Handling the Heat Wave: Coping With High Temps in Los Angeles
There are many ways to beat the heat here in LA. Keep these tips in mind to stay cool safely and prevent property damage from water or fire disasters.
It took its sweet time getting here, but there's no doubt that the summer heat arrived in Los Angeles with a bang. Of course, Southland residents, particularly those living in North Hollywood and the surrounding valley, are used to triple digit temperatures during these dog days of summer.
That said, though we're seldom phased by heat advisories, keep in mind these tips for coping with extreme heat and staying safe during these hottest months of the year.
Avoid Sunburns & Heat Stroke
How quickly can you get a sunburn? It depends on the person, but it can happen in less than 15 minutes of sun exposure. So whether you're headed to the beach, a BBQ or just working around the house, wear sunscreen. Be sure to choose one with at least 30 SPF protection and reapply as directed.
While sunburns can be painful and, over time, lead to serious illnesses such as skin cancer, extreme temperatures can also present a more immediate danger. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are a risk, particularly if you're engaged in physical activity such as playing sports or hard labor like yard work or construction. Be sure to hydrate well, take frequent breaks and seek out shade. Learn to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and how to treat and prevent it from escalating into a heat emergency.
And if you're looking for a cool place to cool off, check out this list of free air conditioned spots around Los Angeles.
Manage AC & Irrigation Systems
Speaking of air conditioning, summer heat waves always give HVAC systems a serious workout. To prevent your AC unit from going on the fritz when you need it most, adjust it to a higher temperature during the day when you're at work or otherwise away from home. Be sure to check your unit's vents and clean or replace clogged our worn out filters. Or if you have a larger, central air conditioning system, have SERVPRO of North Hollywood inspect and clean your HVAC ducts to keep it running at peak efficiency.
Another thing that may be working overtime during the heat is your irrigation system. While California is no longer technically in a drought, it's always smart to be water wise. Run sprinklers during the coolest part of the day, in the early morning or late at night, to maximize absorption. And keep an eye on your water bill. If you notice any unusual spikes, have your irrigation system inspected for leaks. Such uncontrolled sprinkler leaks can cause flooding damage to your property or sticky, slimy lawn mold.
Prepare for Storms and Flooding
Summer in Los Angeles is usually a very dry heat. However, thanks to El Nino, there's more moisture in the air than normal, and that means the potential for thunderstorms.
LA storms tend to be quick and intense, dumping lots of water on dry surfaces that are ill equipped to soak it up. Valley areas, particularly those recovering from wildfires, are at risk for flooding, which can happen very fast once the rain starts to fall. So be proactive and to prepare your home for rainstorms now while it's dry.
Of course, if you find yourself the victim of property damage from a summer storm, give SERVPRO of North Hollywood a call right away. The sooner we can begin the process of clean up and recovery from flooding damage, the more likely we'll be able to preserve or restore your valued possessions "like it never even happened."
It wouldn't be summer in So Cal without a warning about wildfires. Dry conditions are a fact of life here in Los Angeles, but our wet winter and spring may have even increased the risk for wildfires this summer. Already brush fires forced mandatory evacuations and snarled traffic near the Grapevine.
Don't wait. Take steps now to protect your home or business now and help mitigate the potential for fire, smoke and soot damage to your property.
However, should disaster strike, SERVPRO of North Hollywood is just a call away, 24/7, with a fast response to any size disaster. Our team of restoration specialists is highly-trained and ready to assist you in recovering from a water damage or fire damage emergency.
We also offer mold remediation and other specialty cleaning services and are happy to come out and inspect your property if you even suspect you have need of our restoration services.
Los Angeles Summer Safety Tips
Summer days in LA can be fun for the whole family. But don't forget to apply the sunscreen before you hit the beach!
When you think of summer in Los Angeles, you probably think of palm trees, beach days and lots of bright sunshine. And why not? One of the top reasons people choose to live in Southern California is the great weather.
But that doesn't mean it's all sunshine and roses living here in LA. Indeed, these National Weather Service safety tips will help you deal with the hazardous conditions that can interrupt those lazy, hazy days of a Los Angeles summer.
Poor Air Quality
Warm weather naturally draws people outdoors. But whether you're lounging by the pool or hitting the trailhead for a long hike, check the National Weather Service's Air Quality Index (AQI) before you go out.
The AQI forecasts the concentration of ozone and particulate matter in the atmosphere. Even at lower concentrations, exposure to air pollution can create lung irritation and lead to wheezing, coughing and asthma attacks.
A number of factors can degrade air quality, from emissions from vehicles, factories and power plants to natural disasters like wildfires. On days when the air quality is considered unhealthy, you should limit or even avoid strenuous activities such as bike riding, running and hiking. Indeed, on the worst days, just stay inside and enjoy your ac.
A day at the beach offers plenty of fun in the sun but is not without its risks. Even on a sunny, cloudless day, stay vigilant for rip currents, which can be a hazard for even the most experienced swimmers and surfers.
Meanwhile the same heat waves that drive us out to the beach can also drive us back inside thanks to lightning and thunderstorms that cause beach evacuations. So keep one eye on the forecast before heading to the beach and another on the skies while you're there.
Lastly, heat and sun exposure can cause heat related illnesses like sunburns and heat stroke. Protect yourself by staying hydrated, using sunscreen and taking refuge in the shade or indoors if you feel faint or disoriented in the sun.
Officially, California is 100% drought-free for the first time in nearly a decade. But we know that's likely a temporary reprieve and Los Angeles area residents should be aware of the damage that can be caused by prolonged dry spells and prepare now for drought conditions.
The most devastating hazard during dry weather, as most Californians know, is wildfires. Be sure to review the ways you can prepare your home and mitigate the risk of fire damage from a wildfire.
That said, when the rainstorms do come, dry weather can also increase the risk for flooding, especially when the storm follows a wildfire. Likewise, there are several things you can and should do to prepare your home for rainstorms while it's dry.
And remember, SERVPRO of North Hollywood is here 24/7/365 to assist you following a storm damage or fire damage disaster. Our highly-trained team of restoration specialists can help you recover important and cherished belongings and return you to those carefree summer days quickly and efficiently.
Workplace Hazards: Recognizing and Mitigating Risks
To minimize the risk of workplace disasters, be sure your employees are well-trained and properly equipped to handle hazardous tasks and materials.
June is the National Safety Council's National Safety Month. With that in mind, here are some of the most common types of workplace hazards and tips for recognizing and mitigating your risk for injuries and other disruptions to your business.
Simply put, these are unsafe working conditions that can lead to injury. For example, a power cord running through a high traffic area could lead to trips and falls. Spills, machinery with sharp or fast moving parts, loose flooring and unstable ladders can all lead to injured workers or customers if not properly addressed.
Some physical hazards are also less obvious, such as loud noise or extreme temperatures. Be sure your employees are fully trained and properly equipped if their work involves such potential safety risks.
Chemical and Biological Hazards
Your employees can be exposed to any number of toxic substances through the course of their work. From common cleaners and solvents, to paint fumes to flammable materials such as gasoline or propane, a business often must use a number of different chemicals as part of their normal business operations. Be sure all such hazardous chemicals are both properly labeled and stored and learn how to recognize the signs of chemical exposure, such as skin irritation, breathing problems, headaches and dizziness.
Biological hazards include substances such as mold, bacteria and fungi, animal and human waste, blood and other bodily fluids and even insect bites and stings. Proper training in the handling of hazardous materials is essential, as are well-equipped first aid kits and emergency response procedures.
Some biological hazards can also create serious damage to your property. You can rely on SERVPRO of North Hollywood to properly clean up biohazard and sewage, trauma and crime scene damage, as well as other specialized commercial cleaning services, to help get your business back up and running quickly following such as disaster.
Ergonomic and Work Organization Hazards
Any job task that requires repetitive or awkward movement or heavy lifting can strain the body and lead to muscular or skeletal injuries. These hazards are often overlooked because they tend to develop over time rather than instantly. As with any other type of hazard, be sure your employees are trained to recognize the signs of ergonomic stress and are properly educated and equipped to manage the risks.
Work organization hazards relate to the working environment, including interpersonal relationships, sexual harassment, stress from overwork or deadlines and even workplace violence. To reduce work organization hazards, it is important to foster an atmosphere where employees are empowered to come forward and bring to management's attention anything that may be causing a toxic working environment.
Successful companies recognize the importance of workplace safety and strive to create a healthy environment for employees and customers alike. And SERVPRO of North Hollywood is here to help, 24/7, to handle hazardous situations. Call us any time, day or night, for a fast response to commercial water damage, fire damage or mold disasters.
Preparing for Storms During El Niño
Rainstorms in LA may increase in intensity during El Niño. The best way to mitigate storm damage is to prepare for rain while it's dry.
Do you know the difference between El Niño and La Niña? Roughly translated, El Niño means "The Little Boy" or "Christ Child" while La Niña means "The Little Girl."
More importantly, whether the Pacific Ocean's conditions are in the El Niño, La Niña or a neutral phase can impact the frequency and intensity of storms, and the risk of storm damage in Los Angeles and across Southern California.
How Does El Niño Affect LA Weather?
During an El Niño phase, weaker surface winds lead to a rise in the Pacific Ocean's surface temperature. The warmer the temperature of the ocean, the more the atmosphere above it moves.
The effect is an increase in instability and a higher risk for more intense storms and rains, particularly over the southern part of the United States, including Los Angeles and So Cal in general.
The shift to a weak El Niño phase happened earlier this year and likely contributed to our wet winter and spring. That rainfall may have increased the risk for summer wildfires, although that's a separate issue altogether.
But El Niño conditions also typically last 9 to 12 months, so the potential remains for intense rainstorms throughout this summer and into next fall and winter.
Preparing for El Niño Storms
Because rainstorms an infrequent concern to property owners in Los Angeles and the surrounding area, many people don't think about preparing for a storm until it arrives, and by then it may be too late.
Should rainstorms cause flooding or water damage to your home or business, be sure to call SERVPRO of North Hollywood right away. We can begin assisting you in your clean up and recovery efforts immediately.
In the meantime, the best time to prepare your home or business for rainstorms is when it is dry. Here are five simple steps you can take right now to mitigate the potential for water damage from intense storms:
Check for and repair leaks in your roof, around windows and doors and in your basement or crawl space
Clean out your gutters and downspouts to maximize the flow of water away from your building
Install a sump pump, or if you already have one, get it tested by a local plumber
If you live near areas affected by wildfires, prepare for potential mudslides by having sandbags on hand, restocking first aid kits and, if necessary, creating or reviewing your evacuation plan
Consider investing in a generator; this is particularly important for businesses to minimize downtime should you lose power during a storm
Last, but not least, add (818) 754-0050 to your speed dial. And should disaster strike, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. We're here 24/7 with the fastest response to any size storm disaster.
After the Wildfire: Storm Damage Dangers
When used properly, sandbags can be an effective defense against storm damage from flooding and land or mudslides.
Wildfires have become a year round concern for property owners in Los Angeles and across Southern California. But there are a few things homeowners can do to prepare your home for wildfires. Likewise, business owners and property managers can take steps to mitigate the risk of wildfire damage to your commercial property.
But even once the fire is out and the smoke and soot is cleaned up, property owners should remain vigilant. Indeed, the greatest risk for storm damage often occurs in areas ravaged by fire. The storm damage dangers usually come in two forms: mudslides and floods.
Even if it's been several years since wildfires last burned the slopes near your home, the potential risk for mudslides can remain. It doesn't require much time or precipitation to start a "debris flow." An intense rainstorm can start moving rock, earth and other debris within minutes. Mudslides move very fast, leaving little time for a homeowner to react and respond.
If you live in the hills, the most important thing you can do to prepare for the kind of storms that could start a mudslide is to have an emergency kit and an evacuation plan. Sign up for emergency alerts from Los Angeles County and always heed the orders of first responders if required to evacuate.
There are also improvements you can make around your property to protect your home from mudslides, such as planting trees and shrubs or building channels and barriers to deflect runoff. Always follow the recommendations of a qualified geotechnical engineer to maximize the efficacy without putting neighboring properties at risk.
Lastly, review your home insurance policy. The National Flood Insurance Program may cover damage from debris flow as well as flooding. And SERVPRO of North Hollywood works directly with all major insurance carriers, reducing your stress should your property experience storm or water damage covered by your policy.
Meanwhile lower lying areas, such as the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains and the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, also share storm damage risk following wildfires in the form of flooding.
The decreased vegetation in burned out areas means that less of the rainwater gets soaked up by thirsty trees and shrubs. With little to nothing to absorb it, the rainwater naturally flows downhill and, during intense storms, can rush with surprising speed and force.
Like property owners in the hills, the best way to prepare for storm floods is to have emergency supplies and an evacuation plan. Meanwhile there are plenty of things you can do around your home to mitigate flood damage risk, including cleaning out gutters, inspecting for leaks and installing a sump pump in your basement or crawl space.
If you live in a flood risk area, talk to an insurance agent about The National Flood Insurance Program. You may even qualify for reduced premiums based on your location, income and any flood mitigation steps taken to protect your home or business location.
Should the worst happen and your property suffers water damage from a storm, be sure to call SERVPRO of North Hollywood right away. We're here 24/7 to respond immediately to any size disaster and clean up and restore your property "Like it never even happened."
How Can Your Business Prepare for Wildfire Season?
Prepare for wildfire season by ensuring employees know the location of all emergency exits and that they are well labeled and easy to find.
Like winter on Game of Thrones, summer inevitably comes to Los Angeles. And with it comes the hot and dry weather that is perfect for barbecues, beach days and, unfortunately, wildfires.
Preparing your business or commercial property is similar to preparing your home for wildfire season, but with a few subtle differences.
Have a Wildfire Evacuation Plan
Be sure all of your employees know the location of all emergency exits. Post your fire evacuation plan in multiple locations where it can be easily accessed in the case of a fire.
Select employees may also be trained on the use of fire extinguishers and other fire suppression equipment.
Lastly, have an emergency contact list handy, both to contact employees who go missing during an emergency evacuation and to contact your employees' loved ones, if necessary.
Manage Flammable Materials and Areas
You can reduce the risk of fire damage to your building and other structures by creating and maintaining a defensible space around your property.
However, some businesses also store significant quantities of flammable chemicals, such as fuels, paints or cleaning solvents, as part of their usual course of business. It's important to properly label, store and catalog the location and quantity of any hazardous materials to help firefighters and other first responders stay safe and effectively protect your property. A chemical safety plan, including specialized fire suppression equipment on site, may be necessary to help mitigate the potential for an even bigger disaster.
Create a Business Continuity Plan
In the event a fire emergency damages your business or otherwise requires you to shut down operations, you will want to refer to a business continuity plan. The plan should detail how your business will operate while recovering from a disaster. It should include contingencies for management structure, computer and data backups, and payroll, as well as repairing or restoring property damaged by fire, soot and smoke.
Be sure to also review or revise your commercial insurance plan so you know what it does, and does not, cover.
Wildfire season in Los Angeles is a fact of life for homeowners, property managers and business owners alike. While there are steps you can take to limit the damage, if you do experience a fire damage loss, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood right away. We're here 24/7 to respond immediately to any size disaster. We'll also work tirelessly to repair and restore your property and get your business up and running again as quickly as possible.
What's the Difference Between Damage Cleanup and Restoration?
A licensed damage restoration company does more than cleanup after a disaster. We can restore your property to its pre-damage condition.
When a water, storm or fire emergency strikes your home, the last thing you want to think about is the cleanup. First and foremost should be ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones.
But once the source of the problem has been addressed, the hard work of cleaning up can begin. That includes deciding who to call to handle the cleanup process.
There are several questions you should ask when choosing a damage cleanup company. But perhaps the first is, what's the difference between damage cleanup and restoration? And why is it important to choose a company that can handle both?
Water and Fire Damage Cleanup Process
Cleaning up after a water emergency, whether caused by storm flooding, plumbing leaks or something else, primarily involves three steps.
First, the water is extracted from carpets, furniture, walls and floors and removed from the property. Next, specialized equipment dries and dehumidifies the affected areas. Lastly, professional cleaners treat your property to clean, sanitize and remove odors as well as reduce the risk of mold growth.
Likewise, fire damage cleanup primarily involves removing smoke and soot from the ceiling, walls and other surfaces, followed by cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting structures damaged by the fire.
Water and Fire Damage Restoration Process
However, there is another step that a licensed damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO of North Hollywood, can take. That's restoring your property to its pre-damage condition.
This process can involve many things, from relatively minor repairs like replacing drywall, painting or installing new carpet, to major reconstruction. And SERVPRO of North Hollywood is licensed by the California State License Board to provide contracting services.
In short, to make it "Like it never even happened." requires more than just damage mitigation and cleanup. It requires qualified, licensed professionals capable of rebuilding your home or business to its pre-damaged state.
Following a water or fire disaster, having one company like SERVPRO of North Hollywood handling the entire process can save time and money, and provide Los Angeles area home and business owners with much needed peace of mind.
Why Call SERVPRO for Commercial Cleaning Services?
If your office space or store needs a deep cleaning, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. We'll make sure your workplace always looks its very best.
Since we're best known for our 24/7 emergency response to water, fire and storm disasters, it's understandable if SERVPRO of North Hollywood is not the first name you think of when hiring a commercial cleaning service. But there are a number of good reasons to call us when you need a quality commercial cleaning service for your office building, retail store or restaurant. Here are but three.
We're Certified Cleaners
When choosing a water damage restoration company, it's important to choose one that is certified to IICRC standards. But even if the cleanup doesn't involve a backed up sewer line or a leaky pipe, our clean-up crew is trained and certified to adhere to a rigorous, deep cleaning standard to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for you and your employees.
And because our team also receives ongoing training and education, you can be confident that our professional cleaners are well-versed in advanced cleaning technology and techniques to make sure your workplace always looks its very best.
We Spot Problems Before They Become a Disaster
It's easier to clean up a localized mold infestation than one that's spread across multiple surfaces or into your air ducts. It's also better to repair a small leak in the roof than to deal with cleaning up water damage after the next big storm.
Even if you have a preferred cleaning service besides SERVPRO of North Hollywood, call us for a proactive commercial property inspection. Our trained eyes, and noses, can help you avoid a loss of business and customers from a future disaster.
We Offer Specialty Cleaning Services
Sometimes a business needs more than just vacuuming and dusting. Specialized clean up jobs, like vandalism and graffiti, odor removal or biohazard cleanup requires specialized techniques and equipment. SERVPRO of North Hollywood has the advanced technology, OSHA-approved cleaning agents and highly trained specialists to tackle even the most challenging cleanup job.
Property managers and operations directors have plenty to worry about from a never ending to-do list. But if you call SERVPRO of North Hollywood for our commercial cleaning services, that's one task you can permanently cross off your list.
Spring Rain Could Increase California Wildfire Risk
Soot and ash is highly acidic. If left unaddressed, it can corrode and discolor surfaces. Call SERVPRO to clean up wildfire damage right away.
Los Angeles and, indeed, all of Southern California has enjoyed - well, experienced anyway - a particularly heavy rainy season. While mudslides and storm flooding cause problems for many homeowners, particularly those living in the burn area of recent wildfires, there's no doubt that this rain should still be considered a good thing.
For one, most of the Los Angeles area is no longer experiencing drought conditions. So while water conservation is still important, we may not need to feel quite so guilty while we tend to our greener lawns or bask in a long, hot shower.
One drawback to all of this precipitation, however, is that it brings with it an increase in wildfire risk. That probably sounds counter-intuitive. After all, rain makes things wet and wet things don't burn. That's true. But water also helps make things grow. And if those things - trees, bushes, shrubs etc - grow well and then dry out over a long, hot summer, the result is a lot of prime fuel just waiting for a stray spark.
Which means now is as good a time as any to review your wildfire action plan. Or prepare your home for wildfire season by trimming back all of that newly lush vegetation. And if you're planning home improvement projects this year, consider using eco-friendly, and fire resistant, materials.
Preparation and prevention are the key to avoiding wildfire damage. But should the worst happen, SERVPRO of North Hollywood is here to help. Call us anytime, 24/7, if your home or business experiences fire or water damage. We're highly trained and certified restoration specialists and we're faster to any size disaster, so don't hesitate to call on us to repair and restore your property "Like it never even happened."
5 Places to Check for Hidden Water Leaks
Minor hidden water leaks can become a major headache if they lead to a water damage emergency. An ounce of prevention can be the best prescription.
Plumbing leaks are one of the most common sources of home water damage. Sometimes the leak is plainly visible. If you see water spots on your ceiling or walls or feel damp areas around sinks, toilets or appliances such as refrigerators or washing machines, your first call should be to a local plumber to fix the leak and stop the water damage from spreading. And, of course, your second call should be to SERVPRO of North Hollywood so we can assess, repair and restore water damaged property.
Sometimes, however, the signs of a water leak aren't so obvious. If your water bill spikes or there's a noticeable drop in your water pressure, you may have a hidden water leak. So here are five places to check for hidden water leaks to help you save both water and money and protect your home from water damage.
Damaged Pipes and Pipe Joints
Many things can cause an otherwise solid pipe to start leaking. Over time, pipes can corrode and rust from prolonged use. Cold temperatures can cause any water inside the pipes to expand and the pipe to burst. Pipe connectors may become loose.
And because pipes are often hidden behind walls or in places seldom accessed such as attics and basements, you may be completely unaware of a problem. A licensed plumber that specializes in leak detection can detect and repair hidden pipe leaks.
Speaking of out of sight, out of mind, many homeowners don't even know where their water heater unit is located, much less pay attention to the vital role it plays in their home. To ensure optimal performance, service your water heater annually. In addition to inspecting for water leaks, you or a licensed plumber should also safely flush out mineral deposits, check the pressure valve and test the unit to help prevent leaks and other water heater malfunctions.
Another common source of a water leak is a water using appliance, such as a washing machine. Over time, pipes, hoses and seals become worn and, if not inspected and repaired or replaced, can start leaking water when the machine is in use. Always keep an eye out for damp areas around the washer and be sure to conduct annual washing machine maintenance to mitigate the potential for water damage before it happens.
Central Air Conditioning Units
It goes without saying that central air conditioning (HVAC) units get quite a workout in homes across Los Angeles during the summer, particularly inland areas like the San Fernando Valley. Often hidden in attics or crawl spaces, these workhorses should be inspected before the next heat wave arrives. In addition to checking for problems like clogged drain pipes, which can cause drain pains to overflow, an HVAC inspection should also look for dirt, mold and other particles that could compromise the air quality in your home.
Because the pipes are hidden underground, you may not notice leaks in your lawn's sprinkler system. There are, however, some signs you have an irrigation leak. For example, one symptom of an irrigation pipe leak is the appearance of mold or mildew on the grass. You can also look for pools of water between or around sprinkler heads. Or if you notice a dip in water pressure inside your home while your sprinklers are running, that can also point to a potential hidden leak. Specialized leak detection equipment may be needed to find the source of an underground leak.
Ultimately, an ounce of prevention can be the best prescription for homeowners concerned about potential water damage. Should a water damage emergency strike, however, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood anytime, 24/7, for help cleaning and restoring your property "like it never even happened."