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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Restoring Home Libraries and Collections after a Water Damage Disaster Has Occurred

6/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers tips for the care and preservation of home libraries and provides water damage restoration services if the collection suffers a water damage disaster.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides water damage restoration and contents cleaning for water-damaged home libraries and collections. For the homeowner who has suffered a water damage disaster that has affected a prized collection, it is comforting to know that competent, skilled, and certified restoration professionals will be handling the cleanup and restoration of these valuable contents.

Californians love collecting. Motivations are varied, including the prospect that the value of the collectibles will dramatically increase as time passes. Rarity and antiquity (the age of the item) are a factor in the value of the collection. Some people create collections as a hobby simply because they enjoy the hunt. Some of the most popular things Californians collect include coins, movies, video games, books, music CDs, stamps, rocks and gems, key chains, dolls, and sports cards.

A collection of mass market paperback novels may have little or no value. On the other hand, out-of-print, rare, or vintage books could be worth a fortune. A shoebox full of old baseball cards may have a rare rookie card worth thousands of dollars. A large collection of comic books may have great sentimental value, while only a couple of the items have any real monetary value.

Restoration of Water-Damaged Libraries and Other Collections

National Park Service archivists, who preserve some of the most valuable books, documents, and other antiquities in the history of America, explain the challenges of dealing with water-damaged books: “Wet books and papers are some of the most fragile items to be salvaged from a home or library after a flood. Paper loses strength when it gets wet, and books suffer damage due to swelling. Additionally, mold may begin to grow when objects are left damp for approximately 72 hours.”

Preventative Measures

SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers advice on how to prevent damage to a personal book collection and how to clean up and restore materials should they suffer water damage. Preservation of a prized personal library or other collection begins with taking proactive steps to prevent water damage. Here are some tips to safeguard collectibles.

Tip #1: A cool, dry, dark environment is best for books and other paper documents. Mold loves moisture and warmth, and direct sunlight can fade printed materials.

Tip #2: Handle books with clean, dry hands or gloves. Dirt and oils can stain books or accelerate deterioration.

Tip #3: Keep food, pets, post-it notes, paper clips, and rubber bands away from books and documents. Food attracts destructive pests. Pets chew on books. Post-it notes, paper clips, and rubber bands can degrade or stain pages and book covers.

What to Do When Books Suffer Water Damage

Some water damage disasters are beyond human control and are unavoidable. Follow these tips when dealing with books that have suffered water damage.

Tip: Take immediate action when a water damage disaster occurs in the home, even if books and other paper collectibles are not directly affected. Close off the library from the rest of the house. The additional moisture will be absorbed by the dry covers and pages of the books if moisture levels are not quickly reduced with dehumidifiers or rapid spin fans. Place a room dehumidifier in the collection room to keep moisture levels low.

Tip: Monitor for signs of mold and mildew. Mold thrives on organic matter such as books, and a mold outbreak in the reading room could develop in as little as 24 to 48 hours.

Tip: Turn to book, document, and photograph cleaning and restoration specialists.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides document restoration services with the understanding that a home is the heart of a family. The SERVPRO restoration specialists strive to restore water-damaged contents such as books and documents endowed with precious, priceless memories. The team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto has helped restore legal documents, family heirloom Bibles, and other important mementos for homeowners in Menlo Park, Stanford, and Palo Alto.

Books, documents, and photographs that have suffered water damage must be handled with extreme caution. Not all items can be fully restored to pre-damaged condition. The SERVPRO team, however, is able to save many books and documents from being ruined by water damage.

The type of documents and the severity of the water damage determine which of the following options best fit the restoration needs: air-drying, dehumidification, freezer drying, vacuum freeze-drying, or vacuum thermal drying. These state-of-the-art technologies make SERVPRO of Palo Alto proficient in book and document restoration.

To learn more about water damage restoration in Menlo Park, CA, and the surrounding area, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

Tree Damage and Wildfires: The Connection between Insects and Fire Damage

6/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains how bark beetles and other insects contribute to forest fires and fire damage in Palo Alto and the greater Bay area.

Known for putting the customer first, SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in smoke, water, and fire damage restoration services for residential and commercial properties. The team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto highlights how insects contribute to forest fires and fire damage.

Pests That Perpetrate Wildfires

Bacteria, fungi, parasitic plants, animals, humans, chemicals, high temperatures, drought, and insects can cause trees to become diseased, weakened, and vulnerable. Though tiny in size, insects in large numbers can devastate a forest very quickly.

Insects Can Be Beneficial

It is both natural and essential for a healthy forest to experience some diseases and infestations. Insects, along with bacteria and fungi, break down organic matter, which releases nutrients, creating humus. Insects pollinate plants and trees, and the insect population also includes predators that keep harmful pests in check.

Insects annually destroy more trees than wildfires. When the insect population explodes, the pests typically impact individual trees or small, scattered groups of trees, with stressed or unhealthy trees succumbing first. Stressors include drought, competition for limited amounts of water, sunlight, and nutrition. Too much water or physical damage to the tree can also stress and weaken the tree.

Healthy trees are able to fight back against an onslaught of insects. When attacked, a healthy tree produces pitch (resin or sap), so insects are drowned by the pitch. Visible signs of pitch on the bark indicate the tree is still alive and healthy. If a tree produces little or no resin during a known insect infestation, expect to find beetle larvae under the bark at the point of attack. Sadly, the tree may be dying.

Drought and Bark Beetles

An article at CAL FIRE of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention entitled “Drought and Beetles–A Killer Combination” highlights a connection between trees, the weather, and an insect that can lead to devastating wildfires:

“Little creatures, big impact… Tiny insects known as bark beetles are deadly when combined with drought. Together they’ve killed millions of trees, greatly increasing the risk of wildfire in California. When trees are weakened due to lack of water from prolonged drought, they are more susceptible to attacks from bark beetles. Once attacked, the tree will die. More than 147 million trees have already died from drought and bark beetles in California. In some communities, up to 85 percent of the forest trees have been killed. These dead trees dry out and become quick-burning fuel for wildfire. A tree’s only defense against bark beetles is sap (pitch), which is produced by a healthy tree. But when a tree is diseased or stressed by drought, it may not be able to produce enough sap to protect it from being overrun by bark beetles. Healthy trees best withstand drought and resist bark beetle attacks.”

A Deadly Duo: Bark Beetles and Engravers

The most problematic insects in California forests are bark beetles and engravers. Stressed and weakened pine and fir trees are most vulnerable to these bark-boring brutes. The two insects often work in tandem. Engravers will further weaken an already stressed and unhealthy tree. The bark beetle will follow up, killing the tree. Look for a general reddening in the tops of affected trees.

Foliage-Eating Insects

Healthy trees can withstand the partial loss of foliage. Left unchecked, foliage-feeders will defoliate a tree to the point of hindering photosynthesis which can stress or kill a tree. If a tree is compromised by the loss of foliage, bark beetles can gain a foothold and finish off the tree. Look for damaged needles and leaves. Foliage-feeders will lay their egg masses in small pouches of webs in protected areas under branches and leaves or in the bark. Twigs, buds, twigs, roots, and cones are also on the menu. Signs of trouble are an overall decline in tree vigor or severe damage to a section of the tree.

What to Do When Trouble Is Spotted

Keep an eye out for signs of trouble: reddening foliage, loss of leaves and needles, tiny holes in the bark, pitch streams, loss of bark, and loss of limbs and branches. Reach out to a reputable arborist, a forestry management company, or the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention for assistance. Stressed, unhealthy, dying, or dead trees present a massive fire hazard.

Fire Damage Prevention, Preparation, and Recovery for Bay Area Homeowners or Businesses

In 2020, the worst wildfire season on record, thousands of wildfires consumed over 4 million acres, destroying over 10,000 structures. Property damages exceeded $10 billion, and fire suppression costs more than $2 billion. The Bay area was hit particularly hard. Fire prevention strategies in and around the home or business and an emergency readiness plan are crucial.

In case of a fire damage disaster or other property damage disaster in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, to help homeowners and businesses clean up and restore fire, smoke, and water damage. To learn more information about fire damage restoration in Redwood City, CA, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by calling (650) 800-3448 or emailing office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

How to Safely React When a Smoke Alarm Activates

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers four tips on how to react to a fire alarm alert.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides water and fire damage restoration services to homeowners and businesses in the Bay area. The team of professionals at SERVPRO is very involved in helping foster a culture of fire safety in the home and the workplace. Fire safety involves several crucial components:

  • Fire safety readiness
  • Fire prevention strategies
  • Fire response alertness
  • Fire damage recovery

Fire prevention is the first line of defense against a fire damage disaster. A proper response to a fire or smoke alarm alert is the best way to survive an actual fire in the home or workplace.

When the smoke alarm alerts the occupants of a home or business, they must know how to conduct themselves and be able to respond according to the training they have received. An emergency plan can be in place and fire prevention strategies up to date, but if the occupants of the home or business fail to appropriately respond to a smoke alarm, property damage, personal injury, or even loss of life could occur.

Some potentially life-saving tips for responding to a fire alarm alert.

Tip #1: Always assume the smoke alarm is real and not a false alarm.

Smoke alarms very rarely self-activate without being triggered by smoke, but that smoke may not always be from a life-threatening fire. The cause of the smoke could be a dish cooking on the stove, in which case the homeowner just needs to turn on the exhaust fan over the stove or open a door or window to let in the fresh air. Once the source of the smoke has been identified and adequately resolved, life can return to normal. Everyone can sit down at the table to enjoy a delicious meal. However, the smoke is real, and the alarm response is accurate. Even in the case of a smoking dish that is not on fire, a cooking fire could still result if the problem is not resolved.

If a fire alarm system activates in the workplace, policy dictates the response. Employees have protocols they must follow, whether the alarm is a drill, an actual fire, a prank, or a false alarm. Often included in these procedures are stringent time goals that must be met. These time markers ensure evacuation will be achieved within a safe time frame. In some work environments, a fire can spread across dust-laden rafters in seconds, and safe escape may be measured in seconds rather than minutes.

Tip #2: Remain calm, alert, and ready to act.

Stay calm, and do not panic. Remember the drills. Stay focused on the necessary and immediate tasks that must be accomplished prior to evacuation. If the smoke alarm activates in the middle of the night, safe and immediate evacuation is the top priority. Get children and pets out of the home safely while alerting first responders to the possible emergency. If the smoke alarm goes off during the day in response to a known fire from an appliance, electrical short, or a cooking fire, take immediate steps to extinguish the blaze. Extinguishing a fire is easiest and most successful when only smoke or minimal flames are involved.

When evacuating the workplace, take the time to gather personal keys, business keys, a purse or backpack, and the cell phone if the activity can be completed in seconds. Desk knickknacks, photos, or other mementos can be left behind. Most commercial buildings are outfitted with a sprinkler system that will minimize fire damage. Occupants in a multi-story complex should immediately take the designated evacuation route. Elevators may become non-operational during a fire.

Tip #3: Follow the smoke alarm response procedures.

In the case of a fire in a house or apartment, exit the structure quickly. A fire may ignite volatile substances that could explode or produce toxic fumes, so keep a safe distance. Check to make sure everyone, including pets, has been evacuated. Wait for emergency responders to arrive. Under no circumstances is anyone to re-enter the burning or smoke-filled home or apartment complex.

In the workplace, be familiar with and follow the smoke alarm response outlined in the Emergency Response Plan. Evacuation is only one part of the escape and survival portion of the plan. Some plans involve groups, crews, or teams meeting outside the facility and completing a digital or paper attendance registry to ensure everyone has exited the building. Employees are usually required to remain a safe distance from the facility. Under no circumstances are employees to re-enter a burning, smoke-filled building. Take time to notice how co-workers are doing in the stress of the moment and offer mental support and encouragement where needed.

Tip #4: Do not interfere with first responders when they arrive on the scene.

Do not hinder the efforts of or attempt to assist firefighters or other first responders. Carefully follow any instructions given by the fire crew.

When property damage affects residential or commercial buildings, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available to respond 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. The team helps regain control of the situation quickly and begins the restoration process promptly. For more information about Sunnyvale, CA, fire and water damage restoration, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. The office can also be reached by emailing office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

Dealing With Mudflow-Related Property Damage, Insurance Coverage, and Damage Restoration

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers tips to help homeowners navigate the insurance concerns of property damage from mudflows.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides property damage restoration for homes damaged by a mudflow. It is challenging for homeowners to navigate the complexities of the insurance claims process for the water and structural damage caused by a mudflow. To help homeowners overcome these insurance challenges, SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers four tips on how to work through the insurance claims process in the aftermath of a mudflow.

Heavy rain on soil having little or no vegetation can result in a mudslide or mudflow. Homes in areas with this type of soil condition are vulnerable. Unfortunately, a standard homeowners policy generally does not cover property damage caused by mudflow, mudslides, or earthquakes. Under certain circumstances, a rider or separate policy can be purchased to cover damage from these incidents. A policy through the National Flood Insurance Program does cover mudflow. However, the mudflow must be primarily liquid. A high concentration of vegetative debris, rocks, and sediments may disqualify a claim.

Some tips on navigating insurance concerns involving property damage from mudflows.

Tip #1: Understand what a mudflow is.

According to FEMA, “An NFIP policy covers mudflow if it meets the general definition of flooding under the standard flood insurance policy. Mudflow is defined separately as ‘a river of liquid and flowing mud on the surfaces of normally dry land areas, as when earth is carried by a current of water.’”

Tip #2: Clarify the extent of the policy’s coverage.

The best way to know if a policy in force covers mudflow damage is to consult an insurance agent and request a review of the policy. Consider these questions:

  • Are there any exclusions in the policy coverage for land movement?
  • Are there requirements to protect the property against further loss?
  • How does the insurance company define “property?”
  • Does the policy cover costs for land stabilization?

Tip #3: Do not wait until the last minute to purchase insurance that covers mudflow.

NFIP flood policies cover mudflow. A thirty-day waiting period is in effect from the date of purchase.

Tip #4: Hire a professional to handle the cleanup and restoration of mudflow damage.

The safest and quickest way to clean and restore a home damaged by a mudflow is to hire a property damage restoration company with experience in mudflow remediation. A mudflow contains water, mud, rocks, and vegetative debris most likely contaminated with pathogens from the soil, raw sewage, and toxic chemicals. Safe cleanup requires personal protective gear such as boots, protective clothing, gloves, masks or respirators, and protective eyewear or face shields to keep splash out of the eyes.

Layers of mud must be removed along with water and moisture. Commercial-grade equipment is needed to quickly tackle this heavy-duty job before advanced secondary damage occurs. Cleanup of flood- and mud-damaged items must be executed swiftly if the belongings are to be salvaged. Unfortunately, fabrics contaminated with black water must be discarded.

Once the water, mud, and moisture are removed, the damage site is disinfected, sanitized, and deodorized to make it safe for humans and pets. Certified technicians utilize advanced cleaning techniques and EPA-approved cleaning products. Restoration can begin once the site cleanup is completed.

Why SERVPRO of Palo Alto

The insurance claims process is complicated. Successfully navigating the twists and turns can prove challenging even for the seasoned professional. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is able to manage the process from beginning to end. It starts with an initial inspection and assessment of the property damage. Using the industry-standard software Xactimate, a detailed estimate documented with images and video is created and presented to the client. In many cases, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has already worked with the customer’s insurance company and knows what expectations and requirements the company has for damage restoration service providers. The SERVPRO staff handling the claims process are specially trained to handle the entire process so that the homeowner can focus on recovering from the disaster.

By taking a proactive approach and pre-qualifying SERVPRO of Palo Alto as their dedicated damage restoration company, homeowners can have peace of mind knowing that only one phone call is needed to have a team of certified and experienced professionals arrive on the scene to remediate the property damage.

When property damage occurs, home and business owners can contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto to respond rapidly to the emergency. The team is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information about Redwood City, CA, property damage restoration services, email SERVPRO of Palo Alto at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com or call (650) 800-3448.

Six Hazards That Can Lead to Fire Damage at Restaurants in Sunnyvale, CA

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto highlights six hidden fire risks that may be present in a restaurant setting.

Fire and water damage restoration services are urgently needed when a Sunnyvale, CA, business experiences property damage from fire and the efforts to extinguish the blaze. A fire at a commercial facility, such as a restaurant, can be very costly and can potentially put the business out of business.

Restaurants are especially vulnerable to fire damage and its expensive aftermath. McGowan Program Administrators, a leading writer of insurance programs, shares the following statistics: “During a four-year study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were 7,640 structural fires in dining and drinking establishments. These fires caused more than $246 million in property damage. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the average loss for a commercial kitchen fire is $23,000. Of those, FEMA reports 43% were a total loss, forcing the restaurant to close.”

Within a restaurant, the stove and cooking equipment are the most obvious sources of fire damage. However, restaurant owners and their employees also need to be aware of fire hazards that are less apparent as causes of and contributors to fire damage.

Six Hidden Fire Risks in Restaurants

  1. Electrical issues

The kitchen is not the only place that a restaurant fire can originate from. An electrical fire can occur anywhere in the building and could be caused by frayed electrical or extension cords, damaged outlets, overloaded circuits, aging wiring, or malfunctioning equipment.

  1. Grease buildup

Any place where grease could accumulate should be checked and cleaned regularly. Grease traps, exhaust systems, and wood-burning ovens all create the potential for grease buildup. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides the following maintenance and inspection requirements:

  • Grease traps: Clean four times yearly for a high-volume restaurant or two times yearly for a lower-volume restaurant
  • Exhaust system: Inspect the system four times yearly for a high-volume restaurant or two times yearly for a lower-volume restaurant
  • Wood-burning ovens or other methods of solid fuel cooking: Inspect the unit monthly

Never use water to extinguish a grease fire since grease tends to splatter when it comes in contact with water. Splashing grease can cause the fire to spread.

  1. Patron or employee smoking

When diners, staff, or vendors discard cigarettes inside a trash can, a fire could break out. Make sure that smoking receptacles are available outside the building, and if the restaurant allows its staff to smoke, establish a designated smoking area equipped with the proper cigarette disposal units.

  1. Insufficient storage space

When a restaurant does not have enough room to store supplies, items tend to overflow into the cooking area. Never keep flammable materials near heat sources or cooking equipment; instead, store flammable substances and items securely and away from heat or open flames. Investing in more storage space or better storage solutions is far less expensive than the cost of property damage loss and restoration.

  1. Fans and hood vents

Commercial kitchen hood and fan systems pull flammable vapors into the exhaust system. It is recommended that hood vents be cleaned on a nightly basis.

A restaurant equipment supplier advises, “All parts of your ventilation system must be regularly cleaned. This includes the hood, hood filters, ductwork, and upblast exhaust fan. If any one part of your kitchen hood system is dirty, it will have a domino effect on the rest of it, causing it to work inefficiently and eventually break down.”

  1. Ductwork

If a fire starts in a restaurant, the ductwork, including the HVAC system, will spread the fire quickly. Also, ductwork tends to capture flammable grease, which can exacerbate the blaze.

Restaurants are advised to keep the correct types of fire extinguishers on hand to put out different types of fires. For instance, a combustible fire requires the use of a different extinguisher than an electrical fire.

In the event that fire damages a restaurant in Sunnyvale, CA, the restaurant owner can turn to SERVPRO of Palo Alto for commercial restoration services. The full-service damage restoration company can address the initial fire damage, as well as any water damage or mold. The team can also effectively remediate smoke odors. Once SERVPRO of Palo Alto has completed the restoration process, the restaurant will be safe, clean, and ready to reopen to diners.

For more information about fire damage restoration in Sunnyvale, CA, email SERVPRO of Palo Alto at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com. The office can also be reached by phone at (650) 800-3448.

How to Keep Insects Out When Water Gets in Sunnyvale, CA Houses

4/29/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers tips to prevent an insect invasion after water damage in a Sunnyvale, CA, home.

The team of water damage restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Palo Alto wants to alert homeowners and business owners to the connection between water damage and a pest infestation. Spring can increase the risk of water damage due to increased rainfall and a higher humidity level.

Besides weather-related water damage, there are also other causes of water damage. Burst pipes, ruptured supply lines, leaky appliances, and poor ventilation can cause or contribute to water damage. The immediate consequences of a water intrusion include:

  • Musty, moldy odors, or worse, the smell of sewage
  • Stains on walls, ceilings, baseboards, and flooring
  • Buckling and warping drywall
  • Warping and swelling wood
  • Structural wood rot

Water wastes no time in carrying out its destructive effects. In only a few hours, ceilings, walls, flooring, furniture, and personal belongings can sustain heavy damage. If the removal of bulk water and excess moisture is delayed for a day or two, the home’s structural integrity can be compromised.

A cleanup and restoration project in a situation where the damage is extensive is disruptive, inconvenient, time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. Quick action on the part of the homeowner and a rapid response from the property damage restoration company create a best-case scenario in a situation that is already fraught with difficulties.

Another often overlooked motivation to take prompt action to begin the water removal and applied structural drying is the threat of a pest infestation.

Water-Related Pest Issues

Insects, like humans, require water to survive and thrive. A case in point is the mosquito. As recently as September of 2021, mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were discovered in Palo Alto and Mountain View, resulting in efforts to reduce the health risk by strategically spraying insecticide to kill the pests. Infestations are more likely where moisture and dampness provide a suitable environment for the insects to lay their eggs, such as over-watered lawns and house plants, settling ponds, wetlands, and stagnant kiddie and pet pools. Clogged or unlevel gutters with pooling water facilitate the spread of mosquitoes.

Other moisture-seeking invaders include ants, termites, cockroaches, earwigs, millipedes, and silverfish. The pests mentioned above may quench their thirst by chewing on the water-soaked wood in a water-damaged home. If left unchecked, the tiny insects can become a huge nuisance.

Steps to Stop Water Damage and Moisture-Seeking Pests

Step #1: Reduce moisture in the home.

By keeping moisture to a minimum, the homeowner can also keep moisture-seeking pests to a minimum in the home. Efforts can include:

  • Operating a dehumidifier in moisture-prone areas
  • Opening windows in the kitchen and bathrooms bring in fresh, dry air
  • Installing ceiling exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room
  • Quickly mopping up small, manageable spills and run a dehumidifier or fan to dry out the water-soaked area
  • Immediately repairing faucets, plumbing connections, toilets, tubs, showers, and leaking appliances

Step #2: Identify and reduce unnecessary moisture around and under the home.

Look for potential outdoor breeding grounds for insects. Ground moisture and condensation can lead to dampness in the crawl space resulting in mold, wood rot, and mildew issues. An HVAC condensate line that evacuates too close to the foundation of a home can facilitate pest infestation. A leaking spigot is a watering hole for mosquitoes.

Moisture trapped in mulch beds and bedding straw is a prime location for thirsty Palo Alto pests. Water in flower beds, flowerpots, and rain barrels provides an oasis for water-loving pests. Faulty caulking around shower surrounds and the kitchen backsplash can create a moisture problem for the homeowner.

Insufficient slope away from the foundation can lead to excess water around the exterior of the foundation. Eventually, the moisture can seep through cracks in the foundation, flooding the crawl space or basement. Overgrown shrubs near the exterior of a home can encourage the buildup of water, and the dense branches hinder the sun from evaporating the moisture.

Step #3: Call on a property damage cleanup and restoration professional when a water damage disaster strikes.

Water damage is stressful, and uninvited pests only make the situation worse. In case of a property damage disaster in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers a quick response, 24/7, 365 days a year. Rapid remediation sends uninvited pests packing before they ever have a chance to settle in.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for more details about Sunnyvale, CA, water damage cleanup. The team can be reached by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com or by phone at (650) 800-3448.

Flood Damage and Mudslides: What to Expect and How to Recover

4/29/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto highlights the impact of a mudslide and offers seven tips on how to prepare for and protect against mudslides in Sunnyvale, CA.

After a water damage disaster resulting from severe weather, flood restoration services can prevent advanced secondary damage to the home. Floodwaters are contaminated with organic matter, raw sewage, pathogens, toxins, chemicals, and sediments. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is poised and prepared to meet the challenges presented by a natural disaster such as an earthquake, wildfire, flood, or mudslide. Contaminated muddy water and sediments can render carpeting, rugs, furniture, upholstery, and other household items unsalvageable. Items contaminated with Category Three or black water must be discarded. A quick response and rapid remediation from trained, experienced, and certified technicians can limit the extent of the damage and the overall cost of remediation.

The devastation of a mudslide can be catastrophic. Preparation and response are vital for survival and recovery. An article from a leading foundation solutions company explains the mechanics of mudslides: “Every year, mudslides and landslides cause more than $2 billion in damages to homes and businesses across the United States, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). One of the major causes of mudslides in the west is wildfires. When wildfires occur — from Colorado to Montana —  they damage the trees and plants needed to keep dirt and soil conditions moist and healthy. Without its natural ability to absorb rainfall, water sits on top of the soil and hazardous mudslides can occur without warning.”

The article explains another facet of the causes of a mudslide, stating, “Similar conditions can also happen in areas experiencing extensive dry or drought conditions followed by intense rainfall or in places where vegetation has been removed for construction. Coastal cities that experience high winds and rain from hurricanes or ice storms in the winter — from Georgia to North Carolina — are also affected by mudslides. It only takes a few inches of intense rainfall to cause one.”

These risk factors highlight the importance of early preparation in advance of such a disaster. This preparedness has a wide application inclusive of most of the United States and not just the Bay Area and Palo Alto. Proper preparation can reduce costly property damage resulting from mudslides.

Protecting Homes Against property damage resulting from mudslides

While mudslides are a natural disaster beyond the control of a single homeowner, preparedness is viable for every homeowner. An emergency plan can protect homeowners in the event of a mudslide and reduce the long-term impact on their physical well-being, their property, and their financial recovery. These recommendations form a solid foundation for a basic emergency preparedness and response plan.

#1: Keep informed on storm and emergency alerts. When severe weather threatens, turn on the weather radio. Subscribe to receive local text and email alerts.

#2: Collect items for an emergency kit and keep the kit in an accessible location known to all family members.

#3: Create and practice an emergency evacuation plan with the family. Consider pets and their needs.

#4: Improve the landscape to enhance safety and provide protection. Adjustments in the landscape layout can directly affect the impact of a mudslide on a property. A competent landscape architect can make recommendations for a home in an area prone to mudslides. These recommendations may include:

  • Diagnosing areas of the yard currently suffering from soil erosion
  • Creating berms and swales to control water flow
  • Installing erosion-control ground covers
  • Planting trees that produce large root systems to hold the soil
  • Improving the drainage system
  • Building barrier walls

A landscape architect can identify and address storm drainage issues and landscape features on adjacent properties that may contribute to a mudslide or a micro-flood.

#5: Implement immediate, short-term prevention and protection measures when severe weather is in the forecast. These strategies include:

  • Using hay bales to divert water away from the home
  • Installing plastic sheeting on bare spots or on freshly-graded areas to prevent erosion
  • Positioning sandbags in vulnerable places around the home
  • Boarding up doors and windows

#6: Review and update insurance coverage. Create a master list of valuable items, including antiques, artwork, jewelry, electronics, tools, firearms, outdoor equipment, furniture, and appliances. Include digital photos and video. Make digital copies of important documents, and keep this digital information in the cloud for easy access.

Since flooding, mudslides, and earthquakes are not covered under most homeowners' policies, consult an insurance professional to obtain adequate coverage.

#7: Pre-qualify a property damage restoration company before a disaster strikes. A natural disaster often disrupts communication systems, making it all but impossible for a homeowner to contact a storm damage cleanup and restoration company. The best time to find a storm damage restoration professional is when life is peaceful, the earth is stable underfoot, and the sky is clear. Look for the following qualifications:

  • Locally owned and operated with years of experience
  • Industry-standard IICRC cleaning and restoration certifications
  • References and great social media reviews
  • Available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays
  • Quick response and rapid remediation
  • Best equipment, the latest technology, advanced cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved cleaning products
  • Provides a detailed, documented estimate
  • Handles insurance claims from end-to-end

In case of a property damage disaster such as a mudslide, flood, house fire, or water intrusion in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the restoration process. A quick response, rapid remediation, and minimal disruption enable the homeowner or business to move forward after a disaster.

To learn more about Menlo Park, CA, flood damage cleanup, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by calling (650) 800-3448 or by emailing office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

What IT Businesses Can Do to Prevent Water Damage Resulting from a Faulty Sprinkler System

4/29/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers six tips to help companies with IT equipment avoid water damage from a malfunctioning sprinkler system.

Water damage from a malfunctioning sprinkler system in a commercial setting such as a manufacturing plant, distribution center, medical building, or professional office complex can have devastating consequences. SERVPRO of Palo Alto understands the challenges of providing water damage cleanup and restoration services in a setting where information technology (IT) is interwoven with the production process or the provision of services.

A fire in any commercial setting can be devastating. Damage to the facility shuts down production and the provision of services, interrupting the revenue cycle. Overhead does not suddenly cease if the business closes for days or weeks. Cleanup and restoration incur an expense even if insurance pays for the damage. Equipment must be repaired or replaced. Preventing fire damage is a top priority. The typical means of minimizing fire damage has been the installation of a traditional sprinkler system, but this strategy comes with an inherent hazard: unintended water damage.

A fire not only damages the physical plant and means of production, but fire damage can also wreck the information technology (IT) systems essential for business operations. Traditional sprinkler systems can limit the spread of a fire in a factory, but water from sprinklers can also ruin expensive hardware in an IT-based environment.

Fire-mitigation engineers explain the challenges of sprinkler systems: “As businesses move to a more technology-based environment, traditional sprinkler systems prove problematic to protecting IT equipment. Luckily, more effective options exist. Today, the installation of information technology (IT) protection is an essential part of construction design, including the IT disaster recovery plan. The recovery strategies are based on standards for buildings, hardware and data protection. The procedures are incorporated into the building design, construction planning and impact analysis. Without the proper systems, the impact of damage or loss to IT equipment can be very significant. By selecting the right sprinkler system, the damage can be prevented and controlled.”

Tips to Protect IT Equipment from Fire and Water Damage

A well-designed and properly installed sprinkler system protects the building from severe fire damage. The sprinkler system can also protect IT equipment from both fire and water damage. The tips listed below provide the information needed to understand the available options so decision-makers can select the best sprinkler system for their facility.

Tip #1. Become familiar with the various types of sprinkler systems.

System specifications are determined by three factors: geographical location, local building codes, and the desired level of protection. Each facility has its own unique needs, which will dictate the application of time delays, installation costs, and maintenance requirements and expenses.

  • Deluge system

Deluge systems discharge a spray of water over an expansive area. Multiple sensors alert personnel to an impending sprinkler activation. This delay allows the situation to be assessed and the system to be interrupted in the event of a false alarm.

  • Dry pipe systems

This option is preferable where frozen pipes present a hazard. Water is only allowed to flow through the pipes when a fire opens a valve. The time it takes for water to move through the pipes gives employees time to protect IT equipment.

  • Pre-action systems

A derivation of the dry pipe design, a pre-action system works well in situations where the presence of moisture and water can prove detrimental to the contents under the sprinkler system. Multiple sensor functionality avoids unintended activation of the fire detection system.

  • Wet pipe systems

Wet pipe systems consist of a heat-sensitive sprinkler head fitted with a check valve that signals a water release into the system.

For safety, lower insurance premiums, and best protection, full sprinkler coverage is advised. The systems mentioned above provide options for any situation.

Tip #2. Conduct regular inspections of the fire protection system.

Scheduled maintenance can detect a sprinkler system leak in its infancy. A leak releasing one drop of water every five seconds is about 12 ounces per day, plenty of water to short circuit a piece of IT equipment or an electrical panel. Identifying and resolving a small leak can avoid a big headache.

Tip #3. Integrate programmable sensors into the sprinkler system.

When the fire sprinkler system alerts the water sensors, power is automatically shut off to the IT equipment. An automatic data backup is initiated when the power disconnect command is triggered.

Tip #4. Consult with a fire suppression professional when designing, constructing, or upfitting a data center for a customized sprinkler system.

Advancements in fire suppression technology involving the use of clean agents or inert gasses offer real protection for IT equipment without the hazards or disadvantages of a water sprinkler system.

Tip #5. Comply with building codes regarding fire protection, prevention, and suppression.

Building codes and system ordinances are intended to save lives and limit property damage. Non-compliance can cost lives, lead to litigation, and result in the levying of heavy fines against the offending party.

Tip #6. Pre-qualify a water damage restoration company before a disaster strikes.

Advanced fire suppression sprinkler systems have the capacity to protect IT equipment from extensive and severe water damage. When a water damage disaster occurs, whether related to a fire, a faulty sprinkler system, a slow leak, or storm damage, a quick response to the scene and the rapid removal of water are crucial. The cleaning and restoration of IT equipment require training, equipment, skill, and speed. The water damage restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Palo Alto are trained and equipped to tackle the delicate task of cleaning and restoring electronics such as IT equipment.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for more details about commercial water damage restoration services. The office can be reached by emailing office@SERVPROpaloalto.com or calling (650) 800-3448.

Tips to Prepare for and Recover from an Earthquake in the Palo Alto Area

3/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto gives advice on preparing for earthquakes and recovering from the resulting property damage.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is prepared to deal with the complex property damage disaster resulting from an earthquake, including fire and smoke damage, water damage, sewage spills, mold infestation, and biohazard cleanup. In a large-scale disaster such as an earthquake, the proper training, the right equipment, and experienced and certified technicians are essential for a safe, fast, and thorough property damage cleanup and restoration after an earthquake.

Palo Alto is located near major geologic faults. This close proximity to these geologic hazards puts the city and its inhabitants at risk of personal injury and extensive property damage in the event of a major earthquake. This natural disaster risk hazard highlights the importance of being prepared.

Recent earthquakes in Southern California reinforce the need for Palo Alto residents to educate themselves on how to prepare for a sudden emergency such as an earthquake that interrupts utilities and disrupts the supply chain of goods and services to the affected areas.

Palo Alto’s location near eight major faults, including the Hayward and San Andreas faults, elevates the likelihood of an earthquake disaster. An aging and stressed infrastructure will likely suffer a more severe impact from a local seismic event.

Local officials describe the situation, stating, “Palo Alto is different from some other places because we are much denser and our buildings are older.  As such, a 7.1 earthquake would be very dangerous in our area and most likely not result in zero injuries and deaths.”

A risk assessment of the city’s vulnerability identifies three serious consequences of a powerful earthquake. Critical infrastructure would be crippled. Property damage, especially fires, would be a likely consequence. First responders would be unable to get to work, let alone stage and deploy to meet essential needs. These factors further demonstrate the need for residents to be prepared for an earthquake disaster.

Tips to Prepare for an Earthquake Disaster

1. Create a Ready Plan.

A well-rounded disaster preparation and survival plan accomplish many goals. Residents who have a plan know what to do and how to react in the event of an earthquake. After the earthquake, they will have the basic supplies needed to survive if the infrastructure fails and the supply chain collapses. A solid plan can give a family or business the assurance and confidence needed to overcome the challenges presented by a major catastrophe such as an earthquake.

Components of this plan should include the following action steps:

  • Identify safe areas in each room.
  • Conduct training sessions on the “drop, cover, and hold on” method for earthquake survival.
  • Purchase and learn how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Know how to shut off utilities such as water, electricity, and natural gas.
  • Designate a safe meeting place to gather at after the earthquake.
  • Have an online and an offline communication strategy that involves cell phones, walkie-talkies, and written notes.

2. Stay alert and informed.

Connect to the information stream by registering for AlertSCC, the emergency notification system that sends out alerts to Santa Clara County residents, businesses, and employees. Visit the city’s website for updates. Call the emergency hotline at (650)-329-2420 for pre-recorded updates.

3. Stockpile survival supplies.

These supplies include first aid items, a solar-powered emergency radio, an alternate energy source, non-perishable foodstuffs, drinking water, a water filter, medications, and hygiene products.

4. Network and volunteer.

Community will be the key to overcoming the challenges resulting from a natural disaster such as an earthquake. A wide array of volunteer organizations is available for interested residents who want to make a difference.

Tips for Recovering from an Earthquake

Preparation prior to an earthquake is necessary for safety, security, and survival. When the earthquake is over, recovery becomes a top priority. As with any disaster, large or small, cleanup and restoration are essential to recovery. Efforts to contact and qualify a reputable, competent property damage restoration company can prove futile in the chaos, confusion, and stress of an earthquake or other natural disaster.

The best course of action is to pre-qualify a property damage restoration company as a part of the Ready Plan. Listed below are some crucial points to consider.

  1. The company should be a reputable, trusted member of the business community.
  2. Technicians should have multiple certifications in areas such as water damage cleanup, fire and smoke damage cleanup, sewage cleanup, and biohazard cleanup. They should also use the best equipment, latest technology, and advanced cleaning and restoration techniques.
  3. The company needs to be able to scale to the size of the disaster. A company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto has a nationwide network of SERVPRO franchisees to call upon for assistance. An army of support can be quickly and efficiently mobilized and dispatched to the disaster area.
  4. Make sure that the restoration company can handle the insurance claims process from start to finish. A reputable company will conduct a thorough inspection of the property, assess the damage, and provide a detailed estimate documented with written notes, photos, and video.
  5. Choose a company that is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays and natural disasters. A rapid response can avoid advanced secondary damage such as mold, structural damage, and contamination from gray and black water.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is locally owned and operated, and technicians understand the benefits and complexities of living in a beautiful city in an earthquake-prone region of California.

To learn more about the Sunnyvale, CA, damage restoration company, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. The office can also be contacted by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

Tips for Recognizing a Smoke Detector False Alarm in Order to Avoid Fire Damage

3/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers seven tips on how to diagnose a smoke detector false alarm.

Fire damage restoration involves more than repairing a structure and items damaged by flames. Smoke damage and often extensive water damage occur. A kitchen fire can spread toxic smoke and soot throughout a home. If the fire department uses water to extinguish the flames, the resulting water damage could be extensive. Smoke detectors save lives and limit the scope of property damage by giving homeowners the advance warning they need to deal with a dangerous situation. Early detection and swift action can avoid the need to discharge a fire extinguisher or dump large amounts of water onto an out-of-control fire in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, or garage.

The piercing shrill from a smoke detector can be both annoying and unnerving. The purpose of the loud noise is to alert the occupants to potential danger and move them to take immediate action to identify the source of the smoke and quickly and safely resolve the situation.

If a smoke detector often activates randomly and without any discernible cause, the occupants in the home, apartment, or business are quickly desensitized to the noise and less prone to search out any impending dangers that might be causing the safety device to send out its siren call to take action. De-sensitization to the fire alarm can have fatal consequences.

Smoke detectors are the first line of defense in keeping the family, pets, and home safe from the ravages of a smoke and fire damage disaster. Each activation of the alarm demands the full attention of the occupants of the home or business, even if smoke is not seen or smelled. Sometimes smoke detectors sound off when they should not, and sometimes they fail to respond to the presence of smoke in the air. False alarms may occur with an alarming frequency.

Modern smoke detectors utilize advanced sensing technology to detect the presence of smoke in the air. The advanced warning achieved by the technology saves lives every day. If a smoke detector sounds an alarm, trust the integrity, sensitivity, and accuracy of the device, and respond accordingly. Follow all safety protocols. The number one priority is always survival.

To help Redwood City, CA, homeowners, property managers, and business owners better understand how smoke detectors perform their life-saving task, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is outlining seven common causes of smoke detector false alarms.

1. The fireplace or wood stove

The fireplace can sometimes cause the smoke detector to activate. A high soot content or an improper damper setting can cause a false alarm. A competent, reputable chimney sweep can diagnose and solve the problem.

2. Crawley critters

Small insects may find a home in a smoke detector and set off the alarm. If the cause of the alarm activation is not evident, then inspect the device for small insects, their droppings, or other signs that unwanted guests are hiding in the smoke detector. Apply an eco-friendly pesticide around the alarm to keep critters out.

3. Burnt or singed food in the kitchen

Most house fires start in the kitchen. An unsupervised dish cooking on the stove can easily scorch, failing to ignite a raging fire but still giving off enough smoke to set off the smoke alarm. Burnt toast in the toaster or popcorn overcooked in the microwave can have the same effect. To minimize false alarms, avoid installing a smoke detector in the kitchen; instead, place the device in an adjacent hallway or room.

4. Dirt, dust, or grime

Dust accumulation can set off a smoke alarm. Inspect the inside of the detector and remove any dust or dirt with a vacuum attachment or an electronic aerosol cleaner.

5. Steam and high humidity

In some situations, a smoke detector may not be able to distinguish between smoke particles and moisture droplets from high humidity or steam. Remove the excess moisture with fans or by opening a window. Turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom to prevent steam from a hot shower or bath from triggering a nearby smoke detector.

6. Chemical vapors

Some paints and harsh chemicals can activate smoke detectors. Be sure to ventilate areas where these chemicals are in use.

7. Smoke detector malfunctions

Low batteries or bad battery connections may cause a unit to give off a chirping alert. Though not a false alarm, the sound is an annoying but essential reminder to inspect the device. Be sure to change the batteries twice a year. January 1 and the Fourth of July are suggested dates.

Aging smoke alarms can activate randomly for no apparent reason.  To be on the safe side, replace any unit that reaches the ten-year mark. The advances in technology over the previous ten years will be worth the investment.

In case of fire damage in a residential or commercial setting SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the restoration process. Quick response and rapid remediation minimize the disruption, enabling homeowners and businesses to recover more quickly.

To learn more about fire damage cleanup in Redwood City, CA, email SERVPRO of Palo Alto at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com. The team can also be reached by calling (650) 800-3448.

Why Atherton, CA, Businesses Would Benefit from Prequalifying a Dedicated Restoration Partner

3/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto outlines the advantages that business owners can experience when they prequalify a damage restoration company to provide services in the event of property damage.

Businesses can take advantage of many benefits by establishing a positive, long-term relationship with a commercial damage restoration company that can provide water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, and storm cleanup services.

The establishment of a strong relationship with a trusted local restoration company in Menlo Park, CA, eliminates one of the biggest mistakes many businesses make when a disaster occurs: a delayed response. The task of finding and qualifying a damage restoration company while trying to deal with the effects of the disaster wastes precious time, allows the disaster to grow in scope and delays the recovery process.

When a disaster strikes, payroll often continues while production, sales, or service comes to a screeching halt. The identification and qualification of a reputable, trustworthy, competent disaster restoration company can steal valuable time. The distractions of constant interruptions from dealing with the immediate effects of the disaster can turn a simple action into an impossible task.

  1. A local damage restoration company knows the surrounding community and any hazards associated with responding to a call during a natural disaster or the middle of the night.
  2. A local company is nearby and can rapidly respond when notified. SERVPRO of Palo Alto can arrive at the client’s business in about an hour, and technicians will take immediate action to stop the water intrusion by shutting off the water flow or installing emergency tarping if a roof leak is involved. They can also relocate furniture, equipment, electronics, and supplies to a safe area of the structure. Product, inventory, and equipment that are not movable can be tarped to protect them from moisture, dust, soot, or other harmful substances.
  3. A prequalified restoration company will also prequalify the commercial customer. This dual pre-qualification involves gathering important information about the client, including:
  • Crucial contact information for decision-makers, staff, and employees with technical knowledge about equipment, raw materials, chemical hazards, or other safety or security issues
  • Directions to the facility along with alternate access routes in case roads are closed or impassible
  • In some cases, important access codes that allow technicians to reach the location of the disaster
  • Shutoff valves for the water system and the sprinkler system
  • Electrical panels
  • Special precautions regarding harmful chemicals, toxic wastes, flammable materials, and structural hazards

This vital information enables a crew to work quickly, safely, and efficiently without endangering themselves, the facility, or the business’ inventory and equipment.

  1. A long-term relationship with a property damage restoration provides peace of mind to a business owner, especially in a business climate that is economically challenging. The trust and confidence acquired over years of doing business together are priceless.

Tips for Selecting a Property Damage Restoration Partner

Here are some tips to help a business owner find and choose the ideal property damage restoration company.

  1. Look for a company that makes risk management a priority. The pre-qualification process may involve a property inspection by the restoration company. A reputable, conscientious service provider will perform an onsite risk assessment that identifies potential hazards to occupants, the structure, and any equipment or products.

Risk avoidance and remedy should accompany the inspection and assessment. The relationship is a partnership that seeks to enhance safety, reduce hazards, and quickly clean up and restore any property damage that might occur.

  1. Look for a company with the best equipment, the latest technology, and advanced cleaning techniques. The technicians should be knowledgeable, experienced, and certified.
  2. Can the staff and management provide the customers with seamless, efficient project management, including the insurance claims process? This management feature provides project monitoring and oversight, quality control assessment and accountability, and the preparation and delivery of required documentation and reporting after the completion of the project.
  3. Validate a prospective company’s reputation by checking references and reading reviews. A reputable Palo Alto disaster cleanup and damage restoration company will gladly provide references from insurance companies and residential and business customers. Be sure to read online reviews.
  4. Only go with a damage restoration company that provides a disaster-ready plan. The failure to execute a disaster-ready plan nullifies many of the benefits derived from the pre-qualification process. An accurate emergency response plan is essential for a best-case cleanup and restoration process after a property disaster.

Consider Prequalifying SERVPRO of Palo Alto Today

Every call placed to SERVPRO of Palo Alto is answered within a few rings. A trained, experienced customer representative calmly, courteously, and efficiently gleans important information about the disaster. If the customer has prequalified SERVPRO of Palo Alto, the disaster response is expedited. The team of restoration professionals arrives on the scene in an hour or less, fully prepared to address the property damage disaster.

For more details about SERVPRO of Palo Alto’s commercial damage restoration services, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or by emailing office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

Six Factors That Help SERVPRO Provide Stress Relief During the Damage Restoration Process

2/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto knows how traumatic property damage can be for homeowners and their families, so the team prioritizes customer confidence and satisfaction throughout the restoration project.

Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, wildfires, and severe weather, result in damage to homes and businesses, creating the need for fire, smoke, and water damage restoration. These disasters also generate anxiety and stress for the people who are affected by the event. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports, “Home is a place which provides safety and security to the people. But, when the unavoidable situations induced by disaster damage home, properties [and] other valuable assets, it leads to a feeling of insecurity in the victims.”

A property damage disaster is disruptive and unsettling for the homeowner. SERVPRO of Palo Alto helps homeowners deal with the stress and anxiety associated with experience in many ways.

#1. Pre-qualification

SERVPRO emphasizes the importance of pre-qualifying a property damage restoration company before a disaster occurs. Having to research companies, dial telephone numbers, and evaluate the prospects while water pours in through the roof is overwhelming and stressful. Pre-qualification with SERVPRO of Palo Alto means only one call is needed. It is as simple as “Hey SIRI, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto!” Vital customer information is already on file at SERVPRO and accessible to the technicians who are dispatched to the scene of the property damage disaster. The pre-planning removes a layer of complexity and stress at the very beginning of the process.

#2. Skilled and experienced customer representatives

When a call comes into SERVPRO, a skilled and experienced customer representative calmly gathers pertinent information about the disaster, allowing the crew to arrive on the scene prepared and ready to spring into action.

The customer representatives are also skilled at helping the customer cope with the emotional trauma and stress of the situation. The loss of a home and its contents to property damage can be overwhelming, but the calm, empathetic voice of the customer representative provides the hope and strength the customer needs to weather a tough situation.

#3. Availability 24/7, 365 days a year, and a rapid response

The knowledge that professional technicians are available is reassuring to the homeowner. SERVPRO promises a rapid response in about an hour, even on holidays. This quick action is a great relief to the homeowner.

#4. Trained, certified, and experienced technicians

Immediately upon arrival, a specially trained technician inspects and assesses the damage. The customer is presented with detailed estimate documentation, including photos and video. Since SERVPRO professionals utilize Xactimate, insurance industry-standard software, the accuracy of the estimate is assured. Meanwhile, other specialists are busy mitigating any water intrusion at its source, staging for water removal and extraction, providing emergency tarping, relocating furniture, or whatever else needs to be done, depending on the nature and extent of the disaster. This initial intentional, well-directed, assertive engagement by the team of professionals gives the customer the hope and assurance needed to manage the emotional stress of the moment. Competence breeds customer confidence.

#5. Locally owned and operated

The team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto lives and works in the community they serve. They care about their customers as neighbors and fellow community members. Compassion and empathy characterize every SERVPRO restoration expert. It is important for the customer to understand that the technicians embrace every aspect of the cleanup and restoration as if the homeowner were a next-door neighbor or one of their own family members.

#6. A member of a large franchise

Sometimes the customer may ask themselves, “Can SERVPRO handle a property damage disaster of this magnitude?” The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Each local franchise has a wealth of information, expertise, personnel, and equipment at its disposal, so the local SERVPRO franchise can quickly and efficiently scale to meet any type and size of the disaster. The customer need not worry about a SERVPRO franchise bailing out midway through a project.

All these elements of the SERVPRO approach help to ease the stress, anxiety, and trauma created by property damage disasters. Even in a difficult situation, victims of water, fire, and storm damage can find hope and confidence in the reliable restoration services provided by SERVPRO of Palo Alto.

For more information about water damage cleanup in Sunnyvale, CA, and the surrounding area, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

Seven Strategies to Help Homeowners Protect Their Home From Storm and Flood Damage

2/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides homeowners with a seven-point checklist for safeguarding homes against storms and flooding.

As a water and flood damage restoration company, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is providing homeowners with a seven-point checklist to help prepare for severe weather. In anticipation of severe weather, Atherton, CA, homeowners can implement measures to prevent or minimize storm and flood damage.

1. Store outdoor items in a secure location.

Lawn items can become damage-causing projectiles in the event of sustained, high winds or sudden, strong wind gusts. Recreational equipment, gardening tools, lawn furniture, trash cans, and other outdoor items should be stored in a secure location if severe weather is forecast for the area. Turbulent winds during a thunderstorm can lift these items hundreds of feet into the air or send them hurdling along the ground at breakneck speed. These missiles can shatter glass windows and doors, rip holes and cracks in siding, and inflict serious damage to vehicles. Serious personal injury is also possible. During a severe storm, all windows and doors should be closed. Negligence to responsibly secure items in and around the yard could expose the homeowner to legal liabilities.

2. Storm-proof the treescape.

Trees will always be vulnerable during high winds. However, a knowledgeable arborist can remove dead or dangerous limbs and shape trees to effectively withstand severe weather conditions.

3. Strengthen windows and doors, including the garage door.

If windows shatter, the wind can drive rain into the room, causing severe water damage. If multiple windows are broken, high winds can enter the home and increase the air pressure in the structure. This increase in upward pressure could cause some or all the roof to detach from the house with catastrophic results. Installing high-impact shutters or high-impact glass can improve the home’s resistance to storm damage from high winds.

Garage doors must withstand enormous pressure when directly bombarded by high winds. Consider installing reinforced garage doors with impact-resistant glass panes.

4. Have an alternate power solution for outages.

Consult with an electrician about installing a whole-house surge protector in the event of a lightning strike. For a long-term solution, consider purchasing a home generator.

5. Flood-proof your home

If a home is in a flood zone, a standard homeowner’s policy will probably not cover the flood damage. Consult with an insurance agent for clarification. A preventative strategy is to make the foundation watertight with concrete if a sump pump is insufficient to deal with excess water. Consult a foundation specialist for other viable and affordable options.

6. Create a disaster preparedness plan.

The plan should include important contact information, the location of the meet-up site in case of an evacuation, first aid items, flashlights, basic tools, extra batteries, a weather radio, toiletries, and emergency food and water supplies. Stay focused on survival and personal safety.

7. Prequalify a property damage restoration company.

The best time to reach out to a property damage restoration company is before a disaster strikes.  Anxiety and stress are low. There is time to research several companies, check references, read reviews, and talk to family and friends about their experiences. Reputable companies appreciate interacting with homeowners and businesses engaged in doing their due diligence to learn about the property damage restoration industry and prequalify with a company.

The main benefit of being prequalified is that when a disaster strikes, homeowners and their families know who they are going to contact, and they already have contact information on file. When rain is pouring in through the roof at 3 AM, stress, exhaustion, and the chaos of the moment can make it almost impossible to think clearly, much less vet restoration companies.

Pre-qualification with SERVPRO of Palo Alto includes the following benefits:

  • No time is wasted collecting personal information.
  • Crews can be on scene within an hour of the initial contact. A rapid response is crucial when the water intrusion is still in process. Emergency tarping can prevent a bad situation from becoming a full-blown catastrophe.
  • Important information about the property is instantly accessible to the crew. The team arrives ready to inspect and assess the damage and begin the damage cleanup and restoration.
  • The customer is put at ease knowing the company has been vetted and the technicians are certified, experienced, and well-equipped to handle the situation.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto to learn more about Atherton, CA, storm damage restoration. The office can be reached by phone at (650) 800-3448 or by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

How Leak Detection Factors Into Preventing Expensive Repairs From Water Damage

2/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto urges Bay area residents to pursue effective leak detection strategies in order to avoid a water damage disaster.

Water damage repair resulting from an undetected water leak can be very expensive. A constant drip from a leaky pipe or a water intrusion in the attic every time it rains can cause wood rot, mold, and mildew. The moisture can damage electronics, cause rust, and ruin items stored in the attic. Water or moisture in the crawl space can increase the likelihood of mold and a potential termite infestation. Roaches and other insects thrive on moisture from a water leak, especially in the relatively dry climate of Palo Alto, which receives about 17 inches of precipitation per year. Early detection of leaks helps keep a home dry, healthy, and safe. SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains why leak detection is essential to avoid a costly water damage disaster.

1. A water leak is a preventable expense.

An undetected pipe leak of a few drops per second may not seem like an urgent issue, but over time, it can add up to hundreds of gallons of water. Water in the Palo Alto area is scarce and growing scarcer, and the lack of water drives the price up, putting pressure on the pocketbook. An undetected leak stresses the water supply, increasing scarcity and driving up water rates. By eliminating water leaks one household at a time, the overall cost of water is kept low. An inspection by a professional plumber can detect leaks, saving the homeowner and the rest of the community on their water bills.

2. A water leak puts the safety of the water supply at risk.

The water supply in the home or business must be sanitary and safe for the occupants. A leaking pipe provides an avenue for contaminants to enter the water supply, and a compromised water supply is unsafe for human consumption. Food preparation, washing dishes, and personal hygiene may be unsafe if the water supply is compromised. Also, a leaking sewer pipe can contaminate an entire crawl space. Leak detection measures can give homeowners and business owners peace of mind.

3. Water leaks put a strain on the environment.

Changes in the climate have stressed supplies of freshwater in the United States, especially in the western half of the nation. A growing population along the Pacific coast puts high demands on water supplies that are suitable for human consumption and general usage. On a national level, home water leaks waste an estimated one trillion gallons of water, enough water to supply 11 million households for a year. Leaking faucets can drip 3,000 gallons of water down the drain per year. Water leak detection prevents water damage and preserves the environment.

4. Delay in detecting and repairing a water leak can drain the bank account.

A delay in detecting and repairing a water leak can result in advanced secondary damage. Wood rot, mold, and structural damage to flooring and support beams can exceed the repair costs of the initial water intrusion. Insurance may not pay for damages if a determination is made that procrastination played a role in the level of damage.

5. Leak damage may impact adjacent properties.

Undetected water leaks from pipes outside the home can saturate the ground to the extent that foundation damage results.  A large-scale, long-term water leak from a water main can cause significant damage to adjacent structures. Repairs can be astronomical. A proactive approach to water leak detection can avoid a water damage catastrophe.

6. Leak detection ensures a reliable water supply for commerce and emergency services.

Concerted efforts to find and repair water leaks ensure a reliable water supply. An adequate supply of clean, fresh drinking water is a top priority for human survival and public health. Many businesses and industries require a constant supply of water to provide services and manufacture products. Without a reliable water supply and adequate water pressure, fire departments would be impacted.

7. Leak detection avoids the need to spend millions of dollars on infrastructure improvements.

An advantage associated with aggressive leak detection strategies is the efficient usage of available water. A concerted group effort maximizes the capabilities of the current water supply system. A community or water district with a culture of water conservation (limited consumption) and water preservation (leak detection and mitigation) can delay implementing further very costly expansions and additions to the existing system. In the meantime, advances in water purification technology may eliminate the need for expansion altogether.

In case of a water damage disaster from a water leak in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to clean up the mess, restore the damage, and handle the insurance claims process. Fast action minimizes advanced secondary damage and reduces disruptions, enabling clients to enjoy a prompt return to normalcy.

To learn more about water damage restoration in Redwood City, CA, and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. The office can also be contacted by emailing office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

Steps for Dealing With Windows That Have Been Broken During Severe Weather

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers tips on how to address a broken window that has been damaged by severe weather, as well as how to deal with the resulting water damage.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers advice for homeowners on how to deal with a broken window resulting from storm damage in Sunnyvale, CA. The team of professionals offers storm damage and flood restoration services for large and small property damage disasters. The goal is to restore the damaged property and return life to normal as soon as possible.

Severe weather can damage or break windows, which are vital for privacy, security, and comfort. When a window is damaged, it needs to be repaired or replaced immediately. The failure to quickly resolve the breach can lead to higher energy bills, advanced water damage, including mold, and a greater vulnerability to intrusion from unwanted guests. Some window damage is difficult to detect. If left unrepaired, structural damage and damage to the home’s foundation can occur.

Assessing window damage while staying safe

Make sure the storm has passed before inspecting the outside of the home. Stay away from pooled water in case of a lightning strike or a downed powerline. If power lines are down, notify the utility company for repairs and the appropriate authorities so the area can be cordoned off and made safe.

Potential hazards and structural damage may be hidden or out of sight. Loose roofing materials or tree limbs and branches may fall from the roof, injuring bystanders. Check for trip-and-fall hazards, such as fallen trees, heavy sheeting, or loose or broken shingles, around the home’s perimeter.

Identifying signs of hail damage

Hail damage is easily identifiable, and signs include dents in the siding and on the roof. If vehicles in the driveway have sustained hail damage, it is likely that the roof, siding, and windows have suffered damage.

Hail is hard to miss. It makes a distinctive sound when impacting the roof, vehicles, and deck. In just a few minutes, the landscape can be white as snow. Hail damage to windows includes:

  • Broken or shattered panes or entire glass panels
  • Dented, torn, or broken window screens
  • Dented flashing above windows or frames
  • Cracked glazing

Identifying signs of wind damage

High winds have the power to topple trees, snap branches and limbs, send lawn furniture airborne, and cause severe roof damage. High winds can shatter windows, if not from the sheer force of the wind, then from the impact of a wind-born projectile. In the event of a strong windstorm, visually inspect the home’s exterior for the following:

  • Dents, holes, or cracks in the glass
  • Dented frames
  • Shattered or broken panes
  • Chipped paint
  • Cracked or split siding or wood

Spotting signs of water damage

Hail and wind damage is easy to identify because the evidence is readily visible: ripped or torn screens, shattered glass in the floor, and dents in the siding. On the other hand, water damage is not as obvious. Lingering water damage and unrepaired leaks can promote mold growth, which can compromise the foundation and structure of the house. It is important for the homeowner to enlist the services of a competent, reliable water damage restoration service to mitigate the water intrusion and repair the damaged structure.

Where to look for flooding and leaks from storm damage

Moisture buildup between the panes of a window indicates the structure of the window may have been compromised during the severe weather. Brown, copper, or yellow stains or water spots on the ceiling may signal a roof leak. Walls suffering from water damage will display bubbling, peeling, or cracking in the wallpaper or paint; these signs often manifest in the wall area along the sides of and just under the window. Soft flooring under the window signals that the window has sustained damage and is leaking.

What to do in the case of water intrusion through a broken window

A broken window that affords little or no protection from the elements needs to be repaired or replaced immediately. The damage needs to be inspected, assessed, and mitigated by a reputable restoration company. A delay in taking action can have two consequences. First, the water damage can escalate with each episode of wet weather. This unresolved water intrusion can result in advanced secondary damage, including a mold infestation.

Second, most homeowner’s insurance policies require the homeowner to promptly exercise due diligence in the event of storm damage, water damage, or fire damage. Negligence to address the issue in a timely fashion may limit or altogether void policy coverage for the damage disaster.

When Sunnyvale, CA, homeowners need flood restoration services, they can trust the knowledgeable, experienced, and certified professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto. They have industry-leading equipment, advanced moisture-detecting technology, and the latest cleaning techniques and EPA-approved cleaning solutions for the job. SERVPRO of Palo Alto can handle the insurance claims process from start to finish, with no headaches or stress for the customer.

For more information about Sunnyvale, CA, flood damage restoration, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

How to Teach Children Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Tips

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers age-appropriate tips to help children understand and practice proper fire prevention and fire safety.

The fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto understand the crucial importance of teaching age-appropriate fire safety principles to children. Children need to know how to prevent fires and what to do if a fire starts in the home. Over 358,000 house fires occur each year.  Every 87 seconds, or nearly one thousand times a day, a home experiences a fire. This experience can be very frightening for children, but with age-appropriate instruction, regular review, and frequent drills, they can be prepared in the event of a fire emergency. Children are already learning fire safety at school and in daycare. Fire safety in the home will not be a surprise to them and can save their lives.

Age-Appropriate Fire Prevention Tips

Children are responsible for nearly 20,000 house fires each year. Half of these fires are started by children under the age of six years old. These age-appropriate fire prevention tips can help keep children safe and avoid fire damage in the home.

Tip #1: Have conversations with children about the dangers of fire.

The goal is to instill a healthy respect for the power of fire to start a wildfire, damage a home, or cause serious injury.

Tip #2: Store matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach of children.

A locked cabinet is the safest place to store matches and lighters.

Tip #3: Only purchase and use child-resistant lighters.

Keep in mind that “child-resistant” does not mean “childproof.”

Tip #4: Never allow a child to play with matches or a lighter, even with adult supervision.

Fire is a tool and not a toy. Do not allow children to play with lighters that look like toys.

Tip #5: Instruct children to inform an adult if they find matches or lighters.

Tip #6: Do not leave children unsupervised when fire, matches, or lighters are in use around the house or on a family outing.

Tip #7: Develop a fire escape plan and practice it regularly.

Age-Appropriate House Fire Survival Tips

The following fire safety survival tips are helpful for younger children:

Tip #1: Talk about fire safety technology.

Talk to children about the technology of smoke detectors. Explain the purpose of the installation of the devices installed around the home. Involve children in the annual activity of changing the batteries in the smoke detectors.

Tip #2: Teach two ways out.

Teach children to try the door first and then the window. When the smoke detectors function properly, there should be ample time to escape through a door or window.

Rooms without windows can create fire entrapment situations. Establish a designated meeting place such as the end of the driveway, the mailbox, or a landscape feature in the front or back yard. A child’s normal reaction is to hide when they are frightened. Help them overcome their fear by teaching them to say or sing out loud, “Don’t hide, go outside.” Emphasize that once the child is outside the burning home, they should stay out.

Tip #3: Practice opening windows and removing screens.

Make sure the windows open smoothly, especially in the bedrooms. Screens need to be kept in working order, as well. Let children know it is acceptable to damage screens in order to escape through the window.

Tip #4: Utilize escape ladders for high windows and second-story escapes.

The use of escape ladders is unavoidable in homes with high windows or multiple stories. Ladders should be placed near second-floor bedroom windows. Drills involving the use of the ladders may frighten children. Have siblings work together and encourage each other during the ladder practice. Practice on a first-floor window exit to familiarize younger children with using a ladder. Instruct children to only practice this drill under parental supervision.

Tip #5: Feel first, then open the door.

Teach children to first feel the door before opening it. If the door is warm to the touch, the children should know that they need to try the window or other alternate escape route.

Tip #6: Emphasize stop, drop, and roll.

Reinforce what children are learning from their teachers in school and at daycare about what to do if clothing catches on fire. Help children practice this technique so that they are prepared to stop, drop, and roll.

Tip #7: Practice makes perfect.

Fire drills are a part of school activities. Make instruction times, practice sessions, and fire drills a normal part of life at home. Drilling instills discipline. Training and discipline can overcome the paralysis of fear.

In the event of a fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24/7/365 to help homeowners and businesses quickly begin the fire damage restoration process. Crews can arrive at the client’s home within an hour with the right equipment, the latest technology, and advanced cleaning techniques. The SERVPRO team can manage the entire restoration project, including handling the insurance claims process.

To learn more about fire damage restoration services in Atherton, CA, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448 or by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

The Importance of Considering IICRC Certification When Qualifying a Restoration Company

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains the value of hiring a commercial damage restoration and cleaning company that has been certified by the IICRC.

A rapid response and prompt water damage restoration services are needed when a burst pipe, sewage backup, or flooding disrupts normal business operations in a commercial setting. Professional water damage restoration enables the wheels of production to resume turning and the revenue to start flowing. In some instances, a delay in the provision of services at a commercial location can have serious consequences if the entity is a bank or a doctor’s office. In these situations, hiring property damage restoration technicians with certifications in cleaning and restoration is crucial.

A business owner needing property damage restoration services can expect technicians with proper certification to have a high level of industry expertise. In addition, the commercial client can expect technicians to exhibit reliability and integrity in every facet of the cleanup and restoration.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) holds technicians to the highest certification standards in the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industry. The certification bar is set high to ensure technicians provide services using the best procedures in the industry. When a business owner is qualifying a property damage restoration company, IICRC certification should factor heavily in the decision-making process.

IICRC certification is meaningful. Decision-makers should heavily weigh property damage cleanup and restoration companies with IICRC company certification and technicians certified by IICRC. The reasons are outlined below.

  1. Technicians have been trained and certified in the most advanced inspection, cleaning, and restoration procedures. The IICRC is an accredited part of ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, which oversees guidelines for best practices in use by private businesses, including the cleaning and property damage restoration industry.
  2. Continuing education and training, essential for keeping IICRC certification current, maintain the technician’s knowledge base and skill sets at the highest level. Continuing education credits are mandated every four years. As in other professional fields, keeping up with advancements in the cleaning and restoration industry is necessary to ensure the utilization of best practices when a disaster site is being cleaned up and restored.
  3. These certified professionals reliably and consistently perform their job in every situation, no matter how difficult the circumstances or challenging the environment. IICRC-certified technicians are thoroughly instructed in the latest safety protocols ensuring occupants, technicians, and other authorized personnel stay safe at all times.
  4. IICRC-certified companies demonstrate integrity in every aspect of the business relationship, from initial inspection to project completion. Industry competency is the cornerstone of IICRC certification. The foundation is business integrity. A business owner or homeowner that has been affected by a property damage disaster is vulnerable. Cleanup and restoration services must be quickly obtained and executed. An IICRC-certified damage restoration company adheres to a strict code of conduct regarding business ethics.
  5. IICRC companies and their certified technicians are committed to resolving complaints or grievances according to the highest standards of accountability in the industry. When issues arise between the service provider and the customer, policies and procedures are in place to ensure that the matter is resolved swiftly and fairly for the client. Third-party accountability communicates a solid message to the customer that the IICRC-certified company is unswerving in its commitment to reliability, integrity, and fairness.

Technicians with IICRC certification sharpen their expertise and skill in a specific area by completing required coursework. For instance, certification as a Commercial Drying Specialist (CDS) encompasses classwork and hands-on training in the procedures and technical application of drying commercial structures, fixtures, and equipment that have suffered water damage. Having earned several certifications, technicians are eligible for the advanced statuses of IICRC Journeyman or IICRC Master.

When a water damage disaster occurs in a commercial setting, trust the certified professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto. The experienced, knowledgeable team is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, to clean up and restore a business with fire, smoke, water, or flood damage. A quick response, rapid remediation process, and minimal or no disruption enable the company to resume normal business operations so that it can meet customers’ needs in a safe environment.

For more information about Redwood City, CA, commercial water damage restoration, call the team of restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. The office can also be contacted by emailing office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

How to Handle the Insurance Claims Process after Residential Storm Damage

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: In addition to providing storm damage restoration services, SERVPRO of Palo Alto helps clients work through filing an insurance claim for the damage.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto knows the importance of providing a rapid response 24/7, 365 days a year when a storm damage disaster disrupts life in the home. Although modern advances in weather prediction technology have narrowed the risk hazard of severe storms, storms and the damage they can cause are still unpredictable. One house survives a passing cloud burst with barely a shingle missing, while the house next door suffers extensive storm and water damage from a toppled tree.

Roof damage is costly to repair. If the damage resulted in a water intrusion, the cost of roof and water damage repairs could be astronomical. Roof repair should be done immediately. To expedite the cleanup and restoration process, SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers tips for Redwood City, CA, homeowners filing insurance claims for storm damage.

Tips for dealing with storm damage

  1. From the safety of the ground, inspect the roof for visible signs of damage. Shingles strewn across the roof and lawn indicate trouble. The first sign of damage may have been water dripping from the ceiling.
  2. Enlist the services of a locally owned and operated storm and water damage restoration company to begin the cleanup and restoration. If needed, emergency tarping is immediately installed to mitigate the water intrusion at its source.
  3. Initiate contact with a local, reputable roofing contractor to conduct a structural inspection of the roofing system to determine the full extent of the damage.
  4. With the utmost safety and precaution, personally document the damage. Pictures, notes, and video allow the homeowner to be thorough and precise. This documentation will be instrumental in the insurance claims process.
  5. If contact has not already been initiated, reach out to the insurance company to report a claim. When SERVPRO of Palo Alto is involved in the cleanup and restoration process, they can handle the claims process from beginning to end.

Tips for dealing with insurance claims related to storm damage

The recovery and reconstruction process after storm damage can be as challenging as a new build project or a major renovation. Homeowners insurance is often the financial vehicle that makes storm damage cleanup and restoration possible. Listed below are tips to help homeowners who are filing an insurance claim for storm damage.

  1. A homeowners policy typically does not cover all types of water damage. The water damage must originate from a source inside the home or from an opening created by the storm. Examples of what may be covered include an overflow from a washing machine or a water intrusion from a roof damaged during a storm.
  2. Water damage caused from outside the home is usually not covered by home insurance. Damage from flood water or a broken water main falls outside the scope of a typical policy. Damage from water entering the home through a manufactured opening such as a skylight may not be covered.
  3. Consult with an insurance agent regarding any gaps in coverage and the benefits of adding flood insurance to the homeowner’s policy.
  4. A denied water or flood damage claim may qualify for government assistance through agencies such as FEMA. If the Federal government declares the area a federal disaster area, FEMA may provide disaster relief. Seek advice from an insurance professional to work through the FEMA application process.
  5. Save money with a common loss deductible when storm damage affects vehicles, clothes in the basement, or a boat in the yard. A common loss deductible reduces the amount the homeowner must satisfy on multiple claims as long as the damage arises from a single storm or disaster.
  6. A homeowner is responsible for storm damages to their own home even if the neighbor’s fallen tree caused the damage. If the neighbor’s tree was diseased, dying, or dead before the storm, the owner of the tree may be responsible for the damages caused by the fallen tree.
  7. To receive reimbursement for temporary living arrangements after storm damage, the damaged home must be “unfit to live in.” The house must be so damaged that it is unsafe for anyone to live in the structure. The insurance claims department usually makes these determinations on a case-by-case basis.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can handle the entire storm damage restoration process, including emergency tarping, water removal, mold mitigation, and restoration. The team can also navigate the complex insurance claims process from start to finish.

For more information about storm damage restoration in Redwood City, CA, and the surrounding area, email SERVPRO of Palo Alto at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com or call (650) 800-3448.

How Professional Certification Through the IICRC Demonstrates Expertise in the Damage Restoration Industry

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto’s IICRC certifications benefit the home or business owner who needs property damage restoration services.

The team of property damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto has earned IICRC certifications in areas such as water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold remediation, and carpet and upholstery cleaning. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. The certifications are a sign of a technician’s skill, knowledge, and expertise. Certifications also benefit the customer.

How the Customer Benefits from IICRC Certification

Atherton, CA, home and business owners needing property damage cleanup and restoration services in Palo Alto want to enlist the services of a company with competent, qualified technicians they can trust. The situation may call for applied structural drying or smoke and soot cleanup after a housefire. Training, skill, and experience are essential when the job requires safe practices, thoroughness, and rapid execution. Life and business must return to normal without delay. IICRC certification assists the client in their quest for property damage cleanup and restoration services.

Listed below are six ways IICRC certification benefits the home or business owner needing industry-leading cleanup and restoration services.

1. Provides third-party validation of knowledge base and skill set acquisition

A damage restoration company can advertise that its technicians possess industry-specific skill sets and actual experience in the field cleaning and restoring damaged properties. IICRC certification credentials document the training and successful completion of performance criteria. IICRC-certified technicians have completed rigorous training and maintain their credentials with ongoing education. Restoration specialists receive instruction in and exposure to the latest advancements in equipment, technology, and techniques. For the customer seeking to qualify a property damage restoration company, certification through IICRC validates that employees have technical knowledge and skill competencies.

2. Helps customers match services to needs 24/7

When a property damage restoration company is listed in the IICRC’s referral database, customers can match services to specific, immediate needs 24/7. Homeowners, business owners, and property managers can select a service provider with the confidence that highly trained and experienced technicians are ready to respond.

IICRC certifications communicate to the client the range of credible services offered by the restoration company. A property damage disaster often entails a complex hazard matrix. For example, a fire damage restoration may require water removal, applied structural drying, smoke and soot cleanup, sewage cleanup, mold mitigation, and deodorization.

3. Assures high standards for safe practices

The high safety standards set by IICRC impact all aspects of the cleaning and restoration process. IICRC-certified cleanup and restoration companies such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto incorporate these safety protocols into every facet of the services they provide. Customers are confident that the services they receive are performed with the utmost caution to preserve the health and life of the technicians, the occupants of the home, and their pets. Safety-conscious technicians achieve results that ensure a healthy and safe restoration, especially on hazardous sites that require special equipment and procedures.

4. Elevates credibility across industries

IICRC has nurtured strong relationships with a wide array of industries, and these alliances enable an IICRC-certified company to enjoy important access to manufacturers of carpet, fabric, furnishings, and more. Certification also allows a company to be designated as a preferred service provider for product maintenance and warranties. In some instances, failure to have carpet or other floorcoverings cleaned and maintained by a preferred service provider can forfeit a warranty or guarantee.

5. Signals integrity and customer protection

The IICRC logo sends a clear message that stands for integrity and customer protection. To maintain IICRC certification, a property damage restoration company must deliver excellent service through a responsible, honest business model. When customers see the IICRC logo, they know they are dealing with a company that is bonded, licensed, and insured and has written complaint policies in place to resolve disputes.

6. Instills lasting customer trust

IICRC certification is a testament to a company’s unwavering commitment to the highest levels of professionalism, service performance, safety protocols, and customer satisfaction. This commitment to providing excellent customer care engenders a deep trust and establishes solid working relationships that endure.

In case of a property damage disaster in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available year-round to quickly begin the restoration process. A prompt response, a rapid remediation process, and a commitment to excellent customer care enable life to return to normal as soon as possible.

For more information about the Atherton, CA, damage restoration company, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

How a House’s Plumbing Can Provide Clues About Leaks and Water Damage

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains how to identify signs of leakage that can be present on plumbing components.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto understands how disruptive and life-changing a water damage disaster caused by a plumbing problem in the home can be. Homeowners need to be aware of some common signs of water leaks in the plumbing system. A toilet supply line leaking one drop of water every 7 seconds adds up to about one gallon of water per week. If the supply line ruptures, the small leak can become a 200 gallon per hour flood. Imagine the surprise awaiting the family arriving home from a weeklong vacation to find their home flooded with thousands of gallons of water. An awareness of the common causes of plumbing leaks is the first step to avoiding water intrusion.

The primary cause of a plumbing leak stems from inadequate maintenance. Proper, timely upkeep will keep plumbing at peak performance. However, the homeowner needs to be aware of other causes of plumbing problems, including:

  • Product design flaws
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Improper installation
  • Exposure to harsh cleaning products

Regular inspections of exposed plumbing can detect a leak when it is small and no damage has occurred. If homeowners know the lifespan of a part or appliance, they can preemptively maintain or replace the item in order to prevent a water damage disaster.

Know the Signs of a Water Leak

Prevention of a plumbing leak starts with intentional inspections. Look for dripping water under the sink, around connections, or on the floor near plumbing. Feel exposed plumbing for slight leaks. Look for water damage in these areas:

  • Access panels to appliances, tubs, and showers
  • Under sinks and wash tubs
  • Connections and valves associated with the water heater, toilets, and appliances
  • Crawl spaces and basements

In general, cracking, corrosion, discoloration, and mineral deposits signal a problem. Below are specific examples to help the homeowner identify issues with various types of plumbing.

Copper tubing

Discoloration and the buildup of deposits are key indicators of a leak in copper plumbing. Discoloration and slight corrosion may not need to be addressed. Deposit buildup is a strong indication of an issue and needs immediate attention. Copper piping can develop pinhole corrosion, and small, localized crystals on the pipe signal a potential problem. A professional can take steps to mitigate the corrosion before more serious issues arise.

Streaks of white, blue, or green deposits on the copper pipe indicate a tiny amount of water is already seeping from a pinhole leak in the pipe. The corrosion may be a sign of a water chemistry problem that must be resolved, or it will continue to degrade the copper pipes. A water damage disaster can be avoided by taking the proper steps to remedy the hard water issues.

Braided stainless-steel supply lines

High-quality braided stainless-steel supply lines are the best way to connect appliances, toilets, and faucets to the main plumbing system. Stress corrosion cracking, a condition unique to braided steel supply lines, can develop. Rust, discoloration, and broken or frayed strands of steel hint at a problem. Quick action to replace the supply lines can prevent a massive flood. A ruptured washing machine supply line can spew five to seven gallons of water per minute.

Brass valves

Like copper tubing, brass valves are subject to the effects of corrosion. Deposits of a white, blue, or green crystal-like substance on or around the valve signal trouble. Exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals, water chemistry, design flaws, low-quality manufacturing, and improper installation factors into the failure of a brass valve.

PEX tubing and connecting parts

PEX parts are compromised by exposure to chlorinated hot water and household cleaning chemicals. Cracking and discoloration indicate potential problems. The metal fittings used to connect PEX can corrode. Regular visual inspections can identify these issues in their infancy before a water leak arises.

CPVC parts

CPVC pipes and connections are often used in home fire sprinkler systems. Exposure to chemicals and heat can compromise CPVC parts. Telltale signs of a potential problem include discoloration and cracking.

Toilets

A toilet has many potential leak points. A hairline crack in the brittle ceramic tank can enlarge over time, resulting in rotted flooring, a wobbly toilet, and a mold infestation. Visually inspect the outside of the tank for stains and discoloration.  The flushing mechanism can malfunction, allowing large amounts of water to flood into a septic tank or the public sewer system. Frequently inspect the floor around the toilet for tank and supply line leaks. Replace the flapper valve at the first sign of an issue.

Plumbing Leak Prevention and Protection Strategies

  1. Incorporate an inspection of the plumbing into the cleaning routine. Check supply lines and flooring around toilets, tubs, and showers. Look for moisture under cabinets and do a smell test for mold and mildew.
  2. Immediately repair any plumbing issues that arise. Replace supply lines, connections, and valves before they become a water damage disaster.
  3. Install water sensors or an entire leak detection system. The system can be managed from a smartphone.
  4. Know what non-weather-related water damage the existing homeowners policy covers.
  5. Pre-qualify a reputable water damage restoration company with competencies and certifications in water damage restoration and mold remediation. The company should be able to handle the insurance claim process from beginning to end.

In case of a property damage disaster in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the restoration process.

For more details about Redwood City, CA, water damage restoration, email SERVPRO of Palo Alto at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com. The office can also be contacted by phone at (650) 800-3448.

How Children Can Create a Plumbing Disaster That Leads to Water Damage

11/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains some of the ways that young children can cause a water damage disaster in the home.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is dedicated to helping homeowners recover from a water damage disaster or sewage backup. The team of professionals is available 24/7, 365 days a year, to help homeowners and businesses recover and resume life as usual without the disruptions and inconvenience that accompany a property damage disaster.

Playing with Plumbing: A Potentially Risky Pairing

An article featured by the American Academy of Pediatrics points out that playing is how young children learn.??? “Play is how your toddler explores and learns about the world as they grow and develop. As a parent or caregiver, you can support and encourage this play. Allow your child lots of time to play and join in the fun when you can! Play is how young children start to get ready for school…TIP: Make the places in your home where you spend a lot of time safe places where your child can play and be supervised easily. Give your child lots of time to explore with things like water, sand, boxes, or any other safe item that your child finds interesting.”

Toddlers are very curious. They like to taste, touch, turn, pull, open, close, listen, smell, watch, and experiment. With loud noises, moving parts, and rushing water, toilets are a source of fascination for a young child. However, serious water damage can occur if an inquisitive young child experiments with the plumbing. Listed below are some ways toddlers and young children can cause damage to pipes and other plumbing fixtures.

#1. Foreign Objects Down the Toilet

The most common toddler-induced plumbing problem is the flushing of foreign objects down the toilet. The reasons for the frequency of this plumbing problem are easy to understand.

  • The toilet is easily accessible to toddlers and small children.
  • It has the largest drain in the home and can devour toys and action figures.
  • The swirling water can be fascinating for a child to watch.

The toilet can swallow countless toys, entire rolls of toilet paper, food, clothing, hats, socks, shoes, and even pets. One small object lodged in the drainpipe can create a clog that is so severe a plumber may need to dig into a wall or excavate a pipe to dislodge the stuck items.

#2. Climbing on Plumbing Fixtures

Many plumbing fixtures are set at heights that accommodate taller people. Children who need to grab something out of their reach may hoist themselves up by a faucet or showerhead or stand on the toilet seat or toilet tank. In the process, a child may fall and be injured, and the fixtures, plumbing connections, or toilet may break or collapse. Water flows out of a broken supply line or faucet at a rate of 5-7 gallons per minute. Over a period of an hour, hundreds of gallons of water can flood a bathroom. If the child is afraid to inform a parent or caregiver of the mishap, the delay can cause extensive water damage to ceilings, walls, baseboards, flooring, and furniture.

#3. Overfilling Sinks and Tubs

A tub or sink faucet has a flow rate of four to seven gallons a minute. A standard tub can hold forty-two gallons of water just below the overflow valve. If children start the water in the bathtub without the knowledge of parents or guardians, the tub can overflow, causing a flood damage disaster.

Quick Tips for Child-Proofing the Plumbing

Only so much can be done to child-proof the plumbing. Here are some tips on how to reduce the risk of a water damage disaster or sewage backup related to the actions of curious children:

  • Do not leave small children unattended in the bathroom. Vigilance will prevent most child-related water damage disasters.
  • Install locks on the toilet lid if necessary.
  • Purchase step stools to help children reach the sink or toilet without having to climb.

When a water damage disaster or sewage backup occurs, call professional water damage restoration specialists who have the equipment, training, and expertise to remediate the damage. Water damage disasters where gray water or black water are involved necessitate that the technicians wear special protective gear to ensure their safety. Gray water and black water are harmful to humans and pets, and areas, where these hazards are present, must be professionally cleaned, disinfected, sanitized, and deodorized immediately.

For more information about water damage restoration in Sunnyvale, CA, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. Staff can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

Typical Storm Activity in Palo Alto and the Property Damage Repercussions

11/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary:  SERVPRO of Palo Alto looks at storms and weather conditions that can lead to property damage in the Palo Alto, Atherton, and Redwood City areas of California.

Earthquakes can be devastating natural disasters that cause several types of property damage, including water damage from burst pipes. Even smaller magnitude seismic events that do not topple buildings can still crack pipes and cause destructive leaks. According to the United States Geological Survey, “California has more earthquakes that cause damage than any other state.” Because California is the epicenter of the United States’ seismically active locations, business owners in the Golden State need to be prepared for the possibility of water intrusion due to plumbing that has been damaged by an earthquake.

What Are the Property Damage Risks of Earthquakes in the Bay Area?

A 2017 article from a local news outlet highlighted a seismic risk assessment that had recently been conducted for the Palo Alto area. The article noted that an earthquake of up to a magnitude 7.4 “would likely cause around $2.4 billion in damage and devastate more than 200 buildings. The types of buildings in Palo Alto range from wood-frame homes to newer buildings with concrete shear walls. A major earthquake would completely wipe out the older homes in Palo Alto, most of which were built prior to 1970. However, an earthquake of 7.9 magnitude would also cause extensive damage to the new buildings. Despite more advanced materials, the newer buildings use a “tilt-up” construction method where concrete is poured into the ground, cured, and lifted. This method creates ground that is susceptible to earthquakes.”

How Can Seismic Activity Lead to Water Damage at a Bay Area Business?

After an earthquake and once it is safe enough to do so, business owners should make sure that the plumbing at their business or commercial facility has come through the seismic event unscathed.

While more modern structures can withstand the stresses of an earthquake better than older structures, both new and old buildings will be damaged by an earthquake of sizable enough magnitude. Furthermore, if the facility’s pipes are already structurally compromised, seismic activity can burst fractured pipes, spewing water and sewage across the building.

What Are the Signs That Pipes Have Been Damaged by an Earthquake?

The most obvious sign of damaged pipes is pools of water appearing in the facility. Damp areas are also a reliable indicator that the plumbing system has been compromised.

Hidden water damage is another concern and can cause damage that escalates over time. By listening for noises of dripping and gushing, the business owner or employees may be able to detect a leak that is concealed behind a wall. Also, watch for shifting water pressure at faucets and toilets, and check the water meter for abnormal increases in water usage.

Exterior water lines can also suffer damage from seismic activity. Look out for unusual areas of wetness or puddling that are not connected with rainfall, sprinkler usage, or other normal presence of water.

Another subtle indicator of an underground pipe failure is the improved growth of grass, plants, and shrubs surrounding the facility. If greenery is looking even greener without any corresponding rainfall or artificial watering, the plant life may be absorbing water from an underground leak.

If the sewer main has ruptured, a foul odor may be present. In addition, rodents and other pests can be attracted by the leakage.

What to Expect When SERVPRO Responds to a Water-Damaged Business

The water damage restoration process begins when the client makes the call to SERVPRO of Palo Alto. The team is available 24/7/365 to respond to large and small water damage emergencies and will deliver immediate action, which is essential to minimize the effect of secondary damage. As experts in remediating water damage, the technicians at SERVPRO of Palo Alto are able to guide the client through the chaos of a water damage disaster.

Once contact has been initiated, the SERVPRO representative will obtain relevant information from the client, including:

  • The client’s name and contact information
  • Any insurance information
  • The street address of the water-damaged business
  • The time at which the water damage occurred
  • The cause of the water damage
  • The status of available electricity on-site

This information helps SERVPRO of Palo Alto to mobilize the appropriate response to meet the challenges posed by the water damage emergency.

For more information about Redwood City, CA, commercial damage restoration, call the SERVPRO of Palo Alto office by phone at (650) 800-3448. Staff can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

A Guide to Inspecting Atherton, CA, Homes for Storm Damage after Severe Weather

11/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto shares five tips for identifying storm damage to homes in Redwood City and the surrounding communities.

The team of professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto is experienced and skilled at helping Atherton, CA, residents and business owners recover from storm damage. Technicians quickly and effectively implement structural drying techniques that halt any advanced secondary damage and prepare the site for the restoration and cleaning process.

When a thunderstorm or other severe weather strikes a home or business, storm damage, even on a small scale, can cause expensive long-term issues when repairs are not made quickly.

Causes of storm damage include large hailstones, heavy rain, flooding, high winds, and even lightning. A quick inspection and assessment of the home can reveal any damage that can be immediately repaired. Here is a checklist of potential damage points in the event of strong storms and severe weather. The weather event may appear to be minimal. Yet, minor damage, if left unresolved, can cause much damage over time.

The Storm Damage Inspection Guide

  1. Look for debris on the roof such as sticks, branches, boards, and large limbs.

A wind gust of 50 to 75 miles per hour is not unusual in turbulent weather, and updrafts can carry light furniture, toys, and garbage cans high into the air. Impact on a roof or awning can damage shingles and puncture the roof. The sharp point of a broken limb can create a sizable hole in the roof. The wind may then reposition the branch so that it does not appear that the impact with the roof caused any damage. A two-inch hole at the top of the roof may not be detectable from the ground.

  1. Search the roof and yard for damaged or missing shingles.

Shingles scattered around the yard or littering the shrubbery are a telltale sign of roof damage and a possible water intrusion. Check the shingle style and color to ensure any detached shingles are not from a neighbor’s roof but are from the roof being inspected.

According to the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC), wind can lift shingles, reducing their overall ability to protect the roof and prevent water damage. The IIBEC reports, “‘Wind-lifted’ or ‘wind-damaged’ shingles are not always visually apparent but are damaging to the roof. Any shingle with inadequate adhesion is a ‘wind-lifted’ or ‘wind-damaged’ shingle. Empirical (visual) tests can easily demonstrate the strength reduction of a shingle after a storm event.”

When shingles have been compromised by high winds and suffer wind-lifting, their ability to prevent water damage is reduced. If high winds were present in the severe weather, the best strategy is to call in a reputable roofing contractor to inspect the roof.

  1. Inspect the chimney flashing.

When the metal flashing around the chimney comes loose or becomes cracked during a storm, water can leak inside the attic at the contact point with the chimney. The moisture intrusion can cause structural damage. Mold grows well in a warm, moist attic.

  1. Check the gutters for potential storm damage.

If rainfall is heavy, gutters may not be able to efficiently evacuate the water from the roof. A gutter filled with water is very heavy and can pull away from the house. This situation allows water to run between the roof and the gutter, causing water damage to the eaves of the home.

  1. Look for storm damage to soffits and fascia.

Examine soffits and fascia for warping, separation, and rot. If damage is discovered, address the issues immediately. Moisture can work its way into the attic and walls, causing decay, mildew, and mold.

  1. Be aware of other signs and locations of potential damage points.
  • Pools of water in the crawl space
  • Broken window panes and peeling or bubbling paint around windows
  • Punctures, dents, and gaps in exterior walls
  • Water stains on interior and exterior walls
  • Outbuildings and fencing

When to Contact a Property Damage Restoration Company for Storm Damage

The best time to contact a property damage restoration company for storm damage is before the damage occurs. By prequalifying a restoration company before the disaster occurs, only one call is needed to have a crew on-site in about an hour to begin the inspection, assessment, cleanup, and restoration process.

For more information about Atherton, CA, storm damage restoration services, contact the SERVPRO of Palo Alto office by phone at (650) 800-3448. Staff can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

How to Safely Enjoy a Fire Pit without Causing a Fire Damage Disaster

10/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto shares ten safety rules to help homeowners enjoy time around the fire pit this fall and winter.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides fire damage restoration services to homeowners and businesses in Palo alto that have suffered a fire damage disaster. A fire damage disaster involves smoke damage and water damage. In many cases, the homeowner is not able to safely remain in the damaged structure. Cleanup, restoration, and repair are necessary for the family to return and resume life as normal. One of the joys of home life is relaxing and entertaining family and friends around the backyard fire pit. SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers these top ten fire pit safety rules to ensure the safest and best experience.

One of the most delightful pleasures of life is lounging by the fire pit, soaking up the soothing, relaxing warmth on a cool, crisp evening. Any activities that involve fire also require taking safety precautions to prevent the flames from getting out of control and causing fire damage to the patio, deck, and home.

Rule #1: Do not start a fire without having the tools to put it out.

Gather the tools to extinguish a fire before ever striking the first match. Have at close hand a fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand or water, and a water hose with a spray nozzle to prevent wasting water. A fire blanket is a worthy investment if the fire pit is a regular event.

Rule #2: Observe the wind and weather conditions.

Before igniting the fire pit, make sure the weather conditions will provide a safe burning experience. Wind speed should be low or calm, and the wind should be blowing away from the home. The homeowner will want to prevent sparks from blowing onto the roof or damaging the siding.

Rule #3: Fuel the fire with hardwood debris or seasoned hardwood purchased from a supplier.

Seasoned hardwoods burn evenly while producing fewer sparks and less smoke. Softwoods such as pine can be used for kindling and firewood. The logs produce active sparks and much smoke, making the fire pit experience less enjoyable. Construction materials such as plywood, MDF, and pressure-treated lumber give off toxic fumes when burned, creating an unhealthy environment. Food grilled over these toxic flames is unhealthy.

Rule #4: Beware of overhead fire dangers.

Avoid building a fire under an overhang, tarp, vegetation, or power lines. Keep yard waste and other flammables away from the fire pit.

Rule #5: Stay a safe distance away from the flames.

Clothing, hair, and chairs can catch fire if they come too close to the flames. Natural fibers are less flammable than many artificial materials. When turning food or tending s’mores, the “safe” position for sleeves and hair is rolled up and tied back, respectively.

Rule #6: Never leave a fire unattended.

A fire is never totally safe until all the flames have been extinguished and the coals and ash are cool. The seconds needed to make a dash for that favorite beverage or to take a bathroom break are just enough for a fire to flame up and cause fire damage.

Rule #7: Drink responsibly.

Certain forms of spirits are highly flammable. Too much alcohol impairs judgment and coordination, which may result in injury or the inability to effectively extinguish a fire that gets out of hand.

Rule #8: Comply with no-burn alerts to promote personal safety and public health.

Emissions and weather conditions may compel a municipality to issue a fire advisory prohibiting any burning. Failure to comply can result in a greater fire risk, an elevated public health risk, and stiff fines.

Rule #9: Store firewood in a safe place.

Keep firewood away from the fire pit. Sparks can easily ignite firewood that has been stockpiled too close to the fire pit.

Rule #10: Be prepared by pre-qualifying a fire damage restoration company.

When these fire pit safety rules are followed, the risk of fire damage is low. In case of a fire damage disaster, the homeowner who has proactively pre-qualified a fire damage restoration company will need only to make one call. A reputable and responsive property damage restoration company will respond within an hour, 24/7, 365 days a year. No time is wasted frantically searching for companies, reading reviews, and talking to customer service representatives over and over. One call.  One company. One great solution. Pre-qualify SERVPRO of Palo Alto for any property damage disaster of any size or type and have peace of mind.

To learn more about Redwood City, CA, fire damage restoration and cleaning services in Palo Alto and the surrounding area, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

Typical Storm Activity in Palo Alto and the Property Damage Repercussions

10/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary:  SERVPRO of Palo Alto looks at storms and weather conditions that can lead to property damage in the Palo Alto, Atherton, and Redwood City areas of California.

The San Francisco Bay Area, including Palo Alto, Atherton, and Redwood City, enjoys some of the finest weather in the world, but even an area with a pleasant climate experiences occasional storms and the accompanying storm damage. This mild, comfortable climate is a magnet, attracting visitors and residents from all over the world, and storm damage risks are low much of the year, especially from May to November. It is during the winter months that the area receives most of its severe weather, which increases the risk of storm damage for homes and businesses.

Common Storm Damage Risks in the San Francisco Bay Area

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms tend to strike the Bay Area during the winter months, and peak thunderstorm activity generally falls during late winter. Summer storms also occur, though less frequently. Stemming from the moisture remnants of monsoons and tropical storms, summer thunderstorms are associated with strong winds and short periods of heavy rainfall.

Hail

In March 2021, hail struck the Bay Area, and a travel advisory for the slippery roads was issued. A local news outlet described the weather: “A cold winter storm Wednesday delivered a little bit of everything to the Bay Area, from fresh snow and pea-sized hail to heavy downpours and thunder and lightning. Some areas in and around Santa Rosa looked more like the Sierra Nevada as hail piled up like snow on some roadways, leading to treacherous conditions for drivers caught in the storm.”

When large, jagged hail impacts a home, the roof and siding can sustain damage severe enough to allow for water intrusion from the rain associated with the hailstorm. During the winter and early spring through April, weather patterns can bring storms that dump up to several inches of precipitation per hour. This much rain on a damaged roof can result in a water damage disaster that also involves the potential for mold infestation if the moisture issues are allowed to persist from more than twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

Flooding

One of the most destructive local floods in recent memory was the 1998 flood brought about by heavy rain. San Francisquito Creek can be traced to much of the flooding. Palo Alto Online notes that “in heavy rain events the creek has overflowed at least 13 times since 1910, with peak floods in 1955, 1958, 1967, 1982 and 1998, according to a 2006 report by the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority. The creek overtopped its banks again in 2012 and 2017, damaging property and, in 2013, damaging the dirt levee abutting an East Palo Alto neighborhood, which if breached could have taken lives. That flooding prompted a state of emergency in East Palo Alto, requiring emergency repairs to the levee.”

Over the years, the community has attempted to mitigate the threat posed by San Francisquito Creek. Still, half of the East Palo Alto area is located within a flood zone.

Landslides and Debris Flows

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “California is well-known to be susceptible to landslides. These range from small, but potentially fatal, shallow landslides that may mobilize into rapidly moving debris flows, to larger, deep-seated landslides that are capable of moving entire houses downslope. Coastal cliff collapses and cliff erosion also present landslide hazards along the coast of northern California, and debris flows from burned areas are a particular concern following wildfires in the region.  Landslides in the state generally occur due to precipitation, and to a lesser extent, earthquakes. Historically, large winter storms have caused the most damage, and in the highly developed San Francisco Bay area in northern California these impacts have sometimes been quite severe, causing both fatalities and significant property damage…”

A Rare Meteorological Risk

Hurricanes

The last hurricane to strike California was the 1858 San Diego hurricane, which was presumably at least a Category 1 storm. Debate continues 160 years after this meteorological anomaly as to whether it actually was a hurricane and if it truly did make landfall.

Why do hurricanes or tropical storms rarely strike the Bay Area? Two factors have a bearing on why Palo Alto and the surrounding areas are generally safe from hurricanes, unlike the Atlantic seaboard. The relatively cool water temperatures are just not warm enough to generate storms of hurricane strength. In addition, wind patterns divert most severe tropical weather activity to the south of California. However, the Bay Area is no stranger to inclement and sometimes odd weather events.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is one of the leading storm damage restoration companies in the Palo Alto area. When storms cause damage at residential or commercial properties, highly trained technicians are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, to provide a quick response and rapid remediation.

To learn more about storm damage restoration in Atherton, CA, and the surrounding area, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

What Is the Cost of Water Damage in Sunnyvale, CA?

10/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto informs Sunnyvale property owners of the cost of a water damage disaster. When a water damage disaster strikes, quick action can speed up the restoration process and lower costs.

When a water damage disaster strikes, quick action can speed up the water damage restoration process and cut costs. Speed is critical if the water damage disaster is not covered by insurance. Fast water removal and drying also limit secondary advanced water damage, and the reduction in the scope of the restoration project decreases the overall job cost. The homeowner is able to resume life as normal sooner rather than later.

A growing trend of rising costs for water damage disasters

At a commercial level, large water losses in excess of $500,000 from non-weather-related causes have more than doubled since 2015. Industry analysts also report that large loss water damage disasters in excess of $1 million have tripled.

On a smaller scale, but nonetheless traumatic for the homeowner, the average claim for a home water damage disaster exceeds $6,700. Research indicates that most of these residential water damage claims stem from plumbing failures. Examples include frozen pipes in colder states. However, the recent cold snap in Northern Texas demonstrated the vulnerability of home plumbing systems that are unprepared for even one night of unusually cold weather.

Leaking pipes and connections along with burst supply lines to appliances such as the washer, dishwasher, and ice maker are primary culprits. After the deductible is met, the average cost for these types of failures is $5,092 per incident. These figures are provided by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

Other plumbing system failures such as corroded pipes, leaking pipes, or pipes that have been improperly installed cause water damage losses that average about $4,300 per incident. Water damage claims from a failed water heater come in at more than $4,400.

A small amount of water can result in a large and expensive water damage disaster in a home. A typical, average-sized home contains more than forty different entry points that could lead to a water intrusion should that part of the plumbing system fail.

What types of damage will insurance cover?

Some water damage disasters are covered by a homeowners policy, while others are not. It is important for the homeowner to know the difference. A typical homeowners policy issued by a reputable company will cover water damage losses resulting from the following causes:

  • a sudden water leak
  • an accidental water burst
  • a ruptured supply line to a washer, dishwasher, or ice maker
  • an overflowing toilet
  • a failed water heater

What is not covered by standard homeowners policies?

Ongoing leaking and continuous seepage are excluded from standard homeowners policies. Insurance industry experts explain the challenges related to covering water damage disasters: “Coverage for water damage follows a general rule of thumb. Water that comes from the top down, such as burst pipes or rainfall, is covered by a standard homeowners policy... Water that comes from the bottom up, such as an overflowing river, is covered by a separate flood policy that can be purchased from private insurers or the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program. In the past, most homeowners and renters policies provided unlimited coverage for sewer and drain backups. That’s no longer the case…Losses for sewer and drain backup-related events, caused by things like aging sewer systems, combined pipelines, tree roots, and sanitary main blockages, can now be covered under special endorsements to a standard policy. The rise in non-weather-related water damage is creating a flood of challenges, including rising rates and non-renewals. In California, more than 30% of companies have refused to renew policies of customers who have filed one or two water-loss claims in the past three years, according to the state Department of Insurance. Some insurers may eventually decide not to renew customers who fail to take preventative steps such as installing water shut-off systems...”

In case of a property damage disaster in a residential or commercial setting SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Homeowners are urged to contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto before a water damage disaster occurs. Prequalifying the SERVPRO team ensures that when a disaster does occur, only one call needs to be placed to have the water damage restoration company on-site in about an hour to inspect and assess the damage and to begin the cleanup and restoration process.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com to learn more about water damage restoration service in Sunnyvale, CA.

What Are the Benefits of Air Duct and HVAC Cleaning for Commercial HVAC Systems

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: In addition to commercial damage restoration services, SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides commercial HVAC cleaning for Atherton-area businesses.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is invested in providing the commercial cleaning and damage restoration services the businesses want and need. Commercial HVAC cleaning is just such a service. Using the best equipment, the latest cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved cleaners that are safe for families and pets, the Palo Alto SERVPRO team can efficiently and affordably tackle commercial HVAC cleaning needs in the Atherton, CA area.

Ventilation systems are often a significant contributor to poor indoor air quality. A scheduled inspection of the HVAC system, along with the ductwork, can identify any issues that need attention. These issues include:

  • loose electrical connections arising from vibrations in the system
  • parts that are wearing out prematurely
  • dirty, clogged coils
  • clogged, grimy, leaking, condensate pan
  • air filters that need changing
  • dirty ductwork

How often should an HVAC inspection be scheduled?

If the HVAC system is used year-round, an inspection every six months is advised. The best time is spring and fall, after a season of intense usage. If the system sees little use for four to six months out of the year, annual inspection and servicing are adequate. In a commercial setting, where usage may be constant and extreme, the safest course is to have the system inspected every six months.

Consumer Reports suggest that an HVAC system can last ten to fifteen years. Consistent upkeep and maintenance can add years to the life of a system. Clogged coils and dirty air ducts cause a system to work harder and longer to cool or heat a home or business. This added strain reduces the lifespan of an HVAC system. Commercial HVAC systems are expensive to replace. Every added year of life is money kept in the property owner’s pocket. The ROI on a well-maintained commercial HVAC unit is worth the investment to keep the system in top operating condition.

How often should air filters be changed?

Industry recommendations are for air filters to be changed every ninety days. The EPA offers the following information which is helpful in selecting air filters for the commercial or residential HVAC system: “What is a MERV rating? Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, or MERVs, report a filter’s ability to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10 microns (µm). This value is helpful in comparing the performance of different filters. The rating is derived from a test method developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at trapping specific types of particles.”

The EPA continues with an explanation of the HEPA filter: “HEPA is a type of pleated mechanical air filter. It is an acronym for ‘high-efficiency particulate air [filter]’ (as officially defined by the U.S. Dept. of Energy).  This type of air filter can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns.”

Conditions that would require a filter upgrade or more frequent filter replacement would include:

  • a personal preference to have cleaner air circulating through the facility
  • a dusty environment such as a construction site, a trucking terminal, nearby farms, or seasonal wildfires
  • pet dander from service animals
  • pollen
  • known mold issues

How often should the HVAC ductwork be inspected and cleaned?

Any inspection of the mechanical and electrical components of the HVAC system should include the ductwork, as well. Dirty air ducts contaminate the air that has been pulled through a certified HEPA filter, effectively neutralizing the effort to purify the air. Clean air ducts reduce the potential for mold growth. Cleaning the air ducts can eliminate unpleasant or offensive odors.

A thorough inspection of the ductwork can reveal leaks in the system, which allow stale, moldy, and dust-laden air to penetrate the ductwork. The circulation of this unhealthy air throughout the business, office complex, daycare, or other commercial facility compromises respiratory hygiene, negatively impacting the well-being of the occupants.

The conscientious technicians at SERVPRO of Palo Alto point out that duct cleaning is not always necessary. After the inspection, they will make recommendations that best address any indoor air quality issues, saving the business an expense while providing peace of mind concerning the health and safety of the HVAC system.

For more information about commercial damage restoration in Atherton, CA, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448. The damage restoration company can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

What Are Some Steps That Homeowners Can Take To Prepare for Storms and Stay Safe?

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers emergency preparedness tips to help homeowners prepare for severe weather.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides storm damage restoration and cleanup to homeowners and businesses in the Bay area, including Atherton and Redwood City. Palo Alto has a mild Mediterranean climate where the average annual rainfall is 17 inches. The summer high is 80 degrees Fahrenheit with the January winter low of 40 degrees, and the region enjoys 261 days of sunshine and 61 days of rain and cloud cover. From late October through March, Palo Alto averages almost 3 inches of rain per month. This fluctuation in weather spells the potential for storm damage, including heavy rains, high winds, and flash floods. SERVPRO of Palo Alto, a locally owned and operated damage restoration company, is offering storm damage preparation tips to help Palo Alto property owners stay safe by planning ahead.

Identify Flood Plain Areas and Assess Vulnerability

Start by determining if the home or business is located in a flood-prone area. Check flood records. Contact the county planning department. Talk to neighbors and local residents who have lived in the area for more than a few years. Consult with an insurance agent about a homeowner’s policy. Ask about flood insurance before the need for flood insurance arises.

Tip #1: Formulate a disaster plan.

Include communication, survival, and recovery strategies in this plan. Map out and rehearse an evacuation route for the family. Have a contact person located outside the region. All family members should have the information memorized and easily accessible.

Information can save lives. Alert signals, official evacuation routes, and shelter locations should be a part of the disaster plan. Let public utilities and emergency personnel know about any special needs such as age, disabilities, or severe medical conditions.

Tip #2: Prepare the home to withstand the worst.

Identify potential hazards in and around the home. These hazards include downed power lines, broken water lines, a ruptured gas line, and chemical spills resulting from flooding. Have shutoff valves clearly marked. Any tools needed to operate the valves should be clearly visible and easily accessed. Locate and maintain LED flashlights near these action points. If the basement floods, play it safe by staying out of the water. The risk of electrocution, a slip-and-fall injury, and exposure to sewage and dangerous chemicals is too high.

The risk of fire is high during a storm damage emergency. Electrical short circuits, candle fires, and accidental ignition of flammable liquids or natural gas pose a real danger. Fire extinguishers are affordable, easy to operate, and safe. An extra fire extinguisher in the kitchen, the laundry room, and the garage can prevent a small flash fire from getting out of hand. The extra fire extinguishers give the homeowner the upper hand when a fire breaks out while dealing with storm damage. Teach the entire family to properly use these devices so that an extinguisher can be quickly accessed and operated during a fire.

In the event of water intrusion from storm damage to the roof, have on hand several tarps or a large roll of heavy-duty plastic to cover furniture or other personal belongings. A mop, a squeegee, and some buckets will prove helpful to remove standing water.

Tip #3: Take steps to ensure the health and safety of the family.

Here are some basic survival steps to keep the family healthy and safe when there is major storm damage to the home:

  • A well-stocked first-aid kit is foundational to the most basic survival strategy.
  • Prepare an emergency three-day water supply of one gallon per day per person.
  • The CDC recommends having a 3-day stockpile of non-perishable food on hand for emergencies.
  • Put together a personal health and hygiene kit. Include soap, wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, toothbrushes, toothpaste, eyewash, lotion, and shampoo. Insect repellent, either natural or commercial, is recommended for the kit.

Tip #4: Have a recovery strategy in place before disaster strikes.

Storm damage can range from the loss of a few shingles to severe roof damage with extensive water intrusion. When the skies clear and the floodwaters recede, cleanup and recovery can be overwhelming and dangerous. The best recovery and restoration solution involves highly trained and well-equipped professionals who can complete the damage restoration process quickly, efficiently, and safely. The property owner who makes one call before the disaster strikes will only have to make one call after the disaster strikes in order to ensure a prompt response, a safe cleanup, and a fast and efficient restoration project.

For Sunnyvale, CA, storm damage restoration services, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448. The team can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

How Property Owners Can Stay Safe When an Earthquake Causes Fire Damage in Redwood City, CA

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Earthquakes are powerful seismic events that also have the potential to cause fire damage. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is committed to helping local property owners recover when fire damages their homes or businesses in the aftermath of an earthquake.

A major earthquake is a devastating event that can cause not only structural damage but also fire damage and water damage. Home and business owners in Palo Alto and surrounding areas such as Redwood City, Atherton, and Sunnyvale understand that earthquakes are a common concern for the area. In fact, the state of California experiences over 100 earthquakes per day. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is sharing fire safety tips to help homeowners stay safe in the aftermath of fire damage caused by earthquakes.

How Does an Earthquake Cause Fire Damage?

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network notes that fire damage “has long been recognized as a major hazard following earthquakes. Before the 20th Century, earthquakes would often upset burning candles, lamps, stoves and fireplaces (with dangerous fuels common). Today in the US, ruptured gas lines and arcing electrical wires are the most common sources of ignition. In addition to providing chances for ignition, earthquakes can block access to fire fighting equipment and damage fire-fighting water supplies, making fighting the blazes, of which there might be many across a city, especially challenging.”

A relatively recent earthquake that resulted in widespread fire damage was the 1994 Northridge earthquake that affected the Greater Los Angeles Area. According to the California Fire Prevention Organization, “Within minutes of the Northridge earthquake, LA City firefighters were en route to multiple fires in the San Fernando building. In the period from 4:31 AM through midnight, there were approximately 110 earthquake-related fires.”

Earthquake Fire Safety Tips

  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and learn how to properly use it.
  • Learn the proper way to turn off the gas and electricity. If gas or electric lines are damaged, turn the valve off. If gas is smelled, open all of the home’s windows and doors and leave the premises immediately. Report the gas leak to the authorities.
  • Never use matches, a lighter, or candles in the aftermath of an earthquake. A gas line could be broken, and any type of fire or flame could set off a conflagration. Also, do not place phone calls while in a building with a suspected or confirmed gas leak since even a phone call can provide a source of ignition for a fire.
  • Do not remain in damaged buildings. Stay away from damaged areas.

How to Safely Remediate Fire Damage Caused by Earthquakes

As a locally owned and operated damage restoration company, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has experience in safely dealing with fire damage that results from seismic events common to the local area. Highly trained technicians use state-of-the-art equipment and resources to remediate the damage. In contrast to smaller restoration companies that are not part of a franchise, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is able to deliver a highly scalable response to complete large or small jobs for both residential and commercial clients.

Fire damage is often accompanied by secondary damage, including smoke damage, water damage, and mold damage. SERVPRO of Palo Alto has competencies in a variety of different restoration specialties, so the crew can tackle complex remediation situations.

One way to minimize the scope of secondary damage is to trust the restoration project to a company that can act quickly and arrive on the scene promptly. A rapid response limits primary and secondary damage and prevents additional damage, which lowers restoration costs.

What Is the SERVPRO Fire Damage Restoration Process?

While each fire damage incident is unique, the general remediation process, by and large, remains the same. The typical timeline for a damage restoration project is outlined below:

  1. A property experiences fire damage, whether from the aftermath of an earthquake or other cause, and the client initiates emergency contact with SERVPRO of Palo Alto.
  2. Technicians arrive to inspect the damaged property and assess the extent of the damage.
  3. If needed, board-up and roof tarping will be implemented to prevent further damage.
  4. In some cases, water damage is present after a fire due to the fire department spraying the structure with hundreds to thousands of gallons of water to extinguish the fire. If water has damaged the property, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will remove the water and dry the affected rooms using dehumidifiers and air movers.
  5. Due to the combustion of various chemicals during a fire, the smoke and soot can cause health effects. The damage restoration team removes these contaminants from all surfaces in the home or business.
  6. All salvageable items affected by the fire are cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected, restoring them to their pre-damage condition. Industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment remove odors.
  7. Depending on the scope of the damage, the last step in the process may involve minor repairs or a comprehensive reconstruction project. Once this step is complete, the structure is restored to its pre-fire condition.

The team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto is committed to always treating clients, their homes, and their belongings with the utmost respect, care, and empathy. To learn more about fire damage restoration in Redwood City, CA, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com or call the office at (650) 800-3448

Why SERVPRO of Palo Alto Is a Safe Choice for Damage Restoration in Homes With Lead-Based Paint

8/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Because lead-based paint is a health concern in older homes, it is important that homeowners hire a damage restoration company that has the certifications necessary to safely perform damage restoration in a home or facility where lead-based paint is present.

When hiring an Atherton, CA, damage restoration company, homeowners will want to make sure that the company has the proper certifications for the work that it is being hired to complete. Certification is especially important in the case of structures containing lead-based paint.

Lead-based paint puts the occupants of a home, particularly young children, at risk of lead poisoning. The CDC explains, “Lead-based paints were banned for residential use in 1978. Homes built in the U.S. before 1978 are likely to have some lead-based paint. When the paint peels and cracks, it makes lead paint chips and dust. Any surface covered with lead-based paint where the paint may wear by rubbing or friction is likely to cause lead dust including windows, doors, floors, porches, stairways, and cabinets.”

The presence of lead paint in a structure can be costly and not just in terms of health effects. In 2019, Palo Alto Online, an online resource for Palo Alto-area news, reported that ten cities and counties in California “announced a $305 million settlement with three paint companies to clean up lead paint hazards to children in older housing.”

In a damaged home, it is very likely that the lead-based paint has been disturbed, creating dust and paint chips that present a health hazard to both the home occupants and the restoration technicians. It is essential that the restoration team hired for the job has the proper certification to safely and correctly perform the damage remediation project.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto: Certified for Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, certifications, along with thorough training and education, are a priority. The damage restoration company has the RRP certification, which refers to the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule (RRP). According to the EPA, “Under this rule, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb painted surfaces in homes and child-occupied facilities (including child care centers and schools), built before 1978, must, among other things, be certified and follow lead-safe work practices.”

The Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule “aims to protect the public from lead-based paint hazards associated with renovation, repair, and painting activities. These activities can create hazardous lead dust when surfaces with lead paint, even from many decades ago, are disturbed.”

The EPA goes on to state that the rule “establishes requirements for firms and individuals performing renovations, and affects contractors, property managers and others who disturb painted surfaces….It includes pre-renovation education requirements as well as training, firm certification and work practice requirements.”

Customer safety is of the utmost importance to the team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto. When water or fire damages a structure, the event is very stressful for the home’s occupants, and if lead-based paint is present in the house, stress and anxiety levels are multiplied. However, homeowners can have their concerns put at ease by entrusting the restoration of their home to SERVPRO of Palo Alto. The SERVPRO technicians strive to exemplify expertise and professionalism every time they respond to a client’s call.

The staff undergoes rigorous training in damage restoration techniques and engages in ongoing training, as well as regular certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. These measures give homeowners confidence that they have hired a team with the knowledge and experience necessary for the safe restoration of a property.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto: Dedicated to Serving the Restoration Needs of the Local Community

After calling the team at SERVPRO of Palo for fire damage restoration services, a grateful client posted the following review of the damage restoration company: “Truly appreciate all they did for us with the recent fire at our house. Friendly, reliable, easy to work with, above & beyond expectations. Highly recommend them.”

A SERVPRO representative underscores the company’s dedication to the local community, stating, “SERVPRO of Palo Alto takes great pride in being a part of the Palo Alto community. We want to do our part to ensure the Palo Alto community thrives by helping those less fortunate, keeping the area safe, and making our community the best it can be.”

To learn more about the Atherton, CA, damage restoration company, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

How Water Damage Creates a Moist Environment That Is Attractive to Termites

8/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Because termites prefer a damp environment, water damage issues can lead to termite problems. SERVPRO of Palo Alto urges homeowners to have water damage remediated as soon as it is discovered and to take steps to prevent a termite infestation.

Water damage in Sunnyvale, CA, can be accompanied by all sorts of issues, including mold and mildew growth, rust and corrosion of metal surfaces, and rotting wood. However, another consequence of water damage is a potential termite infestation. Termites love moisture. If water damage is not mitigated promptly or if a hidden water leak occurs, the water can create a moist environment that is attractive to a termite colony.

Types of Termites in California

Several types of termites can be found in the state of California. Three common types are the subterranean termite, the drywood termite, and the dampwood termite. With a typical size of about ? inch long, the subterranean termite is the smallest of the three species, but it can cause large-scale damage to a home. The Formosan termite, a subterranean termite informally known as the super-termite, is an especially destructive species since these termites can create large colonies and devour wood rapidly. One colony of Formosan termites can contain millions of these insects. This large colony size means that Formosan termites can cause damage to a wooden structure on a larger scale and in a shorter time period than other types of termites.

The Connection Between Moisture and Termites

Termites are infamous for their diet of wood, but termites also rely on water to stay hydrated and to help them digest wood cellulose. As a result, moist wood is a prime feeding source for the millions of hungry termites that comprise a Formosan termite colony.

Even homes in areas with little rainfall can be susceptible to a termite infestation. Leaking plumbing or a leaking appliance, such as the dishwasher or washing machine, can soak a wood floor, creating the moist environment that termites thrive in.

Homeowners may think that they will be able to quickly spot and deal with a water leak. However, not all leaks that cause serious problems involve large quantities of water spilling across the floor. In the case of a hidden water leak, a small leak can occur in an area that is rarely inspected, and the leak might not be discovered until the water damage and a potential termite infestation have progressed significantly.

Terminix, a leader in the pest control industry, provides the following advice: “Subterranean termites, who build their colonies in the soil, are attracted to moisture. Standing water in or around your home’s foundation creates an attractive environment for these termites. Leaky pipes are not just a plumbing issue and should be addressed before creating an opportunity for termite infestation. You should also clean your roof gutters and take steps to ensure there is proper drainage around your home. Finally, check that your foundation is properly ventilated and trim back or remove any landscaping that could allow humidity to build up in your home’s crawl space.”

How to Make a Home Unattractive to Termites

Homeowners can take several measures that help prevent a termite infestation or that better prepare homeowners should a termite infestation occur.

  • Maintain downspouts and gutters, and make sure that they are properly directing water away from the foundation of the house. If downspouts and gutters become damaged, repair the damage promptly.
  • Be vigilant for cracks, gaps, and holes in the walls or foundation; termites can easily enter the home through these openings.
  • When planting bushes, shrubs, or other landscape features, take care not to plant the greenery too close to the side of the home. The moisture surrounding the plants, as well as the presence of mulch, can attract a termite colony.
  • Have stumps in the yard removed. A moist, rotting stump is an ideal home for termites, which can spread as many as 300 ft in soil. Before long, a colony that was confined to a stump in the front yard can end up taking hold in the home.
  • Prequalify a reputable pest control company to eliminate a termite infestation if a thriving colony is discovered.
  • Prequalify a water damage restoration specialist to provide rapid water damage restoration services in the event of water damage. When water damage is quickly remediated, the chances of attracting termites are significantly reduced.

For more information about water damage restoration in Sunnyvale, CA, and the surrounding area, contact the SERVPRO of Palo Alto team by phone at (650) 800-3448 or reach out to the team by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

How Commercial Odor Removal Services Help Businesses Avoid Lost Business

8/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers commercial deodorization services that effectively neutralize bad odors.

Commercial odor removal can sometimes be overlooked by business owners or property managers. Unlike water damage or fire damage, which are urgent issues that must be resolved promptly for business operations to resume, foul odors do not do damage to the structure of the building. Because they do not directly affect the building or inventory, odor issues might not be prioritized until the smell has worsened significantly. In addition, bad smells can arise gradually and slowly grow in intensity. Employees and staff may become so used to the smell that they do not realize it is unpleasant for customers.

A malodorous environment can create a distasteful and uncomfortable experience for customers that influences them to take their business elsewhere. Odor issues can be especially off-putting in eating establishments. CleanLink, an online resource for professionals in the cleaning industry, cites a survey that “identifies common issues that would keep Americans from returning to restaurants.” The study found that 85% of patrons would not return to a restaurant that had a “general bad odor.” The problem of foul odors was in the top five issues identified by the study and was second only to dirty surfaces, which 86% of respondents indicated was a turn-off.

While a foul odor might not be as time-sensitive as a water damage disaster or a sewage backup, it is in the business owner’s best interest to have odor problems resolved promptly in order to avoid lost business and to create a positive experience for customers or clients.

What Are Common Sources of Odors in Commercial Facilities?

Garbage Odors

Trash cans and dumpsters release all manner of putrid odors, especially when hot weather amplifies the smell. Restaurants in particular need to be attentive to garbage odors since perishables such as meat, dairy products, bread, vegetables, and fruit are disposed of regularly on and near the premises. As mentioned above, odors can be disastrous to the reputation and ROI of a restaurant.

Floor Drain Odors

With a smell often compared to rotten eggs, sewer gas originates from the sewage system, which is full of noxious odors from decomposing sewage. To prevent sewer gas from escaping into the room, floor drains are equipped with a trap that retains water; however, if the water in the trap dries out, sewer gas and the accompanying odors can flow out of the drain. Not only is this issue a cause of odor problems, but it can also be a safety issue since methane, a potentially explosive gas, is present in sewer gas. In addition, drains that have become clogged by debris such as food, trash, or hair also give off bad odors and create a place for odor-producing bacteria to breed.

Restroom Odors

Urine odors are prevalent in restrooms. Mayo Clinic notes, “Urine that contains a lot of water and few waste products has little to no odor. If urine becomes highly concentrated — a high level of waste products with little water — your urine may have a strong ammonia odor.” Urine is also a food source for bacteria, which produce offensive odors that worsen as bacteria growth accumulates. Regular cleaning of public restrooms and emptying of trash are important practices that help prevent unwanted odors in restrooms.

Mold Odors

Earthy, musty smells can often be traced to mold and mildew growth. Mold flourishes in warm, humid environments and can turn into an infestation before the business owner or employees discover the issue. According to the CDC, “Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.” In the case of odors stemming from a mold infestation, the business owner will want to hire mold remediation services in addition to deodorization services.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto: A Local Leader in Commercial Odor Removal

The commercial cleaning and odor removal experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto are equipped to identify the source of foul odors and eliminate the problem. The science involved in odor removal can be complex, and shortcuts such as masking will not successfully remove a persistent, strong smell. At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, technicians are well-trained in proper deodorization techniques and, when applicable, use products that go deep into surfaces and thoroughly neutralize offensive odors.

For more details about deodorization services for businesses and other commercial cleaning and commercial damage restoration services in Redwood City, CA, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448. The office can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com

SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City: How Rain Can Lead to Water Damage

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

There are many water-related incidents that can lead to water damage, as it takes a relatively small amount of moisture to create an issue.

Many often think of sources such as floods, broken pipes, appliance malfunctions, and overflowing toilets when considering how water damage happens. However, it is important to note that  even rain showers  persisting over a period of time can lead to water damage, as water gradually works its way into a home’s weather defenses. The best preventive measure to take is to simply be knowledgeable and proactive about where and why this water intrusion occurs.

Likely Places where Water Damage is a Possibility Due to Rain

Backup of clogged gutters. Cleaning out your gutters every six months or so is a great defense against water damage. When your gutters can’t properly drain water, pooling can occur and lead to water sitting up against—and eventually seeping into—your home.

Leaks around windows and doors. Windows and doors can develop small cracks around them, which may not be visible to the naked eye but are certainly large enough for water to find. Water can soak into these small gaps and begin to eat away at the wood surrounding these openings.

Poor drainage around the foundation. Regardless of how impervious a foundation may seem, if poor drainage allows water to build up around the foundation, it can eventually begin to seep inward and lead to damages.

Leaks in and around the roof. A house of any age can develop a roof leak, and they can often sneak up on you. Checking for signs that your roof might be vulnerable to leaks regularly is the best defense against this.

Malfunctioning of a sump pump system. For those with basements or crawl spaces, a sump pump is a great water damage defense, as long as it is maintained. Sump pump malfunctions due to inadequate maintenance can lead to serious damages on their own.

Leaks around chimneys and skylights. Skylights and chimneys are great features, but it is important to check on the seals surrounding them regularly to ensure they have not deteriorated enough to begin letting water through when there is heavy rain around.

If you’ve experienced water damage to your home, we are here to help 24/7/365. Call SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City to have our trained technicians respond quickly and begin your restoration.

SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City Specialize in the Cleanup and Restoration of Flooded Basements!

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

A property’s basement can flood at any time, although most often flooding will occur during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently susceptible to flooding and water damage because they are the lowest level of a building and normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your Atherton, CA basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
  • Heavy rain causing surface water to pool around your home
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Sanitary sewer backup
  • Foundation drainage failure
  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding? 

Call the Water Damage Experts at SERVPRO - (650) 800-3448

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can:

  • jeopardize your health and safety
  • create a mold infestation 
  • cause severe damage to your home’s structure.

The longer you wait, the worse the problem will get, and the more costly it will be to restore the damage.

It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week 365 days a year. Holidays included!
  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained  in Water Restoration Techniques
  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards
  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

When your home or business has a flooded basement or any water damage event, the trained professionals at SERVPRO have the training, experience and equipment to assist with restoring your home to “Like it never even happened.” Call today at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Storm Damage Restoration with SERVPRO of Palo Alto

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is dedicated to storm and flood damage restoration. Our crew is ready to take on any size project and restore the property to “Like it never even happened.” Our staff is extensively trained in the use of techniques and expert equipment that is efficient to restore and preserve your property.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is able to respond quickly with the right resources within a few hours to reduce any secondary or future damage. This is extremely important to assure that the property is dry in order to decrease the damage. Doing so will prevent further damage, which ultimately reduces the restoration cost.

When storms hit Palo Alto, we have the right equipment and resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. Our highly trained professionals are ready to respond 24/7 to any storm or flood emergency.

We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large scale events and disasters.

Need Emergency Services? Call us 24/7 at 650-800-3448

Smoke Damage: A Complicating Factor in a Property Damage Restoration Project

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains how smoke damage complicates the property damage restoration process in a home that has suffered fire damage.

The SERVPRO of Palo Alto fire damage restoration specialists understand the restoration and safety challenges presented by a fire and smoke damage disaster. In these situations, fast response and immediate action help limit damage, prevent further damage and reduce restoration costs. The highly-trained SERVPRO crews have the specialized equipment and resources to handle large or small jobs for residential and commercial clients.

The complexities of fire and smoke damage restoration

A structure fire produces a complex property damage disaster involving many components. In a house fire, the damage may be so extensive that complete demolition and a new build is the only solution. Flames burn everything in their path, leaving only charred remains and toxic smoke, soot, and ash. The heat from the flames causes personal belongings to melt, crack, and shatter. Fire extinguisher foam and water are sprayed throughout the structure as the fire is extinguished.

After the flames are out, a highly corrosive layer of toxic smoke and soot clings to almost everything in the fire-damaged structure. If not immediately addressed, smoke damage can continue to affect a home, including in places that the flames never touched. Houses have been ruined by smoke from wildfires, even though the structures were not burned in the fire.

The smallest fire can cause great smoke damage even though the flames were extinguished very quickly. Smoke and soot are composed of toxic materials, some of which are very corrosive. These corrosive substances in smoke and soot can compromise the structural integrity of a home. The quick removal of smoke and soot after a fire is crucial to prevent the acid-like toxins from eating away at the surfaces and items contaminated in the fire. The owner of a home or rental property that has suffered a fire or been affected by smoke from a nearby raging wildfire needs to act fast to limit potential damages. The fire and smoke damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto can assess the damage and create a plan of action uniquely customized to each situation. This tailored approach ensures the damaged home is clear of any fire-related damages.

Are a home and possessions damaged by smoke salvageable?

The extent of the damage will determine if the home and its contents can be salvaged. Cost should be considered since some items will cost significantly more to repair than to replace. A smoke damage specialist can determine what items should be cleaned, discarded, or replaced.

How does smoke affect a home?

Several factors must be considered when examining how smoke from damage affects a home. Firstly, smoke causes different types of damage to different types of materials. A second factor is temperature. The extremes in temperature and the type of fire will cause different types of smoke damage throughout a home. One of the most devastating ways smoke can adversely affect the structure and contents of a home is when the corrosive smoke and soot seep into small cracks and crevices in the house, appliances, and electronic devices. The tiny particles may go unnoticed and unaddressed for months. The lingering hint of the smell of smoke is the tell-tale sign that the fire and smoke damage restoration was incomplete.

The solution is intensive and invasive. Smoke-damaged items must be removed or expertly cleaned with specialized cleaning strategies and odor-removing EPA-approved odor-neutralizing solutions. If the smoke smell originates from the building materials in the home, then the walls, flooring, ceilings, moulding, and other materials must be cleaned. The cleaning and restoration team will use special equipment, tools, techniques, and cleaning and deodorizing solutions specifically designed to remove the smell. A smoke and fire damage cleanup is dangerous and should be left to professionals who know what they are doing and who have the personal protective gear to ensure their own safety.

How important is a fast smoke damage cleanup?

By acting fast, the homeowner can prevent permanent damage from the corrosive effects of smoke throughout the home. Synthetic fibers and porous items that may have absorbed the fumes or soaked up the smoke-contaminated water need restoration intervention almost immediately to be saved. Flooring and painted surfaces such as walls and ceilings need attention within twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Permanent staining can occur if the smoke residue is left to linger on wood furniture and painted items.

Water damage and smoke residue cause metals to rust and corrode at an accelerated rate. Delay in securing the services of a fire and smoke damage restoration company expands the extent of damage and increases the cost of restoration. Insurance companies understand the negative consequences of allowing fire and smoke damage to go unaddressed. Delays on the part of the homeowner can adversely impact the claims process if the insurance company deems that the delays are unwarranted.

In case of a property damage disaster in a residential or commercial setting SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24/7/365 to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the restoration process. Quick response, rapid remediation, and minimal disruption enable the homeowner to resume normal life almost immediately after the property damage incident.

For more details about the fire and smoke damage restoration and cleaning services provided by SERVPRO of Palo Alto in Atherton, CA and surrounding areas, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Strategies to Prevent Mold Issues During the Commercial Construction Process

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains how to avoid mold growth during construction.

The commercial damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto understand the importance of preventing a mold infestation on a construction project. Job delays, health effects, damaged materials, and the risk of future litigation make this issue all too important for the conscientious property owner and project manager. SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers these tips on how to prevent mold growth on a construction job site.

How to prevent mold growth during construction

Mold growth during a construction project is a challenge every property owner will face and must overcome. The following scenario is not unusual, though it is very costly.

Commercial mold infestation scenario

A construction project runs into a major hurdle that brings the project to a screeching halt. A mold infestation is discovered. All the building materials are new, which raises questions about the origin of the mold contamination. An investigation reveals that the construction company failed to complete the dry-in phase before hanging drywall. Inclement weather had soaked the installed drywall. Mold spores feasted on the warm, moist, organic material. Delays and mold abatement drive project costs through the roof. Careful vetting of the construction company goes a long way to preventing problems like this, but steps can be taken during the inspection process to avoid mold issues.

How does mold grow?

Mold spores are present everywhere in the environment. An infestation or high concentration of spores is possible when food, wetness, and warmth are available. On a construction project, food for mold is everywhere. Ceiling tiles, lumber, and drywall are favorite foods for mold.

In the initial stages of a construction project, organic matter is limited, especially if the flooring is concrete and the framing is metal. Lumber and subflooring are relatively hard, and they do not facilitate mold growth unless exposed to moisture for an extended period. On the other hand, the soft, organic matter in ceiling tiles and drywall promotes mold growth and can harbor an infestation in as little as two or three days after exposure to moisture.

How to prevent mold growth during a construction project

What is the most effective means to prevent mold growth during a construction project? The answer is simple. Keep vulnerable materials dry. The following three-pronged strategy works every time.

#1. “Dry in” the building before hanging drywall or installing ceilings.

The process of sealing the building envelope prevents moisture from penetrating the interior. The proper installation of exterior siding, windows, seals around windows and doors, and, most importantly, a water-tight roof are crucial in this “dry-in” phase.

#2. Completely dry out any materials that may have been exposed to moisture.

The building materials may have already been installed, or they may be awaiting installation. As long as the materials are laden with moisture, the risk of mold growth is high. Wooden framing and subfloors can absorb moisture. If installed before drying out, the wood can release moisture into the indoor environment of the building. The drywall will absorb the moisture like a thirsty sponge, increasing the likelihood of a mold infestation.

#3. Recognize and remediate new sources of humidity during construction.

Even though a structure’s building envelope is water-tight, mold growth can occur if moisture is introduced into the building. Renovation of an existing structure that requires the removal of asbestos or drywall involves a process that uses water to control dust. The mitigation of this moisture may necessitate the deployment of dehumidifiers during the construction process.

Mold identification: What to look for and when

To prevent expensive mold issues, check for moisture during walk-through inspections with the project manager or general contractor.

  • Before installing drywall

The building envelope should be tightly sealed. The roof, windows, doors, and exterior siding should be installed, and all gaps should be sealed. Ensure that any lumber or other wood products that might have been exposed to water or moisture have been thoroughly dried out.

  • During and after demolition

Renovation projects that involve the removal of asbestos or drywall require large amounts of water. Verify that proper dehumidification has been exercised. Excess water should be removed prior to the installation of new materials. Relative humidity should be sustained at sixty percent.

  • Before a pause or shutdown

Sometimes a project must be paused temporarily or shut down indefinitely. Make sure that the site is dried and sealed appropriately to prevent mold growth during the lull. The installation of dehumidification equipment may be necessary. The extra expense is negligible when compared to the cost of mold mitigation and project delays.

How costly is a mold issue on a construction project? Consider the following expense items:

  • slowed or paused project progress
  • delayed completion dates and any penalties arising from these delays
  • replacement of affected or damaged materials
  • remediation expenses
  • expenses for an abatement contractor (which is sometimes legally required)

Mold prevention on the construction job site involves proper planning, detailed inspections, and immediate action when conditions conducive to mold growth are discovered. When a mold infestation is identified, stop mold in its tracks.  Enlist the services of a professional mold mitigation and remediation company to stop the mold infestation, clean up the job site, and mitigate any moisture issues with water removal, water extraction, and applied structural drying techniques. SERVPRO of Palo Alto can also deploy industrial-grade dehumidifiers to achieve the desired humidity level and maintain that level throughout the project. The team of SERVPRO professionals utilizes advanced technology to detect moisture and monitor humidity on a commercial job site. The proactive property owner can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses by taking care of mold before it becomes a problem.

Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, SERVPRO of Palo Alto helps regain control of a commercial property damage incident and begin the damage restoration process quickly. A prompt response, rapid remediation, and minimal or no disruption of business or construction operations enable the project to move forward.

For more details about commercial damage restoration in Sunnyvale, CA, and the surrounding area, email SERVPRO of Palo Alto at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com or call (650) 800-3448.

How SERVPRO of Palo Alto Helps Property Owners After Water and Fire Damage From an Earthquake

7/5/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto is uniquely prepared and equipped to deal with property damage from an earthquake.

California is well-known for its susceptibility to earthquakes, which can cause devastating property damage in communities located near active fault lines. In the event of an earthquake that causes water or fire damage to a home or business, property owners will want to depend on the services of a reputable, experienced damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto.

Earthquake Damage in California and the Palo Alto Area

An earthquake can cause several different types of property damage to a home or business, including water and fire damage.

Water damage occurs when a seismic event damages, cracks, or dislodges pipes and water lines, allowing water to leak into the structure. If the damage is slight, the leak may not be detected until the water damage has progressed and a mold infestation has set in.

Fires are another common and potentially deadly result of earthquakes. According to California Earthquake Authority, “Earthquake fires start when electrical and gas lines are dislodged due to the earth’s shaking. Gas is set free as gas lines are broken and a spark will start a firestorm.”

Why Choose SERVPRO of Palo Alto for Property Damage After an Earthquake?

When an earthquake causes broken water pipes or a house fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides a fast response to the client’s call for help. Immediate action limits further damage, reduces the scope of the damage, and lowers restoration costs. Highly trained technicians use specialized equipment and resources to handle both large and small jobs for residential and commercial clients.

In addition, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is uniquely prepared to address earthquake property damage because of the company’s ties to the local community, the team’s previous experience with regional earthquakes, and the company’s ability to access the resources of a national network of SERVPRO franchises.

Local Ties

As a locally owned and operated company, SERVPRO of Palo Alto tackles property damage as an established figure in the community. The company’s technicians and service providers live and work in the local area and might even be the neighbors of the people they serve. The team’s connection to the community helps to foster an attitude of empathy and compassion towards homeowners and businesses in need.

Having a local base of operations means that SERVPRO of Palo Alto can quickly respond to a property damage disaster. When water is pouring out of a broken pipe, the homeowner can take confidence in knowing that the damage restoration company will arrive on the scene promptly.

Regional Experience

As members of the community, the team has experience dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes and seismic activity common to the area. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is no stranger to providing damage restoration services for homes damaged by an earthquake.

Online homebuyer resource Homefacts lists Palo Alto as having a very high risk of earthquakes. Earthquake statistics for 2020 reveal that the area was hit by 23 earthquakes that were a magnitude 3.0 or greater, as well as 198 earthquakes between magnitude 2.0 and magnitude 3.0. Furthermore, Palo Alto is in close proximity to eight major faults, including the San Andreas Fault and the Hayward Fault.

A violent earthquake is a stressful experience, and property damage only adds to the stress and anxiety that the homeowner is facing. With SERVPRO of Palo Alto by their side, homeowners can move forward and recover from the damage to their homes.

National Resources

As a SERVPRO franchise, SERVPRO of Palo Alto draws upon a nationwide system to provide a rapid response. The SERVPRO network comprises over 1,700 franchises across the United States of America. From an earthquake that damages a pipe in a single home to an earthquake that affects the entire community, SERVPRO can rise to the challenge of repairing structures and restoring lives. An independent local company or a small regional franchise simply can not muster a response of this scale.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is proud to serve the Palo Alto, Atherton, and Redwood City communities. The staff and technicians at the damage restoration company strive to provide local residents and business owners with a fast response time and excellent service each time a call comes in.

To learn more about damage restoration in Redwood City, CA, contact the SERVPRO of Palo Alto team at (650) 800-3448. The office can also be contacted by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

How Commercial HVAC and Air Duct Cleaning Services Preserve People’s Health

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: In a commercial facility, a clean HVAC and clean air ducts are essential to protect the health of employees, customers, and visitors to the facility.

SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City recognizes that a clean HVAC system is crucial for respiratory health in the work environment. The HVAC system, including the air ducts, must be kept clean and operationally sound to maintain high air quality standards, which are vital for the health and safety of employees and customers.

Poor air quality in the workplace can have health effects on the workforce and customers. Proper maintenance and cleaning of the HVAC system and the ductwork can improve air quality and protect the staff, employees, and clientele. Clean, pure air is especially important in environments where the staff and customers are exposed to the same air for long periods of time. Examples of facilities where individuals may have extended exposure to impure air quality:

  • Healthcare facilities
  • Laboratories, factories, and warehouses
  • Daycares, schools, and churches
  • Call centers and office complexes
  • Retail stores and service outlets

NADCA, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, comments on the importance of air quality, writing, “We generate a lot of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the ductwork. While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, school, or workplace, they may be contributing to larger health effects or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems.

Key Indicators That the HVAC System and Ductwork May Need Cleaning

When the HVAC system, including the ductwork, needs cleaning, key indicators signal that the air quality is poor and may have health effects on the people who have to breathe the contaminated air.

The leading indicators of compromised air quality include:

  • musty odors that are most noticeable when the system starts circulating air
  • mold that is visibly present in the building, on vents, and in the ductwork
  • dirt and debris buildup inside floor vents
  • dust buildup on flat surfaces such as desks, computer screens, countertops, and display cases
  • ducts infested with rodents, insects, and their droppings
  • new construction or recent renovations
  • unexplained increases in energy costs
  • two or more years since the HVAC system has been inspected by a professional

Certain health effects can also indicate poor or contaminated air quality. 

Employers, business owners, and facility managers should act quickly to address any health complaints from workers, customers, clients, and vendors.

The experts at Consumer Reports offer the following advice on how often to have an HVAC system inspected: “Once a year, have a licensed professional perform a full inspection on your air conditioning units. This will involve cleaning and flushing the condenser coils, draining the pan and drainage system, vacuuming the blower compartments, and checking the refrigerant and mechanical parts. It’s also worth asking them to check the ductwork, especially if your cooling bills have been higher than normal. Up to 30 to 40 percent of energy can escape through leaky or uninsulated ducts.”

What Are the Benefits of a Clean Ventilation System and Healthy Air?

Clean air circulating through a commercial facility offers several advantages, including the following five benefits:

  1. An odor-free environment improves mood and attitude.
  2. Clean, fresh ventilation creates a pleasant space for customers and helps them relax.
  3. Contaminant-free ventilation reduces workforce illnesses and absenteeism.
  4. Healthy air improves worker productivity.
  5. Fresh, clean air improves the quality of work performed by employees.

In addition to the five benefits listed above, higher levels of fresh air and oxygen improve brain performance. Research conducted at Harvard University identified a connection between better air quality and better decision-making performance.

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals routinely inspect commercial HVAC units and the entire air duct system. Keeping the ventilation system clean can extend the life of the equipment, saving the business money and providing cleaner air to breathe. Trust SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City for commercial air duct cleaning in the Redwood City, Atherton, and Palo Alto areas.

For more information about commercial HVAC cleaning in Redwood City, CA, and the surrounding area, call SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City at (650) 800-3448 or email the company at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

What Are Some Factors That Cause Dishwashers to Leak and Cause Water Damage?

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City explains common reasons why dishwashers leak, causing extensive water damage in the kitchen and adjacent rooms.

Offering continuous coverage twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City is a residential and commercial property damage restoration company serving the Redwood City, Atherton, and Palo Alto areas. Locally owned and operated, SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City is a leader in the restoration industry and is dedicated to serving the community with honesty and professionalism. Customers can trust the IICRC-certified professionals to handle any size or type of property damage disaster, including water damage from a leaking dishwasher.

The Magic of Modern Machinery

Modern technology has simplified life in and around the home in many ways. The kitchen has seen revolutionary advances with the advent of electricity, automation, and digital technology. The space-age technology of the microwave oven made cooking much easier. The refrigerator enabled homemakers to store food for weeks or months on end. The dishwasher removed the headache of washing mountains of pots, pans, and dishes after feeding the family or entertaining a large number of guests.

Why Is the Dishwasher Leaking?

As far as appliances are concerned, dishwashers are very reliable. Advances in dishwashing technology have reduced the amount of water required to wash a load of dishes from as much as 9-14 gallons to as little as 3-5 gallons. Washing that same load by hand would use more than 25 gallons of water. Even though newer dishwashers require less water, the appliance can still cause a major water damage disaster when a leak occurs.

Here are some of the common causes of dishwasher leaks:

  1. The door gasket is deteriorating, so the dishwasher will not seal properly.

At first, leaks around a deteriorating door gasket may be small and may appear to originate from the same location. The best solution is to replace the gasket, and homeowners who are not comfortable making the repair can hire a qualified appliance repair specialist to perform the task.

  1. The door latch is loose or damaged.

This breakdown may result in a large spill. As water leaks out of the dishwasher, sensors that measure the water level will allow more water into the system, so more water will leak onto the floor. The homeowner can replace a dishwasher door latch, but if there is any concern about taking this task on as a DIY project, entrust the repair to a competent appliance repair technician.

  1. The drain hose is loose, cracked, or torn.

Over time, the drain hose will degrade and begin to leak. If the dishwasher is older, preemptively replacing the drain hose can prevent issues before they arise.

  1. The float assembly is malfunctioning.

The float assembly monitors and determines the water level in the appliance. A malfunction in this component can cause the unit to fill with water, resulting in a flooded kitchen.

  1. The homeowner is using a detergent that is not designed for use in a dishwasher.

The guests have gone home. The kitchen is tidy. The dishwasher is full. The exhausted host or hostess inadvertently squirts standard dishwashing liquid into the detergent dispenser of the dishwasher, turns on the unit, and goes to bed. The results are disastrous. While it is nice to wake up to a load of clean dishes the next morning, running the dishwasher at night after everyone has gone to bed is risky.

  1. The dishwashing unit is not level.

If the dishwasher was inappropriately installed and is not level, water can leak out during usage. A small leak can rot out the floor under the unit, compounding the water leakage issue. A simple visual inspection or a level can diagnose this problem.

  1. The spray arm is damaged or unable to move freely.

The dishwasher makes distinct sounds, and the rotation of the spray arm is one of these sounds. The opening and closing of the intake valve is another distinctive sound of the dishwasher. When the spray arm or the water intake valve fails, water will end up on the floor.

  1. The dishwasher tub is worn out.

Over the years, the tub can wear out from exposure to detergents and the high temperature of the water. An occasional visual inspection of the tub can detect any issues.

How to Handle Water Damage Caused by a Leaking Appliance

When a faulty dishwasher causes a water damage disaster in the kitchen on a small scale, wipe up the water as quickly as possible. If the leak is large in scope, bring in professionals to extract the water and dry out the flooring. A water damage disaster in the kitchen can ruin cabinets, baseboards, molding, and expensive flooring. Efforts to clean up a large spill involving soapy water can result in a slip-and-fall injury.

The team of knowledgeable, certified water damage restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City can be on the scene within an hour to inspect the damage and begin the cleanup. SERVPRO works with the insurance company and handles the claims process in order to eliminate the hassle and headache for the homeowner.

For more information about water damage restoration in Atherton, CA, call SERVPRO of Atherton / Redwood City, CA, at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Why Palo Alto Homeowners Should Practice Fireworks Safety on the Fourth of July

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: As the Fourth of July approaches, homeowners should make sure that they know and abide by proper fireworks safety practices, as well as local regulations governing fireworks.

Locally owned and operated, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a damage restoration company known for exceptional customer care. The team of professionals provides reliable cleanup and restoration services for residential and commercial properties that have suffered a water, fire, or smoke damage disaster.

Certain holidays are associated with an elevated risk of a fire damage event. One such holiday is the Fourth of July, a festive and patriotic celebration that often involves elaborate fireworks displays. SERVPRO of Palo Alto wants to help local residents ensure that the Fourth of July is safe and free of fire damage.

Fireworks Are Dangerous

Fireworks are as American as apple pie and have been a part of patriotic celebrations for almost 250 years. Though they are enjoyable and exciting, fireworks are dangerous and are responsible for multiple deaths and thousands of injuries each year.

According to the official website for the city of Menlo Park, which neighbors Palo Alto, “In 2018, five people died and over 9,100 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents. Of these, nearly 50% of the injuries were to children and young adults under age 20. Approximately 5,600 fireworks-related injuries, over 62% of injuries, took place during the one-month period from June 22 to July 22, 2018. An estimated 1,700 injuries were from less powerful devices like small firecrackers and sparklers – 500 of those from sparklers alone!”

Palo Alto Fireworks Safety Tips

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) offers several helpful fireworks safety tips for the residents of Palo Alto and the state of California.

Know the Local Laws Regarding the Purchase, Possession, and Use of Fireworks

Due to the threat of wildfires and the potential for personal injury, fireworks have been banned in certain areas of California. Residents can access local ordinances to learn which fireworks are permissible where they live. Some municipalities allow for the sale and use of “Safe and Sane” fireworks. California strictly enforces the laws surrounding illegal fireworks. According to CAL FIRE, illegal fireworks are defined as “fireworks that explode, go into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner.”

Illegal fireworks include sky rockets, bottle rockets, Roman candles, aerial shells, firecrackers, and as mentioned above, other “fireworks that explode, go into the air, or move on the ground in an uncontrollable manner.”

Selling, transporting, or using fireworks that do not have the “Safe and Sane” seal from CAL FIRE is not permitted. Local municipalities may pass ordinances forbidding the possession or use of all fireworks in that community.

Violators of the law could face fines of up to $50,000 and jail for up to one year. Approximately 300 California communities permit “Safe and Sane” fireworks. All pyrotechnic operators, fireworks manufacturers, importer-exporters, wholesalers, retailers, and public display companies must be licensed by the office of the State Fire Marshal.

Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Know what the local ordinances allow before using fireworks.
  • Use only those fireworks that have been approved by the State Fire Marshal.
  • Always have an adult present when fireworks are in use.
  • Never use fireworks indoors or discharge them in a fireplace or wood stove.
  • Keep fireworks away from dry grass or other flammable materials.
  • Have a bucket of water and a garden hose nearby and ready for immediate use in case a fire erupts.
  • Carefully read, understand, and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time.

People cannot be too cautious when using fireworks, especially when the weather has been dry. Always check to see if any fire advisories are in force, temporarily banning the use of fireworks.

Safety Tips to Prevent Injuries From Fireworks

  • Use extreme caution when lighting fireworks.
  • Efforts to re-ignite or repair a fuse are extremely dangerous and should be avoided.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting or highly flammable clothing while lighting fireworks.
  • Carrying fireworks in the pockets of clothing is a fire and injury hazard.
  • Do not experiment with fireworks.
  • Do not point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Avoid positioning any part of the body over fireworks when lighting the fuse.
  • Immediately back away several feet after lighting fireworks.
  • Fireworks are not toys and should not be handled by small children. Parents can be held financially responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from their children’s use of fireworks.

Follow these injury prevention safety tips while using “Safe and Sane” certified fireworks to promote both a great time and a safe outcome for all parties involved, including the forest.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers these tips to encourage safe celebrations on the Fourth of July! The technicians have the knowledge, experience, equipment, and advanced technology to meet any fire damage restoration challenge. In the event of a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster, trust the SERVPRO professionals to arrive faster to any size disaster. The SERVPRO team is renowned for exceptional customer care from start to finish.

To learn more about fire damage restoration in Palo Alto, CA, and the surrounding area, contact the team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Ten Campfire Safety Tips to Prevent Personal Injury and Fire Damage

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto shares campfire safety tips to help Palo Alto residents enjoy campfires safely.

The highly trained and experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto are prepared to respond to any property damage incident, including fire damage, smoke damage, or water damage disaster caused by Northern California wildfires.

In 2020, there were more than 57,000 wildfires in the US, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. These wildfires consumed more than 10.3 million acres, and ninety percent of the fires were caused by humans. The remaining ten percent were largely from lightning strikes. In California, approximately 10,500 buildings were destroyed by wildfires at a cost of over $12 billion. Preventing wildfires can save lives, homes, and businesses. A good place to start is with campfire safety.

How to Enjoy a Campfire Safely and Avoid Fire Damage

These ten tips can help campers and park visitors enjoy activities around the campfire without putting themselves or the surrounding forest in jeopardy.

  1. Be familiar with and abide by local burning regulations.

According to the National Park Service, each park has its own set of rules customized for the unique aspects of the individual park. In general, the guidelines regulate the location and conditions in which a campfire is permissible. Usually, these regulations are clearly posted in a central location in the park, often at the visitor center. If the information is not publicly posted, then ask a park employee or park ranger where the information is available. If a printed copy is available, keep it on hand at all times when in the park. Campfire regulations most likely can be found on the park website, but reception may not be available throughout the park. The best policy is to download the information before entering the park.

How serious is a campfire code violation? What are the consequences for failing to follow the rules and causing a forest fire? Simple violations may be met with a pleasant and professional reminder from a patient park ranger. However, if the careless camper causes a forest fire by failing to follow the safety guidelines, he or she may have to pay stiff fines, pay damages resulting from the fire, and possibly serve jail time. Property damage and the expense of extinguishing even a small forest fire can be financially devastating.

Knowing and closely abiding by the guidelines for campfire safety will go a long way in preventing needless wildfires that harm the forest, destroy property, and sometimes take the lives of both humans and wildlife.

  1. Make sure the weather is safe to enjoy a campfire.

Anything more than a gentle breeze could pose a potential wildfire threat. If rain has been sparse, a spark or ember from a small campfire could burn down a large forest. Wind and arid conditions might mean special rules or restrictions are in effect. Reach out to park officials to learn if any special restrictions apply during the time the camper plans to visit the park. Whether intentional or unintentional, violation of a burn ban or other weather-related rules is frowned upon by park officials.

  1. Make sure that some form of fire extinguisher, especially water, is readily available in case of an emergency.

Pack extra buckets or a water bladder dedicated to extinguishing the campfire. Haul the water to the campsite before igniting the fire. The water will prove helpful if clothes or gear catch on fire from burning embers or sparks. Play it very safe and pack an approved fire extinguisher that will have no adverse effect on the environment if it is discharged.

  1. Only burn wood.

Avoid using the campfire as a garbage disposal for trash such as plastic bags, plastic water bottles, plastic cups and eating utensils, and paper with printing on it. When burned, these items give off noxious gases that can be harmful to anyone downwind who has to breathe the toxic chemicals in the smoke. Disposable diapers, clothing, broken flip-flops, and shoes should be discarded in the assigned trash bin and should not be burned.

  1. Do not use any fire accelerants other than lighter fluid.

Lighter fluid is designed to start a fire in a controlled and safe manner. Avoid spraying or pouring lighter fluid directly on a flame since the fire could flare-up. Gasoline can cause a flash explosion that ignites the surrounding vegetation, clothing, and camp gear. An unintentional spill of flammable liquids can also pollute nearby streams.

  1. Once the fire is started, always remain at a safe distance from the blaze.

Clothing, especially vinyl jackets, can catch fire very easily. Once these highly flammable items are ignited, the flames spread quickly and can cause great bodily harm. Wear all-natural fiber clothing when around a campfire. Make adjustments to the fire with a long poker. Wear protective leather gloves if necessary.

  1. Keep an eye on children and pets.

Small children can easily stumble and fall into an open flame of a campfire. While roasting marshmallows, children can become overbalanced and tumble into the blaze. Pets can become agitated if they are not accustomed to being around the heat, flames, and smells of fire.

  1. Never leave the fire unattended.

Before going to bed, completely extinguish the flames and spread out the coals. Cover the embers with water and stir until the fire is totally extinguished. If water is not available, use sand or dirt that is free of debris. Remove all combustible material from around the fire pit for added safety.

  1. Call 911 if the fire is not able to be controlled.

If the flames spread beyond the firepit, call 911 immediately. If reception is not available, seek assistance from area campers. In a worst-case scenario, travel to the nearest visitor center or ranger station for assistance.

  1. Pre-qualify a fire damage restoration company to provide services should the campfire cause fire damage.

Homes and businesses located in areas vulnerable to wildfires are advised to pre-qualify a fire damage restoration company should the worst happen. By choosing a fire damage restoration company beforehand, homeowners are making sure that only one call is needed in an emergency, and they are being proactive in protecting their home, securing their belongings, and escaping the flames.

The experienced team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto is ready to serve the needs of homeowners and businesses affected by the Northern California wildfires. SERVPRO of Palo Alto, being locally owned and operated, can respond quickly with immediate action, which can minimize damage and prevent advanced secondary damage. The reduction in restoration costs can be significant. The highly trained crews possess the specialized equipment and resources to handle fire, smoke, and water damage caused by the recent Northern California wildfires. The SERVPRO teams are prepared with strategically positioned equipment when a fire emergency arises in the area, including Menlo Park, Stanford, and Redwood City. A fire damage incident is devastating for a family. The traumatic event is disruptive and stressful. The caring experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto guide their clients through the crisis with the deepest empathy and utmost respect.

For more information about Palo Alto, CA, fire damage restoration, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

How Disaster Response Teams Rise to the Challenges of a Large Loss Incident

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto, a damage restoration company serving Palo Alto, Redwood City, and Atherton, highlights SERVPRO’s Catastrophic Storm Response Teams.

In addition to being the local leader in property damage restoration, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is part of SERVPRO’s professional services network encompassing more than 1,700 individually owned and operated franchises. Founded in 1967, SERVPRO is an industry leader providing water, flood, and fire cleanup and restoration services. SERVPRO’s service network responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss events.

One such large-loss disaster, which led to a massive response from the SERVPRO disaster response teams, was the 2017 California wildfires. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection describes the devastating disaster: “In terms of property damage, 2017 was the most destructive wildfire season on record in California at the time. Throughout 2017, the fires destroyed or damaged more than 10,000 structures in the state (destroyed 9,470, damaged 810), a higher tally than the previous nine years combined. In total 9,133 fires burned 1,248,606 acres. In December 2017, strong Santa Ana winds triggered a new round of wildfires, including the massive Thomas Fire in Ventura County. At the time, the Thomas Fire was California’s largest modern wildfire, which has since been surpassed by the Mendocino Complex’s Ranch Fire in 2018. The December 2017 fires forced over 230,000 people to evacuate. 2017 will be remembered as a year of extremes. It was the third-warmest year on record for the United States, and it was the second-hottest in California...”

SERVPRO’s Catastrophic Storm Response Teams have responded to some of the major disasters of the last two decades. Mobilizations include:

  • 2017 Hurricane Irma
  • 2017 Hurricane Harvey
  • 2016 Hurricane Matthew
  • 2015 Carolina floods
  • 2014 Polar Vortex
  • 2012 Hurricane Sandy
  • 2010 Nashville floods
  • 2008 Hurricane Ike
  • 2007 Chicago floods
  • 2007 Ohio floods
  • 2007 California wildfires
  • 2005 Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and Rita

Supported by a robust network of damage restoration industry professionals, SERVPRO can respond to disasters of all sizes. If a major disaster event or catastrophic storm strikes a community, SERVPRO can call on strategically positioned storm teams that are on standby. When a town or city is devastated by severe weather or a natural disaster, local homeowners and business owners can be confident with SERVPRO’s response.

The SERVPRO model for disaster response offers the following benefits:

  • The team is equipped to deal with a wide range of disasters, from hurricanes and tornadoes to blizzards and wildfires.
  • Local command centers and the resources of over 1,700 franchises across the nation can be mobilized rapidly.
  • SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Teams are available 24/7 year-round.
  • A commercial operations manager supervises large loss jobs in order to ensure a seamless workflow, prompt restoration, and clear communication.

Businesses and commercial facilities can be especially hard hit by a disaster. Thousands of dollars of product and equipment, as well as vital business documentation, can be destroyed in a matter of minutes by a fire, flood, or hurricane. When a business owner loses the product of years of hard work, dedication, and passion, he or she can be devastated financially and emotionally. SERVPRO’s Commercial Large Loss program is critical to help businesses rebuild and recover.

The Commercial Large Loss Division draws on the skills and talent of the best and brightest technicians in the damage restoration industry. SERVPRO prequalifies an elite team of commercial large-loss specialists who are strategically located throughout the country. Through the deliberate and carefully planned placement and oversight of temporary labor, SERVPRO surpasses other damage restoration franchises in its ability to deploy highly-trained professionals and lower costs.

SERVPRO provides commercial large loss services for a broad spectrum of commercial settings, including the property management industry, the hospitality industry, colleges and universities, cities and municipalities, and military office complexes.

The team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto is proud to be a part of an effective, efficient network that serves people and communities in need across the United States. Whether a disaster is localized to a single residence or affects the entire town, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is committed to providing damage restoration services that reduce stress and give hope.

To learn more about the Atherton, CA, damage restoration company, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448. The office can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Six Steps to Help Employees Report a Commercial Mold Infestation in Their Workplace

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers tips for reporting a mold infestation in the workplace.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides commercial damage restoration services to the local business community. The team of restoration experts can scale to meet any size disaster in any facility, whether it is an educational institution, office complex, service center, bank, retail business, hospital, factory, or apartment complex. SERVPRO has the necessary equipment, training, and techniques to get the job done as quickly as possible with minimal disruption. Mold infestation is a common issue in many workplaces. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is sharing tips to effectively guide employees through the process of reporting mold growth in the workplace or other commercial environments.

Mold in the Workplace

Mold is an unwanted guest in any work environment, and neither employers nor employees want mold issues in the workplace. Health effects can result in workers' comp claims or lawsuits, and property damage leads to costly repairs, especially if sensitive equipment or electronics are affected. The mitigation process can also disrupt the flow of products and services to customers. Discovering and resolving a mold infestation in the early stages can preserve workforce health and save time and money for the business owner or employer.

Mold can cause health effects for a business’ employees. In addition, guests, vendors, and contract workers who visit a facility where a mold infestation exists can be impacted by exposure to the mold, especially if the individuals have pre existing health concerns.

Should mold be discovered in the workplace, the tips listed below help employees work through the process of reporting a potentially dangerous mold situation to their employers.

  1. Report the discovery.

Inform a supervisor or manager immediately upon discovering mold in the workplace. Report the mold growth by email, text, or other communication platforms so that a record of action is created.

  1. Include basic information in the report.

Record the time of discovery, the location of the mold outbreak, and the extent of the visible signs of mold. A timestamped incident report helps mitigation experts determine important details about the infestation, such as how long the infestation has been in process, its origin, and the extent of any spread.

  1. Note environmental details.

Thoroughly describe the location, including any visible signs of moisture or water damage such as:

  • heavy condensation on surfaces
  • high humidity levels
  • leaking pipes or unexplained puddled water
  • dark stains
  • structural damage such as warped flooring, bubbling paint or peeling wallpaper
  • musty smells from vents or air conditioners
  1. Remind a supervisor or upper-level management of any recent water intrusion that might have a bearing on the mold infestation.

OSHA recommends that wet materials be thoroughly cleaned and dried within one to two days after a water damage incident in order to prevent mold growth.

  1. Make the report personal.

Speak with responsible parties in person if a timely response to the formal report is not forthcoming. Mold can cause serious health effects that can result in unexpected medical expenses and lost wages for employees.

  1. Follow up through the chain of command until the issue is acknowledged and a mitigation strategy is adopted.

Both fellow employees and the employer will appreciate a proactive approach to preserve the health of the workforce and the smooth delivery of products and services to customers.

Precautions Employees or Staff Should Take When Dealing With Mold

  1. Wear protective gear when exposed to mold infestation in the workplace.

Wear eye protection. Utilize a dust-filtration mask to protect the sinuses, mouth, and lungs. Wear rubber gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and pants, or a full protective suit to prevent skin irritation. Employers are required by law to provide adequate PPE (personal protective equipment) if hazards are present in the workplace.

  1. Avoid transporting the mold to other parts of the facility, other businesses, or the home environment. Remove PPE after exposure to mold. Wash or discard contaminated items. Upon arriving home, remove clothing — including shoes — that may have been exposed to mold. Wash the clothing immediately, if possible. Do not cross-contaminate personal laundry. Be sure to wash work clothes separately from the rest of the laundry.
  2. Clean the work environment regularly and resolve water intrusions immediately to prevent mold growth.
  3. Increase ventilation in affected areas.
  4. Never assume that mold in the workplace is safe.

The Best Remediation Strategy to Resolve a Commercial Mold Infestation

Take the safest and swiftest course of action to resolve mold issues in the workplace. Call in the professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto. A commercial mold infestation can harm employees and disrupt business operations. Mold in the workplace can disrupt production, slow down the provision of services, damage equipment, and the building, and cause health effects in the workforce. SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers commercial mold remediation services designed to resolve the issue as quickly as possible with the least amount of disruption to the business. SERVPRO technicians are certified mold remediation specialists equipped to mitigate any mold issues with the utmost safety.

For more information about Palo Alto, TX, commercial damage restoration, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

What to Do After a Fire and When to Call a Commercial Damage Restoration Company like SERVPRO

4/29/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: A fire is devastating for any business owner, but handling the aftermath requires four important steps toward commercial damage restoration. SERVPRO offers advice on where to start. 



Even a minor fire at a commercial property means a lot of disruptions for the business and its employees. Commercial damage restoration services cannot begin until the chaos dies down, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t proactive steps to take in the meantime. 

The SERVPRO professionals suggest four tips for how to handle commercial damage restoration most effectively after a fire.

What to Do After a Commercial Fire: Filing a Fire Claim To Cover Commercial Damage Restoration

Calling to file an insurance claim might be the first response once the fire department leaves the site, but there are four preceding steps needed to ensure the claims process goes smoothly. 

#1 Is a Claim Necessary?

Evaluate the situation first to see whether a fire damage claim is necessary. Making a call to cover commercial damage restoration ignites an entire paperwork trail after a fire, and the process isn’t over quickly. Consider the extent of the damage as well as the time required for business interruptions—is it worth making the claim official? 

If so, assess the overall damage to the building. If the fire engulfed much of it, an insurance claim is the only route. However, if the fire only affected a small section of the commercial premises, a claim might not be enough of an advantage to mitigate the cost or effort.

It’s worth looking at the insurance policy’s deductible and asking for a repair estimate from a contractor like SERVPRO. If the repair cost is lower than the deductible amount, paying for restoration without filing a claim might be an option. It will also prevent insurance rates from increasing when the policy ticks over.

#2 How Will a Claim Disrupt The Business?

Many insurance policies include coverage for interruption of business, and it might be possible to recoup some lost revenue, depending on the extent of the damage. For example, if the business needs to close for repairs, it loses income daily. It is wise to do the calculations of whether the policy covers the interruption before filing a claim.

#3 What Does The Insurer Advise?

If the policy will cover business interruptions and the scope of the fire damage, call the insurance agency. The business owner or responsible party will need to be clear about the need for interruption of business-coverage, even if it’s in the policy. Providing the adjuster with pictures and videos of the damage also verifies the details.

#4 How Can SERVPRO Help with Fire Restoration?

After a fire, it can be tempting to hire the first available contractor or cleaning service. Before making contact, it’s best to do some research:

  • Check the contractor’s website to verify their credentials and certifications. 
  • Verify the company is in good standing by reading reviews online.
  • Consider the interaction. Is the company as professional and experienced as the team at SERVPRO?


In addition to fire services, SERVPRO of Palo Alto, California, handles water damage, water removal, and water cleanup from flood damage. As a part of the water restoration process, SERVPRO also takes care of mold removal and mold remediation for thorough commercial damage restoration and cleanup service. Contact SERVPRO today at 650-800-3448 or visit them at 2225 E. Bayshore Road, Suite 270, Palo Alto, CA 94303.

The Storm Damage Restoration Experts at SERVPRO Give Suggestions for How to Deal with Flood Aftermath Effectively

4/29/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: The fire and water cleanup professionals at SERVPRO offer five tips to keep in mind during storm damage restoration following a flash flood. 



Homeowners and businesses in Palo Alto are well aware of the importance of proper storm damage restoration. Flash floods in the area carry a lot of uncertainty in their waters, and the inherent danger of rushing torrents is an uncomfortable thought at any time of year. Flooding and water damage aren’t exclusive to the coastline, and the SERVPRO professionals deal with this level of storm damage restoration daily.

Storm Damage Restoration: Five Steps to Take After a Flash Flood Event

Even if a home is away from the water’s edge, flash flooding still occurs near damaged dams or heavy rainfall areas. If there is overflow after heavy thunderstorms, there’s a risk of excess water. Here are five steps to protect a flooded home or business from further damages:

#1 Safety First

Step One after a flash flood is to verify the safety of all residents or employees before storm damage restoration begins in earnest. If anyone sustains physical injuries from the flood, the responsible person will need to call emergency services. They should also keep children, pets, and frail adults well away from the water, particularly if there is a strong current.

#2 Don’t Drink The Water

Flood water is not potable. It may contain sewage and bacteria, which means that the storm damage restoration team must discard any consumable items in contact with floodwater. If not, accidental ingestion could have dire consequences, even months later. 

If other drinking water is not readily available at the site, or floodwater is the only option, boiling can decrease the concentration of harmful bacteria. However, it is best to contact a medical team immediately in the event of accidental flood water consumption.

#3 Document The Damage

Standard insurance policies typically do not include flash flood protection. However, homeowners with flood coverage should carefully document all flood damage before hiring a water removal company or cleaning service. A thorough approach is always helpful when trying to put together a claim in the months that follow the storm damage restoration.

Proper documentation helps insurance adjusters make a fair settlement that covers all water damage. Professional services like SERVPRO advise capturing as many pictures and videos as possible before water restoration services take over the cleanup.

#4 Beware of Flooded Basements

Floodwater in a basement causes a variety of problems. Connections for the home’s main electricity are typically in the basement, and water contact leads to power outages in the home and potential electric shock risks. If the water reaches the wrong electrical component, fire damage is a real possibility.

A flooded basement also causes significant structural damage long-term. If professional help is unavailable, it is important to be cautious. Do not empty more than a third of the water volume per day—pressure changes of that magnitude may cause collapse. Rather, safeguard the property and leave water cleanup and restoration services to the SERVPRO team.

#5 Hire Professional Help like SERVPRO

A verified company like SERVPRO is the only alternative for fast and safe water and mold removal services.

  • Check the online storm damage restoration reviews to see what the community thinks of their services.
  • Visit their website to verify certifications and licenses, which are particularly important for reliable mold remediation.


SERVPRO in Redwood City, California, handles many types of cleaning and storm damage restoration services, including water and fire restoration, mold remediation, and residential and commercial property cleanups. For more information, contact SERVPRO today at (650) 800-3448 or visit them at 2225 E. Bayshore Road, Suite 270, Palo Alto, CA 94303.

Three Statistics That Demonstrate How Malfunctioning Household Appliances Can Lead to Water Damage

4/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains the importance of regularly inspecting household appliances that use water in order to prevent an unexpected water damage disaster.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto understands the inconvenient disruptions, stressful environment, and unexpected expenses resulting from water damage in Palo Alto, CA. The team of professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers a positive attitude, a high level of skill, and a level of customer service that set the bar high in the damage restoration industry. To ensure customers receive the best the industry has to offer, SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides up-to-date training, advanced technology, and innovative techniques to its staff in order to tailor services to the client’s needs, including water damage restoration.

Three Important Statistics About Water Damage From Household Appliances

The statistics listed below highlight the importance of being proactive when a water leak is suspected or detected.

Statistic #1: Washing machine supply lines will fail, on average, after 8.7 years.

Because washer supply lines are out of sight, homeowners often forget to replace them. Over time, the lines wear out and develop cracks, which may lead to large-scale ruptures.

Statistic #2: 75% of water heaters fail before 12 years of service.

Water heaters are not normally visible and are usually tucked away from the main living spaces in the home. Out of sight means out of mind for repairs and routine maintenance. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety rates water heater failure as one of the top causes of water damage. Water tank corrosion can lead to a slow leak or burst. Nearly 70% of water heater failures result from corrosion and lack of maintenance.

Statistic #3: On average, washing machine failures cost around $5,308 per incident after the insurance deductible.

A resulting mold infestation could add the expense of mold removal and mitigation.

Proactive Water Damage Prevention Solutions

Many water damage disasters can be avoided with a practical and proactive approach to appliance maintenance. First, when a leak is detected, it should receive immediate attention from the homeowner or property manager. If left unresolved, a small leak can cause thousands of dollars in damage to flooring, drywall, ceilings, baseboards, and support beams. Tiny leaks can cause big mold problems. Taking care of the mold issues may be more expensive than the actual physical damage to the home or business.

Second, if a leak is suspected, take immediate action to determine if the suspicion is accurate.

  • Is the water bill higher than normal?
  • Look for visible signs of a leak such as puddles of water, stains under cabinets, bubbling paint, and discolorations on walls or ceilings.
  • Listen for dripping, whining, or creaking that might indicate a water leak.
  • Feel for soft spots in the floor, warping in sheetrock, or moisture around faucets and supply line connections.

Third, anticipate inevitable leaks from appliance failures and malfunctions. Being proactive means taking time to regularly check the condition of aging appliances. This task may take only a few seconds, or it may require a few extra steps, such as removing a panel or inspecting the supply line connections of a washing machine.

If the water heater is in a closet, in the attic, or hidden in a special compartment or alcove, the homeowner may want to create a hinged door for easy access. Simply making the removal of the panel or sheetrock easier may be adequate. If the water heater is not in a pan with a discharge or overflow drain, call in a plumber to make the improvement. A leaking hot water heater can cause untold thousands of dollars in damage by the time it is discovered. If the water heater was knowingly installed outside of code requirements, there could be issues when filing an insurance claim if a leak occurs and causes coverable damage.

Being proactive also means spending money to replace appliance supply lines or other vital parts before they rupture or become defective. As the statistics demonstrate, a washing machine is a prime example of how waiting until there is a problem can result in a much bigger problem. A ruptured supply line can spew as many as seven to nine gallons of water per minute or 450 gallons of water per hour into a home. A trip to the hardware store and a few dollars for reinforced heavy-duty supply lines can avoid a water damage nightmare. Replacing the supply lines every five to seven years might seem excessive for the homeowner who has never experienced a serious water damage disaster. However, once a water damage disaster strikes, homeowners will wish that they had.

The experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto are committed to customer service. The water damage restoration company in Palo Alto, CA, can take on the entire project, bring it to completion, and provide the necessary documentation that work has been completed. SERVPRO of Palo Alto also offers consultation and rental options for DIY restoration projects. Whatever solution the homeowner chooses, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is ready to guide the homeowner through the process.

To learn more about water damage restoration in Atherton, CA, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

What Not to Do Before Your Fire Damage Restoration Contractor Arrives

3/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO offers residents of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and Stanford advice on what to avoid while waiting for their fire damage restoration team to arrive.

After a fire, it is understandable to want to pick up the pieces and move on as quickly as possible. Having a dependable and reputable fire damage restoration professional inspect and repair the damage as soon as possible is instrumental in that process. 

The fire damage restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Palo Alto advise home and business owners not to do anything that may put anyone in danger or cause further damage in the aftermath of the fire. Here is what not to do while waiting for a fire damage restoration company. 

What Not to Do Before Your Fire Damage Restoration Contractor Arrives

Do Not Eat Any Food From the Damaged Property

No matter how well stored, it is imperative not to consume any food from the fire-damaged property. It is easy for smoke, soot, and other airborne contaminants from a fire to get into food. It is best to throw it all away.

Do Not Use Any Electrical Appliances From the Damaged Property

Avoid using electrical appliances such as computers, televisions, stereos, or electronic devices until they have been professionally inspected and cleaned. Large appliances such as refrigerators and ovens should be unplugged. Fires can easily damage electrical components, making them unsafe to use. 

Do Not Walk on Carpeting or Use Furniture From the Damaged Property

Avoid using any soft surface such as carpeting, upholstered furniture, bedding, curtains, and other fabrics until professionally cleaned. Heavy smoke residue and other debris easily seep into these, making them unsafe. SERVPRO of Palo Alto employs upholstery and fabric cleaning technicians to handle these issues specifically.

Do Not Attempt To Clean

It is essential to leave any damage just the way it is until everything is documented for insurance purposes. A professional fire damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto, can handle that process and ensure that all insurance requirements are met while they clean and repair the structure. This service includes cleaning up harmful chemicals that firefighters use to put out fires and water damage caused by fire hoses or burst pipes.

Fire Damage Repair and Restoration

Californians know how devastating fire damage can be to homes and other property. SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers 24-hour emergency service with specialized fire repair and restoration equipment to handle the damage no matter how severe. They can handle any fire emergency in and around Palo Alto, Atherton, and surrounding areas.

SERVPRO's professionals treat their customers with empathy and respect, making sure to restore their homes with the utmost care. Their fire damage restoration services include soot and smoke removal, water removal, upholstery and fabric cleaning, odor control, and more. 

About SERVPRO

In the aftermath of a structure fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help restore the building using state-of-the-art fire damage restoration equipment. Their experienced technicians have the know-how to resolve smoke, soot, and water damage from suppression efforts fast. 

Give SERVPRO a call, day or night, at (650) 800-3448, or request help online to learn more about the fire damage restoration process.

Contact Information:

SERVPRO of Palo Alto 

2225 E. Bayshore Road
Suite 270
Palo Alto, CA 94303

www.SERVPROpaloalto.com/

Why SERVPRO? A Wide Range of Residential and Commercial Cleaning Services

3/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO offers residents of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and Stanford professional cleaning services for both the home and office.

There are dozens of professional cleaning services to choose from in Redwood City, CA, making picking one a difficult decision. Whether residential or commercial cleaning services are needed, there are several things to consider before selecting a cleaning company. 

The experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto explain what to look out for as well as how they've built a reputation for providing the highest quality cleaning services in Northern California since 1967.

Why SERVPRO? Wide Range of Residential and Commercial Cleaning Services

More than 10 million bacteria live on the average office desk. Keyboards of home computers have over 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. No matter how hard people try to keep their spaces clean, nothing compares to professional deep cleaning. Here are a few things to look for when comparing residential and commercial cleaning services:

Equipment and Technology

Make sure the cleaning service uses the latest in cleaning equipment and technology. A well-equipped cleaning team has the means to do more than a wipe down on surfaces. They should be able to clean worn-in grime, stains, odors, moisture and thoroughly sanitize a room. Companies such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto also offer sewage and biohazard clean-up.

Quality of Character

A cleaning service's employees should be professional, polite, and keep a neat and tidy appearance. Any employee who enters a home or office should carry identification and answer any questions about the tasks they are performing in a way that is easy to understand. 

SERVPRO of Palo Alto only employs highly-trained technicians who take the utmost care when cleaning to maintain residential and commercial properties' integrity.

Experience

A company's reputation and experience are essential when choosing residential and commercial cleaning services. Always check how long the company has been in business and what types of services they offer. 

Likewise, make sure they have experience relevant to your current service needs. SERVPRO of Palo Alto has over 50 years of experience handling cleaning jobs from the mundane up to proactive viral pathogen cleaning and biochemical spill remediation and decontamination.

Attention to Detail

A cleaning service is only as good as their attention to all the details of a project. SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program that follows the 3 C's:

  • Consult: Taking the time to talk with residential homeowners and businesses to tailor a custom cleaning program based on their needs.
  • Clean: Deep cleaning using propriety EPA-Approved Hospital-Grade solutions, following decontamination standards set by the CDC.
  • Certify: Provide clients with a shield for their window, as well as other documentation, to represent the location's dedication to the safety of their guests, employees, and community.

Be sure to ask cleaning companies about their process, what to expect, and how long their services take. Professionals should answer these questions without hesitation and with confidence, which is hard to fake.

About SERVPRO 

SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers a comprehensive range of services from carpet and upholstery cleaning to cleaning restaurant hoods and removing biohazard contaminants. They have over five decades of experience cleaning homes, office buildings, and other commercial properties in Palo Alto, Redwood city and surrounding areas.

To learn more about their residential and commercial cleaning services, call (650) 800-3448 or request help online.

Contact Information:

SERVPRO of Palo Alto

2225 E. Bayshore Road
Suite 270
Palo Alto, CA 94303

www.SERVPROpaloalto.com/

What Are the Flood Risks in California, and How Can Homeowners Prepare for Flood Damage?

3/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains the many flood risks in California and the importance of identifying a reliable storm and flood damage restoration company to rapidly provide services should flooding occur.

The storm damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto live in the community. They know the people, the community, and the climate. Palo Alto is no stranger to natural disturbances. In 2020, due to its proximity to the San Andreas Fault, the town registered approximately four hundred earthquakes of varying magnitudes. The area also sees its share of local flooding events from heavy rains, stormwater runoff, and rising tides.

To cope with flooding issues, the city is moving ahead with flood mitigation strategies and a new sea-level adaptation plan. Homeowners and businesses can take a page from the community’s flood mitigation playbook and prepare for the future by getting to know the property damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto today before disaster strikes tomorrow or in the future.

California is a magnet for growth. Job opportunities are available across many sectors. The climate is comfortable all year round, and the state features many hiking, biking, camping, canoeing, and kayaking opportunities. Metro green spaces dot the cities. The Palo Alto area features restaurants and entertainment that are second to none. The multi-ethnic population offers an exciting array of cultural experiences and cuisine.

However, in spite of the many amenities, including the temperate climate, abundant sunshine, magnificent beaches, and beautiful mountains and valleys, California is prone to severe flooding. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, “Most of California is vulnerable to floods. Every county has been declared a flood disaster area multiple times. One in five Californians and more than $580 billion worth of structures (including contents) are vulnerable. Transportation, energy, water supply, and sewer networks are also at risk of disruption. The state’s many valleys—particularly the Central Valley—are susceptible to rivers overflowing. Lowland coastal flooding is common when high tides coincide with large, storm-driven waves; tsunamis also strike occasionally. Southern California, the deserts, and areas recently burned by wildfires are susceptible to flash floods. Storms commonly cause local urban flooding because inadequate drainage systems and impermeable surfaces—such as streets and parking lots—allow stormwater to pond quickly and deeply.”

Even though flood risks are increasing in California, funding for flood management and mitigation is not keeping pace with the elevated risk. People and property values in California’s flood-prone areas are growing. This tandem growth heightens the economic vulnerability and threatens public safety.

Needed upgrades to flood management infrastructures — such as dams and levees — approach $34 billion. Accomplishing these upgrades within twenty-five years would mean spending $1.4 billion per year, which is nearly twice the current level of expenditures. Other novel options still fall short of the needed infrastructure expenses.

On another front, climate change calls for innovative approaches to address future challenges arising from the accelerated impact of changing weather patterns. Experts from the Public Policy Institute of California explain the challenges facing Californians, writing, “Many of California’s flood management systems were designed for the hydrological conditions of the previous century. California’s climate is changing with larger winter storms, more precipitation falling as rain rather than snow, and more extreme high tides. These changes, along with rising sea level, will make many current flood management systems obsolete within decades, requiring major investments in new infrastructure and new approaches to reducing flood risk.”

Helping those hurt by flooding

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers federal flood insurance to homes and businesses in flood-prone areas. However, the program is deep in debt, and its future is tenuous. California must proactively develop new strategies regarding the development of floodplains and create a state-run flood insurance program in order to lower economic risk to residents and businesses.

The multiple benefits of modern flood management

Past strategies routed floodwaters to the sea through thousands of miles of man-made river channels. These efforts separate communities from their rivers, adversely impact the environment, and may even increase the risk of flooding.

Contemporary approaches integrate floodwaters into the overall water management system. These strategies involve taking advantage of floodwaters to:

  • restore wetlands and river corridors
  • replenish aquifers
  • improve the quality of surface water supplies

In the meantime, flooding is a problem for many California residents, including those in Redwood City and the surrounding area. Until infrastructure programs are implemented to decrease the intensity of flooding and redirect the water from urban centers and flood plains, homeowners and businesses will need to take precautions, obtain flood insurance, and have readiness plans in place to deal with storm and flood damage disasters.

In case of a property damage disaster such as storm damage or a flood in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the restoration process. Quick response and rapid remediation return life and storm or flood-damaged areas back to their pre-disaster condition. A rapid response not only means less disruption, but it also lowers the potential for advanced secondary water damage and the likelihood of mold infestation. SERVPRO offers emergency tarping, security fencing, and board-ups. When damage is severe, the team of professionals can also do pack-ups and provide storage until the site is ready to receive the items.

Sometimes only a few minutes separate calm from chaos in a property damage disaster. The time to prepare is well in advance of severe weather, flooding, earthquakes, or wildfires. Contact the SERVPRO professionals today and begin a relationship that will last long into the future. For more information about flood damage restoration in Redwood City, CA, and the surrounding area, contact the SERVPRO of Palo Alto office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Fire Damage Prevention Tips and SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Profile

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

Protecting your residence or business in the event of a fire is of the utmost importance. Having an emergency plan in place is critical to responding during and after the event. The first 48 hours after a fire can make a difference in determining whether to restore, or replace your property and personal processions. SERVPRO of Palo Alto believes in informing our customers the importance of fire prevention with some tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Never leave your cooking unattended especially when frying, grilling or broiling food.
  • Turn off the stove if you must leave, even for a short period of time.
  • Keep portable heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Inspect electrical cords and replace any that are cracked, damaged or broken.
  • Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn.
  • Have an escape plan.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto recognizes the importance of being prepared, which is why we provide our customers with an Emergency Ready Profile. Our SERVPRO professionals can assist you in developing an ERP plan which contains crucial information needed in the event of an emergency occurring.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for more information on fire prevention and restoration at 650-800-3448

How to Deal With Mold Growth in Commercial Buildings

2/11/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto explains how mold infestation in commercial buildings creates a hazardous health environment that can lead to serious legal liability.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto, a locally owned and operated company providing property damage restoration and mold remediation in Palo Alto, is known for putting customers first. The team specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential properties after a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster. No job is too big or too small for SERVPRO of Palo Alto to handle, including commercial mold remediation and damage repair.

The highly trained staff is equipped with the knowledge, equipment, and technology to rapidly restore any commercial property that has a mold infestation. The goal is to minimize the disruption to business operations while restoring the property to its pre-damage condition.

Health Risks in a Commercial Environment

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Mold can cause many health effects.”

Commercial sites such as a retail store, apartment complex, daycare, nursing home, call center, or manufacturing facility where employees and some clients are subjected to lengthy exposure to mold can trigger health effects.

Legal Liability Resulting From a Mold Infestation

The symptoms employees, customers, and other building occupants experience are real and can cause health effects that may result in litigation that can be catastrophic for the offending parties.

Here are some tips for commercial site owners as well as prospective buyers and tenants with regard to mold issues that may arise in a commercial facility.

  1. Assess air quality and possible mold issues before signing a lease or closing on a property.
  2. Learn the financial responsibilities and property management obligations concerning mold issues prior to signing a lease or closing on a property purchase.

Ask such questions such as:

  • Who will pay for the initial inspection before lease signing or closing?
  • Who will be responsible for any existing mitigation and damage repairs?
  • Which party is responsible for monitoring the site for future infestations?
  • Should another mold outbreak occur, will the tenant be responsible for the property damage restoration?
  • If the site owner is responsible for monitoring, what are the terms of access to the facility?
  • If the tenant fails to report evidence of a mold infestation or a water damage incident such as a roof leak, water line leak, or other continuing moisture issue, does liability shift from the owner to the tenant due to the neglect to report the problem?
  • If other building tenants suffer mold infestations traceable to a source not within their location, who assumes the responsibility for the assessment, treatment, and damage restoration?
  • If a customer, employee, or other building occupant suffers personal injury, who will make compensation?
  1. Include mold issues when seeking legal review and advice before finalizing the lease agreement or closing on the purchase of the property. This investment could prove to be very valuable in the future.

Solution: Focus on Prevention and Quick Mitigation

When all issues are resolved and the facility is leased or purchased, focus on prevention. Stay familiar with tenant expectations assigned in the lease agreement. Address leaks, water damage, or signs of mold the moment they are noticed. Document everything. Remember that personal injury, pain and suffering, and medical expenses experienced by customers, employees, or other occupants in the building could result in litigation.

In case of a commercial mold infestation in a setting such as a retail outlet, office building, apartment complex, or manufacturing unit, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the restoration process. Quick response, rapid remediation, and minimal or no disruptions enable the business to continue to meet the needs of customers or tenants in a safe environment.

For more information about commercial mold remediation in Palo Alto, CA, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Water Damage Restoration for Belongings

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

We often think about our home as the walls, floors, ceilings, and how those can be affected and damaged by water. The home is  more than walls, floors and ceilings and water damage doesn’t confine itself to those areas. Often, sentimental treasures, family heirlooms, or that special piece of autographed sports memorabilia you waited in line for hours to get signed are affected as well. So when water pours through your ceiling, soaking your favorite chair, it can be really upsetting. 

When your Palo Alto, Redwood City or Atherton home experiences a water damage event you need a water damage restoration company such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto to mitigate and restore your home. One area that is easy to overlook is content restoration. SERVPRO® of Palo Alto's team of trained professionals is able to clean and restore your salvageable contents to preloss condition.

Whether your water damage event is due to: a roof leak, pipe break, dishwasher overflow, sewage backup, severe weather or any other reason, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will be there helping to make it “Like it never even happened.”

We are ready 24/7, 365, so call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at 650-800-3448 today!

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto for Storm Damage Restoration

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

Though storms are a normal occurrence, they can also be extremely destructive. Storm damage is one of the top reasons that homeowners must file insurance claims. According to the NCDC, (National Climatic Data Center) in 2020, there were 22 weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each to affect the United States. Because any storm has the potential to cause your home to sustain damage, it is important to know exactly what to do if the event were to occur. The good news is that when you need storm damage restoration, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is here 24/7 to help you recover.

What You Receive When You Call Us for Household Storm Damage Restoration

Comprehensive Storm Damage Restoration

Storm damage is never a black and white issue. Storm damage often includes problems with structural elements, water damage and even mold. Because SERVPRO of Palo Alto is fully certified in all these issues, we are able to examine the damage with a comprehensive approach and can make sure your restoration is done completely and with efficiency.

Technicians With Experience

Our technicians are something we invest heavily in because we value their contributions tremendously. We train our entire workforce from day one to the standards set forth by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, which sets the industry benchmarks for restoration. We also offer seminars and online courses for our technicians, so they can always continue to learn and hone their skills.

Enough Resources for Restoration

We love being a member of the Palo Alto community and all the wonderful things that come with being a locally owned business—and with our backing from the national SERVPRO® brand, we also get to offer our customers national resources in the event of major disasters. Other locations can band together to offer equipment and additional resources, so everyone in the community can receive restoration in a timely manner.

Service From a Reputable Company

With all of our years of experience, we have unfortunately seen many customers get taken advantage of by post-storm scams by unscrupulous “restoration professionals.” Because we have a long-standing reputation as leaders in the restoration industry, you can trust that with us, you will receive quality work and will not fall victim to one of these scams.

If you have experienced storm damage or want to learn more, you can call SERVPRO of Palo Alto 24/7 365 for more details.

Six Common Causes of Water Damage

1/25/2021 (Permalink)

Water damage occurs when excess water begins to pool in areas it shouldn’t. There are many different factors that contribute to excess water that cause water damage. When you are aware of what may cause water damage, you can take preventative measures to help ensure you take the proper precautions against leaks or flooding. Additionally, you'll be able to spot a problem as soon as it becomes apparent and minimize chances of additional damage. The more quickly you notice the problem, the less work a water damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto will have to do to restore your home or business.

Causes of water damage include:

  • Bursting or leaking pipes
  • Issues with the plumbing system
  • Buildup in areas prone to collecting water, such as crawl spaces, attics and basements
  • Faulty or malfunctioning household appliances
  • HVACs (Heating, ventilating and air conditioning units) issues
  • Natural disasters and other weather-related water problems

If you have a water damage event at your home or business, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 today!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

1/24/2021 (Permalink)

The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean. Expectations of visitors, patrons, and employees have evolved. Providing an environment to keep customers and employees safe and well is a top priority for many businesses. To assist with this, SERVPRO has developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean expectations.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program offered to businesses and commercial locations to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program vastly surpasses normal janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned you let your employees, customers, and your community know they can rest assured you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

SERVPRO is the #1* choice in cleanup and restoration. We stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we ensure your business is set up to inspire consumer anand employee confidence.

The 3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different,  so we assign a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for the cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto today at  650-800-3448 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation. We are here to help 24 hrs a day 7 days a week, holidays included.

Certified SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the job according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry standards (CDC, RIA, IICRC) with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience and result. Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.

* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019

Commercial HVAC Cleaning with SERVPRO

1/24/2021 (Permalink)

Business owners wear many different hats and perform a multitude of tasks on a daily basis. This makes it easy to forget maintenance items that don’t require constant attention such as the HVAC system. However, when these heating and cooling systems are not properly maintained, they can accumulate dust, pollen, and other debris, causing expensive problems down the line.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines HVAC or duct cleaning as, “The cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.” It’s very important to maintain clean ducts in order to maintain a healthy environment for your business.

When these ducts fail to receive proper maintenance, the HVAC system may begin to fail and waste energy adding unnecessary cost to your business. Keeping your air ducts clean can save you and your business money. HVAC systems may leak and cause water damage and mold damage that can weaken the structure of your property. These damages can produce odors throughout your business and can be unpleasant for the employees and guests.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the experience, expertise, and the advanced training enabling us to get your business or commercial property restored quickly and thoroughly. We can help you maintain your HVAC system, which can extend the life of your equipment.

Call our SERVPRO of Palo Alto experts on commercial air ducts and HVAC cleaning at (650) 800-3448 today!

SERVPRO of Palo Alto: A Highly Rated Damage Restoration Company

1/23/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a highly rated damage restoration company in the Bay Area. SERVPRO of Palo Alto’s dedication to customer satisfaction and employee morale has allowed it to cultivate the reputation of being one of the top fire and water restoration companies around.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in water damage restoration resulting from floods, rainstorms, sewage backups, as well from human error and accidents. You can’t predict when pipes will burst or a toddler will leave the bathtub faucet on, flooding the bathroom or kitchen, but it happens more often than you would think.

We are also experts in fire damage restoration and smoke and soot restoration. After a fire, the last thing you need is to worry about how you will take care of restoring your home. Fire damage causes smoke and soot damage. With our advanced proprietary equipment and expertly certified and trained technicians, the fire damage to your home or commercial property will be taken care of "Like it never even happened."

If you have a fire damage event or water damage event, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 today!

Commercial Water Damage Restoration

1/23/2021 (Permalink)

Complexity of Commercial Water Damage Restoration

Flooding and water damage events at commercial properties are complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response from a reliable water restoration company. Due to their complexity, you need experts trained in commercial water loss to quickly and effectively deal with the damage.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto works quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area.  We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility. 

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after water damage, fire damage, smoke & soot damage,  and biohazard contamination. 

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge and advanced equipment to restore your property. SERVPRO of Palo Alto serves the following Bay Area locations: Palo Alto, Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and Stanford.

If you have a water damage event on your commercial property, call us now at 650-800-3448!

How SERVPRO Helps You Recover After Fire Damage

1/20/2021 (Permalink)

After experiencing a fire damage event, many homeowners don't know what to do, where to begin, how to rebuild, or recuperate from such a loss. A family may be displaced for months while their homes are being completely rebuilt, or be facing partial reconstruction and major cleanup.

For homeowners in  Palo Alto, Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and North Fair Oaks, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you throughout the entire process.

The first thing you should do after such a loss is speak with your insurance company. Clarify your policy, and hopefully your loss will be covered. Something to think about while writing up a policy (and prior to a natural disaster) is documenting your contents before such a loss can ravage your home. Taking pictures of your furniture, electronics, major belongings and creating lists of your valuables can literally save you when you are trying to recoup your losses and make an insurance claim of what has been damaged or burnt.

If you are one of the lucky ones where the fire didn't completely consume your home, your insurance company will suggest calling a professional fire cleanup and water restoration company.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto will work closely with you and your insurance claims representatives to clean up your home and contents, salvage what is able to be saved, and inventory what is determined to be a total loss. We will remove the heavy smoke odor from your property and belongings and coordinate dry cleaners and other relevant contractors who can help repair your home. We will treat you and your property with great care and respect throughout the process.

Our fire damage restoration services include:

  • Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
  • Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)
  • Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
  • Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
  • Cleaning and Repair
  • Fire Restoration

Every smoke and fire damage situation is a little different,  and each requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your home damaged by fire, water, or mold. At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we treat our customers with empathy and respect. Call us at 650-800-3448 today!

SERVPRO Helps After Tragedy

1/20/2021 (Permalink)

Experiencing the loss of a loved one can be emotionally devastating. A few of the most traumatic situations may be a suicide, death, or crime scene requiring biohazard cleanup

SERVPRO of Palo Alto understands the challenges that occur during these difficult times. When these incidents happen, a human body begins to decompose almost immediately, causing an overwhelming situation that may become a health hazard.

SERVPRO has professionals trained in biohazard cleanup to address and effectively clean biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA and state and local health regulations. Not doing so, may result in an uninhabitable home with the effects of airborne bacteria, odor, and biohazard material.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is there for you to help make the process as easy as possible, considering the difficulty of such situations. We provide cleanup services to individual families, property managers, and other commercial accounts. Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto to get expert help in biohazard cleanup 24/7 at 650-800-3448.

Rodent Dropping Cleanup for Businesses

1/20/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto frequently gets calls to clean up droppings after rodents have been exterminated in a commercial property. The rodents might be gone, but the bacteria, diseases and hazards from their droppings still pose health issues if not properly cleaned up. Offices, restaurant kitchens, HVAC systems, storage closets, warehouse shelving, are all possible areas rodents may have contaminated with droppings. Customers, employees and visitors can develop serious health concerns if exposed to biological and chemical contaminants.

Failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products to treat these unhealthy environments. Our specialists are trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.

Proper cleaning and sanitation for businesses is necessary in this situation. SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help you clean this up. We provide cleanup and recovery services for any biohazard situation. Call us directly at 650-800-3448 to help you rid your business of rodent droppings.

Help Prevent Water Damage with Four Weatherproofing Tips

1/20/2021 (Permalink)

There are many things that can impact how well a home can resist severe weather and water intrusion, such as the age of the house, overall exposure and the integrity of the construction. It is smart to consider where your home stands with this and what improvements you may need to make it more resilient—especially considering that 50% of all homeowners’ insurance claims are due to weather.

The good news is that increasing a house’s resilience to weather  and water is inexpensive and not overly time-consuming. In most cases it is better to be safe than sorry, so here are some of our top weatherproofing tips so you can rest easy the next time heavy rains head your way.

Maintain the Roof with Regular Inspections

A leaking roof is typically thought of as a problem for older homes, but even newer homes can develop leaks for an assortment of reasons. By regularly inspecting your roof and monitoring the appearance of your shingles, you can easily determine  if roof repairs need to be scheduled.

Weatherstripping

Most people know watherstripping provides extra insulation helping to save you tremendously on your electric bills. Weatherstripping helps to seal cracks or gaps around doors and windows, which helps prevent water intrusion. Weatherstripping is easy to install and cost effective, so the benefits are well worth the time and effort.

Clean out Gutters

Cleaning out gutters helps prevent the build-up of leaves and debris and should be done at least twice a year. Regular inspections should also be performed in the interim. A few things to look for are odd drainage patterns, standing water or visible cracks the next time it rains so you can determine if repairs should be made to your system in the near future.

Pick the Right Paint

Paint has turned into more than just a color decision because of all the options for finishes and technology that are on the market. Investing in exterior paint with waterproofing and UV-resistant technology can help your home age gracefully and be less affected when stormy weather is heading your way.

If you have issues with water damage to your home, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is always here to help. Contact us 24 hours a day for a rapid response.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto: Training Certifications

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

People often ask why they should hire SERVPRO of Palo Alto, in the event water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, mold removal, or mold remediation services are needed in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, or Stanford, California. There are several reasons. One the top is, SERVPRO of Palo Alto restoration technicians have expert training and certification necessary to treat water damage, fire damage, smoke and soot damage, and mold damage quickly and effectively.

The following is an overview of the certifications held by the damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto. These certifications assure you that retaining SERVPRO of Palo Alto to serve your water damage, fire damage, mold remediation, and smoke and soot damage needs in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Stanford is the right decision for you, your family, or your business.

ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician - This certification teaches restoration technicians the effective, efficient and timely drying of water-damaged structures and contents. Intensive hands-on training is done in order to facilitate appropriate decision making within actual home structures in order to learn how to correctly dry them down.

ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program -  This SERVPRO certification involves crew training course covers topics including roles and responsibilities, job-site processes, core products and SERVPRO equipment knowledge. Additionally, technicians are trained in water training, which covers topics ranging from basic water damage procedures, to an introduction to more advanced topics such as psychrometry and microbiology.

FSRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician - This certification concentrates on the technical procedures for successfully completing the restoration of a fire and smoke damaged environment. Technicians with this certification know how to combine technical procedures with a practical approach to managing the job site.

IICRC Certified Firm - SERVPRO of Palo Alto is an IICRC Certified Firm, which means several things. IICRC certified technicians set themselves apart through training, experience, and comprehensive examination.  An IICRC Certified Firm must first employ one or more IICRC certified technicians, and apply with the IICRC to become a Certified Firm. Certified Firms are the only cleaning, restoration and inspection companies listed in the IICRC locator. They also promise to adhere to the IICRC Code of Ethics, be current in their business insurance and licensee requirements, and can proudly display the IICRC logo on their company website and vehicles.

OCT - Odor Control Technician - Technicians with this certification are knowledgeable about olfaction and odor, odor sources, detection process, theory of odor control, equipment, chemical options and applications. They also know how to address odors caused from biological sources such as decomposition, urine contamination, and mold, combustion sources such as fire and smoke damage, and chemical sources such as fuel oil spills or volatile organic chemicals.

RRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation - The EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) means that SERVPRO of Palo Alto is certified by the EPA (or an EPA authorized state), and that we use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices.

WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician -  This certification shows that restoration technicians have education in the science and practice of water damage restoration. This includes extraction, basic containment and basic mold procedures. It also means that residential and commercial maintenance personnel have the background to understand the procedures necessary to deal with water losses, sewer backflows, and contamination such as mold.

The professional technicians at SERVPRO of Palo Alto pride themselves on their education and certifications. Their education allows them to take care of your property as if it were their own.

Experiencing water loss, fire loss, mold damage, or smoke and soot? Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto today at (650) 800-3448 24 hours a day!

What Customers Say about SERVPRO of Palo Alto

1/15/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto  proudly serves the Bay Area, including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Atherton, Redwood City, and Portola Valley. We have gained the trust of hundreds of residential and business customers who have faced damage restoration needs due to water damage, fire damage, smoke and soot damage, mold growth, and biohazard cleanup. 

Our customers love us! Our multiple five-star reviews across various sites like Facebook, Yelp, and Google show how seriously SERVPRO of Palo Alto is dedicated to making it "Like it never even happened."

Here are a couple of those reviews:

Marc S. left a 5 star review on yelp.com

“SERVPRO ROCKED!  We had water damage.  Wasn't sure who to call.  Called SERVPRO one evening and they were here the next day.  Knew everything, took care of everything. provided guidance on how to work with insurance, kept my family save.

My advice:  1) Don't consider anyone else; 2) ask to work with Erik T; and 3) use all of SERVPRO's services to minimize vendors and minimize hassle with insurance.”

“SERVPRO was a true pleasure to work with. We had an emergency late in the afternoon/early evening and they came out immediately to help with the problem. They were very professional, they did an excellent job and I would recommend them to anyone. We hope not to have an emergency like we did again but if we do we will definitely give SERVPRO a call.”

— Shirley G. in Menlo Park, CA

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto today for exceptional damage restoration service day or night at (650) 800-3448!

SERVPRO of Palo Answers the Question: Why SERVPRO?

1/15/2021 (Permalink)

We are asked: Why SERVPRO? often. Here is the answer for you.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a locally owned and operated business. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training to regular IICRC-industry certification. You can rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge, training, and experience to restore your property due to water damage, fire damage, mold, or biohazards. With a nationwide system, no damage is too large or too small for the restoration experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has been serving Palo Alto, Atherton, Redwood City, Stanford, and Menlo Park for more than 5 years and has helped countless clients, from homeowners to commercial property managers keep their properties well-maintained and restored.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto assists home and business owners in Northern California whose properties have suffered from seasonal wildfires and water damage. We deal with insurance companies and help people get back on their feet and back into their homes and businesses. Our mostly five-star reviews and trust from repeat clients is a testament to our commitment and expertise at water damage, fire restoration, mold remediation, smoke & soot restoration, and biohazard cleanup. Our expertly trained technicians are certified and dedicated to the customer.

Have you been affected by fire or water? Do you need fire restoration, water damage restoration or mold removal? Then call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 and get immediate assistance today!

How Palo Alto Homeowners Can Avoid Fire Damage From Space Heaters

1/6/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers ten space heater safety tips.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a locally owned and operated damage restoration company that is known for putting customers first. The technicians specialize in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial properties after a fire, smoke, or water damage incident. They also take care of mold and mildew outbreaks in homes or businesses. No job is too big or too small for SERVPRO of Palo Alto to handle, including fires caused by a space heater or other source of household warmth during the cold winter months. The highly trained staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore any property, residential or commercial. They understand the stress and worry that comes with fire or water damage. Their goal is to help minimize the disruption and restore the property to its pre-damage condition.

Palo Alto, CA, experiences one of the most temperate climates anywhere in the United States. The Mediterranean climate means that residents enjoy sunny comfort much of the year. However, the months from November through February do usher in cooler temperatures. A cozy fireplace or the warm glow of a space heater accompanied by a toasty cup of herbal tea or hot chocolate easily remedies a late evening or early morning chill.

Because of its compact size and energy efficiency, homeowners often use space heaters to help keep a particular living area warm. There are four types of space heaters that operate through the use of electricity:

  1. Convection heaters

This type of heater circulates air through the body of the appliance, which contains a heating element.

  1. Fan heaters

This device includes an electric fan to increase airflow. It is a type of convection heater.

  1. Oil heaters

In this type of convection heater, the casing of the heater is filled with oil, which provides a more even heating. These heaters often look like the old-fashioned radiator.

  1. Ceramic heaters

This technologically advanced heater utilizes a heating element that attains a high temperature. The element is contained in a glass (ceramic) envelope.

Although these heaters are an effective way to provide additional warmth, they can also pose a fire hazard.

Fire Facts: Space Heaters

  • One-half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February.
  • Eight out of ten home heating fires involve space heaters.
  • One-third of home heating fires are caused by space heaters.
  • One-fourth of home heating fire deaths were due to space heaters located too close to clothing, bedding, or upholstered furniture.

Space Heater Fire Prevention Tips

These simple tips promote the safe operation of space heaters.

  1. Inspect the unit, power cord, and plug before operating the heater. Carefully follow all maintenance and operating instructions at all times. Never operate a heater that is damaged or intermittently malfunctioning.
  2. Keep space heaters at least three feet from common combustibles such as bedding, clothing, and furniture.
  3. Keep pets and children away from space heaters.
  4. Never leave an operating space heater unattended.
  5. Avoid using a space heater in a damp room, such as in a bathroom when taking a shower. The excessively moist air can cause the space heater to short, resulting in an electrical fire.
  6. Always place the space heater on a stable, level, and nonflammable surface. Do not run the cord under a rug or carpet runner where it can be damaged by heavy foot traffic or impact from an object such as a canned good, tool, or piece of furniture.
  7. Do not use an extension cord with a space heater. The extension cord may arc and cause a house fire.
  8. Plug a space heater directly into an outlet with enough capacity and a snug fit.
  9. Make sure all smoke alarms are working and are on every level of the home. Test smoke alarms monthly.
  10. Never use a stove or oven as a substitute for a space heater.

Newer space heaters have advanced technology that makes them much safer and more efficient than older units. Consider purchasing a newer space heater if the one currently being used has not been properly maintained and is more than several years old. Do not place food, paper, beverages, or cushions on top of a space heater.

In case of a home heating fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to help regain control of the situation quickly and begin the fire damage restoration process. For more information about fire damage restoration in Palo Alto, CA, and the surrounding area, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448 or email office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.

Types of Damage That Can Result From a Burst or Leaking Water Pipe

12/11/2020 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto makes homeowners aware of the serious water damage issues that can result from burst pipes and ruptured appliance supply lines.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a locally owned and operated damage restoration company that is known for putting customers first. The team specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial properties after a water, fire, or smoke damage incident. They also mitigate mold and mildew from homes and businesses. No job is too big or too small for SERVPRO of Palo Alto to handle, including burst pipes that cause water damage. The highly trained staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore any property. They understand the stress and worry that come from fire or water damage. Their goal is to help minimize the disruption and restore the property to its pre-damage condition and make it “Like it never even happened.”

One of the most common causes of water damage in a home or business is burst pipes or ruptured appliance supply lines. These types of water damage incidents have many causes. Knowing and understanding the causes can help the homeowner take measures to prevent a water damage disaster.

Excessive water pressure

Water pipes are manufactured to withstand a specified amount of internal water pressure. The specific water pressure rating is typically printed on the pipe. When the water pressure exceeds the pressure rating, the result is a burst pipe, a flooded mess, and damage to personal belongings and the structure.

Frozen pipes

In many parts of the US during the winter, temperatures plunge into the frigid zone, resulting in frozen pipes that burst and wreak havoc in many homes and businesses. In those colder regions, adequate pipe insulation and heat tape are sufficient to prevent water pipes from freezing. Thankfully, most nights in Palo Alto rarely or never dip below 40 °F. From November to February, the city averages about a dozen or so nights with frost, hardly cold enough to freeze any pipes. It always warms up to at least forty degrees or more the next day. Temperatures as cold as twenty degrees Fahrenheit, almost cold enough to freeze exposed pipes, are a meteorological anomaly in Palo Alto. However, in the rare instance that temperatures plummet into the danger zone, wrapping exposed pipes with as little as one-quarter inch of newspaper will prevent pipes from freezing.

Incorrect pipework and layering

Property owners are advised to hire a licensed, qualified plumber experienced in pipe layering to install pipework and the connections. Any error in the layering process can lead to incorrect subjugation of water pressure, resulting in a burst pipe. When a larger pipe is connected to a smaller pipe, the excessive pressure from the water can lead to a burst pipe.

Aging pipes

Metal and plastic water pipes have a definite life span. Proper maintenance can extend this lifespan a few years. Corrosion degrades metal pipes, making them susceptible to breaking. Over time, plastic pipes become brittle. When pipes become vulnerable, the slightest variations in water pressure can cause these pipes to rupture, potentially causing extensive water damage.

Clogs

Clogs are a common cause of pipe breakage. Internal accumulation of coagulated minerals can clog pipes. A major clog restricting water flow can cause incredible pressure that accumulates above the blockage and results in a burst pipe or leak.

Ground movements

Earthquake Tracker estimates that Palo Alto has almost 400 earthquakes per year. This constant ground movement can rupture aging pipes and compromise newer pipes, which eventually leak or burst.

Improper pipe connections

Pipe connections are vulnerable weak links in any plumbing system. Improper pipe connections can leak or burst under extreme pressure. A trained and experienced plumber is worth the expense when plumbing installation and repairs are needed. The headache and expense of even a small water damage disaster will drive this point home.

Types of Water Damage from Burst Pipes

A burst water pipe can cause massive damage to a home or business. A burst pipe or ruptured appliance supply line can unleash a fountain of water at a rate of seven to nine gallons per minute, causing seen and unseen damage to the structure. The seen and unseen damage from burst pipes may include the following:

Damaged insulation and wiring

When cellulose, loose fill, or fiberglass become saturated and compresses, it loses some of its insulating value and must be replaced. Wet wiring can short circuit and cause a fire. Sometimes the entire wall must be ripped apart to remove and replace the compressed insulation and repair the soaked wiring.

Rotted structural materials

If unseen or left unchecked, water from leaking pipes can flow into the walls and under flooring before it is noticed. The structural damage can involve

  • Warping, cracking, and rotting of wall studs
  • Swelling, warping, and rotting of baseboards
  • Rotting of wooden support beams and sub-floors
  • Rusting of steel brackets that hold support beams in place (Rusting and compromised support brackets can lead to costly repairs that far exceed damage to plaster, drywall, and lathe.)

Mold

Even after all water-soaked materials have been dried or removed, mold can start to grow inside air ducts, walls, and even the subfloor. Mold is difficult to remediate and requires professional experience, training, and equipment, including personal protective gear (PPG), to safely and effectively mitigate. Mold cleanup is not a DIY project.

Water damage from a burst water pipe or a ruptured appliance supply not only disrupts life and causes stress, but it also can present serious dangers and health hazards. As soon as water damage is suspected or detected, call in a professional water damage restoration specialist to inspect and assess the situation before advanced secondary water damage occurs.

For more information about water damage restoration in Palo Alto, CA, and the surrounding area, contact the office by phone at (650) 800-3448.

More Fire Safety Tips for Northern California Wildfires

10/1/2020 (Permalink)

Wildfires pose a real danger to Northern California home and businesses

With the fires that are currently raging in Northern California's wine country fire safety, both from wildfires and accidental home fires, is a real concern for millions of California residents, including those in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City in Santa Clara County, California.

Due to a combination of reasons, including weather conditions (including lack of rain and lack of humidity), increasing temperatures (global warming), and simple human error or carelessness (tossed cigarettes, illegal bonfires, intentional fire-setting), wildfires have been increasing in number and intensity in recent years. This means that experiencing fire damage has become a very real possibility for many Californians, including those in many parts of Santa Clara County, California.

There’s also the danger of fires starting in your home from electrical shorts or kitchen fires (the most common cause of in-home fires). According to The Red Cross, “If a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape. During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.” Two minutes! That’s barely enough time to grab your pets and a couple of beloved belongings and escape. Not to mention dealing with the worry about your home due to fire damage because of fires in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, or Redwood City.

Here are the top 7 ways to prepare for a home fire from redcross.org:

  • Install the correct number of smoke alarms. Install a smoke detector inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations. Test your smoke alarm or smoke detector once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like, and teach them what to do when they hear one. Practice with them twice-yearly.
  • Ensure that all household members know at least two ways to escape from every room of your home, and that you determine a family meeting spot outside of your home in the case of a fire.
  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another or cannot meet at the predetermined family meeting spot.
  • Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year, and at random times. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1, no matter how young.
  • Teach family members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

The Red Cross also recommends you follow these fire-safe habits:

  • Keep items that can catch on fire, like flammable clothing, paper, toys, etc. at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Smoking paraphernalia is the leading cause of residential fire deaths in the United States. Please do not smoke. If you have to smoke, take precautions: Smoke outside, choose fire-safe cigarettes, don’t smoke in bed, don’t smoke when drowsy or medicated, or if anyone in the home is using oxygen. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
  • Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches, and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended, even for a minute.

Following these fire-safe habits won’t protect you against wildfires, but there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of fire damage to your home from a wildfire, such as those that have recently been burning in both Northern California and Southern California.

In the last two years, over 67,000 wildfires have been reported across the country each year, many in California. Yearly, wildfires destroy over 4,000 structures, with 3,000 of them residential. As real estate development expands into forests and grasslands, the chances of wildfire-related property damage go up.  

You can’t fight back a wildfire that is encroaching on your home or business, but you can take steps to protect yourself and your property. Learn how you can help protect your home or business from a wildfire.  Keep you and your family safe and know how and when to evacuate. Learn more in the second part of this blog post, to be continued next week.

If you already have suffered fire damage and need fire restoration, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 for a free estimate. Our highly trained technicians use advanced equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fall Fire Safety Tips to Protect Your Home | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

If you experience any property damage due to a fire, we are here for you. Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto to learn more.

While it’s true that house fires can happen at any time during the year, statistically most happen in the fall and winter months, according to the American Red Cross.

But here’s the good news: Whether you’re having fall fun around a roaring bonfire or just relaxing around the fireplace in your living room, you can take simple steps to make fire safety a priority.

Keeping Fall Fun and Safe

Many people look forward to lighting the first fire of the year in their fireplace. But before you relax in front of the fire with your pumpkin latte or hot cider, be sure to have your fireplace and chimney checked out by a professional. You’ll have more peace of mind if you know that your chimney or fireplace doesn’t need maintenance.

While you’re getting a fireplace checked out, ask your inspector to be sure any other heating systems you might use are working well, too. Fixing small issues before they become big problems can help you protect your home and family from fires.

Bonfires are another popular fall tradition. They’re a great way to gather friends and enjoy treats like s’mores. But if you’re having a bonfire, be sure there’s always someone nearby to keep an eye on the fire and help keep it under control so it doesn’t cause unexpected damage. Don’t leave a burning fire unattended in your yard.

Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries

Checking your smoke detectors a couple of times every year can help give your family a sense of security and protect them from the dangers that can come with fires. Most experts recommend having smoke detectors in all bedrooms and other strategic spots around the house, like in the living room.

When you check your smoke detectors, be sure to have new batteries on hand so you can change them out.

If you have problems remembering when you need to change the batteries in your smoke detectors (and many people do), a good rule of thumb is to switch them every spring and fall when you change your clocks.

<h2re-here-if-you-need-us">We’re Here if You Need Us

If an accident happens at your home this fall and you need help restoring fire or smoke damage, you don’t have to look far.

Our team is always ready to help you if a fire damages your home. Local experts can guide you through the fire restoration process and help get your home back in top shape.

We’re here to talk with you 247 if you need to learn more about our fire restoration process.

California Firestorms Info Links | SERVPRO of Palo Alto

9/16/2020 (Permalink)

Stay safe during Northern California wildfires!

With unprecedented firestorms burning all over the West Coast, including here in Northern California, it's vital to have information at your fingertips about wildfire location, air quality in your specific location, wildfire resources, and safety tips.

Here's where you should go to keep yourself informed and your family safe:

California wildfire map

CAL FIRE
Fire.ca.gov

Air quality information

EPA & partners
Airnow.gov

Wildfire preparedness & safety information

CAL FIRE
Readyforwildfire.org

Wildfire safety tips & information

FEMA
Ready.gov/wildfires

Wildfire response resources

Cal OES
Wildfirerecovery.caloes.ca.gov

Response.ca.gov

Satellite imagery of areas impacted by fire

Maxar technologies on Google Crisis Map
Google.org/crisismap/2020-california-wildfire-imagery

With the sheer magnitude of the current wildfire situation in our area and all over the western United States, please keep yourself informed. And if wildfires do affect your home or business, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of Palo Alto for 24-hour fire restoration service! Call us at (650) 800-3448.

What You Should Know about Water Damage | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

9/8/2020 (Permalink)

Our team is always ready to help you after busted pipes or other water related issues. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is the water restoration expert.

When you think about water damage, you probably think about thunderstorms, floods or other natural disasters. But most water damage in American homes is caused by the things we rely on to keep our lives running every day.

That’s right. Things like your appliances, plumbing and sewers (or septic tanks) are far more likely to cause water damage to your home than storms are. According to iPropertyManagement, a website that advises landlords and property managers, water damage that isn’t related to severe weather is the second-most common claim homeowners file.

What does that look like in dollars? In 2017, insurance companies paid out $13 billion in water damage claims.

Protecting your home

So, what are the common culprits causing water damage in homes? This list covers some of the top offenders.

The appliances in your kitchen can cause significant water damage. Dishwashers and refrigerators (specifically the ice maker) can flood areas when they malfunction. A slow, gradual leak that may go unnoticed at first can cause big damage later. But there are steps you can take to keep an eye on these possible issues.

Every few months, you can remove the plate at the bottom of your dishwasher while you’re running a cycle and look for leaks. You can check the supply line for your ice maker when you pull your refrigerator away from the wall to clean it.

Plumbing problems are another common cause of water damage. In general, plumbing pipes have a long lifespan. But you can watch for possible leaks by keeping an eye on your water bill. If it’s unusually high, there may be an issue. You can also pick up a water leak detector. Some of them even have apps for your phone.

Water heaters are another common culprit. The best way to prevent damage from your water heater is to replace it as needed. Depending on your model, most water heaters can last 10 to 20 years. You can check your water heater’s age by taking a look at the unit. It’s usually noted underneath it.

What happens if you can’t catch the leak?

Even the most diligent homeowners can sometimes miss a leak. Accidents happen. And when they do, it’s important to have your home professionally cleaned to protect you and your loved ones from mold and other issues that can arise after a water leak. That’s where our team of experts can help you.

Our team is always ready to help you after busted pipes, water heater leaks or appliance malfunctions damage your home. We’re here to talk with you 247 if you need to learn more about our water restoration process.

Get Your Home Ready for Severe Weather | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

8/27/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is here to provide you with a rapid response. Contact us right away if you experience any storm damage.

You can’t control where a storm hits. But there are steps you can take to be sure your home is in the best shape possible to weather severe storms.

The National Weather Service has some great tips for making sure your home is ready for storms. They recommend:

Keeping the trees near your home trimmed and healthy. Tree limbs overhanging your house can fall during a storm. And having a dead tree near your home can be risky during heavy wind. It can damage your roof, the siding on your home, and break windows.

Ensuring your gutters are clean. This is a good way to help keep your roof (and the rest of your home) safe from water damage. Keep in mind that cleaning gutters regularly also protects your home over time.

Securing loose items and closing doors and windows. If you have time, this can help save both these items and your home from damage.

Other Ways to Prepare

If you want to know more about getting your home and family ready for severe weather—including the types of weather threats that are common in your area, visit ready.gov.

The information on ready.gov comes directly from the Department of Homeland Security. It’s a good source for general information about storms and emergency planning. Plus you can download their app to your smartphone for real-time alerts about severe weather that might affect your town.

During severe weather, every minute counts. So having real-time alerts is a good way to help keep your family members and pets safe. If you’re out of town, the app will send alerts that apply to wherever you are.

Cleaning Up After the Storm

Hopefully, your family will never be hit by a storm. But if you are, it’s important to get your home professionally cleaned. Why? Because expert cleaning can help get your family’s home back in order quickly. Plus, if there’s water damage, it can help protect you against mold later.

If your home sustains damage due to a storm, you can count on us to help. We’re here to talk with you 247if you need to learn more about our storm restoration process.

Ask the Right Questions to Pick a Storm Restoration Team | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

Choosing the right restoration company is crucial to getting things back to normal. Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto to set up an appointment.

When there is severe weather in the area, it can be alarming to experience—but if your area sustains damage, it is even worse. The severity and expenditures associated with storm damage are more serious than many realize, which is why we always advise doing your research before making a decision when it comes time to pick a restoration company.

The company you choose is so important to your overall recovery experience. As it is generally a stressful time, working with a company that provides you with peace of mind will make a huge difference in how smoothly the process proceeds and how quickly your damages are resolved. To help you decide on the right company for you, we have a few tips.

Your Guide for Choosing a Restoration Company After Sustaining Damage

Have you checked on their reputation? When you invest money into your home, you want to be certain you are making a wise choice—and restoration is no exception. Scammers often surface after bad storms to take advantage of those who have sustained damage, so doing your own research is vital. Make sure your chosen company is active in the community and is considered an industry leader in restoration to be certain they are a good choice.

Do you know how they handle sudden rushes in businesses? Storm damage is quite unique because of just how suddenly it can occur and how much of an area it can impact. While you are deciding on a restoration company, make sure to choose one that can provide good service even when they get inundated with sudden requests. With our national SERVPRO® partnership, we are enabled to seek backup whenever we need it in order to provide the same level of service regardless of the extent of damages.

What happens if I have an after-hours emergency? It is rare that storm damages will occur at a time that is convenient, but it can occur at the worst time possible. Because storms do not follow a strict workweek, we do not either. You can get in touch with us any hour of the day or night to report your damage, and our emergency response team will spring into action regardless of the damages.

When you have damage from a storm to your home or commercial building, you can always depend on us to handle it. Contact us at any hour to see our exceptional service in action.

Take Precaution Every Time You Light Your Grill | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

7/24/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is the fire restoration experts. To learn more give us a call or contact us online.

Cooking a homemade meal is a great way to spend time together as a family, especially if you are taking advantage of your backyard space and your grill. Grilled food is always delicious, but we do encourage people to remember their fire safety considerations every time an open flame is around.

Grill fires happen more regularly than many people realize—nearly 6,000 occur annually, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. A few fire safety tactics can go a long way to ensuring every cookout is a safe one.

Ensure Every Cookout Is a Safe One With Fire Safety Tips

Create a safe zone around your grill. While the deck right outside your back door may seem like the most logical place to put your grill, it may not be the safest. Three feet is the recommended safe zone for grilling—this is the zone where there is nothing that could catch on fire or melt, just in case.

Clean your grill grates often. Good grill habits involve regularly cleaning your grates, but this is good for more than keeping cooking temperatures consistent. As food particles and grease accumulate on the grates of the grill, they can heat up and catch fire eventually. By regularly scraping down your grates, you can significantly lessen the chance of this occurring.

Never leave the grill unattended. As with any open flame, a lit grill should never be left unattended, even with a closed lid. Fires can happen in an instant, and if you are not there with your fire extinguisher, they can get out of hand before you know it. Having someone take over so you can take a break is a wise way to prevent any accidents.

Inspect the grill regularly. It is always a good idea to do a visual inspection of your grill, even if you have been using it regularly. With use, gas connections and hoses can deteriorate and cause leaks, which can lead to a catastrophe if the grill is lit and gas vapors are in the air. Making an inspection part of your habit is one of the best things you can do to ensure you are being safe.

If you have a grill fire that does damage to your home, we are here to help. You can call us any time, day or night, to have a quick response from our restoration experts.

Tips for Storm Safety That You Can Use Anywhere | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

7/13/2020 (Permalink)

Have you been affected by a storm event? SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24/7 and ready to assist you with any storm damage.

When the skies are clear and the day is warm, thunderstorms are probably the last thing on your mind—but because of how suddenly they can manifest during humid days, they are always something to keep in mind. Any thunderstorm has the potential to be dangerous, but with these safety tips, you can be sure you can protect yourself from summer storms anywhere.

Protect Yourself From Summer Storms Anywhere You Go

Know your options for shelter. When a storm catches you at home, you can follow storm safety guidelines to a T and take shelter in the most secure spot in your home. Unfortunately, if you are out and about when a storm pops up, you may have to get creative. Seeking shelter in a vehicle is actually recommended when you are not home, as the car will disperse any lightning strikes around you.

Practice electrical safety. A lightning strike can travel through a building rapidly, often using the home’s wiring system to do so. This can lead to a power surge, an event that can harm electronics and cause sparks. If you have plenty of time before the storm hits, unplugging everything is the safest thing you can do—but in case you don’t, also install surge protectors at home and at your office.

Avoid direct contact with concrete. When you hear that a thunderstorm is nearby, concrete might seem like the most reasonable place to seek shelter—but concrete can have its own dangers involved. Metal beams are often encased in poured concrete to stabilize it, meaning it can transfer the charge from lightning when it strikes. If you do seek shelter in a concrete building, avoid directly touching the floor or walls.

Stay indoors for at least 30 minutes. If you have an activity interrupted by a thunderstorm, getting back to it is likely your top priority—but do not forget about safety as well. Lightning can travel large distances even when the sky is clear, so experts recommend giving yourself at least half an hour before heading back outside.

If your home sustains damage due to a storm, you can count on us to help. Contact us at any hour to learn more about our storm restoration process.

Starting a Fire Evacuation Drill Program in the Workplace | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

6/25/2020 (Permalink)

If your business experiences any fire damage, you can count on us. SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in commercial fire restoration.

When it comes to planning for commercial fires, it is important to understand that businesses in any industry carry some level of risk. Some may be more susceptible than others, but all businesses should do what they can to evaluate and reduce their risks of operation.

Whether you work in an industry with equipment that could cause a fire or you are just practicing regular office safety, it is important to do everything you can to keep your staff safe.

One of the chief things to be concerned about when boosting your fire preparedness is the overall safety of your workplace. That is why we recommend planning your fire evacuation drills and practicing them with staff as the first step of your fire safety planning.

Planning and Practicing Fire Evacuation Drills With Staff

Consult with your local fire officials. Once you begin researching fire safety, you will find lots of great tips and guidelines online for how to be as safe as possible—but do not forget to make use of local resources, too. Your local fire marshal will likely be glad to pay your business a visit and weigh in on the best ways to plan your evacuation routes and conduct drills in your space.

Communicate and mark fire evacuation routes. After determining what the best escape routes are, the next step is to mark them clearly and communicate your evacuation plans with employees. Making sure everyone is prepared in advance of a fire drill will ensure things go smoothly and everyone knows to take it seriously but to not panic.

Have fire drills frequently. You will find that your needs vary regarding how frequently to host your drills, so it is important to find what works best for you. You will want your drills to happen often enough that employees remember them, but not happen so regularly that they are disregarded as routine.

Run different fire scenarios. There are places in the office where a fire might be more likely to break out (such as a staff kitchen), but fires can come from many places. When you run your fire drills, have your fire “start” in various locations around the office so your employees will be comfortable using different routes and exits as needed.

If your business has experienced fire damage, you can count on us. We specialize in commercial fire restoration and will be here for you at any hour—contact us today.

Our Recommendations Regarding House Fire Recovery | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

6/15/2020 (Permalink)

If your home is damaged in a house fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is here to help. Contact us for any fire restoration needs.

It is important that you and everyone in your household know what to do in the event of a fire, including having an emergency plan and practicing evacuation drills. However, you should also be aware of the difficulties regarding the aftermath of a fire and have a plan for how to navigate those as well.

With our tips for navigating the aftermath of a house fire, you can make sure you are following the right steps for a simple, quick recovery for your household.

Tips for Navigating the Aftermath of a House Fire

Prepare yourself for what to expect. The damages from every house fire are unique, but understanding the common implications of house fire damage is a good way to prepare yourself. Smoke and soot can often travel throughout the home, even impacting areas that had no direct flames. Additionally, firefighters may have to cause damage in order to make the fire safe to fight, so it is wise to prepare for these things ahead of time to avoid the shock.

Wait to enter your home. It is normal to immediately want to begin handling the damage and getting the restoration process started, but first, you need to make sure it is safe for you to re-enter the home. Structural damage is quite common after a fire breaks out, so wait for officials to authorize it before you go back into the home.

Contact your insurance company. The process of filing an insurance claim will vary based on your provider, so getting in touch with them early on is highly recommended. This way you can be certain you are not taking any unauthorized actions that could undermine your claim.

Document the damages. Records of the damages in the way of inventory lists and photographs are a smart way to stay organized. Not only will this be helpful for you as you recall what items you must replace after the restoration, but you can also use this to simplify your insurance claims process as well.

Contact your restoration company. A house fire is a traumatic thing for your family to experience, so recovering quickly is a great way to emotionally heal from the process. To make it as smooth as possible, we always recommend working with a reputable, well-trusted restoration company that is based locally, so you can be certain the job will be done right.

If your home is damaged in a house fire, you can count on us to help you. Get in touch at any hour for a quick response.

Before Severe Weather Strikes, Make Plans to Be Prepared | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

5/26/2020 (Permalink)

If your home has been impacted by storm damage, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will respond quickly to assist in any repairs.

Severe weather can be something that we disregard with time, especially if we have been through previous storms that did not lead to any life-altering damages.

This is a dangerous outlook to take, because every single storm has the potential to cause serious damage and should be regarded as something to be wary of. You should always have a severe weather plan for preparedness in place—understand a watch and warning notification, stock your disaster supplies and find a reliable way to receive weather updates in advance so you can be prepared if severe weather does strike.

Understand a Watch and Warning Notification

If a weather watch or warning is issued, it is important to understand what that means so you can react appropriately and safely. When a severe weather watch is issued by local authorities, that means that they are anticipating a storm because conditions indicate one could occur. This is not the same as a warning, which means an active storm is in the area and you should seek safe coverage right away.

Stock Your Disaster Supplies at Home

While a storm is nearby, you want to be certain you have all the supplies you need on hand in order to hunker down and wait it out. You will want to have first-aid supplies, food and water, and a dependable light source like a battery-operated flashlight in case the electricity fails due to the storm. You should also have an area of your home that serves as a “safe zone,” such as a hallway or bathroom where your family can seek shelter.

Find a Reliable Way to Receive Weather Updates

For most of us, our cell phone is typically the best way to receive alerts about nearly anything going on in the world—but when it comes to severe weather, that is not the case. Storms can often knock out cell phone reception and power, rendering a phone useless, especially if the battery dies. It is important to seek a more reliable way to get these updates such as a NOAA Weather Radio so you can be certain you always have the information you need.

If your home has been impacted by storm damage, we are here for you. You can contact us 247 to get a quick response to your home’s damages.

Personal Protective Equipment – protecting our heroes and safely killing pathogens!

5/19/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto expert technicians in PPE

At the start of the current global pandemic, lots of talk of PPE was circling around. But what is PPE? And how does SERVPRO of Palo Alto utilize PPE?

PPE stands for personal protective equipment which includes: hazmat suits, gloves, full-face or half-face respirators, and filters. Various industries (including the restoration industry) use PPE to protect their employees and clients or patients.

SERVPRO's expert technicians are accustomed to correctly using PPE on a regular basis--on jobs for mold, cat 3 or sewage, pathogens or viruses, and other dirty jobs, such as crawlspace cleanup and rat infestations.

Our team is trained on the proper donning (wearing) and doffing (removal) of PPE to prevent cross-contamination.

If your residential or commercial property requires proper cleaning and sanitation, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. We are the trusted name in cleaning and sanitizing!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – a defensive cleaning program

5/15/2020 (Permalink)

Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto today at  650-800-3448 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.

* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience.  Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.

Being Knowledgeable About How Rain Can Lead to Water Damage | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

5/11/2020 (Permalink)

Heavy rains can cause serious water damage. SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the trained technicians to fully restore your home.

There are many water-related incidents that can lead to damage, as it takes a relatively small amount of moisture to lead to an issue.

While many often think of floods, even heavy rain showers over a period of time can lead to water damage, as water gradually works its way into a home’s weather defenses. Being knowledgeable about where and why this happens is the best preventive measure to take.

Where to Be Aware That Water Damage Is a Possibility

Backup of clogged gutters. Cleaning out your gutters every six months or so is a great defense against water damage. When your gutters can’t properly drain water, pooling can occur and lead to water sitting up against—and eventually seeping into—your home.

Leaks around windows and doors. Windows and doors can develop small cracks around them, which may not be visible to the naked eye but are certainly large enough for water to find. Water can soak into these small gaps and begin to eat away at the wood surrounding these openings.

Poor drainage around the foundation. Regardless of how impervious a foundation may seem, if poor drainage allows water to build up around the foundation, it can eventually begin to seep inward and lead to damages.

Leaks in and around the roof. A house of any age can develop a roof leak, and they can often sneak up on you. Checking for signs that your roof might be vulnerable to leaks regularly is the best defense against this.

Malfunctioning of a sump pump system. For those with basements or crawl spaces, a sump pump is a great water damage defense, as long as it is maintained. Sump pump malfunctions due to inadequate maintenance can lead to serious damages on their own.

Leaks around chimneys and skylights. Skylights and chimneys are great features, but it is important to check on the seals surrounding them regularly to ensure they have not deteriorated enough to begin letting water through when there is heavy rain around.

If you’ve experienced water damage to your home, we are here to help. You can call us 247 to have our trained technicians respond quickly and begin your restoration.

For Water Restoration, We Have a 6-Step Process | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

4/20/2020 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO for expert water restoration!

There is nothing good about discovering water damage, but when you do, take action right away to get your restoration process started.

You can call us at any hour to get a quick response to your damage and set our six-step process in motion. Here’s how it works:

6 Steps to Water Damage Restoration

1. Initial Emergency Contact
There is no rhyme or reason to when water damage can occur, so you can count on us at any hour you need to call. We will answer right away and gather relevant information about your damages so we can send a crew to you quickly and address the issue as fast as possible.

2. Inspection and Damage Assessment
The first thing we do when we arrive on the scene is check for any safety issues and mitigate them. From there, we will stop the flow of water if it is an active leak. Once those are completed, we will do a full assessment of the damage and draft a plan to handle everything for you.

3. Moisture Extraction
Extracting moisture from the area speeds along the drying time and prevents any excess damage from occurring. We will begin pumping water out and vacuuming it away as quickly as we can until all the standing water has been removed.

4. Dehumidifying and Drying
After the excess water has been removed, we will bring in our dryers and dehumidifiers to tackle the surfaces and items that have been impacted. Many things can soak up moisture, and it is vital to do a thorough drying process on them to prevent further damage and potentially harmful mold growth.

5. Cleaning Belongings
The proper sanitizing and deodorizing of items that are affected is important to keep your home free of contaminants and odors in the future. We will fully treat the belongings that have been exposed to the water damage so you can be certain that they are safe to use.

6. Restoration and Repair
We make sure you receive a full and complete restoration job before we leave, so we handle repairs that are a result of the water damage, too. Replacing drywall, refinishing wood and other necessary repairs are part of our job, so you can have a restored area that feels exactly the same as it did before the damage.

If your home has been water-damaged, you can count on us to help. Call us 247 to get the process started.

The First Steps to Take to Recover From a Flood | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

4/9/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can assist with flood damage

It can be extremely devastating to discover that your home has been impacted by a flood, but with flooding becoming more and more common, it is an important thing to prepare for.

In a flood’s aftermath, recovering quickly is everyone’s top priority—and acting fast can even lessen the overall damage. In this trying time, it is also important to ensure you are staying safe, which is why we have these tips to help you know exactly what to do following a flood.

Steps to Take Toward Flood Recovery

Avoid further safety hazards. Wanting to start the recovery process quickly is a common reaction for homeowners following a flood, but it is important to ensure it is safe to return to your home before you begin. Flooding can be dangerous in the moment, but its hazards can continue after the fact and should be cautioned against until local authorities deem it safe.

Air out the home. In addition to the damage from the flood specifically, impacted homeowners must also deal with the possibility of mold growth in their home. Mold is an airborne fungus, and it thrives in areas that are moist with stale air. Circulating fresh air through your house is a good preventative for this—while it will not stop the growth entirely, it can significantly reduce it and make the air healthier to breathe as you begin cleanup.

Document the damages. The emotional impact of flood damage can give homeowners a strong reaction when they first survey the damage, and many people rush to begin taking action right away. However, it is wise to make a point to document the damages before you start removing things or altering them. Make an inventory of everything that has been thrown away and take photos of the damages so you have strong records, both for yourself and insurance.

Contact your restoration and insurance companies right away. Getting in touch with your flood insurance company right away will let you know exactly what next steps to take in order to file your claim. After this, talk to your restoration company so they can assemble a response team and get to you right away. Letting flood damage sit unattended is one of the worst things you can do in the aftermath, so getting your restoration team on it is advised.

If your home has been damaged in a flood, we are here for you. You can contact us 247 to receive a quick response and set the restoration process in motion.

Evaluating the Disaster Preparedness Levels of Your Business | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

3/22/2020 (Permalink)

Plan for Workplace Emergencies

Planning ahead for emergency scenarios is a smart choice for business owners, though it may not be an enjoyable task. Being prepared for disasters and other emergencies can significantly reduce the harm they cause to your operations and can drastically reduce the damages sustained in some scenarios.

Having a plan in place is the single best thing a business owner can do to prepare for a disaster.

Because thinking through every possible scenario is an overwhelming task, we suggest that business owners instead think of three main categories when evaluating their preparedness levels. Understand your insurance coverage, your evacuation plan and your restoration roadmap to determine where you could increase preparedness and where things are adequate.

Your Commercial Insurance Coverage

The time period after a disaster is not the time when you want to be figuring out your insurance coverage. In many cases, commercial policies are not designed to handle the extensive damages a disaster can cause, often fully excluding auxiliary damages such as if your business floods or if you must pause operations for repairs. It is best to find out ahead of time what your insurance covers and purchase extra policies accordingly.

Your Emergency Plan and Supply Kit

A natural disaster often only gives those in its path moments to react, which is why having a plan in place is such a vital aspect of preparedness. Consider the types of scenarios you may be likely to experience, such as fires or earthquakes, and create plans with these in mind. In addition to planning for an evacuation, it is also smart to keep an emergency kit on the premises in case you and your staff must stay and await assistance.

Your Plan for Restoration and Recovery

Taking measures to reduce the time that your business is closed in a disaster’s aftermath is the best way to limit the negative impacts that it has on your business. Choose your commercial restoration company ahead of time so you can call immediately following a disaster and begin the recovery process. You may also be eligible for disaster recovery assistance thanks to the Small Business Administration, so it is worth looking into that as well.

If your business has been impacted by a disaster, you can contact us 247 for guidance on how to begin the commercial restoration process.

A Guide to Enhancing Your Home’s Weatherproofing | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

3/11/2020 (Permalink)

How to Weatherproof Your Home

There are many things that can impact how well a home can resist severe weather, such as the age of the house, overall exposure and the integrity of the construction. It is smart to consider where your home stands with this and what improvements you may need to make it more resilient—especially considering that 50% of all homeowners’ insurance claims are due to weather.

The good news is that increasing a house’s resilience to weather is inexpensive and not time-consuming, so it is generally better to be safe than sorry. That is why we have outlined some of our top weatherproofing tips so you can rest easy the next time heavy rains head your way.

Tips to Enhance Your Home’s Weatherproofing

Keep Your Shingles in Shape
A leaking roof is typically thought of as a problem for older homes, but even newer homes can develop leaks for an assortment of reasons. By checking in regularly with your roof and monitoring the appearance of your shingles, you can determine easily if you should prioritize roof repairs soon.

Beat the Weather With Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping’s benefits are twofold—first, it can stop water from working its way into tiny cracks around your doors and windows, and it can also save you tremendously on your electric bills by providing extra insulation to your home. It also has the benefit of being easy to install and cost-effective, so it makes the perfect precautious weekend project.

Gut Debris From Your Gutters
Clearing your gutters every six months is a smart habit to get in, as this can prevent the build-up of leaves and debris—but it is still important to check up on them between cleanings. Look for odd drainage patterns, standing water or visible cracks the next time it rains so you can determine if repairs should be made to your system in the near future.

Pick the Right Paint
Paint has turned into more than just a color decision because of all the options for finishes and technology that are on the market. Investing in exterior paint with waterproofing and UV-resistant technology can help your home age gracefully and be less affected when stormy weather is heading your way.

If you have issues with storm damage to your home, we are always here to help. Contact us 24 hours a day for a rapid response.

When Destructive Storms Arrive, Give Us a Call | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

2/7/2020 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto when you need storm damage restoration!

Though storms are a regular occurrence, they can also be extremely destructive. Storm damage is one of the top reasons that homeowners must file insurance claims, and claims filed amounted to approximately $2 billion in storm-related losses in 2018.

Because any storm has the potential to cause your home to sustain damage, it is important to know exactly what to do if the event were to occur. The good news is that when you need storm restoration, we are here 247 to help you recover.

What You Receive When You Call Us for Household Storm Restoration

You Will Receive Comprehensive Restoration
It is rare that storm damage is a black and white issue, instead often including problems with structural elements, water damage and even mold. Because we are fully certified in all these issues, we are able to examine the damage with a comprehensive approach and can make sure your restoration is done completely and with efficiency.

You Will Receive Technicians With Experience
Our technicians are something we invest heavily in because we value their contributions tremendously. We train our entire workforce from day one to the standards set forth by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, which sets the industry benchmarks for restoration. We also offer seminars and online courses for our technicians, so they can always continue to learn and hone their skills.

You Will Receive Enough Resources for Restoration
We love being a member of the Palo Alto community and all the wonderful things that come with being a locally owned business—and with our backing from the national SERVPRO® brand, we also get to offer our customers national resources in the event of major disasters. Other locations can band together to offer equipment and additional resources, so everyone in the community can receive restoration in a timely manner.

You Will Receive Service From a Reputable Company
With all of our years of experience, we have unfortunately seen many customers get taken advantage of by post-storm scams by unscrupulous “restoration professionals.” Because we have a long-standing reputation as leaders in the restoration industry, you can trust that with us, you will receive quality work and will not fall victim to one of these scams.

If you have experienced storm damage or want to learn more, you can call us 247 for more details.

Top Tips to Boost Your Household Fire Safety | SERVPRO® of Palo Alto

1/30/2020 (Permalink)

Protect Your Home From Fire

Because we have helped many local families restore their homes following a fire, we are aware of just how devastating a house fire can be. Not only can flames rip through property and belongings, but they can also cause traumatic and irreparable injuries.

In order to help the community be more fire-safe, we wanted to take the time to assemble the fire safety tips that we think every individual should be aware of. While some fires happen erratically, using these tips will significantly reduce your chances of experiencing one.

Tips to Up Your Fire Safety Efforts

Frequently Check Smoke Detectors. Smoke alarms should be installed throughout the house and checked every 30 days to ensure they are operational. Homeowners are also wise to consider installing an interconnected system, so they all will alert you when one picks up a hint of smoke.

Have a Fire Escape Plan. Crafting a plan for how to escape once a fire breaks out in your home and practicing it often is one of the best measures to take to ensure your family can quickly get to safety. Make sure everyone is aware of what to do and where to meet outside.

Know How to Operate a Fire Extinguisher. Selecting the right fire extinguisher, storing it safely and educating every household member on how to use it can be the difference between a scary moment and a full-scale disaster.

Never Leave Flames Unattended. Open flames are everywhere—grills, fireplaces and candles are common fire starters that many people do not consider dangerous. No matter how small the flame, it is advised to never leave the room if there is a fire lit as it could spread in a moment.

Keep a Closed-Door Policy. The most dangerous fires are the ones that occur at night, because of the reduced reaction time involved with waking up to a house fire. One of the things that can make the biggest difference is sleeping with the bedroom door closed—this will slow down the spread of flames to provide more reaction time to everyone in the home.

If you’d like to learn more about protecting yourself from a house fire and how our restoration services can help you recover, get in touch today to learn more.

Quality Fire Damage Restoration Services for Bay Area Homes & Businesses

1/19/2020 (Permalink)

Devastating Fire Damage from Firestorms in Californa

Last year was a major year of firestorms in many parts of California -- from Southern California to Northern California.

Damage caused by a fire is life-changing for home and business owners. It’s a stressful and confusing time, so you’ll need caring fire restoration experts to guide you through this crisis, from beginning to end. The professional restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Palo Alto will always treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always handle your home or business with great care. We can recover many of your belongings that you may have thought lost forever. 

Home or business owners can be caught off guard with a sudden fire emergency. It’s important not to delay and discuss available coverage with your insurance company, in addition to taking the appropriate steps to limit the losses you might experience in case of an emergency situation. SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you deal with your insurance company, and assist you with the paperwork involved in your claim, making the process as stress-free as possible.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire damage to help you through this tough time. We can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition. SERVPRO uses the latest technology, including water extractors, moisture detectors, and air moving equipment to effectively dry areas affected by firefighting efforts.

Rely on SERVPRO of Palo Alto for fire damaging events to your property. We are available 24/7, including holidays. Call us at 650-800-3448 for fire restoration in the Bay Area today!

Appliances That Cause Water Damage | SERVPRO®? of Palo Alto

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

Appliances Can Cause Water Damage

When you think of water damage, you may first think of flooding caused by a natural disaster or other weather situation. But did you know that many cases of water damage are related to the appliances in our homes?

Appliances to Check for Leaks

Many of the appliances in our homes cycle through a good bit of water, making water damage a possibility. Here’s what to look at:

Hot Water Heater
Hot water heaters can last for more than a decade and a half, but leaks can start much sooner than this. When parts break down over time, it can let water escape, which can lead to a serious issue over time.

Refrigerator
Most modern refrigerators contain ice dispensers or water filters that are connected to the house’s main water line. This introduces the potential for leaks. Refrigerators are also very infrequently moved, making it possible for leaks to linger for a long time before water damage is spotted.

Dishwasher
Dishwashers are another appliance that often sits back in a cubby without being moved. To compound matters, insurance policies may not cover damage from leaking dishwashers if they’re past a certain lifespan. This makes regularly checking your dishwasher for leaks even more important.

Washing Machine
It’s not the washing machine itself that could be the issue—the hoses used with the machine machine can deteriorate over time. You should inspect the hoses every 30 days and replace them every five years even if they have not caused any issues.

Air Conditioner
All air conditioning units create moisture as they run, and mechanisms within the AC unit typically drain that moisture away. Sometimes, however, these mechanisms can fail—leading to leaks that may not be discovered immediately depending on the location of your unit. Schedule regular HVAC maintenance checks to look for leaks and other damage, and also check the unit yourself periodically.

If your home has been impacted by water damage or you’d like to put a plan in place in case it happens to you, contact us to learn how we can help.

Creating a Natural Disaster Action Plan for Your Business

12/26/2019 (Permalink)

Prep for Commercial Disasters with SERVPRO of Palo Alto

When it comes to your business, disaster planning is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. But as natural disasters become increasingly common, it is an important to-do for any small business owner.

Business owners need to plan ahead effectively in case of natural disasters—a process that includes evaluating insurance coverage, making an action plan for yourself and your employees and building a strategy for how your business will recover after the fact.

How to Prepare Ahead of Time

1. Double-Check Your Insurance
Whether for business or personal needs, it’s always important to have a thorough understanding of what your insurance policies cover. In many cases, basic coverage will not pay for things such as flooding, so supplemental coverage options on the market may be needed. Evaluate your needs before an emergency occurs.

2. Create Your Action Plan
Every business needs to have a documented plan for how to react when an emergency occurs. This should include resources related to evacuation, as well as where local shelters and medical facilities are located. You will also need clear instructions on shutting down machinery and electronics on the way out the door.

3. Rehearse Drills and Prepare Staff
Once you’ve created the plan outlined above, you need to share it with your employees. It’s important to practice how your team will react to various disaster situations. This will make employees feel much safer, and reduce your liability as a business owner as well.

4. Choose a Restoration Company to Work With
Because your livelihood—and that of your employees—is at stake, reopening quickly will be your priority after a disaster. Vetting and choosing a restoration company ahead of time will allow you to quickly reach out to the company after a disaster.

If you need to pick a commercial restoration company that’s right for you, call us today! We can tell you all about what sets our process apart.

Maintaining and Protecting Your Business: SERVPRO of PALO ALTO can help!

12/19/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Helps Protect Your Business

Owning a business comes with many responsibilities. From dealing with state regulations to hiring the right people to do the job of maintaining correct bookkeeping, owning a business isn't for the faint of heart. It is important for business owners to maintain a safe and healthy environment for their personnel. Disasters are unpredictable, but there are ways to prepare and keep your commercial property safe.

Fire Alarms & Drills

Fires can spread very quickly in commercial buildings. It is critical to install fire alarms correctly and most importantly to test them regularly. When an alarm is set off, everyone in the building is aware of possible danger and that they must evacuate. As a business owner, you should ensure that your employees have an emergency plan of evacuation.

Alarm Systems & Security Cameras

One of the many services provided at SERVPRO of Palo Alto includes the restoration of vandalized property. It is important to protect your property while you are inside or away from the premises. Security system networks now offer a variety of surveillance equipment and technology to monitor the property in case of intruders and to alert authorities.

Appearance Counts

The appearance of your commercial property plays a significant role in a successful business. Any damage to the property should be properly taken care of right away. Leaving the issue unattended, may lead to greater damage and can impact you financially.

For any cleaning and emergency restorations in your home, business or commercial property, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will be there to get the job done. Call us at 650-800-3448 and we'll make it "Like it never even happened."

Top 5 Fire Prevention Tips for the Bay Area

12/16/2019 (Permalink)

Contact SERVPRO for Information about Creating Your ERP

Having an emergency response plan (ERP) in case of a fire is important in order to protect your residence or business in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Atherton, and Redwood City. The first 48 hours after a fire can make a difference in determining whether to restore, rather than to replace your property and personal processions. SERVPRO of Palo Alto believes in educating our customers on the importance of fire prevention with the top five tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Do not leave your cooking unattended, especially when frying, grilling, or broiling food. The stove should be turn off if you must leave, even for a short period of time
  • Portable heaters should be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Inspect electrical cord and replace any that are cracked, damage or broken.
  • Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn.
  • Have an escape plan.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we believe in the importance of being prepared, which is why we provide our customers with an Emergency Ready Profile. Our SERVPRO professionals can assist you in developing an ERP plan which contains crucial information needed in the event of an emergency occurring.

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto for more information on fire prevention and for any fire restoration needs at 650-800-3448 today!

Commercial Water Damage Restoration in Palo Alto

12/15/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage in Palo Alto

Complexity of Commercial Water Damage

Flooding and water damage events at commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response from a reliable water restoration company. These water damage events are oftentimes more complex than residential ones, which is why you need experts trained in commercial water loss to quickly and effectively deal with the damage.

Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, SERVPRO of Palo Alto works quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

SERVPRO of Palo Alto professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after water damage, fire damage, and smoke & soot damage. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge and advanced equipment to restore your property. SERVPRO of Palo Alto serves the following Bay Area locations: Palo Alto, Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and Stanford.

If you have experienced a water damage on your property, call us now at 650-800-3448!

Quality Fire Damage Restoration Services for Bay Area Homes & Businesses

12/14/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto restores fire damage in Bay Area cities like Palo Alto

Damage caused by a fire is devastating for home and business owners in the Bay Area, particularly in Palo Alto, Stanford, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park. It’s a stressful and confusing time, so you’ll need caring experts to guide you through this crisis, from beginning to end. Our damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto will always treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always handle your home and belongings with great care. We can recover many of your belongings that you may have thought lost forever. 

Home or business owners can be caught off guard by a sudden fire emergency. It’s important not to delay and discuss available coverage with your insurance company, in addition to taking the appropriate steps to limit the losses you might experience in case of an emergency situation. SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you deal with your insurance company, and assist you with the paperwork involved in your claim, making the process as stress-free and efficient as possible.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire damage to help you through this tough time. We can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition, so you can enjoy your home again. SERVPRO uses the latest damage restoration technology, including water extractors, moisture detectors, and air moving equipment to effectively dry areas affected by firefighting efforts.

Rely on SERVPRO of Palo Alto for fire damaging events to your property. We are available 24/7, including holidays. Call us at 650-800-3448 today!

Fire Damage to Your Bay Area Commercial Property? Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto!

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

Let SERVPRO of Palo Alto help you after a fire at your business

Fire damage on your commercial property can be emotionally and financially devastating.  At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we understand that every hour spent in the cleanup and fire restoration process of your business means lost revenue and productivity. This is why SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a trusted emergency restoration company that will walk you through the entire process by dealing with your insurance company as well as your preferences for your business restoration.

After a fire occurs, make sure to notify your insurance agent so you can begin itemizing your losses. You want to be sure to understand your options and go over your policy carefully in order to make the right decisions. We will help you through your insurance paperwork and manage your property’s fire restoration process from start to finish. Our goal at SERVPRO of Palo Alto is to have your business restored quickly and efficiently.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto gives you access to IICRC-industry certified technicians.  Our highly trained staff have several years of experience assisting business owners just like you with excellent service. Regardless of how the fire began, or what materials exist in the affected area, you want to have the right company for the job. Restoring your property after a fire damage, can be a lengthy and confusing process. For these events, you will need professionals that are on your side to walk you through the necessary steps to restore your property. We will treat your property as if it were ours, with respect and care.

To increase the chances of having your business restored successfully, trust SERVPRO of Palo Alto to cleanup and restore your commercial property. Our SERVPRO of Palo Alto professionals, have the resources to help you take control of your business again. We provide fire restoration & smoke restoration (remediating smoke damage or soot damage). Have questions about fire, smoke, or soot damage to your business? Call us today at 650-800-3448.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Customer Testimonial

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

Expert Technicians Take Care of Water Damage

No one wants to need our damage restoration services. If we are helping you, it means you have had a smoke damage or water damage from things like a candle or a toilet overflow. But, SERVPRO® of Palo Alto is here to help you make it “Like it never even happened.”

A recent customer had this to say, “Through the whole process SERVPRO® of Palo Alto has been outstanding. Very helpful, one of the greatest teams to work with.” We know that you hope never to need our services, but we hope that we can make the process of water restoration, fire restoration, smoke and soot restoration, or mold mitigation as painless and as easy for you as possible.

Water damage is never fun, but SERVPRO® of Palo Alto is here to assist you 24/7, 365, so call us at 650-800-3448.

Common Causes of Water Damage

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Can Help With Water Damage

Water damage can occur when excess water begins to pool in areas where it shouldn’t. There are many different factors that can contribute to excess water that can cause water damage. When you are aware of what may cause water damage, you can take precautionary measures to help ensure you take the proper precautions against a leak or flood. Plus, you'll also be able to spot a problem as soon as it becomes apparent and minimize the chance of any additional damage. The more quickly you notice the problem, the less work a water damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto will have to do to restore your home or business.

Causes of water damage include:

  • Bursting or leaking pipes
  • Issues with the plumbing system
  • Buildup in areas prone to collecting water, such as crawl spaces, attics and basements
  • Faulty or malfunctioning household appliances
  • HVACs (Heating, ventilating and air conditioning units) issues
  • Natural disasters and other weather-related water problems

If you have a water damage event at your home or business, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 today!

Pride in Our Work

12/7/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Takes Care of Water Damage

When it comes to damage restoration, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has proudly been serving the Bay Area, including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Atherton, Redwood City, and Portola Valley for over five years. In that time, we have gained the trust of hundreds of residential and business customers who have faced damage restoration needs due to water damage, fire damage, smoke and soot damage, and mold.

As an IICRC Certified Firm, SERVPRO of Palo Alto IICRC certified technicians set themselves apart through training, experience, and comprehensive examination. An IICRC Certified Firm must first employ one or more IICRC certified technicians, and apply with the IICRC to become a Certified Firm. Certified Firms are the only cleaning, restoration and inspection companies listed in the IICRC locator. They also promise to adhere to the IICRC Code of Ethics, be current in their business insurance and licensee requirements, and can proudly display the IICRC logo on their company website and vehicles.

Customers love us! Our multiple five-star reviews across various sites like Facebook, Yelp, and Google show how seriously SERVPRO of Palo Alto is dedicated to making it "Like it never even happened."

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto today for exceptional damage restoration service day or night at (650) 800-3448!

SERVPRO Offers Quick Assistance to Homeowners

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Takes Care of Residential Water Damage

SERVPRO of Palo Alto responded to a major water main break in Menlo Park. This unfortunate event affected six homes on two adjacent streets near Downtown Menlo Park. Two homes had been severely damaged. Our team arrived within an hour and immediately started to extract the groundwater that had seeped through the homes' foundations. There was over two feet of water in the unfinished crawlspaces of two of the homes.

Our crew worked efficiently to get the water out rapidly in order to prevent further damage. Water was extracted and pumped out. We made sure no other possible damage could occur from the standing water.

Our expert team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto installed our equipment dehumidifiers and air movers to dry out the framing under the homes. Over the next several days, we continued to work the other homes that needed our help with their flooding, damaged contents, damaged drywall, and flooring. 

If you ever experience a water damage event, call us for quick assistance to prevent further damage!

Contact us at (650) 800-3448. No job is ever too big for us at SERVPRO of Palo Alto!

How SERVPRO Can Help You Recover After Fire Damage

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

Many homeowners experiencing a fire damage event don't know what to do, where to begin, or how to rebuild or recuperate from such a loss. Many will be displaced for months while their homes are being completely rebuilt, and some will be facing partial reconstruction and major cleanup.

The first thing you should do after such a loss is speak with your insurance company. Clarify your policy, and hopefully your loss will be covered. Something to think about while writing up a policy (and prior to a natural disaster) is documenting your contents before such a loss can ravage your home. Taking pictures of your furniture, electronics, major belongings and creating lists of your valuables can literally save you when you are trying to recoup your losses and make an insurance claim of what has been damaged or burnt.

If you are one of the lucky ones where the fire didn't completely consume your home, your insurance company will suggest calling a professional fire cleanup and restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto. For homeowners in Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and North Fair Oaks, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you throughout the entire process. We will work closely with you and your insurance claims representatives to clean up your home and contents, salvage what is salvageable, and inventory what is determined to be a total loss. We will remove the heavy smoke odor from your property and belongings and coordinate dry cleaners and other relevant contractors who can help repair your home. We will treat you and your property with great care and respect throughout the process.

Our fire services include:

  • Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
    Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)
  • Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
  • Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
  • Cleaning and Repair
  • Fire Restoration

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire, water and mold damage. At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we treat our customers with empathy and respect. Call us at 650-800-3448 today!

SERVPRO Can Help After Tragedy

12/2/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Technicians Trained to Clean Biohazardous Substances

Experiencing the loss of a loved one can be emotionally devastating. And it is especially tough when you lose your loved one due to suicide or homicide. SERVPRO of Palo Alto understands the challenges that occur during these difficult times. Some of the most traumatic situations may be of a suicide, death, or crime scene. If such incidents were to happen, a human body begins to decompose almost immediately, causing an overwhelming situation that may become a health hazard.

SERVPRO has trained professionals to address and effectively clean biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA and state and local health regulations. Not doing so, may result in an uninhabitable home with the effects of airborne bacteria, odor, and biohazard material.

SERVPRO is there for you to help make the process as easy as possible, considering the difficulty of such situations. We provide cleanup services to individual families, property managers, and other commercial accounts. Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto to get expert help in biohazard cleanup at 650-800-3448.

Choosing a Reliable Restoration Company in Palo Alto

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

Northern California Firestorms

We hear the question: Why SERVPRO? often. And we have the answer for you.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has been serving Palo Alto, Atherton, Redwood City, Stanford, and Menlo Park for five years and has helped countless clients, from homeowners to commercial property managers keep their properties well-maintained and restored as needed.

Currently, SERVPRO of Palo Alto is assisting home and business owners in Northern California whose properties have suffered from the extensive wildfire season. We are dealing with insurance companies and helping people get back on their feet and back into their homes and businesses. Our mostly five-star reviews and trust from repeat clients is a testament to our commitment and expertise at water, fire, mold, and smoke & soot restoration. Our expertly trained technicians are certified and dedicated to the customer.

Have you been affected by the current wildfire season and need fire or water restoration? Then call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 and get immediate assistance today!

Water Damage Restoration After Fire

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto for water and fire damage

With the current fires occurring in Northern and Southern California, not only will the property owners will have suffered fire damage, but they will also suffer water damage from the firefighters' efforts to put out the fire.

When you experience fire damage compounded by water damage, you need a top restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto. Our expert technicians will be out to your property within hours to minimize damage and set up proprietary equipment to get your property and your life back on track as soon as possible. We even work directly with your insurance company to give you one less headache.

If you experience fire and/or water damage, call the experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 today! We will be with you every step of the way.

Prepping for a Palo Alto Power Outage

10/17/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Can Help with Damage Caused by Power Outages

The American Red Cross encourages that each household and car have a preparedness kit, but sadly only 51.5% of US homes reportedly have an emergency kit ready. Here at SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we’re passionate about preparedness. As we head into the 2019 storm season, we recommend homes and businesses prepare power outage kits for the instance they find themselves without power.

Kits should include things like water, canned food, a can opener, flashlights and batteries. Food and water rations should be enough for each person in your household or place of business for 5 days.

To start a power outage kit, grab an old backpack or duffle and add in plenty of bottled water, battery-operated radio and clock, flashlight for each member of your household including extra batteries, non-electric can opener, list of emergency phone numbers including family and friends and a first aid kit.

September was National Preparedness month, and SERVPRO of Palo Alto recommends that learn more about how to prepare for disaster.

Should disaster, like water damage from a dishwasher leak or pipe break, affect your home, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto today at (650) 800-3448.

Small Leaks Can Cause Big Damage

10/16/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Takes Care of Water Damage Due to Leaks

When you think of water damage, the first thing that comes to mind is an image of severe flooding with cars floating down the street and a basement fully immersed in water. Rain and flooding do cost business and home owners tens of millions of dollars in repairs annually, but a slow and persistent water leak can also lead to catastrophic damage if not addressed in a timely manner. Here are the consequences of allowing a slow leak to continue.

Structure Damage

Your home relies on wood and metal materials. Water can weaken wood and corrode metal. Over time, this weakening can lead to floors buckling and walls and ceilings collapsing.

Sheetrock is also prone to water damage. The gypsum materials in sheetrock can act as a sponge, drawing in the water and weakening the walls. This is also prime breeding ground for mold growth.

Untreated brick and concrete are also susceptible to damage. Continued exposure to water can cause cracks and erosion. If the water freezes and then thaws out, the damage left can be severe, requiring expensive and extensive repairs to the foundation.

Flooring and fixtures

Water can weaken the backing of your carpeting and rugs and make them more susceptible to damage. Additionally, carpeting is not intended to get wet and can attract mold, mildew and insects when it is not dried out right away.

Constant leaks can also cause corrosive damage to metal fixtures such as sink and shower heads. The constant water can cause decay over time to rubber gaskets and cause the water pressure to decrease.

In the bathroom, an unattended leak can lead to loosening tiles in your shower or countertops. Leaks in the kitchen can lead to buckling floors and discoloration.

Mold & Other Pests

When water is allowed to remain stagnant for any period of time, it begins to attract mold, insects and germs. If a wet environment is allowed to remain in your home, airborne pathogens and mold will be attracted to it.

Financially Devastating    

Water damage becomes especially expensive when attempting to sell your home. It’s better to be proactive now, than to wait until the 11th hour when your home is already on the market. Home inspectors are trained to look for water and mold damage and will document their findings, no matter how big or small, in their pre-sale inspection report. Potential buyers can use this report to offer substantially less than your asking price or, worse yet, abandon the deal altogether because they feel the home is too much trouble to repair.

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto, serving Palo Alto, Atherton, Redwood City, Stanford, and Menlo Park in the Bay Area

When your home has water damage from flooding or leaks, we have the expertise and equipment to properly restore your property. Our experience and scientific approach to water removal and water cleanup enable us to properly dry and restore your property. The restoration process begins when you call us. Our representative will guide you through the crisis and may ask several questions to help us better understand the situation and dispatch the appropriate equipment and resources. We determine the scope of your water damage at this stage. We inspect and test to determine the extent of damage and how far the moisture has traveled to ensure proper and complete restoration. Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto today at (650) 800-3448 to get the process started!

Types of Smoke and Fire Damage in Your Palo Alto Home

10/14/2019 (Permalink)

With fire damage, comes smoke and soot. Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. SERVPRO of Palo Alto's smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • 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.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. You may have water damage from the firefighting efforts that may have caused mold. For all your cleaning and restoration services, we have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?


Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto Today at (650) 800-3448 for 24-hour service, 365 days a year!

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is an IICRC Certified Firm

10/11/2019 (Permalink)

Choose an IICRC Certified Firm like SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration, and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke, or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

If you experience water damage and need help right away, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto for help today at (650) 800-3448.

Wildfire Danger Cuts Off Power to 800K Customers in Northern California

10/9/2019 (Permalink)

PG & E Power Outage

Because of firestorm danger, Pacific Gas & Electric is shutting off power to about 800,000 customers across Northern California to try to avoid wildfires caused by winds damaging power equipment, a historic move.

The first power cutoffs, which is expected to affect 513,000 customers, began shortly after midnight in several counties around Sacramento, amid strengthening winds and continued to roll out into the early morning hours.

The blackouts will affect 34 counties in Central and Northern California, including Santa Clara county. Cities like Palo Alto, Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and Stanford, areas that SERVPRO of Palo Alto serves. It would be the biggest power shutdown so far as utilities across the state attempt to reduce wildfire risk due to heavy wind. Utilities malfunctions have been tied to some of the state’s most destructive fires, including last year’s Camp fire, which devastated Paradise, Calif., and the 2017 fires in Sonoma and Napa Valley.

The outage could last a week. Do you know if you'll be affected? Check out the outage map here.

Commercial Large Loss Restoration in the Bay Area

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

Large loss restoration at a Palo Alto business

When a commercial large loss occurs, it's important to mobilize professional help from restoration experts like SERVPRO of Palo Alto ASAP.

Our experts work with you with a sense of urgency and respect for your business's needs. We are onsite within several hours and create a plan to tackle your large loss. No matter the type of loss, our expert team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the resources to handle the restoration and provide guidance and regular updates throughout the process.

From beginning to end, we work with you and your company and keep you informed at every step of the restoration process to get your business up and running as quickly as possible.

We understand communication is vital, which is why we conduct initial “walk throughs” to assess the damage. We determine customer needs and goals, and communicate regularly to give you the reassurance you need to know your business is being well-take care of. At the end of a large loss restoration, SERVPRO of Palo Alto follow ups with a final walkthrough to ensure we made it "Like it never even happened."

Experienced a large water or fire loss at your business? Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto today at (650) 800-3448!

Commercial HVAC System Maintenance in Bay Area

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial HVAC System Maintenance in the Bay Area

For business owners in the Bay Area, it’s possible to overlook certain aspects of building or office space such as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC system). When these systems are not properly maintained, they can accumulate dust, pollen, and other debris.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.” It’s very important to maintain clean ducts in order to maintain a healthy environment for your business.

When these ducts are not given the maintenance that they require, the HVAC system may begin to fail and waste unnecessary energy that can cost you. Keeping your air ducts clean can save you and your business money. HVAC systems may also leak and cause water damage and mold damage that can weaken the structure of your property. These damages can produce odors throughout your business and can be unpleasant for the employees and guests.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to help you maintain your HVAC system, extending the life of your equipment and keeping business costs down. Don’t wait to call our experts on commercial air ducts and HVAC cleaning at 650-800-3448.

Contractors Benefit from SERVPRO of Palo Alto Clean-up Services

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

Let SERVPRO of Palo Alto help with remodeling clean-up

Many homeowners in the Bay Area are remodeling or rebuilding their properties, and new housing is being created as well. Contractors have been very busy due to the current remodeling boom.

Construction and remodeling projects create a lot of debris and the work area may be a dusty and dirty mess after the project has been completed. With everything else on their plate, thoroughly cleaning a job site may be the last thing a busy construction company needs to deal with. This is the time to call SERVPRO of Palo Alto.

This work can involve much more than cleaning. All debris, boxes, nails, tape, and boxes need to be removed. Construction dust will need to be removed and all surfaces thoroughly cleaned. With our clean-up experts, we can have your remodeling job looking sparkling and ready for move-in or use by owners or tenants!

If you are a contractor who needs clean-up services, SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help! Give us a call today to discuss our construction cleaning services at (650) 800-3448.

Round-the-Clock Water Emergency Restoration Service

10/6/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Restoration in Palo Alto

Water Damage in Palo Alto

9/30/2019

SERVPRO of Palo Alto, one of the Bay Area's top water and fire restoration companies, is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, you need to take action immediately, since a delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity (and cost!) of the water damage.

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an experienced company to guide you through both the crisis and the water restoration process. SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call us, we'll ask a few questions about your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO technicians may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your Palo Alto, Atherton, Stanford, Redwood City, and Menlo Park property. Call us at 650-800-3448 today!

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Takes Care of Your Fire Damage

10/1/2019 (Permalink)

Many homeowners in Palo Alto, Atherton, Menlo Park, Redwood City, North Fair Oaks, and Stanford who experience a fire damage event don't know what to do, where to begin, or how to rebuild or recuperate from such a loss. Many will be displaced for weeks or months at a time while their homes are being completely rebuilt or will face partial reconstruction and major cleanup.

The first thing you should do after such a loss is speak with your insurance company. Educate yourself on your policy and loss coverage.

Something to think about while writing up a policy (and prior to a natural disaster) is documenting your contents before such a loss can ravage your home. Taking pictures of your furniture, electronics, major belongings, in addition to creating lists of your valuables can literally save you thousands when you are trying to recoup your losses and make an insurance claim on damages.

If you are one of the lucky ones where the fire didn't completely consume your home, your insurance company will suggest calling a professional fire cleanup and restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto. For homeowners in Palo Alto, Stanford, Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and North Fair Oaks, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you throughout the entire process. We work closely with you and your insurance claims representatives to clean up your home and contents, salvage what is salvageable, and inventory what is determined to be a total loss. We will remove the heavy smoke odor from your property and belongings and coordinate dry cleaners and other relevant contractors who can help repair your home. We will treat you and your property with great care and respect throughout the process. Our fire services include:

  • Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
  • Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)
  • Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
  • Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
  • Cleaning and Repair
  • Fire Restoration

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire, water and mold damage. 

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we treat our customers with empathy and respect. Call us at 650-800-3448 if you need the best in the business when it comes to fire restoration!

Natural Disaster Preparation in the Bay Area

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Due to Storms

A tornado touching down in Davis, California reminds us in the Bay Area that we need to be prepared for what Mother Nature can throw at us at any moment. It is also a good reminder to review your current homeowners insurance policy. Although California doesn't often experience tornadoes, SERVPRO of Palo Alto reminds you to always be prepared. California has been impacted by tropical storms that have caused major flooding and property damage.

Here are some tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in order to protect your home in case of a severe storm:

  • Cover all windows with precut plywood or hurricane shutters to protect from high winds.
  • Keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed.
  • Turn off utilities and propane tanks as instructed.
  • Ensure supply of water for sanitary purposes.
  • Keep an emergency backpack available to quickly grab if you need to.


SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers 24-hour emergency service, 365 days a year. Reach us at 650-800-3448 day or night!

How to Build an Emergency Kit in Palo Alto, California

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

What to Have in Your Emergency Kit

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

If you have an emergency and need immediate service, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at 650-800-3448 anytime day or night.

Water Damage Prevention Checklist: Before You Go on Vacation

6/6/2019 (Permalink)

Vacation Water Damage

There's nothing worse than returning to your Palo Alto, Redwood City, Atherton, or Menlo Park home from a relaxing vacation to a water and mold. You may find soggy wood flooring, moldy drywall and carpets. It's the perfect way to ruin a vacation that you just took.

But if you just take a few precautions BEFORE you go, you can avert a potentially major catastrophe and save money in water damage restoration and mold remediation and removal. You simply turn off all the relevant water valves in your home, before you go away.

good tip is to have a friend perform an occasional walk-through of your home in your absence.

Check out this water prevention checklist from your friends at SERVPRO of Palo Alto.

Water Damage Prevention Checklist

  • Check Water Supply Lines on Household Appliances

    Some of the most common causes of residential water damage can be attributed to faulty household appliances like washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers. Check all the relevant water supply lines to ensure that there are no breaks or leaks.

  • Check Plumbing

    Inspect all the pipes in your home, especially those located under the sink(s) for evidence of leaks. If you find any leaks, no matter how small, call a plumber to quickly and efficiently rectify the problem. If there are no leaks, turn off any relevant water valves throughout the house such as those relevant to your sink(s), toilet(s) and bathtub(s).

  • Bonus Tip:

    Depending on the season, you may want to leave the cupboards open to encourage and maintain pipes at ambient temperature, thereby preventing possible freezing and bursting of pipes. 

  • Turn off the Main Water Supply Valve

    Alternatively, you can turn off the main water supply valve to your home, so as to discontinue the flow of any water through your pipes in your absence.

  • Note:

    It is imperative the every adult member of your household knows where the main water supply valve is located in your home, because water damage mishaps can occur at anytime, even when your home is occupied. Should that ever happen, knowing where the main water supply valve is will make the difference all the difference in the magnitude of potential water damage to your home.

  • Unplug electronic devices and household appliances

    In an effort to prevent a short in the electric circuit of your home, (should there be water intrusion in your absence), unplug electronic devices like computers, printers, televisions as well as household appliances like washers, dryers, and dishwashers. Do not unplug the refrigerator unless you decide to empty it out.

  • Fire Hazards

    Address any potential fire hazards, before you go! Don’t leave flammable items in your home, especially during the summer months, because if there should be a fire, your indoor sprinkler may become activated, thereby leading to water damage and subsequent mold infestation.

  • Put the water heater in vacation mode

    When you put the water heater in vacation mode, the water inside the pipes is maintained at ambient temperature, thereby drastically minimizing the chance that the pipes might freeze and possibly burst.

  • Make sure the gutters are clean

    Clogged and/or damaged gutters and downspouts act as a potential gateway for water intrusion into your home while you are away.

  • Inspect your windows

    Paying extra attention to any sky-windows, check the seals around your windows in your home. Caulk if necessary.

  • Roof Shingles

    Finally, be mindful of the fact that damaged roof shingles have the tendency to serve as a significant point of entry for water intrusion into your home. Therefore, if you spot any damage, arrange to have it repaired, before you go!

If you do happen to experience water damage, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. We will make it "Like it never even happened."

Fire Safety Facts & Prevention Tips for the Bay Area

3/8/2019 (Permalink)

Keep safe with these fire safety tips.

FIRE SAFETY FACTS

Each year, more than 4,000 Americans die in fires, more than 25,000 are injured in fires, and more than 100 firefighters are killed while on duty. Eighty three percent of all civilian fire deaths occurred in residences. Many of these fires could have been prevented.

Cooking is the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people ages 65 and older.

Direct loss due to fires is estimated at nearly $8.6 billion annually. Intentionally set structure fires resulted in an estimated $664 million in property damage.

In order to protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire.

  • Fire is FAST. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

  • Fire is DARK. Fire produces gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three- to- one ratio.

  • Fire is HOT. Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super- hot air can sear your lungs.

    FIRE PREVENTION TIPS

    BEFORE A FIRE

    The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family, and your property in the event of a fire:

    SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS

  • Install smoke alarms. Properly working smoke alarms decrease your chances of dying in a fire by half.

  • Place smoke alarms on every level of your residence, including the basement.

  • Install a working carbon monoxide detector in the common area of the bedrooms.

  • Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year. Replace smoke

    alarms once every 10 years.

    COOKING SAFETY

    • Never leave cooking unattended.

    • Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook.

    • Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames

    • Never use the range or oven to heat your home.

      ESCAPING THE FIRE

• Have an escape plan. Review escape routes with your family.

  • Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut.

  • Teach family members to stay low to the floor, where the air is safer, when escaping from a fire.

  • In high-rise, never lock fire exits or doorways, halls or stairways. Never prop stairway or other fire

    doors open.

    HEATING SOURCE

  • Place space heaters at least three feet away from flammable/combustible materials.

  • Use only the type of fuel designated for your space heater.

    MATCHES/LIGHTERS AND SMOKING

  • Keep matches/lighters away from children.

  • Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated.

  • If you must smoke, do it responsibly.

    ELECTRICAL WIRING

  • Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs

  • Make sure outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring.

  • Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails, or across high traffic areas.

  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets.

    ASK THE FIRE DEPARTMENT TO INSPECT YOUR HOME FOR FIRE SAFETY AND PREVENTION

    DURING A FIRE

    If your clothes catch on fire, you should:

• Stop, drop, and roll until the fire is extinguished.

DO NOT PANIC

• Do not assume someone else already called the fire department get out of the house then call the Fire Department.

ESCAPE A FIRE

  • Check closed doors with the back of your hand to feel for heat before you open them.

  • If the door is hot do not open it. Find a second way out, such as a window. If you cannot escape

    through a window, hang a white sheet outside the window to alert firefighters to your presence.

  • Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, rags, bedding or tape and cover vents to keep smoke

    out.

  • If there is a phone in the room where you are trapped, call the fire department again and tell them

    exactly where you are.

  • If the door is cold slowly open it and ensure that fire and/or smoke is not blocking your escape

route. If your escape route is blocked, shut the door and use another escape route.

• If clear, leave immediately and close the door behind you. Be prepared to crawl.AFTER A FIRE

  • Once you are out of the building, STAY OUT! Do not go back inside for any reason.

  • If you are with a burn victim or are a burn victim yourself call 911, cool and cover your burns until

    emergency units arrive.

  • If you are a tenant contact the landlord.

  • Tell the fire department if you know of anyone trapped in the building.

  • Only enter when the fire department tells you it is safe to do so.

SERVPRO's Commercial HVAC System Cleaning Services

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO can maintain your HVAC system.

If you own a business, you wear many hats and complete hundreds of tasks on a daily basis. t’s possible to overlook certain aspects of your building or office space such as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC system) when you're busy running your business. However, when these heating and cooling systems are not properly maintained, they can accumulate dust, pollen, and other debris, causing expensive problems down the line.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.” It’s very important to maintain clean ducts in order to maintain a healthy environment for your business.

When these ducts are not given the maintenance that they require, the HVAC system may begin to fail and waste unnecessary energy that can cost you. Keeping your air ducts clean can save you and your business money. HVAC systems may also leak and cause water damage and mold damage that can weaken the structure of your property. These damages can produce odors throughout your business and can be unpleasant for the employees and guests.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. We can help you maintain your HVAC system, which can extend the life of your equipment.

Call our SERVPRO of Palo Alto experts on commercial air ducts and HVAC cleaning at (650) 800-3448 today!

Rainstorms in Bay Area Continue

3/5/2019 (Permalink)

Rain in Bay Area

Widespread rain in the Bay Area, including in Palo Alto, Atherton, Redwood City, Stanford, and Menlo Park, continues and is expected to continue through at least Friday, March 8th, bringing at least three inches of rain.

While no major flooding is expected in the Bay Area, the weather service warned that “minor nuisance flooding may occur Tuesday night and Wednesday” given the already saturated soils.

“Rivers, streams, and creeks will experience rises, but most should remain in their banks,” the weather service wrote in its daily forecast Tuesday.

Once the heaviest downpours clear, scattered showers are likely through Friday morning, Dykema said.

A storm system coming in from the northwest could bring more rain this weekend, but at this point most of the moisture is expected to remain offshore.

Early next week, a ridge if high pressure is expected to build, which will keep the Bay Area dry at least for a couple of days.

Rainfall totals across California for the water year that began Oct. 1 are mostly above average for this time of year, including Redding (28.17 inches, or 112 percent of its historical average), San Francisco (20.02 inches, 109 percent), Oakland (15.71 inches or 100 percent), and San Jose (12.63 inches, 108 percent).

When water damage occurs due to excessive rain and flooding like we've been experiencing, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 day or night. We'll make water damage "Like it never even happened."

Protect Against Rainstorm Damage

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

Santa Clara County Rainstorms

The heavy rains and horrific mudslides that devastated large swathes of Montecito in Santa Barbara County last January left death and destruction in their wake as mud and debris swept through the streets, leaving 21 people dead and thousands of homes and businesses damaged. Because all of California has experienced rain storms at one time or another (including the heavy rains last winter in Northern California, causing thousands in San Jose and surrounding areas to evacuate), water damage preparedness is essential to protecting what we hold dear.

What does this tell us, as residents of Santa Clara County, including those of us in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City? It tells us that we need to be prepared at all times for water damage that can occur due to heavy rains in Northern California by taking several key steps. In addition, we also need to have a reliable restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto to assist in damage restoration and water mitigation after the fact.

How can homeowners and business owners protect their property from water damage in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City? There are several steps to take to minimize water damage due to heavy rains and winds.

First, make sure to maintain clean gutters. Clear your gutters of leaves and twigs that may have accumulated throughout the year. Do this at least twice a year, if not more. If you don’t keep your gutters clean, debris build-up slows the flow of water to the drains and leads to overflowing.

Another important step to take when safeguarding your home or business against water damage is protecting against electricity issues. During heavy rainstorms, it’s imperative to make sure that all electrical appliances are stored or moved upstairs, where water is can’t reach them. Don’t go near the fuse box and ensure that all sockets are covered and turned off. Water and electricity can cause major problems.

Next, don’t forget to check your sealant. Make sure that any gaps or holes in the sealant surrounding your doors and windows are filled in, especially if you live in an area that gets hammered by heavy downpours. Otherwise, rain will seep into the building, causing all sorts of problems requiring water damage mitigation. Inspect your sealant regularly, because regular upkeep will greatly reduce the impact of sealant erosion.

Cover air vents. As you may have already experienced, air vents are one of the most common ways that water can get into a house or business. If the forecast calls for heavy rain, or if you’re at risk of flooding, make sure that you cover your air vents from both the outside and the inside with thick plastic sheeting.

What happens if you take these protective measures before heavy rains hit and you still have water damage? Sometimes, no matter what you do, Mother Nature can still cause water damage (or mold damage due to water damage) requiring water restoration, mold restoration and mold mitigation in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City. Not all is lost. First call a reputable damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto. SERVPRO of Palo Alto’s expertly trained restoration technicians are trained to take care of water damage and mold mitigation due to flash flooding and heavy rains. They serve the following areas of Santa Clara County: Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, and have taken on water damage jobs both large and small. In addition, their customers give SERVPRO of Palo Alto excellent reviews for their quick, efficient, and high-quality water restoration work and mold mitigation work.

Here’s what one happy SERVPRO of Palo Alto customer has to say about her experience with water damage and subsequent water damage mitigation performed by SERVPRO:

“These guys are the best at what they do... I had major water damage in my house and they came in right away with a plan to address the issue.  Jessie was my project manager, absolutely wonderful and professional. He was there for me every step of the way, answered all of my calls no matter the time, could not have asked for a better manager to handle my situation.  I highly recommend Jessie and his team. Thank you guys, could not have gotten through my terrible situation without you!!” - Mary L., Newark, CA

Get your property ready for heavy rainstorms that inevitably occur in our area of Santa Clara County. Then, call us today for a quick, no-cost estimate for any water damage, large or small, that needs water restoration at (650) 800-3448.

Protect Your Bay Area Home from Rainstorm Flooding

2/20/2019 (Permalink)

Heavy rain in California

The entire state of California, including Northern California and the Bay Area, is experiencing historic rainfall this winter.

As you already know, if you’re a homeowner in Palo Alto, Atherton, Stanford, Menlo Park, or Redwood City, you have the responsibility to protect your home from both natural disasters like our current rainstorms in addition to made-made water damage issues. While you can’t predict natural disasters like flooding, you can help protect your home from water damage due to severe rains and floods. According to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, floods are the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the U.S., and no state is immune to the effects of flash flooding. Flash flooding happens everywhere, causing water damage requiring water restoration and mold mitigation services (because water leads to mold damage) including in places like Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, California.

Heavy rains have hit Santa Clara County, California hard this winter. Here are a few tips from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, or IBHS, that you, as a Bay Area homeowner, can help use to protect your home from flooding to help minimize water damage that can cause ruined carpets, wrecked appliances, and irreversibly damaged family heirlooms and keepsakes. Just one inch of water can cause significant damage. One inch!

Before taking any of the steps below, you need to first find out your home’s flood level, which is an official measure of how high floodwaters could rise where you live. You’ll find this information by checking the online flood maps on FEMA’s website or by asking your home insurance agent.

Safeguard in-home electrical and climate systems
It’s important to safeguard your electrical and climate systems. Make sure to raise switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring at least a foot above the expected flood level in your area. And don’t forget to modify your furnace and water heater so they sit above your property’s flood level instead of at or below it.

Anchor and raise outdoor power equipment
Again, you have to think of your property’s flood level. Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units, and power generators should be anchored and raised above your flood level. If not, unanchored fuel tanks can break free, and severed supply lines will contaminate surrounding ground, creating an even larger problem. Any electrical power units and generators should never sit on the ground. Water will render them useless.

Modify water valves
A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up into your home, which is both distressing and dangerous to your family’s health. Install an interior or exterior backflow valve to prevent the sewage from spreading all over your house. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, or FLASH, recommends gate valves that you have to operate by hand. Their benefit is that they provide stronger seals than flap or check valves, which open automatically to allow water to flow out and then close when water tries to get in.Install these valves on all pipes entering the house, advises FLASH.

Figure out how water flows around your house
The angle of the ground (called slope or grading) can direct water to or away from your house. Obviously, it’s best if the home was built so that water drains away from the building, but that’s not the case for all homes, particularly older ones. Just check it out during a regular rainstorm to see how the water flows around your house.

  • Take on-the spot actions as soon as you anticipate flooding during a rainstorm
  • Clear gutters, drains and downspouts (This should be done regularly at least twice a year.) 
  • Move furniture, rugs, electronics and other belongings to upper floors, or at least raise them off a ground floor or out of a basement, if you have one. 
  • Shut off electricity at the breaker panel, and make sure everyone in the house knows how to do this!
  • Elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks if they’re potentially in harm’s way from flooding. You don’t want to have to repair or replace expensive appliances every time there’s a major rainstorm.


What happens if you take most of these actions during heavy rains and still have water damage? Don't fret. First call a reputable damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto. SERVPRO of Palo Alto’s expertly trained restoration technicians are trained to take care of water damage and mold mitigation due to flash flooding and heavy rains. They serve the following areas of Santa Clara County: Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, and have taken on water damage jobs both large and small. In addition, their customers give SERVPRO of Palo Alto excellent reviews for their quick, efficient, and high-quality water restoration work and mold mitigation work. Call us today for a quick, no-cost estimate at (650) 800-3448!

Commercial Rodent Droppings Cleanup

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto cleaned, disinfected, and deodorized this property affected by rodent droppings.

Often times, SERVPRO of Palo Alto gets calls for rodent droppings cleanup after the rodents have been exterminated. Although the rodents might be gone, the bacteria, diseases and hazards from their droppings can still pose health issues if not taken care of properly. Offices, restaurant kitchens, HVAC systems, storage closets, warehouse shelving, can all be possible areas where rodents can infest with droppings. Customers, employees and visitors can pose serious health concerns if they are exposed to biological and chemical contaminants.

Failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments.SERVPRO of Palo Alto is equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products to treat these unhealthy environments. Our specialists are trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.

Proper cleaning and sanitation for businesses is necessary and SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help you clean this up. We provide cleanup and recovery services for any biohazard situation. Call us directly at 650-800-3448 to help you rid your business of droppings that can cost you money.

Holiday Fire Prevention Tips

12/12/2018 (Permalink)

Holiday Fire Hazard in Palo Alto, California

Holiday Safety Tips


It's the happiest time of the year! During this time of the year, there are carolers singing, egg nog, bright lights, tasty food, chilly weather, and shopping for presents.

With all these fun and festive things going on, it is easy to forget that this time of year lends itself to some very real fire hazards. Surprisingly, statistics show that residential fires are more costly and property loss is 34% greater during the holidays rather than any other time of the year. As a gift from your local neighborhood SERVPRO, here are a few tips to make sure your holiday is the merriest and safest it can be.

Kitchen

  • Keep a multi-grade fire extinguisher handy for a variety of fires.
  • Check the smoke detectors for operable batteries.
  • If you are going to deep fry your turkey, make sure it is on a flat surface and at least 10 feet away outside from your home.
  • If you are multitasking while you are cooking, make sure you have a cooking utensil in hand to remind you that something is on the stove.

Candles

  • Maintain at least a foot between the candle and anything flammable in all directions.
  • Before going to bed, make sure all candles are put out and never leave a flame unattended. However, if you prefer a low light setting, rather than use candles, switch to LED powered candles.

Christmas Trees

  • Try to purchase a fresh cut tree with one that has all of its pine needles intact.
  • Purchase a tree base that has room for you to water your tree every day.
  • Watered trees will last longer and will typically dry out after 4 weeks.
  • Remember to take your tree out as soon as possible after the holidays to prevent unwanted accidents. Dry trees are the easiest to catch on fire.

Decorative Lights

  • Inspect light strings for cracks and/or fraying.
  • Inspect light sockets for broken and exposed filaments.
  • Do not run three strings from end to end, but instead, stack them because it is safer.
  • Do not use nails or staples to hang your lights. Instead, use UL-Rated clips and hangers.
  • Take lights down after the holidays to prevent squirrels from chewing on your cables and environmental damage.

The Fireplace

  • Have your chimney inspected for collected soot that hardens after every use of your fireplace. If it needs to be cleaned, do so before you use it.
  • Do not start a fire for your fireplace with wrapping paper or liquids; only use seasonal firewood.
  • Set a screen in front of your fireplace to prevent the embers from your cozy fire does not damage or spark a fire to your items such as a rug or other flammables.
  • Set extinguished embers in a metal container outside for at least 24 hours before throwing away.

If you have any questions, concerns, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448!

Most importantly, we are available for emergency services of any accidents or inconvenient mishaps 24/7.

From our family here at SERVPRO of Palo Alto to yours, we wish you a safe happy holidays!

Mold Mitigation Before and After in Palo Alto

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Let SERVPRO of Palo Alto take care of your mold mitigation needs!

Mold is no match for SERVPRO® of Palo Alto. Our damage restoration professionals use advanced water detection equipment to locate the source of the problem and remediate any mold or water damage using advanced proprietary equipment and products. Taking care of mold quickly is especially important, since mold can affect the health of your family.

SERVPRO® of Palo Alto has been serving the Palo Alto and surrounding community day in and day out. We are dedicated to helping our customers when disaster strikes and helping to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Are you concerned that your property might mold? We can help! We are ready 24/7, 365, call us at 650-800-3448 to help you today!

#SERVPROPaloAlto #SERVPRO #LikeItNeverEvenHappened #HereToHelp #ReBuildingStories

Smoke and Fire Damage in Your Palo Alto Home

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • 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.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. You may have water damage from the firefighting efforts that may have caused mold. For all your cleaning and restoration services, we have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?


Call Us Today – (650) 800-3448

SERVPRO Is Here for You

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Experiencing the loss of a loved one can be emotionally devastating. SERVPRO of Palo Alto understands the challenges that occur during these difficult times. Some of the most traumatic situations may be of a suicide, death, or crime scene. If such incidents were to happen, a human body begins to decompose almost immediately, causing an overwhelming situation that may become a health hazard.

SERVPRO has trained professionals to address and effectively clean biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA and state and local health regulations. Not doing so, may result in an uninhabitable home with the effects of airborne bacteria, odor, and biohazard material.

We provide cleanup services to individual families, property managers, and other commercial accounts. Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto to get expert help in biohazard cleanup at 650-800-3448. 

Palo Alto Elite Realtors Love SERVPRO of Palo Alto House Cleaning Services

11/27/2018 (Permalink)

Menlo Park home

In today's competitive real estate marketplace, sellers need to have all balls in their court when marketing a property. As you know, presentation is everything. Recently a homeowner in Menlo Park who was extremely concerned about the cleanliness and odor of his home because he was about to list it for sale. He hired SERVPRO of Palo Alto to help address the dust, debris, and odor from day-to-day living after 15 years, as well as the smell from four cats, birds, hamsters, and even a chinchilla!

The home definitely had a strong pet odor in it in some rooms. SERVPRO of Palo Alto cleaned the house from top to bottom, including windows, window screens, pressure washed the patio, cleaned and sanitized all the cabinets inside and out, and even completed the duct cleaning. To complete the process, we did a thermal fogging of the entire home with a neutralizing deodorizer.

The homeowner was more than ecstatic by the results of the cleaning and was happy to stage and put his home on the market. Weeks later the sale was pending. Clean homes sell faster. SERVPRO of Palo Alto cleans on the deepest level and will enhance your home's true value by making you shine and helping you sell your home at the highest price possible. If you're a homeowner or realtor in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Atherton, or Redwood City, call us today at (650) 800-3448 to help get your home on the market faster and get top dollar! 

Highly Rated Damage Restoration in Palo Alto

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a highly rated damage restoration company in the Bay Area. Because of its dedication to both employee happiness and customer satisfaction, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has gained the reputation of being one of the top fire and water restoration companies around.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in water damage resulting from floods, rainstorms, as well from human error and accidents. No one expects their pipes to burst or their toddler to leave the bathtub faucet on, flooding the bathroom or kitchen, but it happens more often than you would think.

We also do expert work in fire restoration and smoke and soot restoration. Because after a fire, the last thing you need is to worry about how you will take care of restoring your home after a fire. Fire damage also causes smoke and soot damage. With our advanced proprietary equipment and expertly trained and certified technicians, the fire damage to your home or commercial property will be taken care of "Like it never even happened."

If you have a fire damage event or water damage event, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 today!

Commercial Mold Remediation at Palo Alto Restaurant

11/6/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Damage in Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto got a call from a local restaurant that they suspected mold in one of their storage rooms. After using advanced proprietary equipment to detect the presence of mold, SERVPRO of Palo Alto determined there was mold and started on the mold remediation process right away.

Because the restaurant had previously experienced water damage that was not properly taken care of (they forgot to call SERVPRO of Palo Alto!), it created a mold situation that required mediation. The expertly trained technicians brought in their equipment and started to protect the rest of the premises from the effects of mold, in addition to keeping it from spreading and getting worse.

Mold mitigation (or mold remediation, as it's also called) in Palo Alto calls for a quick, professional response from a damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto. Serving the Bay Area communities of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City, Atherton, and Stanford, SERVPRO of Palo Alto gets five-star reviews for their work in water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, smoke and soot restoration, and in the case of this restaurant, mold mitigation.

If you suspect mold damage, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-2448 today

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Pride in Work

10/30/2018 (Permalink)

Water Restoration in Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has proudly been serving the Bay Area, including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Atherton, Redwood City, and Portola Valley for over five years. In that time, we have gained the trust of hundreds of customers who have faced damage restoration needs due to water damage, fire damage, smoke and soot damage, and mold.

As an IICRC Certified Firm, SERVPRO of Palo Alto IICRC certified technicians set themselves apart through training, experience, and comprehensive examination. An IICRC Certified Firm must first employ one or more IICRC certified technicians, and apply with the IICRC to become a Certified Firm. Certified Firms are the only cleaning, restoration and inspection companies listed in the IICRC locator. They also promise to adhere to the IICRC Code of Ethics, be current in their business insurance and licensee requirements, and can proudly display the IICRC logo on their company website and vehicles.

Our multiple five-star reviews across various review sites such as Yelp and Google show how seriously SERVPRO of Palo Alto is dedicated to making it "Like it never even happened."

Call today for exceptional damage restoration service at (650) 800-3448!

How Does Mold Remediation in Palo Alto Work?

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto takes care of your belongings.

When you discover mold in your home, there are lots of uncertainties and decisions to made. Can I take care of it myself? Do I need to hire a mold remediation company like SERVPRO® of Palo Alto? In most cases, it's best to call in restoration professionals like those at SERVPRO. They can assess the extent of the mold, propose a solution, and use advanced equipment and trained technicians to mitigate mold.

One area that is often overlooked are your possessions; your art, your clothing, your furniture and all your treasures. When your home has a loss such as fire or flooding from a kitchen fire or pipe break often times, mold can also be an issue with your possessions. Have they also been affected? They may need to be packed out for safekeeping during remediation and repairs.

SERVPRO® of Palo Alto have been helping customers since the beginning protect their treasures and family heirlooms. After a loss happens, we can inventory your contents and create a non-salvage list for those that are beyond repair, we can pack out and store your items in our secure, temperature controlled warehouse, provide a post construction clean after repairs and pack back all your contents, all to help you make it “Like it never even happened.”

If you discover mold in your home call us at 650-800-3448 for a quick and easy mold remediation process.

#SERVPROPaloAlto#SERVPRO #LikeItNeverEvenHappened #HereToHelp #ReBuildingStories

Apartment Complex Commercial Restoration Needs

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help with damage restoration to your apartment building or complex.

Property owners and managers have special considerations when managing an apartment complex or building when it comes to preventing and dealing with damage restoration.

In an apartment building, occupants share walls, often from the sides and from above and below. If water damage or fire damage occurs, it can get out of hand quickly, since water damage doesn't only affect one residence but multiple residences. You can never predict when an emergency situation will occur, but it’s in your best interest as a property manager, as well as in the best interest of your residents, to always be prepared for anything.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has some tips for you to prevent headaches, inconvenience, and potential loss of rental income. Take these measures today to help prevent water damage in the future.

  1. Check On Aging Appliances Regularly – If the property you manage includes a fridge, dishwasher, and/or washer/dryer in unit, you should closely monitor the age of the appliances as well as routinely checking them for cracked or damaged hoses or connections. Washer hoses should be replaced about every five years. It’s a good idea to replace washers and dryers before there’s a problem. It may cost more money now, but it could save you a lot of money and a headache or two in the future.
  2. Repair Old or Damaged Roofs When It’s Dry – Don’t wait for a big rainstorm to find out that the roofing at your apartment complex needs replacing. Make routine checkups to monitor the condition of the roof at your property. Make time and room in the budget to make any replacements or upgrades necessary during the dry season so that you can avoid water damage in the wet season.
  3. Stay in Touch with Your Residents and Know When they’re Traveling – Many people go on vacations during the summer. Talk to your residents about having their water shut off while they’re gone or, alternatively, having someone check on their apartment from time to time while they’re gone. If a water leak occurs while they’re away and no one is checking in, a small problem could potentially turn into something much worse.

We're faster to any disaster

We are dedicated to responding immediately when you contact us. A fast response lessens the damage. limit further damages and reduces the cost. Our expertly trained technicians will make it "Like it never even happened."

If your home or business suffers from an emergency, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 today!

Building a Power Outage Kit

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

Tips for building a power outage kit.

The American Red Cross encourages that each household and car have a preparedness kit, but sadly, only 51.5% of US homes reportedly have an emergency kit ready.

Power outage kits should include things like water, canned food, a can opener, flashlights, and batteries, including enough food and water for each person in your household for five days. To build a power outage kit, you can use an old backpack or duffel bag and add the following:

  • Plenty of bottled water
  • Battery-operated radio and clock
  • Flashlight for each member of your household including extra batteries
  • Non-electric can opener
  • List of emergency phone numbers including family and friend
  • First aid kit

Throughout the month of September, SERVPRO® of Palo Alto will be bringing tips and information on how to best be prepared in case of disasters like power outages due to storms. Should disaster like water damage from a dishwasher leak or pipe break affect your home, call us today at 650-800-3448. We serve Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Redwood City, and Stanford in the Bay Area.

SERVPRO® of Palo Alto is ready 24/7, 365 to help you when emergency strikes.

#SERVPROPALOALTO #SERVPRO #NATLPREP

Water Damaged Contents in Palo Alto

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

Water damaged contents in Palo Alto.

Water damage to your contents can occur when your Palo Alto home experiences a water damage event.

Water damage can occur in your home due to many issues; a roof leak, pipe break, dishwasher overflow, and more. We often think about our home as the walls, floors, and how those can be affected and damaged from water. But there's more to water damage than just the walls and floors.

One area that can be overlooked is contents such as your sentimental treasures, family heirlooms, or that special piece of autographed sports memorabilia you waited in line for hours to get signed. So when water pours through your ceiling, soaking your favorite chair, it can be really upsetting. SERVPRO® of Palo Alto's team of trained professionals is able to clean and restore your contents to preloss condition, helping to make it “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO® of Palo Alto is Here To Help® when disaster strikes your home. SERVPRO has been helping clients get through disasters since 1991. We are ready 24/7, 365, so call us at 650-800-3448 today!

#SERVPROPaloAlto #SERVPRO

Tips to Prevent Mold in Carpet After Water Damage in Palo Alto

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

Moldy carpet in Palo Alto.

If you have recently had any amount of water damage in your Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Redwood City, or Stanford home, whether it's a small leak or a major flood, there is an increased chance for mold to take occur and grow. Very little moisture is necessary for mold to become harmful and start to spread. Since mold has the potential to cause various health issues, such as respiratory issues and fungal infections, here are a few tips to help prevent mold growth in your carpet after water damage.

Dry Quickly

If you've had recently experienced a flood or a leak, it is important to get the water up as fast as possible. Utilize fans to increase the effectiveness. This will not only help to dry the carpet, it will also circulate the air in the area.

Use a Dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture in an area. They will make the air feel cooler and inhibit the growth of mold.

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto will arrive quickly and start the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

For help restoring your home or business after a water loss, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Has Your Property Suffered Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto

9/21/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto takes care of fire restoration needs quickly and professionally!

Many homeowners in the Bay Area who experience a fire damage event don't know what to do, where to begin, or how to rebuild or recuperate from such a loss. Many will be displaced for months while their homes are being completely rebuilt, and some will be facing partial reconstruction and major cleanup.

The first thing you should do after such a loss is speak with your insurance company. Clarify your policy, and hopefully your loss will be covered. Something to think about while writing up a policy (and prior to a natural disaster) is documenting your contents before such a loss can ravage your home. Taking pictures of your furniture, electronics, major belongings and creating lists of your valuables can literally save you thousands when you are trying to recoup your losses and make an insurance claim of what has been damaged or burnt.

If you are one of the lucky ones where the fire didn't completely consume your home, your insurance company will suggest calling a professional fire cleanup and restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Palo Alto. For homeowners in Palo Alto, Stanford, Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and North Fair Oaks, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you throughout the entire process. We work closely with you and your insurance claims representatives to clean up your home and contents, salvage what is salvageable, and inventory what is determined to be a total loss. We will remove the heavy smoke odor from your property and belongings and coordinate dry cleaners and other relevant contractors who can help repair your home. We will treat you and your property with great care and respect throughout the process. Our fire services include:

  • Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
  • Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)
  • Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
  • Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
  • Cleaning and Repair
  • Fire Restoration

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire, water and mold damage. 

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we treat our customers with empathy and respect. Call us at 650-800-3448 today!

Does your Palo Alto Home Have Mold?

9/21/2018 (Permalink)

Trust SERVPRO of Palo with your mold mitigation.

As a homeowner, you want to keep your house looking great. You may have purchased ceramic tiles for your kitchen floor, bathroom walls, or hallways. To clean ceramic tiles and keeping them in pristine condition all year round is a difficult task. Tiled surfaces are not safe from mold. Water may seep through and develop mold in grout and behind the tiles. Grout materials are usually made of some porous material which can attract moisture, ultimately creating mold. Luckily, SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help with mold mitigation.

Why Stains and Molds Occur

There many reasons why stains could have developed in your ceramics. One of the reasons causing these stains are various types of bacteria that has formed under or on the tile. Preventing and treating bacteria is the best way to keep your tiles looking wonderful.

 
Behind Tile and Walls 
 
Many times, mold may not be visible to the naked eye, but a particular smell or stain can give you a hint. In some cases, mold can grow into large patches behind tiles or walls, creating large patches of growth out of sight. This bacteria may be dangerous, as these patches of mold can grow to immense sizes before being noticed.


Prevent Mold Growth 
 
Cheap or damaged grout and wall materials can lead to mold growth. It is important to apply new layers of waterproof grout to ensure that wall materials are in good shape. Make sure to pay attention to any stain or odor in order to identify the source and prevent future mold growth in the area.

Our SERVPRO of Palo Alto technicians are trained to thoroughly examine and clean mold from tiled surfaces, and to save as much of the tile as possible. If you need to get rid of your mold fast, call us 24/7 at 650-800-3448 for quick response times and quality service.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Provides 24-Hour Water Damage Restoration Service

9/21/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto takes care of your water damage!

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through both the crisis and the water restoration process. SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Call us at 650-800-3448 today!

 

HVAC System Cleaning for Your Business

9/21/2018 (Permalink)

Let SERVPRO of Palo Alto maintain your HVAC.

For business owners, it’s possible to overlook certain aspects of your building or office space such as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC system).  When these systems are not properly maintained, they can accumulate dust, pollen, and other debris.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.” It’s very important to maintain clean ducts in order to maintain a healthy environment for your business.

When these ducts are not given the maintenance that they require, the HVAC system may begin to fail and waste unnecessary energy that can cost you. Keeping your air ducts clean can save you and your business money. HVAC systems may also leak and cause water damage and mold damage that can weaken the structure of your property. These damages can produce odors throughout your business and can be unpleasant for the employees and guests.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. Remember that maintaining the HVAC system can extend the life of the equipment. Don’t wait to call our experts on commercial air ducts and HVAC cleaning at 650-800-3448.

Storms Can Cause Flooding to Your Palo Alto Home

9/21/2018 (Permalink)

Prepare for power outages in Palo Alto.

After a storm or natural disaster, the aftermath can be detrimental to you both emotionally and financially.  Storm cleanup and water damage restoration to your property can be stressful without the help of qualified technicians leading the way. With storm season approaching us, rain and high winds can affect Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Redwood City, Stanford and other parts of the Bay Area. When these winter storms occur, there’s a possibly of power outages in your area due to winds knocking down electrical poles or other causes.

It is important for families to be prepared for a power outage that may last for several hours or days after a heavy storm. The National Public Service campaign, Ready Campaign, has shared the following tips regarding power outage:

Before a Power Outage:

  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, casa, and first aid supplies.
  • Make sure you have alternate charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power.
  • Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door is located and know how to operate it.
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been establish in your community.

During a Power Outage:

  • Avoid using candles which can cause fires. Only use flashlight for emergency lighting.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.
  • Only use generators away from your home, and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home’s electrical system. Consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing a generator.

After a Power Outage:

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures of 40*F (4*C) for two hours or more. When in doubt, throw it away.
  • If food in freezer is colder than 40*F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about medication having spoiled.
  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. 
  • Choose foods your family will eat.
  • Remember any special dietary needs.
  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.

The following items are suggested when selecting emergency food supplies. You may already have many of these on hand.

  • Salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods
  • Don’t forget to pack a can opener and other utensils needed!

For more information and tips on how to prepare for and respond to an emergency visit

 https://www.ready.gov/about-us

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. For your emergency restoration services call us 24/7 for prompt service. (650) 800-3448!

Fire Prevention Tips for Palo Alto Residents

9/21/2018 (Permalink)

Create your emergency response plan today!

Having an emergency response plan (ERP) in case of a fire is important in order to protect your residence or business in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, Atherton, and Redwood City. The first 48 hours after a fire can make a difference in determining whether to restore, rather than to replace your property and personal processions. SERVPRO of Palo Alto believes in informing our customers the importance of fire prevention with some tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Do not leave your cooking unattended specially when frying, grilling or broiling food. The stove should be turn off if you must leave, even for a short period of time
  • Portable heaters should be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Inspect electrical cord and replace any that are cracked, damage or broken.
  • Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn.
  • Have an escape plan.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we believe in the importance of being prepared, which is why we provide our customers with an Emergency Ready Profile. Our SERVPRO professionals can assist you in developing an ERP plan which contains crucial information needed in the event of an emergency occurring.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for more information on Fire prevention and restoration at 650-800-3448 today!

Mold Cleanup and Mold Mitigation for Your Palo Alto Property

9/20/2018 (Permalink)

Mold in a Palo Alto home as a result of winter rains

Palo Alto homes aren't immune to mold. When your Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Stanford, or Menlo Park home is affected by mold damage, you need mold mitigation experts like those at SERVPRO of Palo Alto to mitigate mold as soon as possible.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto to address mold remediation issues found in your home by calling 650-800-3448 today. We are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week!

Commercial Rodent Droppings Cleanup in Palo Alto, CA

9/16/2018 (Permalink)

Rodent droppings cleanup in Palo Alto, CA

Often times, SERVPRO of Palo Alto gets calls for rodent droppings cleanup after the rodents have been exterminated. Although the rodents might be gone, the bacteria, diseases, and hazards from their droppings can still pose health issues if not taken care of properly. Offices, kitchens, HVAC systems, storage closets, warehouse shelving, can all be possible areas where rodents can infest with droppings. Customers, employees, and visitors can experience serious health concerns if they are exposed to biological and chemical contaminants.

Failure to properly remove such substances can contribute to unhealthy and dangerous environments. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is equipped with the necessary safety apparatus and cleaning products to treat these unhealthy environments due to rodent droppings in Palo Alto, Stanford, Menlo Park, and East Palo Alto. Our specialists are trained to safely remove biohazards and dispose of them properly in accordance with OSHA and health regulations.

Proper cleaning and sanitation for businesses is necessary and SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help you clean this up. We provide cleanup and recovery services for any biohazard situation. Call us directly at 650-800-3448 to help you rid your business of droppings that can cost you money.

SEPTEMBER is National Disaster Preparedness Month

9/16/2018 (Permalink)

Download the SERVPRO Ready app today!

Make A Plan

Mother Nature can bring us unexpected events without much warning.  That is why you can never be too careful. During an emergency, it is important to be prepared with an Emergency Plan in place. An Emergency Plan can increase your chances of survival for yourself and those around you in case of an emergency or disaster.

It is important that everyone in the home is aware of what actions to take in case of an emergency. You can find more information on how to be prepared in the link below:

https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.

SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help you develop an immediate plan of action for your home or business. You can simply download our mobile SERVPRO Ready Plan app on your phone or tablets. Whether you are a home or business owner, our SERVPRO Ready Plan can help you be prepared for whatever happens. It is important to know what to do and expect in advance to help minimize the damages that can affect your property. The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile advantages consist of:

  • 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 concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
    It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
     
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
    This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
     
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
    You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
     
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
    This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
     
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
    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."

Select SERVPRO of Palo Alto as your Preferred Franchise on your personalized profile.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto

(650) 800-3448

2625 Middlefield Road #557

Palo Alto, CA 94306

Download the app today

https://ready.SERVPRO.com/home/mobileapp

Second Floor Leaks Can Mean More Than Just Water Stains in Your Palo Alto or Menlo Park Home

9/16/2018 (Permalink)

Ceiling damage from second floor broken pipe

Some of the most common water emergency inquiries SERVPRO of Palo Alto receives are from customers who have experienced a second story leak, which has leaked to the first floor, through the ceiling which looks staining, bubbling and cracks. Whether the leak is coming from a clean water source like a sink faucet, or a contaminated or dirty water source, such as a toilet, the water damage can be severe.

Water tends to travel and is capable of causing severe structural damage, spreading to other rooms not immediately affected, causing damage to insulation, light fixtures, framing, flooring, and even furniture.

If you suspect water damage in your home in Palo Alto, Menlo Park or Bay Area property, do not ignore it, as delaying any service or further inspection could cause more damage, and the water can be concealing more serious issues.

A leaky roof, broken pipe, worn appliance, or accidental overflow can all be causes of water damage. SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides you with expertly trained and certified water technicians along with the newest and most efficient drying equipment to address your water damage. 

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for fast and effective solutions for all water damage issues found in your home. We are here to help to your provide service to help protect your home, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. Call 650-800-3448 today!

Fast to your Palo Alto Water Damage Event

9/16/2018 (Permalink)

Palo Alto water damage

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Palo Alto arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – (650) 800-3448

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Call us today at (650) 800-3448!

Restoring Your Commercial Property After a Water Damage Event

9/14/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage restoration at a Palo Alto restaurant

Complexity of Commercial Water Damage

Flooding and water damage events at commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Oftentimes, they're more complex than residential water damage events, which is why you need experts trained in commercial water loss to quickly and effectively deal with the damage.

Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, SERVPRO of Palo Alto works quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

SERVPRO of Palo Alto professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after water damage, fire damage, and smoke & soot damage. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge and advanced equipment to restore your property.

If you have experienced a water damage on your property, call us now at 650-800-3448!

Firestorm Disaster Preparedness

9/13/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Restoration in Palo Alto, CA

Firestorms (wildfires) have been increasing in frequency and intensity in recent years. They can ruin homes and cause injuries or death to people and animals. A wildfire is an unplanned fire that burns in a natural area such as a forest, grassland, or prairie. Wildfires can:

  • Often be caused by humans or lightning.
  • Cause flooding or disrupt transportation, gas, power, and communications.
  • Happen anywhere, anytime. Risk increases with in periods of little rain and high winds.
  • Cost the Federal Government billions of dollars each year.

IF YOU ARE UNDER A WILDFIRE WARNING IN YOUR AREA, GET TO SAFETY RIGHT AWAY

  • Leave if told to do so.
  • If trapped, call 9-1-1.
  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • Use N95 masks to keep particles out of the air you breathe.
  • Prepare NOW
    Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
  • Know your community’s evacuation plans and find several ways to leave the area.
  • Drive the evacuation routes and find shelter locations. Have a plan for pets and livestock.
  • Gather emergency supplies, including N95 respirator masks that filter out particles in the air you breathe. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including and updated asthma action plan and medication.
  • Don’t forget the needs of pets.
  • Designate a room that can be closed off from outside air. Close all doors and windows. Set up a portable air cleaner to keep indoor pollution levels low when smoky conditions exist.
  • Keep important documents in a fireproof, safe place. Create password-protected digital copies.
  • Use fire-resistant materials to build, renovate, or make repairs.
  • Find an outdoor water source with a hose that can reach any area of your property.
  • Create a fire-resistant zone that is free of leaves, debris, or flammable materials for at least 30 feet from your home.
  • Review insurance coverage to make sure it is enough to replace your property.
    Pay attention to air quality alerts.

When You Lose a Loved One

9/13/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto effectively takes care of biohazards

Experiencing the loss of a loved one can be emotionally devastating, as we all know. SERVPRO of Palo Alto understands the challenges that occur for families during these difficult times and promises to be there throughout the entire process.

Some of the most traumatic situations may be a suicide, death, or crime scene. When such incidents occur, a human body begins to decompose almost immediately, causing an overwhelming situation that may become a health hazard.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has trained professionals to address and effectively clean biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA, and state and local health regulations. Not effectively cleaning biohazardous substances may result in an uninhabitable home with the effects of airborne bacteria, odor, and biohazard material.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto provide cleanup services to individual families, property managers, and other commercial accounts. For peace of mind, call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at 650-800-3448 to get expert help in biohazard cleanup. We will be there for you.

Football Season Fire Safety

9/13/2018 (Permalink)

Fire safety during football season

Football season is here!

Benny, our SERVPRO office mascot, is ready for tailgating parties, and BBQs. But before you get started, he has some important tips for you.

Benny’s fire safety tips during this football season:

  • Make sure to have a fire extinguishers handy when grilling.
  • If at home, make sure all fire detectors are properly installed.
  • Using a charcoal grill? Make sure the coals are cool before disposing.
  • Make sure there are no flammable items nearby when cooking or grilling.
  • Never leave the grill or stove unattended.

If your home does suffer from a fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will be there for you. Once firefighters have cleared the premises, your property might have suffered water damage from their firefighting efforts as well as smoke and soot damage.

For fire restoration services, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the training needed to restore your home and property to pre-fire condition. Do not wait to call us at 650-800-3448.

Benny and our SERVPRO of Palo Alto team, wish your favorite team the best of luck this season!

Northern California Firestorms

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can assist those affected by Northern California firestorms

SERVPRO of Palo Alto, one of Northern California’s top damage restoration companies (taking care of fire damage, water damage, mold mitigation, smoke and soot damage, and post-damage clean-up) is ready to assist those Californians affected by the recent fires in Northern California, including those residents and business owners affected by the following fires: the Carr Fire, the Mendocino Complex Fire, and Lake County Fire. Due to extreme heat and dry weather conditions, Northern California, once again, has been hit hard by wildfires and firestorms this summer. The Mendocino Complex Fire, in particular, is now California’s largest wildfire in history. Firefighters continue to labor for many hours to fight fire, with only partial containment. These fires are not only causing damage and loss to nature, but also causing damage and loss to business and residences. The sheer size of these Northern California firestorms has caused significant damage to property, as well as several casualties.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto restoration company, with its large number of resources, staff, and proprietary equipment, can help restore property that has been affected by wildfires. Its expert technicians, with their multiple training certifications, can handle any size job, whether large or small. SERVPRO of Palo Alto has been in business for almost five years, and in that five years, has garnered numerous five-star reviews and contracts with large companies and organizations. They are trusted to do the job right. SERVPRO of Palo Alto serves and has worked in the following cities in Santa Clara County, California: Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Stanford, Atherton, Menlo Park, Redwood City, and North Fair Oaks.

CARR FIRE

The Carr Fire was a massive wildfire that burned in Shasta and Trinity Counties in California, United States. The fire burned 229,651 acres before it was 100% contained on August 30. The Carr Fire destroyed at least 1,604 structures (at least 1,077 were homes) while damaging 277 others, becoming the sixth-most destructive fire in California history, as well as the seventh-largest wildfire recorded in modern California history. The Carr Fire cost over $1.658 billion in damages, including $1.5 billion in insured losses and more than $158 million in suppression costs.

MENDOCINO COMPLEX FIRE

The Mendocino Complex Fire, which began at the end of July is still not 100% contained (as of September 2, 2018). It is a large complex of two wildfires, the River Fire and Ranch Fire, and was burning in Mendocino, Lake, Colusa and Glenn Counties in California. The Ranch Fire is currently burning eight miles northeast of Ukiah and the River Fire is currently burning six miles north of Hopland.

First reported on July 27, 2018, both fires have burned a combined total of 459,123 acres and are collectively 97% contained (as of September 2, 2018), while the Ranch Fire has burned 410,203 acres, surpassing the Thomas Fire to become the single-largest modern California wildfire. The fires collectively destroyed 280 structures while damaging 37 others; property damage has not yet been calculated for the fire complex, but costs are presumed to be staggering. The Mendocino Complex also cost over $176.4 million in fire suppression costs. The city of Lakeport, communities of Kelseyville, Lucerne, Upper Lake, Nice, Saratoga Springs, Witter Springs, Potter Valley, and Finley, parts of Hopland, and the tribal communities of Hopland Rancheria and Big Valley Rancheria were evacuated.

LAKE COUNTY FIRE

Lake County has experienced two separate wildfires: the Carder Fire, which burned 50 acres and was contained late July, and the currently burning (as of September 2, 2018) Kelsey fire, which as burned 36 acres so far and has prompting evacuation advisories.

Northern California’s firestorm season has been very intense this year, both in scope and length. As a result, homeowners and business owners have suffered tremendous losses when it comes to property. To help mitigate fire damage as a result of the Lake County Fire, Mendocino Complex Fire, and Carr Fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has assembled a firestorm team to quickly restore property to its original condition. They will also work with your property insurance company to ensure coverage and give you peace of mind as quickly as possible.

If you are in any of the areas affected by these Northern California wildfire, or if you experience fire damage in the following areas: Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Stanford, Atherton, Menlo Park, Redwood City, or North Fair Oaks, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448. We’re here to help! We will make it “Like it never even happened.”



SERVPRO of Palo Alto Damage Restoration Certifications

7/31/2018 (Permalink)

Damage Restoration in Palo Alto

Many people ask why they should go with SERVPRO of Palo Alto when needing water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, or mold mitigation in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Stanford, and Stanford, California over other restoration companies in Santa Clara county. There are many reasons, but one of the top ones is simple: SERVPRO of Palo Alto restoration technicians have expert training and certification in the areas needed to treat water damage, fire damage, smoke and soot damage, and mold damage quickly and effectively.

The restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto hold many certifications that are vital to quickly and properly restoring your damaged home or business, whether due to water damage, mold damage, or fire damage. No matter how small or large the job is. After all, you want to get the job done right the first time. Damage to your home or business can be a stressful experience, but when you work with the experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto, you can rest assured that your water damage, fire damage, mold issues, and smoke and soot damage will be taken care of with as little stress to you as possible. SERVPRO of Palo Alto can also work with your insurance company directly so you can concentrate on your family or business.

Here’s an overview of the various certifications that the damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto hold. These certifications can assure you that choosing SERVPRO of Palo Alto to serve your water damage, fire damage, mold damage, and smoke and soot damage needs in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Stanford is the right decision for you and your family.

ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician - This certification teaches restoration technicians the effective, efficient and timely drying of water-damaged structures and contents. Intensive hands-on training is done in order to facilitate appropriate decision making within actual home structures in order to learn how to correctly dry them down.

ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program -  This SERVPRO certification involves crew training course covers topics including roles and responsibilities, job-site processes, core products and SERVPRO equipment knowledge. Additionally, technicians are trained in water training, which covers topics ranging from basic water damage procedures, to an introduction to more advanced topics such as psychrometry and microbiology.

FSRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician - This certification concentrates on the technical procedures for successfully completing the restoration of a fire and smoke damaged environment. Technicians with this certification know how to combine technical procedures with a practical approach to managing the job site.

IICRC Certified Firm - SERVPRO of Palo Alto is an IICRC Certified Firm, which means several things. IICRC certified technicians set themselves apart through training, experience, and comprehensive examination.  An IICRC Certified Firm must first employ one or more IICRC certified technicians, and apply with the IICRC to become a Certified Firm. Certified Firms are the only cleaning, restoration and inspection companies listed in the IICRC locator. They also promise to adhere to the IICRC Code of Ethics, be current in their business insurance and licensee requirements, and can proudly display the IICRC logo on their company website and vehicles.

OCT - Odor Control Technician - Technicians with this certification are knowledgeable about olfaction and odor, odor sources, detection process, theory of odor control, equipment, chemical options and applications. They also know how to address odors caused from biological sources such as decomposition, urine contamination, and mold, combustion sources such as fire and smoke damage, and chemical sources such as fuel oil spills or volatile organic chemicals.

RRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation - The EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) means that SERVPRO of Palo Alto is certified by the EPA (or an EPA authorized state), and that we use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices.

WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician -  This certification shows that restoration technicians have education in the science and practice of water damage restoration. This includes extraction, basic containment and basic mold procedures. It also means that residential and commercial maintenance personnel have the background to understand the procedures necessary to deal with water losses, sewer backflows, and contamination such as mold.

As you can see, SERVPRO of Palo Alto technicians pride themselves on their education and certifications. Their education allows them to take care of your property as if it were their own.

Experiencing water loss, fire loss, mold damage, or smoke and soot? Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto today at (650) 800-3448 24 hours a day! We’ll quickly make it  "Like it never even happened."



Mold Remediation in Palo Alto

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

Palo Alto Mold Remediation

Mold can pose a serious problem to your home or business. Not only because mold can damage walls, carpet, and flooring, but because it can also affect your health in various ways. Infants and the elderly, in addition to other vulnerable population, are particularly susceptible to the harmful health effects of mold.This means that once you discover mold in your home or business in Palo Alto, Atherton, Menlo Park, and Redwood City, you need to call a mold remediation company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto to help with mold mitigation and mold remediation. Your health, and the health of those around you can depend on it.

When your home or business suffers water damage due to flooding or human error, a mold infestation can quickly start and spread throughout your property in less than 72 hours. Because mold can produce allergens and irritants, you need experts like those at SERVPRO of Palo Alto that have the extensive training and experience to properly resolve your mold issues that require mold remediation. If you’ve had water damage, there’s a chance that your Palo Alto home or business also has a mold problem. SERVPRO of Palo Alto can inspect, assess, and remediate your Palo Alto, Atherton, Menlo Park, or Redwood City property.

Did You Know?

Microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors, so there’s no way to remove all mold from a home or business. Read below to find out why.

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems. They can even attach to your clothes or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water, which is why you should check for mold after you experience water damage. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before SERVPRO of Palo Alto can start mold remediation, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may come back.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
  • Basements are particularly susceptible to mold since they can flood, especially during rain storms.

The Mold Remediation Process at SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto treats each mold remediation job individually, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. Here are the steps we generally take when treating mold in Palo Alto, Atherton, Menlo Park, and Redwood City:

CALL US! - (650) 800-3448
The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call us. Our efficient representative will ask a series of questions to help us determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel we need to treat your particular mold mitigation issue.

Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
We carefully inspect your property for visible signs of mold. We use various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources.

Mold Containment
Our professionals use a variety of containment procedures to prevent the spread of mold. We may use advanced containment procedures like negative air chambers to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. All fans and heating and cooling systems will be turned off to prevent the spread of mold.

Air Filtration
Our specialized filtration equipment allows our SERVPRO expert technicians to capture microscopic mold spores out of the air. We utilize powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in process.

Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. We’ll use antifungal and antimicrobial treatments to eliminate mold colonies and to help prevent new colonies from forming. It may be necessary to remove and dispose of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and carpeting, to remediate heavy mold growth.

Cleaning Your Belongings
We clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, clothing, and other restorable items affected by mold. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and disinfect your belongings. We’re also trained to remove odors and deodorization using fogging equipment.

Restoration
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may have been removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. The restoration step gets your home or business back to normal.

The mold remediation (or mold mitigation) process may seem overwhelming and scary, but when you trust in mold remediation experts like those at SERVPRO of Palo Alto for service in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, your mold issue will be taken care of quickly and efficiently. “Like it never even happened.”

Protect Your Home From Flooding

1/30/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can take care of water damage

As you already know, if you’re a homeowner, you have a lot of responsibility to protect your home from both natural disasters and made-made issues. While you can’t predict natural disasters like flooding, you can help protect your home from water damage due to severe rains and floods. According to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, floods are the most common and most expensive natural disaster in the U.S., and no state is immune to the effects of flash flooding. Flash flooding happens everywhere, causing water damage requiring water restoration and mold mitigation services (because water leads to mold damage) including in places like Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, California.

Heavy rains have hit Santa Clara County, California in prior years, and you just never know when that might happen again. But you can guarantee on heavy rains coming when you least expect it. Here are a few tips from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, or IBHS, that you, as a homeowner, can help use to protect your home from flooding to help minimize water damage that can cause ruined carpets, wrecked appliances, and irreversibly damaged family heirlooms and keepsakes. Just one inch of water can cause significant damage. One inch!

Before doing any of the below, you need to first find out your home’s flood level, which is an official measure of how high floodwaters could rise where you live. You’ll find this information by checking the online flood maps on FEMA’s website or by asking your home insurance agent.

Safeguard in-home electrical and climate systems

It’s important to safeguard your electrical and climate systems. Make sure to raise switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring at least a foot above the expected flood level in your area. And don’t forget to modify your furnace and water heater so they sit above your property’s flood level instead of at or below it.

Anchor and raise outdoor power equipment

Again, you have to think of your property’s flood level. Fuel tanks, air-conditioning units, and power generators should be anchored and raised above your flood level. If not, unanchored fuel tanks can break free, and severed supply lines will contaminate surrounding ground, creating an even larger problem. Any electrical power units and generators should never sit on the ground. Water will render them useless.

Modify water valves

A flooded sewer system can cause sewage to back up into your home, which is both distressing and dangerous to your family’s health. Install an interior or exterior backflow valve to prevent the sewage from spreading all over your house. The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, or FLASH, recommends gate valves that you have to operate by hand. Their benefit is that they provide stronger seals than flap or check valves, which open automatically to allow water to flow out and then close when water tries to get in.Install these valves on all pipes entering the house, advises FLASH.

Figure out how water flows around your house

The angle of the ground (called slope or grading) can direct water to or away from your house. Obviously, it’s best if the home was built so that water drains away from the building, but that’s not the case for all homes, particularly older ones. Just check it out during a regular rainstorm to see how the water flows around your house.

Take on-the spot actions as soon as you anticipate flooding during a rainstorm

  • Clear gutters, drains and downspouts (This should be done regularly at least twice a year.)
  • Move furniture, rugs, electronics and other belongings to upper floors, or at least raise them off a ground floor or out of a basement, if you have one.
  • Shut off electricity at the breaker panel, and make sure everyone in the house knows how to do this!
  • Elevate major appliances onto concrete blocks if they’re potentially in harm’s way from flooding. You don’t want to have to repair or replace expensive appliances every time there’s a major rainstorm.

What happens if you do most of these actionable items and still have water damage? It’s very possible. First call a reputable damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto. SERVPRO of Palo Alto’s expertly trained restoration technicians are trained to take care of water damage and mold mitigation due to flash flooding and heavy rains. They serve the following areas of Santa Clara County: Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, and Redwood City, and have taken on water damage jobs both large and small. In addition, their customers give SERVPRO of Palo Alto excellent reviews for their quick, efficient, and high-quality water restoration work and mold mitigation work. Call today for a quick, no-cost estimate at (650) 800-3448.

Wildfire Safety Tips for California Residents Part 2

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Northern California Fire Damage

The new year has started, and with it should be taking proactive steps to help prevent fires - both in the home from kitchen accidents and electrical shorts to threats from outside the home that result in wildfires. The end of 2017 saw massive wildfires in  Napa Valley and Sonoma counties, Ventura county, and  Los Angeles as we wrote about in Part 1 of this blog post. Let’s learn our lesson and do what we can to prevent and minimize fire damage where we live and where SERVPRO of Palo Alto serves: Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and Redwood City in Santa Clara County, California.

Because weather conditions are drier and hotter every year, and because many people are careless with their cigarettes and bonfires, fire damage in California becomes a reality for many California residents of Santa Clara county. Almost 70,000 wildfires occurred in the United States just in the last two years, destroying over 4,000 standing structures, including businesses and homes.  You can’t necessarily fight back an out-of-control wildfire that’s threatening your home or business, but you can take steps to protect yourself and your property.

In addition to the top 7 ways to prep for a home fire - which includes installing the correct number of smoke alarms, teaching children about smoke alarm protocol, having at least two escape routes from your home in the case of a fire, and practicing escaping at least twice a year - the Red Cross gives you these wildfire-specific tips that you can use in the case of wildfires in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and Redwood City in Santa Clara County, California.

These are important steps you can take to help reduce the risk of fire damage and smoke or soot damage to your home from a wildfire, such as those that have recently burned in both Northern California and Southern California.

Before a Wildfire

Defend your property in the case of a wildfire. One of the first steps you limiting the fire fuel sources around your home or business.

30 Feet or less from your property

  • Clear combustible materials such as dried leaves and pine needles.
  • Cut down any tree limbs that are 15 feet or closer to the ground. This helps prevent the fire from spreading into your property’s tree line.
  • Remove any vines or vegetation that is on the side of your structure or property.
  • Store any flammable lawn furniture during the off season.
  • Choose non-flammable decor for your landscaping, such as gravel instead of wood chips.

Within 100 to 30 feet from your property

  • Create “fuel breaks” in your property. Fuel breaks can help stop the spread of a fire. Examples are gravel pathways or driveways.
  • Cut any trees branches that are 8 feet or closer to the ground.
  • Clear combustible vegetation.

Within 200 to 100 feet from your home

  • Place stacked firewood or scrap wood no closer to your property line.
  • Continue to clear combustible vegetation.
  • Plant trees far enough apart so their branches do not touch, and trim branches that do touch.
  • Prepare your home or business for a wildfire. If possible, use Class A roofing material. This includes tile, slate, or asphalt. You can also use Class B pressure-treated shingles or shakes.
  • Consider installing fire sprinklers. In some areas, fire sprinklers are mandatory for businesses.

Outside your home, make sure your garden hose is long enough have enough to reach any part of your property. Make sure that the fire department can access water sources such as swimming pools, ponds, lakes, wells, and fire hydrants.

Create an emergency escape plan. Speak to city or county officials to learn what the evacuation route is for your area, and discuss this evacuation route with everyone in your family and your employees. Ensure family members who live nearby know the route and have means of transportation. Also, sign up for emergency text or alert messages from your city or neighborhood. And importantly, don’t forget to create an emergency kit.

During a Wildfire

  • Prepare to evacuate.
  • Listen to emergency channels or follow your city’s social media to keep up on the status of the fire.
  • Keep your emergency kit handy so you can evacuate quickly.

After a Wildfire

  • Return to your home or business only when it is safe, and when officials declare it safe to do so.
  • Watch out for ash pits and hot spots. These are holes filled with hot ashes left by burned trees. Even after a fire is extinguished, small fires can flare up without warning.
  • Check your house and surrounding property for hot spots and extinguish them immediately. Also, be on the lookout for ash pits.
  • Document the damage. Take photos and video and make a written list documenting your damaged property. Contact your insurance company immediately to report the damage.
  • Call a respected restoration company like SERVPRO of Palo Alto to help mitigate fire damage, smoke damage, soot damage, and water damage quickly, professionally, and efficiently.

Wildfires are some of the most destructive forces of nature. There isn’t much that can be done to deter a wildfire’s path. But luckily, there are ways to help mitigate fire damage, smoke and soot damage, and water damage from fire-fighting efforts to keep your loved ones and employees safe.

If you already have suffered fire damage and need fire restoration or smoke and soot restoration, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 for a free estimate. Our highly trained technicians use advanced equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fire in Palo Alto Mixed Use Building Causes Water Damage

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Mixed-use commercial/residential building hallway that suffered water damage.

Over 20 units in a Palo Alto mixed-use property that included medical offices, other commercial businesses, and residential units suffered water damage due to a sprinkler system activation.

The sprinkler system was activated due to a fire in one of the residential apartment units. Luckily, SERVPRO of Palo Alto was on the scene right away and set up air dryers, dehumidifiers, and other drying equipment to help restore the property.

Because SERVPRO of Palo Alto's highly trained technicians were on job quickly, they were able to start the water restoration process quickly, minimizing damage to the drywall and flooring in the units.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is a highly-rated water restoration company, fire restoration company, and smoke/soot restoration company. In addition, SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers cleanup services. 

For 24-7 service and free estimates, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 for any and all water damage, fire damage, smoke or soot damage you may experience. We are always here to help!

Fire Safety Tips for California Residents

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Safety Tips

With the fires that raged in Napa Valley and Sonoma county, and the ones that are currently active in Ventura county and in Los Angeles, fire safety, both from wildfires and accidental home fires, is a real concern for millions of California residents, including those in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and Redwood City in Santa Clara County, California.

Due to a combination of reasons, including weather conditions (including lack of rain and lack of humidity), increasing temperatures (global warming), and simple human error or carelessness (tossed cigarettes, illegal bonfires, intentional fire-setting), wildfires have been increasing in number and intensity in recent years. This means that experiencing fire damage is a real possibility for many Californians, including those in many parts of Santa Clara County, California.

There’s also the danger of fires starting in your home from electrical shorts or kitchen fires (the most common cause of in-home fires). According to The Red Cross, “If a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape. During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.” Two minutes! That’s barely enough time to grab your pets and a couple of beloved belongings and escape. Not to mention dealing with the worry about your home due to fire damage because of fires in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton or Redwood City.

Here are the top 7 ways to prepare for a home fire from redcross.org:

  • Install the correct number of smoke alarms. Install a smoke detector inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations. Test your smoke alarm or smoke detector once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Teach children what smoke alarms sound like, and teach them what to do when they hear one. Practice with them twice-yearly.
  • Ensure that all household members know at least two ways to escape from every room of your home, and that you determine a family meeting spot outside of your home in the case of a fire.
  • Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another or cannot meet at the predetermined family meeting spot.
  • Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year, and at random times. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  • Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1, no matter how young.
  • Teach family members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

The Red Cross also recommends you follow these fire-safe habits:

  • Keep items that can catch on fire, like flammable clothing, paper, toys, etc. at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Smoking paraphernalia is the leading cause of residential fire deaths in the United States. Please do not smoke. If you have to smoke, take precautions: Smoke outside, choose fire-safe cigarettes, don’t smoke in bed, don’t smoke when drowsy or medicated, or if anyone in the home is using oxygen. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
  • Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended, even for a minute.

Following these fire-safe habits won’t protect you against wildfires, but there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of fire damage to your home from a wildfire, such as those that have recently been burning in both Northern California and Southern California.

In the last two years, over 67,000 wildfires have been reported across the country each year, many in California. Yearly, wildfires destroy over 4,000 structures, with 3,000 of them residential. As real estate development expands into forests and grasslands, the chances of wildfire related property damage goes up.  

You can’t fight back a wildfire that is encroaching on your home or business, but you can take steps to protect yourself and your property. Learn how you can help protect your home or business from a wildfire.  Keep you and your family safe and know how and when to evacuate. Learn more in the second part of this blog post, to be continued next week.

If you already have suffered fire damage and need fire restoration, please call SERVPRO of Palo Alto at (650) 800-3448 for a free estimate. Our highly trained technicians use advanced equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.”

How to Prevent Mold

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation in Palo Alto

We here at SERVPRO of Palo Alto know the kind of problems mold can cause to both people and property. Not only is it unsightly, but uncontrolled indoor mold can cause health problems ranging from mild to serious, depending on the extent of mold and on the health and/or ages of a home's occupants. If you have mold remediation needs, give us a call. SERVPRO of Palo Alto technicians are highly trained and certified in mold restoration, mold remediation, and mold cleanup. To help prevent mold in and around your house, read the tips below.

First, what is mold, exactly?

Mold is a type of fungi that lives everywhere. There are at least 300,000 mold species that can spread by disbursing spores that lie dormant until conditions are right for growth. As a homeowner, mold prevention means controlling the conditions that promote mold growth, which means keeping things dry. Mold multiplies where conditions are wet or damp, such as in a bathroom or after a flood or water leakage. If you control the moisture in your home, you hold the key to mold prevention.

How does mold affect your health?

People sensitive to mold, especially those with poor or underdeveloped immune systems (infants, the elderly, those with autoimmune disorders), may suffer minor to serious conditions such as: nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation when exposed to mold. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses may develop mold infections in their lungs, requiring long-term medical care.

Mold thrives and grows where conditions are wet or damp, so as a homeowner, the key to mold prevention is controlling the moisture in your home. With a little effort, you can help prevent mold in your basement, crawlspace, or common areas like the kitchen or bathroom. Here are some tips to keep mold in and around your home at bay.

Start indoors

  • Control indoor humidity – the ideal relative humidity is at 30 to 50, but if you live in a high humidity area, you probably need a portable dehumidifier, which can remove up to nine gallons of water a day from the air of a basement or house. However, this can cost quite a bit in electricity, so look for models with an Energy Star seal.
  • Ventilate humidity-producing appliances such as your clothes dryer and stove to the outside. It’s obvious with the clothes dryer, but stoves also produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside. When buying a new stove or renovating your kitchen, a gas stove with a hood is preferable.
  • When you take a long, hot shower, keep the bathroom fan on or open the window. Use exhaust fans or open windows when cooking or washing dishes.
  • Insulate cold water pipes to prevent condensation that will add moisture to the environment.
  • Fix plumbing leaks as soon as possible and dry things like any flooring or carpeting thoroughly. Use a dehumidifier if necessary.
  • If you spot mold inside your house, clean it from hard surfaces with commercial mold removal products or a bleach solution of 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. CAUTION: Never ever mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners because the toxic fumes will create a severe health hazard.
  • Keep mold prevention in mind when remodeling or decorating by avoiding the use of carpet in bathrooms and basements where they are likely to absorb moisture.

Go outside

  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water doesn’t seep into the basement or crawlspace. If water puddles around the foundation after a heavy rain, you may have a problem with leaks and potential mold formation.
  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly. Clean gutters at least every six months--more if you live in an especially rainy area. Make sure the gutter downspouts direct water away from the house.
  • Keep air conditioning drain lines flowing well and away from the house.

Do you still have problems with mold? SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help! SERVPRO of Palo Alto technicians are highly trained to properly clean and restore your house so that it feels like home again. We are experts at mold remediation. We can make it "Like it never even happened." Call us at (650) 800-3448 for a free estimate and fast service.

Northern California Wildfires

10/13/2017 (Permalink)

Northern California Wildfires

Northern California is currently experiencing the worst wildfires in California history. Over 160,000 acres of Napa and Sonoma counties, beloved wine regions of the state, have been assaulted by over 20 fires, including the Nuns-Norbbom, Atlas, Tubbs, Pressley, Partrick, Mendocino Lake Complex, and Pocket Fires for the past week, with very little containment. The cities of Santa Rosa and Calistoga have been particularly hard hit. Over 30 people have perished, with over 400 more missing as of Thursday, October 12th, and entire neighborhoods have gone up in flames. Though no one knows how these massive fires started, one thing everyone agrees on is that life will never be the same for these residents and businesses.

The rest of Northern California--from Fresno to the Bay Area to Sacramento--isn’t remaining unscathed. Palo Alto, Atherton, and Redwood City are also feeling the effects of California wine country wildfires. Though these cities aren’t experiencing the massive destruction wildfires can bring, they are experiencing the aftermath of fire, including falling ash and soot, in addition to hazardous fumes. This means unhealthy air quality. Strong and gusty winds continue to spread smoke throughout the Bay Area as the result of these massive wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties, and are expected to spread smoke and drive ash for multiple days on end.

With what some are calling 2017 the worst wildfire season in California history, the question remains: How do we recover? How can you and your home or business come back from fire damage, smoke damage, or soot damage?

After the Fire: Fire Restoration

Experts in fire restoration like those SERVPRO of Palo Alto have the answer. With years of experience in fire cleanup, smoke and soot cleanup, and fire damage restoration, SERVPRO of Palo Alto can make your home like new again, “Like it never even happened.”

After an economic and emotional loss such as that resulting from fire or smoke and soot damage, it’s important for individuals and businesses to turn to experts in fire restoration to restore their homes or structures quickly and efficiently.

What many don’t realize is that with fire damage also comes water damage from firefighting efforts, which is why SERVPRO experts count the following among its ranks:

  • Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician
  • Odor Control Technician
  • Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician
  • Water Damage Restoration Technician

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our SERVPRO of Palo Alto experts study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration, fire restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration services.

And SERVPRO of Palo Alto deals directly with your insurance company to ensure coverage for your fire loss or water loss. A 24-hour fire restoration company, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will come out at any hour for an estimate, and will work day and night to help restore your home or business to its previous condition.

Residents and businesses in Sonoma and Napa Valley will have a lot to deal with once these wildfires die down, and the business of getting back to normal starts. Because of the extent of these fires, particularly in Calistoga and Santa Rosa, calling on experts in fire restoration, smoke cleanup, and water mitigation to help restore structures after fire damage and water damage is especially important.

Preventative Steps to Protect your Property

If your home hasn’t been affected by wildfire, and you want to do what you can to help protect your property from future fires, check out the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) key steps to take:

  • Thin out and maintained the vegetation around your property, by creating safety zones around your house by reducing or replacing most of the flammable vegetation.
  • Remove all combustible materials away from your house, such as firewood, gas grills and propane tanks.
  • Make sure your roof is made of noncombustible and fire resistant materials such as single ply membranes, fiberglass shingles, slate, metal, clay, and concrete tile.
  • Enclose sundecks and porches enclosed, as well as eaves and overhangs. Clear leaves, trash and other fire hazards away from decks and porches.
  • Clean out gutters on a regular basis, since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers. If used, gutter covers should be noncombustible.
  • Cover house vents such as attic vents, soffit vents, or other openings with ¼ inch or smaller corrosion-resistant wire mesh. For chimneys and stovepipes, cover using 12-gauge spark arrestors or woven wire mesh.
  • Use fire resistant house siding such as stucco, metal, brick and cement, concrete and rock. Treat wood siding with UL-approved fire retardant chemicals (though these treatments are not permanent).
  • Treat windows to reduce fire risk. Recommended are dual or triple-paned thermal glass and fire resistant shutters or drapes. Tempered glass windows and noncombustible awnings can also help reduce your risk.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is standing by to assist homes and commercial buildings in Northern California affected by the current devastating fires. Call us at (650) 800-3448 for immediate assistance for residential and commercial fire and water restoration and fire and smoke cleaning services.

Planning Halloween the SERVPRO way!

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

From all of us at SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we wish you a SPOOK-TACULAR and SAFE Halloween!

October is here, and department stores are stocking up on pumpkins, costumes, and candy to prepare for Halloween on October 31st. Halloween is an exciting holiday for most families—even pets join in for the clever costumes and trick-or-treating excitement. At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we urge our customers who celebrate this holiday to take the necessary precautions to make it safe. Every year, Halloween fires occur, affecting hundreds of home structures due to candles, decorations, or unsafe costumes, and causing fire damage and smoke damage, requiring extensive fire restoration. Most holiday fire hazards can be avoided by taking safety precautions, and by a little extra planning to ensure this year’s Halloween remains fire-free and enjoyable for all.

The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) statistics show that from 2009-2013, an average of 860 home structure fires occurred, causing an average of one death, 41 injuries, and $13 million in direct property damage per year. These fires usually occur from flammable decoration being placed too close to a heat source. Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den.

Below are some Halloween safety tips provided by the NFPA to ensure that this year’s trick-or-treating does not turn into a horror story.

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long, trailing fabric. If you’re making your own costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
  • Provide children with flashlights to light their paths, or give them glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
  • Use a flashlight or battery-operated candles in a Jack-o-lantern. If you insist on using a real candle, practice extreme caution. Make sure children are supervised at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of way trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
  • Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
  • If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
  • Children should always go trick-or-treating with a responsible adult.
  • Remind children to stay together as a group when walking from house to house.
  • Review how to safely cross a street with your child. Look left, right, and left again to be sure no cars are approaching before crossing the street.
  • Make (and enforce) the rule that children not eat any treat until it has been brought home and examined by an adult.

Pre-planning

As part of your Halloween pre-planning, download our Emergency Ready APP to your phone or tablet to create a personalized plan in case of an emergency. The app is free and easy to use. If you have any questions or damage to your property, please feel free to call us at (650) 800-3448.

Download the app today! 

SERVPRO of Palo Alto

2625 Middlefield Road #557 Palo Alto, CA 94306(650) 800-3448

Select SERVPRO of Palo Alto as your preferred franchise.

https://ready.SERVPRO.com/home/mobileapp

Mexico Earthquake- Wake-up Call for Californians

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

On Tuesday, September 19, 2017, a powerful earthquake struck the south of Mexico in Puebla State, 123 kilometers from Mexico City. This earthquake should serve as a wake-up call to all Californians, as seismologists have been waiting for a possible devastating earthquake to occur in California. The San Andreas Fault and six other significant fault zones are present in the Bay Area: the Calaveras Fault, Concord-Green Valley Fault, Greenville Fault, Hayward Fault, Rodgers Creek Fault, and San Gregorio Fault.

If and when that big one hits us, a tsunami could also be a real threat to us, and might even come through the Bay side to impact Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and the surrounding areas. Once these waves enter your home, the waters are deemed Category 3 flood waters, and everything impacted by the waves would be deemed unsalvageable.

After a catastrophic situation has impacted our community, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the ability to rally equipment and crews to quickly respond to storm damage of any magnitude. Trust SERVPRO to restore the water damage your structure can suffer from a major storm. We can handle water damage restoration after flooding, thunderstorms, earthquakes, and any natural disaster. Our crew will take care of your restoration, water mitigation, and any mold remediation needed after a big storm. SERVPRO of Palo Alto would be one of the first responders in such a disaster, and would be there to help clean up and dry out your commercial or residential property if affected.

If you experience any kind of storm damage, be sure to call us first at SERVPRO of Palo Alto by dialing 650-800-3448.

Storms Can Cause Flooding to Your Palo Alto Home

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

After a storm or natural disaster, the aftermath can be detrimental to you both emotionally and financially.  Storm cleanup and water damage restoration to your property can be stressful without the help of qualified technicians leading the way. With storm season approaching us, rain and high winds can affect Palo Alto and other parts of the Bay Area. When these winter storms occur, there’s a possibly of power outages in your area due to winds knocking down electrical poles or other causes.

It is important for families to be prepared for a power outage that may last for several hours or days after a heavy storm. The National Public Service campaign, Ready Campaign, has shared the following tips regarding power outage:

Before a Power Outage:

  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, casa, and first aid supplies.
  • Make sure you have alternate charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power.
  • Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door is located and know how to operate it.
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been establish in your community.

During a Power Outage:

  • Avoid using candles which can cause fires. Only use flashlight for emergency lighting.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.
  • Only use generators away from your home, and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home’s electrical system. Consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing a generator.

After a Power Outage:

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures of 40*F (4*C) for two hours or more. When in doubt, throw it away.
  • If food in freezer is colder than 40*F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about medication having spoiled.
  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. 
  • Choose foods your family will eat.
  • Remember any special dietary needs.
  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.

The following items are suggested when selecting emergency food supplies. You may already have many of these on hand.

  • Salt-free crackers, whole grain cereals, and canned foods with high liquid content
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods
  • Don’t forget to pack a can opener and other utensils needed!

For more information and tips on how to prepare for and respond to an emergency visit

 https://www.ready.gov/about-us

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. For your emergency restoration services call us 24/7 for prompt service. (650) 800-3448.

HVAC System Cleaning for Your Business

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

For business owners, it’s possible to overlook certain aspects of your building or office space such as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC system).  When these systems are not properly maintained, they can accumulate dust, pollen, and other debris. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.” It’s very important to maintain clean ducts in order to maintain a healthy environment for your business.

When these ducts are not given the maintenance that they require, the HVAC system may begin to fail and waste unnecessary energy that can cost you. Keeping your air ducts clean can save you and your business money. HVAC systems may also leak and cause water damage and mold damage that can weaken the structure of your property. These damages can produce odors throughout your business and can be unpleasant for the employees and guests.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. Remember that maintaining the HVAC system can extend the life of the equipment. Don’t wait to call our experts on commercial air ducts and HVAC cleaning at 650-800-3448.

Water Main Break Floods Several Homes in Menlo Park

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto was called to respond to a major water main break in Menlo Park that affected six homes on two adjacent streets close to downtown Menlo Park, causing major water damage, and requiring major water restoration. Within one hour, SERVPRO of Palo Alto responded to two homes that were severely damaged. Upon arrival, our SERVPRO team immediately started to pump out the groundwater that had seeped through the homes' foundations. It was a disaster! There was over two feet of water in the unfinished crawlspaces of two of the homes - basically a muddy mess. Our crews worked simultaneously at the homes to get the water out as quickly as possible. We arrived after 10pm and didn't leave till after 4:30AM!

The water was extracted and pumped out, and SERVPRO of Palo Alto made sure no other potential secondary damage could occur from the standing water.

Our teams came out the next day and installed the proper equipment to dry out the framing under the homes: dehumidifiers and air movers. Over the next several days, we worked with a total of six homes that needed our help with their flooding, damaged contents, damaged drywall and flooring. Our heroes are here to help rain or shine, night or day!

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can respond immediately to your water damage emergency, regardless of the scope or size of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large-scale events and disasters.

Whether your water emergency occurs in a big-box store, a home, a condo, or a small office building, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the water restoration project through to its completion. Reach SERVPRO of Palo Alto by dialing 650-800-3448.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Provides 24-Hour Water Damage Restoration Service

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through both the crisis and the water restoration process. SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Call us at 650-800-3448.

Protect Your Home from a Wildfire

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

As Californians, we know the real threat of wildfires. California residents need to be more aware on how best to protect their homes from wildfires. Our wildfire risk is extremely high, especially with the severe drought conditions our state can face. According to the Federal Emergency  Management Agency (FEMA), here are some top ways to protect your property in Atherton, Redwood City, Menlo Park, and North Fair Oaks and other Bay Area cities:  

Have you thinned out and maintained the vegetation around the house?

 All vegetation is fuel for a wildfire, therefore the greater the distance between your home and the vegetation, the greater the protection. Create a 30-foot safety zone around the house, if possible. At a minimum, create a defensible space of 0-5 feet, and use noncombustible materials, such as gravel, brick, or concrete in this critical area adjacent to your home. Remove vines from the walls of the house, prune branches and shrubs within 15 feet of chimneys.

Create a second zone of 100 feet reducing or replacing as much of the most flammable vegetation as possible. If you live on a hill, you may need to extend the zone for several hundred feet. 

Are combustible materials away from the house? Identify all combustible materials outside the house, stack firewood 100 feet away and uphill from the house. Keep the gas grill and propane tank at least 15feet away from the house and place a mesh screen over the grill. 

Is the roof made of noncombustible materials? Materials that are fire resistant include single ply membranes, fiberglass shingles, slate, metal, clay, and concrete tile. Clean debris from roof since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers.

Are sundecks and porches enclosed underneath? Are eaves and overhangs enclosed? Clear leaves, trash and other fire hazards away from decks and porches, extend 1/2 inch mesh screen from all overhands down to the ground. Enclose all eaves to reduce the hazard.­

Clean out gutters regularly. Keep debris out of gutters, since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers. If used, gutter covers should be non-combustible.

Are house vents covered with wire mesh? Any attic vent, soffit vent, or other opening can allow embers and flaming debris to enter a home and ignite it. Cover all openings with a 1/4 inch or smaller corrosion-resistant wire mesh. Are chimneys and stovepipes covered with spark arrestors? Use 12-gauge spark arrestors or woven wire mesh to prevent this hazard.

Is the house siding fire resistant? Stucco, metal, brick and cement, concrete and rock are all fire resistant and should be used. You can treat wood siding with UL-approved fire retardant chemicals but these treatments are not permanent.

Have windows been treated to reduce the risk? Dual or triple-paned thermal glass and fire resistant shutters or drapes, help reduce wildfire risk. Tempered glass windows and noncombustible awnings can also help reduce your risk

Dealing with the aftermath of a fire event can be a frustrating journey. SERVPRO of Palo Alto stands by ready to help you make the fire restoration process as painless as possible. If you need us, dial 650-800-3448.

Does your Palo Alto Home Have Mold?

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

As a homeowner, you want to keep your house looking great. You may have purchased ceramic tiles for your kitchen floor, bathroom walls, or hallways. To clean ceramic tiles and keeping them in pristine condition all year round is a difficult task. Tiled surfaces are not safe from mold. Water may seep through and develop mold in grout and behind the tiles. Grout materials are usually made of some porous material which can attract moisture, ultimately creating mold. Luckily, SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help with mold mitigation.

Why stains and molds occur

There many reasons why stains could have developed in your ceramics. One of the reasons causing these stains are various types of bacteria that has formed under or on the tile. Preventing and treating bacteria is the best way to keep your tiles looking wonderful.

 
Behind Tile and Walls 
 
Many times, mold may not be visible to the naked eye, but a particular smell or stain can give you a hint. In some cases, mold can grow into large patches behind tiles or walls, creating large patches of growth out of sight. This bacteria may be dangerous, as these patches of mold can grow to immense sizes before being noticed.


Prevent Mold Growth 
 
Cheap or damaged grout and wall materials can lead to mold growth. It is important to apply new layers of waterproof grout to ensure that wall materials are in good shape. Make sure to pay attention to any stain or odor in order to identify the source and prevent future mold growth in the area.

Our SERVPRO of Palo Alto technicians are trained to thoroughly examine and clean mold from tiled surfaces, and to save as much of the tile as possible. If you need to get rid of your mold fast, call us 24/7 at 650-800-3448 for quick response times and quality service.
 

Common Places in Your Home to Find Mold Damage

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

Mold infested kitchen pantry. Don't forget to check out our Before/After photos!

Patches of mold growth are relatively common in homes in Palo Alto, requiring mold cleanup and mold remediation.

In Pantries and Refrigerators 

Food scraps can grow old and begin to rot and grow mold. This is dangerous because mold can spread across surface inside of a pantry, refrigerator, or any dark moist space. Make sure to maintain food fresh and sealed to prevent mold contamination in these areas.

Laundry Rooms

Laundry rooms are a common place for mold to grow. Laundry rooms provide many places for mold to grow and spread. Damp clothes, a humid atmosphere, and sometimes leaks or condensation around washers and dryers can result in mold formation.

In the Bathroom 
Mold Damage in Palo Alto homes grow in bathrooms. These areas provide the perfect atmosphere for mold growth: significant amounts of water, often with humid air, and dark for most hours of the day. Mold can form in cabinets, on towels and clothes. Shower curtains, plain wooden walls, tiles, and floors can be hiding bacteria. Whenever we respond to mold damage in a bathroom, we make sure to locate the source and prevent it from spreading in other areas in the home.

Behind Walls and Ceilings 
Mold patches are usually caused when a pipe leaks or bursts and dampens the wood surrounding it. This can result in mold growth that is out of view and inside the walls. Mold will spread quickly damaging and weakening your home. If you have had a recent water damage in your home, make sure to test the walls for possible mold.

For a homeowner, mold is a threat that they don't even know is there until they either see it or smell it. SERVPRO of Palo Alto is determined to remove that threat and its effects. If you believe you may be dealing with a mold problem that requires mold mitigation, call us today at 650-800-3448 for an inspection, and to get the process started.

"Do I Have A Mold Problem?" Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto to Find Out

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

Experiencing mold issues can cause headaches to homeowners, especially if contractors fail to take the necessary measures to clear the mold. Failing to properly provide mold remediation can cause mold to return.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, our customers’ safety and satisfaction is our priority. Our SERVPRO professionals will help you find the source that caused mold to form, and will remediate the problem using the proper steps to give you peace of mind, as well as provide you with exceptional service. Mold remediation is not complete until the source has been discovered and the mold eliminated.

When treating mold growth, SERVPRO of Palo Alto follows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) procedures. Our technicians are highly trained to treat obvious mold growth using plastic sheeting to protect the rest of the home during remediation. For extensive mold, we use state-of-the-art scrubbing equipment to ensure mold particles are eliminated. If demolition is necessary, we remove the colonies and any porous material that has been affected.  Our technicians will follow all local regulations for disposal of removed material.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto looks for even the smallest details in the structure that may allow moisture to intrude and cause another outbreak. Our mold specialists will then disinfect the affected areas using exceptional cleaning methods and techniques.

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto if you suspect a mold problem in your home, or if you have visible mold from a previous water damage event. If this is the case, you’ll want professionals with the training, experience, and equipment to properly resolve the mold infestation. Call us today at 650-800-3448.

Quality Fire Damage Restoration Services for Bay Area Home

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

Damage caused by a fire is devastating for home and business owners. It’s a stressful and confusing time, so you’ll need caring experts to guide you through this crisis. Our professionals at SERVPRO of Palo Alto will always treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always handle your home and belongings with great care. We can recover many of your belongings that you may have thought lost forever. 

Home or business owners can be caught off guard with a sudden fire emergency. It’s important not to delay and discuss available coverage with your insurance company, in addition to taking the appropriate steps to limit the losses you might experience in case of an emergency situation. SERVPRO of Palo Alto will help you deal with your insurance company, and assist you with the paperwork involved in your claim, making the process as stress-free as possible.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we have the specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire damage to help you through this tough time. We can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition. SERVPRO uses the latest technology, including water extractors, moisture detectors, and air moving equipment to effectively dry areas affected by firefighting efforts.

Rely on SERVPRO of Palo Alto for fire damaging events to your property. We are available 24/7, including holidays. Call us at 650-800-3448.

Cooking Fires & Safety

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause is leaving cooking unattended. Fires can happen very quickly, even if you walk away for just a moment. When cooking, it’s important to stay in the kitchen, and keep anything that can catch fire away from stovetops. Oven mitts, wooden utensil, food packaging, and towels are all prone to be caught on fire, even by a spark. If a stove fire were to inevitably occur, and you are unable to contain the fire with a fire extinguisher, quickly get everyone out of the house, and call 911 or your local emergency number! Don’t forget to take your pets with you, and close the door behind you to help contain the fire.

Use Caution with Fire Extinguishers

Remember the word PASS when using a fire extinguisher:
1. Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you. 
2. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
3. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly. 
4. Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire has been extinguished.

How to Recover after a Fire

  • Wash small wounds with soap and water to help prevent infections. Use bandages and replace them if they become soiled or damaged. If you have suffered from any injuries, have them treated by a medical professional immediately.
  • Remain calm and patiently deal with urgent situations first. Take care of yourself and your family. If necessary contact your local disaster relieve service, such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army for shelter assistance, clothing, medicine, and other important things.
  • Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter.
  • When entering your damaged home, be sure to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirt, closed toed shoes, safety googles, and a hard hat (if necessary) to avoid injuries from falling particles of damaged ceilings and structure.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto when the fire department clears your property and it is safe to enter. Our advanced training enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. For any emergencies, call us 24/7 for prompt service at 650-800-3448.

Protecting Your Pets During a Disaster or Emergency Event

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

In the event of fire emergency or storm disaster, most people consider the safety of their family, but many may forget to consider the safety of their pets. According to the Unites States Fire Administration, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires alone. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by homeowners' pets.

The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have joined forces to provide the following tips:

  • Extinguish Open Flames- Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
  • Remove Stove Knobs- Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house - a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
  • Invest in flameless Candles- These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
  • Secure Young Pets - Keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home, such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.

Emergency Pet Safety

Sadly enough, many forget to include their pets in their plan in case of an emergency. It’s important to practice your emergency plan with your family, while including your pets as part of the practice. This includes taking emergency pet supplies with you, if you are forced to evacuate. Also, make sure your pets are micro-chipped and wearing collars with updated contact information.

Comforting your Pet

A fire event can be frightening to your pet, especially with the loud sounds of fire alarms. Scared animals often react by biting or scratching. If you have pets, find them and comfort them. Handle them carefully, calmly, and gently. If you were to be separated from your pet during an emergency event, proper identifications tags or microchips will increase your chances of being reunited.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto stands ready to assist after tragedy strikes. Contact us at 650-800-3448 for any questions regarding Emergency Planning and/or Damage Restoration for your home or business.

Lightning storm strikes the Bay Area

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

On Monday, September 11, the Bay Area was hit with a late-summer storm that brought thousands of lightning strikes, rain and high winds. The strong winds knocked down several wires in the South Bay, leaving several homes and businesses without power.

With summer coming to an end, we begin to prepare for the upcoming storm season that fall may bring. These storms can potentially create numerous water and damage losses for your home or business. It is important to inspect your home or business for water damage to prevent it from creating mold or further damage to the structure.

The heavy winds of these storms can knock down trees causing severe damage to your property. Storm and flood damages require specialized techniques and adequate equipment. If your residential or commercial property is affected by a storm, you will need a company with storm damage experience and expertise. Trust SERVPRO of Palo Alto to take care of it. Call us 650-800-3448.

Locally Owned Company with National Storm Resources

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is locally owned and operated, so we are part of this community too. When you have a flooding or storm emergency, we’re already nearby and ready to help 24/7. We take pride in being a part of the Palo Alto community and want to do our part in making it the best it can be.

SEPTEMBER: National Preparedness Month

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

Download our app TODAY!

Make A Plan

Mother Nature can bring us unexpected events without much warning.  That is why you can never be too careful. During an emergency, it is important to be prepared with an Emergency Plan in place. An Emergency Plan can increase your chances of survival for yourself and those around you in case of an emergency or disaster.

It is important that everyone in the home is aware of what actions to take in case of an emergency. You can find more information on how to be prepared in the link below:

https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan.

SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help you develop an immediate plan of action for your home or business. You can simply download our mobile SERVPRO Ready Plan app on your phone or tablets. Whether you are a home or business owner, our SERVPRO Ready Plan can help you be prepared for whatever happens. It is important to know what to do and expect in advance to help minimize the damages that can affect your property. The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile advantages consist of:

  • 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 concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
    It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
     
  • A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
    This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
     
  • Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
    You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
     
  • Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
    This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
     
  • Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
    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."

Select SERVPRO of Palo Alto as your Preferred Franchise on your personalized profile.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto

(650) 800-3448

2625 Middlefield Road #557

Palo Alto, CA 94306

Download the app today

https://ready.SERVPRO.com/home/mobileapp

We Specialize In Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your Palo Alto basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Sanitary sewer backup
  • Foundation drainage failure
  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding? 

Call Today - (650) 800-3448

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Palo Alto and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week
  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained  in Water Restoration Techniques
  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards
  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Basement Flooded? Call Us Today – We’re Ready To Help (650) 800-3448

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is an IICRC Certified Firm

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

We are an IICRC Certified Firm

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.
  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Football Season Is Here!

9/12/2017 (Permalink)

Football season is here!

Benny, our office mascot, is ready for tailgating parties and BBQs.

Benny’s safety tips during this football season:

  • Make sure to have a fire extinguishers handy when grilling.
  • If at home, make sure all fire detectors are properly installed.
  • Using a charcoal grill? Make sure the coals are cool before disposing
  • Make sure there are no flammable items nearby when cooking or grilling.
  • Never leave the grill or stove unattended.

If your home does suffers from a fire, SERVPRO of Palo Alto will be there for you. Once firefighters have cleared the premises, your property might have suffered water damage from their firefighting efforts as well as smoke and soot damage.

For fire restoration services, SERVPRO of Palo Alto has the training needed to restore your home and property to pre-fire condition. Do not wait to call us at 650-800-3448.

Benny and our SERVPRO of Palo Alto team, wish your favorite team the best of luck this season!

Restoring Your Commercial Property After a Water Damage Event

9/12/2017 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

If you have experienced a water damage on your property, Call us now at 650-800-3448

Remembering 9/11

9/11/2017 (Permalink)

Sixteen years ago on this day, September 11, 2001, our lives changed forever. We can all remember as we watched the World Trade Center in New York City being stricken by planes as terrorists attacked our country. We watched the Pentagon in Washington in flames after Flight 77 crashed into the building. Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania another plane crashed into a field. It was a day of grief that will stay in our hearts forever.

Following the attacks, reconstruction of the event was an enormous task. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals were called upon to assist with the cleanup and restoration on the Pentagon. Despite of the difficulties and emotions that involved the restoration, SERVPRO completed the process of drying over 300,000 square feet of property due to water pipes bursting. In addition, SERVPRO also provided fire, soot and smoke cleanup and restoration services.

Although reconstruction was possible, the memories will take time to heal and recover from. SERVPRO of Palo Alto honors the heroic actions of those who gave their lives to help others. Firefighters, policemen, first responders, and civilians all came together to respond without hesitation to save hundreds of lives. These men and women put their own lives on the line to save others. Today and every day of our lives, we remember the innocent lives that were lost during the attacks.

Fire Prevention Tips For Palo Alto Residents

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

Create your ERP today!

Fire Prevention

Having an emergency plan in case of a fire is important in order to protect your residence or business. The first 48 hours after a fire can make a difference in determining whether to restore, rather than to replace your property and personal processions. SERVPRO of Palo Alto believes in informing our customers the importance of fire prevention with some tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

  • Do not leave your cooking unattended specially when frying, grilling or broiling food. The stove should be turn off if you must leave, even for a short period of time
  • Portable heaters should be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Inspect electrical cord and replace any that are cracked, damage or broken.
  • Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn.
  • Have an escape plan.

At SERVPRO of Palo Alto, we believe in the importance of being prepared, which is why we provide our customers with an Emergency Ready Profile. Our SERVPRO professionals can assist you in developing an ERP plan which contains crucial information needed in the event of an emergency occurring.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for more information on Fire prevention and restoration at 650-800-3448

When Storms hit, SERVPRO is PREPARED!

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

Atherton home affected by heavy rain. SERVPRO of Palo Alto was there to help!

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is dedicated to storm and flood damage restoration. Our crew is ready “for whatever happens”. Our highly trained staff use expert equipment that is efficient to restore and preserve your property.

Our crew at SERVPRO of Palo Alto are able to respond quickly with the right resources within a few hours to reduce any future damage. This is extremely important to assure that the property is dry in order to decrease the damage. Doing so will prevent further damage, which ultimately reduces the restoration cost.

When storms hit Palo Alto, we have the right equipment and resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. Our highly trained professionals are ready to respond 24/7 to any storm or flood emergency.

We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large scale events and disasters.

Need Emergency Services? Call us 24/7 at 650-800-3448

Fall Cleaning is the New Spring Cleaning!

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

As fall is slowly approaching, give yourself some peace of mind and come to cozy, clean home. Perhaps you have a cooking odor that just won’t go away or carpet stains from your summer gathering. Our top-quality professional cleaning service will assist you with whatever your cleaning needs may be! Some of our services include:

  • Carpet and hard floor cleaning and care.
  • Stain removal, stain resistance application
  • Odor identification and deodorization.
  • Upholstery & drapes: wet or dry cleaning methods.

Let our specialist at SERVPRO of Palo Alto help with any cleaning services that you may need. Our crew is equipped with the knowledge and equipment to create a safe, clean and comfortable living environment for you and your family. SERVPRO provides cleaning services to residential and commercial properties. Call us today at (650) 800-3448 and let SERVPRO do all the work for you!

Are You Prepared For a Natural Disaster?

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

Hurricane Harvey has powerfully impacted the state of Texas causing catastrophic floods and homes destroyed. This unfortunate event caused by Mother Nature should be a wake-up call to be prepared for any natural disaster. It is also a good time to review your current insurance policy. Although California has not experienced hurricanes, SERVPRO of Palo Alto advices you to always be prepared. California has been impacted by tropical storms that have caused major flooding and property damage.

Here are some tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in order to protect your home in case of a severe storm:

  • Cover all windows with precut plywood or hurricane shutters to protect from high winds.
  • Keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed.
  • Turn off utilities and propane tanks as instructed.
  • Ensure supply of water for sanitary purposes.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers 24-hour emergency response, 365 a year. Reach us at 650-800-3448

Second Floor Leaks Can Mean More Than Just Water Stains in Your Palo Alto or Menlo Park Home

8/23/2017 (Permalink)

Ceiling Damage from Upstairs Broken Pipe.

Some of the most common water emergency inquiries we receive are from customers who have experienced a second story leak, which has leaked to the first floor, through the ceiling which looks staining, bubbling and cracks. Whether the leak is coming from a clean water source like a sink faucet, or a contaminated or dirty water source, such as a toilet, the water damage can be severe.

Water tends to travel and is capable of causing severe structural damage, spreading to other rooms not immediately affected, causing damage to insulation, light fixtures, framing, flooring, and even furniture.

If you suspect water damage in your home in Palo Alto, Menlo Park or Bay area property, do not ignore it, as delaying any service or further inspection could cause more damage, and the water can be concealing more serious issues.

A leaky roof, broken pipe, worn appliance, or accidental overflow can all be causes of water damage. SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides you with expertly trained and certified water technicians along with the newest and most efficient drying equipment to address your water damage. 

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto for fast and effective solutions for all water damage issues found in your home. We are here to help to your provide service to help protect your home, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. Call 650-800-3448.

Hoarding Help for a Challenging Situation in your Palo Alto Home

8/23/2017 (Permalink)

Extreme Hoarder Situation that SERVPRO of Palo Alto Helped Clean Up

Are you or a loved one dealing with a hoarder situation? Often times a family member who is ill can suffer from a hoarder-type situation, and SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help you resolve the situation with understanding and compassion. People who are dealing with a hoarding disorder deserve a trusting cleanup team who can help restore their lives to normal.

A hoarding situation required special expertise in cleaning and restoration. We have dealt with every kind of critical restoration situation and have the depth of resources to handle jobs from a small kitchen disaster to the toughest and most complex estate jobs involving toxic odors and biohazardous materials.

By listening to the family's needs and concerns, SERVPRO of Palo Alto creates a plan that everyone agrees upon, whether this involves cleaning, sorting, distributing, communicating, and disposing or donating unwanted items. We will work with your representative, trustee, estate manager, family member or even medical representative, every step of the way. Our work is not done until the goal is achieved and things are clutter free and your home is safe again. 

Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto if you need help restoring your hoarder's home back to normal: 650-800-3448.

Mold Cleanup for Your Palo Alto Property

8/23/2017 (Permalink)

Mold in a Home Caused After Winter Rains

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

Contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto to address mold remediation issues found inb your home by calling 650-800-3448. We are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Holiday Fire Safety tips

12/13/2016 (Permalink)

Easy Holiday Safety tips

It is that time of year again, everyone! During this time of the year, there are carolers singing, egg nog, bright lights, tasty food, chilly weather, and shopping for presents. With all these fun and festive things going on, it is easy to forget some of the easiest ways to prevent fire accidents. Surprisingly, statistics show that residential fires are more costly and property loss is 34% greater during the holidays rather than any other time of the year.  As a gift from your local neighborhood SERVPRO, here are a few tips to make sure your holiday is the merriest and safest it can be.

Kitchen

  • Keep a multi-grade fire extinguisher handy for a variety of fires.
  • Check the smoke detectors for operable batteries.
  • If you are going to deep fry your turkey, make sure it is on a flat surface and at least 10 feet away outside from your home.
  • If you are multitasking while you are cooking, make sure you have a cooking utensil in hand to remind you that something is on the stove.

Candles

  • Maintain at least a foot between the candle and anything flammable in all directions.
  • Before going to bed, make sure all candles are put out and never leave a flame unattended. However, if you prefer a low light setting, rather than use candles, switch to LED powered candles. 

Christmas trees

  • Try to purchase a fresh cut tree with one that has all of its pine needles intact.
  • Purchase a tree base that has room for you to water your tree every day.
  • Watered trees will last longer and will typically dry out after 4 weeks.
  • Remember to take your tree out as soon as possible after the holidays to prevent unwanted accidents. Dry trees are the easiest to catch on fire.

Decorative Lights

  • Inspect light strings for cracks and/or fraying.
  • Inspect light sockets for broken and exposed filaments.
  • Do not run three strings from end to end, but instead, stack them because it is safer.
  • Do not use nails or staples to hang your lights. Instead, use UL-Rated clips and hangers.
  • Take lights down after the holidays to prevent squirrels from chewing on your cables and environmental damage.

The Fireplace

  • Have your chimney inspected for collected soot that hardens after every use of your fireplace. If it needs to be cleaned, do so before you use it. 
  • Do not start a fire for your fireplace with wrapping paper or liquids; only use seasonal firewood.
  • Set a screen in front of your fireplace to prevent the embers from your cozy fire does not damage or spark a fire to your items such as a rug or other flammables.
  • Set extinguished embers in a metal container outside for at least 24 hours before throwing away.

If you have any questions, concerns, you may contact us at 1 (650) 800-3448.

Most importantly, we are available for emergency services of any accidents or inconvenient mishaps 24/7.

From our family here at SERVPRO of Palo Alto to yours, we wish you a safe happy holidays!

 

Fast to your Palo Alto Water Damage Event

5/11/2016 (Permalink)

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Palo Alto provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Palo Alto arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – (650) 800-3448

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Palo Alto

SERVPRO of Palo Alto specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property

El Nino Storms Hitting Palo Alto and Bay Area Causing Water Damage

1/6/2016 (Permalink)

The first rounds of storms that meteorologists are attributing to El Nino begin pounding the bay area the first week of 2016.  The series of storms will soak the bay area including Palo Alto. We might be making use of those sand bags after all. 

The National Weather Service is forecasting 6 straight days of rain with the heaviest of rains happening midweek with predictions of rain totals from 1 to 5 inches. However, these are the first storms for El Nino in what weather experts call a 'conga line' of storms. Well we hope we can dance to that tune with the record draughts across Northern and Southern California. 

Our phone calls have been reflecting the weather, as we predicted. With flooded basements and roof leaks being our main causes of water damage this week. We have been responding to calls from Palo Alto and Menlo Park, to Woodside and Portola Valley.  

When damage occurs to you, call the professionals. We are always here to help. 

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can respond immediately to your water damage emergency regardless of the scope or size of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large scale events and disasters.

Whether your water emergency occurs in an apartment, a large estate, a small office building, or a multi-unit complex, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Can Clean Up After the Loss of Your Loved Ones: Biohazard Cleanup after Death

10/15/2015 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Palo Alto is experienced to deal with very challenging situations on a daily basis providing emergency services for water, fire, mold and sewage cleanup. One of the most challenging is trauma cleanup and biohazard removal after crime scenes, death and suicide. One of the most extreme, is the death of a person who has not been found for days or even longer. For the family involved, this can be a traumatizing experience. 

Considering what happens to the body after death as the decomposition process starts immediately, the entire situation can be disturbing and overwhelming. Additionally, the health hazards of the trauma scene are serious and cleanup should only be left up to professionals. A decomposing body can affect the home's safety and can be deemed uninhabitable with the effects of airborne bacteria, odor and biohazard materials. 

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has certified professionals who are experienced to safely cleanup and remove affected materials. We follow proper regulations and protocols to remove personal property and structural elements, such as flooring. 

We provide cleanup services to individual families, property managers, and other commercial accounts. Call SERVPRO of Palo Alto to get expert help in biohazard cleanup.

Summer is Almost Here, as Fire Season is also Approaching Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Portola Valley

9/23/2015 (Permalink)

Credit: qctimes.com

As Californians, we know the real threat of wildfires. California residents need to be more aware than ever on how best to protect their homes from wildfires.


According to FEMA here are some top ways to protect your property in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and other bay area cities:  


Have you thinned out and maintained the vegetation around the house? All vegetation is fuel for a wildfire-therefore the greater the distance between your home and the vegetation, the greater the protection. Create a 30-foot safety zone around the house if possible. At a minimum, create a defensible space of (0-5ft): use noncombustible materials, such as gravel, brick, or concrete in this critical area adjacent to your home. Remove vines from the walls of the house, prune branches and shrubs within 15 ft of chimneys.


Create a second zone of 100 feet reducing or replacing as much of the most flammable vegetation as possible.If you live on a hill, you may need to extend the zone for several hundred feet. 


Are combustibe materials away from the house? Identify all combustible materials outside the house, stack firewood 100ft away and uphill from the house. Keep the gas grill and propane tank at least 15 ft from the house and place a mesh screen over the grill. 


Is the roof made of non combustible materials? Materials that are fire resistant include single ply membranes, fiberglass shingles, slate, metal, clay and concrete tile. Clean debris from roof since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers.


Are sundecks and porches enclosed underneath? Are eaves and overhangs enclosed? Clear leaves, trash and other fire hazards away from decks and porches, extend 1/2 inch mesh screen from all overhands down to the ground. Enclose all eaves to reduce the hazard.


Clean out gutters regularly: keep debris ouf of gutters since debris can be ignited by wind-blown embers. If used, gutter covers should be non-combustible.


Are house vents covered with wire mesh? Any attic vent, soffit vent, or other opening can allow embers and flaming debris to enter a home and ignite it. Cover all openings with an 1/4 inch or smaller corrosion-resistant wire mesh. Are chimneys and stovepipes covered with spark arrestors? Use 12-gauge spark arrestors or woven wire mesh to prevent this hazard.


Is the house siding fire resistant? Stucco, metal, brick and cement, concrete and rock are all fire resistant and should be used. You can treate wood siding with UL-approved fire retardant chemicals but these treatments are not permanent.


Have windows been treated to reduce the risk? Dual or triple-paned thermal glass and fire resistant shutters or drapes, help reduce wildfire risk. Tempered glass windos and noncombustible awnings can also help reduce your risk.

Tsunami Threatens California After 8.3 Chile Earthquake

9/17/2015 (Permalink)

Photo: San Andrea Movie.

A powerful 8.3 earthquake that rattled the earth for three minutes struck the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile Wednesday, generating a 15-foot tsunami along parts of the Chilean coast. Chile is one of the most earthquake prone countries as the Nazca plate runs under the Andes beneath the S. American plate.

The tsunami advisories are in effect for Hawaii and California coasts but the strength of the waves will be concentrated on French Polynesia including Tahiti. Local officials urge people to stay off the beach and out of water in the areas of Southern and Central California including: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego. The National Tsunami Warning Center said that tsunami waves of less than 1 foot above normal can be expected. Althouth the waves would not pose much danger to land, they can create dangerous currents to those swimming or boating in these areas.

Coastal areas nearest to the Bay Area, South Bay or Silicon Valley, including Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz will likely not be affected by the waves of the tsunami. This earthquake should serve as a wake-up call to all Californians as seismologists have been predicting an earth-rattling quake to this area for months. The San Andreas Fault and 6 other significant fault zones are present in the Bay Area: the Calaveras, Concord-Green Valley, Greenville, Hayward, Rodgers Creek, and San Gregorio Faults.

If and when that big one hits us, a tsunami could be a real threat to us and might even come through the bay side to impact Palo Alto, Menlo Park and the surrounding areas. Once these waves enter your home, the waters are deemed category 3 flood waters and everything impacted by the waves would be deemed unsalvageable. 

SERVPRO of Palo Alto would be one of the first responders in such a disaster and would be there to help clean out and dry out your commercial or residential property if affected.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can respond immediately to your water damage emergency regardless of the scope or size of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large scale events and disasters.

Whether your water emergency occurs in an apartment, a large estate, a small office building, or a multi-unit complex, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion.

SERVPRO Extracts Water at Annual Event to Avoid Flooding

9/15/2015 (Permalink)

Palo Alto Holiday Party

SERVPRO of Palo Alto has been called out for the past three years consecutively to an exclusive holiday party in downtown Palo Alto to extract and pump water. The heavy rains every winter put a damper on the event and tends  flooded heavily as the event planners had been working for weeks to organize this extravaganza, setting up tents, creating a skating rink, and hauling in 20 foot tall Christmas trees.


SERVPRO was on site during the days before the big event pumping out thousands of gallons of water and extracting water throughout the party. The water was creating a mess in the middle of the affair. Luckily the rain paused for a few hours while the party was happening. The event planner that hired us was so appreciative we were there on site for them and they called three days later to hire us again on the cleanup efforts.


Locally Owned Company with National Resources


SERVPRO of Palo Alto can respond immediately to your commercial water damage emergency regardless of the scope or size of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large-scale events and disasters.


Whether your water emergency occurs in a big-box store or a small office building, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion.  

Northern California Wildfires Rage--Leaving a Path of Destruction and Pain

9/15/2015 (Permalink)

Fires raging in California. Photo credit: Together.com.

As the fires in Lake County, Valley, Napa and Butte are ravaging thousands of acres and burning hundreds of homes and buildings to the ground. Neighboring homes are still being threatened and facing severe smoke, soot and property damage. The drought-stricken conditions and dry brush are making conditions for fire fighters impossible. The outlook looks harsh, according to California's emergency services director, "...we don't see an end in the fire season." 

Many homeowners in this devastated aftermath don't know what to do, where to begin and how to rebuild or recuperate from such a loss. Many will be displaced for months while their homes are being completely rebuilt and some will be facing partial reconstruction and major cleanup.

First thing you should do after such a loss is speak to your insurance company. Clarify your policy and hopefully your loss will be covered. One thing to think about while writing up a policy and prior to a natural disaster, is documenting your contents before such a loss can ravage your home. Taking pictures of your furniture, electronics, major belongings and creating lists of your valuables can literally save you when you are trying to recoup your losses and make an insurance claim of what has been damaged or burnt.

If you are one of the lucky ones where the fire didn't completely consume your home, your insurance company will suggest calling a professional fire cleanup and restoration company, such as SERVPRO. For homeowners in Palo Alto, we will help you throughout the entire process. We will work closely with you and your insurance claims representatives to clean up your home and contents, salvage what is salvageable, and inventory what is a total loss. We will remove the heavy smoke odor from your property and belongings and coordinate dry cleaners and other relevant contractors who can help repair your home. We will treat you and your property with great care and respect throughout the process. Our fire services include:

Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
Immediate Board-Up and Roof Tarp Service (if needed)
Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
Cleaning and Repair
Restoration

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can respond immediately to your water, or fire damage emergency regardless of the scope or size of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large scale events and disasters.

Whether your water/fire emergency occurs in a big-box store or a small office building, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion. 

Will El Nino bring wet weather to Silicon Valley this winter?

8/13/2015 (Permalink)

Meteorologists have been closely monitoring the El Nino weather pattern as more and more information is leaning towards the possibility of an extreme winter for our Bay Area. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center recently reported that the warming of sea surface temperatures and the emerging equatorial winds are following the conditions preceding some of the strongest El Ninos in California history. Last time we had such winters was in 1982-1983 and 1997-1998.

The Positive
California's drought and below average rainfall could be helped by this predicted storm. Perhaps our dams and reservoirs could reach their normal levels, we could use water without fearing citation and our plants might even be green again!

The Negative
Things could change and the weather pattern may not take hold. Forecasters are keeping a close watch, although this recent report increased to a 90% chance, up 5% from last month. If things persist we may see El Nino--then again we might not. 

If we're not prepared for the extreme weather, we could see widespread flooding and damage. Palo Alto and the rest of Silicon Valley could be hit hard. Power lines, flooding, high winds, and snow, roof leaks, surface water, ground water in your basement or crawlspace...are you ready?

It might be a good idea to revisit your homeowner’s insurance policy; do you have water damage coverage? Does it cover floods? Do you know the details of what your policy covers? A call to your agent will protect you from unforeseen costs and a real disaster, the one to your bank account. Will you need to call SERVPRO of Palo Alto. If so, our heroes are here to help, rain or shine, night or day! 

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Palo Alto can respond immediately to your water damage emergency regardless of the scope or size of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large scale events and disasters.

Whether your water emergency occurs in a big-box store or a small office building, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion.

SERVPRO of Palo Alto Can Fix Your Vandalism and Biohazard Situation

8/13/2015 (Permalink)

Carpet damaged by acid vandalism in a Palo Alto apartment.

In the unfortunate event that your home is vandalized, broken into or damaged by intruders, SERVPRO of Palo Alto can help clean up your property and remove and potential hazards left behind. SERVPRO has been called several times to do emergency board-ups throughout the bay area, but recently we were called to clean up an interesting apartment break-in to a property in Palo Alto.


Most recently SERVPRO of Palo Alto was called after a home had been vandalized and a fire extinguisher had been sprayed throughout the 1500 sqft home. SERVPRO professionals cleaned the entire home with our dry cleaning methods, as well as used air purifying equipment to address all the particulates in the air.


At another home, the intruders had one thing in mind--to damage the apartment in it's entirety with acid. They left all the carpets burnt and the entire apartment damaged by pouring acid all over the carpets, vinyl floors, and appliances. This place was a disaster, and the chemicals used were a hazard.  


SERVPRO crews worked for three days to remove all the flooring remove all the appliances and clean and sanitize the property to leave it safe for repair. Since the acid was very hazardous, crews were suited in full PPE (personal protective equipment), which included tyvek suits, respirators and heavy rubber gloves. Additionally, we installed a large negative air fan or air scrubber to clean the contamination caused by the acid. We removed all the contents and disposed of them according to safety guidelines and regulations.


In addition, SERVPRO professionals are trained to provide cleanup for the following situations:



  • Suicide/death accidents

  • Homicide cleanups

  • Blood cleanup

  • Accident cleanup

  • Hoarding scenes

  • Animal waste/remains

  • Chemical spills

  • Tear gas cleanup

  • Meth lab cleanup


Locally Owned Company with National Resources


SERVPRO of Palo Alto can respond immediately to your commercial water damage emergency regardless of the scope or size of the damage. We are part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large-scale events and disasters.


Whether your water emergency occurs in a big-box store or a small office building, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion. 

Palo Alto Elite Realtors Love SERVPRO of Palo Alto House Cleaning Results

7/29/2015 (Permalink)

Menlo Park Home

In today's competitive real estate marketplace, sellers need to have all balls in their court when marketing a property. As you know, presentation is everything. Recently a homeowner in Menlo Park who was extremely concerned about the cleanliness and odor of his home because he was about to list it for sale. He hired SERVPRO of Palo Alto to help address the dust, debris and odor from day to day living after 15 years, as well as the smell from their 4 cats, birds, hamsters, and even a chinchilla.


The home definitely had a strong pet odor in it in some rooms. SERVPRO of Palo Alto cleaned the house from top to bottom, including windows, window screens, pressure washed the patio, cleaned and sanitized all the cabinets inside and out and even completed the duct cleaning. To complete the process, we did a thermal fogging of the entire home with a neutralizing deodorizer.


The homeowner was more than ecstatic by the results of the cleaning and was happy to stage and put his home on the market. Weeks later the sale was pending. Clean homes sell faster. SERVPRO cleans on the deepest level and will enhance your home's true value by making you shine and helping you sell your home at the highest price possible. 

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