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Make Fire Safety a Priority This Fall | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Swatara

9/17/2021 (Permalink)

a small campfire burning bright in the dark night Be mindful about fall fire safety. Always remember that SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara is the trusted leader in the restoration industry.

The Eagles are back on the field, the morning and evening air is nice and crisp and suddenly everything is pumpkin-scented. That can only mean one thing—fall is back.

The season of roaring campfires, Halloween parties and beautiful leaf-peeping is here to relieve you from summer and give you a reason to break out your favorite hoodie.

But of course each season requires special care with regard to fire safety, and fall is no different. Keep your fall fire-safe with these quick reminders.

Campfire Safety

Cool fall nights are perfect for camping, and we say make the most of it. But when you’re setting up your fire, make sure to take proper precautions.

Build your fire in a pre-dug pit surrounded by stones if there is one provided by the campsite. If not, keep it at least 25 feet away from any tents or structures. Only light your fire with trusted methods like matches or lighters, never using kerosene or lighter fluid to light or accelerate the flames.

When it’s time to go, don’t leave anything hot or glowing. Any live embers you leave behind are potential wildfire threats. Don’t walk away from your campfire until all remaining wood and ash are cool to the touch.

Open Burning

Most of Hershey/Swatara restricts the burning of leaves, but much of the county approves open recreational burning (fire pits or bonfires) or even burning of some household paper items. Check with your local municipality to find out what’s allowed in your area.

If your township allows open burning, it’s likely you are required to use a burn barrel with a screen on top. Keep your fires at least 30 feet (50 is recommended) from any structures, and never leave a fire to burn unattended.

Space Heaters

Portable space heaters are frequent culprits of cold-weather home fires. If you’re breaking yours out of storage this fall, make sure you keep it at least three feet from anything at all that could catch fire—this includes curtains, furniture and clothing.

Keep your heater on a level surface, update to a newer model with automatic shutoff and tip-over functions if necessary, and only plug it directly into an outlet (as its electrical draw can overwhelm some extension cords).

Halloween

We’ll dig further into this later, but for now be mindful of your decorating, especially if you like to use candles or string lights, which can both present fire hazards.

If a fire hazard should turn from potential to reality in your home, remember the trusted leader in the recovery industry and contact SERVPRO to get your property fully restored right down to the smell of smoke.

Where You Might Find Water Damage at Home | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Swatara

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

a leak in ceiling creating water lines running down an interior wall A water leak can turn into a big problem. Contact the SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara team if you are dealing with any water damage.

There’s a fair chance you didn’t go to bed last night wishing upon a star that you could wake up this morning to a flooded garage. Dealing with unexpected water damage is on no homeowner’s list of hopeful tasks.

Obviously we can’t predict external factors like flooding, but there are some places in and around your home that you may be able monitor and gain an advantage as you try to keep the likelihood of water damage to a minimum.

Toilets. There are a few spots in this oft-used appliance that can degrade over time, namely the flapper inside the tank and the valve seal under it. These being rubber makes them prone to wear.

Appliances. Toilets, dishwashers, fridges and any appliance that uses water or feeds from your water supply are prone to leaks, especially from hoses that may dry out or crack, and joints where washer rings may decay. And how old is your water heater? Units over 10 years old have actually been known to explode.

Clogged gutters. This is the most preventable leak at home. Some time on the ladder can keep your gutters in tip-top shape and keep leaves and dirt from damming up the gullies and sending water inside.

Roof damage. Roof care is a whole other topic, but for now, let’s simply say that your roof is an incredibly important source of protection from the elements, and keeping it in good condition will help keep your interior dry. Inspect it regularly and after any major storm.

Pipes. Rust, faulty joints or even excessive water pressure can cause pipes to fail or burst, and tree roots can find microscopic cracks in outdoor lines, even your main water supply.

Blocked garbage disposals or other pipes. Putting the wrong things down your disposal can either cause your disposal to stop working or clog your pipes to the point of backup. Anything that clumps, solidifies or expands as it soaks up water is a no-no.

Water leaks can occur anywhere water flows, because water will find and take advantage of any available space. But keeping an eye on these common leak areas may help you stay ahead of the potential for water damage in your home.

If a water leak erupts into a big problem at home, you’ve got the best team in the business on your side. Contact SERVPRO today so we can get started.

Don’t Get Surprised by Summer Storms | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Swatara

8/17/2021 (Permalink)

a large lightning strike in a dark stormy sky If storms cause damage to your home or business, SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara is on the line, ready to make things right.

It’s summertime in Pennsylvania, and that means most people can’t wait to get out and do something. The weather is warm, and the sun is out—what’s not to enjoy?

Maybe you’re heading to Philly to cheer on the home team, or planning a weekend indulging in Hershey. But wherever you go, don’t leave your umbrella at home.

Despite the heat and sunshine (or rather, because of it), summer weather is more likely to produce thunderstorms. Rainfall in Lebanon County peaks in summer, as moisture in the atmosphere combines with the warm summer air to create storm conditions.

Be Storm-Alert

Storms should never be discounted as child’s play. If warnings are issued, pay attention and go over the game plan. An NOAA Weather radio can be a constant help as well, providing frequent updates and giving you a source of information even if you lose power.

If the forecaster warns of potential flooding, take it seriously. You may need to rearrange travel plans or cancel events. And check the area around your house—you may need to move or tie down garbage cans, trampolines or other items that could be washed or blown away.

Storm prep isn’t as fun as watching Bryce Harper hit homers, but it’s crucial if you want to stay safe. Storms and resulting flooding claim a number of lives each year, and some simple preparation and caution could prevent a majority of those fatalities.

Be Storm-Safe

Hunker down indoors during a storm, and stay inside until thunder has stopped for at least 30 minutes—this indicates that you’re out of range for a lightning strike, which can still occur up to 10 miles from an active storm.

Windows can shatter in a storm, so don’t sit or stand near them during the storm. And tubs, showers and the water they contain can conduct electrical current, so wait until later to take that bath.

Make sure you’ve got an emergency kit in the house or shelter, and keep a ready kit in the car as well, in case things turn ugly and you need to evacuate.

Floodwater is a danger for a bevy of reasons. It’s incredibly strong (like, carry-your-SUV-away strong), it can wash away concrete roads and the ground under them, and touching it can cause health effects.

There are any number of dangers that can come into play in a thunderstorm, and it’s always best to be cautious and put things on hold until storms safely pass. If storms cause damage to your home or business, SERVPRO is on the line, ready to make things right again.

Hershey and Swatara Residents Can Trust Us With Disaster Cleanup | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Swatara

8/10/2021 (Permalink)

damaged furniture and other home items sitting outside of red brick house When you are dealing with any damage, immediate action is crucial. SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara is your local restoration expert.

You’re used to playing a lot of roles as a homeowner of business owner. You’re an accountant and a chef. A CEO and a parent. A planner and an IT technician. You’re handling it all really well, and for that you deserve an award.

But regardless of the roles you’re playing, we’d be willing to bet you haven’t prepared to suddenly become a disaster recovery expert.

When natural disasters, accidental fires or water damage create an emergency that requires immediate restitution, you can’t handle it all—you need prompt, dependable help from someone you can trust.

Here’s why you should trust SERVPRO to see you through.

We’re Always Ready and Faster to Any Size Disaster

Like a superhero responding to their signal in the night sky, we’re sitting on go at all times, ready to act at a moment’s notice. With a crack team of experts on standby 24 hours a day, we’ll be on the way before you can say, “Gotham needs me.”

Every moment matters in a crisis, and the case of disasters it means more mold growth, stronger smell of smoke or dank carpet. A rapid response makes all the difference, and having a local SERVPRO franchise situated right here in Hershey/Swatara means you get the multiplied strength of a limber, knowledgeable neighborhood team with the backing of a resource-rich national network.

We’re Trained to Handle Residential and Commercial Services

Different solutions are necessary for different situations, and that means customized service for businesses and homes—we’re over a half century deep into being an industry leader, so we’ve got the knowledge base to be able to manage your situation, no matter the setting or cause.

We’ll Make It "Like it never even happened."

Brilliant work, immaculately executed—that’s what you can expect when we take up your cause. Our cleanup and recovery methods are extensive and thorough, and our footprint is so minimal that you’ll have to remind yourself that we were ever there.

We Offer the Services You Need in a Changing World

Disease prevention is a major concern for businesses, and we provide them ultra-grade cleaning assistance that far outshines standard sanitation services.

Your business will have never been cleaner, and your returning customers will feel it right away.

Regardless of why you need cleanup or disaster recovery, SERVPRO has the tools, the technicians and the training to get your situation under control. When you’re ready to get help from the best, get in touch with SERVPRO.

Water Damage Days Before a Wedding

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

Dehumidifiers and Air Movers drying out carpet SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara responds to Speedwell Heights BIC Church days before a wedding.

Days before a wedding event, Speedwell Heights BIC contacted SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara about their water damage in the basement. The source of this damage came from a defective dehumidifier that leaked water in the basement of the church. SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara quickly responded to this call on a Thursday. Our technicians were able to dry everything out and deodorize in time for the wedding that following Saturday.

When dealing with a water damage, it is important to act fast to prevent further damage and possible mold growth. Our highly trained technicians will have your home or business “Like it never even happened.” Contact SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara at 717-561-1404 or visit our website for all of your water damage needs.

Playing Defense Against Wildfire | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Swatara

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

a gated long brown pebble driveway tucked next to a large brick home If your home is damaged by fire or any other reason, SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara is ready and able to repair any damage.

Of the many potential dangers homeowners face, there may be none more frightening or disheartening than the thought of seeing one’s home destroyed by fire. While most home fires in our region are caused by other things, wildfires are more of a reality than you might expect.

And they are so hot and move so fast that it’s surprising that fire crews are ever able to contain them at all.

But there are ways to safeguard your home from wildfires, aside from the obvious but still overlooked method of simply being careful, which is by far the best method of prevention.

Let’s look at one of those ways: “defensible space.”

What Is Defensible Space?

It’s not a new NASA program. “Defensible space” is a zone of buffers with which you can surround your home, giving it a greater chance of surviving a wildfire outbreak. You can slow or stop the aggression of a fire with the right combination of thoughtful planting and pruning, hardscape made of concrete or gravel, and removal of dead trees and brush—a quick, favorite fuel for wildfire.

Think of defensible space as a way of using the land around you to choke out a fire as it draws close. If there’s nothing to feed the fire, it can’t keep spreading. It also gives firefighters their best chance of stopping a wildfire before it gets to your home.

Why Defensible Space Matters

You may consider wildfires a West Coast issue, but they can and do happen everywhere in the United States. In fact, there were over 59,000 wildfires across the country in 2020.

Even if we omit California’s 10,000+ fires, there were still almost 1,000 fires per state on average in 2020, and there were no states that were totally spared.

Even Pennsylvania is not immune—we suffered almost 1,500 wildfires and saw almost 3,000 acres of land burned last year alone. And don’t look now, but 2021 is on pace to top last year’s total—there have been 25% more fires this year than over the same period last year.

Anything that can be done to stop wildfires should be done, and defensible space is one more way you can safeguard your home.

If your home is damaged by fire of any sort, wild or not, SERVPRO is ready and able to repair the damage caused. Get in touch today to get the pros on your team.

The Cost and Frequency of Extreme Weather in 2020 | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Swatara

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

a large yellow warning sign stating that there is stormy weather ahead When storms do damage, we go to work to make things right. Contact SERVPRO of Hershey/Swatara to start the restoration process.

Most of us are all too aware that 2020 was a devastating year. But the degree to which 2020 was disastrous might go even further than you realize—not only did the year see a global pandemic and a nationwide quarantine, it also broke existing records for extreme weather disasters.

In fact, 2020 saw more weather disasters than any previous year on record.

The National Weather Service classifies a weather event as a disaster once it causes at least a billion dollars in damages, and 2020 brought a record 22 of these events. That doesn’t even count the numerous storms that only caused a few hundred million in destruction—there were so many storms in the Atlantic last year that the NWS had to use letters from the Greek alphabet to give them all names because it ran completely through its planned list of names for the year.

And even here in Pennsylvania, we had more weather alerts in 2020 than “tornado alley” states like Kansas.

Not Just Hurricanes

The blame often falls on hurricanes first when we think of extreme weather damage, but in truth, the most expensive disasters of 2020 in the contiguous United States were thunderstorm systems and the tornadoes some of them birthed: Fourteen of the 22 major events were storm-related.

Not Just 2020

While we certainly would hope 2020 to be an extreme example, it does seem to be following a trend of especially dangerous years for severe weather outbreaks. The previous two years joined caused a combined $136 billion in damages, and 2017 saw a record-high $300 billion.

Indeed, each of the last 10 years has suffered at least eight major weather disasters in the U.S., and the last six years have seen a minimum of 10 each.

Storms happen year-round and are no respecters of locale, so it’s crucial that we stay alert and prepared when storms are forecast. But if extreme weather overcomes your preparations, remember that SERVPRO is on call 247 to help you through the restoration and recovery process.

When storms do damage, we go to work to make things right. Contact SERVPRO today to see how we can help.

Put Returning Customers and Employees at Ease With a Deep-Clean | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Swatara

6/18/2021 (Permalink)

a SERVPRO employee placing a CSC sticker on building glass If you’re business has sanitation and cleaning needs, get in touch with the SERVPRO of Hershey/Harrisburg East team.

From rural areas in Hershey/Harrisburg East to major metro areas like Philadelphia, communities and families are high on hope that “normal” life is returning as the COVID-19 pandemic slowly makes its way to the rear view mirror, and business owners are hopeful for a full return to economic recovery as well.

But as cautious shoppers and contagion-conscious employees return to in-person shopping habits and on-site work, it’s now on you as a business owner to provide them with a place of safety, and to make sure they know you’ve made their health a priority.

Get Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program gives you both of those things. We’ll sanitize your building with a custom cleaning compound that’s proven effective against no less than MRSA to anthrax, and we’ll equip you with a way to let your customers know before they ever walk through the door that they’re safe in your store or office.

It’s all possible because of the three C’s:

Consult. Your business isn’t quite like any other, and we know that means it has sanitation needs that other area businesses don’t have. So we’ll come up with a cleaning plan that suits your business to a T. It helps that SERVPRO of Lebanon County is locally owned and operated, so we are already acquainted with many of the intricacies of southeastern Pennsylvania.

Clean. Once we sort out your specific needs, we’ll get to work doing the work of disinfecting. With our proprietary solutions, we’ll give you an extreme clean that meets or exceeds CDC standards, is NSF-approved for use around food and is EPA-tested for safety around kids, pets and the elderly. And our focus is bigger than COVID-19—our methods are designed to reduce the risk of a host of other illness-inducing germs.

Certify. Now you can let your employees and customers know that you’ve gone the extra mile to make your business as clean and safe as it can possibly be by displaying the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned shield in your windows or on your door. We’ll also hook you up with other physical and digital resources to let everyone know your building is spick-and-span, instilling peace of mind in every prospective entrant.

If you’re ready to get serious about sanitation and have your business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, get in touch today to get the best team in cleanup and restoration on your side.

How Can I Tell if My Basement Has Water Damage? | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Swatara

5/21/2021 (Permalink)

a grey basement showing signs of water damage SERVPRO of Hershey/Harrisburg East is a full restoration company. Our team is on call and ready to help you determine the best course of action.

Basements are a wonderful addition to any home. While it’s a great place for additional storage, a “bonus” room or an at-home gym, it can also act as a safe place to go during the event of seriously inclement weather.

However, due to the nature of how basements are dug into the ground, they can come with their own challenges, particularly water damage. While it’s not a guarantee that your basement will suffer water damage, many homes do for a variety of reasons.

Because of this, it’s good to be extra vigilant for signs of water damage so that you can prevent any further damage later on. Here will be looking at some signs of water damage so that you can keep your basement in peak condition.

3 Top Signs That There Is Water Damage In a Basement

Musky, unpleasant odors. Water that gets into a basement can remain stagnant for quite some time, and when it evaporates, it can leave quite an unpleasant smell. This pungent odor is almost exclusively caused by mold and mildew in the environment, so if you suspect that it’s just the common “musty smell” that most basements have, remember that this is a common misconception and it may be a serious red flag leading to water damage.

Flaking paint from the walls. Waterproof paint is sometimes adhered to interior basement walls and masonry with all good intentions by homeowners and landlords. However, this paint can oftentimes simply mask any issues related to water damage and results in compounded problems later on. Even though it’s classified as waterproof, it’s still possible for this paint to chip, peel and bubble on the surface under the right circumstances.

Foundational cracks. Cracks in homes can sometimes be caused by the house settling over time, but finding cracks in the foundation should be investigated as it may be a sign of water damage. Hairline cracks aren’t a major cause for immediate concern, but if they grow in size or width, they should be seen and treated by a professional immediately.

If you have experienced any of these signs of water damage in your basement, give us a call. We’ll be happy to have our water restoration technicians review the damage and give you an assessment on how we can help treat it properly. Contact us today!

How Thunderstorms Impact Pennsylvania | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Harrisburg East

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

a large lighting strike just in front of person driving down road Thunderstorms can pop up at any moment. Contact SERVPRO of Hershey/Harrisburg East if you experience any damage.

Just over a week ago, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency sponsored a week dedicated to educating the public and bringing awareness to the severe weather patterns that impact our communities. The information discussed the ins and outs of thunderstorms, hail and flooding, and we wanted to help continue that conversation by looking at some of the ways that storms impact Pennsylvania.

Spring and summer are the most common times for thunderstorms. Thunderstorms are defined as any storm that has thunder and lightning.

A severe thunderstorm is classified as a strong storm that has thunder and lightning and contains hail that is one inch or larger in diameter and has straight-line winds of 58 miles per hour or greater.

The Main Differences That Mean a Storm Is Called “Severe”

Lightning strikes. Lightning is considered one of the most dangerous elements of a thunderstorm for various reasons, but its elusiveness has evaded scientists as they are not able to identify where or when the next strike will be. Not only does it have the ability to cause serious damage to property, such as starting a house fire or felling trees, it has also been reported that about 300 injuries each year are due to lightning strikes.

Hail damage. Hail that comes in a severe thunderstorm is at least one inch or larger in diameter, many times much larger than this. Couple this size with the speed at which it falls (up to 72 miles per hour), and it is a recipe for significant damage, especially to uncovered vehicles, people or pets that are not adequately protected, and the sidings and roofs of houses.

Flash flooding. It is a common misconception that flooding can only happen in designated flood plains. Flash flooding is possible at any time and under the right conditions, it can create a life-threatening scenario in mere minutes. If there is heavy rainfall, a backed-up storm drain or overflowing roadside ditches, these flooded roadways can do damage to vehicles and also have the potential to carry away a car in the tide.

Thunderstorms can be a serious problem for business- and home-owners. If you have been impacted by a storm, we are here to help. Contact us to see how our team and techniques can get your property back to pre-storm condition.