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5 Steps to Water Damage Prevention

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage is one of the toughest problems anyone can face. No matter what the quantity of water it can cause major damage to your home, your wallet and even your health. Water is one of the most powerful elements in nature and its effects can be felt long after the water is removed. It also can encourage mold growth in carpets, baseboard and even walls which can put your family's health in danger. The following five tips can help save your family and your home from this serious problem.

1. Protect your home. One of the most common causes of water damage is Mother Nature. Severe storms and high winds can compromise a home's structure and allow water to seep in. Check the outside of your home for places where water can get in. These areas include places such as the roof, gutters and foundation. Make it a point to regularly check all of these areas and address any cracks, warps or suspicious areas immediately.

2. Check your pipes. Another common source of water damage is the plumbing in and outside your home. Visually inspect taps, faucets, pipes and hoses for cracks, leaks and other problems. Don't forget to pay special attention to appliances that are plumbed into your water system such as dishwashers and refrigerators with ice makers. It only takes a few minutes to check these connections and those few minutes could save you a lot of time down the road.

3. Inspect your bathroom. Bathrooms are, by their very nature, a place where water needs to be checked. The grout, caulking and sealant around sinks and tubs can deteriorate over time. Replacing these sealants takes very little time and costs only a few dollars but this small chore can help you keep on top of any potential problems and allows you t nip them in the bud.

4. Ventilation is the key. Many homes are now fitted with ventilation fans in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom This helps keep steam, humidity and water in general from building up and causing a problem. If your home already has these fans, then don't forget to use them regularly. If not, many home improvement stores offer kits for installation and many even offer to have professionals come out to fit it for a reasonable price.

5. Keep an eye on tiles. Tiles floors and walls are coming throughout many homes. They can also provide a way for water to get in and trapped between the tile and the wall or floor those tiles are meant to protect. Inspect the tiles around dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, tubs and other appliances or fixtures where there is a lot of water. If you see any warping or discoloration, replace the tiles and check the floor or wall beneath them for damage.

By completing these routine inspections and tasks, you can help to prevent serious water damage inside your home.

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Fixing Flood Damage

8/6/2019 (Permalink)

Floods are caused by heavy rains caused by strong storms and downpours. But flood damage left behind after the heavy downpour is great and very expensive to mitigate. At a moments notice, floods can cause extreme damage to buildings and objects. It is a terrifying disaster which results into loss of of lives and destruction of property amounting to millions. Fixing flood damage is problematic and expensive. Damages resulting from natural occurrences can be restored by an insurance company. Only if you have got special flood insurance coverage that is insured separately from a home owners insurance policy.

How do we fix flood damage? There are various methods and options that are helpful when executed correctly. Firstly, flood damage may lead to development of mold spores and mildew. These molds are dangerous and toxic to our respiratory system and it needs the services from a well regarded flood company. It is not advisable to deal with molds by yourself because of health risks they are attached with. Ensure that all wetted areas of your room are cleaned up to dryness. Disinfect all the affected areas to prevent the rapture of water and air borne diseases. This is because flood water contains pathogens and harmful disease causing bacteria.

Secondly, household items can be damaged completely by floods and it needs quick response in drying them up. The most affected parts are the kitchen items, bedding, crouches and the carpets among others. This should be left to the professionals since most of these wetted items are contaminated with pathogens and mud. Let the experts fix the damage by cleaning up the upholstery and removing mud off the households. All books and anything materialistic must be dried properly to avoid crumpling. In case of carpets, let the experts measure the level of damage and if it is critical then buying new one is the best resolution.

Thirdly, upholding the safety of your health above anything is essential. The essence of the flood experts is to offer the optimal solutions to problems caused by floods. Destruction of electrical appliances is another flood damage that should never be handled carelessly. Flood damage is diverse and vehicles are not left behind. Anything electrical should be left to the technicians for servicing so as to avoid electrocution. If you have special flood insurance coverage, then flood-damaged vehicles can be compensated. Never handle flood damaged electrical devices on your own.

Fourthly, flood damage leaves at least everything in your house wet and what results is the development of bacteria and other harmful viruses. Make sure that you have dried the items well including the floor. The floor should be thoroughly cleaned. For concrete floors, it is a good idea to scrub it with bleach before coating with an oil-based paint. The same applies to plywood floors where the paint is used to destroy all bacteria existence. In addition to this, you can crank up air conditioning with enough house ventilation. A dehumidifier is also helpful in cases of extremely humid air. All affected walls must be replaced to seal out the development of molds.

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Summer Fire Safety: How to Have a Controlled Camp Fire

8/6/2019 (Permalink)

Whether it is at a festival or other tourist event, camping can be a cheap way to enjoy a relaxing holiday in the summer time. Normally most camping sites don't allow camp fires due to health and safety, however if you can show you are prepared and will have a controlled camp fire, many camping site operators when asked may allow you to have a one in a fire pit.

If a camp site already has a pit make sure you clear out all of the debris before lighting your own one, left over debris can be dangerous as plastics or other toxic materials could be in the debris. A safe pit should be at least 3-4 meters of bare ground surrounded with stones. Having such a large bare area massively reduces the risk of grass fires and makes the whole process much more controlled.

Before even lighting or collecting wood, you must make sure you are correctly prepared with a fire proof bar or stick; A bucket of water or extinguisher and a clear plan of action is needed in case it becomes out of control.

Things you need to think about before lighting are, where a phone is in case you require the fire department, are all exits away from the fire clear, is there any object located around the pit at risk of being ignited. If you ever have any doubt about the proximity of surrounding objects check beforehand. It is not uncommon for trees or plastic structures around fires to become damaged and in some cases ignite during large camp fires.

Only when you are 100% sure that you have negated all potential risks can you light the kindling. After it is ignited you must always keep watch for pieces that fallout. These should either be pushed back into the middle of the pit, with a fire proof bar or doused in water if it is too close to the to get near. A high number of grass and forest fires around the world are caused by ignited wood falling onto dry grass or leaves.

After you are finished with the pit, you should make sure all embers are away from the pit edge. This stops any risk of the embers igniting the grass or leaves surrounding the fire pit. If you have a bucket of water dousing the fire is a good idea. You should supervise until it is cool, normally this can take 1-2 hours to cool down, during this time it is a good idea to check the fire every 5-10 minutes to make sure it does not reignite.

If you treat camp fires with the respect they deserve they are a really nice way to spend a cool summer's night, above all make sure you are prepared and follow all instructions made by the camp site operators.

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Summer Fire Safety - BBQ Preparation

8/6/2019 (Permalink)

The sun is out and it's time to barbecue, whether you plan to resurrect your old BBQ from the shed or purchase a shiny new one. However, it is important to remember the risk that fire can pose; so before you start grilling, take note of this important BBQ fire safety advice.

Fire Safety is Key

Before you even light the flames on your BBQ you need to think about a number of factors. Where are you going to place it? Which fuel are you using (natural gas, charcoal or propane)? How will you extinguish the flames in an emergency?

Where you place your BBQ is really important. Ideally it has to be in a clear space, with no overhanging branches or nearby debris which could potentially catch fire. You should also try and place it out of the wind so there's no danger of flames being blown on to the chef. It's also key to ensure that the unit is on solid ground with no risk of tipping or rolling.

Which fuel are you using in your BBQ? Charcoal fires are the most common to cook on during the summer and are located in fire pits, barbecue units and disposable barbecues. Make sure that you only use enough charcoal to cover the base of the BBQ and that you only light it when the coals are cold. Keep excess charcoal in a safe place away from the fire.

If you use a natural gas or propane fuel source there are a number of other factors to consider. Always use a new gas cylinder every summer as cold temperatures during the winter months can damage the casing and remember to change the gas fuel source outdoors or in a very well-ventilated area. Before you light your BBQ for the first time take some time to check the gas set-up for leaks - you can do this by brushing soapy water around the joints of the pipe work, if you see any bubbles this indicates a gas leak.

Prepare a bucket of cold water or sand and keep this close to the barbecue during its use. If the flames are out of control (and you can't simply turn off the gas supply) don't hesitate to douse the flames - even if it means your food will be ruined - as fire safety is always paramount. Enjoy having fun in the sun and remember to stay safe when using fire outside to cook delicious food.

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We Specialize in Water Damage!

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO of South San Rafael/Sausalito, we specialize in water damage restoration. If you have recently experienced a water damage loss due to a recent storm or flood, we can help. We understand the stress that comes when your home or business has been affected by a flood or storm.

Here is some top reason why you should choose SERVPRO of South San Rafael/Sausalito to restore your property when tragedies strike your home or business.

  • Prevent further structural damage or mold
  • We have the right tools
  • Fixing water damages yourself can be dangerous and exhausting
  • Prevent water damages to your home and belonging
  • We can get rid of bad odors
  • 24 Hour Emergency Service
  • Experience and certified technicians

A water damage can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of South San Rafael/Sausalito and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

Call us today 415-479-2900!

Basic Tips For Storm Preparedness

6/3/2019 (Permalink)

Hurricane season has proven to be an active 2008 season. Even if you do not live in an area that can be directly impacted by a hurricane, you may be affected by the severe weather conditions that result from the storm. Because we are all affected by severe weather activity, we should be prepared when events take place.

One important area of concern during a severe storm is our ability to keep our food safe. When severe weather strikes we are often left with no electricity. It is very possible that you will have a power outage to occur. Because we need to be prepared during bad weather, we need to follow a few safety tips such as:

  • You should ensure that you have enough water for you and your family to drink. Store plenty of water in clean plastic or glass containers. It is recommended that at a minimum you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. If the weather conditions are hot, then you may need to double this amount per person. Additional water will be needed for cooking, bathing and other household needs.
  • Prepare water for storage and later use by adding four drops of chlorine bleach per quart of water (about 16 drops of chlorine per gallon), then stir the water to thoroughly mix.
  • Seal water containers and label them as purified drinking water. Place the date on the water container and store them in a cool, dark place. Purified water stored in this way should be safe for long periods of time such as five years or longer.
  • Prepare to have a three-day supply of food for your family to carry you through a short-term disaster situation. Choose foods that do not require refrigeration and if possible, require little water for preparation.
  • Some ready-to-eat foods that should be considered are: canned meats, canned vegetables, canned fruit, juices, and soup. Some high-energy foods that should be considered are: peanut butter, jelly, crackers dried fruits, and jerky. Children will also enjoy having some hard candy and cereal bars available.

There are additional items that your family may need to have on hand during a short-term weather related disaster situation. Some of these items are:

  • Radio - battery powered with extra batteries
  • Flashlight - with extra batteries
  • Candles
  • Manual can opener
  • Utility knife
  • Plastic plates, cups, utensils
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic trash bags with ties
  • Moist towelettes
  • Chlorine bleach, cleaning supplies
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Blanket for each family member
  • First aide kit
  • Camp stove, fuel, lighter

There may be other special needs that your family may need to have available, such as diapers, baby formula, and medications.

For more information on individual, family and community preparedness, see the FEMA website at giving you a step-by-step guide to citizen preparedness.

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Commercial Losses - Fire Control and Suppression Systems Can Prevent Financial Loss

6/3/2019 (Permalink)

ire alarm systems are required by law in almost every commercial and industrial place of business. There are few exceptions to this rule. Deciding which type of fire alarm system and suppression system is rarely left up to the business owner or property owner. Specific alarm systems and monitoring panels will be determined by the local authorities.

Even though building codes and fire codes will dictate the type of system needing to be installed, these requirements are strictly the bare minimum that the local jurisdictions and state government mandate. Frequently the bare minimum will still result in vast amounts of property damage. For this reason it is always important to inquire of the fire alarm installation company how best to improve on the fire codes with regards to the installed fire suppression system.

If the building or facility is being erected, going the extra mile by installing additional fire prevention measures will lower the chances of extensive property loss when a fire does occur. For proper installation of a new fire alarm and suppression system or improving a current fire control system, contracting with a professional and competent installation company will need to be arranged. With new construction, this is taken care of by the general contractor overseeing the entire construction project. If the building is already established and occupied, then any improvements to the fire alarm system will most likely be set into motion by the property owner or property manager.

Fortunately fire codes do not change drastically or frequently, but if the codes do change, occasionally those structures currently established may not need to upgrade the current fire suppression system due to being grandfathered. One exception to this rule may be when the property is sold.

Local or state law may dictate that in order to complete the real estate transaction the existing fire suppression system, including the control panel, may need to be updated. Should this be the case, the cost can be surprising. The expense of upgrading or modernizing the fire control components will need to be taken into account along with the details of the real estate transaction. Many real estate agencies and service will not always be aware of specifics of this type.

It is recommended that the sale of the commercial property be contingent upon a fire inspection. Many professional and experienced fire alarm installation firms can be utilized in this manner. Without a satisfactory inspection, the new property owner may be fined and ordered to improve or bring the current suppression system up to date which can easily reach into the thousands.

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Tips for Preparing for Severe Weather

5/20/2019 (Permalink)

At the Store

Every time someone goes to the store, they should buy a few canned goods and some batteries. Candles are not safe in any storm as wind can knock a lit candle down and possibly start a fire. The sturdier the flashlight is the longer it will last. Canned and bottled drinks are also good to store just in case. Packaged snacks will tide most anyone over until the power comes back on or in case someone is stuck inside a room. A weather radio or a regular radio with batteries keeps people informed. All of these can be stored in an inexpensive plastic storage box.

At Home or Work

A small room without windows in an interior part of the house or office is the best place to seek safety from a tornado. The room should have someplace to store supplies. At home, this could be a bathroom or a closet. A small container holding supplies fits nicely in to a cabinet. At the last minute, throw some pillows in so there is someplace soft to sit or lay a weary head. Office buildings have stairwells and these are the closest and safest places to be during a bad wind storm. It is important that no one pushes anyone else as people descend the stairs. And always be mindful of those who want to go back and get their cell phones accidentally left on a desk.

In a Vehicle on the Road

Cars are most likely to be tossed in to the air and thrown to the ground. The best bet is to pull the car over the side of the road, get out and lay down in a ditch or under an overpass. These are the safest places to be when a twister is either ahead of you or behind you. An overpass will protect you from falling debris. At the very least, a ditch is low enough to the ground where a tornado can't quite pick you up and toss you into the next county.

About Animals

Animals instinctively know when trouble lurks. They are closer to the ground than people and can feel the vibrations. If your pet is acting a little odd, check the weather. Bring all animals - outdoor and indoor ones - to the safe room in the house. Try to keep them as calm as possible. Family pets become family members and leaving them outside in severe weather is cruel. Everyone can be safe if they know what to do before a storm arrives. Make plans and make sure everyone knows what they are.

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Prepare for Spring Storms - Tips for Business Owners and Home Owners

5/17/2019 (Permalink)

Spring is a great time of the year. Brown grass turns green. Trees and bushes burst with buds. Flowers poke up through the soil. But not all is this serene. Spring also brings lightning storms, tornadoes, floods and hurricanes.

Are you prepared for the losses that could occur in your home? If you are a business owner, have you taken precautions to help keep your employees from being at risk? Taking that one step further, are you prepared so you don't have to shut down your business for a few days, weeks or even possibly permanently?

For your business: 

  • Review your Evacuation and Take Cover procedures with your employees.
  • Review your Business Continuity Plan so this information is fresh in your mind.
  • Determine if your asset inventory is up to date.
  • Check the exterior of your building. Secure loose siding, shutters and shingles.
  • Inspect trees and trim branches that are brushing against the building or could fall and take down a power line.
  • Inspect the interior of your facility for structural integrity. If you discover any problems areas, contact a general contractor.
  • When a severe storm is imminent, ensure that you have plenty of plywood, nails, tarps and any other supplies appropriate for your area of the country and the type of storm developing.
  • Purchase a generator if you don't already have one.

These easy steps will help you ensure everyone's safety and reduce the amount of damage you'll experience. Additionally, you'll most likely be able to be back in business much faster since you were properly prepared for the worst when it finally does happen.

For your home:

Purchase a generator. This may seem like a frivolous expense, but it can be used for so many different disasters. When there is a severe hurricane or tornado, you could be without power for weeks. Think of all the items in your house that require electricity: appliances, electronics, power tools, lights and heaters. Imagine not having a refrigerator or television for more than a couple hours. Now think of how your life will be if you are without them for days or even longer.

Other items to consider when preparing your residence for the spring storm season: 

  • Talk to your family about your Take Cover and Fire Escape plans. Be sure to include even the youngest child. Talking about it when calm and not "in the moment" will give them a sense of security. Assign someone the responsibility of the family pet.
  • Review your personal property, or home, inventory to ensure that all recently purchased items have been added. If they haven't, contact your inventory service provider to update your file.
  • Call our insurance agent if you have made any major updates to your home in the past year. The worst time to find you are underinsured is when you're filing a claim.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home and tack down any loose shingles, shutters or siding.
  • Look at all of your trees and shrubs. Cut back any branches that are up against the house. Cut off or trim branches of trees that could fall on power lines.
  • When you are facing a storm that requires extra reinforcement, purchase the supplies appropriate for your geographic area and the type of storm you are facing.

Home owner or business owner - or both - being prepared before the storm is bearing down will help you in many ways. You'll be at ease financially, emotionally and have a comfort level from knowing that you're ready.

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Fire Safety and You - Top 10 Fire Safety Habits to Live By

5/6/2019 (Permalink)

Live a fire safe life-this is the constant tip of many firefighters and fire experts in this country. The only problem is that some people are just not aware on how to practice fire safety habits and how to avoid fire accidents that cause damages to properties and loss of lives.

The good news is that fire safety habits are simple and easy that anyone can make them a part of his daily life. To know the top habits to live by, here are the things that you should bear in mind:

1. Be careful in handling flammable and combustible materials.

You should always take the necessary precautions when handling anything that is flammable. Make sure you store them in a secure storage far from any combustible material.

2. Practice cautious cooking in the kitchen.

When cooking in the kitchen, it is advisable that you avoid wearing loose fitting clothing and that you always have a fire blanket or fire extinguisher ready in case of a grease fire. Never let children be involved with cooking tasks that involve the use of fire.

3. Keep fire starters and anything flammable out of children's and pets' reach.

Matches, lighters, and candles should be kept in places that children and pets cannot reach. Children are typically curious and if you are not careful, they can end up creating a big fire that can result in a tragedy.

4. Maintain electrical equipment properly.

As for electrical equipment, fire hazards include damaged electrical conductors, overloaded sockets and extension cords, faulty wirings, blown fuses, low quality electrical equipment, malfunction of electrical devices, and loose electrical connections.

Use only high quality electrical equipment and inspect them regularly to see any signs of defect or damage. If there is something wrong, have this repaired by a professional immediately. Avoid overloading sockets as well.

5. Use heating devices with care.

Heating devices especially space heaters that use gas and kerosene can start a fire if not used with proper precaution. Make sure you place them in a location that cannot be reached by children and that is far away from heat sources like furnace, stove or fireplace.

6. Know how to use fire safety devices.

It is essential to know how to use fire safety devices such as fire extinguishers, fire blankets, and fire hose so that when the time comes that there is a fire outbreak, you would know how to tackle a small incipient fire before it gets worse.

7. Learn what to do in case of fire.

Know the basic fire emergency procedures and share this knowledge with the rest of the family.

8. Do not leave burning candles unattended.

Candles should be put out before you leave or sleep. Place them in a location that is not near the window, sheets or curtains.

9. Douse cigarettes in water before disposal.

Smoking is another major cause of fires so it is necessary that you properly extinguish your cigarette before you dispose of it. Moreover, avoid smoking in bed and before you sleep.

10. Formulate a fire escape route for your home.

An escape route plan should easy and simple to understand and should be placed in every level of your home.

It is not that complicated to practice fire safety habits as long as you have the presence of mind and the determination to keep your family and home safe from a fire accident.

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