Locally Owned And Operated For Over 20 Years!
When people think of the SERVPRO brand they think of a large, nationwide corporation. What is largely unknown is that SERVPRO is franchised, so each location is unique and it’s own separate business. SERVPRO of Salem West and SERVPRO of Lincoln and Polk Counties are both owned by a local family here in Salem. This same family has owned these franchises for the past 20+ years. The owner still hows up each day at the office and shows passion for the business.
Some of our employees have been apart of our business for the past 15+ years. We have many people that have been here for 5-10 years. Our core team at SERVPRO of Salem West is passionate about our goals and our customers. We are always looking for good people who show interest and compassion when it comes to working with people suffering losses to their homes or businesses.
SERVPRO is more than just a brand, we are a community of dedicated technicians who live within the SERVPRO ideals and values. It usually happens pretty fast when a person decides if this job isn’t for them, it’s usually on a crawl space job, or an extra strenuous job that some people are just not cut out for. That is okay too. We are not for everybody, but it’s exciting when we find someone who truly enjoys and is passionate about working in the restoration industry.
Many come to us with no on-the-job restoration experience, that is why SERVPRO offers our training programs in-house called ECTP (employee certification training program) this is a why a new technician can learn about their industry and their responsibilities before they even set foot within someone’s home or business. If an employee passes these tests and shows enthusiasm when out in the field and has a passion for our work, many go on to attend an IICRC program to get nationally certified in the industry.
Individual Cleaning Standards: What is Clean?
I think it’s important to note that everyone has different standards of clean. I met a man once who said he kept his home meticulously clean…and he was half right. His home was very clean, in the sense that it was clean of disorganization and clutter. But there was dust covering all horizontal surfaces within the home. So is clean “organization”? Or is clean “free from contamination & dust?” The answer is the later. If a space is well organized, it can still be filthy. But a “messy” house, with toys, books, clothes, and clutter everywhere…can be completely clean!
So how clean is your home? Most spaces appear clean until more detailed inspections take place. SERVPRO keeps our standard of clean as “Sparkling, dust free, sanitary, organized” organization matters when it comes to keeping a clean home. It’s also easier to maintain a clean home if it isn’t constantly covered with clutter. But it is interesting to note, that a space can appear messy as can be, but be completely clean.
Regular and proper cleaning is good for indoor air quality and health. Keeping the dust at bay is good for people with lung conditions such as mesothelioma and asthma. Airing out your home is very important, especially if you have no central air. Moving stale air out of a space, and inviting fresh air into the space, can give your house a crisp and fresh feel.
As spring is coming to an end, many of us are feeling the push to finish (or start) our spring cleaning list. So here are some tips on keeping your house clean, organized, and full of fresh air!).
-Make the beds daily (and keep bedding laundered weekly)
-Do laundry as it accumulates, don’t save all the laundry for one day of the week
-prioritize chores and tasks (dishes are more important right now than organizing the bookshelf)
-Be happy with 80% clean, if you get your home to 80/20 you are doing a pretty good job! Try not to obsess over the details and look at it as a 100% or nothing scenario.
-Declutter! Haven’t used it in the last 12 months and aren’t planning on using it in the next 12? Donate or throw out or sell that stuff!
-vacuum every day (or every other day if carpet is not a heavily trafficked area).
-sort and recycle paper ASAP! (Mail, magazines, bills, etc)
-Keep a cleaning schedule (Tuesday bathrooms get deep cleaned, Wednesday is dusting, etc)
-Try to wash dishes right after meals, and keep counters clean by the end of the day!
-Do a 15minute pick-up/organize routine at the end of each day!
-Air out your house often when the weather is clear and air quality outside is good.
Handling Mold Correctly in a Commercial Enviroment
What are the most important things to focus on when handling a mold occurrence in your commercial area? If mold is discovered, do you know the next steps that you should take?
You arrive at work one sunny Monday Morning at 8am, and decide to finally pull out the fridge and retrieve your favorite pen that dropped between the fridge and counter 4 months ago. You use your massive muscles and move the fridge easily…those lifting sessions are really paying off!...but then, you see it! Behind the fridge, in a place that last had boring beige colored drywall, is now a large area of MOLD.
You start to think about what to do about it, you inspect it further, you think about the rest of your team coming in at 9am, especially Mrs. Zellner with the asthmatic episodes. You think about grabbing a bottle of bleach and going to work…but then you stop, and decide to look up mold removal. Up pops SERVPRO! You see that the brand it nationally known and certified in mold remediation, you also see that their mold remediation services prevent cross contamination, and they can also determine what is causing the mold (if there is no obvious reason present).
You call the number and schedule a tech to come out within the next 2 hours. In the meantime, you call your team and let them know the situation and that you are having it looked at this morning. You give Mrs. Zellner the option to remotely work since she is worried about exposure. You mention that you are having a certified company come out who will prevent cross contamination when they remediate the mold.
A few employees choose to stay out of office in the morning hours, the SERVPRO technician arrives before 10am and inspects the mold. She lets you know that the growth was due to a very tiny crease leak in the supply line to the fridge (That explains why the mold is so low to the floor, you look closely and see water impressions on a few places on the vinyl. You turn off the water supply to the fridge to stop further damage. The SERVPRO technician gives you a verbal working estimate and the option of a Not-to-exceed agreed upon price of remediation. You two talk about insurance, your deductible is more than the quoted amount the SERVPRO tech just gave you, so you opt to pay out of pocket and are thrilled when the SERVPRO tech says that they can do the work today!
Another team member shows up and you pay the bill upfront, they set containment and get to work. By the end of the day, you have the refrigerator repair man lined up to come out the next morning. And you now have that boring beige drywall again behind the fridge.
Best of all though, you have Mrs. Zellner coming back tomorrow morning with cookies of appreciation baked just for you!
Biohazardous Situations on our Salem Streets
Let’s face it, today more than ever, we are faced with more bio-hazardous situations when we go out into public than even 5 years ago. Downtown Salem is very hard to navigate at times, and we have all come across bio-hazardous items on the street downtown.
What are the bio-hazardous items that might be dangerous that you have encountered?
For an example, any area that smells of urine is a telltale sign that the area is contaminated. It’s difficult to determine where urine is without a product to spray and identify the areas affected…so tread carefully. As a precautionary measure you can wash your shoes if you suspect you have walked in a urine contaminated space.
Fecal matter is also a common bio-hazardous item that unfortunately has become a common thing to stumble across when out and about in downtown Salem, this is an extremely hazardous occurrence and should be reported and cleaned up by professionals immediately. Don’t try to clean fecal matter up yourself, it’s much different from picking up poop with a doggy poop bag. It’s better to report it, and have a professional pick it up and decontaminate the area.
Any food items that have been half-eaten and discarded, and beverages that have been partially-drank and discarded, can easily have Bio-Hazardous materials on them from the saliva of the person last drinking and eating them (granted they are not as hazardous as fecal matter, but still should be avoided) if you choose to pick up and discard these items, make sure to clean your hands properly after handling them.
Needles, Sharp Objects, and Syringes. These should be avoided at all costs. If you see any syringe, needle, or sharp element, report it immediately. Do not attempt to pick up the item and discard it yourself. Precautions are in place for our technicians that are assigned with such a task for a reason, you can never be too careful when it comes to something that might be contaminated and can easily penetrate the human skin.
Bottom line, be aware and be careful when out and about. We look forward to the day that our streets are free from fecal matter and urine and garbage, but no one knows when that may happen. No one knows when a solution will be sourced, and until that day…take extra care when out and about. Carry hand wipes (disposable gloves if you regularly pick up garbage) and hand sanitizer. We will be able to enjoy the clean streets of downtown Salem again, but until that day, better safety measures should be taken.
House Fires and Youth Education
Oregon is not usually listed nationally in the top 10 states with most House Fires, at least over the past handful of years. Fire data and safety statistics show repeatedly that New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania have all been in the top 5 over the past years…repeatedly.
If you have PulsePoint on your phone, you probably see the engines being called out constantly. Most of those, over 60% actually, are for medical response.
As a state, I think Oregon is very environmentally aware, therefor I think we have excellent fire safety programs. Like these youth resources from the Oregon State Fire Marshall: https://www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/sfm/Pages/Youth-Fire-Safety.aspx
No matter the circumstances, house fires are never an easy thing to think about happening. That is why talking about them is essential to education. Whether you have a child that is new to the idea of fire safety, or you yourself can practice better fire safety practices, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the latest safety protocols and prevention tips.
If you are interested in talking points to share about house fires with older kids, here are some great resources from FEMA: (printer friendly) https://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/safety/fire-safety-home-students.pdf
It’s important to note to kids, that although the idea of house fires are scary, the better educated you are on fire safety and prevention, the lower chance you have of suffering a house fire. House fires (except under extreme wildfire circumstances) are preventable. Education, especially with children in the home, is a must.
A great resource for all disaster education and prevention tips continues to be FEMA. No matter your child’s age, there are different levels of topics and resources at this link: https://www.ready.gov/kids
Educating kids on fire safety, and disaster response safety is a powerful tool. And kids, no matter the age, can learn fire prevention tips.
Uncommon Appliances That Can Be A Huge Fire Risk!
When we think about house fires being started by appliances, we think about toasters, stoves, and lamps, things like that. What most of us don’t think about is the uncommon appliances that are actually huge fire hazards.
-dishwashers can be a huge fire hazard. We don’t usually associate fire with washing things, because water in a fire deterrent. But dishwashers having heating elements, and the heating elements are very powerful. I’m sure you have noticed the extremes heat that comes out of the dishwasher when a cycle just finishes drying. Well, that’s the heating element working hard to make the interior of the dishwasher so hot that the water all evaporates from your dishes and pans.
(Safety tip: never turn the dishwasher on…and then leave the house).
-refrigerators again are not an appliance we would normally associate with fires, but they can be extremely hazardous and fire prone under the right circumstances. Refrigerators have a compressor, and as long as that compressor is working properly all is well. It’s when the fridge raptor compressor overheats that it becomes a fire hazard. Also, refrigerators use lots of electricity, and an electrical short can also spark a fire quickly.
(Safety tip: If you notice a light bulb that never turns off, take it out of the fridge to prevent it from getting too hot until you have the problem fixed. Refrigerator lights aren’t meant to stay on for hours and hours straight like regular bulbs.
No matter the appliance, it’s always good to regularly check the wiring and take note if an appliance shows signs that something is wrong, lights flickering, or much noisier than normal when operating. The heavy hitters when it comes to appliances are also the ones we already know and expect: Stove, Toaster Oven, Dryer, and Microwave.
Smoke Detectors: The Facts
Having working smoke detectors in your home in incredibly important and can save your life. Smoke spreads faster than fire within a home, but doors and different levels of a home can impede the path of the smoke. That’s why it is recommended that smoke detectors be installed in each bedroom and outside each sleeping area, and on each level of your home.
On levels without bedrooms, install smoke detectors in living room/family room, or near the stairway to the next level. Smoke alarms in the basement should be install on the ceiling near the staircase. Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet from each cooking appliance.
Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceiling. Never paint smoke alarms, this can impair the device from operating properly.
-For the best protection, connect all smoke alarms so when one goes off…they all go off.
-If you home is large, you may need to install more fire alarms than usual.
-Test your smoke alarms 1x a month for insuring the device is working properly.
-People who are deaf can use a different kind of alarm (a strobe light, or bed shaker for instance).
-Replace all smoke alarms after 10 years.
-Replace batteries in smoke alarms each season.
-On the market now are smoke alarms coupled with carbon monoxide detectors.
So the bottom line is, lets keep our batteries fresh in our smoke detectors. Let’s keep them positioned well within our homes. Let’s keep enough of them in our home based on the size of our home.
On average 2,620 people die from fires within their homes each year. 1 in every 320 homes will report a fire in a five year period. It has been reported that about 60% of those fires took place within a home that had a non-working smoke detector.
For more information you can visit:
Exposure to a Virus in a Commercial Setting
Over the past year, we have seen more than ever, people afraid to touch doorknobs in a public place. We have started a avoiding touching anything unless absolutely necessary. We carry hand sanitizer, wipes, face masks, and face shields. We have taken a stronger path to fight germs than we ever have before in the history of our world.
Why is going out into public scary? For the simple fact that we do not control the cleanliness of that environment. We cannot control other people or make choice for them to stay home when they are sick. We don’t have the answers of who all has touched that shopping cart in the last few hours. Normally, this information wouldn’t seem pertinent, but over the past 14 months…there has been a shift.
So what do you do when a co-worker, an employee, a boss, or a customer gets sick and gets a COVID-19 positive test? Do you start cleaning? Do you close the doors to your business? Do you warn each person that comes through your door? Do you know how to properly inactivate a virus?
SERVPRO does. SERVPRO has been deactivating the COVID-19 virus for the last 14 months. We use our specialty products and procedures that keep us, and our customers safe during the performing of a job.
If you are planning to hire SERVPRO to do a COVID-19 cleaning within your business/facility, you should shut the doors as soon as you can without causing panic.
Call SERVPRO, be honest and let us know that your business has had an exposure to the COVID virus. It’s paramount you are honest about details, so we can clean the area properly. When we come in, it’s best to have the area clean so we can fog as well as wipe down solid surfaces.
After we are done, and you are cleared to return to the building, you now have the proof that you took the best measures in fighting this virus and making your building/business safe again for customers to enter.
Running A Business Is Tough!
Let’s face it, running a business is tough, and unless your business is disaster cleanup and restoration, handling a water loss, fire damage, mold remediation, or bio-hazardous cleanup is extremely stressful. If you know who to call, and how the steps take place, it’s much less frightening. For all the business owners out there, you got this! You have made it through a tremendously difficult year. Here are some steps to take if a disaster ever strikes your business or place of work.
-Step 1: Make the Emergency calls. If needed, call the fire department, police station, or ambulance. If nothing is currently on fire and no one is hurt or in immediate danger, you can move on to the next step.
-Step 2: Check to see how you can contain the loss. If it’s a water loss and water is pouring out of the dishwasher, shut off the water to the dishwasher, remove items from the path of water. If it’s a smoke damage after a kitchen fire, remove yourself from the structure if you do not have proper respiratory protective equipment. If you have the proper respiratory equipment and there is no further danger from the fire, you can remove any valuables from the business that you are afraid might get contaminated from the highly acidic smoke. If it’s mold, see if you can identify what is causing it to grow? But do not disturb it.
-Step 3: Call your insurance to get advice or file a claim if needed. Your insurance will most likely have a recommendation on a disaster cleanup company as well. It is important to note, that you can choose whoever you wish to do the work within your business or home. Your insurance does not determine who you hire, and it holds no bearing on how much coverage you will receive. A first call also might be straight to a local disaster cleanup team, such as SERVPRO of Salem West!
-Step 4: Walk through the loss with the disaster cleanup team and/or your insurance. This is important, and don’t try to guess what it going on within your structure, leave it up to the professionals to determine what caused the loss. Volunteering information that is a guess, or not been proven to be true, causes an approach very different than a fresh pair of eyes approaching the loss for the first time. If you can clearly see what caused the loss, communicate that. But don’t guess or assume anything.
If all 4 steps are done, it will be time to hire a disaster cleanup team and start the restoration process. If it’s covered, you will be filing a claim and be responsible for your deductible. The process is less scary the more educated you are on the steps it takes to get through the loss effectively.
Water Losses Can Be More Expensive Than You Think...
So you have had a water loss…you have soaked up the standing water, it seemed just a small amount in the hallways, it had puddled out of the washing machine onto your hardwood floors. And it appears dry, but the next day you notice some buckling of the hardwood. You run your hand over the floor and confirm that it is popping up in a place that the water sat last night. Now it’s almost a trip hazard for you and your toddler aged daughter.
You call Water Restoration services (example: SERVPRO of Salem West). The company says that they will be out in the next couple of hours to inspect the loss.
When the SERVPRO Tech arrives they inspect your hallway area and take moisture readings with equipment. They determine that the water did indeed make it’s way under your water resistant engineered hardwood flooring, and it is now trapped under the flooring. Since the flooring is unison throughout your entire lower level, they tell you that they are going to try and “Dry the floor in place.” This service will be costing hundreds of dollars, as opposed to what taking up the floor and reinstalling the floor would be. You sign the authorization to start work and they begin.
They bring in equipment, an air mover (Giant Fan) and a dehumidifier to pull the moisture out of the air. Then, they tent the flooring area that is wet and hook the machines up and vent them into the area. It now looks like a big white balloon laying flat on your floor. The technician communicates that if this works, the job will be less than your home insurance policy deductible, so you won’t need to file a claim. If it doesn’t work, the job could easily surpass $10,000 and they will let you know when they know more after monitoring the area for a couple days.
On day three the SERVPRO technician takes off the tented plastic that has enveloped the wet hardwood flooring over the past 3 days, to your shock and happiness, the floor has returned to it’s regular size and place in the hallway. It is no longer sticking up and causing a trip hazard. The SERVPRO Technician communicates that water can swell wood, when the moisture content gets too high in the material, many times the wood will return to preloss condition if it is dried out quickly and efficiently.