We stop thieves taking rich pickings from wildfire-devastated communities
"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
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."
How to Shut Off Utilities in an Emergency
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
How to remove mold and mildew from anything and everything
"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 ...
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
Evacuations issued as largest storm of season heads toward Ventura County, Thomas Fire area
"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
Big rain coming! Check out these tips from VCFD.
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:
- 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
Storms coming, watch for flooding and mudslides!
Cold, potentially wet weather headed toward the Central Coast Monday night has the potential to cause problems in areas burned by the Thomas Fire.
In Ventura County, showers are forecast to arrive around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. Tuesday, said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.
"It isn't a big rainmaker," she said of the system.
But the slight chance of thunderstorms now predicted has raised concerns. Whenever there are thunderstorms, she said, there is the possibility of concentrated rain in a short time period.
If that happens over the wrong location — such as the Thomas Fire burn scar — that could cause problems, Hoxsie said.
Intense rain over the Thomas Fire burn area led to deadly flooding and mudslides in Montecito on Jan 9. Twenty-one people died and two others are presumed dead."
Read more at Thunderstorms possible Monday night as chilly air heads toward Ventura County
With storms coming, pre-evac advisory issued.
"Santa Barbara County has issued a pre-evacuation advisory for the Sherpa, Whittier, Thomas and Alamo Fire burn areas.
The warning is due to an approaching winter storm.
The National Weather Service is forecasting the arrival of a storm Monday, Feb. 26, in the late afternoon that is expected to continue into Tuesday, Feb. 27.
Rainfall amounts of less than 0.33 inches are forecasted.
The predications show a possibility of isolated rain totals in some areas of between 0.50 and 1 inch in area during thunderstorms.
The amounts are capable of producing minor debris flows and flooding below the Sherpa, Whittier, Thomas and Alamo Fire burn areas.
County emergency officials and the National Weather Service are monitoring the situation and will alert the public."
Read more at Pre-Evacuation Advisory issued in Santa Barbara County burn area
Make your first impression, your best impression
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
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