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Flood Basics

6/12/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Flood Basics Floodwaters covering street in rural area.

Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere.

 WHAT: Flooding is an overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop.

 WHEN: Flooding can occur during any season, but some areas of the country are at greater risk at certain times of the year. Coastal areas are at greater risk for flooding during hurricane season (i.e., June to November), while the Midwest is more at risk in the spring and during heavy summer rains. Ice jams occur in the spring in the Northeast and Northwest. Even the deserts of the Southwest are at risk during the late summer monsoon season.

 WHERE: Flooding can happen in any U.S. state or territory. It is particularly important to be prepared for flooding if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as a river, stream, or culvert; along a coast; or downstream from a dam or levee.

HOW: Flooding can occur in several ways, including the following.

- Rivers and lakes cannot contain excessive rain or snowmelt.

- Excessive rain or snowmelt cannot be fully absorbed into the ground.

- Waterways are blocked with debris or ice and overflow.

- Water containment systems break, such as levees, dams, or water or sewer

systems.

- Strong winds from tropical storms or hurricanes cause a storm surge by pushing

seawater onto land.

The speed and duration of flooding can vary significantly.

- Flooding can occur slowly as rain continues to fall for many days. This type of flooding, sometimes called a slow-onset flood, can take a week to develop and can last for months before floodwaters recede.

- Rapid-onset floods occur more quickly, typically developing within hours or days. These types of floods usually occur in smaller watersheds experiencing heavy rainfall, particularly in mountainous and urban areas, and the water usually recedes within a few days.

- Some rapid-onset floods known as flash floods occur very quickly with little or no warning, such as during periods of extremely heavy rain or when levees, dams, ice jams, or water systems break. Densely populated areas are at a high risk for flash floods. In urban areas, flash floods can fill underpasses, viaducts, parking structures, low roads, and basements.

- The strong winds of a tropical cyclone or hurricane can push large amounts of seawater up onto the land, causing a storm surge. A storm surge combines with the ocean’s tide to produce a storm-tide surge. Storm-tide surges have been registered as high as almost 35 feet above normal sea level and can cause significant flooding across a large area. This generally occurs over a short period, typically, 4 to 8 hours, but in some areas, it can take much longer for the water to recede to its pre-storm level.

IMPACT: The physical destruction caused by flooding depends on the speed and level of the water, the duration of the flood, terrain and soil conditions, and the built environment (e.g., buildings, roads, and bridges).

 - Flooding can cause fatalities and serious injuries for people who are trapped or swept away by wading in, driving through, or boating across floodwaters.

- Transportation routes, power, water, gas, and other services may be disrupted.

- Commercial supplies and government support systems may be temporarily unavailable.

- Drinking water supplies and wells may become polluted.

- Floodwaters can cause erosion, which can damage roads, bridge structures, levees, and buildings with weak foundations, causing their collapse without warning. The floodwaters may carry the worn-away mud, rocks, and other sediment.

- Landslides and mudslides can occur.

- Even a few inches of floodwater in a home can cause tens of thousands of dollarsin damage.

Volcanoes

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Volcanoes Volcano Eruption

  • A volcano is an opening in the Earth’s crust that allows molten rock, gases, and debris to escape to the surface. Alaska, Hawaii, California, and Oregon have the most active volcanoes, but other states and territories have active volcanoes, too. A volcanic eruption may involve lava and other debris that can flow up to 100 mph, destroying everything in their path. Volcanic ash can travel 100s of miles and cause severe health problems. A volcanic eruption can:
  • Contaminate water supplies.
  • Damage machinery.
  • Reduce visibility through smog and harmful gases that may threaten low-lying areas.
  • Make it hard to breathe and irritate the skin, eyes, nose, and throat.

IF YOU ARE UNDER A VOLCANO WARNING:

  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • Follow evacuation or shelter orders. If advised to evacuate, then do so early.
  • Avoid areas downstream of the eruption.
  • Protect yourself from falling ash.
  • Do not drive in heavy ash fall.

 HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A VOLCANO THREATENS:

 WHAT TO DO NOW: Prepare

  • Know your area’s risk from volcanic eruption.
  • Ask local emergency management for evacuation and shelter plans, and for potential means of protection from ash.
  • Learn about community warning systems. The Volcano Notification Service (VNS) is a free service that sends notifications about volcanic activity. Sign up for alerts at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/.
  • Get necessary supplies in advance in case you have to evacuate immediately, or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Do not forget the needs of pets.
  • Consult your doctor if you have existing respiratory difficulties.
  • Practice a communication and evacuation plan with everyone in your family.
  • Have a shelter-in-place plan if your biggest risk is from ash.
  • Keep important documents in a safe place. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Find out what your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover when a volcano erupts.

WHAT TO DO DURING: Survive

  • Listen to alerts. The Volcano Notification Service provides up-to-date information about eruptions.
  • Follow evacuation orders from local authorities. Evacuate early.
  • Avoid areas downwind, and river valleys downstream, of the volcano. Rubble and ash will be carried by wind and gravity.
  • Take temporary shelter from volcanic ash where you are if you have enough supplies. Cover ventilation openings and seal doors and windows.
  • If outside, protect yourself from falling ash that can irritate skin and injure breathing passages, eyes, and open wounds. Use a well-fitting, certified facemask such as an N95. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of certified masks and the maker’s instructions on how to use the masks.
  • Avoid driving in heavy ash fall. If you must drive, then turn off your vehicle’s headlights.

WHAT TO DO AFTER: Be Safe

  • Listen to authorities to find out when it is safe to return after an eruption.
  • Send text messages or use social media to reach out to family and friends. Phone systems are often busy after a disaster. Only make emergency calls.
  • Avoid driving in heavy ash. Driving will stir up volcanic ash that can clog engines and stall vehicles.
  • If you have any breathing problems, avoid contact with ash. Stay indoors until authorities say it is safe to go outside.
  • Do not get on your roof to remove ash unless you have guidance or training. If you have to remove ash, then be very careful as ash makes surfaces slippery. Be careful not to contribute additional weight to an overloaded roof.

Hurricane Basics

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Hurricane Basics Hurricane Before Landfall

What

Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world.

Where

Each year, many parts of the United States experience heavy rains, strong winds, floods, and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes. Affected areas include all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas and areas over 100 miles inland, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. territories in the Pacific. A significant per cent of fatalities occur outside of landfall counties with causes due to inland flooding.

When

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.

Basic Preparedness Tips

Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.

Put together a go-bag: disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate

If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.

Make a family emergency communication plan.

Many communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your area, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”

Preparing Your Home

Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.

Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.

Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.

Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.

Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.

Pressure Washing

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Pressure Washing Make your deck look new again.

Commercial Properties:

We offer our commercial property owners comprehensive power washing solutions. No two businesses are alike. That’s why we provide the tailored commercial services that will fulfill your needs. Shopping malls, banks, restaurants and convenience stores typically require unique services at different times. We take pride in offering flexible service plans and scheduling to accommodate your needs.
Let us keep your business looking picture perfect. We always ensure that our work is implemented at a time that will minimize interference with your business operations. What’s more, our team will always come to your property with the specialized commercial services equipment needed to complete the task and provide professional results.

Call SERVPRO of Benicia/Martinez/Southeast Vallejo to schedule an appointment for us to take a look at your property and see what other services we can provide.

Mold Basics

4/24/2018 (Permalink)

Molds are part of the natural environment. Molds are fungi that can be found anywhere - inside or outside - throughout the year. 

Outdoors, molds play an important role in nature by breaking down organic matter such as toppled trees, fallen leaves, and dead animals. We would not have food and medicines, like cheese and penicillin, without mold. 

Indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Problems arise when mold starts eating away at materials, affecting the look, smell, and possibly, with the respect to wood-framed buildings, affecting the structural integrity of the buildings.

Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture or water, oxygen, and an organic source are present. Molds reproduce by creating tiny spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores continually float through the indoor and outdoor air. 

Molds are usually not a problem unless mold spores land on a damp spot and begin growing. They digest whatever they land on in order to survive. There are molds that grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and insulation, while other molds feast on the everyday dust and dirt that gather in the moist regions of a building.

When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth often will occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains uncorrected. While it is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can control indoor mold growth. 

If you experience mold growth in your home or office SERVPRO is here to help. 

SERVPRO of Benicia/Maritnez/Se Vallejo                (925)372-7234

Campfire Safety

4/24/2018 (Permalink)

Campfire accidents send thousands of people to emergency rooms with burn injuries every year.

Safety Around The Fire

  • Before setting up a campfire, be sure it is permitted.
  • Keep campfires at least 25 feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Clear away dry leaves and sticks.
  • Avoid burning on windy days.
  • Watch children while fire is burning. 
  • Attend to the campfire at all times.
  • Keep a campfire small which is easier to control.
  • Never use gas or other flammable or combustible liquids.
  • Always have a hose, bucket of water, or shovel nearby to put out the fire.
  • If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll.
  • Treat burns right away. Cool the burn with cool water for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with clean, dry cloth. get medical help if needed. 

Water Damage Safety Tips for Homeowners

2/16/2018 (Permalink)

Here are some precautions to take if you discover a water loss in your home until help arrives. 

  • Shut off water if possible
  • Block any furniture to prevent further damage
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting. Do NOT use your vacuum to remove water 
  • Wipe excess water form belongings.
  • Remove belongs and area rugs from the wet floor
  • DO NOT use electrical devices, keep away from light switches and sockets if water is leaking it easily can be within the electrical circuit.
  • Open doors and windows. 
  • If safe, use hvac system to aid in air flow
  • Call your local water damage specialist

SERVPRO of Benicia/Martinez/Southeast Vallejo is here to help. Give us a call at 925-372-7234

Preventing Water Losses in the Bathroom

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

Water loss occurs often in bathrooms. Here are some loss prevention and maintenance tips to help you avoid experiencing water damage. 

Sinks

  • Inspect plumbing beneath sinks every 6 months.
  • Looks for kinks in pipes. These can lead to leaks over time.
  • Locate water shut-off valve and inspect every 6 months to make sure it is working.

Toilets

  • Inspect the supply line every 6 months.
  • Ensure the connection to the valve is secure.
  • Operate the valve to make sure the water supply will shut off. 
  • Inspect the flushing mechanism inside the toilet. Replace assembly if you notice intermittent or constant tank refilling.

Shower Stalls

  • Inspect tile and grout, paying attention to loose or cracked tiles. Replace as needed.
  • Test shower pan to ensure it is holding water and not leaking out. 

If you do experience a water loss give us a call.  We can be reached at 925-372-7234          SERVPRO of Benicia/Martinez/Southeast Vallejo has professionals on call 24 hrs. to assist you!

Hotel & Motel Safety

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Vacations and business travel make hotels and motels our home away from home. It is just as important to be prepared and know what you would do in a hotel/motel emergency as it is in your own home.

Be Safe When Traveling!

  • Choose a hotel/motel that is protected by both smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system.
  • When you check in, ask the front desk what the fire alarm sounds like.
  • When you enter your room, review the escape plan posted in your room.
  • Take the time to find the exits and count the number of doors between your room and the exit.
  • Keep your room key by your bed and take it with you if there is a fire. 
  • If the alarm sounds, leave right away, closing all doors behind you. Use the stairs-never use elevators during a fire.
  • If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit.

Thanksgiving Safety

11/6/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Thanksgiving Safety Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetable, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don't trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child. 
  • Keep matches and utility lighter out of reach of the children.
  • Never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle. 
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button. 
  • Have activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Kids can get involved in Thanksgiving preparations with recipes that can be done outside the kitchen.