Recent Posts

Can my belongings be cleaned?

1/18/2020 (Permalink)

Fire damage doesn’t always mean your belongings are destroyed. In fact, SERVPRO can restore a lot of smoke damaged items. There are several factors that go into whether or not an item can be cleaned. Some of them are:

  1. Type of material burned. Synthetic materials tend to create a wetter residue that can cause staining, while natural materials (like wools) create a drier residue that is much easier to clean.
  2. Air pressure. Hot air expands and creates air pressure. That pressure can push soot and residue deep into cracks and crevices, effectively making it harder to clean.
  3. Temperature change. If residues contain hot oils that are cooled too fast can create a film on your surfaces that is hard to clean off.
  4. Amount of moisture. Moisture or water can actually make residues set and there is more of a chance of staining on your surfaces. Damp weather can actually cause this as well.

Types of Smoke Residue

1/13/2020 (Permalink)

Did you know there are different types of smoke residue? There are in fact four different types, and each type needs to be handled in different ways. 

  • Dry smoke residues
  • Wet smoke residues
  • Protein smoke residues
  • Fuel oil smoke residues

Some things that factor into what makes the residue dry or wet. 

  • The rate of combustion
  • The amount of oxygen present during the fire
  • The type of material or substance that is burning

So, what is the difference between wet smoke and dry smoke?

Fast-burning, oxygen rich fires tend to produce a dry smoke, while oxygen-starved, slow burning fires produce a wet smoke. Typically, natural materials that burn make a dry smoke and synthetic materials make a wet smoke. 

Materials are generally more restorable when involved in a dry smoke loss. It will not stain surfaces as deeply like a wet smoke will. The problem though is that a dry smoke comes with a hotter fire, meaning that there is probably more heat damage. 

Can this be cleaned?

1/13/2020 (Permalink)

Fire damage doesn’t always mean your belongings are destroyed. In fact, SERVPRO can restore a lot of smoke damaged items. There are several factors that go into whether or not an item can be cleaned. Some of them are:

  1. Type of surface. If a surface is nonporous, like vinyl or glossy paint, it will be much easier to clean compared to a more porous surface. A porous surface allows for odors and particles to get down deep.
  2. Amount of heat. As well as heat charring or melting materials, it can also cause materials to become more porous and make it harder to clean.
  3. Amount of moisture. The water used to put a fire out can actually cause residue to set and there is a greater chance of the material staining.
  4. Age of surface. The older the surface, the harder it is to clean. This is due to age deteriorating and item and making it porous and weaker.

CA Wildfires & Planned Power Outages

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

To help control the risk of wildfires in Northern California PG&E has planned power shutoffs when there are gusty winds and dry conditions.  If you have been notified that your home will be affected by a planned electric outage here are some steps you can take to reduce the impact of the outage.

  • Keep important phone numbers in a convenient location in case you need emergency or other assistance.
  • Have a back-up plan to maintain life-support equipment if you have it.
  • Keep a cell phone or hard-wired telephone on hand.
  • Keep a flashlight with extra batteries in a convenient place.
  • Turn off heat-producing appliances such as stoves, ovens, and irons prior to the outage.
  • Protect sensitive electronic equipment by unplugging them.
  • Make sure you can manually open your garage door if it is automated.
  • Make sure food stays cold by keeping your refrigerator doors closed.
  • Notify your alarm company as the equipment can be affected by outages.
  • Keep on hand perishable foods that don’t require cooking.
  • Inform PG&E if you have a generator.

It can be an inconvenience to be without power for days at a time but with proper planning you can ease some of the impact on you and your family.

Using Backup Generators

10/28/2019 (Permalink)

Choosing the Right Backup Generator - Business Owners

 Identify essential systems and equipment – What do you need to keep your business operating?

Some systems may only be needed during business hours, such as lights, computers, ventilation system, and other office equipment. Other systems and equipment may need to operate continuously such as alarm systems, refrigerators and freezers, sump pumps and sprinkler systems.

Choose the generator’s fuel source


Backup generators are typically powered by either diesel fuel or natural gas. Talk with your utility company or another informed consultant who knows what kind of generator may be needed based on the building’s specifications.

Choose the generator’s size

Generators must be sized to either handle the full electric load of the building, or with an automated or manual transfer switch to prevent the generator from overloading.

Determine any utility requirements or building codes

Before you purchase or rent a generator, ask your utility company and local building departments if they have regulations that govern the use of emergency power equipment. Generators should be installed by qualified technicians in accordance with all regulations and codes.

Emergency Plan in the Workplace

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

Do you have a plan in place in case of an emergency at your workplace?

In the initial minutes of an emergency the first actions taken are critical. Prompt warnings to others to evacuate, shelter or lockdown can save lives. Knowing what information to relay to emergency dispatchers will help get the right responders and equipment to you.

The first priority of an emergency is life safety. The second is to stabilize the incident. Many actions can be taken to stabilize the incident and minimize potential damage. First aid, use of fire extinguishers, containment of small chemical spills all can help in preventing further damages. Having employees trained in first aid and who can perform CPR can be lifesaving. Employees who have knowledge of the building and its process systems can help if there is a leak or electrical malfunction and can help minimize damage.

A risk assessment should be done to identify potential emergency scenarios. It will help to determine what resources are needed and to help develop plans and procedures to prepare your business. Developing an emergency plan protects employees, visitors, contractors and anyone else on the premises.  One part of the plan should include “protective actions for safety” which includes building evacuations, sheltering from severe weather such as tornadoes, and shelter in place from an exterior airborne hazard.

Some weather events are forecast hours ahead of their arrival, providing valuable time to protect your facility. An established plan and resources should be on hand to prepare the facility.  The plan should also include a process for damage assessment, salvage, protection of undamaged property and cleanup.

Prepare your home for Rain

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

The time to prepare your home for the rainy season is before the rains hit!

It’s not fun to discover a leaking roof or windows in the middle of a thunderstorm. Some problems are unforeseeable, but others can be avoided with a check up of your home.

 Roof

Inspect for loose or missing shingles.            Check that flashing is in good condition.        Make sure tree branches are trimmed away from the roof.                                                          If there are any concerns, it is a good idea to get a roofer out to inspect before the rains start.

 Gutters

Clean gutters of debris including the downspouts.  Make sure there is adequate drainage, so water does not build up around foundation.

 Windows

Check that all windows close securely.        Inspect caulking to ensure windows are properly sealed.

 Basement/Crawlspace

Look for any cracks that will allow water to get in. Use landscaping to direct water away from your home’s foundation.                                           A sump pump may be needed if you have frequent flooding.

 If water does get in your home, it needs to be addressed right away.

SERVPRO of Benicia/Martinez/Southeast Vallejo is here to help with all your drying needs.

Before Thunderstorms and Severe Weather

9/19/2019 (Permalink)

How To Prepare for Thunderstorms

When we think about storms most think of rain, hurricanes or windstorms. Not many think of thunderstorms. Here are some tips to prepare if a thunderstorm is on the horizon. 

  • Learn about your local community's emergency warning system for severe thunderstorms.
  • Discuss thunderstorm safety and lightning safety with all members of your household.
  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit. 
  • Pick a safe place for household members to gather during a thunderstorm. This should be away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds. 
  • Protect your animals by bringing them indoors.
  • Make a list of items to bring inside in the event of a severe thunderstorm. 
  • Consult your local fire department if you are considering installing lightning rods.
  • Get trained in first aid and learn how to respond to emergencies.
  • Make trees and shrubbery trimmed and remove damaged branches to keep them more wind resistant.  

Mold Personal Protective Equipment

9/19/2019 (Permalink)

Was your home flooded? If so, and you were not able to dry it within 24-48 hours, you should assume you may have mold growth. You need to dry everything, including furniture and other items completely, clean up any mold and make sure there isn't still a moisture problem.

You may see or smell mold on drywall, furniture, clothing or other items, but it may also be hidden under or behind things such as carpet, cushions, or walls. 

Before entering your home that you suspect may have mold, at minimum you need to protect yourself by using the foolowing personal protective equipment.

  • Goggles or eye protection
  • N-95 respirator or one with more protection
  • Long sleeved shirt & pants
  • Protective gloves
  • Waterproof boots

If you have a breathing problem like asthma, fo not enter a building with mold damage. Do not enter if you have a weakened immune system. Children should also not enter buildings with suspected mold damage. 

It is best to leave the clean up to the professionals. SERVPRO of Benicia/Martinez/Southeast Vallejo is here to help with all of your mitigation needs. Give us a call!

Emergency Ready Program

9/11/2019 (Permalink)

Most people have a plan in place at their home in case of an emergency, but what about your place of business? Do you know what to do in case of a water line breaking? Or perhaps there is a gas leak? If you are not there can you direct someone else to turn off the utilities?

SERVPRO of Benicia/Martinez/Southeast Vallejo is here to offer a free Emergency Ready Profile for your business.

Within our app you will have the following information along with photos:

  • Employee & Emergency Contacts
  • Utility contacts and shut off locations
  • Primary Contact Information
  • Insurance Carrier Information
  • Property Overview
  • Building Access Info

We find that an ERP also benefits SERVPRO because we become more familiar with your property and therefore, can respond faster, mitigating secondary damage.

If you are interested in learning more how we can help prepare your business in case of an emergency give us a call at 925-372-7234