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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Water Damage Preparation

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage often includes water damage.

Dealing With Water Damage and Fire Damage in San Leandro

By Clayton A. Barry, partner of SERVPRO of San Leandro

These tips were prepared for Property Managers of apartment buildings and rental houses in the East Bay and were presented to an income property association based in Oakland at an annual meeting.  However many of the tips apply to individual homeowners.

When serious problems occur (beyond routine maintenance issues), there are immediate remedies and safety actions that can be quickly implemented to contain the water damage reduce restoration costs and protect health. That’s why when you call SERVPRO of San Leandro at 510-352-2480 we do our best to contact you within 5 minutes and to be on location in one-hour or less. When you call us, be sure to provide your callback information in addition to the name, phone number(s) and address of your client/referral. Our on-duty technicians confirm every call and will keep you informed on the job status and important information. 

Our company provides emergency mitigation. We also offer many restoration repair services (such as controlled demolition, board-up, debris removal, expert wall and plaster repair, new floor and carpet installation, and reconstruction, etc.) We will work alongside your established vendors and contractors. This is not a problem for us.

When our emergency personnel and technicians are dispatched, we could use your help.  Please ask the residents to provide convenient parking and, for nighttime arrivals, please have the porch light and other outside lighting turned on. 

By the way, SERVPRO is an approved service vendor for several of the country’s largest insurance companies. Additionally, we have agreements in place with many others.  If your project becomes an insurance claim, we will prepare the “estimate” to comply with insurance industry guidelines to accelerate resolution of your claim.

Window & Door Breakage

Take action immediately to preserve security and human safety. Call our office ASAP so we can schedule proper board up and/or repair service, especially when the damage presents a threat to security or personal safety 24/7

?    If the breakage is the result of vandalism or burglary, notify the police
?    Tell your residents to be cautious of sharp objects……splintered wood and shards of glass
Fallen Tree/Limbs

The concerns with a fallen tree or branch are similar to the dangers associated with broken windows and doors. Residents need to be aware of sharp objects.  There may also be a risk of electrical or fire dangers caused by damage to wiring. These problems will be intensified if it is raining. 

?    Call our office immediately so we can schedule tree removal, tarps, board-up and/or repair services

Water damage / Water Intrusion

Rapid mitigation response reduces the extent of the damage and speeds up the overall repair time, saving you money. Implementing early drying procedures can prevent mold growth and secondary damage caused by humidity. Call our office as soon as possible so we can dispatch emergency cleanup help 24/7.

(Stop the Water Flow)

?    Have the water flow valve to the plumbing appliance that is leaking turned off.  If there is no shut-off valve or the shut-off valve does not operate properly, ask the resident to turn off the main water to the residence
?    Toilets, sinks, dishwashers, ice makers, and hot water heaters usually have dedicated water shut-offs
OF SPECIAL NOTE: If the hot water heater is leaking, it may be necessary to drain the hot water tank. Hot water heaters usually have a drain that is equipped to accept a standard garden hose.  It may also become necessary to turn off the electricity (or gas flow) to the hot water heater.

(Warn Residents, SAFETY CONCERNS).

?    Wet floors are a slip hazard. People need to be cautious. Walk slowly.  Remember, walking from a damp carpet onto a hard floor surface is also a slip hazard

?    Electrical shock can occur in a water-damaged structure.  Be careful around electrical appliances and electrical extension cords. Do not run ceiling fans, electrical tools or other equipment (especially a vacuum cleaner) in a wet environment.

(Be Pro-active).

?    Water spreads by gravity and wicking action… check opposite walls and inside closets for dampness
?    Paper goods, boxes, etc.  NEED TO BE MOVED away from wet carpets, floors, and walls
?    Aluminum foil should be placed under furniture legs.  Remove wet Oriental rugs from the wet areas
?    Hang damp or wet furs and leather goods separately at room temperature

The pro-active actions listed above are the sort of service that our trained and certified water mitigation technicians perform. They also come equipped with advanced moisture detection equipment to track the extent of the wetness. Their service vehicles are stocked with an array of specialty drying tools to mitigate hardwood floors, cabinets, and wall cavities.  Specialty equipment, containment barriers, and indoor air quality equipment are available to our techs.

Our goal is to have wet structural material dry within three days or less and to minimize demolition. However, it must be understood that some substrates and building materials become ruined when they are wetted. Some building materials may require longer periods of drying.

An added benefit: Our job documentation, including photographs that are routinely included in our water damage restoration invoices, will more than satisfy the requirements of the typical buy/sell “disclosure” paperwork.

Sewage Backup

A toilet overflow, while nasty, is not a serious “sewage damage”. Toilet flush overflows require simple clean up procedures that include wearing rubber gloves. These matters do not generally require professional services.

A sewage backup is when the sewage discharge from one or more homes overflows into one house, often into a bathtub or shower and spilling over the toilet bowl. Backups may be twenty or more gallons of wastewater. 

Much of the information that applies to water damage within a home applies to a sewage discharge. There are also concerns regarding bacterial contamination. However, most bacteria within sewage (water) will remain within the water until it is disturbed by physical action (such as mopping, wiping) or by using fans and air-blowers.

A significant sewage overflow always requires professional assistance.  Call our office immediately so our trained and certified technicians can provide the appropriate type of cleanup.

(Be Pro-active)

?    If washing machines or dishwashers are operating during a sewage discharge, have them turned off

?    In an apartment complex or multi-unit building ask the neighbors to not operate their appliances and to not use their shower until the blockage has been cleared by a plumber/maintenance specialist

?    Insist that residents stay out of the mess so they do not spread the contamination into unaffected areas 
nor compromise their own health and safety

SERVPRO’s sewage clean up procedures feature the erection of containment barriers and the installation of HEPA air cleaning and filtration machines. All hard surfaces are sanitized. Porous materials may need to be removed as recommended by the US and California EPA standards. We do things the right way per each situation.

Trauma Scene / Hazmat

Our SERVPRO franchise is licensed by the State of California to perform trauma scene and HAZMAT cleanup (which also includes asbestos awareness and lead renovation). This specialty cleaning is performed to high standards. Recovered waste materials and contaminants are disposed of in compliance with regulations. The costs are commensurate with the complexity of the project.

            Blood and bodily fluids 
            Dead animal cleanup
            Chemical Spills
            Skunk odor removal
            Cooking odor removal
            Asbestos – with associate

Be assured……..Upon job completion, the indoor environment we treat will be clean, safe and odor free.


When an empty house or building has been vandalized, the damage can be anything from a nasty cleanup job to major restoration repair. We’re here to help with an array of licensed services… one-stop shopping.

            Hazmat cleanup 
            Graffiti removal                        
            Structural damage
            Cosmetic repair
            Carpet cleaning
            Structural repair
            Carpet and flooring

Fire & Smoke

The first concern in a fire is to protect life. Residents need to get out of the building quickly. Heat accelerates rapidly and oxygen vanishes quickly. Even a small fire can become life-threatening in as little as four minutes.

When there is a Structure Fire, the first responders will usually be the fire department. Residents must follow their instructions. Often “fire-chasers” (repair and cleaning contractors) listen to fire and police radio/internet channels. These contractors may arrive at a fire scene offering their services. If you are a landlord or property manager, advise your tenants that they do not have authority, or permission to hire these services.  

In some localities, the Fire Department will dispatch a pre-approved contractor to provide emergency board-up services of the roof, windows, and doors. This can be verified by the senior firefighter on the scene. 

Less Severe Damage: In some situations, a small fire, or smoke and soot damage caused by cooking, a fireplace, or BBQ may pollute the indoor environment with soot and odor. Residents should not attempt to clean. Soot and odor damage requires professional products and techniques that are not readily available or known outside the restoration industry. Improper cleaning techniques will often “set” the soot or make it more difficult and more expensive to remove.  
(Report Damage)
?    Call our office as soon as possible so we can help with:
        Debris removal 
        Emergency power
        Cleaning and drying of the structure
        Deodorizing of the structure
        Pack-out, cleaning, and storage of     personal contents

(Warn Residents, SAFETY CONCERNS)

?    A fire scene becomes a slip hazard when water has been used to extinguish the fire (especially when                        fire sprinklers have been discharged)
?    Broken glass, damaged wood and other objects may present a danger of sharp object injury

(Be Pro-active)

?    Soot becomes a permanent stain, resulting from improper cleaning methods 
?    Keep hands clean, do not touch items – body oil will increase soot damage
?    Do not open doors that were closed – it may spread soot contamination
?    Do not operate the furnace or HVAC system – it will spread soot
?    If power is off, remove contents from the refrigerator and freezer/prop doors open  

In review: This information was written by Clayton Barry for property managers in the East Bay. Hopefully, you agree this information provides good advice for anyone who has a structure that suffers water, fire, sewage or other damage. When you need help in Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, Hayward, Union City or San Leandro we are as close as the phone: 510-352-2480    

Copyright 2015 – Clayton A. Barry for SERVPRO of San Leandro

Locally Owned and Operated

SERVPRO of San Leandro is locally owned and operated so we are part of this community too. When you have a flooding or water or fire emergency, we’re already nearby and ready to help. We take pride in being a part of the San Leandro community and want to do our part in making our community the best it can be.

We are as close as the phone: 510-352-2480  

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