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Check Before You Burn in Riverside County

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

a red and orange flame to the left of the words Check Before You Burn, font in teal orange and red. The Check Before You Burn" initiative was created to reduce pollution and protect public health from the harmful emissions of wood burning.

During late fall and early winter, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) asks residents to participate in its "Check Before You Burn" program by not burning wood in fireplaces when unhealthful air quality is forecast. Under the program -- intended to help improve wintertime air quality --South Coast AQMD may issue mandatory no-burn alerts from November 1 through the end of February.

No-burn alerts are issued for 24-hour periods for residential wood-burning fireplaces, backyard fire pits and wood stoves when emissions and stagnant weather conditions raise fine particulate pollution to unhealthy levels. Alerts are typically issued for the entire South Coast Air Basin, which encompasses all of Orange County and the non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Why do we need "Check Before You Burn"

The Check Before You Burn" initiative was created to reduce pollution and protect public health from the harmful emissions of wood burning. Despite steady progress toward improved air quality, Southern California still has the worst pollution in the country. 

Reduce Pollution Caused by Wood Burning

Since November 1, 2011, wood burning in the South Coast Air Basin has been prohibited every year from November 1 through the end of February when no-burn alerts are issued due to forecasts of unhealthy levels

There are plenty of wood-burning alternatives and resources to help you switch to cleaner-burning gas log sets.

Reduce Health Risks Caused by Wood Burning

Pollution from wood smoke contains very small particles.  These particles are the width of a human hair!  Because it’s so small, these particles can lodge deep in the lungs and cause a variety of respiratory health problems.

Long-term exposure can lead to reduced lung function and chronic bronchitis. In some cases, prolonged exposure to this harmful substance may even lead to premature death. Short-term exposure can make existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or lung disease worse. It may also increase the risk of respiratory infections, and those with heart disease could even be at risk for heart attacks or arrhythmia. Young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to the effects.

How to Reduce Air Pollution from Wood Burning

A wood-burning fireplace can cause pollution and be harmful to your lungs. But with some small changes, you can make a big difference. Here are some tips to help reduce pollution from your wood-burning fireplace:

  • Choose not to burn when air quality is already poor. Check the South Coast AQMD Air Quality Index in your local newspaper or visit www.aqmd.gov to monitor when the air quality is poor to avoid burning wood on these days. Pay close attention during wood-burning season - November to February - to ensure you are not burning wood when a mandatory no-burn alert has been issued for your area.  Save energy and reduce pollution during these months by wearing a sweater on chilly nights.
  • Reduce your need for fuel. Make your home more energy-efficient by installing ceiling insulation, and by weather stripping or caulking windows and doors. Close off unused rooms if you don’t have central heating.
  • Have your chimney professionally cleaned. Keep your chimney swept and ash area clean to improve air flow and reduce emissions. Chimneys should be professionally cleaned periodically to prevent creosote buildup and reduce the potential for chimney fires. Store wood outdoors, off the ground and with the top covered.
  • If you do burn wood, start fires with softwood kindling such as pine or fir. Always burn “seasoned” or dry wood. These woods are generally low in density, ignite easily, burn fast and hot and will heat the firebox and flue quickly. Hardwoods such as oak can take longer to ignite, but they burn slower and produce less smoke. Remember to use smaller fires in mild weather.
  • Never burn garbage and other materials. It can cause toxic smoke that can be extremely harmful to you and your neighbors.
  • Watch chimney for smoke. Properly burning fires should give off only a wisp of white steam. The darker and thicker the smoke, the more pollution the fire emits, and the more fuel it wastes.
  • Beware of overnight heating. Do not leave open fires unattended or let them burn overnight. This can lead to a back draft of smoke in your home, causing hazardous indoor air pollution. Build a small, hot fire and let it burn out completely, closing the damper when finished.
  • For heating, switch to a cleaner wood-burning alternative. An EPA-certified wood stove emits up to 70 percent less particulate emissions and uses 30 percent less fuel.
  • Replace your wood-burning fireplace with a natural-gas insert. The particle pollution from one wood stove is equivalent to that emitted by 3,000 gas furnaces producing the same amount of heat per unit.
  • Remember... If you can smell smoke, you are breathing smoke!

How do I know if a no-burn alert has been issued?

Residents can obtain no-burn alert information by: 

  • Signing up for South Coast AQMD Air Alerts sent via e-mail;
  • Using South Coast AQMD’s interactive residential no-burn alert map by entering an address or ZIP code in the search area; or
  • Calling 866-966-3293 for Check Before You Burn information.

Information from our friends at South Coast  AQMD

Our first responders are amazing hard-working men and women and they do their very best to provide awareness and prevention. First responders work hard to prepare everyday citizens to make our emergencies a little more manageable.

Consider SERVPRO as your second first responder. We do our best to provide awareness and prevention to all who meet us. We don’t want you to have a disaster or damage. No one wants their lives, or homes to be turned upside down. That is why we do our best to provide you with the knowledge and tools to prevent them.

Be sure to thank a first responder today and let them know how much their hard work is appreciated. Don't forget to mind "Check Before You Burn" regulations for the safety of you, your neighbors, and our first responders.

10 Crucial Things To Know Before You Start Driving In The Rain

1/15/2020 (Permalink)

view through a windshield with drops of rain view of palm trees and gray clouds In Riverside County we experience flash floods frequently, this information is vital in keeping ourselves and passengers safe.

In Riverside County we experience flash floods frequently, this information is vital in keeping ourselves and passengers safe.

Driving in rain, whether a sprinkle or a heavy downpour, can be one of the most difficult driving situations a driver encounters. Rainy conditions are directly associated with higher accident rates. No matter what part of the country you live in, it is almost certain that you will be required to drive your vehicle in the rain at some point. Knowing how wet roads and reduced visibility affects the way your vehicle handles will help you drive safely in rainy conditions.

Nearly half (46%) of all weather-related car accidents — more than 700,000 a year — are due to rain.1 As we may experience more soggy weather, it's imperative that all drivers are schooled on how they can safely maneuver their vehicle and avoid weather-related auto accidents, which often cause car insurance rates to rise- Mercury Insurance

Here are 10 tips for driving in the rain:

Step 1. Exercise caution. Engine oil and grease build-up on roads and highways over time, and when combined with precipitation, you’ve got the equivalent of an automotive Slip ‘N Slide.

Step 2. Slow down. Wet pavement causes tires to lose traction and vehicles become more difficult to handle.

Step 3. Use headlights. Always use headlights in the rain – even if it’s just a sprinkle. Headlights help you see and be seen in wet weather.

Step 4. Keep your windshield wipers in tip-top shape. Summer can wreak havoc on your blades, so get them checked before fall’s showers arrive.

Step 5. Defog your windows. Precipitation can cause your windshield to quickly fog up, so use the front and rear defrosters to maximize visibility.

Step 6. Avoid pooling water. By splashing through puddles you can impair your vision and other drivers’. Additionally, standing water often shields potholes and debris from view and it can reduce the effectiveness of your vehicle’s brakes.

Step 7. If your car begins to hydroplane, do not brake or turn the wheel abruptly as this may cause your vehicle to go into a skid or spin. Take your foot off the gas and keep the wheel straight until your car reclaims traction.

Step 8. Increase your following distance. Slick roads, wet brakes and reduced visibility can lead to collisions. Give other vehicles plenty of room and brake early with reduced force.

Step 9. Don’t use cruise control. It can cause your car to accelerate when hydroplaning and reduces driver attentiveness.

Step 10. Drive in the tracks of the car in front of you. This allows the vehicle ahead to displace any standing water that’s on the road.

By employing these safe driving techniques you can keep yourself and your passengers safe during fall and winter drizzles and downpours. Rainy roads can be dangerous, but if we all slow down and use extra caution, rainy days might actually be a little brighter.

Indicators Your Riverside Home May Have Hidden Water Damage

1/13/2020 (Permalink)

A man in a white t-shirt with a clear glass to a wall and up to his ear to listen. If you are hearing sounds of dripping water, rushing water, it seems that your home might have already become a victim of water damage

When most people hear the phrase Water Damage, they think of water heater issues, overflowing sinks, and water leaking through the ceiling.

And while those are disastrous examples of what a water damage event can look like, sometimes a less dramatic situation can cause quite a scene.

Detecting water damage can be a difficult task as often water damage losses don’t become evident right away. In fact, most of them exist over a prolonged period before being identified and restored. By that time, the underlying problem causing the water damage becomes really severe and managing it becomes extremely difficult. For avoiding any such situation and ensuring that you contact the water restoration company before the problem turns bigger, you must get acquainted with the preliminary warning signs. The section below would introduce you to the most common indicators of water damage.  

Sound- If you think that all the signs of water damage are meant to be seen, you are wrong. There are some signs that can be heard. If you are hearing sounds of dripping water, rushing water, or creaking floorboards, it seems that your home might have already become a victim of water damage. It’s true that such sounds might also occur in spite of having a healthy plumbing system; however, still, you must get your home checked for water damage if you hear the sounds constantly.  

Smell- You must also keep your nose alert for detecting moisture or water damage in your home. Dampness boasts a distinct odor; it might resemble the pungent smell we usually associate with mold. So, when checking your home for water damage, you should look for smell besides other obvious indicators.  

Puddles- If there’s a leak in your home’s plumbing system or if something in the system is dripping, you might soon see pools of water develop along the problematic area. Whenever you find any unusual puddle, do monitor it and find out whether it returns after being cleaned up. A puddle that comes back even after being cleaned up might be a sign of a seepage or leak.  

Mold- Mold typically occurs only when there’s water damage. You might not need to hire a water damage restoration service provider if condensation in the bathroom has resulted in mold formation. However, you will have to treat mold as a sign of excessive moisture formation in certain parts of your house and do the needful for getting those affected areas dried as quickly as possible. Getting rid of mold is also necessary for health reasons; that’s because exposure to mold might make you and your family members suffer from allergy, headaches, and nausea.  

Coolness- Are you finding it hard to heat up your home? If yes, treat the problem as a sign of dampness in your walls. Accumulated moisture will tend to draw out heat of the walls so that it can get evaporated. This makes the walls and the entire home much colder.  

Discoloration- Here, it must be noted that discoloration can occur due to a number of reasons; so, it’s important to make sure that the discoloration in your home is actually a result of water damage. If the discoloration has been caused by water “streaks” running down along an end of your house, it’s definitely a sign of water damage. In most cases, those streaks occur due to an overfull gutter. 

 If you notice any of these or other signs of a potential water loss contact a plumber to determine and repair the source of the loss, and if you are having trouble locating a plumber we can make a referral. After the cause of water loss has been fixed contact SERVPRO of West Riverside City for restoration and repair of your damaged property.  

Notice Standing Water? 3 Surprising Threats to Be Aware Of

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

a street flooded by rain water showing a car submerged in the water, with houses in the background A car is stranded in Riverside after heavy rain caused flooding on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. (Picture Credit : ABC7 viewer Matt Willhite).

3 Surprising Threats Associated With Standing Floodwaters

A flood can be one of the most devastating natural disasters you will experience during your lifetime. Floodwaters have the potential to completely devastate any area they pass through. At their worst, floods can lift homes off their foundations and crash through walls. Even a small flood can cause damage to your home by saturating your flooring and wall materials with water.

All homeowners need to be aware of the dangers that floodwaters pose so that they can take action to protect themselves in the aftermath of a flood. Standing floodwaters come with a variety of damages and threats. Learn about three surprising threats you should be mindful of as you assess the damage to your home following a flood.

  • Electrocution
  • One of the deadliest risks associated with floodwaters is electrocution. Water is a powerful electrical conductor. When floodwaters come into contact with any electrical outlets or wires inside your home, the water has the potential to become electrically charged.

    If you step into a pool of this standing floodwater or any exposed part of your body comes into contact with the water, the electrical charge stored in the water could pass through your body and cause serious harm.

    Utility companies will typically shut down the electrical grid in any areas affected by a flood, but you should never assume that there is no electrical power to your home. Only a restoration professional with advanced training should enter your home to verify that the power is off at the breaker box and no electricity is circulating through your home.

    After a flood or other natural disaster you need to be careful to avoid electrical hazards both in your home and elsewhere.

  • Shut off electrical power and natural gas or propane tanks in your home to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosions.
  • NEVER touch a fallen power line. Call the power company to report fallen power lines. Avoid contact with overhead power lines during cleanup and other activities.
  • Do not drive through standing water if downed power lines are in the water.
  • If you believe someone has been electrocuted, call or have someone else call 911 or emergency medical help.
  • Explosions         
  • If your home is equipped with any appliances that rely on natural gas as a power source, the risk of explosion is present after a flood. Floodwaters can dislodge the pipes that feed natural gas into your home. This creates gas leaks that can trap a buildup of gas inside your residence.

    The smallest spark could cause the gas to explode, causing further damage to your home and putting the life of anyone inside the residence at risk. Experienced restoration professionals can detect gas leaks before they begin working to clean up the mess left behind by a flood.

    You can take the necessary precautions to address the gas leak, allowing you to maximize your safety after floodwaters recede. Never enter your flooded home if the possibility of a gas leak is present.

  • Disease
  • Another serious risk associated with floodwaters is disease. The transmission of many communicable diseases can be facilitated by standing floodwaters. Some of these diseases include cholera, typhoid fever, malaria, and West Nile virus.

    The water that floods your home during a natural disaster can also become contaminated with raw sewage. Bacteria and other pathogens thrive in the standing water, which makes your flooded home a serious health hazard.

    Exposure to contaminated flood water can cause:

  • Wound infections
  • Skin rash
  • Gastrointestinal illness
  • Tetanus
  • Leptospirosis (not common)
  • Because of these potential diseases, it's important that you don't come into contact with floodwaters without the proper safety gear. A company that specializes in restoring residential properties following a flood will have the experience and products needed to eliminate the threat of flood-related disease from your home.

    A restoration specialist can use powerful chemicals that will disinfect and sanitize all of the surfaces within your home once the flood water has been removed. These same chemicals can also prevent mold growth in your home.

    Floods are inherently dangerous, but the dangers don't stop once the active flooding subsides. Standing flood water in your home can increase the risk of electrocution, explosions, and disease transmission following a flood.

    Contact SERVPRO of West Riverside City to handle your restoration needs after a flood so that you can avoid any associated dangers created by standing floodwaters.

    Winter Weather in Riverside Brings Cold Temperatures, Do Your Pets Get Cold?

    1/1/2020 (Permalink)

    Rain drops on a window, dog dressed in a hat and scarf, kitten in a blanket SERVPRO of West Riverside loves our furry friends. Keep them warm during the cold wet winter months. Mascot Ellie wears a scarf and hat to keep warm.

    You're probably already aware of the risks posed by warm weather and leaving pets in hot cars, but did you know that cold weather also poses serious threats to your pets' health?

    Here are some tips to keep your pets safe during cold weather:

    Winter wellness: Has your pet had his/her preventive care exam (wellness exam) yet? Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it's as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure (s)he is ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.

    Know the limits: Just like people, pets' cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet's tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog's walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing's disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. If you need help determining your pet's temperature limits, consult your veterinarian.

    Provide choices: Just like you, pets prefer comfortable sleeping places and may change their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Give them some safe options to allow them to vary their sleeping place to adjust to their needs.

    Stay inside. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It's a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it's untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.

    Make some noise: A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats, but it's deadly. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.

    Check the paws: Check your dog's paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog's toes.

    Play dress-up: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. Some pet owners also use booties to protect their dog's feet; if you choose to use them, make sure they fit properly.

    Wipe down: During walks, your dog's feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet's feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after (s)he licks them off of his/her feet or fur. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your property to protect your pets and the others in your neighborhood.

    Collar and chip: Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that might normally help your pet find his/her way back home. Make sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information. A microchip is a more permanent means of identification, but it's critical that you keep the registration up to date.

    Stay home: Hot cars are a known threat to pets, but cold cars also pose significant risk to your pet's health. You're already familiar with how a car can rapidly cool down in cold weather; it becomes like a refrigerator, and can rapidly chill your pet. Pets that are young, old, ill, or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in cold cars. Limit car travel to only that which is necessary, and don't leave your pet unattended in the vehicle.

    Prevent poisoning: Clean up any antifreeze spills quickly, as even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly. Make sure your pets don't have access to medication bottles, household chemicals, potentially toxic foods such as onions, xylitol (a sugar substitute) and chocolate.

    Protect family: Odds are your pet will be spending more time inside during the winter, so it's a good time to make sure your house is properly pet-proofed. Use space heaters with caution around pets, because they can burn or they can be knocked over, potentially starting a fire. Check your furnace before the cold weather sets in to make sure it's working efficiently, and install carbon monoxide detectors to keep your entire family safe from harm. If you have a pet bird, make sure its cage is away from drafts.

    Avoid ice: When walking your dog, stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don't know if the ice will support your dog's weight, and if your dog breaks through the ice it could be deadly. And if this happens and you instinctively try to save your dog, both of your lives could be in jeopardy.

    Provide shelter: We don't recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.

    Recognize problems: If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.

    Be prepared: Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather, blizzards and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit, and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.

    Feed well: Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight don't make it worth doing. Watch your pet's body condition and keep them in the healthy range. Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm – talk to your veterinarian about your pet's nutritional needs during cold weather.

    Cold weather safety for livestock

    Companion animals aren't the only animals in need of protection during the winter months. Livestock, including horses, have their own unique considerations and needs when the weather gets colder.

    Recognize the importance of early veterinary care: Schedule a veterinary exam early in the season to address any concerns before the harshest conditions arrive. This is a good time to discuss vaccinations, nutritional supplementation, deworming, and other parasite treatment needs. Veterinary attention is especially important for animals that are pregnant, and very young or very old animals may require special attention.

    Provide appropriate shelter from the elements: Livestock can generally tolerate cold temperatures, but wind, rain, or snow will require a greater expenditure of calories. With that in mind, be sure they have a way to get out of the elements, especially the wind. Blankets can help protect horses, but a structural shelter with proper ventilation and dry bedding is the best method of protection. If you do blanket your horses, be sure to check underneath often for signs of injury, infection, or malnutrition.

    Keep ice to a minimum to prevent injury, and remember to keep driveways clear so veterinarians and farriers can access your animals. Prevent mud management issues in the winter with proper preparation, whether that's through use of material like gravel, sand, or woodchips, or through other methods.

    Consider the amount and quality of feed: Besides taking shelter, livestock keep warm by expending energy, which means they need to consume enough calories to heat themselves. Consider talking with your veterinarian to develop a feed plan that meets your animals' nutritional needs. This may mean increasing the amount of feed available to your animals, and/or increasing the quality of feed. Very young, very old, or sick animals will typically have additional nutritional needs during the winter compared to healthy, middle-aged animals.

    Ensure access to water: It is crucial that your herd has access to fresh and unfrozen water. Tank heaters or heated buckets can help keep water at a temperature your animals are more comfortable drinking. Livestock will not consume adequate amounts of water if it is near freezing, and consuming enough water is important to your animals' health and well-being in winter months.

    Fire and Water Damage in Riverside Hotels

    12/25/2019 (Permalink)

    Cleaning and restoring your hotel, resort, convention center, or other hospitality business following a fire or water damage event can be a daunting prospect. Luckily, the experts at SERVPRO are here to help. We'll work with your management and staff to make sure any inconvenience to your guests is minimized as we isolate and fully restore the damaged areas.

    Fire and Water Damage

    Ruined flooring is perhaps the most obvious result of a water damage event. Water can destroy tile, vinyl, and wood flooring. It can also compromise the wooden sub-flooring beneath carpeting. Ceilings may also be affected as water leaking from one floor finds its way to the one beneath. Often times walls (or the bottom portions of them at least) will need to be replaced also, as they're made of porous materials that absorb water.

    Soot, smoke damage, and water damage can destroy furniture, artwork, and other hotel property. Customer and client property may be damaged also, adding to your already considerable financial burden.

    As costly as a fire or water damage event can be, the costs of not having the cleanup done correctly can be far greater. Improper or incomplete cleaning and restoration can lead to the growth of off-putting and potentially dangerous mold. Mold growth affects air-quality and is malodorous. Few things will damage the carefully maintained reputation of your resort, hotel or convention center quite so quickly as this toxic invader.

    Why SERVPRO of West Riverside City ?

    At SERVPRO of West Riverside City, we understand that response time is critical when dealing with a fire or water damage event. A fast response can limit damage and potentially reduce costs. We stand ready twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to serve Inland Empires hotels.

    No job is too big or too small for SERVPRO. We scale our response teams and equipment to best suit any given situation and, should the need arise we'll mobilize one of our Commercial Large Loss teams.

    Whether you run a hotel, resort, school, or convention center, SERVPRO knows that you'll need to continue operating as cleanup and restoration are performed. We'll coordinate with your management to allow for normal operations to continue around the safely isolated cleanup area.

    There is no way to predict when a disaster can strike your business, but there are ways to be prepared for it when it does happen. Why is it important to be prepared? Well, a disaster occurring in your business has the potential to bring your operation to a screeching halt, which means your business could lose more money than it would if you had a plan in place to get things up and running again quickly. Some disasters can lead to a long road to recovery that is not only for commercial restoration but also being able to offer services, help your clients and customers, and start bringing money back in.

    SERVPRO of West Riverside City knows just how important a running business is to its owners and is able to establish a plan for your business called an ERP, or Emergency READY Profile.

  • A no-cost assessment of your facility. This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
  • A Profile Document containing only the crucial information you will need in case of an emergency. It doesn’t take very long to complete, but it will save you a lot of time (and from one more headache) if you ever need it.
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster. By having an immediate plan of action, you can help minimize downtime. 
  • Establishes SERVPRO of Winter Park as your emergency mitigation and restoration provider. You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and is located right here for Winter Park and the surrounding area.
  • Identifies the line of command for authorizing work to begin. This saves time so that we can begin the work of mitigating the damage immediately, which can save you both time and money.
  • Provides important facility details such as priority contact information, priority areas, and shut-off valves. Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it, and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.”
  • SERVPRO of West Riverside City provides a host of other restoration services too. In SERVPRO's fifty-years experience, we've become experts in dealing with mold removal, vandalism cleanup, document recovery, and even the isolation and cleanup of biohazards.

    Are you ready to set up an Emergency READY Profile for your business or have more questions on what the process is like? Give SERVPRO of West Riverside City a call today at (951) 351-8033.

    If you've experienced a fire, or water damage event, visit our website to learn exactly how our many services may be applied to the quick and efficient restoration of your establishment. Or even better, call SERVPRO now at 951-351-8033.

    How to Prevent Christmas Tree Fires in your Riverside Home

    12/23/2019 (Permalink)

    A Christmas tree positioned in front of curtains engulfed in orange and yellow fire flames. Christmas Trees can start a huge fire that can completely damage your Riverside home. Check out our safety guidelines.

    When showcasing a live tree in your home, the combination of tree dryness, electrical malfunction with lights and poorly located heating sources can make for a deadly combination.

    Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires each year. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires.

    Here are some tips from National Fire Protection Association

    Picking the tree

    • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

    Placing the tree

    • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.
    • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
    • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
    • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

    Lighting the tree

    • Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
    • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
    • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
    • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

    Facts

    • More than one of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
    • Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious.
    • A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four of the fires.

     Pets

    When you have the joy of pets, there are precautions that need to be taken to keep them safe.  Make sure the tree can not be toppled over by the mischief pet pawing at the delicate ornaments that look ever so tasteful.  Loop twine or fishing line around the trunk and tie to a screw in the wall.  If there are cords on the floor they can be duct taped down to keep your pets from chewing on them.  Keep the needles cleaned up off the floor to keep your pets from licking them and possibly ingesting insecticides or flame retardants. 

    After Christmas

    Get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.

    • Check with your local community to find a recycling program.
    • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

    SERVPRO of West Riverside team wants to ensure that everyone has a safety in mind. In the unlikely event that a fire were to occur, know that the SERVPRO team in Riverside is ready to assist 24/7 by calling 951-351-8033.

    8 Signs that Can Predict a Falling Tree in Riverside City

    12/18/2019 (Permalink)

    large tree branch hanging over a broken what fence This oversized tree branch broke off the main tree trunk due to not being maintained.

    Trees can be the perfect accent to the appearance of your home or property. However, they are also one of the most common sources of roof damage, especially during storms. With storm season among us in Central Florida it is important that homeowners and property managers alike are able to recognize some of the signs of trees that are more likely to fall.

    1. Leaning to One Side

    A slight lean of your tree should not be a huge concern since most trees do not grow perfectly straight. However, be wary of trees that lean uncomfortably in one direction, especially if in the direction of your roof. Leaning trees that are very close to the point of falling sometimes have exposed roots near the base and cracked soil on the opposite side of the lean. In some cases, the cause of the lean can be a weight distribution issue that can be balanced by pruning branches.

    2. Multiple Trunks

    If you have a tree with U-shaped multiple trunks, be sure to inspect for deep cracks and other signs of weakness. Mature trees are most at risk for splitting down the middle during heavy rains and stormy weather. To prevent the tree’s splitting, consider hiring a certified arborist who can attach cables between trunks and braces to strengthen their bonds.

    The best offense is a good defense when it comes to protecting your roof from falling trees. Take the time to inspect trees on your property and mark ones that match some of the above warning signs. Don’t be afraid to remove unstable trees, though you should call an arborist before attempting to fell the tree yourself.

    3. A Hole in the Trunk

    A cavity can form in the trunk of a tree when the tree prunes itself by dropping a branch. That can lead to decay inside the tree. This doesn’t always mean danger, though, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. If there’s enough sound wood around the cavity, the tree probably won’t fall.

    4. Missing Bark or Deep Cracks

    An area where tree bark is missing, gashed or indented is called a “canker”. A canker can make a tree more likely to break at that spot, even if the wood looks OK, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). Deep cracks in the bark are a bad sign, too.

    5. Dead or Falling Branches

    When trees start dropping bits of branches or entire branches, it’s a clue that something’s wrong. The tree tries to make itself smaller so there is not as much to feed. Dead branches are a major danger and can come crashing down even on a calm day, according to the USDA Forest Service

    6. Losing Leaves from the Outside In

    When a tree loses leaves in this pattern often it means something is wrong with the root zone. The root zone is where the tree gets nutrients and water — and it’s what holds the tree up. Without a healthy root system, a tree can fall more easily.

    7. Rotten Roots

    Root rot can be hard to spot. Look for mushrooms growing around the base of a tree. Fungi growing on the trunk can be another clue that the tree is rotting inside.

    8. Tight Branch Growth

    When branches grow close together in a V-shape, it’s a bad sign. A strong union will be U-shaped. Elm, maple, oak, yellow poplar and willow trees tend to break at weak forks. When the wind blows, these trees can fall apart. This problem is easiest to spot in winter after the leaves have fallen off.

    Risks After Roof Damage From Fallen Trees

    The roof is a protector of your home. So, make sure your trees are ready to withstand the stormy weather. A damaged roof may make it easier for your property’s interior to sustain additional damage from water and in many cases mold growth. If you have sustained roof damage, make sure to call a professional roofer to repair the damage. Also, should the roof be damaged during a storm, SERVPRO of west Riverside City is available 24/7 at 951-351-8033 to extract water and dry your property to prevent further damage.

    How Riverside Residents Can Avoid Claim Denials for Water Damage

    12/16/2019 (Permalink)

    Asking your insurance adjuster if you're more likely to be approved or denied when they're on-site is an opportunity to get answers to concerns.

    Home insurance claims stemming from water damage are among the most frequent of insurance claims around. We will cover water damage types, what damage is covered and what claims are typically made by homeowners. We will also cover why home insurance companies deny certain claims and how to avoid these denials.

    Types of Water Damage

    There are many kinds of water damage. Different homeowner’s insurance policies will cover different types of damages and situations. Some of the more common sorts of water damage that will show up on a policy as either covered or excluded from coverage include:

    • Water damage caused by heavy storms

    • Flood damage

    • Water backup or sewer backup

    • Accidental or sudden discharge

    • Overflow

    Home Insurance Claims for Water Damage

    Homeowners usually want to know what sorts of water damage will be covered by their policies. Common types of water damage inquiries are for leaks, such as from leaky roofs, toilets or pipes around the house that distribute water. Coverage for water damages will be determined by the damage’s origin, the policy that the homeowner signed up for and if the claimed damage is both sudden and accidental or if the damage was gradual.

    Gradual Damage

    Gradual damage is water damage deemed to occur slowly over a long period of time. Some forms of gradual damage will be hard to spot until it is too late, such as when the damage is occurring within the interior walls of a home. Though these sorts of issues can lead to structural damage down the road, most of these damage claims would be denied since they didn’t occur both accidentally and suddenly.

    Homeowners frequently make claims ultimately caused by gradual damage such as the following:

    • Leaky pipes, plumbing, and faucets damaging walls, floors, and ceilings.

    • Watering seeping in from foundation weaknesses or from holes around the home’s exterior.

    • Worn down tiles, flashing or other roofing materials that are allowing water to enter the home.

    • Damage due to corroded, moldy or rotting materials.

    • Electrical wiring that has become worn and less effective.

    • Sub-standard home repairs or non-repairs.

    Though not always, insurance companies may cover the “resulting damage” of issues or parts that originally wouldn’t have been covered by the present policy.

    If a homeowner wants to know the finer details of what is covered and not covered in their policies, then it’s best to consult the insurance company or their insurance broker or advisor. They can go over the exclusions and details of a homeowner’s insurance policy for complete coverage details.

    Reasons that Claims can be Denied

    Homeowners insurance claims can be denied for a variety of reasons. Gradual damage, coverage lapses or miscommunications are just a few reasons for claim denials. No matter the reason, the homeowner should request a complete explanation of why the claim is not being granted. This includes an elaboration of which part of the wording within the policy doesn’t apply to what the homeowner is seeking compensation for.

    Keep in mind that many people represent the home insurance organization during the claims process, so it’s a good idea to determine from whom the denial is coming from. Was it the contractor, an insurance agent or a claims adjuster? Each person has a different role within the organization, opening different paths for reviewing or negotiating through the process.

    One reason for the claim being denied was that it was for an issue that the homeowner had to specifically request or endorse beforehand. It’s one of the homeowner’s rights to know what conditions were covered on their policies for present and future reference, including the optional endorsements and features.

    How to Avoid Claim Denials

    • Keep records of home repairs, including the names of the professionals hired for the home’s maintenance.

    • Maintain an accurate account of the homeowner’s responsibilities and of the policies and exclusions of the insurance coverage package.

    • Implement periodic home maintenance, at least every spring and fall to mitigate and prevent damage.

    • Select the best insurance package for the specific needs of the home and look into extra features that can provide added value.

    Why Mold Protocol and Post-Remediation Testing is Recommended for your Riverside Home

    12/16/2019 (Permalink)

    Mold Remediation Protocol

    Mold Remediation protocol accurately assesses the proper treatment and removal of mold in areas of a building that have been affected by mold. Mold lab results can be combined with the findings of the professional mold inspection and an intimate understanding of the property’s layout. Using all of this knowledge and data, the remediation professionals can devise a plan that is tailored to the specific mold problems impacting a client’s property. Adhering to the protocol’s instructions ensures that the company performing the remediation can complete the process safely and promptly. Among other things, the protocol can specify when carpets, furniture, and other items that have been impacted by mold can still be cleaned and when it’s time for these materials to be removed.

    Steps of the Protocol

    The following are the steps required during the protocol process.

    Interview

    The property’s present conditions are surveyed and discussed with a person who is authorized to handle the property’s affairs.

    Site Assessment

    The areas that were affected are given a physical site assessment. The site assessment accomplishes several functions: the site assessment visually inspects the damage(s), gathers temperature and relative humidity (RH) readings, takes air samples and direct samples for mold (if necessary), and collects room dimensions to draft the required floor and room drawings to specify the location(s) of concern.

    Air Sampling

    Non-viable spore trap air sampling is designed to get an approximation of the concentration of airborne microbial (fungal) spores. The most commonly used entrance of the property is used to collect at least one outside sample. After the outside sample is taken, air samples are gathered in the property’s areas of concern. If elevated airborne spore concentration levels are detected, this may mean that there is one or more indoor microbial reservoir(s). It may also mean that the microbial remediation plan must include either the cleaning of the HVAC system(s) or of personal effects within the building.

    Direct Sampling

    Direct sampling is used to pinpoint the type and relative concentration of the microbial spores that have affected tested materials. The direct sampling results are also used as source contamination reference material during the air sampling process.

    California State Guidelines

    At present, California has no state regulations about mold inspection, assessment, or remediation. Any business is subject to local requirements, such as for a business license. A company performing building construction or improvement valued at $500 or more (labor and materials costs) must have a state contractors’ license.

    Benefits of a Protocol

    A protocol ensure that mold contaminations are properly assessed to facilitate the remediation process. It protects property owners from having to pay for additional remediation fees. It also provides a safe and healthy environment for visitors, residents, remediation companies, and property owners.

    Why Post-Remediation Testing is Recommended

    Mold is not always visible and is capable of hiding away quietly inside of walls and deep under foundations eating away at the crucial structures of your home. It is also very common that complications related to the health of those who come into contact with mold are reported. Mold remediation, the treatment and/or removal of mold, can be costly but not nearly as costly as a failure to address the issue. The longer mold goes unnoticed and unmitigated, the further it can spread and more damage it can cause. If you discover a potential mold problem, you should absolutely have it tested and addressed. However, remediation efforts should always be followed up with a post-remediation mold test.

    Why Do I Need the Post-Remediation Test?

    A post-remediation test is sometimes referred to as a clearance test. It is essentially the same test that was conducted to find mold in the first place, only this time there should be no high concentrations of mold spores in the samples taken. If the air samples show the number of spores have been reduced to normal levels or below, the problem has been addressed correctly.

    If proper protocols are not followed, however, mold will continue to grow without you being aware of it. A post-remediation clearance test is the only true way to determine if your remediation was successful. Ordering the test allows you to either have the peace of mind of knowing your home is mold-free or have the remediation company revisit the remediation to achieve the necessary results.

    SERVPRO of West Riverside City

    Our franchise performs the remediation portion of the mold process and has certified professional mold technicians. If you believe you have a mold issue and are seeking the help of a highly trained professional, give us a call today at (951) 351-8033.