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Flooded? Don't Let Mold Take Hold

8/29/2022 (Permalink)

Thermal Imaging Camera Infrared cameras can find water in unexpected places

Flooded? Keep Mold From Taking Root

Storm flooding can occur in Santa Barbara, CA, without much warning. It is crucial to act quickly to clean up flood water in order to prevent mold growth. Even small amounts of moisture can allow mold to grow, so it is important to get help from an experienced professional who will assess the extent of water damage, remove the water, and ensure that affected materials are completely dry.

1. Assessing the Damage

Water damage may be apparent, but moisture is often invisible. If you don't address excess moisture levels quickly following a flood, you risk needing mold removal down the line.
An experienced storm damage restoration specialist has the knowledge and equipment necessary to detect water levels in porous building materials where moisture can hide. He or she can restore your house to its pre-flood condition, whether that means drying or replacing the material.

2. Extracting the Water

Any area that has flooded can have water removal challenges. Specialized machinery may be needed to remove standing water and extract it from carpets, furniture, and walls. Such equipment may include submersible pumps and powerful wet/dry vacuums. These machines generally will be able to remove most, but not all, of the flood water from your home. At this point, there is still an opportunity for mold growth until moisture has been reduced to acceptable levels.

3. Eliminating the Moisture

To eliminate excess moisture, you'll need a professional to detect where it remains and equipment to dry it. Moisture detectors such as hygrometers and infrared cameras can find water in unexpected places, such as behind walls and underneath carpet. Dehumidifiers and industrial fans help extract moisture from materials and move it out of the building. Moisture levels should be rechecked until they have reached levels low enough to inhibit mold.

Act quickly to ensure that you prevent mold growth following a flood. An experienced professional can help you to assess the extent of water damage, extract the water, and ensure that all moisture has been properly dried.

7 Tips for Preventing a Space Heater Fire

8/20/2022 (Permalink)

Space heater A burned space heater can lead to disastrous results.

Seven Ways to Avoid a Space Heater Fire

A space heater is an excellent appliance to have when you need extra warmth to take the chill off or if your Goleta, CA, home's furnace goes out. However, the chance of a burned space heater is always a possibility when you're using one, so safety is essential.  

1. Prepare a Fire and Smoke Cleanup Plan
There are never guarantees when you have a space heater in your home, so you should create a fire preparation plan and share it with your family. Include the phone number of fire damage restoration professionals so that you can call them quickly in an emergency. 

2. Ensure It Has Automatic Safety Features
Make sure the unit has an automatic shutoff feature. Many heaters will power off automatically if they begin overheating or tipping over. Some also have timers.

3. Give It Space
Put at least three feet between your space heater and other objects. There are many flammable objects in a home, such as curtains, bedsheets, upholstered furniture, stuffed toys and aerosol cans.

4. Place It on a Solid Surface
Place the space heater on a stable, solid surface so it won't tip over. Also, make sure it's not on the edge where someone could accidentally knock it off.

5. Don't Leave It Unattended
Many space heater fires happen when they are left unattended. These fires can have devastating consequences because the burned space heater won't be noticed immediately. Shut the appliance off when leaving the room or going to sleep. 

6. Keep It Out of High Traffic Areas
Don't place the space heater in a high traffic area. Also, keep the unit out of reach of children and pets. 

7. Unplug It After Each Use
Unplug your space heater when you're not using it. Also, inspect the power cord and unit itself regularly for damage. 
A burned space heater can lead to disastrous results. Practice these tips to keep your family and home safe while keeping them warm. 

3 Ways To Protect Yourself as a Flood First Responder

8/15/2022 (Permalink)

N-95 Mask An N-95 respirator provides the best protection if you find mold growing in flooded areas

First Responders To a Flood: Three Ways To Safeguard Yourself

With historic flooding occurring across the United States in the past few years, the role of the first responder has become more essential than ever before. As one of the first to arrive on scene at disaster sites in Santa Ynez, CA, your help as a specially trained responder can often mean the difference between life and death for those trapped by floodwaters. In order to help others, it is important for you to take precautions to protect yourself before you even reach the disaster scene. Here are three ways to shield yourself in those challenging initial responder situations.

1. Update Vaccinations
Before heading out to a flood response disaster, make sure you are up to date on your immunizations. Tetanus shots are required every 10 years and usually contain diphtheria and pertussis protection. Another protective vaccine that is often required is Hepatitis B.

2. Beware of Possible Hazards
Depending on how long the floodwaters have been on the ground and what category of water you are working in, there are some hazards you may face as a first responder. Wearing an N-95 mask can help protect you from mold that can begin growing in flooded areas in as soon as 24 hours. Also, be careful of chemicals, sinkholes, and disaster-related sharp objects.

3. Protect Yourself
As an initial responder, wearing protective clothing can help guard you from chemicals, fecal matter, and other pollutants in the floodwaters. The clothing should include boots, gloves, eye goggles, and an approved outer protective suit.
Whether the flood is of epic proportions or the result of a broken levy that floods a handful of homes, your role as a first responder can be a heroic one. If you have questions about how best to protect yourself or about the different categories of floodwaters you may be called to work in, contact a water and mold remediation specialist for information to help protect yourself.

3 Things To Inspect in Your Irrigation System Before Turning It On in Spring

7/29/2022 (Permalink)

Irrigation system Doing regular irrigation maintenance can help extend the life of your system

Three Things To Check In Your Irrigation System

Just as you did irrigation maintenance before turning your system off for the winter, you need to do that again before turning the system on in the spring. Not taking the time to check each part of the system could lead to flooding in your Santa Barbara, CA, business, and thousands lost in revenue and costs for water damage restoration services to repair the destruction from the flooding. Here are three things to check in your irrigation system.

1. Check the Forecast
It's normal to get warmer days, while the nights stay close to or below freezing. Check the extended forecast before assuming that the temperatures are acceptable and turning your irrigation system back on. Turning the system on when there is still a chance of freezing temperatures could mean that your irrigation pipes freeze and burst, causing your business to flood.

2. Look for Potential of Sprinkler Flooding
Even if recessed into the ground, sprinkler heads can still be easily disturbed or damaged in the winter months. When doing the irrigation maintenance, remove each sprinkler head and check it for any cracked or missing parts. Pull the sprayer out of the sprinkler head and thoroughly inspect that as well. Replace all heads that have any issues. When you reattach the sprinkler heads, make sure you don't overtighten them.

3. Run Each Zone Separately
When you turn the main water on, make sure you do it slowly to ensure you don't overwhelm the pipes. Then, turn on each sprinkler system zone one by one and allow them to run for a few minutes while you look for potential issues. Adjust the sprinkler heads to ensure they're spraying where you want them, and check around them for leaks. After you have checked each zone, schedule the system to turn on as you desire.
While it can take some time and work, doing regular irrigation maintenance can help extend the life of your system and keep your commercial property looking great all year long.

Stay Safe After a Flood

7/18/2022 (Permalink)

Flooded homes Powerful storms that flood your home can be very distressing

How To Avoid Danger After a Flood

If you have a flooded home after a storm, the most important thing that you can do for yourself and your loved ones is stay safe. Here are some tips on what not to do, and how to avoid danger after flood water takes over your Goleta, CA, home.

1. Never approach standing water in your home. Underground power lines and other power issues could cause this water to be electrically charged. Avoid it and do not stand in it under any circumstances.

2. Don’t forget your cell phone charger. If you can find somewhere that is safe and secure to charge your phone, keep it powered up and charged for as long as you can. If you cannot find or plug in a charger, use the device as little as possible to preserve battery life. Remember to never plug your phone in near water.

3. Do not skimp on your protective gear. Always wear knee-high boots made of rubber and sturdy gloves to protect yourself from electrical currents and contaminated flood water - the more coverage you can find for your body, the better.

4. Never take cleanup matters into your own hands. A flooding home and related damage can be a lot to deal with as a homeowner, but you should never attempt cleaning or renovation projects on your own. Wait until the chaos dies down, then contact a local water damage restoration service for professional help with mold growth, structural damage, and other flood-related issues.

Powerful storms that flood your home can be very distressing, especially when your property and safety are at stake. Be as careful as you can be and waiting for professional help whenever possible are your best bets for staying safe and protecting your home. Flood water is not a joke, so finding the best help you can for post-storm cleanup should be your first priority after all the commotion has died down.

Finding the Best Commercial Property Coverage

7/2/2022 (Permalink)

Man holding a paper with a pen, paper says insurance It is important to find comprehensive insurance coverage for your property.

As a business owner, you understand the importance of finding comprehensive insurance coverage for your property. Making the right choice when selecting a plan can seem daunting, however. It's a good idea to discuss all available options with your insurance agent to ensure you are covered if an emergency occurs.

Commercial Insurance Considerations

There are many issues to consider when selecting your property insurance plan. Make sure your package includes coverage for the following damages:

Property Repairs and Renovations - If your property is damaged due to a covered peril, such as a fire, or because of vandalism or theft, the cost of renovations would be covered after your deductible is met. This would include the removal of smoke and fire damage after a devastating fire.
Business Equipment Replacement - Machinery, furniture, office equipment and other electronics would be covered in a commercial insurance plan. This could also include any employee belongings that have been lost or damaged.
Business Documents - Office documents, including both paper and electronic copies, must be included in the coverage. 
Business Interruption Protection - This coverage is typically a separate package, but can be included in the comprehensive plan. It would pay for the cost of relocating and would cover expenses in the interim. 

Finding the Best Insurance Fit
Many commercial insurance companies have specialties. Some are more experienced with small businesses and some with large corporations. Make sure your insurer has a good understanding of the type of risks faced by your specific industry so that they can offer you the best comprehensive coverage.
Your insurance company should also give you advice on trusted commercial restoration services in Santa Ynez, CA. Making your selection in advance will help to reduce the damage and loss that occur during a fire or other devastating event.
Prepare your business in advance of unexpected incidents with an inclusive property insurance package.

3 Proactive Plumbing Care Tips

6/27/2022 (Permalink)

toilet paper put in Flush.used paper clogging the toilet Never flush feminine hygiene down your pipes.

Three Plumbing Maintenance Recommendations

Many business owners look at their plumbing as out of sight, out of mind. However, you want to avoid having that mentality. Instead of ignoring the plumbing in your Santa Barbara, CA, business, find ways to take care of it and keep it as healthy as possible. Here are three proactive plumbing care tips.

1. Monitor Your Water Bill To Look for Plumbing Problems
Many issues with plumbing can be hidden, which can make them hard to identify. That is why you should pay close attention to your water bill every month. Even a tiny leak from a broken pipe can cause your water bill to go up. Call a plumber to look for a leak if you notice that you're paying more than usual for your water each month. Catching the issue as fast as possible can save you thousands in water damage repair services.

2. Schedule Routine Maintenance To Keep Your System Healthy
Contact a Santa Barbara, CA, plumber to routinely inspect and maintain your plumbing system. The plumber will diagnose any potential plumbing problems throughout your entire system - from the water main to the sink faucets. Additionally, the plumber will identify issues that might become problematic in the future. Knowing what items might fail can allow you to properly budget and plan to have them repaired before they break and cause catastrophic damage.

3. Only Flush Waste Down Your System To Keep It Strong
The best way to keep your plumbing fixtures and pipes in the best condition possible is to follow a strict rule of only putting water, waste, and toilet paper down them. Never flush leftover food, kitty litter or feminine hygiene down your pipes. The materials can easily clog your pipes, which can cause your system to become backlogged and overflow.
Keeping plumbing problems under control is easy and manageable when you take care of your system and rely on professionals for regular maintenance.

Storm Shutters: Options Available and Installation Benefits

6/13/2022 (Permalink)

Rolling shutters Exterior rolling shutters are often considered the best option.

People living in Goleta, CA, know that homes take a regular beating from high winds. Instead of knowing that you will need the services of a certified storm damage restoration company, taking preventive measures is an investment but a better solution. A tried-and-true solution is installing shutters.

Types of Storm Shutters

There are four common window protectors. Each comes at its own cost and provides different levels of protection.

Accordion: These are attached over doors and windows and manually unfold. They can be difficult to install and are not as impact-resistant as other styles, but they are highly affordable.
Bahama: Also referred to as a Bermuda covering, this option has arms that extend out 45 degrees. Once the storm approaches, you simply pull them in and lock them in place. They offer a pleasing aesthetic, provide medium coverage and are budget-friendly.
Exterior Rolling: Often considered the best option, this type is available in manual or electric options. They are also installed over doors and windows but the blinds roll out of a bay. They provide excellent protection at a higher price. They also may help improve regulating your home’s interior temperature.

Shaker: This traditional style is pleasing and offers some protection, but they may not be the best suited for high winds. They are also typically made from wood, so they aren’t as durable as metal options. They are an affordable option that simply swings closed when needed.

Are They Worth Installing?
If you live in an area that is frequently windy, any added protection is better than none. Regardless of the style, these devices add peace of mind from extensive damage and may also reduce injuries caused by broken glass or flying debris. Depending on your insurance provider, you may also be able to get a wind mitigation discount, as well as increase the value of your home.
If high winds have become a constant, installing devices for added protection is worth considering. Luckily, there are many options available to hit both the protection, budget and aesthetic buttons.

How To Reduce Disaster Response Time

6/7/2022 (Permalink)

Three green box truck driving down the street SERVPRO of Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez/Goleta can respond to any size disaster.

How To Reduce Disaster Response Time

Every second counts after fire, storm, or water damage at a residence in Santa Ynez, CA. Some mitigation and restoration services take longer than others to respond to damage. These four factors make SERVPRO Faster to Any Size Disaster.

1. Franchise Locations Nationwide

A local franchise can quickly respond to calls. In addition to returning a call within one hour, a nearby location can also have trained experts on site for an assessment within four hours. It is critical to act quickly to limit the damage.

2. Trained and Certified Staff

The quality of training is a major benefit of relying on a local franchise of a national corporation. SERVPRO provides new franchise and employee certification training. This company is also an approved training school for the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. Trained professionals can respond Faster to Any Size Disaster.

3. Large Scale Loss Response

In the event of a major flood, storm or other large-scale loss, a local franchise can achieve the shortest response times. If a region is experiencing increased demand for mitigation and restoration services, the national corporation can call on nearby franchises to provide additional equipment and expertise and reduce wait times.

4. One-Stop Mitigation and Restoration

A service equipped to perform both mitigation and restoration is likely to shorten the length of the overall cleanup and restoration process. Rather than contacting two companies and juggling estimates and schedules when filing an insurance claim, homeowners or insurance representatives can rely on a single service to provide a complete estimate and restore a residence as quickly as possible.

Homeowners and insurers can count on SERVPRO to be Faster to Any Size Disaster in Santa Ynez, CA. Calls should be responded to within one hour, and an on-site visit should take place within four hours. Professionals will follow up on this assessment with a verbal briefing and an estimate.

Flood Safety Tips for First Responders

5/23/2022 (Permalink)

A person wearing protective gear, white plastic outfit, helmet, mask and goggles A first responder is a selfless individual who helps the community during a disaster.

First Responder Flood Safety Tips

A first responder is a lifesaving individual that helps the public during a crisis. When a disaster strikes, these people often risk their own safety to rescue others.
During a flood in Santa Barbara, CA, emergency response crews will be dispatched to locate missing people and rescue those who have been stranded. After the initial threat has passed, some may also volunteer to clean up debris and repair homes. Working in floodwater can be dangerous, so all responders should consider the following safety tips.

1. Know How Floods Occur
Flooding typically happens when heavy rainfall or melting snow leads to excess water accumulation. Communities near rivers or creeks are at the highest risk for flood-related disasters.
Flooding can happen gradually or rapidly. Gradual flooding, although still challenging, is the most preferable since it allows citizens time to prepare and evacuate. Rapid flooding, also known as flash flooding, is more difficult to navigate. When water levels rise quickly, people often find themselves unprepared.

2. Stay Up-to-Date on Immunizations
During a rescue or cleanup, a first responder may encounter rusty metal or be exposed to chemicals in the rising water. For these reasons, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all responders stay up-to-date with their tetanus and Hepatitis B vaccines.

3. Wear Protective Clothing
Rescue crews and flood restoration specialists should wear protective gear. Waterproof clothing, boots, goggles and two layers of gloves are highly recommended. N95 masks can protect against mold or mildew.

4. Remain Alert for Other Hazards
Flood response is tricky for many reasons. For example, murky floodwater could engulf landmarks and make even a familiar environment feel disorienting. Downed electric lines might cause power disruptions. Uneven terrain and sinkholes can make wading impossible. By remaining alert and using tools such as maps, boats, drones, generators and radios, rescue crews can be better equipped to handle these challenges.
A first responder is a selfless individual who helps the community during a disaster. He or she can prepare for a flooding crisis by knowing how floods happen, staying current with vaccinations, wearing appropriate clothing and remaining alert.