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What is an IICRC Certified Firm?

11/30/2022 (Permalink)

IICRC certification badge SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County is an IICRC Certified Firm!

If you're wondering what an IICRC Certified Firm is, then you should know that it's more than just an "independent" organization. In fact, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the science and technology in inspection, cleaning and restoration.

The IICRC was established in 1972 by Ed York, but is managed by 15 industry leaders elected by the shareholders. The organization is known for a set of standards for conducting any inspection or cleaning job within the industry, as well as guidelines for setting up your firm as a certified business (or getting certified yourself).

Certified Firms are required to complete a rigorous training program developed by the leaders at the Institute of Inspection Cleaning & Restoration Certification. After completing training, each firm must pass an exam that measures knowledge of proper cleaning techniques as well as business management skills. The firm must also demonstrate financial stability, high levels of technical experience and unmatched professionalism. 

An IICRC Certification Means: 

  • You can trust your certified firm to do the job right.
  • Your certified firm will meet or exceed all industry standards.
  • Your certified firm will provide you with a high quality, professional service.

An IICRC Certified Firm is a restoration company or business that has been trained and tested, has documented procedures, and offers qualified personnel, insurance and appropriate equipment, tools and/or vehicles. The certification process is a way to ensure that the firm you hire has the knowledge and experience necessary to perform the work. Certification ensures that your restoration service provider has proper equipment, tools and vehicles for performing their job. 

IICRC and SERVPRO of Southern Blair/Bedford County

The IICRC is committed to helping the public by making sure that your firm is qualified and has demonstrated its ability to meet the highest standards of professionalism. It’s important that you hire a certified firm, like SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County. With our team of certified professionals, you are assured of their training and experience in the field. SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County wants to assure our customers that they are hiring professionals who have been trained by an accredited organization and tested on their knowledge base. SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County is the local firm you can trust! 

What to Do If a Pipe Bursts

11/8/2022 (Permalink)

Leaking pipe with a sign that says Don't wait A leaking pipe will become a burst pipe causing flooding.

How to Handle a Burst Pipe

It's unfortunate, but every home has the potential to suffer from a burst pipe or line. Knowing what to do in this situation can help you minimize water damage and get your home back up and running again. It also helps to know what not to do: don't try fixing it yourself! If you're faced with this problem at home, follow these steps:

Shut Off the Main Water Valve

Once you've ensured that no one is injured and everyone has evacuated the premises, shut off the main water valve. If you're unsure how to turn it off, there should be instructions nearby; if not, simply call a plumber who can help you find where it is and what to do with it.

Shutting off your home's main water valve will stop all water flow into or out of your property. This action is critical because if left unchecked, leaking pipes can cause damage to floors and walls as well as cause flooding in surrounding areas. Once this step has been taken and any necessary repairs made to prevent further damage (see below), turn on your home's faucets again using only cold tap water for flushing purposes until everything is back up-and-running smoothly.

Open a Faucet to Relieve Pressure In the Line and Stop the Flow of Water

If a pipe bursts, you should open a faucet to relieve pressure in the line and stop the flow of water. This will reduce stress on the pipe and prevent further damage. You may also use a wet/dry vacuum to remove water from your flooring.

If you have any questions about whether you have a burst pipe, contact one of our trained technicians today!

Call an Emergency Plumber

If the pipe has burst, it’s important to call an emergency plumber right away. Here's why:

The plumbing system is often your home's most vulnerable part of your infrastructure. It contains water and gas, which can be deadly if not handled properly. Leaky pipes can cause severe damage to your property, so you need a professional who knows what they're doing come in as soon as possible.

If a pipe bursts within the walls of your home, it could cause serious damage to everything around it—from drywall and floorboards to electrical wiring and insulation. This can lead to further leaks or costly repairs down the road.

Use a Bucket To Remove Excess Standing Water, if Possible

If you can, remove any excess water from the area. This can help prevent a small leak from becoming a big problem. Use a bucket to collect water and remove it from the area or use a wet/dry vacuum if you have one on hand. If your house has hardwood floors, put down large pieces of cardboard to prevent damage while you work.

Another way to try and catch the leak is by using a shop towel or something similar as an absorbent pad underneath your leaking pipe.

Call SERVPRO for Cleanup and Restoration Services

Call SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County at (814) 624-9083 to receive help with your cleanup and restoration needs. We are a 24/7 emergency service, so there's no need to wait until regular business hours to call us. We'll be there right away!

Our fast response time, guarantee for all work performed, and certified technicians mean that you can rest assured knowing we'll take care of everything needed for restoring your home or business back to its pre-burst condition. If you're looking for an expert in basement water damage or any other type of pipe burst cleanup or repair work, look no further than SERVPRO of Southern Blair and Bedford County!

If you find yourself with a burst pipe, don’t wait to call for help. The longer you wait, the more damage your home could suffer from secondary water damage like mold growth. Contact SERVPRO today if you need immediate cleanup services after a burst pipe incident!

How Do I Protect My Business from Fire Disaster?

10/11/2022 (Permalink)

Fire extinguisher hanging on a wall Have a fire extinguisher in your office.

Fire is a threat to any business, no matter how small or large. While you can't stop every fire, you can make sure that your business is prepared if one does happen. Here's how…

How to Protect your Business from Fire

Your business is your livelihood, and it's always wise to take action to protect yourself and others in the event of a fire. To do so, you'll need to install various safety features in your building. The following are some of the most important ones:

  • Fire extinguishers. Extinguishers discharge foam or powder that smothers flames. They should be installed at key locations throughout your building, including near exits and stairwells, the cafeteria or kitchen area, and the garage if you have one on site.
  • Alarms/detectors. Detectors should be installed on each floor of your office building as well as in every room (including bathrooms). 

What is the first step?

The first step is to have a fire extinguisher in your office. They are relatively easy to use, and everyone should be familiar with the process of using one.

The second step is to have fire alarms and sprinklers installed in your office. These will help detect any fires as quickly as possible, alerting you and others nearby so they can safely exit the building before any damage occurs.

The third step is to have a plan for when there is a fire in your building or on its way (e.g., calling 911). You'll need an escape route mapped out that takes people away from danger while getting them out of the building safely—and this map needs to be posted somewhere everyone can see it as soon as possible!

What do you need in a commercial fire protection plan?

  • Have a plan. It's important to include your business’s emergency contact information, any commercial fire protection equipment you have and where it is located, as well as the evacuation route for employees and customers.
  • Practice your plan regularly. A good idea is to do so monthly or even weekly with all employees so that everyone knows what to do in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • Make sure everyone knows the plan—including new hires! It's also important that everyone stays informed about changes to the plan over time, such as when new exits open or security cameras are added for extra protection against theft and vandalism during power outages.
  • Test your plans regularly with drills that simulate real-life situations so people know what actions they should take in an actual emergency like a house fire or earthquake (or whatever else might happen).

Train your employees

Training your employees is a crucial part of preventing a fire disaster in your business. It's important to train them on how to handle certain situations like a fire or other emergency. You need to tell them what they should do if they see something suspicious, hear an alarm going off, or have any other suspicions that might mean something bad is happening in the building.

You should also provide training on what actions they can take if there's an actual fire or other emergency and all exits are blocked by smoke and flames (e.g., by making sure everyone knows how to break through an unbroken window).

Create an Emergency Action Plan with employees and make sure it is practiced regularly.

To ensure that everyone is prepared and knows what to do, you should create an emergency action plan with employees before a fire strikes. When creating your plan, make sure it includes:

  • How and when to evacuate your business
  • Who will evacuate first, second and so on (you should designate roles for each employee)
  • What items need to be saved before exiting the building

Once you’ve created this crucial document, you need to make sure it is practiced regularly with all employees so they know exactly what steps they need to take in case of a real-life emergency.

With the right planning and preparation, you can be ready for any disaster. We hope these tips have given you some ideas on how to protect your business from fire and put your mind at ease that everything will be okay if something goes wrong.

Keeping Your Pet Fire Safe

8/27/2022 (Permalink)

Pomeranian dressed as fire fighter Include your pet in your family emergency plan.

Preparing Your Pet For Fire Emergency

Your pets are a part of your family, and as such, it’s only natural that you’d want to protect them in the event a fire occurs in your home. Unfortunately, many homeowners in Hollidaysburg, PA fail to include their dog, cat or other pet in their family fire emergency plan, leading to heartbreaking outcomes. However, by preparing your pet for fire emergencies early on, you can keep your furry friend safe from harm. These extra precautions are sometimes as simple as:

  • Taking a few common fire prevention precautions
  • Training your pet to respond to your voice
  • Setting up a proper safe space for your pet while you’re away.

Reducing Fire Hazards

It’s estimated that unattended pets are responsible for almost 1,000 house fires annually. Ensure that you’re not leaving any open flames, such as candles, unattended, remove your stove’s knobs while you’re away so they can’t be turned by curious paws, and consider securing your pet in a safe place while you’re not around to supervise them.

Prepare for Disasters

If a fire does start on your lot, you and your pet both need to be prepared. First, ensure that you have fire emergency supplies such as food and medication for your pet on hand. Pet preparation can also be made just a bit easier if you take the time to teach your pet to come running when they hear you call their name.

When You’re Not Home

Fires happen when you least expect them, including when you’re not at home. That’s why you need to make it easy for rescue services to help your pet if this situation does arise. Keep your pet on a collar, keep a leash nearby and secure them somewhere near the door while you’re away. Furthermore, keep your vaccination and pet ownership records in a firebox.

Preparing your pet for a fire emergency can take a bit of time and patience, but in the end, it’s well worth it if it means keeping your companion safe.

3 Storm Preparedness Tips for Business Owners

8/27/2022 (Permalink)

Flooded building Flooded building due to heavy rains in Bedford, PA.

Are You Prepared For a Storm?

Suddenly, your business is in the path of a natural disaster in Bedford, PA. As the floodwater accumulates, the potential consequences of a flooded building start to sink in. Will your business survive this disaster? Unfortunately, not all businesses do. Prepare ahead of time to recover faster in the aftermath of a storm.

1. Purchase Insurance

Every business owner knows the importance of commercial property insurance. But, do you know the specifics of your plan? Does it cover damage caused by flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and fires? What about business interruption insurance to keep you afloat during the restoration process? If you cannot answer these questions off the top of your head, it is time to meet with your insurance agent and review the policy. Supplemental insurance may be needed. The worst time to find out your policy does not cover damage from floodwater is after a flood.

2. Back up Documents

Do you store important records for your business in spreadsheets, word processing programs, or in file cabinets? Consider what happens to computers or papers in a flooded building. It is possible to lose the data forever. To avoid this scenario, ensure that all-important information is backed up securely in another location. This includes employee data, financial and tax records, and customer information.

3. Put a Plan in Writing

Stressful situations can easily turn into chaos. In a weather emergency, do your employees know how to safely evacuate? Is there a plan for protecting the building and contents from flooding and water damage? To be efficient in an emergency, write down a plan, assign roles and responsibilities and communicate the plan with staff. Keep important numbers handy, including your insurance agent and a storm restoration company.

Increase your business’s chance of survival in Bedford, PA, by preparing for a natural disaster. After the danger has passed, act immediately to have restoration specialists remove the excess flood water and restore your business.

Water Damage - 5 Steps for Prevention

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Rainwater flowing from falling metal during a flood. Prevent downspouts from creating basement flooding

Steps To Prevent Water Damage In Your Home

For a new homeowner in Mount Union, PA, especially one who has only ever lived in apartments, the maintenance list for your new purchase can seem daunting! As you plan how to manage lawn care, home upgrades, and regular maintenance, make sure that your checklist includes steps for preventing water in your home. Water intrusion can be costly in a number of ways. Here are five things you can do to prevent water damage.

1. Check Seals
Especially in the basement and near windows and doors, check to make sure that all edges are sealed. Even a slight crack in the caulking can allow water to seep, causing mold damage or structural problems.

2. Inspect the Roof
A leaky roof is a common way that you can end up with water in your home. Look for wet or discolored spots in the attic that indicate the presence of water. If you're unsure as to whether water damage has occurred or is occurring, call a local water damage specialist to complete an assessment.

3. Extend Downspouts
Water that pools around the foundation of your house will compromise the structural integrity of your home. Ensure that the downspouts are not cracked and that they extend at least two feet away from your home to prevent water pooling.

4. Maintain Drains
If a sink is slow to drain, don't ignore it. A clogged pipe can lead to a broken pipe if the clog isn't cleared. The pressure of water building up can compromise your plumbing and lead to big problems.

5. Upgrade Pipes
In an older home, check the status of the pipes. Pipes that are corroded or old can easily crack under pressure or from extreme temperatures. If a pipe does crack, a leak might occur, causing extensive damage in a short amount of time. Pipe cleanup and repair can protect your home.
Preventing water in your home is a simple matter of following a regular home maintenance schedule. Always contact a professional if you're concerned about potential damage to your home.

Why IICRC Certifications Are Important

7/27/2022 (Permalink)

People in a meeting LOGO of IICRC Technicians that have been trained and certified by the IICRC provide high-quality work.

The Value of IICRC Certifications

If you've ever hired a disaster restoration company, you have probably noticed that certain businesses in and around Roaring Spring, PA, list IICRC certified in their credentials. In fact, there are a lot of them that are certified. All of these businesses seem to be boasting that this type of certification means they are more qualified. If you don't work in the restoration industry, you probably don't understand its significance and why it is important to look for a company with this certification. Keep reading for information about this type of certification.

1. This Organization Is a Leader in the Remediation Industry
IICRC translates to Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification. This is a substantial organization dedicated to improving the quality of work performed in the remediation industry by setting high standards. It was originally founded in the United States in 1972. Since these early years, it has grown to have thousands of certified technicians and businesses worldwide. It sets the standards for various areas within the restoration industry so that technicians may have multiple certifications and provide top-quality work for any disaster.

2. A Certification Ensures You Will Get Better Quality Work
To get an IICRC certification, technicians must undergo rigorous training and prove they meet the high-standards by passing an exam. Whether a technician has a cleaning, restoration, inspection, or mitigation certificate, they can be expected to uphold certain principles and standards set forth by this organization. This means that any customers who look for this type of certification ensure they are getting the highest-quality team available.
Technicians that have been trained and certified by this company provide high-quality work. There are many businesses in numerous locations that offer technicians with these certifications. Choosing one of these businesses ensures that you get a better quality of work for your remediation tasks. Therefore, businesses must look for this certification when choosing a restoration company.

6 Simple Steps to Use a Fire Extinguisher

7/19/2022 (Permalink)

PASS method fire extinguisher If your extinguisher class matches the fire's cause, use the P.A.S.S. method.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher in Six Easy Steps

A fire extinguisher puts out flames quickly and efficiently. But many people don't know how to use this essential safety tool. If a fire occurs in your Hollidaysburg, PA, residence, follow these simple steps to successfully snuff it out with an extinguisher.

1. Sound the Alarm
Activate the fire alarm and call the fire department before you do anything else. Immediately exit the building and wait for professional firefighters to arrive if the fire damage or danger is too extensive. If it's safe for you to stay and extinguish the flames, first verify you will not be cut off from your escape route while you work.

2. Assess the Cause
Every extinguisher is labeled with a class based on the type of fire it can eliminate. Class A covers basic combustibles such as wood, rubber, or plastic. Class B covers flammable liquids. Class C ends electrical equipment and wiring fires. Multipurpose extinguishers cover A through C fires. Class K extinguishers are specifically designed to help with oil combustion common in a kitchen fire.
If your extinguisher class matches the fire's cause, use the P.A.S.S. method explained below. Otherwise, evacuate the site immediately.

3. Pull the Pin
Pull the pin located at the top of the extinguisher.

4. Aim the Fire Extinguisher Low
Direct the extinguisher's discharge nozzle at the base of the fire. Avoid touching the nozzle of CO2 extinguishers to prevent skin damage from dry ice.

5. Squeeze the Handle
Grasp the extinguisher handle to expel the fire retardant.

6. Sweep From Side to Side
Sweep the nozzle back and forth, remaining focused on the base of the fire, until the flames are completely out. Monitor the area to ensure the fire doesn't reignite. If the fire starts again, repeat steps three through six. After the emergency is resolved, a  fire restoration company can help clean and restore your residence.
A fire extinguisher easily and effectively put out fires. By following the steps outlined above, you can put out a fire before it becomes a serious hazard.

How Keeping Electronic Files Makes Insurance Agents More Efficient

7/12/2022 (Permalink)

Tablet and cel phone. Electronic files make insurance agents more efficient.

How Keeping Electronic Files Makes Insurance Agents More Efficient

Digital document management has made filing an insurance claim for commercial restoration services more efficient for insurance companies, clients and cleanup experts in Huntingdon, PA. All parties benefit from the increased access and communication channels afforded by keeping files online. More than a simple convenience, because insurance companies have digitized the claims process, agents can be more effective when interacting with clients and vendors.

Stay Organized
For an insurance agent, being able to work onsite and online simultaneously helps them stay organized. Agents can use their laptops and phones to:

  • Take and upload photos
  • Type detailed notes
  • Enter clients’ concerns
  • Record vendor recommendations and estimates

The restoration professionals from SERVPRO will also provide pictures of essential items and a thorough list of damaged property. An agent then sends all of that data into a digital file, allowing them to access and retrieve information with the touch of a button. Furthermore, digital files eliminate the need for keeping track of hard copies of photographs and loose papers.

Communicate with Clients and Vendors
Every organization involved reaps the advantages of using electronic files. The most striking difference from sending traditional paper files is how insurance companies, clients and restoration professionals communicate and sign documents. No longer must they print, copy and mail documents to each other. Instead, agents can email and eSign documents. So, sending electronic documents saves paper, but more importantly, this way of doing business saves the time and money spent on postage and waiting for standard mail delivery.

Make Payments and Reimbursements for an Insurance Claim
Beyond staying organized and corresponding, insurance companies can electronically make and record payments to clients and restoration experts. Keeping track of the financial transactions during the restoration process is vital because costs accumulate, and the tangle of who pays who can get complicated.
Technology has revolutionized how insurance companies store and transfer information. The result is that filing and managing an insurance claim is more user-friendly.

How To Handle Broken or Frozen Pipes

6/30/2022 (Permalink)

Drying equipment in a room and flood cuts were performed to drywall Water damage specialists in Morrisons Cove, PA.

How to Deal with Frozen or Broken Pipes

Your commercial building in Morrisons Cove, PA, depends on reliable plumbing to function properly. Water damage from a frozen pipe, however, can lead to serious secondary issues if not dealt with quickly. Here are the steps you need to take as soon as you know you have a problem.

Stop the Damage
Broken pipes continue to release all the water that flows to them into your walls or cabinets. To stop damage in its tracks, take the appropriate measures to resolve the issue that's causing it:

  • Shut off the building's water main.
  • Call the plumber to repair the pipes.
  • Remove vulnerable items or documents out of the path of the water.
  • Get rid of standing water.

Call for Water Cleanup
Even after the pipe is fixed, there is still work to be done. Any drywall, insulation, flooring or ceiling tiles that were drenched will need to be repaired or replaced. Water damage restoration specialists can arrive at your building within hours of the event to assess the problem. Then they formulate a game plan for mitigating whatever water issues you have.

Prevent Future Damage
Once you have put your business on hold for mitigation, you probably never want to go through that again. You can increase your chances of preventing future damage by keeping pipes warm so that they don't freeze. Add insulation tape to them, especially if they are located along an external wall. Keep the temperature in your building no lower than 55 degrees, even at night when it's empty. Open cabinets that contain the pipes when the building shuts down for the evening so that warm air can reach them more easily.
Not all water damage is preventable, but fast attention and quick cleanup can get your building back to normal in a timely manner. As soon as you know you have damage, call for the help you need.