Recent Posts

Steps to Take Immediately After a Storm Damage

3/18/2021 (Permalink)

Storm damage can occur at any time and can cause an immense amount of harm to your home. Heavy rains can cause flooding and powerful winds can cause roof damage and downed trees on your property. Some post-storm damage can create safety and health hazards as well, so having a strategy to deal with damage will help you to be ready to take steps immediately after the storm.

Take Safety Precautions

Heavy winds and rain can create physical hazards such as collapsed roofing materials, window damage, collapsed walls, or standing water in the basement or home interior. In addition, moisture can soak into furniture, carpeting, and building materials making the perfect environment for mold growth that can cause health effects. Shut off the main gas line if you smell gas. Beware of broken glass, exposed nails, and other sharp objects on the property. Contact a reputable property restoration company to help do basic tasks to secure your property and make it safe to use. If necessary, arrange for an alternative place for you and your family to live while your property is being restored to safe living conditions.

Photograph the Damage

If it is safe to move around your property, use your cellphone or a camera to photograph the damage so that you will have a record for your insurance company. This action will ensure that you are fully compensated.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance agent to notify them about the damage to your home immediately. The company will send out an adjuster to determine the extent of the damage so that payment for repairs can be made.

The Best Way To Minimize a Disaster at Your Home or Business is to Plan For it NOW!

3/17/2021 (Permalink)

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 developing 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 startup approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference for important building and contact information. By working with 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® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.

  • 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 Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
    You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and is 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.

Vacant Buildings: More Than an Eyesore

3/11/2021 (Permalink)

Last week’s “catastrophic” fire at a large Middletown building further illustrated the need for code enforcement concerning vacant buildings that become community eyesores, officials said.

 The large fire was reported at 6:40 a.m. on Wednesday at the former Middletown Paperboard complex at 300 S. Verity Parkway. More than 100 firefighters at a time battled the blaze, which led to the arrest of a man, Joshua Lamb, who said he was living in the building when a fire he started spread to his bedding.

As of Friday afternoon, Middletown firefighters remained on the scene putting out hotspots as crews from Vickers Demolition used heavy equipment to knock down walls and move debris.

Shelby Quinlivan, a city spokeswoman said South Verity Parkway/Ohio 4 between Girard Avenue and Yankee Road was closed to through traffic because of the damaged buildings and debris as well as two smokestacks at the south end of the facility that will need to come down to protect public safety.

Middletown firefighters have remained on the scene watching for floating embers going on to nearby residential and commercial properties since New Year’s Day. The smoldering embers were buried in pockets inside the double roof, burning into the old wooden beams. As demolition crews worked, moving the debris and removing the scrap metal left in the building, walls were being knocked down revealing more hotspots.

Previous media accounts and “The Pointe,” MidPointe Library’s official blog, said the Middletown Paperboard facility, which consists of 61 parcels, had between 400,000 and 600,000 square feet of space on the 11-acre site.

The original paper mill dated back to 1827 when it started on Vanderveer Street to make boxboard from recycled paper, according to “Middletown - The Steel City” by Middletown Historians Roger L. Miller and the late George C. Crout. In 1873, “C.H. Wardlow and J.K. Thomas built a new paper mill on the site, producing manila and bag paper,” they wrote.

Crout and Miller wrote the site also served as headquarters for Corson Packaging, which “started as the Interstate Folding Box Company at 300 South Verity Parkway in the early 1900s … In 1981 it was acquired by American Packaging, and in 1993, by Corson Packaging. (The company) was known for its folding paperboard cartons. Corson closed the plant during the summer of 2000.”

The facility was later acquired by the Newark Group, which continued operations until 2004. In 2012, Newark Group, which reportedly removed all of the equipment at the Middletown facility and the Franklin Boxboard facility, sold the properties to B.P. Logan LLC in 2012. Last summer, the former Franklin Boxboard facility along with Mindlin Recycling was demolished by its property owner, Cohen USAs who acquired it from BP Logan LLC in 2017.

Middletown Paperboard started as “a series of substantially constructed brick mills, warehouses, etc., the mechanical equipment embracing all the latest improved machinery and appliances known to the trade, and power being obtained from a water privilege and an auxiliary steam engine…”, wrote Harry Simms in “Middletown In Black and White.”

Over the years, it has been the target of vandalism, and its cavernous space allowed the homeless to shelter themselves from the elements. Public safety employees have checked on the building periodically, but there have been a few fires in past years as the property owner did not secure the building as requested by the city.

Then-city manager Doug Adkins testified this year before the Ohio House of Representatives and said that over the previous five years, Middletown had spent $100,000 on the abandoned property. He said a February 2018 fire resulted in $150,000 in property damage and cost the city about $17,000 to fight the fire that was ruled as arson. He said the estimated amount to clear the site was about $1.9 million.

In addition, the city spent thousands of dollars boarding up windows, securing doors, and putting up fencing to deter squatters and the homeless from entering the building.

The Middletown Paperboard property has been the subject of a tax forfeiture case against owner B.P. Logan LLC for not paying $259,565 in back taxes. It was ordered to go to the sheriff’s sale but was not purchased. Last month, the property was ordered to be forfeited to the state of Ohio by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Howard, according to court documents.

Acting City Manager Susan Cohen said the city plans to work with the Butler County Land Bank to acquire the property for redevelopment as part of the Oakland Historic District project, a plan to rehabilitate the Oakland neighborhood into an urban renaissance incentive district.

Last month, a Butler County Common Pleas Court judge ordered that the property be forfeited to the state of Ohio. She said the city has never had an ownership interest in the property.

Jennifer Ekey, Middletown economic development director, previously said the Paperboard site will be listed in the city’s new master plan as a special interest area due to its proximity to the Oakland Neighborhood and future development project.

Middletown City Council has been working to beef up ordinances to hold property owners accountable for the condition of their residential, commercial, and industrial structures over the past few years as well as developing and implementing an updated planning, zoning and development code; a new master plan; a chronic nuisance ordinance; and a civil penalties ordinance to encourage property owners to maintain their properties to a minimum standard.

Last year, the council also updated a vacant building registry ordinance requiring property owners to furnish ownership, insurance, and other information to city officials. However, that ordinance only applies to the urban core downtown district and is for 10 years. The Paperboard site is just outside that zoning district. Shelby Quinlivan, the city spokeswoman, said only 12 downtown area properties are on the property registry.

Cohen said it would be up to the council to determine if that ordinance should be expanded to other parts of the city.

Preparing For The Last of Winter Weather This Season

3/9/2021 (Permalink)

Winter storms create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms and blizzards can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. A winter storm can:

  • Last a few hours or several days;
  • Knock out heat, power, and communication services; and
  • Place older adults, young children, and sick individuals at greater risk.

IF YOU ARE UNDER A WINTER STORM WARNING, FIND SHELTER RIGHT AWAY

  • Stay off roads.
  • Stay indoors and dress warmly.
  • Prepare for power outages.
  • Use generators outside only and away from windows.
  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • Look for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Check on neighbors.

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A WINTER STORM THREATENS:

Prepare NOW

  • Know your area’s risk for winter storms. Extreme winter weather can leave communities without utilities or other services for long periods of time.
  • Prepare your home to keep out the cold with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping. Learn how to keep pipes from freezing. Install and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and warnings of freezing weather and winter storms. Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Gather supplies in case you need to stay home for several days without power. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets. Have extra batteries for radios and flashlights.
  • Create an emergency supply kit for your car. Include jumper cables, sand, a flashlight, warm clothes, blankets, bottled water, and non-perishable snacks. Keep the gas tank full.
  • Learn the signs of, and basic treatments for, frostbite and hypothermia.

Content by: https://www.ready.gov/winter-weather

Tips For Business Fires!

3/4/2021 (Permalink)

Tips for Dealing With the Aftermath of a Business Fire

A hot fire that gains momentum can leave a building in ruins with virtually nothing left to save. In many cases fire is stopped before it leaps out of control; this often results in many items that can be saved and restored. A partial fire loss leaves the business owner with a lot of decisions about what steps to take to save money, speed up recovery, and to clean up the mess. Contacting a professional fire remediation service in Eastern Main Line/Bala Cynwyd is a good first step.

An Inspection Is Critical

A thorough inspection by experienced technicians is the quickest way to know where you stand and to gauge the level of fire loss. The inspection should cover the following areas of your business:

  • The structural integrity of your roof
  • The extent of smoke damage in the building
  • The condition of the walls and flooring
  • The state of electrical and computer systems
  • The functionality of the heating and plumbing systems

For insurance purposes, all of the damage should be documented. It's also important to file a timely claim and to understand your policy and your rights. Don't settle for work that is shoddy, that does not match the original and that does not address hidden damages such as soot, water, and smoke damage.

A Good Cleanup Is Essential

A stellar fire restoration process will proceed quickly and restore items that can be cleaned of odors and grime. A reputable remediation team will have advanced equipment and a variety of cleaning techniques to get your building back in shape. The company will take the guesswork out of what can be saved and what should be thrown away and bought new. In many cases, clothes and upholstery can be restored to excellent condition again. The fire loss might not be as extensive as originally thought.

CE Classes

2/22/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Overbrook / Wynnefield is looking to schedule a free Continuing Education class in the upcoming months. For example, below is a sample of some of the classes that could be taught. There are plenty of other classes that credits could be handed out for but here are a few.

Understanding The Restoration Industry: Property Fire

(4 Credit Hours)

This course has been designed to teach and explain the special procedures used by professionals in mitigating and restoring fire damage claims for the insured. The purpose of the course is to provide attendees with a better understanding of the work performed by the mitigation vendor at fire damage work sites.

Concepts of Legal Liability

(3 Credit Hours)

This concept is the basis of most liability insurance.  This program will present the basics of legal liability by building a foundation of various legal theories.  The theory and elements of negligence are presented.  Various types of law are discussed. Included is a discussion on damages resultant from legal liability. 

How Great is it to Know That You Can Call One Company to Get The Job Done?

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Overbrook / Wynnefield now offers reconstruction services for all mitigation damages! No need to find someone else to perform your restoration portion of the water, mold, or fire damage! After we come in and perform the cleanup services, we can smoothly transition into the reconstruction services to help restore your home or office back to good condition!

With our new Reconstruction division, we are excited to offer the following services during the reconstruction process: 

    • Structural repairs
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
    • HVAC
    • Windows/Doors
    • Interior Design
    • Flooring Replacement (all types)
    • Ceilings
    • Roofing
    • Drywall
    • Siding
    • Exterior Finishes
    • Carpentry
    • Framing
    • Tile Work

Storm Damage Unnoticed For Several Months

2/12/2021 (Permalink)

Rain can be unpredictable enough, but when storm damage is involved it can make matters even more complicated. In fact, a local office building experienced just that. Through the holiday season, they were closed for business and did not discover the damage from the rain until the office manager returned two days later.

When she and the rest of the staff saw that every inch of the carpet was soaked and files in cardboard boxes have been saturated, they began to panic. When we arrived on the scene, we let them know everything was going to be okay. Our production team began to extract water immediately from the wet carpet while the production manager measured what areas were wet and which were dry in the corners. After thoroughly checking for moisture, extracting all water, and drying for a few days, we were able to save the carpet, saving the office and property manager hundreds of dollars.

If you have water damage due to a recent storm, let our office help! Give us a call at 215-877-6653 to schedule an inspection today. Our team is standing by and would be happy to help. 

Top 6 Causes of Commercial Water Damage

2/12/2021 (Permalink)

Major Causes of Water Damage
Did you know that a leaking faucet can cost you more or less 250 gallons of water each month? There are 12 months in a year; do the math and you will get an idea of the amount of money you get to waste each year for a single unfixed leaking faucet. Below are the 6 most common causes of commercial water damage.

Damaged sprinkler system
The law requires all commercial entities to have a sprinkler system, along with a fire alarm, installed in the building for safety purposes in case of fire. The sprinkler system should only get activated when there is too much heat from the fire. However, over time, the sprinkler can get broken and malfunction. When this happens, the sprinkler can get activated even without fire leading to serious flooding within the building.

Roof leaks
The roof should protect the occupants and everything within the building from external elements such as the heat from the sun and rain. But a leaky roof does otherwise. As the roof gets older, it also becomes more vulnerable to heavy rains and snow, resulting in water damage to your building’s roof.

Broken HVAC system
Your business’ HVAC system is an essential part of maintaining the temperature of your building and making its occupants comfortable. Studies have also shown that your HVAC system can also impact the productivity level of your employees. However, like any other part of your commercial building, your HVAC system can also experience issues such as clogging and leaking. An HVAC system that is not cleaned and maintained regularly can cause water damage from the excess water in the compression tanks.

Broken equipment and appliances
Sometimes, your building may have appliances such as a water heater, AC, washing machine, and others. Apart from that, there are also pipes within the building that can get damage anytime and cause water damage in the commercial space. Major problems happen if these equipment and appliances get broken and no one notices it or during off-hours as it can leak a significant amount of water.

Damaged windows
Another common cause of water damage in commercial buildings is damaged windows. Rainwater and moisture can seep through especially if the windows are not properly maintained and need re-caulking. While it may not cause immediate flooding, it can do great damage to the drywall and can encourage mold growth.

Natural disaster
Apart from the damage to your building’s foundation and roof, water damage in commercial buildings can also be caused by natural disasters like hurricanes, thunderstorms, and heavy rain resulting in flash floods. Clogged gutters can lead rainwater to flow towards the foundation of your building, making it more vulnerable to water damage.
Commercial water damage is a devastating problem that any business owner can experience. While there is no way to totally get rid of the threats of water damage on your building, knowing its most common causes will help you minimize the risk.

SERVPRO Tips for Hurricane Season

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

Hurricane season has taken a toll on places like North Carolina and Florida. Businesses and homeowners everywhere should consider many things during hurricane season to prevent damage to their property. Many of them seem obvious, but others, not so much. What are some of these preparation tasks you might ask? Let us try to answer this question.

Building and Street Maintenance

Consider the last time you cleaned your storm drains. If they have not been cleared out in recent years, this could cause a blockage of water from draining away from your property. When water gets clogged in drains, this can lead to a back-up. This means water will be coming back into your home or business and can cause very serious damage. If you have a shop vac (dry/wet vacuum), try to get some of the dirt and build up out of the drain. If you can’t clean it properly, call a professional.

Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are basically pumps used to get rid of water that has entered a building. When turned on, these pumps run water through a hose and outside of the property. If you own these pumps when was the last time they were tested? Do they have a battery backup in case of a power outage? Power outages cause almost 20 percent of water damage due to sump pumps not being able to run during these outages. If you do not own a sump pump, consider buying one especially if you commonly see water damage on site.

Generator Fuel Tanks

Many people like to store back up generators in their basements. This can be dangerous because if water seeps into your basement and gets into the fuel tanks, this will contaminate the gas and lead to failure to start the generator. In turn, this means no power and could lead to more damage.

Runoff

Does grading lead away from your building? Grading helps to move water away from your building instead of moving towards it. Checking your grading system can help keep water from flowing into your building.

Clear the Floor

One of the leading causes of water damage is the items on the floor. You can avoid this by removing porous materials, boxes, and paper from the floor of your basement. Keep all of your electronics off the floor and make sure to turn off your electronics when you are expecting heavy rains.