Recent Fire Damage Posts

Smoke From a Fire Can Cause More Damage Than the Flames

11/29/2021 (Permalink)

Thick smoke engulfs a home, foreshadowing the blazing destruction to come. Smoke damage is nastier than fire damage in many respects.

A Fire's Smoke Might Cause More Harm Than The Flames.

Fire damage is easy to spot. Fires burn, char, melt and destroy everything they touch. Remediating fire damage is simply a matter of restoring damaged items to their former condition. Once restoration is complete, everything will look fine, but it won’t smell fine.
Smoke damage is nastier than fire damage in many respects. Particulates created by the fire spread throughout the home, leaving the telltale smell of the fire everywhere. There is nothing simple about smoke cleaning. Complete the following steps, and your home will smell fresh and clean.

1. Begin air filtration immediately after the fire. Don’t give the smoke odor the chance to permeate everything. It will settle in fabrics, carpets, flat surfaces and every crack and crevasse. The best way to avoid that is to capture particulates out of the air before they have a chance to settle.

2. Clean everything while air filtration is still in process. Clean carpets, fabrics, ceilings, walls and floors. Some of the particulates will be captured in cleaning while others may go back into the air. Air filtration will capture them.

3. Ozone removes odors that you cannot reach. You’ve done as much smoke cleaning as you can. Close up your home, load your family and pets in the car, and disappear for a few days. Local smoke and fire remediation specialists in Van Nuys South, CA, will bring in their ozone generators and do the rest. They will let you know when it is safe to return.

4. Thermal fogging is the final step. Any odor that survives the above three steps is in your home to stay. Masking that odor is the only remaining option. Thermal fogging is the process of heating a special deodorizer and spreading it as dry smoke, permeating your entire home.
As you can see, effective smoke cleaning requires special equipment and odor removal specialists with the skills to use it. If you have a problem with odors caused by a fire, it’s time to get some help.

3 Quick Tips for Cleaning a Barbeque Grill

9/30/2021 (Permalink)

Grill cleaning Proper grill cleaning may reduce the risk of fire or your need for fire damage and restoration service.

Cleaning a Barbeque Grill in Three Easy Steps

Few foods taste as good as those that have been cooked outdoors on a barbeque grill. From mouth-watering burgers to steaks and grilled veggies, there are dozens of meals to enjoy. However, one important aspect of becoming a grill master in Van Nuys South, CA, is learning how to operate your barbeque safely, including using effective cleansing techniques. Proper grill cleaning may reduce the risk of fire or your need for a fire damage and restoration service, and there are several steps you can take to ensure your unit is always clean and ready to use.

1. Begin While the Grill Is Warm

Removing thick grease and baked-on residue can be difficult when the grill is cold, so cleaning the unit while it is still somewhat warm may make the job easier. Wait until you can touch the racks comfortably and then prepare for grill cleaning by gathering a pair of rubber gloves and a grill brush before filling a bucket with hot, soapy water large enough to immerse the grates.

2. Disconnect and Dismantle the Grill

Before you perform any grill maintenance, check to ensure all the dials are in the off position, then turn off and disconnect the propane tank. Remove the grates and the drip pan and place them in the bucket of soapy water to soak. Next, clean the underside of the grill’s hood to remove residue that can build up there and cause a grease fire. You can guard the heating elements from dripping water and grease by covering them with heavy-duty foil.

3. Rinse and Reassemble

Once you scrub out the inside of the grill, pull the drip pan and grates from the soak bucket, scrub and rinse them with a hose and place them back inside the unit. Remove the foil and wipe down the outer surface to finish the job.

Becoming the neighborhood grill master in Van Nuys South, CA, includes understanding the importance of proper grill cleaning. When you put cleanliness first, your family, friends and neighbors can enjoy delicious barbeque meals safely.

Commercial Property Fire Restoration

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

putting out a fire Commercial property fire restoration!

It can be devastating when a fire occurs to your business. SERVPRO of Van Nuys South knows that dealing with the physical damage is challenging enough, as well as the emotional distress that follows.

Fire, smoke and soot may have caused partial damage to the property and water damage from firefighting efforts may have further damaged the property. Often the physical effects of a fire are deeper than the eye can perceive and even the smallest of fires can have lasting effects. The physical destruction can have severe implications on your building or office structure such as charred sections, broken pipes, and crumbling infrastructure. Inventory affected by smoke means damaged inventory. Smoke damage on office furniture and equipment, if left untreated, can negatively affect the health of anyone working in the environment.

SERVPRO of Van Nuys South begins the fire restoration of your commercial property with an inspection and damage assessment.

We immediately will board up and roof tarp any compromised windows, walls and roofs. 

If water is present, water removal begins immediately until the drying process is complete. 

Removal of smoke and soot from all areas through use of specialized equipment and techniques. 

All restorable items and surfaces are cleaned and sanitized including odors.

Restoration will bring your business back to whole.  That may entail rebuilding of structures, drywall, painting and carpets.

Where damage from fire and water is at, hand the clean-up over to our team at SERVPRO of Van Nuys South.  We will stay with you until even the smallest detail is taken care of. From ready, to restored, to rebuilt. From small areas to large losses from fire, SERVPRO of Van Nuys South will get your building or office safe and secure, enabling you to get back to business “Like it never even happened.” 

The Homeowner's Guide to Life After a Fire

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Inside of house burned Professionals can help you set up a cleanup plan and start restoring your house.

Life After a Fire: A Guide for Homeowners

Has your Lake Balboa,CA home recently been affected by a fire? If so, you may wonder what you can do yourself to start returning things to normal. Fire restoration requires a professional touch, so most homeowners don't understand what their role in the cleanup should be. Use this guide to help you better understand what you should and should not do.

• Make Calls: As soon as you are safely out of the building, you can start reaching out to people who can help you return your life to normal. Your first call may be to emergency responder. Next, you'll want to call your insurance provider. Your fire insurance policy may help cover the costs of the fire damage cleanup. Soon after this call, you need to get in touch with a residential restoration specialist. This professional can help you set up a cleanup plan and start restoring your house.
• Avoid Damage: As you look at the smoke and fire damage in your house, you may be tempted to start the cleanup on your own. After all, anyone can use a rag to wipe down walls, right? The truth is smoke cleaning takes a lot of know how. It's better to leave the damage untouched than to try to fix it yourself. You may end up making the problem worse for the professionals.
• Secure Property: Fire can leave your house susceptible to the elements and intruders. Part of the fire restoration process may be boarding up your home, getting a tarp over your roof and fencing off your property. Some restoration teams also do boarding-up services. Make sure someone is going to get this job done for you as it can help reduce the amount of repairs needed.

After a fire, there's not a lot of action for you to take. You need to call in the fire restoration specialists, and then let them get the work done.

Freeze Up a Grease Fire With These Unusual (but Effective) Tips

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Pot on flames A grease fire can get out of hand very quickly.

Ways To Put Out Grease Fire

A grease fire is probably one of the worst-case fire scenarios you can encounter in your own kitchen, as grease fires aren’t combatted like normal fires. Instead of snuffing them out, water can aggravate a fat fire and cause a small stovetop flare-up to quickly turn into a raging inferno. If you ever encounter a fire caused by grease, it is important that you know what to do to put it out, and quickly. The fire cleanup experts in Van Nuys South, CA, provide these tips for you to implement in the event of a stovetop fire caused by animal fat:

  • Do NOT throw water on the fire.
  • Turn off the heat source ASAP.
  • Remove all the oxygen from the flame, which you can do by covering the flame with a pot or pot lid.
  • If covering it up is not an option, dump baking soda on it, and lot of it!

Salt Works, Too

If you don’t have an abundance of baking soda on hand (because let’s face it, not many people do), salt works too. Depending on the size of the grease fire, you may need to dump a cup or more of salt over the inferno to squelch it. Salt works by sucking the heat out of the grease so that it simply cannot sustain its combustion anymore. In fact, it is so effective that experts recommend keeping a tub of salt on hand whenever you plan to cook with grease.

Do Not Pour Any Other Baking Ingredient on the Flame

Flour, sugar, salt, baking soda…they’re all white powders, so they should work the same, right? Wrong. Baking soda is effective for small fires, while salt is best for larger ones. Accidentally (or purposefully) dousing the flames in flour or sugar could spark an inferno.

A grease fire can get out of hand very quickly, especially if you don’t know the best way to put one out and accidentally use the wrong methods. Use the tips from the National Fire Protection Association to freeze up a kitchen fire fast and before it causes too much damage.

Don’t Wait to Lower Your Risk for a House Fire | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

large image of red, yellow and orange flames House fires trend to peak during the winter. SERVPRO of Van Nuys South are available 24/7 in the event of an emergency.

Almost 890 Americans die every year in winter house fires.

Fires aren’t just a seasonal threat, but more deaths and injuries happen during the winter months than at any other point during the year. That can be due to heating mishaps in colder parts of the country, but Southern California residents still need to be aware of ways they can make their homes safer because fires aren’t really a regional risk, either.

How You Can Reduce Your Family’s Fire Risks

These tips can help you and your family stay safer all year round. Plus, they don’t take much time or money to add to your routine.

Faithfully maintain your smoke detectors. Don’t ever forget this step because smoke detectors are designed to help the people and pets you love stay safe. Don’t forget to test them each month and change the batteries a couple of times every year. They should be replaced altogether at least every 10 years.

Be mindful of how you use candles. Your candles need to be at least three feet apart and placed away from spots in your home that can be easily accessed by young children. Also, don’t forget to blow out your candles before you leave home. It may sound like fundamental advice, but candles are the culprit for many house fires every year.

Make your kitchen safety a priority. Do you know how to put out a grease fire? Grease catches fire quickly.. Water may cause a grease fire to grow. It won’t put one out. Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen to put out these dangerous fires. Baking soda or a metal lid will work, too.

If your home is damaged due to a fire or any other cause, you can always count on us for restoration assistance. We have crews who are available 247 in the event of an emergency. Contact us at any time to learn more about our restoration services and how we can help your family.

Meet Van Nuys’ Winter Fire Damage Experts | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

12/18/2020 (Permalink)

firefighter with water hose trying to put out large flames engulfing brick home If you have fire damage due to a heating malfunction or other issue, count on SERVPRO of Van Nuys South to fully restore your home.

Fires can happen at any time, but they’re more common during the winter months—even in warmer climates like we enjoy here in California.

Decorating for the holidays presents several unique fire hazards. Christmas trees are a common cause of winter fires.

But heating system malfunctions and kitchen fires also cause their share of issues for homeowners. Kitchen fires are widespread around Thanksgiving and Christmas—when more people are in the kitchen making large meals.

SERVPRO Offers Expert Help

Here’s why we are Van Nuys South’s best resource for fire damage restoration:

We’re available 247. House fires don’t happen on a set schedule, and starting the restoration process quickly is vital to repairing your home. Because we know that time matters when dealing with home restoration, our team is here for emergencies.

Our team values restoration. We have the experience necessary to ensure you can get the help you need by working to save you money on both repairs and your insurance. Additionally, it can allow you to stay comfortable in the home you already own. We can make it like it hasn’t happened at all.

We can help with the entire process. Fire damage includes many things—and they aren’t necessarily things you would think about before you have to deal with the aftermath of a house fire. Water damage can result from putting out the fire. You’ll want the smell of smoke removed and the area repaired. We can even help with upholstery repair. If you need it, our team can help you do it.

We’re a local team. While SERVPRO is a national company, we are locally owned and operated. That means our team can access resources, equipment and training necessary for the highest quality restoration work. But we also live here in the community and want to treat those we meet like our friends and neighbors.

If you have fire damage in your home due to a kitchen, heating or other fire, you can count on us for restoration assistance. Our team is always ready to meet your needs and help you restore your home. Contact us at any time to learn more about our restoration services.

What Types of Damage Are Associated With House Fires | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

fireman spraying water on active flame House fires can cause more damage than meets the eye.

A house fire is a traumatic and frightening event for any family to endure, and after getting to safety, being able to return to a sense of normalcy is generally the first thing on everyone’s minds. While the damages are often significant after a fire, being aware of what types of damage can be present and having a solid restoration plan can help tremendously with the recovery process.

While the flames scorching a home is what immediately comes to mind in regards to house fire damage, that is rarely the only issue that will be present in the home. Damages from smoke and soot as well as water are often present, but fortunately, we are here to help with all of it.

A Look at the Types of Damage a House Fire Can Cause

Damage From the Fire Itself

From the moment a flame starts, it will be looking for ways to grow and spread—which is why house fires can happen so quickly and burn at such high temperatures. Because of the prevalence of synthetic materials in home construction and furnishings, experts estimate that house fires spread much more quickly than they used to and can more easily consume everything in their path. This means that the damage from the flames can be far-reaching and severe, even compromising the structural elements of the home.

Smoke and Soot Damage

As substances burn, they produce smoke and harmful soot residues that can quickly spread throughout the home and impact even areas that were nowhere near the fire. This smoke and soot can cause health concerns and lingering odors, but a restoration company can help you deodorize objects and scrub the air of these particles.

Water Damage

Firefighters are experts at putting out house fires, often using thousands of gallons of water in the process. While this achieves the most pressing goal of extinguishing the flames, it can also lead to water damage throughout the home from the area being fully saturated.


If your home has been damaged by a house fire, we are here to help you with all of your restoration needs. From fire, smoke, soot and water damage, we can handle it all. Contact us today to learn more.

Stay Vigilant About Cooking Fires This Holiday Season | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

11/16/2020 (Permalink)

Cooking is something most of us do on a daily basis, but did you know that cooking is also the top cause of house fires in the United States? While most cooking occurs without incident, it only takes one mistake to create an emergency scenario where a cooking fire starts and gets out of control.

While this is something to be aware of throughout every time of the year, it is extra important to keep this in mind as we move towards the holiday season. The period around the winter holidays is when the most fires occur every year, due in part to an increase in cooking and baking as we prepare for gatherings and holiday meals. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways you can make every cooking or baking session safer—read on to learn more.

How to Keep Cooking Fires From Starting Around the Holidays

A fire in the kitchen is the last thing any of us want, but are you sure you are doing everything you can to prevent it? Here are some of the top safety tips so you can be certain you are taking every precaution necessary:

Keep a Fire Extinguisher Within Reach

Having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and knowing how to use it is a must for any cook or baker. Be sure that it is not expired and that it is in a convenient spot to grab in an emergency. Using a fire extinguisher can prevent a small incident from becoming a full-on house fire if you catch it quickly enough, but it is important to only use a fire extinguisher if it is safe to do so.

Do Not Cook While Distracted

Holiday meals often lead to a lot of extra hands in the kitchen, which can create a chaotic environment ripe for mistakes. Distracted cooking can lead to leaving utensils and dish towels near the stove or oven, which can quickly catch fire if they become too warm. Make sure you are always vigilant about keeping a buffer free from flammable items around any cooking appliance just in case.

Never Leave Food Unattended

For long-term meals that require simmering or roasting, it can be tempting to step away and leave the food unattended while the flavors work their magic. Be sure you check up on food regularly and do not stray too far while something is cooking just in case.

If your home is damaged by a fire of any type, we are here to help. Contact us at any hour for more information or to get restoration assistance.

Make Sure Your Winter Is Safe From Fires | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

11/9/2020 (Permalink)

multicolor strand of lights on wood floor Make sure your fire risk is low during the holidays. If you experience any damage, SERVPRO of Van Nuys South will be here to help.

No matter the season, keeping fire safety in focus is something that we always recommend—but during the long nights of winter, it is extra important. Winter sees the most fires out of any season according to the Red Cross, and though we do not receive a deep winter freeze in Van Nuys, it is still something to be aware of.

More people cook and bake in the winter, which is always the leading cause of household fires starting. Additionally, when things do turn chilly, using a space heater is a common way to warm up the home—and as the winter holidays approach, this can be compounded with the use of decorations that lead to electrical concerns. It is wise to be aware of the possible risks so you can keep fire safety at the forefront of your entire winter season.

Staying Fire-Safe as the Holidays Approach

Keep safe when cooking. Cooking large meals and undertaking delicious baking projects is a great way to celebrate the season, but kitchen incidents do cause the majority of house fires both during winter and year-round. Implementing safety in the kitchen is a wise thing to focus on, which can include purchasing a fire extinguisher, keeping flammable items away from the oven and stove and never leaving the room while cooking is in process.

Heat the house with proper precautions. When things turn chilly in the evening, many people will find themselves reaching for a space heater to provide some auxiliary heat in the home. This can be done safely if proper precautions are taken, but otherwise, it can be dangerous. Be sure your space heater model has safety features to address tip-over and overheating hazards, and never use it near anything flammable or while you will not be in the room.

Decorate with care. As the holidays draw near, adding festive elements such as lights and other decorations is commonplace, but these electrical wires should always be checked thoroughly before use each year. Christmas tree fires are often caused by malfunctioning strings of lights, but by checking for frays and never leaving lights plugged in overnight, you can significantly reduce your risk.

If you have damage due to a house fire, you can depend on us to help. Contact us 24 hours a day to report damage and receive a quick response from our certified restoration technicians. Get in touch today.

Three Common Reasons for House Fires in Your Van Nuys Home

10/1/2020 (Permalink)

If a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape. House fires can be devastating and the road to recovery is long and hard. Educating yourself on the leading causes for house fires and prevention is a step in the right direction to ensure that your family and home are safe.

Electrical Outlets

Many electrical fires in homes or businesses are caused by faulty electrical outlets, old wiring, outdated appliances or electrical cords that are frayed.

-If you live in an older home have an electrician complete an inspection. Standards and codes are constantly being revised and updated to ensure safety.

-Do not overload your circuits.

-Understand the difference between surge protectors and power strips. Both devices allow you to plug in multiple electronics, but only the surge protector will help protect your electronics from a power surge.

Kitchen Fires

Carelessness in the kitchen can lead to devastating house fires. The leading cause of kitchen fires is due to unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

-Never leave pots or pans unattended on your stove.

-Keeping your stove an oven clean will prevent buildup of food splatter and grease that could later ignite when the stove or oven is turned on for cooking.

-Keep any items that could ignite away from your stove top

-Ensure that you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen in case of emergency.

Dryers

Dryer vents are becoming a much bigger and more common safety problem. Over time, your dryer vent fills with lint that sneaks by your dryers filter. Fires can occur when the excess lint builds up in the dryer or exhaust duct.

-Clean out the dryer vent regularly.

-Clean the lint filter after EACH load of laundry that is dried.

-Clean underneath and behind your dryer to eliminate any lint that collects.

SERVPRO of Van Nuys South is here for you if you experience a home fire.

What to do Immediately After a House Fire

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

  1. Ask whether it is safe to enter the home. Do not enter if the fire authorities deem it unsafe. They may establish a safety zone, but never assume a room is safe, until it has been cleared to enter.
  2. Know who to call.
    1. Contact family members and let them know you are safe, and unharmed.
    2. Contact your insurance agent. They will be able to talk you through the necessary steps, including proper documentation and emergency lodging and living expenses (keep all of your receipts!) The insurance company may assist in securing a company to help with clean up options.
    3. At this time you may request SERVPRO for contents cleaning, restoration etc. Contact SERVPRO of Van Nuys South.
    4. Another call may be to your landlord if applicable.
  3. Secure the property to prevent possible looting. SERVPRO of Van Nuys South is available to assist with securing property/ Board Ups.
  4. If water hoses were used to exterminate the fire, drying your home is critical. It is best to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Van Nuys South to do water/ fire cleanups. Water can lead to mold damage if not dried properly. SERVPRO of Van Nuys South is an approved restoration contractor for many major insurance carriers and adheres to the highest standards in the restoration industry.
  5. Seek counseling if needed. Children and adults can feel a traumatic sense of loss, and may need help to avoid a lasting sense of sadness and disorientation after a house fire. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. A house fire is a traumatic event and individuals need to be treated with respect and compassion by those close to the process of rebuilding.

For more information on contents and structural drying, extinguisher residue and soot removal call SERVPRO of Van Nuys South at (818) 780-7111.

How Can I Actively Keep My Home Safer From Fires? | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

9/8/2020 (Permalink)

white fire alarm being tested by a person If you experience any property damage due to a fire, we are here for you. Contact SERVPRO of Van Nuys South to learn more.

Though going through a house fire is something that none of us would like to do, it is important to make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent one, as well. Once a fire starts, it can spread in less than a minute, leaving severe damages in its wake.

There are many things you can do to increase your fire safety around the house, however, none of which are too difficult. Small, everyday safety precautions can go a long way in reducing your risk and keeping your family safe.

Everyday Safety Precautions to Reduce Your Fire Risk

Check your smoke detectors. The first thing we recommend for fire safety is making sure you have an adequate number of smoke detectors and that you are checking them regularly to ensure they are operations. Smoke detectors should be on every floor and near every sleeping area, and should generally be tested monthly to ensure they are operational.

Create a fire escape plan. When the smoke alarms in your home do sound, being able to get out quickly is so important. Experts recommend being able to evacuate in less than two minutes to avoid inhalation of smoke. Formulating a concrete plan and rehearsing it with your family is important for getting everyone to safety even in an emergency.

Limit your fire risks. There are many things you can do every day to limit your overall fire risks, as small habits go a long way. Cleaning out the lint trap on your dryer, avoiding overloading outlets and replacing frayed cords are all good tips for making sure you are not adding to your fire risk accidentally.

Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Any time you will be dealing with an open flame, it is recommended that you have a fire extinguisher nearby and are aware of how to use it. When it is safe to extinguish a fire, doing so can create the difference between a small incident and a major household disaster.

If your home is damaged by a house fire, we are here to help. Our expert fire restoration technicians are here 247 to spring into action as soon as you call. Contact us at any hour to report your damage and receive a quick response.

What to Expect From the Recovery Process After a Fire | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

6/9/2020 (Permalink)

woman with hands covering face upset with burnt house in background If your home is damaged in a house fire, SERVPRO of Van Nuys South is here to help. Contact us for any fire restoration needs.

Everyone hopes that they will never have to experience a house fire, but to be as safe as possible, it is important that you have a plan in place for one just in case.

Making sure that you and everyone in your household know how to safely evacuate, and being proactive about the recovery process is the best way to ensure that you can recover from such a terrible event.

Being Proactive About the House Fire Recovery Process

Prepare yourself for what to expect. No two fire damage incidents are the same, but having a general idea of the damage a fire has caused can help lessen the emotional impact that re-entering your home can have. Understand that fire damage can often look more severe than it is and reach far areas of the home due to the way that smoke and soot can travel.

Wait to enter your home. Safety is key when it comes to planning for every aspect of a house fire, including re-entering your home in the aftermath. Officials will tell you when the structure has been deemed stable enough to enter, and you should always wait for their word before you go back inside.

Contact your insurance company. Make sure that you set yourself up to get the most out of your claim by contacting your insurance company right away. Every coverage provider is different regarding what is covered and how to file a claim, so talking with them directly is best.

Document the damages. To avoid overwhelm, make sure to stay organized by documenting all of the damages for your records. A thorough inventory list of the damaged items as well as photos will come in handy for insurance as well as your personal record-keeping.

Contact your restoration company. Working with a restoration company you can count on is one of the best things you can do after an event such as a house fire. The emotional impact can be long-lasting, but knowing that your home is in good hands and will be restored as quickly as possible is extremely comforting.

If your home is damaged in a house fire, you can count on us to help you. Get in touch at any hour for a quick response.

Causes & Prevention Strategies for Wintertime Fires | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

snow covered christmas tree branches Practicing prevention is the best way to reduce the chance of a fire, however if you do experience a loss contact SERVPRO of Van Nuys South.

Winter features many holidays and cozy activities, but unfortunately, it can bring an increased risk of a house fire as well.

Even for areas like ours that do not get extremely cold temperatures, winter is the most likely time for a fire to occur in the home. Understanding the factors that go into this and how activities can be performed more safely is key to fire prevention during the winter months.

The Causes Behind the Likelihood of Winter Fires

An Increase in Cooking
Time of year aside, it is consistently found that cooking is the No. 1 cause of house fires—and even this number is increased in the winter months. An increased frequency of time spent in the kitchen baking, cooking with family members and preparing large-scale holiday meals can all contribute to the likelihood that a fire will occur.

The Risk of Heaters
When Southern California gets its chilliest nights, being able to fire up the fireplace or plug in the space heater is a wonderful way to stay cozy at home. However, it is important to take safety precautions when doing so—heaters and fireplaces are the second leading cause of winter fires. Be sure your heater has adequate safety features and your fireplace has a grate or grill to harness wandering sparks.

Candles and Decorations
Holiday decorations bring out an extra festive air, but it is important to choose safe ones in order to lessen your risk of a fire. In general, candles are not recommended by experts due to the risk of introducing an open flame to an area. Electronic decorations are generally recommended, but checking cords and cables is important to prevent overheating or sparking.

Prevention Strategies for Fires in Winter

The causality of wintertime fires is important to note, as are the strategies for preventing them. When enjoying the festivities and fun of winter, be sure to exercise caution during common fire-risk activities, and remember the following tips:

  • Check smoke alarms once every 30 days and replace every 10 years.
  • Always monitor open flames.
  • Select space heaters with automatic shut-offs in case they tip over.
  • Utilize a screen every time you use a fireplace.
  • Draft and practice an emergency escape plan with your household.

If your home has been impacted by a fire, call us right away. We are leaders in restoration and can help you recover quickly after a fire occurs.

How We Provide Thorough Cleanup After a Fire | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

11/6/2019 (Permalink)

black smoke coming out of windows from a burning house Having a team on your side after a disaster can help relieve stress. SERVPRO of Van Nuys South is here to help when a fire strikes.

Did you know that it is recommended to increase your fire preparedness efforts for the winter months? According to the Red Cross, most house fires occur during the winter with a peak in December and January.

As a homeowner, it is important to prepare your household for all aspects of a fire, including having an evacuation plan for the moment a fire breaks out and knowing what restoration company to call when you are ready to begin the recovery process. By starting the process right away, you will be able to have peace of mind while we handle the cleanup process on your behalf.

The Thorough Fire Restoration Process We Use

With a 24-hour response line, you can call us at any time of day or night so we can begin preparing our response. By setting this in motion right away, you are ensuring that your home will be back to its pre-fire state quickly following a house fire and that you can begin to recover more quickly. This is our time-tested, multi-step cleaning process:

Structural Cleaning

Because of how important structural integrity is to a home, we do thorough testing for damages before we even begin repairs so we can understand their extent. After testing is complete, our technicians will begin cleaning, removing debris and reconstructing areas as needed. We can handle walls, floors and ceilings, even priming drywall for fresh paint if required.

Content Cleaning

Not only can restoring your contents after a fire save you money, but it also means there is not as much change to grapple with as you emotionally recover from a house fire. Using our wet and dry cleaning equipment, we are able to clean, deodorize and disinfect many items, including kitchenware, bedding, area rugs and more.

Deodorization Services

The airborne smoke and soot particles that a fire leaves behind can lead to dangerous health impacts for you and your family. That is why we consider air purification to be extremely serious, and we utilize air foggers and scrubbers to be sure that all of these harmful particles are fully removed.

If you’ve been affected by a fire, reach out to us right away! We are here 247 to help you recover.

Smoke Damage Restoration in Van Nuys

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Some have erroneously concluded that the odor from smoke damage will just go away on its own in due time. Not a safe bet, consider the following facts: “What’s in the particles creating the odor depends on what was burned. Wood from house trim and framing cause a “camp fire” smell. Gases from wood smoke causing a “camp fire” smell include acetic acid, benzene, carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde, formic acid, heavy metals, nitrogen-oxides (NO2), phenols, sulfur dioxide (SO2). What’s worse are chemicals liberated from burned plastics and fabrics.” 

In her article, “Smoke Damage: The Lingering Hazard after the Fire” Cynthia Freeney of Patch.com wrote, “Even a small fire can spread smoke to every room of your home. Smoke particles get into your HVAC system and can cause breathing problems.”

To be health safe and free of the lasting odor of smoke damage requires professional equipment and techniques to be certain all trace elements have been removed for good. SERVPRO Van Nuys South has expertise in detecting and eliminating smoke damage. What’s more is that smoke particles find their way into your air conditioning system. Breathing these particles is a health risk and can lead to the irritation in and could scar your lungs. 

To professionally clean smoke damaged property and get you back up and running like before, here is a snapshot of how we will proceed. First we inspect the property, decide a plan of action, secure the property and begin ongoing ventilation using air scrubbers. Cleaning the facility, including ceilings, walls, floors and any permanent fixtures to prevent further damage from the acidic effects of soot. Clean carpets and upholstery to completely neutralize any acid contained in soot and minimize further damage including your HVAC system and ductwork. Upon completion, we conduct a final inspection and leave you feeling like it never even happened. 

24/7 Emergency Service

SERVPRO of Van Nuys South

(818) 780-7111

Fire Damage Restoration - San Fernando Valley

10/5/2019 (Permalink)

Fire and smoke damage is devastating to your home or business. Smoke permeation from an adjacent structure fire is bad enough but if your property is the fire source then another disaster is added on. Yes it’s the tremendous amount of water firefighters use to combat your burning structure, adding another level to your situation at hand. SERVPRO of Van Nuys South understands and can help you fix your emergency situation. We have knowledgeable trained crews and the equipment to restore your home or office to its pre-fire condition.  

As we’ve seen time and again, Wild Fires strike southern California often and without warning. Your neighbors home or business may burn to the ground while yours is surprisingly left unscathed. But does that mean you’re out of the woods? Try walking back into your home or office once the fire is contained. You will immediately notice that you cannot breathe with all the smoke has done to damage each and every pore of your interior contents as well as every surface of the structure itself. If this happens to your home and you have young children or pets, you simply can’t stay there at all. SERVPRO Van Nuys South will immediately respond to your emergency and come to your rescue. In a painless short period of time, you will be back to living in your home or working in your business and forget it ever happened. 

How do we do it?

It’s no secret, we work tirelessly to wipe and scrub and rinse and clean using state of the art “elbow grease”. Kidding aside, we do all that but add to that, we know exactly which equipment to utilize for your specific situation. We know exactly with safe for the environment cleaning solution to use for each different surface that needs cleaning. We have accurate sensory devices that can detect the most minute particle of smoke or water intrusion available to mankind. Time is of the essence, so as soon as possible, or quicker than that even, contact us so we can get started. Every square inch of your home or office will need our detailed attention. The ceilings, the walls, carpets, clothing, books, decorations, upholstery, kitchen items, bedding, window treatments, glass, mirrors, yes, everything that smoke touches, which is everything. We clean and sanitize your HVAC system and air ducts, the list goes on, but know you may be asking:

What about the exterior of my property?

Great question, yes even your, especially your exterior will be affected by smoke damage. Your windows will need a thorough washing after we pressure wash your homes exterior surfaces including retaining walls, fences, gates, lights, boulders and even tree trunks that have absorbed soot and ash. Your garage and its contents also gets a deep meticulous cleaning from head to toe. In a short time you will gladly say, It’s like it never even happened. 

24/7 Emergency Service

SERVPRO of Van Nuys South

(818) 780-7111

The Facts About Cleaning Smoke Damage After a House Fire

8/13/2019 (Permalink)

The Facts About Cleaning Smoke Damage After a House Fire

Many homeowners think that they can clean-up smoke damage to their home after it has been burned in a fire. Unfortunately, that is never a good idea. Cleaning up smoke and soot damage requires professionals to do the job.

Bring in the Fire Damage Pros

First off, a house that has been burned in a fire is typically not safe to enter or spend time in. The integrity of walls and floors may have been damaged, along with other hazards. It’s important not to enter the home until professionals tell you it is safe to do so.

While you should not undertake trying to clean up smoke and soot damage from a house fire yourself, you should get the professionals into your as soon as possible. Ash and smoke, if left untreated, will cause corrosion, discoloration and a lingering powerful and offensive odor. Ash, specifically, will start causing damage and discoloration almost immediately and the damage may be permanent and irreversible. Anything that was made of plastic will begin discoloring within minutes. Metals will easily tarnish and corrode and fiberglass will begin to yellow.

If you get fire damage restoration professionals in soon enough after a house fire, they can mitigate or eliminate the smoke and ash damage from the fire and prevent further damage to your property. Unfortunately, if you don’t get the pros in early, the damage becomes worse and worse and the costs to repair will begin to skyrocket within just a few weeks!

Know Who to Hire

Many companies claim to be fire damage restoration specialists, but they may not actually have the proper training and certification to do the job. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the primary oversight agency for the industry. Companies recognized, registered and certified by the IICRC will have taken extensive coursework to earn their certification.

What a Trained and Certified Fire Damage Restoration Professional Does

A trained and certified fire damage restoration professional will first identify all affected materials and the source of odors, if possible. They will be extremely thorough. They will identify what can be salvaged and cleaned and what cannot be and must be completely replaced. They will then begin the clean-up process by removing built-up ash residue. Once the ash is cleaned, they can better identify the sources of odors, which they will treat with special detergents made to neutralize the odors. Once fire damaged materials are treated, they will be sealed to prevent future odors from emitting into your home.

If you or anyone you know is in need of smoke or fire damage restoration services.

The Startling Facts About Residential Fires

8/6/2019 (Permalink)

Fires are a devastating occurrence and one that happens more than most people might think. Once a flame begins to spread, it can quickly envelop an entire residential building and put everyone in harm’s way.

While there is no sure way to guarantee a house fire will never happen, reducing fire hazards around the home will provide essential peace of mind.

Residential Fires: The Statistics

In the time it has taken you to read to this point, a fire has likely occurred. That may seem unlikely, but the National Fire Protection Agency estimates that a fire happens every 24 seconds.

In residential buildings, over half of the fires reported are cooking-related. Though other fire causes are not nearly as common, they can be just as dangerous.

Residential Fires: Prevention Tips

Because flames can so quickly get out of hand, the best fire safety strategy is to stop them before they start. By understanding things that often cause accidental fires around the home, you can prevent fires from ever beginning:

Malfunctioning smoke alarm. A smoke alarm is the best defense against a fire, so making sure yours are operational is key. A test should be performed every month to check the battery life.

Lint tray overflow. Dryers produce a lot of heat, which is great for your clothes but not so ideal for fire risks. Lint trays should be cleaned out after every load to prevent accidental combustion.

Unguarded open flames. While many use open flames on a daily basis with no repercussions, it is advised to never leave a flame unattended.

Wear in cables. Electrical cables and extension cords can become worn and spark. Check cables often for fraying and always replace at the first sign of wear.

Improperly stored chemicals. Car fluids, household cleaners and other everyday objects can contain flammable chemicals that should be treated with caution to avoid combustion. Always check the label for storage instructions if you are unsure.

If your home has suffered damage from a house fire, give us a call. We are certified in fire and soot remediation, and here to help 247.

When A Fire Happens In Your Home | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

7/24/2019 (Permalink)

When any type of fire occurs in your home, there may be an inclination to handle the acute damage to the property yourself. Without knowing it you may be putting your belongings and your loved ones at a greater risk. After a fire has damaged any part of your home or property, there are certain precautions that one must take in restoring the area. More often than not, certain tools and knowledge is required. 

SERVPRO of Van Nuys South can respond faster, with the skill set needed to mitigate the fire damage. Therefore allowing you to resume your quality of life, "Like it never even happened."  We are so happy to be a part of the Van Nuys South community which includes Lake Balboa and Sherman Oaks.

Watching for Fire Hazards in the Kitchen | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

6/6/2019 (Permalink)

Kitchens these days are made to be a wonderfully versatile place—a place for family and friends to gather, for spending quality time and where meals are prepared and shared. However, without proper precautions, the kitchen can be a place where many home fires break out.

The No. 1 cause of home fires and injuries is cooking fires and the leading cause of these kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

In 2017, over $130 million in homeowners insurance claims were paid out by State Farm. These claims were related to grease and other cooking fires. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:

  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
Cooking Fire Safety Tips

Cooking should not be left unattended, but this is not the only fire safety tip you should be following. Here are some other helpful tips to observe while cooking:

1. Don’t wear clothing that could easily catch fire. Does your outfit have long, flowing sleeves or is it big and baggy? It could catch on fire if you aren’t careful while cooking over the stove. It’s best to wear short or close-fitted sleeve shirts and make sure any baggy shirts are tucked in or tied back.

2. Don’t place flammable objects on or near the stovetop. Make sure you don’t have kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, anything flammable will be moved away from it.

3. Don’t leave your home unequipped with a fire extinguisher. Hopefully you have at least one fire extinguisher located in your home, ideally one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.

4. Don’t throw hot grease in the garbage can. The grease may not be on fire, but it could be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. You should let the grease cool a bit and then dispose of it in an old coffee can. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.

5. Don’t forget to prepare a fire escape plan. Being prepared for the worst thing that could happen is better than being caught by surprise and not being prepared if an emergency were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.

Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Protecting your business from fire risks | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

Business owners have much to take into consideration regarding risks to their business, staff and visitors. As a business owner, one of those risks you need to spend a little extra time planning for and working toward preventing is a fire.

Top Causes of Commercial Structure Fires

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that the leading causes of structure fires in office properties from 2007–2011, listed in order, were:

  1. Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
  2. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
  3. Heating equipment, 11% of fires
  4. Intentional, 10% of fires
  5. Smoking materials, 9% of fires
  6. Exposure, 4% of fires
  7. Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires

Three of those causes—intentional, exposure, and electrical distribution and lighting equipment—were responsible for the most property damage with 20%, 18% and 15%, respectively.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2007, fires and explosions accounted for 3% of all workplace fatalities.

In looking at more recent numbers, the NFPA estimates that from 2007–2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year. Those fires resulted in an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.

Ways to Protect Your Commercial Property

So, what steps can you take to protect your business and employees from the risk of fires? By placing an emphasis on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, you are taking steps to reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.

First, make an assessment of your facility, looking for any fire hazard risks. In some areas, the local government may even offer a visit from a fire marshal to help identify these risks and provide guidance on your fire prevention plan.

Next, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right fire protection equipment in place. This includes an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.

Last, and most important, you must make provisions for the human aspect of your business—your employees. Create a fire plan and review it regularly with your staff, thereby ensuring that everyone is aware of the procedures to follow in the event of a fire. By conducting fire drills at least once a year, you keep fire safety procedures fresh, and it will also afford you the opportunity to review evacuation plans and first-aid kit locations.

Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South is available to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Woolsey-Hill Fires

5/2/2019 (Permalink)

Arial Map of Woolsey Fire Burn Area

Our community suffered nearly 97,000 acres burned in recent Woolsey-Hill Fire affecting Los Angeles & Ventura counties 2,000 structures destroyed, 670 Structure alone in Malibu city limits.  Assessment of the damage is still ongoing, yet much of the community was spared the worst devastation. Smoke damage affects many whose homes are left standing.  Before disposing of smoke damaged furniture & clothing, much can be done to restore your belongings. We at SERVPRO Van Nuys South have been proud to provide Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration Services in our community throughout the devastating wild fires.  We at SERVPRO Van Nuys South have been working tirelessly with homeowners, insurance companies & HOA’s to restore your personal possessions from the fire, smoke, soot & ash damage. SERVPRO Van Nuys South also offers contents restoration including, carpet, upholstery, drapes and blinds cleaning and deodorization service of the acrid smoke odor left behind.  Our highly trained team at SERVPRO of Van Nuys South is here and ready 24/7 to help you!  Call us at (818)780-7111.

Learning About Fire Hazards in Your Home

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

When thinking about protecting your home from fire, one way to do this is by understanding fire hazards and knowing how to identify them.

Thinking about the possibility of seeing your home damaged by fire is unpleasant, but unfortunately, it’s a harsh reality for many Americans. In this blog, we’ll be discussing two of the most common household fire hazards.

Be Careful With Candles

Did you know there were 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in direct property damage during a five-year period from 2011 to 2015? During that time period, fire departments across the United States answered an estimated 8,700 home structure fires a year that were started by candles.

There were an average of 24 home candle fires reported per day during those five years, with December being the prime time of the year for home candle fires. Candles caused 2 percent of the reported home fires, with 3 percent resulting in death and 7 percent in injuries.

Of all the candle fires during this time span, 37 percent started in the bedroom and were responsible for 36 percent of the associated deaths and 51 percent of the associated injuries.

When using a lit candle, be sure it’s kept at least 12 inches from anything that could catch fire and is in a sturdy holder that won’t easily tip over. If oxygen is being used in a home, never use a candle—and remember to never leave candles unattended. Always blow them out before leaving a room or going to sleep.

Smoking Indoors Is Risky

While cooking is the No.1 cause of home fires, smoking indoors is the No.1 cause of home fire deaths.

An estimated 17,200 home structure fires were reported in 2014 due to smoking materials like cigarettes, pipes and cigars. According to the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, those fires resulted in 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in property damage.

Be sure to extinguish all cigarettes and ashes in water or sand prior to throwing them out, and keep in mind that one out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker—it is the innocent bystander.

If you’re a smoker, it is safest to smoke outside, as most deaths resulted from fires that began in living rooms, family rooms or bedrooms. Fire-safe cigarettes are the best option, and a deep, sturdy ashtray should be used.

Info on Lesser-known Fire Hazards

While candles and smoking are two of the most common causes of home structure fires, there are also other lesser-known hazards that could be present in your home.

Some types of glassware in your home could actually be a fire risk. When placed in direct sunlight in front of a window, the magnified sunbeam passes through them, and could ignite a flammable object in its path. Therefore, it’s best to move glass accessories away from windows.

Sweeping or vacuuming your floors regularly and cleaning hard-to-reach areas, like behind the entertainment system, can help prevent the buildup of dust bunnies from collecting near electrical sockets and floor heaters.

Also, watch out for loose electrical outlets in your home. The movement of these loose electrical outlets could loosen the wires connected to the outlet and create dangerous arcing.

Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to homes, and in many circumstances, can also be accompanied by water damage from firefighting efforts. If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South is here to help you restore your home to its original pre-fire condition.

Fire Safety Basics for Your Home

10/22/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that every year in the United States, over 350,000 house fires occur, adding up to more than $5.5 billion in property damage? Aside from the financial loss, these fires also lead to close to 3,000 deaths and another 10,000 injuries.

Your best defense against a fire is advance preparation. It’s important that each member of your household know how to prevent fires and what actions to take if one should occur.

Start by teaching your kids basic fire safety guidelines at a young age. Let’s also consider these three other fire safety precautions you can practice together:

Come Up With a Fire Safety Plan

If there is a fire, each person in the family must know how to react and stay calm—including how to safely get out of the house and where to go once they’re out.

However, creating a plan is just the beginning.

We’ve all heard the saying, “practice makes perfect.” Regular practice of your routine will make you more likely to remember the steps if a fire breaks out.

Learn to Identify Fire Hazards

How many fire hazards would you spot if you were to look through your home? You might be surprised what you find! Take time to go through every room and your outdoor space to uncover these hazards.

  • Are your appliances are in good working condition?
  • Are your electrical cords intact and not frayed or otherwise damaged?
  • Have you overloaded your outlets and/or extension cords?
  • Are you using the correct wattage of lightbulbs in light fixtures?
  • Have you checked to ensure that electrical wiring is not covered up by rugs or carpet?
Be Safe in the Kitchen

Cooking is the biggest single cause of house fires. That’s why it’s important to be especially mindful in the kitchen.

Anyone who’s cooking needs to apprise themselves of basic cooking safety. For example:

  • Cooking when tired or otherwise unable to pay attention is not advised.
  • It is advisable to always supervise kids and teens when they are cooking.
  • Have a lid available when cooking on the stove. If a small grease fire occurs, you will be able to cover and smother the fire with the lid.
  • If the oven catches on fire, turn off the oven and keep the oven door closed.

If a kitchen fire spreads, leave the room immediately and close the door behind you.

If your family has experienced a fire and needs help restoring your home, SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South can help! Give us call to learn about our fire restoration services and what we can do for you.

Van Nuys Smoke and Soot Cleanup

5/4/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Van Nuys Home.

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 Van Nuys South 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.