Looking for a Great Holiday Gift Idea? Give Your Family a Fire Safety Plan
The holidays are approaching and many families are finalizing plans for elaborate meals, get-togethers with friends, and decorating with festive lights. Amidst all this planning, Harinder Toor of SERVPRO® of Turlock reminds homeowners that they may be overlooking the most important plan they can make—a fire safety plan.
“Each year, statistics1 show the incidence of home cooking and candle fires peaks during the holiday season. This tends to focus homeowners on fire prevention precautions—and that’s a good thing,” said Toor. “But to truly protect your family from the dangers of a home fire, at the holidays and throughout the year, you need to start with a fire safety plan. Developing a fire safety plan and practicing it regularly with your family is the most important step you can take to help prevent a house fire from turning into a devastating tragedy.”
SERVPRO is a national leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services, and their disaster response professionals know from experience how devastating a home fire can be. They also know that when fire causes a loss of life, there is no “remediation” possible. This is why SERVPRO has teamed up with the American Red Cross (ARC) by supporting the ARC Disaster Responder2 program, and in particular the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign3. As a Disaster Responder, SERVPRO pledges dollars and support in advance to help the ARC develop and distribute educational materials and respond immediately when they are needed.
Toor encourages all Turlock-area homeowners to follow these fire safety guidelines, developed by the ARC through their Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, to help minimize injury or loss of life due to a residential fire.
- Install theright number of smoke alarms4. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Teach childrenwhat smoke alarms sound like5 and what to do when they hear one.
- Ensure that all household members knowtwo ways to escape6 from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
- Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
- Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire” to alert everyone they must get out.
- Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
- Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
“Fire prevention and fire safety planning are two very different things,” said Toor. “Fire prevention planning helps control or eliminate the causes of a fire. Fire safety planning helps prevent injury and loss of life when a fire does break out. To protect your family and your property, you need both.”
For more fire prevention and fire safety tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPRO.com. For more information on SERVPRO® of Turlock, please contact our Office at (209)633-8667 or Office@SERVPROTurlock.com.
Be Prepared for Winter
Each year, California prepares for severe winter storms. These storms often result in flooding, landslides, electrical outages, and damage to highways and other important infrastructure. Over the last two decades, every one of California’s 58 counties has been declared a disaster area at least once due to storm impacts. In 1995 alone, 48 counties were declared federal disaster areas due to a single set of winter storms. California's current drought conditions do not reduce the risks of winter storms. Over the last four years of this historic drought, winter storms have caused localized flooding, loss of life and property damage. Californians must continue to conserve water, while preparing for winter storms.
This year, the State has re-doubled preparation efforts given the warming trend in the Pacific Ocean known as El Niño. This year’s El Niño condition is among the strongest on record and is expected to influence weather patterns by impacting the position of the Pacific jet stream. Scientific data shows that a strong El Niño condition increases the likelihood of above average winter rains. Climate experts indicate that this year's strong El Niño conditions provide higher odds of heavy precipitation this winter, especially in southern and central California.
El Niño warming of the Pacific Ocean also increases the sea level along California’s coast. As water molecules in the Pacific Ocean warm, they expand and result in a temporary rise in sea level. Increased sea levels to date this season along California’s coast measure between 6 and 11 inches. This increased static sea level may increase flooding and other impacts in coastal communities.
For updated information on El Niño conditions, please visit this El Niño portal maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Readiness for Flooding
More than 7 million people and $580 billion in assets are exposed to flood hazards in the State. State efforts are focused on reducing flood risks and improving response when flooding inevitably occurs.
Winter storm risks differ significantly across the State, and storm preparedness is led by local agencies such as flood control districts, water agencies, and cities and counties. Information about local storm preparedness and response plans in each county across the State can be found on the State’s Storm Readiness Portal.
California’s State-Federal Flood Operations Center (FOC), which is located in Sacramento, monitors winter weather and real-time conditions of the State’s rivers and streams. It is the only Joint State-federal co-located flood operations center in the country. When winter storms increase flood risks, the FOC issues warnings to local emergency response agencies. DWR maintains the FOC in partnership with NOAA.
Equipment and materials have been positioned across the State to fight floods by State agencies, including bulldozers and other heavy equipment and materials such as rock and sand. These pre-positioned materials reduce response times to protect areas from flooding when storm emergencies occur. The California Utilities Emergency Association is assisting by identifying and prepositioning telecommunication assets in a similar manner.
DWR maintains a full-time flood management division that facilitates flood control projects and trains local partners across the State in flood prevention and response. Activities include helping local entities to refine their flood response plans and procedures, establishing flood management workgroups, conduct drills, tabletop and field exercises, and developing consistent public messaging to prepare for winter floods.
To support local storm preparedness, DWR and State and federal agencies conducted preseason flood coordination meetings this fall across the State. These meetings provided a winter weather outlook by the National Weather Service, discussed flood vulnerabilities by county, and reviewed flood fighting techniques, roles and responsibilities in a flood emergency, and available resources from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the CCC. In addition, Cal OES held Mutual Aid Regional Advisory Committee (MARAC) meetings throughout the State with each of the Counties about El Niño and its potential impacts to the region. The MARACs bring together Cal OES, state agency partners, and local government emergency managers to coordinate on emergency preparedness and response issues. These meetings focused on unique emergency management challenges related to a strong El Niño/flooding event that could affect the regions. Participants shared what planning and preparation actions are being taken, experiences with past mud flow and flooding events, and how resources and personnel will be managed in a flooding event.
Flood Preparedness Week in California occurred from October 19 to 23 and included news conferences, webinars, public events and social media platforms to encourage residents to learn more about the flood threats in California including: steps to take to guard their lives and property against flood threats, prepare a family evacuation plan, and purchase flood insurance as appropriate. Specific information provided to the public during these events can be found on the Flood Prepare California website. The State volunteer coordination entity, CalVolunteers, is partnering with State agencies to conduct on-the-ground flood preparation outreach to community groups, such as Neighborhood Watch organizations.
Fire Season 2017 – Prevent Wildfires With These Tips
Fire Season 2017 is officially here in Northern California and from now through November property owners and renters have to be on their guard because a wildfire can break out at any moment and destroy a home within minutes.
If you own rental property in the Central Valley here are actionable tips you can use to protect your rental property.
How To Protect Your Rental Property During Fire Season
1. Design smart landscaping, using gravel walkways between sections of vegetation to create firebreaks. Choose plants that are high in moisture (like aloe) or fire-resistant (like French lavender); and avoid flammable trees like conifers. Keep grass short; trim dead branches; and remove unnecessary shrubs and thin trees.
2. Restrict open burning when it’s windy, dry, and hot.
3. Choose fire-resistant materials when it’s time for a new roof, deck, fence, or siding. For existing structures, apply a fire-retardant coating.
4. Clear debris from roofs & gutters, since dry leaves and branches are ready fuel for windblown embers.
5. Consider roof-mounted sprinkler systems, which may qualify for FEMA grants in your state.
6. Store combustible materials safely. Don’t keep items like gas containers where they could heat up or tip over. A cool, dark, ventilated storage area away from residential structures is ideal.
7. Establish communication procedures between staff and residents for imminent threats, and hold safety drills periodically.
8. Make sure you’re covered. If a home is at an elevated level of risk, property insurance companies may help with risk assessment and wildfire prevention efforts. Make sure that tenants have renters insurance for what’s inside their homes, too.
And Keep SERVPRO of Turlock's information handy if the unthinkable does happen
Christmas Fires - Don't let this happen to you
2 Days before Christmas this family was displaced due to fire
A fire during the Christmas holidays is more common then people realize. During this time of year most people have their minds on issues other than safety practices. Unfortunately for this home owner they were one of the statistics. Two days before Christmas they awoke to smoke from a fire that started in their attic, everyone was able to make it out of the house safely. However, the house was not as fortunate. The smoke was through out the house and all of their belongings including the Christmas gifts were unable to be salvaged. SERVPRO of Turlock was able to work with the home owner and adjuster to put the house back to the condition of "as if it never happened" This homeowner was so happy with their "new" look of the house and this year they will be spending Christmas at home instear of a hotel.
Smoke Damage can show up after the fact
This homeowner found out after initial build back that smoke damage can enter areas not seen
Smoke and Soot can travel to areas that upon first look a homeowner and/or adjust will look and assume that the room was not affected by the fire. However, our SERVPRO of Turlock expert technicians have the experience to find the hidden damage. We are then able to work with the adjuster to work out a plan to clean and repair the damage removing any lingering smell of smoke and returning the room to pristine condition.
Here are a few facts amount smoke that you should remember if you ever find yourself in this type of situation
- 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
Turlock - Mold Can Hide Inside Your Walls
The Hidden Mold
Mold is just a sneaky as smoke - it can begin to grow within 24 hours of water exposure and you may not even know it is there. Most residence of the state of California think of the state as a dry state. Therefore they do not believe that mold could happen in their home. Unfortunately this is not the case, in fact it is just a likely for a home here to develop mold as it would in any other state. The Central Valley might even be more susceptible since it is such a warm area which is a good breeding ground for mold. We need to be very diligent when it comes to any type of leak in our house, when we see a leek we need to stop it immediately and then call a trained SERVPRO technician out to assess the situation.
Steps Used to ensure mold does not return
Treating 2 x 4's to prevent further mold
Not only is it necessary to remove any and all areas that have mold on them, it is also very important that steps are taken to ensure that mold does not return. Mold spores are microscopic and have the ability to grow rapidly when the conditions are right. Those conditions are a damp warm dark area: SERVPRO of Turlock has technicians that are trained to not only detect and remove mold, they also have the ability to treat areas to maintain the infrastructure of the home. SERVPRO of Turlock technicians make sure to treat the 2 x 4's with Concrobium Broad Spectrum Disinfectant whic is a powerful EPA-Registered Tuberculocide with one of the fastest kill claims in the industry. They then treat the area with Concrobium Mold Control - which is an innovative fungistat with EPA registered mold growth prevention
Wind Storms - the other storm type
Wind Storms can topple trees
When you hear the words Storm Damage - your first thought may be there was a major rain storm that caused the damage. However, what most people don't consider is the "Wind Storms" that can occur. There are certain times of the year in the Central Valley that we get "Wind Storms" with gusts up to 50 miles per hour. When this happens these gusts can topple trees and create major damage to cities - counties - and home owners. The damage can be as small as power outages to as big as a tree falling onto your house. This home owner was part of the latter, where the tree came down onto a trailer in his yard. When this happens it is comforting to know that SERVPRO of Turlock is just a phone call away.
Water Damage can come from many different sources
Water damage in Turlock can originate from many different sources. As ice, it can expand water pipes in a home to the point they burst. As a liquid, water can flood an area in a home, come gushing out when a frozen pipe has burst, backup into your basement from the sewer or overflow from the toilet or washing machine. It can also cause interior walls to warp, deteriorate and peel their paint and wallpapers when a leak upstairs has allowed water to run down the interior of walls on lower floors.
Changes in the seasons can be a time of rising humidity levels, and summer can be a time when children's swimsuits get left in places they shouldn't be, creating a moisture increase in an already warm location. Cooking soups and stews in the winter can also have the same result. Ventilation is the key to eliminating the excess moisture. A dehumidifier, especially one that creates little air movement, can help decrease humidity in a home. Ensuring that the line drains correctly is also vital.
When water damage is something you are experiencing, call us SERVPRO of Turlock 209-633-8667 we are ready to help