Recent Posts

Storm Damage Restoration with SERVPRO of Palo Alto

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is dedicated to storm and flood damage restoration. Our crew is ready to take on any size project and restore the property to “Like it never even happened.” Our staff is extensively trained in the use of techniques and expert equipment that is efficient to restore and preserve your property.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is able to respond quickly with the right resources within a few hours to reduce any secondary or future damage. This is extremely important to assure that the property is dry in order to decrease the damage. Doing so will prevent further damage, which ultimately reduces the restoration cost.

When storms hit Palo Alto, we have the right equipment and resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. Our highly trained professionals are ready to respond 24/7 to any storm or flood emergency.

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.

Need Emergency Services? Call us 24/7 at 650-800-3448

Smoke Damage: A Complicating Factor in a Property Damage Restoration Project

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains how smoke damage complicates the property damage restoration process in a home that has suffered fire damage.

The SERVPRO of Palo Alto fire damage restoration specialists understand the restoration and safety challenges presented by a fire and smoke damage disaster. In these situations, fast response and immediate action help limit damage, prevent further damage and reduce restoration costs. The highly-trained SERVPRO crews have the specialized equipment and resources to handle large or small jobs for residential and commercial clients.

The complexities of fire and smoke damage restoration

A structure fire produces a complex property damage disaster involving many components. In a house fire, the damage may be so extensive that complete demolition and a new build is the only solution. Flames burn everything in their path, leaving only charred remains and toxic smoke, soot, and ash. The heat from the flames causes personal belongings to melt, crack, and shatter. Fire extinguisher foam and water are sprayed throughout the structure as the fire is extinguished.

After the flames are out, a highly corrosive layer of toxic smoke and soot clings to almost everything in the fire-damaged structure. If not immediately addressed, smoke damage can continue to affect a home, including in places that the flames never touched. Houses have been ruined by smoke from wildfires, even though the structures were not burned in the fire.

The smallest fire can cause great smoke damage even though the flames were extinguished very quickly. Smoke and soot are composed of toxic materials, some of which are very corrosive. These corrosive substances in smoke and soot can compromise the structural integrity of a home. The quick removal of smoke and soot after a fire is crucial to prevent the acid-like toxins from eating away at the surfaces and items contaminated in the fire. The owner of a home or rental property that has suffered a fire or been affected by smoke from a nearby raging wildfire needs to act fast to limit potential damages. The fire and smoke damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto can assess the damage and create a plan of action uniquely customized to each situation. This tailored approach ensures the damaged home is clear of any fire-related damages.

Are a home and possessions damaged by smoke salvageable?

The extent of the damage will determine if the home and its contents can be salvaged. Cost should be considered since some items will cost significantly more to repair than to replace. A smoke damage specialist can determine what items should be cleaned, discarded, or replaced.

How does smoke affect a home?

Several factors must be considered when examining how smoke from damage affects a home. Firstly, smoke causes different types of damage to different types of materials. A second factor is temperature. The extremes in temperature and the type of fire will cause different types of smoke damage throughout a home. One of the most devastating ways smoke can adversely affect the structure and contents of a home is when the corrosive smoke and soot seep into small cracks and crevices in the house, appliances, and electronic devices. The tiny particles may go unnoticed and unaddressed for months. The lingering hint of the smell of smoke is the tell-tale sign that the fire and smoke damage restoration was incomplete.

The solution is intensive and invasive. Smoke-damaged items must be removed or expertly cleaned with specialized cleaning strategies and odor-removing EPA-approved odor-neutralizing solutions. If the smoke smell originates from the building materials in the home, then the walls, flooring, ceilings, moulding, and other materials must be cleaned. The cleaning and restoration team will use special equipment, tools, techniques, and cleaning and deodorizing solutions specifically designed to remove the smell. A smoke and fire damage cleanup is dangerous and should be left to professionals who know what they are doing and who have the personal protective gear to ensure their own safety.

How important is a fast smoke damage cleanup?

By acting fast, the homeowner can prevent permanent damage from the corrosive effects of smoke throughout the home. Synthetic fibers and porous items that may have absorbed the fumes or soaked up the smoke-contaminated water need restoration intervention almost immediately to be saved. Flooring and painted surfaces such as walls and ceilings need attention within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Permanent staining can occur if the smoke residue is left to linger on wood furniture and painted items.

Water damage and smoke residue cause metals to rust and corrode at an accelerated rate. Delay in securing the services of a fire and smoke damage restoration company expands the extent of damage and increases the cost of restoration. Insurance companies understand the negative consequences of allowing fire and smoke damage to go unaddressed. Delays on the part of the homeowner can adversely impact the claims process if the insurance company deems that the delays are unwarranted.

In case of a property damage disaster in a residential or commercial setting SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24/7/365 to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the restoration process. Quick response, rapid remediation, and minimal disruption enable the homeowner to resume normal life almost immediately after the property damage incident.

For more details about the fire and smoke damage restoration and cleaning services provided by SERVPRO of Palo Alto in Atherton, CA and surrounding areas, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Strategies to Prevent Mold Issues During the Commercial Construction Process

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains how to avoid mold growth during construction.

The commercial damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto understand the importance of preventing a mold infestation on a construction project. Job delays, health effects, damaged materials, and the risk of future litigation make this issue all too important for the conscientious property owner and project manager. SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers these tips on how to prevent mold growth on a construction job site.

How to prevent mold growth during construction

Mold growth during a construction project is a challenge every property owner will face and must overcome. The following scenario is not unusual, though it is very costly.

Commercial mold infestation scenario

A construction project runs into a major hurdle that brings the project to a screeching halt. A mold infestation is discovered. All the building materials are new, which raises questions about the origin of the mold contamination. An investigation reveals that the construction company failed to complete the dry-in phase before hanging drywall. Inclement weather had soaked the installed drywall. Mold spores feasted on the warm, moist, organic material. Delays and mold abatement drive project costs through the roof. Careful vetting of the construction company goes a long way to preventing problems like this, but steps can be taken during the inspection process to avoid mold issues.

How does mold grow?

Mold spores are present everywhere in the environment. An infestation or high concentration of spores is possible when food, wetness, and warmth are available. On a construction project, food for mold is everywhere. Ceiling tiles, lumber, and drywall are favorite foods for mold.

In the initial stages of a construction project, organic matter is limited, especially if the flooring is concrete and the framing is metal. Lumber and subflooring are relatively hard, and they do not facilitate mold growth unless exposed to moisture for an extended period. On the other hand, the soft, organic matter in ceiling tiles and drywall promotes mold growth and can harbor an infestation in as little as two or three days after exposure to moisture.

How to prevent mold growth during a construction project

What is the most effective means to prevent mold growth during a construction project? The answer is simple. Keep vulnerable materials dry. The following three-pronged strategy works every time.

#1. “Dry in” the building before hanging drywall or installing ceilings.

The process of sealing the building envelope prevents moisture from penetrating the interior. The proper installation of exterior siding, windows, seals around windows and doors, and, most importantly, a water-tight roof are crucial in this “dry-in” phase.

#2. Completely dry out any materials that may have been exposed to moisture.

The building materials may have already been installed, or they may be awaiting installation. As long as the materials are laden with moisture, the risk of mold growth is high. Wooden framing and subfloors can absorb moisture. If installed before drying out, the wood can release moisture into the indoor environment of the building. The drywall will absorb the moisture like a thirsty sponge, increasing the likelihood of a mold infestation.

#3. Recognize and remediate new sources of humidity during construction.

Even though a structure’s building envelope is water-tight, mold growth can occur if moisture is introduced into the building. Renovation of an existing structure that requires the removal of asbestos or drywall involves a process that uses water to control dust. The mitigation of this moisture may necessitate the deployment of dehumidifiers during the construction process.

Mold identification: What to look for and when

To prevent expensive mold issues, check for moisture during walk-through inspections with the project manager or general contractor.

  • Before installing drywall

The building envelope should be tightly sealed. The roof, windows, doors, and exterior siding should be installed, and all gaps should be sealed. Ensure that any lumber or other wood products that might have been exposed to water or moisture have been thoroughly dried out.

  • During and after demolition

Renovation projects that involve the removal of asbestos or drywall require large amounts of water. Verify that proper dehumidification has been exercised. Excess water should be removed prior to the installation of new materials. Relative humidity should be sustained at sixty percent.

  • Before a pause or shutdown

Sometimes a project must be paused temporarily or shut down indefinitely. Make sure that the site is dried and sealed appropriately to prevent mold growth during the lull. The installation of dehumidification equipment may be necessary. The extra expense is negligible when compared to the cost of mold mitigation and project delays.

How costly is a mold issue on a construction project? Consider the following expense items:

  • slowed or paused project progress
  • delayed completion dates and any penalties arising from these delays
  • replacement of affected or damaged materials
  • remediation expenses
  • expenses for an abatement contractor (which is sometimes legally required)

Mold prevention on the construction job site involves proper planning, detailed inspections, and immediate action when conditions conducive to mold growth are discovered. When a mold infestation is identified, stop mold in its tracks.  Enlist the services of a professional mold mitigation and remediation company to stop the mold infestation, clean up the job site, and mitigate any moisture issues with water removal, water extraction, and applied structural drying techniques. SERVPRO of Palo Alto can also deploy industrial-grade dehumidifiers to achieve the desired humidity level and maintain that level throughout the project. The team of SERVPRO professionals utilizes advanced technology to detect moisture and monitor humidity on a commercial job site. The proactive property owner can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses by taking care of mold before it becomes a problem.

Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, SERVPRO of Palo Alto helps regain control of a commercial property damage incident and begin the damage restoration process quickly. A prompt response, rapid remediation, and minimal or no disruption of business or construction operations enable the project to move forward.

For more details about commercial damage restoration in Sunnyvale, CA, and the surrounding area, email SERVPRO of Palo Alto at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com or call (650) 800-3448.

How SERVPRO of Palo Alto Helps Property Owners After Water and Fire Damage From an Earthquake

7/5/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto is uniquely prepared and equipped to deal with property damage from an earthquake.

California is well-known for its susceptibility to earthquakes, which can cause devastating property damage in communities located near active fault lines. In the event of an earthquake that causes water or fire damage to a home or business, property owners will want to depend on the services of a reputable, experienced damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto.

Earthquake Damage in California and the Palo Alto Area

An earthquake can cause several different types of property damage to a home or business, including water and fire damage.

Water damage occurs when a seismic event damages, cracks, or dislodges pipes and water lines, allowing water to leak into the structure. If the damage is slight, the leak may not be detected until the water damage has progressed and a mold infestation has set in.

Fires are another common and potentially deadly result of earthquakes. According to California Earthquake Authority, “Earthquake fires start when electrical and gas lines are dislodged due to the earth’s shaking. Gas is set free as gas lines are broken and a spark will start a firestorm.”

Why Choose SERVPRO of Palo Alto for Property Damage After an Earthquake?

When an earthquake causes broken water pipes or a house fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides a fast response to the client’s call for help. Immediate action limits further damage, reduces the scope of the damage, and lowers restoration costs. Highly trained technicians use specialized equipment and resources to handle both large and small jobs for residential and commercial clients.

In addition, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is uniquely prepared to address earthquake property damage because of the company’s ties to the local community, the team’s previous experience with regional earthquakes, and the company’s ability to access the resources of a national network of SERVPRO franchises.

Local Ties

As a locally owned and operated company, SERVPRO of Palo Alto tackles property damage as an established figure in the community. The company’s technicians and service providers live and work in the local area and might even be the neighbors of the people they serve. The team’s connection to the community helps to foster an attitude of empathy and compassion towards homeowners and businesses in need.

Having a local base of operations means that SERVPRO of Palo Alto can quickly respond to a property damage disaster. When water is pouring out of a broken pipe, the homeowner can take confidence in knowing that the damage restoration company will arrive on the scene promptly.

Regional Experience

As members of the community, the team has experience dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes and seismic activity common to the area. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is no stranger to providing damage restoration services for homes damaged by an earthquake.

Online homebuyer resource Homefacts lists Palo Alto as having a very high risk of earthquakes. Earthquake statistics for 2020 reveal that the area was hit by 23 earthquakes that were a magnitude 3.0 or greater, as well as 198 earthquakes between magnitude 2.0 and magnitude 3.0. Furthermore, Palo Alto is in close proximity to eight major faults, including the San Andreas Fault and the Hayward Fault.

A violent earthquake is a stressful experience, and property damage only adds to the stress and anxiety that the homeowner is facing. With SERVPRO of Palo Alto by their side, homeowners can move forward and recover from the damage to their homes.

National Resources

As a SERVPRO franchise, SERVPRO of Palo Alto draws upon a nationwide system to provide a rapid response. The SERVPRO network comprises over 1,700 franchises across the United States of America. From an earthquake that damages a pipe in a single home to an earthquake that affects the entire community, SERVPRO can rise to the challenge of repairing structures and restoring lives. An independent local company or a small regional franchise simply can not muster a response of this scale.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is proud to serve the Palo Alto, Atherton, and Redwood City communities. The staff and technicians at the damage restoration company strive to provide local residents and business owners with a fast response time and excellent service each time a call comes in.

To learn more about damage restoration in Redwood City, CA, contact the SERVPRO of Palo Alto team at (650) 800-3448. The office can also be contacted by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

How Commercial HVAC and Air Duct Cleaning Services Preserve People’s Health

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: In a commercial facility, a clean HVAC and clean air ducts are essential to protect the health of employees, customers, and visitors to the facility.

SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City recognizes that a clean HVAC system is crucial for respiratory health in the work environment. The HVAC system, including the air ducts, must be kept clean and operationally sound to maintain high air quality standards, which are vital for the health and safety of employees and customers.

Poor air quality in the workplace can have health effects on the workforce and customers. Proper maintenance and cleaning of the HVAC system and the ductwork can improve air quality and protect the staff, employees, and clientele. Clean, pure air is especially important in environments where the staff and customers are exposed to the same air for long periods of time. Examples of facilities where individuals may have extended exposure to impure air quality:

  • Healthcare facilities
  • Laboratories, factories, and warehouses
  • Daycares, schools, and churches
  • Call centers and office complexes
  • Retail stores and service outlets

NADCA, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, comments on the importance of air quality, writing, “We generate a lot of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the ductwork. While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, school, or workplace, they may be contributing to larger health effects or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems.

Key Indicators That the HVAC System and Ductwork May Need Cleaning

When the HVAC system, including the ductwork, needs cleaning, key indicators signal that the air quality is poor and may have health effects on the people who have to breathe the contaminated air.

The leading indicators of compromised air quality include:

  • musty odors that are most noticeable when the system starts circulating air
  • mold that is visibly present in the building, on vents, and in the ductwork
  • dirt and debris buildup inside floor vents
  • dust buildup on flat surfaces such as desks, computer screens, countertops, and display cases
  • ducts infested with rodents, insects, and their droppings
  • new construction or recent renovations
  • unexplained increases in energy costs
  • two or more years since the HVAC system has been inspected by a professional

Certain health effects can also indicate poor or contaminated air quality. 

Employers, business owners, and facility managers should act quickly to address any health complaints from workers, customers, clients, and vendors.

The experts at Consumer Reports offer the following advice on how often to have an HVAC system inspected: “Once a year, have a licensed professional perform a full inspection on your air conditioning units. This will involve cleaning and flushing the condenser coils, draining the pan and drainage system, vacuuming the blower compartments, and checking the refrigerant and mechanical parts. It’s also worth asking them to check the ductwork, especially if your cooling bills have been higher than normal. Up to 30 to 40 percent of energy can escape through leaky or uninsulated ducts.”

What Are the Benefits of a Clean Ventilation System and Healthy Air?

Clean air circulating through a commercial facility offers several advantages, including the following five benefits:

  1. An odor-free environment improves mood and attitude.
  2. Clean, fresh ventilation creates a pleasant space for customers and helps them relax.
  3. Contaminant-free ventilation reduces workforce illnesses and absenteeism.
  4. Healthy air improves worker productivity.
  5. Fresh, clean air improves the quality of work performed by employees.

In addition to the five benefits listed above, higher levels of fresh air and oxygen improve brain performance. Research conducted at Harvard University identified a connection between better air quality and better decision-making performance.

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals routinely inspect commercial HVAC units and the entire air duct system. Keeping the ventilation system clean can extend the life of the equipment, saving the business money and providing cleaner air to breathe. Trust SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City for commercial air duct cleaning in the Redwood City, Atherton, and Palo Alto areas.

For more information about commercial HVAC cleaning in Redwood City, CA, and the surrounding area, call SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City at (650) 800-3448 or email the company at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

What Are Some Factors That Cause Dishwashers to Leak and Cause Water Damage?

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City explains common reasons why dishwashers leak, causing extensive water damage in the kitchen and adjacent rooms.

Offering continuous coverage twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City is a residential and commercial property damage restoration company serving the Redwood City, Atherton, and Palo Alto areas. Locally owned and operated, SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City is a leader in the restoration industry and is dedicated to serving the community with honesty and professionalism. Customers can trust the IICRC-certified professionals to handle any size or type of property damage disaster, including water damage from a leaking dishwasher.

The Magic of Modern Machinery

Modern technology has simplified life in and around the home in many ways. The kitchen has seen revolutionary advances with the advent of electricity, automation, and digital technology. The space-age technology of the microwave oven made cooking much easier. The refrigerator enabled homemakers to store food for weeks or months on end. The dishwasher removed the headache of washing mountains of pots, pans, and dishes after feeding the family or entertaining a large number of guests.

Why Is the Dishwasher Leaking?

As far as appliances are concerned, dishwashers are very reliable. Advances in dishwashing technology have reduced the amount of water required to wash a load of dishes from as much as 9-14 gallons to as little as 3-5 gallons. Washing that same load by hand would use more than 25 gallons of water. Even though newer dishwashers require less water, the appliance can still cause a major water damage disaster when a leak occurs.

Here are some of the common causes of dishwasher leaks:

  1. The door gasket is deteriorating, so the dishwasher will not seal properly.

At first, leaks around a deteriorating door gasket may be small and may appear to originate from the same location. The best solution is to replace the gasket, and homeowners who are not comfortable making the repair can hire a qualified appliance repair specialist to perform the task.

  1. The door latch is loose or damaged.

This breakdown may result in a large spill. As water leaks out of the dishwasher, sensors that measure the water level will allow more water into the system, so more water will leak onto the floor. The homeowner can replace a dishwasher door latch, but if there is any concern about taking this task on as a DIY project, entrust the repair to a competent appliance repair technician.

  1. The drain hose is loose, cracked, or torn.

Over time, the drain hose will degrade and begin to leak. If the dishwasher is older, preemptively replacing the drain hose can prevent issues before they arise.

  1. The float assembly is malfunctioning.

The float assembly monitors and determines the water level in the appliance. A malfunction in this component can cause the unit to fill with water, resulting in a flooded kitchen.

  1. The homeowner is using a detergent that is not designed for use in a dishwasher.

The guests have gone home. The kitchen is tidy. The dishwasher is full. The exhausted host or hostess inadvertently squirts standard dishwashing liquid into the detergent dispenser of the dishwasher, turns on the unit, and goes to bed. The results are disastrous. While it is nice to wake up to a load of clean dishes the next morning, running the dishwasher at night after everyone has gone to bed is risky.

  1. The dishwashing unit is not level.

If the dishwasher was inappropriately installed and is not level, water can leak out during usage. A small leak can rot out the floor under the unit, compounding the water leakage issue. A simple visual inspection or a level can diagnose this problem.

  1. The spray arm is damaged or unable to move freely.

The dishwasher makes distinct sounds, and the rotation of the spray arm is one of these sounds. The opening and closing of the intake valve is another distinctive sound of the dishwasher. When the spray arm or the water intake valve fails, water will end up on the floor.

  1. The dishwasher tub is worn out.

Over the years, the tub can wear out from exposure to detergents and the high temperature of the water. An occasional visual inspection of the tub can detect any issues.

How to Handle Water Damage Caused by a Leaking Appliance

When a faulty dishwasher causes a water damage disaster in the kitchen on a small scale, wipe up the water as quickly as possible. If the leak is large in scope, bring in professionals to extract the water and dry out the flooring. A water damage disaster in the kitchen can ruin cabinets, baseboards, molding, and expensive flooring. Efforts to clean up a large spill involving soapy water can result in a slip-and-fall injury.

The team of knowledgeable, certified water damage restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City can be on the scene within an hour to inspect the damage and begin the cleanup. SERVPRO works with the insurance company and handles the claims process in order to eliminate the hassle and headache for the homeowner.

For more information about water damage restoration in Atherton, CA, call SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City, CA, at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Why Palo Alto Homeowners Should Practice Fireworks Safety on the Fourth of July

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: As the Fourth of July approaches, homeowners should make sure that they know and abide by proper fireworks safety practices, as well as local regulations governing fireworks.

Locally owned and operated, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a damage restoration company known for exceptional customer care. The team of professionals provides reliable cleanup and restoration services for residential and commercial properties that have suffered a water, fire, or smoke damage disaster.

Certain holidays are associated with an elevated risk of a fire damage event. One such holiday is the Fourth of July, a festive and patriotic celebration that often involves elaborate fireworks displays. SERVPRO of Palo Alto wants to help local residents ensure that the Fourth of July is safe and free of fire damage.

Fireworks Are Dangerous

Fireworks are as American as apple pie and have been a part of patriotic celebrations for almost 250 years. Though they are enjoyable and exciting, fireworks are dangerous and are responsible for multiple deaths and thousands of injuries each year.

According to the official website for the city of Menlo Park, which neighbors Palo Alto, “In 2018, five people died and over 9,100 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents. Of these, nearly 50% of the injuries were to children and young adults under age 20. Approximately 5,600 fireworks-related injuries, over 62% of injuries, took place during the one-month period from June 22 to July 22, 2018. An estimated 1,700 injuries were from less powerful devices like small firecrackers and sparklers – 500 of those from sparklers alone!”

Palo Alto Fireworks Safety Tips

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) offers several helpful fireworks safety tips for the residents of Palo Alto and the state of California.

Know the Local Laws Regarding the Purchase, Possession, and Use of Fireworks

Due to the threat of wildfires and the potential for personal injury, fireworks have been banned in certain areas of California. Residents can access local ordinances to learn which fireworks are permissible where they live. Some municipalities allow for the sale and use of “Safe and Sane” fireworks. California strictly enforces the laws surrounding illegal fireworks. According to CAL FIRE, illegal fireworks are defined as “fireworks that explode, go into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner.”

Illegal fireworks include sky rockets, bottle rockets, Roman candles, aerial shells, firecrackers, and as mentioned above, other “fireworks that explode, go into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner.”

Selling, transporting, or using fireworks that do not have the “Safe and Sane” seal from CAL FIRE is not permitted. Local municipalities may pass ordinances forbidding the possession or use of all fireworks in that community.

Violators of the law could face fines of up to $50,000 and jail for up to one year. Approximately 300 California communities permit “Safe and Sane” fireworks. All pyrotechnic operators, fireworks manufacturers, importer-exporters, wholesalers, retailers, and public display companies must be licensed by the office of the State Fire Marshal.

Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Know what the local ordinances allow before using fireworks.
  • Use only those fireworks that have been approved by the State Fire Marshal.
  • Always have an adult present when fireworks are in use.
  • Never use fireworks indoors or discharge them in a fireplace or wood stove.
  • Keep fireworks away from dry grass or other flammable materials.
  • Have a bucket of water and a garden hose nearby and ready for immediate use in case a fire erupts.
  • Carefully read, understand, and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time.

People cannot be too cautious when using fireworks, especially when the weather has been dry. Always check to see if any fire advisories are in force, temporarily banning the use of fireworks.

Safety Tips to Prevent Injuries From Fireworks

  • Use extreme caution when lighting fireworks.
  • Efforts to re-ignite or repair a fuse are extremely dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting or highly flammable clothing while lighting fireworks.
  • Carrying fireworks in the pockets of clothing is a fire and injury hazard.
  • Do not experiment with fireworks.
  • Do not point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Avoid positioning any part of the body over fireworks when lighting the fuse.
  • Immediately back away several feet after lighting fireworks.
  • Fireworks are not toys and should not be handled by small children. Parents can be held financially responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from their children’s use of fireworks.

Follow these injury prevention safety tips while using “Safe and Sane” certified fireworks to promote both a great time and a safe outcome for all parties involved, including the forest.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers these tips to encourage safe celebrations on the Fourth of July! The technicians have the knowledge, experience, equipment, and advanced technology to meet any fire damage restoration challenge. In the event of a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster, trust the SERVPRO professionals to arrive faster to any size disaster. The SERVPRO team is renowned for exceptional customer care from start to finish.

To learn more about fire damage restoration in Palo Alto, CA, and the surrounding area, contact the team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Ten Campfire Safety Tips to Prevent Personal Injury and Fire Damage

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto shares campfire safety tips to help Palo Alto residents enjoy campfires safely.

The highly trained and experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto are prepared to respond to any property damage incident, including fire damage, smoke damage, or water damage disaster caused by Northern California wildfires.

In 2020, there were more than 57,000 wildfires in the US, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. These wildfires consumed more than 10.3 million acres, and ninety percent of the fires were caused by humans. The remaining ten percent were largely from lightning strikes. In California, approximately 10,500 buildings were destroyed by wildfires at a cost of over $12 billion. Preventing wildfires can save lives, homes, and businesses. A good place to start is with campfire safety.

How to Enjoy a Campfire Safely and Avoid Fire Damage

These ten tips can help campers and park visitors enjoy activities around the campfire without putting themselves or the surrounding forest in jeopardy.

  1. Be familiar with and abide by local burning regulations.

According to the National Park Service, each park has its own set of rules customized for the unique aspects of the individual park. In general, the guidelines regulate the location and conditions in which a campfire is permissible. Usually, these regulations are clearly posted in a central location in the park, often at the visitor center. If the information is not publicly posted, then ask a park employee or park ranger where the information is available. If a printed copy is available, keep it on hand at all times when in the park. Campfire regulations most likely can be found on the park website, but reception may not be available throughout the park. The best policy is to download the information before entering the park.

How serious is a campfire code violation? What are the consequences for failing to follow the rules and causing a forest fire? Simple violations may be met with a pleasant and professional reminder from a patient park ranger. However, if the careless camper causes a forest fire by failing to follow the safety guidelines, he or she may have to pay stiff fines, pay damages resulting from the fire, and possibly serve jail time. Property damage and the expense of extinguishing even a small forest fire can be financially devastating.

Knowing and closely abiding by the guidelines for campfire safety will go a long way in preventing needless wildfires that harm the forest, destroy property, and sometimes take the lives of both humans and wildlife.

  1. Make sure the weather is safe to enjoy a campfire.

Anything more than a gentle breeze could pose a potential wildfire threat. If rain has been sparse, a spark or ember from a small campfire could burn down a large forest. Wind and arid conditions might mean special rules or restrictions are in effect. Reach out to park officials to learn if any special restrictions apply during the time the camper plans to visit the park. Whether intentional or unintentional, violation of a burn ban or other weather-related rules is frowned upon by park officials.

  1. Make sure that some form of fire extinguisher, especially water, is readily available in case of an emergency.

Pack extra buckets or a water bladder dedicated to extinguishing the campfire. Haul the water to the campsite before igniting the fire. The water will prove helpful if clothes or gear catch on fire from burning embers or sparks. Play it very safe and pack an approved fire extinguisher that will have no adverse effect on the environment if it is discharged.

  1. Only burn wood.

Avoid using the campfire as a garbage disposal for trash such as plastic bags, plastic water bottles, plastic cups and eating utensils, and paper with printing on it. When burned, these items give off noxious gases that can be harmful to anyone downwind who has to breathe the toxic chemicals in the smoke. Disposable diapers, clothing, broken flip-flops, and shoes should be discarded in the assigned trash bin and should not be burned.

  1. Do not use any fire accelerants other than lighter fluid.

Lighter fluid is designed to start a fire in a controlled and safe manner. Avoid spraying or pouring lighter fluid directly on a flame since the fire could flare-up. Gasoline can cause a flash explosion that ignites the surrounding vegetation, clothing, and camp gear. An unintentional spill of flammable liquids can also pollute nearby streams.

  1. Once the fire is started, always remain at a safe distance from the blaze.

Clothing, especially vinyl jackets, can catch fire very easily. Once these highly flammable items are ignited, the flames spread quickly and can cause great bodily harm. Wear all-natural fiber clothing when around a campfire. Make adjustments to the fire with a long poker. Wear protective leather gloves if necessary.

  1. Keep an eye on children and pets.

Small children can easily stumble and fall into an open flame of a campfire. While roasting marshmallows, children can become overbalanced and tumble into the blaze. Pets can become agitated if they are not accustomed to being around the heat, flames, and smells of fire.

  1. Never leave the fire unattended.

Before going to bed, completely extinguish the flames and spread out the coals. Cover the embers with water and stir until the fire is totally extinguished. If water is not available, use sand or dirt that is free of debris. Remove all combustible material from around the fire pit for added safety.

  1. Call 911 if the fire is not able to be controlled.

If the flames spread beyond the firepit, call 911 immediately. If reception is not available, seek assistance from area campers. In a worst-case scenario, travel to the nearest visitor center or ranger station for assistance.

  1. Pre-qualify a fire damage restoration company to provide services should the campfire cause fire damage.

Homes and businesses located in areas vulnerable to wildfires are advised to pre-qualify a fire damage restoration company should the worst happen. By choosing a fire damage restoration company beforehand, homeowners are making sure that only one call is needed in an emergency, and they are being proactive in protecting their home, securing their belongings, and escaping the flames.

The experienced team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto is ready to serve the needs of homeowners and businesses affected by the Northern California wildfires. SERVPRO of Palo Alto, being locally owned and operated, can respond quickly with immediate action, which can minimize damage and prevent advanced secondary damage. The reduction in restoration costs can be significant. The highly trained crews possess the specialized equipment and resources to handle fire, smoke, and water damage caused by the recent Northern California wildfires. The SERVPRO teams are prepared with strategically positioned equipment when a fire emergency arises in the area, including Menlo Park, Stanford, and Redwood City. A fire damage incident is devastating for a family. The traumatic event is disruptive and stressful. The caring experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto guide their clients through the crisis with the deepest empathy and utmost respect.

For more information about Palo Alto, CA, fire damage restoration, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

How Disaster Response Teams Rise to the Challenges of a Large Loss Incident

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto, a damage restoration company serving Palo Alto, Redwood City, and Atherton, highlights SERVPRO’s Catastrophic Storm Response Teams.

In addition to being the local leader in property damage restoration, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is part of SERVPRO’s professional services network encompassing more than 1,700 individually owned and operated franchises. Founded in 1967, SERVPRO is an industry leader providing water, flood, and fire cleanup and restoration services. SERVPRO’s service network responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss events.

One such large-loss disaster, which led to a massive response from the SERVPRO disaster response teams, was the 2017 California wildfires. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection describes the devastating disaster: “In terms of property damage, 2017 was the most destructive wildfire season on record in California at the time. Throughout 2017, the fires destroyed or damaged more than 10,000 structures in the state (destroyed 9,470, damaged 810), a higher tally than the previous nine years combined. In total 9,133 fires burned 1,248,606 acres. In December 2017, strong Santa Ana winds triggered a new round of wildfires, including the massive Thomas Fire in Ventura County. At the time, the Thomas Fire was California’s largest modern wildfire, which has since been surpassed by the Mendocino Complex’s Ranch Fire in 2018. The December 2017 fires forced over 230,000 people to evacuate. 2017 will be remembered as a year of extremes. It was the third-warmest year on record for the United States, and it was the second-hottest in California...”

SERVPRO’s Catastrophic Storm Response Teams have responded to some of the major disasters of the last two decades. Mobilizations include:

  • 2017 Hurricane Irma
  • 2017 Hurricane Harvey
  • 2016 Hurricane Matthew
  • 2015 Carolina floods
  • 2014 Polar Vortex
  • 2012 Hurricane Sandy
  • 2010 Nashville floods
  • 2008 Hurricane Ike
  • 2007 Chicago floods
  • 2007 Ohio floods
  • 2007 California wildfires
  • 2005 Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Rita

Supported by a robust network of damage restoration industry professionals, SERVPRO can respond to disasters of all sizes. If a major disaster event or catastrophic storm strikes a community, SERVPRO can call on strategically positioned storm teams that are on standby. When a town or city is devastated by severe weather or a natural disaster, local homeowners and business owners can be confident with SERVPRO’s response.

The SERVPRO model for disaster response offers the following benefits:

  • The team is equipped to deal with a wide range of disasters, from hurricanes and tornadoes to blizzards and wildfires.
  • Local command centers and the resources of over 1,700 franchises across the nation can be mobilized rapidly.
  • SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Teams are available 24/7 year-round.
  • A commercial operations manager supervises large loss jobs in order to ensure a seamless workflow, prompt restoration, and clear communication.

Businesses and commercial facilities can be especially hard hit by a disaster. Thousands of dollars of product and equipment, as well as vital business documentation, can be destroyed in a matter of minutes by a fire, flood, or hurricane. When a business owner loses the product of years of hard work, dedication, and passion, he or she can be devastated financially and emotionally. SERVPRO’s Commercial Large Loss program is critical to help businesses rebuild and recover.

The Commercial Large Loss Division draws on the skills and talent of the best and brightest technicians in the damage restoration industry. SERVPRO prequalifies an elite team of commercial large-loss specialists who are strategically located throughout the country. Through the deliberate and carefully planned placement and oversight of temporary labor, SERVPRO surpasses other damage restoration franchises in its ability to deploy highly-trained professionals and lower costs.

SERVPRO provides commercial large loss services for a broad spectrum of commercial settings, including the property management industry, the hospitality industry, colleges and universities, cities and municipalities, and military office complexes.

The team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto is proud to be a part of an effective, efficient network that serves people and communities in need across the United States. Whether a disaster is localized to a single residence or affects the entire town, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is committed to providing damage restoration services that reduce stress and give hope.

To learn more about the Atherton, CA, damage restoration company, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448. The office can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Six Steps to Help Employees Report a Commercial Mold Infestation in Their Workplace

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers tips for reporting a mold infestation in the workplace.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides commercial damage restoration services to the local business community. The team of restoration experts can scale to meet any size disaster in any facility, whether it is an educational institution, office complex, service center, bank, retail business, hospital, factory, or apartment complex. SERVPRO has the necessary equipment, training, and techniques to get the job done as quickly as possible with minimal disruption. Mold infestation is a common issue in many workplaces. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is sharing tips to effectively guide employees through the process of reporting mold growth in the workplace or other commercial environments.

Mold in the Workplace

Mold is an unwanted guest in any work environment, and neither employers nor employees want mold issues in the workplace. Health effects can result in workers' comp claims or lawsuits, and property damage leads to costly repairs, especially if sensitive equipment or electronics are affected. The mitigation process can also disrupt the flow of products and services to customers. Discovering and resolving a mold infestation in the early stages can preserve workforce health and save time and money for the business owner or employer.

Mold can cause health effects for a business’ employees. In addition, guests, vendors, and contract workers who visit a facility where a mold infestation exists can be impacted by exposure to the mold, especially if the individuals have pre existing health concerns.

Should mold be discovered in the workplace, the tips listed below help employees work through the process of reporting a potentially dangerous mold situation to their employers.

  1. Report the discovery.

Inform a supervisor or manager immediately upon discovering mold in the workplace. Report the mold growth by email, text, or other communication platforms so that a record of action is created.

  1. Include basic information in the report.

Record the time of discovery, the location of the mold outbreak, and the extent of the visible signs of mold. A timestamped incident report helps mitigation experts determine important details about the infestation, such as how long the infestation has been in process, its origin, and the extent of any spread.

  1. Note environmental details.

Thoroughly describe the location, including any visible signs of moisture or water damage such as:

  • heavy condensation on surfaces
  • high humidity levels
  • leaking pipes or unexplained puddled water
  • dark stains
  • structural damage such as warped flooring, bubbling paint or peeling wallpaper
  • musty smells from vents or air conditioners
  1. Remind a supervisor or upper-level management of any recent water intrusion that might have a bearing on the mold infestation.

OSHA recommends that wet materials be thoroughly cleaned and dried within one to two days after a water damage incident in order to prevent mold growth.

  1. Make the report personal.

Speak with responsible parties in person if a timely response to the formal report is not forthcoming. Mold can cause serious health effects that can result in unexpected medical expenses and lost wages for employees.

  1. Follow up through the chain of command until the issue is acknowledged and a mitigation strategy is adopted.

Both fellow employees and the employer will appreciate a proactive approach to preserve the health of the workforce and the smooth delivery of products and services to customers.

Precautions Employees or Staff Should Take When Dealing With Mold

  1. Wear protective gear when exposed to mold infestation in the workplace.

Wear eye protection. Utilize a dust-filtration mask to protect the sinuses, mouth, and lungs. Wear rubber gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and pants, or a full protective suit to prevent skin irritation. Employers are required by law to provide adequate PPE (personal protective equipment) if hazards are present in the workplace.

  1. Avoid transporting the mold to other parts of the facility, other businesses, or the home environment. Remove PPE after exposure to mold. Wash or discard contaminated items. Upon arriving home, remove clothing — including shoes — that may have been exposed to mold. Wash the clothing immediately, if possible. Do not cross-contaminate personal laundry. Be sure to wash work clothes separately from the rest of the laundry.
  2. Clean the work environment regularly and resolve water intrusions immediately to prevent mold growth.
  3. Increase ventilation in affected areas.
  4. Never assume that mold in the workplace is safe.

The Best Remediation Strategy to Resolve a Commercial Mold Infestation

Take the safest and swiftest course of action to resolve mold issues in the workplace. Call in the professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto. A commercial mold infestation can harm employees and disrupt business operations. Mold in the workplace can disrupt production, slow down the provision of services, damage equipment, and the building, and cause health effects in the workforce. SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers commercial mold remediation services designed to resolve the issue as quickly as possible with the least amount of disruption to the business. SERVPRO technicians are certified mold remediation specialists equipped to mitigate any mold issues with the utmost safety.

For more information about Palo Alto, TX, commercial damage restoration, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.