Recent Posts

Managing Humidity in Portage County

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

title over water driplets of condensation on window glass Make sure your home is prevented from humidity-caused water damage.

Humidity is the concentration of water vapor that is present in the air, and the level of water the air can hold. We all know those “humid” summer days that just feel hot and sticky. While this is most definitely uncomfortable, what is worse is when humidity enters your home or business. While small amounts of humidity may not be anything to worry about, it is a different story when your basement remains humid. The good news is that warm damp basements can be managed and even avoided. 

  • One very simple and common step to take in order to avoid humidity in your home is placing a humidifier in the most concentrated area. The silica gel beads that are used will help to absorb the water vapor in the air, and therefore prevent mold and mildew build-up. 
  • Another simple, and even free option is to clean! If cleaning is already on your “To-Do list”, then this should not be too much of a hassle. When you keep the area clean and clear, there are fewer spots for mold and mildew to grow. Plus, there is the added benefit of enjoying a clean and clutter-free environment! 
  • As you do your cleaning and usual chores, take a little walk around the perimeter of the basement. If you notice any gaps or holes, you can seal those up for an extra barrier against moisture. 
  • Don’t just stick to the basement! Check your roof, gutter, and other drainage areas, if these spots are backed up, they may cause more issues for down below! 

By taking just a few simple measures, you can avoid having a build-up of mold, mildew, and other bacteria in your home or business. Like most building repairs and tweaks, this may seem like a minor issue that could actually lead to a lot of trouble later on. If your basement is past the point of managing, and you need a good cleaning, you may consider a professional cleaning service to rid the area of any bacteria. For help getting your basement clean and clear, give us a call and ask about our unique 3 C’s when it comes to cleaning! 

SERVPRO of Portage County Preserves Your Property

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over line of houses Ensure the protection of your property with your trusted SERVPRO for when disaster strikes.

When disaster strikes it can be devastating to your family or your business.

Floods, fires, and storms can destroy property – whether a home or an office or a factory – and everything inside, whether photos of the family or state-of-the-art machinery

The loss of property can have huge implications. For families, it can mean losing your home and having to start again. And while a house can be rebuilt and appliances can be replaced, it can be impossible to replace items of sentimental value.

And for a business a catastrophic disaster can result at the end of a company – many firms never reopen after a large fire, even with insurance in place as customers cannot wait for firms to rebuild and reopen, and staff cannot afford to wait without pay for things to return to normal.

This is where SERVPRO helps – our expertise in damage control is second to none. We can help prepare your business proactively to minimize the danger of catastrophic loss in the first place, and should the worst happen, we are on hand to take control and get you up and running again as fast as possible by drawing on our wide range of highly skilled and qualified people in all the trades and services needed.

Common Causes of Workplace Disasters

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

When a disaster occurs in the workplace, mere seconds can be the difference between some extra paperwork and life-threatening situations. The main point of a workplace disaster or emergency is that you will never know when one is set to occur. This means understanding the types of disasters and what can potentially cause them is crucial. 

Common Types of Emergencies

  • Fires and Explosions - Fires can be caused by natural events as well as preventable accidents. Be sure to have clear safety guidelines when dealing with any potential fire hazards and enforce rules and regulations. 
  • Medical Emergencies - A medical emergency is unpredictable and usually hard to prevent, but you can prepare. Make sure you have relevant medical information on all staff along with individual emergency contact information. 
  • Severe Weather - Natural emergencies are the hardest to plan for and predict due to their very nature. A natural emergency could occur as a result of flooding, severe weather such as hurricanes or tornadoes, or forest fires. Be vigilant in watching the weather reports and listening to any and all warnings and advisories. 
  • Power Outages - Call your utility and report the power outage, or call 911 in case of immediate danger. Turn off and disconnect your small business’s equipment to prevent damage.
  • Hazardous Material Spills - If you work with hazardous materials, it is imperative to provide your staff with proper training. Ensure everyone is aware of the potential dangers and knows how to properly handle these materials. 

Knowing the common causes of workplace disasters can hopefully help to prevent any from occurring, but as there are some completely out of your control it is crucial to prepare for these worst-case scenarios to: 

  • Keep employees and responders free from harm
  • Manage life-threatening situations
  • Minimize damage to the environment, equipment, machinery, tools, etc.
  • Minimize downtime

SERVPRO is faster to any disaster because we know the importance of the first few minutes following an emergency and how important it is to the outcome of such events. SERVPRO also has over 50 years of experience in biohazard cleanup and restoration after water or fire damages. Add them into your emergency response plan to make sure you minimize damages to your business if a disaster is to occur.

How to Prepare Yourself for Ohio's Storm Season

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over lightning in the sky Storm season affects all of Ohio, make sure your NE Ohio home/business stays protected.

Storm season is upon us in Northeast Ohio. In fact, March 21-27, 2021, is Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week. 

It’s a reminder that tornado season is near, running from April to June. Now is the time to prepare. 

How can you prepare for this year’s Ohio storm season? 

We have you covered. 

Secure light-weight items

When the weather warms up, we like to beautify our patios and decks with outdoor furniture. But strong winds can scatter your decor across your yard and even down the street. If winds are strong enough, your furniture can become dangerous projectiles. 

Here’s an easy fix. Anchor furniture with bungee cords, ropes, ratchet straps, or chains. Cover your furniture with weather-resistant furniture covers. Use sandbags to weigh these items down.  

Cover windows and glass doors

Storm shutters and storm doors prevent objects from cracking or shattering your glass doors and windows. If you don’t have storm shutters, you can find security window film at most hardware stores. The film prevents shattering. 

And, of course, you can hang plywood sheets. 

Inspect your roof

Roofs take a beating throughout the Ohio seasons. Rain, snow, ice, heat, humidity, high winds, and hail. We recommend getting your roof inspected regularly, especially before severe storm season begins in April.  

Trim dead limbs

Severe storms often cause dead and weak branches to fall. 

Make it part of your normal lawn maintenance to check your trees and large shrubs for low-hanging and dead limbs, especially those near your home and vehicles. 

Protect your most precious asset

At SERVPRO we’re confident our services can restore your property. But we can’t restore you.

Do the necessary research, and create a severe weather and tornado plan for your family. Here are three steps to get you started:

  1. Stay informed
  2. Designate a safe shelter 
  3. Prepare for long-term sheltering

You can find more information about tornado safety at Weather.gov and Ready.gov.

Be safe and be well!

Backyard Bonfires & Fire Safety

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over people roasting marshmallows over a fire Ensure your backyard bonfire is as safe and fun as possible.

You have the perfect s’more in your hand, toasted golden brown marshmallow on 2 perfect squares of graham cracker, and chocolate on top and bottom. You can hear your uncle’s voice, telling his favorite ghost story for the umpteenth time. Raw throat from the top of your lungs rendition of Kumbaya. Life doesn’t get much better than sitting around a bonfire with your friends and family on a cool fall evening. However, if you do not follow safety precautions the best night ever could become the worst with no warning. 

Before the Fire 

  • Only build fire in enclosed, contained areas. 
  • Clear the area around the pit of dry paper, grass, leaves, or pine needles 
  • Make sure the pit is on a flat surface in an open area, away from any trees and the home
  • Move furniture away from the fire pit
  • Keep flammable materials away from the fire pit
  • Check wind direction and be prepared to make any adjustments

During the Fire

  • NEVER leave a fire unattended
  • NEVER use garden waste or trash in a fire
  • NEVER leave children unattended
  • Keep your distance, sparks can fly unexpectedly
  • ALWAYS keep a fire extinguisher or hose nearby

When the night is coming to a close, you must put the fire out completely before leaving the area. To do this you will want to douse the fire with water. Once the flames are extinguished use more water and stir with a stick or shovel to confirm all ashes, wood, and sparks have been successfully put out. Be sure to store any flammable items safely and away from children. 

A backyard bonfire is one of the best ways to enjoy a warm or even cool night with friends and family. If you follow these safety tips, your only worry will be running out of marshmallows. Remember fire is dangerous, but handled with care and safety enjoying a night by the fire should remain a timeless tradition.

Does Stop, Drop, and Roll Really Work?

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

title over fire extinguisher Practice the safest way to extinguish a fire on your body. Stop, Drop, and Roll.

There are a few days in elementary school that stick with you for the rest of your life. Field Trips, special assemblies, fun science experiments, and the day the firefighter comes in to teach stop, drop, and roll. At the time it felt like a game, everyone was laughing and having a good time being allowed and even encouraged to roll around on the floor,  not really understanding what the importance of the exercise could actually be in a life-threatening situation. It may have felt silly back then and even more so as an adult, but the imperative question is – Does it work? 

Stop, drop, and roll does work. It is the best technique to put out a fire on the human body, or more precisely, to put out a fire that is on clothing that is being worn on the human body. The technique is extremely simple and easily remembered which is important because it is necessary during a time where every piece of knowledge you have acquired will be nowhere to be found. Having your clothes on fire is a situation likely to involve quite a bit of panic and it would not be a good time to try and recall an 18 step process you learned decades ago. 

As the name suggests this technique involves three fairly simple steps: 

  • Stop - the person who is on fire should stop immediately when they recognize that they are on fire. While it might seem a little trivial, continued motion can act to fan the flames and add more oxygen to the fire. This can make it burn faster and stronger and you don’t want that.
  1. Drop - this means the person who is on fire needs to drop to the ground, ideally into a full lying position, and at the same time they should cover their face with their hands (this will stop them from getting hurt as they carry out the last part of the process and may stop their face from getting burned too).
  2. Roll - then the goal is to roll over and over again (back and forth) until the fire is completely extinguished. 

It may be hard to fathom that such a basic tool really can save your life, but science proves backs it up. In order for fire to burn – it needs oxygen. When you roll around on the floor over and over, you are removing the oxygen source from the flames and thus extinguishing them. 

Hopefully, if you ever need to use this technique your clothes are the only thing on fire. If the unfortunate occurs and there are damages to your home and property from fire, calling SERVPRO — 1(800)SERVPRO — is the simple technique to do next, once everyone is safe from danger. With over 50 years of experience in fire damage restoration, they will take care of the rest. 

Checklist of Questions When Hiring a Professional

3/11/2021 (Permalink)

title over checklist and coffee mug on wooden table SERVPRO has all the right answers the first time, so you don't have to keep asking.

When starting a project in your home that requires a professional finding the right one may seem like an impossible task. Whether you found mold in the basement or are in need of repairs after a huge storm, there are a countless number of companies out there that say they can help. How do you know you are making the right choice in who you hire?

There are a number of questions that should be asked before making a decision. 

  • How long have you been working in the industry?
  • Answer you want: Long enough to have at least 20 references that can be contacted.
  • Do you have insurance?
  • Answer you want: Yes, while no technician will intentionally cause more damage to your home, things happen and it is important to make sure you are covered. 
  • Do you have a list of references that I can contact?
  • Answer you want: Yes, “Past performance is a great indicator of what future performance will be.” Hearing from a past customer could give you insight either to hire or stay away from the company in question. 
  • What is the projected timeline for the project?
  • Answer you want: A specified length of time, not knowing this answer could mean the project will go on much longer than it should. 
  • Are your technicians certified?
  • Answer you want: Yes, you want to make sure those knowledgeable and certified in any work they are doing, 

At SERVPRO of Portage County, our answers to these questions are completely in line with what they should be. All of our technicians are IICRC certified and all training is up to date. We have over 35 years of experience in home restoration with multitudes of satisfied customers. We are available 24/7/365 to ensure whatever you need, whenever you need it will be taken care of by professionals that care. Call SERVPRO of Portage County today and let us show you why we are the right choice for you and your family.

Top 5 Safety Investments for Your Office

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

If you’re a business owner, store manager, or office manager safety of your place of business and your staff has probably been on your mind quite a bit over the past year. It can be hard to know what to prioritize with safety as recommendations seem to change and evolve all the time. However, there are some evergreen measure you can take to ensure the safety of your workplace. Here are our top 5 recommendations: 

  1. Invest in a high quality air filtration system. 

Good air quality is paramount in keep your place of business germ and illness free. If you own your building, make sure to regularly maintain your HVAC and change your furnace filters often. We recommend using top quality allergen rated filters. If you do not own your building or have access to your HVAC system, invest in an air filtration system like a Dyson or Molecule. Make sure to purchase the system that covers your total square footage and follow the maintenance instructions to the letter. 

  1. Prioritize scheduled cleaning and sanitizing. 

Some businesses have the luxury of hiring a cleaning crew to clean common areas at regular intervals. Make sure your bathrooms, break rooms, and common areas are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized at least one per week. Encourage your staff to adopt cleaning and sanitizing practices of their own personal spaces and work stations. Incentivizing clean work spaces by offering rewards can help boost motivations to keep your offices tidy. 

  1. Regularly police trip hazards and walkways. 

One of the most common workplace injuries is falling, and coincidentally is also the easiest injury or accident to prevent. Make sure you and your staff are clearing walkways and reporting and clearly marking trip hazards identified in the workplace. One suggestion is to appoint a manager or leader to be a designated monitor of these types of hazards and create a system for reporting and then mitigating the hazard. 

  1. Conduct a safety inspection at a regular interval. 

Sometimes an outside perspective can be necessary to identify safety risks in the workplace. Many businesses conduct a quarterly or annual assessment of workplace hazards or safety risks with an outside inspector or advisor. This can also boost confidence amongst employees when they see how serious an employer takes workplace safety. 

  1. Create written policies and review safety procedures as a group. 

Every business should have clear safety protocols in the event of any disaster. All employees should be aware of these protocols and regular trainings and reminder drills can help keep safety top of mind for everyone on your staff. 

Safety is an important factor in workplace satisfaction but is often not prioritized as much as it should. Investing in these simple safety strategies will not only create a safer workplace but will ultimately boost the confidence and morale of your staff as well. SERVPRO is here to help business owners implement safety protocols and mitigate safety hazards in the workplace. Contact us to learn more about our commercial cleaning services and strategies to help keep your place of business safe. 

Protecting Your Pets During Stormy Weather

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

STORMY weather can be unsettling enough for humans, but it can be terrifying for our four-legged friends.

Cats and dogs have much more acute hearing than humans and are highly sensitive to changes around them which causes them to seek shelter and security by hiding.

Loud thunderclaps, lightning flashes and atmospheric pressure changes all combine to cause great stress to our pets which can show itself in nervous behavior.

The best way to help your furry family member get through a heavy storm is preparation – some training can be done to reduce fear and anxiety. The best way to start this is always reward calm behavior, with petting and praise. This way your dog will be more receptive to your reinforcement of good behavior during a storm. Just like in us, training cannot eliminate fear but it can help us handle stressful situations in a better manner.

And during the storm, there are many ways to give your pet the security it needs until the weather passes.

Just like humans, our animals will look for a safe space by instinct, so create a warm, inviting, and comfortable one for them. If they have one already that they choose to relax or sleep in, make this their safe space. If you need to head to the basement for storm protection, take their favorite blankets, or bed or crate with you downstairs. Putting on background noise like a fan can also help as it can help obscure the storm sounds with a familiar one.

Have a treat or a new toy on hand to distract them during the storm and reward your pet for good behavior. If storms are a regular occurrence in your area, you can help train your pet to see a storm as linked to getting a treat.

If you have plenty of warning of the storm’s approach, take the opportunity to give them extra walks and exercise beforehand. This can help distract them from early warning signs in nature of the impending storm, give them quality time with you to calm them, and help tire them to reduce over-the-top behavior during the storm.

Weighted blankets have been shown anecdotally to help reduce stress and anxiety in pets – and humans – but this is one area to know your own pet. If they have a favorite shirt or blanket, make sure they have it to hand, or paw.

And stay calm yourself – your pet will be looking to you for protection and will feed off your emotions. Reassure your dog or cat with appropriate stroking and petting, showing you are calm. Do not punish your pet for bad behavior if it is frightened during a storm – it is a natural reaction, and a negative response may compound the problem in future storms as they link storms to punishment.

Determining the Severity of an Incoming Storm

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

title and logo over lightning striking from dark clouds Know the signs of a serious storm so you can be prepared.

Almost everyone has been told sometime about the “counting rule” when it comes to thunderstorms. You’re told to count one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, etc, from the moment you see lightning until the moment you hear thunder to determine how close the lightning is to you. Does this actually work? What do the seconds actually mean? This is the most common method of judging a storm and it does actually work. Lightning travels a speed 5 times faster than thunder, so you will always see the lightning first. The number of seconds between the two tells you the distance away the lightning actually is. When you see the lightning you start counting and stop when you hear thunder, whatever the number of seconds is between them tells you how far away the storm is. Divide the number of seconds by 5 and that will tell you how many miles away you are from the lightning. Five seconds between is one mile, fifteen seconds is three miles, and zero seconds means lightning is extremely close and you should be in a safe space. Using this method to determine the distance is common knowledge, but how can you determine the severity of the storm and if there is potential danger coming your way?

  • Watch the Clouds Closely - Not all dark clouds are the same and can be used to help determine what is headed your way. If there is a storm coming that has dangerous even deadly potential the clouds will be extremely dark sometimes with a green tint as well. They will be big, low, and close to the ground cumulonimbus clouds and you will notice them rapidly develop vertically. Be sure to watch for any rotation in the clouds as well. 
  • Pay Attention to the Temperature - Severe storms and tornadoes form when low level, warm and moist air collides with dry cold air above. If you are outside and feel the temperature drop from warm or hot down to brisk in a short span of time you will know there is a severe storm quickly approaching.
  • Beware of Sudden Wind and Precipitation Changes - The calm before the storm is not just an expression. If there are an abrupt calm following hail and heavy rain, this doesn’t mean the storm is over it can mean there is potentially dangerous weather coming very soon. A fast and intense wind shift is also a tell. 
  • Watch vs. Warning - There is often confusion on which of these means what.  A watch simply means that tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. A warning, on the other hand, means that a tornado has been spotted or indicated on the radar. Be sure to seek shelter when a warning is issued in your area.

Being aware of these warning signs can help you determine if the storm approaching is one that allows you to dance in the rain and jump in puddles or one that means you need to take precautions or head on down to the basement. These signs are not full proof as the weather is still vastly unpredictable and can change on a dime. Be sure to take necessary precautions when advised, better safe than sorry is a good rule of thumb when storms are on the way.