The Importance of Cleaning Ash from California Wildfires
Ash inside your home
Wildfires can leave caustic ash, risk the health of the community and cause environmental concerns
Los Angeles Times wrote:
"Ash from wildfires in Southern California's residential neighborhoods poses a serious threat to people and ecosystems because it is extremely caustic and contains high levels of arsenic, lead, and other toxic metals, according to a study by the federal geologist. Some Ash collected in residential areas after the fires registered a pH of 12.7, a level more caustic than ammonia and nearly as caustic as lye."
How do I clean ash from my home?
Wash indoor surfaces with water. If a surface film is visible, wash with soap and water.
Wash cooking utensils with detergent and hot water or run them through the dishwasher.
Wash soft furnishings (upholstered furniture, curtains, carpets/rugs, cushions, and bedding) or vacuum using a vacuum with a HEPA filter, so particles don't blow back into your house.
Have heating, ventilating and air-conditioning units, and all ductwork professionally cleaned and replace filters, to remove soot, ash, and smoke residue.
You can always call us to come and inspect.
California On Fire
California fire season is in full swing and sweeping across Northern California. If you have been affected by these recent fires or want to help those that have, here are some resources to get you started.
Donate to The Salvation Army’s wildfire relief fund at https://deloro.salvationarmy.org/del_oro/northern-california-wildfires
The Red Cross assists fire evacuees. They can also use donations; you can give online, www.redcross.org/donate/donation, call 800-RED-CROSS or text Red Cross to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Give to a California food bank that’s helping victims, but make sure they still need donations. Here’s a list: www.cafoodbanks.org/find-food-bank
For information on fires currently burning go to Cal Fire's incident page. You can find details about specific fires including location, acreage burned and evacuation orders and centers.
Stay clear of evacuation routes as much as possible if you are not under evacuation orders. Donors should not approach evacuation areas.
Do not call 911 for general information. Call only for an emergency including unattended, active flames and life-threatening emergencies. Please keep these lines open for emergency responders.
If people who have been affected by the fires need mental health help they should call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration's Disaster Distress Helpline, which provides confidential counseling for people impacted by forest fires and other disasters.
If you know someone directly in need of clothing, food, or other material supplies, providing help directly is the most effective form of relief.
Protecting The Elderly From Mold In Their Homes
Mold in an elderly ladies condo
Senior citizens often fall victim to major mold problems that almost completely take over before they realize there is an issue, which can be incredibly dangerous.
There are normally a lot of signs of a mold problem in a house that can tell you there is something wrong.
-You notice mold collecting along the baseboards -You notice an odd odor -You recognize signs of breathing problems
However, seniors may not know that any of the above signs are those of mold issues, which means most will disregard signs that you would be aware of right away.
Most elderly homeowners don't often do the deep cleaning that the younger generations do.
If you think about your homes major cleaning tasks you perform on a regular basis, it's easy to see why it would be hard for mold to be present without you catching on. Most people do things like clean behind your appliances, wash the trim and molding around the walls, and clean the vents of your HVAC system on a semi-regular basis. Older homeowners tend to forget a lot of these tasks simply because they don't have the energy or mobility to do so, which goes back to my original point that mold growing in some areas may never get noticed. Because of this, it is important that you keep an eye out in the homes of your senior loved ones.
What Exactly Is A Storm
Definition of A Storm
Definition of a Storm
- a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow.
synonyms: windstorm, tempest, whirlwind, gale, strong wind, high wind, squall; More
- a tumultuous reaction; an uproar or controversy.
"the book caused a storm in South America"
synonyms: uproar, outcry, fuss, furor, brouhaha, rumpus, trouble, hue and cry, controversy; More
- move angrily or forcefully in a specified direction.
"she burst into tears and stormed off"
synonyms: stride angrily, stomp, march, stalk, flounce, stamp
"she stormed out"
- (of troops) suddenly attack and capture (a building or other place) by means of force.
"Indian commandos stormed a hijacked plane early today"
synonyms: attack, charge, rush, assail, descend on, swoop on
"police stormed the building"
When the LAFD Says to Evacuate
LAFD Instructions When Evacuation is Ordered
If you're told to evacuate, leave early enough to avoid being caught in a fire, smoke, or road congestion. Don’t wait to be told by authorities to leave. In an intense wildfire, they may not have time to knock on every door. If you think it's time to leave, don't wait - get out.
- Keep a pair of old shoes and a flashlight handy for a night evacuation.
- Keep the six “P’s” ready, in case an immediate evacuation is required:
- People and pets
- Papers, phone numbers, and important documents
- Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
- Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
- Personal computers (information on hard drive and disks)
- “Plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash
If you see smoke or fire in your area, immediately report it by dialing 9-1-1. Remember to take note of the location so that the dispatcher can send emergency equipment to the correct location before you hang up.
Evacuation May Be Necessary
- Back your car in the garage heading out with windows closed. Be sure to keep your keys with you so that you can evacuate quickly should it become necessary.
- Close the garage door, leave it unlocked, and disconnect automatic door opener in the case of power failure.
- Keep a flashlight and portable radio with you at all times and stay tuned to your local news station.
- Move combustible yard furniture away from the house or store it in the garage.
- Cover windows, attic openings, eaves, and vents with a less combustible material, such as 1/2-inch or thicker plywood.
- Close window shutters and blinds if they are fire-resistant.
- Attach garden hoses to faucets and place them so that they can reach all areas of your house.
- Place a ladder against the house on the opposite side of the approaching fire for access to the roof.
- Shut off Butane/propane or natural gas valves.
- Close all windows and doors around your home to prevent sparks from blowing inside.
- Close all doors within the house to slow fire spread inside the house.
- Turn on the lights in all rooms of your house, on the porch, and in the yard. Your home will be more visible through the smoke or darkness.
- Move furniture away from windows and sliding glass doors to avoid ignition from the radiant heat of the fire.
How Sprinklers Can Help Your Property During a Fire
Indoor Sprinkler Head
A fire can be devastating for any business or homeowner. Fire Damage often includes much more than what gets consumed by the flames. Smoke and soot can stain paintwork, papers, clothing, upholstery, and carpets. The water used by the fire department also can cause further damage and opens up the possibility for mold growth if not remediated quickly.
You can help protect your assets by installing a sprinkler system. The California State Building Standards Commission has adopted provisions of the International Residential Codes, making it a requirement to include a sprinkler system in all new build one and two family homes since January 2011.
Sprinkler systems have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of injury to people and damage to property. Because they operate automatically, sprinklers can start to wet down a fire long before the fire department is on the scene. The sprinklers work when buildings are unoccupied. While smoke detectors give a warning of fire to the occupants of a building, they do nothing to actually combat the problem and all too often battery operated smoke detectors are found to be not working properly. Some insurers offer discounts for homes protected with a sprinkler system as they know the likelihood of a large fire claim is reduced.
After any fire affecting your property, it is wise to call SERVPRO of Malibu/Topanga Canyon/Pacific Palisades to help assess the extent of the damage and to ensure that any insurance claim is fully calculated to include all the incidentals that may otherwise be missed. In addition, using the correct methods and specialist cleaning techniques, we can bring many items back to a usable and safe condition. With a sprinkler system installed, the fire damage in your property will be much less than without one.
Coming Home to a Pool in your Living Room
Water Damage Not a Pool.
The Claussen family returned home from a 3-day trip to find standing water in their residence. Wood floors were affected and house had mildew odors present.
Our SERVPRO technicians arrived within the hour and began performing emergency services. The technicians moved the clients' contents and extracted from the water in the home. Plastic barriers were placed to promote quick and efficient drying and two zones were created. Air movers and dehumidifiers were used for 3 days for drying the structure and flooring. SERVPRO provided monitoring of the drying progress with an infrared moisture detection camera.
Due to our fast response, the flooring had limited damage and was able to save 60% of it. Customers were allowed to stay at their home during drying the process while barriers were used to separate the working and drying areas. Limited wall and baseboard damage due to quick response.
We are always here to help!
Call us 24/7
Water damage from the unit above
Condominium and Townhome owners really need to protect themselves when it comes to water damage. The typical fighting over who’s to blame, who’s going to pay and if the HOA is responsible.
When you are the unit below the leak, you end up with the most of the damage. We see the owners of the unit that received most of the damage hesitant to file their own water damage claims with their insurance company. They don’t want their rates going up when clearly it was not their fault. Ask questions to your agent so you are prepared if this happens to you.
We have seen it go both ways, the insurer covering the damage to the units below and others not covering the units below.
Leave that fight for your insurance carrier as they will figure out if subrogation is possible. The longer you wait, the more damage is being done.
Signs That You Have A Slab Leak.
It is important for homeowners to know both what causes slab leaks and how to identify one.
What is a Slab Leak?
A slab leak is a leak that has developed in copper water lines running below the concrete foundation of your home.
Since slab leaks are often not clearly visible to homeowners, they tend to go undetected for long periods of time. Leaving a potential slab leak unattended can lead to much larger problems, such as mold damage.
What Causes a Slab Leak?
- Pre-Damage and Poor Installation
- Ground/Foundation Shifts
Signs You Have a Slab Leak
- Sudden spikes in your water bill
- A sound of running water when pipes aren’t in use
- Moisture or mildew under carpeting
- A moving water meter dial when pipes aren’t in use
- Standing water around the perimeter of your house
- Unusually low water pressure
- Cracks in your baseboard or walls
- Damp or warm floors
- Mold or mildew smell
If you have wet carpet, buckling wood floors or unexplained pools of water call us.
Mold and Smells in Front-Load Washers
Front Load Washing Machine
We get a few calls a month with questions regarding mold in front loading washing machines. It is very easy to treat and you can save yourself money from hiring a company.
Step 1: Clean the seal
The seal catches, pet hair, lint, coins, paperclips and all kinds of pocket stuffers. If you don't clean the seal, those trappings can mold or make its way down to the trap. Swipe your hand around the seal and remove any debris. Then, wipe it down with a damp cloth.
Step 2: Clean the trap/filter
When items don't get caught in the washer door seal they end up inside the washer trap or filter. These items will deteriorate and form mildew until you remove them or the washer stops draining. Here is how you can clean your own trap:
- Unplug your washer.
- On the front or back of the washer, there should be a little door.
- Place a small bowl by the little door to catch drips.
- Pry open the door using a flathead screwdriver or a coin.
- There will be a black tube inside the door. Gently pull the top end of the hose out and pull off the plastic cap.
- Drain the hose in the bowl.
- Place a towel in front of the door.
- Next to the black hose will be the trap cap or filter cap. Twist it to the left and pull it forward.
- Clean out the trap and replace the trap and hose.
- Close the little door and you're done.
Step 3: Run the self-clean cycle with bleach Add one cup of bleach to the detergent cup before you start the cycle. This is our number one tip for getting rid of the nasty smells.
Step 4: Air It Out:
If possible, leave the door of your washing machine cracked open to allow it to dry thoroughly between cycles. Please note: you shouldn’t do this if you have children or pets who could be tempted to climb (and possibly become trapped) inside the machine.