Recent Posts

Strategies to Prevent Fire Damage in Dormitories as Students Return to College This Fall

9/7/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights fire damage prevention strategies for colleges as students head back to school.

The team at SERVPRO® of Media, PA, is certified in fire damage and water damage cleanup and restoration services, as well as smoke removal services. When a fire occurs, the damage scene is complex and toxic, requiring a multi-faceted cleanup and restoration solution. Student displacement presents a challenge to institutional administrators who must find accommodations on a campus that is likely at peak residential capacity at the commencement of the fall semester. SERVPRO of Media is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. SERVPRO can tackle fire damage in a single dorm room fire or scale to meet the challenges of dormitory buildings that sustained extensive damage. The fast response and quick cleanup and restoration have the students back in their rooms and resuming their normal routines as soon as possible. SERVPRO of Media offers these fire safety strategies to avoid fire damage as students return to campus this fall.

Campus life in a college dorm room can be exciting, fulfilling, comical, and sometimes hazardous. FEMA reports the following statistics: “According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 3,800 university housing fires occur each year in the United States with 88 percent being cooking fires. The leading causes of campus-related fires include: 1) cooking (hot plates, microwaves, portable grills, etc.); 2) arson; 3) careless smoking; 4) unattended candles; and 5) overloaded extension cords, power strips, and outlets.”

The last time most incoming freshmen received any fire safety education was many years earlier while they were in elementary school. To prevent fires in campus housing, a culture of fire safety must be inculcated in the student body. This goal can be effectively achieved through ongoing fire safety education. Emphasis should be placed on the primary fire hazards in the dorm room: cooking, careless smoking, candle safety, and the proper use of extension cords, power strips, and outlets. Many colleges and universities are smoke-free and candle-free (except with special permission). Regularly scheduled fire drills are a loud reminder of the need to be mindful of ever-present fire hazards. The drills will also familiarize students with predetermined evacuation routes.

The value of pre-qualifying a damage restoration company

By pre-qualifying a dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration company, institutional administrators only need to make one phone call when a disaster strikes. The SERVPRO franchise family has a solid reputation as an industry leader spanning over fifty years and is a trusted partner with institutions and property management companies around the US. Consider these key factors when formulating a disaster readiness response or when reviewing and revising current response protocols for the upcoming academic calendar.

  • Core competencies: Fire damage, smoke damage, water damage, flood damage, biohazard cleanup (drugs), crime scene cleanup, suicide and accident cleanup (blood and body fluids), Certified SERVPRO Clean services (COVID)
  • Certification: SERVPRO technicians are trained to the highest industry standards through IICRC, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, a non-profit organization for the Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Industries.
  • Bonded, licensed, insured, and a top choice of insurance companies when a disaster strikes
  • Massive scalability: SERVPRO has the capacity to respond with one, five, or fifty (or more) crews in the event of a large loss disaster such as a large-scale structure fire, flash flood, tornado damage, or vandalism/graffiti incident. The concentration of franchise service providers in the greater Philadelphia area uniquely qualifies SERVPRO to meet any large-scale need. SERVPRO of Media can tap this asset-rich reserve almost instantly and activate a rapid, highly coordinated response.
  • Documentation: Upon arrival, a highly trained technician conducts a thorough inspection and assessment of the damage scene. A detailed, well-documented estimate, including images and videos, is provided to the client. SERVPRO uses Xactimate, the industry-standard estimating software utilized by insurance companies.
  • End-to-end service, including working with the insurance company and providing general contracting services for the restoration/rebuild phase of the overall project
  • Availability: The fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Media are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays.
  • Free consultation: SERVPRO of Media helps businesses, industry, medical facilities, property management companies, and institutions of higher learning formulate a customized disaster response plan. This Emergency Readiness Plan is tailored to fit the client’s individual needs.

For more information about fire prevention strategies, property damage cleanup and restoration, or a customized Emergency Readiness Plan in Newtown Square, PA, contact SERVPRO of Media by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com. The office can also be contacted by phone at (610) 566-5720.

The Value of Safe Smoking Policies for Avoiding a Fire Damage Disaster at Broomall, PA, Restaurants

9/7/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media encourages safe smoking practices as a way to prevent fire damage in restaurants.

SERVPRO® of Media provides fire damage restoration, smoke odor removal, and water removal services to businesses that have suffered a fire damage disaster. SERVPRO’s commitment to implementing a rapid response and quick cleanup makes its commercial services a solid choice for businesses, especially restaurants.

The importance of cigarette smoking policies at restaurants and bars

Prior to 2004, only two states had enacted laws completely banning smoking at worksites, restaurants, and bars. In recent years, other states have followed suit. In 2008, Pennsylvania passed into law the Clean Indoor Air Act, which restricted smoking in certain “public places.” The Pennsylvania law defines a “public place” as “An enclosed area which serves as a workplace, commercial establishment or an area where the public is invited or permitted.” The term includes facilities that provide “education, food or healthcare-related services.”

With these restrictions in place, restaurants and other public venues with high foot traffic need to provide proper disposal sites for discarding smoking materials. Designated smoking areas should be clearly marked. Stringent housekeeping practices need to be implemented, as well. The goal of these efforts is to limit the ignition of combustible materials and to reduce the likelihood that a fire will spread if it should start.

By adopting and implementing the following practices, a restaurant or other smoke-free business can accommodate the needs of patrons who smoke while also avoiding fire hazards related to smoking materials. Some of these measures also seek to reduce the potential for spreading should a fire break out.

Commercial insurance experts recommend the following safety measures specifically for restaurants, but other businesses may benefit from implementing these strategies: “Designate smoking areas at least 25 feet away from buildings, combustible materials, vegetation or refuse collection areas. Areas that allow smoking and areas that prohibit smoking should be clearly marked with appropriate signage. All smoking materials should be disposed of in acceptable receptacles and kept away from ignition sources. Disposal devices should be appropriately marked, be constructed of non-combustible materials, and have steep sides to keep materials inside the device. If smoking is allowed inside the building, then properly designed ashtrays should be provided in smoking areas to prevent cigarette butts or ashes from falling or rolling onto combustible materials. Ashtrays should only be dumped into designated disposal containers with a lid and filled with a medium that can safely extinguish a fire, such as sand or water. If smoking materials are going to be placed into a dumpster they should be thoroughly wetted down with water. Smoking materials may still be smoldering, so it is best to wet these down prior to disposal in a garbage dumpster. Make sure your dumpster is located at a minimum of 10 feet away from the building, but further away is preferred. A fire extinguisher should be placed in the area with a maximum travel distance of 75 feet away from the smoking area. By following the advice above, restaurant and bar owners can help protect their businesses from accidental fire while also abiding by smoking bans. Promoting a smoke-free workplace has many benefits, including limiting secondhand smoke exposure and reducing the chance of an accidental fire.”

Why choose SERVPRO of Media to remediate restaurant fire damage

Media, PA, is renowned for its great shopping, fine dining, and live entertainment! These establishments depend on repeat and regular business from loyal patrons, new customers, and out-of-town visitors enjoying the sights, sounds, and cuisine of the Philadelphia metro area.

When a fire damage disaster strikes a restaurant, a rapid fire damage restoration process is crucial to get the doors open and the revenue flowing. A team of cleanup and restoration professionals from SERVPRO of Media can be on-scene in about an hour to inspect and assess the damage and begin the cleanup. A fire damage disaster involves fire, smoke, soot, chemical fire suppressants, and water. Certified, experienced, and well-equipped technicians tackle the complex cleanup and restoration challenges with the goal of helping the damaged establishment resume normal business operations as soon as possible. The SERVPRO franchise family can, without delay, scale to meet any size disaster.

Contact SERVPRO of Media for more details about the company’s fire and water damage restoration services in Broomall, PA. The office can be reached by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com or by calling (610) 566-5720.

Four Landscaping Projects to Reduce the Risk of Basement Flooding in Newtown Square, PA, Homes

9/7/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media explains how landscaping projects can both minimize the risk of basement flooding and make the home more beautiful.

SERVPRO® of Media, PA, provides fire damage, smoke damage, and water damage restoration services. When a homeowner is faced with a flooded basement, these property damage services are indispensable. To help homeowners avoid basement flooding, the professionals at SERVPRO of Media offer the landscaping strategies outlined below.

A dry basement is important for a clean, healthy, and safe environment in the home. A wet, damp basement facilitates the growth of mold and mildew, which can damage anything stored in the basement. The excessive moisture promotes wood rot and rust. Pests such as cockroaches, silverfish, centipedes, and earwigs thrive in the moist environment. During dry spells, ants will crawl into a home in search of moisture and respite from the heat.

Remedies for basement moisture can be very expensive. The installation of a French drain, a sump pump system, and waterproofing are examples. However, less expensive landscaping strategies can be pursued prior to implementing the more costly and invasive solutions. A multi-faceted approach may result in significant cost savings as well as a dry basement.

Below are four landscaping projects that can help minimize the risk of basement flooding.

1. Install a rain garden.

Rain gardens are recessed areas designed to capture excess rainwater from walkways and the lawn. The water is diverted away from the foundation. The bedding soil is comprised of sand, organic matter, and the existing topsoil. This blend enhances proper drainage while inhibiting the accumulation of standing water. The prime location for the garden is away from the foundation between the home and the street. Install low-maintenance plants to control erosion and slow absorption into the ground.

Native plants are an excellent choice for these rain gardens. Hardy, drought-resistant native plants serve as a natural barrier to any street runoff. The extensive root systems of native plants filter contaminated water before it can leach into the groundwater below. Native plants also attract insects that help pollinate surrounding vegetation.

2. Improve the grade around the foundation.

Sometimes, something as simple as adjusting the grade around the foundation of the home solves the basement moisture problem. The grade or slope should be steep enough to drain excessive amounts of water away from the foundation. The recommended slope is one inch per foot, up to ten feet away from the structure. If the grading is close to these specifications, a homeowner can improve the grade where needed with a few wheelbarrow loads of dirt. More extensive grading revisions may require the services of a landscape company with the equipment to haul in more dirt and shape it to the proper grade.

3. Create a barrier between planting beds and the foundation.

If a planting bed is nestled next to the foundation, a shallow gravel barrier can be installed as a break between the mulch in the bed and the foundation. Mulch retains water and moisture that may seep into the basement or crawl space. This gravel landscape feature provides an aesthetically pleasing separation between the mulch and the side of the home. The gravel allows water to drain away from the house.

4. Consider installing a dry creek bed.

On a grander scale, some homeowners create a dry creek bed in the middle of the yard. The large trench is lined with long-lasting, water-permeable landscape fabric and then filled with river rock. The feature is sloped to carry water away from the foundation and the larger area surrounding the home. Discharge from the downspouts can be directed to the dry creek bed. Not only is the prominent feature a beautiful addition to the landscape, but it is also a very effective means to conduct water away from the perimeter of the home.

Some new home construction includes the installation of a French drain. Post-construction installation of this solution is exceedingly expensive. A comprehensive drainage solution may include the installation of a sump pump system in the crawl space or basement.

Bonus Tip: Keep gutters and downspouts clean and flowing freely.

Clean and free-flowing gutters and downspouts effectively capture and transfer large amounts of roof water away from the home. If gutters become clogged and overflow, this water is deposited next to the foundation and may cause basement flooding. If a downspout detaches from the gutter or if a discharge pipe disconnects from the downspout, hundreds of gallons of water will be deposited next to the home with any major downpour. The results could be disastrous. Consider installing one of the gutter guard products that keeps debris from clogging gutters and downspouts.

Inspect gutters, downspouts, and discharge pipes to ensure the entire system is free-flowing and functioning properly. Something as simple as cleaning the gutters, repairing a disconnected downspout, and extending discharge pipes to at least ten feet away from the foundation could eliminate the need to spend thousands of dollars on the installation of a sump pump system or a French drain.

Even the best efforts to control drainage issues can be overwhelmed by severe weather or derailed by a malfunction. In the event of a flooded basement, reach out to the professionals at SERVPRO of Media. Experienced technicians have the training, experience, high-capacity water removal equipment, rapid-spin fans, and industrial-grade dehumidifiers to deal with a flooded basement or other water damage disaster.

For more information about flood damage restoration in Newtown Square, PA, call SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720 or email office@SERVPROmedia.com.

Helping Media, PA, Businesses Recover from a Property Damage Disaster

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights the steps a business must take to safely respond to and recover from fire, water, storm, or flood damage.

SERVPRO of Media outlines steps to assist businesses in safely responding to and recovering from a commercial property damage disaster. Business owners, management, and employees experience a range of emotions in the midst of the chaos and confusion. An initial shock is accompanied by uncertainty, helplessness, and grief before the damage is inspected and assessed.

When a business faces a property damage disaster, a clear path forward is important for the success of the business and the morale and confidence of the staff. An accurate property damage assessment and a rapid response are crucial if the business is to survive the crisis. The following steps help a business safely implement property damage recovery.

  1. Make sure everyone is safe.
  2. Secure the property.
  3. Make initial contacts and file reports.
  4. Take a detailed inventory.
  5. Document thoroughly.

Step #1: Ensure the safety of employees, onsite vendors, and any visitors that might be on the premises.

First, make sure that everyone is safe and stays safe. If a fire, severe weather, or chemical spill has rendered portions of the building unsafe, confirm that all personnel, including visitors, have evacuated the facility and made it to a safe location. A Readiness Plan will include evacuation routes, central meeting locations, and a check-in protocol to verify the building is clear. Assess any injuries, including emotional trauma. Provide initial first aid and any assistance that might be needed to stabilize immediate needs until first responders and other emergency personnel arrive.

The temptation is to re-enter the facility to recover personal items or important business documentation, account for missing persons, or begin the recovery process. No unauthorized personnel should be allowed back into the building until emergency officials give approval.

Step #2: Secure the location and equipment.

Once the damage scene is safe, take steps to protect equipment, documents, and inventory from further damage. Tarp or shield equipment and other valuable property. Relocate what items can be safely moved to protected and undamaged areas of the building. If structural damage has been catastrophic, relocate machinery, raw materials, and inventory to a safe, secure location. To ensure continuity of coverage, notify all insurers of changes in the status and location of all items. Avoid any unnecessary exposure to further financial loss.

If circumstances permit, implement emergency repairs to prevent damage from the elements, including severe weather. Board up the property to avoid trespassing or theft. Carefully clean up damage and debris to make the facility safe. Inspect the security system for functionality and use it even if the facility has been shut down and evacuated.

Step #3: Make first contacts and file initial reports.

Set aside time to inform the insurance company that a property damage incident has occurred and that a loss claim will be filed. The insurer will clarify if a police report regarding the incident is needed. Cases of vandalism, theft, or arson would be instances where a copy of this report might be requested.

During these initial contacts and reports, take detailed notes of all activities, including date, times, contact information, and a brief summary of conversations. Highlight action steps and follow-up. Loss reports are crucial for reimbursement and replacement payouts from the insurance company. Images and videos of the damaged property are essential. Review the security footage of when the damage occurred. Back the files up and save them on the cloud, where they are safe from corruption or deletion and can be easily accessed by third parties if needed.

Step #4: Take inventory of the damage.

Make a detailed list of equipment, machinery, raw materials, inventory, and any other items that might be covered under the policy. Separate damaged items from undamaged items. Do not discard or destroy items that seem beyond salvaging. If a salvageable item is discarded, the insurance company may not provide replacement value if the decision was made without consulting the insurer.

Step #5: Document, document, document!

Documentation should be thorough, detailed, and accurate when reporting the remaining equipment and inventory. Precise quantities and verifiable costs of equipment and goods are helpful to include in the document. Any reports or filings should be duplicated in hard copy and digital format and then stored offsite or on the cloud for safekeeping. Receipts, bills, invoices, orders, payments, and other documentation related to the commercial property should be retained and put in safe, accessible storage.

The benefits of working with SERVPRO of Media

When disaster strikes a business, every day lost to cleanup, restoration, and recovery translates into lost business, lost customers, employee migration, and possibly inventory degradation. SERVPRO arrives on-scene, inspects and assesses the damage, and provides the customer with a detailed, documented estimate. The cleanup and restoration process begins immediately because insurance companies and customers trust the professionals at SERVPRO. By bringing SERVPRO into the recovery and damage restoration process, a business can be confident that cleanup and restoration will be quick, allowing a swifter return to normal business operations.

For more details about commercial water damage restoration in Newtown Square, PA, contact SERVPRO of Media by calling (610) 566-5720. The office can also be reached by emailing office@SERVPROmedia.com

Common Causes of Household Odors and How a Restoration Company Can Help Overcome the Smell

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media highlights seven sources of foul smells in the home and offers tips on how to make the home smell fresh and clean.

The team of IICRC-certified professionals at SERVPRO of Media, PA, utilizes the latest equipment, advanced moisture-detecting technology, and cutting-edge cleaning techniques and products to provide cleaning and mold remediation services. These tools give technicians a solid advantage when addressing foul odors in the home.

Common Sources of Foul Odors in a Home

Household odors are annoying, embarrassing, and sometimes even cause health effects. The foul smells alert the homeowner to situations that need immediate attention for the happiness and health of the home. Here are seven common sources of bad odors in Broomall, PA, homes.

1. Mold

Mold is one of the most common causes of foul odors in the home. Signs of mold include black, green, or bronze stains on walls, ceilings, and cabinets. The telltale sign of mold is the distinctive musty smell.

Tip: The first step in addressing a mold issue is to identify and resolve any moisture issues. Leaky pipes must be repaired. Exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen must be functional and adequate to remove excessive moisture. A home dehumidifier may need to be installed to reduce overall air moisture, and the crawl space may need to be encapsulated with a moisture barrier. A sump pump and a dehumidifier can eliminate moisture in the basement and crawl space.

2. Natural Gas

Natural gas may be causing a foul odor in the home. The rotten-egg smell is added as a safety precaution since natural gas is odorless.

Tip: If the smell of gas is detected, inspect the stove and any pilot lights for leaks. Open doors and windows to allow fresh air into the home, and call the utility company or a professional for assistance. Take all necessary safety precautions, including evacuating the house.

3. Sewer Odors

If there is a sulfuric or rotten-egg smell in the home, the source may be one or more unused sinks in the guest bathroom. Drains have a u-shaped joint just below the drain hole. The curved pipe captures water which acts as a seal to prevent noxious odors from the sewer or septic tank from seeping into the home. If the water is not replenished by occasional usage, evaporation will eventually eliminate the barrier and allow the offensive odors to escape into the house.

Tip: Recharge the water in the u-shaped joint on a weekly basis. The water will also serve to flush any organic matter through the system, reducing odors in the bathroom.

4. Pet Smells

Pet odors can be a real nuisance. “Accidents” on the floor or furniture, wet fur, glandular emissions, pet bedding, and whatever is on their paws from the yard or pasture are sources of pet odors.

Tip: Regular baths and grooming will take care of pet odors at the source: the pet. Carpets, area rugs, flooring, furniture, and pet bedding need to be cleaned several times a year to reduce odors.

5. Smoke Smells

Smoke from cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe is obvious upon entering a home. The smell is everywhere. Tobacco smoke coats flat surfaces and penetrates porous materials such as upholstery, curtains, clothing, and carpet. The lingering odor is challenging to remove. The nicotine and other chemicals are also known as third-hand smoke.

Tip: Removal of cigarette smoke requires a whole-house approach. All surfaces must be washed with a safe, effective cleaning product. Rubber gloves, protective eyewear, a mask, long sleeves, and long pants are necessary to protect against nicotine poisoning. Walls and ceilings may need to be sealed with a high-quality stain- and odor-blocking primer before applying paint.

6. The Kitchen Trash Can

Household garbage can produce strong, disgusting smells that contaminate the home.

Tip: Solutions include using a kitchen trash can with a lid. Use a plastic bag in the can to keep the inside of the trash can clean. Empty the trash regularly. Avoid putting scraps and grease in the garbage. Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the can to absorb odors. Wash the can with an all-purpose cleaner or a bleach solution to remove grime and kill bacteria.

7. Decaying Animals

Something as small as a decaying tiny mouse can create a strong, pungent odor that can make a home uninhabitable. A dead animal in the crawl space, in the attic, or between walls can be difficult to find and remove.

Tip: Professional services may be needed to locate the issue, clean it up, sanitize the area, and deodorize the home.

SERVPRO of Media specializes in odor control in the home. If the situation has gotten out of hand, the IICRC-certified technicians have the equipment, advanced cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved products that can make a smelly home clean, fresh-smelling, and healthy.

Contact SERVPRO of Media to learn more about mold remediation and odor removal services for the Broomall, PA, area. The cleaning and damage restoration company can be reached by phone at (610) 566-5720 and by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com

Fire Safety Tips for Power Outages Resulting from Severe Weather and Storm Damage

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media explains how an electrical failure from storm damage can increase fire hazards. The damage restoration company also shares fire safety tips to prevent fire damage after severe weather.

SERVPRO of Media is well acquainted with the fire risks caused by power outages from storm damage. The team also realizes that a power outage can be inconvenient. However, it is easy for homeowners to be lulled into a false sense of security when the power goes out and the lights go down. An outage does not eliminate the potential for a secondary fire risk not directly associated with electrical current. Even though no electrical current from the power station is flowing through the wires into the home, it does not mean the system cannot be hot. The following tips shed light on some of the fire risks caused by a power outage in Newtown Square, PA.

To reduce fire risks during a power outage, the team at SERVPRO of Media, PA, offers the following important safety tips:

Tip #1: Before an outage, make sure smoke alarms and carbon dioxide alarms are in proper working order.

Do not be alarmed when the power goes out, but make sure that backup battery-operated smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are functioning and have batteries that are less than a year old. Alarms connected directly into the electrical system will not work during a power failure unless they have a battery backup. When the skies are clear, install battery-only smoke and CO alarms to ensure the home is safe from fire and CO poisoning 24/7, power or no power.

Tip #2: Have a plan to get out when the power goes out.

Prepare and practice an evacuation plan that gets everyone safely out of the home during an emergency. The evacuation may be difficult and dangerous if the power is out. Everyone should know how to quickly and safely exit the house in near or total darkness. Areas of the home may be completely dark during the daylight hours, so do not count on the need for the evacuation to occur when the sun is shining. A basement can be instantly shrouded in darkness in the middle of the day if a storm or fire knocks out the power.

Tip #3: Stockpile LED flashlights and batteries.

LED flashlights and lanterns offer long hours of bright illumination and are many times more efficient than traditional flashlights. LED bulbs are durable and can take a pounding. Candles and oil lanterns pose a serious fire hazard and should only be used as a last resort.

Tip #4: Keep the outdoor grill outdoors.

During a winter power outage, it may be tempting to use a gas grill to heat the home. This practice is extremely dangerous. Stay safe by keeping the outdoor grill outdoors and only using it for cooking.

Tip #5: Use generators with caution.

The generator should be UL approved and suited for the purpose for which it was purchased. Avoid overloading the unit. It should have proper connection receptacles and circuit breakers. Never operate a gasoline or propane generator in the home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper operation and maintenance, and store fuel in a safe, dry place at least fifty feet from any structure.

Tip #6: Only use heaters approved for indoor use.

Snow, sleet, ice, and frigid temperatures can disrupt the power grid during the winter. Open windows to allow for adequate ventilation. Fire risks are high when the unit is still hot. Let the unit cool before taking it outside the home for refueling.

Tip #7: Ensure appliances that generate heat are turned off or unplugged.

If the power went out during meal preparation, it is easy to forget the stove was in use. If the power comes on, the results could be disastrous. Unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of home fires. Curlers, a curling iron, a hair dryer, an iron, a bathroom space heater, or other heat-generating devices can cause a fire damage disaster when the power returns.

What to do after storm damage or fire damage

Residents and businesses can call the team at SERVPRO of Media when fire damage, storm damage, or any other property damage disaster strikes. The dedicated professionals at SERVPRO are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. They arrive on-scene in about an hour to inspect the damage and provide a detailed, well-documented estimate to the homeowner. In addition, SERVPRO can handle the insurance claims process from beginning to end.

To learn more details about SERVPRO of Media’s water removal services, call the storm damage restoration company at (610) 566-5720 or email office@SERVPROmedia.com

High Winds: A Destructive Cause of Storm Damage to Media, PA, Homes and Businesses

7/25/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media explains the dangers of high winds and offers tips for preventing property damage.

Storm damage from high winds can devastate a home. Warm weather brings with it strong, sometimes violent, thunderstorms. Heavy rain, hail the size of golf balls, and high winds from this turbulent weather can damage a home or business severely. Fierce winds can leave the yard littered with shingles, uproot trees or snap them off at the trunk, peel away siding from a home or detached garage, and destroy a storage building or shed. Annually, financial losses from wind and storm-related flooding soar into the tens of billions of dollars. Much of these losses are due to hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding, but high winds alone can cause severe structural damage to homes and businesses.

Types of Winds

The South Central region of Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, experiences several different types of storm winds. One of the most common wind types is straight-line wind. As the name states, these winds travel in a straight line along a uniform path. On the other hand, a hurricane or tornado produces winds that rotate in a vortex. The larger storm cell may take a circuitous route through the state. Straight line winds are produced by thunderstorms, which are a common occurrence in the area around Delaware County.

The National Weather Service classifies a wind as damaging if its wind speed is clocked above 50 miles per hour. Homeowners should not be lulled into thinking that a wind must exceed 50 miles per hour before it can cause severe property damage. Small, isolated wind gusts of 20 mph can damage older or compromised roofs and other structures.

Risk Hazards Based on Wind Speeds

An understanding of the risk hazards associated with certain wind speeds can help Media, PA, residents and businesses take the necessary precautions to avoid property damage and personal injury when turbulent weather is in the forecast.

Wind-speed-related damages are described by the National Weather Service (NWS) in the following categories:

25-30 mph:

No formal wind advisory is posted by the NWS. However, a heightened awareness should be exercised.

  • Powerlines begin to sway.
  • Large tree branches begin to agitate.
  • Aging trees may shed weak or diseased limbs in parking lots, streets, rooftops, and lawn areas.
  • Umbrellas are useless and may be damaged beyond repair if opened in these conditions.
  • Walking is more difficult and may put the elderly or weak at a high risk of falling.

30-40 mph:

These winds elicit a wind advisory from the NWS.

  • Lightweight, unsecured items such as a garbage can, lawn furniture, a grill, or a trampoline may take flight and cause damage to nearby homes or vehicles.
  • Entire trees are shaking. The larger canopy becomes a swirling sea of motion.
  • These wind speeds make it difficult to drive a vehicle and can blow small unsecured objects such as plastic lawn furniture around. Entire trees will be in motion.

40-45 mph:

Wind speeds of 40 or more miles per hour trigger the issuing of a High Wind Watch from the NWS. This heightened state of alert is a signal to residents and business owners to secure or store objects that may become wind-driven projectiles. Avoid driving except in emergency situations.

  • Twigs, small branches, and larger weakened limbs break. As they plummet to the ground, these limbs may break other limbs. Stay away from trees as much as possible in these high-wind conditions.
  • Walking becomes hazardous.
  • Loose shingles can become dislodged. The impact from a shingle flying from the roof at 45 miles per hour can cause serious injury to the face and eyes. Exposed substrate on the roof can lead to water damage in the attic. If the roof is not soon tarped, water damage could be extensive.

45-55 mph:

Some degree of wind damage is inevitable in these conditions.

  • Shingles, rooftop HVAC systems, roof ventilation fans, or chimneys may be loosened, dislodged, or toppled, resulting in water damage to the structure.
  • Larger tree branches and compromised or dead limbs may break and cause property damage or serious personal injury or death.

55-65 mph:

Windspeeds this high are rare in this region.

  • Trees may be uprooted, especially if the ground is saturated from excessive rainfall.
  • Wind-induced power outages are possible.
  • Driving and any outside activity is ill-advised.

65+ mph:

Weather conditions with these wind speeds are treacherous.

  • The highest risk of damage to homes and businesses occurs when wind speeds reach 65 mph or greater. Heavy to severe structural damage may occur.
  • Trees may be uprooted, damaging or destroying anything in the impact zone.
  • Travel is dangerous due to the high winds and debris in the streets and roadways.
  • Above-ground powerlines suffer heavy damage.

Five Tips to Minimize or Prevent Wind Damage

  1. Secure lightweight lawn furniture and other loose items that might take flight when wind speeds increase. Remember to put the recycle bins and the new grill in the garage.
  2. Restaurants and businesses with umbrellas and picnic tables should bring the umbrellas inside and make sure the picnic tables are securely anchored to the ground or concrete.
  3. Have the roof, gutters, downspouts, and windows inspected and assessed each Spring or after severe weather by a licensed, bonded, and insured roofing contractor.
  4. Secure the services of a certified arborist to remove problematic trees and branches from the treescape.
  5. Pre-qualify a damage restoration company when the skies are clear and the winds are calm. A frantic, pre-dawn scramble to secure the services of a cleanup and restoration company can be stressful. SERVPRO of Media, PA, is available 24/7, 356 days a year, including holidays. A skilled, equipped, and certified team can arrive in about an hour to begin the cleanup.

For more information about storm damage restoration in Newtown Square, PA, and surrounding areas, contact SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720 or email office@SERVPROmedia.com

Fire Classifications: Important Facts for Preparing for and Protecting against Fire Damage

7/25/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media explains fire classifications and how to recover from the fire damage that different types of fires leave in homes and businesses.

Fire damage protection specialists distinguish between several types or classes of fires. Factors involved in determining the classification of a fire include:

  • How fast the fire burns
  • How dangerous the fire is
  • How a fire is safely and effectively extinguished

The Five Fire Classifications

Fire classification is primarily determined by what caused the fire or what fuels the fire. A thorough knowledge of fire classifications aids homeowners and commercial facilities in identifying fire risks and implementing fire prevention and fire suppression strategies.

Class A: Solid materials

This most common fire type occurs when ordinary combustible materials such as wood, paper products, textiles, garbage, and plastic items catch fire. Because Class A fires are common in homes, businesses, and industries, it is essential to have a general-purpose fire extinguisher on hand, as well as extinguishers for specific conditions.

Recommended fire extinguisher: ABC dry chemical, foam, water, water mist

Class B: Liquids or gas

Class B fires involve petroleum products and other flammable liquids and gases, such as paint, kerosene, diesel, gasoline, and propane.

Recommended fire extinguisher: ABC dry chemical, CO2, clean agent, water mist

Class C: Electrical failure wiring, electronics, or appliances

Electrical fires often occur in facilities relying upon a high usage of electronics and electrical equipment, such as a data center or a mechanized distribution center. Prevention and rapid suppression are crucial. Aging facilities with compromised wiring present a high risk.

Recommended fire extinguisher: ABC dry chemical, CO2, clean agent, water mist

Class D: Metallic substances

Class D fires can be challenging and dangerous to extinguish. Laboratories and chemical plants are vulnerable to Class D fires since flammable items such as titanium, sodium, magnesium, zirconium, and aluminum are often found in these settings. A dry powder suppression solution is recommended to smother any flames. Water can make the situation worse.

Recommended fire extinguisher: Dry powder

Class K: Cooking oil or grease

Class K fires involve flammable cooking liquids. Restaurants and the food service industry are vulnerable since oils, grease, and vegetable and animal fats often fuel Class K fires. Class K fires are dangerous because they can flare up and spread very quickly.

The ‘K’ in Class K does not stand for ‘kitchen.’ A Class K fire extinguisher deploys a fine mist consisting of potassium acetate, potassium carbonate, or potassium citrate. The alkaline mist forms a soapy foam that reduces vapors, steam, and the fire’s risk of re-igniting. Water is not a recommended suppression agent for Class K fires.

Recommended fire extinguisher: Wet chemical, water mist

The Key to Survival: Preparedness

The key to early detection and rapid suppression is preparedness. Preparedness involves three important areas:

  • Acquiring the appropriate fire extinguishers for the class of fire for which the home or business is most at risk
  • Engaging in regularly scheduled fire safety training
  • Maintaining fire safety equipment and keeping it in peak condition

The right equipment, the best training, and proper maintenance can and do save lives. Ask anyone who has been in a house fire or an industrial fire. Minutes matter. Seconds save lives.

Step #1: Acquire the correct fire extinguisher.

Different types of fire extinguishers have been developed to address the five different types of fire. The various types of fire extinguishers best suppress the fire based on what is burning or what caused the fire to ignite in the first place. By having the right extinguisher on hand, the homeowner, employee, or fire safety team at a facility can extinguish the fire safely and quickly.

Step #2: Conduct ongoing fire safety training.

Fire prevention, safe practices during a fire, and fire suppression techniques are three essential components of fire safety training. The fire extinguisher is the first response before the first responders arrive on the scene from the fire department. Every capable person should know the following information.

  • Location: Where fire extinguishers are located or stored
  • Operation: How to effectively and safely use a fire extinguisher
  • Application: Which fire extinguisher is best for the type of fire that has broken out
  • Assessment: whether to fight the fire or flee for safety until first responders arrive

When a fire is advanced and is too dangerous to address with minimal equipment and limited manpower, safety is the top priority. It is always best to immediately alert first responders. Fire readiness should include evacuation practice, and routes should be clearly marked. Regular fire safety training keeps everyone informed, increases awareness of technology, and improves skills in using fire suppression equipment.

Step #3: Conduct regular inspections, maintenance, and testing.

Equipment works best when at its best. Replace fire extinguishers that are expired. Local fire regulations often include mandatory building inspections by local fire officials to ensure code compliance in the areas of fire protection systems, occupant capacity, and fire alarm requirements.

A fire damage disaster creates a multi-dimensional damage site involving fire, smoke, soot, water, toxic chemicals and vapors from the combustion process, and chemicals from any fire suppressants deployed in extinguishing the fire. The complex environment requires the services of fire damage restoration professionals who are well-trained, experienced, well-equipped, and confident working in a highly toxic setting. Available 24/7, 356 days a year, including holidays, the SERVPRO team provides a rapid response and a quick cleanup and restoration. This prompt action returns life to normal as soon as possible.

For more information about SERVPRO of Media’s fire damage cleanup services in Broomall, PA, and nearby areas, reach out to the office by phone at (610) 566-5720 or email office@SERVPROmedia.com

What Are the Warning Signs of an Imminent Roof Collapse?

7/25/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media helps homeowners, businesses, and property managers recognize critical signs that a roof collapse might be about to occur.

When severe weather blasts through a community, hundreds and possibly thousands of homes and other structures may suffer some degree of water damage and storm damage to the roof. In some situations, the sudden catastrophic failure of a roof is the result of multiple incidents, each event weakening key components of the roof structure until a catastrophic failure occurs. A roof will present certain signs that indicate an impending collapse.

Failure to notice these signs and take appropriate action creates risk hazards for the property owner. Employees and customers are put at risk of injury from falling debris or a slip-and-fall injury from the water intrusion. Depending on the size of the collapse, business operations may be disrupted, interrupting the flow of goods and services to clients and customers. Equipment, machinery, inventory, and electronics are vulnerable to water damage. If the roof failure occurs in a home, the family may be forced to move out for a while. The resulting chaos and confusion are traumatic for everyone, including the pets. A damaged or collapsed roof allows rain to enter the home or business until the roof is tarped, temporarily patched, or fully repaired.

Signs of a Potential Roof Collapse

Regular inspections and preventative maintenance are more desirable than a major repair and recovery effort. It is crucial to identify any signs of roof issues that indicate a possible collapse. Here is what Newtown Square, PA, property owners need to know.

1. Weather-related damage

Wind and water damage can compromise the integrity of a roof. If heavy rainfall overwhelms roof drains, the weight of the accumulating water could collapse a portion of the roof. Thousands of gallons of water could flow into the structure, damaging equipment, raw product, and finished goods. Warm-weather downpours are not the only roof risk hazard.

During the cold months, snow accumulation exerts constant stress on a roof. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Delaware County received 27.6 inches of snow on January 7, 1996, the snowiest day on record for the county. The “Blizzard of 96” blanketed the Northeast, causing widespread roof damage from ice dams. Several buildings in the region experienced catastrophic roof failures, including a nursing home.

A severe weather event should heighten awareness and prompt inspections for roof damage and a potential water intrusion.

2. Sagging

A roof collapse is the result of an incremental process of forces that weaken a roof. A total roof collapse typically requires an extreme force, such as would be seen during a tornado. The weakest areas of the roof begin to show the first signs of pending danger. A sagging roof is a signal to schedule an immediate inspection by a licensed, reputable roofing contractor.

3. Bowing and bending roof supports

A sign of structural stress is rippling or bowing in roof supports. When this sign of roof trouble manifests itself, the property owner or facilities manager must take immediate action to discover the source of the stress on the supports.

4. Hairline fractures and cracks in masonry

Shifting and bowing can cause cracks in a building’s brick façade, and cracks may develop in the foundation as well. The source may be the normal settling that every building experiences, but fractures and cracks can also be caused by changes in the structural integrity of the roof.

The interior ceiling and walls of a home or building can send signals of a possible roof catastrophe and water intrusion. The first inclination is to focus on the foundation. This initial reaction has merit. When searching for the causes of the structural damage, look down at the foundation, but also remember to look up at the roof.

5. Roof leaks

An unmistakable warning sign that the roof has been compromised is a roof leak. A leak indicates that the roof structure is being penetrated by water and moisture. This leak, if not resolved, will have a growing negative impact on the roof. Leaks do not remain localized. As the roof issues grow, so do leaks. Leaks are a warning to the homeowner to locate the breach in the roof and identify the underlying causes of this breach in structural integrity before a devastating collapse takes place.

6. Other signs the roof might be in danger of collapsing

Unexplained creaking, windows and doors that refuse to close quietly and snugly, and leaking sprinkler heads that appear to be out of alignment also indicate potential roof problems.

Time for an Inspection and Rapid Action

When any of these signs are detected, the time for a thorough inspection is immediate. An unrelenting downpour, high winds, or a heavy snowfall can overwhelm a roof and bring portions crashing to the floor or flying into the neighbor’s yard. When a significant property damage disaster occurs, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Media. Available 24/7, 365 days a year, the cleanup and restoration team rapidly responds with the training, certifications, equipment, and skills to quickly restore the property to its pre-disaster condition.

To learn more about Newton Square, PA, water damage restoration, contact the SERVPRO of Media office by calling (610) 566-5720. The team can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com

Is House-Sitting a Good Strategy to Prevent Water Damage When the Homeowner Is Traveling?

6/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media helps homeowners determine if hiring a house sitter is the right decision.

The water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Media understand the reservation and angst that homeowners feel when taking an extended vacation or long business trip. The thought of leaving a residence unattended for a couple of weeks or even a month or two to visit family or travel the country leaves a pit in the stomach. What if something happens, such as a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster. What if the home is broken into, vandalized, and robbed? Imagine a river of water from a burst water pipe snaking its way through the upstairs hallway, then cascading down the stairs for two weeks, a month, or longer. A flow rate of ten thousand gallons of water per day (seven gallons per minute) is a lot of water flooding into a home. After a week of unrelenting water flow, there would be seven feet of water in a basement measuring 2500 square feet. The homeowner’s concern and worry are legitimate!

The Benefits of Hiring a House Sitter

Hiring a house sitter to live in the home or apartment while the owners are away or to check on the residence daily offers many benefits.

Benefit: Provides a measure of home security

A house sitter can ward off unwanted opportunists who would burglarize, vandalize, or take up residence in the home while the owners are away. Activity in the home or the presence of a vehicle in the driveway alerts potential criminals that someone is present and will protect the house.

Benefit: Ensures claims payment should the home be robbed

A home left vacant for more than 30 days might not be covered by insurance if the residence is robbed. Also, insurance premiums may increase once a house is burgled.

Benefit: Cares for pets

A house sitter providing care for two medium-sized dogs can save the traveling homeowner several thousand dollars in boarding fees over a period of a month. Boarding kennels and catteries can be expensive in the Metro Philadelphia area.

Benefit: Provides basic home maintenance

A house sitter will collect the mail, keep the yard clean, and take care of any home maintenance emergencies, including property damage disasters, that might occur while the owners are away.

Caution: Be aware of potential liabilities should the house sitter cause a property damage disaster.

If the house sitter is a friend or family member and causes water damage by allowing the tub to overflow or causes a house fire by unsafe smoking practices, insurance may not cover the damages. The homeowner may be responsible for damages to the home, apartment, or other apartments in the complex.

Real estate experts offer the following advice: “If you’d hired a professional house-sitting service, you’d have a better chance of getting them to cover the damage. But not so with a friend looking after your place for free.”

Alternative Options to Hiring a House Sitter

Options other than a professional house-sitting service or a family or friend staying in the home or apartment are available, but these alternatives have some drawbacks.

Option: Install a home security system with optimal camera coverage.

Modern surveillance technology is affordable and features amazingly clear video and audio that can be managed from an app on the homeowner’s smartphone or other devices. However, constantly monitoring the app while on vacation, in a business meeting, or visiting the grandchildren can feel like a chore.

Option: Install leak sensor technology.

Advanced leak detection technology is capable of sending a notification of a leak to a cell phone or computer. Some devices can also shut off water flow to the leaky pipe. Devices can also be installed to shut off the water main in the event of a burst pipe. Shut-off mechanisms limit the scope of the water damage, but the homeowner will not have access to running water until the leak is repaired and the water main is turned on.

Pre-Qualify SERVPRO of Media for Water Damage Cleanup and Restoration

Experienced, trained, certified, and trustworthy technicians from SERVPRO of Media can be on the scene in about an hour, which is a more rapid response than many plumbers can provide when a call comes in at 2:00 am in the morning. Arrangements can be made so that if a property damage disaster occurs while the occupants are out of town, the SERVPRO team can enter the premises, mitigate the water leak, inspect and assess the damage, and provide an estimate with images, video, and written documentation. Meanwhile, the crew is at work beginning the water damage cleanup and restoration process. SERVPRO is a franchise built on a solid foundation of integrity, trust, and exceptional customer service. For the homeowner planning a lengthy vacation or just wanting to remove the guesswork from dealing with a property damage disaster, pre-qualify with SERVPRO of Media, PA, today.

To learn more about emergency water damage restoration services in Springfield, PA, and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720. The office can also be contacted by emailing office@SERVPROmedia.com