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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

What to do After a Fire Occurs

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

Fire damage itself is enough trouble as is, but most forget that smoke damage and other odors can be just as much of a nuisance. After a fire, it's important to act appropriately in order to avoid secondary damage. These do's and don'ts might come in handy to help you increase chances of a successful restoration.

DO:

  • Limit movement. Extensive movement can further embed soot particles in your carpet and other upholstered surfaces
  • Keep you hands clean so you don't transfer any soot around and damage walls and woodwork, etc.
  • Put dry, colorfast towels and/or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas
  • If your electricity has failed, empty any fridges and freezer entirely. Then prop their doors open to prevent odor
  • If you have chrome appliances or trim, you can wipe soot from those surfaces and apply a thin coating of lubricant to them
  • If you fire occurs during winter and your heat fails, pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to ensure your pipes and other fixtures don't freeze
  • Change your HVAC filters, but leave the system off until it is checked by a professional
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over your air registers. This keeps soot particles out of your HVAC system

DON'T:

  • Don't try to wash any walls or painted surfaces without calling SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor to consult about the extent of the damage
  • Don't shampoo carpet of upholstered furniture
  • Don't try to clean any electrical appliances that might have been close to the flames, heat, or water, because they might have become contaminated
  • If your ceiling is wet, do not turn on the fan. The wiring might be wet or damaged and could cause electrical shock. Air movement could also spread around other particles and cause secondary damage
  • Don't send your garments to the dry cleaner, as improper cleaning might only set in the smoke odor

If your home or business is faced with fire damage, don't try to clean it yourself. Our SERVPRO professionals are given special training and specific equipment to mitigate fire damage without furthering damage.

Curing Headaches 24/7

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

Our trained technicians know the proper procedure to cure you headaches. SERVPRO of Howard County is there for your commercial business whenever you need us, no matter the time of day. Just like your local pharmacy is there for you 24/7, so is SERVPRO.

We're even there for the pharmacy whenever they need our expertise!

The pharmacy pictured here wasn't able to help people that needed their services due to a water loss. Their customers were told they had to wait for help during regular business hours when they were adequately staffed to handle the workload AND the damage to their business.

SERVPRO of Howard County got out to them on a Saturday to help them get back in business ASAP because when their clients need them, they have to be ready.

SERVPRO is not the, "Take two of these and call us in the morning" type. We are the "Let us treat you and your business anytime, any day, so you can feel better in the morning."

Isn't that what everyone needs?

Fireworks this 4th of July

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

Here's a fairly well-known joke about the 4th of July. It goes something like this: always buy fireworks from the guy missing a few fingers; you know he always has the good ones!

Kind of funny but not so much if it happens to you!

Every 4th of July, people get hurt with fireworks. Some lose a finger, some lose their home to fire and some even worse. It's not hard to believe that some people call the 4th of July the deadliest of holidays. If you're going to enjoy setting off fireworks this year, make sure to follow the instructions on the fireworks as well as these additional tips:

Have a bucket of water near by

Light one at a time

Don't try to re-light a "dud" firework. Give it some time and then soak it in water

Wear safety glasses

Don't let children handle fireworks

Always be a safe distance from any buildings or cars

Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting and then tossing in a metal trash can

The last thing to remember is don't forget to pack your common sense this holiday and anytime you light off fireworks, check your surrounds and look for things that could go wrong!

You don't want to be like the guy in joke!

How Ready is your Business?

6/7/2021 (Permalink)

How quickly your business is able to return to normal operations after a tornado, fire, or even a flood often depends on emergency planning. It is easy to think that such emergencies are unlikely to hurt your business, because truly they aren't a terribly common occurrence. That said, it is even easier to just take the time to prepare for anything.

Even though every situation is unique, your business can still be prepared. Your commitment to emergency planning will help support your employees, customers, industry colleagues, your local community, and even the country. Additionally, it 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 might affect your business and devise a plan to deal with them

Develop a Business Continuity Plan:

Plan which staff, procedures and equipment are undeniably necessary to keep operating. Plan a backup plan for everything. Make 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 them at least once a year.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Promote Family and Individual Preparedness:

Emergency preparedness is a chain reaction. Preparing your business will encourage your employees to prepare their families, their families will encourage their friends, friends encourage other community members, 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.

Hazardous Water

6/7/2021 (Permalink)

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."

SERVPRO of Howard County

(410) 465-7333

Avoid Water Damage in your New Home

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

Water damage signs can be left in plain sight at times if you look. Grab a flashlight when looking at a home to buy .

Water damage can be hiding anyway but check the high risk areas at least.

Check the walls for spots and stains. Don't forget to look around doors and windows.

Check the floors for warping and buckling especially in the basement. Look for white or dark stains on wood floors, damp carpeting and a general smell of dampness and mold,

Check the piping in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, and basement for corrosion around the pipe connections, leaks, or water stains. Inspect the caulking around the bathroom fixtures. Missing or loose caulking could be caused by water seepage. Look for missing grout or signs of mold. Check the water heater for wet spots on the floor and rust on the tank.

Check the attic for stains, mold, and other signs of leaks. The insulation should be dry and in good condition. 

Don't forget to check the outside of the house.  Check the roof for damaged flashing and missing, cracked, or curled shingles. If you see standing water anywhere outside the home, it could be the sign of a problem. The house should be situated on the highest point of the property, with the ground sloping away from the house.

With Warmth comes Fire

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

Who doesn't love sitting outside in the summer with a nice fire going? It just goes hand and hand with summertime and roasting marshmallows. 

It sure can be relaxing but don't get too relaxed. You still need to be safe when having a fire. 

When you have campfires, make sure you build them at least 25 feet away from tents, shrubs or anything that has the potential to catch on fire.

When using a fire pit, outdoor fireplace or chimney , you are going to want to make sure you have placed these things at least 10 feet away from your home or structure or again anything that could possibly catch on fire. 

Make sure when your tending the fire to not have loose sleeves or articles of clothing on that could catch on fire as well. 

Always think ahead and look around you for possible fire hazards. Once that is all done you can relax around the glow of the fire.

If anything happens though, you know that SERVPRO of Howard County is here to help. We never take a night off even in the summertime. 24/7 365 days a year. There when you need us.

(410) 465-7333

Close the Door!

6/4/2021 (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 decibel difference between the door closed and opened. It was still loud enough 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!

Get your Business Prepared

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

How quickly your business is able to return to normal operations after a tornado, fire, or even a flood often depends on emergency planning. It is easy to think that such emergencies are unlikely to hurt your business, because truly they aren't a terribly common occurrence. That said, it is even easier to just take the time to prepare for anything.

Even though every situation is unique, your business can still be prepared. Your commitment to emergency planning will help support your employees, customers, industry colleagues, your local community, and even the country. Additionally, it 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 might affect your business and devise a plan to deal with them

Develop a Business Continuity Plan:

Plan which staff, procedures and equipment are undeniably necessary to keep operating. Plan a backup plan for everything. Make 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 them at least once a year.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Promote Family and Individual Preparedness:

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

When Disaster Strikes

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

We all know in the back of our minds that we should be ready for a disaster. We think we will get to a plan of action, someday. Well, you really need to make it today.

Some steps to help you prepare for an emergency situation. 

You should sign up for local alerts/warnings. Download apps but also have wireless emergency alerts.

Design emergency communication plans but also test them in advance.

Assemble emergency supplies. There are many organizations that can help give you a checklist.

Educate yourself and others on local hazards and conduct a drill to practice emergency responses.

Sign up for trainings and classes on preparedness for yourself and even your business employees.

Organize and safeguard critical documents.

Plan with neighbors to help each other and share resources. 

Make documents of property and check your insurance to make sure you have relevant coverage. Keep documents at another location if possible.

Keep up your property and make improvements to reduce injury as well as property damage.

You never know when an emergency situation will occur. Make today the day your start to get prepared.

Boarding Up!

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

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

With our top of the line rebuild division, we 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."

Storm Do's and Don'ts

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

Storm damage can be a rather difficult thing to deal with in your home. Leave the complexities to our SERVPRO professionals, and use these helpful do's and don'ts while you wait for us to arrive on scene. These handy tips can keep you from unknowingly furthering any damage to your property:

DO:

  • Wait for the "all clear" before worrying about minimizing your storm damage. Your safety should be prioritized above property safety
  • Avoid entering a flooded area, unless the electricity is turned off
  • Try to remove as much excess water as possible with wet-dry vacuums, mops, and towels you don't mind potentially ruining (if the water is contaminated)
  • Prop up wet upholstery and pillow cushions for proper drying after you remove them from the affected area

DON'T:

  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water. Your standard vacuum does not double as a shop vac
  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place to sit and mildew. Be sure to dry any wet items as soon as you can!
  • Don't leave books magazines, or other colored items on wet carpet or floors. If left on wet surfaces, the ink can bleed and permanently stain surfaces
  • Don't use any household appliances or electronics while standing on wet surfaces

Any damage to your home or business can seem daunting. If you have a few do's or don'ts in the back of your mind when a loss occurs, you will feel more in control. We make it, "like it never even happened."

We Can't Predict the Future

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

Even the Farmer's Almanac can be wrong and miss a storm predication.

Our high tech equipment, can miss a prediction when it comes to the weather as well.

Maybe you're relying on the fact that the experts predicted mild weather, so you're going to pass on getting your roof checked for cracks, or will wait another year before properly insulating your pipes. This could unfortunately end up being a very costly mistake.

The fact is that being prepared for storm damage will benefit you in the long run. Having a well sealed home can save your home from major damage in the future, sometimes the very near future!

If you do get storm damage though it's not recommended to try and do the mitigation yourself.

The experts at SERVPRO of Howard County have the correct tools and equipment to help save your home when it looks like a total loss. We are the remediation experts and that's a fact, not a prediction!

The Fastest Around!

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Howard County will arrive at your home or business quickly with teams trained and equipped to help others regain control of their lives!

Naturally, people become distressed when they experience a loss. One of the most common fears a person can have is the loss of control. Our quick response teams can help ease that fear.

Within 4 hours is the guideline to be on site. Depending on the distance of the disaster location, SERVPRO of Howard County is more than likely going to be there sooner than that to help. Within 8 business hours of the on-site arrival, a briefing of the scope will be communicated to the adjuster. Here at SERVPRO of Howard County, we're always exceeding expectations.

SERVPRO works directly with the insured's adjuster to make the process of the claim easier for all parties involved. We're here to help with the whole process, form start to finish.

Let SERVPRO of Howard County be there to help you get your life under control if a loss occurs in your home or business. (410) 465-7333

Why NOT use SERVPRO?

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has been around since 1967. Wow, right? That's 54 whole years of operation!

We all know those companies that come and go. They get a truck and put their name on the side and seem like a reliable enough company. Just because they have a name and a truck doesn't mean they have the background and expertise you want working on your home or business.

SERVPRO of Howard County is proud to be one of over 1,700 SERVPRO franchises Nationwide. SERVPRO has won more awards than we can even begin to list in this blog post, but please feel free to go to the company website and check it out.

SERVPRO has the trust of all the top Insurance Companies and is a trusted name all across the nation. We can help with your claim to make your situation as seamless as possible.

The real question should be "Why NOT use SERVPRO?" We're confident it won't be easy to add a reason to that list!

It's Never Too Late

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

It's never a bad time to get your things organized and protected. Every day is a good day to plan ahead for the not-so-good things, fire damage, water damage, storm damage, etc.

Make sure you always have your building or business protected. Call SERVPRO of Howard County to lean more about our Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) that will help ensure your facility is ready for whatever happens at any given moment.

There are so many advantages of the SERVPRO ERP, here are a few:

  • No-cost assessment of your facility
  • A concise profile document containing on the most critical information needed about your business and building structure in the event of an emergency.
  • Provides facility details, such as shutoff valve locations, priority areas, and priority contact information.
  • Accessible electrical
  • Establishes SERVPRO of Howard County as your franchise professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider

SERVPRO of Howard County is here to help get you prepared. Call us at (410) 465-7333.

Bringing Businesses Back to Business

3/12/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Howard County is dedicated to getting your business back up and running as quickly as possible and lays out a detailed plan of how we will get you there.

We will work when you need us to, to keep business interruption at a minimal.

SERVPRO of Howard County works for your company and works with commercial structures all the time. We know every business is unique and work with you for the best outcomes in the most timely matter. SERVPRO always has your best interest in mind. We will keep your updated daily throughout the process.

You can rest assured knowing our staff is awaiting your call and is happy to help you. (410) 465-7333 SERVPRO of Howard County is always Ready for Whatever Happens.

  • Small Office Buildings
  • Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
  • Apartment Buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel/Motels
  • Small Retail Stores
  • Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
  • High-Rise Residential
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Government/Military

Caring about Chemicals

3/5/2021 (Permalink)

We all know somebody who is affected by allergies, whether seasonal or something living in our home. Because of this, many of us are always searching to find ways to clean our homes naturally.

What happens though when we really have to disinfect, battle mold, or water damage, etc. We don't want to have to choose from using the right chemical to do the job and the safe chemical for our immune systems.

SERVPRO is so aware of the sensitivity of our clients and want to do our best with using chemicals that won't hurt or leave long lasting affects on our environment.

Benefect is the world's first government-registered hospital disinfectant using essential oils from plants.

This technology is used to kill germs without having any health impact on pets or humans.

This products is essential in our process at SERVPRO of Howard County. Please contact us with any questions about this product or any that we use.

More than a Mop

3/5/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Howard County is ready when one thing leads to another.

The situation might look like this: You had a water loss and did not discover it for a few days. You might just call a team in that does water extraction. Only when they do the extraction, you notice there is not mold. They might have the certification to remove mold. Then you call someone that does mold remediation but they have to demo the area. Well of course now you need a company to do the rebuild from that demo. I think you're getting the idea how one thing can lead to another.

Here's the good thing. If SERVPRO of Howard County was called we could have help with all aspects of the loss. No need for other companies. We have the teams that can do the work and take care of anything that is discoed along the way. 

We can do all those things mentioned as well as many other. We even do pack outs and storage  for clients.

Call SERVPRO of Howard County (410) 465-7333 and know that we can be there for you no matter what happens and if one thing leads to another.

Do you Need a Demo?

2/22/2021 (Permalink)

While terms like demolition might not be what you want to hear when you own a business, this mitigation step is often one of the most important actions that ultimately saves time and money on restoration. This decision is not one that gets made lightly, however. 

It is always the objective of our SERVPRO team to restore before replacement when it is cost-efficient. Controlled demolition is done meticulously, only removing the portions of materials too severely impacted to restore. 

While much of your stock and inventory can be damaged by standing or spreading water, many of your shop's structural elements can also be damaged with saturation. Some of the most sensitive materials might include: 

  • Drywall
  • Wood Flooring
  • Shelving
  • Clothing
  • Ceiling Tiles 
  • Carpets

No matter how damaging that water loss might be to your business, or when controlled demolition might be necessary,  SERVPRO of Howard County can help. We have a full-service approach from restoration to reconstruction. Call us today at (410) 465-7333.

That Smelly Smell

2/22/2021 (Permalink)

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 all of your possible options when it comes to deodorization.

Keep it Dry with the Right Equipment

2/9/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Howard County knows that using the proper equipment makes a difference. You can always count on us to have the right technology and equipment to get the job done!

For example, one of the most common losses is a water loss. Here is some information on the drying process. 

Psychrometrics is the study of the air and its properties. The properties of temperature, humidity and vapor pressure. Dew points are measured to evaluate air conditions in the structure. These measurements allow for SERVPRO of Howard County to create the proper atmosphere for the most effective drying.

There is a science to drying everything properly.

The detection equipment used is always the most current in the industry. 

Moisture Sensors, Moisture Meters, Thermo-hygrometers, Infrared Cameras, and Manometers are some the detection equipment.

Extraction Equipment, Air Moving Equipment, Dehumdification Equipment, Deodorization Equipment, and many others are all used in the drying process. 

When it comes to drying, we take it seriously!

Construction, Home Improvement, & Remodeling

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

House under construction with SERVPRO logo in top right corner SERVPRO of Howard County is ready and willing to do any construction or repairs that you may need done on your residency or business.

More than Mitigation

When you think of SERVPRO, what do you think of? Restoration, disasters, fires, floods? Did you know that SERVPRO of Howard County has the professional equipment and highly trained teams that are ready to do construction or remodeling on your home or business? That's right, we're more than just a restoration company, we're also your local experts on rebuilds! There's no job too tough for us, we're always ready and willing to come to your location and work on your space, whatever your needs may be!

Wait, SERVPRO of Howard County Does More Than Just Restoration Work?

Yes! Our teams have years of experience under their (tool) belts and can do any type of work you need done in your space. Check out this list of services we provide:

  • Board Up
  • Carpet, Vinyl Plank, Laminate, and Hardwood Installation
  • Complete Remodels
  • Door Replacement
  • Drywall Repair and Installation
  • Drywall Removal
  • Electrical Services
  • Fencing
  • General Contracting
  • Hardwood Floor Repair
  • HVAC Services
  • Insulation
  • Kitchens and Baths
  • Linoleum Floor Repair
  • Marble Floor Repair
  • Masonry
  • Painting – Interior and Exterior
  • Plumbing
  • Roof Tarp
  • Roofing Repair and Replacement
  • Siding Repair and Replacement
  • Tile Floors, Showers, Backsplashes
  • Window Replacement
  • Any and All Other Carpentry Repairs

Here is a list of some of the types of spaces that SERVPRO of Howard County will work on:

  • Single-Family Homes
  • Apartments and Condos
  • Townhomes
  • Small Office Buildings
  • Large Office/High-Rise Office Buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Hotel/Motels
  • Small Retail Stores
  • Large Retail/Big-Box Stores
  • High-Rise Residential
  • Manufacturing & Industrial
  • Government/Military

To sum these lists up, our Rebuild Services Department is ready and willing to work on anything, anywhere. You name it, we’re on it!

Why Should I Choose SERVPRO of Howard County for my Remodeling Needs?

SERVPRO has been a trusted name in the United States since 1967. Although SERVPRO is a broad name across the country, each of our 1,500 franchises are independently owned, so you know that you’re getting your individual needs fulfilled by a local business! Here at SERVPRO of Howard County, we value our customers, and we strive to do our best on any type of job.

Because we also specialize in all other forms of remediation, we are ready for any other surprises that may arise while doing a home improvement job. If your space has unknown water under the floorboards, mold in the walls, or any other type of damage causing issue, SERVPRO of Howard County will get you all fixed up! We have specialized teams that will come out any time to get your space back to normal, we won’t just have our rebuild team cover it up with a few nice looking slabs of wood!

We also place a strong emphasis on family. In fact, many of our employees are family members who were born and raised locally and have grown in and around the community! Our family values set us apart from many other local businesses and provide the work ethic needed for tough rebuild work. If you’re looking for a remodeling company that has all the state-of-the-art equipment and tools and has highly trained staff members with strong core family values, SERVPRO of Howard County should be your first phone call!

All of This is Sounding Too Good to be True

Of course any company that you talk to is going to say they are the best local remodeling business and you should go with their services. Here at SERVPRO of Howard County, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. If you still don’t trust us, just look at what our customers have to say on Google! And if that isn’t good enough for you, check out our Facebook page too!

Our Rebuild Services Department exists to fulfill your construction needs. Keeping our customers happy and satisfied is our main goal, and so far, we believe we’ve done a pretty darn good job of doing just that! We work as a team under one roof and are here for you!

So, How Can I Set Up an Appointment?

Give us a call! We’re always open and always ready for you. You can reach us 24/7 any day of the week at (410) 465-7333.

Where Can I Find More Information?

To stay on top of all the latest SERVPRO of Howard County news/updates, join in on fun conversations, and participate in contests with prizes, you should like, follow, or subscribe to each of our incredible social media pages!

Visit our home page for more information about all our other services!

Friendly Fish Fun Facts

8/31/2020 (Permalink)

When we purchase a brand new fish tank and stock it up with our fascinating little aquatic buddies, most of us never expect how much damage that one tank is capable of doing to our homes. A small fish tank usually holds around 10 gallons of water, and some fish enthusiasts will go much bigger - around 100 or 200 gallons!

Let’s say you get a very small, cheap 5 gallon fish tank for a single betta. Imagine you go to work one day and you come home to a leak that has sprung in that tank and water all over your wooden dresser and beige carpet. Fish tank water is full of bacteria (which is beneficial for the fish) that will help quickly warp wood and destroy your carpet or other flooring. Even a 5 gallon tank is a massive amount of water to pour directly onto your floor! So what can you do to help prevent this?

First and foremost, buy a plastic tank rather than a glass one. Although glass tanks are more transparent and more visually appealing to most aquarium owners, they have separate panels that must be sealed together, which is not nearly as secure as one piece of plastic creating the whole tank with no seals. Secondly, put some sort of dish or pan underneath the tank. Most fish tanks do not explode when they spring a leak, they drain water slowly and a dish/pan can help keep your stand/floor safe while you buy some time to clean up the mess. Lastly, remember to call SERVPRO of Howard County if your aquarium does spring a leak! Our team is highly trained in water damage remediation and will be ready to help you any time you need us! (410) 465-7333.

Getting your Business Back on Track

8/31/2020 (Permalink)

Right now, most businesses are definitely having to work harder to make ends meet during this pandemic. The unfortunate reality of the current environment is that money is tight for many small business owners and they must do whatever needs to be done in order to get their business safe, secure, and open for their consumers. People around the world are very worried about entering public places and are steering clear of many types of shops and stores.

What better way to tell the world that you are open and ready for business than an official announcement informing others that your business has been thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom by highly trained professionals? SERVPRO of Howard County is here to give your business a complete cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing, no matter how difficult the job. After receiving our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned services, you can have peace of mind knowing that a professional, local businesses is here to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are here to help you and we are ready to get your business back on track!

Fire and Water are Related?

8/31/2020 (Permalink)

When you have a fire in your home or business, you probably don't think about things getting wet. Believe it or not, fires can cause major water damage in almost any area, and sometimes that water damage is even more significant than the damage directly caused by the fire! When a fire occurs in a space, sprinklers can go off, water pipes can become heated, O-rings and other vulnerable seals can burn up or melt, the possibilities are endless!

Just like fire damage, water damage gets into everything and it can continue to spread and deteriorate certain areas if left untreated! That’s where SERVPRO of Howard County comes in. Our trained professionals are ready to find any and all types of damage when a disaster occurs, even the unexpected kinds of damage that most of us wouldn’t even think of! Damage typically doesn’t come in one form, it comes in layers, so be sure to give us a call to have your home thoroughly inspected and for all of your restoration needs! (410) 465-7333.

Tut, Tut, It Looks Like Rain

7/20/2020 (Permalink)

April showers bring May flowers, right? Well when you live in Maryland, July showers can bring August flowers, or February showers can bring March flowers, or just about any combination of months can bring showers and flowers! We live in a wacky state with a lot of wacky whether, and with unpredictability comes possible damage to your homes or businesses! Water damage is not fun to deal with and can really put a “damper” on things (yes, the pun was intended).

We’ve had a couple flash floods recently in our county and that means we need to be ready for any degree of water damage. Make sure your gutters are in order, fix up any cracks in your concrete, and do your best to waterproof your home using caulk or other certified waterproof material! Remember that SERVPRO of Howard County is here for you. From wood corrosion to appliance damage to a waterlogged carpet, we’re ready for any issue you may face during this rainy weather!

You can't have too many plans.

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

We all know that we should plan and practice our escape route when we have a house fire but we tend to get lazy when we don't plan to practice. Practice time needs to be scheduled. Even if it's scheduled when you change your smoke detector batteries twice year. Use the time when we change clocks back to do both. Battery change and escape route practice.

Now did you plan for things to happen to your plan. Maybe something has blocked your escape route? Think ahead to things that might happen. Keep a phone next to your bed to dial 911. Keep shoes next to your bed to escape with. Keep a fire blanket under the bed. Try to think ahead for anything that will help with obstacles. 

You should have a checklist when you leave the house or go to bed. 

Things on this list might be:

Check to make sure stove is off and clear of anything flammable.

Make sure your space heater is off and unplugged. Electrical appliances draw current and if there is a faulty plug , there could be a fire. There should also always be 3 feet clearance around the heater. 

If you are a smoker, smoke outside. This will cut the risk of having a stray ash start a fire. 

Check your dryer vents to make sure they are clean . Do not leave the dryer running when your leaving the house or going to bed. 

Be safe and smart. Make your own list of safety checks. There are many more you can add.

Lastly, make sure your house number can be seen from the road for emergency responders.

When you are safe and ready, call SERVPRO of Howard County. Plan on putting our number in your phone. We will help get things back to normal. 410-465-7333

Call SERVPRO when disaster sticks.

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

Disasters can strike your commercial property while you are sleeping! We understand the urgency for immediate repairs and can act fast to help minimize further damage. SERVPRO of Howard County emergency response helpline is always open and standing by to take your phone call 24/7!
 
Regardless of the cause, we will fast respond and help you assess problems or issues the water damage produced and start the mitigation and recovery process. Before emergency repairs are started, we remove any salvageable items, assess the extent of the damage and contamination to put together a repair plan.
 
SERVPRO of Howard County has professionals with the training, experience, and equipment to manage water and flooding damage. Whether you have a large water emergency or a small water damage event, we will respond fast to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion.

SERVPRO of Howard County provides a wide scope of services. Some are biohazard cleanup and removal, general construction for rebuilding and remodeling structures. Those are in addition to the fire, water and mold cleanup and restoration services you may already be familiar with. Below is a list of some of our services offered.

  • Fire, Smoke, and Soot Cleanup and Restoration
  • Water Removal and Dehumidification
  • Crime Scene, Biohazard and Vandalism Cleanup
  • Mold Mitigation and Remediation
  • Carpet and Hard Floor Cleaning and Care
  • Stain Removal, Stain Resistance Applications
  • Odor Identification and Deodorization
    Upholstery and Drapes: Wet and Dry Cleaning Methods

If you are unsure if we can help with an issue you are having, give us a call at (410) 465-7333 today!

Don't try to clean it yourself.

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

After a fire, your house is left with lingering smoke that can be harmful to your health and property. The best thing to do in such a situation is to clean smoke immediately because if you ignore it, the smoke will cause massive damage on your property which will require more money to clean than if you had cleaned it soon enough.

If the smoke is not cleaned as soon as possible, the items that will be mostly affected by smoke are drapes, carpets, upholstery and walls because they will become permanently discolored. Glass will become extremely etched, and metals will tarnish which will require replacement.

You might think that you can do a good job at cleaning smoke by yourself without any basic knowledge and skills on how to go about it but this can lead to you causing further damage on the items. The best thing to do is to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Howard County to do the cleaning and restore the home to the state it was in before the fire disaster struck.

One of the advantages of calling SERVPRO to clean soot is that they have specialized tools which are crucial in eliminating smoke. These are tools such as extractors, rotary scrubbers, and wet cleaning tools. Another advantage is that they have a lot of experience in doing such work; therefore, they will know the right steps to take in cleaning hour home and preventing further damage on your property.

SERVPRO of Howard County 410-465-7333

Fires are stressful

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

After a fire, there will be loss of property most times. You will want to restore  your home to its condition prior to the fire of course, but other than looks, you will really want to have it done to heal the trauma faster.  SERVPRO of Howard County has a rebuild division that can restore it back to its prior condition in a short time.

We can help with the stress of your loss by getting the restoration done and then going right into the rebuild process. SERVPRO of Howard County will be there every step of the way to help ease your worries and help to get it your life back to normal. 

The stress from a fire is hard. Getting it back to normal shouldn't be. 

Trust the professionals at SERVPRO to guide everything back into place. 

SERVPRO of Howard County 410-465-7333

What can you expect?

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

Your business has had a water loss. What can you expect when you give SERVPRO of Howard County a call? Every loss is unique but this is basically what you might see happen. 

First SERVPRO will inspect the site. Our professional staff will review and inspect and answer all questions before beginning work. We will be there that day or night when the loss occurs. 

Emergency SVC's will begin. This will look like extracting to get the excess water out and preparing the site for drying. Our equipment will be placed and monitored during the drying process. You will informed of readings all along the process.

SERVPRO of Howard County will be able to repair structural materials, reinstall carpets and flooring, following with cleaning affected areas of the property and contents. 

A final walk through of your site will take place to make sure that everything is back to where it was before the loss. 

SERVPRO of Howard County

410-465-7333

You will need more than some towels.

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

There is nothing worse than coming home to find water damage on your property. Whether your water damage is from a storm or an overflowing toilet, the damage is real and must be dealt with correctly and swiftly since water can spread quickly.

If you find standing water all over the floor, the natural instinct is to pull out the bath or beach towels to dry up as much water as possible. While this is better than doing nothing if it is not contaminated water. You may need to call the experts at SERVPRO of Howard County to get professional help. Shop vacuums are resourceful to help remove standing water, but they will fill up quickly and they are not efficient at removing moisture from carpeting and padding. Regardless of the efforts made, the water travels quickly, and may have already found its way into ventilation systems or ducts.  Sometimes the signs of water damage may take a few days to show up on the surface, such as warped floorboards, peeling paint, bulging walls, or lifting tiles.

SERVPRO of Howard County has equipment that can help located the water that you can't see before you see the damage.

Call SERVPRO of Howard County right away to help with any amount of water loss , large or small.

410-465-7333

Water, Water everywhere.

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

Water covers 70 percent of the planet.

It can be found almost anywhere you turn. Thee only place you won't want it is your home.

You  need to minimize the amount of water in and around your home to prevent rot, insects, peeling paint and a shortened lifespan of your structure.

Although there are some types of water  damage that you have little control over. There are some things you can do to help prevent water damage in some situations. 

  • Check for any leaks around the doors and windows, especially at the corners. Peeling or discolored paint or swelling around the frame often mean water is leaking into the structure.
  • Replace or repair shingles allowing water to get underneath of the roof sheathing. Leaks often occur around the chimney, attic vent or plumbing vent. Water can run along the rafters, truss or attic floors before making its way through your ceiling.
  • Seal holes and cracks in the foundation, joints and external walls.
  • Check for sweating pipes or leaking faucets. Look for bulges, wetness or cracks on the hoses connected to your washing machine. Inspect your water heater for potential rust and water leakage.
  • Keep any trees trimmed to prevent them from touching the exterior of your home.

SERVPRO of Howard County is here to help with any water damage you might have. 

Call 410-465-7333

Call your neighbor, SERVPRO

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Howard County specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition. 

As a leader in storm and water damage restoration, SERVPRO has the specialized training and expertise to restore your home back to its pre-storm condition. Our restoration process puts an emphasis on scientific drying techniques, progress monitoring and documentation.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost. SERVPRO of Howard County was able to be there right away with the flooding of Ellicott City, 

A fast response is crucial to flooding and storm damage, because it reduces secondary damage and restoration costs. Storms don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. Our technicians will respond immediately, day or night, to help business owners and residents.

Call your neighbor , SERVPRO of Howard County, when you need help quickly. 410-465-7333

Flooding in your house.

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

Don't think just because you don't reside in a flood means that you won't get flooding. 

 Even the driest areas can experience what are known as flash floods. Rivers, streams, and lakes are almost always overflowing their banks, given a couple of rainy days. 

New construction in your neighborhood can even change runoff patterns in the area and can increase our flood risks. 

The cost of flood damage is expensive. This cost can vary depending on the type of damage and where the water came from. Any tips that can help prevent this has to be worth the time to try them. You can't stop a flood from damaging your home from the above situations but you can do some things to keep a flood from happening inside your home. 

Here are some things to try:


    •    An inspection and flushing your water heater once a year, by a plumber, can contribute to preventing it bursting on you and flooding the area.
    •    Replacing the rubber hoses on all appliances that use water with metal braided ones can help to avoid the failing of the rubber ones as they can get hard and burst. Check all hoses; even the metal braided ones every year. 
    •    Leaks from toilets are often indicated by a little leakage from the base. 
    •    Do you know where to locate the main water shut-off? If a pipe burst, inside, you need to be able to get it turned off quickly. 
    •    If you have a sump pump, now is a good time to get it checked and think about a backup unit. 
    •    Always be looking for signs of plumbing leaks, such as on ceilings and walls; you are looking for stains and moisture on those walls and floors. 
    •    Leaking or even broken pipes are often gushing water, and it is not noticed because it might be hidden. Check out your water usage when no faucets are turned on; locate the water meter and take a reading, then use no water for an hour or so and read it again. Has it moved? If so, you have a leak someplace, so get a plumber to check it out. 
    •    Always monitor your monthly water bill. If it goes up a lot one billing cycle, you might have the need for a plumber to come in and check all connections. 
    •    Since a lot of water comes from inside your home and can damage many walls, floors, furniture and provide the moisture needed for molds to grow, doing whatever can be done to prevent leaks is a good exercise to undertake. 

If you have water damage from any source call SERVPRO of Howard County. 410-465-7333

Where there's smoke, there's fire.

6/11/2020 (Permalink)

You've probably heard the saying, "Where's the smoke, there's fire." In the case of a commercial building fire, you could say, "Where's the fire, there's water."

Even a small fire can cause major damage. We are always thankful that the experienced Fire Professionals are there to stop a fire of course. The reality is that most times we now have water damage to mitigate as well as fire and smoke.


A fire can rage through your office quickly and destroy building materials, furniture, documents, and electronics. The smoke damage can be just as damaging as the fire itself.  Smoke leaves soot and ash on the floor, equipment, and other surfaces. SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor is trained and experienced to  handle the cleanup and rebuild that will be need.

As mentioned earlier the water left behind can destroy computers, printers, carpet, and documents. Also if you don't clean up the water quickly, mold can start to grow.

Feel confident that when you call SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor ,We can handle the fire, smoke, water and rebuild from the loss along with any other circumstances that might arise. 

410-637-3433

Kitchens are the heart of the home but they can also be the heart of the fire.

6/11/2020 (Permalink)

Everyone loves to gather in the kitchen and the  cook is often the popular one in the house but did you know that cooking is the leading cause of home fires and injuries in the U.S. ?

Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error. Although it is important to make sure your appliances are functioning properly and kept up to date, it is equally important to cook with caution and never get too comfortable in the kitchen.  

Although accidents happen, it is important to be prepared and alert in order to minimize these chances before they occur. Here are a few simple safety precautions to take to decrease the possibility of a fire. 

Some tips to remember:

Stay in the kitchen. Never leave cooking unattended. 

Keep a fire extinguisher in or near  the kitchen.

Make sure you the batteries are always changed in the smoke detector. 

Never throw hot grease in the garbage can. This can easily start a fire. 

Beware of things around the stove. Do not keep towels , oven mitts, or anything flammable near the fire.

Also, take notice of what you are wearing. Do not wear clothing that is flowing and could catch on fire. 

Be safe while cooking and keep it the heart of the home. 

If anything happens though, know that SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor is here to help .

410-637-3433

Is your property ERP ready??

6/11/2020 (Permalink)

Do you manage or own a commercial property?  A question you might want to ask yourself is Does all your staff or on call personnel know where all the shutoffs are located?  Do you have a vendor ready selected who knows your building as well as your staff.  

If those answers aren't what you wanted. You should learn about  our FREE Emergency Ready Profile app.  We will come out and set up your property using our mobile device app.  We will ask you lots of questions and then load all your preferences right into the app so it all can be shared with your entire staff and our personnel. 

Image you have a water loss on a Sunday afternoon.  You open the app and simply tap the icon and you are on the phone with our on call staff.  If you have a particular area for access our staff already know that.  They may also have a photo of the designated area for easy recognition. 

This is a FREE service to you for you and your people.  We can also set you up so you can add and modify all the data you want to put in the mobile application.  Call us to give you a live demonstration and did I mention it’s FREE.   

SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor is here to make sure those questions have great answers. 

410-637-3433

Biohazard situations should always be taken seriously.

6/11/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor understands that any type of exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose some serious health threats and consequences. In a commercial setting, any type of sewage backup, blood cleanup or even chemical spill, can place everyone at the facility at risk. Upon recognizing the situation, your primary focus should be safety. SERVPRO can help to bring the facility back to safety.

Here are some guides to follow are a contamination

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Call emergency service personnel if the situation is life-threatening.
  • Treat all bodily fluids as if they are contaminated.
  • Turn off the HVAC system if there is sewage damage.
  • Call SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Situations that contain any biohazardous material or spills, should not be handled lightly. At SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor we care about our local community, as well as all of those that live in the area. 

SERVPRO IS A LEADER IN STORM RESPONSE

6/11/2020 (Permalink)

The team at SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor is ready for whatever happens, no matter the time, night or day. When it comes to fire & water damage, our professionals work endlessly to make sure our customers are happy and that we walk them through each step of the process.

As leaders in the storm and water damage industry, we have advanced training and expertise, as well as hands-on experience. This training and experience will be used to quickly dry your home or business and restore it back to pre-storm condition.

When a storm hits your home or business, you need help immediately. Our quick response will help prevent secondary damage and help reduce restoration costs.

We can access the resources and personnel of 1,700 Franchises to handle major storms and disasters. We also have access to special Disaster Recovery Teams strategically located throughout the country to respond to catastrophic storms and events.

SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor  is locally owned and operated, so we are part of this community too. When you have a storm event or flooding emergency, we are in the area and ready to help.

Have Storm or Flood Damage?

Call SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor 

410-637-3433

Who are ya gonna call?

6/9/2020 (Permalink)

Remember the movie Ghost Buster? Remember the catch the phrase from the theme song....Who ya gonna call? I'm sure when you have damage from a storm one of the first questions might be, "Who am I gonna call?"

Well, that question is easy to answer. SERVPRO of Howard County 410-465-7333. You may want to first know the answer to "why" as well .

That answer is easy. SERVPRO is faster to any disaster. Getting to a loss quickly is key in reducing the secondary damage and restoration cost. Emergencies do not always happen during regular hours; which SERVPRO understands .This is why we are available 24/7/365. We are always ready to help.  

Another reason to call is because SERVPRO is a  leader in storm and water damage restoration, SERVPRO has the specialized training and expertise to restore your home back to its pre-storm condition. Our restoration process puts an emphasis on scientific drying techniques, progress monitoring and documentation.

SERVPRO of Howard County is locally owned. We are party of your community and will be there whenever you need us. 

So do you know your answer when you ask yourself, "Who are your gonna call?". The answer should be SERVPRO of Howard County. 410-465-7333

You can never say , "It's just water, no biggie".

6/9/2020 (Permalink)

Water damages 1000's of homes and properties each year due to floods, extreme weather events and plumbing disasters. The problem with water inside your home, besides from damaging your home and contents, is the fact that there are a variety of environmental concerns that can affect your health.

Here are some water damage tips :

Find the source of water leakage. If your problems result from plumbing pipes, then you should turn off the main water valve and seek help from a professional.

Lower humidity levels in your home by removing wet items such as rugs, carpets and furniture. Use a large fan to keep air moving inside your home.

If flood waters enter your home, you should immediately vacate the area. Plan ahead for natural disasters by packing important papers inside waterproof bags.

Most areas of the country that are prone to flooding have warning systems in place. Listen carefully to the news when heavy rains are headed into your area.

Flood waters are almost impossible to remove without consulting a professional service. You really shouldn't try to mitigate yourself without training. 

Make sure you have flood coverage on your homeowners policy. If you live in a flood zone, then you should prepare in advance.

Your home can fast become flooded even from running your washing machine. Never leave your home while your washing machine is running.

Wet floors and carpeting must be completely dry to prevent mold and bacteria from forming.

A professional service will remove the wet items and dry your floors. Check your homeowners policy to ensure your furniture, carpets and other items are covered. Planning ahead for natural disasters is the key to reducing costs.

Prepare an emergency strategy with all members of your family that include severe weather events and flooding.

Our technicians are highly trained and experienced with every type of water damage, situation from sewage damage clean up, mold removal, smoke damage repair, fire damage repair, flooded basement, wet carpet, wet walls, carpet water damage, basement water damage, flooded crawl space, sewer backup and sewage removal.

Call the professionals of SERVPRO of Howard County if water damage happens at your home 410-465-7333

Are you ready for Summer Time ?

6/3/2020 (Permalink)

It's Summer, you know that means vacations, outdoor living and calmer days but it also means storms. Summer storms can really be dangerous and cause damage to your home. You might want to protect your home during a storm but making summer time as the marking time to have an annual to-do-list for the house. 

Some things you might want to do are:

Update your home inventory. This is so important when it comes to making a homeowners claim. Make sure you have taken pictures of your items to help report loss; save the pictures on the cloud or somewhere safe.

Look into your coverage. You will make want to make sure you have updated your insurer on any upgrades to your home. You will want to make sure everything is covered.

You will also want to know what your deductible is. You may need to boost your emergency fund account.

Trim your trees and fix any leaks. Small leaks in windows, roofs and skylights can become a bigger deal during a storm. 

Sign up for weather reports. Have your emergency kits updated and if you have pets, make sure you have a plan for them if you have to evacuate. 

Enjoy the calm of Summer but be ready for the storms. 

One other thing, Have SERVPRO of Howard County's  number in your phone. We are here to help during any season. 

410-465-7333

Why is there water in my basement?

6/3/2020 (Permalink)

A storm comes and everything seems okay but then you go downstairs and find that your basement is flooded. They first question might be, how did this happen?

There are many reasons that could have lead to this. 

Water tables vary and if the water table under the house gets too high it will find a way into the house. It might even find a small crack in the floor. This would be a great reason to see a water proofing company to take a look at the foundation etc.

Some other things to check would be the gutters. Sometimes they are clogged and will cause water to find a way in. Also, check if your down spouts. If they are not directed away from your home properly then water will get in. 

Check for clogging in storm drains is always best as well. 

Landscaping and pavers can shift over time and the slope can direct water towards the house. 

SERVPRO of Howard County is always there to help whenever you need us. We will get your basement back to normal.

Call us 24/7 410-465-7333

Hurricane Season is here- are your ready?

6/3/2020 (Permalink)

Hurricane season starts June 1st. Things might be different with the threat of Covid-19 this year but you need to be prepared. Always check for updates from the CDC about Covid-19

Stay informed with the weather. 

  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • If told to evacuate by local officials, do so immediately. Do not wait.
  • Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
  • Take refuge in a designated storm shelter, or an interior room for high winds. Be prepared that your normal shelter may not be available this year with Covid-19 going on. 
  • If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building but do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Do not go on bridges that are over fast-moving water.
  • If you must go to a community or group shelter remember to follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for protecting yourself and family from Covid-19.
  • Be prepared to take cleaning items with you like soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces you may need to touch regularly. 
  • Maintain at least 6 feet between you and persons not part of your immediate family while at the shelter,
  • Everyone over 2 years old should use a cloth face covering while at these facilities. 
  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
  • Listen to local officials for information and special instructions.
  • Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.

Please call SERVPRO of Howard County when you are ready. 410-465-7333

Mitigation requires quick action.

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Howard County will arrive to your home or business quickly, trained and equipped to help people regain control of their lives.

Naturally people become distressed when they experience a loss. One of the most common fear is the loss of control. Our quick response can help ease this fear. 

SERVPRO's guideline is to respond to the insured to arrange service within an hour. SERVPRO of Howard County is always exceeding that guideline of an hour. Call directly to our office. 410-465-7333 and speak to a live person.  

Within 4 hours is the guideline to be on site. Again depending on location SERVPRO of Howard County is more than likely going to be there sooner than that to help.

Within 8 business hours of on-site arrival, a verback briefing of the scope will be communicated to the adjuster. 

SERVPRO works direcly with the insured's adjuster and make the process of the claim work easy on the assured. SERVPRO can help with the whole process. 

Let SERVPRO of Howard County be there to help you get your life under control if a loss occurs with you. 

SERVPRO of Howard County 410-465-7333

Call SERVPRO when clean up needs more then a bucket and a mop!

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

Many times people just don't know all that SERVPRO can handle.

Fact is there isn't much of any type of clean up that they can't. 

Here is a list of most of the Services.

Restoration:

Fire, Smoke and Soot

Water Removal and Dehumidification

Mold Mitigation and Remediation

Catastrophic Storm Response

Move Outs and Contents Restoration

Electronics and Equipment

Document Drying

Contents Claim Inventory Service

Air Ducts and HVAC

Biohazard and Crime Scene

Residential and Commercial Reconstruction:

Flooring Installation

Drywall & Finishing

Painting

Kitchens & Baths

Roofing & Siding

Windows & Doors

Electrical & Plumbing

If you have a question please call SERVPRO of Howard County for answers. 410-465-7333

SERVPRO has 50 years of knowledge and leadership in the cleanup and restoration industry.

SERVPRO'S track record of results has earned the trusts of the insurance industry, homeowners and business owners all over.  SERVPRO has been there for all. From the smallest of clean up to The Pentagon. 

SERVPRO of Howard County, we make it "Like it never even happened."

The right equipment can make all the difference.

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Howard County knows that using the proper equipment makes a difference. When time matters and it does when reducing claim loss expense, you can count on us to have the right technology and equipment to get the job done.

For example, one of the most common losses is a water loss. Here is some information on the drying process. 

Psychrometrics is the study of the air and its properties. The properties of temperature, humidity and vapor pressure. Dew points are measured to evaluate air conditions in the structure. These measurements allow for SERVPRO of Howard County to create the proper stmosphere for the most effective drying.

There is a science to drying everything properly.

The detection equipment used is always the most current in the industry. 

Moisture Sensors, Moisture Meters, Thermo-hygrometers, Infrared Cameras, and Manometers are some the detection equipment.

Estraction Equipment, Air Moving Equipment, Dehumdification Equipment, Deodorization Equipment are all used in the drying process. 

 When it comes to drying we take it seriously.

Call SERVPRO of Howard County. We are here to help. 410-465-7333

Because one thing can lead to another.

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Howard County 410-465-7333 is ready when one thing leads to another.

The situation might look like this: You had a water loss and did not discover it for a few days. You might just call a team in that does water extraction. Only when they do the extraction, you notice there is not mold. They might have the certification to remove mold. Then you call someone that does mold remediation but they have to demo the area. Well of course now you need a company to do the rebuild from that demo. I think you're getting the idea how one thing can lead to another.

Here's the good thing. If SERVPRO of Howard County was called we could have help with all aspects of the loss. No need for other companies. We have the teams that can do the work and take care of anything that is discoed along the way. 

We can do all those things mentioned as well as many other. We even do pack outs and storage  for clients.

Call SERVPRO and know that we can be there for you no matter what happens and if one thing leads to another. 

Why SERVPRO?

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

When your looking for a mitigation company you ask yourself so many questions when choosing a company. The problem is that when an emergency comes up we don't have time to interview companies. 

Good thing is that SERVPRO can be all of what you need. Just look to our website for any informtion you need. But just knowing our name is top in the industry might be all you need. 

Most people want a professional team. Any guy can show up in a van and tell you he can help you, but can he back it up with over 50 years of industry know-how? Does he certification to make sure the job is done right? We have warranties and all our crews are trained and background checked. You can rest easy knowing that we are The Professionals. SERVPRO works will all the top insurance agencies. We will work with your adjusters to make sure your are taken care of. 

SERVPRO has been around since 1967. As most people can tell you, longevity most often means stability.

You want a company that sets the standards and continues to learn the best practices. When you stop learning, your business will whither away and die. SERVPRO isn't going anywhere and won't stop learning the newest techniques.

With over 1700 franchies there is always someone to help your hometown.  SERVPRO of Howard County is proud to be here to help.

24/7/365 . Just call 410-465-7333

Be Proactive with Any Virus

3/13/2020 (Permalink)

As we see the possibilty becoming a reality. You can lean on on us at SERVPRO, even more. Our message of "We are here to help" has never been more true.

SERVPRO is helping to contain this new pandemic and mitigate the impact on our neighbors.

One of the widely known and one of the hardest hit facilities is in Kirkland, Washington. The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team has been on site to control the situation. https://bit.ly/3aQh04K

It is important to note that the cleaning methods need to be more sophisticated and effective with this level of Bioremediation than just wiping hard surfaces with disinfectant. Health comes first and with the use of PPE and protective masks, our teams adhere to OSHA and CDC guidelines.

SERVPRO of Howard County  will use the fogging methods to more deeply disinfect. SERVPROxide, the hospital-grade disinfectant, is released from the fogger, and its particles adhere strongly to surfaces and objects. The procedure must ensure that all surfaces including walls, doors, floors, and ceilings are uniformly coated. Instead, we follow our initial fogging with a wiping of all surfaces followed by a further fogging round. It is an extreme and comprehensive disinfection process, which should be the norm when dealing with this magnitude of a virus hazard.

Our team is ready to assist with preventive or post-contamination.

In describing "Proactive," we would say that means as cleaning when no person is suspected of being exposed to COVID-19. It would be a smaller area of study since no verified case has been identified.

If there was exposure to anyone suspected of either testing positively for COVID-19 or being subjected to someone displaying symptoms in your facility, we call this "post-contamination" cleaning. In this situation, the scope of work and the required safety measures will increase.

Please contact SERVPRO of Howard County for any more information questions about actions that can help your facility. 410-465-7333

Is your business ready for a flood.

2/21/2020 (Permalink)

You may have found the perfect place to have your business but have your check the area for flooding. If you rent, you will want to see if the building has insurance against flood. More than likely you will need to get flood insurance on your own for your content. 

Try to prepare your work area for flood. Elevate your utilities and other critical items above anticipated flood water levels. 

Check with the local Stormwater Division in your county. You can find out all kinds of information concerning flood hazards and property protection.

If you are at work and flooding is occurring do not try to drive home. Driving through flood water is extremely dangers and could lead to death . Wait for help. Have a plan of action in place before the flood occurs. Better yet check the weather. Make sure your phone is set up to get emergency alerts. 

Be prepared before the flood, have insurance in place, have alerts in place and have an action plan in place. 

Think the flame is worse then the heat, think again!

2/21/2020 (Permalink)

If your like most people you might think you can get out of a fire if you can at least avoid the flames.

Not true, the smoke and gases are 3 times as likely to kill you then the flame. https://www.usfa.fema.gov/

It takes less than 30 seconds for a small fire to go to a big on in many cases. Just minutes for the black smoke and gasses that are produced to over come you. Did you know the heat from a fire can be more threatening than the flame. The temperature on the floor can be 100 degrees and 600 degrees at eye level. Can you image what that kind of heat does to your lungs while breathing it in? The heat alone can even burn your clothing. 

Make sure you have your fire plan in place. There are many resources to get an exit plan set up in case of a fire. 

This site is a great resource for information.https://www.usfa.fema.gov/

Be safe and be prepared. 

Can you protect your home from a wildfire?

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

In recent years it seems like there are more wild fires then ever. 

Right now Australia is going through a devastating fire right now. 

Many times we have no control if we are going to lose our home to a wildfire but there are things we can do to prepare and hopefully at times save our home.

So be prepred.  Create a defensible space around your home. Keep at least 30 feet between your home and your potential sources.

Clean and remove all dead and dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters.

Create a seperation between trees, shrubs and items that would catch fire. These could be things like patio furniture, wood piles , swing sets etc.

If there is a wildfire in the area be prepared.

Stay aware of the latest news and updates from your local media and fire department.

Get your family, home and pets prepared to evacuate.

Place an emergency supply kit and other valuables in your vehicle.

Close and protect your home’s openings, these could be the attic and basement doors and vents, windows, garage doors and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating your home.

Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. 

Leave as early as possible, before you’re told to evacuate.  

Be Safe and always remember that SERVPRO of Howard County is here to help . 410-465-7333

New Year, New Chance to get it right!

1/6/2020 (Permalink)

New Year's Time Clock We are always here to help!

2020 is here. The New Year Begins!!! This is a great opportunity to get things organized and protected as well. It's a great time to plan ahead for the not-so-good things, Fire and Water damage.

Make on of your resolutions to have your business protected. Call SERVPRO of Howard County to lean more aobut our Emergency Ready Profile that will help ensure your business is ready for whatever happens in 2020.

There are so many advantages of the SERVPRO ERP.

Here are a few:

  • No-cost assessment of your facility
  • A concise profile document containing on the mosts critical information needed about your business and building structure in the event of an emergency.
  • Provides facility details, such as shutoof vlave locaitons, priority areas, and priority contact information.
  • Assessible electronically
  • Establishes SERVPRO of Howard County as your fanchise professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider

SERVPRO of Howard County is here to help get you prepared. Call us at 410-465-7333

Make the fall your prep time for winter.

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

September is a great month for preparing for winter. It's not too hot or cold to check some areas of the house that need attention.

Check the roof for any loose or missing shingles. This should be repaired before winter hits.

Ducts should be checked. Over time the seal can come loose. This can let heat into the attic causing snow to melt and refreeze causing ice dams on your roof.

The end of fall is a great time to drain your water heater. This should be done once a year. Do it now before you find out your only have really cold water in your house.

 If you have a chimney, make sure you sweep it (or have it professionally swept) before lighting any fires for the season. Removing the excess soot, as well as the birds and animals that made their homes in chimneys throughout the year, will help prevent fires and smoke damage. Also, examine the damper to make sure it’s still looking good. If it’s bent or warped, warm air will be able to escape through the chimney.

If you have ceiling fans, now is the time to reverse them. Putting them in reverse will help blow down warm air that would otherwise be stuck near the ceiling, which will likely mean you can turn your heat down a degree or two. 

Enjoy the fall weather but also make it a time to check your home for the winter. 

Water damage isn't always caused by the weather.

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

If you are like a lot of people you might think of water damage to your home being caused by weather; maybe a hurricane or heavy rains. 

In reality most water damage comes for non-weather conditions. This might mean a plumbing issue such as pipes, drains and valves failing. It could also be many times from an appliance. This is something that most people don't think about.

Appliances do not always offer warning signs until the damage has already occurred. That is why it is important to check them regularly.  

First, know where the main water supply is located in case of emergency.

If you will be away from home for an extended period, shut off the water supply and drain the pipes.

Exceptions might be if your home is heated with steam system or your fire sprinkler system so consult with a professional if you can turn this supply off when leaving.

Consider having your air conditioning system inspected regularly by a professional. Check the drain lines annually and clean them if they are clogged.

Inspect water heaters, showers, tubs, toilets, sinks and dishwashers annually, and have them repaired if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion. When possible, install water heaters in areas with floor drains to minimize damage if leaks should occur.

Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilet bases, and make repairs as needed.

If your refrigerator has an ice machine or water dispenser, the hose between the wall and the refrigerator should be made of braided copper. 

Check pipes for cracks and leaks. Have pipe damage fixed immediately to prevent more costly repairs in the future.

Check appliance hoses and plumbing fittings for breakage, crimping or bending. 

You can't always prevent water damage from happening in your home but many times prevention is your best friend in avoiding water damage from happening. 

Commercial business interruption.

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

When your business has a situation that calls for SERVPRO's help, SERVPRO is there to work for you. SERVPRO understands that if possible you will want your business to still operate during clean up, even if at sub capacity. 

SERVPRO will put containment walls up around the work area. If possible, SERVPRO will work during non-traditional business hours to get the work done if that is what is requested.

SERVPRO will be discreet when it's needed for any sensitive clean ups. SERVPRO takes pride in our staff and their sensitivity to the fact that your business is the priority. We want to make sure your business is up to full capacity as soon as possible. 

SERVPRO understands that an unexpected period of lost productivity and revenue can be devastating to any business large or small.

SERVPRO has the training and resources to get your business up and running in the fastest time possible. 

Have your house prepared for you to leave it.

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

Summertime is a great time for relaxation and travel for most. It's also a good time to get your house checked for leaks etc so you can take a vacation with a good piece of mind.

Check your home for leaks at the pipes under the sinks and check the water heater for cracks and rust.

Look at the seals around your windows and make sure their in good condition. If you have any shingles dislodged on the roof, now is a good time to have them replaced. 

All the hoses that connect major appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerator ice maker lines need to be checked for kinks, cracks etc. 

Examine your sump pump and check that it is in good condition and clear of debris by filling the sump pit and running the pump. Listen to the motor for strange sounds and watch that the water is going outside. Install a battery-powered backup source in case there is a power outage while you are gone.

Turn off the water at the main if there is no one to check your house. Drain the pipes as a precaution and flush the toilets after . 

If possible have someone check on your house while your away.

Have a relaxing Summer but nothing is more relaxing then taking the time to prepare your house for your absence. 

SERVPRO of Howard County will be there if you need us of course if anything goes wrong. We are there 24/7 and we don't take a vacation. 

Check for water damage before buying a new home.

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage signs can be left in plain sight at times if you look. Grab a flashlight when looking at a home to buy .

Water damage can be hiding anyway but check the high risk areas at least.

Check the walls for spots and stains. Don't forget to look around doors and windows.

Check the floors for warping and buckling especially in the basement. Look for white or dark stains on wood floors, damp carpeting and a general smell of dampness and mold,

Check the piping in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, and basement for corrosion around the pipe connections, leaks, or water stains. Inspect the caulking around the bathroom fixtures. Missing or loose caulking could be caused by water seepage. Look for missing grout or signs of mold. Check the water heater for wet spots on the floor and rust on the tank.

Check the attic for stains, mold, and other signs of leaks. The insulation should be dry and in good condition. 

Don't forget to check the outside of the house.  Check the roof for damaged flashing and missing, cracked, or curled shingles. If you see standing water anywhere outside the home, it could be the sign of a problem. The house should be situated on the highest point of the property, with the ground sloping away from the house.

You have to cook no matter what the season.

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Although house fires are generally down in numbers during the summer months, you still need to be on your toes when cooking. Cooking is one of the most leading causes of house fires by far. Grease and oils can ignite an unattended stove. Another way that a fire can occur is with dish towels or other things being left on the stove. These items can ignite easily. 

Taking the cooking outdoors in the summer doesn't necessarily keep you safe from a cooking fire. Mishandled propane tanks are responsible for many fires and injuries. 

Summertime is a time to be careful as always whether you are cooking indoors or outdoors. Enjoy the easy breezy days of summer but stay on your toes when cooking.

If you have a problem of course SERVPRO of Howard County is always there to help. 

Relax in the Summer but be prepared.

6/26/2019 (Permalink)

Summer is a great time of year. Most people have a more casual lifestyle during the summer. Relaxing is great to recharge our inner batteries but don't get too relaxed when it comes to being prepared for summer weather.  

Summer thunderstorms can produce tornadoes, strong winds, large hail and lightening.

Keep you weather plan up to date for these types of situations.

Know what the weather forecast is so your not caught unaware.

With severe thunderstorms a vehicle is a safe location when there is no other nearby shelter.

With thunderstorms though too can come strong gusts of winds. This can make traveling difficult so be prepared to slow down and just wait in your vehicle on the side of the road for the storm to pass.

Hard topped vehicles are the best in these situations , especially if there is lightening.

Again, relax during the summer but keep up with the emergency plans. You want to be safe to enjoy the sun. 

Keep your dryer vents clean.

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

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

Make sure your employees are educated on fire prevention.

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

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.

SERVPRO of Howard County is always open.

6/21/2019 (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.

Why board up?

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Summer and Storms.

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

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."

Commercial business and water damage.

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Do you have a plan?

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Be Ready!

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

How quickly your business is able to return to normal operations after a tornado, fire, or even a flood often depends on emergency planning. It is easy to think that such emergencies are unlikely to hurt your business, because truly they aren't a terribly common occurrence. That said, it is even easier to just take the time to prepare for anything.

Even though every situation is unique, your business can still be prepared. Your commitment to emergency planning will help support your employees, customers, industry colleagues, your local community, and even the country. Additionally, it 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 might affect your business and devise a plan to deal with them

Develop a Business Continuity Plan:

Plan which staff, procedures and equipment are undeniably necessary to keep operating. Plan a backup plan for everything. Make 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 them at least once a year.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Promote Family and Individual Preparedness:

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

Smoke is no joke.

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

Fire losses and the damage they leave behind can be an incredibly complex job to deal with. This is caused largely by the behavior of smoke. When our SERVPRO professionals respond to a call for a fire job, their initial goal is to determine the extent of damage from fire itself, smoke, heat, and moisture. Not only do we deal with damage to building structures, but we work to clean buildings contents.

Our SERVPRO trained professionals are trained to understand how smoke penetrates various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our teams knowledge helps them investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. We know it can be stressful when you don't understand the issues facing your home, so take a moment to read up on the different kinds of smoke and soot that could potentially effect your property.

While there are technically only two different types of smoke - wet and dry, there are varying types of soot residue after a fire. Here's a handy glossary of smoke and soot types that might come in handy if you're ever faced with the misfortune of dealing with a property fire:

Wet smoke (plastic & rubber): Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. These smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry smoke (paper & wood): Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises and thus so does the smoke

Protein fire residue (caused by evaporation of material instead of fire): Virtually invisible discolors paints and varnishes, extremely pungent odor

Fuel oil soot (furnace puff backs): While "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO can, in most cases, restore your contents and your Baltimore structure quickly (thanks to their training)

Additionally, we do deal with tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher resides. These special situations require special care and evaluation.

Understanding and having the ability to differentiate between these different types of smoke and soot is part of SERVPRO's specific training which makes us a cut above any other local restoration team. Trusting a company  to care about your home like you do can seem daunting and feel impossible, but when it comes to SERVPRO, you can trust you are in good hands at SERVPRO of Howard County. We make it, "Like it never even happened."

Keep our number handy.

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Storms can cause so much damage to your home or business. The key to getting back to normal is immediate response. The quicker you start the drying process, the less damage and more of your valuables can be saved.

You are going to want to call in an expert. SERVPRO of Howard County is that expert. SERVPRO provides 24/7 emergency services. We have highly trained water restoration specialists. 

Here are some related services of SERVPRO. 

  • Overview of Storm and Flood Services
  • Water and storm damage tips
  • Disaster recovery team
  • Water Restoration Process
  • Caring for your belongings
  • Mold Remediation
  • Sewage Cleanup
  • Carpet Cleaning
  • Odor Removal
  • Roof Tarp and Board up Services
  • Commercial Storm Damage

When a storm is coming to your area do what you can to prepare you home and business but also make sure you have SERVPRO'S number handy in case you need help after a storm. You are gonna want to call the experts. 410-465-7333

Do all you can to start the water mitigation process.

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

When you have water damage the first thing you want to do is call the experts at SERVPRO of Howard County 410-465-7333

Here are some tips to do while waiting for SERVPRO.

Turn the water off. This might seem like the obvious thing to do but some people forget to do this. Water damage mitigation can't start until the water is off. 

Remove excess water.

Mop up as much excess water as possible. To speed the drying process, in cool weather, open windows. In hot weather, turn on the air conditioner.

Prop up upholstery. Any cushions on couches, etc should be propped up for more even drying.

Remove area rugs. Anything that is wet and can be moved should be moved away to dry. This includes area rugs, magazines, books, or anything that is sitting on top of the wall-to-wall carpet.

Open storage containers. Open any boxes, suitcases, etc that may contain moisture to let them dry.

Protect furniture.Place plastic bags between the legs of your furniture and the wet carpet. This will keep the pain and lacquer on the furniture from bleeding down into the carpet and ruining it permanently. Also, open any drawers or cabinet drawers to allow them to dry.

Protect your valuables. Remove any valuables from the affected area. This includes, paintings, papers, computers, etc. Drying out an area creates heat and humidity. Anything that can be affected by this should be move away.

Dry clothing. Dry all of your clothing as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather somewhere to dry. If necessary call a garment restoration professional. Our technicians can give you referrals to good, reputable companies who can help.

Remember the first thing to do is to call SERVPRO of Howard County 410-465-7333 then do all you can to start the process before SERVPRO arrives. 

A few things to have in place to be prepared for a Summer Storm.

6/7/2019 (Permalink)

Make sure you have a first kit handy. Make sure you have at least the following items: bandages, pain relievers, antiseptic, tweezers, and scissors.

Make sure the gutters are clear.  I know this seems like a fall job but with the wind a debris that can come from any storm, you don't want the gutters to clog and pool water around your foundation. 

Be prepare for power outages. Along with owning a backup generator, flashlights, and a battery- or solar-powered cell phone charger, you should also keep a battery-operated radio handy. You should make sure that you keep a list of emergency contacts somewhere accessible. Your cell phone may lose power and your will want to have some numbers written down for back up. 

Make sure you have an evacuation plan. Between the Weather Channel, Twitter, and other alert systems, you should be comfortably aware of any severe weather warnings. Plan in the event of hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods for  a safe place to take shelter.

Fill up your bathtubs with water. If something goes wrong, you will have a fresh supply of clean water to drink or use for bathing and flushing the toilets.

Reinforce your windows. If your area has been warned of an impending hurricane or tornado, you should reinforce your windows with wooden boards so that – even if the glass is broken – your home will remain relatively dry and undisturbed.

Inspect your trees and shrubbery. Don't have tall trees etc by your HVAC system. Have your trees checked by a specialist. You want to have dead trees removed and shrubbery trimmed etc. 

Store water and non-perishable foods. If you live in an area prone to power outages, you should consider storing bottled water and non-perishable food items, such as canned goods, energy bars, and peanut butter, in a safe and dry place.

Secure outdoor furniture. When a hurricane, tornado, or severe storm hits, any lightweight item can become a projectile. If you can bring things inside if you can secure them down. 

Plan on some activities. Especially if you have some children. A powerful storm can be stressful,especially after the power has gone out. Have some fun things planned to keep everyone distracted. 

Storms can bring unexpected Damage!

6/7/2019 (Permalink)

Storms can sometimes come unexpectedly and with little warning. This can be devastating . You are going to want to turn to a company that is an expert that you can trust to get your home or business back to normal. 

SERVPRO of Howard County is there for you. We have dealt with catastrophic events. SERVPRO in recent years was instrumental in getting the town of Ellicott City, MD back on their feet after two back to back floods in as many years. 

Damage from nature can come in many forms including, flooding by heavy rains, hurricanes, tidal surges, tornadoes, wind damage, ice, snow etc. 

SERVPRO of Howard County  is an expert in all kinds of damage so keep our number handy for the summer storms ahead. 

410-465-7333

We care more about the damage to our things then our structure.

6/7/2019 (Permalink)

Storms can do some real damage to our home. Walls can come down, roofs come off and water come inside. We know this can be fixed for sure but what about our special items. Our "stuff" as we fondly refer to the things inside. 

SERVPRO of Howard County can do so many things to save your items.

Your Paper Stuff.

When your valuable documents, including photographs, are damaged by water, extreme caution should be taken to help ensure the water damage does not destroy the document. Although some documents may not be restored to pre-water damage condition, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can save a great deal and help minimize the loss. 

Depending on the type of documents and the level of water damage, they have five options for the restoration of documents:

  1. Air Drying
  2. Dehumidification
  3. Freezer Drying
  4. Vacuum Freeze Drying
  5. Vacuum Thermal Drying

Your Electronic Stuff

Water-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by water. They will coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including:

  •  Television sets
  •  DVD players
  •  Computers
  •  And more

The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. They start by cleaning the exterior of electronic devices to help stop further corrosion and damage. Electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician.

 Those are just two categories of "stuff" that SERVPRO can help to restore after a loss.

SERVPRO of Howard County is here to help with all your items that are are sometimes more important to you than your roof that can be replaced .

SERVPRO of Howard County 

410-465-7333

Sometimes the cure is worse then the symptom but not at SERVPRO.

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

I feel like we all know so many more people who are affected by allergies, if not ourselves. With that being said, most of us are always searching to figure out how to clean our homes naturally. 

What happens though when we really have to disinfect, battle mold, or water damage, etc. We don't want to have to choose from using the right chemical to do the job and the safe chemical for our immune systems.

SERVPRO is so aware of the sensitivity of our clients and want to do our best with using chemicals that won't hurt or leave long lasting affects on our environment.

Benefect is the world's first government-registered hospital disinfectant using essential oils from plants.

This technology is used to kill germs without having any health impact on pets or humans.

This products is essential in our process at SERVPRO of Howard County. Please contact us with any questions about this product or any that we use.

Most of the time one things does lead to another.

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

Roof leaks happen all the time . Most of the time home owners get the roof leak repaired and think that everything will then dry out and be fine. 

This usually isn't the case. You really need to have SERVPRO come out and read the moisture levels with state of the art equipment. If left unchecked many times moisture will cause mold to grow on the insulation and walls.This was the case with the picture your seeing. The owners had their roof leak repaired 3 weeks prior and then as time went by they saw mold growing.  By the time it can be seen on the ceiling it may have been spreading and growing for weeks. 

You want piece of mind that you are living in a safe environment. 

Give SERVPRO of Howard County at call 410-465-7333. We can give you that piece of mind that everything is okay or we can mitigate and get you back to breathing easy. 

Why use SERVPRO?

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

This is a tough one to answer but not because we aren't the best; it's just that the reasons are many.

But to name a few; here you go. 

Things don't always happen between 9 to 5.

You are going to want to call and be heard by a real person. SERVPRO of Howard County is open 27/7/365 days a year. We have a state of the art answering service so that someone can talk to you direct and then get you to the right person to help get this problem on the way to being solved.

All crew members receive the best training in the industry via IICRC. ( Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification).

Restore vs Replace Philosophy

The drying and cleaning method allows us to save a lot more than replace. The benefits are cost effective, time saving and it helps to give the customer piece of mind. 

To hear even more reasons just give SERVPRO of Howard County a call and we can answer any of your questions. 

Believe it or not broken pipes don't take a vacation in the summer and neither does SERVPRO.

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

Many people think they don't have to worry about broken pipes in the summer but that really isn't the case. Before leaving for that vacation you might want to turn off you water and drain the pipes just like you would in the winter.

There are many reasons for a broken pipe in the summer. Here are a few:

Invasive tree roots.(check out the picture)

Extended wet/dry spells ( this can make the ground shift and the extra pressure of this movement can cause problems with buried pipes).

Rust in Metal Pipes.

Wear and old age.

Hard Water.

Clogs.

Substandard repairs.

When a pipe burst; if you can, turn off the water supply at the main cut off valve when a pipe breaks.

Drain the water by running cold water in the sink and flushing the toilets.

Of course call SERVPRO of Howard County 410-465-7333 to help get your property dried out.

SERVPRO of Howard County is there for you year round. 

Because we are more then a pretty truck!

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has been around since 1967. Wow, right?!

We all know those companies that come and go. They get a truck and put their name on the side and you think they must be good . Just because they have a name and a truck doesn't mean they have the background and expertise you want working on your home.

SERVPRO of Howard County is proud to be one of 1700 franchises Nationwide. Did I mention that SERVPRO has won numerous awards? Too many to list here but feel free to go to the company website and check it out. 

SERVPRO has the trust of all the top Insurance Companies. SERVPRO can help with your claim to make your situation as seamless as possible.

I think the question should be "Why Not" use SERVPRO. I'm sure it will be hard to add a reason to that list. 

Keep learning, keep growing.

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

"The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power"...( David Bailey)

It always makes sense to be a lifetime learner. SERVPRO of Howard County couldn't agree more. 

Our crews are always learning. Learning new equipment, new techniques etc. Our crew members have to always keep their credentials up to date every year and have to keep adding to their expertise. 

SERVPRO of Howard County is so proud of the men and women that are called in to help people on some of their worst days. We are able to keep them informed every step of the way. Our crews are able to help them understand the methods they are using, the chemicals they are using and why. The more they know the more "super" powers they have ;). Next time you see one of our crew members don't be afraid to ask them about their credentials etc.

We are here to help. 

Are you prepared for a House Fire?

2/21/2019 (Permalink)

Are we really ever prepared for a house fire? It would be hard to ever prepare ourselves mentally but we can try to have a plan in place to be as safe as we can in case of a fire. 

The Red Cross has a great website for giving tips. Here are there 7 tips to be prepared. 

The 7 Ways to Prepare for a Home Fire

 

Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.        

 

Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one. 

 

Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.

 

Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.

 

Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.

 

Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.

 

Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire. 

http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire/home-fire-preparedness

SERVPRO is the one to call for your commercial needs.

2/21/2019 (Permalink)

We are committed to handling our customer's emergency needs 24/7.

In the event of a commercial loss, it is important to know in advance who you can trust to mitigate your damage in a timely and effective manner. Here are 7 reasons you should choose SERVPRO of Howard County for your commercial property's cleanup and restoration:  

  1. 24 Hour Emergency Response. In any type of loss, whether it be due to fire, water, mold, or biohazard, timely mitigation is vital to controlling damage and recovery costs. You can count on SERVPRO’s nationwide coverage and full line of restoration services to help your company make a speedy recovery.
  2. Communication. SERVPRO of Howard County will keep you informed from start to finish. You’ll know what’s happening every step of the way. From the first notice of loss until the job is complete, we are dedicated to effectively communicating with property owners and managers. Jobs are documented extensively as well to ensure timely mitigation and communication with our customers.
  3. Reduce Recovery Time. When damage occurs in a business, it affects everyone from the owner, the managers, the employees, the tenants, and even the customers. Our team at SERVPRO of Howard County  understands the importance of mitigating damage to the structure and contents in a timely manner to help reduce recovery time and lessen business interruption.
  4. Lower Recovery Costs. As an independent franchise ourselves, SERVPRO of Howard County understands the importance of frugality. This is why we teach our technicians to employ similar concepts when working with our customers. The following are ways that the SERVPRO System can help your business save money during mitigation:
    • Emergency mitigation services help minimize your secondary damages.
    • Proper restoration versus replacement of contents is less expensive.
    • Faster recovery lessens loss.
    • We use pre-approved  pricing and procedures.
    • Comprehensive clean up and restoration services help prevent further problems and potential liability risks.
  5. Emergency Response Profile. The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile serves as a quick reference of important building and contact information or can be an ideal supplement to any well-designed emergency preparedness or existing contingency program.  Rather than simply reacting to disaster situations, most prefer proactive measures to establish a relationship with a restoration services company. SERVPRO of Howard County can help you plan for recovery before disaster even strikes.
  6. Full Line of Services. SERVPRO of Howard County  are trained extensively to utilize the right equipment and supplies to handle all of your clean up needs. 

Just call SERVPRO of Howard County for all your Commercial Needs. 410-465-7333. We are here for you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Your Business and Water Damage

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

When we think of water damage to our business, many owners think of water damage happening from mother nature. Rain and flooding to which they have little control. So why worry about what they can't control right? The fact is that they are more likely to have water damage from things they can try to control or at least prevent. 

For example; the roof is one of the most common places to cause water damage. Owners should make sure the roof is checked regularly. One inch of rain weighs about 5 pounds. This can cause a lot of strain on a roof and can lead to leaking. 

Pipes and drains seem like they would be checked but most aren't checked regularly. A crack as small as an eight of an inch can dump 250 gallons of water per day. 

Sprinklers are great if you have a fire but not so great if it malfunctions. Sprinklers should be checked for updates but also signs of rust or damage. 

Appliances should be checked regularly ; water heaters, air conditioners, etc. can cause a lot of water damage if things break on them.

We can't stop all water damage but we can try to do as  much preventative care as we can. SERVPRO of Howard County is here to help when the unexpected happens. Just give us a call 410-465-7333. We are there for your business 24/7.

Winter and Fire Safety

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Heating is the second leading cause of a home fire next to cooking. We always think of candles and cooking causing fires but we need to think of being safe when we heat our home too. 

Here are some safety tips:

Use your fire place safely. Always use metal or heat tempered glass screens when using a fireplace.

Never use an oven or stove top to heat your home.

Keep wood stove door closed unless adding wood or pellets or stoking the fire.

Make sure your space heater has an automatic shut off. If it tips over then it goes off. 

It's always best to test your smoke alarms at least once a month.  

Always remember to turn off a space heater when leaving the room or going to bed.

SERVPRO of Howard County is here to help if a fire happens in your home. Give us a call at 410-984-8520 . 

https://www.hvfd6.org/safety/winter-fire-safety/

Who are you going to call?

9/7/2018 (Permalink)

Your water damage is new; who do you call? If I were you I wouldn't call a new company, call one that's been around and has the experience your looking for.

SERVPRO has been around since 1967 with over 1500 franchises. To say SERVPRO knows " a little bit about water damage" is an understatement. 

SERVPRO is an expert in water damage. Our professionals go through extensive training and certification to make sure your getting the most up to date techniques available.

SERVPRO's leadership has earned the trust of the insurance industry, homeowners, commercial property managers and even the Pentagon.

Make sure you have SERVPRO of Howard County's number for when you have a problem. We can service your loss with using SERVPRO's 40 years of knowledge and training to help you quickly recover. 

410-465-7333

Rain, rain go away or at least stay outside.

9/7/2018 (Permalink)

Rain is great for your yard but not to get inside your home.

Many people wake up from a rain storm to a wet basement. It may be from the foundation or could be a pipe leakage, sub pump failure. Many things could have happened and you will want to determine how it happened to get the right person out to repair.

In all the cases though you are going to want to call an expert in helping you to dry out your basement. That expert would be SERVPRO of Howard County.

We can get right to work in getting the water up , drying the structure etc. SERVPRO has the knowledge as to what can be dried and saved and what is better off being throw away. 

Did you know that organic materials like paper, fabric, wood, leather can start to grow mold in as little as a day? Let SERVPRO help you save as much as possible of your things.

SERVPRO of Howard County is here to help 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

410-465-7333

Make sure your business can come back from a disaster.

9/7/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that 50% of Businesses don't re-open after suffering a disaster?

That's hard to hear if you own a business. The best thing you can do is to be prepared.

SERVPRO offers to all it's commercial clients a FREE Emergency Ready Plan. Just call SERVPRO of Howard County and one of their team will come to your business and help you prepare.

After you have this set up, getting help cleaning up and/or restoring your property is just a few clicks away.

Don't worry if your have a large business. SERVPRO has a large loss division that has the expertise to manage the cost and operations of large commercial losses. 

SERVPRO is your  best resource in getting it back up and running.

Disaster doesn't happen always during 9-5 hours, that's why SERVPRO is there to help 24/7 to get your business back after a disaster. 

Taking a vacation? Tips before you leave.

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

We think about shutting off water lines in the winter to avoid freezing pipes when we are away but we don't think about doing the same in the summer when we go away, but we should.

Many people don't think about it but pipes leak and break all the time in the summer.

If you are going away you might want to close the main water valve off to water in the house. It won't affect your water sprinkler system outside if that may be of a concern.

Instead of thousands of gallons of water spilling in your home you might only get a few gallons. To be even safer, drain the lines before you go. Open the faucet in the bathroom after you have shut off the valves and drain the water out of the pipes and flush the toilet.

The last thing you want is to come home from a relaxing vacation to have water in your house.

Some other great things to do before you leave :

Turn the air conditioner up but not off. You want to have air circulating because the heat can affect doors and flooring and you don't want it to have time to collect condensation.

Unplug your electronics. If they are connected to a surge protector just turn that off. You will save money while your away.

Put your lights on a timer to make the house less appealing for robbers.

I hope these help. Have a great vacation and great "welcome home" from your house.

Stay ahead of mold.

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

When you have a flood in your home mold can start to develop in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Your going to want to start to be activewith the clean up as soon as possible. SERVPRO of Baltimore's Inner Harbor is available 24 hours a day, everyday of the year.

Here are some things you can start to do before SERVPRO arrives:

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

SERVPRO uses advanced equipment and techniques to remove the water quickly and properly dry out your home or business.

Let us help you stay ahead of the mold if possible but rest assure if the mold follows the water damage SERVPRO can handle it. We are here for any type of problem.

I found you!

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

Many people may already know the most common places for mold :

Basements or cellars that have been flooded , underneath kitchen and bathroom sinks, underneath or behind refrigerators, behind walls that also house plumbing, under carpeting that may have become wet, stacks of damp or wet newspaper or cardboard boxes, wallboard , and around air-conditioning units.

But I want to tell you some uncommon places to look.

Chimneys, front-loading washing machines, window sashes and seals, dishes ( yep, if you don't dry them well and stack them up ), books ( that old book smell can really be the smell of mold).

Try to stay ahead of the hiding game with Mold, take a monthly check around the house. In this game it's better not to find the mold to win.

Summertime and Fireworks go hand and hand.

7/9/2018 (Permalink)

There is always a joke about buying Fireworks that comes out in the summer.

It goes something like this," always buy from the guy missing a few fingers; you know he always has the good ones!"

Kind of funny but not so much if it happens to you.

Every 4th of July people get hurt with fireworks. Some lose a finger, some lose their home to fire and some even worse.

It's not hard to believe that some people call the 4th of July the deadliest of holidays.

If your going to enjoy setting off  fireworks this year at anytime follow the instructions on the firework as well as these  few more tips:

Have a bucket of water near by

Light one at a time

Don't try to re-light a "dud" firework. Give it some time and then soak it in water

Wear safety glasses

Don't let children handle fireworks

Always be a safe distance from any buildings or cars

Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting and then tossing in a metal trash can

The last thing I can say is don't forget to pack your common sense this summer and anytime you light off fireworks check your surrounds and look for things that could go wrong.

You don't want to be like the guy in joke!

Is it an allergy to pollen or mold?

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

I'm sure if you were asked the question, "can you have an allergy to mold?", your answer would more than likely be , "sure".

But if asked what the symptoms are then you might not be so quick to answer. Here's the thing, the symptoms of mold allergies are so similar to plant and animal allergies that you might get them confused. 

Typical allergy symptoms are sneezing, itching, runny nose, congestion, dry and scaling skin. All of these same symptoms are associated with mold allergy as well. 

Mold and mildew are fungi. The spores are the "seeds" of mold that travel through the air. These spores are what we inhale and have a reaction to. These spores can also get into our lungs and trigger asthma.

So if you think your allergies aren't going away, even when you've tried medicines and stayed in doors. It might not be the allergy that you think you have. 

When in doubt have SERVPRO check you home for Mold. We are here to help. 

Lazy Summer nights.

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

Who doesn't love sitting outside in the summer and enjoying an outdoor fire?

Those lazy night of summer can be fun but don't get lazy when it comes to the fire.

When you are building a fire pit. Make sure it's downwind of your camp site or any backyard items.

ideally you should clear out a 10 foot radius of space around your pit. Make sure there isn't any tree limbs hanging down as well.

Before you build the fire make sure the weather conditions are in the safe zone. Dry, windy weather for example can be a bad time to have an outdoor fire.

When you have finished enjoying the fire make sure it's out. Even if the embers are gray it doesn't mean it's safe.

Pour water on the fire and then stir it with a shovel to test for any hot spots

Summertime is a great time to be lazy but not when it comes to the fire.

Don't let summer storms leave your business in ruins.

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

Blog | SERVPRO Franchise Website Administration

How quickly your business is able to return to normal operations after a tornado, fire, or even a flood often depends on emergency planning. It is easy to think that such emergencies are unlikely to hurt your business, because truly they aren't a terribly common occurrence. That said, it is even easier to just take the time to prepare for anything.

Even though every situation is unique, your business can still be prepared. Your commitment to emergency planning will help support your employees, customers, industry colleagues, your local community, and even the country. Additionally, it 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 might affect your business and devise a plan to deal with them

Develop a Business Continuity Plan:

Plan which staff, procedures and equipment are undeniably necessary to keep operating. Plan a backup plan for everything. Make 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 them at least once a year.

Review Your Insurance Coverage

Promote Family and Individual Preparedness:

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

Be a leader.

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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 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)

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

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

4/14/2017 (Permalink)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

   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)

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)

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)

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)

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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