Water Damage Hazards
Hey SERVPRO Chastsworth / 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 of 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.
What to do when 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.
Soot or 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 Burbank 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
How to Detect Mold in Your Home
There are many ways of initially detecting mold in your home. Here at SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch we have put together a few tips on how you can do so:
Smelling a Mold Odor
When you have mold growing hidden away in your house, often a moldy smell might be the only clue that it's there. Don't ignore mold odors if you can't see any mold. You should thoroughly inspect your home before any mold problems get worse.
Seeing Signs of Mold Growth
Visible mold growth might seem like an obvious sign of mold. However many people don't notice small amounts of mold growth or they think it's just soot or dirt. Sometimes people simply ignore visible mold in their house.
If you can see mold growth, even if it's only small, you should take action immediately. Small mold patches can spread and the fact that there is any mold shows that the conditions in your home are right for mold to grow.
If you don't take care of mold it will soon become a bigger problem. Visible mold growth could also be a sign that there is a much larger mold colony growing hidden away from view.
Sometimes you might not realize there is mold in your house, especially if it is unusual looking mold. Some mold growth looks white and thread-like. Other mold appears as clusters of small black spots. Mold can be black, gray-brown, gray-green or white in color. Mold growing behind wallpaper made of vinyl can even appear orange, pink or purple.
Signs of Water Problems
If you have had any long term moisture problems in your house it's usually inevitable they will lead to mold beginning to grow. So if you know you've had some water problems in your home then it's a pretty good sign you could have mold.
Some signs that you have a moisture problem include water stains or discoloration on walls, floors or ceilings in your house. Seeing these could be a clue that there is mold growing within or behind the material.
Another sign of a moisture problem is surface abnormalities like peeling, bubbling or cracking of the paint or wallpaper. If your walls are bowed, bulging or warped it probably means moisture has gotten into them. Another clue is if the surface of walls or other materials feel damp.
The above signs of water problems in homes are usually created by leaks. However if you already know that you have had a water leak (such as leaking pipes or a leaking ceiling) then just that knowledge by itself, even if you don't see signs of water damage, is a good sign that you might have mold growing in your house around the area where the leak was.
Mold growth from leaks can often be hidden. If the leak was behind a wall or other surface then any mold will probably be hidden behind the surface too. Even if the leak was not behind a surface there could still be mold hidden out of view behind a wall or other surface from water which seeped through.
If your house has been flooded in the past then it's likely that mold would've started to grow. Any mold would probably be growing in places where flood water remained the longest such as in the basement. Floods can often create mold growing out of view behind walls or under floors.
If you see a lot of condensation in your home then it's a sign that you have a high amount of moisture and hence a sign that you could have a mold problem. Condensation will occur on surfaces such as glass windows or metal pipes. Mold could be growing where the condensation builds up and collects. Rusting indoor pipes are a sign that you could have a lot of condensation in your house.
Besides the fact that condensation creates a build up of moisture for mold to grow on, condensation can also be a sign that you have a humidity problem in your home. A high humidity level can feed mold and it is another sign that you might have a potential mold problem.
info by: http://moldpedia.com/mold-in-house-signs
Fire Safe Habits
Developing Fire Safe Habits For Your Home is very important here in SoCal. SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch and the Red Cross have some tips on how to do so:
- 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
How to Keep A Commercial Property Safe
Protect your commercial property with these safety tips.
Keeping your commercial property safe can help you protect your employees, patrons, and business equipment. From keeping up on building maintenance to installing a security system, there are plenty of dangers lurking around your property. Check out these ways you can keep your commercial property safe and secure.
Conduct Maintenance Audits.
The more attention you pay to your building maintenance, the less likely you are to face any issues. Keep your property current and routinely check for any slippery surfaces, damaged floors, sharp objects, frayed or damaged wires, or blocked hallways. Staying vigilant helps you avoid problems before they become an issue.
Increase Lighting In & Around the Building.
When it comes to your building, it’s important to keep it well lit. Not only does it help to avoid trips and falls, but it can also help to avoid burglaries. Install extra lighting and make sure your building is well-lit.
Prepare for an Emergency.
Disasters are unpredictable, which means it’s important to be prepared. Take precautions to minimize potential damage from a disaster, and make emergency exits readily available. Check that all your fire alarms are working properly and that all the emergency exits are well marked.
Install Security to Protect the Property.
Businesses require a significant amount of expensive materials to operate, making it a prime target for burglaries. Take measures to increase security on the property. Install security cameras and alarms, and hire a security guard. Additionally, consult with local law enforcement to see what precautions they recommend.
info provided by: http://isuwissink.com/safety-tips-for-commercial-property/
Do You Know What Mold is?
Mold (or mould) is a term used to refer to fungi that grow in the form of multicellular thread-like structures called hyphae. Fungi that exist as single cells are called yeasts. Some molds and yeasts cause disease or food spoilage, others play an important role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.
Mold is also found in damp building materials where it often appears like stains and comes in a variety of colours. A must smell is an indication of microbial growth even when there is no visible growth. If mold is allowed to grow in homes or offices it can contribute to poor indoor air quality. Some molds such as the Dry Rot Fungus, Serpula lacrymans, are highly destructive. For more details about dry rot fungus read Occurrence and Significance of Dry Rot Fungus, Serpula lacrymans.
Mold growth requires moisture. The sources of moisture could be Washing, cooking, air humidifiers, condensation or leaks from plumbing or from the outside. Poor ventilation contributes to higher humidity levels and leads to condensation, which also allows mold growth.
Molds release small “spores” into the air. So, when mold grows indoors, the number of mold spores and fragments is usually higher indoors than it is outdoors. These spores are small enough that people can actually inhale them deep into the lungs.
Preventing Home Fires
How to prevent fires at home
Most people know the basics of fire safety at home, such as not leaving burning candles unattended and keeping a fire extinguisher on hand. Here are a few more things you can do to prevent fires at home.
- Have your heating system serviced regularly by a professional, including chimneys from wood-burning fireplaces. Clean around heat sources and keep dust and other flammable items away from ignition sources.
- Remove the lint from your dryer filter after every use. A clogged filter and lint trap makes your dryer less efficient, reduces the airflow needed to keep heat from building up in the vents, and forces lint onto the heating coils. Also, never let your dryer run when you are out of the house or when you’re asleep.
- Keep firewood, piles of leaves and trash away from the home. If a grass fire starts nearby, these items next to your home could easily become kindling. Never dump hot ashes inside or near your home; keep them in a metal container well away from your house and garage.
- Avoid using outlet extenders or plug-in power bars: they can quickly overload an electrical circuit. Replace old, damaged or frayed appliance cords, and never force a three-pronged plug into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Store containers of cooking oil well away from the stove. When cooking with oil, never leave the stove unattended. To stop a grease fire, turn off the burner and place a lid on the pan to suffocate the flames, or pour on lots of baking soda. Never pour water on a grease fire or try to carry the pan outside; water splatters the grease and makes the fire bigger, and the pan will be much too hot to carry.
- Consider using borrowed heat to keep outdoor pets warm. During winter months, avoid using heat lamps, solar lamps, trouble lights, heated watering bowls or other such heated devices, which could lead to a potential fire. Borrowed heat involves providing warmth from a heating system located in a separate building. If this isn’t possible, consider bringing your pets inside.
- Be sure to properly extinguish smoking materials. Smoking materials that are not properly extinguished can smoulder undetected for days before igniting a fire. Never discard smoking materials on the ground or in plant pots.
info provided by https://www.cooperators.ca/en/Answer-Centre/how-can-i-be-safe-and-prepared/home/five-best-ways-to-prevent-fires-in-home.aspx
Mold is a common household problem, developing in warm, damp environments. Mold can be colored green, purple, white, and orange. While mold plays an important role outside in the environment, breaking down dead plants, mold is unwelcome in homes.
Showers and bathrooms are a common location for mold to grow, but it is possible for mold to grow anywhere in a home. Mold can come inside a home from an outside growth through inadequately sealed windows or doors. Mold spores cannot be eliminated entirely, but they will not grow if the environment is dry and well ventilated. Mold growth can be prevented by ensuring if water damage occurs, clean up occurs quickly. Using air conditioners during humid seasons and exhaust fans in kitchen can help prevent mold from growing.
Other areas to monitor moisture to prevent mold growth: exterior walls and surfaces in need of insulation where condensation can build, air conditioner drip pans, check for leaks around refrigerator, ensure crawl spaces are well ventilated, and check for leaks around a tub.
These are a few simple tips for making sure mold is not growing in your home. If you do discover a mold growth, SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch provides mold remediation services for all types of residential and commercial properties.
Spring is the time of year when many things change—including the weather. Temperatures here in Los Angeles can swing back and forth between a pleasant, almost beach-perfect day to a “close your windows and turn back on the heater” night. Sunny days may be followed by a week of stormy weather. Sometimes extreme weather changes can occur even within the same day. Mark Twain once said, "In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours."
Thunderstorms cause most of the severe spring weather. They can bring lighting, flooding and all sorts of additional issues. Whenever warm, moist air collides with cool, dry air, thunderstorms can occur. For much of the world, this happens in spring and summer.
Because spring weather is so unpredictable, you may be unprepared when severe weather hits—particularly if you’ve never experienced severe weather as we do in most other parts of the country. And when severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury increases. So planning ahead makes sense; prepare for storms, floods, and other natural disasters as if you know in advance they are coming, because in the spring, they very likely will.
Advance planning for thunderstorms, lightning, earthquakes, and floods requires specific safety precautions.
Often by the time we are aware of an approaching storm, we have little if any time to prepare for it.
Advance planning for thunderstorms, lightning, earthquakes, and floods requires specific safety precautions. You can follow many of the same steps that you would for all extreme weather events. Keep an emergency kit on hand. Some items to include are:
- A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
- An emergency evacuation or shelter plan, including a map of your home and, for every type of severe weather emergency, routes to safety from each room
- A list of important personal information, including:
- telephone numbers of neighbors, family, and friends
- insurance and property information
- telephone numbers of utility companies
- medical information
- According to the American Red Cross, a first aid kit may include:
- non-latex gloves
- assortment of adhesive bandages
- antibiotic ointment
- sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
- absorbent compress dressings
- adhesive cloth tape
- aspirin packets (81 mg each)
- First aid instruction booklet
(NOTE: Customize your first aid kit to meet your individual and family needs.)
- A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
- Personal hygiene items
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- An emergency kit in your car
Prepare your family members for the possibility of severe weather. Tell them where to seek appropriate shelter as soon as they are aware of an approaching storm. Practice your emergency plan for every type of severe weather. Show family members where the emergency supplies are stored, and make sure they know how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home.
Often by the time we are aware of an approaching storm, we have little if any time to prepare for it. But we do know that when spring arrives, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods are real possibilities. So why not take the surprise factor out of severe weather and prepare yourself, your family, and your home? If thunderstorms, tornadoes, and floods do occur, you'll be ready for them.
(Special thanks are in order to our friends at the CDC for helping us gather a lot of these tidbits of helpful prep knowledge: https://www.cdc.gov/features/springweather/