Archived Blog Posts
Making Advanced Preparations for Severe Storm Safety | SERVPRO® of Lancaster
If your home has been impacted by storm damage, SERVPRO of Lancaster will respond quickly to assist in any repairs.
Thunderstorms and other severe weather events have been known to cause unprecedented damages in impacted areas. While some severe storms will pass by without incident, others will lead to wind, hail and lightning damage that can devastate an area.
For this reason, it is important to prepare ahead of time so you are never caught off guard due to a severe thunderstorm. Being aware of weather alert definitions, stocking and storing your emergency kit, and obtaining a reliable weather alert system for the home will give you peace of mind and make sure you are as safe as possible during a severe weather event.
Be Aware of Weather Alert Definitions
When local officials issue weather alerts, it is important to be aware of what they mean so you can know how to respond appropriately and stay safe. If a severe weather watch is issued for an area, that means that storms are possible but not currently happening, so standing by and staying tuned is advised. For severe weather warnings, however, a storm is currently happening or about to begin—this means to take cover and prepare to be impacted by the storm.
Stock and Store Your Emergency Kit
Having all the essentials in case of severe weather will help keep you and your family comfortable and safe while severe weather passes through. Having reliable light sources and backup batteries, shelf-stable food and fresh water is helpful for comfort, and a first-aid kit will come in handy in case an injury occurs. You should store this emergency kit in a temperature-controlled area where your family can hunker down and wait for the storm to pass, such as a basement bathroom or a hallway.
Obtain a Reliable Weather Alert System
While we typically rely on the internet and our cell phones for any pertinent updates regarding the weather, in the event of severe weather, this is not advised. Cell phones can become unreliable due to dead batteries and poor reception when electricity and cell signals are impacted by storms, so obtaining a backup method for weather alerts such as a non-electric weather radio will allow you to be certain you will stay informed.
If your home has been impacted by storm damage, we are here for you. You can contact us 24⁄7 to get a quick response to your home’s damages.
Top 5 Tips for Preventing Fires in The Home | SERVPRO® of Lancaster
A Fireman Tries to Prevent the Spread of a Large Inferno.
- Never leave a flame unattended
This is by far the most important of all these tips. The two largest sources of residential fires in the U.S. are from candles and cooking accidents. Always be aware of open flames. It only takes a few seconds for a fire to spread rapidly from an unattended flame.
- Keep a candle at minimum 12 inches away from flammable objects
- Blow out unattended candles and turn off an unattended stovetop
- Ensure a candle is sturdy or in a candle holder which will not fall down
- Watch your electronics!
As consumers we place a lot of trust and faith into the functionality and safety of our electronics. The reality is that there can be defects and inherent safety risks with our electronics. Therefore, keep this in mind:
- Never plug in devices with damaged or frayed cords
- Consider having a certified electrician perform an annual evaluation of your home’s wiring
- Use your senses. If an outlet or device looks burnt or damaged or there is an odor of burning plastic or unsavory smell coming from an appliance, remove the device immediately and consult the manufacturer.
- Keep furniture and flammable materials away from heaters
Seemingly harmless heating tools such as a curling iron, hair dryer, or a space heater can still cause fires when left on for too long in close proximity to flammable sources. Some helpful tips to prevent fires from heating appliances are:
- Turn off your space heater when not in use
- At a minimum keep heating elements three feet away from flammable objects
- Never use an oven to warm your house
- Test your smoke detectors
One of the most practical tips to protect you and your family from fires is to ensure that your smoke detectors are functional. Be sure to test your devices monthly and also replace the batteries as soon as the low battery alert begins or once a year. Furthermore, place smoke detectors on every floor, including the basement. Finally, replace your smoke detectors every 10 years or earlier.
- Keep fire extinguishers readily available
Fires can happen rather suddenly, and one must be prepared to deal with it before it gets out of control. There are several things to keep in mind with fire extinguishers.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in each area of the house which may pose a fire risk
- Ensure that the members of the family know how to use a fire extinguisher
- If a fire cannot be contained via fire extinguisher call 911 and grab your loved ones and leave your residence as soon as possible
5 Tips to Ensure You and Your Employees Stay Healthy and Happy | SERVPRO® of Lancaster
5 Tips to Stay Healthy and Happy this Spring
As we have seen in the news and media the current situation regarding COVID-19 has drastically changed how our world operates. Not only are many states calling for stay at home orders, but many workers and students are having to head home due to the nature of this situation. These regulations are being instituted in our best interests. Despite this, it can be quite easy to feel frustrated or annoyed with the situation overall so here are 5 tips to stay healthy and happy during this time.
- Maintain Social Distancing
Despite the annoying nature of having to distance oneself from friends and those we interact with, it is essential to prevent the spread of sickness. Most health organizations are recommending at minimum a 6ft gap between individuals. John Hopkins Medicine also suggests working from home, switching to online schooling, talking to family and friends digitally, and cancelling large group events. Hopkins Article
This is another key attribute to staying healthy and happy during this time. Exercise has been shown as an effective way to improve one’s immune system and overall cardiovascular health. Furthermore, the act of exercise helps to eliminate stress and can almost be a form of therapy. This could be in any variety of forms. Unfortunately, many gyms are closed and most people do not have a full gym set in their home. Nevertheless, so long as one maintains social distancing, going for a run is one of the best opportunities to get some exercise and eliminate the feeling of being under house arrest. Many states make an exemption for this very purpose.
- Get Productive
It can be quite easy during times like these to just feel lazy and become unproductive. Take this time as a challenge to be better in everything: eating, school, exercise, meditation, reading, etc. Set up a routine for your day. This is the best way to actively take control of the situation and not feel weighed down. You set the course of your day. Still take in consideration the legal limitations but actively take ownership of your day.
- Take Time to Organize
It is too easy to get disorganized and lazy in times such as these. Rather, be productive and organize your home and workspace—if it has not closed down. This will help you not only be less stressed but will also help with your transition back into normalcy when everything settles down.
- Be Understanding
These are completely unprecedented times and people aren’t always going to deal with things properly. The key thing here is to be gracious with not only our friends and family, but also with the local businesses and governing bodies in our respective communities. Everyone is in the same boat and is overwhelmed and filled with questions regarding the future.
Altogether, these five tips will help not only you but also your employees stay happy and healthy in these challenging times. It is only through the adherence to the set guidelines that we can ensure ourselves, families, and communities stay healthy during this season.
Smoke Detectors: Your First Line of Defense | SERVPRO® of Lancaster
A Smoke Detector is a Necessity to Keep You and Your Family Safe
Smoke detectors can often give homeowners the first alert of a fire within the home. When they are properly installed and functioning, they can help to protect your property, belongings, and most importantly your loved ones. While every fire cannot be prevented smoke detectors can help you to minimize the damage and protect yourself and those around you. Therefore, it is important to know how to install, monitor, and replace smoke detectors as need be.
Know Where to Install
One of the most important parts of installation of smoke detectors is to place them in the correct parts of the house. The National Fire Protection Association recommends placing smoke alarms on every floor of your home including the basement, inside and outside every sleeping area, and in high risk areas such as the kitchen, laundry room, and boiler area.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Choose a smoke detector that is certified by a recognized testing laboratory and not just the cheapest one online. You should also install the smoke detector at least 10 feet away from the stove and large cooking appliances to save you the pain and deafening beeping of a false alarm. Ensure that your smoke alarms all work together as well so that should an alert go off in the basement everyone in the house is aware. Most smoke detectors have wireless connection methods nowadays, otherwise you could contact an electrician or look up how to hardwire them online. Furthermore, there are two different types of smoke detectors: Ionization and photoelectric. Ionization excels in detecting high heat and flaring fires whereas photoelectric are better suited for low heat and smoldering fires. Both of these should be utilized throughout the home for the best coverage and protection.
Know When to Replace
The vast majority of smoke detectors are designed with an internal non replaceable battery that lasts around 10 years. If your smoke detector is chirping this is a sign of a low battery and should be replaced as soon as possible. You should test all the smoke alarms in your home once every month using the test button on the detector. Furthermore, follow the instructions and manual that came with your smoke detector to clean it and ensure it does not get clogged up with dust or other contaminants which may hamper its ability to detect and alert to fires.
Experienced Fire Damage?
The reality is that even with fully functioning and interconnected smoke detectors, fires can and do unexpectedly happen. The most important thing is that you and your loved ones are safe. SERVPRO has the experience, expertise, and tools needed to properly mitigate and restore fire damage and make it “Like it never even happened.”
How to Grill Safely | SERVPRO® of Lancaster
Grilling can be a great deal of fun and delicious but can also cause property damage or personal harm.
How to Grill Safely | SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley
Grilling is a wonderful pastime and a tradition for many households across the United States during holidays, sporting events, and the occasional weekend barbeque. Nevertheless, many fires are started due to faulty grills, user error, or a freak accident. There are several things to keep in mind so you can safely enjoy grilling and the delicious food afterwards.
The most important thing to ensure is that you are grilling outside and not in a garage or somewhere that could potentially burn down easily. Grilling indoors also exposes one to carbon monoxide which is deadly and is odorless and cannot be seen. When grilling outside, the grill should be at least 10 feet away from the base of the structure which you are grilling near. This should give you enough room to deal with a flare up or piece of charcoal that flies away.
Clean Your Grill Frequently
Not only will this help you to have a better grilling experience overall, it will also prevent dangerous flare ups from accumulated grease and fat. This is one of the most important things to do as it is so easy for flames to build up and quickly overwhelm an old greasy grill and spread to things such as a deck, nearby chair, or the exterior of the home.
Know Your Grill
There are both gas and charcoal grills. Make sure you know how your grill operates and ensure that you do occasional maintenance and examine that it is functioning properly. A big concern with gas grills is whether they have any leaks which could build up pressure and cause an explosive fireball. The easiest way to test for leaks is to make a one-part soap one-part water mixture then drip it on the hose and connections and then turn on the gas. If you notice large bubbles forming, you have a gas leak and should turn off the gas and replace the hose or connection points. Additionally, you should never use the gas feature when the grill top is closed as this could cause an unnecessary rise in pressure and an unintentional fireball.
Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby your grill so that if the need arises you can quickly and effectively stop a fire. If for some reason the fire cannot be contained call 911 and remove yourself and any other people from the premise.
If you happen to experience fire damage as a result of a grill fire, Give the experts over at SERVPRO® of Lancaster a call at (661) 723-7141.
The Case Against Water Damage at Home | SERVPRO® of Lancaster
We could never live without water, but we certainly could live without the experience of water damage at home.
Concerning water damage, there can be a plethora of driving factors behind it. Are you able to identify what some of those causes are?
What Can Cause It?
Between 2009 and 2015, The Travelers Companies Inc. reports that the most common causes of homeowners insurance claims were:
- Exterior wind damage
- Non-weather-related water damage
- Weather-related water damage
As you can see, water damage appears on this list twice, but in two distinct forms. You can classify water damage as non-weather-related and weather-related.
Non-weather-related damage is most common for homeowners, often coming from plumbing or appliance issues. While just as trying, weather-related water damage is not as common and can stem from rain, snow or melting ice.
Regarding your home, the top five reasons for water damage are plumbing issues, washing machine leaks, busted water pipes, aging water heaters and bad weather.
Keeping Your Home Dry
Water damage comes with a price tag. But can you imagine the cost if the damage was not covered by your homeowners insurance plan? It’s a good idea to regularly review your policies to ensure all bases are covered. In most cases, the following damages are covered by a standard policy:
- Damages caused by from weight of ice, snow or sleet
- Discharge and overflow of water, even by accident
- Tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system
- Freezing of plumbing and pipes
While water damage can be highly stressful, there are ways to help stave off certain water-related issues.
Take these preventive steps to provide some layer of protection against water damage:
- Applying water sensors and automatic shut-off valves
- Installing metal mesh connection hoses on the washer and dryer
- Making sure your gutters and downspouts are free of debris
- Ridding the hot water tank of buildup by flushing it every six months
- Keeping grease out the kitchen sink and drain
These tips can help make sure you avoid some rather costly water damage at home.
Water damage can be a nightmare to deal with, but fortunately, you will always have SERVPRO® of Santa Clarita Valley on your side to help with the cleanup and restoration process.
The Importance of Proper Fire Damage Cleanup
There are some homeowners who are afraid to open claims on their homes when they have had damage due to the possible increase in their premiums. There are also homeowners who don’t have any homeowners’ insurance that covers fire damage. Instead of hiring a professional, they try to deal with the cleanup themselves. Often, more costly issues arise, and the homeowner calls a professional anyways. We can’t stress enough the importance of getting your insurance company involved; they can help you when you’re really in a bind, and often will recommend a company to help you mitigate the damages.
SERVPRO’s estimating method can help you determine whether you need to file a claim to deal with fire damage in your Lancaster home.
What is involved in fire damage cleanup?
We look at every special circumstance when getting ready to mitigate fire cleanup in a home. How severe was the fire? Was it isolated to one room? Is the roof intact? How much soot damage is there? Do we need to involve HVAC/duct cleaning? Click here to learn detailed information on how we put together a scope of fire damage restoration work.
A Shocking Surprise
You’d be surprised how often we receive calls about water damage in churches, vacation homes, or even homes where the homeowners were gone for only a few days. The likelihood (as well as level of severity) of damage occurring when no one is around increases because there is no one to report the damage, stop it, or slow it down. At least when someone is home, they can turn off the water or make a phone call. What about when you’re not around; what are some solutions?
Learn how to shut off your utility supply lines
This solution may sound simple, but in an emergency, you may become flustered or question yourself. Or, if you know but your neighbor or house sitter doesn’t, how do you explain to them how to shut off the water? This simple trick can prevent a lot more damage, as well as less of a water bill. We suggest using a bright tag on the water shut off, as well as on other shut offs, such as gas or propane.
Areas of common flood damage
We see flood damage occur in kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms due to the use of appliances such as refrigerators, washers, and toilets. We have even seen damage from dryers and water heaters catching fire. This sort of damage happens due to appliance malfunction; holding onto receipts for expensive items will help you in the long run if you ever file a claim due to the damage they cause. We don’t recommend running any appliances while you are gone, and you should always have utilities temporarily disabled or turned off if no one will be home for at least a week.
If you find yourself in a water damage situation, give SERVPRO of Lancaster a call immediately. Click here to discover more about our water damage experts, who work day and night when your home has been in flames or put under water.
Sewage Cleanup and Restoration During a Storm
Nobody likes to deal with it, but somebody must do it!
During a storm, there is a lot of chaos. Many people may not realize that walking through flood waters is actually very dangerous. Not only can you get washed away, but you can also become exposed to harmful bacteria due to sewage and otherwise contaminated water.
Three types of contaminated water
Category 1 is Clean Water, which you don’t necessarily want to drink, but it comes from a clean source.
Category 2 is Gray Water, which means it has a significant amount of contaminants.
Category 3 is Black Water, which is contaminated and can cause health effects.
Do you trust yourself or a non-expert enough to put your life or family’s lives on the line because you don’t want to report the loss to insurance, or deal with it at all?
Water during a major flood is flowing from place to place and may be picking up disgusting stuff along the way. It could be tapping the sewage drains in the streets, and then take itself into your home if your home is close enough to the ground.
SERVPRO of Lancaster has dealt with flood damage inside and outside of homes, even in crawlspaces. We can prevent further contamination to your home, so you don’t need to risk your well-being. Our step by step process will be explained in detail, and we can answer as many questions as you have. We want you to feel at ease with our company, and our cleanup process.
Mold in Lancaster- What is it, what to do?
What is mold damage?
Mold is an organically occurring substance that’s found in the air, ground, and even in some of our food. There are several types of mold, as well as an assortment of colors. Mold grows best in dark, damp areas mixed in with little to no bacteria. Mold can grow in less than 24 hours on wood, organic, and porous surfaces, even carpet.
Why is it so destructive?
Mold can completely overtake a surface, thus destroying the foundation or structure of anything in its way, from furniture to walls. It can also produce allergies and become irritating. Mold cleanup in Landcaster is available, and should be handled immediately due to its destructive nature. Without intention, mold spores can be spread throughout an entire home, making the home completely contaminated. If mold were isolated to only one room, containment would be simple, and cleanup would be easy.
Just like water damage, having an expert who deals with mold cleanup on a regular basis will be efficient and consistent, thus taking the headache away from the situation. Call the pros before getting out your gloves! Get SERVPRO of Lancaster on the line for immediate assistance.
Flooding in Lancaster Commercial Offices
Having one house flood on one floor is one circumstance very common for SERVPRO. We evaluate the situation, decide what equipment is needed to dry, plan our attack on the water damage, and BOOM! Everyone’s done in time for the weekend. Do you think we could handle a multi-floor, multi-room, heavy duty office flooding due to a sprinkler malfunction? ABSOLUTELY!
Flooding doesn’t take time off-Murphy’s Law in action
Seems like the most damage that occurs every year is at the worst time. Then again, any time damage happens is incredibly inconvenient. Office flood damage doesn’t mean it’s a sign to take a vacation. If you operate a school or have customer Monday through Friday, you really don’t want to shut down operations that could keep your business closed for weeks. We want to help you get your business back in action, which is why we are committed to working weekends, evenings, and even overnight to get work completed as quickly as possible. Our team understands the concept of Murphy’s Law very well, which is why SERVPRO of Lancaster is a 24/7 service company.
Commercial Building Repair - The Importance of Insurance
For any commercial building, having insurance is essential. Whether you are the business or building owner, having insurance could make the difference between whether you must close shop forever or for a few weeks. If talking with your insurance company is difficult and the reason you don’t file a claim, we urge you to reconsider. Every commercial building should have some sort of insurance. Here are some typical places where we perform commercial repairs and restoration.
Make sure your policy is updated
Insurance companies operate off very specific details about your loss. They only want to pay for whatever damage is covered. Having all your ducks in a row will make the process go along much smoother. You want to get the most out of your insurance policy.
SERVPRO’s communication with insurance companies
We work well with insurance companies because we know what paperwork they need, as well as their process requirements. We can get them photos, details of the loss and extensive nature of the damage, the verification of the source of the damage, and an estimate of the cost of cleanup. Insurance companies appreciate all this information because they can help you more quickly, and keep you satisfied as a client.
We do what we can to take the stress off you, as well as your insurance company!
Lancaster Storm Damage - Anticipating the Worst
Although we don’t want to admit it, no one wants to prepare for the possibility of a storm. However, with Hurricane Harvey, we have seen what happens when families aren’t prepared. Animals are left behind, important documents are lost, and people don’t know where to go to get help or seek shelter. Having a plan in place and not having to use it is much better than not planning one and losing everything.
What does SERVPRO of Lancaster recommend?
Packing emergency bags full of food, water, medication, items for your pets, and making a list of important documents to grab (social security information, blood types, birth certificates, bills, deeds, license, registration, insurance, etc.) should be first on your list. Then, you should have an escape route. Where are you going to go once you flee your home? Do you have reliable vehicles, phones, etc.? Lastly, teach your children to seek help if for some reason you become separated during a natural disaster. There are many ways to do this, including making necklaces or bracelets for your children with emergency contact information, blood type and any allergies they have.
SERVPRO of Lancaster is here to help you put your home back together, should you ever need us. We are always here to help, especially during the worst disasters. Here are some more water and storm damage tips you can follow!
Fire Damage in the Lancaster Area
Fire damage near Lancaster
Several states, California included, are on fire due to natural and man-made causes. Regardless, fire doesn’t discriminate and it has its own personality. There are, however, things you can do when you experience fire damage in the Lancaster area. SERVPRO of Lancaster is your local fire damage restoration company. We don’t hope for you to have to call us, but we are ready if you do.
Our responsibility to you
Not having answers when you’ve had a major disaster happen, especially if you’ve never had to deal with it, can be extremely overwhelming. You don’t know what to do, what you shouldn’t do, or who to call. As soon as you contact us, we can be at your residence within 4 hours to begin the mitigation process. This way, the damage is handled quickly before it either spreads or becomes harder to remove. Learn more about our fire damage process here.
Get all the answers and immediate help when you give our office a call. Our technicians respond at any time during an emergency; fire damage doesn’t sleep so neither do we. We strive to make the fire damage disappear, “Like it never even happened.”
Flooding in Lancaster
Lancaster flood damaged homes
Although we aren’t near Texas or Florida, we can assume that Mother Nature has plans of her own, whether we like it or not. Many people weren’t prepared when the hurricanes hit, and most people had to leave with literally the clothes on their backs and their hands full of what they could carry. California doesn’t get hurricanes often, but a hurricane isn’t required to flood your home and destroy everything you have. Sometimes, a pipe break will do the trick!
We highly recommend contacting your homeowner's insurance to get a full understanding of what types of losses are currently covered. Discuss with your company the possibility of expanding coverage, in case of emergencies. A few extra dollars a month may save you thousands of dollars during a heavy winter, or an explosive dishwasher. Learn more about our role during storm damage and flooding.
We don’t recommend trying to deal with flood damage yourself. You may cause more damage to your home, which is more money as well as stress. Our technicians go through months of on the job training, Continuing Education classes and certification classes to be able to get flooded homes back to preloss condition. We are here to help!
Mold Damage Cleanup in Lancaster - FAQ’s
Mold damage cleanup in Lancaster
Let’s be real: you walk into a disaster area that’s been neglected for so long, and you may not know where to start to fix the problem. You may be only one person or part of a two-person team. How do you begin to tackle anything huge when it’s such a foreign concept? Not many of us deal with these things for that reason, or the mold issue was hidden for so long that even the thought of dealing with it is so overwhelming.
Thankfully, there is a company that can handle mold cleanup in the Lancaster area. Not only do we have a team bigger than two, but we also have certifications, equipment, time, office staff, and technicians to answer any questions you may have.
What are some frequent questions we are asked?
“How much does mold cost to clean up?”
Well, the cost really depends on the level of extensiveness, how it was caused, how many areas are affected, and how much equipment and chemical products we will need, and how many technicians are needed.
“Will my insurance company cover this cleanup?”
Often, insurance companies have a cap on how much they will cover a mold job. Some companies don’t cover it at all, and some companies require an investigation or need to have the cause of the mold determined. If the mold is recurring due to the neglect of the homeowner, it’s most likely not going to be covered, even if you have mold coverage under your policy.
“How soon can you get to my house?”
We have a 1-4-8 guarantee on our emergency losses that states we can get to your home in as little as 4 hours. However, we can also work according to your schedule and keep constant communication with you until that time comes.
“What should I do in the meantime?”
Until cleanup begins, we always tell our customers to not run any heating or air condition units/fans because mold spores can spread. Once spores spread, they can land in other areas of your home and start multiplying. If possible, remove belongings away from any walls that are affected; however, if your furniture has become molded, don’t handle it until the technicians arrive.
Insurance companies may have their own investigation and policies, so always consult with them as well while you are waiting for cleanup services
Any other questions? Give us a call at (661)723-7141 for more information!