SERVPRO’s Newest Employee
Onboarding at SERVPRO as a sales and marketing representative (SMR) has been exciting. I, like many SMRs who start at SERVPRO, have not come from a Fire, Water, or Mold restoration background. Learning the new industry and learning how to represent such a great brand has been a lot of fun. However, the experience has been slightly dampened by the global pandemic, which has thrown a proverbial wrench into what I have learned are SERVPRO’s normal day-to-day operations.
Prior to the pandemic, SERVPRO utilized in-person visits to keep their clients and customers up-to-date on the latest happenings. Part of this was monthly visits to real estate, insurance, and other offices with which SERVPRO has a strong relationship.
With many employees working remotely, there are less people in the community to visit in-person. And those still working in an office don’t need excessive interactions for the time being. SMRs have had to shift the way they keep their customers informed.
The Plan Until Things Get Back to ''Normal''.
When I was hired at SERVPRO, I was asked what ideas I may be able to bring to these extraordinary sets of challenges that we faced. My answer was merely a suggestion that we rely on newer technology and evolve while sticking to our roots. The root of SERVPRO, as I have come to understand, is helping people when disaster strikes. The idea is the quicker we respond, the quicker a business or homeowner gets back to normal. The main goal of these visits is to educate and potential clients to allow them to become familiar with the SERVPRO brand and process.
Adapting to Whatever ''Normal'' Is.
I come from a digital marketing background, and I know the value of informing the community. It’s my belief that, now more than ever, it is imperative that we take this time to utilize technology and the brand that SERVPRO has worked so hard to build. I have been brought on board to make those suggestions where I see an opportunity for us to grow our digital footprint. We intend to stick to our roots of educating clients by visiting those who still don't mind us stopping by in the traditional manner dropping off the most recent literature regarding our services. We plan to continue to have our traditional ‘’lunch and learn’’ with them whenever indoor dining becomes available again. Those who wish to socially distance, we have decided to offer a chance to participate in a digital ''lunch and learn''. This involves utilizing video call technology to walk clients through presentations while they munch on some of their favorite local takeout. We felt this would be a good way to help struggling restaurants who are still dealing with ever changing restrictions on their businesses.
Where There is Change, There is Opportunity.
SERVPRO is happy to be able to offer Coronavirus disinfection services. We offer both preventative cleaning, as well as for when there have been confirmed cases.
We have proprietary disinfectants and a trained team of professionals to get the job done safely. COVID-19 has made businesses question how they clean their buildings. Once a business learns the level at which we clean, they see the value in having a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned decal on their window. The Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned decal communicates to their customer base that they care enough about the safety of their customers that they hired the largest and most trusted brand in restoration to provide a clean environment to conduct business.
SERVPRO has been sticking to our roots, providing our clients with top-notch service, and making fire, water, mold, and surface contamination "Like it never even happened."
Cleaning vs Sanitizing vs Disinfecting
It is important for all parties to understand the different levels of cleaning that may or may not be possible for each surface. All surfaces can be cleaned, many surfaces can be sanitized, and some surfaces can be disinfected.
The three main levels of microbe control are:
General surface cleaning – physically removes visible dirt, organic matter, viruses, fungi, and bacteria. General surface cleaning is accomplished with water, detergent, and physical scrubbing of the surface. The guiding principal is to remove microbes if possible, rather than kill them (with a sanitizer or disinfectant). In addition, thoroughly cleaning a surface can reduce the need to disinfect because without the nutrients and moisture needed to survive and multiply, most microbes cannot live on a clean and dry surface for very long.
Sanitizing – reduces but does not necessarily eliminate all the bacteria on a treated surface. Sanitizers do not have claims for viruses or fungi. To be a registered sanitizer, the test results for a product must show a reduction of at least a. 99.9% in the number of each type of bacteria tested on non-food-contact surfaces. Examples of non-food-contact sanitizers include carpet sanitizers, air sanitizers, laundry additives, and in-tank toilet bowl sanitizers.
Disinfecting – works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. Disinfecting destroys or irreversibly inactivates infectious or other undesirable microbes, but not necessarily the spores of bacteria and fungi. The number of microbes killed during a disinfecting process will vary, depending on the specific chemical and how it is used.
High-Touch Cleanup vs Enhanced Cleanup
A COVID-19 cleanup scope is dependent on the type of coronavirus situation.
High Touch Cleanup: Cleanup of high touch surfaces is required for a situation involving a person who is suspected to have COVID-19 or a Person Under Investigation (PUI); which is someone who is involved in a quarantine situation or has come in contact with someone who has been in a quarantine situation, or has come in contact with someone testing positive. This includes cleaning and disinfecting of high touch nonporous surfaces and cleaning and sanitizing of high touch porous surfaces.
Enhanced Cleanup: Enhanced cleanup is required for an area in which a person who has been confirmed positive for COVID-19 has inhabited. This includes cleaning and disinfecting of all nonporous surfaces and cleaning and sanitizing of all porous surfaces. This enhanced cleaning includes walls up to 8 feet but excludes ceilings.
A combination of High Touch Cleanup and Enhanced Cleanup may be needed within a structure based on where the infected individual has directly traveled or occupied.
Five Tips to Protect Employees’ Health
Five Tips to Protect Employees’ Health
Healthy employees are crucial to your business. Here are 5 ways to help them stay healthy.1) Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. Develop policies that encourage sick employees to stay at home without fear of reprisals, and ensure employees are aware of these policies. 2) Have conversations with employees about their concerns. Some employees may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
3) Develop other flexible policies for scheduling and telework (if feasible) and create leave policies to allow employees to stay home to care for sick family members or care for children if schools and childcare close.
4) Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about their plans. Discuss the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies.
5) Promote etiquette for coughing and sneezing and handwashing. Provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, soap and water, and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Call SERVPRO of Southern Monroe County at 570-424-2290 to clean and disinfect any areas a sick customer or employee visited.
Five More Tips to Protect Employees’ Health
Five More Tips to Protect Employees’ Health
Healthy employees are crucial to your business. Here are 5 more ways to help them stay healthy.
1) Plan to implement practices to minimize face-to-face contact between employees if social distancing is recommended by your state or local health department. Actively encourage flexible work arrangements such as teleworking or staggered shifts.
2) Perform routine environmental cleaning. Routinely clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces, such as workstations, countertops, handrails, and doorknobs. Discourage sharing of tools and equipment, if feasible.
3) Consider the need for travel and explore alternatives. Consider using teleconferencing and video conferencing for meetings, when possible.
4) Provide education and training materials in an easy to understand format and in the appropriate language and literacy level for all employees, like fact sheets and posters.
5) If an employee becomes sick while at work, they should be separated from other employees, customers, and visitors and sent home immediately. Call SERVPRO at 570-424-2290 to clean and disinfect areas the sick employee visited.
Top 5 Ways to Protect Pipes From Freezing
Temperatures around East Stroudsburg are beginning to dip below freezing. With freezing temperatures comes the risk of frozen pipes.
Here are the Top 5 ways to protect your pipes from freezing this winter:
1) Pools and Sprinklers Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
2) Outdoor Valves Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
3) Home Insulation Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
4) Pipe Insulation Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
5) Pipe Relocation Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
Source: Red Cross
Top 5 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes
With freezing temperatures creeping their way into Monroe County, now is the time to consider the risk of frozen pipes. Taking steps to prevent pipes from freezing is a lot easier than dealing with the mess after your pipes freeze.
Here are the Top 5 ways to prevent pipes from freezing:
1) Garages Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
2) Kitchens and Bathrooms Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
3) Faucet Drip When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
4) Thermostat Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
5) Extended Leave If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
Source: Red Cross
5 Steps to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If you follow the proper steps to protect your pipes from freezing, then frozen pipes shouldn't be an issue. But drastic weather always has the potential to be an issue.
If you find yourself with a partially or completely frozen pipe, here are the five steps you should take:
Step 1) If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
Step 2) Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
Step 3) Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
Step 4) Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
Step 5) Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
STEP 6: SERVPRO
If you experience any water leaks or other damage from frozen pipes, call SERVPRO at 570-424-2290. We specialize in cleanup and restoration after any sort of leak, especially frozen pipes. We are available 24/7 and we are always HERE TO HELP!
COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund
SERVPRO of Southern Monroe County is working with the Pocono Mountains United Way to help provide relief during this COVID-19 pandemic. One way the United Way is helping is with their Crisis Response Fund.
Hosted by Pocono Mountains United Way, the Crisis Response Fund is providing flexible resources to organizations in our region working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of this outbreak. Grants fund organizations that have deep roots in community and strong experience working with residents without health insurance and/or access to paid sick leave, people with limited English language proficiency, healthcare and tourism workers, and communities of color, among others. The Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible.
The first phase of rapid-response grants is increasing resiliency in disproportionately affected communities by addressing the economic impact of reduced and lost work due to the broader COVID-19 outbreak, the immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations caused by COVID-19 related closures, the increased demand for medical information and support, and fear and confusion about the outbreak among our most vulnerable residents. We anticipate that the primary areas of need includes: Food for children out of school, housing assistance for displaced workers (renters and owners), people experiencing homelessness (shelters in Monroe County are full or no longer taking new individuals and families due to the recent crisis) and college students facing barriers. Pocono Mountains United Way reserves the right to support other areas of need that develop from the crisis.
Pocono Mountains United Way is administering grants from the Fund and the decision of funding is determined by a subset of the Board of Directors of Pocono Mountains United Way and other community leaders. Together we are proactively identifying potential grant recipients, solicit guidance on potential recipients from community advisers, and recommend final awards. Funds are being released on a rolling basis as fundraising continues throughout the outbreak and recovery phases of the crisis, making it possible to move resources quickly and adapt to evolving needs in subsequent funding phases.
Top 5 Tips for Winter Pet Safety
As winter approaches here in the Poconos, we can't forget to keep our pets safe during the cold weather. Winter storms can pose a real hassle for us, as well as our little friends.
Here are the Top 5 tips for winter pet safety:
1) If possible, bring your pets inside during cold winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to non-frozen drinking water.
2) If the animals are outside, make sure their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles.
3) If pets cannot come indoors, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow them to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in the pet’s body heat. Raise the floor a few inches off the ground and cover it with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the enclosure away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
4) Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.
5) Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
Source: Red Cross