Fire Safety: What to Do Until Help Arrives
You can help minimize fire damage!
If your property has undergone fire damage, there are a few precautionary measures you can take while waiting for SERVPRO to arrive.
What to Do:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty the freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of the leaves.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What Not to Do:
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your local SERVPRO.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat, or water.
- Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Never do anything that could put yourself or others in harm's way. SERVPRO will be there as soon as possible to restore your property to its pre-fire condition.
Types of Contaminated Water
Avoid cleaning up contaminated water on your own.
Water Damage can be classified into three types of contaminated water. Each type requires a different plan of action that will be determined by SERVPRO experts when they inspect your home or business.
- Water from a clean source is like a broken water line.
- If left untreated can degrade into a category 2 or 3.
- May contain bacteria and viruses.
- Can quickly degrade into category 3 if left untreated.
- Some examples include washing machine overflow or dishwasher overflow.
- Grossly contaminated and could cause health effects.
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes.
- Water from flooding rivers or a sewer backup.
Water contaminated with a sewage backup is considered an emergency and should be treated as quickly as possible. SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We have experts with specialized training to restore your building to its pre-disaster condition.
Water Damage Tips
Protect your belongings from water damage.
Like in any emergency, safety should be your priority. In the case of flooding or any other instance of water damage, there are a few things you should and should not do while waiting for help.
What to Do:
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in the summer.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- Gather loose items from floors.
What Not to Do:
- Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
- Don't leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpet floors.
- Don't use your household vacuum, to remove water.
- Don't use television or other household appliances
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet; keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
Remember to perform these tasks if it is safe to do so. SERVPRO will arrive promptly to help get your property back to its pre-damage condition.
Fire Safety in Commercial Buildings
Maintain fire safety in large commercial buildings.
It can take just 30 seconds for a manageable fire to become deadly. Although the flames may start out small, they can quickly engulf not just the room but an entire building. Commercial buildings often have multiple stories with elevators or stairways. If a building has an elevator, it acts as a chimney during a fire. It brings smoke and flames to other building floors, spreading the fire and causing even more damage.
Fire safety is extremely important in any building, especially in multi-level structures. Be sure to have safe escape routes and evacuation strategies. Routes that will keep them out of the path of the fire. This means avoiding places that conduct heat and smoke like elevators. Make sure all the employees know the location of fire extinguishers. You can also assign one individual to do routine fire safety checks. For example, making sure the fire extinguishers are filled.
Fire prevention is just as important. After all, it's better to avoid a fire than to put one out. It's important to keep up with building and equipment maintenance. That includes, confirming electrical fuses and outlets are in good condition, arranging rooms without fire hazards, removing flammable materials, etc.
Despite taking even the best fire prevention methods, fires can still occur. SERVPRO can clean up the damage like it never even happened.
Is Water the Best Way to Extinguish a Fire?
Water can sometimes make a fire worse.
Most people think that the best way to put out a fire is with water. However, using water on certain types of fires can actually make them even more dangerous and will maximize the amount of fire damage.
When Water is Recommended
Water can be used effectively, but not for every fire. Class A fires are the most common and easiest to put out. They are made up of solid combustible materials like paper, wood, and plastic. With Class A fires, you want to remove the fire's heat supply. Water is an effective way to do that and is recommended in this instance.
When to Avoid Using Water
Other than Class A, it's usually best to avoid using water to extinguish a fire. For example, Class C and K fires. Class C fires involve electrical equipment and are common in commercial buildings but can happen in residential buildings as well. The first thing to do is to cut off the power source from the appliance if it is safe to do so. A carbon dioxide or dry powder extinguisher will do well to help put out the fire. If you are able to disconnect the power source, this fire can become a Class A fire. However, it is best to avoid using water as it can conduct electricity and put you at even more risk.
Class K fires usually involve cooking oils. These are typically common in commercial or residential kitchens. In a commercial kitchen, there will most likely be a wet chemical extinguisher that should be used in the event of a Class K fire. However, if you are cooking at home you may not have access to one. In that case, cover the fire immediately with a lid or cookie sheet. Do not use water on Class K fires. It can cause hot grease or oil to splash on you.
When in Doubt, Get Out!
If you aren't sure what the best way to extinguish the fire is or the flames are getting out of control, evacuate the building immediately and call 911! It can take just 30 seconds for a small flame to grow into a deadly fire. Once the fire is put out, call your local SERVPRO professionals to repair the damage. SERVPRO has the knowledge and equipment to restore the damage done by each type of fire. We will be there within one hour of your call and will make it like it never even happened.
Commercial or Residential Roof Damage: What to do/What Not to Do
Severe roof damage caused by a storm.
A severe storm may leave your commercial building, your home or property with damaged windows, walls, or a damaged roof. Acting quickly to avoid further damage caused by natural elements or intruders is essential. The first step is to contact your local SERVPRO professionals and experience our rapid commercial or residential response teams.
What should you do in the meantime?
- Above all, safety should be your number one priority. Vacate the premises in the event of major roof damage.
- Stay away from electrical hazards such as electrical lines that may have fallen.
- Contact the utility company to ensure lines are de-energized.
- An initial roof assessment should be done from the ground since damage may not always be visible.
What should you avoid while waiting for help?
- Don't enter rooms where overhead damage may be a safety hazard.
- Do not attempt to install a tarp during a storm.
- Don't climb on a roof. The damage is not always visible.
- Don't walk on tarped surfaces.
- Do not use a metal ladder near power lines or in close proximity to energized electrical equipment.
- Don't attempt to remove debris from the roof
SERVPRO strives to arrive at your property within just one hour of your call. Until we arrive, make sure to keep safety as your main priority when you experience storm damage. Not only we will assist with emergency services we are also equipped to resort your property to pre loss condition and make it "Like it never even happened".
Brush Fires Are Always Possible
The threat is always real.
It's sometimes easy to forget that southern California is essentially a giant tinderbox, especially when you are laid up by the pool and waiting for the hotdogs and hamburgers to finish grilling. What easily escapes the mind is the amount of dry brush and wild areas that are brimming with uninhabited land, with no easy access in or out.
Wildfires are definitely a reality if you live in southern California. With 2018 being a prime example of what can happen if fires break out in hard-to-reach areas, destruction by fire is never not a possibility.
SERVPRO of Hacienda Heights / Rowland Heights knows all too well that summer means fires. Between the commercial and residential fire losses that we see on a weekly basis, we wanted to remind you that fires are something you want no part of.
If the season keeps on going the way it has been in the past week, we fully expect it to be one for the books as far as wild fires are concerned. If one of these fires threatens your home or business, make sure we are the first number you call.
What is Customer Service?
We know how to make people smile.
When you hear "customer service", what do you think of? Maybe a favorable experience you had at a fast food restaurant, or maybe even a salesperson that treated you extra well and went above and beyond expectations for you. I personally am reminded of the company I work for. While that sounds loaded and insincere, I could not mean it more.
SERVPRO of Hacienda Heights / Rowland Heights is more than your everyday restoration company. It's not all about cutting drywall, leaving some fans behind, checking humidity, and wrapping up jobs as quickly as possible. We do all of those things (sans the last one, jobs take however long they take), but we do so much more.
When someone loses their home or business to a fire, they have a long, hard road ahead of them. We have seen hundreds of them. Insurance, hotel stays, trying to salvage what belongings didn't get scorched, etc. These things take a toll on people and sometimes, a friendly face and a conversation can make all of the difference.
Our technicians are professionals, sure. They are also people that know how to treat people right, and that is customer service in my book.
Going the Distance is What We're All About
"Are you sure this is a good shortcut?"
Los Angeles county is massive. Speaking in terms of size, there are larger spaces. Speaking in terms of navigating rush hour traffic going both ways, it may as well be its own sovereign nation. The freeways are all like the line at In-n-Out at dinner, all of the time. Unless you do all of your traveling at midnight, you will not be going anywhere quickly. Even after midnight, sometimes!
SERVPRO of Hacienda Heights / Rowland Heights will go just about wherever we are called to, with some restrictions applied. For instance, if you live in San Francisco, there are most certainly closer franchises to you. We'd love to meet you, but not on those terms.
We travel all over LA county, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, respectively, and even down into Orange County. I have been to downtown Los Angeles and Newport Beach on the same day for work. I needed a nap after that particular route. The fact of the matter is that not only are we open 24/7 waiting for your call; we are also willing to travel to get to you.
Near or far, if you've experienced a disaster, give us a call today.
Things Seen and Heard
Actual photo of me at the sword warehouse.
One of the best things about working in commercial water damage restoration is seeing things you would typically never see. For instance, I once got to walk a job wherein a storage warehouse had flooded. Guess what the warehouse stocked?
Swords and knives, as well as other combat weapons both for display and for actual use. Pretty cool, huh?
I've also walked jobs in gigantic distribution centers. While this doesn't sound all that interesting, seeing the processes of how goods are received, packaged, and shipped all across the globe is exceedingly interesting, at least to me. I have been accused of being a boring person at times, but I'm telling you: if you haven't seen hundreds of conveyer belts or rollers at work simultaneously, you're missing out!
Now obviously, we never want to have to meet any of these business owners. Usually, that would require something bad happening. However, if you do experience a loss in your business and have to give SERVPRO of Hacienda Heights / Rowland Heights a call, we are happy to come out. With over a decade of experience in fire, water, and mold loss restoration, we are the best choice when it comes to getting your business back on track. I look forward to seeing you!