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Resolutions for Property Managers (You'll Actually Keep)

1/6/2021 (Permalink)

"Resolutions Just Ahead" sign Thinking proactively and setting goals is one way to keep your properties in great shape (and your tenants happy).

The end of a year is a great time for all of us to step back and review our accomplishments. It's also a great time for reviewing our mistakes or failures, and resolving to remedy them.

Property management, by its nature, is a reactive role. You're putting out fires, literally and figuratively. But thinking proactively and setting goals is one way to keep your properties in great shape, and your tenants happy.

Here are a few ideas for New Year's resolutions for property managers and management companies. With a little planning and maintenance, you may save yourself countless hours, and dollars, over the coming year.

Create or Review Emergency Response Plan

No one wants to think about the worst case scenario. But we live in Los Angeles, which means we're at risk of a variety of disasters, from wildfires to earthquakes to floods. We can't prevent them from happening, but we can be as prepared as possible to mitigate the potential for injury and property damage.

The most important part of your emergency response is your evacuation plan. Ensuring the physical safety of your residents during an emergency is vital and, dare we say, of greater importance than protecting property. We can restore buildings or replace stuff, after all. Post clear, up-to-date evacuation maps (and here's a free tool to help you create one) in visible locations. Phone numbers, for first responders and emergency contacts for your property management company, should accompany them.

Once immediate danger has abated, you'll need a plan to inspect and repair any damage. You'll also want to control your tenants' access to the building and secure your property. Partnering with a trusted restoration company, like SERVPRO of North Hollywood, can help.

One way you can streamline the process is by signing up for a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile. We'll complete a no cost assessment of your property and create a concise profile document for use in an emergency. In the event of a water, fire or mold disaster, you can contact us using a convenient mobile app. We'll be on site fast to offer the experience and expertise needed to mitigate further damage and manage reopening. And we'll have key details about your property and decision makers so work can begin right away.

Proactively Inspect for Moisture & Mold

Benjamin Franklin said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” He wasn't referring to preventing water damage or mold growth, but he should have been. After all, it doesn't take much more than an ounce of moisture to create a heavy problem.

One way to spot a potential problem is by reviewing your utility bills for the past year. Were there any unexpected spikes in water usage? That may indicate there's an unknown or unreported water leak. When pipes under the sink drip or there's a puddle by the water heater, the problem is obvious. But that doesn't mean your tenants will be prompt in reporting it. More likely, the leak is hidden to the naked eye. If that's the case, here are a few signs of hidden water damage you should look for while inspecting your facility.

Another place to inspect for signs of excess moisture or mold is your HVAC system. Give your air ducts and ventilation systems a once over to clear out dust, debris and other contaminants. Such maintenance improves your residents' air quality and the performance of your system, especially during the next, inevitable Los Angeles heatwave.

If you do spot mold or suspect you have water damage, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood to help. Because when we say faster to any size disaster, we mean it!

Test Fire Suppression Systems

Fires are one of the most expensive, disruptive disaster emergencies a property manager can face. Insurance claims need to be made and processed. Tenants may be forced to relocate for days or weeks during the cleanup process. Even if flames spare your building, lingering odors from smoke and soot may need to be addressed. There could even be water damage or mold growth concerns after first responders depart.

One thing you can do is educate your residents about the common causes of fire damage and how to prevent them. With wildfires an annual, seasonal worry, prepare your property now to mitigate the risk of wildfire damage in the future.

Having fire suppression systems, including smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and sprinklers are, of course, mandated by the state. But they're often out of sight, therefore out of mind. Your residents may not take responsibility for testing themselves, so here's a fire suppression inspection checklist you can follow. Regular inspection, testing and maintenance will reduce the risk of loss in the event of a fire.

Property Managers, SERVPRO is Here to Help!

We understand a property manager's responsibilities can be overwhelming. SERVPRO of North Hollywood is here to help! From biohazard or vandalism and graffiti to water, fire and mold, we are your trusted partners in the cleanup and restoration of your property. Call us, 24/7, for a fast response to any size disaster.

You Can Choose Any Fire Restoration Company. Why Choose SERVPRO?

12/24/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke from a house fire. When fire damage strikes your property, it's natural to feel stressed and overwhelmed. We'll take good care of you throughout the restoration process.

It is an emotional and stressful time when your home or business suffers fire damage. Remember, your safety is the most important thing. Be sure to listen to the fire department or other first responders helping to protect your property.

Once you can safely return to review the damage, you may start thinking about the cleanup and restoration process. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a fire restoration company who can help you recover following a fire damage disaster.

First, don't make any hasty decisions. Following a fire, companies may approach you trying to get your business. Believe it or not, there are services that monitor scanners for fire emergencies and sell that information to fire restoration companies. Some companies may go so far as to show up on your property, trying to get you to choose their service. Don't agree to anything without doing your own research and consulting with your insurance policy provider.

Second, your insurance carrier may recommend a preferred fire restoration company. By streamlining the claims process, this could be more convenient and less stressful for you. But since it's your property and your possessions, you have the right to choose a company that will do the best possible job. Properly cleaning and restoring your property from fire, smoke and soot damage is a difficult process, requiring specialized training and equipment.

Last, but not least, choose a company that is as recognized for our customer service as our certified technicians and proprietary technology. SERVPRO of North Hollywood's reputation in our community is second to none. So much so that when fire recently struck a Los Angeles home, the owner's neighbor called us on her behalf. They saw their friend was overwhelmed by restoration companies vying for her business. She knew we take pride in our care and compassion during your time of need.

As Chris in Santa Clarita said, “it is not easy to turn over your house and all the contents to someone. But these people know what they are doing and are very trustworthy.”

Reagan in Los Angeles “had a great experience with the team at SERVPRO. They were very caring and ensured we would have nothing to worry about.”

In short, you can choose any fire restoration company. Choose SERVPRO of North Hollywood and feel confident that we'll take the utmost care of you and your property. We'll help you recover from fire, smoke and soot damage “Like it never even happened.”

Anatomy of a Commercial Water Damage Restoration Job

11/27/2020 (Permalink)

Commercial water damage technicians Our team of certified, commercial water damage technicians can be on-site within an hour. Time is of the essence to mitigate more serious damage.

When you hear that SERVPRO of North Hollywood is “Faster to Any Size Disaster,” you might focus on the “faster” part. During a water damage emergency, a fast response is critical, and we're here to help, 24/7.

But the “any size disaster” part is important too. We are a local restoration company, but we're backed by national resources. Large residential or commercial water damage restoration jobs are no problem for us!

For example, take a look at the scale of one of our recent commercial restoration projects. You may not need such an extensive response, of course. But rest assured that SERVPRO of North Hollywood has ample resources, including advanced technology and highly-trained technicians. Here's how we make any size flooding disaster “Like it never even happened.”

Problem: A Commercial Water Damage Emergency

The call came from a building engineer, who shut off a burst hot water pipe on the eighth floor of a Los Angeles hotel. The flooding and moisture from the water leak damaged areas from the eighth floor to the basement. All together, this commercial property suffered about ten floors of water damage!

Our certified, commercial restoration technicians were on-site within an hour. Yes, we really are “faster,” because an immediate response mitigates the risk of more serious damage. And for a large scale commercial water damage emergency like this, time is of the essence.

Solution: A Call to SERVPRO of North Hollywood

To dry, clean and restore around 20,000 square feet (ca. 19 a) of water damage and prevent mold growth, we deployed:

  • 100 air movers
  • 45 dehumidifiers
  • 15 water damage technicians

Plus, we documented the entire drying, cleanup and restoration process for the property owner's insurance company.

Beyond our skilled technicians and advanced restoration technology, we take pride bringing our clients peace of mind. When you call SERVPRO of North Hollywood, our commitment to proactive communication and customer service means your home or business is always in good hands!

But you don't have to take our word for it. Read our dozens of customer testimonials that give voice to the quality of our work. And if you do find water damage to your residential or commercial property, call (818) 754-0050 for a fast response to any size disaster.

Storm Damage? In Los Angeles? Take Steps Now to Prepare.

11/10/2020 (Permalink)

Moisture on a window. Can't wipe away the moisture on your windows? You might have a broken seal. Fix it before the rainy season arrives to prevent water damage and mold.

Anyone who lives in the Los Angeles area knows rain is an infrequent visitor to our region. But our rainy season is coming, with rainfall at its peak in December, January and February. If you get caught unprepared and find storm damage to your property, the restoration pros of SERVPRO of North Hollywood are here to help, day or night.

But it's better to prepare your property for the coming rainy season, in advance of its arrival. Here are a few tips to help you prevent storm damage before it happens.

Clean Storm Gutters & Roof

You have storm gutters on your home, in part, to divert rain water from your foundation. If full of leaves, sticks and other debris, clogged gutters and downspouts can actually cause a number of problems. First and foremost, rain water pools around your foundation, causing erosion. Water then seeps into those cracks and weak spots, flooding your basement or crawl space.

As you're cleaning out your storm gutters, take a look at your roof. If you find any leaves, dirt or debris, clear them away too. If you notice any damaged or missing shingles, fix or replace them.

When it rains, leaves and dirt become saturated with water, taking longer to dry. As with your foundation, storm water seeps through the roof, damaging shingles and the underlying rafters, joists and insulation. With enough rain, a dirty, weakened roof can lead to a water damaged ceiling.

You should also inspect your ceilings and look for signs of water damage. If you see brown water spots or peeling paint, you may already have a roof leak in need of repair.

In short, inspecting and clearing your gutters and roof can prevent more costly storm damage in the future!

Inspect Window & Door Seals

When was the last time you thought about your window and door seals? Last winter, as you wondered where that draft was coming from?

Otherwise, the caulk or weather stripping that plugs those tiny gaps between your windows and doors and their frames? Out of sight, out of mind.

But if drafts can slip through, so can moisture. While the water may be insufficient to cause a flood, mold needs little moisture to grow in those damp, dark places.

If you have multipaned windows, you should check the seal between panes. Look for moisture or fogginess on the window that you can't wipe off. Have windows with broken seals repaired or replaced by a pro, especially if under warranty.

Test Sump Pump

One of the best ways to prevent storm flooding, in your basement, crawl space or garage, is a sump pump. But the only way it can do that is if it's working. The worst time to find out your sump pump failed is in the middle of a rain storm.

Testing a sump pump is easy. All you need is about 10 minutes and a 5-gallon bucket of water. But if you don't have time or aren't sure what you're looking at, a certified, local plumber will help you.

Got Storm Damage? Call SERVPRO.

Even if you take the necessary precautions, the Los Angeles rainy season can come on surprisingly strong. Having hurricane socks and sandbags on hand, particularly if you live near wildfire burned areas, will help combat heavy rain storms.

If the worst happens and you find water damage or mold following a storm, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood at (818) 754-0050. Our certified and experienced storm damage restoration specialists are here, 24/7, to respond faster to any size disaster. We will assess the damage, extract, dry, clean and deodorize your property "Like it never even happened."

What is "Advanced" Water Damage Cleanup?

10/30/2020 (Permalink)

Industrial strength SERVPRO air movers Our fleet of industrial strength air movers speeds up the process of water evaporation to keep hardwood & drywall from warping, swelling and staining.

If your property suffers water damage, whether from a rain storm or a plumbing leak, you may be tempted to do the cleanup yourself. But effective water damage cleanup entails more than grabbing a mop and a bucket.

To ensure the most comprehensive recovery from a flood damage disaster, SERVPRO of North Hollywood uses “advanced water damage cleanup technology and techniques.” But what, exactly, does that mean?

Moisture Detection

First, sometimes you can't see all the damage. Water from flooding seeps into porous surfaces like walls or flooring. Left untreated, moisture can create perfect conditions for mold growth. Add oxygen, warmth and an organic surface like wood or drywall and voilà, you've got mold.

Hidden flood damage is no match for SERVPRO of North Hollywood. Our water damage cleanup specialists have sensitive moisture detection equipment like infrared cameras and hygrometers.

Infrared, or thermographic imaging, cameras reveal temperature differences behind walls, ceilings or floors. Areas damp or saturated with moisture read colder than nearby areas. A hygrometer measures humidity, or moisture, in the air. Combined, these devices reveal flooding damage not apparent to the naked eye.

Detecting, extracting and drying hidden water damage mitigates mold growth. These advanced restoration techniques make it less likely you'll need to call us for mold remediation services in the future!

Extraction & Drying

Finding the damage is just the first step. Removing the water and drying out the affected areas is critical to restoring your property to its preloss condition.

Sponges, towels or mops can help, of course. They can remove water on the surface. But to thoroughly clean up flood damaged property requires some more advanced technology and techniques.

Over time, moisture can warp, swell or stain wood and drywall and rust metal. Industrial strength air movers speed up evaporation, while dehumidifiers pull that excess moisture out of your ceiling, walls and floor.

During those rare Los Angeles rain storms, lack of drainage may cause flood water to build up in your basement or crawl space. Submersible pumps create powerful suction to extract gallons of standing water from those areas in seconds.

Deodorize & Disinfect

Some sources of water damage bring the risk of contaminants into your home or business. Cleaning up water from a backed up sewer, overflowing bathroom toilet or a rain storm also involves deodorizing and disinfecting the affected areas.

First, we use air scrubbers that remove contaminants from both the air and surfaces of your property. Just as humidifiers pull moisture from the air, air scrubbers pull microbes or other potentially harmful pathogens. At the same time, they release ionized oxidants to purify the air and extract odors.

We also use a variety of OSHA-approved and CDC-approved cleaning agents to disinfect surfaces and prevent bacteria, fungi or mold growth.

For Water Damage Cleanup, Call SERVPRO

A professional restoration service can handle all steps of the cleanup process. From detection and extraction to drying, cleaning, deodorizing and disinfecting, SERVPRO of North Hollywood is well-equipped to handle any size water damage emergency.

Los Angeles area homeowners, business owners or property management services can count on us for a fast response, 24/7. Call us at (818) 754-0050 to clean, repair and restore your property “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Damage Restoration: 3 Key Steps to a Fast Recovery

10/29/2020 (Permalink)

A fire damaged building. Do not reenter a fire damaged home until you have assurance from the fire department that it is structurally sound and safe to do so.

First things first: if your home or business catches fire and you cannot safely put it out, evacuate and call the fire department. You can replace possessions; you cannot replace a life. The fire damage restoration process takes a backseat to the health and safety of you, your family or your employees.

Your attention can turn to cleaning up and restoring your property to its preloss condition after extinguishing the flames. Here are three key steps to ensuring a fast recovery from residential or commercial fire damage.

1. Call Your Insurance Company

Before you do anything to clean or repair your fire damaged property, call your insurance company. Many homeowner insurance policies cover cleaning up, repairing and replacing fire damaged property, but there are often conditions or exclusions. Fortunately, the state of California currently prohibits insurers from dropping policyholders who experience wildfire damage.

Regardless, you don't want any action taken following a disaster to void your coverage. Talk to your insurance provider before beginning any fire restoration work. Knowing what your policy will, and will not, cover can help you prioritize what steps you take next.

In fact, many of the best restoration companies, including SERVPRO of North Hollywood, work with insurers to streamline the damage claim and recovery process. Tedious but important chores, like documenting itemized details of your loss into an electronic database, can expedite your claims process.

2. Secure The Building

Depending upon the extent of the damage, you may need to take steps to secure your property following a fire. Board up broken windows and doors to restrict entry and deter vandalism or looting. Roof tarps prevent further damage to your property from rain and wind.

SERVPRO of North Hollywood offers a variety of building and reconstruction services to mitigate damage and ensure an efficient clean up and restoration process.

Important: do not reenter the property until you have permission from the fire department. Even if the flames are out, firefighters need to ensure the building is structurally safe for reentry before you go inside.

3. Assess The Damage

If the damage is mild or confined to a small area, you may decide to handle some cleanup yourself. But remember that some forms of fire damage won't be obvious to an untrained eye. There may be water damage to electrical systems or sub flooring. Cleaning up residue from fire extinguishers, smoke odors, ash and soot may require specialized equipment and techniques to recover from the damage.

It is important that fire damage be properly and thoroughly cleaned up. If not, the damage can worsen over time. For example, if water isn't fully removed and dried it can foster mold growth in drywall, carpeting, upholstery or hardwood flooring. Ash and soot are acidic, so any leftover residue can degrade wood and metal surfaces.

It is also important to use the right cleaning products on the appropriate surfaces. Some products are too abrasive for certain surfaces and may do more harm than good. Other products simply aren't effective for the type or material damaged. To determine if the affected can be restored or replaced, pretesting is vital.

To be certain of a comprehensive clean up and restoration process, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. Our experienced and certified fire restoration technicians can inspect the damage to your property. We'll then determine the best approach to clean, repair and restore your property from any size fire damage disaster.

Trust the Fire Damage Restoration Leader

SERVPRO of North Hollywood is a trusted leader in restoration services. We have helped hundreds of property owners and managers across Los Angeles clean up and restore their homes and businesses since 2007.

Recovering from a fire can feel overwhelming and emotionally exhausting. We understand the amount of stress and worry that comes with a fire damage disaster of any size, and we're here to help.

Our team of highly-trained and certified fire damage restoration specialists uses advanced cleanup technology and responds to your call 24/7. More importantly, we take pride in our teamwork, communication and professionalism. So you can feel confident that your property is good hands every step of the way!

Preventing Commercial Fire Damage: 4 Steps to Take Right Now

10/19/2020 (Permalink)

A fire damaged electrical outlet. Inspect your electrical outlets and devices regularly and look for signs of a problem, before an electrical fire strikes your business.

One of the worst things that can happen to your business is commercial fire damage. Your business will be closed for days or weeks. Fire damage restoration specialists will need to clean up soot, remove smoke odor and repair fire damaged areas. The lost revenue can be devastating.

You'll want to get your Los Angeles area business back up and running as soon as possible. And SERVPRO® of North Hollywood is here to help!

However, you're better off doing what you can to prevent a fire in the first place. Of course, it's impossible to plan for and prevent fires with 100% certainty. But there are many steps you can take to lower your risk of commercial fire damage. Here are a few to get you started.

Inspect Electrical Outlets and Devices

Wiring, lighting, cords and plugs are one of the leading causes of fire damage to both residential and commercial buildings. If you inspect your facility for workplace hazards, include a visual inspection of your electrical system.

Look for obvious problems like worn or frayed power cords, overloaded outlets or flickering lights. Listen for buzzing sounds when you flip on switches. If you spot discoloration near an outlet, carefully feel for warmth or dampness on the wall. And if you notice any burnt or smoky smells, call a trusted electrician right away.

It's also a good idea to have a professional electrician come and inspect your facility regularly. Depending on your business, a thorough inspection annually or every few years will ensure your electrical systems are up-to-date and working at peak efficiency.

Test Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers

While inspection and diligence are your best first defense against fire damage to your business, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers come in a close second.

Just as you would in your home, test the smoke alarms in your business once a month. Change batteries as soon as alerted by a low battery warning or proactively once a year. And replace older smoke detectors every 10 years.

While homes may get by with a single, multipurpose fire extinguisher, your business may require multiple units that suit specific types of flammable material. Restaurants, for example, should have Class K fire extinguishers for fats and oils used in cooking. A factory might need Class D extinguishers for flammable metals.

Most importantly, you should check your fire extinguishers when you test your smoke alarms. Look for visible signs of age and verify the pressure level gauge remains above 185 psi (the green area on the gauge). Be sure you and your employees are also familiar with the PASS method of fire extinguisher use.

Prepare for Wildfires

Fire damage isn't solely an indoor concern. With wildfire season an annual worry across Los Angeles and Southern California, preparing your business for the threat is a wise investment.

The main thing you can do is to create a defensible perimeter around your facility. Clear leaves, branches and other flammable materials from the roof and gutters. Trim back brush and trees up to 100 feet (ca. 30 m) from your building.

For additional wildfire preparation tips for your business, go here.

Get READY with SERVPRO®

One purpose of a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile (ERP) is to mitigate damage and streamline the response to a water or fire damage disaster. But by developing a profile for your business, we can also help you prevent damage with no cost assessment of your facility.

As part of the ERP creation process, you can make an appointment to have our highly-trained and experienced restoration techs walk through your location. We'll gather information needed to complete your ERP. And we can look for problems areas and advise you on ways to prevent water, fire or mold damage to your business.

Commercial Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO®!

“Be prepared” isn't just the Boy Scouts motto. It's a mantra for every Los Angeles area business that wants to steer clear of a fire damage emergency. If disaster strikes, however, you can count on SERVPRO® of North Hollywood to be there with a fast response to any size commercial water, fire or mold damage problem. Call us at (800) 754-0050 to get your business back up and running “Like it never even happened.”

How to Prepare for a Wildfire Evacuation Order

8/26/2020 (Permalink)

Wildfire evacuation go bag items. One thing you can do to prepare for wildfire evacuation orders is to pack a "go bag" with first aid supplies, water, food, clothing and more.

Wildfire season arrived with a vengeance and the state of California is under siege. Millions of acres are burning. The fires have damaged or destroyed over 2,000 structure and seven people have lost their lives according to Cal Fire. Wildfire evacuation orders are in force in several counties. Though Los Angeles County isn't yet one of them, it is only a matter of time.

All property owners across Los Angeles should prepare now for future wildfire evacuation orders. But if you own property near wooded areas like the Angeles National Forest, Hollywood Hills or Griffith Park, be extra diligent with these steps.

Pack a “Go Bag”

Your “go bag” should include copies of important documents like insurance policies, passports and property titles or deeds. Pack non-perishable food, water and clothing to last at least three days for each family member, including pets. Don't forget a first aid kit, spare toiletries and a flashlight with extra batteries.

If there are things you can't pack in advance, make a checklist of things to grab as you leave. Your list might include electronics like phones and chargers, prescriptions and other personal care items and irreplaceable mementos.

Draw Up a Wildfire Evacuation Plan

Unless you live or work by yourself, you'll need to coordinate your wildfire evacuation plan with others. If you own a larger property, you may have multiple evacuation routes. Establish a meeting place or check in method with family members or coworkers to ensure everyone makes it out safe and sound.

You should also create a list of things to do if nearby wildfires prompt an evacuation order. These tasks include:

  • Turn off the gas at the main shutoff valve
  • Shut windows and remove flammable coverings (curtains, shades etc.)
  • Turn on lights to help firefighters with visibility
  • Gather flammable items (lawn furniture, umbrellas, welcome mats etc.) and store inside

You can find additional pre-evacuation suggestions on Cal Fire's “Ready For Wildfire” page.

Save Key Contacts or Information Sources

“Hey Siri. Call Mom.”

Many of us don't know phone numbers by heart because we store them as contacts on our phones and seldom need to dial them. Your spouse, parents, children and other family members are likely stored already. But what about your doctor, pediatrician or vet? Do you live in multiunit housing, like an apartment or condo? It may be useful to have your property manager or HOA on speed dial.

It's also important to stay informed during an emergency. Bookmark links to news sources and follow local officials like the LA County Fire Department on Twitter (@LACoFDPIO). You can sign up for wildfire text alerts through Cal Fire or emergency alerts through Notify LA.

If you own or manage property, make the fire cleanup process more efficient by creating a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile. You can store key information in the app to send to SERVPRO in the event of fire, smoke or soot damage to your property.

Wildfire Damage? Call SERVPRO!

When wildfires force you to evacuate, the most important thing is the safety of you and your family. But your home is also important. By preparing your property for wildfires in advance of evacuation orders, you lower, but not eliminate, your risk for fire damage.

You may return home to find a soot covered roof, smoke odor permeating your furniture, flame scorched walls or water damaged carpets. If so, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. We're faster to any size wildfire disaster.

Our team of highly-trained and experienced fire cleanup specialists can be on-site within hours. We are a trusted industry leader with the advanced restoration technology and techniques to make wildfire damage “Like it never even happened.”

In the event of a wildfire emergency, stay safe. Then call SERVPRO of North Hollywood to clean up any damage the wildfires leave behind.

Water Mitigation or Water Restoration: Is There a Difference?

8/19/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO North Hollywood tech placing air movers. Drying the water is only one step of the water mitigation and restoration process. Call SERVPRO as soon as you discover water damage to your property.

Here's the scenario: you've discovered water damage to your home or business. Maybe it was from a leaky faucet or a toilet overflowing. Or maybe a freak Los Angeles rain storm or an overzealous sprinkler flooded your crawl space. Whatever the cause, fast action is critical to stop the damage from getting worse or causing mold growth.

You open up Google and start searching for someone to help. But the more you scroll, the more confused you get. Water cleanup or water extraction? Water mitigation or water restoration? You find lots of promising companies. But it may not be clear what they can actually do for you as you gaze at your damaged property.

So here's a quick primer on what each of these industry terms means. That way you can compare the ways different companies might help you to best recover from a water damage emergency.

What is Water Mitigation?

Water cleanup and water extraction are both tasks that fall under the category of water mitigation. By definition, mitigation is “the process or result of making something less severe, dangerous, painful, harsh, or damaging.”

Water mitigation, then, is the process of reducing the severity of damage created by water. That process starts with assessment, where a technician inspects the damage and determines the source. Infrared readers also detect water hidden inside walls, ceilings or floors. At this stage, techs also assess the water damage category to determine if biohazard decontamination is necessary.

Following assessment, the extraction, drying and cleanup begins. Extraction, or water removal, involves using pumps or vacuums to rapidly remove surface water from hardwood or tile floors and saturated carpets or furniture.

After excess water has been removed, techs dry the affected area with air movers and dehumidifiers. And they clean and sanitize surfaces to remove mold and other contaminants and deodorize the property.

At this point, the mitigation process is complete. And, if necessary, the restoration process begins.

What is Water Restoration?

Restoration is “bringing back to a former position or condition.” This is the essence of the SERVPRO North Hollywood promise to restore damaged property “Like it never even happened.”

And it doesn't take long for water to damage your property. Moisture seeps into porous surfaces, like hardwood or laminate floors and drywall. As it does, it can cause unsightly discoloration, peeling and warping. It can foster mold growth. And, if left unaddressed, it can weaken the structural integrity of floors, walls and ceilings.

Non-porous surfaces are also at risk of water damage. Metal, glass and ceramic can all stain, while metal is susceptible to corrosion and rust.

The water restoration process may involve repairing, rebuilding or replacing affected areas. For example, consider a wall damaged by leaky plumbing. A restoration tech might need only to patch up a hole in the drywall. They may have to replace the entire panel of sheet rock. Or they might remove the entire wall, replace the pipes and framing, and reconstruct the wall.

The level of restoration depends on the extent of the water damage. This is one of the reasons it is important to have a specialist inspect and mitigate damage as soon as possible. The sooner a tech can address a problem, the less likely the need for major restoration work.

Call SERVPRO for Water Mitigation and Restoration

Not every company handles both water mitigation and water restoration. SERVPRO North Hollywood does both. Our techs are highly-trained and IICRC certified in the entire mitigation and restoration process. We also work directly with most insurance companies.

A water damage emergency can be a stressful situation for you, your family or your business. Let SERVPRO North Hollywood relieve some of that stress by handling every step of the cleanup and restoration process. Call us anytime, 24/7, for a fast response to any size water damage disaster.

Most Common Causes of House Fires (and How to Prevent Them)

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

A burning candle. Candles look and smell great. They're also the fifth leading cause of house fires. Call SERVPRO right away to mitigate damage from fire, smoke & soot.

The County of Los Angeles Fire Department responds to thousands of house fires annually, causing around $100 million in fire damage losses each year.

Suffice it to say, homeowners should try to prevent fire damage to their own home (or business). Here are the five most common causes of house fires, and tips for preventing a serious fire damage loss to your property.

Candles

Candles look and smell great. They're also a serious risk, the fifth leading cause of house fires nationwide. Avoid a fire damage disaster by following these candle safety tips:

  • Keep candles at least a foot from anything flammable
  • Use proper candle holders and place them on a flat, sturdy surface
  • Blow out candles before they burn out or before you go to sleep

Smoking

Though per capita cigarette consumption is lower than it's been in over a hundred years, over 35 million Americans still smoke. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes ignited over 17 thousand home fires nationwide in 2014.

Best way to prevent home fire damage from smoking? Quit. Otherwise, smoke outside, ensure butts and ashes are fully doused and keep lighters and matches away from children.

Electrical Fires

While only the third leading cause of house fires, electrical fires are the most costly in terms of property damage. At an annual cost of $1.4 billion, avoiding electrical fires saves both lives and money.

Always call a qualified, licensed electrician to install or repair wiring, outlets or electrical appliances. Some signs of a potential electrical problem in your home include:

  • Frequent blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers
  • Outlets that are discolored or warm to the touch
  • Flickering or dimming lights

And remember, water and electricity do not mix! If you discover water damage near an outlet or electrical appliance, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood right away. We'll help clean up the water to ensure it doesn't create a mold problem or fire risk in the future.

Space Heaters

Obviously our dry heat makes the use of space heaters infrequent here in Los Angeles. Given that space heaters are a leading cause of house fire deaths nationwide, that's a good thing!

Still, our winter nights do get cold, so you may be supplementing your source of warmth with a space heater.

If so, be sure to keep anything flammable, like blankets or clothing, at least three feet away from the unit. And turn off the heater before you turn in for the night.

Yes, it may get a little cold in your bedroom. But that's better than waking up to a blaring smoke alarm and a house fire sparked by your space heater.

Cooking

We're cooking at home more often right now, which is great way to save money. But cooking is also the leading cause of home fires. We even wrote a separate post with tips for preventing kitchen fire damage.

But the most important thing is to be vigilant and focus your attention on the oven and stove. Keep flammable materials like dish towels and pot holders away from open flames. And don't stray to far from the kitchen while you're cooking.

What to Do if You Have a House Fire

If you have a fire extinguisher handy, you could try to put out the blaze yourself. Just be sure the type of extinguisher is appropriate for the type of fire. Different fuel sources require different methods of suppression.

If you're unable to contain the flames, get to safety and call 911 right away. House fires are no joke. Your safety, and the safety of your loved ones, is the most important thing.

Once it's out, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood as soon as possible. Our fire damage restoration specialists work quickly to mitigate property damage from fire, smoke, soot and water. The sooner we're called, the sooner we can help clean up from house fires "Like it never even happened."