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Barbecue safety tips can protect your home


Summer is grilling season, but even as the weather cools, many homeowners in Northeast Ohio will continue to grill out. Maintaining a clean grill and safe grilling practices is crucial to enjoying your backyard parties and avoiding accidents. Grill fires cause thousands of residential fires every year across the U.S., leading to millions of dollars in damage. Just a few precautions can assure a safe and enjoyable grilling season.


Grill maintenance

You probably prep your grill in the spring in anticipation of a long grilling season, but it’s a good idea to give your grill another cleaning and check-up later in the summer if you are a frequent griller and anticipate grilling well into the fall. Consider the following at any time during grilling season:

  • Keep innards and drip trays clean and free of food, debris and grease, checking crevices for insects and blockages.

  • Hoses and connections should be checked at the start of the season for cracks and blockages, but a check at mid-season is a good idea, especially if hoses are not new.

  • Use a soap solution at hose connections to identify gas leaks.

  • Never store backup propane tanks near your home or inside an attached garage.

Grilling out may be an evening routine for dinner for your family, but frequently it becomes an event, with conversation and festivities occurring in the yard and around the grill. Distractions are a frequent cause of kitchen and grill fires, so take a moment to review some safety tips that will keep your barbecue and your home safe.

Grilling safety

  • Never walk away from your burning grill; a flare up can happen in moments from the smallest amount of grease or from overcooked food.

  • Your lit grill should be at least 10 feet from your home or structure, including a deck railing, to prevent heat damage and keep flare ups from spreading into structural fires.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher or baking soda nearby in case of a grease flare up.

  • When relighting a propane grill that has gone out, first turn off the gas and wait at least 15 minutes before attempting to relight; never light a match near the grill if the tank has been open.

  • When you are done grilling, always check that the propane tank has been turned off.

The team at ServiceMaster wishes you a long and safe grilling season.

Flood recovery underway in Youngstown, Canfield

Severe storms and heavy rain May 28 brought flooding to the Mahoning Valley, closing roads and driving some residents out of their homes, with some being rescued by firefighters in trucks and boats. With 4 to 5 inches of rain falling in a handful of hours, water rose quickly throughout the area, leaving many residents, businesses and schools with the work of baling out and cleaning up.

With Boardman and Canfield appearing to be hardest hit, the ServiceMaster team is among those helping with drying and restoration in apartments, condos and schools. At Canfield Village Middle School, three to four inches of water had to be removed from the building, followed by drying and disinfection to combat the threat of mold.

The Youngstown area was hit with flooding last August, but residents and officials are saying this storm seemed to be worse. A three-foot diameter drainpipe designed to carry runoff away from Route 224 was flowing at full force following the storm, apparently unable to keep up with the deluge.

The same line of storms passed through the Dayton area late on May 27 spawning powerful tornados that devastated neighborhoods and killed one in Celina. EF3 tornadoes were confirmed in Celina, Beavercreek and West Milton, Ohio, all near Dayton. Dayton residents were conserving water due to power outages and clean up is continuing across the area.

ServiceMaster reminds all Ohio residents that thorough drying out and disinfection is crucial when cleaning up from flooding. Our team of professionals is always available to help with restoration during this spring and summer storm season.

Avoid fire damage this holiday season

The sad truth is the number of house fires and the amount of damage caused by them increases significantly during the holiday season. At ServiceMaster Restoration, we would rather see you safe for the holidays and all winter. Just a few cautionary steps can make all the difference in keeping you and yours safe.

Holiday cooking

Beginning before Thanksgiving and continuing through New Year’s Day, baking and cooking are prime activities. Since cooking is among the top causes of holiday fires, consider some safety precautions before getting started.

  • Check your kitchen fire extinguisher to be sure it is in good working order or keep a bucket of baking soda nearby to extinguish grease fires.

  • Keep towels, bags and pot holders away from flames and hot surfaces.

  • Clean up spills as you work, especially flammable grease.

  • Supervise young bakers as to safe kitchen habits.

  • Deep fry turkeys outdoors on level ground and at least 10 feet from buildings, trees and shrubs. Also, be sure your turkey is completely thawed before deep frying.

  • Never leave cooking food unattended. Distractions are one of the biggest causes of kitchen fires, as the cook leaves the kitchen to attend to guests or answer a door.

Holiday decorations

A dry Christmas tree can render an entire room in flames in just minutes. Greenery and garlands fashioned from pine branches only add to the fire hazard. Add to that the use of space heaters and candles, and it’s clear that precautions are crucial if you are to keep your family safe during the holidays.

  • Consider choosing a flame-retardant artificial tree in favor of a live tree.

  • If you must have a live tree, be sure it is fresh, or better yet, cut your own. Be sure you have a fresh cut on the trunk and add water every day.

  • Your tree and live decorations should be at least three feet from heat sources and fireplaces.

  • Strings of lights for your tree or for outdoor use should be in good condition with no frayed cords. Use power strips to avoid connecting more than three strings of lights.

  • Check the condition of your extension cords when you check your lights. Be sure those you use outdoors are UL-rated for outdoor use.

  • Use plastic clips or hangers to attach outdoor lights, rather than nails or staples that could puncture and damage wiring.

  • Never leave lights on when you leave your home or when you go to sleep.

  • Discard your tree after four weeks.

Candles and fireplaces

The warnings may seem obvious, but every year multiple tragedies occur due to unattended candles, poor fireplace practices and children playing with lighters or matches. Candles and fireplaces add wonderful atmosphere to a holiday celebration, not to mention heat during those cold days, but care should be taken when they are used.

  • Burning candles should be situated well away from holiday decorations and curtains, and on a non-flammable surface that will contain the melting wax.

  • Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected and cleaned before use to remove flammable creosote that collects on the interior.

  • Keep flammable items well away from your fireplace and use a fire screen to prevent embers from flying into the living space.

  • Never use paper or flammable liquid to start your fire.

  • Keep matches and lighters used for candles and fireplaces out of the reach of children and out of sight.

  • Never leave a burning candle or fireplace unattended and be sure they are fully extinguished before going to sleep.

  • Dispose of embers from your fireplace in a metal bucket and set them outside to cool.

Workplace safety

Don’t forget to practice these same safety habits at your workplace. Office fires, like house fires, increase significantly during the holiday season. If the boss hands you the annual decorations box, take a moment to inspect cords for frayed ends and cracked casings. Consider replacing an old artificial tree with a new one that is fire retardant and keep all decorations at least three feet from a heat source.

Most importantly, be sure fire alarms, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are in good working order and have fresh batteries. You may also take a moment to review fire escape routes with office staff.

Akron office now open

ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction recently celebrated the opening of their new Akron office with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Located at 2525 South Main Street, the new building makes it easier than ever for Akron area residents to receive expert and timely services when disaster strikes.

ServiceMaster of Akron was first established in October 2014, and recently became known as ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction. These highly skilled disaster specialists provide services for homes and businesses damaged by water, fire or other catastrophe.

Team recognized for outstanding growth, service

ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction, which encompasses offices in Warren, Boardman, Akron and Mentor, recently was recognized with the 2017 Achiever Award. One of the highest corporate honors given by ServiceMaster, the award recognizes outstanding revenue growth and outstanding customer service.

Announced at the corporate spring meetings in Las Vegas, this is the eighth time in nine years that this team of hard-working staff members has been recognized with this honor.

Hurricane recovery efforts praised

An active and destructive 2017 hurricane season had many recovery teams working overtime in an attempt to ease the suffering of people throughout Texas and Florida. Teams from ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction moved quickly to mobilize teams to head south to help.

For a job well done, the team received a Certificate of Appreciation, specifically recognizing their efforts and impact on the victims of Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in southern Florida and left its mark across the state and into Georgia and South Carolina. The honor was announced at the corporate spring meetings in Las Vegas.

Personal service impresses Red Cross customer

The North and Central Florida regional offices of the American Red Cross are regular ServiceMaster Clean customers but the Restore brand stepped in recently to remedy a water loss caused by the recent hurricanes. David Koeppel, strategic sales manager, coordinated the job for Rachel Broadwater, regional chief administrative officer for the Red Cross, with SVM by Lewis Construction of Warren, Ohio, which had mobilized in advance of the storms.

Broadwater was duly impressed. “The ServiceMaster team out of Ohio,” she wrote, “were frankly some of the nicest and most professional and hardworking people I’ve had the luxury of meeting. It was a joy to work with them and we are all dry!”

Rachel also told David about one of her employees in Georgia whose home had up to 36 inches of ground water intrusion in places. The home was uninsured and the employee and her family were overwhelmed. Koeppel called the Red Cross employee, helped reassure her that everything would be OK, and is assisting her through the restoration process.

Incidentally, ServiceMaster is the exclusive sponsor of the Red Cross emergency app, which alerts people of significant weather events and provides expert disaster preparedness safety advice.

Florida customer impressed by Ohio franchise

Fidelity National Title of Florida, Inc., was one of many businesses affected by Hurricane Irma - and one of many that witnessed the professionalism of a ServiceMaster Restore franchise. ServiceMaster by Lewis Construction of Warren, Ohio, impressed the Venice, Fla., company, which sent periodic progress reports:

"Bill and his tech Johnny were here at 8 a.m. They have sprayed an antibacterial spray on carpet and tile area. They have set up four additional blowers. They will be back in morning to check on it. They said about two days before they can have the crew come in to clean the carpet and see if it can be saved.

"ServiceMaster by Lewis Construction is complete with all their services. The carpet was cleaned yesterday. I just want to convey that they were the most polite, kind and hard-working gentlemen I have encountered. Bill and Johnny were fantastic with their work ethic and services they provided. I would highly recommend them to anyone.

"The door guy was here yesterday; drywall is all finished. Just need paint, trim replaced and door fixed."

No doubt the job was completed and everyone at Fidelity National Title of Florida, Inc., is back at work.

Hurricane recovery season in full swing

While much of the country attempts to dig a little deeper to send supplies and funds to hurricane ravaged Texas and Florida, flood and storm damage recovery teams head in with their expertise to begin the rebuilding process. Hats off to the local ServiceMaster teams working around the clock in Houston, Galveston, Beaumont and southwestern Louisiana to help those in need following Hurricane Harvey. Thoughts and prayers go with those local team members now gearing up to aid Hurricane Irma survivors across Florida, as well as in Georgia and South Carolina.

Best of the Best Gold Winner

In April, ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction was voted Best of the Best Gold winner in 4 categories as voted by readers of the Tribune Chronicle. Rated by consumers as the top pick in the following categories: Disaster Restoration, Pressure Washing, Carpet & Rug Cleaner and Upholstery Cleaning. Also Lewis Construction was voted a gold winner in the General Contractor category.

Corporate Achiever Award

On April 8, 2016, at the corporate spring meetings in Chicago ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction received an award given in recognition of our commitment to the marketplace and achieving outstanding revenue growth and service to our customers for the year 2015. This qualifies the company for the Corporate Expert Award which recognizes the top 6 franchises in the country. ServiceMaster by Lewis Construction last won this award in 2012.

Sponsor of Guns vs Hoses

In April, ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction sponsored a local charity basketball game. The game was between Howland Police Department and Fire Department and proceeds benefited the Howland Community Stadium Foundation.

HBA Akron Home & Flower Show

February 26-28 2016, ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction exhibited in the annual HBA Home & Flower Show. We took part in the 3 day event to promote our carpet cleaning, floor care, and pressure washing services to attendees from various surrounding counties.

Business Journal 2016 Growth Report

In the February, 2016 edition ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction was featured in the Growth Report from the Business Journal. In this story we were able to share our expected strong revenue growth for the upcoming year as well as share our two new office locations that were recently added.

Hudson Acquisition

On January 11, 2016, ServiceMaster by Lewis Construction purchased ServiceMaster of Hudson’s disaster restoration side of their business. This acquisition extended our service area into part of Cuyahoga county. We also maintained our presence in that area with a small satellite office at their location.

Mentor Acquisition

On December 15, 2015, ServiceMaster by Lewis Construction purchased an existing franchise and took over ownership in Mentor, OH. This franchise covers Lake and Geauga counties and will be added to the growing market Lewis services.

Turkey Trot

On Thanksgiving Day, 2015, ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction donated and passed out 2,500 bottles of water to runners who participated in the annual run. We are proud to continue our support each year for this great holiday tradition.

Panerathon

On August 30, 2015, ServiceMaster Restoration by Lewis Construction sponsored the annual Panerathon run at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio that raises money for The Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center. In addition we had a team of ten employees who took part in the walk sporting yellow and pink tie dye ServiceMaster shirts.

Akron Acquisition

In October 2014, ServiceMaster by Lewis Construction purchased an existing franchise in Akron to expand our territory to include Portage, Summit, and Medina counties. This acquisition doubles our service area.
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ServiceMaster by Lewis to Open in Boardman

Lewis Construction Inc. will open its second ServiceMaster facility in the Mahoning Valley on May 22 in Mahoning Township. That location will serve Austintown, Mahoning, Canfield, Poland, Youngstown and other areas in southern Mahoning County.
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Blood drive planned

In conjunction with the Howland July 4 festivities, Lewis Construction and Servicemaster are sponsoring an American Red Cross blood drive from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at 175 Shaffer Road, across from the high school.

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Business flooded again

A doctor's office in Niles is flooded for the second time in 18 months after heavy rains on Tuesday. The Mueller Family Practice building on Route 46 in Niles was flooded when water from heavy rains rushed from the cemetery across the street.

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