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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

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

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

3/20/2018 (Permalink)

"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.

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

Storms coming, watch for flooding and mudslides!

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

"

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.

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

"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

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

"

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

Survey Finds Close to 80% of Homeowners Overlook Costly Water Leak Exposure When Heading Out on Vacation

10/25/2017 (Permalink)

"WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.– August 21, 2017 – A new survey from Chubb finds that while on vacation, just 19% of homeowners view internal water leak damage as the most concerning home threat, despite the fact that water leaks are a more frequent risk than fire and theft.

“The time between when a leak occurs and when it is discovered is the single greatest factor in determining the amount of damage,” said Fran O’Brien, Division President of Chubb North America Personal Risk Services. “As a result, leaks that occur while you’re away result in greater amounts of damage, in terms of both cost and severity.”

Instances of water damage have been rising dramatically. In the past 10 years, the frequency of sudden pipe bursts has nearly doubled. In 2015, water damage accounted for nearly half of all property damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Chubb’s new Homeowners’ Water Risk Survey measures homeowners’ attitudes toward home protection, the risks they’re most concerned about and what they are overlooking. The online survey of 1,200 homeowners finds that just 8% of homeowners correctly identify August as the month with the most water leak events, and when subsequently heading out on a late-summer vacation, just 22% shut off the water main (despite 88% knowing where it is located within their home)."

Read more at Survey Finds Close to 80% of Homeowners Overlook Costly Water Leak Exposure When Heading Out on Vacation

Water Damage Restoration Tips Hurricane Victims Often Miss

9/15/2017 (Permalink)

In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, many homeowners are struggling to get up to speed on water damage restoration—the process it takes to repair a home that's endured a flood or other water-related problems.

Even at the minor level of a leaky roof or burst pipe, water damage can easily hit homeowners with bills amounting to several thousand dollars—and with a hurricane, that number can skyrocket. All told, estimates from AccuWeather put the damage from Irma at more than $100 billion, and Harvey at $190 billion, which makes summer 2017 the costliest weather disaster season in U.S. history.

 

The good news: Water damage restoration is typically covered by insurance—be it flood insurance or a basic homeowners policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage makes up about 20% of all insurance claims in the U.S.

Read more at Water Damage Restoration Tips Hurricane Victims Often Miss