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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Why SERVPRO Blog Posts

Steps in the process

4/1/2021 (Permalink)

Everyone company wants to get back to normal as soon as possible, with as little cost and intrusion into their life as possible. Guess what??? That expectation is the worst way to approach this kind of water loss. While it sounds great what is the big deal. Let us explore the things that can happen when you actually move too quickly.

Having anything submerged in water means it was able to saturate. Saturated clothing can be wrung out but is still wet at the fiber level. Guess what wood does the same thing. Unlike clothing wood structures cannot be thrown into a dryer. That is right inside those beams are still wet. Behind that wall is soaked, oh your home is insulated yeah that’s wet too. That beautiful wood floor is sitting on a subfloor that space is wet too. However will you get it dry. Well if you do not have high powered fans and commercial grade dehumidifiers it can take months yes months to air dry.

Aside from the fact that everything is wet, said you were flooded right? Guess what dispite what you think flood water is not clean. At all!!!! It is flooded because the water did not have a normal place to drain. Where does most city water drain into??? That is right the sewer system.. Sooo if you are flooded because the sewer system is not working that is right folks you have been flooded with sewer water.


  • Is mold already growing
  • Is electricity on & active ( Never walk through water to power off electricity)
  • Check for gas leaks
  • Is the structure safe
  • Wear protective eye glasses, Shoes and gloves and respirator if you suspect mold.
  • Do not mix chemicals the vapors can be deadly ( Especially Bleach and Vinegar)

Step by Step guide:

  • Get to safety: If the rain has stopped flooding is still possible as the water drains from some areas and into others. Makes sure you stay safe. Once it is safe to do so start assessing the personal damage you have incurred.
  • Insurance: Most people have home owners insurance. Guess what they do not cover flood insurance so start there. If you were flooded and do not have flood insurance you are on your own. Even if you do it is your responsibility to keep the home safe and reduce damages as much as you can. Which means you cannot wait to hear from the insurance company. Should you get mold or rot from waiting most likely it will not be covered due to the fact that it is considered secondary damage. Meaning it would not occur if you had started to clean up immediately.

The clean up: What can you do before the adjuster arrived from the insurance company.

  1. Take pictures of everything, before you or anyone do any work what so ever.
  2. Clean up areas of the house so that wall, and floor damage can be easily seen.
  3. There can be hidden damage, such as behind the walls so it will be reassessed as work begins.
  4. Reach out to government agencies for potential assistance for aid. ( Please note that a federal disaster must be declared for you to apply for this type of assistance.
  5. Hire an electrician to come in and assess the safety of electrical system of the home. This will tell you what is safe and not safe to turn on ( Never turn on equipment that was submerged any salvageable items could spark and become a total loss)
  6. Check with the local town to see if the water is safe to use or if it was adversely affected by the flood waters.
  7. Go through your food and make sure you throw out anything not in a metal can. Make sure you get rid of the labels and get new ones. To identify the food later. The cans must be washed if you are going to keep them . o.
  8. All your silverware and utensils have to be cleaned and sorted. Wood, plastic or anything no metal or ceramic needs to go
  9. Cut and remove walls ( Even if they do not look damaged)
    1. If you see a water line ..Cut the wall at a minimum of 2 feet above that line.
    2. Remove insulation and yes throw it away.
    3. Take off the base boards , they may be able to be dried and saved but at least removing them assured they are not holding in moisture.
  10. It is recommended anything that cannot be dry cleaned should be thrown away. This includes but is not limited to furniture, clothing, and blankets.
    1. Carpets must be pulled up and while the carpet may be able to be cleaned and dried the pad cannot so throw that way.. Do not re-attach the carpet before the floor it sits on is fully dry ( Yes we have to say that again) To avoid any issues make sure that you do this within 48hrs after the water goes down so that it does not have a chance to grow anything it should not be growing ( which is anything)
  11. Flooring: Be it if you have wood, vinyl, laminate or tile if it was submerged in flood water it really has to go.
    1. If you are not sure if the tile or its adhesive is asbestos get it tested.
    2. If it is a painted surface and you are not sure about the presence of Lead that too should be tested.
    3.             This step while will be a bit of a delay keeps you, your family and the workers safe.
  12. Subfloors: Guess what your floors sit on a floor and regardless of what sort of main floor you have most of the time the subfloor is plywood and will be affected by the water. The top floor must be removed so that this level of floor can dry fully. Make sure you do not have any buckling before you put a new floor on top once it is dry. If so you may need to replace that.
  13. Set up fans and Dehumidifiers to created a vortex to encourage drying. Proper fan positioning and temperature regulation will speed up the drying process.
  15. If you see mold… There is a very specific process that must be followed. The most important step is to NOT spread the spores all over the house. So DO NOT VACCUM them unless you have a hepa-vaccum.

Contact a professional and keep in mind this is not a two or three day process. Have the right expectations going in to this. It will ease your mind and reduce the amount of stress that you have. Expecting something to be done to fast can result in long term damage that will cost more. It will also put undue stress on all involved. Take a step back and know that it could be a month or even more depending on how extensive the damage is.

COVID-19 Disinfecting Practices

3/25/2021 (Permalink)

For the past year we have been performing cleaning and disinfecting services related to COVID-19 and the pandemic. We have been servicing residential and commercial clients in the greater Boston area and Eastern Masschusetts.

Our residential jobs consists of home owners that have had a family member or client exposed to the virus in some manner and we proform a cleaning in their residences. The cleaning consists of wipe down of hard surfaces, addressing high traffic areas, fogging of the space and using a state of the art  electric static sprayer. We use a EPA certified general disinfectent agent. 

We also work with commercial clients, those consist  and not limited to restaurants, offices, hotels, warehouses. We adhere to all safety protocols per every different space we are in. The team assess the job and makes the best decision for the client and their needs. Several of our clients also do proactice cleanings to ensure the continued safety of their area. We recommend bi weekly and monthly cleanings. This allows a constant cleaning and disinfecting to maintain high cleaning protocol. 

We ensure our technicans are wearing proper equipment for such situations during this pandemic. They wear PPE during jobs due to state mandates at all jobs and due to the case senstive job sites.

We continue to support residences and commercial building during these times. 

We know winter

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

Stages of hypothermia Seek shelter inside if you seem to be entering the first stages to avoid a major problem down the road. Always seek professional help if unsure

Winter in New England.. What can we say 70 degree temperatures one day, two feet of snow the next, followed by howling winds. We all have that older uncle that said I do not know what the difference between the temperature and the will chill temperature is but its cold as anything outside.

For those of you who may still be confused as to what the windchill we will try and provide you an explanation here. Wind chill can affect your home, pipes, walls, roof, gutters and so much more. There are times we will find ourselves outside in these wind driven events too. Our homes react the same ways our bodies do. It is important to understand these things to prevent disaster.

The wind pushes air in and around our home, the pipes and exposed areas are subjected to these forces first. Roofs, gutters, siding , windows, are all like our outside clothing. Layered over insulation and walls which are able to hold pipes, electric and heating duct work and wires. All moving to the inside of the house which is the body of your home. Hopefully we have not lost you yet. Let us dive into this a bit more from a human body perspective and see if that clears things up a bit.

Wind chill is important because it changes how must heat is held close to our body changing out internal body temperature. Hyperthermia is a very dangerous condition and people going out in extreme temperatures should be monitored or limit their time outside. That being said, for those who say the temperature is the temperature let us look at how temperature, clothing and windchill work.

Average body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It radiates out from your skin and the air temperature creating a zone of heat around you. Clothing helps to hold that heat at a more steady temperature in colder conditions. Much like a roof works to keep your home warm. When there is a wind chill the moving air breaks up that zone of air and your body works hard to maintain it. As the temperature drops and the wind picks up your body has to work hard to keep warm. Eventually there is a pint where the body can not keep up with the wind and air temperature. This results in a drop in body temperature the higher the wind the faster this will happen. When our bodies internal temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit hypothermia starts to set in.

The air temperature and the speed of the wind all become factors into how long the body can take to become hypothermic. The graph we have enclosed to try and give you a better idea of that time line. One other factor that can effect this change is if there is moisture involved. Snow, rain, & ice can all change the bodies effectiveness to produce heat. That is why there is such a danger in the winter when people fall through the ice. There is a shock factor that comes into play however hypothermia still works the same exact way depending on air and water temperature.

Knowing what to look for is they key to early detection along with getting the person out of the cold weather. There are three stages of hypothermia. The first stage consists of shivering and circulation issues are the first and often times ignored as just part of winter. The second stage has more symptoms such as slower movements, breathing, mood changes such as irritability and confusion. There could also start to some confusion and co-ordination issues. The later two are important reasons to try and pay attention early because as confusion sets in proper decision making can be impaired. For example under normal circumstances wanting to sit down because you are unsteady would prompt you to go inside and take a break. You may in this state of confusion choose to sit on the ground or an outdoor chair because it was closer and easier. The third stage is reduced breathing and pulse rate to the point of undetectable or absent all together.

It is important, to be aware at all times, and if you are not certain about someone or your own condition seek medical attention from a professional immediately.

We are back, hope that helps you become more aware of how it helps and effects your body. Think of your home in the same way. Walls, siding, windows, roof are all the other clothing we wear. The insulation, pipes, wires, and walls are all the skin and veins. The inner portion of your home is your internal organs. Wind can break a pipe or allow your roof to lose too much heat and cause an ice dam. There can be weak spots in your siding or window trim that can all push cold wind through your home. The lower temperature can result in some serious damage from a burst pipe or ice pushing its way through your home. Many times this damage is not noticed until things warm up resulting in a lot of damage.

Living in New England has its charms. A beautiful visual of trees dusted with snow after a fallen snow can be hampered by a howling wind and blinding snow. It is important to inspect the inside and outside of your home before, during and after a large storm to catch any warning signs before you have a major problem. If you are not sure have a qualified professional walk through with you. It can save you thousands.

Photo Credit


COVID 19 updates

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

Most Recent Covid-19 data Covid-19 Vaccine information seems to be changing by the minute. Please be diligent and check on a reputable site before you make any arrangements

The Baker Administration and the Department of Public Health developed a vaccine distribution timeline after extensive consultation with the Massachusetts Vaccine Advisory Group. This group is comprised of leaders from health care, the faith community, community organizations, local government, and others. 

The timeline reflects several priorities: protecting our most vulnerable, maintaining health care system capacity, and addressing inequities in health care access and COVID-19 burden. 

The current phased approach distribution of COVID-19 in MA is as follows: 

(NOTE: These timelines are estimates based on current COVID-19 regulations and production capabilities.)

Phase 3 April 2021

The vaccine is expected to be available to the general public, including:

  1. Higher education workers, including administrators, teaching and non-teaching staff;
  2. Bottled beverage industry workers;
  3. Veterinarians

Phase 3 Vaccination Settings:

Once the vaccine is available to the general public, public vaccine clinics will be available on the CDC’s interactive website: vaccinefinder.org. You will also be able to check with your primary care provider, local pharmacy or local health department.

Facts About COVID-19 Vaccination

  1. Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19? - 
    1. No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. 
    2. There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
    3. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
  2. After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?
    1. No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.?
    2. If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination—there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
  3. If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine
    1. Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, vaccine should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first.
    2. At this time, according to the CDC, it is not yet known how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. More data is required.
  4. Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?
    1. Yes. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19.
    2. Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die.
  5. Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
    1. No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. 

It is critical for all of us to remain vigilant in our battle against COVID-19. COVID-19 remains a highly transmissible disease. Individuals should continue to follow these universal precautions:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

We will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office While the administration continues to work with Federal and Local agencies to insure the safety and wellbeing of the residents of the Commonwealth during this ongoing pandemic and now manage the delivery of the much needed aid. 

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Why SERVPRO? Technology and Innovation drive us forward

11/20/2018 (Permalink)

As technology changes. Embracing ways to streamline and make a more efficient Process. Coupled with tried and true methods creates the best experience

We have talked about our people we need to talk about our technology. SERVPRO is always striving for a new way of doing things. A better piece of equipment to dry things out faster. A new product that works better on getting out odors or smoke and soot. We are even looking for new ways to deliver your information over to the insurance companies so that we can get you back to normal faster. Let us look at some of the newest things we have rolled out over the last few years.

File management: Creating a file for the insurance company is not as easy as you would think. Every insurance company wants to look as different information when it comes to claims. Some want to see images of trash, some want images of protective gear being used. While others want specific notes and documentation. SERVPRO has created a propriety software program that allows continuity with our process. This ensures that the field technicians are capturing all the necessary data. Storing it one place for an easy transfer to the insurance adjuster. Reducing time management needs. This software captures all your information, any necessary paperwork needing to be signed. It also allows them to capture the entire work flow process.

This work flow starts from moisture readings on how wet your various affected surface areas are. Then we can upload images of all the materials to the file. This process includes initial onsite arrival ( pre-mitigation) during the demolition, and after once the work has been complete. They can label each room, document types of materials in each (ie. Floors, ceiling walls). They can draw a map of the home and upload it directly into the system. Any communications between you, the insurance company, your agent, or adjuster can be logged to ensure there is no step missed.

Own a business: Not to worry we have you covered too. We have another proprietary software program to help you be prepared and file a loss quickly with our team. I bet you are wondering what all that means. It begins with a building or space assessment. We conduct walk-throughs noting all shut off valves. All Breaker locations, Main shut off valves for such things as electrical, gas, water. There are notations for all fire alarms and sprinkler locations. They can even be customized with evacuation plan and meet up locations.

We will work with you to log all of your vendors for quick singular location access. Your emergency points of contacts along with images of all important shut off valves will be documented along with directions to each valve from a specific point within the building all will be able to relate to. This allows those who have never been in your building the ability to quickly find an access affected areas. This technology allows you to fit all this information in the palm of your hand. Access it no matter where you are, share the data with your entire management team and control who has edit capabilities to allocate for team member changes. There is an app that can be downloaded right to your phone. That app will also allow you to dispatch emergency services SERVPRO services out to which ever location has been hit with a problem. This can all be done even if you happen to be sitting by the beach. No more trudging back to the hotel room to get your laptop fired up. No more calling someone into the office to find that piece of paper on our desk.

Equipment: Our search for technology extends beyond software. We employ the latest is drying equipment to minimize the demolition necessary to your home while ensuring all materials are dried properly to avoid long term lasting damage. We have invested in newer dehumidifiers that while are physically smaller has much better drying power than the earlier versions. Many of our fans have been redesigned so that the can accommodate specialty equipment that allows for between wall drying. There are new sponges to provide easy smoke removal. There are even more eco-friendly products to ease the effects we have on the environment.

Claim Writing: We have embraced the same software that insurance companies use to document your claim. This software provides a clean looking file that does not lend itself to a lot of interpretation. There are less questions about our work done. When the insurance companies know the format they are looking at they can trust that it is correct the first time.

As we strive for a better way. There will be times and situations where the tried and true methods serve to propel your claim process through properly. Incorporating the new with the new allows us to provide you the services levels you have come to expect with SERVPRO. While ensuring that the best options for your specific circumstances are available

All too often we forget that planning can save you more money and time than it cost. Yet we often fail to act until it is too late, and we have no options. Creating and setting up relationships before a damage occurs now will allow you to stay on vacation. It will ensure that your claim is processed correctly so that you can move forward. “Like it never even happened”