Recent Posts

Keeping mold from growing on your food

8/24/2016 (Permalink)

 Buying small amounts and using food quickly is probably the best way to prevent mold growth in food. However, there are other practices that you can implement to prevent mold growth in food.

  • Examine food well before you buy it. Check food in glass jars, look at the stem areas on fresh produce, and avoid bruised produce. Fresh meat and poultry are usually mold free, but cured and cooked eats might not be. Examine them carefully. The exception is that some salamis -- San Francisco, Italian, and Eastern European types -- have a characteristic thin, white mold coating that is safe to consume; however, they should not show any other mold. Dry-cured country hams normally have surface mold that must be scrubbed off before cooking.
  • When serving food, keep it covered to prevent exposure to mold spores in the air. Use plastic wrap to cover foods you want to stay moist -- fresh or cut fruits and vegetables and green and mixed salads.
  • Empty opened cans of perishable foods into clean storage containers and refrigerate them promptly. Make sure that the storage container is tightly covered.
  • Use leftovers within 3 to 4 days so mold does not have a chance to grow.

 Cleanliness is the key to controlling mold. Mold spores from contaminated food can build up in your refrigerator, dishcloths, and other cleaning utensils. To eliminate mold:

  1. Clean the inside of the refrigerator every few months with one tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a quart of water. Rinse with clear water and dry. Scrub visible mold (usually black) on rubber casings using three teaspoons of bleach in a quart of water.
  2. Keep dishclothes towels, sponges, and mops clean and fresh. A musty smell means they are spreading mold around. Discard items you cannot clean or launder.
  3. Keep the humidity level in the house below 40%.

SOURCE:
U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2002. Molds on Food: Are They Dangerous. The complete publication is available on-line at:http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Molds_On_Food/index.asp

Is Your Child Ready for Back to School?

8/12/2016 (Permalink)

Hey SERVPRO Van Nuys readers!

School’s right around the corner and for some of us, that means life is [once again] starting to ramp up. Next month happens to be Emergency Preparedness Month and we will be coming out with some great content to help our readers stay ahead of the game to be prepared for the unexpected. In the meantime though, our friends over at FEMA  just came out with a great article on helping both kids and parents stay prepared as well. We thought you’d enjoy it, so feel free to keep reading –   

“Fun Preparedness Resources for Kids

Your child may be away from you when disaster strikes, so it’s important teach to him or her how to stay safe during emergencies. To make disaster preparedness fun for youth, Save the Children and Scholastic created the following resources for parents and teachers to share with kids.

Keep the Herd Safe is a fun-filled activities page for children in grades 1-3 to encourage disaster planning and to teach them how to stay connected in the event of an emergency! Parents and teachers can also help children complete In Case of Emergency (ICE) Cards featuring characters from the new animated film “Ice Age: Collision Course.”

Get Ready, Get Safe! Do your children know how to do the Prep Step? Save the Children’s Prep Step video combines valuable safety tips with fun dance moves to get kids excited about preparedness. You can also download the Prep Step song for children to listen to while on the go. Download today and get moving!

 Making preparedness fun and easy for kids is one of the best ways to get them involved in their own safety. 

Firewise Virtual Workshop Series

The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities program is hosting a wildfire workshop series to connect wildfire stakeholders with subject matter experts. The series provides free learning opportunities for wildfire stakeholders by connecting them with leading researchers and practitioners in a live, interactive format. Visit the Firewise Communities website to learn more about the series and to register for their upcoming workshops.

Avoiding Disaster Fraud

After a disaster, community-based organizations and agencies often band together to try to meet the needs of affected individuals and communities. Unfortunately, this often brings criminals who prey on the needs of disaster survivors by offering fraudulent services.

Learn how to protect yourself and your finances from additional loss. FEMA offers reminders to help you avoid disaster fraud, including:

  • There is never a fee to apply for FEMA disaster assistance or to receive it;
  • Get three written estimates for repair work. Then check credentials and contact your local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to learn about any complaints against the contractor or business;
  • Before work begins, make sure you get a written contract detailing all the work to be performed, the costs, a projected completion date, and how to negotiate changes and settle disputes; and
  • Pay only by check or a credit card. A reasonable down payment may be required to buy materials for some projects, but don't pay anything without a signed contract.  
  • Be sure to check out the full list of disaster fraud tips and stay vigilant when disaster strikes! To register for FEMA disaster assistance, call 800-621-3362(TTY: 800-462-7585) or visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov.”

    Preparing your Van Nuys Home or Business for Fire Season

    8/9/2016 (Permalink)

    Here are some things you can do to ‘harden’ your home and commercial building and make it more fire resistant.

     

    Well, we’re at it again folks! Fire season has come blazin’ back this year and with the few that have crept up a little too close for comfort, we wanted to jump in and do our part to help ready our online community with some helpful pointers. That way, you can be rest assured in knowing that you’re ‘as prepared as possible’ to weather the next wildfire that breaks out.   

    As a Fire & Water Restoration Company who works in people’s homes and office’s following wildfire damage, we hear all the time, “If I had only been prepared…” or “I never would have thought this would happen to me.” We wanted to pass along some practical preventive tips we picked up from The National Interagency Fire Center, a frontrunner in wildfire preparation.

    1. Use Fire Resistant Building Material - "The Best Thing 
      That You Can Do"

    The roof and exterior structure of your dwelling should be constructed of non-combustible or fire resistant materials such as fire resistant roofing materials, tile, slate, sheet iron, aluminum, brick, or stone. Wood siding, cedar shakes, exterior wood paneling, and other highly combustible materials should be treated with fire retardant chemicals.

    1. Maintain a Survivable Space - "Things You Can Do Today"

    • Clean roof surfaces and gutters of pine needles, leaves, branches, etc., regularly to avoid accumulation of flammable materials.

    • Remove portions of any tree extending within 10 feet of the flue opening of any stove or chimney.

    • Maintain a screen constructed of non-flammable material over the flue opening of every chimney or stovepipe. Mesh openings of the screen should not exceed 1/2 inch.

    • Landscape vegetation should be spaced so that fire cannot be carried to the structure or surrounding vegetation.

    • Remove branches from trees to height of 15 feet.

    • A fuel break should be maintained around all structures.

    • Dispose of stove or fireplace ashes and charcoal briquettes only after soaking them in a metal pail of water.

    • Store gasoline in an approved safety can away from occupied buildings.

    • Propane tanks should be far enough away from buildings for valves to be shut off in case of fire. Keep area clear of flammable vegetation.

    • All combustibles such as firewood, picnic tables, boats, etc. should be kept away from structures.

    • Garden hose should be connected to outlet.

    • Addressing should be indicated at all intersections and on structures.

    • All roads and driveways should be at least 16 feet in width.

    • Have fire tools handy such as: ladder long enough to reach the roof, shovel, rake and bucket for water.

    • Each home should have at least two different entrance and exit routes.

    To learn more on the topic of Fire Preparedness and Prevention in California, visit the Cal Fire’s website for further resources –

    http://www.readyforwildfire.org/Hardening-Your-Home/

    The Categories of a Water Loss

    8/9/2016 (Permalink)

    Water damage restoration training is one of the important skill sets that a team of professional cleaners need in order to offer comprehensive services. This is a service that involves going into a home or business after a wet disaster, such as flood, burst pipes, or snow destruction, and not just cleaning up the mess, but actually drying and repairing the substructures that high volumes of moisture will affect, such as plaster and drywall, wood, concrete, and metal. Mold is a concern, of course, but there can be many other problems related to moisture damage; crumbling drywall and plaster, weakening beams and supports, rusting metal surfaces, and more. If the moisture is left to sit long enough, it will eventually bring the house to ruin. By having professional water damage restoration training, a cleaning crew will be able to properly assess the situation and devise the best plan for repair.

    According the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification), which sets the standards for the cleaning industry and water damage restoration training, there are several different levels and classes involved in liquid destruction. From the IICRC’s S-500 standards, there are three categories describing the type of liquid involved.

    •    Category 1. This is liquid from a clean and sanitary source, such as faucets, toilet tanks, drinking fountains, etc. But, category one can quickly degrade into category two.

    •    Category 2. This category of liquid used to be called grey water, and is described as having a level of contaminates that may cause illness or discomfort if ingested. Sources include dishwasher or washing machine overflows, flush from sink drains, and toilet overflow with some urine but not feces. 

    •    Category 3. This is the worst classification and is grossly unsanitary. It could cause severe illness or death if ingested. It used to be called black water, and sources include sewer backup, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow with feces, and stagnant liquid that has begun to support bacterial growth.

    Info provided by: http://www.iicrc.org/the-basics-water-damage-restoration-training-a-23.html

    SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Teams are Standing By to assist after The Sand Fire

    7/29/2016 (Permalink)

    A few simple steps could help minimize secondary soot and smoke damages

    Los Angeles firefighters have nearly contained 85% the Sand Fire in the Santa Clarita Valley, but not before flames consumed over 38,000 acres, damaging dozens of homes, commercial buildings and natural landscape. SERVPRO of Van Nuys is connected to a network of SERVPRO professionals called the Disaster Recovery Team to aid victims of smoke and soot damage within the affected areas. Though personal safety is always the primary concern in these situations, the first several days after the fire is controlled are critical to preventing secondary damages from smoke and soot. Once the local authorities say it is safe to return to your home and/or business, SERVPRO of Van Nuys would like to offer the following steps to help minimize additional harmful effects.

    DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Brush vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes and carpet.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with light coating of Vaseline or oil.
  • Wash house plants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.     
  • DON’T:

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV sets, radios, etc. that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water. They may have been contaminated.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
  • Even if your property didn’t suffer fire damage, there may be soot particles and residues left to clean up. If cleaned improperly, the odor and effects can linger long after the fire has been extinguished. From the structure itself to the contents inside, SERVPRO of Van Nuys uses the latest technology and training to leave your property smelling fresh and clean.

    To find more up-to-date notices of how the fire’s being handled, you can visit http://www.fire.lacounty.gov/home/home-alt/

    Van Nuys Residents: Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold

    7/14/2016 (Permalink)

    Mold Remediation Van Nuys Residents:  Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold Be careful! Without proper training, you could be spreading mold throughout your home.

    If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

    What to Do:

    ·         Stay out of affected areas.

    ·         Turn off the HVAC system and fans.

    ·         Contact SERVPRO of Van Nuys for mold remediation services.

    What Not to Do:

    ·         Don’t touch or disturb the mold.

    ·         Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.

    ·         Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.

    ·         Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

    About Our Mold Remediation Services

    SERVPRO of Van Nuys specializes in mold cleanup and restoration; in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

    If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (818) 780-7111 

    For Immediate Service in Van Nuys, Call SERVPRO

    7/13/2016 (Permalink)

    General For Immediate Service in Van Nuys, Call SERVPRO Van Nuys Residents: We provide immediate service day or night!

    SERVPRO of Van Nuys provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in Van Nuys. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.

    ·         24-Hour Emergency Service

    ·         Faster to Any-Sized Disaster

    ·         Highly Trained Restoration Technicians

    ·         A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry

    ·         Locally Owned and Operated

    ·         Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment 

    Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 – (818) 780-7111

    Residential Services

    Whether your Van Nuys home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us.  Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:

    ·         Water Damage Restoration

    ·         Fire Damage Restoration

    ·         Mold Remediation

    ·         Storm Damage Restoration

    ·         Cleaning Services

    ·         Building/Reconstruction Services

    Commercial Services

    There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your Van Nuys commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. Learn more about our commercial services

    ·         Commercial Water Damage Restoration

    ·         Commercial Fire Damage Restoration

    Restoring Your Van Nuys Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

    7/7/2016 (Permalink)

    Commercial Restoring Your Van Nuys Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges

    Flooding and water damage events at Van Nuys commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

    Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

    Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

    About SERVPRO of Van Nuys

    SERVPRO of Van Nuys specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

    Meet our Team: http://www.SERVPROvannuys.com/crew-photos

    Stay Safe this 4th of July

    6/30/2016 (Permalink)

    Fourth of July weekend is once again upon us! Each year at SERVPRO of Van Nuys, we remember those who have both come before and those who are currently serving to protect our freedom. Like most people on this holiday weekend, we will be sharing it with family and friends and joining in on  the many traditions that has made our Independence Day a day to pull out all the stops!

    Though there are many activities to partake in, one of the most popular things to do on the 4th is to light off fireworks. And as long as handled properly, they can be a whole lot of fun.

    According to the U.S. Consumer Fire Safety Administration, “230 people on average go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.” Though this number may be startling to see, we at SERVPRO of Van Nuys want to see if we can help reduce this number for 2016. In an effort to promote injury and fire prevention, here are some recommended safety tips provided by the USCFSA –

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

  •  Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.

  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • And if you are also curious about how to prevent additional mishaps during this 4th of July weekend of celebration, check out the Prevention Tips video our SERVPRO of Van Nuys office put together for your enjoyment!

    Does Your Van Nuys Home Have A Mold Problem?

    6/23/2016 (Permalink)

    Mold Remediation Does Your Van Nuys Home Have A Mold Problem? In Van Nuys, mold can spread through a home in as little as 48 hours.

    Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

    ·         Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.

    ·         Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.

    ·         Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.

    ·         Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.

    ·         Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.

    ·         Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

    If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

    If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (818) 780-7111