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What to do when water invades

8/14/2019 (Permalink)

What’s the first thing that you are supposed to do after a major storm passes through your property? Apart from a storm, there are other factors that can cause flooding in your building, including burst pipes, appliance breakdowns, sewer back-up, faulty sump-pump and more. This can be a difficult time for you, but there are steps that you can take to feel in control of the situation. Here is what SERVPRO of Fairfield recommends:

Safety First

If the water damage was serious enough for you to leave your house to stay elsewhere, you should make sure that your flooded house is safe before you return. As a necessary safety precaution, check for any noticeable structural damage, such as loosened foundation elements, cracked walls, holes, and warping before entering your home. If there are any damages to sewer lines, electric devices, gas and water pipes, contact your utility companies immediately. Also, remember to switch off the fuse box and the main power source for your house because water and electricity don’t mix.

Take Pictures

Before you think about doing anything regarding the damage caused by water, make sure that you take clear photos or video for your insurer. Soft copies are useful because they can be copied and stored electronically. If you choose to dry out your property and make repairs before documenting the damage, you could significantly reduce your expected compensation.

Be Concerned About Your Health

The water in your flooded house may be clear, but there’s a chance it could be contaminated by household chemicals or even sewage. In light of this, you are advised to wear rubber gloves, high water-resistant boots or waders when you enter your home. Any food that may have been affected by the water should be discarded. Also, use only boiled water until the water entering your house is declared to be safe for consumption.

Contact Your Insurance Company

SERVPRO of Fairfield advises that you contact your insurance provider immediately. Homeowners insurance varies depending on the type of coverage that you have. Your provider will send someone (an insurance adjuster) to evaluate the damage and determine if it’s covered by your policy. This is why it’s essential to document every detail before cleaning out your home and making repairs. The photos and videos that you took may be used by the insurance company to assess the damage correctly. If there are any repairs that you want to be done immediately, you should talk to the insurance company about them. 

Cleanup

You should start the cleanup process after your insurance company has assessed the damage and advise you to go ahead. Anything that’s not safe for use should be thrown away. You may also be advised to remove the drywall, insulation, and flooring to prevent mildew and mold from spreading in your house. Also, furniture should be dried out, cleaned thoroughly or thrown away if the damaged caused is beyond repair. 

Mold starts to emerge 24-hours after a flood, and if left to grow, it can be very frustrating to eliminate them from your flooded house. In this light, you are advised to remove your belongings from water and dry them as soon as possible. However, you should seek the help of an expert to assess the damage before doing anything. SERVPRO of Fairfield is here to help you to assess your damage and advise you accordingly.

Prevent Grease Fires

8/14/2019 (Permalink)

Grease fires most often occur when a pan is left on the fire for too long. Another way grease fires occur is when excess grease on the drip pan or stove top accidentally catches fire. A small mistake can lead to the need for fire damage repair services soon after the fire. Preventing grease fires is easy as long as you stay in the kitchen while cooking and take a few simple safety measures. Here’s a look at how to prevent and handle grease fires in your kitchen:

• When heating oil for deep-fat frying or pan-frying, stay in the kitchen at all times. Unattended cooking is the number one reason for kitchen fires.
• Before turning the heat on, ensure the burner or stovetop is cool. Also, clean any excess grease or oil spills from the drip pan and around the burner.
• Check the heat ratings of cooking oil. The ratings indicate the maximum temperature the oil can be cooked at before catching fire. The smoking point of most vegetable oils is around 450°F and of animal oils, around 375°F. Clip a thermometer to the side of the pot to gauge the temperature of the oil.
• When cooking oil is close to burning point, it will emit smoke and will ruin the taste of your food. If this happens, turn off the heat, carefully remove the pan from the burner and allow the pan to cool off.
• Don’t heat grease before dropping food into it. Otherwise, hot grease might splash out onto nearby objects, creating a fire hazard and causing injuries.
• Be extra cautious when putting food into hot oil. Use long utensils that allow you to gently put food into hot grease without dropping it and causing splashes.
• Use a lid or cover to prevent hot oil from splattering. If you need to stir the food, remove the lid carefully and put it back when you finish stirring.
• Clean oil and food spills immediately after they occur. First, turn off the stove and remove the food from the heat source. Then, wait for the stove to cool off and carefully wipe off the oil spills.
• If grease catches fire, don’t try to move the pan or pot. Put a metal lid on top of the pan to shut off the oxygen supply to the fire.
• A small fire that is contained within a pan can be extinguished by pouring baking soda on the fire until it outs. If you don’t feel safe controlling the fire yourself, immediately exit the house and call 911 for emergency help.
• Use a class K fire extinguisher to put out grease flames that are out of control.
• Lastly, NEVER use water to put out a grease fire! Pouring water may cause grease to splash and spreads the fire. Never move the pan or run while holding it either. You’ll risk splashing grease onto yourself and around the house.

However, even if you follow every one of these tips, accidents do happen. If fire damage strikes your home, be sure to contact SERVPRO of Fairfield to help you get your home cleaned up and looking like new quickly, with no stress to you!

Exterior Water Damage

8/9/2019 (Permalink)

Water can infiltrate a property in many ways, causing damage to its components, including the roof, walls, foundation, and more. To prevent water intrusion, property owners must take preventative measures both on their home’s interior and exterior. This article deals with protecting a home’s exterior from water damage.

Roof

  • The roof needs to be inspected for missing or damaged shingles, flashings, and tiles.
  • The vents, flues, chimneys, air conditioners, and evaporative coolers must be installed properly and in good shape.
  • The roof should also be checked for leaks around rooftop air-conditioning units, vents for exhaust or plumbing, and other specialized equipment.
  • Tree limbs that hang above the roof must be cut so they don’t cling to shingles and trap moisture.

Gutters and Downspouts

  • Gutters and downspouts must be kept clean, free from debris, and in good condition to allow water to flow freely.
  • Metal screens should be installed to prevent leaves, twigs, silt and other debris from clogging the gutters and drainage holes.
  • Downspouts must direct water at least two metres away from the home’s foundation. Installing downspout extensions may be needed to achieve this.

Doors and Windows

  • The corners of the doors and windows should be checked for leaks. Signs of leaks include peeling paint, paint discolouration, and swollen frame.
  • Exterior doors and windows should be protected from the sun, rain, and snow by installing overhangs above them.
  • Doors and windows must close tightly. To check for a tight fit, there should be no cracks between the sash and frame of the windows.
  • Damaged flashing or weather-stripping around windows should be repaired or replaced.

Walls

  • Cracked or broken siding boards, bricks, stone or other masonry, as well as structural sheathing must be repaired.
  • Any openings from wiring, plumbing, phone, cable, and heating and air conditioning lines must be sealed with foam or caulk. Also, the damaged or unpainted wood surrounding these openings must be repaired.
  • Checking for signs of termite activity on the walls and the wooden structures around the foundation is also recommended. Termites can eat wood, plaster, and even metal siding.
  • The exhaust vent doors must open and close properly.
  • Any shrubs and other landscaping features must be removed from along the walls.
  • When irrigating the garden, directing water towards the house should be avoided to prevent excessive water near the foundation.

Keeping properties safe from water damage from the inside is also critical. The SERVPRO team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mold damage. 707-207-0122

After the Fire

8/9/2019 (Permalink)

A fire and the damage it causes can be nightmarish. In just a few moments, an entire room can be destroyed, and a fire restoration services team will need to be called in. Hopefully you’ll never have to face such a scenario, but if you do, there are some things that you should never do following a fire.

Don’t Try To Clean Up Yourself

Vacuuming, wiping down the walls, touching the drapes, and any other attempt at cleaning the place up yourself can put you at risk of inhaling the extremely dangerous chemicals that are in soot and ash. Besides this, you could cause further damage to your property. Ash and soot require specialized, professional cleaning from a fire restoration services team.

Don’t Walk Around On Uncovered Carpets

Put clean sheets or towels over your carpet before you walk around on it. Otherwise you may get ash and soot setting into your shoes, and this is bad for your health.

Don’t Turn Appliances On

This goes especially for fires that took place in the kitchen. Don’t turn any electrical appliances on that were inside the room during the fire. They’ll need to be checked and cleaned professionally before being turned on again. If you turn them on when ash or other debris may be trapped inside of them, you could ruin them. Also, do not turn on ceiling appliances such as a light fixture or fan if the ceiling is wet. The wiring could be damp and could cause electric shock.

Don’t Deodorize

If you use the wrong type of deodorizer, such as a store-bought or a commercial deodorizer, you might offset the better formulas that the fire restoration services cleaning team will use that break up smoke molecules and improve odors.

Don’t Try To Clean Your Carpet

If you attempt to remove ash, soot, or water from your carpet or shampoo it, you’re again putting yourself at risk of inhaling very dangerous chemicals from that ash and soot. And in most cases, your carpet will need to be replaced anyway.

Don’t Turn On Your HVAC System

Keep your cooling or heating system turned off until your home is cleaned. By turning on the HVAC system, you’re inviting smoke to travel through your ductwork, which can cause secondary damage to your home.

Don’t Try To Keep Furniture

If there was heavy smoke during the fire, don’t try to continue using your upholstered furniture or carpet. If you keep using them, you’re putting yourself at risk of respiratory health problems. Your upholstered furniture and carpet will need to be replaced. In fact, you shouldn’t even sit or lie down on upholstered furniture that has been in a fire, even for a few minutes.

Knowing what not to do after a fire can make a bad situation a little easier, and can help prevent further damage.

At SERVPRO of Fairfield, we’ve seen our share of fire and smoke damage, and we’ve also seen it made worse when homeowners attempt to clean up themselves. Trust us—don’t try it! Just wait for fire restoration service professionals to come take care of it. If you ever find yourself in need of the best fire restoration services in the Bay Area, SERVPRO of Fairfield is here for you.

You have had a house fire, now what?

8/7/2019 (Permalink)

The first 24 hours after a house fire is a critical time period. If the fire department knows anything, restoration companies have heard it on their radios and will send their “chasers” out trying to get you to sign a contract.  Whatever you do, do not make a decision while you are upset.  Fire clean up takes a long time and a fast decision could be a mistake.

  1. Getting You Home Boarded Up.  Ask the fire department if they have a recommendation (some counties have a rotating list of restoration companies)  or you can pick one of the chasers in front of you. Be clear that you are only hiring them for the board-up. Take the cards of all the chasers at the fire, tell them you will make a decision in the next few days on the restoration.

 

  1.  Find a Safe Place to Stay:  Smoke is a carcinogen.  If you can smell smoke, it is not safe.  Most insurance policies will put you up in a hotel,  family or friends can take you in or you can contact a  local disaster relief agency, such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army.  

 

  1.  Research Local Restoration Companies:  Your insurance company will send out their preferred vendor, that company does a lot of work for the insurance company and will do everything they can to keep the insurance company happy.  Not necessarily the company you want working for you. An independent company will be your advocate. Yelp and BBB will give you the basics.

 

  1.  Contact your Insurance Company:  once you start a claim, they will cover living and other daily expenses and help you with the clean-up.  Whichever restoration company you choose will work with the insurance adjuster to help you decide on the best plan of actio.

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  1.  Recover your Possessions:  If you have enough insurance, the items destroyed in a house fire will be cleaned or replaced. The restoration company will make an inventory of your possessions. However, the best and easiest way to be reimbursed is to have your own inventory kept either on the internet or in a fireproof safe that includes the date of purchase, cost and description of each item whenever possible.

Fire damage restoration entails the total cleanup of your property and possessions to preloss condition. Trained and certified technicians use special equipment and cleaning products. Fire damage restoration also involves cleaning up the water damage caused by the fire department.

If you’re in need of fire damage recovery after a fire, give us a call at 707-2070122 today.

Water Damage and your foundation

8/7/2019 (Permalink)

One of the things we often see when people call us for water and storm damage restoration is how flooding affects the very foundation of homes. In these cases, it is about far more than the cosmetic damage or even the mold damage that water can cause to your home, it is about your home’s very structural integrity. This being the case, let’s look at four ways in which water can threaten the foundation of your family’s home.

  • Soil saturation: Water can cause the soil around the foundation of your home to loosen. This can lead to water penetrating your home. To avoid this, make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clean and working in proper order.
  • Soil Erosion: Water can begin to slowly wash away the soil that supports your home’s foundation causing it to settle. Sometimes these signs are very subtle and take some time to occur. Signs of this include uneven floors, drywall cracks, tilting chimneys etc. That is why it is important to have experts look at all aspects of your home in the aftermath of a flood.
  • Hydrostatic pressure buildup: Hydrostatic pressure – which is caused by soil that is over saturated with water – can build up and cause your homes wall’s to push inward leading to cracking and bowing. This can happen suddenly or over time as a result of heavy rainfall.
  • Excessive tree root growth: Overly saturated soil can cause tree roots around your home’s foundation to grow. These roots can eventually begin to add even more pressure to the foundation of your home and cause your foundation to crack. This in turn can even lead to a home “leaning” noticeably.
  • Water can cause damage to wood structural components near your foundation: Foundations that are permeated with water could damage the wooden components of your home. This in turn can lead to mold growth. It is notoriously difficult to remove mold from wood as it is porous. Our professionals have experience in removing wood from homes permanently regardless of what caused it to grow. 

Most homeowners don’t even think about the foundation of their home until it is damaged in some way. But water is one of those forces that can affect the very core of your home. Therefore, flood repair is a very complicated part of recovery from storms. It takes professionals who have encountered these kinds of emergencies and know exactly how to mitigate the damage that flooding often causes.

Making your home fire safe

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

The following article can be used as a fire safety checklist for your home. By employing all of these great tips you will actually be potentially saving your own life, as well as your families. Here are the best tips to stay fire safe this season.

If you have smokers in your household, make sure that they have a designating smoking area. This doesn't need to be an obvious looking smoking enclosure, it just needs to be somewhere outside that is free from flammable objects and contains clean ashtrays for cigarette butts.

You must eliminate clutter and allow plenty of room for flammable goods. If you have kids around, these places should be out of reach and possible locked. These storage areas must not be exposed to any electricity or heat sources. If flammable goods are kept in a shed outside make sure that there is plenty of ventilation and heat is not trapped.

Make sure that everyone in your household is up to date with the evacuation procedures should there be a need. An evacuation drill should be practiced at least every 6-12 months.

The evacuation process should be aimed at getting everybody out of the house is the fastest possible manner and leaving personal items behind. Following on from this, you should also have all emergency phone numbers clearly displayed next to every phone. The evacuation path must be kept clear and easy to navigate at all times. You must consider any locks, deadlocks, or other obstructions in the path of evacuation and these must be made as easy as possible to navigate.

Ensure that rubbish bins are emptied daily, all clutter is thrown away, and electrical items are put away safely after use. Identifying fire hazards is a skill and you should work on identifying and eliminating all hazards around the home. This is especially easy by removing all clutter in your home that could be considered a threat.

At least two fire extinguishers per average household is usually enough, but these should be clearly marked so that everyone knows exactly here to look. Fire alarms should be carefully placed in fire 'hotspots' around your home. Any fire sprinklers and other fire equipment is advised but not necessary.

You must ensure everything is done to prevent a fire from occurring in your home. A common cause of household fires is due to an electrical issue. Ensure that you have an adequate number of power points available and that you are not overloading them with adapters and multiple appliances if not needed.

Another point to make is that you should check that you have circuit breaker points installed and that they are all working correctly. These will shut off power to a certain section of your home if power is overloaded. They are a great fire prevention tool.

In conclusion, you must build up awareness to fire hazards and act accordingly to eliminate these hazards. If you can get a two in one fire alarm that also detects carbon monoxide in the air you will successfully eliminate two hazards in one.

No job too big

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

No Job Is Too Large

The SERVPRO Commercial Large Loss Division is composed of our best of the best in restoration. Our elite large-loss specialists are prequalified and strategically positioned throughout the United States to handle any size disaster.

Every large loss is supervised by a commercial operations manager to help ensure seamless communication and timely mitigation.

At SERVPRO, the difference is our ability to dispatch trained production professionals and cut costs through the strategic placement and oversight of temporary labor. Get the professionals,call SERVPRO.

Clients for the Commercial Large Loss program include the following:

  • The Hospitality Industry
  • Property Managers
  • Universities
  • Municipalities
  • The Pentagon

Should a storm or major event strike, call 1-800-SERVPRO

Catastrophic Storm and Major Event Response

The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team can provide help whether you're dealing with a tornado, hurricane, blizzard or flood. The SERVPRO System has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby should a disaster strike near you. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are prepared for the unpredictable.

With the ability to mobilize local command centers, along with the resources of more than 1,650 Franchises nationwide, no disaster is too big. Recent mobilizations of the Catastrophic Storm Response Teams include:

  • 2014 Polar Vortex
  • 2012 Sandy
  • 2010 Nashville floods
  • 2008 Ike
  • 2007 Chicago floods
  • 2007 Ohio floods
  • 2007 California wildfires
  • 2005 Katrina/Wilma/Rita

How to restore a fire damage

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

1. Remove Fire Damaged Materials

First, remove all the burned and smoke damaged materials. The obvious items are the pieces of furniture and appliances that look like they’ve been through a fire. They will look melted and blackened and like they’re from the set of the most recent Marvel movie. The not so obviously damaged items that also need to be removed are the smoke-damaged items. All of the items in the adjoining rooms to where the fire occurred are unfortunately probably going to fall into this category. This also means that the paint and probably the drywall from some of the rooms, depending on their proximity to the fire.

2. Air Out The Smoke Damaged Space

Second and possibly the easiest step is airing out the smoke damaged space. This step requires the use of industrial air movers which are giant fans that rapidly circulate air throughout an enclosed space effectively filling the space with new fresh air and getting rid of the old smoke-stained air. All that needs to be done is to place the air movers in the space, turn them on and let those air movers do their work!

3. Rebuild and Restore

The third and hardest of all the steps is the rebuild, restoring the fire-damaged space to all of its original glory and maybe even then some! This means replacing the building materials you had to remove like paint and drywall and all the appliances and furniture and carpeting. Building something is always harder than destroying it, which is why this step ranks harder than the original demolition of the fire-damaged space. That being said many people will take this opportunity to rebuild spaces more to their liking if that’s not making lemonade out of lemons then I don’t know what is!

What not to do

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Here’s what NOT to do after commercial water damage:

  1. Do not enter a room with standing water in it until all electricity has been turned off.
    - Live wires touching water can electrify the water, making standing water in the room very dangerous. Make sure all electricity is disconnected or off prior to entering a room with standing water.
  2. Do not use a regular household vacuum to remove water.
    - Regular household vacuum’s are not meant to handle large volumes of water. Sucking up standing water with a household vacuum will definitely break it and potentially cause it to short circuit.
  3. Do not attempt to lift tacked down carpet without professional help.
    - Wet carpet is very heavy. Not only could you hurt yourself trying to remove damp carpet but carpet also contains a variety of tacks that can hurt you if you are not trained in pulling it up correctly.
  4. Do not use electrical appliances when carpet or flooring is still wet.
    - Exposure to water can cause electrical appliances to short circuit or fail. Since they are not manufactured to be “water proof”, water can easily get into vulnerable areas in the appliances and greatly increase your chance of electrocution or fire.
  5. Do not touch or disturb any visible mold.
    - Mold spreads very easily. Mold caused by water is dangerous to you and can have harmful health effects. Make sure you call a mold damage specialist to handle the cleanup and removal of mold so as to not cause harm to yourself or your employees.