Recent Fire Damage Posts

Some Warning Signs of Smoke Damage After a Los Gatos Fire

9/23/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Some Warning Signs of Smoke Damage After a Los Gatos Fire Fire and smoke can affect many materials in your home. Contact SERVPRO to mitigate the situation after a fire.

Aspects Overlooked When Restoring Fire Damage in Los Gatos

Fire damages structures and contents in different ways. Most people only think of damage as charred remains or ashes. Other forms of damage such as smoke particles settling or adhering to surfaces do occur. In most cases, such smoke damage is more extensive than the damage from flames. The probability of restoring items affected by smoke in your Los Gatos property is much higher if the right approach is taken.
 
How stubborn smoke residue is, in a case of fire damage in Los Gatos, can be traced back to the intensity of the fire. High temperatures open up pores in the materials where the smoke residue is deposited. This expansion allows aerosols and other residues to penetrate deeper. Cleaning such sections requires extra effort. Our SERVPRO technicians use high-pressure washers and cleaning agents to remove any baked-on smoke residues from the affected areas.
 
HVAC systems in your premises can spread residues all over a structure by distributing the smoke-filled air. Some components of the system such as mixing boxes, turning vanes, dampers and cooling coils might also be damaged necessitating replacement. While our SERVPRO technicians might not repair such systems, we do a thorough inspection to establish the level of damage. In most cases, only the ducts require cleaning and our technicians do this by vacuuming and washing the interiors.
 
Bad odor is also common after a fire. Even though it is invisible, the discomfort it causes can render your property uninhabitable. Most odors disappear once you clean residues left in the affected areas. However, some require specific deodorization efforts. For the best outcome, deodorization should recreate the same procedures the odor-causing particles penetrate the surface. Since smoke is the primary source of odors in cases of fire damage, our SERVPRO technicians use foggers to deliver the deodorizer effectively. We can also use Ozone machines or hydroxyl generators depending on the situation.
 
For complete restoration after a fire, call SERVPRO of Los Gatos / Monte Sereno. You can reach us at  (408) 600-2020 any time.

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How to Prevent Fires in the Office

8/31/2018 (Permalink)

Have you reviewed your office’s fire prevention and safety procedures recently? Office fires lead to millions of dollars of property damage every year as well as employee injuries and deaths. Simple changes in your office can both prevent fires and prepare your employees for emergencies.

Avoid Overloading Circuits

Outlets were only designed to handle so much. You may be tempted to use power strips to plug in as many devices into each outlet as possible, but overloading your circuits can lead to fires.

Talk to your electrician to set rules for the outlets in your building, and communicate these rules to each of your employees.

Clear the Clutter

It’s easy to let paper, boxes, and the like clutter desks and other work areas. However, clutter provides easy fuel for fires to grow and spread faster. Boxes of papers near a stairwell or door can easily catch fire and block potential exits during an emergency.

Most accidental office fires start in the kitchen. It’s important to keep flammable materials away from kitchen equipment such as coffee machines and hot plates. Clean these appliances regularly so they can function properly.

Make sure all heat-producing equipment has room for air to circulate around it, especially copy machines, computers, space heaters, and coffee machines.

Shut Down Appliances & Equipment

While most office fires happen during the day, the most damaging fires happen while everyone is gone for the night. Choose a designated person to sweep through the office and turn off electrical appliances at the end of each work day.

Examine all electrical equipment employees bring in, such as space heaters and lamps, to make sure they are in good condition. Require employees to unplug these devices when they leave as well.

Establish a No-Flame Rule

Don’t allow employees to use lighted birthday candles or burn scented candles at their desk or in break rooms. Remember, accidents with small flames can lead to big problems.

Watch the Wiring

If any of your office’s electrical cords show signs of damage such as fraying or tears in the plastic covering, replace them immediately. Encourage your employees to report any defective wiring as well. Exposed wiring can encounter moisture, which may cause short circuiting and fires.

Don’t run cords across the floor where people may step on them or roll over them with carts or chairs. This leads to damaged cords, which can, in turn, lead to a fire hazard.

Secure the Building

Arson accounts for a significant portion of office fires. Lock up your building securely every night. Make sure any parking lots or alleyways near your building are well lit. You may want to invest in a security system as well.

Create and Implement an Office Evacuation Plan

Consider talking with your local fire department to create an office fire safety and evacuation plan. Identify all possible exits in your office, and establish an evacuation protocol including office safety officers and meeting places. Print out copies of the plan that highlight exits, escape routes, and meeting places.

Display your office evacuation plan in high employee traffic areas, like break rooms. Go over the plan with all new employees, and schedule fire drills every few months to practice.

Equip your office with fire safety items such as smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Your fire department should know the exact requirements for your building.

At SERVPRO® of Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, we can create an Emergency READY Profile for your business. When disaster strikes, you don’t want to spend time trying to figure out who to contact for what. Our ERPs include a detailed assessment of your facility along with a profile document and guide to getting you back to business faster after an incident. We even offer a mobile app for convenience.

Even small fires can leave significant property damage; smoke can enter your ventilation system and spread soot and debris throughout your building. We can accurately assess fire and smoke damage and help make your office “Like it never even happened.”

If you’ve had a fire in your office, or if you want to set up an Emergency READY Profile, call us today at 408-371-4001

Smoke and Soot

8/31/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Los Gatos/ Monte Sereno 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.

What A Home or Business Owner Can Expect From Fire Restoration

7/27/2018 (Permalink)

What A Home or Business Owner Can Expect From Fire Restoration

Fire damage restoration, whether it is for a large business structure or a small residence, is a vital step in getting things back to normal. Fire damage can lead to structural problems, soot damage, an unpleasant smoke smell and other types of long-term issues that must be cleaned up before the structure can be restored to service. Most importantly, fire damage restoration is not something that can be put off, as problems such as smoke damage will only get worse as time goes by. For this reason, securing the services of a skilled restoration company can help avoid the costs associated with long-term home or commercial fire damage.


The First Steps


An effective fire damage restoration process will begin as soon as the firefighters leave the building. The fire damage cleanup process will involve surveying the structure to determine what type of damage has been done, removing water from the premises, and ensuring that the electricity and water are turned off until the fire damage restoration service can be certain that they have not been damaged.

In addition, the company will board up any access points in order to prevent the possibility of theft or vandalism. In many regions, it will also be necessary to board up the structure to avoid further weather damage. When evaluating commercial fire damage, the restoration company will also work to determine what damage has been done to the company’s inventory.

Restoring the Structure


The restoration process will include examining the structure for smoke damage. In many cases, smoke and soot damage can permeate the structure, leaving a smoke smell even after the fire has been extinguished. The restoration company may be able to paint over some interior furnishings, while in other cases, wood and carpets may have to be replaced. In addition, soot damage to HVAC systems may require the cleaning, repair or replacement of ducting in order to eliminate the smoke smell.

Electrical Components


A fire in a home or business can often do serious damage to the electrical systems. This is especially important when looking at commercial fire damage, as many commercial buildings have extensive electrical systems. Direct fire damage can result in the electrical wiring being rendered unsafe, while soot damage can cause sensitive electronic systems to malfunction. In addition, a fire in a business or home that has burned electronic or plastic items may have left toxic chemicals behind in addition to unpleasant smoke smell. In such a case, the fire cleanup process will involve removing any such dangerous chemicals from the building. Fortunately, fire restoration companies are trained in how to handle and dispose of such hazardous materials.

Windows and Doors


In many cases, windows and doors will have to be replaced. Fire damage can destroy them, while firefighters often break down windows or doors in order to gain access to a fire in a home or business. Although these openings will have to be boarded up, the fire cleanup process will involve them being completely removed so that new doors and windows can be installed. Some restoration companies will be able to direct the owner to a contractor who can quickly replace these windows.

Commercial Fire Cleanup Vs. Home Cleanup


A fire in a business is far different from a fire in a home, and a skilled remediation service will understand this. For commercial fire damage, getting the business back up and running can be vital, while fire damage in a home may require a softer touch, so as to ensure that none of the home’s remaining family items are damaged during the process.

More importantly, many businesses, even while soot and smoke damage is being repaired, will be functioning. The restoration service may be required to board up windows and doors while working around employees and customers. A fire in a home, unlike a fire in a business, may allow the restoration service to work while the homeowner remains at alternate accommodations.

Ultimately, securing the service of a restoration company can help victims of a fire in a business or home quickly recover from their misfortune. Whether only a quick fire cleanup is needed, or extensive smoke damage has rendered the structure nearly uninhabitable, the best answer to the owner’s woes is a skilled and experienced fire cleanup service.

Contact SERVPRO Los Gatos/Monte Sereno for more information on fire damage

Los Gatos / Monte Sereno Smoke and Soot Cleanup

6/26/2017 (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 Los Gatos / Monte Sereno 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 – (408) 600-2020