Recent Posts

Job of the Quarter (Q4 2020)

10/20/2020 (Permalink)

PrimeCare Medical Rebuild

Let’s face it, 2020 has handed us some pretty bizarre circumstances across the board. Adapting to these circumstances, finding alternatives, and embracing that “let’s figure it out” attitude have been the keys to those still smiling and thriving this year. We would argue to say these attitudes help people succeed at any moment in time… not just in a year filled with unpredictability.

At Team Wall we promote the “7 Pillars”. These are qualities we look for our team to embody on a day-in, day-out basis: Solutions, Hustle, Persistence, Team, Accountability, Consistency, and Quality. These are not just buzz words written on a wall, but attributes that set our customer service experience apart.

When choosing our “Job of the Quarter” we look for an example where all 7 Pillars are clearly displayed and embraced. There was no question. Our work at PrimeCare Medical not only checked this box, but squashed a common stereotype, “SERVPRO doesn’t do rebuild work”. Simply not so. We handle everything. You can count on us for every aspect of the job, from beginning to end.

It was an early morning just after 3 AM, when we received a call requesting emergency water mitigation services at an office building in Harrisburg. The building had suffered a sprinkler head malfunction, causing water discharge on the second floor that impacted over 2 dozen offices and, in short, water damage to the building’s entire structure. By 4:20 AM that morning, our team was onsite and ready to get to work. We’re not lying when we say our response time is on point.

After a meeting with the building’s ownership, we agreed to perform the rebuild upon completion of our mitigation and demo services. That sounds like a quick conversation, but a lot of dialogue surrounded the topic of “Rebuild”. The ownership had no idea SERVPRO performed reconstruction work. They were hesitant to hand this piece of the job off to us, but our lead time is what got us the opportunity. We can close up mitigation services one day and begin reconstruction the very next. That’s a hard metric to match when you are using multiple vendors and, as we know, time is always of the essence in commercial work.

Throughout the next 3 ½ weeks, our team hustled to complete water mitigation and demo work for the building’s structure and contents. Behind the scenes, we began planning for reconstruction of the affected areas. We committed to a turnaround time of 60 days. Preparation and planning, we knew, would be key to execution.

And execute we did. The customer was so pleased with our response and fulfillment of requests, that we were given additional repair work to fully complete the building’s restoration and rebuild process. Working quickly and efficiently, we agreed to have these additional repairs complete and get their company back to occupying the building within 30 days.

We know that every job is unique. That is why we keep in regular contact with our customers, making sure that we tailor our services to their specific needs. This job was no exception. We engaged in daily communication with the customer and key stakeholders in the process, keeping them updated on our progress and making sure we were meeting their needs.

SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team – Team Wall strives to be your “one-stop shop” after any disaster. We have built a strong and talented Reconstruction department that helps our team truly live up to that oh-so-famous line, “Like it never even happened.” We are extremely grateful for opportunities to help companies like PrimeCare Medical and hope to be given an opportunity to help you and your customers in the future.

Running Towards the Storm

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

Storm Trucks outside of building A few of our storm trucks stationed outside after Hurricane Sally

Ever get that eerie feeling? You’re cruising down a 4-lane highway and you’re the ONLY person on the southbound side of the road. Northbound is jam packed with cars and you can’t help but wonder, “What did I miss?”.

We get that feeling a lot, but wouldn’t categorize it as eerie, more just… this is what we do. When hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and natural disasters strike, SERVPRO is headed towards the storm ready to jump in and get to work.

Easy? Heck no. Never an adjective we’d use to describe storm response work. But, worth it? In every aspect of the word.

This year alone we have helped home and business owners in Cleveland, OH; Chicago, IL; Saginaw, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Bear, DE; Washington DC; Cleveland, OH again; and most recently, Pensacola, FL and Orange Beach, AL. And the year’s not over yet.

Team Wall’s Vision Statement is to “Restore peace of mind to EVERY customer. EVERY day.” At home, this is of utmost importance, but when running towards the storm to help those in need, this takes on a whole different meaning. People’s lives are rocked to the core by mother nature, a force completely out of their control. We send our seasoned team members to help walk these people step by step through the restoration process – from demolition, debris removal, drying, insurance coverage and approvals, and even rebuild – we are the facilitator and advocate for our customer to get them through a life changing event. And we love it.

We’d like to give a special shout out to our team members currently responding to storm damage caused by Hurricane Sally. You are special people and we can’t thank you enough for all you do!

The Clothes Dryer: A Potential Fire Hazard

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Dryer In addition to cleaning the lint filter daily, it is also crucial to take several other precautions in order to lower the chances of a fire igniting i

There’s perhaps nothing scarier for homeowners than the ignition of an unwanted fire in the home. When we consider our ideas of the most frequent catalysts of residential fires, the laundry room is most likely not included in that list. A whopping 92% of residential fires originate from an object in the laundry room, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. It may come as a surprise that this object is something that you use on a daily basis: the clothes dryer. Because fires have the ability to spread rapidly to other rooms and areas of the home, it is crucial to learn why clothes dryers can ignite fires and understand what steps you can take to protect your home.

Clean That Lint Filter!

One of the leading causes of clothes dryer fires is neglecting to clean the lint filter, a simple action that only takes seconds. It’s important to clean out the lint filter because lint is highly flammable and with each load, more and more lint accumulates in the lint filter. Additionally, too much lint in the filter can prevent proper airflow, which increases the risk for fire. Therefore, be sure to clean out your dryer’s lint filter between every load. It isn’t sufficient to only clean it out once a week or even once every few days. It’s a small action that can protect your home from disaster in the long run.

Other Ways to Prevent Dryer Fires

In addition to cleaning the lint filter daily, it is also crucial to take several other precautions in order to lower the chances of a fire igniting in your laundry room.

  • Pay Close Attention To Clothing Labels

Be sure to check tags for drying instructions on every item that you intend to put in your dryer. Often, tags will tell you the specific heat setting required for that particular item, which can range anywhere from “tumble dry low” to “high heat”. Following these instructions is incredibly important. Some items that require a low drying temperature can contain types of rubber and, if exposed to high heat, the likelihood of a fire igniting may increase.

  • Check the Outdoor Vent Flap

While we’re most familiar with managing the dryer inside of the house, it’s important to remember that dryers have outdoor vent flaps as well. This vent flap plays a key role in filtering out lint and hot air from the dryer. As a result, a fire can ignite if the vent flap becomes obstructed. Check your vent flap for debris on a regular basis in order to prevent an unwanted fire.

  • Move Flammable Objects Away from the Dryer

In many homes, the laundry room stores general cleaning supplies for the household. However, keeping cleaning supplies located in close proximity to the dryer is risky, as cleaning materials are generally highly flammable. In the event that a fire ignites in the clothes dryer, the fire can spread quickly if there are other flammable materials nearby. Therefore, while it is best that cleaning supplies be stored in another room, be sure to at least keep them a safe distance from the dryer.

If Disaster Strikes…

While it’s a hard reality to face, it’s important to understand that unexpected fires can ignite, even if you take precautions. In the event that your home experiences fire damage as a consequence of a dryer fire, look no further than SERVPRO. We respond immediately and our experienced team of fire damage specialists will restore your home quickly and thoroughly. Damage to your home as a result of a fire is often a stressful and upsetting situation, but know that SERVPRO will be there every step of the way until your home is back to normal. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today and for more information about our fire damage services, click here.

Why Do Sump Pumps Fail?

9/7/2020 (Permalink)

Sump pumps are drainage systems that are commonly found in the basements of commercial buildings. They work to pump water out of the basement and away from the building, preventing flooding and water damage. A sump pump failure can lead to a flooded basement and cause water damage to furniture, essential materials, and other important objects, which could prove costly. Understanding why sump pumps fail is the first step in preventing a sump pump failure in your commercial building.
Causes
Power outages are one of the most common causes of sump pump failures, especially during the stormy summer months and hurricane season. Storms can dump large amounts of rain water for the sump pump to drain, but a power failure that prevents the sump pump from doing its job can leave your building defenseless and at risk for flooding. To prevent disaster, consider having your sump pump hooked up to a backup generator.
Sump pumps require regular cleaning in order to function properly, so infrequent maintenance can have serious consequences. To keep your sump pump from failing, clean its vents and run a vinegar solution through the unit.
Lastly, your sump pump might fail simply because it’s old. Over time, sump pumps will start to feel the effects of usage and therefore, failure is inevitable after 7-10 years. It’s recommended that your sump pump be replaced after 10 years in order to protect your building from a sump pump failure.
Sump Pump Failure? Call SERVPRO
If your commercial building’s sump pump has failed, resulting in water damage, remember that SERVPRO has you covered. We’re trained in flood and water damage and will use our trusted, advanced drying techniques to prevent mold and mildew growth, rapidly restoring any water damaged areas. Don’t hesitate. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today and learn more about the commercial water damage services that we provide here.

Top 3 Sources of Water Damage in the Kitchen

8/21/2020 (Permalink)

Kitchen sink While water damage can occur anywhere in the home, the kitchen is a particular hot spot.

While water damage can occur anywhere in the home, the kitchen is a particular hot spot. Think about it: kitchens are used daily to cook meals, wash dishes, and so much more. For the majority of the time that you are using the kitchen, most of your activities involve water in some capacity. Knowing where problem spots are in the kitchen can help you know where to keep an eye out for leaks and ultimately, protect your kitchen from the harmful effects of water damage.
Here are the top 3 sources of water damage in the kitchen:
The Dishwasher
Everyday, plates, cups, silverware, and many more kitchen items need to be washed in the dishwasher. This frequent usage increases the chances of a leak forming, whether it’s the result of the dishwasher door latch becoming bent, using the wrong type of detergent, or the dishwasher overfilling with water. Frequently check for water accumulating beneath the dishwasher in order to catch any leaks as soon as possible.
The Sink
Sinks are another appliance that are used all the time in the kitchen for hand washing, washing the dishes, or filling up a cup of water. Sink leaks can have a variety of causes, ranging from a drain or faucet leak to corroded sink parts. Be sure to inspect piping underneath the sink about every 6 months and keep an eye out for puddles of water and corroded sections.
The Refrigerator and Ice Maker
We all love a nice, cold glass of our favorite drink during the heat of the summer, which calls for ice cubes. The refrigerator and ice maker can be helpful in this regard, but they are also notorious for causing unwanted leaks and water damage. Leaking refrigerators and ice makers are not limited to just one cause. Instead, they can be the result of improper installation or worn-out parts. In order to catch a leak before irreparable damage is done, look for pools of water on the floor beneath the fridge and ice maker. For further water damage prevention, refrigerators and ice makers should receive regular maintenance and inspection.
Leaks in the kitchen causing water damage can result in major structural damage, as well as the growth of mold and mildew. These issues can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that SERVPRO is here to help. We are water damage specialists, experienced with all types of residential kitchen water damage. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County today at (410) 229-0012 and click here to learn more about our water damage services.

Taking It To The Streets: 3rd Quarter 2020

8/14/2020 (Permalink)

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned signage As fall approaches, many are wondering: Will students be able to return to school or will virtual learning continue for the foreseeable future?

Way back in mid-March, the governors of Maryland and Pennsylvania announced the statewide closures of public schools due to COVID-19. Teachers, parents, and students adjusted to new methods of virtual learning and stayed at home for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Now, as fall approaches, many are wondering: Will students be able to return to school or will virtual learning continue for the foreseeable future?

Will Students Return to the Classroom?

A recent article in the Baltimore Sun, titled “Superintendents say schools in Central Maryland unlikely to return to normal in the fall, explains the dilemma that Maryland schools are facing as superintendents of Baltimore-area schools consider several options for the fall. By all accounts, the likelihood of students returning to “in-person classes five days a week” is slim (Bowie, 2020). Pittsburgh Public Schools and some counties in Maryland have decided that the fall will be entirely virtual. However, some schools will offer a hybrid method with a mix of in-person and online classes for the fall. 

Schools Consider Different Plans

Similar hybrid models, in varying degrees, are under consideration in the ranks of regional colleges and universities. Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania will not offer in-person classes this fall, opting for entirely remote learning. However, the University of Maryland and the University of Pittsburgh will both reopen campus this fall, providing a mix of in-person and online classes. Additionally, both schools have communicated that they will have extensive safety measures in place, including mandatory mask wearing and social distancing as well as isolation facilities, designed to protect students on campus (coronavirus.pitt.edu, 2020; umd.edu, 2020). But the million-dollar question is, do the safety precautions go far enough?

SERVPRO Can Help

Regardless of the model adopted by the schools, SERVPRO has a solution that fits. SERVPRO’s “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program can be implemented into schools’ reopening plans. By using the CSC program, schools will receive a thorough, hospital-grade clean that adheres to the Centers for Disease Control‘s guidelines, using EPA approved disinfectants. The cleaning targets both frequently contacted touchpoints, such as desktops, stair handrails, and chair backs, and less frequently contacted touchpoints, which include the backs of desks and bathroom stall walls, alike. After receiving CSC cleaning, SERVPRO provides both physical and digital signage that can be displayed in an effort to show students, parents, and faculty that the school has received the highest level of disinfectant cleaning and is “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned”. Schools can receive defensive CSC cleanings prior to the start of the school year or, if the school has a confirmed case of COVID-19 during the fall, SERVPRO will be standing by to quickly disinfect the building. 

Amidst all the uncertainty that this fall will bring, ensure that your school receives the highest standard of clean by making SERVPRO’s “Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned” program a part of your reopening plan. 

Need a Temporary Roof to Protect You From the Storm?

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

Roof with half of a tarp on it We use high grade equipment in order to ensure your buildings protection.

We're making progress on our temporary roof installment for a condo in Frederick! The condo had a fire last week and was in desperate need of some serious protection. Here at SERVPRO Hunt Valley & Harford County, we do things right!

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

"SERVPRO of Frederick County SERVPRO of Gaithersburg/Germantown along with SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County were recently called to mitigate a devastating condo fire. The roof of the 12 unit building in Frederick County was completely destroyed. Check out these pictures to show 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!"

How to Deal With Toilet Overflow

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Abandoned Bathroom In some cases, it is possible to handle a toilet overflow on your own if it only requires a simple fix and minimal cleanup.

It goes without saying: No one wants to deal with a toilet overflow. It’s unpleasant, messy, and something that you want to avoid at all costs. The consequences of a toilet overflow can be devastating, damaging bathroom floors and even leaking down into the ceiling below. Keep reading to learn more about why toilets overflow in order to avoid disaster or, if you’ve experienced a toilet overflow, make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

What Causes a Toilet Overflow?

Several different events can trigger a toilet to overflow, including a clogged drain, a blocked vent, and sewage complications.

A clogged or blocked drain prevents proper flushing, causing the toilet to overflow. In this situation, plunging the toilet may relieve the problem.

Every time you flush, air is pumped and needs replacing from the vent pipe. If the vent pipe is blocked, proper flushing isn’t possible and can eventually result in a toilet overflow. This issue usually requires the help of an experienced plumber.

Finally, two issues related to sewage, a clogged sewer line and a full septic tank, can be the catalyst of a toilet overflow. A clogged sewer line occurs when the sewer line becomes blocked by items ranging from tree roots to sanitary wipes. A full septic tank can be problematic, as excess water will have nowhere to go but back up into your home, potentially resulting in a toilet overflow.

How to Clean Up

After you’ve expressed your fair share of “ew gross!”s, it’s important to quickly clean up a toilet overflow in order to best protect your home from serious water damage. Before taking any action, make sure that the overflow has stopped and that the water is turned off. Then, clean up standing water as quickly as possible using a wet vacuum, a mop, or towels. The longer water sits on a surface, the more damage it may inflict. After this, dry out the bathroom to your best ability using a high-power fan to eliminate moisture and prevent growth of mold and mildew. Finally, clean and disinfect the affected surfaces as well as any surfaces situated close by.

We’re Water Damage Specialists

In some cases, it is possible to handle a toilet overflow on your own if it only requires a simple fix and minimal cleanup. However, if your toilet overflow has created a major problem, it is necessary to call a professional for help. SERVPRO’s team of experienced and trustworthy water damage experts will arrive quickly and restore any and all water damage resulting from a toilet overflow. Click here to learn more about our trusted water damage services.

Is Your Business Prepared for Hurricane Season?

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Satellite Hurricane If your commercial business sustains storm damage during this hurricane system, remember that SERVPRO has your back and is ready to help.

In the United States, hurricane season stretches from the beginning of June to the end of November. As we approach the latter half of July, we move closer to peak hurricane season on the east coast, which is typically the beginning of August through October. This year’s hurricane season has already proved to be intense due to the large number of storms that have been named thus far. In addition, a study from Colorado State University supports that this year’s hurricane season will be 50% more severe than the average hurricane season. In order to survive after a hurricane, it is crucial that commercial businesses have a hurricane emergency plan in place before disaster strikes. Consider the following proactive measures that your business can take to up your hurricane preparedness.

Take Action Before The Storm

Information is a critical component of every business. Having up-to-date contact information for every employee will facilitate getting in touch with them and confirming their safety should a hurricane emergency occur. During a time when many employees may be working remotely, being able to contact them is more important than ever. Additionally, essential data that the company needs in order to operate should be saved digitally if possible so that they can be accessed outside of the building, as hurricanes can destroy original documents. If creating digital copies is impossible, consider making additional paper copies and storing them in waterproof containers. Finally, steps should be taken to protect your property. Consider having a professional inspect your business’ roof prior to a storm in an effort to ensure that it can sustain strong, hurricane force winds. Investing in storm shutters can prevent windows and doors from sustaining damage from flying debris during a hurricane. Before the storm hits, sandbags can also be placed around doors in order to prevent flooding.

Have A Plan In Place

Physically protecting your commercial business and your employees is also of grave importance before a hurricane strikes. Create an emergency evacuation plan specific to your business, including which stairwells and doors to utilize if a hurricane were to hit while employees are in the building. It may be helpful to have employees familiarize themselves with the plan and post the physical copies in various locations throughout the building so that they will understand what to do during an emergency.

SERVPRO Is Here To Help

Taking precautionary steps can decrease the chances of a hurricane devastating your commercial business but during a hurricane emergency, there is always a risk that the storm will cause unexpected damage. If your commercial business sustains storm damage during this hurricane system, remember that SERVPRO has your back and is ready to help. Our professional, experienced storm damage experts will work to restore your workplace to its pre-storm condition.

Owner’s Corner: 2nd Quarter 2020

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Our owners We are grateful our company is able to make a positive impact during such a turbulent time.

In our 3rd quarter 2020 newsletter, our own Trish Wall took a moment to reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic and SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team’s Team Wall response in this quarter’s Owner’s Corner:

Our last quarterly newsletter was published in January. And here we sit at the end of July with the second “Quarterly” newsletter of the year. The math doesn’t add up, right? I will give you 2 guesses as to what happened and I bet you would get it on the first try… COVID-19. 

I wrote our last “Owner’s Corner” article on New Year’s Eve. I was a bag of emotions that afternoon as the new year – 2020 – sat on our doorstep. Pensive, anxious, hopeful, excited… I ultimately summed up our strategy for the coming year as “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable”. I had no idea how telling this would be. 

COVID-19 affected everyone in this country in very unique and personal ways. On a professional level, the pandemic catapulted our team into a hard, abrupt change. On 3/11/20, we were a restoration company that provided cleaning services. On 3/12/20 our first COVID-19 cleaning job commenced, and we were suddenly a cleaning company that provided restoration services. You can’t get any more uncomfortable than flipping your business model overnight.

Our entire team jumped in with both feet and took on the challenge of pivoting on a dime. After all, our company had the tools and resources to help “flatten the curve”. We felt (and still do feel) an immense social responsibility to be there for our communities. Four months and countless COVID-19 cleaning jobs later, our team has an incredible sense of pride for the contributions they have made in curtailing this pandemic. 

For Jim and I, the pride we hold for our team is even more broad. To quote John Maxwell, “Change is Inevitable. Growth is Optional”. Our team members made a conscious decision to choose growth when the uncertainties of life surrounded them. To us, the choice they made brought us an overwhelming sense of awe. 

The pursuit of both professional and personal growth has always been a mindset we strive to instill in our team. To see it played out in front of our eyes was more gratifying than we could have ever expected. We are grateful our company is able to make a positive impact during such a turbulent time for our country. And even more appreciative for a team that truly lives out Team Wall’s Vision statement “Restoring peace of mind to EVERY customer. EVERY day”.

Stay healthy, Stay safe, and keep growing!

Sincerely,

Jim and Trish Wall

P.S. One of my favorite podcast series is Entreleadership. John Maxwell was a guest on an episode in May speaking about Personal Growth. It was very impactful and, I believe, it would be worth your time to take a listen: https://www.entreleadership.com/blog/podcasts/john-maxwell-success. One of many of my favorite thoughts from this podcast:

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