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Storm Safety: Lightning 101

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

Lightning An important part of storm safety is understanding different types of lightning that you may see in a thunderstorm.

With almost any storm event, lightning is a serious human safety concern, but it also poses risks to residential and commercial properties. Even hurricanes sometimes produce lightning near the eye of the storm. An important part of storm safety is understanding different types of lightning that you may see in a thunderstorm. In today’s blog, informed by NOAA’s “Lightning Types” article, we’ll describe 3 different kinds of lightning and the property safety risks associated with them so that you can best protect yourself, as well as your home or business.

Cloud-to-Ground Lightning

The type of lightning with which the majority of people are familiar is cloud-to-ground lighting, which means that a channel of negative charge descends from a storm cloud and is met with a positive charge from tall objects nearby, which can include trees and power lines but- most important with regards to our topic today- tall structures like homes, office buildings, and other commercial buildings as well. The unification of the negative and positive charges causes an electrical current to flow. If the catalyst of the positive charge is a home or commercial property, the electrical current generated can pose safety risks to the property and people inside of it, as it can impact the electrical system and ignite fires. One way to prevent extensive damage from a lightning strike is equipping your property with surge protectors. Additionally, if you know that there is lightning in the area, stay away from electrical appliances and refrain from activities involving water, like taking a shower or washing dishes.

Cloud Flashes

Sometimes, lightning does not reach the ground. Cloud flashes describe lightning that usually remains in the clouds through what NOAA calls “intra-cloud lightning flashes.” This type of lightning is caused by “an electrical discharge between oppositely charged areas within the thunderstorm cloud,” according to The National Weather Service. While cloud-to-ground lightning may be the most dangerous type of lightning, if you see cloud flashes, a safety risk is still present. Cloud flashes still indicate that the storm is producing lightning, which means that there is risk of cloud-to-ground lightning developing.

Heat Lightning

You are probably familiar with the term “heat lightning,” but there is actually no such thing as heat lightning. According to The National Weather Service, if you see cloud flashes without thunder, what you are seeing is faint lightning flashes from a thunderstorm far enough away that you can’t hear the thunder or see the cloud-to-ground lightning generated by it. 

Experience Lightning Damage? Call SERVPRO

If your residential or commercial business experiences lightning damage during a storm, call SERVPRO Team Wall. Our professional, experienced storm damage restoration specialists are equipped with the tools that will help make your property’s lighting damage “like it never even happened” after a storm. Call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012 to get in touch with one of our team members or visit our website to learn more about our Storm Damage Restoration capabilities, such as storm restoration services tailored specifically to commercial properties, our Disaster Recovery Team for large losses, and our water restoration process. To find peace of mind after any storm emergency and restore your property to its preloss condition, call SERVPRO Team Wall today.

Why Is September Peak Hurricane Season?

9/16/2022 (Permalink)

Hurricane Property owners should continue preparedness efforts for storm activity, even as we enter the latter portion of hurricane season.

Just last week, weather.com posted an article referring to September as the “annual peak of Atlantic hurricane season.” According to the author, a senior meteorologist at weather.com, September 10th marked the statistical, climatological peak of hurricane season, which is “when the Atlantic Basin has had the most hurricanes and named storms over the course of history.” We know that hurricane season in the northern hemisphere lasts from June 1st through November 30th, according to NOAA. September 10th does not fall exactly in the middle of hurricane season, so what makes September peak hurricane season? Additionally, this blog will also explore the options property owners have when protecting their homes and businesses during peak hurricane season.

What Makes September Peak Hurricane Season?

The weather.com article points to several factors that increase the likelihood of hurricanes forming in the Atlantic during September, including “ocean water reaching its highest temperature, the atmosphere's ability to generate thunderstorms hitting its peak, and hostile shearing winds declining to a minimum,” as well as “tropical waves,” which peak in July and carry into September. Additionally, the author includes statistical data that illustrates the peak of hurricanes on or around September 10th, as well as 77% of named storms and 87% of hurricanes in an average hurricane season occurring in August, September, and October. From this information, it is clear that, while we are currently in the most active portion of hurricane season, hurricane prevalence stretches well into the next month. This means that residential and commercial property owners should continue preparedness efforts for storm activity, even as we enter the latter portion of hurricane season.

Hurricane Preparedness

The American Red Cross recommends that property owners prepare for two things before a hurricane: wind and flooding. To prepare for damaging winds caused by hurricanes, consider cutting back trees and bushes close to the property and secure windows with storm shutters. The best way to prepare for intense flooding is making sure that your gutters and drains are clear before the storm. Hurricanes, however, are a powerful force of nature and can cause unexpected property damage despite preventative measures. In the event that your residential or commercial property experiences storm damage in the aftermath of a hurricane, know that SERVPRO Team Wall is just a call away. At the first sight of damage, call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012 or visit our website to learn more about our professional Storm Damage Restoration services, Commercial Storm Damage Restoration, and our experienced Disaster Recovery/Large Loss Team. Trust SERVPRO to make it “Like it never even happened” after any emergency, large or small.

Commercial Industry Offerings: An Overview

9/1/2022 (Permalink)

Buildings SERVPRO has experience providing professional restoration services to many different industries in the commercial realm.

It is common knowledge that, here at SERVPRO, we offer commercial properties both restoration and construction services alike. But what do we mean by “commercial restoration” and what does it entail? In today’s blog, we’ll break down our commercial restoration services, focusing on our diverse industry offerings so that you know what SERVPRO can do for your commercial business after an emergency. 

Why Choose SERVPRO for Your Commercial Business?

SERVPRO is experienced and trusted in the commercial restoration industry, with specializations in fire, water, mold, and storm damage restoration, as well as cleaning and construction. Our experienced team understands your needs, which means that our scheduling is flexible. We work with you and are able to work around the clock, including after hours, in order to get the job done without disrupting your commercial business’ daily operations. Our team can adjust our workspace to keep functional areas clear, which allows you to continue working. Time efficiency is our top priority, which is why we are “Faster to any disaster”, offering 24/7 emergency services and cooperating with our many SERVPRO locations across the country.

Experiences With Multiple Industries

SERVPRO has experience providing professional restoration services to many different industries in the commercial realm. In the past, we have assisted retail locations, schools and academic buildings, healthcare facilities, hospitality, and food service. This means that we also have experience working with commercial businesses of different sizes with various needs. From small apartment buildings and large office buildings to retail stores of all sizes and large government facilities, we’re experienced and prepared to handle it all.

Call SERVPRO After Any Emergency

In the event that your commercial business suffers water, storm, fire, or mold damage, be sure to call SERVPRO Team Wall for assistance at (410) 229-0012. You can also visit our website to learn more about our Commercial Restoration services, as well as our Commercial Cleaning services. Trust SERVPRO and our wide-ranging experience working with different commercial industries to make it “Like it never even happened” for your property after any disaster.

Team Wall: Franchise of the Year

8/23/2022 (Permalink)

Trish at convention “And our new Franchise of the Year is…Team Wall.” It’s truly just the beginning!

June 2011.

We were a different company. We were a different team. We were different people.

With no family in the area to help with childcare and all our earnings being reinvested back in the business, I made the choice to stay home with our young kids to offset costs. Jim, meanwhile, was a full-time (to the third degree) entrepreneur. It’s no exaggeration that this man worked 18-hour days, every day and would go sometimes up to 2 weeks without seeing our boys. He was out the door before daybreak and back home after bedtime. Weekends did not exist. Vacations were an impossibility. And every event we attended always had a contingency plan… just in case that phone would ring. It was a way of life.

We learned a lot about the dichotomy of ‘teamwork’. We had a common goal (to succeed in family and business), but it required us to be so starkly independent to make it happen. It was a crash course in self-reliance, innovation, grit, and faith. And, man, it could be so lonely.

I more than often asked myself, “Is this all worth it?” Right around those times the weather would break, and the phones would start ringing. I wish I could capture into prose the joy that radiated from Jim’s every step and exuberance in each word he spoke. He thrived in these moments.  He absolutely loved taking on the challenge of a mounting workload with his team of 15 by his side. Saying “yes” was his mantra and “figuring it out” was like fire in his veins. This was his passion, and so, I continued to do all I could to support it.

For two years, I thought we were the only ones that lived and experienced this crazy way of life. Then I flew to St. Louis, MO for my very first SERVPRO convention. I looked around and realized I was dead wrong. Thousands of people just like us were gathered to network and learn from each other. It was an unforgettable week soaking in all things SERVPRO and really understanding at the core what got Jim so charged up about this business. (Side note: I do remember thinking, “If I have to listen to one more conversation about dehumidifiers…!” ??).

And then came awards night. Dressing up and dancing. Yes, please! But that’s not at all what I remember about that night. It was, again, the magnitude of what we were a part of that hit me like a ton of bricks.

At each awards banquet, the top 100 franchises in the entire SERVPRO system are highlighted. And the top 3?  Well, they get a special video. I remember watching those stellar teams highlighted on a 100-foot screen with pure awe plastered all over my face. Taking note of advice they gave, mentally logging their massive revenue volume (#1 was at $12M), and secretly wondering down deep inside, “Could it ever be us?”

“Us.” That was the very first time I thought of it that way. It wasn’t just ‘Jim’s Business.’ It was ours. I wasn’t just supporting his dream. We were tackling a vision together. No matter the period of time I was a stay-at-home mom or now fully involved in day-to-day operations, it was always “us” every step of the way. Building a team that redefined our last name to mean more than ‘just the two of us,’ but now a very cozy “just the 150 of us”…Team Wall.

Eleven years, massive growth, and so many life events later? I’m sitting among a thousand of my SERVPRO peers at the final gathering of the 2022 convention. Eight of our amazing team members by my side. And Jim, having to go home early, sitting on the tarmac of Dallas Love Field.

Wouldn’t you know it? An announcement we always quietly pondered if one day might include our last name. But, always with whimsy and a sense of improbability. After all, there are a sea of titans we roll with at SERVPRO and who were we among them?

“And our new Franchise of the Year is…Team Wall.”

My first thought? Elation…intricately weaved with devastation. Jim wasn’t there. This all began as his dream. And he wasn’t there. For him to miss an incredible moment like this had my heart breaking and tears welling up in my eyes for hours. Days? Maybe more. Still emotional just writing this. ??

I hugged each and every one of our Team Wall members tight and we walked up together to accept the incredible recognition. And then I did what anyone else out there would do. I told a thousand people to text Jim and let him know we are FRANCHISE OF THE YEAR baby!!!

His phone was blowing up. And he was crying tears of joy and pride for the achievement earned by each and every member of Team Wall. This may have started as a dream for one. But, it has turned into far more than could ever be imagined.

Cheers to all of you for this incredible accomplishment. You should be so proud of yourselves!

It’s truly just the beginning, my friends!

- Trish Wall

Storm Emergency Preparedness with SERVPRO

8/19/2022 (Permalink)

Storm approaching It is imperative that your home or business is prepared for whatever mother nature has in store.

As we near September, which is National Preparedness Month, it is imperative that your home or business is prepared for whatever mother nature has in store. Right now, we find ourselves in the middle of hurricane season, which lasts from June 1st-November 30th this year. NOAA also tells us that thunderstorms and severe weather are more likely this time of year due to summer’s heat and humidity. All this considered, it is proactive to have an emergency plan in place before the storm strikes and what better way to be prepared than getting acquainted with SERVPRO Team Wall’s Storm Damage Restoration capabilities ahead of time? Keep reading for 3 reasons why you can trust SERVPRO to help your property stay prepared for any emergency that comes your way.

1. We Provide 24/7 Emergency Service

Even with forecasting, no one can predict the precise moment when a disastrous storm, flood, or any weather emergency will reach your home or business. Additionally, there’s no way of telling exactly how a storm will impact your property. SERVPRO Team Wall works around these uncertainties, as we are available to be of assistance to you 24/7, 365 days a year. No matter the day or time, you can count on us to be there for you and your property.

2. We’re a Team of Highly Trained Technicians

Our team is composed of professionals with years of training and expertise in storm damage restoration. Additionally, we have the equipment necessary to provide thorough cleanup services to fully restore your home or business to its preloss condition. Our top priority is helping you get things back to normal as quickly as possible following a storm damage emergency.

3. We Are #1 in the Storm Damage and Flood Cleanup and Restoration Industry

Being #1 in the storm damage and flood cleanup and restoration industry, we are trusted industry leaders upon whom you can always rely to thoroughly restore your residential or commercial property after a storm of any kind. With more than 2,000 locations across the country, we have the resources necessary to handle storm damage emergencies of any size. Our professional technicians have experience restoring hospitals, universities and government facilities. We also provide full-service restoration, as we are capable of handling construction services in addition to storm damage restoration. Check out our Building Services to learn more.

Have an Emergency? Call SERVPRO Team Wall today or visit our website’s Storm Damage Restoration overview page to find more information about our Large-Loss/Disaster Recovery Team, Water Restoration Process, and Commercial Storm Damage services.

3 Things to Avoid After a Fire

8/12/2022 (Permalink)

Fire aftermath In the aftermath of a fire, you may be wondering what you can do to begin the restoration process without risking any further damage.

A fire, regardless of whether it takes place in a residential or commercial setting, is disruptive to daily life and operations, often overwhelming property owners. In the aftermath of a fire, you may be wondering what you can do to begin the restoration process without risking any further damage to the affected property. In today’s blog, we’ll share a few of the most important actions to avoid in the aftermath of a fire so that you can best protect your property from any further damage.

1. Re-entering Your Home or Business Before It Is Safe to Do So

Immediately after a fire, property owners are usually eager to get back inside and assess the damage. However, it is important to know that re-entering a property that has just experienced a fire before the fire department has given the all-clear can risk further property damage.

2. Cleaning The Property Yourself

Even with small fires, it is possible for smoke and soot residue to damage walls, ceilings, and contents in both residential and commercial properties. This type of damage is something that needs to be professionally removed. If not, damage and odors can accumulate and worsen over time. Attempting to wash walls and carpets yourself can lead to additional damage. Be sure to contact SERVPRO Team Wall in order to ensure that your property is cleaned with the appropriate products and professional methods. 

3. Using or Cleaning Electrical Appliances

Electrical appliances, including televisions, computers, refrigerators, and washing machines, should not be used in the aftermath of a fire. Additionally, attempting to clean any electrical appliances after a fire, especially if they were situated anywhere near the fire, is unsafe. This also extends to lights and ceiling fixtures if their surrounding areas are wet as a result from fire extinguishing efforts. In order to keep everyone in your home or business safe from electrical shock, leave electrical appliances alone and leave the cleaning efforts to professionals.

Call SERVPRO After a Fire

In order to ensure that your property receives the best care possible and avoids additional, unnecessary damage after a fire, there is no better solution than calling SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012. Learn more about our Fire Damage Services, which are available to both residential and commercial properties, as well as our Fire Damage Restoration Process and our approach to caring for your fire-damaged belongings, check out our website. Trust SERVPRO Team Wall to make it “Like it never even happened” after any fire, water, storm, or mold emergency.

Where Are The Hurricanes?

8/4/2022 (Permalink)

Hurricane Property owners should still have hurricane preparedness in the back of their minds through the official end of hurricane season.

If you remember way back in June, at the beginning of summer, hurricane season had just begun for the Atlantic Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere. You may be wondering: where have the hurricanes been? This week, The Washington Post reported that this is the first year since 2017 that the Atlantic Ocean hasn’t seen a hurricane develop prior to August 1st. Back in June, NOAA forecasted an abnormally active hurricane season. So, should property owners still be preparing for hurricane season or should they throw in the towel?

There Is Still Time

Although we are beginning the third month of hurricane season, August and September are the peak of hurricane season. This means that, even though there hasn’t been much hurricane activity this year aside from a few tropical storms, there is still time and a risk that hurricane activity will increase. This means that property owners should still have hurricane preparedness in the back of their minds through the end of November, the official end of hurricane season.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips

Because there remains a threat for hurricanes this year, we would like to share two of our favorite proactive storm tips that can help protect your property in the event of a hurricane, flood, or even just a passing afternoon thunderstorm:

  1. Take a peek at your roof and gutters when the weather is nice. Oftentimes, these elements of a property are overlooked because they are not something we see on an everyday basis. Put simply: they’re out of sight, out of mind. When it is safe to do so, inspect your roof for things like missing or loose shingles and clogged gutters, as these things can put your property at risk for additional damage when a storm rolls through your area. It is critical to unclog your gutters and ensure that your roof is in good condition prior to a storm.
  2. Assemble a hurricane preparedness kit. Having a hurricane prep kit is a great way to ensure that those occupying your property have what they need in an emergency situation. Ready.gov offers a guide for putting together a hurricane prep kit, complete with items for families and offices, as well as personal items that may be beneficial to pack in your prep kit. 

There is no way to predict how a hurricane- or any strong storm for that matter- will affect your home or business. However, you can always rely on SERVPRO Team Wall to be there for you no matter what happens. Our team and crews of storm damage restoration professionals are ready for anything, 24/7. Count on our trusted residential and commercial storm damage restoration services to make it “Like it never even happened” for your property. You can also read more about our water restoration process, as well as the ways in which we care for your belongings after a storm disaster, on our website. Call us today at (410) 229-0012 to learn more about what we can do for you.

Showcasing One Team Mentality: Job of the Quarter Q2

7/27/2022 (Permalink)

Fire damage hallways Requiring multiple sections of SERVPRO Team Wall, this commercial fire loss job is the definition of one team mentality.

At the conclusion of every quarter, we highlight one job that stands out above the rest. As we turn the page on the second quarter of 2022, we’re selecting a large commercial fire job that particularly emphasizes SERVPRO Team Wall’s One Team mentality as our “Job of the Quarter.” Continue reading to learn more about the ways in which SERVPRO Team Wall handled the situation from start to finish and left the property owners feeling “Like it never even happened” after their fire loss.

When a local commercial company suffered a large fire, more than half of the building was left damaged. As a result, only the front lobby remained a usable space for the commercial business. Without a sufficient amount of space to conduct their everyday operations, the business needed help restoring their property to its preloss condition.

What makes this job specifically worthy of the “Job of the Quarter” title is its display of one of SERVPRO Team Wall’s deeply-held values: a “One Team” mentality. This commercial fire loss job could stand as the definition of “One Team,” as it required multiple sections of SERVPRO Team Wall to collaborate and cooperate in order to get the job done. While the loss was geographically closer to our Hunt Valley office, the call came through to our Harrisburg West office. Instead of merely redirecting the call to our Hunt Valley office, a crew from our Harrisburg West office traveled to Hunt Valley in order to help the Hunt Valley crews. 

As soon as our crews arrived onsite, it became clear that we needed the help of our Large Loss division in order to finish the clean up portion of the job. Every part of SERVPRO Team Wall lent a hand in finishing this job, evidenced by our centralized team helping with estimating the repairs. The SERVPRO of Harrisburg West and SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County construction teams then worked together to get the repairs done in a timely manner for our customer. 

While we had plenty of personnel to assist with the job, the project was not without its fair share of challenges. The affected commercial building was an older structure with many structural issues that existed before the fire loss. SERVPRO Team Wall is required by county code to restore properties so that they are up to code according to building standards. Therefore, in order to fully restore the property, additional repairs that didn’t result from the fire loss were required. One specific challenge was ensuring that ADA accessibility requirements were met in the commercial property. While so many requirements can oftentimes overwhelm customers, our team worked diligently with the insurance company and the customer in order to acquire the estimate and determine the scope of the necessary repairs.

With teams of varying sizes coming in and out of the property every day, we performed many services to restore the property and bring it up to code. Our crews laid gravel and poured concrete in the basement, completed the framing, installed the drywall and ductwork, completed the electric rework for the building, removed and replaced half of the roof, painted, and installed drop ceiling and flooring. At the end of the day, thanks to our One Team mentality, we completed the job in a thorough and time-efficient manner that helped our customer get their commercial business back on track quickly in the aftermath of a devastating fire loss. 

To learn more about the ways in which SERVPRO Team Wall can restore your property and make it “Like it never even happened” after any emergency, give us a call at (410) 229-0012 and visit our website, where you can find more information about our offerings, including residential and commercial Fire Damage Restoration services, Large Loss capabilities, and Construction services, among many more. 

Meet Our Second Quarter Employee of the Quarter Recipients

7/20/2022 (Permalink)

Employee of the Quarter Recipients Join us in congratulating John Carter and Lee Brandt as our "Employee of the Quarter" award recipients.

It’s been another terrific quarter for SERVPRO Team Wall and we’d like to take the time to recognize the recipients of our “Employee of the Quarter” award for our centralized team and our SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County office. Join us in congratulating John Carter as our centralized Employee of the Quarter and Lee Brandt as SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County’s Employee of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2022.

Centralized Employee of the Quarter: John Carter

John Carter has been SERVPRO Team Wall’s Human Resources Manager since joining our team. John displays consistency and persistence through his commitment and devotion to seeing tasks through to completion. He also brings creativity to our team, as he introduces, initiates, and implements new, high-quality, out-of-the-box ideas. When working in human resources, communication is key. John’s ability to persistently communicate with the rest of SERVPRO Team Wall has been critical to his success. We are so grateful for everything you do, John!

HVHC Employee of the Quarter: Lee Brandt

Lee has been a member of SERVPRO Team Wall, working as the Job File Coordinator of our Hunt Valley and Harford County office since October of 2021. He regularly displays SERVPRO Team Wall’s “7 Pillars” that constitute an outstanding team member: Hustle, Solutions, Team, Accountability, Quality, Persistence, and Consistency. Lee consistently arrives early to work every single day, already focused and with goals in mind. His positive attitude is admirable, as well as his tremendous work ethic. Although Lee is already very knowledgeable in his role, he is persistent in looking for new ways to expand his knowledge. His hustle is evident, as he is clearly driven to achieve and find solutions. Lastly, Lee is a team player, as he is always willing to lend a helping hand to his coworkers. Thank you, Lee, for all that you do! We look forward to what your future with Team Wall has in store for you.

Document & Photo Drying Capabilities

7/14/2022 (Permalink)

Paper document files The key to preserving documents in the aftermath of an emergency is taking swift action.

Every once in a while, we like to highlight a service that you might not know we offer. This time, we are highlighting our document and photo drying service, which is just one of our many types of Cleaning Services. In this blog, we’ll utilize some potential questions that you may have about our Document Drying service in order to communicate exactly how much SERVPRO Team Wall can do to completely restore your home or business after any emergency.

When Is Document Drying Needed?

In any type of loss, whether it be water damage sustained from a flood or storm, mold damage, or smoke or fire damage, paper documents, including paper certifications and contracts, as well as photographs and photo albums, are at risk for damage. Water damage can cause staining, just as fire damage can cause paper to burn or become exposed to smoke and soot. The key to preserving documents in the aftermath of an emergency is taking swift action. 

State-of-the-Art Techniques and Technology

Here at SERVPRO, we have our own document restoration facility and employ multiple, advanced technologies and techniques to save documents after water, storm, fire, and mold losses. Freeze drying (also known as vacuum freezing), is one such technique. Also used by the Library of Congress to preserve historical documents, freeze drying is a trusted technique, as it is approved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the General Services Administration (GSA). Another method is gamma irradiation, which functions to safely sterilize documents that have been exposed to various harmful substances, such as bacteria, viruses, pesticides, chemicals, sewage, and flood water. Lastly, we have the capability of digitizing documents, which can save documents from damage in future losses. 

What Can I Do Before Help Arrives?

After calling SERVPRO for assistance in the aftermath of an emergency, there are several actions that you can take in order to prevent further damage while you wait for help to arrive. First, gather your documents and note which will require restoration services. Once they are gathered, be sure to store them upright instead of laying them flat. If possible, stick documents in the fridge or freezer to prevent mold and other types of further deterioration. If you are unable to do so, SERVPRO can send a refrigerated truck to your property so that you can store your documents onsite before we arrive.

SERVPRO Can Handle Every Aspect of the Job

Unfortunately, some damage, like deep ink runs and mold stains, is irreversible. However, if you act fast, there is an increased chance that your documents can be saved after a loss. At the first sight of damage, call SERVPRO of Hunt Valley and Harford County at (410) 229-0012 for professional and experienced Document and Photo Drying services. Follow this link for an overview of our document drying process and visit our website to learn more about how SERVPRO Team Wall can make damage “Like it never even happened” in the event of a water, fire, storm, or mold emergency in your residential or commercial property.