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SERVPRO Professionals Wear Many Hats

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial SERVPRO Professionals Wear Many Hats SERVPRO Hats Over The Years

”Commercial buildings are not large houses!”

Our local SERVPRO franchise has several team members specifically trained in Commercial Loss scenarios and this is one of the first things they learn when attending an Institute Of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) class.

Drying and restoring commercial properties can be very complex and pose a multitude of situations not typically found in residential properties. Some of the differences between commercial and residential properties are obvious, such as size and uses, but others may not be that obvious like intricacies in HVAC systems, and complex electrical systems.

Other differences in commercial and residential structures that may concern a restorer will be things like public access, multiple stakeholders, construction materials & building codes, as well as the potential for increased safety issues in a commercial property.

Our certified Commercial Drying Specialists know the differences between commercial and residential properties and can “change hats” instantly from one to the other with very little effort. This ability to understand and adapt to these differences is one of the many things that help our restorers stand out in the restoration industry. It is also the reason that the majority of municipalities, utility companies, property management firms, healthcare facilities, and school systems in our area trust SERVPRO for all their restoration and cleaning needs.

SERVPRO is also on the cutting edge of document drying science and have the ability to dry, clean, sanitize, and restore documents once deemed unsalvageable a few years ago. This can save a business thousands of dollars and major headaches if these documents are ever needed to be produced.

Another advantage SERVPRO of Bethlehem has over other restoration companies is that although our local franchise can produce most commercial jobs on our own, if we get a job that is beyond our local capabilities, we can have our Corporate Large Loss Division assist us with staff and equipment to handle any size disaster.

Knowing the differences between residential and commercial properties is very important in our industry and if a restorer does not understand those differences, it could lead to catastrophic results from safety issues, or much higher cost of a commercial project than is necessary. Trust your business to the Pro’s in the know, SERVPRO of Bethlehem. We are standing by 24/7/365 for ALL your restoration and cleaning needs.

Saving Water Damaged Electronics

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Water-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by water. SERVPRO of Bethlehem can coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including TVs, DVD players, computers, tablets, cell phones, and more. 

The Key To Electronic Cleanup
The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. SERVPRO of Bethlehem starts by cleaning the exterior of your electronic devices to help stop further corrosion and damage. With us, your electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician. 

Cleaning Up Corrosion 
When it comes to cleaning up corrosion after water damage, be careful.  If you don’t use proper tools and techniques you can further damage your water-damaged electronic devices. You could also potentially injure yourself. Remember: electronic devices and liquids generally don’t mix. Any time you apply a liquid cleaning solutions to an electronic device, you need to be cautious. SERVPRO of Bethlehem recommends that the average consumer never attempt to repair a water-damaged electronic device without professional assistance. When in doubt, take your device to a professional. If you are confident about cleaning up corrosion on your water-damaged electronic device by yourself, please keep these tips in mind: 

1. Keep safety first 
If you’re standing in water or your clothes are wet please remove yourself from any potential shock hazard before even thinking about retrieving a submerged or soaked electronic device. If the device is still on, turn it off. If possible, rotate and shake the electronic device to try to drain out any fluid. 

2. Always remove any batteries or power connectors.
 This not only prevents harm to you, but also prevents any short-circuiting of your electronic device. By doing this, you will also be exposing extra connectors that may already have corroded, so exercise caution. A shorted battery may be a fire and/or chemical hazard. If you see or feel any heat, smoke, steam, bubbling, bulging, or melting avoid handling the electronic device. 

3. Look for white or green “crusty” areas on the device.
You may find them on the battery connectors, charging ports, SIM card connectors, or any other major metal connectors on the device. 

4. Use cotton swabs and a cleaning solution such as isopropyl alcohol.
You can also use baking soda and water or vinegar to clean corrosion. Gently apply the solution to the affected area and wipe back and forth until you’ve removed the corrosion. If necessary, leave some solution on the corroded area and wipe it off later. 

5. Dry your electronic device with a soft cloth or a hair dryer on a cool setting.
Do not use heat to dry out your device. Make sure your device is dried extremely well before attempting to replace the battery and turn the device on. Any water left in the device could cause additional water damage. 

6. Take special care with electronic circuit boards.
If you think water or any liquid has reached an electronic circuit board take the device apart carefully. Follow the instructions and remember the order of the disassembly so you can put the device back together later. Soak up any remaining liquid on the circuit board with a lint-free cloth. Don’t use paper products (they could leave lint or scratch the board). Avoid rubbing any cloth on the circuit board because that might scratch or dislodge parts. Place the cloth over the board and press gently. This will soak up the liquid. Remove the worst of any remaining particles by brushing with a toothbrush. This includes any globs of dried liquid. You don’t need perfection at this stage. Then remove any dust or loose pieces of dried liquid by spraying the board with compressed air. Spray in one direction in quick bursts, since the canister can become extremely cold if used for longer sprays. Rinse the circuit board with clean or distilled water to remove any sticky materials. If your circuit board was wet by clean water and you didn’t have to remove dried materials, you may be able to skip this. Pat the board gently with a cloth to remove the majority of the moisture and allow it to dry completely. Clean any residue off the circuit board using a cotton swab. Moisten the cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol. Do not use a dripping wet swab. Swab gently in stubborn areas and be careful not to upset the components. The alcohol should take care of most of the work without rubbing. 

7. Cross your fingers
When you try to repair a water-damaged electronic device there are no guarantees. The water-damage or corrosion may be permanent. These steps improve your chances of repairing it, but in the end you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best. 

Call us today! 610-838-0200

Thanksgiving Cautions: Dangers to Consider before Deep Frying Your Turkey

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Serving a deep fried turkey on Thanksgiving has grown in popularity over the years as people experiment more in their kitchens. While it may be a mouth-watering option is the risk truly worth it? Many of you may have seen the numerous videos of turkey fryer explosions and fires publicized online. Don’t run the risk of property damage or injury – make sure you take the proper precautions when menu planning this season; especially if you are taking on a deep fried turkey.

  • Turkey Fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area. Consider placement of the fryer, is it flat, sturdy, out of reach from children?
  • An overfilled cooking pot will cause oil to spill when the turkey is put in and a frozen or partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter (sometimes with great force) when put in the pot
  • Even a small amount of cooking oil spilt on a hot burner can cause a considerable flame or fire
  • Without thermostat controls some turkey fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire. Make sure it’s not too hot.
  • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and handles can get dangerously hot. Protect you hands when maneuvering to prevent injury or spillage

Your friends at SERVPRO of Bethlehem wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and remind you to stay safe. Remember, our team is on call 24/7 365 days a year, no matter what holiday or time of night. If you experience a fire SERVPRO of Bethlehem will come to your rescue, don’t hesitate to call 610-838-0200.

Water Shut Off

11/10/2018 (Permalink)

In an emergency you may have to shut off the water to your home. For example, freezing or thawing may cause a water pipe to break. Water pipe breaks are also common with most types of natural disasters (winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and more). Broken water pipes can lead to electrical hazards, long-term wood rot, long-term mold, or even drowning.

Where’s The Water Shut-Off Valve?
1. Look for the water shut-off valve where the water line enters your house. In warmer climates the shut-off valve may be outside your home where the water line meets your home’s exterior. But in most climates the water shut-off valve is just inside the house where the water line enters through your home’s foundation or exterior wall. Scott Finazzo, author of The Neighborhood Emergency Response Handbook, says that if your water comes in through a ground well the valves on either side of the pressure tank should both be shut off. 

2. Often the water shut-off valve is a quarter-turn ball valve. If that’s what you have, turn the valve a quarter of a turn until it’s perpendicular to the water pipe. Or your home may have a round handle that you turn clockwise until you can’t turn it anymore. Don’t have a master shut-off value in your home? Have one installed. 

If You Have Water Damage Call SERVPRO Of Bethlehem At (610) 838-0200

3. Another water shut-off option is closing the municipal water meter shut-off valve. This valve, if you have municipal water, typically is in your front or side yard. Look for a round metal lid or box close to your property line. It’s often 24 to 48 inches from the curb or fence line.

If your water meter has a round metal lid use a wrench or pliers to rotate the lone nut on the lid counterclockwise. This will release the latch and you can open the lid. Another type of metal lid requires a screwdriver. Turn the lid until the tabs line up with the gaps and you can lift the lid off. A third type of water meter lid is square or rectangular. You can pry it open with a screwdriver or pry bar.

Don’t reach into the meter box until you inspect the area for debris and rodents. If the box is old and covered with a lot of growth you may want to wear gloves. Once inside the municipal water meter box you’ll need pliers or a specialty tool to turn the valve. Turn it until it’s perpendicular to the water pipe.
 
If You Have Water Damage Call SERVPRO Of Bethlehem At (610) 838-0200

Shut-Off Valves For Single Rooms
Sometimes you only need to shut off the water to one room. Most newer houses have shut-off valves at every sink and toilet. Your water heater may have several shut-off valves. If your issue is one leaking sink just shut off water to that sink. If you know the water heater is leaking just shut the valves to it off.

In Case of Emergency, Call SERVPRO of Bethlehem

11/5/2018 (Permalink)

When disaster strikes in your home, you want to be sure you have the right people to restore your property and contents.  It holds true that not all restoration companies are alike. Unlike other restoration technicians, restoration professionals such as SERVPRO of Bethlehem, have specialized training, skills, equipment, and professional quality meters to remediate the job efficiently and effectively.

In today’s business environment many companies are looking to increase their revenues by adding new services, for which they may have little or NO training.  Be sure that the restoration company you are working with to restore your property has been properly trained. These companies often appeal to homeowners or businesses to perform disaster restoration services but end up costing clients in the end.

It is very common for amateurs to simply tear things out and then replace the materials or the items.  A true professional performs a thorough inspection and identifies those materials and items that can be salvaged and restored to their preloss condition.  This allows those professionals to complete the job much more quickly; thereby allowing you to get back to your normal routine. Restoration, instead of removal and replacement, helps contain costs.  In some instances it eliminates the need to file an insurance claim.

Restoration Professionals have the necessary business licenses and insurance coverage that are required for such a business.  As a matter of course, professionals are continually conducting training to be sure that they are following the most current, Industry Best Practices for their services.

For all property damaged by water, fire, smoke, mold and any other disaster, call your local SERVPRO of Bethlehem office, The Paramedics of Property Damage.  We are standing by to provide professional service, 24-hours every day of the year, with a trained and certified staff, as well as the best tools and equipment to service all emergencies.

Commercial Properties in Bethlehem Can Be Restored by SERVPRO

11/5/2018 (Permalink)

When business owners visualize water damage, they often picture a massive storm wiping out power lines, flooding offices, and shutting down businesses for days at a time. It is true that commercial water damage is often the result of floods and water that stems from weather events and storms. 
 
However, many entrepreneurs and business space renters forget that storms and severe weather aren't the only causes of floods and water damage. Here are some of the typical causes of water damage to commercial buildings. 
 
1. Malfunctioning sprinkler systems 
Some older office and retail buildings still have outdated sprinkler systems that work in conjunction with fire protection systems. While such sprinklers can come in handy during a fire emergency, they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are faulty or in need of replacement. This could easily damage inventory and business assets.

2. Damaged appliances and equipment 
This cause of commercial flood damage is more common in restaurants and catering facilities, as well as any business that has appliances and equipment that make use of water. If the appliance fails and sends water across your building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water emergency. 
 
3. Broken pipes and plumbing 
Just like in a residence, if the plumbing system in your workplace fails water damage could be the result. 
 
4. Backed up sewer lines 
This is another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, realize the potential dangers of contaminated Black Water which can cause health effects and ruin products and office furnishings. 
 
If your business has suffered commercial water damage, SERVPRO of Bethlehem will get you back up and running again. Call us anytime 24/7 at (610) 838-0200 for fast help.

How to Test Your Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarms

11/5/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke detectors and fire alarms may be some of the most important items in your home when it comes to your family’s safety. These early warning devices may help alert your family to fire and dangerous smoke while there is still time to evacuate, but they need to be periodically tested to help ensure proper function.

Why Do It?

Electronic devices are not infallible. Batteries die, and other parts of the smoke detector can wear out over time. Testing them regularly and replacing batteries (or the entire device) is one way to help ensure your family stays safe should there be a fire in your home.

How Often?

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month and batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year. A good way to remember to do this is to change your batteries when you change your clocks for daylight saving time — when you spring forward or fall back. Make sure to review your smoke detector’s user manual — you may need to check more often if any of the following apply:

  • The detector often gives false alarms.
  • The alarm emits short beeps regularly without anyone touching it.
  • Frequent kitchen smoke has caused it to activate often, which may wear it out faster.

There are two main types of smoke detectors, according to the USFA:

Battery-powered: This type can be susceptible to defective or worn-out batteries. Monthly testing is critical. Never put old batteries into your smoke detectors and fire alarms.

Hardwired: These detectors are powered by your home’s electrical system, but they usually have backup batteries so the device can remain operational in a power outage. Hardwired smoke detectors still require monthly testing to help ensure that both batteries and parts are functioning properly.

How Do You Test It?

You should always check the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper method of testing your smoke detector and fire alarm. But, in general, the USFA states most battery-powered and hardwired smoke detectors can be tested in the following way:

Step 1. Alert family members that you will be testing the alarm. Smoke detectors have a high-pitched alarm that may frighten small children, so you’ll want to let everyone know you plan to test the alarms to help avoid scaring anyone.

Step 2. Station a family member at the furthest point away from the alarm in your home. This can be critical to help make sure the alarm can be heard everywhere in your home. You may want to install extra detectors in areas where the alarm’s sound is low, muffled or weak.

Step 3. Press and hold the test button on the smoke detector. It can take a few seconds to begin, but a loud, ear-piercing siren should emanate from the smoke detector while the button is pressed. If the sound is weak or nonexistent, replace your batteries. If it has been more than six months since you last replaced the batteries (whether your detector is battery-powered or hardwired), change them now regardless of the test result, and test the new batteries one final time to help ensure proper functioning. You should also look at your smoke detector to make sure there’s no dust or other substance blocking its grates, which may prevent it from working even if the batteries are new.

Remember, smoke detectors have a normal life span of 10 years, according to the USFA. Even if you’ve performed regular maintenance, and your device is still functional, you should replace a smoke detector after the 10-year period or earlier, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Installing smoke detectors can be a great way to help keep your family safe, but assuming they are working may lead to a dangerous situation. Taking a few minutes to check them regularly can help ensure they’re working properly.

This article highlights examples of precautions you can consider to help maintain your personal property. Please recognize that a particular precaution may not be appropriate or effective in every circumstance and that taking preventive measures cannot guarantee any outcome. We encourage you to use your own good judgment about what’s appropriate and always consider safety.

https://blog.allstate.com/test-smoke-detectors/

Roof Damage Can Lead to Secondary Damage

11/5/2018 (Permalink)

There are lots of different issues that could cause damage to your home; Roof damage is one of those. Damage due to storms is the most typical, but there are several things that COULD cause the damage to your roof some being more visible than others.  It is always good practice to have your roof inspected every 10-12 years, unless there has been a specific issue that may have caused a reason to check it sooner such as a severe storm, hail, or some other sort of natural disaster.  Unfortunately, when your roof becomes damaged it can lead to bigger issues that may ultimately cause water damage to the interior of your home.

Here we mention a few things to look for when you are inspecting your roof:

  • Loose or missing shingles: this could be caused by high winds, improper installation, or simply wearing out over exposure to the elements through the years. Loose nails can also leave a hole in the shingle that water can find its way through as well.
  • Poor installation of the flashing. "Flashing" is the metal that is placed in the sections where the roof meets the walls, or in the valleys. This must be installed properly to divert water from the roof.
  • Gutters that are not placed with the right pitch, or that have seems that are not sealed properly can also cause water to back up and then overflow into the house causing water damage to ceilings and/or walls. Not having gutter guards to keep leaves and debris from collecting in the gutters can cause overflow of water that can result in damage to your roof and other areas of your home as well.
  • Rotted fascia or soffit can also be an area that allows water to intrude. 

If you suspect that you may have roof damage causing water damage to your home please feel free to contact us at (610) 838-0200 and we will be happy to assist you.

SERVPRO of Bethlehem will be there for all of your home repairs or accidents.

Water Damage Can Be Disruptive

11/5/2018 (Permalink)

Water leaks within a home or business can seep into carpet, flooring, baseboards, and walls while moving throughout the structure.  SERVPRO of Bethlehem Professionals understand how disruptive water damages can be for a family or business. Water leaks in a business can not only disrupt the facility, but also can interrupt day to day business functions, which could possibly close the business and affect revenues. 

Timely mitigation is key to the restoration process.  Quick response time helps ensure that damage is contained and the restoration process begins promptly. This saves on the amount of damage, cost of claims, and assists in reducing losses from business interruption due to a loss.  Timely and proper water mitigation will also help keep mold from developing which could cause people to become ill!  SERVPRO Professionals will be able to identify water regardless of where it hides. Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals cover the Charleston, WV, and surrounding areas.  We offer 24-hour emergency response from our trained professionals to help make it "Like it never even happened."

            Leak Prevention Tips

  •   Check roof for deterioration.  
  •   Check gutters and downspouts.
  •   Check basements and crawl spaces for moisture.
  •   Check appliances in kitchens, break rooms, and cafeterias.
  •   Check sinks and toilets in bathrooms.
  •   Check HVAC for leaks and blockages.

Call us today! 610-838-0200

3 Things to Throw Away After a Fire

11/1/2018 (Permalink)

Recovering from a home fire is a long, frustrating process, sometimes compounded by the loss of cherished belongings. When you face the destruction of the furnishings and content of your Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall, home, it can be hard to say good-bye to belongings that don't seem to have been affected. However, there are some items that you need to throw away, even if they don't look like they've damaged by fire or smoke.

1. Food

Obviously, you'll toss out any cereals and breads that were on the counter. Of course, you'll throw away anything in open containers and foods there were stored in cardboard or thin plastic bags. It may surprise you to learn, however, that even your canned foods should be tossed out. This is because the high heat of the fire will activate the growth of bacteria, even when food is sealed in glass jars and cans from the store. 

The contents of your fridge may be safe, even if the power has gone out, but remember that it's safer to throw out questionable foods than to suffer through physical sickness. Anything that smells smoky or odd, has visible soot, or doesn't feel cold should be disposed of. 

2. Medicine

The last thing you need after a fire is to be left without your necessary medications. However, these items can be affected by fire damage. If there's warping, charring, or signs of soot, throw it out. It's better to contact your doctor for refills than to become sick or suffer other side effects. 

3. Cosmetics

You may think that heat could affect cosmetics to the point that they are harmful to your health. However, the same temperatures that affect your food and medications could affect the chemicals in cosmetics to the point that they are no longer usable. 

Ultimately, it's best to throw away any belongings that have suffered fire damage. This is particularly true for food, medicine, and cosmetics. Don't put yourself at risk. Ask professionals from the fire department or a fire restoration company if you aren't sure if something is safe to keep.