Preparing your Home or Business for Fire Season
Here are some things you can do to ‘harden’ your home and commercial building and make it more fire resistant.
Well, we’re at it again folks! Fire season has come blazin’ back this year and with the few that have crept up a little too close for comfort, we wanted to jump in and do our part to help ready our online community with some helpful pointers. That way, you can be rest assured in knowing that you’re ‘as prepared as possible’ to weather the next wildfire that breaks out.
As a Fire & Water Restoration Company who works in people’s homes and office’s following wildfire damage, we hear all the time, “If I had only been prepared…” or “I never would have thought this would happen to me.” We wanted to pass along some practical preventive tips we picked up from The National Interagency Fire Center, a frontrunner in wildfire preparation.
- Use Fire Resistant Building Material - "The Best Thing
That You Can Do"
The roof and exterior structure of your dwelling should be constructed of non-combustible or fire resistant materials such as fire resistant roofing materials, tile, slate, sheet iron, aluminum, brick, or stone. Wood siding, cedar shakes, exterior wood paneling, and other highly combustible materials should be treated with fire retardant chemicals.
- Maintain a Survivable Space - "Things You Can Do Today"
- Clean roof surfaces and gutters of pine needles, leaves, branches, etc., regularly to avoid accumulation of flammable materials.
- Remove portions of any tree extending within 10 feet of the flue opening of any stove or chimney.
- Maintain a screen constructed of non-flammable material over the flue opening of every chimney or stovepipe. Mesh openings of the screen should not exceed 1/2 inch.
- Landscape vegetation should be spaced so that fire cannot be carried to the structure or surrounding vegetation.
- Remove branches from trees to height of 15 feet.
- A fuel break should be maintained around all structures.
- Dispose of stove or fireplace ashes and charcoal briquettes only after soaking them in a metal pail of water.
- Store gasoline in an approved safety can away from occupied buildings.
- Propane tanks should be far enough away from buildings for valves to be shut off in case of fire. Keep area clear of flammable vegetation.
- All combustibles such as firewood, picnic tables, boats, etc. should be kept away from structures.
- Garden hose should be connected to outlet.
- Addressing should be indicated at all intersections and on structures.
- All roads and driveways should be at least 16 feet in width.
- Have fire tools handy such as: ladder long enough to reach the roof, shovel, rake and bucket for water.
- Each home should have at least two different entrance and exit routes.
To learn more on the topic of Fire Preparedness and Prevention in California, visit the Cal Fire’s website for further resources – http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Hardening-Your-Home/
What is an Air Mover?
What’s an Air Mover?
Air movers (aka “industrial air blowers”, “commercial blower fans” or “floor drying fans”) are used in construction and water restoration projects, having a wide variety of industrial applications. Their primarily used to increase air circulation, which speeds up water evaporation and reduces drying time. Compressed air is also used to maximize airflow in a blower fan or air mover.
Air movers are an essential tool when mitigation services are needed due to water damage or restoring flood or disaster damage. Some advantages of drying a building with the use of air movers are as follows:
- Low power draw
- High velocity, making them ideal for cooling and ventilation purposes
- Reduces water damage dry out time to carpets and floors, as well as wall cavities behind drywall
- Dries concrete and paint
- Removing fumes or gases from a workspace
TYPES OF AIR MOVER UNITS
The type of air blower affects the speed and direction of airflow and the amount of space that can be covered by the air mover. There are three major types of air blower units used in most commercial dry out scenarios:
- Axial: Axial blowers are designed to move large amounts of air across a wide space. These tend to be larger air movers that produce high airflow. Unlike centrifugal air movers, which can direct air in several directions, axial air movers only move air horizontally. They’re ideal for drying walls or top-down drying treatments on carpets. They’re sometimes used for ventilation and equipment cooling.
- Centrifugal: This type offers a more compact air mover designed for spot treatments. Centrifugal air movers draw air from several sources and direct it to a particular spot. They are often used in restoration work to dry hard to reach areas like under cabinets and in crawl spaces and closets. Most centrifugal air movers can be adjusted to provide airflow at a few different angles. Centrifugal blowers are heavy-duty air movers that produce lower CFM than axial air movers.
- Compact: Compact air movers are versatile enough to be used for both large floor areas and small spot drying. With 1/4 horsepower motors, they still have the power to quickly and effectively dry areas, while also being quieter than centrifugal air movers and taking up less space. Small and lightweight, compact air movers are the perfect solution for drying small, hard-to-reach spaces such as closets, corners or under counters.
We at SERVPRO of Chatsworth will always assess each water damage situation independently and if our highly trained IICRC certified technicians determine that air movers are a necessary step to speed up the drying process, we have all the resources needed to help make it “Like it never even happened®.”
We sincerely hope these unfortunate situations never happen but if they do we are standing by 24/7 and can be reached at (818) 842-1400.
SERVPRO Storm Team
SERVPRO of Chatsworth is part of a network of over 1,800 restoration specialists, stretching throughout the United States as well as Canada – strategically stationed to be available for whatever happens at a moment’s notice. When things that matter most are on the line, make sure SERVPRO® is too. SERVPRO of Chatsworth is faster to any size disaster.
Should a storm or natural disaster situation strike the greater Los Angeles area, our office will notify local and surrounding SERVPRO locations. And as we begin to provide relief to homes and businesses alike, hundreds if not thousands of highly-trained SERVPRO professionals will start to pour into the disaster zone and provide back up and support to our already existing restoration efforts. Whether it’s damage caused by a leaky water pipe or an earthquake of catastrophic magnitudes, there’s no such thing as a job too big that SERVPRO can’t handle!
The days immediately following a major storm event, such as area-wide flooding, are critical to prevent secondary damages, like mold. SERVPRO of Chatsworth suggests the following steps to help minimize additional damage to your property.
- If the water has entered the structure through the flooding of a creek, stream or river, or if it has filtered through insulation during its intrusion, it is considered to be black water and could be hazardous to your health. Avoid contact with contaminated items as much as possible.
- Take the greatest caution while entering your home, and wear sturdy shoes and protective clothing when dealing with flooded areas.
- Do not attempt to operate any electrical equipment while standing in wet or damp locations.
- Throw away all foods - even canned goods - that have come into contact with flood waters.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and pillow cushions for drying. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Place fans at 45-degree angles to walls and move large furniture away from walls to create the best air circulation.
- If your home has a crawlspace, be aware excess moisture in this area can often foster mold growth.
"The first 24 hours after a water damage or flood are so crucial to keeping final costs of the damage down," said Don Turner, Director of SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Team. "A lot of flood situations require professional equipment and knowledge of the science of drying to mitigate. By taking these steps, property owners can help minimize damage until the professionals arrive."
Preserve your Jack O' Lantern from growing Mold
Halloween is right around the corner and for most of us that means we’re already starting to see decorations on every residential street, pumpkin-everything at Trader Joes and of course one of America’s favorite pastimes, the Jack O’ Lantern! It seems though that every time the perfectly-designed Jack O’ Lantern is set out on display for all to see, it too quickly loses its rich and robust appearance and in just a couple short days, mold creeps in making all that’s left into a dilapidated pile of mush.
As a professional mold remediation company, we’ve put a lot of thought into this topic and have come to the conclusion that as long as spores travel through the air and moisture settles in the pumpkin, the Jack O’ Lantern will always be an ideal source for mold to grow. Although there’s a short shelf live for your Jack O’ Lantern, we at SERVPRO of Chatsworth have thought of a couple ideas you can do to extend its lifespan.
- After your pumpkin has been carved, rinse it out with water to get rid of excess strings and gunk.
- Using a large bucket or tub, fill it with 3 gallons of water or enough that will completely submerge the pumpkin.
- Stir three teaspoons of bleach into the water.
- Dunk the pumpkin underwater for a few minutes.
- Remove from bucket and place upside down for a couple hours until any pooled moisture evaporates. Using a hairdryer may speed up this step.
The bleach solution will slow down the mold growth and acts as an inhibitor however it will only be a matter of time before Thanksgiving arrives and let’s be honest….who wants to keep a Jack O’ Lantern for more than a couple weeks anyways?
We’ve also heard using the small silica packs (found in beef jerky bags, shoe boxes and electronic shipments) can help absorb excess moisture found in the environment and can help prolong the life of your sculpted pumpkin.
Happy Halloween everyone!!
How To Survive A Flood
Floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States, and when looking at the 30-year average, they are the number onecause of weather-related fatality with an average of 81 deaths per year.
To put it simply, it’s easy to underestimate the power of water. In a flash flood, six inches of moving water is enough to knock a person over; 12 inches of moving water can sweep away a small car. Both moving and rising water demand respect!
Few places are immune to floods, wherever it rains, flooding can occur. And many of us TreeHugger types are known to live nearby or spend time in areas that are especially prone to flooding. So with that in mind, here are some pointers to help keep you safe when a great deluge decided to do its thing.
Turn around don’t drown!
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) came up with the phrase "Turn around don’t drown" (and then registered it as a trademark) to further the National Weather Service’s (NWS) mission to help save lives. As it turns out, the CDC reports that half of all flood drownings happen when a vehicle is driven into hazardous floodwater. As mentioned above, 12 inches of moving water can take a small car; two feet will sweep away a larger vehicle. People think they can pass a puddle in the road, only to have their car stall and then ... whoosh. Turn around, don't drown!
Flash floods 101
This may sound obvious, but apparently it’s not the first thing that comes to mind for many. If there is a chance of flash flooding, move to higher ground as quickly as possible. If you’re in your car and water rises around it, leave the car and seek higher ground. (If the water is moving, however, do not leave the car.)
The NWS notes that a creek only six inches deep in mountainous areas can swell to a 10-foot deep raging river in less than an hour if a thunderstorm produces intense rainfall. During heavy rainfall or in times of flood watches or warnings, do not camp or park near streams, creeks or rivers.
Stay tuned in
During thunderstorms, heavy rainfall or other inclement weather, stay tuned to local television or radio for weather updates and emergency instructions. Here are what the alerts mean:
Flood Watch: Flooding is possible.
Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible; be prepared to move to higher ground.
Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
Know your elevations
In the same way flight attendants point our emergency exit doors, you should familiarize yourself with high points in your area (whether ground or buildings) and especially know those that are accessible by foot.
Prepare your home
Outdoor furniture can be moved inside and important items can be moved to the highest point in your home. Electrical appliances should be unplugged (but only when you are dry and not standing in water). You may be instructed to turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve, which can help to prevent fires and explosions.
Protect your pets
Never leave your pet home alone when there is a flood warning, even if your home is not directly threatened. Roads may be closed or your home may become otherwise inaccessible, leaving your pet stranded. Also, never leave a pet leashed or caged during a flood warning; the reason there is obvious, right?
Also be extra careful with pets if your area is directly flooding. If it takes just six inches of water to whisk an adult away, it takes much less to take a pet.
After a flood:
- Return home only when authorities say it is ok.
- Watch out for debris where water has receded.
- Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
- If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave quickly and call the fire department.
- Check for creatures that may have taken refuge or been washed inside your home; snakes, in particular, are prone to displacement. Especially check before you let pets re-enter.
- If your property has been flooded, allow your pets to reorient when you return. Flooding can wash away scents and may have destroyed landmarks your pet uses to keep track of locations. Without those, getting lost is more likely. Walk your dog with a leash for a few days until she/he is readjusted.
- Be cautious with paths and roadways, as they are often eroded and compromised by floodwater.
- Avoid standing water as there may be risk of electrocution from underground or downed power lines.
- Contact your local or state public health department for specific advice for boiling or treating water where you are after a disaster as water may be tainted.
- Let your family know you’re safe.
- And while it may be the last thing on your mind, remember to photograph damage to your property for insurance purposes.
info provided by: http://www.treehugger.com/green-home/how-survive-flood.html
If You See Mold
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
· Stay out of affected areas.
· Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
· Contact SERVPRO of Chatsworth/Stevenson Ranch for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
· Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
· Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
· Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
· Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch specializes in mold cleanup and restoration; in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (818) 842-1400
Does your Chatsworth home have a mold problem?
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
· Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
· Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
· Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
· Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
· Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
· Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (818) 842-1400
What is Soot/Smoke Damage?
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
· Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
· Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
· The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Chatsworth/Stevenson Ranch will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
· Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
· Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
· Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (818) 842-1400
Hazards of Water Damage
Hey SERVPRO Chatsworth/Stevenson Ranch readers! We’ve been getting a lot of calls about water damages lately. We here at SERVPRO know that there can a lot of questions that come along with discovering a water damage in your home, especially when it comes to your health and potential health hazards when a loss is discovered. Our friends over at SERVPRO Saginaw put together some great thoughts on the topic. Read on to gain insight on what hazards can occur as a result of a water damage and why it’s best to let the professionals handle the clean up.
The obvious result of water damage is structural---whether severe or cosmetic. And unfortunately, structural damage can wind up costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. The result of water damage can also cause the growth of toxic mold and mildew. If left untreated, this mold proliferation can be cause health effects. So let’s get to it.
Hazard #1: Mold Growth -
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should have your property dried and cleaned within 24-48 hours after the initial water onslaught. This practice will help decrease the likelihood of mold growth. Although you may be capable of starting the drying and cleaning processes, it is important to know that mold can grow in areas of the home that you can't see. Thus, simply cleaning and drying your carpet will not always be effective in preventing mold growth, especially if there is a large quantity of unwanted water. The mold can still grow in different areas of your home, including the carpet padding, underneath wallpaper, behind the drywall, along ceilings and baseboards, in voids and furniture.
As noted by the EPA, there are several health hazards that can result from exposure to mold. It is also important to note that the mold clean up process, performed by you, can lead to exposure to fungi. For this reason, professional water damage restoration technicians from SERVPRO will wear special protective gear and utilize state-of-the-art equipment for mold cleanup and the prevention of mold dispersion throughout your Saginaw home.
Hazard #2: Exposure to Sewage -
Exposure to raw sewage is dangerous because it contains parasites, viruses, and bacteria such as E. coli. The sewage can also contain pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and pesticides. The EPA has stated that contaminated water can lead to the contraction of illnesses such as tuberculosis, dysentery, hepatitis, tetanus, and cholera. Safely stay away from the hazard of sewage water--blackwater--and let the experts execute the cleanup and dry out.
So… Let The Professionals at SERVPRO Chatsworth/Stevenson Ranch Assist You!
We are passionate about helping our customers make their water damage loss “like it never even happened”. So no matter if it’s a leaky pipe underneath your bathroom sink or a busted water main that’s flooded your entire property, our team will get you taken care of so you can get back to a safe and HEALTHY state
Developing Fire Safe Habits for Your Home
Developing Fire Safe Habits For Your Home
- Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
- Smoking materials are the leading cause of residential fire deaths in the United States. If you smoke, take precautions: Smoke outside; choose fire-safe cigarettes; never smoke in bed, when drowsy or medicated, or if anyone in the home is using oxygen.
- Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
- Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
- Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended, even for a minute.
info provide by redcross.org