Recent Posts

The connection between thunderstorms and flash flooding

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

In the Pacific Northwest, thunderstorms can be familiar. However, it’s important to be aware of how they can be dangerous, and how you can be prepared. Here at SERVPRO of Northwest Portland, we wanted to share some vital information on how thunderstorms and dangerous flash flooding are connected.

Most flash floods are caused by slow moving thunderstorms, often ones that move repeatedly over the same area, or heavy rains from tropical storms and hurricanes. Tropical storms don’t often make their way to the Pacific Northwest because of the cooler temperature in the Pacific Ocean, however we are no stranger to severe stormy weather.

Flash floods can develop within minutes, but can also take hours - it depends on the intensity and duration of the rain, the topography of the area, the soil conditions and the ground cover. Staying tuned in to the weather service and NOAA can help you stay informed during heavy rain events and storms.

Once a flash flood develops, it becomes a force to be reckoned with. Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Flood-producing rains can also trigger secondary events, such as landslides and mudslides. 

If sudden heavy rain and rising standing water happens near you, it’s advised that you avoid them if you can. If you are driving, the safest option is to pull over, turn on your hazard lights, and wait out the heavy rain conditions until the road is safer. 

To read more about thunderstorm safety and flood safety, visit Ready.Gov.

No matter the storm event, SERVPRO of Northwest Portland is ready to respond to the area for storm response restoration and repairs. Once you are safe and ready to receive service, call us at 503-283-3658.

Sources: weather.gov

Understanding severe thunderstorm risk categories

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

In the Pacific Northwest, thunderstorms can be familiar. However, it’s important to be aware of how dangerous they can be, and how you can interpret weather forecasts and warnings. Here at SERVPRO of Northwest Portland, we wanted to share some vital information on thunderstorms. We encourage you to save this blog for reference, as understanding the risk categories for thunderstorms and what can be expected from each category can be valuable information in your safety response. 

These categories are used by the National Weather Service and other weather agencies, such as NOAA.

General thunderstorms (no label) 

- Light green shading

- Depicts a 10% or higher probability of non-severe or near severe thunderstorms. 

- Damage to property or roadways can still occur at this level, so staying alert is still advisable.

Severe Category 1 - Marginal Risk

- Dark green shading

- Marginal (MRGL) risk of severe thunderstorms during the forecast period. 

- 2% probability or greater tornado probability OR 

- Probability for severe hail OR severe wind.

Severe Category 2 - Slight

- Yellow shading

- Slight (SLGT) risk of severe thunderstorms during the forecast period.

- 5% probability or greater tornado probability OR

- 15% probability for severe hail or severe wind probability WITH OR WITHOUT 10% or greater probability of hail 2 inches or greater in diameter OR

- Wind gusts 75 mph (120 km/h) or greater.

Severe Category 3 - Enhanced

- Orange shading

- Enhanced (ENH) risk of severe thunderstorms during the forecast period.

- 10% probability for any tornado WITH OR WITHOUT 10% or greater probability of an EF2+ tornado OR

- 15% probability for any tornado OR

- 30% severe hail or severe wind probability WITH OR WITHOUT 10% or greater probability of hail 2 inches or greater in diameter, or wind gusts 75 mph or greater, OR

- 45% probability of severe hail or wind.

Severe Category 4 - Moderate

- Red shading

- Moderate (MDT) risk of severe thunderstorms are expected.

- 15% tornado probability AND 10% or greater probability of an EF2+ tornado OR

- 30% probability of any tornado OR

- 45% severe wind probability AND 10% or greater probability of wind gusts 75 mph or greater OR

- 45% severe hail probability AND 10% or greater probability of hail 2 inches or greater in diameter OR

- 60% severe wind probability OR

- 60% severe hail probability WITH OR WITHOUT 10% or greater probability of hail 2 inches or greater in diameter.

Severe Category 5 - High

- Fuchsia shading

- High (HIGH) risk of severe thunderstorms are expected.

- 30% tornado probability AND 10% or greater probability of an EF2+ tornado OR

- 45% or greater probability for any tornado WITH OR WITHOUT 10% or greater probability of an EF2+ tornado OR

- 60% severe wind probability AND a 10% or greater probability of a wind gust 75 mph or greater.

To read more about thunderstorm safety and flood safety, visit Ready.Gov.

No matter the storm event, SERVPRO of Northwest Portland is ready to respond to the area immediately. Once you are safe and ready to receive service, call us at 503-283-3658.

Sources: weather.gov

How smoke and soot damage material surfaces

11/25/2020 (Permalink)

Even if a fire appears to have occurred in a fairly contained area of a building, smoke and soot damage may be found in other parts of the home or building. This is because fires can create a variety of conditions that increase the spread of smoke contaminants. 

One way damage can spread is by the suspended smoke and soot particles in the air - they are attracted to cold surfaces and will often travel away from the fire source and settle on colder surfaces, such as walls that border the exterior of a building or the top corners of a room. This is always why you see the black ‘soot webs’ after fires, which is not spider webs covered in soot but is in fact only soot particles that have ionized together into a web-like form in a colder area of the structure. 

As soot particles combine with atmospheric water vapor, it becomes acidic, which can be very corrosive to material surfaces. Neutralization of acid residues is a fundamental procedure to early forms of corrosion prevention. 

Acidic residues from smoke and soot can corrode metal surfaces, which is a particular concern for electronics. If residues are not removed, corrosion can eat away at the metal casing and can ultimately cause electronic failure in the device.

Because smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities in a structure, HVAC systems and their ductwork can be a concern after a fire. Often, ductwork already contains dust and debris collection, which soot can attach to and contaminate. This causes odor as well as corrosive damage to the material surface. 


If you experience smoke or soot damage in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Northwest Portland at 503-283-3658.

Why SERVPRO of Northwest Portland can handle any project

11/25/2020 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO of Northwest Portland, we understand the importance of being able to respond to any property damage disaster, no matter how big or small. This is why our company has made significant investments into the tools and equipment that enable us to serve the greater Portland area. Here is why SERVPRO of Northwest Portland stands out from our competitors:

1. Our 60,000+ square foot warehouse. 

Located at the heart of the city in the St. John’s neighborhood, our SERVPRO warehouse sits on the river with a view of the St. John’s Bridge. Having a strategic location like where we are makes it so we can serve the greater Portland and southwest Washington area. Additionally, the size and scale of our industrial warehouse allows us to have designated vault storage, office space, an industrial textile cleaning room, and more. 

2. Our equipment.

SERVPRO of Northwest Portland has all the equipment we need, and we’re always ready to order more as we continue to grow. Some of what sets us apart from our competitors is our investment in specialized equipment, such as ice-blasting machines. Overall, our company has thousands of units of equipment that aid us in water extraction, air movement, dehumidification, pressurized air flow control, temperature control, and more. 

3. Our technology.

Our company continues to grow with the industry, and we keep our eye on new innovations and technology that helps our process or our customers’ experience. We continue to make improvements in our process so that we continue to offer the best service to our community.


If you experience property damage to your home or business, you can trust SERVPRO of Northwest Portland to provide quality restoration services. Call us 24/7 to receive service at 503-283-3658.

Risk assessment resources for Portland area commercial properties

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

For commercial property owners, managers, or leaders, it’s important to dedicate strategic planning to preparedness for unforeseen events, to protect occupants and the property itself. As restoration professionals, SERVPRO of Northwest Portland understands how being prepared prior to property loss can make a difference in recovery.

If operating a commercial property or a small business, SERVPRO recommends working on Business Impact Analysis, which is a part of risk assessment. A business impact analysis (BIA) predicts the consequences of disruption of a business function and process and gathers information needed to develop recovery strategies. There are many possible scenarios which should be considered during this process!

To learn more about BIA reports and risk assessment, visit Ready.gov.

Whether you’re starting your risk assessment journey or just looking in to it, the following resources may be helpful.

Preparing for natural hazards:

Preparing for human-cause hazards:

Preparing for technological hazards:

If your commercial property does experience a loss, know that a quality restoration company is part of risk management. Our process is specially designed to minimize interruption to business, and our project managers are experienced in working with our property owners to find creative ways to keep them operating while we address the property damage in the building. 


SERVPRO of Northwest Portland is the premier restoration company to handle commercial property damage, and we’re available at 503-283-3658 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The science of fire restoration

11/23/2020 (Permalink)

A triangle with a flame graphic in the middle, each side with a word. Text: heat, fuel, oxygen. Call SERVPRO of Northwest Portland at 503-283-3658.

For every fire restoration professional, understanding the nature and science of fire is crucial to performing quality restoration work. Fire Restoration Technicians at SERVPRO of Northwest Portland go through an IICRC approved training program to learn the nature and effects of fire before working with fire damaged contents or materials. Here is an insight into the knowledge our technicians hold.

The first thing to understand about fire is that it requires three key elements to thrive - heat, fuel and oxygen. The visual by-products of fire can be generally categorized as PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons), which is often a toxin contained in smoke, and soot. Both PAH and soot particles have been reported to be carcinogenic to humans and both can damage or deteriorate material surfaces. 

When arriving on scene, it’s helpful to understand the conditions of the fire. Restorer’s will work together with fire authorities as well as Fire Investigators to gather pertinent information, such as the air pressures and temperatures generated during combustion, which can help determine the degree of smoke contamination throughout a structure.

The type of damage a fire has on a structure and its contents can be dependent on the materials included, as well. For example, the severity of soot contamination increases with a lack of oxygen and decreases when a greater quantity of oxygen is present during the fire. 

Additionally, some materials may cause different reactions when subjected to severe heat and combustion. When burned, synthetic materials (often plastic) will produce a thick, heavy black smeary residue. Plastic that is lighter in color or shade and is subjected to higher temperatures and soot will often yellow irreversibly. 

Lastly, sometimes material surfaces will have an oily film after a fire. Sometimes, oily or sticky residue can be a result of a protein fire, but smoke can also carry vaporized oils. When more oils are present in a fire, they can be carried by the smoke and eventually settle to leave an oily film on surfaces that can be difficult to remove without expertise. 

Fire Technicians at SERVPRO of Northwest Portland know how to restore a home or business after fire, and we do it every day. If you sustain fire, smoke, or soot damage in your home - no matter how small the affected area - you can call SERVPRO of Northwest Portland at 503-283-3658 to help you restore your property.

The last step to water damage restoration

11/19/2020 (Permalink)

green and blue dots in diamond shape. Text reads: "IICRC principles: restore & repair" Call SERVPRO of Northwest Portland at 503-283-3658.

Here at SERVPRO, we believe it’s important for our community to understand the principles that outline the work we do. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a standards developing organization for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. SERVPRO of Northwest Portland and all other restoration companies follow the standards and guidelines put forth by the IICRC. The standards manual for water damage restoration is the S500.

To learn more about the IICRC, visit our previous blogs on the S500 series The certification firm every restoration professional uses, The importance of safety and health on a restoration worksite, The importance of documentation on water damage worksite, The steps to mitigating water damage, and The fourth principle of water damage restoration.

In this series, we are outlining the principles of water damage restoration work, the first three being Safety, Documentation, and Mitigation. This blog is regarding the third principle outlined in the S500.

S500 Principle 5: Complete the restoration and repairs.

When the restorer’s inspection confirms that moisture content or level of the structure and contents has reached the drying goals, the drying services are done.

The restorer is now ready to begin restoration services - this includes any repairs needed to return the property to its preloss condition. Some restoration companies will do the reconstruction themselves, while others will only go so far before recommending a building owner contact a general contractor.

Many restoration companies will perform demolition before a contractor steps in. This serves a few purposes - it enables the restorer to confirm all structure materials are properly clean, dry and absent of odor from the damage event; it also can be a necessary process of removing the wet material, as materials such as drywall become unsalvageable once waterlogged or contaminated. 

As for us at SERVPRO of Northwest Portland, we work closely with a construction team that operates under our roof, separate from our water team but well versed in working with our team. This provides a seamless restoration process and gives our customers the option to choose a restoration that feels like a One-Stop-Shop.

If you experience water intrusion in your home or business, trust SERVPRO of Northwest Portland to handle your needs. Call us any time or day at 503-283-3658.

The fourth principle of water damage restoration

11/18/2020 (Permalink)

Green and blue dots in a diamond pattern. Text reads: "IICRC principles: clean and dry" Call SERVPRO of Northwest Portland at 503-283-3658.

Here at SERVPRO, we believe it’s important for our community to understand the principles that outline the work we do. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a standards developing organization for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. SERVPRO of Northwest Portland and all other restoration companies follow the standards and guidelines put forth by the IICRC. The standards manual for water damage restoration is the S500.

To learn more about the IICRC, visit our previous blogs on the S500 series The certification firm every restoration professional uses, The importance of safety and health on a restoration worksite, The importance of documentation on water damage worksite, and The steps to mitigating water damage

In this series, we are outlining the principles of water damage restoration work, the first three being Safety, Documentation, and Mitigation. This blog is regarding the third principle outlined in the S500.

S500 Principle 4: Clean and dry affected areas.

A restorer’s task is to reduce the time that building materials and contents are excessively wet. The more quickly items are returned to a dry condition, the less damage they will suffer while wet. 

Thus, the first step is to remove excess or bulk water where we can. Extraction is the most effective way to remove bulk water. Once any extraction is performed, restorer’s can focus on drying the materials through specialized equipment.

Once materials start returning to a dry state, restorer’s can begin the cleaning process. Contents are moved from the premises and restored in our warehouse, while the structure and attached materials are cleaned depending on material. 

Wood, paper, and fabrics can be damaged within hours of water intrusion; furniture stains can start within the first few hours; carpet deterioration can start within 24 to 48 hours; and mold growth can start within 48 hours.


If you experience water intrusion in your home or business, trust SERVPRO of Northwest Portland to handle your needs. Call us any time or day at 503-283-3658.

The steps to mitigating further water damage

11/16/2020 (Permalink)

Green and blue gradient colored circles form a diamond shape, text says: "IICRC Principles: Mitigation" Call SERVPRO of Northwest Portland at 503-283-3658.

Here at SERVPRO, we believe it’s important for our community to understand the principles that outline the work we do. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a standards developing organization for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. SERVPRO of Northwest Portland and all other restoration companies follow the standards and guidelines put forth by the IICRC. The standards manual for water damage restoration is the S500.

To learn more about the IICRC, visit our previous blogs on the S500 series The certification firm every restoration professional uses, The importance of safety and health on a restoration worksite, and The importance of documentation on water damage worksite

In this series, we are outlining the principles of water damage restoration work, the first two being Safety and Documentation. This blog is regarding the third principle outlined in the S500.

S500 Principle 3: Mitigate further damage.

The goal of mitigation is to control the moisture and contamination of the affected areas. 

The first step in mitigation is to check for the source of the moisture problems and correct the issue. A building owner is ultimately responsible for correcting the source of water intrusion, but a restoration company will assist in identifying the source. Before any drying can be done, the source of water must be stopped.

The second step in mitigation is control any microbiological contamination resulting from the moisture. If there are contaminants present, they are to be contained to prevent their spread. When there is no obvious microbiological contamination present, the best way to prevent the development of bacteria is to dry the contents and structures quickly. This is why time is of the essence for water damage restoration.

When a crew chief or project manager arrives on-site, they will assess the situation and determine what work activities need to take place. Determining if the water is contaminated is one of the first things they do, as remediation activities may push back any plans for drying the structure.

Before any drying can happen, restoration professionals must identify the category of the water intrusion, create a work activity plan, and prevent any contaminant spread, hazards, or other issues by using engineering controls. These controls can be building contrainments, establishing negative pressure air filtration systems, sealing HVAC ventilation ports, and more.

Once all these details are accounted for, restorers can set up the drying equipment and begin the drying process. 


If you experience water intrusion in your home or business, trust SERVPRO of Northwest Portland to handle your needs. Call us any time or day at 503-283-3658.

Portland weather emergency alerts and how to receive them

11/16/2020 (Permalink)

Text reads: "Important weather alerts" graphic of phone with speech bubble with triangle and exclamation sign inside. Call SERVPRO of Northwest Portland at 503-283-3658.

When inclement weather or storms brew in the Portland area, there are a few ways that residents can stay informed through local and regional alert systems. Here at SERVPRO of Northwest Portland, we want you to have the necessary information to ensure you receive these emergency alerts during stormy weather. 

The City of Portland uses the following alert systems. 

1. Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The Emergency Alert System is a national public warning system that may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information. EAS interrupts radio and television broadcasts to deliver safety instructions, but you can also hear their broadcasts on NOAA Weather Radios. The National Weather Service (NWS) is the agency that most often activates the EAS in Portland. 

2. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)

WEA allows countywide and regional text warnings to be delivered directly to WEA-enabled mobile devices. The public does not need to register for this service. WEA geo-locates individuals so messages will reach all WEA-capable devices within the specified area, including visitors. 

3. Community Emergency Notification System (CENS)

CENS is a system operated jointly by the City of Portland and Multnomah County. CENS is used for urgent safety warnings to stay indoors, evacuate or take other safety actions. 

You can register to receive CENS alerts by visiting PublicAlerts.org and signing up to receive voice, text, and/or email messages. The system is also capable of sending messages in the ten languages more commonly spoken in Portland. Please note: CENS cannot reach people with urgent messages if they do not have a telephone. 

4. PBOT and ODOT message boards

When motorists are the affected individuals of the weather event, message boards can be a valuable resource to warn motorists of hazards, such as high water. 

Being prepared for stormy weather is the first step to preventing property damage due to weather events. If you do sustain damage to your home or business this winter, call SERVPRO of Northwest Portland at 503-283-3658 as soon as practical. 

Source: City of Portland