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How to Evacuate Safely in Wildfires

9/16/2020 (Permalink)

Your first step should be to create an evacuation plan Having a solid plan is one of the best preparations for evacuation.

During the rapid spread and growth of random wildfires throughout the state of California, it is essential to have an evacuation plan in place. It is already a stressful enough situation and having a game plan can help you maintain a peace of mind and focus on the task at hand. Here are some tips to help you in the unfortunate scenario there is a wildfire. 

  1. Ensure You Are Prepared

While not every scenario allows for adequate preparation, it is essential that you have some form of physical preparations. This would include bottled water, calorie dense non-perishable foods, flashlights, and some form of simple shelter from the elements. These preparations should be enough for you and your family for at minimum three days. They should be simple and lightweight. You should be able to throw them into a backpack or two and then a small tent or some other temporary shelter if you are displaced for an extended period of time. Keep your gas tank full on your vehicle as well and only use verified evacuation routes. Trying to use side roads or less traveled roads can be dangerous and could leave you stranded.

  1. Communicate with Your Family

This may seem like a simple enough task or something which your mother used to tell you. However, it is paramount that your family and household know what the steps are to safely evacuate and how you can all work together to make this happen. Each person will have a different role. If everyone is aware of the plan you can help to keep everyone calm and you can essentially go into an autopilot mode.

  1. Make a Checklist

A simple system to help ensure an effective evacuation plan is a checklist. When you have a list make sure it is short and simple. The goal is to ensure that you are able to evacuate safely and prepared. Ultimately the goal is to protect yourself and your loved ones. In the case that you do not feel fully prepared, but a fire is near you are better off leaving unprepared and unscathed.

  1. Turn Off all External Pipes or Power Sources

This would include your water, gas, and electric lines. Generally, this can help prevent further damage to the home or safety hazards for fire fighters. If not done properly a wildfire fire could ignite a gas leak or rupture a line and cause a catastrophic explosion. Exposed electrical wires can also cause further damage to the building.

  1. Stay Updated and Informed

The most important tool at your disposal during times like these is information. With the correct information you can avoid peril and hardship by days. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you take the warnings of your local authorities and news agencies to heart for your safety and those around you.

How To Handle an Overflowing Toilet

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

a toilet overflowing. An overflowing toilet is not only frustrating and uncomfortable but can also pose a danger for your health and potential water damage.

No one is more uncomfortable or annoyed than when their toilet overflows. It’s just a shock inducing event. While sometimes a toilet can just have a simple clog there can be other signs of a worse issue which could lead to health issues or property damage. 

Don’t Flush Until the Problem is Identified

The first thing to do is to not flush your toilet until you know the problem. Excessive flushing without a proper diagnosis will only lead to further flooding or spread of contaminated water. If the toilet is continually flooding without any flushing turn off the water supply line. Most toilets have an exposed water line with a valve that must be turned to shut off the water supply. Just don’t forget to turn the water back on once the problem is identified and properly dealt with.

Try a Plunger

The simplest solution might be just using a plunger to dislodge the clog. Gently put the plunger into the toilet and firmly press it onto the drain portion and press back and forth. If it is a simple clog this will force water and air into the location and clear up any complications in the toilet. If the plunger solution does not work, there may be a more significant problem.

Use an Auger

If using a plunger does not work, you may want to try and use some form of auger or snaking mechanism. This works by reaching into the clogged material and pulling out anything which refuses to move. If a toy, metallic object or otherwise falls into the drain you may need to use an auger.

Call a Plumber

Worst case scenario if none of the above works you may need to call a plumber or sewage company. If you have a private septic tank you may have an overflow and need to have it drained. Otherwise you will want to call a plumber to see if there is something mechanically wrong with the toilet.

If you have any water damage or biohazard situation due to an overflowing toilet give SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita a call at (661) 296-4600.

How to Prevent a Fire in the Home

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

Wildfires are spreading all over. Knowledge of how to prevent or limit the damage of a fire and protect yourself and loved ones is paramount.

With all of the recent wildfires and widespread damage throughout much of California it is important to know how to prevent damage from spreading to your home or a spontaneous fire occurring.

 Clear the Home of Combustibles

One of the most straightforward things to do is to keep your home clear of unnecessarily combustible items. For example, one should not stack wood next to the home. This could catch fire or cause further damage if someone is grilling and a burning ember catches it ablaze. Furthermore, your home’s bushes, foliage, and trees should be kept trimmed and not allowed to directly touch the home.

Incorporate Flame-Retardant Building Materials

When building a home or moving into one ensure that there are enough fire-retardant safety catches built into the home. An inspector can help you to determine this if that is not your area of expertise. Flame retardant building materials can help slow the spread of a fire and prevent further fire damage until the fire can be contained and extinguished.

 Keep an Eye Out for Nearby Fires

Generally, a fire can be contained however if there is a nearby wildfire it is in the best interest of the homeowner to get out of dodge until the fire has been quelled. You can keep an eye on the local news but here is a great tool which gives you a better understanding and knowledge of the state fires. This is the most practical way to prevent fires at the home but also keep you and your loved ones safe.

 If you or any loved ones have been affected by wildfires give SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley at (661) 296-4600.

Staying Healthy Despite the Smog

9/11/2020 (Permalink)

Wildfires are raging across California. Wildfires cause a great deal of property damage but also are a large contributor to the excessive smog levels.

As of late the smog has been getting quite excessive in Southern California. Many news outlets have highlighted the fact that the air quality is very unhealthy. Later this weekend we will be hitting air qualities in the range of 200-460. AQICN has information and active graphs on this data and considers these levels to be hazardous to health. Anything over 150 can be quite unhealthy for sensitive groups with respiratory issues such as asthma or bronchitis. Therefore, one should take some precautions during this time to ensure your health and safety until things can settle down. 

Lowering Your Carbon Footprint

One of the main contributing factors for the smog as of late is the raging wildfires across the state. These fires have destroyed well over 1.4 million acres in active fires this past few months. Thankfully most of the fires are under containment. However, you can also contribute to lower smog levels by not burning plastics, oil, or other noxious materials. Additionally, you can ensure that your cars are all smog checked and are not running inefficiently. This will also ensure you are getting the best MPG on your vehicle. Furthermore, when possible try to walk, bike, carpool, or use public transit to lower carbon footprint and help overall reduce smog. Additionally, when possible using electric tools compared to combustible variants can reduce air pollution and also save you money.

Buy an Air Filter

One simple way to help you breathe easier and ensure that your home is safe and healthy is to buy an air filter. Many home improvements stores and even grocery stores will sell cheap and functional HEPA air filters. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate absorption. Some of these products can be marketed towards those with pets or animals but should be perfectly fine for cleaning and purifying the air in your home. One thing to keep in mind is the rated coverage of an air purifier. If a person has a large home and puts 1 single air purifier in their living room it will not be sufficient to purify the entire home’s air. 

Wear a Mask

While everyone is sick of wearing a mask, you should definitely use one during elevated times of poor air quality. Not just any mask will suffice though. You will likely want to get an N95 or higher mask as this will give you more than enough protection by not allowing anything larger than 0.3 microns through. If one has an air purifier in their home, it is not necessary to wear an N95 mask. The whole point of these tips is to help you breathe better after all. Only wear a mask outdoors when the air quality calls for it or when social distancing cannot be maintained.

 What Happens if you are having difficulty breathing?

If the air quality is truly getting to you assess whether it is truly an emergency. Generally, if there is any swelling in your throat or feel as though you cannot get enough air you should immediately call 911. However, if there is no immediate danger, consider visiting a medical professional and seeking advice on medication or other solutions for the difficulty in breathing. Another simple solution could be to take a vacation or short break to somewhere with better air quality. Consider visiting a family friend, family member, or just going for a fun vacation until the air quality returns to a safe level.

If you have been affected by the recent fire in Southern California give SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley a call at (661) 296-4600.

Handling the Heat Waves

9/9/2020 (Permalink)

Hydration is key Adequately hydrating during heatwaves is key to avoiding any issues or health complications.

These past few weeks have been quite interesting and challenging for Southern California. Not only has there been several fires spread throughout the region but also resulting smoke and air pollution, along with prolonged heat waves reaching temperatures of up to 116*. This is clearly a public health concern and one should know how to protect themselves and their property.

The main priority here is to ensure that you are taking care of your personal health. Overall, the highest risk here is for dehydration, heat stroke, or respiratory issues. One should ensure they are not in direct sunlight for too long during the day. If you must be in the sun due to jobs or lack of adequate shade you should drink plenty of fluids and use 30 SPF sunscreen or higher to prevent too severe of burns. Those who are not from the area or more sensitive to heat should attempt to stay out of the sun until temperatures are closer to 90*. One should also keep in contact with family, friends, and avoid going anywhere they could become stranded during a heatwave.

 Besides personal health, these heatwaves can cause some property damage from the widespread fires and smoke damage. When there is excess smoke in the air you should try to not have any open windows or doors as this can allow smoke and ash to enter the home and cause a permeating smell. Keep an eye out on fire warnings as well. Cal Fire has a website and interactive map that you can visit here and use to keep an eye out for new or recurring flare ups.  

 If you happen to experience any fire damage or smoke damage do not hesitate to give SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita a call at (661) 296-4600.

Commercial Property Damage Mitigation| SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage Flooding can happen in the blink of an eye and do immeasurable damage to a business.

SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley has the resourcefulness, specialty tools, and skill required to help mitigate your commercial loss today.

 During the past few months many businesses have had to close their doors or have experienced limited operating hours. Due to this there has been several cases of unmonitored flooding, fire, or other damage to the property. If this happens do not panic. SERVPRO is here to help. We have handled immeasurable cases where there have been large water losses in warehouses, office spaces, or business properties. The most important thing to keep in mind is that time is of the essence in scenarios such as these. Without the proper tools or skill, the situation can become exacerbated. Growth of mold, structural damage, or deterioration of surrounding materials.

 If you or your business have suffered from commercial property damage give SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley a call at (661) 296-4600.

Commercial Property Damage Mitigation| SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage Flooding can happen in the blink of an eye and do immeasurable damage to a business.

SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley has the resourcefulness, specialty tools, and skill required to help mitigate your commercial loss today.

During the past few months many businesses have had to close their doors or have experienced limited operating hours. Due to this there has been several cases of unmonitored flooding, fire, or other damage to the property. If this happens do not panic. SERVPRO is here to help. We have handled immeasurable cases where there have been large water losses in warehouses, office spaces, or business properties. The most important thing to keep in mind is that time is of the essence in scenarios such as these. Without the proper tools or skill, the situation can become exacerbated. Growth of mold, structural damage, or deterioration of surrounding materials.

If you or your business have suffered from commercial property damage give SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley a call at (661) 296-4600.

Making Advanced Preparations for Severe Storm Safety | SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley

5/22/2020 (Permalink)

If your home has been impacted by storm damage, SERVPRO of Santa Clarita Valley will respond quickly to assist in any repairs Person using a tablet for weather alerts. These are a great way to stay informed on the local and national forecast.

Thunderstorms and other severe weather events have been known to cause unprecedented damages in impacted areas. While some severe storms will pass by without incident, others will lead to wind, hail and lightning damage that can devastate an area.

For this reason, it is important to prepare ahead of time so you are never caught off guard due to a severe thunderstorm. Being aware of weather alert definitions, stocking and storing your emergency kit, and obtaining a reliable weather alert system for the home will give you peace of mind and make sure you are as safe as possible during a severe weather event.

Be Aware of Weather Alert Definitions

When local officials issue weather alerts, it is important to be aware of what they mean so you can know how to respond appropriately and stay safe. If a severe weather watch is issued for an area, that means that storms are possible but not currently happening, so standing by and staying tuned is advised. For severe weather warnings, however, a storm is currently happening or about to begin—this means to take cover and prepare to be impacted by the storm.

Stock and Store Your Emergency Kit

Having all the essentials in case of severe weather will help keep you and your family comfortable and safe while severe weather passes through. Having reliable light sources and backup batteries, shelf-stable food and fresh water is helpful for comfort, and a first-aid kit will come in handy in case an injury occurs. You should store this emergency kit in a temperature-controlled area where your family can hunker down and wait for the storm to pass, such as a basement bathroom or a hallway.

Obtain a Reliable Weather Alert System

While we typically rely on the internet and our cell phones for any pertinent updates regarding the weather, in the event of severe weather, this is not advised. Cell phones can become unreliable due to dead batteries and poor reception when electricity and cell signals are impacted by storms, so obtaining a backup method for weather alerts such as a non-electric weather radio will allow you to be certain you will stay informed.

If your home has been impacted by storm damage, we are here for you. You can contact us 247 to get a quick response to your home’s damages.

The Types of Water Damage Common Following Rainfall | SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley

5/8/2020 (Permalink)

Rainfall outside a local home In states like California, rain can be a little infrequent depending on the location. However, when it rains it usually pours.

There is never anything fun about dealing with water damage to your home, especially if it has snuck up on you. While floods bring their own sets of issues, we often see damage calls increase after heavy rain, as it can give rise to problems that people do not realize are a possibility.

Simply being aware can help you combat these common types of water damage, as you will know what to look for and can stop it before you start.

Where Water Damage Might Be Common After Heavy Rain

Backup of clogged gutters. Doing twice-annual gutter cleanings are a surprising way you can be proactive against preventing water damage. When debris is in the gutter, water may not be able to drain freely and can instead route its way into the vulnerable wood of your home.

Leaks around windows and doors. As a home ages, its defenses against weather can diminish—including the seals around windows and doors. When miniature cracks develop, rain can expertly work its way in and begin to soften the surrounding wood.

Poor drainage around the foundation. If a yard does not have adequate drainage, consider installing extra pipes or landscaping to route water away from the home. Puddles that sit against the foundation can eventually work their way in and do damage to the base of the home.

Leaks in and around the roof. Roof leaks can often be sneaky, often causing damage to an interior ceiling before they are noticed. Though this can be hard to catch, checking often for signs of wear and tear to the roof and shingles can help you determine if you may be at risk.

Malfunctioning of a sump pump system. A sump pump is a wise thing to purchase for your home, as they can significantly reduce your chances of water damage. However, taking care of them is a necessity, as poor maintenance can lead to backups and bigger problems.

Leaks around chimneys and skylights. Do not forget to inspect the seals around these types of features when you take a look at your home’s roof. With time, they can begin to break down and create gaps where water can slip in after heavy rainfall.

If you’ve experienced water damage to your home, we are here to help. You can call us 247 to have our trained technicians respond quickly and begin your restoration.

The Difference Between Sanitization and Disinfection

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

Viruses, Germs, and Bacteria are all pathogens which can be killed with either sanitization or disinfection. Pathogens can cause sickness when people are exposed to them. The best way to prevent this is to either sanitize or disinfect.

In our current time many people are frantically searching for any way to stay safe and healthy. In some ways this is a good thing. However, stockpiling hand sanitizer is not necessarily the best thing to do, nor economical with inflation hitting many products such as N-95 masks, bulk sanitizer, and even toilet paper.

While the terms sanitization and disinfection are often used interchangeably there are some key differences to note. Sanitizing in general is going to be a less harsh or invasive cleaning which will target common areas such as countertops, doorknobs, and appliances. The goal with sanitization is merely to lower the germ count. However, in the case of disinfection there is a more comprehensive and overall cleaning which targets to kill almost 100% of the germs within a residence.

Based on this information one should know the difference between the two and decide on which is right for them. Both have their benefits. Sanitization is going to be cheaper and quicker whereas complete disinfection can be more costly and take more time. Depending on the situation and one’s personal preferences sanitization or disinfection can both be viable options. An additional thing to consider is that a sanitization or even disinfection will only kill pathogens at the time of cleaning. As soon as another person enters the building, there is a chance for recontamination. Therefore, this is one other aspect to consider. In order to prevent this property owners should take extra precautions with spot cleaning and screening procedures at the entrance to limit this risk.

If you find yourself in a scenario where you would like sanitization or disinfection for your home, commercial space, or school give SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley a call at (661) 296-4600.