Recent Commercial Posts

Commercial Vandalism Cleanup

9/10/2021 (Permalink)

Commercial Vandalism Cleanup

A brick through a window, a discharged fire extinguisher and graffiti can have an extreme economic impact on a commercial business.  There are numerous safety issues along with the negative image it portrays and lost revenue.  In some instances cleanup of certain vandalized chemicals extends beyond the capacity of the regular maintenance staff, requiring specialized equipment and training to safely return the environment to its preloss condition.  For these reasons commercial businesses should have SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County on speed dial.

SERVPRO technicians are highly trained to deal with situations involving vandalism, including board up of broken windows, graffiti removal, mercury and fire extinguisher dust cleanup.   In addition to having the proper equipment, SERVPRO has their own product line to deal with specific situations and make the vandalized area "Like it never even happened."   Safety is the top priority along with quickly addressing the problem so the business can return to regular operations.  Quality workmanship and fair pricing are additional reasons to call SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County when a vandalism situation occurs.   We can be reached at (919) 596-1242.

Critical Actions that Every Local Employer Should Take Right Now

9/10/2021 (Permalink)

Reduce Risk, Increase Resilience, and Ensure Business Continuity During Disasters

Critical Actions that Every Local Employer Should Take Right Now

Reduce Risk, Increase Resilience, and Ensure Business Continuity During Disasters

By Katie Loovis on September 1, 2021

Presented by SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County

It’s not if, but when your business will face a disruption. Manmade and natural disasters can cause prolonged interruptions to your internet, electricity, or water supply - critical infrastructure for your business operations and success.

Providers, including Duke Energy and Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA), are making significant investments to improve the continuity of your business during disasters, but what are YOU doing?

Below are critical actions that every local employer should take right now to reduce risk, increase resilience, and ensure business continuity during disasters. This list is informed with input and feedback from expert guest speakers during The Chamber’s June 2021 Risk and Resilience Forum (watch the discussion).


The time to prepare is now, not once the disaster happens.

There’s no such thing as being too small. Chatham County Government suffered a prolonged cyber-attack and data breach last year, our community has already navigated two very real water disruptions with severe negative local business impact (2017, 2018), and we are in hurricane season (e.g., Hurricane Ida in New Orleans).

Get clear NOW on what you will do across several very likely scenarios, including a cyber-attack and prolonged water or power outages. An investment of time and resources now will save you money and headache in the long run.

Emergency Ready Plan

Fifty percent 50% of all businesses that experience a catastrophic loss such as major water damage, (i.e.) flood or fire never reopen.  Having a plan is planning to succeed in the midst of adversity.  SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County offers an Emergency Ready Plan which compiles critical shut-offs such as electric, gas and water, along with key contacts and emergency services in a no cost app to aid business in times of crisis.  The Emergency Ready Plan or (ERP) comes with a free site assessment to locate and photo document shut-offs and install the app on computers and mobile phones.  This invaluable service allows businesses to respond quickly in the event of an emergency to minimize the economic impact and deploy needed help to get the business up and running as quick as possible.  To schedule your ERP, call 919-596-1242.


For cyber, prevention is key. Steve Newton, Director of Emergency Management for Chatham County Government, provided a riveting first-hand account at our forum describing how he led the county’s response to a cyber-attack that involved encryption of data, ransom, and data breach in 2020 and lasted 77 days. (Watch Steve’s presentation, beginning at the 1:08:30-mark.)

Steve recommends every local business go through an exercise, called “RANP,” which is an acronym for a) Recognize, b) Alert, c) Notify, and d) Protect. You and your colleagues should ask yourselves:

  • How will you recognize indictors of compromise (what system do you have in place so you will know when you are having a cyber-security incident)? Chatham County Government had devices that were monitoring traffic coming in and out of the network, which signaled a compromise.
  • How will you be alerted, especially when it’s likely to take place at two in the morning?
  • Who will you notify within your organization and across your network of vendors and work groups?
  • What initial steps will you take to protect your network and ensure continuity of operations and mission-essential functions (like payroll). Note: unplugging everything may not be the correct answer.

Antwine Jackson, President of Enitech IT Support and Consulting, reinforced Steve’s point that hackers are smart. Antwine shared a story of a nonprofit that was compromised. The hacker lurked in the controller’s emails for 90 days before pouncing on a wire transfer process and intercepting $300,000.

Cyber security incidents are like car accidents, according to Antwine, and you’ll eventually be part of one. Five years ago, his advice would have been to have a good backup of your system. Now, that is insufficient. In addition to a backup system, the best defense is also proper employee awareness and training. Enitech recommends every employee should have:

  • Password complexity,
  • not use the same passwords on every platform, and
  • Multifactor authentication.

Antwine also recommends organizations purchase cyber liability insurance. Our Chamber recommends you consider booking a consultation with Enitech or another IT provider for prevention support now. This is worth your time.


For water, you should know that OWASA has 400 miles of drinking water pipe with many risk factors to the supply, including aging infrastructure and potential contractor damage. According to Todd Taylor, Executive Director of OWASA, 30 years ago OWASA had approximately 50 breaks per 100 miles (or 200 breaks/year), but with strategic investments and improvements, OWASA has brought the break rate down to approximately 10 breaks per 100 miles (or 40 breaks/year). Ongoing improvements prioritize repairs for higher consequence potential breaks, but breaks are inevitable.

OWASA recommends local businesses scenario-plan for 4–6-hour periods of interrupted water supply and sewer service. Our Chamber recommends you also plan for multi-day interruptions, as happened in 2017 and 2018.

Victoria Hudson is the Environmental Health Director for Orange County Government and the Health Department is the authority that would issue a “do not drink,” “do not use,” and/or “boil” order in times of water disruption and compromise. While OWASA is working to improve their response time and isolate breaks to prevent prolonged scenarios, lengthy “do not drink” and “do not use order” were issued in 2017 and 2018, causing substantial community, healthcare, and business disruption. This worst-case scenario could happen again, and for that reason, our Chamber recommends businesses scenario plan for that as well.

The Health Department recommends local businesses establish formal variances and/or incident agreement plans with a known alternative water supply (i.e., a brewery with tanked water) to mitigate water disruptions and ensure business continuity. 

A water outage does not have to mean business closure. Contact Victoria’s office for protocols.(Watch Todd and Victoria’s remarks., which starts at the 44:25-mark)


For energy, you should know that the electric grid is one of the most complicated machines ever created, with millions of components that are being changed and fixed as we use it and managed often with smart technology.

Duke Energy generates the electricity from a variety of fuel sources, transmits the power to communities, and distributes it to your business (this is referred to as “end-to-end” responsibility of an integrated utility).

There are many threats to the reliability of your power, including weather, trees and animals, physical threats, and even the overall demand for energy (if it’s not properly managed). Duke Energy is investing to modernize the grid and make it more reliable. This is in line with a clarion call to improve our grid system nationwide (CNN Analysis: "It's time to pay serious attention to the power grid")

The Duke Energy director of government affairs, energy, and the environment, Mark McIntire, shared updates along with his colleague Jeff Brooks, power delivery and grid improvement communication manager. (Watch conversation with Mark and Jeff from Duke Energy, which begins at the 13:29-mark.)

If the power goes out, do you know what you will do to ensure the continuity of your business operations? As you consider emergency response items, such as a generator, you can and should also take advantage of energy saving resources. Schedule an energy saver assessment now.


Overall, the relationships you build and the action steps you take now can and will help preserve and protect your business when the disaster strikes. Chamber members like Enitech IT Support and Consulting and SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County are well-equipped to help you prepare for and respond to disasters. 

Think SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County for Commercial Biohazards and Trauma

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Biohazard or trauma emergency call SERVPRO

When most people think about SERVPRO they about water and fire damage clean up.  Although water and fire damage cleanup are the cornerstones of the brand’s service portfolio, additional services like biohazard and vandalism cleaning are specialties also provided.   A biohazard or trauma emergency can dramatically impact a commercial work environment.  Having a company that specialized in how to properly clean the structure or affected contents is paramount to safety and getting the workplace operational.

In most cases, a company’s regular janitorial staff is not equipped to properly clean biohazards and trauma which may involve toxic chemicals like mercury or bodily fluids such as blood.  There are serious health risks associated with dealing with biohazards and trauma events and proper protective gear, training procedures and disposal processes are required to restore the structure back to the condition prior to the event occurrence.  There are also state and local laws that must be followed regarding disposal to prevent significant fines and possible imprisonment. 

Should your business experience a biohazard or trauma emergency call SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County at 919-596-1242.

Ready for Whatever Happens: Power of the Commercial ERP

8/6/2021 (Permalink)

Ready for Whatever Happens: Power of the Commercial ERP

I can’t remember where I first heard this saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  When I first heard it is irrelevant compared to the truth held in the statement.  This is ever so true when it comes to commercial businesses having a plan when catastrophe strikes.  Whether it is a supply line on a toilet, a burst pipe in a wall, an activated sprinkler head, or a fire in the break room, each can have a devastating impact on business continuation.   Knowledge is power and equipping essential onsite employees with knowledge of where emergency shut offs are and how to shut off that utility to minimize property damage and decrease the economic impact is prudent.  It is also a sign of forethought to know who to call to restore your property to preloss condition.  All these things and more are easily accomplished with the SERVPRO Ready Plan.

The SERVPRO Ready Plan is a powerful application which:

  • Documents critical information in the event of an emergency
  • Identifies the chain of command for work authorization
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valves, priority areas and pertinent contact information.
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO franchise as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • It is a 100% free mobile application that works on both Android and Apple platforms. Facility assessment and set-up in a no cost service provided by your local SERVPRO franchise.

Call SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County to get your Emergency Ready Plan in place.  (919) 596-1242

Choose SERVPRO for Document Restoration

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO's Document Restoration

One of the most valuable items to suffer damage in a flood, sewage intrusion or other water damage is the damage to documents such as books, paper files, photos and artwork.  In a commercial business setting catastrophic damage to corporate records and client files can have a far greater impact on the businesses survival in the aftermath of a catastrophe that the replacement of brick and mortar.  Artwork and photos are often one of a kind making both their sentimental valuable as in some cases true dollar value extremely high.  This is where SERVPRO is here to help with customized document restoration services.

  • SERVPRO Corporate has a state of the art facility that utilizes vacuum freeze drying to preserve documents as well gamma irradiation process for sterilization.
  • All documents are managed by HIPPA certified technicians and documents are secured and under 24 hour surveillance.
  • All documents are properly computer inventoried and digitized
  • Documents are dried, sterilized and digitized.

When your documents are at risk due to a water damage catastrophe contact SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County at (919)596-1242.

Dealing with Mold in Commercial Buildings

11/9/2020 (Permalink)

Dealing with Mold in Commercial Buildings

Dealing with fungal growth, commonly called mold, in commercial buildings is a problem all facility engineers will or have faced.   Mold in indoor air environments can cause health related issues and must be addressed to assure worker safety.  Due to the health dangers that can be caused by mold, proper remediation is necessary.  This is where SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County can help.   As a certified mold remediation company, no mold problem is too big or too small for us to handle.   In addition to properly remediating mold issues in commercial buildings, we also aid facility engineers and property managers, and business owners in addressing and controlling the conditions conducive to mold growth, this is critical in preventing and controlling mold growth to assure a safe and healthy indoor air environment.  

The most common source of mold issues are moisture related.   This can be anything from a water intrusion caused by a slow leak, or major water intrusion that was not properly dried out.  It can also be moisture in the air, relative humidity, which is too high which can cause significant mold problems.   SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County can properly deal with and address each of these issues.

Why Property Management Companies and Restoration Companies Go Hand in Hand

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

Property Management

Most property managers have had an unusually large or difficult situation that required more intricate knowledge, expertise, man-power and equipment that exceeded the capacity of their regular maintenance staff or maintenance vendor. This is where a relationship with a top-notch restoration company, like SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County is a huge asset. Whether it is water damage, a fire, mold remediation, trauma or specialty cleaning, a restoration company can provide the necessary equipment, manpower, knowledge and expertise to handle the difficult task at hand.

In situations regarding water damage, a restoration company can be a huge asset on the front and back end. A restoration company can dry the structure according to the industry standards established by the IICRC, assuring all parties including the property management firm, the tenant and the insurance company that the structure is dried properly. Proper drying helps in the long run by preventing mold, which can be costly to repair in addition to the health risks caused by mold spores.

Fire situations, in many cases, will require working with an insurance company and their adjusters. Restoration companies and their staff are experienced in this area and can be a huge support to the property management company. In addition, the restoration company will be able to provide specialty services, such as textile cleaning, document preservation, and electronic restoration services. Pack-out and storage is also provided by some restoration companies, like SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County.

Mold, trauma and specialty cleaning jobs are also reasons why a property management company may need to call a restoration professional. Each of these situations requires a high level of expertise, due to health risks associated with these types of remediation and cleaning.

If you are a property management firm or property manager that does not have an established relationship with a quality restoration company call SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange at 919-596-1242.

Are You Properly Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Workplace?

7/27/2020 (Permalink)

Properly Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Workplace

In the current climate of the COVID 19 pandemic there is a much greater emphasis on having safe clean workplaces, shopping venues and eateries. The majority of people are following proper social distancing, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer. Most people have read, or heard the guidelines drafted by the CDC and EPA regarding processes for effectively minimizing the spread of the COVID 19 virus, but are they being followed?

In the CDC article entitled, Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes, the guidelines for effective cleaning to kill the Coronavirus includes routine cleaning with soap and water to remove the virus and disinfecting with an EPA approved disinfectant. In many cases, only one part is being implemented, the applying of disinfectant with no regard to cleaning with soap and water. Most people have witnessed the few quick pumps of a chemical on the handle of a shopping cart, or restaurant table, followed by an immediate wipe away of that chemical by a well-intentioned employee. There are several reasons this should be a cause for concern:

  • It provides a false sense of security.
  • Virus could still be present due to lack of cleaning with soap and water
  • Virus could still be present due to lack of dwell time of chemical

The simple steps of cleaning with soap and water first removes most if not all of the bacteria, viruses and debris, making it a necessary step. The applying of disinfectants works best when allowed the proper dwell time to effectively kill what they were designed to eradicate. When it is immediately wiped away it is not effective and may leave active contamination behind. Following the proper steps, including the recommendations by the CDC, EPA and the product labels will keep everyone safe. For a quote on having a proactive or positive test COVID 19 cleaning of your commercial business call SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County at (919) 596-1242.

The Truth Regarding Products Claiming to Kill the Coronavirus

7/20/2020 (Permalink)

As the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases continues to rise and businesses attempt to reopen safely, there has also been a rise in claims regarding products that claim to kill the virus for days, weeks and even longer.  Business owners with tightened budgets due to the mandatory shut downs implemented by state governments want the best value for their money in keeping their employees and patrons safe.  Many have entertained sales pitches claiming new products designed to kill the virus can be immediately used which will have a long term effect on killing the pathogen.  The sales pitches make claims that the products have proven to be effective in other countries and are merely weeks away from approval in the United States.  Should these claims be believed?

 The best answer to this question is given by the regulatory agency that governs products of this nature, the Environmental Protection Agency or (EPA).  In a recent compliance advisory entitled, “What You Need to Know Regarding Products Making Claims to Kill Coronavirus Causing Covid-19,” makes the following statement, It is unlawful for any person to distribute or sell a pesticide in the United States making claims to that it will kill a particular pathogen, unless that pesticide is registered with EPA and that particular claim has been deemed acceptable by the agency. EPA is receiving a steady stream of tips/complaints concerning potentially false or misleading claims, including efficacy claims, associated with pesticides and devices. These tips/complaints are being actively reviewed and efforts are being made to identify potentially violative products. EPA intends to pursue enforcement against products making false and misleading claims regarding coronavirus.

If the product has not been approved by the EPA, stay away!  Sadly, there are unscrupulous individuals looking to make a fast dollar at the expense of vulnerable people looking to do the right thing. 

Top 3 Reasons for Commercial Air Duct Cleaning

7/20/2020 (Permalink)

Commercial air ducts are the distribution system of conditioned air from the HVAC system and like the mechanical components of the heating and air conditioning unit they also require routine maintenance.  However, due to the lack of electrical or mechanical parts, the ducts system is often overlooked.  A clean duct system is essential for healthy indoor air quality which has a corollary relationship to employee health and safety.  The top reasons for a commercial air duct cleaning are:

  1. Allergens and dust removal: Allergens and dust accumulate over time inside the ductwork and become dislodged when air moves through system. 
  2. Mold removal: Mold can grow on the organic material that accumulates inside the duct system if the relative humidity is high enough to provide mold spores with a moisture source.  Mold like allergens and dust can cause employees respiratory issues which can result in lower productivity and increased sick days taken.
  3. Odors: Often malodors are pushed through the duct system and create an environment that is less than pleasant.
  4. Insects and pests: It is not uncommon for insects and pests such as mice, rats, and possums to access a duct system and build nests inside the ductwork.  A cleaning of the duct system is critical to removing the harmful feces, urine, bacteria and viruses they may have deposited. 

Although the ductwork may be out of sight, they should be on your mind.  A semi-annual or yearly cleaning is generally sufficient to create an environment that has healthy indoor air quality.  To schedule your commercial duct cleaning, call SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County at 919-596-1242.

Commercial Loss Scalability

7/6/2020 (Permalink)

When a very large multi-floor commercial building containing tens of thousands of square footage of office and warehouse space suffers a large scale water or fire loss, the size of the restoration response is critical in mitigating the both the physical and economic losses.  This is where your local SERVPRO franchise, provides the necessary solution.  Although SERVPRO franchises are independently owned and operated, the collaborative working relationship of local franchises, and the Large Loss Response Team, allows scalability to meet even the most severe situations. 

            Scalability is all about resources of manpower and equipment to save time and money.  When any business experiences a large loss due to water or fire damage the financial impact is great.  When the local SERVPRO franchise responds with the appropriate manpower and equipment to mitigate the damage, it lessens the economic impact.  Within hours, the response scales up in manpower and equipment to reduce further damage.  Large commercial losses require special training and the responding SERVPRO team has this training through its Commercial Large Loss Program.   

            The Commercial Large Loss provides these benefits in your time of need:

  • Elite trained professionals that specialize in large commercial losses
  • Substantial resources through a network of over 1700 franchises
  • Experience of handling large six and seven figure projects
  • Clients including Insurance Companies, Manufacturing Facilities, Restaurants, Healthcare Facilities, Churches, Libraries, Municipalities, Universities, Local, State and Federal Governments
  • Business interruption minimized due to timely response
  • Unit pricing on routine losses under $100,000. Time and Materials Pricing recommended on losses over $100,000
  • 24/7 /365 availability

If your business has experienced a water or fire loss in Durham, NC or in Orange County North Carolina call SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County at 919-596-1242. 

Expecting the Unexpected for Your Commercial Property

6/26/2020 (Permalink)

Imagine it's 4:00 pm on a Friday afternoon and your work week is about to come to an end, when an employee runs up in a panic telling you that water is spewing from the water fountain and flooding the hallway. Murphy's Law of what could go wrong has occurred. Do you know what to do or will a bad situation get worse? Have you planned for the unexpected? Do you know where the water shut-off valve is or will you hope and pray you can get maintenance on the phone?

If the answer to these questions are unsettling because there is no plan, or the plan is in a binder somewhere, not easily accessible, SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County has a solution to calm your anxiety - The SERVPRO Ready Plan App.

The SERVPRO Ready App Benefits:

  • No Cost Facility Evaluation
  • Minimizes damage and lost revenue due to business interruption
  • Identifies key shut off valves for water, gas and electrical
  • Provides key contact information
  • Identifies key lines of command for emergency services to begin
  • Establishes SERVPRO as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider
  • Puts information at your fingertips on cellular platforms for Apple and Android
  • No Cost for Service

With the SERVPRO Ready App installed on your smartphone you will be empowered by having the critical information you need, readily available, to act quickly to avert disaster by minimizing the impact of an unfortunate situation. You will not be at the mercy of hoping you can reach the maintenance engineer because the app will tell you where the shut off is, so you can stop the water flow. What makes it even more powerful is that your employee, equipped with the app, upon seeing the damage will stop the water flow prior to alerting you of the situation.

Every second and minute matters in a disaster situation and time saved, is money saved. Don't let another day go by without scheduling a free facility assessment. Call (919)596-1242 and be prepared for the unexpected. 

Why Your Business Needs An Emergency Ready Plan

7/14/2015 (Permalink)

Inforgraphic explains why you should have an emergency Ready Plan for your business.


An estimated 50% of businesses that close due to a disaster, such as fire and flood never reopen.

SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County has worked with many businesses in the area to ensure they are prepared for any emergency. 

Between 2004-2008 16,360 fires happened in retail stores and other mercantile properties such as grocery stores beauty and barber shops.

Those fires caused $648 million in property damage. Fire damage is worse after normal business hours. Fires that started bwtween 9PM-5AM caused $75,000 dollars in damage. Firest that startd between 5AM-9AM caused $24,000 dollars in fire damage.

More than 60% of U.S. small businesses do not have formal emergency response plans & do not back-up their data off site.

No Plan Means You're Less Likely to Recover

80% of companies that do not recover from a disaster within 1 month are likely to go out of business. 75% of companies without a business contingency plan fail within 3 years of a disaster.

70% of small business that experience major data loss go out of business within a year.

43% of companies that experience catastrophic data loss never reopen.

51% of companies with data loss closed within 2 years.

80% of companies that do not recover from a disaster within 1 month are likely to go out of business. 75% of companies without a business contingency plan fail within 3 years of a disaster.

Tips For Creating a Successful Emergency Ready Plan

  1.  Let the professionals help you. Work with an emergency restoration company for assistance in creating your emergency ready profile.
  2. Identify and label utility shut-off locations.
  3. Identify local utility contact information.
  4. Identify local emergency contact information such as fire, police, and hospital contacts.
  5. Establish main internal contacts for purposes of employee safety and emergency work authorization.

The SERVPRO® Ready Plan is a tool for property managers and owners, both residential and commercial. It allows for the creation of an Emergency READY Profile. Please contact our Commercial Business Development Representative Dana Richardson to setup your free Emergency Ready Profile.


As a trusted leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO of South Durham & Orange County has highly trained technicians that are dedicated to responding faster to any size disaster. We provide 24-hour emergency service and have the training and expertise to handle your restoration and cleaning needs. "Like it never happened" Contact us for more information.