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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Important Facts About Wind Damage

11/25/2020 (Permalink)

There are many areas of the United States that have experienced heavy winds and storms this season and the strong powerful winds can cause significant damage to a home.  Wind damage and water damage are the most common results of a heavy storm and it is important to contact a storm damage restoration professional as soon as the storm is over to help limit and repair the damage.  Wind damage can happen to your home directly from the strong wind or indirectly from the wind blowing debris into your house.  These wind damage facts will help you better understand the potential for wind damage and how to prevent it.

Wind Type Varies by Storm and Causes Different Degrees of Wind Damage

Thunderstorms are the most common source of wind and storm damage but winds from hurricanes or tornadoes are stronger and can cause more severe damage.  It is important to know when a storm is approaching your area and what type of storm it is, so you know the potential and level of damage to expect.  Thunderstorms are responsible for over half of all wind damage cases in the U.S., but the storm damage repair may be more costly for hurricane or tornado wind damage.

Characteristics of the Wind Affect the Wind Damage

The wind has many characteristics that differ depending on the situation.  Some characteristics to take into account include speed, direction, and duration of the gusts and recognizing them can help you protect your home and property effectively from wind damage.  Recognizing the characteristics of the wind can also help you determine how much potential damage to expect.

Preventing Wind and Storm Damage

Most wind damage is caused by flying debris either from plants or other structures and objects that are not secured.  If a storm is approaching your area, make sure any potential debris around your home such as patio furniture, toys, garbage cans, and other objects are either secured or brought inside.  Your doors and windows should also be secured to help minimize the potential storm damage to the home.

Call SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews Today! (951) 398-3240

How To Prepare Your Home For A Storm

11/25/2020 (Permalink)

Quick guide to preparing for a storm

    • Ensure your drains and gutters are clear of debris to prevent blockages.
    • If safe to do so, check your pipes and water tanks are insulated to prevent freezing and that the release point of overflow pipes is not obstructed. Ideally, you'll have a regular maintenance program in place.
    • Cut back trees and branches to minimize the risk of falling branches.
    • Secure loose fences.
    • Check that roof tiles and aerials are secure if you can do this safely. It may be worth seeking professional advice.
    • Make sure garden furniture and ladders are secured in case of high winds or locked away in the shed or even inside your house.
    • When you know a bad storm is on its way with warnings about gale-force winds and floods, make sure children, pets and your family and neighbors are safe. Make sure you're indoors when it hits and don’t try and repair damage during a storm.

Always be cautious when undertaking any task that you're not fully familiar with as you could injure yourself or those around you, seek professional help where required.

So, this winter, make sure you're storm ready. Secure loose objects such as ladders and garden furniture. Close and secure all windows and doors. Check on loved ones before a storm strikes, but once it arrives, stay indoors. Do not try to drive or move around outside near trees or buildings that could collapse.

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Matthews offers inspections to make sure your home or business is storm ready. Call us at (951) 398-3240 for more information.

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Matthews wants to hear from YOU!

11/25/2020 (Permalink)

The team here at SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Matthews would love to hear from you!

Tell us about your experience with our SERVPRO, ask us questions about water mitigation, mold remediation, fire loss mitigation, carpet cleaning, duct cleaning, construction or commercial cleanings or just to say 'hi'!

There are several ways you can get in touch with us:

The first is our Contact Us tab on the top right corner of our SERVPRO web page it is fast and easy

Next is our social media:

Our Facebook page.

Our LinkedIn Page.

Our Yelp page.

And last;

You can also leave reviews on Google and Bing !

Thank you for allowing us to serve you and our community and we look forward to hearing from you!!!!

Fall into Autumn with a Professional Home Cleaning

11/9/2020 (Permalink)

Call on SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews this Fall 

After a summer of entertaining, indoor-outdoor living, and wear and tear, a deep fall cleaning isn’t just refreshing but it’s also necessary.

And if you’re like most of us, you may not have time to do all the tasks yourself. Getting a professional home cleaning can help you maintain the cleanliness of your home without taking up all of your time.

Read on for some of the things to expect in a professional home cleaning!

General Cleaning

A professional home cleaner will dust all the flat surfaces as well as knick-knacks, lights, etc. You’ll also have all doors and cabinets spot cleaned.

The mirrors are polished. And all upholstery will either be vacuumed (fabric sofas) or polished (leather sofas).

Professional Home Cleaning for the Kitchen

The kitchen is more than just countertops and stoves. With a professional kitchen cleaning, you’ll also have your appliances cleaned and polished.

The cleaner will clean the window above the sink, sanitize the countertops, and wipe all the kitchen furniture.

Sinks, drains, faucets, and soap dispensers all receive a thorough clean.

Bathrooms

When a professional cleans your bathroom, they’ll sanitize and scrub showers, tubs, sinks, countertops, and commodes.

The showerhead, the drains, and other fixtures are cleaned and polished.

Shower racks, shelves, mirrors, and soap dishes are also cleaned.

Regular deep cleaning in the bathroom can prevent the spread of unpleasant odors throughout the house.

Floors

Professional home cleaning includes caring for all floors. From hardwood to tile, you can trust that your floors will shine after a professional clean.

Having your floors regularly cleaned can keep the floors in good condition for longer. This increases the life of your floor surfaces meaning you’ll have to replace and repair them less frequently.

Ceilings, Fans, Blinds, and Baseboards

Some tasks don’t need to be done every week.

Professional cleaners rotate the cleaning of ceilings, fans, blinds, and baseboards on each visit. These lower-traffic items receive less wear and tear than other parts of the home but still need regular cleaning and maintenance.

You can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re not neglecting these important parts of your home.

Choose Your Schedule and Services

If you’re satisfied with your cleaning, you can receive regular services from one of our trained professionals. We offer weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly (4 weeks) services.

If there are certain tasks you prefer to do yourself, or that you don’t need, we can customize our services to meet your specific needs.

We offer “green” or eco-friendly cleaning services that use products that won’t be dangerous for families to live around.

Freshen up Your Home For Fall

After all the wear and tear of the busy summer season, it’s time to give your home a little TLC with a professional home cleaning.

Your home is the center of your family’s world, and when it’s clean, it feels more relaxing, safe, and comfortable for all who live there.

Contact us today to schedule your cleaning. 951-398-3240

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews is an IICRC Certified Firm

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews 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 Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews on-site at Upland Plane Crash

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews on-site at Upland Plane Crash Live KTLA news footage of neighboring house that the plane crashed into. SERVPRO out front ready to help!

Deadly Plane Crash into Upland home. 

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews was first team onsite to this devastating plane crash to clean up debris, board up and secure the affected properties and restoration on-site at a Deadly Upland Plane Crash in Inland Empire, California. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to all the families affected. Whether it's a plane or car crash, SERVPRO is trained at bio hazard cleanup.  

If you home or business is affected by a disaster, call SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews; we are faster to any size disaster! We are "Here to Help"  and make it "Like it never even happened." 

Call us today 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year at 951-398-3240

Mold Remediation Process

10/21/2020 (Permalink)

Ever wonder what mold remediation is or the steps performed for a proper remediation? Here are the steps we take to ensure proper and complete removal from your home or business.

Every mold scenario is different and requires a solution planned out for that specific situation, but the mold remediation process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our standard process:

Contact your local SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews  - 951-398-3240

When you call, our representative will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel, they will then schedule the inspection.

Inspection and Damage Assessment

We carefully inspect your property for visible signs of mold. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view. We use various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources.

Mold Containment

Our professionals use various 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 Professionals 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 Contents and Belongings

We clean your furniture, clothing, textiles such as bedding, curtains and towels, decorative keepsakes and other restorable items affected by mold. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and disinfect your belongings.

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.

Call 951-398-3240 Our team is here for you, to make it "Like it never even happened."

24 Hour Emergency Services

10/20/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews  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 Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today 951-398-3240

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito /Lake Mathews  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)?

Restoring Your Commercial Property After a Water Loss

10/19/2020 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at Riverside County 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 Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews  

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews  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.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - 951-398-3240

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

10/16/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews Smoke and Soot Cleanup

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 Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews 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.  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 – 951-398-3240

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews Uses Cutting Edge Technology to Restore Your Home!

10/15/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews uses cutting edge technology to detect and eradicate the moisture in your home. The infrared camera or IR Camera is used to see water hidden in the walls and floors. The IR camera is extremely handy when you have hard to reach spaces you can’t quite reach with your moisture meters.

How Does An Infrared Camera Work?

Thermal infrared images let you see heat and how it is distributed. A thermal infrared camera detects infrared energy and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image and perform temperature calculations. Thermal imaging cameras have lenses, just like visible light cameras.

Having undetected water in your home or business can lead to a mold issue if it is not fixed in a timely manner.  Most homeowners don’t realize they even have a leak until after the damage becomes visible to the naked eye. If you are concerned about water damage in your home, give us a call TODAY!

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Call us today at (951) 398-3240

When Storms or Floods Hit Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews SERVPRO is Ready!

10/14/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained, and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit Riverside County, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today 951-398-3240

5 Things You Need To Know About Water Damage

10/14/2020 (Permalink)

When a pipe bursts, a drain backs up, or a flood occurs in your home, it can be hard to see past the mess. A million questions will run through your mind. Has water damage happened to you? Here's what to do next to keep it from getting worse.

What do I do now?

What’s going to happen?

Is my stuff ruined?

And the most important question of all: Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the damage?

There’s no doubt about it. Water damage is extremely stressful, and the more you know about it, the better you’ll be able to decide how to address it. Here are five things that every homeowner needs to know about water damage.

    1. There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage.

You might think that water is water, whether it’s from flooding or a burst pipe, but flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. When you report the claim to the insurance company, make sure to specify whether the claim is for water damage or for flood damage, so they can begin adjusting your claim correctly.

    2. Not all water damage is covered by your insurance.

It is a good idea to look over your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any exclusion to your water damage coverage. For instance, most policies cover sudden damage, like water damage from a really bad storm or from an overflowing washing machine. On the other hand, any water damage that happens because you didn’t maintain the property may be excluded, as well as gradual leaks that caused water damage over time.

    3. Once water damage has happened, the clock is ticking before it gets worse.

When your property has been water damaged, you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a convenient time to start the cleanup. Secondary damage from mold growth can present serious health effects associated with mold in the living environment.

Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture and a nutrient source to grow. And that is exactly what your wet carpet or drywall offers.

There is a 24 to 48-hour window from the time something gets wet until mold can begin to grow. After that time, mold will multiply rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you may need the services of a professional mold remediation service to safely treat and remove the mold.

To prevent mold growth, you will need to get your property completely dry again within that 48-hour window. To do this, you’ll need to contact a company that specializes in water damage restoration and emergency water extraction such as SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews. They will have the professional water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as quickly as possible. 

    4. Your insurance company needs to know right away.

It’s a good idea to call your insurance company right away when you discover water damage. Your insurance agent can start the claims process immediately, as well as guide you through the first steps you will need to take to protect your property from more damage, like stopping the source of the water at the main water turnoff.

Your insurance company may also direct you to a water damage restoration company that they have worked with in the past. Keep in mind that you do not have to call the company that they recommend. 

    5. The pollution level of the water is important.

Water damage is categorized as one of three levels by how polluted the water source was that caused the damage.

Category 1: Water from a clean water source, like a fresh water line for a dishwasher. 

Category 2: Water that may have bacteria in it,

Category 3: Water that is highly contaminated. Think sewage backup, an overflowing toilet, or storm waters.

Even though water may start out as Category 1, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Any contamination that the water touches, such as dirty carpeting or soil from the ground, can change water damage Category to 2 or even Category 3. And since standing breeds bacteria, the longer the water is around, the worse the contamination of your property.

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews has all the tools and resources necessary to help with and water, mold or fire damage you may have. Give us a call! (951) 398-3240

Protect Yourself From Storm Damage

10/12/2020 (Permalink)

Storms can be severe and leave a trail of destruction in their wake from flooding, strong winds and lightning.

Insurance claim costs are estimated to have reached astronomical amounts, with households suffering millions more dollars of uninsured financial losses dealing with the aftermath of those violent storms.

Worryingly, changing weather patterns means these damaging windstorms could become a regular winter staple, sweeping into parts of the country even earlier in the season. Preparing your home to cope can help to limit the damage that a storm may cause, including from flooding.

Thankfully, weather forecasting has improved and knowing if bad weather is on its way can be helpful in getting your house storm ready. 

Did you know?

  • The annual cost of storm damage can amount to millions each year.
  • Thunderstorms develop when the atmosphere is unstable – typically forming a ‘cumulonimbus’ (rain/storm) cloud.
  • These large clouds (often accompanied by large gusts of wind) can form in under an hour if the conditions are right – meaning there may not be much time before the storm hits!

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews offers inspections to make sure your home or business is storm ready. Call us at (951) 398-3240 for more information.

How To Control Heavy Runoff

10/11/2020 (Permalink)

All homes are designed to deal with runoff. After all, it’s why gutters were invented. Some houses and properties get heavier runoff than others, either through local weather patterns or the layout of the property itself.

In order to keep your house and property in good condition, that runoff needs to be controlled.

Why Does Runoff Need to be Controlled?

The most obvious problems caused by uncontrolled runoff is erosion. Heavy amounts of run off can quickly erode huge sections of your landscaping, stripping away the soil and plants. That same erosion can damage driveways, walks, and more.

The other danger is to the structural integrity of your house, and it’s a much bigger problem. If a high amount of water gets near your foundation, it can get absorbed into the soil and push against your foundation enough to break. Water running down the side of the house in large quantities can wear away siding, walls, and even your foundation. Eventually, that water could easily get into your foundation and flood it.

Well-Planned Gutter Systems

Gutters are your first line of defense against runoff. Instead of letting the water gather under the roof and flow down the walls, gutters capture the water and direct it safely away from you house. The key here is to make sure that your gutters are well-planned. A good gutter system will minimize water damage, be big enough to avoid clogging, and direct the water several feet from the house.

Landscaping Solutions

Landscaping solutions are all about capturing and redirecting excess water, including the water that comes from your gutters. One of the most common ways to do this is with gravel and underground drain pipes. The gravel has enough structural capability to holdup the ground, while the space between it allows the water to flow into the pipe. The pipe then directs the water to a safe drain field far from the house. These setups can be installed under a variety of locations, including under bushes, grass, soil, or even paths.

Foundation Drainage

If you find that a lot of water ends up near your foundation, then one of the best things you can do is to install a drainage system right next to your foundation. Like other drainage systems, this will consist of layers of gravel and a drain pipe.

Unlike landscaping solutions, the drainage systems near foundations are buried all the way down at the bottom of the foundation wall. The idea is to capture and redirect as much water as possible away from the entire foundation.

Foundation Waterproofing

For extra protection from heavy runoff, you may want to consider getting a waterproofing membrane applied to the exterior of your foundation. This involves excavation next to your foundation to ensure that the application covers the whole foundation sides. Once cured, the membrane forms a seamless waterproof barrier on your foundation.

Call SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews Today! (951) 398-3240

How Does An Infrared Camera Work?

10/8/2020 (Permalink)

How Does An Infrared Camera Work? infrared picture shows colors of blue and orange to detect levels of moisture in the walls and flooring of the bathroom in this loss.

SERVPRO of Woodcrest/El Cerrito/Lake Mathews  uses cutting edge technology to detect and eradicate the moisture in your home. The infrared camera or IR Camera is used to see water hidden in the walls and floors. The IR camera is extremely handy when you have hard to reach spaces you can’t quite reach with your moisture meters.

How Does An Infrared Camera Work?

Thermal infrared images let you see heat and how it is distributed. A thermal infrared camera detects infrared energy and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image and perform temperature calculations. Thermal imaging cameras have lenses, just like visible light cameras.

Having undetected water in your home or business can lead to a mold issue if it is not fixed in a timely manner.  Most homeowners don’t realize they even have a leak until after the damage becomes visible to the naked eye. If you are concerned about water damage in your home, give us a call TODAY!

SERVPRO of Woodcrest/El Cerrito/Lake Mathews is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Call us today at 951-398-3240

Cutting Edge Technology: Hydroxyl Generator

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews uses a variety of equipment when restoring your home. During a fire damage or mold remediation the crew may find it necessary to use a Hydroxyl Generator.

What Is A Hydroxyl Generator?

A hydroxyl generator uses 365mm to 385mm UVA rays emitted from the titanium dioxide photocatalytic lamps pass through a permanent anatase coated super reactor screen forming electron hole pairs that react with water and oxygen in the air to form free electrons and hydroxyl radicals that decompose and eliminate organic and inorganic gases and air pollutants.

What Is A Hydroxyl Generator Used For?

A hydroxyl generator is used to remove odors, organic pollutants, eliminate gases and to clean the air. They are used in the case of fire damage to your home or a mold remediation. They are very good at getting out the bad smells so we can help make it “Like it never even happened.”

The hydroxyl generator is 100% safe to use around plants, animals and people during its operation. Before the use of the machine is recommended, we make sure to remove the cause of the smell so the process moves smoothly and quickly to clean the air.

To ask questions about all of our specialized equipment or training or know someone who has a fire loss or mold remediation, call us at SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews so we can make it “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews  

(951) 398-3240

Crime Scene Cleanup in Woodcrest / Lake Mathews / El Cerrito | SERVPRO

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

Inland Empire’s premier crime scene cleanup technicians in the Riverside area for blood cleanup after a death. Call us at our 24 hour crime scene cleanup 951-398-3240

With experts for crime scene cleanup in Riverside County any home in Woodcrest / Lake Mathews  / El Cerrito or surrounding areas.  Our goal is to help our customers no matter what time of day or night you contact us.  You will see when you read our customer testimonials that we are more then just a cleaning company.  We go the extra mile to treat you like family.  This means showing up on time for our scheduled cleaning.  Treating your home like our home, and ensuring all quality control measures are being met. 

A biohazard scene can be dangerous.  Not just to you but to others who come into a home even after the sale of a home.  You want to make sure that a biohazard cleanup is done by a certified tried and true crime scene cleanup company in Riverside that can ensure the aftermath of the death is cleaned right the first time. 

Our crime scene cleanup company in Riverside stands up to help families dealing with tragedy.  From accidents to murders and even suicide cleanup we are the areas biohazard recovery and cleaning company for any blood cleanup.  As the leading brand for crime scene cleanup in Riverside we also have technicians ready to help in nearby cities of

    • crime scene cleanup in Woodcrest 
    • crime scene cleanup in Lake Mathews  
    • crime scene cleanup in El Cerrito

Suicide Cleanup in Riverside County and Unattended Death Cleanup

Any biohazard cleaning is usually called crime scene cleanup and we are the 24 hour crime scene cleanup company in Riverside County for any blood cleanup. As the leading brand name crime scene cleanup company in the Inland Empire we provide full service blood cleanup in Woodcrest / Lake Mathews  / El Cerrito and surrounding areas.

  • This means for any crime scene cleanup we can cleanup the aftermath of a death from beginning to end.
  • Resulting in efficient biohazard cleaning and removal of any pathogens and disease.
  • From a crime scene to a unattended death the crime scene cleaners who cleanup after the blood is left behind is SERVPRO of Woodcrest and our crime scene cleanup teams.
  • Leave the crime scene cleaning to the pros and get the best service possible with our fast and effective approach.

Certified Blood Cleanup in Riverside County

At the scene of a crime after the Police complete their investigation and a dead body is removed, the blood is left behind for a suffering family to deal with.  It is at this point the families call for crime scene cleanup.  With over a decade in helping residents in the Inland Empire get blood cleaned up, we know what we are doing, and can help you.

Our specialty is blood cleanup but we do so much more.  A crime scene may certainly have more to clean then blood.  The crime scene investigators may also of used fingerprint dust and this is not like in the movies.  Fingerprint dust usually requires professional cleanup and our crime scene cleaners in the IE can help.

We have been the go to company for dirty hazardous jobs for years.  If you have had an injury or accident in your home and are located in Riverside County we can get assistance to cleanup the blood within the day.  Try to schedule the blood cleanup as soon as you have knowledge of our need. Even if the crime scene is not released yet.  For unattended death cleanup we can usually begin the minute the dead body is removed and the same goes for a suicide cleanup.

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Call us today at (951) 398-3240

Storm Damage Restoration Process

10/6/2020 (Permalink)

Violent weather such as storm damage can wreak havoc on buildings as well as vegetation. Wind damage can be a hazard to the structure of a building, by loosening the shingles or tiles on the roof. This can cause moisture such as rain and snow to infiltrate into the protective surface of the roof, which will result in the wood swelling and later on disintegration and becoming moldy. This outcome will lead to a sagging ceiling and further problems. Elements such as wind, rain, hail, and lightning can result in turning people’s lives upside down, this is why having a storm damage restoration service to help this type of emergency is a good option.

Here are some of the activities you can expect from the storm restoration service professionals.

  • Whether it is a business or residence, the restoration company will come to your property and their trained experts will do a thorough examination of the interior and exterior of your building. This will help them discover the level of the damage. In many cases, the restoration company will discuss the renovation plans with you and your insurance adjuster.
  • When everything is agreed upon, the work begins. Depending on what type of damage is present, this will determine the type of equipment the professional will use. In the case of flooding, they will use specialized pumps and vacuums to remove water from the affected areas.
  • Generators will be brought in to operate their dehumidifiers and air movers, so mold and mildew do not have a change to make matters worse. Using customized cleaners, the specialist will then disinfect hard surfaces and shampoo salvageable carpets as well as apply deodorant to combat any odors.

We Answer the Phone 24/7 Ready to Help, Call Today! (951) 398-3240

Mold Sampling

10/1/2020 (Permalink)

Sampling For Mold Growth On Surfaces 

Mold growth in homes

Mold growth is very common in damp building environments. During building assessments for mold growth, sampling is sometimes necessary. For example, air sampling may be performed to determine whether visible mold growth has degraded indoor air quality. Air sampling may also help to determine the presence, location, and/or extent of suspected hidden mold growth. Air sampling is also used to determine the effectiveness of mold remediation. Interpretation of air sample results can be difficult if clear sampling objectives were not set prior to sampling.

Surface sampling involves collecting samples such as bulk material, tape-lift samples, swabs/wipes, contact plates or dust samples. These type of samples (with the exception of contact plates) can be analyzed by direct microscopic examination (DME) to verify the presence of mold growth.

Content sampling can also be conducted during a mold growth investigation. Content sampling helps to determine whether visible mold growth is present on the items or whether there are significant amounts of settled mold materials on their surfaces. Contents can be sampled using tape-lifts, swabs, contact plates or by collecting dust settled on their surfaces.

If you suspect mold in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathewstoday! (951)398-3240 

Tips For Preventing A Home Fire

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.

Cooking

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.
  • Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Smoking

  • Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.
  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
  • Be alert - don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.

Electrical and Appliance Safety

  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Portable Space Heaters

  • Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
  • Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.

Fireplaces and Woodstoves

  • Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
  • Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

Children

  • Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
  • Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.

More Prevention Tips

  • Never use stove range or oven to heat your home.
  • Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
  • Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.

How To Care For Hardwood Floors In A Commercial Building

9/20/2020 (Permalink)

Nothing adds charm more to a commercial building than a lustrous looking hardwood floor. A hardwood floor is a lifetime investment and keeping a hardwood floor looking its best requires proper care and maintenance strategies. As the cleaning professional, it is up to you and your cleaning technicians to provide the solutions to care for and maintain your customers' hardwood floor investment and keep it looking its best for years to come.

Routine maintenance and care of hardwood floors requires:

  1. Protecting the surface finish from heavy wear
  2. Daily cleaning to remove dirt, grit and dust
  3. Protecting the finish from moisture

These three routine tasks and care strategies will help to prevent damage to hardwood floors and to ensure the floor keeps its natural beauty.

It is important to remember that dirt, sand and grit are among the hardwood floor's worst enemies. This grunge will act like sandpaper to a floor's finish and can cause scratches and dents that will dull the floor. An important step to protecting the floor and finish is to place walk-off mats at all building entrances to prevent debris from being tracked onto the floor you are trying to protect. Walk-off matting also absorbs moisture and keeps it from being tracked onto the floor.

TIP: Avoid placing rubber backed entrance matting directly on the wood floor. The rubber backing can discolor the floor.

It is also important to sweep, vacuum or dust mop frequently to remove dirt and dust. A backpack vacuum with a hard floor attachment is the best way to pick up and remove contaminants from a hardwood floor. If you are using a broom, use one that is soft and has fine ends so that dirt and contaminants become trapped and are lifted away. You can also use a high quality microfiber flat mop.

TIP: Always remember to clean underneath the walk-off mats.

Another important preventive maintenance step is to place protector pads on furniture legs. Floor protector pads should be made of soft felt or a similar type material. If you ever need to move furniture, always pick it up and carry it -- never drag furniture across the floor.

Footwear and foot traffic can cause damage to hardwood floors. Soiled work boots or any footwear that has rocks, mud, or gravel stuck into the treads can dent or scratch the floor. Remind your customers how important it is to invest in walk-off matting to help protect their investment.

Water is also an enemy of hardwood floors. Water and spills can warp or permanently damage a floor's finish. Spills should be cleaned up immediately before they have the opportunity to set in and stain or warp the floor. Wipe up spills with a soft, damp cloth or microfiber cloth, and then follow up with a cleaning solution if needed and a dry, soft cloth.

Another factor to remember is that direct sun can discolor a hardwood floor. If a floor is exposed to direct sunlight, recommend to the customer that they close curtains or blinds or add sheer drapes to protect from the floor from the sun's harsh UV rays.

To stay looking their best, wood floors need periodic cleaning with a professional wood floor cleaning product. If you know the type of flooring, follow the manufacturer's recommended cleaning system. But if the specific type of hardwood floor is unknown, use a wood cleaner that does not leave a residue. Most finish manufacturers do not recommend wetting wood floors with water. When you use a cleaner that requires mixing with water follow the directions carefully and do not mix over the wood floor itself.

When taking care of wood floors avoid the following:

  • Using saturated mops on the floor
  • Using ammonia on the floor
  • Using household type dust cleaners
  • Using products that are not recommended for wood floors

Don't let hardwood floors lose their luster. Spending a little time every day protecting and properly caring for hardwood floors will go a long ways towards keeping the floor looking great and keeping your customer happy.

Important Facts About Wind Damage

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

There are many areas of the United States that have experienced heavy winds and storms this season and the strong powerful winds can cause significant damage to a home.  Wind damage and water damage are the most common results of a heavy storm and it is important to contact a storm damage restoration professional as soon as the storm is over to help limit and repair the damage.  Wind damage can happen to your home directly from the strong wind or indirectly from the wind blowing debris into your house.  These wind damage facts will help you better understand the potential for wind damage and how to prevent it.

Wind Type Varies by Storm and Causes Different Degrees of Wind Damage

Thunderstorms are the most common source of wind and storm damage but winds from hurricanes or tornadoes are stronger and can cause more severe damage.  It is important to know when a storm is approaching your area and what type of storm it is, so you know the potential and level of damage to expect.  Thunderstorms are responsible for over half of all wind damage cases in the U.S., but the storm damage repair may be more costly for hurricane or tornado wind damage.

Characteristics of the Wind Affect the Wind Damage

The wind has many characteristics that differ depending on the situation.  Some characteristics to take into account include speed, direction, and duration of the gusts and recognizing them can help you protect your home and property effectively from wind damage.  Recognizing the characteristics of the wind can also help you determine how much potential damage to expect.

Preventing Wind and Storm Damage

Most wind damage is caused by flying debris either from plants or other structures and objects that are not secured.  If a storm is approaching your area, make sure any potential debris around your home such as patio furniture, toys, garbage cans, and other objects are either secured or brought inside.  Your doors and windows should also be secured to help minimize the potential storm damage to the home.

Call SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews Today! (951) 398-3240

What is Mold?

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

Mold (or mould) is a term used to refer to fungi that grow in the form of multicellular thread-like structures called hyphae. Fungi that exist as single cells are called yeasts. Some molds and yeasts cause health effects or food spoilage, others play an important role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes.

Mold is also found in damp building materials where it often appears like stains and comes in a variety of colors. A must smell is an indication of microbial growth even when there is no visible growth. 

Mold growth requires moisture. The sources of moisture could be Washing, cooking, air humidifiers, condensation or leaks from plumbing or from the outside. Poor ventilation contributes to higher humidity levels and leads to condensation, which also allows mold growth.

If you suspect you have Mold Call SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Ceritto / Lake Mathews at (951) 398-3240 

Why Immediate Fire Restoration Is Important

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

When a fire occurs in a home, the aftermath can seem overwhelming, and if fire restoration is postponed, the destruction from smoke damage can become even worse. The longer you wait to address the damage, the more repairs you'll have to fix - which means you'll most likely have a larger bill for damages when all is said and done. You can avoid costly repairs and long-term issues if you make fire damage restoration a priority and follow the steps you'll need to get your home back to normal as soon as possible.

Contact a Fire Damage Restoration Service - (951) 398-3240

First, and foremost - and this is the most important step - find a fire restoration contractor who can assess the damage, give you an estimate on costs and start the cleanup process. Contact your home insurance company to make them aware of the fire and ask them for referrals for reliable businesses in your area. It's essential that you enlist the help of a licensed and insured fire damage restoration company to reduce the risk of further damage to your home. They are trained to handle this type of damage and many will perform some of the following steps to help get you through the initial fire cleanup:

  • Smoke and fire damage restoration services will try to save as many of your home and personal belongings (such as appliances, furniture and clothing) as they can.
  • Document everything they remove from your home by taking pictures and/or keeping written records.
  • Return any salvageable furniture and appliances back to your home, after the fire restoration is complete.
  • Work quickly and carefully to get you back in your home as soon as possible and stay in contact with you to make sure the repairs were done correctly and your home isn't experiencing any other problems.

Be sure to go through your home insurance company when hiring a fire damage restoration service or do a thorough background check if you choose one on your own to make sure they are licensed and insured. Be wary of “fire chasing” contractors who target victims of house fires and pressure them into signing expensive repair contracts, perform extremely low-quality repair work and might not be licensed or insured.

Start Fire Cleanup Right Away

While it's best to have a qualified fire restoration company like SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews handle the smoke damage restoration, there are some small tasks you can do to help minimize the initial damage before the professionals come in to do the major cleanup. Remember that safety comes first, so if there’s no way to safely gain access into your home, then stay out until the professionals arrive. If it is possible to enter your house, make sure you’re wearing work gloves, long sleeves/pants, and proper respiratory protection, such as a mask because exposure to soot can cause respiratory problems and other medical issues.

  • VENTILATION- Open all the windows and air out the house as much (and as often) as possible. Use box fans to force out dust and contaminated air. Fire damage restoration professionals will use industrial-strength fans and other air-moving equipment to help reduce the smoke damage your home has been subjected to, but in the meantime, proper ventilation is key to helping remove a lot of the polluted (and unsafe) air.
  • CLEANING- Scrub all surfaces (and inside cabinets and drawers) with soap and water. You can also use an alkaline cleaner, which neutralizes the acid that’s found in soot to help cut down on the smoky smell. Counteractants—chemicals used to break up smoke molecules to eliminate odors—may be used, but it’s best left to the professionals to handle such products.
  • LAUNDRY - Wash all bedding, clothing, curtains and items that can be machine washed with an alkaline cleaner (you may have to wash items more than once). Delicate fabrics will need to be professionally dry cleaned by someone who is familiar with articles that have smoke damage. Only use washers and dryers that haven’t been exposed to smoke or experienced significant fire damage.

Professional smoke removal and restoration companies will perform a thorough cleanup using industrial-grade products and equipment, such as dry-cleaning soot sponges to remove loose soot and specialized vacuum filters to clean carpet and upholstery.

Prolonged Smoke Damage

Fire damage is tricky because some signs are apparent—such as discoloration on walls and ceilings and dark stains from smoke on surfaces—but others are not, such as odors trapped in hidden places. Air conditioner vents, the space behind walls and the outside walls of your home are all areas where ash and soot can be deposited and continue to cause damage if they aren't taken care of in a timely manner.

Make sure to have the HVAC system, attic/roof, and exterior walls inspected and properly cleaned, too, because your home will continue to suffer from smoke damage until the soot is completely removed by a fire damage restoration service, like SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews. Don't hesitate to call us to handle your fire or smoke damage! (951) 398-3240

10 Steps For Dusting An Office Building

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

Following the steps outlined below will make your dusting faster and more effective:

  1. Dust high surfaces first and work downward. Start at one end of the room and move in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.
  2. Move objects (phones, paper weights, pictures, etc.), dust under them, and then replace them to their original position. However, desk papers should not be moved. Dust around any papers left on desks or tables. Papers in a pile can be moved slightly so you can dust under and around them unless your customer has instructed you not to disturb any paperwork.
  3. Do not carelessly flick your dust cloth, static duster or extension duster as you dust. This will only spread the dust, not capture it. Instead, wipe the surface. 
  4. Wipe spots and smudges on walls, desks, etc. with a damp green microfiber cloth as you move throughout the office area. Remember to rinse the cloth when it becomes soiled, using only water.
  5. When cleaning computer monitors or conference room flat TV screens, use a dry, microfiber cloth and lightly (and I do mean very gently) wipe. Never use paper towels, tissue paper, or window cleaner, they can scratch or damage the screen. If there are fingerprints or smudges, you can use antistatic wipes designed for computers and LCD screens. Some offices do not want you to clean either computer screens so be sure to follow your clients' wishes.
  6. Dust wood tables and desks with the grain, applying furniture polish per customer's request. Chairs should be dusted from top to bottom. Start by dusting any trim on top, then the sides and work your way down to the bottom legs. 
  7. When dusting blinds, first dust across the top. Then close the blinds and dust the entire surface. Close blinds to the other side and dust the newly exposed surface area. Another way to dust blinds is to use a backpack vacuum with a brush attachment.
  8. In hallways and corridors, make sure to dust fire doors, fire extinguishers, exit signs, bars on exit doors, door frames/jambs, handrails, light switches, show cases, and any other horizontal/vertical surfaces.
  9. Make sure to dust any areas where dust can accumulate, such as clocks, picture frames, cabinet tops and sides, the sides of desks, partitions, air vents, lights, baseboards, and window sills. If there is a surface, dust will accumulate.
  10. Use a backpack vacuum to remove dust and clean hard to reach areas and upholstered furniture.

Proper dusting will help to ensure that your office buildings have a neat and tidy appearance. Dusting is necessary to ensure a clean building and healthy work environment. SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews can help with all your commercial cleaning needs. Give us a call! (951) 398-3240

SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews Smoke and Soot Cleanup

9/15/2020 (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 Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews 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.  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 – 951-398-3240

Crucial Things You Should Always Have in Your Home Emergency Kit

5/26/2020 (Permalink)

Whether it's a hurricane, fire, earthquake, flood, or disease outbreak, you need to be prepared with an emergency kit in your car and home. Here's a list of the essential items you'll need in an emergency.

What to pack in a home emergency kit

If time has taught us anything, it's hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The list of possible worst case scenarios now includes Covid-19 and other infectious diseases in addition to the floods, hurricanes, and wildfires that may already be on your radar, depending on where you live.

Keep the kit in a closet or somewhere near an exit door and have another one in your car, Vogel advises.

Here's what experts recommend packing if you need to stay at home or if you need to leave in a hurry:

  1. A communication plan

    Sometimes we know that a disaster is on its way but often there's no warning at all. Make sure you have a communication plan in place for either scenario and one that takes into account the different times disasters can occur. You and your family could be at school or work or sleeping when disaster strikes.

    "What is your plan to meet up, to reconnect with folks?

    Have a list of phone numbers in the kit. You should also include an actual place (perhaps a relative's place) where people can gather should cell phones become unavailable.

    Finally, make sure everyone in your family, including and especially any kids, are familiar with the plan

  2. H2O

    You need to store some water, but how much? It depends on the disaster as well as where you are geographically and your health status.

    "Covid-19 is not going to impact your ability to walk to the sink and turn on the faucet," says Tornetta. A hurricane, on the other hand, very well might.

    The general rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person (and per pet) per day, aiming for a total three days' supply, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That said, children, mothers who are nursing, people who are sick, and people in warmer climates may need more, according to the Department of Homeland Security's ready.gov. The NCDP has a Preparedness Wizard that will help you calculate how much water, and other items, you may need. (Here are the signs and symptoms of dehydration.)

  3. Non-perishable food

    As with water, experts recommend that you have enough non-perishable food on hand for people and pets to last at least three days, quite possibly more, says Schlegelmilch, who is co-author of the forthcoming book Rethinking Readiness.

    Focus on nonperishable items like dry goods and canned goods but some frozen products are also OK. "Even if you lose power, you've got a few days before they start to spoil."  "A combination of frozen and nonperishable is fine."

    As for what kind of food, items that are protein-packed and can be prepared without electricity, such as tuna, peanut butter, or granola bars. If you or anyone in your family has special dietary needs, make sure you take those into account.

    And oh yes, don't forget to have a non-electric can opener or choose cans that have pop-tops.

  4. First aid kit

    It's important not only to have a well-stocked first aid kit, but the knowledge to effectively use each item in that kit as well, if you aren't sure, get  ready-made first aid kits," From American Red Cross. The organization also has a series of apps that can help you build an emergency kit and more. (Here are first aid tricks from ER doctors.)

    Also make sure to include contact lens solution, if you wear contact lenses, and asthma inhalers, according to a disaster supplies checklist from the Department of Homeland Security. Also include personal hygiene products and over-the-counter and prescription medications (a seven-day supply, says Tornetta). These days, it would be a good idea to include hand sanitizer, gloves, and face masks, as well. 

    The American College of Emergency Physicians recommends keeping the kit in a clear, waterproof, plastic container and putting it in a visible place.

  5. Multipurpose tool

    Simple or complex, multipurpose tools can be lifesavers. "Your multipurpose tool should be able to do what other widely used tools—like a screwdriver, pair of pliers, or scissors—can do," And definitely a can opener, if you haven't invested in pop-top cans. (You might also want to invest in these health gadgets that could save your life.)

    Your car should also have its own emergency tool kit which includes water and high-energy non-perishable food but also an inflated spare tire, the jack and wheel wrench, jumper cables, reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth. If the weather's cold, add a snow brush, shovel, blankets, and windshield washer fluid.

  6. Cash

    Covid-19 isn't likely to affect ATMs or credit-card machines, but hurricanes and other natural disasters could put them out of commission.

    "The digital systems work pretty well but after Katrina there were prolonged power outages." "You may be in a situation where credit-card machines [and ATMs] are down."

    That means you may have to rely on good old hard cash during an emergency.

    "Not everybody has enough money to do this but if you're able to set aside a few dollars, it's definitely a good thing," 

    Ready.gov recommends having small bills available so you can buy fuel and food.

  7. Gas

    "Fill up early and fill up often," Hart says. "With Hurricane Irma, we had advance notice—it's important to think, 'What do I need to do to start preparing right now?' Even if you don't know where the hurricane's going, as soon as it's a possibility for you in your area, think about things like gas. Your presence of mind when a catastrophe is far away is much clearer than your presence of mind when you're in the throes of that catastrophe."

    Schlegelmilch recommends having your tank at least half full at all times.

    And while having extra gas cans may be tempting, bear in mind that this can be a fire hazard,

  8. A change of clothes

    Or two or three. It's important to have the right kind and amount of clothes you'll need in any given situation.

    "Consider protective clothes and outerwear. Think: coats, windbreakers, ponchos, rain jackets,"  She also notes the importance of items that will wear well across all climates—so anything versatile, durable, and comfortable—is a universally safe choice. "Follow the same three-day rule here, too," she says. "And, as we talked about earlier, remember to change your supply out annually. Our children grow from year to year."

    Layers are an especially good idea for any warmer or colder conditions. As are socks in case you get wet.

  9. Closed-toe shoes

    If you're leaving really quickly, you may not have a chance to pick your ideal shoes but, if you can, take closed-toe shoes. "You might not know exactly where you're going." "If you have to be in a shelter environment or walking through areas, that's just to protect your feet from all of that. If you can only grab one pair of shoes, don't grab the flip flops."

    This could be especially important in areas that have been damaged by hurricanes or tornadoes. "There's a lot of debris," says Tornetta. "We want our team to wear closed-toe shoes so there's no chance of getting a splinter or some kind of infection."

  10. Low-tech basics

    Technology isn't always reliable, especially in a disaster. That means you should have some low-tech options on hand such as a hand crank, battery-powered radio and flashlight, and extra batteries, says Vogel. Garbage bags are good not only for holding trash but also to keep things dry, and matches in a waterproof container are a good idea too.

    Light plastic sheeting and duct tape can be invaluable if you have broken windows because of a hurricane or tornado.

    Just in case technology does survive the storm, fire, or pandemic, keep some extra portable charging blocks on hand as well. And you should also have a car charger for your cell phone.

  11. Important documents

    This is important not just during the disaster, but for rebuilding your life after. Having key legal and personal documents can go a long way towards minimizing stress once the immediate damage has passed. Make sure you know the signs that you may be suffering from serious stress.

    Legal Aid recommends keeping these papers together so you can grab them in a hurry:

    * Identification, be it a driver's license, passport, or another photo ID.
    * Insurance documents like life insurance, flood and fire insurance as well as homeowners or rental insurance.
    * Legal documents. This includes birth certificates, any child custody or adoption paper, wills, powers of attorney, and the like.

    You can scan your documents or take pictures with your smart phone or make photocopies and store those in your evacuation preparedness kit, says Tornetta. "Have an extra copy of your driver's license and social security card. If you have to flee in a hurry, you may forget your ID or your wallet if they're stored in a separate place."

    You can also store these documents online, or in a thumb drive.

     

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