Steps to Take After a Heavy Storm
While Southern California isn't necessarily known for its rainy season, we have gotten a couple heavy storms within the past several years. Powerful storms can dump inches, sometimes even feet of water into your property, and can overwhelm your home even if you've properly waterproofed it.
Following a storm, here is what you can do to check for any possible water intrusion into the home:
- Check your crawlspace- excess water from heavy rain can infiltrate any cracks or weak points in your home's foundation. It is important to dry up the water as quickly as possible. If you are unable to remove the water, a specialist such as SERVPRO can assist.
- Check your flooring- water can seep through unsealed windows or pool under doorways, potentially soaking your carpet or wood flooring. If you find your carpet is wet, pull it up and remove any wet padding as that isn't salvageable. Wood/laminate floors soak up moisture, resulting in possible warping or damage that may require the flooring to be replaced. Try to mop up any standing water and open doors and windows for plenty of ventilation. If problems still arise, it would be a good time to contact a water restoration company.
- Inspect the attic- potential roof leaks can result in damage to the insulation and framing. Finished attics will have the same water damage issues as the rest of the home. Remove any wet materials if possible.
- Examine the walls- check the walls for stains or discoloration and bubbling or peeling paint. Sometimes baseboards will be swollen too. There could be a potential leak that a professional may need to inspect. Most of the time, wet drywall will need to be removed or replaced.
- Check your gutters and downspouts- standing water is your foundation's worst enemy. Check your gutters and make sure that they are clear of debris and that the openings to all downspouts are clear. Make sure that the water coming from the downspouts is directed away from the home and is not pooling at the base of the structure.
SERVPRO can Assist in Earthquake Readiness
Southern California is a special place to live in when 50 miles in every direction guides you to a different ecological environment that warrants its own forces of nature. But, one event that is felt by the region and state alike is an earthquake. California’s school system requires the administration to plan for earthquakes by performing drills and safety practices to prepare for “the big one.” The California Department of Public Health also requires all establishments to draw out an earthquake evacuation plan to be reviewed by a representative of their safety division. SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/ Laguna Woods is here to help you develop the plans your business needs to confront an emergency situation like an earthquake with confidence. As good practice, we create Emergency Ready Plans for commercial businesses in the community. These reports denote shut-off switches and valves for the property’s supply lines, nearest hospitals, and evacuation sites, and the safest points of entry and exit for occupants of the building in the event of an emergency situation. If you are a property owner reading this and it is something that interests you, call us today to request an Emergency Ready Plan tailored to your commercial space. We will send members of our team out to your property to assess the safest routes and primary locations to keep note of if a natural disaster occurs. Contact us at (949)429-3188, and we will be there to help.
Prepare an Emergency Bag to Stay One Step Ahead of Natural Disasters
Here is an example of an emergency pack to keep in your residential or commercial property. Stay prepared and safe!
In the face of natural disasters, all we can do is stay safe by being prepared. It’s hard to predict when or how a natural disaster will occur, or if it even will. But, it will confront you at the most unexpected of times, which is why it’s good practice to have an emergency bag in an easily accessible place for a time you may need it to save your life!
So, what items should you have in your emergency pack? Here are some key things to invest in for your emergency bag:
- Nonperishable food
- First-aid kit
- Wet wipes, toothbrushes/paste, travel size soap, a roll of toilet paper, garbage bags
- Local maps
- Phone charger/Portable Battery
- Dust masks
- Small foldable emergency blanket
- Necessary medicines and prescriptions
- Spare keys for your home and car
- Copy of identification cards
- ID, driver’s license, passport, SSN, insurance cards
- Emergency contact list
- Change of clothes
Now, what should hold all of these emergency items? Well, the items can be placed in a bucket, plastic bag, backpack, or any other method of carrying things easily. Some emergency packs even have special bags that can fold out into an emergency blanket. Specialized ones like these can be bought at your local superstore or online. Stay prepared for disasters, and if one happens to you, we are here to mitigate the damage.
Annual Inspection for Commercial Properties is Crucial for Disaster Preparedness
A useful security tool that every commercial building owner should look into is periodical maintenance checkups to make sure that the building is safe and secure from natural disasters. We often find ourselves running to the first commercial building when a storm hits the city. Why is that?
It’s because these buildings are annually checked to find out if they meet the safety regulations. Even a small issue on one of the floors can lead to life-threatening problems. From power cuts caused by a fallen object to chemicals exposed to high temperatures and more, such small things can cause serious consequences.
Following is a checklist for a commercial building’s annual maintenance schedule, which every business should follow:
Roofing (Should Be Inspected Twice In a Year)
- Check roofing contracts, warranties, and files
- Check roof drains for stuck debris
- Inspect the roofing perimeter for damage to copings and metal
- Check roof connections with the walls for any wrinkles or tears
- If a bitumen roof is installed, check for cracks in the plies
- If a bitumen roof is installed, take protective measures against corrosion
- Trim, weed, and irrigate if a green roof is installed
- Conduct regular moisture checks for leaks
- Install a protective roof membrane
- Inspect the solar panels for any openings that might lead to a leak
HVAC (Should Be Inspected Twice In a Year)
- Recharge U-bend or P-traps water traps
- Find screw issues
- Get the boilers and chillers inspected by a professional
- Inspect the cooling towers for motor bearings, fill valves, gearbox, wiring, support structure, log observations, and fan blades
- Lubricate pumps at least once a year
- Depending on what type of HVAC system the building has, replace air filters at least once a month
- Make sure the condenser coil is clean
- For the refrigerant and compressor to work properly, switch to energy-efficient settings
- Calibrate sensors and clean the economizer
Following these tips will ensure your commercial space is up to standard for any natural disaster. Call SERVPRO if you need assistance or additional information to perform these check-ups. We are here to help you foster a safe environment for our community.
Preparation for Southern California's Scorching Summers
Here in Southern California, our summers can get hot. With temperatures reaching over 100 degrees, this is the catalyst for many brush fires that sweep the state every summer. These fires have the unfortunate potential of reaching residential areas, which is why being prepared for a fire should be in the mind of one who lives in high risk areas.
To prepare for these situations, consider making an emergency home kit. Our blogs go into detail about the types of materials you want to add to the kit to ensure you’re as prepared as possible if that tumultuous time ever arrives. Even if you are not in a high risk area, it is still wise to equip your home with an emergency kit because the events of the future can never be predicted.
In addition to brush fires, the appliances in your home could be a potential catalyst of fire. Since temperatures are higher than usual, these appliances have a greater risk of overheating, potentially causing a fire. To prevent this, read our blogs on annual home inspections. This will give you information on how to inspect different appliances and tools in your home to make sure they are functioning properly, minimizing any potential for dangerous malfunction.
Take this as a reminder to note the change of seasons and how it could affect your home or surroundings. Here at SERVPRO we are dedicated to providing you with not only the best restoration services but with great information to prevent us from having to make it “Like it never even happened,” in the first place. For any questions, or to schedule an inspection, call our 24-hour service line at (949) 429-3188.
Check Your Gutters Before Storm Season
Gutters are an easy thing to forget about, and they seem to only be remembered in the middle of a storm. Storms can do some powerful damage to your property as far as water goes (trust me, water goes pretty far). If your gutters happen to be clogged in the middle of a storm, there can be some hefty destruction.
When the gutters become clogged, all the water from a storm will run off the roof. Instead of being routed through the gutter’s drainage system, all the water flows off to the side of the home/property. If you’re unaware that the gutters are clogged, this can lead to water spilling and then sitting all along the sides of your property, which can lead to issues such as water and foundation damage.
It’s mostly recommended to clean out your gutters twice a year; once in the spring and once in the fall. We say mostly, mostly because different areas have different climates. For example, an area with a lot of trees could require you to clean your gutters more often. A more desert landscaped area could get by with the recommended two cleanings.
In the event that your gutters do clog during a storm and property has been damaged, you can call SERVPRO 24/7 to get repair underway. SERVPRO of Lake Foret South / Laguna Woods is available at any time to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Categorizing Water Damage
When SERVPRO is confronted with a water damage job, there are many things to consider to make sure we move forward with the best plan. One of the things considered is the category of water damage we’re working with. Not all water damage jobs are equal, and each category is met with different precautions and procedures to yield the best outcome. It is also important for you as a homeowner to understand the category of water damage your property is facing to make sure everyone is safe and at a proper distance from any dangerous areas. Here’s some insight on the categories of water damage:
Category 1- Clean Water
These types of situations are leaks and floods of water that are not hazardous. This includes overflowing bathtubs, defective appliances like refrigerators, or a rainwater leak in the home. These are category 1 because the water poses no health risk.
Category 2- Grey Water
Greywater is when the water may contain some pollutants like urine, mold, or dirt that can be of a health risk if exposed to us. Leaks from a washing machine, clogged toilets with only urine, or overflowed aquariums can yield this category of water damage. This type of damage is recommended to be responded to immediately because this water can leave lasting effects on your home if not tended to quickly.
Category 3- Black Water
This type of water damage contains very hazardous contaminants in the water requiring our workers to wear special protective gear to deal with these jobs. Clogged plumbing systems, flood runoff from lakes, oceans, or rivers, and sewer backups are all examples of black water category damage. In the event of this damage, it is imperative that action is taken immediately and everyone is evacuated from the affected areas.
If you are ever confronted with any of these categories of water damage, call SERVPRO of Lake Forest South / Laguna Woods at our emergency service line to get help in making your property “Like it never even happened.” We are here to assist you in unpredicted events like this and will guide you through every step of the way. To learn more about water damage, check out our other blogs.
What SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/ Laguna Woods can do for you
What can we do for you? Since 1967, SERVPRO has provided America with disaster recovery and clean up services to keep our communities safe. We pride ourselves in our work, making it “Faster to any disaster!” If you are ever at a loss of what to do after any type of property damage, call us! We know what to do. Here is a rundown on the services we provide here at SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods.
Water Damage Mitigation
This is our specialty here at SERVPRO. Water damage is one of the most common loss situations brought to our attention. Pipe burst, dishwasher leak, toilet flood, you name it. The possibilities for water to intrude the home and cause damage are innumerable. Confronted with water damage? Call us, we know how to handle it.
Fire Damage Restoration
Fire damage grows more prevalent during the summer months in Southern California when temperatures are scorching. This type of damage is pervasive and layered. Oftentimes a fire comes with a side of water damage due to fire fighting efforts. In addition, the fire may be put out but the smell of smoke and soot will linger for days after. We have ample experience in this type of restoration to legitimately make it “Like it never even happened.”
Water damage is usually a precursor to mold, but the cause of loss goes unnoticed. Moisture is exposed to a certain area and over time we see unwanted microbial growth. With these jobs our technicians use PPE, Personal Protection Equipment, as suggested by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. Since water damage and mold go hand in hand, we have much experience mitigating the effects of this damage.
We also specialize in all types of property cleaning. This includes biohazard and crime scene cleanup, COVID-19 sanitization, HVAC & air duct cleaning, and other cleaning that extends to every feature of both commercial and residential properties. We have the tools to clean up and mitigate just about any occurrence that causes damage to property.
This is just an overview of what we can do for you at SERVPRO. Explore our website for more information on each service we provide to make it “Like it never even happened.” Questions? Call us at (949)429-3188.
What to know about Asbestos
Microscopic view of asbestos fibers.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos refers to six naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the ability to resist heat, fire, and electricity. These microscopic fibers are also resistant to most chemical reactions and breakdowns, resulting in very versatile building material.
These properties resulted in asbestos being used for many years in a wide range of commercial and industrial settings, as well as in a large variety of consumer products. Although its use has diminished in recent decades, there are still many products that contain asbestos, especially in older homes, schools, and public buildings.
Asbestos can still be found in many household items including drywall, flooring, ceiling tiles, etc. Since the late 1970s, the use of asbestos has almost stopped. However, homes and other buildings built before 1978 have a higher likelihood of testing positive for asbestos.
Why is Asbestos Hazardous?
The reason why asbestos is so hazardous is that when it becomes brittle, agitated, or destroyed, it breaks into microscopic fibers that become airborne and very easily inhaled. Because of the shape of these fibers, they cling to the lining of the lungs and may result in respiratory ailments.
How Does SERVPRO Handle Asbestos?
When SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods is called to inspect a home, the technicians must know what year the home was built. If the home was built in the late 1980s or earlier, an asbestos testing company must be dispatched and test the affected areas for asbestos.
If asbestos is not found, then the SERVPRO team can continue with their work on the property. If the asbestos testing comes back positive, an abatement company will need to come out in order to remove the affected areas in a safe manner. Once the removal process is complete, then the SERVPRO team can begin their work.
Handling a Leak From Faulty Kitchen or Bathroom Piping
One of the most common forms of damage we deal with here at SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods is water, be it from external sources like mudslides and accumulated water from a heavy storm, or internal flooding like pipe bursts and clogs. In previous blogs we have covered the steps you as a property owner can take to prevent such disasters, but beyond anyone’s control, the unexpected may occur regardless of your preparation efforts. So, what do you do when confronted with internal piping issues that lead to sudden water build up in your property?
Shut off the Main Water Valve
to cease the flow of water into unwanted areas. As a property owner, you should know the location of the water shut off. If not, call us at (949) 429-3188 and our technicians will guide you through the process of finding and understanding this paramount aspect of your home. We may also equip you with an Emergency Read Plan that denotes all energy supply shut offs on your property along with information on how to work them.
Clear The Area
of all valuable belongings to prevent them from being damaged by the escaping water. In some cases, grey or black water is released into the home introducing a severe level of damage. This type of liquid contains pollutants from your home’s sewage and waste systems that are potentially harmful if brought into close contact with anyone in the surrounding areas.
Call a Restoration Company
like SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even holidays, to assist you with your damage needs. We understand that damage is in most instances extremely unexpected. We will guide you through the process and keep you informed on best practices for avoiding future disasters. It is important that you have the contact information to your home insurance for us to collaborate with adjustors, ensuring damage costs are at an all time low.
Follow these steps to handle internal home flooding with grace, and don’t forget that SERVPRO is here “Faster to any disaster!”