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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Decreasing Pesky Odors After a Fire

3/24/2022 (Permalink)

smoke Smoke particles and their odor linger long after their fire goes out.

Chances are, you’ve either experienced a small fire in your kitchen that left the area with a strong smell for a little while or, you’ve come back inside after a campfire only to discover a powerful, smokey odor on your clothing. Smoke particles and their odor linger long after their fire goes out. In order to get rid of that unpleasant odor as soon as possible after a fire, consider these three actions you can take before professional help arrives:

3 Steps You Can Take to Decrease Odors After a Fire

If your property has windows or doors that can be safely opened or propped open, this is an effective first step. Opening windows and doors ushers in outside air and will help increase airflow and circulation in the affected area. You may not immediately think of replacing air filters after a fire, but it can also be beneficial in minimizing the spread of smoke particles. Lastly, deep cleaning can also be effective in preventing smoke particles from lingering on surfaces. When cleaning, be sure to target hard surfaces, windows, and upholstery, as smoke particles can adhere to many different types of surfaces. Scrubbing those kitchen counters and windows, as well as washing pillowcases and blankets, can make a significant difference. 

SERVPRO Is Here to Help

All the while, these actions can help but they are not enough to completely eradicate smoke odors after a fire. Additionally, your residential or commercial property requires professional odor removal services. Our team members are highly trained in deodorization and utilize state-of-the-art cleaning equipment and products in order to identify and eliminate odors. Our top priority is always making it “Like it never even happened,” which means that SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is committed to getting the job done thoroughly and quickly so that you can get back to the important things. Call us at (717) 510-6779 or visit our website for more information about our renowned Odor Removal, Fire Damage Restoration, Commercial Fire Damage Restoration, and Fire-Damaged Contents Care services. Trust SERVPRO and our restoration, construction, and cleaning expertise to restore your property to its preloss condition after any emergency.

Ready for Spring: Thunderstorm Preparation

3/17/2022 (Permalink)

Lightning The American Red Cross verifies that the lightning produced by thunderstorms is more deadly than tornadoes and hurricanes.

No two thunderstorms are alike but, in terms of their severity, all thunderstorms pose significant safety risks to residential and commercial properties. Oftentimes, lightning, downpours, hail, and high winds produced by thunderstorms result in flash flooding, as well as downed trees and powerlines. Statistically speaking, the American Red Cross verifies that the lightning produced by thunderstorms is more deadly than tornadoes and hurricanes. Due to these safety concerns, it is crucial that your home is prepared for anything. Keep reading to learn more about the actions that you can take to protect your home from destructive storm damage.

3 Thunderstorm Safety Tips

There are separate lists published by the American Red Cross of safety tips for before, during, and after thunderstorms. However, we would like to highlight a few of these tips that pertain specifically to preventing storm damage to residential properties. First, it is helpful to compile a list of outdoor items that should be brought indoors in the event of a thunderstorm. Large objects in your yard can be picked up off of the ground and jostled around by strong winds, threatening damage to your property if it comes into unwanted contact with your home. Additionally, doors and windows should be securely shut in the event of a thunderstorm in order to avoid the entrance of excess water and debris into your home. One way to protect windows is to install storm shutters. Finally, because thunderstorms frequently result in downed trees, be sure to trim trees and shrubbery back to the best of your ability before thunderstorms. This is beneficial in decreasing the possibility of branches falling and making unwanted contact with your property.

Call SERVPRO for Expert Storm Damage Restoration

Taking the storm safety precautions outlined above can help decrease the chances of your home sustaining damage after a thunderstorm but, ultimately, we can’t control the weather. All the while, unlike the weather, you can always trust and rely on SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall for help in any emergency. It doesn’t matter where it takes place or how extensive the damage is- you can depend on SERVPRO’s expertise and 24-Hour Emergency services to make it “Like it never even happened.” For more information about our offerings, like our Commercial Storm Damage Restoration and the SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team, check out the rest of our website.

We Do Everything from Restoration to Construction

3/15/2022 (Permalink)

Senior Living Center Facility As shown in our work with this senior living center facility, our services can meet your property's restoration and construction needs.

Here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall, we never miss an opportunity to stress the fact that we are capable of handling the entire job from start to finish, as we provide top-of-the-line restoration and construction services alike. In this blog, we’re highlighting a long-term job in which our team has been able to help our customer restore their property to its preloss condition through both Water Damage Restoration and Construction services.

The Details

When the sprinkler system inadvertently went off and flooded all three levels of a full wing of a senior living center’s facility in Baltimore, it was clear that the restoration job was going to be extensive. The customer immediately called us for help and our crew was able to arrive at the job site within two hours, ready to get to work with our professional mitigation and emergency services. Throughout the water damage mitigation process, we also spent time removing and safely storing contents from the affected seniors’ rooms in order to prevent additional water damage. The scope of this project was colossal, evident in the fact that we had anywhere between 40-50 crew members working at any one time throughout the project. In addition to water damage restoration, our work included a wide variety of rebuild services, such as full floor replacement, new carpet installation, new coats of paint for affected walls, and more. This has been a full-fledged reconstruction project, but thanks to our team’s hustle, expertise, and experience, we were able to move some residents back into their rooms within two weeks. 

We Do It All

As shown in our work with this senior living center facility, the services that we offer, both emergency and non-emergency, satisfy three categories: Restoration Services, Cleaning Services, and Industry Technology. Our restoration services tend to Water, Fire, Mold, and Storm Damage mitigation, as well as sewage clean up & removal and even Temporary power, heat, & A/C. Biohazard Removal, Carpet Cleaning and Reinstallation, and COVID-19 Virus Disinfection are just three of the many Cleaning Services that we offer here at SERVPRO Team Wall. Lastly, Industry Technology refers to our advanced technological resources, including Docusketch/Matterport, Assured Pack Out, Moisture Mapper/MICA, and Restoration Manager, which all aid in quickly and thoroughly assessing and completing the job according to customers’ unique needs. The moral of the story? SERVPRO has your back until the very end, which means that you don’t need to waste time finding someone else to handle any reconstruction needs that your property may require, saving you time and money. 

Call SERVPRO for Advanced Restoration and Reconstruction Services

No job is too big for SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall. All three of SERVPRO Team Wall’s offices, including SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County, SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, and SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, form a partnership that increases our accessibility to equipment and resources. If your property requires restoration and reconstruction services, look no further than SERVPRO. Call us today at (410) 229-0012 to speak with one of our experts. For more information about our Commercial Restoration and Building Services, check out the rest of our website. We look forward to helping our customers make it “Like it never even happened,” after any disaster.

Did You Know?: We Offer Graffiti Cleanup

3/11/2022 (Permalink)

Graffiti Over time, water and mold damage can occur as a result of graffiti and other acts of vandalism if not cleaned as soon as possible.

SERVPRO is known for our residential and commercial water and fire damage restoration services, but did you know that we also offer a wide variety of specialized cleaning services, including Vandalism and Graffiti Cleanup? While we hope that your property will never require such a service, we wish for our community to know that if disaster ever strikes, SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is prepared to restore your property to its previous condition. You may be surprised to learn that, over time, water and mold damage can occur as a result of graffiti and other acts of vandalism if not cleaned as soon as possible. For more information about our Vandalism and Graffiti Cleanup Services, keep reading. 

Restoring Your Property Following Acts of Vandalism

Residential and Commercial properties can both be assisted by our Vandalism and Graffiti Cleanup services, as they are designed to benefit both types of properties. We efficiently remove vandalism and graffiti, such as exterior wall spray-paint graffiti, with the help of our highly-trained cleaning experts. Additionally, our cleaning specialists are trained to remove graffiti and vandalism from a wide array of surfaces, including asphalt sidewalks and driveways, glass, wood, plastic, metal, and stone masonry. No matter what your affected surface may be- brick, stone, concrete, or something else- we have the tools and training to help. We know that graffiti and vandalism can take many different forms, so it is important to note that we also provide many contents cleaning services, including but not limited to Debris Removal, Fire Damage Restoration, Odor Removal and Deodorization, Water Damage Restoration, and Mold Damage Restoration.  

Experience Vandalism? Call SERVPRO Right Away

Vandalism comes in many different shapes and sizes, which is why we offer a vast number of vandalism and graffiti cleanup services to meet customers’ needs. Regardless of how small or large the scope of your vandalism or graffiti may be, know that we devote the same amount of care to every situation. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 right away in the event that your property sustains damage from vandalism or graffiti. Evident in our 24-Hour Emergency Service, our top priority is restoring your property to its preloss condition quickly, making it “Like it never even happened” and preventing any unnecessary damage. Learn more about our expansive list of Cleaning Services on our website or give us a call today.

3 Safety Tips to Remember When Cooking

3/4/2022 (Permalink)

Kitchen stove Gaining a deeper understanding of kitchen fire safety and techniques can decrease your risk of sustaining fire damage from a kitchen fire.

The National Fire Protection Agency reports, “the leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.” Further, they clarify that kitchen stoves are usually involved in cooking fires. It is impossible to completely rule out the possibility of an unwanted fire igniting when cooking, but gaining a deeper understanding of kitchen fire safety and techniques can decrease your risk of sustaining fire damage from a kitchen fire. In this blog, we’ll share and elaborate upon 3 of the fire safety tips recommended by the NFPA

1. Don’t Stray Too Far from the Kitchen

Depending on the nature of your cooking activity, there are actually different guidelines concerning your recommended proximity to the kitchen. In the event that you are actively boiling, grilling, broiling, or frying, the NFPA recommends that you stay in the kitchen for the duration of the activity in order to effectively monitor the cooking area. It is best to turn the stove off in the event that you must leave the kitchen. If your cooking activity, on the other hand, is baking, simmering, or roasting, it is O.K. to leave the kitchen if necessary, but it is strongly advised that you stay inside of your home in case of emergency until you’re finished. In this circumstance, be sure to either set a timer or check in on whatever you’re cooking frequently in order to prevent an unintentional kitchen fire from igniting.

2. Know What to Do When an Oven Fire Occurs

The protocol for stove fire is widely-known, but what about oven fires? Fires can, in fact, ignite inside of your oven. If you notice an unexpected fire in your oven, the NFPA advises that you immediately turn off the heat and refrain from opening the oven door until the fire completely extinguishes. This will prevent the fire from spreading.

3. Keep Your Cooking Area Clear of Flammable Objects

It may come as a surprise to know that, within cooking areas, you can usually find a host of flammable items. Towels, oven mitts, and wooden utensils are just three examples of such commonplace, flammable objects. If an unwanted fire ignites in your cooking area, having flammable objects stored in a close proximity can increase the risk of the fire growing and spreading to other areas, leaving you with not only a larger fire to extinguish, but also a greater chance of fire damage. Make sure that you keep flammable objects safely tucked away in drawers or cabinets. 

Experienced a Fire? Call SERVPRO

If your home or business has experienced an unwanted kitchen fire or a fire of any kind, be sure to call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West right away at (717) 510-6779. Trust our slogan, which states that we make fire damage “Like it never even happened.” You can also receive more information about our fire damage restoration services, which includes both our residential Fire Damage Restoration services and Commercial Fire Damage Restoration services, in addition to supplemental fire-related services, such as Odor Removal and Deodorization, by visiting our website. You can also find some of our personal favorite Fire Damage Tips on our website.

An Overview of the Water Damage Timeline

2/24/2022 (Permalink)

Water damage Timing means everything is water damage restoration, as standing water can quickly become invasive and cause destruction.

Within the restoration industry, the nature of our business requires emergency action, which is usually immediate. One category of our work in which timing means everything is water damage restoration, as standing water can quickly become invasive and cause destruction. SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is standing by, always ready to immediately swoop in whenever a customer calls with a water damage concern, but the first thing we need before we hit the road to help protect homes and businesses from irreparable water damage is a call from the customer. In this blog, we’ll investigate the consequences of waiting for extended periods of time before calling a water damage restoration professional through our Water Damage Timeline, an outline that we have created in order to illustrate the damage that properties can sustained in anywhere from a few minutes to several days:

In Minutes

Just minutes after water finds itself inside of your residential or commercial property, the water begins to spread and absorb into floors, walls, ceilings, upholstery, and even furniture. If it becomes absorbed into fabrics, furniture, or carpeting, dyes may begin to bleed, which can lead to staining. Paper objects, such as books and photographs, will also swell and warp in this time frame if affected by water.

1 Hour - 1 Day:

Once the 60-minute threshold is crossed, your property is likely to experience the swelling and eventual breakdown of drywall, as well as the swelling and cracking of furniture or tarnishing of metal surfaces. If carpeting or upholstery became stained in the previous time frame, the stains are likely to sink deeper and spread to other surfaces nearby. There is also a certain musty odor that usually accompanies this stage. 

2 Days - 1 Week:

Between 2 and 7 days after water contamination, your property is at increased risk for biohazard contamination that can harm those living in or occupying your property. An example of this is the growth of mold and mildew. You may find mold growing on any wet surface, including furniture and carpeting. Additionally, this is typically the period in which wood flooring experiences swelling and warping, which can cause permanent damage. 

After 1 Week

After 7 days have passed, the price of necessary restoration services will likely skyrocket, as much work will need to be done. Some of the damage may be irreparable, which may require the replacement of surfaces such as floors and walls. The structure of the property may also require replacement or extensive repairs, both of which can be costly. Additionally, occupants of the property face alarming dangers at every corner, from insecure structure, mold growth, and potential health effects.

Call SERVPRO Immediately 

Time is of the essence when it comes to water damage restoration. The best way to ensure that your residential or commercial property avoids the severe consequences presented in this blog, call your local SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall office, SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, at (717) 510-6779 at the first sign of water in your home or business. Our water damage restoration experts can be trusted to present quick yet thorough Water Damage Restoration Services tailored to both residential homes and commercial properties. Whether your emergency is a small accumulation of water or a large-scale flood, SERVPRO Team Wall is standing by and can be counted on to make it “Like it never even happened,” for your property. Read more about our favorite Water Damage Tips and our reliable Water Damage Restoration Process by visiting our website. 

Cleaning Services: Commercial Carpet Cleaning

2/17/2022 (Permalink)

Carpet SERVPRO’s Commercial Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning services can be of assistance in keeping carpets clean.

Your commercial business may require a carpet or upholstery cleaning for any number of reasons, from water or fire damage to mold growth and flooding damage. Perhaps your carpets are subjected to high amounts of foot traffic on a daily basis, made worse by dirty shoes. The list goes on. Due to the nature of carpet, it tends to trap dirt, dust, and other soils, creating a collection of inhabitants that contribute to a soiled appearance over time. As the months and years go by, this soiling can become increasingly visible to the eye. While it is practically impossible to prevent soiling completely, SERVPRO’s Commercial Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning services can be of assistance in both making your business’ carpet or upholstery soiling look “Like it never even happened,” and in maintaining your carpets’ cleanliness for years to come. Wondering what our Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning services can do for you? Keep reading for more information:

We Provide Next-Level Cleaning

SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall’s carpet and upholstery cleaning crew is ready to help anywhere and anytime no matter the scope of your commercial property’s carpet or upholstery cleaning needs. No job is too big, as you can count on us to clean upholstery and carpet with moderate or heavy soil conditions. SERVPRO Team Wall also utilizes advanced cleaning methods and technologies to ensure that your carpet or upholstery is thoroughly restored. For example, we may employ Hot Water Extraction, which is a method of deeper cleaning that can be utilized with all different kinds of carpet, or, we may opt for Bonnet Cleaning if the carpet is short-piled and in need of a less aggressive cleaning technique. Some of our other methods include Dry Cleaning to protect color-fastness, Deluxe Precondition and Rinse when areas are deeply soiled, and Showcase Premier Cleaning. 

Call SERVPRO for Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning

Taking matters into your own hands by utilizing walk-off mats or vacuuming can offer a temporary solution to carpet and upholstery soiling, but it is recommended that carpets and upholstery within commercial properties receive professional cleaning approximately on a yearly basis. To keep carpets and upholstery looking as good as new, call your local SERVPRO DIsaster Recovery Team - Team Wall office, SERVPRO of Harrisburg West. Our highly trained crew with years of experience working with carpets and upholstery, alongside their advanced technology and top-of-the-line equipment, will thoroughly and efficiently clean your property’s carpets and upholstery. Additionally, you can take comfort in knowing that your carpets and upholstery are receiving the highest standard of cleaning and care. Give SERVPRO of Harrisburg West a call at (717) 510-6779 and, for more information about the services that we offer, such as Commercial and Residential cleaning or Commercial Damage Restoration, check out our website.

Get to Know Our Employees of the Quarter

2/11/2022 (Permalink)

Employees of the Quarter Celebrating our two "Employee of the Quarter" recipients.

Each quarter, we name one outstanding employee as our “Employee of the Quarter,” recognizing them for their extraordinary efforts and commitment to SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall. For Team Wall’s Harrisburg West office, we are excited to award Construction Services Administrative Assistant, Sara Shumberger, as our first “Employee of the Quarter” of 2022. 

Sara Shumberger

Despite only being with the company for a little over one year, as she joined our SERVPRO of Harrisburg West team in August 2020, Sara has become a wealth of knowledge in construction administration. She has learned a lot about construction and is always willing to step up in order to help her team. 

From contract signing to following through with the actions necessary to finish a job, Sara is a team player, offering support upon encountering any issues along the way. Sara is a fantastic addition to our Construction team. Not only is she always there to lend a helping hand when her fellow team members are in need, but she has also contributed to the team’s impressive growth over the course of the last few months. With Sara’s help, the Construction team has remained organized and her guidance has aided in keeping the team moving in the right direction. SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is equal parts a restoration and reconstruction company, which the construction team, with Sarah’s help, has been able to emphasize in interactions with customers. 

We can’t adequately thank Sara for all that she has done for SERVPRO Team Wall in the short time that she has been a part of our team. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her with Team Wall!

Brandon Tomlinson

In addition to our “Employee of the Quarter” for our SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, we are also excited to recognize a member of our centralized SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall team, our Marketing Manager Brandon Tomlinson, as our first ever centralized “Employee of the Quarter.” 

Brandon is a recent addition to our centralized division of SERVPRO Team Wall, as he jumped aboard in August of 2021, but his impact on our Marketing division has been extraordinary. In addition to being a driven, charismatic, and innovative leader of our Marketing team, Brandon has spearheaded several new, successful video projects for social media, including our “SERVPRO Cleanup,” which addresses common misconceptions about our business, and “Up Against the Wall,” a series that highlights SERVPRO Team Wall team members, helping our customers get to know our employees. 

Outside of the office, Brandon is a dad of three and has an accomplished music career! He competed on The Voice and is signed with a record company. You can find him on Spotify (check out his debut album, Younger Days, which came out last year) and catch him performing live in the area. Talk about hidden talents in Team Wall! We are so thrilled to have Brandon on our team. Thank you for all that you do. You are destined for great things and we can’t wait to see what comes next for you in your careers- both with Team Wall and in music!

Flooding From Snowmelt

2/4/2022 (Permalink)

Snow melting It is helpful to take preventative measures to protect your property from the dangers of flooding from melting snow.

The Harrisburg area has seen a significant amount of snowfall already this year and it is likely that we will see a bit more before spring. Homes and businesses, therefore, can still be subject to flooding from snowmelt, so it is helpful to take preventative measures to protect your property from the dangers of flooding from melting snow, which can include hefty expenses for repairs, mold growth, and even structural complications. Continue reading to gain a deeper understanding of the causes and effects of flooding from snowmelt as well as the ways in which you can best protect your residential or commercial property from unwanted water damage.

What is a Snowmelt Flood? 

A flood is categorized as a snowmelt flood when melting snow serves as the primary contributor to the water involved in the flooding, according to Weather.gov. In their Flooding Factsheet, Weather.gov highlights a difference between the saturation of rain into the ground and that of snow: Rain soaks into soil almost immediately upon impact, while snow takes longer to absorb into the ground because it must melt into water before it can enter the soil. If the moisture cannot be absorbed into the ground for whatever reason, it remains above ground, creating runoff, which often results in flooding. This is most common when the soil is already heavily saturated before the snow event, which can occur if the ground freezes or heavy rain or snow precedes the snow event. Weather.gov also states that snowmelt flooding happens every year in the United States and, in the 20th century, snowmelt contributed to eight of the most dangerous floods. 

How Should You Prepare?

Moving the snow off of and away from your home or business is the first step to take in order to prevent water damage resulting from snowmelt flooding. Around the perimeter of your property, shovel snow at least 4-6 ft away from the structure. Additionally, be sure to safely remove snow from your roof if possible. You can also protect the inside of your property from flood damage by relocating valuable items or storing them in water-tight containers. Important items should be moved to areas of higher elevation that are less at risk of flooding as opposed to a basement or the ground-floor level of your property. Perhaps the most important action to take in order to protect your property is crafting an emergency plan for flooding or water damage. All it takes is one phone call to SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall to initiate an effective emergency plan. 

Experiencing Snowmelt Flooding? Call SERVPRO

Nothing is ever easy for homeowners and business owners alike when dealing with a flooding emergency. However, in the midst of all the stress, one thing can be easy: Picking up the phone and calling SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall’s SERVPRO of Harrisburg West office at (717) 510-6779. No matter the time of day or the scope of your water damage, trust SERVPRO Team Wall’s experienced and expert water damage restoration technicians to restore your property to its preloss condition. More information about our Water Damage Restoration Services, offered to both residential and commercial properties, as well as our 24-Hour Emergency Services, our tried and true Water Damage Restoration Process, and our protocols for caring for your water damaged belongings, can all be found on our website.

Perseverance on I-95: Job of the Quarter

1/15/2022 (Permalink)

Icy highway Many may have abandoned the thought of going through with a job once the traffic finally began moving, but Sulma and her crew persevered.

The new year started off with business as usual, with our crews traveling to help those in need. However, things came to a screeching halt, and a 24 hour halt at that, for one of our own SERVPRO Team Wall crews, who got stuck on Interstate 95 while traveling between two jobs in Virginia. The shutdown on I-95, caused by the intense winter storm that impacted Virginia on Monday, January 3rd and trapped thousands of motorists in their vehicles overnight and well into Tuesday evening, made national news. While this event, for us in Harrisburg, seems distant, its effect on our SERVPRO team members, Sulma, Mauricio, Jefferson, Karen, and Karla, illustrates the tremendous reach of the calamity. 

Our “Job of the Quarter” award aims to recognize outstanding efforts made to facilitate one job each quarter. This quarter, the “Job of the Quarter” title doesn’t go to any one job, but rather, the efforts made by Sulma and her team in the aftermath of the 24 hours that they spent on I-95. Many may have abandoned the thought of going through with a job once the traffic finally began moving around 5 PM on that Tuesday night, but Sulma and her team persevered and made a decision that made their efforts worthy of our “Job of the Quarter” title.

On Monday, January 3rd, Sulma and her crew completed a COVID-19 cleaning in Sterling, Virginia and hit the road around 4 PM to travel to Norfolk, Virginia for a second job, which was scheduled for that same evening. Because of the I-95 shutdown, they didn’t reach Norfolk that night, stuck in a surely uncomfortable and cold environment for the length of a full day.  Wanting to head home as soon as traffic was able to move again is completely understandable in such a circumstance, but Sulma and her crew decided to head for Norfolk and provide our customers with the help that they trusted SERVPRO Team Wall to provide.

We simply cannot thank Sulma, Mauricio, Jefferson, Karen, and Karla for their commitment to their work, as well as their exemplary persistence and hustle in the face of the unimaginable challenges that they faced along the way.  

Weird Weather Safety: Thundersnow

1/7/2022 (Permalink)

Snowstorm An uncommon winter weather event, this strange amalgamation of snow, lightning, and thunder does pop up in the atmosphere every once in a while.

Thunderstorms often occur day-in and day-out during the spring and summer, but have you ever heard of thundersnow? It is an uncommon winter weather event, but such a strange amalgamation of snow, lightning, and thunder does pop up in the atmosphere every once in a while. Even though the year just began, our region has already experienced thundersnow. In this blog, you’ll learn about thundersnow, including what it is and why it happens, in addition to safety tips that will help keep you, your home or business, and others who live or work with you safe during a thundersnow event should one occur this winter. 

What Is Thundersnow?

Instead of rain, which is the primary form of precipitation in a thunderstorm, snow is what falls to the ground in a thundersnow event. Thundersnow, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, is essentially a thunderstorm, as warm and cool air are colliding in the atmosphere, but due to colder temperatures during the winter, thundersnow, which features the combination of snow with thunder and lightning, occurs instead of a traditional thunderstorm. Thundersnow is not a common occurrence because this atmospheric temperature clash is unlikely to happen during the winter. However, severe winter weather events, like a Nor’easter that arrives on the heels of a slightly warmer cold front in our neck of the woods, may spur a thundersnow event. 

Thundersnow Safety

The lightning and snow accumulation produced by thundersnow events risk safety concerns. Most of us are likely familiar with what to do to stay safe during a thunderstorm, but what should you do during a thundersnow event? Imposing all of the safety concerns presented by a normal thunderstorm in addition to all those threatened by a snowstorm, thundersnow should be taken seriously as a severe winter weather event. Be aware that your home or business may experience rapid snow accumulation on top of power outages resulting from strong winds and lightning strikes. It is critical to stay indoors and be prepared for a power outage during a thundersnow event, just as you would during a thunderstorm. Lastly, because thundersnow events are so rare, when they do hit, they often come as a surprise. Be on the lookout for thunder and lightning during your area’s next snowstorm and stay updated on the forecast in order to stay as safe as possible.

Trust SERVPRO’s Storm Damage Restoration Services

Whether it’s thundersnow, a thunderstorm, a snowstorm, or any other type of weather event, you can always rely on SERVPRO to make it “Like it never even happened,” in the event that a storm event causes damage to your property. SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall’s Storm Damage Restoration and Commercial Storm Damage Restoration services will restore your property to its preloss condition. SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is a member of SERVPRO’s larger network of Disaster Recovery Teams, which connects us to numerous additional storm restoration resources and technology. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West immediately upon noticing storm damage at (717) 510-6779 for our rapid, 24 Hour Emergency Service to restore your property after any storm damage emergency.

Commercial Storm Damage During the Winter: 3 Common Types

12/28/2021 (Permalink)

Snow storm We make sure that you can enjoy the beauty of a winter snowfall while protecting your commercial property from storm damage.

Putting a spoon under the pillow, wearing pajamas inside-out, flushing an ice cube down the toilet - these are all actions that we, or our children, would take to ensure (at least, in theory) that we would wake up to see snow on the ground. As adults, we still enjoy a pretty flurry or light snowfall, but we are aware that winter weather can also do more harm than good to our commercial properties. In order to make sure that you can enjoy the beauty of a winter snowfall while protecting your commercial property from storm damage, keep reading to learn more about 3 of the most common types of storm damage that commercial properties may experience during the winter season.

1. Leaky Roof

One of the most prevalent types of winter storm damage to commercial properties is a leaky roof. Many things can cause your building’s roof to leak, including ice dams, clogged gutters, and damaged shingles. When your roof leaks, you may experience flooding or other types of water damage, as the excess of precipitation from your roof will seep down into your ceilings and walls. It is important to remember that the chance of mold growth increases the longer your water damage remains untouched. 

2. Roof Collapse

Roof collapses can occur when heavy precipitation, whether it be rain or snow, weighs down on your commercial property’s roof. Chronic, recurring roof leaks may also lead to structural damage over time that can result in a roof collapse. Therefore, it is crucial to clear debris from your roof and gutters often in order to prevent roof collapse. 

3. Burst Pipes

With freezing temperatures, which are common during winter storms, pipes can burst, leading to flooding and water damage, causing water molecules to expand. When pressure is placed on the pipes, they may burst. To prevent pipes from bursting, limit the amount of time that pipes are exposed to freezing temperatures by making sure that they are insulated and not left exposed. 

Have Storm Damage? Call SERVPRO

In the event that your commercial property experiences any of the 3 types of commercial storm damage discussed in this blog, you can find peace of mind in knowing that SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall has your back. Give your local SERVPRO Team Wall office, SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, at (717) 510-6779. Read more about our Commercial Damage Restoration Services, which include our Commercial Storm, Water, Mold, and Fire restoration services. If your property requires reconstruction services after enduring storm damage, there is no need to look any further, as SERVPRO offers restoration and Building and Reconstruction Services in order to completely restore your property. To make it “Like it never even happened,” call SERVPRO today.

Do’s and Do Not’s After a Flood

12/28/2021 (Permalink)

Line of mops Once you’ve dealt with the initial shock, it is critical to do what you can to limit the amount of water damage that your property will endure.

No matter the timing or scope of the damage, flooding inside of homes and businesses alike is incredibly stressful. Once you’ve dealt with the initial shock, it is critical to do what you can to limit the amount of water damage that your property will endure. Keep reading for some of our favorite Water Damage Tips for guidance about what you should and shouldn’t do immediately after a flood. 

Do’s After a Flood

  • Do mop and blog excess water from surfaces
  • Do relocate and prop up wet cushions and upholstery to dry 
  • Do separate furniture from wet carpeting in an effort to prevent water damage with wood blocks or aluminum foil 
  • Do relocate art objects to a dry, safe place

Do Not’s After a Flood

  • Do Not keep items on wet or damp surfaces. Consider hanging them outside to dry instead
  • Do Not utilize your personal vacuum to extract water 
  • Do Not attempt to turn on any appliances powered by electricity, such as your television or other appliances 
  • Do Not utilize ceiling light fixtures if your ceiling has been exposed to water damage. If the ceiling is sagging in any places, it is best to move to keep out of that room

Call SERVPRO For Immediate Water Damage Restoration

SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is always prepared to help you fully recover from water damage. At the first sign of damage, pick up the phone and call your local SERVPRO Team Wall office, SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, at (717) 510-6779 to access our 24-Hour Emergency Services. By visiting our website, you’ll also find more information about the Residential and Commercial Water Damage Restoration services that we offer, as well as more details about how we promise to care for the water-damaged items in your home or business. Here at SERVPRO, we know how stressful flooding can be, so sit back and trust us. We are committed to making it “Like it never even happened” by restoring your home or business to its pre-flood or pre-water loss condition.

Classifications of Fire Extinguishers For Home Use

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

fire extinguisher While we tend to think of fire extinguishers as a necessity for commercial properties, they can also be beneficial in home fire safety as well.

Whenever you visit a store or commercial building, a fire extinguisher typically isn’t terribly difficult to find. How often, however, do you see a fire extinguisher when visiting the homes of friends and family? While we tend to only think of fire extinguishers as a necessity for commercial properties, they can also be beneficial in homes and other types of residential properties. You may be wondering: “what kind of fire extinguisher is best for my home?” There are several different classifications of fire extinguishers made for various types of fires. Keep reading for a run-down of the three primary fire extinguishers classifications that offer the most benefits to residential properties

  1. Class A Fire Extinguishers

The first class of fire extinguishers beneficial to homes is Class A. These types of fire extinguishers work to put out fires ignited by household flammable objects such as paper, wood, and cloth. If purchasing a Class A fire extinguisher, it would be most effective when kept in your living room and another common area. 

  1. Class B Fire Extinguishers

For fires started as a result of combustible liquids, including propane, grease, and gasoline, Class B is the way to go. It is best to store Class B fire extinguishers in workspaces such as workshops, sheds, and garages, as this is where the majority of fires resulting from combustible liquids ignite. 

  1. Class C Fire Extinguishers

Lastly, Class C fire extinguishers combat electrical fires. Often, these kinds of fires are sparked by malfunctions in electrical equipment, appliances, and tools of different kinds. Keep this kind of fire extinguisher in the vicinity of wherever the most electrical appliances are used, such as kitchens or workshops.

Multipurpose Fire Extinguishers

If your home’s needs require coverage for more than one of the classifications listed above, you’re in luck. Multipurpose fire extinguishers, which combat certain combinations of these classifications or all three of them, can be purchased at most hardware stores, listed as A-B, B-C, or A-B-C. These multipurpose fire extinguishers are recommended for homeowners, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, because of their versatility. 

Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO

It should be understood that fire extinguishers are not appropriate, thorough line of defense in every fire emergency. While fire extinguishers can be effective in smothering small, easily-containable fires, they cannot safely combat larger fires. Instead of grabbing the fire extinguisher in a large fire emergency, grab anyone living in your home and make your top priority getting everyone out safely. Let SERVPRO take it from there. Call your local SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall office, SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, at (717) 510-6779. Let our 24-Hour Emergency Services, in addition to our crews’ extensive knowledge and advanced technologies, put your mind at ease. Check out our website for more information about our Fire Damage Restoration services. We also offer Commercial Fire Damage Restoration services, which are tailored to the specific needs of commercial properties. Additionally, we are able to restore your property to its pre-fire loss condition through our odor removal and deodorization services and the careful attention that we give to your fire-damaged belongings. Even when armed with a fire extinguisher, fire emergencies can still occur. In the event that your residential or commercial property experiences a fire, trust SERVPRO Team Wall to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Winter Fire Safety: Fireplaces

12/3/2021 (Permalink)

Fireplace The American Red Cross reports the involvement of heating equipment in “1 of every 6 home fires.”

As we enter December and begin to really feel a temperature change in the Harrisburg area, fireplaces can provide a much needed source of warmth. While they’re helpful in making our homes cozy, fireplaces can also be fire hazards if utilized unsafely. Keep reading to learn more about ways in which you can protect your home from fire damage stemming from your fireplace this winter. 

Overview of Fireplace Statistics

The American Red Cross reports the involvement of heating equipment in “1 of every 6 home fires.” Additionally, they state that during the winter season, from December to February, the most heating equipment-induced residential fires and deaths occur, as “1 in every 5 home fire deaths and half of all fires caused by home heating occur” in that time frame. These statistics are alarming and you might be wondering what it is that causes heating equipment complications to instigate such devastation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “The leading factor contributing to home heating fires was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys,” a statement supported by the National Fire Protection Agency. 87% of heating equipment fires in residential buildings, as reported by the EPA, result from fireplaces. From these statistics, it is easy to deduce that fire safety in the presence of fireplaces is critical in preventing unwanted fire damage in your home. 

“So, What Can I Do?”: Chimney Fire Prevention

In this section, we’ll share a few preventative measures against fire hazards that you can take as a homeowner. It is recommended that flammable objects and materials like wrapping paper, clothing, and newspapers, which the Red Cross refers to as “fuel” for fires, should never come closer than 3 feet away from your fireplace. Additionally, you can utilize a fire screen whenever your fireplace is in use, as it keeps embers and sparks from escaping your fireplace. When you’re getting ready to turn in for the night, be sure to thoroughly extinguish your fire. Having a professional check and clean your fireplace once per year is another step recommended by the Red Cross in an effort to protect your home from an unforeseen fireplace emergency. Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is another step recommended by the Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association in addition to having a fire extinguisher on hand in your home in the event that a fire ignites unexpectedly.

What To Do If Your Fireplace Instigates a Fire

Fireplace fires aren’t supposed to escape the fireplace, but in the event that they do, know that SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall has seen it all and will respond immediately when you contact us. Pick up the phone and call our Harrisburg West office at (717) 510-6779 after any size fire damage emergency. No matter the type or scope of the fire damage, our team of skilled and experienced fire damage specialists will be there to restore your home to its preloss condition. We offer a wide array of services, from Fire Damage Restoration and Water Damage Restoration to Cleaning and deodorizing services. You can also find Fire Damage Tips on our website for more information about what to do before help arrives. This winter, take comfort in the fact that SERVPRO Team Wall has your back and is always ready to make your home’s fire damage “Like it never even happened.” 

3 Examples of Our Advanced Technology

11/26/2021 (Permalink)

Advanced technology SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is equipped with the most recent technological advancements.

In recent years, there have been significant advancements in restoration and remediation technology. Our crews here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall are equipped with the most recent technological advancements. We’ll share 3 examples of advanced technologies and pieces of equipment that we use every day to service residential and commercial properties, such as infrared cameras utilized in moisture detection, air movers and dehumidifiers for drying, and OSHA-approved cleaning agents used to sanitize affected areas. 

Moisture Detection and Measurement: Infrared Cameras

When a property is affected by water damage, it is crucial to detect, measure, and monitor moisture levels. These jobs can be facilitated by technological advancements, such as infrared cameras, which can search for moisture within walls, flooring, and ceilings, ensuring that all lingering moisture is extracted. In conjunction with infrared cameras, moisture saturation is measured with hygrometers, sensitive motor detectors, and other meters. 

Drying: Air Movers & Dehumidifiers

It is important for the drying process to begin as soon as moisture is extracted. Industrial strength air movers facilitate the drying process by evaporating moisture at a faster rate, while dehumidifiers remove water vapor from the air. These two pieces of equipment play an essential role in preventing swelling and warping in walls, flooring, and furniture. 

Sanitization: OSHA-Approved Cleaning Agents

After drying is complete, affected surfaces may require sanitation in order to clean surfaces, eliminate odors, and ultimately protect your property from additional issues in the future. Our crews abide by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s latest industry standards for sanitization by utilizing OSHA-approved cleaning agents. These cleaning agents take two different forms: deodorization and disinfection. Deodorization agents remove odors resulting from excessive moisture. Harmful microorganisms, such as bacteria, mildew, and fungi, can be prevented from growing with the help of disinfection products. 

SERVPRO’s Advanced Technology Gets the Job Done

If your home or business experiences an emergency, remember that SERVPRO of Harrisburg West is only one call away. Pick up the phone and give us a call at (717) 510-6779 to learn more about the ways in which we make it “Like it never even happened.” With our advanced technology, our experienced team here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall will restore your residential or commercial property to its preloss condition. For more information about our damage restoration services tailored specifically to residential and Commercial properties, as well as our Commercial Cleaning services and 24-Hour Emergency Services, visit our website. Be sure to also check out our customer testimonials page on our website to read more about real people’s experiences with our SERVPRO team and our advanced technology. 

Master Service Agreements: An Overview

11/19/2021 (Permalink)

Master Service Agreement You may be wondering: “What is a Master Service Agreement?”

Master Service Agreements are among the options that we offer to our customers for 24-hour emergency restoration services here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall. In this blog, we will give an overview of Master Service Agreements by answering such questions as: What does a Master Service Agreement entail? What sets it apart from our other offerings? With this information, you will be able to make the best decision for your commercial business before an emergency even occurs. 

What Is a Master Service Agreement (MSA)?

You may be wondering: “What is a Master Service Agreement?” Frequently abbreviated as MSA, a Master Service Agreement with SERVPRO Team Wall is a contract between your team and ours that guarantees your commercial business a direct point of contact standing by 24/7 and a quick response in the event of an emergency. With a deeper connection between your business and Team Wall, our team will be better informed of your facility and can therefore more effectively tailor our services to your specific needs. 

Overview of the MSA Process

When disaster strikes and you turn to SERVPRO for help in restoring your facility, your first point of contact will be your account manager. They will then ask questions concerning details of your property’s loss, such as the location and square footage of the damage, as well as your billing preferences so that our response is as efficient as possible. The closest SERVPRO office will then be notified and a crew will be scheduled to restore your facility. This, however, is not the end of your contact with your account manager. Instead, you will receive regular updates from your account manager in the form of both verbal and electronic communication, helping you stay clued in on progress from the beginning to the end of the job. This expanded communication will also ensure that if there are any problems along the way, your account manager will be able to act as the intermediary between our crew and your team. We also handle billing directly through our centralized SERVPRO Team Wall office rather than your local SERVPRO office, which simplifies your business’ experience.

Initiate Your MSA Today

A Master Service Agreement with SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall ensures a more individualized experience for your commercial business in the aftermath of a stressful emergency. An MSA gives you direct access to one of our experienced and knowledgeable team members, amplifies the efficiency of our response, enables frequent communication, and builds a strong connection between your business and our team. All it takes to set up an MSA with SERVPRO Team Wall is a phone call to SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779. With an MSA, you will have access to all of our commercial damage restoration services, including storm, fire, water, and mold remediation, as well as our commercial cleaning services. Give us a call or explore our website for more information about SERVPRO Team Wall and to learn more about how we can help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Winter Storm Safety: Snow Squalls

11/12/2021 (Permalink)

Snow After a snow squall or any severe winter weather event, know that SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is just a call away.

A snow squall is probably one of those weather-related terms that you have heard in forecasts and winter weather reports. However, many people don’t know what exactly a snow squall is, even if the term itself isn’t new. In this blog, we’ll learn more about snow squalls and the ways in which you can stay safe this winter in the event that you experience a snow squall. 

What Is a Snow Squall?

A snow squall, according to the National Weather Service, is an “intense short-lived burst of heavy snowfall” that can last anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour. Gusty winds and limited visibility are just two of the dangers presented by snow squalls. You may experience just one snow squall or multiple squalls, one after another. They can occur during the day or at night. Snow squalls that occur at night often present a greater risk for danger, as visibility can become even more reduced without daylight. All the while, it is important to remember that snow squalls are infrequent winter weather events. The winter equivalent of a severe thunderstorm, snow squalls usually happen only once in a while. 

Hazardous Driving Conditions

When a snow squall is forecasted, however, it can make for hazardous conditions on the road. Even though snow squalls may not leave significant accumulation of snow on the ground, they may still cause roads to freeze and create slippery conditions, which can lead to accidents. Sudden, blizzard-like conditions are not uncommon during snow squalls. In fact, the major difference between a snow squall and a blizzard is the time frame. Snow squalls are essentially blizzards squeezed into shorter segments. 

Staying Safe During a Snow Squall

In order to stay safe this winter, you can take several precautions. Before hitting the road, check the forecast and listen to the radio for weather updates. If snow squalls or severe winter weather appear in the forecast and you are actively driving, be sure to pull over and stop driving as soon as possible before conditions become dangerous. To prevent accidents when driving in hazardous conditions, slow down, keep your headlights on, and avoid slamming your brakes. 

SERVPRO Offers Professional Storm Damage Restoration Services

After a snow squall or any severe winter weather event, know that SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is just a call away. Our storm damage restoration professionals possess the experience, equipment, and knowledge to make your property’s winter storm damage “Like it never even happened.” Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 for more information about the residential and commercial winter storm damage services that we offer year-round. Whether it’s a snow squall, a thunderstorm, or anything in-between, SERVPRO has your back any time of year.

3 Benefits of Hiring a Mold Damage Professional

11/5/2021 (Permalink)

Moldy wall Our team believes that a critical element of our job is preventing future mold growth inside the property.

Mold is well known for the effects that it poses to human health. When mold grows inside of your home, therefore, the health of those living in your home relies upon how quickly and effectively the mold is removed and completely remediated. Moisture and humidity create the optimal conditions for mold growth and mold often results from water damage. It may appear that taking matters into your own hands as a homeowner when you discover mold growth in your home would be the most efficient means of removing the mold, it is actually more effective to place your home in the hands of a professional. Keep reading to learn more about why you should hire a mold restoration and remediation professional to protect the health and safety of those living in your home during any mold growth scenario. 

1) Effective Mold Removal is Difficult and Complicated

Without the proper tools and expertise, attempting to remove mold growth on your own may actually make your home’s mold growth situation more dangerous. Oftentimes, without the help of a mold professional, those living in your home can be exposed to mold, which can cause health effects, and the mold may grow, spreading into other previously unaffected areas of the home. With the assistance of a mold damage professional, you can ensure the safety of your family and make sure that the mold does not spread to other areas. 

2) Professionals Can Identify the Source and Cause of the Mold Growth

As soon as a mold damage professional arrives onsite, they can begin assessing the scope and severity of your home’s mold growth due to their comprehensive training and knowledge. Through a mold damage professional’s assessment, two vital pieces of information- the mold growth’s cause and its source- can be identified. The mold professional can then take action to prevent future mold growth in your home. 

3) Prevent Future Mold Infestations

Some mold damage cleanup services may stop at mold removal, but our team believes that a critical element of our job is preventing future mold growth inside the property. We will work to safely get rid of your home’s mold growth while taking steps to protect your home from future mold infestations and their harmful consequences.

Trust SERVPRO’s Team of Mold Damage Restoration Professionals

By no means should any mold growth situation ever be taken lightly. No matter how large or small your home’s mold infestation is, our highly-trained team of mold damage remediation and restoration specialists will treat your home with the same level of care. Trust our team’s broad scope of knowledge on the subject of mold removal, top-notch equipment, and thorough training to get the job done when you call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 in the event that you discover mold growth in your home. On our website, you’ll also find additional information about our Mold Damage Remediation and Restoration Services and blogs such as “Black Mold in Your Shower?”“The 411 on Mold”, and “Bathroom Mold.” Make your home’s mold damage “Like it never even happened,” by calling SERVPRO today.

Creating an Emergency Ready Profile

10/29/2021 (Permalink)

Emergency Ready Profile From our neighborhood to yours, SERVPRO is ready to help your commercial businesses recover from any emergency.

From our neighborhood to yours, SERVPRO is ready to help your commercial businesses recover from any emergency. We have services, including water and fire damage restoration in addition to cleaning and reconstruction, that are specifically tailored to the needs of commercial businesses. In order to ensure that your commercial business is protected with a full-proof emergency plan in the event that disaster strikes, we offer an Emergency Ready Profile that will help make your emergency “Like it never even happened.” 

What Is an Emergency Ready Profile?

A free and customizable emergency readiness plan is just one of the perks of creating an Emergency Ready Profile- or ERP for short- with SERVPRO. In the event that your business sustains a loss resulting from an emergency, having an ERP guarantees that we will be standing by to provide assistance immediately. We will be able to get started right away because Emergency Ready Profiles provide us with the details of your property necessary to make sure that we arrive prepared. In this way, our team will work to eliminate further property damage and get your business back on schedule as soon as possible. 

How Do I Create an Emergency Ready Profile for My Commercial Business?

Building an Emergency Ready Profile with SERVPRO is a quick and easy process that will give your business the protection it needs. Give us a call at (717) 510-6779 to speak with one of our SERVPRO of Harrisburg West team members and design a unique emergency plan that works for your commercial business. Trust SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall’s 24-Hour Emergency Services and our professional Commercial Fire, Water, Storm, and Mold Damage Restoration Services to decrease interruptions and get your business back on track after any facility emergency.

Owner's Corner: Third Quarter 2021

10/22/2021 (Permalink)

Our Owners When you think about impressing your 80-year-old self, what sentiments inspire you to become the best version of yourself that you can be?

“Could I ask you something, mom?”

“Sure. What is it?”

“In your life, which two people do you want to make the most proud?”

“There are so many! Only two?”

“Just two.”

After several moments of deliberation and thought, I responded, “My mom and dad???”

“Nope! The correct answer is yourself at 8 years old and yourself at 80 years old. You should make your 8-year-old self think that you’re having an awesome life and your 80-year-old self should be convinced that your life was worthwhile.”

Cut back to me- speechless and awe-struck by the wise insight coming from my 12-year-old. Where did this come from? Did he learn it on TikTok? 

I’m snapped out of my daze of silence when he asks, “How would they think of you?”

This required a deep, thoughtful breath. I answered, “For my 8-year-old self, I guess she would think that I’ve had some cool adventures and traveled to interesting places.” 

“How about your 80-year-old self? What would she think?”

“Oh my. That’s more difficult to answer.”

“Thanks okay! You won’t have to have that one figured out for another 40 years.” 

What can I say? He was absolutely right and there I stood, astounded. 

This year, for those of you who didn’t do the math, I turned 40. In all honesty, I dreaded the prospect of entering this new decade even though, in hindsight, I don’t feel all that different physically. All the while, I do feel as though I’ve changed in a mental sense, but it’s a change for the better. As they say, with age comes wisdom, which ultimately generates increased confidence as a result of more lessons learned. 

You might want to roll your eyes at me for preaching when I only have 40 years under my belt, but there’s a chance that you might be in a similar position as me. Either way, I have five sentiments that I’ve picked up along the way and would like to share. In reality, it’s rare that I fulfill all of these on any given day, but if I average even one, I think that my 80-year-old self would be fairly impressed when she reflects back on her life.

  1. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” – A famous rockstar once sang, “It don’t come easy.” Anything worthwhile usually requires at least a little bit of elbow grease. 
  2.     “Do What Scares You Until it Doesn’t” – I devoted a whole blog to this topic last year. It’s important to recognize that many people attempt various endeavors and find success. Remember- if they can do it, you can too! Failure is always daunting, but one day, you’ll find that what once scared you isn’t so scary anymore. 
  3. “Be the Buffalo” – Are you familiar with this metaphor? Cows and buffaloes face danger as it approaches in two very different ways. Buffaloes take off, running towards the storm, while cows run away in the opposite direction. The cow’s method isn’t helpful, as it can’t outrun the storm and painful frustration is the only outcome. What can we learn from the cow and the buffalo? Deal with problems directly as they arise instead of prolonging your suffering by running away from them.
  4.     “It takes twice as long to build bridges you’ve burnt” – My sister and I found ourselves in a nasty argument on Christmas day in 1988 and the punishment that our mother gave me involved writing the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” no less than one hundred times. Many people, including myself, have burned bridges in their time. Afterwards, you can’t help but replay moments back on repeat in your head, hoping that you could hop in a time machine and change the course of events. What you learn from those situations is to face difficult circumstances with empathy, honesty, and complete transparency. Weight will be lifted from your shoulders and peace of mind will come to you if you keep the Golden Rule close to your heart. 
  5. “No one wears the jersey of a Monday Morning Quarterback” – I recently read about “The Man in the Arena” by Theodore Roosevelt. One of his main ideas is that you can find critics pretty much everywhere, but it’s unfair to critique another person without having any idea of their situation. The real heroes are those who defy the “Monday Morning Quarterbacks” and, instead, decide to continue attempting, failing, inventing, and picking themselves up no matter what happens. Who do you want to be? 

I tend to come across the words that I need to hear most when I’m least expecting it. This blog has been, on a small-scale, my means of paying it forward. I’d consider it a success if even one person walked away with a new perspective to consider. 

When you think about impressing your 80-year-old self, what sentiments inspire you to become the best version of yourself that you can be? I’d love to know.


Trish Wall

Recognizing Outstanding Employees: Q3 Employee of the Quarter

10/15/2021 (Permalink)

Employees of the quarter We are thrilled to recognize Bobbie and Octavius as c0-Employees of the Quarter.

Each quarter, SERVPRO of Harrisburg West recognizes a team member with the “Employee of the Quarter” award. This quarter, not one but two exemplary employees, Bobbie Wylie and Octavius Duval, particularly stuck out and we are thrilled to recognize them as our Employees of the Quarter. Keep reading to learn more about Bobbie and Octavius:

Bobbie has only been a member of our SERVPRO of Harrisburg West team for a few months, as she joined us in June of this year, but she has made quite the impression right off of the bat. Bobbie serves as the Office Manager of our SERVPRO of Harrisburg West office. She has done a fantastic job handling all concerns from customers in addition to managing the schedule. This September, when Hurricane Ida hit, Bobbie assisted in putting together a plan to help as many customers as possible while Ida was slamming Central Pennsylvania.  Bobbie also consistently puts in extra time to make sure things have been completed and done in a timely manner.  She continues to use her insurance knowledge to assist in speaking to adjusters for approval, offering us a unique and beneficial perspective that makes the process smoother for adjusters, customers, and our staff. We know that Bobbie has a bright future ahead of her with SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall. She has already done so much impressive work and we cannot wait to see what else she will accomplish as a member of our team. Thank you for all that you do, Bobbie!

Crew Chief Octavius Duval has been a member of our SERVPRO of Harrisburg West team for almost 2 years, but he has worked with SERVPRO for over 8 years. In addition to his valuable experience in the field, he consistently shows great leadership skills. He also frequently volunteers for storm work opportunities, including this summer’s Hurricane Ida, in addition to volunteering locally for overtime work. Octavius knows that at the Crew Chief level, leadership and hardwork are crucial, and he makes sure that he demonstrates in everything he does. Always willing to do what is needed to get the job done, he makes certain that his jobs are completed and information is easily transferred to the job file coordinator for quick billing.  Octavius is everything we can ask for in a Crew Chief and we are so grateful to have him on our team!

Large Loss Commercial Fire Damage: Job of the Quarter

10/8/2021 (Permalink)

Fire damaged warehouse The large fire in our customer's warehouse left behind about 170,000 square feet of space affected by soot and smoke

We take the time here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall each quarter to select one job as our “Job of the Quarter.” For this special title, we select a particular job that spotlights the strengths of our company and the goals for which we strive in every job that we have the pleasure to complete. For 3rd Quarter 2021, our “Job of the Quarter” title goes to our work in July with a customer who experienced fire and smoke damage within their warehouse. Members of our team from every department and every corner of our company came together to get the job done with our trademark hustle and teamwork.

A Large Loss Is Never Too Large

Our customer reached out to us on June 28th with information about a large fire loss that they had experienced on their commercial property. We arrived on site as soon as possible with our Harrisburg West team of professionals ready to assess the damage within 24 hours. With our 24-Hour Emergency Services, our ability to complete both restoration and reconstruction work, and experience working on large loss projects, we were able to prove to our customer that we could get their commercial business back on track in no time. 

Making It “Like it never even happened.”

The large fire in our customer's warehouse left behind about 170,000 square feet of space affected by soot and smoke, made worse due to the fire’s proximity to the building’s HVAC unit. Work began on the same day the contract was signed, as we wanted to get a head start on tarping the roof and cleaning ducts. Working through the July 4th holiday weekend in order to get our customer's employees back in their building quickly, we cleaned offices while employees were not in the building, therefore reducing distractions. 40 or more crew members made up our team and worked around the clock. Additionally, the job required us to rent a scissor lift so that we could reach high ceilings impacted by smoke and soot damage. Another challenge involved planning our work around the customer's daily production schedules, as it was not feasible to halt production while we worked. We overcame this challenge by coordinating schedules and sectioning off specific areas in which we were working so that the company’s daily operations could carry on throughout the process. Our final walkthrough of the facility was completed on July 26th- just 22 days after work began.

Teamwork Makes All The Difference

What makes this specific job deserving of our “Job of the Quarter” title is the way in which this job exemplified our emphasis on teamwork. From our digital marketing team that got our foot in the door to the crew members working on the job site, everyone had a hand in our success. Jannene Miller, one of our commercial account managers, served as the primary point of contact for our customer and kept them up to date through regular communication. Jim Wall, one of our owners, alongside Jason Quick, our Harrisburg West Vice President of Operations, and George Readinger, who serves as our team’s Large Loss Production Manager, traveled to the job site in order to communicate with the customer. Back in the office, owner Trish Wall helped seal the deal by sending letters of recommendation. SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is truly a team, as members from every area of our company work together to make our customer’s large fire loss “Like it never even happened.” Our teamwork made it possible for us to ensure that our customer was content with every stage of the restoration process in addition to the final product.

Have a Large Loss? Call Team Wall

Regardless of the nature of your commercial business’ large loss damage, SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall can help. Our commercial restoration services specifically target fire, storm, water, and mold damage. If your business is looking for a team of large loss restoration professionals with advanced equipment, look no further than SERVPRO. While we hope that your commercial business is never faced with a large loss of any kind, know that we are always standing by and looking forward to help after any emergency.

Storm Safety: Generator Tips

9/30/2021 (Permalink)

Generator in use Infrequent usage can sometimes mean that our grasp on generator safety isn’t as strong as we might think.

During or after a storm, generators often come to the rescue, restoring a sense of normalcy by restoring electricity. They facilitate a multitude of functions necessary for daily life when the power goes out, such as illuminating your home or business, making sure that your refrigerator stays cold, and charging your electronics. Power outages, thankfully, are not frequent occurrences. All the while, infrequent usage can sometimes mean that our grasp on generator safety isn’t as strong as we might think. Consumer Reports confirms that generators pose several safety concerns, ranging from carbon monoxide poisoning to fire hazards. There are a few steps that you can take in order to protect your home or business from these very dangerous generator usage outcomes. In this blog, we will share some of our top safety tips when it comes to generator usage during a power outage. 

1. Keep Your Generator Outside

The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning can be increased when your generator is housed in any enclosed, indoor area, including basements and garages. According to the American Red Cross, it is beneficial to keep generators outdoors and as far away from doors and windows as possible, as placing your generator within close proximity of entrances to your home or business increases the chances of carbon monoxide making its way inside. Another helpful step is installing a carbon monoxide detector and alarm system inside of your home or business, which will alert those living or working inside of the property to exit as quickly as possible. 

2. Store Fuel in a Safe Location

In order to power your home during a power outage, generators run on fuel. Before a storm, you may stock up on fuel. When it comes to storing generator fuel, it is best to keep it away from living spaces in areas that are cool, dry, and well-ventilated. Fuel can ignite quickly when it comes into contact with an item that instigates fire, but making sure that your generator fuel is being stored a safe distance away from such items can help reduce the chances of a fire igniting. 

3. Consider Installing a Transfer Switch

Transfer switches can be a helpful tool in reducing the risk of an electrical fire when using a generator. Extension cords present a fire hazard and “backfeeding”, which occurs when you plug your generator directly into a wall outlet, can pose an increased threat of electrocution. A transfer switch eliminates the need for either, as it allows your generator to be plugged directly into your circuit panel, thereby reducing the risk of fire. Transfer switches sometimes also display wattage usage levels, helping you prevent your generator from overloading. 

SERVPRO Is Standing By

A strong emphasis should be placed on caution in the event that you decide to power your residential or commercial business with a generator during a power outage. Make sure that you have a plan if a generator emergency, such as a fire igniting, occurs. A beneficial first step to take when disaster strikes is making a phone call to SERVPRO of Harrisburg West. If you discover fire damage resulting from your generator, call us at (717) 510-6779 and our team of fire damage restoration specialists will respond immediately. Learn more about our professional Storm Damage Restoration, Commercial Storm Damage Restoration, Fire Damage Restoration, and Commercial Fire Damage Restoration services. Trust SERVPRO, no matter what your emergency, to make it “Like it never even happened.”

This Hurricane Season, Look No Further Than SERVPRO

9/24/2021 (Permalink)

Stormy sky Do you have a plan of action if your commercial property falls victim to storm damage this hurricane season?

June 1st marked the beginning of 2021’s hurricane season, but with each day that we inch our way toward November 30th and the official end of the season, the risk for severe weather presses on. That is why reevaluating your commercial business’ emergency plans concerning severe weather and, specifically, hurricane response. Do you have a plan of action if your commercial property falls victim to storm damage this hurricane season? A beneficial first step is having SERVPRO of Harrisburg West’s phone number on hand. When you call us, you will be enlisting the help of mitigation and reconstruction specialists alike to restore your commercial property to its preloss condition and minimize disruptions to your business’ schedule. Curious about our Storm Damage Restoration and Reconstruction services? Keep reading to learn more.

We Are Reconstruction Professionals

SERVPRO is a prominent name in the restoration community, but did you know that we offer the same level of professional reconstruction services as well? From roofing services to drywall installation and floor repair, our reconstruction specialists can meet all of your needs in addition to mitigation work. We are committed to being there for our customers from the beginning to the end of the job. As a result, we will start by mitigating storm damage, taking steps such as water removal and drying, and get your property back to its preloss condition by completing demolition and reconstruction work until your commercial business’ storm damage looks “like it never even happened.” For a better idea of what these services look like, we’ll share two stories about recent commercial storm jobs in which we came to the assistance of our customers with both mitigation and reconstruction services. 

The Phoenix Buildings

The infamous, destructive 2020 hurricane season took Orange Beach, Alabama by storm. Our Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall crew hit the road, traveling to Orange Beach in order to mitigate water damage left behind by Hurricane Sally in two condominium buildings within the Phoenix Buildings complex. Multiple floors of condos were affected in both buildings, ranging from the top to the bottom floors. After completing the mitigation, we also provided reconstruction services that successfully restored the Phoenix Buildings condos to their preloss condition. Here at SERVPRO, we pride ourselves on being our customers’ “one-stop-shop,” capable of handling all of their needs. More on the Phoenix Buildings project can be found in our blog article.

Immaculate Conception Catholic School Winter Storm Damage

Hurricane season doesn’t mark the end of our storm damage restoration services. This winter, Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall set out for Denton, Texas in order to help the Immaculate Conception Catholic School recover from Winter Storm Uri, which left a path of destruction. We worked quickly to combat burst pipes and extensive water damage, but once the mitigation work was complete, we supplied the necessary reconstruction services, including floor replacement and drywall installation, that were required to get the school back to normal. Read more about the ways in which we were able to help the ICCS here

We Do It All

Our work doesn’t stop until your commercial property is restored to its preloss condition. We understand the devastating interruptions to your company’s daily operations that storm damage can bring. By providing both mitigation and reconstruction services for your property, we minimize the amount of time and money that it takes to get your business back on track. Listen to one of our recent client’s testimony in a letter of recommendation: 

“SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall (SERVPRO Team Wall) was able to respond to our restoration and reconstruction needs at our affected facilities with an impressive response time… It is with confidence that I recommend SERVPRO Team Wall for any restoration and reconstruction services. I am certain the same level of quality, service, and responsiveness would be provided for all those enlisting their services.” 

In the event that your commercial property experiences storm damage, trust that SERVPRO of Harrisburg West will complete the necessary mitigation and reconstruction work quickly. Call us right now at (717) 510-6779 and visit our website to learn more about our our SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall and our reliable 24-Hour Emergency Services, as well as our Commercial Storm Damage Restoration services that we tailor to the unique needs of your property. For our top hurricane preparation tips, read our most recent storm blog.  No matter what this hurricane season brings, know that SERVPRO of Harrisburg West is here for you and your commercial business.

Minimizing Water Damage from Flooding

9/16/2021 (Permalink)

Flood damage The Federal Emergency Management Association states that flooding “is the most common and costly disaster in the United States.”

While flooding can occur any time of year, hurricane season often amplifies the risk of flooding as a result of strong storms. The Federal Emergency Management Association states that flooding “is the most common and costly disaster in the United States.” In order to decrease water damage due to flooding, FEMA recommends taking three distinct steps, “Know Your Risk”, “Insure Your Property”, and “Reduce Your Risk.” Continue reading for a list of helpful tips when it comes to protecting your home or business from flood damage that comply with FEMA’s standards. 

Preventative Measures Inside and Outside

Inside and outside of your residential or commercial property, there are steps that you can take to prevent flood damage well in advance or immediately a storm rolls in. Inside, crucial documents and objects can be secured in water-tight containers, placed in elevated locations. In this way, these important items can be kept safe from permanent damage in a flood. Critical equipment and utilities, including your property’s HVAC unit, within your home or business may benefit from being elevated about one foot off of the ground. This step can also be taken outside with outdoor air conditioning units or heat pumps in order to protect them from potentially disastrous flood damage. Finally, the simple act of clearing your gutters of debris on a regular basis can make all the difference in protecting your property from flood damage, as doing so keeps gutters from clogging and gives rainwater a route to drain properly. 

Call SERVPRO for Professional Storm Damage Restoration

It is impossible to eliminate the risk of storm damage as a result of flooding, even with preventative measures in place. Nevertheless, taking steps to minimize flood damage, such as those outlined in this blog as well as Ready.gov’s recommendations, can go a long way in preventing irreversible damage. In the event that your residential or commercial property experiences storm damage resulting from a flood this summer, know that SERVPRO of Harrisburg West has your back and is ready to make it “Like it never even happened.” Call us today at (717) 510-6779 for immediate assistance or visit our website for more information about our storm resources, such as our Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration and Commercial Storm Damage Restoration services, as well as our Water and Storm Damage Tips.

A Breakdown of Our Water Damage Restoration Process

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Water droplets What can you expect from us when you call us after your property experiences a water damage emergency resulting from a storm?

We’re known for our stellar water damage restoration services, but what can you expect from us when you call us after your property experiences a water damage emergency resulting from a storm? We stick to a tried-and-true Water Damage Restoration Process, which we tailor to your home or business’ specific needs. For a detailed breakdown of our process when handling a water damage restoration job, keep reading. 

Our 6-Step Water Restoration Process

  • Emergency Contact

Your call is what sets our water damage restoration process into motion. During this phone call, you will speak with our experienced team members, who will ask questions and gather helpful information about your unique water damage situation. In this way, we can arrive onsite with the proper tools and equipment that will enable us to get to work as quickly as possible. 

  • Inspection and Water Damage Assessment

An assessment of your home or business’ water damage is our first task once we arrive. Our experts will assess the contamination level of the water in accordance with the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification’s guidelines. In order to make certain that every affected area of your property receives the attention that it needs, we also measure the distance that the water has traveled within your home or business. 

  • Water Removal and Extraction

Water extraction is completed with the help of our specialized vacuums and pumps. The growth of mold and mildew, which is common in situations involving lingering water, is prevented through our water removal and extraction step. 

  • Drying and Dehumidification

After the water removal and extraction step of our procedure, there can be additional, harder to reach water that remains. Therefore, this step aims to remove any remaining water or moisture. Additionally, we ensure that your property is thoroughly dried by determining how many air movers and dehumidifiers will be necessary to get this job done based on levels of humidity and the temperature inside your home or business.

  • Cleaning and Sanitizing

The IICRC lists 3 different categories of water contamination. When items experience water damage, therefore, they can become unsanitary. That is why step 5 in our water damage restoration process focuses on cleaning and sanitizing affected contents and surfaces. Also included in this step is deodorizing affected areas. In order to get the cleaning and sanitizing job done, we offer different types of cleaning, such as Dry Cleaning, Wet Cleaning, Abrasive Cleaning, Immersion Cleaning, and more based on the impacted surface.

  • Restoration

Our water damage restoration process concludes with the restoration itself, which involves every final touch needed to get your home or business back to looking and functioning normally after a storm. From large-scale repairs like Rebuild Services to smaller-scale concerns, such as carpet replacement and drywall installation, SERVPRO can handle it all. 

Here for You Throughout the Entire Process

Our SERVPRO of Harrisburg West team is prepared to take your property through the entire restoration process from start to finish. After a water damage emergency, our water damage restoration specialists will remediate the damage, but our work doesn’t stop there. We are committed to thoroughly restoring your commercial or residential property to its preloss condition. Learn more about our trusted Water Damage Restoration services, our specific Commercial Water Damage Restoration services, and our Water Damage Tips from professionals on our website. 

Cleaning Your HVAC System Following a Fire

9/2/2021 (Permalink)

HVAC System Tubing Fires can negatively impact HVAC units, which work to facilitate airflow throughout your home or business.

Damage to your property’s structure and contents are usually at the top of the list of concerns after a fire. What you may overlook, however, is the crucial behind-the-scenes equipment that keeps your property safe, such as your HVAC system. Fires can negatively impact HVAC units, which work to facilitate airflow throughout your home or business. Therefore, HVAC systems can actually have a hand in exacerbating health effects to those working or living in the property, as they can carry air contaminated with smoke or soot residue throughout the affected home or business. As a result, HVAC system cleaning is essential after a damaging fire and fortunately, we offer professional HVAC cleaning services on our list of Cleaning Services here at SERVPRO, which can help your home or business return to normal as quickly as possible. 

When Should HVAC Cleaning Be Implemented?

HVAC cleaning services are most frequently implemented after fires that give rise to moderate to heavy amounts of smoke or soot residue. It is also important to consider the proximity of the fire to your property’s HVAC unit when determining whether HVAC cleaning is necessary. In any circumstance, recruiting a knowledgeable and experienced HVAC and fire cleaning professional to inspect the affected areas and determine the severity of the fire damage. Duct sealing services, in which soot and dust particles are vacuumed and vent registers and air intakes are removed, cleaned, and replaced, are another variety of HVAC unit cleaning that we provide in the event that your property’s unit cannot be cleaned normally. Here at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, we have experts in both HVAC cleaning and fire damage restoration on our team who will make certain that your property receives the most appropriate services. 

HVAC Cleaning Reduces Health Effects

One of the most important benefits of implementing HVAC cleaning services in your home or business after a fire is the prevention of various health effects presented by fires. When your HVAC unit is professionally cleaned, the smoke and soot particles lingering in your home or business are removed, therefore decreasing the risk of respiratory issues and poor air quality. 

For Professional HVAC Cleaning, Call SERVPRO

In the event that your home or business experiences a fire of any magnitude, call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West right away at (717) 510-6779. You’ll immediately receive the help of our seasoned fire damage restoration and HVAC cleaning specialists, in addition to our professional equipment. Read more about our reputable Fire Damage Restoration services, as well as our tried-and-true Fire Restoration Process on our website. Additionally, through our Air Ducts and HVAC Cleaning services, our team is committed to eliminating further damage after your property’s fire. For a thorough and quick recovery after any fire damage emergency, don’t wait- call SERVPRO today.

All About Our Biohazard Cleaning Services

8/26/2021 (Permalink)

Biohazard situation We make it a priority to remove biohazards safely and as quickly as possible through our Biohazard Cleanup and Restoration Services.

Here at SERVPRO, we offer an extensive list of Cleaning Services. Among these services are a few unique offerings with which customers may be unfamiliar. One such service is biohazard cleaning. In this blog, we will answer frequently asked questions, including: “What does biohazard cleaning mean?”, “What sets biohazard cleaning apart from other cleaning services?”, and “When might biohazard cleaning be necessary?”  

What Is a Biohazard?

A biohazard, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a biological agent or condition that is a hazard to humans or the environment.” Examples of these kinds of agents are microbiological waste, animal waste, and bodily fluids. Because of the consequences that they can have for human health, we make it a priority to remove biohazards safely and as quickly as possible through our Biohazard Cleanup and Restoration Services.

Examples of Biohazard Cleaning Scenarios

You may be wondering, “What kind of situations warrant biohazard cleaning?” Many of the scenarios that may come to mind, such as crime scene residue, chemical spills, and tear glass cleanups, are not common occurrences in residential or commercial properties. Instead, it is more reasonable to anticipate accident cleanups or sewage backups as the primary biohazard scenarios that might occur in homes and businesses. Regardless of your property’s biohazard situation, our biohazard cleaning professionals possess the knowledge, tools, and skills required to deal with any kind of biohazard scenario. We will work to restore your home or business to its preloss condition in no time.

Need Biohazard Cleanup Services? Call SERVPRO

Biohazard scenarios can often be distressing, which is why you need an empathetic cleaning company that will treat you and your property with the utmost respect. By calling SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 immediately after discovering a biohazard scenario, you can be sure that your residential or commercial property will be placed in the hands of skilled and experienced biohazard specialists, who will utilize specialized equipment to restore your property safely, adhering to OSHA’s health standards. Our 24-Hour Emergency Service ensures that our team will arrive quickly and at any time of day, minimizing prolonged exposure and risks to your health. In order to further prevent dangers to health, read our Biohazard Emergency Tips while waiting for help to arrive. 

Hurricane Season: Our Top Tips

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

Hurricane Waves Preparing for the worst can be helpful in decreasing the risk of storm and water damage to your property.

As we inch closer to the beginning of September, we still have three more months of hurricane season ahead of us. This year, the Atlantic hurricane season officially ends on November 30th. For residential and commercial properties alike, preparing for hurricane season is frequently a complex process. Like the 2020 hurricane season, NOAA has forecasted another strong hurricane season for 2021 with a 60% chance that it will be an above-average season. Even though NOAA is not predicting that this hurricane season will outperform the 2020 hurricane season, preparing for the worst can be helpful in decreasing the risk of storm and water damage to your property. Keep reading to learn more about reducing the risk of storm damage to your commercial or residential property this hurricane season. 

Hurricane Season Preparation Tips

Create a Hurricane Emergency Kit

Emergency kits can effectively prepare homes and businesses for hurricanes. These kits can include a wide variety of items, such as portable cell phone chargers, maps, and flashlights as well as water and food. More items can be found on Ready.gov. It may be beneficial to store emergency kits in multiple locations, including your home, car, and workplace. This ensures that no matter where you are when the storm rolls in, you can take comfort in knowing that you have access to emergency supplies. 

Utilize Resources from FEMA

Multiple online hurricane planning resources for homes and businesses can be found on the United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA. One such resource that provides critical information prior to and during a hurricane is the FEMA Mobile App. Updates from the National Weather Service, notifications about disaster recovery centers nearby, and general hurricane safety tips.

Experience Water Damage This Hurricane Season? You Know Who To Call

Hurricanes, like other major weather events, can be stressful, as it is often impossible to predict the scope of any property damage that you may experience. Here at SERVPRO, our team members are highly-skilled and experienced in Storm Damage Restoration and are prepared to help our customers to recover from any type of disaster. SERVPRO of Harrisburg West is also a member of SERVPRO’s Large Loss Disaster Recovery Team, which gives us access to a network of resources across the country. By giving us a call at (717) 510-6779 in the event that your residential or commercial property experiences hurricane damage this season, you can ensure that you will receive expert assistance. For more information about our storm-related services, check out our Commercial Storm Damage Restoration Services, as well as our Water & Storm Damage Tips pages.

Preventing Lithium Battery Fires

8/13/2021 (Permalink)

An assortment of batteries Due to the increase in the presence of lithium batteries in our lives, it is important to understand that fire safety concerns can accompany them.

In chemistry class, you may have first been introduced to lithium as the third element on the periodic table. Beyond the periodic table, however, lithium serves many different purposes, such as its function in batteries, providing portable energy to various types of electronics. There are lithium batteries as well as lithium-ion batteries and the difference between the two lies in the type of cell. It is not possible to charge lithium batteries, as they are primary cells, but lithium-ion batteries, which are secondary cells, can be recharged. You may not be aware of it, but chances are you use an electronic device regularly that is powered by either type of lithium battery. Due to the increase in the presence of lithium batteries in our lives, it is important to understand that certain fire safety concerns accompany them if they malfunction or endure damage. With a thorough understanding of the risks that accompany lithium batteries, you can protect your home or commercial business.

Why Are Lithium Batteries Such a Concern?

Even though lithium batteries can be a fire hazard, they are still put to use in our daily lives. This is because most of the time, it is safe to utilize lithium batteries, as they only become hazardous in the event that they overheat or short-circuit. Lithium-ion batteries in electronic devices often release overwhelming heat when they reach their maximum temperature, which can result from overcharging or overheating. Fires can occur under these circumstances, evident in news reports from the last several years that share concerning stories of hoverboards and cell phones igniting. However, lithium batteries are not as hazardous as such stories say they are. Categorized as Class 9 hazards according to the United States Postal Service, lithium batteries are acknowledged as miscellaneous hazardous materials, which only present hazards during transportation.

Preventing Lithium Battery Fires This Summer

It’s not difficult to find lithium batteries and lithium-ion batteries in your day-to-day life, as they are often used to power everything from laptops and cell phones to electric toothbrushes. Practicing fire safety when using lithium battery or lithium-ion battery-powered devices can protect your home or business from fire damage this summer. The summer is a critical time to learn how to prevent a fire resulting from lithium batteries, as the likelihood of portable electronics overheating naturally increases in the sizzling heat. Making sure that electronics are not left in hot cars for long amounts of time and avoiding charging in the heat can therefore decrease the chances of a fire igniting. Utilizing a trustworthy, reputable charger and investing in a high-quality phone case can also make a significant difference in protecting its battery and preventing a fire resulting from malfunctioning lithium batteries. 

Have You Experienced Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO 

Even though lithium battery fires do not occur frequently and do not regularly pose threats to safety, fires can occur. Therefore, having an emergency plan in place is beneficial. This is where we step in to help. Here at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, we strive to be ready for anything. When an unexpected fire ignites in your home or commercial business, you can trust SERVPRO to provide the Fire Damage Restoration Services and Commercial Fire Damage Restoration Services that you need. At the first sign of damage, call us at (717) 510-6779 in order to prevent any further damage. Check out our website to learn more about our Fire Restoration Process, including our specific offerings such as Caring for Your Belongings, which can facilitate the cleanup process in the event that a fire impacts other objects in your home or business, including electronics, photographs, and documents. Regardless of whether your home or commercial business’ fire is ignited due to lithium batteries or another source, know that SERVPRO is standing by with our 24-Hour Emergency Service, ready to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

A Note From Our Owners: The Owner’s Corner

8/5/2021 (Permalink)

Convention photo As we navigate our journey as “Multi-Market Owners” during an exciting time for SERVPRO franchise owners, we find ourselves forging our own path.

The following blog is an excerpt from our latest newsletter:

The phrase “Independently Owned and Operated” is a tagline that we have seen time and time again, but do we know what it really means? 

Think about the businesses that you see or frequent on a regular basis… The UPS Store, 7-Eleven, Orangetheory, McDonalds, The Philadelphia Phillies, and even SERVPRO. These are all businesses that are franchised and both owned and operated by individuals. All the while, they are still guided and supported by their founders and structured by their central board or corporate team. 

On any given business day, a new franchise is opened every 8 minutes. Small business owners are three times more likely to succeed if they open a franchise instead of an independent business. However, while having a predetermined business plan to follow as a franchise may appear to offer instant success, this outcome is not guaranteed. The owners of a franchised business must have an entrepreneurial mindset, create a team with strong collective hustle, and win the trust of loyal customers who will move the business forward. 

In May 2009, a husband and wife duo took a chance by opening one license franchise during a recession and thus, SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall was born. Perhaps blessed by youth and its accompanying naivety, failure and questions of “What If?” never crossed our minds as first-time small business owners. Instead, we found our way by following the path to success forged by SERVPRO franchises that came before. The whole experience was amazing, but it was an endeavor that was equally marked by amazingly hard work. 

12 years later, Team Wall owns and operates 12 franchise licenses via 3 different metro markets. We believe that the architecture that was fashioned for us in 2009 was integral to our success, but as we navigate our journey as “Multi-Market Owners” during an exciting time for SERVPRO franchise owners, we find ourselves forging our own path. 

Individual franchise owners often operate Multi-Market Operations. Examples include Anytime Fitness, Subway, and Dunkin Donuts. You may even come across Multi-Market franchise owners who possess a number of licenses that comes close to 300. While holding 300 licenses is inspiring, this is a practice that is usually found in the food industry. For Team Wall, it has been an honor to take part, alongside approximately 20 of our fellow franchises, in traversing this concept in SERVPRO Industries’ service sector.

During the 4th quarter of 2019, Team Wall began our journey as Multi-Market Operators. Of course, the warmest winter in 100 years and a pandemic quickly followed, throwing a wrench in our plans. Yikes! This certainly is not a section of our journey as franchise owners that we would like to repeat. However, it made the week of July 20th, 2021 all the more gratifying. In addition to celebrating SERVPRO’s 52nd Annual Convention, it was the first time in over 2 years that we were able to see members of our SERVPRO family in person.

The annual SERVPRO convention gave us inspiration, guidance, and fellowship that are meaningful beyond words. The convention’s events taught us new lessons in technology, automation, integration, marketing strategies, key accounts and new relationships, best practices in the industry, and ways in which we can better serve our customers. 

Talking through the challenges and triumphs alike that we experienced this year, as well as the many lessons that we learned, we were able to network with our peers. As First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

We experienced first-hand the infectious enthusiasm of convention week and returned home buzzing with fresh ideas about ways in which we can further Team Wall’s success. The Multi-Market Operator is a blessing that we are so grateful to have been given and we are eager to do all we can to make the most of this opportunity. 

The gratitude that we feel as a result of the opportunities given to us by our customers throughout the years is never-ending. We are additionally humbled by our team members’ constant dedication and enthusiasm. We would not be where we are today without the overwhelming support of our customers and team members. 

With heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude,

Jim and Trish Wall

Praising Our Employees

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Annual picnic Employees play cornhole at our office's annual picnic.

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort- that is what makes a team work.” In order for our company to thrive, each individual employee must be committed to the group goal. Therefore, we like to take the time to recognize and appreciate our team members for their efforts, which are essential to our company’s success. Here at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, we believe that employee recognition should take center stage. We’ll share some of the ways in which we appreciate our employees throughout the year in this blog.

Crab Feast and BBQ

During the summer, there’s nothing quite like a relaxing barbeque with friends. Our annual office barbeque is an event that our employees look forward to every summer as a day in which they can leave the stress of daily work behind and enjoy each other’s company. 

Department Outings

Throughout the year, we take the time to gather our employees together outside of the office through department outings. These outings serve two beneficial purposes: Letting off steam and strengthening our team bond. Recently, our Sales and Marketing teams traveled to Big Truck Farm Brewery one afternoon in June to spend time together in person after more than a year of Zoom meetings. Our team members tried their hand at archery and relished in the beautiful summer weather.

The “Wall of Praise”

Inside of our office is a custom-made decal and a stack of notepads that can be found in our primary conference room. This wall is dedicated to employee recognition and it is known amongst our team members as “The Wall of Praise.” Employees are encouraged to write positive notes about their coworkers’ strengths and add them to the wall. Each quarter, about 4 or 5 of these notes are selected to be read aloud to the entire team at the quarterly meeting so that their hard work can be known to everyone. 

Employee Highlights and Awards

Our quarterly meetings are also the backdrop for the presentation of our “Employee of the Quarter” award, tenure and anniversary awards, and various Sales and Marketing awards, including the “Coach’s Award,” “Top Producer,” and “Most Improved.” It is important to our team that we highlight employees in this large group setting, as it allows for employees to be appreciated in front of the largest group of their teammates possible, boosting the total team morale. Additionally, the recipients of our “Employee of the Quarter” award is also highlighted on our social media accounts through spotlight posts and an article shared in our quarterly newsletter as well as a blog on our website. 

Trust Our Team

The “team” component of our “7 Pillars” is often emphasized, but our team would not be successful without the hard work and dedication of each individual employee. At SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, you’ll find a tight-knit, robust team of professionals who are always ready to help restore your commercial or residential property after any disaster. For immediate assistance, give us a call right away at (717) 510-6779.

Employee of the Quarter: Tommy Duval

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Employee of the Quarter Tommy Duval was selected as this quarter’s “Employee of the Quarter” for our Harrisburg West office.

Every quarter, we select one employee who exudes the qualities of an outstanding team member of SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall. Tommy Duval was selected as this quarter’s “Employee of the Quarter” for our Harrisburg West office. Tommy is currently a Production Manager at our office and has been with us for six months. Prior to joining our Harrisburg West team, he gained considerable knowledge and experience with SERVPRO of North York, working as a Crew Chief and Production Manager. 

Tommy’s Commendable Qualities

In total, Tommy has worked with SERVPRO for eleven years and he is an incredible asset to our team. On an everyday basis, Tommy is hardworking, as he is always willing to stay after hours to make sure that schedules are correct and job updates are being sent, as well as working on larger projects in the field to ensure that work is completed quickly and efficiently. A reliable employee, Tommy is available to help his coworkers at any time of day- on or off the clock. When he picks up the phone, he always answers with the mindset of offering a helping hand. Communication is another of Tommy’s strengths, making sure that he checks in with the office, shares concerns, and makes them aware of crucial obstacles and information. Understanding the concerns of customers and working to find solutions, Tommy displays impressive patience. He excels in initiative, as he consistently plans ahead. When we are short-staffed or are forced to juggle various issues, Tommy remains optimistic, whether he is on the job site or managing his crew. 

Exemplary Skills and Characteristics 

Tommy adheres to SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall’s “7 Pillars” on a daily basis. He displays accountability through his professionalism. He excels in leadership as well as organization, which strengthens his problem-solving skills and helps him find solutions. 

His negotiation skills are strong and nourish his persistence. Lastly, Tommy is a true team-player, as he places teamwork front and center every day. We are so grateful for all that you do, Tommy!

A Summary of SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

Emergency Ready Profile We like to describe our Emergency Ready Profile using these four words: Customizable, mobile, shareable, and secure.

Are you “Ready for Whatever Happens”? At SERVPRO, our goal is to be prepared for all kinds of emergency situations. That’s why we created the Emergency Ready Profile and SERVPRO Ready Plan App. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the details of SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile so that you can better understand its potential benefits for you or your clients.

Components of the ERP

We like to describe our Emergency Ready Profile using these four words: Customizable, mobile, shareable, and secure. The ERP can be customized to meet the specific needs of your home or business, as it is possible to add information such as key details and maintenance information unique to your home or facility, important contacts, emergency shut off valve locations, preferred vendors, access points, and much more. Using your mobile device, it is easy to immediately respond to any emergency. Because the ERP is shareable, you can give others access to facility information when you are unavailable, which can make all the difference in reacting quickly to an emergency and minimizing disruptions. One-way hash passwords and encrypted data keep your ERP and all of the information that it holds safe and secure. 

Check Out The SERVPRO Ready Plan Mobile App

Our Emergency Ready Profile’s companion, the SERVPRO Ready Plan App, can be a beneficial addition to your home or business’ emergency plan. After downloading the app in the App Store, you will be able to design and tailor your Emergency Ready Profile in the palm of your hand. When setting up the app, be sure to register using your email, create a password, and select the franchise location that you prefer. The rest is up to you.

Schedule Your ERP Walkthrough Today

Offering risk management at no cost, SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile sets the highest standards of security. By giving SERVPRO of Harrisburg West a call at (717) 510-6779, we can walk you through what you can expect from our Emergency Ready Profile in just 60 minutes. We also have a sample Emergency Ready Profile available here for viewing. Don’t wait to start protecting your home or business from any kind of disaster. Download the Ready Plan Mobile App from SERVPRO today to begin designing your unique Emergency Ready Profile. 

Job of the Quarter: Water Loss at Home

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded warehouse Just 30 minutes after the flood was first discovered, our team began extracting and draining the water.

The blog that follows is an excerpt from our upcoming quarterly newsletter:

In previous “Job of the Quarter” articles featured in our quarterly newsletter and on our blog, we have highlighted jobs that send our teams traveling across the country, serving communities both near and far. The job that we have selected this quarter differs in that no travel was required, as it occurred on our own turf- inside of the warehouse, offices, and hallways of our Hunt Valley and Harford County headquarters.

Thursday, June 3rd brought a line of strong storms through the Baltimore area that wreaked havoc throughout the evening. With an inundation of calls coming in from members of the community dealing with storm and water damage, our office manager, Tracy Summers, was working late in the office. Water Crew Technician Brian Rhodes was about to head home after a long day when they first discovered rainwater flooding into our warehouse’s closed bay doors. With the rain falling at the rate of almost 4 inches per hour, they had to act fast. Tracy and Brian quickly called crew members in to help remove the water. With their help, we were able to avoid an even larger disaster.

Because there was approximately 1 inch of water covering the floor of the warehouse and the water had also spread to our main conference room, hallway, and individual offices, it was an all-hands-on-deck effort. Additionally, the water involved fell under the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration’s most contaminated classification of water, known as Category 3. Often containing “harmful pathogens” and risking human health, the Category 3 water posed additional challenges, as our crew had to take the necessary precautions to safely yet efficiently remediate the affected areas.

Around 5:30 PM, just 30 minutes after the flood was first discovered, our team began extracting and draining the water. Once the water was removed, walls were cut, wet insulation was removed, and drying equipment was put in place by 10 PM thanks to the help of approximately 20 crew members, who put in extra hours to get the job done. In order to install new drywall and complete paint work, a handful of our rebuild team members also took part. The entire project was completed by the following Tuesday and you never would have been able to tell that our offices had experienced water damage.

With every job, we strive to restore normalcy in our customers’ lives in a timely manner and make it “Like it never even happened.” In the case of this job, however, we faced a potential disruption to our business, as we were dealing with water damage on our home turf while calls were flooding in from community members. This job is worthy of our coveted “Job of the Quarter” title because of our team’s perseverance and selflessness in their decision to return to the office at night after a long day in order to help us recover from a water damage emergency and get back to helping members of our community. The job demanded quick removal and repacking of wet contents in order to keep our office afloat as we answered a slew of calls from customers as a result of the storm. Two of our pillars here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team- Team Wall, Team and Persistence, ultimately came to the rescue.

Before we can resolve emergencies for our customers, it is imperative that we can effectively combat an issue at home. This quarter’s “Job of the Quarter '' proved that we can overcome any challenge, such as juggling an inundation of phone calls while dealing with a flood in our own office, and still have our customers’ backs. Emergencies of any kind can disrupt business schedules and turn lives upside-down, which are circumstances that we have experienced firsthand. By calling SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717)  510-6779 at the first sight of damage, you will speak with people who understand the necessity of arriving on site immediately and making any disaster “Like it never even happened.” Trust our Water Damage Restoration and Storm Damage Restoration professionals at SERVPRO to restore normalcy to your residential or commercial property whenever you are in need of our services.

An Overview of Matterport

6/25/2021 (Permalink)

When it comes to capturing 3D spaces in a variety of industry sectors, Matterport is second to none. They set the precedent for both indexing and digitizing our world in terms of building and spatial data. Using the 3D data platform provided by Matterport, anyone can transform a physical space into an immersive and exact digital copy. Any space can then be built, designed, operated, promoted, and ultimately, better understood using this technology.

How Does Matterport Help Our Clients?

Accuracy and velocity are the two critical elements of Matterport technology that are of advantage to both our customers and insurance professionals in the industry. In the past, we have had to rely on camera phones and our own hands to measure a property and take note of damage. However, with the help of Matterport, the process is much simpler and the margin of human error falls within just 1%, as our team is now capable of taking measurements and photographically documenting damage at the same time by utilizing Matterport. Additionally, Matterport eliminates bias because it is impossible for any party to manipulate the 3D space that the technology generates. This efficient technology facilitates the process of claim settlement, decreasing the amount of time that it takes for our crew to restore the property to its preloss condition and making it “Like it never even happened,” for our customers.

Matterport In Action

Overcoming Pandemic Obstacles

Preventing field adjusters from arriving on the job site, the COVID-19 pandemic complicated various aspects of the remediation process. As a result of this limitation, adjusters had to navigate unpredictable situations. SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team- Team Wall was able to ease their minds through Matterport technology, as well as our excellent services provided to the clients that we share.

Faster to the Finish Line

 Following an incident of structural damage to the roof of a multi-family condominium, an engineer was called in to assess and dictate required repair work. His job became significantly easier when he learned that SERVPRO Team Wall had already utilized Matterport to scan the property, as this allowed him to build a thorough report based on our 3D scan. In this way, the report was completed faster, which helped our team to get to work on repairing the structure and reducing the project’s turnaround time.

Caring for Your Belongings

When a client’s residential property suffered a fire, we depended on Matterport to catalog the extent of the damages to structure and personal belongings. The client, due to her health, was not able to spend much time onsite. Despite this obstacle, we were able to keep her updated on the job by conducting multiple scans of the property. With Matterport’s help, she was also still able to have a hand in our team’s process of inventorying non-salvageable items.

SERVPRO and Matterport Are Here To Help

Our primary goal here at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West is to provide superior customer service. Matterport and other forms of state-of-the-art technology assist us in improving our residential and commercial property restoration processes everyday. For more information about Matterport and SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall, call us at (717) 510-6779. You can also learn more about what we do by checking out our website, which details our fire, water, mold, and storm restoration services. On our website, more information can also be found about our other Advanced Technologies. Trust the combined resources of SERVPRO of Harrisburg West and Matterport to provide efficient and thorough restoration services for your home or commercial business, getting your life back on track as soon as possible.

Understanding the IICRC's 3 Categories of Water

6/16/2021 (Permalink)

What comes to mind when you think of water damage? Chances are, your idea is only one variety of the many different situations that can be described by the label “water damage.” From flooding after a storm to a toilet bowl overflow, everything about the incident, right down to the classification of the water itself, is unique. The water involved in water damage situations can be broken down into three distinct categories, according to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. These water categories in water damage situations can be found inside of homes or commercial businesses, which emphasizes the importance of both homeowners and business owners’ understanding of such categories. Keep reading to learn more about the three “Categories of Water” outlined by the IICRC, which will help you to gain a better understanding of the severity and implications of water damage for your home or business, should such a situation ever occur.

The IICRC’s 3 Categories of Water

In their document, “S500 Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration”, the IICRC categorizes water into three groups based on the water’s level of contamination, as they consider “both its originating source and quality after it contacts materials present on the job site.” The IICRC also asserts that time and temperature can both affect contamination level, which means that water is capable of changing categories.

Category 1- Clean Water

The kind of water that falls under Category 1, according to the IICRC, is “clean water,” which originates from a sanitary source. Therefore, exposure to Category 1 water does not pose a threat to human health. Examples of Category 1 water range from broken water supply lines to uncontaminated rainwater and melted snow or ice. It must be reiterated that Category 1 water can deteriorate in sanitation level to Category 2 based on its exposure to time and temperature. In the event that “clean water” begins to develop an odor, it may indicate that it has become contaminated.

Category 2- Gray Water

Significant contamination is characteristic of Category 2 water. As a result, exposure to or consumption of Category 2 water can lead to discomfort or illness in humans. Discharge and overflows from household appliances, including dishwashers, washing machines, and toilets, often fall under this category. Several unexpected situations, such as broken aquariums and water beds that have been punctured, can also be classified as Category 2. With increased contamination, “gray water” can quickly decline in quality and become “black water.”

Category 3- Black Water

Based on the IICRC’s standards, Category 3 water possesses the greatest amount of contamination. Commonly referred to as “black water,” this variety of water often contains “harmful agents” such as pathogens and toxins, which can lead to health risks if humans consume or come into contact with Category 3 water. Rain from hurricanes and tropical storms, river and seawater runoff, and sewage are all examples of Category 3 water. Water damage professionals should be called to handle Category 3 water situations due to its health risks.

We Have the Expertise That You Need

Fully trained through SERVPRO Industries Inc., which is IICRC-approved, our water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West are ready to help your home or business recover from water damage of any kind. Adhering to the IICRC’s S500 Standards, our services are tailored to your unique needs in accordance with the three “Categories of Water.” Our team of professionals will arrive as soon as all you call us at (717) 510-6779 at the first sight of water damage. In addition to our reputable Water Damage Restoration Services, check out our Water Brochure, which further details the steps that we take to restore water damage and the water damage restoration services that we provide, including specialized services like Sewage Cleanup. In the event that your home or commercial business experiences water damage that falls under any of the IICRC’s categories, you can count on SERVPRO to make it “Like it never even happened.”

What to Know About Lightning Damage This Summer

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Summer storms are forceful aspects of nature that pose many risks to homes and businesses alike. Over the last few years, whenever summer rolls around, we post a blog or two about summer storm safety on various topics such as flash flooding damage and hurricane preparation in order to help homes and businesses alike to protect themselves from potential dangers presented by summer storms. When we discuss summer storm damage, we often think about water damage or physical damage to buildings due to debris and fallen trees, but lightning is another important factor that should be considered. Lightning can directly strike homes and commercial buildings that lack lightning protection, which can pose significant risks including fire damage and electrical power surges. Continue reading to learn more about the risks that lightning poses, as well as what you should do in the event that your home or business’ building endures lightning damage.

Types of Lightning Damage

When lightning hits a building, there is a chance that a fire can ignite. Usually, if a fire ignites, it will be in the attic or on the top floor of the building. Lightning adheres to electrical wires and circuits, which can then facilitate the spread of the fire throughout a home or commercial business building. If lightning makes direct contact with your home or building, its structure can be placed in jeopardy, as lightning can rip through roofs and attics, scorching its surroundings. Additionally, personal belongings can be damaged as a result of a lightning strike because lightning can send an electric surge throughout the structure that it hits. Electronics, including televisions, appliances, and computers, can undergo serious damage or destruction in this circumstance.

I Think That Lightning Struck My Building- What Should I Do?

If you think that there is a possibility that your home or business building has been struck by lightning, you may be wondering, “what should be my first step?” When lightning strikes a building, the resulting sound usually significantly overpowers that of thunder or distant lightning, making it easy to tell that a direct strike has occurred. Immediately check your home or business for fire and as soon as it is safe to do so, survey your roof for damage. Be sure to also check breakers and electrical outlets, as well as switches, in order to identify any electrical damage. Lastly, keep an eye out for leaks, which may indicate damage to piping.

SERVPRO Is Here to Help

In the event that you identify damage to your home or commercial business after enduring a direct lightning strike, call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West immediately at (717) 510-6779 (410) 229-0012 for professional Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration Services that you can trust to make it “Like it never even happened.” We offer various storm damage restoration and remediation services that ensure our ability to cater to your home or business’ individual needs. Visit our website to learn more about our Commercial Storm Damage Restoration Services. If lightning led to the ignition of a fire, our Fire Damage Restoration Services have your back. If your roof has been damaged, look no further than our many Building Services, which include Roofing Services. No matter the scope of the damage that your home or commercial business experiences this summer, know that SERVPRO of Harrisburg West is prepared to help in any way we can.

HVAC Warning Signs and What They Mean

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

Everyday, commercial businesses rely on their HVAC systems, units that govern Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, to create a comfortable workspace for employees and to facilitate the flow of business as usual in their respective buildings. HVAC systems do not require frequent replacement if business owners properly maintain their units and prevent it from malfunctioning. In this blog, we’ll introduce you to three common warning signs associated with malfunctioning HVAC systems so that you can preserve the quality of your HVAC unit and ultimately protect your commercial business from an unwanted disaster.

3 Common Warning Signs: What Do They Mean?

  1. Odor

One warning sign in HVAC systems involves the presence of a strange odor throughout your commercial business. This smell is sometimes known as “Dirty Sock Syndrome,” as buildings can adopt an odor similar to that of a dirty sock when HVAC units accumulate dirt and degree. Odors emanating from your commercial business’ HVAC unit can be the result of several different issues. First, mold occasionally grows in HVAC systems that do not receive regular maintenance. Additionally, infrequent maintenance can also cause evaporator coils within the unit to be subject to the growth of bacteria and mold or mildew, as well as a buildup of dirt. Because HVAC units provide ventilation, odors can travel to different areas of the building, spreading the smell while the unit spreads air.

  1. Weird Sounds

There is no reason to worry if your HVAC unit emits a faint humming noise. On the other hand, peculiar, loud, and intense noises coming from your business’ HVAC unit are often warning signs. A rattling noise coming from your HVAC may indicate a failing compressor or loose parts. Such unusual noises are typically good indicators that the unit should be inspected by a professional.

  1. Increasing Cost

HVAC units are essential for employees working in commercial businesses, as people rely on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning on a daily basis in order to cultivate a comfortable work environment. A sudden spike in the price of your bill due to your HVAC unit is another common warning sign that it is likely not functioning properly. The reason for significant increases in your HVAC bill usually has to do with clogged or dirty filters within the unit. Obstructed filters send HVAC systems into overdrive, which subsequently generates higher costs.

Trust SERVPRO’s HVAC Services

All three warning signs that we covered reflect the importance of regularly surveying and maintaining your commercial business’ HVAC unit. In the event that you notice any of the aforementioned warning signs in your commercial business’ unit, it is best to contact a professional in order to get to the bottom of the issue. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 so that you can enlist the help of our HVAC Cleaning Services and gain the assistance of a team of HVAC professionals that will have your back until the problem has been fixed. Here at SERVPRO, we strive to work quickly and efficiently in order to get your commercial business back on its feet after any disaster, no matter how big or how small. Don’t forget to also take a look at our other Building Services, Commercial Restoration Services, and Commercial Cleaning Services for all of your commercial business’ restoration, remediation, and cleaning needs.

The 411 on Mold

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

In both homes and businesses, mold is a common concern. Therefore, understanding how and why mold grows, as well as how it can be prevented, is crucial to protecting against the harmful consequences of mold growth. What can SERVPRO do to help? Keep reading to learn more about our mold remediation process and services.

The Biology of Mold

Saprophyte, a type of fungus, is the scientific classification of mold. Scientists have concluded that they are unsure as to exactly how many species of mold are out there, but we do know that there are at least 20,000. Mold grows on a variety of surfaces and obtains nutrients by feeding on decomposed organic matter. Branches of mold, called hyphae, facilitate mold’s spread.

Common Types of Mold in Buildings

In buildings such as commercial businesses, five mold varieties are common. First, there is penicillium, a type of mold that is usually blue-ish green in color and its texture resembles that of velvet. Second, aspergillus often grows in environments rich with oxygen. Third is chaetomium, a variety whose texture is cotton-like. A fourth variety, cladosporium, commonly grows on fabric surfaces. Lastly, stachybotrys is most common in humid and damp areas of buildings.

Containing the Spread of Spores

Because there has always been mold on surfaces and in the air, there’s no such thing as completely eradicating mold. The objective of mold remediation, therefore, is to contain the spread of mold and in effect avoid severe situations of mold infestation. Beginning as just tiny spores, mold can eventually hold thousands of spores due to its structure. The process of air blowing mold spores, known as aerosolization, opens the door to the possibility for mold to spread. Containing mold, therefore, is key in preventing mold from spreading to other previously unaffected areas of the home or business. In order to achieve this, our SERVPRO team puts advanced containment materials and resources, including negative air chambers that create physical barriers, into place.

Why Should We Be So Worried About Mold?

Health Effects

There are certain types of mold, including those that make Penicillin or bleu cheese, that do not negatively affect the body. All the while, there are many other types of mold that can be harmful, as they contain mycotoxins. 

In addition to health effects, buildings and homes can also unknowingly suffer from mold growth, as mold is often invisible to the eye until it grows into dangerous colonies. As a result, it can be difficult to tell whether or not items in your home or business have been subject to mold contamination.

Mold in Buildings

“Sick building syndrome” (SBS), which involves a building’s occupants complaining of minor health effects that cannot be explained by any other factors, is common when mold grows in buildings. If air circulation or maintenance are lacking, these health effects can persist. A common catalyst of mold growth in buildings is the HVAC system, as filters, drain pans, and piping that are not working properly can facilitate the spread of mold. Because HVAC systems circulate air throughout buildings, any mold growth inside of the unit can be easily delivered throughout the building, resulting in a wide-spread mold problem. You can read more about SERVPRO’s mold remediation services for commercial buildings here.

Mold Growth Requirements

Mold cannot thrive without the presence of the following factors: Mold spores, a food source of organic matter, a climate with a temperature of 32 to 122 degrees fahrenheit, moisture or water, and just 48 hours of time. Mold can feed on many different types of organic matter, including paints, insulation, wood, drywall, paper, caulk, and the starch in wallpaper paste.

Preventing Mold Growth

Getting moisture levels under control is key in preventing mold growth after your home or business has experienced water damage. Additionally, mitigating mold-infected areas has more benefits than remediation. The owners and occupants of businesses and homes can take several different steps in order to avoid mold growth. First and foremost, be sure to inspect areas that tend to be overlooked, including space behind dishwashers, ice maker connections, shower doors, and washing machine connections. It is important to note that it is a good idea to replace washing machine connections on a five-year basis. Above all else, taking preventative measures, such as maintaining sufficient ventilation, limiting moisture, decreasing food sources for mold, and putting fungicides and biocides to use, is helpful when seeking to prevent mold growth.

Mold Remediation Basics

Our mold remediation services adhere to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification’s S520 Standards and Professional Mold Remediation Reference Guide. Mold remediation follows three condition levels: Normal Fungal Ecology, Settled Spores, and Actual Growth. In a Normal Fungal Ecology, mold spores or traces of mold growth may be present in an indoor environment. Condition 2, Settled Spores, occurs when indoor areas have become secondarily contaminated with settled mold spores. When an indoor environment becomes contaminated with mold growth, the area meets the requirements for Condition 3, Actual Growth.

Our 5 Principles of Mold Remediation

Here at SERVPRO, our focus is on mold containment and preventing the spread of mold. We utilize tools such as negative air chambers in order to contain areas of mold growth with negative air pressure and physical barriers while we clean.

When combating mold growth, our team focuses on 5 mold remediation principles, which include

  • Safety and Health,
  • Documentation,
  • Control Containments,
  • Remove the Contamination,
  • and Correct the Moisture Problem, respectively.

In order to make certain that our work has efficiently contained the mold issue, our team brings in an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to perform a final clearance test. In this test, areas that were previously labeled as Condition 3 or Condition 2 are tested against the IICRC S250 Standards, making sure that they have returned to Condition 1. It is only after the affected area meets Condition 1 standards that we remove our containment devices. To learn more about our mold remediation protocol, check out our Mold Restoration Process.

Have a Mold Problem? Call SERVPRO

Visit our website in order to learn more about SERVPRO’s Mold Remediation and Restoration Services. If you discover mold growth of any size in your home or commercial business, be sure to call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West immediately at (717) 510-6779. By calling SERVPRO, you can be sure that your home or business will receive professional and dependable mold services.

Working Together to Restore Fort Sill

5/19/2021 (Permalink)

Everyday, the three locations of SERVPRO Team Wall coordinate and interact in some capacity, but it’s only every so often that we can show off the power of our combined resources. Joining forces with SERVPRO Team Bowen, Team Wall’s three offices made the trip to historic military base, Fort Sill, in Oklahoma for one of our biggest jobs to date. Oklahoma and Texas were hit hard by the March deep freeze and Fort Sill needed our help in restoring their facilities after experiencing about 200 burst pipes.

What Is Fort Sill?

Perched atop 94,000 acres, Fort Sill is a National Historic Landmark and the country’s largest field artillery complex. Since its completion in 1869, Fort Sill has seen the famous “Buffalo Soldiers” and other important figures in American history. It is also the burial place of Chiricahua Apache religious and military leader, Geronimo. While Fort Sill is a base for the U.S. Army, it also hosts the Marine Corps. Therefore, our ability to restore the historic Fort Sill this March meant a lot to those who live and work at the base, as well as our country.

Combining Our Resources

Considering that this was one of the largest projects that SERVPRO Team Wall has ever undertaken, we had all the more reason to celebrate our success in helping Fort Sill get back on its feet. Before beginning work, our team gauged the volume of moisture in about 110 buildings on the base through the use of moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras. About 50 of these buildings had endured at least one burst pipe. To get the job done in an efficient and timely manner, Team Wall’s three locations combined our resources. On any given day, anywhere from 70 to 100 crew members were supervised by eight crews. Crew supervisors were needed to oversee both the demolition and drying processes, as well as monitor the long list of equipment that we utilized. From small format equipment to four tractor trailers carrying about 1,000 air movers and 200 dehumidifiers, our team pulled out all the stops to return Fort Sill to its preloss condition. Our crews remained at Fort Sill for 17 days, busy providing climate control, descants, dehumidifiers, and temporary power to six separate buildings at the same time. Our team had a long list of tasks to complete and lots of hard work ahead, but it was nothing that the power of our three locations combined couldn’t handle.

Trust SERVPRO Team Wall’s 3 Locations for Your Storm Needs

As we alluded to earlier, our three locations work together on a daily basis, forming a tight-knit community that can come together to tackle any challenge that is thrown our way. Not every job is as large-scale as the Fort Sill restoration, but we practice cooperation and provide assistance to our other offices every day. In the event that a storm, large or small, hits your neighborhood, SERVPRO of Harrisburg West is ready to help. Backed by Team Wall’s two other locations in Hunt Valley and Harford County and Metro Pittsburgh East, we’re equipped with the tools required to combat emergencies of any size. Call us today at (717) 510-6779 and be sure to check out our website for more information about the professional Storm and Flood Services that we offer, in addition to our Water Restoration Process and Mold Remediation and Restoration services.

A Guide to Electrical Outlet Safety

5/12/2021 (Permalink)

It’s a common dilemma that we have all faced at one point or another: Standing perplexed, holding an electrical cord in our hands, questioning whether it is safe to plug in. Would one more plug in the outlet make that much of a difference? The reality is, the consensus on electrical outlet guidelines are blurry, prompting poor decisions that could result in an electrical fire. Electrical malfunctions, according to a study conducted by the National Fire Protection Agency in 2012 and 2016, were the second leading cause of residential fires. So, how many cords is too many? In order to be sure that you are taking every precaution to prevent an electrical fire from igniting in your home, keep reading.

Statistics About Electrical Fires

It is important to first understand the most common reasons as to why electrical fires ignite in homes. A 2018 report on Residential Building Electrical Fires published by FEMA found that from 2014 to 2016, one of the first items to catch fire in homes during electrical fires is electrical wire. 12 percent of electrical fires involved outlets and receptacles, while 5 percent stemmed from extension cords. In light of this information, it is crucial that we navigate outlets, cords, and electrical wires carefully.


In the FEMA report, a long list of guidelines related to fire safety when utilizing appliances, outlets, and extension cords is provided.


FEMA reports that appliances, including refrigerators, washing machines, and microwaves, must be plugged into wall outlets instead of indirect, alternative power sources. It is also recommended that appliances’ wires and electrical cords be surveyed on a regular basis for possible damage, which may include loosening or cracking, in order to decrease the chances of an unexpected electrical fire.

Outlets and Extension Cords

Extension cords provide a quick solution when we have more to plug in than what an outlet can handle. However, this renders extension cords even more hazardous, which emphasizes the importance of never overloading an extension cord. Usually, you should be able to find an extension cord’s capacity on its packaging. Extension cords with internal overload protection are recommended. Similarly, wall outlets should not be overwhelmed with a greater number of plugs than there are outlets available. Additionally, two-prong outlets should not be utilized for three-pronged electrical cords.

Where SERVPRO Can Help

It is possible for homes and residences to fall victim to electrical fires as a result of accidents, even when precautionary measures are taken. This is where SERVPRO of Harrisburg West steps in. We are standing by, ready to lend a hand in the event that your home endures an unexpected electrical fire. Know that our professional fire services are designed to mend your fire-damaged residence, restoring it to its previous condition. Check out our website to learn about more of our fire-related services, including our Fire Damage Tips and Fire Restoration Process. Don’t wait. Pick up the phone and call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 for our trusted residential fire damage restoration services.

Employees of the Quarter: Octavius Duval and Matt Voght

5/5/2021 (Permalink)

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 Duval

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!

Matt Voght

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

4/21/2021 (Permalink)

Two Men 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

4/14/2021 (Permalink)

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

4/7/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Challenges Faced

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

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

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

3/24/2021 (Permalink)

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

3/17/2021 (Permalink)

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 Damage

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.

Moisture Damage

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

3/12/2021 (Permalink)

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.

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Smoke Damage

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.

Soot Damage

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

2/24/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Where to Look for Mold in Your Commercial Business

2/17/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth in a commercial business is much more than a sight for sore eyes. Where mold grows, effects to the health and safety of customers and employees alike, as well as the building’s structure, often follow, threatening a major interruption to business. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has published an article, “Guide to Mold in the Workplace”, which illustrates the effects of mold growth in commercial businesses. The article explains mold’s ability to grow and thrive, with the presence of moisture and oxygen, on “virtually any substance”. The article also stresses the dangers of mold growth, stating that indoor mold growth should be prevented at all times. Gaining an understanding of the most common areas of commercial businesses in which mold grows is key in protecting your commercial business from a potentially devastating mold infestation. Knowing where to look can make all the difference in catching and stopping mold growth before it’s too late.

1. Windows and Doors

Doors and windows provide the perfect entrances for outdoor, humid air and moisture to make their way into commercial businesses. On days heavy with precipitation or cold temperatures that leave windows and doors coated in condensation, moisture is more likely to slip in through windows and doors. Keep an eye out for accumulating moisture around these areas and be sure to dry any areas immediately.

2. HVAC and AC Units

Found in almost every commercial business is either heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit or an air conditioning unit. When these units do not receive the maintenance that they require, they can malfunction, causing leaks and heightened humidity levels throughout the building, which can facilitate mold growth. However, maintenancing HVAC and AC units on a regular basis can help prevent these issues. Additionally, frequently cleaning your unit’s drip pan and changing its filter is beneficial in preventing obstructions. To best prevent mold growth, pick up the phone and call for professional assistance at the first indication of a leak. If you believe that mold growth has already taken place, be sure to also get in touch with a certified commercial mold inspector. Click here for more information about our commercial mold remediation services and be sure to also check out our HVAC Cleaning Services

3. Employee Areas

Employee kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas aren’t typically the first thing you see when entering a commercial business. However, they can be especially vulnerable to mold growth due to the presence of drains, sinks, and toilets in these areas. When moisture accumulates around these appliances in employee areas and remains hidden, mold growth can occur. Be sure to clean employee areas frequently and examine them for excess moisture in order to best avoid a mold problem.

Remember: It Can Happen Anywhere

While the areas previously highlighted are particularly vulnerable to mold growth, it is necessary to recognize that they are not the only areas of commercial businesses at risk. Keep in mind OSHA’s statement: mold can be found anywhere and grow on any substance. Therefore, in order to best avoid mold growth in your commercial business, it is important to examine all areas of your building and watch for early signs of moisture buildup, especially in areas that have previously been the victim of leaks.

Call SERVPRO for Your Business’ Mold Remediation Needs

In the event that your commercial business experiences mold growth, call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 without delay. When it comes to reducing interruptions to your business and protecting the health of your employees when mold is present, time is of the essence. Part of what sets us apart from other commercial remediation companies in Harrisburg is that our team of experts, equipped with extensive commercial mold remediation training and experience, will arrive immediately to begin the restoration process. Read more about our Mold Restoration Process by clicking here. Trust SERVPRO to take care of your commercial business every step of the way, quickly containing the mold infestation and speedily restoring your business to its preloss condition.

Employee of the Quarter: Vickie Jordan

2/10/2021 (Permalink)

Every quarter, we celebrate one particularly spectacular employee and present them with the title “Employee of the Quarter”. Our Harrisburg West office chose Vickie Jordan to receive the title this quarter. Learn more about Vickie and her outstanding work in the following excerpt from our recent quarterly newsletter:

Meet Vickie

SERVPRO of Harrisburg West’s 4th Quarter “Employee of the Quarter” is Vickie Jordan! Though Vickie started working with Team Wall in November of 2019, she has years of experience with the company, as she worked as an Administrative Assistant for SERVPRO of North York prior to Team Wall’s ownership.

A Master of Her Craft

In her current role as Job File Coordinator for SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, Vickie works diligently while juggling many different tasks. Vickie has demonstrated that she is a remarkable multitasker, as she collaborates with our field technicians, insurance adjusters, and customers in order to put together estimates and invoice packages that thoroughly and accurately detail each job. With a tremendous amount of protocol to follow for our insurance carrier program requirements, Vickie’s work is meticulous, but she knows her stuff.

Thank You, Vickie!

Vickie’s coworkers know her as a team-player, as she is always willing to help others and be of assistance in any way she can. We are so lucky to have Vickie on our SERVPRO of Harrisburg West team!

Restoring Your Home After a Fire

2/2/2021 (Permalink)

For homeowners, residential fires are a nightmare. Devastating the home and its contents, a fire can turn the lives of those living in the home upside-down in a matter of minutes. With life as you knew it uprooted, the urge to take matters into your own hands and combat the fire damage cleanup is understandable. However, one misstep could actually make matters worse. When dealing with the aftermath of a fire, it is critical that you take steps to restore your home, but it’s even more important that your home is protected from further damage. Continue reading for some of our professional Fire Damage Tips, as well as ways in which you can keep your home fire-safe in the future.

Fire Damage Restoration Tips

The following are some of our Fire Damage Tips, which we have put together after years of experience in fire damage restoration. These can be helpful in the process of quickly restoring your home.

  1. Lessen Movement

When you move around your house after a fire, movement can cause fire soot particles to travel into the air. Those particles can inflict additional damage to fabrics, carpets, and upholstery in your home. In order to prevent further soot damage, keep movement to a minimum and exercise caution when moving throughout your home.

  1. Don’t Attempt to Clean Without Professional Guidance

Without professional guidance, attempting to clean surfaces or items in your home may be more harmful than helpful. Before you attempt to wash fire-damaged carpets or surfaces, be sure to consult professional fire damage cleaners. It can be dangerous to clean electronic appliances or devices that have been exposed to or damaged by fire, heat, or water.

  1. Keep Hands Clean

Objects in your home can sustain additional damage if they are handled with unclean hands that carry soot particles or other remnants of the fire. In order to protect items from unnecessary damage, be sure to thoroughly clean your hands or wear clean gloves when attempting fire damage cleanup.

Preventing Future Fires

While your first priority is mitigating the fire damage or smoke damage and restoring your home, taking steps to prevent future fires in your home is just as important. The American Red Cross recommends that you take the following preventative measures:

  1. Check on Your Smoke Detectors

Remember to inspect your home’s smoke detectors and change batteries regularly to make sure that they are functioning properly. Smoke detectors should be located in multiple rooms throughout your home. Consider interconnecting your home’s smoke detectors in order to improve communication between them, as every alarm will sound when one detects smoke, alerting you as soon as possible.

  1. Fire-Proof Your Home

When furniture shopping, it may be beneficial to select fire-resistant items. These days, you can buy a wide range of fire-proof pieces, from couches to house plants. By furnishing your home with fire-resistant items, you can prevent any fire that ignites in your home from spreading, saving you valuable time.

  1. Limit Fire Risks

Even in simple activities that you perform every day at home, from heating your home to using electronics, steps can be taken to protect your home from fires. When you see a frayed wire or cord, replace it immediately, even if it still seems to be doing its job. It’s better to be safe than sorry. When heating your home during the colder months, be sure to clean heating sources, such as your chimney or stove tops, prior to use.

Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO

We know that residential fires can be overwhelming, and deciding what comes next is challenging. A good first step is picking up the phone and calling SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 immediately. We’ll arrive quickly and initiate a damage assessment, which along with our professional expertise, will help you make sense of the situation. SERVPRO is here to help your home recover from the fire with our restoration fire damage services and make the fire damage or smoke damage “Like it never even happened.” Interested in more of our Fire Damage Tips? Check them out here.

How to Deal With a Polar Vortex

2/2/2021 (Permalink)

If you or I ever hear the term “polar vortex”, it means we are going to need to add a jumper or two to the list. The Polar Vortex is a region of cold air that gravitates towards the earth's poles. According to the National Weather Service, this zone will block jet streams and bring unseasonably cold weather. We were lucky enough to witness the plane Polar Vortex when our Arctic air took a trip south during the winter through the jet stream, falling in our own slice of Arctic air. It causes such cold conditions that are almost intolerable. It may come as a surprise to know that our homes and businesses, too, will suffer from the cold. As we need to dress warm and wear hats, we need to protect our homes and businesses the same way.

Effects of the Polar Vortex

Our homes and workplaces can be destroyed due to frozen pipes and ice jams during the “polar vortex” of the winter. It is now freezing cold in the Arctic, temperatures in the Arctic can cause the water in the pipes to ice and swell, which can cause the pipe to break. In the attic, as snow and ice mix and pile up, a "ridge" of ice will form and prevent the melting snow from leaving the roof. This is called "Ice Damming" which allows water and ice to spill down through the roof and into the house.

How to Prepare

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

The Phoenix Buildings: 2020 Q4 Job of the Quarter

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

Among the most powerful weather events, hurricanes stand out as some of the most intense. The unlucky towns and their residents are forced to endure an intense weather event that rocks their worlds, turning lives upside-down and leaving behind a path of unimaginable destruction.

Every year during hurricane season, SERVPRO makes trips to areas that have been the victims of hurricanes in order to provide our services to those in need. This year’s hurricane season was one for the history books and as a result, our team was completing storm work 24/7. For our “Job of the Quarter” during a quarter filled with a plethora of storm work, it makes perfect sense that the title should go to a job that we completed this September in the wake of Hurricane at the Phoenix Buildings in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Job of The Quarter

The “Job of the Quarter” is the job that best illustrates the finest characteristics of our SERVPRO team. The Phoenix Buildings job fits that description completely, as it displays SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team Team Wall’s stellar turnaround time, coordination between each of our three offices, and our capability to be a “one-stop shop” for our customers.

Prior to Hurricane Sally in 2020, the last hurricane to make landfall in Alabama was Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Orange Beach was hit particularly hard and our team traveled there immediately after receiving the news from Storm Team Wilson concerning the storm damage at the Phoenix Buildings. Multiple stories of condos, which had all experienced significant water damage as a result of Hurricane Sally, we housed inside of the Phoenix Buildings. We began work on only one of the Phoenix Buildings initially, but after showcasing our strengths through our work on the first building, we were excited to be given the opportunity to work on a second.

The Phoenix Buildings job presented multiple challenges to our team, such as obtaining keys to individual condo units and completing work while residents were living in them. Hurricane Sally brought violent rain, which entered the condo units, from the top to the bottom of each building, via sliding glass doors. This storm was completely out of anyone’s control, which made it even more important to us that we completed our work as quickly as possible in order to restore a sense of normalcy in our customers’ lives during such a tumultuous time.

We knew that the only way to provide the speedy restoration that our customers deserved was to pull together SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team Team Wall’s resources and flex our muscles. Here at SERVPRO, we are proud to be a “one-stop shop” for our customers by handling every service that they need, from the beginning to the end of the job. In order to do this, we compiled resources from our Hunt Valley, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh offices. As a result, our team was able to complete work on both of the Phoenix Buildings in only two weeks, while our competitors working on some of the other Phoenix Buildings required the same amount of time to tackle only one building. SERVPRO offers many mitigation, restoration, and rebuild services so that we can save our customers time, money, and unnecessary hassle. From roofing services to document drying, we’re prepared to take care of our customers’ every concern after a destructive storm like Hurricane Sally.

Even though the relentless 2020 hurricane season is now behind us, we’re already beginning to prepare for this year’s hurricane season. While we’re hopeful that the 2021 hurricane season will give us slightly more room to breathe, we are excited about the opportunities that it will bring, like the Phoenix Buildings, that will allow us to help as many people as we can. No matter what 2021’s hurricane season has in store, we’ll be standing by, ready to help you or your client through whatever comes your way.

Owners Corner: 1st Quarter Newsletter Excerpt

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

No one can argue that 2020 was a challenging year. Just take a look at the Wikipedia page dedicated to 2020 (it even itemizes events by month and day). You could also peruse your favorite social media platform and, within a matter of seconds, find a video, meme, a “vent” from a friend, or an advertisement that leaves you wondering, “will we ever find a light at the end of the tunnel that is 2020?”.

We could even see this sentiment reflected in our family and friends’ holiday cards. It seemed as though everyone referenced the events and feelings of this year, whether it be through amusing candid photos, “year in review” notes, or catchy taglines. That is, until January 2nd, 2021, when I received and opened the final card of the season, which sparked an intense feeling of gratitude.

On the back of the card, I found words that caught me by surprise and inspired me to alter my viewpoint as I began to lumber into the new year:

“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

I am committed to savoring the good lessons that emerged from the obstacles of 2020. Particularly, for Jim and I, we want to savor those that impacted the most important parts of our world:

  1. Family: Every day, our kids are growing. This year, we had the opportunity to spend more time together and revel in each moment instead of driving separate cars to make it to whichever sporting event was next on the roster. We were able to eat our dinner at the SAME table, at the SAME time. At the table, we had meaningful discussions with our kids, watching their personalities grow right before our eyes. Some of that growth stretched beyond their personalities as well. We watched, without the distractions presented by the everyday chaos with which we had previously become acquainted, our 12-year-old tack on an additional 6 inches to his height this year. The ability to be present in the moment, void of distractions, was one of the most incredible blessings to come out of 2020 and it’s one that we want to carry with us for years to come.
  2. SERVPRO: While the lesson of humility is continuous, 2020 brought it to the forefront of our minds. Regardless of our efforts to plan and attempt to get things under control as best we can, there will always be some situations that we just can’t control:
  • 1St Quarter 2020: In October of 2019, our business underwent a significant expansion geographically, which was followed by the warmest winter to be recorded in the last 125 years. Our business halted and sweat began to drip off our brows as unsettling discussions of layoffs commenced. This unforeseen circumstance was nothing short of a punch to the gut. At the same time, however, it served as a reminder that instead of the rest of the world revolving around our plans, it is us who must revolve our plans around the rest of the world. It was the earliest use of the word “pivot”, something that would be applied many, many more times in 2020.
  • 2nd Quarter 2020: COVID-19, lockdowns, uncertainty, fear. I don’t think I need to tell you what went down in 2nd Quarter. Almost overnight, both our business as a whole and our employees were deemed “essential”. In order to help “flatten the curve”, our primary services changed from restoration to viral pathogen cleaning. Aspiring to give our communities some much-needed peace of mind, we did everything in our power to keep businesses open and decelerate the economic consequences of lengthy shutdowns. As entrepreneurs, we’ll never forget this period of time. We certainly felt the fear that arose from the profound uncertainty, but we were filled with pride as we watched our team band together, acclimate to the unfamiliar situation, and display our synergy in order to fulfill our tagline, “Here to Help”.
  • 3rd Quarter 2020: It all began with the English alphabet and came to a close with the Greek alphabet. The 2020 hurricane season broke records left and right. Our Storm Response teams traveled across the country, from Philadelphia to Florida, in response to Hurricanes Isaias, Laura, and Sally. One project that particularly stood out is summarized in our most recent “Job of the Quarter”. This project emphasized far more than our team’s capabilities, as it also illustrated the beneficial outcomes that result from our SERVPRO franchise system’s “One Team” mindset. Just the same as 2nd Quarter, we learned another lesson in humility, reflected in the proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
  • 4th Quarter 2020: Here you come again, just when I'm about to get myself together”. The lyrics of Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” resounded in my mind. The contrast in temperature between the winter of 2019 and that of 2020 was drastic. This winter has been incredibly cold and largely unhelpful in the process of curbing COVID-19. Cases skyrocketed toward the end of October, sending our team back into an overwhelming amount of COVID-19 cleanings. In fact, we completed 400 COVID-19 related cleanings this quarter and then some. To reflect the resurgence of the virus, our focus shifted back to being there for our communities. Knowing that we didn’t have to head out into uncharted territory, as we did in the spring, took some of the weight off of our shoulders. With experience and practice, our team was able to polish the process and improve the quality of our services.

Looking back on the difficult challenges posed by 2020, it’s apparent that those challenges were the catalyst of many good things. I encourage you to acknowledge and honor the good that came out of the past year. Life is short and it shouldn’t be wasted by wallowing in the disappointing aspects.

“…it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” These words, the last sentences I read in 2020, were unbelievably fitting. This year, I’m taking those words and tucking them into my back pocket to carry them with me into the new year. I hope you’ll do the same.

Wishing that you remain well and happy,

Trish and Jim Wall

How We Care For Your Water Damaged Products

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “home” as “one’s place of residence”, but here at SERVPRO, we know that it’s much more than that. Beyond being the place in which you live, your home is also the foundation that holds your personal belongings. These items are what transform your house into your home. In the event that your house sustains water damage, both its physical foundation and its contents are put at risk for significant damage, as water can impose serious damage on the furniture, photographs, or other types of belongings that you adore. At SERVPRO, we are committed to handling your home and personal belongings with care and we strive to restore the contents of your home rather than replacing them.

Because SERVPRO offers a wide variety of contents restoration services, we have a service that will meet your needs, no matter the nature of the water damage that has affected your home. Keep reading in order to gain a deeper understanding of our commitment to handling the contents of your home with care after any devastating water emergency.

Contents Restoration

We offer 7 different options for restoration services, depending on your unique situation and the kind of water damage that the contents have sustained. For cases in which there is only light residue, dry cleaning may be utilized. Conversely, if there is moderate to heavy residue, wet cleaning may be necessary. If wet cleaning is not appropriate for some contents, we may utilize spray and wipe or, for fabric items, foam cleaning. Finally, we may utilize immersion cleaning or abrasive cleaning, contingent on the type of items affected.

Move-Out and Pack-Out

If your home requires cleaning services that are substantial for water-damaged contents, a move-out of the affected area may be beneficial. Protecting your belongings from additional damage, a move-out often proves to facilitate the restoration process. We also offer move-in day services, but be sure to check with your insurance in order to understand which services will be available to you.

Electronic Cleanup

Electronic devices can be the most dangerous of all belongings if they come into contact with water. It is imperative that you do not attempt to power on or utilize any electronic devices in the event that they have sustained water damage, as water and electronics make for a dangerous and sometimes deadly combination. Whether it be a T.V., computer, DVD player, or another kind of electronic device, our specialists will focus on professionally cleaning the exterior in an effort to protect the interior of each electronic device. Lastly, an experienced electronics technician will inspect all electronics after they’ve been cleaned in order to ensure your safety.

Document and Photograph Drying

Photographs and other types of documents are especially at risk for serious damage in the event that they come into contact with water, as even the smallest drop of liquid can result in important information or images becoming smudged, unrecognizable, or ruined. Therefore, we are devoted to drying contents and preventing the possibility of the item sustaining additional water damage to the best of our ability, even if we are not able to restore the item to its preloss condition.  No matter the type of contents in need of drying, one of the five drying services that we offer will fit your needs. From air drying, dehumidifier, or freezer drying to vacuum freeze drying and vacuum thermal drying, we have a drying service that will work for you.

Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS)

We know how stressful a water damage emergency in your home can be, which is why we offer our Contents Claim Inventory Service, or CCIS for short. The CCIS is a tool that can help limit your feelings of stress by making a detailed list of your belongings. This list will include each item in every room of your home with details concerning any water damage that it has sustained in addition to its value before the water loss. In conjunction with photos and barcoding, the CCIS will form a detailed picture of the contents of your home and, above all, it will restore your peace of mind during a tumultuous time.

Need More Information?

If the contents of your home have endured water damage and are in need of our services, don’t wait. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West immediately at (717) 510-6779. You can also find answers to any questions that you may have concerning the ways in which we care for your personal belongings after a water emergency here. Additionally, you can learn more about our water damage restoration services and process by clicking here. We know that the contents of your home hold a tremendous amount of value to you and your family and are the items that make your house your home. As a result, we are committed to working tirelessly to restore your damaged belongings to their previous condition, handling them with the utmost care every step of the way.

Soda-Blasting for Fire Damage

12/16/2020 (Permalink)

It is imperative for SERVPRO technicians to keep up with thescience and technology that pushes the restoration industry forward. Due to the fact that we are so focused on continuing education, and putting trust and education into our workforce SERVPRO is one of the leading water and fire mitigation companies. Soda-blasting, one of our most specific cleaning techniques, could be the service you were looking for.

What's Soda-Blasting Then?
Sodablasting is a procedure that uses sodiumbicarbonate as an abrasive medium todeep clean surfaces using special equipment, similar to a power washer. Used mainly on concrete walls and wood floors, soda-blastingimprovesthe visual quality and integrity of surfaceswithout significantly damaging or deteriorating their surfaces by ripping or "blasting off" tons of layers of the surface. In comparison to ice blasting, soda-blasting is intended to preserve this content intact. This is unprecedentedly useful for dealing with historic pieces, support beams and all kinds of plastic and wood material as there are less concerns about damaging structural integrity of the surface.

In 2020, we had many times to use this technique in Howard County Maryland, especially, to clear deeply the surfaces of a log cabin which had a big fire and which not only coated wood but also stained it from all the ash and soot. It was a very necessary technique to use due to the fact that stripping the interior walls would cause issues for the team later when treating the wood. We suggested that this is one of the easiest ways to clean surfaces of wood products that are weakened by fire or mold, as the surface is thoroughly cleaned and the structural integrity of wood is not badly damaged.

Why Choose Us for Your Deep Cleaning Needs
Often because we know exactly what we talk about. You want a person who investigates the problem and figure out what happened to avoid the problem from happening again. No one gets very far by doing the bare minimum. On the first day, our techniciansaretaught how to identifythe best way to solve an assortment ofproblems they may face in the field. We agree that there's never a one-size-fits-all solution and that every situation is special, so our crews need to make the right decision for YOU.

Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West today at(717) 510-6779 if you believe that our commercial soda-blasting services are suitable to your homeor business. We know the value to get your company back into service as soon as possible after the catastrophic damage caused by fire, smoke, or water. Trust SERVPRO and its clean-up service experts for a clean you can rely on.

A Fire Restoration Process You Can Trust

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

Beneath the surface of the physical destruction that fires can inflict upon homes and businesses, fires can also turn the lives of those who live or work in them upside down without warning. At SERVPRO, we have seen both the physical effects and the personal impacts that fires can have, which is why restoring homes and businesses to their pre-fire condition as soon as possible is our top priority. Every day, we aim to live up to our famous saying, “Like it never even happened,” as we work to help our customers return to normal. Even with the uncertainty that surrounds a fire, you can take comfort in our tried and true, 7-step fire restoration process. Our fire restoration process begins with a simple phone call. Keep reading to learn more about our 7 steps, which culminate in a thorough fire damage restoration that you can trust.

  1. Emergency Contact

After the fire has been extinguished, be sure to call SERVPRO immediately. We understand that no fire is the same, which is why we work with you to ensure that we personalize our restoration services to fit your unique needs. Making SERVPRO your first call guarantees that we will arrive immediately with the appropriate equipment and resources to best serve your needs.

  1. Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

When our team of fire damage experts arrives on the scene, they will survey the extent of the property’s fire damage. Depending on the scope of the fire, smoke, and soot loss, we will craft the most effective restoration plan for your home or business.

  1. Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Services

Fires can destroy objects such as windows, roofs, and doors, leaving areas of the home exposed and susceptible to further damage. In order to prevent any additional damage, our team will cover these areas with tarps or boards before we begin work, keeping your home safe during the entire restoration process.

  1. Water Removal and Drying

During the process of extinguishing a fire, it is not uncommon for the affected property to sustain some amount of water damage. If your home or business has experienced water damage, our team will first remove all standing water. Next, we will utilize air movers and dehumidifiers to thoroughly remove the remaining water in order to complete the process of drying the property.

  1. Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

The next step in our fire restoration process is removing any traces of smoke and soot that remain on surfaces, including ceilings and walls, after a fire. We utilize special equipment in order to make certain that all smoke and soot is removed.

  1. Cleaning and Sanitizing

After removing smoke and soot residue, we work to clean and sanitize objects that have endured fire damage. We thoroughly clean, sanitize, and disinfect every salvageable item using a wide variety of cleaning techniques. Additionally, we make certain that all odors are eradicated by putting fogging equipment and industrial scrubbers to use. Our goal is to give your home or business a superior clean.

  1.  Restoration

To finish our fire restoration process, we place the finishing touches on the project by completing major or minor repairs to restore your home or business to its condition prior to the fire. Major repairs can involve rebuilding areas or rooms of the property that have been damaged. Minor repairs may include replacing drywall, installing new carpet, or giving a room a fresh coat of paint.

In Need of Fire Damage Restoration? Call SERVPRO Today

If your home or business has experienced a devastating fire and is in need of fire damage restoration services, make sure that SERVPRO your first call. When our customers’ lives have been flipped upside down as a result of a fire, we have a responsibility here at SERVPRO to restore their lives and properties back to normal. You can put your trust in the 7 steps of our fire restoration process that will guide you through the distress of a destructive fire by making certain that your home or business makes a full recovery as if there was never a fire in the first place. For more information concerning our fire restoration process and services, click here. To begin restoring your property with the fire restoration process, call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 today.

Three Hidden Residential Fire Hazards

12/2/2020 (Permalink)

27% of all fires ignite in residential homes, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. When we think of fire hazards in the home, objects that involve electricity or an open flame come to mind, such as electrical wiring and the stove. These are merely the more obvious catalysts of residential fires, as there can be other, lesser-known fire hazards in the home. Let’s learn more about 3 hidden residential fire hazards:

  • Laptops

Especially among those of us working at home, experiencing our laptops overheating while we’re working is a common occurrence. Overheated laptops can cause a fire to ignite when they are left sitting on a blanket, bed comforter, sofa, or another fabric surface.

  • Loose Outlets

We know malfunctioning electrical wiring to be dangerous when it comes to starting fires in the home, but it’s important to view electrical outlets in the same regard. Inside of electrical outlets are blades that can loosen over time. Have you ever attempted to plug a cord into an old outlet and then watched it fall out? This is a tell-tale sign that the outlet’s blades have become too loose. In this condition, there is a greater chance of a fire igniting, as the blades are capable of conducting extreme heat.

  • Glassware

Have you ever watched someone start a fire with a magnifying glass? Magnifying glasses and other types of glassware, including drinking glasses and vases, can ignite a fire when a focused ray of light passes through them and there is a flammable object nearby. In order to avoid this in your home, consider moving glassware away from windows.

The safety of residents of your home, as well as your home itself, are at risk when residential fires spark, as they often spread through the home quickly. Remember these hidden fire hazards and keep them in the back of your mind in order to prevent an unwanted fire.

In the event that a fire ignites in your home, causing fire damage, call SERVPRO. Our team of fire damage experts can be trusted to arrive quickly and remediate any areas of your home that have sustained fire damage in a timely manner. Be sure to read our Fire Brochure and for more information about our fire damage services, click here.

Chris Employee Highlight Writeup

11/25/2020 (Permalink)

Hoeltke is the kind of man who seeks unpredictability and challenge, while valuing loyalty and family. This was made vehemently clear during the filming of our most recent Employee Highlight video about Chris Hoeltke. Chris Hoeltke, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley Harford County's Warehouse Coordinator, a full-service disaster recovery agency, has led a fascinating life. He and his partner, Shannon, have chosen to live full-time on one of the many boats he's collected over the years.

We spoke about his work experience during our conversation with Chris. He mentioned that he never stayed too long at any workplace. He has lasted approximately five years in every given job since his first job.  He explained how from the bottom he begins, works his way to the top, then something— happens and he decides to leave.   
"I'm getting bored," he said. Chris no longer sees excitement in what he does if his job is no longer challenging for him. He says this is why working as SERVPRO's Warehouse Coordinator is the ideal role, because when he arrives at work, he never knows what the day would bring. A storm might have struck that he has to drive to a nearby job may require his help, anything that is broken may need repairing. as,Whatever the case might be, because it is still different from yesterday, Chris is happy to do it.   

You may be aware that the destructive Hurricane Laura struck Lake Charles in Louisiana in late August. Shortly afterward, Hurricane Delta struck the area. SERVPRO sent multiple teams down to the scene to support any businesses or families in distress, hearing about the back to back destruction. to Hoeltke contributed to those teams and was even the first to suggest he "roll out".  

Hoeltke said "I was happy because I got to see my family."

Hoeltke had already spoken with Jim Wall, owner of SERVPRO Team Wall, about his origins in Louisiana prior to his planned visit back to his old stomping ground.

"[Jim] let me go down early one day so I could spend a day in New Orleans... I got to see my parents who I haven't seen for 15-18 years."  
The home reunion at Hoeltke was successful, to say the least. He had the chance to meet nieces and nephews he had never met before.

All in all, we appreciate the years that Chris has spent with us so far and are glad to have come to know him the way we have. Thank you, Chris, for everything.

Asbestos Abatement - We Do That

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

Asbestos is a word that brings a great deal of weight to it. Because of the significant health hazards associated with long and regular exposure to the materials, you may even have seen ads about it before, advising the public to search for asbestos inside their homes. The prime concern is mesothelioma. It is defined as a tissue tumor that lines the lengths, stomach, and heart. It is a really serious concern and it is important to know how to search for asbestos.

Asbestos production originally started as a common building material in the early 20th century. It can be used in all kinds of things, including gaskets, sealants for roofing, wall panels, ceiling panels, and more. Because of its natural fire retardant, sound absorbent, and insulating properties, it was well used in all kinds of stuff. It was possible to find asbestos in just about every household in the 1980s until it was discovered that repeated exposure could cause severe health risks.

It was noticed that they would be trapped in major organs when asbestos particles found their way into our bodies, clogging them up and sometimes creating very damaging tumors. Such small fibers could forever get trapped inside these organs, irritating healthy cells before health problems such as mesothelioma arise.

Exposure to asbestos in the restoration and mitigation industry is a very real danger that can be faced by our manufacturing staff as we go about our tasks. Breaking down drywall, opening up air vents, tearing plumbing apart and then repairing it. We do not do our due diligence to keep ourselves, the workers, or you, the property owner, safe if not properly checked. Especially in our sector, safety is always a top priority, and our role is primarily to ensure that our clients are safe and secure from the initial call to years after a job is completed. This is why we give you the details, as the first protection against any mishap is information and understanding.

Common Building Materials Containing Asbestos

As follows, but not limited to:

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

Before we begin any demolition job, our team conducts asbestos testing as a commonplace procedure, as it is critical for the safety of everyone concerned. In the event of positive outcomes, we use a third party Industrial Hygienist to conduct sample testing and compile a protocol for abatement (a term widely used to describe the reduction of something).

In the past, we subcontracted to third party suppliers with external asbestos abatement services needed. Since 2018, however, our internal teams have completed the preparation, testing, and qualification procedures needed to conduct in-house asbestos abatement so that we can get faster on the demo stage and enrich our teams with better expertise in the process.


We (Team Wall) completed an Asbestos Abatement in West Virginia at a large-scale senior living facility in late 2020. Two of the four units sustained substantial fire damage and were in desperate need of a rapid demo and mitigation so that we could get to the restoration stage and get those unfortunate tenants back into their homes as quickly as possible. A kitchen fire had escalated into the attic space of a four-unit townhome. Fortunately, because of our certifications, we were able to get things done quicker because of our opportunity to do this at home, where it could take additional days or even weeks for most businesses to get the O.K. To commence demolition.

It's also a positive thing we've done. We found that the mastic below the tiles as well as the joint compounds used in the initial construction of the house were positive for asbestos when the asbestos test came back. Our team was equipped to complete a full-scale asbestos reduction in order to decontaminate the units and begin demoing, with the eventual goal of replacing the whole unit with all new materials in mind.

At the time of writing this a week ago, our team obtained clearance and are now finishing reconstruction services, while some other businesses might now have just been on the demolition facts. We replaced the windows on the outside, the siding, and the entire roof. All new ductwork, electrical wiring, plumbing insulation, all new kitchen cabinets, countertops, appliances, drywall, flooring, trim, were built on the inside and completed with a fresh coat of paint through ALL the affected units. We are truly a one-stop-shop.

We did that

SERVPRO isn't just a water and fire prevention business. People think we're going in, scraping some soot off a wall and leaving, but we're so much more than that, as you can see, and our operations extend far and wide. If your house, presumably, has been affected by something, send us a call. You're in the right place, and you're in safe hands if you need a squad that can be-all-do-all.

SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall

Halloween Fire Safety Tips

10/29/2020 (Permalink)

We here at SERVPRO Harrisburg West take the holidays very seriously, especially when it gives us an excuse to decorate the office and dress up. That's why, if you ever stop by the warehouse, you can find members of the team here sporting witch hats and pitchforks as early as October 1st. We really like to go all out and honestly, now that there are bits of bowls of candy everywhere, we can't complain. A lot of us, much like yourselves, are setting up and decking out our houses with all sorts of spooky gear. fog machines, light shows, animatronics, speakers, sometimes even a lifesize talking vampire. Some of our homes have ended up looking like they might as well be the stage for a heavy metal show, and what do both heavy metal shows and decked out houses both need to succeed? A ton of electricity. In fact, a good haunted house has been estimated to cost some owners around $281.32 a week in just electricity. Left unnoticed, these can not only rack up quite a frightening bill but can be a huge fire hazard, turning your Halloween night into an actual nightmare.

So what can you do in order to take the right precautions and keep your home and family safe?

  • Ditch the Crops
  • A common theme that many people have when setting up their haunted houses makes it look like a farmhouse. It is not unusual to see dried cornstalks, hay bales or piles of wood sitting in front of the houses of citizens. Generally speaking, it is not the safest idea to leave these things around open flames or devices susceptible of causing fires.

  • Switch to Switches
  • With the previous statement. Who loves a good jack-o-lantern. We sure do. One thing to keep in mind is that most people use open flames in jack-o-lanterns or luminaries, and if you're not careful, this can be another major fire hazard. We suggest converting these to LED lamps. They're reusable, safer, and come in a number of different colors.

  • Keep an Eye on Your Costume
  • Wardrobe malfunctions are another common concern. Long draping sashes, flowing skirts, acrylic hairpieces, string parts, all these objects can be caught over an open flame, or entangled in some kind of machinery, presenting terrible issues.

  • Always Check Your Equipment
  • Maybe it's you who decide to take out some form of heavy power tools or farm equipment and drop them in the front lawn. Always check the equipment before starting it. Gas caps, saw blades, fuel lines, extension cords, ensure proper protection when deciding to mess with heavy machinery on Halloween night. When in doubt, always remember the important acronym, K.I.S.S.

  • Test Your Outlets
  • Particularly those placed outside in the elements. We at SERVPRO know a lot about "daisy-chaining" and how to do it safely, it's part of the work, but it can get messy quickly. Always make sure how much power you put in and how much the outlet can take before plugging in something else, particularly if your house looks like a death metal album cover. 

    Accident prevention is the secret to making smart, measured choices that can save you long-term. We still aim to provide people with solutions to daily issues, hoping they will never again need our services. We know how hard house fires can be for families, and we will always be here to get people back in action in their time of need. If all else fails, you can always call your nearest SERVPRO for support.

    Job of the Quarter (Q4 2020)

    10/20/2020 (Permalink)

    PrimeCare Medical Rebuild

    This year has undeniably catapulted us into strange, new challenges and situations. Out of those challenges, however, we learned that adopting a “let’s figure it out” mindset, looking for alternatives, and adapting to whatever comes our way are all crucial in order to thrive. It’s important to remember that this attitude can facilitate success at any moment, not just during a year characterized by unpredictability.

    We stand by “7 Pillars” here at Team Wall, which consist of “Solutions, Hustle, Persistence, Team, Accountability, Consistency, and Quality”. Our team strives to embody these qualities every day. To us, they’re much more than buzzwords that are written on the wall. When it comes to our customer service experience, they’re the qualities that set us apart.

    When it comes time to pick our Job of the Quarter, we look for a job that both illustrates and embraces our 7 Pillars. The work that we completed this quarter at PrimeCare Medical not only fulfilled that requirement, but it also defied a common stereotype associated with SERVPRO, that we “don't do rebuild work”. This just isn’t true. You can count on SERVPRO to handle every aspect of the job, from start to finish.

    We received a call around 3 AM one morning about a building that had experienced a sprinkler head malfunction and needed emergency services for water mitigation. The building had undergone overall structural damage as well as water discharge affecting over 2 dozen second floor offices as a result of the water. Arriving onsite at 4:20 that same morning, our team was ready to start working. When we say that our response time is on point, we aren’t exaggerating.

    It was decided after a meeting with the building’s ownership that our team would get started on the rebuild process as soon as the demo and mitigation services were complete. On the surface, that conversation sounds like it was quick, but a great deal of time was devoted to discussing “Rebuild”. It was unknown to the customer that SERVPRO performs reconstruction work and, as a result, they were hesitant to trust us with this portion of the job. However, our unbeatable lead time, which allows us to start reconstruction work immediately after mitigation services are completed, is what helped us to obtain this opportunity. Often, when working with multiple vendors, it’s difficult to match that rapid turnaround time. Here at SERVPRO, we know just how valuable time is, especially in commercial work.

    Our team spent the following 3 ½ weeks hustling to finish the water mitigation and demo process for the building’s contents and structure. While this was going on, we were also working behind the scenes to plan and prepare for the process of reconstructing the affected areas. Committing to a turnaround time of 60 days, we knew that our success depended on our preparation and planning.

    And succeed we did. Our response and successful fulfillment of their requests left the customer so pleased with our work that they decided to give us additional repair work in order to finalize the restoration and rebuild operations for the building. We agreed to a 30 day completion time in order to get the company back in their building quickly.

    No job is ever the same, which is why we make it a point to maintain regular contact with our customers. In doing so, we can confirm that we’re meeting the customer’s unique needs. This job for PrimeCare Medical was no exception. We communicated regularly with the ownership and key stakeholders, keeping them up to date on every step of the process.

    We aim to be your “one-stop-shop” after any disaster here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall. We have built a talented and strong Reconstruction team over the years Over the years, our Reconstruction department has grown into a skilled, strong team that satisfies the well-known SERVPRO line, “Like it never even happened.” We can’t even begin to express our gratitude for opportunities to help companies such as PrimeCare Medical every day. We hope to have the opportunity to do the same for you and your customers in the future.

    Running Towards the Storm

    10/6/2020 (Permalink)

    Have you ever felt that strange, eerie feeling of “what did I just miss?” Maybe it’s come to you when you’re cruising southbound on the highway, enjoying the fact that there’s no one around you, until you see traffic at a complete standstill in the northbound lanes.

    We get that feeling pretty often here at SERVPRO, but we wouldn’t call it eerie. Instead, it’s just the nature of our job. When there’s a hurricane, flood, wildfire, or natural disaster, SERVPRO is on the road, driving toward the storm and getting ready to jump right in.

    Is this an easy task? Not at all. One adjective that will never be used to describe our storm response work is “easy”. However, is it worth it? One thousand times yes.

    Just this year alone, we’ve traveled to Cleveland, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Chicago, IL; Washington, DC; Saginaw, MI; Bear, DE; Cleveland, OH (again); and recently, Pensacola, FL and Orange Beach, AL to help homes and businesses. And we still have 3 months left in 2020.

    The Vision Statement of Team Wall is to “Restore peace of mind to EVERY customer. EVERY day.” At home, this is always on our minds, but when we’re chasing a storm and preparing to help those in need, it takes on an entirely new meaning. No one has control over Mother Nature, and yet it has the power to turn people’s lives upside-down overnight. This is why we send our seasoned, professional team members to support those affected through every stage of the restoration process. We are our customers’ facilitator, advocating for them throughout the entire process, from demolition, to rebuild, to insurance coverage and approvals. Helping our customers through life-changing, momentous events is our job and it’s what we love most.

    All of our team members currently responding to Hurricane Sally and helping those affected by the storm damage it’s left behind deserve a big shoutout. You are special people, your efforts are making a world of a difference, and we can’t begin to thank you enough!

    A Fire Hazard in the Home: The Clothes Dryer

    9/21/2020 (Permalink)

    Dryer While cleaning the lint filter on a regular basis, it is also important to take several other steps in order to protect your laundry room and the rest

    Threatening significant damage, residential fires are a common concern for homeowners. It may be surprising to know that an object in the laundry room is a leading cause of residential fires. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, the clothes dryer, a machine that we use daily, accounts for 92% of laundry room fires. Even if a fire ignites in the laundry room, it is important to note that fires can spread quickly to other areas of the home. For these reasons, it is beneficial to understand why dryer fires ignite so that you can best protect your entire home while continuing to use the clothes dryer regularly.

    Clean That Lint Filter!

    Neglecting one of the simplest steps when using the dryer, cleaning the lint filter, can result in devastating consequences. One of the primary catalysts for dryer fires is failing to clean them between uses, a task that only takes a few seconds. Lint, which accumulates during each use in the lint trap, is highly flammable in and of itself, but it can also restrict airflow, thus increasing the risk for fire. For these reasons, it isn’t sufficient to only clean the lint filter every few days. Instead, be sure to remove lint from the filter in between every use. By taking a few moments to clean out the lint filter, you can greatly reduce the chances of a dangerous fire igniting in your home.

    Other Ways to Prevent Dryer Fires

    While cleaning the lint filter on a regular basis, it is also important to take several other steps in order to protect your laundry room and the rest of your home from the potentially devastating consequences of a fire.

    • Pay Close Attention To Clothing Labels

    If you take a look at the tags of clothes, linens, towels, and other fabric materials, you’ll likely see specified instructions for drying. It is imperative that these directions, which can range from “tumble dry low” to “high heat”, be followed as closely as possible. Items that require low heat sometimes contain types of rubber that should not be exposed to high heat.

    • Move Flammable Objects Away from the Dryer

    It is not uncommon for household cleaning supplies to be stored in the laundry room. It is important to note that cleaning materials are often flammable. If these items are kept in your laundry room, make sure to keep them a safe distance from the dryer at all times to decrease the chances of any fire that ignites spreading quickly.

    • Check the Outdoor Vent Flap

    Outdoor vent flaps allow lint and hot air to escape clothes dryers. If the vent flap becomes obstructed by debris of any kind, keeping lint and hot air stuck in the unit, your dryer may be at greater risk for fire. Therefore, it is imperative that outdoor vent flaps are inspected regularly.

    If Disaster Strikes…

    Even after following all of these steps to prevent a fire from igniting as a result of your clothes dryer, accidents can still happen. If your home has experienced a dryer fire, make sure that SERVPRO is your first call. We understand how distressing residential fires can be and our fire damage experts will work diligently to restore your home quickly, getting things back to normal as soon as possible. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West today and learn more about our trusted fire damage services by clicking here.

    Causes of Sump Pump Failure

    9/14/2020 (Permalink)

    “Causes of Sump Pump Failure”

    You can usually find sump pumps in commercial buildings’ basements, working to drain water from the basement and pump it out, away from the building. Sump pumps play a critical role in protecting buildings from flooding and water damage. This is why a sump pump failure can be devastating and lead to a costly cleanup. In order to prevent a sump pump failure in your commercial building, it is important to first gain an understanding of why sump pumps fail.


    Old Age

    First, consider the age of your building’s sump pump. One of the most common reasons for sump pump failure is that the unit is old. After 7-10 years, sump pump failure is inevitable. Therefore, it is paramount that sump pumps be replaced when they begin to show signs of wear and tear in order to avoid disaster.

    Power Outage

    During these stormy summer months and hurricane season, a common reason as to why sump pumps fail is a power outage. Rain water from storms alone can overwhelm sump pumps, but major problems can occur if the storm causes a power outage, as it will prevent the sump pump from being able to do its job. In order to prevent your building’s basement from flooding during a power outage, be sure to hook your sump pump up to a backup generator. 

    Infrequent Maintenance

    Finally, sump pumps can fail if they are not receiving regular maintenance. To avoid a failure due to infrequent maintenance, make sure that you run a vinegar solution through the unit and check that its vents are functioning properly.

    Sump Pump Failure? Call SERVPRO

    In the event that your commercial building experiences water damage due to a sump pump failure, look no further than SERVPRO. We are experts in commercial water damage and have years of experience in our tool belt to provide you with effective restoration services unique to your building. We’ll also protect your building from the growth of mold and mildew through our advanced drying techniques. Read an overview of our water damage services by clicking here. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West today at (717) 510-6779 to schedule a consultation.

    Top 3 Source of Water Damage in Your Kitchen

    9/1/2020 (Permalink)

    Water Faucet The effects of water damage on your home can be devastating and costly.

    We’re in our kitchens every day, cooking meals, washing dishes, and so much more. These activities involve significant quantities of water, so it makes sense that kitchens are notorious for experiencing water damage. Several areas of the kitchen can be problematic in terms of water leakage and in order to protect your kitchen from water damage, it is important to know the locations of common problem spots. Keep reading to learn about 3 of the most common water damage sources in the kitchen.

    • The Sink

    Whether it’s washing the dishes, handwashing, or filling up a cup of water to drink, sinks use a lot of water. Sinks leak due to a variety of complications, including corrosion of sink parts and leaks in the drain or faucet. The best way to prevent water damage stemming from the sink is to check the sink’s piping for corroded parts and leaks every 6 months.

    • The Dishwasher

    Dishwashers require a tremendous amount of water in order to wash cups, plates, and silverware on a daily basis. The large quantity of water required by the dishwasher combined with its frequent usage makes for greater chances that the dishwasher will leak. When dishwashers leak, it may be the result of the wrong type of detergent being used, the unit overfilling with water, or a bent dishwasher door latch. To protect your kitchen from water damage due to a dishwasher leak, keep an eye out for pools of water beneath the dishwasher.

    • The Refrigerator and Ice Maker

    There’s nothing better on a summer day than a refreshing glass of your favorite beverage, made cool with the help of a little refrigeration and ice. However, the refrigerator and ice maker can make for a mess of water damage, as they’re prone to breaking down and causing leaks. Ice maker leaks can be the result of a wide array of problems, with the two most common being worn-out or damaged parts as well as improper installation. Keep an eye out for water accumulating on the floor underneath the fridge and ice maker, which is usually evidence that a leak has sprung. Additionally, it is beneficial to have refrigerators and ice makers inspected and maintenanced regularly to prevent unexpected leaks.

    The effects of water damage on your home can be devastating and costly, risking structural damage and destruction of surfaces and appliances, as well as mold and mildew growth. If you have experienced water damage in your kitchen, remember that SERVPRO is standing by, ready to help. Here at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, our water damage specialists have years of experience with kitchen water damage and will know what to do to restore your kitchen. Learn more about our water damage services here and call us today at (717) 510-6779 for a quick and thorough restoration.

    Taking it to the Streets - A Field Investigation

    8/17/2020 (Permalink)

    Hallway SERVPRO Are you ready for back to school?

    Back in mid-March, statewide closures of public schools were announced by the Pennsylvania and Maryland governors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, students, teachers, and parents stayed at home for the rest of the school year and adjusted to the new normal of virtual learning. With fall quickly approaching, the question on everyone’s mind is: Will students return to school or will virtual learning continue?

    Will Students Return to the Classroom?

    An article recently published in the Baltimore Sun, titled “Superintendents say schools in Central Maryland unlikely to return to normal in the fall, describes the problem that is currently facing Maryland schools while Baltimore-area school superintendents examine a variety of fall reopening plans. According to the superintendents, students returning to “in-person classes five days a week” (Bowie, 2020) this fall is unlikely. Several Maryland counties and Pittsburgh Public Schools have already decided to hold fall classes virtually. Contrastingly, other area schools and districts have decided to adopt either completely virtual or hybrid methods of learning.

    Schools Consider Different Plans

    Hybrid models of learning, differing slightly from institution to institution, are being considered by regional colleges and universities. Located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Dickinson College has opted for an entirely virtual fall semester, keeping students at home. On the other hand, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Maryland both plan to have students return to campus in some capacity this fall, as they will offer a mostly remote schedule and some in-person classes. Both schools have announced that they will enforce social distancing, mask wearing, and other safety protocols in addition to providing isolation facilities on campus (coronavirus.pitt.edu, 2020; umd.edu, 2020). Even with all of these safety precautions, the question is: will it be enough?

    SERVPRO Can Help

    No matter what model schools adopt, here at SERVPRO, we have a solution. Our “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program can be integrated into school reopening plans this fall by offering schools a cleaning service that is hospital-grade and uses disinfectants that are approved by the EPA. Both frequently contacted touchpoints, which include desktops, chair backs, and stair handrails, as well as less frequently contacted touchpoints, such as backs of desks and bathroom stall walls, are targeted in the cleaning. Afterward, SERVPRO will provide physical and digital signage, which schools can put on display to communicate the high level of disinfectant cleaning that the school has received. “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” cleanings can be either defensive or, if the school has a positive case of COVID-19, SERVPRO will arrive immediately to thoroughly disinfect the building.

    Even though there is uncertainty surrounding this fall and the school year, you can guarantee that your school will undergo the highest standard of cleaning by integrating SERVPRO’s “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program into your unique reopening plan.

    Condo Fire in Frederick

    8/12/2020 (Permalink)

    Our parent franchise SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County was dispatched to a large fire loss in which the roof needed to be addressed so that any incoming storms would not soak through and damage the rest of the condos below. We are always on the lookout for the best technology in order to provide the highest level of service to all of our customers. That's why we're the best in the industry

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

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

    Owners Corner: 2nd Quarter 2020

    8/11/2020 (Permalink)

    The following is an excerpt from our 3rd quarter newsletter. This quarter’s Owner’s Corner features one of our owners, Trish Wall, giving her thoughts on the company’s experience over the last several months dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic:

    It’s been 6 months since we published our last quarterly newsletter back in January. Now, at the end of July, we’re here looking at only our second “Quarterly” newsletter of 2020. If you’re doing the math and wondering why it doesn’t quite add up, you’re not mistaken. I’ll give you two guesses at the reason for this and the first one doesn’t count… COVID-19.

    It was the afternoon of New Year’s Eve when I wrote the last “Owner’s Corner” article and I was filled with emotions anticipating the new year. Feeling pensive, excited, anxious, and hopeful, I summarized our strategy for 2020 as “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable”, which ended up being more prophetic than any of us could have imagined.

    Everyone was uniquely impacted by COVID-19 in this country. Professionally, the pandemic forced our team to take on an abrupt change. We were a restoration company that offered cleaning services on 3/11/20. By 3/12/20, we suddenly became a cleaning company that offered restoration services after our first COVID-19 cleaning job began. It doesn’t get more uncomfortable than reversing your business model overnight.

    Every member of our team dove in headfirst, taking the challenge of shifting right away. “Flattening the curve” was the country’s top priority and our company had the resources and tools to help do so. Therefore, we felt and still feel an immense social responsibility to service our communities. After four months and a plethora of COVID-19 cleaning jobs, our team is incredibly proud of the contributions that they have made in an effort to combat this pandemic.

    The pride that Jim and I hold for our team is even more extensive. I’m reminded of the John Maxwell quote, “Change is Inevitable. Growth is Optional.” Growth was something consciously chosen by our team members when they were surrounded by the numerous uncertainties of this time. Their decision to choose growth has left us in awe.

    We strive to instill the mindset of always pursuing professional as well as personal growth. It was incredibly gratifying to watch it play out right before our eyes. Our company’s ability to positively impact our community amidst the turbulence our country is facing has brought us gratitude. We are even more appreciative of our team for carrying out Team Wall’s vision statement, “Restoring peace of mind to EVERY customer. EVERY day”.

    We hope that you stay healthy and stay safe. Keep growing!


    Jim and Trish Wall

    P.S. Entreleadership is one of our favorite podcast series. One episode in May featured John Maxwell as a guest, speaking about Personal Growth. It had a great impact on us and we think that giving it a listen would be worth your time: https://www.entreleadership.com/blog/podcasts/john-maxwell-success. I have many favorite thoughts from this podcasts, but this quote is a particular favorite:

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

    Dealing With Toilet Overflow

    8/7/2020 (Permalink)

    Toilet in Abandoned Bathroom Sometimes, it is possible to resolve a toilet overflow on your own if you catch it right away and know for a fact that it hasn’t caused water damage.

    There’s nothing worse than realizing that your toilet has overflowed, leaving water spread across your bathroom floor, risking serious water damage. Water resulting from a toilet overflow can inflict damage on bathroom floors and potentially leak into the ceiling below, creating an ever more serious issue. Toilet overflows can be messy, unpleasant, and potentially costly, which makes it important to do everything in your power to prevent them from happening. To understand common causes of toilet overflows, prevent them from happening, and know how to clean up, continue reading.

    What Causes a Toilet Overflow?

    Toilet overflows can be the result of many different complications. Three common causes are sewage complications, a clogged drain, and a blocked vent.

    A full septic tank or a clogged sewer line are two sewage complications that can be the root cause of a toilet overflow. If your home has a septic tank, it works to release excess water into the ground. If your tank is full, the water will travel back into the house, risking an overflow. Additionally, if a sewer line becomes blocked, whether it be by tree roots and debris or sanitary wipes, flooding can occur in addition to a toilet overflow.

    When the toilet drain becomes clogged or blocked, which can occur frequently, the toilet cannot flush properly and may overflow. Usually, using a plunger to unclog the toilet works to resolve the issue.

    Lastly, the vent pipe works to pump external air, which is used every time you flush the toilet. A blocked vent pipe restricts proper flushing, therefore risking an overflow. A professional, experienced plumber is usually needed in order to relieve the problem.

    How to Clean Up

    Upon seeing a toilet overflow, your initial reaction may consist of wincing and exclaiming “oh no!” Immediately after coming to terms with what happened, the first thing that you should do is turn off the water and stop the flow of water from the toilet. Next, remove any standing water on your bathroom surfaces as quickly as possible using a mop, wet vacuum, or towels. Regardless of the method you choose, time is of the essence because the longer water sits on surfaces, the more serious damage it may cause. Once all standing water is removed, it is important to use a high-powered fan to dry out the area in order to prevent mold and mildew growth. Lastly, be sure to disinfect and clean both the affected surfaces and any areas nearby.

    We’re Water Damage Specialists

    Sometimes, it is possible to resolve a toilet overflow on your own if you catch it right away and know for a fact that it hasn’t caused water damage. In most cases, however, toilet overflows cause serious damage that requires the help of a professional to remediate water damage caused by the overflow. For a water damage restoration that you can trust, call SERVPRO today. Our team of water damage specialists are experienced in restoring water damage resulting from toilet overflows. To learn more about the water damage services that we provide, click here.

    Be Ready For Anything This Hurricane Season

    8/7/2020 (Permalink)

    Sattelite Image of Hurricane` In the event that your business is hit with unexpected hurricane damage this hurricane season, SERVPRO is only a call away.

    June 1st through November 30th is home to hurricane season in the United States. On the east coast specifically, the height of hurricane season usually occurs between August and October. With August quickly approaching and the number of named storms already uncharacteristically high this year, it’s time to get into gear for what could be a hurricane season that is 50% more severe than usual, according to a recent Colorado State University study. It is of the utmost importance that before a storm, commercial businesses develop an emergency plan in order to stay afloat after enduring a hurricane. Take these proactive steps to make sure that your commercial business is ready for anything this hurricane season.

    Take Action Before The Storm

    Important documents that house data essential to your business should be protected as best as possible in order to prevent them from becoming damaged during a hurricane emergency. Having information stored digitally, making copies, and placing physical documents in a waterproof container can help protect the information your business needs in order to operate. This hurricane season, many employees may still be working remotely. Therefore, it is especially important to have accurate contact information for every employee in order to get in touch and confirm their safety in case of an emergency. In terms of protecting your property, there are several steps you can take. To make sure that your roof is sturdy, have a professional inspect your roof so that any underlying issues can be dealt with prior to a storm. You can also purchase storm shutters to protect windows from debris and sandbags to minimize flooding around doors.

    Have a Plan in Place

    Protecting your physical workplace is critical to your business’ survival in the event of a hurricane. Having an emergency evacuation plan that details the safest stairwells and doorways to use will help employees know what to do if disaster strikes while at work. Familiarize employees with your business’ evacuation plan and create multiple copies of your business’ evacuation plan to post throughout the workplace in case employees need to be reminded during an emergency.

    SERVPRO Is Here To Help

    Even though taking the proactive actions listed above can help in limiting the damage your commercial business experiences during a hurricane, hurricanes can still bring unforeseen devastation. In the event that your business is hit with unexpected hurricane damage this hurricane season, SERVPRO is only a call away. Our team of storm damage professionals will arrive quickly, providing your commercial business with a thorough restoration.

    Commercial Ice Blasting: A Cool Damage Solution

    8/7/2020 (Permalink)

    Ice Blasting Before and After Before and After some Iceblasting work pictured on the lefthand side

    At SERVPRO of Harrisburg West, we offer a variety of services for commercial restoration. Commercial ice blasting is one type of cleanup service we provide that can tackle everything from mold growth and water damage to fire and smoke damage. To find out if our commercial ice blasting services are right for your commercial business, read more about ice blasting below.

    What is Ice Blasting?

    Carbon dioxide in its solid form, known as “dry ice”, is used in the process of ice blasting. When sprayed out of the nozzle, pellets or dry ice move quickly toward the affected surface. Sublimation occurs when the pellets reach the surface, causing the solid pellets to convert into a gas, which then aids in eliminating any unwanted residue, such as soot from fire damage or mold, from the surface.

    How Can It Be Used?

    Multiple different types of damage can be remediated through our ice blasting services. If your commercial business experiences mold growth, ice blasting can remove 99.9% of mold spores and eradicate mold’s musty odor. Ice blasting also successfully removes contaminants after a fire and deodorizes areas that have been impacted by fire or smoke damage. If your business has sustained damage from a flood or another type of water damage, ice blasting can be trusted to restore wet surfaces and get rid of any resulting mold. Another perk of utilizing ice blasting is that it can reach areas that are difficult to access, including crevices and corners. Ice blasting can be utilized to remediate damage on a variety of surfaces. SERVPRO’s ice blasting commercial services can provide concrete, brick, and wood ice blasting, among many more.

    Why Choose Our Ice Blasting Commercial Services?

    You may be wondering, why choose ice blasting over other cleanup services? Our ice blasting commercial services provide a quick and efficient solution to your business’ water damage, fire and smoke damage, or mold growth issue. Additionally, ice blasting is a non-abrasive cleaning treatment, meaning that it would cause any harm to the affected surface or its surrounding areas. Ice blasting is also environmentally-friendly. It is free of harmful chemicals and won’t produce secondary waste. Finally, because ice blasting is a dry process, you won’t have to worry about the affected surface becoming exposed to moisture.

    If after learning more about our commercial ice blasting services, you think that your commercial business may benefit from ice blasting to remediate water, fire and smoke, or mold damage, call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779. Our commercial ice blasting experts are standing by and are ready to help your business get back to normal.

    Job of the Quarter (Q2 2020)

    8/4/2020 (Permalink)

    Debris Chute In order to complete this job with a quick turnaround time, everyone’s help was needed.

    Choosing the job of the quarter is always difficult. Each day, we have the pleasure of supporting our customers with many different needs, and likewise, in every job our team members shine with their work ethic and customer service. So, how do you select just one particular, outstanding job? It came down to working as a team with our trademark hustle this quarter.

    Getting the Call

    Our phone rang at 3 PM one Saturday in June, calling our attention to a significant fire loss in a 375,000 square foot South Central Pennsylvania logistics warehouse. They needed service immediately. This customer's well-known retail client couldn't risk downtime, overdue shipments and angry customers. To make it “Like it never even happened,” they needed Team Wall’s help. However, because COVID-19 cleanings were consuming our production schedules after-hours, it wasn’t certain that one office would have the resources necessary or be able to complete the job as quickly as the customer needed. Nevertheless, what sets Team Wall apart, our labor and resource efficiency, is what we were able to offer this job.

    Combining Our Powers

    Pardon me for being cheesy, but remember Captain Planet and his saying “our powers combined”? That’s our reality at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team Wall. By having offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, we have a unique opportunity to not only serve customers across a large geographic area, but we’re also able to combine our labor and equipment resources when necessary. By doing so for this fire loss, we were able to react immediately and efficiently, making for a customer who was happy "beyond measure” with the final product.

    Within an hour of the initial call, members of our Management and Production teams arrived on the scene from both our Baltimore and Harrisburg offices. Upon arrival, they created a mitigation strategy and immediately began services for water extraction, drying, and cleaning. A 45-person team worked to complete the fire restoration and keep the logistics warehouse running business as usual from Saturday evening through Tuesday.

    All Hands On Deck

    In order to complete this job with a quick turnaround time, everyone’s help was needed. Onsite, we had everyone from technicians to one of our owners, Jim Wall, helping out! In the photo above, you can see Jim on a scissor lift, working to mount a debris chute. It’s safe to say that this job required all hands on deck in order to complete.

    SERVPRO has emphasized the importance of superior hustle and customer service since day one. Even today, 12 years later, we strive for these characteristics in every job and we never intend to stop doing so. We are so thankful for the opportunity you and your customer’s provide us to serve you when you need it most. We love being “Here to Help!” and we value your support more than you know!

    Employee of the Quarter (Q2 2020)

    7/28/2020 (Permalink)

    two people in front of SERVPRO truck Kyrie Muffley and Tony Keller

    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 Harrisburg West, we ask our employees to strive for our 7 “pillars”, that which include: QualityPersistenceConsistencyTeamHustleSolutions, and Accountability. The employee of the quarter not only follows and models all 7 pillars, but also surpasses expectations. This quarter, two employees possessed these qualities, so we couldn’t pick just one! Congratulations Kyrie Muffley and Tony Keller!

    Kyrie Muffley

    Kyrie Muffley serves as Office Administrator at SERVPRO of Harrisburg West. An exemplary employee, Kyrie always puts the needs of customers and team members first. You can always count on Kyrie, even if a job requires working extra hours before or after the workday or going out into the field. In her role as the office administrator, she keeps everyone and everything in check and we would be lost without her. We’re thrilled to have Kyrie as a part of our team!

    Tony Keller

    The second employee of the quarter is SERVPRO of Harrisburg West’s crew chief, Tony Keller. Tony has a multitude of responsibilities in his position as crew chief, which includes mentoring team members, running job sites, and working with customers and insurance carriers. To all of these responsibilities, Tony brings a wonderful, even-keeled approach. His efforts as crew chief transcend what is expected of him. Tony never shies away from new opportunities and is always eager to try something new or expand his role in the company. There’s no doubt that you can always count on Tony when you need him. We’re so happy he’s part of our team!

    Bathroom Mold: A Growing Concern

    7/14/2020 (Permalink)

    Dark Bathroom Set up your inspection and mold damage assessment by calling us at (717) 510-6779. Our mold remediation specialists will provide expert, reliable help

    Habitually filled with moisture and humidity, it’s no wonder mold is so drawn to bathrooms. These two characteristics present prime conditions for mold growth. Mold can grow exponentially in as few as 24 hours in optimal conditions, which can bring about major damage. Because mold infestations can negatively affect not only the safety of your bathroom, but the health of those in your home as well, taking preventative measures against mold growth is critical. The first step is to develop an understanding of how and why mold grows in bathrooms.

    Understanding the Causes of Bathroom Mold Growth

    Lack of ventilation is one of the top reasons as to why mold can grow so easily in bathrooms. After taking a bath or shower, moisture has a habit of lingering on walls and other surfaces. Mold growth is facilitated if that moisture sits idly and isn’t dried. Additionally, fabric materials in the bathroom, such as bath rugs and towels, can become damp after a bath or shower, which increases the chances of mold growing on those surfaces. Finally, leaking plumbing, sinks, and toilets can cause moisture to accumulate in isolated areas, risking mold growth.

    How to Prevent Mold Growth

    Due to bathrooms’ constant exposure to water, eliminating moisture altogether is unreasonable. However, there are various ways in which you can reduce the chances of mold growth in your bathroom. Get into the habit of turning on your bathroom fan for a minimum of 30 minutes after every bath or shower in order to increase ventilation. It is also important that humidity levels in the home stay below 45% in an effort to reduce humidity in your bathroom. Bath towels, rugs, and other fabrics can be washed frequently to combat the risk of mold growth. Regularly check plumbing for leaks so that if a leak forms, you can bring it to a halt before it can do any serious damage. In an effort to prevent moisture from lingering after a bath or shower, consider using a squeegee to remove the moisture from shower walls.

    What to Do If You Spot Mold Growth

    Because mold commonly grows in dark, isolated, and hidden spots like corners and in between tile, it can sometimes be difficult to catch. In the event that you discover mold growth in your bathroom, it is imperative that you don’t touch the mold. Coming into contact with mold can cause health effects. Attempting to clean the mold or dry it out may seem like helpful steps, but they can actually cause mold spores to travel to other areas of the bathroom, increasing the severity of the mold problem. While all of this may seem scary, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to face your mold problem on your own. SERVPRO is here to help. Set up your inspection and mold damage assessment by calling us at (717) 510-6779. Our mold remediation specialists will provide expert, reliable help immediately so that your bathroom can return to a safe and clean condition as soon as possible. Visit https://www.SERVPROharrisburgwest.com/mold-remediation to learn more about our mold remediation services.

    Flash Floods: Know Your Risk

    6/24/2020 (Permalink)

    Flooded Landscape High intensity and duration of rainfall combine to form optimum conditions for flash flooding

    The roaring, fast-moving waters carried by flash floods can cause devastating damage to anything in its path, destroying roads, bridges, buildings, and even your home. Flash flooding is a type of rapid flooding that can occur at any time during the year, but is particularly common from early spring to late summer due to the slower jet stream and tendency for humidity during the season. According to NOAA, flooding is the number two weather-related killer in the United States, with an average of 81 deaths per year. Flash flooding poses even greater dangers due to the swift speed at which they develop combined with the overwhelming force of a flood. Therefore, it is important to develop a comprehensive understanding of the causes of flash flooding in order to know your risk and keep your home safe this summer.

    Causes of Flash Flooding

    During the summer the jet stream, which affects weather patterns, slows. As a result of the slower-moving jet stream, storms tend to remain in one area for an extended period of time. This causes the affected area to experience a significant amount of rainfall at once, therefore increasing the risk for flooding. Ultimately, high intensity and duration of rainfall combine to form optimum conditions for flash flooding. Several different weather scenarios can produce these optimum conditions for flash flooding, including slow-moving thunderstorms and hurricanes or other types of severe storms.
    Additionally, topography plays an important role in the risk of flash flooding in an area. Proximity to bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, or oceans, can increase the area’s risk for flash flooding, as they flood easily. Urban areas are also susceptible to flash flooding because they lack soil to absorb the water, resulting in floods developing quickly.

    Know Your Risk

    It is important to note that flash floods develop rapidly and as a result, you may not always receive warning before it hits. Flash floods can inflict water damage and even major structural damage on the home. For these reasons, it is crucial to know your area’s risk for flash flooding. If your area is at risk, consider creating an emergency flood kit and keep an eye out when storms are forecasted. Even if you are diligent, flash floods can still catch you off guard and cause devastating damage. Remember that SERVPRO and our team of storm damage experts have your back and will work hard to restore your home back to its condition before the flood.

    Fire Up the Barbecue: Gas Grill Safety

    6/5/2020 (Permalink)

    Open topped grill with food It is estimated that an average of 8,900 home fires are the result of gas grills each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association

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

    Using a Propane Cylinder Safely

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

    Gas Grill Safety

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

    In the Event of a Fire…

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

    Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – a defensive cleaning program

    6/2/2020 (Permalink)

    Table tent signs describing the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program on top of a wooden table. Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.

    Let us help you get back to business

    As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

    Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

    Extensive training and specialized products

    As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

    From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

    3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

    When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

    • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
    • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
    • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

    Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

    We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.

    Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West today at  (717) 761-2173 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.

    * #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019

    Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience.  Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.

    Understanding HVAC Hazards

    5/11/2020 (Permalink)

    Air Conditioning Unit Understanding the potential dangers of your HVAC systems will help you prevent them

    In order to keep businesses cool throughout the warm summer season that is upon us, our HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems will be working nonstop. What you may not know is that with frequent use, HVAC systems can actually be fire hazards. We usually think of electrical malfunctions, complications involving cooking equipment, or careless accidents as the catalysts of commercial fires. Even though complications involving HVAC systems are not the first cause of commercial fires that comes to mind, fires of this nature can be devastating for businesses. It is beneficial for commercial businesses to gain awareness of common fire hazards associated with HVAC systems in order to understand how to effectively protect against significant fire damage.

    Three Common Hazards
    One way in which HVAC systems can be fire hazards is if the system has a leaking fuel line. HVAC systems house flammable fuels, including gas, petroleum, and oil, which can easily catch fire if the fuel line leaks upon suffering damage. This fire hazard can be avoided by making sure that your commercial business’ HVAC system and fuel line receive regular, routine maintenance. Regularly scheduled maintenance is incredibly important in protecting your business from a fire due to an HVAC system’s leaking fuel line because leaking fuel lines can often go unnoticed.

    Damaged electrical connections within an HVAC system can also be a fire hazard due to the prevalence of exposed or burnt electrical wires. Over time, electrical connections loosen, which result in damaged wires, thus increasing the risk of a fire igniting. A common sign of damaged electrical connections within an HVAC system is the smell of burnt plastic, which is due to the melting of the plastic coating on electrical wires. In the event that you notice this smell in your business’ building, it may be a sign that your HVAC system has damaged electrical connections and therefore, needs to be repaired or replaced in order to avoid a dangerous fire.

    Oftentimes, HVAC systems are stored in closets or storage areas inside of commercial businesses. As a result, they may be situated too close to other objects, such as cardboard boxes, crates, or miscellaneous equipment. Under this condition, the HVAC system is more susceptible to damage and, if a fire were to ignite, it could easily spread to the surrounding objects, thus creating a larger, more dangerous fire. This increases the likelihood of the fire spreading to other areas of your business, which can be devastating. Keep the area around HVAC systems clear in order to protect your business from this hazard.

    Experienced a Fire?
    Has your commercial business experienced a fire due to an HVAC hazard? If so, remember to call SERVPRO. SERVPRO’s team of trained fire and water restoration specialists are standing by to quickly and efficiently restore your commercial business back to normal after suffering a fire loss and resulting water damage.

    Deal with A Leaky Dishwasher

    4/27/2020 (Permalink)

    We use dishwashers practically every day in order to ensure that our silverware, cups, and dishes are clean. Because dishwashers are used so frequently, there is a greater risk for the formation of a leak and even flooding. Your kitchen and its surrounding areas can experience serious water damage if the leak or flooding from the dishwasher is significant. At first glance, a small leak may not seem capable of instigating major water damage, but a series of small leaks or a recurring leak can cause a large quantity of water to accumulate over time, thus resulting in larger-scale water damage. It is important to understand the common causes of dishwasher leaks and floods, as well as methods of effective cleaning in order to protect your home from extensive water damage.

    There are many reasons as to why dishwashers can leak or flood, but there are three common causes with which it is beneficial to be familiar. Damage to a dishwasher door, such as a bent door latch or an improperly latched door, is the first of three common causes of dishwasher leaks. Dishwasher door damage is most likely the culprit of your leak if you observe a leak directly beneath the dishwasher door. The use of an improper dishwasher detergent is a second common cause of dishwasher leaks. Standard dish soap may appear to be an acceptable alternative to dishwasher detergent, but dish soap is not appropriate for dishwashers, as it produces an excess of foam and suds. Those suds push water against the dishwasher door, which apply pressure to the dishwasher door and can result in water leaking out of the unit. Dishwasher units can malfunction on occasion and take in more water than they should, which serves as a third common cause of dishwasher leaks. When dishwashers overfill with water, the unit may have trouble draining properly, thus increasing the likelihood of water leaking or flooding from the unit.

    Cleaning Up
    In order to prevent more water from escaping the unit, water must be shut off before the cleanup process begins. Because water and electricity are not a safe combination, it is extremely important to also shut off electricity if your dishwasher unit is located near electrical outlets or other electrical appliances. Following this step, the next order of business is to, through the use of a mop or towels, remove as much standing water as possible. If there is still water flowing from the unit, it may be beneficial to create a barrier using towels. The leak or flood water may have reached surrounding areas of your kitchen, such as cabinets, nearby furniture, or pantries, so it is important to check those areas for water damage. If they have undergone such damage, remove items within cabinets or pantries and clear out damaged furniture from the area. A wet-dry vacuum can be used to eliminate any additional standing water. After this has been completed, it is important to dry and disinfect the surfaces that have been impacted by the dishwasher leak or flood in order to protect against the growth of mold or mildew, which can lead to further damage. Mold thrives in moisture and humidity, so it is a good idea to open windows as a means of maintaining air circulation and utilize a dehumidifier to sustain low levels of humidity inside of your home.

    Need Additional Help?
    Dishwasher leaks and floods can be overwhelming. SERVPRO’s trained water damage specialists and advanced drying equipment are just a call away and ready to help remediate the areas of your home that have experienced water damage as a result of a dishwasher leak or flood.

    Spring Mold Prevention

    4/10/2020 (Permalink)

    "Now Is The Time For Special Cleaning" graphic text If not handled properly, mold has a better chance to regrow, or even spread.

    Springtime is in full swing, with flowers blossoming, birds singing, and temperatures getting a little warmer. This change in direction towards more pleasant weather drives us to open windows and let in the fresh air. While this may seem appealing, doing so can actually increase the chances of mold growing in your home.

    What Should I Look For?

    Mold can grow at any time during the year, but during the spring, warmer and more humid spring air enters the home, which creates the perfect conditions for mold growth when combined with moisture on any surface, including wood, carpet, and insulation among others. This spring, protect your home and those living in it by understanding effective preventative measures that you can take to stop mold from growing in your home.
    First and foremost, it is crucial to keep air circulating throughout the home during the spring in order to reduce humidity and prevent mold growth. Fans can be incredibly helpful in maintaining air flow and dehumidifiers are effective in decreasing humidity levels within the home. Humidity levels in the home should not exceed 45%. Some areas of the home that are habitually cold and dark are particularly susceptible to mold growth, so it may be beneficial to pay close attention to these areas and do your best to bring in natural or artificial light in order to help prevent mold growth.
    Rain showers and storms are prevalent during the springtime, which can lead to the growth of mold on areas surrounding windows and doors of your home.

    How Do I Handle Mold Growth?

    In order to prevent mold growth in these areas, be sure to frequently check surfaces surrounding doors and windows, including walls, floors, and windowsills. If moisture from rain or storms accumulates on these areas, it is important that they are dried quickly and thoroughly. Moisture can also accumulate in these areas due to condensation on windows and doors, which occurs frequently throughout the spring with differing temperatures indoors and outdoors. When met with humidity, mold can grow quickly in these areas.
    If you see mold growing on a surface in your home, it is important to scrub the area diligently using detergent and water. Thoroughly drying the surface afterward is equally important, because if there is still moisture left in the area, you run the risk of mold growing on the surface once more. Usually, isolated and small-scale mold growth is manageable.

    If Mold Is Unmanageable -- Call A Pro

    However, larger-scale mold infestations can become overwhelming and require the assistance of professionals. Call SERVPRO’s mold remediation specialists to effectively inspect, assess, and remediate your home’s mold situation.

    What Does FEMA Have to do With Waffles?

    4/5/2020 (Permalink)

    Many years ago, in 2004, a hurricane swept across the east coast. FEMA went to work, doing what they could to analyze the damage and help the communities that had been struck by the disaster. At the same time, an informal metric would rise out of this slew of hurricanes that would puzzle civilians for years to come. This metric was, The Waffle House Index. What exactly is The Waffle House Index? Well, a researcher working for FEMA at the time noticed that one could theoretically quantify how severe a natural disaster was to the surrounding areas by analyzing the current operating status of Waffle Houses in the affected area. If the store was open, green light, if the store was running on a limited menu, yellow light, and if the store was completely shut down, red light. It turned out that while the premise might have seemed odd, FEMA could get a pretty decent idea of the severity of the situation in a certain region. It began as sort of a joke until the term was coined by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in May 2011 (https://n.pr/2JznNEc).
    Now, with the current epidemic, The Waffle House Index is being put to the test again but now on a nationwide scale. If we can take anything from this story its that being able to support the community should be held above all house. Good risk management is one thing, but understanding how to prepare for any size disaster, and being able to hold the foundation of our communities because of our preparedness is a trait that we hold pride on as well.
    SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team-Team Wall, chooses to be that foundation for our community every day we put our boots on the ground.
    We are here to help. We are here to commit. We are here to serve.
    SERVPRO, One Team.

    Proactive Cleaning Services

    3/20/2020 (Permalink)

    Classroom with White Text overlay Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow

    In the light of the recent outbreak, several businesses have been forced to close their doors. Yet because of the nature of our jobs, we're still available, we're still on call, we're still here to support.
    SERVPRO of Harrisburg West has a range of programs to support all kinds of companies in their time of need to propel them back to their feet when it's time to re-open their business.

    We are now providing Viral Cleaning, also known as Proactive Cleaning, to make sure that your location is up to code and clean in the event of a viral outbreak in your home. Through using Electrostatic Fogging, we can offer less costly per square foot operation, more extensive coverage, and provide certified evidence that your facility has been cleaned by a qualified IICRC accredited company as opposed to conventional disinfectant and sanitation services. In fact, the drug we use is free of allergens and so healthy that it has been certified for human consumption.

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

    3 Ways to Prevent Wind Damage Due to Spring Storms

    3/16/2020 (Permalink)

    As we transition from winter to spring, strong storms are beginning to become increasingly prevalent. These spring storms, which often carry severe thunderstorms, gusty winds, and sometimes even tornadoes, can wreak havoc on your home. Breaking tree branches and sending them flying across your yard, strong winds can pose an especially dangerous threat. The force of the wind in any given storm varies drastically, from calm speeds less than 1 mph to hurricane-force greater than or equal to 73 mph. During storms that produce strong winds, the areas of the home that are most commonly impacted are the roof, doors, windows, and garages, according to FEMA. These areas can become severely damaged due to strong winds, and your home’s structure can be compromised, which can require significant repairs. Taking preventative measures before a strong, spring storm even appears in the forecast can aid in protecting your home from wind damage this spring.

    Maintain Landscape and Trees

    The area surrounding your home plays a critical role in spring storms. Strong winds can break branches off of trees and can also result in fallen trees, which can cause devastating damage if the trees are situated close to your home. To prevent trees from falling during periods of strong wind, avoid over-watering trees, as doing so can weaken trees’ root systems. Because strong wind can also pick up objects, outdoor items such as patio furniture, grills, and sports equipment should be taken inside and stored in a safe place, such as a shed. If those items must remain outside during a storm, make sure that they are anchored to the ground as best as possible.

    Inspect the Roof

    It is often difficult to tell when our roofs are in need of repair because they lie outside of our sight. Because roofs can succumb to further damage during severe storms, it is imperative that roofs are inspected twice per year in order to identify and fix any major issues before a severe storm. Look for signs of roof damage, such as loose or missing shingles, as well as water damage in the attic. For a more thorough inspection of your roof, hire a roofing professional, as he or she could detect issues that are more difficult to spot. When shingles require replacement, it may be beneficial to switch to more durable, weather-resistant shingles in order to protect your roof from significant wind damage.

    Reinforce Windows and Doors

    Because doors and windows are vulnerable to destruction during storms with strong winds, installing storm shutters can be effective in protecting them from flying debris. You can purchase storm shutters or create your own by nailing plywood onto doors and windows during strong winds. Alongside doors and windows, garages are also particularly susceptible to damage during storms with strong winds. To protect your garage and keep it in place during a storm, consider purchasing a garage door bracing kit.

    Proactive Cleaning Services

    3/12/2020 (Permalink)

    "The World Health Organization announced the coronavirus to be a global pandemic at a press conference on Wednesday leading to a flood of new steps and initiatives being taken around the world to fight the virus."  What once felt like a distant glimpse of possibility is now feeling too tangible and reaching close home. Towson University, Loyola, Morgan State University, a few public schools in Prince George's County and several more are all taking precautionary measures and closing because of potential viral exposure. Field trips, conventions, and public sporting events were cancelled, and after school activities. Shelves in the grocery store are bare and everybody asks... what more?

    It's a chaotic time and we take comfort in those moments when we know that something is being done to help. SERVPRO has some key messages and most important is "We Are Here to Help." SERVPRO is now out on the streets more than ever working to contain the newly announced pandemic and mitigate its impacts.

    The hardest-hit facility so far is in an assisted living facility in Kirkland, Washington. The Disaster Recovery Team at SERVPRO is actively focused on sanitizing, disinfecting and cleaning this building from top to bottom using specialized methods of cleaning and application. In compliance with the guidance issued by the CDC and local authorities, SERVPRO performs all cleanup and bioremediation activities.

    It is important to note that the cleaning methods need to be more sophisticated and effective with this level of Bioremediation than just wiping hard surfaces with disinfectant. Health comes first and with the use of PPE and protective masks, our teams adhere to OSHA and CDC guidelines. We use the fogging methods to more deeply disinfect. SERVPROxide, the hospital-grade disinfectant, is released from the fogger, and its particles adhere strongly to surfaces and objects. The procedure must ensure that all surfaces including walls, doors, floors, and ceilings are uniformly coated. Instead we follow our initial fogging with a wiping of all surfaces followed by a further fogging round. It is an extreme and comprehensive disinfection process, which should be the norm when dealing with this magnitude of a virus hazard.

    Our team is ready to assist with preventive or post-contamination cleaning to avoid interruption of industry, education, and events. We are describing "Proactive" as cleaning that occurs when no person is suspected of being exposed to viruses. It would be a smaller area of study, since no verified case has been identified.

    If there was exposure to anyone suspected of either testing positively for viruses or being subjected to someone displaying symptoms in your facility, we call this "post-contamination" cleaning. In this situation the scope of work and the required safety measures will increase.

    Eliminating exposure to this virus is the most important step we can take to mitigate its spread across our world. For more information on how to protect your company, your employees and your building, please contact our team.

    Burst Pipes 101

    3/2/2020 (Permalink)

    Keep your business running with SERVPRO

    With spring getting closer and closer every day, temperatures will begin to get warmer, but cold temperatures will stick around for a little while longer. Fluctuating temperatures during the coming months can have devastating effects on pipes, which can inflict damage on your commercial business if they burst. Pressure increases in pipes when temperatures fluctuate, as the water within the pipes expands and contracts depending on the temperature. This pressure facilitates the bursting and rupturing of pipes. Water damage can have a significant negative impact on your commercial business, so it is crucial to understand how to sufficiently prevent pipes from bursting and what to do in the event that pipes burst in order to protect your business.


       Before anything else, it is beneficial to make certain that your business is protected by an insurance plan that covers water damage due to burst pipes, as restoration costs are often expensive. As a business owner, you can protect pipes by wrapping pipes that are found outdoors or in unheated places in insulated sleeves, which will prevent pipes from freezing when temperatures drop. However, if pipes freeze, allowing water to run through the pipes can help keep them from bursting. Lastly, survey pipes for small leaks on a regular basis when temperatures drop in order to catch a leak before pipes rupture.

    If Pipes Burst…

    As soon as you become aware that a pipe has burst, shut off water, electricity, and heating systems. Leaving these systems running can increase the severity of damage caused by burst pipes. Move important items, such as documents or inventory, to a safe location in which they will not be affected by water damage. If you are unsure as to whether water damage has impacted your building, watch for signs of water damage, which include stains or discoloration, mold or mildew growth, and musty smells. If signs of water damage become visible, open windows and doors in order to air out the area, facilitate drying, and avoid mold growth. SERVPRO understands that water damage caused by burst pipes creates a significant interruption in any business, so you can trust SERVPRO to quickly and sufficiently remedy the situation, getting your business back on its feet in no time.

    Home Cooking Fire Safety

    2/19/2020 (Permalink)

    Most, but not all, house fires originate from the kitchen.

    Did you know that the most common cause of household fires stems from something that many of us do multiple times every day? Cooking can be the culprit of unwanted fires in the kitchen that can spread to other areas if they are not dealt with immediately. You may be wondering, without avoiding cooking, how can the chances of an unwanted fire igniting be decreased? Follow the steps below before and during cooking in order to prevent the ignition of an unwanted kitchen fire while cooking.

    Before Cooking

       Before turning on the stove or the oven, make sure that your cooking space does not contain any flammable objects, such as paper towels, oven mitts, or towels. Next, be sure to clean any leftover oil, grease, or food debris that may have accumulated on stove tops or inside of ovens since the last time you cooked, as such substances can catch fire easily. In addition to ovens and stove tops, pots and pans can also include grease and oil residue from past cooking experiences. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the insides and outsides of pots and pans are cleaned thoroughly in order to prevent an undesired fire from igniting. Even though it only requires a quick moment of your time, cleaning all cooking surfaces and materials that you plan to use while cooking is a crucial step in protecting your home from a dangerous fire as a result of cooking.

    While Cooking

       When it is time to begin cooking, it is of the utmost importance that you pay attention throughout the cooking process. The chance of a fire igniting and becoming out of control increases when cooking objects are left unattended. However, it may not always be possible to keep a constant watchful eye while cooking. Therefore, if it is required that you leave the room for a moment while cooking, be sure to temporarily turn off the stove. It may also not be reasonable to be present in the kitchen for the entire period of time required when cooking something that must be baked or roasted for a significant length of time. In this case, remember to check on the cooking at a regular interval in order to decrease the chances of a fire igniting without your knowledge.

       Taking preventative measures will help decrease the probability of an unwanted fire igniting while cooking, but even with our best intentions, it is still possible. If your home is equipped with functional smoke alarms and there is a fire extinguisher always kept in the kitchen, your home will be further protected. In the event that a fire breaks out, only attempt to extinguish it yourself if it is small and contained. If the fire is large and unmanageable, exit the house as quickly and safely as possible while making sure that all of the other occupants of the house also escape safely and call 911 as soon as possible. Once the fire has been contained and extinguished, remember to call SERVPRO in order to ensure a speedy and effective repair of any damage caused by the fire.

    Preventing Basement Floods Due to Snowmelt

    2/13/2020 (Permalink)

    Water damage nearly always requires deep cleaning to prevent a multitude of issues.

    While basement flooding is prominent during rainy seasons, it should be known that basement flooding can occur at any time during the year. Basements, regardless of whether or not they have ever previously flooded, are capable of flooding. This is largely due to the fact that basements are usually located beneath ground level. Basement flooding occurs when moisture within the ground seeps through basement walls or foundation. Snow, ice, and other frozen precipitation is dumped on the ground during the winter season. When that precipitation melts, its moisture is absorbed into the ground, which can surround basement walls with water, increasing the likelihood of flooding. In order to protect your basement from flooding due to snow melt this winter and spring, consider removing snow and ensuring that basement foundations are free from any cracks.

    Remove Snow

    After a heavy snowfall, it is important to create a barrier of at least five feet between the snow and your home, as snow melt close to the home can increase the amount of moisture in the ground surrounding basement walls with moisture. Such a barrier can be created by shoveling snow away from the base of your home. Because snow that falls on roofs and overhangs can melt and fall around the base of the home, which would increase the amount of moisture in the ground surrounding the basement, it is also essential to clear snow off of those areas.

    Fix Cracks in Foundation

    When basement walls become cracked, the risk of flooding increases, as the cracks allow water in the ground to make its way into the basement. Flooding often leads to water damage, which can facilitate mold growth and damage objects such as walls, carpets, and furniture in a basement. Repairing these cracks is crucial in order to protect your basement from flooding due to snowmelt and all of its repercussions. For a temporary fix, cracks can be filled using epoxy. However, for a longer-lasting repair, enlisting the help of a professional may be beneficial. The chances of your basement flooding due to snowmelt can be decreased significantly if its foundation and walls are rid of any cracks.

    If Your Basement Floods…

    Even when one takes seemingly every preventative measure possible, there is still a chance that their basement can flood. In the event that your basement floods due to snowmelt, water needs to be removed as quickly as possible in order to avoid water damage. Minimal flooding may be able to be remedied through the utilization of a wet vacuum for water removal and dehumidifiers. Significant flooding, however, often requires professional restoration. Calling SERVPRO of Harrisburg West guarantees that your basement flood due to snowmelt will be remedied thoroughly and quickly in order to prevent any further damage.

    The Emergency Ready Profile

    2/6/2020 (Permalink)

    The Emergency Ready Profile is the next step in property management security. Let us help.

    The SERVPRO of Harrisburg West

    Emergency READY Profile Advantage

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

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

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

    Are You Ready to Get Started?

    Sign up below and a representative of SERVPRO of Harrisburg West will be in contact with you in the next 24 hours.   

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

    Your Name:
    Company Name:
    Dates and Time Available:

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

    Job of the Quarter (Q4 2019)

    2/3/2020 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO Employee working in a local office where a pipe had burst and flooded the entire hallway.

    Job of the Quarter - "One Stop Solution Shop"

    Baltimore was founded 47 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1729. It's an ancient city in terms of the "new world."

    In the last 291 years since the city was founded, significant progress has been made over design, engineering, and innovation. The sewage system in Baltimore city has unfortunately not made the necessary progress to bring it up to modern standards. The best summary is a post from www.cleanwateraction.org:

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

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

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

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

    At SERVPRO, we see sewage spills daily throughout the city and counties. Early November, we were honored to help multiple homeowners recover in all eight of their attached city row homes from a large sewage backup affecting basements. We chose this job as our "Quarter Job" not only for our quick response to completion timeline, but also because it is a great example of our full-service capabilities.

    The call came to our office early on a Friday afternoon and we had crews on-site within 30 minutes to start sewage extraction from row home basements. Because drywall wicks up water as fast as 1 inch per hour and sewage qualify as water loss Category 3 (water containing unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness), it was necessary to cut drywall and remove insulation to 2' to allow proper drying and sanitation. All content in the sewage-affected basement was removed and disposed of. Including some appliances. We are proud to be the "one-stop solution shop" for all customer problems. We handled repairing appliances for those homeowners and helped to provide even more timely solutions.

    Many people don't realize that SERVPRO not only mitigates your disaster, but we'll put it all back together. "Like it never even happened," remember? That's what we did for the 8-row home basements affected by this mass sewage backup. Our mitigation teams finished and our reconstruction team moved in, replaced all contaminated insulation, installed fresh drywall, and repainted the entire basement. Our team laid new carpets, tile floors, installed new kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities, and kitchen backsplashes tiled. New doors were installed and decorated, and appliances were installed. All this, time 8 homeowners, completed in 35 days.

    Our team members signed up for a dirty, messy, and labor-intensive job. However, the pride they take in bringing back people's lives quickly and efficiently couldn't be greater. That's what Team Wall's SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team loves to do... we love being your "One Stop Solution Shop!"

    Insurance Agents, Meet Matterport

    1/28/2020 (Permalink)

    The Matterport is the pinnacle of new real-estate technology

    Have you ever been deceived by the amount time insurance claims take to settle? You know that time is money if you're a professional insurance broker or property manager! The cost and time involved in settling a conflict over the property is usually based on the competence and efficiency of the maintenance and repair undertaking. If you are using a contractor who is without the expertise, training and equipment to make accurate estimates, your insured or tenant's retention is at great risk. Nonetheless, if you hire the right professional to help settle your case, your estimate, fast turnaround time and quality work will give you an insight into accuracy. At the end of the day, the claim will be treated equally, efficiently and your insured or occupant will be paid.

    The Matterport Introduction! The most advanced 3D camera ever made. With over 2 million spaces available, Matterport holds the largest 3D structure file database in the world. The Matterport is a game changer that can more effectively solve claims through high-definition images, accurate floor plan measurements and guided tours. Imagine walking through a house or business structure literally to evaluate damage without ever leaving your office chair! You can now!

    No more sketches and your own measurements, because you have no faith in the contractor you have hired to help resolve your claim. You can now see interactive environments from several different angles as an insurer, a contractor or a property manager to calculate accurately, access three-dimensional, self-guided tours, OBJ 4 K print quality photos and comprehensive floor plans. Matterport has transformed the idea of the reconstruction and rebuilding industry as a specialized technology company that created the first end-to-end video capture device.

    Employee of the Quarter (Q4 2019)

    1/22/2020 (Permalink)

    Tim is an incredible asset to our team.

    This is the official write up regarding our Employee of the Quarter for SERVPRO Harrisburg West! This person was chosen because of their outstanding work and their dedication to the 7 Pillars of Success we have outlined in previous meetings. Accountability, Solutions, Team, Hustle, Quality, Consistency, and Persistence.

    The Employee of The Quarter this quarter was 

    Tim Miles 

    Paul Naugle had this to say about Tim, "Our 4th quarter of 2019 was filled with many changes, both in staffing and in growth of our business.  Tim quickly stood out as someone who was willing to do whatever it took to get the job done!  He didn’t shy away from any project or situation and always put his best efforts in. Tim is truly an asset to our team."

    Space Heater Safety

    11/20/2019 (Permalink)

    Fire Caused by Space Heater

    As we bid October farewell and enter November, a heated home will be more necessary than ever to provide refuge from the rapidly dropping outdoor temperatures in Harrisburg West. In addition to central heating systems, many homeowners also turn to space heaters for extra warmth. Though space heaters can create a warm and cozy indoor environment, they can also lead to irreparable destruction. According to a 2013 study published by The Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 25,000 residential fires and 300 deaths are caused annually by space heaters. Despite their potential safety hazards, you and your family can safely utilize space heaters and enjoy their warmth during the approaching cold months if you develop a basic understanding of space heater safety.

    If space heaters come into contact with combustible objects, such as curtains, furniture, rugs, or clothes, a fire can ignite. In order to avoid such a disaster, at least 3 feet should separate space heaters from any kind of combustible object. It is important to keep in mind that a fire could also ignite if a space heater is knocked over. Therefore, space heaters should be kept on flat, level surfaces and away from popular pathways within the house. Before usage, always be sure to inspect the space heater for any damage to the unit itself, its cords, or plugs. In the event that you discover damage, refrain from plugging it in. Lastly, it is imperative that your space heater is never left unattended while in use. Without someone nearby who could detect the smoke, smoke smell, or observe the first flames, a fire emanating from the space heater could become dangerous and cause destruction. If you must leave the room, always be sure to properly turn off and unplug the space heater.

    Exercising caution while using a space heater can help to reduce the chance of a dangerous situation arising, but it cannot eliminate the risk entirely. Therefore, having smoke detectors and alarms installed on each floor of your home would be a beneficial system to have in place in case an accident occurs. It may also be helpful to keep a close eye on children and pets in your home, as injury could result from them coming into contact with a space heater. Finally, if your space heater usage results in a fire, call SERVPRO to restore any fire damage.

    Freezing Rain

    11/20/2019 (Permalink)

    Frozen rain attached to a car

    Due to the colder weather, the Harrisburg West area is beginning to experience its first freezes and views of snowfall of the season. This season is prime time for freezing rain due to cold ground temperatures. When the atmosphere is warm but the ground is cold, precipitation that falls as rain is likely to freeze when it comes into contact with freezing surfaces such as roadways, bridges, or sidewalks. When this happens, the liquid freezes into ice, which can be dangerous for drivers, pedestrians, and even power lines. In order to stay as safe as possible, understanding how to handle freezing rain and which precautions to take before the storm can be beneficial.

    Other forms of winter precipitation, such as snow, are not incredibly difficult to deal with, as they can be eliminated through shoveling or melted with moderate sunlight. Freezing rain, on the other hand, produces ice, which requires a stronger method for elimination. The produced ice is not always visible, which poses a threat to drivers, who may perceive the ice simply as water on the road. Driving or walking on wet surfaces is also dangerous, but both are much more challenging tasks to complete on icy surfaces. The ice that forms as a result of freezing rain can also accumulate in heavy amounts on tree branches and power lines. If too much ice builds up on top of the branches or power lines, the weight of the ice can pull them down, causing fallen branches and power outages. Until the power lines are repaired, homes and businesses can be deprived of power and therefore, heat, for potentially extended periods of time. Heavy, falling branches can also put homes and businesses at an increased risk of damage.

    Prior to a storm that is predicted to produce freezing rain, it is important to take precautions in order to reduce the amount of damage and disruption that the storm will have on your life. To reduce ice on your home or business’ sidewalks or driveways, purchase salt before the storm that you can sprinkle on freezing surfaces, as it will facilitate the process of melting the ice. Next, anticipate the possibility that damaged power lines from the storm may result in power outages, as well as the chance that ice produced by the storm will impede on your ability to safely leave your home. Stocking your home with essentials, including batteries, toilet paper, bottled water, blankets, and flashlights, is a good way to ensure that you will not need to leave your home in dangerous conditions.

    Owners Corner: 4th Quarter 2019

    10/18/2019 (Permalink)

    Team Wall Members

    Our franchise owners, Jim and Trish, like to make sure that they are always transparent about the things going on at our SERVPRO. To do this, one of the things Trish enjoys is writing up a Quarterly recap and distributing it to our loyal customers and potential new ones. Below is the Owners Corner, written by Trish wall. Please feel free to email us directly if you have anything you would like to ask us!

        Wowza. Has it been a year! Last quarter’s “Owner’s Corner” focused on the big, surprise announcement that occurred earlier this year.

    Just as a quick recap, Blackstone entered into a recapitalization and long term partnership deal with SERVPRO Industries in March 2019. Blackstone did an incredible amount of market research and determined there is huge growth potential for the SERVPRO franchise system in the restoration market. This single conclusion has been THE catalyst for innovation and change for SERVPRO franchises across the country.

    So how has it affected Team Wall’s business and franchises? One word… “wholeheartedly”. 

    In January of this year, we had a total of 3 franchises and were a month away from opening up our very first out of state office in Harrisburg, PA. Now, here we are, midway into fourth-quarter 2019, and we have acquired a total of 11 franchises and are operating in 3 locations. This is the most in SERVPRO history and Team Wall is honored and proud to pave the way for others in our franchise community.

    So let’s get down to it. Where in the world is Team Wall’s SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team? Well, here’s the rundown:

    1. Hunt Valley & Harford County: Our office is located in Sparks, MD; Employs over 70 people; Services Maryland, Virginia, Southern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and travels the East Coast for Catastrophic Storm Response; We offer full service mitigation and reconstruction in this office.
    1. Harrisburg West: Our office is located in Camp Hill, PA; Currently employs a team of 15; Services Central PA and travels the East Coast for Catastrophic Storm Response; We offer full service mitigation and reconstruction in this office.
    1. Metro Pittsburgh East: Our office is located in North Versailles, PA; Currently employs a team of 30; Services Western PA, Eastern Ohio, West Virginia, and travels the East Coast for Catastrophic Storm Response; We offer full service mitigation and reconstruction in this office.

    Running 3 offices and a team of 115 plus employees may seem like a daunting task, but we have searched high and low for some amazing team members to help make this adventure a successful one. Please check them out in our 4th Quarter hiring class article! These added members to our team really have made a significant impact already and have been so helpful in navigating our new business model. 

    Expanding geographically means nothing but good things for our customers:

    • Larger Geographic Territory: Operating 3 offices spaced out throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region enables us to service customers who have multiple locations as well. We can be the go-to vendor to count on no matter where a property is located.  
    • Larger Team: We have 4 crews in our smallest office and 15 crews in our largest… and that number is only growing. If a large influx of work affects one office, we can share resources from our others to ensure a quality and timely job is produced. These shared resources apply to production staff, equipment, office responsibilities, training, and so much more. Sharing resources and best practices makes Team Wall a more effective and reliable team no matter what region we are serving. 
    • Focus: Growing from 1 to 3 offices in a 250 mile radius within a mere 10 months may seem disorienting, but we have been able to focus more than ever. Focus on our processes, on our team, on our service lines, on our training programs… bottom line… on our business in every aspect. This has made our team more reactive, more knowledgeable, and completely focused on a superior customer service experience. Jim and I are focused on working “on” our business and not “in” our business. We have seen the positive impact this has made in the short term and we’re confident this will make us the restoration vendor of choice in the long term. 

    Looking back through this article, we have used the words “change”, “daunting”, and “disorienting”. But, we’ve also used the words “innovation”, “impact”, and “successful”. 

    “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

    We are excited to see where this road leads us and, as always, thank you for your support and loyalty as a customer!


    Jim and Trish Wall

    Surviving Prolonged Power Outages

    10/11/2019 (Permalink)

    Storm clouds above Carlisle

    Strong storms, which can shatter windows, bash power lines with fallen trees, and cause major flooding, put our homes’ electricity at risk. A power outage can last minutes, hours, or sometimes entire days if enough damage has been sustained. With electricity, we can heat or cool our homes and preserve the refrigerated food that we buy from the grocery store. When we lose power, everyday tasks, such as communicating and grocery shopping, become significantly more complicated. While waiting for the power to return, consider these tips in order to protect your family during a prolonged power outage. 

    Before the Losing Power

       Having a fully-powered cellphone is of the utmost importance during an emergency, considering the inability to charge your phone. Keeping your cellphone use to a minimum will help to preserve the phone’s battery life. Writing down important numbers and addresses of local hospitals or storm shelters on paper is one way to limit cell phone use. For other electronic devices, such as flashlights and radios, keep back-up batteries. As power outages limit your ability to cook or preserve perishable food, be sure to stock cabinets with non-perishable foods such as granola bars or dried fruit. Lastly, if you have any medications that require refrigeration, have a back-up refrigeration plan in place beforehand. 

    During the Power Outage

       While our first instinct after the power goes out may be to power essential electrical appliances with a generator, generators can be deadly is used improperly. As generators emit high concentration levels of carbon monoxide, keeping your generator outside of your home or garage is crucial. If any electrical appliances are not being powered by a generator, make sure that they are unplugged in order to protect them from damage resulting from power surges. Refrain from opening freezer or refrigerator doors, as without power, refrigerators will lose their cool temperatures within several hours and spoil the food inside. Finally, it is possible to cook perishable food on a gas stove, but gas stoves cannot be used to heat your home. 

       From ceiling leaks to larger scale water or storm damage, remember that SERVPRO is only a phone call away and ready to help restore your home after severe storms.

    Understanding Ceiling Stains

    9/30/2019 (Permalink)

    A water stain on your ceiling could be caused by a leaky pipe.

    An unwanted yellow ring or streak of discolored substance is undoubtedly one of the worst discoveries to make when glancing up at the ceiling in passing. The visible markings of a water leak, these stains indicate water damage in your ceiling, which can not be expunged with a new coat of paint or averting your eyes from the stain. Ignorance will only cause the problem to grow, facilitating the growth of mold and mildew. Therefore, it is crucial that the damaged area of the ceiling is quickly remedied. However, before taking action, it may be beneficial to understand the common causes of ceiling water stains.

    Common Causes

    With a solid understanding of the common causes of these stains, the root of your ceiling’s stain can be determined, which can help identify the best course of action to take. Ceiling water stains are primarily formed from three scenarios: clogged gutters, caulking issues, and leaky pipes. If a heavy rainstorm has recently occurred, clogged gutters may be the cause of your ceiling’s water stain. When gutters overflow, rain water can seep into your home and stain ceilings. If the ceiling stain appears soon after a shower or bath was taken in your home, the stain may be due to a caulking issue. Old caulking is prone to cracking and deteriorating, which can lead to leaks when water escapes a shower or bathtub. Finally, water can leak from pipes that run throughout your home. If a dishwasher, bathtub, refrigerator, or even an air conditioner are situated directly above the stain on the next floor up, your ceiling stain may have been caused by leaky pipes. Take a moment to recall the last time someone took a shower or bath, last week’s heavy rainstorm, and the last time you ran the dishwasher. Your leak may have been connected to one of those situations.

    Taking Action vs Calling a Professional

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

    Dave Royer - Employee Highlight

    9/20/2019 (Permalink)

    For an employee highlight we decided to aim the spotlight on our Director of Operations of our New Cumberland/Carlisle office; Dave Royer!

    After his training in January of this year, he opened the doors to SERVPRO of New Cumberland/Carlisle in February and he has grown the branch from no employees to over ten in less than eight months.

    His knack for leadership, work ethic, and resourcefulness has also helped assist our team in acquiring further franchises as well.

    Outside of SERVPRO, Dave is a family man who enjoys spending time and doing fun things with is loved ones, especially when it involves outdoor activities. He also enjoys listening to late 90s/early 2000s alternative rock. Dave has a knack for cooking as well and has developed his own pasta recipe in which he creates his own type of noodles, leading to delicious variants of numerous meals.

    We are grateful to have someone like Dave leading the charge for our New Cumberland/ Carlisle franchise and for someone with his work ethics and values help extending our company reach further! 

    Promoting Fire Safety in the Workplace

    9/17/2019 (Permalink)

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

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

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

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

    Hurricane Season: Are You Prepared?

    9/3/2019 (Permalink)

    Hurricane Damage

    Hurricane Season: Are You Prepared?

    Hurricane season is quickly approaching as we near the beginning of September, ushering in the possibility of violent winds and heavy rain wreaking havoc on your home. This time of year also marks National Preparedness Month, in which homeowners nation-wide are encouraged to prepare their homes for the wrath of hurricanes and other natural disasters. Inspecting your home’s exterior and taking precautions ahead of time is key in keeping your home as safe as possible during hurricane season.

    Determining your home’s risk can help in estimating how hard your home would likely be hit by a hurricane. This can be calculated by taking the location of your home into consideration. Suppose your home is located in a coastal or low-lying area. In this case, your home would be at greater risk of flooding and it would be best to take extra safety measures. You should also have a thorough understanding of how much your homeowner’s insurance covers, as some policies neglect to cover flood damage or the cost to rebuild in the event of your home being destroyed.

    Inspect your roof and gutters prior to the start of hurricane season. If the condition of your roof suffers due to loose or missing shingles, it will most likely have difficulty surviving in a hurricane. Replace missing or loose shingles and consider having your roof sealed as an extra precaution. If your gutters are clogged with debris, water will have a more difficult time draining. Clear debris from the gutters so that overflowing water will drain properly and not splash onto your roof, as this could damage the roof.

    The chances of water entering your home are elevated due to major flooding produced by hurricanes. This water can damage floors, walls, carpets, and surrounding objects, so keeping water away from your home is important. Positioning sandbags in front of doors can prevent flood water from entering your home. Over time, weather can erode the sealing on your home’s windows, which can cause water to seep through the windows during storms. If your window seals are broken, call a professional to sufficiently seal your windows in time for hurricane season.

    Why Is My Air Conditioner Leaking?

    8/23/2019 (Permalink)

    As we near the end of August and begin the transition into fall, summer temperatures will remain for a while longer, pressuring our air conditioners to continue relieving us from the heat. The chances of your air conditioning unit leaking are increased with constant use. While a small leak may seem manageable and not immediately concerning, it can grow into a much larger issue, resulting in serious amounts of water damage if your faulty AC unit isn't repaired quickly. Without repairs, you run the risk of mold or bacteria growth and caved-in ceilings as well as other types of structural damage to walls and floors. Being able to understand the problems that lead to leaky air conditioners, such as clogged drain lines, improper installation, and frozen evaporator coils, will help you to identify the reason why your unit is leaking and how to resolve the issue. 

    An air conditioning unit's drain line clogs when debris, dirt, or rust accumulates within the drain line, creating a blockage that results in the drain pan overflowing. Leaking onto the pan's surroundings, objects such as carpets, floors, walls, and ceilings can be damaged. Suppose your home's AC unit was installed recently and a leak emerges. This is a common result of improper installation. When the drain line isn't secured tightly, the pipe can loosen and eventually separate from the unit, causing a leak. If your unit was not recently installed and its drain line is not blocked, your unit's air filter may be to blame. The longer an air conditioner is used, the greater the possibility of the filter filling with dirt, clogging the filter. When the filter clogs, ice forms inside of the evaporator coils and when that ice melts, the unit can leak. Replace your air filter on a regular basis in order to prevent the filter from clogging.

    While you can take every preventative measure to prevent your air conditioning unit from leaking, there is always a chance that your unit could leak. In that case, turn off your AC unit and call a professional immediately after you discover a leak. Automatically shutting off the AC unit when its air filter or drain line clogs, a float switch can be installed by a professional to provide additional protection.

    Home Fire Safety 101

    8/23/2019 (Permalink)

    Igniting in the blink of an eye and spreading throughout your home in a matter of minutes, household fires can leave your home in shambles. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that your family does everything necessary in order to buy time during a fire emergency. Learning which items to have in your home and how to use them to your advantage can help save time and protect your home from destruction.

    Fire Extinguishers

    Keeping at least one fire extinguisher in an accessible place in your home can help to douse a fire in its beginning stages. While there are various types of fire extinguishers in existence, there is a specific kind that is best for home use: ABC fire extinguishers. Household fires usually fall under classes A, B, or C. Class A fires signify those that are started by paper, wood, or trash. Class B fires include those instigated by flammable liquids or gases. Lastly, Class C fires indicate those started by electrical complications. Make sure that you feel comfortable using the fire extinguisher so that no time is wasted reading the instructions during a fire.

    Smoke Alarms

    For each floor of your home, make sure that there is one smoke alarm. For additional protection, install another smoke alarm for every sleeping area. These smoke alarms pick up on smoke as soon as a fire ignites, giving your family as much time as necessary to escape and call for help. In order to guarantee that they are working sufficiently, change the batteries in your smoke alarms and test them routinely. In addition to smoke alarms, putting a carbon monoxide detector in a central location inside of your home can help to also notify your family of the presence of dangerous fumes in your home.

    Enforce Safe Practices

    Educating your children about basic fire safety can help to keep everyone aware and alert. Inform them of the dangers of playing with fire and keep items such as matches or lighters out of their reach. Finally, talking through what to do in the event of a fire and establishing a meeting place outside as a family can help to keep everyone calm during an emergency.

    SERVPRO Cares

    8/16/2019 (Permalink)

    It has always been important for owners Jim and Trish Wall to give back to the community. They were thrilled to be a part of St. Vincent's Villa Pancake Breakfast with Santa, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus on Saturday, December 8th.

    Our SERVPRO reached out to friends, family, vendors and to the public, and boy did they respond! We collected $1,350 which was matched by the company for a total donation of $2,700 for gift cards for the children of St. Vincent's, a comprehensive residential treatment facility for children, ages 5-14 operated by Catholic Charities of Baltimore. Our generous donors had their names written on ornaments placed on a tree which was presented to St. Vincent's along with gift cards and small gifts by our festively dressed marketing staff, and our very own SERVPRO Storm-troopers.

    As you can imagine, the Storm troopers were a big hit with the children. According to Trish, "This morning was truly one of the most special and rewarding experiences I have ever had. Watching those kids’ faces was priceless and getting to interact with them to make them smile was amazing. Thank you all for making this a possibility and I really hope we can make it an annual event."

    Owner’s Corner 3rd Quarter 2019

    8/12/2019 (Permalink)

    This time of year, the more than 1700 franchises from the United States, Canada, and even Puerto Rico assemble for SERVPRO’s annual convention. Joining together as one unit, we learned, networked, shared advice from experience, and listened to the stories of one another’s success in order to grow and promote SERVPRO’s strong reputation in the restoration business.

    With this year being the 50th anniversary of the convention, the SERVPRO origin story was shared, detailing its creation in 1967 in Sacramento, California as well as its founders, Ted and Doris Isaacson. Learning about how the franchise was built from its roots to the $2.4 billion franchise system that it is today, was inspirational. It all started with the talented Isaacson couple, who handed the business to their children and allowed it to flourish.

    Initially a painting business, Ted and Doris eventually shifted SERVPRO’s focus and decided to franchise it as a carpet and drapery cleaning company from there. Though the shifting and franchising process required plenty of work and hardship, it has ultimately paid off, as SERVPRO has expanded its impact internationally and now offers various restoration services beyond carpets and drapery cleaning, including general cleanup, reconstruction, and asbestos management services.

    We can attest to SERVPRO’s dramatic change over the years, as Jim and I enjoyed our 10 year anniversary this May and much has changed since our time began. This change has been positive, as the franchise has strived to remain up to date in its ability to handle the changing expectations of customers in today’s market. This March, a surprising press release brought forth perhaps the most colossal changes:

    By Jaewon Kang and Miriam Gottfried

    March 18, 2019 3:12pm ET

    Blackstone Group BX -0.11% ?? LP is nearing a deal to acquire cleaning- and emergency-restoration services provider SERVPRO Industries Inc. for more than $1 billion including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The private-equity has emerged as the winner in an auction for SERVPRO run by investment bank Harris Williams & Co., the people said.

    SERVPRO, of Gallatin, Tenn., operates a network of more than 1,700 franchises that specializes in fire, water, mold and other cleanup services for residential and commercial customers. The closely held company was founded in 1967 by Doris Isaacson and her late husband, Ted Isaacson, as a painting business and is currently run by their eldest child, Susan Steen.

    In light of Ted Isaacson’s passing in 2017, two out of the three Isaacson children decided to retire from leadership positions within SERVPRO in order to enjoy time with loved ones. Blackstone swung in from where the Isaacsons left off, generating mixed feelings from SERVPRO employees concerning the future of the franchise. However, after attending the convention and learning about Blackstone’s plans, we are optimistic and excited about what this new ownership will mean for Team Wall’s customers in the years to come.

    Lastly, we would like to recognize the members of our team, stronger than 70 in number, and their achievements. Thanks to these achievements, our franchise was ranked in the top 20 out of all 1700 franchises for 2018, making this the fourth year in a row of achieving this recognition. This humbling accomplishment is all thanks to our team’s endless devotion to excellence. However, this wouldn’t be possible without our incredibly loyal and supportive customers who have trusted us over the years. Thank you so much!

    We are so elated and optimistic about our future as a franchise and cannot wait to share this journey with all of you!

    With thanks,

    Jim and Trish Wall

    ERP Profile

    8/12/2019 (Permalink)

    Statistically speaking, up to 50% of businesses fail to completely recover after natural disasters. For the most part, the businesses that are able to recover had formulated an emergency plan beforehand. Similar to an insurance policy, this preparedness strategy can decrease anxiety before a disaster and promote an overall calm attitude through confidence that your business won’t suffer too much damage.

    Though there are many different kinds of natural disasters, they can all be dangerous and equally important to pay attention to. Therefore, it is important to prepare for all of these types despite their size.

    To help you to put an emergency plan in place for your home or business, SERVPRO has created Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) app for tablets and smartphones. This free app is easy to use and will be helpful in the creation and management of your own emergency plan, keeping it simple and easy to understand.

    The app makes it easy to complete the formulating process, taking virtually no time at all. It also eliminates steps that would take time by verifying which SERVPRO you prefer and allowing for more rapid completion of beginning authorization work, preserving your time and money.

    An added perk of the app is immediate access to information including shut-off valve locations, important areas, and contact information during emergencies, ensuring that you will be “ready for whatever happens”.

    Job of the Quarter Q2

    8/12/2019 (Permalink)

    This section of our newsletter is usually devoted to describing a specific job we completed that generated an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and achievement in our team. Upon reviewing the completed jobs of 2019’s second quarter, we came to the conclusion that instead of just one job in particular, it should be the entirety of a new branch of our franchise that has marked great pride to our team.

    Ken Matejek, an owner/operator, represents SERVPRO with great pride and believes in our brand wholeheartedly. Being able to help people across the country get back on their feet after disaster strikes is what he enjoys most and finds the most gratifying. Deciding to leave Massachusetts was bittersweet, but a necessary leap in order to focus on doing what he loved most. Joining Team Wall allowed Ken’s passion for helping those in need to become a reality.

    Alongside members of the travel storm team, Ken has aided in restorative services across the country since the partnership was formed earlier in the year. Examples of these services include February’s deep freeze in Chicago, spring flooding in Minnesota and Iowa during March, microburst flooding in a small section of Central New Jersey, and July’s flooding in DC. These services have contributed to helping more than 115 homeowners across the country make it “Like it never even happened." For Ken’s willingness to take a chance, taking part in our team and building a residential storm response team that has proven to be beneficial nationwide, we are so thankful. We’re excited to feature more stories of SERVPRO heroes in the future.

    Roof Damage Due to Summer Sun

    8/5/2019 (Permalink)

    As the summer sun’s intense rays beat down upon you and you long for relief from the heat, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is the damage that the sun is inflicting upon your business’ roof. The sun’s harmful rays can lead to serious damage over time if you, as a business owner, do not monitor the condition of your roof regularly. Understanding which types of damage to look for can help you to avoid serious deterioration of your business’ roof before it is too late to repair.

    First, it is important to understand what causes roof damage during the summer season. Long summer days feature an increased number of hours with sunlight compared to the three other seasons, which prolongs the exposure of roofs to the sun’s harmful UV rays. This exposure can deplete the oil out of the wood from which the roof is made. Another cause is a phenomenon known as thermal shock. Since temperatures are high throughout the day and cool at night, the rapid change in temperature causes the materials of the roof to expand and contract. The materials weaken under these conditions, resulting in a damaged roof over time.

    There are three types of damage that you should watch for when surveying your business’ roof for heat damage, the first of which being decay. Deformed, rotting, or broken shingles are common signs of decay. However, decay is most common for older roofs, so if your roof is relatively new, it should not be a major concern. The second is warping of the roof’s materials, such as bent or curled shingles. While this damage is not immediately dangerous to your business, it will increase in severity after time. The third and final type of damage to look for is cracked shingles. When shingles curl, tension builds, which can cause shingles to crack. This type of damage requires immediate repair by an expert in order to best protect your business’ roof from sun exposure-related destruction.

    Summer Weather Calls For Humidity… and Mold

    8/5/2019 (Permalink)

    We all know that mold growth is a common concern after flooding or heavy rainfall, but mold can grow any time there is an abundance of water in an area if it isn’t eliminated quickly. The summer season is often associated with heat, but humid weather is also prevalent during the summer due to an increased amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. Moisture from the humidity can spawn mold growth if your business doesn’t adequately deal with it. While carpets and floors are usually the areas that sustain water damage during flooding, moisture due to humidity is commonly found on interior walls and doors, as water vapor can form on these surfaces in the event of high humidity levels indoors, creating the perfect conditions for mold growth.

    Since removing mold is an arduous task, taking steps to protect your business from mold growth before it starts would be beneficial. Among these steps is controlling the humidity levels within the building, ensuring that they always stay below 60 percent during the summer. If humidity is especially prominent in the area in which your business is located, using a dehumidifier may help to maintain low humidity levels. If any condensation appears on the surfaces of walls or doors, make sure that you clean and dry the area as soon as possible using a clean rag or sponge. Keeping the windows and doors of your business closed while the air conditioning is turned on is a safe practice in order to prevent any outside humidity from entering the building.

    Though you can take preventative measures to protect your business from mold, there is still a chance that it may develop. If this happens, don’t panic. Contact SERVPRO to analyze the situation and completely eliminate the mold. In the time being, you can regulate airflow and maintain low levels of humidity throughout your building to prevent it from spreading. With this understanding of how mold can grow in humidity, your business can best protect against mold during the hot and humid days of summer.

    Protecting Your Business From Summer Storms

    7/29/2019 (Permalink)

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

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

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

    Preventing Garage Fires

    7/29/2019 (Permalink)

    Many homes catch fire every year from an unexpected source outside of their home: the garage. The risk of a home catching fire is increased if the garage is connected or attached to the home. As this is a common cause of residential fires, it is important to understand what causes garage fires to start. With the causes in mind, you can take preventative measures to protect your home from the dangers of garage fires.

    Archaic or even just aging circuits as well as outlets that are overpowered by too many electrical appliances can spark as a result of these electrical complications. These sparks make the chances of nearby combustible items igniting more likely, which could exacerbate the situation, as those items allow the fire to grow rather quickly. Investigating the state of your garage’s wiring system, which can be completed by an electrician, would be a practical solution to this problem. Alongside of this, stick to wall outlets as your primary power source for electrical appliances in the garage, as relying on extension cords can lead to further electrical issues.

    Garages are frequently used as storage solutions, but keeping clutter piled in your garage could escalate the scope of the fire in seconds if one were to ignite. If piles of flammable objects fill your garage, a small fire can gain traction and dramatically increase in size rapidly. Cleaning out your garage can decrease the probability of this happening.

    Normally residing in garages, oil, gasoline, paint, and other flammable liquids can become dangerous when met with a flame or spark. These liquids will ignite under such circumstances, fueling the fire and creating a more dangerous situation. Simply storing flammable liquids somewhere like a shed that is a fair distance from your home would be a much safer practice, as the fire would become isolated away from your home.

    During the winter months when propane tanks aren’t being used for grilling, some people decide to store the tanks in their garage. Doing so poses danger to your home, however, considering that propane tanks can easily catch fire. Instead of keeping them in the garage, store propane tanks in safer, outdoor areas where there is plenty of ventilation.

    In addition to abiding by these guidelines, taking supplemental precautions can help to protect your home in case of an emergency. One of which includes keeping a fire extinguisher either in your home or inside of the garage that could be grabbed quickly in an emergency. Another preventative measure to take includes installing heat alarms in your garage in order to detect a potential fire faster.

    How Do Electrical Fires Start?

    7/22/2019 (Permalink)

    We usually associate items such as candles or matches that generate visible flames with the ignition of household fires, but electrical problems cause a significant percentage of those residential fires. The risk of an electrical fire is enhanced during the winter months, as people turn to heating systems such as space heaters to deal with the cold weather. Understanding which factors cause electrical fires can help you to take preventative measures against them.

    What Causes Electrical Fires

    Utilizing light bulbs with a greater wattage than what is recommended by a specific light fixture can cause an electrical fire to ignite. Stick to the wattage that is recommended in order to prevent electrical fires from starting. Combustible items, when placed too close to light bulbs, can overheat and ignite, so make sure that items such as cloth and paper are kept at a safe distance away from light fixtures in order to prevent a fire.

    If you are using damaged wires that are torn or frayed in order to power electrical appliances, you are at a greater risk of an electrical fire igniting in your home. When wires are damaged, heat can be transferred to nearby combustible items within your home, including rugs and curtains. Be sure to also keep wires off of carpets, as they are combustible and can ignite if a damaged wire is running over top or underneath of them.

    Powering electrical appliances using an extension cord when appliances are not located near a wall outlet can enhance the probability of an electrical fire igniting. Electrical appliances must be plugged into wall outlets because extension cords are designed for short-term use and therefore cannot be substitutes for permanent wiring systems. Powering electrical appliances through wall outlets instead of extension cords is a much safer practice and can help protect your home from electrical fires. If doing so seems impossible due to a lack of wall outlets, hire an electrician to install more or stick to the necessities when it comes to powering electrical appliances.

     Lastly, keep the age of your home in mind when deciding how many electrical appliances to power in your home. Many homes that are 20 years or older in age were constructed in a time when homes didn’t require as much electrical power, so their wiring systems may not be strong enough to accommodate the volume of electrical appliances found in modern homes. It is also important to recognize that breaker systems in older homes may fail if there is a power overload and therefore give no warning before an electrical fire ignites.

    Urban Flooding

    7/22/2019 (Permalink)

    As urban areas continue to develop across the country, the issue of urban flooding is becoming more relevant than ever before. Soil usually absorbs rain water, but as cities generally contain more concrete than soil, urban areas depend on a limited number of draining systems. These draining systems cause water to build up beneath city streets during heavy rainfall and therefore, cities tend to flood easily.

    Flooding city streets and blocking roadways, urban flooding can have many consequences on daily life. Another example includes the phenomenon referred to as “dancing drain covers” in which the water that has built up in draining systems overflows, lifting drain covers off of the street surface. The covers, however, can shift their position in addition to lifting off of the ground, leaving large, dangerous openings in the street that could be treacherous for pedestrians that are crossing the street or cars that are driving over them.

    Though urban flooding is not seen as serious safety concern in the public eye, its damage is often akin to that of flooding from hurricanes or the overflow of rivers if the city is hit with enough rain in a short amount of time. Keeping this in mind, it is crucial to identify and be conscious of the likelihood of flooding based on your city’s geography. If your city is located on a coast or situated by a major river, it is at a higher risk of flooding due to the potential for storm surge or high tide from a large body of water and the possibility of runoff from a river. If the risk of flooding is high in your city, it may be beneficial to put together a flood kit in the case of a flooding emergency. This kit could include extra food, water, batteries, and flashlights, among other emergency items that could prove to be helpful during a serious flood.

    Surviving Summer Storms

    7/15/2019 (Permalink)

    Parts of Frederick, Maryland and the nation’s capital were slammed with thunderstorms carrying heavy rain over the course of this past 4th of July holiday weekend. Photos of vehicles underwater surfaced during the storm, illustrating flooded roadways and the severity of the flooding in the area. Even the basement of The White House began to flood, which can only mean that home and business owners in the area suffered an increased amount of damage. The reason as to why these heavy thunderstorms are so prevalent during the summer is the combination of atmospheric conditions that is commonly present during the summer months: moisture and rising warm air. This combination creates prime conditions for thunderstorms to form and it is important to understand what kind of damage summer thunderstorms can inflict upon your home or business.


    Thunderstorms often carry lightning, which can strike your home or business during a storm. Direct lightning strikes can lead to the ignition of electrical fires inside the building, tears in the roof and attic of the building, and the loss of shingles or gutters. If electrical appliances such as computers and refrigerators are plugged into outlets during a thunderstorm and lightning strikes the house, they can be harmed or possibly destroyed.

    Flash Flooding

    Thunderstorms can carry tremendous amounts of rain in addition to lightning, which can fall quickly and flood areas in its path. Sediment and mud can be carried by the flood water and therefore contaminate any objects with which it may come into contact inside of your home or business. If the flood water is not removed hastily, mold can grow and spread to other areas. It is helpful to understand the most common items damaged by flood water, including flooring, drywall, and carpet, in order to know where to look for water damage after a flood. Be sure to also check whether or not the flood water has shifted the building off of its structural foundation. If so, that can indicate that the building has suffered more serious damage.

    How To Deal with the Damage

    After the storm and once it is safe to enter areas that have flooded, look for any visible signs of lightning or water damage. Turn on light switches and check electrical breakers for functionality to find out if the building has endured any electrical damage. Keep an eye out for visible water damage on carpets, flooring, or walls and remove the water as soon as possible in order to protect them from the growth of mold. As you begin to remove water and clean up after the storm, turn off all water and electrical systems in order to prevent a reaction between water and electricity that could inflict further damage.

    What to Do When Your Washing Machine Floods

    7/15/2019 (Permalink)

    Suppose you enter your laundry room one day to find that the floor is covered in water from your washing machine. As horrific as this hypothetical situation may be, it is important to recognize that washing machines can and most likely will flood at some point in time, so knowing how to manage the flooding is absolutely necessary. Hoses as well as seals located inside of the washing machine are usually to blame when a washing machine breaks and floods. When this occurs, flood water can spread to surrounding carpets and walls, which can easily be damaged by the water if it is not removed quickly.

    Turn off the water and unplug the washer immediately after you discover that the washing machine is flooding in order to stifle the flow of water and prevent the water and electricity from reacting with one another while cleaning up. Before you begin cleaning, take any clothes that were inside of the washing machine when it began to flood out of the washer. Use towels, a mop, or a wet water vacuum depending on what you have available in order to eliminate any water. Dry the affected area using fans or dehumidifiers and if the weather is mild and dry. If carpets or drywall were destroyed by water damage during the flood, replace these items with fresh carpet and drywall. Disinfect the affected area before you return to regular use of the washing machine.

    In order to ensure that you don’t discover a broken washing machine in your laundry room once more, avoid pouring too much detergent into the washing machine. Using an unnecessarily large amount of detergent for a load of laundry can result in the formation of an excessive amount of suds that can overflow and cause the washing machine to flood. If you notice any signs of corrosion on the washing machine’s hoses, be cautious when running loads of laundry until they can be replaced or repaired, as the machine can flood of the hoses break. Finally, monitor the state of the washing machine’s drain line because if the drain clogs, the risk of the machine to flood will be enhanced.

    How to Prevent Grease Fires

    7/8/2019 (Permalink)

    It’s common knowledge that “grease is the word”, but did you know that grease is also a common starter of kitchen fires? From the moment they begin to burn, grease fires can grow rapidly, so it is important to understand how to prevent them. By understanding what constitutes safe methods as well as dangerous methods when cooking with hot oil, you can best protect your home from the destructive effects of grease fires.

    Safe Methods

    Remove any combustible items from the cooking space before you begin cooking. Cookbooks and paper towels are among the combustible items that, if a grease fire were to ignite, could catch fire and potentially increase the size and severity of the grease fire. While cooking, monitor the cooking space as closely as possible, as grease fires most commonly break out when the cooking space is left unattended. If you intend on drinking any cocktails before the meal, be sure to save them until you have finished cooking. Cooking while under the influence can lead to misjudgment, which could result in dangerous cooking and the ignition of a grease fire. Even if you practice safe cooking habits, the risk of a grease fire starting is always present, so keep a metal lid and baking soda handy when cooking, as they could be used to smother the fire. Keep in mind, though, that you should only rely on baking soda when dealing with a small grease fire.

    Dangerous Methods

    Refrain from throwing or tossing food into hot oil, as doing so can cause the oil to splatter across the cooking surface and ignite a grease fire. Make sure to gently and carefully place the food into the hot oil instead to prevent the oil from splashing. It is also important if you’re cooking frozen food in oil to allow that food to thaw before cooking. In the event that a grease fire ignites while you’re cooking, abstain from throwing any type of liquid onto the flame. While it is a common reaction to throw water onto any other fire, throwing water or any other liquid onto a grease fire can instead cause the fire to grow.

    What Causes Pipes to Leak?

    7/8/2019 (Permalink)

    Water damage can occur as a result of flooding in homes. But what causes that flooding? A common origin is pipes that leak. Water damage can be destructive, so it is beneficial to be able to understand the reasons as to why pipes leak.

    Eating away at pipes, corrosion can cause pipes to rust, break, and therefore leak. Make sure to watch for discolored water coming from the pipes and deformed pipes, since these can indicate corrosion. Any rusting on the pipe itself as well as other visible signs of corrosion can also imply this type of damage. Avoid pipe corrosion by surveying the condition of pipes before buying a home in order to make sure that they are in good shape. You can also have the pH of your water tested by professionals and make an effort to stop leakage using satisfactory clamps until professionals can sufficiently fix the damaged pipes.

    To bind water connectors, seals are adhered to the pipes when installed. With age and usage, the seals can break and therefore cause flooding. If you see any puddles of water forming on the ground beneath a seal or condensation on the outside of the pipes, the seals have likely been damaged. In order to protect seals from this damage, be sure to run water through your pipes regularly so that the don’t dry out and keep your eyes peeled for any of the aforementioned indicators of damage. If you don’t run water through the pipes regularly, the dried pipes can cause seals to crack and eventually break. Ask a friend or neighbor to run the water in your home in the event that you must leave town for a prolonged period of time, as doing so will protect the pipes and seals from damage.

    Causing pipes to contract and expand, extreme changes in temperature can cause pressure buildups in pipes. This increased pressure results in pipes rupturing and leaking in response. Pay close attention to the price of your water bill, as leakage can skyrocket the price. While it may sound odd, monitoring the smell your drains can also be beneficial, as a musty smell emanating from the drain can signify leaky pipes. Finally, if you notice any sudden changes in water pressure or flow, it may also be pointing to leaky pipes. Open cabinet doors, allow warmth to reach the pipes, and keep water flowing through the pipes in order to prevent your pipes from freezing during the cold months. Setting your thermostat to a certain, fixed temperature may also prove to maintain the good condition of your pipes.

    Preventing Water Damage To Carpets

    7/1/2019 (Permalink)

    Preventing Water Damage To Carpets

    How Can Carpets Be Damaged by Water?

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

    Warning Signs

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

    Why You Should Act Quickly

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

    Precautions to Take

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

    Preventing Fire Damage in Your Home

    7/1/2019 (Permalink)

    Preventing Fire Damage in Your Home

    How Can Fires Start in Homes?

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

    Electrical Dangers

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

    Proceed With Caution When…

    1. Smoking Indoors

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

    1. Burning Candles Indoors

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

    Avoid These Combinations

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

    5 Tips For Preventing Fires In Your Home

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

    Emergency Ready Profile App

    6/28/2019 (Permalink)

    Close to 50% of businesses never completely recover from a disaster event. Most of the businesses that did make a full recovery from these disasters had a prepared readiness plan in advance. Pre-Planning can serve as an insurance that provides not only the peace of mind in case a disaster event does occur, but also lessen the mental taxation that comes from the fear of an event happening and what that means for you and your business.

    There are a multitude of different types of disasters that don’t immediately come to mind, and all of them are just as important as the other. From a seemingly insignificant water leak to a large fire or flooding, there’s no real disadvantage to being as ready as possible.

    With that being said SERVPRO has developed the Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) app for both mobile smart phones and tablets. This is a very useful tool that is completely free at no cost to you, and provides many intuitive and simplified processes which allow you to construct and maintain your ERP with the least amount of stress and confusion as possible.

    The process is very streamlined and doesn’t take much time at all to fill out and will not take you away from your important projects. The ERP also establishes your SERVPRO of your choice, which simplifies the steps of authorizing work to begin on the damage relief which can save you both time and money.

    However the most convenient aspect of the profile is having a quick built-in reference for intricate facility specs such as shut-off valve locations as well as other areas of priority, and priority contact information which gives you immediate access to information during an emergency so you can be “Ready for whatever happens.”

    Flooding in Iowa

    6/22/2019 (Permalink)

    After 13 inches of rain fell over a 2-day period in Burlington, Iowa this May, SERVPRO crews traveled to the area in order to remediate the flooding. The storms resulted in much more than heavy rain, as large hail, high winds, and tornadoes swept through the area as well. The Missouri River flooded as well, which only added to the extensive flooding across the area. Since an unheard of 25 inches of snow fell in Des Moines, Iowa this February, the subsequent major snow melt restricted the ground from being able to absorb May’s inundation of rainfall. The rain water therefore spread across major roadways and flooded homes.

    Approximately 30 job files were received by SERVPRO to remediate the flooding, so 3 crews were sent to do the job. Various types of damage can be caused to homes by flooding, including the contamination of drywall and the destruction of support beams. The flooding can even cause damage to the foundation of homes, which can be very serious. More specifically, flooding can also lead to wet finished basements as well as wet content, walls, and flooring. The probability of mold growth is increased during the first 24 hours after contamination. Therefore, restoration crews had to act fast.

    The crews’ ability to help return the lives of those affected by the flooding back to normal motivated them to travel to Iowa, as it arose in them a certain feeling of satisfaction from being able to help so many people.

    Broken Pipes in Chicago

    6/22/2019 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO crews traveled to Chicago, Illinois after five days of subzero temperatures hit the city in February. Aside from extremely low temperatures, the deep freeze also caused the Chicago River to completely freeze. Shortly afterward, temperatures soared from lows of -50 degrees to highs in the 30s, 40s, and even 50s. This resulted in broken pipes for hundreds of homeowners throughout the city. Although this is a common phenomenon during the winter, the extreme and rapid change in temperature elevated the occurrence of burst pipes for Chicago homeowners this year.

    The negative temperatures caused pipes to freeze over, so when the temperature rose, the pipes thawed, burst, and resulted in flooding. This occurs when water inside the pipes expands, causing pressure to build inside of the pipes. Too much pressure causes the pipes to burst.

    Burst pipes can cause flooding in basements as well as water damage to carpets and walls. Mold commonly grows in flood-damaged homes or damp areas, as the moisture allows for mold to grow and multiply.

    To protect against mold, objects that cannot be cleaned, such as drywall or ceiling tiles, should be removed, while items such as glass or ceramic may be cleaned. Approximately 30 job files were received by SERVPRO and 3 crews were required to combat the issue. The excitement of preparing for such a restoration and traveling to a different part of the country motivated the crews to make the journey to Chicago and restore the homes of those affected by the burst pipes.

    Happy 10 Year Anniversary!

    5/1/2019 (Permalink)

    Our SERVPRO family!

    May 2019 marks a very big milestone for the Wall Family. 10 years as SERVPRO owners and operators!

    Many people don’t know the personal journey behind our SERVPRO franchises and many more don’t realize that SERVPROs are independently owned and operated.

    There are over 1800 SERVPRO franchises throughout the United States and Canada. Our family runs and operates three of these offices: Hunt Valley, Harford County, and New Cumberland/Carlisle, PA. It’s been a path of quick growth and an incredible amount of dedication and hard work by an entire team of people.

    We thought sharing our SERVPRO story might be appropriate for our 10-year anniversary. So, here’s how we got here…

    Jim and I met while working in Philadelphia, PA at a public accounting firm, KPMG. We were engaged quickly… 6 months! And, at the same time, left our public accounting firm jobs to pursue other career paths. Newlywed life was good and our jobs were solid. That is until the recession rocked our country to the core. We found ourselves laid off (both of us), living with Jim’s parents, and pregnant with our first child. Life never goes the way you plan it, does it?

    An opportunity to open a SERVPRO franchise in Hunt Valley, MD presented itself and we are thankful every day for taking the chance. SERVPRO corporate provides tremendous support to their franchisees and their core values aligned directly with ours. It was a great fit, and luckily due to the optimism youth can bring, we took the risk, moved our life to Northern Baltimore County, rolled up our sleeves, and got to work.

    This is very much the abbreviated version and those 10 years hold a lot of trials and tribulations along our path to growth. It is ultimately the solid team we have been so lucky to build that has helped us grow to be among the top 20 of 1800 SERVPRO franchises. Consistently. Year after year.

    We want to take the opportunity to thank all of you directly for your continued support through out the last decade. Ultimately, if it wasn’t for a customer, we would not have the opportunity to be a business. Thank you very much for giving us a chance to earn your business not just once, but for a lifetime.

    Many thanks and looking forward to another great 10 years on this SERVPRO journey!

    Jim and Trish

    Job of the Quarter - April 2019

    4/22/2019 (Permalink)

    Our team in action!

    Each quarter SERVPRO of New Cumberland/Carlisle highlights our “Job of the Quarter”. Basically, a loss we cleaned and restored that highlights not only our breadth of services, but the scale of work we are able to complete.

    This quarter was no exception. A storage facility in Virginia Beach suffered a devastating fire started inside one of the storage units. The fire quickly turned to 167 units that were emblazoned and ended in only 80 of those units being salvageable.

    We were called to the job to help clean up this unfortunate situation. “Wait a minute?”… you might be thinking, “Virginia Beach?”. That’s right. We have large loss teams that specialize in servicing our commercial clients in whatever location they may need us. The ability to respond directly to our customer’s needs outside of just our local market sets us apart from our competition. We are here to help, no matter where you need it!

    Our teams hit the road running and were able to work with each individual storage unit owner to determine which items they would like to salvage and which items were to be disposed. After the debris removal was complete, the 80 salvageable units were cleaned, sanitized, and restored to pre loss conditions. The work did not end there, however. Our team then was responsible for the demolition and removal of the 87 units that were deemed a total loss. Please see our picture to the left of our team in action operating an excavator to complete the demolition portion of this job.

    Helping people is certainly our passion, and in this case, we were able to get this business operational quickly and help their customers clean and organize their affected belongings quickly. We were honored to be chosen to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

    Why Did My Basement Flood?

    4/3/2019 (Permalink)

    Water will find the least path of resistance and it could be into your basement. Be prepared and know how to prevent a flooded home!

    Why Did My Basement Flood?

    Flooding of basements is one of the most common issues most homeowners face. Although flooding occurs during heavy rains or rapid snowmelts, it can also occur in dry weather.

    There are many reasons for basement flooding including seepage, storm sewer backup, and improper grading among others. As the basement lies in the lowest level of a building, it is prone to flooding.

    What causes basement flooding?

    These are the most common causes of basement flooding:

    Foundation Leaks: Water can seep into the foundation if there are cracks in it. The risk of flood in your foundation is more if your home is near groundwater. Cracks in the foundation can lead to significant water leakage into the basement.

    Leaking basement windows: Windows in the basement can leak and let water creep in during rains. Whenever it rains, there could be a significant collection of water on the windowsills. Fixing the windowsill is the only option to prevent basement flooding.

    Blocked sewer: If the manifold that connects the public sewer system to your house is blocked it can lead to floods in your basement. It is important to call local authorities immediately to address blocked gutters and SERVPRO of New Cumberland/Carlisle to mitigate the sewage and water damage.

    Debris in gutters: The gutters play a critical role in preventing basement flooding as they carry away rain water from the home.  If they are clogged or damaged, they can overflow during rains and allow water to build up. If the ground near the basement soaks up too much water, it can seep into the basement as well.

    Improper grading or sloping: If the yard does not slope away in the right manner, rain water does not drain effectively. If the sloping is towards your home rather than away, excess water can result in basement flooding. 

    Improper downspouts: Downspouts channel water away from the foundation and should be at least 5 to 6 feet away from the wall of the basement. If the downspouts are missing or broken, water tends to pool near the house and slowly seeps into the basement.

    SERVPRO of New Cumberland/Carlisle provides professional emergency clean up and restoration services on a 24/7 basis. Should you encounter water or sewage damage call our office directly at 717-761-2173.

    Top Reasons to Clean HVAC and Ducts

    3/4/2019 (Permalink)

    Top Reasons to Clean HVAC and Ducts

    Your HVAC system not only helps maintain an optimal temperature inside your building, but also prevents dust particles and other harmful contaminants from entering the interiors. A malfunctioning HVAC system, however, is more of a liability than an asset and fails miserably at performing its job. Additionally, a dysfunctional HVAC system can cause mold growth. More often than not unclean ducts are the culprits behind malfunctioning HVAC systems. Getting your HVAC system and ducts cleaned regularly pays dividends in the long run. Not sure about whether to get your system cleaned regularly? We, in this post, will give you not one but four reasons to show some love to your HVAC and duct. Take a look.

    1.Helps avoid health issues

    With time dirt, dust particles, mildew, mold, and allergens settle in and around HVAC ducts. The system circulates these particles with air. Inhaling air laden with these contaminants can give rise to a number of health issues such as skin allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. Your HVAC's filter cannot trap all these contaminants, which is why it is necessary to get your ducts cleaned regularly.

    2.Helps improve performance

    Unclean and clogged ducts drag down your system's performance and can result in high energy bills. Cleaning ducts regularly help improve the airflow, which is one of the essential prerequisites for ensuring flawless performance.

    3.Adds years to the system’s service life

    Studies suggest that 9 out of 10 systems do not last long due to improper or inadequate maintenance. Getting your system cleaned regularly not only adds years to its service life, but also helps avoid costly fixes. Getting your system cleaned regularly can expose underlying mechanic and other issues before they snowball into major concerns.

    4.Helps eliminate musty odors

    HVAC systems with unclean ducts often circulate stale air with a strong metallic or musty smell. Moisture builds up in the duct often results in a burning smell. To maintain the quality of life, contact an HVAC repair expert who will perform a thorough checkup and address system issues.

    SERVPRO of New Cumberland/Carlisle is a trusted leader in the clean-up and restoration industry. We are NADCA certified and have completed HVAC and duct cleaning for both large and small commercial facilities. Please give us a call directly at 717-761-2173 for an estimate to help improve the efficiencies of your property.

    When Does Insurance Cover Mold Remediation?

    2/15/2019 (Permalink)

    Window in a bathroom Water Damage that goes unaddressed can lead to a much bigger and more costly situation!

    When Insurance Will and Won’t Cover Mold Remediation

    One of the unwelcome consequences of water damage, dampness or humidity is mold overgrowth. The costs of mold-related diseases are as high as $22.4 billion annually in the U.S. alone as per the Journal of Environmental and Public Health.

    Mold is a fungus that occurs naturally and is not visible to the naked eye. Reproducing with the help of spores, mold can infiltrate buildings easily. Mold insurance is an absolute must for homeowners given the high cost of repair and maintenance of buildings that have been damaged by mold.

    What does insurance cover mold remediation?

    Homeowners insurance typically covers mold damage only when a "covered peril" causes it. The “covered perils” for which mold remediation is covered by insurance companies include:

    • Fire
    • Vandalism
    • Theft
    • Malicious mischief
    • Lightning
    • Damage due to vehicles
    • Falling objects
    • Weight of snow, ice, or sleet
    • Frozen pipes
    • Accidental water overflow from heating, plumbing, sprinkler systems, air conditioners, and household appliances

    When does insurance not cover mold remediation?

    Home insurance policies do not cover mold remediation if it resulted from preventable causes such as flood, water damage, or high humidity. Homeowners are expected to take preventive measures to avoid mold damage that includes professional cleaning, drying, and regular maintenance.

    Standard homeowners’ policies will not provide mold remediation cover for “maintenance” problems such as repeated water leaks, continuous water seepage, humidity problems, and ongoing issues related to condensation, landscaping or drainage. Most homeowners’ policies also do not cover flood damage which is usually provided as a separate add-on.

    Addressing water damage at it's onset with the help of professionals at SERVPRO of New Cumberland/Carlisle is the ideal way to prevent the costly expense of mold remediation.


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