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/
Rain Rain Rain!
The Heavy Rains have hit Southern California! Here are some tips for your home and the rainy weather!
Tip #1: Check those gutters! This can be a simple but very effective way to prevent unwanted water from entering your home or business. Gutters that are clogged with debris from overhanging trees, trash, or roofing materials can easily clog the drain and shuffle unwanted water your way.
Tip #2: Tarp up any unfinished roofing projects. Going along with our first tip, small openings in the roof of your home and business can quickly become large openings with heavy rain, causing water damage inside your building. Make sure to give your local roofing company a call and get those potential problem areas patched up ASAP.
Tip #3: Examine your window glaze and compound. Often times, glazing compound can shrink during the warmer months, making windows more susceptible to unwanted rain water penetration. Your local contractor can help patch this up for you, ensuring that you are set and ready for even the heaviest of rains! Another helpful tip… make sure you close your windows before going to bed or leaving the home!
And finally, Tip #4 (the most important!): Should you find yourself in a situation where you do have a water damage emergency, call SERVPRO Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch. Our staff is prepped and ready to respond and help make your rain disaster,"Like it never even happened."
For this next round in the ‘SERVPRO Equipment Spotlight’ series, we will be giving a brief summary of one of our most technologically savvy and futuristic looking tools of our SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch tool belt. The Hydroxyl Generator (or more commonly known as ‘Titan’) is one of the most scientifically-advanced pieces of equipment we use to combat malodors and leave a property deodorized following biohazard, fire or water damage events.
The main benefit of using a true hydroxyl generator is that they are safe to use in occupied areas for deodorization purposes. For insurance companies and commercial businesses alike, they love this machine because it means less out of pocket expenses and henceforth, less business disruption!
These generators have been successfully tested on fires and other restoration and bio jobs, including protein fires, floods, dead body situations, skunk odors, pet urine odors, musty odors and many types of odors. However, it’s important to note that hydroxyl generators are not intended for use on mold remediation jobs where there is a large infestation on surfaces or behind walls. The established protocols should always be followed in these instances. But generators with good filtration are excellent for airborne microbial remediation where bacteria or fungi have become aerosolized.
Here’s a rundown of some additional facts in order to give you the inside scoop, should you ever need to reach out to us for smoke/soot deodorization needs:
When to Use:
- When odors, gases and organic pollutants are needed to be remediated
How it Works:
- UVA rays are emitted from the titanium dioxide photocatalytic lamps (wow, that was a mouthful) where they then pass through a permanent anatase coated super reactor screen, forming electron hole pairs that react with water and oxygen in the air to form free electrons and hydroxyl radicals that then decompose and eliminate organic and inorganic gases and air pollutants. Wow, trying saying all that in one breath!
- Use on fire and flood damage restoration jobs
- Use to destroy odors from cigarette smoke, dead body, urine, garbage, airborne VOCs and more
- Always remove the source of the odor before operation
- For optimum performance, a 60%+ humidity level is best. If needed, place a bucket of water or a wet towel behind the machine to allow more moisture to be pulled into the air stream.
- Use air movers to circulate the air for thorough air cleaning.
- Although purifying an area depends on many variables, a general time guide for purifying a 1,000 cubic foot area with light to moderator odor is 1 to 3 hours.
As always, if you want to learn more about any of our SERVPRO pieces of restoration hardware, feel free to reach out. We have helpful staff willing to explain further any of our services – (818) 842-1400.
Easy Ways to Prevent Water Damage
Water Damage is something no home owner wants to deal with. It often comes unexpectedly and without warning. Water damage can cause structural damage and mold. But good news! There are some easy tips to avoid a water damage in your home.
1. Make sure your home has good drainage, clean the rain gutters often and make sure they are clear. If you live on a hill, slope your yard away from the home so that it will direct water away from the home.
2. If you already have leaks, make sure they are fixed immediately. Check for dark spots under pipes or on the ceiling.
3. Maintain your roof, if there are missing shingles replace them immediately.
SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch is faster to any size disaster!
After a Flood
Flash floods can happen at any moment. They are often a significant source of rainfall in Southern California, but with that can come water damage to homes and commercial properties. Here are some tips to follow after a flood.
1. Only return to your home or property when it is deemed safe to do so. If there was a mandatory evacuation, wait until that is lifted to return.
2. Inspect your home or property. Look for leaks, water damage, hillsides, or slope movement.
3. Drive carefully, many roads will be covered with mud, debris, and often holes.
4. Be vigilant for mudslides as they can happen days after the flood after the soil dries.
5. Be prepared for the next flood by preparing slopes and high risk areas during the winter time.
SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch is faster to any size disaster!
Storm Supply Kits
When a storm hits, sometimes it takes you by surprise. You may not have the immediate chance to grab what you need or even have it on hand at all. That is why it is so important to have a Storm Supply Kit ready to go.
A Storm Supply Kit could be described as a pre-chosen group of supplies that could assist with health and safety during or after a storm or disaster.
It would be ideal to keep a Storm Supply Kit at home, work , and in your vehicle.
Here are some supplies to keep in your kit:
1. Medications needed
2. first aid kit with instructions
4. cash and important documents
5. food for several days
6. water for several days
7. clothing and shoes
8. pocket knife with tools attached
9. Sanitation wipes and hygiene products.
SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch is faster to any size disaster!
Commercial Property Earthquake Preparedness
Hello SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch readers! We hope you all are enjoying this time of the year. We wanted to share with you all some helpful information on earthquake preparedness for commercial buildings, especially if you are a business owner or facility manager responsible for not just the safety of your family, but your co-workers as well.
In light of all the recent talks surrounding the topic of being overdue for the next “Big One,” we reflect back on our last encounter with a serious earthquake, the 1994 Northridge quake. Our office stayed busy for weeks helping people restore their businesses to pre-quake conditions and the observation we made was the business owners or facility managers who had a plan in place were the ones most likely to re-open their doors. We know it’s never fun to think about the worst-case scenario happening at your business, but in our line of work, it’s never a matter of ‘if’…but ‘when.’ You simply cannot afford to find yourself without a disaster plan!
BEFORE AN EARTHQUAKE – Develop an Action Plan
Identify potential hazards: Living and working in Los Angeles, we live our lives along the San Andreas Fault line (aka ‘earthquake country’), so that’s easy to identify; but are there other risks to your business? Identify what may interrupt your business operations temporarily or worse. The priorities you set here will help you in the other Steps. The Risk Level to your Critical Business Assets (CBAs) such as People, Data, Operations, Inventory, Equipment and Building all need to be identified and assessed to which ones pose the most significant threat to the sustainability of your business. If you secure it, it can be saved from earthquake damage or from hurting employees.
Create a disaster plan: After you have identified the potential hazards and impacts to your business, it’s time to create your plan and train employees! Because disasters are highly unpredictable, it is impossible to anticipate every situation and impact. However, a Business Continuity Plan can greatly reduce the risks and losses your business might face by guiding your decisions yet allowing flexibility to adapt to the unexpected.
Prepare disaster supplies kits: After a disaster, businesses will need to be self-sufficient as first responders will be addressing high priorities such as hospitals and schools. Determine what you need in the first days following an earthquake including the basics like food, water and sanitation.
Identify your building’s potential weaknesses and begin to fix them: Most businesses lease their space, so it’s essential to work with your owner and property manager on addressing structural issues. If you own it, strengthen those weaknesses. Either way, measures taken now can help you keep your doors open. No access, no business.
DURING AN EARTHQUAKE – Execute the Plan
Protect yourself and employees during earthquake shaking: DROP, COVER, AND HOLD ON. The ground is shaking, what do you do? The critical life safety step is Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Stay clear of any objects that may fall and stay put until the shaking stops.
AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE – Assess the Damage
Check for injuries and damage: Life safety is the top priority after an earthquake or any disaster. Use trained personnel to find anyone injured. Next, survey your building for damage or other hazards. Decide if safe to stay.
Continue to follow your disaster plan (when safe): Once life safety has been addressed, it’s time to begin recovery activities to resume business operations. Conduct an assessment for operational issues. Use your plan to guide your actions and restore priority operations first (here’s where you may need to call us at SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch =D to help restore your facility to preloss conditions). Communicate often with employees and key contacts. Document your lessons learned to determine priorities before the next event.
We will never know when the next ‘Big One’ will happen, so we all need to be ready for whatever happens.
We couldn’t have done this post without our friends at Earthquakecountry.org. Check out their website for more helpful tidbits of preparedness knowledge:
Preparing a church for a Disaster
Places of worship are so important to us. They are often a go to place for shelter in the midst of a disaster. That is why it is so important that all churches are prepared for the worst to come.
Here are some tips at preparing your place of worship for a disaster:
1. Identify hazards or threats early
2. Take necessary precautions for those hazards or threats.
3. Plan evacuations
4. Train your church staff for emergency readiness and response.
5. Prepare surrounding members of the community.
6. Be prepared to provide help or aid to your church members after a disaster strikes.
SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch is faster to any size disaster. If you or your church finds yourself in need, give us a call at 818-842-1400
The SERVPRO ERP
It is estimated that up to 50% of businesses that close due to a disaster, such as fire and flood never reopen! Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place.
Are you “Ready for whatever happens?”
Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood. The best time to plan for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens.
The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Plan serves as a quick reference of important building and contact information or can be an ideal supplement to any well-designed emergency preparedness or existing contingency program. Rather than simply reacting to disaster situations, most prefer proactive measures to establish a relationship with a restoration services company.
By working with SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch to develop your personalized Emergency READY Plan your business will receive the benefit of over 30 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch is a leader in water and fire damage response for the greater LA area and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.
Call our office at (818) 842-1400 to learn more on how to set up this profile for your facility and get prepared before disaster strikes!
Tips for Rainy Days
Did you know that floods are the most common natural disasters in the U.S. Heavy rainstorm can cause significant
flooding, contributing to flash floods, mud-flows,
or over-topping levees and dams. Here in California heavy rains can happen, putting properties like your home or business at risk.
Tips to help your home or business avoid floods
- Purchase flood insurance. (Call your insurance agent make sure your covered for FLOODS)
- Install rain gutters and other drainage systems. (Clean out rain gutters frequently)
- Fix any leaks IMMEDIATELY.
- Extra roof protection (spend a few hundred dollars more to install a rubber roof underlayment, a waterproof barrier that goes under the shingles and protects the roof from water intrusion.)
Tips for drivers during the rain season
- Avoid cruise control (This feature works great in dry conditions, but when used in wet conditions, the chance of losing control of the vehicle can increase)
- Slow down and leave room in front of you (Slowing down during wet weather driving can be critical to reducing a car’s chance of hydroplaning, when the tires rise up on a film of water.)
Remember if you do experience a flood in your home or business SERVPRO of Chatsworth / Stevenson Ranch is one call away and we make your water damage "Like it never even happened."
call us at (818) 842-1400