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Creating a Natural Disaster Plan for Your Business | SERVPRO® of San Gabriel

9/17/2019 (Permalink)

When everything from floods, hurricanes and tornadoes to wildfires and earthquakes happen, our businesses as well as our homes and families can be impacted. It is important to be prepared for these worst-case scenarios—and the key to this is advance preparation and planning.

Being prepared for those scenarios involves creating a natural disaster plan for your business. Some aspects to consider when designing that plan are discussed in this blog.

What to Take Into Consideration

There are many different factors you will need to consider when building a disaster plan for your business. This includes your employees as well as your assets such as equipment and merchandise.

Some of those considerations to include should be:

  1. How to safely protect your employees
  2. How to secure your assets
  3. How to get business up and running again

There have been many checklists made available to us by sources like the Red Cross, FEMA and Ready.gov that will help you identify areas that need to be included in your natural disaster preparedness plan. These sources will also show you just how unprepared you could be.

Employee Safety Is Vital

Because disaster often strikes without warning, it’s important to have a plan that lays out procedures and safety measures for employees and visitors. Make sure evacuation routes and exits from your facility are all clearly and visibly marked, provide an area where employees can take shelter when necessary, consider installing emergency lighting, and have designated staff “safety wardens” that are properly trained and ready to assist in all emergency efforts.

When you identify a shelter space, a basement or storm cellar is the ideal location in the event of tornadoes or other high-wind situations. Choose a small interior room or closet or interior hallway if you have no basement space.

Protect the Assets

If you have a brick and mortar location for your business, that does not mean your assets inside are fully protected. You’ll have to make mindful choices about how to protect them.

Be sure to have a comprehensive and up-to-date inventory of these items and, if possible, having photographs prior to a disaster whenever possible is always helpful for the insurance claim process. If your assets are based on a computer server, take the steps necessary to ensure that the backup system is regularly performing backups and that the storage system cannot be damaged.

If you own your building, take some time and talk with a contractor to locate areas that could be improved on with regard to structural integrity. This contractor can also walk you through possible safety upgrades and identify any areas that may not meet codes for certain weather situations. .

Back to Business

In the unfortunate event a natural disaster does occurs, it is highly likely that, due to damage, your business will have to shut down while repairs are being made. Every day you remain closed is another day of lost profits. Set up a special “rainy day” fund that will be available to use should you incur additional costs that are not covered by your insurance.

It is a good idea to compile a list of contractors who will be available for any construction concerns or repairs and to find a company that specializes in cleanup and restoration service that will be available to quickly respond to your emergency situation.

With SERVPRO® of San Gabriel, you can count on us to get to the disaster faster and make it “Like it never even happened.” Our training and expertise have prepared us to help with water damage, storm damage, fire damage and mold remediation quickly and effectively.

Knowing what to do when disaster strikes your business is of the utmost importance. When it comes to the cleanup and restoration aspects, depend on SERVPRO® of San Gabriel to be there for you.

Ideas for Protecting Your Home From Water Damage | SERVPRO® of San Gabriel

9/17/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage from a pipe bursting, a malfunctioning appliance or even storm damage is one of the most common and costliest disasters a homeowner can face.

But while water damage is common, it’s also preventable in many cases. Let’s take a look at some ways to safeguard your home:

Ways to Protect Your Home

Not only is water damage a hassle to deal with, but it can have a long-term impact on your home further down the road. Mold is one of the most common side effects of water damage, as mold can begin to grow and flourish within 48 hours of exposure to moisture.

When thinking about ways to protect your home, try to break it down by areas of impact. Those areas could include basements, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and ceilings to start out.

Basement water damage is often cause by water seepage. You can help prevent that happening by resealing areas in the basement where water could sneak in, making sure water drains away from your home and installing a backwater valve.

Your kitchen and bathrooms can experience water damage because of plumbing issues and appliance failures.

To protect your home against that, be sure you:

  • Inspect all appliances regularly, watching for issues with hoses and faucets
  • Check the seal and caulking around your showers and tubs to make sure they are watertight
  • Know where the main shut-off valve is in your home
  • Don’t leave the house while the washer or dishwasher is running

As much as you would like to protect your possessions in your home from water damage, it is not always possible, but there are ways you can at least decrease the amount of damage and loss. Using waterproof bins to store items is recommended, as is keeping items stored on shelving off of the floor—which is advisable when using your basement for storage.

What to Do if Water Damage Happens

In the unfortunate event your home does experience a water damage situation, you can stand a good chance of salvaging items that can be dried out within 48 hours.

Contact your insurance company immediately, evaluate the extent of the water damage to your home and identify the type of water that is involved.

Here are the types of water involved in a water damage situation:

  1. “Clean” water. This could be from rain, condensation, leaky pipes, etc.

  2. “Gray” water. This is slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, etc.

  3. “Black” water. This is water from sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, etc. This water can cause serious health problems.

Following a water damage disaster, you should remove wet objects, dehumidify and dry your home out quickly, and be sure to disinfect remaining materials.

Pro tip: By freezing your wet books, photos and papers in a frost-free freezer, you will allow yourself some extra time to take care of them. This prevents mold and mildew from developing and causing more deterioration. Once able, you can remove them from the freezer and air-dry or fan-dry the pages.

It may seem like recovering from water damage is an overwhelming and slightly impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can call on the highly trained experts at SERVPRO® of San Gabriel, who are here to make it like it never even happened!

What Can Be Damaged by a Lightning Strike? | SERVPRO® of San Gabriel

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

A thunderstorm dispels electrical energy by casting lightning bolts, which are some of the most violent examples of a thunderstorm’s power.

By causing wiring damage, ruining electronics and causing structural damage, there are quite a few things that can be damaged in the event of a lightning strike. For homeowners, it is wise to make a point to understand how lightning happens and what it can damage in order to take action after a storm has passed.

From an Electrical Charge to a Lightning Bolt

Thunder and lightning are a direct result of an electrical charge within the weather front, something all thunderstorms contain. When some of this energy is expelled by the storm, we see that as a lightning bolt and hear the thunder that is a result of the waves it produces.

When this energy is dispelled, the bolt will either dart across the clouds or toward the ground, where it will often strike an object on its way. This is the reason that lightning can be so hazardous to homes because it will route through electrical wires and cause havoc.

Things to Inspect After a Lightning Strike

After a lightning bolt strikes on or near your home, it is important to inspect the following, which are routine damages lightning causes:

1. Electrical wiring. Lightning bolts reach temperatures of around 500,000 degrees. They can not only ignite buildings on impact, but they can also damage the wiring as they travel toward the ground, increasing the likelihood of a future electrical fire. Local fire marshals or electricians can often perform tests to assess the damage.

2. Appliance function. The charge lightning transfers to a home’s wires is powerful enough to travel up power cords and ruin any electronic device that’s plugged into the wall without a surge protector. After a storm, check all the electronics in the house to see if they are operational.

3. Foundation and structure. Thunder is created by shock waves when lightning strikes, but these can also occur when lightning hits the ground. These waves have been known to crack foundations and explode chimneys, so survey your home thoroughly after a storm.

If your home has been affected by storm damages or lightning-related fires, give us a call today! We are experts in damage cleanup and can restore your damage quickly.

Looking Into What Causes Water Damage | SERVPRO® of San Gabriel

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

Water is necessary for life, this we know, but one aspect that is not necessary is water damage.

Are you aware of all the different sources of water damage that could impact your home?

How It Happens

The Travelers Companies Inc. reported that between 2009 and 2015, five of the main reasons for homeowner claims were:

  • exterior wind damage
  • non-weather-related water damage
  • hail
  • weather-related water damage
  • theft

Did you notice that water damage cracked that top five list twice? The types of water damage are broken down into two different categories, the result of weather situations or the result of non-weather situations.

Water damage that is not caused by weather occurs most often in the home and is the result of plumbing and appliance malfunction issues. Water damage caused by weather can cause just as big of headache but does not occur as often. Weather-related water damage is caused by events such as rain, snow or melting ice.

In your home, the top five causes of water damage are:

  • Issues caused by malfunctioning plumbing
  • Leaks from washing machine
  • Damaged water pipes
  • Water heaters that are up there in years
  • Weather situations
You Can Prevent the Damage

Water damage repair costs can break the budget, but it could be more if you do not have the proper homeowners insurance coverage. It is wise to double-check your homeowners insurance policy to make sure that you have the proper coverage, because in many situations, the following may be covered in a standard policy:

  • Damage that is the result of ice, snow or sleet weight
  • Any water that is an overflow situation, even accidental
  • Faulty pipes that could be cracking or bulging in a steam or hot water heat system
  • Frozen pipes and plumbing

There are ways to miss out on some types of water damage incidents and avoid the headaches that accompany the damage.

Use preventive measures and make sure to perform routine maintenance to protect your home from water damage. Some ways to do this include installing water sensors and automatic shut-off valves, asking a professional plumber to install back flow valves and standpipes in basement drains, and keeping your appliances and personal belongings up off the floor in the basement.

By adhering to these suggestions, there is a good possibility that you can dodge the bullet where water damage is concerned.

Water damage can be a nightmare to deal with, but fortunately, you will always have SERVPRO® of San Gabriel on your side to help with the cleanup and restoration process.

Tips for Protecting Your Home From Wind Damage | SERVPRO® of San Gabriel

8/30/2019 (Permalink)

Many concerns arise with severe storms, including the threat of damaging winds. These winds, which can occur without warning, can cause long-term structural impacts.

Things to be Concerned With

Tornadoes and hurricanes are not the only storms to cause damaging winds. Basically, damaging winds are considered those with wind speeds exceeding 50–60 mph and can be brought on by a strong thunderstorm.

You will often hear these damaging winds referred to as “straight-line” winds, which differentiates them from the damage caused by winds from tornadoes.

Damage from these winds can be destructive, sometimes causing loose objects to become projectiles. Windows and the roof can bear the brunt of this damage, and if extensive damage occurs, it can also result in water damage to the home as the outside elements come indoors through damaged windows and roofs.

Living in a thunderstorm-prone area can put you at risk from damaging winds. Some structures are especially at risk. For example, mobile homes, even those that are anchored, can sustain damage with wind gusts over 80 mph.

Tips to Help Protect From Wind Damage

There are a number of ways you can help protect your property from damaging winds, some of which are listed below, but keep the “Two R’s” in mind: reinforce and remove.

  • Have a professional reinforce your garage door.

  • Remove or anchor loose objects on your property that could be moved or tossed by the wind, especially trash cans, grills and outdoor furniture.

  • Have a professional remove large or dying trees and branches that could fall on your home.

Not all high wind circumstances come with advanced warning, as we all know, but some of these action items can be taken care of for that “just in case” logic.

Also, if you are building a new home or renovating an older home, be sure the windows, walls and doors meet the building code for your area.

If your home has been hit by damaging winds and resulting water damage, the highly-trained specialists at SERVPRO® of San Gabriel are here to help with the cleanup and restoration of your home.

 

Identifying Fire Hazards in the Home

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

Who wants to think about the possibility of seeing their home damaged by fire? Unfortunately, it’s a harsh reality for too many Americans.

One way you can protect your home is to understand fire hazards and know how to identify them. In this blog, we’ll be discussing two of the most common household fire hazards.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, over a five-year period from 2011 to 2015, fire departments in the United States answered approximately 8,700 home structure fires a year that were started by candles. These were responsible for a total of 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in direct property damage.

When burning a candle, be sure it’s safely kept at least one foot away from anything flammable and is in a sturdy holder that won’t easily tip over. Never use a candle where oxygen is used in the home and always blow all candles out before leaving a room or going to sleep.

Candles were a cause of 2 percent of home fires, with 3 percent resulting in death and 7 percent resulting in injuries. There were an average of 24 home candle fires reported per day during those five years, with December the prime time of the year for home candle fires.

Of all the candle fires during this time span, 37 percent started in bedrooms and were responsible for 36 percent of the associated deaths and 51 percent of the associated injuries.

While cooking may be the leading cause of home fires, smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths. In 2014, an estimated 17,200 home structure fires caused by smoking were reported. Those fires resulted in 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in property damage, per the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes.

Douse all cigarette butts and ashes in water or sand prior to throwing them out, and keep in mind that one out of four fatal victims from smoking-related fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.

If you’re a smoker, it is safest to smoke outside, as most deaths result from fires that start in living rooms, family rooms or bedrooms. Fire-safe cigarettes are a great option—and a deep, sturdy ashtray should be used.

<h4are-lesser-known-fire-hazards-to-watch-for">Here Are Lesser-known Fire Hazards to Watch For

While candles and smoking are two of the most common causes of home structure fires, there are also other lesser-known hazards that could be present in your home.

Did you know that there is glassware you may have in your home that could actually pose a fire risk? When sunlight passes through them, the concentrated ray could ignite flammable materials. It’s best to move glass accessories away from windows.

Also, look out for loose outlets in your home. Movement of these electrical outlets could loosen wires connected to the outlet and create dangerous arcing.

Dust bunnies are also a fire risk when collecting near electrical sockets and floor heaters. Sweeping or vacuuming your floors regularly and cleaning hard-to-reach areas like behind entertainment systems can help prevent buildup.

Fire, smoke and water damage can be devastating to homes, including the damage caused by firefighting efforts. SERVPRO® of San Gabriel has your back and is here to help restore your home to pre-fire condition.

3 Fire Safety Basics for the Whole Family | SERVPRO® of San Gabriel

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

Were you aware that every year in the United States, more than 350,000 house fires occur, amounting to more than $5.5 billion in property damage? These fires are also responsible for almost 3,000 deaths and another 10,000 injuries.

Advance preparation is your best defense against a fire. The importance of every person in your family knowing how to prevent fires and how to respond if they occur cannot be understated.

Start by teaching your kids basic fire safety guidelines early in their life. Take a look, as a family, at three fire safety suggestions you can practice:

Include Your Family in Fire Safety Planning

Plans should be in place in the event of a fire. Every family member needs to know that plan and what to do. This includes how to get out of the house and a safe place to meet once they’ve gotten out.

But don’t just create a plan and stop there.

Conduct fire drills on a regular basis. Practice makes perfect. This helps everyone remember the plan if an actual fire breaks out.

Catch Fire Hazards

Would you be surprised if you were to take a look through your home and found fire hazards? Be sure to look through every room as well as your outdoor space checking for hazards.

  • Appliances should be in good working condition.
  • Electrical cords should not be frayed or damaged.
  • Outlets and/or extension cords should not be “maxed out.”
  • Proper wattage light bulbs should be used in light fixtures.
  • Electrical wiring should not covered up by rugs or carpet.
Practice Kitchen Fire Safety

Did you know cooking is one of the major causes of house fires? That’s why it’s important to be cautious in the kitchen.

All cooks should follow basic cooking safety rules:

  • Never cook when tired or distracted.
  • Kids and teens need to be supervised when they cook.
  • Keeping a lid nearby when cooking with grease on the stove helps in the event of a grease fire. Should a small grease fire occur, use the lid to cover and smother it.
  • Turn the oven off and do not open the door if the oven catches fire.
  • If a kitchen fire is spreading, immediately leave the room, closing the door.

If your family has experienced a fire and needs help restoring your home, SERVPRO® of San Gabriel can help! Give us call to learn about our fire restoration services and what we can do for you.

Responding to Disasters Quickly

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

When disaster strikes your home or business, time becomes an especially precious commodity. When it is your home or livelihood on the line, you don’t have the benefit of waiting for help—you need it right away.

Nobody understands a fast response like we do, which is why responding faster to any size disaster is more than just a slogan to us.

When it’s your belongings or business on the line, time is not a luxury you have regarding disaster cleanup. This becomes especially true when water damage is involved in the disaster through events that involve flooding, appliance and/or plumbing failures, storm damage and water damage after a fire.

The walls, the floors, upholstery and your belongings are fast casualties of water. Mere minutes is all it takes for water to spread throughout your property and saturate everything that is in its path.

The effects of water damage within the first 24 hours include:

  • Drywall beginning to swell and break down
  • Metal surfaces beginning to tarnish
  • Furniture beginning to swell and crack
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper items spreading and staining
  • The beginning of a musty odor

The damage continues to worsen as time goes on. Within only 48 hours and up to a week later, you could begin to see:

  • The growth and spreading of mold and mildew
  • Swelling and warping of doors, windows and studs
  • Metal beginning to rust and corrode
  • Paint beginning to blister
  • Wood flooring swelling and warping
  • The possibilities of serious biohazard contamination

Water damage that is left to stand for over a week leads to a much higher costs and restoration times, and it can impact structural safety.

<h4ll-make-it-like-it-never-even-happened">We’ll Make It Like It Never Even Happened

We can provide an immediate response to any size disaster, which can help minimize the damage and help keep the cleaning and restoration costs manageable.

Our trained cleanup and restoration specialists can be dispatched to your property or business at any time, no matter what day or time it is.

Being a locally owned and operated franchise helps us be close by and ready to respond whenever the call comes in. A major perk of being part of a national network of over 1,700 franchises is that we have access to more resources for the cleanup and restoration projects that may be larger or stem from major storm situations.

Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO® of San Gabriel is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Be Prepared | SERVPRO® of San Gabriel

8/27/2019 (Permalink)

Increased Threats of Severe Weather

If we stop and take a look at natural catastrophe losses in the U.S. for 2017, severe thunderstorms were the most common cause and produced some of the costliest results. Out of 50 events, there were 85 fatalities and an estimated total of $25.4 billion in overall losses.

With these storms, we have the threat of flooding, high winds and even tornadoes if the conditions are right. It has been found that in modern history, 10% of all violent tornadoes have occurred in March, with April, May and June taking the top spots at 30%, 24% and 15% respectively.

Prepare Your Family for the Unexpected Weather

While weather forecasters may not be able to predict the weather with 100% accuracy, they do have the tools available to forewarn us of impending severe weather. Advanced warnings, along with the right preparation, can greatly improve overall safety for your family.

Take a look at some of the things you can do to your home to prepare for the chance of severe weather:

  1. Clear out your home’s gutters, drains and downspouts.
  2. Trim trees of precarious limbs or branches that could break off in a storm.
  3. Secure or store outdoor belongings if severe weather is in the forecast.

Having an emergency kit on hand is always advised. These kits should include the following:

  • Battery-operated flashlight and NOAA weather radio, with extra batteries for both
  • Emergency evacuation or shelter plans
  • Important personal info, like telephone numbers of neighbors, family and friends, insurance and property info, numbers for the utility companies, and medical info
  • A first-aid kit with things like non-latex gloves, adhesive bandages, tweezers, sterile gauze pads, aspirin packets, adhesive cloth tape and scissors
  • 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blankets or sleeping bag

Despite its unpredictability, there is one thing that always remains true of the spring weather season: It always happens. If your home or business is damaged in a storm, you can depend on SERVPRO® of San Gabriel to get the cleanup and restoration process started fast.

Must-Have Qualities in a Restoration Company | SERVPRO® of San Gabriel

8/23/2019 (Permalink)

Any property being damaged in a natural disaster is unfortunate, but for business owners, it can cause their whole livelihood to be put on the line. After a disaster, over 40% of businesses are unable to resume operations, as reported by FEMA.

Making sure your business will recover requires some planning, including picking a commercial restoration company to work with to repair the damage. Here are some must-have qualities to seek out when you are choosing a company:

1. A Solid Emergency Plan

After a natural disaster, the speed of response can make a big difference in the extent of the damage. Damage that is left untreated can compound, meaning more time and expense will be required to repair it. A company with a comprehensive emergency response plan will keep costs and project timelines to a minimum by getting there faster.

This philosophy is why we implemented a 24-hour response line. By being able to take action as soon as damages are reported, we can let business owners focus on other things they need to do to reopen.

2. A Solid Team of Technicians

The way technicians are trained has quite a bit to do with the quality of their work. By choosing a company that invests heavily in its team, you will have peace of mind that the quality of service will be top-notch.

We train our technicians in compliance with the standards set forth by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). We also put a strong emphasis on continued education by providing online learning courses and employee certifications, so learning does not stop when training does.

3. A Solid Fleet of Equipment

Having the right tools for the job makes a big difference, especially when commercial restoration is the job in question. Select a company with an up-to-date fleet of equipment in order to ensure you are getting the best tools for your restoration job.

The IICRC standards for restoration equipment are what we use to determine what tools we use—whether we are removing water or scrubbing harmful chemicals from the air, we take advantage of the technological advancements that allow us to do our job better.

If you’re in need of commercial restoration, do not hesitate to make the call so you can get your business back faster. Our trained experts are here to help 24/7—contact us today.