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Flood Damage Precautions for Your Home | SERVPRO® of San Gabriel

7/5/2019 (Permalink)

Think flooding is unlikely to damage your home? You may want to think again.

In 90% of natural disasters some form of flooding is involved. Therefore, it is important for homeowners to stay knowledgeable about what their risks are and how they should prepare for them.

Precautions Against Flood Damage to Your Household

For homeowners, limiting the damage a flood can cause is possible with some advanced precautions around the house:

Get an accurate representation of risk. Use the FEMA Flood Map Tool or call the local branch of your emergency management office to better understand your risk and the precautions to take.

Have a chat about actions in case of emergency. Make sure your entire family is aware of the procedure by discussing a disaster plan and evacuation route with everyone. Show all adults and older children where to turn off the electricity and gas mains in the house—and keep emergency supplies handy.

Elevate chemicals away from water. Chemicals that you keep around your house are fine in bottles, but pose an extreme risk when mixed with floodwaters. Antifreeze, oils and bleaches should be elevated out of the water’s way.

Ensure tanks of propane and fuel are secured. A tipped fuel tank is a recipe for disaster, and even a full one can be moved when floodwaters are rushing. Anchor them securely to avoid this risk.

Cut electricity to any affected rooms. Even if you feel it’s unlikely that the waters would reach electrical appliances or outlets, having live electricity near floodwaters can still be dangerous. Shut off the electrical breaker to any rooms that are at-risk for a flood.

Store valuables in a safe space. Items considered irreplaceable, such as family memorabilia, tax records and household documents, should be digitized and the physical copies kept off-site or in a waterproof safe.

Keeping your family and your home out of harm’s way is of chief concern in the event of a flood that is imminent. Homeowners can take steps like these to lessen their risk and protect their belongings and their loved ones in the event of a disaster.

If you’ve experienced flood damage or water damage from other causes, SERVPRO® of San Gabriel is here to help. Our technicians are fully trained in water remediation, and our 247 Emergency Line means we’ll be there for you when you call.

Why Us? We Have a “Restore First” Mentality | SERVPRO® of San Gabriel

6/11/2019 (Permalink)

One of the reasons you should call us first when disaster strikes is that we get there faster. But that is not the only reason why we should be one of your first calls if the worst should occur.

When it comes to your property, aided by the use of specialized equipment and cleaning techniques, our technicians have a “restore first” mentality. This mentality helps to reduce the interruptions to your life and helps get your home or business back to pre-disaster condition.

We’re Here to Help

Knowing the first steps to take after a fire has damaged your property is daunting, but that’s why we are here! Once you contact us, our team springs into action.

Because every fire damage event is different, our highly trained team will develop a unique solution that is tailored to your needs; however, the general process remains the same.

Here are the steps that are included in our process:

1. Emergency contact. When you make your initial contact with us, you will be asked a series of questions regarding the fire damage. This helps us make sure our team is dispatched with the appropriate equipment and resources.

2. Inspection and fire damage assessment. As the team arrives, they will inspect and test adjoining rooms of the property to determine the extent of fire, smoke and soot damage. This helps us determine the right plan of action moving forward.

3. Immediate board-up and roof-tarp service. There’s a pretty good possibility your window, walls and roofs will be compromised by fire damage, so we will make sure that your property is secure and protected from further damage by boarding up missing windows and walls and placing a tarp on damaged roofs.

4. Water removal and drying (if water damage is present). Since water damage is a byproduct of fire damage, we immediately begin the removal process for all wet items. Dehumidifiers and air movers are brought in to remove the remaining water and finish up the drying process.

5. Removal of smoke and soot from all surfaces. Through the use of specialized equipment and techniques, we are able to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls and other surfaces.

6. Cleaning and sanitizing. When possible, we will clean your restorable items and structures. Not only will they be cleaned, but industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment are used to help remove odors.

7. Restoration. The final step in getting your property back to pre-fire condition is restoration. This can include minor repairs like replacing drywall, painting and installing new carpet, as well as possible major repairs like reconstruction of damaged areas.

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.

Fire Safety Tips for Your Business

4/25/2019 (Permalink)

As a business owner, there are plenty of safety considerations to address regarding risks to your business, staff and visitors. One of the things you need to spend a little extra time planning for and working toward is fire prevention.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) listed in order:

  1. Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
  2. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
  3. Heating equipment, 11% of fires
  4. Intentional, 10% of fires
  5. Smoking materials, 9% of fires
  6. Exposure, 4% of fires
  7. Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires

From those cases, three of them—intentional, exposure, and electrical distribution and lighting equipment—accounted for 20%, 18% and 15%, respectively, of the most property damage.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2007, fires and explosions accounted for 3% of all workplace fatalities.

In taking a looking at more recent numbers, the NFPA estimates that from 2007–2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year, which were responsible for an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.

Tips for Protecting Your Business

What can you, as a business owner, do to protect your business from the risk of fires? 

First, you must assess your risk for fire by identifying hazards. In some areas, the local government may even offer a visit from a fire marshal to help identify these risks and provide guidance on your fire prevention plan.

You’ll want to make sure that the right fire protection equipment is in place. This includes an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.

Finally, work on creating a fire plan and reviewing it with your staff. That way you’ll be making sure everyone knows what to do and how to stay safe in the event of a fire. Conduct fire drills at least once a year to keep the fire safety protocol fresh, and take time to review evacuation plans and the location of your first-aid kits.

Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO® of San Gabriel is the team to call.

Understanding the 3 Water Classifications

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

Water that is involved with water damage is classified into three different categories: clean, gray and black, so it is not safe to think that all water is the same. Gaining a better understanding of the differences in these types of water can also help you understand how to better handle a water damage situation.

Whatever the type of water that is involved in water damage, there will most assuredly be a cleanup and restoration process to follow. To begin the process, the most important thing to do is remove all of the moisture and damp items quickly, so that mold will not begin to flourish in its ideal environment.

Clean Water

“Clean” water is free of contaminants and is not the type to pose an immediate threat to your health, much like its name infers. This water can come from:

  • Broken water lines
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Toilet holding tanks
  • Snow melt and rainwater

Cleanup will be the easiest for damage from this type of water damage since there are fewer microbes living in the water. But after a 48-hour period and contact with the surfaces of buildings, clean water can change to category two, which is gray water.

Gray Water

“Gray” water is where water damage cleanup and restoration can become a bit more complicated. It may pose a health risk due to chemical or biological contamination. That slight contamination in gray water means that it will have to be properly and thoroughly treated before safe consumption.

Gray water is a product of dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc. Also, the 48-hour exposure time applies here as well, with gray water turning into black water if not treated.

Black Water

“Black” water presents a hazard and is the most serious of the three classifications because it is considered highly contaminated by harmful chemicals and biological matter. This includes floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.

Sewage carries with it contamination caused by microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more—many of these can be harmful to humans.

Diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroenteritis-type illnesses

For your safety, assume that all floodwaters are black water since it will pick up contaminants as it makes its way along its path.

All floodwater classifications are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), which is an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our technicians all study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration and are available to help determine the steps to take to get your home back to normal.

It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO® of San Gabrielis here to help get the situation under control and make it "Like it never even happened." Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need emergency cleanup and restoration services!

Water Damage Could be Caused by These Plumbing Issues

1/25/2019 (Permalink)

Severe weather is usually one of the first things that comes to mind when many think of water damage.

Yes, storms and flooding can cause catastrophic water damage, but they are often not the main culprits. Various items in your home can also be responsible for creating many situations that result in water damage.

<h4damage-is-a-common-homeowners-insurance-claim:58a1bc41e6cb8546d7fc3be59ee7afd5">Water Damage Is a Common Homeowners Insurance Claim

Water damage was the third most common reason for a homeowners insurance claim between 2011 and 2015, and is something many homeowners will face with an average payout per claim of $8,861.

However, there are a differences between water damage and gradual water damage, which can impact insurance claims. Examples of gradual damage are situations where something has been happening over time, such as plumbing issues in the walls causing damage to walls, ceilings or floors, or water damage caused by cracks in the foundation. Unfortunately, most gradual water damage claims are not usually covered by homeowners insurance, while storm-related water damage usually is.

<h4damage-culprits-in-your-home:58a1bc41e6cb8546d7fc3be59ee7afd5">Water Damage Culprits in Your Home

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the leading causes of water damage are:

  • Plumbing supply system failures. This would involve frozen pipes that can burst due to a buildup in water pressure caused by freezing water or when the supply system building materials fail, resulting in a leaking or burst pipe. Per IBHS, plumbing supply system failures lead the pack for residential water damage losses, and an average claim will cost approximately $5,092 per incident after the deductible. It was also found that homes in the 16 to 40 years of age range made up a larger group of supply system material failure claims.

  • Plumbing drain system failures. This type of occurrence happens when a sewer drain backs up and overflows into a home or from the integrity of the materials used in the system. In their study, IBHS found that 52% of drain system failures were caused by sewer backups and 37% were related to material performance issues. It is interesting to note that they also found that the average drain system failure had higher loss claim dollar amounts in southern states than in northern states.

  • Toilet failures. Toilets are the second highest source of residential water damage loss after plumbing supply system failures, and this type of damage can be the result of faulty fill valves or clogged drain lines. Toilet failures on the first floor of a home had more severe homeowners insurance claims than those in basements or upper floors, according the study conducted by IBHS.

  • Water heater failures. If your water heater has reached its life expectancy, rust and corrosion will start to deteriorate the tank, which can create leaking or bursting issues. IBHS noted that 69% of all water heater failures resulted from a slow leak or sudden burst of water lines and, on average, cost $4,444 per incident following the deductible.

  • Washing machine failures. As a general rule, washing machine failures can be caused by supply hose failures, machines overflowing and drain line failures. Washing machines are one of the top 10 sources of residential water losses, and per IBHS, supply hose failures accounted for over half of all washing machine-related losses.

If your home has experienced any water damage, the team at SERVPRO of San Gabriel is always available 247 to help with cleanup and restoration and make it “Like it never even happened.”

The Basics of Mold Remediation

1/25/2019 (Permalink)

If water damage occurs in a home or commercial property, there is a good chance that mold growth is likely to follow. In fact, mold begins growing within 48 hours of exposure to moisture.

Knowing your next steps when faced with a mold issue is very important, which is why we’re discussing mold remediation in this blog.

Why Mold Remediation?

You’ve probably seen ads for mold remediation and ads that promise mold removal, but mold removal is a fallacy. Removing all mold from a home or business is simply impossible. A qualified restoration company will focus on mold remediation, setting a goal for bringing mold levels back to a normal and natural range.

It is true that mold spores are a natural occurrence everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. They only create a problem when a minor mold issue is left untreated and then it turns into a major mold infestation.

During a mold remediation, the professional technicians isolate all contaminated areas, either by closing all doors and windows or completely and effectively sealing off all doorways and openings with a polyethylene sheeting, dependent on the level of remediation. Dust in the contaminated areas is then suppressed through misting.

Plastic bags are used to remove and discard wet and mold-damaged materials. All areas exposed to and affected by the mold are then thoroughly cleaned and dried. Sometimes, a HEPA vacuum will be used to help remove contamination and debris.

The mold area will then be treated with a biocide, and the technicians will leave it to sit overnight to allow it sufficient time to kill the mold spores. The following day, the mold remediation crew will return to encapsulate the affected area and beyond.

What to Do If You Suspect a Mold Issue

If you suspect your home or business may have a mold problem, you’ll want to act quickly. It is time to contact the professionals if, upon evaluation of the size of the problem, it is found that the mold has affected more than 10 square feet.

It is important that any professional company you hire be highly trained and certified in areas like:

  • Applied microbial remediation
  • Water damage restoration
  • Applied structural drying

Many home and business owners have successfully resolved some minor mold issues on their own, but the safest way is to always use a professional mold remediation company to get the quickest resolution to the problem.

At SERVPRO® of San Gabriel, our mold damage specialists are trained and certified experts in mold remediation. If your home or business is experiencing a mold issue, contact us to begin the mold remediation process.

Creating a Natural Disaster Plan for Your Business

1/25/2019 (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.

Making Sure Your Family Is Prepared for Severe Weather

1/25/2019 (Permalink)

Preparing for severe weather is always a good idea. Even though we may have advanced warning for some types of severe weather, there are also those occasions where severe weather can catch us off-guard.

Fortunately, there are things you can do and safety tips to follow that will ensure your family is prepared for any type of severe weather occurrences.

Creating a Family Emergency Plan

An important way to stay ahead of the weather is to have an established family emergency plan put together and ready.

If you have already established an emergency plan with your family, make sure that it is reviewed and discussed regularly, especially at the beginning of the various weather seasons so that everyone knows exactly what to do.

If there is not a family emergency plan in place for your family, here are some things to take into consideration when creating it:

1. The Importance of Emergency Alerts

Fortunately, it is easy to receive emergency alerts and warnings on your smartphone thanks to technology today. Alerts and warnings are literally “at your fingertips” if you have a weather app or Google on your smartphone, which allows for valuable time in severe weather situations. Radio and television also still broadcast warnings and alerts.

2. Establishing a Storm Shelter

Living in an area where tornadoes are common means you’ll want to seek shelter in the lowest part of your home, preferably a basement if you have one. If there is no basement, find an interior room on the lowest level that is away from windows and doors. There are other reasons a storm shelter is needed besides tornadoes, and by visiting ready.gov, you can learn more about those situations.

3. Planning Evacuation Routes

Put together a map of various evacuation routes and keep it handy in the event of hurricanes, floods or fires. which can force you out of your home in a hurry. Multiple routes are wise to have just in case one is impassable, and be sure to account for your pets and find out if there are places to stay with them along your route.

4. Communication in Severe Weather

Reliance on cell phones today is the common form of communication, but cell phone towers can be damaged during storms and batteries will die when there is no power to recharge them. Your family will need an emergency communication plan in place. Also, designate a safe meeting place for your family, so that you can all meet there if separated.

If a storm does cause damage to your home or business, don’t hesitate to call your friends at SERVPRO® of San Gabriel to get the cleanup and restoration process started.

How to Prepare for Flooding and Storm Damage

10/8/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that weather changes are increasing the likelihood of floods? Yes, even in areas where excess water is usually considered to be unlikely. But as long as there is rain, there is a chance for flooding, too.

Technically speaking, a flood has occurred when two or more acres are wholly or partially subsumed with water.

But if a flood does happen, you won’t be spending your time worrying about the legal definition. You’ll be rightly worried about survival. Keep reading this blog for tips about flood preparation - and don’t worry, none of them include building an ark.

You need a generator in an emergency

It’s impossible to know if power lines will survive during a flood, or if any of the usual electric resources will still be available. There are different variables that will influence the type of generator that you need.

Did you know: water conducts electricity. And of course, flooding means lots of excess water. If you know that flooding is impending, you should move all appliances to higher ground for safety.

You need to know the flood risk

You can check with local government or FEMA websites to become familiar with the level of flood risk in your area. The knowledge of when floods are more likely to happen and what is likely to cause them helps you be prepared. For the San Gabriel area, you can start here.

Another good way to stay aware of the risk is to purchase a weather radio and become familiar with how to use it properly.

You need an emergency kit

Have you prepped an emergency preparedness kit? And is it prepared for a flood? The emergency kit should have extra water as flooding can contaminate water sources, and place important documents in a waterproof case, and always include extra food supplies. For help packing an emergency kit, read this.

You need to know how to evacuate

Evacuation is a two-fold process. Begin by researching your local government’s official evacuation plan. After that, you should create an evacuation plan for your family that also includes emergency modes of communication. You should practice this evacuation plan until every person is familiar with the route.

Finally, once all of the floor waters have receded, you’ll want a plan in place for clean up. SERVPRO® of San Gabriel is always ready to help.

The Storm Damage Caused by Hurricanes

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

Pacific hurricanes aren’t as common as Atlantic hurricanes, but they are known to happen. In August this year, Hawaii was hit by Hurricane Lane. The state of California and the mild Los Angeles County climate may be generally safe from hurricanes, but if you travel to the East Coast or the Gulf Coast or even Hawaii then the odds rise. It’s always important to be prepared.

While hurricanes tend to get the most coverage, they are actually only one of ten common storm types in the United States. Other storms include tornadoes, floods, snow storms, hail storm, thunderstorms, lightning storms, tropical storms, ice storms and Derecho storms.

Have you heard of a Derecho storm before? They occur when many large storms create a single giant storm –one that can reach speeds of 58 miles per hour and cover 250 miles.

Hurricanes, although more common in some areas than others, reach far past the coast they occur on.Hurricane Sandy affected over 20 states.

Because hurricanes cause so much damage, it’s important to be knowledgeable about them even if they aren’t common to California.

Wind Damage

The winds that accompany hurricanes are connected to all types of damage. In many cases, the wind is strong enough to form tornadoes. Wind speed can often range between 74 - 155 miles per hour, more than strong enough to cause severe wreckage. Even the sturdiest of structures, like trees, are in danger from wind this strong. Storm winds are powerful enough to hoist up and fling debris of all sizes, causing further destruction.

Storm Surge Damage

Have you heard of a supposed “wall of water” caused by hurricanes? This so-called wall is actually called storm surge. As hurricanes rage toward land, the winds push water with it and disrupt the normal tide flow. So much water is pushed toward the shore that it amasses high above predicted tide levels and then surges onto shore and farther inland. As the water surges inland, it has nowhere to drain and thus causes flooding. Storm surge creates strong currents and carries heavy weight, causing damage wherever it goes.

Flood Damage

As mentioned, storm surge is the primary reason for flooding events during a hurricane. But storm surge happens mainly on the coast. Hurricanes can cause floods as far out as 100 miles from landfall. Hurricanes are so powerful that they affect other weather systems, creating excess precipitation in areas that aren’t prepared. Because the excess rainwater cannot drain, floods occur.

Storm damage, whether caused by hurricanes or flood or otherwise, can be very serious and