Our parent franchise SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney wins TOP award from Contractor Connection!
From left, SERVPRO of Rockville co-owners Michelle and Jorge Gutierrez, and Office Manager Megan Sweeney
Congratulations to SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney, our parent franchise, for bringing home the TOP honor from the Crawford Contractor Connection 2021 conference, held online this week. See their message on social media:
"All of us here at SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney are both thrilled and humbled to have won the Crawford Contractor Connection Performance Excellence Award for our district, the highest honor within the industry network, plus The Golden Hammer Award for Top Performers across the country. The awards are presented each year to performance leaders based on overall excellence measured by estimate upload TIP, customer service scores, professionalism in communication, cooperation and overall POMS scores.
SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney is among the 6,000+ contractors in the network, and represents the Tri-State District that includes Maryland, D.C., Delaware & Pennsylvania.
SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney is recognized as a top performer in the region throughout the year, having consistently scored high marks for:*Quality of Service & Repairs*Professionalism & Customer Service*Timeliness of Response & Completion of Work*Work Ethic
Click to watch the award announcement & recognition: https://fb.watch/61OwEyXJlw/
Contractor Connection, an industry leader in contractor managed repair and home improvement services, provides insurance carriers and consumers a national network of residential and commercial contractors that are vetted and managed for performance, quality, timeliness and customer satisfaction.
We are open 24/7 and here to help with any water, fire and mold damage cleanup and restoration, among other services including reconstruction. Call us at 301-323-8862
Give Your Customers, Patrons a Higher Level of Clean!
Customers expect a higher level of clean in the business place. SERVPRO of Laurel can help!
Businesses small and large in Maryland now have the green light to operate at full capacity; while that is great news for all, business owners and patrons are encouraged to continue to take safety measures and common sense when among large gatherings.
State officials eased most of the remaining restrictions on public gatherings and commerce in mid-May, ending the Covid-19 pandemic that upended most everyday life since March 2020. Businesses such as hair salons, boutique shops and restaurants can return to 100 percent capacity, both indoors and out. Even entertainment & arts venues, conventions and other indoor places such as gyms and houses of worship, can now take place at full capacity, as can professional sports venues including baseball parks.
Owners and property managers of business shops and larger facilities may consider a professional, deep sanitization before welcoming back your customers and patrons. Our latest program —Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned — is a defensive cleaning program that gives your business a way forward by providing your employees & customers ongoing safety and assuredness. Our proactive viral pathogen cleaning program will help your business meet a higher standard of clean.
Call SERVPRO of Laurel & Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E today at 301-323-8862 to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you; our SERVPRO of Laurel & Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E teams are here to help!
Be ready for Hurricane Season with a SERVPRO Ready Plan!
Six to 10 hurricane-strength hurricanes are predicted this year. Be prepared with a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan by calling us, 301-323-8862!
Are you prepared for a big storm? Now is a good time to have a plan – a SERVPRO Ready Plan – in the event of an unexpected natural disaster!
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week predicted 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), 6 to 10 of those could reach hurricane strength with winds of 74 mph+, including 3 to 5 Category 3-5 major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.
The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan, or ERP, is a FREE tool for property managers, risk managers and owners, both residential and commercial. It allows the user to create an emergency ready profile of their facility containing critical information to help speed up response time after fire or water damage. Help is then just a few clicks away.
Contact SERVPRO of Laurel and Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E at 301-323-8862 today so we can help you prepare your free ERP assessment!
Tips for returning home to a flood-damaged property
Beware that your house may be contaminated when returning home after a flood or other natural disasters.
Water – one of life’s essentials, for without it, we simply cannot survive.
But flood and contaminated water – water from natural disasters, and from contaminated sources like sewage and overflowed toilets & such – are toxic and can cause numerous health hazards and diseases that can be fatal, if exposed.
With Spring upon us and the Summer months just ahead, families will be vacationing and traveling away from home. Suppose there was a big storm with heavy flooding while you were away, and your home was flooded and you’ve returned to face standing water throughout the home.
It’s many homeowners’ worst nightmare. What to do?
For starters, the Centers for Disease and Control advises that, if possible, try to return home during the daytime so that you do not have to use any lights. Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles, gas lanterns, or torches.
The agency also offers the following:
- If you have standing water in your home and can turn off the main power from a dry location, then go ahead and turn off the power, even if it delays cleaning. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off. NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
- Have an electrician check the house’s electrical system before turning the power on again.
- If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and leave your house immediately. Notify the gas company or the police or fire departments or State Fire Marshal’s office, and do not turn on the lights or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return until you are told it is safe to do so.
- If the house has been closed up for several days, enter briefly to open doors and windows to let the house air out for a while (at least 30 minutes) before you stay for any length of time.
- If your home has been flooded and has been closed up for several days, assume your home has mold.
- If your home has been flooded, it also may be contaminated with sewage. Call a professional home inspector to check for contamination. If confirmed, have a licensed company remove & remediate mold and sewage. Our certified crews from SERVPRO of Laurel & SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E are especially trained for such work, and are available 24/7 to help!
FOOD. The next step is to go through your home to discard perishable items and anything that has been contaminated with standing water. On top of that list is food; throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water; perishable foods that have not been refrigerated properly due to power outages; and those with an unusual odor, color, or texture. Unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks, smells and tastes normal. When in doubt, throw it out!
WATER. Food water can contaminate drinking water from your home’s faucets. Until the water is tested, use bottled or water that has been properly boiled to kill any contaminants.
Some contaminants from surface water can get into the groundwater and affect private drinking water wells and municipal water systems that use groundwater. The CDC suggests the following steps:
- Follow local guidance on whether your water is safe to drink.
- If you have a private well and live in an area with flooding, get your water tested before you use it.
- Do not use water you suspect or have been told is contaminated to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula. Safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water.
- Your state, local, or tribal health department can make specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area.
Until your power is restored after dryout, use generators and other electrical sources and equipment safely. Talk to your utility company about using electrical equipment, including power generators. Be aware that it is against the law and a violation of electrical codes to connect generators to your home’s electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices. If a generator is on line when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home’s electrical circuits may endanger line workers helping to restore power in your area.
- All electrical equipment and appliances must be completely dry before returning them to service. Have a certified electrician check these items if there is any question.
- Never use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
The next step is to prevent MOLD from the flood or storm water, by drying out your home. Follow these steps from the CDC:
- If you have electricity and an electrician has determined that it’s safe to turn it on, use a “wet-dry” shop vacuum (or the vacuum function of a carpet steam cleaner), an electric-powered water transfer pump, or sump pump to remove standing water. If you are operating equipment in wet areas, be sure to wear rubber boots.
- If you do not have electricity, or it is not safe to turn it on, you can use a portable generator to power equipment to remove standing water. Note: If you must use a gasoline-powered pump, generator, pressure washer, or any other gasoline-powered tools to clean your home, never operate the gasoline engine inside a home, basement, garage, carport, porch, or other enclosed or partially enclosed structures, or less than 20 feet from any door, window, or vent, even if the windows and doors are open. Such improper use can create dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If weather permits, open windows and doors of the house to aid in the drying-out process.
- Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture. Fans should be placed at a window or door to blow the air outwards rather than inwards, so not to spread the mold.
- Have your home heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system checked and cleaned by a maintenance or service professional who is experienced in mold cleanup before you turn it on. If the HVAC system was flooded with water, turning on the mold-contaminated HVAC will spread mold throughout the house. Professional cleaning will kill the mold and prevent later mold growth. When the service determines that your system is clean and if it is safe to do so, you can turn it on and use it to help remove excess moisture from your home.
- Prevent water outdoors from reentering your home. For example, rainwater from gutters or the roof should drain away from the house; the ground around the house should slope away from the house to keep basements and crawl spaces dry.
- Ensure that crawl spaces in basements have proper drainage to limit water seepage. Ventilate to allow the area to dry out.
The CDC and the American Red Cross offer great resources for storm and fire prevention and response. Visit their webpages for more information:
Finally, when you are ready for that monstrous task of cleanup and remediation, you can rely on SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E. We are the area’s water & storm damage experts, as well as mold remediation and restoration. Large or small, we will restore your water-damaged property, residential or commercial, with efficiency and detail.
Call us 24/7 at 301-323-8862 or 301-615-4884.
How to Protect Your Home to Minimize Water, Flood Damage
While we cannot predict Mother Nature and her wrath, we can take precautions to keep us safe & to lessen the damages to property.
Any home is prone to water damages, especially during huge storms that carry heavy rains and flooding. And while we cannot predict Mother Nature and her wrath, we can prepare as best we can to take precautions to keep us safe and to lessen the damages that flooding can cause.
For example, if you live in a low-lying ground adjacent to a river, or floodplain, it’s no surprise that your property is subject to flooding.
The American Red Cross offers these suggestions, in addition to checking with a professional to:
- Raise your furnace, water heater and electric panel to floors that are less likely to be flooded. An undamaged water heater may be your best source of fresh water after a flood.
- Install check valves in plumbing to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home. (As a last resort, when floods threaten, use large corks or stoppers to plug showers, tubs, or basins.)
- Construct barriers such as levees, berms and flood walls to stop floodwater from entering the building (if permitted by local building codes).
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
- Use sand bags when flooding is expected. It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, creating a wall 1 foot high and 20 feet long. Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers, and time to place them properly.
If a flood is expected, some communities will offer free sandbags to residents. Be sure to watch or listen to the news so you can access these resources.
The American Red Cross also offers these tips to help Protect Your Family:
- Talk with your family about what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued. Discussing floods ahead of time helps reduce fear, especially for younger children.
- Ensure that every member of your family carries a Safe and Well wallet card.
- Make sure you have access to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio broadcasts:
- Find an online NOAA radio station
- Search for a NOAA radio app in the Apple Store or Google Play
- Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank NOAA radio in the Red Cross Store
- Find out if you are located in a floodplain, which is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area. If so, you are still eligible for flood insurance. Check with your city or county government (start with the Building or Planning Department) to review the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Find out if local streams or rivers flood easily.
- Keep insurance policies, documents and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged during a flood. Take pictures on a phone and keep copies of important documents and files on a flash drive that you can carry with you on your house or car keys.
The American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) offer great resources for storm and fire prevention and response. Visit their webpages for more information:
Finally, when you are ready for storm damage cleanup and remediation, you can rely on SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E. We are the area’s water & storm damage experts, as well as mold remediation and restoration. Large or small, we will restore your water-damaged property, residential or commercial, “Like it never even happened.”
Call us 24/7 at 301-323-8862 or 301-615-4884.
Common problems in your commercial building
Problems in your commercial property can be both visible and invisible
At SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E, we offer many commercial services. From office buildings and restaurants, to government agencies and malls, we solve problems anywhere from water damage to mold remediation and beyond.
We realize it’s important to keep your commercial property in the best repair possible. Your building, both on the outside and inside, is oftentimes the face of the company.
Below are some of the most common issues commercial properties face. You may want to take note of these issues and check your building for them. If you do come across any of these problems, it’s important to get them fixed immediately, as holding off can increase the problem (and cost).
Check for the following (or you may need to hire a professional to investigate for some of these):
- Leaks: From roofs, to gutters, to serious moisture buildup, water leaks can cause an assortment of problems including mold growth and rotting
- Asbestos: If your building is older than 20 years, you should have it inspected for asbestos, which if present, can cause effects on one’s health
- Cracking: Could possibly be a sign of an underlying problem in the building’s structure
- Fire and safety regulations: Make sure your building and property meet all standards regarding the current safety and fire requirements
- Infestation of bugs or rodents: Yikes! No one feels to comfortable working in a building knowing it’s home to an abundance of rodents. It also doesn’t look pleasant to visitors or clients when ants or gnats are buzzing around or see a few rodent droppings. Additionally, pests can damage the wiring of a building.
- High energy costs: Keeping your commercial building in good repair can help keep your energy consumption at a manageable level. Also consider installing energy-efficient lighting and appliances. Consider creating energy and water-saving campaigns throughout your building. Make colorful posters and have prizes for whichever floor most actively participates, for example.
- Electrical faults: Dead outlets, melting wires and faulty circuits can cause fires. A trusted electrician should be called to check out the situation immediately.
Got Mold? We are the mold remediation experts!
Mold, regardless of color or texture, can cause health effects. Call SERVPRO of Laurel to have it removed.
We’ve all heard of black mold, but what exactly is it? And if your business or company headquarters have sightly signs of mold, they may discourage your customers and visitors.
One of the most obvious signs happens to be scent. Have you smelled something earthy or musty? Think of a late fall’s odor of rotting leaves or the smell of dirt on a rainy spring day.
Next, consider the environment in which you suspect the mold is inhabiting, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the area damp?
- Has the area previously been flooded?
- Does it get little to no exposure to light?
Black mold feeds off water-saturated materials such as cotton, drywall, cardboard and wood. It even thrives off of damp dust and lint.
If the scent of the mold leads you straight to where it is festering, examine the color but don’t get too close. In color, black mold is typically greenish-black and a bit slimy. However, it can also appear grayish and powdery.
Note other molds may appear similar in color, so it is impossible to determine which breed of mold is growing in your property unless it is examined under a microscope.
At the end of the day, this examination is expensive and unnecessary because whether it is black mold or not, mold must be removed for health and sanitary purposes.
If you detect mold, regardless of its color or texture, call the professionals to have it removed.
SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E are the area’s water & storm damage, and mold & mildew remediation experts. Large or small, we will restore your mold- and water-damaged property, residential or commercial, with efficiency and detail.
Call us 24/7 at 301-323-8862 or 301-615-4884.
Spring is nice, but best to not get caught unprepared!
Lightning can cause severe damage to property. Be prepared to minimize damage!
Ahhh! Spring… Balmy weather one day; frigid to near-freeze temperature overnight. To wear a sweater or not. To bring in the plants or not…
Spring weather can be unpredictable, as many of us here in the Washington, D.C. region have experienced a time or two. Remember the heavy April snowfall over a decade ago? And the wind gusts of 20-30+ mph every now and then?
While we can’t predict when severe weather hits, we can always plan for those unexpected storms to minimize injury to ourselves and damages to our properties. A viable plan of action for storms, floods, tornadoes, even fires, can save lives and costly repairs in the aftermath of severe weather that can occur, even within the same day.
Mark Twain said it best: “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”
Preparing an emergency kit to keep on hand is a great start to advance planning for storms. Some items to include, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are:
- A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
- An emergency evacuation or shelter plan, including a map of your home and routes to safety from each room
- A list of important personal information, including:
- telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends
- insurance and property information
- telephone numbers of utility companies
- medical information
- A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
- Personal hygiene items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- A first-aid kit, which may include:
- non-latex gloves
- assortment of adhesive bandages
- antibiotic ointment
- sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
- absorbent compress dressings
- adhesive cloth tape
- aspirin packets
Being prepared & proactive for storms and severe weather can save lives and minimize costly repairs to damaged property. Oftentimes we have little if any time to prepare for an approaching storm. For families with young children, a mock emergency drill may be a fun yet helpful activity. Show them where to go; where emergency supplies are stored; and make sure everyone in the family knows where & how to turn off the water, gas and electricity in your home.
Preparedness and swift response may save a life or two!
When all’s settled and you find your damaged properties needing cleanup & restoration, call us – SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E – 24/7 at 301-323-8862 or 301-615-4884.
We are the area’s water & storm damage experts and are always “Faster to any size disaster.” Large or small, we will restore your water-damaged property, residential or commercial, with efficiency and detail.
Covid cleaning more crucial now as more employers bring back their workforce
Go with Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned to help keep your customers and employees, as well as teachers & students, safe!
With the country easing back into a somewhat normal life, and as a growing number of businesses and workplaces welcoming back their employees, it’s more crucial than ever to have buildings and facilities thoroughly cleaned to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus and other health hazards.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, SERVPRO franchises throughout the U.S. -- including SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney & Silver Spring North and SERVPRO of Laurel & Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E -- are here to help keep your customers and employees safe, and also let everyone know you've chosen a higher standard of clean.
When you go with us, you’re choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned -- a defensive, proactive viral pathogen cleaning program backed by our more than 50 years of experience in cleanup and restoration. With an industry-leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions and remediation processes, we're helping businesses across the country open safely.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, these are currently known about Covid-19:
- It is spread from person to person and happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet).
- This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets.
- Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials.
- Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of Covid-19
Here at SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Laurel, we have seen a spike of Covid-contaminated facilities that we’ve treated in recent months. Just this week (early April), we are still being regularly called out to businesses large and small that had been contaminated by employees with Covid-19.
“It's important that we still stay vigilant and do our part to keep employees safe as they reenter the workspace,” says General Manager Jorge Gutierrez of SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Laurel. Gutierrez also manages SERVPRO of Silver Spring North and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E.
When called upon, our ready plan to get your workplaces cleaned & ready to open up again consists of:
A tailored cleaning program to meet your needs.
- We will assign you a Cleaning Protocol Specialist who understands your business.
- Programs are based on a range of factors: type of industry, business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touch points, foot traffic and congestion points.
Proactive and COVID-19 emergency response cleaning program.
- Trained and experienced in biohazard cleaning and decontamination for porous and non-porous surfaces - always adhering to the highest standards set by the CDC.
- EPA-approved products, including our proprietary cleaning agent SERVPROXIDE, a hospital-grade disinfectant that is NSF certified for direct food contact surface use.
A commitment to clean for your employees and consumers.
- Leverage SERVPRO's trusted brand to reassure your customers and employees that you are taking the steps needed to keep your space at the highest level of clean.
- Communication touchpoints include a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned window emblem, signage, marks for your digital footprint and more.
The CDC offers these additional considerations for Employers:
- Employers should work with their local and state health departments to ensure appropriate local protocols and guidelines, such as updated/additional guidance for cleaning and disinfection, are followed, including for identification of new potential cases of COVID-19.
- Employers should educate staff and workers performing cleaning, laundry, and trash pickup activities to recognize the symptoms of Covid-19 and provide instructions on what to do if they develop symptoms within 14 days after their last possible exposure to the virus. At a minimum, any staff should immediately notify their supervisor and the local health department if they develop symptoms of Covid-19.
- Employers should develop policies for worker protection and provide training to all cleaning staff on site prior to providing cleaning tasks. Training should include when to use PPE, what PPE is necessary, how to properly don (put on), use, and doff (take off) PPE, and how to properly dispose of PPE.
- Employers must ensure workers are trained on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace in accordance with appropriate OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards.
To schedule a consult for our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program, call us at 301-340-1313 or 301-323-8862. We are here to help!
Strong winds, dry conditions can enhance threat of wildfires
Fire damage can have catastrophic effects on your property. SERVPRO can help!
Spring brings with it lots of sunshine and beautiful flowering trees in full bloom all around us, but also warmer temperatures and oftentimes strong winds and dry conditions that can spark wildfires. Just this week (April 3, 2021), the National Weather Service issued a special statement of an enhanced threat for the spread of wildfires due to windy and dry conditions in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. region. NWS officials are urging area residents to be careful with any source of ignition and to dispose of smoking materials properly.
While the Easter weekend weather was beautiful with clear blue skies and temperatures hovering around 70, the winds were around 10 to 15 mph with frequent gusts of 20 to 25 mph on Easter Sunday, with humidity between 20 and 30 percent.
"Residents are urged to exercise caution handling any potential ignition source, including machinery, cigarettes and matches," the National Weather Service advised. "Be sure to properly discard all smoking materials. Any dry grasses and tree litter that ignite will have the potential to spread quickly."
The NWS offers these safety tips:
- Take ashes outside, away from the house and combustible material.
- Put ashes in a metal bucket/container.
- Always use a metal container; never use a plastic or paper bag.
- Completely immerse the materials in water.
- Clear an area for the container — possibly down to dirt, ruling out the possibility that grass could catch fire if it were knocked over.
- Allow the contents to soak for at least a week.
Fire damage can have extremely catastrophic effects on your property. SERVPRO of Laurel and SERVPRO of Greenbelt NE/Beltsville E are the area’s fire & water damage experts and are always “Faster to any size disaster.” Large or small, we will restore your fire- and water-damaged property, residential or commercial, with efficiency and detail.
Call us 24/7 at 301-323-8862 or 301-615-4884. We’re here to help!