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Fire Prevention For The Apartment

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

A fire in a small space, such as your apartment, can spread quickly and become a deadly fire within just a few minutes. Just a few precautions taken beforehand can protect you, your apartment, and your belongings. Today, we’d like to share some fire prevention tips with you:

  • Inspection First. Take a good look around your home to make sure all potential hazards have been identified and eliminated:
    • Use surge protectors in place of overloaded circuits or extension cords
    • Appliance cords that are frayed or cracked are replaced immediately
    • No cords are being extended under rugs or between rooms
    • Space heaters are not being used near flammable materials, such as furniture and drapery. Make sure your space heaters are always turned off when the room is empty or everyone is going to bed
    • No matches or lighters are within reach of children
    • Candles and incense are never left unattended - make sure these items are used far away from curtains and other flammable materials
    • Items such as gasoline cans or propane tanks are not stored inside your apartment 
  • Kitchen Safety:   
    • Never leave food cooking on your stove unattended
    • Keep towels and potholders away from cooking areas
    • Don’t wear loosely fitted sleeves while cooking
  • Laundry Room Safety
    • Have your dryer installed and serviced by professionals
    • Always use a lint filter in your dryer, and clean it before or after every load 
    • Remove lint that collects around the drum of your dryer regularly
    • Make sure the right plug and outlet are being used and that your machine is connected properly
    • Never leave the dryer running when you go out of the apartment or when you go to bed
  • Smoke Alarms

Make sure there are smoke alarms in your apartment, and that they function correctly. There should be one installed outside of every sleeping area, and they should be tested once a month, with batteries changed at least once a year.

Did You Know After A Fire…

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

If your commercial property in West Concord, California, has experienced a fire, there are several reasons why you might want to board up structural damage or windows. In addition to keeping the external elements out of a building with fire damage, boarding up can also prevent additional losses due to looting and make the fire cleanup process easier. 

Most full-service restoration specialists offer boarding-up services. Here are four reasons to board-up after a fire.

1. There is still viable stock on the premises. If products that appear viable remain in the building, you should consider boarding up. These items may require assessment and cleaning and may not be fit for sale, but having them properly processed rather than stolen can be helpful for insurance purposes.

2. You want to protect electronics and other valuables. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, you may be able to restore some electronics or other valuable property to working condition. Loss can be far more expensive than restoration or covered replacement.

3. You need to keep out the elements. If the structure of your property has sustained extensive damage, you should try to keep the elements out. Exposure to additional water, wind, or sunlight can compound the damage caused by smoke residue and soot.

4. You want to limit soot damage. It is generally a good idea to reduce foot traffic on the scene of a recent fire. When soot gets embedded into carpeting or upholstery, it can be much more difficult to restore these materials to a pre-fire condition.

Talk to restoration experts at SERVPRO of West Concord, about whether boarding up is a good strategy for preventing loss and limiting damage after a fire. Your major concern is likely to be how to recover from fire damage as quickly and completely as possible. Preventing looting and exposure to the elements can make fire cleanup more successful. Don’t hesitate to call us (925) 681-9093.

Mold Myths

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

When it comes to mold, there are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation that can lead to confusion for homeowners. Just the mention of the word "mold" can cause people to panic. While mold can be a very serious problem and should be taken seriously, it is important to have all the facts to be able to discern myth from fact so that you can make proper and informed decisions when necessary. 

  1. "Bleach Kills Mold"
    While bleach may be able to kill some types of mold on non-porous surfaces, it is unclear whether or not bleach can kill all types of mold, or if it can kill mold on porous surfaces like wood. Bleach is also a very corrosive agent and can pose its own health effects if used to kill mold. It's best to leave it to the professionals. 
  2. "You Don't Have to Remove Mold If You Kill It"
    Even if you are able to kill mold, you may not have removed the allergens that live in the mold. They can still be present even if the mold is killed. To fully protect yourself, removal of the affected areas is often necessary. You have to be careful not to spread the mold spores throughout your home when removing areas affected with mold. Professionals, like us, know how to set proper containment so that the mold allergens don't spread and further contaminate your home. 
  3. "A Little Mold Is Nothing to Worry About"
    If mold has become visible in your home, then chances are it has been growing for some time. Once mold becomes visible, it is important that you have the situation looked at, as there is more than likely more mold behind the surface. 
  4. "Mold Remediation Is Easy to Do On Your Own"
    This is usually not the case. Small areas of mold can sometimes be handled rather easily, but if the problem appears to be pervasive, it is best to call a professional. SERVPRO is always "Here to help!"

Why Does My Carpet Smell?

7/28/2021 (Permalink)

Moisture or dampness

Sometimes, moisture can get underneath the carpet and carpet pad, leading to musty odors.

This moisture can come from humidity, spills or potted plants that drip onto the carpeting.

A flood can also cause carpet odor, such as when a finished basement floods during a rainstorm.

If not addressed properly, continued moisture exposure can cause mold and mildew to grow under the carpet padding. Not only will it increase the smell, it also creates a health risk.

Pet odor

When pets use the carpet as a bathroom, the smell can really linger.

Even after a carpet cleaning, the smell of pet urine may return. This is due to the gases released by the bacteria that are digesting the urine. If any of the urine remains in the rug fibers, it will continue to smell.

The same is true for vomit, another common problem associated with pets and carpeting.

These bacteria are activated by water, which is why the smell may intensify after a thorough cleaning.

Dry carpet cleaning treatments or treatments that use enzymatic odor removal products are the best solution for eliminating pet smells. Enzymes are particularly effective because they attack the bacteria, thus eliminating the source of the smell.

Cigarette smoke

If a smoker lives in the home, the carpet can collect the cigarette smoke odor.

While the homeowners may not notice the stench because they live with it, visitors or someone who purchases the home will definitely notice the smoke smell.

A professional carpet cleaner may be able to remove the smell, but if the smoking was excessive, a carpet deodorizer may not be enough, and the carpeting may need to be replaced.

Old age

Carpeting is made from fibers. Over time, those fibers break down. When the carpet begins to smell old, there is little that can be done.

Carpet cleaning cannot take the old, musty smell from carpet. This is when it simply needs to be replaced.

In addition to the smell, old carpet starts to release dust, which can contribute to indoor allergies.

Food and drink spills

Food and drinks that spill onto carpet can lead to odors.

Like pet smells, these organic products attract bacteria. As the bacteria break down, they release smelly gasses. Again, professional carpet cleaning is the best solution to remove the smell.

Once you find the source of your carpet odor, you can decide on the best treatment. For organic smells like pet odors or food spills, consider two professional cleanings to thoroughly remove the bacteria.

Different Causes of Commercial Water Damage

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

When business owners visualize water damage, they often picture a massive storm wiping out power lines, flooding offices, and shutting down businesses for days at a time. It is true that commercial water damage is often the result of floods and water that stems from weather events and storms. 
 
However, many entrepreneurs and business space renters forget that storms and severe weather aren't the only causes of floods and water damage. Here are some of the typical causes of water damage to commercial buildings. 
 
1. Malfunctioning sprinkler systems 
Some older office and retail buildings still have outdated sprinkler systems that work in conjunction with fire protection systems. While such sprinklers can come in handy during a fire emergency, they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are faulty or in need of replacement. This could easily damage inventory and business assets.

2. Damaged appliances and equipment 
This cause of commercial flood damage is more common in restaurants and catering facilities, as well as any business that has appliances and equipment that make use of water. If the appliance fails and sends water across your building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water emergency. 
 
3. Broken pipes and plumbing 
Just like in a residence, if the plumbing system in your workplace fails water damage could be the result. 
 
4. Backed up sewer lines 
This is another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, realize the potential dangers of contaminated Black Water which can cause health effects and ruin products and office furnishings

Commercial Water Damage Mitigation Procedures

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

If you have a water emergency at your business such as a pipe burst cleanup or other flooding scenario, you'll need to call on the services of a professional water cleanup company to ensure that the job is done right. A restoration company will take the following steps to deal with the damage:

  1. Inspect and Diagnose

Once you make the call, the water mitigation company will come to the scene to make an inspection and test the water in order to determine which specialized equipment and methods are best suited to fixing the damage. 


2. Haul Out Contents
As soon as the situation is assessed, any items in the affected area, such as office equipment, electronics, furniture and documents, will be removed to a safe, dry area. Items will be sorted to determine what can and cannot be saved. Whatever can be salvaged will be cleaned, dried, deodorized and sanitized using specialized equipment and cleaning agents.

3. Extract the Water
Once everything has been taken out of the area, the water removal can begin. Depending on the cause of the water damage, whether it's a pipe burst cleanup, a supply line cleanup or removal of sewer water, different high-efficiency equipment will be used to remove the mess. Specialized sump pumps and trash pumps, in addition to truck-mounted water extractors, will be used to suck out as much moisture as possible. Any contaminated surfaces will be thoroughly sanitized.

4. Dry and Dehumidify
After the bulk of the water is extracted, steps will be taken to remove excess humidity from the air and moisture from hard-to-reach places. Heavy-duty air movers and dehumidifiers will be brought in to make sure everything is completely dry.

5. Restore
When everything has been completely dried and disinfected, structural restoration can begin. This might entail only minor repairs and painting or require the complete rebuilding of entire rooms, depending on the severity of the damage. 

Beating COVID-19 One Step At A Time

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

Cleaning for your business - workers in PPE "Like it never even happened."

COVID-19 has hit multiple businesses in many different ways. Some are slowly beginning to re-open, while others have closed their doors for good. Here at SERVPRO of West Concord, we are committed to getting your business as clean as possible. The first step to keeping you safe, is to keep our workers safe as well. Before we clean your infected or possibly infected area, we ensure that each of workers are wearing the following:

-Facial protection (at minimum a N-95 respirator)

-Nitrile gloves

-Protective eye wear

After we are properly equipped with the required gear, we move on to the next step, the cleaning process. When dealing with a virus like COVID-19, it is crucial to pay extra attention and be thorough with our procedures. 

Some materials cannot be cleaned with detergent and water without being damaged. Cleaning methods typically used on water sensitive materials such as vacuuming or dry sponging would not be capable of removing enough soil and residue to be effective. Carpets can be sanitized with SERVPROXIDE, and other porous materials like rugs, upholstered items, and draperies can be wet cleaned using a Hot Water Extraction and rinse method. 

ServpOXIDE is a hospital-grade disinfectant that has demonstrated effectiveness against similar viruses like SARS-CoV-2. It is EPA-approved, and proper PPE use is of the utmost importance. 

All tools and supplies are properly cleaned and disinfected to ensure there is no potential contamination to other parts of the structure. 

We want your business to be back on its feet in no time, trust us with your cleaning precaution needs. Please call us at (925) 681-9093 to answer any of your COVID-19 cleaning related questions. 

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

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 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. 

Steps to Take After a House Fire

7/2/2021 (Permalink)

A house fire is traumatic event that can certainly leave you with a mix of emotions. You’ll be nervous, worried, scared, upset, wondering what to do next, and just how to do it.  First things first…take a deep breath, try to relax, and know that everything will be more than fine. Ultimately you need to make sure that your family is safe and sound. Once you can confirm that, then you can tackle the recovery process of your home and belongings.

We’ve compiled a list of five things that you should do and be aware of after a fire.  This way, you can approach the rebuilding of your home in a cool, calm, and collected manner!

(1) Review with the authorities and the professionals as to when it is safe to enter the home after the fire.  The fire department will make sure that the fire is completely extinguished and then will go through their precautionary measures in order to deem the area ‘safe’.

(2) Know who to contact. First, contact any family members to let them know of the occurrence and the fact that you are safe. Review, and then contact your insurance company. A clean-up team, such as SERVPRO should also be one of the first calls made.  We can efficiently and professionally get you back into your home – it will be "Like it never even happened."

(3) Get the fire report. Typically coming to you from the fire department, this correspondence will review the facts of the fire – the home structure, the area of the fire, as well as the time and date. In some cities and towns, you may need to call the fire department directly in order to get a copy of this report.

(4) Make sure to secure your property.  If you are not securing the property, you could potentially be making a bad situation into a terrible one – your home could be robbed of its remaining property, or, in some cases, another individual could be injured on the property (becoming your responsibility). You can ask the authorities and emergency services on the best methods in securing what is yours.

(5) Begin the clean-up process. Interior and exterior clean-up will most certainly be required, and more often than not there is damage that you cannot locate with the naked eye.  That said, you should definitely hire a professional service like SERVPRO to do a thorough cleaning of all areas and of all soot, smoke, and odor.

Make Sure You Have A Fire Extinguisher In Your Commercial Building

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

Fire extinguishers are required in all commercial buildings in California, and there are specific requirements regarding training of your employees in many areas of fire prevention and safety.

Cal OSHA regulations stipulate that fire extinguishers must be placed in areas that the employees can easily access, such as in a cabinet or mounted to a wall.  They should be placed near exits to reduce the risk that people will be trapped by fire inside a building.  OSHA regulations also mandate that all employees must be trained on the basic principles of using fire extinguishers, as well as the hazards that are typically involved with firefighting.  They should also be trained on the process for reporting a fire, how to evaluate the size of a fire, and how to keep an exit route in good condition in your place of work.

Training must be provided to every new employee, for employees assigned to emergency response teams, and to all other employees on an annual basis.  In order to be safe, make sure your company is following all of these guidelines.

In the unfortunate event that your business does experience a fire, call the professionals at SERVPRO