Recent Posts

We stop thieves taking rich pickings from wildfire-devastated communities

4/26/2018 (Permalink)

There’s nothing more traumatic than fleeing a wildfire and knowing it’s going to devour your precious home. All your lifelong memories are about to be burned to the ground thanks to Mother Nature.

That’s the harsh reality hundreds of Californians are facing after America’s worst wildfire season ever recorded. The historic 2017 blazes torched hundreds of thousands of acres, and destroyed more than a thousand properties, many of which were family homes.

And there’s one more potential kick in the teeth for these devastated families. Fire-gutted communities are ripe picking grounds for heartless criminals focused on cashing in on other people’s misfortunes. 

“Criminals have been known to walk through burned out neighborhoods on the hunt for loose safes and other valuable items that survive fires. They steal the items, crack the safes, and sell things on – and there’s nothing the families can do about it,” said Jono Millin, co-founder of drone mapping software start-up DroneDeploy."

Read more at We stop thieves taking rich pickings from wildfire-devastated communities

How to Shut Off Utilities in an Emergency

4/26/2018 (Permalink)

Know how to react in an emergency by shutting off utilities quickly.

With storm season upon us, it’s important for homeowners to be prepared. In case of a disaster of any type, it may be necessary to learn how to shut off utilities to avoid further damage to your family or your home.

How to Shut Off Natural Gas

It’s wise to be familiar with the look and sound of your gas meter under everyday conditions, as this will help to determine what is unusual. Ensure that you also know where the shut-off valve is located. Because of different homes and different gas meter configurations, shut-off procedures vary. However, it is likely that you’ll need an adjustable pipe or crescent wrench to perform the task."

Read more at How to Shut Off Utilities in an Emergency

All those green hillsides could mean more Southern California fires later this season

4/5/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage All those green hillsides could mean more Southern California fires later this season Photo: Anthony Plascencia/VC Star

"Grass-covered hills might look good now, but authorities say that could mean a busy fall and summer for firefighters.

Over the past several weeks, brush has gotten damper, greener and less likely to burn. Stands of tall, green grass have blanketed Ventura County and much of the state.

That’s good news. But there’s a downside: Like last year, there could be a significant amount of grass-fire activity, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

“Grass is the main ignition source,” said county fire Capt. Ken VanWig. “It’s like the kindling in the fireplace.”

As the fine grass dries out, it becomes a bed of fuel that makes it easy for fires to start and to spread quickly."

Read more at All those green hillsides could mean more Southern California fires later this season

Evacuations issued as largest storm of season heads toward Ventura County, Thomas Fire area

3/20/2018 (Permalink)

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Authorities issued evacuations for communities throughout the Thomas Fire burn scar as what could be the biggest storm of the season heads toward Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

The storm is expected to reach Ventura County on Tuesday afternoon or evening.

The forecast calls for heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday. The worst of the it seemed headed toward Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, where the recent Thomas Fireburned 440 square miles.

The blaze left miles of scorched and bare hillsides vulnerable to debris flows and flooding.

“These are the areas we know already are very vulnerable during intense precipitation,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA. “But this also, unfortunately, happens to be the region that looks like it will be hardest hit by this storm.”"

Read more at Evacuations issued as largest storm of season heads toward Ventura County, Thomas Fire area

How to remove mold and mildew from anything and everything

3/20/2018 (Permalink)

"Mold and mildew thrive in moist conditions. That means musty-smelling growth can be found just as easily on damp clothing as it can on carpets and upholstered furniture. (Ew!)

To help avoid this situation, TODAY Home asked some cleaning pros the best way to manage mold.

Here's how to remove mold and mildew from ...

...WHITE-COTTON CLOTHING

Olivia Joyce, cleaning pro with Move Out Mates, has two effective ways to deal with mold, depending on the fabric involved.

Bleach is the most effective way to remove mold and mildew from clothing made out of white cotton, Joyce says. Apply a solution of one part bleach to three parts water to the stain and allow the solution to sit for a few minutes, then launder as usual."

Read more at How to remove mold and mildew from anything and everything

Big rain coming! Check out these tips from VCFD

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

TIPS: READY FOR RAIN

In anticipation of the forecasted rainy weather, Ventura County public safety agencies are encouraging people to prepare. 

Residents living in, and around Thomas Fire burn areas or near flood-prone areas, need to prepare for this storm as well as the rest of the rainy season. Plan ahead by signing up to receive mobile emergency text alerts at www.VCAlert.org and taking the following additional steps: 

TAKE ACTION:

  • Sign-up to receive “VC Alert” mobile messages by contacting VC Alert Hotline at (805) 648-9283 or visiting www.vcalert.org. Subscribers will receive emergency notifications such as evacuation notices specific to their neighborhood.
  • Make a supply kit for your home and car - flashlight, water, food, personal medical supplies, filled prescriptions and a charged smartphone with internet access in case local roads are temporarily closed.
  • Download a “Ready, Set, Go!” flood preparation plan and follow its guidance. For information inEspañol, click here.

Read more at Tips: Ready for Rain

The Worst 5 Things You Can Do When Threatened By Mudslides

3/8/2018 (Permalink)

Recently, Southern California has been being hit by a spate of deadly mudslides. Video available online shows rivers of mud careening down streets, carrying cars along in the flow. Twenty people have been confirmed killed and 28 injured, with 8 more people unaccounted for at the time of this writing.

While not on the top of most people’s disaster risk checklist, mudslides are extremely dangerous. We can see that by looking at what is happening in California. But as mudslides go, these have been rather minor. In 2010, a mudslide swallowed an entire town of 300 homes in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, as people slept in their beds.

Rescue efforts were hampered by damage to the roads, which had to be cleared before workers could get to the town.

Read more at The Worst 5 Things You Can Do When Threatened By Mudslides

Why the California wildfires are spreading so quickly

3/8/2018 (Permalink)

This article was originally published in December as the Thomas fire continued to rage.  It is an informative look into how the fire spread so rapidly and how we can prevent it in the future.

t's been an especially devastating year for wildfires in California, with four of the deadliest in the last 12 months, according to state records.

In October, fires ravaged Northern California's wine country in Napa and Sonoma counties, destroying an estimated 8,900 structures and leaving more than 40 people dead.Now a round of wildfires has broken out in Southern California, and they may be scarier than the October fires.  The Thomas Fire in Ventura County had burned 96,000 acres as of Thursday, making it twice as big as Washington, D.C., and nearly three times bigger than the most destructive of the Napa-Sonoma fires."

First Impressions

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

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The old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” is especially true in the case of disasters.

In the restoration and mitigation world, we deal with people under unusual stress. Their homes and businesses have been damaged or destroyed, and their lives have been disrupted in an unexpected way. We work in these environments every day, and we become accustomed to viewing things in a very clinical or detached way.

We need to remember, even though this may be the tenth flooded home we’ve been in this week, it is the first time our client has had their home torn apart — first by water and then by a mitigation crew. There are many emotions that people experience when their homes, businesses and lives are interrupted suddenly. I believe we don’t give our clients enough credit for how valiantly most of them respond under the circumstances."

Read more at First Impressions

New Tools Bring Success to Mold Projects

1/17/2018 (Permalink)

"As a professional who has been involved in the mold remediation industry ever since it emerged from the shadows of the more general concept of an indoor air quality problem, I find it fascinating to see how much the science and practice of fungal control continues to change. While many restoration and cleaning contractors have the mistaken idea that the “mold hysteria” has peaked, the reality is the industry is in a continuing development stage. Anyone who thinks there is nothing new in the mold field should sit in on one of the weekly teleconference discussions among the professionals who are working on the fourth edition of the IICRC’s S520 Standard for Professional Mold Remediation. The debate and discussion is just as vigorous and enlightening as it was when I served on the committee to produce the inaugural edition in 2001 and 2002."

Read more at New Tools Bring Success to Mold Projects