Recent Why SERVPRO Posts
Checking in with Our Owners: Owner's Corner
I find that it’s always when I least expect it when I read or hear the words I need the most.
“Hey mom, can I ask you something?”
“Who are the two people in your life that you want to make the most proud?”
“I can only pick two? There are so many more.”
“Hmm…” *Moments of thought and deliberation* “I’d say my mom and dad???”
“Nope, wrong. The two people should be your 8-year-old self and your 80-year-old self. Your 8-year-old self should think that you had an awesome life and you want to make your 80-year-old self believe you had a worthwhile life.”
I’m speechless and mesmerized by the unexpected wisdom flowing from my 12-year-old. Where did he come up with this? Maybe TikTok??
He snaps me out of my silent daze and asks, “What do you think they would think of you?”
After a thoughtful, deep breath, I answer, “I guess my 8-year-old self would think that the adventures I’ve been on and the places I’ve seen were cool?”
“And your 80-year-old self? What about her?”
“Gosh. I’m not completely sure. That one’s much harder.”
“Thanks okay because you have 40 more years to figure that out.”
He was dead on and I was astounded.
In case you didn’t catch onto the subtle math in the above conversation, I just turned 40 this year and let me tell you, I dreaded it. In hindsight, I’m not sure what I was expecting once I entered this new decade of my life because honestly, I don’t feel different physically. On the other hand, I do feel different mentally, but it’s a good kind of different. With age, you gain wisdom and confidence, knowing that you have learned many lessons that have ultimately made you a better person.
Some of you may be rolling your eyes at me for preaching after only having lived 40 years so far. Or, maybe you’re in the same boat and feeling the same way. Regardless of where you side, I wanted to share five sentiments I’ve learned along the way that I find helpful. It’s difficult to fulfill them every single day, but if I check them off, I believe that one day, 80-year-old Trish will be impressed when she looks back.
- “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” – As they say, “it don’t come easy.” If something presents itself as being too easy, proceed with caution. Anything worth pursuing should have at least a little bit of work involved.
- “Do What Scares You Until it Doesn’t” – Last year, I wrote a blog about this topic. In life, other people have successfully attempted and completed any number of endeavors. If they can do it, so can you! Yes, it might be daunting and failure is certainly a possibility, but you’ll get there eventually. Suddenly, you’ll wake up one day and realize that the thing you used to find so terrifying is no longer a big deal.
- “Be the Buffalo” – Have you heard of this phrase? The metaphor of being a cow or a buffalo is intriguing because they face approaching danger in polar opposite ways. While cows run away from storms, buffaloes charge straight ahead into it. The storm always catches up with the cow, so their strategy never works, only increasing the frustration and pain they must endure. So what’s the lesson here? Instead of running from your problems and prolonging your suffering, deal with them right away.
- “It takes twice as long to build bridges you’ve burnt” – On Christmas day in 1988, my sister and I found ourselves in a nasty fight. My mother’s punishment for me was forcing me to write “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” one hundred times. It’s “The Golden Rule.” In my life, I’ve watched others burn bridges and I’ve even done so myself. In the aftermath, you feel horrible and keep replaying moments over and over again in your head, wishing that you could go back in time and deal with the situation differently. Ultimately, it’s best to confront hard things with honesty, transparency, and empathy. Live with the Golden Rule close to your heart and you’ll find peace of mind without so much weight on your shoulders.
- “No one wears the jersey of a Monday Morning Quarterback” – Recently, I stumbled across Theodore Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena”. Have you read this or heard anything about its history? You can find critics everywhere you turn, but no one really understands exactly what another person has been through unless they’ve worn the exact same pair of shoes. Therefore, it’s unfair to critique others when you don’t know what it’s like to live their life. The true hero is the person who, in spite of the voices of the “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” of the world, keeps inventing, attempting, failing, and picking themselves back up. Which would you rather be?
I find that it’s always when I least expect it when I read or hear the words I need the most. This article is just my small way of paying it forward. If it helps even one person learn to look at life differently, I would consider it a success.
What sentiments motivate you to become a version of yourself that you’ll be proud of when you become your 80-year-old self? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Employee of Quarter: Joe Medwick
We are excited to announce that Joe Medwick is this quarter’s "Employee of the Quarter" recipient.
With every new quarter, we select an exemplary member of our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East team with our distinguished “Employee of the Quarter” award. We are excited to announce that Joe Medwick is this quarter’s recipient. Keep reading for more information about Joe:
Joe has been employed by SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh for nearly 20 years. He was one of the first hires of the previous ownership and was retained by SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall. He began as a Production Crew Chief and excelled in that position, being the first of two staff members at the time to obtain National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) Certification for duct cleaning. His paperwork was always exceptional and as a result, he was one of the first to be promoted from within, moving from a field position to an estimator position.
When Team Wall purchased the franchise, Joe continued in his previous estimating position. However, his organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to work independently led to his promotion, taking on the role of Job File Coordinator for the Rebuild Division. Today, he continues to excel in that position. He fields all calls from rebuild customers, answers those questions, and resolves issues as he can or refers the caller to the correct individual when needed. Joe also tracks all rebuild jobs from FNOL until job completion and final payment.
Because Joe is one of our “experienced” voices, newer mitigation technician’s listen to him when he speaks, knowing that he has been in their position. He has the knowledge and experience to help mentor younger technicians, even though “mitigation” is no longer part of his daily tasks.
Outside of work, Joe has been a long time member of one of the local volunteer fire departments. He has also been heavily involved in an annual motorcycle ride in honor of one of our deceased members who was an avid biker. It’s clear that Joe is passionate about his work and is an exceptional role model to his fellow SERVPRO Team Wall team members. Words cannot express how appreciative of Joe for all that he has done for SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East and Team Wall as a whole. Thank you, Joe!
Convention Reflections: The Owner’s Corner
The gears were turning as we traveled home, thinking of ways to encourage Team Wall’s growth and success.
The blog that follows is an excerpt from an article featured in our most recent newsletter:
We hear the tagline “Independently Owned and Operated” almost every day, but does anyone really have a good understanding of all that it entails?
When we think about businesses that we interact with on an everyday basis, such as the UPS Store, 7-Eleven, McDonalds, and even SERVPRO, many of them are franchised and independently owned and operated. Even though individuals manage the everyday ins and outs of the business, they receive guidance and support from their corporate team, founders, and central board.
Data shows that a new franchise, on any given business day, is opened every 8 minutes. It has also been found that individuals who open franchises have a success rate that is three times higher than that of small business owners. Having a business plan already outlined is certainly beneficial for franchise businesses, but it is not a guarantee for success. Franchise business owners must also be entrepreneurially-minded, gain the loyalty of customers, and cultivate a team that possesses constant hustle.
A certain husband and wife team took a leap of faith in May 2009, during a difficult recession in our country, by opening a license franchise. This was the birth of SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall. At the time, questions of “What If?” and the idea of failure never crossed our minds, as we were young, first-time business owners. We were lucky to have successful paths forged by existing SERVPRO franchises to follow. The process of getting to where we are today was remarkable, but it was not without remarkably hard work.
Here we are 12 years later, with Team Wall owning and operating, through 3 separate metro markets, a total of 12 franchise licenses. We wouldn’t be where we are without the blueprint provided for us back in 2009 when we were just getting started, but now, as “Multi-Market Owners” just beginning our new journey, we are excited to pave our own path.
Multi-Market Ownership takes place when individual franchise owners operate several license franchises. This business model has been in use for years and examples, such as Dunkin Donuts, Subway, and Anytime Fitness, can be found almost anywhere in the world. In the food industry, for example, some multi-market franchise owners sometimes hold close to 300 licences. Within SERVPRO Industries’ service sector, it is a great privilege for Team Wall to be able to take part in the exploration of multi-market ownership alongside 20 fellow SERVPRO franchises.
Our journey as Multi-Market Operators, which began during the fourth quarter of 2019, did not necessarily begin as planned. We dove into uncharted territory on the brink of the warmest winter in 100 years and a pandemic, which both threw us for a loop. Gee whiz! In hindsight, that portion of our journey is not one that we would particularly care to relive. Nevertheless, our hardship caused the week of July 20th, 2021, when we gathered for the 52nd Annual SERVPRO Convention, to be a true celebration. For the first time in over 2 years, we had the opportunity to see so many members of our SERVPRO family in-person instead of through a computer screen.
Among our many takeaways from the convention were powerful inspiration, fellowship, and guidance. We headed back home having gained invaluable lessons in everything from marketing strategies and technology to key accounts and new relationships. Ultimately, we were excited by the prospect of utilizing all of this new information to maximize the services that we can offer our customers.
At convention, we had the opportunity to bounce ideas off of our peers, discuss both the triumphs and challenges of the past year, and network. In the wise words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
The collective enthusiasm of everyone at convention was infectious and, as a result, the gears were turning in our heads as we traveled back home, thinking of ways to encourage Team Wall’s growth and success. Being Multi-Market Operators within SERVPRO is a privilege for us and we can’t wait to work our hardest to take full advantage of the opportunity that we have been given.
None of this would be possible without the unwavering support of our remarkable customers and we are forever grateful. The steadfast enthusiasm and dedication of our team members are equally humbling. Thank you for your support throughout the years and we cannot wait to see what the future of Team Wall will bring.
With wholehearted thanks and profound gratitude,
Jim and Trish Wall
Employee Appreciation: A Cornerstone of Our Company
Employees enjoy barbeque at our annual office picnic.
One of our SERVPRO team’s core values is employee appreciation. As Vince Lombardi, a legendary football coach, once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort- that is what makes a team work.” We believe that our company’s success depends upon the individual commitment of each of our employees to our collective goals. As a result, we place emphasis on celebrating individual team members. A few of our favorite employee appreciation activities will be highlighted in this blog.
Barbeques and crab feasts with friends are summertime favorites, which is why we hold an annual office-wide barbeque every summer. Our employees’ daily work can be incredibly stressful, so the barbeque aims to relieve stress and create a relaxing atmosphere for our employees.
Department outings provide a great opportunity for team building outside of the office. Various teams within SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall enjoy department outings throughout the year. This summer, Big Truck Farm Brewery was the destination for our Sales and Marketing team outing. The afternoon was filled with great conversation, archery, and team bonding.
The “Wall of Praise”
We also give our employees the opportunity to shout out their coworkers through our “Wall of Praise.” A play on our owners’ last name, “The Wall of Praise” consists of a custom-made decal on the wall of our main conference room. Employees can write positive messages about their fellow team members on sticky notes to add to the wall. Several of these notes are pulled each quarter and shared with everyone at our quarterly meeting. We are proud of the wall’s positive impact on employee recognition and its role in building support amongst our team members throughout Team Wall.
Employee Highlights and Awards
Employee awards are presented at our quarterly meetings, which bring together our entire team. Various awards, including tenure awards, specific Sales and Marketing team awards, and the “Employee of the Quarter” award, are presented in front of the whole team. The quarterly meeting therefore provides the largest audience possible for employee recognition, which prevents our team members’ hard work from going unnoticed. The recipient of the “Employee of the Quarter” award is also highlighted in a dedicated article featured in our quarterly newsletter and on our blog, as well as on our social media accounts, sharing their success with an even wider audience.
Trust Our Team
One of SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall’s “7 Pillars” is “Team,” which emphasizes teamwork and cooperation. All the while, the individual commitment and drive of our employees are integral to our overall success as a company. When you pick up your phone and call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East at (412) 672-5400, you will be working with a closely-connected, united team to restore your residential or commercial property.
Employee of the Quarter: Brandon Decker
SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East would like to highlight our Job File Coordinator, Brandon Decker, who has been recognized as our office’s “Employee o
This quarter, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East would like to highlight our Job File Coordinator, Brandon Decker, who has been recognized as our office’s “Employee of the Quarter.” He has been with SERVPRO for 5 years, but he officially joined our team in Metro Pittsburgh East on March 1st of this year. He has experience working in many different roles within our company, as he has worked as an office manager, crew chief, marketing representative, and more during his time with SERVPRO.
Impressive Knowledge and Exemplary Characteristics
At our office, Brandon is a team player as our Job File Coordinator. Thanks to his experience in many different realms of SERVPRO, he is always ready and willing to help out his team members in any way possible, regardless of whether they are a crew chief or a member of the office or rebuild staff. Brandon also embodies our “7 Pillars” through his undeniable hustle that remains consistent even when his schedule is busy. He has even traveled to a job site to deliver equipment to crews when we were short-staffed. Since he joined our team in March, he has been a wealth of knowledge and a tremendous help to the office. Another one of Brandon’s talents is technology, as he possesses impressive tech skills that benefit the efficiency of our office.
An Essential Member of Our Team
Even though Brandon was only recently hired, he is already an integral member of our Metro Pittsburgh East team. He is incredibly observant, taking in all that he can in order to continue growing in his position with his new SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East family. Thank you, Brandon, for all that you do. We are so thankful that you are here!
Employee of the Quarter: AJ Clark (Q1 2021)
Every quarter, we like to highlight one of our outstanding team members who embodies the qualities of an exemplary SERVPRO employee day in and day out. This quarter, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is excited to present AJ Clark with our “Employee of the Quarter” title.
A member of our team for over five years, AJ is a knowledgeable and outstanding member of our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East team. As a Production Technician, AJ exemplifies our company’s 7 Pillars on an everyday basis, which include Consistency, Persistence, Team, Accountability, Hustle, Solutions, and Quality. AJ can be described as someone with tremendous work ethic, always performing each task to the best of his ability. His fellow team members know him as someone who arrives at work early, with a smile on his face, and willing to work overtime in order to get the job done. Words can’t describe just how grateful our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East team is for all of his efforts. Thank you, AJ!
Owners Corner: 1st Quarter 2021
From Left to Right: Jim Wall Jr. (Our Owner) and His Father Jim Wall Sr.
This article is an excerpt from our newest Quarterly Newsletter:
It was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences of my life. I watched as my husband, his brothers, and their wives circled around my mother in-law, comforting her as she communicated her final goodbyes to her husband. They had been married for 48 years. This scene will never leave me and it opened my eyes to the magnitude of the footprint that a life lived to the fullest can leave behind.
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ~ Shannon L. Alder
I had only been dating Jim for a handful of weeks when I became acquainted with the man who would become my father-in-law. Over dinner, he quizzed me about my college GPA and my salary (you can insert the shocked, wide-eyed emoji right here). Yeesh! In retrospect, seventeen years later, I recognize that his behaviors that night were just Dr. Jim Wall’s way. For each of his children, Jim Sr. cared fiercely, doing everything in his power to give them a good life. This included, from time to time, vetting potential girlfriends.
The impact that Jim Sr. had on my husband is indescribable. He was unaware of the awe-inspiring number of strangers’ lives that the direction and guidance that he gave his son would reach.
From a young age, my husband displayed natural leadership skills, which Jim Sr. and his wife, Jane, picked up on right away. Jim Sr. himself was an entrepreneur and recognized his son’s potential in the field. My father-in-law did not force his son into an entrepreneurial career, but to say that he encouraged it would be insufficient. Instead, the intentions of Jim Sr. fell somewhere in between, which, for to anyone who knew him, would make perfect sense.
Jim Sr. emphasized that one’s work and goals would not always form a harmonious relationship. He also taught his son how to be frugal, while still treating oneself here and there. It was also thanks to Jim Sr. that my husband learned to live life to the fullest, which led to his incubator idea and the five subsequent baby chicks that now share my house. Another important lesson that he passed down to his son was to value curiosity, learning from others, and never shying away from asking questions.
These aforementioned lessons in the soft skills, alongside Jim Sr.’s actions inhabiting the middle ground between “encouragement” and “force”, laid the groundwork for my husband’s success. With his father's consistent voice in the back of his mind, he went on to graduate with a degree in Accounting from a top college and master fluency in a second language, preparing him in every way to chase his entrepreneurial dream.
To summarize all that followed: Everything came together. Dozens upon dozens of ideas for small businesses floated around in Jim’s head from the time he was in high school through his early 30s. The time was ripe in 2009 to finally grab hold of that dream when Jim and I opened the doors of our first SERVPRO franchise in Hunt Valley, MD. Over the course of the next 12 years, our business grew even more as we expanded our geographical reach by opening a franchise in Pittsburgh and another in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Our team continues to grow internally as well, as we’ve taken on 3,100 jobs, 12 franchise licenses, and 133 new employees in just this last year. These numbers illustrate that rippling effect of Jim Sr.’s impact on his son that I talked about earlier. Thanks to one dad who believed whole-heartedly in his son and encouraged his dream, we here at SERVPRO Team Wall have had the opportunity to help our customers, create jobs, support families near and far, and touch countless lives.
We often underestimate just how significant of an impact that we can have on the lives of others. Long after we’re gone, our words and actions live on, leaving behind a footprint. I would consider myself lucky if my footprint ends up being even a fraction of the size of my father-in-law’s.
Words cannot express how much we miss him, but we know that our family, as well as our SERVPRO family, will remember Dr. James R. Wall’s legacy for years to come and keep marveling at the ripples he created as they continue to reach people across the country.
Pete Akey: Our Employee of the Quarter
Our “Employee of the Quarter” title goes to one outstanding employee every quarter. Here at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, our selection was none other than Pete Akey! Read the following excerpt from our latest quarterly newsletter to learn more about Pete:
SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East’s “Employee of the Quarter” for Quarter 4 is Pete Akey! Since starting at SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East as a Marketing Representative for the previous ownership in 2003, Pete’s role has changed drastically. During the transition between ownerships, Pete adapted to new challenges and has been integral to SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East’s success. Never hesitating or complaining, Pete has taken on multiple roles over the years in order to help the office grow and thrive. As Senior Operations Manager of the Metro Pittsburgh East office, he ran the show with admirable enthusiasm, devotion, and organizational skills.
Onto Even Bigger and Better Things
Pete’s passion for his job and the company is crystal clear to everyone who works with him. He’s the kind of employee who is always present and willing to chip in. Recently, Pete has taken on a new Program Specialist position, a role that will allow him to work with all three of SERVPRO Team Wall’s offices and share his 20 years of industry experience with others.
Thank You, Pete!
Pete is a tremendous asset to the company and we cannot even begin to thank him f
Owners Corner: A 1st Quarter Newsletter Excerpt
2020 was a year filled with challenges- no question about it. Scanning 2020’s Wikipedia page, which displays each event itemized by both month and day for your convenience, you can take a stroll down memory lane. Even logging into your social media platform of choice, you’ll find memes, vents or rants from friends, videos, and advertisements at your fingertips that make you contemplate whether we’ll ever find the light at the end of the 2020 tunnel.
This year, that sentiment seeped into holiday cards that we received from family and friends. The cards were adorned with everything from notes recapping the year to comical, staged photos and clever taglines. But that all came to a halt on January 2nd, 2020, the day that I opened my last card of the holiday season.
What I discovered printed on the back were words that caught me off guard. As I was trudging into 2021, I was extremely thankful to read words so powerful that they inspired a change in my perspective:
“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
~Excerpt from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
From the curveballs that 2020 threw our way, Jim and I gained valuable lessons concerning the most essential elements of our lives:
- Family: It’s hard to keep up with how quickly our kids are growing. However, this year gave us the opportunity to increase the amount of time that we spent with them. Rather than racing our kids to the next sporting event in our separate cars, we were able to slow down and enjoy more time together. When it came time for dinner, we all sat down at the SAME time and at the SAME table. These family dinners became a time for deep conversations with our kids and a time to observe their developing personalities. Void of the distractions that we’d become used to in our everyday lives prior to the pandemic, we were even able to watch as our 12-year-old grew 6 more inches! Despite 2020’s many trials and tribulations, the opportunity for us to be present and make so many family memories was truly a blessing and something that won’t end with 2020.
- SERVPRO: The lesson of humility is one that is ongoing, but it took center stage in 2020. We can strategize and plan all we want, but in the grand scheme of things, there will always be circumstances that are out of our power:
- 1St Quarter 2020: Our business went through a drastic change geographically in October 2019. That winter unfortunately happened to be the warmest winter recorded over the last 125 years. Business screeched to a halt, triggering distress and serious conversations about layoffs. In every sense of the phrase, this situation felt like a punch to the gut. Ultimately, it did do some good, as was a reminder that the world doesn’t revolve around us and our plans. Instead, our plans are always at the mercy of the rest of the world. This was the first, but certainly not the last, instance in which we had to “pivot” this year.
- 2nd Quarter 2020: Where do I begin? 2nd Quarter saw COVID-19, anxiety, shutdowns, and fear. It also saw our business and team become “essential”. We found our fundamental service lines flipping from restoration to viral pathogen cleaning as we did our duty to “flatten the curve”. Working to keep businesses open, we strived to hinder the economic impacts of extended shutdowns, in order to preserve the peace of mind of our community members. This was an unforgettable period of time for us as entrepreneurs. While we had our fair share of fear as a result of so much uncertainty, the pride that we experienced, knowing that our team was working together, adapting to unfamiliar situations, and demonstrating our synergy, overpowered that fear. Our team truly embodied our tagline, “Here to Help”.
- 3rd Quarter 2020: The 2020 hurricane season began normally with Arthur, but ended in record-breaking territory with Iota. Travelling across the country, making stops in Florida, Alabama, Delaware, Philadelphia, and Louisiana, our team got back to basics during 3rd Quarter, as we combatted Hurricanes Isaias, Laura, and Sally. Our latest “Job of the Quarter” blog tells the story of one of our favorite hurricane jobs of the season. Our “One Team” mentality was on display with this project, as well as the strength of both our SERVPRO franchise system and our team. Once again, we learned another lesson in humility this quarter. The old proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”, best articulates our takeaway.
- 4th Quarter 2020: I heard the lyrics of Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” repeating in my head. The temperatures this winter were completely different than those of winter 2019. This winter’s frigid temperatures have also not been tremendously helpful in the curbing of COVID-19. Late October saw a dramatic increase in cases, which caused an increase in the number of COVID-19 cleanings for our team and this quarter, the number of COVID-19 cleanings that we completed surpassed 400. With the virus’ resurgence, our top priority shifted back to doing all we could to help our communities. After a plethora of experience with COVID-19 cleanings in the spring, we were relieved that we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, we only had to harness our experience, refine our process, and provide the best quality services for our community.
While the negative aspects of 2020 may stick with us, it is important to recognize that a lot of good came out of this year’s challenges. Celebrate the good because life is too short to dwell on the disappointments.
I think back to the final sentences on that last holiday card I read in 2020, “…it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” Could there have been more appropriate words to close out the year? As I fold up these sentences and tuck them into my pocket, I know that I am going to take them to heart in 2021. My wish is that you will, too.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Trish and Jim Wall
Chris's Interview Debrief
If you watched our latest Employee Highlight episode about Chris Hoeltke, you may know that Hoeltke is the kind of man who seeks adventure and newness, while valuing reliability and family. For this employee highlight episode, which you can find on our Facebook page, Chris Hoeltke caught us up on his life and work.
Besides running the warehouse at SERVPRO: Hunt Valley & Harford County, Chris has several passions. His love for fixing and repairing things stems from working on cars with his father as a child. Furthermore, his love for boats has been further proven by the sixteen he has owned in his lifetime.
Throughout our interview with Hoeltke, he filled us in on his job history. He explained he never stays at a job long. Often, he shows a pattern of working at any given job for five years or so, working his way to the top, then moving on.
“I get bored,” he explained. When Chris finds that a job no longer offers challenges, he finds it hard to feel the same excitement everyday. He says this is why working as the Warehouse Coordinator for SERVPRO has been the ideal job. Chris never knows what to expect when he walks into the warehouse doors. It could be that equipment needs fixing, an out-of-state storm job may need his expertise, or a nearby job might need his guidance. Either way, whatever the jobs of the day are, Chris is happy to do them since they’re always different from yesterday.
During our interview with Chris, we also talked about his recent trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana. Back in late August, the town of Lake Charles was hit with Hurricane Laura. Unfortunately, shortly after, the town was hit once again with Hurricane Delta. Hearing of back-to-back destruction, SERVPRO: Team Wall’s Disaster Recovery Team traveled south to help businesses and families in need. Chris was part of this team.
“I was happy ‘cause I got to see my family,” Hoeltke stated.
Before leaving for Lake Charles, Hoeltke had already spoken with Jim Wall, owner of SERVPRO Team Wall, about his family in that area.
“[Jim] let me go down a day early so I could spend a day in New Orleans… I got to see my parents who I hadn’t seen in 15-18 years.”
Hoeltke was overjoyed by the visit to see his family. He talked of his mom’s home cooking, his newest nieces and nephews, and the way everyone got to catch up on the last decade and a half.
In all, we greatly appreciate the work Chris has done for SERVPRO. Thank you, Chris, for being such a valuable and friendly team member.
Taking it to the Streets (A Quarterly Newsletter excerpt)
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
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!
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)
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: Quality, Persistence, Consistency, Team, Hustle, Solutions, and Accountability. The employee of the quarter not only follows and models all 7 pillars, but also surpasses expectations. Congratulations to 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
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
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
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)
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
IICRC Certified Firm
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
• 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
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!