Recent Posts

Emergency FIRE Response Plans for Businesses

1/12/2022 (Permalink)

Fire Extinguisher Pull. Aim. Squeeze. Sweep.

Your business may already have an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in place, but are you certain that it covers everything you and your staff need to know? Formulating a complete and thorough evacuation plan may not be easy, but doing so can help protect you and your employees. At SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County, we offer ERP consultations to ensure that your business is ready; each Emergency Response Plan is unique as it is customized to your business's specific needs. In the meantime, here are some things you may want to make sure are included in your plan:

1. Fire Extinguisher Locations
It is important to ensure that every employee knows exactly where each fire extinguisher is located. This important step can save precious time during a fire, and has the potential to mitigate the situation before it causes further damage. Fire extinguishers should be easy to locate and easily accessible during an emergency. Additionally, employees should be trained on fire extinguisher use, using the P.A.S.S. technique. Fire extinguishers should be assessed annually by a trained professional to ensure that it is properly charged and ready to use. NOTE: Fire extinguishers should only be used if you see the fire start. If you are unsure in your ability to stop the spread of a fire, evacuate immediately and call 911.

2. Exit Locations
Another important part of an Emergency Response Plan is knowing where the nearest exits are from any point in the building. Knowing these locations will allow you and your staff to safely exit the building in a timely manner if a fire occurs. NOTE: There should be at least two exit points from every workspace, in the event that one path is blocked.

3. Designated Meeting Place
Another important step in creating your Emergency Response Plan is setting and communicating a "Designated Meeting Place". The Designated Meeting Place should be outside and a safe distance from the building. All employees should be trained on the location of the Designated Meeting Place, and should gather at that location so they can be quickly accounted for. NOTE: It is recommended that businesses conduct both routine and random fire drills to prepare staff for an actual fire. These drills can be used as training opportunities.

4. Emergency Contacts
In the event of a fire, call 911! Though 911 is the first number to remember, it is important to have employee Emergency Contact Information saved and accessible. You may want to include a note in your plan about where this information is stored to ensure it’s accessible when needed.

5. Post-Fire Information
In addition to Emergency Contact Information for employees, you may also want to include the location of insurance and mitigation and restoration professionals phone numbers in your plan. Doing this will ensure that you have the necessary resources available after a fire occurs. NOTE: Having the number of a trusted fire restoration service like SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County may make fire cleanup easier and less stressful.

6. Contact Us
To create or fine-tune your Emergency Response Plan, contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County at 717-665-1270! We are the professionals that are faster to any size disaster. We are here to help, and want to ensure that you are prepared in the event of an unfortunate disaster. Setting up an ERP with SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County allows you to be one step ahead when it comes to you and your employees safety!

A clean office means fewer pests

12/27/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Office A very clean and merry SERVPRO of Western Lancaster office at Christmas

A Cleaner Office Means Fewer Pests

Office pests can include insects and small mammals, like mice. These pests are often attracted to an office for a few key resources — food, water, and shelter. Offices are sometimes more prone to pests simply because cleaning may not be a top priority for your staff. Learn how you can boost the cleanliness of your office and help prevent pests.

Break Rooms

Break rooms tend to be ground zero for pest infestations, as this is where the bulk of food storage, preparation, and consumption occurs.

Garbage Cans

You will want to advise your employees to line garbage cans with plastic bags. Doing so will help contain odors. For optimal scent consolidation, opt for lidded receptacles in the break room and common areas where food may be disposed of.

If you utilize a daily cleaning service, it is best practice to empty each waste bin every evening, regardless of whether or not food and candy wrappers are present. Full service cleaning companies will empty individual garbage cans if the offices are left open or if keys are provided. For offices with only weekly cleaning services, or that have locked offices, a staff member should empty garbage cans every night. 

Pantries

The state of an office pantry can leave a lot to be desired, and this isn't typically an area serviced by your cleaning crew. Instruct employees keep all food items in sealed plastic bags or storage containers. All storage containers should  have a sealed, tight fitting lid. Additionally, make sure spills in the pantry areas are cleaned up promptly; the longer food sits, the more likely that pests will find their food source.

Hard Surfaces

During short breaks, employees don't always have the time to thoroughly clean up after themselves. Spills on counter tops, food left in the sink, and crumbs on tables or floors can all lead to a pest infestation. Fortunately, an office cleaning crew can save your break room. The crew will wipe down and disinfect all surfaces. A cleaning service can also wash dishes, clean out the sinks, and mop at the end of every workday.

Offices and Cubicles

There are many office-specific practices that can be attractive to pests, such as storing food in desks, or keeping stacks of paper on the floor. 

Snacks

No one wants to limit snacking in the office, but setting a few ground rules is a must! Any food kept in cubicles, desks, etc... should be stored in pest-proof containers, such as jars or lidded food storage containers. Candy jars and similar items should also have lids on them. There should never be half-empty soda cans, water cups, or coffee mugs left on desks overnight. 

Cleaning services don't typically remove items from desktops, so it is up to your staff to stay on top of these issues.

Dust and Debris

Dust, stacks of papers, and general untidiness can also invite pests into a space, plus a mess makes it harder for your cleaning service to do a thorough job. Only 29 percent of office workers feel that their office is cleaned adequately, but part of the problem could be the state of the office before the cleaning staff arrives.

Instruct all employees to file papers away each day. And don’t allow items stacked on the floor. This will allow your cleaning service to do a thorough job.

Carpet Spills

Regular carpet cleaning is a must in any office! Crumbs and spilled liquids leave behind tempting morsels for pests. Most office cleaning services also provide office carpet shampoo services. Set up a monthly schedule for a deep clean and you won't have to worry about pests. As a bonus, your office will look and feel much cleaner.

Contact SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County  at 717-665-1270 to learn more about how commercial cleaning services can keep your office clean, more welcoming, and free of pest problems.

Key steps to take after house fire

12/21/2021 (Permalink)

house fire SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County knows exactly what steps to follow after a fire. Reach out to us if you experience any fire damage.

One of the worst situations that any homeowner can experience is having a fire in their house. In the event that this awful occurrence happens to you, you need to know how to respond. This article examines some of the key actions you need to take after a fire in your home.

Stay Safe

The top priority after a fire is ensuring that you and your family remain safe. After a serious fire, you almost always will need to vacate your property, so contact friends or relatives to see if they can provide you with shelter temporarily. If you have no close relatives or friends to turn to, contact local organizations, such as the Red Cross, which can give you the help and shelter you need. 

Another crucial safety issue is making certain that it's safe to go back into your damaged house. Never go back into a house with fire damage unless the fire department says that it's safe. Also, check with the fire department to see if you can safely use your utilities.

Insurance

Naturally, one of the first things you want to do after a fire, once you and your family are safe, is to contact your insurance agent. You want to make a claim as soon as possible so that you can start to restore your home to its previous condition.

Inventory

Make a list of all of your property that was damaged in the fire. Your insurer will want to know exactly what was lost or damaged before they will compensate you. Record the value of the items that were damaged or destroyed, as well as a description of the property and the approximate date that you purchased it. 

Avoid throwing away any damaged items before listing them in your inventory. If you throw out an item first, you may forget to note it in your inventory later.

Undamaged Items

It's a good idea to separate property wasn’t damaged from property that was damaged. You may need to transport your undamaged furniture and other intact property to a local storage unit to prevent thieves or looters from entering your home and stealing it.

Restoration

After you have dealt with the most immediate issues, then you can start dealing with the damage to your home. The most effective way to contend with fire damage is to engage the services of trained professionals.

Once you have consulted with the restoration firm, they will inspect your home and tell you exactly what needs to be done. The firm will also make certain that your home is as secure as possible by boarding up damaged windows and putting a protective tarp on damaged sections of the roof. This will help you avoid further damage from rain or break-ins.

A critical step in getting your home ready for structural repairs is dealing with any water damage that resulted from the fire department extinguishing the flames. Another key step is removing any soot and smoke odors from the walls, floors, and ceilings of the house or from your belongings. 

Fire restorations firms are experts at both of these tasks, so you need not worry about these jobs being handled properly. The technicians have specialized equipment that resolves smoke odor and soot problems efficiently and without harming your belongings or causing any further damage to your house.

You need to take all the proper steps after a house fire to resolve the situation effectively. Of course, one of the most critical steps is enjoying the services of an experienced fire restoration firm, such as SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County. Contact us for more information about restoring your home to its original condition after a fire.

4 Signs of water leaks in your home

12/20/2021 (Permalink)

Leaking sink Visible water leaks are the easiest to spot; however, not all leaks are quite noticeable. Know the warning signs of a potential problem.

While water leaks are a common problem that any homeowner can face, you can’t always find them easily. Leaks that are hidden behind walls and floors can cause significant damage before they are located, and they are often the most challenging to repair. Here are four signs that can indicate hidden water leaks in your home.

Visible Water Damage

Unfortunately, you’ll most easily find a leak after it has already done some damage. Not all leaks lead to large, noticeable water spots, however, so you should be on the lookout for more subtle signs. Peeling or blistering in paint and wallpaper is often a sign that the drywall behind them is swelling with water. As the leak continues, you may notice the walls bowing inward in these areas as the drywall becomes completely saturated.

Several of the pipes and fittings under your bathroom floor can be points of failure, which makes this one of the most common places for leaks to occur. This will sometimes cause stains on the bathroom floor, or the tiles may begin to lift. However, gravity tends to draw the leaking water downward, so you should keep a watchful eye for stains on the ceiling of the room below your bathroom.

Unexplained Stale or Musty Odor

Stagnant water is likely to create a noticeable odor in any environment. If there is an unexplained stale or musty smell in one of the rooms of your home, a hidden leak is likely. Plumbing leaks can create an even more serious problem by emitting a lingering sewage odor.

Mold on Walls or Ceilings

Mold flourishes in environments that are dark and damp, so leaks behind the walls of your home can create the ideal conditions for mold growth. Because drywall is porous, mold will eventually grow through it and begin to show on the outside of the walls as well. Although mold is common where leaks occur, mold can grow in some places without necessarily indicating a leak.

Common examples of places in your home where moisture can build up are the areas below air conditioners, the space behind your fridge, the area around your shower or tub, and in damp spots in your basement. Mold in these areas should not be immediate cause for alarm about a leak. Hidden leaks will typically cause mold to grow on walls, floors, and ceilings that don't normally come in contact with water.

Increasing Water Bill

If your water bill has significantly increased but you haven’t had any significant change in water usage, a leak is likely to blame. According to the Environment Protection Agency, an average household can lose almost 10,000 gallons of water a year to leaks, and 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 or more gallons of water per day! Needless to say, wasting this much water can cause a significant increase in your bill if the problem is not addressed in a timely manner.

If your water bill has sharply increased over a short amount of time, you should suspect a high-flow leak. These types of leaks should be fixed as soon as possible to minimize the risk of water damage to your home. A gradual increase in your bill may be caused by a smaller leak, but you should still have your plumbing inspected promptly before the leak begins to worsen over time.

Locating a hidden water leak is less difficult if you know the most common symptoms. Keep an eye out for these signs of water leaks, and contact us at SERVPRO of Western Lancaster for repairs if a leak has led to water damage in your home.

You can count on SERVPRO!

12/16/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO staff Our team is geared up and ready to go!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program that we are offering to local businesses and residential properties.

By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Beyond fire, water, and mold mitigation and restoration services, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills, always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – Program

The program is grounded in our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

Consult

Not all businesses are the same, which is why SERVPRO professionals understand that each business will need to create a custom cleaning program to meet their specific needs. SERVPRO has worked in a wide variety of industries, with businesses ranging from start-ups to global organizations. The business’s specific program will be developed based on a range of factors including business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touch points, foot traffic, and congestion points. As a result, they’ll know that Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is not just the industry-leading standard in clean, they’ll know that the clean they receive is customized to their unique needs.

Clean

Based on the specific needs of their business, properties will undergo a thorough, expert cleaning. Combining our proprietary training, cleaning solutions, and processes creates a solution that will provide their business, employees, and customers the peace of mind that they are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned. SERVPRO professionals have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform.

SERVPRO professionals are trained to perform proactive or emergency responsive cleanups that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection. In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, a SERVPRO professional will be there ready to safely and thoroughly clean, sanitize, and disinfect the facility to ensure they get back to business as quickly as possible.

Certify

We’re going to extend our credibility as the premier biohazard cleaning company in the country to their business—to give assurance to their employees and customers that only SERVPRO can deliver. Once their business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, they will gain access to propriety signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that they’ve selected the highest standard of cleaning available to protect their employees and customers. And because we add the date to that proprietary stamp of clean, their guests will know that their location is being cleaned regularly at this standard

Call for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Consultation

We’re Here to Help! Call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster today at 717-665-1270  to  schedule your cleaning and disinfecting consult!

We're the Professionals

12/15/2021 (Permalink)

Technicians completing training Some of our Technicians at Asbestos Handling training!

SERVPRO is a name you can rely on! SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County professionals understand your situation, are fast acting, and are always working toward continued education to help better meet the needs of our local community!

Emergency Response to Claims

Restoring property is the SERVPRO of Western Lancaster’s first priority. As a customer, we believe you will appreciate the quick response and knowing that everything is going to be done correctly to limit the damage to your home or business.

Pretesting Reduces Expense

Restoring property is less expensive than replacing it. At SERVPRO of Western Lancaster, we follow the thought process of "restore whenever possible and replace when necessary."  Our SERVPRO franchise professionals make sure pretesting is completed on every loss to determine restorability, in addition to assessing the area and determining the Category and Class of water damage.

Trained Professionals

Effective training is the best way to help ensure that our customers receive the service they deserve. Our franchise is trained to IICRC standards in Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration. In addition, continuing education classes are provided to our team of professionals at IICRC Approved Training Facilities. Collectively, our technicians are trained and certified in Water Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation, Applied Structural Drying, Fire and Smoke Restoration, Odor Control, Crime and Trauma Scene Bio-hazard Recovery, Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning, & Asbestos Handling.

We’re Here to Help

For fast and effective mitigation and restoration, call SERVPRO of Western Lancaster at 717-665-1270! SERVPRO is a 24/7 emergency service provider and is always Here to Help!

Christmas time- Joy and Cheer from SERVPRO of Western Lancaster

12/13/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO christmas tree Ray our very talented office manager has brought his eye for design and made our sweet Charlie Brown tree look oh so fabulous!

We love this time of the year, we love the smell of chocolate cookies, cinnamon and Christmas cheer (!!!) ...yes we smell it all...!

We are grateful for our health and wish the same to all families out there. We are all there for each other and that makes our community strong and persevering. Our prayers and warm wishes to all this holiday season! We are happy to have our Christmas tree up and to be able to celebrate the end of the year. 

We at SERVPRO of Western Lancaster wish all our customers safety, strength and  wishes for all they deserve and desire. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all !

Floor stripping and cleaning for commercial clients

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO cleaned floors After a water damage at a local business, the floors took a beating, The wax was stripped, and the floor scrubbed, polished and buffed.

A successful commercial building in Lancaster County sees a lot of foot traffic daily, whether that’s new customers walking through or regular employees heading in and out throughout the workday. Unfortunately, all this busy activity can wind up causing some pretty brutal damage to your business’ floors, leaving them looking old and uncared for. As business owners, we know you take great pride in the overall look of your establishment. Here’s why you should strip and wax your commercial floors regularly:

 Strip floors of old wax for better aesthetics

Let’s be honest, the big reason a commercial building owner will want to strip and wax the floors is that they’re invested in the overall aesthetic of the space. Damaged or dull floors age a building drastically, making customers and employees less likely to appreciate the space. If your floors have already been waxed – and they should be! – then the majority of that ageing has actually occurred on the wax, not your floorboards. Adding another layer of wax could add some shine, but it won’t be able to hide the grime that’s blended into the previous wax layer. Professionally stripping the older wax will permanently remove all that dirt buildup; properly prepping your floors for an even, enchanting shine.

Wax floors to prevent damage

Without regularly waxing, the wear and tear of foot traffic will permanently damage your building’s floors. This can include scuff marks and discolorations, as well as more expensive concerns. Primarily, wax prevents moisture from getting into or under your flooring. Without wax, flooring can bubble up or be deformed by moisture, as well as grow mold underneath. Professional waxing preserves floors by ensuring that any scratches or spills affect the top layers of the wax, keeping your commercial building’s infrastructure safe. Keep the high value of your investment with regular waxing to prevent damage and maintain the aesthetic quality of your floors. Although stripping and waxing is necessary for all types of flooring, it can especially improve the look of wood flooring by hiding naturally occurring indents and grooves.

Hire a professional to save money

For a lot of DIY-prone businesses, this can sound counter-intuitive. However, hiring a professional commercial cleaning company is particularly necessary when it comes to stripping and waxing floors. This is a tough job to do right and requires both specialized training and the best quality tools. An improper mixture used to strip or wax will cause permanent damage to your floors, either by disfiguring the flooring or by compromising the length of your floor’s life. Stripping and waxing is the most affordable way to “get” new floors since it adds shine and maintains the value of your building longer.

SERVPRO of Western Lancaster takes great pride in our work, using only environmentally friendly products and the highest quality tools. Our trained professionals will efficiently and effectively care for your commercial establishment’s floors to meet your highest standards. Call us today at (717) 665-1270

No Job Is Too Big Or Too Small

12/9/2021 (Permalink)

Flood We're faster than any sized disaster.

A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE:

Recently, SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County was called for emergency water mitigation services at a local printing and publishing company (pictured). When we were informed that nearly the entire 12,000 square foot building had standing water in it, our team of highly trained professionals were quickly on-site to begin extracting the water! Our team ensured that the water was extracted, non-salvageable materials were removed, anti-microbial was applied to prevent mold growth, and drying equipment was placed to stabilize the area. After the dry-out was complete, unaffected materials were packed and stored at a safe and secure location, with access for our customer. Our in-house reconstruction team is excited to assist in making it “Like it never even happened.”

BE PREPARED:

Though common, commercial property losses are often not anticipated by business owners. If your business faces water damage, timeliness is key in preventing further damage! To get fast and effective service, you will need to contact a commercial restoration company with the experience and resources needed to restore your property to its normal state. SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County is prepared to respond faster, to any size disaster, and we’re always Here to Help!

Our team of professionals have the training and equipment needed to restore your business after water damage, with minimal interruption to your daily operations. SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County also provides disaster planning to ensure that your property is fortified in the event of future damage; if you do not have an Emergency Response Plan in place, contact us at (717)-665-1270 to be better prepared.

WHY SERVPRO OF WESTERN LANCASTER:

In addition to providing 24/7 restoration and reconstruction services for damage caused by water, fire, smoke, mold, storms, and other disasters, SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County is proud to provide fast, high-quality cleanup and restoration services to both commercial and residential properties in our local area. We always put your property first and strive to be a meaningful household name in our community.

Call the SERVPRO of Western Lancaster County team at 717-665-1270!

Storm Ready!

11/8/2021 (Permalink)

hillside When the hillside slides into your business.

If you’ve had any water damage to your home after a storm or flooding, you have roughly 24 to 48 hours to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. It’s highly important that you start the process of drying out your water damage or you could be left with repairs to your home that are even more time consuming then they already will be.

If mold begins to grow, the process of getting your home and life back to normal must wait until all the mold is removed and your restoration company is given the OK to get started on the repairs.

Keep in mind that the process of drying out the water damage is not always straightforward and often what appears dry is not. Most moisture is often hidden in the walls and flooring, so it’s critical to identify and dry all the affected areas to prevent the growth of mold!

Can You Dry the Water Damage Yourself?

While you might think that you can dry out your water damaged areas yourself by using fans and wet-dry vacuums, we’ve found that most homeowners never fully dry out the water damaged areas. This is simply because they don’t have the proper tools to detect hidden pockets of mold-growing wet areas.

Your best bet is to hire a professional like SERVPRO of Western Lancaster to dry out your water damaged areas. These companies have specialized equipment that dries out wet areas and they both prevent and deal with mold regularly.

Does Water Damage Always Cause Mold?

If the home is not completely dry within approximately 24 hours, mold will begin to grow. It does not matter if it is summer or winter you’ll begin to get mold. It’s almost a guarantee that you will get mold in some capacity unless your water damage is extremely minimal.

Can You Kill The Mold Yourself?

While some property owners will try to dry the area or spray bleach, the truth is that these methods often only spread the mold to other areas of the home. What’s worse, AC and heating systems can spread the spores throughout the home through the air.

Avoid trying to remove the mold yourself. We understand that you can Google search “How to kill mold” and find hundreds of ways to do that, but those methods are usually for surface area mold, NOT for water damaged area mold.

Can Mold Dry Up And Die?

No. Even if there’s no moisture, the mold will stay inactive within the walls, floors, and any other area where it’s begun to grow. As soon as it gets access to any moisture, it will begin to grow again. Mold will not go away unless you deliberately have it removed.

How Do you Prevent Mold from Water Damage?

One big step that you can take to prevent mold from growing until help arrive is simply assessing and mitigating the damage as quickly as possible. Mitigating the loss is an insurance term in most policies that means you are responsible to do everything in your power to contain the damage.

Steps to Take to Prevent Mold and Further Water Damage

When you are dealing with water damage and a potential mold problem, there are a few definitive do’s and don’ts to implement as you’re waiting for help to arrive.

  • Turn the water off in your home, especially if your water damage is coming from a source within your home.
  • Be sure to turn off all Air Conditioning units and heating systems. You should keep your home at a moderate temperature if possible, but avoid use of the central HVAC system. Excess coolness or heat can complicate the drying process.
  • Turn off any fans in the house, whether they’re ceiling fans, box fans, or free standing ones. Using your fans to dry out water can often spread any mold spores throughout the house.
  • Pick up any personal items from the floor that would add to your loss.
  • Try to either move furniture out of the wet area or lift it up and put something under the legs such as a block of wood that will keep it out of the water.

Leave everything the way it is and don’t start throwing away ruined possessions until after someone has looked at the damage. Often professional cleaners can save possessions that otherwise might be unsalvageable. If possible, take photos to document all your damage. 

Here’s How to Get Professional Help to Prevent Mold Growth

As a homeowner who’s ready to get back to your normal life as quickly as possible, the easiest way to do this is give us a call at
1-717-665-1270. Your phone call with be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a live person on the other end of the line.

Our IICRC certified technicians will bring in specialized equipment, make sure your area is clean and dried properly, and can even help you repair damages inflicted such as replacing drywall and minor or large structural repairs.

Prevent mold and further damage by getting help as soon as disaster strikes!