Recent Posts

How Do I Prepare For a Storm In Nevada

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

Storms in Nevada can be a daunting thing; we get such extreme weather here that the unique challenges our geography and climate present us with can complicate our preparation efforts when storms hit. 

According to, the best first steps you can take no matter where you are, are to set up emergency alerts on your phone and stay informed! Knowing the difference between "watches" and "warnings" is also imperative:

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.

  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.

Firstly: you can expect high winds to down power lines here in the Reno/Sparks area, and in more residential parts of the Tahoe/Truckee area. This means services like internet, phone and television may be unavailable until the line is fixed. Do NOT touch a downed pole or line, or attempt to drive over them, or interact with them in anyway. Instead, alert authorities to the downed line, and never drive through flooded areas.

Second: We mentioned flooded areas; parts of Nevada (like Reno and Sparks) are in what is referred to locally as "the valley". This means that much of the rain and melt-water we get "up in the mountains" (think Mt. Rose!) trickles down, fills our flood drains, raises the Truckee river's water level, and potentially floods our streets. That's right; weather in the mountains very quickly becomes our problem down here. So, stay away from flood waters, and "turn around, don't drown!". Flash floods are common here, but casualties shouldn't be!

Third: High winds don't just affect communications around here, they also can cause power outages. We experience these with some regularity, but for a visitor or someone thinking of moving to the area, a power outage can be a jarring experience. Make sure you have a separate power bank to charge your devices from handy, restock your emergency supply kit, and ensure your car's gas-tank is full (gas stations use electricity to dispense fuel; if you don't have electricity, they likely don't either, so if you don't have gas, you can't get it from them!).

During the power outage be sure to stay calm, don't use candles as emergency lighting (fire hazard!), and keep informed with NOAA's safety tips and alerts. 

For more information and to keep up with our tips, follow SERVPRO on Twitter: @SERVPRO10274

And, stay in the loop on Facebook with us, too: SERVPRO10274

Caughlin Ranch Fire: A Personal Look Back

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

A few years ago, Caughlin Ranch caught fire in Reno, Nevada. Some lauded it as the "worst fire in Reno history". The day is November 18, 2011. It is a cold, windy day, but the wind only worsened the already burning issue at Caughlin Ranch. 9,500 people are being evacuated from the area. Smoke rises from the side of a charred mountain. Embers smolder in the underbrush. Sirens fill the air, and joining the red fire trucks is a brigade of bright green vehicles, heading in after them. One career and technical school--called the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology (AACT), had to suspend classes for the day, due to a significant amount of their students from the zoned school in the Caughlin Ranch area being unable to attend. An administrative staff member records a message for each student's household, and sends it out. Phones ring. Andrea picks up and hears the news; that classes have been cancelled, that Monday will be an 'A' day, and the schools thoughts were with the victims of the fire. She recalls: "Yeah, it was a day off, sure, but I was afraid for my friends the entire time," Andrea says, "but knowing that six years later, I'd be working with the people who helped get my friends' homes back together is beyond wild to me." Andrea, who goes by Andi now, works as SERVPRO's Marketing Support Coordinator. She wrote this article, and was delighted to share her story.

Water and Flood Damage In Truckee

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water and Flood Damage In Truckee Water damage affects the Tahoe and Truckee areas differently than it does the valley floor.

According to the Sierra Sun, "much of Northern Nevada set a record for precipitation this past water year, more than doubling the average in some areas," which means SERVPRO has been exceptionally busy with cleaning up water damaged buildings, homes, offices, and vehicles. In addition, the Mount Rose Snowline is moving uphill, meaning more liquid precipitation, and less of that precipitation falling as snow. Sad news for snowboarders, and anyone with property they'd rather keep dry. Chris Smallcomb from the National Weather Service's Reno office stated that "due to the previous record-breaking year and recent rains, the ground is saturated and flooding would occur more easily now." What you can expect from wetter conditions in a valley like Reno is snow-melt and runoff to damage foundations or soak lawns and fill up sidewalk drains. From the Truckee and Tahoe areas, you can expect that meltwater and runoff to reach your property first, and likely be the coldest. Much of it also comes in the form of rain, so you are more likely to have damage before anyone else in the valley does, since the Reno and Sparks areas have to wait for the snow and ice to melt into water before damage occurs. Smallcomb also says that a warning sign of incoming moisture is "atmospheric rivers coming off the Pacific Ocean, which can be projected five to 10 days out," so keep your eye on the news and the social media accounts of the National Weather Service. If you want to know more about atmospheric rivers, our blog has an article on what to expect from them and what they have done in the past: Atmospheric Rivers in Reno. Our social media is a great resource for up-to-date information about the valley floor, over the hill, and lake-side weather changes. For more information and to keep up with our tips, follow SERVPRO on Twitter: @SERVPRO10274 And, stay in the loop on Facebook with us, too: SERVPRO10274

What Happens in a Wildfire Evacuation

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

Wildfire evacuations sound stressful and frightening. Knowing where to go an what to bring is a battle all on its own-- not to mention what you are meant to be doing during one. SERVPRO is committed to making sure that the people we serve are armed with as much knowledge as possible so that they can safely return to their lives after the wildfire "Like it never even happened." The first thing that will happen is fire officials will recommend residents leave the area as soon as possible to avoid being caught in smoke or fire, and to lessen the danger on the road for emergency vehicles. This is a "voluntary evacuation order". If you don't leave right then, and the fire worsens, other emergency services like the police may order you and any of your household to leave the area, for your safety. This would be a "mandatory evacuation order". Either way, once you are clear of the area, there will be a designated assembly area where transportation to a safer location will be available. According to, there are three steps for when you return home that you should be aware of: WHEN YOU RETURN HOME: Be alert for downed power lines and other hazards. Check propane tanks, regulators, and lines before turning gas on. Check your residence carefully for hidden embers or smoldering fires. Do you have a wildfire story you want to tell? What were your experiences with evacuations? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook!

How Bad are Thunderstorms and Lightning in Nevada?

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

The Short Answer: Thunderstorms and lightning are a dangerous force of nature, and more often than not in an arid climate like Nevada, it can cause fires, property damage, and road closures. The Long Answer: In the late months of 2017 there was an increase in lightning strike-related fires in the area.

According to Tim Brown of the Western Regional Climate Center, the wet conditions “create the fuels and [when] it dries out,” we see a lot more wildfires and property damage. Much of the issue with this weather can be attributed to moisture moving towards the north from the southwest, which gives way to warm and wet conditions that are perfect for thunderstorms and lightning. On Monday September 11th, in 2017, there were 2,519 lightning strikes in Nevada, “and 6,735 in California”, according to News Channel 4. And, according to News Channel 2, 2017’s fire season was “the worst in 15 years”.

90% of wildfires in Nevada are caused by humans, but in 2017, only 76% of 2017’s 272 wildfires were caused by people. While we may not get much rain and wet weather here, when we do it can be catastrophic. Storms here cause fires, property damage, and are very physically dangerous to you.

If your property has been damaged by stormy winds, lightning, or rain, SERVPRO has your back. We can make the damage “Like it never even happened”.

For more information and to keep up with our tips, follow SERVPRO on Twitter: @SERVPRO10274 And, stay in the loop on Facebook with us, too: SERVPRO10274

How To Lightning Proof Your House

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage How To Lightning Proof Your House Be #LightningSafe by getting informed with SERVPRO on Twitter and Facebook

Here at SERVPRO, we take every measure we can to handle storm damage and destruction after it happens, but we can’t protect you in the moment; we’re faster to any size disaster, but being faster than lightning is a bit of a tall order!

Learn how to be #LightningSafe by following the tips below: says that you should remove dead branches and rotting trees before storm season hits. This is because lightning looks for the shortest route to take to the ground; tall trees are a prime target, and, on top of that, they are flammable and can cause a house fire.

If that is something you’re worried about because you are surrounded by trees or just in an unusually dry area, check out our blog on Preventing Fires. “Shutter windows and secure outside doors.

If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.” This offers protection from wind, and an extra layer of home protection as well. Preventing electronics from frying while the storm outside is active is also important. Be sure to “Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives”.

BONUS TIP: “rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning.” If you are outside and start to feel static electricity in the air, seek shelter immediately; you cannot rely on your clothing. clarifies that “the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal”, which is good information to have. If you’re driving or near your vehicle during an impending storm, getting in might be the safest option, especially if there isn’t any other shelter nearby!

For more information and to keep up with our tips, follow SERVPRO on Twitter: @SERVPRO10274 And, stay in the loop on Facebook with us, too: SERVPRO10274

How Do I Waterproof My House?

12/6/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage How Do I Waterproof My House? Waterproofing your home is essential to keeping everything important inside dry!

Waterproofing your home is essential to keeping everything important inside dry!

Fighting water damage starts before the first of our air movers ever even get to your home. Preventing water damage from water sources (pipes, hookups, etc) inside is an entirely different set of challenges, so we’ll focus on preventing water from outside getting inside in this article.

Making sure water doesn’t come in starts with the construction of your house. Check with your builder that a waterproof wrap is (or was!) used in the building of your new home. Popular brands include names like “Tyvek”. Additionally, when cold weather rolls in, icicles tend to form. We tend to leave them there because they are pretty, festive, and (let’s be honest) a bit of a hassle to go around and knock down. Those festive little spikes are one way moisture stays on the eaves of your home, soaking through the paint, wood, and potentially inside to your insulation and drywall.

This is especially common with attics. One of our pictures actually shows the process one homeowner had to go through with their house because of icicles being left on their roof.

If you want to avoid having to go through the same process, be sure to knock off icicles when you start to notice them. When it rains, one way we get moisture into our house is by leaving windows, sliding doors, or even (yes, really!) entryways open.

Even if you think your windows are shut and locked, there is probably a thin gap between your window and the frame, or your door and its jamb. To combat moisture getting in, consider properly weather stripping around these common areas.

Relatedly, going around the wall-edge of these areas with some thick caulk is a good way to reduce the amount of warmth lost when you use your heater.

For more information and to keep up with our tips, follow SERVPRO on Twitter: @SERVPRO10274 And, stay in the loop on Facebook with us, too: SERVPRO10274

Atmospheric Rivers in Reno and the Sierras

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Atmospheric Rivers in Reno

An atmospheric river is something we have to deal with on a fairly regular basis in Nevada.

An atmospheric river is a massive storm that dumps a large amount of water over an area, and according to News 4, they "get their name because when looking at them on satellite imagery, they look like large rivers in the sky. One storm can contain 15 times the amount of moisture as the mouth of the Mississippi River."

In the early months of 2017, and again back in 2013, the Reno and Sparks area saw significant flooding due to an atmospheric river, enough to require businesses and education facilities nearby to board up and use sandbags to prevent water and flooding damage. 

Remember that just 12 inches of water can carry away an entire moving vehicle! 

According to the National Weather Service: "flooding may even occur well away from where heavy rain initially fell. This is especially common in the western United States where low lying areas may be very dry one minute, and filled with rushing water from upstream the next."

Usually we are all pretty savvy when it comes to the weather around these parts, but more information is always better, and always helps you prepare and stay safer!

For more information and to keep up with our tips, follow SERVPRO on Twitter: @SERVPRO10274

And, stay in the loop on Facebook with us, too: SERVPRO10274

Holiday Cooking Gone Wrong

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Holiday Cooking Gone Wrong Holiday cooking can catch fire, cause smoke damage, and endanger a safe and fun holiday.

The holidays are peak timing for house fires and other accidents related to cooking. 

A big reason for it is the fact that many people do not follow safety directions for their new cooking appliances (turkey fryers, for example) and they might not have the appropriate fire extinguisher for the job, either. 

Here are some safety tips from the United States Fire Administration about home and cooking fires: 

  • Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove to avoid bumping into them and spilling potentially flammable grease or alcohol onto the burners.
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking and frying. Turning your back on the stove might give fire enough time to spread or become out of control.
  • In the case of an oven fire, provided that it is safe to do so, turn off the oven and keep the door closed until it is cooled off. 

After all of that, contact SERVPRO to mitigate the damage done by holiday cooking gone wrong. We are always here to help. 

For more information and to keep up with our tips, follow SERVPRO on Twitter: @SERVPRO9944

And, stay in the loop on Facebook with us, too: SERVPRO9944

Smoke, Soot, and My Home

10/30/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke, Soot, and My Home Smoke and soot can cause different types of damage; there are different kinds of fires, which makes for difficult cleaning. Luckily, you have SERVPRO!
Smoke, Soot, and Your 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 Reno NW / Truckee / Tahoe Vista 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.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call Us Today – 775-287-7040

For more information and to keep up with our tips, follow SERVPRO on Twitter: @SERVPRO10274

And, stay in the loop on Facebook with us, too: SERVPRO10274