Preventing Home Fires
Most home fires occur in the kitchen while cooking and are the leading cause of injuries from fire. Common causes of fires at night are carelessly discarded cigarettes, sparks from fireplaces without spark screens or glass doors, and heating appliances left too close to furniture or other combustibles. These fires can be particularly dangerous because they may smolder for a long period before being discovered by sleeping residents.
Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
- Do not cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.
- Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.
- Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- If you smoke, smoke outside. Most home fires caused by smoking materials start inside the home. Put your cigarettes out in a can filled with sand.
- Make sure cigarettes and ashes are out. The cigarette really needs to be completely stubbed out in an ashtray. Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
- Check for cigarette butts. Chairs and sofas catch on fire fast and burn fast. Don't put ashtrays on them. If people have been smoking in the home, check for cigarettes under cushions.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
- Be alert - don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.
Electrical and Appliance Safety
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
- Buy electrical products evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
- Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
Portable Space Heaters
- Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
- Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
- Check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community.
- Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.
Fireplaces and Woodstoves
- Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
- Never burn trash, paper, or green wood.
- Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
- Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
- Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container outside the home.
- Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
- Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
- Teach children not to pick up matches or lighters they may find. Instead, they should tell an adult immediately.
- Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.
- Check under beds and in closets for burned matches, evidence your child may be playing with fire.
More Prevention Tips
- Avoid using lighted candles.
- Never use the range or oven to heat your home.
- Replace mattresses made before the 2007 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard. Mattresses made since then are required by law to be safer.
- Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
- Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.
"Remember-when disaster strikes the time to prepare has passed"
More information on home fires at https://www.ready.gov/home-fires
Water Damage-Safety with Electricity
Environmental hazards are present in every water damage. Electrical hazards, structural hazards, and hazardous materials are a few types of hazards that can be life threatening.
Water conducts electricity and mixing them can be disastrous. Electrical hazards are potentially everywhere. Water from a roof leak or from water pipes in the attic is likely to get into the wiring system.
Here are a few electrical safety tips when dealing with water damage:
- Turn off the power to the building/home at the main circuit breaker if this can be done safely. if you are unable to access the main circuit panel safely, call an electrician to turn off the power
- If water is running from a light fixture, light switch or outlet, do not turn on that circuit
- Use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) for all electrical equipment. Portable GFCIs can be purchased at most home supply stores.
- Metal conducts electricity. Do not use metal measuring tapes, ropes, hand lines, ladders or other metal materials that can make contact with energized circuits or equipment.
- Determine the location of electrical wiring, cables, power lines before drilling or cutting into walls or other structural areas
- Do not turn on electrical appliances or fixtures that have been exposed to water
- Do not turn on electrical appliances or fixtures while you are standing on wet surfaces
- Always turn off the power at the power distribution box before unplugging wet items
Keys to Remember
- Take care of electrical hazards before beginning any type of work
- If you aren't sure if an environment is safe, give SERVPRO of Walnut Creek/Clayton a call and have one of our professional technicians inspect the building.
Water Damage? Give us a call at (925)930-6690. We can make is "Like it never even happened"
The Parties of Fire Restoration
When fire damages a structure, various parties are involved in restoring that structure. Not all structures are insured for fire losses, but in most cases an insurance company works with the property owner to address the damages. When the loss occurs, the insurance agent and adjuster must deliver on
the promises for restoration made in the property owner’s insurance policy.
SERVPRO of Walnut Creek/Clayton offers critical services to insurance companies. By calling us to handle property fire damage claims, the insurance company can fulfill
their obligation to restore the damage while avoiding unnecessary administrative costs and reducing the overall loss expense. Charges for restoration services
are only a fraction of the cost of replacement, which lowers the cost of a claim for the insurance company. The services we proved have a direct impact on the property owners. A fire damage is a traumatic experience for most homeowners.
Here at SERVPRO of Walnut Creek/Clayton, our professional quality service and close attention to the customer’s concerns help restore their lives, as if the fire never even happened.
Do you have damage to your home from a fire? Give us a call today at (925)930-6690
What to know about Water Damage
Your home is your safe haven and should be your place of rest. But when water begins leaking-even the small leaks in areas you can't see-your home could quickly become a source of stress. The possibility of harmful mold, rot and unseen damage may affect the value of your home and the health of loved ones.
Water intrusions invade floors, ceilings and walls to find the lowest point in your home or business structure. Water from an overflowing bathroom or other water incidents will search for pinhole crevices and cracks in your floors and walls looking for a way to travel down in the building. Surfaces such as wood, drywall and carpet pull water away from plain sight and into the interiors of the structure.
Should a water incident occur in your business, remove excess water if possible, remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying and place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs. These tips may help prevent further damage to your home or business contents.
Here at SERVPRO of Walnut Creek/Clayton understand how disruptive water damages can be for your entire family and will help to ensure the water is identified, regardless of where it hides. That is why we offer 24-hour emergency response by trained, uniformed restoration professionals. With top-of-the-line equipment and time tested cleanup and restoration techniques, we have the expertise to help make your house feel like home again.
After all, when it comes to your home and your family, even small disasters can feel like huge problems. So if a water damage occurs in your home just give us a call at (925)930-6690
Lightening & Thunderstorms
All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States. On average in the U.S., lightning kills 51 people and injures hundreds more. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.
Other associated dangers of thunderstorms including tornadoes, strong winds, hail and flash flooding. Flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities – more than 140 annually – than any other thunderstorm-associated hazard. Dry thunderstorms that do not produce rain that reaches the ground are most prevalent in the western United States. Falling raindrops evaporate, but lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires
Before Thunderstorm and Lightning
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communication plan
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
- Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.
Lightning Risk Reduction When Outdoors
If you are in a forest then, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.
In an open area, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.
On open water, get to land and find shelter immediately.
Facts about Thunderstorms
- They may occur singly, in clusters or in lines.
- Some of the most severe occur when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.
- Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
- Warm, humid conditions are highly favorable for thunderstorm development.
- About 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe – one that produces hail at least an inch or larger in diameter, has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher or produces a tornado.
Facts about Lightning
- Lightning’s unpredictability increases the risk to individuals and property.
- Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.
- “Heat lightning” is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away from thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction.
- Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.
- Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be 1 in 600,000 but could be reduced even further by following safety precautions.
- Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.
Know the Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a thunderstorm hazard:
Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
During Thunderstorms and Lightning
If thunderstorm and lightning are occurring in your area, you should:
- Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
- Avoid contact with corded phones and devices including those plugged into electric for recharging. Cordless and wireless phones not connected to wall outlets are OK to use.
- Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords. Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Avoid contact with plumbing. Do not wash your hands, do not take a shower, do not wash dishes, and do not do laundry. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
- Do not lie on concrete floors and do not lean against concrete walls.
- Avoid natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area.
- Avoid hilltops, open fields, the beach or a boat on the water.
- Take shelter in a sturdy building. Avoid isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.
- Avoid contact with anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers until the heavy rain ends. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside the vehicle.
After a Thunderstorm or Lightning Strike
If lightning strikes you or someone you know, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance as soon as possible. The following are things you should check when you attempt to give aid to a victim of lightning:
- Breathing - if breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
- Heartbeat - if the heart has stopped, administer CPR.
- Pulse - if the victim has a pulse and is breathing, look for other possible injuries. Check for burns where the lightning entered and left the body. Also be alert for nervous system damage, broken bones and loss of hearing and eyesight.
After the storm passes remember to:
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. Turn around, don’t drown!
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk from the effects of severe thunderstorms.
- Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or to local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions, as access to roads or some parts of the community may be blocked.
- Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
- Watch your animals closely. Keep them under your direct control.
For more information give SERVPRO of Walnut Creek/Clayton a call at (925)930-6690
QUICK TIPS TO PREVENT WATER DAMAGE
QUICK TIPS TO PREVENT WATER DAMAGE
Water damage can result in the loss of valuables and disrupt your life. A study by the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) identified 10 areas where proper maintenance can help a homeowner avoid experiencing such a loss.
LOSS PREVENTION AND MAINTENANCE
• After flushing, remain in or near the bathroom until the fill valve has finished refilling the bowl.
• If the bowl or tank begins to overflow, turn off the water at the supply valve.
• Inspect the flushing mechanism inside the toilet every 6 months.
• The fill valve should shut off when the float reaches the proper water level.
• Replace the flapper or fill valve assembly if you notice intermittent or constant tank refilling when the toilet is not in use.
• Inspect the supply line every 6 months.
• Ensure the connection to the valve is secure.
• Operate the valve to make sure the water supply will shut off. Replace if needed.
A burst water supply line caused half of all water damage incidents involving washing machines.
On average, these incidents caused more than $6,000 in damage per incident.
LOSS PREVENTION AND MAINTENANCE TIPS
• Turn supply valves off when not in use.
• Water damage can result in the loss of valuables and disrupt your life.
• A study by the Institute for Business & Home Safety identified 9 areas where proper maintenance can help a homeowner avoid experiencing such a loss.
• Consider installing a lever-type valve that is easy to operate between uses.
• Do not operate the washing machine while the home is unoccupied.
• Leave a 3 to 4 inch gap between the back of the washing machine and the wall to avoid kinking the hose near the valve connection.
• Inspect the water supply line hoses every 6 months.
• Ensure that the connection to the valve is secure, but avoid over-tightening.
• Hand tighten first.
• Then tighten an additional 2/3 of a turn using pliers.
• Check the hoses for cracks, kinks or blisters, which are most commonly found near the hose connection.
• Washing machine manufacturers recommend replacing washing machine hoses every 5 years.
• Consider reinforced braided stainless steel hoses.
Have Water Damage? Give SERVPRO of Walnut Creek/Clayton a call at (925)930-6690
We can make it "Like it never even happened"
When you suspect mold in your home
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Walnut Creek/Clayton for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Walnut Creek/Clayton specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (925)930-6690
SERVPRO- A history of Trust and Professionalism
"To develop a team of quality people who focus on excellent service, fairness and mutual respect."
-SERVPRO Mission Statement
Our number one goal is returning damaged areas and items to preloss condition, doing all we can to make it "Like it never even happened." SERVPRO of Walnut Creek & Clayton is dedicated to restoring both the property and the lives of the customers being helped.
Like it was never dirty, like it never overflowed, like it never caught fire, like it never spilled, like it never smoldered-whatever the case with SERVPRO our goal is to make it "Like it never even happened."
SERVPRO is a franchise system with over 40 years of leadership in fire and water and restoration. Our track record of results has earned us the trust of the insurance industry, countless homeowners and commercial property managers.
Our Service Promise
Within one hour from notice of loss, SERVPRO of Walnut Creek will contact your insured to arrange for service
Within four hours of loss notification, we're on site to start mitigation services
Within eight hours a preliminary report of the loss will be back to the appropriate person.
For more information please call us at (925)930-6690
Do you have mold in your carpet?
Carpet mold can be a difficult problem to tackle. Mold can grow fast in damp places, and once it gains a foothold in your home, you have to put in a lot of work to eliminate it. Damp basements are ideal for mold growth. Likewise, rooms with insufficient ventilation also provide for a mold breeding ground. It may be difficult to detect carpet mold because it can thrive underneath the surface. Regular inspection is the only way to rule out carpet mold. Five of the signs that indicate the presence of carpet mold are found below.
1. Musty Odors
A musty odor in a carpet’s vicinity is a definite indication of the presence of mold, which will fester in a damp, enclosed environment. This musty odor might not be immediately apparent to you if you spend a lot of time in your home. However, take note if any visitors comment on a musty odor in your home because it could be a direct sign of mold growth on or under your carpets.
2. Higher Incidence of Allergies
Carpet mold can cause several health problems. If you notice conditions in the members of your household, you must consider the possibility of carpet mold in your home. If the walls and floors in your home and basement look clean, be prepared for a thorough inspection of the carpet.
3. Damp Carpet
Any floor that remains damp or wet for more than a day may grow mold. If you notice that your carpet is damp, the cause may be a leak from the floor underneath. If you have had a water leak or similar accident, wherein the carpet was left wet for an extended period of time, you will probably find mold. To prevent it from growing, dry your carpet quickly when there's an accident.
4. Green, White or Black Growth on the Carpet
In most cases, when the mold growth reaches an advanced stage, you can see discolored patches on your carpet. Most of the time, these patches are white, black, or various shades of green. The color is caused by the mold colony multiplying on your carpet.
5. Mold Growth Under the Carpet
A great way to keep ahead of mold is to regularly look for its presence on or under your carpet. Lift your carpet and thoroughly examine the floor under it. Look for any musty odors or discolored patches on the underside of the carpet, which are definite signs of growth.
If you see signs of mold or have any questions or concerns please call us at (925)930-6690
Damage due to water or floods
When your home or commercial property has water damage from flooding or leaks, we have the expertise and equipment to properly restore your property. Our experience and scientific approach to water removal and water cleanup enable us to properly dry and restore your property.
Water or Flood Damage?
Call Today – (925) 930-6690
Every water damage event is a little different and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same.
The restoration process begins when you call us. Our representative will guide you through the crisis and may ask several questions to help us better understand the equipment and resources.
We determine the scope of your water damage at this stage. We inspect and test to determine the extent of damage and how far the moisture has traveled to ensure proper and complete restoration.
The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. We use powerful pumps and vacuum units to quickly remove hundreds or thousands of gallons from your property, which helps prevent secondary water damage and mold growth.
We use specialized equipment to remove the remaining water that is harder to access. Our Professionals will use room measurements, temperature, and relative humidity to determine the optimal number of air movers and dehumidifiers needed to dry your home or business.
We clean all of the restorable items and structures damaged by the water. We are adept at cleaning contents using a number of techniques. Our professionals are trained to provide sanitizing treatments and to remove odors and deodorize your property.
Restoration is the process of restoring your home or business to its pre-water damage condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall and installing new carpet, or may entail major repairs, such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.