Recent Posts

We pull out all the stops for our commercial customers

10/9/2021 (Permalink)

Recently, we were on a large commercial remediation job, and we couldn't help but snap the picture that's attached to this post.

The job itself is worth mentioning. We were called in at 4pm on a Friday to kick off an urgent cleaning project for a ten-floor commercial building. For most companies, tackling a single floor of a building this size would be a huge undertaking. But since we've invested in the resources and the personnel to tackle anything that's thrown our way, we were able to jump into action immediately.

This picture shows just how much we care. It was only an hour later that our owner, Thom, was on-site with our management team, diagrams in hand, coming up with a game plan to solve our customer's problem and make it "Like it never even happened." There is so much talent and dedication in this picture, and we're so proud that we wanted to share it with it. 

When our commercial customers call us, we pull out the stops and they get the very best!

The BNBEA

10/1/2021 (Permalink)

We’ve been keeping this under wraps for a while, but we figured why be secretive? We’re proud to announce that we’ve been nominated for the Buffalo Niagara Business Ethics Award for 2021!

This prestigious award goes to companies who “consistently demonstrate exemplary ethical behavior to employees, customers, vendors and our community” and is judged by a jury of business and community leaders from around Western New York.

We won’t lie… the application was a doozy! Weighing in at over 50 pages, it asked us to reflect deeply on our commitment to ethics over anything else. But we were extremely proud of what we found and we can’t wait until the finalists are announced in the next few weeks.

Thank you to the Buffalo Niagara Business Ethics Association for your consideration!

Growing and Hiring

10/1/2021 (Permalink)

We have some good news and some great news.

The good news is that we’re growing, which gives us even more opportunities to serve our community.

The great news is that we’re adding a ton of people to our team!

Right now, we’re hiring for nearly every position available at a SERVPRO franchise. We’re very selective about who we welcome to our SERVPRO family, but we’re super excited to be adding more members in every department.

In our production department, we’d love to hire production technicians who are detail-oriented, driven and inspired to help those in their community who are in need.

On our reconstruction team, we’re always on the lookout for people who combine their construction skills with a knack for customer service.

And on the marketing side, we’re expanding and adding representatives as we speak!

If you know of anyone looking for a rewarding, exciting and lucrative career, send them our way!

Employee of the Month - Mike H.

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

Every single month, we have a reason to celebrate. That’s because we take the time to honor and celebrate a member of our team who has exemplified the care, empathy and thoroughness that we strive to embody here at SERVPRO of West Seneca/Lancaster.

In September of 2021, that team member was none other than Mike Hofner, one of our longtime reconstruction specialists.

Truth be told, Mike Hofner gets nominated nearly every single month for the incredible work that he does with our reconstruction team. He is well-known not only for his attention to detail, but for how seriously he takes his responsibility for helping home and business owners get their lives back together after a disaster.

This month was no different. Mike Hofner was nominated after receiving a series of glowing praises from a customer who had suffered a garage fire. After finishing the scoped work that we’d agreed upon with the customer, Mike stayed after hours, at no extra charge, to help her to tidy up, including changing out some fluorescent light bulbs and tidying up.

We weren’t surprised to hear that Mike had done this, but we couldn’t be more proud. Thanks, Mike!

The Parking Pass

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

A paper with "Employee of the Month" written on it, tucked under a windshield wiper. The original parking pass.

We’re not sure if this is a little bit too “inside baseball” for the blog, but we found it so amusing and telling about the culture here at SERVPRO of West Seneca/Lancaster that we wanted to share.

A few months back, we awarded one of our favorite team members, Chuck, with the coveted “Employee of The Month” designation. It’s something we take very seriously here, and something that Chuck absolutely deserved due to his incredible customer service.

Chuck has an incredible sense of humor, and he immediately took the opportunity to show it. One of the first things he did was grab his car, back it into the owner’s parking spot, and make a handmade sign that said “Employee of The Month” which he stuck under his windshield wiper.

We weren’t sure if this were a lesson in ambition or a total mistake until the owner showed up and immediately starting laughing. She loved his gumption and the first thing she did was make him a proper, laminated “Employee of The Month” parking pass to use all month long.

Disaster restoration is a tough business, and we’re proud to say that we not only do it well, but we have fun together, too.

Is Bathing During a Thunderstorm Safe?

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

Did your mother used to tell you that you should avoid bathing or showering during a lightning storm because there was a chance that you could get electrocuted?

As a child, this kind of warning was terrifying. As an adult, it has the ring of an old wives’ tale. But is there any truth to it?

As it turns out, yes: there’s a real possibility that you could be electrocuted if you take a shower during an electrical storm. Our source? The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/15/health/15real.html

As the NYT writes, and as every graduate of fourth-grade science class knows, both metal pipes and water are extremely conductive of electricity. While your house was likely built with some kind of mechanism for channeling the electricity from a lightning strike into the ground, it’s not always perfect. According to Ron Holle of NOAA, between 10 and 20 people every year get electrocuted while bathing, using faucets or handling appliances during storms.

So if you take a shower, is it likely that you’ll be electrocuted? Probably not. But there is a chance.

Why is Flood Water Considered to be Category 3?

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

In water damage restoration, we use different categories as a shorthand to assess the level of contamination in the water that we encounter. Category 1 water is relatively clean (e.g. a water supply line); Category 2 water is significantly contaminated (e.g. a dishwasher leak); and Category 3 water is grossly contaminated (e.g. sewage).

Many people are surprised to find out that flood water is considered to be Category 3. In their minds, flood water either came from heavy rains or from a nearby body of water. While you might not want to drink the water from your local creek, it hardly seems like it should be considered to be “grossly contaminated.”

With flood water, this categorization usually stems less from the source of the water and more from what the water picked up on the way. You have no idea what kind of sediment, pathogens or contamination that the water encountered before it made its way into your structure. Since the water is likely full of hitchhiking contaminants, we consider it to be Category 3 and treat it accordingly.

What Makes Something a Flash Flood?

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

The weather report often gets a bad rap for being unreliable and imprecise. The meteorologists on TV might call for rain and get sunshine, or vice versa, and all of a sudden people start to discount everything that they say.

While the science of predicting the weather can sometimes be a probabilistic guessing game, the language that we use to describe particular weather events is usually very, very precise.

Take the difference between a “flood” and a “flash flood.” You probably have a vague grasp of what separates the two, but could you put it into writing?

A flood is defined by the National Weather Service as “an overflow of water onto normally dry land.” Water levels rise in existing waterways because of precipitation, and floods spill out and cause trouble.

Flash floods, meanwhile, are tied to a timeline: six hours. If the rainfall that caused the flooding occurred in a six-hour timespan, and the flooding was nearly immediate, then it’s a flash flood. Actually, flash floods can be declared even if no rain has fallen so long as there’s an influx of water, as in a dam or a levee breaking.

What to Do During a Flood Watch or Warning

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

Floods can be extremely dangerous events. Not only are the waters themselves capable of causing enormous amounts of damage and loss of life, but the water itself is often contaminated with infectious disease and chemical hazards.

If there’s a flood watch or warning happening in your area, it’s important for you to spring into action immediately to prepare for the worst. The CDC recommends doing the following during a flood watch:

  • Gather up your emergency kit (and if you don’t already have one, make one!);
  • Stay tuned to local updates on TV. If the power’s out, use a self-powered radio to monitor.
  • Build up a supply of clean water. You may want to consider filling your bathtub, sink and any clean plastic/glass bottles that you have as well. Sinks should be well-sanitized before being filled.
  • If you keep anything outside (like patio furniture or your grill), bring it in or tie it down.
  • If you have to evacuate, turn off your utilities and close your gas valve.
  • Follow evacuation instructions exactly. Even if there is no evacuation order in place, consider leaving if you are in a particularly vulnerable location (e.g. somewhere at a low elevation).

By following these tips, you’ll be prepared in case the worst happens.

Returning Home After a Flood

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

If your home or business has suffered flood damage, then it is incredibly important to react intelligently and safely. Even if the standing water itself has dissipated, there still may be serious threats to your and your family’s health lurking where you’d least expect. Even returning from the evacuation point can be dangerous.

To the greatest extent possible, you should avoid coming into contact with flood water. Definitely do not use it as an alternative to regular water, even if you’re just using it to quickly rinse your hands off. Flood water can contain contaminants and pathogens that can cause health effects.

Do not return to your home until you’ve been cleared to do so. It can be tempting to come home as soon as possible, but you should follow the instructions of your local authorities to the letter.

If you’re traveling, avoid driving through standing water. Even levels as low as six inches can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to return to your home safely.