Recent Posts

How-To: Make a Fire Escape Plan

5/14/2021 (Permalink)

When your home is on fire, every second counts.

We consulted the National Fire Protection Association to bring you the following tips so you can be prepared with an escape plan in the unfortunate event of a fire in your home:

• Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.  Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm.

• A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. 

• When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.

• Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.

• Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.

• Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cellular phone once safely outside.

• If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency

• If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won't compromise your security - but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.

• Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family's fire escape plan. When staying overnight at other people's homes, ask about their escape plan. If they don't have a plan in place, offer to help them make one. This is especially important when children are permitted to attend "sleepovers" at friends' homes.

• Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately.

• Once you're out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.

Put your plan to the test:

• Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible.

• Make arrangements in your plan for anyone in your home who has a disability.

• Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.

• It's important to determine during the drill whether children and others can readily waken to the sound of the smoke alarm. If they fail to awaken, make sure that someone is assigned to wake them up as part of the drill and in a real emergency situation.

• If your home has two floors, every family member (including children) must be able to escape from the second floor rooms. Escape ladders can be placed in or near windows to provide an additional escape route. Review the manufacturer's instructions carefully so you'll be able to use a safety ladder in an emergency. Practice setting up the ladder from a first floor window to make sure you can do it correctly and quickly. Children should only practice with a grown-up, and only from a first-story window. Store the ladder near the window, in an easily accessible location. You don't want to have to search for it during a fire.

• Always choose the escape route that is safest – the one with the least amount of smoke and heat – but be prepared to escape under toxic smoke if necessary. When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to your exit.

• Closing doors on your way out slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.

• In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice "sealing yourself in for safety" as part of your home fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in. If possible, open your windows at the top and bottom so fresh air can get in. Call the fire department to report your exact location. Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.

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Each fire damage situation is different, so each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  SERVPRO of Catonsville has the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire Damage?
Call Us Today – 410-242-7370

Hurricane Safety: Part 3 - After the Storm

5/7/2021 (Permalink)

Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 - November 30. As part of Hurricane Preparedness Week, we’re sharing safety information from FEMA and the National Weather Service to help you stay safe after a hurricane hits your community.

Part 3: RETURNING HOME AFTER A HURRICANE

  • Listen to local officials for information and special instructions.
  • Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.

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Hurricanes can cause serious damage to your home and property. If you experience water or storm damage, SERVPRO of Catonsville is here to help. Call us: 410-242-7370

Hurricane Safety: Part 2 - Staying Safe

5/6/2021 (Permalink)

Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 - November 30. In anticipation of Hurricane Preparedness Week, we’re sharing safety information from FEMA and the National Weather Service to help you stay safe during a hurricane.

PART 2: STAY SAFE DURING THE STORM

Stay Informed

  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • If told to evacuate by local officials, do so immediately.

Dealing with the Weather

  • Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
  • Take refuge in a designated storm shelter, or an interior room for high winds.
  • If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.

Personal Safety

  • If you must go to a community or group shelter remember to follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for protecting yourself and family from COVID-19.
  • Be prepared to take cleaning items with you like soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces you may need to touch regularly.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet between you and persons not part of your immediate family while at the shelter [by avoiding crowds or gathering in groups] as much as possible. 
  • Anyone over 2 years old should use a cloth face covering while at these facilities.
  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.

Hurricanes can cause serious damage to your home and property. If you experience water or storm damage, SERVPRO of Catonsville is here to help: 410-242-7370.

Hurricane Safety: Part 1 - Preparation

5/5/2021 (Permalink)

Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 - November 30. As part of Hurricane Preparedness Week, we’re sharing safety information from FEMA and the National Weather Service to help you prepare.

According to ready.gov, “Hurricanes are dangerous and can cause major damage because of storm surge, wind damage, and flooding. They can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans. Storm surge is historically the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the United States.”

PART 1: PREPARE FOR A HURRICANE

Know your Hurricane Risk

Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Find out how rain, wind, water could happen where you live so you can start preparing now.

Make an Emergency Plan

Make sure everyone in your household knows and understands your hurricane plan. Discuss the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may affect your hurricane planning. Don’t forget a plan for the office, kids’ daycare, and anywhere you frequent.

Gather Supplies

Have enough supplies for your household, include medication, disinfectant supplies, cloth face coveringspet supplies in your go bag or car trunk.

Those with Disabilities

If you or anyone in your household is an individual with a disability identify if you may need additional help during an emergency.

Know your Evacuation Zone

You may have to evacuate quickly due to a hurricane. Learn your evacuation routes, practice with household, pets, and identify where you will stay. 

Recognize Warnings and Alerts

Have several ways to receive alerts. Download the FEMA app and receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide. Sign up for community alerts in your area and be aware of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)- which requires no-sign up.

Review Important Documents

Make sure your insurance policies and personal documents like ID are up to date. Make copies and keep them in a secure password protected digital space.

Strengthen your Home

Declutter drains and gutters, bring in outside furniture, consider hurricane shutters.

Get Tech Ready

Keep your cell phone charged when you know a hurricane is in the forecast and purchase backup charging devices to power electronics.

Help your Neighborhood

Check with neighbors, senior adults, or those who may need additional help securing hurricane plans to see how you can be of assistance to others

Prepare your Business

Make sure your business has a continuity plan to continue operating when disaster strikes.

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Hurricanes can cause serious damage to your home and property. SERVPRO of Catonsville has the skills and expertise to help. If you experience water or storm damage, call us: 410-242-7370.

Employee Spotlight: April

4/30/2021 (Permalink)

This month, we are proud to feature General Manager, Brandy Weitzel and Crew Chief, Christina Weippert.

Brandy and Christina completed the AMA Asbestos Supervisor Course and are now certified to perform asbestos inspections and remediation.

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About SERVPRO of Catonsville  

SERVPRO of Catonsville specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. SERVPRO of Catonsville is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here, too and we are proud to be part of the Catonsville community.

Clean Ducts = Clean Homes

4/23/2021 (Permalink)

Summer is getting closer and you’re almost ready to turn on the air conditioning in your home or business. You may have even replaced your air filters. But have you considered what might be inside the ducts?

The ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality and can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust and allergens throughout your building or home.

In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention and it may be time for a professional inspection.

Our SERVPRO of Catonsville technicians have been trained to inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any possible indoor air quality concerns.

How Does A Duct Cleaning Work?

  • First, our technicians use patented equipment, including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins.
  • Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a container.
  • Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.7% of particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture the debris and keep the environment clean.
  • Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove and dirt.

Keeping your HVAC system and ductwork clean can potentially extend the lifespan of the equipment by allowing it to operate in peak condition, which may save you money.

Flood Watch vs. Flood Warning

4/20/2021 (Permalink)

According to the National Weather Service, floods can occur almost any time of the year. When flooding conditions are possible, the NWS issues notifications to the public. Below is a breakdown of each type of alert:

Flood Watch (Be Prepared): A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Flood Advisory (Be Aware): A Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Flood Warning (Take Action!): A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

Flash Flood Warning (Take Action!): A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.

Strong rains and flooding can cause serious damage to your home and property. If you experience water damage, call us. We’re here to help: 410-242-7370.

About SERVPRO of Catonsville  

SERVPRO of Catonsville specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. SERVPRO of Catonsville is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here, too and we are proud to be part of the Catonsville community.

Severe Thunderstorms: Watch vs. Warning

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

When a severe thunderstorm is imminent, the National Weather Service issues two types of alerts to the public: Watches and Warnings.

What's the difference?

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Be Prepared! 

Severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the watch area. Stay informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. The watch area is typically large, covering numerous counties or even states.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: Take Action! 

Severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Take shelter in a substantial building. Get out of mobile homes that can blow over in high winds. Warnings typically encompass a much smaller area (around the size of a city or small county) that may be impacted by a large hail or damaging wind identified by an NWS forecaster on radar or by a trained spotter/law enforcement who is watching the storm.

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Severe storms can cause serious damage to your home and property. If you experience damage related to wind or water from a severe thunderstorm call us, we’re here to help: 410-242-7370.

About SERVPRO of Catonsville  

SERVPRO of Catonsville specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. SERVPRO of Catonsville is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here, too and we are proud to be part of the Catonsville community.

Biohazard Cleanup

3/19/2021 (Permalink)

Over the years, SERVPRO of Catonsville has been called to work on many different jobs that would be considered Biohazard Cleanup. But what exactly is does that mean?

A biohazard situation occurs when exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences. This can be anything from sewage backups or animal waste to crime scene or homicide.

A very common situation is a sewage backup. Sewage backups and dark water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly deposits – these damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into a structure. In this situation, our trained technicians remove the sewage, contaminants, and moisture, and help ensure the structure is properly cleaned, disinfected, and deodorized.

One of the most devastating and emotional situations that requires cleanup is a trauma scene. Our technicians follow OSHA and EPA protocols to help transform an unsafe environment back into a clean, safe home or business. Their first focus is always safety, since crime or accident scenes may involve bloodborne pathogens, harmful chemicals, and other dangers. Additionally, our professionals will always treat your property and the people involved with the greatest empathy and respect in the face of trying circumstances.

Most recently, our most prevalent biohazard cleanup situation has been cleaning homes and businesses after a positive case of Covid-19. Coronavirus, a viral pathogen, is another type of biohazard and our technicians have completed our specialized viral pathogen-cleaning program.

Other biohazard situations we’ve encountered are hoarding scenes, accident cleanup, animal waste or remains, and chemical spills.

Biohazards may occur in homes, businesses, public spaces, and even cars. These situations are never easy, but we’re here to help.Equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products, our technicians help transform any unsafe environments back into clean, safe spaces.

Water Damage Amid Covid-19

3/12/2021 (Permalink)

Unexpected water damage during the COVID-19 crisis?

You know you need to address and fix the problem but you may still be concerned about inviting anyone into your home at this time. What do you do?

At SERVPRO of Catonsville, we’re open and here to help. Not only to fix the water damage but to make you feel comfortable with our presence in your home.

Rest assured, we are absolutely committed to keeping your family, your home, and our technicians safe during this challenging time.

What we’re doing:

1. Additional questions: When you call our office, we’ll ask additional questions to understand your individual household situation.

  • Is anyone in your home currently sick?
  • Has anyone in your home recently been sick?
  • Has anyone in your home recently traveled?

2. At a minimum, our Technicians are required to wear gloves and at least a mask on any and all jobs until further notice.

3. Our Technicians will respect your space and work quickly and efficiently to fix the damage

We know this is a difficult time, so if you’ve experienced a recent water loss, call us: 410-242-7370. We’ll answer all of your questions and get the problem fixed quickly and safely.

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About SERVPRO of Catonsville  

SERVPRO of Catonsville specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. SERVPRO of Catonsville is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here, too and we are proud to be part of the Catonsville community.