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Author Archives: IMC Inc.

  1. 5 Fire Prevention Strategies Supported by NFPA

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    5 Fire Prevention Strategies Supported by NFPA
    Fires are a devastating reality that affect hundreds of thousands of residential and commercial structures as well as forest areas every year, leaving families and businesses with the sad aftermath of loss and devastation as a result of property and personal damage, or loss of life.

    According to the most recent NFPA Journal Fire Loss, a fire department responds to a fire somewhere in the US every 24 seconds, and there is a fire in a structure at the rate of one every 63 seconds. With these far too frequent fire occurrences, consider implementing these five NFPA fire prevention strategies to prevent your commercial building from being included in these staggering statistic.

    1. Up to Code
    Fire safety NFPA fire safety code compliance is key to prevent fires from destroying your business or hurt its occupants. There are numerous codes business managers must know about and in order to train their employees to implement for employee and customer safety. These codes are important safety standards everyone should know to keep fire safety measures top of mind. Make sure you have the latest codes to keep up with the updated standards.

    2. Keep Your Staff In the Know
    Businesses are tasked with the responsibility of keeping their staff up to speed with the latest information about code compliance for their jobs. This not only keeps them safe, but the customers and clients they serve as well. A properly-trained workforce that knows how to keep themselves, others, and their work environment safe is an important way to prevent fires in commercial structures.

    3. Be Ready, Just In Case
    Fire preparedness is so important in helping to mitigate property damage or loss of life, in case of a fire emergency. Be as ready as you can be with training, escape plans and emergency response readiness so your business team will know how best to respond when fire danger strikes your commercial property. Plan and post your escape plan for your staff. In addition, make sure your plan is clear and visible at all exit points for all building occupants throughout your commercial structure.

    4. Fire Safety Messaging
    We all remember Smoky the Bear as a long-standing household mascot for fire safety and prevention for how to avoid forest and household fires. Fire safety messaging keeps your employees aware of the best ways to protect themselves and their families from the risk of fire damage or death.

    5. Keep First Things First
    Fire safety measures should be a top priority for commercial business owners to protect all employees and customers from imminent or potential fire dangers. Fire hazards, such as faulty electrical wiring, can be a recipe for disaster for all building occupants, so a commitment to NFPA standards and codes in all parts of the commercial structure is a way to ensure fire protection for its occupants.

    These five NFPA-supported fire prevention strategies: code compliance, training, preparedness, messaging, and a solid investment in fire safety and prevention are solid fire protection tips to protect your team and commercial structure safety.

  2. The Easiest Way to Prevent Wasted Energy in Commercial Buildings

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    The Easiest Way to Prevent Wasted Energy in Commercial Buildings
    Commercial buildings are huge structures that utilize a great deal of energy around the clock, as heat and air conditioning units run throughout the day and night. When mechanical systems are well constructed and in good condition, they are great for cost efficiency. When commercial structures have poorly functioning ventilation ducts, energy is wasted, and your bottom line can be impacted by air that is literally going out the door. Duct cleaning is a key energy saving solution by making your air flow through your building the way it should.

    The importance of total system air duct cleaning in commercial buildings can’t be emphasized enough, because energy efficient commercial building spaces keep inhabitants comfortable when there is proper air flow. According to the EPA, a buildup of just 0.42″ of dirt on a heating or cooling coil can result in a decrease of efficiency of 21%. This can add up to a significant cost for your business. With extensive buildup of dirt and dust particulate, air conveyance systems are stressed and work harder to circulate air and heat throughout the building. This is where energy levels decrease, and costs can increase.

    Evaluate your HVAC System’s Efficiency
    Commercial HVAC systems account for a substantial percentage of a business’s energy costs, so evaluating your commercial HVAC system is a necessary first step to making sure your system works as best it could. A good, thorough evaluation of the way your system works is the best way to assess its efficiency and areas that need improvement to make it work to its maximum potential. If your business’s commercial system is bogged down by unwanted and unhealthy dust and dirt buildup, it won’t operate the way it should to circulate a healthy, effective air flow through the ducts.

    If you haven’t had your ventilation system professionally evaluated or cleaned, this is the best place to start to see if clearing out potential contaminants will produce the type of healthy airflow that your commercial HVAC unit needs for the best energy efficiency, safety and overall healthy output of your building unit.

    Give Your System a Lift
    Evaluating and cleaning your HVAC system are great ways to reduce wasted energy in commercial buildings, but not the only way. You can also reduce and possibly eliminate wasted commercial energy when you enhance your HVAC system with energy efficient features to conserve building energy. If you take energy-saving steps to improve your system, the results can dramatically improve your system’s effectiveness.

    Commercial buildings are huge energy consumers, so the key is to evaluate and clean your ducts to keep your system from underperforming. This strain on your HVAC system is costly from a financial and energy efficiency standpoint. Duct cleaning is an efficient way to stop wasting energy and start saving money for your commercial building so the air flow is strong, clean and pleasant for all.

  3. IMC Welcomes Khristian Toolan

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    KT Headshot
    Interior Maintenance Company is pleased to announce the newest addition to our Sales Team, Khristian Toolan. Khristian joined the IMC family in late March with a background spanning over 10 years in emergency cleaning and restoration services. She is a licensed Property and Casualty Insurance Agent as well as an IICRC certified Water Damage Restoration professional. Khristian is the current Executive Chair for the Ambassador Committee of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and was named Ambassador of the Year for 2019. She is Co-Chair of the Membership Committee for Delaware’s IFMA Chapter and a member of the Commercial Industrial Realty Council. She volunteers with Easter Seals and serves on several committees with Habitat for Humanity.

    Khristian is married with two children and has a rambunctious Boxer named Odie. She loves boating on the Chesapeake Bay and was First Lady of Sue Haven Yacht Club in 2017. She is on the Queen of the Chesapeake Pageant Committee and is a social member of Maryland Yacht Club. When she isn’t looking at a job site, you may find her out on her jet ski or on the family’s boat, the “Toolan Around”.

    Khristian is focused on providing her clients with exemplary customer service. With so many contractors competing for work, she believes that the customer experience can be lost in the mayhem. Khristian is responsive and mindful of the need as well as the value of IMC services. She stays abreast of industry information/technology and is continually building strong relationships. Khristian is proud to be part of the Interior Maintenance Company family and looks forward to many years of developing her network and client base.

  4. The Best Ways to Prevent Combustible Dust Explosions

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    Accident at a steel mill
    Combustible dust explosions are deadly and devastating to workers, businesses and communities who experience this sudden damage to property, and in several cases, loss of life. Workers in manufacturing plants around the country and even the world go to work at plants and factories every day, not realizing that the materials they handle can create dust that explodes and can hurt them, even organic material like flour and sugar. These unsuspecting substances create dust particles that can ignite and cause serious harm. Don’t let this happen to your business.

    Educate Yourself and Your Employees
    According to an alarming 2014 New York Times article, the chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board reported that from 2008 to 2012, there were 50 combustible dust accidents that contributed to 29 fatalities and 161 injuries. This gripping reality shows that companies need to be informed about all aspects of “danger dust” and how to keep these tragedies from happening in the first place. A wide variety of work environments that generate dust are susceptible for these types of accidents, including tire manufacturing, plastics and fertilizers.

    To keep your employees and property safe from potential harm, make sure your manufacturing plant is “in the know” about industry best practices and requirements for handling combustible dust, such as the NFPA 652 Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust. This regulatory document will help your company take proactive measures to keep combustible dust explosions from taking place.

    Don’t Fan the Flame
    One preventative measure you can institute right away is to get rid of things in your workplace that are known to ignite combustible dust in the first place. There are certain risk factors that can increase the probability of a combustible dust explosion. You can help to escape deadly dust dangers by keeping dusty residue materials away from heat, flame and friction or any type of inflammatory source.

    The way combustible materials generate dust in your facility can be a risk factor as well. Dust-generating activities, like sieving and blasting can increase the possibility of dust buildup in your manufacturing plant. It has to go somewhere, and hopefully it’s not an excessive amount that spells danger for you and your staff.

    In addition, avoid creating a recipe for disaster by not putting all of the ingredients of dust danger together in one formula: combustible dust, heat, air, concentrated dust area and the right dust particle distribution can provide a dangerous mixture of flammable dust.

    Make Dust Inspections the Norm
    Although it’s not a cure all preventative measure, regular dust inspections can go a long way to keep your employees and facility safe from dust disasters. Surprisingly, it takes less than 1/32 of an inch of dust to cause dust combustion in your plant. Use best practice safeguards to keep a close eye on these dust levels to ensure they don’t lead to a fire hazard.

    Through education about dust danger safeguards, avoiding inflammatory dust particle conditions and regular monitoring, you’ll be on your way to avoid combustible dust explosions at your facility.

  5. What’s That Smell Coming From Your Commercial HVAC

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    What’s That Smell Coming From Your Commercial HVAC
    If you’ve noticed a lingering odor stemming from your commercial HVAC, you’re probably not the only one. Smelly HVACs produce a stale, smelly air quality that is unpleasant and uninviting. Troubling odors, such as mold or bathroom-related smells that are around all of the time can be hard for both employees and customers to get past. There are several possible reasons for your disturbing commercial HVAC smells that need to be determined so your customers don’t continue to have a negative experience when they visit your establishment.

    Getting to the source of your commercial establishment odor problems is half the battle. Once you determine the smell is coming from your commercial HVAC, which is designed to circulate good quality air in buildings, getting the odor under control has to do with the airflow. The key is to get the bad air out, and let the good quality, fresh air flow in.

    If the odor is localized in your restrooms, for instance, commercial HVACs should have an effective exhaust fan component that pulls out more of the bad air and pushes in fresh, clean air into the bathroom. This necessary negative airflow will help to keep the odor localized so the smelly air quality will not seep into other areas of your commercial space and make customers question whether they should shorten their stay or find another business to frequent.

    Commercial kitchens need a similar type of negative air pressure ventilation to keep strong food odors from spreading throughout the restaurant, school, or healthcare facility. Exhaust fans are very beneficial tools used to combat tough smells, but a good working HVAC system works to move air to where it should and should not be within commercial spaces so customers can breathe good, healthy air. Smoky kitchens with strong, lingering food smells can be a source of irritation for customers, including those who suffer with Asthma and other types of breathing problems.

    HVACs are supposed to control and neutralize odors, not create them, so these types of smells mean that your HVAC isn’t working properly, and it needs to be diagnosed and serviced by a licensed HVAC professional. If there are any blockages in the circulation system, the HVAC air will not move as it should and keep odors at bay. A commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning system needs maintenance to make sure it is operating effectively to produce the negative air flow necessary to treat stubborn odors in commercial areas that produce potent odors that you don’t want to permeate the building.

    Musty, moldy or other types of strong odors coming from your HVAC are sure indications that there is something wrong with the way your system functions. Treat your air ventilation system at the source to give your employees and customers the pleasant airflow and experience they should expect when they spend time in your commercial space.

  6. 6 Neglected Surfaces Philadelphia Restaurants Need To Keep Clean

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    6 Neglected Surfaces Philadelphia Restaurants Need To Keep Clean

    6 Neglected Surfaces Philadelphia Restaurants Need To Keep Clean
    When choosing a place to dine out, restaurant patrons look for a clean venue with good food and fine service. A 2012 Technomic poll of 38,000 consumers revealed that cleanliness was the 2ndmost important factor when choosing a restaurant. Neglected restaurant surfaces will surely turn customers away, so the best way to attract and retain customers in your local restaurant is to keep them clean and sanitized for a safe, healthy working and dining experience for everyone.

    The Entrance Area
    First impressions m`atter. When prospective and returning customers enter your Philadelphia restaurant, they expect the floors, walls and counter surfaces to be clean, attractive and inviting so they have a good reason to choose to dine with you as opposed to someone else.

    Dining Area Surfaces
    When you go to a dining area that has a table set with place settings and condiments, you expect the seating area to be ready to use. Unclean tables and seats are a turn off to your customers that may potentially diminish their dining experience. Regular and prompt attention to dining area cleaning will keep surfaces safe, sanitized and customer-ready at all times.

    Toppling Trash Containers
    In fast food restaurants or casual dining establishments, there can sometimes be a “trash flow” problem. In the hustle and bustle of peak hours, eateries can sometimes forget to keep the trash container area monitored, emptied and sanitized, throughout the day to keep odors and garbage piles at a minimum. The area in and around the trash container needs to be dealt with quickly to keep your establishment looking presentable.

    Cooking Areas
    If you ever took a peek into the kitchen of your local Philadelphia eatery and quickly lost your appetite, let this be a good reason to keep your cooking equipment, kitchen appliances, and countertops up to code with safe food preparation standards and procedures. Dirty kitchen surfaces that are not properly dealt with is both unsightly and a potential food safety issue.

    Dirty Floors
    When customers see dirty floors in restaurants, they may wonder if the food is safe to eat. Patrons may think twice about choosing your establishment when they walk around on sticky floor surfaces throughout the restaurant. When the Cintas Corporation surveyed close to 2100 adults in 2015, most said they wouldn’t go back to a restaurant if there was a problem with the facilities. Restaurant managers should ensure their floor surfaces are clean so their customers can have a healthy, pleasant time dining out.

    Unsanitary restroom areas, such as countertops, sinks and toilets will never do in keeping restaurant patrons in the door. If it isn’t clean, people will be apprehensive about using it. Surfaces must be fully treated with proper sanitization products to guard against food contamination and disease outbreaks.

    Since cleanliness is high on the list of things patrons look for most in restaurants, managers should keep these six neglected surfaces top-of-mind to help their guests have an optimal dining experience at Philadelphia restaurants.

  7. 10 Reasons You Should Clean Your Air Handling Unit Every Year

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    10 Reasons You Should Clean Your Air Handling Unit Every Year

    The commercial air handling unit is the core component of your heating and air conditioning system, and serves the function of processing air so fresh, clean air circulates in your commercial space. This air filtering and pumping function also affects the duct system as a whole.

    When it’s properly cleaned, air fills the commercial facility, breathing is easier and asthma triggers are lessened. However, when the air-handling unit is dirty and clogged, it becomes a source of allergens and odors that are unpleasant and unhealthy for your office facility. If you are uncertain about why you should clean your air-handling unit annually, here are ten reasons why this is important:

    Good quality air is a healthy benefit that commercial space occupants can benefit from when they experience a clean air-handling unit. They breathe in crisp, fresh air throughout the commercial space when the air filtering source is clean and treated at the source of the air duct system through the air handling unit.

    Allergens can arise with the presence of unfiltered pollutants that are backed up in the air duct system in commercial spaces. This may trigger asthma symptoms in those who suffer with the condition. These potential triggers could negatively affect the respiratory system over time.

    Odors in confined commercial spaces from mold, kitchen exhaust, bathroom exhaust, manufacturing processes, etc. can make the space unpleasant for occupants. With a clean air duct system and air handling unit in place, these unpleasant smells can be pulled out of the space and replaced with clean, filtered air.

    Save energy with an air duct system and a clean air handling system.
    NADCA estimates about 25% – 40% of energy is wasted when air ducts are dirty or clogged. When the system is clogged up with dust and irritants, the duct system cannot work as efficiently as it should.

    Mold and other microbiological irritants can grow in an unclean commercial air handling unit and potentially harm employees or inhabitants of commercial buildings when these irritants are not removed.

    Commercial food preparation produces strong smells that must go through the proper air duct circulation process so the food odors don’t overwhelm the commercial space and adversely affect employees and building inhabitants.

    Temperature is controlled by the air-handling unit, producing hot or cold air. Unclean or clogged units can cause the air to circulate throughout the space at the undesired temperature.

    Debris and unclean air handlingsystems can not only cause the system not to work well, but can damage some parts of the HVAC system.

    Clogged ducts can limit the airflow movement and functioning of the air duct system. A clean air handling system can help the system operate, as it should.

    Cost efficiency is an important aspect of air handling units that are cleaned and maintained for optimal effectiveness.

    These are ten good reasons why you should keep your commercial air handling system clean every year. Contact us to learn more about our commercial duct cleaning services.

  8. Top 5 Things Philadelphia Restaurants Can Do To Prevent Fires

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    Open sign on cafe hang on door at entrance.

    Philadelphia is a vibrant city with a plethora of restaurants to choose from, featuring everything from Thai food to vegan delicacies. In several Philadelphia neighborhoods, many restaurants even provide casual sidewalk dining for a fun-filled, outdoor dining experience with friends and family.

    The joys of eating out can be quickly turned to sorrow with imminent fire dangers lurking in the background of your restaurant. If you want to keep giving your customers a safe, delicious dining experience for years to come, there are five key safety measures to keep top of mind to avoid fire dangers in your Philadelphia restaurant.

    1. Make sure your cooking equipment is fireproof. If you are uncertain, find out for sure to how keep your staff and restaurant patrons safe and happy. Did you know that cooking is the leading cause of all restaurant fires? Because of this sobering statistic, it is imperative to keep all cooking equipment up to code and monitored regularly for irregularities.

    Deep fryers can be especially dangerous when they have an excessive grease buildup from the huge amount of combustible oil used in your commercial kitchen. And don’t forget about the possibility of grease buildup on other kitchen equipment, such as the hood filters and exhaust fan. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires specific cleaning frequencies based on the type of commercial cooking. Make sure you know how often your specific type of restaurant must clean the cooking equipment and exhaust hood system.

    2. Check your HVAC. Faulty heating and air conditioning can be dangerous to your health and pose a real safety hazard for all your workers and Philadelphia restaurant goers. Don’t let this insidious fire hazard pose a threat to your restaurant business and customers. Proper ventilation is needed to ensure enough air is coming in to protect against combustible gas build- up and unpleasant odors that could drive your customers away from your Philadelphia eatery.

    3. Keep your electrical wiring safe. If you want to avoid fire tragedy at your restaurant establishment, check your wiring. Are there frayed cords, sparks or crackles in your commercial wiring? If the answer is yes, unplug and get your wiring checked and fixed by a licensed, trusted electrician sooner rather than later to help prevent an electrical fire.

    4. Spread the fire extinguishers around your restaurant. Fire extinguishers need to be everywhere you, your staff and patrons are in your restaurant—not only in the kitchen area. If a fire breaks out, this life-saving equipment must be easily accessible to extinguish the fire and quickly avoid serious restaurant property or human injury.

    5. Leave commercial appliance repair to the experts. Ovens, stoves and other commercial appliances are the means by which your restaurant functions every day. Take time to inspect your appliances to make sure they are safe to use.

    Above all, restaurant owners want to protect their establishment and people from preventable fires that can cause irreparable harm. Keep a watchful eye on your commercial equipment, electrical hazards, fire extinguishers, HVAC equipment and commercial appliances to keep your restaurant fireproof and thriving for many days to come.

  9. Ten Things We Bet You Didn’t Know Could Explode

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    Danger work

    Did you ever hear the expression: “What you don’t know can’t hurt you?” This old expression might sound good, but isn’t quite true. The fact is: a small amount of manufacturing plant dust covering only 5% of a plant facility can explode if suspended in the air under the right conditions. Combustible dust can cause property damage and potential loss of life, if industrial dust particles aren’t properly monitored and controlled.

    The dozens of agricultural, chemical, carbonaceous, plastic and other types of products manufactured in plants everyday go through a seemingly harmless production cycle, but elevated combustible dust explosions reported in plants and factories cause over 500 explosions every year. Here are ten surprising combustible dust hazards that you should guard against at your manufacturing plant:

        Sugar dust-Sugar is often used to satisfy the sweet tooth, but one of its less attractive qualities is that it’s flammable.The National Fire Protection Association reports concentrated amounts of sweet dust particles that are 420 microns across can ignite and cause an explosive chain reaction. Don’t let this happen to your plant.
        Grains-It may be hard to believe, but agricultural dust products, such as wheat and cornmeal can produce great breads, cakes and the like, but dangerous grain dust particles can build up and potentially level a food plant with accumulated grain dust.
        Pet food-Your cat or dog’s favorite dry food manufacturing plant creates dust during the manufacturing process that results in dust particles. Just like people food, pet food can combust and cause harm to life or property before it ever makes its way to your pet’s favorite bowl.
        Apple or carrot dust-Fruit agricultural dust may be a little-known fact to many, but we can include fruit dust in the list of potential combustible products OSHA warns the industrial manufacturing industry about.
        Tea-Before Earl Grey or Green tea bags make it to your favorite tea cup, tea processing plants need to keep concentrated levels of tea from rising to unwanted combustible conditions.
        Powdered milk-Agricultural food products such as powered milk can ignite under optimal combustible settings, so food manufactures have to avoid setting the stage for dangerous combustion to occur.
        Activated charcoal-There may be little surprise here, but activated charcoal dust is flammable and potentially explosive in a concentrated environment, so combustible level monitoring is vital to avoid a workplace catastrophe.
        Artificial sweeteners-Artificial sweeteners used as a low-calorie sweetener are especially combustible, so food product plants need to be particularly mindful of this dust danger.
        Paper dust-Industrial paper dust is particularly tricky because the paper dust clings to walls and surfaces so easily.Professional combustible dust treatment will reach even the toughest places.
        Lactose-Chemical dust, like Lactose, is a popular milk ingredient that isn’t widely thought of in the combustible dust category, but its dust can spell disaster for your manufacturing plant employees.

    Now that you know which food, manufacturing materials and chemicals can ignite in your factory, get the combustible dust cleaning and monitoring resources in place to keep you and your manufacturing plant employees safe and well-informed about combustible dust dangers while on the job.

  10. 5 Tips to Keep Restaurant Surfaces Clean

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    Food Safety Handwritten With Red Marker

    5 Tips to Keep Restaurant Surfaces Clean
    As with all client-facing business, the ultimate customer service goal is to provide safe, thorough and pleasant service for your customers so they will want to come back again and again. This is certainly true of restaurants as they seek to maximize their dining patrons’ experience with safe, clean, tasty, pleasantly-served food that creates a memorable and potentially repeatable customer experience.

    A major component of restaurant customer care is maintaining clean surfaces where food is prepared and customers eat and convene. Dirty surfaces are not only a dining patron turnoff, but can lead to harmful contaminants that can sicken your customers and restaurant workers. Here are five tips to keep restaurant surfaces safe and sanitized for customers and workers at all times:

    Tip 1: Frequent and thorough hand washing-In order to keep surfaces clean, food handlers must first keep their hands sanitized through careful handwashing. The Food and Safety industry recommends washing your hands under running water for about 20 seconds to avoid the spread of contaminants and germs from one worker to another as well as patrons. This very simple, yet sometimes overlooked practice can head germs and contaminants off at the pass.

    Tip 2: Clean cooking and food prep utensils and equipment during each shift-To avoid the possibility of cross-contamination when preparing raw meat and fresh vegetables, avoid mixing raw and cooked food cutting boards and cutlery by washing them right away with hot, soapy water to avoid a restaurant germ outbreak that could make customers sick.

    Tip 3: Sanitize as you go-Every day, food servers have the arduous task of balancing food preparation while keeping restaurant work areas safe and sanitized at all times. Clean all surfaces after each kitchen task with an antibacterial cleaning solution to minimize the spread of contaminants and germs. Some restaurants use checklists in their kitchen area to remind all workers to clean their surfaces and give step-by step instructions for each kitchen cleaning station.

    Tip 4: Wear your hat and gloves-Just like you need hats and gloves to keep your hands safe and warm during frigid weather, you can maximize kitchen safety and handling with hair coverings and plastic gloves. These food service items will protect you from accidentally getting your hair in the food, or spreading cold or virus germs when using bare hands.

    Tip 5: Clear and clean dining areas constantly throughout the day-When restaurant customers are done with their dining experience, clear and clean their eating surface right away with a handy sanitizing spray, clean rag and ready hands to clear away dirty dishes.

    When restaurant surfaces are clean and presentable, everyone wins. Customers feel safe and comfortable throughout their dining experience, and workers feel confident they are cooking and preparing food in a healthy environment that is customer and employee- friendly.

    These restaurant surface cleaning tips are not an exhaustive list, but can give your dining establishment improved cleaning best practices so your patrons can enjoy a well-sanitized, safe and comfortable eatery with their family and friends—every time.

    We offer a Kitchen and Restaurant Cleaning Service that provides:

    • Deep surface restaurant cleaning and kitchen stewarding services.
    • Detail kitchen equipment cleaning.
    • Floor to ceiling detail cleaning.

    Please feel free to give us a call to see if we’re a good fit for your commercial kitchen cleaning needs.