Recent Why SERVPRO Posts

Taking it to the Streets (A Quarterly Newsletter excerpt)

8/17/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Hallway Are you ready for back to school?

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

Will Students Return to the Classroom?

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

Schools Consider Different Plans

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

SERVPRO Can Help

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

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

Owners Corner: 2nd Quarter 2020

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Jim and Trish Wall

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!