Owner's Corner: 3rd Quarter
It’s always been in the places I least expect it that I hear or read a few impactful words that help me in moments I need it most.
“Mom, can I ask you a question?”
“Who are the two people in the world that you want to make most proud?”
“Just two? There are SO many”
“Ummmm”… Moments of thought and deliberation… “my mom and dad???”
“Wrong. Your 8-year-old self and your 80-year-old self. You want the 8-year-old self to think you had a really cool life and your 80-year-old self to think you had a worthy life.”
I go quiet. Humbled by the unbelievable wisdom spewing from my 12-year-old and wondering where the heck he came up with this? Tik Tok??
Waking me out of my daze he pushes on, “So what would they think of you?”
Taking a deep, thoughtful breath, “Well. I think my 8-year-old self would be proud of the cool adventures I’ve been on and places I have seen?”
“What about your 80-year-old self?”
“Whew. That’s a much harder one. I really don’t know.”
“Well, you have another 40 years to figure it out.”
Spot on and a little jolting.
So I’ll be open with it for those that didn’t catch the subtle math above. I turned 40 this year. I dreaded it. I don’t know what I thought might happen as the numbers rolled over into a new decade, but I don’t feel too much different - physically. Mentally - that’s a different story. But, a good one. There’s a lot of confidence gained with age and a lot of lessons learned that turn you into a better person.
To some reading this you may be chuckling at me for pontificating on only 40 years lived. Others may be right in the game with me and feeling the same feels. No matter on which side of the fence you lie, I thought I’d share five of my favorite sentiments I’ve learned along the road of life thus far. They are hard to ALWAYS fulfill 100% of the time, but if I do, I think it will keep me moving towards impressing that 80-year-old self of mine.
- “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” – There’s not much in life that comes easy. And if it does? Be wary. Work is a non-negotiable in anything worth having.
- “Do What Scares You Until it Doesn’t” – I wrote a whole blog about this awhile back. There are a lot of things in life that have been attempted and successfully completed by other people. If they can do it, what’s stopping you? It will be scary and you might fail a few times, but a switch will eventually flip . That thing that seemed terrifying? All of a sudden it’s no big thing.
- “Be the Buffalo” – Have you heard this one? It’s fascinating. Cows and buffalos. They handle approaching danger in TOTALLY different ways. A cow will run away from a storm and a buffalo charges towards Instead of outrunning the storm, the cows end up running right along with it. Maximizing the pain and frustration they have to endure. Lesson? Face your problems head on. Running only prolongs your suffering.
- “It takes twice as long to build bridges you’ve burnt” – It was Christmas day in 1988. My sister and I got into a brutal fight that didn’t end well. As punishment, my mom made me write 100 times, “Do unto others as you would have them to unto you” – The Golden Rule. I’ve witnessed people burn bridges and I know I’ve done it myself. It’s a horrible feeling and I find myself reliving those moments over and over wishing I handled things differently. Deal with hard things with transparency, empathy, and honesty. Keep the Golden Rule front and center – weight will be lifted from your shoulders and peace settled on your mind.
- “No one wears the jersey of a Monday Morning Quarterback” – I recently discovered Theodore Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena”. Have you read this genius or learned the history behind it? Critics are a dime a dozen. But, how many have actually walked the path of those they criticize? Unless you’ve worn someone’s exact same pair of shoes – size, model, color, wear and tear – don’t dare think critically on their words and actions. There will be a thousand things you can’t possibly understand. And after all, the hero is the one inventing, trying, failing, and getting up to do it again amidst the voices of those “Monday Morning Quarterbacks”. Which one do you want to be?
It’s always been in the places I least expect it that I hear or read a few impactful words that help me in moments I need it most. This article? Just my measly attempt to pay it forward. But, if it helps one person, I’ll call it a success.
What about you? What helps you move towards impressing that 80-year-old self of yours? I’d love to hear all about it.
Celebrating Our Employees of the Quarter
SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County is thrilled to recognize three outstanding employees as our Employees of the Quarter.
This quarter, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County would like to recognize three outstanding employees as our Employees of the Quarter, an award we present at each quarterly meeting. This quarter’s recipients are Sulma Morales, John Carter, and Megan Badorrek. Keep reading to learn more about our fantastic employees!
Fire Restoration Crew Chief Sulma Morales has been with us for just over 9 years. Although she specializes in fire restoration, she also excels in commercial and residential cleaning and sanitizing. Over the course of the last 18 months, she has performed hundreds of COVID-related cleanings. The quality of her work and dedication are truly unmatched. Thank you for all you do, Sulma! You are an integral part of our Hunt Valley and Harford County team.
Serving as fire Fire Restoration Technician, John Carter has been with SERVPRO for 7 years. John has filled different positions throughout his time with Team Wall and has always been willing to help and train others. Recently, we have leaned on John as our media blasting and duct cleaning expert and trainer. John is quietly consistent and produces top quality work no matter what he does. We are incredibly fortunate to have you on our team, John!
Job File Coordinator Megan Badorrek has been with SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County for just over 1 year. Turning the data received from crews in the field into estimates, Megan has an important role in our office. She has helped write reconstruction estimates both in the office and on-site as well. Megan is always willing to do whatever is needed and the quality of her work is outstanding. Megan, you have a bright future with Team Wall and we’re so appreciative of all that you do.
Job of the Quarter: Q3
Inside of the damaged warehouse was approximately 170,000 square feet of smoke and soot
It’s a tradition here at SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall to spotlight a “Job of the Quarter” four times each year. Usually, the selected job is an exemplary project that represents our strengths and what we strive to deliver in every job. This quarter, we selected a fire restoration job that we completed in July. It was a job that required many members of our team from different departments to pitch in, whether they helped with acquiring the job or seeing it through to the very end.
No Large Loss Too Large
We received a call from our customer on June 28th after they experienced a large fire loss. Within 24 hours, we were on the job site with members of our Harrisburg West team. Offering to handle the job from start to finish and emphasizing our ability to begin work immediately, we assured our customer that we had lots of experience in large loss jobs, as well as Matterport technology, which would enable us to get the job done in a timely manner.
Making It “Like it never even happened.”
Inside of the damaged warehouse was approximately 170,000 square feet of smoke and soot, which was exacerbated by the fire having affected the HVAC unit. On July 2nd, the contract was signed and before the end of the day, we began the processes of tarping the roof and duct cleaning. In order to get the company and its employees back on schedule, we worked over the July 4th holiday weekend. In this way, we were able to clean offices while employees were out of the building and minimize distractions. Our team was working around the clock with crews of 40 or more members at a time. We also had to rent a scissor lift in order to clean smoke and soot residue from the warehouse’s high ceilings. Additional challenges were faced by our team throughout the process. Because the company’s production couldn’t be placed on hold while the warehouse was being restored, our team had to learn how to work around their crews and section specific areas off so that they could continue working in other sections of the building. On July 26th, we did our final walkthrough — the warehouse fire damage was “Like it never even happened.”
Teamwork Makes All The Difference
The overarching reason as to why this job was selected over others to be our “Job of the Quarter” is that it highlights the ways in which SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is truly a team. Our digital marketing team got us in the door and our Harrisburg West team arrived in person to the job site. Commercial Account Manager Jannene Miller followed up with calls and emails to the point of contact throughout the process to make sure SERVPRO remained at the forefront of their minds. One of our owners, Jim Wall, alongside our Harrisburg West VP of Operations, Jason Quick, and Large Loss Production Manager, George Readinger, also visited the job site to work with the customer. From the office our other owner, Trish Wall, sent letters of recommendation, helping to seal the deal. All of this goes to show that so many people played a part in making this happen, which helped everything go smoothly. Thanks to our teamwork, we were able to ensure that our customer was happy with not just the final product, but with every step along the way as well.
Have a Large Loss? Call Team Wall
In the event that your commercial business experiences a large loss, whether it be a large fire or water damage from a strong storm, know that SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall is here to help. We offer fire, water, storm, and mold restoration and remediation services specifically designed for commercial properties. Give us a call today for a powerful team of skilled specialists and state-of-the-art restoration equipment and technology that will get the job done. We look forward to future opportunities to help you or your customer recover from any disaster.
Generator Safety During Storms
How many of us feel confident that we have a sufficient grasp on generator safety?
How many times has a generator restored a sense of normalcy to your life during or in the aftermath of a storm? Providing us with light, cold air in our refrigerators, the ability to charge our phones, and so much more, generators can be a lifesaver. The hope is that we don’t have to use our generators often, but as a result, how many of us feel confident that we have a sufficient grasp on generator safety? According to Consumer Reports, generators can pose safety risks, such as carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards, to residential and commercial properties alike, as well as those living or working in them. Here are our top generator safety tips to keep in mind during or after a storm.
- Keep Your Generator Outside
Storing your generator indoors, in a garage, or any enclosed space increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The American Red Cross recommends that generators should be kept away from windows and doors in order to further prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home or business. Out of an abundance of caution, it is also beneficial to install a carbon monoxide detector and alarm system in your residential or commercial property. These devices will alert anyone inside of the home or building of carbon monoxide so that they can exit the property immediately.
- Store Fuel in a Safe Location
Generators require fuel in order to power your home and in the event of a storm that may cut off your power for multiple days on end, you will likely need to stock up on extra fuel. When storing fuel, it is important to keep it in a cool space that is well-ventilated and outside of any living spaces. Generator fuel is a serious fire hazard, so it is critical that fuel is stored properly in a location protected from any items that may ignite fire.
- Consider Installing a Transfer Switch
The fire hazards associated with extension cords can be avoided with the help of a transfer switch, which connects your generator directly to your property’s circuit panel. It is dangerous to plug your generator into a wall outlet. This practice is also known as “backfeeding” and can increase the risk of electrocution. Transfer switches eliminate the need for engaging in this dangerous activity and can also prevent overloading, as they sometimes display wattage use levels.
SERVPRO Is Standing By
If you decide to utilize a generator to power your home or business after a storm leaves your property without power, be sure to exercise caution. Serious safety hazards, as well as significant risks to your property, accompany generator usage. Therefore, it is important to have an emergency plan in the event that generator usage leads to fire damage to your property. Our team of fire damage restoration experts will respond immediately when you are in need. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County right away at (410) 229-0012 if your home or business experiences fire damage resulting from generator usage. Visit our website for an overview of our Storm Damage Restoration, Fire Damage Restoration, and Commercial Fire Damage Restoration services. We are standing by, ready to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Professional Commercial Storm Response With SERVPRO This Hurricane Season
Now is the perfect time to step back and consider your commercial business’ hurricane emergency plan.
Hurricane season 2021 has been in full swing since June, but we often see storms during the autumn season, as hurricane season extends into late November. Therefore, now is the perfect time to step back and consider your commercial business’ hurricane emergency plan. If disaster strikes and your commercial property experiences storm damage, do you have a plan? Calling SERVPRO is a great first step. We will be there for you from the beginning to the end of the job, handling both the mitigation work and reconstruction work that needs to be completed in order to get your business back on schedule.
We Are Reconstruction Professionals
Many people know us as mitigation experts, but we are also reconstruction professionals and offer a long list of building services such as drywall installation, floor repair, and roofing services. When you call us after any storm damage emergency this hurricane season, we will work to mitigate storm damage or water damage, remove water, complete demolition work, and finally, provide rebuild services that will get your commercial property back to its preloss condition. Our mission is to make it “like it never even happened.” Wondering what these services look like in real life? We’ll walk you through a few of our standout commercial storm damage restoration projects in the last year:
The Phoenix Buildings
Orange Beach, Alabama was hit hard during the relentless 2020 Hurricane Season. Our team traveled to Orange Beach in order to help mitigate water damage and restore two condominium buildings that had been impacted by Hurricane Sally, water damage affected multiple stories of condos from the top to the bottom of the buildings. Our success at the Phoenix Buildings emphasizes our capability to handle everything from water damage restoration services to reconstruction services and be a “one-stop-shop” for our customers. Read more about our experience working at the Phoenix Buildings here.
Immaculate Conception Catholic School Winter Storm Damage
Our work doesn’t stop with hurricane season. Our Disaster Recovery Team and commercial storm damage experts also take on storm damage resulting from severe winter storms. This February, we traveled to the Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Denton, Texas after winter storm Uri, which caused burst pipes and extensive water damage. Not only did the school require storm damage restoration, but it needed reconstruction services like drywall installation and floor replacement as well, which we were able to complete. For more information about our work at the ICCS, check out our blog post.
We Can Do It All
We handle every step of the job until your commercial property is completely restored to its condition before the storm’s arrival in your neighborhood. Storm damage interrupts the crucial, everyday operations of your company. We save you time and money by offering both professional storm damage restoration and reconstruction services. Because our team is made up of mitigation and reconstruction professionals alike, you won’t have to spend time finding someone else to take over the second half of the job. In a letter of recommendation written by a recent client, they communicated:
“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.”
We get the job done quickly and will have your business back on its feet in no time. For more information about our Commercial Storm Damage Restoration services, our SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team - Team Wall, and our 24-Hour Emergency Service, visit our website. You can read more about our experience with hurricane restoration in our latest Hurricane Preparation Tips blog. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today at (410) 229-0012. We are here for you no matter what this year’s hurricane season has in store.
Preventing Flood Damage to Your Property
According to the Federal Emergency Management Association, “Flooding is the most common and costly disaster in the United States.”
Flooding is a year-round concern, but hurricane season may increase the likelihood of severe storms that are capable of producing flooding. According to the Federal Emergency Management Association, “Flooding is the most common and costly disaster in the United States.” FEMA also recommends that homeowners take 3 important steps to minimize flood damage: “Know Your Risk”, “Insure Your Property”, and “Reduce Your Risk.” In this blog, we’ll discuss ways in which you can reduce your property’s risk for experiencing flood damage in accordance with FEMA’s guidelines.
Preventative Measures Inside and Outside
There is a wide array of indoor and outdoor preventative measures that you can take in order to best protect your home or business from flooding damage both well in advance or immediately before the storm hits. Outside, be sure that you clean out your gutters regularly, as doing so prevents them from becoming clogged and helps rainwater drain properly during a storm. Outdoor equipment and utilities, including heat pump or air conditioning units, can be elevated at least 1 foot off of the ground in order to decrease the potential for costly water damage during a flood. Inside, it may also be beneficial to elevate your indoor units, such as your HVAC system, in the event of indoor flood damage. Lastly, be sure to keep valuable indoor items, which may include important documents and sentimental objects, in watertight containers within a safe, elevated location. This step prevents such items from enduring irreversible water damage in the wake of a flood.
Call SERVPRO for Professional Storm Damage Restoration
Even with preventative measures in place, storm damage due to flooding is never 100% avoidable. However, taking the steps outlined in this blog and those recommended by Ready.gov can help minimize serious damage. That’s why SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County is standing by and always ready to help in the event that your home or business needs to be restored to its preloss condition after a damaging flood. Our website contains various flood and storm damage resources, including our Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration, Commercial Storm Damage, and Water and Storm Damage Tips pages. Call us at (410) 229-0012 at the first sign of damage after a flood or severe storm for immediate, professional assistance and restoration services that you can trust.
Breaking Down Our Water Damage Restoration Process
Consistency and professionalism are what our team of water damage experts displays on a daily basis.
When your home or business experiences a water damage emergency, what can you expect from SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County? Consistency and professionalism are what our team of water damage experts displays on a daily basis, as they follow a specific water damage restoration process and series of steps to ensure that your property receives the fastest and most effective restoration services after any storm. In this blog, we’ll break down our Water Damage Restoration Process so that you can gain a deeper understanding of what to expect from our services after any water damage emergency.
Our 6-Step Water Restoration Process
The whole water damage restoration process begins with your call. Immediately, we ask preliminary questions so that we can be prepared to arrive onsite with the most helpful resources and equipment to get the job done.
- Inspection and Water Damage Assessment
Once our team arrives onsite, we work to assess the scope of your property’s water damage and determine the severity of the water damage based on industry standards set by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. The final step before we begin removing the water involves examining how far the water has traveled throughout the property in order to ensure that we complete a comprehensive water damage restoration of all affected areas.
- Water Removal and Extraction
Using pumps and vacuums, our team works quickly to remove and extract the water. This step is crucial in order to prevent secondary water damage as well as the growth of mold and mildew.
- Drying and Dehumidification
In this stage of the water damage restoration process, we focus on removing the water that is more difficult to reach and was subsequently not able to be extracted in Step 3. We also take measurements of temperature and relative humidity in order to determine the number of dehumidifiers and air movers that will be necessary to remove this excess water and thoroughly dry your property.
Water damage can often leave items unsanitary, which is why Step 5 focuses on cleaning and sanitizing in addition to removing odors from your belongings that have been impacted by water damage. Various techniques are utilized to achieve these goals, including Dry Cleaning, Wet Cleaning, Spray and Wipe, Foam Cleaning, Abrasive Cleaning, and Immersion Cleaning.
Our final step is restoration, which is all about getting your property back to its preloss condition, making it “Like it never even happened.” Our team of professionals take care of everything from major repairs, such as rebuild and reconstruction services, to minor repairs, including the installation of new drywall or carpet replacement.
Here for You Throughout the Entire Process
Water damage emergencies resulting from storms in residential and commercial properties alike can be stressful and scary, which is why you need a team of water damage restoration specialists by your side. As soon as you call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012, our professionals will have your back throughout the entire restoration process until your property has been restored to its preloss condition. For more information about our Water Damage Restoration and Commercial Water Damage Restoration services, as well as additional Water Damage Tips, check out our website.
How To Clean Your HVAC System After a Fire
A crucial component of minimizing damage after a fire involves an element of your property that works behind the scenes: your HVAC unit.
After any fire emergency, your mind immediately goes to structural damage and destruction of personal belongings. However, a crucial component of minimizing damage after a fire involves an element of your property that works behind the scenes: your HVAC unit. After any fire, it is important to clean the affected areas in order to prevent further fire damage to your property. Because HVAC systems facilitate air circulation, they can carry smoke and soot through the air, causing it to travel to previously unaffected areas of your property. Additionally, it is important to clean HVAC ducts because after fire damage restoration, HVAC systems can still distribute smoke-filled air back into restored areas if they are not included in the initial cleaning. Let’s learn more about HVAC systems and fires in order to determine when HVAC cleaning after a fire may be necessary.
When Should HVAC Cleaning Be Implemented?
Typically, moderate to heavy fires, which produce increased amounts of smoke and soot residue, require HVAC cleaning. Additionally, your property may benefit from HVAC cleaning depending on which side of the HVAC unit (either the supply side or the return side) the fire took place. Regardless of the scope and location of the fire, however, it may be beneficial to enlist the help of a professional who can assess the severity of the fire damage and determine whether or not your property requires HVAC cleaning. In the event that your property’s HVAC system cannot be cleaned normally, we offer duct sealing services, which involves removing, cleaning, and replacing vent registers and air intakes, as well as vacuuming out soot and dust.
HVAC Cleaning Reduces Health Hazards
Smoke and soot that linger in homes following fires can be detrimental to the health of those inhabiting your property. HVAC systems circulate this residue in the air, thereby increasing health effects. Therefore, HVAC unit cleaning is essential in minimizing the potentially detrimental health and air quality effects of fire damage.
For Professional HVAC Cleaning, Call SERVPRO
Fire emergencies of any size deserve quick and professional fire damage restoration services. You can trust SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County to arrive as soon as possible after you call us at (410) 229-0012. Our Fire Damage Restoration specialists and HVAC cleaning professionals will be with you every step of the way until your property is restored to its preloss condition. Learn more about our Fire Restoration Process and Air Ducts and HVAC Cleaning services on our website.
What is Biohazard Cleaning?
Our Biohazard Cleanup and Restoration Services aim to quickly remove and properly dispose of biohazards.
Found on the long list of professional Cleaning Services that we offer is “biohazard,” a service whose meaning may not be immediately apparent. What is biohazard cleaning and what does it entail? Why is it important to remediate biohazard situations as quickly as possible? All of these questions and more will be answered in this blog.
What Is a Biohazard?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a biohazard is defined as “a biological agent or condition that is a hazard to humans or the environment.” These agents and substances may include bodily fluids, animal waste, and microbiological waste. Because these agents may present dangers to health, our Biohazard Cleanup and Restoration Services aim to quickly remove and properly dispose of biohazards.
Examples of Biohazard Cleaning Scenarios
Now that we understand what biohazards entail and why it is critical to properly dispose of them in a timely manner, let’s consider potential scenarios in which biohazard cleaning may be required. Some of these scenarios, such as tear gas cleanup, crime scene residues, and chemical spills, are rarely found in residential and commercial properties. Sewage backups and accident cleanup are much more common. However, whatever the severity of your property’s biohazard damage, our biohazard cleanup specialists are prepared with the tools to carefully restore your home or business to its previous condition.
In Need of Biohazard Cleanup Services? Call SERVPRO
We understand that biohazard situations can often be traumatic and emotional experiences, which is why we strive to empathize with our customers and handle every biohazard job with the utmost care. Trust SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County’s team of highly-trained biohazard cleaning professionals and specialized resources to remove your home or business’ biohazard situation in accordance with OSHA and health guidelines as quickly as possible. Call us at (410) 229-0012 at the first sign of any biohazard scenario, as we are available at any time of day with our 24-Hour Emergency Service. In the stressful moments before help arrives, consider our Biohazard Emergency Tips, which can help you safely navigate the situation and prevent health risks until our team reaches your location.
Our Top Hurricane Season Tips
The risk of water damage from hurricanes can be decreased when additional safety and preventative measures are put into place.
As we near the end of August, we find ourselves in the middle of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which began on June 1st and stretches until November 30th. Preparing your property, whether it be residential or commercial, is difficult during any given year due to a variety of factors. This year brings its own set of challenges, as NOAA has predicted a strong hurricane season yet again this year and there is a 60% chance that this season will be above-average. While they do not believe that the 2021 hurricane season will be as strong as the disastrous season of 2020, the risk of damage can be decreased when additional safety and preventative measures are put into place. In this blog, we’ll share a few tips about ways in which you can protect your residential or commercial property from water damage caused by hurricanes during this unique year.
Hurricane Season Preparation Tips
Create a Hurricane Emergency Kit
Having an emergency kit for hurricanes is a beneficial tool for your home or business. Ready.gov provides a thorough list of items to include in your emergency kit, including water, food, flashlights, maps, and portable cell phone chargers. When designing an emergency kit, consider creating three kits so that they can be stored in three different locations: Home, work, and in your car. In this way, you can take comfort in knowing that wherever you happen to be when disaster strikes, you will have access to the tools that you need.
Utilize Resources from FEMA
The United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA, offers a plethora of online resources to help homes and businesses alike prepare for hurricane season. One tool that we would like to highlight is FEMA’s Mobile App, which places you in touch with the information that you need in the event that a hurricane is imminent. For example, the app will send you live updates from the National Weather Service, locate nearby centers for disaster recovery, and provide hurricane safety tips.
Experience Water Damage This Hurricane Season? You Know Who To Call
When a hurricane strikes the Hunt Valley and Harford County area, as with any other weather-related event, it is difficult to know exactly what to expect in terms of damage to your property. Luckily, SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County possesses years of experience in Storm Damage Restoration and is a proud member of SERVPRO’s national Large Loss Disaster Recovery Team. No matter the scope of your home or business’ storm damage, SERVPRO is ready to help with advanced training and resources. Call us today at (410) 229-0012 or visit our website to learn more about our Commercial Storm Damage Restoration Services and to read more of our Water & Storm Damage Tips.