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TOP 4 TIPS FOR SAFE BARBECUING THIS SUMMER

5/7/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage TOP 4 TIPS FOR SAFE BARBECUING THIS SUMMER Beware of fire hazards when barbecuing this summer.

If you plan to enjoy barbecuing this summer, it’s important to be mindful of potential fire hazards which can lead to irreversible fire damage and lingering smoke damage in your Long Beach residence. Follow these simple fire safety guidelines to prevent a fire from occurring near your home this summer. 

  1. Keep the grill outside, and avoid using your grill in garages, covered decks, screened in patios, or any area where there is a roof located above. They should also be kept at a safe distance from the house to prevent flare ups from reaching the exterior of your home.
  2. Keep your eye on the barbecue. If you abandon your grill, it can be knocked over or flare up, causing the surrounding area to catch fire. Make sure the grill is always supervised whenever it’s in use to avoid unnecessary fire damage.
  3. Regularly clean it. If you are pulling your grill out of storage, it’s important to clean off any sticky grease or hardened fat since they can cause an unexpected flare up. These pieces can easily be scraped off using a proper grill cleaner.
  4. Inspect it closely. If you are using a propane or gas grill, it’s important to inspect it before using it. Look for any signs of holes and potential problems in the hose. This could signal that there’s a leak. A gas leak next to a flame can cause serious problems and start a fire. 

Make sure to follow these guidelines every time you fire up your grill to ensure the safety of your home and loved ones. If you experience fire damage, smoke damage, or require board up and tarping services this summer, SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach / Lakewood is available to take your call anytime, day or night at 562-420-0030.

IMPORTANT STORM SAFETY TIPS

4/20/2019 (Permalink)

Where were you the last time you encountered a heavy storm? The key to storm and lightning safety is to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you see a storm approaching on the horizon, remain indoors in case of a lightning strike. Lightning will follow the available paths to ground, including the electrical wiring, plumbing, or telephone lines. Try to avoid structures like bus shelters, outhouses, or any small non-metal structure that do not provide any lightning protection.

The fact that houses and buildings have an abundance of grounding paths makes them generally safe lightning shelters, but to ensure maximum safety during a storm:

  • Don't use any wired appliance or device. Wireless appliances are safe to use.
  • Stay away from water pipes and faucets. (No baths, showers, etc.)
  • Don't stand on a basement floor or patio slab, or anywhere where standing water or excessive moisture is present. These areas are 'ground current' danger zones.
  • Stay away from walls where electrical wiring is present.

If you find yourself on the road during a storm, you are safest in an enclosed, metal vehicle. The car should ideally have a hard top with its windows rolled up. If your car is struck by lightning, the current will flow through the metal body of the vehicle to the ground.

Keep the following safety tips in mind if you’re driving through a storm:

  • If there is no shelter around and you must stay on the road, pull over, turn off your engine, and turn on your hazard lights while you wait out the storm.
  • Do not touch anything metal inside of your car. This includes the radio, cell phone chargers, mobile GPS devices, door handles, and the steering wheel.
  • If you’re on a motorcycle or a bicycle, do not seek shelter underneath trees. While trees may provide cover from the rain, this will greatly increase your risk of being struck by lightning.

If you experience property loss due to a storm, SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach / Lakewood is here to help with restoration and repair. We can clear debris, help reverse water damage, and get you back on your feet. Don’t be caught off guard; call us any day, morning or night.

CAUSES OF SEWAGE BACKUP IN YOUR BUSINESS

4/9/2019 (Permalink)

Sewage is a form of black water, floodwater that contains contaminants and viruses that pose serious risks of illness. It is important to fix the sewage backup quickly and prevent it from happening in the future by remaining aware of the causes of sewage backup in your business.

Causes of Sewage Backup

  • Clogs – Sewage can emerge in your business when either your drain pipes or main sewer line become clogged. If one toilet creates a sewage backup, start by examining the drain connected to that toilet for clogs. If all toilets in your business create back-flows, then there may be a clog in the main sewer line.
  • Tree Roots – Trees can grow really long roots that intertwine with your sewer line. Roots can grow into a pipe and cause holes or crush the sewer line by growing around it. 
  • Damaged Sewer Lines– Old pipes are often made of cast iron or clay piping instead of plastic, resulting in faster deterioration. These older sewage systems can break down and crack, causing sewage backups and flooded rooms.
  • Heavy Rainfall – A large amount of rain can overburden your city’s sewer lines. If the public sewer can’t handle excess rainfall, the water can make its way into connected sewer lines, putting your business at risk of water damage.

Preventing Sewage Backups

  • Don’t pour grease down the drain. Cooking oil can harden within your pipes which stops debris from draining, resulting in a clog. To properly dispose of grease or fat, pour it into a heat-resistant container and throw it in the trash after it cools off.
  • Dispose of paper products properly. Flushing hygiene products such as paper towels, diapers, or feminine products down the toilet can easily clog your sewer line. Save yourself a headache and discard paper products in the trash.
  • Install a new plastic pipe or cut tree roots.To prevent tree roots from damaging your sewer line,replace it with a new plastic pipe. If tree roots still grow in your sewer, cut the roots occasionally.
  • Install a backwater prevention valve. This fixture allows sewage to leave but prevents it from backing up into your business. 

If sewage backup occurs in your business, call SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach / Lakewood right away to remediate the black water damage. Handling the contaminated water by yourself can put you at risk of contracting diseases. We will take care of the water damage repair and have your business functioning again.

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS - NEED TO KNOW FACTS

4/8/2019 (Permalink)

Whether you are a home owner or renter, knowing the basic tenants of fire safety can mean the difference between minor damage or total loss. Having a fire extinguisher on the premises and knowing how to access it can keep you and your loved ones safe. Here we will review the different types of fire extinguishers and how to use one in the event of an emergency.

Fire Extinguisher Classifications

Household fire extinguishers are labeled with a specific class to fight a specific type of fire. Since using the wrong extinguisher could make the situation worse, consider one that is rated for multiple classes.

Class A: For trash, wood, and/or paper fires.
Class B: For liquids and/or grease fires.
Class C: For electrical fires.
Class D: For flammable metals (usually only needed in labs or industrial plants).
Class K: Specifically for kitchen fires when grease and oil are involved.

Fire Extinguisher Effectiveness and Size

When choosing an extinguisher, determine its effectiveness by considering the numbers on the label. Every number before the A means it is as effective as 1.25 gallons of water. For example, 2A means the fire extinguisher is as effective as 2.5 gallons of water. The numbers before B and C are a measure of the amount of square feet the fire extinguisher can put out. For example, a 20: BC fire extinguisher can extinguish a fire over 20 square feet.

Keep in mind that the extinguisher size also varies based on the weight. Typically, there are 4, 5, 10, and 20-pound extinguishers. Bigger isn’t always better; it depends how much you can physically hold and the size of your residence.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

A good way to remember what to do in a moment of panic is the acronym P.A.S.S.

Step 1: Pull the pin.
Step 2: Aim the extinguisher at the fire low with the nozzle at the base of the fire.
Step 3: Squeeze the handle to begin extinguishing the fire.
Step 4: Sweep the extinguisher side to side at the fire’s base until it’s out.

With these helpful tips, we hope that you remain prepared in the event of a fire. Don’t hesitate to call 9-11 if the fire spreads or if you are in need of assistance. We are here to help during the aftermath to repair damage caused by smoke, soot, and fire; call us 24/7 for all your restoration needs.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTAINMENT

4/8/2019 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach/Lakewood, building a containment is a critical part of our restoration, remediation, and abatement projects. These barriers, often made with poly-sheeting held in place by tape, are used for a range of jobs. This may include the abatement of mold, lead, and asbestos, the clean-up of damage caused by fire, smoke, or water, or to keep contaminants and even crime scenes contained. Containment systems are also useful in reconstruction projects, particularly where stone or wood cutting occurs and particles such as sawdust are released into the air. 

Building an airtight containment is paramount to protecting interiors during restoration projects and minimizing the risk of contact with hazardous materials during abatement. Containments serve to:

  • Prevent potentially hazardous substances such as mold spores, asbestos, lead-based paint, and silica dust from spreading throughout the entire structure. These substances are very small and can easily hitch a ride on normal air currents found in most buildings.
  • Address concerns for health and safety, especially where airborne hazardous materials are present. If not contained properly, these materials can cause health complications and affect the well-being of nearby tenants, workers, and others in the surrounding area.
  • Function as a barrier to keep dust and other particles confined within a work space, prevent further property damage, and make clean-up easier. Without proper containment, the cost of the loss can increase dramatically.

Containing the site remains not only a priority, but a necessity. A safer work site benefits all parties, and mold testing is more likely to pass the first time, reducing the cost of re-cleaning and re-testing. When you call SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach/Lakewood, you can rely on us to construct a proper containment and restore your home or business back to new.

REMAINING SAFE DURING FLOODS AND SEVERE WEATHER

4/8/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know a flood can occur in any one of the 50 United States? Even California is susceptible to flooding, in addition to harsh winds and mudslides. Therefore, it is important to be prepared for these emergency situations. Here we outline important ways to prepare for flooding and encourage you to think about your plan for harsh weather conditions.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, follow these tips to stay safe during a flood:

  • Seek higher grounds and avoid all areas that are at a higher risk of flooding
  • If your home starts flooding, go to your top floor of your home, attic, or roof
  • Don’t try walking across flooded streams or flooded roadways
  • Turn off your main power and close your main gas valve
  • Turn on and listen to a battery-powered radio for updated storm and flood information
  • If you’ve touched floodwaters, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
  • It’s important that you have an emergency supply kit in your home and vehicle in case of an emergency. You should also ensure you have you and your family’s medication pre-loaded with your emergency supply kit.

If your home is affected by flood water, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Clear any debris from your gutters and/or downspouts
  • Maintain your sump pump and install a battery backup in the case of a power outage
  • Anchor fuel tanks
  • Move valuables to a safe place
  • Keep electrical components and appliances at least 12 inches above your house’s floor elevation

When driving through a storm, keep in mind most commuter vehicles were not designed to drive through flood water. Doing so can prevent airflow to your vehicle and lock up the engine, placing you in an even worse situation. Not only is it dangerous for you and your vehicle, but other people on the road as well.

Hopefully, with the helpful tips above, you can better prepare yourself and your home for severe weather. Even with proper planning, however, situations can go awry. SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach/Lakewood is here to help with damage caused by a storm or flooding. We're available day or night, 24/7.

DISASTER RECOVERY: NEED TO KNOW FACTS FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS

3/20/2019 (Permalink)

Natural disasters have an enormous impact on small businesses, especially start-ups and cash-only businesses. The livelihood of both the owner and employees are jeopardized, and a plan must be in place to protect all parties involved. The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that 40% of small businesses fail to re-open after a natural disaster. With preparation, you can greatly increase the chance of your business recovering.

An emergency plan should be formed when the business is formed. Insurance becomes a key component of this plan, requiring careful consideration of all assets and deciding on the best insurance policy. For example, will natural disaster or looting insurance be included or added on later? Use the following steps as a guide to develop a post-disaster plan to keep your business running after an emergency.

  • Follow up with employees: Address their concerns, and note if they are able to find temporary work or aid in the recovery process.
  • Develop a communication strategy: Delegate someone trusted to communicate with disaster relief services, suppliers, and financial institutions
  • Keep your data safe: Have a back-up of your business' files in multiple locations. Consider cloud based services since the data is stored remotely and can be accessed from multiple devices.
  • Seek a restoration expert: Restoration companies such as ours will come to your aid to listen to your concerns, minimize loss, fix damages, and find the best value out of your insurance coverage.
  • File an insurance claim: Examine policy and make sure there are no gaps. Also ask the questions, "Are additional damages covered? What are my deductibles?"
  • Disaster loan assistance: There are various government agencies and organizations that can help your business recover. Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website to learn about their Disaster Loan Program to help fix property and restock supplies.

Preparation is vital to recovering from any disaster; no one is immune. With the right plan, your chance of re-opening will increase significantly. SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach / Lakewood is ready to answer your call and restore your small business back to new.

WATER DAMAGE FROM A DISHWASHER

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

Have you experienced water damage from a malfunctioning dishwasher? Identifying the source of the problem can become a challenging task. Here we will list common causes for a dishwasher leak, discuss how quickly water damage can occur, explore if it's covered by insurance, and what can be done to fix the problem.

Common causes for a dishwasher leak include the following:

  • Worn gaskets
  • An dishwasher incorrectly leveled
  • Incorrect dish washing soap
  • Broken door
  • Defective dishwasher tub

How long does it take for damage to occur?

Water leaking from a dishwasher can cause damage within a few hours. Any visible pools of water should be mopped quickly; if it remains on the floor for too long, it can cause permanent damage. Some flooring materials are more susceptible to water damage such as wood or bamboo. For instance, wood will absorb water quickly, causing your flooring to warp and crack.

Is the damage covered by insurance?

Depending on your insurance policy, the damage might be covered. If the dishwasher is new, has shown no previous signs of wear and tear, and you report the damage in a timely manner, your insurer may cover the repair cost. If your dishwasher is old, shows signs of neglect, and has caused you problems in the past, your insurer will likely rule that the water damage is due to negligence on your part and not cover the damages. In addition, we encourage you to view your dishwasher’s warranty to figure out if you can receive a replacement washer free of charge.

Repairing the resulting water damage

Once you notice a malfunction with your dishwasher, make sure to turn it off right away. Call SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach / Signal Hill, and we can assist with pulling the unit out from under the counter to reach any water that has pooled beneath the machine. Additionally, we can identify the cause of the leak, test for moisture, and schedule any necessary repairs. Let us know how we can help, day or night, at 562-591-1788.

CRAWL SPACE WATER DAMAGE

3/11/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage is incredibly invasive and often reaches a home's crawl space. This is the hollow area found under some houses between the ground and the first floor, roughly one to three feet high. Because it's rare for tenants to access this area, water damage can cause significant damage before the consequences become evident. Here are some common causes for water damage within a crawl space.

Excess Humidity

One possible source of water damage within a crawl space involves excess humidity. Homes with broken window seals or an unsealed crawlspace with a dirt floor will generally have humidity problems. Water can evaporate and become trapped in the crawlspace, resulting in a thin sheet of water. This may then lead to water damage, mold growth, or poor air quality.

Leaky or Broken Pipes

If a puddle of water is found in a crawlspace, a leaky or burst pipe may be the cause. This water could be either clean or contaminated, depending on which pipe it escaped from. A musty smell usually indicates clean water that has been sitting for some time whereas a foul stench may indicate sewage water.

Roof Leak

For homes that have crawl spaces directly attached to the roof, water damage will usually be evident on the ceiling and walls of the crawl space. You may even hear water moving from inside the attic to an inside wall, leading to the crawl space. We recommend calling a professional roofer to locate and patch the leak before addressing crawl space water damage.

What Should be Done if Water Damage is Found in My Crawl Space?

Since a wet foundation, damaged drywall, or sewage leaks can cause serious damage to your home in the first 24-48 hours, we recommend calling us for immediate restoration services. We will identify the source of the damage, use professional equipment to treat the area, and properly handle sewage water or standing water that has bred bacteria. Let us help you determine which materials can be salvaged, and we will repair the affected flooring and drywall. 

Call SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach / Lakewood 24/7 at 562-420-0030 if you experience water damage within your crawl space.

STORING PROPANE TANKS SAFELY

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

As a clean and natural energy source, propane is an easy to use and affordable product to warm homes, provide heating, and allow barbeque and cooking. It comes in both gas and liquid forms and is also highly flammable. When misused, propane poses a strong fire hazard. Following these 3 tips to store propane tanks properly will keep your home safe and reduce the chance of fire damage.

First, always store propane tanks upright and outdoors on a hard surface. Should it catch on fire, the potential for loss is much less severe. The hard surface can help prevent the container from accidentally tipping over and causing unneeded damage or harm to the tank itself. Additionally, never leave a cylinder tank inside a car or vehicle.

If you smell gas or an odor like rotten eggs, shut off the propane tank and leave immediately if there are no visible sparks or flames. Avoid using a cell phone, lights, or appliances. Notify the fire department of a potential gas leak and do not return to the building until it has been declared safe for re-entry.

Always turn off the gas line or valve to an unused tank. Leaving it open could cause a leak, leading to dangerous situations where fire or explosion may occur. Remember to treat an empty tank as if it were full, just in case there was an error.

We hope these tips keep you safe when handling propane tanks. In the case of property damage, call SERVPRO of Northeast Long Beach / Lakewood 24/7 for restoration services.