Preventing Fires This Summer
Prevent fires in your home.
Summer is slowly approaching and with that comes fire season for Southern California. However, cooking and heating are the top two leading causes for house fires. What can we do to prevent house fires?
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside bedrooms.
- Test your smoke alarms every month and change out the batteries if they aren't working
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking, or by the grill when grilling.
- Turn off your ovens and keep the surrounding areas clear of clutter.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from fireplaces, heaters, etc.
- Unplug or turn off heaters when you aren't in the room.
- Have your heating systems and chimney’s regularly inspected.
Be safe this summer and protect yourself and your home from fire damage with these simple prevention tips.
Document Restoration Process
SERVPRO can restore your documents!
In many instances of water/fire damage or even bacterial contamination, personal belongings and documents can get ruined. Some of our most valuable possessions can be books and pictures. The last thing we’d want is for them to be destroyed. Thankfully SERVPRO has highly trained specialists in document restoration. So there is still hope for your priceless pictures, books and documents!
Document Drying and Restoration Techniques
SERVPRO uses a few different techniques to restore/dry documents.
Vacuum Freeze: This method takes a damaged document and completely freezes it. It is then placed under a vacuum in order to remove water from the documents. This allows the water to go directly from ice to vapor removing any liquid that there might be.
Gamma Irradiation: This process will sterilize documents that were exposed and/or contaminated by bacteria, viruses, or chemicals.
Digitization Services: During this process SERVPRO will help digitize your documents. This helps you save storage space and will prevent them from being damaged or lost. This is usually best for personal or government documents that you cannot lose or ruin.
No matter which technique you prefer, you can be rest assured that SERVPRO has a way to restore your invaluable documents.
What Do Moisture Meters Do?
Moisture meters detect how much water may be on a surface.
A moisture meter is a tool used by SERVPRO and many other restoration companies to detect moisture in certain materials.
Most moisture meters are used on wood such as flooring or furniture. However, there are some calibrated to be used on concrete. Typically the scale ranges from 5-40% moisture content when testing on wood and 0-100 when tested on non-wood materials such as concrete. Some meters have an additional scale ranging from 0.2-50% MC used for reading gypsum which typically makes up plaster, blackboard, or drywall.
There are also usually color indicators that make it a lot easier to detect moisture. Green (dry), yellow (moderate), and red (saturated) coincide with the other scales on the meter to help identify how much moisture is found.
How to Tell if Mold is Growing
It's best to pay attention to the warning signs of mold.
Mold can be hard to detect and dangerous if left untouched. There are a few signs that there could be mold on your property.
- Peeling Wallpaper: bubbling or cracking paint or wallpaper usually means there is moisture in the wall.
- Water Spots: Along with the peeling wallpaper, mold can cause brown discolored spots on your walls
- Musty Odor: You’ll start to smell an old or musty smell in the affected room.
- Allergies: Sometimes if there is mold in your walls, you will develop symptoms of allergies or a cold such as:
- Sore throat
- Coughing and sneezing
- Skin irritation
Mold grows in damp areas so it's best to pay attention to any abnormalities in your paint or wallpaper. If you discover any of these signs, call SERVPRO to do a free inspection. We will help you come up with the best course of action to get your property back to its original state.
Fire Safety: What to Do Until Help Arrives
You can help minimize fire damage!
If your property has undergone fire damage, there are a few precautionary measures you can take while waiting for SERVPRO to arrive.
What to Do:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty the freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of the leaves.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What Not to Do:
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your local SERVPRO.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat, or water.
- Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Never do anything that could put yourself or others in harm's way. SERVPRO will be there as soon as possible to restore your property to its pre-fire condition.
Types of Contaminated Water
Avoid cleaning up contaminated water on your own.
Water Damage can be classified into three types of contaminated water. Each type requires a different plan of action that will be determined by SERVPRO experts when they inspect your home or business.
- Water from a clean source is like a broken water line.
- If left untreated can degrade into a category 2 or 3.
- May contain bacteria and viruses.
- Can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated.
- Some examples include washing machine overflow or dishwasher overflow.
- Grossly contaminated and could cause health effects.
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes.
- Water from flooding rivers or a sewer backup.
Water contaminated with a sewage backup is considered an emergency and should be treated as quickly as possible. SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We have experts with specialized training to restore your building to its pre-disaster condition.
Water Damage Tips
Protect your belongings from water damage.
Like in any emergency, safety should be your priority. In the case of flooding or any other instance of water damage, there are a few things you should and should not do while waiting for help.
What to Do:
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in the summer.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- Gather loose items from floors.
What Not to Do:
- Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
- Don't leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpet floors.
- Don't use your household vacuum, to remove water.
- Don't use television or other household appliances
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet; keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
Remember to perform these tasks if it is safe to do so. SERVPRO will arrive promptly to help get your property back to its pre-damage condition.
Fire Safety in Commercial Buildings
Maintain fire safety in large commercial buildings.
It can take just 30 seconds for a manageable fire to become deadly. Although the flames may start out small, they can quickly engulf not just the room but an entire building. Commercial buildings often have multiple stories with elevators or stairways. If a building has an elevator, it acts as a chimney during a fire. It brings smoke and flames to other building floors, spreading the fire and causing even more damage.
Fire safety is extremely important in any building, especially in multi-level structures. Be sure to have safe escape routes and evacuation strategies. Routes that will keep them out of the path of the fire. This means avoiding places that conduct heat and smoke like elevators. Make sure all the employees know the location of fire extinguishers. You can also assign one individual to do routine fire safety checks. For example, making sure the fire extinguishers are filled.
Fire prevention is just as important. After all, it's better to avoid a fire than to put one out. It's important to keep up with building and equipment maintenance. That includes, confirming electrical fuses and outlets are in good condition, arranging rooms without fire hazards, removing flammable materials, etc.
Despite taking even the best fire prevention methods, fires can still occur. SERVPRO can clean up the damage like it never even happened.
Is Water the Best Way to Extinguish a Fire?
Water can sometimes make a fire worse.
Most people think that the best way to put out a fire is with water. However, using water on certain types of fires can actually make them even more dangerous and will maximize the amount of fire damage.
When Water is Recommended
Water can be used effectively, but not for every fire. Class A fires are the most common and easiest to put out. They are made up of solid combustible materials like paper, wood, and plastic. With Class A fires, you want to remove the fire's heat supply. Water is an effective way to do that and is recommended in this instance.
When to Avoid Using Water
Other than Class A, it's usually best to avoid using water to extinguish a fire. For example, Class C and K fires. Class C fires involve electrical equipment and are common in commercial buildings but can happen in residential buildings as well. The first thing to do is to cut off the power source from the appliance if it is safe to do so. A carbon dioxide or dry powder extinguisher will do well to help put out the fire. If you are able to disconnect the power source, this fire can become a Class A fire. However, it is best to avoid using water as it can conduct electricity and put you at even more risk.
Class K fires usually involve cooking oils. These are typically common in commercial or residential kitchens. In a commercial kitchen, there will most likely be a wet chemical extinguisher that should be used in the event of a Class K fire. However, if you are cooking at home you may not have access to one. In that case, cover the fire immediately with a lid or cookie sheet. Do not use water on Class K fires. It can cause hot grease or oil to splash on you.
When in Doubt, Get Out!
If you aren't sure what the best way to extinguish the fire is or the flames are getting out of control, evacuate the building immediately and call 911! It can take just 30 seconds for a small flame to grow into a deadly fire. Once the fire is put out, call your local SERVPRO professionals to repair the damage. SERVPRO has the knowledge and equipment to restore the damage done by each type of fire. We will be there within one hour of your call and will make it like it never even happened.
Commercial or Residential Roof Damage: What to do/What Not to Do
Severe roof damage caused by a storm.
A severe storm may leave your commercial building, your home or property with damaged windows, walls, or a damaged roof. Acting quickly to avoid further damage caused by natural elements or intruders is essential. The first step is to contact your local SERVPRO professionals and experience our rapid commercial or residential response teams.
What should you do in the meantime?
- Above all, safety should be your number one priority. Vacate the premises in the event of major roof damage.
- Stay away from electrical hazards such as electrical lines that may have fallen.
- Contact the utility company to ensure lines are de-energized.
- An initial roof assessment should be done from the ground since damage may not always be visible.
What should you avoid while waiting for help?
- Don't enter rooms where overhead damage may be a safety hazard.
- Do not attempt to install a tarp during a storm.
- Don't climb on a roof. The damage is not always visible.
- Don't walk on tarped surfaces.
- Do not use a metal ladder near power lines or in close proximity to energized electrical equipment.
- Don't attempt to remove debris from the roof
SERVPRO strives to arrive at your property within just one hour of your call. Until we arrive, make sure to keep safety as your main priority when you experience storm damage. Not only we will assist with emergency services we are also equipped to resort your property to pre loss condition and make it "Like it never even happened".