SERVPRO Press Release

SERVPRO Offers Tips for Cleaning up after Los Angeles Wildfires

A few simple steps could help minimize secondary soot and smoke damages

GOLETA, Calif. (May 11, 2009) -- The flames from Southern California’s latest wildfire are still raging, and thousands of homes in the area risk continued damage as firefighters struggle to contain the fire. Though personal safety is always the primary concern in these situations, the first several days after the fire is controlled are critical to preventing secondary damages from smoke and soot. Once the local authorities say it is safe to return to your homes and businesses, SERVPRO’s Storm Response Team would like to offer the following steps you can take to help minimize additional harmful effects.

• Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
• Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
• Brush vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes and carpet.
• Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
• If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open.
• Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with light coating of Vaseline or oil.
• Wash house plants on both sides of leaves.
• Change HVAC filter.
• Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

• Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
• Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV sets, radios, etc. that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
• Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water. They may have been contaminated.
• Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
• Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
“Hundreds of thousands of acres have already been destroyed in this wildfire,” said Don Turner, SERVPRO Storm Response Team Director. “But for the victims who did not suffer total losses, these steps can help minimize secondary damage until the professionals arrive and may go a long way toward salvaging some of their property.” Turner also reminded homeowners to stay out of their homes until authorities tell them it is safe to return.

With more than 1,400 Franchises nationwide, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emergency response. As a national leader in fire, water and mold cleanup and restoration, SERVPRO has recently mobilized its elite Storm Response Team for such disasters as Hurricane Gustav, the 2008 Iowa floods, the 2007 Ohio floods and the 2007 California wildfires. For more safety and restoration tips, contact your local SERVPRO Franchise or dial 1-800-SERVPRO.

Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO franchise system is a national leader and provider of fire, water, mold and other specialty cleanup and restoration services. SERVPRO's professional services network of more than 1,400 individually owned and operated franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss situations.