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Fire Safety Tips

8/31/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that if a fire starts in your home, you may have just two minutes to escape? 

The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. 60 percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.

Fire Safety Tips 

  • Talk with all household members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • Test smoke alarms once a month, if they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL for help.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Prepare

Preparing and Preventing a Home Fire - Steps You Can Take Now  

  • Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Talk to your children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Download the Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies mobile game to teach kids about fire safety and other disasters.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.  

Smoke Alarms

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Test smoke alarms once a month, if they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Never disable smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

Signs That You Need A Hot Water Heater Repair

8/31/2018 (Permalink)

Water heaters are essential elements of our home. We use them in daily activities such as taking a bath, using the dishwasher and using the washing machine. But because we use them frequently, it’s sometimes easy to take them for granted and forget that they need to be maintained. Failing to do so will result in malfunctions and problems and eventually, replacing your water heater. Taking notice of the first signs of a problem can help you repair your water heater before it becomes worse.

You don’t have to be an expert to spot the first signs of trouble. All you need to have is a keen sense of observation so that your water heater can be repaired.

  1. Hot water has off smell or off color. The first instance that you notice your hot water has an off smell or has a rusty color, that’s something that you need to check out. The smell could be the result of a rusty anode rod in the water heater. There is no need to worry since the anode rod can be replaced that will then eliminate the bad odor. Bacteria growth also causes bad smells. This happens when the hot water has not been used or has been turned off for quite some time or when the thermostat is set at a very low level.
  2. Corroded pipes can also cause an off color in your water. This can be solved by installing a water softener or by replacing the plumbing. If you also see a lot of sediments in the water, it’s time to have the water heater repaired.

    Water is not hot enough, too hot, not strong enough or there is none at all. When there is no water, check first that your water heater has power and is working fine. If it is, have it inspected by a plumber. If water is not enough, this could be due to an undersized water heater and is a common situation when a lot more people are using the water heater. This could also be caused by the presence of mineral deposits inside the water heater tank. When water is too hot or not hot enough, you may have to adjust the temperature dial of the water heater. If there is no change in temperature, have the water heater checked and repaired.

  3. Strange noises and leaks. Leaks coming from your water heater could lead to flooding. In the same way, strange noises like pops, bangs, gurgles, and the like are clear indicators that something is wrong with your water heater. This is usually caused by a buildup of sediments inside the tank. A boiling sound, however, could mean the water heater is overheating or that pressure is building up inside the tank. All these have to be addressed immediately to prevent further problems.

It’s important to have your water heater repaired as soon as you see these signs. This will help you save on costs, prevent further damage, and avoid an untimely replacement of your unit. If you do have issues with your hot water heater leaking, call SERVPRO of Campbell. We are always here to help clean up the aftermath of a disaster! 

Be Prepared with an Emergency Ready Profile

8/31/2018 (Permalink)

Will you be ready when disaster strikes? The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile® (ERP) will help ensure you and your business are “Ready for whatever happens.”

In the event of an emergency, the SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations, and priority areas. The ERP is also accessible online using your computer or tablet; download SERVPRO’s free Ready Plan app to access this information at any time using your smartphone or tablet.

The ERP establishes SERVPRO of Campbell as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider, giving you access to 50 years experience and a system more than 1,700 Franchises strong. Knowing what to do and who to call in advance is key to quick response and timely mitigation. Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster.

Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time to plan for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever expects a disaster, but now is the time to plan for it.

In review, the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile is:

  • A no-cost assessment of your facility.
  • A concise Profile document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
  • Establishes SERVPRO of Campbell as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas, and priority contact information.

The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save a lot of time in the future. Call SERVPRO of Campbell at 408-371-4001 to start your Emergency READY Profile today.

Common Causes of Fire Damage

7/27/2018 (Permalink)

Home electrical fires account for 51,000 fires each year, and an estimated $1.3 billion in property damage. Learn these common causes of fire damage to prevent fire damage in your home or business:

Many electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets or outdated appliances. Frayed appliance cords can also lead to electrical fires.  Under no circumstances should you ever remove the ground plug from an appliance cord. These appliance cords are only to be used with outlets that can handle the extra amount of electricity.

Another cause of electrical fires is the misuse of extension cords. Extension cords are only to be used on a temporary basis and not as permanent wiring. Extension cords can overheat and cause fires when not used properly. Never should you run extension cords through walls and ceilings, and never use nails or staples to hold an extension cord in place.

Space heaters are also a major cause of electrical fires. Space heaters should always be kept on a flat, level surface to prevent being turned over. These portable heaters are often placed too close to curtains, beds, and other combustible surfaces. Remember to always keep space heaters at least three feet from items that can burn

SERVPRO of Campbell is here to help (408)371-4001

Preventative Measures to Avoid Water Damage

7/27/2018 (Permalink)

We all know that prevention is the best medicine, but floods can happen at any moment from any number of causes. By completing regularly scheduled home maintenance and keeping an eye out for common warning signs, you can minimize the chances of a flood. However, nothing can give you a 100% guarantee of never having a flood. In that case, preparation is the best way to minimize water damage.

First, it’s a good idea to know your flood risk. Are you in a potential flood zone? Is your yard sloped away from your foundation? Knowledge is power so the more you know about how your home might flood, the more steps you can take to prevent it or minimize damage from it.

Using waterproof building materials is a great way to reduce damage from flooding and there are waterproof sealants and paints that can be applied to existing structures. In particular, there are many protective coatings for block or poured concrete walls which are common in basements.

Keep your valuables and irreplaceable items such as photo albums, yearbooks, and important documents on high shelves. Do the same with chemicals and paints. If they leak into flood waters, they could cause additional damage. Any items put away for storage should be in air and water-tight plastic containers. Never leave boxes or items on the floor; instead, invest in raised shelving units.

It may also be a good idea to raise appliances and electronics off the ground. Get wires and power strips out from behind your tv stand and organize them in a way that keeps them out of the flood danger zone. Put washing machines and dryers on cinder blocks or sections of lumber to reduce the chances that rising water levels will affect them.

If a flood does strike, turn off electricity, gas, and water lines and place buckets under active leaks. If the water is pooling slowly, soak up as much of it as possible to reduce the potential damage. Calling SERVPRO of Campbell at the first sign of a flood is the best way to reduce water damage. Our highly trained technicians will solve your immediate problems and ensure you don’t experience lasting effects or further damage.

Flooding can happen to anyone. Take steps now to protect your home and keepsakes from water damage in the event of a possible flood.

SERVPRO of Campbell (408)371-4001

What To Do When A Commercial Water Damage Happens

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage can strike your commercial property at any time and without notice. The effects of commercial water damage can be devastating to a business owner who is now faced with having to clean up the water damage and reopen their business as soon as possible.

Do you know how to handle water damage at your commercial property? Are you prepared to make the necessary decisions after a pipe breaks, your roof leaks, or the streets flood to protect your property? What is your plan?

Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. A little preparation for a water damage emergency and a plan of action in the event it ever happens can significantly reduce property damage and will get you back to business as soon as possible.

Commercial Water Damage Prevention

Large-scale losses can be prevented by following a few simple guidelines.

    1. Know where your emergency water shut-off valves are located, and have a contingency plan in place in case you are not available.
    1. Create an Emergency Ready Plan with directions for what to do in an emergency as well as a list of phone numbers of who to call in an emergency. Make sure someone you can trust has the authorization to make decisions if you are unavailable.

It is a good idea to have a trusted commercial restoration company such as SERVPRO of Campbell with information on file before disaster strikes. How quickly cleanup begins will impact the size of the loss.

Causes of Commercial Water Damage

Water damage can happen at any time. Whether from natural disasters, leaking roofs, frozen pipes, sewage backups, or flooding, water damage is a serious concern and a major threat to your commercial property.

Understanding the source of the water damage is essential for proper cleanup, as clean water from a broken pipe or a leaking roof during a rainstorm will be treated differently than floodwaters and sewage backups. Always protect your health, and let the commercial water damage experts handle the cleanup and restoration of your property.

Preventing Mold Growth After Water Damage

Proper removal and drying of the water is critical after a water damage emergency, and will prevent any long-term problems some experience after attempting water damage cleanup themselves, or by hiring someone who doesn’t have the proper equipment or experience. Mold growth can begin 24-48 hours after water damage, and starting extraction and drying as soon as possible after water damage is your best line of defense against mold.

Call SERVPRO Campbell to extract the water, dry your structure and to clean and remove any potentially dangerous contaminants.

SERVPRO of Campbell  (408)371-4001 Our SERVPRO team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year!

What To Do If You Suspect Mold Growth In Your Commercial Building

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

As commercial buildings are become more energy efficient often these energy efficient buildings do not have proper ventilation or air exchanges. Poor air quality then becomes a perfect breeding ground for mold and other contaminants. Even as you’re HVAC systems become more energy efficient, costly, and with the addition air filters exposure to indoor mold has become a major hindrance. Fortunately, there are several different solutions to this issue. When mold growth does occur, it is very important to know the right steps for properly removing it from an indoor environment, and ensuring that it doesn't re-occur.

Any area that contains the right levels of water has lack of light, and no exposure to fresh air can cause mold to begin growing in as little as 48 hours. Since mold tends to grow in cramped, closed, and damp spaces, the reality is that for every visible colony of mold that you see, there could be several more square feet (millions of spores) of mold in areas that you do not. Simply put; an area that can hold moisture and no easy access is vulnerable, especially in commercial buildings where there are numerous places mold can grow, and are often difficult to locate.

If you suspect that your building has mold growth you should call a licensed professional

It’s a task which should be firmly limited to qualified professionals who have the proper knowledge and equipment to safely remove mold and mold contaminated materials. Just inhalation or exposure to mold could cause significant health problems.

The Steps for Removing Mold:

 Plan and Prepare. Contact a licensed mold remediation company such as SERVPRO to safely remove mold and mold contaminated materials. Just inhalation or exposure to mold could cause significant health problems.

Identify, and Protect. When remediation is performed, take special care in inspecting “unseen” areas where mold could potentially grow, and have them cleaned accordingly. Protect your building by having any water damage completely remediated by a water mitigation company such as SERVPRO of Campbell and by having air inspections to detect spores that could cause resurgence in mold growth.

Act Quickly. Mold begins growing within 48 hours, but some can begin colonizing a surface even sooner, so don’t wait when it comes to contacting a mold remediation professional such as SERVPRO. If you have had an area flood with water, water removal and potential remediation needs to begin as soon as it is detected or mold is a real possibility.

Turn Off the HVAC. Mold is spread through airborne spores, and your HVAC can transport those spores throughout a building. It can also grow in any ventilation shaft where there's condensation to feed growth. Until the mold has been properly removed, don’t give the mold potential routes of access throughout your building, or you could be dealing with a much more extensive growth.

If you think you have mold, it’s time to call a trusted licensed mold remediation company such as SERVPRO of Campbell. 

 SERVPRO has the skills, staff, certifications and equipment to handle your mold project. 

For more information call SERVPRO of Campbell at 408-371-4001

Tips to Help Prevent Water Damage

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

A water damage can cause a home or business owner thousands of dollars in damage in just a matter of hours! The good news is you can prevent water damage to your home by following a few simple, inexpensive preventative measures.

    1. Make Sure You Clean the Gutters - Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned at least once a year – even more often if you have overhanging trees dropping leaves and debris. Gutters that become clogged can dump water down the side of your house, destroying plants, landscaping and your home’s foundation. Installing gutter covers is a good way to slow clogging. Making sure the gutters are clean is a simple way to allow the gutters to do their job, and to let water harmlessly drain away.
    1. Monitor Your Water Bill & Water Meter - A spike in your water bill could indicate a leak. Even a small leak can become a big problem if left unattended for a long period. To check for leaks you can't see, try marking the water meter with a piece of masking tape (or note the digital reading), with the edge right over the needle to mark its place. Provided all water-using devices and faucets are turned off, the next step is to leave the house for 6 hours. Upon returning, the needle should be in the exact same spot. If it has moved at all, there most likely is a leak.
    1. Check Under Your Kitchen & Bathroom Sink -Kitchen & bathroom sinks, are among the most used drains in the home. Sink drain pipes develop leaks particularly since they are in common spaces and typically near under-sink storage. If the sink has gotten jostled and not properly resealed, it can begin damaging the cabinet space underneath. Be sure to remove items from under your kitchen sink occasionally to check for dampness and mildew. If left untreated, this can result in both significant mold and more serious damages to the home.
    1. Flash and Chalk Windows and Doors - Windows and doors are the main openings in a home, and often the spaces around their frames develop cracks where water can seep in. To prevent water getting into the walls, ensure that the flashing and caulking that surrounds these openings is intact. It is recommended that you caulk doors and windows at least every five years, and inspect them every time the season changes. For homes that have vertically-mounted vents that lead into the attic from a wall instead of through the roof, the same maintenance process also applies to these vents.
    1. Turn Off Water When Leaving - It’s always a good idea to turn off the main water supply when leaving your home for an extended period. Turning off the main water supply helps to reduce the chance of small leaks turning into huge, expensive damage while you are away. Never run appliances, such as your dishwasher and washing machine while you are away from home. If the appliance leaks while you are gone, the damage can be tremendous. Finally, know the location of your main water supply valve and learn how to shut it off before you have a leak.
    1. Secure Appliances and Fixtures - Supply lines for ice makers, toilets and washing machines are often subject to vibration and can loosen. Over time supply lines can wear out and begin to leak. It is recommended that you replace any rubber supply lines with braided stainless steel. Installing a leak detector with a water-sensitive shut-off mechanism can also prevent flooding in your home. You should inspect the tightness of connections at least every 6 months. If there is fraying, replace the line immediately.
    1. Inspect Your Air Conditioning Unit - It is very important that you check for water overflow during the hot summer months when your air conditioner is running constantly. If you notice water leaking from your AC inside, it could be due to a clogged condensate drain line. When the water cannot escape your home through the soffit hose, it fills the drain pan and overflows. It is also important to make sure that the drain pan is not old and damaged. If you do have a leak it’s best to call a professional to determine the reason for the leak.
    1. Know When to Replace Your Hot Water Heater - The average lifespan of a hot water heater is 8-12 years. As your heater ages, it’s prone to slow leaks and sudden bursts, due to tank corrosion and broken valves. If you notice the water doesn’t get as hot as it used to, there’s rust in your water or a metallic taste to your hot water, it could be a sign your hot water heater is about to fail. Schedule a professional inspection immediately.

SERVPRO of Campbell is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today (408) 371-4001

Hoarding

7/19/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning Hoarding Hoarding home where SERVPRO was called to clean.

Hoarding is a condition where a person has persistent difficulty discarding personal possessions. The large amount of possessions fill the home and prevent the normal use of the space. Living space becomes cluttered. It may be unusable. Hoarding brings distress and emotional health concerns.

Why Hoarding Increases Fire Risks:• Cooking is unsafe if flammable items are close to the stove or oven.• Heating units may be too close to things that can burn. They might also be placed on unstable surfaces. If a heater tips over into a pile, it can cause a fire.• Electrical wiring may be old or worn from the weight of piles. Pests could chew on wires. Damaged wires can start fires.• Open flames from smoking materials or candles in a home with excess clutter are very dangerous.• Blocked pathways and exits may hinder escape froma fire.

How Hoarding Impacts First Responders:• Hoarding puts first responders in harm’s way.  Firefighters cannot move swiftly through a home filled with clutter.• Responders can be trapped in a home when exits are blocked. They can be injured by objects falling from piles.• The weight of the stored items, especially if water is added to put out a fire, can lead to building collapse.• Fighting fires is very risky in a hoarding home. It is hard to enter the home to provide medical care. The clutter impedes the search and rescue of peopleand pets.

How Can You Help Reduce the Risk of Fire Injury

  • When talking a person who hoards, focus on safety rather than the clutter.
  • Be empathetic. Match the person’s language. If they call it hoarding, then you can call it hoarding.
  • Help the residents make a home safety and escape plan. Stress the importance of clear pathways and exits. Practice the plan often. Exit routes may change as new items are brought into the home.
  • Install working smoke alarms in the home. Test them at least once a month.
  • Reach out to community resources. Talk to members of the fire department to alert them of your concerns. They may be able to connect you with members of a hoarding task force.

SERVPRO Campbell/ Los Gatos has experience in cleaning hoarding homes. Hoarding is a specialty cleaning situation and many times involves some sort of bio-haz situation. PPE is a must in these incidents and should not be completed by family members or friends.


SERVPRO of Campbell/Los Gatos is one of the areas leading specialty cleaning companies if you need help, call us today at (408) 371-4001 we are here and ready to help.

   

Smoke, Soot, Fire Restoration & Clean-Up

7/19/2018 (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 of Campbell/Los Gatos 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. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us Today – (408) 371-4001