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What To Do In Severe Thunderstorms

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

As we move into thunderstorm season here in Maryland, are you prepared for a severe storm?

According to the National Weather Service, severe thunderstorms are officially defined as storms that are capable of producing hail that is an inch or larger or wind gusts over 58 mph.

Hail this size can damage property such as plants, roofs and vehicles. Wind this strong is able to break off large branches, knock over trees or cause structural damage to trees. Some severe thunderstorms can produce hail larger than softballs or winds over 100 mph. Thunderstorms also produce tornadoes and dangerous lightning; heavy rain can cause flash flooding.

What should you do to stay safe?


  • Be Weather-Ready: Check the forecast regularly to see if you're at risk for severe weather. Listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. Check the Weather-Ready Nation for tips.
  • Sign Up for Notifications: Know how your community sends warning. Some communities have outdoor sirens. Others depend on media and smart phones to alert residents to severe storms.
  • Create a Communications Plan: Have a family plan that includes an emergency meeting place and related information. Pick a safe room in your home such as a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Get more ideas for a plan at:
  • Practice Your Plan: Conduct a family severe thunderstorm drill regularly so everyone knows what to do if a damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Make sure all members of your family know to go there when severe thunderstorm warnings are issued. Don't forget pets if time allows.
  • Prepare Your Home: Keep trees and branches trimmed near your house. If you have time before severe weather hits, secure loose objects, close windows and doors, and move any valuable objects inside or under a sturdy structure.
  • Help Your Neighbor: Encourage your loved ones to prepare for severe thunderstorms. Take CPR training so you can help if someone is hurt during severe weather.


  • Stay Weather Ready: Continue to listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings.
  • At Your House: Go to your secure location if you hear a severe thunderstorm warning. Damaging wind or large hail may be approaching. Take your pets with you if time allows.
  • At Your Workplace or School: Stay away from windows if you are in a severe thunderstorm warning and damaging wind or large hail is approaching. Do not go to large open rooms such as cafeterias, gymnasiums or auditoriums.
  • Outside: Go inside a sturdy building immediately if severe thunderstorms are approaching. Sheds and storage facilities are not safe. Taking shelter under a tree can be deadly. The tree may fall on you. Standing under a tree also put you at a greater risk of getting struck by lightning.
  • In a Vehicle: Being in a vehicle during severe thunderstorms is safer than being outside; however, drive to closest secure shelter if there is sufficient time.


  • Stay Informed: Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings. More severe thunderstorms could be headed your way.
  • Contact Your Family and Loved Ones: Let your family and close friends know that you're okay so they can help spread the word. Text messages or social media are more reliable forms of communication than phone calls.
  • Assess the Damage: After you are sure the severe weather threat has ended, check your property for damages. When walking through storm damage, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes. Contact local authorities if you see power lines down. Stay out of damaged buildings. Be aware of insurance scammers if your property has been damaged.
  • Help Your Neighbor: If you come across people that are injured and you are properly trained, if needed, provide first aid to victims until emergency response team members arrive.

Even with proper planning and precautions, severe storms can cause serious damage to your home and property. If you experience damage related to wind or water from a severe thunderstorm call us, we’re here to help: 410-242-7371.

About SERVPRO of Reisterstown 

SERVPRO of Reisterstown specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. SERVPRO of Reisterstown is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here, too and we are proud to be part of the Reisterstown community.

Employee Spotlight: July

7/30/2021 (Permalink)

Last week, our owners, Mike & Melissa Brenner treated our team to a Crab Feast in the warehouse!

As Melissa said, "Sometimes it’s good to take a break from the grind and show our employees a little appreciation for all their hard work."

The food was delicious and everyone had a blast unwinding after an incredibly busy spring and summer season so far.

Sump Pump Failure

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Water damage in homes can be caused by many different factors including burst pipes, leaking roofs, backups and overflow, and especially during storm season, sump pump failure.

In June, our team responded to a call for water damage to a basement as a result of a failed sump pump. The damage affected the entire basement level, including three bedrooms, a bathroom, a family room, and a storage & utility room.

To mitigate the problem, our technicians flood cut all rooms 2-feet high and removed the insulation as well as the flooring.

Fast action in a situation like this is the key to preventing further damage and mold growth in the home.

A Fire Loss

7/2/2021 (Permalink)

Over the years, our team has worked on many different types of fire loss jobs.

Recently, we received a call from an adjuster for a terrible house fire. That same afternoon, our team started the board up and tarping to secure the location. An 85' boom was required to finish the job, which we completed the following morning when the boom was delivered.

Ultimately, we had to dispose of the contents of the entire home, but first, our team had to inventory everything that was lost, a process that took 3 and a half days.

Home fires are never easy but our team at SERVPRO of Reisterstown has the skills and training to handle each situation as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Grill Safety

6/18/2021 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Association, July is the peak month for grill fires. Below are some tips to help you stay safe and prevent house fires this summer:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

When Using A Charcoal Grill:

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container

When Using A Propane Grill:

  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
    • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose.
    • A propane leak will release bubbles.
    • If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 5 minutes before re-lighting it.


About SERVPRO of Reisterstown    

SERVPRO of Reisterstown specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. SERVPRO of Reisterstown is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here, too and we are proud to be part of the Reisterstown community.

Employee Spotlight: May

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

This month we are highlighting our entire team and their commitment to SAFETY.

Throughout the year, our technicians participate in training sessions to prepare them for success and safety in any scenario they may encounter.

Examples of training include:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Equipment Use & Maintenance
  • Material Handling & Safe Lifting
  • PPE & Respirator Use
  • Electrical Safety

The past year brought an even greater need for safety training. Our technicians were more than up to the task and we commend them for their dedication.


About SERVPRO of Reisterstown

SERVPRO of Reisterstown specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. SERVPRO of Reisterstown is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here, too and we are proud to be part of the Reisterstown community.

A Big Rebuild

6/1/2021 (Permalink)

Our construction team recently completed a huge rebuild job from what was originally an emergency services call.

A car drove into a home pushing in the front of the foundation. Our team had to shore the up the house with 4x4s and screw jacks to keep it structurally sound while they worked until the new foundation and front load-bearing wall were built.

The job also consisted of residing the entire front of the house and redoing a basement bedroom.

Because of their experience and expertise, they were able to obtain the necessary permits to open the foundation of the home, brace it out and make the repairs.

And as you can see from the glowing review below, the homeowner was thrilled.

“Tim and his team (Santiago, José) are all professionals who deliver on their promises.They are courteous, likable, and easy to reach - which is rare nowadays when you try to reach any business. They are all conscientious workers.

A special thank you to Tim, he is always available when we need him. He is also a good person and is great at what he is doing. Thank you all for a job well done.”

How-To: Make a Fire Escape Plan

5/14/2021 (Permalink)

When your home is on fire, every second counts.

We consulted the National Fire Protection Association to bring you the following tips so you can be prepared with an escape plan in the unfortunate event of a fire in your home:

• Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.  Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm.

• A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. 

• When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.

• Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.

• Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.

• Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cellular phone once safely outside.

• If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency

• If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won't compromise your security - but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.

• Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family's fire escape plan. When staying overnight at other people's homes, ask about their escape plan. If they don't have a plan in place, offer to help them make one. This is especially important when children are permitted to attend "sleepovers" at friends' homes.

• Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately.

• Once you're out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.

Put your plan to the test:

• Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible.

• Make arrangements in your plan for anyone in your home who has a disability.

• Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.

• It's important to determine during the drill whether children and others can readily waken to the sound of the smoke alarm. If they fail to awaken, make sure that someone is assigned to wake them up as part of the drill and in a real emergency situation.

• If your home has two floors, every family member (including children) must be able to escape from the second floor rooms. Escape ladders can be placed in or near windows to provide an additional escape route. Review the manufacturer's instructions carefully so you'll be able to use a safety ladder in an emergency. Practice setting up the ladder from a first floor window to make sure you can do it correctly and quickly. Children should only practice with a grown-up, and only from a first-story window. Store the ladder near the window, in an easily accessible location. You don't want to have to search for it during a fire.

• Always choose the escape route that is safest – the one with the least amount of smoke and heat – but be prepared to escape under toxic smoke if necessary. When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to your exit.

• Closing doors on your way out slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.

• In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice "sealing yourself in for safety" as part of your home fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in. If possible, open your windows at the top and bottom so fresh air can get in. Call the fire department to report your exact location. Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.


Each fire damage situation is different, so each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  SERVPRO of Reisterstown has 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 Damage?
Call Us Today – 410-242-7371

Hurricane Safety: Part 3 - After the Storm

5/7/2021 (Permalink)

Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 - November 30. As part of Hurricane Preparedness Week, we’re sharing safety information from FEMA and the National Weather Service to help you stay safe after a hurricane hits your community.


  • Listen to local officials for information and special instructions.
  • Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
  • Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.


Hurricanes can cause serious damage to your home and property. If you experience water or storm damage, SERVPRO of Reisterstown is here to help. Call us: 410-242-7371

Hurricane Safety: Part 2 - Stay Safe

5/6/2021 (Permalink)

Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 - November 30. In anticipation of Hurricane Preparedness Week, we’re sharing safety information from FEMA and the National Weather Service to help you stay safe during a hurricane.


Stay Informed

  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • If told to evacuate by local officials, do so immediately.

Dealing with the Weather

  • Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
  • Take refuge in a designated storm shelter, or an interior room for high winds.
  • If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.

Personal Safety

  • If you must go to a community or group shelter remember to follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for protecting yourself and family from COVID-19.
  • Be prepared to take cleaning items with you like soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces you may need to touch regularly.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet between you and persons not part of your immediate family while at the shelter [by avoiding crowds or gathering in groups] as much as possible. 
  • Anyone over 2 years old should use a cloth face covering while at these facilities.
  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.

Hurricanes can cause serious damage to your home and property. If you experience water or storm damage, SERVPRO of Reisterstown is here to help: 410-242-7371.