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Building Safety

Building Safety

Even though May was National Building Safety Month - it's never too late to learn something that can save you! The International Code Conciliate wants to keep you, your family, friends and colleagues safe.

We understand the importance of homes but places of business are also very important. Always have an evacuation plan and a communication plan set up prior to an emergency. Click the links below to learn more about building safety in various disasters.

Earthquake Safety

Flood Safety

Hurricane Safety

More Summer Safety

More Summer Safety

Summertime is usually full of activities such as barbecues, camping trips, or cooling off in the water. But safety is always important to keep in mind!

  • Fireworks are dangerous and regardless of how pretty they may be, they can cause severe damage if not utilized properly. 
  • Whether you're using a charcoal/wood-burning or propane grill, it should always be supervised when in use! They can cause lots of structural damage as well as personal damage if misused. 
  • Keep children and animals away from the grilling area in order to prevent accidental burns or tipping.
  • Only swim in approved areas and supervise children when in the water
Sump Pumps are Savers

Sump Pumps are Savers

A couple of months back we could not believe how many calls we were getting from our customers in regards to water in their basements! Almost all of them were due to sump pump failures. 

Sump pumps are installed as a means to help prevent a building structure from flooding and it channels the water away from the structure. 

Due to low table waters that rose quickly because of wet weather, many homeowners were surprised when their basement was flooded with water one moment and in the next the sump pump was working again and removing the water.

Saving Water!

Saving Water!

Water is an essential in all of our lives and it is important to use it when it is necessary. Here's some tips we suggest to save on that water bill: 

  • Shutoff the faucet when you're brushing your teeth or washing your hands
  • Take a shorter shower and/or try not to shower multiple times in one day!
  • Purchase water-efficient goods such as shower-heads, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers
  • If you have any leaking pipes, fix them! Not only can this make your bill more expensive, but it can also because the cause of mold growing in your property!
Leaving your property for vacation

Leaving your property for vacation

Summertime is upon us and many of us are going away to enjoy the sun!

But before you go, here are some tips: 

  • Have someone you trust check on your home while you're gone
  • Secure & put away outdoor furniture as it can be damaged by the heat
  • Check the exterior of your house for any potential roofing issues (cluttered gutters, tree limbs, wires, etc)
  • Shut off the main water valve to avoid potential water losses
  • Shut off your hot water heater or put it on vacation mode if you can
  • Shut off nonessential electricity - who wants to pay for those while gone!
  • Keep your A/C Unit running because heat damage can occur

Heat Safety Tips to Prepare Your Home

Heat Safety Tips to Prepare Your Home

Keeping cool is important! Here's some tips to take care of yourself & your home: 

  • Install window air conditions snugly; insulate if necessary
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation
  • Install temporary window reflectors, such as aluminium foil covered cardboard to reflect heat back outside
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in
  • Cover windows that receive morning and afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. 
  • Keep storm windows up all year
  • If you must go outside, wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing
  • Apply sunscreen, even if the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds
  • Be sure to check on your pets
  • Stay hydrated! 
Other ways to know!

Other ways to know!

It is important to deal with problems as you come across them because the longer you wait the more dangerous risks there are for your property. While standing water can be an obvious sign of water damage in your property, some other ways to know might be:

  • Staining on ceilings, walls and/or floors
  • Peeling paint and wall paper (though sometimes this can be from humidity)
  • Damaged flooring (such as buckling floors)
  • Decomposition on plumbing valves and fittings

If you see any of these on your property give us a call at 781-647-9100 today so we can set up a free estimate!

What's in Your Commercial Ducts?

What's in Your Commercial Ducts?

Indoor air quality is super important and if you are not aware of what is in your ducts here are some possibilities: 

  • Rodents, insects or pests (these have to be exterminated prior to SERVPRO coming to do the clean up)
  • Dust, dirt & debris
  • Bacteria & mold

Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life-span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help you save money. 

Looking to improve your business' air quality? Give us a call at 781-861-0500 to set up a FREE estimate!

The Three C's

The Three C's

Here at SERVPRO we are focus on Commitment, Communication & Consistency.

- Commitment: Provide a solution the client can count on

- Communication: Clearly identify the process and progress

- Consistency: Prove to be a reliable partner

Regardless of whether we are talking to a tenant, homeowner, insurance agent or adjuster - we are always committing to providing consistent communication. 

Remediating Mold

Remediating Mold

Back in the day SERVPRO would use dry ice blasting as a form of mold remediation. When we realized how costly that was, we transitioned to using chemical treatments. 

One of the products we use is MMR mold stain remover and it can remove mold from wood in attics (usually caused by ice dams) and crawlspaces.

Another product would be Sporicidin which is a often used in medical settings to clean plastics, vinyls, latex, metals, glass, etc.

Benefect is also a great product which uses thyme as the active ingredient and is recommended for mold remediation. 

Emergency Ready Profile

Emergency Ready Profile

SERVPRO has been focusing on setting up Emergency Ready Profiles with local businesses. ERP's give us the chance to react to a commercial property loss faster than anyone else because we have all the necessary information! 

Our ERPs include:

- Emergency Action Checklist

- Advanced Emergency Contacts, Work Authorization Contacts & Insurance Contact

- Main Utility Information (Shut Off Locations)

- Property Overview

- Building Access Information

If you have an interest in setting up an ERP give us a call at 781-647-9100

Smoke Alarms

Smoke Alarms

Fires can happen to anyone at anytime if people are not aware of dangers they might be subjecting their properties too! One way to prevent a fire from growing larger, is to install smoke alarms. 

- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement. 3/5 fire deaths occur due to properties not having functional smoke alarms.

- Install them at least 10 feet away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. 

- Test the smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button and replace your batteries once a year! Your smoke detector will "chirp" when the batteries are low so you have no excuses!

- Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years!

 

There are various different designs of smoke detectors you can buy to best fit the needs of your property!

Wildfires

Wildfires

Wildfires are uncontrollable fires that are often started by humans (with a dropped match, a cigarette, campfires, etc) and unfortunately spread quicker than they can be stopped. Weather conditions such as lightning strikes, an extended dry spell or drought, and winds can contribute to wildfires or the spread of one. Fires can consume practically anything in its path especially when its burning so hot. 

Protect your home from mold!

Protect your home from mold!

While we know mold is everywhere and not all molds are damaging, here are some tips to prevent mold that can be harmful: 

  • Try to keep the humidity in your home between 30% to 60%
  • Make sure in your bathroom(s) and kitchen there are exhaust fans to help circulate indoor air
  • Do not let water damage accumulate because it only takes 48 hours for mold to start growing
  • Consider replacing hoses, pipes and fittings to appliances like washers every 5 years
  • You can clean your home using bleach - but it does not stop the root of the mold
WOW Award Winner for December

WOW Award Winner for December

Jonathan Paz, our Marketing Representative for Watertown, Weston, Natick, Brookline, Allston & Brighton won December's WOW (Wicked Outstanding Award). Jonathan joined our team mid-November and has already secured 8 Emergency Ready Profiles with local businesses! He always has a go get em vibe and we can't wait to see what more work he brings in!

Moving Mold?!

Moving Mold?!

There are so many different species of mold but here we will take a look at a mold that isn’t classified as such.

Slimy mold also known as Physarum Polycephalum is usually bright yellow but eventually turns into a brown powder substance. It isn’t classified as a mold due to it being able to move because it is a single cell that contains millions of nuclei. Though it is not a fast-moving organism therefore causing little damage or harm, it can ingest bacteria, fungus spores and other protozoa.

Flooding can happen anywhere

Flooding can happen anywhere

Flooding can happen anywhere and when it does come it can changes the lives of hundreds, even thousands. The National Weather Service lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as: 

- Flash Flooding

- River Flooding

- Storm Surge & Coastal Inundation from Tropical & Non-Tropical Systems

- Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)

- Ice/Debris Jams

- Snowmelt

- Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas) 

- Dam Breaks/ Levee Failure

Categories & Classes of Water

Categories & Classes of Water

Categories determine the type of water while classes determine how wet building materials are.

Category 1: Coming from a sanitary source and does not pose a major threat from exposure. An example would be a tub or sink overflow with no contaminants

Category 2: Contains significant contamination and can cause various health issues if consumed. An example would be discharge from a dishwasher

Category 3: Heavily contaminated can have pathogenic agents. If consumed it can cause major damage to one’s health. An example would be a raw sewerage backup.

Class 1: Less than 5% of the combined space affected

Class 2: 5%~40% of the combined space affected

Class 3: More than ~40% of the combined space affected

Class 4: Deeply held in low evaporation materials such as plaster, wood or concrete

Mold isn’t always visible!

Mold isn’t always visible!

Most people become frantic of mold in their homes when it starts to show up on organic materials but that is not always the case! Sometimes homeowners are faced with water intrusions behind walls that they aren’t even aware of and it only takes 24-48 hours for mold to spore.

Sometimes you can smell mold and knowing the property’s history can help pinpoint how much damage you might be facing. Before trying to remediate the mold, it is important to fix the source of the moisture since that is what promotes mold growth.

Commercial Checklist

Commercial Checklist

When buying a commercial property, it is important to not only have a thorough inspection of the property but here are some questions to think of

- Take into consideration the importance of maintenance to your business. When is the last time the air system was cleaned, if it was ever cleaned? If you have carpet flooring, how often would you like those cleaned in order to maintain an aesthetically pleasing environment?

- If you are ever faced with a loss, do you know where your shut off pipes are? Where to shut off your electricity? Who to even call to assess the damage?

- If you do have to close your business, for how long? How many employees will you maintain?

Having an Emergency Ready Profile will give you and SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford the chance to answer these questions as well as create a plan in case your company is ever faced with a disaster.

Interesting Facts about Mold

Interesting Facts about Mold

Though mold can be costly both financially and health wise – there are some interesting facts about mold.

  1. Mold is everywhere! There are over 10,000 species of mold and not all molds are harmful. Penicillin is a common antibiotic used that is actually a purified mold. Mold’s main purpose is to decompose organic material
  2. When buying a new property, it is important to have a thorough inspection for mold because at least 50% of homes in the US have faced water damage! It can lower the value of the property significantly if water damage has not been properly mitigated and mold has not been properly removed.
  3. Mold will practically eat any organic material – except a McDonald’s Happy Meal. Whatever preservatives are used in McDonald’s food have kept the organic material from breaking down even weeks, months and years after being exposed.
Water Damage & What to Do?

Water Damage & What to Do?

You're faced with a water damage in your home and if this has never happened before you might not know where to start! Here are some tips:

1. Do you have home insurance? Does it cover water damages and to what extent? Not all insurance companies will cover all expenses so make sure you choose wisely! Inform them of the loss immediately. 

2. What happened exactly and when? Knowing this information is important because from the moment the damage begins your time is ticking! Water is categorized differently depending on the source it stems from and building structures it comes into contact with

3. You don't have any resources to fix the damage yourself -- who do you call?! SERVPRO of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland is equipped to assess the damage and help make it "Like it never even happened!"

Call us at 781-647-9100 if your home is ever faced with water damage!

How Fires Are Classified

How Fires Are Classified

Fires are classified differently by how they are ignited.

A – Ordinary combustibles or fibrous material, such as wood paper, cloth, rubber and some plastics

B – Flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, paint, paint thinners and propane

C – Energized electrical equipment, such as appliances, switches, panel boxes and power tools

D – Certain combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These metals burn at high temperatures and give off sufficient oxygen to support combustion. They may react violently with water or other chemicals, and must be handled with care

K – Cooking oils, trans-fats or fats in cooking appliances

Fire extinguishers are rated using these letters to determine which chemicals are most effective on ceasing the fire.

Mold-Resistant Drywall

Mold-Resistant Drywall

Mold removal and remediation can be time consuming, expensive and can pose a health threat. Mold survives in moist, damp environments and all it needs to thrive is water, oxygen and organic material.

The organic matter is often drywall – that after its been exposed to moisture can become a host for all kinds of mold species. But mold-resistant drywall was developed as a means to address this issue and provide prevention up front. The fiberglass mat for the paper used in traditional drywall has been substituted so that moisture cannot adhere to the organic paper material.

Commercial Fire Safety

Commercial Fire Safety

Disasters are not events we are always 100% prepared for but having a plan beforehand definitely makes solving problems easier. 

If your company or business is ever faced with a fire loss make sure you have more than one plan to escape, and make sure you call us at 781-647-9100 so we can access the damage and clean it up!

Fire Safety Tips

Fire Safety Tips

  • Install smoke alarms (and fire extinguishers with ABC rating) on every level of your home and test them monthly to make sure they work. Try changing your smoke alarm batteries every 6 months 
  • Create more than one escape plan and practice them! Escape from different areas of the house, tools for exiting if needed and a meeting place. If you have kids make sure they are aware too!
  • Remember the three feet rule! Keep grills, cookers, fryers and space heaters from anything flammable. Make sure you turn these things off when leaving
Are You Ready for the New Year?

Are You Ready for the New Year?

Each new year brings the opportunity for new beginnings! We want to help ensure you enjoy a safe and happy new year by helping you be prepared for anything the year may have in store?

Did you know, up to 50 percent of businesses that suffer a disaster may never reopen? Of the business that do survive a disaster, the overwhelming majority had an emergency preparedness plan in place.

In the event of a disaster, an ERP (Emergency Ready Profile) can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate pan of action in place for your facility.

Did you know?

Did you know?

  • Cooking fires account for nearly half of reported home fires
  • Three of every five reported, non-fatal home cooking fires injuries occurred when the individual attempted to fight the fire themselves
  • If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flame by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner but do not remove the pan. Keep it covered until the pan cools completely
  • You can reduce the risk of a cooking fire by: staying in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food; checking on food regularly and using a timer to remind you of cooking food; keeping children three feet away from cooking surfaces clean to prevent food or grease build up. 
Heating Hazards

Heating Hazards

The winter season is here and with it comes shorter days and lower temperatures. In an effort to keep our homes cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves. Reduce your risk of a heat-related fire by knowing the facts!

50% of all residential heating-related fires are reported during the months of December, January & February. 

Flood Waters

Flood Waters

Floods rank as one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether you live near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river or even in the desert, there is a potential for suffering flood damage.

Flood Facts:

- Floods kill an average of 140 people per year in the U.S, making flooding the deadliest natural disaster.

- More than half of all facilities during floods are auto related, often the result of drivers misjudging the depth of water on a road and being swept away in a swiftly moving current.

- The principle cause of floods in the eastern United States are hurricanes and storms

- The principle cause of floods in the western United States are snowmelt and rainstorms.

- Underpasses can be some of the most dangerous places during a flash flood – especially at night, when it’s difficult to see

Emergency Fire Damage

Emergency Fire Damage

  1. A SERVPRO Franchise Professional will contact the Insured within 1 hour to arrange services. Within 4 hours, will arrive prepared to begin emergency mitigation services if needed
  2. Your insured's concerns will be addressed:
    • Identify the source of loss
    • Identify the types of residue present
    • Identify safety issues and convey the information to the Insured and the Adjuster
  3. Pretesting for restorability will be conducted to determine:
    • What is unrestorable vs restorable and what methods of restoration will be most effective?
  4. The scope of the project will be communicated to the Adjuster
  5. The structure and contents will be cleaned and restored by the experts
  6. A final walk-through will be conducted with your customer to ensure both their satisfaction as well as your own
Understanding WEAs

Understanding WEAs

The image above depicts what WEA text messages will look like on a mobile device. The message includes the type and time of the alert, any action you should take, and the agency issuing the alert.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency. With WEA, alerts can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without need to download an app or subscribe to a service. WEA may share:

- Extreme weather warnings

- Local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action

- AMBER alerts

- Presidential Alerts during a national emergency

SERVPRO Storm Story

SERVPRO Storm Story

The roots of the SERVPRO Storm Response program date back to 1993 and has since then been a huge part of the SERVPRO Story. In 1992, SERVPRO was looking to make their debut in the commercial market and catastrophic response. Nashville was faced with a large fire loss and several owners came together to clean the building.

Within the next two years, there were several other storm events and many of the precedents set during these events are still part of the Storm Response Program today. Storm remained an initiative led by the Storm Team who are all Franchise Owners, using the processes learned on these early events. While lots of mistakes were made; however, a lot of lessons were learned.

Storm Response is an integral part of the SERVPRO Story and differentiates our ability to execute from all other competitors in the industry. We will continue to make incremental improvements to support the SERVPRO Brand.

NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio

One of our blogs was about "Building An Emergency Supply Kit" that would prepare families if they were ever faced with a loss and didn't have access to their usual belongings. One item on the list was "NOAA Weather Radio".

A weather radio is designed to alert you to potential dangerous weather situations, like an approaching tornado. It allows you to be warned ahead of storms, providing you time to seek shelter. 

If you are looking to purchase a weather radio here are some tips:

- Reviewable alerts (you can scroll through alerts and turn off the siren for alerts you do not wish to hear)

- Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) alert programming (alerts when specific counties are threatened, ensuring you only receive alerts for your county)

- Ease of programming and if you need help you can visit www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr

What to do with Contaminated Water

What to do with Contaminated Water

Back in September, we blogged about Emergency Water Damage Tips for clean water situations. But sometimes the water that affects a home or business isn’t from the cleanest source. Here are some tips for when it comes to dealing with contaminated water:

- Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.

- Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.

- Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air. – Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.

- Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.

- Call your local SERVPRO Franchise so we can make it “Like it never even happened

Water Damage You Can't See

Water Damage You Can't See

Your home should be your place of rest. But when water begins leaking - even small leaks in areas you can not see - your home could quickly become a source of stress. The possibility of harmful mold, rot and unseen damage may affect the value of your home and the health of your loved ones. 

 

If a water damage occurs in your home, just call us at 781-647-9100 and we'll be there to help make it "Like it never even happened." 

CAI-NE 2016

CAI-NE 2016

New England's Community Association Institute is the leader in providing proven education and resources for community associations. At this year's conference, our new Marketing Manager, Greg Mercurio, made our presence aware in New Hampshire as he talked to various condo associations with hopes of creating a business relationship. We had a fun incentive where conference goers guessed how many jelly beans were in a jar in order to win one of our Die Cast SERVPRO trucks.

Emergency Preparedness Bug Out Bags

Emergency Preparedness Bug Out Bags

SERVPRO of Waltham/ Weston/ Watertown/ Wayland created Emergency Preparedness Bug Out Bags that were designed to bring a sense of comfort to people who have experienced disasters. If you lose everything in a disaster what things are you needing most?

What's in our bags you ask?

  • 2 Diapers
  • 1 Towel
  • 1 Wash Cloth
  • 1 pack of Wet Wipes
  • 1 pack of Pocket Tissue
  • 2 Mini Journals
  • 1 Coloring Book for kids
  • 1 pack of mini crayons
  • 1 package of Q Tips, 3 cotton balls and 2 toothpicks
  • 1 package of Shampoo & Body Wash, Soap, 1 toothbrush, 1 tub of toothpaste, 1 stick deodorant, shaving cream and 1 shaver
Donuts for Plumbers

Donuts for Plumbers

SERVPRO of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland is trying to make an initiative to use local businesses for partnerships. Since September our Waltham Representative, Tammi Kibler, has been hosting "Donuts for Plumbers" monthly, giving local plumbers an opportunity to make extra money by referring our franchises to their customers. Since we are unable to repair sources of flowing water, it makes most sense to partner up so we can leave it like it never even happened.

Sump Pump Failure

Sump Pump Failure

While half of our team was down in VA & NC dealing with flooding from Hurricane Matthew, up here in MA we experienced some flooding from heavy rains. For this job, SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford responded to water damage in the lower level of an occupied single family residence in which the cause of loss was a sump pump failure. The water affected the lower drywall walls and flooring in the lower level. We removed baseboards, drilled holes to allow for drying and successfully dried out the home in 3 days. Afterwards we applied a plant based anti-microbial to the flooring to make it like it never even happened. 

Team SERVPRO Supports Pam's Run 2015

Team SERVPRO Supports Pam's Run 2015

Team SERVPRO of SERVPRO of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland sent 9 walker/runners to Pam's Run 2015 in Wayland MA. Supporting the wonderful organization Neighbor Brigade which was founded by Pam. Neighbor Brigade is a community based organizaiton in towns across Massachusetts. http://www.neighborbrigade.org/

Sheepshearing Festival 2016

Sheepshearing Festival 2016

Amanda and Vanessa had a blast running a tent at the Sheepshearing Festival at Gore Place in Waltham. Sheep, families, and fantastic festival food, what more could you ask for on a spring day in New England?

2016 SERVPRO Awards Dinner

2016 SERVPRO Awards Dinner

After winning this award for the year of 2013, our franchise has grown over the years letting us win the Stages of Leadership Award for 2015.

Amanda Aiken at the Women's Council of Realtors

Amanda Aiken at the Women's Council of Realtors

SERVPRO of Waltham/Weston/Watertown/Wayland and SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford are proud sponsors of the Women's Council of Realtors. Here is Amanda Aiken at the Women's Council of Realtors event on March 2, 2016. It was a MA State Chapter joint meeting with the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. She spoke about our wide range of cleaning and restoration services.