Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Avoiding Water Damage - Protect Your Home

Anyone who has ever had a severe plumbing problem or has had the misfortune of going through a major storm knows the difficulties that come with water damage. So great is the destruction caused by this life-giving fluid that many homeowners find that the fire department actually does more monetary harm in putting out a blaze than the flames themselves caused. This isn't a slam on fire protection, but a reminder of how destructive water can be to your home. Fixing the problem after the fact can be expensive and difficult, so here are some ways you can protect your home ahead of time.

Outside Water Damage
For many homeowners, their primary source of concern will be flooding from outside the home. There are few ways to prevent a natural disaster, but there are things you can do to make sure your house can stand up to the flooding better than it would have been able to otherwise. One of the best investments of time and money you can make is to make sure your property is designed for excellent drainage. This includes sloping the landscape away from the home so that flooding can't simply pool against the foundation. It also means putting in appropriate gutters to direct rain flow away from the house. Additionally, have your roof professionally inspected so you don't have to worry about surprise leaks.

Of course, water damage doesn't just come from excess rain. In many instances, it comes from within the house itself as the result of faulty plumbing. Slow leaks and sudden bursts alike can cause problems that will be expensive to fix. Not only should you learn how to check your pipes on a regular basis to make sure leaks aren't developing, but also you should have a professional plumber come out and give them a once-over every so often. Don't overlook the hoses leading to your major appliance, either. The ones behind the refrigerator and washing machine deserve specific attention.

Some homeowners have gone the extra step to implement systems and tools that will help them prevent water damage. One such example is a shutoff valve easily accessible to everyone in the family. If you have a washing machine that is suddenly flooding your kitchen or a faucet that is spraying everywhere, this is a nice thing to have (assuming you have the presence of mind to hit it in a timely manner). Implementing these types of things in your house will not only give you something to reach for in case of an emergency, but they can also get you discounts on your insurance coverage in many instances.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Making Your Home Fire-Safe

The following article can be used as a fire safety checklist for your home. By employing all of these great tips you will actually be potentially saving your own life, as well as your families. Here are the best tips to stay fire safe this season.

If you have smokers in your household, make sure that they have a designating smoking area. This doesn't need to be an obvious looking smoking enclosure, it just needs to be somewhere outside that is free from flammable objects and contains clean ashtrays for cigarette butts.

You must eliminate clutter and allow plenty of room for flammable goods. If you have kids around, these places should be out of reach and possible locked. These storage areas must not be exposed to any electricity or heat sources. If flammable goods are kept in a shed outside make sure that there is plenty of ventilation and heat is not trapped.

Make sure that everyone in your household is up to date with the evacuation procedures should there be a need. An evacuation drill should be practiced at least every 6-12 months.

The evacuation process should be aimed at getting everybody out of the house is the fastest possible manner and leaving personal items behind. Following on from this, you should also have all emergency phone numbers clearly displayed next to every phone. The evacuation path must be kept clear and easy to navigate at all times. You must consider any locks, deadlocks, or other obstructions in the path of evacuation and these must be made as easy as possible to navigate.

Ensure that rubbish bins are emptied daily, all clutter is thrown away, and electrical items are put away safely after use. Identifying fire hazards is a skill and you should work on identifying and eliminating all hazards around the home. This is especially easy by removing all clutter in your home that could be considered a threat.

At least two fire extinguishers per average household is usually enough, but these should be clearly marked so that everyone knows exactly here to look. Fire alarms should be carefully placed in fire 'hotspots' around your home. Any fire sprinklers and other fire equipment is advised but not necessary.

You must ensure everything is done to prevent a fire from occurring in your home. A common cause of household fires is due to an electrical issue. Ensure that you have an adequate number of power points available and that you are not overloading them with adapters and multiple appliances if not needed.

Another point to make is that you should check that you have circuit breaker points installed and that they are all working correctly. These will shut off power to a certain section of your home if power is overloaded. They are a great fire prevention tool.

In conclusion, you must build up awareness to fire hazards and act accordingly to eliminate these hazards. If you can get a two in one fire alarm that also detects carbon monoxide in the air you will successfully eliminate two hazards in one.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

SERVPRO of Fairfield Would Like To Wish You And Your Family A Safe And Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mold Health Issues That Can Be Prevented By A Timely Mold Home Inspection

In a June 2006 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that "excessive exposure to mold-contaminated materials can cause adverse health effects in susceptible persons regardless of the type of mold or the extent of contamination." Could it be that some of the "odd" and nagging symptoms many people have are directly related to mold and they don't even know it? A toxic mold inspection of the home is the only way to answer this question.
Most people couldn't tell you exactly how much mold is in their home, because mold can't always be seen. Mold home inspection technicians know that if it exists in unusually high quantities, it can become a highly hazardous health risk to people who live around it and inhale it. A person's physical reaction to mold will be based on many factors, but mold is known to produce allergic reactions, cause fungal infections and cause poisoning by mytotoxins.
Mold home inspection services test for mold on surfaces, in out-of-the-way places and in the air. Once mold becomes airborne, humans can inhale it, and that can lead to many health problems such as:
  • Allergic reactions
  • Congestion
  • Stuffy nose
  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Bronchitis
and more.
Some people are immunocomprimised, meaning their immune systems aren't as good at fighting off allergens as other people's. Research shows that when these people inhale mold, it's possible for the fungus to attach to cells within the respiratory tract and begin to grow. Toxic mold inspection professionals know that mold is often airborne and can be spread throughout a home through its heating and air-conditioning systems.
It's not just immunocompromised individuals who are at risk for developing possible serious health problems from mold: constant and repeated exposure can result in the same issues in "normal" healthy people. Unlike with some other substances on this planet, humans don't develop a tolerance to mold with regular exposure. It's just the opposite. Only a professional toxic mold inspection can determine how much mold people are being exposed to.
But mold doesn't start in the air. Damp, dark areas with poor ventilation are ideal breeding grounds for mold. Add to these areas wet furniture, clothing, bedding, pillows and the like, and a mold outbreak is almost certain to happen. Basements and attics that have been subjected to leaking and water damage are particularly good for breeding mold. You might not even need a toxic mold inspection in some cases: you'll be able to see it and smell it.
You will, however, need a thorough mold home inspection to determine if the mold from the attic or basement has spread. Professional mold remediation companies test for mold and then use a variety to procedures to remove it and safeguard the health of those living in the home.

Article Source:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

State Farm® - Turkey Fryer Fire Danger

When deep frying a turkey, make sure you do it as safely as possible. The Illinois Fire Service Institute and State Farm teamed up to illustrate the fiery dangers associated with common deep frying mistakes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Free CPR Training For Ages 10-18 At United Heart Training Center In Suisun City This Weekend, Nov 17th & 18th

Presented By:
United Heart Training Center

November 17 & 18, 2012

For: Ages 10-18 years old
Time: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

One Harbor Center
Suites 200-240
Suisun City, CA 94585

A Donation of $10.00 Will Help Provide Manuals for the Classes

Saturday, November 10, 2012

ServPro of Faifield Testimonial

When I first stepped into the property at 1333 N. Camino Alto, Vallejo to assess it for sale I was appalled to find it flooded with sewage. This sewage had been all over the unit for some time, and had even dried in place making it very hazardous to others.

ServPro of Fairfield responded quickly to m y call for service. Tom Swain came out the same day I called and had a crew out there to clean up the mess as soon as the bank approved the remediation process.

Their crew made quick work cleaning the unit making it possible for my contractor to replace the floors and cabinets as necessary quickly with in turn shortens the time the property is "out of commission".

I highly recommend ServPro of Faifield to my fellow Realtors to make their REO disasters "Like it never even happened". 

Juan Gomez, Realtor
ReMax Gold

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


by John Robinson
On every owner and manager's top ten list of "property management nightmares" is watching fire trucks roll up to a building engulfed in flames. Same is true for the small kitchen grease fire. No apartment fire is welcomed, no matter what size it is.

But once the fire is doused, another possible item on the nightmare list is the time and expense required to clean up and rebuild the burned or smoke-damaged units.

There is a significant amount of cleanup that goes with the remediation. Obviously, a burned or partially destroyed unit will require rebuilding, and that can take weeks, even months. Smoke damage to walls, flooring, fixtures and build-ins like cabinets and book cases, on the other hand, can be remediated usually within a few days.

If you have the misfortune of needing to remediate one or several of your apartment units, here's a high-level checklist to follow to help ensure successful repairs and restoration that leaves residents and property managers happy.  

Clean the Walls, Cabinets, and Fixtures
Smoke is almost like grease and needs to be physically removed from surfaces like walls, cabinets, and fixtures. If smoke damage is minimal, chemical sponges can be used to wipe down surfaces and remove soot. A wall with recent and adequate paint, for example, usually can be restored with a simple wipe-down. However, more extensive damage will require repainting or staining with a commercial oil-based stain or paint that blocks odor on a variety of surfaces, including concrete.

Clean the Carpets
If the carpet and padding are savable, they will have to be cleaned after a fire, and there are a number of cleaning agents available (including organic or green) to do the job. For severe smoke odor, the carpet and pad will have to be replaced. for moderate to mild damage, the carpets can be cleaned with normal green cleaning methods. A burned carpet needs to be replaced.

Clean the Air
While much of the smell can be removed by wiping walls and cleaning carpets, residual odor often will be left behind. For that, there are treatments available to thoroughly deodorize the unit. Ozone generators and thermal fogging are effective techniques for removing odors from a smoke-filled apartment and usually can be done in 24 hours or less. Depending on the severity of the damage, either treatment option – or both – will usually do the job.

Ozone generators are machines that emit ozone gas (O3) that attack odor on the molecular level—effectively eliminating odors from not just the air but walls, carpets, cabinets, and fixtures. The machine is plugged in and placed near a return vent for the unit’s heating and cooling system. The fan pushes ozone into the system’s ductwork and throughout the apartment for at least 24 hours.

Thermal fogging is a six-hour chemical counteractive using solvent-based product that attacks carbon-based odors, like those from cigarettes, charred food, and fires. The chemical is thermally fogged throughout the entire unit and looks and acts a lot like smoke.

Because both treatments are toxic, special care needs to be taken when a unit is being remediated. Plants, animals and humans cannot be present during application, and the unit must be aired out for at least 15-20 minutes before being returned to use.

Ozone and thermal fogging treatments are usually necessary even if walls, cabinets, fixtures and carpets are cleaned or replaced.

When a fire disaster strikes, a property manager’s best solution is to follow this checklist and work closely with a fire and smoke remediation specialists to return the damaged unit to a functioning asset.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


November 13, 2012 9a - 12p  
City of Pinole Public Safety Building
Click Here for Details
December 4, 2012 9a - 11a  
Hilton Garden Inn - Fairfield
Click Here for Details

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Punishing an Insurance Company: Treat Your Insureds Fairly When They Suffer a Loss ... $100,000 Punitive Damage Award Granted Against Insurer
This case is a warning to insurance companies as to the strategy they adopt to defend against their insured's lawsuit over the scope and quantum of insurance coverage arising from a fire loss.

Having a disagreement with your insured over the amount of loss arising from a significant garage fire is understandable and even anticipated.

But when that disagreement turns to litigation, the insurer has to refrain from engaging in a "high handed litigation strategy" to pressure the insured into settling their claim.  The insurance
company cannot put a "gun to the head" of their insured by raising the stakes in litigation when that same strategy did not factor into the initial assessment and adjustment of the claim.

In the case of Brandiferri v. Wawanesa Mutual Insurance, et al., 2012 ONSC 2206 (CanLII), the Court awarded a $100,000 punitive damage award against Wawanesa Mutual Insurance for taking an aggressive litigation strategy which appeared to be designed to raise the stakes against the homeowner and pressure them to settle.


If your house is significantly damaged by smoke, you will probably be reliant on your insurance company to help you out.
If the insurance company does not dispute that the fire was an innocent accident, then the only issue remaining is the scope and amount of your loss.

For example, these are examples of typical questions that you will face:
  • How much will it cost to repair or clean your house?
  • How much will it cost to clean or replace your furniture?  Your clothes?
  • How much will you receive to find alternative living arrangements?
  • If there are big differences in the cleaning or repair estimates between your contractors and the insurance contractors, then whose estimate will prevail?
  • What exactly are you entitled to receive under the policy
    • money to buy new clothes stained / smelling from smoke or just to have those clothes dry cleaned?
    • The quality of materials to repair or re-build your house?