I came to work on an inconspicuous Tuesday to a note with instructions written on it indicating, “Please call this lady for more information.”
I prioritized my inbox, and organized this piece of paper in with everything else that needed my immediate attention. When I got back to that piece of paper and picked up the phone, I was not at all prepared for what this potential customer was experiencing.
As I introduced myself and started to explain what I needed from her to simply get her into our system, I could hear and almost FEEL her exhale with relief that someone was finally willing to help her. She started off strong, explaining her situation in great detail. But as the story progressed and the details got worse, she quickly deteriorated into panic mode. The rest of her story came out muffled behind her pauses to catch her breath in order to speak through her tears. I sat on the other end of the phone both in shock and with extreme empathy but also with optimism that we might be able to put the puzzle pieces back together for her.
Since signing on with Massaro Restoration just a few short months ago, I had not yet had a phone conversation like this. I was, however, fairly warned from the beginning that we consistently deal with people that have had their most prized possession fall victim to hardship: their home. That aspect of the job greatly appealed to me because after spending 15 years in what is usually a very monotonous position, I wanted to shift my career path in a way that allowed me to use my skill set for something more meaningful; I wanted to help people.
I’ve heard it said in the halls of our building that, “Our guys may not be knights on white horses, but they are saving the day in a white truck!” Never before did that expression resonate so deeply with me until I had the opportunity to cross paths with this particular potential customer. I now envision the look of relief on a homeowner’s face when our “rescue team” shows up and is ready to help them. I now fully understand that the papers that come through here are not just invoices and work orders but papers with stories that come to life in the field. I now comprehend how we are not just providing a service, but rather we are providing peace of mind. I now realize that we are heroes and the voice of reason when the world is crumbling around a person in crisis.
What I hope is that our customers realize they are more than just a number to us, and the voice they hear on the other end of the phone when they call in panic, sincerely cares about what happened to them and wants, more than anything, to make it right again.
Article by Lisa Yuzon, Administrative Assistant
The Pittsburgh Project utilizes over 2,000 people annually to perform free home repairs for vulnerable homeowners.
Massaro Restoration Services partnered with The Pittsburgh Project on September 8 to help restore a home for Mr. Phillip Willis, a disabled veteran, whose home is in great need of major renovations.
Vivian lays a ceramic tile floor
Four employees from the restoration division- Brian Reuss, Gary Baker, Joe Stanonis and Keith Bastine installed ceiling drywall in the living room while three The Pittsburgh Project volunteers – Dave, Ross and Perry taught me how to lay ceramic tile on a newly poured cement floor in the basement, for what is going to be Mr. Willis’ future kitchen.
Brian Reuss and Keith Bastine install ceiling drywall
The Pittsburgh Project and Mr. Willis have expressed their gratitude and asked to refer other volunteers to assist in the completion of this home. There is quite a bit more work that needs completed in order for this veteran to have a fully functioning kitchen and an insulated home before winter.
It was a pleasure working with The Pittsburgh Project and I hope to have the opportunity to serve alongside them next year for other worthy projects.
Anyone wishing to volunteer their time/skills in assisting with the completion of Mr. Willis’ home or for other homes The Pittsburgh Project is working on, can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting their website at http://pittsburghproject.org/.
Article by Vivian Anderson, Office Manager
Pictured: air movers and dehumidifiers used to dry areas affected by water damage/flooding
Western PA is at a higher risk for flooding during springtime and summer storms, but it’s important to remember that flooding can occur during any season due to a variety of causes including: 
- Large amounts of rain or snow-melt that overwhelm rivers and lakes
- Excessive rain or snow-melt cannot be fully absorbed into the ground
- Waterways are blocked with debris or ice and overflow
- Water containment systems fail (i.e. levees, dams, or water or sewer systems)
While the impact of flooding can vary, just two inches of floodwater indoors can cause approximately $10,000 worth of damage to a 1,000 square foot home. 
In addition to property damage, flooding can put your safety at risk. The first step to preparing for the potential of flooding is to know your risk. To check the flood risk in your area, learn about flood safety/evacuation, and create a plan, use the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website.
Some general tips for protecting your home or office from flood damage are: 
- Consider purchasing flood insurance
- Elevate heating systems, water heater, and electric panel if their location is prone to flooding
- Install “check valves” in sewer lines to prevent floodwater from backing up into your drains
- Waterproof your basement
- Install sump pumps with battery backup
- Keep gutters and drains free of debris
Do you know the flood risk of your home, office, and other areas where you spend your time?
Article by Jennifer McGee, Marketing Coordinator
Performing disaster restoration work, as in other construction activities, can create a good bit of debris including dust and odor.
A containment area that creates a slight vacuum pressure within the containment may need to be constructed in order to prevent dust and other airborne particulates from escaping into other areas of the structure. The industry calls this creating a “negative air environment”. The goal of a negative air environment is to have air rush into the containment (as opposed to air rushing out of the containment) whenever a door is opened or other containment breach occurs (leaks, etc.). The action of air rushing into the containment effectively prevents dust and other particulates from escaping the containment area. Note that the need for an effective negative air environment is especially acute in medical (immunosuppressed patient & sterilization concerns) and other “clean” facilities.
A negative air containment system is first built by creating an enclosed “near air tight” space using existing walls, ceilings, and plastic sheeting where needed. Specialized air scrubbers equipped with HEPA filtration systems are then installed to exhaust the containment air to the outdoors or into an exhaust system within the building.
To ensure that a vacuum is present within the containment area, a device called a manometer is typically used. Its function is to indicate the presence of a vacuum in the containment. For many medical and other clean environments the amount of vacuum pressure (typically expressed in inches of water column) must be continuously measured, maintained (above a defined minimum value), recorded over time, and monitored with visual and audible alarms if the vacuum drops below the minimum value defined by the facility.
Massaro Restoration, an Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) certified response team, utilizes digital differential pressure monitoring manometers that continuously display the vacuum pressure readings, record them over time, and will activate visual & auditory alarms if the vacuum pressure drops below the established minimum value.
Article by Franco Tavella, Business Development Executive
Thanksgiving is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the act of giving thanks.” This year, we have many reasons to give thanks, but one of them is for the vital services that Heritage Community Initiatives provides to our neighbors.
For four decades, Heritage Community Initiatives has been providing a variety of programs to those within Allegheny County who are faced with socio-economic challenges. These programs include education, transportation, and life enhancing initiatives with the mission to “enable individuals and organizations to improve health, education, economic strength, and social vitality in their communities.”
Last year, Heritage was able to supply more than 2,000 pounds of food and nearly 1,000 other items including clothing, hats/mittens, books, toys, and more to the families during the holidays. This year, they provided 130 full Thanksgiving meals to families. For the past two years, our team has been fortunate enough to make a donation and volunteer with Heritage by transporting meals for their annual Family Thanksgiving. Heritage provides full Thanksgiving meals to the families of those enrolled in its education programs. During the busy holiday season it can be easy to forget about serving others, and this initiative is a great way to give back!
There are lots of ways you can get involved with Heritage Community Initiatives such as volunteering, donations of needed items (nonperishable food items, children’s gifts, etc.), or through monetary donations. If you are interested in getting involved with Heritage, please visit their website: http://www.heritageserves.org.
Article by Jennifer McGee, Marketing Coordinator