Recent Fire Damage Posts

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.

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.

What Not to Do Before Your Fire Damage Restoration Contractor Arrives

3/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO offers residents of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and Stanford advice on what to avoid while waiting for their fire damage restoration team to arrive.

After a fire, it is understandable to want to pick up the pieces and move on as quickly as possible. Having a dependable and reputable fire damage restoration professional inspect and repair the damage as soon as possible is instrumental in that process. 

The fire damage restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Palo Alto advise home and business owners not to do anything that may put anyone in danger or cause further damage in the aftermath of the fire. Here is what not to do while waiting for a fire damage restoration company. 

What Not to Do Before Your Fire Damage Restoration Contractor Arrives

Do Not Eat Any Food From the Damaged Property

No matter how well stored, it is imperative not to consume any food from the fire-damaged property. It is easy for smoke, soot, and other airborne contaminants from a fire to get into food. It is best to throw it all away.

Do Not Use Any Electrical Appliances From the Damaged Property

Avoid using electrical appliances such as computers, televisions, stereos, or electronic devices until they have been professionally inspected and cleaned. Large appliances such as refrigerators and ovens should be unplugged. Fires can easily damage electrical components, making them unsafe to use. 

Do Not Walk on Carpeting or Use Furniture From the Damaged Property

Avoid using any soft surface such as carpeting, upholstered furniture, bedding, curtains, and other fabrics until professionally cleaned. Heavy smoke residue and other debris easily seep into these, making them unsafe. SERVPRO of Palo Alto employs upholstery and fabric cleaning technicians to handle these issues specifically.

Do Not Attempt To Clean

It is essential to leave any damage just the way it is until everything is documented for insurance purposes. A professional fire damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto, can handle that process and ensure that all insurance requirements are met while they clean and repair the structure. This service includes cleaning up harmful chemicals that firefighters use to put out fires and water damage caused by fire hoses or burst pipes.

Fire Damage Repair and Restoration

Californians know how devastating fire damage can be to homes and other property. SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers 24-hour emergency service with specialized fire repair and restoration equipment to handle the damage no matter how severe. They can handle any fire emergency in and around Palo Alto, Atherton, and surrounding areas.

SERVPRO's professionals treat their customers with empathy and respect, making sure to restore their homes with the utmost care. Their fire damage restoration services include soot and smoke removal, water removal, upholstery and fabric cleaning, odor control, and more. 

About SERVPRO

In the aftermath of a structure fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help restore the building using state-of-the-art fire damage restoration equipment. Their experienced technicians have the know-how to resolve smoke, soot, and water damage from suppression efforts fast. 

Give SERVPRO a call, day or night, at (650) 800-3448, or request help online to learn more about the fire damage restoration process.

Contact Information:

SERVPRO of Palo Alto 

2225 E. Bayshore Road
Suite 270
Palo Alto, CA 94303

www.SERVPROpaloalto.com/

Fire Damage Prevention Tips and SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

Protecting your residence or business in the event of a fire is of the utmost importance. Having an emergency plan in place is critical to responding during and after the event. The first 48 hours after a fire can make a difference in determining whether to restore, or replace your property and personal processions. SERVPRO of Palo Alto believes in informing our customers the importance of fire prevention with some tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Never leave your cooking unattended especially when frying, grilling or broiling food.
  • Turn off the stove if you must leave, even for a short period of time.
  • Keep portable heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Inspect electrical cords and replace any that are cracked, damaged or broken.
  • Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn.
  • Have an escape plan.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto recognizes the importance of being prepared, which is why we provide our customers with an Emergency Ready Profile. Our SERVPRO professionals can assist you in developing an ERP plan which contains crucial information needed in the event of an emergency occurring.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for more information on fire prevention and restoration at 650-800-3448

How Palo Alto Homeowners Can Avoid Fire Damage From Space Heaters

1/6/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers ten space heater safety tips.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a locally owned and operated damage restoration company that is known for putting customers first. The technicians specialize in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial properties after a fire, smoke, or water damage incident. They also take care of mold and mildew outbreaks in homes or businesses. No job is too big or too small for SERVPRO of Palo Alto to handle, including fires caused by a space heater or other source of household warmth during the cold winter months. The highly trained staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore any property, residential or commercial. They understand the stress and worry that comes with fire or water damage. Their goal is to help minimize the disruption and restore the property to its pre-damage condition.

Palo Alto, CA, experiences one of the most temperate climates anywhere in the United States. The Mediterranean climate means that residents enjoy sunny comfort much of the year. However, the months from November through February do usher in cooler temperatures. A cozy fireplace or the warm glow of a space heater accompanied by a toasty cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate easily remedies a late evening or early morning chill.

Because of its compact size and energy efficiency, homeowners often use space heaters to help keep a particular living area warm. There are four types of space heaters that operate through the use of electricity:

  1. Convection heaters

This type of heater circulates air through the body of the appliance, which contains a heating element.

  1. Fan heaters

This device includes an electric fan to increase airflow. It is a type of convection heater.

  1. Oil heaters

In this type of convection heater, the casing of the heater is filled with oil, which provides a more even heating. These heaters often look like the old-fashioned radiator.

  1. Ceramic heaters

This technologically advanced heater utilizes a heating element that attains a high temperature. The element is contained in a glass (ceramic) envelope.

Although these heaters are an effective way to provide additional warmth, they can also pose a fire hazard.

Fire Facts: Space Heaters

  • One-half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February.
  • Eight out of ten home heating fires involve space heaters.
  • One-third of home heating fires are caused by space heaters.
  • One-fourth of home heating fire deaths were due to space heaters located too close to clothing, bedding, or upholstered furniture.

Space Heater Fire Prevention Tips

These simple tips promote the safe operation of space heaters.

  1. Inspect the unit, power cord, and plug before operating the heater. Carefully follow all maintenance and operating instructions at all times. Never operate a heater that is damaged or intermittently malfunctioning.
  2. Keep space heaters at least three feet from common combustibles such as bedding, clothing, and furniture.
  3. Keep pets and children away from space heaters.
  4. Never leave an operating space heater unattended.
  5. Avoid using a space heater in a damp room, such as in a bathroom when taking a shower. The excessively moist air can cause the space heater to short, resulting in an electrical fire.
  6. Always place the space heater on a stable, level, and nonflammable surface. Do not run the cord under a rug or carpet runner where it can be damaged by heavy foot traffic or impact from an object such as a canned good, tool, or piece of furniture.
  7. Do not use an extension cord with a space heater. The extension cord may arc and cause a house fire.
  8. Plug a space heater directly into an outlet with enough capacity and a snug fit.
  9. Make sure all smoke alarms are working and are on every level of the home. Test smoke alarms monthly.
  10. Never use a stove or oven as a substitute for a space heater.

Newer space heaters have advanced technology that makes them much safer and more efficient than older units. Consider purchasing a newer space heater if the one currently being used has not been properly maintained and is more than several years old. Do not place food, paper, beverages, or cushions on top of a space heater.

In case of a home heating fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the fire damage restoration process. For more information about fire damage restoration in Palo Alto, CA, and the surrounding area, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

More Fire Safety Tips for Northern California Wildfires

10/1/2020 (Permalink)

Wildfires pose a real danger to Northern California home and businesses

With the fires that are currently raging in Northern California's wine country fire safety, both from wildfires and accidental home fires, is a real concern for millions of California residents, including those in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City in Santa Clara County, California.

Due to a combination of reasons, including weather conditions (including lack of rain and lack of humidity), increasing temperatures (global warming), and simple human error or carelessness (tossed cigarettes, illegal bonfires, intentional fire-setting), wildfires have been increasing in number and intensity in recent years. This means that experiencing fire damage has become a very real possibility for many Californians, including those in many parts of Santa Clara County, California.

There’s also the danger of fires starting in your home from electrical shorts or kitchen fires (the most common cause of in-home fires). According to The Red Cross, “If a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape. During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.” Two minutes! That’s barely enough time to grab your pets and a couple of beloved belongings and escape. Not to mention dealing with the worry about your home due to fire damage because of fires in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, or Redwood City.

Here are the top 7 ways to prepare for a home fire from redcross.org:

  • Install the correct number of smoke alarms. Install a smoke detector inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations. Test your smoke alarm or smoke detector once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like, and teach them what to do when they hear one. Practice with them twice-yearly.
  • Ensure that all household members know at least two ways to escape from every room of your home, and that you determine a family meeting spot outside of your home in the case of a fire.
  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another or cannot meet at the predetermined family meeting spot.
  • Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year, and at random times. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1, no matter how young.
  • Teach family members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

The Red Cross also recommends you follow these fire-safe habits:

  • Keep items that can catch on fire, like flammable clothing, paper, toys, etc. at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Smoking paraphernalia is the leading cause of residential fire deaths in the United States. Please do not smoke. If you have to smoke, take precautions: Smoke outside, choose fire-safe cigarettes, don’t smoke in bed, don’t smoke when drowsy or medicated, or if anyone in the home is using oxygen. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
  • Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches, and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended, even for a minute.

Following these fire-safe habits won’t protect you against wildfires, but there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of fire damage to your home from a wildfire, such as those that have recently been burning in both Northern California and Southern California.

In the last two years, over 67,000 wildfires have been reported across the country each year, many in California. Yearly, wildfires destroy over 4,000 structures, with 3,000 of them residential. As real estate development expands into forests and grasslands, the chances of wildfire-related property damage go up.  

You can’t fight back a wildfire that is encroaching on your home or business, but you can take steps to protect yourself and your property. Learn how you can help protect your home or business from a wildfire.  Keep you and your family safe and know how and when to evacuate. Learn more in the second part of this blog post, to be continued next week.

If you already have suffered fire damage and need fire restoration, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 for a free estimate. Our highly trained technicians use advanced equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fall Fire Safety Tips to Protect Your Home | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

If you experience any property damage due to a fire, we are here for you. Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto to learn more.

While it’s true that house fires can happen at any time during the year, statistically most happen in the fall and winter months, according to the American Red Cross.

But here’s the good news: Whether you’re having fall fun around a roaring bonfire or just relaxing around the fireplace in your living room, you can take simple steps to make fire safety a priority.

Keeping Fall Fun and Safe

Many people look forward to lighting the first fire of the year in their fireplace. But before you relax in front of the fire with your pumpkin latte or hot cider, be sure to have your fireplace and chimney checked out by a professional. You’ll have more peace of mind if you know that your chimney or fireplace doesn’t need maintenance.

While you’re getting a fireplace checked out, ask your inspector to be sure any other heating systems you might use are working well, too. Fixing small issues before they become big problems can help you protect your home and family from fires.

Bonfires are another popular fall tradition. They’re a great way to gather friends and enjoy treats like s’mores. But if you’re having a bonfire, be sure there’s always someone nearby to keep an eye on the fire and help keep it under control so it doesn’t cause unexpected damage. Don’t leave a burning fire unattended in your yard.

Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries

Checking your smoke detectors a couple of times every year can help give your family a sense of security and protect them from the dangers that can come with fires. Most experts recommend having smoke detectors in all bedrooms and other strategic spots around the house, like in the living room.

When you check your smoke detectors, be sure to have new batteries on hand so you can change them out.

If you have problems remembering when you need to change the batteries in your smoke detectors (and many people do), a good rule of thumb is to switch them every spring and fall when you change your clocks.

<h2re-here-if-you-need-us">We’re Here if You Need Us

If an accident happens at your home this fall and you need help restoring fire or smoke damage, you don’t have to look far.

Our team is always ready to help you if a fire damages your home. Local experts can guide you through the fire restoration process and help get your home back in top shape.

We’re here to talk with you 247 if you need to learn more about our fire restoration process.

Take Precaution Every Time You Light Your Grill | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

7/24/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is the fire restoration experts. To learn more give us a call or contact us online.

Cooking a homemade meal is a great way to spend time together as a family, especially if you are taking advantage of your backyard space and your grill. Grilled food is always delicious, but we do encourage people to remember their fire safety considerations every time an open flame is around.

Grill fires happen more regularly than many people realize—nearly 6,000 occur annually, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. A few fire safety tactics can go a long way to ensuring every cookout is a safe one.

Ensure Every Cookout Is a Safe One With Fire Safety Tips

Create a safe zone around your grill. While the deck right outside your back door may seem like the most logical place to put your grill, it may not be the safest. Three feet is the recommended safe zone for grilling—this is the zone where there is nothing that could catch on fire or melt, just in case.

Clean your grill grates often. Good grill habits involve regularly cleaning your grates, but this is good for more than keeping cooking temperatures consistent. As food particles and grease accumulate on the grates of the grill, they can heat up and catch fire eventually. By regularly scraping down your grates, you can significantly lessen the chance of this occurring.

Never leave the grill unattended. As with any open flame, a lit grill should never be left unattended, even with a closed lid. Fires can happen in an instant, and if you are not there with your fire extinguisher, they can get out of hand before you know it. Having someone take over so you can take a break is a wise way to prevent any accidents.

Inspect the grill regularly. It is always a good idea to do a visual inspection of your grill, even if you have been using it regularly. With use, gas connections and hoses can deteriorate and cause leaks, which can lead to a catastrophe if the grill is lit and gas vapors are in the air. Making an inspection part of your habit is one of the best things you can do to ensure you are being safe.

If you have a grill fire that does damage to your home, we are here to help. You can call us any time, day or night, to have a quick response from our restoration experts.

Our Recommendations Regarding House Fire Recovery | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

If your home is damaged in a house fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is here to help. Contact us for any fire restoration needs.

It is important that you and everyone in your household know what to do in the event of a fire, including having an emergency plan and practicing evacuation drills. However, you should also be aware of the difficulties regarding the aftermath of a fire and have a plan for how to navigate those as well.

With our tips for navigating the aftermath of a house fire, you can make sure you are following the right steps for a simple, quick recovery for your household.

Tips for Navigating the Aftermath of a House Fire

Prepare yourself for what to expect. The damages from every house fire are unique, but understanding the common implications of house fire damage is a good way to prepare yourself. Smoke and soot can often travel throughout the home, even impacting areas that had no direct flames. Additionally, firefighters may have to cause damage in order to make the fire safe to fight, so it is wise to prepare for these things ahead of time to avoid the shock.

Wait to enter your home. It is normal to immediately want to begin handling the damage and getting the restoration process started, but first, you need to make sure it is safe for you to re-enter the home. Structural damage is quite common after a fire breaks out, so wait for officials to authorize it before you go back into the home.

Contact your insurance company. The process of filing an insurance claim will vary based on your provider, so getting in touch with them early on is highly recommended. This way you can be certain you are not taking any unauthorized actions that could undermine your claim.

Document the damages. Records of the damages in the way of inventory lists and photographs are a smart way to stay organized. Not only will this be helpful for you as you recall what items you must replace after the restoration, but you can also use this to simplify your insurance claims process as well.

Contact your restoration company. A house fire is a traumatic thing for your family to experience, so recovering quickly is a great way to emotionally heal from the process. To make it as smooth as possible, we always recommend working with a reputable, well-trusted restoration company that is based locally, so you can be certain the job will be done right.

If your home is damaged in a house fire, you can count on us to help you. Get in touch at any hour for a quick response.

Top Tips to Boost Your Household Fire Safety | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

1/30/2020 (Permalink)

Protect Your Home From Fire

Because we have helped many local families restore their homes following a fire, we are aware of just how devastating a house fire can be. Not only can flames rip through property and belongings, but they can also cause traumatic and irreparable injuries.

In order to help the community be more fire-safe, we wanted to take the time to assemble the fire safety tips that we think every individual should be aware of. While some fires happen erratically, using these tips will significantly reduce your chances of experiencing one.

Tips to Up Your Fire Safety Efforts

Frequently Check Smoke Detectors. Smoke alarms should be installed throughout the house and checked every 30 days to ensure they are operational. Homeowners are also wise to consider installing an interconnected system, so they all will alert you when one picks up a hint of smoke.

Have a Fire Escape Plan. Crafting a plan for how to escape once a fire breaks out in your home and practicing it often is one of the best measures to take to ensure your family can quickly get to safety. Make sure everyone is aware of what to do and where to meet outside.

Know How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher. Selecting the right fire extinguisher, storing it safely and educating every household member on how to use it can be the difference between a scary moment and a full-scale disaster.

Never Leave Flames Unattended. Open flames are everywhere—grills, fireplaces and candles are common fire starters that many people do not consider dangerous. No matter how small the flame, it is advised to never leave the room if there is a fire lit as it could spread in a moment.

Keep a Closed-Door Policy. The most dangerous fires are the ones that occur at night, because of the reduced reaction time involved with waking up to a house fire. One of the things that can make the biggest difference is sleeping with the bedroom door closed—this will slow down the spread of flames to provide more reaction time to everyone in the home.

If you’d like to learn more about protecting yourself from a house fire and how our restoration services can help you recover, get in touch today to learn more.

Quality Fire Damage Restoration Services for Bay Area Homes & Businesses

1/19/2020 (Permalink)

Devastating Fire Damage from Firestorms in Californa

Last year was a major year of firestorms in many parts of California -- from Southern California to Northern California.

Damage caused by a fire is life-changing for home and business owners. It’s a stressful and confusing time, so you’ll need caring fire restoration experts to guide you through this crisis, from beginning to end. The professional restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Palo Alto will always treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always handle your home or business with great care. We can recover many of your belongings that you may have thought lost forever. 

Home or business owners can be caught off guard with a sudden fire emergency. It’s important not to delay and discuss available coverage with your insurance company, in addition to taking the appropriate steps to limit the losses you might experience in case of an emergency situation. SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you deal with your insurance company, and assist you with the paperwork involved in your claim, making the process as stress-free as possible.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire damage to help you through this tough time. We can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition. SERVPRO uses the latest technology, including water extractors, moisture detectors, and air moving equipment to effectively dry areas affected by firefighting efforts.

Rely on SERVPRO of Palo Alto for fire damaging events to your property. We are available 24/7, including holidays. Call us at 650-800-3448 for fire restoration in the Bay Area today!

Top 5 Fire Prevention Tips for the Bay Area

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

Contact SERVPRO for Information about Creating Your ERP

Having an emergency response plan (ERP) in case of a fire is important in order to protect your residence or business in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Atherton, and Redwood City. The first 48 hours after a fire can make a difference in determining whether to restore, rather than to replace your property and personal processions. SERVPRO of Palo Alto believes in educating our customers on the importance of fire prevention with the top five tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Do not leave your cooking unattended, especially when frying, grilling, or broiling food. The stove should be turn off if you must leave, even for a short period of time
  • Portable heaters should be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Inspect electrical cord and replace any that are cracked, damage or broken.
  • Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn.
  • Have an escape plan.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we believe in the importance of being prepared, which is why we provide our customers with an Emergency Ready Profile. Our SERVPRO professionals can assist you in developing an ERP plan which contains crucial information needed in the event of an emergency occurring.

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto for more information on fire prevention and for any fire restoration needs at 650-800-3448 today!

Quality Fire Damage Restoration Services for Bay Area Homes & Businesses

12/14/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto restores fire damage in Bay Area cities like Palo Alto

Damage caused by a fire is devastating for home and business owners in the Bay Area, particularly in Palo Alto, Stanford, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park. It’s a stressful and confusing time, so you’ll need caring experts to guide you through this crisis, from beginning to end. Our damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto will always treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always handle your home and belongings with great care. We can recover many of your belongings that you may have thought lost forever. 

Home or business owners can be caught off guard by a sudden fire emergency. It’s important not to delay and discuss available coverage with your insurance company, in addition to taking the appropriate steps to limit the losses you might experience in case of an emergency situation. SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you deal with your insurance company, and assist you with the paperwork involved in your claim, making the process as stress-free and efficient as possible.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire damage to help you through this tough time. We can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition, so you can enjoy your home again. SERVPRO uses the latest damage restoration technology, including water extractors, moisture detectors, and air moving equipment to effectively dry areas affected by firefighting efforts.

Rely on SERVPRO of Palo Alto for fire damaging events to your property. We are available 24/7, including holidays. Call us at 650-800-3448 today!

Types of Smoke and Fire Damage in Your Palo Alto Home

10/14/2019 (Permalink)

With fire damage, comes smoke and soot. Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. SERVPRO of Palo Alto's 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. You may have water damage from the firefighting efforts that may have caused mold. For all your cleaning and restoration services, 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 SERVPRO of Palo Alto Today at (650) 800-3448 for 24-hour service, 365 days a year!

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Takes Care of Your Fire Damage

10/1/2019 (Permalink)

Many homeowners in Palo Alto, Atherton, Menlo Park, Redwood City, North Fair Oaks, and Stanford who experience a fire damage event don't know what to do, where to begin, or how to rebuild or recuperate from such a loss. Many will be displaced for weeks or months at a time while their homes are being completely rebuilt or will face partial reconstruction and major cleanup.

The first thing you should do after such a loss is speak with your insurance company. Educate yourself on your policy and loss coverage.

Something to think about while writing up a policy (and prior to a natural disaster) is documenting your contents before such a loss can ravage your home. Taking pictures of your furniture, electronics, major belongings, in addition to creating lists of your valuables can literally save you thousands when you are trying to recoup your losses and make an insurance claim on damages.

If you are one of the lucky ones where the fire didn't completely consume your home, your insurance company will suggest calling a professional fire cleanup and restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto. For homeowners in Palo Alto, Stanford, Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and North Fair Oaks, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you throughout the entire process. We work closely with you and your insurance claims representatives to clean up your home and contents, salvage what is salvageable, and inventory what is determined to be a total loss. We will remove the heavy smoke odor from your property and belongings and coordinate dry cleaners and other relevant contractors who can help repair your home. We will treat you and your property with great care and respect throughout the process. Our fire services include:

  • Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
  • Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)
  • Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
  • Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
  • Cleaning and Repair
  • Fire Restoration

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, water and mold damage. 

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we treat our customers with empathy and respect. Call us at 650-800-3448 if you need the best in the business when it comes to fire restoration!

Fire Safety Facts & Prevention Tips for the Bay Area

3/8/2019 (Permalink)

Keep safe with these fire safety tips.

FIRE SAFETY FACTS

Each year, more than 4,000 Americans die in fires, more than 25,000 are injured in fires, and more than 100 firefighters are killed while on duty. Eighty three percent of all civilian fire deaths occurred in residences. Many of these fires could have been prevented.

Cooking is the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people ages 65 and older.

Direct loss due to fires is estimated at nearly $8.6 billion annually. Intentionally set structure fires resulted in an estimated $664 million in property damage.

In order to protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire.

  • Fire is FAST. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

  • Fire is DARK. Fire produces gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three- to- one ratio.

  • Fire is HOT. Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super- hot air can sear your lungs.

    FIRE PREVENTION TIPS

    BEFORE A FIRE

    The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of a fire:

    SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS

  • Install smoke alarms. Properly working smoke alarms decrease your chances of dying in a fire by half.

  • Place smoke alarms on every level of your residence, including the basement.

  • Install a working carbon monoxide detector in the common area of the bedrooms.

  • Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year. Replace smoke

    alarms once every 10 years.

    COOKING SAFETY

    • Never leave cooking unattended.

    • Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook.

    • Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames

    • Never use the range or oven to heat your home.

      ESCAPING THE FIRE

• Have an escape plan. Review escape routes with your family.

  • Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut.

  • Teach family members to stay low to the floor, where the air is safer, when escaping from a fire.

  • In high-rise, never lock fire exits or doorways, halls or stairways. Never prop stairway or other fire

    doors open.

    HEATING SOURCE

  • Place space heaters at least three feet away from flammable/combustible materials.

  • Use only the type of fuel designated for your space heater.

    MATCHES/LIGHTERS AND SMOKING

  • Keep matches/lighters away from children.

  • Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated.

  • If you must smoke, do it responsibly.

    ELECTRICAL WIRING

  • Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs

  • Make sure outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring.

  • Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails, or across high traffic areas.

  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets.

    ASK THE FIRE DEPARTMENT TO INSPECT YOUR HOME FOR FIRE SAFETY AND PREVENTION

    DURING A FIRE

    If your clothes catch on fire, you should:

• Stop, drop, and roll until the fire is extinguished.

DO NOT PANIC

• Do not assume someone else already called the fire department get out of the house then call the Fire Department.

ESCAPE A FIRE

  • Check closed doors with the back of your hand to feel for heat before you open them.

  • If the door is hot do not open it. Find a second way out, such as a window. If you cannot escape

    through a window, hang a white sheet outside the window to alert firefighters to your presence.

  • Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, rags, bedding or tape and cover vents to keep smoke

    out.

  • If there is a phone in the room where you are trapped, call the fire department again and tell them

    exactly where you are.

  • If the door is cold slowly open it and ensure that fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape

route. If your escape route is blocked, shut the door and use another escape route.

• If clear, leave immediately and close the door behind you. Be prepared to crawl.AFTER A FIRE

  • Once you are out of the building, STAY OUT! Do not go back inside for any reason.

  • If you are with a burn victim or are a burn victim yourself call 911, cool and cover your burns until

    emergency units arrive.

  • If you are a tenant contact the landlord.

  • Tell the fire department if you know of anyone trapped in the building.

  • Only enter when the fire department tells you it is safe to do so.

Holiday Fire Prevention Tips

12/12/2018 (Permalink)

Holiday Fire Hazard in Palo Alto, California

Holiday Safety Tips


It's the happiest time of the year! 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 that this time of year lends itself to some very real fire hazards. 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.

Kitchen

  • 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.

Candles

  • 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, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (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!

Has Your Property Suffered Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto

9/21/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto takes care of fire restoration needs quickly and professionally!

Many homeowners in the Bay Area who experience a fire damage event don't know what to do, where to begin, or how to rebuild or recuperate from such a loss. Many will be displaced for months while their homes are being completely rebuilt, and some will be facing partial reconstruction and major cleanup.

The first thing you should do after such a loss is speak with your insurance company. Clarify your policy, and hopefully your loss will be covered. Something to think about while writing up a policy (and prior to a natural disaster) is documenting your contents before such a loss can ravage your home. Taking pictures of your furniture, electronics, major belongings and creating lists of your valuables can literally save you thousands when you are trying to recoup your losses and make an insurance claim of what has been damaged or burnt.

If you are one of the lucky ones where the fire didn't completely consume your home, your insurance company will suggest calling a professional fire cleanup and restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto. For homeowners in Palo Alto, Stanford, Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and North Fair Oaks, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you throughout the entire process. We work closely with you and your insurance claims representatives to clean up your home and contents, salvage what is salvageable, and inventory what is determined to be a total loss. We will remove the heavy smoke odor from your property and belongings and coordinate dry cleaners and other relevant contractors who can help repair your home. We will treat you and your property with great care and respect throughout the process. Our fire services include:

  • Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
  • Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)
  • Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
  • Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
  • Cleaning and Repair
  • Fire Restoration

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, water and mold damage. 

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we treat our customers with empathy and respect. Call us at 650-800-3448 today!

Fire Prevention Tips for Palo Alto Residents

9/21/2018 (Permalink)

Create your emergency response plan today!

Having an emergency response plan (ERP) in case of a fire is important in order to protect your residence or business in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Atherton, and Redwood City. The first 48 hours after a fire can make a difference in determining whether to restore, rather than to replace your property and personal processions. SERVPRO of Palo Alto believes in informing our customers the importance of fire prevention with some tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Do not leave your cooking unattended specially when frying, grilling or broiling food. The stove should be turn off if you must leave, even for a short period of time
  • Portable heaters should be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Inspect electrical cord and replace any that are cracked, damage or broken.
  • Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn.
  • Have an escape plan.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we believe in the importance of being prepared, which is why we provide our customers with an Emergency Ready Profile. Our SERVPRO professionals can assist you in developing an ERP plan which contains crucial information needed in the event of an emergency occurring.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for more information on Fire prevention and restoration at 650-800-3448 today!

Football Season Fire Safety

9/13/2018 (Permalink)

Fire safety during football season

Football season is here!

Benny, our SERVPRO office mascot, is ready for tailgating parties, and BBQs. But before you get started, he has some important tips for you.

Benny’s fire safety tips during this football season:

  • Make sure to have a fire extinguishers handy when grilling.
  • If at home, make sure all fire detectors are properly installed.
  • Using a charcoal grill? Make sure the coals are cool before disposing.
  • Make sure there are no flammable items nearby when cooking or grilling.
  • Never leave the grill or stove unattended.

If your home does suffer from a fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will be there for you. Once firefighters have cleared the premises, your property might have suffered water damage from their firefighting efforts as well as smoke and soot damage.

For fire restoration services, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the training needed to restore your home and property to pre-fire condition. Do not wait to call us at 650-800-3448.

Benny and our SERVPRO of Palo Alto team, wish your favorite team the best of luck this season!

Wildfire Safety Tips for California Residents Part 2

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Northern California Fire Damage

The new year has started, and with it should be taking proactive steps to help prevent fires - both in the home from kitchen accidents and electrical shorts to threats from outside the home that result in wildfires. The end of 2017 saw massive wildfires in  Napa Valley and Sonoma counties, Ventura county, and  Los Angeles as we wrote about in Part 1 of this blog post. Let’s learn our lesson and do what we can to prevent and minimize fire damage where we live and where SERVPRO of Palo Alto serves: Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and Redwood City in Santa Clara County, California.

Because weather conditions are drier and hotter every year, and because many people are careless with their cigarettes and bonfires, fire damage in California becomes a reality for many California residents of Santa Clara county. Almost 70,000 wildfires occurred in the United States just in the last two years, destroying over 4,000 standing structures, including businesses and homes.  You can’t necessarily fight back an out-of-control wildfire that’s threatening your home or business, but you can take steps to protect yourself and your property.

In addition to the top 7 ways to prep for a home fire - which includes installing the correct number of smoke alarms, teaching children about smoke alarm protocol, having at least two escape routes from your home in the case of a fire, and practicing escaping at least twice a year - the Red Cross gives you these wildfire-specific tips that you can use in the case of wildfires in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and Redwood City in Santa Clara County, California.

These are important steps you can take to help reduce the risk of fire damage and smoke or soot damage to your home from a wildfire, such as those that have recently burned in both Northern California and Southern California.

Before a Wildfire

Defend your property in the case of a wildfire. One of the first steps you limiting the fire fuel sources around your home or business.

30 Feet or less from your property

  • Clear combustible materials such as dried leaves and pine needles.
  • Cut down any tree limbs that are 15 feet or closer to the ground. This helps prevent the fire from spreading into your property’s tree line.
  • Remove any vines or vegetation that is on the side of your structure or property.
  • Store any flammable lawn furniture during the off season.
  • Choose non-flammable decor for your landscaping, such as gravel instead of wood chips.

Within 100 to 30 feet from your property

  • Create “fuel breaks” in your property. Fuel breaks can help stop the spread of a fire. Examples are gravel pathways or driveways.
  • Cut any trees branches that are 8 feet or closer to the ground.
  • Clear combustible vegetation.

Within 200 to 100 feet from your home

  • Place stacked firewood or scrap wood no closer to your property line.
  • Continue to clear combustible vegetation.
  • Plant trees far enough apart so their branches do not touch, and trim branches that do touch.
  • Prepare your home or business for a wildfire. If possible, use Class A roofing material. This includes tile, slate, or asphalt. You can also use Class B pressure-treated shingles or shakes.
  • Consider installing fire sprinklers. In some areas, fire sprinklers are mandatory for businesses.

Outside your home, make sure your garden hose is long enough have enough to reach any part of your property. Make sure that the fire department can access water sources such as swimming pools, ponds, lakes, wells, and fire hydrants.

Create an emergency escape plan. Speak to city or county officials to learn what the evacuation route is for your area, and discuss this evacuation route with everyone in your family and your employees. Ensure family members who live nearby know the route and have means of transportation. Also, sign up for emergency text or alert messages from your city or neighborhood. And importantly, don’t forget to create an emergency kit.

During a Wildfire

  • Prepare to evacuate.
  • Listen to emergency channels or follow your city’s social media to keep up on the status of the fire.
  • Keep your emergency kit handy so you can evacuate quickly.

After a Wildfire

  • Return to your home or business only when it is safe, and when officials declare it safe to do so.
  • Watch out for ash pits and hot spots. These are holes filled with hot ashes left by burned trees. Even after a fire is extinguished, small fires can flare up without warning.
  • Check your house and surrounding property for hot spots and extinguish them immediately. Also, be on the lookout for ash pits.
  • Document the damage. Take photos and video and make a written list documenting your damaged property. Contact your insurance company immediately to report the damage.
  • Call a respected restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto to help mitigate fire damage, smoke damage, soot damage, and water damage quickly, professionally, and efficiently.

Wildfires are some of the most destructive forces of nature. There isn’t much that can be done to deter a wildfire’s path. But luckily, there are ways to help mitigate fire damage, smoke and soot damage, and water damage from fire-fighting efforts to keep your loved ones and employees safe.

If you already have suffered fire damage and need fire restoration or smoke and soot restoration, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 for a free estimate. Our highly trained technicians use advanced equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Safety Tips for California Residents

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Safety Tips

With the fires that raged in Napa Valley and Sonoma county, and the ones that are currently active in Ventura county and in Los Angeles, fire safety, both from wildfires and accidental home fires, is a real concern for millions of California residents, including those in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and Redwood City in Santa Clara County, California.

Due to a combination of reasons, including weather conditions (including lack of rain and lack of humidity), increasing temperatures (global warming), and simple human error or carelessness (tossed cigarettes, illegal bonfires, intentional fire-setting), wildfires have been increasing in number and intensity in recent years. This means that experiencing fire damage is a real possibility for many Californians, including those in many parts of Santa Clara County, California.

There’s also the danger of fires starting in your home from electrical shorts or kitchen fires (the most common cause of in-home fires). According to The Red Cross, “If a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape. During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.” Two minutes! That’s barely enough time to grab your pets and a couple of beloved belongings and escape. Not to mention dealing with the worry about your home due to fire damage because of fires in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton or Redwood City.

Here are the top 7 ways to prepare for a home fire from redcross.org:

  • Install the correct number of smoke alarms. Install a smoke detector inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations. Test your smoke alarm or smoke detector once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like, and teach them what to do when they hear one. Practice with them twice-yearly.
  • Ensure that all household members know at least two ways to escape from every room of your home, and that you determine a family meeting spot outside of your home in the case of a fire.
  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another or cannot meet at the predetermined family meeting spot.
  • Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year, and at random times. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1, no matter how young.
  • Teach family members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

The Red Cross also recommends you follow these fire-safe habits:

  • Keep items that can catch on fire, like flammable clothing, paper, toys, etc. at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Smoking paraphernalia is the leading cause of residential fire deaths in the United States. Please do not smoke. If you have to smoke, take precautions: Smoke outside, choose fire-safe cigarettes, don’t smoke in bed, don’t smoke when drowsy or medicated, or if anyone in the home is using oxygen. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
  • Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended, even for a minute.

Following these fire-safe habits won’t protect you against wildfires, but there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of fire damage to your home from a wildfire, such as those that have recently been burning in both Northern California and Southern California.

In the last two years, over 67,000 wildfires have been reported across the country each year, many in California. Yearly, wildfires destroy over 4,000 structures, with 3,000 of them residential. As real estate development expands into forests and grasslands, the chances of wildfire related property damage goes up.  

You can’t fight back a wildfire that is encroaching on your home or business, but you can take steps to protect yourself and your property. Learn how you can help protect your home or business from a wildfire.  Keep you and your family safe and know how and when to evacuate. Learn more in the second part of this blog post, to be continued next week.

If you already have suffered fire damage and need fire restoration, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 for a free estimate. Our highly trained technicians use advanced equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Planning Halloween the SERVPRO way!

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

From all of us at SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we wish you a SPOOK-TACULAR and SAFE Halloween!

October is here, and department stores are stocking up on pumpkins, costumes, and candy to prepare for Halloween on October 31st. Halloween is an exciting holiday for most families—even pets join in for the clever costumes and trick-or-treating excitement. At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we urge our customers who celebrate this holiday to take the necessary precautions to make it safe. Every year, Halloween fires occur, affecting hundreds of home structures due to candles, decorations, or unsafe costumes, and causing fire damage and smoke damage, requiring extensive fire restoration. Most holiday fire hazards can be avoided by taking safety precautions, and by a little extra planning to ensure this year’s Halloween remains fire-free and enjoyable for all.

The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) statistics show that from 2009-2013, an average of 860 home structure fires occurred, causing an average of one death, 41 injuries, and $13 million in direct property damage per year. These fires usually occur from flammable decoration being placed too close to a heat source. Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den.

Below are some Halloween safety tips provided by the NFPA to ensure that this year’s trick-or-treating does not turn into a horror story.

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long, trailing fabric. If you’re making your own costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
  • Provide children with flashlights to light their paths, or give them glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
  • Use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a Jack-o-lantern. If you insist on using a real candle, practice extreme caution. Make sure children are supervised at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
  • Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
  • If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
  • Children should always go trick-or-treating with a responsible adult.
  • Remind children to stay together as a group when walking from house to house.
  • Review how to safely cross a street with your child. Look left, right, and left again to be sure no cars are approaching before crossing the street.
  • Make (and enforce) the rule that children not eat any treat until it has been brought home and examined by an adult.

Pre-planning

As part of your Halloween pre-planning, download our Emergency Ready APP to your phone or tablet to create a personalized plan in case of an emergency. The app is free and easy to use. If you have any questions or damage to your property, please feel free to call us at (650) 800-3448.

Download the app today! 

SERVPRO of Palo Alto

2625 Middlefield Road #557 Palo Alto, CA 94306(650) 800-3448

Select SERVPRO of Palo Alto as your preferred franchise.

https://ready.SERVPRO.com/home/mobileapp

Protect Your Home from a Wildfire

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

As Californians, we know the real threat of wildfires. California residents need to be more aware on how best to protect their homes from wildfires. Our wildfire risk is extremely high, especially with the severe drought conditions our state can face. According to the Federal Emergency  Management Agency (FEMA), here are some top ways to protect your property in Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and North Fair Oaks 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 0-5 feet, and 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 feet 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 combustible materials away from the house? Identify all combustible materials outside the house, stack firewood 100 feet away and uphill from the house. Keep the gas grill and propane tank at least 15feet away from the house and place a mesh screen over the grill. 

Is the roof made of noncombustible 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 out 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 a 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 treat 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 windows and noncombustible awnings can also help reduce your risk

Dealing with the aftermath of a fire event can be a frustrating journey. SERVPRO of Palo Alto stands by ready to help you make the fire restoration process as painless as possible. If you need us, dial 650-800-3448.

Quality Fire Damage Restoration Services for Bay Area Home

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

Damage caused by a fire is devastating for home and business owners. It’s a stressful and confusing time, so you’ll need caring experts to guide you through this crisis. Our professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto will always treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always handle your home and belongings with great care. We can recover many of your belongings that you may have thought lost forever. 

Home or business owners can be caught off guard with a sudden fire emergency. It’s important not to delay and discuss available coverage with your insurance company, in addition to taking the appropriate steps to limit the losses you might experience in case of an emergency situation. SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you deal with your insurance company, and assist you with the paperwork involved in your claim, making the process as stress-free as possible.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire damage to help you through this tough time. We can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition. SERVPRO uses the latest technology, including water extractors, moisture detectors, and air moving equipment to effectively dry areas affected by firefighting efforts.

Rely on SERVPRO of Palo Alto for fire damaging events to your property. We are available 24/7, including holidays. Call us at 650-800-3448.

Cooking Fires & Safety

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause is leaving cooking unattended. Fires can happen very quickly, even if you walk away for just a moment. When cooking, it’s important to stay in the kitchen, and keep anything that can catch fire away from stovetops. Oven mitts, wooden utensil, food packaging, and towels are all prone to be caught on fire, even by a spark. If a stove fire were to inevitably occur, and you are unable to contain the fire with a fire extinguisher, quickly get everyone out of the house, and call 911 or your local emergency number! Don’t forget to take your pets with you, and close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

Use Caution with Fire Extinguishers

Remember the word PASS when using a fire extinguisher:
1. Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you. 
2. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
3. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly. 
4. Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire has been extinguished.

How to Recover after a Fire

  • Wash small wounds with soap and water to help prevent infections. Use bandages and replace them if they become soiled or damaged. If you have suffered from any injuries, have them treated by a medical professional immediately.
  • Remain calm and patiently deal with urgent situations first. Take care of yourself and your family. If necessary contact your local disaster relieve service, such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army for shelter assistance, clothing, medicine, and other important things.
  • Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter.
  • When entering your damaged home, be sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirt, closed toed shoes, safety googles, and a hard hat (if necessary) to avoid injuries from falling particles of damaged ceilings and structure.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto when the fire department clears your property and it is safe to enter. Our advanced training enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. For any emergencies, call us 24/7 for prompt service at 650-800-3448.

Protecting Your Pets During a Disaster or Emergency Event

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

In the event of fire emergency or storm disaster, most people consider the safety of their family, but many may forget to consider the safety of their pets. According to the Unites States Fire Administration, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires alone. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by homeowners' pets.

The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have joined forces to provide the following tips:

  • Extinguish Open Flames- Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
  • Remove Stove Knobs- Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house - a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
  • Invest in flameless Candles- These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
  • Secure Young Pets - Keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home, such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.

Emergency Pet Safety

Sadly enough, many forget to include their pets in their plan in case of an emergency. It’s important to practice your emergency plan with your family, while including your pets as part of the practice. This includes taking emergency pet supplies with you, if you are forced to evacuate. Also, make sure your pets are micro-chipped and wearing collars with updated contact information.

Comforting your Pet

A fire event can be frightening to your pet, especially with the loud sounds of fire alarms. Scared animals often react by biting or scratching. If you have pets, find them and comfort them. Handle them carefully, calmly, and gently. If you were to be separated from your pet during an emergency event, proper identifications tags or microchips will increase your chances of being reunited.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto stands ready to assist after tragedy strikes. Contact us at 650-800-3448 for any questions regarding Emergency Planning and/or Damage Restoration for your home or business.

Football Season Is Here!

9/12/2017 (Permalink)

Football season is here!

Benny, our office mascot, is ready for tailgating parties and BBQs.

Benny’s safety tips during this football season:

  • Make sure to have a fire extinguishers handy when grilling.
  • If at home, make sure all fire detectors are properly installed.
  • Using a charcoal grill? Make sure the coals are cool before disposing
  • Make sure there are no flammable items nearby when cooking or grilling.
  • Never leave the grill or stove unattended.

If your home does suffers from a fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will be there for you. Once firefighters have cleared the premises, your property might have suffered water damage from their firefighting efforts as well as smoke and soot damage.

For fire restoration services, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the training needed to restore your home and property to pre-fire condition. Do not wait to call us at 650-800-3448.

Benny and our SERVPRO of Palo Alto team, wish your favorite team the best of luck this season!

Fire Prevention Tips For Palo Alto Residents

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

Create your ERP today!

Fire Prevention

Having an emergency plan in case of a fire is important in order to protect your residence or business. The first 48 hours after a fire can make a difference in determining whether to restore, rather than to replace your property and personal processions. SERVPRO of Palo Alto believes in informing our customers the importance of fire prevention with some tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Do not leave your cooking unattended specially when frying, grilling or broiling food. The stove should be turn off if you must leave, even for a short period of time
  • Portable heaters should be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Inspect electrical cord and replace any that are cracked, damage or broken.
  • Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn.
  • Have an escape plan.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we believe in the importance of being prepared, which is why we provide our customers with an Emergency Ready Profile. Our SERVPRO professionals can assist you in developing an ERP plan which contains crucial information needed in the event of an emergency occurring.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for more information on Fire prevention and restoration at 650-800-3448

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.

Kitchen

  • 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.

Candles

  • 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!

 

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

9/23/2015 (Permalink)

Credit: qctimes.com

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.

Northern California Wildfires Rage--Leaving a Path of Destruction and Pain

9/15/2015 (Permalink)

Fires raging in California. Photo credit: Together.com.

As the fires in Lake County, Valley, Napa and Butte are ravaging thousands of acres and burning hundreds of homes and buildings to the ground. Neighboring homes are still being threatened and facing severe smoke, soot and property damage. The drought-stricken conditions and dry brush are making conditions for fire fighters impossible. The outlook looks harsh, according to California's emergency services director, "...we don't see an end in the fire season." 

Many homeowners in this devastated aftermath don't know what to do, where to begin and how to rebuild or recuperate from such a loss. Many will be displaced for months while their homes are being completely rebuilt and some will be facing partial reconstruction and major cleanup.

First thing you should do after such a loss is speak to your insurance company. Clarify your policy and hopefully your loss will be covered. One thing to think about while writing up a policy and prior to a natural disaster, is documenting your contents before such a loss can ravage your home. Taking pictures of your furniture, electronics, major belongings and creating lists of your valuables can literally save you when you are trying to recoup your losses and make an insurance claim of what has been damaged or burnt.

If you are one of the lucky ones where the fire didn't completely consume your home, your insurance company will suggest calling a professional fire cleanup and restoration company, such as SERVPRO. For homeowners in Palo Alto, we will help you throughout the entire process. We will work closely with you and your insurance claims representatives to clean up your home and contents, salvage what is salvageable, and inventory what is a total loss. We will remove the heavy smoke odor from your property and belongings and coordinate dry cleaners and other relevant contractors who can help repair your home. We will treat you and your property with great care and respect throughout the process. Our fire services include:

Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)
Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
Cleaning and Repair
Restoration

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can respond immediately to your water, or fire 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/fire emergency occurs in a big-box store or a small office building, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion.