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Prepare your company for a Storm

3/9/2023 (Permalink)

board up Preparing your company for a storm can reduce damage to your property.

Hurricanes, typhoons, and other types of storms can strike suddenly and without warning. If you're a business owner or manager who lives in an area prone to severe weather events, it's important to be prepared for any potential damage that could occur during these storms. Having proper insurance coverage is one way to protect your company's assets, but there are other things you should do before a storm hits as well.

Determine your risk.

The first step to preparing your company for a storm is determining your risk. There are many factors that go into determining how much exposure you have, and it's important to understand them all before deciding how much money should be put aside for disaster relief.

  • What is the nature of your business? If you run an e-commerce site, for example, then the risk of losing internet access during a storm may not be as great as if you own an auto repair shop in New York City (which would obviously suffer more damage).
  • How likely is it that a particular type of weather event could occur? For example: Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 each year, however there are other types of storms that can happen at other times during the year.

Prepare for the worst.

The first step is to prepare for the worst. This means having a plan in place for when you're without power, water, food and medical care for days at a time.

If you run an office or business with employees or customers who rely on your facility in order to do their jobs--or if they simply need it as a meeting place--you need to make sure that everyone knows what they should do if there's an evacuation order issued by local authorities. Have your company documents in proper order. Make sure you have copies of all important documents, keep in a secure location, and make sure they are up to date, including insurance documentation.

Perform a property inventory and inspection.

If your company was affected by a storm, it's important to document the damage and make sure you have proof of what happened. Take photos of any damage to your building, including trees that may have fallen onto or near it. Also take photos of any storm-related problems with utilities (gas, water and electricity). If there is evidence of structural damage from wind or flooding in surrounding areas such as broken windows or downed power lines on neighboring properties, take pictures of those too.

Inspect the Roofing and Building

If it's safe to do so, inspect the roof of your building and surrounding areas, including trees near the building or on nearby properties. Look for damage to the roof and any signs of leaks. Check for loose tiles or other debris that could be blown away in the wind. Also look for any trees that may have fallen on your building or nearby properties, as well as wires that may have been damaged during winds or lightning strikes.

Protect Doors and Windows

If you have glass doors and windows, put up temporary protection for them that can be removed after the storm. You can use plywood, plastic sheeting or tarps to cover the window frames. Secure these covers with rope or bungee cords so they don't blow away in high winds. Avoid using nails or screws because they may become loose during a hurricane and damage someone's property when they come loose during a storm surge (a rise in sea level caused by strong winds). Tape will also lose its adhesion after being exposed to humidity for an extended period of time

Stay away from floodwaters

Stay away from floodwaters. Don't ever drink floodwater, even if it looks clear. Don't use floodwater for cleaning purposes, it may contain chemicals such as oil, gasoline and sewage. Do not swim in any standing water; swimming pools are usually safe because they have been chlorinated, but ponds, lakes and rivers may not be so clean.

Following these tips after a storm can help reduce flood damage and ensure your business is back up and running quickly. SERVPRO has the experience and expertise to return your property back to pre storm conditions. 

Tips to Keep your family safe incase of a Fire

2/15/2023 (Permalink)

fire alarm install Check your smoke alarms to help keep your family safe incase of a fire.

Fire is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). While there are many safety measures that you can take to protect yourself, including installing smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in your home and practicing fire drills with your children, there's one thing that people often forget, testing your smoke detectors and having a fire escape plan incase of a fire emergency.

How often should you test them? That depends on several factors. If you have central air conditioning or heat that automatically kicks on when it senses smoke, then it may be best to test them once a month. Monthly tests are ideal because this allows homeowners time to notice any problems before they become serious issues. Here's what else you need to know about checking your home's safety against fire hazards:

Check your Smoke Alarms Monthly

If you have a hardwired smoke alarm, check the wiring and make sure that there are no exposed wires. If you have a battery-operated smoke alarm, replace the batteries. If you have a combination smoke alarm (a type of device that combines both smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector), replace the batteries for both devices.

Make sure you have enough Smoke Alarms in your home

Smoke alarms, like all electrical devices, have a lifespan. The average smoke alarm lasts about 10 years, but there are other factors that will shorten or extend the life of your smoke detector. If you have an old home with original wiring from the 1970s or 1980s, it's likely that some of your smoke detectors are older than that and need to be replaced.

Any time you see signs of wear on your existing smoke alarms (mushroom-like growth around the base of the device or discoloration to its cover), it's time to replace them with new ones.

How many? Most people need at least one in every bedroom and hallway in their home. Some people install them in kitchens just to be safe. You can never have enough to help keep your family safe.

Have a Fire Escape Plan

  • As a homeowner, you should have a fire escape plan.
  • Practice your plan with everyone in your household.
  • Make sure everyone knows the plan and can get out of the house in case of an emergency. A good way to do this is to practice going through it once or twice a year or when there’s a change in people living in your home (e.g., a new baby).
  • Have fire extinguishers throughout the home: one in the kitchen and one near each bedroom door; also have one outside near the furnace room or basement entrance.

Teach Children what to do in case of a Fire

The most important thing you can do is teach your kids what to do in case of a fire. Teach them to get out, stay out and call 9-1-1 from a safe place.

Teach them to stay low to the ground, crawl and avoid smoke. Remind them not to stop and play in the hallways. Show them what it looks like when smoke comes through an open door or window by blowing gently on a piece of paper until it smokes up.

Also teach your kids what a real fire alarm sounds like so they don't mistake it for their toy whistle or something else that makes noise.

Fire safety is important for everyone, but especially for children and the elderly. If you have elderly or children living in your home, ensure your smoke detectors are working properly. Keeping regular checks on your smoke alarms can help protect and keep your family safe.

How is Mold Identified?

1/19/2023 (Permalink)

Spots of mold growing on a windowsill. If you have an issue with mold in your home or business, then call a professional!

Mold is a living organism, so it adapts to its environment. Even if you have seen mold before, it may be different every time because it has grown into different shapes, sizes, and colors. The best way to identify the type of mold in your home is to contact an experienced professional who can inspect your home and determine what type of species are growing there as well as what kind of remediation process will be needed.

Mold Identification is a Complex Subject

It can be difficult to identify mold. This article will explain the basics of mold growth, how to spot it and whether you need to treat your home.

Mold can be found in many places around your home, particularly if there’s been water damage or flooding. While most people think of mold as being black or greenish-black, it can also appear as dark brown or grayish-white. It's important not to confuse molds with other types of fungus that may be growing in your home too – these might look similar but aren't harmful like true molds are!

Why is Mold Identification Important?

The first and most important reason to identify mold is that it can cause extensive damage to your property and belongings. Mold growth can eat through a variety of materials, including wood, drywall, and even furniture. If you find that there is mold on your property, it’s best to act quickly and remove the source of moisture before it spreads further.

Mold identification is also important because it can be expensive! Often times people will try to remove mold themselves in their homes or businesses without knowing exactly what they are doing which can cause additional damage and lead them down a rabbit hole of cost. While this isn’t always true, most times, hiring professionals with experience working with this kind of material is worth every penny you spend on them!

Professional Mold Inspection and Identification

Mold inspectors are trained and experienced in identifying mold. They will use a variety of tools to identify the presence of mold, including microscopes to see visible mold spores on surfaces or in air samples. Moisture meters can be used to measure moisture content in building materials, like wood or drywall. Air quality testing can also help identify if there is an elevated level of mold spores in your home’s air that may not be visible to the naked eye.

The most important thing to remember when trying to identify mold is that there are many kinds of mold and each one has its own set of characteristics. Most people can learn how to identify some types of mold but it takes years of experience with the subject matter before someone can say they know what they’re doing. If you have an issue with mold in your home or business, then call a professional!

How to File a Storm Damage Insurance Claim

12/1/2022 (Permalink)

Ceiling collapsed in a living room of a house Storm damaged house in Marina del Rey, CA.

What Steps To Take When Filing a Claim After a Storm?

The aftermath of a storm can be devastating. Not only do you have to deal with the damage to your property, but also any other losses that might come from it. Luckily, homeowners’ insurance can help cover many of these costs and get you back on your feet. But you need to know exactly what steps to take when filing a claim after a storm — and how to do it right away. Here are some tips…

Confirm Your Deductible

It’s important to know your deductible amount before you file a claim. If you haven’t already, confirm this with your insurance company.

The deductible is the amount of money that you must pay before the insurance company pays for storm damage repairs. Typically, deductibles are expressed as a percentage of the total value of damaged property or as a flat fee. You will have to pay this amount before they start making payments on your behalf to cover costs associated with cleaning up from and repairing storm damage caused by high winds, hail, lightning strikes, etc.

Find Out If The Damage Is Covered By Insurance

You can do this by calling your agent or company representative and reviewing the policy. If it's not covered, you may have to pay for the damage yourself.

If you can file a claim, start by reporting any storm-related damages as soon as possible. Your insurer will likely ask that you submit photos or videos of the damage and make a list of what happened so they can assess its extent.

Document The Damage

With your insurance agent in tow, take photos of the damage and write down an itemized list of damaged items. If possible, don't move any furniture or appliances until you have a repair estimate from a contractor or repairman.

When you have estimates for repairs and replacements, be sure to make copies with the name and contact information for the contractor or repairman in case you need to get more work done at a later date.

Take Pictures

The next thing you need to do is take pictures of the damage. This will help you prove your claims and avoid disputes with the insurance company. Take photos of the entire building, including any parts that are or were damaged during the storm. You should also take photos of everything inside your home at this time (and keep them for reference).

You should also take photos of any personal belongings that were damaged or destroyed, as well as any other property damage caused by the storm (such as cracks in walls or floors). If there is no visible evidence of damage on a piece of furniture or electronics item, but it still seems like something is wrong with it.

Notify Your Mortgage Company

It's important to notify your mortgage company of any storm damage. If the damage is severe enough, they might foreclose on your home if you don't tell them about it—even if you've already filed a claim with an insurance company. You may also need to pay for repairs yourself and then get reimbursed by your insurance company. If that happens, wait until all the repairs have been made before submitting another claim with your property insurer so that both are covered by the same policy at once.

Call Your Agent or Company Representative Immediately

If you have a claim, call your agent or company representative immediately. Tell them what happened and ask them what to do next. If they are not available, leave a message on their voicemail or send an e-mail with the following information:

  • The date, time, and location of the damage
  • A brief description of the damage
  • Information about any people or pets involved in this loss

If you’ve suffered storm damage, it’s important to file a claim as soon as possible. This will help you get the money you need to repair your home and property in Marina del Rey, CA.

How to Avoid Water Damage While on Vacation

11/7/2022 (Permalink)

Water gauges pressure, main valve shut off, shut down. Make sure you shut off the water at the main valve.

Are You Going on Vacation and Worried About Water Damage?

This article is here to help! Here are some top tips for how to avoid water damage while away from home.

Check for Leaks Before You Leave

1. Check for leaks in the basement. Make sure that all pipes are disconnected and that there's no water pooling in any area of your home. If you're leaving a property manager or landlord to take care of it, make sure they know about any problems so that they can fix them before your return date.

2. Check for leaks in the garage. 

3. Check for leaks in the attic. As with basements and garages, check behind storage boxes and furniture to ensure there aren't any hidden sources of moisture (which could lead to mold). 

Don't Forget To Turn Off the Water

You should also make sure you shut off the water at the main valve. It might be a good idea to use some tape or a marker to mark this valve, so you don't forget where it is when you leave, or if someone else is helping with your vacation preparations. The last thing you want is for someone in your home while on vacation to turn on the faucet in their bathroom and get into trouble because there's no running water!

Don't forget about your hot water heater either — the last thing anyone wants is for their water heater to malfunction while they're away from home.

Know Where Your Water Shut-off Valves Are

If you're not sure where the water shut-off valve is, call a plumber. If it's not available on your property, you can look at an online map of your home to find out where it might be.

If there are children or pets in the house, make sure that someone stays with them and monitors their behavior for any signs of illness following a flood situation.

Turn Off and Disconnect the Dishwasher and Washing Machine Hoses

The first step is to turn off and disconnect the dishwasher and washing machine hoses. To do this, you'll need to locate their water supply valves (usually underneath them) and turn them off. You can also just turn off their main water supply valve if they're connected to one.

Next, there are two ways to disconnect: by sliding the hose out of its housing or by unscrewing it with a wrench (or both). If you opt for the latter method, remember that you'll need a large enough wrench that will fit around your hoses' connections—you don't want them falling apart on you.

Finally, remember that even though these appliances have been unplugged from regular power sources for days now, turning off their water supplies does not mean they are "off." They still contain residual energy in their motors and pumps which could cause damage if not properly stored away from other objects or people.

The last thing you want when on vacation is to come home to a water-logged house. To avoid this from happening, be sure to check for leaks before leaving and make sure that all hoses are disconnected from the washer and dishwasher. Also remember not to forget about your drains! It may seem like common sense, but if left unattended these problems can drain your wallet as well as your home's foundation.

Fire and Water Damage

10/13/2022 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in an apartment building Commercial fire damage

Fire Damage and Water Damage

The damage caused by fire can often be more than just the smoke and soot that is noticed in your business after a fire. The water used for fighting the fire may have damaged walls, roofs, and other surfaces, causing leaks and flooding. These problems should be cleaned up quickly by professional restoration companies. Our team at SERVPRO of Marina Del Rey/Westchester/El Segundo has the equipment and experience to handle any mess caused by water damage or flooding.

If a fire occurs in your business, you will also likely have water damage from the firefighting efforts.

The second reason to hire a professional remediation company is that the water damage from firefighting efforts can lead to mold and mildew growth, which will cause further damage. If you've ever seen mold growing on your walls, you know that it's not something anyone wants to deal with. Additionally, water damage can cause rot, warping and rust in furniture and other items if they're not properly dried out. This can also be costly to fix later if the problem isn't addressed immediately after the fire occurs.

It's important to hire professionals who are trained in working with various types of fires because they know how best to handle each situation without causing additional damage or making matters worse than they already are (which would end up costing you more money). You should also make sure that you hire a company that can guarantee their work.

The fire may have damaged your walls and roof, causing leaking and flooding.

Water damage can cause mold to grow, which is dangerous and expensive to remove. The best way to avoid water damage is by preventing it in the first place.

SERVPRO has years of experience cleaning up messes caused by fire, smoke, flood, and other natural disasters. We have a team of trained professionals who will be able to clean up any kind of mess your property may have after a disaster like this one.

You may need fire damage and water damage repair services.

Fire damage repair services include removing smoke and soot from walls and ceilings. Water damage repair services include drying out the building, removing water from the building, and making sure that no mold grows inside of your home.

Professional cleanup is always recommended after a flood or leak.

Most of the water damage is caused by a lack of maintenance. When water leaks or floods, it can destroy the structure of your property and cause expensive repairs. If you've experienced flooding, we recommend hiring a professional mold remediation company to help you properly clean up and repair your business.

Mold remediation requires expert techniques to remove all traces of the fungus from your building. Mold growth usually takes place within 24 hours after an area has been exposed to moisture, making it important that any affected areas are dealt with before mold grows out of control and into unseen places throughout your space. The longer you wait, the more damage will be done!

SERVPRO of Marina Del Rey/Westchester/El Segundo has the equipment to clean up any mess caused by the fire.

Our team of specialists is trained to clean up fire and water damage, and we have the expertise to get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. When you contact us after a fire, we’ll work with you to figure out the extent of damage done to your property so that we can develop a plan that will restore it back to its pre-fire condition in no time.

SERVPRO of Marina Del Rey/Westchester/El Segundo can also help you get back to business as soon as possible with our water damage repair services. If you need help, contact us today!

Why Is Professional Upholstery and Fabric Cleanup Necessary During Fire Damage Restoration in Los Angeles?

12/28/2021 (Permalink)

Fires damage all areas of your business, from drywall to upholstery. SERVPRO has the know-how, equipment, and experience to restore your property.

SERVPRO Ensures Testing and Advanced Cleaning Is Done for Satisfactory Restoration of Your Fabric Items

Upholstery items and fabrics such as draperies are significantly affected during a fire. Even when they survive the flames and heat, they are likely to end up heavily soiled. You can save some upholstery items at your premises with a thorough cleaning.

The sensitivity of fabrics and upholstery items to factors like heat, chemicals, and moisture makes cleaning them during fire damage restoration at your Los Angeles property challenging. However, a professional team from SERVPRO can complete the task faster and safely.

Cleanup by professionals is unique because:        

  • Several methods can be used to clean an item
  • The materials are pretested before cleaning
  • Specialized cleaning equipment is available

The level of soiling and the materials that make up an upholstery item are the two main factors influencing the outcome of a cleaning exercise. Although you can read labels to determine the materials used to make an item, sometimes you might not get accurate information since labels mostly describe the filling material rather than the fabric. Our SERVPRO technicians overcome this by testing the fibers before starting cleaning. With the correct details, it is possible to expedite cleaning.

Some Practical Evaluation Procedures Before Cleaning Fabrics Include:

  • Doing a burn test
  • Doing a chemical test
  • Confirming dye stability

How the cleaning is performed also influences the outcome. For instance, deciding to wet-clean a fire damaged item might not be ideal since water can dissolve the loose soils like soot on the surface of an item, causing them to set. Professional cleaning is done in stages preventing such outcomes. Our SERVPRO technicians first pre-vacuum draperies and upholstery items before starting other cleaning procedures to remove loose soils. We also have specialized upholstery cleaning machines that do thorough cleaning without over-wetting or aggravated agitation.

SERVPRO of Marina Del Rey / Westchester / El Segundo can help with the advanced cleaning resources needed to restore your upholstery or draperies after fire damage. Call us at (310) 333-0654. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster.

Which Mold Remediation Approaches Help Marina Del Rey Properties When Contamination Recurs?

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

If not properly remediated, mold growth can recur. Don’t DIY. Call SERVPRO!

SERVPRO Delivers Long Term Results by Focusing on the Sources That Keep Triggering Mold Growth in a Property

If the mold problem in your Marina Del Rey property keeps recurring, there is a chance the problem is failure to identify the mold triggers. So even if you keep changing remediation approaches, it might be challenging to get long-term results.

Mold manifests differently, so it is essential to note all the signs before implementing mold remediation in your Marina Del Rey property. You may be dealing with a musty smell, dark patches on surfaces such as walls and ceilings, or even stains on fabrics. Whatever the sign is, it is crucial to note that mold grows in an indoor environment with favorable conditions, so SERVPRO focuses on early identification.

The main conditions that favor mold include:

  • Abundant moisture
  • Minimal natural light
  • Sufficient organic food sources

When mold keeps recurring, there is a chance that the remediation procedures you are using are not drying materials thoroughly. Leaving heavily contaminated porous materials in place after remediation can also cause problems since the mold hyphae penetrate deep into such materials minimizing the effectiveness of cleaning and other procedures to eliminate them.

You can only realize long-term results if you investigate what triggers mold in your property before starting remediation processes. Our SERVPRO technicians use different tools to confirm there is no moisture problem in your house. For instance, thermo-hygrometers help ensure that relative humidity levels in all your rooms do not exceed 60%. Thermal cameras help establish hidden moisture or leaks in wall, ceiling, or floor cavities.

After dealing with moisture, it is essential to perform the other necessary remediation processes, such as removing mold debris. Our SERVPRO technicians use thorough methods such as HEPA vacuuming and damp-wiping surfaces with antimicrobial products.

SERVPRO of Marina Del Rey / Westchester / El Segundo prioritizes long-term outcomes of mold remediation processes, thus addressing the contamination in your house, "Like it never even happened." Call us at (310) 333-0654.

Why Does Water Mitigation Depend on the Materials in Los Angeles Properties?

12/7/2021 (Permalink)

Water damages areas far from the leak. SERVPRO's training allows our techs to handle any unexpected outcomes.

SERVPRO Looks Out for Materials That Exhibit Peculiar Water Damage Signs

You may notice many peculiar things in the aftermath of water intrusion in your home. A wet ceiling when the leak is at the floor level is puzzling. Wet wall materials might take longer than you expect to dry, which frustrates you. Such cases require unique water damage mitigation approaches.

Before attempting water damage mitigation in your Los Angeles property, understanding the characteristics of different materials in the house is crucial. That way, it is possible to direct the appropriate efforts towards specific restoration tasks. 

SERVPRO's training allows our techs to handle any unexpected outcomes. The instruction psychrometry, which explains how water, air, and temperatures interrelate with wet materials.

Some of the unique characteristics in materials that cause the unusual outcomes include:

  • Vapor barriers
  • Hygroscopic properties
  • Permeance

A vapor barrier occurs when a material with low permeance covers a porous material. You may notice the impact of vapor barriers if some of your walls are covered in gloss paint or wallpaper. While the bare walls dry faster, drying those with the gloss paint layer or wallpaper can take too long. Our SERVPRO teams find ways to neutralize the barrier, such as perforation or stripping off.

Another noticeable aspect of permeance is the changes to the affected materials. While carpets and wood are all porous materials, wood tends to exhibit physical changes such as swelling and warping, but carpets retain their physical form. Carpets have higher permeance and thus release water fast. Wood, on the other hand, tends to accumulate water, thus leading to swelling. When wood no longer absorbs water, different sections on the same piece may release moisture at varying rates unless drying is controlled, thus leading to warping.

SERVPRO of Marina Del Rey / Westchester / El Segundo provides trained technicians to handle any unexpected water damage outcomes. Call us at (310) 333-0654 for solutions that manage the loss, "Like it never even happened."

The Benefits of Zoning Marina Del Rey Homes During Water Restoration Processes

11/30/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO techs adjust the temperature, humidity, and airflow, to promote faster drying of wet materials and prevent other issues.

SERVPRO Creates Separate Drying Zones for Better Management after Water Intrusions

Water intrusions rarely affect an entire home. Even when damage is widespread, the intensity in each section of the house is likely to differ, so the restoration efforts needed still vary. Zoning the damage helps ease some restoration processes, such as drying your Marina Del Rey home.

Performing water restoration in Marina Del Rey homes means adjusting various things, including temperature, humidity, and airflow, to promote faster drying of wet materials and prevent other issues like aerosolizing contaminants. Our SERVPRO crews zone your property by erecting physical barriers separating the different sections.

Zoned restoration has many benefits, including:

  • Improving the efficiency of drying equipment
  • Better control of processes needed in each section
  • Allowing utilization of unaffected areas of the house

To realize the full benefits of this approach, you need to do it right. Our SERVPRO technicians help establish the different dynamics at your loss site and determine which areas need to be separated. The factors we consider include the type of materials and the level of wetness.

Some crucial aspects of zoning a water-damaged property include: 

  • Identifying rooms that share the same airspace
  • Sizing each zone appropriately for better control
  • Creating airtight barriers

Within each zone, it is possible to circulate sufficient air for sustained evaporation. Exhausting warm air from dehumidifiers into the area also keeps temperatures at appropriate levels. Another unique advantage is the assurance that the humidity levels in the zoned area cannot be diluted by humidity from other sections of the house. Therefore, whether the goal is speedy drying of upholstery or controlled drying of wood, it is possible to achieve the desired goals.

SERVPRO of Marina Del Rey / Westchester / El Segundo offers superior water restoration services by focusing on better management and advanced technologies. Call us at (310) 333-0654. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster.