Our homes are our greatest and most expensive assets. We put a lot of time and effort into choosing and maintaining our home, and we do our best to ensure that our homes, and our belongings, are well protected. Unfortunately, we can’t always ensure the security of our belongings when tragedy strikes. Whether it be a fire, flooding from heavy rains, or a broken water pipe, sometimes the unforeseen happens. In those times of crisis it’s important to know that you can entrust your home and your belongings to the best water and fire damage restoration company Alameda County has to offer.
When something happens in our own homes, often we feel we should take responsibility ourselves before contacting a professional. In some cases this is true, and there are some things we can do when we experience water or fire damage in our homes. These things we do are called “mitigating our damages” (see Glossary), and doing these things can, sometimes, prevent further damage to our homes and our belongings.
Things you can do if your home is invaded by water from flooding or leaking pipes or roofs include:
- Removing excessive water by mopping or soaking up the water with towels and rags.
- Wiping excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items. It is important to remember to that electricity can travel through water, so use caution when working around electronics. If possible, turn off all electricity and unplug items before moving them.
- Remove wet furniture to a place where it can dry, and remove or prop up cushions to allow for air circulation.
- Lift furniture off of wet carpet if possible by propping up on blocks or placing foil between furniture legs and wet carpets.
- Turn on air conditioning and fans, if using electricity is not a problem. Remember SAFETY FIRST.
- Remove items from off the floor such as rugs and carpet runners and hang them up to dry.
- Gather any other loose items from the floor and remove other items of value to a safe, dry place.
If you’ve had a fire in your home, there are things you can do:
- Open your windows to ventilate your home.
- Close doors to affected areas to localize smoke odors as much as possible.
- If the electricity is off, remove perishable foods from your refrigerator and freezer.
- Keep a listing of anything that has been destroyed by the fire or discarded due to the fire for your insurance company.
- Avoid breathing in smoke or soot, and wear a breathing mask when working in the home.
- Wear gloves to avoid touching anything covered with soot. Soot can be very damaging, and the oils from your skin can cause further damage when mixed with soot. It can also be an irritant to the skin.
- Change the filter on your furnace daily to keep soot particles out of the air.
As fires often result in water damage, as well, it will be important to ascertain the extent of the fire/smoke and water damage as quickly as possible. If it is a smaller, more localized area in your home, and the fire was small, it is possible you could do the entire clean up on your own, but do so only if it is safe.
If the water or fire damage is too extensive for easy clean up on your own, it will be important to get assistance from a company that specializes in water and fire damage restoration.
The idea of having someone come into your home, handle your things, and maybe take them away for follow up care can cause stress and anxiety and, therefore, it’s important to have confidence in the people with whom you entrust your home and belongings when tragedy strikes, but choosing a reputable company, in which you can have confidence, can be a daunting task.
When choosing a company to come into your home in Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, Berkeley, San Leandro, Alameda, Union City, Pleasanton, Newark, Dublin, and the surrounding towns, it is important to know what to look for, and research is the key. Unfortunately, when misfortune strikes, you may not have the time to do the research yourself. That’s when having access to companies that have been Diamond Certified can help.
Look for Properly Certified Water and Fire Damage Restoration Companies in Alameda County
All Diamond Certified companies located in Alameda County, including those in Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, Berkeley, San Leandro, Alameda, Union City, Pleasanton, Newark, and Dublin, have been thoroughly researched for you, including certification verification, and reliability. If one of these companies does not appear to meet your needs, you will have to do the research yourself. Where to begin?
Not all water and fire damage restoration companies are the same; however, all water and fire damage restoration companies operating in California, and Alameda County, must be certified through The Clean Trust (formerly the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification), and/or licensed according to California Business and Professions Codes Section 7026, and display their license number prominently on all documentation. In addition, restoration companies can be certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Better Business Bureau can provide information about water and fire damage restoration companies, as well, regarding their reliability and customer satisfaction.
In addition to proper licensing and certification, it is important that the company you choose has employees who are properly certified to deal with your specific problems. Do you have water damage from a backed up sewage system? Do you have water damage from a leaking roof? Has your home been damaged by excessive rains and flooding? If fire and smoke damage is an issue, you need to consider the extent of the damage and the type of fire. Was it a small kitchen fire, with minimal smoke damage? Was it a larger fire that spread throughout the home, causing significant fire and smoke damage? Were toxic chemicals involved that may still be present? When choosing a company to address your type of situation, look for a company that employs properly certified individuals.
Now that you’ve done some basic research on water and fire damage restoration companies in Alameda County, it’s time to talk with a few local companies. When you interview them, make sure you have a written list of questions and note each company’s answers. Don’t settle for the first company you interview. You have a right to explore your options, but keep in mind that water damage in particular can cause other problems in a home besides just leaving your belongings wet. The longer you wait to repair the damage, the greater the risk for mold and mildew to begin to grow, which will require more extensive clean up.
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