Recent Posts

When you see the GREEN, you know it’ll be clean!

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

Green servpro Venice outside of door A Green SERVPRO Van is shown arriving onsite at the new Salem Police Department.

When something happens to your business or home that is outside of the usual, it turns your whole world upside down. Disasters within the home or business include, but are not limited to:

-Flooding/Water Damage (caused by leaking of roof, burst pipe, accidentally leaving the faucet on, storm water intrusion, appliances with failed water lines, rodents chewing through supply lines, sewer backup, toilet overflow, and many more).

-Fire Damage (caused by electrical malfunction, wildfires, cooking, candles left burning, electronics shorting or overheating, unsafe use of matches, fireplaces, arson, and many more).

-Bio-Hazard (caused by trauma or crime scene, sewage overflow from toilet, contaminated storm water, exposure to dangerous chemicals or pathogens, bodily fluids, hypodermic needles, and more).

-Mold (caused by overly saturated structure materials that were not dried soon enough or well enough, too much moisture in a space, not enough ventilation in a space, unhealthy or unsanitary living conditions, neglected water damage, and more).

-Storm Damage (caused by high winds, fallen trees, flooded homes, snowstorms, ice storms, and more).

No matter the cause of the disruption in your home or business, when you see the GREEN, you know it’ll be clean!

Our SERVPRO Technicians are IICRC certified and trained to handle all of the above listed disasters and more!

Our crew leads, project managers, and crew chiefs are cross-trained in all facets of the restoration business.

SERVPRO of Salem West has been a staple in the restoration industry for over 20 years in the Willamette Valley. We have been family owned and operated since being founded.

If you are seeking a knowledgeable, educated, and trained response team…look no further than SERVPRO of Salem West. We also own SERVPRO of Lincoln & Polk Counties.

Homeless Encampments: Preparing for the Clean-Up!

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO technician is pictured surrounded by garbage SERVPRO team member Johanna Allen, stands amidst the chaos of a Salem Homeless Encampment Clean-Up.

People within our community are struggling. Struggling with mental health, with physical health, with addiction, and many are struggling with money. Oregon has the 4th highest rate of homelessness per capita among the United States. You may have already guessed the 3 states with higher homeless rates, they are (California, New York, and Hawaii).

If you look at the cost of living in America today, you will see Oregon is listed at number 4 on the “top 10 list of states with the highest cost of living” So what are the top 3 states with the highest cost of living? (California, New York, and Hawaii).

As the last few years have gone by, SERVPRO of Salem West has been called upon to perform Homeless Encampment Clean-Ups. These are highly contaminated jobs and physically exerting. So, Why? Why does SERVPRO take these on? The answer is simple, as needs change so does our job descriptions. We are a company that has always tackled Bio-Hazardous jobs, and homeless encampments are just that.

Preparing to take on a job like this is not only physical, but mental as well.

Physically, you need to be trained in proper pick-up and disposal of bio-hazardous materials (such as used hypodermic needles), you need to have the proper PPE (N95 or respirator, non-penetrable gloves, solid boots, long thick pants, an eye protection), you also need the right gear (sharps containers, tools for the removal of needles, industrial garbage bags, trucks or trailers for transport of waste, man power to collect garbage and get it to trucks or trailers, but the most important thing to have is a safe and steady pace.

Keeping a safe pace as you pick up garbage in a homeless encampment is a must! Due to the high amounts and piles of waste and garbage you must stay extremely vigilant and assume each handful of garbage contains something sharp within it…because often it does. “Working smarter, not faster” is a good way of viewing the clean-up of a homeless encampment.

Mentally preparing yourself for the viewing of homeless encampments is important, because they are hard to see up close. They can be disturbing and heartbreaking at the same time. Viewing a homeless camp from a distance (a street or road) only paints the picture of a group camping site…with more than average garbage. Up close, you are exposed to the severely toxic levels of rotten food, human waste, garbage, and unsanitary conditions. In each and every homeless site we have come across, we always find needles, drug paraphernalia, human feces and urine, rotten food, and most of all…garbage.

Garbage pick-up or storage is not something that is a priority or part of the day to day life at most sites. Garbage, is not a concern for a person struggling to get from one day to the next.

So preparing yourself mentally to see the level of uncleanliness in homeless encampment environments, is by far the hardest thing about cleaning these camps. You see the aftermath that comes when one of the most basic of human comforts ( keeping the body clean and sanitary)…is no longer a motivation or a priority.

There is hope, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It may seem like conditions and homeless populations are growing and getting worse…but statistically, that is not the case. Oregon in the year 2020, had the biggest drop in homelessness nationwide, and saw a decline of homelessness by 8%. With the many resources and amazing Organizations within the State of Oregon, this is great news. There is help, and people continue to accept it. Every. Single. Day.

Superman isn't the only one with super sight capabilities!

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

A SERVPRO technician is shown at a much warmer temperature than the water they are extracting, thanks to thermal imaging. A water Technician is shown at a much warmer (yellow) temperature than the water she is extracting (purple).

Thermal Imaging in Water Restoration can be a very useful approach during large water losses.
Human beings have a body temperature averaging 98.6 degrees. Water reads cold in average room temperature comparison. 

Unless a water loss is actively spraying from a hot water heater, the water will show up colder than the average human body because water adjusts to the temperature of the environment it is surrounded by (it freezes in cold, it melts in heat).

(Featured Picture) As you can notice from this picture, taken using a thermal imaging camera, the SERVPRO technician extracting water from the carpet is at a much warmer (yellow) temperature than the water she is extracting.

The water in the photo shows up darker (purple).
Deeper purple hues show up on a thermal imaging camera when cooler temperatures, water, and moisture are present.

Thermal imaging cameras are a wonderful tool, especially when looking at high areas out of immediate reach, and capturing how wet an area is that may appear more dry from simply looking at it with the human eye.

This technology can help our team map where the water has migrated more efficiently throughout a loss. It serves as a pair of water and temperature goggles when viewing a loss.

Thermal Imaging cameras are a great asset for our SERVPRO team in the field! They were not commonplace to use in water restoration until the last handful of years in the industry. Once water restoration technicians started using them, they saw the uses and benefits and soon became widely popular through SERVPRO franchises.

Fleas Up To Your Knees

8/10/2021 (Permalink)

Pants with fleas Our technician didn't realize it until he seen all the fleas on his pants

That is a literal statement and it is certainly made clear, there are a lot of fleas crawling around and up this technician's pant leg.

You could only imagine what was going on in this apartment building but we know there were a few fleas. After speaking with the manager, it was determined to declare this unit unfit for habitation in its current state. 

SERVPRO of Salem West maintains a fully stocked cleaning products room and we have thirty two cleaning protocols to handle your cleaning needs.

From inks, dyes and Kool-Aid, to fuel spill, oil, gum, wine and fire extinguisher dust, we have a process and protocol to clean it up.

For any specialty cleaning needs you may have, call us (503) 393-9999

Don't swing the golf clubs inside!

8/6/2021 (Permalink)


Just by the title, maybe this tee’d up the content of the article? Or maybe not. A few years back our team at SERVPRO of Salem West, located in Oregon was contacted by a client from a college town. They suffered a major water damage in their four-story apartment building, with the source location on the top floor.

As the story goes, a college student living the life in a very nice, two bedroom apartment in a newish apartment building was taking practice swings in the apartment. This building, newer in age with a fully installed fire sprinkler system was about to be put the test. A test not created by design but through human error and lack of judgment.

With the great swing of the titanium driver, that little sprinkler head didn’t stand a chance and a millisecond later water sprayed out in a beautiful umbrella pattern.

The golfer must have felt like, “Oh wow, I can’t take a mulligan on that one!”

With gallons of water pouring in the fourth floor apartment, the renter had to notify the building manager, which takes this little story for another turn. Upon being notified the building manager, with limited experience wasn’t sure what to do except call the fire department.

The fire department quickly responded and was able to locate the riser room to shut off the sprinkler system. Total time for the sprinklers to be shut down was about twentyfive minutes.
As would be, water ran for 25 minutes into the building affecting all three levels below: multiple apartments, common areas and hallways.

While we can’t help with your golf swing, we can make water damage, “Like it never even happened.” We went to work as fast as possible drying a restoring the property to preloss condition.

What's In A Name?

8/6/2021 (Permalink)

How are Storms Named?

Have you ever wondered who names storms and how names are chosen and what even qualifies a storm to be named?

Well, not all storms are named and as a matter of fact, a storm must be of a significant size to be named as noted by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s website.

Here’s a brief as mentioned by NOAA. Tropical Storms and hurricanes were tracked by year and order throughout the year which would make archival and information retrieval a little more cumbersome. So that’s where the idea of naming storm became the more better solution for reference.

In 1953, the USA began using female names and by 1978 male names were added.

There is a strict procedure established by the World Meteorological Organization on the specifics names given to a storm. The names do have meaning though just as a VIN# on a vehicle denotes details.

Read more about storm naming by clicking here.

What's in the fire extinguisher?

8/6/2021 (Permalink)

Extinguish that fire!

 Extinguishing a fire is the process of stopping the open flame and burning affect.

The material to extinguish a fire can be anything from, water, foam, fire blanket, or to what is commonly used in modern portable fire extinguishers; monoammonium phosphate or potassium bicarbonate.

These powders are great at putting the flame out for sure. There is also something else that’s important to know.

Cleaning up fire extinguisher dust is vitally important as well. The powders can be corrosive to metals and may lead to damaging items that were not directly impact by a fire.

If you’ve discharged a fire extinguisher in your home, take the following steps to clean up.

#1 Start clean-up as soon as safe to do so, but quickly as possible.

#2 Vacuum up all visible dry powder from all surfaces.

#3 Use a dry cloth to wipe up powder from surfaces.

#4 Use a wet cleaning method to help release the powder from oily or dirty surfaces.

#5 Rinse if needed with clear and clean water.

#6 Sanitize any food prep areas with SERVPROXIDE.

You’ll also want to dispose of any food that has come in direct contact with the powder as it will be unsafe to consume.

SERVPRO of Salem West is here to assist you in your disaster cleanup needs anytime, day or night.

Back Deck BBQ Fire in West Salem

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

BBQ Fire in West Salem Fire Damage Warped Vinyl Siding

It's summer in the Willamette Valley and Outdoor cooking and grilling are at the highest point of the year. Who wants to cook inside and heat up the house when it's 90+ degrees out? Not me! But as a responsible griller, it's important to always be safe while you cook outdoors. 

A recent inspection in West Salem found scorching and discoloration on the vinyl siding on the back of the home. It did not appear to be widespread, just one area. The homeowner mentioned that it had happened twice over the past year or so, and that it was from a BBQ being too close to the house. What looked to just be discoloration, turned out to be warping of many of the vinyl siding pieces (most likely due to the hot steam and smoke being vented directly at the house when cooking).

The heat had warped some of the panels so greatly that they were no longer effective at keeping moisture out. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you think about siding…what is its main purpose? To protect the house from outside elements, especially moisture. So, if the siding becomes compromised, it can no longer perform its main purpose. That is why it is so important to fix broken, cracked, or damaged vinyl as soon as you can after spotting it.

Keeping moisture out of your house should always be a top priority. Moisture intrusion can cause mold to grow quickly because it gives it a nice moist place to multiply.

Some smaller jobs, when it comes to vinyl siding replacement, can be done by the average American homeowner. Please see this Replacing Vinyl Siding. Where Shannon, from House Improvements, uses his YouTube channel to show you how to replace your own vinyl siding on your home, even if it’s in the middle of the wall. He also gives you the link to buy the tool you will need in the comments!

Multi-Unit Water Damage in Salem Apartments

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

Drywall around bathroom vent fully saturated A moisture reading shows that the drywall around the bathroom vent is fully saturated with water.

Imagine you wake up to start your day, you flip on the light in your bathroom and find the floor soaked with water and dripping from the happens more often than you think. Especially in multi-unit housing. 

We were recently called out to an apartment building where the ground floor tenant complained of water coming out of the vent in her bathroom ceiling. Upon inspection we found that the water had fully saturated around the vent and had also run down the interior of the wall and gotten under the vinyl flooring in the bathroom. We followed the moisture trail also to an electrical breaker box in an adjoining room closet (Very scary stuff).

Upon even further inspection the water had dripped into the crawl space as well. It was clear at this point that the water was coming from a pipe in the upstairs unit. But we could not gain access to the upstairs unit due to no one being home and no notice given. Apartments are always complicated jobs, because we are working with the tenant, the property manager, the property owner, and sometimes the adjoining apartments tenants as well (like in this case).

That’s why it is so important for renters to carry insurance. Renters insurance is affordable (about the cost of 2 coffees) and covers all your belongings should something happen to them. Things happen that are beyond your control when you share walls with other people. Water damage, Fire damage, Smoke damage, Mold damage, bio-hazardous contamination…we have seen multi-unit losses for all the above and more. Of course, we are able to help the tenant in the upstairs apartment as well as the tenant of the unit we inspected, but this is just a reminder to be prepared and have your belongings insured. It’s not worth the risk to leave yourself fully exposed to unfortunate occurrences that are beyond your control, or due to another tenant’s negligence.

Here is an interesting article found on on why renters insurance is not only beneficial to the renter, but the landlord as well. It also includes details on what renters insurance covers! Why landlords should require renters insurance.

Hundreds of Flooded Basements in Salem, OR

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

Moisture Meters shows wet drywall well above marked waterline Moisture meter shows how high the drywall is affected past the point the water flooded to.

The ice storm last February was unlike anything most Oregonians have ever experienced. It wreaked havoc on the outside/exterior of homes with damage to (trees, plants, out structures, and tile roofing). It also caused massive structural damage from trees on homes). The storm also did a massive huge amount of interior damage, this came in the form of flooded basements. Flooded basements happened when the electricity went out, the basement sump pumps shut off, and while this is normally not a large problem…in this case, the electric stayed out for 7-10 days for thousands of homeowners. The sump pumps could not pump out all the water that continued to flood into their basements.

Here at SERVPRO, a flooded basement was the #1 call received. A close second was trees on homes. I will tell you an interesting fact when it came to inspecting these basements, by the time we arrived and inspected there was very little standing water left. One home I’ll never forget, the owner had used painters masking tape (brilliant idea) to mark out where the water came up to on the basement walls. You could also see the water line in many areas of the basement, but she was surprised to see how far up the wall the drywall was soaked past the point the water filled up to.

Drywall will hold water and expand; water will travel up inside of drywall much like a spider would on the outside. So, what looked like a foot of saturated drywall was over twice that amount. The finished product of this job was great though, we were able to return the homeowners basement back to a dry and safe environment.

We accomplished this by packing out and sanitizing first. We then did minimal demo, dehumidification, and airflow. We also deterred growth of microbes by applying anti-microbial products to any areas that met the storm water.

Part of the reason this job had the great outcome it did was that the homeowners took initiative! They invested in a generator right after the storm hit and flooded their basement, within a 24-hour period they had pumped out any standing water all by themselves! What Rockstar's!

If you would like to see pictures and read up on this historic Ice Storm, below is a link to an article The Stateman's Journal published and pictures they captured. Ice Storm Article.