Recent General Posts

SERVPRO of Providence Names Heather Chiarello Executive Account Manager

4/7/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Providence announced the addition of Heather Chiarello as Executive Account Manager. In this position, Heather will be responsible for accelerating sales volume by creating new customer relationships while further developing existing accounts.  

“We welcome Heather to the SERVPRO of Providence team,” said Christopher Gagnon, General Manager of SERVPRO of Providence. “Her drive to succeed, combined with her business experience, will help her to excel in this position.”

With over 10 years of experience as a licensed insurance agent, Heather has a deep understanding of the disaster recovery process. Her industry knowledge will help her to expand SERVPRO of Providence’s services throughout the region.

Prior to joining SERVPRO Heather served as a licensed insurance agent for GEICO. In addition, Heather acted as their marketing representative for the Rhode Island and Connecticut GEICO offices. During her time there she gained experience in business development, and building and maintaining client relationships.

Heather currently resides in Cranston, RI with her daughter.

Ice Dams

11/29/2016 (Permalink)

ICE DAMS: Several quick fixes but only one cure.

An Ice Dam is a hump of ice that forms at the edge of a roof under certain wintertime conditions. An ice dam can damage both your roof and the inside of your home. It will put gutters and downspouts at risk too.

Ice Dams are a common sight in Northern New England winters, and Home Partners has dealt with quite a few. There are several things you can do to avoid getting an ice dam or to reduce the risk of damage after one has formed, but there’s really only one cure: a combination of better sealing, insulation, and venting in the attic and eaves.

HOW DO ICE DAMS FORM?

An ice dam forms when the roof over the attic gets warm enough to melt the underside of the layer of snow on the roof. The water trickles down between the layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eave of the roof, which stays cold because it extends beyond the side of the house. There, the water freezes, gradually growing into a mound of ice.

The flatter the pitch of the roof, the easier it is for an ice dam to get a grip. Gutters at the eaves can also trap snow and ice. If snow and ice build up high enough in the gutter, it can provide a foundation for an ice dam.

WHAT DAMAGE DO ICE DAMS CAUSE?

When an ice dam gets big enough, melted water backs up behind it and seeps underneath the shingles. Eventually, it will drip into the insulation and down into the ceilings and exterior walls beneath the eave, ruining sheetrock and paint. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, windowsills, cars, pets, and people. If the roof sheathing stays wet, it can form mildew and start to rot

DEALING WITH EXISTING ICE DAMS

1. Remove the ice dam by breaking it free in small chucks. Do NOT use an ax or other sharp tool! You’ll cut through the shingles. Instead, tap lightly with a blunt mallet. This is slow, dangerous work, so hire someone experienced at roofing. Even if you do it safely, the chunks of ice can take pieces of shingle with them.

2. Clear out gutters and downspouts. Again, this is ladder work and an easy way to damage either plastic or metal gutters and spouts.

3. Melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice melter. Do NOT use rock salt! It will damage paint, metals, and plants beneath the eave and wherever the salty water drains.

A good trough-maker is a tube of cloth (a leg from an old pair of panty hose works well). Fill it with calcium chloride, tie off the top, and lay it vertically across the ice dam. It will slowly melt its way down through the dam, clearing a path for the underlying water to flow free.

Call SERVPRO of Providence at 401-941-5500. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Puffback: Avoid This Homeowners' Nightmare

9/22/2016 (Permalink)

General Puffback: Avoid This Homeowners' Nightmare This is just a tiny look at the kind of damage a puffback can have in a home.

If you haven’t heard this term before you can be forgiven — but it you have an oil-fired furnace, boiler or water heater, you may want to get educated sooner rather than later. Just a hint: if your Google search turns up a cute little bird, that’s not the kind of puffback you need to worry about. Here are the basics:

Puffback is a furnace backfire that discharges thick, sticky, stinky soot into every crevice of your home. Trying to remove this nasty residue on your own is frustrating and ineffective – there’s no easy fix. Normal cleaning products only spread the damage. Puffback damage requires a professional removal and restoration process similar to the type used after fires – by SERVPRO of Providence.

If you have the misfortune of experiencing a puffback, call your insurance agent right away to start a claim and to get a recommendation for a reputable restoration specialist in your area. It will depend on your insurance policy of course, but it is likely that your homeowners insurance will cover some or all of the damage.  But the bottom line is this: puffbacks are preventable, so don’t let one happen in the first place. Have oil-fired heating appliances serviced regularly!

Call SERVPRO of Providence at 401-941-5500. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

5 Ways to Take Control of Your Day

8/5/2016 (Permalink)

Does it ever feel like there are never enough hours in the day to get things done—no matter how hard you work? If this sounds familiar, you might be suffering from distractinonia.

Okay, it’s a totally made-up disease, but here’s the truth: Being distracted doesn’t necessarily mean you’re spending hours watching cat videos, playing Halo, or Tweeting about lunch. There are many other forces out there that keep you from being productive without you even realizing it. In fact, a lot of them are work-related.

So how do you combat these time-sucks and make the most of your day? The first step is to recognize them. Here’s our list of the top hidden distractions and how to avoid them.

1. Multitasking: We know, we know—multitasking is something that everyone is supposed to be doing these days to save time . . . and there is probably an app out there somewhere for it. But the truth is that few of us are any good at it. Our brains just can’t handle five things at once. In the long run, you end up stressed out, less focused and less productive.

Solution: Start every morning by writing down your goals for the day and prioritizing them. Then stick to your list, focusing on one task at a time. If you get distracted, take care of the issue and go back to your list.

2. Meetings: Getting together to work out project details, hear updates, and communicate priorities is a necessary part of doing business. But meetings can quickly get out of hand or turn into a social outing with nothing accomplished. 

Solution: Set a time limit and create an agenda for your meeting—and stick to both. If an issue isn’t resolved, assign someone to work on it and report back by a certain date, then move on. 

3. Socializing: At Dave’s company, we really love the people we work with, so it’s fun to hang out. But like meetings, it can get out of control if you don’t watch it. In fact, according to a study by OfficeTime.net, 16% of those surveyed said they spend between one and two hours a day talking it up with their friends at work.

Solution: If you are naturally super talkative, block out a few minutes on your calendar each day to socialize, and keep to the time limit. If you don’t like to chat it up, do the same. Spending time with your team is an integral part of being a leader.

4. Talky Team Members: On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll have team members who love to chat too, especially with you. Before you know it, the few minutes they asked for to get a quick question answered turns into an hour, and you never actually found out why they needed to meet with you in the first place.

Solution: Schedule a block of time each week when you or your leaders can meet one on one with individual people. If a team member truly needs to speak with you, have them make an appointment. On the flip side, never be so high and mighty you can’t speak to someone on your team in case of an emergency. Even today, Dave will take the time to meet with one of his 550-plus team members if they truly need to talk with him.

5. Emails: With just a few exceptions, there isn’t an email in the world that can’t wait. Even though we like to think it, most of us just aren’t that important. If someone truly needs to reach you, they can call.

Solution: Choose two times during the day to read and reply to emails, and get those times on your calendar. Other than what’s scheduled, turn off your email program so you won’t be tempted. If you have an assistant, put them in charge of your email, forwarding only what you need to see.

Management expert Peter Drucker once said, “Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.” And we agree. Avoid the above distractions and respect your time. You’ll be amazed how much more you get done and how profitable that can be.

Content provided by: EntreLeadership

Grilling Safety Tips

7/8/2016 (Permalink)

You may be the kind of person who fires up the grill all year long at tailgating parties, or maybe you wait for a warm summer day and a backyard full of friends before you put on your apron. Either way, grilling can be one of life’s simple pleasures.

Unfortunately, where there is fun there is also the potential for safety issues. For example, did you know that leaving the grill unattended, not cleaning grease or fat build up properly, or placing the grill too close to combustible siding can cause injuries, fires and property damage?

Charcoal or Gas?

Nearly 9,000 home fires a year involve grills, according to a National Fire Protection Association report. Of all the home fires involving grills, gas-fueled grills accounted for four out of five fires, while 16% involved charcoal or other solid-fueled grills. Gas and charcoal grills each have ardent advocates, who praise the convenience of gas or the flavor of charcoal. Whichever your preferred grilling method, follow these important safety considerations.

Gas Grill Safety

A leak or break was the leading factor contributing to gas grill-related fires, according to the NFPA report.

  • Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
  • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose, which will quickly reveal escaping gas by releasing bubbles.
  • If you smell or otherwise suspect a gas leak, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get a professional to service it before using it again. Call the fire department if the leak does not stop.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill immediately and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • Never turn on the gas when the lid is closed. The gas may build up inside, and when ignited, the lid could blow off and cause injuries or burns.
  • After cooking, make sure you completely close the valve on your gas grill.
  • Always store gas grills – and propane tanks – outside and away from your house.

Charcoal Grill Safety

The leading cause of structure fires from use of charcoal grills was leaving or placing an object that could burn too close to the grill, according to the NFPA study.

  • Charcoal grills can continue to remain hot for many hours after the flames extinguish. Avoid placing any burnable objects near the grill or moving the grill while the coals are hot. Keep combustible items that may be blown by the wind away from the grill.
  • Check for rust damage in metal grills, which may make it possible for charcoal to fall through onto surfaces below and cause a fire.
  • Purchase the proper starter fluid. Store out of reach from children and away from heat sources.
  • Do not add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited. Never use any other flammable or combustible liquid to get the fire started.
  • If the fire is too low, rekindle with dry kindling and more charcoal if needed. Avoid adding liquid fuel because it can cause a flash fire.
  • Do not leave the grill unattended. 

Here are some other important tips to help you keep danger away when you are enjoying food and fun. 

Choose a safe location for your grill. Keep grills on a level surface more than ten feet away from the house, garage or other structures. Keep children and pets away, as well as overhanging branches. Grills should not be used on a balcony or under an overhang. Avoid placing grills too close to combustible deck rails.

Grill outside only. Never use a grill in a garage, vehicle, tent or other enclosed space, even if ventilated, due to risk of harmful carbon monoxide buildup.

Keep the grill going on a cold day. During cool weather days, avoid wearing a scarf or other loose clothing that may catch on fire. Consumer Reports recommends shielding the grill from wind, placing it about ten feet from combustible surfaces and materials, and keeping the lid closed to retain as much heat as possible. Allow extra time for pre-heating the grill in colder weather and check temperatures of meat and fish with a meat thermometer to ensure that food is safe to eat. 

Teach kids to stay safe. Make a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the grill and areas where hot food is prepared or carried. Children under five are especially vulnerable to burns from contact with a hot grill surface. Grill contact accounted for 37% of burns seen at emergency rooms in 2014 involving children under five.

Remember post-grilling safety. Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. If you grill with charcoal and need to dispose of the coals, soak them in water to extinguish them before disposing in a metal container. Otherwise, cover the grill tightly and close the vents, this should extinguish the coals and whatever is left will be ready for next time.

Frank Mattos Awarded SERVPRO CEO Award

3/24/2016 (Permalink)

NEWS RELEASE

Local SERVPRO franchise owner, Frank Mattos, was recently recognized with SERVPRO Industries, Inc.’s CEO Award for “Creating an Excellent Organization.” The award acknowledges offices with an outstanding work environment, and it is the second time Mattos has received this honor.

Mattos is the owner of Mattos & Associates, Inc., a management and business development company that operates SERVPRO of Providence, Warwick/East Greenwich, Cranston; SERVPRO of Boston Downtown, Back Bay & South Boston; SERVPRO of Weymouth & Hingham; and SERVPRO of Quincy.

Mattos’ SERVPRO franchises rank in the top ten of all national SERVPRO franchises, and he previously has been awarded “SERVPRO Franchise of the Year,” which recognizes the top franchisee for loyalty, support, attitude and growth within the SERVPRO system. A recognized leader within the SERVPRO system, Mattos is a Team Member of the national SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team, which provides commercial disaster recovery services for commercial large losses throughout the country.

“This recognition reflects the focus of our team members who continuously aspire to achieve professional and personal success,” said Mattos. “Our organization is focused on providing exemplary customer service, and I am proud of our entire team for rising to the occasion during one of busiest times of the year.”