Recent Posts

Why get IICRC-certified?

5/15/2022 (Permalink)

Would you trust an attorney that never bothered to take the bar exam? Or a medical specialist that never bothered to pass their medical boards?

Of course not. Everyone knows that these specialized professions keep their standards high by requiring practitioners to acquire well-known, well-respected certifications in order to do their work.

Many people, however, do not realize that restoration work like the work we do at SERVPRO of The Southtowns also has a governing, certifying body: the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC.

The IICRC has done a lot for the restoration industry by setting standards of work for a wide variety of service lines, including water restoration, fire restoration and more.

Our technicians are certified by the IICRC in the work that they do and the services that they provide. This ensures that they understand the science of restoration and can make educated decisions to provide the highest level of service possible.

We put a lot of stock in certification and training, and you should, too.

Our Esporta Wash System

5/14/2022 (Permalink)

A fire in your home can be a devastating, traumatic event. If the fire affected your possessions, it can be very difficult to figure out what is salvageable and what is a total loss. In fact, most people assume that their soft goods, including everything from clothing to bedding to stuffed animals, will probably need to be disposed of.

At SERVPRO of The Southtowns, that is rarely the case. With our Esporta wash system, we’re able to clean over 98% of the soft contents and textiles that suffer damage during disasters, including items that have suffered heavy smoke and soot damage.

The Esporta system is much different from your typical washing machine. Instead of cleaning via agitation, it uses a process based on hydraulics that separates items into several chambers within the machine itself.

The wash system makes a huge difference in the lives of our customers, as it allows them to get their lives back to normal faster and keep some of their most cherished possessions.

Commercial Benefits of Priority Response

5/9/2022 (Permalink)

One of the greatest benefits of emergency planning with SERVPRO of The Southtowns is that it enables effective priority response when disaster strikes.

Why is priority response important? There are two major reasons: secondary damage, and business disruption.

Secondary damage is the damage that occurs after the initial disastrous event takes place. For instance, the water that comes out of the burst pipe initially is part of the primary damage. The additional damage that occurs because that water sits for an extended period of time and starts to wick up into building materials is secondary damage.

By responding to the damage event as soon as possible and starting the mitigation process, we limit the amount of secondary damage that occurs, and stop further damage from occurring at all.

Business disruption, on the other hand, is more difficult to measure or define. In general, there’s a cost associated with a business suddenly having to close and not service its customers as planned. For the most part, that cost manifests as lost business, but it can also take the form of lost trust and disappointed customers.

You may never be able to measure the exact cost of business disruption, but with effective priority response, you can limit or even eliminate significant disruption so that you can get back to normal faster.

What's the big deal about animal waste?

2/14/2022 (Permalink)

There is no typical day for a technician at SERVPRO of The Southtowns because of all the different kinds of disasters we deal with.  While most people associate us with fire and water damage, we also provide biohazard cleaning and hazardous material removal.  This can include sewage backups, human blood and even animal waste. 

Recently, since the weather has been pretty cold, we have been dealing with animals in our customers’ attics.  Even after these animals have been evicted, you can have serious problems due to the mess that they left behind. These problems can include buildups of waste, particularly animal feces, which can ruin insulation, cause serious odor problems and pose a risk to your family’s health.

  Most people think that the cleanup effort will be relatively simple. However, animal feces can be dangerous if not handled properly, largely due to the pathogens that it may contain. The CDC even recommends that you “treat feces-soiled decks, patios, and other surfaces with boiling water or a propane torch.”  SERVPRO of The Southtowns takes pride in equipping our technicians with all of the gear they need to be and feel safe on these kinds of jobs. 

On biohazard jobs such as these, a technician will be equipped with a full-body clean suit, gloves, booties to go over their shoes, and of course, full-face respirators.  The one piece of equipment that is particularly important is our full-face respirators.  OSHA defines full-face respirators as “air-purifying respirators that have the potential to provide protection from many types of dusts, fogs, fumes, mists, gases, smokes, sprays, or vapors.”  This means that wearing a full-face respirator during a biohazard cleanup is crucial to maintaining a quality air supply. 

So next time you have a raccoon in your attic, don’t take it lightly.  Cleaning up after a wild animal can be extremely harmful to your health if you aren’t properly equipped.  Call the pros.

Dealing with Ice Dams

2/13/2022 (Permalink)

We have recently been getting quite a bit of snow here in Western New York.  Some people love it. Others can’t wait for it to melt.  The key is being ready for when it does melt.  All this snow building up and melting on your roof can turn into a recipe for disaster.  We aren’t just talking about the danger of icicles falling on you. Today, we’re talking about ice dams.  Ice dams are the result of ice building up near the gutters on a roof which will prevent snowmelt from draining properly and can even cause a significant amount of property damage.  Ice dams are known to tear off gutters, loosen shingles, or even cause water to back up into the home leaving insulation wet and creating a prime target for mold growth.

Driving around the streets of Western New York, it’s easy to see all of the giant icicles forming on almost every single building.  Although they may look beautiful, they are a clear indication that water is melting off of the roof.  When these large icicles form on the gutters, they leave no path for melting snow to travel off the roof.  Once the water is pooled up, it will begin to soak into your roof and find any cracks or entryways that it can to get into your home.  Before this can happen, it’s best to keep your gutters free and clear of ice build-up.  Many people accomplish this by use of a roof rake to take large amounts of snow off of your roof.

If you do suffer water damage from ice damming, there are a few things you should do. If you think it’s worthy of an insurance claim, call your carrier and start that process ASAP. You should also contact a roofer to repair the leak so that no further water can infiltrate your home. After that, call us at SERVPRO of The Southtowns 24/7/365 for water damage mitigation – we’re here to help.

What does "1-4-8" mean?

2/12/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of The Southtowns holds high standards when it comes to serving our community here in Western New York.  We have an emergency team ready 24/7/365 and because of this, we follow the 1-4-8 service response guidelines.  These guidelines are in place to offer our clients a timeline of what to expect when you call us.  Our teams pride themselves on being ready for any disaster.  Here’s what “1-4-8” really means.

One - Within one hour from the notice of loss, our on-call manager will contact you.  We have team members on call 24 hours a day even on weekends and holidays so you can feel confident that we will pick up the phone. 

Four - Within four hours, we will be on-site to start mitigation services (if necessary).  Our team is ready to go within short notice.  We understand that some things need to get dealt with as soon as possible before damage continues. 

Eight - Within eight hours, a verbal briefing of the scope will be communicated to you.  After this time frame, we will have a good idea of the job that needs to get done and a plan on how to do it.  We do our best to create an open channel of communication between the SERVPRO team and the building owner.

The 1-4-8 Service Response Guidelines are our commitment to being there for you.  Whether you are experiencing an emergency due to an ice dam, bursting pipe, sewage backup, or even a collapsing roof, we have a team on call and ready to support you through this devastating time.

We love our community!

2/7/2022 (Permalink)

Lyn and Thom Braun have owned and operated SERVPRO of The Southtowns since 1995 and believe in being an active role in their local community.  Merriam-Webster defines community as a unified body of individuals.  At our company, we take that meaning to heart.  We strive to always be there for our community when we are called upon and make every effort to create a positive impact on those around us and those we serve. 

SERVPRO of The Southtowns means so much more than excellence in cleanup, restoration, and disaster relief. To us, fulfilling our mission means being “here to help” when our community needs us most.  From private homes to government facilities to commercial businesses, we’ve performed coronavirus cleanings for just about everyone.  Mayor Thomas Moses would say that we “stepped up to the plate” when we decided to reach out to every single local first responder and ask “how we can help?”  In all, we ended up sanitizing 536 vehicles at 24 separate police, fire, and EMS agencies out of a love for our community. 

This effort, along with many other initiatives, contributed to a huge achievement last year. In 2021, we won the Buffalo Niagara Business Ethics Association's Crystal Award for ethical business practices.  This was a big deal for everyone around here because it meant that all of our hard work has been recognized.  This award is in place to “honor companies that demonstrate a firm commitment to ethical business practices in daily operations, management philosophies, and responses to crises or challenges.”  Lyn, Thom, and the entire team here at SERVPRO of The Southtowns are proud to contribute toward the betterment of the community.

Announcing: Valentines for Our Troops

1/24/2022 (Permalink)

Soldiers receiving care package of Paula's Donuts from Blue Star Mothers. Soldiers receiving care package of Paula's Donuts from Blue Star Mothers.


Blue Star Mothers NY7 teams up with local schools, SERVPRO to brighten soldiers’ days

[Hamburg + West Seneca/Lancaster, NY, 1/18/21] Since 2010, BSM NY7 has brought mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, foster mothers and female legal guardians who have children serving in the military together to support each other and their children.

With “Valentines for Our Troops”, BSM NY7 will continue that tradition with a few new partners – local classrooms, as well as SERVPRO of The Southtowns + SERVPRO of West Seneca/Lancaster.

Children at several local schools will create hand-crafted Valentines addressed to military service members, which will be combined with care package donations from the two SERVPRO franchises and ultimately shipped and delivered by BSM NY7.

“I would like to thank everyone in the community for their support for the men and women serving in the U.S. Military,” said Lisa Blair, president of Blue Star Mothers NY7. “The care packages are greatly appreciated by the troops when they are so far from home, and the Valentine’s Day cards and treats will bring a lot of smiles.”

The majority of classrooms participating are within the West Seneca Central School District, who was enthusiastic to get involved.”

“We are excited and thankful to partner with SERVPRO and Blue Star Mothers,” said Dr. Jonathan Cervoni, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Operations at West Seneca Central School District. “It’s a great opportunity to recognize and support our veterans and service members.”

For SERVPRO, supporting military service members is a natural outgrowth of their overall mission as an organization.

“We have immense pride in our military, our veterans and our country,” said Lyn Braun, owner of SERVPRO of The Southtowns and SERVPRO of West Seneca/Lancaster. “We’re enthusiastic about any chance that we get to support them.”

Valentines and donations will be collected over the course of January and early February, with a deadline of February 2. Community members who would like to contribute donations can drop them off during regular business hours at SERVPRO of The Southtowns at 97 Evans Street, Hamburg, NY 14057. A list of suggested donations is attached.

For more information, please contact Daniel Bauer at SERVPRO of The Southtowns at 716-646-6684.

What is the Polar Vortex?

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

We’re fewer than two weeks out from the official start of winter, and weather patterns are already starting to get crazy. We’ve had freezes, whiteouts and this weekend we’re somehow spiking up past 60 degrees. Western New York keeps you on your toes!

One weather pattern that you might start hearing about again soon is the dreaded “polar vortex.” While it sounds like something out of a disaster movie, the polar vortex has been around forever and is relatively simple to understand.

Put simply, the “polar vortex” is just a large system of cold, low pressure air. It’s nothing new – it always exists near the poles of the Earth. Occasionally, this vortex expands and mingles with the jet stream, resulting in a migration of cold air to the south.

When this cold air makes its way to the United States, that’s when we start hearing about the polar vortex on the news. Usually, this surge of cold air results in a brief cold snap, which may encourage severe winter weather as well.

In short, don’t sweat the polar vortex. It’s a naturally occurring phenomenon that’s been around forever. Just bundle up and stay warm this winter.

Remember "Snowvember"?

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

Can you believe that “Snowvember” happened over eight years ago?

That makes us feel kind of old, to be honest, especially since that historic snow event is still fresh in our memories.

Back on November 17, 2014, Western New York was walloped by mountains of lake effect snow that overwhelmed even the toughest Buffalonians out there.

While the snow wasn’t exactly a surprise – it’s hard for meteorologists to miss a storm system of that magnitude – it seemed like no one was really prepared for that kind of snowfall.

The actual levels of precipitation varied wildly depending on where you were. Areas of the city got off pretty easy. Up north in Tonawanda, they saw fewer than 8 inches of snow.

But in the core of the storm, the snow just kept coming. West Seneca saw over 50 inches of snow, Orchard Park was forced to move a home Bills game to Detroit, and areas of Wyoming County accumulated more than seven-feet over the course of the storm.

Pretty wild, right? Here’s hoping we have a much more mild winter this year.