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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

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. 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. Rain is common in the springtime and moisture from rain water 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. 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)

SERVPRO Team In PPE SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team ready to move into a contaminated assisted living facility.

“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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