COVID-19 in the Office: Applying 2020 Lessons in 2021
For the last year, it’s been hard to go an entire day without hearing or seeing the words: pandemic, Corona, COVID-19, 6 feet, social distancing, and everything related.
The COVID-19 pandemic was definitely the single most talked about topic in 2020 and for good reason as it has an effect in some way in everyone's life. Who could have thought that running back to your car to grab your mandatory face mask before going into a public place was going to be the new normal. With all of these changes and new rules and regulations there are new problems that have come to light.
Most businesses have been able to reopen and we have seen the “stay at home” orders become less and less in effect. With that being the case there is a whole new category of cleaning that needs to be done in order to ensure these businesses are safe for people to come to.
What questions to ask professionals responsible for disinfecting your space?
- Do your employees have a pathogen-specific certification for building disinfection?
- Are you properly insured to provide services (worker’s compensation, liability insurance, etc.) related to communicable diseases?
- Are you following a cleaning and disinfection protocol that is specific to that building?
- Are your employees in compliance with OSHA and EPA regulations? (i.e. training, infection control plans, PPE, proper chemicals, etc.)
- Do you have a properly written contract specific to COVID disinfection services?
Unfortunately, a lot of contractors hopping onto this new COVID cleaning bandwagon do not have the experience, certifications, and knowledge in order to ensure your business is up to the current OSHA and EPA standards, making these questions very important to ask before deciding on the company you will use for your business.
The solution to this new widespread problem we are seeing with COVID-19 is as simple as proper training. One training and certification possibility lies with The Pathogen Response and Resource Alliance (PR2A), which has established professional training and certification courses.
The Founders of PR2A provide unmatched and critical credibility that supports our overall mission in developing a nationally recognized COVID Standard of Care, starting with training and certification courses.
At SERVPRO we are committed to keeping with the highest standards in every service we provide. We offer Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned and all of our technicians are certified for pathogen-specific cleaning.
Give us a call today at 1-800-SERVPRO to see what we can do for your business.
How to Choose the Right Commercial Cleaning Company
There is nothing worse than turning off a potential new client because of a dirty or dusty-looking office space. When it comes to cleaning, businesses have two options, they hire individuals on their own payroll, or they just take the burden off their plate and hire a professional company to handle all those duties.
There are pros and cons to both options but overall hiring a professional cleaning company is usually the better option.
A commercial cleaning company understands every aspect of what it takes to both keep your office sparkling clean and the extent to which a very clean office makes a favorable impression on clients. They must do a great job of cleaning and maintaining your workplace, but you must also be confident that they will protect your business assets.
Top 5 Tips for Hiring the Right Company
- Find out their hiring and training requirements. A professional commercial cleaning services company will be able to discuss how they hire staff and evaluate employees. This process should include background checks and a formal training process. In addition, team members should be fully trained in safety and OSHA procedures.
- Ask for references. When selecting a commercial cleaning company, you should do a little research on their reputation. Check out their customer satisfaction reviews and the company’s overall standing within the local business community. Were other companies satisfied with their performance? Would they recommend them?
- Ask if they have liability insurance. All prospective commercial cleaning companies should be able to provide proof of insurance and demonstrate that they’re fully licensed. You should ask to see their general and workers' compensation certificates. It is also important they hire their own staff and not sub-contractors.
- Find out if they have an established cleaning process. You want to know if this is a well-established commercial cleaning company, with a history of serving businesses, a proven track record, and the ability to demonstrate they’ve achieved results for other clients.
- Choose a local company. Hiring a company with a local office or headquarters helps to ensure you will be able to have a crew out quickly if there is a need for them to do so.
If you run a business, making sure the floors are swept and the trash is taken out is probably not high on your list of priorities. Leave the dirty work to the professionals, as an uncleanly office can leave a negative impression.
SERVPRO has over 50 years of experience in offering this type of service and they understand the importance of a safe and clean environment at work.
Call 1.800.SERVPRO today to find out how they can help make sure your office stays sparkling clean.
The Mobile Workforce Trend
Nowadays it would probably be easier and more convenient to go a day missing a hand than it would be to not have your cell phone. Mobile phones are literally the center of our life with reminders for appointments, alarms, contacts, emails, social media, bank information, and basically anything that you have going on in your daily life.
Naturally and inevitably, our careers and workplaces are being woven in with our mobile devices. The technology that we have begun to rely on has offered the opportunity to infuse the mobile workplace trend to businesses of all kinds and all over. This trend is a long time coming, and due to the COVID-era the popularity and need have sky-rocketed.
What is a Mobile Workforce?
A mobile workforce is a group of employees that isn’t bound by a central physical location. Instead, the employees are connected by various types of technology: computers, smartphones and other mobile devices.
Traditionally, the definition of a mobile workforce was synonymous with ‘work from home.’ However, with tech advances such as video conferencing and collaboration applications, the definition of remote working has expanded and increasingly includes employees that are out in the field - an estate agent signing off a mortgage, a lawyer briefing a client, or a sales rep closing a deal. All of these, together with those working from home, contribute to the mobile workforce.
Why use a Mobile Workforce?
In today’s world, working remotely has increased in popularity and in fact was the only option for a significant amount of time. Creating a mobile workforce gives employees the capability to access all needed databases and be able to stay connected with the team in using uniform systems.
A mobile workforce is also helpful to the younger generation who excel in the technological world. Studies have also shown that productivity is increased when work can be done from home or a space an individual can choose to use.
At SERVPRO we are a mobile workforce, not only in the technological sense but also in the way of having the capability to mobilize within minutes and arrive faster to any disaster 24/7.
We are here to help in the times that offices are needed to keep all employees and customers safe. Call today for any of your commercial cleaning needs 1-800-SERVPRO.
What to Do in the Event of a Grease Fire
A fire happening whether it’s in your home or a building you’re in is likely a thought that has crossed your mind.
Although there is the fire department to call to help deal with a fire, it is also important that you take steps and precautions to prevent them yourself. A lot less damage could take place if you have fire prevention tools to use while waiting for the fire department to show up.
A common kitchen fire that you may not know how to prevent is a grease fire. These are the steps to take to prevent the spread of a grease fire:
How to prevent the spread
-Cover the fire with a metal lid and leave the cover on until it has cooled.
-Turn the heat source off.
-Pour baking soda or salt on it to smother the fire if possible.
You have to be careful to use either baking soda or salt if you decide to smother the fire. This is because other cooking powders have different chemicals that don’t react the same as baking soda or salt. If you use a different powder it has the chance of making the fire worse.
What not to do
-Do not try to move the pot/pan outside of the building.
-Do not try to pour water over it to extinguish the fire.
If you attempt either of these it can either cause you to get injured or make the fire worse.
Trying to move the pot/pan outside can end up giving you really bad burns or even lead to a fire outside of the building. Be sure to keep in mind the right methods if you ever find yourself in this situation.
What to do if you can’t stop the fire
-Get out of the home or building you are in. It is most important that you, including others, get out of the building safely. This is why it is a top priority to avoid injury and possible loss.
-Call 911. Be sure you are a reasonable distance from the fire to ensure you are safe before calling.
-Stay out and far from home/building until the fire has been contained and handled by firefighters.
Ways to prevent grease fires
-Don’t leave food being cooked in grease unattended.
-Keep flammable items far from the stovetop.
-Heat the oil slowly to the recommended temperature.
-Add food into oil/grease gently to avoid any splatter.
Knowing fire prevention methods is very important just in case you ever find yourself in a situation where there is a fire. Knowing ways to slow or stop a fire can help lessen damage from happening in your home.
Here at SERVPRO, we want to help you restore your home and offer services for fire damage repair and restoration. No one ever expects a fire to happen so try and be prepared for the unexpected.
How to Create an Evacuation Plan in Case of a Fire
Evacuation plans are a necessity, regardless of whether you are at home or in a business. Having one in place could save lives and prevent unnecessary injury to those involved in the situation.
Here are some tips on making a custom evacuation plan to best fit your needs as well as those around you.
Plan for everyone.
Don’t just think for yourself, the plan needs to benefit everyone and accommodate any special circumstances. Children may need extra planning as situations like this may be hard for them to understand.
Find two ways out.
Make sure you are not limited to one exit, ensuring multiple exits gives you a better chance of escaping to safety.
Involve children in planning.
Consider having your children help create a fire evacuation plan2. Draw a map of the home and have children mark two exit routes and the locations of smoke detectors.
Choose a meeting spot.
Decide on a meeting place outside, such as a neighbor’s house, mailbox or stop sign. It should be in the front of the house so emergency responders can see you when they arrive. Agree not to go back into the house after you leave.
Check smoke alarms.
Check that smoke detectors are properly placed and working. The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing them in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping room and on every level of the home.3
Make sure that your house number can be seen quickly from the street by emergency responders.
Make sure everyone knows that if the smoke alarm sounds, he or she needs to get out immediately.
Have a backup plan.
If the planned exit routes are blocked and it’s not possible to leave the house, close all doors between you and the fire. Place a towel under the door and go to an exterior-facing window. Call the fire department to report your location.
Share with everyone.
Go over the plan with everyone who lives in the house and with visitors and overnight guests.
Practice and review the plan regularly (at least once a year).
How to Secure Your Outdoor Furniture in Severe Weather
How to Secure Your Outdoor Furniture in Severe Weather
Spring is here and the temperatures are starting to rise. But if you live in Ohio, you know that with spring comes spring storms: rain, hail, thunderstorms, and--wind. Every year spring storms sneak up on homeowners. After a long winter, we’re excited to have our patio furniture out. Then along comes a storm, and we’re out searching the neighborhood for cushions and lightweight furniture.
Have you had to hunt down your own furniture after a storm? We have good news. This is totally preventable!
How to secure your outdoor furniture in storm season?
If you’re worried about outdoor furniture and decor blowing away, protect it from the wind. Of course, you need to be aware of the weather, but let’s assume you tuned in to the weather forecast and know what’s coming. Before a storm hits, close and secure table umbrellas, and cover your outdoor chairs and couches with outdoor furniture covers. Furniture covers are great because they prevent pillows and cushions from being blown away, and they protect the furniture from dirt and dust.
If your furniture is light and easily blown away, we advise bringing it into a covered space like a garage. If a garage is not an option, stack your lightweight furniture in a corner or tight against the back of your home where strong winds are less likely to blow through. You can also use sandbags or other heavy objects to weigh the furniture down.
If you have an outdoor grill, we recommend pushing it against a solid wall. You don’t want it tipping over in the wind.
Taking these precautions will save you from having to search the neighborhood for your outdoor furniture. But your neighbors will appreciate you too because securing your furniture prevents high winds from turning your outdoor furniture into dangerous projectiles.
Questions to ask Before Hiring a Home Restoration Pro
Trust in professionals that can answer all the questions right the first time.
A disaster just occurred in your home, and you need help NOW! But before you hire the first home restoration company you find in a Google search, we want to help you make sure you know what questions you should be asking them!
- Are your employees properly trained and licensed? Making sure that the company you chose is licensed and provides proper training, along with making sure they have insurance, ensures that you, as the customer, are not responsible for any issues that may arise during the project.
- Are you available immediately? Your home disaster didn’t wait until 9:00 on Monday morning, neither should your restoration professionals!
- Is your company local? Some restoration companies travel to areas that big storms are heading towards-- it’s always best to make sure your company is local so they’ll be there to help if you have any issues after the restoration project is completed.
- What type of restoration do you have experience with? Some restoration companies may have more experience with remodeling homes than restoring homes, meaning they may not be experts when it comes to things like fire or water damage.
Of course, at SERVPRO we have all of these bases covered! SERVPRO employees are trained in advanced restoration technology, available 24/7 for emergencies through local franchises, and we’re experts at home restoration!
Emergency Readiness Plan - ERP
Planning ahead saves lives and protects your home and business from increased damage when disaster strikes.
When a disaster strikes – will your business be ready or will it be ruined? Of course no one plans on a disaster, but you absolutely can plan for it. A timely response in a crisis can minimize business interruption and lost revenue as well as save you thousands of dollars in damages. Knowing what to do, who to call, and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation.
Many businesses have an emergency contingency plan in place, but a vast majority of these are missing the essential plan to get their business back up and running following a disaster. The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile is not a contingency plan but it is a vital component of any existing plan. Contingency plans consist of three main components: incident response, disaster recovery, and business continuity – the SERVPRO ERP addresses the incident response and disaster recovery components.
Why Create a SERVPRO ERP?
- A no cost assessment of your facility
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
- Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information including:
- Employee and Emergency contacts
- Utilities contact and Shut off
- Primary contact information - Identifies name, title, phone number, and email for all contacts needed to begin the cleanup and restoration process
- Insurance Contact information
- Property Overview - A one page snapshot of your facility: address, photo, directions, and a brief description of the structural information and special instructions.
- Allows for additional notes about the facility, Inclusion of Lead Reports, Inclusion of Asbestos Reports, or a copy of your companies Evacuation Floor Plan
Once all information is gathered SERVPRO will deliver an organized Emergency Ready folder and file to you. Your ERP will also include weather alert information, disaster preparedness tips, and mitigation tips. It is the perfect time to make sure your business is ready for anything and it is easier than ever with the SERVPRO Ready Plan app. Download the app today and get prepared!
Why SERVPRO? Just Listen to Our Customers
Trust in SERVPRO, we care about our customers!
Picture this. You are peacefully sleeping on a frosty January night, there was a storm warning before bed, but you weren’t overly concerned. CRASH! You are jolted awake by a loud noise. You drag yourself out of the nice warm blankets to make sure your family is okay and nothing is wrong. As you enter the hallway you see something in fact is devastatingly wrong. There is a tree branch through your roof, it is now snowing in the middle of your home, it is 2 am, and it is COLD! What do you do?
This was a reality for the Richardson family. The first call they made on that morning was to SERVPRO, they had no prior experience with the company before this night, but google told them they were close and they were open at this desperate time of need. The Richardsons now say, “We are so grateful that a quick google search found us the company we will be using for the rest of our lives for everything we may need for our home, from the second we made the call we knew we made the right call!” Technicians from SERVPRO arrived barely an hour after the call was made, and they didn’t just take a look, they got to work!
Once SERVPRO arrived on site, the Richardsons had no choice but to check into a hotel for the night and figured this would be their life for at least the next month, if they were lucky. Of course, this hotel stay cost came out of their pocket, as the insurance claim was an unknown beast they had not yet had the chance to tackle. “We were one of the lucky homeowners that had never had to use our insurance and make a claim, but we have heard horror stories and we weren’t even sure where to begin,” says Elliot Richardson. What they didn’t expect was the same team that arrived at their house to help save their home, would also be the same people that helped them navigate the insurance claim process. “With the help of SERVPRO, we won our insurance claim, they helped us every step of the way, with advice, pictures, and even talking to the agents to explain the damage. I hoped they would save our home, but I never expected they would also help save our livelihood” - Elliot
SERVPRO started working the night the tree crashed through the roof, they immediately sealed the home so no further damage would occur. They worked diligently for the next 2 weeks and to the Richardsons' surprise, just 2 weeks after checking in to what they were sure would be a month-plus long ordeal they were back home in their own beds.
"We thought we'd never be able to enjoy our home again. Thanks to SERVPRO the whole ordeal is but a distant memory and we can enjoy our home again "Like it never even happened." - Mary Richardson
What happened to the Richardsons was devastating. The technicians of SERVPRO know how it feels to be displaced and scared in the middle of the night with no idea how it will all turn out. They not only have the knowledge and skill to complete the job fast, but they have the compassion to help you through the situation and help navigate the stressful parts you may not fully understand. SERVPRO is here for you and your family 24/7 and while they can’t stop the disaster they will make it just that much easier to live through. Call us today to get more information on helping you through a disaster.
Regular Checks for Homeowners on Plumbing and Pipes
When it comes to home maintenance and spring cleaning the list can be endless, but still, everyone usually has the basics: rake the leaves, weed, clean the gutters, mow the lawn, etc. Although these are crucial tasks to have on your list, you may be forgetting a few important items like checking pipes and plumbing.
That old saying “out of sight out of mind” is not always a good thing. Even though you can’t see all of the pipes and plumbing in your home, they still need a little TLC. So with that being said, what should you check for?
Once a quarter or a few times a year (at least) it is a good idea to check all of your faucets and spouts for water drips. Sometimes all you will need to do is tighten a few nuts and bolts. Not only will it be nice to not hear dripping water, but it can also save you money on your water bill - those leaky faucets add up.
Outdoor Water Spouts
You should check your outdoor water hookups regularly as well. It is also important to shut off the outdoor water valve in the winter to avoid frozen pipes and damage.
If you have a toilet that is prone to running, you may be able to do an easy fix. Sometimes it just requires a small part that can be picked up at your local hardware store - again it will be budget-friendly for your water bill.
Whether it is your shower or your sink, it is important to make sure everything is draining properly and that they are well sealed. If you notice extra mold or mildew (smell or see) you may have some water leakage. Not only is this going to be important for the lifespan of your shower/sink/plumbing, but it will also be important for your health.
So now that you have a list of a few different plumbing and pipes that should be checked and maintained regularly, you can get to work. If you find an area that has been neglected or is particularly mold-ridden, give SERVPRO a call for expert mold mitigation.