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Teaching Your Children to Handle the Unexpected

3/20/2018 (Permalink)

Teaching your children to handle the unexpected

Handling the Unexpected

It’s almost that time of year again when schools are out for summer and the kids run free. Sometimes things happen and our children are left to fend for themselves for part of the day and sometimes the entire day.  This can come with some hesitation as we allow our children to grow up and fend for themselves.  Rest assured the more that you prepare them for this phenomenon, the better off you both will be. 

Handling the Unexpected

You can feel more confident about your absence if your child learns some basic skills that might come in handy during an emergency. Organizations such as the American Red Cross offer courses in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in local places like schools, hospitals, and community centers.

Before being left home alone, your child should be able to complete certain tasks and safety precautions, such as:

  • knowing when and how to call 911 and what address information to give the dispatcher
  • knowing how to work the home security system, if you have one, and what to do if the alarm is accidentally set off
  • locking and unlocking doors
  • working the phone/cell phone (in some areas, you have to dial 1 or the area code to dial out)
  • turning lights off and on
  • operating the microwave

Knowing what to do if:

  • there's a small fire in the kitchen
  • the smoke alarm goes off
  • there’s severe weather
  • a stranger comes to the door
  • someone calls for a parent who isn't home
  • there's a power outage

Regularly discuss some emergency scenarios — ask what your child would do if, for example, he or she smelled smoke, a stranger knocked at the door, or someone called for you while you're gone.

Call SERVPRO of Whitehall at 610-435-9690. We are Here to Help.

Lehigh Valley Technology Company and Disaster Planning

3/13/2018 (Permalink)

According to FEMA “40% of businesses never re-open after a Disaster.” This statistic, paired with the fact that many businesses do not have a plan to properly deal with a disaster means recovering from a major weather event is an uphill battle. While SERVPRO can repair the physical space and contents of your building, there is something that may be lost or destroyed that can be far more valuable. What would happen if you lost your data? Phone numbers, banking accounts, financial records the list goes on and on.

Scott Gingold of the Lehigh Valley Technology Company deals with getting his clients prepared for some of the very real scenarios that can result if you are not prepared for a disaster. Here are some details from a recent article.

“What would you do if you walked into your office and all your equipment was stolen? What if a bad storm causes a power surge that kills your server? Maybe you or one of your employees deletes an important folder of information? How would you react if your personal hard drive crashed and all your family photos and personal files were gone? The truth is, your data is at risk every day.

Would you be able to retrieve all your information, including customer data, financial information and other critical data quickly if one the many risks that threaten your data does destroy your files? Would you be able to get your business back up and running without your most critical information?

Experts say that 93% of businesses that lose their data for 5 days or more due to a disaster, file for bankruptcy or close their business within one year of the data loss.”

Don’t become another statistic. Create a disaster plan to ensure that your business can bounce back quickly and if you need help getting started, call SERVPRO of Whitehall at 610-435-9690. We provide free disaster planning services through our Emergency Ready Plans.

Carbon Webbing

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

Looks like a dirty cobweb or spiderweb, right? Well, if you have seen something that looks similar in your home or business it doesn’t mean you need to step up your spring cleaning. Unfortunately, it means you have suffered from a fire or puff back. Burning materials causes a chemical reaction that causes carbon molecules to chain to themselves. Once this process occurs long enough the chains then become visible. The most common place to find them is in corners or around doorways. Since spider webs and cobwebs like to locate themselves in the same places the natural thought is that after a fire a cobweb or spider web absorbed the black discoloration from smoke damage. However, these are brand new structures that need to be cleaned to prevent further soot damage.

Call SERVPRO of Whitehall at 610-435-9690.

Electronics Restoration

2/9/2018 (Permalink)

Electronics are delicate items, as there are many factors that cause them to stop working properly. Since many irreplaceable items are stored electronically, it’s important to be prepared for the worst scenario. In the event of a fire, here is what you need to know about smoke damage and your electronics.

How Smoke Causes Damage

  • When electronics are covered in smoke, they become prone to extreme overheating, which leads to eventual failure. When smoke reaches the inside components of electronics, a black film develops causing insulation on the heat-producing parts. The magnetic charge of smoke causes the circuits to short.
  • Soot is pushed by smoke, causing contact everywhere in its path. Smoke travels to cooler temperatures and continues until its energy runs out. The main cause of damage is the acidity in soot. Acidity destroys metals, which causes discoloration and disintegration inside of your electronics.

Restoration for Electronics

  • After a fire, damaged electronics are a safety hazard. To prevent exposure, do not turn on any of the items before consulting with a professional. The smoke’s corroding acids will immediately cause failure to the device.
  • If you choose to clean the items without turning them on, wipe off the residue with a cloth. Taking immediate action will improve the likelihood of your devices surviving.

Helpful Tips

  • When recovering a computer, the most important part is the hard drive. Every bit of information is located on this, so removing these files as quickly as possible is crucial.
  • Replacing the computer’s battery is the next step in the recovery process. If it’s not replaced, the combustion of batteries can be dangerous.
  • To prevent your computer’s data being damaged from fire or smoke, consider investing in a backup program that stores the information somewhere else. Examples of this would be either and external hard drive or cloud based storage. These two items are essential for keeping those special documents safe. Most external hard drives can be found for under $100, and there are many excellent cloud based storage programs that are free.
  • It is important to make sure your files are backed up weekly, you can never be too prepared.

Common Household Molds

2/1/2018 (Permalink)


Mold can be found nearly everywhere. This hardy organism survives both indoors and outdoors alike. Despite many of the positive things mold can provide (the original antibiotic - penicillin, a variety of delicious foods like cheese, and acts as a natural decomposition agent of organic matter), mold causes problems for many of us. All molds are not the same, and some varieties are more harmful than others. Most of us have some experience with mold, but do you know which types are common household molds? Below is a short introduction to the different species of molds and where you can commonly find them.



Indoors, it is often found in carpets, textiles, house dust, and potentially damp areas like window frames and showers. It can also be found in plant soil.


Usually found in warmer climates in areas of water damage or extreme dampness. Aspergillus species are also commonly found in house dust. Also found in building materials and in fall leaves and other decomposing matter like compost piles.


The most commonly identified outdoor fungus, but it can easily enter into the house through the HVAC and other airflow entryways. Cladosporium also has an indoor species that grows on textiles, wood and other porous, damp areas.


Species may be found growing on wallpaper, wallpaper glue, and decaying fabrics in water-damaged buildings or homes. It is also found in carpet and in interior fiberglass duct insulation. Some species can produce mycotoxins.


Pronounced (stack-ee-BOT-ris), Stachybotrys requires excessive moisture to thrive (usually running water) and is a slimy black mold. Fortunately, of all common household molds, stachybotrys is found least often in homes.

Have a Mold Problem? Call Today 800-455-9453

If you have a mold problem in your home or business, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Significant mold growth can occur in 48-72 hours.
  • A strong, musty odor may indicate hidden mold behind drywall or under carpeting.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact a SERVPRO Franchise Professional for mold remediation services.

What NOT to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

The Water You DON'T See

1/24/2018 (Permalink)

With this cold weather causing plenty of pipes to break, it’s the water you don't see that can cause the most damage. A large portion of the time if you have a water loss you will walk into your kitchen and step into a puddle, although this is not always the case water can just affect behind your walls or between floors so make the right choice. A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for the unseen water intrusions.  While the surface may seem dry, the water you do not see can contain bacteria, or cause mold, rot and other unseen damage. Take the right steps at the time of loss to help prevent mold from growing instead of trying to save some money. When the warm humid weather comes your bill will most likely be the same as a water loss.

DID YOU KNOW...The insurance industry estimates that approximately 90 percent of household damages stem from water-related occurrences. The most commonly reported cause is leaky or broken pipes and plumbing fixtures.


Home appliances are considered a leading cause of preventable water damage. By implementing a simple inspection and maintenance program, homeowners can reduce their risk significantly:

  • Dishwasher - Periodically check around the base of the dishwasher, as well as the water supply line under the sink.
  • Refrigerator - For refrigerators with ice makers, periodically check the hose connection attached to the water supply.
  • Washing Machine - Hoses should be inspected regularly for wetness around hose ends, as well as for signs of bulging, cracking or fraying. Hoses should be replaced every three to five years.
  • Water Heater - While the service life of the standard water heater is 10 to 15 years, water heaters should be inspected routinely for signs of leaks or tank rust. Water heaters should be located next to a floor drain or placed inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.

So before risking the value of your home or further damage by attempting to clean and dry it yourself, or if you want to be sure that a past event is not creating problems today, call SERVPRO of Whitehall today at 610-435-9690

Fast Facts about Fire

10/8/2017 (Permalink)

This week is Fire Prevention Week!!

We want to share some fast facts about fire with you so you can be ready for whatever happens.  

Home fires

  • Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
  • One-quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
  • Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 365,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,560 deaths, 11,075 civilian injuries, and $7 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people..
  • During 2010--2014, roughly, one of every 338 households reported a  home fire per year.

Escape planning

  • According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, less than half  ever practiced it.
  • One-third of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

Smoke alarms

  • Three out of five home fire deaths in 2010-2014 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80% of the time.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.  

When disaster strikes, call 

SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall! 800-455-9453


Source of article:

Biohazard & Crime Scene Clean Up

4/12/2017 (Permalink)

Do you ever stop to wonder who has to clean up the scene after a chemical spill or a death/suicide accident?

If not, you are probably like most and lucky enough to not have needed to consider this type of work. However, if you fall into the other category, you know very well that a hazardous scene must be left to the professionals to clean.

Blood borne pathogens, disease, risk of infection and chemical burns are a just a few items to consider when dealing with a biohazard clean-up. Luckily, our team at SERVPRO of Whitehall is highly trained and well prepared to protect both themselves and you from any potential harm.

Our team also fully understands that these situations are often extremely difficult and sensitive times in a person's life and therefore demonstrate compassion and empathy while completing the work in a timely fashion.

For more information on biohazard clean-up's, please check out the Biohazard Cleaning Section of our website. 

What To Do After a Home Fire

4/12/2017 (Permalink)

Recovering from a fire is not easy by any means. It is an emotionally draining process that turns your life upside down. The hardest part comes at the beginning, when you feel helpless and are completely unsure as to how to proceed. With that in mind, our goal, at SERVPRO of Whitehall, is to present to you the fundamental steps you need to take immediately after the fire is extinguished.

Deal With Insurance

You should already be on the phone with your insurance agent before the firefighters even get done putting out the fire. Mind you, this is just the beginning. After a few days, you’ll need to get a copy of the official “fire report” from your local fire department. The insurance agency will likely send an adjuster out to survey the damage and help you get in touch with a restoration agency, such as the professionals at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall.

If you are renting, then you’ll obviously need to contact the owner of the home. If you own the house but don’t have insurance, on the other hand, then you’ll want to speak with the Internal Revenue Service. You might be eligible for something known as casualty loss.

Settle in Somewhere

Most likely, your home is currently in an unlivable state, meaning you’re going to have to find somewhere else to stay. Your best bet is to stay with friends or family. However, if that’s not an option, check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers temporary living expenses. Otherwise, contact the American Red Cross.

Before you leave, try to rummage through your home for some essential items like the following: Identification Cards, Medications, Eye Glasses / Hearing Aids, Wallets, Credit Cards / Checkbooks, Money. **Only do this AFTER you get permission from the firefighters to reenter your home.**

Turn Off Utilities

Make certain you get all of your primary utilities turned off.  Why waste money for services when you are not even living in your home? Plus, restoration cannot be performed on your home if there’s still electricity and such running through it. The risks of electrocution would be far too high.

Contact a Restoration Company

This is perhaps the most important step. You’ll need to contact a professional, full-service restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Whitehall. Our company is trained specifically to deal with post-tragedy damage. Below is a list of some of the things you can expect us to do:

  • The company will start by removing all the water from your home. During a fire, a lot of water from the firefighters hoses usually collects all over the place. Plus, fires sometimes cause pipes to burst, thus leading to even more severe flooding. The point is that restoration cannot begin until the water is first removed.

  • The company will then start with water restoration. Carpets, walls, ducts must be dried. Mold must be removed. Just this step itself can take a few days.

  • Next is the actual fire restoration. First and foremost, the company will inspect the structural foundation of your home and fix any major problems. Obviously, if a ceiling is about to crash, then it must be attended to before any other restoration efforts can be completed.

  • Once the structural foundation is secure, the specialists will start cleaning up soot/smoke damage, deodorizing everything (carpets, walls, furniture, etc.) and basically returning the home back to normal. If anything is so damaged that it cannot be repaired, it’ll be removed and thrown away. It’s your responsibility to let your insurance company know what items you lost.

  • Last, but not least, the company will clean up the remaining mess (dust, debris, etc.) and rearrange everything back into place.

Move Back In

Finally, you get to move back into your home and resume life. Unfortunately, it can take quite a bit of time before you even get to this final step. We’re talking about several weeks. The truth is that restoring a home from a fire takes a lot of time, a lot of resources and a lot of money.

Just remember to keep in close contact with your insurance company through the whole process. If all goes well, you’ll get your home back in one piece, and you’ll get your lost possessions replaced.


When you have fire, water and mold restoration service needs, give the experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Whitehall a call.

Mold Detection and Remediation

4/12/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Whitehall is an expert at mold detection, remediation and removal.

The SERVPRO mold remediation team is trained and certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. This means we know mold, and know how to effectively eradicate it so it ceases to be an issue.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Whitehall are also your neighbors, and are familiar with the climate around your home.

If you think you have mold, give us a call and we will come take a look. And if you do have a mold problem, we will solve it.


Mold can creep up from a variety of sources. Often, mold is a by-product of a flood or other water damage. Improper or incomplete drying is usually the culprit. That is why the experts at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall take extra care of thoroughly drying a job to ensure that mold does not creep up later. But you need not always have “water damage” – for example, over the years, a simple thing like a pipe condensation can cause mold, or a leaking roof, trapped moisture, a damp basement, or a hundred other reasons.

The key is to find it and remove it. Then, make sure it doesn’t come back. The trained professionals at SERVPRO of Whitehall will handle all phases of mold detection and removal, so you can be assured of your family’s health and well-being.


If you suspect you have mold, give the experts of SERVPRO a call today!