Lingering Smoke Smell or Visible Soot?
Our highly trained professionals follow strict protocol and procedures when restoring the damage caused by fire.
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Van Nuys will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting.
Emergency Fire Damage Tips
What you can do until help arrives:
After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:
- Is it safe to stay in the house?
- Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
- Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
- Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
What To Do After A Fire
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
- Change HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What NOT To Do After A Fire
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without 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.
- 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.
By calling SERVPRO of Van Nuys North, we can start the process of securing your home and valuables immediately. We can board up windows and doors, place temporary fencing and start water extraction or content manipulation immediately!
Tips to Put Out Fires in the Kitchen Safely
SERVPRO of Van Nuys North recognizes that over half of home fires start in the kitchen. Some kitchen fires start out small enough that you might be able to put them out easily. By being proactive, you can save yourself and others from fire and smoke injuries in your Charlottesville home.
Remember that fire is fast. If you cannot contain a fire immediately, leave and bring everyone with you. Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.
SERVPRO of Van Nuys North has these tips to offer for handling a small cooking fire:
- If the fire is on the stovetop or in a pot, put a lid on the fire to smother the flames. Turn off the burner
- If a cloth on the stovetop is on fire, put a lid on the fire to smother the flames. Turn off any burners
- Do not use water on a gas fire or a grease fire. Pot lids will smother a fire. You can also use (a lot of) baking soda. Pour a box of baking soda on the fire
- If the fire is in the oven, turn off the heat. Close the oven door.
Never leave fire-fighting to chance. SERVPRO of Van Nuys North knows that objects can be replaced. People and pets cannot.
Commercial Flood Insurance in Van Nuys
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides flood insurance. The NFIP doesn’t sell insurance. Buy flood insurance from an insurance agent.
SERVPRO of Van Nuys North is interested in helping the businesses in our community become more educated on flood insurance. According to FEMA, 40% of small businesses do not reopen after experiencing a devastating flood.
Things to know in Los Angeles. Check to see if you might be required to have flood insurance.
- All agencies in L.A. charge the same for flood insurance
- Standard commercial insurance doesn’t pay for flood damage
- The NFIP sets the rates
- Rates depend on:
- whether you live in a flood plain
- flood risk in your area
- building’s age
- building’s construction
- Building property insurance covers the building
- Personal property insurance covers the building’s contents
- NFIP suggests you need both types
- Policies go into effect 30 days after purchase
- The NFIP help center number is 1-800-427-4661
SERVPRO of Van Nuys North recommends the following:
- Check whether or not your area participates in the NFIP
- Check whether or not your area is part of the Community Rating System. The NFIP might have a discount
- Talk to your insurance agent when you need to make changes
Make sure your business is protected from the devastation that comes with unwanted flooding in your office.
Preventing Mold Growth
SERVPRO of Van Nuys North is licensed in mold remediation. We hope you never have a mold problem.
Mold starts growing within 24 hours of exposure to moisture.
To prevent mold from getting a start, SERVPRO of Van Nuys North suggests:
- Elevate equipment above the basement floor
- Repair leaky pipes
- Remove any damp areas near sinks and tubs
- Maintain humidity below 40%
- Use water-resistant materials when you build or rebuild. Materials include:
- galvanized or stainless-steel hardware
- waterproof wallboard
- sealed stone
- sealed concrete
- water-resistant glues
- synthetic fibers
- Use gutters to divert rainwater
- Landscape, so water moves away from the house
- Cover dirt in crawl spaces. Moisture can seep up through the dirt
- Ventilate as much as possible
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a “large amount” of mold as 10 square feet or more. The EPA rules that only licensed professionals can remediate large areas.
You cannot prevent storms or floods. However, if a storm or flood affects you, SERVPRO of Van Nuys North can help you clean up the damage.
Are You Ready to Remediate or Should You Test for Mold First?
With protocol in hand, we can begin remediation, starting with containment as necessary.
You walk downstairs to do laundry. It’s been a while since you’ve been down here. Oh no, what is that odor? It smells like your grandparents’ garage: musty. Does this mean you have mold? Should you call SERVPRO, whom you’ve heard so much about? While we love that instinct and we are happy to help with any of your mold remediation needs. You might want to personally evaluate the situation first.
If you do call us in this situation, we will ask you a few questions. Can you see any growth? About how many square feet of growth is visible? Have you removed and stopped the moisture that instigated this growth? While these questions can be frustrating when you are panicked about possible mold in your home, they are important for us to provide you with the best and the correct care. Some situations, including mold over 10 square feet, suspect growth that isn’t visible and any questions about type of mold or health effects need to be answered by an industrial hygienist. As specialists in mold remediation, we do not currently have a certified Industrial Hygienist on staff to complete these types to mold testing.
We strive to operate with our customers honestly and fairly. One of the ways we try to uphold this fairness, as well as avoiding any appearance of underhandedness, is in our partnership with a third-party industrial hygienist.
With this protocol in hand, our technicians can safely and efficiently remediate the growth that may be present. This process streamlines identification and allows us to better focus on remediating the mold growth. Of course, as always, if you have any questions about our process or to set up an assessment, give us a call at 818-951-6780.
Creating an Emergency Ready Profile: The Ultimate in Storm Preparation
We have everything you need to prepare your business for storm damage.
Is your business prepared for storm damage? If a disaster hit, would your business be prepared?
50% of businesses do not reopen after an emergency. Will yours be one of them?
A SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile is an immediate plan of action that saves valuable time in the event of a disaster to your business.
Knowing what to do, who to call and what to expect in advance is the key. This is a free service SERVPRO of Van Nuys North provides by scheduled appointment.
Together, we would gather and organize:
- Property overview information, such as “Before photos” from a facility walk-through
- Emergency contacts, identifying those authorized to sign paperwork to get the mitigation work started
- Insurance Contact Information
- Utility Contact and water main shut off valve location
The importance of timely mitigation:
- minimizes the effects of water and fire damage
- allows your property and business to be restored at a faster rate
- reduces the amount of time your business is inactive
We have everything you need to be prepared and have helped many Los Angeles businesses recover from storm damage to their facility.
National Preparedness Month: Home Emergency Kit
An example of a Home Emergency Kit that the American Red Cross has put together.
It’s September, National Preparedness Month, and we at SERVPRO of Van Nuys North are working to make sure that the homeowners are prepared for storms that may come their way. In our last blog we reviewed the importance of a home emergency plan and some practical steps for building such a plan for your family. In the event of a storm, you should also have an emergency kit. You can buy a kit off the shelf, but if you build one yourself, you can tailor it to your home’s and your family’s needs.
Before you decide what to include in your kit, you’ll want to decide what you will put your kit in. The container should at least be waterproof and sturdy enough to sustain some storm damage. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you could use a plastic bin from a grocery store. Or you could choose a duffle bag designed for emergency kits. They are usually a bright color, very sturdy, and will have lots of pockets.
Once you have the container, in your kit you should have a copy of the emergency plan that you have created. This should include emergency contact numbers and who your emergency contacts are. It should also include a few generic things like:
- Portable radio with extra batteries
- Flash light
- First Aid Kit
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape
- Non-perishable food
- Manual can-opener
- Bottled water
You might also add more personal items. You can add important documents, cash and banking information. Make sure these are in a waterproof bag. You could also add a change of clothes and sturdy shoes. Of course, you can add more but you want to think about the weight of your kit. It should be light enough to carry if you need to evacuate.
Equipment Spotlight: Moisture Meters and Water Damage Restoration
We have the technology to detect, measure and monitor the moisture levels in your property.
SERVPRO of Van Nuys North knows a water intrusion in your home is a stressful and traumatic event. In addition to the visible, standing water, there could be more water damage that you can’t see. The water could be behind walls, collecting in hidden pockets, or under floors. It is important to find, extract, and dry out all of the water before it causes more damage, such as weakened drywall or mold.
We use advanced technology equipment to detect, measure and monitor the structure and contents of a property.
- Moisture sensors can detect moisture in carpets and padding, and in the wood subfloor.
- Moisture Meters measure the moisture content of various materials. It has a probe end and a surface detector.
- Thermo-hygrometers or hygrometers measure the relative humidity and temperature of air masses. This is important during the monitoring process to check that materials are drying at the rate they are supposed to be drying.
As an IICRC Certified Firm, we are highly trained restoration specialists.
Prepping Your Home This Winter from Water Losses
Now is the time. You’ve heard it every year, prep your home, winter’s coming. No joke: the cold can do serious damage to your home. Follow these easy tips to avoid potential losses.
- Turn off exterior water faucets. Disconnect and drain hoses. If these are left on water can freeze in it and water will back up into your home, and worst-case scenario, bust all your pipes.
- Turn off sprinkler systems and drain pools according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Caulk around your windows and doors. This can prevent water driven rain from coming in around your openings. It will also reduce your electricity bills by retaining your heat during the colder months.
- Walk around your home looking for missing, damaged or loose shingles on your roof. Rain and snow will come into your home from these compromised areas, causing water damage that can lead to mold issues in your attic. Check your soffits as well and repair any potential critter holes you may find.
- Clean your gutters. Remove any branches or obstructions to your gutters and downspouts. Debris can cause your gutters to be unable to easily remove rain water and snow melt, causing water to leak into the eaves and into your home.
- Locate and test out your water main. Many haven’t been used in a while, if at all, and it may need a tool and some lube to be able to turn it off and on easily. A residential home experiencing a water pipe leak can release up to 210 gallons per minute. The size of a very large fish tank… per minute…. That is not the time you want to discover the valve on your water shut off won’t budge. Call our office for free water shut off tags.
- Wrap any pipes located next to an exterior wall with insulation. If not, consider leaving your faucet dripping in extreme temps to keep the pipe from freezing.
Check and replace appliance hoses on a regular basis as well as check the batteries and functionality of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
These simple steps will go a long way toward making your home cozy and safe this winter season. For any emergency situation SERVPRO is always here, on call, 24 hours a day , 7 days a week.