Recent Posts

Spotlighting Harrisburg Construction

6/6/2024 (Permalink)

In today's blog, we’re spotlighting an integral part of SERVPRO Team Wall, the Harrisburg West Construction team, headed by Construction Operations Manager Jon Blakeslee. Composed of in-house crews of carpenters, crew members, project managers, the coordinator, admin, and estimator, the Harrisburg West Construction team draws on the expertise of many team members to operate on a daily basis.

An average day for the Harrisburg West Construction team begins at 7:30 a.m. with a full-team meeting, discussing the events of the day ahead and any challenges that might present themselves. On the job site, team members do everything from drywall work and painting to tilework, light plumbing, and installing kitchens, with the ultimate goal of keeping customers happy. Communication with customers is a top priority for the Harrisburg West Construction team, and they make certain to keep customers up to date on progress throughout the job process. Customers know they’re in good hands when the SERVPRO of Harrisburg West Construction team handles the job.

Currently, the team is in the process of completing work on a house fire. To get the job done, the team was hard at work replacing the roof of the home, removing drywall inside, and sealing. The customers were living in an apartment while their home was being restored, so the team had to work efficiently, with the goal of getting the homeowners back into their home in a safe and timely manner.

Looking ahead, a top goal for the team is to smooth the transition from mitigation to construction, decreasing the waiting time for the customer between the time of their loss and when the team can begin work on the job site. While there are many moving pieces, Construction Operations Manager Jon Blakeslee believes, “that’s where fine-tuning the construction coordinator role has really helped us create a smoother process for our customers.”

For Jon, his favorite part of the job is sharing the finished product with customers and “getting to watch customers get back into their house and live a normal life again. It’s a very emotional experience for these customers and, for us, it’s our day-to-day. It’s being able to present them with the finished product and restoring their peace of mind.”

SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East is ready to help. Learn more about our Construction and Remodeling Services on our website or give us a call at (412) 763-6713.

2024 Key Initiatives for Team Wall

3/12/2024 (Permalink)

Reflecting on 2023, owner Jim Wall says, "It was a year of positive change and growth. We had a successful year and we grew but it was not without obstacles." The past year wasn’t without its hardships, but SERVPRO Team Wall ultimately persevered forward. Jim remarks, "2023 required a significant amount of time creating, developing, documenting, and implementing processes." These processes will result in increased accountability and measurement of performance, allowing greater insight into the team’s performance and the ability to identify areas of improvement. Moving forward into 2024, Team Wall has its sights set on four key initiatives: emphasizing team, improving the customer service experience, refusing to accept mediocrity, and increasing profit to reinvest in the company’s growth.

Prioritizing Team

Embracing the "one team" mentality, regardless of individual office or department, will lead to success. Jim likens the "one team" mentality to rowing. He says, "We need all people rowing in the same direction and at the same time. If we’re able to work together and focus our efforts, there really isn’t anything we can’t achieve." He identifies collaborative problem-solving in place of departmental problem-solving as one way in which we can place a stronger emphasis on team in 2024.

Strengthening the Customer Service Experience

Customer service is present in all aspects of what SERVPRO Team Wall does on a daily basis and lasts through the entire lifecycle of the job. It is important to remember that it’s the same for many other companies. "There are many people who do what we do, but we can distinguish ourselves through excellent customer service," Jim remarks. But what makes a customer service experience with SERVPRO Team Wall stand out? "Everyone has a role in the customer service experience. It’s not just the crew chief and the production team. It’s the person who answers the phone. It’s the person who’s out in the field. We all have a role in making the customer service experience exceptional. We can distinguish ourselves by providing first-class experiences to our customers," he says. Team Wall always strives for the best possible customer service experiences, but we are always looking for ways to be better. One such way is refusing to accept mediocrity.

Excellence Over Mediocrity

"Many people accept mediocrity. We need to constantly be looking for ways to be better," Jim explains. He points to the use of technology, improving speed, and constantly self-evaluating as ways in which Team Wall can identify areas to improve upon. "It’s easy to settle for what we’ve done in the past," Jim admits, "but there’s always someone right behind us, looking to beat us." Being aware of where we need to improve, as well as understanding how to improve, are key to pushing past mediocrity. "If we have high standards and demand excellence of ourselves, it’s not that difficult to achieve excellence."

Reinvesting in the Company

Last but not least, Team Wall is always committed to increasing profit because, without profit, there is no company. Heading into 2024, Jim states that "we need to consider the financial implication of every decision we make." He continues, "things should be done for the good of the customer and the good of the company alike." Reinvesting in the company is essential to its continued growth and success.

Emphasizing team, striving for exceptional customer experiences, leaving mediocrity in the dust, and ensuring the future success of the company through continued growth in profit, SERVPRO Team Wall has a bright 2024 ahead.

Curious as to what SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East can do for your home or business in 2024? Give us a call at (412) 672-5400 and check out some of our testimonials.

Meet the Intake Team

3/12/2024 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Team Wall would like to spotlight the centralized Intake Team, led by Intake Operations Manager Kristen Kuser. The intake team is the very first line of contact for our customers when they call SERVPRO Team Wall. While they mainly handle customer calls, the intake team also speaks with adjustors and sometime even corporate. Listening to customers’ needs and determining what SERVPRO Team Wall can do for them, the intake team is responsible for setting up jobs and estimates.

The small but mighty and growing intake team is relatively new, having formed only five months ago. Formerly, the team was made up of localized office teams. Now, the intake team is centralized, taking calls for all offices. Hope Schofield serves as the Intake Lead. Additionally, there is an Intake Coordinator for each local office: Jessica Roberts for Hunt Valley and Harford County, Joanna Broyan for Harrisburg West, Bonnie Kent for Metro Pittsburgh East, and Brian Bui for Chantilly. Much of the team members’ days are spent communicating via Microsoft Teams, as the team has an active dialogue due to their need for constant communication throughout the day.

A typical day for the intake team includes the daily Work in Progress (WIP) meeting, reviewing the schedule for the day. They also utilize WorkCenter and Service Fusion (a service and dispatching app) to create job files and put jobs on the calendar for crews. After an already busy workday, the intake team and the mitigation administrative team work together as the on-call team for administration, available to customers 24/7, often answering the phone to frantic, after-hours customer calls when a water heater bursts at 3 A.M. With a job that is equal parts customer service and counseling, according to Kristen, who has a background in studying psychology, the team members are experts in keeping a level head while calming customers, who are oftentimes actively processing major life events when they dial our number.

Working on the intake team requires tremendous flexibility. Kristen shares, “Every single call is different, and every single circumstance is different. There’s no black and white process; we live in the grey.”

What’s on the horizon for this busy intake team? Kristen hopes to standardize the training process and get the process down on paper in order to build a uniform training process, emphasizing education about the systems the team uses and the insurance companies they deal with. The team is planning a roadshow to the offices in November to present their findings in constructing a standardized training process.

A long-term goal for the intake team is to cultivate a customer service-forward, centralized call center. Moving away from the localized aspect is difficult, but Kristen has faith that her team members will continue to emphasize customer service and personalize the experience for customers. “Whether it’s taking calls in a local office or taking calls in a centralized call center, solid customer service has to be the foundation,” Kristen says.

Such ambitious goals may appear daunting for a small team, but Kristen has complete confidence in her team members. “We all pull together. We all have each other’s backs, and that’s what’s really important.”

Want to learn more about what SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East can do for your home or business? Call us at (412) 672-5400 to talk with one of our team members and check out our Company Profile.

Be Prepared for Kitchen Fires

12/26/2022 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire Consider these 3 proactive fire safety tips that are beneficial to keep in mind while cooking in the kitchen.

Year-round – but especially during the holidays – the kitchen is a known gathering space. In 2019, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, Thanksgiving saw the peak of home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. This emphasizes an increase in home cooking fires during the holidays. This holiday season, there are two critical steps you can take as a homeowner to promote fire safety in your kitchen: developing an understanding of potential fire hazards in the kitchen and learning the ins and outs of fire safety practices. In today’s blog, we’ll share 3 proactive fire safety tips that are beneficial to keep in mind while cooking.

1. Create Space in Your Kitchen

Instituting a “kid-free zone” in your kitchen is one option promoted by the NFPA, aimed at maintaining a safe amount of space between children and potentially dangerous cooking areas. This idea, however, can be helpful for any guest in the kitchen – not just children. Keeping at least 3 feet between kitchen guests and cooking equipment like stovetops and ovens can make a significant difference in preventing fire-related kitchen emergencies.

2. Keep a Lid Nearby

The NFPA reports that the kitchen stove plays a key part in the majority of kitchen fires. If a small fire ignites while you are cooking on the stove, having a lid at arm’s reach can be a beneficial safety precaution. In the event that a small fire ignites, slide the lid over the pan and turn the burner off completely in order to smother the fire. It is important to keep in mind, however, that this tip cannot be applied to oven fires. If a fire ignites in your oven, be sure to instead keep the oven door closed and turn off the oven.

3. Be Prepared to Handle a Fire

Upon discovering a fire in your kitchen, a quick decision to either fight it or call for help must be made. Even though action must be taken swiftly, it is important that your decision is a thoughtful and smart one. If you are unsure of your ability to effectively extinguish the fire, do not hesitate to call 911, close the door to the kitchen to prevent the fire from spreading, and get everyone out of your home quickly and safely. If, on the other hand, the fire is small, you have a fire extinguisher nearby, and you feel confident in your ability to extinguish it, it is possible that you could handle it on your own. If there is ever any doubt in your mind, it is always best to call 911 out of an abundance of caution.

Call SERVPRO Team Wall for Residential Fire Damage Restoration

After any residential fire damage situation, take comfort in knowing that SERVPRO Team Wall is always here for you. Team Wall is available 24/7 for professional residential Fire Damage Restoration services. We are just one call away and always here to help quickly restore your home to its preloss condition. Learn more information about our fire-related capabilities, such as removing smoke odors, protecting your fire damaged belongings, and rebuilding fire-damaged structures, check out our website. Pick up the phone and give our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East office a call at (412) 672-5400 today to learn additional information about our Fire Damage Restoration offerings. Trust SERVPRO Team Wall to help make it “Like it never even happened” in the aftermath of any fire emergency.

Minimize Commercial Storm Damage: 3 Things You Can Do

11/28/2022 (Permalink)

Storm over a town In the event that your property experiences storm damage, it is of the utmost importance to prevent further damage.

Storms can wreak havoc on commercial properties, inflicting various types of storm and water damage. In the event that your property experiences storm damage, it is of the utmost importance to prevent further damage by being proactive in the downtime before professional help arrives. Today’s blog will share 3 tips that can be beneficial in protecting your commercial property from unnecessary storm damage while waiting for help to arrive.

  1. Stay Away from the Affected Area

The combination of standing water and electricity poses safety risks to those occupying your commercial property, which means that it is imperative that people stay out of water damaged until professionals have restored the affected areas. Additional safety risks can arise if electrical appliances, wiring, and outlets are in the affected areas. While keeping people out of affected areas is a critical first step, it is also crucial that you refrain from turning on the lights or unplugging electrical appliances because these actions can threaten the safety of those occupying the commercial building.

  1. Turn Off the Water Source & Breakers

After a storm and the discovery of water damage inside of your commercial property, shutting off the water source and the breakers is the best way to protect yourself and others working in your commercial building from safety concerns such as electrical shock.

  1. Protect Your Building’s Belongings

From important documents and equipment to retail items and other products, various valuable items are commonly stored in commercial buildings. In order to protect valuable items from water damage, it is best to move them away from water damaged areas, which facilitates drying. Be sure to also assess your business’ valuables for damage as soon as possible in order to prevent further water damage.

Call SERVPRO Team Wall for Commercial Restoration Services

Both big or small, storms and the damage that they leave in their path can cause significant stress and challenges for commercial property owners. Remember, however, that SERVPRO Team Wall and our storm damage restoration professionals can help you find peace of mind in the aftermath of any storm event. At the first sight of water damage, call your local SERVPRO Team Wall office, SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East, at (412) 672-5400 for more information about our Commercial Storm Restoration offerings. Curious as to the ways in which SERVPRO can help your commercial property after a storm? Check out the resources on our website that explain our other related offerings, from general Commercial Restoration to Commercial Water Damage Restoration services. Even in the event of larger storm event, SERVPRO Team Wall can help. Our Large Loss Disaster Recovery Team, with its extensive network of teams located across the country, offers services for large commercial storm losses 24/7. Call SERVPRO Team Wall immediately to restore your commercial property to its preloss condition and make it “Like it never even happened” after any storm emergency.

Hurricane Season 2022 and Florida's Hurricanes

11/20/2022 (Permalink)

Hurricanes Strong storms, such as hurricanes, can form and make landfall in your area at any time during hurricane season, even as late as November.

Florida was significantly impacted by the end of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. In September and November, Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole, respectively, made landfall in Florida. Because of our large loss abilities, SERVPRO Team Wall and our Disaster Recovery Team had the opportunity to assist Florida communities that were impacted by the storms. Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole left sometimes intersecting paths of damage to residential and commercial properties because they made landfall in Florida within a relatively short time of each other. Continue reading to learn more about Florida’s 2022 hurricane season and how they fit into the grand scheme of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Florida's 2022 Hurricanes

Southwest Florida saw Hurricane Ian make landfall in mid-September. The result? A devastating number of casualties, many community members left without power, and significant damage to properties. A mere 43 days later, Hurricane Nicole made landfall, impacting many of the same Florida areas and sending first responders on search and rescue missions. Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, a seemingly bizarre double-whammy of hurricanes at the tail-end of hurricane season, might seem to be an anomaly. However, something similar happened 18 years ago. In 2004, Florida saw Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Jeanne make landfall, impacting practically the same areas of the state as Ian and Nicole. Yet another similarity is that the same amount of time lapsed in between hurricanes Charley and Jeanne as Ian and Nicole. With this information, it is important to consider what this might mean for property owners in Florida and across the country.

Call SERVPRO with Any Storm Emergency

Types of strong storms, such as hurricanes, can form and make landfall in your area at any time during hurricane season, even as late as November. Based on what we have seen in the case of Hurricane Nicole, a November hurricane is not necessarily a rare occurrence. Instead, a November hurricane – as well as hurricanes occurring in the latter part of the season – is a very real possibility for coastal states like Florida or anywhere on the east coast. SERVPRO Team Wall is here for you in the event of any storm emergency – large or small. For more information, call SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East at (412) 672-5400 to speak with one of our team members about our professional Storm Damage Restoration services. We also offer storm damage restoration services tailored to commercial properties, perfect for commercial businesses. Information about our other storm-related offerings can also be found on our website. Check out our pages dedicated to our Large Loss Disaster Recovery Team, which aids communities following strong storm events such as hurricanes, as well as our residential and commercial Water Damage Restoration pages. Trust SERVPRO Team Wall to make it “Like it never even happened” after any storm emergency.

Water Damage and Commercial Roofing

11/12/2022 (Permalink)

Water damage roof Knowing what interior and exterior signs of water damage to look for can best help prevent further damage to your commercial roof.

“Out of sight, out of mind” – it’s a common phrase and it can be applied to today’s blog topic, which involves identifying roof damage for commercial properties. Because we don’t see our roofs on an everyday basis, it can be challenging to assess their condition. There are a few signs for which you can look that indicate potential water damage to your roof. By knowing what to look for on the interior and exterior of your commercial property when inspecting it for water damage, you can best prevent your commercial property from experiencing any roof damage and the water damage that coincides with it. Read on to learn more.

Interior Indicators

There are three primary indicators of water damage on the interior of your commercial property, indicating roof damage. If you notice any leaks or puddles of water, take them seriously, as they are classic signs of water damage. Likewise, water spots, which are damp areas of discoloration, on the ceiling are also a sign of roof damage. Lastly, if you are suspicious of mold in any capacity – whether it be that you smell or see visible mold growth – this can also be a sign that your roof is experiencing water damage.

Exterior Indicators

If you are inspecting the exterior of your commercial property, the first things you might notice are cracks and tears on the roof. While these commonly result from aging, they are a cause for concern, as water can seep into these small areas of damage and risk water damage to your property. You may also discover puddles of water on your commercial property’s roof, which can indicate that your roof’s draining system is malfunctioning. In the event that the draining system isn’t fixed and the water doesn’t move, the standing water increases your risk of roof and water damage. Finally, water may leak through loose roof seams. This requires immediate professional assistance. The key to all of this is being proactive. You can prevent further roof and water damage the sooner you take action.

Call SERVPRO Team Wall with Water and Roof Damage

By visiting our website or giving us a call at (412) 672-5400 to learn more about our Commercial Restoration and Building Services, as well as our Water and Storm Damage Restoration offerings. Don’t hesitate – call SERVPRO Team Wall immediately upon discovering water or roof damage of any kind. Our experienced team and advanced technology will give you peace of mind, making it “Like it never even happened.” for your commercial property after any disaster.

Meet Our Employees of the Quarter: Q3 2022

10/25/2022 (Permalink)

Employees of the quarter This quarter, we celebrate Team Wall’s Centralized team EOQ, Brian Barry, and our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East office’s EOQ, Sarah Gebauer.

One exemplary employee from each area of SERVPRO Team Wall is selected each quarter to be recognized as Team Wall’s “Employee of the Quarter.” This quarter, we celebrate Team Wall’s Centralized team EOQ, Brian Barry, and our SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East office’s EOQ, Sarah Gebauer. Keep reading to learn a little more about Brian and Sarah.

Brian Barry

A member of our SERVPRO Team Wall for the last 2 years, Brian Barry is a valued member of our centralized team. Prior to his current role as Construction Estimator, he was Fire Production Manager. Brian is always willing to help, even when tasks that need to be accomplished fall outside of his job description. During his time with Team Wall, Brian has assisted with project management on large construction jobs and has made many estimating trips to Pittsburgh.  What makes Brian an exemplary employee is that, on top of all this, Brian always takes time to look out for customers and ensure that we are addressing their concerns so that we know customers find peace of mind in their unique times of need. Thank you for all you do, Brian! 

Sarah Gebauer

Sarah is a newer member of SERVPRO Team Wall and our Metro Pittsburgh East office, as she joined us in May of this year, but she has already made a name for herself. As our Pittsburgh office’s Construction Operations Manager, Sarah has proven her ability to bring the construction department together and she continues to build an amazing construction team in Pittsburgh. Thanks to Sarah’s management style, she never fails to bring smiles to her teammates’ faces, even when times get tough. Never hesitant to put in the time to do whatever must be done for her team’s success, she prioritizes her team, as well as customers’ wellbeing. Thank you for all you do, Sarah- we are grateful to have you on our team.

Heating Equipment: Practicing Fire Safety

10/14/2022 (Permalink)

Heater It is always important to discuss fire safety when using any type of heating system in order to decrease fire risk.

The chill in the air only means one thing: It’s getting to be that time of year again when the temperature drops and we begin thinking about turning on our home or business’ heating system. It is always important to discuss fire safety when using any type of heating system in order to decrease fire risk. Today’s blog will take 3 statistical observations from the National Fire Protection Agency into consideration in order to discuss a few different ways in which you can prevent your property from becoming part of the statistics.

1. “Most home heating fire deaths (81%) involved stationary or portable space heaters.”

Decrease your home or business’ fire risk by keeping objects, especially those that are combustible like blankets and upholstery, at least 3ft away from portable heaters at all times.

2. “The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (25%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.”

Soiled-fueled heating systems, such as chimneys, should be cleaned by professionals of a yearly basis. Annual chimney inspections and cleanings can help decrease your property’s fire risk.

3. “Nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.”

During the colder months, it can be tempting to keep hearing sources working 24/7. However, fires can ignite when heaters are unsupervised. When you leave the room or go to bed, be sure to turn off your portable heater.

Call SERVPRO Team Wall for Fire Damage Restoration Services

On our website, you can find more Fire Tips, in addition to information about our Fire Damage Restoration services and Fire Restoration Process. In the colder months to follow, call SERVPRO Team Wall at (412) 672-5400 if your home or business experiences fire damage this fall or winter. Trust our team’s experience and expertise to make it “Like it never even happened.”

What You Should Know About Lightning

9/23/2022 (Permalink)

Lightning Learning more about these 3 common types of lightning you may see during a thunderstorm can help you best protect yourself and your property.

Most storms involve lightning, which can pose safety concerns as well as dangers to residential and commercial properties. Even hurricanes sometimes have lightning near the eye of the storm. There are 3 common types of lightning you may see during a thunderstorm and learning more about them can help you best protect yourself and your property. With information from NOAA’s “Lightning Types” article, today’s blog will discuss 3 common types of lightning that you may see in thunderstorms, as well as safety risks to properties associated with each type. 

Cloud-to-Ground Lightning

The most dangerous type of lightning is cloud-to-ground lighting. This kind of lightning occurs when a channel of negative charge shoots down from a storm cloud and meets a positive charge emanating from tall objects like nearby trees, power lines, and tall structures like homes and commercial buildings. If the positive charge comes from a tall property, the unification of the positive and negative charges initiates the flow of an electrical current, which can pose safety risks to the property. Fires can ignite as a result of an electrical surge from a lightning strike. Equipping your property with surge protectors can help prevent damage to your property if lightning strikes. Additionally, if you know that there are thunderstorms in your area, even if you don’t see any lightning nearby, refraining from using electrical appliances and doing activities involving water, like taking a shower or bath, are good rules of thumb in order to protect the people living or working in your residential or commercial property during a thunderstorm. 

Cloud Flashes

Sometimes, lightning during a thunderstorm does not reach the ground. Instead of seeing lightning bolts, you might just see flashes of light in the clouds. This phenomenon is known as cloud flashes, in which lightning remains in the clouds through what NOAA calls intra-cloud lightning flashes, and it occurs when an “electrical discharge between oppositely charged areas within the thunderstorm cloud,” according to The National Weather Service. While cloud flashes may not seem as dangerous, cloud flashes still pose safety threats, as they indicate that the storm is producing electrical charges.

Heat Lightning

You may be surprised to learn that there is actually no such thing as heat lightning. What we perceive as heat lightning is actually the lightning flashes from a distant storm that is far enough away from us that we can’t see the storm’s lightning bolts or hear its thunder. We mention heat lightning in this blog because an accurate understanding of what we know as heat lightning reveals that a potentially dangerous storm producing lightning is in the area.

Experience Lightning Damage? Call SERVPRO

Know that SERVPRO Team Wall has your back in the event that lightning from a storm causes damage to your property. We are committed to making it “Like it never even happened” after any storm. Trust SERVPRO’s experienced storm damage restoration specialists, equipment, and methods to restore your property to its preloss condition. Speak to one of our SERVPRO Team Wall team members by calling SERVPRO of Metro Pittsburgh East at (412) 672-5400. On our website, you can find more information about our Storm Damage Restoration capabilities, including storm restoration services tailored specifically to commercial properties, our Disaster Recovery Team for large losses, and our water restoration process