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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Mold can't just be " Spring Cleaned Away".

5/22/2018 (Permalink)

Blog | SERVPRO Franchise Website Administration

You’re doing spring cleaning, getting ready for the warm weather and just as you go to wipe down that dark corner in your kitchen, you spot it….mold.

What do you do? Your knee jerk reaction might be to bleach it. Be wary: bleach is not a sufficiently potent mold killer! Bleach might take care of surface mold, but not the base of the problem that actually caused the mold to grow. This means when you’ve bleached down the surface, it might look pretty and clean, but the mold is likely to grow back. Even worse yet, the mold cells might register the bleach as a threat to its existence, which means when the mold regenerates it could become resistant to the bleach.

So how do you rid your home of mold in its entirety?

That’s where we come in.

Removing mold on your own without proper knowledge and training can present numerous hazards and challenges. Using the wrong method to remove it, as aforementioned, can only worsen the problem. It is important to note that warm weather makes mold's usual hiding places more likely to stay warm and damp which puts your home and business at a higher risk if your building isn't climate controlled. 

That’s why our teams are trained to safely remove and help to keep it from ever returning to your home.

If you see or smell possible mold in your home, be smart and be safe. Don’t touch any mold with bare skin and try to not breathe it in.

Remember: before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed!

Water Damage....is it clean water or not?!

5/22/2018 (Permalink)

Blog | SERVPRO Franchise Website Administration

Water damage is always inconvenient, no matter the type of water causing it; however, understand which type of water you're dealing with can be crucial to minimize destruction until our professionals arrive.

Clean water can be from a broken pipe/water source, or even rainwater. 

Clean water becomes gray water after it has been left untreated. Untreated water allows for bacteria and fungi to grow and the water then becomes contaminated. This water can become hazardous. 

Black water is typically caused by sewage damage or natural disaster flooding. Black water should ALWAYS be handled by professionals. 

How do you minimize the damage from these water types?

For clean water:

If you can, shut off the water source.

Turn off any circuit breakers to affected areas. This protects from any potential electrical shock. Do not enter any rooms with standing water because unknown shock risks could be hiding. 

Mop, blot, or wipe down any excess water.

To start drying any damage or soaked upholstery, remove and prop them up to start the drying process.

Move valuables to a safe place

Remove colored items that might bleed or run, causing stains.

Never use a vacuum to remove water. Shock risk is high!

If your ceiling is wet, don't turn on any ceiling fixtures. Don't enter the room is the ceiling is sagging from retained water.

For contaminated water:

Avoid all contact with sewage. Wash yourself thoroughly if you come into contact with contaminated items.

Do not walk through affected areas.

Do not turn on your HVAC system as it could spread contaminated air.

Do not use fans. Air flow could spread contaminants.

If food or personal hygiene products are exposed to contaminated area, discard them.

Water damage can be traumatic, but the cleanup and restoration process doesn't need to be.

Is the water clean?

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

Blog | SERVPRO Franchise Website Administration

Water damage is always inconvenient, no matter the type of water causing it; however, understand which type of water you're dealing with can be crucial to minimize destruction until our professionals arrive.

Clean water can be from a broken pipe/water source, or even rainwater. 

Clean water becomes gray water after it has been left untreated. Untreated water allows for bacteria and fungi to grow and the water then becomes contaminated. This water can become hazardous. 

Black water is typically caused by sewage damage or natural disaster flooding. Black water should ALWAYS be handled by professionals. 

How do you minimize the damage from these water types?

For clean water:

If you can, shut off the water source.

Turn off any circuit breakers to affected areas. This protects from any potential electrical shock. Do not enter any rooms with standing water because unknown shock risks could be hiding. 

Mop, blot, or wipe down any excess water.

To start drying any damage or soaked upholstery, remove and prop them up to start the drying process.

Move valuables to a safe place

Remove colored items that might bleed or run, causing stains.

Never use a vacuum to remove water. Shock risk is high!

If your ceiling is wet, don't turn on any ceiling fixtures. Don't enter the room is the ceiling is sagging from retained water.

For contaminated water:

Avoid all contact with sewage. Wash yourself thoroughly if you come into contact with contaminated items.

Do not walk through affected areas.

Do not turn on your HVAC system as it could spread contaminated air.

Do not use fans. Air flow could spread contaminants.

If food or personal hygiene products are exposed to contaminated area, discard them.

Water damage can be traumatic, but the cleanup and restoration process doesn't need to be.

We don't like to talk about it but it happens.

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

Blog | SERVPRO Franchise Website Administration

It's definitely not the most pleasant problem to talk about, but sewage backups or leaks are very real and very serious issues you could face in your home or business.


Earlier we discussed how to tell if the water flooding in your property is clean or contaminated It's probably the most important to know that sewage water should be assumed to be contaminated and hazardous at all times (until one of our professionals determines otherwise). Sewage water is typically referred to as category 3 black water. This classification is due to the dangerous contaminants in it. It's important to note that sewage water has the ability to appear clean. This is an instance of top water. If sewage runoff looks clean, it's usually because the waste and contaminants have sunk to the bottom. This water is still categorized as black water; not for the color, but for the risk it carries with it. In most cases of any standing water in your home, it's crucial to understand that just because you can't particularly see the contaminants or just because the water looks clear...doesn't mean that it is safe to try to mitigate yourself. 


Our SERVPRO of Howard County crews are specifically trained to deal with hazardous water and how to clean any harmful remnants once the water is drained. Without that training, your knowledge is your most powerful tool to keep you from putting yourself at risk upon spotting standing water in your residential or commercial property.


If you experience sewage backup or sewage related flooding, let us be your first call. We make it, "Like it never even happened."

Be Ready!

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

Blog | SERVPRO Franchise Website Administration

Storms can strike any time anywhere. If a storm struck within the next 15 minutes...would you be prepared? No? Read on.

Approximately 98% of all presidentially declared disasters are related to weather events. These events can lead to about 500 deaths and cause nearly $15 billion in damages, according to the NOAA. 

So, how do you make sure you're as ready as possible when severe weather hits? Know your risk and take action.

No matter how high or low your risk level is for severe weather, it's crucial to have an emergency plan and supply kit in place, just in case.

What do you include in your emergency supply kit?

It's important to mix and match these items to suit your specific personal needs, but here are some fundamentals to include:

  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
  • Manual can opener
  • Battery operated radio, preferably and NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help, if need be
  • Clothing
  • Dust masks or bandanas
  • Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, especially during flood or lightning risks
  • Hygiene items
  • Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account info
  • Cash
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container

While this list is suitable for a home or business, if your business needs assistance devising an emergency plan, let us do it for you. We specialize in Emergency Ready Profiles which her minimize damage and business interruption in case of an emergency.

In any event, we are here to help after any type of loss or damage.

Where is the most likely place to flood in your home?

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Where is the most likely place to flood in your home? Don't forget about the bath running......

Did you take a guess? Well is you guessed your bathroom; your right!

Bathrooms are the most likely place that flood will occur in your home. If you were like me you might have guessed laundry room or kitchen but if you think about it , I guess it does make sense. Think of all the water sources there. Sinks, toilets, bathtubs/showers. All of these features are connected to pipes and if these are clogged or leaking it could cause a flood.

The most common way a flood in the bathroom happens is from a clogged or blocked pipe/drain.

Malfunctions such as a leaking toilet or a broken toilet is a very common reason.

But guess what a very common reason is? Human error. Us, we leave running water, forget about it and there you have it a flood.

Life is busy and we get called away and think we will remember to be right back but that's not always what happens.

It's hard to keep on top of all your household features but take an extra moment and make sure your bathroom is in great running order and maybe leave a little note on the door for when your leaving. It could say something like , "make sure the water is off". Check under sinks once a month for leaks and ceilings under the bathroom for water stains. Staying ahead of a problem is always best.

Am I covered for a Storm?

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

One of the most expensive things you will ever own is your home. I'm sure you try to keep up with things but there are things we just can't expect and plan on at times. Storms can be one of them.

First thing I always tell my friends is to make sure that their insurance covers all that they think it does. Did you know that water that enters your home from the bottom up(flooding ) isn’t covered by homeowners insurance? You can usually get coverage for it but it doesn't come standard usually. For people living on flood plains, adding flood insurance is common practice. Most people don't know  that neither flood insurance nor a homeowner’s policy covers sump pump failure though.

Avoid the stress associated with sewer back-ups, seepage issues or flood waters by purchasing targeted pump failure insurance coverage. I've seen people taken by complete surprise that they don't have the coverage that they thought they did.

So one the best things you can do might not be what you thought to protect your house. Having a conversation with your insurance agent is one of the Best. Know what coverage you have and don't have so your not  taken by surprise when a storm comes into your life.  

What you don't know about lightening.

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

Lightning fires most commonly occur during the summer months when afternoon and early evening storms are at their peak. Homes in heavily wooded areas are extra vulnerable to lightning strikes that set the surrounding landscape on fire. Most people might already know this but do they know what to do to help their home could be as easy as installing a lightening rod or the professional term would be a lightning protection system.

These systems are  not intended to prevent a strike. Its purpose is to provide a safe path on which the current can be safely directed to the ground. Talk with an expert and find out if you should have a system on your house.

You will also want to help protect the inside of your house during a storm. Lightning can damage the electronics, telephone and other systems in your house connected to an electrical outlet. The easiest way to protect your appliances is to unplug them when you first hear the clap of thunder.

Surge protectors can help but are not fail-proof if the strike is a powerful one. To protect yourself, stay away from all plumbing including toilets, sinks and faucets as the pipes of your house make excellent conductors. Stay off the phone , corded phone scan conduct the lightening and therefore strike you when your on the phone.

Lightening is amazing and beautiful but also deadly. Don't ever let yourself forget that.

Spring , Yard work and flood prevention?

5/15/2018 (Permalink)

It's spring time and the yard work begins. Did you know this is a great time to help protect your basement form rain-induced flooding?

Something you can do now is to make sure your yard slopes away from the house and that your gutters are working properly.

It's harder to do this when it's cold outside and almost impossible to work on the yard grade when it's cold.

Also don't wait til' it's cold outside to look for cracks in your foundation. Spring time is a great time to see if you need to plug or seal any cracks.

It's always better to be prepared for a storm.

April and Spring showers can bring more than flowers. 

We want to help you restore all you can after a fire.

5/8/2018 (Permalink)

When you have a fire it can be devastating. Most of the time the hard part is loosing so much of your contents. When you have fire damage, you also have soot, odor and water damage.

We at SERVPRO want to help restore as much as we can for you. We have specialized training in doing just that.

First we do an inspection and fire damage assessment to begin to form a plan of action.

Immediately if need, we will properly board up your home and a roof tarp. 

The water removal will  begin immediately as well as the drying.

We have specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls and other surfaces.

We will clean, disinfect, and sanitize all of the restorable items. 

Finally , SERVPRO of Howard County can even help you with the restoration.

MOLD REMOVAL???

5/8/2018 (Permalink)

If you see an advertisement for " Mold Removal " don't believe it. That's a fallacy.

There is no way to rid your home or business of all mold. Mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere , indoors and out.

At SERVPRO we understand  mold and are trained to be able to remediate the mold in your home or business.

Every mold situation can be difficult and require a unique process but the general mold remediation stays the same.

Here are the basic steps:

Preform a mold damage assessment

Mold Containment

Air Filtration

Treat, remove the mold-infested materials

Clean contents

SERVPRO can make you feel safe again in your home and business.

We can also help with educating you to understand how mold grows and to try a avoid problems in the future.  

Summer Storms

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Summer Storms Don't seek shelter under a tree.

Summer time is when people are relaxed. They love enjoying the outdoors . But outdoors is not the place to be when a storm rolls in.

There is a saying, " If you hear a roar, get indoors."The roar is referring to thunder. There is no place outside that is safe during a storm. 

Never seek shelter under a tree or around poles. Lightening tends to strike taller objects. 

Don't lie down on the ground either; thinking it will hit something taller than you. It will travel to the ground. 

Stay away from water; even the kitchen sink or shower. 

Lightening can strike from even 10 miles away. Amazing right?

So don't wait to see lightening. Listen. If you hear thunder get indoors and waiting patiently for the storm to pass. 

Deaths happen every year from lightening strikes. Don't let it happen to you. Just remember that old saying, "when you hear the roar, get indoors!"

Should I worry about floods in the Summer?

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Should I worry about floods in the Summer? Summer Floods

It's dry, hot conditions outside. Who is thinking about flooding? Not many people.

The fact is that flooding can happen at anytime of the year. After long periods of dry weather, the ground can become hard and not able to absorb water from heavy rain fall.

Try to educate yourself about flood conditions before they happen. 

Do you know the difference between a "flood watch" and "flood warning"? A "flood watch" means that a flood is possible in your area. A "flood warning "means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. You should be prepared to evacuate at a moments notice if needed with a warning. 

If there is a flood warning in your area, the smart thing to do is to evacuate and move to higher ground. Stay there until you know it's safe to return.

Don't try to walk through moving water. Even just 6" of water can make you fall down and only 12" can float most cars. 

Keep yourself informed and safe when there is a chance of flooding. Remember it can happen anytime of the year. 

You gotta look good!

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial You gotta look good! We can help you look good.

First impressions are hard to overcome if they are negative ones. You want the first impression of your business site to be positive. That's hard to do if it's dirty.

Keeping your business clean to make that great first impression is important. You want to keep your clients coming back and we want to help you.

There's so much that SERVPRO can help you with.

I'm sure you think of SERVPRO when a disaster hits but we can do some things you may not have thought about.

SERVPRO offers a variety of cleaning services from Air Ducts /HVAC to biohazard and everything in between.

We can clean carpet, upholstery, drapes, and blinds.

We can bring that old tile back to life and make your floors sparkle again.

We can also get rid of lingering odors and perform a deodorization of the facility.

As always, we are here to help.

Let us help you keep your place shining and making great first impressions for years to come.

No Job is Too Large

4/5/2018 (Permalink)

If your a Commercial Property Manager you want to know your large building can be handled if a large loss accurs.

SERVPRO of Howard  is proud to be part of the large loss division of SERVPRO. 

The SERVPRO Commercial Large Loss Division is composed of our best of the best in restoration. Our elite large-loss specialists are pre-qualified and strategically positioned throughout the United States to handle any size disaster. Every large loss is supervised by a commercial operations manager to help ensure seamless communication and timely mitigation. 

Contact the Commercial Fire and Water damage experts at SERVPRO of Howard County when you discover damage at your business. Call (410) 465-7333 to set up an appointment for an inspection, an Emergency Ready Profile and consultation. 

Does Mold Have Warning Signs?

4/5/2018 (Permalink)

There are signs that you may be sharing your home with mold. 

There can be a strange odor.

 Mold can sometimes live within the walls or behind wallpaper. Because of this you might not  immediately associate the smell with a mold problem. If you do notice an unusual persistent odor in your home, the culprit may be mold

You see the appearance of mold. 

Schedule periodic visual inspections of your house. Sometimes it can be seen but is hidden in corners of your home that you might not always be around. 

A known moisture source.

If you had a flood recently or a leak you can grow mold. If the structure wasn't dried out properly you might find you have mold growing.

Health Symptoms.

If you feel tired all the time , congested or experience watering eyes, can be signs that you have mold. 

Don't ignore the signs that you may have mold living with you. Locating the source of mold and addressing it is important.

Restoring Your Howard County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Restoring Your Howard County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Chanllenges

Flooding and water damage events at Howard County commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Howard County

SERVPRO of Howard County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Howard County Smoke and Soot Cleanup

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Howard County Smoke and Soot Cleanup Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Howard County Home

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Howard County will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 410-465-7333

Keep your Doors Closed.

12/27/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that 40 years ago you had about 17 mins. to get out of your house during a fire?

Now you have have about 3 mins. This is due to the synthetic materials, furniture and construction materials that we use.

Fire spreads faster than ever. Having your door closed can save your life. It gives you more time to find a way out before the room fills with smoke or more time to be rescued. 

Having the door closed slows down the smoke, hear and fire itself.

One concern that people had with having the door was that they wouldn't be able to hear the alarm. The difference, in one study, showed that there was only a 17 decimal difference between the door closed and opened. It was still loud enought to hear the alarm in the room with the door closed.

Along with the alarm, having the door closed can save your life.

Get in the habit of closing the door.

Here are some ways a small businesses should prepare for a natural disaster.

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Here are some ways a small businesses should prepare for a natural disaster. Could your business survive a natural disaster?

Make a reliable emergency response plan.

Create safety plans for your business. 

FEMA has a great resource booklet.

https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1389022685845-7cdf7d7dad7638a19477d01fdbfa820f/Business_booklet_12pg_2014.pdf

Every business should also have a business continuity plan that outlines what you will do and who you can call on to help keep your business running in the event of a disaster.

Create a survival kit.

Keep your desk stocked with these items.

* One gallon of water: Keep enough water in your work kit to last you at least 24 hours.

* Non-perishable food: Pack some granola bars in your emergency kit that will last until you can get home to your family.

* Flashlights: Stow a small flashlight at your workplace in case of a power outage.

* Batteries: Purchase extra batteries and keep them in your desk.

* Toilet paper: Ensure the office supply cupboard has the essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

* First-Aid kit: Keep a large First-Aid kit on hand at the office, and supply each employee with small, personal-sized emergency kits for their supply kit.

* Walking shoes: Keep an old pair of walking shoes at your desk in case you need to walk home from work.

Ensure that you have enough insurance coverage.

Most business owners don’t have interruption insurance, which offers to reimburse all or part of the income a business might have generated without an interruption. Cost may be a factor in why entrepreneurs pass on such coverage: Policy prices range from $750 to $10,000 or more, depending on business size.

Back-up all your electronic data.

Do this daily, you don’t know when a disaster will happen.

Determine a communication strategy.

Develop several ways to alert employees of an emergency. For instance, maybe use email blasts, text blasts and voice broadcasting, which allows to simultaneously send a voice message to everyone's office phone and cell phone. Also, install alarms throughout the building and test them regularly. For retailers and other businesses that often have customers on site, consider installing intercoms to issue instructions to staff and customers at the same time.

Consider temporary relocation if needed.

Fight feelings of isolation through relaxation techniques.In addition to the change in your routine, Employees may also be feeling cooped up and anxious about not being able to leave their home. Inform employee’s uses of relaxation and meditation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing exercises to calm their nerves during times of heightened insecurity.

Being Safe While Decorating for the Holidays!

12/11/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Being Safe While Decorating for the Holidays! Christmas Trees can be deadly.

Christmas trees - Are beautiful but can be deadly.  Check out this video. It's amazing how fast things can change. 

https://youtu.be/xr6b9b8FYKk

  • Between 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 200 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in direct property damage annually.
  • On average, one of every 32 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
  • Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in two of every five (40%) of home Christmas tree fires.
  • In one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires and in 80% of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.
  • One quarter (24%) of Christmas tree fires were intentional. 
  • Forty-two percent of reported home Christmas tree fires occurred in December and 37% were reported in January. 
  • More than one-third (37%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.

Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Christmas Trees" report

For many, the winter holidays are a time of joy, celebration and tradition. Decorating your home, yard or office is a fun, festive way to celebrate the season. A little planning can help you enjoy your display all season long. Following are some tips from Travelers Risk Consultants to help keep your family and friends safe around your decorative displays.

Planning your Holiday Display

  • Plan your display according to the number and location of available outlets, and avoid overloading electrical outlets.
  • Use lights that have been tested for safety – look for a certification mark from UL, CSA, ETL or other nationally-recognized laboratories. Consider using LED lights when possible – they run cooler, use less energy and last longer than incandescent lights.
  • Never exceed the maximum number of strings or devices that may be linked together, as indicated on decoration packaging.
  • Carefully inspect all lights and decorations for cracks, damaged sockets and loose or bare wires prior to use – these defects can cause a serious fire or shock.

Decorating Safely

  • When decorating the outside of your home, keep yourself, your decorations and equipment at least 10 feet from power lines. Make sure decorations are well-ventilated, protected from weather and a safe distance away from flammable items.
  • Use wooden or fiberglass ladders when putting up electrical décor and lights outside as metal ladders conduct electricity.
  • Unplug electric lights, devices and decorations before installing or replacing bulbs, changing parts or attempting other repairs.
  • Plug all outdoor lights and decorations into ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to reduce the risk of electric shock. Portable GFCIs for outdoor use can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold.
  • Secure lights, decorations and cords to prevent wind damage. Never staple, nail through or fasten electrical wires or extensions cords in any way that might damage the wire or insulation. This could cause electrical shock or fire.

During the Holidays 

  • Turn off all lights and electrical decorations before leaving your home or office, or going to bed.
  • If possible, use battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles to avoid the hazards of an open flame. If you choose to light candles, place them away from flammable or combustible materials, including other decorations, fabrics, plastic or paper products. 
  • Do not put candles in places where they might be easily knocked over, and never leave a lit candle unattended. 
  • Extinguish all candles before leaving a room or going to bed.

Packing and Storage

  • Inspect and discard damaged decorations prior to packing and storing them.
  • Store decorations in a dry location that is out of the reach of children and pets, as well as heat sources and open flames.
  • Stack boxes in a corner or other stable location, and never higher than eye level to avoid injury or damage from toppling.
Source(s): Consumer Protection Safety Commission, http://www.cpsc.gov/; Electrical Safety Foundation International, http://esfi.org/.

Masters of Mitigation

9/5/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Masters of Mitigation Mold always has a way of hiding in places you might never check, but that's why the SERVPRO of HoCo mold removal team is here for!

Where there's water, there is mold risk. Mold can not only affect your health, but it can also cause significant damage to your property. It is for the very same reasons that our SERVPRO of Howard County teams have the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle any mold problem. Although every mold damage scenario is unique, and requires an equally unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same, so as to meet top industry standards.

Curious how we do it? Here are the basics for a "typical" mold job:

Dial 410-465-7333

The mold cleanup and restoration process starts when you call us and tell us about the problem affecting your home. One of our fabulous office admins will ask you a series of questions that help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel needed to get your home back to normal

Inspection & Damage Assessment

Our team will inspect your home or business for signs of mold using technology designed to detect spores and any hidden water that might be feeding the mold and growing it

Mold Containment

Various containment procedures are followed prevent the mold from spreading and to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to also keep the mold spores from spreading during the rest of the cleanup process

Air Filtration

Special filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores in the air. Our professionals use powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to further prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress

Removing Mold & Mold-Infested Materials

The mold remediation process depends on

a variety of factors, but mainly the amount of mold, and the types of surfaces the mold appears on. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments are then employed to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new ones from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, is sometimes necessary to remediate heavier mold growth

Cleaning Contents & Belongings

Our SERVPRO pros thoroughly clean your furniture, miscellaneous items, curtains, and other restorable items affected by mold. We use a variety of techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. Our teams are also trained to remove odors/deodorize using fogging equipment

Restoration

Depending on the extent of the mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet, or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. Our Rebuild division is more than happy to help replace and restore after the remediation process is complete.

This process might seem like a lot to deal with, but that is what the SERVPRO of HoCo mold specialists are here for!

Can Your Business Bounce Back?

8/23/2017 (Permalink)

Far too often, disaster can strike without even the slightest warning. We know how important it is for your business to not be bogged down by unforeseen circumstances. You already know how important it is to be prepared for anything that could happen to your home, whether it be fire, water, mold, or storm damage. Have you applied the same thought to your business? If not, keep reading for tips on how to best protect and prepare for commercial risks.

While each situation is unique and deserves personalized care, careful planning and procedures can keep you ready no matter what. Over 50% of businesses may never reopen after suffering a disaster. You don't have to be another statistic. Here's how:

Be informed.

Learn what kind of emergencies can affect not only your company, but your industry. 

Develop a business continuity plan.

Make a list of which staff, procedures and equipment are absolutely vital for continued operation. Make a list of backups for that list. Have a plan for what to do if you are unable to access your office/facility. Have a plan for what you'll do if your industry suppliers are impacted, or what you'll do during utility disruptions.

Prepare a finite emergency plan.

Make an evacuation and a shelter-in-place plan. Form a communications plan for you and your employees for before, during, and after any emergency incident. Make copies of building and site maps, on those maps be sure to mark off utilities and emergency exit routes. It is especially helpful if your employees are trained for medical emergencies.

Practice your emergency plans.

Practice your plan, at the bare minimum, once a year. If there are other businesses in your building/facility, try to coordinate with them to plan and practice for emergencies.

Review your insurance coverage.

Make sure your insurance covers your for the disasters your company is at risk for suffering from.

Secure your facility and equipment.

Secure all the ways people, products, and supplies enter and exit your building. Conduct a walk-through to see if anything needs to be strapped down. Unsecured equipment can make a bad situation even worse, in terms of secondary damage.

Promote family and individual preparedness.

Encourage your employees to make personal emergency plans and supply kits.

Preparedness doesn't need to be daunting, as long as you give yourself enough time to plan. SERVPRO of Howard County can also provide a free ERP plan for your business. 410-465-7333

A Mold Defense Is Your Guaranteed MVP

8/21/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation A Mold Defense Is Your Guaranteed MVP Save this graphic to have on hand for mold defense tips at a glance!

Defending against mold growth can feel like such a major feat to take on, but have no fear. Your local mold specialists are on the case. However, just because we are on hand to help whenever mold should occur, we think you should be prepared to prevent mold on your own. Use the following tips to amp up your mold defense.

  • Keep the humidity in your home or business between 30-60%
  • Make sure your property has property drainage to keep water away from your building's foundation
  • Regularly inspect your plumbing and other appliances for any leaks. Water left to sit is mold's favorite food!
  • Keep your gutters and drains clear and free of any debris
  • Inspect your roofs, windows, and any other potential entryways for water. Perform maintenance ASAP when necessary
  • Immediately deal with water intrusions in your home
  • Never try DIY mold removal!
  • If your home experiences water damage, call SERVPRO of Howard County for immediate assistance, as improper mitigation of water damage can lead to secondary damages such as mold

Dealing with any damage to your home or business can feel so daunting, but that is what SERVPRO of HoCo is here for. Other mold cleaning services might not take the time to educate you and answer any questions you might have, but we know how important it is to make sure you understand the process your home is undergoing in such stressful times.

410-465-7333

Basement Under Water? Drop Us A Line!

8/14/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Basement Under Water? Drop Us A Line! Being prepared is half your battle, but when it comes to fighting damage in your home or business...SERVPRO will win every time

Heavy rainfall can cause some pretty annoying issues for your property. A flooded basement is commonplace when it comes to problems in your Howard County home. There are a number of reasons why your basement could be susceptible to flooding, including:

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Sanitary sewer backup
  • Foundation drainage failure
  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
  • ...and many more

We know we say it often, but it really is so true that if flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety. Standing water not handled right away can potentially cause even more severe damage to your home’s structure. The longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Howard County and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

Why should we be your go-to for flooding situations in your HoCo home or business?

  • We are available 24/7 days a week
  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many national insurance companies
  • We bill the insurance directly – one less thing for you to worry about
  • Our technicians are highly-trained in Water Restoration Techniques
  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards,
    advanced inspection and extraction equipment

Basement flooded or questions about flooding?

Feel free to call us ASAP – 410-465-7333

Flash Flooding: Warning vs. Watch

8/7/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flash Flooding: Warning vs. Watch The difference between watches and warnings could be the difference between being prepared and being at greater risk for storm damage.

We've definitely seen our fair share of summer storms so far this season, but we've also had a good bit of flash flood warnings and watches. Since SERVPRO of Howard County is one of the most reliable sources in the community for storm and water damage remediation, we figured it's only fair we provide you some flash flood facts. Knowing the difference between and warning and a watch could be the difference between being prepared and being at risk for flood damage.

Flood warnings:

When your local agencies (whether it be NWS or a local weather station) issue a flash flood/flood warning this means flooding is happening or will happen soon. When you see this warning, it means you should move to high ground or be prepared for flooding ASAP. Often times it is important to be aware of any announcements from local officials if the flooding is projected to be particularly severe.

Flood watches:

When local agencies issue a flash flood/flood watch, it means that flooding is possible. Upon the release of this watch, you should be sure to stay tuned to radio or TV for more information about the potential severity of the flood, should the watch be converted into a warning.

We know this can seem confusing, but if you're connected with us on Facebook or Twitter, we are sure to clarify what and when each watch/warning means, when we can. But be sure to connect with your local Emergency Management channels. We recommend MDMEMA, HoCo OEM, NWS Baltimore, Maryland OPR, and FEMA.

Can We Dry It? Yes We Can!

7/11/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Can We Dry It? Yes We Can! There is a method to our drying madness, so let us handle your drying needs!

Drying is not a process that should be based on guess work. That's why our SERVPRO of Howard County professionals are trained in psychrometrics. This knowledge and skill set is essential for ensuring that your property dries properly after water damage, in order to avoid secondary damage and/or mold growth.

When you first spot water in your home, it is completely natural to immediately reach for a towel, mop, or a fan to handle the mess yourself. However, it is important to know, that these DIY methods might not actually solve your problem, and can even lead to more damage. Our crews follow strict industry-approved standards that make our applied structural drying process successful.

Restoration starts with your first phone call to SERVPRO. After you have reached out to us and one of our office admins have taken your info and asked you some more questions to further understand your situation:

  • A SERVPRO HoCo professional will respond to your location in order to inspect and assess the damage in person. This inspection includes an estimate based on their findings. They carefully inspect your property to detect every component that is wet from the water damage
  • Our crews then look to special technology to measure how much moisture is in the wet affected materials, and continuously monitor them to ensure these items and materials are drying properly
  • Our professional drying equipment is utilized to speed up the process of Mother Nature, so your property can be dried as soon as possible to get you back to normal and, "like it never even happened."

If these parts of the process seem confusing, have no fear...SERVPRO is here! Other mitigation companies might not strive to help you understand your situation or our work, but the team member on site is willing and eager to answer any and all questions you might have. We know it can be overwhelming having to deal with any kind of damage in your home, but SERVPRO always does our very best to comfort and inform you in such times.

The bottom line is that SERVPRO of Howard County has the equipment, sensitivity, and know how to make such stressful situations feel like an absolute breeze!

Is Your Home Fire Escape Plan Up to Par?

6/15/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Is Your Home Fire Escape Plan Up to Par? Even the smallest fire can cause extensive damage, so it's crucial that your family is prepared to get out of the house if need be!

Fire experts agree that people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning building before it is too late to exit safely. When it comes to a fire escape plan, every second counts. In a matter of seconds, even the smallest flame can become a massive blaze. The American Cross conducted a survey that found only 26% of families have made and practiced their fire escape plans. If you don't have a plan in place for your home or business, use these tips to develop one!

Draw a map of each level of your home indicating exits (windows and doors)

Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on higher floors. Store them near the window. If you buy these ladders, make sure they are tested by a reliable testing laboratory

Pick a meeting place outside that keeps a safe distance from your home. Mark it well so everyone remembers where it is

Teach the youngest members of your family how to escape on their own if no one is able to help them. Make accommodations for the elderly, disabled, and your pets

Practice your plan at least twice a year (once during the day and once at nighttime)

Fires can be unpredictable, so your escape plan shouldn't be! Restoring your property after a fire shouldn't be difficult either. That's why SERVPRO of Howard County works so efficiently to cleanup your property ASAP after damage or a loss.

Summer Storm Damage Shouldn't Throw Off Your Schedule

6/7/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Summer Storm Damage Shouldn't Throw Off Your Schedule Committing to preparedness is a positive chain reaction that can help a lot more people than you think

How quickly your business is able to return to normal operations after a tornado, fire, or even a flood is, more often than not, dependent on emergency planning. After damage or a loss, 50% of businesses may never reopen or recover.

It can be easy to think that emergencies are unlikely to hurt your business, because they aren't necessarily a common occurrence. That said, it can be even easier to simply take the time to prepare for anything.

Even though every situation is unique, your business can still be prepared for just about anything with the simple steps below. Your commitment to emergency planning can and will help your employees, customers, industry, community, and even the country. Additionally, emergency planning protects your business investment by giving the facility and company a better chance of survival after various emergencies. 

Be informed:

Know what kinds of emergencies are most likely to affect your business and devise a plan to deal with them

Develop a Business Continuity Plan:

Plan for what staff, procedures, and equipment are undeniably necessary to keep operating. Make a backup plan for everything! Put together a procedure for what to do if your facility isn't accessible or if there are utilities disruptions. 

Make Your Emergency Plan:

Evacuation procedures, shelter-in-place plans, communications procedures for before, during and after an incident. Make them. Practice and review them at least once a year.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Promote Family and Individual Preparedness:

Emergency preparedness is a chain reaction. Preparing your business for an emergency will encourage your employees to prepare their families, their families will encourage their friends, friends will encourage other community members, and so on and so forth.

Be a leader.

Let SERVPRO of Howard County prepare your business for anything with a FREE Emergency Ready Profile assessment.

Special Summer Mold Strains

6/6/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Special Summer Mold Strains Our special technology helps read if there is moisture or mold hiding in especially hard to reach places, so our abatement process can be thorough

Believe it or not, summer is prime time for mold to spawn in your home. Mold thrives in temperatures above 77 degrees, which is, as you know, around the average summer temperature in Howard County. Follow these handy tips to keep your mold risk low so you can enjoy the summer months.

  • Use your air conditioner when it's hot. By keeping the inside of your house cool, you're already starting the mold abatement process
  • Look for condensation or moisture in any of your air ducts. Air conditioning units can produce a small drip of water that can serve as food for mold spores
  • Try to keep humidity down in your home. Moisture in the air is the prime condition for mold to form and thrive when humidity is above 50 percent. Dehumidifiers will help with this by keeping your home or business dry
  • If rain starts to fall, keep your windows closed. This locks moisture and excess water out
  • If rainfall is heavy, keep an eye on your roof for any leaks. Any ceiling discoloration can be indicative of a leak or even mold 
  • If you notice any appliances or pipes in your home are leaking, clean the water and fix the leak ASAP
  • Your dryer should be vented to the outdoors, not your attic or crawlspace to build moisture in dark spaces (which mold loves)
  • Keep an open pathway for air when you take a shower. Whether it be the fan or a window, the circulation of air can keep moisture down.
  • Keep carpeting out of your bathrooms or other commonly wet spaces

If you suspect mold in your home, call us (the real mold remediation professionals) ASAP for an inspection. 

410-465-7333

Are You Flood Smart?

6/5/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Are You Flood Smart? Flood safety is crucial because flooding is possible year round. Flooding can occur with little to no warning.

What is the most common and widespread natural disaster in the United States? If you answered floods, then you are well on your way to being flood smart.

Floodsmart.gov reports that in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather related disaster.

If you get stuck in a flooding situation be sure to stay away from flood waters. A mere six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet. If you're driving, turn around and don't drown! Most cars can get swept away by less than two feet of moving water. If waters are rapidly rising whilst you're driving on a flooded road, get out of your car and move yourself to higher ground. Value your safety first! Also be sure to keep children out and away from any flooding water zones. 

Whether your home or business is near a coastline, in the city, the mountains, near a tiny river, or even in the desert...there is always potential for flood damage. Never having experienced a flood or flood damage does not mean you never will! 20% of flood insurance claims come from moderate to low risk area. On average, flooding costs $3.5 billion in annual losses for the USA.

Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when it isn't treated quickly and properly. The cleanup can be overwhelming, but that is what SERVPRO of Howard County is here for. Our crews are trained to handle an size disaster. When you feel like you're drowning in water damage, SERVPRO helps you stay above water!

Hurricane Season is Here!

6/1/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricane Season is Here! Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November. Do you know how to be prepared for a hurricane watch or warning?

June 1 marked the start of Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane season lasts until the end of November, but do you know much about these hurricanes that could possibly strike where you live?

Have no fear, SERVPRO is here!

Hurricanes can cost billions in damages. According to the NOAA, Hurricane Sandy costed $62 billion, and Hurricane Katrina caused $128 billion in damages. How do hurricanes cause that much damage? These types of storms can bring winds with forces ranging from 74 to over 155 miles per hour.

While we recommend preparing far ahead of a hurricane watch or warning, it's important to know what to do upon receiving a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning.

Per Ready.gov's hurricane fact sheet:

Hurricane watches indicate that hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hrs.

When a hurricane watch is issued, be sure to: 

  • Review possible evacuation route(s) & listen to local officials for information regarding your town, city, and or state
  • Review your disaster supply kit, and add items to meet the household needs for children, parents, individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs or pets

Hurricane warnings indicate conditions are expected within 36 hrs.

When a hurricane warning is issued, be sure to:

  • If a local official gives evacuation orders be sure to follow such orders
  • Check in with family and friends
  • If you aren't evacuating be sure to prepare yourself and your home as best as you can to brace for the storm. Note: it's important to not put yourself at risk in order to protect your property!

For some more basics about how to be best prepared for hurricane season, check out some of our previous blogs. Be sure to follow us on all social media (Twitter and Facebook) as we post updates for Howard County weather and other storm readiness content.

Remember: we are faster to any size disaster. Whether it be flooding or storm collateral damage to your home/business, just call 410-465-7333 for a swift restoration response.

Managing Mold

5/22/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Managing Mold Pictured here is one of our moisture/mold meters. We are sure to check these readings before and after the remediation process.

You've found mold in your Howard County home or business...now what?

Your first step should be limiting your exposure to the area, as you can't be certain of the negative health effects of mold.

Then you should be sure to call 410-465-7333. That's where the mold abatement, cleanup, and restoration process begins. One of our representatives will ask you some questions to gain additional insight on the mold you've found. This helps our crews determine the equipment, personnel, and resources they need to have at their disposal. 

Next, a SERVPRO HoCo team member will be inspected for mold via technology designed to detect hidden mold or water sources feeding the mold. Our SERVPRO professionals then follow various contaminant procedures that prevent mold spreading. They utilize barriers and negative air pressure to isolate the mold. Our teams are trained to use specialized air filtration equipment that captures and removes microscopic mold spores from the air in your property. Power air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums prevent the spreading or spores while the remediation is in progress. 

Depending on the amount of mold growth and the type of surface it has latched onto, the mold remediation process is customized to match the damage. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments are used to eradicate mold colonies. We are also sure to remove mold infested porous materials like drywall and flooring to ensure mold does not return. If necessary, SERVPRO also cleans your furniture, decorative items, curtains and other restorable items that have been damaged or affected by mold. Our professionals are also trained in deodorization so special fogging equipment is used to ensure your items no longer smell like mold.

In extreme cases, replacing drywall, painting, and new carpet may need to be put in. In rare, but still possible cases, entire areas or rooms of your property may need to be rebuilt. If that is the case, we have a specific Rebuild team that can take care of such needs.

When you spot mold, it can be stressful or even scary. That's why SERVPRO of Howard County should be your first call.

Home from Vacation...Back to...Water Damage?!

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Home from Vacation...Back to...Water Damage?! Flooding in Ellicott City destroyed homes and businesses, so we arrived on scene ASAP to help minimize costs and damages.

Those summer vacations are on the way, and the last thing you want to come back to after a relaxing getaway is a flooded home.

Did you know that it only takes 1-2 inches of water to damage your property? Depending on how long you're away from home, thousands of gallons of water can flood your home in cases of pipe bursts. In such cases, it's practically impossible to DIY your way out from under water. That's when you call SERVPRO of Howard County! We are open 24/7 to take such urgent calls and help get water out of your flooded home, flooded basement, or flooded business. 

If you put off calling mitigation specialists, or try to deal with it yourself, the cost to get rid of water in your home can exponentially increase. Standing water in your home can cause wood floors to warp, dry wall can become moldy after absorbing such moisture, amongst other damage to your belongings

When you call immediately upon discovering that your home has flooded, the cost of servicing your home can go down because the severity of damages is likely less.

We respond faster to any size disaster because we know how to turn your before into a happily ever after!

Technology and Time

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Technology and Time Our trademark green equipment is part of a wide range of tools we rely on to give you the best service we possibly can

A little water goes a long way in most cases, but especially in terms of water damage. Even the smallest drop of water left to sit after a loss can lead to much bigger problems, including mold. The key to avoiding such mishaps? Proper mitigation and drying techniques. That's why SERVPRO of Howard County should always be your first call when you suspect your home or business has been struck with water damage. Our professionals are specifically trained to use special technology to mitigate properly and efficiently. 

Our SERVPRO trained professionals rely on special technology in multitudes of equipment to see to it that affected areas are completely dry after mitigation. The top 5 pieces of equipment we use are:

  • Moisture Sensors to detect lingering moisture in carpets, baseboards, and walls
  • Moisture Meters determine the actual amount of moisture in different materials. The reading these meters provide aids in the drying process
  • Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity, this helps calculations for making the environment more conducive to drying procedures
  • Ultra Low-Volume Foggers atomize liquid deodorizing agents which creates a mist for penetrating any odor causing sites. This tool is also useful for injecting fungicides and disinfectant into wall cavities an other hard to reach spaces
  • Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based solutions via a dense fog. The fog is made up of small particles of deodorizing solutions to neutralize any odors

If this all sounds overwhelming to you, have no fear...SERVPRO is here! Let us worry about the technicalities when it comes to drying your home or business. We have the know how AND the equipment to prevent further damage after a loss that DIY mitigation puts you at risk for.

Be Storm Smart

5/4/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Be Storm Smart Severe weather in Howard County can vary each year, but you can be prepared no matter what!

It must feel like we constantly remind you that anything can happen at any time. That said, it probably isn't a shock to you when we apply the same reminder to storm readiness and potential storm damage

The NOAA states that each year Americans cope with an average of the following:

  • 10,000 severe thunderstorms
  • 5,000 floods or flash floods
  • 1,000 tornadoes
  • 2 landfalling deadly hurricanes

These events can be apart of the 98 percent of presidentially declared disasters that are weather-related. These incidents lead to about 500 deaths per year and almost $15 billion in damage. In these cases, it's incredibly important to know your risk, take action, and be an example. Now what do we mean when we say that?

Know your risk: Severe weather comes in many forms and it's important to know what you're at risk for because of where you live. Be sure to regularly check the weather and make sure you're enrolled in Wireless Emergency Alerts.

Take action: Create an emergency plan and put together an emergency kit. Keep your valuables in a safe place.

Be an example: Share your preparedness story anywhere and with anyone who might need an extra push to be ready when disaster strikes.

We can't predict the weather, but we can be as prepared as possible.

Always remember that when disaster strikes, we are here to help make it, 'like it never even happened.'

Back Up! It's A Sewage Incident.

5/3/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Back Up! It's A Sewage Incident. Standing water in your home can harm your belongings, but it can also harm you if it is a result of a sewage mishap

It's certainly not a pleasant topic to discuss...but sewage backups or leaks are very real and very serious issues you could face in your home or business.

Earlier in April we discussed how to tell if the water flooding in your property is clean or contaminated. It's probably the most important to know that sewage water should be assumed to be contaminated and hazardous at all times (until one of our SERVPRO IICRC trained professionals determines otherwise).

Sewage water is typically referred to as category 3 black water. This classification is due to the dangerous contaminants in it. It's important to note that sewage water has the ability to appear clean. This is an instance of top water. If sewage runoff looks clean, it's usually because the waste and contaminants have sunk to the bottom. This water is still categorized as black water; not for the color, but for the risk it carries with it. In most cases of any standing water in your home, it's crucial to understand that just because you can't particularly see the contaminants or just because the water looks clear...doesn't mean that it is safe to try to mitigate yourself. 

Our SERVPRO of Howard County crews are specifically trained to deal with hazardous water and how to clean any harmful remnants once the water is drained. Without that training, your knowledge is your most powerful tool to keep from putting yourself at risk upon spotting standing water in your residential or commercial property.

If you experience a sewage backup or sewage related flooding, etc., let us be your first call. We make it, "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Howard County

410-465-7333

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It's The Warm and Stormy Season!

4/28/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage It's The Warm and Stormy Season! HoCo storms can bring a lot of unwelcome visitors into your home....

As you know, summer brings storms, and storms bring storm damage. Storm damage can come from a bunch of different sources. Whether it's fire, wind, water, or even the weather...SERVPRO is here to help!

While meteorologists do their best with the tools they have access to, it's sometimes tough to determine how much damage one storm can do to your home or business. They can be completely harmless...or they can destroy your roof and flood your home. No matter the size of the loss, SERVPRO of Howard County is specially trained to deal with the mess summer storms leave behind.

Wind is a pretty major culprit for summer storm damage. When it comes to storms with heavy winds, they can leave trees on the roof of your home, drag shingles off your roofing, or even bust out your roof to invite water damage into your home. While you should be sure to keep your roof in the best most up to date condition as you possibly can, you can never be certain when disaster will strike.

Wind isn't the only suspect to watch out for with summer storms. As you know, where there's thunder...there's lightning. If lightning strikes your home or business, it goes without saying, there is an immediate risk for fire.

And, of course, water damage can follow any of the above causes. This is because any holes in your home allow water to seep in and keep coming as the rain continues to fall.

Storm readiness is crucial to preventing severe storm damage to your residence or place of business...but if you get caught off-guard, SERVPRO of Howard County is always ready to make it, "like it never even happened."

Who's Afraid of The Big Bad Mold?

4/26/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Who's Afraid of The Big Bad Mold? Mold loves to hide in the most inconvenient spots...that doesn't necessarily mean you should go looking for it! Leave it to the professionals.

Who's afraid of the big bad mold? We all really should be! 

Mold carries a number of risks with it when it shows up in your home or business...and sometimes it carries no risk at all. The variation in risk is nothing to gamble with...which is yet another reason why our specially certified teams should be your first call immediately upon suspecting or finding mold. 

According to the CDC, if you're sensitive to mold, you're at risk for

  • nasal stuffiness/congestion
  • throat irritation
  • coughing or wheezing
  • eye irritation
  • and/or possibly skin irritation

The CDC also notes that if you have a mold or mold related allergy you could have a far more severe reaction just as those with an immune compromise or a chronic lung illness. 

You should do your best to keep away from mold as you never can really be sure how your body will react to it. When our SERVPRO mold mitigation and remediation specialists come on scene, they wear special gear and use equipment that keeps them from dangerous mold exposure. As the warmer weather approaches, it's especially important to keep a close eye on any dripping from AC units or any other source of water. As many of us know, mold loves warm hiding places just as much as it loves damp spots.

To see more of our mold related work check out some before and afters here. For some fast facts on how to understand if your problem is mold, read up here.

 

All a-Board!

4/24/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage All a-Board! Ellicott City businesses on Main Street were sure to board up their windows before and after the flood to prevent any further damage to the storefront

You always see photos of homes and businesses boarding up before or after some kind of damaging event...but do you know why?


In the case of abandoned buildings, boarded up windows and doors are usually a measure to keep vandals or squatters out of the structure. However, in the event of damage or a loss, this process is to protect not only windows and doors from shattering, breaking, or failing in other ways, but to protect the structure itself.


Our professionally trained crews often times board up your home or business before or during mitigation and remediation to prevent any further damage.


If done incorrectly, the boarding up process could actually cause secondary damages such as additional moisture or even animal intrusion. 


Whether it's fire, storm, or another kind of structural damage, boarding up can be just as dangerous as it is important. Especially if the damage or loss has already occurred. 


The most common reasons to board up your home or business are severe rainstorms, flash flooding, severe thunderstorms, hailstorms, and of course, tornadoes. 


While SERVPRO of Howard County is known to mitigate and remediate fire and water damage, don't forget that we are trained to deal with storm damage as well. Whether it's a tree on your roof, or a flooded basement, we are here to help!


Especially with our rebuild divison emerging, SERVPRO of Howard County should be your first call when it comes to recovering and rebuilding after a major storm event. We make it, "Like it never even happened."


Also be sure to keep up with us on all social media because we will tweet or post to Facebook when our area is at risk for potential storm damage. 

Keep Your Business Cool And Keep Mold Away

4/18/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Keep Your Business Cool And Keep Mold Away Don't let mold in your business get out of control!

Summer is certainly on the way, and with it will come those warm temperatures.

What does that mean for your business?

Well, a majority of businesses consider summer to be their busy season. If you're one of those businesses, you know that damage or a loss in your facility can cost you time that your business can't afford to lose.

Avoiding mold damage can be simple, especially when it comes to air conditioning condensation lines.

When the warm weather is here, we know your employees are turning up the AC and making it work overtime with them. This extra work for the air conditioner could lead to leaks in the condensation lines, which can potentially feed hidden mold. Not only is mold inconvenient to your business, it can carry health risks. And for those reasons, the U.S. EPA recommends routinely inspecting your HVAC units. Depending on how large your business is, there might be more than one in your facility.

When you inspect these units/systems, you shouldn't only be looking for mold. It's important to check for moisture or any dripping. No matter how little the amount of water may seem, mold starts on a microscopic level. It doesn't take that much liquid to keep mold alive and thriving!

If you think you find mold in your commercial property, it's important to proceed with caution.

Better yet, call our professional crews in and we will take care of drying out any moisture and removing any mold you find or even if you're just suspicious of mold. Remember that mold carries risks and if you don't know what you're doing, it can be incredibly dangerous.

That's why our specially trained teams are here to help!

Is Your Water Damage Contaminated or Clean?

4/17/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Is Your Water Damage Contaminated or Clean? Standing water caused by a clogged drain. This water looks clean, but still holds potential risk of becoming contaminated.

Water damage is always inconvenient, no matter the type of water causing it; however, understand which type of water you're dealing with can be crucial to minimize destruction until our professionals arrive.


Clean water can be from a broken pipe/water source, or even rainwater. 


Clean water becomes gray water after it has been left untreated. Untreated water allows for bacteria and fungi to grow and the water then becomes contaminated. This water can become hazardous. 


Black water is typically caused by sewage damage or natural disaster flooding. Black water should ALWAYS be handled by professionals. 


How do you minimize the damage from these water types?


For clean water:


If you can, shut off the water source.


Turn off any circuit breakers to affected areas. This protects from any potential electrical shock. Do not enter any rooms with standing water because unknown shock risks could be hiding. 


Mop, blot, or wipe down any excess water.


To start drying any damage or soaked upholstery, remove and prop them up to start the drying process.


Move valuables to a safe place


Remove colored items that might bleed or run, causing stains.


Never use a vacuum to remove water. Shock risk is high!


If your ceiling is wet, don't turn on any ceiling fixtures. Don't enter the room is the ceiling is sagging from retained water.


For contaminated water:


Avoid all contact with sewage. Wash yourself thoroughly if you come into contact with contaminated items.


Do not walk through affected areas.


Do not turn on your HVAC system as it could spread contaminated air.


Do not use fans. Air flow could spread contaminants.


If food or personal hygiene products are exposed to contaminated area, discard them.


Water damage can be traumatic, but the cleanup and restoration process doesn't need to be.

Crime Scene Cleanup: A Tough Subject

4/14/2017 (Permalink)

Biohazard Crime Scene Cleanup: A Tough Subject You never know when a crime scene or a death will occur. That's why SERVPRO is always ready for any cleanup you might require in such instances.

When you hear the SERVPRO name, crime scene or death cleanup is probably not the first thing to come to mind.

We know it can be difficult to talk about, but we also know it's not to be ignored. 

Crime scenes/deaths are an unfortunate reality of the world we live in, but SERVPRO is here to help in any situation. Our teams are highly skilled and specifically trained to deal with such instances. 

It's natural and easy to get caught up in all of the chaos that comes with a crime or a death, but that's why we are only one call away. Our customers know that we make dealing with such sensitive situations, "a thoroughly easy process for something that could have been very painful." 

You can trust the SERVPRO team to cleanup and respect your home or business during fragile times. 

No matter the type of damage or loss, we make it, "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor

410-637-3433

Tweet us! @SERVPROHoward

Like us on Facebook!

Connect with us on LinkedIn!

Dryer Fire: It Might Rhyme, But It's Not A Good Time!

4/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Dryer Fire: It Might Rhyme, But It's Not A Good Time! Take a look at the damage a small vent fire can cause.

According to FEMA, failing to clean your home dryer causes 34% of home dryer fires.

These dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and are also capable of causing injury or even death.

Reducing your risk for dryer fire is incredibly simple. Let SERVPRO clean your vents and ducts that may being holding lint buildup. 

The National Fire Protection Agency recommends that you clean your dryers lint filter every time you do a load of laundry. This ensures the outdoor vent flap will open with ease. This flap could be restricted by snow or even a bird's nest.

Let our specifically trained technicians make sure all of your vents, filters, and ducts aren't restricted and can let air flow freely.

For more info about the vent and duct cleaning services SERVPRO offers, give us a call at 410-465-7333

What's That Smell...? It's Fire Damage!

4/12/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What's That Smell...? It's Fire Damage! Collateral damage from a fire can be seemingly endless. Irritating odors don't have to be part of your problem!

Have you ever noticed how when you burn a bag of popcorn in the microwave the smell seems to linger for way longer than it should?

That's what happens with even the smallest fire in your home or business. After a fire if the area isn't properly cleaned, restored, and deodorized the burnt scent  can hold onto to your space for years to come. The smoke from a fire is what carries the awful scent throughout a structure. This smoke sets into any surface it can touch.

If a cleanup isn't executed as fast as possible, the residue can cause permanent damage and could even cause the smell to come back! 

The SERVPRO of Howard County team is highly trained to locate and remove the source of the odor. Other professionals will just mask the scent with a fragrance of some kind and once it wears off, you're left with the bill and no actual solution to your odor problem. 

Our professionals also work to make sure you understand your possible options when it comes to deodorization. 

We make it "Like it never even happened." 

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DIY Mold Removal?

4/5/2017 (Permalink)

You’re doing spring cleaning, getting ready for the warm weather and just as you go to wipe down that dark corner in your kitchen, you spot it….mold.

What do you do? Your knee jerk reaction might be to bleach it. Be wary: bleach is not a sufficiently potent mold killer! Bleach might take care of surface mold, but not the root of the problem that actually caused the mold to grow. This means when you’ve bleached down the surface, it might look pretty and clean, but the mold is likely to grow back. Even worse yet, the mold cells might register the bleach as a threat to its existence, which means when the mold regenerates it could become resistant to the bleach.

So how do you rid your home of mold in its entirety?

That’s where we come in.

Removing mold on your own without proper knowledge and training can present numerous risks and challenges. Using the wrong method to remove it, as aforementioned, can only worsen the problem. That’s why our mold remediation teams are trained and certified to remove mold safely and keep it from ever returning to your home.

If you see or smell possible mold in your home, be smart and be safe. Don’t touch any mold with bare skin and try to not breathe it in.

Remember: before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed!

When mold attacks, call SERVPRO of Howard County 410-465-7333 immediately to get a team on site.

Commercial Property Restoration After Water Damage: What the Ellicott City Flood Taught Us

4/3/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Commercial Property Restoration After Water Damage: What the Ellicott City Flood Taught Us Ellicott City business owner Sally T. gave us some kind words. We were more than happy to restore her business after a major flood loss.

Flooding and water damage in commercial properties is usually complex with seemingly abundant issues. Such obstacles require a knowledgeable and flexible response team. Whether it’s a relatively small water cleanup or a large scale flood, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and handle the mitigation of damage.


That said, no one could have predicted just how severe the damage to Ellicott City would be after the flood in July of last year. SERVPRO is a proud member of the Howard County community and thus we couldn't wait to get on the scene ASAP and do our part. Our team members were mindful with collecting damaged items and starting the restoration process for the business owners on Main Street. One of our biggest projects was working on Discoveries of Ellicott City. We have always known the value of tedious and careful work, but after seeing how much it meant to business owner Sally T., we know just how valuable commercial recovery can be to not only businesses, but the community they belong to. See our Before and After photos for more of our successes on the scene of commercial water damage. 


Keep in mind that our professionals are trained and certified to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns. We strive to fully restore the damaged area while working to make sure a valuable fix doesn’t put a strain on your wallet. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there quickly with the help we know you need.


Our certifications include 



  • CCT - Carpet Cleaning Technician

  • HST - Health and safety Technician

  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician

  • IICRC Certified Firm

  • RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation

  • AMRT - Applied Microbial Remediation Technician

  • OCT - Odor Control Technician

  • ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program

  • OSHA - 10-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program

  • SRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician

  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician

  • OSHA - 30-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program

  • OSHA - Other Training


If you fear your business wouldn't be ready in such an event, call us at 410-465-7333 to work on setting up your Emergency READY profile plan today! 

Halt Winter Heating Hazards

1/30/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Halt Winter Heating Hazards 50% of all residential heating-related fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.

The winter season is here and with it comes shorter days and lower temperatures.  No matter where you live, winter brings a change in the weather.  In an effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves.  Did you know, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths?  According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment fires cause an estimated $1 billion in direct property damage annually  Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce our risk of a heating-related fire.



  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater.  Have a three foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.

  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.  Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container.  Keep the container a safe distance away from your home. 

  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.

  • Test smoke alarms monthly.


If your property does suffer fire damage, contact us at 410-465-7333 to help make it "Like it never even happened."

We Rocked 2016!

1/25/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial We Rocked 2016! Owners, Brian Kemp and Jeff Holland, with the CEO Franchisee Award

We had a wonderfully successful 2016 here at SERVPRO of Howard County.  We accomplished a lot.  We have a great owners, crews, and employees.  With hard work and dedication, we were able to earn awards, certifications, and acknowledgements throughout the year.


Training:


2 ABRA Biohazard Certifications


2 IICRC Commercial Drying Specialist (CDS) Certifications


2 IICRC Applied Structural Drying (ASD) Certifications


2 IICRC Water Damage Technician (WRT) Certifications


 


Recognized in the SERVPRO Magazine - Newsline


7 times #1 Rookie Resale Franchise of the Month


4 times #2 Rookie Resale Franchise of the Month


February #4 of all 1700 Franchises in Commercial Water Mitigation


September #2 of all 1700 Franchises in Commercial Cleaning


 


Awards


2016 Be The Brand Award


CEO Franchisee of the Month December 2016


 


Other Achievements


Became an LLRT member, making us one of only 3 franchises in Maryland qualified to mitigate the largest commercial losses


Recognized by the National Storm Team for coordinating the Ellicott City Flood and producing a 47% capture rate on all calls, the highest in Storm Team history for a non-covered event

Celebrate Safely This Holiday Season

12/13/2016 (Permalink)

Did you know?

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.

Pretty lights, candles and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season--however, if they are not used carefully your holidays may go from festive to frightening.

The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to help greatly reduce the fire risk in your home or business this holiday season.

  • Place Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition.  Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.  Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over.  Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees. 
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire--pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains--away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your property to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

If you should need our services please call SERVPRO of Howard County at 410-465-7333.  We service all of Howard County.  Woodbine, Ellicott City, Columbia, Jessup, Sykesville, Clarksville, and many more. We're always here to help.

Emergency Ready Profile...Are you Ready?

11/15/2016 (Permalink)

Commercial Emergency Ready Profile...Are you Ready? Call SERVPRO of Howard County to get started on your Emergency Ready Plan at 410-465-7333.

The Best Way to Reduce Business Interruption Following a Disaster is to Plan For it NOW.


As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research.  Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place.  Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind.


By working with SERVPRO of Howard County to develop a SERVPRO  Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action.  Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely Mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.


Are You Ready?


Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it's a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood.  The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens.  No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it.  Now is the time to ask yourself, "Are you ready for whatever could happen?"


The SERVPRO  Emergency READY Profile is a start up approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services.  It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information.  By working with SERVPRO of Howard County to develop your SERVPRO's Emergency READY Profile, your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster.  SERVPRO of Howard County is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.


The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage



  • A no cost assessment of your facility. - This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.

  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency. - It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects.  But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.

  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster. - This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.

  • Establishes your local SERVPRO of Howard County as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.- You have a provider that is recognize as an industry leader and close by.

  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.- This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.

  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.- Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."


     Call SERVPRO of Howard County                    Today to Get Started!  


                      410-465-7333


We are your local SERVPRO servicing all of Howard County Maryland including Ellicott City, Columbia, Elkridge, Laurel, Woodbine, Marriottsville, Woodstock, Jessup, Clarksville, Sykesville, and many more. 


WATCH THE EMERGENCY READY PLAN VIDEO

Celebrate Safely with a Recipe For Safety

11/7/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Celebrate Safely with a Recipe For Safety Safe cooking tips for this Holiday Season from SERVPRO of Howard County.

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don't practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries.  The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.  It's important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.  

  • Be on alert!  If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don't use the stove or stove top.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling good.
  • If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire--oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains--away from the stove top.

If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe. 

  • Just get out!  When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires.  Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stove top.  Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

SERVPRO of Howard County wishes you a safe and Happy Holiday Season.  Remember to follow this recipe to assure safety in the kitchen.  Call SERVPRO of Howard County for any Fire, Water, or mold issue that you may need our help with.  410-465-7333.

We are IICRC Certified....What does that mean?

10/28/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Howard County is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must:

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops the Standards for the Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Howard County

SERVPRO of Howard County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Call 410-465-7333 for any fire, water, or mold issues that you may need our professional help with.  

 

October is Fire Prevention Month-10 Home Fire Safety Tips from SERVPRO of Howard County

10/3/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage October is Fire Prevention Month-10 Home Fire Safety Tips from SERVPRO of Howard County Follow these prevention tips from SERVPRO of Howard County to help prevent a fire.

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that fires kill more than 4,000 Americans each year and approximately injure 20,000 more.  U.S. fire departments respond to nearly 2 million fires each year, with three-quarters of them occurring in residences.


A home is often referred to as a safe haven.  This month, make sure your home is protected from (and your family is prepared for) a fire.  Here are 10 simple tips to help you avoid fires and reduce the risk of injury should one occur:


1)      Smoke Alarms – These are still a very important addition to your home.  Smoke alarms are widely available and inexpensive.  Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and test it monthly.


2)      Prevent Electrical Fires – Don’t overload circuits or extension cords.  Cords and wires should never be placed  under rugs or in high traffic areas.  Avoid loose electrical connections by checking the fit of the plug in the wall outlet.  If the plug loosely fits, inspect the outlet right away.  A poor connection between the plug and the outlet can cause overheating and can start a fire in minutes.


3)      Keep Plugs Safe – Unplug all appliances when not in use.  Follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions and use your senses to spot any potential disasters.  If a plug is overheating, smells strange, shorts out or sparks – the appliance should be shut off immediately, then replaced or repaired.


4)      Alternate Heaters – Make sure there is ample space around any portable heating unit.  Anything that could catch fire should be at least three feet away.  Inspect your chimney annually and use fire screens to help keep any fires in the fireplace.


5)      Fire Safety Sprinklers – When combined with working smoke alarms, home fire sprinklers greatly increase your chance of surviving a fire.  Sprinklers are affordable and they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.


6)      Create An Escape Route – Create and practice your escape plan with your family from every room in the house.  Practice staying low to the floor and checking for hot doors using the back of your hand.  It’s just like a routine school fire drill – but in your home.


7)      Position Appliances Carefully – Try to keep TV sets, kitchen and other appliances away from windows with curtains.  If there is a wiring problem, curtains can spread a fire quickly.  Additionally, keeping your appliances away from water sources (like rain coming in from windows) can help prevent wiring damage which can lead to a fire.


8)      Clean Dryer Vents – Clothes dryers often start fires in residential areas.  Clean the lint filter every time you start a load of clothes to dry or after the drying cycle is complete.  Make sure your exhaust duct is made of metal tubing and not plastic or foil.  Clean the exhaust duct with a good quality dryer vent brush to prevent blockage & check for lint build up behind the dryer at least twice a year.


9)      Be Careful Around the Holidays – If you fill your home with lights during the holiday season, keep them away from anything that can easily catch fire.  Check all of your lights prior to stringing them up and dispose of anything with frayed or exposed wires.


10)   Conduct Regular Inspections – Check all of your electronic equipment and wiring at least once a month.  Taking a little time to do this each month can really pay off.


Following these simple tips could potentially save your life or the life of a loved one.  Pass this list on to your friends and family and make this fire prevention month count!



Call SERVPRO of Howard County at 410-465-7333 if you need assistance with  fire, water, or mold remediation in your home or business.  We service all of Howard County Maryland, including Columbia, Ellicott City, Elkridge, Sykesville, and Clarksville.

Smart Fire Prevention Practices for Maryland Businesses

10/3/2016 (Permalink)

Commercial Smart Fire Prevention Practices for Maryland Businesses Don't let this happen to your business. Follow the prevention tips given by SERVPRO of Howard County.

   Smart Fire Prevention Practices for Maryland Businesses



  • Hold meetings to educate your employees on emergency evacuation plans.

  • Familiarize and train employees on how to use fire extinguishers and other fire-fighting tools.

  • Stage a fire drill at least once a year.

  • Clearly mark emergency exits and escape routes, and keep them unobstructed at all times.

  • Provide a minimum of one 2A 10BC-rated fire extinguisher for every 75 feet of travel distance within every 6,000 square feet. Mount fire extinguishers on the wall, three to five feet from the floor.

  • Provide quarterly maintenance and 5-year certification of your fire sprinkler system.

  • Remove trash and waste paper from the office on a regular basis.

  • Keep the furnace room, electrical rooms, and spaces below stairwells clear—never use them for storage.

  • Place heat-generating appliances such as copiers, heaters, and coffee makers away from combustible materials.

  • Keep your workspace and equipment well ventilated and clean—especially clear of oil and dust.

  • Do not use electrical equipment when flammable gases, vapors, liquids, dust, or fibers are present.

  • Check to make sure your circuits are not overloaded.

  • Maintain free access to all electrical control panels. Material or equipment stored in front of the panels will slow down power shut-downs in an emergency situation.

  • Use extension cords ONLY for temporary wiring.

  • Replace any damaged or missing electrical components, including the covers on all plates.

  • Identify each circuit breaker in an electrical panel and install blanks for missing circuit breakers.

  • Clearly label the contents of all compressed gas cylinders. Chain or nest cylinders to prevent them from falling over.

  • Contact SERVPRO of Howard County at 410-465-7333 to have us do a complete ERP (Emergency Response Plan) for your business.  We service all of Howard County Maryland including Columbia, Ellicott City, Laurel, Elkridge, and Clarksville.

Flooded Warehouse in Hanover

8/30/2016 (Permalink)

Commercial Flooded Warehouse in Hanover The flooded warehouse.

A sprinkler pipe burst in a large commercial food distribution facility near Hanover, MD damaging approximately 20,000 square foot of warehouse storage space. This is a before picture of a small area of the damaged warehouse. Avoiding business interruption was our commercial client’s main concern. SERVPRO of Howard County first mitigated the shipping department area to allow the company to quickly get back up and running! SERVPRO of Howard County worked throughout the night extracting water and installed a 15,000CFM desiccant dehumidifier within hours of the initial water damage to not only avoid business interruption but to save thousands of dollars in product!


SERVPRO of Howard County is always here to help, day or night.


We make it "Like it never even happened."

Howard County Residents: Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold

8/30/2016 (Permalink)

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

Stay out of affected areas.
Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
Contact SERVPRO of Howard County for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of Howard County specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (410) 465-7333

Does Your Howard County Home Have A Mold Problem?

8/30/2016 (Permalink)

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (410) 465-7333

Howard County Residents: We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!

8/30/2016 (Permalink)

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your Howard County basement could flood, including:

A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
Storm sewer backup
Sanitary sewer backup
Foundation drainage failure
Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today - (410) 465-7333

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Howard County and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week
We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
Our Technicians are Highly-Trained in Water Restoration Techniques
We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards
Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Basement Flooded? Call Us Today – We’re Ready To Help (410) 465-7333

Faster to your Howard County Water Damage Event

8/23/2016 (Permalink)

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Howard County provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Howard County arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – (410) 465-7333

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

Drywall begins to swell and break down.
Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
Furniture begins to swell and crack.
Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
Metal begins to rust and corrode.
Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
Paint begins to blister.
Wood flooring swells and warps.
Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Howard County

SERVPRO of Howard County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

EC Partnership

8/12/2016 (Permalink)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION RE: CLEAN-UP Due to the hazardous nature of flood clean-up and mold remediation, the Ellicott City Partnership has negotiated a special rate with SERVPRO Ellicott City for EC businesses and residents, which includes having ECP pay 50% of all SERVPRO work not covered by insurance and 100% of all deductibles for work that is covered by insurance.Please call 410-465-7333 and mention "ECP" to make an appointment. SERVPRO will bill the ECP directly.Note: This explicitly includes ALL of Main Street, including West End.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. We don't want anyone else getting sick. Also, as always, please support the businesses that support our community!

If you have any questions about contaminated water or mold head over to our blog, or just call and ask us!

Howard County 24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service

7/19/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Howard County is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today- (410) 465-7333

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Howard County has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Howard County

SERVPRO of Howard County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

SERVPRO® Pledges Ongoing Support to the American Red Cross Disaster Responder Program Red Cross recognizes SERVPRO for their contribution to disaster

6/28/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage SERVPRO® Pledges Ongoing Support to the American Red Cross Disaster Responder Program Red Cross recognizes SERVPRO for their contribution to disaster "Once the immediate emergency is under control, homeowners can count on the expertise of Restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Howard County..." J.H.

The American Red Cross recently recognized SERVPRO®, a cleanup and restoration company, for participation in its Disaster Responder Program1.


As a Disaster Responder Program member, SERVPRO pledges a donation to the Red Cross in advance of disasters, allowing the organization to respond quickly and effectively to nearly 66,000 disasters annually, most of which are home fires. SERVPRO is entering their third year of partnership with the Red Cross; their donations to the organization to date exceed one million dollars.


“One of the reasons home fires account for the majority of the disasters the Red Cross responds to annually is that the risk for home fires exists all year long,” said Jeffrey Holland, owner of SERVPRO of Howard County.


“Statistics compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)2 show the majority of home fires are related to unattended cooking accidents – and cooking is something most people do every day.”



For fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPRO.com. For more information on SERVPRO® of Howard County, please contact Jeffrey Holland at (410) 465-7333 or jholland@SERVPROhowardco.com.

http://www.redcross.org/news/article/local/tennessee/SERVPRO-Recognized-for-Contribution-to-the-American-Red-Cross
http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fires-by-property-type/residential/home-structure-fires

Restoring Your Howard County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

4/26/2016 (Permalink)

Commercial  Restoring Your Howard County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges

Flooding and water damage events at Howard County commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Howard County

SERVPRO of Howard County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

" I'm too busy to have a clean house!"

3/31/2016 (Permalink)

Cleaning " I'm too busy to have a clean house!" Who in Howard County doesn't want this room?

HERE ARE SOME TIPS FROM BUSY PEOPLE TO KEEP THEIR HOMES PRESENTABLE ON A DAILY BASIS:

They take their shoes off.

They make the bed.

The squeegee the shower.

They clean the bathroom sink.

They wipe down the kitchen counters.

They clean as they go.

They swifter the bed before bed.

They do a five minute clean up before bed.

They put their clothes away before bed.

The open a door or two ( even when cold for a few minutes).

They close a door or two ( kids rooms etc.)

Emergency Ready Profile....Is your business prepared?

3/25/2016 (Permalink)

NO ONE PLANS ON A DISASTER BUT YOU CAN PLAN TO BE "READY FOR WHATEVER HAPPENS."

(As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster. Of the ones that survived, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place.)

Let us help you by developing a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile.
Call us to get started 410-465-7333

Bob Vila's 10 "Must Do" April Projects!

4/23/2015 (Permalink)

Winter can take a toll on the home and yard, and it can be particularly brutal to fences. @bobvila breaks down the “must-do” projects for April:http://bit.ly/1GHg0OD

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