Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fire Safety - How To Prepare Yourself

Though fire safety might not be high on your priority list when you move into an apartment, it's not something you want to regret at a later date. The findings of the National Fire protection Agency (NFPA) reveal some startling statistics; in 2009, U.S. fire departments had to tend to 362,500 home fires, which caused approximately $7.6 billion in damages. These fires claimed 2,565 lives and injured more than 12,650 people; sufficient evidence that fire safety should be taken seriously.

Facts Cooking remains one of the primary causes of home fires as does smoking. Often people fall asleep leaving food to heat on the stove which leads to a fire. A stray cigarette butt not extinguished properly, electrical malfunction, overheating and charcoal or paper burnt indoors are other common reasons for fires starting at home.

A fire needs heat, oxygen and fuel to start and sustain; and once a fire starts and heats up an area, the heat will cause the fire to spread very quickly, often much faster than you can estimate. A home has sufficient amounts of all three; clothes, wood, food, paper, everything is inflammable. The best thing you can do during a fire, of course for your safety, is to run out of the house immediately.

According to the NFPA study, in almost 40% of avoidable fires, smoke alarms weren't installed, while in 23% cases they didn't have batteries or they were disconnected. False or nuisance alarms are the leading causes of smoke alarms being disabled. The first step towards fire safety therefore is to check your smoke alarms to make sure they are activated at all times!

The study also revealed that the winter months of January, February and March are the peak months for home fires, possibly due to the higher indoors temperature through fireplaces and heaters.

Fire safety- preemptive measures:

Create an escape route - Does your home have an escape route? When short listing a house, if it is on a higher level than ground, make sure it has some kind of an escape route. If it doesn't, ensure fire safety by installing an escape ladder. In case of a fire, you might have to take a call whether you want to stay indoors and risk being suffocated, or jump down and risk breaking a limb. An escape route makes it easier not just for you to leave but also for rescue personnel to enter burning premises that might have blocked doors and save crucial time.

Smoke Alarms - Check your smoke alarms atleast once a year to see they are working properly; change batteries if needed. A smoke alarm on each level of the home is important and it is best they all are interconnected. According to the NFPA, smoke alarms are the best form of fire safety as they cut the risk of dying in a fire by half! Most smoke alarms have a limited life and need to be replaced every 10 years, a fact people sadly tend to ignore.

Store and discard any inflammable material properly - Ensure fire safety by storing inflammable liquids like kerosene outside the house in metal containers; dispose of ash and other waste in a steel bin away from the house.

Adequate ventilation and proper wiring- Make sure the house has adequate ventilation since burning fuel produces deadly fumes. Check your pipes from time to time to ensure there is no carbon buildup. Clean chimneys and exhaust systems atleast once a year before the onset of winters for optimum fire safety. Ensure all doors and windows at home open and close properly, and all electrical fixtures are wired properly and well covered. It has been found that electrical failures or malfunctions result in almost 50,000 fires a year.

Sprinkler systems - having a sprinkler system in close proximity to your home structure makes it easier to battle a fire immediately. Once again, make sure it works! Some home insurance companies give you discounts going up to 20% on your rates if you install the right combination of smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems in your house. That just goes to show the importance of both these fire safety measures.

Lastly- compile an inventory of your household stuff and valuables preferably along with photographs so that in the event of any fire damage, you have no trouble claiming from your home insurance company.

As per *NFPA findings, in 2008, the fire department was responding to fires in homes almost every 82 seconds; approximately 8 people died in home fires every day while a person was injured in home fires every 40 minutes. Remember stuff lost in a fire is replaceable while lives are not. Educating yourself and taking the right steps to ensure fire safety can protect you and your loved ones in the event of an unforeseen mishap.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

SERVPRO Commercial - Clean Up After Kitchen Fire

SERVPRO video of action team members in a kitchen after a fire.

SERVPRO of Fairfield understands the trauma and terror that a fire in your home can cause. Every year, fire devastates the lives of thousands of families. If the tragedy of fire should strike your home, we can help! When you need us, we can provide Emergency Services 24 hrs. per day, 7 days per week, 365 days a year. We offer a full range of services including Emergency Board-up and securing of your home, deodorization, complete cleaning, rebuilding, and restoration of your home and contents to their original condition.
(707) 207-0122

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Water Damage Restoration - When You Need It, You Need It Fast

The single biggest purchase you'll probably ever make is your home. And if your home is damaged by fire or water, you may be overwhelmed at the scope of the damage. While there are some similarities between the two, fire damage is usually even more extensive than water damage alone. Fire damage is often accompanied by water damage due to the efforts to put out the fire. So there are some overlaps, with different tools and procedures for each form of damage.

Water damage can come from three possible sources, each creating a different set of challenges for the cleaning professional. Category 1 is clean water, like from broken water lines. Category 2 is water from a source which may be contaminated. And category 3 is "black" water-water which may contain sewage, as from a sewer backup.

Fire damage may also be classified in three categories. The first is minor damage, small in size, with no structural involvement. Second is a larger fire, and may cause structural damage to a small area of the home. Finally category three represents significant structural damage, and will most likely require professional repair.

No matter which type of damage your home has suffered, the damage doesn't just stop after the incident. Mold and mildew can grow on damp surfaces, even behind walls where it can't be seen. This can represent a significant health hazard, especially if a family member has a history of respiratory problems.

Untreated mold or mildew can make a home uninhabitable, destroying its value.

So when your home has been damaged by fire, water, or both, time is an important factor. The quicker repairs are done, the less chance there is for growth of mildew or mold, or further aftereffects of structural weakness.

While some people elect to do their own repairs, using tactics like opening the doors and the windows and running air conditioners at full blast, water damage restoration professionals have special equipment to hasten the drying process. You may research the process of repairing water damage to learn more about do-it-yourself options. But if boots, rubber gloves and disinfectants aren't your thing or if damage is more than minor, you'll probably ve best calling a professional.

Many carpet cleaning companies advertise water damage restoration services. While very good at cleaning carpets, these companies lack the equipment and expertise to deal with the other aspects of fire and water damage: damage to personal property, furniture damage, and especially structural damage.

Still other companies advertise restoration services, but use unaccountable undertrained subcontractors with little or no equipment or training to perform the work. If the contractor doesn't show, or does a substandard job, you might not have a local contact if the company is based on the Internet hundreds of miles away.

Choosing a qualified local professional for water damage restoration may be your best bet for getting your home back to normal and protecting the value of your assets that are even more valuable than your home-your family.

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If water damage should occur from exterior flooding, broken water pipes, sewer backups, or any other source, Servpro of Fairfield can help. The quicker mitigation services begin, the less damage occurs. That's why we strive to call you within 1 hour of your call for help, and have crews on site if needed within 2 hrs of your call (24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year). Our services include emergency water extraction and mitigation, Dry-out with "state of the art" equipment, Carpet, Vinyl, Hardwood, and other floor covering restoration or replacement, insulation, drywall, and paint repairs, mold remediation, and contents Drying and Restoration.
(707) 207-0122

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mold - Frequently Asked Questions

Why does mold form and what makes it grow?

Mold likes dark and humid spaces and most often develops as a result of standing water and high levels of moisture. Whether the water damage comes from a leaking pipe or a stormy night it often leads to mildew, which can be very smelly and unattractive. Most importantly, mold grows fast and can replicate at staggering rates. Standing water can start producing dangerous mold in as little as 48 hours.

What should I do if I discover mold?

If you discover mold, the best thing to do is call a professional. The professional will be able to locate the source of the mold problem and using proper equipment and tools remediate the mold. If the mold problem is very minor and you decide to clean it up on your own, make sure to wear goggles, gloves and some form of breathing protection. Seal off the mold infected area from the rest of the property and immediately dispose of all mold infected materials. Finally clean, clean and clean again and check back again to make sure that mold has not returned.

What are some of the misconceptions about mold?

One misconception about mold is that it can be removed with high heat, dry air and sunlight. Although these solutions may make sense considering they are the opposites of what actually causes mold, they are not powerful enough to completely get rid of the mold. The proper sure-free way to clean up mold is to use strong detergents. Mold remediation should be done by professionals using proper equipment and safety measures.

Does bleach kill mold?

Contrary to what you have probably heard, bleach cannot kill mold. It can be used to remove mold, but it will only work successfully on hard surfaces. Bleach not only fails to kill mold, but can actually enable it to grow faster as it is primarily composed of water.

How can I keep my property mold free?

There are several steps you can take to ensure that your property stays mold free. First, you must make sure there are no water problems. Open windows and doors for good air flow and, if needed, use a fan in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Attics and crawl spaces should be properly insulated and ventilated. Another key step is to vacuum your property regularly to remove mold spores. Finally, check windows for condensation and wipe away any water droplets you find.

How are people exposed to mold?

People are usually exposed to mold by breathing in spores or other tiny fragments of it. Exposure can also occur through skin contact or by swallowing it.

Can mold make me sick? What makes a person more susceptible to becoming sick from mold?

Yes, mold can make you sick and will pose health risks especially to people who are at high risk for sickness and allergic reactions. This includes infants and children, the elderly, people with respiratory infections and asthma and people with weakened immune systems due to other medical conditions. Other factors include a genetic predisposition to allergies, people working in an occupation that consistently exposes them to mold, people living in a house with a wet basement or high humidity and people living in newer houses.

Why are people who live in a newer home at high risk for mold exposure and sickness?

Newer homes are built extra air-tight to promote energy efficiency, which means that indoor moisture can easily become trapped inside and prevent proper ventilation. Damp areas are particularly vulnerable to mold growth such as kitchens, basements and bathrooms.

What health problems can be traced to mold?

Mold can cause the following health problems:

  • Allergies and asthma attacks
  • Infections
  • Irritations of mucous membranes in eyes and respiratory system
  • Decreased attention, disorientation and dizziness
  • Suppression of immune system
  • Higher susceptibility to cancer
  • Headaches, tremors and nausea
  • Infertility

What should I do if I think I am sick from mold exposure?
Go to your primary care physician who will determine whether you need to see a specialist for the problem. The specialists your PCP may refer you to include allergists or infectious disease physicians.

What are the treatments for people who are sick due to mold?

Treatment may include the use of antihistamines, decongestants and/or nasal sprays. Asthma attacks due to mold may be treated with inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators (seek the advice of a physician).

How can mold problems be prevented?

One key step for prevention of mold is immediate clean-up after water damage. Paying close attention to damp areas such as basements or places of pipe leaks is also extremely important. The use of a dehumidifier is a good idea in any part of your property that smells damp or musty. Humidity should be kept below 50 percent.

Here are some additional ways to prevent mold growth:

  • Use the ventilation fan for an additional 30 minutes following a shower or bath.
  • Clean bathroom and basement walls regularly with a bleach solution.
  • Clean gutters often to promote ground water drainage away from the property.
  • Sleep with your windows closed at night so that damp air does not enter.
  • Wear a mask when raking leaves or mowing the grass.

What other places have a high risk for mold exposure?

There are several places outside your home or place of business that can foster mold growth. These places include antique shops, greenhouses, saunas, farms, mills, construction areas and flower shops to name a few.

Where should I check for mold?

When dealing with mold, there are several places on a property that are extra susceptible to mold growth. Here are some key places to check when you suspect that mold is present.

  • Bathrooms and kitchens
  • Carpeting
  • Pipes, faucets and ductwork
  • Basements
  • Attics
  • Window sills
  • Garage
  • Walls

Are there any uses for mold?

Although everything so far has focused on the negative side of mold, there are actually uses for it. Here are some ways that mold is important to the environment:

The mold penicillium is used to make the antibiotic penicillin. Other types of mold are used to make cholesterol lowering medications.
Mold is used to make foods such as cheese, sausages and soy sauce.
Some compounds and enzymes are formed by mold such as citric acid, gluconic acid and riboflavin.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fire Damage - Dealing With Smoke Damage After A Fire

A fire in the home is an occurrence that all of us hope that we never have to encounter. Unfortunately, house fires are something that many people have to deal with on a daily basis. In addition to the traumatic experience that a homeowner may face, there is also the issue of starting over and trying to save a house that has become a home.

A homeowner is lucky to have everyone safe and to avoid the destruction of all their personal belongings. Even with these blessings, there is still an uphill battle as far as getting the home restored and safe for the family. Dealing with a home that has fire damage is an issue that a homeowner should deal with by using a professional. Many times people attempt to save money by cleaning their home themselves only to find that they wasted a lot of time and effort.

There is extensive work involved with treating a house that has severe smoke damage after a fire. One of the task involve is properly removing the soot and smoke from the house. Soot is an oily substance that can stain your draperies and carpets. Removal of soot will require a heavy duty vacuum. The soot must be removed before any deodorizing can occur. It is also important to allow the air to flow throughout the house by opening all the windows so the home can air out.

Deodorizing the home extensively is necessary in order to completely rid the home of smoke odor. Smoke odors can remain in clothes, furniture, carpets and draperies in the home if not properly sanitized. Proper deodorizing may necessitate using chemicals and additives that break up smoke molecules in order to remove certain odors. Often an ozone generator may also be used by professional fire damage restorers to get the job done.

In addition to removing the odors from the air and carpet, fire damage and smoke odor may still be hidden inside the walls. In these extreme cases, professional fire damage restores may have to use a process called "thermal fogging". Thermal fogging is essential for penetrating the walls the same way a fire did in order to remove the trapped smoke odors. Failure to perform the thermal fogging may leave your home wreaking of smoke long after the fire.

There are also other areas of the home that may need a professional assessment in order to ensure proper fire damage cleaning is thorough. Places such as ducts, and attic insulation may need to be replaced. A walk through by a professional fire damage expert will give a homeowner a good idea of what can be saved and what needs to be replaced. Hiring a professional to get rid of the odor will also keep a homeowner from having to constantly be reminded of the bad memory of a fire due to smoke odor.

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Servpro of Faifield understands the trauma and terror that a fire in your home can cause. Every year, fire devastates the lives of thousands of families. If the tragedy of fire should strike your home, we can help!
When you need us, we can provide Emergency Services 24 hrs. per day, 7 days per week, 365 days a year. We offer a full range of services including Emergency Board-up and securing of your home, deodorization, complete cleaning, rebuilding, and restoration of your home and contents to their original condition.
(707) 207-0122

Friday, July 8, 2011

Home Emergency Tips: Water Damage

After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:
  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

  • 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 summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or 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 ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

If your home as been damaged by water call the professional at Servpro of Fairfield! The quicker mitigation services begin, the less damage occurs. That's why we strive to call you within 1 hour of your call for help, and have crews on site if needed within 2 hrs of your call (24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year). Our services include emergency water extraction and mitigation, Dry-out with "state of the art" equipment, Carpet, Vinyl, Hardwood, and other floor covering restoration or replacement, insulation, drywall, and paint repairs, mold remediation, and contents Drying and Restoration.
(707) 207-0122

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Servpro, Like It Never Even Happened

Servpro Fire & Water- Cleanup & Restoration When fire and water take control of your life, we help you take it back. Servpro of Fairfield specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke, or water damage situation. We also mitigates mold and mildew from your home or business.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fun On The Fourth - Fire Risks Are More Abundant

Independence Day is less than 24 hours away and the scents of summer celebration are ready to be unleashed. The smell of hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, sun-sweetened tea, fresh-squeezed lemonade, ripe watermelon and emblazoned fireworks will infuse the backyards, porches, waterfronts and street corners of many American cities and small towns tomorrow.

A report by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council reports that approximately 150 million hot dogs will be eaten by Americans during this year's Fourth of July festivities. While only a fraction of that number may suffer from injuries related to fireworks, fire safety cannot be ignored. A day to remember all that America stands for, the Fourth of July is a day that Americans must also remember and practice fire safety. Failure to practice fire prevention is sure to take the fun out of the Fourth.

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that each year more than 8,000 Americans experience fire-related injuries or damages and more than half of those take place during the first week of July. In 2005, approximately 10,800 people made emergency room visits to treat firework-related injuries. The U.S.F.A. also estimates that cooking grills alone are responsible for approximately $35 million in property loss. Fifty-nine percent of fires caused by fireworks occur during the Fourth of July holiday. While property loss from fires related to fireworks may be fewer (because this activity typically takes place outside in open fields or near water), the past year's dry weather raises the fire risk.

Don't let fire ruin the fun for your Fourth of July festivities. Keep in mind a few simple safety tips:


1) Do not grill in enclosed areas - carbon monoxide can be produced. Be sure you are grilling in an open area.

2) Never overfill the propane tank.

3) BEFORE you use a grill, check the fuel line and propane tank connection. The venturi tubes - where the air and gas mix - must not be blocked.

4) No loose clothing is allowed while you're grilling!

5) Use care when using lighter fluid. A lit fire can flashback and cause an explosion if lighter fluid is added.


1) Again, loose clothing is NOT allowed when handling fireworks.

2) Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.

3) Never stand close to lit fireworks. Always stand several feet away.

4) Always read the directions and warning labels on fireworks. Unmarked fireworks (no directions, warnings or content list) should never be lit.

5) Always keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby.

6) Always purchase consumer fireworks from reliable sources and licensed dealers. These dealers will only carry those products that meet standards set and enforced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

7) Lastly, leave fireworks to the professionals. The fireworks show will be much more enjoyable if they are handled by professionals who know how to safely use them.

Be sure to follow these tips to protect yourself, your loved ones and your home in the event of disaster. While you cannot predict a disaster, following safety precautions will reduce your risk.

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