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Halloween Safety Tips

10/17/2019 (Permalink)

Ghost Halloween Costume with text that says "Stay Safe. Halloween Safety Tips" Have a safe & happy Halloween!

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

Walk Safely

  1. Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross. 
  2. Put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
  3. Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  4. Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to
  5. the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
  6. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
  7. Join kids under age 12 for trick-or-treating. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, tell them to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.

Costumes for a Safe Halloween

  1. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
  2. Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
  3. Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers. 
  4. When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls. 

Drive Extra Safely on Halloween

  1. Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
  2. Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
  3. Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
  4. Get rid of any distractions - like your phone - in your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  5. Turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
  6. Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Be especially alert for kids during those hours.

Happy Halloween! 

Is it Mold or Mildew?

10/17/2019 (Permalink)

Mold and Mildew growing side by side on white wall with text that says "Mold" and "Mildew." Do you have mold or mildew in your property?

One of the most important ways one can tell mold from mildew is how each fungus looks. Mildew is typically white, gray or yellow and grows on the surface of moist, warm areas. Its texture is fluffy or powdery. On the other hand, mold tends to be green or black, and it usually grows underneath the surface of anything that has gotten wet. Its texture can be fuzzy or slimy.

Both mold and mildew can grow quickly in warm, moist places. But each type seems to have a preference when it comes to where to start growing. Mildew is often found on items that have damp surfaces, with fabric, paper and leather being some common household items that might end up with mildew after they get wet. Mildew is also sometimes found on the floors, walls or ceilings of areas with lots of humidity, such as bathrooms, kitchens or basements. While mildew can also grow on the surface of agriculture — such as potatoes or grapes — mold is most often the type of fungus found on food, such as cheese, bread or meat. Additionally, it’s not uncommon to find mold in indoor or outdoor spaces that have gotten wet, such as sheds, crawl spaces, garages and boats.

However, the effects of mold tend to be more serious. Mold can damage entire structures, including homes and vehicles, so it's very important to prevent or treat mold as soon as possible.

The Best Way to Handle Mold in Your Home

10/17/2019 (Permalink)

Black Mold growing on white wall of home Take the right steps when dealing with mold.

The Correct Way to Handle Mold Damage

Mold damage is a common problem. It affects all kinds of homes and businesses. It is not something to be scared of because it happens to almost everybody, at some time in their lives. However, it does need to be treated with caution. Mold damage, though common, can be both expensive and can cause health effects. 

This is why the only effective solution for dealing with chronic mold damage is to call in the experts. Qualified mold damage restoration teams have the necessary skills and expertise to make sure that all of the damaged areas of a property are safely removed. If you do not seek professional advice, you risk the problem becoming a recurring one. 

This guide to the importance of professional mold damage restoration will help you get to grips with the best possible solution. 

Fix the Source of the Issue 

While homeowners can go some way to removing the superficial signs of mold damage (the visible marks and blemishes), it is much more difficult to pinpoint the cause. And this is vital if the problem is to be eradicated for good. Mold damage restoration experts are trained to look for patterns and uncover the source of the destruction. More often than not, the mold is being caused by an unidentified leak within the building or humidity issues.  

Recognize the Type of Mold 

It is a common misunderstanding to assume that all mold is the same. In fact, there are more than 10,000 different varieties. As they all require a slightly different approach, identifying which mold it is is vital. Nobody expects you to be able to distinguish between the characteristics of a thousand mold samples, so take the job to somebody specially trained for it. 

Use the Right Equipment 

Another important benefit of using a professional mold damage restoration service is access to specialist equipment. You might have a basic dehumidifier in your home or workplace, but this won’t be strong enough to tackle a serious problem. You need heavy duty dryers, blowers, and EPA approved chemicals. If there is evidence of high level mold in the building – which causes negative health effects – protective clothing is needed to ensure safety. 

Think you have a mold problem? 

Give us a call - 570-714-0090

Remember to Clean your Gutters this Fall

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

Person cleaning Fall leaves out of gutter. Cleaning your gutters is extremely important this Fall!

Thoroughly cleaning your Wilkes-Barre home’s gutters every spring and fall will keep them working like they should. Leaves can build up and clog the downspouts, which can cause water damage to your roof.  Water pouring over the gutters or from leaks can end up next to your home’s foundation, in the basement or crawlspace. Follow these tips below to keep your home safe and dry this Fall. 

A hose-end attachment specially designed for gutters may make this project a lot easier. If you need to clean from a ladder, follow these steps.

Step 1

Begin cleaning the gutter near a downspout.

Step 2

Remove the large debris (leaves, twigs, etc.) with a trowel and dump it in a bucket.

Step 3
To clean out finer materials, flush the gutter lengths with a hose starting at the end opposite the downspout. Alternatively, you can use a gutter-cleaning attachment on a hose. If the water doesn’t drain, recheck the downspout strainer and clean as necessary.

If gutter water still doesn’t drain, the downspout may be clogged.

  1. Check the drain end. If the downspout runs underground, remove it from the pipe as needed.
  2. Install a small nozzle on the hose, and lock it at full pressure. Turn on the water and feed the hose up from the bottom of the spout. If this doesn’t clear the downspout or the nozzle is too big, use a plumber’s snake tool to clear the blockage.
  3. Reattach the downspout.
  4. Flush the entire gutter again.
  5. Be sure to clean the downspout strainers.

Fire Prevention Week 2019

10/2/2019 (Permalink)

Cartoon Dog leading people out of building. Text that reads "Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape." Fire Prevention Week 2019 is October 6th - October 12th.

Fire Prevention Week 2019 is October 6th - October 12th. This year’s FPW campaign, “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” works to educate everyone about the small but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.

Did you know?
In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have,giving everyone enough time to get out.

Plan ahead for your escape. Use this link from NFPA to Make your home escape plan and practice today. 

In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time every October during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.

About Fire Prevention Week

Since 1922, the NFPA has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week. In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country. During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically decrease casualties caused by fires.

Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage. This horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than 2,000 acres of land.

Common Causes of Home Fires

9/23/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO trucks and logo with SERVPRO dolls standing in front of them. Be aware of the common causes of a fire.

Home Fires can be devastating, but there are hopefully steps you can take to prevent home fires. 

Heating

Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40%).  

Winter storms

Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.

Generators

Portable Generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools. 

Candles

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. Each year between 2012 and 2016, an average of 8,200 home candle fires were reported each year. 

Electrical

Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters.

Stay safe this winter season and be aware of the leading causes of fires. We are always here to help in the event of an emergency fire. 

Preventing Mold in Your Avoca Home

9/19/2019 (Permalink)

White wall with mold growing on, hardwood floor and green text that reads "Mold Damage?" Mold Damage? We can help.

How To Prevent Mold

It is always important to check on locations in your home or business that you are aware could have moisture or dampness. An example would be a basement, crawl space or attic. Water that sits can start producing spores within 24 to 48 hours and it is important to call a professional if you suspect a water or mold problem. Below are a few tips you can use to help prevent mold in your home. 

  • Use dehumidifiers, fans, and open windows to help reduce the moisture in your home. Be especially vigilant during hot, humid months.
  • Fix plumbing leaks as soon as possible.

  • Do what you can to prevent rain water from seeping into your home. Check potential problem areas regularly.

  • Clean the fabrics in your home routinely and keep them dry.

  • Store items in dry, well-ventilated areas.

Don't forget to check these areas within your home and call SERVPRO of Kingston, Pittston City and Wyoming County if you suspect a mold problem. 570-714-0090 

Commercial Mold Remediation

9/9/2019 (Permalink)

Green SERVPRO van parked in front of commercial building. Found Mold in your commercial building? We can help!

Besides causing a major business interruption, a mold problem can present a serious health risk for people exposed at your commercial property. Mold infestations can be caused by minor water intrusions, like a slow roof leak or loose plumbing fitting. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. If you suspect your property has a mold problem, call  SERVPRO of Kingston, Pittston City and Wyoming County, who will respond quickly and work fast to manage the situation.

    • 24 Hour Emergency Service
    • Faster to Any Size Disaster
    • A Trusted Leader in the Mold and Water Restoration Industry with over 1,700 Franchises
    • Highly Trained Mold and Water Damage Restoration Specialists

Have a Mold Problem? Call Us Today – (570) 714-0090

Commercial Mold Remediation Presents Unique Challenges

Mold can spread quickly through a property if left untreated. We can respond quickly, working to first contain the infestation to help prevent its spread to other parts of the building. Next, we will begin the remediation process, working safely and effectively to manage the situation. We have the training, experience, and equipment to contain the mold infestation and remediate it to preloss condition. Learn more about our training and certifications.

    • Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist
    • Water Damage Restoration Technician
    • Applied Structural Drying Technician
    • Odor Control Technician
  • Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician

Hurricane Safety Tips

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

A Palm Tree blowing in the wind. Text that reads "Keep your eye on the storm." When preparing for a hurricane, it's important to remember your safety tips, emergency plan and to keep your eye on the storm.

How to prepare for a hurricane

Hurricanes are among the most powerful severe weather events found in nature. These fearsome storm systems can originate in any ocean – Atlantic, Pacific or Caribbean – and pack a punch of 150-170 mph winds. And when they hit land, they can spawn tornadoes, tropical storms, torrential rain, flooding, landslides and horrific destruction in general. So it's never too early to think about hurricane preparedness – and how you can protect your family, home, property and business. Here are some essential hurricane safety tips to help you prepare for a hurricane.

Long-range hurricane planning

Make sure your home meets or exceeds current model building codes for regions often impacted by hurricanes. You may also want to do the following: 

  • Talk with your family members about what to do in case of a hurricane. Designate an emergency meeting spot and have a plan for your pets.
  • Show adult and teen family members where electrical, gas and water shut-offs are – and how to turn them off. Make sure the proper tools are nearby.
  • Have a well-stocked first aid kit, flashlights and plenty of batteries.
  • Install impact-resistant windows.
  • Be sure your doors have at least three hinges and a deadbolt lock with a bolt at least 1 inch long.
  • Install permanent wood or metal stiffeners on your garage door. Or contact the door manufacturer about temporary supports you can easily attach and remove.
  • Make sure your roof covering and sheathing beneath it can resist high winds.
  • Consider replacing gravel and rock landscaping with mulch or shredded bark, which can be less deadly in high winds.
  • Trim trees and shrubbery. Pay particular attention to weak or dead branches that could fall on your home or your neighbor's home.
  • Decide how and where to secure your boat.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property (above or below sea level) and whether the land is flood-prone. This gives you a better idea of how your property might be affected by a storm surge or tidal flooding.
  • Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
  • Learn hurricane evacuation routes. Figure out ahead of time where to go and how you would get there if you needed to evacuate.

Before a hurricane hits

If conditions are right for a hurricane in your area, this is how you can prepare:

  • Stay tuned to local radio and TV for warnings, safety announcements or instructions.
  • Invest in a portable battery-operated or hand-crank radio.
  • Turn off all utilities, including propane tanks.
  • Cover all of your home’s windows with storm shutters or 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Even duct tape – amazing as it is – doesn’t prevent windows from breaking.
  • If it’s safe, move outdoor furniture and grills inside. They can be deadly flying debris.
  • If emergency officials haven’t directed you to a public shelter, get your family to the basement, a closet, a small room or a hallway away from windows. The more walls between you and the outside, the better.
  • Lean a mattress against the wall of the room you're in.
  • Don't open your windows. Keep the wind and rain outside.
  • Hand out flashlights. The hurricane will probably disrupt electrical service.   

After a hurricane has passed

If you and your family were forced to leave your home – or if it has been severely damaged from the hurricane – wait for authorities to give the all-clear to re-enter. Then:

  • Look for flooding in the wake of a hurricane. Rising water can produce dangerous conditions hours or even days later.
  • Check for structural damage before going inside.
  • If dark, use a flashlight – not matches, a candle or a lighter. An open flame could ignite leaking gas.
  • Listen for reports to see when drinking water is safe.
  • If there is water damage, consider hiring a professional water damage cleaning service like SERVPRO.
  • Use your cell phone or camera to take pictures of the damage that can be used to document your insurance claim.
  • Once you’ve gathered necessary documents and evidence of your claim, contact your insurance company or agent.

With Cooler Temps this Fall - Remember Space Heater Safety

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

White Space Heater with orange glowing elements Use Caution when Using Space Heaters

Space Heater Safety 

It is approaching the season many are utilizing their space heaters to stay warm during the Fall and Winter months. Although comfortable and cozy, space heaters can cause a significant increase in home and business fires. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in just over two of every five fires (43%). Significantly, the fires involving space heaters accounted for 85% of the civilian deaths and 78% of civilian injuries in home fires caused by heating equipment, as well as over half (53%) of direct property damage. Below are a few safety tips you can reference if using a space heater in your home or business. 

  • Place space heater on flat level surface. Don't put on shelf or high traffic areas.

  • Plug a space heater directly into an outlet and avoid using an extension cord. 

  • Never leave space heaters unattended.

  • Only use space heaters that are nationally recognized in a testing lab. 

  • Don't use a space heater if the plug is broken or the cord is damaged. 

  • Keep your space heater at least 3 feet away from flammable items, pets, and children. 

  • Do not use around water.

If you decide to utilize your space heaters, please use caution and reference these safety tips to avoid a fire. If you find yourself dealing with a fire, we are always here to help! 570-714-0090