Employees of the Quarter: Octavius Duval and Matt Voght
Every quarter, we highlight one employee from our Harrisburg West office who showcases the qualities that characterize an outstanding SERVPRO team member. This quarter, however, two employees, Octavius Duval and Matt Voght, were worthy of the distinguished “Employee of the Quarter” award.
Octavius joined our SERVPRO team as a Crew Chief in October of 2019 after previously working as both a Technician and a Crew Chief of SERVPRO of North York. His team members know Octavius as someone who is always ready and willing to help. He consistently displays phenomenal customer service in all of his work. Octavius also eagerly works as a part of our traveling storm teams, which is no easy job. We’d like to thank Octavius for being someone who his peers can rely on and a valued member of our team!
Starting off as a Technician in January of 2020, Matt moved quickly into the role of Crew Chief. As a Crew Chief, Matt has continued to excel. A man of many talents under the umbrella of construction, Matt is always prepared to put his skills to use and help his peers in any way possible. Matt is a true team player, who we are lucky to have as a part of our team. Like Octavius, Matt’s teammates can always depend on him when in need. Thank you for all that you do, Matt!
Owners Corner: 1st Quarter 2021
Pictured: James Wall Jr. & James Wall Sr.
The article that follows is featured in our most latest Quarterly Newsletter:
Never in my life have I experienced something so heart-wrenching. My mother-in-law stood surrounded by Jim, his brothers, and their wives as she said goodbye to her husband after 48 years of marriage. It was an experience that will stay with me forever. Additionally, it helped me fully comprehend the awe-inspiring mark that a life well-lived leaves 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
It was only a few weeks into dating his son that I first met my future father-in-law. Upon sitting down for dinner, he posed two questions, the first being “What was your college GPA?” and the second was “How much money do you make?”. (Insert that surprised, wide-eyed emoji here). Wow! Now, after seventeen years, I understand that it was just the way of Dr. Jim Wall. He was fiercely caring and took every measure to ensure that his children were given the best life possible, which included screening a potential girlfriend every so often.
It is impossible to describe the tremendous impact that he had on my husband. Jim Sr. had no idea of the extent to which the guidance and direction that he provided his son would reach thousands of strangers.
Jim Sr., an entrepreneur, and his wife, Jane, quickly recognized their son’s innate leadership ability and knew that he had a future in entrepreneurship. To say that my father-in-law encouraged his son would be an understatement but, to say that he forced such a career upon him would be unfair. The verb I’m looking for to describe Jim Sr.’s intentions falls somewhere in the middle of these two (which would make complete sense to anyone who knew Jim Sr.).
One of the lessons that he taught his son was that work and goals will never be completely harmonious. He modeled the skill of being frugal while still treating oneself every once in a while. Living life to the fullest was another lesson passed down from Jim Sr. to his son (we can thank Jim Sr. for my husband’s idea to get an incubator, as well as the 5 resulting baby chickens running around my house). Promoting the notion of learning from others at every opportunity, he challenged his son to relish curiosity and to never be afraid to ask questions.
These soft skills, as well as the space in the middle of “encouraged” and “forced,” were the reasons why my husband graduated from a prestigious college not only with a degree in Accounting under his belt, but fluency in a second language as well. With his dad’s voice ever present in the back of his mind, my husband set out on the road to entrepreneurship.
Long story short: It worked. From his high school days all the way up until his early 30s, Jim tossed around a plethora of small business ideas. The dream that Jim’s dad inspired in his son finally came true in 2009, when we seized the opportunity and opened our first SERVPRO franchise. Starting off in Hunt Valley, Maryland, we spent the following 12 years growing our business and expanding geographically all the way into Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Just this past year, we’ve tackled over 3,100 jobs, acquired 12 franchise licenses, and grown our team with 133 new employees. These numbers speak for themselves in terms of the reach of our work, as we’ve been able to create jobs, support families, assist customers, and touch lives. This is all thanks to one father who placed enough faith in his son to propel him towards his dream.
Sometimes, we underestimate the impact that we have on others. What we say and what we do are a part of the footprint that we leave on this earth long after we’re gone. If my footprint is even half as wide as that of my father-in-law, I would consider myself lucky.
While we miss him immensely, our family- as well as our family here at SERVPRO- remembers Dr. James R. Wall’s legacy and its ripples that will continue touching the lives of people near and far.
Winter Storm Recap: Winter Storm Uri
After the long drive across the country, our crew went face-to-face with the aftermath of February’s Winter Storm Uri. Keep reading to read our team members’ testimonials about their proudest moments of the Winter Storm Uri projects.
“We were grateful for the opportunity to travel to Oklahoma and Texas in order to aid businesses, local franchises, and residents after they had endured damage from Winter Storm Uri. All three of our Team Wall offices took part in the storm restoration process. To me, the thing that most stands out is the cooperation and teamwork between our team members and those from other offices. Even thousands of miles from home, it was easy to recognize our One Team mindset. Everyone worked hard in order to restore the lives of the inhabitants of homes and business owners. Our traveling teams, who participated and provided support, as well as our team at home, working to assist businesses locally, both played a critical role in the success of our work. The pride I feel for our team cannot be properly expressed.”
- Jim Wall, Owner
“Even though every storm is different, it is always good to be out helping people. Because these storms leave homes and businesses backed up, it is very meaningful to us to be able to help.”
- Vinny Matthews, Resource Coordinator
“At the end of the day, we are satisfied that our clients express happiness and contentment with the work that we do, which makes it all worth it on our end. The SERVPRO brand is amazing in that we are supported from every angle. As a united front, our team bands together in order to assist our clients during the hardest time.”
- Brian Barry, Fire Production Manager
Opportunities to give back to the community, both near and far, and restore normalcy in our clients’ lives after enduring a disaster are always gratifying. Count on SERVPRO of Harrisburg West to remediate your home or business’ storm, fire, water, or mold emergency and make it “Like it never even happened.” By picking up the phone and calling us at (717) 510-6779, you will have our renowned Storm Damage Restoration Services, Commercial Storm Damage Restoration Services, and trusted Building Services on your side. Allow us to handle both the remediation and rebuild processes, having your back throughout the entire job, start to finish.
Job of the Quarter: Q1 2021
Intense winter storms that bring freezing temperatures and storm damage are not unlikely during the winter here in Harrisburg. In Texas, however, such weather events are not something you see everyday, which is what made this February’s Winter Storm Uri and deep freeze in Texas all the more unusual. Homes and commercial businesses across the state of Texas were overwhelmed by the damage left by the storm and in serious need of assistance in order to get their lives back to normal. Acting on our responsibility to help those in need of our services, we were already preparing and packing our bags before we could hang up the phone on a call about the Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Dallas. Hitting the road and driving into an unknown situation 1500 miles away from home was no easy feat for our crew members, but their courage and passion to do whatever they could to help is what made this job worthy of our “Job of the Quarter” title.
Storm Damage at the ICCS
Our phones wrang on Friday, February 19th with news of the storm damage endured by Denton’s Immaculate Conception Catholic School. Overwhelmed by the numerous areas of storm and water damage left by the storm, the ICCS was in need of help fast. On our to-do list was a broken fire suppression pipe to fix and water damage of at least one-inch on the floors of multiple hallways and classrooms to remediate. Additionally, we were faced with the task of removing the ICCS’ damaged gym floor and replacing it with new flooring, as well as installing new drywall and carpeting in various classrooms and hallways. With so much to do in a short period of time, we pulled out all the stops, including fifty fans, two desiccant humidifiers, and we employed the additional assistance of ten temp workers. The work ahead would not be easy, but our team was resilient.
The storm itself had taken place over the course of five days, causing local homes and businesses to accumulate additional storm damage with each passing day. Our customer was relying on us to make it “Like it never even happened,” so we had to work even faster to restore the school’s storm damage. As a result, eight to twelve of our crew members worked speedily each day in order to condense our demolition and drying processes into just eight days. Placing even more pressure on our team was the fact that the school was in session while they were working, forcing them to keep noise levels at a minimum. Additionally, our crew was given the task of relocating six classrooms filled with contents to temporary storage locations.
Our Team Is Resilient
At the end of the day, it is also important to consider that our crew members were 1500 miles from home while working under such demanding conditions. Despite the challenges they faced, our team embodied the hallmarks of our company and should be celebrated for their admirable work. Jamie in particular took charge of the production portion of the job following initial evaluations. In addition to taking inventory of the damage and documenting the scope of the work, Jamie also made sure that the staff stayed on top of the necessary demolition and mitigation work. He successfully allocated the equipment needed for drying, as well as confirming that our work aligned with the school’s staff requirements onsite.
Trust SERVPRO’s Emergency Storm Response
From large-scale winter storms like the Dallas storm to smaller, local storms any time of the year, our team here at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West can handle it all. We know how overwhelming storms of all kinds can be for homeowners and commercial businesses alike. Immediate help is guaranteed through our 24-Hour Emergency Services and our pledge to be “Faster to Any Disaster.” If your home or business needs storm remediation immediately, pick up the phone and call (717) 510-6779 for our professional Storm Restoration Services and Rebuild Services. Because SERVPRO Team Wall is a member of SERVPRO’s nationwide Disaster Recovery Team, we have access to storm damage resources all throughout the country, providing us the ability to handle any size job. While we hope that 2021 does not bring additional storms of the same caliber of severity as Winter Storm Uri, we look forward to future opportunities in which we can provide assistance to you or your client.
Invasive Smoke Damage: Here’s What To Know
In terms of emergencies in homes and businesses, it’s common knowledge that fires can be incredibly destructive. Lurking alongside fires, however, is often an invisible concern that can be just as harmful as fire damage: Smoke damage. Smoke is an invasive substance, sometimes requiring greater restoration services than one would expect. Let’s take a closer look at the nature of smoke damage in order to get a better idea of the effects it can have on your home or business.
Why Is Smoke Invasive?
Smoke can infiltrate even the smallest cracks or crevices. When homeowners or business owners attempt to get rid of soot particles, the substance only smears. Drywall, which is porous in nature, is another easy target for smoke. For this reason, smoke can make its way into insulation and in this case, demolition is often required in order to eliminate the odor of the smoke. Smoke damage also varies in severity depending on the kind of contents that are affected, as well as their location in relation to the source of the smoke.
Surprising Effects of Smoke Damage
In the wake of a fire, physical residue resembling the shape of spider webs can be left behind. These aren’t actual spider webs, but they may still be a cause for concern. What you see on your walls and ceilings are webs made up of smoke. Other times, the presence of smoke damage is not visible. When a protein burns, the resulting “protein fire” does not mark its presence with the soot or dark smoke that we often associate with fires. In the absence of visible damage, homeowners and business owners often wonder why the smoke odor will not go away. Another effect of smoke damage that is important to consider is the acidic quality of soot, which can therefore cause metal substances to corrode. Over time, this can be detrimental to your home or business.
Why Is Demolition Necessary?
Because smoke damage does not always leave a trail of visible damage, it can be difficult to understand the need for demolition and rebuild work after a fire. If your home or business experiences significant fire damage, demolition is often necessary in order to provide a thorough cleaning and restoration. Scrubbing surfaces is not enough when it comes to eliminating smoke odor. Cracks and crevices are the favorite hiding places of smoke and soot, as they commonly nestle themselves in the gaps between plaster or drywall and interior firewall. Additionally, smoke odor tends to hide in insulation and other areas, returning in full force the next time the weather is hot and humid. Even with intense scrubbing, without demolition, it is almost as though the smoke was never cleaned.
How Do We Combat Invasive Smoke Damage at SERVPRO?
Our first priority when combating smoke damage is removing materials that are charred or burned from the home or business. We also tend to “chase” the smoke, which involves surveying any open areas in which the smoke may have traveled in order to track its spread. This process helps us in identifying and thoroughly inspecting every area in your home or business that has been impacted by smoke. Next, we dive into the remediation work. It is not uncommon for water to accompany smoke damage, so we utilize our specialized tools and equipment in order to complete the water extraction. We also work to remove the smoke odor by placing equipment around that home. Lastly, after demolition and cleaning work is complete, we apply a sealant, which works to encase any smoke odor that remains in hard-to-reach areas, such as small crevices.
Trust SERVPRO with Smoke Damage
Because of the invasive nature of smoke damage, it is critical that you call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 immediately if your home or business has been affected. You can trust our team of smoke damage professionals and reputable techniques to get the job done. We offer a wide array of services, ranging from contents cleaning to deodorizing services, that will work to eliminate smoke and soot from every kind of surface. While our Fire Damage Restoration services are well-known, we also provide a laundry list of Building Services that make us capable of taking care of your home or business’ restoration and rebuild projects alike. To learn more about the Building Services that we offer, click here. There’s no need to look anywhere beyond SERVPRO in the event that your home or business is impacted by a fire. We are standing by 24/7, prepared to make your smoke damage “Like it never even happened,” by having your back throughout the fire and smoke damage restoration, demolition, and rebuild processes.
Our Guide to the Polar Vortex
Every winter, the phrase “polar vortex” means suiting up in our warmest winter coats, hats, and gloves. The Polar Vortex refers to a zone of cold air that gravitates toward the Earth’s two poles, according to the National Weather Service. We experience the Polar Vortex when that air takes a trip south during the winter, bringing us our own slice of Arctic air. It creates almost unbearable, cold conditions for us, risking such conditions as hypothermia, but it may come as a surprise to know that our homes and businesses can suffer just the same. Just as we need our heavy coats and cozy scarves, our homes and businesses need protecting from the cold.
Our homes and businesses can fall victim to freezing pipes and ice dams, which can both lead to serious water damage, during the polar vortex of the winter. The freezing, Arctic temperatures characteristic of the polar vortex can cause the water inside of pipes to freeze and expand, resulting in burst pipes. On the roof, when snow and ice accumulate, ridges of ice can form and block melting snow from leaving the roof. As a result, the water may leak down into the roof. Keep reading for our checklist of actions that you can take to protect your home or business from the potential dangers presented by the polar vortex.
Our Polar Vortex Survival Guide
For Ice Dams
- Clean snow off of your roof as soon as possible. However, be sure that you wait until the snow has stopped or there is a break in the storm. Before a snowstorm, it is helpful to remove any lingering snow or ice from a previous storm from the roof.
- Be sure that your attic or top floor is properly insulated before a storm. If your amount of insulation is lacking, it may be beneficial to add extra insulation.
For Freezing Pipes
- Before a storm, be sure that all pipes are insulated and any cracks that they may have are sealed.
- When temperatures drop, let your faucets drip in order to keep water flowing, which prevents the water from freezing.
- Maintain consistent, warm temperatures inside of your home or business. Additionally, make certain that your insulation is sufficient throughout the home or building
Trust SERVPRO This Winter
It’s impossible to predict exactly what will come our way this year, but regardless of what this year has in store, look no further than SERVPRO. If your home or business experiences water damage as a result of the polar vortex or harsh winter weather in general, our team of storm and water damage specialists can be trusted to provide water mitigation services that will get things back to normal in no time.
Did You Know?: We Offer Hardwood Floor Repair
When there are beautiful, hardwood floors running through your commercial business, you want to protect them in every way and preserve their condition for as long as possible. Hardwood floors can sustain damage from everyday spills or scratches, but large-scale fire, water, and storm emergencies can mean overwhelming consequences to the state of your floors. There’s often no way to predict these events or how much damage they might cause, but by understanding how hardwood floors can become damaged, you can be ready for whatever comes your way.
What Damages Hardwood Floors?
Heat and moisture are the two most common instigators of hardwood floor damage. Your hardwood floors can sustain heat damage during a fire and moisture can affect floors during floods and other types of water damage. Your floors may require replacement if the destruction is severe, but oftentimes, they might simply need repair work. Let’s learn a bit more about the effects of heat and moisture on hardwood floors:
Heat exposure causes wood to shrink. The same applies to hardwood floors, as exposure to intense heat shrinks floor boards, leaving dangerous gaps in the flooring. In this case, the floor boards will likely need to be replaced. However, if heat exposure results solely in smoke or soot damage, the hardwood floor boards may only require repairs. Avoid hardwood floor damage due to heat in your commercial business by maintaining cool temperatures inside.
The opposite occurs when hardwood floors are exposed to moisture, as the boards absorb the water and expand. Floors can become dangerous in this state, as they are at risk of loosening, taking concave or convex shapes in processes known as cupping or crowning, and buckling. Mold growth also becomes a concern when moisture accumulates on hardwood floors, as mold grows and thrives in damp environments. High humidity levels can also create ideal conditions for mold growth, so be sure to keep humidity levels low inside of your commercial business at all times. If you discover mold growth on your business’ hardwood floors, call us immediately for our Commercial Mold Remediation services.
Let Us Be Your “One-Stop-Shop”
We offer a plethora of commercial mitigation and restoration services, from water and storm damage restoration to fire and mold remediation. Know that we also provide a list of building services that can be called upon after the mitigation and restoration services are complete in order to place the finishing touches on the job. Here at SERVPRO, we strive to be a “one-stop-shop” for our customers, taking care of everything from the beginning to the end of the job. We are committed to working quickly to minimize interruption and get your business back on its feet in no time. Trust SERVPRO of Harrisburg West to facilitate the process and take care of both the mitigation and rebuild work for your commercial business. You can learn more about our list of building services by checking out our Building Services page or picking up the phone and giving us a call at (717) 510-6779.
Winter Storm Uri
Ready for whatever happens ®Winter Storm Uri did a number in the United States that spanned its wrath from coast to coast over a five-day stretch. 73% of the United States was covered in snow and the Plains/Midwest region of the nation witnessed record-breaking low temperatures and record-breaking damage, surpassing that of both Hurricane Ike and Harvey at a projected $195-$295 billion in damages and loss of economic output. These losses have been accredited to pipes bursting after the long freeze which Texas' infrastructure was not prepared to handle. SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall is incredibly proud to be part of the response effort to more than 28,000 claims and counting. We have teams from our offices in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Baltimore to support businesses and homeowners in Texas and Oklahoma. For more information on our current efforts and a firsthand look at the devastation, check out our social media accounts. We'll keep you updated.
Fire Damage Curtains? Here's What to Do.
The fierce blaze of a fire is capable of creating intense destruction in homes and businesses alike. Fires can make their mark by damaging everything from furniture and personal belongings to the overall structure of the building. For this reason, it is critical that fire damage is avoided in every way possible by acting immediately after the fire has been extinguished. You’ve likely seen articles about different ways to clean surfaces after a fire on the internet or in magazines. However, you may be wondering, what should I do with fire-damaged textiles? Fabrics and curtains in particular, which can be found throughout homes and businesses, are flammable and can easily sustain fire damage. The good news is that you shouldn’t take fire damaged curtains to the garbage bin just yet. They might just be salvageable with professional cleaning. Let’s walk through some ways in which you can care for your curtains after a fire:
How to Care for Fire-Damaged Curtains
Two types of damage can result from a fire: smoke damage and soot damage. Your curtains may have experienced one or both and each type requires unique cleaning processes.
In order to effectively combat smoke damage to curtains following a fire, it is crucial to first eliminate the odor. If enough time passes before the odor is removed, it may become trapped in the fabric, which can further damage the curtains. You can trust SERVPRO and our professional deodorizing treatments to get the job done. As soon as the smoke odor is removed, we can get to work cleaning your curtains, utilizing our Drapes and Blinds Services, and restoring them to their pre-fire condition.
In a similar manner to smoke damage, soot damage also requires immediate action in order to most effectively decrease the amount of serious damage sustained by your curtains. In this case, however, soot particles are what requires immediate removal. Because soot is oil-based, if soot sits on curtains for an extended period of time, curtains can develop soot stains, which are more difficult to remove. Following the removal process, cleaning the curtains is possible. There are many different options when it comes to cleaning curtains and be sure to give us a call if you are uncertain of the best cleaning method for your curtains. Here at SERVPRO, we provide dependable drapery cleaning services, utilizing our professional cleaning equipment.
Preventing Additional Fire Damage
It is critical to exercise caution during the process of cleaning up after a fire in order to protect your home or business from unnecessary, additional fire damage. Generally, it is beneficial to avoid touching damaged curtains after a fire. During the process of putting a fire out, curtains may become wet. In order to prevent mold growth, make sure that they are dried immediately. After a fire, it may also be advantageous to facilitate air circulation by keeping the windows of your home or business open. Consider also exploring fire-resistant options when purchasing curtains, as these can significantly decrease the risk of fire damage to curtains in the future. Lastly, the importance of practicing fire safety can not be emphasized enough. Testing fire alarms on a regular basis and practicing general fire safety can make a world of difference in protecting your home or business.
Got Fire Damage? Protect Your Belongings with SERVPRO
If your home or business has endured a fire and experienced fire damage as a result, look no further than SERVPRO of Harrisburg West for the help that you need. Our wide variety of content restoration services will provide your belongings with the care and attention that they deserve. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West today at (717) 510-6779 for professional and trustworthy fire damage restoration services that will fit your needs, from fire-damaged contents restoration to drapery cleaning services. For more information, be sure to visit our fire-specific Caring For Your Belongings page.
Black Mold in Your Shower? Here's What to Know
During a nice, relaxing shower after a long day, mold growth is certainly not something that you ever want to discover staring back at you. Unfortunately, showers and other areas of bathrooms are prime locations for mold growth, as mold thrives in environments that are damp or humid. Perhaps you’ve heard of the ominous black mold, rumored to be toxic and a major threat to the health of anyone who crosses its path. Two questions may come to mind: Is black mold as dangerous as it’s rumored to be? What should I do if I find black mold growing in my shower?
What is Black Mold?
Our page “Black Mold, What is It?” describes black mold in detail, but the following paragraph will give you a brief overview:
“Stachybotrys chartarum”, better known as black mold, is a type of mold with a black or dark green hue. It has been found that black mold dispenses toxic substances called mycotoxins that can lead to health effects. According to Medical News Today, there has not yet been evidence to prove that these symptoms are the direct result of mold spore inhalation. It is widely understood, however, that numerous types of mold bring about irritations and aggravate allergies. In order to best keep everyone in your home safe, it is important that you decrease exposure to mold growth of any kind and get help immediately. It may seem more effective to attempt to clean or get rid of mold yourself, but this can actually be counterproductive since coming into contact with mold of any kind can make the situation more dangerous. SERVPRO of Harrisburg West possesses the specialized equipment and training needed for the treatment of black mold and combatting a mold infestation of any size or variety. Immediately after discovering mold growth in your shower, pick up the phone and call us at (717) 510-6779.
Black Mold Infestation in Your Shower
So what if the mold that you’ve discovered in your shower is, in fact, black mold? You can often deduce that it’s black mold based on its color and texture. Black mold is typically black or dark green in color and appears slimy. Where does black mold grow? Does it make sense that it could be in your shower? The answer is yes. Because black mold requires the same conditions as other types of mold to grow and thrive, your moist and humid shower is susceptible to the growth of black mold. If you believe that the mold in your shower is black mold, or any other variety of mold, don’t hesitate. Call us immediately.
Preventing Black Mold Growth
To avoid the growth of black mold in your shower, you can take the following steps: First, increase ventilation and keep air moving in your bathroom by opening a window if one is available or turning on a fan while showering. Both of these actions are beneficial in decreasing moisture and humidity levels in your bathroom, making it more difficult for mold to grow. After a shower, you can utilize a squeegee or simply dry the walls of your shower in order to reduce the amount of lingering moisture. Another catalyst of mold growth of any kind in showers is leaking pipes. Therefore, keep a lookout for leaks in your bathroom and quickly dry any that you find. In order to prevent black mold growth, broken bathroom pipes must be repaired as soon as possible.
Don’t Waste Time: Call SERVPRO Immediately
Through the years, we’ve seen many different kinds of mold infestations and understand how pertinent it is that any kind of mold issue is remediated immediately. We’re committed to getting to you quickly and beginning our mold remediation process without delay. Here at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, we have the tools and resources necessary for the level of mold and water remediation services that your home needs. All you have to do is pick up the phone and call us at (717) 510-6779 for professional black mold removal and mold remediation services that will make your mold infestation “Like it never even happened.” For more of our mold resources, be sure to take a look at our Mold Remediation Process and Overview of Mold Services.