• Wildfire Recovery

    kitchen with fire damageHow to Recover From a Fire in the Home

    Although the risk of fire in the home has decreased significantly over the last few decades, it remains one of the most fearsome hazards of daily life, and for good reason: every 88 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a home fire. Despite modern precautions, home structure fires regularly destroy homes and even take lives. If you’ve been the victim of a home fire, here are a few steps you can take to get back on your feet:

    Start taking notes

    You’ll need to remember many details about the event in the days and weeks to come. Be sure to note:

    • The time and date of the fire
    • The name of the responding fire department
    • The nonemergency phone number of the responding fire department
    • The fire incident report number
    • Your insurance company’s name
    • Your insurance company’s phone number
    • Your insurance policy number

    In addition, write a short description of the incident to help jog your memory later.

     

    Refresh your “Go Bag”

    If you aren’t able to live in your home, keep the following handy:

    • Important documents like your driver’s license and passport
    • Insurance information
    • Spare keys
    • Prescription medicine
    • Cellphone charger

     

    Enter your property when it’s safe

    Ask the fire department if the structure is safe before you re-enter your home. Be very careful as you go inside—the structure may not be as stable as it appears. Do not attempt to reconnect any utilities. The fire department will reconnect utilities or let you know that it’s not safe to do so at this time.

     

    Contact your insurance company

    Your insurance company will give you instructions on how to begin a claim. They should be able to tell you how to protect your property, conduct an inventory and begin the restoration process.

     

    Start notifications

    It’s important to notify all interested parties about the fire. These include:

    • Your mortgage company
    • Your landlord
    • Your utility providers (water, gas, electric)
    • The post office (for mail forwarding)
    • The local police office (to let them know your house will be vacant)

     

    Take photos

    Once you’re allowed into the house, take photos of your damaged property. You’ll need these for the insurance claim.

     

    Begin the cleanup process

    Although there may be a few steps you can take to clean your home, you’ll want to hire a professional fire restoration company to restore your home to its pre-fire condition. The smoke and soot left behind after a fire can cause serious health problems. Fire restoration companies have the experience and specialized equipment to ensure the cleanup process leaves no dangerous residue.

     

    Take care of yourself

    Recovering from a fire may be physically and emotionally draining. Remember to ask for help, take breaks and know that it’ll get better soon.

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  • Wildfires in Sacramento

    fire danger sign postedSacramento and the Threat of Wildfire

    Sacramento may be the sixth largest city in California, but we wear our small-town roots with pride. Surrounded by farmland, the Delta and the Sierras, we often have more in common with our surrounding countryside than we do with our neighbors to the west and south. For the most part this is a good thing—we have amazing agriculture, outdoor recreation and easy access to the mountains—but it also means problems that face more rural areas face us as well.

    To be specific, the recent rise in wildfires has taken a particular toll on Sacramento. The increased threat of wildfire in California has already begun to have serious consequences for us—much more so than goliaths like San Francisco and Los Angeles. While we may not be in danger of losing our homes due to wildfire, fires have a direct impact on our relatives and friends, our greater community, and our air. Many of us have friends and family who live in the more rural areas surrounding Sacramento. Not only are we worried for them, we also want to help protect their homes and lifestyles. More, recent fires have exacerbated the housing crisis in Sacramento and homelessness has been on the rise. Finally, last year we experienced the direct pain of poor air quality. During the most recent fires, spending the day breathing Sacramento air was roughly the equivalent of smoking eight cigarettes.

    On a large scale, governmental, nonprofit, and private sector initiatives are all working toward understanding why wildfires are becoming more prevalent and how to stop them. But on a smaller scale, individuals aren’t helpless in the face of what may be the new normal. Here are a few things you can do to protect against and prepare for wildfire.

     

    Wilderness safety

    It’s more important than ever to practice fire safety in wilderness or rural areas. Always watch and fully extinguish campfires (douse them with water and stir the ashes until they’re cold), and take extra precautions with flammable materials such as matches and lighter fluid. Also, make sure to fully extinguish cigarettes.

     

    Defensible space

    Denizens of apartments in downtown Sacramento don’t need a 100-foot defensible space, but homeowners (and renters) in East Sacramento, Land Park, Pocket and everywhere else should be managing the fire hazards around their homes. These can include low-hanging branches, dead brush or bushes growing close to the home. If you or your friends live near a park; an empty lot or field; wildland; or any kind of green, open space, having a 100-foot defensible space is the law.

     

    Air quality

    Unfortunately, in Sacramento, we can now expect to have intense periods of poor air quality in the summer and fall due to wildfires. Plan accordingly by stocking up on NC-17 masks, air filters and air purifiers.

     

    Get smart

    Knowledge won’t defend you against everything, but learning about the causes and ramifications of wildfires won’t hurt. If intense wildfires are California’s new normal, it’s a situation that’ll be changing significantly in the next few years. Staying informed and active can help as we all learn to adapt.

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  • Identifying Water Damage

    How Can You Tell if a House Has Water Damage?

    Sometimes water enters our homes with great fanfare—a pipe bursts or heavy rains cause flooding. Sometimes it’s more of a stealth visitor, seeping unnoticed into our homes. However water intrusion occurs, it’s important to take care of water damage quickly before it causes long-term problems. Common signs of water damage include musty odors, discoloration on walls and texture changes in floors. Unfortunately, damage can also occur with few visual or olfactory clues. If you suspect water intrusion in your home, here’s how to investigate.

    Look under the sink. Clear out the cabinets under sinks in your kitchen and bathroom. Water stains can be an indicator of ongoing leaks. While you’re there, visually inspect the caulking around fixtures. Discolored or missing caulk can also be a sign of water intrusion.

    Check the pipes. Study the piping in the bathroom, kitchen, basement and garage. Pipes should be dry and corrosion-free. Damp, weeping pipes or corrosion indicate a problem.

    Inspect crawl spaces. Take a flashlight under your home or into the attic. Look for surface discoloration. Put your hand on the walls and in corners, as drywall damaged by water may feel soft or spongy.

    Go to the top. Check the roof for missing shingles or damaged flashing. Pooling water on the roof suggests that water isn’t draining properly and needs to be addressed.

    Check outside. Puddles forming around areas in your yard can be an indicator that gutter spouts aren’t taking water far enough away from structures. Fixing your gutters can help prevent water from making its way into your home.

    Call a professional. If you suspect you have water damage but can’t find the culprit, it’s time to bring in a professional. A contractor who specializes in water damage has the equipment to detect even the most stealthy water intrusions.

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  • Preventing Water Damage

    water damage restoration professionalsResponding to a Water Emergency 

    In the event of major water damage (such as a burst pipe leaking into your home), follow these steps:

    1. Try to locate the source of the water and shut off the water supply to your home.
    2. Take photos of the damage—these will be useful later if you need to file a homeowners insurance claim.
    3. Use a mop or towels to extract as much water as possible.
    4. Open windows to bring air into your home. If you have large fans, focus them on the affected area.
    5. Contact a remediation company right away to come assess the damage.

    When dealing with a major instance of water damage, remember that time is of the essence. Often, homeowners will put off dealing with water damage for a couple of days, but those initial days are crucial. In that timeframe, the floor can sustain irreparable damage (such as buckling) and mold can develop within 48 hours.

     

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Additional companies within the Sacramento Area

The following companies have not applied or earned Diamond Certified. The performance of these companies is not backed by the Diamond Certified performance guarantee.  It is a good idea to check the license, insurance and performance history of these or any companies that are not Diamond Certified.

  • Pinnacle Emergency Mgmt Inc - (916) 371-7431
  • On The Spot Restoration - (916) 939-9900
  • Zebra Restoration Svc - (916) 635-8571
  • Protek Restoration - (707) 260-5000
  • Onsite Fire Damage Solutions - (916) 859-0344
  • Banconn Enterprise Inc - (916) 648-2040
  • AAA Plus Constr & Restoration - (916) 388-8338


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