emergency Water Damage Service

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East provides fire and water damage restoration service in Metro Pittsburgh East.

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is available for water emergencies, large or small. 

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help

Call Today at 
412-672-5400

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Types of Contaminated Water Damage

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage example.

Category 1: "Clean Water"

It is from a clean source such as a leaking faucet. If not treated quickly, this water can turn into category 2 or 3, depending on length of time, temperature, and contact with surrounding contaminants.

Example:

  • Water from a clean source like a broken water line. If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3.


Category 2: "Gray Water"

It is contaminated and could cause discomfort or illness. 

Examples include:

  • Washing machine overflow.

  • Toilet overflow with some urine, but not feces.

  • Dishwasher overflow.

May contain bacteria and viruses and can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated.



Category 3: "Black Water"

It is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death, if ingested because of chemicals and microbes. Any contact should be avoided. 

Examples include:

  • Flooding from rivers or streams from sewer backup.

  • Water from beyond the toilet trap.

  • Water from the toilet bowl with feces.

  • Standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.

Cleanup must not be taken lightly. Serious long-term health issues to adults, children and even pets may occur due to bacteria, viruses and even parasites. Don't delay. Take immediate action. 

If You See Signs of Water Damage, Call Us

Continuing Education Schedule

7/23/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh is pleased to have the following continuing education schedule:

September 19, 2019 South Hills
Restorative Drying for Water Damage. 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Ethics 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

October 15, 2019 Monroeville
Understanding the Restoration Industry - Property Fire Damage Restoration 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Biohazard Cleanup 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

November 14, 2019 South Hills
Understanding the Restoration Industry - Property Fire Damage Restoration 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Biohazard Cleanup 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

December 10, 2019 Monroeville
Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Mitigation Awareness and Response Seminar (MARS) 12:30 PM - 2:30 PM

All Monroeville Classes will be held at our office, located at 1951 Lincoln Highway, North Versailles PA 15137

All South Hills Classes will be held at the Spring Hills Suites, located at 611 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon PA 15228

Please call 412-825-5480 to register for any of these classes.

Safety Knowledge For Storm

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

The American Red Cross suggests everyone know what steps are necessary to stay safe if dangerous weather is predicted for your community. If you are to encounter any damage SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh is here to help. 

Tornadoes can occur anywhere, at any time of the year or day. Safety steps you should take now to be ready if a tornado warning is issued for your neighborhood:

  • Know your community’s warning system.

  • Pick a safe room in your home where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. This should be a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

  • Prepare for strong winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.

  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trashcans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

  • Know the tornado danger signs: dark, often greenish clouds, a wall cloud, cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or a roaring noise.

Thunderstorms are most likely to happen in the spring and summer, during the afternoon and evening. However, similar to tornadoes, they can happen anywhere, at any hour of the day. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people every year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Safety steps you can take if a thunderstorm is predicted for your area:

  • If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning.

  • Watch for storm signs like darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing winds.

  • Postpone any outdoor activities. Many people who are struck by lightning are not where it is raining.

  • Take shelter in a substantial building or a vehicle with the windows closed. Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Stay away from windows.

  • Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.

Flooding can occur due to heavy spring rains filling rivers and streams and snow melt. Flash floods occur suddenly when water rises rapidly along a stream or low-lying area. You should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and head for higher ground when a flood or flash flood warning is issued. Additional safety steps include:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.

  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.

  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

Your Home or Business Fire Exposure

5/6/2019 (Permalink)

No business owner wants to watch years of investment and effort go up in smoke. If your business, in Pittsburgh has gone through a fire, damage may be more extensive than you think.

A Fire May Touch All Parts of Your Business

Fires can be unbelievably destructive. Once smoke clears and fire crews leave, you may notice damage to all parts of your business. Damaged structures may include office buildings, warehouses, storage facilities and distribution centers. Further, inventory, office supplies, computers and equipment may sustain fire damage as well.

Fire Containment

The best way to limit damage during a business fire is to extinguish flames as quickly as possible. Even if your business did not turn into a raging inferno, you may have to deal with the messes water, fire retardant and smoke left behind. Fortunately, you probably do not have to figure out cleanup on your own. A professional restoration technician from a reputable service likely has the equipment and knowledge to assess damage and recommend a restoration strategy.

While all fires are different, many have the potential to cause serious damage to your business. You should have a plan.

Contact SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East for help!

Recovering From Water and Fire

3/26/2019 (Permalink)

A flooded home due to a fire is a devastating event for any homeowner or business-owner. It has the ability to ruin many of your possessions in addition to your property itself. Due to the fact that water damage can quickly become permanent if not addressed as soon as possible, if you do suffer flood damage to your home, it is important that you call the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East to help restore the home or business. We recommend having the professionals take care of your property. However, there are some things that you can do before they arrive. Here are some things you can do immediately after to start the restoration process.

Call Your Insurance Agent

Regardless of how bad water damage has hit your home, it has likely done some significant damage to some of your possessions and to the structure of your home. After you recognize the damage, you should call your insurance agent. Most water damage is covered by insurance policies, however you will want to contact them to make sure since there could be exclusions.

Proper Protection

Regardless of how well you think you can clean up, you should call the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh to ensure that as much of your property is salvaged as possible. If you decide to start the cleanup process before they arrive, it is important that you are properly attired. Wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and boots when dealing with flood water to ensure your safety.  The below tips will help you remain safe.

Check Before Entering Home or Business

Before you re-enter your home or business after flood damage, check for any structural damage that may have occurred. Severe flooding or water damage has the ability to compromise the integrity of the structure. If you enter the home without closely inspecting what you are walking into, the building could potentially collapse, trapping you inside. Once you have entered the home, you should be very careful about where you are walking, especially if you are moving from carpeting onto a hard surface.

Document Evidence

Once you have entered the home, document the evidence of damage that has been done by taking photos of it. If there are any questions, particularly by your insurance company about the validity of your claim, you will have evidence to show them.

While you document the damage, save any items that you can. Some items, such as porous materials, may have been damaged beyond repair. When the SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East crew arrives to restore the home or business, they will save as many items as possible. But if there are items that have not been damaged, you can take them out to avoid any further potential damage.

Take Inventory

While you are examining the damage that has occurred in your home or business, make a list of the damage or lost items in the home. Make sure to include the date they were purchased and their value with any receipts you may have. Inventory of your possessions before the flood will be helpful. If any of your possessions must be disposed of, which some may, make sure you have photographs of the items.

Turn Off Power

After the flood damage occurs, turn off all power, especially to the affected rooms. Also refrain from using any electrical appliances as you could electrocute yourself if you are standing in water. Keep the power to the home off until an electrician can come and thoroughly inspect the system to ensure it is safe to turn back on again.

Prevent Mold

Mold thrives in environments where moisture is present which makes flooded parts of a house ideal for mold growth. The existence of mold in a home can be hazardous so it is important to prevent the mold from growing if at all possible. Removing any wet contents from the home as soon as possible will help to prevent such mold growth around the home.

Old Building Smell? Let SERVPRO ® Freshen The Air

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

Many of the older buildings in the Pittsburgh area have a distinct smell. People may say that they smell musty or old material. One way to freshen up the place is to have some deodorization done by SERVPRO ®.

We use state of the art equipment to clean the air within your building. Depending on the odor we have a few techniques that we could use.

  • Thermal fogging is technique which helps penetrate deeply into building materials.

  • An ozone machine is used to help add a fresh smell to odors that seem to linger such as smoke.

  • Old fashioned deep cleaning of walls should not be overlooked.

  • Carpet cleaning, using hot water extraction to remove deep and hard to remove soils.

  • Adding to any of the above methods is that of heating, ventilation and air conditioning cleaning (HVAC).

  • Getting the air ducts clean will definitely freshen any building, no matter the age.

What To Do Before Help Arrives?

1/3/2019 (Permalink)

When your home or business suffers from a storm, it is critical to know the difference between different levels of contaminated water. There are 3 classes of water: clean, gray and black.

Clean water is water from a broken pipe, water from a hot water heater, or sink. The time frame for a clean water damage is gray water.

Here is a list of precautions to take to protect your personal belongings from a clean source water damage until help arrives. Or contact a qualified professional to the following:

    • Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional.

    • Turn off the circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electric shock.

    • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.

    • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow a more even drying.

    • Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place.

    • Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet as they may cause staining.

    • Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.

    • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

When you have water damage, do not leave your property to chance.

Water Leaks Can Cause Mold 

1/3/2019 (Permalink)

About Mold Growth

A leaky faucet in your home can be very annoying, but it has the potential to be much more than an annoyance. The moisture caused by leaks can make your home into the perfect environment for mold growth. Mold spores are known to cause allergic reactions and exacerbate respiratory problems. Mold can grow rapidly if you fail to notice a leak shortly after it starts, especially in humid climates. Knowing the risks that mold presents and quickly fixing your water leaks can help to protect your home from mold growth and protect your health as well.

Mold growth will begin in areas of your home that are wet. The mold spores will land on moist surfaces and then start to germinate. The materials on which mold can grow include:


• Sheetrock

• Tile

• Painted surfaces

• Carpet

• Wood


How Mold Can Affect Your Health

Most types of mold are harmless but can cause problems for individuals with allergies. They can cause symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose or breathing problems. A few types of mold are indeed very toxic, whether or not you have allergies.

Indications of Mold Growth Due To Water Leaks

If you see black and white spots in the area of the leak, this is a sign that you have mold. Kitchens and basements are some of the areas in your home where there is a high risk of mold growth as these areas are prone to leaks. It is therefore, important that you properly maintain your plumbing fixtures.

Preventing Mold Growth After Fixing Leaks

If you discover a water leak, have it fixed as soon as possible to minimize the potential for mold growth. After the leak has been fixed, use a mild detergent to wash the area and then allow it to dry completely. After it has dried, thoroughly wipe the area with bleach to kill any spores present. Boric acid also effective at killing mold spores could be used as a substitute for bleach. Be sure to keep your kids and pets out of the area while handling chemicals. It is always recommended to have a professional do the work.

Get Professional Assistance

If there is a part of your home that is prone to water leaks, contact someone with experience, which includes a plumber. If there are hidden problems that are causing leaks to recur, you may not be able to find them yourself. A licensed plumber who is experienced at finding and fixing leaks will be better able to find and fix the issues. Your plumber will also be able to advise you on how to maintain your plumbing to prevent water leaks and mold growth in the future.

Understanding Mold

Microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, outdoors and indoors, making it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.

  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.

  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.

  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.

  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.

  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

How Our Professional Services Can Restore Your Fire Damaged Property

12/26/2018 (Permalink)

Firefighter in front of flames Thank you to our firefighters.

When materials burn they release carbon in the form of smoke.

The Use Of Sand Blasting, Water Pressure, And Air Pressure In Removing Fire Damage

When materials burn they release carbon in the form of smoke. As smoke comes into contact with a surface, it deposits parts of that carbon in the form of residue on that surface. These residues typically account for the lion's share of cleaning duties when restoring property after a small kitchen or living room fire. Although these types of fire are usually easily contained the smoke, which travels into open oxygen pockets, can spread far and wide. However, smoke residues contain more than just carbon, which is why professional cleaning services are a wise choice in the aftermath of soot or smoke harm.

A trained technician should be able to recognize the different types of fire and property owners can benefit from this expertise.

At SERVPRO we have a range of different cleaning methods and techniques to tackle all damages. Synthetic materials, for example, can release carcinogens when burned. Likewise, differing temperatures, airflows and fabrics require a tailored cleaning response.

On arrival at your property, a SERVPRO technician can conduct a pre-test. This involves testing different areas of the property for the type of damage.

Wet-smoke, caused by burning synthetics, is particularly susceptible to wet cleaning methods. Dry smoke, on the other hand, may benefit from dry cleaning to avoid spreading smoke around and inadvertently causing further damages.

In fire fighting efforts, there is a high chance that water is used which can set soot and make it tricky to clean. One technique that can be used to tackle soot is water pressure and air pressure. These advanced techniques help to dislodge soot from the surface, which can then be washed away. If there is significant structural damage, we could use sandblasting to rapidly smooth the affected area and remove charring or ingrained soot.

As part of a franchise with access to national resources, SERVPRO can afford to train our technicians to the highest level. With expertise in odor control, certified by the IICRC, and industrial fogging equipment, we can help to remove the unpleasant burning odors that may remain long after a property is restored.

Are You Prepared?

12/24/2018 (Permalink)

Is your business prepared in case a disaster or emergency situation should occur? Disasters and resulting business interruptions can devastate companies; in fact, as many as 50% of businesses that experience a disaster never reopen. With the proper planning and proactive restoration, you can better prepare to survive a disaster should one occur.

The need and benefit of having a detailed emergency action plan is crucial. A well-developed plan can help mitigate the effects of disasters and help you return to business quickly, saving time, unnecessary frustration and money. Those few minutes and hours immediately following a loss can be significant in determining the amount of time the property will be non-functional. Fast response can mean the difference between restoration and cleaning, versus costly replacement from prolonged exposure and secondary damage.

Developing a solid working contingency plan and networking with reputable vendors to assist you in your time of need are essential in your recovery efforts. Having a reliable company to respond immediately and begin emergency procedures is a critical part of any contingency plan. As part of a franchise, SERVPRO ® of Metro Pittsburgh East has access to over 10,000 quality teammates with thousands of pieces of commercial equipment and service vehicles that can typically respond to a crisis within hours.

SERVPRO ® of Metro Pittsburgh East can provide you an example emergency preparedness plan to help minimize interruption, overall costs and tenant inconvenience.

Minimize Flood Damage by Preparing Your Building

12/23/2018 (Permalink)

Weather in Pennsylvania can change in an instant, and it only takes a small shift in a storm’s track to bring torrential downpours that could lead to devastating flooding. If you are a business owner, a flood can represent a serious threat to your company’s operations. While there is not a lot you can do to stop major floods from hurricanes and other natural disasters, here are some steps you can take to lessen the impact of storm and flood damage. 

Build Barriers to Slow Water Incursion

Water is a powerful force, and it is virtually impossible to keep it at bay, but you can align barriers in the path to slow it down. You can start this process long before the onset of flooding by building a levee, berm or flood control wall if local building codes permit. Have a professional assess your lower floors to see if you should apply sealants to walls or relocate utility boxes. When the rain starts falling, you could enlist help to place sandbags in strategic areas around the structure:

  • Across doorways, right up against the door.

  • In front of garage doors.

  • Around showers and floor drains to prevent incursion of water.

When building sandbag walls, make certain you do not completely surround your building, and use a plastic tarp as a base for extra waterproofing.

Clean Storm Drains and Gutters

In many cases, flood damage happens during normal storms because the building owner did not keep up on maintenance. Gutters, storm drains and other devices are designed to channel water away from the building, which is why it is important to clean them regularly to ensure they are free of debris that could cause a backup.

Minimize Losses, Being Prepared

Why risk significant disruptions to your operations when you could cut down on storm damage by taking some preparatory steps? Should you experience flooding despite your efforts, be sure to contact an experienced remediation company to get you back up and running as soon as possible.

Air Duct Cleaning

12/21/2018 (Permalink)

There are many reasons why your home could use air duct cleaning.

Dust levels in homes increase due to dirty air ducts, this is one of the many ways that particulates can enter your home. Other ways are through cooking, cleaning, smoking or just moving around. There has not been concrete evidence that household dust can pose different health risks but there are other things to be on the look out for that can be potentially dangerous.

How to tell if you need to have your air ducts cleaned out:

  • There is substantial visible mold growth on ducts.

  • Ducts are infected with vermin (rodents or insects).

  • Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust/debris.

You may just want to consider air duct cleaning simply because it is logical that the air ducts will get dirty over time and occasionally need to be cleaned.

Whether or not you decide to have your ducts cleaned, preventing dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to prevent any contamination from entering your home or business. 

For Service in Pittsburgh, Contact SERVPRO

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

Pittsburgh residents, contact us for thorough service.

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East provides emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in Pittsburgh. We can respond to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.

  • Fast to Any-Size Disaster

  • Highly Trained Restoration Technicians

  • A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry

  • Locally Owned and Operated

  • Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment 

Residential Services

You can depend on us.  Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training, and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:

  • Water Damage Restoration

  • Fire Damage Restoration

  • Mold Remediation

  • Storm Damage Restoration

  • Cleaning Services

  • Building/Reconstruction Services

Commercial Services

There is never a convenient time for fire or water damage to strike your Pittsburgh commercial property.  When the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. 

Have Questions? Call Us, 412-672-5400.

Understanding Industry Terms

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is always "Here to Help". We know that jargon can be confusing so we usually try to break it down as easy as we can out in the field, but we know that our customers like to stay informed. Here are some common terms used in the field with their definition so you can understand better what is happening in your home or business.

Anti-Microbials: A substance, mechanism, or condition that inhibits the growth or existence of an organism.

Fire Damage Recovery: The process of restoring and recovering property and belongings after a fire. The objectives include minimizing existing damage, damage mitigation, structure stabilization, soot & odor removal and reconstruction.

Fungi: The unicellular or multicellular eukaryotic/ DNA organisms embracing a large group of microflora including: molds, mildews, yeasts, mushrooms, rusts and smuts.

HVAC: Heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

HEPA Filter: High efficiency particulate air filter, a specialized filter capable of removing 99.7% of particles.

Masking Agents: Designed to prevent or remove heightened awareness to odors by providing a fragrance, which is stronger and more pleasant to smell while the source of the odor is being eliminated.

Smoke Damage Removal: Neutralizing or removing smoke odors that linger after fires.

Smoke Particles: Smoke is composed of gases / sometimes aerosols, and airborne solids. Dry wood, natural fibers and paper all produce small non-smearing material. Plastic, foam, and rubber (polymers) produce large easily smeared residues.

Importance of Mold Testing

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

When a home suffers a water damage event, a mold infestation can quickly arise and spread throughout a home. Because mold can produce allergens and irritants, you will want a professional that has training and experience to properly resolve the mold infestation.

In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling may be unnecessary. However at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East we find it important to do the mold testing before and after the remediation process.

We do surface sampling to make sure the affected area has been cleaned and remediated properly. We also have the mold tested to see what kind of mold was growing. We do this because there are more dangerous strains of mold than others.

If you’ve already seen outbreaks of mold, you may need to retain the services of a mold remediation specialist. These technicians can help you identify sources of mold that aren’t readily apparent on initial inspection and recommend appropriate cleanup and prevention actions.

Thunderstorms, Facts & Causes

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Facts

Thunderstorms are defined as storms that produce thunder and lightning. Severe thunderstorms may also produce:

  • Rain

  • High winds

  • Sleet or snow

It’s important to note that thunderstorms do not always produce moisture. A storm in which you see lightning and hear thunder, but never feel a drop of water is known as a “dry” thunderstorm. Thunderstorms that produce hail and tornadoes are known as “supercell” storms. Storms occur either in clusters or lines; therefore, they may present as a single thunderstorm or as multiple thunderstorms, hitting one after the other.

Causes

Thunderstorms are caused when moisture from the lower or mid-level part of the atmosphere mixes with warm, unstable air from the ground. Moisture and air then push upwards into the higher atmosphere to form clouds that produce thunder and lightning, as well as potential precipitation. The sun heats the ground and moisture is more perceptible in the air, especially in humid climates.

Thunderstorms must also be lifted to begin their formation. Some sources of lift include:

  • More heat on the ground than in the air.

  • Changes in atmospheric conditions near mountains.

  • Weather front changes caused by clashing cold and hot air.

  • Drylines, or when moist and dry air clash.

  • Land or water breezes.

Any of these situations can immediately create a thunderstorm without warning, even in the middle of a clear blue day. In many cases, these storms will also be accompanied by lightning.

Minimize Flood Damage By Preparing Your Building?

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

Weather in Pennsylvania can change in an instant, and it only takes a small shift in a storm’s track to bring torrential downpours that could lead to devastating flooding. If you are a business owner, a flood can represent a serious threat to your company’s operations. While there is not a lot you can do to stop major floods from hurricanes and other natural disasters, here are some steps you can take to lessen the impact of storm and flood damage. 

Build Barriers to Slow Water Incursion

Water is a powerful force, and it is virtually impossible to keep it at bay, but you can align barriers in the path to slow it down. You can start this process long before the onset of flooding by building a levee, berm or flood control wall if local building codes permit. Have a professional assess your lower floors to see if you should apply sealants to walls or relocate utility boxes. When the rain starts falling, you may want to enlist help to place sandbags in strategic areas around the structure:

  • Across doorways, right up against the door.

  • In front of garage doors.

  • Around showers and floor drains to prevent incursion of water.

Clean Storm Drains and Gutters

In many cases, flood damage happens during normal storms because the building owner did not keep up on maintenance. Gutters, storm drains and other devices are designed to channel water away from the building. It iis important to clean and maintain your building regularly with help, to ensure no debris causes a backup.

Minimize Losses, Being Prepared

Do not risk significant disruptions to your operations when you could cut down on storm damage. Should you experience flooding, be sure to contact an experienced remediation company to get you back up and running.

Conditions In Metro Pittsburgh East Might Be Right For Mold

12/13/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East knows what to do if mold grows in your home.

It’s estimated that more than 1 million types of mold exist, yet less than 10 percent have actually been named. This means mold is very common in both indoor and outdoor environments. While mold and humans can sometimes co-exist without issue, there are certain species of mold that can cause health effects for some people.

If the right conditions exist, mold will grow.  Those conditions include:

  • Water - Different mold types require varying amounts of liquid before growth begins.
      
  • Temperature - Normal indoor temperatures will promote mold growth.

  • Time - Initial mold colonizers can take hold within one day after being exposed to an adequate water supply.

Mold growth can occur in any home, so it’s important to keep an eye out for situations that might promote mold activity. Roof/chimney leaks, wet basements, or condensation from ducts that dampen surrounding insulation are just a few examples of issues that make a house a prime target for mold growth.

If you suspect mold in your home, call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East to assess the situation. We have the knowledge, tools and track record to effectively remediate mold in your home or business.

If you suspect mold, call us today at 412-672-5400

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.

  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.

  • Contact SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East
    for mold remediation services.

Water Damaged Hardwood Floors

12/10/2018 (Permalink)

Example of water damage.

If a water leak occurs at your residence, some of your building materials can get wet and be difficult to dry. The goal to any water damage project is to return moisture levels to preloss conditions as quickly as possible. Some items in your home are simpler to dry than others. Porous materials such as carpet get wet quicker, but they are easier to dry out than non-porous materials like wood or concrete. If things like your wood floors receive water damage, it could take more than just air mover blower fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the materials.  

Our SERVPRO technicians always use the industry's most advanced technology when mitigating any loss at your property. We also know that fast service is essential to reducing the severity of problems during water damage situations. Located locally, we can respond promptly. Our team is highly trained, and we have experience in dealing with many types of scenarios. When we arrive at your home or office, we first make sure the building is safe for all occupants, then we use specialized instruments to take humidity, temperature, and moisture level readings.  

If we think that your hardwood floors may be affected, we use our wood moisture sensors to determine the moisture level of the materials. 

Quickly drying out hardwood floors from water damage can prevent the wood from cupping and warping. If the flooring has a high moisture content, then we may use specialized equipment to help speed up the drying process to prevent buckling and fungal growth. To do this, we often use drying mats to push air deep into the wood flooring materials. The mats help concentrate and spread out the air so that it focuses evenly into the wet wood.  

The use of drying mats is just one example of the technologically advanced tools of the trade our SERVPRO crew can bring to the table. If your hardwood floors ever get wet, contact SERVPRO. 

Metro Pittsburgh East Residents: Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

Be careful! Without proper training, you could be spreading mold throughout your home.

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores, which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO ofMetro Pittsburgh East for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East  specializes in mold cleanup and restoration. It is a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 412-672-5400

Does Your Metro Pittsburgh East Home Have A Mold Problem?

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

In Metro Pittsburgh East mold can spread through a home in as little as 48 hours.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise, “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.

  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.

  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.

  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.

  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.

  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 412-672-5400

Fire Damage

11/30/2018 (Permalink)

Helping make fire damage, "like it never even happened."

No business owner wants to watch years of investment and effort go up in smoke. Still, fire damage in Pittsburgh, PA, is a somewhat common occurrence. If your business has gone through a fire, damage may be more extensive than you think.

Insurance May Not Cover All Damage


As a diligent business owner, you likely have insurance to protect your company from the effects of fires and other hazards. Unfortunately, following a fire, your insurance adjuster may inform you that your policy doesn’t cover certain types of fires. Commonly, fire policies exclude the following events:

  • Arson-related fires
  • Fires in vacant buildings


A Fire May Touch All Parts of Your Business or Home


Fires can be unbelievably destructive. Once smoke clears and fire crews leave, you may notice damage to all parts of your business. Damaged structures may include office buildings, warehouses, storage facilities and distribution centers. Further, inventory, office supplies, computers and equipment may sustain fire damage as well.

Fire Containment Can Cause Additional Damage


The best way to limit damage during a business fire is to extinguish flames as quickly as possible. Still, fire mitigation often causes additional damage.

Even if your business did not turn into a raging inferno, you may have to deal with the messes water, fire retardant and smoke leave behind. Fortunately, you probably do not have to figure out cleanup on your own. A professional restoration technician from a reputable service likely has the equipment and knowledge to assess damage and recommend a restoration strategy. 

While all fires are different, many in Pittsburgh, PA have the potential to cause serious damage to your business or home. As a savvy entrepreneur, you spend a significant amount of time thinking of ways to attract new customers and improve your company’s products or services.

Contact SERVPRO!

IICRC Certified Firm

11/29/2018 (Permalink)

We are an IICRC certified firm.

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC certified firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Fire, Smoke, and Soot Restoration

11/29/2018 (Permalink)

Thank you to all the first responders out there.

No Disaster Is Small When It Is Yours!

  • Your home or commercial facility contains many of your most valuable possessions. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals understand the trauma that follows a loss. When fire damage takes control of your life, we help you take it back.


Contents Services

  1. Inventory – One of the first priorities in fire restoration is to complete an accurate inventory to help ensure you can properly account for all your belongings. Your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional can provide a detailed room-by-room inventory of contents, including digital photographs and bar codes for each item, suitable for filing insurance claims forms and relieving you of this often stressful and time consuming process.

  2. Move Outs – When the structure has suffered extensive damage, the cleanup and restoration process may need to be facilitated by relocating the contents for cleaning, deodorization and storage while structural repairs are being completed. A supervised moving crew can carefully pack and move the entire contents of your home or office.

  3. Contents Cleaning – All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies and upholstery. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals begin by carefully inspecting and testing all fabrics in the structure to determine which cleaning methods are most appropriate. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can provide wet or dry cleaning. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to as near as preloss condition as possible. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, bric-a-brac and much more.

Structural Cleaning

  1. Ceilings and Walls – Your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional will pretest to analyze the extent of the damage to your ceilings, walls and woodwork. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can reduce the cost of recovery by expertly cleaning lighter soot without incurring the expense associated with repainting. When higher concentrations of soot exist, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will clean the area to prepare the surface for smooth painting.

  2. Carpet & Floor Restoration – After a smoke or fire damage, carpeting and floors will often need a deep and thorough cleaning. Residue from smoke or soot settles and is ground into flooring every time someone walks on it. Whether it is wall-to-wall carpeting or the most expensive tile floor, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals have the experience, equipment and cleaning products to clean and protect all types of flooring surfaces.

  3. Ductwork – The ductwork and HVAC system will be inspected to determine if they were affected by the smoke damage. Depending on the amount of damage, the proper restoration process will be determined to clean and deodorize your HVAC and duct system.


Deodorization

• SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals provide specialized services that rid your home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance, they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them. Ask your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you.


Have a Question? Call Us Today!

Storm Facts, Tips and Safety

11/27/2018 (Permalink)

Lighting myth and fact.

Thunderstorms are defined as storms that produce thunder and lightning. Severe thunderstorms may also produce:

  • Rain

  • High winds

  • Sleet or snow

It’s important to note that thunderstorms do not always produce moisture. A storm in which you see lightning and hear thunder but never feel a drop of water is known as a “dry” thunderstorm. Thunderstorms that produce hail and tornadoes are known as “supercell” storms. Storms occur either in clusters or lines; therefore, they may present as a single thunderstorm or as multiple thunderstorms hitting one after the other.

Causes

Thunderstorms are caused when moisture from the lower or mid-level part of the atmosphere mixes with warm, unstable air from the ground. Moisture and air then push upwards into the higher atmosphere to form clouds that produce thunder and lightning, as well as potential precipitation. Spring, summer and fall are most conducive to thunderstorms because the sun heats the ground and moisture is more perceptible in the air, especially in humid climates.

Thunderstorms must also be lifted to begin their formation. Some sources of lift include:

  • More heat on the ground than in the air

  • Changes in atmospheric conditions near mountains

  • Weather front changes caused by clashing cold and hot air

  • Drylines, or when moist and dry air clash

  • Land or sea breezes

Any of these situations can immediately create a thunderstorm without warning, even in the middle of a clear blue day. In many cases, these storms will also be accompanied by lightning. Most will not come with hail or tornadoes, unless they occur in tornado-prone states such as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri.

Severe Weather Facts & Myths

11/27/2018 (Permalink)

Tornadoes damage estimate. Source: Houselogic.com.

Thunder Storm

Myth: Highway and interstate overpasses are safe shelters against a tornado.

Fact: Overpasses can concentrate the tornado winds, causing them to be significantly stronger. This places the people under them in an even more dangerous situation. In recent years, several people seeking shelter beneath overpasses have been killed or severely injured. Being above ground level during a tornado is dangerous.

Myth: The low pressure with a tornado causes buildings to explode. Opening the windows will equalize the pressure, saving the building.

Fact: Opening the windows in an attempt to equalize pressure will have no effect. It is the violent winds and debris that cause most structural damage. It is more important for you to move to a safe area away from windows and exterior walls. With a tornado, every second counts, so use your time wisely and take cover.

Myth: Thunderstorms and tornadoes always move from west to east.

Fact: More often than not, thunderstorms move from west to east. Conditions in the atmosphere dictate how and where storms will move, and it can be in any direction. Tornadoes have been known to act erratic and can change directions and speed very quickly. Never try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.

Myth: It’s not raining here, and skies above me are clear, therefore I am safe from lightning.

Fact: Lightning can strike many miles away from the thunderstorm. If storms are in your area, but skies happen to be clear above you, that certainly does not imply you are safe from lightning. Though these “Bolts from the Blue” are infrequent, lightning strikes 10 to 15 miles away from the storm are not out of the question.

Myth: Since I am inside my house and out of the storm, I am completely safe from lightning.

Fact: Just because you have taken shelter inside, you are not automatically safe. While inside waiting out a storm, avoid using the telephone or electrical appliances and do not take showers or baths. Also stay away from doors and windows. Telephone lines, cords, plumbing, even metal window and door frames are all lightning conductors and pose a threat

Myth: Large and heavy vehicles, such as SUVs and pickups, are safe to drive through flood waters.

Fact: It is a common belief that the larger the vehicle, the deeper the water it can drive through. Many people do not realize that two feet of water can float most vehicles, including SUVs and pickups. If the water is moving rapidly, vehicles can be swept away.

Myth: Flash floods only occur along flowing streams.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Smoke Alarms

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Help prevent death.

As temperatures drop you may feel the need to fire up your furnace, this could possibly lead to the chirping of a Carbon Monoxide Alarm. Some new smoke alarms have the Carbon Monoxide capability. What do you do if that happens?

1. Let’s Start With What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

  • Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless poison gas that can be fatal when inhaled.

  • It is sometimes called the "silent killer."

  • CO inhibits the blood's capacity to carry oxygen.

  • CO can be produced when burning fuels such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil or wood.

  • CO is the product of incomplete combustion. If you have fire, you have CO.

2. Where Does Carbon Monoxide (CO) Come From?

  • Any fuel-burning appliance that is malfunctioning or improperly installed.

  • Furnaces, gas range/stove, gas clothes dryer, water heater, portable fuel-burning space heaters, fireplaces, generators and wood burning stoves.

  • Vehicles, generators and other combustion engines running in an attached garage.

  • Blocked chimney or flue.

  • Cracked or loose furnace exchanger.

  • Back drafting and changes in air pressure.

  • Operating a grill in an enclosed space.

3. What are Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Symptoms?

  • Initial symptoms are similar to the flu without a fever and can include dizziness, severe headaches, nausea, sleepiness, fatigue/weakness and disorientation/confusion.

4. What are The Effects of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Exposure?

  • Common Mild Exposure - Slight headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, flu-like symptoms.
  • Common Medium Exposure - Throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion, fast heart rate.

  • Common Extreme Exposure - Convulsions, unconsciousness, brain damage, heart and lung failure, followed by death.

  • If you experience even mild CO poisoning symptoms, immediately consult a physician! 

5. Are There Any Steps I Can Take to Prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning?

  • Properly equip your home with carbon monoxide alarms on every level and in sleeping areas. The only safe way to detect CO in your home is with a CO alarm.

  • Every year have the heating system, vents, chimney and flue inspected by a qualified technician.

  • Regularly examine vents and chimneys for improper connections, visible rust and stains.

  • Install and operate appliances according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Only purchase appliances that have been approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

  • Never use a gas range/stove to heat the home.

  • Never leave your car idling in a closed garage or use fuel-powered appliances or tools in enclosed, attached areas such as garages or porches. Carbon monoxide can seep into your home through vents and doors.

6. Do I Need a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm? Where Should It Be Installed?

  • Every home with at least one fuel-burning appliance/heater, attached garage or fireplace should have a carbon monoxide alarm.

  • If the home has only one carbon monoxide alarm, it should be installed in the main bedroom or in the hallway outside of the sleeping area.

  • An alarm should be installed on every level of the home and in sleeping areas.

  • Place the alarm at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.

  • Make sure nothing is covering or obstructing the unit.

  • Do not place the unit in dead air spaces or next to a window or door.

  • Test the carbon monoxide alarm once a week by pressing the test/reset button.

  • Monthly, unplug the unit and vacuum with a soft-brush attachment or wipe with a clean, dry cloth to remove accumulated dust.

7. Should My Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm Have A Digital Display? What Does The Peak Level Function Do?

• A digital display allows you to see if CO is present and respond before it becomes a dangerous situation.

• Peak Level Memory stores the highest recorded reading prior to being reset. This feature enables you to know if there was a reading while you were away from home, and also can help emergency responders determine the best treatment.


8. Whom Should I Call If My Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm Goes Off?

If anyone is experiencing symptoms, you need to get everyone into fresh air and call 911 from a neighbor's home. If no one is experiencing symptoms, you should call the fire department or a qualified technician from a neighbor's home to have the problem inspected. If you are unable to leave the home to call for help, open the doors and windows, and turn off all possible sources while you are waiting for assistance to arrive. Under no circumstance should an alarm be ignored!

Winter Heating Hazards

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Fireworks cause nearly 20,000 home fires each year. ?Source: NFPA.org.

Winter is the same anywhere you go, lower temperatures and shorter days. Often times we use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves to make our homes cozy. Did you know that heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths?

Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of a heating-related fire:

  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three foot "kid-free zone around open fires and space heaters.

  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.

  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

Restoring and Reconstructing Your Metro Pittsburgh East Property

11/12/2018 (Permalink)

An example of creating a new building from the ground up.

Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall and installing new carpet, or may entail major repairs, such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business in Metro Pittsburgh East.

Emergency Building Services

When your home in Metro Pittsburgh East has been damaged by a storm or water, the immediate concern may include temporary protective measures to prevent additional damages, like placing a roof tarp.  

  •  Board-Up
  •  Roof Tarp
  •  Temporary Fencing
  •  Move-Out / Pack-Out
  •  Temporary Warehouse Space

Repairs and Minor Building Services

The following building and repair services may be necessary to restore your home in Metro Pittsburgh East to pre-water damage condition.

  •  Drywall Removal and Installation
  •  Hardwood Floor Repair
  •  Tile Floor Repair
  •  Painting
  •  Carpet Repair and Installation

Building Services and Reconstruction

We can simplify the restoration process by handling both the initial damage mitigation and rebuilding the affected areas. Having one qualified company SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East for the entire process can save time and keep cost low. It can provide this continuity by supervising a full range of restoration services that will bring a building back to full functionality.

Restoring Your Metro Pittsburgh East Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

11/6/2018 (Permalink)

Damage Events Present Unique Challenges.

Flooding and water damage events at Metro Pittsburgh East commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large-scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Fire Preparation

10/29/2018 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire in a two-bedroom apartment building.

Summer time brings so much joy to children. After a long school year they finally get to relax and unwind. To parents and baby sitters however it leaves free time. A few tips on having children prepared in case of a fire:

  • Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.

  • Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from each room, and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.

  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.

  • Practice escaping from your house at least twice a year.

  • Make sure everyone knows how to dial 9-1-1.

  • Teach household members how to stop, drop and roll in case their clothes were to catch on fire.


For more tips and recommendation’s contact us. If an unfortunate event happens remember we’re here to help, and make it, "Like it never even happened."

Metro Pittsburgh East Residents: We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!

10/23/2018 (Permalink)

This Metro Pittsburgh East home’s basement unfortunately flooded.

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your Metro Pittsburgh East basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe

  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home

  • Storm sewer backup

  • Sanitary sewer backup

  • Foundation drainage failure

  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure

  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today – 412-672-5400

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24-hours/7 days per week

  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies

  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About

  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained in Water Restoration Techniques

  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards

  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Basement Flooded? Call Us Today – We’re Ready To Help, 412-672-5400

Faster to your Metro Pittsburgh East Water Damage Event

10/15/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East provides 24-hour fire and water damage restoration service in Metro Pittsburgh East.

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. Metro Pittsburgh East provides emergency cleaning and restoration services.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us – 412-672-5400

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.

  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.

  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.

  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.

  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.

  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.

  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.

  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.

  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.

  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.

  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.

  • Paint begins to blister.

  • Wood flooring swells and warps.

  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.

  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Common Causes of Fires

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Helping make fire damage, "like it never even happened."

The top 5 most common causes of house fires and safety tips:

  1. Candles

  • Never leave a candle burning near flammable items or in a child’s room.

  • Make sure candles fit securely into candleholders so they do not tip over.

  • Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep.

  1. Smoking

  • If you smoke, consider smoking outside.

  • Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.

  • Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they cannot be seen.

  • Do not smoke in bed, when you are tired or around medical oxygen.

  1. Electrical & Lighting
  • Do not overload outlets or electrical cords.

  • Make sure you have the right cord for the job. Inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use.

  • Do not leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.

  • Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring.

  1. Dryers & Washing Machines

  • Clean the lint screen frequently and do not run the dryer without it.

  • For gas and propane dryers, make sure there are not any leaks in the lines.

  • Check the vent of the dryer, outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.

  • Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.

  • Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.

  1. Lightning

  • Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.

  • Do not use computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.

  • Unplug major electronics: TVs, stereo equipment, computers and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.

  • Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets during a thunderstorm.



The overall ideas are thanks to the National Fire Protection Association.

National Preparedness Month and Fire Prevention Week

10/9/2018 (Permalink)

This house fire required the staff to demo the inside of the house. Burned out lumber was replaced and cleaned. The structure was painted and rebuilt.

It is unfortunate that different types of disasters and emergencies happen in communities across the country, but there are key steps that every household can take to better prepare for them. If you do nothing else this month, take time to create a disaster plan including an emergency escape plan.

Make a clear plan of what to do in an emergency and in case of an evacuation. Identify clear roles for everyone in the house.

Discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that can happen at home, work and school.

Make a list of all the important things you may forget when in an emergency.

Have a disaster kit assembled for everyone in the house.

Have an out of the area emergency contact person noted. 

Practice evacuating your home twice a year, especially if you have kids or pets. This makes it a routine and can make a real emergency situation less stressful.

The Red Cross provides one of many helpful apps for phones and tablets to help with emergencies. 

http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps

Metro Pittsburgh East Emergency Water Damage Service

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East provides fire and water damage restoration service in Metro Pittsburgh East.

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is available for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help

Call Today – 
412-672-5400

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Three Types of Contaminated Water Damage

9/6/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage example.

Category 1: "Clean Water"

It is from a clean source like a broken water supply line or leaking faucet. If not treated quickly, this water can turn into category 2 or 3, depending on length of time, temperature, and contact with surrounding contaminants.

Examples include:

  • Water from a clean source like a broken water line

  • If left untreated, can degrade into category 2 or 3


Category 2: "Gray Water"

It is contaminated and could cause discomfort or illness. 

Examples include:

  • Washing machine overflow

  • Toilet overflow with some urine, but not feces

  • Dishwasher overflow

May contain bacteria and viruses and can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated.



Category 3: "Black Water"

It is grossly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death, if ingested because of chemicals and microbes. Any contact should be avoided. 

Examples include:

  • Flooding from rivers or streams from sewer backup

  • Water from beyond the toilet trap

  • Water from the toilet bowl with feces

  • Standing water that has begun to support microbial growth

Cleanup must not be taken lightly. Serious long-term health issues to adults, children and even pets may occur due to bacteria, viruses and even parasites. Don't delay. Take immediate action. 

If You See Signs of Water Damage, Call Us

Prevent Business Down Time by Checking for Water Leaks 

7/6/2018 (Permalink)

We recommend you check your ceiling tiles for stains.  Look for stain changes and that grow bigger after storms or for no reason.  A leak that is there and being ignored has the potential to interrupt your business and cause significant damage.

We have encountered many buildings that have suffered a sudden and significant deluge of water.  Often the area of impact was not anticipated since pipes are tucked out of sight and behind drop ceilings that absorb small leaks.  

When there is overflow we have seen massive losses on warehouse floors, out on retail floors where thousands of dollars of new merchandise was damaged and could no longer be sold. 

Drop ceilings will become heavy from the weight of water and collapse onto the office or sales floor and businesses would have to close until the area is safe through the clean up process.

To avoid interruption we recommend paying attention to the small leaks and water spots.  Have periodic inspections by a master plumbing contractor. 

Should a leak happen or worsen, SERVPRO is here for you, to make it, "Like it never even happened."

Storm Safety Knowledge

7/6/2018 (Permalink)

The American Red Cross suggests everyone know what steps are necessary to stay safe if dangerous weather is predicted for your community. If you are to encounter any damage SERVPRO is here to help. 

Tornadoes can occur anywhere, at any time of the year or day. Safety steps you should take now to be ready if a tornado warning is issued for your neighborhood:

  • Know your community’s warning system.

  • Pick a safe room in your home where family members can gather if a tornado is headed your way. This should be a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

  • Prepare for strong winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.

  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trashcans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

  • Know the tornado danger signs: dark, often greenish clouds, a wall cloud, cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or a roaring noise.

Thunderstorms are most likely to happen in the spring and summer, during the afternoon and evening. However, similar to tornadoes, they can happen anywhere, at any hour of the day. Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people every year than tornadoes or hurricanes. Safety steps you can take if a thunderstorm is predicted for your area:

  • If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning.

  • Watch for storm signs like darkening skies, flashes of lightning or increasing winds.

  • Postpone any outdoor activities. Many people who are struck by lightning are not where it is raining.

  • Take shelter in a substantial building or a vehicle with the windows closed. Shutter windows and close outside doors securely. Stay away from windows.

  • Do not take a bath, shower or use plumbing.

Flooding can occur due to heavy spring rains filling rivers and streams and snow melt. Flash floods occur suddenly when water rises rapidly along a stream or low-lying area. You should be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and head for higher ground when a flood or flash flood warning is issued. Additional safety steps include:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
  • If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

  • Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.

  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.

Steps To Clean Up a Fire

7/6/2018 (Permalink)

Our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East team has specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home or business to pre-fire condition fast. To make it, "Like it never even happened."

The steps listed below illustrate how to approach “typical” fire damage that occurs:

1. Connect With Emergency Contact

2. Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

3. Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service

4. Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)

5. Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

6. Cleaning and Sanitizing

7. Restoration

For more details on the proper steps to follow after a fire, check out the fire damage sections on our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East website. 

http://www.SERVPROmetropittsburgheast.com/fire-repair-process

http://www.SERVPROmetropittsburgheast.com/commercial-fire-damage

Smoke Alarm Safety

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Research shows that when a smoke alarm sounds off in a household, that you have less than 2 minutes to get out of the house for safety. This means that families must have a very specific plan of action when it comes to fire safety. 

Smoke alarms need to be replaced every 10 years. The smoke alarm batteries (9-volt battery) needs to be replaced at least once per year. Although some smoke detectors are hard wired. Smoke alarms should be tested every month. 

Having a smoke alarm properly installed in your home can be the difference between life and death. Reports from the U.S. Fire Administration state that three out of five home fire deaths are a result of smoke alarms that do no work. 

There are a few additional tips beyond replacing smoke alarms every 10 years and batteries every year that each person should know. When discussing your evacuation with your family it is important to exit immediately. Smoke alarm placement is key. Be sure to have a smoke alarm inside and outside of any and all sleeping areas and bedrooms as well as installing alarms on every level of a home. It is best if the smoke alarms are interconnected. New versions of the smoke alarms contain carbon monoxide detectors as well. 

If you or a loved one has suffered from fire damage in your home, SERVPRO is here to help you recover from the tragedy. Contact our team of fire damage cleanup professionals to learn more about your restoration options today.

Mold In A Home Or Business?

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

While mold can happen anywhere, it seems most attracted to residential buildings. Finding black mold in your home can be a nightmare of mold cleanup and remediation, but you can prevent it by understanding the common causes that lead to infestations.

It’s All About the Water

Mold growth can almost always be traced back to one source: a moisture problem. Black mold thrives on organic matter, but it requires moisture to truly grow out of control and proliferate. Common sources of moisture that lead to mold outbreaks include the following:

• Broken and leaking pipes

• Roof and window leaks

• Standing water left behind by bathtub, shower, and toilet splashing or overflow

• Water trapped beneath linoleum and tile

• Standing water left behind by floods

• Excess humidity and condensation in the air

How Can I Fix Mold in My Home?

Avoid a mold infestation in the first place by keeping your home dry and free of leaks or other moisture sources. 

• Check the integrity of your roofing and window seals and have them repaired as needed. 

• If you’ve recently suffered flooding, quickly dispose of any sodden materials and dry out any remaining water, even if you may have to pull up carpeting and floorboards. 

• Have a plumber in to check your pipes and keep them in good health. 

• Check your appliances, particularly refrigerators and air conditioners, to ensure they aren’t leaking or having problems with condensation. 

• If you live in a high-humidity environment, invest in a dehumidifier and run it as necessary to bring down the moisture levels in the air inside your home.

If you’ve already seen outbreaks of black mold, you may need to retain the services of a mold remediation specialist. These technicians can help you identify sources of mold that aren’t readily apparent on initial inspection and recommend appropriate cleanup and prevention actions.

When it Rains, it Pours

4/11/2018 (Permalink)

A flooded home is a devastating event for any homeowner. It has the ability to ruin many of your possessions in addition to your property itself. Due to the fact that water damage can quickly become permanent if not addressed as soon as possible, if you do suffer flood damage to your home, it’s important that you call the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East to help restore the home. However, there are some things that you can do before they arrive. Here are some things you can do immediately after a flood to start the restoration process.  

Call Your Insurance Agent

Regardless of how bad a flood has hit your home, it’s likely done some significant damage to some of your possessions and to the structure of your home. Soon after you recognize the damage, you should call your insurance agent. Most water damage in the home is covered by homeowner’s insurance policies but you’ll want to contact them to make sure as there could be exclusions.

Check Before Entering Home

Before you re-enter your home after flood damage, check for any structural damage that may have occurred. Severe flooding or water damage has the ability to compromise the integrity of the structure. If you enter the home without closely inspecting what you’re walking into, the building could potentially collapse, trapping you inside. Once you’ve entered the home, you should be very careful about where you’re walking, especially if you’re moving from carpeting onto a hard surface.  

Document Evidence

Once you have entered the home, document the evidence of that damage that has been done by taking photos of it. If there are any questions, particularly by your insurance company about the validity of your claim, you’ll have evidence to show them. While you document the damage, save any items that you can. Some items, such as porous materials, may have been damaged beyond repair. When the SERVPRO crew arrives to restore the home, they’ll save as many items as possible. But if there are items that have not been damaged, you can take them out to avoid any further potential damage.  

Take Inventory

While you’re examining the damage that has occurred in your home, make a list of the damage or lost items in the home. Make sure to include the date they were purchased and their value with any receipts you may have. Store that list with any inventory of your possessions that you may have taken before the flood. If any of your possessions must be disposed of, which some may, make sure you have photographs of the items.  

Turn Off Power

After the flood damage occurs, turn off all power, especially to the affected rooms. Also refrain from using any electrical appliances as you could electrocute yourself if you’re standing in water. Keep the power to the home off until an electrician can come and thoroughly inspect the system to ensure it’s safe to turn back on again.  

Prevent Mold

Mold thrives in environments where moisture is present which makes flooded parts of a house ideal for mold growth. The existence of mold in a home can be hazardous so it’s important to prevent the mold from growing if at all possible. Removing any wet contents from the home as soon as possible will help to prevent such mold growth around the home.  

Proper Protection

Regardless of how well you think you can clean up after a flood, you should call the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East to ensure that as much of your property is salvaged as possible. But if you do decide to start the cleanup process before they arrive, it’s important that you are properly attired. Wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and boots when dealing with flood water to ensure your safety. 

If you suffer flood damage in your home, you should contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East to clean up. But if you want to get the process started prior to their arrival, these tips will help you remain safe.

Christmas Trees and Mold

1/11/2018 (Permalink)

4 Ways To Reduce Christmas Tree Mold Levels

Live Christmas trees may bring more than the fresh pine scent of the holiday season into homes.  With most trees cut in advance of the holidays and stored in a moist environment for fresh keeping, this makes them a likely mold source. 

Here are a few tips to help you cut the Christmas mold level in your home, without giving up the fresh tree:

Limit The Time You Leave Your Tree Up

 The longer the tree is inside of your home, the higher the mold level may be.  If those in your household are prone to mold allergies, but don’t want to give up the fresh Christmas tree, consider putting the tree up Christmas Eve and taking it down on New Year’s Day.  Try to keep a live tree in your home between 4-7 days at maximum.

 Wash Your Tree

Before bringing the freshly cut tree inside of your home, wash it first using the garden hose.  Set the nozzle to a hard-spray level to get into all of those little nooks and crannies of the trunk.  Then, wipe the trunk thoroughly with a solution of warm water and bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water).  Let it dry in the sun before bringing it inside of your home.

 Use an Air Purifier

 Run an air purifier in the same room as the fresh tree.  Cleaner air is key during the holidays, and helps to reduce your mold exposure and lessen the effects of your tree allergies.

Go Fake

The best way to avoid the mold infestation is to buy an artificial tree.  Unless you store your artificial tree inside of a sealed plastic bag, it will still need a good shaking outside when it’s brought out of storage each year to relieve it of dust.  Also, store all of your Christmas ornaments and decorations in plastic containers (instead of cardboard ones) to keep the dust off of them.

If you see signs of mold, call SERVPRO! 

Don't Let a Sprinkler Leak Get You Down

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

What is low head drainage?

This is when the sprinkler continues to siphon water once the system has been turned off. This typically occurs at one of the lowest points in your yard as water drains down to that water spout. According to experts at Sprinkler Warehouse, "If a sprinkler head is located in the lowest part of the system, water will flow out of that head until an equilibrium has been reached or all of the water has emptied out of the zone's pipes."

When this happens, puddles start to form and or water flows across walkways and driveways. This can be prevented by a few adjustments being made to your system or the installation of a drain check valve.

How does a broken pipe occur?

A broken pipe can occur in the main line or lateral line of an irrigation system. In the main line, there is continuous pressure, so if there is a break or leak in this pipe, then water is continuing to run. Unfortunately, this can cause erosion or a wet spot. Attention needs to be made to this problem immediately so that the water line can be completely turned off for repair.

A lateral line reaches different zones in your yard and are under pressure when the system is running. It can be hard to detect a leak because it's only visible when the system is on and you have to notice which zone actually has the leak. Regardless of its location, it too can cause erosion or holes in your lawn. If you notice a leak in your irrigation system, it can be fixed and should be addressed fairly quickly.

Use this information to keep an eye out for any leaks or problems that could arise this Spring.

Minimize Damage by Preparing Your Building

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Weather in Pennsylvania can change in an instant, and it only takes a small shift in a storm’s track to bring torrential downpours that could lead to devastating flooding. If you’re a business owner, a flood can represent a serious threat to your company’s operations. While there’s not a lot you can do to stop major floods from hurricanes and other natural disasters, here are some steps you can take to lessen the impact of storm and flood damage. 

Build Barriers to Slow Water Incursion

Water is a powerful force, and it’s virtually impossible to keep it at bay, but you can throw barriers in its path to slow it down. You can start this process long before the onset of flooding by building a levee, berm or flood control wall if local building codes permit. Have a professional assess your lower floors to see if you should apply sealants to walls or relocate utility boxes. When the rain starts falling, you can also place sandbags in strategic areas around the structure:

Across doorways, right up against the door
In front of garage doors
Around showers and floor drains to prevent incursion by backed up “black water”

When building sandbag walls, make certain you don’t completely surround your building, and use a plastic tarp as a base for extra waterproofing.

Clean Storm Drains and Gutters

In many cases, flood damage happens during normal storms because the building owner didn’t keep up on maintenance. Gutters, storm drains and other devices are designed to channel water away from the building, which is why it’s important to clean them regularly to ensure they’re free from debris that could cause a backup.

Minimize Losses by Being Prepared

Why risk significant disruptions to your operations when you could cut down on storm damage by taking some preparatory steps? Should you experience flooding despite your efforts, be sure to contact an experienced remediation company immediately to get you back up and running as soon as possible. 

Water Leaks Can Cause Mold

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

A leaky faucet in your home can be very annoying, but it has the potential to be much more than an annoyance. The moisture caused by leaks can make your home into the perfect environment for Spring mold growth. Mold spores are known to cause allergic reactions and exacerbate respiratory problems. Mold can grow rapidly if you fail to notice a leak shortly after it starts, especially in humid climates. Knowing the risks that mold presents and quickly fixing your water leaks can help to protect your home from mold growth and protect your health as well.


About Mold Growth
Spring mold growth will begin in areas of your home that are wet. The mold spores will land on moist surfaces and then start to germinate. The materials on which mold can grow include:

• Sheetrock
• Tile
• Painted surfaces
• Carpet
• Wood

How Mold Can Affect Your Health
Most types of mold are harmless but can cause problems for individuals with allergies. They can cause symptoms such as coughing, a runny nose or breathing problems. A few types of mold are indeed very toxic, whether or not you have allergies.

Indications of Mold Growth Due to Water Leaks
If you see black and white spots in the area of the leak, this is a sign that you have mold. Kitchens and basements are some of the areas in your home where there is a high risk of mold growth as these areas are prone to leaks. It is therefore important that you properly maintain your plumbing fixtures.

Preventing Mold Growth after Fixing Leaks
If you discover a water leak, have it fixed as soon as possible to minimize the potential for Spring mold growth. After the leak has been fixed, use a mild detergent to wash the area and then allow it to dry completely. After it has dried, thoroughly wipe the area with bleach to kill any spores present. Boric acid also effective at killing mold spores and can be used as a substitute for bleach. Be sure to keep kids and pets out of the area while handling chemicals.

Get Professional Assistance
If there is a part of your home that is prone to water leaks, contact a plumber. If there are hidden problems that are causing leaks to recur, you may not be able to find them yourself. A licensed plumber who is experienced at finding and fixing leaks will be better able to find and fix the issues. Your plumber will also be able to advise you on how to maintain your plumbing to prevent water leaks and mold growth in the future.

Understanding Mold

Microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, outdoors and indoors, making it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

Old Building Smell? Let SERVPRO Freshen The Air

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

Older Buildings Are Smelly

Many of the older buildings in the Pittsburgh area have a distinct smell. People may say that they smell musty or of old material. One way to freshen up the place is to have some deodorization done by SERVPRO.

We use state of the art equipment to clean the air within your building. Depending on the odor we have a few techniques that we'll use.

  • Thermal Fogging technique which helps penetrate deeply into building materials.
  • An ozone machine is used to help add a fresh smell to odors that seem to linger such as smoke.
  • Old fashioned deep cleaning of walls shouldn't be overlooked.
  • Carpet cleaning using hot water extraction to remove deep and hard to remove soils.
  • Adding to any of the above methods is that of HVAC cleaning. Getting the air ducts clean will definitely freshen any building no matter the age.

Restoring Your Commercial Property After a Water Damage Event

12/20/2017 (Permalink)

Your Pittsburgh Region Disaster Recovery Team Is Here to Help!

Water damage events at commercial properties present their own unique challenges, and can be very stressful. Our staff understands the importance of getting your commercial property up and running as fast as possible.

When we arrive at your property we bring 10 years of experience with commercial property damage with us. We have the necessary resources to handle any job, large or small. Our trained professionals work quickly to assess the situation, isolate the damaged area, and start work immediately. Time is always of the essence to minimize damage, and to resume operations as soon as possible. Your local SERVPRO has access to large loss teams specifically trained and ready to go in event of a large loss.

If your commercial property experiences a water damage event call us so we can put our experience and resources to work for you.

Importance of Mold Testing

12/20/2017 (Permalink)

When a home suffers a water damage event, a mold infestation can quickly arise and spread throughout a home in 48-72 hours. Because mold can produce allergens and irritants, you will want a professional that has training and experience to properly resolve the mold infestation.

In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling may be unnecessary. However at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East we find it important to do the mold testing before and after the remediation process. We work with Tricor Inspection to complete the mold testing or sampling process. 

We do surface sampling to make sure the affected area has been cleaned and remediated properly. We also have the mold tested to see what kind of mold was growing. We do this because there are more dangerous strains of mold than others.

If you would like a free mold home inspection today, call us at (412) 672-5400. 

Are you Prepared?

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Is your business prepared in case a disaster or emergency situation should occur? Disasters and resulting business interruptions can devastate companies; in fact, as many as 50% of businesses that experience a disaster never reopen. With the proper planning and proactive restoration, you can be better prepared to survive a disaster should one occur.

The need and benefit of having a detailed emergency action plan is crucial. A well-developed plan can help mitigate the effects of disasters and help you return to business quickly, saving time, unnecessary frustration and money. Those few minutes and hours immediately following a loss can be significant in determining the amount of time the property will be non-functional. Fast response can mean the difference between restoration and cleaning versus costly replacement resulting from prolonged exposure and secondary damage.

Developing a solid working contingency plan and networking with reputable vendors to assist you in your time of need are essential in your recovery efforts. Having a reliable company to respond immediately and begin emergency procedures is a critical part of any contingency plan. As part of a Franchise System, SERVPRO has access to over 10,000 quality teammates with thousands of pieces of commercial equipment and service vehicles that can typically respond to a crisis within hours.

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East can provide you a free emergency preparedness plan to help minimize interruption, overall costs and tenant inconvenience. Listed below are some of the items that are found in the Emergency Response Profile:

  • Immediate Response Checklist - An organized and prioritized list of persons who need to be contacted when an emergency occurs, including insurance contacts and emergency service providers.
  •  Building and Grounds Information - Building statistics and key support companies (i.e. security, engineering and elevator).
  • Content Information – Inventories of contents and locations of valuable documents, articles and other important items. This also includes machinery and office equipment inventory lists and information as well as vital documents and records.

As a free service to you, we will catalog all of this important information into a customized Emergency Response Profile for your property or properties. Call us today at 412-672-5400 for a straight, no-nonsense discussion on how to get your facility back up and running following an adverse situation.

What to Do Before Help Arrives

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is always here to help and we want to make sure that everyone stays educated so that way we can find ways to avoid home disasters. 

Here are some recent home fire facts to keep in mind when replacing smoke detectors and keeping our homes as safe as possible. 

  • Having a working smoke alarm can cut the risk of home fire deaths in half.
  • It's important to know the difference between hardwired and battery powered smoke detectors. Hardwired alarms operate 90% of the time and battery powered ones only work 84% of the time. Which is a pretty decent difference when it comes to a home fire.
  • According to a National Fire Prevention Week survey only 1/3 of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.

It is important to have a plan in motion. If you need help developing a fire escape plan SERVPRO would gladly help you along. Or you can visit www.nfpa.org for more information. 

Understanding Industry Terms

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is always "Here to Help". We know that sometimes some of our jargon can be confusing so we usually try to break it down as easy as we can out in the field, but we know that our customers like to stay informed. Here are some common terms used in the field with their definition so you can understand better what is happening in your home or business. 

Anti-Microbials: A substance, mechanism, or condition that inhibits the growth or existence of an organism. 

Fire Damage Recovery: The process of restoring and recovering property and belongings after a fire. The objectives include minimizing existing damage, damage mitigation, structure stabilization, soot & odor removal and reconstruction. 

Fungi: The unicellular or multicellular eukaryotic organisms embracing a large group of microflora including molds, mildews, yeasts, mushrooms, rusts and smuts. 

HVAC: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning

HEPA Filter: High efficiency particulate air filter, a specialized filter capable of removing 99.7% of particles. 

Masking Agents: Designed to prevent or remove heightened awareness to odors by providing a fragrance, which is stronger and more pleasant to smell while the source of the odor is being eliminated. 

Smoke Damage Removal: Neutralizing or removing smoke odors that linger after fires.

Smoke Particles: Smoke is composed of gases, aerosols, and airborne solids. Dry wood, natural fibers and paper all produce small non-smearing material. Plastic, foam, and rubber (polymers) produce large easily smeared residues. 

Air Duct Cleaning

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

There are many reasons why your home could use an air duct cleaning.

Dust levels in homes increase due to dirty air ducts, this is one of the many ways that particulates can enter your home. Other ways are through cooking, cleaning, smoking or just moving around. There hasn't been and concrete evidence that household dust can pose different health risks but there are other things to be on the look out for that can be potentially dangerous. 

How to tell if you need to have your air ducts cleaned out:

  • There is substantial visible mold growth on ducts.
  • Ducts are infected with vermin (rodents or insects)
  • Ducts are clogged with excessive amounts of dust/debris

You may just want to consider air duct cleaning simply because it is logical that the air ducts will get dirty over time and occasionally need to be cleaned. 

Whether or not you decide to have your ducts cleaned, preventing dirt from entering the system is the most effective way to prevent any contamination from entering your home or business. 

Dealing With Fire Damage In Your Pittsburgh Area Home

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Pittsburgh Properties: Post Fire & Smoke Damaging Occurrences

After a fire happens on your property, you may be anxious to clean things up right away and attempt to get started on your own. However, unless you have professional cleaning experience or gain advice from a cleaning expert, you may be wasting your effort, or cause even further damage. 
  
A properly trained restoration technician can help you determine whether the items that receive fire damage in your Pittsburgh home, are worth trying to restore, or if they need replacement. These professional fire restorers can provide you with recommendations that help prevent further damage and give you estimates on services for cleaning and deodorizing the entire affected area. 
  
Fire and water damage restoration companies, like SERVPRO, follow strict guidelines when providing repair and cleaning services in your home. They take the time to secure the area, prevent hazards, and help limit the damages that you experience during this type of disaster. Getting help is the best way for you to assist with recovering from accidents that occur on your property. 
  
SERVPRO offers a variety of services that includes the removal of soot and smoke residues that form on various surfaces throughout your home during a fire. Household textiles such as carpeting and draperies often require several attempts before cleaning and deodorization services are complete. Not doing so may cause odors to return. 
  
It is important to make quick, precise decisions when considering your options after an event happens in your home. Time is essential, making dealing with smoke odors in your clothing, furniture, and other household items critical to prevent odors from lingering for days, weeks, or even months. Having a professional restoration company helps get things under control quicker and removes these odors in a more efficient manner.  
  
SERVPRO technicians use industrial-grade water extraction equipment to remove water used during fire fighting efforts and have years of experience using cleaning methods to get the job done right. They are locally owned and operated, giving them the ability to provide you with what you need to get things back to normal fast. 
  
Contact SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East for additional information about available services or help regarding a fire, water, storm, or mold situation happening in your home today at (412) 672-5400. 

Shadyside Properties Receive Smoke & Fire Damage Cleanup from SERVPRO

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Your chimney and flue add architectural interest to your home, but the real function of your chimney is to take dangerous flue gasses from the wood stove, fireplace, or furnace out of your home safely. It helps the air in your household stay breathable, just like your windows in your kitchen vents, bathroom windows, and attic. However, unlike the other exhaust points in your home, wood stove and fireplace chimneys need a particular kind of care. 
 
In action, a chimney fire in your Pittsburgh home can be impressive and cause you to need fire damage repair from a professional remediation company such as SERVPRO. Indications there is a fire in your chimney includes plenty of dense smoke, a loud popping or cracking noise, and a hot, intense smell. 
 
Chimney fires can be dramatic and noisy enough to be detected by people passing by or your neighbors. Dense smoke or flames could shoot out from the top of the chimney. It has been reported by homeowners that they were startled by a low rumbling sound which is reminiscent of a low flying airplane or a freight train. 
 
Undetected Chimney Fires 
Chimney Fires which are slow-burning do not receive enough air or have the fuel to be visible or dramatic, and they many times go undetected until an inspection of the chimney later. However, very high temperatures are reached and can create as much damage to the chimney structure, and parts of the house close to it, as their more spectacular counterparts explosive fires.
 
Chimney Fires and Creosote 
Wood stoves and fireplaces are made to contain wood-fuel fires safely while heating your home. Chimneys have the job of getting rid of combustion by-products, which are the materials made from burning wood, including water vapor, smoke, gasses, wood particles that are unburned, tar fog, hydrocarbon, and different minerals. As these materials are rising and flow into the cooler chimney, condensation occurs. The residue which that is left sticks to the inside walls of the chimney and is known as creosote. 
 
Black or brown in appearance, creosote can be flakey and crust, shiny and hardened, or drippy and sticky. All forms can occur in a chimney. No matter the form it takes, creosote is very combustible, so if enough quantity builds up and the temperature of the inside of the flue is high enough, you could be dealing with a resulting chimney fire. 
 
When a fire in your chimney damages your home, SERVPRO is always ready to help you clean up the mess and repair the damage. Smoke and odor remediation and indoor air quality are focal points of a SERVPRO service. It is, however, important to have your chimney regularly cleaned to try and avoid this problem in the first place. 
 
SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East and surrounding areas, knows how damage chimney fires can be to your home. Give them a call as soon as possible after the fire is out at (412) 672-5400, so they can prevent further damages from occurring. 

What Will Your Sign On the Door Read?

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Information at Your Fingertips! 

I recently had a conversation with a maintenance manager, John. His office shares space with one of the buildings he manages.

 I asked, "John, what would happen to this facility if you were at one of your other locations and a emergency happened here?"

"Well, I would have to leave that site and travel here" he stated.

"But what if that building also had an emergency? Who would be able to get access to your mechanical room to get a situation under control?"

"Well, I have the keys. The managers all know to just call me."

"So you are managing a broken sprinkler line at site A and site B calls with a broken water line... What do you do" I asked.

John thought for a moment, I went on. 

"John, you like to fish. You are out on the river with no cell service. How are the people who depend on that space being usable to stay productive going to manage a emergency in your absence?"

His organization had stretched him too thin and had failed to develop contingency plans to help him manage emergencies remotely. His basement office housed the only emergency plans and blueprints for the facility he was in. His office was kept locked when he was not around. And, as you can guess, he had the keys on his person.

Luckily, SERVPRO has a Solution!

The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Program (ERP). A quick cloud based collection of need-to-know information to handle building emergencies. It's not as exhaustive as a complete risk management program, but it can serve as a great starting point to begin those emergency preparedness discussions with important information that key people at every site should know.

Make sure a primary employee at every site has keys to the mechanical room and knowing where the shut off values are.

In John's case it was a relatively painless fix. Every site now has another person with a set of keys to the mechanical room and that data is fed into the ERP cloud so every business in the building can access it. It was a time investment of less than two hours that almost certainly will save both time and money in an emergency.

The best part? John now has a plan to be able to prioritize his response and emergency needs. He also feels a little less worried when goes off grid.

For questions or to set up your no-cost Emergency Readiness Program, call 412-672-5400.

What To Do After a Fire

12/18/2017 (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 412-672-5400.

Holidays Spark Fires in the South Hills

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

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 East at (412) 672-5400. We work with your insurance company to restore your home back to it's prior condition! 

Thunderstorms Facts & Causes

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Severe Thunderstorm Facts

Thunderstorms are defined as storms that produce thunder and lightning. Severe thunderstorms may also produce:

  • Rain
  • High winds
  • Sleet or snow

It’s important to note that thunderstorms do not always produce moisture. A storm in which you see lightning and hear thunder but never feel a drop of water is known as a “dry” thunderstorm. Thunderstorms that produce hail and tornadoes are known as “supercell” storms. Storms occur either in clusters or lines; therefore, they may present as a single thunderstorm or as multiple thunderstorms hitting one after the other.

Causes

Thunderstorms are caused when moisture from the lower or mid-level part of the atmosphere mixes with warm, unstable air from the ground. Moisture and air then push upwards into the higher atmosphere to form clouds that produce thunder and lightning, as well as potential precipitation. Spring, summer and fall are most conducive to thunderstorms because the sun heats the ground and moisture is more perceptible in the air, especially in humid climates.

Thunderstorms must also be lifted to begin their formation. Some sources of lift include:

  • More heat on the ground than in the air
  • Changes in atmospheric conditions near mountains
  • Weather front changes caused by clashing cold and hot air
  • Drylines, or when moist and dry air clash
  • Land or sea breezes

Any of these situations can immediately create a thunderstorm without warning, even in the middle of a clear blue day. In many cases, these storms will also be accompanied by lightning. Most will not come with hail or tornadoes, unless they occur in tornado-prone states such as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri.

What To Expect From Storm Damage Restoration

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

We have traveled to help other areas by car, truck and through flight because we understand the importance of helping others when we can.

Storm damage, wind damage, ice damage and hail damage can wreak havoc in your home. When this happens, you may feel like all is lost. However, you will be surprised by how much can be saved through expert home restoration or storm remediation. Before you count your losses, give storm restoration a chance.

Home restoration services that can be sought after damage are: hail damage, river flooding, ice damage, wind damage, flood water damage and ice damage. It is best to have the contacts of experts on storm remediation.

Wind damage potentially causes extensive roof damage. This happens due to loose shingles or tiles. Wind damage can also cause moisture from ice dams or ice damming to penetrate the roof. This can lead to wood swelling. The outcome is a sagging ceiling and roof damage which needs extensive roof repair.

Ice dams or ice damming also pose a risk to the roof. A roof leak can develop into a crack. This has the potential to damage the structure. Ice damming also weighs down the roof due to the ice dam pools. Homeowners who live in areas prone to wind or winter damage should consider roofs with a higher slope to reduce possible roof damage. This will reduce the need for regular roof repairs and the possibility of a roof leak. A roof leak from ice damming or formation of ice dams should be repaired immediately. Putting off a roof repair means that the homeowner incurs more costs later.

Roof inspection before the harsh weather also minimizes the roof repair costs. Any broken or lose shingles should also be fixed. Storm restoration experts will advise you on the appropriate roof repairs to be done ahead of any harsh weather. They will also assess the roof leaks before they get worse.

When you ask for advice and get approval to the services of storm restoration experts for: flood water damage, storm damage, ice damage, hail damage, river flooding, wind damage, then experts are sent to your home immediately.

Restoration professionals will conduct an examination of the exterior and the interior of a home or office. They also will check the extent of the flood water and ground water levels. This helps them to come up with the home restoration plan based on the flooding, storm damage and ground water.

The teams work together after agreeing on where to start. Storm damage, hail damage, flood water damage, roof damage and ice damage all have different water restoration processes. It is not advised for home or business owners to attempt the storm restoration process without seeking professional storm remediation.

Winter damage is another common weather calamity. Winter damage leads to frozen pipes. The frozen pipes are not able to allow for the flow of water. It can take a process and an over estimation of work for the frozen pipes to unfreeze. It is best to call in the experts to deal with the frozen pipes. Applying heat on the frozen pipes can lead to damage and the pipes may need replacement. It is recommended to keep heat  in the house at a steady level throughout the day in order to keep house pipes well heated.

Today, home restoration and storm restoration experts are fully equipped to handle flooding such as from rivers and other harsh weather elements. Enlisting services can help to save your valuables after a storm.

Facts about Home Fires and Smoke Alarms

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is always here to help and we want to make sure that everyone stays educated so that way we can find ways to avoid home disasters. 

Here are some recent home fire facts to keep in mind when replacing smoke detectors and keeping our homes as safe as possible. 

  • Having a working smoke alarm can cut the risk of home fire deaths in half.
  • It's important to know the difference between hardwired and battery powered smoke detectors. Hardwired alarms operate 90% of the time and battery powered ones only work 84% of the time. Which is a pretty decent difference when it comes to a home fire.
  • According to a National Fire Prevention Week survey only 1/3 of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.

It is important to have a plan in motion. If you need help developing a fire escape plan SERVPRO would gladly help you along. Or you can visit www.nfpa.org for more information. 

Things to Remember when Winterizing or Vacationing

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

There are many things to remember to clean or put away when it comes to winterizing your cabin or cottage but we want to focus on the importance of taking care of the water system before leaving.

Follow this checklist when closing up so you don't come back next season to a bad water damaged mess.

Make sure the water is draining properly, residual water can make the pipes freeze in the winter causing them to break.

Drain the water heater:

  • Turn off the electricity to the water heater
  • Close the cold water intake valve
  • Attach a hose to a water heater drain valve
  • Run the hose outside or into a bucket
  • Open a hot water tab
  • Open the drain valve and let out all the water remaining
  • Remove the drain hose and place a cup under the valve to catch the remaining drips
  • Close the drain valve once the hot water stops
  • Close the hot water tap

Mold and Your Possessions

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Not all possessions will be able to be restored after dealing with mold damage but here are a few ways to try and save some of your possessions that you can do on your own. 

  1. Air dry them away from other objects. Spread out any papers, stand books on end and fan the pages open. Use clean towels or absorbent paper between layers of cloth or paper. Use a fan, but don't aim the fan directly at objects.
  2. If you don't have time to dry objects quickly, you can freeze books, documents and small textiles, until the area conditions are right. Do not freeze mold photographs. 
  3. Ultraviolet light can be damaging, brief exposure to sunlight can stop mold growth and aid drying. However, exposure should not exceed 30 minutes.
  4. Only clean mold once it is dry and inactive. Gently wipe or brush away mold residue. Do this outdoors if possible and always wear protective clothing and a respirator. 
  5. Avoid using harsh cleaning products like bleach, they can ruin your possessions. Never vacuum fragile objects. If you use a vacuum, do it outside since the exhaust can spread mold spores. 
  6. Make sure the affected area is free of mold before returning your possessions to their rightful place. Reinspect the objects from time to time for any new mold growth. 
  7. Valuable artifacts and photographs should be handled by a professional. 

Need help with mold remediation from your possessions, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East can make it "Like it never even happened."

Microscopic Spores

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Mold can spread through a home in as little as 72 hours.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

    • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
    • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
    • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
    • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
    • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
    • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to re mediate your mold infestation.

If you think you might have a mold problem call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East (412) 672-5400, we can make it "Like it never even happened."

FACTS about Water Damage

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is always here to help. Here are some frequently asked questions you may have about water damage.

Where does water damage typically come from?

Water can enter in the home or business in a variety of ways. Including through foundation leaks, burst pipes, appliance failures, poor drainage in the home, or from heavy storms. These are troublesome they can produce standing water in the matter of hours.

What are the dangers associated with water damage?

When standing water occurs in the home or business it can quickly soak anything it comes into contact with. If the water contains contaminants all materials may need to be thrown away. This is because of potential growth of bacteria and other diseases. Mold is a huge concern.

How is water damage typically handled by a certified technician?

The first thing a certified technician will do is remove compromised materials. This will typically include the carpet, padding, baseboards, insulation, clothing, upholstery, wood, etc. Then they will dry the wet area with air movement and dehumidifiers. While the home dries is when the technician does inspections for mold and other microbes. 

Flood Safety & CleanUp Tips

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Make sure you are wearing the proper protective gear before heading into a flood damaged building. This includes boots, gloves and respirator gear. 

You will want to check for electrical hazards and structural damage, check for common hazardous materials like lead paint, asbestos, which may lead for help from professional contractors like us here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East.

Make sure that you take these following steps when dealing with a flood damaged building or home:

  • Act quickly, the severity of damage to the building and contents escalates after 48-72 hours.
  • Ventilate affected areas to prevent mold growth. It is important to keep the air moving, if you call the professionals we can set proper air movers to make sure we decrease chances of mold growth.
  • Assess the damage to items and materials, whether it be all of your belongings or furniture we can make sure to pack out and inventory all of your personal items.
  • Expose pockets of saturation
  • Conduct a thorough cleaning
  • Confirm drying before reconstruction

These are all based on IICRC standards, which is what we here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, follow.  

Fire Safety Events

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

In a matter of minutes, a home emergency can become a catastrophic loss. An emergency such as a small kitchen fire can quickly turn into a blaze spreading rapidly throughout your home or business. Will you know? Will you be alerted of such a problem before it is too late?

It is these types of scenarios that many individuals hope to never have to experience and therefore, typically do not spend time thinking about, “what if?”

That is why during the month of October, Firefighters and their associated departments host open-houses and fire-safety events with the goal of educating the public about preparedness and what to do in case of an emergency. These open-houses are filled with fire-safety activities and take-homes for kids to constantly remind them of how important preparedness and safety are. Many of the fire companies will even help you to make sure your smoke detectors are in good working condition and if they are not, they will help you to replace them.

In October 2017, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh proudly participated in three of their local fire companies’ open-house events. We were there to help educate about fire-safety and focus on the aftermath in the event of a fire. We spent time with members of our community as well as with many members of our local, volunteer fire departments. Each open-house was unique but the goal for all three was simple: be prepared!

You Clean What?

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Do you ever stop to wonder who has to clean up the scene after a chemical spill or a death/suicide accident?

If not, you are probably like most and lucky enough to not have needed to consider this type of work. However, if you fall into the other category, you know very well that a hazardous scene must be left to the professionals to clean.

Blood borne pathogens, disease, risk of infection and chemical burns are a just a few items to consider when dealing with a biohazard clean-up. Luckily, our team is highly trained and well prepared to protect both themselves and you from any potential harm.

Our team also fully understands that these situations are often extremely difficult and sensitive times in a person's life and therefore demonstrate compassion and empathy while completing the work in a timely fashion.

Causes of Mold

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

After tearing out an old shower, we discovered this mold lurking behind the tile. What's behind your walls? Let us help you protect your home!

Mold is a vital piece of nature, assisting with the disintegration of natural matter and the recycling of supplements in biological systems. While outdoor mold is fundamental, mold developing inside present’s health risks and can bring about property damage. Molds recreate by method of minor airborne spores that travel essentially anyplace, even in our homes.

Despite the fact that there are hints of mold spores indoors, they require the right "ingredients" to produce mold. Unfortunately, the conditions for mold development are found in many homes: a nourishment source, (for example, drywall, rugs, and wood), warmth, lack of light, enough time to develop, and above all, dampness. Since dampness is a fundamental factor in mold development, here are the most common culprits that cause heightened dampness in homes:

  • Flooding can cause a measurable amount of water into your home, bringing on serious water damage and conceivably cause mold development inside 24-48 hours. Calling an expert restoration professional such as SERVPRO promptly is your best defense with regards to mitigating water damage and preventing mold development.
  • Increased humidity can happen in homes from multiple sources — muggy climate, persistent rain, cooking, showering, and so on. To help prevent development of mold growth in your home, ensure your home is all around ventilated and keep the humidity below 55 percent.
  • Deficient ventilation leads to increased humidity, and due to this, mold development and different issues like indoor contamination. Try to open entryways as well as windows when viable and to utilize fans as needed.
  • Leaking pipes are a typical issue in homes and should be settled promptly. In many cases, leaks are hidden from view, such as inside walls or above the ceiling, so make a point to investigate wall and ceiling stains routinely.
  • Roof leaks are additionally a way for water to saturate your home and cause mold. In the event that you see water stains on the ceiling, check for water damage in the attic and have your roof assessed and repaired at the earliest opportunity.
  • Condensation happens when warm dampness loaded air interacts with chilly surfaces. Condensation can be seen on walls, windows, solid floors or metal pipes. Reduce condensation by adjusting the humidity in your home.
  • Basements give astounding conditions for mold development because of poor ventilation, cooler temperatures (that advance condensation), and incessant water leaks and flooding.

Mold can also grow in various unexpected areas in the home, which can make mold remediation more difficult. For professional mold removal, as well as fire and water restoration services, contact the professional experts at SERVPRO today.

Here's Why Professional Water Removal Is More Effective Than DIY Methods

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Save Money and Aggravation, Call SERVPRO for Water Damage Problems

After a water emergency that floods a home or business, the last thing that most people want to deal with is a bill for cleaning up the damage. This is what leads many homeowners to attempt water extraction on their own instead of calling a professional. 
 
If you're in need of water removal in the Pittsburgh area, you may be tempted to save money by trying to get rid of the excess water on your own. However, going this route typically has more consequences than benefits and will result in greater losses of time, money, and your possessions in the long run. Here's why calling SERVPRO for professional water removal is a smart move. 
 
Professional water extraction works extremely well. While some homeowners resort to opening windows and doors, turning on ceiling fans, and blotting towels around the house, SERVPRO has powerful equipment that ensures efficient and thorough water removal. We're also often able to restore documents, books, furnishings, and electronic devices affected by water damage, plus we'll get your home's humidity back to an appropriate level. 
 
Many water emergencies are hazardous. 
If your house has been flooded with gray or black water, such as that from a natural disaster, backed up sewer line, or a leaky toilet, expert attention to the problem is best. These types of water are risky for untrained persons to handle because it involves disease causing waste and debris. This is the type of material that can't simply be put out with the week's garbage and needs proper and safe disposal.  We're knowledgeable about how to get rid of contaminated waste during water extraction, so there are no lingering health risks to your family or pets. 
 
It's important to consider mold and mildew. 
One reason that so many homeowners who attempt DIY water removal eventually end up calling a pro is unseen damage caused by mold and mildew. While your flooring and possessions may look and feel dry, without proper water extraction and controlling humidity mold and mildew will thrive, cause off odors, and ruin your home's structure along with your possessions and furniture. SERVPRO technicians are skilled at protecting against the growth of mold and mildew and have effective strategies to combat it. 
 
At SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, we know how important it is to get your home back in order as quickly as possible. We'll help you mitigate the costs of any water emergency by restoring your possessions and preventing future damage to your home. For more information about our water removal services or to receive a quote, call us at (412) 672-5400 and say you saw our blog! 

Flood Damage to Your Home or Apartment

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Our neighborhood is home to many inviting condos, townhouses, and apartment buildings. Multi-occupant housing presents some challenges to residents, including sharing of common areas, noise and activity with neighbors, and bad choices, or accidents, affecting those living in other units. When the mistake made by a nearby resident causes flooding in other of your tenants’ homes SERVPRO awaits to help you recover.

A third-floor tenant has a waterbed that leaked, causing flood damage throughout that wing of your South Hills apartment complex. Nearly 200 gallons of water soaks through all three levels, inconveniencing your renters, threatening structures, and ruining tenant belongings. Quick action by our restoration team saves you from relocating individuals or families as the restoration completes.

Our crew arrives with truck-mounted pumps and water extractors for speedy removal of the flooded contents of the mattress. Although we begin our investigation in the bedroom with the offending waterbed SERVPRO crew members are familiar with the “path of least resistance” water takes. Since some of the water drained down common walls and through ceilings, its path is hidden, following pipes and wiring behind the gypsum board and acoustical tiles. If necessary, we remove a few tiles or cautiously cut a hole into a wall when we fear water is pooling in unseen recesses.

After our team vacuums up visible and hidden water from carpeting and floors, air movers and dehumidifiers take on the next stage. SERVPRO technicians train in moisture measurement and monitoring, ensuring that carpeting, sub floors, and walls all receive individualized drying attention based on their difference drying curves. Carpet padding usually fails to dry fast or thoroughly enough, so we replace it in most cases. The carpeting itself dries in place, sometimes lifted and propped up, so the air moves over both the top and bottom for complete drying.

One supporting role SERVPRO provides in a disaster like this is to work with insurers. Your tenant did not sneak the waterbed into the unit. Since you knew it was in place, you demanded purchase by this lessee of additional renter’s insurance. Along with coverage, you keep up as the landlord the claims proven with our help against the extra insurance limits your liability.

Rely on SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh to react fast when flooding affects several units of your apartment house. Call (412) 672-5400 to arrange for a flood damage restoration team to come to your aid, 24/7.

How Often Do You Clean These Areas?

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know? The air in your home is 10 times more dirty than the air outside.

Your friends at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East wants to ensure that you and your property are properly prepared for the upcoming season. Therefore, we would like to offer you some helpful tips that will adequately prepare your property for the Fall:

  • Eliminate mold and mildew indoors by cleaning under the refrigerator, washing and disinfecting garbage cans, scrubbing bathrooms, and cleaning or changing shower curtains
  • Remove any wet debris from around the home or office, as mold spores are airborne particles that can easily float indoors
  • Schedule to have your chimney cleaned within the next month. Excessive buildup of creosote and debris, as well as miscellaneous branches, leaves and animal nests can create a dangerous situation as it increases the potential to spark a chimney fire.
  • Remember not to ignore your duct work, vents and HVAC systems. Unnecessary dirt and debris can pose a serious threat to the health of your family or employees if they are not properly maintained.

Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East for those difficult cleaning jobs at (412) 672-5400.

Flood Damage From Failing Washing Machine Hoses In Your Pittsburgh Home

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Failing Washing Machine Hoses Cause Flood Damage

Most homeowners protect their homes against things such as storms, fire, and burglary, but water damage from malfunctioning or leaking home appliances often gets overlooked, especially when it comes to washing machines.

It seems unlikely, but flood damage from a washing machine is one of the top five causes of home insurance claims. More than half of these claims is from supply hoses which have burst or leaked, so make sure your Jacksonville home is prepared for such an event. Have the number of a reputable flood damage restoration company handy at all times, like SERVPRO, who is experienced in all kinds of flood damage.

Most washing machine hoses fail eventually over time, even when they have been installed properly. They can cause leaks or even catastrophic flooding when they burst. Failure can be due to several things such as installation error, age, poor design and poor quality materials. Most of these hoses are made of reinforced polymer or rubber. The materials lose resiliency as they age, making them susceptible to leaks, cracks, and bursting.

Inspect Regularly 
Many times, fittings and hoses that connect your washing machine to the water source are visible and easy to inspect each time you use the machine. If they are not visible, figure out how to gain access to them so you can inspect them once per month. Look at both the cold and hot water lines. Failures happen near the connection where the hose usually bends. Keep an eye out for:

Signs Of Imminent Failure 
Obvious evidence of imminent failure or deterioration should be looked for, such as bulges, blisters, unraveling, cracks, kinks, discoloration, or crimps, especially close to the connections and turns in the hose.

Leaks 
Look for drops, moisture, rust, leaks on, in, or around the connections or hoses or in a catch pan, or discoloration. Look at the connects to ensure they are properly tightened. Even a small leak can lead to imminent failure.

Right Positioning 
Ensure the washing machine is located four inches at least from the connections, so the hose is not kinked or bent. Make sure the machine is balanced properly, so it is not “walking” when in use, which puts added stress on connections and hoses.

Lastly, aging or damaged hoses should be replaced right away, and make sure that the hoses are properly installed. Knowing where the shut-off valve is as well is important if a hose does fail. Then get in touch in SERVPRO right away so they can help you clean up the flood damage and dry out your home.

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh is always standing by, since flooding emergencies can happen at any time. Contact SERVPRO today at (412) 672-5400, and their technicians will come quickly to help you get your home back to normal.

What is a Mold Protocol?

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Are you concerned about mold growth in your home or business? Do you have questions about the best way to identify mold? Well look no further! SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East can help you through the process.

Step 1: SERVPRO will do a brief walk through of the property to inspect for possible mold growth. We do this as a courtesy for all of our customers to help you understand what will need to be done to remove any mold

Step 2: If we have a suspicion that mold is present, we will call one of our trusted vendors to do a complete inspection. The vendors we use are licensed to identify types of mold and the amount of mold that is present. Our trusted vendor will put together a full protocol.

Step 3: After receiving the protocol, our team of highly trained experts will begin the process of removing the mold. We will use our years of industry experience and our state of the art equipment to remove all mold that is noted on the protocol.

Step 4: Our trusted vendor partner will do an additional inspection after we finish our work. The experts we partner with will give us the final assurance that all mold is removed. If their test still detects mold, we go back and remove any remaining mold spores that are contaminating the air sample.

Step 5: Our licensed and insured construction crew will fix any parts of the property that were damaged during the mold removal process. Often times protocols require us to remove drywall, flooring, etc, but after our construction crew finishes it will look "Like it never even happened."

If you have any questions about mold removal, mold remediation, or mold detection, please contact the experts at SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East at (412) 672-5400. Our opinions, advice, and estimates are ALWAYS free, and we are here to help!

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 East 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)

#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)

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 East 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)

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 

When Water Damage Happens, Call SERVPRO for Service

11/21/2016 (Permalink)

Tis the Season for Frozen Pipes in the Pittsburgh area!

If you are grappling with the aftermath of residential water damage, you want the problems resolved as quickly as possible. Keep handy the name and number of a local cleanup and restoration company like SERVPRO. Our job is to provide state-of-the-art service to our customers that are in need of expert water damage restoration. And we do so with rates that won't break your budget. 

What You Can Expect From a Water Damage Restoration Service...
When you contact us to assess the character of your problem, we will respond by sending a team of friendly, knowledgeable service technicians and leaders to your home. We will make a full inspection and assessment of your property, making sure to note where all of the damage and future potential trouble spots lie. We find the source of the water intrusion, if not visible, for repair. We must identify the water to determine if it is contaminated (such as Black Water from a sewage backup or groundwater intrusion), to use a correct and safe extraction method. Once we have completed this initial diagnosis, we provide you with a full estimate of the cost involved.  We will even help you with the insurance claims process.

How We Deal With Water Damage
Once water damage has taken its toll, engage the path to a solution as soon as possible. This means hiring a professional cleanup and restoration service to drain all of the unwanted water out of the building. We have truck-mounted pumps and portable extractors to quickly dispatch water. Our Applied Structural Drying Technicians (ASD) can dry out your home with the additional aid of air movers and dehumidifiers, both desiccant and refrigerant. Our trained WRT-Water Damage Restoration Technicians, adhere to the cleaning standards of the IICRC. We ensure, by testing with moisture meters, infrared cameras, and hygrometers, that the affected areas are dry. 

Contact Your Local Residential Water Damage Service
SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh is here to be your one-stop water damage cleanup and restoration authority. For all fire, mold, and water issue, we are fully equipped and qualified to address and solve them quickly. We are locally owned and operated and can be contacted at any time of the day or night at (412) 672- 5400.

SERVPRO Deploys Disaster Recovery Team

11/21/2016 (Permalink)

You can't stop a disaster from striking, but you can help minimize the damages.

Below is a press release from mid-April 2016 from our corporate office regarding Houston flooding. It will give you an idea about how our organization responds to national disasters. SERVPRO Metro-Pitt is part of the national disaster response team. 

Gallatin, Tennessee April 19, 2016 - Heavy rainfall continues to cause widespread flooding in and around the Houston area. With more rain in the forecast, additional flooding is expected. SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team has been activated to assist residents and business owners in flood affected areas.

The days immediately following a flood event are critical to prevent secondary damages, like mold. SERVPRO suggests the following steps to help minimize additional damage to your property.

  • If the water has entered the structure through the flooding of a creek, stream or river, or if it has filtered through insulation during its intrusion, it is considered to be black water and could be hazardous to your health. Avoid contact with contaminated items as much as possible.
  • Take the greatest caution while entering your home, and wear sturdy shoes and protective clothing when dealing with flooded areas.
  • Do not attempt to operate any electrical equipment while standing in wet or damp locations.
  • Throw away all foods – even canned goods – that have come into contact with flood waters.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and pillow cushions for drying. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Place fans at 45-degree angles to walls and move large furniture away from walls to create the best air circulation.
  • If your home has a crawlspace, be aware excess moisture in this area can often foster mold growth.

The first 24 hours after a water damage or flood are so crucial to keeping final costs of the damage down, said Don Turner, Director of SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team. A lot of flood situations require professional equipment and knowledge of the science of drying to mitigate. By taking these steps, property owners can help minimize damage until the professionals arrive.

SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team mobilizes from across the country, as needed, to support large storm events. SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team has responded to large loss and storm events across the country, including: 2015 Siberian Express, 2014 Mid-Atlantic Flooding, 2014 Polar Vortex, 2013 Colorado Floods, 2013 Alberta, Canada Floods, 2012 Hurricane Sandy, 2012 Hurricane Isaac, 2011 Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, 2011 North Dakota Floods, 2010 Tennessee Floods, 2010 New England Floods, 2009 California Wildfires and 2008 Hurricane Ike.

About SERVPRO

Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO Franchise System is a leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services, and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO's professional services network of more than 1,700 individually owned and operated Franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss events. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO System has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.

Recognized by CIO as a CIO 100 Award Winner

6/24/2016 (Permalink)

GALLATIN, TN - June 20, 2016

IDG's CIO recently announced SERVPRO Industries, Inc., as a recipient of the 2016 CIO 100. The 29th annual award program recognizes organizations around the world that exemplify the highest level of operational and strategic excellence in information technology (IT).

"Delivering innovation and business value are top priorities for CIOs everywhere, and our CIO 100 awards program celebrates the leading IT organizations that excel at both," said Maryfran Johnson, Editor in Chief of CIO Events. "Our 2016 winners are raising the bar even higher this year with their outstanding work in digital transformation, customer focus and IT-business collaboration."

"It is a great honor for SERVPRO to receive this nationally recognized award. There are a lot of great companies on this list and we are proud to be one of them", said Jeff Fields, Chief Information Officer, SERVPRO Industries, Inc.

As noted in SERVPRO Industries, Inc.'s CIO award submission, significant investments are being made in software development, as well as in infrastructure. Over the past three and a half years, SERVPRO modernized their business application portfolio by creating new web and mobile platforms to develop what has become known as WorkCenter, migrated from a physical to a private cloud environment, created a hot-hot disaster recovery site with near real-time replication, and implemented an identity management solution for all users. The end result is an integrated system that serves as the core of the Franchise operating methodology. Ultimately, affording users across the organization the ability to make better informed decisions for their business, while streamlining the workflow and providing substantial cost saving for our Franchise System.

Executives from the winning companies will be recognized at The CIO 100 Symposium & Awards Ceremony, to be held Tuesday evening, August 16th, at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

Recipients of this year's CIO 100 Award were selected through a three-step process. First, companies filled out an online application form detailing their innovative IT and business initiatives. Next, a team of external judges (many of them former CIOs) reviewed the applications in depth, looking for leading-edge IT practices and measurable results. Finally, CIO editors reviewed the judges' evaluations and selected the final 100.

About SERVPRO

Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO Franchise System is a leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services, and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO's professional services network of more than 1,700 individually owned and operated Franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss events. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO System has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.

About CIO  

CIO is the premier content and community resource for information technology executives and leaders thriving and prospering in this fast-paced era of IT transformation in the enterprise. The award-winning CIO portfolio—CIO.com, CIO executive programs, CIO Strategic Marketing Services, CIO Forum on LinkedIn, CIO Executive Council and CIO primary research—provides business technology leaders with analysis and insight on information technology trends and a keen understanding of IT’s role in achieving business goals.

13 Trends in the Restoration Industry

6/8/2016 (Permalink)

We find this an excellent article & have shared with many via email & our social media. Now we want to post it as a blog because it is great insight into our industry.

An article from "Restoration & Remediation" magazine, January 9, 2016

Written by Michelle Blevins and Michael A. Pinto, CSP, CM

National Credentials, Struggling Franchises, Bureaucracy, & more...

Think back through 2015. Can you think of any changes in the restoration and remediation industry? Yep, I bet you probably can. There were some major changes to mold remediation regulations in New York State, updates to the ANSI/IICRC S500 and S520 standards, we lost an industry pioneer with the passing of Marty King, and there were numerous changes and updates to available equipment, software, etc. It’s a list that goes on and on. Change is inevitable.

Now, look ahead into 2016 and beyond. Do you have any predictions of what may lie ahead?

Michael Pinto, CSP, CMP, has published more than 200 articles and several books on IAQ, mold remediation and other remediation-related topics. As the CEO of Wonder Makers Environmental, Pinto also serves on the board of directors for the Indoor Air Quality Association and Cleaning Industry Research Institute. Seriously, his credentials go on and on. When it comes to this industry, he knows his stuff.

In November, Pinto spoke at PLR Expo and shared these 13 predictions for the future of this industry. Just before his presentation, Mr. Pinto approached me and offered up this presentation (in article form) to R&R’s readers, if I did the writing! So, I’m honored to take on the task of putting his future outlook into words. What you read below is straight from him – just put to paper by me.

1. National Credentials for Restoration Work

This is happening on different levels, primarily in government. After every major disaster, talks start again about possibly requiring specific credentials for people working in disaster zones. It’s a slow process that’s been going on for 15-20 years both in government and industry. It did start getting some legs after Hurricane Katrina. In Louisiana, some state-required certifications were widely ignored to the point it drew attention from the governor who waived certain rules for 60 days.

With franchises and industry organizations growing, there is more and more talk of credentials like this, especially among emergency managers. Those managers understand the risk involved in not having a larger organization to draw upon for credible workers in case of a disaster.

On the flip side, there are arguments against these credentials. They could slow down response, and in an emergency could create violators out of competent restorers.

Incidents like the recent terror attack in Paris could also fuel the effort toward pre-screening responders for mass casualty events. Such pre-screening could include background checks, plus OSHA compliance. During TV news coverage of the Paris attacks, we witnessed some of the biological matter on the sidewalks and streets being simply hosed off into the drains. Is that really the best way to deal with a mass casualty scene? Putting proper procedures in place could be a good starting point.

2. Government Will Continue to Dabble with Licensing, but Slowly

There continues to be inconsistency with licensing for mold, lead, and asbestos remediation. Basically, licensing is being driven by money and statistics. What we’re finding out in many places is the promise doesn’t always live up to the reality. Government expects these programs to be self-funded through fees, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Virginia once had a mold licensing law, but repealed it after three years because it was difficult to sustain.

If the licensing route isn’t chosen, restoration contractors could be forced to work together to form some kind of training regimen, similar to what happened in British Columbia. (http://bcarc.ca/)

3. Bureaucracy Will Get Worse

It’s hard for a government agency to be focused on customer service and public service simultaneously. From a structural and attitude standpoint, bureaucracy is getting worse, not better, and more aggressive enforcement will be at the expense of real assistance. The whole idea of the bureaucracy becoming kinder, friendlier, gentler is not a reality at all.

This kind of attitude can mean documentation suddenly becomes more important and a bigger part of the focus than the actual process. All the ducks have to be in a row before you even dream about serving a customer. There seems to be more of a “gotcha” mentality where agencies make examples of some businesses that make a mistake, rather than fostering growth and learning within businesses and helping them succeed, while following the rules.

4. Insurance Industry Splits

Look for the insurance industry to continue to split. You’ve already seen this a little bit with treatment of preferred vendors. Some insurance companies are trying to “vertically integrate” by buying lumber yards, hygiene firms, creating their own restoration companies, etc. Their thought process is if they’re already insuring the risk then providing the payout, so they essentially want to own the whole process from top to bottom. It’s unclear how far this will get.

On the other hand, some insurance companies understand the liability of having preferred vendors. It’s the one out of 1,000 cases that goes wrong that draws the wrong kind of attention and liability. So, these insurance companies are thinking about softening the relationships they have with preferred vendors.

In fact, some insurance companies are tending to prefer to go back to the “olden days” where there were more personal relationships between insurers, vendors, adjusters, etc., because they see where there can be problems among bigger companies, such as liability and customer service.

5. Franchises May Struggle

There is a case that could very well make it to the U.S. Supreme Court in which the government is trying to redefine who are contractors, subcontractors, temps, who owns them, etc. The government is trying to say a franchisor is a co-employer with the franchisees. That iscompletely opposite to why we set up franchises! They are meant to help with overall business functions, marketing, tools, training, etc., but franchisees are still running their own business.

Should that ruling get upheld that franchisors are co-employers with franchisees, there will be a huge ripple effect through the entire industry. All of a sudden, becoming a franchisee has more risk and the corporate people have to have a lot more input. It would also mean, under the Federal Health Care Law, every employee beneath the franchisor be offered a certain level of insurance. It would not work for someone in Los Angeles to carry the same liability as someone in Terra Haute, Ind.

On the flip side, cooperatives (DKI, Contractor Connection, Code Blue, IMACC, etc.) could benefit. It will be much more far-fetched to say coops made up of a number of independent contractors are co-employers because they do not have some of the same legal and financial ties.

6. Growing Public Awareness

This is particularly in reference to growing environmental issues and awareness. Restoration contractors deal with hazards and contaminants all day. When you introduce new chemicals, technology, and other products as quickly as we do (especially on the home building side – new paints, flooring, etc.), we are adding a lot of things into buildings that weren’t there even five years ago. And truth be told, manufacturers don’t always know how these are going to react over time, or in a loss like a fire or flood. Now – all those items are in these homes, and the restoration industry comes in with their new chemicals and machines to remediate. How do we know what’s really happening when all the chemicals and materials mix?

Have you heard the term WDB for Water Damaged Building? It’s a term growing in popularity as we learn there is a lot more going on in a WDB than just mold. We’ll talk more about this a little further in just a moment.

7. A Tighter Connection

There is a growing tie between medicine and the environment. Restorers and other professionals are increasingly aware about caring for “sensitized individuals.” Years ago, I (Michael Pinto) said there was too much anecdotal evidence of people getting sick after being in a mold-contaminated building for doctors to deny the problem, even if they don’t yet know the causative factors. Once they figure out a treatment drug and big pharma is involved, this will take off.

Today, there are symptoms, causes, and prescriptions for people sensitive to mold. Plus, we have discovered a genetic component that makes some people more sensitive to mold than others, and the naming of a related illness: CIRS. There is even a $15 non-invasive screening test for people to see if they’ve been exposed to mold.

There is also the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index, which analyzes dust samples for 26 different species of mold. Two-thirds of those species are considered to be indicators of water damage. Plus, the EPA has created a comparison chart to identify a WDB. (http://www.epa.gov/mold)

All of this could trigger permissible exposure limits. Technology is already catching up with the computerized Mold Propensity Index. For about $200, it provides remediation recommendations for a mold contaminated home.

8. A More Active Justice System

Just look at all the points above! There are a number of legal hazards out there – including mold, lead, water damage, and infectious diseases. We can expect similar results compared to how lawsuits from asbestos exposure have skyrocketed in recent decades.

9. Continued Bleed-Over of Technology

There is a lot more cross-over between industries. Technology and chemicals are finding numerous uses, often traveling from the health care industry to remediation and into restoration. For example, look at how foamers started in the agricultural industry and traveled to food service, then remediation, then restoration, then health care. Similarly, surface sanitizers went from health care to remediation to use with sensitized individuals.

It’s also important to note the use of hydroxyl generators in a variety of situations, and some remediators opting for different techniques with sensitized individuals like essential oils, salt solutions, Hydrogen peroxide, organosilane surface protectors, etc.

10. Action vs. Talk

More and more people are rejecting marketing and want scientific proof of claims regarding equipment, chemicals, and other products. Ebola made a big difference in this. There was (and still isn’t) a proven killer of the Ebola virus. People want proof products are doing the job correctly.

11. Green vs. Greenwash

Claiming something is green is no longer going to cut it. Like the point above, people want proof what’s being used in their home is safe. Therefore, the industry is taking meaningful steps toward green chemistry rather than greenwashing. On the safety side of this, there are huge studies going around about nanotechnology as we continue manipulating things on the molecular level. Those changes are in turn appearing to affect people, especially sensitized individuals. It’s a huge trend in the safety field.

12. Closer Cooperation Between Industry Associations

This is already happening! ASHRAE and the IAQA recently merged; APIC and ASHRAE coordinated on responding to the Legionella outbreak; RIA, IAQA, and the IICRC presented a united position on Florida’s mold law changes; ISSA and CIRI worked on a joint standard; and the IICRC currently has nine MOUs. As the world becomes more complicated, it takes more people to get it right – so collaboration becomes key.

13. Marketing Will Keep Shifting

The industry is already trending toward social media promotions and educating through marketing, rather than straight sales techniques. The way you reach customers today will likely be very different in years to come.

Don’t let this list scare you. The restoration and remediation world will continue to evolve, just as it always has. Staying ahead of the curve is key. So stay informed through industry training, conferences, webinars, publications, and other resources.

In the words of Doc Brown in Back to the Future III, “Your future is whatever you make of it, so make it a good one!”

Board-Ups and Fire Damage

6/8/2016 (Permalink)

A crew is called out by the production manager in the middle of the night. A residential fire is in process and will need a board-up. A crew chief arrives on the scene investigating how many windows are broken out; how many doors are broken out; is the house secure; what do we need to preserve for the fire marshal or investigators?

The next day estimators go out and listen to the family’s concerns regarding content/ belongings (china, urns with ashes, family heirlooms, etc.). If there are firearms in the house, a homeowner has to immediately remove these items on their own. SERVPRO teams learn what the family needs regarding clothing or temporary support and helps with resources. SERVPRO crew members begin packing out belongings to bring back to the franchise warehouse to ozone and clean according to restoration industry standards and SERVPRO best practices.

The signature touch? SERVPRO franchises are trained to help families and business owners who are devastated by fires, floods or other horrific circumstances – to care, to show the human side of the work. We certainly can make anything regarding a structure or contents “Like it never even happened.” but the emotional side of crisis takes a special team of people who understand, empathize, listen, and hold out their hand.

A Day in the Life of a Crew Member

6/8/2016 (Permalink)

#HEREtoHELP

The day always starts with freshly brewed, strong, black coffee. Once work orders are received from the Production Manager, we make sure our vehicle is fully stocked in order to respond to any type of disaster (mold, sewage, water, fire, deep cleaning, air ducts, etc.). Keep in mind that proper preparation is key to prevent poor performance!

Even if going out on an assigned job, SERVPRO is 24-7-365, therefore, it is possible that a new loss comes in at some point during the day and crews need to respond. In this case, shifting and adjusting of crews, and accommodating all clients takes motion.

Once arrived at a new loss, we make sure we check every area and every material to make sure a home or business is well inspected. Often individuals do not realize all the areas that have been effected in situations like water loss. For example, someone may have seen water drip onto their kitchen floor but may have not seen the water inside their top cabinets (the entire ceiling is a wet mess)!

Crew Chiefs lead the introduction with clients on-site. We meet the customer and discuss how the loss happened, when it happened, and what they have done to date about the crisis/issue. Next, we talk about this person’s insurance coverage to see if they have made a claim and talked to an insurance representative.

As long as all the proper resources have been included in communications and a claim number issued, SERVPRO now works with the insurance company. Conversations go back and forth to determine the best possible way to repair damages so that the customer usually only has to pay for their deductible.

Next we are drawing/sketching the loss area to measure so we can calculate the type of equipment and how much equipment is needed to begin work. In a water loss, crews would then begin to remove any excess water and set-up drying equipment (air movers, dehumidifiers, drying mats).

Estimators now enter the picture because they are viewing the loss sketches on SERVPRO’s online software. They create a computer drawing and make sure we are meeting and complying with all the standards for that specific insurance company.

Crew Chiefs plan to monitor the loss site daily until drying is complete at a water loss; or they make sure a house/business is completely cleaned and all checklist items are complete.  

Safety practices and procedures include the power and outlets to a home/business are not compromised. Crews also check drywall and plaster to make sure no materials can fall or break loose. Protective gear also is worn when appropriate for demolitions, biohazards, and cleaning such as sewage jobs.

At the end of a shift, it is general practice to refuel items, clean vehicles of debris, and restock vehicle materials and products for the next shift.

We return to our warehouse to touch base with the production manager, general manager, estimation and marketing divisions so everyone is on the same page about progress on jobs, and where the next call is taking us in the Metro Pittsburgh region.

Continuing Education Schedule

6/8/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Metro-Pittsburgh East

Free Professional Development Classes

Wednesday, August 31 – SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East Main Office, 1951 Lincoln Highway, North Versailles, PA  15137

8am-12pm – Understanding the Restoration Industry:  Property Fire Damage Restoration / 4 hours / class code 122728

1pm-3pm –Deodorization of Malodors/2 hours / class code 120262 (Please note this class was changed. Mitigation Awareness was on previous distributed schedules.)

Wednesday, September 28 – South Hills, Scoglio’s Restaurant, 661 Anderson Drive, Bldg. 7, Foster Plaza, Greentree, Pa  15220

8am – 12pm – Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry /4 hours / class code 120256

1pm-3pm – Restorative Drying for Water Damage /2 hours / class code 120260 (Please note this class was changed. Mitigation Awareness was on previous distributed schedules.)

Wednesday, October 26 – SERVPRO Office, 1951 Lincoln Highway, North Versailles, PA  15137

8:30am-11:30am – Biohazard Clean-Up / 3 hours / class code 120263

12:30pm – 2:30pm – Restoring Contaminated Buildings / 2 hours /class code 120258

Wednesday, November 16 – South Hills, Scoglio’s Restaurant, 661 Anderson Drive, Bldg. 7, Foster Plaza, Greentree, Pa  15220 

8am – 12pm – Restorative Drying for Water Damage /4 hours / class code 120259

1pm – 3pm – Deodorization of Mal-Odors / 2 hours / class code 120262

To Register Contact:  (412) 825-5480

*Classes are free

*Lunch is included

SERVPRO is an approved continuing education provider in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and curriculum is approved by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department for professional credits. Fees are paid by SERVPRO.

 

Fire Safety - Learn Not To Burn

6/8/2016 (Permalink)

Thanks to The Western Pennsylvania Hospital Burn Trauma Center for these Fire Safety Tips for the upcoming summer months:

IN YOUR YARD:

*Keep children away from BBQ grills.

*Use an electric starter to light your BBQ. Avoid lighter fluid, gasoline and newspaper.

*Keep hot coals in the BBQ until they are completely cooled. A child may pick up a hot coal left on the ground.

*Turn your lawnmower engine off and let it cool before adding gasoline.

*If burning leaves is permissible in your community, make sure the fire is in a contained area, and do not leave until the fire has been extinguished.

IT'S SPRING & SUMMER SO CLEAN YOUR BASEMENT:

*Throw away old newspapers, rags and other trash. These materials easily catch fire.

*Store flammable liquids such as gasoline, kerosene and paint outside in a cool, locked storage area. Do not store them in your basement or garage.

*Make sure power tools are properly grounded. Use the voltage specified on the tool or instruction manual. 

IN YOUR CAR:

*Repair your car outdoors, not in a closed garage. 

*Let an experienced mechanic handle all extensive repairs (priming the carburetor, etc.).

*Wait until the engine cools before unscrewing the radiator cap.

*Do not siphon gasoline or transport gasoline in the back of a truck.

2016 Hurricane Season Most Active Since 2012

5/22/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO STORM TEAM - Here to Help!

The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be the most active since 2012, according to a forecast released Friday, May 20, 2016 by The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

A total of 14 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes are forecast during the coming season.

This is greater than the 30-year historical average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes for the Atlantic basin. A major hurricane is one that is Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

The Weather Company's forecast also calls for a slightly higher number of named storms and hurricanes than an outlook issued earlier in April by Colorado State University (CSU) that is headed by Dr. Phil Klotzbach. That forecast said the Atlantic was expected to see 13 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.

An important note about both outlooks is that the seasonal forecast numbers do include Hurricane Alex, a rare January hurricane that struck the Azores a few months back. Though the official hurricane season spans the months from June through November, occasionally we can see storms form outside those months.

Goodbye El Nino.. Hello La Nina

The strong El Niño we saw this winter continues to fade away and may transition to its counterpart La Niña by this fall. Of course, if this handoff from El Niño to La Niña conditions occurs, it could happen during the middle of the 2016 hurricane season.

Klotzbach said that the transition from El Niño to neutral or La Niña conditions during the 2016 hurricane season makes this particular April hurricane outlook very uncertain.

The transition could cause the early part of the hurricane season to be less active while the second half of the season may more active, according to The Weather Company's outlook.

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East- What Do They Do?

4/12/2016 (Permalink)

First Notice of Loss: It means- RAPID RESPONSE

Second responders…

that would be the crew of SERVPRO pulling up to your house or business after a fire, helping you work through the insurance claim...

Helping you find your way when you are just overwhelmed. Our industry of clean-up and restoration is about working in the aftermath of a disaster. Sometimes we are second responders and sometimes we are first responders.

What kind of disasters?

Water loss (pipes breaking, toilets overflowing, showers left running) – think of floors, walls, behind the walls, ceilings, and then mold……water damage gets everywhere.

Fire (soot, odor, clothes/textiles, electronics, general contents) – think of how to deep clean and get back to normal.

Biohazard (someone cuts themselves in a police car, suicide, decomposed body, crime scene) – think of bloodborne pathogens and safety.

Hoarding (residential homes discovered, sometimes with several animals inside too) – think of the unsanitary conditions and packing out.

Mold (basements, old water loss never addressed properly, unventilated bathrooms) – think safest way to remove “this stuff”.

Air Ducts (overdue general cleaning) – think easy, oh wait, we just found mold.

Hurricane (national crisis) – think of a trained response team.

All of these examples represent some of the services SERVPRO Metro Pittsburgh East provides to residential and commercial clients. Our crews help individuals determine the best choices for clean-up, restoration and construction repair. Our multi-franchise team helps families and businesses get back to living or back to working as quickly as possible after a crisis.

We know there are many choices in the clean-up and restoration business, however, we are the largest SERVPRO franchise in western Pennsylvania related to employees and equipment inventory. We have operated in the region for more than 14 years under the same owners (Metro-Pitt, South Hills and Monroeville).

Plus Metro-Pitt has operated in the community for more than 25 years. This is the kind of experience you want on your side when things go madly wrong.

Keep our phone numbers in your devices:  (412) 672-5400 / 1-877-824-0565.

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