Services increase with Knowledge
IICRC Water Restoration Technician training
Running the office at SERVPRO is a pretty interesting job. The scenario changes day to day; you literally have no idea what the next phone call will bring.
With our extended winter and several rain storms so far this spring, the bulk of our work lately has been water damage mitigation. I know my fair share about water damage (I thought) just from processing the jobs, taking the calls and speaking with the technicians that complete the work and take the pictures of job sites.
When the Water Certification Class came around, my boss, Kevin suggested that I take the course. I thought….me? Why would I need to be certified in Water Damage mitigation if I’m not a technician? I just work in the office. Well, after taking the class, I now know why he wanted me to.
Getting Down To Business
For the average person, the thought of learning the ins-and-outs of water damage mitigation may be mind-numbingly boring. However, the folks that work for SERVPRO are a different breed. I sat in a class of about 30 people, most of them new technicians for several SERVPRO franchises across Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. This group was stoked to learn the “right way” to get these jobs done. They were full of enthusiasm and questions. What I thought would be the longest three days of my life, flew by.
I learned how to address each situation upon entering the premises, to make sure to do no further harm, and to spot safety issues at the start. I learned how to STOP the “bleeding” and start the healing for each homeowner. I learned what things are the most important, and which things can be addressed a little later. I learned the technical aspects of which product to use, which dehumidifier works for each specific situation and why you don’t direct an air mover onto a surface that contains mold (it could contaminate adjoining areas). But beyond that, what I realized is that these trainers that journeyed from our corporate office in Tennessee to teach us…was not just how to clean up a backed up sewer or overflowing washing machine….but how to put people back to “whole”. How to help a distraught customer who sees his belongings floating in river water. How to empathize with someone who just bought new furniture and now sees it soaking in water from an upstairs bathroom leak.
A New Excitement
I realized that SERVPRO isn’t just about cleaning up the job and moving onto the next one. They really are about putting the customer at ease and assuring them that everything WILL be all right….and the phrase "Like it never even happened,"™ isn’t just a slogan. I realized that these people in the class with me were EAGER to learn how to do this, so that they too would be “hero ready” when the time comes.
I think I did pretty well on the test (we won’t know for a few weeks), but what I took away from the class was not just a possible certification in Water Damage Mitigation, but a better understanding and lesson in compassion for our fellow man. I just run the office at SERVPRO of Cheviot and Cleves, but I think that’s a lesson that we all could learn.
Tough Commercial Cleaning
Fire Damage Clean up Prepares SERVPRO for Tough Commercial/Industrial Cleaning Jobs
SERVPRO Technicians and Project Managers gain valuable experience by cleaning up some of the toughest property damage around, and that experience benefits your business when you have a tough cleaning job. A typical fire damage in a home or business can have hundreds of different materials exposed to drastically different conditions such as soot level, amount of heat, pre-existing conditions and moisture levels. There are also safety concerns and specialty equipment that is needed on many jobs. You can use this valuable experience to your advantage by calling on SERVPRO for those tough commercial and industrial cleaning jobs.
Employees do what employees do best
We hear time and time again that regular employees dread and sometimes even refuse to do heavy cleaning on the equipment they run and maintain daily! SERVPRO technicians receive training on cleaning processes which start by identifying the surface being cleaned and the soil that needs to removed. Next it’s time to put a plan together by identifying cleaning processes and solutions that will ensure the best result possible. Sometimes there is a perfect cleaning agent and process that will cut through the grime and sometimes it is a matter of good old fashioned elbow grease! Either way, our experience in property restoration translates directly to cleaning your toughest jobs.
Consider safety and efficiency
Safety and ergonomics play a role in this type of cleaning too. Your employees have extensive training and experience on running your machines safely and SERVPRO employees are well trained on the proper mixing, using and disposing of cleaning agents, use of ladders and lifts and also accessing confined spaces. Inefficiencies can even pop up after the project is complete if you use your own staff to do the work. Regular employees are typically not prepared for the physical demands of this difficult work and can develop injuries from over-use of muscles they don’t normally use in their daily jobs.
Too much Too Fast
Recently we were able to serve customers out of town that were affected by Hurricane Matthew. While North Carolina grabbed most of the headlines, our crew was sent to Virginia Beach, VA. It never ceases to amaze me how nature can put a wrench in our plans by damaging our property. We saw a tremendous amount of damage, not from ridiculously strong winds or trees falling on homes, but from flooding. While I certainly believe that North Carolina sustained heavier damage, Virginia Beach got a lot of the rainfall that accompanied the hurricane which caused pockets of extreme flooding. One of our customers was injured during the flooding and rescue crews had to use a boat to get him from his house to an emergency vehicle. I couldn't imagine having to boat up to my front door!
Many Hands Make for Light Work
Once the flood waters receded it was time for SERVPRO to go into action. One thing that excites me about this company is our ability to respond in times of need. SERVPRO's Storm Team is able to organize and send hundreds of crews to help when our customers need it the most. We have the resources to get all the equipment, supplies, tools and trained team members to the right spots quickly. It was phenomenal yet again to see so many SERVPRO trucks and vans from so many different parts of the country helping a city in need.
Help Isn't Just Being There, It's More
It's not just quantity that matters. We follow the same standards to help flood victims that we do every other day of the year. It's important to me that our customers know that we are there to help, not to take advantage of the situation they are in. Some contractors only see dollar signs. We follow IICRC standards for completing the job and we use the same estimating and pricing system that we always use. I found that this allowed our customers to trust us immediately even though we were from out of town. And trust is important to helping restore our customers. After all, it's important to restore the property, but it's more important to restore the customer's faith that it will be alright.
All In 2016
Congratulations to the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers! For basketball fans and Cleveland natives today is a great day of celebration and awe. Having been born in Cleveland and being a die hard Cleveland sports fan I feel a sense of connection with those players and certainly with all the Cleveland fans.
Why even think you can win?
A documentary was recently released called "Believeland" that told the story of Cleveland almost winning so many times in the past only to have championship runs end in some miserable fashion. It had been 52 years since the last major sports championship in Cleveland. Cavs were down 3-1 in the best of seven series where no team in NBA history had ever come back to win in the finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers had never won a championship before. So what makes you think you win?
Perseverance is that thing that doesn't look at the final result when deciding whether or not to get out of bed tomorrow and try again. Living in the Cincinnati area as a Cleveland fan I get ridiculed on a regular basis and I get asked why I continue to root for teams "that can't win". The answer is perseverance. There once was a drought that caused devastation to the farmers and others who called that area home. Being a spiritual people they asked different priest, tribal leaders and everyone they could think of to get it to rain. Finally they found a "rain doctor" that claimed a 100% success rate at making it rain. Many people didn't buy into it, but they hired him in desperation and he began his rain dance with intense focus and belief that it would rain. Weeks went by with no rain but he kept dancing. Weeks turned into months and he kept dancing. There were cloudy days that still produced no rain and he kept dancing. Then finally, after the last believer had giving up on him, a rain drop finally fell from the sky followed by another and another. When the rain came pouring down the people ran out to celebrate with the rain doctor who had never given up and continued to dance everyday. One skeptic asked the rain doctor on that day, "How could you be so sure you could make it rain and not give up?" He replied with what he thought was obvious, "Because I danced until it rained."
Belief in a win
As excited and relieved as I am as a fan to have the long drought end I still can't help but draw a parallel to the customers we serve. When there is a major fire, water, mold or other damage to their home it can be a gut wrenching blow. Many times it can feel like they have lost and that they just don't know how they'll be able to win again. My hope is that through our service we can help give our customers that hope so that they can persevere and rebuild not only their home, but their hope that it will be OK. That one day it will be "Like it never even happened."®
Cincinnati the party’s over
Vandalism comes in many forms
This clean up was a new one to me, but given what caused the damage it seems like it shouldn't have been. A commercial property in Cincinnati had a top floor that was a residential apartment. There was a social gathering at the apartment and a fire extinguisher was used. The only problem . . . there was no fire! The extinguisher was discharged in the common stairwell by one of the party guests and found its way into two of the businesses in the building. This may seem somewhat harmless and just a little mess, but this was considered vandalism and cost over $10000 to clean up (thank goodness for insurance!)
It's just dust, right?
Fire extinguisher powder is a made up of very fine particles that can be harmful to our lungs, but is very effective against fire. Although this looks like it is "just dust" it will make its way through a typical shop vac or vacuum cleaner filter and back into the air. Sure, some will get trapped in the filter, but it will take a tremendously long time to keep cleaning and recleaning until it's all gone. In this case the dust didn't flow exactly like soot in a fire because there was no heat to create the same kinds of drafts, but the extinguisher dust did go throughout 2 businesses that had their doors closed. Several of the workers in one office were extremely concerned about their respiratory health and told us about coughing spells that they had after trying to work in there. They only made it half a day before leaving and trying to work from home.
If you were to pull out a human hair, cut it in half and then look at the surface you just cut you would be looking at something about 90 microns in size. Fire extinguisher dust is about 20 microns in size, less than 1/4 the size of a human hair. It's designed this way to get into small nooks and crannies to do it's job. Cleanup requires equipment that is up to the challenge. HEPA filters, by definition, trap particles down to .03 microns in size. We use special vacuums and air scrubbers with HEPA filters that are rated to trap these tiny particles so that they don't go right back in the air.
We sent a small army to this job and got the common areas and the business offices cleaned within 2 days so those companies could get back to work ASAP. It was a great feeling as a business owner knowing that we were able to get other businesses up and running again. It's always satisfying on a job like this to know that our specialized equipment worked as it should and there was no call back for any dust resettling. But the most important result we achieved in this job was that employees of those businesses felt safe going back to work knowing the job was done right and their health was not at risk. "Like it never even happened."®
Anderson Gobble, Gobble
Better on sandwich
Every other customer that I've ever served that had a turkey involved in their clean up also had cooking involved. Without a doubt this was one of the most unique situations I've ever come across. I've seen jobs before where a deer had crashed through a basement door or window and I've seen times when a bird tried to fly through a window like on the glass cleaner commercials, but failed with a resounding thud. This was the first time I'd ever seen a bird succeed. A wild turkey flew up high enough and was large enough to shatter the glass on this second floor window. It wasn't able to get through the screen, but the damage was done.
Extent of the problem
Glass in automobiles is tempered glass which tends to break into small chunks when it is broken for safety. The glass that generally goes into windows for our homes is typically not tempered and one, two or three panes. This type of glass breaks into large, sharp, pointed pieces and also very small slivers that can be very hard to see. In this case, the window burst into a carpeted bedroom with no clear idea exactly where every single piece went. There was a bed next to the window, a dresser within a few feet and clothing in a closet right across from the bed. Small pieces of glass can get embedded in fabrics like carpeting, clothing and bedding and this is a room where skin comes in contact with those materials on a regular basis.
Our technicians began immediately to clean up the glass and then remove the carpet. We just can't take a chance that a small sliver of glass gets stuck in the carpet and then makes its way into our customer's foot later on. We emptied all the dresser drawers, removed all the bedding and had all the clothing professionally cleaned. We thoroughly cleaned the subfloor and took extra care to make sure that nothing we removed could possibly allow a piece of glass to leave the room. Whether it's vandalism due to animals or humans, we've seen it before and we have a plan. Of course the best plan of all is to keep the turkey on a sandwich!
Cheviot-All mucked up after water main break
Water damage is one thing, but . . .
Sometimes it would be great if there was only water damage. SERVPRO of Cheviot and Cleves helped this customer in Cheviot clean up from a water main break that brought hundreds of pounds of mud into the house. The water was so powerful that it actually knocked the bottom section of the garage door off the tracks! No worries though, our Hero Ready technicians are up to the task.
Where do I start?
Most homeowners would not know where to start with damage this severe, but SERVPRO of Cheviot and Cleves has been there before and has a plan for your recovery. In this case our technicians had several needs to satisfy including:
- Classify, inventory and remove damaged contents
- Fix the garage door for security purposes
- Get the mud out!
- Inspect for water damage throughout the entire basement
- Sanitize the entire basement
- Help with the insurance claim process and billing
- Preserve the value of the property
Call us for mold problems!
Procrastination grows things!
Don't ignore the signs of potential water leaks! Musty smells, bubbling paint, stained drywall, and swelled paneling just to name a few. It's what you don't see that can become the big problem. Over time wet materials in your home can become a new home for something you don't want moving in like mold or other microorganisms. Like most living things, water is the key to life. So keep your home dry and keep it healthy. If you suspect a water leak, call us! We will inspect your areas of concern for free!
Mold has needs too
Mold needs a few things in order to grow:
- Stagnant air
- Agreeable temperatures
Mold can't eat synthetic materials like plastic or vinyl, rather it likes natural fibers like wood, paper and cotton or leather. Water is key to mold growth. Many times the more harmful molds require more water to develop. Mold can't grow if the spores (like seeds) can't settle down because they are always blowing in the wind. Mold tends to grow slower or not at all in colder temperatures, but don't think that it can't grow. Have you cleaned out your fridge lately and found mold growing in that pasta sauce you forgot about from two years ago?
Many times the very best location for mold to take root and begin growing is inside wall cavities, like in the photo above. There could be a substantial amount of growth on the back side before enough grows on the face of the wall to be discovered. The key is to inspect your home for potential or existing water intrusion. If you suspect mold but aren't sure call SERVPRO of Cheviot and Cleves.
Finding Hidden Damage
I was out on an inspection due to "musty odor". Visual inspection showed nothing out of the ordinary with the exception of a little staining on a piece of baseboard. Moisture meter readings showed all was dry. I was about to pack up and leave, but the stain on the baseboard bothered me. I got permission to remove the baseboard...good thing I went this extra step! The back was covered in growth! I then cut an inspection hole in the drywall and found growth on the back of the drywall. What does all this mean?? One, don't ignore your nose! Two, make sure you get a thorough inspection!
We have great tools that help us track down water, mold and fire damage in your property. the funny thing about tools is they don't work right in an untrained hand. Our technicians all receive thorough training and certification. Our corporate office has an entire training department that makes it easy for us to provide our customers with trained, knowledgeable technicians. We also send the best technicians to outside training to become certified through the IICRC and rise to the level of Lead Technician. Our Lead Technicians have the training, the tools and the experience to keep digging to find all the damage and make sure your property is returned to a clean, safe condition.
We appreciate you!
Help Us Help You
I like great movie lines and "Jerry McGuire" had a few. "Help Me Help You" was one of those lines that many people recognize instantly. When our technicians come to your home it is critical that we receive feedback from you, our customer. One of the things that keeps our work interesting is that no two customers are alike and no two properties are alike. Each customer has their own particular ways and therefore different expectations. Some of our customers are reluctant to tell our crews that they are unsatisfied with something because they really appreciate their hard work and don't want to crticize the crew. Rest assured, our crews are not upset. Quite the opposite. When we actively look for ways to serve you we want to know if we are serving you well and to your satisfaction. It is critical for our customers to communicate if any of our services did not completely meet their expectations so that we can remedy the situation, exceed your expectations and leave you feeling happy and confident with our services. That is how you can help us help you!
I would like to ask a favor of you if have had great service. In today's world, word-of-mouth has taken a new form . . . social media. We appreciate your reviews and comments in places like Yelp!, Facebook, Google+ and others. It helps us be more visible to future customers. If our service didn't reach your expectations please email us at support@SERVPROcheviotandcleves.com or call our office at 513-467-6666 so that we can resolve any issues and ensure your satisfaction.