The Correct Spelling of SERVPRO
When you experience fire, flood, or mold damage call the #1 brand in restoration, SERVPRO.
In my time at SERVPRO I have seen numerous variations of the spelling which prompted me to write this blog and set the record straight. Service + Professionals = SERVPRO. Not SERVPRO or SERVPRO, or even Serve Pro. ServicePro is also incorrect along with ProServ. We are definitely not Service Master or any alternative spelling to it. RestorePro is also not us, neither is All Pro Restoration nor Pro Plus Services. You see, there are many imitators to us and our brand because we have built such a successful company. Others see our success and try to copy it. When you experience fire, flood, or mold damage call the #1 brand in restoration, SERVPRO.
Why Plumbers Partner with SERVPRO
Plumbers partner with SERVPRO
Imagine walking into your home after a long day at work to find half an inch of water pooled in your living room. After shouting a few curse words and getting over the initial shock you calm down a bit and begin investigating what exactly happened. Come to find out a pipe broke in the wall and water is still pouring out. First, you run to the basement to shut off the water. What do you do next? I think most people would call a plumber to get the pipe fixed as soon as possible so you can turn your water back on and go about your life. The plumber comes over and is happy to fix your broken pipe. Then what? You have a large amount of water soaking into your beautiful hardwood floor. The plumber says their work is done by fixing the pipe and good luck. What?! Now your next call may be to your insurance company to see if it is covered loss or it could be to SERVPRO, in which order those happen does not really matter at this point. There is an opportunity for the plumber to let you know about SERVPRO and that we should be your next call. We partner with plumbers in the area to let them know we can be a resource for their clients that experience a water emergency and need help. That way they are assisting their customer further and solving their problem as opposed to simply wishing them luck as they leave their water-logged living room. Now imagine this person calls SERVPRO first, before the plumber, because they know we are faster to any disaster. SERVPRO cannot start drying the property until the pipe is fixed or else it will just flood again. So now we have an opportunity to refer a plumber to help solve the problem. This is why plumbers partner with SERVPRO, it is a natural partnership. Plumbers fix the source of a leak, but do not clean up the mess, SERVPRO will clean up the mess but, not fix the leak. By partnering together we solve a problem for the client. If you are a plumber or know a plumber, please have them contact us so we can partner and help our clients together.
Commercial Large Water Loss at Office Building in Waltham
SERVPRO uses containment barriers to create drying chambers with air movers and dehumidifiers in them to dry large open spaces
Our franchise recently responded to a commercial large loss at a 500,000-square-foot office building in Waltham. The building is currently under construction and while spraying foam insulation onto the ceiling, a scissor lift operator accidentally hit a sprinkler head causing it to discharge. The property management company called SERVPRO to assist with drying and remediation. While the contractors had drying equipment themselves, it was not sufficient for the size and scope of the loss. We provided supplemental power via a generator outside of the building running into a feeder panel inside that fed multiple power distribution boxes. Our team set up containment barriers around the affected space on 3 different floors to create drying chambers. In those chambers, nearly 100 air movers and 20 commercial-grade dehumidifiers were placed. The high-velocity air movers push moisture off of any surfaces into the air and the dehumidifiers capture that air and remove the moisture from it causing the space in the drying chambers to be completely dry in just 3 days' time. After only 3 days, with tens of thousands of square footage affected, construction could resume. Any delays on a project this size cause a lot of disruption which leads to increased costs. If you experience a flood of any size, SERVPRO can get you back up and running faster than anyone else.
Storm Drain Maintenance
Be sure to regularly clear your storm drains from any debris
Storm drains are the grated drains you see on almost every street in Massachusetts. They are essential for removing water from your neighborhood. When high amounts of water, usually rain, accumulate, storm drains create a space for water to flow and be removed from the area. Without them, water would build up causing flooding to the surrounding area. You must keep storm drains clear at all times to protect your property from a water intrusion. Leaves, dirt, twigs, trash, and other debris build-up when they are too big to fit through the drain grate. You must remove this debris regularly to prevent a backup. Also, be sure no vegetation is growing close to a drain as it could cause a clog. Lastly do not build any walls or fences near a storm drain that could cause an obstruction. Put a reminder in your calendar to clean them regularly so you do not forget. You do not want to find out your storm drain is blocked that hard way by having a flood at your home. If you do experience flooding of any kind call the pros immediately at (781)-861-0500
Residential Water Loss Caused by Dishwasher in Lexington, MA
SERVPRO responded to a residential water loss in Lexington, MA caused by a faulty dishwasher
Last Tuesday afternoon I got a call from one of my insurance agent contacts at Ironside Insurance. He let me know that one of his insured experienced a water loss in Lexington, MA and he wanted me to handle it. I called his insured right away to gather information and set up a time for us to come out to his home. He let me know that his dishwasher somehow cycled all night long with the door open flooding his entire kitchen. I asked if he had filed an insurance claim yet and he told me was waiting to hear back from his carrier with the claim number. The client hesitated and said his insurance company was going to send out a restoration vendor once the claim was filed so he was unsure if he should schedule an appointment with us. I asked who his carrier was and he let me know it was Hanover. I told him that if he has Hanover and lives in Lexington, MA then we are the company they will call as we have a national partnership with Hanover. The client hesitated once again but kept the appointment with us and said he would call back if his insurance company said differently. Sure enough, 3 hours later Hanover sent us the claim. Luckily for the client, we were already on site at his home to assess the damage and schedule a crew to begin mitigation. This story highlights a few key points, the first being, how important it is to have a good insurance agent who will respond to a claim immediately and not just send it to the claims department to handle. The second point is how important it is that your agent has a relationship with a restoration vendor so they can get on top of claims before more damage occurs. Finally, that SERVPRO is the go-to restoration company for most insurance companies on a national level. That is because we are the best at what we do and ultimately make them look good to their customers. If you experience a water loss don’t hesitate to call the pros (781)-861-0500.
Discovering Smoke Damage 60 Years Later
SERVPRO can restore your property after experiencing smoke damage
I recently got a call from one of our partners in the senior real estate space. The company helps place older adults who can no longer live safely at home in assisted living facilities. They will also fix up your home and sell it to help fund care expenses. As you can imagine, some of these homes are in disrepair and may have been neglected for many years. This is where SERVPRO comes in as a vendor to handle the numerous situations that these homes find themselves in. Last week a home in Belmont, MA was inspected prior to listing the home to find any serious issues that need to be addressed. The home inspector found extensive smoke and soot damage in the rafters of the attic. The homeowner, a 99-year-old holocaust survivor, was shocked to hear this and stated there has never been a fire in the home since she lived there in 1962. Everyone involved was upset and nervous about what this meant for getting the home listed. They called SERVPRO in to save the day. We sent a project manager out later that day to take a look at the attic and determined there was in fact smoke damage to the rafters but, thankfully no structural damage had occurred. We just needed to prime and seal the rafters with 4 coats of sealant so on a hot and humid day there was no chance of smoke odor being released into the home. We were able to get the work done 2 days later so there was only a 2-day delay in getting the home on the market for sale. Everyone involved was extremely happy with our response time and work. If you need smoke damage restoration or find a surprise during the home buying process, call the pros at 781-861-0500.
SERVPRO Cleans Dryer Vent for Local Non-Profit: The Cat Connection
SERVPRO cleans dryer vent for local non-profit The Cat Connection
SERVPRO recently had the opportunity to help a local non-profit organization, The Cat Connection, with dryer vent cleaning. Elisif Brandon, a local architectural photographer, reached out to Aaron Roy, Sales and Marketing Manager of SERVPRO, to get involved with TCC. Aaron helped Elisif create an Emergency Plan for the shelter last summer, part of which focused on fire safety. The Cat Connection recently opened its first-ever shelter in Brighton so a plan was needed for the property. It occurred to Elisif that The Cat Connection washes and dries numerous towels daily to care for their feline friends. It was uncertain the last time the dryer vent had been cleaned in the building, so she called on Aaron once again to assist. SERVPRO was happy to provide a high-level dryer vent cleaning in exchange for letting the crew play with some kittens afterward. If you are interested in adopting a cat while also supporting a great cause, please contact The Cat Connection. If you need an Emergency Ready Plan created for your business or a dryer vent cleaning, reach out to Aaron Roy.
More About The Cat Connection
The Cat Connection is an almost all-volunteer (one employee) 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is: to rescue stray and abandoned cats and find loving homes for them through our foster and adoption programs, to help decrease the local homeless cat population through our Trap-Neuter-Return-Maintain program, and to provide resources to help people in our community retain and care for their cats.
Grill Safety Tips
Follows these grill safety tips to prevent a house fire
Spring has sprung which means warmer weather and of course…grilling! My wife and I bought our first home back in October of this year and have been counting down the days until we could grill on our back deck. We came from living in a triple-decker in Boston with no outdoor space except our back deck on the third floor, which meant no grilling for safety purposes. Grilling on the third-floor back deck of an older building poses a serious fire risk. Now that I have a large back deck with nothing underneath it except the patio and lawn, I figured I was in the clear to grill as much as my heart desired. Just 2 days after purchasing my first ever grill, SERVPRO responded to a large house fire in Weston, MA. I was speaking to the neighbor who called it in and she let me know it was caused by their grill on the back deck. I immediately thought to myself, “How could this happen?” It was a devastating fire and it made me consider what needs to happen to safely operate a grill at your home.
- Put your grill in a safe location - never grill indoors and place your grill at least 10 feet away from your home. Be sure there is nothing above or around your grill at any time.
- Clean your grill regularly - clean it before each use to remove any grease buildup that could fuel potential fires.
- Check your grill for problems - pay special attention to your propane or gas line for leaks.
- Wear the right gear - wear gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from heat but be sure clothing is not too loose.
- Be ready to put out a fire - have baking soda and a fire extinguisher close by just in case.
- Use caution when using lighter fluid - only use lighter fluid to start a charcoal grill and use it sparingly.
- Don’t turn on the gas while the grill is closed - do not let propane build up inside of a closed grill causing a fireball to occur when you ignite it.
- Never leave a grill unattended - not ever!
- Don’t overload your grill - more meat = more grease which can cause a flare-up.
- Use a meat thermometer - flame-licked meats can look done on the outside but are not cooked all the way through which can lead to food poisoning.
- Don’t cross-contaminate foods - don’t place your corn on the cob where raw meat was sitting to prevent possible cross-contamination.
- Always turn off your grill - create a routine when you are done cooking to be sure you have turned off the grill, fuel, or let charcoal cool safely.
Tips to Prepare Your Property for a Storm
Be sure your Massachusetts home is protected from storm damage
As we enter the summer months in Massachusetts the chances of severe storms will increase. Now is a good time to inspect the property of your home or business to be sure you are prepared. Here are some preventative measures you can take to protect your property.
- Trim trees and clear limbs. Heavy winds can push limbs into your home causing structural damage or broken windows. Heavy rainfall can cause trees with shallow root systems to pull out of the ground
- Secure fences. Be sure your fences are secured properly so they cannot be lifted from the ground and thrown against your home.
- Secure furniture. If you have patio furniture outdoors make sure it is secured to the ground or bring it inside. Also, be sure playground equipment and/or toys are stored.
- Check gutters. Inspect your gutters twice a year for any damage. Have downspouts carrying water away from your home and clear gutters of any debris to ensure proper flow.
- Protect critical areas. Your roof, windows, and doors are vulnerable during extreme weather. Consider shutters or board-ups if you expect hurricane-like conditions.
- Protect what is most important. Document high-value items in your home in case of an insurance claim. Protect important documents from water damage and secure them.
- Stock and emergency kit. Have food, water, flashlights, radio, cell phone charger, batteries, and basic first aid supplies in case you lose power for an extended period.
- Create an emergency plan. Have an evacuation plan ready that you and your family can rely on if needed.
If you experience storm damage at your home, call SERVPRO to repair it. We will work directly with your insurance company through the claim so you do not have to.
Is Storm Damage Tax Deductible?
Do you qualify for the casualty tax deduction?
As we enter hurricane preparedness week and consider all of the various ways to get ahead of storm damage, it occurred to me to also think about what happens after severe weather damages your property. You can be the most prepared, have the proper insurance, and still end up with significant damage that is not reimbursable. I sincerely hope this does not happen to you but if it does, here is some insight on tax deductions due to storm damage. The deduction is called, the casualty loss deduction and was designed by the government to help taxpayers who suffer financial losses due to storm damage. Much like insurance coverage, the loss must be caused by an event that is sudden, unexpected, or unusual. Instances could include lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, vandalism, riots, fires, floods, storms, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, car accidents, and shipwrecks. The deduction does not include normal wear and tear or accidental damage like your cat jumping on your 60-inch flatscreen TV and knocking it to the ground. Let’s say storm damage causes $15k worth of damage to your home. Your insurance, either by an endorsement or adjustment, will cover $10k of it and reimburse you. What about the remaining $5k? You can use the casualty loss deduction and write off $5k of taxable income when you file. I am oversimplifying this of course for the sake of explanation, you would be wise to hire a tax professional to walk you through exactly how to use this deduction. Nonetheless, you are now aware that you can use this deduction, which I hope you do not have to, to help mitigate the financial loss caused by storm damage.