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Holiday Fire Safety tips

12/13/2016 (Permalink)

Easy Holiday Safety tips

It is that time of year again, everyone! During this time of the year, there are carolers singing, egg nog, bright lights, tasty food, chilly weather, and shopping for presents. With all these fun and festive things going on, it is easy to forget some of the easiest ways to prevent fire accidents. Surprisingly, statistics show that residential fires are more costly and property loss is 34% greater during the holidays rather than any other time of the year.  As a gift from your local neighborhood SERVPRO, here are a few tips to make sure your holiday is the merriest and safest it can be.


  • Keep a multi-grade fire extinguisher handy for a variety of fires.
  • Check the smoke detectors for operable batteries.
  • If you are going to deep fry your turkey, make sure it is on a flat surface and at least 10 feet away outside from your home.
  • If you are multitasking while you are cooking, make sure you have a cooking utensil in hand to remind you that something is on the stove.


  • Maintain at least a foot between the candle and anything flammable in all directions.
  • Before going to bed, make sure all candles are put out and never leave a flame unattended. However, if you prefer a low light setting, rather than use candles, switch to LED powered candles. 

Christmas trees

  • Try to purchase a fresh cut tree with one that has all of its pine needles intact.
  • Purchase a tree base that has room for you to water your tree every day.
  • Watered trees will last longer and will typically dry out after 4 weeks.
  • Remember to take your tree out as soon as possible after the holidays to prevent unwanted accidents. Dry trees are the easiest to catch on fire.

Decorative Lights

  • Inspect light strings for cracks and/or fraying.
  • Inspect light sockets for broken and exposed filaments.
  • Do not run three strings from end to end, but instead, stack them because it is safer.
  • Do not use nails or staples to hang your lights. Instead, use UL-Rated clips and hangers.
  • Take lights down after the holidays to prevent squirrels from chewing on your cables and environmental damage.

The Fireplace

  • Have your chimney inspected for collected soot that hardens after every use of your fireplace. If it needs to be cleaned, do so before you use it. 
  • Do not start a fire for your fireplace with wrapping paper or liquids; only use seasonal firewood.
  • Set a screen in front of your fireplace to prevent the embers from your cozy fire does not damage or spark a fire to your items such as a rug or other flammables.
  • Set extinguished embers in a metal container outside for at least 24 hours before throwing away.

If you have any questions, concerns, you may contact us at 1 (650) 800-3448.

Most importantly, we are available for emergency services of any accidents or inconvenient mishaps 24/7.

From our family here at SERVPRO of Palo Alto to yours, we wish you a safe happy holidays!


We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!

9/21/2016 (Permalink)

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your Palo Alto basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Sanitary sewer backup
  • Foundation drainage failure
  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today - (650) 800-3448

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Palo Alto and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the tust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week
  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained  in Water Restoration Techniques
  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards
  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Basement Flooded? Call Us Today – We’re Ready To Help (650) 800-3448

IICRC Certified Firm

9/21/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage IICRC Certified Firm We are an IICRC Certified Firm

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Smoke and Soot cleanup

5/11/2016 (Permalink)

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 Palo Alto 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. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (650) 800-3448

Restoring Your Palo Alto Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

5/11/2016 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at Palo Alto commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Fast to your Palo Alto Water Damage Event

5/11/2016 (Permalink)

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Palo Alto arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – (650) 800-3448

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property

Does Your Palo Alto Home Have A Mold Problem?

5/11/2016 (Permalink)

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today - (650) 800-3448

El Nino Storms Hitting Palo Alto and Bay Area Causing Water Damage

1/6/2016 (Permalink)

The first rounds of storms that meteorologists are attributing to El Nino begin pounding the bay area the first week of 2016.  The series of storms will soak the bay area including Palo Alto. We might be making use of those sand bags after all. 

The National Weather Service is forecasting 6 straight days of rain with the heaviest of rains happening midweek with predictions of rain totals from 1 to 5 inches. However, these are the first storms for El Nino in what weather experts call a 'conga line' of storms. Well we hope we can dance to that tune with the record draughts across Northern and Southern California. 

Our phone calls have been reflecting the weather, as we predicted. With flooded basements and roof leaks being our main causes of water damage this week. We have been responding to calls from Palo Alto and Menlo Park, to Woodside and Portola Valley.  

When damage occurs to you, call the professionals. We are always here to help. 

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can respond immediately to your water damage emergency regardless of the scope or size of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large scale events and disasters.

Whether your water emergency occurs in an apartment, a large estate, a small office building, or a multi-unit complex, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Can Clean Up After the Loss of Your Loved Ones: Biohazard Cleanup after Death

10/15/2015 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is experienced to deal with very challenging situations on a daily basis providing emergency services for water, fire, mold and sewage cleanup. One of the most challenging is trauma cleanup and biohazard removal after crime scenes, death and suicide. One of the most extreme, is the death of a person who has not been found for days or even longer. For the family involved, this can be a traumatizing experience. 

Considering what happens to the body after death as the decomposition process starts immediately, the entire situation can be disturbing and overwhelming. Additionally, the health hazards of the trauma scene are serious and cleanup should only be left up to professionals. A decomposing body can affect the home's safety and can be deemed uninhabitable with the effects of airborne bacteria, odor and biohazard materials. 

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has certified professionals who are experienced to safely cleanup and remove affected materials. We follow proper regulations and protocols to remove personal property and structural elements, such as flooring. 

We provide cleanup services to individual families, property managers, and other commercial accounts. Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto to get expert help in biohazard cleanup.

Summer is Almost Here, as Fire Season is also Approaching Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Portola Valley

9/23/2015 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Summer is Almost Here, as Fire Season is also Approaching Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Portola Valley Credit:

As Californians, we know the real threat of wildfires. California residents need to be more aware than ever on how best to protect their homes from wildfires.

According to FEMA here are some top ways to protect your property in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and other bay area cities:  

Have you thinned out and maintained the vegetation around the house? All vegetation is fuel for a wildfire-therefore the greater the distance between your home and the vegetation, the greater the protection. Create a 30-foot safety zone around the house if possible. At a minimum, create a defensible space of (0-5ft): use noncombustible materials, such as gravel, brick, or concrete in this critical area adjacent to your home. Remove vines from the walls of the house, prune branches and shrubs within 15 ft of chimneys.

Create a second zone of 100 feet reducing or replacing as much of the most flammable vegetation as possible.If you live on a hill, you may need to extend the zone for several hundred feet. 

Are combustibe materials away from the house? Identify all combustible materials outside the house, stack firewood 100ft away and uphill from the house. Keep the gas grill and propane tank at least 15 ft from the house and place a mesh screen over the grill. 

Is the roof made of non combustible materials? Materials that are fire resistant include single ply membranes, fiberglass shingles, slate, metal, clay and concrete tile. Clean debris from roof since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers.

Are sundecks and porches enclosed underneath? Are eaves and overhangs enclosed? Clear leaves, trash and other fire hazards away from decks and porches, extend 1/2 inch mesh screen from all overhands down to the ground. Enclose all eaves to reduce the hazard.

Clean out gutters regularly: keep debris ouf of gutters since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers. If used, gutter covers should be non-combustible.

Are house vents covered with wire mesh? Any attic vent, soffit vent, or other opening can allow embers and flaming debris to enter a home and ignite it. Cover all openings with an 1/4 inch or smaller corrosion-resistant wire mesh. Are chimneys and stovepipes covered with spark arrestors? Use 12-gauge spark arrestors or woven wire mesh to prevent this hazard.

Is the house siding fire resistant? Stucco, metal, brick and cement, concrete and rock are all fire resistant and should be used. You can treate wood siding with UL-approved fire retardant chemicals but these treatments are not permanent.

Have windows been treated to reduce the risk? Dual or triple-paned thermal glass and fire resistant shutters or drapes, help reduce wildfire risk. Tempered glass windos and noncombustible awnings can also help reduce your risk.