Recent Posts

Coffee Makers: How to Make Sure They Are Properly Cleaned

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Chances are you don't clean your coffee maker as often as you should. In fact, 50 percent of these household machines contain yeast and mold, according to one survey. That makes it more germ-infested than your average bathroom faucet handle.

To make sure you don't drink up any of the germs or coliform bacteria this appliance has been known to grow, we asked Caolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute of Home Appliances & Cleaning Lab, how to keep your machine clean and your coffee tasting great. It's essential to follow these three rules: 

1. Wash removable parts with dish soap after every use.

"This is important because it helps remove coffee, grinds and oil that are left behind," said Forte. "You can hand-wash at the sink with warm and soapy water, but usually, the pieces are dishwasher-safe. And don't forget to wipe down the outside and the warming plate where spills can burn on." She also recommends leaving the reservoir's lid open so it can dry out completely after each use — germs love moisture!

2. De-calcify your machine every month with vinegar.

Over time, hard water minerals can build up in your machine's inner workings, and you may notice that your coffee takes longer to drip. To get things back in tip-top shape, you need to cleanse and de-calcify the machine. Forte's trick: good ole reliable white vinegar.

Fill the reservoir with equal parts vinegar and water and place a paper filter into the machine's empty basket. Position the pot in place and "brew" the solution halfway. Turn off the machine and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, turn the coffee maker back on, finish the brewing and dump the full pot of vinegar and water. Rinse everything out by putting in a new paper filter and brewing a full pot of clean water. Repeat once.

3. Make your carafe sparkle again with rice.

You should always wash your carafe after each use, but if it's looking dingy over time, fill it with warm, sudsy water and a little rice. Swirl the mixture to loosen any gunk. Use a scrub sponge to remove debris and rinse well.

Southern California Experiences Odd Lightning Storm

3/6/2019 (Permalink)

(CNN) - Residents in Southern California may have thought they were elsewhere in the United States as they witnessed a powerful display of lightning in the night sky Tuesday.

Approximately 2,200 lightning strikes hit the area stretching from Santa Barbara County to LA County, according to Curt Kaplan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.A strong batch of thunderstorms created "lightning storms," the NWS Los Angeles said -- prompting the agency to alert residents to take precautions as they peeked at the power of mother nature. Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara Fire's public information officer, captured dramatic bolts of lightning over Santa Barbara. The pictures resembled a scene one would see in Florida, which has been dubbed the lightning capital of the US.  

What's driving this strange weather pattern?

Meteorologists called this phenomenon the Atmospheric River, where the jet stream is coming further south and pushing an abundant amount of moisture into the area, Kaplan said. But this strange event, is just another weird weather occurrence this winter -- the area last month had a dusting of snow along the coastline in areas including Malibu. "For Southern California, its unusual," Kaplan told CNN. Lightning typically hits the area in the deserts during the summer monsoonal season.

CNN's Paul Vercammen contributed to this report

Mold Enters South Carolina School District

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) — The Horry County School District has been in the seat since mold was found at St. James Elementary School. It quickly started an outcry from parents.


ABC 15 News is digging deeper into the mold issues across the school district. Through a Freedom of Information Act Request, we found five other schools have had some form of mold spores found within the past six months.

That brings the number to six: St James Middle and High Schools, Conway Middle and High Schools, The Academy for the Arts Science and Technology and Aynor High School.


The HCSD is comprised of 52 schools, with about 7.8 million square footage of facilities.

ABC 15's Sydney Glenn sat down with the spokesperson for the district, Lisa Bourcier, to find out how air quality testing is mandated in the district.

“There is no mandates for the testing, and some school districts don’t do indoor air quality testing, but we kind of take it on a case-by-case basis," she said.

It begins with a work order, Bourcier said, and those usually come from staff members.

“Usually when a work order is put in, it’s information to the best of their ability of what they are witnessing or seeing or what the complaint is," she said.

The complaints can range from a bad smell, to a water leak or a stained ceiling tile.

Next, it is determined what needs to be done. In some cases, an air quality test is ordered.

The testing has been preformed since at least 2012, Bourcier said.

The complaints and issues at each school vary, but a common issue in the reports obtained by ABC 15 News were staining around HVAC units.

“Roofs can be an issue, as well as HVAC systems. A lot of times if you see a stained ceiling tile, sometimes the pipes are sweating. It’s not a leak but it’s sweating. We do live in South Carolina, and the humidity plays a big component when you have to deal with indoor air quality and you have to make sure your systems are set," Bourcier said.

Each challenge was met with recommendations from the air quality tester, Palmetto EHS. Cleaning was a solution offered in each report, among other things. Bourcier said all tasks recommended were done.

“Cleaning is an issue. So, we need to make sure everything is cleaned well and the filters are changed out appropriately, which we do have a company when we change out air filters. And again, just making sure those maintenance issues aren’t going out too far," she said.

In terms of follow up, air quality testing being done, and like has been done at St. James Elementary, Bourcier said it is on a case-by-case basis.

The school district is looking to hire a company to help determine best practices when it comes to preventing and dealing with air quality issues and possibly help set district wide standards. The company would also be able to do air quality testing and basically serve as a consultant, Bourcier said. This idea will be discussed and decided on in the upcoming months.

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Scooters May Be Delayed In Philadelphia

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

Advocates, including champions on the City Council, say they will reduce car traffic, but the mayor's transportation safety office is recommending a cautious approach to allowing dockless electric scooters on Philadelphia streets.

At a city hearing on Wednesday, Chris Puchalsky, director of policy and strategic initiatives at the Mayor’s Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability (OTIS), said scooter crash deaths, while small in number, vastly outnumber those from bike-sharing programs, according to WHYY. Four have died in scooter crashes in the U.S. in the past year, compared to two in bike shares since nine years ago, when such programs began operating.

WHYY cited data from Consumer Reports, showing about 1,500 people injured in e-scooter crashes in the US since 2017.

Other officials believe there is a need for urgency. “This is a type of transportation that we should be moving forward with … especially based on the fact that it will reduce people’s use of cars as a mode of transportation,” Councilman Derek Green said at the council hearing, HYY reported.

Automobiles have their own dangers: the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities is on the increase nationally, the Governors Highway Safety Association states in its most recent report. The report has Philadelphia among the top states for increases in pedestrian traffic deaths.

E-scooter makers Lime, Bird and Spin, all privately held companies, were present at the hearing to make their case for e-scooters' safety and transportation benefits.

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Westover School Closing For a Week Due to Mold

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

STAMFORD — After outcry from parents and poor air quality test results, the district has resorted to closing Westover Magnet Elementary School for at least a week to remediate mold and other facility problems that are allowing its growth.

While the school is closed, parents have the option of sending their children to the Boys and Girls Club on Stillwater Avenue for the day if they need child care, deputy superintendent Tamu Lucero announced at a Board of Education meeting Tuesday night.

The closing comes after news that Northeast and Newfield elementary schools are shutting their portable classrooms for the time being due to mold infestations.

The decision to close Westover was made following the end of the school day Tuesday, after the district received preliminary air quality test results from a Saturday inspection of the building. The early results showed 21 elevated mold counts out of 90 tests performed.

“If we’d gotten these results back at 10 o’clock this morning, we would’ve recommended you close school today based on the counts that we saw,” Mike Handler, the city’s Director of Administration, told school officials at the Tuesday night board meeting.

The school’s gym, not affected by the mold, will remain open for voting on Election Day, Nov. 6, said city Republican Registrar of Voters Lucy F. Corelli.

The mayor’s office on Tuesday announced the formation of a Stamford Public School Mold Task Force consisting of Handler, interim Director of Operations Cindy Grafstein, Lucero, Chief Financial and Operations Officer Clarence Zachery and City Engineer Lou Casolo. The task force will investigate, develop and implement ongoing remediation efforts and monitoring programs while planning short-term and long-term solutions to the problem.

 While the initial focus is on Westover due to conditions there, the goal is to ensure the safety of and create an ongoing maintenance plan for all 20-plus Stamford Public School buildings, Handler said. 

Mold problems have been found throughout the district. The most recent mold status report from Stamford Public Schools shows mold was also found in the OT/PT room at Northeast. Remediation dates are to be determined.

According to that report, dated Oct. 25, there is also mold in Cloonan Middle School, Hart Magnet Elementary School, KT Murphy Elementary School and Turn of River Middle School. Initial remediation has already cost the district more than $427,260, not counting custodial overtime.

“Right now at Westover, it’s not acceptable,” Handler said. “That’s why we closed the school.”

Handler said officials are prepared to keep Westover closed an additional week if needed, as well as work on it during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. Maintenance projects, including drain clearing, gutter repair and window caulking, will be done during this time, to prevent further mold incidents.

He added that there will be an increased number of people on site during future inspections, including hygienists to identify mold and additional custodians to move ceiling tiles and speed along the process. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be present as well.

Data will also be collected from teachers and students about symptoms of any mold-related health problems to form a better understanding of what’s happening in the building.

“Our hope is that with the comprehensive peer review and visual inspection, coupled with the test results we get back tomorrow ... we can get a plan for remediation for each of the rooms,” Handler said. “The reason why school was closed was not just out of an abundance of caution, but because it’s the right thing to do. ... There is no physical place to put kids anymore that’s safe in the school.”

In the meantime, the district’s paraprofessional union will send staff to supervise children the Boys and Girls Club, Lucero said, and Chartwells food service will provide breakfast and lunch. Busing will remain the same, given the club’s close location to the school.

Sharon Beadle, spokesperson for Stamford Public Schools, said the displaced students would be housed at the Boys and Girls Club on Wednesday apart from the students in the district’s Alternative Routes to Success program, who are normally in the building during the day. After Wednesday, ARTS students will be temporarily moved to the Ferguson Library.

Beadle said less than 100 students showed up to the club on Wednesday and the district will continue to re-assess the situation.

“We’re really grateful to the Boys and Girls Club for their generosity,” she said. “This is sort of a whirlwind, trying to accommodate students on such short notice.”

While the mold is being remediated, facilities upgrades will also be made to Westover, Handler said, which will hopefully prevent future spread of mold. The ventilators in each classroom are being upgraded, drain valve systems are being replaced, gutters are being repaired, window caulking will be improved and the auditorium HVAC system will be fixed.

“We’re not going to get this all done at once,” Handler said. “We’re going for the low hanging fruit first. Our hope is we’ll get the building safe for kids to occupy, we’ll maintain it safe and we’ll fix its underlying issues. If we don’t fix underlying water intrusion issues, this is going to be a perpetual problem we’re dealing with for the rest of our lives.”

Lucero said families were notified of the closing Tuesday afternoon.

According to Superintendent Earl Kim, there is no plan in place yet to make up the missing days. Suggestions have included making them up at the end of the year (pending any inclement weather days) and sending students to school during spring break.

Last week, parents and staff from Westover and Newfield elementary schools spent two hours at a board meeting demanding action be taken to remedy a growing mold problem at both schools.

Following the outcry, a decision was made to close the portables at Newfield.

According to a letter sent to parents Monday by Northeast Principal Shawn Marinello, the portable classrooms are being closed temporarily out an “abundance of caution” per the recommendation of industrial hygienist company Hygenix.

The letter said Hygenix conducted a further investigation of the portables and advised the school to close the portable classrooms until further testing results come later this week. Music classes, previously conducted in the portables, will now be held in homerooms.

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SERVPRO of Eastern Main Line/Bala Cynwyd has the capacity and capability to take on large tasks such as this mold problem. Call us at 610-667-9080 for more information. 

Bala Cynwyd Residents: Follow These Tips if You Suspect Mold

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of Eastern Main Line/Bala Cynwyd 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.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of Eastern Main Line/Bala Cynwyd specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

Three Categories of Water

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

When dealing with water damage in your home or place of business, there are different types, or classifications of water that we can use.  Using this classification system, we can determine what health risks are associated with the water, and properly prepare bringing with us all necessary safety equipment and uniforms.  In this blog article we are going to focus on three types: Clean, Gray, and Black water. 

Clean Water: This is water that does not contain contaminants. It includes broken water lines, malfunctioning appliances, toilets holding tanks, snow melt and rainwater. Overtime however, clean water can progress and become gray water within 48 hours, if left untreated.

Gray Water: Gray water does contain slight chemical or biological contaminants, and may pose a health risk. Gray water can discharge from dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, showers, aquariums and waterbeds, or come from a clean water source that leaked through a ceiling. It can also be clean water that was left untreated (and became gray water). Gray water can also progress to the next stage (Black Water) if left untreated within 48 hours.

Black Water: This water is a health risk as it is highly contaminated. Black water is presumed to contain multiple potentially harmful contaminants including fungi, bacteria, chemicals, viruses, and more. Black Water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding, or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be treated by a trained and certified professional.

For any type of water damage, it is always best to treat it quickly so as to avoid further contamination and risk mold growth. There can be many dangers associated with attempting to clean water damage on your own.  If ever you spot any type of water in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Eastern Main Line/Bala Cynwyd.  We are faster to any size disaster and will have our highly trained team over to your house or place of business within the hour!  Remember, its best to not wade into any unknown water source without the proper protection.  Give us a call 24/7 at 610-667-9080

SERVPRO of Eastern Main Line/Bala Cynwyd is an IICRC certified firm.

Smoke and Fire Clean-up

2/22/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Eastern Mainline/Bala Cynwood will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have 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, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (610) 667-9080

National Preparedness Month

2/22/2019 (Permalink)

During an emergency, the last thing you should worry about is what to do next. Every second matters during an unexpected, emergency situation which is why this year’s National Preparedness Month theme is, “Don’t Wait, Communicate!”

SERVPRO of Main Line/Bala Cynwood would like to encourage everyone in our community to develop a game plan! Residential or commercial? It doesn’t matter! Everyone should master a set of steps to perform during an emergency and answer important questions ahead of time such as; Who will be in charge of contacting 911? Who will gather everyone to a safe location? What is the best escape method in an emergency? Etc. These questions are imperative to the safety and well being of our co-workers or families.

Everyone’s focus this month should be towards developing a disaster plan or what we at SERVPRO like to call an ERP (Emergency Communication Plan). In line with the “Don’t Wait, Communicate!” theme of this year’s National Preparedness Month, SERVPRO of Main Line/Bala Cynwood would like to suggest developing an Emergency Communication Plan for your home or business. Several steps, listed below, can help get you started on this plan:

  1. Collect all of your important contact information such as; family doctor, medical facilities, local family members, schools and service providers. Compile all of this information into one, hard-copy, easily accessible sheet. *Waterproof the sheet if possible!*
  2. Share copies of this sheet with everyone within the household/business. 
  3. Develop a fire/emergency escape plan that includes the safest escape routes, layout of home or business, safe meeting place and what to do if contact is lost.
  4. On a monthly basis review/practice all of the important contact information and emergency escape plan.

As always, SERVPRO is #heretohelp in any emergency or disaster situation. Although September is coming to an end it is never too late to be prepared! We encourage everyone to call us today to learn more about National Preparedness Month or about our free Emergency Ready Profiles!

Prepare For Disaster Before it Happens

2/22/2019 (Permalink)

As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. By developing a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.

Are You Ready? Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself, “Are you ready for whatever could happen?” The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile is a start up approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information. By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.

  • A no cost assessment of your facility.
    This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
  • A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
    It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
    This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
    You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
    This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
    Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."